Monday, August 29, 2011

Being A Good Listener...So Far

September is a busy month for a lot of people. It's home to the last holiday of the summer,  kids are just starting school, and everybody seems to have a September birthday. Seems like John and I aren't the only ones that really got into the holiday spirit. Ahem.

Given that, I've had several requests that I've had to relay to Charley about when is an appropriate time to join us and be born. We'll start with her due date which is September 17th.

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My first request was for Charley to stay put this past weekend, August 26-28, since John decided a trip to see the NASCAR race in Bristol, TN was a good idea to go on when I am 37 WEEKS PREGNANT. But, since I'm telling you that she's still an inside baby, you know that she is being a good listener so far, so that her Daddy was able to do this:

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Next, my BFF Amy realized that she may have accidentally scheduled a cruise right around my due date. As in, September 15th - 19th. So, she kindly requested that Charley not be punctual. And if that wasn't enough, she then was supposed to go on a beach trip this past weekend, but due to Hurricane Irene, that has been rescheduled to September 9-11. So, now our calendar is looking like this:

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Excluding weekdays, that leaves just one weekend that Charley could come and it's a holiday weekend. AND it contains the holiday LABOR day, which would be awfully ironic if I went into labor on that day. But no, this weekend has been requested to be baby-free as well by my sister Joy. She seemed to have accidentally scheduled a beach trip to Florida that weekend (the 2nd - 6th) so that weekend is out as well.

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(I just realized this bit of irony though...Joy was also either in Florida or on her way home from Florida with the girl scouts when I was born and she nearly missed my birth because of it. If Charley does come that weekend, I may contact Alanis and get her to add a verse to her song.)
Next, my dear Mama had a request of her own. She works for a job that you cannot just pick up and walk away from if an emergency comes up during the day. Once she starts her job for the day, she would then need to finish before she'd be allowed to leave, thus making her miss the birth if Charley decides to come in the morning. So her request was that Charley come in the late afternoon, evening, or night.

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The little half X represents no morning birthing.
 Also, my dad's birthday is September 20th, and my nephew's first birthday is the 13th, and for my own selfish reasons I don't want Charley to have to share those days with them so those days are out. I also had another request not to have her on my coworker Jeff's birthday which would be the awesome birth date of 9-10-11. But, that day had already been taken off of the calendar so I just double Xed it for emphasis.

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So, that leaves Charley with a lot of not so many options, all of which I've shown in green.

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And if I could add one more request of my baby (I am the mama, after all) I would prefer that she come before her due date and not after, leaving us these options:
  • The afternoon/evening of September 7th
  • The afternoon/evening of September 8th
  • The afternoon/evening of September 12th (full moon this night!)
  • The afternoon/evening of September 14th
Any of these options not work for you? Giving her 4 options out of the entire month is being pretty generous so I'd be glad to take away a couple of these if I need to. You just let me know and we'll work around your schedule.
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Cooking Up Charley

As this pregnancy is nearing the end, I wanted to make sure I wrote about how it was for me carrying Miss Charley Jane. Anytime you ask someone a pregnancy related question after their children are here, you get this response, "You know, I don't really remember!". I think that once the baby is here, you seem to sort of forget all of the little details you experienced over the 9 months leading up to that point. So, in case I am up all night with Charley and thinking to myself that I never want to have another child, I can come back here and see how easy this part was for me. Not saying it would be easy if I get pregnant again, but at least it's good to be optimistic!

First Trimester

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To the general population, first trimester equals puking your guts out every morning. For me, thankfully, it wasn't that way at all. There was a total of TWO times where I actually puked up food. And ironically neither of those times were in the morning. Take THAT "morning" sickness! [If you are a lover of details, I will tell you that the first time I puked up a strawberry banana smoothie, and the second time was pizza. I would tell you which one tasted better coming back up, but I'm thinking at that point I'd be crossing the TMI line.]

What I did have though, was nausea pretty much all day. Crackers were my friend and toothbrushes were not. Brushing my teeth in the morning would make me puke up that yellow bile in the bottom of your stomach about 50% of the time. [What? Did I cross the TMI line again?] But, I never once called in sick to work, and was very rarely late due to this "morning" sickness. I kept thinking I better suck it up because it was going to get a lot worse and I'd need my sick days, but then it never did. Poo. I should have taken advantage at least a couple of times!

The first trimester ended in mid March, but had I not known exactly when it ended, I wouldn't have realized it. The nausea sort of gradually declined and my energy gradually came back. It was definitely not an immediate change like it is for a lot of other people.

Second Trimester

Second trimester was from mid March until mid June. During this trimester we found out Charley was a girl at our 18 week ultrasound on April 20th. Then, I got a free ultrasound 2 weeks later because a new ultrasound technician needed practice. I am still very paranoid that Charley is not a girl though even with 2 ultrasounds saying she was. The reason? Well, everyone knows how bad I wanted a girl, and it almost seems too good to be true that I got what I wanted. During the first ultrasound we were given pictures of the between-the-legs shot and there was definitely nothing there. But, can't little boys tuck those things out of sight sometimes?

And then, at the next ultrasound, the tech asked me if they told me what I was having at the first ultrasound. My response was exactly this - "Yep. They said I'm having a girl!" And afterwards I wanted to kick myself. Maybe this new ultrasound lady saw something different, but since she was in training she just trusted the judgement of the first ultrasound lady instead and confirmed that it was a girl too. I know I'm being overly paranoid, but the lingering thought won't leave my mind that we may bring home a little Conner in a dress instead of a little Charley.

Other than that, it was business as usual this trimester. No symptoms at all, except some feet swelling, and I eventually learned how to handle that too with extra water intake and elevation. So second trimester was spent at yard sales, a Daytona trip, weddings and a bachelorette party with a little growing belly.

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 Third Trimester

This is the part that is supposed to be really uncomfortable, exhausting and miserable. I'm happy to report that I'm not really agreeing with that. I have 19 days to go and I have really only been exhausted maybe the last few days, and uncomfortable, sure, but not so much that I would feel the need to verbally complain. I mean, over the weekend John was out of town and I ended up taking a 9:30p.m. trip to Target Friday night, and stayed up until 1:30 a.m. Saturday night at a friends house just chatting it up. I don't think someone super uncomfortable or exhausted would be doing those things!

Walking upstairs is pretty tiring and requires a quick collapse on the bed for a few minutes afterwards. Bending over to pick something up is a definite no-go and only happens if it's something I really need...such as a dropped Cheetoh or something. Only important things, obviously.

My wedding rings have been off for about a week now due to some hand swelling and they still technically fit, but I have a mini panic attack each time I try to get them off and it takes more effort than usual so I just decided to take them off for the rest of the pregnancy. And speaking of swelling, my feet, legs and ankles have perma-swell at this point. It's 90 degrees here today and I am wearing pants that really don't fit me anymore just to hide the fat knees and feet. You could see it in my maternity pictures too, but it seems worse to me now. Fat legs and feet and knees are the worst!

The only thing that has really bothered me is this: random people talking to me. I avoid eye contact at all costs, and wear my best bitch face anytime I'm in public. The combination of those things usually deters the majority of people that I can see are thinking about talking to me, and the few that do miss out on my obvious body language definitely get the point with my short answers. It's not that I don't like talking about my pregnancy (I mean, duh, here I am at 1,057 words and I'm still babbling on) but I don't want to talk about it with strangers. [Okay, I guess I should clarify...strangers IN PERSON, because strangers over the internet don't bother me apparently.] They wouldn't talk to me if I wasn't carrying around this big belly, and pregnancy isn't something so uncommon that it requires a discussion. I mean, there are nearly 7 billion people in the world right now, meaning there were nearly 7 billion pregnancies. It's not all that special. [Although Charley is extra special, so maybe that's why they are wanting to chat it up with me.]

Okay this is getting too long now. Let's wrap this up.

I've gained 42 pounds.

I have no stretch marks on the majority of my tummy (a few at the very bottom), but have them on my sides, inner things, and butt. It's worth noting that originally I was only cocoa buttering my belly, and I know that isn't supposed to do anything, but ironic nonetheless.

I didn't have any major cravings. I liked to eat anything with cinnamon and Mexican food a lot. Guess what I liked before I got pregnant? Yep, cinnamon stuff and Mexican food.

I had an occasional bout of indigestion or heartburn or something. I don't really know the difference or what they are, so I don't know what to call it. Tums always took care of it.

I have had some Toni Braxton Hicks contractions, but only a few a day and had I not read what they were, I would have no idea that was even a contraction. Those kind aren't uncomfortable at all.

I am still sleeping at least 8 hours each night, and rarely if ever get up to pee. I pee more often during the day, but not anything crazy like every hour. I had a strong bladder before pregnancy and it seems to have fared me well!

And as far as Miss Charley's movement....she's a good mover. She moves the most when I'm sitting and it's never been uncomfortable for me. She's never kicked me in the ribs or anything and has been consistent enough that I don't send myself into a panic that she isn't moving enough.

And finally, here I am this weekend:
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And that's about it. I think this easy pregnancy has made me unnaturally excited and anxious about contractions and such coming over the next few weeks. I think I'm expecting more of the same, and I'm guessing it's not going to be as easy as these past 9 months. But I can't wait to introduce her to the internet...how do you think my family would feel if I shared a picture of her here before I even invited them in to the hospital room to see her? I mean, you guys are my blog family, how do they expect me to pick one family over the other!?

And now, I'll remove my bitch face and ask if I left anything out. Don't worry, I won't be a meanie and I'll give you a nice answer to your questions! And how many of you that had difficult pregnancies now want to strangle me? Discuss.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Home Sweet Home - Pre-Baby

Having a baby changes everything - that much I know. And what better place to document those changes than right here?

I know I'm going to have to revisit my 2 lists (this one and this one) and update you on how well I'm sticking to my "plans". I know there is already one rule I'm breaking for sure, and probably only one or two more AT MOST. (wink wink)

Also, I think it would be pretty fun to go back to my "day in the life" from last March and update for after Charley is here. I'm thinking I should do a day in the life while I'm on maternity leave, and then another day in the life after I go back and am a working Mama.

But, I'd be lying if I said I'm not concerned about the way our house is going to look post-baby. Clutter. Primary colored toys that don't match our decor. Swings. Bouncy seats & Bumbos. High Chairs. And I'm sure lots more that I'm not even prepared for. So, I'm thinking this should be one more thing documented before baby and after baby.

I like our townhouse now...well, I like how it looks. I definitely would prefer to be in something bigger and without neighbors on the other side of the walls, but this is going to have to work for now. There are certainly things in each room that aren't finished or need to be hung, but those are getting pushed to the bottom of the priority list while we finish up Charley's nursery and her bathroom. Something also tells me we aren't going to have as much time to do home improvement stuff after she's here so there is no telling when my lingering projects will get done.

Regardless, here is our home pre-baby. There are only a few rooms in our house and I'm leaving Charley's room out of the tour. We've done a few more things in there that I'm going to share soon so I'm going to skip that room for now.

First up, our living room.
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Both cats felt the need to inconspicuously cameo in this picture.
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I know a swing will soon be occupying the spot between the stairs and fireplace. Is it too much to ask that this is the only baby-fied change in this room for a while?

The Foyer

We don't really have a foyer, but with the couch situated the way it is I've kind of made one. This should stay the same, right? At most a stroller will be parked by the door from time to time.

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The dining area

If you haven't figured it out yet, all of these areas are in the same room.

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A high chair will eventually be in that corner, but none of Charley's dining will be at the table for a while, so maybe it's wishful thinking, but I'm hoping this area won't be too baby-fied either? A girl can dream.

The Kitchen
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I get asked a lot - yes, we still love our countertops and they have held up really well!
I just shared this room with you not too long ago. I'm seeing bottles drying on the counter once I start pumping. And once she's eating solids, I know little bowls and sippy cups will be all over the place.

Our Bedroom

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All of it is IKEA. And I way prefer this view over this next one, which shows...

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...John's workout corner. The first evidence of us losing our second bedroom to Charley is his bench and weights "hidden" over there in the corner.

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I think this room is going to take the biggest hit. I prefer to hang out in the bedroom over the living room when I'm at home, so Charley will then also be hanging out with me in here. And wherever Charley will be, will also be all of her stuff. There will be a pack and play in here from the beginning, and who knows what other stuff is going to gather by my side of the bed.

And just to be complete, here is the nursery.

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More details and pictures of the nursery here.

So, am I being naive? I pretty much know that I am, so feel free to tell me. And I'll be sure to show you what the house looks like post-baby. The countdown to my due date is at 29 days, so post-baby house should be arriving really soon. I can't say that I'm thrilled about that part, but I think she'll be worth it!

What was the biggest change in your home post-baby? Or, if you don't have any babies, place your bets on which room will be taking the biggest hit!
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Following Suit

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When you get to be a big-time blogger such as myself [I mean, how much bigger can you get than 68 thousand followers and going on my eighty-fourth year of blogging], you are required to do one of two things: 1) Become a "professional" photographer**, or 2) Open a shop of some sort and sell some stuff. It's in the original blogging decree that we all signed electronically by just typing in the web address: http://www.blogger.com/.

**Professional photographers can now be defined by anyone with a nice(r) camera and a watermark on their pictures. Bonus points if you can con someone into paying you for your sessions.

So, I do have a nice(r) camera, so one would think I would follow all of the other pros out there and choose option 1. But no, option 1 was too easy (because you know, photography is only a matter of pushing a button) and I like to make things hard on myself. Instead, I chose option two and have been wildly successful selling stuff. In fact, I have had two hundred sales in my shop in just over 1 month of being open. WILDLY successful, I tell you.

So now, it is my moral duty as a blogger to not only pimp myself out on my blog [YO! BUY SOMETHING FROM ME!] but to also make a permanent link to my shop in my sidebar. Done, and done. And yeah, the bird thing came about because after doing Charley's nursery, I am obsessed with all fake birds, and real ones as long as they are from a distance.

In fact, in an ironic situation from this week which will make me even further question if I am making the right decision between "professional" photographer or stuff-seller, all of this happened:
     1) I bought a bird-themed camera bag for my nice(r) camera. Every pro has a cool bag, of course.
     2) The next day, we sold an item from our Etsy shop.
     3) When I went to Paypal to transfer the money we made from the sale into our bank account, I realized that the camera bag I purchased on Paypal credit had yet to be paid for, and the sale we made covered the price of the camera bag almost perfectly, minus $2.08. Ca-razy, right!?

So, was that fate telling me that my silly little shop is only going to fund my "professional" career as a photographer? It's all too much for my little brain! For now I'll stick with stuff-seller. I don't have a watermark, after all.
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Bag purchased from this lovely little Etsy shop.

Anyways, all of that to say 1) I (ahem, "we" - since my lovely husband is the seamstress in our business) sell bird mobiles and owl pillows now! & 2) Every household needs these items! And finally 3) Here's to early retirement!
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tiny Obsession

Okay so I have a tiny little confession: I may have a tiny obsession with a tiny little game played on a tiny little phone called Tiny Tower. (Don't download it...I'm warning you.) It's just a tiny obsession, so I shouldn't be too ashamed, right? Right??

But even I can see that I may have taken this tiny little obsession to an unhealthy level. I may or may not have created an Excel spreadsheet to assist me in my gaming each day. Is that normal? No?

But let's back up. Maybe I can explain myself.

I have been a gamer since age seven. It was that Christmas that my brother, sisters and I received a Nintendo Entertainment System. My sisters, being a bit older, grew up with a Calico and Atari so I had been exposed to games a little bit before this point, but NES was the latest and greatest and those little lines moving up and down bouncing a ball (square) back and forth had nothing on the little man in red overalls collecting mushrooms and golden coins - lets be perfectly honest. So this is where it began: Christmas 1989.

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I know you can't really see it...but the four of us had just opened our Nintendo!
From there, we had Gameboys, a Super Nintendo, (both of which I still own and are in my closet) and then a Nintendo 64. Somewhere in there we also got a PC, which brought a whole different set of games into my life...hello Solitaire and eventually Roller Coaster Tycoon. We didn't spend all day playing or anything like that, but, I have to admit that my brother and I were both really good at video games.

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Christmas 1992: The Christmas of the Gameboy
And then these days, my only gaming comes from the Wii (in spurts, I tend to get sick of it for a while and then come back to it months later), very rarely a Facebook game can keep my attention for too long, and my trusty iPhone.

So for a few weeks now I have been playing this game called Tiny Tower on my iPhone. The gist of it is this: You start out with a lobby and some money. You spend your money building floors to your tower, either residences or businesses, which in turn each sell 3 products you must keep in stock and employ using your residents that live on your residential floors. As you make more money, you build new floors. That's the basis, and it's totally not something I would normally be into. It sort of shamefully reminds me of that Farmville crap and those types of games on Facebook...which I despise. Oh, the shame.

But this game has me hooked, and I currently have the tallest tower of any of my fellow tower-building friends. (Okay, well there are only 2 friends that are also playing, but still. My tower RULES!)

So, this is where my spreadsheet comes in to play. One of the tasks you are occasionally given is to find where certain residents are located and when you do so, you are given a dollar! A whole dollar! And seeing as I now have 71 floors of apartments and businesses, finding the residents takes several minutes of scrolling sometimes. So, I made a spreadsheet to document on which floor each resident can be found. That way, when the game tells me that I need to find Marlene Howell to deliver a package to her, I can just flip over to my spreadsheet (which I keep open at all times on my computer during the day) and see that she is on floor 10 and get my dollar. See? It's ingenious right?

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So in my defense, I have always been great at video games so it's only appropriate that I use all of my resources to be as successful as possible at this one.

& with these kind of gaming skills, I shall never be beaten in my towering empire. Should I be embarrassed? Do you think less of me? Or maybe you think even better of me that I can so successfully manage a 71 floored skyscraper. I'm probably going to get building owners contacting me to be their property manager as a result of this confession.

I should probably go ahead and add property manager to my resume.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unbreak My Heart

A little math for your Wednesday.

You start by dividing into my husband John's brain and getting a clear picture of his way of thinking and speaking. [Okay, yes, the word should technically be 'diving' and not 'dividing' but then that word doesn't work as well with my little math analogy.]

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And now that we can see how his brain computes things, we then add a little Toni Braxton

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Plus this, a 34 and a half week pregnant belly (hey, that's me!)

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and that equals this coming out of his mouth each time he feels how rock hard my belly gets sometimes:

"Oh, you are having another one of those Toni Braxton Hicks contractions!"

He's a special one.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Maternity Pictures

I tried to be patient and wait to receive all of the maternity pictures back before posting this, but I can't take it anymore. My photographer was awesome to be able to get the ones I do have to me as quickly as she did, so I'm not faulting her at all, I just MUST. SHARE. SOMETHING. NOW.

I did share these on Facebook already, so if you are a friend there you may have already seen these. But pretend you didn't and tell me how much you like them one more time, will ya? I had a pity party last night and cried myself to sleep for no good reason (stupid hormones) so I'm in need of some ego boosting. And asking for the compliments will make absolutely no difference to me in genuine-ity.

When my photographer and I were discussing where to take the pictures and what to wear, she suggested cowboy boots and a cotton, summery dress for the pictures we'd be taking in a field with old barns and such. I did not have either of those items, so I ordered the boots from Ebay since authenticity isn't really all that important to me - I don't plan on wrangling a calf any time soon. For the dress though, I instantly pictured a dress in my mind that I wanted to find: blue, flowery, and scrunching around the bust. I hate when I get an idea like that in my head because chances are very slim that you'll ever stumble upon that same thing - especially when you are a cheap-o like myself.

So instead, I purchased this plaid, off white, non-maternity dress from the Target clearance rack to wear with the cowboy boots and called it a day. It was cheap, it looked good with my boots, and I only had to go to one store (which is about 1/2 mile away) to find it. Sold. Plus, I can wear it next summer too since it's not a maternity dress.

But, on the day of the shoot I had a haircut appointment which is a little further from my house. The salon happens to be really close to a Once Upon A Child store that has a small maternity section. I stopped by just to see if they had anything good. And would you believe I found that exact dress I had pictured in my head? For only $10? Crazy huh?

So anyways, these were taken 3 weeks ago at 33 weeks pregnant and the blue dress ones are my absolute favorites so far.

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Oh, and you may notice that one of the super cliché maternity pictures is missing. The make-a-heart-out-of-your-hands-and-place-them-on-your-belly pictures are NOT my cup of tea, so I asked that we skip those. I can take some cheese, but come on. Talk about an overdone picture. So if you are upset that I don't have one of those then I'm really sorry. I just couldn't do it.

So, ya like? Can you blame my impatience? I mean, the world NEEDS to see these! My photographer is awesome!

Post Edit: Hey! I'm coming back to this post and editing because I just realized that I didn't mention that this maternity photo session helped me to mark one more thing off of my 101 list: #100: Have professional photos taken. Check!
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Current Favorites.

This is a 100% UNoriginal idea stolen from Reagan. I have about eighteen bazillion blogs halfway written and sitting in draft mode that I just can't seem to finish, and yet I see her favorite list today and I was inspired to make my own. It only makes sense, seeing as how she writes one of my favorite blogs to read!

TV Shows
Design Star.
So You Think You Can Dance.
Teen Mom. (I know, I know.)
And, even though it isn't starting until Thursday, let me jump the gun and say Jersey Shore. It's so shameful.

Food
Cinnamon Rolls.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Cinnamon Toast.
French Toast.
(Are we seeing a pattern here?)

Apps
Recently Updated3

Tiny Tower. (This one should qualify as an obsession at this point...we are way past the 'favorite' classification here.)
Words With Friends.
Hanging With Friends.

Blogs
Fervent Foodie's Blog. She's local, I just found her, and I'm working my way through her archives!

Clothing
Giant T-Shirts that aren't so giant anymore.
Cotton Stretchy Shorts.
Dresses...only because they don't require pants.

Hand Resting Spot
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I mean, it's at the perfect height and her little feet are always moving right there, so clearly she's trying to play, and what kind of mother would I be if I didn't poke back?

Songs
Look At Me Now - Chris Brown - I think I secretly want to learn to sing the really fast verses.
I'm Alive - Kenny Chesney & Dave Matthews - Was a favorite about a year ago, and heard it again recently and re-fell in love. I LOVE Dave Matthews' voice.
To Be With You - Mr. Big - Because, I rarely listen to current music and this one always gets a crank up on the ol' volume knob.


Any current favorites of your own you'd like to share?
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