Wednesday, December 30, 2009

BABY BRAGGIN' WEDNESDAY: Lucy

I'm bbbbbaaaaaaaaccccccckkkkkkkkk!

After a wonderful week off to celebrate the holidays with my fabulous family, I've returned to the land of snow, snow and more snow! I couldn't believe my eyes when we first pulled into our driveway: there stood a 9-FOOT drift between our house and the neighbor's! Whoah!!! Lucky for me, SuperFutureDad took care of snowblowing duties. I was put in charge of grocery shopping, dishes and laundry. Welcome back to reality, I guess!

Also, welcome back Baby Braggin' Wednesday! If you don't know what BBW is, click here! I've got a gorgeous nugget to share with you, and guess what? It's a girl!

LUCY



Isn't she a doll??!! Lucy is a bubbly and bright-eyed 2-1/2-year-old who is eagerly anticipating her 3rd birthday this May! Boy, they grow up fast, don't they?!

Lucy belongs to a new friend of mine, Kris, who owns Pout Baby Boutique. Pout is a marvelous children's shop in Fargo that carries unique clothing, accessories and eco-friendly items for those special little nuggets in your life. Be sure to check out Pout's Web site and blog, too!

This precious peanut has a taste for life - literally! Her mum says Lucy will eat almost anything, including any kind of meat, fruit and vegetable (except for squash!). Plus, Kris has been known to find Lucy noshing on stickers, paper, even Band-Aid's ("Don't get me started on that one," her mummy says)!



Here's a great picture of Lucy at 3-weeks-old. The girl can rock a headband, can't she?!

Lucy is also known for her one-liner's - made all the more darling by her cute little lisp. Here's a quick sampling:  
"You’re my besth fwend momma"
“we’re printhethes (princesses)” 
“look at our beautiful home” 
“I lub you momma”  
“my shocks aren’t gonna hurt momma” (what she said to her mum on their way to Lucy's 2-year check up/shot appointment)



But I've saved the BEST story for last. Lucy is at that age where saying V's is difficult, so they come out more like B's. No big deal, right? Except for one specific word relating to being a girl.

Just before Lucy turned two, Kris realized her daughter didn't quite get the difference between certain parts of her anatomy. So Kris decided it was the right time to teach Lucy the real word - vagina.

Well... since Lucy can't say V's, when she said it, it came out more like - BAGINA! Kris says Lucy found the word fascinating and started saying it over and over. BAGINA, BAGINA, BAGINA!

"Although it seems to make Grandpa Dave a little uncomfortable, [Lucy] shouts it with pride every chance [she] gets and I have to admit, it makes me giggle almost every time," Kris says.

But wait, it gets better! 

One morning after Lucy got dressed, she glanced over at her mum and blurted out, "Momma, my bagina is HUNGRY!" Kris burst out laughing, which of course, made Lucy repeat it again and again and again.

What a kid! Lord only knows what she meant, but for us adults, it's a pretty hysterical line. And it will live on forever because Kris is keeping a blog just for Lucy. She writes in it just about everyday and of course, that story is one of her favorites!

Mine too.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BABY BRAGGIN' WEDNESDAY: Camden

Welcome to this week's edition of Baby Braggin' Wednesday! I am SO excited to share this nugget with you... he's been on the waiting list for a while now. And he is very much worth the wait!

But first, I want to say THANK YOU for making BBW such a smashing success. I think we have featured quite a handful of super cuties and I hope we can continue the trend! One thing I've noticed, though, is that most of our BBW munchkins are boys. And while I love me some baby boys, if you have a girl on your hands, please send her info my way. I'm an equal opportunity blogger! LOL!

If you're not sure what Baby Braggin' Wednesday is - click here.

Just shoot me a quick email (patriciacarlsonfreelance@gmail.com) filled with info about your nugget or a little story, plus some pictures. I'll be sure to put together a BBW profile for your precious one when they get to the top of the list!

This week's munchkin has waited several weeks for his turn and I am thrilled that it is finally here. He belongs to my maid of honor, Becky and her lovely husband. Get ready for:

CAMDEN



Camden was born June 5, 2009 at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Women's Hospital. He weighed 7 lbs, 7 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. He clearly wanted to make his entrance into the world on his own terms because he showed up 12 1/2 days late! Poor Becky!

SuperFutureDad and I had even made plans to visit the little guy, thinking he'd be a couple of weeks old by then and the bringing-home-baby craziness would have calmed down a bit. WRONG! Camden was (I think) two days old and there we were, interrupting the special bonding time that should have been just for his mum and dad and G-Rents. Sorry about that! As always though, Bex was a gracious host and I was so glad to be a part of her life as she made the transition into Mommyhood! And like all my besties, she is a superb mummy!


Bex and Camden have been going to a playgroup since he was 10 days old. All the babies were born in May or June 2009. "We meet every Tues at someone's house, an indoor pool, a park, go for walks, coffee shops, etc.," says Becky.

But big changes are on the horizon. Bex, her hubs and Camden will be moving this spring to Baltimore (any Maryland readers out there who can offer them some advice?). They're on the hunt for a new house and a new playgroup! Becky says it will be really sad to say goodbye to her current playgroup pals!


Of course, at 6-months-old all Camden cares about is discovering sitting up on his own, rolling all over the place ("It's very difficult to keep him confined to a blanket now," Becky says), grabbing everything and putting it in his mouth. Camden spends the rest of his time laughing hysterically at his 4-legged brothers and sister!


Becky and her hubs are trying to do things as naturally as possible with him - breastfeeding (or pumped bottles) exclusively, cloth diapers, babywearing, modified co-sleeping (in his own bed up against the side of ours).  They even plan to make homemade organic baby food in a few weeks when they begin trying out solids.

Becky loves being a mother - despite having a hectic life! "Camden's so easy going and far surpasses every expectation I ever had about having kids.  He was definitely worth the months and months of sickness!," she says.

And boy was she sick - that's no joke! It stretched long into her pregnancy but she was such a trooper.

Congratulations, Bex, on your munchkin - I can't believe he's 6 months old already!

*One final note - I'll be taking a break from BBW next week because of the holidays. But I have a mega-cutie on the way... so please check back in a couple of weeks! Merry Christmas to you all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Welcome to the Hood

Happy Holidays everyone!

This is just a quick note to share another article with you. I wrote this piece for The Village Family Magazine. I started researching it around the time when my Baby Jones was hitting insufferably hard and, boy, did I learn a lot!




Did you know that women should take care of any dental work they need before they get pregnant?

Did you know that one round of in vitro fertilization can cost $15,000 (rates may vary depending on location and medical situation)?

Did you know that new parents may grieve the loss of intimacy and/or friendships once their nugget arrives?

If you're already a mum or dad, you may already know these things. But for the rest of you, happy reading! I hope you can take away a few tips.

I would also like to personally acknowledge and thank the people who appear as sources in this article. Without their support and perspective, I would not be able to do what I do.

Susan Grundysen, director of The Village Family Service Center Adoption Option program in Fargo (ND)
Rev. Aaron Roberts, pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Fargo
Lily Crew (not her real name)
Duane Emmel, certified financial counselor at The Village Family Service Center in Fargo
Bonnie Stafford, a Moorhead (MN) mother
Dr. Denise Rondeau, an OB/GYN with Meritcare in Fargo

To read the full article on the World Wide Web Highway, click here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Little Bit About Me

The countdown is on! Only 15 (or 14... or 13... depending on what day you're reading this) more days until Christmas. This year, my holiday will be extra special because I get to spend it with my family! It's a rare and wonderful treat - there is no doubt I will be taking full advantage of it!

As our household continues to be the Land of No Nuggets (what a Christmas bummer), I've decided to share a bit about what else I do and who else I am in my everyday life. A lot of you already know that I am a television news reporter, but I also do a fair share of freelance writing on the side. I love my job and like to think I'm pretty good at it.

Currently, I write for several publications in the Fargo(ND)-Moorhead(MN) area. They run the gamut from architecture and home design to parenting. I even get to write profiles on amazing Midwest mommies who could give Wonder Woman a run for her wrist guards! My editors are wonderful people who are even allowing me to share my articles on this blog - a big THANK YOU to them!

First up: my debut profile for On The Minds of Moms Magazine.


Just follow this link and it'll take you right to the article!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Comes Early Surprise! BABY BRAGGIN' WEDNESDAY: Griffin

What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! Apologies to all the Tales readers out there who have been waiting to meet last week's Baby Braggin' Wednesday nugget. And a huge I'M SORRY to his mummy, too!

My schedule has gotten out of whack lately... is it the holidays? Work commitments? Volunteer efforts? Travel arrangements? Baby shower planning? Christmas shopping? This whole baby-making thing? Well, I can tell you one thing - whatever it is, it is keeping me busy.  TOO BUSY! Good thing I've got a vacation coming up! Whew!!

Anyway, I'm really sorry that I missed a BBW post - especially because I've got such a great little nugget to share with you. He is the adorable son of one of my besties from high school, Olivia. So without further ado, hhhheeeerrrreee'sss:

GRIFFIN



Griffin is a 16-month-old (going on 6!) cutie-patootie born July 31, 2008. He lives in Portola Valley, CA so that means he gets to play in the sand with the Golden Gate Bridge as his backdrop. What a lucky kiddo! Isn't that the most gorgeous pic you've seen in a while??!!







His mum and dad have lots of nicknames for their little guy: Griff, G-Dawg, G-Diggity, G-Man, G, Griffy. Olivia says Griffin LOVES to eat - I think the tasty turkey and juicy watermelon in his mouth is proof positive! When he's not chilling at the dinner table, Griffin loves to swim and take a bath. So much so that his mum finds him in the tub if she doesn't close the door to the bathroom - even when there is no water it it!
 



Griffin's new favorite thing is working on his walking and running. And he's got a thing for older kids, especially older boys. He isn't afraid to walk right up to them and try to play with them. He loves his music class and listening to tunes on his Lightning McQueen cd player!



One of the coolest things about Griffin is that he's becoming bi-lingual (at such a young age - that's fabulous)! His nanny is from Peru and speaks pretty much only in Spanish to him, so he has learned to give "besitos", not "kisses" - Olivia thinks that is really sweet (mí también)!  Olivia says, "Sometimes I think he understands more Spanish than English - which has helped my Spanish, too!"

And here is the cutest picture yet of Griffy and his mummy:



If I didn't have the 'Baby Jones' before seeing this, I sure do now!! Thanks for sharing your little guy with Tales of an (Almost) Mommy, Olivia. You've certainly got a precious one on your hands!

For all of you other Tales readers out there, don't forget to send me your nuggets so they, too, can be featured on Baby Braggin' Wednesday. Simply send a few pics, a cute story or some general info about your kiddos to patriciacarlsonfreelance@gmail.com and I'll take care of the rest! It's a great way to share your munchkin with the world - I mean, who doesn't want a little brag time for their babe?  Besides, this way I do the braggin' for you!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

You've Got a Friend

I am coming off a hella work week. Thanksgiving went by in a blur of stories about a turkey fryer fire and early Black Friday sales. No family gathering for me (hope everyone had fun in Florida)! Yesterday I pulled a 13-hour shift (so worth it though - check out my story tonight or find it on the web tomorrow) so I'm giving myself a little break. I'm snuggling with a furry member of the Jungle Larry entourage and chillaxing in my pj's.

You probably know by now that Tales is not normally a blog for commercial purposes. But I'm making an exception today to help out and promote a good friend's business. Abbie and I graduated high school together when ER topped the television charts. In the years since, Abbie has become a loving wife and mother to two adorable little nuggets (hopefully they'll be featured in the future on BBW!). Abbie is also the genius behind Thing-A-Ma-Sling, but why don't I let her tell you about it!

"In early 2004, shortly after the birth of my first child, I began making baby slings because I couldn’t find any comfortable, stylish slings for a reasonable price. Once I started wearing the slings with my daughter, and then later on with my son, I was constantly stopped in public by interested parents who were just as frustrated as I had been.



Unintentionally, THING-A-MA-SLING, LLC was suddenly born! The quality of the materials we use and the amount of attention we pay to every detail of your sling make our products unsurpassed. Your infant will be safely secured in the comfort of our slings and we are confident your baby will love the product as much as we do.



At THING-A-MA-SLING, we care about our community and our environment. We regularly give back to our community through donations to organizations that support our military and those that promote rights in birthing, breastfeeding and holistic parenting. One of our favorite organizations is Birth Without Boundaries, Int’l. As an advocate for women and children’s rights, it is so important to me that we make informed choices for ourselves and our children.

We are honored that you chose THING-A-MA-SLING! Your purchase makes it possible for us to help parents make informed choices when it comes to their pregnancy, birth and the care of their children."
 
There you have it! I'm really glad I have the chance to help out my pal. My friends are my family.

Have a wonderful Sunday ya'll!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BABY BRAGGIN' WEDNESDAY: Jack and Owen

Drum roll, please..... it's time for another edition of Baby Braggin' Wednesday! So glad you could join me because this week, we have some major cutie-pies - twins!

JACK AND OWEN




Jack and Owen are 2 1/2 year old twin boys who belong to one of my besties here in Fargo, Heather. They are adorable little nuggets, each with a personality all his own. And boy do they give their mum and dad a handful! Check out this full-moon-fever story Heather sent me. She writes:

"What I remember is the horror of that night. We were getting Jack and Owen ready for a bath. We lived in a condo on the northside of Fargo and I think the boys were about a year and a half. On bath nights Nick would run upstairs and start the water and I would get the tots ready for their bath. 



Most moms agree babies need a chance to "air out"...which means, take off all clothes, including diapers and let kids run around "free" for a minute or two. Looking back, bad idea. We took off the first baby's diaper and let him run free while Nick ran the tub...yet another bad idea.



As i'm wrangling the 2nd baby, baby #1 poops on the carpet!! I scream in horror, Nick runs back downstairs to check out what's going on...and as I'm cleaning up poop from baby #1, I hear a whizzing noise...baby #2 is peeing on the carpet, then squatting to poop. This had never, I repeat never, happened before....and although they've peed on the carpet several times since (including last night), no one has ever pooped on the carpet again...and my carpet probably never looked the same!"



Heather, her hubs and fam eventually moved out of that condo and I'm guessing the new tenants are none the wiser! I love it when Jack and Owen stop by the newsroom and I hope you enjoyed reading about these precious nuggets. How cute are their pictures?! Angels!

Don't forget - you too, can submit pics and stories for Baby Braggin' Wednesday! Just send your submissions to patriciacarlsonfreelance@gmail.com. I'm doing it on a first-come, first-serve basis so please be patient if you haven't seen your nuggets' posting yet. I'll get to everyone, I promise!!!

Next week, we're heading west to meet a California baby!

One final thought, I want to wish all my Tales readers out there a wonderful Thanksgiving. I appreciate your friendship so much. I hope one day I can say that to you in person, instead of over the World Wide Web Highway. To Nai Nai, Ricky and my family who is gathered in the Sunshine State, I love you all and wish I could be there. Much love to eveyone and please make time for a nap after eating all of the delicious turkey Ricky is cooking!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Golden Rule

Not too long ago, someone came into my life and taught me a lot about responsibility. This person, whom I'll call Elphaba, was the most self-centered and self-absorbed person I've ever met. Elphaba made Tyra Banks look like Oprah.

Elphaba's tornado of self-love affected everyone around her. Elphaba had no regard for how her actions impacted others. And when someone would have the audacity to point this out to Elphaba, she blatantly ignored their feelings or took any accountability for her actions. She lacked empathy. To put it bluntly, the girl didn't give a shit about anyone but herself.

It's like the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Clearly, Elphaba missed the boat on that one.

Perhaps you're thinking the same of me now. 'Why would she write something so horrible about another person? What good will come of speaking badly about this person?'

My goal in sharing this with you is not to focus on how a person's values can be so twisted.  Rather, I'd like to figure out how to prevent someone from becoming this way. In short, how do you teach kids responsibility and personable accountability? 

I'm guessing munchkins are not born possessing these two virtues; they are taught and learned. Some parents lead by example. Other mums and dads use discipline and teaching moments.  Some kids learn these qualities by participating in sports. And other kids (more like teens) catch the drift when they get their first job.

But how can some children slip through the cracks and become irresponsible and self-absorbed adults like Elphaba and Speidi? And what sorts of things do I need to learn about parenting to ensure my future nuggets aren't like them?

So... to you... my dear readers, I'm asking this: please send me examples of what you do to teach your nuggets responsibility and accountability. Share your tips and tricks in the comment section - perhaps we can all learn a little something from each other. I look forward to reading all about it!

And, once again, thanks so much for stopping by Tales of an (Almost) Mommy! I'm so happy you're here!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BABY BRAGGIN' WEDNESDAY: Casey, Brady and Madelyn

Welcome to the first edition of Baby Braggin' Wednesday! So glad you could join me!


In case you're new to Tales, BBW is a weekly feature where I post pictures and cute little stories about all the little nuggets in my life and/or who belong to Tales readers like you. To be a part of BBW, all you have to do is email me some pics of your munchkin(s) and tell me a little about them. I'll craft up a blog entry from there that you can share with all your family and friends! It's my way of showing off all the cute little nuggets out there - and giving shout outs to all the fabulous peeps in my life! I love you all so much!

So... without further ado... here's our first BBW entry:

CASEY, BRADY AND MADELYN

I am the proud auntie to these remarkable (and athletic!) three kids. I don't get to see them very often, maybe once a year, and I miss them terribly. I've had to watch them grow up through pictures so that's why I thought they should be BBW's debut post. Casey, Brady and Madelyn are incredibly smart and cute - I can't wait to see them at Christmas!!!




Casey is the oldest. I am his Godmother. My favorite memory of Casey is teaching him to swim in Nai Nai and Ricky's pool in the Sunshine State. We spent hours in the pool working on floating and kicking and dunking and jumping (of course, he had a great start at swimming lessons with his mum and dad). But he's also a darn good soccer player!




Brady is one of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet. And one of the pickiest eaters! If this still holds true, last I knew, his favorite meal was chicken nuggets with sauce (ketchup). He loves fruit too. Brady has a wonderful imagination and will talk my ear off on the phone. It's so nice to hear his voice. Brady is sure to be a heartbreaker when he grows up - he's so cute!



Oh, Miss Madelyn - the youngest, and a girl, to boot!! Maddy is the perfect combination of her mum and dad's good looks - why this cutie isn't a child model is beyond me. That may have something to do with the fact that nobody tells Maddy what to do - she is in charge! And has the voice to prove it! But she is a ham in front of the camera and knows how to give a great hug. I don't know Maddy as well as Brady and Casey so I'm hoping she and I will have a chance to bond over the holidays.

So there you have it - Casey, Brady, and Madelyn are the first kids to be featured on Tales of an (Almost) Mommy's Baby Braggin' Wednesday column. I hope you enjoyed reading all about my fantastic nephews and niece! SuperFutureDad and I are the proudest uncle and auntie a kid could have!

If you have some pics and stories you'd like to submit for BBW, please email me at patriciacarlsonfreelance@gmail.com. I can't wait to share them with all the Tales readers!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BABY BRAGGIN' WEDNESDAY!

For those of you who are familiar with Tales, you know that SuperFutureDad and I are still in The Land of No Nuggets.  And it seems the older I get, the lonelier a place it is.

But whatever my situation is, it does not affect my crazy excitement whenever I find out one of my family members, friends, blog followers, or casual readers is preggers. I'm overjoyed (and yes, envious) each time one of them calls, texts, or writes with the news that they're entering Mommyhood.

It is for this reason that I'm announcing a new weekly column called Baby Braggin' Wednesday!

BBW, for short, is so you can show off your nugget with pictures, stories and fun, little facts. Each week, I'll select a little peanut to feature and write up a blog entry about him/her/them. I just need you to supply the pics and info!

Here's how it works:
Send me an email @ patriciacarlsonfreelance@gmail.com with your nuggets' name, age, birth date and where you live
Attach up to 3 pictures of your baby (toddlers and big kids accepted, too - I love 'em all!)
Include some baby braggin' info - this can be anything from birth stats or their first word to a funny thing they do or the moment you knew they were wicked smart

Once you've been picked, I'll notify you by email and get cracking putting together your kids' Baby Braggin' Wednesday profile! 

I'll admit my motives are a bit selfish in doing this but I really just want the chance to show off all the peanuts who belong to my friends and family. I am so proud of all of you and happy that you get to be mommies and daddies!

Besides, who doesn't get a smile on their face when looking at the chubby cheeks of a brand new baby?  I know I do!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Rebel In Me

A few weeks ago, I did something I shouldn't have. Since that day, I've been spiraling downward into the bizarre baby-making world.

One morning, I started searching the World Wide Web Highway for other people like me: Baby-Jonesing gals who think it's (maybe?) time to start a family. What I found scared the crap out of me.

Cyberspace is FILLED with any-something women trying to have kids. And it seems none of them, like me, are having any luck.

Discovering that hundreds, if not thousands, of women are in the same baby-limbo as I am should bring me comfort. 'Now I have people to talk with who won't think I'm: A) off my rocker, B) annoying as a wax job starting to grow back, C) a whiny attention whore,' I remember thinking excitedly that fateful morning.

But frankly, finding all my new 'friends' on the Internet(s) sucks; it’s more depressing than I'd like to admit. There are just so darn many of them. It makes me feel hopeless.

Worse than that, not only are all of these women NOT pregnant, they're freaks!

They speak in alien tongue. Think I'm joking? See if you can decipher this sentence:

“i hope i get my BFP tomorrow but it is still early. i am 9 DPO today so tomorrow will be 10 DPO but i should get my AF by saturday or sunday so i am hoping it doesnt come!!! i hope all you ladies have GL with the BFP's this month.”

WTF???

Where’s the good old-fashioned, full-word girl talk? The Babymoon talk? The FutureNugget Name talk? To me… everything in that sentence is so… clinical. I can’t relate. Even though there is joy in it (she’s talking about hoping to get a positive pregnancy test reading before her period is due because she ovulated several days ago. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I’ve figured out the lingo.) the acronyms sound like a bad episode of Military Medical Mysteries. There’s a reason that show never got picked up.

My intention is not to anger, insult, or aggravate any of the women who frequent these sites or parlez in this foreign language. In fact, I think it’s quite brave that they are so open about their journey into Mommyhood. And, I find it comforting to know that women who’ve only ‘met’ virtually turn to each other for support.

My beef is that I don’t want to become one of them. Perhaps this is the rebel in me, but I don’t want to be consumed by trying to create a nugget. I don’t want to have to count my DPO (days past ovulation). Or take my BBT (basal body temperature). Or measure for EWCM (egg white cervical mucus indicating your most fertile time).

Honestly, I don’t want to work at it. I just want it to happen. I just want to enjoy this time in my life where me and SuperFutureDad dream about our nugget. Where we wish for what could be.

Perhaps this is faulty logic and I’ll never get that little baby I’ve been hoping for.

But if that happens, I can always turn to the nearest TTC group, right? And I can tell all the ladies there about the next time I POAS.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Amazing Mother

Greetings ya'll!!!

How are the Baby Jones and/or The Mommyhood treating ya??

I'm still hanging in there. This trying-to-become a parent thing is A LOT harder than I expected. Look for an upcoming post on this topic. I'm sure there's some of you out there who may agree with me!

Meantime, I want to share something with you. As you might know, my alter ego is a full-time television news reporter. I absolutely love my job! And just over a year ago, I decided to try to expand my reporting portfolio by breaking into freelance writing for magazines. Much to my delight (and a lot of hard work), I've had tremendous success!

At this point, I would like to personally thank the local publications who have hired me:

Lake and Home Magazine

On The Minds of Moms Magazine

The Village Family Magazine

As a special treat for all my dear readers on this blog, the wonderful folks at On The Minds of Moms Magazine (OTMOM for short), are encouraging me to post my latest cover story for them on Tales. Get ready to be inspired by this amazing mother!

And, if you're interested in learning more about her... click here!

Finally, I have special Facebook and Twitter accounts set up to share and promote my freelance career. Please pass the word!

Friend me on FB @ Patricia Carlson and follow me on Twitter @ pattycfreelance. I look forward to networking with you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Best Of....

A big BONJOUR to my most favorite blog readers in the universe!

I want to take a moment to give all of you a huge THANK YOU for reading my ramblings and musings about my 'Baby Jones' affliction. Writing is the way I stay sane (or try to, according to SuperFutureDad) and I appreciate all of the fantastic feedback I get from all of you.  No matter where you are in your life - a swingin' single, a fabulous fiance(e), a smug married, a mommy or a daddy to a little nugget yourself - you take time out of your day to read my words.  For that, and much more, I am grateful.

You may have noticed a few new things to look at on Tales of an Almost Mommy.  That's because I'm trying to spread the word about my blog and get a few more rad readers like yourselves! So, if you feel like it, please let people know where they can find a funny perspective on everything from cankles, pull ups, MILF's, breasfeeding, pregnancy weight and the omni-present 'Baby Jones.' Plus, I want to share with you the neat pregnancy and parenting Web sites and blog collections I've found since I started writing Tales - just look for the links and badges I've posted on the side of the blog.

Here's a quick list of places on the world wide web highway you may find interesting:

http://www.topbabyblogs.com/topblogs/pages/index.html
-A list of reader-voted blogs on every parenting topic, from both mum and dad perspectives (ps - If you'd like to vote for Tales, just click on the badge on the upper left corner of my blog)

http://www.mamapedia.com/voices
-An all-in-one info center where you can ask advice from other mums, connect with sympathetic ears, and discover information from hundreds of categories

http://www.mombloggersclub.com/
-The largest social network for mum bloggers with more than 6000 members

http://pregnantbloggers.ning.com/
-An off-shoot of mombloggersclub, this one is filled with blogs from women in all stages of pregnancy

http://babymakingmachine.blogspot.com/2008/11/big-huge-hello-and-welcome-my-friend.html
-Just like Tales, but with a fancier design and giveaways.  I highly recommend checking out this blog!

http://www.littlemissheirlooms.blogspot.com/
-A one-stop place for ideas on how to incorporate vintage items for your baby and his/her nursery

http://www.kenziepoo.blogspot.com/
-A top blog as voted by In Style Magazine. Features hot trends in decorating, clothing, etc. Very cool!

http://www.onthemindsofmoms.com/blog
-The blog for a local Fargo-Moorhead magazine I write for. Has information on upcoming issues and hot topics in parenting.

http://thedaddydispatch.com/
-A freelance writer friend who is a first-time dad and a stay-at-home pop, no less.  He is a very good writer. Gives you an inside look at parenting from a dad's perspective.

http://www.babycenter.com/
-For all of your baby-making questions. A reliable source of information.

Hope you find some of these entertaining and useful.  And, be sure to send me your favorite Web spots so I can check them out, too!

Happy Halloween to you all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winning Numbers

Holy crap. Have you heard how much it costs to raise a kid these days?

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released a report this year showing a middle-income family with a child born in 2008 will spend about $221,000 raising that kid through age 17. Housing is the top expense, followed by food and child care costs.

That’s just the cost for ONE kid.

NOT including college.

Oh yeah, and that figure RISES to roughly $292,000 when adjusted for inflation.

Those of you already in the throes of parenting, are probably all too familiar with this (in my eyes) alarming figure. But for folks like me who are just starting to contemplate having a nugget, a quarter of a million bucks might just be enough to say screw it, let’s play Powerball instead. It’s depressing, no?

SuperFutureDad and I fall into the abysmal category of middle-income America – barely. We certainly don’t make enough to enjoy a life where we don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. It’s an ugly gray zone where nights out at the movies are nixed, gym memberships are dropped, and having an emergency cash fund is laughable. This is not to say that our life is perk-free. We are thankful we both have jobs, cars that run, tv and internet, and food on the table every night. Heck, with the help of a credit card, we can even buy plane tickets to go see my family for Christmas. But our overall financial situation is not about to change anytime soon.

Here’s why: In terms of earning potential, I picked the wrong profession. Although I love my job (and believe me, I DO!), I will never make money doing it. To be fair, unless you are in the ranks of Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer or one of those loud-mouthed cable network news nutjobs, people like me never will. And to be clear, I am not pointing fingers at my employer. As I see it, this is an industry-wide issue and no single business is to blame for low pay.

But frankly, I’m bitter – and worried – about what my career choice means for my future family. I feel I’ve worked hard (and continue to do so) to be able to earn a certain amount of money. I busted my butt in college; earned a Master’s degree in graduate school. For most people, these achievements translate into a bigger paycheck. Not me. And for that, my family will suffer and I, already, feel guilty.

My dream, along with millions of other Americans, has always been to give my children a better life than my parents gave me. However, with what it costs to raise a kid and my financial prospects, the likelihood of this happening ranks right up there with me buying a winning ticket.

“Hey honey, what are our Powerball numbers, again?”

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Name Game

Even though my husband and I are still working on this whole pregnancy thing, my mind has already started to wander toward names. What on earth are we going to name this (these) little nugget(s) that we bring into the world? My favorite name, let's call it 'T' (the name shall remain, well... nameless to protect the identity of who used it. It can be a sensitive subject, no?), has already been taken. Yeah, yeah, we're not supposed to stake claims on names, people are allowed to choose whatever name they like, blah, blah, blah. But to me, it's like that episode of Sex And The City when Charlotte and the girls are going to the baby shower of an old friend. When someone asks the woman what name she has picked out, she says, "Shayla." Of course, that name turns out to be Charlotte's years-ago made up unique baby name and Charlotte accuses her of stealing the name. The SATC girls storm out and Charlotte is forever miffed that someone nabbed her chosen future-baby-name.

I get anxious just thinking about names for my future children. I want something original but not trendy. Confident but not stuffy. Old fashioned but not... old. SuperFutureDad wants something that won't get our kid laughed off the playground. And of course, I'm already annoying him with talk of someone who doesn't even exist yet!!! What if we have a boy? What if we have a girl? What if we have twins? What are your family names? Would someone be offended if we didn't carry their name? Would someone be offended if we did? How do you feel about unisex names? Do you think kids today know who Clifford the Big Red Dog is (family joke)? What's your great-grandmother's middle name again? ARGH!

The worst part of all of this is that at any time, if we choose to keep our FutureNuggetName under wraps, someone can swoop in and steal it! Just like what happened with 'T'. There is no way SuperFutureDad's associate could have known this is my favorite name and even if he/she had, how ridiculous would I have to be to claim it as my own? Only a total nutter would do something like that, right?

So... in no particular order I am calling dibs on these names: Penelope, CoraLynn Ann, Berkeley, Drew, Joshua, Victoria, Vivian, Douglas, Patrick or Padraig, Johan, William, Wendy, and Frank(ie).

I never said I wasn't a nutter, did I?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mother Is the Word for God

My senior yearbook quote went something like this: "Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children."  At the time, I thought it was just a cool line from the movie 'The Crow.'  Then, in doing research for this post, I found out the phrase is actually a famous quote by William Makepeace Thackeray (famous English novelist from the 19th century - thanks Wikipedia!).  And the closer I get to having a little nugget, the more I realize how much I believe in those fifteen words.

My mother's advice when it comes to raising children is gospel. There is no one whom I trust more. I know I am lucky. Some people have been forced to say goodbye to their moms way too early. This makes me unbelievably sad and ridiculously attached to my mother.

We don't live close. She is in the Sunshine State, I live where the sun don't shine (at least it didn't this summer). This distance makes our relationship tricky. We are very good on the phone; speaking a few times a week about grandmother (and her cat), the weather (it's great there, sucks here), my brother and his family (a trio of kids under age 6 - yikes!), anti-aging miracles (flax seed, fish oil, Greek yogurt) and whatever sporting adventure she's up to lately (also an anti-aging miracle).

In person though, we need a warm-up period.  I'm still trying to figure out why that is.  Perhaps it's distance.  Maybe it's that we are both adults with our own opinions, methodologies and beliefs.  Or it could just be that our mother-daughter dynamic has altered with age.     

But there is one area where we always mesh - raising children.  The reason is simple.  She is the best mother I've ever seen (and, obviously, known).  And that is why her advice trumps all others.

So here, in no particular order, is the best mothering advice I've gotten (so far) from my mum:

*Babies always need to wear socks (unless it's wicked hot out)
*Kids need structure and a set routine 
*Naps are a must - everyday
*If you don't like a food, your kid won't either (even if the nugget has never tried it)
*Breastfeed (if possible)
*Sleep when your baby sleeps (screw the housework)
*Babies need to go to bed early and that means they will wake up early - Deal with it
*No overnight pull-ups
*Use a pack-and-play
*Babies and toddlers must have the fat of whole milk
*Have a sit-down family dinner as often as possible when the kids are old enough
*Cut the end off the pacifier when you don't want them to use one anymore
*Have a cartoon character "steal" their blanket when it's time to grow out of it
*Take trips just for mom and dad - Leave the kids with the g-rent's
*When breastfeeding at night, sit in a rocking chair with the lights off - Just be there in the quiet together

I'm not deluded enough (yet?) to think that I'll be able to follow all of these things to the letter.  But if my mum says that's the way to go, then I trust her.

Now, if only I could believe her when she tells me that labor does not hurt.....

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Weight of Mommyhood

I am not a thin girl. By doctors’ standards, I’m not obese either. I’m what people refer to as an athletic-looking girl. That’s a nice way of saying I’m chunky. Boys in this category are called husky. Whatever you call it, the truth is I’ve got meat on my bones.

Weight has always been an issue for me. When I was younger my brother would torment me by asking if I’d painted my jeans on (nowadays that may be a compliment to those women who can wear ‘skinny jeans,’ another style that is off-limits to my squishy body). As I got older, and trained harder for sports, my body leveled off. Through high school and college, I weighed between 145 and 150 pounds. Not bad for a 5’8” frame. Again, I’ve never been a thin girl but during those years much of my weight came from muscle.

Then a funny thing happened when I moved to the Midwest. I discovered foods like tater tot hot dish (a casserole to my non-plains readers out there), slow-cooked roasts and broasted chicken, and I re-discovered comfort food favorites I had long ago given up like potatoes and lasagna.

I also fell in love with SuperFutureDad (he’s the cook responsible for all those yummy dishes). And the time I had been devoting to the gym and staying in shape, quickly gave way to cozy nesting nights with him on the couch, each of us with our own bucket of popcorn. Needless to say, I began gobbling down the memory of what I used to look like with fistfuls of buttery kernels.

And then I got a vicious wake-up call. Earlier this summer, I went to the doctor to talk about having a baby. I stepped on the scale, fearing the worst, and nearly dropped an F-bomb when I read the number: 178 pounds. Ok, that was SO MUCH worse than I expected. I finally accepted what I knew to be true; I was no longer ‘athletic.’

Immediately my head filled with dreadful images of what pregnant me would look – and feel - like. Shapeless muumuu’s on TV. Four chins. Gestational diabetes. More rolls than the local bakery. Shortness of breath. Cankles. Hypertenstion. The list was endless. I weighed so much, my doctor told me I should only gain 15-25 pounds during gestation. I knew for a fact that most of my skinny friends gained about 30. What a blow. I felt like Shamu. Only Shamu, being a whale and all, is actually allowed to gain upwards of 400 pounds during a pregnancy (technically, Shamu is a boy, but you get the idea).

As I left the doctors office, I vowed to shape up before getting pregnant. Sounds slightly counterproductive, eh? But for me, being the ‘athletic girl’ has always been my thing. It’s what helps keeps me shopping at the same stores that advertise in my favorite magazines, and most importantly, it’s what has kept me healthy. Healthy enough to have a safe pregnancy. Healthy enough to be an active mother. Healthy enough to be around for a long time for my kids. I’ll never be a MILF, but I do want to be a good example of how a healthy, athletic mother should live her life; if for no one else than for me and my family.

So, I’ve got yoga and dance classes on my roster for fall. Anyone want to join me?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sharing Simple Pleasures

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve already begun thinking what life would be like with a little nugget to call my own. I try not to let the thoughts go too far… I don’t want to jinx it.

But there are some things about my childhood that I can’t wait to share with my kids. And, there’s a few ‘firsts’ that I anxiously await. Here we go…

In the… our-baby-is-so-precious category:
Lying on the ground in the park reading with them nestled in the stroller that I gently rock with my toes
Holding them in my arms for the first time
Coming home to find the baby perched on SuperFutureDad’s chest, both of them fast asleep
Bonding while breastfeeding at night
Listening to them breathe hard while deep in slumber

Representing the… aren’t-they-so-cute category:
Reading books together snuggled side-by-side in a cozy bed
Nesting by the fire
Watching them eat sand as we make sandcastles on the Florida beach
Seeing them run into Nai Nai and Ricky’s arms
Helping them swing a tennis racket for the first time

Nominees for the… not-that-they’ll-give-a-crap category:
Introducing them to the Mickey Mouse Club, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Judy Blume
Playing old episodes of Friends, 90210, Psyche, Gilmore Girls, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory
Showing them tapes of my tv stuff and magazines featuring my articles

In the… it‘ll-be-nice-to-have-someone-to-play-with category:
Catching them in my arms as they jump off the edge of the pool
Sharing the joy of a warm, creamy cup of hot chocolate in the middle of winter
Sledding
Chasing each other with squirt guns

Entries for the… just-like-mum-and-dad-used-to-do-with-me category:

Dancing to Motown oldies while doing the dishes
Sunday morning family breakfast (I’ll whip up blueberry pancakes, SuperFutureDad will take care of the bacon)
Continuing the annual tradition of cutting down our Christmas tree
Having nightly dinners together

I also commissioned SuperFutureDad to come up with a few items.

Nominees for the… I-just-want-to-be-a-dad-already-darnit category:

Teaching them sports and outdoor activities
Having the baby fall asleep in my arms
Watching them take their first step
Seeing them interact with the dog
Laughing when the baby poops or pees on mummy
Watching them learn new things for themselves
Spending time as a family

I know that this list make parenting sound easy and delightful. And I realize (through watching other mums and dads) that it’s not like that all of the time. But I’m hopeful that these simple pleasures will outweigh any daily trials we endure.

What were/are some of your parenting pleasures?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So I Think I Want to be a Mommy?

Do you find yourself:

Making googly faces at any baby within your 50-foot proximity?

Rationalizing that your recent weight gain is undoubtedly because you’re pregnant (even though that little pill case in your purse says otherwise)?

Thinking every baby is ridiculously cute although deep down you KNOW that he/she won’t be winning any baby beauty contests?

Convincing yourself that dumpy diapers don’t sound that putrid after all?

If so, you may be suffering from the ‘Baby Jones’.

The ‘Baby Jones’ is the uncontrollable urge to want to have a baby. In my (limited) experience, the ‘jones’ creeps in slowly. In your younger years, it was easy to keep at bay. You had sports to play. Places to visit. New people to meet. Adventures to have. Education to finish. For some, a partner to meet. But then, when most of those things have been checked off your bucket list, you feel it again. That nagging sensation that there is something (more?) you want in your life.

When fully manifested, the ‘jones’ may make you feel as though you’ve been brainwashed. Baby vomit is now thought of as spit-up (has a much less negative tone, no?). The sound of a baby crying activates your Mommy Sonar and you can find the needy child through rain, snow, sleet or hail. You nod empathetically when your mommy friends tell you about cracked nipples/sleepless nights/teething tears/leaky breasts/green poop/and… gulp… hemorrhoids. You even look longingly at mothers whose children are throwing violent, full-body temper tantrums in the grocery store checkout, wishing you could be the one to cradle them in your arms afterward.

And when you find yourself making goober faces at someone else’s kids in the local Target… it hits you. You want a baby. You have a full-blown, irrepressible case of the ‘Baby Jones.’ And the only thing that will treat it is 9 months of the happiest and scariest time in your life.

So what do you do?

I. Have. No. Idea.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's Just Me and SuperFutureDad... For Now

I am having the “baby jones’.” Much like an addict, it’s this uncontrollable urge to want to have a baby. In college, the ‘baby jones’ crept in like clockwork twice a year. It was easy to push aside. “I'm too young/selfish/adventurous/immature/single”', I'd tell myself.

Now, I’m jonesing for a baby fix constantly; it shows no signs of slowing. Many of my previous issues are resolved. I have no more valid excuses. It’s time.

At least, I think it is. I am 30-years-old and newly married. My husband (whom we’ll call SuperFutureDad) is definitely the man I’m meant to have children with. Shit, we’re halfway there with a brood of animals. Our house is known as ‘Jungle Larry’s’ (and will affectionately be referred to as such in this blog).

I knew I wanted to create little nuggets with SuperFutureDad after about 6 months of dating. It’s one of the reasons I agreed to marry him. But do age, a ring, and the persistent ‘joneses’ mean I’m really ready to become a parent? Do we? Or don’t we? And if we do, when? And if we pick when, then what??!! It’s enough to drive a gal mad!

This blog will chronicle my search to find out the answers to those questions. And you’ll be along for the hilarious, cheeky, outrageous, endearing, genuine, emotional, uncertain, and most of all, real, ride.

Tales of an (Almost) Mommy is written as much for me as (I hope) it is for you. I’m sure there are plenty of other women (and men) out there who are going through what the hubs and I are living everyday. And, if you’ve already been through it, I’ll bet Jungle Larry’s you’ll get some (perverse?) pleasure out of watching us navigate the Sea of Conception.

I hope you’re interested and inspired enough to interact. Comment. Share. Email (patriciacarlsonfreelance@gmail.com). Facebook (Patricia Carlson). Twitter (@pattycfreelance).

I can’t wait to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by.