Elle Gets Her Hairs Cut

Well, I promised to be a better blogger.

And to do more photos.

I’ve been taking photos more daily, to attempt to make good on my goal. However, when I downloaded pictures from my fancy camera today, I realized that I had a TON that I hadn’t captured on the blog and I really want to, if only because it is Elle’s only baby book.

So, here we were in November on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

We took her to my stylist, Shannon. And Shannon gifted Elle a Blow-Pop, which she obviously wasn’t entirely sure how to do at first…she also was not wild about sitting by herself, so she’s sitting on my lap instead.

DSC_0511 DSC_0513 DSC_0516 DSC_0521

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DSC_0528 Isn’t the finished product just too cute for words?

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A Review: Baby Socks

Seriously, baby socks are the WORST. You have to have them, because as your baby gets bigger, the selection of clothing items with footies built in decreases rapidly. So, you have to use socks. And with a baby born in the fall, winter or even spring, you have to cover their tootsies.

There are a lot of CUTE socks out there. Tons, in fact. Heck, here’s Elle’s sock drawer AFTER I cleaned it out today.

And here are the socks that already no longer fit her (despite their claim of 0-6 month socks).

However, not many of them are very functional.

So, because I would have loved to save myself the purchasing of cute socks (ok, not ALL cute socks) I’m reviewing the best and the worst here with a five star rating system and everything. Read on.

Carters
Rating: 1 Star
Review: These look cute and like they’ll be warm. Unfortunately, they’re too elastic-ky (or something) and do NOT stay on.

 

Carters
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars
Review: Also from Carters, there seems to be more cotton in these type of socks from them. In general, socks that fold over (like these and the others from Carters) aren’t a preferred choice because they are easier for baby to kick off for whatever reason you want to attribute it too.


Falls Creek (Meijer)
There are a few versions of Falls Creek here, and I know that Meijer is a midwestern store, but these are actually solid socks. Herewith, my individual reviews…

Rating: 3 Stars
Review: These are an adequate choice when the tops aren’t turned down. They seem to stay on alright and hold their shape pretty well.

Falls Creek, Fancy
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
Review: These are a little too decorative to have as a day-to-day go-to, but as a dressy sock, they are wonderful. They actually look pretty cute with jeans and sneakers or with a dressier outfit. Even though they fold down, they aren’t as easily kicked off. Who knows why.

Falls Creek, Everday
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: These and the Circo (Target) socks are the most recent I’ve purchased on my quest to find great baby socks. These are the best I’ve found thus far. They have just enough give that they don’t leave marks in baby’s ankles and they’re just strong enough that they stay on their feet. I’d buy these again and again.

Okie Dokie
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: These rank right up there with the Falls Creek above. These are a little less bulky, and they come in super cute designs, but they stay on much better than anything else like them. I’m not even sure where you can purchase Okie Dokie, but I really, really like their stuff in general. Their socks are just one reason to enjoy their brand.

Trumpette
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
Review: Trumpette’s are socks I have a habit of purchasing at HomeGoods or TJ Maxx. The first version here came as a gift. The bows are cute — and keep this in mind — not terribly functional once you get to the point that your baby is going to be jumping a lot (hello, four 1/2 months!) in jumpers and things. You may have some sort of shoes to allow for some traction, so the bows are a no-go in that scenario. Get the wearing in early on socks with bows on the toes.

Rating: 4 Stars
Review: These stay on great, have a little sticky on the bottom, look like shoes when they’re on and can easily be worn with shoes or alone and look cute. Definitely enjoying the Trumpette’s. They make them for boys too.

Esprit
Rating: 1 1/2 Stars
Review: These came in one of those boxes at Home Goods or TJ Maxx that have a bunch of socks with ruffles and bows on them (they also make them in sporty versions for boys). These suffer from the fold-over-so-easily-kicked-off condition described above. They’re cute. Just not very functional and not worth spending the dollars on. Get cutesy shoes and don’t worry about the socks is what I say!

Gymboree
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
Review: I love Gymboree, though sometimes things can be overpriced there. You can typically find SOMETHING that works for a specific occasion, though. The socks stay on moderately well, they come in a variety of patterns, but that’s kind of the problem too. You want them to be cross-functional sometimes. But, as long as you have the Falls Creek socks, these are good for matchy-matchy outfits.

Little Me
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: Before I came upon Falls Creek, Little Me were my socks of choice. I bought 12 pairs of them (2 6-packs) at TJ Maxx (can you tell I’m a TJ Maxxer for sure?!). Anyway, the price was right at TJ Maxx to purchase these. Had all the right colors I needed and they fit snuggly on baby feet and weren’t easily kicked off. These would probably get 5 Stars, but they do leave little marks on Elle’s skinny little ankles (at least compared to other babies about her age – she’s got pretty skinny legs, still).

Mud Pie
Rating: None
Review: As you can see, I haven’t even taken the tags off these yet. These socks suffer from being so cute you hate to have her wear them (and that you can’t really wear them with shoes). So, I’ll let you know. I have a feeling they’ll be cute but non-functional. Although, MudPie stuff tends to be well thought out.

Circo (Target)
Rating: None
Review: Haven’t tried these yet, these are the latest in the line to be tried. They seem to look like Falls Creek, though, so we are going to give them a try. We’ll let you know. I love all things Target, so I’m hopeful.

 

Wait, THIS Is My Life?

I was supposed to have a baby named something like Payne (after Payne Stewart, the late, great, knicker-wearing professional golfer). Or maybe a Peyton (played out, by the time my time came around). Or Maddox (after Ford Maddox Ford, because, you know, I WAS an English major) but then Angelina and Brad started their family-building initiative and that name went off the list.

I figured I’d have a dog named Comma, or maybe Fitzgerald (F. Scott, anyone?). Again, I’m an English-major-dweeb.

I was going to host dinner parties with placecards and over-planned menus.

I thought I’d take cooking classes and be a wine snob.

I was sure I’d be married and have birthed all my children (all five of them) by age 27 because, well, that’s OLD.

I’d be one of those annoying, slender, skinny Pilates-doing women with a perky ass, perky tits and arms that Michelle Obama would want.

My house would be my dream house, all the rooms ready for their photography moments and set to be featured on the pages of Pottery Barn-House Beautiful-Restoration Hardware.

I’d be THAT neighbor who had a plate full of sugar cookie cutouts because, as everyone would know, I have an ever-expanding cookie cutter collection. Said neighbors would thoughtfully pick-up obscure cookie cutters on their respective travels and I’d send nice thank you’s on personalized stationery.

And then, last night, I realized, I named my child a name that was NEVER on the short – or the long – list of names I had selected for my children two decades ago.

It was weird. This flash of recognition that my life is different because I didn’t end up choosing a name for my baby that was on my original list (yes, gentlemen, lots of us gals have lists of names we are intent on naming our children years before we cross your path).

Turns out, I still have never had my own dog because, unlike children, you NEVER have to stop picking up their poop.

I haven’t hosted a legitimate dinner party with placecards in my life — though I’ve had parties and I’ve had dinners. I don’t even know anyone who wouldn’t find me incredibly stuffy if I actually thought to make a seating arrangement for a dinner. I have good friends and smart friends and I’m pretty sure they’re capable of choosing their own spot at the table (or in front of the tv, as the case may be).

I’ve wanted to be a wine snob. I know enough about wine glasses to know what is allegedly a good glass (when they’re one piece instead of having a ridge at the bottom and/or top of the stem). But, I drink less-than-$10-a-botttle wine. Michigan wines, wines purchased at Meijer and various grocery stores. Domestic wines. What can I say – just one more way this isn’t the life I envisioned at some random point in my history.

And, as far as having my FIVE children (HA – RIGHT!) by the time I was 27. Well, I didn’t even meet Jon until I was 27 and we’re not approaching marriage any time soon, so…I don’t know exactly WHEN I thought this one up, but at some point before I was 27, I assume.

The last time I did Pilates was, well, I can’t even remember. The last time I did something truly aerobic with a nice, solid sweat was too, too long ago. My arms are flabby and the thing standing between me and being a jogger is that I don’t have a ponytail that swings. Seriously, I’m growing my hair out so I have a better jogging ponytail.

I can’t make this stuff up, folks. This is who I am.

I have the house I loved when I was small. It needs a lot of work. Parts of it I love. Parts of it I abhor. Parts of it I can see coming together. But one – ONE – room in the house is complete and that’s Elle’s room. Ugh.

I haven’t had the energy to make cookie dough, create the mess and clean it up, let alone decorate cookies, and then willingly walk to the neighbors to deliver cookies. Which means, no thank you notes to write for cookie cutter gifts that never arrive. But at least I’ve got boxes full of thank you notes at the ready – just in case. Heck, I can barely get the dishwasher unloaded and don’t get me started on how many times, on average, I wash a load of laundry. I put it in, it’s clean, and then I forget to move it to the dryer. So, it gets re-washed. Current average: 2.1 washes per load. NICE and environmentally friendly.

So, this is my life. My kitchen counters constantly need to be wiped down and Jon and I leave our coats anywhere that’s convenient throughout the house. I haven’t done more than dust-mop the wood floors in way too long. The vacuum is sitting out in the basement, but it hasn’t been run. The laundry is probably still in the wash, waiting for the day, some day in the future, when I finally remember to transfer it to the dryer. Folding it before it’s wrinkled is another story all together.

I have a lived-in house that’s been full of friends and family. I have a PHENOMENAL daughter and a wonderful partner who’s an awesome dad. I have 800+ cookie cutters that I can brag up as a collection of my own. Jon’s painting the bedroom this week — so maybe it’ll be ready for its close-up soon!!

So yeah, THIS is my life.

Not what I planned – but the one I prefer.

Except, I’d still like a perky ass and a good jogging ponytail.

Oops: On Naming A Child

Four months ago we were patiently waiting to become parents and one of the final preparations at that point for us was choosing the name that would be our baby’s.

I had liked Emerson. Jon had ALMOST gotten on board with that name. But, at the last minute it was completely off the list.

I had wanted Georgianna. Or Gray. Or a host of other names that I kept trying to convince Jon to like. Maggie.

We knew at that point that we wanted her middle name to be Leigh. Jon’s middle name is Lee, mine is Leigh, baby girl’s would be Leigh. So that was settled.

And then, Jon really liked Emma Leigh. I didn’t want Emma because I thought it was too overdone and because I knew an Emma and the name was just-right for her, and I didn’t want to risk the comparisons. So Emma was out the window.

I knew I wanted something that would look nice and professional on a diploma or business card one day, but one that would also work to be little-girly too.

When Molly’s baby was born, they hadn’t settled on his name yet. It wasn’t until the final days in the hospital when his name was ultimately chosen. I knew I didn’t want to wait to that point and told Jon that we were going to have a name selected by the time we got to the hospital, even if we chose on the way, because I just wanted the name to be settled.

One day, I said “What about Elle?” and remarked that she could be Elle Leigh or even just spelled Elle folks could call her Ellie; that it was chic and sophisticated on a business card or diploma, but it was also cutesy enough for a little girl in pigtails.

Jon liked it. So did I. It was settled.

So we went about the business of naming our daughter and completing the paperwork in the hospital.

The clerk who came to take the information the first time did the paperwork for us. She asked what the baby’s name was.

“Elle.” I replied, “E-L-L-E.”

“No apostrophe’s?” the clerk asked. I was confused but told her no, no apostrophe’s.

I gave the rest of her middle and last name information.

The clerk returned later that day so I could look over the paperwork and make sure everything was correct. She had messed up the way we were presenting the last name, didn’t have Jon listed on the birth certificate at all, and our daughter’s name at that point was: Lelle.

Elle, E-L-L-E.

The apostrophe question made a lot more sense at that point.

No, I tell her, Elle is her name, not Lelle.

Oh, she says, I thought the first ‘L’ was silent.

Really?

Really.

Ok, we get that figured out.

The doctor’s office continues to call her ElleLeigh as though it’s her name (in people’s defense, we thought we’d call her Ellie/Elleleigh all one word, but that’s just not the kind of girl we got. She’s just Elle). Whatever, they keep calling me Mrs. Mason which is annoying and bothersome because we’re not married, but it’s more of a pain to correct it. And that’s a story for a different blog.

We went to a different doctor the other day and I was giving her information to the clerk.

“First Name?” she asked.

Elle, I reply, with a long pause, E-L-L-E.

She looks in her records.

“Last Name?”

Mason, I re ply. Now I’m nervous they’ve lost our appointment.

“Oh, here it is, it’s not Lelle?”

No. It’s Elle. That’s spelled E-L-L-E.

I’ve now added the ‘that’s spelled’ into the explanation so there is a definitive line between Elle and its spelling.

The clerk corrects the spelling.

“Middle initial?” she asks.

Oh crap, I realize. This is going to be good.

“L,” I say. “Just the letter, though.”

The clerk gets it all into the system and we’re set.

Only I’ve had the realization that we really screwed up Elle’s name for her, for the rest of eternity.

She will CONSTANTLY have to add ‘that’s spelled’ into any conversation about her name.

But perhaps worst of all, my daughter is Elle L Mason, like she’s some long lost relative of L.L. Bean.

Love her name and it’s the name for her — but…oops.

Sorry Elle.

 

 

When Asked About Friendship, This is How I Answer

I was watching an episode of Charlie Rose the other night and Matt Damon was on promoting “We Bought a Zoo”. It was an interesting interview and I enjoyed Matt Damon — though it appears as though his hairline is receding. How did that happen?? Feels like something that happens to old people…turns out, we’re getting there.

Anyway, I digress already.

Charlie Rose asked Matt Damon about friendship, about his friendship with Ben Affleck, and that right now, Charlie’s writing a book about friendship and wondered what Matt might have to say about friendship.

Matt answered something to the effect of “Start Early.”

Which is where tonight’s story begins…

~~~~~~~~~

My high school girlfriends and I have been attempting to get together each year on Memorial Day…it worked for a couple of years, and then last year there were too many pregnancies and new babies in our group of gals that it just didn’t work. We decided to try for the holidays.

Christmas came around and it turned out that just the Katie’s were coming to town…Jay and Mindy and Lindsey and Megs and Kristy and, well, everyone else was out. They were doing other things that hitting up the hometown for the holidays.

~~~~~~~~~

I live in my hometown, and I’m glad of it. Glad to live so close to our families, to have the home and the friends that we have. So, when the Katie’s were both available on December 26th, it was that day that we opted to choose for a get together, and I offered to host (what’s one more in a series of holiday parties, anyway?)

~~~~~~~~

Erin was another high school friend – her and one of the Katie’s even lived together for a blink of an eye in college. But somehow, our friendship sort of traveled a different path.

~~~~~~~~~

Because of the Wonderful Wide World of Facebook, we were able to coordinate our time and location, etc., but I was also able to get a hold of Erin and see if she would be interested in getting together with Katie and Katie and I. We opted to bring spouses/domestic partners (in my case 😉 and children. Erin’s five month old son Easton, Katie’s four year old daughter Maria (they left little sis Juliet at home with her Grandma), Katie’s six month old son Carter, and Elle and I.

So yes, Erin opted in, the Katie’s showed up and the bar was stocked, the wine was flowing and conversation ensued. Until about 30 minutes ago, when the last visitors called it a night.

~~~~~~~~~

When asked about friendship, how do you answer?

Start early. Well, Katie and Katie and Erin go much farther back than I do, but we all came together in at least middle school at some point to become friends. We continued through high school. And college. And now, here we are mothers, with children the same age, getting together over wine and beer and cocktails and laughing — about the same things we used to, about the stupid things we used to do — but also laughing about new things we share. Our children, our body-after-baby complexes, nit-picking about how our significant others help (or don’t, rather) with the laundry.

When asked about friendship, how do you answer?

I can answer this way: I have known these women for years. In high school, we often don’t know what we’re choosing in friends and what that might mean for our days then — and down the road. These women share common history. And while our lives have taken different courses, while we have veered from one another and found our own paths, man, what a life we have had and how great it feels to be together again, like tonight.

When asked about friendship, how do you answer?

Are your abs sore from laughing after just a few minutes together?
Are you already planning the next – albeit too long interlude — until you can meet again and retell the same stories?
Does your heart and soul feel warmer, fuller somehow for having shared time and space with them?
Do they listen when you talk about the challenges of motherhood, of raising a child, of hospital stays and doctor visits and specialist visits?

When asked about friendship, though you can’t answer with any of those questions, I guess here is what I would say:

Start early.
Stay late.
And laugh at everything possible in between.


Love you girls.

Thoughts from a Starbucks…

I find myself feeling as though I want to update this page more and don’t know quite what might interest those of you that read it…so, tonight, my stream of consciousness.

This baby girl is moving a LOT — though the movement has changed (as predicted by all the baby websites out there) because she’s getting bigger and there’s less room inside my body for her to do all the flips and kicks and whatnot. As I write, I believe that her butt is up under my boobs (or the front of my ribcage, whatever) and her feet are facing towards my back and her head and arms and shoulders are down toward my pelvis. That’s just a guess. That, or her head is the big body part that’s chilling under my rib cage. I’m hoping that it’s her butt. Otherwise, she’s going to have to pull off some legitimate acrobatics to get head-down and ready to come meet us.

Jon is working at the DC Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Michigan. I’m glad he’s back to work in this era of unemployment but hotel living is for the birds, for sure.

FYI, the young girl working at this Starbucks talks obnoxiously loud about a multitude of topics. If I worked at Starbucks, that’d probably be me. Either way, I wish this particular gal would shut up for a brief minute. Distracting.

The blinds that we ordered a few weeks ago will be installed on Friday afternoon! Can’t wait to see what a difference that will make. That will make our kitchen and the baby’s room nearly complete which will be a huge relief.

I found myself sitting in the nursery last weekend, just enjoying the fact that the room is done in a lot of ways. It’s got fresh paint, new furniture and artwork to go on the walls. I wish we could say the same for other rooms in the house. If I can put the artwork on the walls in the kitchen, I’ll feel like I’m getting a little bit closer.

Spent a small fortune at Ikea tonight…and that threw me off. I thought Ikea was supposed to be cheap?! It is, until you buy a lot of stuff!! I think I spent about $75-100 in picture frames for the baby’s room. Jon’s Mom has stuff for mat-cutting, so I think I can re-mat the prints and be ready to go. I’m really excited to show off the finished room photos to you when I get home. But I have to get those prints framed and up on the walls, get the decal on the wall, etc.

Jen, Jon’s brother’s girlfriend (let’s call her my sister in law, even though she is not – by definition – my in law), is hosting the Mason-family baby shower on Sunday at her house. Rick and Jen have had a run of shit luck in the last few days, from a busted dishwasher that may have sacrificed the hardwood floors, to a shattered glass patio table (it’s a manufacturer’s flaw), to a busted U-joint while at the sand dunes. Hopefully, Jen’s luck has turned around and the party goes off without a hitch on Sunday. I’m really, really grateful to her for hosting it. I know it’s stressful to host a party at your house. And, more than that, I just find the whole concept of a shower really foreign. I mean, here’s a list of all the crap I need for a baby, so go ahead and buy it for me?? I wish that registries weren’t the expectation. I’m anxious to see what sort of things people gift that they choose because THEY wanted to. I don’t know, I’m so grateful/thankful for the great families that we have in our lives…but I feel this odd guilt of asking people to purchase gifts that we picked out. Though, I understand that people would rather get us something we need/want rather than something we don’t. But, isn’t the point of gifting in the giving?? I don’t know — I’m definitely excited to see what the weekend holds and I’m going to try to be good at receiving gifts.

My Mom says I need to come up with something more to say than ‘Oh, how cute!’ so that there is a multitude of things I say. She says she gets sick of hearing the same line over and over again. She’ll probably shoot me a look on Sunday at the shower when I start getting too repetitive. I’ll need to come up with a mental list of things to say.

I really am looking forward to seeing “The Help”. The book was awesome and I’m ready to head to a movie. I haven’t been to a movie in months and it just sounds like something I’d like to do, a brief reprieve from thinking. At least that’s the hope.

For the record, the 40DD bra is too big. I need to go to a single D, but I wanted to give myself some growing room. I wore the bra once and it threatened to show out of the sides or middle of my shirt all day. So much fabric, it’s trying to escape the shirt. Ugh. Not a fan of the gi-normous boobies.

It’s hard to believe that we’re only about 2 months from having a baby at our house!? Isn’t that just crazy? I find myself in awe that I haven’t yet questioned the type of mom I’ll be, like I read some women fret about in other blogs. I’m supremely confident in my ability to be a mom…I’m less confident in my ability to balance lack of sleep with being a nice person. I think that as we get closer, Jon is getting more and more ‘excited’. (I hate to use the word excited to ever describe Jon. The most excited I’ve ever seen him was when he got up off the couch when I walked in the door last week and asked me if I wanted to see the new garage floor…that was a big moment for him…he’s not a real ‘get excited’ kind of guy). Anyway, I just think he’s getting maybe more comfortable with the idea of the baby, the baby girl, the things that means for us as a couple and the dynamic shift that will for sure occur. When asked at the anniversary party this past weeknend (over and over again) if he was ready for the baby, he answered (quite confidently, I must say) “NO”. At least he knows where he stands 🙂

Anywho – I’m at Starbucks and have had enough of stream of consciousness, haven’t you? I’m sure I’ll have more to post soon!

L