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She Says… Small Victories

Today was my first day home alone with both kids. I know plenty of people do this every day, but for me it was a big first. Especially given how whiny and tantrum-y Owen has been recently whenever I’ve had to “choose” Emmett over him (which, let’s be honest, is a lot of the time, since he nurses every 2 hours during the day for about 30 minutes), I was nervous.

Benjamin left this morning by 7am and we were on our own.

So far (it is 3:30pm now) it has gone so smoothly that I feel like supermom. I know this is in large part due to the fact that Emmett is still quite a sleepy newborn (in fact he’s been sleepier the last 2 days than ever before), but I’m giving myself permission to pat myself on the back anyway. Small victories, friends. Small victories. Balancing the needs of two littles with very different schedules and expectations is tough stuff and today I feel like I deserve a high five. Tomorrow might be another story, so we’ve got to celebrate the highs as they come, yes?

I realized something yesterday that may be the key to all of this: Owen’s attitude is almost entirely dependent on the amount of time I spend paying attention to him. Upon smacking my forehead with that realization yesterday, part of me was all, Duh! He loves you and wants you to give him 100% of your attention just like the good ol’ days! But it’s actually a striking contrast to our recent parenting strategy, which has been to divide and conquer (which means Benjamin taking Owen out of the house so that I can take care of Emmett with a little peace and quiet). Owen was driving ME bonkers when we were all together, but separating us was driving HIM bonkers.

That new ‘tude I’m so sick of already? Yeah. It seems to be almost entirely “fixed” with some Mommy time. So today Owen got his Mommy time and just like that he was his old, sweet self again. He played next to me while I nursed. I put Emmett to sleep in his crib whenever possible so Owen and I could have uninterrupted playtime. We did puzzles. We read every book in our library. Mid-morning I realized the timing was going to work out such that we could actually GO somewhere. So while I was nursing I asked Owen to be my helper and get us ready to go to one of his favorite gardens/playgrounds. Miraculously, it worked, and we mobilized without wasting a ton of time.


The boys were so good in the car I even had time to get gas. Emmett snoozed in the carrier the entire trip so Owen had my full attention. It was awesome.

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The only real how-do-I-manage-this conundrum was when Owen pooped on the potty and was waiting for me to wipe his butt while Emmett was in the middle of a starving nursing session with a really good latch. I gritted my teeth and carried Emmett on the My Brest Friend pillow like a tray of appetizers, right into the bathroom where I wiped Owen’s butt with one hand. Multitasking at its finest.


Now double naptime is coming to an end and I even got a shower. I’d say we’re winning all around. Today, at least. Celebrate the small victories!


She Says… Fenway Park

Yesterday was a big day. I snuck out of work at lunch time to head to Fenway Park for a sound check to sing the National Anthem.

Empty park + microphones + 5 voices = goosebump-worthy.


The space is so special. I don’t follow baseball very closely, but just being in the park is enough to make my stomach flutter. Singing there was on a different scale entirely. SO. AMAZING.


The first time we sang through the anthem, we, uhh, sucked. We were all so blown away by the space and the echo and the sounds and the fact that we were going to be singing in front of 38,000 people. The second time we sang it we got our heads in the game, though, and figured out how to manage the distractions.



Right after we sound-checked, Dustin Pedroia and his son wandered out onto the field to blow bubbles and toss a baseball around. How adorable!


I went to back to work and tried to concentrate for the rest of the afternoon. Mildly successful. Then when we arrived at the park in the evening we were allowed to warm up and wait in the locker room. It felt so sneaky to be down in the basement of the park where only the players usually get to go.









Benjamin even got down on the field to take a video.

It felt amazing. It was FREEZING cold and the echo was majorly distracting, but I think we rocked it (if I do say so myself). We were all just happy to have remembered the words.

It went by in a flash (they require you to keep it to 90 seconds or less… so no overly dramatic, drawn out Christina Aguilera-style renditions!) and before I knew it we were celebrating with beers and Fenway franks.


Awesome night.

She Says… 10 Little Ladybugs

I remember a few months ago when Owen was learning to crawl and walk, he could have cared less about books. Sit in your lap when I could be MOVING? You’re crazy, Mama. Reading before bedtime was even more ridiculous. He would much rather eat the cardboard or drink his bottle in peace.

Oh how the tables have turned. Now we can’t go 5 minutes without Owen dragging a book over and parking his little butt in my lap. No matter if we’re doing something else or even if I’m not sitting down, he just backs up and sits his little butt down on whatever surface he can find (sometimes just my foot). Recently this butt planting has been combined with an urgent request, “REEEE!”. Read. Even when I’m exhausted (and bored) from reading the same 3 books a million times, I absolutely positively can not say no to my little child asking me to read him a book.

When I read the familiar words of one of his favorite books, he snuggles down in my lap and smiles. He acts out some of the words like patting his head when I say “hat” and pretending to “chop chop” vegetables in one of our other books about a farmer’s market. He turns the pages with gusto. He makes the appropriate animal sounds (and sometimes inappropriate animal sounds… he sometimes says that every animal says “Quack Quack”) as soon as I turn the page, before I even say the words.

In the last few weeks as his vocabulary has exploded, he has begun to point his chubby fingers at every picture on the page and say, “DAT!”. It’s more of a statement than a question at this point, but he really wants to know what each thing is. A square. A duck. A balloon. A choo choo train. Often he repeats the word when I tell him (or completely botches it — if I say a word that sounds complicated, he often responds, “BEEEE!”, proudly, as if he has just repeated the word perfectly).

The folks at Piggy Toes Press (publisher of adorable pop-up, activity and board books for little guys) sent Owen and I a new book to add into our rotation. “Ten Little Ladybugs” is a super cute counting book with little plastic ladybugs stuck on the pages. Owen loves touching each one and saying, “DAT!”, even though he knows the answer. We’ve added our own flair to the book by saying “BUH BYE” to each one as we turn the pages. The words are simple and have a nice rhythm, and (bonus!) there are some animals included so we can make animal sounds (which makes any book a winner in the This Place is Now a Home home). See?

Want to win your own copy of this sweet book? Piggy Toes has offered to do a giveaway to one lucky reader! Apologies to my international friends; this one is for US residents only.

Here’s what you need to do to enter. Leave 1 comment for each of the following that you want to do. Each comment gives you an extra chance to win.

1. Follow me on Twitter and/or subscribe to this blog (by clicking the link in the left sidebar). If you’re already a follower/subscriber, let me know that in a comment and leave your Twitter name/email so I know who you are.

2. Check out the Piggy Toes website! Let me know which book you would put on your child’s holiday wish list.

3. “Like” Piggy Toes Press on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.

We will randomly pick a winner on Friday, October 28th.

Even though only one person will win a copy of “Ten Little Ladybugs”, EVERYONE can get free shipping on your order on the Piggy Toes website by using the code “FREESHIP”.

She Says… Lovey Love

When Owen was tiny and we were establishing a strong bedtime routine, I introduced a “lovey”. When I say the word “lovey”, people of older generations (or those without children currently) look at me like I’ve gone loopy. You know, a blankie, a security blanket… except now we’ve learned that blankets can suffocate babies so most people use these little fleecey animals with bodies like a little blankie and knots for hands and feet. A lovey. Or, the term favored by behavioral psychologists, a transitional object.

Anyway, we were given about a million of them when Owen was born, but my mother gave me one very important piece of advice: ONLY CHOOSE ONE THAT YOU CAN BUY MORE OF. Don’t choose the super cute one that so-and-so brought back from Paris and you will never be able to put your hands on another one. Because all hell is going to break loose once your child falls in love with that lovey and then pukes on it in the middle of the night and you don’t have time to do laundry before he or she goes back to sleep. Trust me — it’s a key piece of advice. Thanks, Mom!

So I chose the one that I found the sweetest, and the one I knew I could find again in a heartbeat: The Pottery Barn Hippo. The first thing I did was sleep with the lovey for about a week so that it would smell like me. My mom group teacher suggested this for babies who were having a hard time transitioning out of sleeping in their parents’ room. Owen was not having any issues with that, but I figured anything that would give him comfort and help him sleep longer and more peacefully was worth a shot. Once I slept with it for a week or so, I started holding it between us while we nursed or he drank his bottle at night. This was during the time of all of our breastfeeding issues, and I know for a fact that that darling little lovey caught lots of tears in those first few weeks. From both Owen and I. As I laid Owen in his crib, I would nestle the lovey next to him so he could smell me and feel its softness while he slept. I don’t know if it was the lovey exactly, but you all know that Owen has a pretty awesome sleep record. I’ll give some of the credit to our dear little hippo friend.

Anyway, at that point, and even for the next few months, I continued to keep the lovey in the crib with Owen, but honestly I had no idea if he cared at all about the little blue thing next to him. Once Owen started being put down awake in his crib, I would hand him the lovey and let him cuddle it. Since he never took a pacifier, I think the lovey is his thing. Now, as soon as I hand it to him for bedtime or for a nap, he smooshes it all over his face, pops one of the “feet” in his mouth, and falls asleep with it laying across his face. Believe me, when he started doing this I would often come in and gently lift it off of his face, afraid he was going to suffocate. But he’s clearly strong enough and smart enough now to pull the thing off of his own face if it ever became an issue. And he likes it that way! Unfortunately I wonder if that contributes to his eczema issues… but I digress. Not gonna interfere with the lovey love.

Once Owen started daycare I sent his lovey in with him every day so that he would have something familiar to fall asleep with at naptime. After the first day that it was left at daycare, I realized we needed backups. Also, I realized how much I need to wash that slobbery, germy thing. Disgusting. So I ordered 3 more. Now we have one at daycare, one at home, one in the laundry and one clean at all times. Still, I wasn’t entirely sure if Owen really loved that lovey, or if I was just making a big deal out of it.

Then today, something adorable happened. I put Owen down for his morning nap as usual, handed him his lovey and let him wipe it all over his face. I went to take a shower. Once I got out of the shower I heard him sobbing big, heaving sobs. What? Haven’t heard him fuss at naptime in ages. I went in to comfort him and I found him laying on his stomach with his arm reaching through the crib slats for… his lovey. Who was on the floor. I’m not sure how he got there (I’m assuming he was pushed through the slats and not thrown over the top rail!), but Owen missed him. And loved him. And had to have him to sleep.

That’s lovey love.

He Says… Driving Home

We had a wedding in northeast Pennsylvania on Sunday, and drove home yesterday.  The 2 car rides (about 6 hours each) went pretty smoothly.  Owen is a champ in the car for the first while, but (like me) gets a little cranky after a while.  We definitely push his feedings a bit as we tried to get to our destination, and he didn’t really like that but it’s probably good practice.

So, since we had a long drive home yesterday I decided to test out this little camera I just got.  So I put together this little video (which is somewhat embarrasing, but oh well).