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You know how some bloggers do these nifty holiday gift guides chock full of stuff you never knew you needed until you saw them compiled into a list? I tend to ooh and ahh over those but never real buy anything because they just don’t seem like things that will really benefit my ever day. So I decided to make a list for you of things that are ACTUALLY benefitting my every day, in the off chance that they might also benefit you. Because I like to be helpful.

None of these companies are compensating me for writing loving things about their products, but hey, if they want to get in touch and shower me with gifts, I wouldn’t say no.

Anyway.

I recently purchased a hand held milk frother to make hot beverages at home and save some dough. It arrived yesterday and after today’s first use, I conclude it was a purchase well made. It not only frothed, it SUPER frothed.

The Aerolatte 20 Mooo Milk Frother is a tiny, quick little machine. It frothed up my milk to soft, high peaks and did it in seconds. The Aerolatte also comes in silver, but the cow print was on sale when I ordered and it makes it kitchy-cute. It also comes in a hard travel case, for all your frothing-on-the-go needs. (Does anyone have frothing-on-the-go needs? Well, if they do, you’re covered.)

Purchased on Amazon for $12.51.

Remember a ways back when I was asking about steam mops? After lots of positive feedback, I started doing some research on my own and after reading through Consumer Reports and tons of online reviews (the review that sold me was written by a woman who along with her friends in the neighborhood, bought basically every steam mop on the market and did a side-by-side comparison. This one won!), I settled on the Eureka Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer. Fairly lightweight, easy to put together, simple instructions, and most importantly, a really clean floor. I’ve never gotten my kitchen linolium so clean without a lot of elbow grease. This mop did the job without making me crazy. It was so easy to use, in fact, that I did it with Owen strapped to my chest.

Purchased on Amazon (I love Amazon) for around $65.

While daily showers are always the goal, I’ve always been an every-other-day hair washer. It tends not to get oily until the end of the second day, and when I was coloring my hair, it helped the color to last longer. However, you know how sometimes, even if you didn’t really need to wash your hair, by mid-day it’s starting to look like maybe you should have?

I had heard about dry shampoo for a long time, but something about it just skeeved me out a little. I think because it sounded like you were using in instead of washing your hair, and that just didn’t sit right. In a sense, you are using it in lieu of washing, but you’re not using it to clean yourself, only extend the life of your last shampoo.

The Fresh Start Dry Shampoo by Tresemme comes in versions for curly and straight hair. I used the straight version. Simply spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes, and brush it out. For under $5, I think this this is a pretty good deal, especially when chasing after a nine-month old. Truth? I don’t LOVE the smell. It’s a little strong for me. But when I find myself in a situation when I need to run out and my hair is making me look a little less than put together, I like having it on hand to absorb any oil that snuck up on me. It’s also adds some body to my roots, which is nice since I have super fine hair that tends to fall flat.

Found at any drugstore.

So there you have it, some things making my life just a little easier. What can’t you live without right now? (Maybe I need it too!)

It’s been forever since I did a Meme, and Jenna posted one that seemed like a good way to fill some blank page. So I stole it. Regular scheduled posting to come back later this week. I’ve had family in town since last Saturday and we’ve been busy!

A. Age: 28. I just typed 27 and had to backspace. Fail.

B. Bed size: Queen.

C. Chore you hate: Laundry. I’ve talked before about how to do laundry in our house you have to go outside and down into the basement. A not-so charming feature of our 100+ year old house.

D. Dogs: Kodiak! The best newfoundland ever.

E. Essential start to your day: Chai. I’m not a coffee drinker, and there really isn’t enough caffeine in it to make a difference if I’m tired, but the warm cup in my hand has become a necessity. An expensive one at that. I recently ordered a milk frother so I could make it at home and save a few bucks.

F. Favorite color: I don’t know, blue? Green? I wear more black that I’d like to and have been trying to make an effort to not buy any more black clothes.

G. Gold or silver: Silver.

H. Height: 5′5″. And a half.

I. Instruments you play: Piano since I was five, and although I haven’t picked it up in years, I probably can still play the violin.

J. Job Title: Stay-at-home-mama.

K. Kids: The delicious Mr. Owen.

L. Live: Rhode Island

M. Mom’s name: D

N. Nicknames: Mo, Lentil (affectionately, by my husband. I know, it’s weird, but there’s a story behind it), and to those who know me well, Mol. I HATE when people call me Mol when they first meet me, like it’s just too much work to say Molly.

O. Overnight hospital stays: Two nights, after Owen was born.

P. Pet peeve:
Leggings as pants.

Q. Quote from a movie: Baby: I carried a watermelon. (Dirty Dancing)

R. Right or left handed: Right.

S. Siblings:
 Shana (Shay-na, not Shanna)

T. Time you wake up: First time, around 4 to nurse Owen, then around 630-7.

U. Underwear: Yes?

V. Vegetables you dislike: Broccoli, which is awful since it’s one of the most healthy things you can eat. And Michael LOVES broccoli, so I make it for him and then try to disguise my portion with soy sauce. It only sort of works.

W. What makes you run late: I was always, ALWAYS, annoyingly early for everything. Since baby, I’m usually on time, which to me, is late.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth, my shoulder, my wrist. 

Y. Yummy food you make: I make a darn good lasagna.

Z. Zoo animal: I like giraffes. I can relate to their long necks.

Or, “In One Where I Scare You With Unflattering Camera Photos That Give Me the Wonk Eye”.

The woman who cuts our hair is wonderful, but she works at two salons so she is only near us one evening a week. This used to be no problem, if I needed an appointment, I’d just schedule one for whenever. But the logistics of that have changed since having a baby and it now requires a little more planning than before. As a result, I tend to just forget to make an appointment until it’s SERIOUSLY TIME to make an appointment.

(Wonk Eye Photo Number 1)

Desperately needing a hair cut. And maybe a different effect on the phone’s camera that doesn’t make me a ghost.

It was so, so long and Owen has a field day ripping it from my head. I didn’t want a “mom” cut (and Michael’s only request with my hair is that I don’t chop it off — which is fine because I really don’t look good with short hair), but I needed a change. A change that would work even when I just threw my hair up quick. A look that was NOT working with this long no-style style.

(Wonk Eye Photo #2)

Just a mess. See those weird little wingy hairs over my ears? That’s brand new hair that showed up during my pregnancy, and is now in that weird too-tiny-to-be-even-remotely-cute stage. Hair takes a long time to grow, apparently.

So off I went last Thursday to the salon, wanting a small change. Just enough to feel like I had a style even when I didn’t have the time to style it.

I left like this.

(Wonk Eye Photo #3. What is UP with the wonk eye?)

Bangs! That I like! I think! Maybe! Not sure yet! (Also, must clean bathroom mirror. And not make awkward poses.)

I fiddled around with them the next day with some product and the flat iron because those stupid little new hairs like to freak out in the shower and curl up against my skull. It’s hot, really.

So, mom-on-the-go cute? I hope?

For some fun on Friday, tell me how you customize your morning drink! There are so many variations and I always get surprised when I hear a new one while waiting in line.

Mine? A tall 4-pump extra hot chai latte.

Yours? (It doesn’t have to be Starbucks!)

Happy weekend!

- I have a whole slew of posts I want to write — a budget one, a food one, a very important (snort) one about my hair — but I just can’t seem to get to any of them. I think it has something to do with my little monkey, who has recently discovered that he can scoot in his walker (ok, more like FLY BANG CRASH!!! in his walker ) to all the end tables and shelves and pull and knock everything off. And he can also run over the dog. I spend a good portion of my day trying to get him to NOT run over the dog.

Since he’s thisclose to crawling and becoming even more mobile, my free time has dwindled a bit. But that’s ok because he’s most awesome right now. Like, totally. He’s really happy and fun. And FUNNY. We recreated that YouTube video of the baby laughing at paper and it was by far one of the best moments of motherhood thus far.

- The countdown has begun for the annual Sister Week visit. My sister arrives on Saturday and I am so.flipping.excited. I’m also excited about having a built-in babysitter, which will allow for a date night out with my husband, our FIRST aside from some weddings/holiday parties since Owen was born. There will be some adult beverages, hand holding, and most likely tons of discussion about our yummy baby, because how can we not?

- Ok! Enough sappy stuff! Can we talk about…Cream of Wheat?

No, seriously. So a few weeks ago when I was having that weird stomach stuff, it turned out not to be the return of my period, but rather a nasty stomach virus that lasted an entire week. It wasn’t pretty. To help settle my stomach, I bought some Cream of Rice since rice is binding and I figured it would be something pretty safe and bland to put in my stomach.

Bland. Yup. It’s pretty much like eating paste. Even with the additions of honey and fruit. But the box lasted forever, so I kept eating it and eventually started to like it enough. More so for the texture than anything else. When the box was finally empty, I decided to move up to Cream of Wheat for a little more flavor/nutritional value. Only when I went to buy it, I was met with this:

Um…this is a joke, right? The Candid Camera crew is hiding behind that row of cereal boxes waiting to jump out at me, right? Because here I am, faced with the choice of making my Cream of Wheat in 1 minute, or 10 minutes, or two and a half minutes, or what the hell, INSTANTLY.

WHAT?

Reading the packaging gave me no indication that one was better than the other, but I agonized over it. The 10-minute was out. I have a baby, Cream of Wheat. Do you know the damage he can do in 10 minutes while I’m standing stiring you over the stove? No thank you. Now one minute is certainly shorter than 2.5 minutes, but am I losing quality by taking the shortcut? And instant? Well, you get less in the instant box, and hey, let’s be economical shall we? At least this one has a concrete reason to be put back on the shelf.

So. One minute, or 2.5? How do you choose? What would YOU do?

It was time to stop being that weirdo standing around the cereal aisle surrounded by boxes of Cream of Wheat, so in the end, my decision was based purely on the fact that I wanted the Whole Grain Cream of Wheat, and that one takes 2.5 minutes. (Because????)

In the end, it was two and a half minutes well spent, as it was quite yummy.

And I guess the real question is, how many minutes did I spend writing about Cream of Wheat?

…a pedicure, a glass of sparkling wine, the green of a summer day. Actually, the heat of a summer day. The sun on my face, freckles on my shoulders, bare feet buried in warm sand. Juicy watermelon, homemade burgers on the grill, hours of extra daylight, evenings by the outdoor fire drinking cold beers with good friends.

…a 12-hour sleep. Nine to nine. Uninterrupted dreams under fluffy down comforters. A night of no responsibility except to rest. No cries at 1 a.m. ripping me from slumber and the arms of my husband. No cries again at 4 a.m. demanding attention. One night. Lots of sleep. Waking with bright eyes and bushy tail.

…time to slow down, just a little. The smell of my baby lingering in the folds of my clothes. Wishing that smell would last forever. Like water and spring and sunshine and something else…delicious. Rosy chubby cheeks and little, chubby fingers wrapped in my hair. Gummy smiles punctuated by two pearly whites. The days to pass just a little more slowly, afraid to blink or miss it all.

…a night on the town. Bombshell curls and sky-high heels. A dress to kill and appreciative stares from the only one who matters. A cozy table for two in the back of a busy restaurant, the buzz of the room disappearing as hands meet under the table, intertwining, connecting.

…a good book, some good music, a painting that speaks to me. Art that touches the soul, makes you feel.

…it all. I’m craving it all.

What are you craving?

SuperMom. You know who I’m talking about. The mother that can — and will — do it all effortlessly. The one without spit up on her shirts, the one who always has time to shower, the one whose children never had any problems sleeping.

The SuperMom of the twenty tens speaks in acronyms. Exclusively breastfeeding (EBF), Nursing in public (NIP — hehe), Crying-it-out (CIO — or not — SuperMom has feelings on both sides of that fence and which ever side she’s on is the right one.), Baby-led weaning (BLW). She makes her own baby food, uses cloth diapers, practices baby wearing and co-sleeping, and was a natural the first time she picked up her dSLR and began shooting photos. Her children have magazine-worthy decorated bedrooms and she jogs for miles daily behind her celebrity-endorced stroller.  

No, I’m not talking about one woman in particular. I know many amazing women both in life and through blogging who practice most, if not all of the things I mentioned above. These women are not a SuperMom. SuperMom is a breed all their own. They lurk on Twitter or in online baby forums, tooting their own horns at just how superior their children are because they’re just such good mothers. They yammer on in yoga class during their Sun Salutation about how appalled they were when their friend stopped breast feeding because she “just wasn’t trying hard enough”. They hold court over mom groups, casually dressed in Lululemon athletic clothes.

The thing about the SuperMom is that while she’s being perfect, she’s making you feel bad about NOT being perfect. And no matter how much you know that motherhood is not a competition, that beneath her shiny facade is the same exhaustion you feel at the end of the day, you can’t help but feel a little envious and wonder how she does it all so well.

I am friendly with a real-life SuperMom. I see her occasionally, because occasionally is about all I can swallow. She’s very nice, don’t get me wrong, but she’s also the World’s! Best! Mother! and will tell you all about the secrets of parenting while driving her perfectly color coordinated children around in her minivan. She is Kelly Ripa in a cute little outfit — simultaneously baking cookies, making a four-course dinner and boiling water in 90 seconds.

I am not a SuperMom. Sure, I breast feed. I make Owen’s food from scratch. I use baby carriers, am a part-time co-sleeper, a modified cry-it-out user. I own and use a dSLR. But not because I have to. Not because my mommy card will be revoked if I don’t. I do it because this is the way I choose to parent my kid and each day is a learning process. I still get spit up on, and I shower mostly every other day. I also let him watch a little TV and it’s –GASP — not always educational.

Do I want to be SuperMom? Honestly, yes. Sometimes I do. When I picture my future with multiple children at my feet, I envision myself breezing through it easily. Is this a reality? Probably not.

But know what? In a way, I already am SuperMom. To my son, I am a super woman. The supplier of food, the one who doles out tickles and kisses. The wiper of the bum.

When his face lights up the minute he sees me, when he buries his head in my neck, when he laughs in delight over something I do, I know I’m doing something right.

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