Monday, July 30, 2012

Do I Really Need That?

Well, two whole months have passed since Bimmer's arrival. Therefore, this whole being a mom thing is totally old hat by now. I'm such a pro. (Insert riotous laughter.)

One thing that I do want to share, now that I've had these 8+ weeks under my belt, is a list of must-haves and you-can-skips. (Of course this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.)
Things I Thought I Needed, But Didn't...
Newborn Sized Anything: Thankfully, I kinda knew our baby was going to be a big one. Therefore, the only newborn sized stuff we had were a pack of white onesies and one sleeper I had gotten on sale at Target for $5. Don't worry, I had kept the tags attached and stapled the receipt to it, so I was able to return it!
Swing/Bouncy Seat: Every mother suggested one or the other. Or both. However, Puff and I are trying to be as minimalist as possible with this child-rearing stuff. So we thought we had hit the jackpot when we found a combo travel swing and vibrating seat. It's low profile and takes up a small space in our living room... conveniently between the TV console and the armchair. The problem? Bimmer doesn't like to swing. Nor does she like to vibrate. I can't quite understand how the sensation is much different than us pushing her in her stroller or driving her around in the car. She loves to do that and it puts her right to sleep. Try to have her swing so Puff and I can eat dinner together? Ha! Never in a million years. The only thing it's been good for? She naps in it during the afternoon. Stationary. As in, not swinging. Not bouncing. I could've saved myself some cash and just put her in her dang car seat!

White Onesies: Every baby needs these, right? And tons of them? Well, wrong. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that Bimmer was a summer baby, but she's worn white onesies about 3 times. And one of those times was in the hospital. I'm sure we'll be wearing more of them in the fall and winter as we have to layer. But for now? They were a waste. A friend's sister supposedly always puts her baby in only a white onesie. How cruel when there are so many cute colored and patterned ones out there! Ya know, just because it says "Girls Rock" on the front of it doesn't make it any harder to put on!
Baby Pants: All those cute layette sets come with coordinating pants. And all the Carter's clothes this season were in coordinating colors, so they all went so well together. Yet, I've got about 6 pairs of 0-3 month pants that she has never worn. Again, I'm pretty sure this has to do with being a summer baby. Either that or I'm a horrible mom for just letting her chill in a onesie all day without pants. I figure it's cute to do it at this age. Not so much in 18 years.
Gowns: In theory, what a rock star idea. You don't have to bother with snaps to get to those middle of the night dirty diapers. My BFF handed down a few to us and we were eager to try them. She wore a gown one night, for about two hours. I don't remember the exact trigger, but they made Puff violent. So violent, he had to change her. ::shrug::
Hooded Towels: Yes, they are soooo cute. I loved giving her that first sponge bath at home and having her wrapped up in the pink towel with the fish on the hood. Except, they're so thin! A normal towel works so much better. But that's not to say I won't be busting those puppies out once she can walk. I figure she'll be pretty darn cute wrapped up in one walking around after her bath!
Baby Gear I Love...
Pack 'n Play: I plan to do an entire review on this at some point in the future, but the Phil & Ted's 8 pound version of the typical 20+ pound behemoths was totally worth it.
Receiving Blankets: Not just any blankets either. Aden & Anais. Even though Bimmer isn't always a fan of being swaddled, they are hands down the best blankets out there. The main reason? They're HUGE! They're the only ones big enough to actually swaddle her in now at this size. Plus, they are so light and breathable that throwing one over her legs in the car seat or stroller doesn't make her melt. They're also big enough to throw over the entire top of the car seat when we are in a store with strange people who want to randomly touch my baby. (Keep your grimy mits to yourself!)
Frame Stroller: Taking our minimalist approach to parenting and adding in our severe hatred of giant strollers, Puff and I are so happy to report that we love our Graco frame stroller. I'm not sure it will hold up forever, but it makes taking Bimmer in and out of the car so much easier. It's light-weight and super easy to open and close. Plus, we're not those annoying ass parents who think the sidewalk is theirs to conquer and we can easily maneuver without hitting anyone's heels in a crowd.

Gear I Wish I Had Thought To Buy...
Newborn Sleeper: I actually had never heard of this until after Bimmer was a few weeks old. With our whole wanting to limit the amount of baby gear thought process, a bassinet-type item seemed redundant, since we already had her crib. Problem is, even 8 weeks into life, Bimmer's not crazy keen on her crib. I think it still feels too vast for her. While I manage to get her to sleep in it most nights, for at least a few hours, Puff doesn't even try. He just holds her or puts her in her Boppy on the bed. Having one of these "rock 'n play sleepers" would probably give Bimmer the security she wants, without taking up too much space in The Bungalow. Make a note for baby #2.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Project 52 - Week 9

Gosh, Mom... Quit taking so many pictures!

We officially have a chunkster on our hands! Miss Bimmer weighed in at 12 pounds, 11 1/2 ounces at her two month well-baby visit. Or well, that's what we think the scale said, since she was Miss Wigglebutt and the number kept jumping around! That puts her in the 85% and her height of 23 1/2 inches puts her in the 93%. I can't believe she gained a whole inch and a half in length in just a month! She's going to be a tall one. Or so we hope!
Doc Hottie did officially diagnose Bimmer with some fancy term that basically means "baby strains to poop." So we're working on sorting that out. There shall be prune juice in our future. (Unlike other Mommy-bloggers I read, I have no qualms talking about poop. You're welcome.) We also got some tips on sleeping (we need to put her on her side more cause her head is starting to get flat) and that Puff needs to not sleep with her in the chair anymore. It's time to put her down in her big girl crib. It's time to let her cry it out sometimes.
She also got her first shots and she did really well. I even kept her Tweety Bird bandaids on all day just because they were too cute. (Of course I took a picture too. Baby's first bandaids!)
Oh yeah, and Doc Hottie was sporting some scruff this visit. Nice, Doc Hottie. Very nice.
Oh wait... this blog isn't about him is it? ::insert halo::
Outside of that, Bimmer has now officially been to 7 (yes, SEVEN) different states. Mommy was soooo excited to mark those off on her map in her scrapbook! We hit the road back to The Fort to show off the baby to my extended family and awesome lifelong friends. I promise to post about that trip soon. Right after I get around to posting about our trip to Florida that happened like a month ago. Hey... I'm the mom of a two month old. Cut me some slack. She's the most demanding boss I've ever had!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Love A Good Plan

Judge me or not, but I am a wee bit fascinated by the Duggar family. You know the one... with the 19 kids. And while I will fully admit to first being introduced to them via a baby name message board over 10 years ago, (because who could believe they really existed and had all those "J" names?!?) I have become a devoted follower of their TV show and have even read their books. In fact, I got their most recent one this past Christmas and something in it really struck a chord.
It mentions that if we knew God's plan in the end, maybe we wouldn't be so quick to gripe when things aren't going how we want them to go.
I feel like that has been a really great way to look at the past 7 months of my life.
Losing a job I loved was never in the cards. I had high hopes of staying there for several more years. Walking out of there that day in December, fighting back tears, I saw my world collapsing. I was out of work and 16 weeks pregnant. Would anyone hire me in that state? We needed the money. And oh, the boredom that would come! How would I deal with being stuck at home all day alone? Plus, the depression. That would get crippling some days.
But in hindsight, God knew something I didn't. He knew that my job schedule was insane and very demanding, both mentally and physically. He knew I needed that time instead to rest and focus on taking care of myself and baking Bimmer into a big, strong, healthy, little girl. He knew that while I would suffer depression, I would seek out help and find the real root cause and work to better myself. He knew that I needed the time to get the house in order, nest, clean, and prep for the arrival of our baby. He knew I needed daily walks in the sunshine and afternoon naps. Because of being unemployed, I was able to hold off inevitable ailments like lower back pain, swelling, and difficulty walking until way later into the pregnancy than it would have been had I been working. And to make sure we could shoulder the financial burden, he blessed us with the timing of being around the holidays and my birthday, so I had spare gift money. Plus, we were fortunate enough to be able to get unemployment checks. While part of me hated/hates to be taking that money, I know we are not squandering it on anything unnecessary. We needed it. God provided.
In April, I had two great job interviews with a company I was sure would hire me. Everything about the job was perfect. The work itself, the schedule, the location, the money, the people. I would have been a total rock star in that position and knew I could do the job wonderfully. Yet, after a few weeks and no phone call, I sank back into a momentary depression. I was so sure they had been able to look past my pregnancy and were going to offer me the position. But again, God had other plans. Had I been offered the job, I would have had to start when I was about 35 or 36 weeks pregnant. I would have been busting my ass during the hardest part of my pregnancy. I would have had to work up until the bitter end, instead of resting and enjoying those last few days of peace and sleep. I also would have had to rush to get back to work. I would have to have found alternate day care for Bimmer, since she's still waitlisted until the fall at our first choice location. Not to mention I would have been forced to leave her in someone else's care at 6 to 8 weeks old. That's too young. She needs her mommy for a little while longer. God knew that. He didn't give me that job on purpose. He knew my job was right here, at home, taking care of my daughter.
I also had another great job situation present itself in early July. But God gave me the wisdom to inquire about the salary before I went in for a second interview. They were offering no more than $30,000 a year. Unfortunately, that just won't cut it. That won't cover the cost of daycare. It wouldn't have been worth it for me to continue on with the interview process, knowing I needed a higher salary. The woman was gracious and understanding when I told her that I didn't want to waste any more of her time. Again, the situation didn't work out for a reason. I would have had to start the job before I was ready. And the hours would have been long and hard and kept me away from Bimmer more often than I want. God knows there is the right compromise out there for us.
Some days, it's really hard to keep the faith. Others, it's really easy. Regardless, I can take one look down at Bimmer and realize that she came from me. She came from us. She came from God. And if He can give us something that amazing, I know he's got our backs.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I always feel bad when I know I won't be able to post for awhile, so I thought I'd just go ahead and give you the heads up.

Puff's father isn't doing so great, so he has to go up to the Great White North to check on him in the hospital. The day after he gets back, he's off to Charleston for a business trip. This means I will be a single parent for the foreseeable future.

My hope is to start posting regularly again at the end of next week, so don't forget about me!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Project 52 - Week 8

Eight whole weeks?!? Really?!?! As in, if I were still working at my old job, I would be thinking about getting ready to go back to work already?!?

Wowza. Glad I don't have that hanging over my head! So happy to be focusing on my growing girl!

We have her two month well-baby visit coming up. I'll post her stats in next week's update. Anyone want to guess how much this chunkster weighs? I definitely think she's over 11 pounds. Either way, she's getting heavy to carry around for very long!
The biggest change since last week is that at some feedings, she takes 4 ounces really fast and within an hour, she wants 2 more. We tried switching her formula to a sensitive kind, to help her stomach problems, but it actually made it worse. To hear your baby scream in pain while she is eating is a horrible, horrible thing. (We have since switched her back til we talk it over with the doc.) There has been lots of juice this week, but she doesn't seem to mind. I think she probably likes that it's cold, especially on these hot SC July days. I will say, deciding to NOT heat bottles was such a smart move. The day we had to make her a bottle at a festival in the mountains with cold water, I was so worried! But she took it like a champ! Could you imagine if we had had to heat it up? Such a pain! Minimalist baby-raising at its best.
She is smiling more and more, which is so awesome. She likes it when you play peek-a-boo with a cloth over her face. She just smiles and smiles. She laughs at Puff when he sticks his tongue out at her. She also continues to think tummy time is more about learning to move her legs to crawl than holding her head up. Don't get me wrong, she holds her head up, especially when you're holding her. But tummy time on her mat on the floor? No... she just turns her head to one side, lifts her butt in the air, and kicks and wiggles her legs as much as she can. I really need to get it on video. It's so cute. (Although, I'm pretty biased. Everything she does is pretty cute.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Every July, the town of Saluda, North Carolina, has one of the more hilarious festivals that Puff and I frequent: Coon Dog Days.
Puff and I first went back in 2009. I was definitely skeptical. But taking the convertible up to the mountains is never a bad thing, so I decided I was game to go. It really is just a small town festival, but the highlight is the parade. The area has lots of wealthy people with vacation homes, so it ends up really being just a bunch of well-to-do people dressing up like hillbillies and celebrating the coon dog.
This year was Bimmer's first (but certainly not last) trip to the Coon Dog Festival. We weren't sure how she would do, being the first time she was out in a big crowd of people. Not to mention the fact that we would have to park and walk a ways. It was the second time we had used the Bjorn, and the first time had just been for a walk around a local park for about 20 minutes. Oh yeah, and the heat! We were coming off the week where it had been 100+, and while it wasn't that bad, it was definitely a humid 85 or so when the parade started.
Let's just say the baby did really well. She was chill in the Bjorn (even if she didn't want to put her arms through the holes correctly) and we were able to find a shady spot to give her a bottle. Then she conked out on Puff's shoulder through the entire parade... fire truck sirens and all. What an awesome little festival-goer. She better get used to it!
Other festivals that we have yet to check out? There's the Okra Strut. And the Albino Skunk Festival. There's even one in Georgia dedicated to wild chickens. Oh... but we heard of a new one this year that made us giggle... the Black Cowboy: Man or Myth Festival.
Living in the south definitely has its perks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Follow Me, Please

Why do we read blogs?

Is it to be entertained? (The Bloggess) Is it to commiserate with other parents? (Blue Eyed Bride) Is it to live vicariously through a friend? (Anna Mazurek Photography) Or is it to envy the writer and their talents and wish you could do things they do? (Young House Love)

Why do I think we read blogs? Because it's socially acceptable voyeurism. We get to peak into people's lives that we may otherwise not be privy to. From the safety of our computer screen, we can stalk intimate details of someone's daily routine through their inner-most thoughts and, sometimes, even photographs.

A friend of a friend keeps a small blog that's meant for her to document life moments and share them with close friends and family. She isn't trying to sell sponsorships or develop a huge national following. Yet, she recently posted a comment that really made me think... that she wonders whether reading other blogs helps or hurts. Is it worth her time to read posts about people traveling the world or adventures of a stay-at-home-mom? She is in a position many (many) women are in these days. She has to worry about work, a toddler, a husband, a house, family, friends, etc. Finding the time to blog is (I'm sure) insanely difficult for her. Finding time to read other's blogs is probably the same way.

Can reading other's posts make you feel inadequate in your own life? Or just in your own blogging?

I don't post as often as I would like. But the thing is, writing is a priority for me. I have been blogging since way before it was cool; since back when it was done with something called "paper" and a "pen." Oh yeah, and I didn't let other people read it either. I have kept insane documentation of my life since 8th grade, which has yielded giant tubs in the attic full of paper diaries and printed copies of my private blog that I have kept since 2004. (Which still to this day routinely gets 4 to 5 posts a week that are different from the 3 entries I try to post here! I have a lot to say. LOL) While my priorities in life have changed dramatically since Bimmer has arrived, the truth is, I would write whether anyone read it or not. Because of that desire, I make and find time to post. I may forgo a nap or lunch to write. More realistically, I "write" entries in my head for days before I actually type them out, so I have a pretty clear idea of what I want and need to say, so writing them is a much quicker process.

As for feeling inadequate that my life isn't all rhinestones and glamour like some other bloggers I read? I suppose that's all in the eye of the beholder.

Because to me, having a loving husband, a beautiful and healthy daughter, a cute house, amazing friends, and a supportive family is the equivalent of rainbows and unicorns.

Now off to sprinkle some fairy dust for inspiration on my next post.
Me & Bimmer getting some blogging done

Friday, July 13, 2012

Project 52 - Week 7

It seems there have been some changes this past week. Bimmer’s little bit of baby acne is finally going away and the peeling on her hands and feet has stopped. Except we’ve developed our first tiny bit of diaper rash. Here’s hoping that will go away soon!

She’s also started smiling at us, which is so awesome. She has always smiled a bit in her sleep (along with those giggles) and sometimes when she’s gassy. But both Puff and I have had a few brilliant moments of her giving us a full-face smile when we are smiling or talking to her. The more often that happens, the bigger our hearts grow.

We also had our first incident with baby fingernails. I had been trimming them occasionally since her birth, but didn’t realize how long they had gotten. Just as we got back from Florida, the poor girl scratched her nose and right under her eye. Then Puff and I tag-teamed Bimmer to cut them… and I managed to snag her skin on her left hand, so Puff took over on the right hand. He snagged her skin on two fingers. The poor girl was actually bleeding and was crying so hard, her face was purple. Talk about a stab in our hearts! We will definitely have to find a better tactic next time.

The past few days, I have also noticed changes in the way she interacts with us and plays by herself. She now follows a rattle or toy with her head when you move it around. She even laughed at a frog toy one day when I was singing and making up songs and making it dance around for her. I’ve even caught her staring at her fist and watching the ceiling fans. She’s always been a crazy alert baby, but it’s so neat to finally realize she’s discovering and learning about new things.

I’m now taking suggestions on when and what to do with her to get her to sleep longer during the night. I just feel like it’s time for her to start sleeping in longer stretches. Although I say that, and she’s actually started to go to 3 ½ hour stretches at night, which are her longest consecutive yet. I’ve started trying to put her down in her crib when she falls asleep, to which she will immediately wake up. We’ve had a few successful nights of her laying in her crib cooing and kicking around for awhile, eventually putting herself to sleep. Although it’s near impossible for me to get to sleep then in the room with her. But hey… I figure persistence is a good thing, right?

Update: Since I pre-wrote this, Bimmer slept from 9pm until 3:30am last night without getting up! I definitely don’t expect that to happen every night from now on, but it sure gives me hope! Now if we could just get her poor tummy issues under control.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Clear for Take Off

My body has now, officially, been medically cleared to be called my own once again. Although, I’ve been told there’s to be no hanky-panky with Puff until he’s taken me out to a fancy dinner and arranged a babysitter. Doctor’s orders.

I’ve had a few inquiries into how I am doing with my recovery post-delivery, so now that we’re past the 6 week mark, I thought I’d fill you in on the (slow) progress. I gained 48 pounds in total during my pregnancy. And, as you can see, my belly got pretty gosh-darn big. Make that HUGE. In my mind, I had intended to not gain more than 40 pounds, but somewhere in those last few weeks, my stomach got a mind of its own and was force-feeding itself way too many Frito’s and strawberry Poptarts.

Bimmer weighed in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces when she was born, so I came home having lost roughly 15 pounds. But I was still swollen and fat and those damn breasts engorged to the size of watermelons! Not to mention the swelling in my feet was way worse post-delivery than it ever was during the pregnancy.

By roughly 4 weeks out, I had lost 30 pounds. I was feeling pretty good about that, since I really hadn’t done any exercising or started on any reasonable diet. The “diet” of just flat out not having time or being able to cook one-handed while holding baby was all I could maintain. However, I’ve officially plateaued. Yup… I’ve been stuck at needing to lose those last 18 pounds for a few weeks now.

And it’s time to get serious.

My 6 week post-partum doctor’s visit had Bimmer screaming her head off in the exam room while I sat naked from the waist down on a flimsy piece of paper, while Bimmer kicked her foot through the paper sheet over my lap so many times it looked like Jaws had gotten ahold of it. Never mind having to jump up on several occasions to grab her pacifier or burp cloth from the stroller… bare assed and all. I finally just let her cry in an effort to get the doc to come in faster. I’m not sure if that was the reason or not, but he came in about 20 seconds later!

The wound has pretty well healed, but I have a nice scar to mark the occasion. Here’s hoping it fades over time. And that the ingrown pubic hair I got in the incision works its way out. Why does no one share these gnarly side effects of pregnancy?!? I did finally find ONE stretch mark on my stomach. It’s about an inch long, but of course, it’s right in the middle. I suppose other moms won’t let me complain much about that, will they?

I’m also rocking my “pimp hand” still. Gotta keep those ho’s in check, right? Ha! The doc said my carpal tunnel should have cleared up by now, which is scary. It got better for a few weeks, but has been back again, and pretty horribly some days. Oh, and we are also officially back on birth control. No Irish Twins!

Now it’s time to focus on trying to get back into shape. Looking at the photos from our recent trip to Florida, I am definitely not liking the remaining gut I am sporting. It looks like I’ve indulged in too many Whoppers and Budweisers. I intend to find some time for ellipticizing and counting calories. My aim is to get back into my single digit pants by September.

Here’s hoping I can find the time. Or, more realistically, that Bimmer will let me put her down long enough for me to actually start taking care of myself.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I Heart Gays

You've heard it before. I hate politics. I probably mentioned it sometime last year when I randomly met Newt Gingrich and he told me that he liked my shirt.

The reason I hate politics? It's just too intense for me. The bickering and the fighting and the whining and crying and he-said-she-said bullshit. Plus, since I am crazy opinionated, it probably rubs me wrong that other insanely opinionated people are on a world scale trying to force their beliefs on the masses. Dude... just get a blog and be done with it.

Political issues also turn perfectly normal, sane, reasonable people into maniacs. The conservative religious friend starts posting tirades on their Facebook page. The liberal activist friend starts chaining themselves to a park bench. And I just sit at home, being a good housewife, getting my political news from John Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

If I had to classify myself, I would say I am fiscally conservative and (on some issues) socially liberal. I am anti-abortion, but pro-choice. I am pro-gun, but also pro-stricter gun control laws. I don't think they use corporal punishment enough. I like my money and want to keep it, rather than give it out to welfare programs or taxes. I don't fit into any certain category and will never, ever, agree 100% with one party or another. (Quite frankly, I think people who say they do are lying. Neither side is always right about everything. Think with your own brain, dammit!)

Right... so what prompted this rant? The early May vote from North Carolina that bans same-sex marriage.

Like I just mentioned a few paragraphs up... I hate politics. I try to keep it out of my daily life. I try to avoid it at all cost. That's usually pretty simple, since I make it a point to never discuss it with anyone other than my husband. And even then, Puff sometimes gets so intense I've got to tune him out. But there is that one issue that always gets under my skin... gay marriage.

I want to jump up and down and throw a temper tantrum and punch people in the face and scream from the rooftops.... LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE!!!!!

Perhaps it's because of my lack of following politics and how it all works, but it just baffles me that this is even an issue in today's society. I feel like I'm stuck in the 1860s and we're discussing slavery. Or the days of "separate but equal." Because, there is not one human being out there who could convince me that banning gay marriage is not flat out discrimination, bigotry, and pure hatred toward our fellow man.


Ok... so I get why it's a religious issue, but we're not out there voting on whether or not your individual church has to sanction and perform these weddings. Nope. Not at all. It's a state issue. Your religion should play no part in the decision. Aren't we supposed to separate church and state? Or did I miss something in high school history class? Just because you don't agree with it personally, doesn't mean that you should ban those who DO agree with it! It's how I approach my stance on abortion. Could I ever do it personally? Never in a million frickin' years! But do I think the government has a right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body? Nope. Therefore, when it comes to the polls, I'm pro-choice.

Why can't these religious zealots and crazies look at it from that perspective? They're not living in these people's houses. It's not affecting them personally! Why can't they just all take a chill pill and say, "Hey... I don't want to be in a gay marriage, but if others want to, then so be it." IT'S NOT THAT HARD!!! I will put a disclaimer here that I understand not all these crazies are religious fanatics. I'm not trying to insult anyone's religion either. Why? Because that would be flat out discrimination, bigotry, and pure hatred toward our fellow man!

In closing... North Carolina got it wrong. All the other states who have banned gay marriage have gotten it wrong. I just don't see how someone could sleep at night knowing they have voted on something that can literally tear apart families, ruin chances for good, honest, people, and take away basic human rights. As Puff always says... don't gay people deserve to be as unhappy in marriage as the rest of us?

Touche' dear husband.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Project 52 - Week 6

Puff, Bimmer, and I spent the better part of the last week on the road visiting my mom in Florida, so I will post a few entries soon about that whole trip.

Because of being gone, my mind just isn't focusing on what I need to remember that Bimmer did this past week. Had I previously mentioned that she has discovered her hands and likes to try to suck on them? I don't mind that she gets all slobbery because it's just so darn cute! She also puts her hands up on her bottle a lot of the time and immediately wipes her mouth with them when she's got food running down her chin. Basically, her hands are in everything. Wonder what that means for the future! Oy!

She still wants to eat every 3 hours or so and we're not any closer to getting her to sleep through the night. But she was a great sleeper on our trip, so that gives me hope she will be a good little traveler!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Everyone Hearts Charleston

Today I'm wrapping up my three-part series about the major cities in our great state of South Carolina. You can read previous entries about Columbia and Greenville too. Now, Charleston is probably the place most people think of when they think of a city in SC. (Well, past the tourist traps of Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head anyway.) And that's OK. It deserves the hype. I am never one to like to return to a place time and time again, but I would say I've been to Charleston about 10 to 15 times in my life. In fact, I don't even pack a map anymore for trips there!

My biggest tip to visiting Charleston and the surrounding area is to skip the beach. It's not a beach destination. Sure, there's Folly Beach and Isle of Palms, but they're mediocre at best. (Go to Myrtle or Hilton Head if you want the beach scene!) Nope... Charleston is about HISTORY. And that is where you should focus... the downtown historic area. If you can afford it (or find a good deal on Living Social) spring for a B&B or inn downtown. We love the Vendue Inn and had this awesome room on our first getaway together...


Staying here, in the heart of it all, keeps you in close proximity to all the things you need to see and do. Like the historic market or King Street for shopping, old historic churches and cemeteries, mansions along the battery, Fort Sumter, and, of course, Rainbow Row.

Are they all crazy touristy? Hell yeah. But are they totally worth your time and effort? Hell yeah.

If it's your first time to the city, check out a horse drawn carriage tour through the old town. There are a gazillion available and pick-ups are at the market. Just pick the cutest tour guide as they probably all rank about the same in quality! And it wouldn't be a trip to Chucktown for me without a ghost tour. I've done them all. I know all the stories. The last time I did one, we hit up an old jail instead of wandering the streets, and it was a nice change of pace from hearing the same old stories I've already heard. Plus, totally creepy!


As for food? Skip the chains. Hyman's is touristy, but good. (Kimhead is obsessed with their hush puppies!) Just be prepared to wait. I hear good things about Fleet Landing too. I always end up at A.W. Shucks, but don't know why... the food is mediocre and there are much better places with better atmosphere. Pick up a guide book and look for some of the more upscale places to eat too... I can't remember all the names, but there are definitely some hot spots for foodies.

A little bit farther afield are some definitely highlights of the area as well. Shem Creek is a little hidden gem with some good restaurants (RB's has been kind to us and Puff went into convulsions of love over the seafood at a dive called The Shipwreck) and the shrimp boats come and pull up right to the dock there. If southern plantations are your thing (and they should be) then check out Boone Hall Plantation for their amazing oak lined entrance...


Or check out the gardens at Middleton Place. Puff has said he prefers Magnolia Plantation, but we've never been there, so I can't judge. Regardless, they are all gorgeous. Just be sure to stay hydrated if you go in July or August! I about passed out in the gardens at Middleton on our visit there!


Wrapping this up, there really isn't anything I can say to totally avoid in Charleston... other than chain restaurants and stores. There are tons of cute boutiques and local establishments serving up fine, southern cuisine. (Unless you're from a town that doesn't have any hoity-toity name-brand shops... then spend some time on King Street. Just not on Sunday mornings!) Puff gets to go down on business in late July and part of me kinda hopes that I won't be working those few days so I can take Bimmer down to stroll on some cobblestone streets and soak in some culture.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We All Need Big Metal Chickens

While every other woman in the civilized world was busy spending April getting her rocks off reading "Fifty Shades of Gray," I was enthralled in another book that was much more fitting for me. One that contained much less tampon-removing S&M porn scenarios.

My baby-namer friend, Trish, had introduced me to The Bloggess a few years back and when I found out she was publishing a memoir, "Let's Pretend This Never Happened," I was elated. There are days when her blog can literally reduce me to tears of laughter where I'm grasping for air. There are others, where she talks candidly about her depression, where I relate to every word and feel better knowing I'm not alone. (Depression Lies, people.)
Kimhead gave me a gift card to Barnes & Noble for my 30th birthday with explicit instructions to use it on Jenny Lawson's book when it came out. I was more than happy to oblige and was giddy to come out of the store with the new book in hand. (I do totally love a hardcover book. Still no Kindle in this household.) And she did not disappoint. I had read parts of some stories previously on her blog, but that didn't matter. There were lots of new antecdotes, stories, laughs, and tears. Reading her makes you feel a bit more.... normal.
I didn't grow up with a taxidermist for a father who would put raccoons in the bathtub or let a cougar loose in the house. But that doesn't mean I couldn't relate. No, I've never had to bury my dog, only to have vultures start to dig it up, and then have to witness my dog "rise from the dead." But I can relate to the fact that her good friend dropped everything and came to her rescue when she saw she was in desperate need. I read that chapter during an exceptionally hard week, where I was battling with a severe case of depression. The kind of week where the smallest thing would reduce me to tears and I felt alone and ashamed and desperate. Somehow, that chapter just made me laugh. And it made me grateful. And it gave me hope to get through to the next day. Yes, sometimes, reading about someone's dead dog in a cooler will just brighten your day.
So, now that I'm assuming all of you women have finished your "mommy porn" and would perhaps like something a bit different, then I highly recommend you go pick up "Let's Pretend This Never Happened." It's an easy and fun read, yet will make you think and evaluate your own life. Really, it'll just make you happy to have your life, instead of hers. And maybe that's a good thing.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Project 52: Week 5

Our chunky monkey is one growing girl! She had her one month well-baby visit and she weighs in at 10 pounds 11 ounces. She is also back up to 22 inches long, which means she has regained the "height" she lost after her hematoma went down. Speaking of which, the doctor said that her head looked and felt great! Such a relief. Now Puff won't have to be up at night worrying about that.
Due to some tummy troubles (which lead to some, um, diaper situations that lead to, um, some needing of both Mommy and Daddy to change clothes) Bimmer stumbled into big girl territory by being introduced to juice. Giving her that bottle was so cute. Her eyes got really big and she sucked down every last drop. Apple juice is "da bomb" to a one month old apparently. She's probably wondering why in the heck we had been depriving her of that for so long!

Her umbilical cord also (finally) fell out and we were able to give her that first "real" bath. We had gone back and forth on what type of baby bathing contraption to use and opted for a seat that we can sit in the tub. She loved it! She liked the warm water getting poured over her and was completely content to let me shampoo her hair and rinse it off. The only thing she doesn't like is when I try to clean the little neck folds under her chin. But I can't blame her... I still hate people touching my neck!
She still tries to fake me out with burp-like noises. She has started to suck on her hands and arms, especially when we have her up against our chest. But the cutest thing she does is when she giggles in her sleep. I hope that never stops!