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Archive for August, 2011

Lulu may or may not write this advice...

I made a Twitter account (@LulusCorner) specifically to engage in the world of wanna-be-moms and already-moms. I came to Twitter to get support, tips, guidance, and laughs. Turns out, bad tips and awful guidance are great for laughs! It’s a lose-win situation!

My favorite in the crap-advice category goes to an article I came across last week. How do you describe an article in 140 characters or less? These folks chose: What Are The Best Ways To Get Pregnant? I’ll give them credit, I clicked on the link. But here, my friends, the credit ends. The advice, and I’m highlighting their best, is as follows:

1. Going on a vacation from the stressful working life, and making out at an exotic locale is certainly one of the best ways to get pregnant. PSA: Apparently, you CAN get pregnant from making out IF you are in an exotic locale. You’ve been warned.

2. If you cannot afford the luxury of a holiday, don’t despair- yet. There are a number of best ways to get pregnant, right in your own bedroom. For one, try a change of décor and set up the room to have a more romantic feel. Redesign, a key to pregnancy! So many times, we’ve all heard the story of a couple who redecorated their bedroom and boom! A baby! Gives a whole new meaning to that old show Surprise By Design.

3. Buy some aromatic candles, and invest in a couple of silk cushions and bed sheets, if you would like that. Um, little known fact about aromatic candles, they are one of the “best ways to get pregnant.” So, you kids in those high-school movies, if you are planning on cashing in your V-card and setting the tone with candles, skip the scented ones unless you want to remember your first time for at least 18 years…

Let me try my hand at summarizing this how-to article in 140 characters: Travel and Redesign Tips to Get a Bun in That Oven #MakingOutMakesBabies #ASurpriseByRedesign #NotATTCExpert

And finally a little gem from a legitimate source, Pregnancy What to Expect, but maybe they should have thought twice about the wording. Again, 140 characters is limiting, but really? Unborn #babies are night owls: They’re sluggish in the morning and active as the day goes on. This can make it hard for you to rest. I’m guessing by “unborn babies” they mean “little ones in the womb,” but I’m not going there…

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It was a beautiful summer weekend, and Lulu didn’t know what to do…

Stumped, Lulu?

She went to the park to hang around.

Monkeying Around

She enjoyed a Giant’s-eye-view far above the ground.

Lulu In A Tree

Then she took in the sights upside down, silly ham!

What's up, Lulu?

She scampered up the bars, more like a monkey than a lamb.

Bar Tending

She tried to play hoops, and she was the ball.

Nothing But Net

But up among the branches she feels best of all.

Up In a Tree, Again

Have a great day and climb a tree! Love, Lulu, Patrick, and of course, Gilly

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If the Steelers had cheerleaders and Lulu liked to smile, she'd only wave pom-poms for the Steelers!

One of the things I was thinking this evening while watching the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Philadelphia Eagles in preseason football (well, besides thinking that the state of Pennsylvania has one team that looks ready for the Super Bowl and one team that doesn’t) was this: Are my football-watching days numbered?

I know that every prospective parent-to-be in the history of ever is concerned with the loss of leisure time that comes with being responsible for a little crib-critter. It goes with the territory. But still, there must be a way that one learns to balance one’s responsibilities with one’s desire to function as a human in the world. How does someone manage to be both a parent and someone who wants to watch football, to read a book, or to know enough about pop culture to know that the ending of Lost sucked and the ending of Harry Potter was pitch-perfect?

I know my priorities will shift as a parent – and who knows, I might simply not even have the time to remember what my former priorities used to be – but I imagine that to remain relatively sane one must find some time in the day to do the things he or she loves to do.

So tell me, parents, where do you find the time for yourselves? What are your means of escape? Is it all in the scheduling? In finding some untapped reservoir of energy after the little knee-high private eyes go to bed at night? Or is it all in trading favors with one’s spouse? Or bribing your parents and siblings?

Maybe I should just resolve myself to the understanding that somewhere around the year 2030, if I’m lucky, future Patrick will be waiting, older but wiser and ready to resume life as he once knew it. That is, unless the Mayans have it right and we can all just cash it in in 2012.

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Lulu says, "Bacon makes the world go 'round... and tequila."

Research shows that what a woman eats during pregnancy shapes food preferences of her child later in life. Both breast milk and amniotic fluid contain the flavors of foods that mom-to-be is eating. In fact, research at the Monell Chemical Senses Center has not yet found a flavor that isn’t transferred in utero. It is even proposed that memories of those flavors in breast milk shape a child’s food preferences later in life. Neat and ew! So it isn’t just that you are what you eat when you’re preggos, but your baby is what you eat too.

The bottom line of this research seems to be, “So moms-to-be, start eating right ASAP.” As if pregnant ladies are all at home eating Twinkies and potato chips since finding out they are with child.

When I’m rocking the bump I will be making a conscious effort to keep my diet balanced, but here are the foods I can’t get enough of, so my babe will be likely to be LOVING:

  1. bacon (and prosciutto)
  2. pho
  3. edamame
  4. potatoes
  5. Sour Skittles (I am ashamed)

Of course there are certain foods (good and bad) that I just cannot eat, future baby, so here are a few new tastes you’ll have to acquire on your own (though I’m sure your dairy-loving daddy will help):

  1. cheese
  2. ice cream
  3. yogurt
  4. chocolate
  5. jello/pudding

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Lulu, Criminal Mastermind

Friday mid-morning, after a hell-week of teaching/grading, I found myself at home channel surfing because every other option felt like too much work. This is how I came upon TLC’s Babies Behind Bars <cue cute baby photos and prison bar collage>. I was hooked before I even knew what it was about!

You may not be aware, but some babies are criminal masterminds, they plan bank robberies, are kingpins of drug cartels… Okay, now I feel like an insensitive twat. This show is actually really heartbreaking (YouTube trailer – heads up: there is a brief ad before trailer begins).

Basically, Babies Behind Bars highlights a voluntary, and highly sought-after, program called the Wee Ones Nursery started in an Indiana women’s prison. This program gives pregnant, incarcerated women the opportunity to keep and care for their baby in a special ward in the prison. The idea behind this program is that the mother-baby attachment will strengthen mother’s resolve to get her life on track and will keep these children of inmates, who are 7 times more likely to be incarcerated, out of the system.

The criteria to gain entry into this program are pretty strict:

  • Offender is pregnant at the time she is delivered into the custody of the Department of Correction
  • Offenders earliest possible release date is not more than eighteen months after the projected delivery date
  • Offender must have a conduct history free of any Class A findings of guilt for the past 12 months and free of any Class B findings of guilt for the past 6 months
  • Offender has never been convicted of a violent crime or any type of child abuse or child endangerment determined by the pediatrician
  • Offender and her child must meet established medical and mental health criteria determined by the pediatrician
  • Offender has at least an eighth grade reading level; no one else has been granted custody or is sharing parenting privileges of the child
  • Offender must be willing to sign a covenant agreeing to abide by all the rules of the W.O.N. program and indicating she will participate fully in the program

So what do you think? Is it fair to have babies raised behind bars for up to 18 months? Do you think it even matters (they won’t remember, after all)? Do you think this program will get the intended results? Is it fair to give women in prison this opportunity? Is it unfair to deny women in prison this experience?

Note: Raising babies/children in prison is not unique to this well-funded program in Indiana. Children in other countries have been raised in women’s correctional facilities and additional states in the US have similar programs as well.

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One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately – with the risk of putting the cart before the horse – is just how many children we might like to have one day. (Of course, as a trying-to-conceive couple, we’d count our blessings to have even one little tax deduction.)

There’s a part of me that thinks one is all we’d want – Team Freeman would transition seamlessly from a dynamic duo into a terrific trio. Our baby would have the benefits of our undivided attention, and our home would make a cozy little clubhouse for three.

But I am the third of four siblings and Gilly is the middle child of three, and I can’t help but think that in time we’d want our branch of the family tree to provide a little more shade.

So, just what is the ideal size of a family in the 21st century? Is one little mischief-maker enough? Or do we provide him/her with a partner in crime? Two does seem to be the magic number for many modern families, but as middle children, both Gilly and I know that even a pair of knee-high hooligans would still be missing the larger family dynamic that we both grew up with.

Outnumbered on BBC America

Is three the magic number in an ideal world then? But here’s the thing with three – how do parents cope when they are the ones who are outnumbered? I’ve been wondering this ever since we started watching this funny – and at times frightening – BBC America comedy called (as you may have already guessed) Outnumbered. The parents have three children: the eldest, Jake, 11, is a quiet pre-teen beginning the process of withdrawal from his parents; the middle child, Ben, 8, is a bundle of boyish energy who, like a Bizarro-world George Washington, cannot *not* tell a lie; and the youngest, Karen, 5, is so precociously inquisitive that she would halt any parent in his or her tracks. They seem like the perfect family unit – and the parents seem at their wits’ end in every way imaginable.

One child seems hard enough to keep up with, so how does one manage to double or triple (or more) the odds? Does the difficulty in raising children increase exponentially with each addition to the family, or does each successive child actually make a parent’s life easier somehow?

For now, we’re just concentrating on having that first child – knock on wood, it will be sooner rather than later – but down the road we’ll have to make a choice. So let me ask you, readers – what is your magic number? And what *do* you do when you’re feeling outnumbered?

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Poor Lulu. Looks like she’s stuck indoors today.

Lousy Luck, Lulu

 Oh well, it makes a good excuse to clean and reorganize the closet!

Coordinating and Cataloguing the Closet

Followed by reading A Game of Thrones on the Kindle. What could be better?

Restful Reading

Nothing rains on Lulu’s parade, so she slips on her Wellies to make her own adventure!

Playful Puddle-jumper

Happy Sunday! Whether it is productive, relaxing, or adventurous, enjoy the day!

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