Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blog, Interrupted

So this is not the be-all, end-all post that describes everything I am thinking and feeling about our beautiful new daughter and the changing dynamics of our family. This post is the one I can manage tonight to get me back into the blogging game.
First of all, let's start with an NTB . . . The hubby has a deal closing tomorrow and has to work super late tonight. Not bragging about the deal, mind you, but about my ability to get all three children to sleep by myself without losing my shit.
Now on to my Sweet P. So much to say, but for now I will just say that she is truly sweet. She eats well, sleeps often, and is seldom fussy. NTB and KOW (knock on wood). She has dark hair, emerging dimples, and long, elegant fingers. We are totally in love with her.
I will add that it's a pleasure dressing her every day. Girl clothes are "so much cuter."

Even the sleepers have extra details, like feet that look like shoes!
Bub and Little Bit are super enthusiastic big brothers. The give her many kisses, most of them wet and sticky. They enjoying hovering about an inch from her face when she is sleeping, resting, or having her diaper changed.

The observation deck. Bub tells me, "Put her in the 'plack' and play and let her squirm around."

When Little Bit wakes up in the morning or after nap, he starts wandering around saying, "Baby? Baby? Baby? Baby?" (pronounced Bee-Bee) until he finds Sweet P.
The other day I was holding a sleeping Sweet P and Bub and Little Bit were fighting over who could sit closest to me and her. I tried to talk Bub into giving the prime close-to-sister spot to his younger brother, and Bub protested, "But I'm the guy who loves her the most." That just killed me.

Daddy and "the guy who loves her the most."

[Note: All of the above was written on Thursday evening, shortly before Little Bit woke up and started screaming his head off. Now it's Monday evening, and I am determined to finish this post.]

Since Thursday, I've totally forgotten my mental blueprint for this post so I will just share a few more disjointed observations, add in some (already outdated) photos, and press "publish post."
* Hubby and I cannot believe how big our Little Bit looks ever since we came home from the hospital with Sweet P. I feel like I am changing a first grader's diaper these days.
* The boys are being very sweet to Sweet P. She had a cranky period earlier this evening where she was crying as I got her jammies on her. They were so worried. One ran and got a pacifier. The other grabbed the bottle she had abandoned earlier in the evening.
* The boys are not being very sweet to one another, which is tough. I know it's a stage and part of the transition, but it's frustrating that any time I leave the two of them in a room together, within two minutes, one of them is screaming. Little Bit has taken to screaming "MINE!!!" and then screeching. I'm noise sensitive anyway so sometimes I would love to be able to press a button and turn down their volume.

Hard to believe these buddies are so skilled at torturing each other.

* The most repeated phrase in our household after Little Bit was born was "Gentle, gentle." The new most common phrases are: "Give her some space." "Back off a little, boys." "Guys" (said in pleading tone)
* The boys CANNOT leave the baby stuff alone, whether or not Sweet P is using her stuff. The swing gets swung. The "plack" and play gets rattled. The bouncy seat gets bounced.

Just warming the swing up.

Who me? I'm not the one shaking baby's bed. I do not hear the words "no" or "stop."

"Sweet P"? "Sweet Cheeks" may be more fitting.

Cuddled up with Aunt Shell. Check out the socks and peek at those long fingers.
All in all, our transition from two to three kids has been smoother than expected. Sure, these days are long and full and tiring, but I feel really good, really happy, and really, really lucky.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Hi, it's MEP here, pleased as punch to introduce today's guest blogger: Stacia of Fluffy Bunnies. Stacia is any day, any minute now about to welcome her third baby. She's uncomfortable and can't sleep. I feel for her, but her discomfort is a gain for the blogosphere -- she's been posting up a storm during her sleepless hours. And this woman, this woman can write! Her posts are so thoughtful, witty, well-crafted, and satisfying. I feel like she's a blogging soul mate or something. I want to respond to each post she puts out there even though it's tough to nurse and type at the same time (at least for me). Stacia sent me a post from "before anyone was reading" her blog, and it's a perfect fit for me and NTB. You'll see why . . .

Here's Stacia . . .

Nerds. We are nerds, my husband and I. Math team? Yep. French club? Mais, oui. Marching band? You know it. Woodwinds, no less.

We’re the kind of adults who, as kids, wanted Santa to bring us briefcases and typewriters and a library card of our very own. Hence, it is genetically probable that Lollipop and Giggles will be nerds. (Yes, we loved Punett Squares, too.)

Probably the biggest manifestation of this “nerdliness” in our adult lives is our collection of books. His (science fiction); mine (cheesy romance); ours (travel, history, and two of everything Pat Conroy has ever written). Shelves and shelves and shelves.

There’s a Book for That
So what did we do when we found out we would be parents? We bought a ton of books. On how to be parents. Of course. In homage to Dewey Decimal, we even created a “parenting section” on our bookshelves.

Next, we started building a library for our children. The classics, from Suess to Carle. Our own childhood favorites, from Miss Nelson Is Missing to Bert's Hall of Great Inventions. And new favorites, from Olivia to Chrysanthemum.

We also got lots of those books with squiggly black-and-white lines. And books with intriguing textures, like spongy pigs and scratchy dumptrucks. Because, as our trusty new parenting guides told us, it would be good practice for freshly minted rods and cones, fingers and toes.

A is for … As You Like It
And, while we entertained the fanciful notion, we didn’t really expect our children to come out of the womb reading Jane Austen and the Bard. (But when they’re ready, we have sections on our shelves for each of those, too. Right next to my Janet Evanovich and his Terry Brooks.)

We also starting reading to them, practically from the beginning. Even when they were clearly more interested in the bead of drool on their dimply little chins.

We built reading into their routine. We put books in every room, in the playpen, in the car. We gave them books to chew on. And puke on. (I’d like to extend my deepest personal gratitude to the inventor of the board book.)

The Next Chapter
And maybe we were just spinning our bookmobile wheels. Or maybe, no matter what we did (and continue to do), our kids are destined to love books. (I’m pretty sure the nerd gene is unstoppable.) Or maybe, their interest will wax and wane, like Lollipop’s hat addiction and Giggles’ fascination with trains.

But that’s the greatest thing about books: no matter what you like, you can find a book about it. And chances are, we’ve already got a section for it. Or a desktop link to our library’s online catalog. Or, at the very least, free super-saver shipping. (Thank you, Amazon.)

We are, after all, a family of bookworms. Proud carriers of the nerd gene. And our library cards.


I’m curious: What are your kids’ current favorites? Here’s what’s in heavy rotation at our house:
1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
2. Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann
3. Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton and Tibor Gergely
4. The Gillygoofang by George Mendoza and Mercer Mayer
5. Little Bunny on the Move by Peter McCarty
6. Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz
7. What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz
8. Love Tails by Rachael Hale and Jane Gerver

Thanks to Stacia for today's post. Please visit Fluffy Bunnies and become a regular there! You'll be glad you did.

I posted about children's books here and here and here, and I always love the comments that follow. So, pretty please, share in the comments: What books do the children in your life enjoy these days? Any all-time favorites? Any titles you're ready to kick under the bed?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Christy By Any Other Name

Hi, it's MEP, popping in to introduce another guest blogger here at NTB. Have I mentioned how much I love Facebook? Yes, I know, I know . . . it's a time suck and some status updates are TMI or obnoxious, but as a mother of small children, I find it's a reliable source of entertainment, laughter, support, and encouragement. Facebook has given me the opportunity to connect with people from all stages of my life, including today's guest blogger Sharon. She and I wore the same school uniform from second grade to twelfth grade and she is one of the only other persons I know who "vacations in Fairfield, OH." Sharon is smart, witty, and a talented writer (especially skilled in crafting hilarious status updates) -- plus a veteran mother of three and an awesome photographer. Enjoy her post and then check out her blog Watch It Byrne.

Here's Sharon . . .

I have just gotten into this blogging thing and one of the biggest dilemmas I have noticed (at least for me) is the name thing. What do you call your blog? What do you call your children, family and friends when “changing their names to protect the innocent” while writing the possibly-sordid details of your interactions for the entire world to see (and hopefully laugh at)? What identity do you saddle yourself with out there in the land of the Internet? Do ya go cutesy or use initials or some bastardized version of your real name? Perhaps this is just an extension of an identity crisis I have had my entire life……

My name is Sharon. Sharon Christine actually. I hated my name growing up. There were no other Sharons in my classes and I sooooo wanted to have a “cool” name- like Jenny. Or Amy. (Population 1 bazillion in my fourth-grade class alone.) I decided I was going to change my name. No more unique for me!!

I settled on “Christy.” I figured this name kinda tied in with my real name and so it might be an easy transition and there were already a couple of Kristy’s I knew. Perfect! I already went to a Catholic school and we had the whole uniform thing, so changing my name was the most effective way to complete my invisibility.

I thought and thought of how I was going to tell my parents that I was rejecting the name they had so lovingly picked in the months before my birth. I was thinking they might be pretty attached to the name “Sharon” – seeing as they had put it on my birth certificate and everything. (They really did. I checked.) But who knows. These are the same people who considered naming me Janet. Really? Janet? I wanted to prepare a speech. Something well thought out and raising many valid points.

Me: Mom and Dad, I have decided that “Sharon” doesn’t really suit me. I feel that with my hair and eye color, relative lack of friends in the “cool crowd” and the current state of today’s economic climate I would fare better in the fourth-grade world if we would just start calling me “Christy.”

Mom and Dad: You present a well thought out argument. Your wish is our command.

Or maybe I would just change it and hope that no one noticed- just started calling me Christy, thinking maybe they just had my name wrong all along.

Me: (brings home a report card labeled “Christy Byrne”)

Me: (pays brothers to use Christy when referring to me)

Mom and Dad: I have no recollection of a Christy living here, but I see a report card with the name Christy Byrne on it. That is our last name. Christy must be the girl we always see at the dinner table. Go figure. I feel bad for our faux pas of calling her Sharon.

What I finally settled on was this method:

Me: (crying) I hate my name.

Mom and Dad: (smirking) Why?

Me: (sobbing) Because! (Brilliant, I know.)

Mom and Dad: What would you like to be called?

Me: (sniffling and wiping snot on my sleeve) Christy!

Dad: (ignoring me) How about Fudgeface?

NOOOOO!!!!! I do not know where my father’s brain came up with Fudgeface. I shudder to think of the alternates that flashed through his mind before settling on such a messy and obviously ridiculous moniker. Did they all end in “-face”?

ClownFace? Nah. That’s kinda creepy.

PizzaFace? Maybe when she is older and the acne has set in.

AssFace? Probably shouldn’t call my daughter that…..

I backtracked quickly.

No, no. Sharon is great. I like it. Its unique- and we all know that is totally what ten-year-old girls are going for! Thanks for not naming me Janet, by the way. You guys are doing a stellar job in the parenting department. The meatloaf tonight was fantastic. And last Sunday, when you told me I was gonna go on the family outing to the apple farm to see just exactly how cider was made and LIKE IT- oh man. I totally had that coming. You were so right.

But it stuck.


My name is Fudgeface.

Fudgeface Christine Byrne

But you can call me Sharon.


Okay, bloggers, help Fudgeface/Christy/Sharon out. How did you choose your blog handle? How do you choose/use names for you and your family members on your blog? And blog readers, do nicknames confuse you when you read blogs? Any votes for best blog names? Please comment.

Don't forget to visit Watch It Byrne!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guaranteed: Ten Faithful Readers

Hi readers, MEP here. I'll be back to blogging regularly one of these days. Things are going well in our new family of five, but I'm still not ready to be crafting witty, thoughtful, or well-written posts. Keep checking NTB though because I have a great line-up of guest posters to pick up my slack.

Today's guest poster is The Empress, a blogger whose honesty and sense of humor are always refreshing. She's a busy mother of and homeschooler to three boys. The Empress blogs at Good Day, Regular People and has one of the best blog tag lines out there: "Because You Can't Use Your Friends As Therapists Forever." Uh oh. You can't?! I love the guest post for today and hope it inspires some good discussion in the comments about why people blog and/or read blogs.

Without further ado . . . The Empress speaks:

Since beginning blogging just shy of 2 months ago, I've taken an interest in this whole new world of the blogosphere. There has been a lot to learn; techically, aesthetically, new jargon, time budgeting, blogiquette.

From what I've read about blogs, a main division begins to become evident when the talk goes to people's reasons for blogging. From there, it seems to become an issue of purpose. There is the side of those who blog for love of the written word, and then the reported ones who blog with an interest in numbers, counts, audience, exposure.

At last count, there were 15 million active blogs worldwide. This number still does nothing to deter the daily addition of new blogs entering this realm. With this number, it is estimated that there are 10 faithful readers for every active blog, faithful being defined as returning daily to your blog. Surveys have estimated that obtaining this level of loyal readership may take at least 9 months to develop.

On the other hand of this incredible 15 million number, is the fact that if a blogger is going to quit blogging, it'll occur at the 3 month mark. 3 months. At 3 months, those that quit have decided that it feels like a chore, there no longer is a passion to have their voice out there, and it has begun to make them feel trapped.

The genesis of a blog can come in 2 forms: those that began blogging first, and then those that began to blog after following, and being loyal, to a specific blog. What seems to have caught the ones who began to blog first by surprise, is that they then became blog readers. Many are simply astounded by the amount of time that they now spend reading other blogs, when they initially set out to be the author, not so much the reader.

What I've learned about blogging on my own, are the reasons that I have become one of someone's "faithful ten." I know my reason for returning to a blog, and that is quality of content. If I see that the author has written something that I feel they have sincerely developed and thought of, then I return, because I feel that they have a respect for the reader. Whether it is one paragraph long, or fills their entire page with text, it can be humorous, poignant, or a memory, or just a picture. But I can feel if it's been put out there with me, for me, because they know I'll be back for the next post.

I began blogging as a way to see my printed words in front of me. Something I could keep, and go back to. And there is the thrill of pushing "Publish Post" and seeing your story right there. That is something I haven't grown tired of yet. I began to blog because I wanted to write, and notebooks just weren't cutting it anymore. What has absolutely become the icing on a delicious cake for me is the fantastic, interesting, talented people I've met because of blogging. That, that right there, I never saw coming. Talk about sweet.

With that feeling, of blogging for the pure love of writing, I figure you'd have a guaranteed audience size of one: the one you write for, yourself.

I hope you enjoyed today's post. Please leave a comment and let me and The Empress know why you blog and/or why you read blogs. Then, visit Good Day, Regular People and check out other great posts about little red shovels and marine squirrels.

And, if you're one of my ten faithful readers, THANK YOU!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Paperboy of the Year

LAP here. I’m a frequent commenter but rare blogger. This was always MEP’s brainchild, and I selfishly enjoy reading her posts much more than creating my own so I’ve been dormant for well over a year. However, since she is still basking in the glow (a.k.a learning to manage the chaos) of motherhood times three, I offered to help a sister out.

Sometime last year, MEP gave my dad a copy of What a Paperboy Learned about Business by Jeffrey J. Fox. He enjoyed the book, especially because he’d had many of the same experiences during his five years as a paperboy. I think he could still go through, house by house, reciting the names of the neighbors on his route. On his bike every afternoon, he’d deliver the papers regardless of what weather the Midwest was serving up that day. To his best recollection, there were only two times during his tenure that his mother took pity on him and drove him around. (Hard for me to believe that my soft spoken, ever shrinking grandma could have towed such a hard line.) His work ethic apparently did not go unnoticed as he twice earned the honor of Paperboy of the Year, NTB. He maintains he learned a lot about everything from self-discipline to the art of selling from his delivery days.

Well, it’s not 1960 anymore. I have a feeling that if Jeffrey Fox or my dad lived in my neighborhood, they would cringe to see the paperboy in action. I know I do. Our afternoon paper is just a once a week community press. It is lightweight in stature and content. However, it comes to each resident once a week for the steep cost of $2.50 per month. I enjoy it to the extent that it gives progress updates on construction and new businesses in the area. If I am being honest, I also find it endlessly humorous that so many people participate in the “take the community press paper with you on vacation, take a picture of your group holding it, and send it to us for guaranteed publication” feature.

The paperboy for this ever important publication is my eighth grade neighbor. Each Wednesday, his mom drives him around in her Sienna while he tosses papers to the fifty houses in our quiet, suburban, three cul de sac’d neighborhood. And so I ask….what is the point? Is this the way his mom makes him “earn” money? Is this to pad a future resume? Is the community press really hard up to find a willing carrier? Maybe the time in the van is the source of family bonding? I’m trying not to judge; I really do just wonder.

I don’t know why it bothers me at all, but it does. Maybe it goes against my sense of right and wrong, like somehow he is cheating. On a beautiful sunny day, why can’t this athletic young kid ride his bike around (come to think of it, not sure I’ve ever even seen him on a bike?) and actually talk to a neighbor or two? Am I making too much of this? Maybe I am still bitter from this weekend when he came to collect* and rang the doorbell, instantly waking my one year old. Did I mention that his dad was sitting in his van out front, following him around the neighborhood and giving him the occasional lift from house to house as he collected? I know it’s not 1960, but I guess I just hate to think this is the new standard for paperboys. What do you I being too dramatic?

*Once a month, he puts an envelope in our paper which we are to leave on our front door by noon on Sunday so that he can collect. Not a bad system, but I failed to have ours out at that time which is why we had any interaction at all that day.

MEP wants to know if any of her other readers are interested in doing a guest post. If so, send her an email at She’d be thrilled!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Party of Five

Photo Caption: "Hey, do you think I was born yesterday?! Well . . . I was!"

Welcome to the world, Baby Girl!
Sweet P arrived yesterday afternoon, weighing 9 pounds and measuring 21.5 inches. All is well!

April 4, 2010 . . . Family of Four

April 5, 2010 . . . Family of Five

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Fools Here!

Happy April! Today is All Thumbs Thursday . . .

Thumbs Up:
* New Booksburgh widget on left that links to my 2010 Reading List -- please click on it to see what I've read in 2010!
* My awesome friend CaraBee who made the widget for me!
* The Blogville widget that will be coming soon with links to an expanded version of my blogroll -- stay tuned!
* This wonderful weather! Sunshine and almost seventy degrees!
* The lawn chair in my back yard from which I was able to semi-relax for much of yesterday while the boys got every single toy out of the garage to play with in the yard!
* Blogtrotting Giveaway tomorrow! Be sure to check it out!
* Sweet P arriving any day now!
* Qdoba for lunch and did I mention Qdoba has a parking lot?!
* Unrestrained use of exclamation points!!!!!!

Thumbs Down:
Why bother?!

Please share your own Thumbs Up list in the comments!
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