I’m not one of those mom’s who keeps vigilant watch over how many minutes or hours of TV Bean watches.Â As long as he has more hours doing active, creative, stimulating things than he does in front of the TV, I’m generally okay.
When we first started letting Bean watch movies, we went with Disney.Â He liked them all, but he really liked the Pixar ones.Â I think he liked the pictures better.Â He instantly took to Finding Nemo.Â Then he moved on to Cars.Â And then came Toy Story.Â And our lives have never been the same.Â Bean loves Buzz and “Woo Woo” more than life itself.Â He sleeps on Toy Story sheets.Â He plays with Toy Story toys.Â He listens to the Toy Story soundtrack.Â But his favorite are the Toy Story movies.Â In fact, he’s such a fan that he can tell us which one he wants to watch.
“Toy ‘Tory Tee!”Â (That’s Toy Story Three, for those of you who don’t speak Bean.)
Even with his obsession, we’ve tried to limit how much TV time Bean gets with the movies.Â Mostly, it’s just something to distract him when we’re trying to get something done.Â But lately, I’ve caught myself putting it on more often for him.Â It’s just so darn convenient!Â I think I justified it to myself because I didn’t just sit him down in front of the TV and then walk away.Â I always sit with him.Â And after a long day on my feet at work, I always welcome the chance to sit on the couch and snuggle with my Beaner.Â Even if he isn’t aware of our quality time because Buzz and Woo Woo are on the TV.
But in the past couple weeks that Bean has been sick, I’ve become really aware of exactly how often we have the television on.Â Bean couldn’t do too much, so getting him to chill out and rest up on the couch was always easier with a little television enticement.Â After he’s gotten better though, Bean still wants to watch TV.Â All the time.Â He doesn’t even really sit through the movie anymore.Â He just wants it to be on so that he has something to entertain him when he’s passing through.
And that realization led me to start paying attention to how much Chris and I have the television on.Â Surely, Bean’s learning this behavior somewhere and when I really paid attention, it was clear he was learning it from us.Â We’re just like Bean.Â We don’t necessarily watch the TV but it is usually on and when it’s on, it’s easy to get distracted by it.Â Now, I’m not opposed to TV or against it.Â But when we COULD be doing other things with our time and instead we’re choosing TV simply because it’s on, well then it’s time to turn it off.
So, Saturday morning I announced we were having a TV-free weekend.Â Bean protested quite loudly for the first hour.Â We play our music through our TV and so when I turned on the TV to play some music, Bean immediately thought that I was turning on a movie.Â And when no movie came on, he started to get a little frantic.
Thankfully, we had plans for Saturday morning and early afternoon and so that got us out of the house. Out of sight, out of mind, and the TV was forgotten. But the minute we walked back in the house…
So, Chris and I decided to distract Bean by taking him outside for a while. We played out in the backyard together as a family for over an hour – something I don’t think we’ve ever done.
Bean and Chris played airplanes…
And Bean showed us how to spin…
It was a beautiful afternoon and Chris decided that he was going to wash his car. Normally, Chris does this by himself but since we were all trying to keep busy without the easy entertainment of the TV, Bean and I decided to go with him. So, we all moved into the garage and driveway.
Bean loved helping.
But after a while, he decided it was time to wash his own car.
And after he washed his car, he wanted to wash his SUV.
We spent all afternoon outside and while that’s not necessarily something new for us, it was new that we spent that much time together outside. And it was awesome. Chris and I kept telling each other what a great idea this no TV thing was and how we should do it more often.
Jump ahead 12 hours.
I woke up this morning to find Chris and Bean sitting on the couch watching morning cartoons together. And then when I got on to them, the attitude came out.
Chris was pissed. He was so angry that he couldn’t just sit on the couch and relax.
“I don’t want to do chores!” he huffed.
“Who said anything about chores?” I asked.
“Well, there’s nothing else to do!”
At first, I thought he was being ridiculous. How pathetic were we that we couldn’t do one weekend without a TV? But the more Sunday wore on, the more I realized that he was kind of right. It takes EFFORT to be that active! Without the TV, it was hard to just sit around. We were on the go all day long in order to keep busy. We went to church, we went out to lunch, we drove out to the other side of town to look at some neighborhoods we had heard about – and it was still only 1:00!!
When we got home from running around, Bean was starting to get bored and since it was so beautiful outside again we decided to head out the backyard for another day. This time, Chris brought his golf clubs and whiffle balls.
Bean thought this was an EXCELLENT way to spend the afternoon!
I guess he was having so much fun that he suddenly wanted Buzz and Woo Woo to be part of the festivities because in the middle of a golf swing, he took off to the house…
…and came back out with his buddies.
Turns out, Buzz and Woo Woo aren’t so much the golfing type. So, they all ended up in Bean’s school bus instead.
We stayed outside all afternoon and didn’t come in until it started to get dark and chilly outside. It was a great day.
I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how hard it was for us to go for one weekend without TV. It’s not that we watch all that much TV, really, but it is usually always on in the background and I was surprised to find how much of an adjustment it was to be without it. It really makes me stop and think about how we’re spending our “quality time” together and how quality that time really is if there’s a TV on – even in the background.
I certainly won’t be canceling our cable contract or selling off all our televisions any time soon, but this little experiment this weekend did change some things about how we want to and will function as a family. I’ll probably still leave Sesame Street on in the mornings while I’m trying to get ready for work and Chris and I will sit together on the couch and watch Modern Family every Wednesday night. But I think we’ll be paying a little more attention to the activities that we choose to spend our time on as a family. A romp in the backyard together every now and then is good for all of us…
Today I am grateful that I’ve been lucky enough to celebrate 12 Valentine’s Days with my one and only sweetheart and that each one gets better and better.
When I found out I was having a boy when I was pregnant with Bean, I think I had his entire nursery decorated in about 24 hours.Â I bought anything blue and sports related that I could find.Â Bean had a cute room, but truthfully, I never really LOVED his nursery.Â I wasn’t crazy about the color his walls were painted and I never liked the sports theme.Â I think what happened was that I rushed into it.Â I rushed the decorating process because I got so excited.
This time around, I’ve been a lot more deliberate in my decorating.Â It’s not that I’m not just as excited as when I was decorating for Bean, but because of several factors (money, time, energy, schedules…) I’ve had to slow down the decorating process this time.Â And you know what?Â I’m so glad I did!Â Every decision we’ve made so far about the nursery has been well thought out, deliberate, and specific.Â There isn’t a lot of stuff in there and I actually kind of like that.Â I’m still waiting on my bedding set and I’m sure once that gets here, it will complete the whole look, but for now I’m loving how it’s all coming together.
I decided against getting a mobile that clips onto the side of the crib for a couple reasons.Â First, Bean never really used his and seemed to be just as content staring at the ceiling fan and those mobiles are expensive!Â I just didn’t want to buy something just to buy it.Â But also because I think those mobiles can look a little obtrusive in a nursery.Â You have this beautiful nursery and delicate crib bedding and then this giant, plush mobile over it all.Â I didn’t want it to ruin the feminine look I wanted in the nursery.Â So instead, I looked on Etsy for handmade, delicate mobiles that had a more artsy look to them.Â Something to entertain Gracie that actually added to the feel of her room, instead of distracting from it.
And I hit the jackpot.
I found Little Dreamers, Inc. on Etsy and fell in love.Â The mobiles were gorgeous and girly, but they were a little out of my price range.Â And then I noticed they sold do-it-yourself mobiles.Â Instead of paying $60 or $80 for the assembled mobile, you pay $25 and get all the pieces and a directions page.Â It took me about 3 hours to string up all the butterflies and connect the strings to the hoop and then another half hour to string it up and hang the mobile itself.Â But when it was done, it was well worth the effort.Â I love it.
And I think it looks beautiful over the crib.
Since we were already in the nursery hanging the mobile, I had Chris (…and Bean) go ahead and hang the shelf over the vanity. The shelf holds mine and my mom’s collection of Madame Alexander dolls. I think it looks great above the vanity – especially when we get the mirror on the vanity – and I love that it’s something from my childhood.
Overall, I think the nursery is coming together just how I wanted it to. The bedding set and curtains are the next big purchase next week and that will really bring it all together and let me see what else needs to be done.
(If you missed the video tour of the nursery, the bassinet and the rocking chair will actually be moved into my room when Gracie is born and the changing table will be moved from Bean’s room into Gracie’s room where the bassinet is right now…Are you picturing it yet???Â Good.)
I can’t wait to see it all come together. And I know my two little worker bees will be happy when it’s all put together and I will stop making them do home repairs in a cotton candy pink room…
Anyone whose ever been pregnant and experienced the urge to nest will tell you that it is the strangest, strongest sensation.Â It cannot be ignored.Â It cannot be denied.Â It cannot be mistaken.
Nesting is freaking weird.
Even as we’re in the middle of it, pregnant women know it’s odd.Â We know it doesn’t make sense to suddenly not be able to do anything else until your medicine cabinet is perfectly organized alphabetically and cross-listed by expiration date.Â We know it doesn’t make sense to want to empty out an entire closet just to vacuum under all the coats that have fallen on the floor in there.Â We know it doesn’t make sense to not be able to function in the world until every baseboard has been bleached.
WE KNOW IT!
But if you think it’s hard for us pregnant women to understand what’s happening to us, try explaining it to our husbands.Â Chris does not understand nesting.Â He just doesn’t get it.Â He thinks I’m being ridiculous.Â And I can see his point.Â Perhaps cleaning the garage when I’m 30 weeks pregnant doesn’t make much sense.Â But I can’t help it.Â And I can’t be stopped.
SO WHY DOES HE ARGUE WITH ME?!?!?Â WHY!?!??!
Doesn’t he know that pregnant, nesting women are irrational?Â Doesn’t he know we make no sense whatsoever?Â Doesn’t he know we defy logic and all things sensible?
SO WHY DOES HE ARGUE?!?!?
I know that Chris functions differently than me.Â I get excited because my hormones tell me there’s a person growing inside of me.Â Chris doesn’t REALLY get excited until after the birth.Â I mean, he’s excited we’re going to have a baby.Â He can’t wait to meet her.Â But he’s not going to be sitting around the nursery with me, dreaming about the perfect bedding set or just the right curtains.Â It’s just not in his DNA.Â But that doesn’t mean those things aren’t important to me.
I’ve been pretty patient, too.Â I haven’t spent hardly any money at all.Â Anytime the nesting urge has hit, I’ve just sorted through what we already have and organized, cleaned, and arranged that stuff instead of going out and buying a bunch of stuff.Â I haven’t gone crazy with decorations for the nursery.Â I’ve kept things relatively simple and calm.
BUT WE’RE TWO AND A HALF MONTHS AWAY FROM HAVING A BABY.
It’s time to start getting some stuff ready.Â Nesting or no nesting, we’ve got to get some things done.Â Not a lot of things, but some things.Â And every time I mention them to Chris he melts down.Â Completely.
“You’re being ridiculous!”
“You’re rushing things!”
“Settle down, you’re acting crazy!”
I’M NOT CRAZY!Â I’M 30 WEEKS PREGNANT, YOU DOPE!Â JUST CLEAN YOUR COLLEGE CRAP OUT OF THE NURSERY CLOSET AND LEAVE ME ALONE!
If you don’t hear from me in the next few days, send help.Â I’ve probably gotten stuck trying to vacuum underneath some piece of furniture.Â Or, I’m in jail for beating my husband with a curtain rod.
Don’t mess with the nest.
Today I am grateful for 72 degrees and sunshine.
Every Christmas, my gift wrapping is put to shame at Chris’s grandmother’s house.Â In my family, we use the bag of pre-made bows on our presents.Â Wrap the gift, shove the bow on there – you’re good to go.Â But when I get to Chris’s grandmother’s house (where we have his family’s Christmas), I hang my head in shame at my store-bought bows.
Grandma Brown and Chris’s aunt, Neely, are exquisite gift wrappers.Â I wish I had taken a picture of their presents to show you as evidence, but I was so distracted by their pretty presents I forgot to take a picture.Â You’ll just have to take my word for it. Christmas at the Brown house looks like a glittery, sparkly, perfectly-tied up Norman Rockwell painting.
This year when I got into town, I still had one or two presents left to wrap and instead of going out and buying all these wrapping supplies for two gifts, I went over to Grandma Brown’s to borrow some of hers.Â First of all, her collection of wrapping supplies should be in a museum somewhere.Â That woman had more wrapping paper than Walmart.Â She had tissue paper by the box.Â And speaking of boxes, she had every size and shape imaginable.Â And don’t get me started on her collection of gift bags.Â Martha Stewart would have been in awe.Â I know I was.
But the best part about her gift wrapping supplies was where and how she stores them.Â She has three of those Rubbermaid containers that slide under your bed.Â One box is full of wrapping paper tubes.Â They fit perfectly in those long, flat boxes – who woulda thunk?Â The second Rubbermaid box is full of tissue paper and gift bags and the third is full of boxes and ribbon for bows.Â Now, some of you might keep your gift wrapping supplies this easily organized so this might not impress you.Â But to me – the person who keeps crumpled, half used tubes of wrapping paper shoved behind the office door – it was an organizational site to behold.Â I plan to go out this weekend and buy those exact storage boxes so I can start my own collection.
Anyway, while going through her gift wrap, I asked her about bows for my packages, but she only had the ribbon for bows.
“Oh, I don’t think I can do ribbon bows…” I said hesitantly.
“Sure you can!” she insisted.Â “It’s easy!”
In about a minute, Grandma Brown showed me how to tie the most beautiful ribbon bows ever!Â And that’s about as long as it took for me to become a professional bow tie-er.
So, I thought I’d share the secret with you, in case you wanted to fluff up your gift wrapping for birthdays or other special occasions throughout the year.
First, you wrap your present in wrapping paper.Â This one is my Grandma’s birthday present, so it’s birthday themed instead of Christmas themed.
Then you take your WIRED RIBBON (the wire is critical) and wrap it simply around your present…
And tie it simply.
Voila! Step one: Complete!
Then, if you’re pregnant, stand up and stretch your back so that you can walk in the morning.
After the stretch, cut a separate long piece of ribbon. We’re going to use this to make the bow for our package.
Next, take one end of the ribbon and form a loop.
And then form another loop on the bottom, too.
Then go back and forth, making loops on the top and the bottom until you have 5 or 6 different loops. You can do more loops and it will make your bow bigger. Just go with however many loops your present needs. 5-6 loops’ll do ya for a medium sized package.
Next, take one of the ends of the ribbon and wrap it JUST ONCE around the center of the loops you just made.
If you’re pregnant, stand up and stretch here, too. Your back will thank you.
Now the fun starts… Place the loop bouquet you have made into the center of the ribbon you previously tied to your present.
Now, take those two long pieces you left hanging off your present in that very first step and tie them over the loop bouquet, securing it to the package.
And that’s it! Your bow is tied! All that’s left now is to make it pretty, so spread out the loops and make them smooth. Shape ‘em around until it looks just like Martha Stewart’s. Or Grandma Brown’s.
If you have long ribbon ends hanging off your package after the bow is tied, like I did, then cut those down a bit so it doesn’t look like your package has floppy ears.
And that’s it! Trust me, this is fool proof! I am the world’s most un-creative person and even I could manage this. The trick is in the ribbon. Pick a sparkly one. That automatically adds some va-va-voom to your gift and it distracts from your bow if it isn’t perfect.
Try it the next time you want to add a little something special to your gift giving. People will think you’re Martha Stewart.
Or Grandma Brown.
Today I am grateful that my friend, Sarah, and I are pregnant for the 2nd time together!