Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Another piece of my youth has died a really sad death.

So, you remember on Saturday how I mentioned I was going to a super great concert? Yes, well that happened last night.

I left home around noon figuring that puts me in Minneapolis around 2:30, so I could eat and hang out with Amy and Brian before the show, since gates opened at 4:30. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and I ended up getting to the bar closer to 3:30 because as it turns out, it was bumper to bumper traffic the entire way and I was surrounded by RV's and boats. Oh yes, and the one random asshole driving a SmartCar, which apparently cannot do 70 mph, so it holds up everyone.

I shake my fist at you, SmartCar driver.


So I get there, end up parking kind of far away and having to walk past a few sketchy businesses to get to the Whisky Junction where Amy and Brian were. Thankfully they ate before I got there, otherwise I would have felt terrible. I ended up not eating, I wasn't feeling it and figured worst case scenario, I'd stop on my way home if I got hungry.

After hanging out in there, watching the rain and winds pass by, we went outside to see the bands. Augustana was first and they were actually really great. I've never seen them play live, but I'd see them again. Unfortunately, they only played a short set, but it was good anyways. The next band to play was Dashboard Confessional, who was the band I wanted to see the most.

And it pains me to say it, but they were terrible. Absolutely terrible.

Here's the thing. If you haven't been around for awhile, there are a few things you should do before you come out on what is basically a comeback tour, so you don't look like painful has-beens:

  • You need to practice. And if you have a band who hasn't played together in awhile, or new members, you need to practice a LOT together. Otherwise you sound like a really bad garage band where nobody knows the material and you sometimes sound like you're playing different things, or the same song at different parts of the song. 
  • If you're the singer, re-learn the words. Seriously. I know you wrote them and you feel confident you remember them, but you don't. A really terrible cover of this is when you ask the overly drunk crowd to sing for you. We don't pay for a giant sing along, we pay for tickets to hear YOU sing. Try it. 
  • I know when you were at the height of popularity, your main crowd was ages 13-20. Well, we've all grown up. Which means we aren't all throwing f-bombs around to sound cool anymore. The nice thing is that we've all aged with you, we all know we're cool without swearing like we would when our parents dropped us off at the mall. 
  • STOP TALKING SO MUCH. This isn't VH1 Storytellers, this is an actual concert in which we want you to play your music. 
It was like an hour long set and easily, the longest hour of my life. I couldn't even tell you what songs were played because the sound system was so terrible that when Chris Carrabba did sing, you couldn't really hear it if you were in the back avoiding the drunks. The really sad thing is they did play two classic Dashboard anthems, "Screaming Infidelities" and "Vindicated" and he wanted the crowd to sing and literally, I heard one person. Oh, and "Hands Down" was supposed to be this epic sing along and nada. Nothing. 

The other thing that made it special was being surrounded by a crowd of hippies who forgo showers and basic grooming. Normally, while unpleasant to look at, I don't care. You want to look like a homeless person? Cool. On a day where it's kind of warm and we're under direct sun? I really don't want to smell you. Seriously. I bath frequently and take every grooming practice so I am not offensive to other people. But nope, that's not common anymore, apparently. All I could smell was sweat, body odor, and the unexplained smell that comes from dreadlocks. It makes for an unpleasant fun night out. 

We didn't even stay for Third Eye Blind because I didn't have it in me to stand there and listen anymore. A large amount of people around us must have felt similarly because as we were leaving, quite a few left with us and I saw even more as I pulled out of my parking spot. Also, on Facebook I'm seeing equally terrible reviews and it's sad. It's sad when  you realize bands you adore and were a critical part of the soundtrack of your youth age as well and not always gracefully. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Second Life

If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, always with endings that make you question literally everything you've just read, then you need to read S. J. Watson. I read his first book, Before I Go To Sleep when it first came out and it was so incredibly amazing and creepy, I've since recommended it to people who are looking for good reads. When I  had the opportunity to read his second novel, I was all in, and thank goodness.

Second Life - S.J. Watson
Second Life
The sensational new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep ...She loves her husband. She's obsessed by a stranger. She's a devoted mother. She's prepared to lose everything. She knows what she's doing. She's out of control. She's innocent. She's guilty as sin. She's living two lives. She might lose both ...

There are so many things about this book that are absolutely infuriating, but my biggest complaint is the ending. Seriously, it all goes to shit and I feel like I never got a conclusion persay, though you know enough that you don't need an ending, so that's the odd thing. It's an ending yet it's not. The other thing is the main character, Julia. Oh lord I couldn't stand Julia. 

So basically, this is the cautionary tale of why you should never, EVER have an affair online. And you should never, EVER meet these people in real life. Is every online relationship like this? Good lord, no. But it makes you strongly reconsider it, that's for sure. Julia recently loses her sister Kate, who was a victim of what police believe is a random murder. Years ago, Kate gave birth to a little boy who she didn't think she could parent, so she let Julia and her husband Hugh raise him. After Kate's death, Julia (who is also a recovering alcoholic and former recreational drug user) struggles with relapse while trying to grieve her sister. The not knowing what actually happened to her is what challenges Julia the most, so she decides to investigate the online dating websites Kate used. 

Which is basically like falling through the rabbit hole. 

Julia meets Lukas, and what started as an investigation turns into an illicit affair she's not sure she wants, but she also knows she really does. Lukas is a promise of everything she is lacking with Hugh. But what begins as a casual affair quickly turns into an absolute nightmare, where her two lives start blending and Julia loses control all together. 

Absolutely fast paced, you don't know who is really who, and you are so frustrated with Julia who is making absolutely horrible decisions time after time. She's selfish, for sure, and she doesn't see her family spiraling out of control at the same time her relationship with Lukas is.  I absolutely love this author because you never know what to expect and the story is always twisted in the best possible way.  It's gripping, it will have you at the edge of your seat, and when you find out who is who, and who did it?


I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. Another home run by S. J. Watson, and I am anxiously awaiting another book from this author. S. J. Watson has a website, Facebook, and Twitter that you follow. Second Life can also be purchased on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble

Aeromancist Cover Reveal!

About The Book

Title:  Aeromancist
Book 3: Seven Forbidden Arts Series

Author: Charmaine Pauls
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher:  Mélange Books
Publication Date: July 6, 2015

Preorder Book Buy Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Aeromancist-Seven-Forbidden-Arts-Book-ebook/dp/B010766W5S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1435450290&sr=1-1&keywords=aeromancist


Book Description:

Passion always comes with a price.

All he could offer was thirty days of passion.

He condemned her to a terrible fate instead.

Now he’ll do everything in his power to save her.

He is known as the Weatherman. Lann Dréan is the last of his kind. A price on his head, chased for a power he should not possess, he can’t promise any woman forever. All he can offer Katherine White is thirty days of passion. But his uncontainable desire comes with an unforeseen price. Lann’s lust will cost Kat everything. Now he’ll do anything to save her from the fate he has brought upon her.

* This book contains adult content with explicit language and frequent, consummated love scenes, including light bondage, sex toys and breath play. Reader discretion is advised.

About The Author

Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

Read more about Charmaine’s romance novels and psychological short stories here on www.charmainepauls.com.

Contact Charmaine at:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Flawed, but cleaning up so well

Once upon a time, the high school version of myself, had quite the crush on Chris Carrabba. If you don't know that he's the lead singer of a super amazing band known as Dashboard Confessional, I question our friendship. I really do.

I used to listen to all of their albums fairly religiously. I  haven't ever seen them play live, but I purchased the MTV Unplugged album and it was the next closest thing. 
They went on some weird hiatus and I just assumed that was it, I would never get to see them live and I wouldn't ever get to see Chris in person. My little teenage emo self was sad. 

Then, on an absolute fluke, I heard second hand that Dashboard Confessional was going on tour again. Wait, what? Is it 1997 and I don't know it? Has Britney done it again? Is Christina trying to get rubbed like a genie in a bottle? Do they even sell VANS sneakers to moms in mini vans anymore? 

I obviously went online immediately and YES. YES, they were going on tour. Not only were they going on tour, they were coming to Minneapolis at the end of June, and come hell or high water, I was going to go. You damn right. 

Thankfully, my friend Amy loves Dashboard Confessional as well and so the plan was in place. 


I see they are going on tour with Third Eye Blind and Augustana. Just... just shut the front door. My little inner teenage emo can't even handle what is going to go down on Sunday. Yeah, this Sunday, folks. 

Because anyone who knew me in 10th grade knew that I had a thing for Stephen Jenkins as well. 
You knew that Stephen was just a little bit unhinged and if you ever really went out with him, you'd end up at a really sketchy party, he'd wind up drunk, and you'd convince yourself he really DID love you and then you'd cry for months when you never saw or heard from  him again. Stephen is that guy. But my favorite Third Eye Blind memory was 10th grade gym class, just before the school year was done. I am not athletic in any way, so if I could get out of doing actual activity during gym class? All in. This particular day it was super nice out, so we had gym outside and I was in the group that was supposed to walk the track. Instead, we laid in the field with dandelions in our hair and sang "Semi-Charmed Life". But later in that year, when the boy I liked got a girl friend and totally stopped talking to me, I would sing "How's It Going To Be" while riding the city bus with my Sony Discman in my lap. Thankfully, the only people riding the bus on the weekend were a schizophrenic guy who didn't seem to hear me and this other guy who always slept so I'm not sure what his gig was. Needless to say, they never seemed to mind my random singing. 

Chris, though, is the guy who would totally write you angsty love songs and convince you to shave your head because bald is beautiful and tattoo song lyrics all over your body. I mean, I'd totally do that. 

And Augustana? My word. I absolutely love the song "Fire" and I have been known to bust that out while walking through my neighborhood. My lungs cannot do that last note though, and everyone on East Fourth Street can confirm that. 

So on Sunday, I am going to skip out of my house, leave all three kids in Matt's hands, and drive to Minneapolis. I'm meeting up with Amy and her boyfriend Brian, and we're going to watch Dashboard Confessional, Third Eye Blind, and Augustana play. It is going to be glorious. I can't even handle my excitement right now. 

Even if I'll likely be wearing my maternity jeans with the stretched out belly band thing and a shirt that doesn't quite fit because it's all I have. But by god, I shall dig out my black and white VANS for the occasion. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Best Summer I Ever Had

It's really weird but summer always makes me feel all nostalgic. Maybe it's the sunshine giving me vitamin D, or maybe it's the warmer weather. I was born in Florida and I think that really makes a difference in my well being, I am meant to be in sunshine and summer time mode all year long. Unfortunately, living in the wasteland that is northern Wisconsin, I'm lucky if I get this for three months out of the year. So during those three, very short months, I try to take advantage of as much sunshine as I possibly can.

But every summer I get to thinking about previous summers and I'm always drawn to a select handful that I can say were beyond amazing, all for different reasons, but there is one that is an absolute stand out, always will be.

The year was 1996. I had just turned 14, it was the summer before my freshman year of high school. At the end of 7th grade, my family had moved from Cloquet, Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin. It was only a half  hour away, but that meant I'd be going to a new middle school (horrific) and I'd have no friends. As a back story, I grew up in Florida and at age 9, we moved from there to the back woods of Cloquet, and it was horrible. Absolutely horrible. It took me years to make any friends there and by the time I had one really great one, Jessica, we were moving again and to say I was angry is an understatement.


So we moved to Superior and I started school at a terrible middle school where literally everyone was either high all of the time, trying to be thugs (which is laughable because we're in Wisconsin, how thug can you really be), or kids who you knew would grow up to be losers or teenage parents. And for the most part, that's basically what  happened to the kids I went to middle school with, save for a few who have gone on to do some pretty great things in life and are lovely people. But there was one girl who was quirky and cool, she didn't fit into any one group and was just the coolest ever.

Her name was Allena.

I knew from the moment I met her that I absolutely had to be her friend because I was sure that she was going to be a big part of my formative years. And I was totally right.

We didn't hit it off right away. She was very into theater and band, which neither were my thing. I actually didn't have a thing. I just did my school work. But I think a mutual dislike for a few other girls is what made us friends. Those girls were straight up mean to us and while I was always the kid who took things to heart, Allena never let it bother her. If she did, she was excellent at hiding it, and I wanted to be like her.

After eighth grade, we had become really good friends. That summer before high school was all about her and I. We hung out pretty much every single day. She lived right by the high school, I was on the other end of town, so I would ride my bike over 4 miles one way to hang out with her. Our big deal was getting ready for Spartan Camp, which is like a one day deal at the end of summer where you got a tour of the high school, your schedule, did picture day, and every incoming freshman looked forward to it. We had big ideas that if we just made a really great impression on that day, we'd be set for our high school careers.

Which is not at all what happened, BUT the months leading up to it were epic.

And by epic, I mean we were too cool for everyone. This was the era of AOL being new and we would hoard the free minute discs that we'd all get in the mail so we could go online at her house. My parents were super strict about it, but her mom was super cool and let us be online ALL of the time. We would go into AOL and Yahoo chat rooms and that summer, she had Ian and I had a guy named Brandon who would email us constantly. I don't remember much about her Ian, but I remember Brandon. To this day, I still remember Brandon. I can vaguely remember what he looks like, but what I do remember is that he was in a band, he was a singer/songwriter, and he would mail me mixtapes and guitar picks. He'd write me the best letters, even better than his emails, and I thought FOR SURE I'd run away with him.

(Side note: so every time I hear these stories of girls running away and never being seen again? I can sympathize because I absolutely remember what that felt like, to feel like a boy thought you were the best ever. In hindsight, if Brandon ever showed up where I lived, I would have gone with him. I'm sure of it.)

But when we couldn't be online, we would be watching Alternative Nation on MTV, and she would transfer the songs onto tapes for us. Her parents were going through a divorce, so sometimes we'd go with her dad and he'd take us to places in Duluth and we'd hang out. One particularly great day, we made paper airplanes all morning and her dad took us to Enger Tower and we tossed them all off the top of the tower. Afterwards we had lunch at her grandma's, while painting our nails, and painting rocks with nail polish, all while completely jamming out as loud as her grandma would let us to The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness records, because we were HUGE fans of Billy Corgan.

Our entire summer was dedicated to alternative music, band t-shirts from Hot Topic, bizarre accessories from Claire's, internet chat rooms and oh yes, the most memorable four mile walk to my house.

You see, we made it to Spartan Camp. We got ourselves ready for picture day and my hair was JACKED UP by the time we got there so my 9th grade picture is terrible. Absolutely terrible. But what wasn't terrible was the walk back to my house. We spent the night before Spartan Camp at her house, but the day of was going to be spent at my house. Our parents had to work and we didn't have money for the bus, so the only way to get from one house to the next was to walk. We decided the best way to do this, while carrying all of my sleepover stuff and her sleepover stuff, was to walk four miles, on a hot August day, wearing jackets, taking the route furthest away from where anyone we'd know would drive by. Which meant walking along the corridor where the oil refinery is.

Now, walking alongside an oil refinery, with no water and wearing a jacket, probably screwed us up. Maybe it was the smell, maybe it was heat exhaustion, I don't know. What I do know is that to pass the time we sang Everclear's "Santa Monica" over and over again, and along the way picked up a 2x4 chunk of wood, a hubcap, and a bunch of cat tails from the swamp. I have no idea why we felt the need to pick this random crap off the side of the road but we did. Every time I hear that song, I am reminded of the longest walk of my life and Allena.

Allena moved away shortly after we started 10th grade. Not having her for the rest of high school was so hard. I made some new friends, but none of them were like Allena. We've kept in touch over the years, and she's in Texas now. I miss her like mad and I wonder what life would be like if she hadn't moved away. But every time I hear "Santa Monica", or I drive by her old house, or even the refinery, I think of her. I really hope someday my kids have a friend like Allena because it truly made for one of the best summers of my life.

Survive the Night

I apparently signed up to review this book. Fortunately, it was relatively short.

Survive the Night - Danielle Vega
Survive the Night
We're all gonna die down here. . . .
Julie lies dead and disemboweled in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Her friends think she’s just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music.
In a tunnel nearby, Casey regrets coming to Survive the Night, the all-night underground rave in the New York City subway. Her best friend Shana talked her into it, even though Casey just got out of rehab. Alone and lost in the dark, creepy tunnels, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse . . .
. . . until she comes across Julie’s body, and the party turns deadly.
Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway system, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.
They’re being hunted.
Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to her friend’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here. . . .” in this bone-chilling sophmore novel by the acclaimed author of The Merciless.

It is going to be hard to write this review without spoilers because honestly. HONESTLY, this book was absolutely terrible. Usually I'm all for a good YA book because usually they end up being pretty decent, if not a bit hokey. I feel like if you start a YA book you have to assume it's going to be a little hokey and that's OK. What isn't OK is when the story builds and it feels like the author has decided to say "oh to hell with it" and give up. And not just regular give up, like leave a bunch of loose ends, but to give you an ending so completely ridiculous you swear you've walked into a really lame horror movie. 

And I say this as a huge fan of R.L. Stine, but this book came off like a really bad Goosebumps novel. R.L. Stine had more action in his books aimed at elementary and middle school kids than this. Yeah, that's right, a murderous "thing" with tentacles is NOT SCARY. It's not even good plot material. It just is not. 

Now, I got hopeful when I started it because we have Casey, who was a typical all-American kid, who after a sports injury finds herself addicted to prescription pain medication. Mostly because she's found a loser friend, Shana, who is basically the friend we hope our children never, ever have. So Casey ends up in rehab, and during her first forays into the world post-rehab, she finds herself hanging out with Shana because Casey is basically oblivious to which friends are good and which ones are not. Anyways. So she's hanging out with her, along with a few others including her former boyfriend, Sam. 

Somehow, they hear about this "Survive the Night" party, which is essentially a rave in the underground system of New York city where it's like sewers and abandoned train tunnels. So they go, like completely irresponsible children, and (dun, dun, dun) people start dying. At first I was sure this would turn out as Casey relapsing and it all being a really terrible drug induced hallucination (which would have been cheap, but in hindsight, far better than what it actually was) but no. It's not that, and that's not even a spoiler, so calm down. 

What it ends up being is so incredibly stupid and awful that I won't even give it the dignity of a spoiler. I'll tell you one thing, if I had actually paid for this book I would have demanded a refund. Seriously. It was that terrible. Normally when I read a book and don't like it, I want to be able to suggest it to someone because surely someone else will love it, even if I didn't. The only group I think would love this are 15 year old girls who haven't read anything great. Just saying. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Paris Time Capsule

I am so in the mood for a good romance with a bit of mystery thrown in, and this one was such a treat to read.

Paris Time Capsule - Ella Carey
Paris Time Capsule
New York–based photographer Cat Jordan is ready to begin a new life with her successful, button-down boyfriend. But when she learns that she’s inherited the estate of a complete stranger—a woman named Isabelle de Florian—her life is turned upside down.
Cat arrives in Paris to find that she is now the owner of a perfectly preserved Belle Époque apartment in the ninth arrondissement, and that the Frenchwoman’s family knew nothing about this secret estate. Amid these strange developments, Cat is left with burning questions: Who was Isabelle de Florian? And why did she leave the inheritance to Cat instead of her own family?
As Cat travels France in search of answers, she feels her grasp on her New York life starting to slip. With long-buried secrets coming to light and an attraction to Isabelle de Florian’s grandson growing too intense to ignore, Cat will have to decide what to let go of, and what to claim as her own.
The amazing thing about this book is that it's so great and hard to put down, and it's from a debut author. So that alone is kind of fantastic. The other great thing? Is that having never been to Paris, let alone France, it makes me want to travel there just to get an idea of how overwhelming it would have all been for Cat. 
Cat, an orphaned New Yorker who is living a pretty great life with her boyfriend, Christian is surprised one day by a package from France delivered at her door. Right from the beginning, Christian and Cat don't seem like they fit together, he's a socialite working his way up the ladder as a merchant banker and Cat hates the current job she has and would love to have her own photography and art studio, and loves all things vintage. Anyways. She gets this package and after making some calls, is told she actually has to come to France to get any more details and an explanation for the key in the package. 
As it turns out, her grandmother's friend has passed away and seemingly left her entire estate to Cat. Well, really to her grandmother Virginia, but she passed away as has Cat's mother Bonnie, so it's then left to Cat. Once she goes to the apartment left to her, she meets the grandson of the owner. Clearly, he's French and gorgeous, and not quite angry that it's been left to Cat but just as curious as she to find out why. Upon going into the apartment, which clearly had not been entered since the 1940's, they are literally stepping into time. The entire apartment is furnished with valuable antiques and possibly a one of a kind, prized painting worth millions. Cat is overwhelmed, as is Loic (the grandson), and she insists that she not keep it, clearly it was meant to remain in the family. 
And so begins the untangling of this mystery. 
So much history about social norms back when this would have been a well lived in apartment, the war at the time and the fear and uncertainty residents had- would Nazi Germany invade France and if they did, would they be able to leave in time? 
All the while we have a bubbling romance between Cat and Loic, while Cat struggles with her upcoming wedding to Christian. 
I can't get into too much more without completely ruining the last third of the book but it is lovely. It's so great, and the answer to the mystery is absolutely fascinating. To think of the fear that Loic's grandmother would have felt given the circumstances she found herself in, the actions she took from then on make absolute sense. It makes you think none of us really know our own history- how can we be sure what we were told is truth? 
Right now this is FREE at a Kindle Limited Edition, so if you are looking for a book rich in history, this is definitely something you should add to your list. There is also a Facebook page for the book as well as a website (which is absolutely fascinating with some photos to give you a better visualization while reading). 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Post-Partum Care & Follow Up. Everything you actually need to know.

I remember having my first baby and thinking that post-partum care wasn't going to be a big deal. I just assumed that you push the baby out and bam, you're done. Sure- you'll get your period and it's probably going to be messy, but that was it.

As it turns out, that's a super fun chapter that should be crucial in the What to Expect When You're Expecting books and they really gloss over it. To say I was grossly unprepared is an absolute understatement. Add that to the fact that I was a level four tear, and I was a hot, waddling mess.

(Disclaimer: If you don't know what a level four tear is, I highly advise that you do not look for a Google image, instead let me just tell you it means you tear from front to back. What once was two very separate holes essentially becomes a uni-hole and you just hope your doctor is really great at stitches.)

The doctor who delivered Olivia had been delivering babies for over 30 years and had only seen that happen one other time. I can't even say Olivia was a large baby, she was only 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Just an average, normal sized peanut. Yet, that girl made me a uni-hole. That right there should have been a sign of all to come.

But I left the hospital with a list of items I would need to care for all of the stitches that gave me two holes versus uni-hole and a peri bottle.

What's a peri bottle? Oh lambs.
This is a peri bottle. If you have stitches especially, you can say good bye to toilet paper for awhile. Oh yes. You don't get to use toilet paper for at least a couple of weeks, ideally. Every time you go to the bathroom, pee or poop, you have to rely on this bottle to clean yourself. That's it. A squirt bottle of water. They'll tell you "room temperature" and I'll tell you warmer than that. Cold water on your bits is not a good feeling. Nor is scalding hot water, so make sure your partner understands the difference between scalding hot and just right. You may need to insist you squirt the too hot water on their parts for them to fully understand what is and is not acceptable. Matt has a firm grasp on what is acceptable now.

You'll also need witch hazel pads. Even if you don't have hemorrhoids.
I swear to you, these give you 15 seconds of glory. A whole 15 seconds of soothing relief of your vagina hole. It's so great. I went through an entire container of these plus the ones I stole from the bathroom of the hospital. 

You also need pads. Kiss tampons goodbye, not like they would do you any good anyways. I don't care what anyone says, you need the overnight, extra absorbent pads. 
Anything less than this is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. The amount of fluid and uterine lining chunks that come out is just.... it's gross. It's gross and every trip to the bathroom is like gearing for battle. Will you be able to get your mesh underwear off to sit down, while preparing your squirt bottle, without getting anything around the toilet? I hope so because it's not easy to squat or bend over to clean the toilet or floor. 

Wait, mesh underwear you say? 
Yeah, look at these babies. If you play your cards right, you might get to take a couple extra pairs home with you. The bonus is that this is not a turn on for any guy, so you won't have to worry about your partner bugging you about sex anytime soon. These are worse than granny panties. But Sara, that looks a bit overkill- surely you don't need a pad like that. 

Yes, you do. Just get used to the disgusting amount of fluid coming out of your body. Everything that nurtured your baby has to come out. Your baby has moved out, and it's furniture needs to come out too. Just like when you evict a squatter- it all has to go. Your regular period pad is not equipped to handle it. 

Oh, and don't forget your stool softener. 
Oh yes. Nobody really tells you that the first poop after having a baby is what I have always referred to as "birthing the phantom twin" because it truly is quite the experience. All on your own. It's the only other time where you will implement your labor breathing techniques long after the baby has been evicted. There are grab bars in the hospital bathrooms for a reason, ladies. They will give you these almost immediately after you have your baby and if you can at all control it, having two doses before trying to poop is ideal. But even then... breathe and grip the bar for dear life. 

But even after you come home, pooping is not always fun. The only down side is that moment when you realize you've been taking these for a week and you have that morning where it's like your body has saved the best for last and you have diarrhea, while holding a one week old baby during a feeding and trying desperately to fill your squirt bottle and wondering how clean your bathroom floor is because there's no way you can deal with the pad situation one handed and you might have to lay your baby down on the floor. That very much is a two hand job. 

Honestly, these are the only things I needed when I came home. Not including the pain killers because, surprise!!!, holding a baby and getting up/down, sitting, and laying can all cause your vagina to hurt so you will most definitely need them for at least a little while. 

Now I am seven weeks since having Penelope and I just had my follow up appointment today. She basically does a breast exam, feels your tummy area to make sure your uterus is back to normal, and does a quick vaginal exam. All of my stitches are gone, so that's good. I remember when I had Olivia they didn't all go away until closer to 12 weeks but also because I had a lot of them to fix my tear. This time I was only a level 2 tear, normal and not bad at all, so they are all healed up nicely. Thank goodness! Not that I'm trying to have sex right away. God no. Ugh. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

First Shoes: baby gift tutorial

I'm slowly getting back into crafting since having Penelope. Oddly enough, I feel more crafty in the summer than I do in the winter, which is weird because I'm stuck in the house all winter, you'd think I'd be gang busters with the crafty things. But no, I think between the kids being in school and obligations I have during the school year, I'm left with no time, energy, or brain activity to do any of it.

But I have a cousin having her first baby, so I thought, perfect gift idea: I'll make a shadow box for her first shoes. I had done this with Olivia and Jackson's shoes, and I have them hanging up in our hallway next to my absolute favorite pictures of them, both at 9 months. I have the things to make a box for Penelope as well, and I already know which shoes are going in.

Aren't these adorable? It's hard to tell, but the glass says "first shoes" using Making Memories rub on letters. Each box is painted to match the shoes, and the back board has a piece of matching pattern paper that coordinates with the shoes and paint. Also, I used rub on letters for their names and the  year they were born. It's a really simple craft, something you can make for a baby shower gift- who doesn't love a personalized gift?

To get started, you need a wooden shadow box. The ones I used for mine above weren't as deep as the one I found for the project I'm doing today. The box I have now is much more deep, which works out because then you don't have to worry about the shoes fitting. Olivia's box above could have been deeper, her shoes are kind of squished in there. So I recommend taking the shoes you are crafting around to make sure they will fit in the box.
Find a piece of pattern paper that compliments the shoes you are using, as well as paint for your box. Now, because my box is so deep, I had to decide if I was going to paint just the outside or if I would paint the insides as well. In the end, I decided to just paint the outside. I ended up doing two coats of pink acrylic paint and used a foam brush because it's what I had handy.
For the letters, I used Making Memories rub on alphabet letters. I didn't have enough of one letter font, so I ended up using one font for the name, one for "first shoes". Because the box is so deep, I decided to use the letters on the front of the glass so it would look like there was more depth to the project.

Once that was done, I adhered the pattern paper to the back board of the box, I used my regular scrapbook adhesive. You can also use Mod Podge, but because I used my last foam brush on the paint, I had to improvise. I also found a coordinating pattern paper to adhere to the sides of the box since I didn't paint, and I didn't want to see wood.
That's what it looks like with the shoes. Now, obviously you aren't going to gift this with the shoes adhered inside the box. I usually gift the shoes (obviously) with a very small tube of E6000. I find that a couple dabs of that holds the bottoms of the shoes to the inside of the box VERY well. So the parents can do that once the shoes no longer fit. And, the more worn the shoes are? The better.

The best thing? Is that if you put the name on the glass, and say... the parents chose to name their kid something else, you can rub the letters off with a razor blade and it's just fine. (Have fun with that, Stephanie and Kyle!!) HA!