Category Archives: Lifestyle Changes

The day after the day after tomorrow

This is the way we think now.

It’s the 10th of February, which means tomorrow is the 11th of February and tomorrow, our daughter would have been 19 months old. And I bet she would have been excited about meeting her baby brother.

With her, this adventure would have been so different. Our yearning for a second child would be different, certainly. But our anticipation, the excitement of possibly completing our family, the boy-girl duo that would most certainly have been best friends and trouble makers for life… well, all that would have been awfully different if Hudson’s life hadn’t been so tragically short.

But without her, this adventure has been just that – an adventure. Not better or worse, but its own special thing. Bullet’s arrival the day after the day after tomorrow is an important event, regardless of his sister’s legacy. You might say we wanted him more because his sister left so soon, and you might say we’ve better appreciated this pregnancy because we know how tragically a pregnancy can end, but bottom line:

Bullet gets his own fanfare.

With just 2 full days left to face before his arrival, I have so many competing emotions that it is physically depleting. Or maybe that’s just 38 weeks and change of pregnancy making me so exhausted.

The day after the day after tomorrow, we will meet our son and begin getting to know him all over again, his life outside of the womb so much different than the life inside. We’ll see who he looks like. We’ll discover his quirks, and see first hand the expressions that accompany his vigorous movements. We’ll be aware of his presence in such a different way – kicks and squirms inside of me becoming cries and gurgles on the outside.

We’ll raise him to be the best of both of us, and we’ll celebrate him in ways big and small over the course of his lifetime. We’ll see new sides of each other – and we’ll fall in love with all these aspects of each other just as we’ve fallen in love over and over again in the time since we’ve known each other.

The adventure doesn’t stop at arrival, I know. There will be a day that I feel guilty for wanting to a break from Bullet. There will be tears of frustration and tears of joy and probably a few barn-burner fights between the Hubs and I. It won’t be all sunshine and roses and kittens. There will be poop.

Lots and lots of poop.

But the day after the day after tomorrow, “Life as we Know It” gives way to “Life as it Will Be with Bullet”, and I cannot wait for that life to begin.

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Belly Photogs

I always have enjoyed getting my picture taken.

I have to like it, because my mother takes about a thousand pictures every time I see her.

I particularly like getting pictures of myself taken when I’m looking my most svelte. I had a particularly fit Summer 2011, for instance.

I like getting my picture taken less when I’m packing on extra pounds, or wearing B-team attire, or generally looking disheveled. Like in Summer 2012.

So why would I ask my husband for a maternity belly photoshoot as my birthday present? I’ve never weighed this much in my whole entire life, and I’m pregnant from my neck to my knees.

I’ll tell you why.

I may not love how I look pregnant, but I do love that right now, here in my big, jolly belly, is the addition to our family we’ve been dreaming about for the past 9 months. How can we not capture these moments?

I’ve been pretty diligent about taking a weekly photo of the Baby Dub bump, but for my birthday, The Hubs bought me a Belly and Newborn package from a lovely local photographer, Melissa McFadden. We had our pictures taken at Rooks Park, and brought along a few props for the pictures… feast your eyes on a few classics. These are the best pictures ever taken. Ever.

Countdown to the 4th

We have 11 days to go…

Every day I wake up could be the day we have our baby. It’s starting to get real real.

It’s unlike any other event in your life that you know will be huge. Your wedding day? Usually you have that on the calendar. Your graduation, job interviews, all those life changing days you can look to with anticipation have a real, live “launch” day.

Not so with your first baby.

The doctor informed me last week that they really prefer to let first time moms go into labor on their own, so we’re playing the waiting game. And I feel like I’m a ticking time bomb.

So what do you do in the last waning days of your life-before-baby?

You sleep in until 9 am. You make an epic breakfast with the help of The Hubs. You call your grandma, because you’re missing your grandpa’s memorial service today since the doctor doesn’t want you driving more than 1 hour away from the hospital. You put together a changing table, and you arrange and rearrange the baby room now that you have all the furniture in there. You watch a bunch of stuff about the Olympics and you cry for no reason. You rid the house of the excess of cardboard boxes that have accumulated since your baby shower. You let your husband take you out for dinner, because you never know the next time you’ll be able to just “Go Out Spontaneously”. You pick up a craft that you left unfinished… and then remember why you didn’t finish it… because it is BOOOOORRRRRING. You doddle around on Pinterest, and find a recipe for Slutty Brownies, and go to town specifically to buy the ingredients for Slutty Brownies, and make Slutty Brownies, and eat dessert way past your bedtime. You wonder occasionally what labor is going to be like. You sit in the baby room and just look around, imagining what it will be like to have a real live baby in there. You feel like maybe you’re wasting one of your last days of “freedom.” But then you remember that you’re 38.5 weeks pregnant, and you take a nap instead of worrying. You think about when your friends had their babies… were they early? Late? Right on time? Is there any correlation between gender of the baby and when they arrive in relation to their due date?  You let your husband fall asleep on the couch because who knows the next time that is going to be an option? You read a book. You stay up past 10.

At least, that’s what you do if you’re me.

It’s going to be quite an adventure, having a baby. We are getting so excited, and quite frankly, I think Baby Dub is itching to get out.

She’s pretty antsy in there.

About as antsy as we are out here.


The pregnant equivalent of the Murtaugh List

Anybody else watch “How I met your Mother”?

There’s an episode called “Murtaugh.” Murtaugh is a character from Lethal Weapon, and has a famous line:

“I’m getting too old for this shit.”

One character on the show has a Murtaugh List – a list of “stuff” he’s too old for. Things like getting his ears pierced, and going to a rave.

I’d like to make a pregnant equivalent of the Murtaugh List… because, I’m getting too pregnant for this shit.

Presently on the list;

bending over to buckle the backs of my sandals
push ups
bachelorette parties

This past weekend, we celebrated my lovely sister’s bachelorette weekend. Her wedding isn’t until late July, but considering our impending new addition and the limitations of what my body will be capable of come July, we decided to do the celebration sooner rather than later.

Hello everybody! I’ll be your designated driver for the weekend.

I don’t know if you know my sister, but… she’s kind of a big deal.

People know her.

Not one, but TWO local businesses made special accommodations for us on a busy graduation weekend… JUST because this was for my sister.

“I couldn’t have made this reservation if it wasn’t for your sister.”

“We don’t usually reserve tables on a Saturday night anyway… but for your sister…”

I hope she reads this and immediately feels special.

She’s a local celeb.

Being as such, she is quite popular and had many friends to include at the festivities. It was a weekend long bonanza with various parties coming and going and numerous locations (some of which fell through at the last minute) and let’s just say that this pregnant lady was hoofin’ it pretty good around Walla Walla to make sure things were organized and everybody knew where they needed to be and when.

Is this what it is like to have kids?

When you’re visibly, noticeably, unavoidably pregnant, and everybody else is there to uh… get DOWN… you become acutely aware of a few things.

#1. Your boobs are bigger than anyone else’s that anyone has ever seen. Be prepared to talk about them.

Drunk people have no filter. So as our first night of fun progressed, several of my sister’s friends made louder and louder comments about my growing bosom.

People I don’t know.

And once they realized I could hear them, they started to ask me questions about them.


Yes, me and my cups are traveling aggressively towards the end of the alphabet. Let’s all discuss over drinks and charcuterie.

#2. Your belly holds magical powers and, like Abu in the Cave of Wonders, people just can’t resist the insatiable urge to touch.

Dude. Hands off.

I realize that you’ve been eyeballing me and this gut all night. I know that my bright yellow top is doing nothing but drawing attention to the contours of my ever-moving stomach. But for reals dude. No touchy.

People want to grope you when you’re pregnant, especially people who have been pregnant before. And drunk people are way more brazen than normal people. Normally self-respecting adults lose all sense of propriety when inebriated and in the presence of a gloriously pregnant woman.

But they also have short attention spans.

So it’s a quick and painless grope session.

#3. Drinking in restaurants and bars is REALLY expensive. 

#3a. Also, pregnant ladies get more free drinks in bars than bachelorettes.

I got mocktails sent my way all weekend, and none of them showed up on the bill. I drank more pomegranate juice last weekend than I’ll ever drink for the rest of my life.

Something about being pregnant AND tolerant AND the designated driver AND still making an effort makes the bartenders take pity on you, I think. And mocktails are pretty awesome, ladies.

They still feel special, even without the booze and umbrella.

I think that I’ll miss mocktails when I HAVE Baby Dub more than I’ve missed cocktails during my pregnancy.

And I’ll certainly miss the cheap tab at the end of the night.

#4. Pregnant-Fabulous and Regular-Fabulous are two different things.

I wore what I consider to be a fabulous maxi-dress out to a fancy restaurant on Saturday night.

And the waiter couldn’t tell I was pregnant.

I arrived at the restaurant first to make sure that the reservation was okay and see how much room we had (a-hem… we had PLENTY of room). Our dedicated waiter came to check on me and introduce himself. And he offered me a cocktail.

“No thanks,” I said, patting my belly pretty obviously. “I think I’ll be tapping out of the cocktails tonight… and for the next couple of weeks.”

My sister-in-law-to-be was in the bar and overheard the waiter go back and tell the bartender, “Well, the hostess of our bachelorette party is being VERY responsible. She’s not drinking or anything, she must want to keep it together for the group.”

No, buddy. I’m just 8 months pregnant.

That maxi-dress is out of the rotation.

#5. Family first

My sister is one of the most fantastic people I know.  I had a blast getting to know some of her friends over the weekend, and seeing her in her element, and showering her with affection and hopefully making her feel special.

For her, I’ll stay up past 11.

Two nights in a row was pushing it.

Let’s add that to the Pregnant Murtaugh List. Staying up past 11 two nights in a row?

I’m definitely getting too pregnant for that shit.

The Registry – aka Horror of Horrors

According to Momma Sue, 5 items on your baby registry is not enough.

Evidently, a crib and a changing table is not the full extent of what you need when you bring your firstborn home.

Registering for baby stuff is not as much fun as shopping online should be.There are too many options.

I went to a baby shower this weekend, and heard repeatedly from the “Been-There, Done That” Mom contingent “They didn’t have those when I had my kids,” or “They sure have come along way since I was pregnant.”

True. Fair.

But what all these options and all these contraptions do is confuse and befuddle the novice mom-to-be who wants the best for her baby.

There is just not enough time in my life to research all the baby products that are available. At some point you must pull the trigger.

We don’t even have a baby to feed yet. How are we supposed to know what kind of bottle she’ll like?

It’s totally overwhelming and frustrating to register, and when you have to register online, add about 2X the confusion and frustration factor. You can’t try out the stroller to see how it feels. You can’t pick up the car seat to see if it’s even humanly possible. You can’t hear the song the Baby Einstein orchestra plays to see if it will, indeed, make your baby a genius.

But when your sister and your mom are throwing you a baby shower, yes, you do have to have a registry, and no, evidently, it cannot consist solely of the place your child will sleep and a Belly Bandit (for you to get your body back).

So I toughed it out not once but twice. We registered at Target and at Babies R Us. And when I say “we” I really do mean “we”. While working on the registry one evening, the quantity and volume of expletives coming from my corner of the living room became too much to ignore, and The Hubs took over for a while.

In true “Be Prepared” style, Mr. Dub indiscriminately added just about every item that the Babies R Us Registry Builder tool suggested. When I later reviewed his handiwork, I found that we had registered for about 1000 baby hangers, two jogging strollers, toys she won’t use until she’s in the first grade, and several varieties of lotion and cream, the purposes of which I am not 100% sure were clear to him when he added them to our “Needs” list.

So, we’ll be prepared.

Thank goodness for Facebook.

I cried out for help, and moms the interweb-over answered my call.

Recommendations of the best brands, must-haves, life-savers and baby-whispering products came flooding in, and I used this advice to shape the things I added to Baby Dub’s registry. Several friends still had their registries up so I was able to use them as inspiration.

For the first time ever, Facebook saved me some time.

For first-timers everywhere, I have one or two pieces of advice when you set about the daunting task of registering for your new little human.

#1. If at all possible, start your registry AT THE STORE.

If you can’t touch it, you don’t know if you want your baby in it. The internet is tricky and full of deceit – colors, sizes, sturdiness, all can be warped through the “magic” of technology. The big purchases, like the crib, your stroller, car seat, even your baby monitor, require the Touch and See test, and that can’t be replicated online.

#2. Enlist the help of experts.

Talk to your friends who have had kids recently. See if their registries are still available to peruse. Post a desperate comment on Facebook and see how many wonderful and thoughtful friends share their must-have list. It’s doing online reviews one better, because you know the people and see their still-alive-and-healthy babies/kids as proof that the product did not have some hidden flaw that didn’t make the online review scene.

#3. Don’t stress out as much as I did.

You will probably be overwhelmed and you might feel inadequate, but as one wise woman informed me, “All you really need is diapers and a car seat. And you only need the car seat to get her home.” Keep it simple for yourself. You’ll probably end up with a few items that you have to return, and a few items that you use once and discard, and you will come to grips with this and you will sleep better at night.

Follow these tips, and your house will be loud-expletive-free!

At least when it comes to your internet shopping time.

I cannot make any guarantees on other times.

Team work

My husband and I have two excellent examples of parenting as a team to look at. And it sounds like we are going to need to team up a lot during this whole journey called “parenting”.

I am a fairly competitive person. In high school, I worked at Sam Goody and made it a point to sell the crap out of Replay cards. In college you did not want to play Dutch Blitz with me.

I boxed out.

In my adult years, I have to say the competitive streak has not died down much. But I have to also say that I have met my match.

My husband is also competitive, equally or more so than I. We might have a competition later over who is more competitive.

But together we are pretty unstoppable. When we aren’t trying to beat each other at something, we are actually working together, and we are just as good at that as we are at trying to be better than the other at something.

There will be plenty to get competitive over as parents.

Who changes a faster diaper.

Who puts the baby to sleep the quickest.

Who figures out how to swaddle first.

There will be things each of us just owns, with no need or room for competition.

For instance, food supply will likely be my territory.

Building baby furniture is likely The Hub’s department.

But the whole shebang of creating this little life form was a team effort, and we both know we have to keep working together to ensure she has as few barriers to awesomeness as humanly possible.

If I were picking parenting teams, my husband would absolutely be my first pick. And you know how I like to win.

The Push Present

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m in the market for something shiny.

I hear tell of this thing called a “push present.” My sister-in-law did me the favor of informing the Hubs what this is (thanks, SIL!).

And now I will inform you – in case you didn’t know.

As reward for, a-hem, pushing out our newest human being, the Hubs is responsible for regaling me with a present in the form of sparkling bauble, preferably of the diamond variety (but other extravagances will do).

I do not know the first thing about diamonds, people.

Other than that they are a girl’s best friend.

When the Hubs decided to tackle the task of picking out a ring with which to pop “the question”, I did not know my ring size. I did not know the “four Cs”. I left him completely and utterly on his own.

He did just fine, by the way.

I still don’t have a wedding band, folks. I love my ring just as it is. I don’t have the diamond lust to find a perfect band to go with it. I’m lazy with jewels. I am a precious gem commitment-phobe. I can’t pull the trigger on the pricey gemstones.

That’s what husbands are for.

When I look at ticket prices for some of these baubles, I am aghast. I immediately do the math “That’s two car payments” or “That’s a weekend in Bend” or “That’s a heck of a shopping spree.” There are just so many other things I can think of that that much money could go toward.

Even, more responsibly, “That’s a downpayment on Baby Dub’s college tuition.”

What I really want for a push present is a babymoon.

Did I just blow your mind?

I don’t want a bauble. I want to spend special moments and experiences with the Hubs before we have this new responsibility to totally distract us from each other for the next 18 years.

I don’t just love my husband, people. I REALLY like him. I enjoy spending time with this guy. Have you ever met my husband? He’s a freakin’ blast. When Baby Dub arrives, she’s going to be so awesome I can hardly stand it (that’s a given). But she’s also going to be lots of work, and responsibility.

We can’t just leave her in the car and crack the window.

The closer we get to July 4, the harder it is going to be to get away. Doc says I can travel – but I’ve already shared with you my lack of desire to go anywhere on an airplane. 

So I’m not dreaming of white sandy beaches, or the dream getaway to Australia, or a Mediterranean cruise. I just want a long weekend somewhere within reasonable driving distance where I can see something cool, do something cool, and max and relax with the big guy.

Maybe more than one long weekend.

If you see any bomb Groupon deals, pass them my way. Better yet, send ’em in the Hubs’ direction.

Not that I’d turn up my nose to a good old fashioned diamond.

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Babies are getting way less scary

This weekend I held the smallest baby I’ve held so far.

My dear friend Lisa gave birth Friday to a gorgeous baby boy, and I got to meet him and hold him as he crossed the threshold into his 1 day birthday.

Two years ago, the smallest baby I had held was 3 weeks old or so. A year ago, I held a 5 day old. And now, Brand New New Borns aren’t even that scary! It is likely that the next youngest baby I’ll ever hold is my own. How’s that for having your mind blown?

People know I’m not a baby person. I don’t reach for the newborn (normally). I don’t volunteer to hold your baby. I’ve always felt very strongly that babies are the best judges of character, and that they begin judging you the moment they are in your arms. And I’ve always felt that the babies are thinking “You’re going to be a mediocre parent” when I am holding them. Likely because I’m so tense I can barely relax my shoulders after I surrender the baby back to its mother or the next volunteer.

But lately, I’m much less intimidated by babies. Their judging eyes are not going to phase me, because whether they think I’ll be a marginal parent is inconsequential. I’m going to be the best parent, and the only person who needs to think that is Baby Dub (and maybe The Hubs).

I held this Brand New New Born for a while, in varying positions, while moving around. I passed the BNNB off to various other parties in varying degrees of standing/sitting. I watched with delight as one of my oldest friends made the transition to parenthood and I got very, very excited about the journey I get to take with my husband and Baby Dub.

When you know you’re getting your own baby soon, you become more observant too. I spent several hours with Lisa, her husband and their amazing newborn, and while I was there, I was taking in some serious details, because I need to be prepared for this.

For instance: It appears that everybody in the medical professional makes the assumption that you know nothing about babies when they come in to talk to you. If you are my beautiful friend, you handle this very gracefully. I envision myself being much less graceful.**

Another thing you notice. Nobody knows exactly what they are doing, and it doesn’t matter. You might not know the best way to swaddle a baby yet, but neither does the old woman who comes in to give the baby a hearing test. So you laugh at her a little bit (silently, of course) as she struggles to find the light switch in the room, “Because the baby needs more darkness to fall asleep, and he can’t have his hands by his face, either.”

And you hold the BNNB until he falls asleep and you feel as though you’ve conquered the world, because this particular baby must know that you’re going to be okay at this if he’s going to trust you enough to fall asleep in your arms. VICTORY!

Brand new babies, I have conquered the fear. You no longer intimidate me. I know I can handle you. And what you think doesn’t matter to me as much as what the little fetus I’m brewing up at the moment thinks (although I am glad that I have bonded with Lisa’s baby, because he’ll likely be around for many of Baby Dub’s life events…). And I’ve got a few more months to prepare for Baby Dub’s arrival. Come July, I’m going to be like a modern day Baby Mamma Grace Kelly.

Bring it on.

**In comparison to Lisa, it is likely that most of my pregnancy and “giving birth” experience will be handled with less grace. Alas.

Maternity jeans? Try MIRACLE jeans! Why you must bring your mother maternity shopping with you…

My new favorite pregnancy discovery? Maternity jeans.

These gorgeous puppies have a stretchy panel where your uncomfortable zipper, button and muffin-top emphasizing waist band used to be.

Suck it, regular jeans. I hereby banish all my pairs to the “Next Fall” bin because I ain’t wearing ’em again until after this Baby arrives.

I thought Belly Bands were sweet. This is the next level, folks.

Of course, Belly Bands are like, $20 a pop. Maternity jeans? Add a zero at the end there.

I did NOT want to buy pregnant lady pants. I found the whole concept of buying a maternity wardrobe to be rather depressing.

This is why you must always bring your mother shopping with you. I would never have ventured past the entrance of Pea in a Pod were it not for Momma Sue.

“They didn’t have these when I was pregnant. We better just check it out.”

Fair warning? Maternity clothes are pricey. Pricey pricey pricey. I do not recommend spending an excessive amount of money on a maternity wardrobe unless you intend to be impregnated for the next 4 years consecutively. Gross.

But I do recommend getting a pair of nice maternity jeans, because I am wearing mine right now and they are magic pants.

Shopping for maternity clothes requires a mother present. Or a matronly friend. You need somebody there to help you scour the clearance racks – which are so jam packed you need two hands to shove the hangers over so you can even see what is on the freakin’ hanger you’re after. You need a helping hand to carry your pile of large flowy tops to the dressing room. You need a listening ear while you sweat profusely trying to hop into the next pair of pants. Do not make this trek alone, pregnant friends.

I also highly recommend a mother’s presence because mothers have awesome stories to tell you about what they wore when they were pregnant. My mother, for instance, made herself a pair of red velvet overalls.

Just imagine it. You love it, don’t you? Now go get your own mother and find out what she wore when she was “with child”. And then shop for something ever-so-much-more-trendy than that. And share a laugh with your mom. She worked hard to bring you into this world.

Shopping for maternity clothing is a not-quite-pleasant task. You’ll be astonished at the price tags on most of the stuff you eyeball in a specialty store – I bought regular priced maternity jeans but snagged some great bargains on tops off the clearance rack. And then you’ll be depressed that Pea in a Pod, the store that is supposed to have everything for the expanding pregnant lady, does not carry a bra size even close to yours. As you’re checking out, you will likely see somebody else that is sporting much trendier trends than you, looking like the “It” pregnant girl and inevitably making you feel inferior.

But then your mom is there, volunteering to buy  your first pair of maternity jeans “Because I WANT to.” And your mother is there to be appalled with you that Pea in a Pod caps their bra sizes at DD. You mom is right at your side when you catch sight of “It” pregnant girl, jumping in and distracting you with a description of her favorite maternity pants that were white with a series of expanding zippers.

My two rules for maternity clothes shopping?

#1. Buy some maternity, er, miracle, er, MAGIC jeans.

#2. Bring your mother.

For that moment when a gut becomes a bump

In what was supposed to be a celebration of the news of Baby Dub’s gender, The Hubs and I went out for a fancy dinner last night. Of course, it was a consolation prize for a day of disappointment, but that’s in the past now.

Going to a fancy dinner is MY excuse to dress up a little.

But as it turns out, I am officially past the point of being able to wear my pre-pregnancy “fancy pants.”

After attempting several “looks” – including seriously considering wearing a pair of The Hub’s dress pants – I finally decided to make good use of my “Belly Band” and wear my black dress pants… BARELY ZIPPED. We’re talking not even halfway. The fabulous halter top I had purchased pre-preggers (that was nice and flouncy in the middle, perfectly forgiving of the bump… 3 weeks ago) has also been relegated to the “after baby” bin. I nearly went out in barely zipped fancy pants and a baggy teeshirt.


Ladies and gents, the gut is officially a bump, and I have no clothes that fit.

I first started to realize this was going down over the weekend, when I attempted to squeeze into a pair of just-washed jeans that I smartly let air-dry to prevent shrinkage. I successfully pushed all my necessary bits into the jeans, but was forced to wear a particularly “blouse-y” top to cover up the mess that was happening around the waist line. And then I didn’t take off my empire waisted jacket all day.

At ALMOST 18 weeks, is it time to succumb and buy some maternity clothes?

I stubbornly have refused to this point. Instead, my MO has been to let my clothes “grow with me” by not going longer than a week without wearing a particular wardrobe staple (Ah-hem, jeans I so foolishly washed last week). I guarantee that anything I haven’t worn in the last week will NOT button over the bump today.

Most of the time, I would welcome any situation where I absolutely NEED to go shopping. But today, it feels a little like adding insult to injury. I wonder how creative I can get with my current wardrobe staples? I’ve made it almost halfway without purchasing any maternity clothes… can I go another 4 weeks? 6? Once the summer rolls around, and this belly is full-blown, I can probably start to get away with skirts and dresses from last summer. Can I make it that long?

My biggest fear is succumbing to the every-day temptation to just wear those stretchy yoga pants to work. “But they’re SOOOOOOO comfortable,” my inner voice says. And my pride responds, “I’m not ready to tell the world I’ve given up.”

Yesterday’s doctor appointment was a bit of an eye opener for me, as we listened to the baby’s heartbeat. Baby Dub likes to hang out around my pelvic bone area still… so when I force myself into those barely-zippable pre-pregger pants I am not just potentially suffocating myself, I’m smashing Baby Dub! Impinging on his/her space to float around and do ninja flips and stuff.

When it was just me that was suffering, it was fine. But now that I know I’m restricting Baby Dub’s play area, I think I might need to go shopping. Yes, NEED.

The “After Baby” bin is about to fill up. I’ll miss you, fancy pants.