A Baby Guess Contest & Giveaway

I love guessing. I hope you do too.

In one week, we find out if Baby Siders is a boy or a girl, and while I have my suspicions – not telling! – I sure am stumped.

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So which one will it be? Boy or girl? What do you think?

Submit your guess on Twitter or Facebook by Monday, 25 November. Guess correctly and your name will be entered into a random drawing for a $30 Amazon giftcard. Just in time to help (a little) with Holiday shopping.

Gender and winner’s name will be announced via blog, Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday, 27 November.

One guess per person, please.

{Think the impossible might just be something no one has ever done yet? Me too. Dream along with me, and get a free copy of Dream or Die at its release by subscribing here, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.}

Three Years of Wonderful: Happy Birthday, John

Today is my son’s third birthday. I can hardly believe he is three. Three, people. As in, more than one year old. 

Three years ago today, this was us, tired, happy and a little swollen:

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I’m in major Mom-Nostalgia Brain over here. It’s a serious condition. Last night at dinner, I flipped through photos of him as a baby while he was sitting right next to me. I kept showing him “Baby John” and gushing about “how cute and teeny you were”.

Then we sang him “Happy Birthday” and he would give us the big, long hugs, and say, “Thank you, Mom”, “Thank you, Dad”. And then ask us to sing it again.

Oh my, I love that kid!

I’m so thankful to be pregnant because I am seriously missing the goodness of tiny babyness, even though it is so so hard some days.

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Me and John doing tummy time. Aren’t we adorable? 

Since John is three, I’m featuring three of favorite posts about him today:

1. John’s birth story: A natural birth I had to fight for, and John’s first week of life. (Spoiler alert: it involves a lot of crying, from me.)

2. 9 Reasons I like being a Mom

3. You’re Two and I Love It: 50 Favorite Things About My Toddler

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Happy Birthday, John! You make my life so much better. I learn about generosity and forgiveness and love and effortless joy from you. I wish I was the Mom you deserve all the time, but I know we are growing up together. And that’s a good thing too.

May you have many, many more years crammed full and overflowing with love and wonder and brilliance and joy and laughter and discovery and God! You are loved far more than you know.

Love, your Mama.

#NewMusicMonday: Vineyard

Today’s feature is Vineyard, a Midwest-based, folk-rock band, fresh out of the studio with their lively, experimental E.P., Other Girls. The album displays the group’s versatile skill at blending musical styles. Sound of Reminiscence features a driving rock rhythm that sweeps you up in the moment. The record’s first song, Used, however, croons melancholy break-up lyrics that don’t bum you out, with the light-hearted sound of a banjo and drums who don’t seem to have their hearts broken. Preview and download everything Vineyard on iTunes here.

See? A little bit rock, a little bit country. That’s how we roll out here in the Midwest. And these boys look the part.

Sure, it’s technically September, school’s started, and we’re supposed to pretend like summer’s over. But for those of us still hanging on to the memories of freedom, here’s my favorite tune from their album, the catchy, grunge stylings of Sound of Reminiscence. It’s like an end-of-summer, boot-stomping, front porch concert. The full-blooded chorus crescendo will get stuck in your head, and you won’t even mind. Click play. And you’ll want to turn this one UP!

Happy Labor Day. Happy Almost Fall. But here’s to reminiscing. Enjoy!

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#NewMusicMonday: Bird Call

Today’s new music comes to us from Bird Call, a New York artist described as “heart-burstingly lovely” by The Guardian. And rightly so. Her scratchy, jazz vocals sail along atop synthetic keys and floaty percussions, beautifully designed and layered. Her debut album releases on September 3rd this year, but you can listen all you want while you wait at her SoundCloud page.

Enjoy this tune that won my heart, Tao of Love.

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#NewMusicMonday: Laura Viers

This week’s new music feature is Laura Viers. She hails from Portland, Oregon, and that always makes this Pacific Northwest-born girl happy. But truly, I feel as if I’ve made a delightful discovery. It seems odd I’ve only just heard of her. She’s been creating music for a while now, but Spotify recommended her today, so I hope she’s finally getting the airtime she deserves.

Enjoy this soothing and uplifting folksy tune, Sun Song. And happy week, everyone.

#Fashion for a week: 7 looks I’m trying

I feel so haphazard when I dress for work in the morning. I don’t stress much, which is a good thing. But I used to put more thought into what I wore, tried to make it more “me”. But that meant no planning. I would wake up and see if I felt like an artist or hipster or a J-crew wannabe or something else entirely that day.

I’m too old to have feelings like that now. Or at least to be operated by them. I know what I like, and my wardrobe accommodates my taste, at least most of the time. And thanks to getting hooked up with StyleUp, hopefully my fashion sense will get an upgrade.

This week, because apparently I drank something caffeinated, I decided to organize a week’s worth of outfits. And not in the groggy dark, like most mornings. Here’s are seven of the looks I came up with.

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A silk geometric color block short sleeve shirt under a gold cardigan. I will probably tuck the shirt in for extra preppyness, and the bright yellow scarf will add a pop of color. And all of it gets pulled together nicely with a black cigarette pant.
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I’ve had this Mexican peasant top for over a decade. (I literally bartered for it on the streets in Mexico.) I recently brought it back out to see what could be done. I love the color matching with this basic cardigan, and I think the peasant top over the wide leg trouser will look smashing.
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Oh no, another peasant top. I usually don’t like these. But this time we’re adding a belt to show I do have a waistline and doing some crazy pattern combining with the cardigan, which I think I can get away with. These bootcut pants are in a wine color, which I love, so that will pull out some of the richer colors in the top. Layers are a big thing for me since our office is really cold, but the days have been warm.
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I’ve been meaning to create more with chambray so here goes. A long-sleeve chambray shirt under a black blazer, worn over a pair of grey jeggings. Throw on a bright scarf for color and I’m ready to go.
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I am so in love with this floaty, asymetrical print top from Anthropologie. Aren’t you? this infinity scarf can be worn a million ways over the top, and the muted colors accent each other so well. Also worn with the grey jeggings.
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A friend of mine bought this semi-flamboyant pink blazer for me for my birthday two years ago. I never would’ve picked it for myself, but it’s really fun and I always get tons of compliments on it. I’m pairing it with a simple black stripe shirt and a wide leg khaki trouser, reminiscent of a nautical look.
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This one is for a weekend party I’m heading to. Sure, it’s a 3-year old birthday party, but whatev. I love this floral tank with a built-in bra (because I’m lazy on weekends). It’s going to be super cute with a cardigan and belt to pull it together. The colored jeans will get a little cuff and I’ll add in a pair of ballet flats and be good to go.

So these are my style ideas for the next few days. What about you? Are you a fashion procrastinator or do you plan ahead?

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How to speak Toddler: A cross-cultural education

Cross-cultural studies are regular academic fare at our house. So much so, we consider ourselves multi-cultural. That is, if you consider a toddler living with two adults culture blending. Which we do. Our home is a case study in a family made of people from the same ethnicity, yet somehow, different cultures.

Any time you’re doing any kind of anthropological research, or just trying to connect with “the locals”, the first thing to know is the language. If you come to our house, you might discover some of the tribe is less than hospitable, so it sure helps to know the lingo to improve communication and ease frustration.

Amazingly, some of the language is a true cognate, like “Mom” in English and “Mom” in Toddler. However, you might not guess that in Toddler, “Raisin” is pronounced “Fruhfen”. If you were asked to retrieve “Fruhfens” from the cabinet, you would be confused. Until now.

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While quite charming and endearing….
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They find themselves in some odd predicaments…
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at which point, they often shout for “HELP”. Or in Toddler, “Hep!”

Below is a helpful translation tool to assist you in speaking Toddler wherever you go. This dictionary is by no means comprehensive, but it will certainly get you started. [Please note: Toddler comes in varying dialects. You may need to relearn the new dialect any time you are introduced to a new person of the small variety. Sorry.]

Important people:

Mom           Mom

Dad            Dad or Josh (interchangeable)

Grandma    Nanna

Grandpa     Papa

John           John (although until a few nights ago, he called himself “Non”. The day he learned his name was priceless.)

Luke           Kook

Lily            Wiwee

Zane         Sane

Friend        Fen

Curious George     Gerge

Food:

Water        Wahwah

Milk           Mup

Hot dog     Hot gog

Bath         Bath

Raisin       Fruhfen

Cracker    Cacko

Cookie      Keekee

Apple        Appoh

Banana     Nana

Ice cream  I-keem

Candy       Kee

Places and things:

Plane        Pane

Train        Choo choo chain

Truck       Kuck

Car          Kuck

Van         Kuck

Horse      Hose

Cow        Cow

Dog         Gog

Bathroom Bath

Bath        Bath

Bedroom Woom

Fast         Fass

iPad        iPad

Phone     Phone

Playdough Doh

Plate       Peet

Bowl       Boo

Cup        Cup

Stars      Stows

Home      Home

TV show   Show

Shirt        Shote

Jeans      Jeans

Body Parts

Eyes       Eyes

Nose       Nose

Arms       Owms

Elbow      Ehbow

Knee       Knee

Toe         Toe

Hair         Ha-oh

Ears        Eewws

Mouth      Moup

Exclamations, requests and states of being:

Cute       Cute

Look       Look

Stuck      Guck

Help        Hep

Please     Peese

Thank you Tatoo

Love you  Wuv woo

Prayer:

Jees, Wuv woo. Amen.

What are you favorite words in Toddler? Share them with me below. I love to laugh. 🙂 

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#NewMusicMonday: Anna Meredith

Goosebumps, tingles and sheer awe: my reaction to today’s featured musical presentation.

Let’s get this out of the way: you’ve never seen anything quite like this before. Unless you’ve already seen this extraordinary performance.

Meet Anna Meredith, composer and performer. As the composer in residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Anna’s usual creations are her own unique blend of electronic or acoustic music.

The piece performed here, however, was written for and performed by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2012. Although this is an orchestra, not a single instrument plays. Instead, every member of the orchestra rises to their feet and sways, rocks, stomps and claps, perfecting the art of body percussion. The choreography designed for the piece fits perfectly, and adds a beautiful visual element to this undulating cascade of sound.

A phenomenal work, followed by a much-deserved standing ovation. And can you believe the orchestra performed the piece from memory? Enough gushing. Let’s hear it already.

It’s a longer piece so if you only have a moment, just listen for the first few seconds. That should convince you to either stay or flag it for later viewing.

Enjoy.

Want to hear more of Anna’s work? Listen here.

#NewMusicMonday: Drums of Death ft. Yasmin

Found these two paired up over at Planet Notion this week. To be honest, though, I hadn’t heard of the individual artists until today. The song matches luscious vocals with bouncy house beats perfectly, like they were made for each other. The video adds another beautiful visual dimension, with dancers in black and white. Just like last week’s feature, here’s another reason to dance on a Monday.

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