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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : August 2013



It's been 20 years, yet I still distinctly remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Allen. Those carefree days of building those rumpled, clay statues for holiday presents, followed by story time and reading are still clearly embedded in my brain. I can still smell that specific school paint scent. You know, the enormous industrial-sized bottles full of gooey, shiny paint and that crisp paper on the giant easels. Those moments were important and essential, and I have the sweetest kindergarten teacher to thank for such a beautiful, enriching experience that gave me a good taste for education and school. 

I truly am in awe of the work and responsibility of teachers in America. Sounds like a tough gig, and not everyone is cut out for it, so I really appreciate you teacher folk! You are a special breed. And a dying one at that.

I recently read that within ten years, it is expected that 65% of America's teachers will be retiring. What?! That is bonkers, right? Now that I have little ones of my own, issues like this are especially important to me. I mean, remember how concerned I was about preschool for Luke? And that's just piddly in comparison to the actual education that will influence his life! The role of teachers is so incredibly significant and vital to the well-being of everyone's lives.

There is a really cool documentary, TEACH, which gives a little peek into education in America that I want to share with you. Written and directed by David Guggenheim, they follow and interview 4 teachers and their experiences and insights into the ups and downs of teaching and how to ensure the success of each and every child. It's one of those films that makes your heart want to explode with  the fire to go conquer the world and inspire every soul around you.

Please, please, please I encourage you to watch the trailer below and tune in to CBS on September 6th to watch the documentary. If you have a teacher you loved and that made an impact in your life or the life of your child, this documentary is for you (so basically that means everyone). Also, if you would like more information on the film and this project, you can read about it here.

Thanks to all you inspiring teachers out there for putting the needs of our kiddos as your priority every day. You are good people!

*Post sponsored by Participant Media (CBS). Thanks for supporting our sponsors!  

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Yours, Mine And Ours

1. Our current reading material. Matt is the world's biggest fan of history and current events. The man is seriously a walking news report and bearer of political banter. I found the Calm Birth book at the library a week ago and it couples quite nicely with the hypnobirthing method I've been practicing. And then of course, we have the most gigantic of books about the most gigantic of machines for Luke, which he reads approximately 16 times a day.

2. Our recent favorite snacks of choice. I am obviously the only healthy one in the group ;) 

3. Our go-to movies as of late. So I know Fifa isn't exactly a movie, but that is what Matt does with all of his free time, much to my pleasure and enjoyment... sike! Here is a little confession about me: I am hopelessly obsessed with below average chick flicks -- specifically ones starring J.Lo. Can't tell ya what it is about them, but they bring me a sense of happiness similar to that of eating a huge chocolate cake. Mix one of these movies with the topic of pregnancy and I'm set! Need I explain Luke's choice of movie? A true Disney classic for boys.

What do the little details look like in your life? Would love for you to link up any of the current happenings in your world!



A Random Thing Or Two-sday

 Dress: Gap Maternity (similar). Scarf: LOFT (similar). Booties: Kohl's. Bracelet: LOFT. Watch: Fossil.

1) I am scratching and itching for the fall season. And not just because half my cold weather clothes contain wool in them. This outfit is my way of blending the still warm San Diego weather with hints of fall. Also, I will take one of everything that includes pumpkin in the recipe, especially this hot chocolate and this cake.

2) Fact: A "buttload" is an actual measurement of volume. It is the equivalent to 126 gallons (source).

3) Get used to me linking to the video of the 'NSYNC reunion at the VMA's at least once a month. I am still freaking out inside and watch it every day. And I am not sure when or if I will ever stop. Things like that really can bring a girl pure joy.

4) So, I literally peed my pants one night while we were on our Utah vacation. Full blown, wet drawers. We were playing a game at my brother's house, whereupon I started laughing hysterically and before I knew it I was screaming, "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I think I am going to pee! No wait... I am peeing! Eeeeeeeaaaaaaappppp!" I sprinted to the bathroom in the most awkward of pregnant waddles, but by the time I arrived to the toilet the damage had been done. I'd sprung a huge leak, one envious of a toddler learning to potty train. On my sweatshirt went around my waist, and I came out to a family audience -- half laughing at me, the other half mortified with secondhand embarrassment. All I could muster was a, "Welp guys, I just peed my pants!" and I started laughing too. I mean, what else can one do in a situation like that? It's not my fault my bladder muscles have shriveled to crap because a 2 pound baby is sitting on them. Such is pregnant life.

5) Speaking of embarrassing moments, would you rather pee your pants in front of an audience of 100,000 people or have a booger dangling from your nose your entire wedding day that nobody bothers to tell you about?

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The day Luke was born. I was a puffy, bedraggled mess, and it hurt like the dickens!

If there is one thing I learned from bringing Luke into this world, it's the necessity to stay calm and tranquil.

Which I most definitely was not.

You can read the whole birth story here, since I am not going to rehash every detail of it, but honestly? Luke's birth challenged me, and I didn't 100% love it or find it to be one of those cosmic, serene, beautiful life experiences that childbirth is chalked up to be. And it kind of pangs my heart with guilt since it wasn't all that and a bag of chips. Because of other past health issues in my life, I've spent a sweet chunk of time in hospitals and have developed a subconscious anxiety in association with being hooked to machines and hearing the methodical "beep-beep-beep" of heart monitors. That's not a good combination when going through a very long and intense labor. 

Would I do it again? Umm, yeah... obviously. All of the panic attacks and hurling and epidurals going all wonky are absolutely worth the joy of holding that precious bundle straight from heaven in your arms. But, now that I somewhat know what to expect, I've finally realized this next delivery doesn't have to be that way. And gosh darnit! I am ready to take it on this time around.

Enter hypnobirthing.

Being the over-analyzer that I am (especially when pregnant), any words resembling that of "hypnosis" and the like generally freak me out. Turning my brain over to my subconscious psyche? Probably not the best idea for this crazy ole' bird. 

Or so I thought.

For 2 months now, I've been listening to the Rainbow Relaxation HypnoBirthing tracks. I like to listen to them during my daily nap (if I'm lucky enough to get one) or at night as I drift off to sleep. And you know what? They actually work (by George, I think she's got it! . . . name that movie)! I am now to the point where I can recite the affirmations and words in my mind along with the narrator, and my body instantly kicks into a mode of deep relaxation and focus. So much so that I usually fall asleep in the first 10 minutes, although I highly doubt that will happen the day my uterus says howdy-hey and intensely contracts and dilates. Has that ever even happened? A woman sleeping through the birth of her own child, unmedicated?

Anyway, I still have a little under 3 months to go, but I feel 100 times more confident and comfortable with my body's ability to bring this baby boy into the world using the hypnobirthing approach I've learned so far. 

I know I haven't talked a lot about Baby Numero Dos on the blog a lot, but we are beyond thrilled to meet him. I can feel the uniqueness of his character and spirit as he grows under my heart, and I've  a strong impression this one's gonna be a good egg as well. How I got so lucky, I don't know, but I sure do count my blessings for his life that God is entrusting me with. We love you, little man!

So, how about you mamas? Anyone gone down the hypnobirthing route? What are your tried and true birthing and relaxation techniques that I should know about? Share the love! I'd love to read up and try out some more!

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Palazzo Pants

 Top: LOFT (similar). Palazzo Pants: Vintage (similar). Belt: LOFT. Earrings: c/o INPINK. Bracelets: c/o INPINK. Lipstick: MAC Candy Yum Yum.

These are my beloved, bonafide 70's palazzo pants. I scored them at a local thrift store. They smelled so terribly of maple syrup that it stunk up our entire room when I first brought them home. 

Weird things like that always keep me guessing where my thrifted clothes have been and what they've seen. In this case, I'm thinking these floral wonders have frequented many a disco night clubs √† la John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. I especially like to think so, considering I did this exact hippy dippy dance the first time I slipped the bad boys on, Bee Gees on full blast, of course. 

You could say these pants make me feel a little wild. I gotta keep the spunk thriving somehow, you know, being that I'm 7 months pregnant and all that jazz (or should I say disco?... that was a horrible joke). And speaking of being 7 months pregnant, they just so happen to be high-waisted and loose enough to fit perfectly on my round bump. It's like they were made to be my sassy maternity pants. What can I say? I'm stayin' alive! ;)



Mama Talk: Preschool

(Luke practicing his brainiest of looks for his future preschool days. Pictures via Instagram.)

Not two days ago, my phone chimed with a new daily update from The Bump informing me it was time to start thinking about preschool for Luke. 

"Your little guy sure is growing up fast! Now it's time to check out preschools (if you haven't already started)..."

Say whhaaa? Preschool? For my 1-year old

Lumps were beginning to form in my throat, my heart starting pounding, and I swear I broke out in a mild sweat from the anxiety of thinking about Luke and preschool. My mind was racing back and forth with all sorts of first-time mommy questions...

Am I already behind the preschool game? At what age do all of these shenanigans start? Should my toddler be learning a second language already? Should he know the entire alphabet and be able to count to 100 already? Should I start him in piano lessons while I'm at it? 

I was a mess. An utter, hormonal, pregnant mess. The thought of preschool for Luke hadn't even entered my mind until that blasted email hacked its way into my life. Sure, I'd seen a few friends put their little ones in daycare classes and programs, but not full on backpack, sack lunch, reading, writing and, 'rithmetic school. 

I never went to preschool at all. I just skipped along into kindergarten with a death grip on my mom, accompanied with a few tears and the occasional stinkface. Perhaps I should have gone to preschool, considering I had some major social anxiety looking back on it in retrospect, but I just don't remember this insane push for earlier and earlier education. Why can't we just let our little ones be little? Sometimes the parenting world overwhelms me with the competition and need for having the brightest, most accomplished toddler. Is it really that important that my 4-year old knows Mandarin Chinese? What ever happened to climbing trees and banging on things with sticks? There is plenty of time in life to be grown up, and not enough moments to indulge in the innocence of youth. Stop trying to rob my babies of their childhood, world. Let's just take a step back and breathe a little easier.

That being said, what is the appropriate age to enroll your bambino in preschool? Or do you even think preschool is necessary? 

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Dear Luke

My Dear Luke,

As I peruse through the trails of the last photos of Utah, I can't help but feel overcome with love for you. For family. For the knowledge that we are an eternal clan, tied at the hip. And I wouldn't -- couldn't -- have it any other way.

You are my life's aspirations and dreams realized. 

At 19 months old, you're stuffed full of energy and that feisty personality only continues to emerge and unfold into the one and only you. You are already 3 feet tall (98th percentile for height!) and your hair is blooooond. Someday you won't believe it, but consider all these photos and words proof. You have two darling dimples in the still chubbiest of cheeks, and one is slightly deeper than the other, just like your mama. You like to talk, with your most recent words being "mo-mo-tycle" (motorcycle) and "boo-bebbbbiiieee" (blueberry). There is no mistaking that you are 100% boy, because you cannot get enough of anything with a motor in it. Trains are currently the ultimate favorite, but trucks, cars, and motorcycles don't fall far behind (and riding the lawn mower with Grandpa was a new thrill all of its own).

Most of all, you adore people. And I adore that about you. Ever since you were just a few months old, you've held the incredible ability to connect with others. You thrive on human interaction, and I truly believe it's one of the many gifts with which God has blessed you. You aren't afraid to smile and love others, and I hope you never lose sight of the value of the human connection and spirit. Relationships are what this life is about and each and every person matters. And somehow in that tiny soul of yours you seem to grasp that. 

Good gracious, gee whiz we love you! Don't you ever forget it, kiddo.

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OshKosh B'gosh's Got Talent

Red Plaid Shirt: c/o OshKosh B'gosh at Kohl's. Striped Green Overalls: c/o OshKosh B'Gosh at Kohl's (in stores only).

Whilst we were in Utah, we did a little back to school shopping for Luke. Minus the going back to school bit. But who says the kid can't get new duds for fall with the rest of the children in the world? I wouldn't want him feeling left out and dejected or anything! And would you look at his talent for modeling? That first picture is textbook baby model posing. I guess he is just a natural ;)

We hit up the nearest Kohl's and picked up some darling pieces from their OshKosh B'gosh line. Those green overalls may never leave the poor child's body ever again. Luke's gotta keep up with the overall trend after all, and an overall with a seer sucker stripe? Trend match made in heaven! Also, I am loving the red plaid for fall. It's causing the wheels in my brain to start turning their plans for pumpkin patching, hay rides, and apple cider. Don't you just love the crispness and warmth fall brings? We are ready for it!

Have you done your back to school shopping? Now through August 22nd, Kohl's is having a huge sale on the kids OshKosh B'gosh collection and then the baby sale starts September 8th through September 22nd. And if you know Kohl's, the prices are out of this world good. Now that I have thoroughly convinced you that this line is adorable (am I right, or am I right?) you can also share your OshKosh B'gosh finds on Instagram and see what other kiddos are wearing using hashtag #OshKoshAtKohls. 

Happy back to school shopping! 

*Post sponsored by OshKosh B'gosh for Kohl's

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This Is How We Do It

Our days in Heber consist of apple picking and eating aplenty, running around in our bare feet, practicing the fine art of hooliganism with cousins, family jibber jabber, playing games and laughing until I pee my pants (that is no joke, and I feel like it deserves a post of its own in a few days to come so stay tuned if you would like to relish in secondhand embarrassment on my behalf) and lots of quality naps. Do you like my sleepy face? That's me freshly waking up from a glorious 2 hour nap! 

In the iconic words of the BSB, this is how we do it. 

Can I please oh please stay forever?

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So Long, Golden Baby Locks

This is the story of Luke's somewhat tragic, yet adorable haircut. Tragic in the sense that those silky, blond locks no longer spring wildly from his head into delicate curls. Adorable in the fact that this big boy haircut is regal, refined (a "what would George Alexander Louis do?" if you will) and makes him look sweeter. That untamed mane of his made him look a tad bit wild, but now he is practically ready to take on the workforce! 

It seems that our annual summer trip to Heber also doubles as an annual haircutapalooza. Remember his haircut from last year? Now that one was gut-wrenching and painstakingly sentimental. I absolutely shed a few tears over that hair snippage, but this time it was a breeze. Although, it was touch and go there for a moment.

My mom began with the front, and my eyeballs must have looked like saucers. I thought to myself, "Oh crap, she is giving him bangs, a mullet, and a bowl cut all in one! A strange hybrid of a Moe and Larry!" I kept the faith, though. I mean, the woman has been cutting boy hairs since 1967, for crying out loud! What harm could she do? And, in true Grandma Marie Fish form, the final product is practically perfect in every way. 

Thus, I give you a before and after in pictures. The first few pictures are of Luke asking Uncle Todd to do "pop pops" where you can see the fear in his hair-covered eyes as he clutches the post for dear life. Boys, I tell you. Love firecrackers from the beginning! Then we have one of Luke showing off his musical prodigy capabilities. Then there are the final long-locked photos of Luke running aimlessly through the yard at 6:30 am (why, no, I haven't gotten any sleep this trip... thanks for asking!). For the grand photo finale there is the haircut experience, some pictures of my mom's hair and my hair for good measure since we are talking about hair, the most darling photos of Luke expressing his gratitude to grandma for a job well done, and a stink face for mommy. 

The end.

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