Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Shout out to Val!


I want to give a big THANK YOU to the super awesome, Val (you can just see how awesome she is by the photo on the right) for making my blog logo, button, and banner. They are totally adorable and I love them!

If you need some awesome graphic work done, contact me for Val's info, because she rocks!

I Now Pronounce You...


Since our wedding anniversari(es) are coming up, I decided to write an "introduction" to my wife.

Meet Missy.

I met her in winter, 2003. I had a friend in a band and he begged me for months to come to a show, and I was always too lazy or flakey, but I did... and Missy was the bassist in his band. The photo on the left I THINK is from the first time I saw her (could be the second, but I'm pretty sure it's the first). I went to another show, and we met on the coldest night of the year and so I invited the band back to my apartment to hang out since I lived nearby. We all hung out, got ridiculously drunk, I flashed Missy my boobs (classy, right? Give me a break, I was 23), then I kicked them all out because I was too drunk to function. The next day, while cyber stalking, I found Missy's blog through the band's website, and her recent blog post bragged that so much had happened since she last blogged, so she'd list it... and somewhere in the middle of the list was "partying with M, K and M in the 'Cutest girl in the history of America's' apartment", so I knew from the start how she felt about me! We started talking online, and we had our first date.

Somehow, I notoriously choose the WORST first (and probably second dates ever), but I took her to see "The Hours". Man, could it get more depressing? Yes, it can. For one of our next dates, we went to see "The Pianist." Man, I suck at dating. So yes, to the right is a scan of our actual first date movie ticket, I'm a nerd like that and keep things!

We started dating, and soon we were seeing each other every night even though I had a crazy work schedule and she had a crazy band schedule. This photo below is our first photo ever taken together (again, I'm like 99% sure), sometime in early 2003, hanging out in a bar on the Lower East Side.


Very early in our relationship, Missy said something along the lines of, "I know I'm going to marry the person that takes me to Medieval Times" and I thought that was so silly! She said she had other promises to take her, but no one followed through on it. It was so easy to just buy tickets online, get in the car, and go! So we did! OK, so I guess after the first few dates, I'm not that sucky. So here we are, 6/22/03 at Medieval Times. For some reason, EVERY time I go (and I've been about 5-6 times, don't judge me!), I'm either on the red/yellow or yellow team, and this time was no different.


The below photo is from 6/28/03, a trip to Coney Island (we're on a ride), and it's Missy's favorite photo of us ever, so I'm including it!



At some point we talked about moving in together (both of our leases were ending)... Hey, have you ever heard that joke? What do lesbians bring on their second date? A U-Haul! Well, I guess we fit the cliche. Oops. I was kind of "over" Manhattan (I had lived there from 1997-2003, with a brief 3 month stint in Brooklyn and a semester abroad),and I insisted we look in Hoboken. We went there for dinner one night, and Missy was sold on it's charm, and so we did.
We found a spacious, adorable 3 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment over a bar in the residential part of Hoboken. Every night from 9PM until 2PM or so, the jukebox below played the same songs night after night, and we could feel the bass through the floor. "Seven Nation Army" was often the Floorboard Hum that lulled us to sleep. But it was cozy, and it was fun.

We got engaged about a year later, in May 2004. We went to an AWESOME gay run/owned jewelry store in NYC (I had bought there before) and we picked out an engagement ring for me! It was (still is) beautiful! 5/27/04


A random photo of us from 8/14/04



In October of 2004 we purchased a condo together in Hoboken. It was a pre-war building, it was quaint and cozy with an exposed brick wall. The mortgage was steep and it made life difficult, but we lived there for a very happy 3 years.

The photo below is from 3/2/05, our second dating anniversary.


And for our second anniversary, Missy bought me a beautiful diamond/pink sapphire band. In case you don't already know this about me, I love jewelry. A lot. If it sparkles, I love it.


Our third anniversary 3/2/06, we went to the restaurant Ninja in NYC, which is more than a meal, it's an experience. It's really cool, go there if you're in NY!


3/10/07 - Another of our 4 total trips to Medieval Times together. (Which reminds me, we should take Lilian one of these days!) I think this might have actually been the celebration of our 4th anniversary, but for some reason that I can't remember, we went the following week.


March 2007, we spent Missy's 30th birthday in a fabulous suite at the Borgata in Atlantic City with our closest friends. We attempted the Century Club (one shot glass of beer every 60 seconds for an 100 minutes straight, I didn't make it past 37). The photos of this evening include two people barfing in the toilet at the same time (one on the other's head), someone peeing in the shower because the toilet was occupied with barfers, and someone in the jacuzzi in their clothes. But I'll keep the identities a secret... what happens in AC stays in AC. (OK, it's supposed to be Vegas, but we're East Coast girls.) (Pictured below in Bally's with our friends BS and JF).


In June 2007, we made the big decision to start having a family, and to move to the suburbs. So we sold our Hoboken condo and moved into my mother in law's beach cottage that she was renting out. It's little, but cute.


The Civil Union Act came into effect on February 19, 2007 in New Jersey, but you had to be a legal resident of the state to get a Civil Union, so we decided before we changed our legal residence (we still owned our condo until December 2007), we were going to get one! So our best friend BS came with us to file as our witness to get a license, there was a waiting period, then we made an appointment for a City Hall wedding. We had our two good friends CK and WS come and each stood by us as witnesses (or best man/maid of honor, whatever you want to call it) and the mayor of Hoboken performed his first Civil Union on us! (We may not have been the first in Hoboken, but it was the first HE performed). We didn't dress up, but we did get a bouquet, used rings, and I did wear Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue given to me by the other 4 most important women in my life (My mom, my Grandma, and my two best girl friends LT and JCC).
So August 3, 2007 we tied the knot... the first time!


We had what I consider to be the BEST of our house parties of all time on 8/12/07. It was a combination house-warming party and wedding "reception". (We got a beautiful wedding cake). The party had a Tiki theme and got pretty crazy. This was the night that I asked our best friend, BS, to be our sperm donor to start a family... but this post isn't about him, or Lilian, so I'll leave it at that. It's an important day on many accounts.


On November 30, 2007 we did our first insemination to make a baby, and on December 10, 2007 I got my positive pregnancy test! The line is faint, but it's there. Both Missy and BS were in shock and awe!


All of 2008 was consumed by my pregnancy for both of us. Midwife and doctor appointments, sonograms, nursery prep, baby shower planning, etc. And I quickly got HUGE! Geez, it looks like I have triplets in there!


On May 29, 2008 Governor David A. Paterson, who took office when the previous governor resigned on March 17, directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. So New York would recognize out of state legal marriages! So we began planning a Canadian marriage, we even found a Canadian internet/blogger friend to come and be our witness (Hi, SC!) We had it booked and all... and then...
On July 31, 2008, an act repealing the 1913 law that prohibits non-residents from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would be void in their home state took effect upon being signed by the Massachusetts Governor. So that was even easier and better! We could go to Massachusetts and get our legal wedding, and they only have a 3 day waiting period, so we made one trip up there to get our license, then another to get married 3 days later. The hilarious part was that I had a planned C-section on August 13, so we were cutting it really close with time, and I was terrified i'd go into labor in Massachusetts, hundreds of miles from home.
We chose to get married in the small town of Fall River, MA - also known as the home of the Lizzie Borden house. Partially because it being a small town (as compared to going to Boston or something) we could easily get a quick appointment. Partially because getting married in the town of such a famous murder is kinda awesome and campy. Our friends AB and MV came and were our witnesses and took photos for us.
Look at my big baby bump! We were legally married 8/8/08 (and Lilian was born 8/13/08).


And of course, we took our "formal portraits" at the Lizzie Borden house, so here we are on the front steps of Lizzie B's house. BTW, my dress (I didn't have many choices, I had to buy a maternity dress) was black with pink/lavender/gray pattern in it, so Missy put pink shoelaces in her sneakers to match me. How cute is that?


Five days later, out came Miss Lilian. Missy was the first non-medical-staff person to meet her AND hold her since I had my C-section under general anesthesia, it was about 45-60 minutes that I met her. Missy was terrified and nervous, and I was in pain AND drugged up, so when she asked me if I wanted to hold her, I said I was afraid I'd drop her, so just hold her over my chest for me to see.


And from then until now, most of our days, memories, and life revolve around Lilian.
This photo is from Mother's Day, 2009 (our first). We don't have a photo of all 3 of us because no one else is with us, but we went to The Big Duck (a Long Island attraction right near our house) and took adorable photos.


The autumn of 2009 we spent in Lancaster & Strasburg, PA. We went for a few days for my 30th birthday, and it turned into 2 one-month visits due to health complications. But it was two great months for me, I fell in love with the county and felt so at home. Here we are on Thanksgiving 2009, in front of our friend CL's sister's house in Philadelphia where we had our dinner.


And here is one of my new favorite photos of us, from Saint Patrick's Day, 2010. (We don't normally all wear green, and no, none of us are Irish, but I love all holidays!)


So here we are. We've been together for 7.5 years, but the 3rd anniversary of our first wedding (civil union) is coming up and the 2nd anniversary of our 2nd wedding is just 5 days later. And then 5 days after that is Lilian's second birthday! We've moved 3 times. We've travelled to about 10 different states. We adopted 4 chihuahuas along the way (that are also our babies). Two weddings, one baby, and a lot of stumbling in between got us to where we are now.

So, Happy Anniversary, Melissa dear. It's been a beautiful "many" years with you (I can't specify because it's just too confusing to clarify how many years we're celebrating, is it 7? or 3? or 2? so we just have an entire anniversary week!) The path to getting here may have been unconventional, but I love our Lil Family of 8. (Counting the dogs, of course!)

While you're here, please click on a few ads... it really helps! And comment! I want your feedback, compliments, and complaints!
All photos are my property and may not be used/copied/printed/reproduced in any form without permission.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mother-Ease Cloth Diaper *Review and Giveaway*

Lil Family Blog had the pleasure of trying a cloth diaper from Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers.

Before Lilian was even born, I wanted to cloth diaper. I liked the environmental aspect to it, I liked the financial aspect of all the money we could save, I liked that if/when we have another child, we'd already have all our diapers, and I thought they were just plain cute. I acquired a bunch of diapers in small sizes for Lilian and we made good use of them when she was teeny tiny. We never were able to size up though to medium or large, because although you save money with cloth, the initial investment can be quite hefty. But now with the end in sight (potty training), I feel like a few one size diapers will serve us better than buying disposables, plus we can then use them later on down the line (or gift them to someone else)! So I decided to investigate again. A newborn baby that mostly lays/sits is different than a nearly-2-year-old toddler that runs and climbs and jumps! So, thankfully the people at Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers were kind enough to let me try & review one of their diapers.

They sent me a One Size Cloth Diaper in white cotton, with a white cotton snap-in insert (soaker), and a pink Air Flow Cover. (See my photo above)

Here is a photo of Lilian modeling the diaper/soaker/cover combo. Because ALL the pieces are adjustable (the one size diaper has several different settings, AND the cover has several different snap positions) you can assure a good, secure fit - and have room for the child to grow!


The below photo shows Lilian wearing just the One Size Cloth Diaper so you can see how it fastens, but these diapers DO have to be worn with a cover. But, an advantage to pocket/one size diapers is that you only need a few covers with all your diapers, not one per diaper, because the cover can be used a few times before washing. The One Size diaper has sides that snap in the front similar to how a disposable diaper fastens. But for a more streamlined diaper Sandy's Diapers snaps on the side (similar to the cover) and comes in different sizes. I definitely want to try one of these next!




If you have a toddler, you know it's nearly impossible to get them to sit still for a photo... so the above and below photos are just extraneous photos of her dancing and prancing around in her new diaper, just because they're too cute not to share!



Above is the One Size Cloth Diaper from Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers and below is the pink Air Flow cover from Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers. Both of these two photos are from their website so you can better see the detail!



So how did it work???
Awesome!
I first tried it at home, and there were no leaks. So I got braver, and Lilian wore the diaper for a 4 or 5 hour stretch at a friend's house, then out to dinner, then back home with no leaks. And so last night I put it to the ultimate test: Overnight. And, no leaks! Overnight is where I've been having the most problems. The disposables she's been wearing are gapping at the legs and waist when they get heavy, and causing leaks. I was waking up to leaks about 75% of days (and we co-sleep, so the leaks are in MY bed and often partially ON me, and that's NO good.) But this diaper passed the "out in public" test AND the overnight test in my book. Although the inner diaper and soaker were wet all the way through this morning, the Air Flow cover kept it inside and we had no leakage. And because they snap on the side, there is a space between the snaps on both sides that allows air to pass through so babies don't get all "pruney" in there. Another thing I liked about it is that the position of the snaps on the cover allow for the waist to be adjustable as well as the leg holes, not all diapers have adjustable leg holes. (Oh for those curious, Lilian is in the Medium-Large diaper cover, which is only the 4th in a total of 6 sizes, so if she grows before she's potty trained, we can use the same One Size diapers, and just size up the cover.) And, fun colors totally matter to me! And the diaper comes in several bright & cute colors, and the cover comes in 5 prints and 4 solid colors. You can make adorable combos.

For those not familiar with Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers, the website has tons of information about their company and about cloth diapers. They are a Canadian based company, all their diapers are manufactured in Canada in a 100% green powered factory. They've been making and improving cloth diapers since 1991.

So, in case I didn't say it enough, I loved the diaper and wish I had 4 more! (And can't wait to try the Sandy's).

Mother-ease Cloth Diapers
Cloth Diapers


ENTER TO WIN YOUR OWN SET!

One lucky winner will win a Sandy's diaper/Air Flow cover Introductory package. You can choose small or large Sandy's with a S, M, M-L, or L cover. The Sandy's diaper must be white cotton, but you can choose any color/print cover as long as it's in stock.

Mandatory Entry: You must be a follower of Lil Family Blog via Google reader or Networked blogs (you do not have to be a blogger to get a Google reader account, anyone can). Then go to the Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers website by clicking on the logo button above and tell me which print or color Air Flow cover is your favorite!

Additional Entries (Make a separate comment for each):
* Follow Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers on Facebook
* Follow Lil Family Blog on Facebook
* Make a post about this contest in your own blog and send me the link!
* Share this post on your Facebook page (you can do this easily with the "F" logo on the bottom of the page next to where it says comments.)
* Add me to your Blog List/blogroll on your blog and/or put my button on your website. (You get 2 entries for this, so make 2 comments telling me you did this, with a link to your blog.)
* You get one additional entry for every friend/family member you get to enter (they have to leave an extra comment saying who sent them).

So including the mandatory entry, you can get 7 entries on your own, plus additional entries for the friends/family you refer to my blog. Remember, all separate entries!

This contest will end on August 15th at 11:59PM EST, no more entries will be accepted after that time. The winner will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. The prize will be shipped directly from Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers to the winner within a reasonable amount of time. Please see my disclosure link on the top of the page for fine print.

Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers sent Lilian this diaper set for free for us to try and review. The photos (except the two on the white backgrounds credited above), words, and opinions are all mine. No photos may be used elsewhere without my permission.

And while you're here, PLEASE click on an ad or two! My advertisers like it and so do I... and it really does help! Thanks!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Earth Mama * Angel Baby REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

The awesome Mamas at Earth Mama & Angel Baby sent Lilian a jar of the Angel Baby Bottom Balm. In addition to a diaper cream, it's also a first aid/healing cream for many uses!
It comes in a teeny, tiny jar, but don't let that fool you because you only use a tiny amount. It has the same consistency as a lip balm, so you just rub your finger on top, you don't have to dip into it. It smells herbal and clean, the tea tree and lavender scents pop the most.

This is what their website says about it:
"Being a baby is a hard business, from diaper rash to cradle cap to tiny fingernail scratches, and then bangs and scrapes galore as they begin to explore. Clinically tested Angel Baby® Bottom Balm has got her back, his bottom, mama's dry skin, papa's razor burn and gazillions of other owies that come your family's way.Our #1 best selling salve is clinically tested and safely battles existing diaper rash and protects against flare ups. It also soothes itchy cradle cap, bug bites, scrapes, chicken pox, minor rashes, burns and, yes, more scrapes.
Allergy tested, non-irritating Angel Baby® Bottom Balm is vegan (no beeswax!) and the only balm made with organic olive oil infused with a proprietary blend of naturally antibacterial and antifungal organic herbs, shea butter and pure essential oils."
And this product is safe for cloth diapering too!

Earth Mama * Angel Baby is a 100% certified organic company, they use only natural ingredients, and it's cruelty-free and vegan (my favorite kind of body product!)

Luckily for me, Lilian hasn't gotten a severe diaper rash in well over a year, but she does get the occasional redness/irritation. We've been using this cream for a little over a week, and she's had no rashes or irritations, a completely smooth bottom! I also tried a little on a bug bite of mine, and I can't be sure if it healed it any faster, but it definitely soothed it. Plus, it made me smell delicious!

Ingredients include: organic olive oil, shea butter, candelilia wax, organic jojoba seed oil, organic calendula extract, tea tree oil, lavender oil, organic St. John's wort flower extract, organic chickweed extract, organic plantain extract, and myrrh oil. And that's it! No chemicals, and no long words that you aren't even sure what they are!


One reader will win a jar of their own from Earth Mama * Angel Baby! (U.S.A. and Canada only)

ENTER TO WIN!

Mandatory Entry: You MUST become a follower of my blog on Google Reader (see the top left of my page, and click "follow". You do NOT have to be a blogger to do this, anyone can have a Google account even if you don't have a blog. Leave a comment telling me you follow my blog!

Additional Entries (please leave a SEPARATE comment for each addition entry and which one you have completed.)
*Like Lil Family Blog on Facebook
*Like Earth Mama * Angel Baby on Facebook
* Repost this in YOUR blog and leave me a link to it (you get 2 entries for doing this one)
* Post a link to this blog on your Facebook feed. (You can do that easily by clicking on the tiny "F" icon on the bottom of the entry near the comment button).
* Add me to your Blog List/Blogroll (you get 2 entries for this one too)
* Twitter this "Organic balm GIVEAWAY at Lil Family Blog: http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2010/07/earth-mama-angel-baby-review-and.html @dana_rubyfruit "
* You get one additional entry for every friend/family member you get to enter (they have to leave an extra comment saying who sent them).
-- So you can get a total of 9 entries by yourself + more from your friend/family referrals! Remember, seperate comments for each entry this time!

Please make sure to leave an email address where you can be reached if you're the winner!

This contest will end on August 10th at 11:59PM EST, no more entries will be accepted after that time. The winner will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. The prize will be shipped directly from Earth Mama * Angel Baby to the winner within a reasonable amount of time. Please see my disclosure link on the top of the page for fine print.

Earth Mama * Angel Baby sent Lilian this jar of balm for free for us to try and review. The photo words (except those quoted), and opinions are all mine.

My other current giveaways:
Personalized Boutique engraved birthstone necklace ends August 8.
Kiss My Face cruelty-free Peace soaps ends August 5.

And while you're here, PLEASE click on an ad or two... it really does help!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

gDiaper giveaway... but not from me!


I found a gDiaper giveaway in someone else's blog... and i LOVE gDiapers. We used the size small ones when Lilian was tiny, but we didn't have the money to size up... so we never used them again!
But, I'd love to use them again! Have you tried them?

The giveaway in April's blog (this is NOT hosted by me nor will the prize be awarded by me or chosen by me!)


I do, however, have some other cool giveaways, so scroll back a few entries or click the link on the top!

The photos here are of Lilian modeling her vanilla gDiaper in size small when she was about 4 weeks old! (September 2008) Oh my god, I can't believe how tiny she was!



Monday, July 26, 2010

Me Too!!!

So far, I've only hinted at just how complicated my family is, but today is my long-lost sister's birthday, so today this is just about her.

I was given up for adoption as a baby, and adopted by my parents when i was 7-8 weeks old (well it took a year for the adoption to be finalized, but I don't count that). Until I was 18 or 19 or so I knew nothing about my bio-family, because I didn't care to. I just had no interest. When I was in college, my mom passed on a little info to me (at her insistence, I still didn't ask for it) such as my nationality and a few facts. But not until I was 27 and thinking about conceiving a baby did I really have any interest. So in June 2007 I asked my mom for all the paperwork she had and did a little internet searching and made a few phone calls and came up with nothing. I put an ad on the internet one late night, but didn't hear back. In early December 2007 I got pregnant with my daughter, she was born in August 2008 and my life became so busy and so consumed by her, I forgot all about the ad and the search, and mostly stopped caring again. But in August 2009, just about two weeks before my 30th birthday, I got an email from someone who saw the ad and was claiming to be my birth mother. Because this isn't about her... skip forward to her being very vague about me having a sister... skip forward to the adoption agency confirming the match... skip forward to her giving me a few details about my sister and me finding her pretty easily on the internet. But my birth mother begged me not to contact her, that even though they were estranged and hadn't spoken in 12 years, she wanted to be the one to tell her. So she made some attempts to reach her via email, a mailed letter, and through family members to pass along the message but she never heard back. I respected her wishes for 2 or 3 months, but when I finally understood that my sister was never going to respond, I told birth mother that it was my turn to try to reach her. And so we eventually connected through Facebook and email. I'll call her "MR" here to keep her privacy if she'd like it!

The funniest part is initially, when she received an email saying "you have a sister" (she was raised as an only child), she wasn't surprised. As is turns out, our birth father (who raised her) had a son and a daughter probably a decade before us but wasn't in their life, and MR found out about them later in life (but never contacted or met them), so she knew she had a (half) sister. The surprise was, that I was a different sister, we were full siblings, and we were born just 10 months apart.



I'm the one with the doll at six months old, she is the other, I'm not sure how old, but she looks somewhere around 7-11 months old? When I tell people about her, they always ask, do you look alike? Growing up as an adopted child, I never "looked like" anyone, not really at least. Well, the answer is yes. You can tell us apart as babies of course, but we look like sisters. Still do. It's strange and new to me.

So we spent a few months getting to know each other, having late night chats on Facebook... as well as you can get to know someone, I suppose, just chatting on the internet. The funny part is, we had/have so much in common. It was a series of "no way, me too"'s from both of us. We'd be an interesting experiment in Nature vs. Nurture. And even stranger, is that in 2000 or 2001 we were even in the same room on at least 1 occasion, maybe more (at a crowded record signing in a crowded record store, but still.)

I never had any desire to meet my birth parents really, or my decade-older half siblings either, but for some reason this feels different. I never once for a moment wondered about the what-ifs in reference to my upbringing, or resented the adoption. I had a wonderful, loving, and priviledged childhood and couldn't have asked for more. But for some reason, discovering I had a sister, and one so close in age, sat differently with me. For the first time, I felt like I had missed out on something. And as strange as it is, sometimes when I think of my own childhood memories now, somewhere in my mind is also wondering, what was she doing then? We had very different upbringings, but how parallel did our lives run at times?



Above photo is my sister, MR (she's the one IN the pool), taken by her parents (I think) and used here with MR's permission. The below photo is of me and my brother. We don't have a date for MR's photo, but they are most likely the same summer.



The other question people always ask, is "have you met?" No. We live almost 1200 miles apart. I'd like to, I would if I had the means, but it hasn't happened yet. I think it'll be super weird, but I think it'll be fun too.

So, anyway. Here is MR's introduction. And I wish her a very happy birthday today. 30 isn't so bad, I promise.

Lily in amber






Stephanie, the winner of our first giveaway for an amber teething necklace from Inspired by Finn was kind enough to send me a photograph of her daughter, Lily, loving her necklace. Man, look at the smile on that kid, you can't help but just smile back.

I'm glad Lily is enjoying her prize and thanks for sending us the photo. It's adorable!

To get your own necklace, visit www.InspiredByFinn.com. (Tell them I sent you!) Thank you again to them for their awesome giveaway!





Photo was taken by Stephanie, the photo and names were used here with permission from her.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lilian

As promised, here is some "back story" about me and my family.

This is her name story that I wrote on October 10, 2008 to include in her baby book. I thought I'd put it here as well. With Lilian's second birthday coming up, I'm feeling nostalgic.

The Story Behind "Lilian"

When Missy and I lived in NJ, we went to Atlantic City a lot. We're not big gamblers or anything, but it was a nearby place to getaway to... with lots to do around the clock and indoors. We had a lot of awesome memories there; it was the very first place we went away together. As awful and cheesy as the city is, we had some very romantic moments there as well and I have a lot of awesome memories there. (How tacky to think that our most romantic memories are in A.C., but it's true.)

Growing up, I always wanted to have children, a family. It was never an "if", but it was a "when". Becoming pregnant and having babies has been a goal and a dream my whole life. I looked forward to and thought about my future children a lot - even as a small child, as a teen, and as a young adult. I dreamt about it, both while awake and while asleep. I decided how many I wanted (this number has changed many times over the years), the perfect birth order by gender (even though you obviously don't get to choose this), how far apart they'd be spaced (this too has changed many times), and the perfect names. I remember being very young... maybe 6? 8? And sometimes hearing names I liked, meeting new people or hearing about people... and thinking "that's a great name, I could name my daughter that." Yes, I said daughter. In all my dreams, it was always a girl. Maybe because I was a girl and I was the oldest. Maybe I wanted a girl. Maybe because many years later, I'd actually HAVE a girl. But my whole life I've been naming my daughters. And I've gone through dozens of names. Some of the childhood names I liked are pretty bad. And the ones I chose in high school, not that great. College, still no. And even post-college, I never picked a great name. But at the time I always thought they were great.

In 2003 or 2004, Missy and I were in A.C. in a hotel, and I was asleep. I woke up from an extremely vivid dream, it was so ordinary, I thought it could have been real. I don't even remember what the dream was specifically about, it was just ordinary day to day stuff... but Missy and I lived together, and we had a daughter. The dream wasn't ABOUT the daughter, she was just there, and in my dream she seemed to make perfect sense as though she'd always been there. She even had a name in my dream, her name was Lilian Grace. I woke up, and it took me a minute to realize that it wasn't real, she didn't exist, Missy and I weren't home, we were in a hotel. I told Missy about our dream daughter and how real she felt.

What was bizarre about her having a name in my dream, was that "Lilian" was never a name I had chosen or considered in my 20 years of baby-planning in my head. I don't know anyone named Lilian and I never particularly liked the name. I knew where the "Grace" came from... Missy, her mom, aunt, and sister all have Grace as one of their middle names too, and Grace was her grandmother (still alive at the time of this dream), so Missy knew that any daughter she had would have "Grace" as one of her names as well. My subconscious dream-mind remembered this, but I have no idea where "Lilian" came from, but it felt so real, and so right.

Fast-forward a few years... when I was pregnant and we were discussing names, we talked about several girls names (always with "Grace Isabel" as the middle names, Isabel after my grandfather Isidor who died in 2006, to carry on Jewish tradition), but in the end, Missy made the final call that "Lilian" would be our choice. I'm not even so sure that it was her "favorite" girl's name as much as it was a name that meant something to us.

We decided on our male/female names before we discovered the gender - so we'd not be tempted to have to agree all over again by changing our minds. When we had the ultrasound that determined the gender, when the man pointed out her va-jay-jay, I just nodded and thought to myself "yes, that's exactly where it should be". From the moment I saw the 2 pink lines on that very first pregnancy test, I knew it was a girl. I tried to keep an open mind, because I could have been wrong. And I would have been happy to have a son, its not that I only WANTED a girl, its that I KNEW, felt she was a girl. But I just knew, like I'd always known, I could just feel that she was, in fact, a she.

So, naming Lilian after the girl I dreamt about felt right. And now that she's here, I can't imagine her with any other name. As crazy as it sounds, I kind of even feel like we didn't choose her name - that she chose it for herself. That our daughter, Lilian Grace, who had visited me many times before (but only once with a name) was finally coming true.

To be honest, I don't know how this makes sense to me, but it does. I don't believe in the supernatural. I don't believe in god, or heaven, or souls, or reincarnation, or ghosts, or anything else that might make this make sense. I believe in what I can touch and understand, science and what's real. But for some reason, the thought that my future daughter visited me in dreams, and told me her name somehow doesn't seem completely insane to me at times. When I see Lilian, sometimes I think about how I've been waiting to "meet" her my whole life, not "make" her... she always existed to me.

This is babbly, because it's after 4AM and I'm going on just 5 hours of sleep from yesterday.

I'm not exactly positive if Missy's reasons for making "Lilian" our final name choice are the same as mine, but somehow everything in the universe came together just right and our daughter, Lilian Grace Isabel, is here with us now. I love her name, it suits her perfectly and I can't imagine calling her anything else.


This photo (left) is from the day she was born, 8/13/08. The above photo with her eyes open is from the next day, she was about 24 hours old, and it was the first glimpse I really got of her eyes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Personalized Boutique engraved birthstone necklace *REVIEW and GIVEAWAY*

Lil Family Blog is pleased to give our readers another exciting review and giveaway! This time from Personalized Boutique, an online store of personalized and custom jewelry!

The kind people at Personalized Boutique sent me a Sterling silver "Posh Mommy" engravable birthstone disc (size medium) on an 18" chain, which I had engraved with Lilian's name and birthday (my only child, so far!) It has a light green stone (peridot) inset below her name, for her birthstone (her birthday is August 13, it's coming up!)

The necklace came in a black box that snapped close, suitable for gift giving!




















The chain has a lobster claw clasp, which I always prefer for security.


And I had the reverse side engraved with Lilian's birthday, it says 8.13.08


Here's a photo of me wearing it (sorry, no face shot this time, my hair and make-up weren't done, I'm sure you understand). It's a really nice size, not too big to be gaudy, but not so small that you can't read it. You have the option to get the letters filled with black enamel if you choose, but I chose mine without. (I wish Lilian had a prettier birthstone like a ruby or amethyst so the color would "pop" more, but peridot is nice too.)


I'm really impressed with the quality of the piece. It's adorable and well made. It's part of the Posh Mommy collection, which, according to the website was "founded in 2007 by two stay-at-home moms from California. Posh Mommy has become a favorite with celebrity moms like Gwen Stefani, Salma Hayek & Brook Burke. Simple, fashionable and fun, this is definitely not your grandma's "mommy jewelry'"!" In the collection are also adorable dog tags, rectangles, initial necklaces, circles, squares, and hearts. They are available in gold or silver, with or without birthstones, and in several different sizes. And since they aren't in a strictly "baby" shape, they can be used for other purposes too. Get your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife's name and birthstone and your anniversary on the reverse, get your child's name like me, or get your pet's name! You can even get your OWN name. Whatever means something to you.
Personalized Boutique has a huge collection of mother/family jewelry, some more traditional, and some more playful/modern like the Posh Mommy collection. And besides family jewelry they have nameplates, rings, and some really cute and unusual collections like the SNACK food collection (pendants shaped like Goldfish and Cheese-It crackers), the SKULL collection, and my favorite, the CUPCAKE collection! There is something for everyone.

To receive a discount, enter coupon code LFB to receive 10% off any purchase at www.personalizedboutique.com


So, thank you so much to the people at Personalized Boutique, I just love my "lilian" necklace.

And now you can enter to win one of your OWN!

("sofia" photo above from the Personalized Boutique website)

The winner of the drawing will get a Sterling Silver Engraved Birthstone Disc – Medium with 18” chain, the same as mine. You can choose the engraving (up to 8 letters on the front), font, birthstone, and whether or not you'd like back fill in the letters.

Here's how to enter:
Please leave only ONE comment per person. Put your name, then the number of how many entries you are entitled to.
You get one entry for just commenting. You can earn extra entries by completing the following:
* Following my blog via Google reader and/or add me to your blogroll.
* Following the Personalized Boutique blog, they make really cute entries about jewelry trends, birthstone info, etc.
* Reposting this contest in YOUR blog, and please leave me a link where I can see the repost.
* Posting this contest as a link on your Facebook feed or Twitter (you can do it easily by using the buttons below the post).
* "Like" Lil Family Blog on Facebook Facebook Buttons By ButtonsHut.com


This contest will end on August 8th at 11:59PM EST. The winner will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. The prize will be shipped directly from Personalized Boutique to the winner within a reasonable amount of time.

If you like giveaways, visit the Kiss My Face Peace soap giveaway and enter to win before the contest closes.

And, as always, while you're here, please click on an ad or two, my sponsors like it and so do I!

The fine print: Personalized Boutique sent me this necklace as a gift to try and review. All photos (except the one credited), words except those quoted, and opinions are my own.
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