Thursday, February 12, 2015

Beyond Friendship Bracelets

Adult friendships are such a tricky thing. I knew they were tricky long before I got married, but post-wedding bells, they've gotten even more complicated.

I used to think that my best friends would always be on speed dial. I would drop everything for that 3am phone call from my BFFs, ready to chat about anything, ready to jet out on a plane to solve any crisis. But reality has set in: my phone at 3am will always be on silent, because I don't want the baby to wake up. Sometimes, I really can't chat - not for days or weeks, because the season I'm in is hectic, and all my emotional energy is being eaten up by trying to maintain my marriage and love my child and offer something to my Savior. My friend themselves are busy, with their own families, work, volunteer responsibilities. We all have our own seasons of crazy.

But that is the modern narrative for friendship: "being there" for someone, which means attending to them excessively in their hour of need no matter what. What happens when you suddenly have other real responsibilities in your life, that means you can't 'be there' for someone the way they need you to at that second, because you already promised before God that you'd 'be there' for someone else for your whole life?

For my part, I have ended only a few friendships, most for egregious actions not on the 'being there for someone' spectrum. I rarely begrudge people for growing apart from me, and I enjoy renewing acquaintances with long-lost friends. Although it's hard when I reach out and someone doesn't reach back, I try to understand that I am not their primary responsibility. Unlike what Sex and the City portrays, I don't have only my friends - and they don't only have me. We live in a wider world of responsibilities and relationships: we have extended family, husbands, children, and work, to name a few. I don't expect my friends to be everything to me.

It seems that lately, what really makes a friend, is actually being able to work through a genuine disagreement. It's easy to be a friend when together you and the other person are putting up a united front against something else, but much harder when you feel at odds with one another. It's at that point that you have to dig deep: be willing to be honest and humble and uncomfortable. It doesn't mean just covering over or ignoring our differences or default apologizing just to assuage the other person, but really getting to the heart of the pain or difference. I'm beginning to realize that most people just aren't willing to do this; they either don't want to examine the hurt or they don't want take the time to hash it out - they don't want to feel discomfort. It's easier to ignore it or write off the friendship entirely.

I'm finding what this means in practice is that I have fewer and fewer good friends as I get older. There's nothing wrong with that, but the shifting landscape of my adult friendships often leaves me feeling lonely and confused. It seems all the rules have changed and it's hard to learn the new ones since they vary from person to person. Sometimes, it means I just let all of it go and try to survive without nurturing friendships. It can feel like so much work - work that feels one-sided, with no standards to hold the other person to. If I feel like my husband were not pulling his weight, I would have a standard to appeal to - but friendship? I'm not sure what I'd say if I felt the same way about a friend.

How to make friends, keep them, and flourish within these friendships has only gotten harder once we move past the stage of friendship bracelets. You out there in internet land - how do you balance your friends with...everything else? And how do you navigate difficult times within the friendship itself?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

5 Favorites: New Baby Edition

Linking up with Jenna from Call Her Happy for my favorite materialistic blogpost!

So I'll take a break from talking about the items I love for myself (although I really could do another pregnancy one) and do one for ze babies. I've only had one! So I'm no expert - but this time around I have a refined idea of what I want and need...and y'know, what babies actually LIKE. These are my picks for my favorite things for the baby:


Hear me out - I know it's a mucho expensive bouncer thingy. I like it because from the reviews, it seems to last for a very long time (so the money is worth it? maybe?), it doesn't look dumb (I hate baby items that are hokey), and it appears to work magic. With Zuzu, I was not concerned about never holding her - because that's all I did. Hold her. For the first 8 weeks.
That was great! But I don't think I'm going to have that option this time around and I'm beginning to value things like showers and household cleanliness more than I did in the past. So I am counting on this sucker to be my ticket to 20 minutes of hardcore cleaning. Thanks to my incredibly generous parents, I am indeed the proud owner of one of these babies - so I'll let you know if they deliver.


I am not actually anti-stroller, but Zuzu hated strollers when she was little (along with carseats! you can see the source of my craziness!) and I hated not being able to go anywhere. Enter in the Boba. Although I also own a sling, Baby Bjorn Air, a Moby Wrap, and a Baby K'tan, the Boba is by far my favorite. I have since gotten rid of the Moby wrap because it was way too much fabric and SO HOT. The sling I can use till 10 pounds before it kills my shoulder, the Baby Bjorn is great fun once they have good enough head control to face out, and I haven't actually tried the K'tan yet, but imagine it to be a stress-free Moby, so I'll let you know.
BUT! The Boba! I love it. It buckles, so there's no confusion about tying things. You can use it from birth - 45 pounds (i.e., I still use it to get through airport security with Zuz), you can nurse in it (I swear - it's really easy), and it carries on the front or the back. The patterns are very cute - I have the Soho, pictured above - and you can wash it, if you need to (though I've only washed mine twice - mostly I spot clean it). It has been worth every penny, especially since we traveled a lot when she was little and this was the easiest way to get around with her.


So my thing about hating baby items that look dumb? It extends to highchairs, majorly. Why are they all made of plastic with these horrible nooks and crannies that you can NEVER EVER EVER CLEAN? I'm all for the ones that hook onto the table, which are far easier to clean and space efficient, but I still fear my child plunging to their death.
Wooden high chairs are actually becoming popular again, which just means that you can't find a cheap vintage one on eBay and Babies R Us hasn't caught on yet and started carrying them again. Once again, my mom to the rescue with the Keekaroo. Pricey? Yes. But also made of real wood, extremely durable, can morph into a toddler chair, and then an adult chair. So those are my justifications. (I'm really good at this justifying thing, as you can tell) There are no hard to reach nooks or crannies, you can get it in the wood finish that matches your dining room, and I don't find it hideously ugly. I will say - it is big, so it's not a space saver. But I like it!

Don't laugh - I know, what could be more unnecessary than baby leg warmers? But they are more useful than they first appear. First of all, they serve as a great anchor for elusive baby socks that never want to stay on skinny little feet. Tuck the socks under there and they stay put! Secondly, I hate it what I have to get the baby nearly entirely undressed for a diaper change - especially because then they get so mad because they're so cold. Baby legs to the rescue again! All you have to do is unsnap the onesie, but their legs stay covered as do their feet because of aforementioned anchored socks.


It's not necessary they be Aiden+Anais that everybody loves, there are some knock-off brands that are sold that are just as great! But living in a warm weather climate, I found these blankets to be really indispensable. They weren't too heavy to be used constantly, washed up easily, were very soft, and fit very easily into my diaper bag. Also, they're huge, so they're really easy to use as a nursing cover if you happen to forget yours.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

5 Favorites: MOAR Pregnant Beauty Things

Last time I did 5 favs, I posted the five things I WANTED to help me look less...frumpy in this pregnancy. I have tried some of them and found some others and thought I'd share with you all what has worked...


I know, where most of you live it's freezing, but not all of us are in the frozen tundra - and some of you maybe are just beginning to plan for your summer vacations. If so, I highly recommend this reasonably priced ($36.99) and slightly retro one piece. I bought it in a hurry last week in preparation for Jen's 30th birthday weekend at Captiva and despite my concerns about looking like the hugely pregnant uggo all weekend, I actually felt confident and cute. And for THAT, I would've paid way more than $36! 


The skinny jeans for all of us thick-thighed ladies that swore we'd never rock skinny jeans. I am not built like a stick figure - when not housing another human being, my body shape closest resembles Nani from Lilo and Stitch. But my normal bootcut jeans just don't cut it when I'm pregnant, they look weird on me! Especially if I'm trying to rock a flowy top...suddenly I'm just wearing flowy stuff all over and it's like a badly stitched moo-moo.
These jeans! They are comfy, with mucho stretch, and their fit really isn't super skinny - it's more like a fitted jean. Plus! They are on sale right now ($26.99) - but don't try to use the additional 40% off, because that's NEVER good on jeans (because Gap is a jerk).


I bought a batch of things from Asos in November and every single one of those pieces delivered, except for one which is just much bigger than I thought it was going to be. But one of them stands out as very comfortable, constantly stylish, and easy to pair with anything - this tunic (for only $24.62, although now sadly only available in a small). I have to consciously try not to wear it every day, especially with my gold flats and a red headband.
Side note: I'm not sure why it looks so long in the picture (maybe because that gal's probably not actually sporting a real belly?), but it really isn't appropriate to wear as a dress - even on me, and I'm only five feet tall! It rides up quickly because of how ruched the sides are and how stretchy it is. Even with tights, I feel pretty self conscious if I'm not wearing pants. 


I cannot get away with just concealer under my eyes, because my skin tone is fairly uneven and gets worse in pregnancy. But I don't have the time to put on war paint like those Pinterest contouring tutorials tell you to! Actually, most of the time, I'm doing my makeup at red lights or in the passenger seat. Also, I really don't have the money right now to figure out if the fancy pots of skin paint at Ulta or Sephora are worth the half-my-grocery budget they cost. 
Enter in this lovely, under $12, available at Walmart so I don't have to make a separate trip, CC cream. Apparently CC cream stands for 'color correcting' and is supposed to correct redness and other issues, but I'm not expecting any miracles - I just want something more sheer (sheerer??) than foundation. It's easily applied with my fingers, covers my unevenness, but doesn't cream "I have a mask on!" Sold.


I do not look like this in this product. I am not claiming this product will make you look like this.

The one product I considered last time really delivered. Form-fitting clothing in pregnancy is more flattering (and can be comfortable with enough stretch!), but my body has odd lump and such, so I find this my invaluable companion to getting dressed in anything other than sweatpants. Also, since age-old wisdom holds with very small panties to avoid VPL (visible panty lines), and I am completely against very small panties at any point in pregnancy, I am grateful that the Blanqi successfully smooths out any of that as well. TMI? Too late!
I will say that it is so tight it sometimes rides up, which is annoying when worn under a dress. But I'm also an hour glass figure and a bit on the curvy side, so I think it has more to do with my childbearing hips than the product itself? It seems most reviews by women who have a different shape indicate it's not a problem for them.

PS I never did try the product from Lush, after discovering a dust-up over Lush's support of an anti-Israel group. Although I couldn't find any current info on their site indicating they still support this charity, I then became curious as to what they ARE doing with all the money they earn from their overpriced products. Their full list of supported charities is here and I felt uncomfortable with their support of the 'Hate Crime Hub' (I don't agree that we should criminalize words) and Education for Choice. I'm not a big boycotter, but if I have the choice, I'd rather avoid throwing tons of money at a company that probably sees me as a criminal.