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4th time around, you start to have an idea as to what you really need.

You know, in terms of maternity clothes.

With William I was working everyday at DKNY in NYC, and I needed to wear (okay… felt I did!) some cool, hip and totally-trendy clothes. So I tried my best to put together some fashionista outfits.

With Alexander I didn’t work. My cool, hip and trendy clothes were traded for sweatpants and cotton tees. After all, I WAS chasing around William at the time and I needed easy clothes.

With Benjamin I was working from home. I had my standard uniforms. Cozy cotton pants and soft turtleneck sweaters. They were my standards. And I got into the whole legging movement, ahhh… I loved it!

OK. With Henry. I have CRAVED jeans.

CRAVED.

Let’s face it, it’s been over 4 years since I have really been able to wear a regular pair of jeans (oh-my babies, I will see you soon!).

And I need me some denim.

But! There are some things about maternity pants that I can’t stand… which is probably why I have stayed away from them… they absolutely, positively CANNOT BE TIGHT IN THE WAIST!

I have so many pairs of jeans/pants/sweats that have way-too-tight of a waist band and they really are too uncomfortable to wear.

And then…

I found them. It was like hitting gold.

The Revolutionary Secret Fit Belly Jeans from Motherhood Maternity.

Oh-me-oh-my-oh-moo!

I love you!

I bought a pair of them 3 weeks ago for our Easter trip to Pittsburgh. I was at the point where I had NO JEANS that fit comfortably and I didn’t want to go away with just “cozy” pants.

So I tried some of the Secret Fit Belly Jeans on… and… (well, cue the music) it was amazing. They actually felt, dare I say it… cozy, soft and comfy!

The top of the jeans are seamless. How beautiful is that word? Seamless.

That means no tight waist. Nada. Nothing.

So… I did what every pregnant mama would do (please say you would!), I went out and bought another pair of jeans.

And then another.

And today… I went and bought another.

I can’t get enough of them. I have dark wash. Light wash. And capris.

They rock.

Thank you Motherhood Maternity for the Secret Belly Fit. Thank you.

I am in love. And if you have any more new styles coming out, I’m there!

- Audrey

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In two days I’m heading down to New Jersey for Johnson & Johnson’s Camp Baby.

Kind of wishing J&J had decided to plop down their headquarters somewhere with weather more akin to, oh I don’t know, Bermuda… but I suppose New Brunswick, NJ will do.

I’m most excited about meeting some of the Mommy bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through the written word over the past year or so.

(Oh yes, dinnah at the swanky restaurant, The Frog and the Peach, and having a wine social with Ted Allen from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Top Chef” will be pretty cool, too.)

Now, I’m not going to even get into the whole PR/marketing fiasco that has erupted around Camp Baby here in the blogosphere. (Although, if one would like to read up on it, a simple Google search of – “camp baby” j&j – will do the trick.)

My whole cause for concern is this: I’m going to Camp Baby with a bunch of Mommy bloggers. And yet… I’m not a Mom.

So, this is what went down. When “we” at Pinks & Blues were invited to Camp Baby, we really were under the impression that “we” would all be going – Mom (a mom to 4, grandmother to 7, soon-to-be 9), Audrey (a mom to 3, soon-to-be 4) and me (my doggies are my babies, but I know that most people don’t consider them “kids”… for the record, though, I do.)

In fact, the original email we received regarding Camp Baby was addressed to the “Pinks & Blues Ladies” at our general P&B email address. But by the time we realized that each of us would need to be sent a separate email invite in order to register, and the invites were sent to Mom and Audrey, the event was full (we also didn’t realize that there was such a limited number of spaces).

And so it’s up to me, the married-but-childless one to represent Pinks & Blues at Camp Baby.

But before you brand me with a “C” for “Childless” a la Hester Prynne, I will tell you that I am about as close to being a Mom as someone who is not a Mom can get (follow that?).

Recently, my girl Melanie at SavvyAuntie introduced me to a word that sums me up perfectly.

I am a PANK.

Got that? I’m a Professional Auntie – No Kids.

I spend a lot of time with my 9 (soon-to-be 11) nieces and nephews. I am very, very close to them. And since I work with Audrey at Pinks & Blues (office space is currently Mom’s house), I am even lucky enough to see her three boys – my nephews – every day.

That means that every day I get to hug and kiss and tickle and chase my little nephews. I sit on the couch and read with them. I build towers and bridges out of blocks with them. I build wooden tracks and play trains with them. I make snacks for them. I hold them after their naps. I kiss their boo boos. I teach them how to be gentle with my doggies. I change their diapers. I color with them.

They know my “look” – the one that all parents have – the one that says, “Oh no you didn’t” or, better yet, “Oh no you don’t.”

As a PANK, you know what it’s like to find yourself in CVS with baby vomit down your sleeve, only to realize it’s there when you’re in line with 10 people behind you.

And let me tell you, as a PANK, you totally feel a sense of protection for your little ones. You don’t want them to ever know any sadness, hurt or pain.

When your sister points out the bully in your nephew’s preschool class, you suddenly find yourself giving some random 4-year-old the evil eye. (Or so I’ve heard. Oh no, I’ve never done anything like this. Never…)

As a PANK, you understand what your parents meant when they said, “No matter what, nothing can ever take away the amount of love I have for you.”

My nieces and nephews can be upset at me for telling them, “No.” They can glare at me, turn their backs to me, tell me they’re mad at me. Nothing will ever change the love I have in my heart for them.

As for when I’ll have two-legged kiddos of my own, I’m really not sure (Mom just loves that answer, by the way). Steve and I are still fairly newly married (just over 3 years) and between my doggies, my role as a PANK and building my business, I feel like my plate is already pretty full.

Of course, there’s always room for a little more, and when the time is right, I think we’ll know.

Luckily, I am literally surrounded by mama-to-be, mama, baby and kid products every day here at Pinks & Blues. So I know I’ll be prepared when the time comes.

So although at Camp Baby I won’t be able to contribute to the conversations about up-in-the-night feedings, child-induced lack of sleep, or when to wean a breastfeeding baby, I know I will be able to hold my own when it comes to gushing about “our” little ones.

Between being a PANK and a doggy mama, there’s always something for me to gush about.

I just hope I don’t stick out too much with my Scarlet Letter.

- Jane

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Corbin_park_trees_and_fogOK, February. I get it.

You suck.

You’re cold, rainy, windy, ugly, vile and mean.

And that’s on a good day.

I’m getting really tired of looking out my bedroom window every morning to be greeted with an unfriendly gray cloud cover.

Of having to wear 5 layers when I go outside just to be mildly comfortable.

Of hearing the weatherpeople say that we’re still going to have to wait awhile for the Spring weather (thanks for the reminder, guys).

Of dreading getting out of the shower to face the frigid air in the nude.

Of the bare trees.

I need the warm weather back.

The smell of grass being cut.

The desire to take a walk outside and not having to add one layer of clothing.

The sound of the lawn sprinklers.

The sight of families at the park.

There’s nothing like New England in the Spring and Summer. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

I love living by the ocean. Spending the day at the beach. Being able to drive for three hours and hit four different states (the three-hour drive from Providence to Portland takes you through RI, MA, NH and ME. Strolling through the quaint New England towns.

I definitely don’t want to leave my home state. But I’m clearly one of those people who needs to live in Florida from January to April.

My job would allow me to telecommute like that. But my husband’s teaching job may make it a little tricky.

OK, there goes that dream. 

I guess Plan B would be one of those Seasonal Affective Disorder light therapy lamps.

Daylighth

On second thought, that seems a little weird.

I think I’ll just suck it up for 6 more weeks!

- Jane

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

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Originally posted May 16, 2007… re-posted now as I enjoy a little vacation!

I had a glimpse into Mommyhood through my sister’s rearview mirror.

It ain’t always pretty, is it?

Not that I didn’t before, but now I really give all the Mommies out there a ton of credit for simultaneously keeping their eyes on the road and their sanity while driving with children.

Let me set the scene.

It was Monday afternoon. All three of Audrey’s boys were napping while we (the Pinks & Blues Girls – Audrey, Mom and I) were working in Audrey’s home office.

William and Alex were upstairs in their bedrooms, Benjamin was in the office with us.

Since it was after lunchtime, I decided that it would be a good time to make the trip to the post office (between noon and 12:30 it’s so crowded there, you’d think they were giving away free Forever stamps).

Audrey said she’d come to the PO with me, while Mom wanted to stay and work on a blog post. And that way she could stay with the still-napping boys.

But as soon as Audrey and I were leaving, we heard one of the boys upstairs crying for Audrey. And when one’s up, they’re both up.

So we went upstairs, retrieved William and Alex from their rooms, and decided to take them with us to the PO. That way, Mom would be able to write while Benjamin napped some more.

But by the time we came back downstairs with the two older boys, Benjamin had woken up. And he wanted his Mommy.

Audrey would have just stayed home with all three boys while Mom typed, but by that time William and Alex were all excited to go on an adventure to the PO.

Mom wouldn’t be able to concentrate on writing and typing with the baby crying, so it was decided that Audrey and I would take all three boys to the PO with us.

And so we buckled the boys into their seats in the minivan, William and Alex in the “way back” seats and Benjamin in the middle row. Audrey sat in the seat next to Benjamin so that he could see her.

So it was just me in the front. Steering the ship. My eyes on both the road and the activity in the back seats.

Our first stop along the way was Mom and Dad’s house (which is about a mile from Audrey’s). I was craving a Diet Cherry Coke in an if-I-don’t-have-one-now-someone-will-pay kind of way. (I blame PMS.)

And Mom and Dad always keep their fridge stocked just for me. :)

As I pulled into their driveway, the questions from the backseat began… William asked, “Janie, why are we going to Grandma and Pop-up’s house?”

“Auntie just has to get a drink really quick,” I explained.

William: “I want to come see Pop-up!”

Me: “Pop-up’s not home, honey. He’s at work. I’ll be right out and then we’ll go to the post office.”

William: “I want a sippy cup!”

Audrey: “Can you get him a sippy cup filled with water?”

Alex, chiming in: “Wa-wa! Wa-wa!”

Audrey: “OK, get two sippy cups with water. And get me a bottled water while you’re in there.”

As soon as I shut the car door, I heard the boys start crying. They wanted to come in. So I ran frantically around the kitchen, grabbing my soda and Audrey’s water, filling the sippy cups with water, juggling everything as I ran back outside as fast as I could.

And soon enough the boys have their sippy cups, Audrey had her water and I had my Diet Cherry Coke. All was right.

The post office is about five miles from my parents’ house. As we made our way there, we passed by Dunkin’ Donuts.

“Mommy! Let’s get munchkins!” William exclaimed.

“Not now, William. We’re going to the post office!” Audrey reminded him.

Alex: “Doh-doh! Doh-doh!”

I glanced in the rearview mirror to witness two minor tantrums taking place.

You know how Dire Straits wanted their MTV? Well William and Alex wanted their DD.

I relented. “All right, guys. I’ll stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way back home. But you have to settle down right now.”

Right then and there I found that the promise of a deep-fried ball of dough dipped in a glazed coating can be an effective tool in quieting a tantrum.

(Just a quick note to self.)

We made it to the post office without incident. Since the boys were being pretty quiet, and Benjamin was napping again, I decided to just run in quickly by myself to mail our packages and check our PO box.

By the time I came back out 5 minutes later, there was minor chaos in the minivan.

Benjamin had woken up and was getting fussy. Alex had taken his shoes off and was inserting his socked foot into his mouth. William was on the donut tangent again.

Back at the helm, I tried to get to Dunkin’ Donuts in a safe yet timely manner. In the rearview mirror, I could see William and Alex playing and laughing together in their carseats, but getting a little rough with each other.

Since Audrey was tending to Benjamin, it was up to me to calm them down.

I couldn’t believe it when my Mom’s voice and words came right out of my mouth: “Boys, if you can’t settle down, we’re not getting munchkins!”

The threat was palpable enough to put an end to the horseplay.

We made it to our Dunkin’ Donuts stop, and the two munchkins for each William and Alex were much-appreciated special treats.

We were able to have a fairly quiet rest of the drive home, interrupted only once by Alex’s shoe flying through the air.

His “trow thoe” warning would have been better received, I think, had it happened prior to said “thoe” being “trown.”

As I walked back into Audrey’s house, carrying Alex and covered in sticky honey-glazed fingerprints, I asked Mom, “How did you and Dad make it through all the roadtrips with us four kids?”

It was a rhetorical question. I don’t think Mom could have answered if she tried.

And so I have a newfound appreciation not only for my parents’ sanity, but for the sanity of every parent who must contend with the hazards of driving, screaming children, shoes flying in the air, and demands for donuts all at once.

Because after just 30 minutes of that the other day, I was ready for a nap!

- Jane

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Grandchild Love

Originally posted on March 15, 2007… re-posting now while enjoying a winter vacation!

Ah… grandchildren!

Sophocles wrote, “Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.” And that being the case, then grandchildren are the little sailboats that take us to lands and places that we otherwise could never imagine!

Take today for instance. Audrey, Jane and I started working at around 7:30 am at my home. We each have a room designated as a home office (of sorts!), but we usually work from my home. I live in a busy town area and we all love the sounds and scents of a new day bustling all around us. I also have coffee brewing at the crack of dawn and have ample and varied breakfast supplies always available! Often, Audrey brings her two little guys (William 2 1/2 and Alexander 1 1/2) with her and Jane always brings her two beautiful dogs (Ryder and Bismarck), my granddogs! Today it was William, Rydie and Biz in the workday mix.

As we settled in to research and write, the most magnificent sounds floated in from other rooms in my home… William ringing each of the bells in my bell collection in my dining room; William asking, “Grandma, can we do laundry?”; William asking Rydie and Biz to “please play with me on the couch”; footfalls and pawfalls as boy and dogs romped around us… William asking, “Grandma, can we put your ‘aflections’ (his word for reflectors) in the sun?”; “Grandma, can we make coffee;” Grandma, can we clean the poop in the back yard;” “Grandma, when can we eat lunch?”… and so on.

These ordinary moments… no, these extraordinary moments… all within the mechanism of my ears and the twinkle in my eyes. These gifts of grandchildren all innocent and warm and total love… unconditional love. Putting on latex gloves to clean up doggie poop becomes the highlight of a little life. Pressing the coffee maker button to “on.” Seeing a magnificent rainbow of “aflections” in my hallways. Sorting laundry by colors: “This one is blue, Grandma. This one is yellow, Grandma,” and so on. A cadence of bells enthralling a child and adults alike. Slumbering doggies’ breathing sounds.

Anticipation of lunch.

People often ask me how I get so much work done in one day.

This is not work.

This is living!

- Sharon

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We’re all smart mamas.

After all, any woman who can balance children with any of the following: home, laundry, work, marriage, playdates, carpools, school functions, volunteering, church, friendships, cooking, cleaning (and insert your own activity here) is a smart mama.

It’s innate.

There’s something about becoming a mother and suddenly being able to do more than you ever imagined you could, and all with a smile (OK, not all the time). It’s empowering.

Well, Pinks & Blues has developed a new feature for you – smart mama.

And we’re really excited about this!

smart mama is all about YOU.

Novel idea, right?

But it is. It’s all about YOU.

(It’s about time.)

We have brought together a bunch smart mamas who are experts/love/have a passion for: babywearing, decorating / interior design, fashion, fitness / exercise, green living, health issues, healthy eating, literary / education, mompreneurs / wahms, money matters, organization, travel, tv / movies for kids, and working outside the house.

They will give us fellow smart mamas tips, advice and wisdom – Mama-to-Mama.

What could be better than this?

We want to interest you. Entertain you. And intrigue you.

So sit back and relax. Yes, sit back and relax!

And enjoy.

(And if you want to contribute to smart mama, please email us at pinksandblues[at]gmail[dot]com)

- Audrey
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Guess what? There are only 39 days until Halloween!

But don’t worry… we have you covered. Click on over to our 2007 Pinks & BOOs Halloween Guide to see what we mean!

And you know there’s a giveaway there, too!

*Thank you Dawn from Coming To a Nursery Near You for the fabulous Halloween Guide button!

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Dawn over at Coming to a Nursery Near You has tagged me for the 8 Jobs I Have Had meme:

(more…)

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Jen at One Moms BlogBlagged” me!

So here are 8 “careers” I’ve had (not necessarily in chronological order)… (more…)

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traffic_light.jpgI had one of those embarrassing moments this morning that just keeps getting worse… (more…)

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