After my post about boys and dolls (or "buddies" as some call them), I got a lot of questions about where we got Weston's doll; he doesn't have any other "doll accessories" as of yet, but I would love to get him some as he gets older! When I set out to look for some gender neutral doll accessories, it was incredibly frustrating and hard to do. So, I spent a little time, did a little research, and put together this list of gender neutral baby doll accessories. Not that there's anything wrong with pink, but my son should have his option of colors, as well. Most of the toys in this post are blue, but that's simply because the options out there right now are pink or blue, simple as that. I wanted to pick out toys which Weston, or a future daughter/niece/friend could play with as well! I'll definitely be buying some of these (uh, maybe not the super expensive strollers, but still...) for Weston in the next few years. 

1. Haba Steven Doll, $38; 2. Haba Lucas Doll, $35; 3. Haba Michael Doll, $28 (I did get this for Weston for this Christmas! Weston's doll in all the photos is the Graham doll found here); 4. Baby Blue Doll, $12; 5. Corolle Sky Baby Doll, $30; 6. Rosy Cheeks Baby Boy, $18
1. Mommy and Me Deluxe, White&Black, $50; 2. My First Jogger in Blue, $30; 3. Twin Stroller, $60; 4. Twin Stroller, $50; 5.  Umbrella Stroller, $20; 6. Umbrella Stroller, $17; 7. Multi-function stroller, $40; 8. Multi-function pram, $50
1. Diaper Bag, $15; 2. Moses Basket, $15; 3. Babydoll Ergo Carrier, $25; 4. Babydoll Snugglie, $13; 5. Babydoll Carseat, $60; 6. Corolle Bottle, Binky, and Bib Set, $10; 7. Doll Sippy Cups, $15; 8. Bottle and Juice, $13; 9. Hat and Booties, $9; 10. Doll booster seat, $30

As a little girl, I was a total doll-lover. I had a plethora of dolls, but a few were standouts: I had Vicky, whom I got when Jenny was born, I had Jenny-doll (who I told my parents to name Jenny for), whom was bought with money from my mother's grandmother, who passed before I was born. And, I had David, named for my grandfather, he was my only boy doll, and I adored him. I had a doll with me wherever I went, and to me, they had such spirit, and were truly alive (hence my amazing love for all the Toy Story movies...). So, when I found out I was having a son, I'm going to admit, honestly, I was bummed that I wasn't going to be able to play dolls with him. I mean, our culture is so into boys-being-boys, that I have to admit, even this proud feminist mama played into that concept (blame it on pregnancy hormones), and I was sure that I would have to wait until we would maybe have a daughter someday to indulge in my doll playing. I mean, the only experience I had with boys playing with dolls was the book we had, William's Doll, in which William loves his doll, but gets teased for being a boy and playing with dolls. Granted, it is from the 1970s, but, I don't think much has changed in terms of teaching "boys to be boys" since then.

But, when Weston was born, and I saw how truly loving of a spirit he is, I decided to buck the societal concepts, and buy my son a doll. Weston was four months last Christmas, and I decided to buy him one special doll for his first Christmas. I searched and searched for "boy dolls" online, and finally came to the Haba dolls. I fell in love with Graham, as he looked adorable, was soft bodied, and had a cute smirk on his face, just like Weston. Weston was really too little to open presents last Christmas, but we renamed Graham, "Huck" (for Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn), and kept him around the house for the past year.

Just a few weeks back, Weston started really recognizing his stuffed bear, and cuddling with it at night. When we were playing, I would have Huck play with us too, and do the things Weston was (dance, eat, play banjo). Weston started to recognize that Huck was a playmate, and we would make him laugh along with us, bring him in the car, and cuddle with him. I began calling Huck, "Weston's Baby," and told Weston that he was a daddy, just like his daddy! Weston would hold his "baby," and cuddle him. The real clincher came when I told Weston to "put baby to bed," and Weston laid the baby down on a pillow, climbed on the floor next to him, and put his arm around his baby. See, that's exactly what we do to put Weston to bed. We lie with him and cuddle until he falls asleep...Weston was 100% mimicking what we do with him, in his relationship with his doll. I started to tear up with how sweet is was!

In this past week, Weston has put his baby to bed many times, put him in the high chair to eat, helped him down the slide, read to him, played music for him, and...when I pretend to make the baby cry, Weston holds him, with a hand on his head, and a hand on his back, and rocks him.

We're told as parents to make sure we read to our children every single day or else they may become delinquents. We're told to have them not watch television. We're told to keep the iPhone, iPad, and screens away from them. We're told a lot of things. It's overwhelming how much we're expected to teach our little ones in order to help them become "good people." But, no one, in any news media platform, spews information on teaching our children to become empathetic, loving people. Yes, books help children learn language, but what about the language of love? Why are we keeping our young boys from learning how to be good fathers...or you know, just nice people? When I decided to buy Weston another Haba doll for this Christmas, I wanted to get him some baby-accessories for his dolls, and low and behold, all of the accessories were pink, pink, pink. Not that I mind buying him pink toys, but why are we still living in a world where dolls are a toy in the "girl's toy aisle"? Why is it okay for boys to play with guns and not baby dolls?

Like any other parent, I want my son to become a strong, moral, and kind human being. But, he's not going to learn to do that on his own, nor will he learn it without modeling, examples, or teaching him how to be kind. We must engage our boys in a world of empathy by showing them that it's wonderful and healthy to show love. Boys are told to "not cry," and "be a man," but, they're also human. I want my son to be able to express his emotions, in a healthy way which works for him. I want him to be able to show love; I want him to be kind, generous, and someday, a great husband and father. But, this doesn't start from no where; just like children learn to love reading in the laps of their parents, children can also learn how to love in the confines of their playroom.

I am so proud of my son for being able to show love and emotion to his doll, and I will always encourage him to keep loving, sharing, and showing emotion. Like the saying says, "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world," and I want my son to know how to rock a cradle, too, so that he can rule the world someday, as well.

Lovelies, I am thrilled to be introducing today's guest mama! I've known her since before I can remember, as our families are old, old friends. Jess is a teacher and mama to one adorable little man, and...has a wonderful sense of humor about life, as you will see below! Thanks for guest posting today, Jess! 

Wednesday, November 5:

5:00 Alarm goes off. I jump out of bed, eager to tackle all of the challenges that today will bring. Just kidding – I hit snooze for the first time and fall back to sleep for 9 glorious minutes.

5:10 Actually open eyes; check Facebook on my phone for 8 minutes to ease into the day

5:18 Get out of bed

5:25-5:59 Shower, dress, get ready for work

6:00 Wake up Luke, who cries, “Sleep, mommy, sleep!” I know the feeling, kid. I am able to hold off a complete meltdown and dress him by promising he can sleep in the car. Which he never does – but he could if he wanted to, so I wasn’t lying.

6:20 In the car, Luke is now awake for the day. 
6:35 Stop at Dunkin Donuts for iced green tea for me and a special treat for Luke (and me!): munchkins

7:15 Walk into Luke’s day care. I’ve come up with a bunch of little activities to help distract him from noticing that he’s going to “school”, because it is a new day care and though I know he has fun, he cries every morning when I leave him. So we give a high five to the stuffed scarecrow sitting out front, and say good morning to the fish that I have named. 

7:25-7:50 My productivity impresses even me – am I getting so much done before 8:00 because I know I am writing this article?! Or is it because mothers know how to get s*&t done?! Whatever the reason, I pick up copies, print out tomorrow’s handouts, plan what I am going to say when I write to a parent whose child is struggling in my class, and talk to the Assistant Principal about two community service projects my club wants to participate in (and get approval for both – the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk, and coordinating a food drive to benefit LI Cares). All before school starts.

9:00 Meet with my director for a pre-observation meeting. She is coming in two weeks for a formal observation, and today we discuss my lesson plan, and the makeup of the particular class she will be observing. End our meeting discussing what we consider one of the biggest issues facing this generation: how to get kids to read. 

9:30 How much should a kid’s haircut cost? My son has pretty awesome hair with some crazy cowlicks, so my husband and I don’t want to cut it ourselves. In our old neighborhood, his haircut cost $40. We agree with what you are thinking – that this is insane. So I research kids’ haircuts near my job. $17 for a kids’ cut? That’s more like it.

9:55 How many times can a person say, “I’m waiting for you to be quiet?” in one class period? Apparently four.

10:40 Decision time at the vending machine: Diet Coke (how I love you, but hate your chemicals!) or water? It was a minor victory for my health – I get water.

11:00 Working though lunch with my fellow grade-level ELA buddies while we start to plan out lessons for the next month. I love having the chance to collaborate with two people who love the subject matter as much as I do, and we have such different takes on everything, it’s so helpful to bounce ideas off of one another.

11:12 Realize that eating my son’s quesadilla leftovers from dinner last night is not going to cut it for lunch today.

12:04 Husband texts me about an upcoming concert we both want to attend. This is a big deal since our musical tastes are pretty different – I enjoy rap and rock like he does, but I also like a lot of folky, alternative music that he does not enjoy. At all. We agree that early 90s rap is pretty much the pinnacle of rap, and that Pearl Jam can do no wrong. Other than that, it can get messy. So finding out that one of our favorite bands may be coming near us for a concert is an exciting development.

12:30 Without realizing what I am doing, I start counting down to three with my class to get students back in their seats after an activity that required moving around the classroom. It’s something I do with Luke – and it worked with middle school students! I will be using this again in the future.

12:45 Email four parents to let them know their child is missing an important assignment, ask them to “encourage” said child to hand it in by Friday for partial credit (Follow-up: 3 of the 4 do hand it in, the next day).

1:20 Quickly check Facebook on my walk to the bathroom to remind myself what life outside of a middle school is like. I look at Humans of New York and decide I want to include some of this guy’s pictures into a lesson one day. This photographer captures humanity in the most honest, heart-breaking and hopeful way.

1:25 A good friend/colleague compliments my appearance. Although I respond, “I wake up like this,” I am all too aware that I put a lot more effort into my appearance today because I knew I’d be taking pictures for this article. Pretty sure my friend is aware too!

1:29 Must stop eating leftover Halloween candy.

2:45-3:45 Hosted an after-school meeting of a community service club that I started this tear. It’s been hard to find organizations that want middle school students to come in for hands-on work (like animal shelters or soup kitchens), but I am so impressed with these kids. They want to do good things for the world, and they are excited to help. They are very excited about getting our club on social media, so next week, we are going to look into starting a Twitter to keep people informed of our upcoming events. 

  4:05 Pick up my little guy! Sing aloud in the car. Our current favorite to sing along to is the Newsies soundtrack. My son is going to have very eclectic musical tastes thanks to his parents!

4:39 Bring Luke to a kids’ hair place I read about. Denied – apparently after school hours are always “very busy.” Good to know.

4:45 Rather than get discouraged, decide to make a mommy-son night of it. Pull into Friendly’s for dinner with Luke. 
5:10 Hello comfort food!

5:45-6:45 Sit in traffic on the way home, and it takes me a few minutes to find a parking spot on the street.

6:55 Stop home, pick up laundry and leave again to drop it off. We live in a building that has a few washer and dryers in the basement, but there are always a bunch of residents competing for them. A few months ago, my husband and I decided it was worth the extra few dollars to get it washed and folded for us. I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier about any decision I’ve ever made (besides agreeing to go on a first date with my now husband!)

7:05 Already in my pjs, playing Legos with Luke while keeping one eye on Jeopardy when my husband comes home from work. 

7:32 Put together snacks for Luke and me tomorrow (hummus and pita chips for me, strawberries for Luke).

7:42 Look at my workbag full of the essays I brought home to grade. Decide to ignore them until tomorrow. I love my job – I think middle school students are incredibly insightful, brutally honest and hysterically funny, but it’s time for me to put work aside and focus on family. And it’s been a loooong day!

8:05 Help Luke brush his teeth and put his pjs on. We climb into my bed and read a story. As much as I want him to love being read to (hello, I am an English teacher!), he prefers reading to me.

8:15-8:24 My husband, son and I watch Dora the Explorer together.

8:25 Turn off the TV and lights. Snuggle in with Luke. We fall asleep together and my husband moves him into his own bed later. I spent the first 6 months of Luke’s life strictly following every parenting book instruction. Then we were evacuated from our home for a month because of Superstorm Sandy, and we were staying at a relative’s house with no crib, so we got into the habit of sleeping together. Once we returned home, it just stuck. I have stopped beating myself up about it, because I like that we share that downtime together. Especially since I want to spend every possible moment with him when I get home from work.

Jessica Dohnert is a middle school English teacher on Long Island who is having fun throwing out the window all of the ideas she had about parenting before actually becoming one. She likes to spend her free time exploring NYC with her partners-in-crime (her husband and son), discussing reality television with her sister and best friend, and reading (not student essays). She is a burgeoning chef in the confines of her tiny apartment kitchen, struggling to curb her ridiculously strong sweet tooth with her equally strong desire to teacher her son healthy eating habits. She often discusses characters from TV shows and books as though they are real people, and considers wine and chocolate (dark chocolate – you know, the “healthy” kind) two of her good friends. 

Today in our "A Day in the Life Of..." series we have another working mama, Leslie, "I work full-time in higher education administration. Some days I feel like I’m crushing this working mom thing, other days I feel like it’s crushing me. Most days are somewhere in between. Proud mom to two boys and an old Weimaraner. Welcome to my day!" You can follow Leslie on her busy adventures on Twitter

4:35: Baby is crying. Lay in bed for a few minutes to see if he’ll go back to sleep on his own. He does not.

4:40: Get up to nurse baby. He falls right back asleep.

5:00: Go back to sleep.

5:30: Husband’s alarm goes off. He goes downstairs. I listen for the familiar muffled sounds of NPR and wait for the coffee smell.

5:45: My alarm goes off. Snooze.

5:55: My alarm goes off. Snooze.

6:05: My alarm goes off for the third time. I get up and start my morning routine.

6:10: Husband comes upstairs and gets in shower. We talk about what we each have going on that day at work.

6:25: Wake up the baby, bring him into our bedroom to nurse.

6:30: Husband wakes up the two-year-old. I can hear them negotiating about what color shirt to wear, the two-year-old asking for a book, husband agreeing to one book but ONLY one.

6:35: Put baby on the floor of my closet (off the bathroom) while I get dressed and brush my hair. Give him his big brother’s truck to play with, hope big brother does not come in and see this betrayal. Consider straightening my hair but decide just to pull it back in a low ponytail.

6:45: Come downstairs with baby. Hug two-year-old, get baby’s bottles ready for daycare. Realize I’ve gotten up too late to make myself a bagel to eat in the car.
6:55: Pour coffee to go, check that all bags are packed and ready. Put jackets on the boys.

7:00: Run outside with two-year-old to see the school bus pick up neighbor kids. Wave frantically. “Hi school bus!! Bye school bus!!”

7:05: Help husband put kids in his car, kiss everyone goodbye, leave for work. Am five minutes behind. Enjoy the peace of a solo commute, the sounds of NPR. Traffic is bad, but hey, it’s me time. I’ll take it.

7:45: Get to work. Leaving five minutes late adds fifteen minutes to the commute, yuck.

8:10: Realize I still haven’t had breakfast. Consider the options in my desk drawer--oatmeal, various bars, Easy Mac--decide on a fig bar, bought in a bulk pack from Costco because of course. Congratulate myself for eating it rather than running to the cafĂ© next door to get an egg and cheese croissant, which is what I really wanted.

8:40: Take a break from going over my to-do list for the day to eat a donut a coworker has brought in. I have no willpower over donuts.

9:00: Negotiate with husband over gchat who will take baby to his next pediatrician appointment. Use my trump card, which is that I have barely any sick leave because I used all I had saved up toward my maternity leave.

9:30: Pump. Curse my pumping bra, which has gotten stretched out over time. Think about buying a new one, but don’t want to spend the money because I’m hoping to wean off the pump within a month or two. Lament how little milk I’m getting lately. Schedule and reschedule several meetings while pumping, making sure I leave enough time for my twice daily pump sessions.

11:00: Walk across the street to the store for a teacher birthday gift card. Feel smart when I buy a three-pack of Amazon gift cards, so now I’ll have two more handy for the next birthday, teacher appreciation day, etc.

11:45: Eat lunch at my desk while pumping. It’s too early for a second pump, but I have to head to a training from 12:30-3:00 so it’s my only option. Feel grateful to my husband for cooking a bunch of food yesterday—the leftovers will get us through a couple days.

3:20: Get back from a training I coordinated for a group of staff—it was great! I felt so validated! Moments like this make me feel better about my work/motherhood juggle. I really should pump now, I really should…but I don’t. Take a look at the cute pictures of my boys above my desk, get excited to see them in less than an hour.

3:40: Scramble to get some final tasks done for the day before leaving to pick up the boys. Trying to keep my focus, but my mind is already on wishing the teacher happy birthday, needing to check the diaper and spare clothes stock at daycare, figuring out if I can go one evening without doing laundry, wondering if my husband remembered to make the baby a doctor’s appointment, vowing to throw away this nursing bra I’m wearing that is SO uncomfortable.

4:05: Leave work.

4:20: Get to daycare. Pick up the baby first. He’s outside in the covered infant play area, doing some tummy time and watching the older babies. Chat with his teachers about the day. Go find big brother on the playground, give him the card he made for his teacher’s birthday and watch him proudly deliver it. Sign out and say goodbyes.

4:35: Talk with the two-year-old’s former toddler classroom teacher as we walk out. Lots of hugs! Discuss how we are excited that the baby will probably be in her class a year from now. Walk out to the car, silently cursing how heavy the baby carrier is with him in it. Try to convince the two-year-old to stay close to me in the parking lot.

5:05: Arrive home. Carry in the baby in his carrier, my purse, my lunch bag, my pump bag, diaper bag, and kids’ jackets. Try to keep the dog from knocking over the two-year-old in her excitement that we’re home. Play with both boys in the playroom for a while. Two-year-old wants to hold baby in his lap and hug him, gets mad at me when I ask him not to squeeze his brother.

5:20: Baby suddenly decides he is starving. Put him in high chair and feed him some peas and some yogurt. Two-year-old sits on my lap and watches, and, er, helps. Soon he decrees he wants some yogurt, too. If I stop feeding baby to get big brother’s dinner ready, baby will freak out, so I try to distract big brother in hopes husband will be home soon to help.

5:40: Husband gets home, two-year-old is distracted by the arrival long enough for me to clean up the baby and put together big brother’s dinner. Wash hands, get two-year-old strapped into his booster seat. He scarfs down the applesauce (already forgot about his yogurt request), eats a little jambalaya and then starts spooning his cottage cheese into it. Gets mad that I put his milk in a pirate cup instead of a blue cup, is satisfied when I offer a straw for the pirate cup.

6:00: Clean up two-year-old and pass him off to husband, take the baby back. Change baby into PJs and clean diaper, nurse him lying down in our bed. Carry him into his room when he’s done. He wakes slightly, but quickly rolls on his stomach and finds his thumb. Fingers crossed that he falls right asleep—it’s unpredictable.

6:25: Come back downstairs and join husband and two-year-old in playroom. Discuss the day at school, who he played with, what songs they sang, how they celebrated his teacher’s birthday. Read a few books, play with Matchbox cars.

6:35: Make myself some dinner. Sit on couch to eat it (bad move). Two-year-old comes out of playroom and demands some of my food. Gets mad when I won’t hand over my entire plate but instead offer him a small bite. Husband comes to distract him so I can scarf down the rest of it.

6:50: Say goodnight to two-year-old, husband takes him upstairs for bedtime routine. I start the nightly chores: unpack the day’s bags, dishes, bottle and pump part washing, wiping down table/highchair/counters.

7:15: Finish the kitchen chores, take several loads of laundry upstairs. Put away my clothes and husband’s clothes, put the boys’ clothes in piles to be put away when they are awake (which means they won’t be put away till the weekend). Pick up and put away various clothes and shoes in our bedroom and the hallway. Start a new load of laundry, even though I said I would skip a day.

7:40: Finally sit down on the couch with husband, check in briefly about our days, discuss tomorrow’s logistics. Pour myself a glass of wine, notice last night’s wine glass still on the side table. Eh, I’ll wash it later.

8:00: Husband goes upstairs to watch football. Flip through TV channels, check Facebook and Twitter on my phone. Nothing good on. I flip between SVU and a Lifetime movie because that’s all the brainpower I can muster.

8:30: Go upstairs to shower. Think about how I have hardly taken any pictures for this blog post. Oops. Well, at least it’s authentic!

8:50: Get in bed with my glass of wine and my Kindle. Start reading Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. Saw her speak a few weeks ago (one of the perks of working on a university campus) and have been meaning to start her book.

9:10: Husband comes to bed. A very early bedtime for him, but it’s Monday. We’re all wiped out. He’s asleep within a few minutes.

9:30: Turn out the light.

9:45: Hear the baby stirring and fussing, hope that he’ll settle himself back to sleep—he does! Small victories.

Lovelies, today's "A Day in the Life Of..." post comes from Brigid, "Hi! I’m Brigid, wife to Xavier and mom to Benicio, who is almost 1. We live in Los Angeles, where I work full-time for a nonprofit, and my husband is a rockin’ stay-at-home dad. I blog when I can steal a few minutes over at The Conference Womb. Below is a day in my life – Tuesday, November 4, 2014, to be exact."

2:00 a.m.
4:00 a.m.
5:00 a.m.
6:00 a.m.
6:30 a.m.

These are all times that I wake up to nurse my son back to sleep. No, I am not exaggerating. Yes, I am very tired. We co-sleep, though, so it could be worse. I am not willing to let my son cry it out, but yes, eventually something will have to give. When my son falls back asleep after the 6:30 a.m. feeding, I get out of bed and shower. Then I make breakfast:

Two soft-boiled eggs and black tea with honey. Side note: Benicio thinks this mug is hilarious, so now it always makes me think of his giggle. I also feed the rabbit. She is Poppy, a 7ish-year-old mini lop (we think) that we adopted almost two years ago. She is cantankerous but cute, so she lives.

My son dropped his very adorable and almost brand new toothbrush in the toilet the night before, so I attempt to sanitize it by boiling it. It was a wise decision that went really well for us, as you can see:

I finish getting ready, kiss my boys goodbye (who tend to wake up just as I leave the house), and head to work. It’s LA’s version of fall/winter, so I wear a sweater dress, my favorite boots ever, and a scarf. And by winter I mean like 70 degrees, but whatever.

I arrive at 8:30ish. That means 8:45. I work in a secure building with its own police force (not joking), so I have to pass through the metal detectors and such and do not try to take a photo. Then I arrive to my very tidy office.

Or not. You can’t tell that it’s also dark because I have been suffering from chronic migraines my entire life, so I cannot handle fluorescent lights. I get teased and frankly do not care. My desk is especially messy right now because it is the last day to finish work on a massive federal grant application. I am the fundraiser for my organization, so that fun is all mine to enjoy. I have not cleaned my office in weeks. An even scarier sight is my Outlook inbox, but I will spare you the horror show.

Next up I unleash my inner snob and make coffee in my French press rather than the office-provided Keurig. I hate the taste of the coffee from those little pods, and if I am going to get cancer from anything, it will not be the BPA in the K-cups. I drink it black and hot from the mug I painted with my husband on a silly six-monthiversary date:

Then I work. Work work work. This day, that mainly means checking and rechecking the eleventy billion forms required for this grant for completeness and errors. It also means harassing coworkers for the data I need. Everyone loves/hates the grant person. At 11:00 a.m., I pump. All the offices have a large window that faces into the cubicle area, so I am the only person with a very stylish curtain for privacy.

While I pump, I eat a Reese’s peanut butter cup or three, and I work some more doing more of the same. I will spare you the details. Eventually I reheat my lunch.

Black bean-poblano-sweet potato soup in the world’s largest mug. I eat it with a flimsy plastic spoon because someone keeps stealing my ultra-expensive IKEA silverware from the office kitchen. More working while I eat. I’m tired. I’m ready to go home. I take this racy selfie:

I pump again around 3:30. My husband and I text throughout the day, and he sends me baby pictures and videos. I miss my son terribly, even though I’ve been back at work since he was 12 weeks old. At 5:00 p.m. on the dot, I fly out the door. It’s already fairly dark in LA at quittin’ time.

I get home about 5:40. I put the milk in the fridge and then grab my son for kisses and hugs.

He helps me open a package from my mom (baby clothes in 18-month sizes – he is growing so fast!).

Baby boy usually goes to sleep between 6:30 and 7:00, but he’s extra tired tonight, so I nurse him down around 6:00. I then quickly reheat some leftover beef stew:

And then I’m back out the door. On Tuesday nights, I have Junior League meetings. I am the assistant to our president, and I am responsible for taking minutes at every other Board meeting. Luckily we meet less than half a mile from my apartment, so I make it on time. Our meeting goes a little long, and after I do my assistant duties (i.e. taking out the trash), I head back home. I walk in the door at 9:30. Husband and I spend a little time together before I head to bed around 10:30 so I can do it all again.

It's that time of year again: gift guide time! I adore making gift guides, and I always give myself a challenge and new topic to figure out. This year, we're trying something new: I am going to be doing a gift guide for all my favorite online shops. However, each of the 9 products featured will be under $20. Furthermore, in my family, we've started doing gift baskets for each other, full of smaller gifts; I love the idea of mixing and matching these smaller gifts to create one nice and thoughtful holiday present. 

  1. Woodland Fox Mugs, $9.58
  2. Silver Oval Drop Earrings, $4.99
  3. Retro Bike Notecards, $7.99
  4. Mauve Drop Earrings, $4.99
  5. Woodland Birds Reusable Tote Bag, $3.99
  6. Coral Chevron Scarf, $8.98
  7. Ivory and Teal Prayer Shawl, $9.99
  8. Green Leaf Bracelet, $9.99
  9. Monogram Mug, $5.99

Sometimes in life when someone asks if you want to do something, just say yes. For example, if someone asks if you want to model vintage clothing, always say yes. When Helena, owner of The Weekend Gypsy vintage store put out a call for models, I responded with a resounding yes! We had a full model shoot, shot by the ever talented Allison of A Rae of Light Photography, inside of the gorgeous Suite Pieces store in Huntington

The Weekend Gypsy is having a fantastic one year anniversary party (and sale!), so check out the flyer below and stop by, say hi to Helena, and buy some of her gorgeous vintage goodies. 

What do you think? Modeling debut? I loved this 1960s vintage Chinese suit! I felt like I was in Mad Men! 

Today's "A Day in the Life Of..." comes from Bonnie, a "new mom but an old wife. I like to knit, eat, and watch/discuss trashy tv. I'm a sex educator by day, a bottle washer by night. " You can find Bonnie on Twitter and follow along with her adventures!

12:48-1:00am: I can hear her little whimpers across the room and I know Audie is asking for her midnight snack. I put on my nursing pillow and get her out of bed. I listen to the rain falling as she nurses. She finishes, I wipe her little mouth and put her back to bed, smiling as she cuddles up with Louise, her sleepy-time elephant.
3:00-3:15am: The 3:00 am feeding is never as organized as the midnight feeding. I don’t think either of us actually opens our eyes all the way, and we both consistently nod off during nursing. But again, when she finishes, she’s back in her bed with Louise and I climb back under my own covers for a couple more hours. It’s still raining.
5:54:  The alarm will go off at 6:00, but there’s some baby babbles coming from across the room that wake me. I can hear 90s jams from the garage where Matt is working out. I don my nursing pillow again and Audie nurses. When she’s done, I hope she will go back to bed, but no such luck. Instead she wants to play with our dog, Lucy. Audie loves it when Lucy licks her little hands. They are going to be quite a pair of troublemakers soon enough. Here’s their faces when I told Lucy to stop licking Audie’s face:

6:14am: I put Audie back in her bed to play. I head to the kitchen to begin prepping bottles and Audie’s food for the day. I blend up half a banana with some breast milk. Audie is just starting solids and as of yet will only consistently eat bananas. Lucy refuses to go outside because it is raining.
6:33am: I head to the garage to get laundry out of the dryer and grab Audie’s diapers for the day. When I come back in, Lucy agrees to go outside. I pack up lunch for both Matt and I, leftover chicken salad we made yesterday. Matt and Audie come to help.

6:44am:  Matt is out the door, headed to work. He’s a chemistry teacher at a charter school and their classes start early. Since Audie is up and awake, I go ahead and get her ready for the day. I put long pants on her since the rain makes it cold outside. This is our first cold day this year, and I can’t find any socks to fit her. They are all newborn size or gigantic. I opt for gigantic. They have ducks on them, which doesn’t really match her ice cream outfit, but whatever. She will be warm.
6:57am: I take Audie to the living room to let her play for a while so I can have a cup of coffee. Normally, there is a short time after Matt leaves and Audie is still asleep and I can have coffee in solitude. But daylight savings time has disrupted that for now. Soon Audie will adjust to the new times and it will be back to quiet coffee. For now, I’m glad to spend some extra time with her and watch her make a mess.

7:20am: One last nursing session before we leave the house. This time, when I put her back in bed, she falls asleep, which will expedite my process of getting ready for work.
7:30am: I take this time to do a quick tidy of house and get dressed for work. I’m wearing an outfit that my best friend sent me for my birthday. She has two kids of her own, so she knew exactly what my postpartum body wanted: tights and a baggy sweater. I zip on my boots and I’m ready to go.
7:46am: Time to load bags into the car. I have my pump, purse, lunchbox, and Audie’s diaper bag. It’s still raining and my umbrella is in the car. I have the same feeling I have every morning: I must be forgetting something. I run through the list one more time and decide everything is fine. I buckle Audie into the car seat and cover her with a blanket.
7:54am: We pull out of the driveway and leave for daycare.
7:59am: We arrive at daycare. I talk with her teacher about the plan for the day. Every day it’s hard for me to leave Audie, but she loves her little school. Her face lights up when we walk in and she sees her teacher.  
8:09am: I’m in the car by myself, leaving for work. I have my first breakfast, a Cliff Bar, in the car. Traffic is outrageous because of the rain. My commute takes a few minutes longer than usual because of traffic slowdowns. The traffic safety signs flash a message “Be alert! You drive lousy when you’re drowsy.” I somehow take this personally, like my sleep deprivation is so obvious even the sign is calling me out. I finish the recent Savage Lovecast episode and laugh hysterically at Dan’s advice.

8:34am: I pull into my parking spot. I walk into the building and try to appreciate the rain. My office has no windows, so I won’t know anything about the state of the weather again for a while.

8:44am: I am in my office.

8:45am: I unpack my lunch bag and pumping gear. I spend the next hour catching up with coworkers about ongoing projects, checking election news, reading and answering email, checking Facebook, putting on some make-up, and eating a second breakfast of oatmeal.

9:45am: Time to pump for the first time today.
10:39am: I am done pumping. I store my milk and clean the parts for the next session.
10:40am: I start working on my main goal for the day, which relates to our Youth Leadership Team. I work as a health educator with a program to reduce teen birth rates in our city. This involves training and support for teachers, some policy work, and lots of community mobilization. The Youth Leaders are an integral part of this project, and we are talking about ways to keep them around once our funding ends next year. However, I find that I have no recollection of what I agreed to work on. I have to IM my coworker for her notes. Once she refreshes my memory, I get started on my tasks.
11:24am: I take a midday trip to Target to refill my dwindling oatmeal and breast milk storage bag stockpiles. I wander the aisles with abandon. I can’t remember the last time I was at Target alone. Matt and I walked the aisles every night in the weeks before Audie’s arrival, trying to use walking to trigger labor. It didn’t work; I was induced a week after my due date. But I remember fondly those waddling trips through Target as we waited for her to arrive.
12:19pm: I’m done at Target, a mere $60 later. Somehow that aisle wandering made me end up with items other than oatmeal and breast milk storage bags.
12:29pm: I’m back in my parking spot.
12:39pm: It’s lunch time! Chicken salad sandwich, chips and water.
1:09pm: It’s time to pump again.
1:53pm: I am done pumping. I store my milk and clean the parts for the next session.
1:54pm: I spend the next hours working full tilt on YLT work: writing letters and emails and making phone calls. I also organize some information for a training we are conducting next week, and check in with some teachers who are starting a new curriculum next week.

4:06pm: It’s time to pump for the last time today. While I pump, I talk with my sweet office mate, Esmer. You can see her here, giving me privacy as I pump. She is an amazing coworker and friend. She has two kids of her own; an 18 year old that just started college and an 11 year old. Esmer gives great mom advice and we vent to each other a lot. She’s an immense support for me and she is a damn good mom.

4:43pm: I’m done pumping and I start packing up to head home. Matt called to say it was still raining, so I’m trying to leave a little early to miss some traffic.
4:55pm: I’m in the car and headed home. It definitely is still raining. I listen to my current favorite album, Conor Oberst’s “Upside Down Mountain.” He sings about “The Other Side” and says ‘Don’t look down/just cross the bridge/once you get there/you’ll know why you did’ and I think that’s how I feel about parenthood.
5:19pm: I’ve made it home safely. I’m surprised to see that Matt switched the Halloween wreath out for the fall wreath on the front door. If he hadn’t done it, the Halloween wreath likely would have stayed up until Christmas decorations went up.
5:25pm: I’m in the house. I put my milk in the freezer and unpack my lunch dishes. Matt picks up Audie at school every day, and the time between when he gets home and I get home is important for them. They do fun stuff together.
5:40pm: Audie gets hungry, so it’s time to nurse.
5:52pm: Audie is done nursing, and is acting really fussy. I try to put her in her bed for a nap. In the meantime, our friends are arriving for our weekly game night.
6:00pm: I give up on getting Audie to nap. I put her in the ring sling and head upstairs for game night.

 Every week, we play the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. There are 6 of us who adventure. The game is pirate themed; my character is Jirelle, the pirate queen. It’s a cooperative game, but we still talk a lot of trash to each other. In this adventure, we are attempting to defeat an evil pirate council.

6:45pm: The pirate council is successfully defeated. We split the loot. The baby falls asleep in the ring sling.

7:00pm: We decide to try another adventure. We order a pizza.
7:15pm: We start the next adventure, in which our pirate ship is lost in the fog and we keep running into bad guys. Once we defeat enough of them, we will win.
8:00pm: The villains are defeated and we eat some pizza.
8:45pm: Everyone has gone home and Audie is awake. I prep her for bedtime.
8:50pm: Nursing. Matt reads “A Wrinkle in Time” to us.
9:00pm: Matt and I spend some time talking about the day and catching up. Audie watches the cats. She smiles at them and watches as they chase each other across the bed.
9:15pm: We try to “play-it-out” for Audie to go to sleep. Basically this means we let her play in the floor in the living room until she falls asleep.  Often this works, but today is not one of those times. We put her in the swing for a while.
10:18pm: Audie finally falls asleep in the swing, Matt and I spend time together and talk.
11:00pm: Audie wakes up and wants to nurse again. I nurse her to sleep and put her in her bed.
11:18pm:I take a shower. Matt is washing bottles and prepping lunches for tomorrow.
11:38pm: I am climbing into bed, exhausted. I have to move the cat, Loki. He gets my last bit of available attention for the day and curls up next to me purring. It is still raining.