Winner, winner turkey dinner!

Hey y'all!  Sorry about not posting yesterday!  I was still in a turkey coma. 

Buttttttt...as promised, I did pick a winner to my Bella Bag give-a-way using random.org: 

As you can see, I included all 55 comments in the generator, but then took out the "removed" comments and the comments that were added to *original* comments when I counted down to see who left comment number 35. 

Then I counted twice with my mother present to make sure it was accurate. 

Then I had my step dad count to make sure.

And it pleases me to announce that the person who happened to submit comment #35 is someone I've known since birth!  So congratulations Lisa Fabian! Wooo hooo!

Lisa, shoot me your addy via facebook or at meganithappen@gmail.com and we'll get you this bag!!!

Didn't win?  Don't forget to check out all the other AMAZING bags over at Stitch and Swash.  A HUGE thanks to Angie for donating this bag.  You da best.  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everybody - and thanks to everyone who entered my "bribe to subscribe" (I'm looking at you, Katie!).



You say Oprah, I say Opera...

Here's the deal:  I used to teach English, so when I notice a snafu typo in a blog post - specifically MY blog posts - I dwell on it for a good month and a half before I finally feel like I can move on.  The problem is this: I know no one cares as much as I do (except maybe my mother) - but if I have someone PROOF read my blog posts, I suddenly find myself TRYING TOO HARD.  And when I TRY TOO HARD I start not to like blogging.  I also start to not sound like myself. 

Don't start sentences with AND.  SEE!!!  It never ands.  ENDS.  It never ends.

Therefore, every time I post, you're likely to see sentences like this: 

And even though I try to convince her that we need to contact Opera, she simply shakes her head and tells me that sewing and touching every bag that leaves her doorstep is just too important to her to ever go that big. 

See, yet another sentence starting with AND.  But also (SWEET JESUS NOW I'M STARTING THEM WITH BUT!), you'll notice that I said we need to contact Opera. 

I meant Oprah.  

For the record though, I DO think someone should make a rock opera out of Angie's story.  It shall be called, Angie and her Twilight Smothered Dream Bag.  It would be glorious.  (Please note that titles call for italicized font rather than "quotation marks" unless we're referring to the title of a song or a poem or a chapter.)

Another time, I said that my son turrets, when I meant this kind of tourretes).  Now this one actually worked out, because as times my son really does act like a small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building.  Still though, I meant the other kind.

In other words, blogging - which requires, in my opinion, a deliberately impromptu, raw, unedited word vomit - can be hard on a former English teacher.  Please ignore these types of dumb mistakes and know that I am smarter than my blog posts make me look. 

Also, if you have not entered in to win this awesome bag...

...you best get on that right now. 

Kisses and sunshine,


Cinderella story. And my very first give-a-way. So, you know, happy Friday.

Well, the moment has finally come.  Internets, we’re having a give-a-way. 

Why?  Well, because I like to feel popular.  And I've kept my son alive and thriving for 1 year.  And Christmas is coming.  And my best friend and son’s General Manager happens to one of the most generous and talented individuals I know.  

No really, she is – and multifaceted, if I may say so.  In fact, let’s list a few things that make her the president of club awesome before we get right down to the give-a-way.  This will be fun because I like lists and she dislikes people bragging about her.  I’m hoping this incites a series of awkward twinges that I’ll feel all the way from Washington.  Right now I’m guessing she has her hands on her cheeks as she peeks through her fingers, squinting more and more with each sentence of this post.  (SMOOCH!)

In any given day, you might find my best friend doing any number of the following things:

1.)    Cooking ridiculously good meals:

2.)    Winning arm wrestling competitions:

3.)    Adopting abused animals:
Love the shirt, Nic.

4.)    Taking incredibly cute pictures with her husband

5.)    Or designing handbags used by famous people in famous movies. 

Whew!  That’s a multitalented bitch, right there.
I could go in to detail about each one of the items listed above, but for the purpose of today, let’s focus on #5.
Here’s the deal.  While I spent my summers by Ft. Peck Lake, listening to mixed CD’s of No Doubt and Oasis and doing everything within my power to drive my mother bat-shit crazy, my best friend was elbows deep in fabric and thread, learning to craft her talent in domesticity.   (In comparison, my mother was understandably disappointed.   I would argue however, that if it weren’t for those summers, my mother would not OWN a mixed CD.  Think about it, mom.  Your car rides would be filled with a full hour of songs from THE SAME ARTIST.  Can you even imagine?)  

But alas, under the fine direction of her mother, who to this DAY sews the best hair scrunchy this side of the Mississippi, Angie learned to craft a talent that now makes her a living.  And also makes her kind of famous.

And also makes me feel popular.

And will, in a week’s time, make you cooler.  
Fine.  I’ll get down to it.  (Drumroll!.....)

Friends, I’d like to introduce you to THE BELLA BAG:


Why is it called the Bella bag?  Maybe these pics will help clarify:

What?  What’s that you say?  You recognize the person holding that purse?  You recognize the movie?  Twilight, you say?  The final movie of which opens today, you say? 
Huh.  How timely.

This bag, hand made by my bff, Angie, was picked up by a prop designer for the Twilight series in a boutique in Seattle, where Angie’s rent payment was, at the time, dictated by whether or not she would sell a bag that week.  The prop designer bought it for herself, but then decided to use it to round out Bella’s wardrobe for the movie – so she called Angie and asked her to make a replica.  Angie complied, and a few months later Twilight came out.  And Angie was all, “You don’t suppose???” and then she watched the movie and I suppose you could say she supposed right:



Rob Pattinson is holding Angie’s bag, you guys. Do you see that?
The year that the movie was released resulted in so many orders that Angie worked hand over fist, day after day, rarely taking even one day off - pumping out bag after bag.  And from there, she’s managed to make a good living doing what she loves to do.  And even though I try to convince her that we need to contact Opera, she simply shakes her head and tells me that sewing and touching every bag that leaves her doorstep is just too important to her to ever go that big.  And there is just something so. damn. admirable about that.    

I have this bag, and many of my friends have a version of the bag.  And we all love it.  I’m not just saying that because she’s my best friend.  I can honestly say that I have NEVER owned anything that has received more compliments than this thing.  EVER.  And what’s even cooler is that when she’s out and about, sporting one of her own bags, she’ll get compliments, too.  And do you know what she does when she gets compliments? 

That’s it.  She doesn’t even tell them that SHE MADE THE BAG.

I guess that’s what modesty looks like, but what she lacks in boastfulness I make up for in casual conversations with people I’ve never met.  When anyone compliments me on my bag, I take up half of their afternoon telling them how I have a famous best friend and that she makes these amazing bags and that famous people have used them in famous movies and they should go to her website RIGHT NOW and buy one because she customizes the screen print and the fabrics and uses refurbished leather and you can also pick whatever style of bag you want in whatever color leather you want.

And it isn’t until I gently rub my bag against their cheek so that they may feel the softness of the leather that I sense them pulling away.
And because she is my best friend and she knows how much I like to feel popular, she is donating one of these bad boys to one of you! 

So, what do you have to do?  Well listen, I know there are a number of you out there who silently follow, so I'm just going to ask that you speak up today.  Just this once.  And it only takes two easy steps:
1.        Follow me.  I really like looking popular. Yes, you'll have to have a google (gmail), yahoo, twitter, AIM, Netlog, or Open ID account to follow me.  That's lame and I'm sorry but I don't know how to get around it.  But really, for a bag this good?  Make up and account and then never look at it again.  I'd say it's worth it.  :)  

2.        Comment  on this post after you follow me, and poof!  You’re in. Don't know what to say?  Tell me which bag you like best from her website.  Or ask me a question. Or tell me the middle name of your cat.  I don't care.  Say something!   

3.        Want to get entered twice?  Share this post on Facebook or your blog (or both!) and tell me you did it by commenting again. 

I’ll pick a winner using random.org on Black Friday and post the number that corresponds with the comment.  It will all be fair.  Don’t worry.

And if you don't win - no biggie!  You can still buy the bag - or any bag for that matter - at her website.  Currently I have my eye on this little number, but they're all great.  Seriously.
Good luck!


Dear Kid: One Year

Dear Kid:

Just over a week ago you turned 365 days old. That means we’ve kept you alive for a year. A whole year. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes.

That’s a butt load of time, fyi.

Well, not really. In the great grand timeline of your life, 365 days will seem fairly inconsequential. Especially those first 365 days of your life, because you won’t remember one damn minute of it. I’m not trying to be negative or anything, but it’s true. If you’re reading this, you’re probably at LEAST in your 20’s, because dudes don’t really care about sentimental stuff any time before that. At least, I don’t think they do. (But either way, when your first girlfriend calls I won’t hesitate to say, “Let me go get him. I think he’s in his room reading the love letters I wrote to him that first year.”)

But just so I can put this into a context that’s familiar to you, let’s just assume that if you’re reading this, you’re in your early twenties. Remember a few weeks ago when you drank too many Captain Morgan cokes and woke up not knowing where you were, how you got there or why in God’s name you were wearing a cheerleader’s sweater from 1971? And all you know is that there was a lot of laughing, a little crying (crazy ex-girlfriend alert), a crap ton of stumbling around and you never want to hit the bottle ever again?

Well, that’s how you should view your first year. Except I didn’t feed you alcohol, and I never put you in a cheerleading costume. (That was your father back in 2006.) The similarity here is that there’s been a lot laughs, a few tears, no one else wants you to ever hit the bottle again either, and we all have headaches and are craving the Baconater.

But seriously, it’s hard for me to fathom that you won’t even remember a year of your life, because this year will be so engrained in the minds of your father and I that there is no amount of alcohol that could erase it. Trust me. We just got back from an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, and if there were, we would know.

Yes. We were in Mexico for your 1st birthday. And it was AWESOME. Your Godmother made me go. She was like, “Semisi is turning one. Let’s party.” Just kidding. You can’t party yet. But I will say that your first year’s celebration is really more about your father and I anyway, if I’m being honest. I mean, good job to you, sure. But good job to us for, you know, learning how to be parents. When you’re 18 you can start taking credit for being born, even though I will secretly still credit myself.

But listen, the real reason we were in Mexico was because your Godmother was getting married. Don’t worry though, she’ll make it up to you some day. TRUST. When you turn 21, we’ll send her out for Gatorade and a Taco John’s run the morning after, and I can say from experience SHE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN. She did that for us after a New Year’s Eve extravaganza one year and 40 dollars and a dream later, she came back with enough potato ole’s to feed the Irish during the famine.

Since we’re talking about her – here’s a picture of her. Now you have proof that we had good reason to be gone:

It was important work. That’s me in the coral dress because I happen to be the one who married them.  So now you have a Godfather-in-law. He loves the Godfather movies so he is totally prepped and ready for this job. He is rad. His name is Albert. You're welcome.

Don’t feel bad though. We still threw you a party before we left:

And you ate cake:

Then we threw you another party after we got back. And you ate cake again:

So see? We really did make it about you.

Moving on.

Here is a progress report on your, umm…progress?

You walk.

Run, kind of. Like you’re drunk, actually. Why do we keep talking about drinking? Quit.

You eat. Everything. Anything. We cannot put food in front of you fast enough. This morning you ate a whole banana in about 2.5 seconds. I had not yet had one sip of my coffee and that banana had disappeared. Then, after taking a long swig of milk from your sippy cup and giving us a good grunt of satisfaction as you slammed it down on the table, you carried your father to daycare.

Speaking of carrying things, you’re very strong. You carry around things that you should not be able to carry. This would be helpful if we could channel it to bags of groceries or the laundry basket, but currently you’d rather pull full gallons of milk out of the fridge and move Gus the Dog’s house around the floor. As if that dog doesn’t have enough anxiety, now he has to re-live Nam.

And you talk. You say dadda, momma (more than dadda, now. Good work.), Papa, and the other day you whipped out a little “ba” after I said “bath.”

But you know what? None of that matters. You could be doing none of those things and I’d still like you just as much, because you’re just, well, damned likable. That hasn’t changed since day one. Yes, sometimes you throw temper tantrums when I remove you from crawling in to the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator, but we promptly ignore this unseemly behavior and you get over it, and then we all move on.

And like I said, even if you don’t remember this year, son, I can assure you that your father and I will hold on to, cherish and remember every moment day of it. On October 26th, just as our plane landed in Mexico, I turned to your father and told him that it was hard to believe that at that moment, one year prior, I was having contractions. Your father, stop watch in hand, would look down at my belly and up at me, waiting as labor progressed throughout the night. We were two people who had no idea what to expect. All we knew is that we were unbelievably excited to meet you. And 32 RIDICULOUSLY LONG, PAINFUL, MISERABLE hours later, there you were. More than fashionably late, but much anticipated. And, as it turns out, worth every 1,920 minutes of labor.

You still owe me for 9 months with no booze though.

But seriously, son, in an instant our lives changed for the better – all thanks to your arrival. Last night, as I was swaying you in your room, lights off, just before bedtime, I caught a glimpse of the two of us in the mirror. Your head was on my shoulder and your body was stretched along the entire length of mine, and suddenly I realized that in the blink of an eye, you’d changed from a small, 7 pound, squishy little baby:

…to a boy:

And let me just say that your dad and I will be forever grateful for the little guy you are today, the kid I’m sure we’re bound to delight in, and the man we’ll be proud to call Semisi Michael Kongaika.

All my love to you, son, one year later, and for every year to come,



Dear Kid: Month 11

Dear Kid,

A few weeks ago you turned 11 months old. This means that, to date, we’ve managed to keep you alive for 355 days. Wow. We’re in the home stretch, little buddy.

I remember when we first brought you home, and you were so miniature and squishy and eye googly and alienish I thought 11 months seemed like a million years away.

You with mor mor right out of the vag.
Miniature.  Squishy.

I thought GOOD GOD how will we ever make it that long, you and I? But here you are, making me laugh and cry and smile and exercise my cat like reflexes as you happily work your way through our living room – a space you’ve decided to adopt as a battleground for destruction and mayhem.

The good news? Though you typically exist in world where chairs should not be in their upright position, fistfuls of dog hair are the norm, and plastic clothes hangers are man’s greatest invention, you’re still my favorite thing I’ve ever made. Unfortunately I’m not too crafty so it could only go uphill, but I’m still super proud. And I hesitate to say this because I know there are parents out there who are facing horrifically challenging situations with their children and babies – none of which I have had to face with you – but keeping you alive and healthy and happy for nearly one year is the greatest accomplishment of my life to date.

You've had a busy month.  For example, you're already getting visitors from out of state.  Your general manager from Seattle came to visit:

Ermargerd. you love her so much.

You've cut a bunch of teeth, you dance, you're saying momma and dadda and nigh-nigh.  You're basically a genius.  You know, the yoush.

In fact, since we’ll be a month late getting you to your one year appointment because your father and I will be in Mexico your doctor is on maternity leave, let us share some basic stats about your growth progress with the internet:

Height: Just tall enough to now reach the top drawer of your changing table to take out all of the things.

Weight: 3 tons, though you do not physically look as heavy as you are. You’re like a walking ball of mercury. Someone might see you and be like, “Well hey there little buddy! How’s about I pick you up?” and then they throw out their back.

Head: Huge. Wide. It has sanctioned its own weather system.

Smile: huge-er.

Hair: OUTOF#@CKINGCONTROL. I actually think your hair mass makes up 2/3 of your weight.

Vocal skills: LOUD. Loud loud. This is you being LOUD. I don’t know what you’re saying all the time but in my head and I think you’re thinking that you’re saying “THIS IS ME BEING LOUD! I'M THE LOUDEST! LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD!!!!”

To date, your favorite toys are as follows:
1.) old tupperware
2.) my keys
3.) clothes hangers
4.) a milk carton - extra fancy because we filled it with rice.

no time to pose mom.  must. clank. tupperware.

don't say we never gave you nice things.

The main thing we’re now seeing is that when we try to take anything away from you, you do not hesitate to express your disappointment. This is annoying.

Even when you sense the threat of something being taken away, you’ll openly express this intuition. For example, when you are holding my keys as we walk from the car to the front door, you’ve begun to remember that I need said keys in order to open the door. This scenario typically results in a six second temper tantrum that has now made our weird neighbor believe you have tourettes.

But it’s really the only sensible excuse I could give him.

Your favorite activity is taking all of the diapers out of the decorative basket that I hold the diapers in your room. You engage in this activity with such abandon that you actually breathe heavily while aggressively grabbing the diapers from their proper receptacle and tossing them over your shoulders without any regard to where they land. When I put them back in the basket where they belong you look at me like I’ve just told you that I’m the athletic one in the family. Confusion. Disbelief. Terror of what’s to come by the fate you’ve been handed as you look at my missing knuckle, my two left feet, and the theater award that I keep next to your father’s all conference football recognition.


You now have five teeth and another on the way. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the total surface area of those five teeth rivals the total surface area of Delaware. I have huge teeth. Your father has huge teeth. You will not be for lack of teeth.

You will be walking very soon. You take steps from the coffee table to the couch without any consideration for safety. Once you slam in to the couch, come to, and begin your recovery process from whiplash, you realize what you’ve done and turn to us with a nervous laugh. A laugh I am confident your father and I will give one another at various milestones throughout the course of your life. Like when you ask how you came to be (delivered in the night by a magical fairy dressed in a miami vice costume, obvs).  Or if we ever had a fake ID (I'll let your father take that one.  According to the only photos I can find of his college years, he spent the majority of his formative years combing a tongan mullet, playing football, rollerblading and attending mormon dances.) 

Because listen kid, to be straight with you, we still don’t know what the hell we’re doing. But we’re thanking the good Lord that we’ve made it this far and we’ll have you know that we intend to keep you alive for the rest of your life.

And as we near this final stretch to the anniversary of your birthday, as we near this final countdown, I can’t help but look back at pictures of you and think how lucky I am that you were a healthy, happy baby; how fortunate your father and I are to have you in our lives; how much joy you’ve brought to so many around you. And already I’m unabashedly proud of the self-destructive, smiling little human you’ve become.

hair. out. of. con.trol!

Thanks for that, kid.




Hello, my name is Megan, and I formula fed my baby.

I will write about this one time and then I’ll be done with it. I promise.

So. Breastfeeding. Let’s go there.

One week shy of his ten month birthday, my son took his last swallow of breast milk.

If you read a post I wrote wayyyyyy back when Semisi was fresh out of the ole’ uterus, you know that I had a difficult time with breast feeding from the get go. First, there was that time I unknowingly starved my son for the first 3 days of his life, then that other time when I suffered from little to no milk production, then I brought it all home by battling case after case of mastitis. Finally, I tried exclusively pumping because my docs thought that my son was passing bacteria to me via the boob/mouth connection. Unfortunately, even after I gave up attempting to breast feeding to solely pump, I continued to get mastitis. I wish I was exaggerating when I say that over the course of the 8+ months I pumped, I battled 11 cases of mastitis.

If you’re not familiar with mastitis, pray you never will be. For me, it made its presence known via nights filled with 103 degree fever(s) and body aches, mornings of soaked sheets, followed by a day or two of painful razor-blade like pumping sessions that would result in tears of pain and frustration streaking down my face. Fun times.

I’m not asking anyone to feel bad for me. I’m not secretly hoping you’ll all tell me how amazing I am for keeping at it. I certainly don’t expect my son to sign his mother’s day cards with “love, Semisi; p.s. thanks for the breast milk.” (Though for the record, it’d be nice.)

What I can say with confidence – and I think we can all agree on this one - is that I’m not the poster child for breast feeding. Why? Let’s review: A) I suck at it (see “starved child attempting to breast feed” description above) and B) I suck at it (see Guiness Book of World Records for “number of times any one person has actually gotten mastitis while attempting to breast feed.”) Sure, I’m happy to have been able to give my son nearly 10 months of breast milk. But am I proud of it? Not in the slightest.

If fact, on the contrary, I’m a little regretful. I’m a little disappointed. If we’re being really open about this whole thing, I’m actually ashamed of myself.

The fact of the matter is, despite the benefits of breastfeeding (p.s. Did you guys know that breastfeeding is better for your baby than formula?), I can’t say with 100% certainty that the only reason I continued to breast feed was for the nutritional benefits my baby was receiving. That was part of it, sure, but that wasn’t the driving force.
So why did I do it? Why did I keep at it when I could have had a perfectly wonderful and healthy formula fed baby? After all, my sister was the only one of three children who was formula fed and IMMA GONNA LET YOU GUESS which one of us got our master’s degree before the age of 30. FROM AN IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL.

It’s taken me awhile to settle in on why I kept at it as long as I did. The fact of the matter is that anyone who knows me might be surprised to have learned that I tried to breast feed at all. I’m pretty selfish, for starters. Plus I like vodka.  A LOT.  Plus I’m really not all that motherly. It doesn’t come naturally. You know how you meet people and you’re like OMG now THAT’S a person who’s meant to be a MOM. Well, I’m not that person. I’m more like, OMG now THAT’S someone we want to take to Mexico with us.

So if it wasn’t the health benefits, what was it?  Well, the answer is simple and kind of embarrassing, if you want to know the truth. But, if I’m really be honest, here it is:

I felt bullied by the internet. There, I said it.

That’s right. I spent hours and hours and hours sitting by myself connected to a breast pump that sounded like a dying cow – a machine that stretched my nipples to six times their intended length - all because I felt peer pressure from the internet.

When I was a baby, my mom told me that people were aware of the nutritional benefits of breast milk, but the pressure to breast feed was nothing like it is today. If anything, there was more pressure to formula feed. Workplaces weren’t (at all) accommodating, and it was pretty unacceptable to breast feed in public. I’m happy that there’s been a significant effort to diminish the “breast feeding in public” shame thing. Some would argue that we’ve still got a ways to go in that effort. But somewhere along the way, we’ve managed to do a complete 180 and now it’s formula feeding moms who are feeling this shame.

And because of the internet, we voice our discontent on both sides of this topic openly, anonymously, and without a whole lot of caution regarding the possible consequences of it all.

So WHAT? We can’t even TALK about it now?

Of course we can. And I could have just, like, gotten over myself and all of my insecurities regarding this issue, too. I could have closed my laptop, said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, and given the internet the finger. After all, my circumstance was unique. Breast feeding was making me very ill, my husband miserable, and robbing my child of some serious one-on-one time (see “seriously ill”). I could have listened to my closest friends (many of whom breast fed their kids), my family members, my husband, my doctor – I could have listened to them all when the offered amazingly reasonable encouragement for me to let it go and GIVE YOUR SON FORMULA, FOR GOD SAKES.

So why didn’t I listen to them?

Beats the hell out of me. I sure wish I had. Instead, I would stay up late at night reading through forums on the Le Leche website, on blogs, and various other “googled” articles trying to find answers as to why this breast feeding thing– this thing that’s just supposed to come naturally – just wasn’t working. And I found a lot of helpful advice on how to continue to “keep at it” and I found a ton of folks tell me that it gets easier and I found even more folks who said after going through hell and back trying to make it work, they quit, but not without feeling huge surges of shame and guilt.  

And then I KEPT reading more and more about GUILT and SHAME and SHAME and GUILT – all surrounding formula feeding or QUITTING breast feeding and switching to formula. And it was like to formula feed your child was to set them up for a lifetime of mediocrity and playlists filled with Nickelback.

And what I never did find was anyone who said, “I didn’t breast feed because I like vodka too much.”

And I certainly didn’t find anyone who said “I didn’t breast feed because I like vodka too much. And I don’t feel an ounce of guilt about it.”

And really, that’s what I was looking for.

I’m no longer in the throes of this debate. My son is out of breast milk and I haven’t pumped in months. What’s done is literally done and dried up. But this lack of support on the side of moms who formula feed still bugs me. Even posts that attempt to empathize with moms who formula feed just end up validating and reinforcing the guilt. And it’s almost like we can’t even talk about it because HELL, no matter what we say, we're just making it worse! 
So what’s the answer? Like my mother, and my grandmother, and every mother before her, we all (understandably) obsess out whether or not we’re doing what’s best for our kids. The difference between my mother and grandmother’s experience is that the internet provided me with access to huge amounts of information to *help* me in that effort. For the most part, that’s a good thing. However, it also introduced me to an open forum that allowed moms to openly criticize one another, hindering what I would argue is the most essential ingredient one needs to be a good mom: instinct.

Oh, and self-preservation. That too.

And I can’t speak for the author of the blog post I referenced above (whom I LOVE, by the way), but for me – that guilt thing - well, I didn’t feel it all on my own. I wasn’t just making up guilt for the sake of feeling shitty. And, it pains me to say this, but I think blog posts like the one she wrote really did unitentionally make it harder for me to quit. And that’s a bummer, because she was trying to tell me NOT to feel guilty, but it was only MAKING ME FEEL GUILTIER, and then before I knew it was sucked in to this VORTEX OF GUILT and it was like IF I DON’T GIVE MY KID BREAST MILK EVERYONE WILL DIE and ALL THE BLOGGERS OF THE INTERNET WILL JUDGE ME!!!!


Now, don’t misunderstand me – it’s not JUST the internet that’s hard on formula feeding moms. This bullshit doesn’t help either:

Wow. There’s so much wrong with the cover of that magazine that I don’t know where to start. Somehow we’ve determined that unless motherhood is completely self-sacrificing – specifically, in this case, in regard to breastfeeding - we’re doing it all wrong.

But that’s an argument for another day.

But that gal? That gal on the cover? Guess what she does for a living?

She’s a blogger.

And listen, I get that she didn’t write that bullshit headline on the cover. But I think my experience with the internet – specifically in regard to its influence over my decision to breastfeed – can highlight a somewhat important message to moms who blog about stuff like this. Bloggers with a huge following who have a strong opinion one way or another on the whole “breast is best” debate have a responsibility to recognize how their vast influence might negatively affect their readers. Because when I follow a blog, I come to trust that blogger as if I know them personally (which, is kind of creepy, I know, but true, none the less).  And so like it or not, their opinion matters. 

And in my case, it mattered a little too much.  And that’s why I feel a little ashamed. Because I kept breastfeeding because other bloggers and other strangers on the internet thought I should – not because I thought I should.

Now I don’t happen to have a huge following, but maybe some poor mom out there will find this someday and maybe it will help. So, here goes – breast feeding moms? Formula feeding moms? This one REALLY IS FOR YOU:


If you don’t want to mess with breast feeding because you don’t want to give up your double vodka sodas, GOOD FOR YOU. God knows if I had to do it over, I would have quit much sooner than I did. Hell maybe I wouldn’t have started at all. And that should be okay. On the other hand, if you want to breast feed your baby until they go off to college, I say good for you as well. But either way, let’s just quit talking about it and let each other do her thing. Without guilt. Without judgment. Without shame.

And WITHOUT mother-effing mastitis.


Dear Kid: Month 10

Dear Kid,

On Monday you turn 10 months old. This means that, to date, we’ve managed to keep you alive for 306 days. If you’re wondering why I haven’t written you a letter for the last four months, it’s because…

Semisi, no.



Don’t grab that cord.

No, don’t grab that either.

No, dog food is not for you.

…you’ve kept us pretty busy as of…



No, don’t chew on that closet door. Yucky.

Maybe not that iron banister either.

OMFG, where did you find that nail? I didn’t even think we owned “a” nail.

Fine. Fine. Play with this milk carton. Fun fun fun fun fun.

As I was saying, it’s been crazy around these parts since you’ve been on the…


Ehem. Sorry about that. I’m back. Don’t worry. I’ve locked you in the closet with a ribeye steak bone and a copy of Men’s Health, so I should be good for the next 30 seconds until you Houdini yourself in to the sleeve of your father’s winter jacket, unlock the door with your tongue, roll over to the stairwell and proceed to set yourself on fire. The good news is that you’ll be smiling the whole time.

So we’ve got THAT going for us, which is nice.

To say that you’ve made physical progress in the past few months is understating it just a tad. At nine months you were a million inches long and 22 pounds. God only knows how big you’ve gotten since then. You’ve also got a giant noggin. We’re hoping this means you have a huge brain, but given the fact that currently your two favorite toys are your plastic clothes hangers and a milk carton, we’re not so sure.

Not that you’re not smart – you are, I think. For example, you say Dadda a lot.

Can you say momma?

No, not dadda, MOM-MA.


Say momma.

Go ahead son. Say it. MAAAAAA MAAAAAA.

Nope, that’s the other one again. Nice try, son. [SIDE EYE PAUL.]

You say it so often, in fact, that I’m fairly confident this is THE ONLY WORD YOUR FATHER MUST EVER SAY WHILE HE’S ALONE WITH YOU.

Back to what I was saying, though - physically you are one solid kid. You’re a tank, actually. We call you bam bam, because your morning typically consists of bench pressing a laundry basket full of clothing, doing one arm pull-ups off of our dining room table, and wrestling this god awful obnoxious thing:


Your saving grace in all the mayhem and general destruction that you carry with you is that you're darn cheerful about everything. Already you’re able to charm your way out of most situations, and your non-verbal communication is top notch. For example, when you don’t like a new food we’re feeding you, you do this:

Yes, it’s annoying that you don’t like kiwi, but your ability to eject every single bite I fed you into a tidy pile on your bib in order to communicate that message is greatly appreciated. 

I’m sure your day care provider will be pleased.

Speaking of your daycare provider, whom we shall from this point on refer to as “The Saint of Wonder and Enlightenment for All Things Small and Destructive,” you’ve gone back to stay with her during the day again. You had the pleasure of spending your summer with your Dad, thanks to his work schedule. As a result, Gus the dog takes a cocktail of anti-anxiety medication and has basically become the Emily Dickinson of the dog world. He prefers to watch the children from afar while writing poetry with random stanzas and dashes.  He even wears white.

Your father enjoyed this time with you, though he made negative progress on the Honey Do list entitled SUMMER PROJECTS. I had a hard time understanding this initially, until I had the long overdue pleasure of spending an afternoon alone with you once you’d become mobile. After that afternoon, I called Gus’ vet and said I’LL HAVE WHAT HE’S HAVING, TIMES 10.

Just kidding. You’re really not that bad when you’re not destroying everything within a one mile radius.

In fact, you’re better than not that bad. Recently you’ve really developed a larger than life personality, and it’s damn fun to watch, kid. You clap when we clap, you shriek, and just last night we got you to bust out a little “So big!” When other people had kids and they’d be like, “Watch my kid do SOOOO BIG” I’d watch and act like it was cool while inside secretly think “Yeah, great, when he makes you a dirty martini, call me.” But when you do it, I’m convinced you break the world record of all things cute and smart. God knows WHAT my reaction will be when, on that sacred day, you turn to me and say – “Gimlet or Gibson, mother? Shaken or stirred?”

"I'll take a bloody mary son - it's only 10:00 a.m.  When you can tell time, this will be easier."

Speaking of things that happen before noon, my favorite time of the day has now become the morning. I KNOW! I can’t believe it either. Truth is, I’ve stumbled upon the cure for those suffering from acute asshole-ish-ness, which is to allow them the distinct pleasure of being the first person to walk in to your room in the morning.

Turns out 12 hours of slumber does you good, little man. For starters, you don’t wake up screaming. You talk to yourself for a good 10 minutes until you feel like standing up. Then you begin to give a few shout outs to us, as if to say, “Duuuuuuuudes! I’m in here! Are you lazy asses up yet????”

That’s when I walk into your room and you explode into a spastic arm flailing cacophony of happiness, accompanied by shrieks of sheer joy, sunshine, angels, glitter and manly unicorns. At that moment your room morphs into a land where Cheetos are calorie free and workouts feel like full body massages.

All because I walked into the room.

Rush Limbaugh would likely get the same reaction, but for the moment let’s pretend it’s just me.

I actually try to beat your father into your room in the morning so I get the reaction instead of him. He’s already on to me. We may have to start busting out some serious ROCKPAPERSCISSORS shit soon.

And that right there is worth every destroyed piece of anything that you’ve come across to date.

What I’m trying to say is that mornings don’t suck for me anymore. To be clear, you’re a GD joy to be around, and so far you’ve evaded any real chronic asshole-ish tendencies.

Rush Limbaugh’s another story.

Thank you for that, kid, and keep it coming.




Dear Kid: Month 6

Dear Kid,

A week ago you turned six months old.  That means you're a half year old.  That means you've been roaming this earth for 190 days.  

Holy shit, kid.  We're making it.  We're doing this kid/parent thing, you and I.

I skipped your five month post entirely because for the past month I've been trying to tear you away from your reflection in the mirror.  Dude.  You love looking at yourself in the mirror.  You even do this thing where you act like you're flirting with yourself a little.  Like you're all "Haaaaaaay" to the mirrored you.  And the mirrored you is all "Haaaaaaaaay" and then you both nuzzle your head into my shoulder because it's all just too much.

Here's a shitty picture of you admiring yourself:

So many things to say, where can I even begin?  It's like somewhere along the lines of this last month I turned around and there was this little miniature man sitting there smiling at me, almost as if to say, "Well hello, mother.  I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here thus far, and wish you nothing but well wishes and rainbows as you continue on this journey of wiping my ass."  But you would have said that with a British accent, obvs.

As we speak you are passed out on the bed next to me, with your arms spread as far as they can possibly go, and you're snoring like a mo fo.

Yes, you snore just like your dad.  But you also do other things.  You role over constantly, you can stand with support,  you're on the brink of crawling and you smile ALL. THE. TIME.   

Dude that hat is miniature on your huge head.

You really smile with your eyes.  I dig it.

And you laugh.  And it's basically the best sound EVER:

You also do this weird thing where you try to eat my chin sometimes, but we won't go there.  

You're such a happy baby, Si.  I really can't get over it.  They say the "powers that be" only give you what you can handle, and obviously THOSE POWERS have absolutely no faith in me whatsoever, because as far as babies go, I truly think you've been a total cake walk.  I don't think I'm just saying that because you're MY kid, either.  I've tried to strip my rose colored GAGA glasses off and look at this objectively and I've come to the conclusion that you really just kick a lot of "awesome happy baby kid" ass.  Thanks for going easy on me.

Last week your general managers were in town for your baptism. They love you so much, it's weird.  Your GM1 says you make her uterus hurt just looking at you. 

Dude OMG your GM's are so freaking hot. 

One GM makes you laugh and the other makes you cuddle.
This, of course, is the exact reason that I picked them for you:

She bought this for you just to annoy me.

She said you can cuddle with it when she's not around.

The fanfare that was your baptism could have actually rivaled the second coming of Christ.  All your aunts, uncles and grandparents on my side showed up, and your grampa and grandma from Alaska came too!  This was the first time they'd ever met you and it was so fun to introduce you to them.  Your Gramma K. says you look just like your daddy when he was little.

I just don't see it.  (That's what we call SARCASM. More on that later.)

What else can I say, kid?  I'm glad you're here.  You put joy in my life when previously all I really think I had was a whole lot of fun.  Shit is different with you around, and sometimes it's harder, and there have definitely been sacrifices, but even with all that taken in to consideration the one thing I can confidently say about my life since you've come along is this:

It's better.

Thank you for that. 

Ofa atu,



Dear Kid: Month 4

Dear Kid –

Two and a half weeks ago you turned four months old. This means that as of today, we’ve managed to keep you alive for 141 days. To say that time has flown by is an understatement, but SON, it was like I took a long blink….you know, that kind of blink you convince yourself is okay to take during English class and then you have what feels like a grand mal seizure when you open your eyes back up again…and it was like when I opened up my eyes instead of learning about dangling modifiers I was holding a giant baby in my lap and his name was Semisi and he was smiling his ass off at me and then your dad walked in and was all, “that huge kid is ours” then WHOA here we are staring at a 4 month old.

Well, okay, four and a half months now, Mr. Countie McCount. I’m late getting this letter to you late because for the past two and a half weeks I’ve been catching up on Downton Abbey and Pinning things. Beyond that, we spend any additional free time we have attempting to smoosh your head into a more perfectly spherical shape.


Actually, I’m not kidding about my obsession with Downton Abbey. For some reason I’ve become obsessed with ensuring that Mary Crawley marries her cousin Mathew. DON’T ASK.

And actually I’m not kidding about your head either. We really are trying to re-smoosh your head. It seems weird now but you’ll thank us later when you end up having to shave your head because you’re going bald like your dad want to wear a football helmet. More on that later. And by later I mean when you’re sixteen and you bring your first girlfriend over for a nice meal at our house. I’ll be all, “Paul, go on and dig out those pictures of Semisi when his head was really flat in the back!” And then I’ll turn to your girlfriend and say, “Strap a swiffer to the back of that kid’s head when he was 4 months old and nothing – I mean NOTHING – cleaned the Pergo better.”

Aside from your totally malleable head, you continue to amaze us on a daily basis. You smile constantly. We’ll be like, “Semisi did you poop?”
“Semisi, would you like to eat?”
“Sleep?” SMILE. “Go for a walk?”
“Semisi, would you please smile for this stranger?”

This is your frown. 

All kidding aside, you’ll typically smile at anyone, which has resulted in your father carrying you anytime we’re out in public. He likes that type of attention – attention that isn’t on him but is accredited to him. Of course if I carried you I would complain about how heavy you are after 37 seconds and besides no one would think you’re my kid anyway. LOSE LOSE.  He really likes carrying you when you're wearing what I like to refer to as your TONGAN PRIDE gear:

Team Tonga for life.
(Thanks for the hat, GM1!)

Just the other day, as a matter of fact, we ran in to the doctor who was on call and was tasked with the pleasure of delivering you on the night you were born. Your father, in an unusual lapse of forgetfulness, couldn’t remember her name and just decided - quite uncharacteristically, might I add – to turn all extrovert on me and awkwardly shout “You delivered our baby!” just as she was reaching for frozen broccoli in aisle 9. The next 20 second resulted in an equally awkward exchange as we tried to talk, and not talk, about the only experience we’d had with one another. Casual conversation is actually quite difficult when the only thing you have in common with someone is an unfaltering appreciation of the capabilities of one’s vagina.

You do other normal baby things with extra super duper skill. You can turn over both ways and actually totally tolerate tummy time for extended periods of time now. You can sit up with some help, and you regularly pound about 35 ounces a day. That’s a shit-ton of food, FYI. I would know because I spend half my day locked up in my office with the shades closed, answering email while extracting it from my body. (Yet ANOTHER thing I’ll enjoy telling you about for the first time. IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUR GIRLFRIEND.)

Another thing you do is look really effing cute in orange:

You, looking effing cute in orange. 
(Thanks for the hat, GM2!)

We, on the other hand, are not extraordinary parents. We’re still figuring this shit out, and we appreciate your patience with us as we continue to stumble through. But trust me when I say that we’re really gonna shine when you’re old enough to have beers with us.

What has been extraordinary is what you continue to teach us each day. (And I thought kids were kinda dumb!) Like that time you were like, “Mom, this is what happens when you take my diaper off before I’m done pooping.” And other things too. Mostly you’ve given me a great sense of appreciation for life in general. It’s like I get to start from scratch with you. I’m excited to be all, “Semisi, this thing is called the third season of Tru Blood a book, and that thing is a”…and OMG I GET TO TELL YOU WHAT A FART IS. Paul, I got dibs on that one!

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is life looks pretty cool the second time around.  Thank you for that. 



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