Family

The Ideal Family

Many have searched and searched to find the formula for creating the perfect family. There are numerous self help books and blog posts on the subject. Many psychological publications have advise on how to achieve this much desired familial bliss.  I’m very pleased to announce that I have found the ideal family whose example we should all follow.  I present to you: The Addams Family.

A Beautiful Marriage

 

If you have ever viewed the marriage of Gomez and Morticia in any of the available forms you will have noticed the intense love between them.  It’s clear that they are a shining example of strong love.  They are very affectionate with each other in all situations.  They are aligned when they parent their children.  They support each others desires and fetishes.  Each has their own interests and independence and they trust each other completely. Unlike typical sitcom marriages these two never belittle each other or complain about one another to their friends.  If anything they only discuss their love and concern for each others well being. And no one has ever accused either member of the pair of straying from the relationship.

Loving Parents

Pugsley and Wednesday (and later in the film series Pubert) are some of the luckiest children in entertainment. Their parents give them the love and support they need to be themselves without judgement. They give them rules and boundaries, but sometimes give in because they just want their children to be happy.  Both parents are also very involved in their children’s schooling.  They attend performances and monitor their readings.  In the first episode of the TV series they go to the school and meet with the principle and have the story of Hansel and Gretel removed from the reading list.  You may assume that the Brother’s Grimm story would be a favorite of the Addams but they have a very different perspective on the famous tale.  They are adamantly against the burning alive of a witch.  Which makes sense, witches are people too!  Bonus points to Gomez and Morticia for teaching tolerance to the school.

Caring Family

The Addams household includes the core nuclear family as many average American households do.  It also includes extended family members which is less commonly found in the US. Grandmama is a beloved mother of either Gomez or Morticia, it is never made clear. Despite not knowing exactly how she’s related she is still loved and given a home. She is respected regardless of her eccentricities and unusual cooking style and not treated as a burden or just some crazy old lady.

Uncle Fester is just as eccentric as anyone else in the clan.  Many people would judge an unmarried grown man living with his younger brother’s family and (maybe) his mother as a loser.  He is not treated like a mooch and is given the same love and respect as the rest of the family.

The family employs Lurch and Thing to help with the household. These two are treated just like family members.  They live in the home with everyone else and when (in the film The Addams Family) the family was thrown from their home, Lurch and Thing stayed to help the family get through hard times and come back together.

Humble

The Addams family is independently wealthy.  Their wealth is never fully spelled out, but it is clearly obvious from the vault of gold in the cellar and the fact that no one has a job.  You will notice that they never flaunt their riches.  You don’t see them spending money on fancy cars or shopping sprees. They send their children to public school. Morticia does much of her own gardening and makes her own clothes. She likely makes the children clothes too.  They have fancy possessions, but largely because they are family heirlooms, but because they go out and buy material goods. And I have not once seen them treat anyone as lower class because of their wealth.

Of course we have to remember that these are fictional people.  No family will ever be perfect or eternally happy. That’s just not the way life works.  There are also many different configurations of families, not just the average nuclear unit shown here. However, we can all still learn a few things about unconditional love, patience and acceptance from these characters.

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Not Your Average Bump

When I was pregnant I spent many hours searching high and low for maternity clothes that I could be proud of.  I needed something that fit my personal styles and tastes while still providing the comfort necessary for my expanding size. They also had to be appropriate for the business casual corporate office in which I worked.  This was no easy task.  One I hope to save other people from enduring.

Seraphine

The British designer/retailer Seraphine has recently begun opening stores in the US. I was fortunate in that they open a New York store shortly after I became pregnant. The clothing featured is not especially spooky, but they have some great pieces.  They are a great resource for work appropriate attire.

The photos here are three of the pieces I purchased.  The winter coat has expanding stretchy sides which made more room that you might expect.  I was able to wear this comfortably through an entire long cold New York winter. The black belt is a wrap around piece which you tie to fit your size as you like.  I found I had trouble keeping it up when my bump was small.  That didn’t stop me from wearing it nearly every day as it became my favorite accessory. This black sweater was super comfortable and warm and fit well underneath the coat even on days I added an additional base layer. All three items were indispensable staples.

The stores may not have all the items you seek, rest assured, you can order online and have the items delivered worldwide.

ASOS

I didn’t discover ASOS until I started talking to other mommas about where they found maternity clothes.  It’s important to note that ordering online is your only option as the do not have free standing stores.  Rest assured, they ship worldwide and deliver quickly.  I found the majority of my tops here and a few pants.  The best item I purchased was a maternity bathing suit.  I didn’t use it much, only on our babymoon, but it is likely the best bathing suit I have ever owned.  The best part about it was being able to get into it comfortably at 35 weeks.

the items shown here are not exactly the pieces I purchased as the stock has changed in the last year (’cause duh). The swimsuit is the same style. Pro Tip: If you own a string bikini already you can skip buying a new suit.  Your bump is beautiful and you should be proud to show it off. Just double check that your bits are still appropriately covered before you head out in public.  I was lucky that mine just barely worked when heading out on my babymoon.

I have now made ASOS one of my go to sites for shopping in general.

H&M MAMA

The well known fast fashion retailer is a great resource for maternity basics. The selection isn’t huge, but it’s worthwhile to have a look.  The jeans fit well all through the pregnancy and postpartum.  The simple T’s were easy to dress up for the office or relax in over the weekend.

The studded dress and lace top above were not available when I was shopping or I absolutely would have purchased those.

Nordstrom

I only bought a few pieces from Nordstrom, but they became regulars in the rotation of work outfits. They have a very wide selection of dresses which I don’t wear often so I didn’t buy.  However, Nordstrom is known for high quality so I’m sure they are just as nice as the shirts I purchased.

Blank NYC

I have not seen any free standing stores or I would raid them on a regular basis.  The Blank NYC brand can be found in well known retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Destination Maternity.  I found a magnificent vegan faux leather biker jacket at Destination Maternity. I lived in that thing until the weather got too cold.  If it fit my current post pregnancy size I would be wearing it still. I was able to wear it sipped closed or wide open.  Even before my dumb was very big I didn’t feel like I was swimming in fabric, yet there was always enough to cover me comfortably as I grew.

Belly Button Band

These little gadgets are a great money saver in the beginning.  I was lucky in that I didn’t gain very much weight so I was able to wear regular pants for a long time.  When they started to get to tight in the waist I bought the belly button band.  they allowed me to wear the same pants a wore pre-pregnancy until about month 7.  I reached a point where my bump was so big I couldn’t see the buttons and putting on pants was a real hassle. By that point I was basically just giving up and wearing leggings as pants anyway.  These come in an assortment of colors to match your shirt, pants or skin tone which is really nice. There are two styles, one goes over your bump and the other goes under. Both button directly into your existing pants and utilize existing button holes to keep them up. I recommend picking up a few.

Honorable mention goes to Zulily. The stock changes constantly so check often.  The shipping can take a long time (depending on the length of the deal), but I’m sure you will find something worth the wait.

For those of you who may be wondering about my bump since I’ve mentioned it so many times…well here I am.

my bump 2

Dress: Zulily / Belt: Seraphine / Boots: DSW

my bump 3

Suit: ASOS

my bump 4

Shirt: Nordstrom / Pants: Held up by Belly Button Band / Bent: Seraphine / Scarf: H&M


Scare Your Children

Children’s literature can often be too sappy for me.  I can only stand so many bland feel good stories before craving murder. Fictional murder of course.  My little burrito has a selection of stories which I enjoy reading. I have a couple which are pretty average and others that keep up both entertained.  My theory is that children will only be afraid of things we tell them are scary.  If the spider and bat finger puppet books I read to him now seem normal then hopefully he won’t find these things frightening in the future.  That’s my hope anyway.

Since I temporarily live in France I can’t build the library I want for my little guy. That doesn’t stop me from window shopping for all the wonderfully spooky books I want for him in the near future.

Original Fairy Tales

Everyone is familiar with some of the great writers of original fairy tales like Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. Not everyone has actually read them.  Forget the happy endings the Disney people have presented, the originals are much better.  Generally speaking the notion of happily ever after doesn’t exist.  The original versions are all cautionary tales intended to keep children from running off without their parents, talking to strangers or trusting people they shouldn’t.  Beyond just being cautionary these tales are down right terrifying. Cinderella (Brothers Grimm) for example did not end with the prince simply not being able to fit the glass slipper onto the step-sister’s feet.  Instead the step-sisters were able to trick the prince into taking them until he noticed the pools of blood in his carriage.  Why blood? Because the girls had cut off pieces of their feet to be able to fit in the glass slipper.  Honestly, I’m not sure if I would want to spend my happily ever after with a guy who is too dumb to notice mutilated and bloody feet until AFTER getting into the carriage….TWICE!

Bunnicula

This tale of a vampire bunny who sucks the juice out of vegetables was one of my favorites as an early reader.  I guess I’ve always loved scary stories…and bunnies. Bunnicula grew from one book into a whole series between 1982 and 2006. There were a couple of spin offs series also called Tales from the House of Bunnicula and Bunnicula and Friends: Ready to Read. Just this year the stories were turned into an animated series.  I haven’t watch it yet, but it’s now at the top of my must watch list.

Where the Wild Things Are

An award winning classic featuring a wolf costume clad wild child participating in a rumpus with wild things.  Which sounds like for more fun that a child who deserved to be sent to bed without supper should be having. Despite some critics believing the book is too scary for children, the story of Max and his wild friends is one that has been beloved for more than 50 years.  It’s also one of the more beautifully works for children available.

The author, Maurice Sendak, is mostly known for writing and illustrating Where the Wild Things Are. However, he is also responsible for an even more controversial children’s story entitled In the Night Kitchen. One might not expect a dreamy tale of a little boy floating through a bakers kitchen to end up on the American Library Association’s challenged and banned book lists.  Until you find out that the little boy spends the entire story completely nude.  Featuring full frontal pre-teens is likely to draw some attention from more than a few parents.  If you think that type of illustration is appropriate for your child the book is supposed to be quite well written and the both of you may enjoy it….I haven’t decided how I feel about it yet.

The Worst Witch

The Worst Witch is a series of books about a clumsy young girl to which I think most of us can relate.  This should come as no surprise since the author, Jill Murphy, started the first book at the age of 15 and based the witch school and its students on her own school and peers.  There are a total of 7 stories now as well as a couple of TV series and spin offs. As a child or teenager it can often be comforting to read stories about people who are just as awkward and clumsy as you are….or get lost in the fantasy of having magical spells you can use on your enemies.

BabyLit® Books & First Steps

BabyLit® publishes a wide variety of baby book (board and hardcover) based on classic literature.  Some titles include; Frankenstein: A BabyLit® Anatomy Primer, Dracula: A BabyLit® Counting Primer, Alice in Wonderland: A BabyLit® Colors Primer (which my son loves), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A BabyLit® Fairies PrimerThere are over a dozen more to chose from and more on the way. BabyLit® also publishes a series about a little raven named Edgar based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe.  I own the hardcover version of Edgar and the Tattle-tale Heart, it’s really cute. I highly recommend anything they publish.

 


Spooky Baby

When you prefer the spooky life and you have a baby you are faced with a dilemma. You either put in the effort to find clothes you love or you give up and go with clothes that make you less than happy.  This is especially difficult when you have a son like I do.  There are seemingly endless style options available for girls and a very limited selection for boys.  I chose to search high and low for clothes that I thought were cute.  The effort paid off and I have often been sad when my little burrito grows out of something I was particularly excited to find. Below are a few shops that I found useful. Hopefully this will save you a few hours and maybe a few dollars.

Amazon

An obvious go to for everything you may need to order online.  It takes work to find what you’re looking for, but it can be well worth the time.  Available brands such as Sourpuss and Crazy Baby Clothing specialize in alternative fashions with lots of great options. There are other brands like Leveret which have styles that are not necessarily alternative, but they are more interesting than all white onesies.

BuyBuy Baby

I was surprised to find that this large chain store carried some great options. My most exciting find was the selection of Mayfair brand solid pieces in bold colors with matching hats.  If you want you can buy a whole handful of black onesies for a reasonable price.  By far the easiest option with tiny ones that get dirty in a blink. As with all basics you can mix and match the colors to your hearts content. The online clothing selection is even better with lots of options that you don’t always find in the stores.

Carter’s

Carter’s sells in chain stores like Target and on Amazon, but also have free standing stores plus an extensive online shop. They quickly became my go to for awesome pajamas.  They have some of the cutest options around.  They also have great deals constantly.  If you sign up for the mailing list you will receive coupons on a weekly basis on top of the already reasonable prices.  I found myself in the store at least once a month searching the clearance rack.  The savings come in handy when your little one is growing out of everything so fast.

My Baby Rocks

My Baby Rocks is an online store dedicated to babies, children and alternative fashions.  They have a large selection of designs in dozens of categories like “Zombie Baby“, “Monster Baby“, or “Pirate“.  Many of the designs are available in multiple colors so you are sure to find something that suits your tastes. The prices can be a little steep so I only purchase items I can’t live without.  I buy them at least one size too large so they last longer.

Spencer’s

COME_TO_THE_DARKSIDE_T-SHIRT-3

The Spencer’s stores are known for naughty gag gifts and fun clothing and accessories. These design ideas extend to their baby clothing.  There are amusing sayings inspired by music, movies and cartoons.  You can find band T-Shirts, comic book logos and some foul language if that’s your thing. The prices are on the higher side so I recommend the tactic of buying a size too big so you can get more use out of the items.

Most stores that sell baby clothes sell specialty clothing for the holidays.  Halloween is a great time to find cute spooky clothes just about anywhere.  Even better, shop on November 1st when all the Halloween items go on deep discount to make room for Christmas. Happy shopping!

If you find an outfit you love post photos online with #spookyandsweet so we can all enjoy your baby’s spooky cuteness.