A great business prospect…for someone

January 14, 2011

During my first pregnancy, my sister got me a book called “Hot Mama.” It’s a guide on “how to have a babe and be a babe.” I’m thinking I need to thumb through this right about now at 28 weeks pregnant and seemingly unable to keep food out of my mouth. Did I really need to eat a vending machine bear claw yesterday? No. Did every fiber of my being crave it and thoroughly savor the cinnamon laced dough topped with icing? Oh yeah.

But “Hot Mama” isn’t solely about diet and weight gain. It touches on such other topics as hot mama clothing–an area I need to ponder as I peruse my limited selection of maternity clothes. I am roughly 12 weeks out from delivering a baby. Do I really want to spend money on clothes that I may never wear again? But at the same time, I am so sick of the five-day rotation of clothing and my relative dearth of maternity pants, which I have adamantly refused to purchase this go around, that it seems I will have to augment the selection or continue down my path of not-so-hot mama.

Let me share with you my dilemma. I am five feet 10-and-a-half inches tall. It’s challenging enough in a non-pregnant state to find fashionable clothes that fit my goonish frame. I can think of at least three bridesmaid dresses I’ve purchased over the years and on which I’ve had to spend at least an extra $30 more than the other attendants simply because extra fabric was needed to accommodate my longer than average body. I actually refuse to shop from stores that charge more for their tall sizes. There’s absolutely nothing I can do about my oversized body people!

But I digress. Imagine now being visibly pregnant and needing to sport maternity clothes for both aesthetics and comfort. Now imagine trying to find affordable, cute, LONG maternity clothes. Not an easy task. As a result, the outcome often looks something like this:

And while there are a few outlets out there that sell maternity frocks for us giants, they’re few and far between, and the selection is not always as broad as one might like. So, I put this out there to someone looking for a new business venture in 2011. How about a fashionable line of clothing for tall pregnant women? Sure, we’re not as numerous as our smaller counterparts, but we’re desperate and willing to pay!!

If I didn’t have eight million balls of my own in the air, I’d pursue this myself. Until then, I would firmly support (aka feverishly buy from) such a business and shamelessly promote it on my blog! 😉

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This won’t change your life…maybe just help organize it a bit

January 5, 2011

In the spirit of sharing little parenting tips that I think are handy, I thought I’d pass along another one I recently came by. It certainly won’t take your breath away, but it might just help you get a little more organized, and who isn’t all for that in the new year?

I should preface this tip by noting that my daughter was born with a full head of hair, which though everyone told me she would lose shortly after birth, she never did. See exhibit A.

Exhibit A

At 21 months, she continues to sport a thick, full head of hair (with gorgeous curls that leave me envious and more than a little curious as to from where they came). See exhibit B.

Exhibit B

Needless to say I need to contain her hair via pigtails, ponytail, barrettes or some other assortment of hair accessories. I’ve accumulated quite a collection of such things since her birth, so many so that I often find tiny hair ties in the oddest of places (my laptop bag, the cup holders of my car, the kitchen floor, the dog’s water dish…you get the idea). And since I am so often losing these tiny hair ties, I am finding myself at my favorite place to shop (Target) on a somewhat regular basis to purchase more rubber bands, toddler barrettes and the like. Though I try to keep them contained in a zipped-up cosmetic case, I still find my supply depleted on a regular basis.

So imagine the “aha” moment I experienced when my sister-in-law whose two daughters have sprouted luxurious locks of their own produced a pill box neatly containing and organizing dozens of hair ties by color. I loved it! And I let her know. She promptly shared that she stole the idea from her own sister-in-law. So I found myself at Target upon our return from our holiday trip to the in-laws’ to find just such a container for my daughter’s many hair ties. And not a day has gone by since then where I haven’t been able to find matching hair ties for my daughter’s pigtails.

So simple. So practical. So portable. Thanks for the parenting pearl of the day Jessica!

Discovering mom in the Christmas tree

December 17, 2010

My 21-month-old daughter idolizes her dada, and it warms my heart. But from time to time, I get to feeling a little bit like chopped liver. Especially when she pulls family photos off the shelf and points out only daddy in images that very clearly and prominently feature the both of us. No mention is ever made of the fair maiden (aka mom) on her beloved father’s arm. Even when asked, “who’s that next to daddy?” she typically has no response.

With the holiday season in full swing, we have a Christmas tree trimmed and on display in our living room. It contains many ornaments with photos of her or of her mom and dad  on their wedding day. Of course in these photos, her eyes zoom in on her hero, and she loves to pull the photo ornaments from the tree to gaze at dada and repeat his name. Honestly, it’s getting a little old.

But the other day, she came running to me with an ornament she had retrieved from a tree branch and began shouting “mama, mama” as she approached. I looked at what she was holding and couldn’t help but smile. She saw some resemblance to me in one of the “nine ladies dancing” that are part of a set of ornaments representing the “12 Days of Christmas” that were passed down to our family from my parents.

And it wasn’t a fluke. She has done it several times since then. While I don’t know that I am the lightest of foot when it comes to dancing, I quite like that she thinks I resemble this young lass who obviously keeps on top of her roots (me not so much) and is way more curvy than her real life lookalike.

You can bet this ornament will remain in the rotation for years to come!

A new gig

December 9, 2010

So, recently I wrote about being rejected. I happily write today about being accepted! The Detroit NewsMichMoms blog is allowing me to contribute posts twice a week. I’ve added a link to my Blogroll at right, and you can find my first post here.

Please feel free to send me suggestions for topics on which to write about either here or there. I know many of you who read my blog are moms yourselves. Would love to get an idea of some of the things you struggle with, cherish about being a mom, etc.

Thanks in advance!

Some of the best television out there

December 7, 2010

We watch a lot of “Sesame Street” around the Bluethmann household. Our little girl has what you might call an obsession with Elmo and his many friends. And now, after having taken in many hours of the show, I can honestly say that “Sesame Street” is pretty awesome. I am convinced that many of the new additions to my daughter’s vocabulary are a direct result of watching the show. I know it has certainly helped her to grasp the concept of counting and to learn her ABC’s.

Since my husband and I typically watch it with her, we both have our favorite and not-so-favorite characters (my husband likens Baby Bear’s baby talk to nails on a chalkboard), skits (I always get a kick out of the Tall Tall Texan) and songs. But without a doubt my favorite “Sesame Street” moments are when famous celebrities make an appearance. Often they perform a custom rendition of one of their hits like this gem that follows from Jason Mraz.

I am also particularly fond of this guest appearance by Norah Jones performing a twist on her hit “Don’t Know Why” about being stood up by–you guessed it–the letter Y.

Though I am careful not to let my daughter watch too much tv, I am OK with letting her hang with Oscar, Grover, Ernie and Elmo. They’re actually pretty cool cats.

Pregnant women are smug

December 2, 2010

Too funny. Thanks for sharing Carrie!

Rejected…again

December 1, 2010

I knew a guy in college who, like many of us during our senior year, went on a series of job interviews. He was interested in a career in consulting I believe. He probably interviewed with at least 20 different companies. He received a lot of rejection letters–so many so that he began posting them around his room as wallpaper. Soon they took over. It became a running joke–how many rejection letters could Mike collect before the end of the year?

I know his pain. I have been pitching numerous magazines over the last year to take on some freelance writing work. I’ve followed each publication’s instructions as absurd as some of them are (e.g. contact us only on the third Wednesday of even-numbered months after 2 p.m. EST in e-mail. NO PHONE CALLS!).  I’ve been as polite as I know how to be and generated what I think have been some decently creative story ideas.

Guess not.

I have a “virtual” pile of rejection letters that would rival my friend Mike’s. So taking a page from his example, I thought I’d start sharing them with others so they can feel my pain or at least get a laugh. Some are very polite. Some are kinda mean. But thankfully my skin is a bit thick after 10+ years in the work world. Heck–I work in PR. If I didn’t have a thick skin, I’d be curled up in the fetal position under my desk by 2 p.m. every afternoon.

Not only am I hoping that these letters (well e-mails mostly) will entertain, I am hoping that they will provide me continued motivation to keep pitching because sometimes it works even if it does take nine attempts–true story! So here are a few recent rejection notes to get us started. More to come I’m sure! 🙂

A nice one from American Baby magazine:

Thanks, Jacquie, for thinking of us with this idea, but we already have something in the works on this subject.

All the best,
XXXXXXX

A not so nice one from a publication to remain unnamed:

Hi Jacquie,

Unfortunately, your writing style is not in line with XXXXX. Also, your pitch was not between 100 and 130 words.

-XXXXXX

Ahhh….the joys of trying to be a writer!

Baby Blue fast forwarded??

November 19, 2010


A co-worker recently mentioned that Meghan resembles the little girl in the famous Renoir “On the Terrace” painting. Now that I look at them side by side, I can kinda see what he’s saying.

And Baby Blue does like to wear feathery hats…

And to me, she really is a masterpiece!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

November 15, 2010

Christmas came a little early this year. It wasn’t wrapped, and there were no tags. But my daughter’s closet is full of winter clothes and beautiful dresses for the spring and summer seasons. Her bookshelf is teeming with new titles, including some bearing the coveted Caldecott seal. All this and Thanksgiving has yet to roll around.

Sure a few corners of these books are frayed or missing a page, and yes, a few outfits are likely a shade lighter than they were when on the rack, but that’s the beauty of hand-me-downs. They already have a story.

And now their next chapter begins…

The starring characters: Baby Blue and Baby Blue #2

Directors: Mom and Dad Blue

Costumes: By my elder sister, Lori, who fell in love with outfits for her own baby girl, experienced timeless memories with her in them and then carefully packed them away for my little girl.

Script work: By another of my elder sisters, MB. I certainly did enjoy sifting through books with you last night as you recounted which ones were your little boy’s favorites so I could flag them for mine (yes, we’re having a boy)!

And now, as I begin to field questions about what Baby Blue wants for Christmas, I am at a loss. She has so much already. If only that were the case for everyone. And so I make mention of a worthy cause that would more likely benefit from some Christmas gift giving–the Lighthouse of Oakland County–another Michigan gem.

Every year this organization provides holiday meals, groceries and meal baskets for needy families. Lighthouse also runs a program whereby individuals can “adopt” a needy family and fulfill its Christmas list. I’m always taken aback when the Christmas list for the family we adopt each year arrives and the eight-year-old wants only socks or underwear and his 10-year-old brother desires only a winter coat. You can bet, we search for the warmest coat we can find!

If you are looking for a worthwhile cause this holiday season, Lighthouse of Oakland County certainly fits the bill.

Happy Holidays! 🙂

Parenting pearls from people I know

November 4, 2010

I’ve been making a mental note of the times I hear someone mention some parenting tip that I particularly like. I have accumulated a few of these mental notes and thought I’d share them here while also encouraging you to share your personal favorite parenting tips. Leave a comment if you’ve got one to share!

On Christmas gift-giving:

My co-worker, Andy, and his wife give their two children three presents each on Christmas Day. No more. No less. His rationale: “If the Magi’s three gifts were good enough for Jesus Christ, three gifts are certainly more than enough for my kids.”  I kinda like that train of thought.

On getting your kids to eat their vegetables:

My friend Amanda recommends actively soliciting the help of your little ones ones when doing summer gardening. Her two kids help her plant and then pick the green beans, tomatoes and other produce sprouting in her garden. And as a result, they’re all the more intrigued by (and more likely to eat) the vegetables they pick. I’ve already started this tradition with my toddler. She helped mama pick tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers all summer. And though she isn’t yet eating tomatoes, she is willing to give them a lick. It’s a start, and I’ll take it!

On birthday party gifts…

I recently heard the story of an eight-year-old boy whose parents were going to throw him his last “big” birthday party inviting all the kids in his class. Concerned about the excess of her son receiving 25+ gifts, this boy’s mom encouraged him to instruct his friends to bring a baby item (diapers, formula, etc.) instead of a gift to the party. They would then donate these items to a shelter for children from broken families. With only a little coaxing, he agreed. With tears in his eyes at the sight of the massive pile of baby items accumulated after the party, he said “so many babies need help.” What a great lesson his parents taught him and, by extension, the kids who attended his party!

I see this blog topic becoming a recurring one as I come across more wisdom from my parenting peers. Thanks to Andy, Amanda and Pat for these parenting pearls for us to ponder. 🙂