1. When Jason was a little kid, it was just him and his cousin Monica on his mom's side of the family. They were pretty much a team from day one. She's a couple of years younger than Jason is, and they are polar opposites in every photo - Jason's hair a slight reddish blonde and curly, Monica's hair straight and nearly jet-black. Don't mind the above photo, by the way - Jason was just helping.
Jason and Monica did not hurt for presents at Christmas, but being kids, they were always on the lookout for a way to get a couple more.
They were allowed to open a present on Christmas Eve, after some cajoling from the two of them.
At which point Jason argued, quite logically, that Adam came before Eve, therefore they should get to open a present on Christmas Adam, too. And then Christmas Creatures That Move Along the Ground, which would obviously be preceded by Creatures That Swim in the Seas, and so on and so forth until the entire Creation story was completely covered.
Somehow, this argument never quite took hold.
He can still make a pretty good case for it, though.
2. I know, I know. I'll stop posting stuff from Baby Gap eventually. Maybe. Someday.
Aren't these the cutest onesies? There's this one and then one that says "Daddy's Sunshine". Both of which are true; she is our alarm clock and our sunshine and often both at the same time. It's hard to maintain my grumpy morning growling and snarling when there's a little face that just beams happiness up at me when I go to pick her up in the morning.
I just wish she did a little less beaming happiness in the middle of the night.
And a lot less of it at 5 a.m.
I've also got my eye on this absolutely beautiful little dress - as well as the hooded sweatshirt and pants in the featured outfit with it. I've discovered if I really, really stalk sales I can make Baby Gap (semi) affordable. So I will keep eyeballing it. And probably end up with an outfit for a baby way bigger than mine, which is what ended up happening with the winter dress I wanted - I have it for her for next year now. But I have it, and it was cheap.
I win again, Baby Gap.
I guess since you still got my money I really... really didn't.
3. One of my favorite true stories about Christmas things ever. NPR put up an article laying out the creation and evolution of the NORAD "Santa Tracker" - a misprinted phone number, the Red Phone only two people are ever supposed to know how to call, and a man with a sense of how important it is to let children see the world as one with magic in it.
Even if it's magic transmitted over a phone line.
Go read it, if you haven't seen it yet. It's a sweet story, and we could use a little more in the way of sweet stories in the world right now.
4. Fran, over on my favorite style blog, is talking photoshopping, the "skinny app", and what bloggers changing their entire image means for viewers, for fans, and for the bloggers themselves. It's true; there's a sense that you need to chase the "perfect image". One thing I definitely noticed is that blogs that have that skinny-girl look get the repins, the retweets, the fans. Even if what they're writing about is ostensibly not about style or looks or anything - that doesn't matter. The "aspirational" idea that blogs are often chasing essentially requires you to fit the sort of overall Hollywood beauty aesthetic - skinny, long hair, trendy clothing, etc.
I have noticed that there seems to be a disconnect between the attention that some blogs get vs. others, even if they are of equal quality and are writing about the same thing - if one person is a skinny-minnie or chasing the latest trends, she'll get those retweets before the one who isn't. I've noticed that with my own blog, too. While I often write about local events, shops, or restaurants, I have been frustrated before wondering just what it is a specific other blogger, whose post was much shorter, lacking detail, and I felt less entertaining than my own - did differently than I to warrant more retweets or attention. Usually I've felt that it came down to that other blogger fitting a specific look or niche, something that more easily garners attention from those just clicking around the web.
Part of that is just a natural result of the fact that I'm not a "photo-focused" blogger, like lifestyle or fashion or home decor. I write about my life, which is sometimes funny and sometimes not, and the photos are meant to support the writing, not to be the shining star of the post. It's harder to get attention if you don't fit an easy "popular category" with lots of brightly-lit photos and a DSLR camera to boot, and it's much harder to get attention if the people who would otherwise be able to boost your signal with retweets, reblogs, and other things have a very specific person in mind and that person doesn't look or sound like you.
Bloggers tend to fall prey to this pressure - photoshop themselves skinny, wear clothing "just for the blog", creating outfits that look ridiculous and out of place (Bloggers wearing winter coats in a South Carolina September, for instance - because the fashion magazines and clothing stores have begun selling fall/winter clothing and the blogger is trying to catch that particular trend wave), wear jewelry they'd never wear in real life because it was sent to them for free, have their writing voice suddenly become stilted and false as they attempt to fit as many brand-name catchphrases into a single post as possible, as they push to be so bland they can't possibly be controversial - which is what the brands are looking for. It's weird to see what it takes to become a "name" in the blogging world at this point, but then of course I have to remind myself...
It doesn't matter what it takes.
Maybe I don't get that extra attention, but I get the kind that matters - the attention that doesn't particularly care if I'm skinny or if my scarf has a monogram, what brand my boots are or whether or not I wear any makeup at all. Frankly, it's an attention I feel is more genuine - those who continue to read this blog do so because they're invested in the posts I write (and, yes, in cute baby photos) and will continue to read those posts even if I post a photo in which my tennis shoes are ten years old and I'm wearing a sweater I wore in college.
I like that particular attention, those particular readers. They're who I'm here for.
Everyone else can just go photoshop themselves into a corner.
5. On a more cheerful (and Christmas-y) note... this pillow is the cutest thing ever.
From Tamara Bontorno at Gus Sue Design on Etsy.
Other Christmas etsy stuff I'm making googly eyes at?
This neat little personalized Christmas tree toy, tamales are Christmas-y right?, thick knit Fair Isle sweaters it will never be cold enough here for me to wear, this pretty holiday print.
That's my five.
I'll see you kids when I have more cute baby photos!
Christmas cute baby photos.