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“Loaded Gun Inside”

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This story has me shaking: “5-year-old boy finds gun, shoots baby brother in head.”

I grew up in a home with guns, hunting rifles kept unloaded. My dad may have kept had a loaded gun somewhere. He may now. I’m appalled I haven’t asked.

My family vehemently defends the 2nd amendment. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Their arguments align with Blackstone’s “rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.” I mostly agree with them, in theory.

Conflict: I don’t want any child of mine playing where loaded guns are kept. I don’t want them knocking on the door of a home where someone might answer with a loaded gun.

If that statement makes you uncomfortable, I suggest you take a look at this article for context: Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll.

These stories have fellow parents and friends of mine worrying about how to ask about the presence of guns without offending the homeowner or starting a lengthy debate. The truth is, if your home has a loaded gun inside, many of us deem it unsafe for our children, no matter how responsible you are. That is likely to feel like judgement to some.

The feeling I can’t shake is there is some middle ground here. Shouldn’t the burden of safety fall on the gun owner? Shouldn’t awareness of the danger be the right of the public? If drug companies have to warn the entire public of potential side effects on the off-chance they might convince their doctor to prescribe them a potentially harmful drug, shouldn’t there be some basic right of notification about something as lethal as a loaded gun?

What if gun owners were required to post a sign out front (like those alarm company signs in the window): “Loaded Gun Inside” – could we get behind that?

This is an honest question, I’d love to here your thoughtful and kind responses. I’d also love to hear a reasonable defense of concealed handguns but that’s another can of worms. (Personal attacks will be moderated and unpublished).


Ringing it In, Magic Style

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2012 is winding down, and everyone is getting ready to ring it in with the ones they love… Scott and I are trying to remember what we did last year, and Oliver is currently sleeping through the festivities. Something tells me he’ll be awake to watch the ball drop for the first time – he’s not one to miss a meal. He’s currently napping on my chest and snoring little baby snores. Every so often he gets this big smile – we’ve been trying to guess what he’s dreaming about. Maybe today’s play date with his friend Madeline?

I’m daydreaming about 2013 and relishing how great today’s yoga class felt – it was a resolution last year to pick up the pace and really find my edge in class. I’m really proud of my progress, even spending most of the year pregnant. I finally mastered crow (the belly actually helped – like a ballast!), learned how to find rest in downward dog, and found the beauty of a perfect hovering push-up. Today I nailed a headstand and felt all-powerful – at least over my body. Gorgeous end to the year, left me feeling joyful and expansive and patient and optimistic.

Our little family is celebrating quietly tonight. Scott made delicious homemade soup on this rainy night, and we just watched a sweet romantic movie (The Vow with Rachael McAdams); now we’re watching the Times Square festivities on mute while we listen to our wedding playlist and reminisce about the year. What a great, life-changing, dramatic year it’s been! No one can say 2012 wasn’t memorable. And our best memory will be welcoming this perfect baby – this year will always be his to us.

Happy New Year to you & yours. May 2013 make you as happy as 2012 made us.

What a difference a year makes:







New Years Resolutions

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I got a great book for Christmas from my sweet husband, Gretchen Rubin’s new Happier at Home. Her “Happiness Project” blog was what inspired me to start this blog in 2007, and a chapter in the book sort of struck home. She paraphrases Voltaire about “not letting perfect be enemy of done” – in other words, letting good enough be good enough.

I run a content marketing business. I teach people to blog for a living. and it made me self-conscious. I’m afraid this little blog has languished because I’ve learned too much about what a blog should be. It now takes me hours to post as I resize pictures or look up references or try and summarize months in a single post. For example, right now I’m itching to 1. Pull out my laptop so I can type faster (I’m tapping this out on my phone, with a sweet dreaming baby sprawled on my chest); 2. Dig up the photo I took with Gretchen at Blogher; 3. Read my first blog posts all over again and reminisce; and 3. Put an image of the book cover and an Amazon link in the post. By the time I did all that I’d have been interrupted a half-dozen times and probably never post anything.

So. New Year’s Resolutions 2013: Get over myself. Let “good enough” reign. Stop letting Facebook sub in for actual writing. Blog more. Capture memories and ideas more often. Heaven knows my memory isn’t going up to the job these days!


36 Weeks Down…

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It’s been an awesome whirlwind for the last few weeks! The big news has been that my beautiful sister and her husband just announced that they’re expecting a baby, too! We’re so super-thrilled for them, and excited that our little guy will have a cousin only 5 months younger… They’re due mid-April 2013, and we’re so excited to be Aunt Jenny & Uncle Scott! (That’s their cute announcement photo in the middle).

We also made it to 36 weeks/ 8 months pregnant, which means that Baby Magic is considered “full term “and would likely be healthy and just fine if he comes any time now. But we’re hoping he stays put until his due date of November 3rd! October has turned into a busy month and we need all the time we can get…

In the last few weeks we’ve had not one but THREE beautiful baby showers to celebrate our little guy – one in my hometown, hosted by my awesome sister (check out the gorgeous blanket my grandma made in the photo), another Pinterest-worthy party in Austin with my local girlfriends, (hosted by Tahra Dickey & Jessica Phillips, easily the most stylish pair of sisters I’ve ever met), and a generous celebration at Olive & June with all Scott’s work colleagues from Hsu Office of Architecture. Between our showers and the amazing hand-me-downs from our friends with boys (THANK YOU!) our little guy is headed into this world spoiled already!

The first week of September I flew out to deliver a talk at Content Marketing World in Columbus, OH, which was exciting and exhausting and so worth it… Speaking at a national conference has been on my bucket list for a while and it was fantastic to get that opportunity and have it go so well. I met tons of new colleagues and contacts and business has taken off since then. I’m also spending 2-3 days a week in office with one of my web development partners to help get a new project launched (because, you know, I needed something else to do!). It’s the first time in years that I’ve had to get dressed and “show up” for work – definitely different , especially 8 months pregnant.

October 3rd was our second wedding anniversary; we reminisced over wedding photos we haven’t looked at in ages and called our dear friend Julian who did us the honor of officiating our wedding. And then last night we celebrated with a delicious pizza & my favorite dessert (mmm, ricotta cheesecake!) at The Backspace and snapped this cool photo outside the Mexic-Arte Museum.

I still get to yoga at least once a week (love the Bump Club prenatal yoga at Lululemon!) and this last month has been all about baby classes! We’ve finished  infant CPR, Breastfeeding, Baby Care Basics, Prepared Childbirth, and we still have two “meet the pediatrician” events and a Baby Sleep class to go. We’ll have spent 25 hours in baby classes when we’re done next week! At least we have some clue what we’re getting in to…

What else this last few weeks…  Scott did a 180 mile bike ride from Seattle to Vancouver (w0w!) and I’ve also hosted a couple more Magic Social Hour / Book Club events. We’ve had a homemade pizza cookoffs, and dinner parties, and farewell parties for some friends moving away from Austin (we’ll miss you, Borcherts!). We’re growing a small group of new parents makes plans together pretty often – we’ve recently celebrated Quinn’s 1st birthday, welcomed Ava and Wil into the world, babysat little Madeline, and snuggled little Gabriel at our monthly Galaxy Cafe brunch. It’s awesome to watch new parents that are just a little ahead of us – it’s like a window into our future life.

The next few weeks promise to keep us busy, too… There’s plenty of last minute Better Way to Say It work, a few more social events before our life gets baby-focused, lots of thank you notes to write, a hospital bag to pack, and as many hours of sleep as we can fit in before they disappear! Promise to update here and on Facebook with baby news as we have it to share!

Right now, I am…

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Brainstorming… a birthday gift for an adorable 1-year-old boy whose party we get to attend tomorrow. Yes, I waited too long to shop, but my car has been in the shop this week, so I’ve been semi-stuck at home. 

– Eagerly awaiting… the arrival of 2.5 month old Madeline for an evening of babysitting while her parents enjoy a well-earned dinner date. Love baby practice!

– Excited… that Juke Auto figured out what was wrong with my car AND volunteered to get a salvage part at the junkyard to save me a ton.

Cabin-fevered… I haven’t left the house in 3 days and I’m starting to go a little crazy. Really glad I had book club at my house Wednesday to get my social fix with a bunch of fantastic ladies!

Wondering… how to transport truffle popcorn to a movie night with friends or if I should just take the popper and ingredients to the party. Noisy, but it’s always better fresh, right?

Planning… Something for dinner (big question marks here!) using the meager ingredients on hand (no car means no grocery shopping!). This may be a night for something that arrives via delivery truck, our pantry is that empty…

Procrastinating… Finishing the slides for our big presentation at Content Marketing World 2012. SO very excited to be a speaker, so terrified to get my ideas down on paper and commit!

– Debating… whether to go to the fabric store and sew a pillow for the nursery rocker or just buy the one I love on Pretty sure Etsy is going to win this one.

Thrilled… to spend Sunday afternoon on my grandparents’ ranch in Lampasas – we haven’t seen them enough this summer! And we’ve got cousins and their kids joining us for a little reunion. Should be fantastic!

– Looking very pregnant!  We’ll finish 27 weeks tomorrow, 13 to to! Still feeling great just a little bigger every day!

Birthdays & Weddings & Babies, Oh, my!

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You guys, June just up and flew by, didn’t it? I’m sure it’s because we had so much fun! The month kicked off (literally) with my new favorite thing – baby kicks! I had been feeling flutters but I had a few really good thumps on June 5th – the night before my birthday  – which was my favorite gift by far. Baby is now very active and practicing for 1st soccer game!

A week later we had our 19-week ultrasound, the last one of the pregnancy. We’d decided not to find out out the sex of the baby, but for no real reason we had decided in our heads that it was a girl. We’d picked out a girl name and had been calling baby “she” all the time. I wondered whether a surprise announcement of “boy!” would be harder after 9 months of being wrong, so we decided to find out, and…

We were surprised, but ecstatic – we’re over the moon, having fun daydreaming about sticks and snails and puppy dog tails, and are so excited to meet him!

So that was on a Monday, and Tuesday I hopped on a plane to Dallas to ride with my parents, brother, and sister to Louisville, KY for my cousin Chris’s wedding… and Scott made me promise not to tell them our news until he got there on Friday! Now THAT was a hard wait!

Luckily we kept busy until he arrived! We were arranging centerpieces, moving chairs, ironing tablecloths, etc. etc. The best part was they  wouldn’t let me  lift much or really help, so I got to snuggle my cousin’s baby, 4-month-old Kyle instead. I also loved watching my brother help out – he was ironing like a pro, and keeping one of the other babies occupied… he’s going to be such a good uncle!

Other fun stuff in June:

  • Had one of my best birthdays ever… I got to meet my friend Casey’s new baby girl for the first time (two weeks old! So tiny!) and ask lots of new mom questions, checked out a stack of great library books recommended by my book club, met my friend Jessica for smoothies & pedicures, dove into our Greenling box full of fresh peaches, and picked out a new pair of TOMS shoes to buy with my birthday gift card (thanks, Magics!). Scott & I ended a perfect day with an awesome dinner at Barley Swine, followed by a carmel salt lick ice cream cone from LICK.

Books, babies, pampering, good food and my sweet husband – all my favorite things!

  • One of my oldest Austin friends now has two sweet boys that turned 4 and 6 in June… they are 2 of our favorite kids in the world, and Tyler still makes my day when he comes running shouting “Jenny!” We got to celebrate birthdays with them twice in one weekend – first with a Saturday matinee of the new Pixar movie Brave, and Sunday at the coolest indoor bounce house place, Hoppin’ House… This photo is of Scott organizing a little contest of 4 year olds to jump and catch the foam block… Mark (the boys’ dad) commented on what a great little league coach he’ll be one day! And later that evening he put baby and me to bed with a puppet show and I happened to have my camera handy.

– Another weekend we met our friends Lisa and Gordon for dinner to welcome them to our neighborhood. Lisa and I met at an AWC event in May and since she’s expecting in August we had lots to talk about… then she and her husband moved 5 blocks from our house! We’re excited to have them as new neighbors and met them at Julio’s restaurant to welcome them to the area. Yesterday we went to their gorgeous baby shower at TRACE restaurant at the W Hotel… it was beautiful, and it was so fun to celebrate with them! We also got to see our good friend Andrea who is having her baby this week, and Casey, who had hers at the end of May… lots of new mama talk!

– One Saturday Lisa and I went to a Bump Club & Beyond brunch and we met all sorts of fun ladies and their babies – we got lots of  different stories and suggestions. Knock on wood, but so far all the advice I’ve received has been really kind and helpful – none of the labor horror stories yet! I even won a gift box of fancy diapers and came home with a goodie bag of bottles and pacifiers. Stocking up on freebies early! Now I’m trying to think of a nice way to let people know we love “gently used” goodies for baby gifts… any ideas?

– Things have been going really well for Better Way to Say It, too – I taught a big workshop for about 50 executives from a billion-dollar company, which was slightly intimidating but got great reviews! I also led a session at the Spark of Genius small business summit, which I loved because of the format – it was an “un-conference” with no PowerPoint or handouts allowed. Great discussion, much like my monthly Austin Content Marketing Meetup. I’m just glad to be feeling well enough to keep doing this fun stuff! We’ll see how the next few months change things…

– My sweet tooth convinced me to make carrot cake from scratch on the July 4th holiday… so yummy! I had to take cupcakes to Casey just to get some of the sugary goodness out of the house! Also, I’m convinced that sprinkles are just accessories for lumpy cupcakes. At least they tasted good!

And finally, some bump pictures…the belly really popped this month! In these pictures I’m 20 weeks – halfway! – on the left, and almost 22 weeks on the right. We’re 23 weeks today, but I don’t have a new picture yet – just back from yoga and not quite ready for my close-up!

Hope your summer is as fun and busy as ours has been so far!

What exactly do you title the blog post where you’re introducing a new human?

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Something rather exciting has been going on over here in the Magic household, and to be honest, finding words to wrap around this miracle has been quite a challenge for me… so I stopped trying to get it right and just started typing.

Meet the newest Magic, due November 3, 2012:

Kicking & punching at the same time…

We’re happy and healthy and 18 weeks along as of today. The baby bump is growing and finally noticeable in most outfits. Luckily I already live in loose sundresses all summer, so I haven’t really had to buy any new clothes yet. I just felt the baby kick for the first time yesterday – I know I’m going to regret saying this when she’s kicking me in the gut later, but for now I’m cheering her on. (We don’t know the gender, but we both have a feeling that the baby is a girl, so we say “she” instead of “she/he/it”). I can’t wait for the day that Scott can feel them too.

I haven’t really kept a baby journal yet, so this post is a catch up from the first 4 months…

This is a brand of baby lotion, always makes me laugh!

We knew we were getting ready to think about a baby last November, so I stopped taking medication and started eating healthier, but we didn’t actually give anything a chance to happen until February 2012. Anyone doing the math can guess we got our good news very quickly, which is great – I’m usually so impatient, I was really dreading the (very likely) possibility of waiting 6 months or a year for good news. We feel very thankful and know how lucky we are.

click to read

The first yoga class I went to as a momma-to-be (before I even knew!) the instructor at Dharma Yoga read this awesome poem by e.e. cummings that was so beautiful I got all teary. It’s called i thank you God for most this amazing, and it’s been taped over my desk ever since. When I figured out that was the first poem my baby ever “read” I loved it even more.

I had a suspicion that I was pregnant a couple weeks later when I started falling asleep in my dinner at about 8pm every night… I was able to confirm February 24th – I took about 5 tests to be sure!

This is really happening!

When my marketing coordinator Lindsay got into work that morning I was just walking around in a daze, unable to sit still. So she was the first person I told – even though she was so worried that Scott would be mad he wasn’t first – but there was no way I was could just act normal that day… THEN I had to head out to host a business event! I interviewed Sharp Skirts founder Carla Thompson for my monthly Austin Content Marketing Meetup in front of an audience of 60+ people. I was so distracted! Carla was the second person I told, because I needed her to help me carry the day – I could barely remember my name, much less the interview questions! I was so relieved when that was over.

Where Scott found out…

Later that evening I insisted that Scott and I head out to dinner that night, without telling him why. We went to a new Italian restaurant called Gusto and when it was time to order some wine, l let him know that, unfortunately, I’d be sticking to sparkling water tonight… and for the next 9 months. When he figured out what I was telling him, he got so excited; he just kept repeating all evening, “We’re having a baby. We’re having a BABY!” Adorable.

My parents came to Austin unexpectedly that weekend to attend a memorial for my great-uncle Carroll, so we got to tell them over dinner that they were going to be grandparents! I also got to tell my grandparents in person, which was wonderful. My grandma said it added a lot of happiness to a sad day. She pulled out the photo she carries of all her great-grandchildren (I think there’s 20+, but I’ve lost count) and I said that I was a little late to the party, but my grandpa piped up and said in his slow Texas drawl that he “figured the party was just about gettin’ started” :) We’ll have the closest great-grandbaby and I can’t wait to have her visit their ranch in Lampasas where 6 generations of her family have called home.

almost 12 weeks

We had doctor visits in early March and got to see our little jellybean and confirm our due date. Scott has been an excited daddy, coming to all the visits and talking to my growing belly. We made a big chalkboard to take weekly photos in front of – so far they’re not terribly exciting, as I didn’t gain much weight for a while, but the baby is having a growth spurt so the next few weeks should get interesting. We had a special ultrasound and tests at 13 weeks that came back clear of any health concerns, which was a relief. When that ultrasound pic came up on the screen (above), I immediately thought it was a girl – even though there’s no way to tell at that point – and we’ve been calling her “she” ever since. If we’re wrong, I have some apologies to make to our son!

Scott picked this out as his Christmas present last year… perfect for a nursery!

We waited until 13 weeks to really tell more than family and close friends, and when Scott told his colleagues at work, his boss offered us a crib and carseat, which we were so thrilled about! The nursery is a work in progress, but we have a few things in mind and a piece of artwork we’re using as an inspiration – bright colors for this baby!

New-to-us Oeuf crib & Britax carseat

I’ve been really lucky and have had it easy so far – no morning sickness or other symptoms – other than needing about 10 hours of sleep a night! In the first trimester I was also sneaking a half-hour a nap about 3pm, too. Apparently growing a baby is hard work. Even though I was pretty tired Scott and I would take a walk most evenings for about an hour, just try and get a little exercise. Some evenings we also stopped for coconut gelato at Dolce Vita in our neighborhood – yum!

I got my energy back right around 16 weeks and have been taking 5-6 hours of either yoga or water aerobics classes each week – I got a gym membership to 24 Hour Fitness in January (Costco has a killer deal at about $12/ mo.) but only used it about a month before I got too tired to think of exercise.

Bikini Belly Bump 17 weeks

The water aerobics class is especially fun, because I’m the youngest lady in the pool by about 30 years. Before the first class I told the instructor that I was pregnant (just in case she noticed me going slow or modifying the exercise) and while she was teaching she would say, “if you’re pregnant, do it this way” and all the grandmas in the pool just looked around at each other surprised! It was hilarious. I had to raise my hand and say, “it’s me!” and they all giggled.

One for each of the Magics

For Mother’s Day this year, I was so focused on making sure our moms and grandmas got their cards that I completely didn’t realize that I could be celebrating, too, until my wonderful sister sent me the most amazing gifts ever: she painted a gorgeous “Magic Family” painting with two lovebirds and an egg in the nest! She also handmade me this little bird’s nest necklace with three little eggs. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing sister and she’s going to be an awesome Aunt Kendra!

The Magic Family is very happy…

We really couldn’t be happier. I’ll try to be better about keeping updates coming!