11 (More) Baby Registry Tips From a Mom of Two

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Best upgrade we made: the Ubbi diaper pail

My cousins are expecting their first baby in February, so when they asked for tips, I was more than happy to oblige. (When I say cousins, I mean my first cousin and his wife, not two blood relations married to each other though I am from Kentucky.)

SO, I figured I’d share with all expecting parents while I’m at it. Because even after having two babies, there’s always more to learn through experience, and with new products popping up left and right, it’s enough to make any new parent’s head spin like an Exersaucer.

It can be so overwhelming and there’s so much stuff! I remember the first time Dave and I tried to register at Target, I dropped the registry gun and ran from the feeding aisle in a total panic. Here’s a couple of links from my blog that might help:

1. Check out this post from earlier this year before having our second and this one after our first.
Boon grass drying rack: the bigger, the better
Boon grass drying rack: the bigger, the better
2. Updates since that last post: We opted to hold off on this co-sleeper. Waited to see what kind of sleeper she was (not colicky like Jed was, thank the Lord) and didn’t end up needing one; ended up getting this activity gym instead; and this jumparoo (LOVE!); I hear they now have a larger version of the Boon grass drying rack. I recommend the bigger one; can’t say enough good things about the Ubbi diaper pail. SO much better than the Genie and so great to be able to use regular trash bags.
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3. Comotomo baby bottles. Love them HOWEVER what you won’t see in reviews for some reason is if you don’t screw the cap on just right they leak out everywhere. Can be frustrating, but super easy to clean and baby loves them!
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4. My other new fave baby thing are these Zippy bandana drool bibs. Abbie needs a bib on 24/7 or else she’d be soaked. These are cute and work well to keep her dry and comfy.
5. Pregnant Chicken: if you have not signed up for these emails, you must. They are hilarious, fun and informative.
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6. Got Aden + Anais crib sheets this time around. Super soft but snag very easily, which is disappointing considering how much they cost. Love their swaddles though! Also got one of their changing table covers. I do not recommend putting anything that isn’t wipeable on your changing table for at least the first month. If your baby is a projectile pooper like ours, you will be doing A LOT of spot treating:)
7. Never regretted not having a wipe warmer.
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Best value ever for something that can (and will) get pooped on.
8. Circo from Target makes my fave sleep-n-plays. They are cheap, cute (but not too cute), wash well, soft and zip backwards to make for easier diaper changes in the night.
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9. Abbie loves the lounger at her daycare. If I needed another hands-free option at home I would get one.
Twilight Ladybug from Cloud B
Twilight Ladybug from Cloud B
10. Also got these lights for her room at night. This one for middle of the night changes (so I can see but it’s not too bright for her) and this one for falling asleep time — she loves looking at the stars on the ceiling… and so do I:)
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11. Finally, for this winter, we got Abbie this down bunting from Eddie Bauer via Target. Keeps her warm and toasty but not too puffy, Maggie Simpson-style. Way cheaper than the all-too-tempting Fratagonia and it has a hole for your car seatbelt. (Took me two weeks to realize the hole was for the carseat… thought it was to check diapers. Hey, twofer.) Only wish they had one in my size!
And remember that for everything one mom feels strongly about, there’s another mom who has the exact opposite opinion. And all babies are different. No right or wrong! Just have fun and try not to go crazy. But if you do, that’s okay, too:)
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How My Sister Found Her Inner Runner (While Mine is MIA)

I suck at math. This is not atypical of creative types who flourish in the right-brain arena. I have my writing, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I can accept the left-brain-lackthereof. But then, there are people like my sister, Jill, who can do it all. She was a math major at a top university, graduated summa cum laude and has a very successful finance/banking career. And then she has to go and be an amazing writer and athlete on top of it all. And she’s beautiful. I swear I didn’t develop a complex growing up. Not. At. All.

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Jill (left) and me at the Greenville Zoo a couple of years back.

But I long ago accepted that she and I both have our strengths and weaknesses (does she know all the words to Blues Traveler’s song “Hook”? Wait, she might. Damnit.), which makes it easy to be so proud of her when she writes something like this. Her running group asked her to contribute a blog post to their website about finding her inner runner. Oh yeah, she runs marathons, too. Bitch.

Since I have absolutely nothing to contribute to the running world and she did it in such a moving way, I felt compelled to share. Oh and for those of you like me who literally can’t run to save their lives, “PR” stands for “Personal Record,” not “Public Relations.” I think my inner runner is curled up on my inner sofa watching Grey’s Anatomy and eating nachos:

I sat in my car in the lot at CMC on Kings capturing a few more minutes of warmth before stripping off my sweatshirt and heading toward the start of the Hopebuilders 5K. In those few minutes, I took a moment to reflect and offer up a pre-race prayer. This was a ritual I had done countless times before races in high school, but have only recently come back to. The juxtaposition of it all is what hit me so hard sitting in my Jeep.

It was at that very hospital not more than five years earlier I sat in a room as the doctors and nurses came in to deliver the news. You know it is not a good sign when the first thing they do is hand you a box of Kleenex. When I was discharged and wheeled out to the car a week later, I had regained my ability to walk, but life certainly looked different to me. Even the sky seemed to have a different tint, like I was looking at the world through a lens.

That began a year where every day was punctuated with anxiety. Would this be the day I had another attack? And would I recover this time? What would happen to my family, my children? But life marched on and suddenly I was not so acutely conscious on a daily basis. To the point where reminders now consist of doctors’ appointments and near quarterly infusions.

Sitting in my car, it seemed nothing short of God’s grace and the strength it inspired that brought me from a time where I was exiting this lot via a wheelchair to this morning where I was limbering up to run a 5K – inarguably in the best shape of my adult life.

As I neared the last tenth of a mile, the timer indicated it would be near impossible to break the personal goal I had set for myself. Sure enough, I finished off by just 10 seconds. Undoubtedly, I left 10 seconds somewhere out there on the course. However, instead of racking my mind to determine where in the 3.1 miles I had let that go, I chose to focus on the fact that this was a PR for my post high school/collegiate career and more than a two-minute improvement over my time on the same course last year.

What happened between then and now? FiA. It has been nearly two years since I showed up at my first workout. While I do not deny the relative success I enjoyed as a runner as part of the Ballard cross country and track teams, the joy in running had long since faded for me. On my first Tuesday run – now affectionately known as the Diva Run – I was unsure whether I would make it five miles and was certainly not tied to any goal pace. Over the past couple of years, I have watched my mileage increase, my times drop, and even have my first marathon under my belt.

However, given all these tangible accomplishments, I am most grateful for the love of running that has been re-awakened. And this I owe to the friendships and the inspiration that comes from being part of FiA. It is so much more than being a member of a workout group. It is transformative – physically, mentally, spiritually.

For me, running had become a source of frustration – a reminder of what I used to be, but would never be again. Instead of joy, each step had become painful. My relationship with FiA inspired a running epiphany – the beauty of being part of a running community and letting the sheer joy of it carry you each step of the way. It is the “attitude of gratitude” that I now strive to always hold at the top of my conscious. It may not be my best day. Perhaps, I am sick, or deprived of sleep, or over-stressed. But when the alarm goes off in the wee hours of the morning, I get out of bed because I am so grateful for the opportunity. Grateful for my body that allows me to log in the miles, grateful for the women who are there to greet me and listen and share.

This epiphany is much bigger than running. It is more pervasive than that. It is a collective gratitude that applies to all facets of my work, my family, my relationships – including that with myself. I recognize that this is a journey and I am certainly not implying that I have everything figured out. But in re-discovering my inner-runner, I am getting re-acquainted with myself and the type of person that I want to be. For this, I am indebted to the beautiful friendships I have found in FiA.

New Moms in Skinny Jeans and Other Grievances

I’m a very impatient person. I want the Walmart checkout line/Internet connection/school bus on the highway to move faster. I want my post-baby belly gone now. I want this weight (which is quite heavy for being invisible) lifted off my chest yesterday. I wonder which I’ll lose first: The weight or the crazy?

They say it takes nine months for your body to get that way, and that long — or longer — for it to go back to “normal.” I hate They. (Almost as much as I hate the women I see who had babies after me who are already back in their skinny jeans.)

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So while I feel paralyzed by my anxiety and while I’m stomping mentally on the inside like a two-year-old because I’m not getting what I want right now, I’m at least thinking about making healthy decisions. Planning — whether it comes to fruition or not — keeps me from pushing my cuticles down past my knuckles. It’s possible none of this stuff will happen, but better to obsess virtually via Internet searches, going blurry-eyed from the bright screen light than to turn inward. It’s dark in there.

I’m thinking about:

But it’s not all talk and no walk. I said before that I was going to ask for help, and I did. Unfortunately, the perfect person to help me is not available until mid-December, but I’m going to wait it out. It’s like when you have a craving for a specific dish, but when you get to the restaurant, it’s a 45-minute wait. If you leave and try somewhere else, it will likely take almost as long but the result won’t be nearly as satisfying. So I’m going to hold out another six weeks for the ultimate mental health veggie burrito as it were.

I’ve also discovered the healthy wonder that is spaghetti squash. Not figuratively, but the real thing. The way it transforms when you scoop it out with a spoon? Blows my mind.

Is It Postpartum Depression at 3 Months?

I’m sick of putting on a face for Facebook and only showing my bright side… it’s exhausting. So Lindsey Living is now where I’m going to come to be me. All of me. Not just “look at the cute thing my son did the other day” me. I love to write, but I’m a very private person so this is a big step.

Okay, so I LOVE being a mom. I adore my children. I do not wish to hurt them or hurt myself. (Sometimes I want to hurt my husband, but that’s for many different reasons). My daughter was born 12 weeks ago and she’s a joy. I was told when I went back to work that I would be SO ready and actually relieved to rejoin the living. Truth is, I’m not. I could spend every second of the day with Abbie and be perfectly, blissfully happy. I’m not saying this to make anyone feel like a bad mom who was indeed ready to get back to work. It’s just how I feel. So there’s that.

And then there’s this sudden, overwhelming imperfect storm of anxiety, irritation and sadness that has me mentally paralyzed. I’ve read on the interwebs that this could have to do with weaning. I remember feeling the same sometime during the middle of the first year of my son’s life. I sought help, I felt better. So once again, I’m seeking help. I hope that it is in fact helpful. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep it together, keep my job (which I actually really like) and not to scare the crap out of or totally disorient my family. All while keeping up with the laundry and dishes.

Sorry, there’s no cute pic or stock image to go along with this post.

 

The Nursery Is Ready. Baby, Almost Ready!

I’m at the point in my pregnancy where I will bring life into the world before my milk in the fridge expires. It’s really any day now. And while I don’t feel as psycho ready as I did the first time, at least I have the nursery all finished!

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My aunt makes these amazing quilts and has created one for our little girl, which will be en route to Asheville with my parents when they come for The Event. I plan to hang it over the crib. She also made a cushion for the rocking chair to match!

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I also want one of those giant letter A’s to go over the day bed. Other than that, it’s pretty much done!

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I could probably do a better job of storing the wipes and dipes, but I know if it’s the slightest bit of an extra step, it won’t last long anyhow.

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As Jed says, all we need now is the baby:)

 

 

Dads and Their Daughters’ Hair. The Last Two Videos Crack Me Up.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 4.26.11 PMI’ve come to the point in my pregnancy (33 weeks!) where I no longer have the space in my stomach for a full meal. And if I over eat, look out. Which brings me to my plight two nights ago:

I ran out of bed to puke and ask Dave to grab me a ponytail holder to tie my hair back. He comes into the bathroom, hairband in hand looking perplexed. “What are you doing? Tie my hair back!” I politely barked.

“I don’t know how to do this,” he politely responded.

That’s when I realized he has a lot to learn about girls. Thanks to being with me for 15 years, he knows what an empire waist is why SJP rules, but ponytails and My Little Pony are uncharted territory. One of the few things I remember from my own early childhood is showing up to preschool one day with one pigtail tied at my neck and the other above the ear. “Awww, your mom’s out of town, isn’t she?” my teacher said with pity before fixing my poor dad’s attempt at a little girl’s hairdo.

In my ultrasound this week, the tech informed me our baby girl already has quite the head of hair, so it’s time to get cracking on Daddy/Daughter 101. For all you dads out there who need to know how to make a ponytail, you’re welcome:)

I love how this dad does his daughter’s hair. LOL!

This dad uses a vacuum! I wouldn’t try this at home:)

5 Steps To Getting Pool-Ready When Pregnant.

When I tell people I’m due July 31, I get a lot of sympathetic shoulder squeezes and knowing “wow, pregnant in summer” nods. Truth be told, if I’m going to be large and uncomfortable, I’d rather be by the pool than stuffed into some bulky sweater and too-tight maternity jeans (yes, even my maternity pants are too tight at this point).

I thoroughly intend to park myself by the pool like a beached whale as much as time will allow between now and then. But I had to prepare.

 

1. Maternity Swimsuit.

I actually found shopping for one of these way less painful than a typical bikini season. There are only so many to choose from and you go into it knowing you’re going to look big no matter what. I chose this black one-piece from Old Navy. In retrospect, I should’ve gotten a tankini (multiple bathroom trips in a one-piece is no fun), but, well, hindsight and all.

 

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2. Sunglasses

There are few personal shopping pleasures when pregnant. It always seems that every garment I’ve ever coveted goes on sale at this time, but of course I don’t want to buy anything before getting to know my postpartum body. Feet can change, so there’s no shoe shopping. And buying panty liners for a whole new, fun reason is truly no fun at all. But sunglasses are one thing I can indulge in without worrying about size. So this year, these were my birthday present to myself:

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I found these bamboo frames on an ethical deal shopping site. And because there was a delay in shipping, they came with a handwritten apology plus one of these handmade Guatemalan sunglass bags for free! Talk about great customer service.

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3. Water bottle

I’m supposed to drink 92 OUNCES of water per day, which is just not going to happen — but that doesn’t mean I don’t try. Because of the no-glass rule at the pool, I go with a classic Nalgene.

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4. Sundress

Sometimes you just don’t feel like being in public in a swimsuit. That goes quadruple for when you’re pregnant, which is why about 90% of the time spent by the pool, I’m wearing a cover-up. My sister got me a black cotton dress for my birthday and I’ve been living in it. I can’t find a pic of the exact one, but it’s a lot like this one from The Gap.

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For once, I would like to see an actual pregnant person model maternity clothes — swollen ankles, puffy “glowing” sweaty face, pudgy arms and all.

 

5. Trimming The Lady Garden

Last but certainly not least. I can’t see down there, but I know others can and there was no WAY I was going to attempt this blind, so I enlisted a professional. I just like to think of the pain as a warm-up for labor:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Baby Registry Tips From A Mom Who’s Been There, Done That (And Doing It Again)

A few months ago, a friend emailed me asking for advice on her baby registry. Like any first-time mom-to-be, she was totally overwhelmed. I realized after sharing my tips with her, that you might be able to benefit from them as well. I’d also like to hear from you. What are your registry must-haves?

Here’s a link to my registry so you can see what we’re needing for Round 2. Mind you, we already have a lot of the bigger stuff, but it’s also been 5 years and we gave away a lot since then or lent out things we did not get back! 🙂

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1. BOTTLES.

LOVE these glass baby bottles. Use the grown-up version myself. But will she be in a daycare? Some daycares (like ours) don’t allow glass, so you might want to also add a non-glass option. If you’re getting a Medela breast pump, they have bottle that fit perfectly with their whole system. I wouldn’t register for more than one or two of whichever you choose, though, because babies are super picky and they might not like the one you like the most. (We had to try a couple before finding the right fit.)
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2. BABY CARRIER

I love my Ergo. If I had to get a second one, I would get this one. They are supposed to be great esp when she’s small.
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3. STROLLER

I’m not as active as I like to think I am (and most certainly will never take baby on a run with me should I feel the urge to run), so I’m registering for this one. But everyone and their mother swears by the BOB Revolution. And everyone also swears by the Snap-n-Go to use at first. I never had one before but am borrowing a friend’s this time around.
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4. CRIB BUMPER

Jed liked to push his face against the sides of his crib so we never put in the bumper. Ended up eventually getting a breatheable one instead. Not as pretty but they get the job done:)
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5. BOUNCER

You will want as many hands-free options as possible. Will keep her stimulated and entertained while you do what you need to do (shower, poop, what have you). I loved my Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance. It was a splurge but totally worth it. I also have this one. And eventually you’ll want some sort of exersaucer. I’m going to borrow one from a friend, don’t have a specific brand rec on that.

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6. CO-SLEEPER

We did not do this the last time around. Just set up the pack-n-play next to our bed. Again, we splurged and got this one. Don’t know if it’s any better than the usual ones to be honest, but hey, we were registering and it was a gift;) But after Jed’s colic, I decided we needed something else and I found this. It’s my top “ask” from our family this time. Honestly I have no personal reference for it other than what I’ve read online.
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7. DRYING RACK

LOVE our Boon grass drying rack for bottles. We still use it for Jed cups and delicate things like wine glasses.
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8. SLEEP SACKS

Did not know about these before Jed so we ended up buying all of them ourselves, but they are AWESOME. My go-to gift for expecting moms. I have no summer weight ones so this time around I’m coveting the muslin Aden + Anais ones. But the HALO ones are awesome, too.
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9. PLAY MAT

I don’t think one’s better than the other here. Just all a little different. Jed’s got wrecked by the end so we are in the market for a new one and I like this one🙂 LOVE Skip Hop!
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10. DIAPER PAIL

This is just me but I’m very anti-Diaper Genie. We had one for Jed and they aren’t expensive but those cartridges of bags you have to buy to fit them are a total racket. This time around, we’re getting this one, for which you can use regular trash bags.
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11. CAR SEAT

We have a Graco Snug Ride. I’m a fan. No complaints. Though I have a friend who prefers the Chico Keyfit. I don’t think you can go wrong either way.
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12. DIAPER BAG

Totally a personal choice. I love my Petunia Pickle Bottom touring tote. Fits so much more than I thought it would. And I got the wipeable fabric, not the silk. I know a lot of people have the Columbia one and love it. More outdoorsy:) And Skip Hop makes good ones, too. Really so many choices.
Other non-specific brand needs: hooded towel or two, wash cloths, burp cloths, humidifier, baby monitor (we didn’t do the video one but that’s a personal choice), baby wash, first aid safety kit thingy. And if you’re curious, I have the Medela Swing Breast Pump. It does one side at a time, but if you’re working full-time at an office, I bet you’ll want to invest in the double pumper.

Going Outside My Comfort Zone

I resisted any New Year’s resolutions this year, as I’ve learned with pregnancy and kids that over-planning and too many expectations only leads to frustration and disappointment.

Photo via Speedo.com. I don't do swim selfies. Plus, do you really think I'd post a pic of myself, pregnant in a swimsuit in January? And I did purchase a pink Speedo Swim cap, which I love:)
Photo via Speedo.com. I don’t do swim selfies. Plus, do you really think I’d post a pic of myself, pregnant in a swimsuit in January? And I did purchase a pink Speedo Swim cap, which I love:)

Right before I was about to start a diet (ordered organic meal replacement shakes from Amazon and everything), I found out I was pregnant with my second child. SUPER excited for the baby, but the baby weight on top of my already fleshier self was hard to swallow. Of course, I’m not going to try to lose weight when I’m pregnant. Add that I only seem to crave complex carbohydrates and sugar, and I’m a gestational diabetes diagnosis just waiting to happen.

So what can I do about this? Well, now that the first trimester nausea and fatigue are subsiding, I can exercise. My gym doesn’t currently offer prenatal yoga classes, but it does have a pool. Swimming is such great exercise, pregnant or not, so I decided to give it a try for the first time ever. In January. In a swimsuit. Pregnant. (In the “she looks like she’s pregnant, but not enough that I feel comfortable asking” phase, mind you.)

I’m happy to report that I swam laps for the first time on Sunday and have come out the other side without any permanent scars, emotional or otherwise. Not to say it wasn’t totally intimidating. A weekend afternoon was probably not the best time to try laps for the first time. Each lane had at least one swimmer already, which meant I had to share. The lifeguard very patiently explained to me the difference between splitting a lane and circle swimming. I’m not sure why she pointed me to fast lane as I told her I was new to this, but that’s where a spot was open so that’s where I got my feet wet, so to speak. I wasn’t five minutes into my workout (my meager interpretation of the breaststroke) when my lane partner hopped out and moved down a lane. We were splitting and not circling so I was pretty sure I wasn’t in his way. But,still, it made me even more self-conscious than I already was.

So, this morning, I Googled “lap swimming etiquette” and learned a couple of things.

1. When sharing a lane, any stroke other than freestyle is frowned upon, as you can accidentally kick your lane partner. I don’t remember kicking him, but I never remember kicking my husband and I apparently do it every night in my sleep.

2. Swimmers are possessive of their gear, even when borrowed from the pool. I may have grabbed and used a kickboard at the end of our lane. He may have gotten pissed.

3.  Some Canadian dude said in one article that everyone pees in lap pools. I really hope this is only true in Canada.

So next time, I will have to get over my fear of freestyle. And wait for a space to open up in one of the slow lanes. And try not to kick anyone or steal anyone’s stuff. Swimming is not a resolution, but I plan on sticking to it. Like all new things, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

Have you tried something lately outside of your comfort zone?

Mustache Mirror Math

When you’ve gained 30 pounds in 18 months, gone from a size 6 to a size 12, and 2 people have mistaken your belly for being babyful, it adds up to 1 thing:

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“There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.” ~ Tennessee Williams

Or you strategically stick a mustache on your mirror. I think Tennessee would agree.

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In other news, Jed can fit 19 magnifying glasses in his pants, which has to be some sort of world record. “Now I can solve lots of mysteries today,” he says.

And yes, Mom. I need to clean my mirror.