Sunday, December 18, 2011

T'was the Week Before Christmas


Where has the time gone? It has been months since my last blog post. And this is hardly the time for me to sit down and start grinding out any of the dozens of blog ideas that have been swirling about my sleep-deprived mommy brain. So I am reposting my ode to holiday spirit that I penned last year, right around this time. I am not surprised to note that it is just about as accurate to this year's preparations as last.

I wish all of you of a wonderful holiday season, a very happy new year and most importantly -a full recovery from the "most. wonderful. time. of. the. year!"

T'was the week before Christmas

T'was the week before Christmas and all through the house,
The kids weren't behaving nor was my spouse.

Their stockings, their jackets, nothing hung in its place.
They left crumbs on the floor and left jam on their face.

A week's worth of dishes were used in a day
And left in the sink for mom to put away.

The holiday baking didn't come out quite right
And the wrapping of presents turned into a fight.

A phone call to Santa was threatened at least once,
But that had grown old since we'd used it for months.

But the countdown is on and we will be merry,
We may even get a visit from the Tooth Fairy!

I'll hear them proclaim, as I kiss them good night,
I love you, Mommy and that makes it all right.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Favorite Christmas card choice, vetoed by Sweet Hubby!

Naughty Or Nice Christmas Card
Creating Christmas cards has never been this easy.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Humpty Dumpty Birthday Bash

I absolutely love planning parties, and while I no longer do it professionally (at least for now), I have at least two opportunities a year to put my party planning savvy to the test. Of course, having two birthdays within two weeks of each other poses a challenge, but I still try to give it my all for both girls, and this year I chose a Humpty Dumpty and His Nursery Rhyme Friends theme for The Baby's 2nd Birthday. Humpty Dumpty is her favorite nursery rhyme and she laughs out loud every time she sees the illustration.

While  I don't normally post a lot of personal pics on this blog, I thought I would share these because it was pretty hard to find anything with Humpty Dumpty on the web. Hopefully this will help you if you every go in this direction with one of your own parties.

The invitation was tricky. I found just one or two designs on-line and I didn't really care for any of them. So instead I found a Humpty Dumpty drawing that I liked and uploaded it onto a cute Upload Your Own Photo template on www.vistaprint.com.


I kept the decorations simple, and thrifty. I purchased a program to make this cute Nursery Rhyme banner on Etsy. Mine says "Happy Birthday" but it can be customized with any text. I printed the design on cardstock, cut it, punched holes in the corners and strung it together using curling ribbon.


I called every party store and balloon shop in the area to find a Humpty Dumpty balloon, with no luck, so I ended up ordering this one, which was adorable, from Bargain Balloons, a company out of Canada. It was worth the cost of shipping every time The Baby laughed at it, or hugged and kissed it. I used a Balloon Time kit to fill it and the rest of balloons. That part was fun, and easier than I expected. Purchasing the kit at Michaels with a 40% off coupon made it cost effective, too.



And my pièce de resistance, was a homemade Humpty Dumpty piñata. I owe big props to the blog With or Without Nap on much of the inspiration, including making my own piñata. 
And the "how-to" to actually construct the thing, came from a blog called Frugal NJ


Here I used that same graphic program from Etsy, to create the decoration for the goody bags that the kids would use to collect their piñata loot. For the  two little babies who weren't allowed candy, I put a pack of gel teethers and a little Sesame Street book instead. I hung the bags on our mantel, using kitchen twine and clothespins. I had a "Three Little Kittens hanging their mittens" image in my mind, but I doubt anyone else would have picked up on it.


So eventually poor Humpty had a great fall and met with his demise. Unfortunately the pull strings didn't work on my homemade creation (who knew masking tape was so strong??), so I instantly turned into the Incredible Hulk and just ripped the thing apart, sending the candy flying onto the squealing bunch of kiddos below.


Our cake was a glorious work of art, created by Sweet Hubby. Humpty was made of chocolate, and the kids had so much fun breaking him apart and eating him before we even got the cake sliced. The cake was just as delicious as it was cute. It was sour cream poundcake with a green apple buttercream. It may just have been his best cake yet. My girls are so spoiled with his amazing cakes.


Sweet Hubby and I also made these adorable Humpty Dumpty decorated cookies to take home. Of course, he did most of the work, but I will take credit for Humpty's cute face and his fabulous packaging.


I would say the party was a huge success, and made wonderful most of all by the fantastic family and friends in attendance. Humpty Dumpty was a great character to include and my girl's happy smiles and laughter made it worth the extra effort to make it special.




Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Totally Gross

I am generally not a super-squeamish parent. I am pretty much at the bottom of the germa-phobe totem pole. If something doesn't look real dirty, then I am usually okay with it. Yes, I recognize that some of the more nasty bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella can't be seen, and should still be feared. And for that I keep my gigantic warehouse store size of Lysol wipes at the ready. But general dirt and grime don't really skeeve me out (a quick visit to my house on a bad day can really drive this point home).

I am also not easily shaken when my kids suffer the customary scrapes and bruises of childhood. Of course, I feel bad for my little tikes when they rip all the skin off their knee or pick at a bug bite til it bleeds, but it doesn't make me feel ill or anything, to look at their wounds. I can administer first aid like a good Girl Scout, and I rarely have to look away.

What I have discovered about myself, however, is that anything that has to do with the mouth, makes me squirm. I first started to realize this about myself when Little Diva suffered her "tongue injury" last winter.

Now it is becoming more evident as I am faced with LOOSE TEETH in Little Diva's precious, little (though sometimes sassy) mouth.  The whole tooth-hanging-by-thread thing sends shivers up my spine.

She has already lost two baby teeth, and thankfully, managed to get them out herself. It wasn't even that big of a production (especially for her). Except of course, that the first one happened to be extracted on Christmas Eve, so the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus had to orchestrate their travels very carefully that evening.

But that was months ago, and now she is working on the big guys up front. And one of them is really ripe for the picking.

I.Cannot.Even.Bear.To.Watch.

That thing is hanging on for dear life, moving this way and that, and every time she says, "Look at it, now, Mom," I start to sweat. I am oddly fascinated by the whole thing, but am thoroughly grossed out when I see that wee little tooth, dangling sideways from the socket.

Why doesn't she just pull the darn thing out?? Well, she says it hurts when she twists it a certain way. More chills down my spine. And oh, yeah, did I mention, there is some blood? I can stomach gaping wounds in an arm, a leg, even a bloody nose, but one glimpse of that bloody (literally) tooth, and I nearly pass out.

The only thing that makes the situation even slightly tolerable, is when she hangs that dangling tooth over her lip, and busts out her best British accent to say, "I am Nanny McPhee". That one had us rolling on the floor. I don't know where she comes up with this stuff.

Is it true that some parents can actually manage to pull their kids teeth out for them? Well, yes, I know it is, because I am pretty sure I remember my mom doing it for me.

Not this momma, oh no! I would bring her to the dentist, $50 co-pay and all, before I yanked that thing out myself.

How about you? Is pulling out your kids' loose tooth something you have (or could have) done?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Those Tough Choices

Here's is how decision-making goes around here:

Mommy 2.0: Should I make a regular piñata or a pull-string piñata for The Baby's 2nd birthday party?

Sweet Hubby: Um, probably a pull-string.

M2.0: Why? A regular one will be much easier to make

SH: No, it will too hard for the kids to break. They are too little.

M2.0: But they can use one of your golf clubs, and the grown-ups can help them (Can you tell that I really don't feel like figuring out the whole piñata-trap door-string thing?)

SH: So, you know that there is only going to be one kid who can actually hit the piñata alone, and then Little Diva is going to freak out because she didn't get to hit the piñata by herself, and she is going to say "no fair!" then she and her friend are going to say they aren't friends anymore, then they are going to pout at each other for the next hour.

M2.0: Maybe you're right. Maybe we should do a pull-string.

Sometimes it really helps to listen to the voice of reason.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No Rest for the Weary

I just cannot nap. I know there is an entire sub-culture of adult nappers out there who are rubbing the sleep out of their well-rested eyes and shaking their heads at me, but it is an undeniable truth.

On the rare occasion that I let myself lay down for a midday siesta, I inevitably regret it. First of all, I may be dead tired and falling asleep standing up at the sink full of dishes, but the second I climb into bed or curl up on the couch, I get my second wind. My mind starts racing through a million and one random trains of thought and I find it hard to get to sleep. I will have to set an alarm, because once I do go to sleep, my body assumes I am down for the count, and would go a good four hours before realizing that I have slept through then end of The Baby's nap,  missed pick-up at school, and dozed right through dinner. That would not be good. But eventually, the sleep deprivation will win out, and I will drift off.

Once the alarm goes off, no matter how well I have chosen a soothing yet rousing sound, I am jolted out of deep slumber, and feel completely disoriented and unwell. In fact, I can liken my state of being after a nap, to a hangover, without the good time. I am usually sweating, shaking and my head aches dully.  I do not feel refreshed or reinvigorated. Instead, I am trying to figure out exactly how many minutes of snooze I can get away with without running late for any afternoon obligations.

Usually my inability to nap is not detrimental in any way. In fact, it typically allows me to be productive during the baby's nap time, either getting household chores done (which do not get done at any other time, so this is a must!) or spending the one-on-one time so desperately craved by Little Diva when she is off from school, that she starts asking around 9:30AM if it is The Baby's nap time yet.

But on days like today, a nap would be nice, if I knew I would not feel like zombie after. By "days like today" I specifically mean days after a night when The Baby doesn't sleep well at all. I mean when she has woken up at midnight. And at one. And then has been up for two hours straight from 2AM-4AM followed by tossing and turning (and pinching and kicking) next to me in my bed after that for the rest of the "night".

I mean days like today when it is rainy. And dreary. And The Baby is sleeping. And the housework is done. Well, as done as it gets without actually pulling out the vacuum, a mop or the can of dusting spray. In other words, done enough for a Tuesday.

But I better not nap. I will sit on the couch and flip through the new issues of Parenting and Entertainment Weekly. My eyes will get heavy. My head will start to nod. And I might close my eyes for just one minute. And I might just forget that I won't feel good when I wake up . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

But then the rally cry from the nursery will sound. There is no rest for the weary. And it will be time to start Part 2 of our day, the afternap afternoon. Thank goodness for Double Espresso!




Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nothing's Free in this World, Kid (Except for Tote Bags)

As a full time at-home mom, I consider it one of my biggest responsibilities to seize the "teachable moments" as they present themselves. As a result, I probably beat a dead horse over-explain everything all the time. I really cannot help it. I always feel compelled to find the lesson in the situation, and relate it to whatever we have going on.

It is completely gratifying to see some of these efforts pay off from time to time. Let me share the story of how Little Diva is evolving into a genius of pragmatism.
<insert image of tongue in cheek here>

So, I will admit, I am rather frazzled hurried on a regular basis. My mission is to get from point A to point B with two girls in tow without 1) having them bicker with each other 2) buying them the various candies/toys/crap that they beg me for on every venture 3)having the whole affair spiral downward into a crying hissy-fit meltdown that typically results from numbers 1 or 2.

Today's "quick" trip to the grocery store was no different. After grabbing the few things we needed, plus some random package of chocolate covered wafer cookies that I caved on, we sailed through checkout. Little Diva was still rambling on about something she started in on in the Produce department, but I pushed ahead. I had The Baby in her stroller, basically because she is now prone to attempting swan dives out the grocery cart since mastering the release on the safety belt. To keep her occupied, she had brought half the toy box, and had various stuffed dogs, blankies and dolls wedged in around her.

As I made a beeline for the door, we passed a display of Kiwi fruit, at which point Little Diva perked up again, and said, "Look, Mommy, this is what I wanted". I mumbled my usual, no honey, not today, and then saw that The Baby had dropped one of the dolls. I called back to Little Diva, who was about 5 paces behind me to pick her up and out the door we went. As we got outside, Little Diva said, "But Mom, don't we have to pay for it?" I spun around and saw that she was not holding Balen, the Baby Doll, but rather one of the coveted Kiwi fruits.

Um yeah. We do have to pay for that, and where is the doll I told you to pick up. Huh? Oh I thought you said just pick one up. Oops.

Poor thing turned about 5 shades of red, and almost walked back in through the "out" door to get that stolen fruit back on the stand. There was also a really confused customer walking towards us with Balen the Baby Doll in hand as we rushed back in.

Over dinner at the pizza joint next door, I complimented Little Diva on asking me about paying for the Kiwi, instead of just walking out without paying for it. I told her that I am glad she understands that it is wrong to take something that you haven't paid for.

A few minutes later, she noticed some cookies that being prepped for the counter display. She asked if she could have one because it looked like they were free. I said, oh no, you have to pay for everything here. She asked if I had paid for the bag of chips she was devouring instead of her pizza. I said yes, and then quipped, "Nothing is free in this world, kid".

With a knowing tone, she repeated it back to me, "That's right, mom. Nothing is free. Well, except for Tote Bags. They always seem to be free".
Tote Bags. They always seem to be free.
It is at moments like these, that I remember, that I am learning as much from my kids, as they are from me. And it almost always makes me smile.




Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Being a Mean Mommy

It's nice to be writing again after a summer away. Before you get any ideas about glamorous holidays abroad or anything, my summer away was more of figurative getaway (with a few, but not nearly enough, glorious weekends at the Jersey Shore). Mostly, I just unplugged a little. I cannot credit any sort of "I-think-summer-should-be-about-more-than-Facebook-status-updates" attitude. Truthfully, I just don't have a laptop, and blogging from the iPhone is a royal PIA. But anyway . . . as expected, a summer with my two girls provided many experiences to reflect upon.



I knew that giving birth to two girls would eventually lead to tense mother-daughter relations somewhere down the line. I think it is pretty much a given that estrogen-fueled battles of words and of wills will ensue at some point along the journey, most likely in the tween or teen years, or so I thought. I never really considered that I would find myself in power struggles with a five going-on-sixteen six-year old.

My first big parental veto occurred this summer in the form of saying "no" to a collection of TV shows from the increasingly (and somewhat alarmingly) precocious Disney Channel. At first, I found the shows to be harmless, even enjoyed them myself, truth be told. Standard tween fare involving an assortment of sassy girls and boys, with a variety of clever life situations to keep a five year old intrigued - a new baby sister, special magic powers, starring on your own dance show. But what I noticed after a while, was that my own Little Diva's attitude and communication choices were starting to feel like something straight out of the scripts of any one of these shows. My sweet girl was talking back more, getting pouty more, engaging in sassy play with her Barbies and/or Little People. I didn't really like where this was going.

I realized I was going to have to make the unpopular decision to pull the plug on what had become her TV lineup. I knew it was going to be tough, and understood that I should have been more vigilant from the start, thereby avoiding her exposure to these shows altogether, but what was done was done. This style of TV may be perfectly fine for other families, but a parent knows their child best, and in our case, it was not a good fit for her personality and tendencies toward imitation and repetition.

As a sidebar, I have since discovered a resource to help me navigate the tricky task of deciding what are and what are not acceptable media choices based on age. It is a website called Common Sense Media.  It breaks down the content of games, movies and TV shows, and makes age recommendations. Ultimately, it is up to me and Sweet Hubby as parents, to make the call, but it is very helpful to get other perspectives and know what your kids are going to see before they see it.



With little fanfare, I told Little Diva that we were going to take a break from these shows for a while. As an explanation, which she had of course "requested", I explained that sometimes the characters and ideas of the shows didn't seem to be good examples for her, and that sometimes watching shows like this might make little kids her age act in ways that were not good. She was really disappointed. We found some other programming that was more appropriate and she was appeased momentarily.

In the weeks that have ensued, there has been an almost constant barrage of pleas to "please, please, please watch just one show" but I have held firm. She takes it as an almost personal insult that I continue to say no. I see that this is only a mere glimpse into our future of our mother-daughter negotiations, but I am inwardly pleased at my resolve. I have come to realize that it is more satisfying to labor through the arguments, but stand my ground, than to relent to the pressures, and forsake my ideology.

NOT!!!!
I am not sure how some mommies get by, without ever having to be the "mean mommy", but I know they are out there. I have to accept that I will never be one of them and deal with the occasional dirty looks, and hours (weeks? months?) of silent treatment.

How about you? Ever had to be a "mean mommy" or are you and your little ones BFFs 24/7?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Please! No Payday for Casey!!

It doesn't really matter how you feel about Tuesday's "not guilty" verdict in the infamous Casey Anthony trial, you would be hard-pressed to convince anyone that Casey is a morally upstanding young lady. In fact, whether or not she actually pre-meditated, facilitated or even just ignored the disappearance and death of her daughter, most would view her as a despicable human being with no sense of basic human compassion.

What disturbs me the most about her current status as our country's most talked about persona non grata is that she stands to make millions on her story.

We, as a society, will flock to the bookstore to buy her book, and tune in to her talk show appearances to try to understand more about this person that has shocked and horrified us beyond belief. And for this, she will become a very wealthy lady.

How can we somehow dissuade the media from indulging in our curiosity? Is there some way to call for higher moral ground, where we can tell NBC/CBS/Fox, whomever, that we will not watch anything for which Casey gets one dime? Would someone please start a "No Payday for Casey!" Facebook page?

If only we could make every publisher understand that they wouldn't sell a single "Casey Anthony - My Story" hardcover or e-Book, and that they'd lose millions if they tried to publish it.

And honestly, it's not just Casey getting rich that gets under my skin. It is more a sickening fear that her fortune from all of this may just inspire some other repugnant creatures to perpetrate their own hideous acts in the hopes of the same outcome. There are certainly enough desperate, demented people out there that might say to themselves, "Well if she made millions, it might just be worth a try".

There are already way too many threats out there to the well-being of our kids.  I truly hope that everyone who reads this will reconsider before watching her shows, seeing her movie or reading her book.

I, personally, promise myself that I will not contribute in any way to her success. If she gives an interview, I will change the channel. If she writes a book, I will not buy it.

Are you with me on this, or do you think the media deserves its shot at her?



UPDATE: Shortly after posting this, I learned that such a Facebook page has been created!! Yay!
You can visit and Like it here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Casey-Anthony/175983199131341?ref=ts



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Meet Little Diva and The Baby

I have never really posted any photos or videos of the kiddos before - I have always relied on the use of prose to communicate the nuances of their quirky little personalities. But today I decided that this moment captured on video was too precious (for me, at the very least) not to share. 

The backstory is that Sweet Hubby, in addition to his culinary savoir faire, also plays the banjo, and often serenades us with Old Timey tunes now and again. Little Diva fancies herself to be quite the little songbird and at any given moment, is "writing" songs to narrate the soundtrack of her life. The Baby just kind of rocks out with whatever is going on around her. 

And from that convergence of talents, the following scene was born:




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back on the Blog!

Yes, it's me! As you live and breath, I have seated myself in front of the aging Mac, to scribe a new post. I really figured my absence would go entirely unnoticed, and I am sure, for the most part, it has. But ... I was tickled to learn that one of my readers, who happens to be a family friend (and one with NO KIDS, no less) had a hankering for a new post, so I realized at least somebody out there would be happy to hear from me, so here I go.

And I am not going to dedicate a post to explaining what I have been up to for the last month or so. Mainly because I would like you to stay awake, and also because, truthfully, there is not much to tell. Life has a funny way of getting busy in cycles and my attention span for things like this is pretty short, so sorry to say, my blogging was the first time and energy cutback that I made.

I am also not going to pretend that my hiatus produced a fabulous backlog of witty blog ideas and content. If I did come up with any ideas that I did not have time to blog about, my inability to recall a coherent thought for more than about one nanosecond ensures that I could not remember them anyway.

So instead, I sit here ready to blog about the first thing that pops into my head, and today, that happens to be about how I live vicariously through my children. I can actually put together a nice Top Five list for you of the ways I live out my hopes and dreams via my two little minions. Not sure if it is sweet or pathetic, or maybe a combo of the two, but here goes.


1) Fashion: Let's face it. I just don't look good in clothes anymore. And I am not in touch with adult clothing trends AT ALL. Honestly, until they started showing up in the kid's section of Payless, I thought Gladiators were some kind of shoulder epaulets that were all the rage. I mean, armor on the runway is nothing new, right? So why would I think everyone was so hot on Russell Crowe's footwear? Instead, I channel my inner supermodel, by dressing my girls in the most fabulous clothes I can find. I actually live for the moments that complete strangers stop me on the street to tell me how cute their clothes are. (One lady in a recent poolside encounter even went so far as to ask if she could take a picture of The Baby in her awesome bathing ensemble. Seriously, it was almost like having a run in with the paparazzi!) Superficial? Absolutely, but it's also the only way to express my fashion sense without actually having to outfit myself in the latest looks. I love it! (Plus I know in a few years, I will have NO say in what they wear, so I might as well enjoy it while I can!)

2) Junk food: I mean, really, what self-respecting adult actually buys Cheetos (or Pop Tarts, or Pirates Booty?!) for themselves? (by the way, if you do, I love you for it!!) But have a couple little kids in tow, and no one in the grocery checkout aisle even gives you a second look! And a meal plan that includes Chicken Dino-bites, Mac n Cheese and Pizza once a week each, means I am catering to their tastes, not mine of course!

3) Dancing to cool music: Somehow, if I was downloading Dynamite and Bruno Mars songs for myself to dance to, I would feel a little like a tween-wanna be. If it weren't for my girls, I would probably have to spend all day singing Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel songs. Thanks to them, I could actually hold my own in one of those trendy clubs downtown (except for the fact that you generally don't get past the velvet rope wearing elastic waist shorts and Birkenstocks, but a girl can dream)

4) Disney TV: Wizards of Waverly Place, Shake It Up, Good Luck Charlie - yup, I love them all. I just try not to let anyone catch me watching them when Little Diva ISN'T home.

5) Campaigning for Votes: If I remember correctly, I was never elected to student government in middle or high school, and I think it left a void in my psyche. That must be why I am compelled to submit photos for every "Vote for My Kid" contest that floods into my Junk Mail folder. (In fact, if you are interested in voting for Little Diva's latest entry click here - shameless, yes I am!!) I really don't even want a superstar lifestyle for either of them, but the allure of seeing their name in lights gets me every time.

I could probably go on, and on and on! (Oops, there I go humming Dynamite again), but I am pretty sure you got the point.

Thank goodness we get cute kids right around the time we, ourselves, start to go down the toilet. In what ways do you live through your kids?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Product Review: Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion


Now that I am home full time with my kiddos, it seems like I am always up to my elbows in some kind of mess. It may be a sink full of dishes or a pile of dirt from our latest "gardening" experiment, but whatever it is, I feel like I am washing my hands/arms about a hundred times a day. This has not been so good for my once soft and supple skin. So when I heard about Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion, I was very eager to give it a try. I was given some samples to review, and I checked out their website for more information before testing it out myself.

Here is what Skin MD has to say about their product:

A shielding lotion does the real work to prevent dry skin in two ways.

First, it assists the inner layers of skin to absorb moisture. The humectant
(an ingredient that attracts moisture) used in Skin MD Natural is unique to
it and has been laboratory tested to be 6 times more effective than any
other you will find in common creams.

Second, a shielding lotion enhances the power of the top layer of the skin
to resist environmental irritants while protecting the inner natural
moisture.

This can be a big benefit for those who cook, wash dishes and garden because
Skin MD Natural helps skin retain its natural moisture and oils in the face
of all those irritating soaps and chemicals.

The manufacturer's website www.skinmdnatural.com has hundreds of
dermatologist and user reviews including many addressing severe dry skin
problems such as eczema and psoriasis. People with sensitive skin -- and
those of us who like to live as naturally as possible -- will appreciate
that Skin MD Natural is hypoallergenic, free of fragrances, parabens and
colorants. It is made with more than 90% natural ingredients and 100%
food-grade ingredients that are on the FDA's "most safe" list.

Desperate for something to help protect my skin from the day-to-day abuse that a mommy must inflict upon it, this sounded like the perfect solution. But I get bored with the daily use of most lotions/potions/creams, so I allowed myself a good month of using this product regularly to see if it would make a difference.

I am thrilled to say, that, YES, this stuff is exactly what I needed!! Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion is designed to create a barrier to protect your skin and it also keeps the moisture in. But it does it without a greasy, I-can't-touch-anything-for-an-hour feel. In fact, my skin was drinking it up instantly and I could move on to my next task without delay. Following the directions, I used the product every 2-8 hours to restore the moisture, and then, once my skin felt better, I continued using every 12-24 hours.

Three weeks into the daily use of Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion, my hands felt smoother, looked less leathery and stayed soft all day long. I was so pleased, I decided to try it on some other parts, including my perpetually sun-damaged chest, and my alligator elbows. The results have been incredibly positive. My elbows feel much softer now, which is no small miracle, and I have been using their Shielding Lotion + SPF15 on my chest to keep it constantly protected, something I should have started doing years ago. 

I have to say, thanks to my success with Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion, I can give this product, two soft and supple thumbs up!!  Mommy 2.0 recommends it for dry-skin sufferers who want a non-greasy, effective skin protectant that delivers on its promises. And since it is manufactured in an eco-friendly, solar-powered facility, you can feel good on the inside about using this product too!


Visit www.skinmdnatural.com to find out where the product is available near you, or to order it online.
Skin MD Natural provided me a free sample of this product for review. I was not compensated for this review.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mommy 2.0 Featured Today on the Mom Pledge!

I am thrilled and honored to be featured on one of my favorite blogs, The Mom Pledge!! Check it out here, and while you are there, please consider taking the pledge to join a group of moms committed to treating each with dignity and respect here in the blogosphere!

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Have you taken the pledge?

Thanks to my bloggy friends at The Mom Pledge for selecting Mommy 2.0 as your featured blogger today! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

We Made It!

Tonight I am dedicating my post to all the mommies out there who made it through Mother's Day flying solo with their kiddos.

For lots of different reasons, many of our husbands couldn't be around today to entertain the little angels while mommy got some of that elusive extra sleep in the morning. We had to fix our own breakfast and make the bed, rather than luxuriating in it with a mug of hot coffee and the Sunday paper.

Our "spa" treatment consisted of a hurried shower, set to the soundtrack of bickering children and the too-loud TV attempting to distract them so mommy could rinse the shampoo out AND shave her legs before the Backyardigans headed to somebody's house for the day's snack.

We may have stayed at home and conducted our day just like any other. Or we may have braved the brunch front with our kiddos in tow, praying that today just might be the day that our toddler wouldn't morph into a screaming, sticky mess long before the entrees even hit the table. Perhaps there was a special outing - the zoo, the park. Plenty of spots just perfect for watching Daddies chase around their minions while Mommies bask in the warm sun. Nevertheless, we packed our diaper bags with conviction, and managed to keep our chins up as we tackled the day.

Those of us who have already survived some of these solo Mother's Days may have started the day with pretty low expectations, because we know that our kids are way to young to understand that Mommy needs to be treated "extra-special" because it's her day. There is no Santa or Easter Bunny anywhere to be found, so to our small kids, this day seems just like any other, and there are needs that must be meant.

But in some way or another, the sippy cup stayed half full.

Maybe the diapers were just a little less stinky, and the flowers we managed to get in the ground in time for Mother's Day looked a little brighter. The giggles and gasps of joy as the swings flew high in the air, sounded just a little happier today, and whether we got one hug or a hundred, the gentle embrace of our beloveds felt even warmer than usual.

Because let's face it, Mother's Day is about more than feeling appreciated as a mom. It is about appreciating the fact that you are a mommy, and no matter how much or how little the rest of the world does today to make you feel special, there is no better celebration than the love we share with our kids. Today and everyday.

Happy Mother's Day!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wrap Up


Well the verdict is in, and it appears that real-life princesses are not nearly as impressive to a five-year old (at least my five-year old) as their animated counterparts. Though I tried as hard as I could, I could not capture the attention of Little Diva with any part of royal nuptials. She was more interested in watching the groundhog bore holes in our lovely lawn all morning, while I stayed glued to the screen, waiting to catch a glimpse of the newest addition to the British monarchy.

Here were Little Diva's main concerns about the whole affair:

Why didn't Prince William and Prince Harry match? She did not like that one was wearing black and the other wearing red.

Why was Maya from Suite Life on Deck getting married to him anyway. Doesn't she like Zack anymore?

Why did they all have "those things" on their heads?

How come there were trees inside the church?

Why didn't the horses pulling the carriage gallop?

Sometimes you get a completely new perspective on just about anything when you look at it through the eyes of a child.

In any case, I must admit that I was inspired by the transformation of Kate from girl next door to HRH. After spending the better part of the morning viewing the coverage in the comfort of my pajamas, I glanced at myself in the mirror during a potty break, and realized I was about as far from regal as you can get. I immediately put on decent clothing (like some that actually live on hangers in my closet), brushed my hair and put on a little makeup. Knowing that Kate will never have another day to run to the grocery store in a pair of sweats and a pony tail, made me feel slightly guilty about lazing around like a slug.

And since I do not see a horse-drawn carriage waiting for any of us out front, it's pretty safe to say I won't need to shake 3000 hands or anything today, but embracing your inner princess every once in a while can be a good thing. It is a total cliché, but this is the only castle I've got, so I'll make the most of it, and play with my little princesses all day - no ridiculous hats required!

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? And what did you and your kiddos think?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not in hiding

Hi all!
I just managed to claw my way out from under a 6 foot mountain of laundry under which I have been buried for the last week or so to say hello. How is it that 4 people (two of whom are under 4 feet tall) can generate two tons of dirty clothes on a weekly basis?

Just wanted to confirm that I am alive and well. I have moved on to picking up the delightfully minuscule foil balls made from the Easter candy wrapping that are scattered throughout the house. I have only stepped on (and hence, shattered) three plastic eggs in the process! I consider that a small victory. I have also hidden the chocolate bunnies in the freezer "so they won't melt." (wink.wink) I think the only thing worse than my kids hopped up on sugar, is having them hopped up on sugar with sticky-melted-chocolate-covered-hands.

Hope you all enjoyed your spring holidays as much as I did!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hard Way

So I picked up a few pointers from myself yesterday on how not to make life more difficult that it can sometimes be already.

Here we go:
1) Do not go to the park with an eighteen month old when the local elementary school is having some kind of field day/let the wild animals run free/let the teachers stand around and check Facebook on their phone in the sunshine day.  If you do, have a plan in place for the baby therapy that will be needed to remove the scars to her delicate psyche.

2) Do not get your five-year old all excited about rearranging her room furniture without first measuring the spaces - ALL THE SPACES - to make sure your plan will work. And better yet, do not start moving said furniture (said heavy, made of solid wood, with a iron core, furniture) by yourself only to find out the hard way that it does not fit.

3) Do not pull a baby toy out of storage, and expect that your five year old will have any interest in letting an actual BABY play with it.

4) Do not assume that a baby will not want her own treat from the Ice Cream Truck. If you do, you will just end up giving her yours. And along those same lines, pretty much plan on the fact that the treat you choose for yourself will be more appealing to your five year old than whatever gumball-eyed/red dye #5/superhero pop she picks and you will end up "trading". Order accordingly. Why do I always forget that?

Hope this helps your weekend go a little more smoothly.
Does anyone else have any good life lessons that you have picked up lately?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Warning: Toddler on the Loose

Most of us are aware that raising your kids involves navigating the relentless sea of completely insane behavior that changes by the minute phases common to developing youngsters. It often seems that as soon as we find a groove in which we can all just get along for about 30 minutes at a time, a new wave washes in and we are left floundering on the rocky beaches of parental incompetency.

We have recently entered the phase of "I Can't Take This Kid Anywhere That Is Not Specifically Designed to Entertain a Toddler." It basically limits us to visiting our local play cafe, story time, the park and play dates in the home of other hostage like-minded parents.

Completely out of the question right now: any kind of public event in which allowing a toddler to run free would be dangerous or disruptive (which in case you did not realize is ANYWHERE) and dining out (unless you enjoy a meal punctuated by flying sippy cups, overturned meals, ongoing pleas for release from the highchair and a nice helping of meltdown for dessert).

Now having two children at different developmental stages, means that you cannot completely avoid the challenging situations in which you will spend the majority of your time imitating a border collie attempting to rein in the rogue sheep. Little Diva has needs and is not afraid to demand that they be met. So we will occasionally brave a lunchtime visit to the pizza shop and usually, we need to bring The Baby along to her other activities because Sweet Hubby's schedule makes him unavailable for the tandem parenting that can be helpful during this phase.

We prepare ourselves as well as any Super Nanny might instruct for these outings, but quite frankly, it doesn't make a bit of difference. No matter how many toys, books and snacks I pull out from my diaper bag, the allure of everything else that is out there is just too strong. The Baby wants to be free to terrorize her surroundings explore with unrestrained abandon. Who can blame her?

This means that I presently find myself digging quite deep into the endless pool of patience and composure that was assigned to me at Day One of motherhood with alarming frequency. Let's hope that this phase plays out before the proverbial well runs dry. I need to keep a little of that supply on hand to deal with Little Diva and her current mission to become a teenager by age six. But that is another post all together.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Struggle to Downsize

I really hate to make excuses for myself BUT how in the world am I supposed to do it?

I have been "planning" to kick my weight-loss/healthy eating/get fit quest into high gear for a long time now. I am about 12 months overdue to shed the 40+ pounds of "baby" weight that came into my life around the same time The Baby did.

I find this whole process very tricky. First of all, as my sister pointed out to me, it is a challenge to simultaneously grow your children and shrink yourself. I am not a big fan of making different food for the kids at dinner time. Since Sweet Hubby is at work until way past bedtime, I am a one-woman show each night, and multiple meals are not in my repertoire. I have a hard enough time making sure at least one meal is balanced. And by balanced, I mean, hopefully contains at least one component that did not come out of a box or can.

Trying to incorporate some kind of "lifestyle change" (because you are not supposed to call it a diet, right?!) selections into a weekly menu that the kids will actually eat is tough. I also don't want to deprive them of the necessary calories and good fats that their little bodies need to grow big and strong.

And from a philosophical standpoint, I don't want to call constant attention to the fact that I need to lose weight in front of my kids. I want them to grow up with a healthy body image, so I hate to let them see me focus so much time and energy on what I eat. That seems like a recipe for potential eating disorder disasters down the road.

Sure, I can tell them that I "just want to be healthy" and I am making sure my body has healthy fuel, not junk. Blah. Blah. Blah. But at the end of the day, I am measuring my Cheerios and counting my pretzels for crying out loud. Surely that will stick in their little minds.

Then there is the small matter of how much more expensive my grocery bill is when I am "following the herd plan". It turns out that those bright and colorful fresh foods (as opposed to those in the bright and colorful boxes) cost a whole lot more. You don't find a lot of coupons for kale or cauliflower.

But the fact remains, that Mommy 2.0 needs to reboot before the whole system crashes. I need more energy. I need to fit in my clothes again. And most of all, I need to have a healthy body for my kiddos. To set a good example, and to make sure I am going to be there for them when they need me, for a long, long time.

So I am ready for any and ALL of your tips, tricks and tactics for making weight loss attainable, despite the challenges that we mommies face (not enough time, not enough money, not enough self control). How do you do it?

P.S. Weight Watchers ™ is my plan of choice, mostly because I cannot live without eating pizza (real pizza). End of story.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hi. My name is Mommy and I am a chaos addict.

I cannot leave well enough alone. Whenever it seems like life is just a little too mundane for my taste, I seem to find a way to pile on a whole bunch of insanity all at once.

I guess I am kind of a stress junkie. I seem to function at a much higher level when I have twenty different plates spinning in the air.

As a young professional, I had jobs that literally kept me running from start to finish.  The more "in the weeds" I was, the more accomplished I felt at the end of my shift.

After Little Diva was born, and I dragged myself back to work, armed with nothing more than a chip on one shoulder, and a breast pump on the other, I evolved into one of those moms who could do it all. Cue the "Enjoli" commercial from the 80's - I could bring home the bacon AND fry it up in the pan. My day usually included two hours of commute time, a white knuckle race to the daycare before closing time, and an evening of checking email from home because I felt guilty about leaving the office after 9 hours had to catch up.

So when The Baby came along, and the potential for a double day care bill was looming large, I had two options, continue working in a high stress situation for the equivalent of zero pay, or stay at home, for, well, zero pay. I made the choice to "retire", as Little Diva puts it, quite happily. And it has been a wonderful 18 months so far. Not without its challenges, I am not going to lie, but I cannot imagine things any other way right now.

Well, except for having more money. I think we can all agree that it would be kind of nice.

So, in my efforts to add a little something (emphasis on LITTLE)  to the family piggy bank, I have started spinning the plates again.

All of the sudden, I feel very busy. I am juggling the rather opposing schedules of three different tutoring clients, shopping for the best deals to find super cheap (sometimes free) activities/food/stuff to offset my lack of income,  doing product reviews and service evaluations, trying to keep up with my blog, and most importantly,  playing chauffeur and housekeeper playing Barbies as much as I can spending time with the little girls that I am here for in the first place.

Yup, I am totally "in the weeds". Having a severe case of the mommy brain makes the chaos just a little bit more exciting, too. I am never 100% sure if I will make it through the day without totally spacing out on one commitment or another. Luckily I have my iPhone calendar to keep me on track. I have noticed that it doesn't work so well, though, if you forget to add your events. Really? There ought to be an app for that.

Lucky for me, it's that kind of stress that makes me tick (and not usually in the time bomb/ready to explode kind of way - in case you're wondering).

So I wonder, how many moms out there dig living the life chaotic, the way I do? And how many moms are happier when things are serene?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Climbing the Walls

Oh, it's on! The Baby has discovered her inner primate and there is no looking back.

How does this happen? One day, you have a sweet, docile little toddler who is cautiously teetering around on those tiny feet and then suddenly you wake up to a brazen mini-child who can scale the furniture.

How in the world can they barely feed themselves at this age, and yet possess not only the strength and agility to climb, but the engineering know-how as well? I know, gross motor skills vs. fine motor skills. Blah. Blah. Blah. All I can say is, it can be extraordinarily annoying rather inconvenient when your child-proofing suddenly has to go vertical.

It started with the stairs. She got really good at climbing them, really quickly. Within a few weeks, it was on to the couch. She figured out how to use just about any solid object (and sometimes, not so solid, with less than favorable results) as a stepping stool to get herself to the next level of what ever piqued her interest.

The next thing I know, she is SITTING ON THE TABLE. Oh yeah, pulling the chair out, hoisting herself up, the whole nine yards, or in this case, 30 inches from the floor. That. Is. Scary.

I guess the view is just better up there. Or maybe it is the treasure trove of no-touchables that we got into the habit of moving into the center of the table when she realized she could reach up and grab anything perched precariously close to the edge. Favorites here were Little Diva's nearly full cups of milk, and markers. Oh the markers!!

Worse yet is the kitchen. I cannot even begin to cook a meal unless she is safely strapped into her high chair, which although technically at the same height as the super-fun table, apparently not nearly as interesting to sit on. If I keep her on the loose, I am constantly interrupted by having to prevent her from attempting to mount the counters. Or having to extract her from whatever other surface nearby, she has elevated herself onto.

Because, oh yeah, the getting down part apparently doesn't come so easy. And she has her "ups" and "downs" confused, so I am serenaded all the while with "up, up, up!!" which means "I am stuck up here so hurry up and get me down NOW!"

Since my first born was not a climber, this is all new to me - any words of wisdom?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Being Sick Stinks!

Being sick really stinks. And I mean that quite literally. It does not smell good. The stench of sickness has laid itself over my house like an wet, grimy blanket. After almost a week of stomach bug infestation, I have thrown open the windows in attempt to rid our place of the offending odors. This round of ailment saw just about every part of the house get christened with one form of refund or another. From the couch to the car seat, it seems that no place was safe.

And despite my constant fumigation attempts via Febreze, Lysol and cornstarch powder, the lingering smell just won't go away. I can smell sickness in my cloths, my hair, and on my hands - no matter how many time I wash, no matter how hard I scrub.

Yesterday was a warm and beautiful day, and I tried to keep the windows open to clear the air, but I, myself, was suffering a mild case of the hurl and runs, so I had to close the windows when I wanted to rest. Apparently, my neighbors think that nice weather means you should stand on your deck and smoke, or ride your Harley around the block twenty times. Neither scenario blends well with nausea and fatigue. 

Even though the temperature dropped by about 20 degrees today, those darn windows are open and the cool, fresh air is coming in!

But ever the eternal optimist, I figured that I could wrangle a little good out of a nasty situation, by sharing what I have learned over the past week.

1) As soon as anyone in the house gets sick, put a large mattress cover and sheet over the couch. It took me more than one round of trying to scrub and Febreze the hell out of my couch before I wised up and did this. Next time, it will be like second nature.

2) Don't put a sick kid in the car. Even if you have to run out of the house for twenty minutes. Car seats are a mother to clean. And if you happen to be in the market for a new car seat, do yourself a favor and buy one that has an easily removable, launder-able cover. Just in case you ignore the first part of this advice absolutely must leave the house with sick baby in tow.

3) Have an extra set of crib sheets and mattress covers at the ready for those middle of the night bed changes. Have a little bucket and washcloth ready too, for the midnight sponge bath. If you open the door, and smell a tell tale smell, grab what you need before you pick up the baby so you can complete the operation without missing a beat.

The likelihood of your child ever
actually throwing up in the toilet
is very small.
4) If you are by yourself, and have a smaller baby or toddler that you need to corral while you change the bed, consider setting up the pack and play in the child's room in advance. You will thank me for this if your child is suffering from cluster barf. There is nothing quite as defeating as getting your child cleaned and dressed, getting her bed changed, then turning to find she has thrown up again all over the wall-to-wall carpeting in her room.

5) Check your children's fever reliever for its expiration date prior to the time that you actually need it. Because if you don't, it will certainly be expired at 1:00 a.m. when you really need it.

6) Don't feel guilty about a little extra TV time for your sick child. If they are lethargic and just want to lay around, let them. I realized after coming down with the same bug as The Baby, that all I wanted to do was lay around, because it was a strength-sapping kind of illness, and I did not even feel like sitting up. I most definitely did not want to play with blocks or do Itsy Bitsy Spider either.

7) In addition to having the time honored sickness staples like Saltines and ginger ale, make sure you have some easy foods on hand like peanut butter, bread, frozen waffles and bananas. These are easy things that you can slap together for a make-shift meal, should you find yourself with at least one child at any given time who can actually keep food down.

8) Do. Not. Get. Low. On. Toilet. Paper.  EVER! Enough said.

So with all that, I am happy to report that we are seemingly on the road to better health, and fresher air.
I hope that you all avoid as much sickness as possible, but if you happen to get afflicted, perhaps these tidbits of nonsense wisdom will help!

Does any one else have any sick time strategies that make things a little easier?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechauns

Well, as I do with so many trends, I clearly missed the memo on leprechauns being the new Santa.

When I was a kid, St. Patty's Day was for wearing green and pretending you were Irish so you could get kissed. We sang songs about looking over a four leaf clover, traced oak tag Shamrocks, and ate green cupcakes at school for lunch.

As we grew a little older, we learned about the Blarney Stone and saw filmstrips about Ireland.

Of course, the leprechaun image has always been an integral part of the festivities, but we never really personified the leprechaun much beyond the Lucky Charms commercials.

Now, all of the sudden, it seems like the leprechaun is the rock star bad boy of the holiday circuit.

I'm hearing about leprechauns that are going wild at school, making messes and leaving trails of green glitter in their wakes. Little Diva came home yesterday with a complete lesson on how to make sure you don't get tricked by a leprechaun.

Crafty moms are helping their kids construct elaborate leprechaun traps with gold coins and Lucky Charms for bait. My nephew didn't catch a leprechaun, but instead woke up to find the impish trickster had left him gold dollar coins. Lucky.

I, myself, was unaware of leprechaun-mania and, as such, found myself completely unprepared to stage any leprechaun-themed activities. My bonny lass did not wake to find any trace of a leprechaun encounter.

You know, by the time we get to March, the double whammy of Christmas and Valentine commercialism has done me in. Putting effort into another holiday seems beyond my reach. I had a hard enough time tearing through unopened bags of hand-me-downs just to come up with one sort-of green shirt for Little Diva to wear to school.

I just want to enjoy St. Patrick's Day the way any good American should. With a Shamrock shake for lunch and green beer with dinner. We will have our corned beef next week when I can get it on sale for half the price.

And I'm not buying any stories about leprechauns making the mess at my house. I know exactly who tears my house apart and St. Patrick's Day is just like any other in that way.

The creative moms out there need to come up with a holiday figure that actually cleans all the crap up. For that, I'd be willing to build a trap and eat lucky Charms for a month.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Share What You Love AND Make Some Money!

Big news brewing here in the crazy house! Mommy got a - wait for it - JOB!!

Well, I am really more of an "independent contractor" but if it means a little money coming in, to finance my retail therapy/fast-food addiction/credit card payments, then I can cheer about it!

I have started tutoring. I got the idea from an old friend that I spoke with a couple of weeks ago, who mentioned that she had been doing a lot of tutoring, and it dawned on me - "hey, that would be a start!"

Sweet Hubby and I have recently had "the talk" about when Mommy might need to get back to bringing home the bacon, and not just frying it up in the pan. Our original target date of me getting back into the outside-the-home workforce (a year after The Baby was born) came and went with very little fanfare but it seems like that money tree I planted in the back yard did not survive the winter, so it was time to think about some income options.

I realized that it would make the most sense to look for something that would allow me to use my degree and the skills I am passionate about, rather than returning right away to my old career path which had sent me in a different direction all together from where I thought I would go from college, about a million years ago. It's not that I did not enjoy what I had been doing pre-The Baby, but I was not eager to return to the crazy hours and large quantities of stress that came along with that industry.

That's where the tutoring came in. Of course, I "googled" the subject and came across WyzAnt.  It's an online service for tutors and students to find each other. I simply signed up, created a profile, and less than a month later, I have two different tutoring gigs, and have already gotten my first paycheck!! The service allows you to search for jobs, search for tutors, evaluate and they even manage all the payment stuff.

If you are interested in finding out more about Tutoring Jobs available in your area, you can check out their link here http://www.wyzant.com, or search for tutoring jobs in the Side Bar box above.

I certainly don't know if I can parlay this into a steady stream of income and avoid the "back to work" scenario all together, but at least it will help, and I get to do something I really love. I will keep you posted!!

Has anyone else out there ever done tutoring? Any tips?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daylight Savings Has Kicked My Butt

I think the time change has been way harder on me than the kiddos.

Either that, or it was the five hour road trip I took solo with the kiddos, plus the major party we threw for my sister, plus the intense insanity excitement of having four generations of women in my family under one roof for a weekend, plus the fact that The Baby is sick yet again, this time with vomiting and the runs. (Oh hello, washing machine!)

In any case, I am pretty exhausted, and don't have much in the arsenal of interesting anecdotes to share today.

I think I will just pass along the mantra we adopted for the weekend with my family (and I must credit my sister-in-law with coming up with it).

"You just can't argue with crazy!"

It was the quote of the weekend, and pretty much summed up the general course of conversation throughout our time together.

This particular quote of the weekend was almost eclipsed by my mom asking said sister-in-law, "Do you Lambada?", but when the answer was no, and the uninvited resulting lesson ensued, we were back to:

"You just can't argue with crazy!"

By the way, I love my family, love my dirty-dancing momma (who is one of my faithful readers), and had an awesome time with everyone who was there. Just wanted to share why I am a little tired.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Parenting for the Complete Klutz

A bloggy friend and former classmate of mine recently wrote about how a little humiliation is actually good for the soul, and helps you keep things in perspective. She is a great writer, so you should read her entire post here, but in the spirit of her sentiment, I thought I would share my day's humiliating story.

As I get older (and perhaps not so svelte), I find myself more and more clumsy. Yesterday, however, my complete lack of grace and coordination was at an all time high.

I was at the preschool to pick up Little Diva as usual. The regular group of moms were assembled in the gymnasium waiting for our minions to be released. I spotted Little Diva prancing toward me with a big hug (which I welcomed willingly, because it is so much better than the indifference that sometimes comes along with being a teenager trapped in a preschooler's body). Meanwhile, The Baby had scampered off to entertain herself in their play area.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw The Baby wedging herself into the footholds to hoist herself atop the slide, and I got nervous. It has not been a good week for us and play equipment. I started off quickly to prevent any mishaps, caught her in time, and turned to see Little Diva glaring at me.

She snarled, "Mom, you should have watched out for that little baby."

I answered with a dazed, "huh?" then realized that I had just overheard one mom saying to another, "oh it's okay, she is used to getting knocked around." Mortification began to set in.

"Um, what do you mean, sweetie? What baby?"

Little Diva answered, "Mom, you knocked over that little girl and didn't even say sorry".

Oh my God! I had committed a toddler hit and run. In my exuberant dash to save The Baby from the perils of playland, I had somehow managed to bowl over an innocent little girl, and I did. not. even. realize. it.

And it was not just any little girl. It was THE LITTLE GIRL, the one who is always dressed in baby couture and six inch bows and flowers on top of her head. Thinking back on it, I have no idea how I could have missed her.

But luckily her mother is quite nice and friendly.

I hurried over sheepishly, and apologized profusely, admitting that it was Little Diva who told me what had happened and that I hadn't even realized what I had done. She was incredibly cool about the whole thing, although I am sure, at first, she was like, "What the Hell, lady, you just ran over my baby and didn't even look back?!"

Of course, who knows how many other moms witnessed the run-in but did not see my return to the scene. I may forever be known as Big, Scary Mom Who Knocks Kids Down and Doesn't Give a Damn. If that is not enough humiliation to keep me grounded for a while, I don't know what is.

What have you done to thoroughly embarrass yourself lately?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Find It Yourself!

I have seen a few recent posts about Mommy Pet Peeves, so I thought I would chime in with my own two cents about the number one parenting responsibility that irks me. If there is one task above all, that makes me want to tear my hair out on a regular basis, it is looking for lost crap.

You know what I mean, right? When your darling little child starts a sentence for the umpteenth day in a row with "Mommy, where is my _____________?" Usually this inquiry is shouted from the bedroom upstairs while I am downstairs trying to conduct some sort of household duty, and my hearing is no good anyway. It always requires me yelling back "Get your lazy little butt down here and ask me I can't hear you, come down and ask me your question, please." The exchange is even more frustrating when The Baby has finally fallen asleep for a nap after 45 minutes and is jolted awake by the "conversation".

Why is it that kids believe their mommies possess some sort of radar to find their missing items? And why do we attempt to prove we do when they ask?

And so the search begins. Of course, they never know where they last played with/wore/looked at whatever they need RIGHT NOW. And in my house, a thorough search means ending up with a bigger mess than we started with.

We look in the "obvious" places ...
- under the bed, an area which seems to attract just about everything Little Diva doesn't feel like putting away when she is done.
-in the drawers, which have usually been pulled apart by Little Diva earlier in the day while she was attempting to construct her fashion ensemble for the day. ("Ensemble" is a fancy word for a ridiculously mis-matched outfit including short sleeves and flip-flops in the dead of winter.)
-in the closet, basically just a war zone. Enough said.

After 15-20 minutes of tearing through every possible inch of space, we either find it or we don't (by this time, Little Diva has usually lost interest anyway and is on to making more messes finding something else to play with). And the piles of crap relocated by our quest must be left unattended because The Baby's quiet whimpering has escalated into full-blown "get me now or I will puke" cries for attention.

I wonder if anyone out there has good strategies to help your kiddo keep track of their belongings. Anyone? Anyone?!

Today I Made a Pledge!



Today I took "The Mom Pledge" to join with my fellow mommy bloggers who want to keep our blogosphere free from bullying and negativity.

For me, blogging has become a wonderful way to connect with other moms, and share our triumphs and disappointments. It stuns me to think that some bloggers are waging war against each other via negative comments, and online bullying. I am lucky that I have only interacted with kind, honest and sincere bloggers since I started a couple of months ago.

We moms face enough challenges in our "real lives". I have a five-going-on-fifteen-year-old so I have all the drama I need, thank you very much! We have to stick together, share our stories, and have a good laugh at it all when we can. Or be a virtual shoulder to cry on when need be.

Of course, we are all very different, and just like in real life, we can embrace diversity and learn from it.

For more information about The Mom Pledge, check out http://www.efloraross.com.
Won't you take a moment to see what it's all about, and join the effort?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Smile.ly—Be Heard. Be Happy.

I just signed up with this program to test out products and share my feedback on them. Not exactly sure how it works. All this techno stuff is sometimes a little much for me but it looked like a cute website, and I like smiles so I will check it out and let you know how it goes. Here is the link if you want to take a look:
Smile.ly—Be Heard. Be Happy.

Hello Dolly

Little Diva made her very first visit to the American Girl Place last week, and it was a day to remember. She loved having a fancy lunch and having her own little shopping spree with the gift card she got for Christmas.  Santa brought her an American Girl doll for Christmas this year, so she was eager to pick out some new outfits and in her words, "fantastic accessories."

Now Little Diva is technically "too young" for the American Girl doll. The recommended age for children on all the packaging for these dolls and their gear is 8+. I am not sure I totally get this. The dolls are sturdy, their hair stays nice and the clothes, for the most part, fasten with velcro and are easy to get on and off. (Not the shoes, though - they are even adult-proof, but whatever).

But more importantly, they seem like a logical toy for her play level and maturity.

Take for example, Barbie. The recommended age for Barbie is age 3+. Put the two dolls side by side, and which do you want your little girl to play with? Somehow, the American Girl seems a little more age appropriate.

I mean really, your three year old is old enough to play with a doll that dresses like a hooker runway model, wears tons of makeup, and is well-endowed, but not old enough to play with a child-like doll who wears kid's clothing and has a fresh young face? I find that strange.

And it is not as if you can blame it on the differing marketing ideals of two different companies. American Girl is a subsidiary of Mattel, who also happens to own that little empire known as Barbie.

Don't get me wrong, I like Barbies, and we have a vast collection of the dolls and her 1000+ piece accessory sets. We have had them since Little Diva was, oh yeah, 3. Basically since she was old enough not to inhale the miniature shoes and purses.

But I cannot understand what focus group at Mattel decides to market the hoochi-mama style doll to pre-schoolers, but wants you to wait until your kiddo is 8 before having a doll that she can should be able relate to. If I had researched this all thoroughly as a conscientious mama might do, I may have skipped the Barbies all together, and started her American Girl collection long ago. Somehow I like the idea of my little girl getting her doll ready for a play-date rather than a hot date. But I guess the toy execs might not agree.

Perhaps the Barbie is an iconic American toy, and to keep her place as the first lady of playthings, you gotta get them hooked young. But at the very least, it would do them good to re-evaluate Barbie's fashion choices of late. For example, the "I Can Be" series is a great nod to teaching kids about how to be anything when they grow up, but if the dentists, vets and teachers of tomorrow are going to dress in 3 inch heels and 3 inch skirts, we may all be in trouble.

And as for the American Girl doll, I am glad we did not wait until age 8.  For the cost of the darn thing, I want Little Diva to have as many years as possible to get our money's worth.

What kind of dolls does your child play with?