Friday, December 23, 2011


Whenever Emmy would see something on TV she would say how she wanted it for Christmas, those AS SEEN ON TV items Stompeez which are a blog post by themselves.

I figured she would constantly be changing her mind about what she wanted for Christmas like every other year.  She is only four.

Hmphf...shows how much I know.

Every time she has seen Santa since the beginning of December she has told him she wants a Lalaloopsy Silly Hair doll.  That's all she wants...well that and a Barbie Puppy Wash (or the Barbie Puppy Water Park as it is really called).  Of course, she wanted the two things I didn't get her. 

I had seen the dolls before in passing but had never really paid much attention to them.  But, then I actually looked at them after Emmy started asking for one.  They are an updated concept on the rag doll and are actually kind of cute in a vintagey (yes, I know that isn't a word) kind of way.  I know for a fact Emmy never played with the Raggedy Ann doll I had bought her but I could see her playing with this.

So I started shopping for that Lalaloopsy Silly Hair doll after Black Friday. Of course it had to be one of the hottest toys of the season.  The doll was sold out except on Amazon and eBay which were asking more than the retail price of the doll.

I was smart enough to call around to Kmart, Walmart, and a whole host of other stores before venturing out.  They basically laughed at me when I asked if they had it.  Then, I called Toys R Us as a last resort.  I figured they would not have them since they are a toy store and the first place people go for hard to buy items is toy stores. 

They had it!  I packed the kids up in the car and told them we were picking up the doll for their godparents who wanted it for a Christmas present.  I got there and told them I was there for the doll.  They looked at me like I was crazy and explained that they hadn't had that doll for awhile. 

So we headed over to Babies R Us on the off chance that was who I had called.  It turns out it was, thank heavens.  Apparently around the holidays, Babies R Us often gets the hotter toys to.  I got the Jewel Sparkles (who is in pink) doll because well, I thought she was cuter than Sugar Crumb (who is dressed in yellow). All Emily could talk about was how she wanted that doll for Christmas the entire way home.

I even went as far with my ruse as to pack the doll in a box, label it, and pretend to mail it.

Then, Emmy saw the yellow one and decided that she just had to have the yellow one named Sugar Crumb.  Needless, to say I was cursing myself in my head for overlooking the fact that my daughter's favorite color is yellow so of course she would want that one.

One day, when I was sans the kids, I made another trek to Babies R Us to exchange the doll.  Only days later, Emmy decided she wanted the pink one instead.  At that point common sense prevailed.  

I was doing the one thing I swore up and down I wouldn't do!

It was a good thing to since Babies R Us are officially sold out of them (or were the other week when I was in) because I just had to check.

So Emmy is getting the yellow Lalaloopsy doll and a note from Santa (which is a tradition in our house). According to Santa, even though the doll isn't the one Emmy necessarily wanted she needed a good home and since Emmy has such a big heart he thought Sugar Crumb would have a good home with her. 

Sheesh, I could write a book about the lies I tell my kids...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Easy Kid's Christmas Craft: Ribbon Trees

In the past, I usually didn't put Christmas decorations in the kids' rooms mainly because they were to young and I worried  a) about their safety and b)that they would destroy them.  I can see my 2 year old pulling Christmas lights out of their socket and so on.

The girls love to get into my ribbon and at the start of Emmy's pre-k this year they were emphasizing small, medium, and large so we did a Christmas tree craft with ribbon and we reinforced this concept and had fun getting sticky fingers with glue.

I don't know where I got the idea.  I think I saw something similar in a magazine or online and just adapted it to my kids' abilities and what I had in the house.  They may have used paper rather than ribbon.  I cut different pieces of ribbon and then let the girls glue them to paper starting with the longest pieces of ribbon to the smallest to form a tree shape.  We glued them on construction paper and then I cut two triangles of ribbon to form a diamond shape at the top of the tree.  We tried to make a star with several triangle shapes but it didn't look right so we went with the diamond shape.  For the trunk, we used a different piece of ribbon. 

Here is what they looked like:

You could cut out the tree then when they dried and punch a hole in the top to make an ornament for the tree. I used yarn to make the loop to use to hang the new ornament.  Don't forget to write the date on the back so you can remember when it was made for future Christmases as you reminisce!

I wanted to put something in the girls' room to add some Christmas cheer so while they were making their's I made one to.

I used an artist canvas that I had picked up brand new at a yard sale for less than a dollar and used ribbon that coordinated with the colors in their bedroom for the tree. I also made it look like a present by adding a bow.

Here is how mine turned out:

I brought some Christmas into the girls' room but I don't have to worry if they destroy it since it cost less than two dollars to make.

What kind of homemade goodness have you made for your tree or to decorate your house?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Gives Me Writer's Cramp

While the girls are busy playing doctor-or I should say a Rapunzel and rock star are playing doctor and Ry is sleeping, I snuck away to write a quick post.  The kids are within ear shot and my line of sight so I can be there in seconds if anything goes awry in my living room/doctor's office.

I used to write lists of presents I needed to buy, who gots tins filled with cookies, what I needed to do and places we planned to go, not to mention the christmas cards that needed to be signed, the envelopes that needed to be addressed, and the tags on the presents that needed to be written from us and "Santa". All these things gave me a severe case of writer's cramp.

I still do the lists just so I think my life has some semblance of organization before it all goes down the tubes by 8:30 am.

One Christmas in recent years I started using address labels so I just need to update my list of addresses each year. Of course last year when I ran out of labels, I shouldn't have thrown the packaging away because I have no idea what kind of labels I used.  Hence, this is why my Christmas cards (which I've had before Thanksgiving) are still not sent out. Today, I'm heading to Staples with the crew (3 kids ages 4, 2, and 5 months).  God help me.

Since we've had kids, I figure everyone wants to see how cute the kids are much the kids have grown so we just do photo cards with a short message. No more signing cards makes Mommy sing hallelujah.

That only left the gift tags to give me a mild case of writer's cramp.  To bad Em can't write much more than her name (and that endeavor would take up the entire gift tag) or I would give that task to her.  Only children would find pleasure in tasks that I hate doing (like using a dust pan and brush to clean up the mess on the floor from every single meal).  I always sign all of our names on gift tags to family and friends since I feel weirdly formal writing "From so-and-so Family". 

I had a Vistaprint livingsocial deal to use up about a month ago and I figured I could do something with business cards so I could get out this task to.  I made gift tags with the "To" part blank and then signed all of our names in the "From" part.  Next year I'll make ones from Santa since Em will probably be old enough to be even more aware of all the technicalities of Santa's visit.  I don't want her to realize there isn't a Santa because she recognizes my handwriting.  After writing a few gift tags, I can see me getting sloppy and forgetting to "disguise" my handwriting.

Here is how they turned out:

So now all of the annoying little things are much simpler until next year when I am bombarded with questions about how does Santa do this and that (thank goodness we haven't had to deal to much with that yet) and I have to make up lie after lie on the spot which I stink at.  I know I will forget my own lies and I'll be found out.  I can't even remember to find our generic "elf on the shelf" a new home each morning so remembering what fibs I've told the previous day isn't going to happen.

How do you make the holiday season easier on yourself while still keeping up with family traditions?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mom's Night Out

I sometimes get jealous when my husband goes out with his friends.

I admit it.

Even though he tells me to make plans with my girlfriends, I rarely do because we all have little ones and finding nights where our husband's are home and the kids aren't sick and we actually have any energy to leave the house...

It sometimes is just to much effort.

Until Breaking Dawn came out.  I sent a message to a friend asking if she wanted to go. She had agreed weeks ago to be my "date" when it came out since my hubby wouldn't be caught dead watching it even though he went to see Bridesmaids with his buddies which was mildly concerning (he claims it was the only thing in that they hadn't already seen, which was probably true...probably).  She even watched all the previous movies to prepare for our night out.

We were wild.

We went to the 9:50pm showing AND ate popcorn, ate candy, and drank sugary beverages.  We both made it through the movie without a bathroom break which was a miracle in and of itself.  She is several months pregnant and my bladder isn't what is used to be before three kids.

Then, my friend asked if I needed anything from Walmart or Wegman's since both were still open and their shining lights were beckoning.  I said no but when she asked if I was sure...

"Well, just because we don't need anything doesn't mean we can't walk around," I replied 

We browsed the toys and Christmas decorations in Walmart and ended up needing a cart for all the goodies we found.  We busted a move in the one aisle while wearing the animated/singing Christmas tree hat (me) and the sock monkey hat (her).

Like I said, we were pretty wild.

And when we left, we even went through the door marked "Enter" rather than the "Exit".

It was after one when I got home-several hours after my normal bedtime which is usually around eighty-thirty or nine. 

Wild mommies, that's us...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Experience as an Extreme Couponer

My sister-in-law came for Thanksgiving at our house prepared for her annual CVS run.  She even had a spreadsheet of all of their deals and how to make the most of her money.

She asked me if I wanted to come along?  Of course!

We deviated along the could we resist mint chocolate M&Ms (and at 4/$6 when you counted the ECB rewards)?

At the end we kind of winged it since they were out of a few things but for $29.97 with $16 in ECB that I still need to spend (so technically I spent $13.97, right?) we got a good deal.  I only bought things that we would use to so there will be no stockpiling in our basement.  My theory is if I keep using the rest of my ECBs to buy things that earn ECBs, I'll keep getting my money to work for me. 

My sister-in-law was right, you do get a rush doing this!  It was actually fun but of course my sister-in-law was the one who did all the work.  She said she spent hours this week working out the best deals and how to group the transactions.  I'm not sure I could spend hours taking the time to do this weekly.  Actually, I am not sure my husband would tolerate me spending that kind of time.  No doubt about it, it is a lot of work.

It also helped that we had an awesome cashier who was very good-humored about the whole thing and didn't mind us doing several transactions.

While we were out shopping, my mother-in-law was finishing the meal prep along with the guys who were watching the kids and being good sports about our little adventure. 

Now I'm off to make Chex Mix with the yummy Chex cereal we bought even though it is only 7:30 am!

Our score

Friday, November 18, 2011

Explaining Being Thankful to a Preschooler & A Thanksgiving Craft

I wanted a craft to do with the girls but that wasn't to labor intensive since their attention span is pretty limited.  I love countdown projects to help teach numbers so that is what I decided to do.  I cut out 7 leaves using a template (printed on cardstock) that I found online.  If you need help finding one just google leaf template under images and you'll find a bunch of templates from which to choose.

I let the girls choose the colors of scrapbook paper that they wanted and then I traced the leaves and cut them out while they played pre-k and pretended to read Thanksgiving books that we've been reading together.

They put the stickers on the leaves and then we talked about what it meant to be thankful.  That is not an easy concept to explain to a 4 and 2 year old.  It took me days to come up with the right words.  Why is it that the simplest explanation is sometimes the hardest?  Last month Emmy's preschool collected food for the local food bank and I had talked with the girls about why we were collecting food and I had introduced the topic then.  I've tried to keep it simple.  We had talked about basic needs and what we need to live.  I explained to them that we have lots of things that we should be thankful for, things that make us feel good and even safe.  Emmy's pre-k was scheduled to have a trike-a-thon to benefit St. Jude's so we've also talked about how being healthy is something we should feel thankful for also.

When we did this craft, I asked them what things made them happy. I used some prompts to such as things they liked to do or things they liked to play with or people that they liked to be around. 

On the back of the leaves I wrote the girls' responses.  Some of their responses were:
  • Mommy and Daddy and Ryan (of course)
  • Grammy and all of their friends and Alex and Thomas (their cousins)
  • being able to dance (Madison said somersaults, not surprising for the little monkey that she is)
  • food especially marshmallows and cocoa (which I am not sure count as a food group)
  • their dolls
  • Emmy said her teachers (how long will that last, I wonder???)
  • playing tag
  • their house and their room
  • playing in the leaves
  • scarves and gloves (which are even more fun to play dress-up with)
  • blowing bubbles
  • bicycles and cars
And then they lost interest and wanted to hang the leaves.  I just used some ribbon I had laying around, clothespins, and removable hooks which I had in a drawer on which to attach the ribbon.

Here is the finished product:

Each day we're taking down a leaf and reading what they are thankful for.  For Thanksgiving, we'll either hang them all back up or make them into napkin rings by making a ring with a strip of paper to put around a napkin and then gluing a leaf on each ring. 

How have you explained thankfulness to your child?  What do you have to be thankful for this holiday season?

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Look Mom, I Can Write My Name"

Emily started learning how to write her name over the summer.  She would scrawl haphazard letters that were sometimes almost indecipherable on the paper in front of her. 

After lots of practice at home and preschool, she has gotten quite good at writing her name.  She shows how proud she is of her "new" accomplishment by writing her name on papers, cards, and even the newspaper.  She has also started drawing pictures that are recognizable (such as her stick figures that do somewhat resemble people).  Notice I say usually since her recent drawing of rocket ships also kind of resembled potato people.

Since she has been really good about only writing on paper, if I am doing laundry or some other task while her siblings are napping and she asks for paper so she can draw at the table or practice writing her letters, I usually say okay.

I hand her paper and always remind her to only write on the paper and nothing else unless Mommy says it is okay.  I recently stopped reminding her to only write on the paper because I assumed she "got it" after I have repeated it at least a hundred times and because she hasn't written on the table or any other surface in months. 

My mistake.

After walking into the kitchen after walking through the downstairs collecting stray pieces of clothing since my children love to play dress-up about ten times a day, I walked into the kitchen to find marker, washable mind you, on most surfaces in my kitchen.

How much havoc can a toddler wreak in five minutes?

Her name was written on the fridge, the polka dots that decorated her rocket ships in the card she had been working on for her dad also had been drawn on my kitchen stools, and she had scribbles on her booster seat and even her brother's high chair.

After me explaining that the proper place to write was on paper, I handed her a wet cloth and had her wipe down everything on which she had drawn.

I was reminded yet again that no matter how responsible and helpful she can be for a four year old, she is still only four years old.

Just like I am thankful for magic erasers and hand sanitizer, I am also thankful for washable markers!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Do As I Say Not As I Do

I realized recently how often I inadvertently use the "do as I say and not as I do" on my children without speaking a word.

Take for instance, the abundance of Halloween candy in my house.  It took up two large plastic seasonal bowls with ghosts and pumpkins while anything inedible went into a small basket.

My kids kept trying to sneak candy off the counter.  The 2 year old even went as far as to use her talking grill (which is THE most annoying toy we have had since her talking vacuum was escorted from our house after Emmy started using his phrases to critique my cleaning skills) to stand on to try to reach the candy bowls.

Then, it was put away into the pantry but not forgotten by my children who are like little pitbulls.  They were allowed one piece a day (two if you count the pretzels or fruit snacks that I let them have for a morning snack).

Of course, my husband and I were like dogs with bones, digging for the best pieces.  I scored Peppermint Patties and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups while he would take the Skittles and Mike and Ikes.  We had more than one or two-triple or quadruple what we allowed the kids before dinner.  My hour at the gym three times a week probably didn't even make up for the calories I've consumed.

And then I got busted by my oldest who wanted to know why Mommy was eating a piece of candy when she couldn't as a morning snack (it was 11 am and right before lunch).  Here I thought I was being stealthy.  Then, she asked if it was like soda where only mommies and daddies could have it.  I just nodded my head.  Yes, it is just like that.

Then the mommy guilt set in as I realized I wasn't living up the example I wanted to set.

Finally, the candy had to go.  Not only was the guilt eating at me since I have no self control and was foolish to think I would but I was getting sick of the candy.  We made up bags for family and friends' children who didn't get to go trick-or-treating because of the snowstorm that disrupted Halloween plans or because of sickness.

The rest of the hard candy in addition to the two bags of candy that I had picked up for 50% off (just because it was on sale) after Halloween went to Operation Gratitude.  A friend graciously collected everyone's candy and dropped it off at a local dentist who planned to send it to the troops.  She collected over 8 1/2 pounds of candy-probably from parents who were feeling like I was.

So while I taught my children all about the "do as I say not as I do" or the "when you're older and a mommy or daddy you can do it to", I also taught them about sharing and not just with mommy and daddy (or that's what I'm telling myself).  It's called the glass half full philosphy of parenting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Favorite Family Photo

Every year around this time, I try to get a picture of the kids to use for our holiday cards.  I usually have already picked out our card design on Shutterfly since I like Shutterfly's selection for our Christmas cards and I am if not anything else, a creature of habit (or as I like to say a person who just likes traditions).  On my side of the family, someone usually gets some kind of photo gifts also and Shutterfly has a large selection of items that would appeal to any grandparent or aunt or uncle.  One year I got a photo jigsaw puzzle for my grandfather and magnets for other family members.

This is usually the best I can do:

After trying for a few days (never in a row since I would go crazier than I already am),  I usually admit defeat and we find ourselves sitting in some studio somewhere waiting amid other families in their holiday best to get their family portraits done.  My attempts in recent years to just get the girls' pictures turns into a family portrait by then.

This summer after finding out that an acquaintance who I got to know through our local mom's group (before her family moved to Florida) was coming up and doing mini photo sessions, I immediately booked a mini session.  She is immensely talented and her photos are stunning.  She is the owner of Maria Felton Photography.  I was hoping and praying that Ryan would have arrived by then (it was about two weeks before I was due) but alas he didn't arrive until almost a week after he was due (of course). 

 (I need a new frame that doesn't cut off so much of my husband's head!)

One thing I learned on this day was that the best picture isn't always the one where everyone is looking at the camera and sitting perfectly still.  This picture totally captured Maddie's personality and Emmy's silly smile which is why we fell in love with it and why it is now on our mantel. Madison has a thing for monkeys which isn't a surprise to anyone who sees this photo since she is practically upside down. 

This photo session was also fun since it was about capturing our family naturally outside.  We were in the alley behind the Crayola Factory (one of the girls' favorite places) in Easton where The Purple Cow Creamery is located.  Music was playing from the School of Rock on the corner and amazingly, there were no tears for once.  It seems someone always has a meltdown when we get our pictures done in a studio.  Emily also loved that Maria had her singing and being silly (which she is quite good at)! They were also able to move around instead of being cooped up inside.  It probably didn't hurt that we bribed the kids with ice cream from the Creamery afterwards either.  

What is your favorite family photo?

This month Shutterfly is planning "Family Photo Days" to help families capture the perfect holiday picture to use in creating their holiday cards.  It is also to help make consumers aware of Shutterfly's line of holiday cards.  Some of the activities they have planned include helping people host Family Photo Days, a downloadable toolkit with lots of creative tips on capturing the perfect holiday picture, and you can even enter their Holiday Photo Contest and receive 5 free cards just for entering (if you win you get a year's worth of free cards).

This week I am going to try again using some of the tips Shutterfly provided in their toolbox to try to get a holiday card worthy picture all on my own.  I even bought Santa hats for all three kids and I am going to try to take a pinwheel shot with all three kids lying down and looking up outside since it is so warm out this week.  Hopefully, I'll be able to have the patience to try to get the perfect shot.

Have you started your holiday cards yet?  If not, what are you waiting for?

I was compensated with 50 cards from Shutterfly for participating in their "Family Photo Days" promotion.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Betty Crocker Review & Giveaway

Need something to go with a warm glass of cocoa?   What about a way to use up some of that extra Halloween candy?

With busy schedules, we can't always bake from scratch and for those of us not baking extraordinaires and maybe somewhat cooking challenged, we rely on box mixes.  New Milk Chocolate Traditional Brownie Mix from Betty Crocker© can help you whip up a treat in no time at all.

I made these brownies last weekend just in time for the snowstorm that buried the east coast in snow. My family loves to make "loaded" brownies with whatever I have on hand.  I added peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter with a pretzel crust.  The kids (and adults) loved them.  With all the Halloween chocolate that we now have in the pantry I can put some of my children's favorite chocolate bars in the food processor, chop them up, and then add them to my next batch of brownie mix.

For some original recipe ideas using a boxed brownie mix, check out the Betty Crocker website.

To help you whip up some chocolatey goodess in your kitchen, Betty Crocker and MyBlogSpark have teamed up and one lucky TPMG reader will win a Betty Crocker Prize Pack containing a brownie pan, a mixing spoon, a Betty Crocker apron, and a box of Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Traditional Brownie Mix.

Enter to win a Betty Crocker Prize Pack (a brownie pan, a mixing spoon, a Betty Crocker apron, and a box of Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Traditional Brownie Mix)

Mandatory Entry (Must be completed for all other entries to be valid): For whom do you plan on baking Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Traditional Brownies?

To receive additional entries:
*Become a follower of TPMG (if you already follow just leave a comment that you do) (1 entry)

*Become a fan of Betty Crocker and/or TPMG on Facebook and leave a comment here that you have done so (1 entry each)
 *Follow Betty Crocker and/or TPMG on twitter and leave a comment here that you have done so (1 entry each)
*Tweet (maximum of once daily) about this giveaway and don't forget to leave your twitter name
Copy and paste: Win a Betty Crocker Prize Pack Giveaway at #TPMG (ends 11/20) (1 entry per tweet)

*Add The Practical Mom Guide to your blogroll or display the blog button (5 entries)

*Post about this giveaway on your blog (5 entries)

This giveaway will end on Sunday, November 20, 2011. I will announce the winner on November 21st here at The Practical Mom Guide. All winners are chosen randomly. If I am unable to contact the winner or they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Contest only open to U.S. residents.

Good luck and thank you for participating!

*Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark provided TPMG with a prize pack to review and a prize pack to use in the giveaway.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekly Deal Roundup

Many people this holiday season are being budget conscious including myself.  Normally, I list the week's roundup of deals found online on the Freebies page under the "Savings" tab but I figured I would also include it on the main page this week.  There are several freebies that include personalized Christmas cards and personalized photo gifts.  I know now is the time I start thinking about Christmas gifts and cards to send to family and friends so I always appreciate these deals.  What grandparent wouldn't love a desk calendar of their grandkids in their stocking?  You could even use the 100 free postcards from Staples as Christmas cards since you can upload your own images and include a family message on the back.  Just think of how much you would save by mailing postcards since it only costs $.29 each to mail them!

Weekly Deal Roundup

25 free prints at Walgreens with code FREE4X6 and a free desktop calendar FREE4U (only good Friday, November 4th & Saturday, November 5th)

100 free postcards from Staples with coupon (if ordering online just use this link but you will have to pay for shipping)

Sam's Club members can get a free sample of Simply Right Underwear , Huggies GoodNites, or Dove Daily Moisture.  You will need to provide your membership number.

"Like" Hallmark on Facebook and get a coupon for $5 off your $10 purchase (expires 11/ 15) 

10 free Pampers Gifts to Grow points with each of the codes CABRANDSVRNOV11 and FAC1011PR46DYHD

These promos are still going on:
Send an email to 5 friends about Shutterfly's "Tell a Friend" deal (75 free prints for them) and you will get 75 free prints to.

Get a free holiday card for someone in the military from Tiny Prints(Expires 11/15/11)

Try out InkGarden for free.  Pick one of their products (up to $13 value) and use the code ForFREE but you will need to pay shipping charges (Expires 12/31)

Free Lakeshore Learning educational apps for iphones, iPads, etc.such as Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe (ages 6-8),  Letter of the Day Interactive Activities (4-6), and Beginning Sounds Interactive Game (4-7). They can be downloaded for free until December 30th!

"Like" AST Enzymes and get a free sample of AST Enzymes Gluten Relief

"Like" NeilMed Sinus on Facebook and get a free NeilMed Sinus Rinse Bottle and 2 packets

Saving Cents With Sense has a list of freebies for Veterans Day

Tim Horton's is offering veterans and active duty military a free star spangled vanilla dipped donut at their U.S. locations

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Richness of Fall

I love fall and since having children this time of year has a richness that I had never fully appreciated before. This year though it felt like winter had muscled its way in and had overtaken fall with this weekend's snowstorm that dumped 6-12 inches of snow on us.  And now all of the Christmas decorations up in the stores and Christmas music being piped through the speakers doesn't help.

I had to remind myself that it is still fall.

Fall is...

...trips to the apple orchard to pick apples for crockpot apple butter.

 ...trips to the pumpkin patch for hayrides with straw tickling our noses and the search for the perfect pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern.

...trick-or-treating or trick-or-trunking.

...hiking through a local state park with the leaves crunching and crackling underfoot.

Before having kids, apples came from the grocery store not an orchard and forget about carving pumpkins which would just result in one big mess.  Leaves just meant work raking them up into piles just for a big gust of wind to blow them around the yard again.  Now we bring them inside for leaf rubbings or leave the kids jump in them.  

What is your favorite part of this time of year?  And it is okay to say a day off of work for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Frog in Our Mailbox

There is nothing quite like opening your mailbox and finding a frog.

...Not a real one of course but a fake one. I only wish the giant spider that I found in my mailbox the other day was as fake *shudder*.

A few days later we found a pink dog in our mailbox.  Our local mailman, a family friend ruined the surprise for my husband though when he sent a text message and a picture of it to my husband.  Apparently the people in the mailroom at our local post office got just as much of a kick out of it as the girls did.

Meet Hoppo and Pinkie 

The girls thought they were the funniest things.

So did my sister-in-law who sent them for the girls after Ry was born.

Who knew you could send toys without packaging?

I have a stand of flamingos in my garage that I bought as a practical joke that may be on their way to a new home...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Late Night Radio

When Ry turned two months last month, we transitioned him to his crib.  Our nightly ritual is the same.  All three kids go to bed around the same time.  Bob takes the two girls and I take the baby.  We all troop upstairs together between 7:15 and 7:30 pm.

Bath time, jammie time, story time, hug and kiss time, and then at last it is bed time.

The only piece of electronics in the kids' rooms is a radio.  Every night that is the last thing that gets dealt with before the lights go out.  We put their radios on.  Ironically, its the same station that plays in both rooms. That was accidental. It was the only station we could get clearly in the girls' room that didn't play rap or a lot of upbeat dance music which I didn't think was good nighttime music especially since Emmy and Maddie like to dance.  I pictured them dancing around the room that they've started sharing in recent months.  Whatever Emmy does, Maddie does to.  It is really the only station that comes in in Ry's room.  The second night Ry slept in his room, I noticed it was the same station playing in both rooms.

What do they listen to?  A syndicated radio show with Delilah.  She plays love songs and soft contemporary rock-the perfect music to fall asleep to in my opinion.

Since I sit in the rocker and nurse Ry before putting him in his crib for the night, I have actually started listening to the radio and not just tuning it out as background noise.  I've started looking forward to this quiet time.

Each night once the girls are in bed, I sit in the rocker listening to Delilah choosing the perfect song for the dedications of callers who are looking for a song to say what is in their heart or answering a listeners letter as they ask for advice or help.  As I listen to her giving advice, I wonder where does that kind of wisdom come from?  It seems she always has the perfect answer. 

Is it age? Life experience?  Personality and an inner ability to empathize?  I am in my 30's with three young kids and I still feel so young and inexperienced in so many ways.

My husband was joking the other day that we're really not that young any more.  He's right.  Middle age is shortly upon us. Yet, I don't feel older, wiser, or more experienced.

How do you find the right words when your children come to you with their growing pains?  You can't say "hold on a minute, let me ask someone else" or "let me google that".  What do you say when your child is the one left out, or when they get their heart broken, or heaven forbid, they face tragedy like the loss of a friend?  What do you say when they start asking the "hard" questions?  What do you say to help make it better?

And I thought Emmy and Madison's "why?" stage was tough.  It will get tougher, I am realizing.

Those "what to say worries" kept me up last night.  How do you find the right words? 

I know I can listen.  I can be there.  I can let them know I love them.  Maybe I can play devil's advocate, maybe I can see where they are coming from based on my own experiences, maybe, maybe, maybe...

I'm sure I will probably say the wrong thing more often than not. Will me letting them know I love them more than anything else in this world, be enough?

I'm sure I will be be going through my own growing pains as a mom just as they are going through their growing pains as teens and young adults.

*After I hit publish, I realized 8 pm is not late for most people but since I became a mom, my bedtime is usually right after the kids' so for me it is late!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Timeline

Ever since I was a little girl, trick or treating involved dressing up and having my mom drive us door to door to family and friends' homes since we lived outside of town.  We usually had our trusty plastic pumpkins to carry our loot.

For Emmy's first Halloween I was almost lured by fabric bags with pumpkins and sayings and the cutesie metal pails.  In the end I went to Wal-mart and bought her her very own plastic pumpkin for about a $1.99.  Those plastic pumpkins just bring back so many memories of my own childhood Halloweens.  That bright orange pumpkin has been her loot "bag" ever since.  Last year we bought Maddie her own and next year Ry will have his very own.

On the girls' pumpkins, I wrote with a black Sharpie what they have dressed up as for Halloween every year since they were born.

And this year?

I guess you'll have to wait and see!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I've Been Hacked

My husband called me from work last week to inform me that my personal email had been hacked.

How did he know before me?

An old coworker of his (whose address was in my contact list because we had invited him to a pool party we threw several years ago) had emailed him that my email was hacked.

A few seconds later a friend of ours also emailed my husband at work to let him know that my email had been hacked.

That prompted a call to me to inform me that every single person in my contact list (we're talking almost 200 people) had been spammed by me.  I haven't cleaned my contact list out in...well, I don't remember. 

Those people who were spammed included former coworkers of mine and my husbands, our minister, our lawyer, the moms in the moms club I belong to, our travel agent who planned our honeymoon, and a myriad number of people who I hadn't spoken to in years.

I was mortified.

Apparently, I knew Max's secret, how to quit smoking, how to have fun, how to get rid of pain, and a site to get rid of your problems.

Needless to say I immediately went in and changed my passwords...

...and updated my contact list.

Have you ever been hacked?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It Never Compares to Mom's

My husband has a mom who is a good cook.  Even those of you who don't cook probably have one or two things you can make and take to parties or gatherings.  You know those things that you are known for bringing.  When you RSVP, it is that dish that the host automatically replies with "can you bring your..." 

Me, I make a mean veggie pasta salad. 

With my MIL it's not one thing, it's several dishes that she is known for that are absolutely delicious.  She makes a mean spinach dip, bean dip, and ranch pretzels (dubbed "Grammy's pretzels" and which my children could polish off in one sitting).  After our hurricane party (it was supposed to be a pool party), she is also kown for the BEST ribs ever.  Our guests polished off 8 or so pounds of ribs in no time. The recipe called for margarita mix.  Anything with margarita mix is bound to be yummy.

She's also the one who is in charge of the Thanksgiving turkey and which turns out amazing year after year even though she doesn't measure the ingredients.  According to her, its just a little of this and a little of that based on whatever is in our cupboard.  If I did that it would turn into some nasty science experiment gone wrong.  These are the people I envy since I am not a natural cook.  I need a recipe and a little luck on my side when I cook.

My MIL is also known by her family for her hamburger gravy.  Sausage gravy seems to be the norm here where we live and in the south but in the midwest where my husband's family is from, it is hamburger gravy.  We occasionally gather at her place for breakfast when the whole family is together.

After Family Fun Magazine featured a recipe for biscuits and sausage gravy that looked almost exactly like my MIL's hamburger gravy, I decided to tackle this dish myself.  My husband has been saying forever about how I need to learn how to make his mom's hamburger gravy.  How hard could it be?  (Asks the woman who still has issues using her bread maker).  I had low expectations so I figured I wouldn't be disappointed when it didn't turn out well since I was deviating from the recipe.

When my husband saw the finished product, he gave me THE LOOK.

It was the dubious look that asks, "will this kill me if I eat it?"  Actually, it was the "I have REALLY high expectations and this is so not going to live up to them" look since I have never sickened nor killed anyone with the food I've made. Of course there was that one time I mistakenly used cups instead of teaspoons of salt and instead of baking powder I used baking soda (or was it vice versa). I was making peanut butter cookies and they came out looking like bad tasting pancakes...Hey, I was only about 8 at the time.  Yes, I was using a stove at that age.  Of course, only when my dad was watching us.

I had been worried especially after my husband asked me if I wanted the truth or if I wanted him to be nice.  Anyway, it came out good.  Okay, at least the gravy did.  My husband said I nailed it or at least came really close.  *Insert me grinning wildly* I even have my grandparents as witnesses.

The biscuits were another matter.  They were small.  Apparently they were supposed to be large enough to break in half.  The recipe said it would make 10.  I had 12.  On top of that they were a little "funky".  They were dry.  Some were flatter than others and some had multiple ring marks since I had some little hands helping roll and cut the biscuits with a glass.  The girls had fun and really got into twisting the glass to cut out the biscuits. And if I'm truthful, I hate rolling dough so that could account for the different size biscuits since I rolled most of the dough.  When I talked to my MIL and told her about my foray into cooking her signature family dish, she laughed and said she probably only gets about 5 or 6 biscuits out of a regular recipe. 

 My little helper & the finished product

I can never make my mom's casseroles taste just like her's either.  So the lesson I learned is this: it will never live up to his mom's. Just like my casseroles and cookies will never taste quite like the casseroles my mom used to make and the cookies my grandmother used to make.  And that is the way it is supposed to be. Maybe its because they put a little bit of their heart and soul, a little bit of them, into what they cook. 

What is your signature dish?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Mother's Best Friend

As a child, I remember getting gum in my hair thanks to my sister.  My mom's solution was to rub peanut butter into my hair and then wash it.  Even after two washings, I remember going to kindergarten smelling like peanut butter.

Recently, while friends were visiting, my daughters and my friend's son went into my daughters' room (they are young enough that I can say that without cringing) to play even though there is nothing in my daughters' room except stuffed animals.

I had forgotten that the nursery across the hall didn't have one of those door locks on it.  I had removed it for some reason or another and forgotten to put it back on.  It sat dismantled in a box with other odds and ends in my husbands office.  As my mother would sarcastically say when I was young, "that's a good place for it, right?" 

Of course my two year old who had followed her sister went inside the nursery and got into the petroleum jelly (a fresh jar that had not even really been used after Ry came home from the hospital) that was sitting in a portable organizer on the ottoman.  When I went to check on them, I saw Madison in the hallway.  She was covered in it from head to toe. When Madison saw me she grinned as though proud of her handiwork.  In her hands was the jar with the lid stuck down in the jelly and about a quarter of the jelly gone.

I felt my stomach actually recoil at the site.  The smell and the sight were horrifying and many expletives were racing through my mind. I would have much rather found my child with gum in her hair.  I am sure it would have been easier to clean up after. 

I handed the baby to my friend and picked Maddie up under the armpits away from my body and deposited her in front of the bathtub.  All the while I kept repeating how we DO NOT play with petroleum jelly.  Yuck.  Yuck.  Say it with me, "YUCK".

Even after wiping as much of the jelly off as possible and lathering her hair and body twice, her hair and skin were still oily.

That night she got another bath and after washing her down two more times, it seemed she was no longer an oily mess.

That night when I told my husband about her escapades, he laughed and asked me why I didn't just use Dawn.


He was right.  If it works on oil coated animals, why not a petroleum jelly covered child?

It seems that Dawn and magic erasers are truly a mother's best friend.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Printable To-Do List Just For You

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am a list maker extraordinaire.  I make lists for everything and somewhere along the way I began to depend on them so much that I swear I am incapable of remembering the simplest things like milk, eggs, and butter from the grocery store.

Anyway,  I finally gave up my black book and my post-it note craziness. I came up with a to-do list that keeps me organized and that keeps me from pulling out my hair (and that my kids have no interest in).  Post-it notes seem to beckon to my children, "come take me away and play with me" as does my little black book which says "come draw in me".  I have lost count of the number of times my post-its have disappeared from my purse or the fridge and my little black book now boasts scribbles from the girls from when they've sneaked it from its spot in my bag.  With all the apps and such for my Smartphone, I still haven't been able to bring myself to join the electronic age.  I like writing things down the "old way".  Call me old-fashioned.
I finally created my own to-do list to help keep me super organized.   My weekly grocery list usually goes on the back but for those items that I forget to buy or that I run out of during the week, they go under the grocery list section.  My daily chores include those chores such as laundry, dishes, watering plants, and filing (bills mainly). As silly as it sounds, I often forget to water my plants regularly and to do those chores I dislike (or am I the only one who conveniently forgets to do them).  The daily chart keeps me from over scheduling my family.  I fill in any appointments we have for the day and things I need to get done.  The meal plan helps me plan ahead and reminds me when I need to pull meals from the freezer with just a glance.  The "Odds and Ends" section is my wish list of sorts.  This is for those things that I want to get done eventually such as scrapbooking or updating my iPod.  It's things that are important only to me and that I want to get done but don't usually have time to get to them.  I've found that writing them down has helped me make time to at least spend a few minutes working on getting them done.

Want to print your own copy?

Click here to print your own to-do list (minus the nifty graphic since it didn't appear in google docs).  You can even punch holes in these sheets and keep them in a binder or if your like me you can recycle them or throw them away.

Are you a "to-do list" afficianado or do you avoid them at all costs?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The #1 Question Parents Ask Their Kids

What do you think it is?

With little kids, their favorite question is "Why?"  but what about the parents?

If you have a child just starting to talk, "can you say_________?" seems to be a common question even though the child in question is not likely to respond.  A good friend who recently visited was lamenting how her two year old would refuse to say new words that they were trying to introduce.  Instead, she would look at them, smile, and say "no".  At least she had one word down. 

If your potty training, it may be "Do you need to go potty?"  Warning to new potty training parents: They are more likely to pee on the floor than to say yes (at least in the beginning).

"What did you do at school today?" is common if you have school-age children.

"What did you just say?" seemed to be a favorite when I was a teenager.

I was out with the girls and I had asked Emmy, "What do you say?" after someone had complimented her.  The response I was looking for from her was "thank you" but she had hidden behind my leg and refused to say anything.  Since the person was a stranger and we have been learning stranger safety I totally understood her reaction.

The person replied with a smile that that question is the most often asked question that parents ask their children.    And the more I thought about it the more I thought that I had heard that before from someone or read it somewhere.  Or maybe it was just because their statement had a hint of truth to it.

I've come to realize how astute that person was and that they were probably a parent themself.  They were more right than even I imagined.

Since that conversation, I realized just how often I do say it.  That prompt to get them to say "excuse me", "please", and "thank you" does in fact seem to be the most often asked question out of my mouth.

Close seconds are, "Do you need to go potty?" and "What are you doing?"  The answer to the first is usually no and the answer to the latter is usually silence which usually signals that my children are up to no good (usually while I am in the bathroom or doing dishes).

What is the most asked question in your house?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mommy's Home

Whenever I leave my house, even for the simplest errand, when I return home and the girls or my husband hear the opening of the door leading to the garage heralding my return, I always hear "Mommy's home."  This is usually followed by the pounding of running feet.

For over a month I have been MIA and have found myself for the first time in about a year and a half not thinking about my blog on a daily basis. When I did find myself thinking about my blog, I wondered if I would be able to find the words to tell more stories.  At those moments, my mind felt as though it was a blank chalkboard with nothing written on it. A clean slate.  Empty with only streaks from being wiped clean by an overly zealous hand.  It was as though all my words had dried up along with the moisture on the chalkboard.  Then, I found panic setting in.  Where did all of my words go?  What if I was away for to long and I couldn't get my groove back?  What if no words came when I did sit back down to write?

In the last month I found myself to tired and exhausted to write regularly.  Thank you cards have been the extent of my writing in that time.

For the last week I found myself putting "write a blog entry" on my to-do list.  Yet, I found every excuse not to sit down at the computer to write.  I felt anxious and worried.  It was silly to almost be scared of my computer screen...

This morning I finally just did it.  Once I sat down, the words just flowed...

Why have I been MIA for over a month?

A new bundle of joy has joined our family.  His nickname is Ry.  He arrived almost a week after his due date.  He's met most of his family and many of our friends so it seemed fitting to finally let him "meet" you all.

Mommy's home again.  Starting next week, I'll be writing on a regular basis again.  In the short time I have settled in front of the computer this morning, I do feel as though I am home again. I've also realized how much I have missed sitting here in the early hours tapping on the keyboard while everyone else is asleep and with my ears straining to hear any sounds of stirring overhead.

Home sweet home.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rockin' The Bump

Shell over at Things I Can't Say is hosting Rockin' the Bump. Do you have fun pics of you rockin' your pregnancy bump?

Pics of me being pregnant with the kids?

Uh...there are not many.  There are probably more of me from my pregnancy with Emily because of the prerequisite baby shower.  I had to really search for some.

In all honesty in most pics I am usually the one behind the camera and being pregnant is no exception!

The pic below is of me pregnant with Baby #1!

Pregnant w/ Baby #2 on our Babymoon to Mystic, CT
(I made a lot of people nervous including the owners of the B&B we stayed at even though I wasn't anywhere close to my due date.)

This was taken just a few weekends ago at our goddaughter's baptism in MA with my pregnancy bump with #3.

I have less than two weeks to go before #3 arrives (unless he makes an earlier entrance) which is why I have been writing so sporadically.  Hopefully, within the next few weeks I'll get in the groove again but for now I am just enjoying my family, focusing on whats important, and relaxing before things get seriously crazy.

If you haven't yet, don't forget to link up with Shell over at Things I Can't Say!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Men & Shots

"Why don't you ever believe me?"my husband always asks.

I could say the same.

While getting the girls ready for bed last night, my husband called up the stairs asking if I had any hydrogen peroxide.  After searching both of the upstairs bathrooms and only coming up with a bottle of alcohol I had to tell him no.  I went downstairs with the bottle in hand, asking my husband from the stairs why he needed it.

He didn't answer right away.  I found him standing in the kitchen with one shoe on and bloody footprints leading into the downstairs bathroom.

Apparently he had stepped on a nail while working outside and it went through his shoe into his foot.

My husband refused to believe me that he needed a tetanus shot.  With his manly bravado he humphed and sneered.    I tried persuading him, harassing him, and then finally guilted him into going.  My trump card was "if you don't go get a tetanus shot, I'm going to worry so much it will send me into labor." 

His reply?  "I'll ask Google."

For once Google and I agreed.  Off he went to the emergicenter to get a tetanus shot.  I couldn't even hold his hand since I had to stay with the girls who were already sound asleep.

Poor guy.  All that hard work today and he ends up in the doctor's office needing a shot.  I'm sure that wasn't the ending to his day that he was expecting.

Interested in finding a summer read for the kids?  Don't forget to enter to win an autographed copy of Victoria Simcox's The Magic Warble.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Running the Bases

Every summer I have a to-do list of places to visit or things to do as a family.  Fun things.  That hasn't changed even though it is a pretty short list since Baby #3 is due in about 4 weeks.

One of those things was to attend the local AAA minor league ball game with the kids and let Emmy run the bases afterward which they do at every Sunday home game.

Since both girls have a short attention span and we have season tickets, we arrived late, really late, in the 7th inning late.  The girls were mesmerized by the people and the cheering and the action on the field.  Emmy was upset that she forgot her pom-poms to cheer them on.  I of course forgot to grab them from the table when we left.  She kept reminding me throughout the rest of the game.

During the 9th inning, kids and their parents start lining up to run the bases after the game and when the game is over they are led down to the field itself.

 Emmy holding her dad's hand in the 90 degree heat

Emmy was at the front of the line.  The kids ran from first base to home plate.We weren't sure how well this was going to go.  Emmy was a bit younger than most of the other kids. We debated whether my husband should go with her or try to let her do it on her own since each child went one by one.  We decided we'd let her try it on her own and if she got scared we would run out to get her.  We were standing between first base and home plate so we weren't far away.

When Bob stepped out of line, Emmy was looking around for him to keep him in her sights.

We needn't have worried.  When she was 4th in line, she bolted.  The stadium worker who was high fiving the kids to give them their okay to run stood there bewildered and laughing as this little peanut started running towards second base.  My husband stood next to me laughing and joking that this was going to end badly.

Emmy crossing home plate

It didn't.  She even stopped so she could tag the second base before running for third and she didn't stop until she made it to home plate where she ran to her dad.

She even wanted to do it again!

Do you ever find yourself underestimating your kids?  And what's on your summer fun list?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Autographed Copy of The Magic Warble Giveaway

The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox is for ages 9-13 but it will also appeal to younger children if they are advanced readers or older fans of adventure and fantasy novels.  Kristina Kinglsey is the heroine in the book and like most 12-year olds feels picked on and unappreciated by her peers. But thanks to an understanding teacher and a unique Christmas gift she is sent on an adventure where she learns a lot about herself and just what she is capable of.

Kristina finds herself in Bernovem, a land populated by fairies, gnomes, dwarfs, and animals that talk.  With the help of Prince Werrien, her pet rat Raymond, the fairies Clover and Looper, and the raven Roage who isn't quite who she she thought he was, and some other friends she meets on the way, Kristina must save Bernovem from Queen Sentiz and her evil cohorts, the zelbocks.  Her job as the chosen one is to make sure her gift, "the Magic Warble" is placed in its true home.

She must travel to save her new friends, face the scary zelbocks and the evil Queen Sentiz who are intent on keeping her from taking the Magic Warble to its true home, climb a dangerous mountain, and face the betrayal of someone she thought was an ally.  Kristina learns just how strong she can be and just how large her heart is.  She learns it takes courage to do what you think is right even though what you face may be scary.

Once your child starts reading, they'll have a hard time putting this book down as they get drawn into the adventure Kristina finds herself on especially as she finds things are not always as they appear.  Simple drawings appear throughout the book helping younger readers envision the world of Bernovem.  Kristina is a heroine that has qualities that many children can recognize in themselves and they'll find themselves immersed in her adventure experiencing it along with her.

Interested in reading this book for yourself or getting a copy for a young reader? 

Victoria Simcox has offered one autographed copy of The Magic Warble to a lucky TPMG reader.

Can't wait to read it? You can also purchase a copy at Amazon for $13.22.
Interested in learning more about the book and Victoria Simcox?  Visit her blog.

Enter to win an autographed copy of Victoria Simcox's book The Magic Warble

Mandatory Entry (Must be completed for all other entries to be valid): Who are you interested in having read this book?

To receive additional entries:
*Become a follower or a subscriber of The Practical Mom Guide and if you already do so just leave a comment stating that you already follow (1 entry)

*Become a fan of The Magic Warble and/or TPMG on Facebook (1 entry each)
 *Follow VictoriaSimcox and/or  TPMG on twitter (1 entry each)
*Tweet (maximum of once daily) about this giveaway and don't forget to leave your twitter name
Copy and paste: Autographed copy of The Magic Warble book #giveaway at #TPMG (Ends 6/12). (1 entry per tweet)

*Add Victoria Simcox's blog and/or The Practical Mom Guide to your blogroll or display the blog button (5 entries)

*Post about this giveaway on your blog (5 entries)

This giveaway will end on Sunday, June 12, 2011. I will announce the winner on June 13th here at The Practical Mom Guide. All winners are chosen randomly. If I am unable to contact the winner or they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Contest only open to U.S. residents.

Good luck and thank you for participating!

*I was provided with a copy of the book to review and all opinions are my own. Victoria Simcox has graciously offered a copy to one lucky TPMG reader.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Painted Toes & Puddle Jumping

I can't reach my toes.  Heck, I can barely get my pants on in the morning at this point.

For Mother's Day my husband treated me to a pedicure.  I had been complaining about how awful my feet looked and how I could only wear flip flops on my swollen sausages, er feet.

I had never had a pedicure before and I wasn't sure how I would feel getting one.  There is something unnerving about having a complete stranger touching my feet, an awkwardness that I wasn't sure I could overcome.  I'll admit feet kind of gross me out. I even have a hard time cutting my children's toe nails. 

When the woman who was recommended to me from a friend who frequents the same salon came out with her little cart of implements (some looking like medieval torture devices), I started to wonder if I would really enjoy this.  I never knew how much would go into getting a pedicure.  When she asked if I wanted her to use the razor or the pumice stone, I'll admit I had a hard time not showing my desire to bolt as I shrugged and said it didn't matter.  I thought I had misunderstood her when she asked.  I hadn't.

The fact was I did enjoy it.  Immensely.  Having someone massaging my feet and rubbing lotion into them and painting them lifted my mood.  Not to mention they were no longer rough and calloused but smooth to the touch.  My feet have never looked so pretty with their bright pink colored nails-nails with no smudges on the sides or bumps from me putting to much nail polish on or fingerprints from me touching them in my clumsiness.

I left the salon in the middle of a rain storm and had to jump puddles in my flip flops along the way.  That still didn't put a damper on my good mood. I felt pampered and I had enjoyed chatting with the woman who did my pedicure.

It is amazing how much you can learn about someone in so short a time.  She was originally from New Orleans and had relocated locally after Hurricane Katrina.  She was looking forward to returning home for a visit over the summer.  We also chatted about our children (the universal topic of bonding between all mothers) and our addiction to the Real Housewives series.  It was nice to have some adult conversation while my husband took over the bedtime routine with the girls at home.  I returned home to a quiet house which was nice for a change.

What do you do when you need to be pampered?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Fears of Motherhood

Everyone talks about the joys of motherhood but so many gloss over the fears that come with the job.

Recently, in a conversation someone mentioned how scary motherhood is.  We're talking ulcer inducing, sleep losing, wanting to cry scary.  I never would have put it quite like that but there are moments when everything you are is tested.  There are moments like that with any job or any relationship (or life in general).  Motherhood is no exception. 

Depending on your childhood you either want to emulate your mother or you want to be so unlike her that no one will ever question the likeness between you and her.  That right there is enough to cause some sleepless nights.

There are so many demands on mothers today to do everything "right".  Feeding our kids the "right" foods, going to the "right" schools, putting our kids in the "right" extracurricular activities, and on and on it goes-the merry-go-round of what "good mothers" should do. 

On Thursday, during a conversation with friends around labor, I remembered sitting in our lamaze class reunion with all the other new moms regaling the class behind us of our birth stories.  Many were not tales of easy labor but rather a litany of what could go wrong.  If I had been one of those pregnant women listening I would have probably run from the room.  Many of the moms had horror stories like the one mom whose epidural had not worked and she felt everything during her C-section. Luckily my labor was uneventful for the most part with both girls.  Yet, hearing people's stories make me wonder could something go wrong this time.  I hope not.

I know our family dynamic is going to shift more this time than with the birth of our other two.   Alone time with my husband will be even harder to come by since we will outnumbered.  Not to mention one more schedule being thrown into the mix. With each pregnancy the worry about the what-ifs causes me to toss and turn.  What if something happens to one of the kids? What if something happens to one of us?  Even though we've talked about these things and even taken steps in case something (God forbid) does happen, the fear is there under the surface waiting for a moment to rise.

These are the things we sometimes find we can't talk about or that people gloss over.  My friend's mom used to say "don't borrow trouble" when she would bring up something negative.  Recently, I witnessed a situation where a mom mentioned an awful story about something that happened to someone else and she mentioned that she worried about it happening to her and her family.  Another mom attacked her for feeling that way calling it "ridiculous".  She then went on to make a comment about the other mom's negativity.

Don't we all feel that way sometimes?  We hear a horrible story and one of our first thoughts is "thank goodness that wasn't my family."  Then, your heart hurts for the family that has to deal with the situation.

The fact is motherhood can be a scary place and we need to talk about it with close friends and family (including our spouses).  If we talk about it, its not so scary a place especially when other moms tell you that they feel the same way. 

In my husband's words the other day "we just need to survive the next year and a half".  Could it really be that easy?  Not a chance...

But I do know that I have good friends and family who I can lean on when it does get scary.

Does motherhood scare you at times?