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?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another First For The Books

I dragged my feet for as long as I could.  I finally conceded that Madison needed a haircut-her first at 22 months.  At least I didn't request that the hairdresser put all of her cut hair in the little envelope to be preserved like I did with Em.  Of course, Em barely had any hair at the time and was barely past the one year marker but I was so excited to have her hair cut and another milestone to be surpassed that I just had to take her.  With Madison, I waited until she had a mullet that would do any person stuck in an 80's time warp proud.  Madison gave the hairdresser and me "the face" the entire time. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Motherhood is...

What are the first words that come to mind when you think of motherhood?

When I first thought about about this the first three that came to mind were sacrifice, patience, and joy. 

Sacrifice sometimes has a negative connotation to it and sometimes it leads to bitterness but when I think about what I have sacrificed to be a mother, I think about the joy it has brought me.  Sacrifice isn't even something many moms think about, it is just something we do.  Not that we don't all grumble sometimes but that is part of motherhood to.  It isn't all rainbows and flowers and thank yous.  We give up the nights of peaceful sleep, money that once would have bought the new heels or purse that we just had to have now are used to buy a toy or new clothes for our children, and sometimes we even put our dreams on hold.  We do it for our children because our priorities have changed. 

Motherhood is about patience.  We have to be patient from the time we find out we are pregnant until our children are born to meet the beings we have helped create.  Our son is due next month and just like with every other pregnancy I can't wait to finally meet our newest addition, to hold him in my arms and to see him with his family.  We have to be patient as our children find their independence and stumble and fall and we have to be strong and patient with ourselves when it is time to slowly let them go and find their own wings to take them where they want to go.

And the joy it brings us to do these things...
I can't imagine not being a mom.  Sometimes I think about my life before I had children and it feels like I was a different person. And I was. I don't feel that I have lost out on anything though.  The laughter, snuggles, and everyday stolen moments that remind us of how precious it is to be a mom make it all worth it. And lets not forget the wilted dandelions and macaroni necklaces that we get.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hats On My Head

Watching the royal wedding and the women in all of their hats made me wish that hats were still in vogue here across the sea besides for those attending the Kentucky Derby. Of course some of those seen this morning like Princess Beatrice's faux ribbon hat, were more eye catching than others.  I want to know how she kept that thing on her head!  I have always loved the hats worn by women from decades past here in the states (quite different from many of those seen this morning)

I have never been much of a collector of things.  When I was in middle school I fell in love with a porcelain doll and begged my mom to buy her for me.  The next thing I knew I had a whole collection of porcelain dolls that I didn't really care for.

In college, I collected rare, old books but they needed special care and I eventually ran out of room to store them.  And I ran out of time to seek them out as time went on.

In a conversation with a friend who was an avid collector of Hallmark ornaments several years ago, she had asked me if I would collect something what would it be regardless of the lack of space in my tiny apartment.  To humor her, I said I was always fascinated with the hats women used to wear at the turn of the century and up until the era of Jackie Kennedy as first lady.  For Christmas that year, she had got me a hat that she found at an antique shop and my hat collection was born.

I have hats that family and friends have found and some I picked up myself.  Two of the hats I own belonged to my grandmother.

I no longer collect them since I ran out of room on the hat stand (that I acquired when the clothing store I worked at in college was going to throw it out). They sit in a solitary corner of the guest room and are a topic of conversation whenever we have overnight guests.

I refuse to part with the hats. They will probably get passed on to the girls.  They love to try them on but they know that I must be in the room with them and that I need to help them put them on.  I like that they can respect these hats that were once owned and worn by real women from another era.

Maybe one day hats will be fashionable again in the U.S.

Okay, maybe not.