Monday, April 29, 2013

True Friends Tell You It's Okay to Spend Your Kids' Savings.

Lately I have been thinking about friendship.  True friendship.  I will be 35 in less than 2 months and I have many friends that I have known for well over half of my life.  I have known my best friends for about 28 years.  Crazy.

But what does it mean to be "friends" with someone?  Sure, you can have many acquaintances that you see out and you shoot the shit with them, catching up and chatting.  But friends, your TRUE bestest of the best friends, are usually few and far between.

I think that is because to be a true friend means many things.   

Here is what I think it means:

Caring about someone and truly wanting the best for them.  That means if they get a raise, a new house, or a great new job, you are so very happy for them.  You are not jealous.  Well, you can be a little jealous...but not in a spiteful way.  More in like a "Damn, she has 5 1/2 bathrooms and we only have 1 with 3 girls and that's gonna be a nightmare" kind of way.

Being honest.  Not brutally honest like, "Your ass looks so big in those pants".  But honest like, "Shit, the cable got turned off this morning and I have no clue how I am going to pay for that" or "Maybe you did overreact a spaz" or "Stop bringing me all of these sweets, you skinny be-otch".

Being each other's "people".  Think about if something good, bad, horrible, funny, or wonderful happened.  Who would you call?  Who would you want to tell?  Those are your people.

Knowing what is going on with each other.  Not only knowing what is happening in each other's lives, but asking about it. 

Offering support.  Whether is be helping out with the kids or being an outlet and listening.  Just being supportive is so important.  True friends try to lighten each other's load. 

Not judging.  You can tell a true friend that you dipped in the kids' savings for vacay or that your 2 year old wore the same outfit all weekend and they will make you feel like it is perfectly acceptable.  And they will mean it.

True friends stand the test of time and pick up right where they left off.  They trust can each other, with secrets or a favorite pair of shoes.  They can laugh with each other and cry with each other...and they can laugh at each other, but in that harmless way that only real friends can.  They can pick up the phone and call at any time of the day or night.  They can text each other pictures of a strange rash and ask for a totally unqualified diagnosis.

If you have true friends in your life, you are lucky.  You are blessed.

There are so many times in life when you find out who your friends are...

Tracy Lawrence, "You Find Out Who Your Friends Are"

One of my favorite songs.  And to my friends reading know who you are.
alt text

Friday, April 26, 2013

Give Me 5 for Friday: A Girl and Her Band

You all know I have 3 daughters.  Two of them have longer hair and love, love, love hair accessories.  The problem is that they always want to wear headbands...but at the end of the day, the headbands are either lost or shoved into their book bags.

Well, now I have a solution.  Headbands from A Girl and Her Band!

For Give Me 5 for Friday, here are 5 things that I LOVE about these headbands:

1.  They are ADORABLE!

     My shipment of headbands!

2.  There are SO MANY to choose from and you can even order customized headbands for sports teams, businesses, or promotions.

Hair BandsMore Bands

3.  They stay put! 
I received 4 headbands and a pack of hair ties.  My girls were so excited to try them!  My 7 year old wore her headband to softball last weekend...and it kept the hair out of her face and stayed in the whole time!

     Here she is wearing the softball headband and a hair tie.

4.  They make headbands for girls of ALL ages!
I also received a headband for myself and I love it.  Trust me, I need it to keep my unruly, curly hair in check some days.

     Pardon the extreme close-up of my head.  But you get the idea...

5.  This company is wonderful! 
Each month, A Girl and Her Band chooses a different charity and donates a portion of their proceeds that month to the particular charity.  The company is also committed to empowering girls and helping them become confident, creative individuals.  Who wouldn't want to support a company like this?

So go check out A Girl and Her Band.  If you have daughters or nieces or granddaughters, you are sure to find some adorable headbands for them...and a few for yourself too!


You can enter below to win your own headbands and hair ties!  The winner gets to choose 3 headbands and a 3 pack of hair ties from A Girl and Her Band.  Enter right now...and the lucky winner will be announced next Friday!  Good luck!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

alt text

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Tween Years: Teeth, Mullets, and Regret

My oldest daughter will be 8 in less than a month.  I have to admit, I am scared.

Yes, I am sad that she is growing up and I can't believe how fast time is flying.  Yes, I know that the difficult teenage years lie ahead. 

BUT...that's not why I am scared.

Listen, my daughter is still sweet and innocent.  But she is getting to THAT age.  The age that includes back talking and eye rolling.  I'm not sure I can handle it. 

It is easy to handle tantrums and meltdowns when kids are young and super cute...and when they still have their baby teeth.  Then something happens.  They get their permanent teeth that are way too big for their still small heads.  They become awkward tweens.  They start to choose their own clothes...those choices they will regret someday.  They start to choose their own hairstyles...more choices, more regrets.

Maybe I sound harsh.  But I have a reason. 

This is me.  Grade 4.  9 years old. 

All I see here are teeth, a mullet, and choices I regret (and a strong resemblance to Richard Marx).

I am scared.

alt text

Friday, April 19, 2013

Give Me 5 for Friday: You had a baby. Now what?

Consider this as a sort of "What to Expect When You are No Longer Expecting" kind of post.  You know, like right after you have a baby and you are all like WTF is happening here?!

I know that I read a book during my first pregnancy called Your Pregnancy: Week by Week.  I devoured that sucker.  I read every chapter, every week.  I looked ahead, although I tried not to.  I reread it with baby #2.  I didn't even touch it with my 3rd...but that's to be expected I guess.

I knew what was going on each week with the baby and also with my body.  Admittedly, near the end of the pregnancies I was taken aback by a few unexpected little things.  But all in all, I was prepared.

What I wasn't prepared for was what would become of my body right after I gave birth.  I wish someone had really, truly prepared me for what I would face.

So if you are expecting your first child and you aren't sure how things will go down after the baby is born, I am here to help you.  If you already have gone through this, I'm sure you can relate.

Here are 5 things to expect when you are no longer expecting...

1.  Your stomach will look like a deflated a wrinkly, unrecognizable mass of flesh.  It will not resemble the round, smooth bump it was when you were carrying the baby and lathering it up with cocoa butter for 9 months.  By the way, all that shit doesn't work.  I feel those companies, such as Palmer's, are guilty of false advertising.  All they are doing is selling a dream.  A dream that will come crashing to the ground.  That stuff might help a bit...but it sure as hell won't prevent stretch marks.  They develop internally and they are also hereditary.  Thank your DNA for stretch marks...
And if you don't have any, well lucky you.  Have fun wearing your bikini all summer with a baby on your hip, you b*tch.  Just kidding.  Really, I am.  Kind of...

2.  You will try on your pre-pregnancy clothes WAY too soon.  They won't fit.  Don't sweat it.  My doctor told me it takes at least 8 to 12 weeks for your uterus to go back to it's normal size.  I have to wonder if she meant 8 to 12 years.  That would be make more sense to me...
And with that being said, your pre-pregnancy clothes very well may not fit.  Ever.  I still have a pair of jeans from J. Crew in my basement that were my FAVORITE.  I haven't worn them in over 8 years.  Call me an eternal optimist. 

3.  TMI here.  But you will bleed for weeks.  That is the one thing I think many people are the most shocked by.  It will go on and on and on.  It's a bloodbath in the beginning.  You just birthed a human.  It will be okay.  Unless it's really not okay, call your doctor if you are unsure.  Don't go passing out on people. 
Also if you have a c-section, you will have to measure your urine output.  Really.  You will have to use a large measuring cup thing that conveniently fits inside the toilet when you go to the bathroom.  Then you will have to tell the nurse, like a good little girl, how much you went pee pee.  It made me feel like I was potty training...myself.
Along those same lines, you will wear a pad the size of your sofa cushion.  And the underwear the hospital gives you are super comfy and pure genius.  They stretch to fit like 4 people.  I don't know how they do it, but they are wonderful.

4.  You might still look pregnant for a bit.  It was such a hoot when I got a pedicure 3 weeks postpartum and the nice young lady sand blasting my hooves asked me when I was due. 
Such a riot.

5.  If you have a c-section, you will walk around like the Hunch Back of Notre Dame for several days and even up to a week.  You will also want to dropkick people in the teeth if they make you laugh.  Holding a pillow over your stomach helps when you have to laugh or cough and will reduce the sensation that you most definitely are ripping your abdominal region wide open.
As a side note, dancing at a wedding when you are less than 3 weeks postpartum should be done with extreme caution.  Someone might come along and spin you around and unknowingly cause your few remaining sutures to pop out.  An open bar will help ease the pain.  Trust me on this one...

So what do you think?  Are you prepared for all that comes after you give birth? 

If not, just remember this:  People are crazy enough to do it again and it can't be all that bad.  So what I'm saying is that it's bad (it really is), but not that bad.  Not to scare you or anything...but really, it's bad.

Good luck with that.

alt text

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Give the world your best anyway.

Here we are again.  Another senseless act of violence.  More innocent lives lost.  Lives changed forever. Another CHILD gone too soon.

Watching the coverage of the Boston Marathon yesterday was heart wrenching and terrifying.  I will admit that it made me want to never leave my house never let my children leave the house again. 

Where are we safe?  You can't go to a movie, the mall, school, or even to a wholesome event like a marathon.  How can that be?

But we must go on.  If we don't, they have won.  The person or people that committed these heinous acts have won.  We can't let that happen.

So we go on.  We focus on the good.  We focus on those who ran to help.  We "look for the helpers..." as Mr. Rogers said his mother told him to do. 

We keep those people who were affected by this terrible tragedy close to our hearts.  We pray for them and ask God to give them strength at this time. 

But we must not give up.  We must not lose faith in the mankind.  Because again, if we do, they have won. 

We must look inside ourselves and dig down as deep at we can to do our best everyday.  To try to make the world a better place for our children.  Because I know that the world we are living in today is not what I want for my children. 

We look towards the future and strive for better.  Strive for peace and compassion and empathy.  We give the world our best.

That's all we can do.

Give the world the best you have
and it may never be enough.
Give the world your best anyway.
~Mother Teresa
alt text

Friday, April 12, 2013

Give Me 5 for Friday: Writer's Block

It's Friday.  Last week I took off from my Give Me 5 for Friday post because it was my spring break.  Honestly, I took off from writing anything on this blog all week.

I say it was because of spring break and I needed my own little "break".  But truth is, I have writer's block.

Not to say that I don't have PLENTY of things to write about...because I do.  I have 3 daughters and a home daycare that could provide writing material for days.  I am thinking about going back to teaching (Really, more than thinking about it.  I am going that route and hopefully we be teaching for the 2013-2014 school year).  I have thoughts running through my head 24/7.  Seriously...sometimes they wake me up at night.

But here's the thing...I still have writer's block.  And I will tell you why...

1.  I feel like I always have to be funny.
That was my whole shtick (is that a word?) with this blog.  I wanted to write funny things and make people laugh.  But I can't always be funny...especially when the kids are being difficult, when I am physically drained, or when I am overwhelmed.  But...

2.  I also can't always whine and complain here. 
I have written several posts that discuss how hard parenting can be.  I don't want that to become my thing either.

3.  I don't want to offend people.
There are many things that I don't write about because I'm afraid to offend others.  Yes, this is MY blog.  MY place to write about whatever it is that I choose.  But at what price?  I am not willing to offend people.  I am not going to call out certain groups of people or point fingers.   I have lists of topics that I want to tackle...but I am too much of a wimp to go there.

4.  It's a great deal of work.
Finding the time to write something of substance and quality takes time.  Time that I don't always have.   I know...everyone's busy.  But this blog is a side thing for me.  I started it as an outlet and as a place to entertain others who might be going through the same thing.  I don't have time when the kids are in school to write.  I have kids with me ALL OF THE TIME.  I'm lucky if I get a little quiet time during nap but even then I am sifting through the rubble that the morning left behind.

5.  It's a great deal of work (did I say that already?).
Again, I started this blog almost 2 years ago (1 year and 9 months ago to be exact)....and it took ALL OF THAT TIME to gain close to 4000 followers on Facebook, about 1100 followers on Twitter (I am slacker there though...sorry!), and only slightly over 100 followers here specifically on the blog.  I'm am so happy that I have gained a following and I am SO GRATFUL to every single person that reads this blog.  But it takes time to get there and I am not even close to some of the big dogs.  It's hard not to get discouraged.  It is hard to not question... What I am even doing here???

So I have a little case of writer's block. 

I can only hope that one of my kids does something really embarrassing this weekend so I can write about it.  Fingers crossed.

alt text

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Minivans, Meltdowns, & Merlot: A Book Review

First, let's start with the title.

Carolyn Coppola had me at Minivans, Meltdowns & Merlot before I even cracked open the book.

Seriously, these three words could describe a day in my life quite adequately...with the exception of Merlot.  I am not a huge fan.  But we could replace that with Moscato or Miller Lite.

Anywho, Carolyn asked me if I would like a copy of her book and if I would write a review.  I was SO HAPPY to do that!  I wanted to read the book anyway so I was super excited.

Inside the front cover, Carolyn wrote a little note that said "I hope you find comic relief in my crazy stories..."

That is exactly what I found on the pages of this hilarious and honest book. 

If you are a mom, you have to read it!  It will make you laugh, it will make you shake your head because you have been there yourself, and it will make you want to go share a glass of wine with Carolyn and her friends.

I LOVED Carolyn's firm stance that her Envoy is, in fact, NOT a minivan...although on girl's night out she let the reference slide.

I laughed when she described her husband's, ummm, affinity for ponytails.

I laughed even harder when I read about her potty training adventures and what her dog Leo did when her daughter successfully pooped on the potty (it was disgusting and HILARIOUS at the same time).

I felt her pain when she talked about the "fun" things that come out of her childrens' mouths.  Don't kids just say the darnedest things?

Her stories about her friends totally cracked me up...especially her friend with dance fever in her kitchen who was interrupted by the presence of law enforcement or her other friend's unpleasant encounter at an ob/GYN appointment.

After reading this book, I realized how great it is to have a support system of friends who are going through the same crap in life.  Friends who are dealing with whining, tantrums, and being pulled in so many different directions every day.  Friends who can sit with you on that rare child-free occasion and enjoy a stiff drink!  Those people will stand the test of time...just like Carolyn and her friends have.

So if you are looking for a great read, Minivans, Meltdowns, & Merlot is the book for you.

Trust me, you won't be disappointed!  I know I wasn't. 

BUY A COPY HERE: (click on the book)

Or use one of the links to Amazon on this page to purchase Minivans, Meltdowns, & Merlot!

Happy reading!
alt text

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Break Wrap-up: Indoor Easter Egg Hunts, Glue Dots, and Zoos

Last week was spring break for our family.  The kids were off, my husband was off, and my daycare was closed.

Spring break always brings with it the relaxation of no working, no school prep, and no homework.  But also the added pressure to do the 1 million projects around the house that are always breathing down my neck.

The week leading up to spring break goes something like this:
Next week, I am doing ALL 37 loads of laundry.
Next week, I am deep cleaning these bedrooms.
Next week, I am making an effort to exercise.
Next week, I am taking all of that stuff that has been in bags for months and dropping it off at Goodwill.
Next week, we are painting that kitchen ceiling.
Next week, we have to get that attic cleaned out.

And it is my intention to do it ALL.

Then things get in my way.

Let's start with Good Friday.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  The new neighbors across the street had some trees cut down and the first thing I noticed that morning was the shadow that the telephone poll cast on the side of the house.  I took that as a good sign.  A sign of what?  I'm not sure.  But I thought it was really cool.

Then I got absolutely NOTHING done that day...if you don't count breaking up fights and giving empty threats. 

Saturday was more of the same nothing-getting-done song and dance...besides some Easter prep and a trip to Target resulting in me saying I WILL NEVER GO TO TARGET ON A SATURDAY AGAIN.  (And by Easter prep I mean taste testing the Reese's peanut butter eggs.)

After 2 beautiful, sunny was only natural that rain was forecast for Easter.

Every year, the kids in the family have an Easter Egg hunt at my in-laws' house.  This year was no different...except it was moved indoors.  I have NO IDEA how they did it, but they successfully hid over 80 eggs in the house.  And the kids had a great time.

Then my mother-in-law, who is super crafty and creative, had a craft table set up on the porch for the kids to decorate big plastic Easter eggs.  Think little plastic eyes, pipe cleaner, glittery stickers and foam pieces, and such.  AWESOME.  When my mother-in-law told said to take the whole bottle of wine with us for craft time, I knew we were in for a treat.

The highlight of this was my discovery of glue dots.  They are awesome.  (I immediately realize how pathetic I sound as I typed that.  But that is the reality these days.  I am excited over some damn glue dots.)

Fast forward 3 days and all that got done was some laundry and vacuuming.  Not to mention me gorging myself daily on cake, strawberry and pretzel salad, ham, and deviled eggs.

Here's were things got exciting.  Hold onto your hats...

For two days in a row we hit up two different zoos.  I know.  Rock stars.

The first zoo we visited with my friend (the skinny one who always sends sweets to daycare when I watch her daughter) was the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, MD.  Very cute for kids...minus the overzealous goats looking for hand outs.  Actually they were pretty cute too.  The kids LOVED it and we will be going back in the summer. 

Note:  I seriously thought that the movie We Bought a Zoo was filmed here.  That's EXACTLY what it looked like.  But it wasn't.  I googled it.

The second one was our local zoo, the Brandywine Zoo.  In all honesty, you can be in and out in 7 minutes flat.  That how we roll here in Delaware. 

This trip was with my oldest's girl scout troop and it began with a guided tour of the monkey house.  Let me tell you now...I have NO IDEA how those girls stayed in that monkey house for 20 minutes without passing out.  I couldn't even enter and my 4 year old began dry heaving almost immediately so we waited outside.  That's how bad the smell was...

But the new tiger was out that day and he was putting on quite a show.  The kids loved it.  I didn't love the quick pit stop in the gift shop though.  The girls wanted stuffed kittens (although my 4 year old is still harassing me for the real thing.  We have a 15 year real thing that wouldn't be too pleased).  I had planned on getting them happy meals for lunch as a "special treat" for me them.  So I made them choose...and they chose the damn stuffed kittens.  Didn't they know I wanted a cheeseburger?  The nerve...

The rest of the break consisted of more laundry, some light (and I mean light) cleaning, a few play dates, an indoor pool birthday party, trips to the park, and TONS of arguing and whining.

But it was actually a great week.

And to top it all off, my neighbor bought me a 12 pack of Miller Lite...and my husband and I did get a few hours out one evening without the kids. 

So as far as I'm concerned, that's another successful spring break in the books. 

The only thing that could top it would be sitting on the beach in Mexico sipping a margarita.  Or sitting in a Mexican restaurant sipping a margarita.  Or hiding in my closet sipping a margarita. 

Anywhere sipping a margarita would do...

alt text