Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Sippy Cup Incident

My cousin Nicole was over recently with her two daughters, Daniella, 2.5 and Gianna, 6 months. We ate lunch, took the girls to the park, and then came back to my house to play. Sounds like a lovely way to spend an afternoon, no? Well it was, except for the sippy cup. It wasn't a particularly nice sippy cup. It was pink and it looks as if one time it might have been covered with bright pictures of the cast of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but they had faded and become scratched off with overuse. It didn't matter. All that mattered was that Daniella had it and Isabella wanted it.

There were screams and cries coming out of my daughter that I had never heard before. Not during sleep training, not during shots, not ever. At first I just tried to distract Isabella and give her her own sippy cup. She threw it on the floor. Then I tried to offer her every single sippy cup I had in the house. She wasn't impressed. So then I tried to just remove her from the situation so Andy brought her outside on the deck and we shut the blinds so she couldn't see Daniella drinking from "the cup". That worked until he brought her back inside and she saw the cup and then she flipped out again.

So we tried to reason with Daniella, it was her cup after all but she was a bit older so maybe she'd be up for a negotiation. "I'll give you Isabella's brand new sippy cup to use. You see it has princesses on it." Not interested. "I'll give you 5 yogurt melts and a cookie." No dice. I'm pretty sure Isabella ONLY wanted it because Daniella had it and I'm equally as sure that the ONLY reason Daniella wouldn't give it up was because Isabella wanted it, but we persevered. "I'll give you 6 yogurt melts, 3 cookies, and a toy." She very slowly gave Isabella the cup which finally quieted her screams. Isabella took a few sips and then toddled off with it. I probably broke every parenting rule there is in the book, but it got her to stop screaming so I'm ok with that.

Thankfully this incident occurred with my cousin and not some random person on the playground. They might not have been so easy to accommodate and their kids might not have been so bribeable!

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Featured Little Blogger: Two Isn't Enough

The featured Little Guy Blogger this week is JennLovesAustin from Two Isn't Enough. Her and her husband have been together for ten years and two just wasn't enough because now they have their beautiful daughter Chloe. JLA is a working mom who is struggling through PPD/PPA and she has a wonderful post about how has a mom suffering through PPA it's been extremely difficult for her to Sleep Through the Night. Stop by Two Isn't Enough to learn more about JLA and let her know that you found her through the Helping the Little Guy Project and if you like what you see, why not follow?

If you want to be part of this project send me an e-mail.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lack

I have a lot of blessings in my life. I have a gorgeous daughter, a husband who loves me, a lovely home, a steady job, friends I can talk to, and a family that supports me. With so much abundance in my life I'm usually a pretty happy person, but sometimes I just get into a funk, like I'm sure we all do, and it seems all I can focus on is lack.

Sometimes my friends will talk about how they went shopping and splurged on a few new outfits and a killer pair of heels and I get envious and I wish that I had that luxury to do that. Most of the money we earn goes towards saving for a bigger house and paying down my student loans and of course diapers and Fall clothes for Miss. Isabella aren't free. Unless you wanna send me some.

Back at work people will talk about going on fancy vacations to Europe or the Caribbean and I'll wish I could be there. My friends are planning a trip to Australia to visit our friend Lara who moved there last year and I know that I won't have the money or time to go. I'd love to take a girls only vacation, I'd love to see Australia, and I'd love to see my friend but it's not an option for me and that makes me sad. It's just another place where I don't fit in or belong. None of my IRL friends have kids or are married so that just adds to my feelings of being left out and lonely. And I'm not blaming them in any way shape or form. Things change. Life changes. People change.

Sometimes I'll look through a glossy magazine and see a gorgeous kitchen, a designer dress, or a group of super close looking girlfriends and I know that that's just not in the cards for me. As I said, I love my life and I have an abundance of blessings it's just sometimes I become aware of what I don't have and I find the best way to snap myself out of this funk is to be grateful for what I already have. It's just sometimes easier said than done.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

CSN Giveaway $35

I mentioned earlier this month that I would be doing a $35 one time use gift card to CSN and now it's here! If you've hung around the blogosphere long enough you know that CSN is synonymous with awesome giveaways. But instead of me choosing something that you would like to buy you can just use the gift card code to buy whatever you want! So maybe it's toys for the kids, something for your kitchen, or maybe a little something for your garden. Whatever you want CSN has it. I'm making this giveaway easy too, so it won't be that big of a pain in the ass to enter.

1. MANDATORY ENTRY: Be a public follower of my blog. Make sure you provide me with your e-mail address if it's not already linked with your profile. (1 entry)

2. Visit CSN Stores and tell me what you think you might like to buy. (1 entry)

3. Vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs (1 entry)

4. Follow any of my Featured Little Guy Bloggers (1 entry per blog that you follow)

5. Follow me on Twitter by clicking HERE (1 entry)

This giveaway will end on Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 12:00 am. The winner will be chosen by random number generator and notified by e-mail. Good luck and thanks to all who enter.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Growing Pains

When I first got serious about blogging I had a lot to say. I was in the throws of motherhood and wasn't finding life with a newborn particularly enjoyable and I wasn't transitioning into my new life with grace. My blogging voice was strong and continued to remain strong as I shared my thoughts, views, and experiences with motherhood. However, lately I've been feeling a bit voiceless.

My blog entries have been pretty strained lately. The ideas are there but I can't get them out of my head and onto the paper as well as I used to. I feel like I'm going through a bit of growing pains in regards to my writing and my blog. I have tons of great ideas and topics I want to write about but I stare at the computer screen and think "How would I have written this 3 months ago?" I can't quite put my finger on what the problem is.

I've noticed that the comments on my blog posts have also drastically decreased, so unless you're all prisoners of summer I think you might feel the same way I do. I'll admit to biting off a bit more than I can chew with reviews/giveaways so after I've fulfilled what I've already promised (there are some great things coming up though) I'm going to slow down a bit. I'll still do reviews/giveaways but only for the super fabulous things.

So bear with me as I sort out this blockage and try to find the words for all the ideas I want to discuss.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Featured Little Blogger: Resourceful Red

This week's Helping the Little Guy Blogger is Resourceful Red. Ms. Red is not only mama to a beautiful little boy but she also has great tips on living green and cutting costs. When reading this blog you'll be taken along on a cost conscious journey towards greener living. Which, if I'm being honest, I could really use. She has a great post on Laundry, which just happens to be my arch nemesis. Go and visit her blog, leave a comment telling her that you found her here. Remember what it was like when you were just starting out and needed some support? Let's show some.

If you want to be part of the Helping the Little Guy Project send me an e-mail.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back from the Shore

I'm back from a lovely week down at the Jersey shore. Unfortunately we stayed in Ocean City which is a dry town so there was virtually no chance of running into my fist pumping faves, Snooki and The Situation, although there was this fabulous T-shirt that said "Pump Fists Not Gas" that I wanted to have but Andy promptly told me that the purchase of that T-shirt would result in a messy divorce so I decided to forgo the tackiness. Here are some bullet points of the trip so you don't get lost in an endless diatribe.
  • The ocean weather is treacherous on my hair. I'm talking frizz central.
  • Isabella will not eat broccoli but she has no problem shoveling sand down her throat. You'd think that after the first taste she would realize that it's nasty, but apparently that's not true.
  • She is not scared of the ocean or of birds and chased both with gusto.
  • My cousin was there with her two girls and Isabella really enjoyed smashing her 2.5 year olds sand castle.
  • Beach vacations with young children are NOT relaxing. There's no laying out, no reading trashy magazines, no sleeping late. But it is nice to have parents who will stay home after the baby has gone to sleep so you can go to Atlantic City with your cousins and their significant others and have a nice dinner and gamble a bit.
  • The food on the boardwalk was amazing: curly fries, fried oreos, fried snickers, pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, caramel corn, and not to mention the ass ton of wine and beer we drank on the front patio each night. I'm not stepping on the scale until I've had one week to detox!
  • Isabella had to sleep in her crib in our room and it was not fun. She'd wake up way earlier than usual and not go back to sleep because she'd see me and Andy sleeping and she'd yell "Mommy" "Dada" over and over until we finally got up.
  • We had a great time and we're going back next year for sure and we're thinking about Disney World next summer too!
Digging in the sand with her cousin
Enjoying a beer on the porch after bedtime

Right before going out to dinner



Enjoying the waves with Andy and Aunt Meaghan

It's so great to be home but I miss being only 3 blocks from the beach and walking on the boardwalk. Now all I have to do tonight is laundry!

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

City Girl Gone Country

I'm a city girl born and bred. I'm not outdoorsy and never have been. I like my blow drier, my flat screen TV, my laptop, and life without bug spray. However, Andy's family owns a camping trailer in the boonies somewhere so we decided to take Isabella. I agreed also because of S'mores and the chance to go to a real deal country fair. I've only been to city ones like the San Genaro Festival in Little Italy and the 18th avenue Feast in Brooklyn.


Which looks like this ____________________>




So we packed up a ridiculous amount of stuff because when you're traveling with a child it's amazing the amount of crap that you need, and we headed out to the woods. She loved it! She couldn't get enough of running around on the open grass. She loved looking at the animals at the fair and called everything from a g

oat to a cow "puppy". I even let her have ice cream for dinner one night. We had a really great time and I enjoyed the campfires, s'mores, and fried twinkies at

the fair.


Friday, August 20, 2010

I Am My Own Woman

Right now I am probably sitting on the beach wrapping up my shore vacation (sorry I didn't let you guys know I was leaving but I don't want to come home to a house that has been completely robbed but I will be posting an ass ton of pics soon). But I didn't want to miss Transatlantic Blonde's Feminist Friday Round Up so I'm scheduling a post in advance even though I'm not aware of any prompts this week, so forgive me if I'm totally off topic with my generic "Feminist Post".

When it was time for me to get married, we went and applied for our marriage license and the lady explained to me how to fill out the change of name section. Without a second thought I just filled in my maiden name. I had no plans on changing it. None. Andy had some other ideas.

He couldn't understand why I didn't want to take his last name. I told him that if he could give me one valid reason as to why I should change it, I would do it. He said, "So people will know we're together." Ummm, we've been together for years, we're getting married, and we are own a home together, I'm pretty sure that everyone we care about knows that we're together.

And so I remain to this day, Melissa Maiden Name. I didn't see any valid reason as to why I should have to change every credit card, social security card, teaching licenses, and my drivers license. Who would willingly spend a day at the DMV? I'd rather brush my teeth with barbed wire.

It wasn't only the inconvenience of it that made me keep my given name. It was my identity. My ties to my own family. How I was known. Who I was. I wasn't willing to give that up for the chance to become a part of him. Our lives were together. Our hearts were together. But we retain our individuality and I retain my name.

*If you did decide to change your name I don't think any less of you (if you were worried about what I think). I celebrate every woman's choice to make the decisions that she sees fit. So if that means keeping your name, taking his, or going by Mrs. Banana Hammock I'm all for it. More power to ya sister.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mistakes I've Made

We've all made our share of mistakes in life. Whether it was the decision to pick up a cigarette 2 years after you've quit, or to sneak out of the house when you were 16 to go and make out with your boyfriend, or to wear that hideous white sweater that makes you look like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. We've all been there, but really the only person you hurt making those mistakes was yourself. I'm talking about the mommy mistakes that we make that may or may not have our kids in therapy when they're out in the world.

I've made my share. It first started when Isabella was a teeny tiny newborn. She'd wake up in the middle of the night to eat and be changed and I would take her downstairs, turn the lights on, and feed her while watching TV. Ummm, how was my child ever supposed to catch on that dark meant night which meant sleep if I was stimulating her with noise and light? It only took me 7 weeks to realize this and to correct it.

Then there was the rocking. Oh the rocking. I rocked this kid to sleep every night for months. Because it was easy, because it worked, and because for the love of God I was so very tired and had no other tricks up my sleeve. I don't know how I managed to get her to put herself to sleep by herself in the crib at night, but somehow I did it and she would put herself to sleep from the time she was around 7 months or so. But I never did any nap training and until very very very recently I was still rocking my one year old to sleep for naps. I needed to correct it. My only options were to rock her to sleep until she got so heavy that she threw my back out, wait until she was old enough to reason with her, or fix it now. I decided to fix it now. A few hellish days of crying and now my baby puts herself to sleep for naps which is a day I never thought would come. I'm actually going to write a post about it because I know that children's sleep habits are so very interesting to read about.

I'm a schedule mama and proud of it. In school a schedule and routine keeps my students happy. Any teacher will tell you that routines are basically teacher 101. So I created and stuck to a schedule for Isabella because it helped me map out my day and made me feel more secure. But I was a bit too rigid I think. I don't need to have a mommy meltdown because she went to sleep at 7:15 pm instead of at 7. I was always just so scared that the tiniest flaw in her schedule would lead to catastrophe. It never did and after over a year of parenting I'm finally realizing that I can be a bit fluid in her schedule. If she wakes up early she might need two naps, late maybe one nap. If she takes a long second nap it's not the end of the world if her bedtime is a bit later. I'm learning to relax and I'm learning to let go.

Those are my major mommy mistakes thus far. Unfortunately I know there will be many many more in my future. I guess the important thing is to correct your mistakes when possible, learn from them and move on. We're all doing our best here.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Queen of Green


I blogged recently about TerraCycle and how it is helping to upcycle waste into new and useful products and it got me thinking, what am I doing to help? How can I reduce my carbon footprint? What is a carbon footprint? I want to be able to leave the earth better than I found it or at least not leave it any worse for the wear.

I mean I do the obvious, shut the water off when I'm brushing my teeth, shut the lights off when I leave the room, figure out what I want before I go into the fridge so I'm not standing in front of an open door, and I obviously recycle.

But what else can I do? I'm not into cloth diapering, my interest is peaked so maybe I'll give it a go with the next kid. I don't use water bottles, but those little metal ones. Is it better to use real dishes and save on waste or paper ones and save on water? I'm not sure as I rarely have the answer to any question. But I am open to suggestions, tips, and resources and I will continue to do research to figure out what I can do to help and I'll share my tips with all of you guys.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Featured Little Blogger: The Adventures of a Blondie Mommy

This week's featured Helping the Little Guy Blogger is Christy from The Adventures of a Blondie Mommy. The Adventure of a Blondie Mommy consists of Christy, her husband Ryan and their two adorable boys Landen and Jackson. This is a blogger that I can really relate to. She's a working mom and a teacher, just like yours truly. She has a post about Balance that really sums up a lot of the feelings of inadequacy and absenteeism of the working mom. Let's show her that she's not alone and that we understand the plight of all working moms.

If you would like to be a part of the Helping the Little Guy Project send me an e-mail.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Feminist Friday Round Up

So I know what you're thinking, two posts in one day what a post whore. I try not to inundate you with too much of my mindless ramblings as I try to make sense of my life but today is Feminist Friday Round-Up over at Transatlantic Blonde and I forgot to unschedule the Terrorist post and replace it with this post so that's why you all have two posts today. Sorry.

This week's prompt is fashion. That Transatlantic Blonde is a very open ended gal. Oh, wait, maybe I shouldn't be calling a feminist "gal". Any way as a teacher of 8 and 9 year olds I see a lot of inappropriate fashion on their part. I work in a uniform school, but on special occasions the students are allowed to wear regular clothes.

Now, call me old fashioned but the word "cutie" splashed across an 8 year olds rear end and the phrase "These Are Real" splattered across the front of a young girl's T-shirt don't exactly jibe with me. These are kids, not teenagers or adults. We need to be preserving our young girl's childhood.

The world already views young girls as sexualized (Toddlers and Tiara's anyone?) and in a world of the Miley Ciruses, Britney Spears, and Lindsey Lohan it's no wonder that young girls are wanting to dress beyond their years BUT this is where the parents come in. It's no fun but sometimes you just have to say no. No you cannot wear a bare midriff. No you cannot wear shorts that are cut up to your ass cheeks. No you cannot wear a shirt that proclaims to the world that your "hugs are 50 cents but they can kiss your ass for free" (another gem from my years of teaching).

The clothing companies are making these clothes because people are buying them. Once our kids are teenagers making their own money in part time jobs parents lose some control over what they wear and what they buy, but when kids are still young they need boundries. Protect your girls as long as you can.

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I Will Not Negotiate with Terrorists

My child has turned into a tiny, tantrum throwing terrorist. At first I thought it was funny, even kind of cute. Well it's not anymore. She yells and screams, arches her back and throws herself around on the floor. When I take something away from her that she can't have, like garbage, when she tries to steal another kid's toy like a big bully, when she needs to get strapped into her car seat/stroller when she'd rather be walking around.

Now I understand that it sucks having to do something you don't want to do and I wish I could throw a tantrum every time I need to make dinner when I'd rather be watching TV or when I really want a pair of shoes that I just can't afford. So I get her frustration, but sometimes I need her to sit in her car seat, like when I'm driving and sometimes I need her to not try to play with garbage, ya know, for sanitary reasons.

So what do you do with a toddler who's being a giant tantrum throwing pain in the ass? Not quite sure, but distraction works the best for me. Anything to take her away from what is currently pissing her off. A sippy cup in the car seat. A cookie when she can't take a toy away from another kid. Sometimes there's nothing I can do so she just needs to sit in her stroller and wail. I'm only afraid that by distracting her I'm rewarding her terroristic behavior.

I don't want to have to deal with a child who throws themselves on the floor in public. I just hope I'm doing the right thing by her.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Always Up For a Challenge


So Sare over at Falling for Baby started a 30 Day Blog Challenge. I realize this is coming on the heels of the SITS 30 Days to a Better Blog Challenge, but if you're like me and missed the boat on that one this is a very realistic challenge that you can get in on now.

So she's not asking you to blog every day for 30 days because let's face it, who has that kind of time? So 5 blogs a week for 6 weeks. I think it's a great way to get the cobwebs off your blog and keep it fresh as well as link up with some other awesome ladies. Meme's count, which is a plus. You can read more about the 30 Day Blog Challenge by clicking HERE.

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A Sneak Peak of a CSN Giveaway

CSN has been gracious enough to offer a $35 gift code to use on any of their 200+ online stores. You can find anything you need through CSN, from Le Creuset cookware, toys for the kids, to home decor. It really has something for everyone. So next week I will be hosting a giveaway for $35 so take this time to decide what you'd love to buy from CSN!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On My Own 2 Feet

I've always relied very heavily on my mother's advice and support, even though she hasn't always been spot on. Like when she insisted that I go to a very expensive college which caused me to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Thanks mom. But she has been a tremendous help to me once Isabella was born.

She moved from New York to New Jersey to be close to us so she could watch Isabella while I worked and so that she could be part of her first grandchild's everyday life. Those first few months where I was a walking, talking zombie, well a crying zombie, she stepped up. She would come over and take shifts so I could rest, or cry some more in my bedroom. She let Isabella sleep over so Andy and I could enjoy a date night and sleep in. She'd stay over late so I could prepare dinner. She came with us to the mall, food shopping, for pictures just so I would have an extra set of hands to help out.

Then she got cancer and everything changed. Aside from dealing with that whole situation I found myself without any help. In the summer when I'm off and Andy was working it was just me and Isabella. Now I realize that many people have done this from the get go, but I didn't. I never had to; I always had help.

I was scared the first time I had to drive a long distance with her in the car and the first time we had to go grocery shopping alone, but staying in the house all day is no good for any of us. I get bored, she gets bored, no one is happy. I'm all about the day trips. So I did it. I was nervous and there may have been a meltdown or two, but I did it. I landed on my own two feet.

I blossomed as a mother. I learned to do it by myself. To wait out the tantrum while waiting in line to pay for groceries, so what if the old hag in the next aisle is giving me the stink eye, I've seen worse. To go to the pool without an extra set of hands to carry sippy cups/tubes/sunscreen/snacks/and pool toys. To load her into the car drive an hour into Brooklyn to spend the day with a friend who is expecting.

I can do it without anyone's help. I can manage the house and the baby and the day to day activities that need to be done by myself. And while I hope my mom has a speedy recovery from surgery, I am hoping that for unselfish reasons. I want her to get well but not because I need her to help me.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Featured Little Blogger: Life With Monster

This week's featured blogger from my Helping the Little Guy Project is Kit from Life With Monster. I will gladly say that Kit is a snarky biatch. Yup that's right I said it. It's a good thing that she happens to be a very good friend of mine so she won't kick my ass. And if I'm sure if you asked her she'd say the same about me...with love of course. I have had the honor of calling Kit my friend for a few years. I've watched her battle and beat PCOS going on a diet that consisted of only rabbit food all to conceive her little monster. If there's a blog I can promise you will enjoy reading it's Life With Monster. I love her style of writing and how kick-you-in-the-teeth open she is about her experiences with motherhood.


So go and show her some love because that's what this is all about...support.

If you want to be a part of my Helping the Little Guy project send me an e-mail and I'll add you to the list.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pics that didn't make it


We all think our babies are beautiful, as it should be. But there are some pictures that just don't capture the "cuteness" as we know it to be. Ya know, they don't quite make the picture frames. Here is an ode to pictures that didn't quite make the cut.
"Moooooom!"
"I see dead people"
"Say what?"
Perfecting her stink face
Check out those muscles
I will kick your butt

Ahhh, my precious baby girl


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Winner of the Smart Knit Kids Seamless Sock Giveaway

Is Jenny from The Adventures of Two Under Two. I will contact you via e-mail and you can choose 3 pairs of socks from smartknitkids.com. Congratulations and a big heart felt thank you to everyone who entered.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Amazing

The other day I was rocking with Isabella in my glider and she just put her head down on my shoulder and just looked up at me with her big eyes and I was just amazed. Amazed that God has allowed me to have such a gift even though I probably don't deserve it. Amazed that we survived her first year relatively unscathed and that we're both thriving. Amazed that even though there are days when she drives me bat shit crazy, my love for her never ever diminishes, although my patience might.


So I snuggled her, because these days running (yes running, and soon after falling) have pushed snuggles to her back burner. I'm sure I'll continue to be amazed by this little girl for as long as I live.

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