Tuesday, August 30, 2011

That's Just Me

I put myself on blast on the interwebz.  I divulge highly personal information where any one can find it.  I embarrass myself on a regular basis.  Sometimes I'll write a really personal post or I'll write from a frame of mind that is really down in the dumps or I'll wonder about what so-and-so from real life will think when she reads it, and I'll hesitate to hit publish but I always do.  I don't really care any more who reads this blog and what they think.  This is my place to be exactly who I am and if that makes you feel like you're not alone or if it makes you want to make fun of me or if it makes you think or if it makes you hate me, that's just how it has to be.

I will talk about how I hate my fat ass.  I'll talk about how I sometimes want to pull my hair out while dealing with Isabella's antics.  I'll talk about how awesome my friends are and in the same breath talk about how alienated I feel from some of them.  I'll talk about my snoring husband.  I'll talk about my inadequacies, my insecurities, my triumphs, and the times I've owned it.  I'll review shit and give it away.  Some of my posts are highly personal and some are really embarrassing and sometimes I even put a link on facebook (albeit rarely).  But this is me and I own who I am.  No being fake, phony, or hiding.  This is me.
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Monday, August 29, 2011

Discipline Magic?

So here's another Happiness Project post where you can read all about how I'm trying to go from a mom who is fraying at both ends to a mom who is put together organized light unstressed holding it together most of the time.  And I'm really proud of my progress this month, I really am.

I've been creating happy memories and documenting them in my one sentence journal.  Nothing insane, just regular stuff: making crafts together, baking, going for walks, playing silly games, etc.  I've been trying to be light, and if I don't feel light I've been acting the way I want to feel, so I'll pretend I'm light even if my blood is set to boil.  I've been making a big effort to bite my tongue and not snap.  Deep breathing and counting to ten or just reminding myself that she's two is usually enough to calm me down.  It's not perfect and honestly, I don't think I've had one perfect day this month, but it's better than last month.  So now it's time to tackle discipline.

I won't say Isabella is a bad kid, but she's no angel either.  She's a self-respecting two year old, which means she tests her boundaries, pushes my limits, and is insistent on getting her way.  I get it.  That comes with the territory of toddlerhood.  But letting her get her way, giving into her tantrums, and tearing my hair out in frustration doesn't seem like the best path to take.  So I did a little research and it seems like the book 1-2-3 Magic is a big favorite.  So I downloaded in on my Nook and I'm about a quarter through with it.  I like it so far.  It seems like there's something about counting that works, but I just started that chapter, what really stuck with me is that most adults assume that kids are little adults and we try to reason with them as such.

ZOMG! That was a truth bomb right there.  I can't count how many times I've had conversations like this:

Me: It's time to get dressed
Isabella:  I don't want to get dressed
Me: Isabella, we have to be at swim class in 20 minutes, we need to get dressed now. 
Isabella:  No
Me: But you like swim class, we're going to miss it and you're going to be sad now come here and let me dress you.
Isabella:  I don't want to go to swim class I want to do something else.  
Me: We're going to swim class, now stop running away from me and let me dress you. It will be over in 2 seconds.  Just let me dress you.  Stop running around like a wild thing.  

*We wind up 10 minutes late to swim class because I'm chasing her around the house like some sort of insane lunatic*

Ummm...do I really think she cares that getting dressed will be quick and we're going to be late?  She couldn't care less and it's silly for me to think she can cognitively reason at that level.  So I think the book will help me push beyond that little adult assumption.  We'll see how it goes!

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Free Diet E-Book...Because Who Isn't on a Damn Diet

This is a guest post from Elizabeth T. on diet, exercise, and healthy living.  At the end of the article find a link for a free diet e-book (note, you will need to enter an e-mail address).  This is not a sponsored post and I was not compensated for it in any way.
A Healthy Lifestyle - Food Choices, Exercise and Nutritional Supplements
by Elizabeth T
There are many factors that are necessary to successfully live a healthy life. For many, leading a healthy life is more than just eating healthy; it requires an entire lifestyle change. Better health will improve your appearance and weight, boost energy, and improve your health in the short and long term.  It is important to eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, and take useful health supplements.  With these steps, anyone can feel, look, and be healthier. This free health ebook provides details on all these components necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Eating the right foods is important for your health. First, you must incorporate lean protein into your diet. Protein takes longer to burn in the body and is necessary to maintain muscle. Carbohydrates are also important as they are the main energy source for the body. However, you need to eat the right kind of carbohydrates, not those which are labeled as “empty” carbs.  It is also important to have fat in your diet. But as with carbohydrates, there is “good” fat and “bad” fat. “Good” fat will help you lose weight and has been proven to promote heart health. Discover the best types of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to add to your diet, as well as meal plans that are built specifically on the best food choices for a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle requires exercise to achieve weight loss. Successful exercise should be fun and should combine resistance training with cardiovascular exercise. Cardio will exercise your heart and burn calories. Resistance training helps to tone muscle and increase your metabolism. Learn about the many different types of exercises for cardio and resistance training. Choose from a range of low to high impact exercises and schedules that keep exercise effective and fun.
Nutrient supplements are another component of healthy living. However, not all supplements are created equal. Don’t be mislead by marketing tags; discover supplements that can be used to reach your goals. Discover how different supplements work and which ones are most effective for your health. Learn all about the key supplements that can help with weight loss and health.
Take the needed steps to become healthy. Look and feel good all the time. Being healthy is a trend that will never go out of style. It will take time to make a complete lifestyle change, but over time and with perseverance, anyone can achieve a healthy lifestyle. Take each day, one at a time. Use the meal plans and exercise schedules in this diet ebook to your advantage and stay positive.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Carla and Leo's World of Dance Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review the book Carla and Leo's World of Dance, by author, fashion model, and mom Agatha Relota, and I have to say that I was very impressed.  The book breaks down various dances from around the world, such as the Samba from Brazil, the Waltz from Vienna, the fox trot from NYC and a whole bunch more.  With each dance it not only explains the steps, but it gives you the cultural background from the place and era where the dance originated.  It tells the story of Carla and Leo who learn to dance the many dances of the world.  It is beautifully illustrated and has a special introduction from Jessica Alba as well.

Here's a little something straight from the website.

Carla and Leo’s World of Dance takes young readers ages 8 to 12 on a journey to the magical dance school of the beautiful Miss Paulina, who leads 10-year-olds Carla and Leo on a worldwide tour of ballroom dance. Their journey covers ten styles: the waltz, foxtrot, swing, merengue, mambo, cha cha, rumba, salsa, tango, and samba. For each style, Miss Paulina provides its cultural and geographical origin as well as rhythmic step patterns. All this is presented with a delightful narrative written by author, fashion model, dancer, and mother of two Agatha Relota. The book pops with more than 50 colorful illustrations from Paris fashion illustrator Thierry Perez, and Jessica Alba penned the charming introduction.
Children will love this fresh take on ballroom dancing, while parents will love the educational content. Readers of all ages are sure to finish the book with a new rhythm in their steps, ready to dance their way around the world.

I can't wait to bring this book into my classroom.  I think it would be a great resource for when we study communities around the world.  Another great idea would be to read a dance section at the beginning of the week and then learn the moves with your child, make dishes from that region, and a related craft.  I can't wait until Isabella is old enough to do that with! 
You can learn more about  Carla and Leo's World of Dance at www.carlaandleo.com

Friday, August 26, 2011

Today I Hate

I'm hating the battle every single time it's time to change Isabella's diaper or outfit.  Seriously, it takes like 20 minutes of asking-begging-arguing-haggling-and eventually getting her to get dressed or get her diaper changed.  It's exhausting and I hate it and it makes me feel like a shitty ass parent whose kid won't listen and it makes me want to velcro her to the floor to make changing time easier.

I'm hating that everything she wants to do has to be "all by myself."  I get it kid, you're independent.  That's great for her in the long run, but right now for me in the short term it's so frustrating.  She has to buckle herself into the car seat, climb in and out of the tub by herself, put on her shoes, climb into the stroller, in fact the only thing she doesn't want to do by herself is get dressed (see above).

I hate that in order to be healthy and skinny you have to diet and exercise.  Really, why can't mac and cheese be healthy instead of broccoli?  I'd much rather sit around watching What Not to Wear then running or hitting the gym.  I'm hating that instead of the ice cream sundae I want for dessert, I'm eating watermelon and instead of the bacon cheeseburger for dinner I'm eating citrus grilled chicken.

I'm hating that we're on such a tight budget right now.  I see my sister having all these fun experiences and going shopping and buying all this awesome stuff, while I sit home and wear the same old things because I just can't afford it.  I understand that we need to save money to buy a bigger house, but sometimes it really, really sucks.  I was invited to do a fun thing on Thursday and a fun thing on Monday and I want to do them both, but I can't.

I'm hating that there are kid toys all over my living room.  I can't keep them all in her room because then I'd have to sit in there all day when she played with them.  I really can't wait to have a house that can accommodate all this kiddie toy crap so I don't have to be surrounded by it.  Ahhhh, what it will be like to have an adult looking living room again.

Today I'm kind of hating on everything and not afraid to bitch about it.  Tomorrow will be better, but honestly, today kind of sucks.  
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

We all make choices as parents.  Every day, sometimes it seems like every second, we make choices for our children.  Sometimes we make the same choices and sometimes they're completely different.  I don't care whether you breast feed your baby until she's two or use formula straight from the get go.  It doesn't affect me if you chose to sleep in a family bed or not.  The only thing that does get to me is when people don't own their choices; when they make excuses for their decisions.

When I was a brand new mom, I was always really self-conscious about what other people thought about my parenting.  If Isabella would cry in public I would automatically get really embarrassed and assume that people thought I was a terrible mother.  I'm a stickler for schedules so when I would plan dates around Isabella's nap times and bed time I would worry that people would make fun of me behind my back.  But you know what?  I grew into my mommy skin and now I stand proud by the choices I've made.

I let Isabella cry it out when she was a baby.  For me personally, that was what worked the best and now she knows how to put herself to sleep and sleep straight through the night.  I used to tell people, "Oh, I work so I'm tired and needed something to teach her to sleep quickly."  I said that excuse because I was worried people would think me cruel for letting my baby cry at night.  But honestly, I just needed sleep and so did she, that worked the quickest so that's what I did.  I think it makes me a good mom that I taught my child to sleep by herself, but that's my choice.  Now when I talk to other moms about sleeping and sleep training comes up, I hear the excuses.  "I'm scared he's going to climb out of the crib" "She just cries and never sleeps it doesn't work" "He cries so hard that he gags."  And I just want to tell them that it's ok if you don't feel comfortable sleep training, but just say it.  You don't need to make excuses for your decisions, least of all to me because I'm fumbling around in the dark half the time hoping to keep the child out of therapy.  Just own your choices.  If you don't feel comfortable with day care you're not going to offend me because I send Isabella.  I won't feel slighted if you still give your 2 year old a bottle just because I stopped at 1.

Don't make excuses for your decisions and don't make people feel that they need to make excuses for theirs.  We're all in this together and I think we're all doing a great job!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's a Shore Thing

We're back from a wonderful week at the Jersey Shore.  Ocean City, not Seaside where I might run into my MVP, is a beautiful shore town.  We went there last year (click HERE to read about it) and Isabella still loved it.  She wasn't as gung ho about the ocean this year, but she still loved to wade into her calves.  She loved playing in the sand and building sand castles.  We also put her crib in another room this year, since when she roomed with us in Disney she woke us up at 6 am every day, so we got to sleep until at least 7:30 or 8 everyday which was nice.  It was so much nicer this year that she's older and can do more and my parents and sister were there so there were lots of hands on deck to help out.  Can't wait to go again next year!

Playing with the sand

Not letting a little rain get her down

Posing before dinner

Digging in the sand

Riding the boats at the Wonderland rides

Piggy backing on the boardwalk

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Green Tea Plus Metabolism Booster Giveaway

This giveaway is closed and the winner, Giveaway Junkie, has been

I was recently given an opportunity to review Green Tea Plus Herbal Metabolites pills that help to curb your appetite and boost your metabolism.  I'm usually skeptical when it comes to herbal weight loss aids, but after looking at the ingredients, everything was natural and I figured why not give it a shot and see how I like it.

The Green Tea Metabolism Booster from www.shopdeltalabs.com is a really great supplement.  You take two pills a day with food and it helps to curb your appetite and boost your metabolism.  At first it made me a little bit jittery, but I was taking two pills together, once I started taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon I felt much better and I really did want to eat less.  Coming on the heels of my Florida vacation, I was really pleased to put off some of that weight.

Here's some information on Green Tea Plus Metabolism Booster straight from the website www.shopdeltalabs.com: "Green Tea +", a natural weight loss and metabolism boosting supplement by Delta Labs can help trim your waistline with a unique blend of fat-burning ingredients. We've combined the proven potency of seven natural weight loss aids, including two of the best energy catalysts ever - acai berry and green tea - into a unique formulation that can support your weight-loss goals safely, swiftly - and for sure!

Curbs appetite with Green Tea plus six more natural fat burners
Suppresses diet-killing cravings
Boosts metabolism
Enhances alertness and mental focus

They even order a money back guarantee!  They also have lots of other stuff like pre-natal and post-natal care.  You can purchase your own Green Tea by visiting Delta Labs or you can enter to win right here.

How to Enter:

1.  Visit www.shopdeltalabs.com and tell me something awesome about their website (1 entry)

2.  Be a public follower of my blog (1 entry)

3.  Grab my button or tell me you already have it (2 entries)

4.  Tell me why you would like this product (2 entries)

5.  Blog about this giveaway (5 entries)

Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry, for example, if you have my button you would leave 2 separate comments.  Make sure your e-mail is in at least one comment if it's not linked to your profile.  This giveaway will end on 830/11 at 11:59 pm.  The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn.  I was given a free sample of the product so that I might provide my true opinions.  Good luck to all who enter.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gone Swimming

At the ocean soaking up some rays...be back in a few days!
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm Not That Kind of Mom

I've been paying close attention to the moms that are around me lately and I'm just different.  I went to an indoor play area lately and a lot of moms were completely decked out in high heels and everything.  I think it's great to look good and feel good, but is that really practical?  But it's more than that.  When I was growing up and it was time to leave the park my mom would holler across the play ground to tell me that it was time to go and if I said no she'd yell something else back at me somewhere along the lines of, "Get your rear in gear and let's go before I leave you here."  But this is what I hear, "Mommy really needs to leave and you're hurting mommy's feelings by not coming down from there.  Can you pretty please with a cherry on top come down?  No!  Oh you silly boy, get down from there.  No? Ok, a few more minutes pumpkin."  These moms give me the death look as I throw my screaming toddler over my shoulder and carry her out.

Also, I get that Isabella is the most common name in like the world.  And usually wherever we go there's another Isabella.  I couldn't care less.  I think her name is beautiful.  But people pick names for there kids that they chose specifically because they're out of this universe unique.  I understand you not wanting a popular name, but some of the classic names are so beautiful...Sophia, Danielle, Jennifer, Michael, Jacob...there's nothing wrong with being classic.  Just because the name Moon Man hasn't graced the top 100 names in Social Security does not make it a fitting name for your child.  And really, they'll probably get teased if you name them Facebook Myspace Windjoy.

I'm all about nutrition.  I think it's really important to put wholesome, organic food into my family, but I am not spending $9 on an organic clove of garlic.  I don't know what a carbon foot print is, and while I love the idea of a farmer's market, I'd have no idea where to find one.  I think breast is best but I don't want to crucify the makers of Enfamil.

Maybe it's just me.  Maybe because I live in the suburbs now when I grew up in the inner city and things are different there.  Maybe I'm just a little bit old school, but I'm just not that kind of ultra modern mom.
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Monday, August 15, 2011


I have a bad habit.  I'm a yeller, but it's not really yelling, it's more like snapping.  I did it before I became a mom and I still do it.  It's time to come out of the closet with this one.  I don't like it, but I need to accept it before I can change it.  In August my happiness focus is on Parenting, so I'm really trying to tackle this one.

At first I've just been trying to be aware of it.  Noticing when it happens and what triggers it and this is what I've found.  I'm at my snappiest when I'm deeply engaged in something, like paying bills or making dinner, and Isabella is whining/crying for no good reason.  My definition of a good reason for a toddler to cry is that she's in pain, hungry, wet, has a dirty diaper, is uncomfortable, or bored.  A toddler's definition of a good reason for crying can include, but is not limited to, her sticker isn't sticky anymore, the battery in her toy is dead, The Wiggles are over, there's a stray strand of hair on her arm, or she can't reach her block because she threw it under the couch.  I hate whining, hate it.  It's like nails on a chalkboard for me, couple that with me being engrossed in something else, especially when I'm alone and don't have someone to distract her, you have the perfect storm for snapping.

So now that I know my triggers, what can I do to avoid them?  I can try to handle most tasks when she's napping.  If I do need to do something when she's awake, I can try to make sure she's comfortable before hand, maybe with a dvd or a snack.  But I can't avoid yelling all together.  Honestly, sometimes kids just need to get yelled at a bit.  I got yelled at, sometimes my mom still yells at me.  I come from a family of loud talkers, snappers, and yellers.  But I am trying to be aware of it.  So when I can't control the outside situation, I can control what goes on inside because I always feel guilty for yelling, especially if it's loud and it startles her.  And just to be clear, I'm not talking about danger yelling like "Get that wet fork away from the open electrical socket."

So I can try to stay calm and take a few deep breaths, leave the situation for a few minutes if it's safe, try and calmly talk her out of whatever nonsense she's whining about.  And, I don't know I guess just practice responding in a calm way.

What do you do to stay your anger?
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Flying with a Toddler

The aspect of flying with my two year old was terrifying to me.  It was the scariest aspect of our trip to Disney.  So I decided that I would list the tips that worked for me on our flight.

1.  If you are against TV, snacks, or bribery I'd highly rethink those positions on an airplane.  A portable DVD player, some chocolate munchkins, and/or the promise of one will do a lot to stave off a mid air melt down.

2.  I had her in her car seat.  It was a little bit tight, but she knew she couldn't get out of it and didn't try.  The only thing is she kept kicking the seat in front of her, so we offered for Andy to switch seats with the lady, but she declined.  I tried to stop her but there really is no leg room.

3.  I packed a small back pack with new toys that I bought at the dollar store that she had never seen before and a few small treats.  I introduced a new toy every 20-40 minutes or so or whenever she got bored with what she had.  Nothing crazy, a small book or a toy pony, just something that was novel to her.

4.  Lollipops worked great for the ear popping.  She never even complained about it.  I practiced with gum a few days before the trip, but she kept swallowing it, so lollipops it was.  Charms and Tootsie Pops are the best ones.

5.  Keep your sense of humor.  If a meltdown occurs there's not a whole lot you can do.  Some people can be douche bags, but most people are kind and sympathetic.  Try distraction or maybe a walk up and down the aisle.  Or load your phone up with pre-school worthy apps and let 'em have at it.

We were flying to Orlando, so there were a lot of children on board so I figured that people would get it and at some point or another there was a child or baby crying or fussing.  That's just the nature of the beast.  The flight there was great.  She was really jazzed up to look out the window and playing with her toys and to watch Cinderella on DVD.  Plus it was a short flight, 2.5 hours.  The way back was a little bit of a different story.  A week of excitement had exhausted her, but she wouldn't sleep on the plane.  And she had a massive diaper blow out that really pissed her off.  So for about an hour we took turns trying to get her to stop being such a fussy, whiney (thank God not shrieking beast).  Eventually she chilled out and the rest of the flight was fine.  Happy flying.
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

From High Chair to Throne

When I was growing up, motherhood was a lot different.  I mean aside from the fact that I had no car seat when leaving the hospital, slept on my belly from day 1, and I'm fairly certain my mother smoked during her pregnancy.  Things were very different in other ways.  We spent most of my time playing outside, we ate what was cheap, and, to put it bluntly, we weren't little douche bags.

I feel like many kids today, and not all of them so don't get your panties in a wad, are treated like lords and ladies of the castle and I'm wondering how they made the progression from high chair to throne?

It's not easy to say no.  It's a lot easier to give in then to deal with the screaming and the tantrums (please tell me it's not just my kid).  And I realize that there are many more families today where both parents work outside the home and that brings a lot of feelings of guilt with it (again, I'm not the only one right?).  But sometimes I catch myself trying to coax or coddle Isabella and I have to stop and tell myself, "Hey, I'm the mother, she's two, things are going my way"  Now she may not like it, but sometimes that's just tough.  I'm the mom and if I need to change her diaper or if we need to leave a play date then we're doing it.  It doesn't have to be mean, but sometimes I have to be firmer than what I see other moms doing.

Sometimes you just have to say the word no and stick to it.  I mean heavens forbid that a child should hear the word no directed directly at them.  Because, heaven knows, that as adults we never hear the word no.  So when our little lordlings grow up and ask their professor for extra credit and he, heaven forbid, tells said lord "no".  What happens then?  Sometimes, embarrassing as it is, and it really can be mortifying.  Just let them have their tantrum.  Let them have their moment and drag them, kicking and screaming out of the blessed place where their at or if it's at home leave the room avoiding the urge to duct tape their mouth shut or lock them in a padded cell.  Say no and mean it.

I try and make dinner as often as I can.  Usually 5 or 6 times a week.  Sometimes it's really healthy, organic, and nutritious and sometimes its hot dogs.  Whatevs.  If Isabella doesn't eat what I make she can have cereal or yogurt.  I won't make her go hungry or eat something that she doesn't like, but I won't be a short order cook.  If she throws it on the floor, the meal is over and thats that.

But sometimes I do find myself bending the rules to her whim and I guess that's ok from time to time, but I really don't want her to be one of the kids I see in my school who are rude, entitled, and think it's fine to talk back to the teacher and their parents have their back regardless of the heinous stuff that they've done.  When I was in school my parents believed the teacher and I got in trouble if I didn't do my homework or if I called out in class.  There was none of this, "Oh, she's just a kid" nonsense.

I don't know.  I'm kind of rambling, but I just feel like kids have all the power and parents bend to their will.
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Refresh Eyes from Tonic Care Giveaway

This giveaway is closed and the winner, jsc123, has been notified. Thanks so much to all who entered.

Motherhood brings along many things, unconditional love, sweet baby kisses, and unsightly under eye circles and bags.  I'm telling you, I could smuggle a family of four in the bags under my eyes.  I mean with a two year old, a full time job, and a small sliver of a social life to tend to, it's not like I get to sleep for those magical 8 hours a night.  Most nights I'm lucky if I get in 6 and there's definitely been nights when it's 5 or less, so I take a little help where I can get it.

Refresh Eyes Anti Wrinkle Eye Serum from www.toniccare.com helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes, lessen the appearance of dark circles, and helps to tone down under eye puffiness.  Even better, for all you greenies out there, it's comprised of natural and organic ingredients and it is not tested on animals.  It contains a form of vitamin A which is a powerful antioxidant that replenishes and moisturizes skin.  It's completely safe for for those with sensitive skin too.

I've been using Refresh Eyes twice a day for a few weeks now and I have to say that the difference is remarkable.  Even my sister, who loves to relish in the fact that I'm five years older than her by pointing out all my less than youthful flaws, mentioned that my eyes looked more alert and less puffy.  My dark circles are fading and the puffiness is almost gone.  It feels great.  I just look more fresh and less like I'm dragging ass, even if that's how I feel.

You can purchase Refresh Eyes at www.toniccare.com, along with other amazing products or you can enter to win here.

Please make sure that you leave your e-mail in at least one comment if it is not on your blog or in your profile.  Leave separate comments for each entry.

1.  Visit www.toniccare.com and let me know any other product that you think is awesome (1 entry)

2.  Be a public follower of my blog (1 entry)

3.  Grab my button or let me know that you already have it (3 entries)

4.  Enter my Broadway Bonanza Giveaway (2 entries)

5.  Blog about this giveaway (7 entries)

That's it.  No mandatory entries or anything like that.  Just do as much or as little as you like.  This giveaway will end on August 16th, 2011 at 11:59 pm and the winner will be notified by e-mail.  They will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Good luck to all who enter.

I was given a free sample of Refresh Eyes in order that I might provide an honest review.  The opinions in this post are mine and mine alone.  

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Monday, August 8, 2011

The One Sentence Journal

August's Happiness Project theme is Parenting and one of the resolutions that was the most interesting was the one sentence journal.  It's something that I can keep up with because it's not too demanding, but it still requires a few minutes of my time to sit down and reflect on the one sentence that best captures Isabella that day.  I'm using the Happiness Project Toolbox to track it all and here's what I've done so far (copied and pasted straight out of my journal).  I don't have one for every single day and some of them are more than one sentence because I am a bit long winded.

8/04/11 - We went to Sesame Place today, just me, Isabella, and my mom. She wanted me to hold her hand when she was in the carriage and she yelled and shrieked with delight at Ernie's Bouncy Bed.

8/05: After we picked Isabella up from school we took her to the park and there's this big pond here with ducks. First she chased half the ducks back into the pond and then chased the last 2 around a tree begging for a hug or a high five.

8/6: Today I'm sick, like really sick. I told Isabella that I wasn't feeling well and she tried to take my temperature, which was painful for my ear, and then said, "Now you feel all better."

8/7: My sister took Isabella to a birthday party since I'm still too sick and after she put her dress on she said, "I'm the most beautiful girl at the party." She's not exactly humble lol.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Anniversary

5 years ago today I married Andy and I just want to say that even though we may not always see eye to eye, I love him more today than I did when I said "I Do".  In these 5 years we have bought a home, co-existed peacefully, lost loved ones, battled illnesses, shared Thanksgiving dinners, hosted BBQ's, had a daughter, worried, laughed, and I can't wait to see what the next 5 years will bring.
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

EPCOT and Hollywood Studios with a Toddler

I love EPCOT.  I really do.  There's something about all the countries and their beer that makes me giddy as a school girl.  I really thought EPCOT would just be geared towards adults, but the little miss really loved it too.

1.  Don't wait on the long line for Maelstrom.  Fast pass it or wait until the line dies down.  It's moderately cool, but a little scary for toddlers.  There's a backwards drop and an evil troll.  Isabella didn't cry, she just kept saying "All Done".

2.  The Finding Nemo ride was awesome.  A quick line in air-conditioning and the ride is taken in a clamshell and you see a mix of real fish, special effects, and movie clips.  She loved it!

3.  I didn't go on Turtle Talk with Crush, but it did look really cute.

4.  The restaurants are great, just beware of a picky eater.  She refused her Chinese noodles and meatballs and we were left scouring for nuggets or some other deep fried greasiness.

5.  The firework show, Illuminations, was awesome and a lot less crowded than the Magic Kingdom, but not as cool.

Hollywood Studios, formerly known as MGM, was a great park to kind of chill out in.  They had a lot of shows to see, but not too many rides for toddlers.  But we went twice because she loved the shows so much, there were hardly any lines, plus I got to ride Tower of Terror.

1.  Disney Jr. Live on Stage, combined Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Handy Manny in a great musical interactive adventure.  Just be warned...you're sitting on the floor so spackle up that plumbers crack.

2.  The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is also fantastic.  It's a blacklight puppet show that also combines live actors, special effects like bubbles and sea spray, and clips of the movie.  It's only 17 minutes and we had to see it twice because Isabella loved it so much.

3.  Honey I Shrunk the Kids Play area was a great place to kind of just hang out.  In an oversized garden there are giant bugs to climb on, tunnels to crawl through, and slides.   Isabella loved it.

4.  There are also a lot of great opportunities to meet characters here so bring your autograph book.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Broadway Bonanza- Ohmies and Voca People

This giveaway is closed and the winners, Jim and Clenna, have been notified via e-mail. Thanks to all who entered.

This is the mother load of the broadway giveaways that I've been hosting.  2 lucky readers will be winning a four pack of tickets to see both Ohmies and Voca People in NYC.  That means you and your family will get to see not one, but two shows!  So if you live in the NYC area, can drive there, or know someone who does then this is the giveaway for you.

A bit about the shows straight from their about pages:

Ohmies: Come join the ultimate play date, and dance, stretch and giggle with your new BFF's - The Ohmies.  Get your kids moving and let their imaginations run wild as they sing along to original music, hop like a grasshopper, slither like a snake, fly like a butterfly, and help The Ohmies shake off the worries.  Learn and grow with Bella Butterfly, Carlin Caterpillar and all of their friends on their way to surprise Mr. Sun and see their wish garden bloom.  It's much more than theater; it's a one-of-a-kind interactive musical experience for kids ages 3 to 8.  We'll have so much fun together!

Voca People: A new inter-galactic phenomenon like no other show. Amazing vocal sounds, accapella singing with the art of beat box creating an incredible range of sounds and instruments.
An evening of total excitement, music of all times, comedy and audience participation. After a millennium of space travel, The Voca People are finally landing on the unfamiliar planet Earth, sadly discovering that their precious spaceship charger - Musical energy - has completely emptied.
Slowly, The Voca People learn the strange inhabittnas, habits and music of planet Earth, and with the help of the audience, musically energize their unique spaceship.

That's two great shows!  You can purchase tickets for the Ohmies by clicking HERE and for Voca People by clicking HERE or you can enter on this blog and win some free tickets to both shows.  There is no mandatory entry.  Just make sure that each entry gets its own comment and if it's worth 2 entries, leave 2 comments.  

1.  Tell me why you'd be excited to see The Ohmies (1 entry)

2.  Tell me why you'd be excited to see Voca People (1 entry) 

3.  Be a public follower of this blog (2 entries)

4.  Grab my button or tell me you already have it (3 entries)

5.  Blog about this giveaway (5 entries)

This giveaway will end on 8/13/11 at 11:59 pm and the two winners will be chosen by random number generator and notified by e-mail.  They will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Thank you for entering and good luck to all who enter.  

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Universal Studios with a Toddler

Hogwarts Express
Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure where by far my favorite parks as an adult.  We only spent one day there, but I could have definitely added on another day.  And not just because my inner geek was in awe in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

1.  Seuss Landing is amazing.  Dr. Seuss themed rides, restaurants, and shops make you feel like you were literally transported into one of his stories.  Plan to spend a big chunk of time there riding the Snitch Train and the Caro-Seuss-El.

2.  They have a water play area for kids, so bring a bathing suit so you don't wind up like me letting your toddler run through the sprinklers in her clothes.

3.  Don't take a toddler into Harry Potter world because it's insanely crowded, the lines are crazy long, and there's not a lot for a kid to do.  We learned this by an out and out tantrum in front of a butterbeer stand.

4.  Universal is expensive.  It's probably the priciest of the parks.  I think if we would have bought a two day ticket we would have saved some money.

5.  City Walk is a great place to eat with lots of family friendly options.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Magic Kingdom with a Toddler

There's something so magical about the Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom at Disney World is surely the most kid friendly park that's out there.  With it's rides and shows geared towards young children, there's definitely tons to keep little ones busy.

1.  Meet the characters first.  Mickey obsessed toddlers will need to get this out of their systems.  In an air-conditioned hall you can wait to meet Mickey and Minnie and the storybook princesses.  You'll get the pictures you want and the kids won't be harassing you.

2.  Dine with the characters.  We stayed in a suite that had a kitchen so we could save money, and sanity, by eating in.  But we did splurge for Chef Mickey, where they had an amazing buffet and all the main characters came right to your table to meet you.  It was great.  Kids are free because, well, they don't eat anything in their anticipation of the next character coming out to sign autographs and take pictures.

3.  Fast Pass is the way to go.  We would fast pass Winnie the Pooh, go on the quick moving line of Small World and by the time we were off we could skip the 60 minute line on Winnie the Pooh.  Fast Pass a ride, have lunch, and then you're ready to skip to the front.  It was a great time saver.

4.  Stay at the park until one, go home and take a late nap and go back for the electrical parade and the fireworks because they are amazing and you surely don't want to miss them.

5.  Beware of the dark rides; Peter Pan, Snow White, The Haunted Mansion, and Pirates.  Isabella went on them and liked them, but she wasn't as gung-ho as some of the other rides.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

August: Parenting

This month's Happiness Project theme is Parenting and Lordy me it couldn't have come at a better time.  I've been home for over a month now and while I'm relishing the quality time I'm getting to spend with Isabella, there are definitely some things that I'm struggling with and I'm not too proud to admit it or too full of excuses to work on it.  That's really the whole point of this happiness journey, to work on the things that need to be worked on, get rid of the things that need to be gotten rid of, and continue on with the things that are working.

I love being a mom.  I love the dampness of Isabella's freshly washed hair when she nestles into my arms before bed, I love that every morning when I come into her room she gives me a big smile and shouts, "I'm awake!", I love watching her and Andy wrestle around on the floor.  But it would be a bold faced lie if I told you, besides love and kisses, she also gives me stress, worry, frustration, anxiety, and has been the cause of many a mommy meltdowns.  There have been sleepless nights, sleep training and re-training and re-training yet again, Christmas and birthday costs have significantly increased and it takes about an hour to get out of the house because she has to do everything, "All by myself!"

I'm never going to be a super mom whose hair is perfectly blown out, whose home is spotless, whose child is a well-behaved angel, and has dinner on the table every night at 6pm.  I don't know if that woman exists anywhere but in our mind, mocking us in her 50's frock and pearls.  But I'm not the best mom I could be.  I get angry.  I yell.  I get snippy.  I get frustrated.  There are a lot of areas that I need to work on and so I'm taking this month to become better.

Here are my resolutions for the month:

Be a treasure trove of happy memories:  Gretchen Rubin talks about this in The Happiness Project book and I think it's a great idea.  Life flies by too quickly, and I want to remember all of it.  And while I do have this blog to look back on, honestly, it's really more about me then her.  So I want start a one sentence journal where I jot down one sentence, I can't commit to any more, about Isabella that day.  I also want to create a lot of happy memories.

Lighten Up:  I get way too snippy way too fast.  Sometimes I need to chill the hell out and realize that she's only two.  I also need to realize that if she'd rather prance around like a ballerina then go to swim class, that's ok, every once in a while.  Sometimes we can have pancakes for dinner and the world won't come to a crashing hault.

Lighten up:  I need to stop getting so angry and be more positive around her.  Sometimes I say things that are really mean, like grandma won't come today because you're crying too much.  So mean!  If there were cameras in my house you guys would probably hate me.  Although, if there were cameras in your house maybe I'd hate you too.

Discipline in love:  All children need discipline.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm probably a bit too lenient and too inconsistent.  I'm just not sure where to start.  So I'll be spending some time research and trying a consistent discipline plan.  If you have any suggestions here, I'd love to hear it.

Here's to focusing on my most important role.
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