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This Is The Ultimate Way To Honor Your Baby

Feb 5, 2016
Two years ago, I received what would become a life-changing email. The email was from a PR agent asking if I would share an open call for letters for the upcoming book, A Letter To My Mom; the third book in the, "A Letter To...", series-- a collection of personally-crafted letters written by people from all walks of life, including celebrities, everyday people and kids.

Being that the book was going to honor amazing women, I was more than happy to share the opportunity with my community. I even wrote a letter to my mom and published it on the blog with the open call. 

I nearly died when I received the email a few weeks later that my letter was being considered for the book. After a few nail biting months, the email I'd been waiting for came, my letter was going to be published in the book. 

The greatest honor of my writing career, so far, also honored my mother. 


It was pure magic.

Letters from Melissa Rivers, Shania Twain, will.i.am, Christy Turlington, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sarah Duchess of York and many other celebrities are published in the book. I'm next to Dr. Phil! There's also letters from kids, and everyday people who poured out their love. That's what makes the book so beautiful, all demographics, cultures and relationships are documented.
Why am I telling you this?

Because, the opportunity has presented itself again, and this time, the open call is asking for, A Letter To My Baby!

So Exciting! DO THIS!!! I know I am. (I'll share my letter on the blog once I'm finished!)

Imagine, having a letter you wrote to your baby published in a book, that will most likely debut on the New York Times Best Seller List! What a way to honor your baby. It's like having your love etched in stone for the world to read. 

Here's How: Write a letter to your baby, then share your letter, along with any photos you would like published along side your letter, here. (Or click the banner below)

Time-Out To The Rescue

Feb 3, 2016
When my son turned two, to combat his typical stubborn defiant toddler behavior, we started 2-minute time-outs (TO). Since his Mother's day out program enforced time-outs as well, it worked pretty well. Most times, just the threat of a TO worked to deter naughty behavior.

Around three and a half, the little guy sort of turned a corner on being naughty. He was a delight more than not. Time-outs became less and less, until we ceased to have them. Instead, we would take a toy or tech-time away for a period of time.

Enter two weeks ago...

The kid turned the corner on craziness! He started to say, NO!, to everything, hit, kicked, ran away, or just, did it anyway--whatever 'it' was that I told him not to do or to stop doing. After a week of the over-the-top naughty behavior and stubborn assertion of his independence, I found myself exhausted and lost for a 'fix'. Taking away toys or his tablet stopped being effective. He basically laughs in my face about EVERYTHING!

It turns out, the reason you hear, 'Four is worse than three,' is because this new feeling of being a big kid takes over. Which, has clearly happened for my now four-year-old.

The truth is, I get it. After only two days of being four, the big guy walks around with a newfound proudness. He keeps announcing he is four, the proves it by doing something on his own, or telling me how he can do it on his own because he is four. He picks out his clothes for school, puts on his one shoes, helps make his breakfast, gets his own cup of water, and even picks up his toys without being asked.

He also, fights to cross the street without holding my hand, won't take a nap or have rest time with a fight, refuses to eat dinners that aren't what he wants, and won't stop doing something until he is ready, regardless of how many times he asked. Just today, when I said, No Way, to a request for candy, he found a way.

We keep his candy on the refrigerator. At least he's resourceful.

Completely drained by the crazy behavior, I called a girlfriend and said, I'm losing it over here, my awesome little guy has turned into a terror. HELP! 

That's when she said two magical words; Time Out.

I don't know why I did't think of that. I was just so shocked by the crazy behavior, I guess I thought it would go away as fast as it came. So much for that.

There is such an ebb and flow when it comes to littles. They really do need their independence to learn life skills and gain a sense of self and self-worth. Unfortunately, most of the time, it's at the expense of parent's sanity and/or patience.

Even though it's back to time-outs and battles of wits and endurance, I do see how the hard work pays off. He is such a great kid, most of the time, because I don't back down when times get tough. That's a big part of what parenting is. Taking the time to guide and nurture your child, even when it sucks.

Four, here we come.

So Far, Four Sucks.

Feb 2, 2016
Today, my baby turned four years old. I have been trying to write this post all day, but instead, I have been dealing with a little terror.

So far today:

1. The birthday boy Refused to take off his Star Wars Lego PJ shirt. So he wore it to school.
2. I took him to Target, where he picked out a $200 Star Wars LEGO Kit. I told him, No, you have to be 6yrs old! (We go by the age on the box. It's gotten me out of a few high price meltdowns.) He threw it down first, then melted down right next to it. The kind of meltdown that is so spoiled and obnoxious I just wanted to walk away.
3. He threw his lunch all over the car on the way home.
4. Kicked all the way to his bedroom for nap.
5. Twice kicked me.
6. REFUSED to stay in his bed for nap--I made him, which sucked because I broke my back and a hellofa sweat taking him back to bed FOUR MILLION AND ONE times.

As I type, he is sleeping. I can only hope he wakes up a brand new four year old, because the one I put to sleep is worse than a three year old!

Please, don't tell me four is worse than two and three combined. I will die. Or at the very least, need a straight jacket and padded room.

In all fairness to the birthday boy, we did just get back from four days in Florida where there was zero schedule.

Still, the screaming, crying, meltdowns and kicking has got to stop!

Seriously. It stops, right?

When do the toddler crazies wear off?

I love my little guy more than all the stars and moon, but I can't help but think, he's cried more today than he did the day he was born! What kind of crappy birthday is that?

Fingers crossed, he wakes up a new kind of four year old. Because, when he's not being a little crazy, he is the very best little guy I know. And even when he is being a little sh!t, I'm thankful that he is my little sh!t. I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Happy Birthday little man, mommy loves you so so so so so much. Even when you are a sleepy, naughty butthead.

UPDATE: After a 3 1/2 hour nap, the Birthday boy woke up happy, sweet and excited for his birthday. I knew his extra crazy behavior HAD to be the result of our crazy routine-less family vacation. Bottom line: Routine is still key.

Hopefully, getting back on our routine will prove that four is not so bad after all.

How To Remove and Re-do Wallpaper

Feb 1, 2016

From a simple block color to a fancy floral pattern, there’s a wallpaper to suit all sorts of room styles. Below are a few DIY wallpapering tips to achieve a fresh new look in your home.
Removing the Retro
Time to remove that drab, dated wallpaper before your new wallpaper of choice is applied. This can be a daunting task, but if you have the right equipment it doesn’t have to be scary. One thing that could come in very handy is a wallpaper steam stripper, which allows quick removal of the current paper with little effort. These can be purchased without breaking the bank and are ideal for wallpaper that’s tough to remove. If you’ve got some time on your hands, fabric softener mixed with water can be applied with a sponge to your walls and scraped off after about twenty minutes. If in doubt, consult a guide. Now your walls are ready for their makeover.
Prepare For Transformation
For a sleek finish that will ensure that your wallpaper lasts well into the future, it’s important to make sure your walls are treated correctly before applying new paper. Fill any holes or cracks with drywall patching compound, and smooth out any rougher areas with sandpaper. It’s also important to apply a primer or sealer to your walls, which will prepare your walls to bond securely with the paper.
Operation Application
Once you've gone through the process of selecting the perfect wallpaper to suit your style (we know how long a process this can be!) it's time for the all important application stage. If your walls are particularly uneven, consider hanging lining paper horizontally on the wall before the wallpaper. Be sure to calculate the length of the rolls and the size of the room to prevent any wallpaper shortages.
To apply the first strip, measure the wall and cut a strip of paper 10cm greater than the length of the wall. Place the strip face down on a papering table or surface you don't mind getting sticky, and apply a layer of wallpaper paste, allowing time for it to soak in. 
Draw a vertical line down the wall to ensure the paper is straight, and plan ahead to ensure patterns and designs on the paper match up. Now you're ready to hang your paper. Keep a steady hand and use a brush to push the paper into the corners.
Finally, mark a line where any excess paper meets the wall, peel the paper back and trim off the excess. 
Making Wallpaper Go Further
A quirky alternative to covering your walls in wallpaper can be achieved by making it an artistic feature of the room. Framed panels of leftover wallpaper can look really funky, and they require very little effort. Opt for a fun or funky pattern to add a splash of excitement to your room. 
Et voila! Your room has undergone its transformation. DIY wallpapering: no problem! 
Images by DaveBleasdale and Wicker Paradise used under Creative Commons License. 

5 Game Day Prep Tips You'll Want To Know #GameDayTraditions

Jan 28, 2016
**I've partnered with SheSpeaks and Proctor & Gamble to share my Game Day Traditions. All Opinions and traditions are all mine!
Are you ready for some football? Are you ready for some awesome commercials? Are you ready for awesome food and drinks? Below are five things to help you show up to the big game 

Me too. I absolutely love Football tailgating and parties. Everybody shows up in a good mood, excited to eat and drink and be merry. The kids are run around wild, footballs are being thrown in every direction. The women congregate in the kitchen... It's like this organized chaos that has the best energy and food ever.

In anticipation of there Big Game, I prep, and early! Below are five ways you can show up to the big game like a rockstar! Seriously, people will cheer if you follow these five prep tips.

1. Find the greatest appetizer. I'm a firm believer in never showing up to a party empty-handed. In preparation for the big game, I scour the Internet for the latest and greatest football themed appetizer. Thankfully, there are many out there, so this is not so hard!

2. Color coordinate-Once I know what teams are playing, I pick one and stick with it! I use the team colors of my pick to choose my Big Game outfit. I also get colored hair spray to spray a few strands of my hair, and the kid. What fun is it, if you don't go all out?

3. Find fun facts for the Big Game and both teams. Love Trivia? Have a Big Game Trivia contest! Make a list of 10-20 trivia questions and hold a drive contest. Winners get to pick their seat in front of the game! Or, just stuff your head full of Big Game Fun Fact to wow the party goers with.  (To see my list of last year's Big Game Trivia questions, click here.)

Did you know: A 30: second ad during last year's game (2015)  cost $4.5 million, the most expensive ad in history, so far! That's $150,000 per second!!!! (Kantar Media) #Insane

4. Eat a big lunch! As much as I love nachos and hot wings, I also love my skinny jeans! I prepare a big, healthy, 'clean' lunch for my family before the Big Game. I try to get as many health things into our bodies before we stuff ourselves with not-so-great snacks. It also cuts way back on calorie consumption at the party! #DoThis

Did You Know: FYI: Big Game Sunday is the second-largest day for consumption of food and drink for Americans, behind Thanksgiving Day! (Reuters)

5. Bring a well groomed family, and an extra shirt for each member! Being that there are copious amounts of photos, selfies and messy foods served at these parties, prepare your family ahead of time, and then bring a back up plan! Before we leave to for the party, I make sure everyone is dressed, hair combed and teeth brushed. I'm still hoping for that one great family photo! And just so that photo doesn't happen with food and spilled juice all over our shirts, I bring back up shirts, just in case.

Grab all of your Big Game Snacks and grooming needs at Walmart!

What are your game day traditions?


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