Jul 21, 2014

YAY! I Have My Body Back! Wait... Is That REALLY A Good Thing?

I got pregnant two weeks after my thirty-third birthday. I stopped nursing three weeks after my thirty-sixth birthday. That's a solid three-years of continuously watching the foods I consumed and  restricting myself from certain "unhealthy" activities. (Think: crash dieting.) Now, nearly two months since the last time I nursed my son, I am finding myself still living like a nursing mother. Imagine my excitement when I come in contact with a food or activity that I realize I can take part in again! Think: Happy Hour!  Woo Hoo!  Or not...

I spent three years devoting my life to staying healthy to keep my son healthy. I ate as healthy as possible, took a multivitamin daily and NEVER drank until my son was asleep for the night. Even then, I never drank more than two drinks in a sitting, out of fear I would need to be on my game. I RAN from second-hand smoke like it would kill both of us, and questioned every plate of shellfish I came in contact with. I was in the mindset that I was a walking milk factory, and had to live by that.

Now, I am no longer a milk factory...

Jul 20, 2014

July 20th is National Ice Cream Day!! What's Your Favorite Flavor? #Giveaway #Awesomeness

WHOOO HOOO July 20th is National Ice Cream Day! In honor of this super sweet (pun intended) day, Yay Lab's sent me a Soft Shell Ice Cream Ball to help celebrate! All opinions are my own...

Ice Cream is a staple in my house. The only problem is trying to pick a flavor! I love Strawberry Cheesecake and Spumoni. FTD loves Moose Tracks (chocolate ribbons and peanut butter cups), and mint chocolate chip. Ollie loves, well, all of them! The only problem is that I am not a fan of FTD's favorite and Vice Versa. I try to be fair when shopping for ice cream and trade off; buying either my fav or FTD's fav. Now, thanks to Yay Lab's Soft Shell Ice Cream Ball, we can MAKE our own favorites, and lose a little weight while doing it! That's right, I said lose weight making ice cream.

Allow me to show you how this magic ball works...

To make good old fashioned vanilla ice cream, you will need: Rock Salt, Ice, Cream (you can also use soy milk, almond milk, low-fat or fat-free milk...), Sugar, and Vanilla Extract.

The ball has two chambers that open on either side of the ball and are color coded so you don't forget which side holds which! White=Ice Cream Ingredients; Neon Green=Ice + Rock Salt

After 10 minutes of playing with the ball, inspect your ice cream and scrape the sides of the ball to mix the frozen ice cream with the not so frozen ices cream. Close the ball and get back to playing! This ball is kind of heavy so it really does create quite the arm workout when throwing back and forth.

Then, after about 10 more minutes (20 minutes total) it's ice cream time!!



 I cannot recommend this ball enough. It was so easy and so much fun to do. Ollie was amazed that milk went in, and ice cream came out. LOVE IT!!!!

In honor of National Ice Cream Day, Yay Labs, is giving away one soft shell ball on First Time Mom and Dad, and twenty-five on their Facebook Page!  Sign up below, then head over to their Facebook pagefor more chances to win!


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Jul 19, 2014

Make Learning Fun With Movie Fact Reading Comprehension Task Cards

Today's post is being brought to you by a friend of mine!  Ashley Lefeur is a special needs teacher, and mother of a SUPER cute little! I have agreed to let her post today because she has created an amazing teaching tool that teachers, parents and homeschoolers can use to make learning fun!  I hope you enjoy...

Reading comprehension task cards are a perfect back to school activity for your kids. If you are a teacher, a homeschool parent, or even a parent who just wants to motivate your child to read, then these “Frozen”-movie fast fact reading comprehension task cards are for you!

            There are 20 task cards with brief facts from the movie- about the characters and events. There is a recording sheet with 20 questions about each card. All of my students were obsessed with the movie last year, and I wanted something like this for my incoming students because I knew they would be watching the movie and listening to the music this summer. Their background knowledge will be at a premium! I will say that students do NOT have to have seen the movie to be able to use these cards. The facts are on the cards and the questions come directly from the cards. They’ll love seeing the movie characters on the cards, which will be an extra motivator and fun piece for them!

            I simply place the cards around the room. My students put a recording sheet on a clipboard and carry it around the room to each card. They read first, then answer the question that matches the card number. You could also have students do this as an independent center activity, or you could do this as a whole class. It could be a team activity/game. As a bonus, students could also use the cards to put the events of the movie in order – if they do this, it could easily be a summarization activity!
            This packet is for sale for only $3.75 on my personal page at TeachersPayTeachers.com 

            Once you go to the link, you do have sign up, but it’s free and worth it! Please click the star beside my name and “FOLLOW ME.” That way, you can get updates on any new products I post!

Also, be on the lookout for “LEGO Movie” task cards coming soon!!!

Thank you to April for allowing me to share this with her readers! (My pleasure, Ashley!)
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Jul 18, 2014

20 Things I've Learned From My Toddler...

I have learned a ridiculous amount of ridiculousness being the parent of a wild toddler... below are twenty worth mentioning... 

1.   Patience. 
2.  Waking up at the ass-crack of dawn repeatedly to play IMMEDIATELY, will in fact, NOT kill me. 
3.  Bribery is key when it comes to training and maintaining a toddler. FYI: In order to make it through the grocery store with a toddler, food items must be purchased and opened every three aisles. 
4.  A toddler’s attention span is nearly nonexistent. 
5.  Patience. 
6.  Even though I am in charge, the toddler thinks differently.
We will leave the park when I say it is time!

7. Just because you stop following them does not mean they are going to stop running away. And good luck if you think calling them to come back is going to work!
Bye bye, mommy....

8. Toddler is code for, Diva. Sometimes, Shithead. But mostly, Diva
9. Toddlers suck to feed. If they don't want it, you, the floor and/or the pet will wear it.... I would rather feed hungry alligators with my bare hands, than feed a toddler.  

10. Patience.
11. There are no limits to what a toddler will stick in their mouth. None. Zero. 
12. Just when you think the temper tantrum is over, you realize that it was just a short pause before the real freak-out. No day is complete without a melt down in public.
Oh It's On Now!

13. Movies like Ice Age, Toy Story and Frozen, NEVER ever get old to a toddler, even after the five hundredth time.
14. Four hundred zillion pictures of a toddler are not enough.  You have to take more, so you don't miss anything. 
15.  Patience 
16. They will crap their pants anywhere, anytime, and most likely at the most inopportune time 
17.  WARNING: They will HAPPILY repeat every single bad word and behavior they witness. 
18.  Naptime and bedtime are on their terms, you screw up the routine or piss them off, and you can forget your precious naptime or bedtime. 
19.  It is near impossible to keep a straight face when they are being oh-so-bad and oh-so-cheeky at the same time--This one gets me every time-I have nearly bit my tongue off trying to maintain my angry mommy composure when he is being hysterically naughty.
20.  Patience.

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A Mother's Love... There's Nothing In This World Like It.

I was maybe five when I started playing the, “I love you more than…” game with my mother.  I would start off with, “I love you more than all the grains of sand in the world.”  Then my mom would reply with something like, “Well, I love you more than all of the stars in the sky!”  To this day, we still play this game. However, it was not until last year when I had a child of my own, did I realize that she was right, she did love me more…

So far in my 36-years of living, I have had some great loves; the first, of course, was my mother. My next loves were the handful of boys from grade school to college I was sure I was going to marry, and make babies with. Then, at 30-years old, along came my husband, my true soul mate, the great love of my life, no love could be better, or so I thought... There was one more love to come, just as amazing and profound... but in a much different, unimaginable way...

This is my bliss.
When I hold my son close, I am filled with such an amazing and euphoric bliss.  The rush of energy shoots out of my heart and down to my toes. I feel all tingly inside and numb at the same time. I could stay there holding him, feeling that blessed feeling forever.  Or when my son runs over to me to give me a hug and a kiss, I am certain there is no better gift anyone can give me.

On a daily basis I find myself living two lives; my own, and one through my son.  I get excited when he gets excited, I hurt when he hurts, I laugh when he laughs, and yes, at times, I cry when he cries.  I love my son more than all of the words in the dictionaries across the world.  I love my son more than all of the grains of sand and stars in the sky combined.  I love my son more than I know, because everyday I manage to love him more than the day before.

The love I have for my mother, husband, dear friends and son are so completely different. And while I can explain the love and admiration I have for my them, I cannot come close to explaining the love I have for my son. When I try to wrap my head around the emotions I feel when I think of him or hold him close, my eyes fill with tears, my heart beats faster, and my body fills with adrenaline.  Without a doubt the greatest blessing in my life is my son, and the love I have for him is truly magical. There is absolutely nothing in this world more profound and unconditional than the love I have for my child.
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Jul 17, 2014

Pregnancy: 10 Things To Really Expect When You're Expecting...

For all my expecting readers, and moms who have had the pleasure of post-pregnancy amnesia... this one is for you...

1. Pregnancy is not an Event, it's a Process-Who ever said it was nine months was a damn liar! 40weeks=10 months Dumbass!  10 insane months that take you on the wildest most unexpected journey of your life.

2. Morning Sickness Is Only The Beginning of a LONG day- Speaking of Dumbasses...Morning sickness is really morning-noon-and-night sickness! So who ever called it Morning Sickness and got it to stick was clearly a male dumbass doctor! That shit lasts 24 hours a day for 20 weeks... or 40 weeks depending on... God knows what since no two doctors can agree on the exact cause of it.

3. Weight gain is inevitable- I don't care who you are - you're going to gain weight, so get over yourself and your size four jeans. Doctors recommend, depending on your size and weight, that you should not gain any more than 15-25 pounds. Sorry but, I call BULLSHIT on that! I have yet to meet ONE woman who gained 25 pounds or less. (Go ahead leave a comment below saying it was you, because when you do, 345,987,907 other women will leave a comment right after you saying, "WOW!  Good for you, I gained 40+." Because 40+ is the average. If I can impart any real tip here, don't look at the scale, don't bother with that number, be healthy, eat right and take care of yourself, that is WAY healthier than focusing on gaining no more that 25 pounds.

4. Pregnancy induced exhaustion is inevitable, you have no control- The insane fatigue that takes over during the first and third trimesters is so freaking debilitating, and since caffeine is frowned upon, plan to do EVERYTHING during your second trimester. 

5. Your hormones will rage harder than a pile of juggalos at an Insane Clown Posse concert- (Or swing more than a pile of kids on a playground, you pick...both apply.) I would have to say one of the most frustrating things about my pregnancy was the roller coaster ride of psycho hormones.  I could laugh, cry, and get angry during a 30:second fabric softener commercial. 

6. Paranoia will destroy ya- I spent my entire pregnancy scared something awful was going to happen.  If my Morning sickness was really bad, I was afraid I was going to throw up the baby (Yes, I am a freak) or when my morning sickness went away, I was afraid the baby did too.  Or when he would move too much, I was afraid he was having a seizure (Thanks for that Dr. Google) or when he wouldn't move, I was terrified.  I got an ultra sound at 34 weeks because he didn’t move for a day- he was fine just breech and running out of room.  If I would have horrible heartburn... I mean the list just goes on.  Everyday I would worry.  SUCKED! 

7. Pregnancy cravings go WAY beyond 'Pickles & Ice Cream'- First of all, no one eats pickles and ice cream in the same damn bowl at the same damn time.  My only guess as to why the combo is instantly attributed to pregos is because of two things, 1. Pregs love Sweet and Salty., 2. Pregnant women crave both pickles and Ice cream, but seriously, not at the same time!  Now, as for cravings in general. I learned that the cravings were most times my body begging for dairy, or vitamins, or protein... there is a method to the madness.

8. Potty humor looses its luster- Man oh man, I love a shit or fart joke as much as the next guy, however, when I was pregnant, there was nothing funny about constipation, hemorrhoids and seedy public toilets. They hit too close to home. While it is funny hearing about a how your pregnant friend had to pee so bad she pulled into the dirtiest gas station in the scariest part of town, prepared to go toe-to-toe with the meanest gangster on the block to pee, however, when it happens to you...  NOT FUNNY! 

9. From Princess to Pregnant to Parent: Nothing will humble you like pregnancy-A friend of mine sent me this meme the other day with the caption, "Man how times have changed!" 

I replied with, "No, it's still true. I said that the other day." Truthfully, MAN HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED!! Nothing will humble you like being poked and prodded by numerous doctors for 40 weeks. And if that doesn't work, the massive weight gain, losing friends who are freaked out because kids scare them, swollen ankles and feet that no longer fit into your cute shoes, stretch marks, constipation, hemorrhoids, the awesome preggy waddle... and then the best part of all, complete strangers rubbing your belly like you are jolly little fat Buddha giving out wishes.  Trust me, by the end of your 40-week journey; you will be a whole new kind of princess.  

10. You may not be ready to be a mother now, but by the end of the 10 months, you will be more than ready to get on with it- I was terrified (from day one of pregnancy) of becoming a mother, but by the end of my pregnancy I was so damn ready to get on with it.  I was tired of being pregnant and ready to feel normal again! I could not wait to meet the little guy who was practicing Kung Fu on my bladder 24 hours a day. I could not wait to see this little guy I had been talking to and rubbing on for the past 40 weeks. I couldn't wait to meet my, son.  

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Jul 16, 2014

Transitioning From A Crib To A Toddler Bed. ...First Time Mom and Dad Style...

Picture it: Beautiful unseasonably cool Tuesday morning in July.  The birds are chirping.  Ollie was up at 5:44am ready to rock. FTD slept in until 7:30. Typical morning in our house.  The only plans were FTD going to work, and Ollie and I going to the Zoo.  Life was good...

Fast forward to later that day-- 5:30pm...

FTD comes in the door and lays a toddler bed at my feet. Concerned for his safety and future living arrangements, I politely stepped over the monstrosity he drug into my home, and went about my business. After all, WE had discussed the toddler bed milestone. WE agreed I...er... Ollie, was not ready for such a step. Plus, WE agreed once Ollie was ready, we would skip the toddler bed and go right to a Twin bed to save the money of buying two beds. There was NO! reason for this thing to be in my home.

FTD explained a coworker no longer had use for it, so he took it (for free) to see if Ollie would like it. I explained, FIRST, that the coworker should never be named, so they would not have to die, and SECOND, that I...er... Ollie was NOT ready for this!

Or was he?

The next thing I know, FTD is putting it together. HE IS PUTTING IT TOGETHER!!!

The toddler bed.

He is putting the f*ucking thing together.

On a Tuesday night.

In my house.


He is putting it.

I immediately covered Ollie's eyes so he wouldn't have to witness the horror going on in the living room, and went online to see about changing FTD's address to a cardboard box in the back yard. Most likely, the one the monstrosity came in.

WHO brings a toddler bed home on a Tuesday and puts it together, thinking his son is not only going to love it, but happily sleep in it as well?

My Husband. That's who.

I mean... Why would we talk about it? Why would we wait until the weekend when sleep could be lost? Why would we talk about it with Ollie first?

FYI: In case you weren't picking up on it... my personal thoughts on that are...

Then, much to my continued HORROR, Ollie breaks free from me once the bed is put together, and climbs all over it... BEAMING!


What is this kid doing? He is just shy of two-and-a-half. Surely, he doesn't understand what's going on. I tried to explain that it was a new big boy bed, and that meant no more crib...

Like a mighty slap to the face, he said, "YAY!!!" 



He's totally into it?



In an effort to call Ollie's bluff, I eagerly followed him, FTD and the Toddler bed up to his room. I wanted to be ready and waiting with open arms when Ollie came running when FTD moved his mattress and bedding into the monstrosity.

He immediately climbed in and inspected the new bed.

OHMIGOD! Ollie was ALL ABOUT IT!  He was super STOKED about his, "Big Boy Bed."

 Is he thanking God for this bed?
What's happening????


Was I the only one with the problem? Was I the one who needed to grow up?



Not Me...

Shit. It is me. Ollie was super stoked, he is a big boy, I guess it makes sense that he should have a big boy bed...

But. But. He is my baby?  He needs to feel safe and secure when he goes to sleep. We are in a new house. He needs to know his surroundings when he wakes up.  Right?

Ugh. Maybe I am just being too overprotective. Maybe he needs this milestone more than I think.  Maybe this will be a game changer for him. Maybe it is NOWHERE near as big of a deal as I am making it... FTD surely doesn't think so.

Bottom Line: Tonight is the first night. He took some time to fall asleep, what with being so STOKED and all, but he did go to sleep, and as of writing this, he has stayed asleep in the bed for three hours now... My plan if he wakes up ALL night and comes into my room like I expect, is to bring him back to his new bed as many times as I can stand, but if it gets too crazy, I will let him sleep with FTD and I. Then in the morning, I will make FTD and the toddler bed sorry.

Watch, Ollie will sleep until 8am to really drive home the point that this milestone is happening whether I like it or not, and that it may even be WAY past due...


It's now morning...

Ollie slept in his bed until 3:30am. I took hime back to his bed, and to my delight, he stayed there... until 5:45am... this time, I let him get in bed with us, afraid that if I took him back he might not go back to sleep.  We all slept until 7am. I'm actually feeling pretty good about the toddler bed now.  Hopefully nap time goes well too... because we all know, that is the make-or-break to my...er... Ollie's day...

It's now Afternoon...

He is napping in it as I type!!!

Looks like it's one point toddler bed. Zero mommy.
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Jul 15, 2014

10 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Your Body And Water #GiveawayAwesomeness

Today's Top 10 Tuesday post is a 2-for-1! I am going to open your eyes to a few really great reasons to trade in your soda or sweet tea for water, AND tell you about a new product that will help you achieve your water quota, with the freshest cleanest water possible... is your water, Clearly Filtered? No? Today's post is being brought to you by a company who can take care of that for you, Fluoride and all! All opinions are my own.

Without further ado... lets kick this Top 10 Tuesday off with, 10 reasons why you should be drinking water right now! 

1. The human body is comprised of about 60% water. Water helps to aid in digestion, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation and absorption of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. 

2. Water can help control calories- Drinkning water before meals will lead to both a boost in your metabolism and a reduction in calories consumed. Sometimes your mind will send you mixed signals that seem like you might be hungry, when really you are just thirsty!

3. Water helps to energize your muscles! When muscles are depleted of water, it results in muscle fatigue. Meaning when muscle cells don't have adequate fluids, they will not function properly. The American College of Sports Medicine, says, Drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.

4. Water will give your morning and body a boost!

5. Water helps your skin look fresh and clear! According to Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD., "Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,"

6. Drinking water at certain times will help your body do it's job more effectively!

7. Prolonged and excess dehydration can lead to your body trapping toxins and even developing kidney stones!  The main toxin in the body is a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.

8. Water regulates your body's temperature.  When your body gets hot, it sweats. Drinking water will help your body stay cool and replace the fluids lost while sweating.  

9. Water works to protect your body in more ways than you can imagine!

10. Plain and simple, there is nothing like it... 

So, what are you waiting for? Drink up! I challenge you over the next 30 days to reach for water instead of sugary drinks or sodas, at least once a day.  #YouCanDoIt

Oh, wait before you go... 

A little about the company that motivated me to write this post about water, Clearly Filtered. My friends, this company is a drinking water game changer. You are going to love this... 

Clearly Filtered, is a water filtration system that does remarkable things to your water...The filter purifies your water, COMPLETELY! Leaving it free of EVERYTHING! Yes, including fluoride! 

Even the best of big brand filters available today don't completely purify water of contaminates, and most of all, fluoride. The Clearly Filtered system uses cutting edge water filtration technology to completely strip water of all contaminates, leaving only the purest cleanest water.  

The main contaminates removed include, but are certainly not limited to:

Heavy Metals
Chromium 6

I use a Clearly Filtered pitcher and LOVE it! As a rule, I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, or three huge refillable bottles. It's safe to say I am a water snob. I am not a fan of bottled waters, so I prefer to get my water straight from large filters. Not-to-mention the waste bottled water bottles create. Every time I drink water from my Clearly Filtered Pitcher, I know I am drinking ONLY fresh clean water, and so is my family.  I feel really good about that.

I most definitely recommend the Clearly Filtered water filtration system! Another one of my favorite things about this company is that they offer a filter for just about any need. Think: Faucet tap filter, large pitcher, on-the-go refillable filtered bottles, athletic refillables, shower heads... the list goes on.  Click on a product below to start using the clearly filtered system!  

WAIT! One more thing... Feeling lucky? Want to win a Clearly Filtered, Athlete Edition Filtered On-The-Go Water Bottle?

Sign up below! Two will win...

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Jul 14, 2014

Dear Parents of Lively Little Toddlers, Keep At It...

Dear Parents of Lively Little Toddlers,

Hi! My name is April, and I am the mother of a VERY lively, animated and stubborn toddler. He is the light and joy of my life.  He is also the biggest pain in my ass sometimes. He is just over two-years-old and insists on learning pretty much everything for himself. 85% of the time he is a very good boy, the other 15%... he is a textbook terrible-two toddler. His favorite textbook activities include...but certainly are not limited to:

  • Saying, "No!" to just about everything. Sometimes he even says it to ice cream cones!
  • Not listening when I say, "Come here, please!"
  • Staying awake well past bedtime. 
  • Using the kitchen drawers as stairs.
  • Trying to draw on the walls, TV, floor... any surface really, with any utensil that will work.
  • Opening the freezer to pull out a popsicle when I am not looking.
  • Washing a thousand cars in the bathroom sink.
  • Climbing anything climb-able.
  • Running away from me when I am trying to catch him.
  • Throwing a tantrum over something silly- think OSCAR worthy fish out-of-water flopping routine..
The list goes on, but you get the idea...

My toddler lives in a constant state of experiment with the world. Most times, he insists on learning things for himself, regardless of my opinion about the activity. Nothing is more frustrating for me than when my son repeatedly refuses to listen, and just do whatever he wants, especially over the same activity...

Just yesterday, he ran away from me, and refused to listen. Eventually, I caught him, had a talk with him, and hoped the issue was resolved. NOT EVEN CLOSE! The little shit ran away from me again within five minutes. This time I took him into the house and made him sit in his time-out chair. Would you believe, not a half hour later he was off AGAIN?!  I thought I was going to lose my mind.  Once again we had the talk, a time-out and this time, I took his favorite toy away and put it in time-out too.  Yet again, later that day, he took off, but this time when I yelled STOP! and, Come back here, please, HE DID IT!!  Holy crap!  He came back!  I squatted down and gave him a big hug, and told him what a good boy he was for listening. Both of us were beaming!

Now, will he run away from me again? Maybe... probably. But he knows better, and so far he hasn't.  Moral of the story: I kept at, stayed consistent with the rules, and even though I thought it was going to drive me crazy, it worked!  I see the light at the end of the terrible toddler phase tunnel. I know it will probably go away from time-to-time, but it's there, and one day both the kid and I will emerge.

I say it all of the time, parenting is hard. It takes unfathomable amounts of patience, hard work and perseverance, however, just like with everything, the hard work pays off, and the reward is so worth it.  Having my son listen when I ask him to do something is so wonderful. Yes, it came after hours of constant battles, but it came, and when it did, we both smiled and felt great. I realize he loves being a good boy as much I love it.

Parents, we are all in this together. I feel your pain, like I am sure you feel mine. It's all about keeping at it. We HAVE to keep at. We have to continue to reprimand and weather the toddler storm with patience and consistency. We have to continue to "parent", even if it's easier sometimes to let them raise hell and draw on the walls. It pays off. The yelling and constant reprimands slowly but surely are reduced. Even when a new experiment is tried, they know from past ones, that NO!, means, NO! and that when we give that look, or count down from three, if they keep misbehaving, shit will get real.

Moms. Dads. We will survive the terrible twos, threes and fours, and when we do, we will have some seriously badass children to show for it. Thanks to all of our hard work, patience and perseverance, those little badasses will be kind, considerate and well-behaved (for the most part) members of society, that will go on to make us proud. Sure, by then we may be completely grey, wrinkled and exhausted, but no worries, those shining little humans will take care of us one day, and when they do, that will be our chance to get them back for the all the hell they gave us!



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