Oct 21, 2014

10 Random Things That Make Parenting So Much Easier.

While talking with a girlfriend about all of the contraptions, toys and crap kids want and need to make their life complete, it dawned on us, that some of the most basic random things are all we want need to make our life as a parent complete. Without further ado, today's 'Top 10 Tuesday' is all about 10 Random Things That Make Parenting So Much Easier.

Oct 20, 2014

Pinrose: Are You A Renegade Starlet or Rooftop Socialite? Take The Quiz...

I'll just go ahead and tell you what I am, A Renegade Starlet, and proud of it!  Thanks to PINROSE,  the new fragrance company that's being featured on nearly every media outlet for being so awesome, I'm not only a Renegade Starlet, smell like one too!

If only the Internet was Scratch 'n Sniff, YOU WOULD LOVE ME...


I have a confession to make, I LOVE Quizzes in beauty magazines. I take every single one I come across. So when PINROSE reached out for a review, and told me I needed to take a quiz to find my fragrance match, I was ALL ABOUT IT!

After answering a few fun questions, PINROSE uses what's called "Synesthesia" to find my personal scents...
It worked, because I ended up loving every single one,
and am now OBSESSED with Renegade Starlet!

In order to fully facilitate a review, PINROSE sent me a complete set of their scents in the form of  "Petal Packs".



Since I had so many left over, I called over two of my girlfriends to help me with the review!  I had both take the Quiz to find their scents, and between the three of us, we only over lapped on one scent, so it was a lot of fun to test all of the scents out together.

If you are throwing a girl party, I HIGHLY recommend buying a couple of complete petal packs ($7) and have a Pinrose quiz party.



Something else that really adds to the fun, is each petal card has a super fun description of the scent on the back...


LOVE THIS!! I  totally think I am playful, sweet, confident... Love a good Cosmo and damn right I wanna dance all night long!

Once you find your favorite scent, you can order the fragrance by the fluid ounce, and/or buy a bunch of petal packs! Such a cool idea.

I'm sure my work here is done... Who wants to take the Quiz???  Click the button below!




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MAYDAY! The Toddler Is Filterless...

Oh you all, it's happened... My two-year-old is saying WHATEVER comes to his mind. Which, is extra scary since, FTD is his father and teaches him all kinds of nonsense that he is repeating. Remember the Dog Eggs incident? Every time the kid opens his mouth in public now, I hold my breath and brace myself. The toddler is absolutely filterless...
Unfortunately at only two,
he has a long way to go to fully grasping social etiquette.

I should have known I was going to be in trouble when two weeks ago he pointed to a bald man walking by and yelled, "LOOK NO HAIR LIKE DADDY!" These unsolicited comments have only ramped up and become more random.

Needless to say, I'm terrified now anytime someone asks him a question... I mean full-on butt cheek clenching, breath holding, escape route ready, TERRIFIED.

The other day we boarded the train at the zoo, and when the train conductor came by and greeted Ollie and I, Ollie replied with, "I'm going home for sleepy-time, because it's sleepy-time after the train." I nearly died! We hadn't even talked about it. Granted, we frequently will ride the train at the end of our visit to the zoo, because the stop for it is by the exit. Still, out of nowhere he offered that bit of info?

What really did me in was while we were sitting on the floor playing he let out an impressive fart for a 2-year-old, then announced:
"HA! I just farted. It came out of my butt and went into my pants. HAHAHA! Did you hear it? It filled my pants!"

Of course I tried my best not to laugh, because in a way he was actually trying to be matter-of-fact, and I needed to let him know that announcement was not necessary.  But then, much to my horror, when the FedEx guy showed up at the door a couple of minutes later, Ollie announced to him while I was signing:
"I just filled my pants with a fart. It was SO funny! My butt said, <Insert loud slobbery toddler fart noise>."
OMG!

Of course the guy laughed... I blushed, and shut the door.

This filterless sharing is becoming increasingly scary. I now live in fear wondering what he will say next, and to whom!

Clearly, nothing is off limits, and since he is clueless about 85% of social etiquette standards, I kind of have to let it play out to teach him. Anyone with a toddler will tell you, the minute I try to cover bases and tell him that he should not talk about this or that before the fact, he will run to the first person he sees and start repeating everything I told him not too, especially if he thought it was funny.


As if I thought it couldn't get any worse, I've had a few friends with older children warn me that this is really only the beginning, and that this phase of unsolicited sharing goes on for years.

YEARS.

One friend said her seven year old is still over sharing!

Five more years of my kid over-sharing? With a father like FTD instilling a wicked sense of humor and out-of-the-box way of seeing the world?

Yeah, I'm screwed.

Is your kid over-sharing? Please, let me know I am not along in this butt cheek clenching terror.
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The Chibebe Snuggle Pod... The Infant To Toddler Game Changer

Yet again, a product has been brought to my attention that I wish I had when my son was an infant.  The Chibebe Snuggle Pod is the COOLEST infant to toddler invention I have seen in a long time.  It's now officially my go-to shower gift...



When Chibebe reached out to me to conduct a review of the the Snuggle Pod, I took one look at it and said, YES, PLEASE!  I mean look at it!  How cool... an infant to toddler beanbag pod that covers ALL of the bases!  Wait until you see all it offers...

LOVE THIS!!!

Chibebe has really thought of everything, and knowing the constantly changing needs of the infant through toddler years, they have made all the accessories easily interchangeable.



Being that my sister in-law has both a two-year-old and an infant, I let her to the heavy testing. I was most interested in seeing how the Chibebe Snuggle Pod worked with a baby. Every new parent knows the importance of a great baby "docking station"!



Just as I thought, she agreed that she wished she had the pod during the newborn days as well, since the angle of the pod is perfect for keeping an infant semi-upright to watch the world around him, sand of course, keep him in place with the harness.

Her toddler LOVES the Chibebe Snuggle Pod too while reading or watching TV. I truly love that it is something that will last more than a few months like most infant/toddler things. I also love that every bit of it is machine washable. Between the rocker base and easy portability to and from grandma's house, this pod is a serious game changer.

The Chibebe Snuggle Pod is fully customize the from cover, to base, to even the rocker accessory color!



BUY IT: 
FREE SHIPPING in Australia, with International shipping available for everyone else! 
 Use Code: "FIRST" for 25% off Orders of $99+
To start customizing your Chibebe Snuggle Pod, CLICK HERE.  

CONNECT: 
Follow Chibebe on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for updates and promotions!



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Oct 17, 2014

Tips For Dealing With Potty-Training Regression

Just when I think the kid is ready to trade the diapers for big boy pants, he pees on me. Twice...

I just don't get it, he seemed so happy to use the potty, now he wants very little to do with it.

Gone are the days of him asking to use it.
Gone are the days of him going to the potty 100% of the time when I let him run around diaper-free.
Gone are the days of me feeling like I have ANY control over the situation.

DAMMIT!

I am so sick of diapers!

Unfortunately, my toddler is not.



I was so sure things were going in the right direction. I was so sure I was on my way to cutting diapers out of the budget. But then again, I was foolish enough to think he would be out of diapers by is second birthday. The wild-child is now two years and eight months old, and coincidentally, I feel like we are two years and eight months from him being potty trained.


It's true, when you push a toddler to potty-train--especially a boy--you are essentially pushing in the wrong direction. Knowing this, I haven't really pushed him, but more like, kindly encouraged him to use the potty, and still it backfired!

Speaking of backfiring, he runs off to the bathroom or an empty room to crap his pants now! THE KID HIDES! I know it's not a direct slap in the face, but it's a little annoying since he KNOWS it's coming, yet still refuses to use the toilet.

WHAT THE HELL??

There must be something to it. He is a super smart kid. He knows what he needs to do, and still won't! To add insult to injury, when I ask him why he hides, or why he won't use the potty, I get a blank stare. Even though I tell him not to worry, and that I love him, inside I am screaming, SHIT IN THE POTTY KID! DOOOOO IT!!!!!!

I reached out to my community and did a little research on potty training regression and found a few good tips; some new, some old...

1. Show him that his turds rival an elephant's. One mom said, her daughter's poops were the size of bananas, so one day she showed her... "I spelled it out: 'Your poop is too big for a diaper. It needs to go in the toilet.' It was a start."'

2. Stay positive and respectful. Completely giving up is not the way to stop making him feel pressured. I need to stay consistent and offer potty breaks regularly. If he takes me up on one, then I GO WILD with praise and excitement!  If he doesn't, be patient because he will eventually. 

3. Chart the Shart! So many people swear by potty charts. I bought supplies for a 'potty chart' craft project this week. If these charts are so great, maybe letting Ollie be a part of it's creation will really make the thing work.

4. Easy killer, this is not about you, it's about a MAJOR change for a toddler. I'm feeling like I need a slap, because for the hundredth time, I've been told to wait it out. One mom said, "It wasn't until he was 3, and then he got it in two minutes. It was on his timeline and it worked for us!"

 PLEASE, LORD... Let my son figure it out in 3-minutes!!!! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! 

I wouldn't say the little man is in a full potty-training regression, but he is certainly not moving forward. As much as I want to throw a tantrum over this, I understand this is not about me-- or him messing with me--it's about a big confusing scary change for my toddler.  

He is going to be just like every other child in the history of children, he will go when he is damn well good and ready; all I can do is give him the tools and encouragement he needs to make it happen.




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I'm NEVER Painting With Oil Based Paint Again! #DIY #Dumbasery (1920's Renovation Update)

If you've ever painted even one brushstroke of oil based paint on your wall/door/trim, then you know, IT SUCKS!  It is thick, stinky, takes FOREVER to dry, shows every freaking brush stroke, and when you go to clean it off your paint brush and body, you burn yourself with a Magic Eraser! Ok, maybe not the Magic Eraser part, because who else could pull off such an epic feat of DIY dubassery than the queen of DIY Dumbassery herself, me.


Let's kick this weekend's 1920's House Renovation and DIY Update off with the bad news...


OIL BASED PAINT SUCKS!

Being the complete novice painter that I am, I had no idea painting latex based paint over oil based stain would cause a HUGE mess and headache.

Nothing like learning the hard way...

I should have known when the first coat of latex paint went on so smooth and easy, something was wrong. The second coat actually PULLED off the first coat.

DIY Dumbassery Tip #1: Latex paint does not stick to oil based anything.

DIY Dumbassery Tip #2: When you run into a situation where you have to use oil based paint, proceed with extreme caution.


The oil paint was thick and messy and near impossible to wipe off unless I got the drip or drop up immediately. Thank you baby wipes!

DIY Dumbassery Tip #3: DO NOT try to wash the paint off your brush with water... or a magic eraser.

 WHAT A MESS!

Imagine my surprise when I put the oil paint soaked paintbrush under the running water in my kitchen sink, only to have the paint transfer to my hands, AND STAY THERE!  Holy crap, my hands looked like I had white gloves on. I tried soap, scrub, panicking... none proved effective at getting the paint off. Frustrated, I threw the paint brush away and grabbed a Magic Eraser sitting near by. To my delight, it started taking the paint off my hands and arm. Then, my arm started burring.  It dawned on me that I was probably not supposed to use this magic piece of cleaning miracle on my skin.  Sure enough, I have a burn.  FAIL!

I yelled MAYDAY! and thankfully my mom answered her phone and told me to use mineral spirits to clean the rest of the paint off my hands.

It worked like a charm!

Still, the oil based paint mess remained on my window trim...

Damn that stuff!  It smells and takes FOREVER to dry. Thankfully, I have two windows and a small length of base board to paint with the paint.

I love my old house, there are surprises around every corner.  In one room, four windows have been painted with brown latex paint to some how match the two that are still the original stained oak.

**Which, that's an entire other post.... Strip or paint: The hundred year old oak trim restoration nightmare. 

Moving on to the Good news!

I got the rug to tie the sitting area together.

For those just joining, quick recap:

I've partnered with a Havenly, an online "eDesign" firm to help me renovate my front room.  Here's the room and designer renderings.


The room is nearly finshihed!!  All that's left is finishing the oil paint touch ups, adding some design accents and lighting the fire!  The final post will be up next Friday!! But here is a sneak peak on the rug and how perfectly it matches the walls!!!



Next, a lawn update... Recap: I'm working with TruGreen to OVERHUAL my lawn. They killed the entire lawn since 90% was weeds and clover, then power seeded to give me a brand new lawn! All of this was done a month ago. The lawn is about 70% filled in. Hopefully in two weeks I will have that final post up!!



For those of you who asked me to post an update about the Blue Fir we were desperate to save, but weren't sure it was possible...



Good News!!

Why yes, FTD did tie a mummy to the tree.  

It's thriving and happy as can be!
All it took was LOTS of food and TLC.
FTD and I spent the summer lovingly tending to it's recovery from years of neglect. 
The first step was to cut off the dead branches, but only up to 6ft at the most.
Luckily, that was enough to make it happy almost instantly!
Our tree guy said it is doing really well, and free from disease!
I'm not sure who I am more proud of, FTD and I, or the tree...

LAST, I have a HUGE and exciting announcement... you'll have to wait for next Friday update...
No! I am not pregnant.
  
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Oct 16, 2014

I'm Trying To Get In A Lifetime Of Hugs In Less Than Five Years.

There is absolutely nothing I love more than cuddling with my son. I love holding him close and smelling his sweet baby scent. I love the way my heartbeat slows and my entire body fills with beautiful energy. It's pure momma lovin' bliss. What's not momma lovin' bliss, is knowing soon my son will be totally grossed out by the thought of sitting in his mommy's lap for cuddle time.

<Insert momma meltdown>



When I think about this loss of cuddle time, I find myself holding my son a little tighter, and for longer. I find myself trying to get a lifetime of hugs in before he turns five.


It's total crap that I only get a short time in my son's life to hold him tight for as long as I want. It's not fair that the beautiful moments of affection we share throughout the day, will be gone before I know it. I'm dreading the day I go to hug my son, only to get the the hand out stopping me followed by, "Mom! Gross."

Damn that day!

It seems like five was the magical age for my nephews to not want to be held during movies, or happily hug me when I came and went. Now, at 7 and 8 years old, they run like hell when they see me coming for hugs and kisses. Not that it stops me from chasing them all over the house and then clobbering them with hugs and kisses when I catch them. Sadly, I know this will be gone soon too.  Soon, it will be creepy of me to chase them for cuddles. I will have no choice but to learn to love the ass out hugs, and take them when I can get them.

I know this will be the case with my son at some point too.

I think about how it must suck even worse for dads, since their time to hug and cuddle seems to be cut even shorter. I might be wrong, but it does seem like after four, my nephews were only going to their dad for comfort after a fall, or fight with their sibling. Whereas before, they would crawl in daddy's lap whenever it was free.

 I know it will kill FTD; he loves cuddling with Ollie as much as I do.
                                             
While I know I will not go hug-less after my son's fifth birthday, the cuddles will slow down and become few and far between as he gets older. In order to not completely go mental over this, everyday I try to get in a lifetime of cuddles, kisses and hugs. Everyday, on many many many occasions, I hold my son tight and tell him I love him, so in a few years when he is completely grossed out by momma cuddles, I will know I didn't waste one chance to experience one of the most beautiful gifts of motherhood; holding my child tight and telling him how much I love him.
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Protecting My Son In A Volatile World

Now that I am a parent, I am SUPER hypersensitive to all of the horrible things going on in the world, and worry about if and how they will effect my child. Because of this, I think about The Boy In The Bubble, often. Well, not the actual boy, but about how I want to raise my son in a safe secure bubble, where I can protect him from EVERYTHING! And since he's become mobile, I've realized the bubble would serve to protect things from him too. The kid is wild after all.

The day my son was born, I looked into his eyes and promised to love and protect him all the days of his life. That was nearly three years ago, and at the time, the world was a little less effed-up.

Today, I can't help but worry... From things as small as sending him to school knowing he could catch an illness from another child or fall on the playground, to the really scary stuff like school shootings, terrorism and the all too real threat of an epidemic... protecting my child is becoming increasingly difficult and scary.

Back to the bubble.... I want one! I big hard plastic bullet proof bubble that will protect my kid from the world.


If only it was really that easy right? Or more to the point, not the most foolish way to raise a child...

Seeing my son sick or hurt devastates me. I hate it, and want to do everything I can to prevent it, short of the hamster ball.

So what's set me off this time?

I am TERRIFIED of an Ebola outbreak.

TERRIFIED!

When I heard that nurse, who was supposed to be home monitoring herself, boarded a plane with a low grade fever, then checked into the hospital the next morning, I thought I was going to throw up! Then, after hearing comments form the CDC director regarding her boarding the plane and the way hospitals are not truly prepared, I was even more confused and concerned. First he said, she should not have been on that plane. Then it was, there was no real threat to the passengers...

I hope he's right.

If I think about it too much I need a valium-vodka cocktail and a padded room.

I'm not even going to act like I am going to carry on like normal. Of course we will still have playdates, go to birthday parties and his child's day out program... For now. I also plan to begin preparing my house for the worst. Call me crazy, but when it comes to protecting my child, I will take no chances!  Between the opening of flu season and the possibility of a worldwide Ebola outbreak, I have every intention of being as cautious as needed to protect my family.

in situations like this, I think about my mom, raising her three children on her own during times of  war, environmental concerns and recession. It's not like I have it that much worse today as a parent, than twenty years ago. The threats and illness have been around for ever, and will continue to be.; some worse, some not so much. This helps me to remember that getting too crazed doesn't do anyone any good. If I control the crap out of my kid, and lock him in the house until he is eighteen he will resent me.

I feel like I walk a fine line between being cautious and controlling. I guess that's what parenting is all about; finding the best way to protect my child, yet let him still experience as much as possible.

What about you?  Are you worried?  How do you plan to protect your family?




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Topo's Piano #Review #Apptastic

This post is sponsored by Topo's Piano App.  All opinions are my own.

Being that the wild-child is obsessed with my phone and tablet, I'm always looking for fun educational apps for him to play. This can be a bit tricky since he is two and needs very basic bright interactive apps to keep his attention or fun interactive stories we can read together. Story's like Topo's Piano are just what I am looking for, so when presented with the opportunity to review it, I happily agreed. 

Just like with any app, before handing it over to Ollie, I downloaded and tested it out myself. Yes, I am that mother that screens even children's apps before handing it over...

I was really pleasantly surprised! Between the beautiful music and Topo's story book adventure, I was having a blast with the interactive parts on every page of the book!





Watch this super cute and short intro to TOPO:


         


The story of Topo, and his friends, Louie, Mika, Danny and Béa is a musical adventure that flows with fun interaction with each turn of the page. Beginning in the a flooded drain pipe, and ending on a stage in Paris, the adventure takes the reader on a fun adventure of interactivity in each page with a the constant sounds of beautiful calming music. Think: PERFECT for a bedtime story. 





The nice thing is that when I have read it enough times to Ollie--you know like four in a row-- I can switch it over to narrate to him. Throughout the story, Ollie stays engaged through the fun and unsuspecting interactive features, like popping the bubbles, swinging lamps, opening doors, and of course, playing Topo's make shift piano.  

The adventure presents so many interactive features that after three days of constant play, Ollie is still finding new things to do.



Topo’s Piano, created by Harvey Stevenson, provides a fun interactive experience that is best suited for children 2-6.  You can download Topo's Piano, available in English, French and Italian, through the iTunes store only. Android your thing? No worries, connect with Topo's Piano on Facebook Twitter and Instagram for updates and new releases.

To Download on iTunes, Click Here.


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Oct 15, 2014

The One Thing ALL New Mothers Should Have...

Having a baby is the most exciting and exhilarating time in a woman's life. Sadly, for some, this exciting time is quickly overshadowed by the "baby blues" and postpartum depression. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an estimated 9-16% of postpartum women will experience postpartum depression. That may sound like a small number, but when you factor in that UNICEF estimates 130 million babies are born around the world each year, that means, 20.8 million (MILLION!!!!) women are suffering from PPD as I type these words... Heartbreaking. 


As someone who fell in the 9-16%, I know the pain, fear, confusion, sadness, feelings of worthlessness... the darkness.  I don't want any new mother to go through that. It's awful. So, I have come up with an idea to help postpartum women get through the blues and God forbid, PPD. It's not a solution, since there really isn't one, but rather a safety net, it's called a Postpartum Buddy, and EVERY new mother should have one.


I was open with my fears of getting PPD, since I have a history of having severe anxiety disorder and bouts of depression. Little did I know, being open with my fears about it, saved me from suffering alone.  My sister-from-another-mister also suffered from PPD, so she made it a point to constantly check in with me to see how I was feeling. Once the baby blues period was over, and the sadness did not dissipate, she told me it was time to go see a doctor. 

I refused. 

She insisted. 

I agreed to go.  

It was at the doctor that the first ounce of relief came.


The doctor told me it was not my fault, I was not a bad mother, and that with treatment, the PPD would pass. It took me three months to finally breakdown and go to the doctor. Unfortunately, I waited way to long, and both my baby and I suffered. FAIL!

FACT: The AAP says the following are ways both mother and baby suffer: 
For mothers, PPD can:
  Affect ability to function in everyday life and increase risk for anxiety, cognitive impairment, guilt, self blame, and fear;  Lead to difficulty in providing developmentally appropriate care to infants; Lead to a loss of pleasure or interest in life, sleep disturbance, feelings of irritability or anxiety, withdrawal from family and friends, crying, and thoughts of hurting oneself or one’s child; Be particularly problematic because of the social role adjustments expected of new mothers, which include immediate and constant infant care, redefining spousal and familial relationships, and work role. 
           Children of mothers with PPD can:
  Become withdrawn, irritable, or inconsolable;  Display insecure attachment and behavioral problems;  Experience problems in cognitive, social, and emotional development;  Have a higher risk of anxiety disorders and major depression in childhood and     adolescence. 
Fathers can also be depressed in the postpartum period, especially if the mother is depressed or if the father is not satisfied with the marital relationship or with life after the birth of the child.

SUCKS! 

But it happens. 

Thankfully, by understanding and catching PPD soon enough, harmony and bliss can be restored. 

That's where the Postpartum Buddy comes in. A postpartum buddy is someone who understands it's crucial to check on a new mother, and look for warning signs. Most of all, understand the difference between the Baby Blues and PPD.

FACT: According to the Mayo Clinic: 

Baby blues symptoms, which last only a few days to a week or two — may include: 
•    Mood swings•    Anxiety•    Sadness•    Irritability•    Crying•    Decreased concentration•    Trouble sleeping 

PPD-Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer — may include:   
•    Loss of appetite•    Insomnia•    Intense irritability and anger•    Overwhelming fatigue•    Loss of interest in sex•    Lack of joy in life•    Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy•    Severe mood swings•    Difficulty bonding with your baby•    Withdrawal from family and friends•    Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby


No one should suffer from depression one day longer than they have to! 

Not one day.

After giving this Postpartum Buddy idea some great thought, and talking it over with a dear friend, I have come up with five things the Buddy should be, and do...

1. A postpartum buddy (PB) should not be a partner/spouse. Becoming new parents is tough; both are dealing with a lot. Plus, Men aren't always so great at understanding the difference between moodiness and depression; they kind of just chalk it all up to bitchiness.

2. The postpartum buddy should be someone you trust and be open with easily. Someone you can barely keep a secret from.

3. Prior to delivery, all fears about PPD should be discussed with the PB, and an action plan created. The action plan should include what to do in the case of PPD, and include the doctor's office number and address, so the PB can not only make the appointment if need be, but also drive.

4. The PB understands this is a serious job. They need to call/visit regularly and ask important questions. They HAVE TO stick with the new mother until all concerns over PPD are gone. 

5. The Postpartum Buddy helps the new mother get out of the house regularly the first few weeks; even if it's just once a week to get her away from the baby and see how she is functioning. 

Again, this is not a fix, but it's a start. My hope for the Postpartum Buddy idea is that it will save at least one mother and her baby from suffering. If the line of communication is open before the PPD begins, then hopefully the new mother will understand that having PPD is not her fault, and that with a little help, this too shall pass. 


All new mothers need someone to talk to and vent to. Becoming a new mother is scary business. Having someone call to check on you, not the baby, but YOU, goes a long way to a new mother. I know, it meant the world to me. 


Please, if you know a new mother, call her and be her Postpartum Buddy. 


What do you think? Did you have a PB? Did you suffer from PPD?





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