7/28/2016

I Live In America, How Can This Be?


I'm struggling with sending my son to school. Big time...

School starts in three weeks and I have yet to sign my son up. Granted, it's just for pre-k, but thanks to the school shootings and unrest, every time I go online to sign him up, I freeze up. I'm definitely thinking about keeping him home another year with me. Maybe even homeschooling.

He's ready for kindergarten. He can read, write his name, color in the lines, and sit quietly for story time. So it's not like he needs the education part of it. But I know in my heart, he really needs the social part of it. But what good are social skills, if you're in a school shooting?

Oh, it makes my tummy turn when I think about it.

I just can't get my head around the fact that I live in America and I'm afraid to send my child to school. Truth be told, I've been begging my husband to move back to Australia. They don't have guns. They don't have school shootings. I would happily send my son to school in Australia.

Who would've thought I'd want to move away from the United States of America for a better life for my family? Especially, when that's what this country was built on. People coming for a better life. At least, that was the case at one time...

And with this incredibly jacked up Presidential election going on, I don't foresee peace and harmony being restored to the States anytime soon.



It's hard being a parent today. I lay in bed with my son every night and hold him close. I thank God for our warm bed, the roof over our head, and the peace I have in that moment with him, because the media is a constant reminder how of quickly that peaceful moment can be taken.

So here I am, a mother with a four-year-old child and afraid to send him to school. Even the both of us need that time away from each other. Even though I know it's the best thing for him. I can't help but want to keep him home with me in a bubble. Safe.



I know I have to send him to school. I know I have to let him grow up. I know I have to let him live. I know I can't let terrorism stop me from living. But holy shit it's so hard.

To all the parents who are battling the same thoughts and fears, my heart goes out to you because it's a really crappy place to be.


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7/25/2016

Wanna Kick Coffee, The Mid-Day Rut or Insomnia? TRY THIS

Today I am partnering with TeaMi Blends to share why I am 100% a full-on devotee to the mind, body and soul benefits found in tea. Yes, tea. And not just sweet tea--which I fondly refer to southern water. I live off of herbal tea. Live. Off. 

Over the last two weeks, I've nearly kicked my insane coffee habit, fought the 3pm-rut without  copious amounts of chocolate and coffee, and fallen to sleep with ease, thanks to my all time favorite tea people, TeaMi Blends ALIVE and RELAX teas! 





I have been devoted to tea for a little over a decade now. I use it to soothe my tummy, help me sleep, loose a few pounds, focus, relax, handle my day like a boss...

Last weekend, I met a girlfriend for a pedicure. I was running late, so she got the chairs reserved and ready. As I went to sit down, I handed her my phone and tea so I could get situated.

My friend: What is it with you and your brother and tea!

Me: Ha! You should see my sister!   Taste it. It's better than coffee and wakes me up twice as fast, and I don't crash!

Friend: Wow. It's delicious!

Me: Really? You think so!   

Don't get me wrong, the tea is delicious! Very delicious. I was just surprised because my friend can be so picky and particular. (Love You, L!) I used her liking my tea as an opportunity to school her on the benefits of what she just called, delicious!




My morning cup of TeaMi Blends ALIVE tea is the perfect blend of Ginger Honey + Lemongrass + Green Tea. Hello, yum! 

The Possible Benefits may include:


  • Eliminating Chronic Exhaustion 
  • Boosting Metabolism 
  • Heightened Focus & Concentration
  • Increasing Energy Levels
  • Relieving Muscle Pain & Inflammation
  • Purifying the Colon
  • Increasing Blood Circulation which Improves Skin Complexion
  • Detoxing of the Kidney & Liver
  • Decreasing Migraines
  • Relieving Discomfort from Stomach Cramps
Thanks to Alive Tea, I have nearly kicked my 3-4 cups of coffee a day habit, to just my morning cup. I also feel HEAPS better drinking the tea. My goal is to be completely off coffee by the end of July! My brother, a tea devotee too, (read: uber health nut all-natural, super clean machine, gym junkie) kicked coffee last winter using green tea. He's been urging me to try, but I just hadn't found anything that got me going like coffee. Until now! 

If you are looking for a way to boost your day, without a pot of coffee, Try the TeaMi Blends Alive. It truly has been game changing. 

Not looking for a way to boost your day, but rather come down from a crazy hectic one? 





Try the TeaMi Blends RELAX Tea: Lavender Flower, Chamomile, Lemongrass, Orange peel, Valerian Root extract. FYI: the blend can:

  • Reduces restlessness and insomnia
  • Antibacterial effects can help prevent and treat colds
  • Calms muscle spasms and muscle tightness
  • Relaxes the lining of the intestines
  • Helps soothe and relax upset stomachs

Tea can heal, soothe and supercharge you. It's just a matter of finding the right blend for your needs.  To see the huge array of teas TeaMi Blends offer-- Free shipping on US orders of $20+ (International shipping available!) and 10% off using the promotional code FIRST10 at checkout, CLICK HERE. 


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7/20/2016

What Happens At The Boy-Girl Divide

I'm sad to report, my four-year-old has reached a new milestone that's left us with two-thirds less playdates and me missing my friends. The little guy has reached the point in his life where the boy-girl divide is beginning.



When having playdates when he was age three and under, it didn't matter if it was a boy or girl, they just got along. In a co-playing sort of way. During this time, almost all children play with the same toys. Toddler staples like things that roll, make noise, have buttons, fun colors, stack, sort...

Now, my son wants to play specifically with trucks, army men, Hotwheels and Star Wars. His girl friends, are, for the most part, completely unintersedted in having army or Star Wars battles.

I noticed the divide happening about a month ago. We had a girlfriend over for a long playdate, and the two had a very hard time playing together. But that's not the worst of it. They ate lunch at seprate tables! We have two tables in our backyard, a 'kid' table and 'adult' table. They chose to split up. Both insisted on staying at their table, and ate their lunch. Happily.

Then, one of Ollie's friends he's known since birth (he was born two weeks before the little girl), came for a playdate that left her mother and I shocked. They didn't even want to play in the same room! Which, is insane. The two have played remarkably well over the years. She even gave Ollie his first kiss. The two would follow each other anywhere. Transportation optional.






Then the real kicker came when one of his best girlfriends from two doors down came for a play date and ended up leaving 15 minutes later. Ollie wanted to play army guys and she was completely not into it. Which is cool. Unless you're my four-year-old son.

He tried to get her interested in the Army men-- the good guys and setting up the battle. She just stared. When I went to redierct them to something more mutually enjoyable, she annouced that she  missed her mom and wanted to go home and play with her toys.

As she ran home, in her brand new pink cowboy boots, my crestfallen son stood there, watching her, with the saddest look on his face. He was devastated she left.

(It was such a moment, I took a photo of both!)



Once she turned up the sidewalk to her house, Ollie turned to me and he started crying. I scooped him up, and sat down on the front steps and held him. I thought I might cry with him. I was so sad he was sad.

Once I laid enough kisses and hugs on him to stop the crying, I did my best to explain that she was not upset with him, she just wanted to go home to her mommy.

He was truely shocked she didn't like his army guys and wanted to go home. I tried to explian that not all children like the same toys, and that's Ok. That sometimes boys and girls really like differnt toys, nd maybe in the future,  he find something they both he and his friend enjoy doing.

Then, I asked him if he was at her house and all she wanted to do was play with her little ponies and dolls, would he like it? Reluctantly, he said, no.



While I know he doesn't fully understand what's going on, the fact remains, we are entering the boy girl divide. Thankfully, the only issue currently lies with toys and interests, and not cooties and germs. I'm trying not to make a big deal of it, and don't want to give him the impression that boys and girls only want to play with and do gender-specific things.

Thankfully, all hope in suscessful boy-girl playdates is not lost. I'm learning with a little pre-planning,   it can be done. It helps tremendously to have gender nuetral activities lined up. Things like, arts and crafts, board games, backyard Red-light-green-light... The trick is redirecting to something they both are interested in.

Bubbles are always a winner!



Have you entered the boy girl divide? Already dealt with it? Any tips or stories???
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The Emotional Decision to Use Frozen Donor Eggs

Today, I am turning the blog over to discuss a topic that is very important, and ultra-sensitive, Using Frozen Donor Eggs.


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Emotion and Logic Don't Tango


Whenever a situation involves strong emotions, it can be very difficult to see the logical side of the coin. Inevitably, when it comes to using a frozen egg donor, you're hopping on board an emotional roller coaster that is loaded with challenges.


My husband and I faced a tremendous struggle in adding another child to our family following our son’s adoption. We know all too well the emotional difficulties couples face when using frozen eggs, but the disappointment of nine unsuccessful cycles of IVF, frozen embryo transfer cycles, and a failed adoption, led us to explore a new alternative by using frozen donor eggs.


In the end, we were given the ultimate blessing. The arduous journey we’d gone through ended with me delivering our beautiful twins - a girl and a boy. The journey, however, was not without its challenges. Before one can arrive at the ultimate goal – giving birth to a healthy child – you must first understand the process of frozen donor eggs, and all the emotions you may experience too, in order to make it work.


No doubt, it's a heck of a lot to handle.


An element of fear may creep in when you think about not having a, or another, biological child, and you may worry that your child might not seem like your own. These feelings are natural and very common. I went through this, but made the choice to acknowledge my fears and then move forward. In the end, the sight of our twins conquered any negative emotions I had towards the process and decision to use donor eggs.


Here are a few real concerns on the psychological aspects of using donor eggs from the Center for Human Reproduction.



*Not your own DNA - In a perfect world, all women would be able to have their own biological children if they chose. Of course, that’s not the case. In order to have a family, using an egg donor may be the best option for many couples. With this reality comes the knowledge that your baby will not be genetically related to you. They won't inherit your traits, and they will probably not resemble you. You can look through the catalog of potential donors’ pictures and profiles with the goal of finding someone similar to yourself, but there is no one out there who is just like you.


This is a tough pill to swallow when you're already dealing with the disappointment of not being able to conceive a baby naturally. Understand your feelings and emotions are very normal, and it's important to talk to someone you trust about them. Get them out in the open so you can grieve and deal with them, ultimately setting yourself up to accept and move forward positively.


*What about the intrinsic bonding process? - You may be wondering if you will be able to bond with a third party's genetics. It's natural to wonder if you will have that special relationship with your baby. But the bonding process is complex and does not come down to a simple matter of genetics. It's important to remember that your body will be nourishing and providing for this baby. You are the one the baby knows and trusts. You are the platform for that precious emotional connection.


Just because they don’t share your genetic code doesn't mean you won’t be attached to your child. As they say, it is mind over matter - when you mentally accept the fact that this is your child, no matter what, and that they need you to grow and to flourish, the fear of not having an intimate connection will disappear. It just takes a little time and patience.


*Feelings of loss because it is not your "own" child - Not being able to conceive naturally is a tough reality to deal with. You may battle through an emotional roller coaster of grief and guilt because, technically, the child is not your own. But this is truly only a technicality. Your child will be your child. Nurturing, loving, providing for and being there for your child is far more important than making it.


It's natural to grieve… but it’s also important to accept your reality and embrace what you do have!


*Breaking the news to family, friends, and healthcare providers: the social considerations - It is your choice whether you will disclose the fact that your child was conceived through donor egg. Aside from your child’s doctor, it is truly no one’s business but your own.


If you do choose to share your situation, you must brace yourself for the fact that some people may need time to understand - and that's a fair request. Try not to take it personally, and let them clearly know how excited you are about your pregnancy. If they continue to act negatively, you may need to distance yourself from that person so you can focus on your new bundle of joy that's just around the corner.

The bottom line is, it's very important to face your emotions and accept them. You may feel any number of things, like isolation, guilt, confusion, blame, and even failure. These are all normal emotions and when you allow yourself the time to come to terms with the situation, you will see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's truly magnificent.
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7/18/2016

LOVE IT! Every Family Should Have One Of These

If you follow this blog, then you know, my Australian husband is shameless and beyond hysterical.  He is also incredibly creative and a whizz on the computer. There's no better proof of this when after years of complaining about not having a great family portrait, he made me one. 




You see, I'd been complaining about the fact that every other family has a great portrait displayed in their house. But do I? No. 

Truth be told, I had pretty much accepted that I never would. Even if I could get the Aussie and his Mini-me to dress in nice semi-matching clothes, they would NEVER:

  • Sit still for a photo
  • smile for real
  • take it seriously. even a little bit. 
  • miss the chance to embarrass me


The list goes on and on... and on...

Think I'm kidding?  Here are the last time I asked them to smile:



So, when the hubs gave me this framed masterpiece for my birthday, I was beside myself with joy.


It was PERFECT!  No way could I have fashioned a better photo of my family with an actual photographer. Each one of us is making the PERFECT expression. (Our heads were taken from three different photos.)  No way could we pull that off in real life. 




Originally, he printed it on photo paper and framed it, but it wasn't right. This masterpiece needed to be on canvas! It needed to be hung over our mantle. So, when the Canvas Factory reached out offering me a free 16"x 20'' (40x50cm) Canvas photo, I said, Yes, please!

I'd never had a photo printed on canvas before and was skeptical of how well the photo would transfer, or how real it would look.

When I unboxed the canvas photo I was floored. It came out so amazing!  So. So. So Amazing. I gave it to the Hubs as a late Father's Day present. He was just as overjoyed and blown away with the end result. It was also really cool to solidify his masterpiece in Canvas ,that I can proudly hang on the wall. 

Which, I did. In the first 10-minutes of having it. 


Click Photo To Enlarge.

The quality is so nice, no frame needed! The canvas is stretched around the wood frame, secured with nails and staples, then covered with soft felt-like tape to give the back a smooth finish. 



I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! 


I just cannot recommend enough considering a fun family portrait that perfectly captures YOUR family. It's easier than you think with free online photo editing software that guides you through the process. Or enlist a friend with photoshop to help. 

You could also use an actual family photo and print it to canvas, but I have to say, it's so much more fun to have a silly family portrait. Not only does mine keep me laughing and proud of my family, it's a fantastic conversation starter. No one can walk past it without saying something. 




To inspire you to make your own,  I'm partnering with the Canvas Factory to offer one reader a 16"x 20'' (40x50cm) Custom Canvas print


Enter the giveaway below (Open to US and CA),! For more information about the Canvas Factory or to order your print now, US Residents Click here;  Canadians, Click here. I Most Def recommend Canvas Factory. GREAT Prices and fantastic quality! 




**I received compensation and or product in exchange for an honest original post. All opinions are my own.
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7/14/2016

Pokémon Go: Six Things You Should Know







If you haven't heard of Pokémon Go, then you've probably just emerged from a cabin deep, deep in the woods, where millions of crazy-ass people running around chasing Pokémon Monsters on their phone hadn't reached you yet. Or you may have had a kid, or adult, point their phone at you screaming something that sounded like, Dildo! For the record, it was, Doduo. Or maybe your heard, Jigglyfuck? Nope, Jigglypuff. Don't worry, it's part of the game.

Now that Pokémania is raging harder than a viral tweet about Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris, it's time to break it down for those of you out there, scratching your heads in disbelief (Like me).

First, the gist of the game: Pokémon Go utilizes GPS location and augmented reality to create a virtual world that encourages players to find Pokémon at real-life locations, have virtual battles and chase monsters. 






1. The game spreading twice as fast as a wildfire.  According to analytics firm SimilarWeb, the game is bigger than Tinder on Android, and 60 percent of those who have downloaded it are playing it every day. In terms of daily active users, Pokémon Go recently took over Twitter  AND Snapchat for daily user engagement.

2. World Wide work productivity is in the toilet. Dallas Mavericks players Devin Harris, Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri shared photos from the team's locker room with a Doduo (a two-headed bird whose special ability is listed, matter-of-factly, as "tangled feet"). League of Legends teams Cloud9 and Team SoloMid were caught playing the game when they should have been prepping for a match. In Texas, a man shared photos that went viral of his trying to catch a Pidgey, WHILE HIS WIFE WAS IN LABOR! 




3. Traffic is jacked up, EVERYWHERE! Between Dumbasses failing to look up when crossing the road and 
Fat asses inching their cars down the street refusing to get out and walk, Pokémon Go is causing all kinds of traffic trouble. It's so bad, in NT Australia, Police urged Pokémon Go players to "look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street. That Sandshrew isn't going anywhere fast." Side note: Even the police know the names and how to make jokes about this game! The game is set up to detect if you are in a car or on foot- you can only play the game when on foot. Seriously, if you see a car inching down the road, roll down your window and tell the lazy shit to get out and walk! You see, the game can detect the speed you are going, which must be under 5 miles an hour, so you have to be on foot to play. 



4. The evil opportunist is waiting to rob you. The game allows people to add a beacon to a Pokéstop to lure more players. That's how they get you. They watch the Pokéstop to locate people standing around. In O'Fallon Missouri, a group of teens is suspected to have used the game to help them rob at least a dozen victims over the weekend before being caught. 

5. There are big plans for this game, so get ready for much, much more ridiculousness.  The makers of Pokémon have big plans, including trading, more stops, characters, and features. So, if you have children, expect Pokémon Go to invade your home eventually if it hasn't already.

6. There is some good. All ranting aside, there is one thing that is exceptional about Pokémon Go,  it's getting even the laziest of slugs off the couch or gaming chair and out into the world. The game is set up to essentially lure you out into your community, on foot. A friend's husband and sons spent two hours walking around their neighborhood. My nephews ALWAYS want to be outside, ready to catch a Pokémon. Another fantastic side effect of the game is community and camaraderie building. There have been many accounts of people finding new friends at a Pokéstop, and businesses getting in on the action offering Pokemon specials. 



Bottomline: The game is hot as fire, super-fun if you're into this sort of thing, great if you're looking for a way to get the kids out of the house or need a little encouragement to get out and walk. There are certain dangers involved including opportunist creating dodgy lures and unsafe spaces, and ding-dongs not looking up from their phones before crossing the road.  If your interested, try it, you may even loose a few pounds! But I cannot stress this enough before you let your kids catch Pokémania and chase monsters, lay down ground rules, share the dangers and always go with them.

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7/11/2016

What Happens When You Take A Small Child To A Big City



March 2016, The Aussie, the Kid and I traveled to Melbourne, Australia, to spend three glorious weeks visiting family and friends. I planned everything out. I over thought everything. I over-packed like a crazed mother crossing the world with her son for the first time. (I was!) I thought I thought of everything.

Wrong.

I never once thought about the fact that big cities aren't really great fun for little kids.  Sure, the museums, green space and some sights can be great, but the over-stimulation and getting from point A to point B can be tough. Especially, if you don't have a stroller or transportation.

Allow me to use my horror story as an example.


Our first morning in Melbourne, The Aussie and I could hardly wait to hit the city. Riddled with jet lag, the three of us stumbled out of our high-rise apart'hotel The Citadines On Bourke, situated right smack in the middle of the central business district (CBD). Even better, on the best street for shopping in the city! 

The City of Melbourne, Australia is gorgeous. From the architecture to the sights, sounds, trams, food, culture, museums, street art and Pokie pubs, it's the greatest. 

Hand-in-hand the three of us headed down Burke Street towards Southern Cross Station to meet friends for lunch. Mid-way down, The kid starts asking to be held. All 45 pounds of him. 




Dad picks him up and carries him a couple of blocks. Puts him down.

Two minutes later, I'm holding him. 

Five minutes later, switch.

This is pretty much how the entire time in the city went that day. The boy wanted nothing to do with walking in the city. Which is odd, since he always wants to walk. 

Later that night before bed:

Me: Why didn't you want to walk today? You always want to walk.

The Kid: There are too many people and all I can see is their butts!

I had to laugh.

As the conversation progressed, I realized it must be scary for a three foot, four-year-old in a big city. He's in a strange place, there are people everywhere surrounding him, especially on the street corners. 
It's got to be scary. 

And all he can see are butts!

The next morning, a friend brought us a stroller on his way to work. Even though the kid was a little big for it, he was happy to sit in it. 

INTERJECTION: Just like infants will happily sleep in their carriers before a crib, there is something about a stroller that makes a child feel safe. Even a big scary city surrounded by people he doesn't know with an unfortunate line of sight.

We used the stroller the entire time we were in Melbourne. In the city, suburbs, shopping... The little guy was happy to sit in it and look around. We were happy to push him.

That being said, we still spent a great deal of time holding him during our three-week trip.  The second he got tired, uncomfortable or unsure, into our arms he went.





Before we flew back to the states, we made a pitstop in Sydney, Australia. Without a stroller, we were prepared to hold him while in the city, however, we quickly found out all the hills in the Sydney CBD made it back-breaking hell. 




We were going to have trouble the next four days navigating Sydney by foot with a four-year-old. I was desperate for a stroller and resolved to buy one until I found out strollers are sold at only one store in the CBD, David Jones, and start at $100AU.  



We passed on buying a stroller and opted to make do. (Read: He spent a lot of time attached to daddy.)




Needless to say, we took advantage of public transportation every chance we got.



Ferries... 




and the double-decker city tour bus.


Moral of the story: Little kids can be super-duper overwhelmed by a big city. Creating a comfort zone or safe space is key to a seamless city stroll. 

I know bringing a stroller on a plane can be a pain in the ass, but it flys free and will prove to be priceless.





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Disclaimer

We are FAR from childhood development professionals. We cannot and will not be held responsible if you take us seriously. Especially, because we don't even take ourselves seriously.