10 First-Time Parent Delusions

Being a first-time mother, it's safe to say I will always be a rookie with my first born.  Every day, stage, milestone, fever, bump and achievement is new for both of us. Below are a few the worst first-time mom delusions most all of us share.

1. Thinking that the parenting books are the gospel of parenting, and when you or your child fails to meet the goals or milestones, you are sure you suck at parenting, and your kid hates you. WRONG!  Those books are mere guidelines written by perfectionist, take them with a grain of salt and a bottle of wine.  If you must read the parenting books, look for books with, "this shit is crazy," in the title. 

2.  Thinking you have parenting figured out from all of the hours of advice you got while being pregnant, and that your baby will NEVER be like those babies in the store that cry the whole time, stay up all hours and don't meet milestones on time, or god forbid, do not pick up baby sign language.  Give it up.  Give all of your preconceived ideas and plans up now. Parenting is hands-on learn-as-you-go. Nothing works out how you planned.  (Don't fret, sometimes it works out even better!)

3. Wishing for new milestones.  You will soon learn that days you could leave your baby in one spot and know they will stay there, will be known as the, "easy days."  Wishing for crawling is like wishing for the dog to chew up your new favorite pair of shoes.  Wishing for walking is like wishing for a tornado to remodel your home. Wishing for talking is like asking congress to hold meetings in your bed at night. Trust me on this one, love the slug, because when the slug becomes mobile all hell breaks loose. 

4. Cleaning the house while your family is away.  They will turn your house back into a shithole the minute they get home. Spot clean and disinfect the surfaces, then put your feet up, have a glass of wine, grab a magazine and enjoy the quiet time. 

5. Thinking you can still have a social life, friends and normalcy once your baby is born. Sure, when you become a mom you still have Happy Hours, except now they are called, nap time. I became the worst friend when I become a new mother.  I was so damn tired at the end of the day, that the thought of going out instead of sitting on the couch enjoying baby free peace and quiet, was crazy! I am just now making regular baby free outings with friends.

6.  Expecting that you will experience a marital/relationship bliss like you have never known when the baby arrives. Your family will be complete…Blah, Blah, Blah  WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Babies eat bliss then shit it out all over you.  In fact, I have never heard of a relationship that gets stronger right after the new baby arrives.  Marital bliss is one thing,  being a strong parenting team is another. The two take a long time to meet up in the middle.  

7. Thinking you will loose the baby weight before you leave the hospital, or at the very least in 6 weeks if you breastfeed.  Not. Gonna. Happen.  It took you 10-months to pack it on, it's gonna take work to lose it, and that's for a healthy cardio crazy twenty-something. If you plan to lose the weight fast, you better have a damn good plan. 

8. Buying new baby clothes every time you go to the store.  I look back at the closet and drawers full of newborn and 3-6 month-old-clothes I had ready before my baby even arrived, and think dammit what a waste of time and money!  My son maybe wore two newborn outfits and grew out of 3-6 months by four months old.  Buy the minimum, especially when your baby is young. 

9. Thinking you can have nice things. Until your children move out of your home, you cannot have nice things.  And from what I hear, they end up moving back in, bringing significant others, then before you know it there is another baby running around.  Just give up hope of nice things.  Save the money for a vacation. 

10. Making plans to be somewhere at a certain time.  HAHAHAHAHA!  Not gonna happen.  Even if you tell yourself you have to be somewhere an hour early.  There is a certain Murphy's Law to leaving the house on-time with a baby/toddler.  Between the diaper bags full of crap and bottles, to the thinking you can plan around naps and feedings.  An appointment will only be met when you do not have a baby in tow, and even then you have a plethora of variables that could work against you.  My kid is 20-months-old, I still struggle to make it to the bathroom on-time.


10 Reason They Are Called, Toddlers

While talking with a fellow mother of a toddler, I made the joke that my toddler put the T in Toddler. Then I started rattling off a whole slew of other "T" words that my toddler fits, well, to a T! Below are, 10 Things the "T" in Toddler stands for. (Definitions, provided by the, Merriam Webster Dictionary.)

1. Terrorize: v. To cause (someone) to be extremely afraid. If it's not what my toddler might say, it's what he might do that keeps me VERY afraid!

2. Tester: n. One that tests or is Used for Testing. Nothing gets by him without his own investigation. He needs to touch, question, play with... everything must be tested! 

3. Traitor n. 1. : one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty 2 : one who commits treason.  A Toddler will throw anyone under the bus.  If they are not calling out someone, they are telling their business. 

4. Talkative: a. Tending to talk a lot or to enjoy having conversations with people. HE NEVER STOPS TALKING!

5. Tameless: a. not tamed or not capable of being tamed. The child cannot be tamed. Nope. It can't be done.  

6. Tantrum: n.  an uncontrolled expression of childish anger : an angry outburst by a child or by  someone who is behaving like a child. I'd say Merriam and Webster pretty much just summed it up. 

7. Tardy: a. Slow in moving, acting, or happening. For some reason when I tell my toddler it's time to go, he hears, sit down and start playing with toys. 

8. Truthful: a. containing or expressing the truth  A toddler will tell you anything you want to know. They will even tell on themselves!  They will also tell on you, so beware.

9. Thieves: n. One that steals especially stealthily or secretly. You have seen the toddler Rules of Possession  right?

10. Theatrical: a. Behaving or done in a way that is meant to attract attention and that is often not genuine or sincere.  OhMiLawd!  The theatrics! A toddler can give an Oscar winning performance at the drop of a hat. It's pretty amazing really. A toddler can go from full tear meltdown to excited and laughing back to meltdown. On queue they can do just about anything... but go to sleep of course.


10 Tips For Surviving The Potty-Training War

After two years of trying, on and off, to potty train my toddler, it's safe to say, I've been through the potty training struggle. I know what works and what changes the game. I also know why you don't push a child. Regression is real. very real.

In and effort to save you from my potty training plight, I've put together a list of 10 things that I couldn't have survived potty training without.

1. Patience. Patience was the number one thing that got me through the PT battle. Once I accepted the fact that my child would ONLY potty train on his time and terms, I relaxed a little. I stopped holding myself 100% accountable that my toddler was not potty trained by two. His time. His Terms.

2. An Emergency Mess Kit. For those days where I let him run around without a diaper, accidents seemed inevitable. Or worse, when his aim left much to be desired. For quick clean-ups, I keep an emergency mess kit under the kitchen sink. In a plastic basket, I store quick clean-up products. Whenever the kid would have an accident, rather than scramble to find the products I needed to clean up the mess, I would just grab the bin on my way to him, and his mess.

I got the entire kit at the Dollar store for $5! SO WORTH IT!

3. A toilet seat with a built-in toddler seat. This thing was magical for getting Ollie to sit comfortably on the potty. Plus, I had no desire to have him pee in a plastic potty, and clean it out after. So. Gross.

4. A stepping stool. When the wild-child started trying to go on his own, I was afraid he would fall off the toilet and bang his head on the tile when either climbing up or down from the potty. So, I got him a Child's Step Stool. The stool was awesome for both safely climbing on the potty, and for reaching the faucet to wash his hands!

5. Self sufficiency. It took me a while, but I finally realized my kid would never be able to go by himself until he could undress and re-dress, solo.  Even though it killed me, I stood by while it took him four hours to put his pants back on. Now he;s down to about thirty seconds. So what if they are on backwards with the seem running up the side of his leg.

6. Bribes. I know many experts frown upon bribing your kid, but in this case, bribes are WAY better than diapers. I started with mini M&Ms, but quickly realized my kid would have a mouthful of cavities at the rate he was "going potty" for a treat. He was pretty much squeezing out a drop or two for candy.  So, I switched to dollar store trucks and army guys at treats.  If he used the potty ALL DAY, without any accidents, he could choose a toy.

FYI:  After about a month of bribing, I told him he was a big boy now, and didn't need a treat for going potty.  I added something about how mommy and daddy don't get treats before he took off knowing where the story was going...

7. Emergency Change Kit- I keep an emergency change kit, with wipes, in my car so if there's an accident, I don't have to scramble for wipes or new clothes.

8. Foaming soap. I found foaming soap to spread on the tops and bottoms of his hands, and rinse off those little hands the easiest. It's also much easier to clean uptake a gob of spilled gel hand soap.

9. Nighttime Diapers- Naturally, the older my toddler gets, the more he pees.  He can fill up a regular diaper by 3am.  Just like pee in my car is not cool, pee in my bed is really not cool! After a couple of unpleasant nights, I sought out nighttime specific diapers for toddlers, not big babies. Since switching, he has not had a leak since. While I hope and pray he is night trained sooner than later, I'm not taking any chances on middle of the night surprises.

10. Flushable wipes.  Above all, flushable wipes were the game changer. At first, they were awesome just wiping him in general, and the  misses he made. Then, when Mr. Independence decided he wanted to wipe on his own, potty training took on a nasty twist. Flushable wipes came to the rescue by stopping him from trying to unroll and use, the ENTIRE toilet paper roll. I taught him that butt wipes were his special toilet paper, and that he only needed ONE.

NOTE: Nighttime potty training is a whole different battle. One that may last years after daytime potty training...

What has been your potty training saving grace? 


Looking For Something? You Might Find It Here. #VarageSale

**I've partnered with VarageSale today to talk about one of my favorite things, Garage Sales!

Of the many, many things I love about the spring season, two I am looking forward to the most; the flowers and the opening of garage sale season!

I never thought I would be that person who wakes up on a Saturday morning giddy to go garage sale surfing. But, I am.

It's the Aussie's fault. He LOVES them.

This is him, on a typical Saturday, after a stroll through the neighborhood slaying garage sales. How he gets it all home is amazes to me. 

With the spring  garage sales still three months away, I'm getting my garage sale surfing fix using the app, VarageSale. It links me up with virtual garage sales in my community.  Using your zipcode, the app sends you to your community page, to view all of the things being sold near by, or search for that one thing you've been searching for... you just might find it!

There is also the other side to VarageSale, making money selling no longer wanted treasures.  According to a girl friend obsessed with VarageSale already, it's just as easy to buy, as it is to sell on VarageSale. In fact, my friend said she was "nearly making a living selling her clutter on VarageSale," She said she walks around her house, finds something she no longer wants that's "cluttering up the place", takes a picture, uploads it, then meets the person at Kroger before going in to grocery shop.

I can do that! And with my horder of a husband, I have plenty of "Clutter". And toys that I have got to get rid of. I've decided that every penny I make selling our things on VarageSale, is fair game for purchases of new treasures.

My first find was this entertainment center. Unfortunately, someone got it before I could get the Aussie to agree to it.  Next time, I 'll go the Southern Belle route, ask for forgiveness, not permission.

Bottomline:VarageSale is definitely worth checking out. I've been amazed by how many good, quality things are listed.  If you're looking for something, you just might find it there. TIP: Things go really quickly, so if you see something, reach out to the seller immediately!


Download of iOS, Here.

Download for Android, Here.

Have you ever used VarageSale?  I didn't realize how popular it was until I started asking friends about it. I'd love to hear your favorite garage sale finds!

Survival Guide to the first few months of parenting

I had no idea what to expect the first few months, or first days of parenting for that matter.  Most of the books I read said that parenthood would be filled with happiness (Think: rainbows and unicorns.)  Well, those authors must have written those books in the 60’s and 70’s when LSD was still legal.  I am here to tell you, if you see a unicorn or rainbow it will be because you have passed out from exhaustion or stress, hit your head VERY hard and went off to play with the fairies in unicorn land.

Below is a little list of tips and tricks to help you survive the first few months of parenting... 

  1. When you hear your baby cry for the first time it will be the single most amazing sound you have ever heard in your life. It will also be the beginning of a huge overhaul of your life and most of all, priorities.  Everything will change at that moment... for the better.
  2. Bask in the glory of being at the hospital, ask questions, sleep, eat, let the nurses help you.  I cannot recommend enough letting your baby go to the nursery while you sleep and have him/her brought back for feedings.  Trust me, the hospital sleep may be the best sleep you get for a few weeks.
  3. Once you get home, take deep breaths when you get overwhelmed, EVERY TIME you get overwhelmed. It actually helps. P.s. Everyone gets overwhelmed.   
  4. Have no fear, you have an instinct that kicks in.  Dad does too. Also, the baby really only needs a few things at first, so meeting his/her needs is easy.  It’s just the number of times a day you have to meet those needs that is shocking.
  5. Expect the worst!  I know some people may read that and think I am a shit for saying that, but trust me, LOWER your expectations for perfection, ease and “Yay this is going to be awesome.”  That way when the moments of “ok, I can do this” come through, you will be so freaking stoked parenthood will be nice again.
  6. The baby WILL NOT do what you want or expect, so all ideas, plans and routines must be thrown to the wolves.  Chances are your new bundle will let you know what’s up, about a second before it is 100% necessary for you to sort it out.  i.e.  he’s hungry, wet, tired, “you are an idiot and need to learn how to hold me properly,” “this swing is stupid try something else”… the list goes on and grows daily, sorry.
  7. Your baby will cry at first for three things, hunger, cold wet diaper, super tired.  I always start with hunger, then wet, then sleep.  You will know what it is pretty quickly, but I have been tripped up by a wet diaper a few times thinking it was just him wanting food mid way through a feeding cycle.  Even if you think it’s not the diaper, check anyway!  The only other things Ollie cries for now are when he is bored with his swing or cold from a bath.  
  8. If you are breastfeeding you can do it sister!  Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I have had to do in my life.  It is a VERY VERY VERY selfless act. I personally do not like the constant baby stuck to my breast while my husband watches TV, plays on his computer or sleeps, I want to slap him. Very hard.  But, ladies please learn from my false animosity towards my husband, if he could feed him he would.  I know it makes him feel bad that he cannot help.  It is not the mans fault he cannot help breastfeeding so don’t slap him. 
  9. Again if you are breastfeeding… When you want to throw in the towel email me.  When you are sitting on your couch crying because you hate it and cannot take it anymore know that WE ALL have done that, you are not alone.  Breathe in and lean down and kiss your precious baby and know that what you are doing is the VERY best thing you can possibly do for your child right now.  Again it is a selfless act, welcome to mommy hood.  YOU CAN DO IT!  Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it!  I am selfish and have entitlement issues. Yet I whip out the booby every three hours and dream about my sainthood I just know I will get for this incredible miracle I keep pulling off of continuing to feed my baby.
  10. One more note for breastfeeding mothers.  If you don’t have a pump try to get one.  Even if it is a manual pump.  I would have lost the plot fully by now without my pump.  I cannot do it all alone.  Now that my husband is handling the late night feeding I can sleep a little longer and feel SO much better for it.  Without a pump that would be impossible. Also, at first when Ollie was learning to latch and I was learning the positions, he shredded my nipples.  24 hours of pumping allowed them to heal and me to regain my sanity. 
  11. The first few weeks are gnarly to say the least.  Breastfeeding or not, there are loads of feedings in the 24 hours period so solid sleep is not going to happen.  You will quickly learn that while you think you have lost your sanity you can still function. It helps you only have a few tasks at first so you and baby will survive the first few weeks of confusion.  
  12. EVERY time you feed change the diaper.  The last thing you want is for your baby to wake up mid sleep for a wet diaper.  How pissed at yourself will you be?  
  13. Switching your baby from wanting to party all night and sleep all day is a mission! It will take a while so be patient.  Naps in sunlight during the day, and little to no stimulation after dark is all you can do, baby will sort out the "rest." lol
  14. Having a baby is VERY stressful.  Chances are this will put your relationship with your partner/ Baby’s daddy under EXTREME pressure.  I have been even nastier to my husband then my pregnancy combined.  Yes, it is true I have screamed at him and even threatened divorce.  I have/had all these ideas in my head and my husband has/had his, we were very far apart on these ideas and have butted heads many times in the last 5 weeks.  We are doing better now.  I am also sleeping better…  
  15. SLEEP, EAT, AND MAKE “ME” TIME!  That goes for both mom and dad, and more than essential for the primary caregiver.  EVERY  DAY, you must eat breakfast and lunch, shower, use deodorant and ALWAYS put on clean clothes. Also leave the hose alone once every other day at least. Even if it is to drive around the block to hear your favorite song.  You are a mommy yes, but you are still YOU so make sure you remind yourself of that regularly.
  16. If someone offers to come over and help, LET THEM,  if someone wants to bring dinner, LET THEM!  You have to learn on your support group.  Call someone to let you nap if you have to.
  17. Sleep when baby sleeps! This is a little difficult for me.  I still have things I need to do around the house when he is asleep.   BUT!  I have learned that I have to nap with him in the afternoon or I am an exhausted agitated crank by night.  I make a “To Do” list and try to accomplish as much as possible in the morning and early afternoon then sleep with him after.  Sleep is so key during this time I cannot stress it enough!
  18. I tried to pull off a routine for nighttime that included bath, feeding and rocking.  I turn the lights low, reduce the noise and cut off stimulation once I put him down.  Unfortunately only I knew I was trying for a routine, Ollie and my husband thought it was a shitty idea and refused to follow the program.  I was pissed at first, but realized my son is only weeks old, not months and to have any expectations is foolish.  I have reduced my expectations to be stoked if he eats at midnight and sleeps until close to 4am so I will only have one middle of the night feeding.  Waking up only once during my normal sleep makes such a difference. I get up with him between 7-8am feeling pretty good this way.  
  19. By the end of the first month things start becoming a little easier, not much but a little.  It’s hard right now because both you and baby are trying to figure out what the hell is going on and what you need to do to be happy.  I’m sure every baby is different but from talking with others I think the first month is about the same for all first timers. It’s such a process and adventure.  
  20. ONE DAY AT A TIME!  One day will be complete shit, filled with tears, confusion and a possible fight with daddy.  The next will be smooth and wonderful.  Sometimes two bad days will come in a row and then two good days.  It definitely gets better... slowly but surely. 

Before you know it these days will be long gone, so try your best to embrace every bit.  Takes lots of photos, give lots of kisses and cuddles, and have faith in yourself that you are a great parent. 


The One Thing All Toddlers Have In Common

You know how they always say, one day you will laugh about it. Well, I'm still waiting...

Being that I have a very spirited, stubborn child, I have become well versed in meltdowns. I've begun to see a pattern in the different stages of tantrums. These stages, are very similar to the five stages of grief.

The only difference is, no one died.

Which, can be a hard sell to a child who's positive he's going to die if he doesn't get his way.

Without further ado, the one thing all toddlers have in common,  The five stages of a toddler meltdown.

1. Denial- Toddler tantrums most always start with denial of some form. Their face becomes flush with shock and disbelief. Tears of shattered dreams begin to pour down. They are positive there is just absolutely no freaking way you are being serious right now. 

2. Anger- When tears and a few half-assed tries to get their way ceases to work, ANGER sets in. This is the stage where a verbal assault is paired with launching toys across the room. When necessary, a dead drop to the ground is followed by flailing arms and legs, to convey just how pissed off he is.

3. Bargaining- things get interesting at the bargaining stage. Kids can get very creative at this stage. They might hand out options or empty promises to be good. Expect ANYTHING during this stage. Toddlers are crazy, and aren't afraid to show it.

4. Depression- Depression is the most annoying of the stages. Depression ushers in the hard-core fake tears, which can make you feel like the worst parent. Well, don't fall for it! This is their last fight. They are out of options. They know they are beat. That's what the rivers of tears are about. They are pissed they didn't get their way. This no longer has anything to do with the original cause of the meltdown.

Then, finally, when both of you are emotionally and physically worn out, the end is near, but not without a one last blast.

Acceptance- This stage is the most vindictive. Once a toddler realizes that he's not going to get his way, he fakes acceptance just to throw you off his trail. The fact is, he's a toddler and already on to his next evil plan. Even though you won this round, he's not going to give up his Independence that easily.

Not following us on social media yet? You're missing out on all of our behind the scenes nonsense, and trust me, it's complete and utter nonsense.


I Finally Did The One Thing I've Regretted For So Long

One thing is for sure about my family, we are not your average family. Between the Australian dad, the off-the-charts wild and brilliant kid, and me, the certifiable, outspoken and outgoing crazy mom from Miami, there's never dull moment. Never.

What's more, getting any one of us to sit still, listen and smile for more than a second is impossible. I know, I've tried. For this reason, I could never get professional photos taken of my family. Which, I have regretted for so long.

I absolutely love the professional newborn photos of sweet hands, toes and button nose, yet, never did it for my son.

I absolutely love those sweet family photos, taken in the park or on the beach, or in a studio with the ultra cute family wearing a matching tops, huddled together in a sweet embrace. Yet, never pressed the issue for my family.

Sure, I have thought about getting professional photos taken. I have looked at countless Living Social and Groupon deals for photographers. Then, I think about how the actual photo shoot would go.

FTD: Really?  I have to wear this stupid shirt and sit and smile for an hour?  This sucks.

Ollie: If you want me to wear that shirt, catch me. Oh, and good luck keeping it clean, because I plan to wreck it before we get into the car.

Me: Screw it.

Then, last weekend, while in Florida, a dear friend, who doubles as the best photographer in Orlando, Jessika Kazaros, says, Why don't we do a family photo shoot on the beach.

Immediately, I thought of all the false barriers I put up when I think of a, "family photo shoot". Still, this was a huge opportunity, and not one to pass up.

So, after much thought of what we will wear, the poses we should do, and the perfect backdrop of the beach, I decided the best thing to do would be, wing it. That morning, I let the boys pick out their clothes while I threw on a bathing suit and tossed my hair in a braid. I didn't even put on make-up.

Once we got to the beach, Jessika pulled out her camera, and told us to ignore her and have fun.

Which, we did.

Every once in a while she would ask us to pose in a fun, natural way or do something photo worthy as a family.

Three days later, the photos arrived in my inbox.

I cried.

I laughed.

I loved every single one. Even the ones where I looked like a blimp crashed on the beach. These were beautiful photos taken during an amazing family day. They were so good, it reaffirmed my belief that my family had no business posing in matching shirts. That's not us. Playing around and being silly on the beach, is.

Jessika, magically froze those moments in time, in the most beautiful way. I will forever be thankful for that day with my family.

I cannot recommend enough that you do this. Frolic, have fun and make memories as a family, all while having the moments frozen in time.

If you are going to Orlando, or already live there, and want to have Jessika Kazaros, the best family photographer in Orlando, capture your family on the beach, or wherever, check out her website, here. (More of our photos are on it!)

Oh, and tell her April sent you for 10% off your photo shoot!


Help Stop the Downfall of Family Time

Today, I'm turning over the blog to Michael Peggs for an incredibly important cause-Saving family time.

It’s harsh, but true. Quality family time has been dying a slow death over recent decades. In an age of high speed communications, globalization and gender parity, we’re constantly forced to perform better, work harder, handle more; because if we fail to do so, there’s always someone around waiting to step into our shoes. With the worst maternity leave on the planet along with Oman and Papua New Guinea, many American women are forced to go back to their jobs after just six weeks of bonding with their little ones.

Those who decide to stay at home may find that economic pressures or a need to put years of study and experience to proper use impulses to return to the labor force, where they will not be given flexibility for parent/teacher meetings, sick children or birthday parties. According to the BBC, family life is under growing strain, as parents are continually forced to put their work before their children.

While it sounds rather depressing and you probably can’t do too much to change legislation or a competitive labor market, you can be aware of it and do your best to help stop the death of family time completely. Make sure that when you are together with your family, the time you spend is quality time. Put your smartphone away. Set limits for yourself regarding work and other distractions, and make sure you don’t lose contact with your kids, or let distant relatives slip out of touch completely.

Starting a project together is a great way to keep everyone connected. And what better project to start than one designed to unite the whole family, from far and near? You may be under a blizzard of paperwork or your days simply pass by in the blink of an eye, but take action and make sure that your children know who their relatives are and how important family is.

Create a family reunion website. In just a few minutes you can access a whole online portal and design it around you and your family to propose a family reunion. Invite all family members and get them to contribute to the page with photos and latest news. Choose a place to meet and make sure that everyone gets lots of advance notice so that they can accommodate their schedules.

It might sound like a lot of work, but if you share the task with all family members and you sit down with your kids while you work on choosing the best family reunion games and the prettiest decorations, you will be rewarded tenfold by the excitement you build up in everyone involved and the invaluable lesson you teach your children about the importance of family.

Even if you can’t physically bring people together because of distance, cost, or any other reason, family websites are still a great way to unite your family and spend quality time with your kids while sharing precious memories with the people you love.

Author Bio: Michael Peggs is the founder of content marketing agency and SEO agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.


This Is The Ultimate Way To Honor Your Baby

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

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.

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

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. 

Wanna Blog? Learn From Me, Or Have Three Blogs In 5 Years!

For the record, I never meant to be a "blogger". In fact, I didn't know the insane billion dollar industry existed until a few months into my second blog, First Time Mom And Dad.

My first blog, tiredofbeingpregnant.com, I created so I could say F*CK THIS SH!T four million times, and not have a forum full of haters calling me out. Pregnancy was hard for me. There were definitely no rainbows or unicorns. And the second I mentioned that in a pregnancy forum, I got ripped. Even told I was going to be a terrible mother. #A$$holes.

With the pregnancy blog, I stopped being pregnant, I felt like it would be silly to start writing about being a mom. So, I started FTM&D. It seemed natural, to switch to talking about parenting. So, I've been writing about the ups-and-downs of parenting for the last four-years.

Now that my son is older, more independent and needs less attention, I have more time to do the things I love. And strangely, I need to figure out who I am today. After all, I'm coming off nearly five years of having my life on hold, so I could hold my son.

Being a writer, I turned back to finding big freelance jobs. I even stared entertaining the request for turning both the pregnancy blog and parenting blog into a book. And yes, we are certainly looking at publishing the full story on our crazy fairytale meeting and romance.

But something still felt like it was missing. I realized, I love blogging. I love having this open space to share my thoughts, ideas and tips.I also LOVE my readers. when they comment on the blog, or on my social media, it truly males my day! I'm all alone at my desk all day. I'm pretty isolated over here, now that my son is in school.

I knew it was time create in a new space.  Grow. But, before I made any new leaps, I knew I had to pick a name that allowed for growth! Learn from me, when naming you blog, avoid anything that could limit you. It's hard to switch with a blog name like, Mommy All Day Everyday. Avoid that! 

Enough with the rambling. Here's the plan...

Tiredofbeingpregnant.com and firsttimemomanddad.com are getting an overhaul. Starting with the first posts. The best ones I'm going to freshen up and prep for publishing. I will repost the best posts. It will be like starting over again with pregnancy and parenting... just not so dazed and confused this time around! Don't worry, there will still be awesome product and service reviews for preggies and parents!

LoveLifeDIY.com, is in full swing! And will become my full-time website. In addition to my usual ramblings about parenting and marital woes, I'll be writing about anything and everything else!

In fact, over the next two months, look for:

My 2016 Travel guide; a series of posts on the best time to but flights, accommodation and car rental/hire. How to save big when traveling with a family, and the best airlines for families, and which ones go out of their way to make kids feel at ease.

With spring around the corner in the northern hemisphere, get ready for early gardening tips, garage sale finds and the one ting I am most excited for, revving up my DIY and house renovation projects. There is still a lot to be finished in our 100-Year-old fixer-upper!

Feel like some international travel? Follow us on a long haul trip back to The Aussie's Motherland to celebrate four very important birthdays. I cannot wait to show you the magic and beauty that is, Australia!

It's time for change and growth. I hope you will join me.



To see all the things I'm cooking up before they hit the website, follow me on your favorite social media channel!

 Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+ | LinkedIn