DiskoPets: The Safe and Educational Online Game World For Kids

I've partnered with the creators of DiskoPets to introduce parents to a cartoon based, educational, online game world for kids All opinions are my own.

I struggled with letting my son use technology.  Lucky for him, his father is an IT engineer and understands the great importance of technology, regardless of age. So, reluctantly, I gave in to technology when I saw that it helped my son with his fine and gross motor skills, social skills, language skills... everything.  Ok the free time tech time gave me, was really nice, too!

Thanks to really great learning apps and programs for toddlers, my son was saying and tracing the alphabet with his finger by the age of two!

I made it my mission to find every great learning tool for my son. I quickly realized just because the program promises to teach great things, if my son doesn't think the program is great, forget it. I started looking for "games" that brilliantly hid learning lessons under the fun.

So when the visionary behind, DiskoPets-- a cartoon based, educational, online game world for kids, that promises to keep children happy and entertained--reached out, I stopped to listen!

DiskPets Is A Cartoon Based Interactive Learning Game World:

  • Diskopets is a funny, animated, educational, multiplayer online game. Like TV cartoons, it has comical and whimsical characters as well as a vast, ever changing world to explore. 
  • The characters are small, cute, funny pets living high above us in the sky, on a floating island world. Kids take care of and raise these pets, as they play and learn with each other in the multiplayer world
  • There are many different areas to explore within the Diskopets world for children, Most containing educational activities disguised as fun games and puzzles. 
  • Parents can actually customize and add new learning material to the world. It’s a perfect educational game world for any child in your life.
  • Parents have access to which games their child is playing, what they have learned and accomplished, as well as, how much time their child has spent playing DiskoPets.
  • Multiplayer, so kids get the benefit of approved social interactions and working together as well. 
  • Each pet’s personality changes over time and adapts to the player. The pet's behavior and emotions will change based on how the player interacts with them.

Intrigued? I know, I was too!  

Here is a video fully outlining DiskoPets, and how you can get it!

To help this project along, head over to the DiskoPets Kickstarter Campaign, here.


Wanna Know What It's Like To Have A Toddler? #ThrowBackThursday

In honor of Throw Back Thursday, I'm reposting one of my favorite posts. Originally titled: 10 Things My Toddler Is Doing That Will Make Yours Look Like An Angel.

Having a toddler is interesting to say the least. Below are 10 Of My Son's Best Moments in Toddlerhood:

1. MINE! MINE! MINE! Everything is "MINE!"  I could pick up a cat turd out of the litter box and he would declare it, "Mine, Mommy, Mine!"

Two years ago when I first read this, I thought it was super funny.
Now, I totally get it how true it is...

2. NO! EVERYTHING is NO! I've decided he answers, NO!, to everything just so he can feel like he has some sort of control, because sometimes it makes no sense.

Me:  Ollie, do you want an Ice Cream Cone?
Ollie: NO!
Me: OK...
Ollie: MINE! Mine Ice Cream Cone, Mommy.
Me: No.

3. Clingier than a school girl with a crush! "Mommy, hold you!" I hear it all day, and at a stout 35 pounds, hold you mommy not only gets old, it gets heavy!

4. Escape artist. He has learned how to turn locks and open doors. We officially have to lock the front and back doors from inside with a key. The poor kid, already trying to run from us at 2. Sorry, kid, 16 more years to go... turn your little Jeep around.

5. The second I get on the phone, ALL HELL BREAKS LOSE! I swear, the minute I get on the phone he gets gitty with excitement for the possibilities.  I can see the little hamster wheel turning in his head... He can't decide if he should draw on the walls, throw his toys down the stairs or chase the cat... or try to do all three at once.

6. If it can be launched, it will be launched. My kid is going to be the next Peyton Manning for sure. He throws EVERYTHING!  It's actually a real issue. Nothing is safe-- toys, chairs, remote controls, food, anything and everything.

7. Working the lip like a pro. It's the craziest thing, over the last week, Ollie has figured out how to pout. (I'll get a photo and post it to Instagram.) It's super cute, but the problem is that he clearly knows that. If he wants something he curls that cute little lip out and pouts. Being the spineless pushover that I am... it works like a charm. 

8. Stubborn as a mule. If the kid is not interested, he will plant his feet, curl his lip and declare that my idea or what ever I want is dumbassery, and that he has no intention of entertaining it.  Think: bedtime, nap time, clean-up time, or any other time that infringes on his time. I have to pick him up, all 35 pounds of concrete pile-on, and move him kicking and screaming.

9. The boy who cried, "Poo-Poos, Mommy." Since we are still actively working on potty training, Ollie knows if he even hints that he has to go, we stop what we are doing and take care of business.  So now when he is not interested in something--i.e. Bedtime-- he insist that he has to poo poo.  It sucks because I have to honor that request. Yes, I am fully aware that 95% of the time I'm just a pawn in his poo-poo game.

10. Toddler Picasso. The kid is going to be an artist. Working in the medium of "Anything will do." Especially mommy's lipstick and eye liner.  #FAIL

All I have to say is, Thank You, Magic Eraser.
(You had it right, Des!)
Oh and, speaking of masterpieces, he picked that awesome outfit out, socks and all!

Please, remind me again how I will look back on these crazy toddler years fondly...


Mom Confession: I'm A Bedtime Battle Enabler

Bedtime SUCKS around my house. It's an hour long process (at least) that includes, but is not limited to the following; begging, bartering, anger, annoyance, spineless groveling, and eventually, a very hard won victory. Though, I am starting to think there is actually no real victory, but a draw that is replayed in 24 hours.

I hate bedtime, and I blame myself for it. After all, I'm the one who has taught my son the bedtime routine of bath, books, singing, rocking, then when I say, Ok, it's bedtime, that really means, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Because if bedtime meant something, then I would not spend the next thirty minutes to an hour begging my son to go to sleep! If it meant something, I would not constantly return to his room, and play the games I play with him. All the word "bedtime" means to my son is, play with mommy until I'm tired enough to pass out. 

Since Ollie's first days, I have held and nursed him to sleep. Then, last month I stopped nursing. When that happened, we exchanged nursing to sleep, for the bedtime game from hell. The game where Ollie doesn't go to sleep until he is ready, and I grovel and beg like a jackass.  I do this, every night, even though I know it is a game to him.

Why? Because, I am spineless.


Every night, I sit and rock him to sleep until I think I am going to lose my mind, at which point, I put him in his crib. If he is not ready to fall asleep, he will stand up, cry and beg to be held.  So what do I do? I pick him back up out of his crib, and rock him some more. Yes, I know how stupid it is that pick him back up, but I do it anyway because I am a sucker! I am sucker that just wants him to go to sleep, so I do what ever he asks to get him to calm down and go to sleep.


I will repeat this stupid crap game of rocking him to sleep, then putting him in his crib and getting him out again until I get really mad... at myself. OK, and a little mad at him too. Then, I will put him in his crib and make empty threats about how much trouble he will be in if he climbs out.  Nine times out of ten, he climbs out. I pick him up, tell him he is naughty and put him back in bed. Sometimes he stands up and just protests begging to be held, others we just repeat the process of climbing out and me putting him back in.  Sometimes, I rock him again because, again, I am a complete spineless butthead.

I KNOW this ridiculous bedtime crap is all my fault.  If I would just be tough, and not put up with the games, he would go to sleep.  I know this, because on the nights FTD puts Ollie to sleep, its easy for him.  Ollie will stay in his crib and sing himself to sleep. That actually sucks worse to me than the games we play, because I can see just how foolish I am.

What the hell is wrong with me?! Why can't I be tough, tell him to go to sleep and mean it.  Why have I created such a monster, when I KNOW BETTER!?  And how in the hell am I going to correct it?  I have friends with children MUCH younger than Ollie that go into their cribs only slightly tired and fall asleep without issue. I am SO jealous of the parent that puts their kid to bed and goes about their business.

I know Ollie will not die if I let him cry, but it still totally sucks to hear him screaming for me. I rationalize my behavior by thinking this will pass. I tell myself that it's a phase, and really, I should somehow cherish every moment he lets me hold him, because soon enough he will not even want me to hug him. Still, I just wish I could hold him and rock him, and then put him in his crib and go about my business, NOT play into a ridiculous toddler bedtime game.

Ugh. Have kids they said... It will be awesome they said... Too bad they never said, grow a set first because it's going to be hard and you need to be tough, even when it breaks your heart.

How Heat Pumps Can Benefit the Family Budget #Infographic

How Heat Pumps Can Benefit the Family Budget #Infographic

Everyone loves to save money on an energy bill, and heat pumps can yield significant savings year after year. Although they come with a high up-front cost, the monthly energy savings they afford can more than make up for the initial investment required. Because they don’t burn fuel, heat pumps are also more environmentally friendly than most other heating and cooling systems.

But owning a heat pump brings more perks than just financial savings. For one thing, a heat pump can both heat and cool your home. Depending on where you live, you might be able to forgo a separate air conditioning unit or furnace in favor of a heat pump. What’s more, heat pumps heat and cool consistently instead of cycling on and off — the source of much of the savings they can bring. And don’t forget one of the most useful benefits of a heat pump — providing hot water for all your daily needs.

To learn more about how heat pumps can save you money on your energy bill, check out the following infographic, published by Griffith Energy Services to explain how heat pumps work. You’ll be able to learn about scroll compressors, variable-speed motors, desuperheater coils, and the other features of home heat pump systems. Take a moment to learn about the heating and cooling process behind the magic of heat pumps, and see for yourself why a heat pump might be right for you and your energy needs.\
Turn Up the Heat, Pump Up the Savings


10 Things The Pregnancy Books Are Afraid To Tell You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


5 Tips For Taming Toddlers

Yesterday, I got a question on the First Time Mom And Dad Facebook Page from a friend and reader that read: I need some mommy help. My little one is getting to a mean stage. He is taking toys and pushing kids and generally just being a douchebag. What can I do to correct this behavior. If it gets to be too much I intervene and explain to him that he's being mean and needs to be nice or he gets a timeout. It doesn't seem to be helping. Is this just a phase? Please help me.

First of all, I promise I did not write that... It only sounds like I did because that is pretty much a summary of my posts over the last couple of months. I told her that I completely felt her pain, since I was dealing with the same issues. The only difference being that her son will be two next month, so I have a four month head start on dealing with the terrible twos. Wanting to help, I reflected on the past four months and came up with five tips that were helping me (and Ollie) survive the terrible twos...

1. Consistency is KEY. If you are going to say No, say it the first time. Toddlers thrive on routine and constancy. Flipping the script midway through on a toddler is the worst thing you can do. Letting bad behavior slide the first couple of times makes it near impossible to correct down the road. For example. Taking my son out of the shopping cart at the grocery store and either holding him or letting him walk, will forever be one of my biggest regrets. If you learn anything from me, do not let your kid out of that cart! It's almost impossible to put them back in! Another of my regrets is letting Ollie help me in the kitchen. Every morning he tries to slide a chair over to help. This sucks since I have hot coffee and knives out making sandwiches. He is too young to help, I wish I would have waited until he was at least three. If only I said no to the grocery cart escape and helping make meals the first time, I would not have the daily battles. 

If you don't want your child to throw toys, correct them EVERY time! If you don't want them screaming, hitting or biting, reprimand every time. If things belong in a certain place, put them back every time. This gets old, but eventually it sticks... and becomes second nature for you too.

2. "NO" is not enough, explain why, and ALWAYS have a redirect ready. Being that my son is CONSTANLY testing boundaries and getting into things he should not, it quickly became apparent that a simple 'NO" would not be enough. I learned very early that my son responded best when I said, NO... and this is why, then showed him an activity that was appropriate for him to be doing. This way, I could teach him why what he was doing was wrong, and then show him something else he could be doing that was even more fun. Like instead of banging things on the floor, he could be driving cars on his toy table or playing with his blocks. That is much more effective than shouting NO, removing him from the activity, and then leaving him there with nothing to do but find more trouble.

3. Consequences are KEY! Since two-year-olds are not cognitively developed enough to understand spankings, or long time-outs, consequences are the best bet. FYI: empty promises of consequences are lazy parenting at it's finest hour. I know, this lazy parenting was me. "Oliver, if you do that, NO Park." He did it, we eventually went to the park. FAIL! FAIL! FAIL! Now, it's, "If you smash your car into the wall one more time, I am going to take it way!" Thanks to my prior lazy ways, he would smash the car into the wall. Now, I get up off my lazy butt and take the car, and explain again why I am taking the car so he is clear about the consequence. Of course he throws a fit, flopping like a fish on the floor, but eventually he stopped smashing the car into the wall.  

It's a process, everyday he is on to something new... but the consequence are reinforced now.

4. Ignore the temper tantrum. a.k.a the flopping fish out of water routine. I know most all parents who have made it though the terrible twos, threes, and yes apparently the fours too, will agree with me on this one, you cannot play into the tantrums, or they will just keep happening. I tell Ollie that he is hurting mommy's ears, and when he wants to use his words we can talk about what is upsetting him, then I walk out of the room. It's not always immediate, but eventually, he will calm down and move on.

5. It's not your fault. You are awesome. Going back to the mom that sparked this, during our back and forth she said this: "I think I'm a good mom and I'm hoping it's not something I'm doing or not doing." I struggle with this, but I know in my heart I am a good mom too. I know I am doing everything I can, even on my lazy to-tired-to-get-off-the-couch days, I still do my best. This IS a phase. ALL children go through the terrible toddler phase to some degree. This is a time for testing and learning for both the toddler and parent. Somedays we both get it right, others... Not. So. Much.  

As a whole, I know I am awesome and doing my best to navigate the toddler phase with my toddler. I am certain that staying patient, consistent and compassionate, is the key to surviving the toddler phase with my sanity, and a well-mannered and grounded child to show for it.

Do you have any tips to add?


THIS Is The Key To Surviving Being A Parent With A Few Marbles

I am always carrying on about how important it is to find humor in parenting, even when the moments strike where you are sure it is impossible. I am always carrying on about it because I still struggle with it, and need to constantly remind myself to relax and laugh. Thankfully, I am getting better at it...

Just yesterday, the crazy toddler struck again with an all day festival of cranky boy. It made the day very difficult to find those moments of parenting humor.  Between throwing himself on the floor because I wouldn't let him play with my phone, then crying the whole time that I was on a phone call, to running off before I could get him in the car, to throwing rocks on the playground... we both had our moments of ridiculous frustration. Thankfully, for some of those moments, I no longer cater to his silly behavior by either refusing to give him the attention or thing he wants, or just walking off until he is finished throwing a fit.

Still, some days I fall short and wish I had the mentality of parents of multiples. I see and talk to mothers of multiples who have gone through the toddler stage, at least once, who are so calm about those moments that I find myself crazed. I wish I could have that "whatever, he's fine," mentality of my been-there-done-that friends. I wish I could not be so fearful and crazed!

"Fearful" being the operative word. At least once everyday, I have that heart stopping moment when my son gets too close to the road, or runs off and doesn't stop when I say, STOP!, or takes a bite that is too big and coughs. I even still worry when my son takes a nap that last more than three hours that he is in a coma or something! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME???

Yesterday, while chasing Ollie all over the front yard to get him into the car, I saw my neighbors laughing at us. All I could do was wave, and feel like a complete idiot.  Here I am, 35 and chasing a 2-year-old around trying to reason with him... "If you don't get into that car, we are not going to the park!" then...  "Do you want some ice cream?  Then get into the car. Right now!"  The entire time, my son is having the time of his life!  Running and laughing, and positive that this game of chase is WAY better than ice cream at the park...

Yes, you should be laughing, of course I see the humor in it now... even if it is at my expense.
This whole parenting thing... What a blessing... and constant lesson about life and learning to not get so worked up about the small things...

Speaking of finding the humor in those difficult situations, in case you missed it, The Toddler Code of Conduct Part 2 is on the Huffington post.  So is Part 1 if you missed that... To read them, Click here!


What Happens When I Spend Two Days Away From My Child

I'm not sure if it was me going away this past weekend, or what, but I am clinging to my child like a magnet on a refrigerator.  Everyone said it would be him behaving like that after a weekend away, but it's not him, it's me!  I just want to hold him and smother him with hugs and kisses. I keep finding myself staring and smiling at my son.  My beautiful, kind, articulate, amazing little son. "Little" being the operative word.  I see him now in all of his 2-year-old three-foot glory, and know it will not last long. For some reason, now more than ever, I want to hold tight to each moment and memorize every little finger, toe and eyelash.

While going through some old photos the other day, I began to panic when I realized that I was already forgetting moments from Ollie's baby days. I couldn't remember when photos were taken, and sometimes even how old Ollie was in the photos. It scared me. I don't want to forget my baby. I don't want to forget his giggle, fat rolls or even those crazy sounds he made those first few months. I don't want to forget his first words, steps or even tears. I don't want to forget anything.

Some of the very best moments I will not have photos to help my memory. Like today, I was laying on the couch when Ollie came over and out of nowhere leaned in for a hug and kiss.  It was such a beautiful moment. And then as fast as he came, he ran away.  I watched his sweet little feet bounce away and his cute little butt follow. It's moments like that I want to cry I am so overwhelmed with emotion.  It's moments like that I am reminded of the true beauty of motherhood, and just how incredibly blessed I am to have a child.

If Ollie really is going to be my one and only child, I want to remember everything.  I want to slow down time and enjoy every moment of his life, even the ones that make me want to hide in the closet with wine and chocolate. Sometimes, I feel like I am in a race to raise him. I look forward to milestones and forget to fully appreciate the ones he has already met. I hate to admit it, but somedays I am so jealous of the moms who's kids are in school all day.  I have to stop.  I have to appreciate the blessing that is being able to be a work-from-home mother. 

Sorry for the incredibly sappy post, but I am so overwhelmed with love for my sweet little boy. The little boy who one day will grow up, fly out of the nest and leave me crying over a photo album full of memories. Memories of moments that I am living right now. Moments I am going to do my best to slowdown and take the time to fully absorb and remember.


This Is One Of The Worst Things About Being A Parent

Parenting is hard. Very Hard. And sometimes, it's the worst part about being a parent. It sucks constantly saying, NO! or Don't Touch that! or That's Not For You! or the thousands of other things I have to say and do that are not particularly fun. However, in order to raise a future upstanding member of society, sometimes, a million NOs! are necessary.

Sure, anyone can be a parent, but what sets you apart is how you parent ...

Parenting is a constant job you do for the rest of your life (hopefully). It takes a ridiculous amount of selflessness, patience and unconditional love. It also takes a great deal of forgiveness of both your child and yourself to even come close to surviving with your sanity.

Good parenting means making sacrifices and understanding that your child comes first more times than not. Good parenting is equal parts unconditional love, tough love, guidance, structure and understanding.  Sometimes, that balance is hard to achieve

While talking with a childless friend, she was telling me how much she loves being an Aunt. She gets to pick her niece and nephew up, spoil them rotten, shower them with love and affection, and then return them to her sister at the end of the day. Because of this, her idea of parenting is WAY off!

Fortunately for her, all she sees are these two happy, mostly well-behaved easy going children. She doesn't have to see the truly ugly side of having children. The crankiness. The illnesses that keep you up all night. The constant battle of good nutrition. The never-ending 'NOs!' and redirection. She doesn't have to be the meany.  That's what the parents are for.

Of course, I love being a mom.  I love the rewards that come along with it.  I love the kisses and smiles and sweet hugs. I love the good times and relish in them.  That being said,  I hate the bad times, when it's my job to be the mean one, or the days when it seams my son's naughty switch is stuck in the 'ON' position. I hate when I know if I do not lay down the rules and uphold them through consequences, then my son will grow up to be a shit.

I try my best to not get too caught up in the bad behavior and days I feel like I am saying NO! all day.  I try my best to remind myself that great parenting, no matter how hard it is at times, leads to great children.

Oh yes, parenting can certainly suck and seem like the hardest job in the world at times, but like with everything else, hard work eventually pays off. Which, will hopefully lead to a wonderful child that, thanks to my great parenting, is not a complete terror with zero boundaries. At least, that's the plan.

So for those of you out there that feel like some days you are constantly reprimanding and wanting to rip your hair out, remember, those days are the ones that will lead to proud moments later in life when your child is a well-mannered, articulate and a kind member of society.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself...


Are You A Potty-Training Patsy?

Potty training... ugh!  Ever since that first, "Mommy! Potty!" I have had my eye on the prize-- a diaper free existence. Too bad no matter how hard I keep my eye on the prize, it all hinges on the whim of a two-year-old.  A two-year-old with a raging case of the boy who cried, POO POOS, MOMMY! And yes, that means what you are thinking, just like the boy who cried WOLF! for all the wrong reasons, my toddler cries POO POOS! for all the wrong reasons...

I dream of the day I only use diapers as redneck coasters.

When my kid yells anything that has to do with going to the potty, I jump up, grab him and run to the nearest potty. Doesn't every parent desperate to get out of diapers?? Too bad, my son has figured out that he can control me, and his ability to choose whether or not he wants to do something simply by saying those three magic words, Poo poos, mommy...

Yes, he calls everything that comes out, poo poos. I learned this the hard way when he said the three magic words that got us up and running to the potty, because unfortunately once he was de-diapered and ready for the potty, he jumped in the bathtub and immediately peed, all while laughing and saying, Look! Poo poos, mommy!  Of course, I try to correct him, but in his stubborn toddler ways, he still calls it what he wants.

Sorry, I digress...

Back to the magic words.

It's now been two months since that first successful trip to the potty, and while I wish I could say there have been many more successful trips, there have not. What has been successful, is Ollie learning that if he says he needs to go potty, regardless of wether or not he really has too, we will let him stop doing what ever he doesn't want to do immediately.  What's worse, we have no choice in the matter.  If the kid says, potty, there is no room for discussion. There is no, "Are you sure you need to go potty?" I know, I have asked and got a, Yep. Potty!  And no big surprise, I get nothing but a happy boy streaking through the house.

I recently spoke with a few been-there-done-that parents about this, and all agreed, if I want to potty train the kid I need to make it my number one focus. As in, spend two weeks making it my job by constantly staying on top of it. Which includes, letting Ollie run around the house free balling and peeing everywhere until he understands the sensation, and then where to go once he feels it coming on.

You all, SUCK! SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!  (Please feel free to replace all preceding "Ss" with "Fs" to make it read truer.

I have no desire to let this kid poop and pee all over the house... any more than he already does!  I also have no desire to spend the next year or so jumping every time my kid yells, POO POOS, Mommy. Especially when it is just to get out of going to sleep or any other activity he has no desire doing. I spoke with his Parent's Day Out teacher and she said this crying potty-wolf was completly normal... All kids do it. Somehow, I do feel so much better knowing I'm not the only parent chasing a streaker.

So, clearly I am stuck between a free balling potty free for all, and a year of running to the potty for no reason. Not really sure what to do...  What are you doing?


4 Tips For ECO-Friendly Child's Room

Image via Flickr by jhiner

Children bring some of the greatest joys to our lives. Keeping them protected is a must — an urge hardwired into our biology. Their room is like a sacred place, their first sanctuary; it's important that it is utterly safe and free of hazards. With so many small and large threats seeming to hover in and around our modern lives, simple steps can seem overwhelming if you're just not sure what to do. The following four tips can give some solid guidance for creating a healthy space for your child. 

Design and Decorate with Non-toxic Materials

Research has suggested that children are more vulnerable to environmental and air pollutants than adults are. That makes sense. They're smaller than we are and their immune systems and bodies are still developing. This means that the chemical products we often use, like paint or wood varnish, are harmful to children because of their toxic content. Buy furniture made of solid, untreated, sustainable wood, and use natural fibre bedding when possible.
Choose materials that are free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), PVC (vinyl), SVOCs (semi-volatile organic compounds), flame retardants, BPA and phthalates, and all other substances that can leak dangerous contaminants into the air or on the skin.

Don’t Install Carpets

Carpets can make a room feel cozier and somehow softer. But they are a breeding ground for dust mites. Consider area rugs because you can wash them. If you need to have a carpet, vacuum it thoroughly and often, and choose carpets made without flame retardants, PVC, or chemical treatments.

Establish a Thorough Cleaning Routine

Get into a habit very early on of performing a cleaning ritual. Don’t allow clutter to gather in the room. Put toys and books neatly away. Keep all surfaces free of dust; if you have a pet allowed in the room, clean regularly to get rid of pet dander. Fold any bedding, blankets, and clothes that aren't being used. If there are concerns about dust mites, especially if you have carpets that are hard to clean, then wash laundry loads in hot water.
Establishing a safe cleaning routine will help keep potential allergens at bay, and help support air quality in the room. Use child-safe, natural cleaning solutions; mainstream household cleaners contain toxic chemicals that circulate in the air.

Ventilate Your Home

Ventilation is extremely important. Poor ventilation can trap air pollutants, restrict the flow of fresh air, and encourage moldy conditions. Establish a total home ventilation strategy using mechanical ventilation with your HVAC system, or by opening doors and windows regularly to encourage fresh air to flow through your child’s room and the rest of your home.

Practice these tips beyond your child's room, and they should help you keep pollutants out of your home space and out of the air passages of your little one. But also remember that exposure to some natural germs is actually part of a child’s normal growth and immune system development, so don’t go completely overboard. Your child will be OK. In all cases, use your intuition to help you make the best choices. 

This Is One Of The Worst Things You Can Do To A New Father

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn about parenting so far is the importance of standing back and letting FTD be a 'dad', even if I found his ways silly, unconventional, and down right obnoxious.

Starting the minute we brought our son home from the hospital, I stood over FTD's shoulder directing and correcting him whenever he tried to care for our son.  I couldn't help it!  I felt this overwhelming need to micromanage his every step.  I was positive my ways were the best, and I don't mean that in a malicious I am better than him way, I was just sure that the natural gift of the mother's instinct made it so I knew things that he didn't. Well, it turns out, he had a father's instinct...


Seasonal Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips #Infographic

Has your air conditioner been misbehaving? Maybe you’ve been tempted to ram the thermostat down to unreasonably cool temperatures more than once. Or you’ve wondered whether it’s just really that hot outside, and the heat is infiltrating your home. The baby is miserably hot and you don’t know what’s going on, but the house just isn’t staying cool. Maybe it's time to change your air conditioner.

There are a handful of reasons your air conditioner might be going all awry. Perhaps the refrigerant needs recharging; your home won't stay cool if your refrigerant level is too low. Or maybe there are major air leaks in your ducts, causing large flows of air to simply siphon out of the system, with only some of the air making it to your rooms. A bigger problem could be that your unit has simply run its course and is ready to retire. You will need to call a technician to see what is going on.

A repair might be too costly, especially if you have a system that is more than 10 years old. In that case, you should make a new Energy Star air conditioner your model of choice. Take a look at the infographic below, published by Aqua Plumbing & Air, to see how Energy Star systems save households billions of dollars in energy savings each year. The coveted rating helps consumers make smart energy-conserving choices on products that can save you money while still giving you the quality you expect and more.

One Day, You Will Laugh About This...

"I promise, one day you will laugh about this..." Those are the famous words every parent will hear at least once during their journey through parenting. And nine times out of ten, it's true. Even if at the time it seems impossible. Such is the case with one of my best friends, when yesterday while she and her husband were shopping for patio furniture, her two year old attempted to mount and ride a metal Flamingo landscape ornament in the middle of a major hardware store.  FULL of people.

Toddler to dad when being removed physically from the store: Why Leaving?
Dad to Toddler: Because son, the party ended when you tried to ride the Flamingo.

Mom and Dad: Not happy! 
Everyone else in the world: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

So. Funny! To me and you only of course. She doesn't see the humor... yet...

While my friend recounted the horrific day of shopping with her husband and two boys, I could not help but laugh hysterically. And truth be told, part of me was laughing because I was relieved it was her telling the story and not me. It easily could have been me telling this tale of out of control children. What with having Thing1 (FTD) and Thing2 (Ollie) to contend with on shopping trips. Some of you may remember the time FTD decided while in the bathroom fixture section of the hardware store, it was a perfect time to teach Ollie how to use the potty, and wash his hands...

Yeah, see how fast the tables turn?

Of course, in between fits of laughter, I was full of encouraging comments for my friend. You know things like, Oh it wasn't that bad... Who cares what those douche canoes giving you the stink eye think...  You know how toddlers are... This too shall pass... I was the mother's food bank serving up spoonfuls of of great mother advice. (Read: Spoonfuls of Hypocrite because it's advice I rarely follow.)

Every time my kid acts like that I am equally, if not more, annoyed, embarrassed and crazed. Do I follow my advice?  Hell, no.  But here is the thing, I really meant what I was saying, who cares about those people, toddlers are a special breed, this is just a phase it will pass. You don't see grown men climbing on things... (disregard above photo of FTD for sake of conversation.)

That's what got me thinking; The next time Ollie tries to climb on a yard ornament (because I have no doubt if presented with the opportunity he would try to pole vault onto it using a stick he found in aisle 5) or just business as usual, lose his toddler mind in the public, What if I stepped back and tried to look at the situation as an outsider? Ask myself, Is what's going on really as bad as I think? 

What if I stopped freaking out so much when Ollie refuses to listen or behaves like a child possessed by a-holes, and just kind of accepted it as part of parenting. I just deal with it and move on, without letting it ruin any more of my day than necessary. You know, take on the school of thought I try to push on my friends.  If I can say, This Too Shall Pass to every one, why can't I believe it applies to me too? Why can't I laugh at my own kid too?

Of course when my kid goes batass crazy I will reprimand him, and do all of the appropriate 'parenting' things. But if I could just find a way to relax and and not get so worked up when my toddler is exceptionally embarrassing or naughty, then maybe I will have tapped into the true secret behind good parenting. A.k.a. Surviving parenting a toddler with my sanity and smile.

I have to try something, because from what I hear four us much more interesting than just screaming and mounting metal flamingos in the hardware store.


This Was One Of My Toughest Parenting Lessons To Learn

Like any good first-time mom, when my child gets sick I press pause on the world and obsess over his symptoms. Then once I've completely over analyzed everything going on with him, I start badgering every person I know for advice, remedies and slaps across the face to calm me down.

Doesn't every first-timer?

I used to think the fastest way to fix those aches, pains and fevers was to give him Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Little did I know, that may be to worst thing to do, and could even prolong his recovery time! #Fail

A couple of months ago, in the throws of the worst winter I have ever been through, Ollie, FTD and I found ourselves sick.

All. At. Once.

SUPER Sucked!

We all were running low grade fevers (99-102f) and plagued by the tell tale flu aches and pains. Yes, even though we had our flu shots! Immediately, FTD and I both took mega flu and cold horse pill gel caps, and gave Ollie a dose of baby Tylenol.

When after 24 hours Ollie was still running a low-grade fever, I called his pediatrician to ask for next steps. I told the nurse his symptoms; fever, runny nose, red sad eyes, shits... then when asked what I had been doing to combat it, I said only Tylenol and extra fluids.  The nurse said that the same illness was going around, not to worry and to STOP giving him any fever reducers when his fever was under 102f degrees.

Most of you are probably shaking your heads and saying out loud, DUH, low-grade fevers are a good thing. Well. Fine. I suppose I have always heard that... But! I saw 101.4 and freaked out. Must I remind you that I am a first-timer?! I realize that sometimes fevers are actually a good thing, because it shows that the body is working hard to fix itself.

That all being said, it's still hard to sit back and let nature do it's thing!  I am the mother, I want to fix my baby RIGHT FREAKING NOW! You would think after two years I would be less neurotic, but I'm not. I still worry and obsess.  My heart breaks when I look in his sad sleepy eyes. Even if he business as usual--running, jumping and trying to get into as much trouble as possible.

As I sit here typing, resisting the urge to reduce the low-grade fever he is running right now, I am trying to remind myself that even though during this past winter I wanted Mother Nature committed for the weather's bipolar behavior, sometimes she is the best mother for the job...

NOTE:  I am not a professional anything. This post SHOULD NOT be considered medical advice in any way shape or form. 

P.S PLEASE click on that banner below to throw me a virtual high-five.  Just click it and your vote will be cast!

This Is How I Like My Man #DontLoseYourSmooth

**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette at Sam’s Club for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
When I met my husband, in a hotel in Vienna Austria, he took my breath away.  So cute, so strong, smooth face... I was smitten to say the least.  

Looking back, I can't say for sure if I would have given him a second look if he was burly and beard-y, because I was so smitten, but as a rule, I like my man's face silky smooth. 

That being said, there are times when a bit of beard is OK. But that's pretty much only when no razor is in sight and I'm trying to find the bright side...

Smitten. I'm just smitten with him.

However, I still will always prefer a smooth silky face I can snuggle up to and smooch without being pricked by stubble. 

You can imagine how freaked out I was when the Hipster's ushered in the beard-trend.  I immediately threatened my husband that if he even thought about it, I would shave his face wheel he was sleeping. 

Then assured him, that would be the last thing he wants.

Being that I am so open with my opinions about my husband' face and how he should shave, I do feel it is my duty to provide him with a great razor.  I even went to far once, and got him a complete shaving kit, with the brush, soap and special razor. 


My man insists that he loves his Gillette razors.  So, I buy those.  
That all being said, when I see a new 'latest and greatest razor com on the market, I buy it... Hoping, its the perfect razor for both of us! (Yes, I buy my own first,  No sharing allowed, per my husband's rules.)

Yea, I use a man's razor. It works SO MUCH BETTER than a 'woman's'. Plus, it's a lot cheaper for us to sync up on razors, so I can just buy the refills for us to share. 

When I was offered to the opportunity to let my husband test out the new Gillette Fusion ProShield, I jumped on it! I could tell my husband was bored with his old razor, plus, it was time to invest in new refills. I grabbed our pack of  Gillette Fusion ProSheild razor and cartridges at Sam's Club for under $50.  the pack included, one razor and nine cartridges!  That's going to last us MONTHS!

I have to admit, FTD was a bit skeptical at first of the claims for lubrication before and after the blades. But I told him that was his only option and to try it; 5 blades, pivoting head and top-to-bottom lubrication. 

Heck, I couldn't wait to try it! 

Sure enough, it was magic.  FTD said he got the smoothest shave, with no discomfort and "kind of easy and fast to use."  

I'm sure just by taking one look at the Gillette Fusion ProSheild, you can see how quickly I fell in love with it!

If you are looking for a razor that will keep your man's face silky smooth, with little to no discomfort and lots and lots of softness, I cannot recommend enough checking out the Gillette Fusion ProShield.  

While Gillette Fusion ProShield razor and blades is now available in stores everywhere, grab it at Sam's Club to save big bucks! 

Or better yet, leave a comment or share this post for a chance to win a Sam's Club Gift Card and grab it for free!