The #1 Rule For Back-To-School

For so many of us first-timers, back to school is scary. We have to leave our child in the care of people we've only met for a few minutes during orientation. I don't know about you, but that's terrifying for me. All the unknowns send me into mommy-paranoia overload. The only thing that calms me is remembering, it's for the best.

My child's education is everything to me. Everything. I want nothing more than to give him the very best education and school experience possible. Education is, after all, a critical foundation for life.

When the time came to start Pre-K, I looked at every program in the city, weighed the pro's and cons, and made the best-informed decision possible. We ended up at a school that came highly recommended, with the caveat, there was a new principal.

It turned out, the new principal was ruffling feathers, teachers quit over the summer, and the moral had visibly tanked. There were a couple of occasions in the first two months I thought about sending my son back to his old Mother's Day Out program at the Church two days a week.

Two things kept me there:

1. My son had an exceptional teacher and was thriving.
2. There was a badass mother in the class I knew from the church program who constantly in the office fighting for our children. I LOVED watching her in action. She quickly became my school-mom hero.

My hero, who coincidentally is named, Ollie, is a mother of three beautiful children, one in elementary, middle and high-school. After ten years in the school system, this chick knows the ins-and-ous of state laws, how the system works and most of all, how to work with every department within a school to make things right, not only for her child but for the other children. Seriously, watching her in action is the most amazing thing in the world.

Last year, when the school was on its head, and us first-timers were scratching our heads unsure what to do, Ollie was in the office demanding answers and reminding them of State mandated laws. Long story short, Ollie got shit done. Fast.

Every time Ollie would rectify a situation for our school or tell me about something she had to deal with at another school, I would always be left in awe praising her, and every time she would say, "You have to be an advocate for your child in school. It's so important for your child's education and your sanity."

I'm so thankful that I had Ollie to help me with my first year of school. Seeing her stand up (alone) and make things right was not only amazing but empowering. She showed me that when things are not right say something immediately, because, in a classroom of 20+ children, it's easy to let things slide or get lost in the cracks.

Most of all, she taught me the most important rule for back to school:

To provide the best and safest education for a child, it's essential to be his/her biggest advocate every step of the way. When you know something is not right, address the issue immediately, don't wait or waste another day of your child's education hoping the issue will resolve itself. Even if that means asking tough questions, standing up to teachers, principals or the entire PTO, your child's education is worth it.


I Made It. So Freaking Glad That's Over.

Holy crap. I made it.

As you may already know, at the beginning of last summer, I deemed Summer camp extortion and decided to make my own damn summer camp. I thought to screw it, I'm not paying a grand a week for someone else to have a fun summer with my son, especially because I work from home I have the time.

I envisioned grand plans of the 'Best Summer Ever'.  Ollie and I were going to the pool and the zoo and do all kinds of fun outdoorsy things, with minimal technology. Best. Summer. Ever.

It took me about a week to realize that was not happening.

It took me two weeks to realize that the best summer ever was going downhill. Quickly.

Every morning, I would throw out awesome ideas only to be shot down with a, No, I want to stay home and play in the backyard.

Each day was more or less a battle to get through without losing my mind.

By July 1st, it was clear, he prefered to stay in his PJ's and lounge around the house or play in the backyard.  Screw the zoo, park and pool. All he needed was a slip 'n slide to be happy.

In an effort to not feel like a complete failure for not dragging my son to the pool, zoo or park,  I started to think what is summer all about anyways. Should I be holding myself all these high lofty goals of taking my son everywhere? Should I be fighting with him to make it happen? Is it even worth it when every time we walk outside it's so hot and humid I feel like I'm burying my face in someone's arm pit?


July and August went the same as June. Our entire summer was spent just doing whatever my son wanted.

Well.... I personally spent the past three months trying not to loose my mind. I don't know how stay-at-home parents can do it 24/7 365. It's intense. I tried so hard to remind myself that this time is precious and to enjoy it as much as possible. It was just so hard having my son GLUED to my hip.

But, I made it with a sliver of my sanity still intact.

In the end, I learned a lesson that summer is what you make it, but whatever you do don't make big goals to go along with it.

That being said, I am so happy to have my son back in school.  I've nearly regained my sanity, a clean house, and my work back on track.

Cheers to summer, but dammit I'm so happy it's over. I am ready to get back on our school/Fall routine. How was your summer?Regained your sanity and happy routine yet?


7 Stereotypical Moms You Meet During Back-To-School

With back-to-school in full-force, I have been reintroduced to a few of those stereotypical moms I want to throat punch. You know those moms who take it to the top to prove something, but exactly what, no one knows? (Think: Bad Moms Movie)

I know you should never say never. Especially, when it comes to anything related to parenting, however, the following Seven Types of Mom I sincerely hope I never become.

The PTA Princess- You know the perfect, perky, all smiles Pinterest Princess bouncing around in yoga pants jacked up on Starbucks. That chick, I will never be. More power to her, because someone needs to make perfect Minion cupcakes for the Bake Sale.

The Soccer Socialite- One place you will never catch my ass is hovering over my child in sports. I want him to love and excel at sports, in his own way on his own time. While I'll encourage and support him, I will never push him. It's his life. Not mine. I also have no desire to get in a snack rotation pissing contest. I've heard horror stories of soccer mom riots over a shitty snack.

The Tech Tyrant- Technology is the future. No freaking way am I going to restrict my child from it. Yes, I know the "child experts" attribute a slew of mental and developmental issues to tech-time. Yes, I know they warn that video games can turn children into psychopaths, but...well... NEWS FLASH: elementary school can do that too.

There are some brilliant educational apps available, and I love them. I attribute a part of my son's early vocabulary burst, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills and flawless dance moves to educational apps and YouTube Kids videos.  (I don't care, tell me to burn in hell, I'm not sorry!) TECH RULES!

The Blind Blamer: There is nothing I can't stand more than the mom who blames everyone else's child for their child's behavior. WAKE UP! Your child is not perfect. Kids act crazy. ALL KIDS! So, before you go blindly blaming a playdate for your child's moody behavior or for biting, "when she's never done that before", shut up and see your child for what she is, normal! Not, perfect. No kid is.

The Holistic Hippie- While I admit I sometimes sway this way, I will never hug the tree completely for one simple reason, FOOD IS GOOD! I am all for dodging hormones, GMOs, processed foods and refined sugar, but I'm not going to go all nutty about it. A life without McDonald's fries, Chick'fil-A chicken, Taco Bell Crunch wraps and Movie Theater popcorn just ain't livin'! (Sorry food allergy people. I'm lactose intolerant, so I know how it sucks to miss out on this stuff.) But for the parents out there forcing their child to eat black bean cupcakes when all the other kids get to eat Walmart cupcakes is, well, shitty.  No it's not organic and sugar-free, but seriously, get over yourself, one bloody cupcake is not going to make your child grow a third ball. Let the little guy eat cake once in a while!

Society's Sweetheart- This is one type of mom I refuse to be. I can't be her. I tried to mother according to society's rules and ideas, but the onslaught of pediatric opinions, medical journals, parenting books, forums and the latest "expert advice" were impossible to keep up with. Not to mention, rarely worked for my newborn. Thankfully, I stopped trying to be Society's Sweetheart Mom and followed my own Mother's Instinct. What a difference that made. Suck it society! It turns out, I know WAY more about my child than you.

The Crazed Competitor- I am fiercely competitive in sport and challenges, however, when it comes to mom-pissing-contests, I'm out. I have no desire to be the room mom, drive the best SUV, have the bounciest ass, or brag about providing the most organic locally sourced snack. If your kid beats mine in a race, cool, it happens. As far as I know, The Mom of the Year is not a real contest. Not that I would want to win. Competing with another mother is stupid.

So what type of mom am I?

The MomMe I try to be the best mother I can by being, Me. I love my son with all of my heart, spoil him rotten, but also am firm when needed. I encourage him to grow and challenge himself daily. Instilling  a strong faith in God, kindness, love, understanding, openness and humility is my mom-mission. I'm not perfect. I screw up daily. I slip and cuss in front of my son, let him play Lego Star Wars on PS4, have really crappy days and totally understand when he does too. I'm laid back and that's my parenting style. Neither of us is in a race or competition at this life thing, so enjoying each moment is my daily mantra. Being a mother is the greatest gift of my life. Letting mommy-wars, society, insecurities and pissing contest stop me from being my best MomME is pure dumbassery.

TIP: Be your own kind of MomMe and be proud of it!



How To Build The Best Candy Buffet. EVER!

The candy buffet is the hottest new party trend. Candy buffets are showing up at weddings, baby showers, block parties, birthday parties, and everything in between. 

What makes the Candy Buffet work, besides the candy, is the theme. You can do some super cute stuff with candy. 

With all the back-to-school and forthcoming holiday madness, I thought I would share an awesome how-to guide for creating a breathtaking candy buffet. 

Step 1: Pick the Theme:

PRO TIP: Use double sided table cloths, with a different color on each side. Stay with solids and colors that are gender neutral. Yellows, greens, pastels, and white can be used for any event. Instead of trying to theme out the entire table, use a centerpiece for your theme. Your backdrop of twisted ribbons or balloons and ribbons,or even contrasting fabric works. Attach candy to strips of plastic wrap and hang it from a rod behind the table.

Themes do not have to be costly. Pick up a few inexpensive items to make a statement, but turn to your candy buffet for your wow factor. Do not limit yourself to what you have seen. Use your imagination and create a one-of-a-kind buffet, that is re-usable.

PRO TIP: Consider theme pieces the guest take with them, like a candy lei. Tie a few gum balls to plastic leis that are inexpensive and available at any party supply shop. 

Step 2: Gather The Essentials

PRO TIP: Use clear glass jars and trays. Let your candy bring the display to life. Using holiday themed dishes does nothing to add to the table. If you' re tempted to buy a serving dish or jar in a shape, get a shape of the candy, or a matching fruit shape. Don't go all out. Allow yourself one or two special pieces, but they should be easily merged into other candy settings. A lovely glass candy dish is just as beautiful filled with pastel M & M’s for a baby shower as it is filled with Gummy worms for a kids party. Cotton candy in an ice cream dish or cone, decorated with peppermint straws make a lovely display. Rock candy on sticks in a tall container fills an empty spot very well too.

Step 4: Get the Candy!

The real trick to making a great candy buffet is finding the right mix of colors and shapes of candy. For a wedding, you will go with creams, golds, and foils. You will lean toward elegance and charm. A baby shower is traditional pink and blue and you aim for cute. Birthday parties are anything goes from purple and red and even black and white for “over the hill” parties.  Holiday candies are the easiest to use for Holiday parties from Halloween through Valentine's day, they are easy to find. Pick 2 or 3 colors and stick with them. Choose a special candy for your center dish and fill in with gift bags that match the tablecloths. You will find everything you need at SweetServices.com.

Candy Buffet Cheat Sheet:


When Dr. Google Says It's Tourettes, Autism, ADHD, OCD and Bipolar

Let me just preface this by saying, I'm the mother of a Four-year-old boy. By the end of his first year of life, I learned my lesson the hard way about Googling his symptoms. Ten times out of ten, it always ended in me freaking out that he had a rare incurable disease. I was so bad about it, his pediatrician made me promise that I would NEVER again look to Dr. Google for a diagnosis. Then, last night happened...

Last night, FTD looked at me and said, did you hear that?

Me: What?

FTD: Those noises Ollie makes?

Me: Huh?

FTD: That humming noise. He makes it after he says something.

ME: Um? He's four, he's constantly making noises!

FTD: Well, listen for it. It could be an indicator of something...

Me: What are you talking about?

FTD: I was talking to Mrs' Smith at school about it, and...

Me: Whatever, I'll listen for it.

Being that FTD works at a school for children with "learning differences", he is super sensitive to the tics, quirks and differences that make each kid special. Most times it's me being paranoid, and FTD telling me to chill out, however, in this case, it was the other way around. Which, totally freaked me out.

He's the level-headed one, why is he the one freaking out this time?

I spent the rest of my son's waking hours following his every sound. By the end of the night, I did notice what FTD was talking about. Once in bed, I laid next to Ollie and listened more for the sounds, and even asked them about it. He told me he liked the way they sounded or he thought they were, "funny".  This is where my downward spiral began.

As he settled into sleep, he started repeatedly making a humming sound... until he fell asleep!

I Googled:  4-year old son makes funny noises.

At first,  Dr. Google said all signs pointed to Autism.

Then, Tourettes.

THEN! Tourettes, with ADHD, OCD and BiPolar.

Fu*k. Me.

I hate Dr. Google.  WHY did I do it???

So here I am, freaking out my son has Tourettes, Autism, ADHD, OCD and Bipolar, all due to noises he was making. As much as I wanted to call myself an asshole for Googling his symptoms and move on with my day, I couldn't. I was in a full panic attack.

It's so easy to morph symptoms into Dr. Goggle's diagnosis. It's almost like, I am so desperate for an answer, even a crappy one will do. SO WRONG!

Warning Parents: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Thanks to this little mishap, I have to either call his doctor and fess up that I Googled some shit and now I'm freaking out, or obsessively watch my son until I calm the F*ck down on my own.I'm going with the latter, for now.

It's funny on the heels of a post about my genius son, now I'm writing about him having Tourettes and a slew of other things. I'm telling you, Parenting is not for the faint of heart or conspiracy theorist, because it will drive you mad if you let it.

Bottom line: My son may or may not have Tourettes, but to go from a noise to Tourettes, Autism, ADHD, OCD and Bipolar is pure dumbassery. I know better.

Please, take it from me, before consulting Dr. Google, talk to your doctor first. Because, at this point, the only one with a true problem is me! My son is four. He's a wild, busy toddler, over analyzing that is not going to do either of us any good.


Is Your Type-A Parenting Style Ruining Your Family-Life?

It's official; I've cracked. Dropped My Basket. Lost The Plot. A few bricks fell out of my load. It's all my fault.

My type-A ways are screwing my life all up.

For the past four years, I have had lofty goals of being the perfect parent, wife , homemaker, and writer. In the process, I driven myself mad.

Thanks to the back-to-school madness, looming holiday season and some strange summer sadness,  The. Plot. Has. Been. Lost.

Recently, while looking at my endless 'to-do' list, I felt so overwhelmed. I had no idea where to start, so  I tried to prioritize. I started to realize, half of the stuff was unnecessary.  All the unnecessary cleaning, organizing, hand holding, emails, life-sucking friendships, and ass wiping have to stop!

After four years of trying to provide the cleanest, safest, most organized environment for my family, I've learned three things:

1. I do a lot of unnecessary crap.

2. I'm so crazed about getting things done the second they need doing, I jump WAY too soon.  What's more, I get pissed at my husband for not jumping first. #FAIL I'm so bad about it, FTD has a joke with me about the Dishes Police, and how they don't exist.  He thinks I am afraid the dishes police will come get me if I don't wash the dishes right after dinner.

3. I need to cut a ton of bullshit out of my life. Starting with life-sucking friends and ending with not being so anal about keeping my house spotless.

Here's the thing, I am a great mom. I know that. And while all the extra cleaning, organizing, planning and prepping are great, it's not all that necessary.  Most of all, the time I waste overdoing it,  I could be spending with my family.

I've started to let things slide, like cleaning the kitchen.  I seriously used to clean it spotless after making each meal. That could be 5 times a day. WTF???

No more obsessing about my son's routine, how much tech-time he's had and if I've played with him enough today to be a great attentive mother.

I'm not going to let life sucking friends monopolize my time. They can drive someone else crazy. I can't let their problems take away from my life and family-time.

Needless to say, I'm relaxing and not over thinking EVERYTHING anymore. Ok, so I do still kind of worry, but I really want to stop being so crazed about being the perfect everything. Especially, before school starts and I overextend myself to the point of wanting to throat punch the PTA princess.
These days with my family are so precious, if I don't make some changes, I will miss out on the best moments.

Are you Type-A Parent, too? What about you? Are you overthinking everything?  Or better yet, have you started to let go too?


Just When I Thought Mommy Time Outs Were A Joke, One Saved Me.

There was a time in my life when I looked forward to the weekend. Ah yes, two nights and two days to do whatever I wanted. Sleep as long as I wanted. Eat when I wanted. Indeed, weekends were fantastic!

Then, I had a child.

It was almost instant. My weekends fell into the toilet.

The Weekend after children become this 48-hour nonstop barrage of Mommy!, Mommy!, Mommy!,  birthday parties, sporting events, and everything in between. Not to mention the getting to stay up late part, completely wiping out any chance for a relaxing weekend.

Don't get me wrong, I love my son and the extra time the weekend affords us, HOWEVER, non-stop is too much.

Recently, I've found myself dreading the weekends. My restful, schedule-less weekends were all but gone. Replaced by a non-stop schedule. Talk about, SUCKS!

After four years of my weekends progressively becoming more about my son and his needs and events and less about me enjoying the free time, I've come to realize, IT'S ALL MY FAULT!

Sure, jam packed busy kid weekends are almost inevitable for most parents, but that doesn't mean there's no time for me!

This past weekend, I was not feeling so awesome but still tried to push through the usual insanity. What a stupidass idea that was.

Not only was I exhausted, I was annoyed with myself for feeling like I have to be on 100% during the weekends, even when I feel crap. Why? Will my kid shrivel up and fade away? No, of course not!

Over trying to be super weekend-mom, I sought refuge in my bed. My son was very close behind. I wanted to scream! Instead, I told him Mommy was having a time out, and that I had to be left alone, just like when he was in time out.

The weirdest thing happened. He backed off. He asked how many minutes I had and told him 20, and set my phone timer just like I do with his timeouts.

Holy shit, he walked out. Left my bedroom. Gone. Somehow, I felt like I witnessed a miracle.

I laid quietly for twenty minutes. Alone.

So Weird.

I was enjoying the solitude so much, I completely forgot about the timer, so when it went off, I jumped. I wasn't the only one. Ollie came bouncing in excited to let me know I could get out of time out.

Truth be told, he was playing with FTD, so I may have been left alone much longer if not for the alarm, however, I couldn't help but think I stumbled onto a huge breakthrough, Mommy time outs actually work!

Long story short, I had three time outs over the weekend, and all went the same. I put myself in timeout, my son left me alone as time out protocol states. Most of all, I had a time block to do my own thing.

I'm already looking forward to next weekend and what I want to use my timeouts for.  Most likely a chance to lay in bed and read a book or watch a show on HGTV uninterrupted. If you need a time out to enjoy yourself and breathe, I cannot recommend enough putting yourself in time out. It totally works!


Make-Over Any Room With These Smart Phone Hacks! #Infographic

You know how much I love Interior design and putting my own touches on my home! Today I have a few great tips to help you start your next room makeover!

First, a few favorite interior design apps:

Whether you are looking for new paint color options or figuring out how a new furniture layout will fit in the living room. The Benjamin Moore app lets you use an image you take with your phone to pick the best color match! 

Finding the right art pieces and accents is sometimes the hardest part of decorating a new home, use the Vango Art app to virtually hang pieces and see what fits best on the wall! 

There are lots of great interior design apps, Visit the App Store or Google Play Store on your smartphone with T-Mobile's fast, reliable service to find the perfect app that will help you change your space. This infographic has more ideas for home décor options.

Get ready to Pin some great tips!


How To Turn Bath Time Into Fun time!

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this but, I don't do bath time. FTD does. It's always been this way. When Ollie's umbilical cord fell off, and the time came to bathe him, I was terrified. At only a few weeks old, all I could imagine was a slippery little slug. From that bath on, FTD has been in charge. 

During the first year, bath time was mostly me dangling toys while FTD did the business. We found that distracting him from the bathing part was key. Once Ollie was able to sit up safely on his own, we introduced toys he could play with on is own. This was huge for helping him enjoy all that soap and water business.

Parent Tip: A boring bathtub full of water is a recipe for disaster. ALWAYS have fun bright toys floating in the water before plopping your toddler down.

There are several bath toys out there that you can buy for this very purpose, some of the popular ones are; classic bath ducks, wind-up turtles, and floaty frog sets. As with all toys, stick to the age recommendation. One of our favorite bath toys were antimicrobial foam letters, numbers, and squares with photos. It's a double win for the learning boost too. Here's Ollie in action:


Another important factor in how bathtime goes is your attitude. If it's all about getting in and getting clean and getting out, your child will see bathtime as much of a crappy chore as you. Look at that 5-10 minutes as a chance to bond, learn, play... whatever it takes. Baths are an essential part of life, show your child they can also be fun too!

Bottom line: If bath time sucks, turn your frown upside down, grab a few of your child's favorite (bath friendly) toys and turn Bathtime into fun time!


Date Night On A Dime And Why There's NO Excuse To Ditch it!

** I'm partnering with the Chicago-based food and alcohol delivery search engine, Bootler to talk about how important date night is, and how my husband and I have found a cost and time effective way to make it work! All opinions are my own.

Over the last four years not having a babysitter for our son, my husband and I have struggled very hard with finding meaningful time alone. Which has taken its toll on our marriage, Big Time. I know it's the same for many of my married friends with young children--you have a baby then kind of fall into this world of putting the child before yourself and everyone else around you. 

It's been about a year since both my husband and I admitted that we were really crap at making time for each other. We started trying to plan a date night and spend 15 minutes every night walking outside talking on the front porch. 

We did great at the nightly outside talks but sucked at finding a babysitter for date night. So, we found a way to do the next best thing, have a date night in! 

Here's how it works: 

1. While my husband does bath time,  I prepare the dining table outside on our front porch. Tablecloth, candles, water, and fresh flowers from my garden. 
2. After bathtime, I go upstairs and finish the job-- get the little guy to sleep- While I'm doing that, my husband runs out to get the food. By the time he gets back, I have our son to sleep, throw on a cute outfit then we meet at our rendezvous point. 
3. When I arrive, the food is plated and candles lit. it's amazing.
4. We sit in the comfort of our home, eating and drinking And enjoying each other. #Bliss

The only rule we have about our date night is that each time we choose a new place to eat we have been wanting to try. It's almost like we are going out and trying new places every month, just not at the place. Which, it turns out is way more fun because we get to stay home and have a bottle of wine or two, and talk and laugh and not worry about paying the babysitter or getting home to take the babysitter home on time.

Since we've been doing this, it's been amazing to see how many different great places there are to eat in our city. Using a Food Delivery Search Engine like Chicago-based Bootler, that gives customers the ability to compare and choose the fastest, cheapest or all around best food delivery service is an awesome way to eat something different every date night. It's easy to fall into the same old' same old' rut, so make it a rule to eat something different every time you order out!. My favorite thing about Bootler is they provide both food and booze delivery!

  • Chicago Based Only. NYC coming in the fall, with other major cities to follow!  (Don't worry there's hope)
  • Order food + alcohol. (Alcohol comes from a delivery service called ‘Saucey.’)
  • Launching a mobile app in September
  • Use “Saucey” to receive $10 off your alcohol order
  • Use “Bootler” to receive $10 off your food order from Postmates

I can't recommend enough setting a third Friday or Saturday of the month, where you and your partner know to wear the kids out because you have a date that night! Whether it's on the porch, in the backyard, or by a window that's open, set a special date ready table.

The week leading up to the date, make a solid no-backing-out plan. Pick out a movie, a TV show or game to play and any new restaurants you want to try. Send sweet text messages and emails about the upcoming date.  Or in other words, ignite your spark early so its a bonfire of love by date night! 

Date night is so incredibly important, and the date night at home is so incredibly easy. Do this

He Likes It! He Likes It!

He Likes It! He Likes It!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine."

Most people laugh when they find out my cat's name is, The Professor, however, within a few minutes of meeting him, they get it. The Professor is a ten-year-old Maine Coon that's constantly handing out lectures on why I should be petting him more, or why he needs more treats than I give him.

I got Professor the week I moved out on my own. We've been together for eleven years and he's my baby. He follows me everywhere I go, from room-to-room, to out in the garden and back in again. My neighbors laugh at us, calling him a dog in a cat costume. In a way, he is! He comes when I call, plays fetch, yells at me when he needs something and cuddles up to me at night.

From the day I got him, I've strived to provide him the best life a cat could want. I buy him the best food, more toys than I probably should, brush him weekly (He LOVES it!), and of course, shower him in treats!

Over the years, I've tried a few different foods and gobs and gobs of different treats. You see, Professor is picky. Incredibly picky. I learned years ago not to switch up his food, and when it comes to his treats, choose wisely. For example, I was sure since he's a cat, he would want salmon or tuna, but no, he likes chicken best.

He's also way hip to my game when I try to push anything new. So while I was more than happy to give Meow Mix Brushing Bites a try, I wasn't so sure the big guy was going to be so stoked. He's seriously THAT picky. I've given bags of ridiculously expensive treats away.

Remember how I said he follows me everywhere? It was never more true then when I was trying to take photos of the treats! I had to give him a few just to be left alone for a second! From the living room then out to the garden, he followed me and the Meow Mix Brushing Bites. Eventually, he got mad and started yelling at me to give up the treats.


Yaaaahooo!!! My picky kitty actually likes the treat that's good for him and fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium to support healthy bones.

I want The Professor to live as long as possible. Helping him keep his teeth and bones strong is going to play a big role in that.

You can purchase Meow Mix Brushing Bites at Walmart-- Available in Salmon or Chicken flavor!

The yummy treats can be found at your local Walmart and will also be available on Walmart.com soon. For now, you can find out more about Meow Mix Brushing Bites here.


My Son Is A Genius. Like, For Real. Genius.

There, I said it. My son is brilliant. Truly, brilliant. I've known my son was a genius for over two years, and barely hinted at it, but I've always been uneasy about talking about it. Partly because, I feel like complaining about my son's brilliance would sound like the worst first world problem, ever. Or, worse, carrying on and on about my perfect brilliant child.

However,  today, I am going to go for it. Because it isn't easy, and has challenges, and some I'm sure all parents are dealing with.

Here's how things sort of unfolded.

9-months old-Walking
11-months climbed out of his crib.
12-months full-on running

His first birthday. Hauling ass down the hall.

At this point, I knew he was strong and imagined him becoming an athlete. Brilliant? Meh.

18 months, climbing, jumping, talking--probably close to 100 words.
2 years talking, climbing jumping off 3ft walls.

By two, I knew he was a great kid, incredibly strong and stubborn.

Two was a hard year. He was into everything. Had opinions and seemed to only want to say the word NO! He was what I imagine all toddlers to be like. Towards the end of two, 30 months old, he wanted to know about the words in the books. He picked up the site words 'The' And' "a" and "I". Also his memory back to things at 18 months old was phenomenal.

At his 3-year well baby check up when he sounded out words in a book for the pediatrician, I got the talk. The pediatrician said he has suspicions that Ollie was going to be a "very special" child very early on, and that his ability to learn is off the charts for his age. I was also told to start looking into schools that cater to "exceptionally bright" children.

At four he reads, some, but gets frustrated and quits. He holds conversations better than some adults I know. He can write his name, both Oliver and Ollie, a few words he knows from site--cat, dog, the, wet--and any words if you tell him the letters. He appears to be trying to teach himself about time, days and how they work on the calendar and simple additions.  I know, because he focuses on certain things until he gets them, and floods me with questions until he has it all figured out.

Which brings me to today. My son is crazy smart. He knows way more than he should for being four. He tests close to 1st grade and needs constant challenges in school. At home, he stays busy creating his own challenges. Which, usually involves me answer, or asking, him questions and playing learning games on his iPad.

He also rides a mini-motorbike because he's already blown through the balance bike, regular bike, and a Razor.

Lately, LEGOs have been a Godsend! He will spend hours building and creating things.

I promise I'm not trying to brag, or really complain, but the fact is, my son is most likely going to be a Mensa kid and it keeps my life very interesting.

So, if you would like to hear more about those challenges, the financial and mental toll it takes on the parents and some of the insanely amazing things my son does, please comment below to let me know to keep going.


The Back-to-School Guide For First-Timers

It's hard to start this post because of all the emotions I feel thinking back to the first day of school last year. Granted, it was Pre-K, but it was still the first day of school. It was hard. Emotional. Eye-opening. Most of all, it was a huge milestone in my child's life.

Below are some of my very best tips for back to school. Or in my usual style, lessons learned the hard way when I dropped my kid off at school for the first time.

Picture it: Parents everywhere, children everywhere, kids crying, parents crying, photo after photo being taken in front of the school. Teachers shoving stacks of papers in your hand with lists, rules, expectations and snack rotation schedules, all while your child is clinging to you for dear life, begging you not to leave him in this madhouse.

1. It's a whole new world- If you did the daycare thing or Mother's-day-out at the church, don't expect anything to be the same when it comes to actual school. I definitely didn't expect Pre-K to be so formal. Well, it is. You show up on time, you follow the rules, you read the lists, and every single scrap of paper sent home. Or, risk sending your child to school in a red outfit on green outfit day, or worse, on a dress-up day! TIP: Dedicate a calendar in your house to strictly school stuff.

2.  Your child isn't the only one crying on the first day of school. The first day of school was rough for both Ollie and I. Thankfully, we were not the only ones having a rough go of it. At times I couldn't tell who was being more brave, the parents or the child. School is a huge step, yes, but it's also a huge reminder that our babies are growing up.

3. It's OK to go nuts with the photos, everyone else is. It was beyond cute watching the moms and dads taking photos in front of the school. Whole families showed up for this momentous day.  Grandparents, siblings, the dog... all are welcome. The only rule is, get your photo and move along, four hundred parents are waiting.

4. Drop-off is chaotic. To say the least. I get it. It's 8:30am, parents are trying to get their child in school and be at work by 9. But, the fact that drop-off is a knockdown free for all to get signed into class and be back in the car in 4.3 seconds flat, is a little crazy. However, I've learned, that's just how it is. Your best bet is to stay clear of these parents and not take it personally. Give yourself plenty of time the first week for navigating parking and drop-off.

5.  Make hand washing a household rule. Let's just say, it's ALWAYS cold and flu season when school is in session. Schools are a germ paradise full of dirty hands, sneezes, coughs and miserable sick children whose parents had to get to a meeting. Combat germs by teaching your child the importance of handwashing throughout the day, and insist on handwashing the second your child(ren) get home from school.

Bonus Tip: BE BRAVE! It's hard to watch our babies grow up. School is a huge step. For both of you. Once you make it to the classroom, give your hugs and kisses of encouragement, then use your best brave face to let your child know it's going to be OK, then get out of there! The longer you linger, the harder it will be for your child to let you go. There's something about you lingering that gives your child the impression you can really stay the whole time if you want. Kiss and go... to your car to join the rest of the parents balling their eyes out in the parking lot.


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