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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Labels for Back-to-School: Mabel's Labels Review and Giveaway

This year, I have back-to-school shopping lists for three boys! All of my kids will be in school in just a few short weeks. Don't be too jealous as this only amounts to approximately 6 hours per week that I will have a kid-free home.

I have a hard enough time keeping their things straight just in our house. They take stuff to school and who knows where everything will end up.  Because kids lose things.

Which is why I have a total love affair with Mabel's Labels: Labels for the Stuff Kids Lose!®

Last year, we used Mabels for all of my boys' school supplies, backpacks, shoes, sweatshirts, jackets, anything that I thought huh, that might end up not making it back home.

We also have sets with our last name on them that I attach to items like tupperware container and beach toys.

Mabel's Labels was kind enough after I begged and said that I absolutely need more for this school year to send one of their Ultimate Back-to-School Combos for each of my boys.

The combo includes 50 Tag Mates(washer and dryer safe), 40 Skinny Minis(dishwasher and microwave safe), 16 Shoe Labels, and 2 Teeny Tags.  It's enough to send your child to school confident that their belongings will stay out of the lost and found!

The Ultimate Back-to-School Combo is only available thru September 30th.  If you hurry and get it today(July 31st), it's $39. After today, it's $42.

You can see more of their products on their site or on Mabel's Labels facebook page.

Giveaway: One of you will win a an Ultimate Back-to-School Combo! Open to US and Canada, this giveaway will close at 9pm ET on 8/8.  Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. If your email is not visible in your profile, please leave it with your entries.

Required Entry: Visit Mabel's Labels and leave me a comment telling me which design you like the best.

Additional Entries: Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
*Follow @mabelhood on twitter
*Follow @shellthings on twitter
*Follow Things I Can't Say on GFC



I received labels for hosting this giveaway. Because I begged for them. What does that tell you about how much I think they are a needed BTS supply? All opinions are my own, of course. 

This giveaway is now closed and the winner is #18: Mommy Inconsistent.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Blog Friend Feature: Practical Parenting



Who do you go to when you need parenting advice? Your girlfriends, twitter, blogs, and books, right? This week's Blog Friend Feature combines all those things: a blog with parenting advice like it's being dished out by your girlfriends.  She's a total sweetheart with a lot of parenting know-how.

Meet Katie of Practical Parenting:
When Shell contacted me about writing a Blog Friend Feature for her, I nearly fell off my chair.  I don’t have to tell any of you that Shell is the most supportive blogger around (how she manages to help everyone feel so loved while working from home is beyond me), or that her Blog Friend Feature is one of the most coveted features out there (who wouldn’t want to meet all of Shell’s fantastic friends?).  You already know that.  I nearly fell off my chair because it didn’t ever occur to me that I would be asked.

Shell seems to have an uncanny ability to find and feature the best blogs around.  I either laugh or cry my way through these posts every Friday morning, and then begin following them almost obsessively.  

But my blog…is not that funny.  My blog is all about providing practical parenting strategies.  It’s really meant to save you from buying 1,000 parenting books.  If you ask me a question, I’ll post an answer.  My blog is kind of…nerdy.

But today, because Shell believes in me, I will break the mold.  Today I will share some of the more impractical things that go on around here:  

Lost Sleep:  Sure there’s the average sleep loss due to the revolving door of illness, constant teething, nightmares, and night terrors.  

But the real story here is that I married a sleepwalking, sleep-talking, all around sleep-doer.  Once, before we were married, he hid my favorite pair of jeans on a super high shelf in a closet.  We didn’t find them until we moved nearly a year later. Then there was the time that we both managed to wake up his band during a 14 hour drive.  His screaming ignited my screaming and then everyone was screaming…for us to please shut up.  I often wake up to find him face to face with me because he has to tell me something very important. And he loves to protect me from the giant spiders and aliens he believes are coming into our room through the locked balcony door.

Interior Design:  My 4 year old daughter, Riley, is nothing if not creative.  On the bright side, she creates some amazing art projects and has excellent fine motor skills for her age.  But sometimes the creativity translates to some interesting “decorations”.  

Just the other day I entered her bathroom to find it covered in toilet paper.  I was speechless for a while.  When I finally asked why she chose to do that she replied, “I wanted to make snow”.   

Then there was the time when she was 2 ½ that, while I ran the bathroom to pee, she managed to “decorate” the entire family room and kitchen with Tampons two minutes before a playgroup was due to arrive.  She thought they were pretty.

Lost Holidays:  I love Christmas.  More than any other holiday ever…I love Christmas.  I love the smell of a Christmas tree in the house (but not the fallen needles), hot chocolate by the fire (yes, even in LA), and watching as loved ones open the carefully chosen and wrapped gifts.  My 2½ year old son, Liam, has yet to really celebrate Christmas.  

Two years ago, we all had the stomach flu.  After 21 hours of straight puking, I could hardly lift my head off the floor.  Liam went down on the 23rd, Riley and I went down on the 24th, and Sean took Christmas day.  No one even looked at a gift.

Last year, I took precautions.  I didn’t send Riley to school the week before, we didn’t go to the park for weeks, and we avoided all play dates.  Sean came home on the 22nd (he was working in New York) with “food poisoning”.  Two days later it was another vomit-fest.  Again, Santa’s hard work was largely ignored.

And for the last two Halloweens Riley has had bronchitis and croup.  On the bright side, she didn’t have it in her to beg for candy.

Grocery Store Hopping:  I spend entirely too much time traveling to different grocery stores in order to fulfill the necessary requests.  Liam has a few staples that can only be found at Trader Joe’s, while Riley will eat almost anything…but certain things that can only be found at Ralph’s.  Then there are the very important organic items that necessitate yet another store:  Whole Foods.  And did I mention the Farmer’s Market?  Buying the food to feed this family is a full time job.

Lost Time:  If I counted up the twenty minute increments of time spent searching for missing cars, cats, shoes for Polly Pockets (do they need to be that small?), and other miscellaneous items, I would lose at two weeks of my life.  Seriously.  “Gold Ramone” was just located at the bottom of a huge Lego box after nearly two months on the missing cars list.  Can I speak for all of us when I say thank you Disney for getting our children addicted to your products only to have you put them in the vault so that they can never be replaced?

Bribery:  Some parents are firm believers that kids should just do what they’re supposed to do…end of story.  I believe in bribes.  I believe a single Tic Tac can make a trip to the grocery store a breeze and a sticker chart to earn books or cars can cure a sleep issue.  I once fed my kids jellybeans and lollipops pretty much all the way from New York to LA minus a nap (read: sugar crash) when I had to fly home with them solo.  Yes, I believe in bribes.
The practical parent (read: control freak) in me loves schedules, calendars, organization, and rules.  With my bass playing husband on the road for long stretches of time or holed up in studios for more hours than you might think actually exist in the day, I need structure.  My kids need structure.  We crave practical.  But even the most practical parents have moments of impracticality.

What are some of yours?





Please leave Katie some comment love here and then go follow her fabulous blog!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Because I'm a Proud Mom of Boys

Three little boys. No girls.

All blue and no pink.

And my family is complete and we are completely happy about that.

Though I do believe there is a special kind of crazy club that goes along with being a Mom of Boys.  So, when I saw the First Annual Boy Mom Blog Hop, I had to join in. If you are boy mama, too- hop over and check it out- it's going on thru August 3rd. 



I'm Shell and this is Things I Can't Say: all those things that I want to say, but refrain from spilling to some mama I just met on the playground. It all has to come out somewhere and that is what this blog is for. My place to spill it all.

My boys are Monkey(6 and entering first grade), Bear(5 and entering a K-5 program), and Cub(3 and entering preschool). That's right, for six hours each week starting this fall, I will have something that is totally foreign to me as a mom of boys: QUIET.

And I might even be able to get some of these messes that my boys love to make cleaned up... maybe.

I love to meet other MOB's, so welcome!!!

Childhood Faves and a Squeeeee Moment

Did you have a show that you loved growing up?

I wasn't a huge tv watcher.

But, one show that I did LOVE was Punky Brewster.

I wanted to BE Punky Brewster.  She was so cool. I wanted to have clothes like hers: the bright colors and OH, the bandanas! Those were rad. Wasn't that what we said back then? Rad? Or maybe Bad? I don't remember. Because I'm old. 

Plus, Punky was a brunette. And yet still the lead. Proving you didn't have to be blonde to be fabulous. Um, yeah, my turned blonde later in life all by itself. *cough* 


Punky is all grown up now, but still cool as ever. Seriously. Soleil Moon Frye is a mom to two girls and has a book coming out next month called "Happy Chaos: From Punky to Parenting and My Perfectly Imperfect Adventures in Between."

My squeeeee moment: I actually got to ask Punky aka Soleil a few questions recently. I had to restrain myself from asking the questions that 8 year-old me wanted to ask and instead, ask about parenting.

You can head over and check out my Punky moment over on Babble.  Plus, while you are there, you can enter to win a copy of her book. No jumping through hoops, I promise. Simply leave a comment over there and you're entered. Second possible entry if you comment with the name of a show/star you loved when you were growing up. 


Please go check it out: From Punky to Parenting

Comments are off.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: A Young Woman's Stupidity (II)

Welcome to Pour Your Heart Out- if you need more info on how to participate, check out THIS post. But it's personal- it's what YOU think is pouring your heart out. Please grab the PYHO button or link back in your post if you are participating.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


 


I posted the first part of this on Monday. A Young Woman's Stupidity. Because together, the story is a little too long for just one post. And also because part one was the background and the ending is more of a Pour Your Heart Out post. 

I didn't have to work that day, so I'd gone to the gym that afternoon.  I was running late for our CIT subs meeting and thought about changing out of my gym clothes before heading in so that it wouldn't be obvious that I'd had the day off.  But, I shrugged it off. No one had needed me that day and we didn't have to work if no one needed us.

So, I bounced into the meeting and joked that I'd taken the day off because I'd had to deal with Mrs. D the Dragonlady the day before.  Nick laughed and the four of us had a short meeting in his classroom.

When the other two girls got up to leave, Nick asked me to stay.  No big deal. We talked all the time.

He sat beside me and just stared at me for a minute.  I started wondering if I was in trouble for not working as much as they had expected me to. It really wasn't my fault: I worked when the teachers called me, but I had a lot of days off and a lot of days when I only worked an hour or two.

But, that wasn't it at all.

Nick said that he was worried about me. That I didn't seem as happy as I was back when we'd first met. That he had a feeling that things weren't going so well with my fiance.

My whole body just crumpled.  He was completely right.  Things were not going well at all and because I'd moved to his town, I didn't have any friends of my own to be able to talk to this about. I nodded and tried not to cry.

Oh, how I needed a friend to talk to about this. I was so glad that Nick was there for me.

Until he started talking more.

Because he wasn't offering me a shoulder to cry on.

He was telling me how beautiful he thought I was. How I'd been like a shining light to him at the interviews, which is why he remembered me and called to check on a job for me. That it had been him to tell Central Office to give me this position so that he could spend time with me.

My head began to spin. I felt like I was watching this conversation from somewhere over near the classroom door, instead of right beside Nick.

He told me that a woman like me needed a man to take care of her.  He told me the days and times when his wife wouldn't be home and said that I could come over and he could take care of the needs that obviously weren't being met at home.

I sat there silently, not knowing what to say.  Hoping that if I didn't say a word, maybe we could pretend this whole thing hadn't happened.

Nick patted my hand and told me to think about it, that he'd see me the next day because he had a meeting at the school I was working at tomorrow.

I grabbed my car keys and practically ran out of the school. I got into my car, drove a few blocks and then pulled over and cried.

When I pulled myself together, I drove home. Immediately, I typed out all he had said. Thinking that maybe I'd misunderstood what had happened. Writing always helped clear my head. And maybe I'd need to remember what had been said.

I was in bed when X got home and I pretended to be asleep because I didn't want to talk about it.  The next morning, when he was getting up to go to work, he asked me why I wasn't getting up since he knew I was supposed to work that day.  I whispered that I didn't feel well.

He was annoyed with me and told me that I needed to get up and go.  I burst into tears and told him that Nick would be at that school today and I didn't want to see him. And then I spilled what had happened.  I could see X's hands curling into fists and I had to calm him down.

The next night, Nick called me and said that he was sorry for what had happened. That he'd completely misread the situation and didn't want to disappoint me or lose me as a friend. I didn't say much, because I had no idea what to say. And then he reassured me that nothing would change as far as work went.

Those words made me panic and think that this would change my job. It could affect my job for years to come.

While I was still in shock from what had happened, I was in fact smart enough to seek help and an attorney sent a letter to Nick on my behalf, clearly stating that he had crossed a line and that I expected that nothing like this would happen again. It also stated that I expected that none of this would affect my career in the future.

After this, the phone calls from Nick stopped. We didn't have a weekly meeting any more and when we did meet, we met at a table outside his boss's office at the Central Office.  The tone of the meetings changed and were kept completely professional.

Though Nick never again made an inappropriate comment to me, the event changed me.  Anytime I was talking to a male, I would question his motives.  I held myself back and became very guarded.

I look back now and realize that I should have seen this coming. I also realize that while Nick was in the wrong, I was not innocent: I should have been more professional from the start.


If you link up, please visit the linker before and after you. You can always visit more, too.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snacking with the Family on Movie Night

To celebrate summer fun, Redbox is asking moms, "What's your family’s go-to movie night snack?" Plus, they are rewarding 2 lucky people with a chance to win $10,000 as part of the Redbox Summer of Fun & Games Sweepstakes.

We often have movie night or movie afternoon since my kids are still young enough to be sent to bed shortly after dinner.

And y'all? We like to eat! You know those old cheesy promos during the drive-in movies with a dancing Coke and popcorn box, telling you that movies are better with snacks? Well, I believe that. Yes, I'm old enough that we saw movies at the drive-in. If you aren't, just imagine a dancing drink and popcorn box, tempting you.

Even at home, we go pretty traditional with our snacks: we like popcorn with salt and butter. Plus something sweet like gummy bears for "dessert." Both easy treats to keep stored high up enough in the pantry that my boys can't find them and I can produce them like magic for a movie night.

If it's a special movie night, we'd go for roasted red pepper dip with pita chips and then an ice cream treat.

Below the contest rules, I'd love for you to share your go-to movie night snack!

Redbox is celebrating summer family time with a great line up of family-friendly titles, awesome savings and two chances to win $10,000 as part of the Redbox Summer of Fun & Games Sweepstakes.*

4 Easy Ways to Enter:
1. Enter your email address at http://bit.ly/redboxsummer
2. Rent a movie or game at a redbox kiosk (and provide a valid email address at checkout)
3. Reserve a rental online at redbox.com
4. Text 'SUMMER' to 727272
Enter to win today!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Redbox. The opinions and text are all mine.

*Each item rented earns one entry, regardless of how long it is rented, up to three entries per day. Limit 3 entries per day, regardless of entry method. The sweepstakes begins May 27, 2011 at 12:00 a.m. CT and ends on August 1, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. CT. No purchase necessary. See official rules at http://bit.ly/redboxsummer.
.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

A Young Woman's Stupidity

This is a story that took place almost 11 years ago.  I can count on one hand those who have heard it before. Looking back, it seems like a lifetime ago and like it happened to an entirely different person. I'm much stronger than this now. Or hopefully, wiser.


Fall 2000

I had just moved to upstate New York, without a job.  But, there was a teacher shortage, especially in inner-city City*, so I was confident that I could find a position.

Armed with my gray silk suit with a soft pink shell underneath, I tried to radiate confidence.  There were so many people applying that Central Office had people interviewing candidates who usually didn't do so.  Looking back, I think they were told to weed out the crazies and obvious incompetents, but to put a gold star "hire him/her" sticker on everyone else's resume.

I was called back to interview with Nick*.  He put me instantly at ease and we joked, laughed and flirted through the interview. I left feeling incredibly confident.  I dashed off a quick thank you note to Nick and dropped it in the mail the next day(aaah, the days before email was used for everything).

Two weeks later, I still hadn't heard anything and I was starting to get worried.

But, then, I got a message from Nick- before cell phones were so common, of course, so the message was on my answering machine. He was calling to check up on me, to see if I'd heard anything from Central Office yet.  That he could tell I would be an amazing edition to the school system.

I called him back and we chatted for a while.  He said that he would talk to people at Central Office for me and see what he could do. He knew they were still hiring teachers, so he told me not to worry.

The next day, Nick called me back and said that he had an interesting opportunity for me.  Because there were so many first year teachers that year, the mentor teachers would be really busy observing their interns.  Mentor teachers needed to observe their interns around 25x/year.  Central Office was trying something new and hiring a few substitute teachers specifically to cover the mentor teachers' classrooms while they observed.

Each of us "Career in Teaching" substitutes would be assigned a group of mentor teachers, who would have to call us in advance to schedule time with us, and each mentor teacher could only request 1 hour of our time per visit.  Sometimes we'd have to go to multiple schools in one day, other days we might work with a few teachers in the same school, and other days, we might just have to work an hour. Or, if no one needed us that day, we'd have the day off.  No one was allowed to call us in the morning and ask if we could come in that day: we were to tell them we were busy, even if we weren't, if they tried that.

We'd get to know the kids and the teachers because it would be the same ones all year. And we'd still get paid the same as if we were a full-time teacher.  Where the hell is this job now? Damn, would that be nice.

I wasn't really sure because I wanted a classroom of my own since that was what my previous experience was. I'd never substituted before and wasn't thrilled about the prospect of being a sub.

But, Nick was very convincing, saying that it would be a good way for me to get to know more of the schools in the district. All of us CIT subs would be guaranteed the school and grade level we wanted for the next school year.  He also said that he would be the one leading this new program and would serve as my mentor.

He talked me into it. Especially because I was nervous about the possibility that I might not get a job at all and then I'd end up being a regular on-call substitute: having to wait until each morning to see if I would be working, making a lot less money, and having no benefits.

So, I agreed.

Each week, Nick, the two other CIT subs, and I would have a meeting to talk about how things were going. We shared horror stories and tips for getting through. We also discussed the different schools.

Nick and I became friends. We talked about the city(which I didn't like) and even my relationship. Nick knew I had moved there to be with X, and he would ask me how things were going. He started calling me a few times each week, just to chat.

I was happy to have a friend.

If you already see where this is going, you are much smarter than I was back then.

Wednesday's Pour Your Heart Out will continue this story.

*Not his real name and I'd prefer not to mention the exact city, as "Nick" still teaches there, as far as I'm aware. And despite what ended up happening, I do believe he is a good teacher. And I chose to handle it in my own way, so I'd hate to say something that would cause him problems at this point.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blog Friend Feature: Absolutely Narcissism



Oh, am I excited for this week's Blog Friend Feature! I actually did a dorky squeeeee and clapped my hands when she agreed to be BFF this week. Because she is one of the most hilarious and straight-forward blogging mamas around. I know that when I go to her blog, I'm going to laugh! And think about how much fun she and I would have hanging out together.

Meet Sandra of Absolutely Narcissism:


I Am Not a Disney Mom


What is a Disney Mom you wonder?

A Disney Mom is one of those mothers who transforms even the most fabulous childhood affairs into an extravaganza.

For instance, a sleepover, which is already fun because it’s a time when two or more children get to be together overnight, thus providing them with lots and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots...well you get the idea...of extra time together, is made even more fun when Disney Mom breaks out cupcakes at midnight and says, “Let’s decorate them!”

Disney Mom does not consider summer vacation to be fun simply because it’s summer vacation.

No.

Disney Mom transforms every summer day into Disney World, by insuring that there are plenty of field trips: public pools, water slides, beach days, amusement parks...

If the outing includes cotton candy, then even better.

Despite her fatigue (because she was up till 3am with the sleepover girls giving them mani/pedis), the next morning, Disney Mom will chirp, “Let’s make homemade cinnamon buns for breakfast!”

I am not a Disney Mom.

I think summer vacation is exciting enough due to the simple fact that the kids are NOT in school.

Because the alternative to NOT being in school is BEING IN SCHOOL.

See. Nothing but fun fun fun when I theorize it, right.

Here’s the thing: I know that my intense negative feelings towards Disney Mom are not Disney Mom’s issue.

They are completely and totally my own.

Because although I am NOT Disney Mom, I AM Competitive Mom.

I am the mother who will not be outdone.

Oh, I will throw a fabulous sleepover too! I will be creative and fun as well!

I will have those kids in the pool at midnight, swimming with glow sticks under the water.

I will be filling up water guns for the entire neighbourhood, and orchestrating the water fight of the CENTURY!

But contrary to Disney Mom, shortly into my endeavour to outdo my nemesis, my legs will get weak, my smile will falter, and I may drool.

And you can bet, I will inadvertently teach the children a four letter word.

But this rivalry has got to stop.

I can’t win.

Nobody can beat Disney Mom.

And if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

So the next time Disney Mom is out running around with the kids, supplying water balloons, and squealing with joy at how much fun the children are having, I’m going to help her.

I’m going to be her ally.

When she’s not looking, I’m going to take the hose, and spray the crap out of her.


I'm so NOT a Disney Mom either. I think I'm just Mean Mama. Please leave Sandra some comment love here and then go follow her fabulous blog!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Start of a Blog and Wisdom I Don't Have

Do you know why I call this blog Things I Can't Say?

I'm over at my dear friend Nicole's blog sharing that story.  Basically, it boils down to penis talk causing me to start a new blog.

Head over to By Word of Mouth Musings to hear the full story. AND to see an idea that Nicole had that I think you will want to join in with!

Also, yesterday, I had the honor of guest posting for Julie over at Dutch Being Me for her Wisdom Wednesdays. Um, yeah, me, sharing wisdom. Even someone who screws up countless times a day like I do has a piece or two of advice.

Please go visit!

Comments are off. I'm still with family who are driving me insane. I'll come up for air next week.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: When Mom Doesn't Have the Answers

Welcome to Pour Your Heart Out- if you need more info on how to participate, check out THIS post. But it's personal- it's what YOU think is pouring your heart out. Please grab the PYHO button or link back in your post if you are participating.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


 

Hey y'all! I have family arriving today.  I will be around to read all the PYHO links and to visit all commenters, but you'll have to forgive me if it takes a little longer than usual this week!

This is a crazy week at my house. Well, I should say a crazier-than-usual week at our house. It's always a little crazy here. But, we have even more going on here than normal.

When it came time for Pour Your Heart Out, I looked in my drafts and thought yesssssss! I have one already done and I can use that one and be done with it.  And there was nothing wrong with that post. In fact, I'm positive that I will post it at some point.

But, after spending yesterday morning in tears and yet having my post have absolutely nothing to do with what had me so upset, I felt like a PYHO fraud.

So, back into drafts that other post went.

And instead, I'll share what had me so upset. What has me so upset.

It's my Bear, headed to school this fall.

Now, wait, before you roll your eyes at yet another "my baby is starting school and I'm so sad" post, this is different.

My oldest started Kindergarten last year. And while I did the typical mom-worry over him about the little things, I also knew he would be fine and practically didn't bring the van to a complete stop as I kicked him out of his seat by the third day of school. Okay, I came to a complete stop. Otherwise, the van door doesn't open. Lucky for him. 


But, this is my Bear heading off to school. It's not the same for him.

It's not the typical worries of a kindergarten mom. He has so much more that he has to deal with.

And while I thought we had settled on a school for him, after talking to the director again yesterday morning, I was left feeling completely unsettled. Feeling that this was not the right choice for him at all.

There is a school that I do think would be best for him, but it is not a possibility right now. And yes, we have tried everything.

And I was left feeling worried and scared for my Bear. I don't want him to end up lost in the shuffle. I want him to be somewhere that will embrace his uniqueness and yet help him find his way in the classroom.

I don't know what the solution is. And that leaves me feeling even worse.

Moms are supposed to have the answers, aren't we? We're supposed to know how to make it all better.

And right now, I don't. I don't have a clue how to help my Bear.






If you are linking up, please visit the linker above and below you. You can always visit more, too!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Now That You Have Baby Fever, What's Next?

Thanks to everyone who joined in with Rockin' the Bump last month and Rockin' the Baby this month. 

We had over 200 mamas join in each time. If you haven't had a chance to check out the links, be sure to do so! You'll be ooh'ing and ahhh'ing, plus getting to know some new bloggers! 

Since I've been accused of being a baby pusher and the cause of a baby boom in nine months, I thought that for our link-up in August, we'd take a different direction. I'll get to that in just a minute, after I tell you who won the prizes from Rockin the Baby!

Prize #1: $50 Demi Bella Tee from Chic Mama: #119 The Adventures of Fussypants and Little Miss

Prize #2: $50 gift certificate to shop at Storkie: #8 Mama Marchand's Musings

Prize #3: $50 gift certificate to shop at Lauren Nicole Gifts:  #151 Mommy of a Monster

Prize #4: $75 to Bellflower Books:  #186 Mommy This and That

A big thank you to our sponsors! Winners will be emailed today. 

Button once again by Jess at The Frilly Coconut who is inthe middle of a totally new look for me. On Wordpress. Button will be grab-able soon!


Now, for next month, I thought we'd take a break from making everyone's ovaries ache and do a throwback to a typical school assigment.  With a twist, of course. 

What did you do on your summer vacation?  Yes, even I did this to my students when I was teaching. 

Only this time: it's fun and a whole lot easier! Post a pic(s) that shows  you/your family having fun this summer!  It could be your kids eating ice cream, summer baseball, a family vacation, or even your glass of wine at the end of a long summer day.  Whatever says "Summer Fun" to you. 

Then come back August 8-15th  and link up! 

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Birthday Wishes

Remember when you were a little kid and would come up with all sorts of crazy things that you wanted for your birthday?

Every shiny thing that caught your eye on a commercial or in the toy store. Or maybe something your friends had.

A list made with the innocence of a child, without realizing that all that stuff cost money and that you couldn't possibly be given every single thing you wanted.  You still had  a list and opened up your birthday gifts with excitement, hope, and expectation.
My second birthday

Well, today is my birthday. I'm 34 today. Yeah, I'm proud of my age and have no problem saying exactly how old I am.  Though you can feel free to say that I don't look my age. 

I'm going to suspend reality here for a few minutes to talk about what I'd like for my birthday: as if the Birthday Fairy were real.  And like those lists from childhood, it's going to be okay for it to be completely unrealistic and selfish and impractical not say things like "world peace" or "my boys' tuition."

So Birthday Fairy, please bring me:

*A new wardrobe.  Age-appropriate and mom-appropriate, but still fun. And bonus if it all pulls in my mommy-tummy and can make me look like I have boobs. Plus, it all must come with coordinating shoes and accessories. Because it would be nice if I finally had some sort of style at this point in life.

*An iPad. Because yes, I'm jealous of my friends who have them. Plus, my 6y/o told me if have one, I could change the channel from it and not be stuck watching what Hubs wants to- he thinks that's pretty cool- and I do, too.

*A plane ticket so I can go to Blogher.

*A golf cart. People tool around in these in my neighborhood.  They look like fun and I want one. Preferably in pink

*A beach house.  Sort of like I wanted Barbie's Dream House when I was a kid.  Only big enough to actually live in.


See, it's not a whole lot I'm asking for, is it?

Such fun to pretend like any of these things would be gift wrapped for me today. Are you listening, Birthday Fairy?

Fairies aside, I'm hoping for a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that I my kids yes, I blame my kids even when it's my fault broke a few weeks ago and a cake to share with my gorgeous little boys.

What would you want from the Birthday Fairy?

Don't forget that the Rockin' the Baby linky is open thru tonight! Link up those cute baby pics! Tomorrow, I'll announce the four winners AND tell you what fun link-up I have in store for you next month!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blog Friend Feature: In These Small Moments



This week's Blog Friend Feature has a way of looking at things that really makes me stop and think. Because I tend to whine and complain over the little things, while Nichole of In These Small Moments sees the bigger picture and finds the joy in the every day.

Meet the lovely Nichole:


Sid the Science Kid Has Corrupted My Daughter

Before I tell you how PBS has turned my life upside down, I want to thank Shell for having me here.

I’ve watched this amazing BFF space for so long, dreaming of the day when it would be my turn. I envisioned sharing a small moment with you, as that’s kind of my thing.

But, when I sat down to write, I couldn’t get this current problem out of my head, so I’m going to share it here.

Thanks for indulging me, Shell. Much love to you!

I’m hoping one of you has some pull with PBS and can help me out with this problem I’m having…

One would think that PBS programming is pretty safe for children, right?

That they could take comfort in knowing that their children are in good hands while watching PBS?

Well, that’s not the case.

PBS simply cannot be trusted.

More specifically, Sid the Science Kid cannot be trusted.

Oh sure, he looks harmless enough, but don’t be fooled by his goofy grin and floppy purple hair.

This boy is trouble.

PBS describes him as a preschooler who, “does two things that make him the perfect scientist...he observes the world around him, and he asks LOTS of questions. And like a budding comedian, Sid's observations and questions are FUNNY (in a preschool kind of way).”

They make him sound harmless and endearing, right?

Wrong!

Sid taught my four-year-old daughter something that she did not need to know.

The word Mom.

Until Katie began watching Sid, I was Mommy.

But now, a few times each day, she calls me Mom.

I’m just not ready to be Mom.

She’s only four.

Perhaps it was because she was a delayed talker, or maybe because I hold on too tightly, but I’m just not ready for this change.

Following on the heels of Mom is Mother.

Sigh.

When I call her for dinner, she often replies, “Coming, Mom.” And when she enters the kitchen, I catch a glimpse of her at eight, twelve, and sixteen years old.

These years are so fleeting. It seems like it was just last year that she was born and I held her close, taking in her sweet baby smell, and dreamed of hearing her say my name.

I want to keep her small for just a bit longer. I want to soak up the sound of her voice when she does call me Mommy.

I know that I will blink and she will be grown and I will most often hear my name over the telephone from college or wherever her dreams may take her.

But for now, I’m going to fight the good fight…I’m holding onto Mommy.  

Think I can convince her to start watching Sesame Street again? As annoying as he is, Elmo is trustworthy.

And if any of you have any pull with PBS, can you please speak with someone about getting Sid to call his mother Mommy?

Oh, I remember that first "mom." Broke my heart! Please leave Nichole some comment love here and then go follow In These Small Moments.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

They Don't Always Make Me Crazy

105 heat indexes this week means that my kids are stuck inside. No way are we heading out to play in this heat.

But, when my boys are all together with no breaks from each other, and I'm trying to get some work done and blog, too, of course, there is a general air of crankiness.

Can't they ever get along? And can't they stop making me totally crazy?

But, then I remember that they can be sweet. And I do love my kids. 

And I remember when they were this tiny:

Monkey 19 months and Bear 2 months

Cub 2 months

And I realize how fast time flies and how important it is to enjoy this time with my boys. 

Even when they make me want to pull my hair out.

My big boys now


P.S. If you linked up for Rockin' the Baby, please check the linky and make sure your post is there. There were some slight problems with it yesterday. Don't forget you have thru July 18th to link up. 

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: Putting on Our Judge-y Pants

Please note: this is the linky for Pour Your Heart Out. If you are looking to link up your baby pics, please link at the Rockin' the Baby post!

Welcome to Pour Your Heart Out- if you need more info on how to participate, check out THIS post. But it's personal- it's what YOU think is pouring your heart out. Please grab the PYHO button or link back in your post if you are participating.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)

 



"I try not to judge..."

"Not to judge, but..."

"I usually don't judge..."

Most of us say things like this.

Because most of us realize that we shouldn't judge others. That we never fully know someone's situation and so we can't judge them. Or we know that it's not up to us to judge.

And yet...

If you tell me that you never judge anyone, ever... I roll my eyes.

Because I believe that everyone puts on their judge-y pants about something.  I admitted last week that I get judge-y about cheating.

You might not say it outloud. You might not blog about it. You might not do anything but have that internal flinch when you see someone doing something that you don't agree with.

It could be that dad you see who is totally covered in tattoos or has blue hair.

It could be the mom you see at preschool drop-off in her bathrobe or with a super-short skirt on.

Maybe it's the screaming kids in Target.

Or the child on a leash.

Or the baby being breastfed in public. Or the one being bottlefed.

Or the family with 12 kids. Or the family with only 1.

Or the mom who spends a lot of time away from her kids. Or the mom who never leaves her kids, not even to go to the bathroom by herself.

Or someone with tons of money or someone without any.

Or a parent who lets their kids watch tv or the one who never turns on the tv.

Or someone who is of a different religion or race or political party.

Or we judge someone who admits that they judge.

We're all human. And as much as most of us are aware that we shouldn't judge, it's hard to stop that initial gut reaction when we see something that we don't agree with.

It's what we choose to do after we recognize that feeling that counts.

Do you acknowledge that there could be a story there that you don't understand? Do you realize that it doesn't affect you anyway, so you should move on? Or do you get hateful about it?

We can't always help how we feel, but we can choose to be respectful in how we express those emotions.


If you link up, please visit the linker above you and the one below you. You can always visit more, too!



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