Friday, December 31, 2010

My blog's second year

2011 is almost upon us. Just a few hours away from the NYC ball drop, the Atlanta peach drop, champagne toasts and kisses up & down the east coast. And I will enter the second year of this blog.

My first post was January 21st, 2010. Ramblings about balance and the various roles I was trying to play within my one life. I was feeling unhinged, inadequate, and stressed. But trying to keep my optimism. Trying to convince myself that I was capable of mommy "perfection".

2010 marked many milestones. I grappled with my lack of patience and learned how to improve my life's balance. Amelia's naptime retreated from our household way too early for my liking. And her terrible two's made a surprise - and early - appearance as well. Potty training began... and is still ongoing.

Thanks to my amazing and helpful husband, I enjoyed a long weekend in Jamaica with my sister. A few months later, family trauma and the death of my sweet kitty brought back some very unwelcome stress.

I have grown this year. I have learned to focus on myself. After hitting rock bottom with Amelia's tantrums and my complete inability to handle them, I got serious. Worked with her and became more of a team player with my husband. Everything is looking up. I finally feel like the scales have been tipped in favor of fun instead of exhaustion and anxiety.

I am happy to be a mommy.
It just took me a while to realize it.

Monday, December 27, 2010


My work is fabulous enough to give us this whole week as vacation. And I'm too busy to write! Too busy playing with my girl and her fun new toys. Santa brought her a small indoor trampoline! So while it's too cold to go outdoors, we're bouncing ourselves silly here. We're playing games, dressing up in glamorous princess accessories, coloring, and reading new books. Over & over again.

We'll be with more family members in a few days. And word has it she's getting a Sit-N-Spin too! So we can bounce and spin until we fall over.

No wonder kids like toys so much... they're FUN!

I'll get back to my usual blogging schedule when the real world comes back to my life on Januay 3rd.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Looking forward to more magical family memories this year.

Happy birthday, Jesus!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ho Ho Holiday

Once again, I am in awe of the lovely and talented people I have met in my short blogging life span. I managed to squeeze myself into a fine group for a Ho Ho Holiday Swap. Today, I will be a guest poster on Wonder, Friend. Check it out HERE

My fabulous guest post comes from Ashley at Just Another Mom of 2.

Our Magic Tree

There's nothing quite like getting settled in a new state only days before Christmas. While moving at any time of the year is stressful, the holidays take it to a whole new level. We typically drive and bring along our Christmas decorations. However,this year, because we were moving so far- from the East Coast to Alaska- we decided to take a new approach. We would simply put Christmas together- in 5 days or less. Piece of cake.


Of course, the main component to our celebration is the Christmas tree. We did not think twice about it- I mean, really, how hard could it be to find a tree in Alaska?

Ahem again.

Sure enough, there was some sort of Christmas tree shortage in all of Anchorage. Yes, seriously. We drove all around, visited multiple nurseries, called high and low- all as we drove past no fewer than three hundred perfect Christmas trees on the side of the highway.

Finally, after hours of searching and tears and frustration, we call the last number on the google search list. Our toddler had now been screaming for forty-five minutes, our five year old had been repeating "where's our tree" for hours, and we were now pulling into a parking lot called Bob's for our outdoorsy tree adventure.
We cautiously got the kids out of the car, glancing suspiciously at the -very- tiny selection- none taller than my 22 month old. Snow had started to fall, the sun was setting and it was about 5 degrees outside.
I'm not sure if the man saw my daughter's tear-stained cheeks or the ones threatening to spill out of my eyes, but he led us around to the side. He told us he had this one bundled up for someone, but they had changed their mind and wanted a smaller one instead. He was closing up and had all but forgotten about it- but said it was ours if we wanted it.

Bob became our new hero. And a few hours later, as we settled in front of the tree, with the fire blazing and the snow falling outside, the day became our new favorite memory.

Want more holiday memories? Here's a linky to our Ho Ho Holiday Swap participants!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Breath of Heaven

I love this song. One of my all-time favorites.

I guess someone else likes it too. Enough to sync their Christmas light display! Fabulous.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Relax and laugh

I have never seen "It's a Wonderful Life." A few minutes here or there if it's on television, perhaps, but I have never sat down and watched this classic film from start to finish. My husband thinks this is a travesty.

Perhaps I'll get a chance to sit down and watch it this year. Maybe it will re-arrange my personal list of Christmas favorites. But until then, here are my current recommendations for holiday entertainment.

Starring the always quotable Will Ferrell in some fashionable yellow tights.
"I'm a cotton-headed ninny muggins"

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
An influx of family, an electrocuted cat, and Cousin Eddie. Gotta love it.

Miracle on 34th Street
I like the 1994 remake because Mara Wilson is just too cute.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
Another quality remake. No one makes grinchy faces like Jim Carrey. And I can't get enough of Cindy Lou Who's rendition of "Where Are You Christmas?"

A Christmas Story
I may be a loser for never seeing "It's a Wonderful Life", but you are a nerd if you've never seen this one. Everyone wants a leg lamp for Christmas.

A Muppet Christmas Carol
Yeah... I like Muppets. ("The Great Muppet Caper" and "Muppets Take Manhattan" are even better!)

Clearly, I like laughs. Here's to Christmas joy. Hope you find time to relax and laugh this holiday season!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Did I just say that?

A first pregnancy is exciting. And scary. And confusing. When I was pregnant with Amelia, I constantly had questions. Not wanting to be the crazy one with daily phone calls to the doctor, I turned to the Internet for answers to my frequent freak-outs and worries.

In doing so, I met a fabulous group of mommies. We were all due at the same time. For some, this was also their first child. Others were experienced mothers already. Somehow, simply through our little message board, we connected. Even though many of us have not met in person, these ladies are my friends.

We've since moved our "club" to a closed group on Facebook. This is the place where everyone can vent, worry, laugh, and cry, without fear of letting private secrets leak out into the public.

And let me tell ya, some of these secrets are doozies! But I'm not going to tell you those. My lips are sealed.

But I can share this one:
Do you ever catch yourself saying things to your kids you never thought you'd say?

We have! Here are a few highlights from this hilarious conversation:
  • Close your butt cheeks
  • Stop decorating your room with sandwiches
  • Macaroni & cheese does not belong in your ears
  • Stop eating all the soap bubbles
  • Take the dog's coat off an go put on some clothes
  • No, you may not get in the washing machine
  • Do not pee on your sister
  • Stop feeding the dogs glittered pine cones

Want to join in our fun? Leave a comment! What surprising phrases have come out of your mouth lately?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday: The Little Hen House

Today's F2F Friday feature is The Little Hen House!

Not only is this mama an excellent blogger, she makes a lovely coffee mug! I took part in a holiday "mug swap" with several bloggers recently, and was lucky enough to be the recipient of the sophisticated pink & black Little Hen House mug.

When was your blog born - and why?
The Little Hen House was born June 20th, 2010.

I started blogging because I love to write. Since I then, I have realized how much of myself I lost during the early years of motherhood. Blogging has helped me reclaim my identity as an actual person, not just a mother and wife. The friendships and support within the blogging community are undeniable. It's my life-blood.

Also check out The Little Hen House on TWITTER and FACEBOOK

Something that recently made you laugh?
Conan O'Brien wearing jeggings.
Have you ever kept a new year's resolution?
Five years ago I vowed to make the proper steps to keep up with technology. I bought a digital camera, an iPod, and a laptop. My greatest fear is becoming my mother, a woman who literally cannot turn on a television.

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do?
Sleep. Hands down.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Danger: Tunnel Approaching

It happened in preschool.
My first disastrous boo-boo.
Complete with some stitches.

Children's playthings are so safe these days. Everything is made of plastic. With rounded edges and, except for the occasional "made in China" disaster, non-toxic paint. Warnings are stuck all over baby equipment. And age restrictions can always be found on the front of the box.

Toy makers weren't quite so safety-conscious back in the day. Metal was not taboo. In fact, our preschool had a big yellow plastic tunnel in the playroom. A big yellow plastic tunnel with a metal rim around the edges. I loved running around the room and ducking to crawl through the tunnel. Often, I giggled with other kids as we chased each other around the room and through the large yellow tube.

I'm sure that tunnel had been used for years without incident.
But, as I mentioned a couple days ago, I am a klutz. Even at the tender age of three, I was a hopeless mess of boo-boos and bruises. And, coordinated as I was, I managed to run my face right into the metal edge of that yellow tunnel. I bounced right off and landed - splat - on my back. Blood was gushing from the bridge of my nose.

I don't remember much from that day (I was three, after all), but I know my dad was called at work. The teachers laid me down on a stack of folding tables, holding towels or tissues to my nose. I'm pretty sure I was screaming and crying. My Daddy arrived quickly and took me to the doctor. I ended up with some stitches and a genuine fear of that cruel yellow tunnel.

I still have a scar to show for it.

I am happy that toys (and car seats, and high chairs, and cribs...) have become safer since I was Amelia's age. But the next time you are thinking about safety for your young child, just remember: with every safety improvement, there were probably a few kids who suffered. Do you have a nice, soft, collapsible tent/tunnel for your child to run through? Well, you can thank me - and the scar on my nose - for that one.

Linked up to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop again today!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Ouchie

I still crack up when I see this photo. Steve managed to snap the camera at the precise moment when a 5-month old Amelia tried to rip my earring out of my ear.

We know our girl, now age 2-1/2, is feisty. Now we realize this was an ingrained trait early on.

Look at that mischievous smile!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Passing it on...

15% OFF ALL ORDERS over $75!
Everyone needs a little help once in a while, even Santa.

For four days you can finish your holiday shopping with big savings at My Baby Clothes Boutique.

Holiday baby clothes with matching baby headbands, warm and snuggly baby hats,
Tutus for your little prima ballerinas, and so much more - whatever you need for your baby, you will find it here.

Starts 12/16/2010 and ends 12/19/2010 at midnight EST
Don't wait - inventory is selling fast!
This is your last chance to order and have your gifts arrive by 12/24/2010.

Use the discount code below to get 15% OFF any order over $75.
Simply enter this code at checkout

Discount Code - SANTASHELPER2010

* Offer valid from 12/16/2010 to 12/19/2010 at 12am EST.
Cannot be combined with other offers. Shipping not included.

(This is an advertising message from My Baby Clothes boutique)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is there a klutz gene?

Are all young children utterly clumsy? Or was Amelia simply unlucky enough to receive the klutz gene from her mama?

I know I'm not graceful. Never have been. In fact, I had to quit dance class at the tender age of three because the teacher wanted me to do extra practices. Yeah, I must have been that bad. Somehow I muddled through many years of gymnastics, but still can't do a back handspring without landing square on my head. (Not that I would try it now - I know I'm only in my early 30s, but that is most definitely a decade or so beyond back handspring retirement age.)

Amelia does have some athletic talent.
She has a powerful and surprisingly accurate kick. She has a pretty good arm as well. Soccer goalie, perhaps? Maybe. At least that doesn't involve as much running as the other positions. For some reason, Amelia is really clumsy. I suspect she gets her brain so involved in whatever she is playing that she simply fails to pay attention. Bot honestly, I lose count of her daily boo-boos. Stubbed toes, falls, bumped heads, items dropped on a foot. It's a good thing kids are tough or this one would be defective by now.

I take solace in the fact that she does seem pretty hearty. And she has an athletic streak that her mommy certainly lacks. So maybe, just maybe, she'll have a chance at a sport.

A college scholarship would be nice.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Potty Training: Part 2

On November 6th, I posted "Potty Training: Part 1". I was worn down by the process, but cautiously optimistic about our progress. Now I have a feeling you'll be seeing Potty Training: parts 3, 4, and 5 before this adventure is complete.

When people say this is a frustrating process, they are not kidding.

(For those of who who got you kids trained in 3 days and never looked back... good for you. But hush. That is not my world, and I don't want to hear about it. I have enough mommy inadequacy issues already.)

Potty Training: Part 2 is otherwise known as "pretend it never happened." Amelia had a few great days of training. Three days in a row where she stayed completely dry. But then the thrill of her new ability wore off. She decided to stop going potty altogether. So we backed down. If she doesn't mind a soggy Pull-Up, then so be it. We'll try again in January.

So imagine my surprise when Amelia's preschool teacher exclaims to me one afternoon, "Oh! I really need some tips from you. I think it's amazing that Amelia is completely potty trained already! What did you do?!?"

Insert jaw drop here.

Um... huh? Do you mean my Amelia? I guess I wondered why she kept coming home with 3 Pull-Ups in her school bag. It turns out that she has no accidents at school. She tells them when she needs to potty, and she keeps her Pull-Up dry. They change her in the afternoon - but only once, and just for the sake of freshness, I suppose.

I kept reading that it was difficult to transition potty training children from the home toilet to going elsewhere. Yet I find out, once again, that my child defies all usual written advice. She goes at school but not at home!

And just last week, we went to library story time. In the middle of a story, Amelia comes up to me and whispers in my ear, "Mommy, I need to go potty... now!"

Insert confused look here.

I take her to the potty and sure enough, a dry Pull-Up. And she does what she needs to do in the restroom. Clearly, there is something about the school-like environment that makes her want to be a big girl. I guess it's the other children? Perhaps a power play against Mommy? Really, I'm baffled. I'll keep on changing those wet Pull-Ups, but I wish I knew how to convince her to be as awesome at home as she is at school.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday: Truth About Motherhood

Having a fabulous Friday, friends? I'm looking forward to another weekend with no specific plans. It's nice just to do what we feel like at the moment. And if that means chilling in sweats with some movies playing, so be it.

Today's Friends 2 Follow Friday feature is Debi, the Truthful Mommy. I "met" her only recently, and have enjoyed seeing into her world via this great blog.

Blog name? The TRUTH about Motherhood

When was your blog born - and why? My blog was born May of 2009, as a way to build a writing portfolio and an online presence. But we moved and I didn't start blogging regularly until February of 2010, thats when I began growing a community and having readers, other than my family:) It's was when I was born again a Mommy Blog!

Twitter/Facebook?  Find Debi on TWITTER and on FACEBOOK

The writer behind the words - list 5 adjectives that describe you.
Honest (to a fault), Mouthy, Charming (or so I've been told), Happy, Funny

Something that recently made you laugh? My 5 year old telling me that Santa "probably" had spy cams in all the vents in the house. She scared me a lil bit too!

Your best holiday memory? The Christmas I was pregnant with my first, everything had new meaning and new magic and it has every since. My view of the world has changed. Another favorite is sitting in front of the fireplace watching the battle of the Nutcrackers marathon on Ovation every December with my little girls (who are dancers). Each year it takes on a new meaning to them. It is amazing and leaves me teary eyed and awe struck, every time!

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do? Go to a spa and have the works with a few glasses of wine, write, read a peace (one that isn't about child rearing)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


My mother-in-law used to work at a jewelry store. She worked with a salesman who never - and I mean never - held back his opinions. He could throw an insulting remark at anyone without a moment's hesitation. He had a flamboyant personality and a knack for disguising his jabs as humor. However, if you happened to be the unlucky recipient, those jabs packed a punch.

Once, he told my then-teenage sister-in-law that her pantyhose were so baggy she looked like an elephant. Do you remember your teenage years? When looks and approval were critically important to your well-being? Clearly, this guy didn't. Or he didn't care.

I first met this man  - we'll call him Brad - when shopping for wedding bands in 2002. I pretty much knew what I wanted. A white gold band with tiny inset diamonds. I found the band right away. But Brad wouldn't hear of it. He steered me to the other side of the store, energetically pointing out larger and larger rings. Gaudy rings. Rings that suited wealthy, middle-aged socialites. Rings that would never mesh with my "jeans & t-shirts" personality. I told him so.

He wrinkled up his nose and looked down at me. "Oh, I see," Brad stated, "You are just vanilla."

Given his history of customer insults, I got away pretty lucky. Although to him, vanilla was probably as suitable as a dirt clod.

But you know what? Vanilla was exactly what I had in mind. So I shrugged my shoulders and marched myself back across the store. We purchased the wedding band I had selected within seconds of walking through the door. Almost 8 years into my marriage, it is still the perfect one for me.

"The simplest things are often the truest" -- Richard Bach, writer

I like simple. I like jeans and sweatshirts. I wear the same earrings nearly every day. I'll choose comfy shoes over sultry & stylish any day. I'm a meat and potatoes kind of girl. Uber-fancy restaurants with foods I do not recognize are totally wasted on me.

I know I'm not the prettiest or trendiest girl out there. But I'm not a hot mess, either. I am who I am, and what you see is what you get. I am simple. And true.

This is another post for MamaKat's Writer's Workshop. This week, my post was inspired by her prompt: "simple".

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless (almost) Wednesday: Last Snow

 We don't get much snow in Atlanta. So this one last March 2010 was exciting!

You can tell we're not very proficient in snowman-building. I think we made a dumpy snowlady instead. But despite her looks, she made it on the 2010 family Christmas card. She's quite proud.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oink Oink

Atlanta has a unique and adorable holiday tradition - The Pink Pig!

This holiday ride first began spinning on top of the downtown Rich's department store in 1953, as a way to attract people from the rapidly-growing suburban areas and compete with JC Penney, Sears, and other similar stores. It was originally a monorail design, hovering in the air.

Today, the Pink Pig is a happy pink train with a piggy smile. It is located within a tent on the top level of he the Macy's store parking deck at Lenox Mall. The train travels through a shiny & pink storybook land, narrated by Priscilla, the pig with a thick southern accent.

This was Amelia's second Pink Pig ride. We took her last year as well. Since I rode with her last year, Steve was treated with his very first Pink Pig ride. We had a blast!

Pre-holiday adventures are priceless. No matter the winter temperature, seeing Amelia's shining eyes and childhood joy always warms my heart.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What'cha doin?

Great weekend so far! We hope to have a surprise activity for Amelia on Sunday. It's a secret, but I'll have pics to share on Monday.

After our activity, it'll be time to relax. And I'm once again participating in Relax & Surf Sunday. Have a blog? Link it up. Maybe you'll get a comment from ME!

Shibley Smiles Sunday Blog Hop

Hand over the popcorn

Have you ever noticed how kids can watch the same exact movie over & over & over again and never get bored? Amelia loves movies. If she had her way, she would probably watch movies all day, every day.

Some movies are more parent-friendly than others. Here is my list of kid movies that won't drive you crazy over, and over, and over again.

1. A Bug's Life (Disney/Pixar): I don't think this movie got the attention it deserved. It's so cute! I can't get enough of chubby Heimlich.

2. Monsters, Inc. (Disney/Pixar): Another lesser-acclaimed movie that is really quite clever. Amelia loves the little girl in the movie. She's already practicing her "Mike Wasowski!" exclamations.

3. Stuart Little (Columbia Pictures): Simple, sweet dialogue and a colorful quirky family. Not to mention talking cats and a mouse in khakis.

4. Wallace & Gromit (Aardman/DreamWorks): There are several Wallace & Gromit movies available. I like these because they are usually just set to music, with little talking. Not too bad as background sound. And the claymation characters are loveable.

5. Cars (Disney/Pixar): All kids like cars. Even the little girls. This is a really good movie with no frightening antagonists to scare the little ones.

And for the holidays, we're big fans of the Imagine Entertainment's How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the one with Jim Carrey as the Grinch). At first I worried it would be too scary for Amelia, but she decided it is quote hilarious. She calls it "the funny green guy movie". The Whos are interesting and colorful as well.

What are your family favorites? Leave me a comment and share!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday: Wonder, Friend

Can you believe it is December 3rd already? Hope everyone has a joyous holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate.

Today is Friday - you know what that means!

Friends 2 Follow Friday!
I've recently been introduced to an big group of hilarious and talented bloggers through an ongoing inbox-stuffing email conversation. Missy is one of my new friends. I am really enjoying her blog. And you will too!

So read below, then click on over to check it out.

Blog name? Wonder, Friend

When was your blog born - and why?  Wonder, Friend made its official debut in April 2010 (there were a couple of pre-posts in March). In blog-years, Wonder, Friend is old, but I still consider it a new venture. I started the site because I love to write and wanted some impetus to practice. While that's still one of my main focuses, I have found that I now blog as much for the community that comes with it, as for my personal writing practice.

I adore Twitter and am trying to build my Facebook community. I hang out in both places quite a bit, so come on over!
MS_WonderFriend on Twitter
WonderFriend on Facebook

The writer behind the words - list 5 adjectives that describe you:
Yikes. This is not easy. How about... Faithful. Committed. Neurotic. Wordy. Contemplative.

Something that recently made you laugh?  Our boys crack us up constantly (that is, when they're not making us want to sit in a corner, rocking slowly, mumbling to ourselves). Recently my oldest (age 4) was practicing his baseball skills, and I heard him chanting, "Shit, batter, batter! Shit, batter, batter!" I asked him to clarify, in case I heard him wrong, and indeed that's what he was saying. "It's swing, honey. Swing, batter, batter!" He was kind of nonplussed and went right back to what he was doing, just with slightly less salty language.

Your best (or worst!) holiday memory?  Thankfully, the majority of my holiday memories are good. One of my favorites was the year my cousins and I ranged in age from about 4 to 8, and our grandmother gave us all sleeping bags for Christmas. We got to open them on Christmas Eve and then sleep in them, by the Christmas tree, that night.

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do?  Two hours! The thought makes me dizzy with possibility. I'm spoiled and I do get a fair amount of time for myself, but the nature of parenthood means that even when I'm "alone," I'm always thinking about my family and what needs to be done. Or what I could be doing better. Or what I really should stop doing altogether. So... for this question, I'm going to pretend I can turn off those thoughts. First I would go for a wog (walk/jog). Then I would take an uninterrupted shower. And then I would sit down with a really good, really fresh cup of coffee and read or write, or a little of both, probably. And those two hours would go crazy quickly.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back in time

Back in the day, I attended a small Catholic elementary school. Class sizes were generally small, ciriculum was advanced, and we had a great music class. Each year, the 5th grade class would perform a musical/operetta. I remember HMS Pinafore and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to name two. My 5th grade class was exceptionally small - only eight students, to be exact. Our music teacher struggled to find a script that would fit our unique cast and eventually settled on a play called Hey George.

I was cast as a princess. I don't even remember the full plot of the play or even the name of my character. But the performance was a really big deal to me. We had a lengthy script requiring lots of singing. I had participated in various Christmas pageants and choir shows in prior years, but this was my chance to stand out as a star!

As we practiced and practiced for opening day, I was excited to perform. But also very nervous. My main singing debut was a duet with my prince. I remember extra work with our music teacher because I had to hit some high notes. I wasn't comfortable singing on my own, especially notes I wasn't sure I could hit when the time came. But I practiced and worked hard, eventually gaining some confidence.

Performance night finally came. Wearing my amazing rose-colored sparkling princess costume, I stepped out onto the balcony on our set. And I opened the play with a funny spoiled princess tantrum. Shortly thereafter, it was time for the big song. And I nailed it! Hit every note and soaked up the applause afterwards. The play went without a hitch, with all of my classmates doing an exceptional job. We received a standing ovation as the curtains closed.

While I don't do it anymore, I never quite got rid of my love for acting. There's something about stepping out of my own life to become a character. Something about expressing emotion through theater that just feels good. I still often get teary-eyed at the end of shows, remembering the rush of looking out onto a theater full of people standing and clapping.

If I could relive a moment in my life, I would relive my 5th grade performance. I poured my soul into becoming a princess. I succeeded after months of dedication and practice. It was such a fabulous feeling.

Everyone could use a standing ovation now and then.

This post was inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. Prompt: "“If you could relive any moment in your life, what moment would you choose? Write about it.”

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Generations

96-1/2 year age difference  :)

(Pssst... I've got a giveaway going on right now! Click HERE for your chance to win a Back Sac!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Treat your back

Long car rides.
Lifting kid(s) in and out of the car.
Standing on your feet all day.
A bad office chair (or for me, working from home on the couch).
Bad posture.

Many things cause back aches and fatigue. And very few things actually help relieve it. But today, I'm excited to share the Back Sac with you. (Keep reading for a GIVEAWAY!)

The Back Sac is an air-filled back support cushion, designed by a physical therapist and certified pilates instructor (also a real-life friend of mine!) for back support and comfort in any resting position.
Unlike a regular pillow, the air in the Back Sac can move, supporting only where you need it.

I use my Back Sac while working from home and while sitting on the couch writing blog posts. I used it in the car on our long ride for Thanksgiving. I've even used it as a pillow while laying on the floor playing games with Amelia. The beauty of the Back Sac is that it is inflatable. I can put more or less air in it depending on the type of seat I'm using. For the car, only a tiny bit of air. For computer work on the couch, maybe a little bit more. It is totally adjustable and fits anyone - and any situation.

For more information, visit For a 10% discount, enter code 3MOMS upon checkout.

*** giveaway is closed. Congrats to Becky Jane! (selected via ***
One lucky reader will win a Back Sac of their own!
"Treat your back to the Sac"


Simply leave a comment below, telling me why you'd like to try the Back Sac. You must provide an email or Twitter handle so I can contact you if you win.

Bonus entries:
  • Tweet (up to 2x/day) about this giveaway. Include @BalancingMama and a link to this post so I can count your entry.
  • Like 3 Moms In 1 on Facebook - leave a comment to let me know (1 bonus)
  • Follow @BalancingMama on Twitter - leave a comment to let me know (1 bonus)
  • Follow @BackSac on Twitter - leave a comment to let me know (1 bonus)
  • Blog about this giveaway - leave a comment with a link (5 bonus)
  • Become a Google Friend Connect follower (if you are not already) - leave a comment (5 bonus)

Entries accepted through Thursday 12/9 at 7:00 AM eastern. One winner will be selected via The prize will be sent via U.S. Postal Service - to a U.S. address ONLY. If I have not made contact with a winner by 8:00 AM on Monday 12/13, I will select another winner from the remaining entries.  I received a BackSac to review. Opinions are solely mine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Am I on your nice list? I have put a lot of effort into 2010, and I think I've done pretty well. We've had some major stresses thrown our way, and I am cautiously anticipating a quiet and peaceful start to 2011. Amelia's terrible twos nearly ground me to a pulp, but we're making progress. I've had my naughty days where I lost my patience or allowed myself to wallow in self-pity, but I have also met my challenges head-on. I am far from perfect. But I am pretty good at standing by my friends, caring for my family, and guiding my child towards independence and happiness.

If you have time to consider some grown-up wishes this year, here is my Christmas list:

  • One special day. A day where all tantrums are replaced by laughs and hugs. A stress and frustration-free day. A day consumed by fun, giggles, and smiles.
  • A chef to fix our meals. Meals that interest a kid and her slightly vegetable-averse parents. Food that is enticing and quick enough to keep me from drive-thrus on those busy days where I have to be in five places at once.
  • Storage. We're beginning to drown in toys and books. And with Christmas on the way, I'm already in a minor panic about where all the stuff is going to land. Can we expand the house? Maybe a magical switch where the toys temporarily disappear? Or at the least, how about some initiative for me to clean out the jam-packed closets? 
  • Airplane tickets - or a cruise ship. Our little family trio has a taste for travel. We want to see more beautiful places and spend vacation time together for fun and relaxation.
Actually, Santa, I will understand if these wishes remain dreams in 2011. I have what I need. So if you're short on time during your busiest month of the year, go ahead and skip me. Send your Christmas magic to the rest of my family. They have been very good and deserve something special.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keep it going

While taking a few moments to recover from holiday festivities (and a very full belly), I surfed on over to Better In Bulk. She shared a few ideas to keep our thankfulness going beyond Turkey Day.

I'm still in the midst of my holiday cheer, while Amelia passes out pretend cups of ice cream and plates of cookies to her lucky daddy and grandparents. This makes me smile.

In the Better In Bulk post, she includes:

Creating Your “Enough List”: While striving towards self-improvement is an important aspect of growing as a person, it’s also necessary to take stock of what you already have. The “enough” list shouldn’t replace your “er” list of personal improvements (like getting better at the piano, eating healthier meals or keeping the bedroom neater). Instead, it will help you to stay grateful for what is already good, while you are working on improving other aspects of your life.

So here's mine!

I have enough family. They are the best, and I couldn't ask for more.

I have enough adventure. I've seen some incredible places and continue to plan fun vacations with my favorite people.

I have enough comfort. Warm clothes, a cozy house, and grandma-made quilts for cuddling.

I have enough initiative. I do what I need to do, keeping one eye on the future - with the other on my most important client, my incredible little girl.

Hope your Thanksgiving was heart-warming and fun!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday: Taming Insanity

Like I've said before, this blogging thing has opened up a whole new world to me. And I've been lucky enough to meet (virtually) some really funny and sassy mamas.

This week, I'm introducing Taming Insanity! Although you may already know her. 'Cause she's too awesome not to know.

Happy Friday!

Blog name? Taming Insanity

Taming Insanity on TWITTER 
Taming Insanity on FACEBOOK

The writer behind the words - list 5 adjectives that describe you.
Sarcastic, Self-deprecating, Ridiculous, Loving, Empathetic

What surprised you most about parenthood?
I was most astounded by how much kids understand even before they can talk. Sure people TELL you they hear everything you say, but until you experience it you can't really get that they understand when you're swearing.

Something that recently made you laugh?
My one year-old sings la bamba when he's happy. It's hilarious.

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do?
I would sit quietly, read a book, and guzzle diet pepsi.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thankful for...

Joy and celebration with extended family

The glint in Amelia's eye when she laughs

Abundant food

Friendly neighbors

Childhood friends - who are still friends today

Fuzzy socks and soft fleece PJ pants

A sleeping child

Love - both given and received

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sometimes I forget

I took a little trip down memory lane this evening, visiting some of my earlier blog posts. When I saw the title of this one, I grinned smugly within myself, figuring it was just a simple post from pre-terrible twos.

But then I read it. And I realized how much I needed to think about those words again.

It has been a rough few months, and I've martyred myself a few too many times. But I'm happy. And even though I may forget sometimes, I wouldn't change my little family for the world.

Monday, March 15, 2010
Mommy to a toddler - not as bad I as thought

I'm relaxed. I got my "me" time. And I missed Amelia like crazy.

My trip was a wonderful experience, not just for myself, but for making me a better mommy. I had lost my perspective on the power of the good things. I was so burned out that I focused almost entirely on the challenges, frustrations, and exhaustion.

But what about that sweet little voice every morning that calls out "mommy? mommy!"

And that hearty laugh whenever I let down my guard and do something silly?

All the learning and growing that has become so visible from day to day?

Even something as small as the sweet little hair bows she now insists on wearing?

Awesome. All of it.

And there's SO much more.

I'm sure I'll be tired again by the end of the day. I'm sure I'll experience the work vs. playtime struggles again soon. We'll probably have some snack disagreements this afternoon. My body still disappoints me... I doubt I'll ever look like (or feel like!) I did 2 years ago.

But you know what? All of that is OK. Really, it is.

If I have to choose between the smooshy belly or Amelia? Or the career vs. Amelia? Or my precious "me" time vs. Amelia? My girl will win. Every time.

Maybe the elusive balance this three-in-one mom has been searching for was not within this life at all. It exists in those brief moments where I can step away; even if that happens once every two years. Perfect will never be perfect without happy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunday blog-hoppin'

When I began my blog 10 months ago, I had no clue how sucked in I would get. Had no concept of the true complexity of this blogging world. Fumbling my way through Twitter, figuring out "hashtags" and "retweets", Follow Friday, and Wordless Wednesday. Sidebars, icons, linkys, giveaways, reviews...

It is sometimes totally overwhelming.

But it can also be really fun. I've "met" so many lovely bloggers. Hilarious moms, inspiring writers, and a fun dad or two.

One of my favorite meet & greet activities? Blog hops! Not the kind with a ton of rules. Not the desperate "follow me & I'll follow you back!" shout-outs. I want to read blogs that interest me. Written by people who can actually, well, write. If I take a peek at your blog and I can identify with your posts, I will certainly follow. And I want you to follow me IF you enjoy reading what I have to say.

I love Relax & Surf Sunday!

(click the image to join in!)

I've discovered some great blogs through this no-rules blog hop. And hopefully, the lovely women who found 3 Moms In 1 will stick with me too.

Happy Weekend!!!

Know what day it is?

November 20th marks "Universal Children's Day" according to the United Nations. It is a day to promote understanding among children, benefit the welfare of children, and to celebrate childhood.

I don't know about you, but every day is about my child. It is always children's day in this house!

So while I wish her & the other kids out there a happy Universal Children's Day, I will instead devote this post to a celebration of my own childhood.

For me, childhood happiness was...
  • Homemade play-dough
  • A blue & white swing set
  • Riding bicycles in the cul-de-sac
  • Summertime trips to the beach
  • Spitting watermelon seeds over the porch railing
  • Making whirlpools in our round backyard pool
  • Care Bears, Monchichis, and Cabbage Patch Kids
  • My first record player - and first cassette player
  • Sledding with neighbors after a winter's snow

Happy Universal Children's Day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday: Kate

Friday Friday Friday!  Seriously, I love this day.
Come meet my new bloggy friend, Kate. An Atlanta mommy just like me! Also a TV news writer, coffee drinker, and occasional wearer of snuggly (aka "ugly") sweaters.
Blog name? Love and Kate

When was your blog born - and why? May 2008. I originally started it because I was a blog stalker for about a year and decided maybe I should bite the bullet and join in. Since I write TV news for a living, writing something fun and creative was a great outlet for me. Originally, my blog was just about random stuff, but now it’s focused on my adventures in motherhood.

Find Kate on Twitter HERE

The writer behind the words - 5 adjectives that describe you?
  • Happy
  • Tired
  • Sarcastic
  • Silly
  • Freckled

What surprised you most about parenthood? How much I loved him. How every single cliché I’d ever heard became true. And the MOST surprising was realizing I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.

Something that recently made you laugh? My child got stuck under his exersaucer. Not in it. Under it. He’d dropped a ball in the part where baby feet go and crawled under there to get it. In the 10 seconds it took me to close the blinds, he got himself wedged in there. He cried. I laughed. (He has since been rescued.)

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do? I think I would just snuggle up in bed with a book, a Starbucks and some Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Woo!

Become a Google Friend Connect follower! Click "follow" down the left sidebar. You'll be eligible for ocassional giveaways. And you'll earn my virtual love.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Words from the heart

"Write a poem about a time someone made you smile."

Back in the day when things were going okay,
He would write me some lines of prose that would rhyme.

And I'd write back to him, I'd create on a whim,
A poem - cute or funny - just to make his day sunny.

When Steve and I were dating, we used to surprise each other out of the blue with funny or cute poems. I am shocked that they were written almost TEN years ago. I can't believe he's put up with me for so long!

   Once, when I didn't get a job I really wanted...

   When I was bored at work and Steve was working mega-overtime:

This post was inspired by MamaKat's Writer's Workshop
Got a blog? Check it out and link up every Thursday!


By the way... this post: Love Thy Mother has a giveaway ending tomorrow morning! Two winners will be chosen. Ends Friday 11/19/10 at 7:00 a.m. EST.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wordless (almost) Wendesday: Special delivery

Amelia received some very special mail this week...

A personalized letter from Santa!

Festive envelope (arrived within a white envelope that was addressed to me)

Cute North Pole postmark and Christmas stamp
Don't want to spoil the fun for others... but here's a tiny peek at the personalization and signature

Visit to order Christmas letters for the kids (and kids-at-heart) in your life. Letters also come with a "nice list" doorknob hanger and Christmas activity/coloring pages.

<-- You can also click on this ad located on my right sidebar (through mid-December) so they know 3 Moms In 1 sent you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! (a little early) 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mommy mantra

There are several people lucky enough to have an in-person relationship with my daughter.
Family, friends, and teachers. These people all love to tell me how sweet she is, how pleasant. She is always a fantastic listener at school. Always a good friend to her classmates. Always "so easy!".

While I do not deny that my girl has a real knack for caring and an amazing sweet streak, I also know that she can be very far from it.

At home, the dark side can really come out. We've had some heated arguments lately. She can be violent too - my hair is tired of getting pulled. A few days ago, she even chased me around the house trying to bite my leg.

It breaks my heart to see her with so much rage. To hear her exclaim, "Mommy, I can't stop crying!" when she has gotten over the initial anger.
She is a spirited and strong-willed child. She is extremely smart and knows just what buttons to push to drive me up the wall. And while I have let myself get angry with her, I know I need to get these situations under control. And soon.

On bad days, I feel like a hostage in my own home. I walk on eggshells, waiting for the next little thing to set her off. And that doesn't feel good.

I've reflected a lot about my own behaviors lately. I've searched for parenting advice that breaks out of the "timeout" mold - this may work for other kids, but it certainly does not work with mine. I never believe I have the right answers, but I'm ready to work hard within myself and see what sticks.

My new mommy mantra:
  • What will not hurt her does not need a "no".
  • Messes, within reason, are not a big deal.
  • If she insists she does't need potty, she wants trust. Let it go, even if an accident is imminent.
  • When the sweetness comes out (or the monster stays in), praise praise praise.
  • The angrier I feel, the less emotion I should show.
  • "Inside voice" applies to Mommy too.
  • When it matters, Mommy is always the boss. I will not get overthrown.

Wish me luck. I need to regain control of this sinking ship.

Previous post: Love Thy Mother
Includes a great giveaway. Two winners will be chosen! Ends Friday 11/19/10.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Love thy mother

The weather is really bi-polar these days. We officially turned on the heat to combat the cold nights. But in the afternoon, I'm stripping off my long sleeves and jeans and opting for my trusty capris and t-shirts. Then as the sun goes down again (a little too early for my liking), my favorite fuzzy PJ pants are in regular evening rotation.

I am trying to eat healthier these days. Less fast food, less pre-prepared, high-sodium, frozen meals and snacks.

We are also potty-training.

What do these have in common, you ask?

Skin torture!

The dry weather and insanely fluctuating temperatures wreak havoc on my skin. And when the cold weather is combined with more frequent hand-washing from cooking and many, many child potty breaks, my hands pay the price - big time.

I recently tried the Green Salve from Motherlove Herbal Company (keep reading to enter the giveaway!). Motherlove creates safe and natural body care products for pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. And they generously sent me a sample of their Green Salve to try at home. (Note to personal friends and family: No, I am not pregnant. Nor giving birth or breastfeeding any time soon. One crazy kid is enough right now.)

The salve is truly all-purpose. I used it religiously on my hands this week. The constant washing is still a challenge to my skin, but overall, my hands are much softer and less damaged/red than they were before. I love the ingredients in this product: olive oil, beezwax, marshmallow root - all certified organic products. It is safe and effective. It is also great for itch and discomfort associated with bee stings, insect bites, and poison ivy.

Because I felt so comfortable with these natural ingredients, I also used the green salve on Amelia's damaged skin after bathtime. Her belly eczema rash cleared up overnight, and she woke in the morning telling me, "Mommy! I'm not scratchy anymore!". Her hands were chapped to the point of cracking & bleeding, and they healed after only 3-4 applications of the Green Salve. She now loves "Mommy's Green Cream". I think this needs to become a wintertime staple in all of our bathroom cabinets!

Motherlove offers many products such as nipple cream for breastfeeding moms (Good elsewhere too - I tried this on my cracked and dry elbows last night. They are so smooth today!), pregnant belly oil, sitz bath, and baby oil. All made from similar natural and gentle ingredients. Added bonus? They give 10% of all their after-tax profits to the Nurturing Life Foundation.

This would make a fantastic holiday gift for the pregnant family members or friends in your life! Pregnant mamas go through a lot... they deserve (and appreciate) a little pampering.

Check out MotherLove by visiting their WEBSITE.

(Giveaway is now closed. CONGRATS to Tara & Shelby!)
And... TWO lucky readers can win a jar of Green Salve this week!  I have a feeling they will love the results like I did.

Simply leave a comment below, telling me which body part(s) need some damage control.
Tweet (up to 3x/day):  I want to #win a jar of soothing Green Salve from @MotherLoveHerb and @BalancingMama! #giveaway

Bonus entries:
Like 3 Moms In 1 on Facebook (1 bonus)
Follow @BalancingMama on Twitter - leave a comment to let me know (1 bonus)
Follow @MotherLoveHerb on Twitter - leave a comment to let me know (1 bonus)
Blog about this giveaway - leave a comment with a link (5 bonus)
Become a Google Friend Connect follower (if you are not already) - leave a comment (5 bonus)

Entries accepted through Friday 11/19 at 7:00 AM eastern. Two winners will be selected via The prize will be sent directly from MotherLove Herbal Company - to a U.S. address ONLY. If I have not made contact with a winner by 8:00 AM on Monday 11/22, I will select another winner from the remaining entries.

Motherlove provided me product samples to review. However, all opinions expressed about this product are solely mine. The company had no input in the writing of this review.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday: Sara

Welcome Sara! A fellow southern mama.

She says on Twitter, "I'm fairly certain the internet is evil." Sometimes this can be so true! It's certainly an addiction, anyway.
Blog Name?  Sara Plays House

When was your blog born - and why? My little blog was born in August of 2006, mainly as a way to keep my family updated with Avery's life. The more I wrote, the more I loved it, and I love the blogging community. It took me a good year to find my "voice". And I still go through bouts of laryngitis every now and then. Real life certainly has a way of keeping me away from the keyboard sometimes, but I've learned to be okay with that. (And embrace it.)

Find Sara on Twitter HERE

5 adjectives that describe you?
(This was really hard. Had to enlist help!)
  • Opinionated
  • Compassionate
  • Scatter-brained
  • Quirky
  • Devoted

What surprised you most about parenthood?  I could get all warm and mushy here, but to be honest, what surprised me most was my complete non-aversion to bodily fluids. The first time Avery threw up? Like, REALLY threw up? My first instinct was to catch it with my hands. And I did. That NEVER would have happened pre-Mommyhood. I would have jumped back like any other sane person. But alas, motherhood is not so much with the sanity. (All that being said, if given the option, Mike handles the puke. Period.)

Something that recently made you laugh?  My girls keep me laughing daily. The things that come out of their mouths! But one thing? Zoe reaching her hand out the door and telling me that she needed to "get the sun inside." She then took her adorable little hand, scooped at the open air, and said, "There you go, Sun. Time to come inside for tonight!" And she turned herself around and went back inside. Watching them figure out the world around them will always make me giggle. Their observations are typically nothing short of hilarious. And Modern Family. That show makes me pee my pants weekly. (Why yes, I DO love television.)

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do?  The answer here is always a nap. If I could marry Sleep, I would. But polygamy is illegal, and I do love my husband, so maybe I would just have a lurid affair with Sleep? Yes. Let's go with that. If Sleep were busy doing something else though, I would probably find a girlfriend and go anywhere that was not my house and not kid-friendly. And then I would go home and take a nap.

Become a Google Friend Connect follower! Become eligible for upcoming giveaways... and I'll love you for it.  Click "follow" down the left sidebar to follow publicly.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Yesterday's Wordless (almost!) Wednesday post referred to our 2009 family vacation to Europe. We bravely took an 11-month old child with us. Despite getting blasted on websites like for our irresponsible parenting and lack of concern for other travelers' happiness (thank you, jerks), we never considered leaving her home. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience we could not pass up. For us, leaving our baby girl at home was not an option.
While in Barcelona, we visited the enormous, creative, and absolutely amazing Sagrada Familia cathedral. This cathedral has been under construction since the late 1800s!

Anyone could stare at this building for hours and still miss some of the details. Words, sculpture depicting bible stories, symbolic icons, and elegant (sometimes gaudy) embellishments adorn the entire structure.
Always a sucker for a fabulous view, my husband convinced us to take the elevator up to the top. I did not want to go.

Eventually I caved, knowing he desperately wanted some photos from the top. So the whole family (11 of us) waited in line, paid our Euros, stored the stroller in their special area, and boarded the elevator. The small, dark, slightly frightening elevator.

I began to wonder what the heck we were thinking.

As we ascended 215+ feet, the elevator operator informed us that the only way down was via stairs. Stairs?!?! With an 11-month old baby? I asked him if he could make an exception because of the baby.

He said no.

I began to sweat nervously.

As we exited the elevator, we were greeted with... darkness. And concrete. And the most narrow corridors I have ever seen.

Sure we got a few moments of sunny views:

but for the most part, we wound through dizzying, dark narrow spiral stairs. Often we met people coming the other way (crazies, obviously), and had to squish aside or find a wider area so they could pass. I could not fathom how this tourist attraction could be so unsafe - can you imagine the lawsuit waiting to happen?

So there we were, stuck hundreds of feet in the air, in a very dark, narrow, and scary concrete section of a spooky cathedral. My husband was carrying Amelia, at the same time trying to see in the dark and keep proper footing.

I was shaking. I was nearly crying. I couldn't believe that I let this situation happen with my precious baby girl. After many minutes of down, down, down with no new light or elbow room to be seen, I was close to a panic attack. I implored Steve to be slow and steady, and left him in the dust. I had to get out of that building - fast!

Finally, I began to see light. The stairs began to widen. And I came upon a metal door.

I was out!

I took a minute to breathe and gain my composure, then whipped out the camera and waited by the door:

Can you see the joy on their faces?!?!

We were all SO GLAD to be out of that horrible experience! Next time, I think I'll hang out in the gift shop while my dear husband gets his photos.

By the way, this is how excited Amelia was about the whole adventure:

Apparently, she fell asleep before getting even halfway down!
(If you happen to visit sometime, I ldid read - after our horrifying experience - that the front elevator at Sagrada Familia goes up and down for visitors. We thought we were being savvy by going around back to the shorter line. Oooooops.)


Jumping back on board with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop this week. Today I chose prompt #1:  Describe a moment when you ignored your intuition. What happened. partner:

Popular Posts