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 BackSac.com. For a 10% discount, enter code 3MOMS upon checkout.

*** giveaway is closed. Congrats to Becky Jane! (selected via random.org) ***
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 Random.org. 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 EspeciallyFromSanta.com 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! http://bit.ly/b71xE9 #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 Random.org. 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 CruiseCritic.com 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.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless (almost) Wednesday

Did I ever tell you we took Amelia to Europe when she was 11 months old?

The flight went fairly well.

The cruise was outstanding.

Our ports (Barcelona, Valencia, Nice, Florence/Pisa, Rome) were gorgeous and awe-inspiring.

I highly recommend cousins (and 5 extra adults) for major travel with a small child.

Despite most of the world telling us we were crazy...
We are so thankful to have gone when we did!

By the way, I believe Rome is the hottest place on Earth in the summer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

45 days

45 days until Christmas!

The cheesy decor is up in the stores. The holiday music is playing over the speakers. Normally this irritates me so early. For some reason, though, I don't really mind this time around. I am ready for a break from regular life and some family travel.

I'm ready for Amelia to get some new toys!

As the weather gets colder, we're going to be stuck in the house more often. She has some great toys, but I can only play them so many times per day without a bout of insanity. So during my evening computer time, I'm trying to fit in a bit of online Christmas shopping. Not ready to buy just yet, but working on those big ideas.

Some thoughts...

What do you think? Am I crazy for even considering a cave-in to her drumming obsession?

If you had/have a spunky & advanced almost 3-year old with a wild creative streak, what would you consider? Ideas welcome!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Date night!

"There is no substitute for the comfort supplied by the utterly taken-for granted relationship."
~Iris Murdoch

Date night. The best prescription for a mom suffering from fatigue, sore muscles, lack of patience, and that gloomy "alone" feeling that comes from, well, never quite being alone.
Date night has not happened in a long time. And it almost didn't happen this week. We talk about scheduling a date night, then we forget to arrange a babysitter. Or we let other things interrupt our weekends. Sometimes, life's chaotic moments steal our good intentions away and leave us no other choice.
We arranged a sitter ahead of time this week. We made reservations at The Melting Pot.

But 6 hours prior to our date, the sitter called. She had a family crisis and had to cancel. I almost gave up right then. But happiness and marriage need effort. And I really, really needed something to look forward to. So I called upon my sister and brother-in-law. Thankfully, they were willing to drive 35 minutes and play with Amelia so we could go out.
Our date was lovely. Dinner was fun and mouth-watering. For dessert, we chose the Cookies & Cream Marshmallow Dream. Warm dark chocolate fondue with marshmallow cream and crumbled Oreo cookies on top. To dip? Strawberries, marshmallows, banana, brownie bites, cheesecake, and Rice Krispy treats.
I really had fun this evening. My husband and I talked to each other. We laughed. We took our time over a 2-hour long dinner. We had no child climbing on us, demanding that we color on her paper placemat or yelling "I'm ready to go!".  I ate a meal without getting up to serve something or clean something... not even once!
I feel relaxed tonight. Haven't felt that in a long time.

Potty Training: Part 1

Yep, we're potty training. I spent four straight days at home last weekend. Worrying about pee, talking about pee, cleaning up pee.

Not exactly the best weekend ever.

We made it through our first serious push, but we're not there yet.

Here are some lessons I've learned thus far:

  •  Big girl undies are comfortable. The first few times Amelia put them on, she said "Oooh, Mommy! These are cozy!" Often followed by a cute little dance. This kid can always find a reason to dance.
  • Comfort does not equal dryness. Despite Amelia's excitement and promises to keep the big girl pants dry, we were subject to repeated accidents. Five in the first three hours. Who knew those little bodies could pee so much?
  • A preschooler's timing can be waaay off. I'm not sure how many times I heard, "Mommy! I have to go potty!", followed by my instantaneous mad dash over to my child. My often wet, dripping child. 
  • Sometimes it has to be their idea. By Saturday afternoon, I had nearly driven myself mad. Asking and asking and stressing over potty time. Fighting disappointment with every accident. At this point, we decided to quit. We told Amelia that we were going to lay off and let her wear the Pull-Up again. I felt a twinge of failure, but relaxed for the first time in two days. About an hour later, playing outdoors, Amelia gave the panic potty yell. Shocked, we jumped up and ran inside. Her Pull-Up was very nearly dry! And she insisted on the big girl undies again.
  • 2-1/2 year olds are masters at lying. I remember when I was first shocked & dismayed by my little girl's lying. Now it's pretty much a regular thing. Potty training brought out a whole new level of lying. According to Amelia, she is never wet. Or stinky. And she never has to go potty. She may have a craving for a treat and indulge her mama with a trip to the potty to obtain said treat. But she never really has to "go"
  • #2 is freaking impossible. I have no idea when she will decide to go poopie in the potty. There is no other lie as emphatic as the "no" I get regarding this subject. No she's not going #2, no she's not dirty. No, she doesn't want a special treat. The child will stop what she's doing and hide behind the curtains. Never, ever admitting what's really going on. No amount of coersion can get her out of her hiding spots at this time. Even the promise of an extra special big treat won't cut it. So I'm trying to perfect the easiest and least revolting method of cleaning out dirty big girl pants.
  • There is nothing wrong with baby steps. The sarcastic me is coming out tonight. But really, it has been going fairly well. When we first began, Amelia had no idea when to go potty or how to hold it. Now, even if she has a small accident, she is able to make it to the potty before a little leak becomes a major disaster. She totally understands the concept and accidents now trigger emotional meltdowns. She has such a desire to learn and master this concept - and that is good enough for now.
  • Consistency is good... but so is life.  I stayed home for 4 days with Amelia wearing her big girl pants. I held so much anxiety about whether she needed to go, when she last went, how much. Finally, I decided to chill out. We went to the playground Monday afternoon while she wore Pull-Ups. She went to school in her Pull-Ups this week. It is true that Pull-Ups feel drier than big girl pants, but she was still able to tell me when it was time to "go". And she had only one accident at school the first day! So moving forward, we'll encourage the big girl pants at home, but keep those Pull-Ups handy so we can get out and live life. No more cabin fever for me!
Don't forget to click "follow" on the left sidebar to become a Google Friend Connect follower. One lucky follower will win two bottles of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce tomorrow night!  (giveaway ends 11/7 at 10 EST)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday

Yep, I'm doing my Friday happy dance again!

Would be dancing with a tad more enthusiasm if someone at husband's work had not decided on an ALL-day training... on a Friday! Really! But, I am still thankful. Happy that the weekend is almost upon us.

This week on Friends 2 Follow Friday, I'm honored to introduce you to one of my favorites. I always try to check her blog a few times a week, and she always has something perfectly poingant to say. Often, I find myself wondering how she got into my head before writing her post. Love, love, love this blog.

Blog name?
Amber Page Writes

When was your blog born - and why?
It was born in September of 2008, when I decided to announce my pregnancy to the world (literally). People thought I was joking (apparently, no one thought I had a maternal side).

Find Amber Page Writes on TWITTER and FACEBOOK

The writer behind the words - list 5 adjectives that describe you.

Dramatic, fiery, loyal, funny and a tad bit shy

What surprised you most about parenthood?
Two things. First, how just when you think you couldn’t possibly be more exhausted, you find a whole new level of Tired. And second, how much it’s really possible to love another human being (cue the sappy awww.)

Something that recently made you laugh?
During a phone conversation with my mom…

ME: I’m so tired now, I don’t know how I could possibly handle two kids.

MOM: That’s what I said. But then, 14 months later, there you were!

ME: BwaHaHaHa. Wait…you mean I was an accident?

MOM: …Well, yes. But it all worked out okay!

Me: Ha. Ha. HA. And to think, I went 35 years blissfully ignorant of that fact! HaHa. Ha. HA. (semi-hysterical laughter).

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do?
Depending on my mood, I’d either find myself an escapist chick lit novel and go hang out in bed (while watching HGTV), or I’d grab the industrial-strength cleaning products and get my house shining (which would last approximately 5 minutes). The first option is far more likely, though.


Don't forget to click "follow" on the left sidebar to become a Google Friend Connect follower. One lucky follower will win two bottles of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce tomorrow night! (giveaway ends 11/7 at 10 EST)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Country Girl

I may be in a city of 6 million+ population now, but I grew up a small town girl. Where people were chatty, traffic did not exist, and food was especially yummy.

When I was recently introduced to a sauce called "Country Bob's", I just knew I had to try it. The name alone conjures up images of friendly people who know how to cook - and enjoy - good, hearty food.

I received two bottles of Country Bob's to try. I first did the fingertip taste. It was pretty good! Reminds me of a cross between BBQ and steak sauce, with maybe some worcestershire sauce thrown in. All really good flavors for meats and other savory meals. Then I discovered the Country Bob's website, chock full of recipes and ideas. It may sound silly, but I was so excited to cook with this newly discovered sauce!

I made three things in the past week, all using Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce:

Lean ground beef
Onion hamburger buns
Country Bob's All Purpose sauce
A tiny bit of lite mayo

Glazed chicken tenderloins:
Fresh chicken tenderloins
Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce
Dash of salt
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

And my favorite experiment so far (inspired by recipe on the website)...

Smoky Nachos
Ground beef (or ground turkey/chicken)
Tortilla chips (I like Tostito's Multigrain)
Garlic powder (or garlic salt)
Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce
Cheddar Cheese
Can add beans and jalapenos, if desired

These were so good! I call them "smoky nachos" because the sauce adds a bit of a smoky/BBQ/beefy flavor that upgrades these from a typical southwestern/salsa flavor to something new and exciting. There's also a sweetness that pulls from the sauce, contrasting perfectly with the salty chips and ground beef.

My husband was beyond excited to get nachos for dinner that night. And they were so simple to prepare! We'll be having them again soon.

Want to win TWO bottles of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce for yourself?

If you are already a Google Friend Connect follower, do NOTHING! A winner will be chosen from my followers. (Must have a U.S. mailing address)

If you want some bonus entries, Tweet!
@BalancingMama I want to win two bottles of Country Bob's sauce from 3MomsIn1.com!

Entries accepted through Sunday 11/7 at 10:00 PM eastern. Followers & bonus tweet will be compiled & shuffled, and one winner will be selected via Random.org. If I have not made contact with the winner by 11:59 PM on Friday 11/12, I will select another winner from the remaining entries.

Country Bob's provided me with two free bottles of sauce for review. However, all opinions expressed about this product are solely mine.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The most important

My husband and I have very little quality time together. He works extremely hard and is incredibly talented. He leaves the house early Monday through Friday, and often comes home after Amelia and I have already eaten our dinner. By the time he eats and we get the dishes clean in the dishwasher, he's lucky to have 90 minutes to devote to silly playtime (the kind dads do best!) before Amelia's bedtime. If it's a bath night, even less. His quality time with her is extended in their nighttime reading/singing/laughing ritual, while I get myself in my own comfy PJs. Often, I'm so worn out I struggle to keep myself awake past 9:00.
In an attempt to spend more awake time together, we instituted movie night. We get a $1/night Redbox rental and watch it together in our room. No computers, no iPhones, no child needs. One night per week, every week. It is a good thing. I hope we keep it up.

Recently we watched Crazy Heart.
I would say it is worth seeing, but definitely not an all-time favorite. Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal portray their characters vividly, and certainly deserved the accolades. One line in particular really stood out to me.

Bad Blake asks Jean, "What's the most important thing about you?"

Jean replies, "I have a son."

So many days I complain about how hard it is to be me. How much I juggle on a daily basis. Work, feisty preschooler, chores, grocery shopping, cooking - holding up our family of three with barely a moment for myself. I get the blues when I think about who I used to be. And when I can't figure out who I am now.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a little "me" time. Or wishing I could be the spunky, happy half of my marriage that I used to be. And striving for it. Stretching the days to make time for non-Amelia enjoyment. But I have to agree with the character in the movie.

The most important thing about me?
I have a daughter. I have my Amelia.

The most important thing about my husband?
He is a father. A darn good one.

After the end of our lives, when mourners are gathered to remember us, no one is going to say, "gee, they were good at their jobs." Or, "their house was always dusted & vacuumed". They are going to talk about how we lived as a family. And about Amelia.

About the things that matter. The most important things.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Parent of the week!

If you're not following Avant Garde Parenting, you should!

And look who is the Parent of the Week! Meeeee! Check it out.

3MomsIn1.com partner:

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