Category:

Parenting

Parenting is nothing you expected and everything you could have imagined all rolled into one. I have been spit up on, pooped on, vomited on all before 7 a.m. in the newborn years. I’ve watched my toddler shove a pearl up her nose and poop in her mouth, and I’ve even masticated food. Not as fun as it sounds. I’ve survived breast buds and the sex talk. I share everything I ever learned and you might want to know about parenting from pregnancy to labor thru to the teens years.  It’s is hard but it’s the toughest job that you’ll ever love but the salary sucks.

Best Things to Do in Boston with Teens and Tweens, things to do in Boston, Boston Commons, Georgetown Cupcakes, Signature swings

Boston is one of our favorite cities to travel to as a family. We fell in love with it on our first trip when the girls were just preschoolers and we’ve found new things to do and places to check out on every subsequent visit. It’s one of those places that you can go back to 100 times and still find new and exciting adventures to be had. Virginia might be for lovers but Boston is for families and the proof is in my things to do in Boston with teens list that I’ve compiled.

We’ve done the typical things like go whale watching, visit the children’s museum and walk the Freedom Trail. We’ve visited Harvard and explored every inch of the commons. As the girls grow older, from toddlers to teens, what they want t do and what interests them changes. Lucky for us, Boston is a city with endless options.

READ ALSO: Things to Do in Boston When Traveling with Children

One of my favorite things about Boston, and I’ve said this many times, part of what makes it such an amazing family destination is that the people of Boston are so kind and welcoming to their city. Every time we’ve been, it never fails, if I need to stop and ask someone for directions or for a recommendation of places to eat or things to do, without fail they stop and answer my questions. This plays a big part in why I feel safe in Boston and return every year.

If you’re looking for a city to visit that offers something for all ages where you and your family can explore, Boston may be for you.

Best Things to Do in Boston with Teens and Tweens

Shopping

Primark

Shopping on Newbury Street

Newbury street is more than just a shopping center, it’s a cultural epicenter with all varieties of food and .

Anthropologie

Intermix

Eating

Pret a Manger

We only discovered this gem last year when I was sick and we needed something quick. Pret a Manger is literally, ready to eat. My girls are obsessed with grilled ham and cheese.

Cheers Boston

This is one of our favorite places to go with the girls. They love getting Shirley temples and Boston Creme pie and the Big Guy and I love the casual atmosphere and pub food.

Best Things to Do in Boston with Teens and Tweens, things to do in Boston, Boston Commons, Georgetown Cupcakes, Signature swings

Georgetown Cupcake

Most delicious cupcakes ever with a fantastic flavor variety.

Eating in Chinatown

Any place you try, it will be good.

The Q

Come for the hot pots and stay for the sushi.

The Gourmet China House

The Gourmet China House is a quaint, unassuming restaurant that serves up some of the tastiest Chinese food I’ve ever eaten.

Stoddards

Gastropub serving vintage cocktails & craft beer in a historical building & former corset shop

New York Pizza

It’s a little bit of New York in Boston. If NYC style is your favorite pizza, you’ll love it.

Legal Sea Foods

Places to Stay 

Westin Boston Waterfront

The Westin has the most comfortable beds and attentive staff. If you are in town for a conference, the Westin is attached to the conference center. It’s also within walking distance to downtown.

Hyatt Regency Boston

The Hyatt is a modern, clean hotel located in the theater district within walking distance to the Commons, Chinatown and Newbury Street. Also, the customer service at the Hyatt is wonderful.

Boston Park Plaza

Entertainment

Best Things to Do in Boston with Teens and Tweens, things to do in Boston, Boston Commons, Georgetown Cupcakes, Signature swings

The Swing Park at the Signature

This is such a fun thing to do for people of every age. We spent hours there from sunset until it was dark out swinging on those glowing swings.

Faneuil Hall

Exploring Boylston neighborhoods around the Public Garden Park

Catch a show at the Paramount Center

The Swan Boats at the Commons

Visit Harvard University and Cambridge

If you’ve never been, you have to go. It’s a beautiful campus with so much to see. Plus, it’s never too early to introduce your kids to the possibility of Harvard.

READ ALSO: Ogunquit Maine the Perfect Beach Getaway

These are just a few of the many places to go and best things to do in Boston with teens and tweens but there are several more. We’re going back this June and I’ll have even more things to do and places to go then.

What’s your favorite city to visit with your family?

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eye rolling, how to get your teen to respect you , how to get a toddler to respect you

Ever wonder how to get respect from your teen? I remember wondering how to get respect from a toddler. It’s simple really if you want respect from your toddler thru to your teens,  you have to respect them too. I know, crazy, right? I’ve been all for treating my kids as little people from the day they were born. I just adjusted as needed, Age appropriate and full honesty has always been my long term parenting style.

Do your children roll their eyes at you? Mine has on occasion. They’ve been doing it since they gained control of their eyeballs and realized that sometimes, as a mom, I’m winging it. Some days, I don’t even have a clue and feel like the poster child for “ParentingFails.”

I definitely don’t feel like I know how to get respect from a toddler.

I don’t get made though. They come by their champion eye-rolling skills naturally. I’ve been known to roll my own eyes quite frequently — an unfortunate habit leftover from my own teen years. But, being the recipient of a serious eye rolling while I’m talking to my children annoys the p*ss out of me. In my book, it’s as disrespectful as walking away when I’m talking to you. It’s the nonverbal expression of: “You’re so annoying. I’m not listening to you!”

READ ALSO: Toddler Selective Hearing Syndrome

I get that it’s the sort of rebellious behavior one might expect from their tween or teen but now, even preschoolers are doing it. I know this is just one of those awesome hormonally fueled ways that my daughters are trying to exert their independence and test my boundaries but I hate it. As a parent, I need to figure out a way to get respect without hurling insults or being intentionally hurtful. We need to be the change we want to see in the world — so, if I don’t want to get eyes rolled at me, I need to first and foremost stop rolling my eyes. To get respect, you have to give respect. Yes, even to toddler and teens and all ages in between.

Maybe your toddler or teen is just unhappy or frustrated and eye rolling is his or her way of expressing that. Maybe it’s not personal at all. Either way, if it’s bothering you, it’s worth being discussed. Don’t get sidetracked by the rudeness and don’t engage in the same behavior. I know it’s difficult to ignore being ignored.

Try these tips to help guide you in how to get respect from a toddler and how to get your teen to stop rolling their eyes at you.

Expect respect

If you accept rudeness, you’ll get it. Parents who refuse to tolerate rude behavior tend to have kids who aren’t rude. Decide what’s most important to you. Let the house rules be known, and then hold your child accountable.

Choose your battles

You can’t punish your tween every time your child misbehaves. If you try, you will spend all of your time frustrated and yelling. Soon, you will drive yourself crazy — and your child will just start tuning you out. Instead, decide what you’re willing to tolerate and what you’re willing to overlook.

Out of bounds

Warn your kids when they are nearing intolerable behavior. For example, I count to three in Spanish, and my daughters know when I get to one, they have crossed a line. This will let you warn them without embarrassing them. It’s a private mom-and-child code that leaves them with some dignity.

Don’t get down on their level

When my girls roll their eyes at me, my instant reaction is to roll mine back — but how is that helpful? It solves nothing, demonstrates just how immature I am and sets a bad example. So, no matter how hard it is, try to take the high road when disciplining your child. Remember, you are an adult — behave like one.

READ ALSO: When Mom’s Stop Being Nice and Start Being Honest

How do you get your child to stop talking back or rolling their eyes? What is your way to get respect from your teen?

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New Mom Monday, Pregnancy, unexpected pregnancy, the truth about an unexpected pregnancy at 39

A few years ago, I wrote a post called, Unexpected Pregnancy at 40, What Would You Do? and it was about my friend who was pregnant. What I didn’t disclose in the post was that I too was pregnant. I had my own unexpected pregnancy at 39 and had no idea what I would do and I couldn’t talk about it on the blog. I was waiting until the following month to tell my family and friends at my daughters’ 5th birthday party. Unfortunately, I lost the baby before I got the chance.

Over the years, many people have contacted me asking for advice or wondering what I would have done. What I did. This is the first time I am writing about this part of our third pregnancy and having an unexpected pregnancy at 39. I think mostly because I felt so guilty.

I realized I was pregnant at my oldest daughter’s 7th birthday party, March 10, 2012. It was the strangest thing, I was holding my newborn nephew and something in me knew. I just knew I was pregnant. I was sure of it.

READ ALSO:  Unexpected Pregnancy at 40, What would you do?

The next day, when I dropped the girls off at school, I went directly to the Walgreens and took the test in the bathroom there. In fact, I took 3. We were living with my in-laws who had teased us at their relief that our family wasn’t growing. I was really nervous to find out that I was pregnant during such a time of upheaval in our lives. Even though we had previously planned on a third child. We hadn’t planned it now. Not like this.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I was shocked. I stared at the pregnancy test in disbelief and I may have vomited if we’re being honest. I didn’t even know how to react. If the circumstances had been different, we would have been ecstatic. But living in a room at your in-laws with two small children, trying to sell a house in another city, with no privacy and nothing of your own, made the thought of all of it daunting. We didn’t know what we were going to do.

A million questions and scenarios went through my mind.  What if something was wrong? I was 39 years old. How would my in-laws react? Financially, we were strapped. Could we afford this baby? If something was wrong, how could we pay for it? Could we burden our children with that? Did we want to start over? Could we? Would our in-laws ask us to leave?

READ ALSO: Unsolicited Co-parenting

Would I have to go back to living in our house in South Bend without my husband (back to commuter marriage life)? Could we afford a third child? Were we too old to do this? Maybe this was too much. But could I even consider the other option? I pondered all the options from the time I found out I was pregnant until I saw the doctor. I was.so.stressed.out.

The doctor wouldn’t see me until I was 8 weeks pregnant. We saw the baby’s heartbeat. We left the doctor’s office, overwhelmed and scared shitless about what the future would bring. We knew there would be obstacles and opposition but we were excited. It was the third baby we had always wanted, just not at the time we had planned. We drove home smiling and discussing names for boys and girls. Declan or Luchedio for a little boy and Graziella for a baby girl. We were hopeful and we were in this together. So no matter what the world threw at us, we had each other; the 5 of us. But for now, it was just for the Big Guy and me.

Those first 11 weeks were like an out of body experience. I was hiding the biggest secret of my life from everyone I knew and loved, including you, my readers. On top of being overwhelmed and scared, I felt like a complete fraud talking about every inane thing under the sun except for the only thing I wanted to write about…my pregnancy!

READ ALSO: Things No One Tells You about Pregnancy

The Big Guy and I fully passed the consideration of what to do and were full-on in the embrace, the fact that we are going to be parents to 3 while living in our in-laws’ house, decided to surprise everyone at Gabi’s 5th birthday party that May. I would have been 15 weeks and 3 days at her birthday party.

We planned on giving her a t-shirt that said “Big Sister.” We were so excited to do this for her. Gabs had been begging to be a big sister since she was 3-years-old. Due to the commuter situation (the Big Guy working and living in another state), since she was 2, the opportunity had just not been there before. We had wanted it but neither of us wanted me to be pregnant while we weren’t living under the same roof full time. We have always been 100% parenting partners. Surprising her with the news on her birthday was going to be perfect.

We imagined how excited our family and friends would be. We’d have support, even if it was a little cramped at my in-laws. We were excited. Like I said, in the beginning, we were terrified and it took a lot of soul searching (and hearing a heartbeat) to get us on board with a solid yes. I was so excited to get to be the mommy to 3 children. But then…

On Monday, April 31st, after a weekend of slight spotting when I wiped, after dropping Gabs off at preschool, I stopped in the parking lot of the Dunkin doughnuts near her school and I called my OB/Gyn. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t worried. This happened with every one of my pregnancies. It was going to be nothing. I was being silly. But, like my mother always says, better to be safe than sorry. So, I called and they had me come right in for an ultrasound. I wasn’t worried.at.all.

There was no heartbeat. There on the screen, my perfect baby. No.heartbeat. I never wanted this baby more. A room filled with deafening silence as I tried to understand what I was seeing. I was alone. The tech wouldn’t tell me anything, only that she needed to take me to see my doctor. I didn’t bring my husband because I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

READ ALSO: Some Things Change You Forever

She took me down the back stairs to avoid the main lobby. My world was collapsing. I felt like a mad, hysterically silent hostage in my own body. I couldn’t make a sound for fear that I would start crying and never stop. I couldn’t blink for fear that all my pain and loss would escape from my eyes and drown all those perfectly round bellies surrounding me. I couldn’t make eye contact for fear I might die. All I could do was sit in silence to contain the floodgates.

Then, all I could do was cry.

So what’s it like being pregnant at 39? It’s terrifying and it’s beautiful and it’s scary and amazing. But only you can decide what to do about this pregnancy. There is no wrong answer. You must do what is best for you and your family. Not what society or your friends or family expects you to do. A baby is forever. Being a parent is forever. I still consider myself the mom of 3 children and I think about that baby every single day but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong if you decide that you can’t or don’t want to have a baby at 39 or 40 or ever.

READ ALSO: How to Survive the Loss of a Pregnancy

You know YOU better than anyone. Do what will make you happy. Do what you can handle. And don’t let anyone else stress you out or bully you into a decision because that will be a disservice to you and your baby. If you’re not all in, that’s ok. No one is judging you. You are the one who has to live with whatever you decide; baby or no baby, it’s a lifetime commitment.

I didn’t get what I wanted in the end but I felt guilty for many years for the fact that I even considered there was a decision to be made. I felt like God was punishing me for stopping, however briefly, to consider there was an option other than having the baby. I’ve since realized that I wasn’t punished for having free thought. I don’t know why it happened. I never will. I know there was nothing wrong with my baby. I know that I wanted that baby as much as I’d ever wanted the other two. Mostly, I know that the choice to have that baby was the right thing for us even if the universe had other plans.

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sneezing, stress incontinence, birth, gratitude

Today was the anniversary of the day I fell and dislocated my elbow last year. I know that because my amazon photos wanted to taunt me today.  It also happens to be the 21st anniversary of the night the Big Guy asked me to marry him. Weird, right?

All day today I was dreading going outside for fear that I might slip on the ice  (because the kids had no school today because of icy roads). I stayed inside with the kids most of the day, just waiting for the clock to run out on this day. Then, I went outside because I had to run an errand and ironically enough, not only was there ice everywhere but there I was wearing UGGS again. UGGS the exact kind of shoe I was wearing when I bit it in the wet yard last year. God, I can actually feel the crunch of my elbow dislocating if I close my eyes. But I’m fine. No slips and falls today.

ALSO READ: Beware the Slick Spots

Tonight we were planning our Disney vacation for this fall because we are those people who like to return to the scene of the crime. Since our first trip to WDW was on our honeymoon, we have to go back this year. Right in the midst of the joy of surviving the day and celebrating our engagement anniversary, I sneezed and peed my pants. My kids, keeping me humble since 2005.

This day just reminded me that life can be simultaneously amazing and shitty in the same 24 hours. It’s all in our perspective, although, I’m pretty sure falling and dislocating your elbow constitutes a bad day any way you slice it. However, I’m just thankful that my elbow kept me from hitting my head on the cement. And who cares if I pee my pants when I sneeze sometimes, that’s what panty liners are for. Also, would I ever trade my kids with their big heads for a non– stress incontinent existence? NO, I wouldn’t.

ALSO READ: Everything New at Walt Disney World

I guess all this to say, I’m going to Disney World! But mostly to say, we don’t always know what life is going to throw at us, or on top of us or beneath us but we know that even if it hits us square in the face sometimes, we’re going to be fine. It’s going to hurt for a while and maybe there will be permanent damage but we will figure it out.

That’s what I’m doing, I’m figuring it out; motherhood, being a wife, being a good friend, living on my own terms, surviving the shittiest of days and embracing the little profound moments of complete bliss. I have no clue how I’m going to make it all work. I never have but I do it. I do it because that’s life. Failure really isn’t an option.

So the next time you’re laughing and you start to pee a little, look around, is there any place else that you’d rather be? Probably not. Not really. Not when it’s all said and done and the kids are asleep and your husband is beside you watching your favorite show. Laugh on, laugh hard, laugh loud and then change those panties and live to laugh another day.

 

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Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Adler planetarium, art institute of chciago, broadway on Chicago, navy pier, chicago shakespeare theater, Things to do with teens and kids in Chicago, Things to do with teens in Chicago, Chicago, Things to do in Chicago, travel to Chicago, travel with teens, teens, family travel

I’m a Chicago girl and there is nothing I love more than sharing my hometown with my daughters. I love taking my children to visit my family and introducing them to the city I love. It’s nice because while I’m figuring out all the best things to do in Chicago with teens and kids, I get to play tourist.

Chicago is one of my favorite cities but when you live somewhere you never play tourist because you.live.there. When you’re young, you’re like no way, I’m not wasting my time because you think you’ll always be there. Everything tourists come to Chicago to see, we saw on field trips a zillion times with school. You couldn’t pay us enough to go willingly.

READ ALSO: Chicago Ten Things to do Before You Die

But then you grow up and you realize OMG, all of these amazing museums, art galleries, Planetariums, Zoos, Aquariums and theater were right her and I took it all for granted. You realize that there are amazing things to do, food to eat and different cultures all around and you took it all for granted. But no more.

Here is a list of things to do in Chicago during the Winter months

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The Museum of Science and Industry

During the winter months, November through January, Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light is displayed. Explore rich holiday traditions from around the globe while creating your own traditions with loved ones in Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light.

It began in 1942 with a single tree. Today, the Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. On the weekends, you can also enjoy live holiday performances. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof.

READ ALSO: Spring Break Make It Yourself at MSI

This has been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. This year, I took my parents and my daughters and it was truly magical. My only piece of advice, it is very busy over the holiday break between Christmas and New Year.

Also, if you are going during a busy season or when a popular exhibit is at the museum, be sure to get tickets for the exhibits that you want to see. There are some free exhibits that are very popular and so tickets are given on first come first serve basis, plot your plan and get your tickets as soon as you get there so you don’t miss anything.

Free admission days: The Museum of Science and Industry is free for Illinois residents with valid ID on the following dates in 2019: January 7–10, 14–17, 21–24, 28–31, February 4–7, 11–14, 19–21, 25–28

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Shedd Aquarium

If you are looking for a leisurely day to spend with children of all ages, the Shedd Aquarium is perfect. You are inside from the elements, whether it be the sweltering heat of the summer or the brutal cold of Chicago winters, and children (and adults alike) love the serene beauty that surrounds you.

Discover Aquatic Animals from around the World. You can purchase tickets online and save time. Encounter Penguins. Meet Beluga Whales. Award Winning Exhibits. Hands-On Activities. Watch Shark Feedings. Shows: Shark Feeding Tour, Behind-the-Scenes Tour, Beluga Encounter, Penguin Encounter. Our favorite was the Dolphin show and the Beluga Whales. It’s a great day of exciting aquatic fun.

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Don’t forget about the free admission days January 17-21, February 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-28 more will be added to the shed aquarium page free admissions page at a later day. Check back frequently because it’s a great deal.

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Field Museum

Who can forget the iconic shots of Kevin Bacon in She’s Having a Baby at the Field Museum? If your child or teen is into history at all, Field Museum is the place to visit. Even if they aren’t, I think the FIeld Museum could convince them to be. The Field Museum fuels a journey of discovery across time to enable solutions for a brighter future rich in nature and culture. It’s where real science, dinosaurs, and world-class exhibits inspire fun for all. My girls and nephew loved the mummies exhibit, Sue the T-Rex and Maximo the Titanosaur.

Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Adler planetarium, art institute of chciago, broadway on Chicago, navy pier, chicago shakespeare theater, Things to do with teens and kids in Chicago, Things to do with teens in Chicago, Chicago, Things to do in Chicago, travel to Chicago, travel with teens, teens, family travel

There are Free Admission Days, which is free basic admission for Illinois residents with proof of residency. Discounted passes are available in person and cannot be purchased online in advance.

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago, located in Millennium Park, is a hub for summertime festivals like Lollapalooza, the Blues Festival, and Taste of Chicago but it’s really a great place to visit during the winter months as well. There are many pieces to be adored and to give your family something to think about Wood’s American Gothic, Matisse’s Bathers By a River, Monet’s Water Lilies, Rivera’s Weaver and even Renoir’s Two Sisters. There are O’Keefe, Toulouse-Lautrec and Warhols. All these I remember seeing as a child. But even among the Dali’s and Van Goghs, the piece I love the most is Picasso’s The Old Guitarist. Having a place to go and share these pieces with my daughters, feels a little bit like going to church at the Sistine Chapel. We are overcome with awe and wonder. The art Institute is a must visit when you’re in Chicago.

Just like all the other amazing museums in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago has free admission days.

Adler Planetarium

Chicago’s Adler Planetarium is America’s first planetarium and a premier resource for inspiring the next generation of space explorers and bonus, it is right next door to the Shedd Aquarium so you can make a day of it with the kids. If your child is interested in astronomy or space in general, how it works, what’s out there, or just connecting the constellations in the night sky, they will love the Adler Planetarium.

Countless galaxies, unfathomable distances, exploding stars, diamond planets, black holes, there’s no way around it, space is freaking awesome! Come learn more at the Adler Planetarium during our Illinois Resident Discount Days—where Illinois residents receive FREE General Admission to the museum. General Admission provides access to all exhibitions and experiences (excluding the historic Atwood Sphere Experience and sky shows.*) 2019 Illinois Resident Discount Days

January 21-22, 29-31
February 5-7, 12-14, 18-21, 26-28
April 2-4, 9-11
June 3-5, 10-13
September 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
October 7-9, 14-16
November 8, 11
December 2-3, 7, 12-13

Navy Pier

If you’ve never been to Navy Pier, make sure to visit on your next trip to Chicago. Originally completed in 1916 as part of Daniel Burnham’s plan for Chicago, Navy Pier is an iconic city landmark inspiring discovery and wonder. Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million visitors have come to enjoy the Pier’s 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. As Navy Pier enters its second century, the venue is evolving into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.

There is so much to do at Navy Pier. There are restaurants, art, shopping, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and even rides. Navy Pier is home to one of Chicago’s most iconic attractions: the magnificent Centennial Wheel, offering soaring views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. And let’s not forget about the Pepsi Wave Swinger, carousel and more. Honestly, there is so much to do…just add teens and instant good time.

Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Adler planetarium, art institute of chciago, broadway on Chicago, navy pier, chicago shakespeare theater, Things to do with teens and kids in Chicago, Things to do with teens in Chicago, Chicago, Things to do in Chicago, travel to Chicago, travel with teens, teens, family travelNavy Pier’s mission is to be a world-class public place that celebrates and showcases the vitality of Chicago and provides for the enjoyment of Chicago-area residents and visitors year-round. My girls love it and I’m sure that your kids will too. Did I mention that there is Garrett’s popcorn in the Pier and a Harry Careys?

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Medieval Times Schaumburg

If you’ve never been to a Medieval Times, you are missing out. I always wanted to go but never made the drive ase I said, when you live in Chicago, you don’t do the touristy things). A couple of years ago, I found myself at a work event with my family and guess where we ended up? Medieval Times. We loved it so much, this past holiday season when I was home visiting my parents, we took them to Medieval times in Schaumburg (just north of the city) and they loved it and so did my kids.

For the first time in Medieval Times 35-year history, a woman is in charge. All hail Queen Dona Maria Isabella. Enjoy an electrifying show featuring heroic knights on spirited horses displaying the astounding athletic feats and thrilling swordplay that have become hallmarks of this unique entertainment experience. Enjoy a “hands-on” feast as the dynamic performance unfolds before you. A sweeping musical score and brilliant lights provide a fabulous backdrop for this spellbinding experience that blurs the boundary between fairy tale and spectacle!

Yes, there is a blue knight and a red knight and you eat with your hands but so is everybody else and it was magical and splendid and I can’t wait to go again. There is a 2-hour medieval jousting tournament, 6 competing knights with real weapons, beautiful horses and a live flight of the royal falcon. Medieval Times is like nothing else you’ve ever experienced.

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Save BIG 40% off adults and teens & 20% off kids. Use code HOL4020. Valid for shows through 1/31/2019. Restrictions apply.

Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Adler planetarium, art institute of chciago, broadway on Chicago, navy pier, chicago shakespeare theater, Things to do with teens and kids in Chicago, Things to do with teens in Chicago, Chicago, Things to do in Chicago, travel to Chicago, travel with teens, teens, family travel, broadway in chicagoBroadway in Chicago

If you love the theater, Broadway in Chicago is the place to be. Hamilton, anyone? The theater district is vibrant and located within walking distance of so many great restaurants and entertainment opportunities, including the Joffrey ballet. There is no shortage of things to see and places to be while experiencing Broadway on Chicago. There is a constant assortment of plays and musicals to see on the stage, something for everyone, even the most discerning critics.

Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Adler planetarium, art institute of chciago, broadway on Chicago, navy pier, chicago shakespeare theater, Things to do with teens and kids in Chicago, Things to do with teens in Chicago, Chicago, Things to do in Chicago, travel to Chicago, travel with teens, teens, family travel, broadway in chicago

There are so many more things, these are just a few and the list gets longer during the warmer months. What is your favorite thing to do, see and eat in Chicago? The best part is that all of these places are great for just adults too.

READ ALSO: The Aladdin Experience

Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Adler planetarium, art institute of chciago, broadway on Chicago, navy pier, chicago shakespeare theater, Things to do with teens and kids in Chicago, Things to do with teens in Chicago, Chicago, Things to do in Chicago, travel to Chicago, travel with teens, teens, family travel

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago with teens or kids?

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Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Need to Know, teen slang words, slang words, parents guide, teens, mom of teens, teenagers, slang for dummies

Ok moms of tweens and teens, I didn’t forget about you. I’ve scoured the internet to compile a comprehensive parents guide to teen slang words. Ever feel like your teens and tweens are talking another language? Well, you’re not crazy, they are. They are talking slang and the meanings have changed just to keep us on our toes. Please don’t out yourself as being out of the know and have your kid tell you to skurt skurt.

My girls and I have a pretty open relationship. They still like me on most days. Though that is not my main concern in parenting, I’d love it if one day we could be friends but for now, I’m their mom. There’s always been a comradery between us that transcended the parent/child relationship. I did that on purpose because I didn’t have that as a child.

There was a strict division between parents and children and while I completely believe that I am my daughters’ mom first and their “friend” second, I want them to trust me and, if possible, feel comfortable not hiding things from me. Teens feel weird about all the changes like they can’t tell us things and then they start to shut down and begin to hide things from us.

READ ALSO: The Ever Changing Rules and Regulations of being a Teen Girl

That’s not to say that I’m not the mean mom on the daily but everything I do, like you, is out of love and in the hopes of raising good human beings. I sit through all the Dobre Brothers, Yoga Challenges and Beauty tutorial YouTube videos with them just so we can have conversations that I can actually understand. Just so I can know how they are doing. Because the important things are peppered in with all the daily stuff. It’s our job as parents to pay attention.

The other day, after watching a YouTube video about slang kids are using these days, I realized that maybe not all moms and dads of teens know what the heck their kids are saying when they are talking or texting. They speak in code you know? Not that I’m an expert but, unlike most parents who don’t actually work in social media, I do know some things. Add to the mix that I am a giant child myself and my daughters have taught me some words I should know for 2019. FYI, fleek is no longer on fleek so keep that phrase out of your mouth.

Here is the Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Need to Know

 Adulting – To grow up and act responsibly

 AF – An acronym for “as fuck”

Almosts- Someone you came close to dating but it never became official

Awk/ Awks – Awkward

Basic – Only interested in mainstream, popular things

Beef- Argument

Beat – To have a full face of makeup

Blessed – Feeling fortunate

Bounce – Leaving suddenly

Bougie – Someone from a higher class

BRB- Be Right Back

Bruh – Another way of saying “seriously?”

Cancel – The rejection of a person, place or thing

Canceled – To reject something because it’s no longer trendy or it’s become too ratchet.

Can’t even – Used to describe someone you cannot handle

Catfishing– pretending t be someone else on social media

Clap back – A comeback filled with attitude

Clout Chaser = someone who tries to latch on to other, more popular people

Clout Demon = a wannabe

Cray – Crazy

Cringey– awkward, uncomfortable, cringe-worthy

Dad – A role model

Dank – Really cool

Dead – When someone is euphorically happy

Dead A–= To be completely and honestly serious

Dime = rating of attractiveness, 10/10

Down in the DM = direct messaging someone privately, usually to hook up

Drip, Drippin = flashy, ostentatious

Extra – Over the top, dramatic behavior

Fam – A group of friends who feels more like family

Finesse – To smooth things out

Fleeky– Amazing

FOMO – Fear of missing out

F2F = face to face, meeting in person

Gassed – When someone has had one too many compliments and is full of themselves

Ghost – When you completely disappear after hanging out and showing interest

Girlfriend tax– The amount of food taken by your female significant other, after you asked her if she was hungry and she insisted she wasn’t.

Glow-Up = an incredible transformation

GMT – Getting me tight / getting upset

Goals – A way of subtly expressing that you’re jealous; Goals = a lifestyle to strive for

GOAT – Greatest of all time

Gucci – Good or cool; Good / doing well / feeling fine

Hangry – When you are angry because you are so hungry

High-key – Straight up truth; a lot, wanting everyone to know something

Hit a lick = to steal something

Hundo P – 100 percent certain

Hunty – Equivalent of friend but said with attitude

IRL – In real life

It’s lit = cool, awesome, great

I’m weak = something so funny it made you weak

JOMO – Joy of missing out

Kickback = a casual get together

KMS/KYS = kill myself, kill yourself, used sarcastically

Lean = an intoxicating drink made using soda and cough syrup

Lit – Amazing

Mom – The most responsible friend in the group

Netflix and chill – Hooking up

OMG – An abbreviation for “oh my gosh” or “oh my God!”

OP = out of pocket, used when something is extreme or offensive

OTP – One true pairing

Phubbing – Snubbing someone to pay attention to your phone instead

Ratchet – Trashy

Receipts – Evidence of a person’s hypocrisy, often pulled from past social media or text conversations

Rides – Sneakers or shoes

 Salty – Acting upset or bitter

Saucy = feisty or sassy

Savage = wild or harsh

Savage – Petty

Shade-Trash Talk

Shipping – Wanting two people to date

Shook – Confused or in utter disbelief

Sic – Something that is cool

Sipping/Sips Tea– Minding your own business

Spilling the Tea– Gossipping

Skurt – Go away

Slay – Killing it / Succeeding

SMH – Shaking my head

Snatched – Looks good, fierce, fashionable. Snatched is the new fleek.

Snack– Cute= tasty treat you’d like to eat; the people version

Spilling Tea – Gossiping

Squad – Closest group of friends

Stan – A combination of stalker and fan

Straight Fire – Hot, popular or trendy

Suh – A shortened version of what’s up

Sus – When someone is acting suspicious or shady

Swerve – Get out of the way

Swol – Someone who works out

TBH – To be honest

Tea -Gossip

TFW – That feeling when

Thicc – Someone with curves

Thirst trap – A sexy photograph or flirtatious message posted on social media

Thirsty – Trying to get attention; horny

Throwing shade – Making a subtly mean comment about someone

Trill – True and real

Trolls – Someone who purposely tries to provoke others

Turnt – Hype for a party

V – very

Weak – Laughing so hard that you can hardly breathe

Wig snatched – Exposing someone to reveal the truth

Wig = when something crazy or unexpected (good) happens

WOAT– Worst of All Time

Woke – Being aware of current affairs

Yaas – An enthusiastic way of saying yes, or as my girls say, Yaas queen.

Yeet – A way to show excitement or agree

YOLO – You only live once

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Need to Know, teen slang words, slang words, parents guide, teens, mom of teens, teenagers, slang for dummies

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words that Describes People or Relationships

OK, parents pay attention. You know relationships are so important during the teens years. Friends are our lifelines and boys, well, the day rises and sets around them when we are first crushing. Our teens find out about themselves through these relationships. They are rocky and scary and unexplored territory.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship Pt.1

Did you know they have a whole slang language for these relationships? They do. I guess we did too. Remember being someone’s “lady”, “boo” or “girl”? Well, move over bacon there is something leaner.

Here are some teen slang words used to describe people or relationships. There is some overlap for the above list.

  • Bae – “Before anyone else” and is often used to describe a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • BF/GF – Boyfriend or girlfriend
  • BFF – Best friends forever
  • Bruh – Same as “bro”
  • Creeper – Someone who is socially awkward or tends to have stalker tendencies
  • Curve – Romantic rejection
  • Emo – Emotional or a drama queen
  • Hater or h8er – Someone who hates everything, even their friends
  • n00b – A person who doesn’t want to learn
  • Ship – Short for ‘relationship’
  • Squad – A group of girls that hang out together regularly
  • Tight – In a close relationship
  • Wanksta – A person trying to act tough, but who isn’t really pulling it off

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words the Compound Version

Yes, this is a thing and we’ve all heard it. Hangry and chillaxin. TBH, I thought I invented Hangry back when I was a teen but perhaps I was mistaken.

Teens often create shortcuts by combining two words together. To understand what they mean, you need to know the definition of each word. Here are some examples of compound teen slang:

  • Chillaxin – Chillin’ and relaxing.
  • Crashy – Crazy and trashy
  • Hangry – Hungry and angry
  • Requestion – Request and a question
  • Tope – Tight and dope

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Should Pay Attention To

Be on the lookout for these slang words which could indicate your teen is bullying someone or that getting bullied by someone:

  • Bye Felicia – A disrespectful way to dismiss someone who is unimportant
  • CD9 – Code 9, parents are here
  • POS – Parents over shoulder (often used when texting to warn friends that mom or dad is reading) I thought it meant Piece of Sh*t.
  • Throw Shade – Give someone a dirty look
  • Tool – Refers to someone who is stupid or a geek

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Should Definitely Keep an Eye Out For

I am so thankful that social media wasn’t around when I was a tween and teen. When I think of all the stupid things I did that could have been captured and lived on in infamy, I cringe. I was naïve and dumb and did a lot of dumb things; made a lot of mistakes. By most standards, I was a good kid and I still did some really dangerous, thoughtless things.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship Pt.2

Social media, text messaging, and online dating can lead to sexual conversations over the computer. And if you’re not sure what to look out for, you might not even notice what your teen is saying right under your nose. Sneaky little boogers.

Drug conversations are also something you need to be aware of. Here are some teen slang words that may indicate your teen is being pressured or experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol.

  • CU46 – See you for sex
  • GNOC – Get naked on camera
  • Molly – MDMA, a dangerous party drug
  • NIFOC – Naked in front of the computer
  • Netflix and Chill – Used as a front for inviting someone over to make out (or maybe more)
  • Smash – Casual sex
  • Turnt Up – To be high or drunk
  • Tweaking= high, usually on amphetamines
  • Zip Ghost – Someone who is high on marijuana and having a hard time functioning
  • Dexing – Abusing cough syrup
  • Crunk – Getting high and drunk at the same time
  • X – Ecstasy
  • 53X – Sex
  • WTTP – Want to trade photos?
  • LMIRL – Let’s meet in real life

Not going to lie, I check my kids’ phones every night. They are still pretty young. We’re at the beginning and I’d rather be a smother than be sorry. I’m totally upfront about it so I’m not invading their privacy all sneaky squirrel. They know I check their phones. This is not to be nosey, this is to make sure they are safe.

Sometimes kids wander into unfamiliar territory and, believe it or not, they want someone to put the brakes on because then they can hide behind their “mean mom” saying no, rather than having to tell someone that they don’t want to do something because they feel uneasy or too young. I’m fine with being the bad guy.

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Need to Know, teen slang words, slang words, parents guide, teens, mom of teens, teenagers, slang for dummiesI made this Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words so we can understand and communicate with our teens.

I’m sure you already know this, but some parents don’t, beware of Finsta accounts on Insta. You know, you think that you are watching your kid’s account but really you are only watching the one they want you to see. They’ve got 2 more that you have no idea exist and they are doing crazy sh*t like having full on conversations full of innuendo with strangers and taking pictures half naked with suggestive faces and captions. The point is that teens these days are so smart and tech savvy but they are still young and naïve to how the world works so it is our job to keep them safe not give them enough social media rope to hang themselves.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship Pt.3

Another good idea, check out Gryphon. It’s a smart home device that allows you to monitor, block, and even turn off the internet on your child’s device, all from your phone. (Yup, you can turn off their internet during dinner time, homework time, etc. so you no longer have to nag them to put down their devices). I like to turn off the Internet when the girls are supposed to be in bed because I don’t want them up getting into trouble. I’ve noticed that kids seem to get a little braver when they have sleepovers and are staying up. This is when prank calls and text take place. I get it. We used to do it but we didn’t have sexting and the Internet. It wasn’t forever, just for a while. I need to think of their future and their safety even when they aren’t. Sometimes we need to save our kids from themselves.

Are there any words that I forgot on the Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words or that you have heard your kid use and need an explanation

 

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American Girl Doll of the Year Blaire Wilson Giveaway, Blaire Wilson, American Girl Doll, GOTY, Giveaway, American Girl Doll of the Year 2019

My girls love American Girl Doll. They’ve loved them since our first trip to the American Girl Doll Store in Chicago when they were just little girls. Since then, they’ve been American Girl Doll obsessed. It was not surprising to me when my Gabs told me that she was excited for AG doll of the year Blaire Wilson and I’m assuming she’s not the only one so we’re hosting a giveaway.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for American Girl Dolls because I remember my niece playing with them when I was in college. But I’ve really loved the fact that each American Girl has a story to tell. I like women and girls of substance and American Girl never disappoints.

Disclosure: We were generously sent an American Girl Doll of the Year Blaire Wilson to review and 1 to giveaway. All thoughts, opinions and my daughters’ love for all things AG is our own and authentic. 

This year’s Girl of the Year (GOTY) Blaire Wilson is no exception. She’s a young chef-in-training who loves bringing people together. Ms. Wilson joins American Girl’s family of characters and stories designed to help girls think about their own character and who they want to be.

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms DVD Giveaway ( Ends 2/8/19)

American Girl Doll of the Year Blaire Wilson Giveaway, Blaire Wilson, American Girl Doll, GOTY, Giveaway, American Girl Doll of the Year 2019Meet American Girl Doll of the Year Blaire Wilson.

A natural people person, Blaire excels at gathering people around the dinner table, however, she needs help finding the balance between the digital world and the real world. Sounds familiar. I can definitely relate to this digital debacle that Blaire finds herself in. My girls relate to this as they are getting older.

READ ALSO: The Day My Teen Girl Told Me How She Really Felt

Through Blaire, girls will learn the importance of staying connected to the people they care about. This means more than clicking and swiping—it means truly being there. This is something that I still struggle with myself as a mother and a digital content creator. It is hard to find that balance between really immersing myself in my job and being present in my life; for my children and my husband. I have to stop myself often and just disconnect from the online world. The last thing I want to do is miss what’s going on in the real world. Being present for the moments, even the little ones, is what means the most.

Blaire Wilson is an everyday girl who thrives in using her many talents to make meaningful connections with others.

This is a lesson that I’ve been teaching my girls. Be present and connect with people in the real world. Don’t get me wrong, the online world is amazing. There are so many opportunities for connection and growth there but nothing can ever replace face-to-face connections.

Blaire’s story unfolds in a chapter book series written by Jennifer Castle and published by Scholastic. There are two books available now. Blaire loves to put her cooking and decorating talents to good use on her family’s sustainable farm and bed-and-breakfast in upstate New York. She loves watching cooking shows and spending time with her mom in the kitchen. She looks for inspiration online and saves her favorite cooking and decorating ideas. This sounds so familiar, Gabs and Bella do the same. We watch cooking shows on the weekends as a family and the girls can pin recipes with the best of them.

When the opportunity to plan the farm’s first wedding arises, Blaire jumps in with gusto. However, between overextending herself to create the perfect farm-fancy event and a newly diagnosed food sensitivity that makes her self-conscious, Blaire finds herself more engaged on her devices than at real-life gatherings with others. Like most of us, she’s learning the balance between time on a tablet and real-life connections. Ultimately, through the help of her family and friends, Blaire finds a healthy balance and learns the value of being fully present at every occasion.

READ ALSO: The Art to Being a Good Mother

Blaire comes to life for girls via a beautiful 18-inch doll, featuring bright green eyes and curly red hair. Blaire’s world features an array of outfits, accessories, and products that reflect her life on Pleasant View Farm, including a sweet lamb and piglet, festive party decor, and Blaire’s Family Farm Restaurant, with everything needed to play out a show-stopping farm-to-table celebration.

Some important guidance that our girls can learn from Blaire Wilson (GOTY)

Guidance for girls today. Blaire Wilson is learning to bring her creative ideas to life, while also finding time for ever-important, real-life relationships.

Staying connected. Sharing a meal, sharing a talent, sharing a story. Spending time together grows relationships, and Blaire teaches girls that real-world interactions are the best kind of social media.

Inspiring creativity. Expressing herself through cooking and decorating not only allows Blaire’s confidence to grow, but it serves as a chance to give joy to others.

Finding balance. Discovering creative inspiration online is exciting, however, Blaire must learn to keep a healthy combination of tech time and real-time with friends.

American Girl Doll of the Year Blaire Wilson Giveaway, Blaire Wilson, American Girl Doll, GOTY, Giveaway, American Girl Doll of the Year 2019

Fans can learn more about American Girl of the Year 2019 Blaire Wilson at the following events and activities:

  • Blaire Online Play: Girls can visit http://play.americangirl.com/play/girl-of-the-year/blaire for book excerpts, games and activities, and Blaire’s Life at Pleasant View Farm Vlog posts from her family’s sustainable farm, featuring delicious recipes, gardening tips, cooking and craft videos, and more.
  • Blaire’s Family Dinner Series: To promote mealtime togetherness, families are invited to attend a Blaire-inspired dinner series at select American Girl retail restaurants across the country in 2019.

The Blaire collection became available on January 1, 2019, at americangirl.com; at all American Girl retail locations nationwide.

Want to learn more about Blaire Wilson, connect with American Girl

Facebook: @americangirl

Twitter: @American_Girl

Instagram: @americangirlbrand

Pinterest: agofficial

YouTube: American Girl

I am giving away one American Girl Doll of the Year, Blaire Wilson. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post and enter using Rafflecopter. For extra entries, please see Rafflecopter below. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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what giving birth feels like, giving birth. New mom Mondays. new moms, parenting, pregnancy

Good Morning moms and dads of the Internet. I’ve been a mom in the motherhood for quite some time now but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a new mom. It was hard. So hard. I remember those first moments after I gave birth and physically feeling the mental shift in my existence. It was profound. It was terrifying and, if we’re being completely honest (and I always am), it was overwhelming. That’s why I’m starting this New Mom Monday series here on the blog.  We all need a little guidance, support and let’s admit a little commiseration.

For this first post, I thought, why not start at the beginning, birth.  If you are like the rest of us, you’ve read all the books, blogs and heard all the advice that your brain can hold. I’m pretty sure that when I was boning up on how to treat a colicky baby, how to tie my shoes got shoved right out of my brain. Anyways, as I said, this first post is about birth. Not the watered down version that the book and your moms and sisters have given you. This is the unadulterated truth. If you are squeamish, you may want to look away but if you are pregnant and don’t want to be shook while giving birth, read on, my friend.

READ ALSO: What Does Birth Feel Like

No one can truly tell you what giving birth feels like. Well, we can but it’s sort of like Marie Kondo writing about her folding methods. Sure, we read all about it but reading about it doesn’t quite make sense. Giving birth is something that you actually need to see to understand and to really get a grasp about what it feels like, you have to give birth. It’s a bum deal but that’s the reality. Of course, I never had anyone even try to explain it to me and that’s why I’m going to explain it to you as honestly as possible.

The only thing people told me about giving birth at my baby shower was that it was going to be such a blessing and as soon as you held that new baby, you would forget all about the pain of childbirth. As if pain could just melt away from your memory like an ice cream cone on a hot July day. I knew then that this was suspect.

I was scared before I even went into the hospital to get induced. What if I pooped on the table? I mean what if I full on, as a grown woman, lost control of my bodily functions in front of a room front of people including my husband? What then? Well, I’ll tell you what then…it’ll happen and you will survive and you will get over it because that will not be the most profound thing that happens to you on that day, not even close.

I didn’t eat for 24 hours before I gave birth because, well, my vanity wouldn’t allow me to purposely poop on the table but maybe my body had other plans. I don’t know. No one will tell me. And anyways, who would notice with all that other stuff coming out of you like a human being. By the way, eat before you give birth. It is a lot of work and I don’t recommend going into 13 hours of induced labor without any food in your belly.

READ ALSO: Mommy Truisms

The day was unlike any other day I had ever experienced in my life. I arrived at the hospital at around 6 am. They did all the normal stuff like check me in and check my vitals. Then, after a slight freak out about the gown not fitting me and the “mortification” of my butt hanging out the back, Pitocin was administered. Recalling how crazy I acted about doctors and nurses possibly seeing my exposed derriere, when there would, in fact, be several doctors “checking my progress” throughout the day, is hilarious. Thank you teaching hospital for giving me a lesson in humility.

Shortly after this, they broke my water. I came into the hospital 4 centimeters dilated. You’d think that would mean that I was ahead of the labor and delivery game but you would be wrong. I still had 6 centimeters left to dilate and as far as I can remember, 6 centimeters is about the same distance as a transatlantic flight for babies being born.

I remember my early contractions felt like period cramps. I got all cocky and thought to myself, this is no big deal. It was uncomfortable but nowhere as annoying as my broken water that kept replenishing and gushing out. Yes, that is completely normal and completely gross (to me.) Then somewhere around hour 5 and centimeter 6, I asked for something to take the edge off but refused to get my epidural. Instead, I opted for a drug that ended up making me feel completely drunk but took away none of the pain.at.all. It was the worst.

Finally, around 7 hours in and 7 centimeters dilated, the Big Guy asked me, “Is there anything I can do to help?” To which I whispered (because that was all that I could muster), “Get the anesthesiologist!!!” What I really wanted to say was, “You do this laboring bit!” He told the nurse to which she replied, “Sorry, the anesthesiologist is in surgery right now. She’ll have to wait.” Did I mention that there was only 1 anesthesiologist in the entire hospital and he was now, in surgery?

I’m sure I looked like a caged, wild animal when I looked at the picture window across from where I was laying and tried to contemplate whether or not, in my state, I could make it to the window to jump out. That’s how bad the pain was. My contractions were on top of one another and hyped on Pitocin, they were coming on fast and furious. I was shaking, my teeth were chattering, I was nauseous and trapped. Held hostage by my body, my baby. It felt like a near-death experience only I never saw any white light. I couldn’t talk or yell, all I could do was take refuge in my head. Try to stay as still as possible, cry and survive this crazy ride.

I never used the breathing that I learned in all of those Lamaze classes. I think I kept waiting until I “needed” them but we went from annoying contractions to frantic, trying to escape the situation contractions in the matter of a few minutes. I laugh at naïve me who wanted a natural birth. I ended up getting accidental non-medicated transition labor anyways thanks to my refusal of the epidural when it was originally offered.

By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, my teeth were chattering so hard I thought I might have broken some and my head felt as if it was going to spin off of my neck from the pain, while he was trying to inform me of all the side effects. I foggily remember something about migraines and paralysis and me telling him, that I didn’t care if I couldn’t walk, just put the damn needle in my back so the pain went away. Mind you, this was after the nurse annoyingly had asked me if I could sit “Indian Style” while I was experiencing off the Richter scale contractions only a minute apart.

READ ALSO: Play Dates What Every New Mom Should Know

*Now, I think I should reiterate here that both of my births were induced and, though I’ve never gone into labor naturally, I’m assuming (hoping) that going into labor naturally is less painful as your body is doing what it needs to to not being forced into labor before your body is quite on board. **

All of that being said, after finally getting the epidural, I laid back and they checked me, I was fully dilated and ready to push, if I wanted to. There is nothing quite like experiencing transition labor unmedicated only to lay back, get checked and hear the nurse say, “Well, would you look at that you are fully dilated.” Then the anesthesiologist says, “We’ll just turn this up high enough to take the edge off the ring of fire.” I felt pretty jipped but at least I didn’t want to jump out of any windows anymore.

The nurse asked me if I wanted to push or wait for the doctor. Since I was much more comfortable, I opted to wait for the doctor. 3 hours later she arrived and I pushed my baby girl into the world, with the help of a mirror and the support of my husband and a needle the size of Texas in my spine.

The “ring of fire” was nothing in comparison to the Pitocin fueled transition labor. Bella came flailing into the world at 4:54 p.m. on a Thursday in March. She weighed 7 lbs. and 13 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. The cord was wrapped around her neck and she didn’t cry at first. She was purple.

I didn’t scream or yell once…because I couldn’t. I didn’t have the energy; I was in too much pain. I had a silent birth and I still don’t know if I pooped on the table. No one told me if I did and I really just didn’t care to know at that point.

They laid my sweet baby on my chest and I simultaneously laughed and cried. Joy makes you act like a psycho, in case you experience the same. You’re not crazy, just blissfully happy. The first thing I did once I let my baby go to be checked was call my sister-in-law and ask her why the hell she didn’t warn me and she said, “Once you’re pregnant, what’s the point. It’s coming out and it’s going to hurt whether you know it’s coming or not. There’s nothing you can do about it but worry for 9 months and what’s the point of that?” She was right.

But I’m here to tell you, those who want to know, unless an anvil falls on your head after you give birth and causes you to completely lose your short term memory, you will never forget what giving birth feels like. It’s indescribable, unforgettable and unexpected but 1000x worth it. And while you might not forget about the pain, after holding your new baby and looking deep into the soul of those eyes of the human being you made, you won’t care. You’d go through it a million more times if in the end you got to hold this baby and that, my friends, is how the species survives.  Not because women forget but because we are tough and love really does trump everything else.

My advice to you, try to go into labor naturally if medically possible. Get the epidural before you are in excruciating pain, maybe around centimeter 5. There are no awards for experiencing pain. Your baby won’t pop out and hand you a trophy and it won’t prevent the eye rolls that they will give you as teens. Bring Dermaplast with you to the hospital. It will be a savior after giving birth.

A birth plan is not a guarantee so unclench your hands from around that piece of paper, unclench your jaw, forget about what you look like and try to relax and enjoy the experience. It only feels like it lasts forever; before you know it, you’ll be choosing to do it all over again.

If you’ve already given birth, tell me about your birth story. If you are pregnant and about to give birth for the first time, please leave any questions that you might have about it in the comments. I’ll answer any that I can.

Do you remember what giving birth feels like?

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Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

Today, A Dog’s Way Home is opening in theaters everywhere and to celebrate, the girls and I are making our Lola some homemade peanut butter and banana dog treats. Or as my Mother-in-law calls them, cookies.

Only, this time instead of the dog treats being some kind of preservative filled meat by-product treat, it will really be a cookie. In fact, it will have some of Lola’s favorite things in it. Our dog is crazy for peanut butter and bananas, the only thing that could make it better in her eyes is if I could sneak some chicken, bacon and watermelon in it.

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

Lola’s peanut butter and banana dog treats are going to be homemade goodness. Honestly, I think I might have a hard time keeping the girls out of these dog treats.

READ ALSO: Is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo Method for You? 

You all know I am in the middle of KonMari-ing my house so I don’t have lots of time to spend on baking projects. Also, did I mention that our dishwasher bit the dust this week? Oh my, it did and I’ve realized that all of those dish nights I had as a child have made me truly hate hand washing dishes. So obviously, I am trying to dirty the least amount of dishes possible but Lola is a great pup and she deserves a yummy, homemade treat. Doesn’t your pup?

This is s very simple and easy recipe. Easy enough to let the kids help and you only need to dirty one bowl, a mixing utensil and one cookie sheet. Easy Peasy. Even the littlest kids can help.

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

 

Lola’s Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe

Lola's Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe

Easy, delicious homemade dog treat for your furry friend. Lola's Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treat Recipe. So easy to make even the kids can help.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: dog treat, vegetarian
Keyword: Dog treat recipe
Servings: 15
Author: Deborah Cruz

Ingredients

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup banana mashed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Whisk together the flour, eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter, salt, and banana in a bowl.
  • Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. 
  • Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  • Bake in preheated oven until crisp and golden brown, about 40 minutes.

READ ALSO: A Puppy Saves Christmas

We’d love to hear if your dog loved these dog treats as much as our Lola! #LolaApproved!

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home 

If you give Lola’s Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe a try, let us know in the comments.

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A Dog's Way Home, pets, Lola, kid's crafts, art

Are you a dog person? Is your furbaby showered with love and adoration? Do you have a special voice you use to greet your four-legged friend when you get home? No shame in our game, we definitely do. We love our Lola. She truly is one of the family. I don’t know what we’d do without her and all the joy she brings with her happy tail wagging and dog kisses.

Lola was a Christmas gift for our family to ourselves after a particularly hard year. In 2012, we suffered a miscarriage and lost our first fur baby, Saffaron. We were gutted. There was so much upheaval in our lives from the losses and so much love in our hearts that needed to be given and had no place to go.

The girls had been begging for a pet to fill our dog-sized hole in our hearts. It feels weird now to think that one goes to a place to “buy” a pet, especially since they are so much an integral part of our family’s story.

Lola was like salve to our hearts. She is our constant companion and loves our daughters as fiercely as we do. When I work at my desk (or on the couch or from my bed), Lola is always beside me. When the girls are sick, she sits by them until they are well. When the Big Guy has had a particularly bad day, she knows and she lays her head in his lap and soothes his soul.

I can’t even imagine a world without Lola in it. Who knew you could love a four-legged friend as much as you love human family? But how could you not, they are always there to make the world a better place.

Gabi wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up and she has a particularly special relationship with Lola. She calls her, “my sister” and she means it. In a lot of ways, Lola has healed us as a family and there is nothing we will ever be able to do to repay her for that. For now, we love her with all that we’ve got and she does the same in return.

Gabs painted a canvas of Lola to put on her wall in her bedroom and it is adorable. I think this is a great activity for all kids to do. It gave Gabs some one-on-one time with Lola and now, she has this sweet memory of the day her and Lola sat together for an hour as she tried to get her sweet face just right. I love it. I want one for the wall in my office.

A Dog’s Way Home chronicles the heartwarming family adventure of Bella, a dog who embarks on an epic 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her beloved human. A Dog’s Way Home is based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron with an all-star cast including Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi and Bryce Dallas Howard.

“Finding Bella” takes us on the journey of a dog trying to get back to her owner. Bryce Dallas Howard, the voice of Bella, shares the story of how Shelby the dog was rescued and goes on a journey of her own. Discover Shelby’s epic adventure as she finds her forever home and new life purpose as a therapy dog.

A Dog’s Way Home In Theaters January 11, 2019

 

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