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.

Mother's Day. march of dimes, anthem foundation, premature births, fertility, regret, postponing motherhood, baby, birth, pregnancy, labor, delivery,new mom, what labor feels like

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in partnership with the Anthem Foundation, however, all opinions are my own.

Did you know that one in every 10 babies born in the United States is born prematurely? In fact, I was born prematurely at just barely 7-months. I weighed 4 pounds and my dad said you could fit my entire stretched out body in the space between the crook of his elbow and his wrist. I was tiny. I was jaundiced and I wasn’t what anyone expected.

Babies born prematurely before 37-weeks gestation can face a host of issues like breathing problems, difficulty with feedings, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, vision and hearing impairments. I know first-hand that these are true because I myself have had chronic breathing related issues my entire life and live with a 15% hearing loss. I was sick a lot as a child, almost constantly in the early years and fun fact, my mom said when I was born I was covered in lanugo. That usually falls off before you are born, but when you are born prematurely, you’re simply not done gestating.

In the U.S., prematurity is the number one killer of babies, and those born just a few weeks early have higher rates of illness and hospitalization compared to full-term newborns. In addition to the stress and worry toll, it takes on parents, the cost of prematurely born babies is estimated at more than $26 billion annually by the National Academy of Medicine. No new parent needs that extra financial burden on top of trying to care for a premature newborn. The Anthem Foundation is investing in healthy maternal practices, giving more babies a healthy start in life.

Can you imagine? Being so excited for your brand new baby, waiting for months to hold her in your arms and then realizing she came too early before her little body was ready to be born; before she was fully formed and functional to live on the outside. My parents said the worry was constant in those first few months, especially since they were first-time parents to this tiny premature baby. But that was a long time ago and there have been significant advancements in prenatal care and the programs women have that provide them with more easily accessible information about pregnancy and their bodies.

Since 2010, the Anthem Foundation has provided more than $4.3 million in grant funding to the March of Dimes to scale up and implement several programs that encourage and facilitate first-trimester prenatal care and help at-risk mothers commit to behaviors that reduce the numbers of low-birthweight babies.

These programs include quality improvement initiatives related to the elimination of early elective deliveries, smoking cessation, Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait Community Programs® and a group prenatal care model called CenteringPregnancy® (CP). This last program brings together 8 to 10 women with similar due dates, and from all races, ages and socio-economic backgrounds. The women meet for nine sessions. In the last year, more than three thousand women were registered, of which 1,410 were Latinas. By 2020, the Census Bureau projects that there will be more than 13.8 million Hispanic women of childbearing age.

Get Informed visit www.marchofdimes.org and https://www.anthem.foundation.

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wonder woman, girls rule Gal Gadot

As a little girl, I had 1 hero (besides my mom) and that was Wonder Woman. She was smart, beautiful and she was stronger than any man; plus, she was a girl. Not only was she a girl, she was a brunette and she was the superhero plus, bonus Linda Carter was a Latina.

I still remember watching Wonder Woman, sitting in my fuzzy red teddy bear rocker. It was the best thing on television as far as I was concerned. She was better than Batman or Superman because she was a girl, just like I was and that was important then… and now. 

Girls need strong female role models. My girls have women like Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and myself. But, I’ve always believed that it couldn’t just be guy superheroes who got to save the world. We don’t all need rescuing. We can be the rescuer. Women are more than just a pretty face, playing second fiddle to a guy superhero or otherwise. Even then, as a little girl, I knew that I could do and be more than just the arm candy or cheerleader to a man. I wasn’t a damsel in distress and didn’t want to be treated like one.

Then Diana Prince appeared in my young life and gave hope to all little girls everywhere because it didn’t matter if you were pretty or ugly, tall or short, where you were from or if you were poor or rich.

Wonder Woman made it not only plausible but probable that you could be strong, smart, funny and good just as good as any boy, even better. 

You could care about issues and people and you could make a difference. All you had to do is decide that’s what you wanted to do. Maybe we couldn’t all be Amazons or Goddesses but we could do and be good and we didn’t need a man’s help or permission. We could just do it.

Wonder Woman was a critical part of my childhood. She was more than a fictional superhero, she was endless possibility. She was an inspiration to stand up for what I believed in. She was permission to do what was right even when it was hard, even when people didn’t agree or gave you funny looks because “girls” aren’t supposed to do those things.

I bought the Wonder Woman boxed set when I had my first daughter. I knew that I wanted her to feel that pride in her chest that swelled up and propelled her do the right thing even when it was the unpopular one.

When I heard that a Wonder Woman movie was coming out, I knew I had to see it with my daughters.

Last week, we took our girls to see Wonder Woman in the theater. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’d heard mixed reviews. I hoped they wouldn’t mess up the feature film and over sexualize Diana Prince or make her a 1-dimensional supporting cast member in her own feature, as so often happens to so many women in real life. But I have to say honestly, for me, the movie was amazing. 

For me, Gal Gadot was the perfect Wonder Woman.

She was just the right blend of strong, smart, beautiful, conscientious and independent to play the character. She did the right thing in spite of making the hard choice. She gave up the guy to save humanity. She saved the world because she believed she could. She believed and saw the good in people and it was all embraced and respected. She was a warrior and a lady. 

Speaking of the perfect choice to play a part, Robin Wright’s General Antiope was phenomenal casting. She’s come a long way from the damsel in distress in The Princess Bride and I saw a lot more Claire Underwood in there. Her part was short but impactive.

Wonder Woman did what was right even though it meant losing everything she loved and leaving everyone she ever cared about.

She chose the human race over her own personal gain. She sacrificed herself for the greater good. She was humble and a hero.

“Be careful in the world of men, Diana. They do not deserve you.”

It may appear on the surface that someone or something doesn’t deserve our help, our sacrifice or our fight on their behalf but it’s not about them, it’s about us. It’s about the kind of person that we want to be.

I teach my girls to be good, do good. Stick up for your beliefs. Fight for your rights. Help those in need. It doesn’t matter if you are celebrated or thanked. You do good because your moral compass compels you to do so. Do it for the love and the justice of the world.

We can’t control others reactions, only our actions. Put your good into the world and let it take hold. It doesn’t matter if anyone’s watching or knows that you did it. You do it because it’s right not for the glory.

Silence is equal to doing harm. You can’t hide because it’s not what’s popular. It’s not always easy but I want my girls to do the right thing, especially when it’s hard because every choice has a ripple effect. One small kind act or word can mean the difference between life and death. Wonder Woman reminded me of that.

My soul is on fire. My heart is happy to have had the opportunity to share the experience with my girls. 

Maybe the world doesn’t deserve our girls but doesn’t our girls deserve to feel empowered and strong enough to do what’s right. Don’t our girls deserve to know they are strong and the possibilities are endless? Don’t our little girls, and ourselves, deserve to know that we are all wonder women?

If you’ve not seen Wonder Woman yet, go now! Take your girls, your boys and yourself. Celebrate the wonder that all women are!

If you’ve seen Wonder Woman, I’d love to hear your thoughts whether you loved it or hated it.
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what to do when your child doesn't want to grow up, explaining death to children

When your child doesn’t want to grow up, a million thoughts run through your mind. Does my kid have Peter Pan syndrome? Why would she not want to grow up when there are so many things to look forward to? She.is.at.the.beginning.

Her journey has just begun. Every single great thing is ahead of her. Falling in love for the first time. College and all the exploring and growing that comes with it.

Lying blissfully in the arms of her beloved. Her career. Travel and seeing the big wide world with fresh eyes. Freedom to find out who she is. Loving the skin she’s in.

The world is hers to conquer.

I’m in the middle. I’ve done some things but my journey has so many more experiences to explore. The world is mine and I’m ecstatic.

I’m sad she’s growing up but it would be selfish of me to want her to fit in the crook of my neck and to be able to stroke her hair as she falls asleep in my arms forever; though I would, if I could but I want her to live out loud and experience everything. I love her so much that I’ll let go because that’s what good moms do. Right?

But what do you do when your child doesn’t want to grow up?

It’s hard for me to even think about her and her sister not living under my feet. It’s weird to imagine a day when I don’t wake up to one or both of them cuddled into me in the morning. But I know it’s coming, whether I agree with it or not.

But back to my baby, why does she want to stay little? Her answer knocked the wind out of me and all I could do was hug her and let her cry.

She said, “Mama, I don’t want to grow up because that’ll mean you’re getting older and then you’ll die. I don’t want you to die.”

Her logic is accurate. It’s the circle of life, we are born, we live and then we die. But I told her I have no plans of going anywhere anytime soon. I told her that my plan is to live long enough for her and her sister to be so old that they’re getting dementia and they forget who I am. I’ll

I’ll go quietly into that good night then. Until then, I’ve got to make good on my promise to my sweet baby.

What will you say when your child doesn’t want to grow up and has such sound logic to reason it with?

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theater, broadway, mamma mia

Mamma Mia, last week was crazy and chaotic but absolutely fabulous. I had been at Mom 2.0 Summit, arrived home on a jet plane on Saturday, celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday and then on Monday, our wedding anniversary, we celebrated by taking the girls on a little road trip to go see the Mamma Mia farewell tour. I was exhausted almost to the newborn standard but it was totally worth it.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

See, I have been waiting to see Mamma Mia on stage for 8 years.

Since that one time Bella, then 4-years-old, told me that “slipping through my fingers” was “our” song while we were watching the movie. Yes, we watched Mamma Mia a lot in those days. It was during the horrible commuter years. The girls and I loved that movie because it was fun and about the mother/daughter relationship at a time when it was just us most of the time.

Anyways, if you have ever heard ABBA’s “Slipping through my Fingers,” you already know that this song can bring any parent to her knees. It was especially hard back then when I was looking at my 4-year-old and knowing that soon she would be leaving me, well, in 14 years or so. Still, her little face looking up at me with those eyes and her sweet face; I still can’t listen to that song without tearing up.

Childhood is fleeting. It just keeps moving on, whether we want it to or not. Believe me, I’ve tried to speed it up and slow it down many times but it never works. When it comes to time and parenting, we are all helpless suckers just trying not to blink and miss a single second. Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture and save it from the funny tricks of time.

The point is Mamma Mia has had a very special place in my heart for a really long time. Bella has been begging me to take her to see this production for years but I was just never sure they were old enough. I know my girls like musicals and theater (hello, have we forgotten the Moulin Rouge 5th birthday party?) but I also know that Gabi has fallen asleep during almost the last half an hour of every production we’ve ever been to because she’s still really young.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

But when the opportunity to see it came, I knew we had to take it. How could I not? It is the farewell tour and there was no way that I was going to miss experiencing Mamma Mia live with my girls. We had to drive almost 2 hours on a school night and missed a couple classes but OMG, it was so worth it. This is a memory that we will never ever forget. Every time we hear the music, we will be back in that theater, the four of us, singing at the top of our lungs like fools. Dancing, singing, incredibly happy fools. I will never forget this anniversary or that night!

theater, broadway, mamma mia

In case you have never seen or heard the story Mamma Mia, it’s about a mother (Donna), her daughter (Sophie) and 3 possible fathers. The entire situation comes to a head when Sophie is preparing to get married at the ripe old age of 20. Talk about a wild walk down the aisle.

Over 54 million people all around the world have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make Mamma Mia the ultimate feel-good show. The sunny, funny tale unfolds on a Greek Island Paradise. On the eve of Sophie’s wedding, her quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island that they last visited 20 years ago with Donna.

theater, broadway, mamma miaThe story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship from a good time to the time of their lives. It truly does transport you to a magical moment and if you get the chance, I highly suggest you see Mamma Mia before it’s gone. Chances are it’s probably coming to a city near you soon.

The cast of Mamma Mia was so vibrant and perfectly cast. Betsy Padamonsky, as Donna, took the character to a new level. Her voice was pitch perfect and her big, beautiful personality shone through. Really all of the cast was stellar but I must give a shout out to Lizzie Markson, Cashelle Butler and Sarah Smith. These ladies brought the characters to life in a way that few can. We enjoyed every single second of the show and would love to see it a million times more.

I’m so happy we got to experience Mamma Mia together and before it’s gone. We will never forget it. And yes, I cried when I heard, “Slipping through my fingers.” I sat there in the theater between my two girls, holding their hands while they held my heart.

They aren’t that 1 and 4-year-old anymore. They are growing up so fast and that fact is not lost on me. I know they are slipping through my fingers. It’s like trying to catch sand or water but we will always have this moment, sitting in the theater together listening to this song on a warm night in May when nothing else mattered but being there with them.

I’ll probably never be able to listen to that song without crying and I am totally okay with that because that means I got to love in a huge, amazing way for that Mamma Mia will always have a special place in this mamma’s heart.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

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Disclosure: I was provided tickets to experience Mamma Mia on stage but all opinions and genuine love of theater are my own. 

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discipline, exercise, parenting, how to change bad behavior with exercise

I found the cure to all bad habits and I can tell you the secret of how to change bad behavior with exercise! Nope, it has nothing to do with exerting yourself and distracting yourself. It has nothing to do with feeling better about yourself or being a better person. It’s much simpler than that and I promise you, it works. I am living proof. You can change bad behavior with exercise and achieve parenting level master status. It is discipline in the best way possible.

We all have bad habits. It’s the truth. I try to be a good example for my daughters. We want our children to grow up to be upstanding citizens of the world. We want them to go out into the world and be so fierce and fearless that they impress everyone they meet. We don’t want them to be jerks. One of my life goals is for people to meet my children throughout their life and be like, “Damn, that is one bada** woman!” At the same time, I want them to be like, “What a lady she is.” That’s my mom getting in my head.

I want my daughters to be the perfect lovechild of Audrey Hepburn, Maya Angelou and Lady Gaga. I want them to be fierce, caring and relentless in their pursuit of good and happiness. That’s what I’m going for but I want them to use their words. I want their words to be the vehicle that can gain them entry into any conversation in the world. I want their brains to be their sexiest body part.

I want them to be giving, loving and embrace life and love and people. I want them to live out loud with no walls or prejudices. I want them to fully appreciate the world they live in without fear or self-doubt. I think I am succeeding, or at least on trajectory with this path, with the exception of one small kink…using their words.

This is where it happens, this is what prompted me to figure out how to change bad behavior with exercise.

Yes, embarrassing as it is, I (the writer) have failed my children in the example of using their words.  You see, I know a lot of words. I know all of the words. I am in love with the words. But sometimes, I am a lazy word user and I resort to profanity. GASP! I know shocking. Well, not really. Not if you’re a long time follower of me. I’ve been trying a lot harder to stop with the lazy words because I don’t want my girls to use all the lazy words. So, I made a decision and it is kind of shocking how well it has worked.

This is how to change bad behavior with exercise.

It’s actually very simple. I implemented a rule a few weeks ago that if you (collective you, as in my family) curse, that is an automatic 50 crunches and if you bicker and yell, that is an automatic 200 pushups and so began the hardest few days of my life. Just kidding, I’ve lived through a lot of hard stuff. I was not going to be broken by crunches and yet, 400 crunches in one day…it was pretty rough but it worked almost immediately. Who knew you could change bad behavior with exercise?

The thing that I’ve learned is that no amount of grounding, taking away of friends, tech or play dates will work to curb my children’s bad behavior. They respond much more astutely to positive reinforcement. I’m not surprised because I am the same way.  I’d prefer to get a reward at the end of hard work than to not get punished. I learned when I was pretty young that I preferred to do what I wanted and suffer the consequences, that’s just how I work and unfortunately, I think I passed that strong will along to my daughters.

However, apparently, none of us love doing crunches. In fact, we despise them. Now, these were not your average run of the mill sit ups. These were those blasted ballet/ floor barre/ physical therapy ones meant to target your lower abdomen. No one works their lower abdomen. It’s not natural and it HURTS!

3 days is how long it took to cure me of my cursing habit. 2 days is all that it took for the girls to never want to use any sort of lazy word ever again. You see apparently, our lazy words are not worth getting off our lazy butts and doing 400 crunches. And the bickering, well, my girls hate push ups even more than crunches. Bickering has been at an all-time low. I can feel my sanity returning. It’s all fun and games until someone has to do exercise.

You see, I’m a die hard, forgiveness over permission gal but I had to be the example and so crunch away I did. I’m still doing 150 every day, just in case I stub my toe or something and need that sweet release plus, I could definitely live without a FUPA. It’s so simple to change bad behavior with exercise. Why did I never think of this before?

I’ve also realized that crunches can probably cure just about any bad habit we have. Think about it. You want to gamble, each bet is 100 crunches. You want to drink, each cocktail is 100 crunches. Want to eat that whole sleeve of Oreos? That will be 50 crunches per cookie, thank you. I’m pretty sure most of us would think twice before doing that again because I don’t know about you but a swear word is not worth 400 crunches and there are no cookies worth 50 crunches. Then again, at the very least, I’d be a heathen with great abs!

Would you have ever thought it was possible to change bad behavior with exercise?

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what its like to have an eating disorder, are eating disorders hereditary, skinny, vanity, weight loss, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight

Have you ever wondered are eating disorders genetic? I have since the day I gave birth to my first daughter because the last thing I wanted to pass down to my girls were eating disorders. Many of you know that I have been in recovery from bulimia and anorexia for nearly 20 years, with very few slip-ups. But eating disorders don’t just magically leave, they plague you for life. It’s impossible to unlearn those behaviors and almost as hard not to act upon your instinct. I know that’s not what anyone wants to hear but it is my truth.

Today, it finally happened. The day I’ve been dreading since she was born. The day she compared herself to me. The day I had to really consider …

Are eating disorders genetic?

Unfortunately, my research says, yes, eating disorders are, in fact, genetic just like Bipolar disorder, depression and so many other mental illnesses. We like to think we can protect our children from illnesses but what do we do when we are the very people who gave them the genes to develop the disorder? It’s through no fault of our own. We can do everything right and still not be able to protect them from these kinds of things. I’ve tried my best to do everything right and I am super aware of the behaviors because of my own experience but what if none of that can stop any of it?

For me, there is no competition. She is better than me in every single way. She is a tall, leggy blonde with blue eyes that smile, a sweet voice and the perfect peaches and cream complexion. She is everything I hoped to be as a young girl. She is smart, graceful and strong. She is independent, cultured and not afraid to stand up for herself and for what’s right. She is my idea of perfection.

 

In many ways, we are alike. That strong, independent bossy streak that runs deep in her, is all me. Her smile, me too. The intelligence, well she got that from both of us and the culture is something I have been instilling from birth. However, the tall, graceful leggy blonde is not me at all.

I have always been average to tall, 5’7”, dark hair, hazel ish-brown eyes and small boned. My parents are not big people. My mom is 5’3” and my dad is probably around 5’10”. So, I was always the youngest and often one of the smaller kids in the class.

Today, as I was cleaning out my attic to prepare for the yearly garage sale, I was pretty excited because I have a bunch of “vintage” clothing that my newly 12-year-old can rock. These are pieces I loved but just will never look right on me again. I’m not 21 anymore and I’ve birthed 2 children; half tops and low-rise flared jeans are just not appropriate for me in my current situation. Read; an adult with some junk in the trunk and a tiny spare tire.

Anyways, as we sifted through the tubs, I got very excited because I was excited to pass these pieces on. Then it hit me, she is bigger than me now then I was at 21 ( because I was 3 years deep into my eating disorders; I was anorexic.) I knew this might happen, I’d planned to adjust for it but I forgot.

You see, a few months back, I told my oldest about my eating disorders as a preemptive strike. Now, I really struggled with whether or not I should tell the girls because I don’t want them to think less of me, think its ok or, worse still, be responsible for planting that seed in their brain. But I told her because she is starting to outgrow me in height.

Her feet are passing me by and I noticed that when I tried to give her a pair of my shoes, she compared her feet to mine. Firstly, we have different builds. Secondly, she is a ballet dancer who dances in pointe; wide feet are a by-product. But none of that matters because she was comparing herself to me and I was the bar by which she was measuring herself. She judged her difference as a deficit. I assured her that different does not mean less than, it only means not the same.

Today, as we sifted again through the bins, she began trying things on. Things she knew I wore to my bridal shower and on our honeymoon and I could see her judging herself. It broke my heart. I had to jump in and explain that we have different builds and that I was not healthy when I was that size, the size that is smaller than a 12-year-old child. In all honesty, my 9-year-old happily accepted and fits into one of my favorite outfits from when I was 25. I was sick. I could have died and none of that is ok.

I’ve tried to explain that I had already gone through puberty and my shape was different than hers is now. I also explained how I had no boobs and hairy legs when I was her age; to give her some perspective. Still, I saw the defeat in her eyes when she tried on one of my favorite skirts from the 90’s and she couldn’t fasten it.

I know that feeling because even though I was not a huge tween, I was huge compared to my mom. I outgrew her clothes around the same time. This was also the same time; I began my lifelong battle with body dysmorphic disorder so all of this is scaring the shit out of me. Like, I am literally lying awake at night wondering how this is all going to play out and praying that eating disorders are not genetic because they never go away. You are never cured. You are just in a constant state of recovery for the rest of your life. I don’t want that for my girls.

To this day, I follow girls in recovery on Instagram. I’m invested in their recovery from eating disorders. Part of it is because I miss being in control like that and part of it is to cheer them on in their recovery. I want them to get better; to survive and have a life and a family and be able to eat food without mental anguish; cruelty-free without torture. But then I get this thought in my head, what if I’m cheering them on and they see me, overweight now, and relapse?

The same way I am terrified that my clothes are going to push my daughter in that direction. She is almost as tall as me and she is going to be much taller. She is also built more athletically than me. Her father is bigger than my father. She is buying S/M in clothes and I am L/XL and I am afraid she is going to see the gap narrowing too much and see herself as bigger than she is. So, I have to get healthier so I don’t negatively affect the way she sees herself.

Believe me, I know this might sound crazy to many of you, especially if you’ve never had eating disorders but if you have, you know what I am talking about. And if it came down to it, if one of us has to be sick or feel bad or unhappy, please God, let it be me.

I may not be able to change her genetic makeup and predispositions but I can certainly be aware and be present and try my hardest to not let genetics outrank my nurturing. Maybe the answer to the question, “are eating disorders genetic?” might be yes but the outcome doesn’t have to be the same as it was for me.

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Z Yang, American Girl Doll, Giveaway

It’s May, my favorite and busiest month of the year. I don’t only love it because the world seems to be coming alive but I get to celebrate so many wonderful things in my life; birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, end of the year school performances and even the anniversary of this website. There are lots of reasons for celebrating so I will be hosting a few giveaways this month starting with the newest American Girl Doll, Z Yang.

Z Yang, American Girl’s newest contemporary character, is an imaginative 13-year-old from Seattle who develops her own take on the world around her.

Z is the latest addition to American Girl’s new series of contemporary characters and stories designed to speak to more girls’ interests, backgrounds, and experiences.

Z (short for Suzie) is a Korean-American teen who loves staying connected with friends through her vlog, Z’s Crew. Now she’s taking a shot at her dream of becoming a true filmmaker. The 18” Z doll has long dark-brown hair, warm brown eyes, and a beauty mark on her left cheek. The Z doll comes dressed in her signature outfit, along with a paperback of The Real Z by Jen Calonita.

Z Yang, American Girl Doll, Giveaway

American Girl brings its popular stop-motion vlogger character, Z Yang, to life for millions of fans who have come to know and love her as the star of the company’s popular web series, Z’s Crew.

Inspired by the American Girl Stop Motion (AGSM) phenomenon, the series has garnered more than three million views on YouTube and continues to draw a large fan base.

Bonus: An Amazon Original live-action “Z” Special, An American Girl Story: Summer Camp Friends for Life, is scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on June 9, 2017.

The full Z product collection includes several creatively-inspired doll outfits and accessories that reflect her filmmaking interests, such as a wooden fold-out desk—complete with a chair and several pretend video-making supplies like a laptop and video monitor, as well as her own filming accessories like a camera, smartphone, and tripod, to name a few.

Z Yang, American Girl Doll, Giveaway

The Z Yang collection is available now.

To learn more about Z and other new American Girl characters debuting throughout 2017, go to americangirl.com, Facebook at facebook.com/americangirl, Twitter at twitter.com/american_girl, Pinterest at pinterest.com/agofficial, and American Girl’s Instagram page at instagram.com/americangirlbrand. To request an American Girl catalog, call 1-800-845-0005.

Through the generosity of American Girl, I am hosting a giveaway.

If you’d like the chance to win a Z Yang doll for the special little girl in your life, enter the giveaway below and leave a comment telling me which American Girl doll you most identify with?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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cancer, cervical biopsy, when cancer's on the table, waiting for biopsy results, FemiLift, vaginal lift, pap smear, cervix, xanax, miscarriage

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with FemiLift. However, all opinions are my own.

A couple weeks ago, I told you all about the FemiLift procedure and shared with you an interview I had with Dr. Ghozland who performs the FemiLift procedure. It was very informative but you know me, the proof is in the pudding and I wanted to speak with someone who actually experienced the procedure. Because who is going to give it to you more real than another mama?

I had a million, some very personal, questions and Jackie Jorge was a great sport and answered every single one of them.

All the questions about FemiLift you were too embarrassed to ask.

On a scale of 1-10, how painful was it?

I would say it’s a 2, if 10 was the worst pain ever. (Wow! Less painful than I expected.)

How invasive did it feel? I hated the early pregnancy ultrasound wands so how does it compare to that?

It’s way smaller than the ultrasound pregnancy wand, but there is definitely something going “in” you, so you can feel it. I think a pap is more invasive (and painful) than FemiLift treatment. (Good to know because my paps are pretty painful thanks to my extra deep cervix.)

How many treatments did you need?

Doctor recommended 3 FemiLift treatments.

What was your personal recovery time?

There is no recovery time. I was able to go about my day just as usual. The nurse said I shouldn’t have intercourse on the night of the treatment. (Definitely shorter than I expected.)

Can you tell a difference? How? Is it visible or strictly internal and a change in sensation? 

Yes! I can absolutely feel the difference. I had two major issues that I was trying to address. The first was stress incontinence and the other was dryness during intercourse. By the 3rd week of the first treatment, I noticed I wasn’t peeing when I laughed or sneezed.

By the second treatment, I had actually caught a cold and it was the first time I didn’t need a mini pad during my cold! Another great difference is when I take my daughters to the bathroom. I used to have to use the toilet first or I would pee myself! Now, I’m able to let them go first!

As far as intercourse… after the first treatment I noticed right away that I was able to “last longer” and I didn’t need to stop my husband to get the lube out!

What does your husband say? Has he noticed a difference?

I actually wasn’t expecting this… but he said last week that he thinks I’m tighter. He never complained before, but it was nice to know that he is enjoying the benefits too.

Has it improved your sex life? How?

OMG… 100% yes!!! After the second treatment, sex feels incredible!! It is a gift to be able to really enjoy and want sex at 40 (Something)… You have no inhibitions so you’re able to reach climaxes that you never knew existed (and in record time).

Has it made you more confident in bed?

Yes. See above statement 🙂 I’ve never really had confidence issues in bed, but I can say that after FemiLift, I am so much more excited to have sex!

Has it made it easier to achieve orgasm through penetration?

Yes. I am like totally blown away how much more sensation I have. It’s like FemiLift has re-awakened my vagina. It’s pretty amazing!

Would you recommend it to your friends? Sisters?

YES. I DO RECOMMEND FEMILIFT EVERYTIME IT’S BROUGHT UP IN CONVERSATION! I’M ACTUALLY NOT SURPRISED THAT IT COMES UP AS OFTEN AS IT DOES… MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH THE SAME ISSUES. I HAVE FOUND THAT WOMEN ARE LOOKING FOR RE-ASSURANCE THAT WHAT THEY’RE DEALING WITH IS “NORMAL”…  I WOULD SAY TO ANY WOMAN WHO COMPLAINS OF DRYNESS/PAIN DURING SEX, STRESS INCONTINENCE OR THE CONSTANT URGE TO PEE… THAT YOU CAN FIX YOUR LEAKS AND URGES TO PEE AND THAT SEX CAN BE AMAZING AGAIN! MY FRIENDS AND SISTERS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING MY PROGRESS AND I HAVE GIVEN MY DOCTOR’S NUMBER A FEW TIMES! :))

Just a side note the entire interview was in All Caps, I corrected it. I thought it was a caps lock issue however, now I realize Jackie just thinks that FemiLift is ALL CAPS AWESOME!

Hope this has been helpful to anyone who might be interested in taking action to reverse time and babies effect on your lady bits.

For more information about Femilift please check out my previous FemiLift article that goes in depth about the procedure itself.

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Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Have you watched Dirty Dancing the movie? Who hasn’t, right? But did you know that there is a Dirty Dancing Broadway tour? I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who knows me that our family is theater lovers. There is nothing quite as spectacular as a live production.

The original is one of the quintessential movies of my generation. There was something about the Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Garner dynamic that was so unbelievable but at the same time exactly what every teen girl/woman secretly hoped for; that they’d get the hot guy not just because he wanted to throw her in the back of his car and have his way with her but because he fell in love with her personality and that made her the most beautiful girl in the world. Doesn’t every woman want to be sexy but respected?

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Just in case you are not familiar with the story, here is the premise for Dirty Dancing:

The story takes place in the summer of 1963, 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman is about to learn some major life lessons and a thing or two about dancing. On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, ‘Baby’ shows little interest in the resort activities and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles upon the staff quarters when an all-night dance party is in full swing.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Mesmerized by the raunchy dance moves and the pounding rhythms, ‘Baby’ can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle the resort dance instructor. ‘Baby’s’ life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off with breathtaking consequences.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

These two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. It will be the “time of their lives”.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Even if you never saw Dirty Dancing, you can tell that the story is everything.

Dirty Dancing is an iconic love story on steroids with the best.soundtrack.ever! Honestly, Dirty Dancing was my best friend’s favorite movie and every time you spent the night (which was basically every weekend of our adolescents) we watched this movie.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

I watch all of the movies from the 80’s with my daughters and its just as much fun now as when I watched them with my best friend back when I was a tween. So, imagine my delight when I found out that not only is there a live Broadway tour of Dirty Dancing but it is touring and coming to a theater near me (and probably you too!)

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

You heard me right! Dirty Dancing is back!

Exploding with heart-pounding music, breathtaking emotion, and sensationally sexy dancing. It’s been seen by millions worldwide and features 35 hit songs, including “Hungry Eyes, “Hey Baby”, “Do You Love Me?” and the the infamous, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

We’re taking our girls to see it and we can’t wait! I have read amazing reviews and I can’t wait to see how they bring the story to life on stage in live theater. I’ll make sure to share my review with you after we see it so you can get the skinny on whether or not you should go see it in a city near you.

If you’ve seen Dirty Dancing on stage or even if you haven’t, I’d love to hear your thoughts on a stage adaptation.

 

Disclosure: I was provided tickets to experience Dirty Dancing on stage but all opinions and genuine love of theater are my own. 

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shaming, fat shaming, slut shaming, mom shaming, embarrassing mom moments

Ever been the victim of shaming? There are so many ways of embarrassing women, fat shaming, slut shaming and mom shaming to name a few. But I experienced an entirely new kind of shaming; one I never expected… straight up, thong panty, red-in-the-face…” are these yours?” shaming. Was I ever embarrassed?

You’ve heard the term “airing your dirty laundry”? We’ve all heard it and most of us have done it. Though, I really try hard not to. Well, as much as you can when you’re a blogger and telling my business is sort of my business. Ironically enough, I grew up hearing my father tell me constantly, “Don’t tell everyone your business.”

It’s never been my nature to have a filter and mostly there is nothing off limits, as you know from reading this blog, however, it’s different in my real life. Meaning that I do actually think before I speak to someone face to face. I weigh the consequences of my words. I don’t particularly like being embarrassed.

My threshold for embarrassment is pretty high. After all, I grew up with 6 brothers and sisters, you develop a thick skin but I do still embarrass over a few things and this is where the next thing that I’m about to tell you comes in.

This is how the shaming happened.

Last month, suddenly, our washer started behaving very badly. Like seriously, it needed a timeout in a corner by itself. It’s a fairly new washer, still under warranty, but it decided that it was going to stop spinning and draining and began passively aggressively blinking a warning code at me.

We looked the code up and it meant there was too much suds. What? I’ve been doing laundry since I was about 9-years-old and I never recall putting too much detergent in the laundry. In fact, it was drilled pretty hard into my head not to after a sitcom showed us just what could happen if too much soap got in the washer. Suds everywhere. My mom was very vigilant that never happen because,6 kids, she had no time for cleaning up extraneous messes.

Yet, here we are. We ran the cleaning cycle about 30 times. We stopped using the liquid detergent and switched back to powder. We measured every single bit of soap that went into the machine. Still, the code continued to aggressively blink and beep at me, each time I opened the lid to find the washer with about 7 inches of water in the drum. Then, the washer began screaming another code at us. This one meant that there was a drainage issue.

Do you know what happens when the washer doesn’t drain? I’ll tell you, I had to revert to the ways of my ancestors, I had to wring the entire load out by hand and it was hard. Every load for almost a month (as I waited for the manufacturer to sort out when they could send a technician) I had to wring by hand. It was a hard month. My entire body hurt.

Remember people, I am a writer. I don’t do a lot of manual labor aside from housework and normally, housework does not include hand-wringing sopping wet fleeces and jeans. I ached all over my body. Just as I was finally starting to develop some muscle tone, a technician was sent to my house to try to figure out what was causing the problem.

The technician was a very nice middle-aged man. Very talkative. We developed a friendly rapport as he disassembled my washer in search of the root of all evil. I cracked jokes. He laughed. Then, I went on about my morning work. That’s when it happened. A moment that I will never forget. My face is turning red just thinking about it.

He calls me from the laundry room, “Mrs. Can you come here. I think I found the problem.”

In my mind, I was like, “Hell yeah, I’ll pay anything just please don’t make me wring out another load of bath towels by hand!” I came bouncing into the laundry room like a puppy about to get a treat; smiling my crazy mom smile from ear to ear. There he was surrounded by all the disassembled parts of my washing machine

“Well, ma’am I think I found the culprit of all your washing machine woes.”

And with that, he pulls from the washing machine with the help of his trusted pliers, a pair of my panties. Not just any panties, but a pair of my G-string panties that had somehow gotten themselves over the side of the drum and in between the drum and shell of the machine, where the drain is located.

Apparently, my thong panties were clogging the drain and with that, he handed me my sopping wet panties ( and not in a good way) while he told me that the warranty didn’t cover it and I would owe him just over a $100.

Aside from being embarrassed that a strange man was handing me my panties that clogged a drain, he insulted me further by charging me for doing so. How embarrassing.

So, I took my soaked thong, threw them into the garbage, wrote him a check and never made eye contact ever again. I finally get the saying, don’t air your dirty laundry. It apparently goes for your clean laundry too, if they’re panties. Thus goes my public panty shaming.

Have you ever had an unexpected public shaming?

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