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Disney,Sleeping beauty, sponsored, dreams for our children

When you have a baby, you instantly have dreams for them, before they are ever born. It’s all part of loving them unconditionally. We want them to have, be and do everything they could ever dream of. We dream of a “perfect” life for them, one in which they enjoy all the good that the world has to offer. We dream of our children having lives filled with happiness, health, marriage, career success and 2.5 children. We have dreams of six figure salaries and big houses in gated communities. We dream of our children never having to want for anything and never feeling any of the world’s pain and hurt. In short, our dreams are big and beautiful but not very realistic.

 

I decided early on, after actually having children, that I couldn’t control what my daughters’ dreams were going to be. Their dreams are their dreams, not mine. The dreams I have, are my dreams for them and the two may not be anything alike and that is all right. I’ve streamlined my dreams for them, all I really want for my children are health and happiness; whatever their happiness may look like, I want them to have that. If there were room, I’d love for them to get to pursue their passions.

 

From the moment I found out that I was pregnant with little girls, my brain was flooded with pink, taffeta, tulle and hair bows as big as Gerbera daisies, ballet and all things girly. My head was swimming with all the possibilities to share with my girls; all the likes and dislikes. Like most parents, my children were, in a way, an opportunity to give them all that I never had and always wanted or to recreate all of my favorite memories from my own childhood. It was a chance to help someone else avoid making those mistakes that I had already experienced. I know, when I read it out loud it sounds like I’m some crazy stage mom. I’m not. I just always try to afford my daughters every opportunity that they want; every chance to be who they want to be.

 

I have two daughters. One daughter is all about everything prim, proper and princess. She loves the refinement of ballet, all things pink (in all shades) and the fancier and girlier something is, the better it is in her mind. She loves big full dresses and giant hair flowers. She fulfills every one of those fantasies I had when I first found out that I was pregnant with a girl. She is obedient, pensive, social, philanthropic and kind. She is very Audrey Hepburn. Everyone who meets her tells me what a pleasure she is to be around. I am proud of her. She says that when she grows up, she wants to be a fashion designer and a mother of 4. She wants it all and I respect that but I know there will be choices that will have to be made with those dreams; sacrifices to be made.

 

My youngest daughter loves blue and green, which also happen to be my favorite colors. She is a little tomboyish and rough around the edges but she is 100% genuine all the time. She can’t tell a lie to save her life and she wears her heart on her sleeve and her every mood on her face. She is honest to a fault and fierce beyond any sass I have ever seen on another child her age. She is gruff but she is graceful and I see a lot of Grace Kelly beneath that somewhat wild first impression. When she dances, it’s like a soft breeze blowing off the ocean. She loves animals and says when she grows up she wants to go to Purdue (where her father and I went) and be a veterinarian. She’s 7 but she says she’s not sure she wants kids. I know this might change but it also might not.

 

Their dreams are big and beautiful in their own way. I hope they get everything they desire out of life but, as their mother, all I really want them to have is health, love and happiness. I don’t care who it’s with or whether they have children or not or where they live or who they marry or what they do; all I want for them is loads and loads of good health and happiness. All the rest is not my dream to have.

 

Speaking of Dreams Coming True,

Sleeping-Beauty-dreams-for-our-children

 

Disney’s Ultimate Fairy Tale, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition will be released on Blu-ray™ and Digital HD for the first time on October 7, 2014. So why not create some memories that will last a lifetime with Disney’s illustrious #SleepingBeauty- a must own for every family’s classic collection, and order now!

 

What is your dream for your child?

 

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elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

It’s that time of the year again. You know the one. The time of the year when the elf on the shelf arrives. Also, coincidentally, when parents have about 5 whimsical, hilarious and creative elf on the shelf ideas and then, we’re out. Even if we’re not out, we forget. Oh, the horror. Why must those little guys need so much assistance? No fear, this mom scoured the internet and below are 20 funny last minute elf on the shelf ideas that parents can remember and kids will love.

Let me tell you a little story about the dumbest parents in the world, that would be the Big Guy and myself, in case there was any confusion. The elf on the shelf started coming when Bella was 2-years-old. We thought, “OMG, it’s so cute every kid should have one of Santa’s adorable elves come to visit them at Christmas.”

READ ALSO: The Elf is Back in Town

Our first elf on the shelf arrived that year, in a box (with little breathing holes in it) from the North Pole (sent from Santa Claus himself, no less) and a letter from the Jolly Big Guy. Did I mention that we do not half-ass anything in this house? We put our whole ass in our hell yeahs…even funny last minute elf in the shelf ideas.

His name was Ed and he was freaking adorable. No, he didn’t look like the other elves. He’s pleasantly plump and has kind eyes and I’m assuming that he is probably Santa’s favorite because he kind of looks like Santa himself (maybe he’s Santa’s illegitimate son? I’m not saying he is but I’m not saying he isn’t either.)

After all, Elf on the shelf can come in all sizes, shapes and colors just like people. #TeachableMoment

Ed was fantastic. Bella loved him and so did we. An elf’s life is pretty sweet when kids are toddlers. Toddlers have the attention span of gnats. Ed could literally move his lazy derriere an inch a night and Bella was perfectly tickled.

By 2008, we had two little girls and, for some reason, Santa thought it would be cool to send 2 elves. One for each girl. Ed and Ana Lee (who’s a little old guy who came with a name tag). So, then there were 2 elves, 2 daughters and the 3-year-old was pretty perceptive. Life gets more complicated when 2 lazy elves have to put on a dog and pony show every night. 2 kids, this mommy was exhausted.

READ ALSO: Elf on the Shelf Run Amuck

Well, if you think things were getting crazy, well, you have no idea. Ended up moving a couple of times and well, let’s just say for argument’s sake, that our elves got confused for a couple of years and we ended up with 3 more different elves, Herbie Hancock, Rick Astley and Darling Nikki. I’m blaming sundowners for Ed and Ana lee’s confusion. Moving is not good for elf consistency. So, for those of you keeping track, now that we have lived in this house for 6 years, all 5 elves have been showing up. It gets chaotic up in here.

Here are 20 Funny Last Minute Elf on the shelf ideas for Parents and Elves who are exhausted and lack imagination or both.

1. The Elf on the Shelf with Proof

Have the elf show up in a box with holes from the North Pole and a letter from Santa. Remember to remove all name tags they bring with themselves, as to allow for a more suitable name to be given to said elf.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze, hostess

Photo Credit: @Frugalmom

2. The Hostess with the Mostest Elf

Has your elf shown up with a welcome breakfast for the whole family? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Maybe you help the little guy out and host your own north pole breakfast. 

3. Paratrooper Elf

Has your Elf on the Shelf parachuted in? It’s different, unexpected and really brings adventure. I mean, if he’s arriving by parachute, what might this little guy (or gal) do next? Who says that last minute Elf on the Shelf ideas have to be boring?

4. Kissing Elf on the Shelf

A bag full of kisses for all the bubs and sisses. Maybe your elf is just not that into boxes maybe he arrives with a note from Santa and a bag full of chocolate kisses.

5. Full of Hot Air Elf on the Shelf

Forget the box altogether, and forget Santa’s predictable sleigh, why not arrive by hot air balloon, zip line or under the Christmas tree locomotive? After all, Danger could be his middle name (check the “name” tag someone forgot to remove).

6. Do you want to build a snowman Elf on the Shelf

If your kids are like mine they are Frozen fanatics and they also love building snowmen, so kids find it pretty cool when their Elf shows up and writes Frozen lyrics all over the bathroom mirror and builds a toilet paper snowman. And hey, if it’s snowing out, parents, you’ll get bonus points for taking those kiddies out and building an actual snowman!

READ ALSO: The Elf on the Shelf Problem

But be careful, our 5 elves have been known to toilet paper our house, the tree and anything else when hopped up on too much peppermint. I’m pretty sure that our elves turn into chain-smoking, drunken frat boy hooligans at night.

7. Loco for Coco Elf on the Shelf

Maybe while you’re outside building the snowman, maybe Rick Astley (that little go-getter that he is) the elf decides to put together a surprise coco bar for the whole family. How thoughtful. Best.elf. ever.

8. Like a Wrecking Ball Elf on the Shelf

Maybe your elf is MacGyver and he likes to live on the edge. So he takes some string, a toilet paper roll and he swings in overnight to make an entrance.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze, smores

Photo Credit: @CameronsCoffee

9. S’mores Elf on the Shelf

I’m not one for advocating that elves play with fire but it sure would be nice to return from a cold day at school to find Smoky the elf carefully making S’mores. That would be a nice treat, right?

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

Photo Credit: @Craftywayout

10. Pump You Up Elf on the Shelf

Schwarzenegger elf really doesn’t like to miss his workouts, especially around the holidays with all the yummy desserts around the joint. Maybe he concocts marshmallow dumbbells to keep in shape and keep those love handles at bay.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

Photo credit: @Juliee_1985

11. An Angel Gets its Wings Elf on the Shelf

Frosty the snow elf really loves playing in the “snow” so beware, he may go to extreme lengths to feel at home and make sugar, rice, powdered sugar or sprinkle angels.

Mischievous Elf on the Shelf Ideas for the elves who want to live on the edge.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

Photo Credit: @Dopedreams_3X

12. Pooping elf on the shelf.

I am not sure what exactly these elves eat on a regular basis, but I can say that we’ve caught them pooping a toilet full of chocolate chips in the Barbie toilet. We’ve also caught them making not so nice toilet humor and playing pranks in the bathroom.

13. Tawanda! Elf on the Shelf

Ever caught your elves mid mischief? Well, one of our elf’s favorite things to do besides swing from chandeliers and cozy up to the Barbies and American Girl Dolls is sledding down the stairs. We’ve caught them doing it in the Barbie car, in toilet paper tubes and even by wrapping themselves in the toilet paper, yelling “Tawanda!” and just rolling. Silly elves, toilet paper is for wiping butts not sliding down the stairs.

14. The Godfather Elf on the Shelf

Our girls know that touching the elves is strictly forbidden and strips them of their North Pole magical abilities, so they don’t touch them but those elves are sneaky. When the girls have had talkback, push the boundary days, our elves have not been above crawling in the bed with them and sleeping on the pillow next to them. It’s pretty Tony Soprano sleeping with the fishes/ waking up with a horse head in your bed thug like.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze15. Shoe Conga Elf on the Shelf

Elves like to be silly. I once saw our elves do a shoe conga from the living room, through the foyer and into the movie room. They’ve also been known to do this aboard the Polar Express beneath the Christmas tree.

16. Horsing Around Elves

They’re just like us and they get bored. I’ve seen them rally all those stuffies, Polly Pockets and Barbie dolls lying on the floor and let the sack races begin.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level

Photo Credit: @Pittmankid

17. K-Cup Criminal Elf on the Shelf

Did you know that elves love coffee and hot chocolate almost as much as they love peppermint sticks? They do. I’ve caught them on more than one occasion reusing my old K-Cups. I’m cool with it. I’m all about recycling and reusing.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

Photo credit: @elfontheshelf

18. Sick Day Elf on the Shelf

Well, even elves get cooties sometimes, especially during a pandemic. Who says they can’t get quarantined to one spot??  Our kids know all about it now, so if you forget to move Elfie, he was quarantined. That’s your story, now stick to it. In these situations, it is best if they leave a doctor’s note to let the kids know why they’re not moving. Enjoy your sleep and take advantage of those days that you don’t have to chase him down every night. P.S. It’s the worse when the elf catches a cold from your kid but the guilt does buy you a couple extra days of relief but don’t try that with Omicron, too much pandemic stress could blow it all up in your face. Don’t get greedy.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark

Photo Credit: @lips_last_with_Selena

19. Elfy sharks doo doo doo doo doo doo 

We have an entire family of elves, therefore, why wouldn’t they want to get in on the latest craze? You just know they’re going to show up as the family of sharks one day, perhaps with the JAWS music playing softly in the background. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.

20. Picasso Elf on the Shelf

Our elves seem to get increasingly mischievous the closer we get to Christmas. One of their favorite things to do is climb up our shelves and draw silly mustaches and unibrows on family photos.

There are ( as my teen would say) “literally” 1000 other things your elf can do and mischief they can get into. I can go on for infinity.

If you are looking for some other great ideas check out this awesome elf on the shelf checklist.

I can say that our elves are a bit rambunctious. On their last night at our house, we almost always find them hungover after a night of drunken debauchery; gorged on peppermint and passed out in the middle of their Go Fish game.

They’ve even been known to toilet paper our Christmas tree and fill our house with paper snowflakes while we were at a holiday party. Elves are awesome but they sure love their shenanigans. They also have a penchant for stealing phones while you sleep and leaving random #elfies on our phones.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

What’s your best funny last minute elf on the shelf ideas? What’s the craziest thing your elf has ever done?

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Ever wonder how to catch a ghost in a photo? I know some people do. People want proof of the supernatural. I’ve seen some really cool ones of shadowy figures,  legless confederate soldiers floating in a field and orbs but never anything like the one I caught in my photo of my toddler.

It seems like everyone these days have been touched by the supernatural. We live in a world where people enjoy having the piss scared out of them but ghost stories have never much scared me. Zombies are laughable, Vampires are a sexy fetish and werewolves are just big hairy dogs with bad attitudes.

Ghosts are snapshots of the past caught in a loop. Someone dies so suddenly that they don’t realize it and they get stuck but I don’t bother them and they don’t care about me. I know some people would quickly consult some psychics about what to do if they believe there’s a supernatural presence in their homes.

It’s the same way I think about aliens; maybe they’re out there but I don’t care. I’m not afraid. Life’s too short. I have real living breathing people problems to fixate on like Trump or crazed mass shooters. Who has time to look for ghosts?

I myself am a longtime lover of the horror genre. I watched my first horror movie in the theater when I was 7-years-old. My aunt and Uncle took my 5-year-old brother and I to see it with them. It was a baby swap. They swapped their newborn for the two of us. From then on, I got all my horror books and movies from my 16-year-old aunt. I loved it.

Not only did I watch the Exorcist when I was a kid, I even read the book. I devoured Stephen King. I watched every horror movie I could. They didn’t scare me so much as they intrigued me, with the exception of the Exorcist.

I’m Catholic, I was raised to believe in that shit so that one still scares me. The rest of it, it thrills me but no fear here. Hell, I may have even wished and tried to have telekinesis as a child, like Carrie. I’d totally endure pig blood prom to be able to move shit with my mind. But normally, I don’t believe in what’s not real. However, I may have been made into a believer at my last house.

Now, let me preface this by saying that our house was a new build. I’m leery about old houses because…hello, someone has definitely died in almost every old house. It’s inevitable. But this was a new build. Apparently, I clearly forgot about the Poltergeist loophole. Obviously, having children left me vulnerable and not on my haunted game.

When we lived in that house, the girls were really small. We bought the house when Bella was 5 months old; Gabi was born while we lived there. We live there until Bella was 6.

From the time we moved in, we had lights flicker and our ceiling fan light would come on by itself in the middle of the night. In our previous house (also a new build) stereos and lights would come on in the middle of the night too. The Big Guy always rational would make it all make sense to my superstitious mind.

I was exhausted from babies and the Big Guy would tell me that it was just probably some neighbor who had the same remote and it flipped our lights on. It never dawned on me to question why the hell the neighbor was waking up at 3 a.m. flipping on all the damn lights. I’d snuggle back into my co-sleeping baby and forget about it.

When the girls were about 2 and 4-years-old, the Big Guy had to go live in another state to work so that left me alone with the girls. No coincidence, this is also when I started my blog.

I’d stay up late at night writing and I’d always turn to the hallway where our bedrooms were because I kept catching glimpses of a little girl standing in the hall. I thought it was my girls. And every time, I would walk to the hallway and then enter the bedrooms and my girls were sleeping. They were never in the hallway. NEVER.

I remember having 2 am writing sessions where all the hair would stand up on my neck and I’d get the chills. I just assumed that my body was boycotting my insomniac self. You know how that happens sometimes. Your body gives you a big F you because it needs sleep.

Then there was the time my brothers and the Big Guy were in our media room in the basement late one-night playing video games. When it came time to shut it all down and all the lights were off, all 3 of them saw a red light moving around the room. There was no source. They checked. Again, the Big Guy reasoned it away. My little brother would never spend the night at my house after that.

When Gabs was old enough to stand, we’d catch her in her room sometimes standing in her crib jibber jabbing to the corner. Looking directly up into the corner like someone was there. It creeped me out, a lot but nothing really had happened. Maybe I was just being my usual superstitious Latina self. So, I crossed myself and pretended it wasn’t happening and it was all in my mind.

I’d bring it up to the Big Guy but every single time, his rational engineering mind would say it wasn’t so. In retrospect, I think he was just trying to stop me from becoming all out, balls to the wall drama queen hysterical.

Then after about a year of this happening, one day Gabs comes running into the living room and tells me, “Mommy, Bella just told me…..” and I looked at her and said, “Gabs, Bella’s not here. Remember, Bella is at Kindergarten?”

She looked at me dead serious and said, “No, mommy. I was just playing with her in my room.”

There.was.no.one.in.the.room. I don’t know who the hell she was playing with, but it wasn’t my 5-year-old who was not in the building.

That one freaked me out. Still, nothing tangible. Maybe a toddler with an overactive imagination. That’s good, right?

My husband was still living out of state 5-6 days a week. I was still alone. I had two little girls. I didn’t have time to be ghostbusting or looking for shit that wasn’t there. Plus, I believe that ghosts are snapshots. I’m not scared of some poor sucker that died so suddenly that they don’t realize that they’re gone and they can’t move on. I feel sorry for them. They don’t bother me. I don’t bother me. In case you were wondering about my policy on such things.

However, Exorcist scared the shit out of me. I still haven’t been able to watch The Conjuring again since the first time, when I couldn’t sleep for 2 weeks.

Then, one day my sweet toddler who was between 2-3 years old walked up to me while I was sitting in my kitchen chair. She was tiny, so I shot the photo at a down angle. No one else was in the room with us (that we could see).

When I saw the photo, a photo that she has still not seen and probably never will, I literally almost passed out. I legit freaked out like nothing before. My first instinct was that OMG, my husband was in an accident and died or something and this was his spirit…on a loop.

I frantically called my husband, in another state, but no answer which only intensified my belief that something terrible had happened to him. 5 hours later when I finally reached him ( he had been in meetings all day) I sent him the picture, to which he replied, “Gabs looks adorable!”

To which I responded, “Look next to her at.the.disembodied.head!!!!!!!”

Luckily, he was on his way home. I didn’t know what to do. You know that instinct you have set the house on fire and burn it down when you find a monster spider? Well, times that times a million and that’s how I felt. I felt invaded and vulnerable and scared. Was it trying to make contact? Had it already made contact with my baby? Was that who she was talking to?

And then, I learned to live with it. Many people have asked me why didn’t you leave the house. My answer is this, because I couldn’t. My husband lived in a tiny apartment in Iowa at a contracted job. The kids had school and commitments. I had commitments. We had friends and a life. I couldn’t let it all be toppled by a head that photobombed my baby. Right?

It was always in the back of my head. I got used to knowing that something that I couldn’t see but could feel was there. All those “probably nothing” moments became something but I had to choose to not live my life afraid. I had to put my money where my mouth was and not be afraid of ghosts.

I still don’t know who or what was in my house. I never tried to make contact. I’ve watched enough horror movies in my life to know better than to open a gateway of communication. It never bothered us, other than lights coming on and photobombing us this once.

I also stopped watching all of those paranormal investigation shows because, honestly, activity seemed to pick up around Halloween when we’d watch those shows. Maybe it was a coincidence but the first time the radio came on by itself blaring at 3 a.m., it was Halloween night.

We lived there for 2 more years, just me, the girls and our ghost. Yep, I was scared. Nope, I didn’t sleep but we survived. And hell yeah, capturing a ghost in a picture is a lot scarier and a lot less cool than one might think, especially when it is in your own house.

What would you have done if you snapped that photo in your house? Have you ever had a similar situation? What did you do? Please don’t share your opinion that spirits can attach to people, I’m trying to ignore the sound of someone walking around upstairs. I choose to believe it’s my old house settling.

 

P.S. If you know my Gabs, never speak of this photo to her. She doesn’t know it exists and it would probably freak her out.

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Hulu, Summer, Back-to-school, kids, downtime

This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

Can you believe how fast summer is going? We’ve barely even made a dent in our family’s summer bucket list! Where has the summer gone? It’s been flying by at a dizzying pace here. I think since April I’ve been saying, I can’t wait until this month is over and we get to do nothing. Yet, here we are, still doing everything. I just want to have to be nowhere, do nothing and sleep. I just want to be, and sneak in some cuddles with those girls of mine who are growing faster than should legally be allowed. Can we get a law passed?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m having a blast traveling with my family and sharing experiences with them. Man, life is so much better when it’s filled with experiences. I mean, isn’t that what we all work for? To pay for the experiences? I’d say we are pretty blessed to be able to give our children the kinds of experiences that we can in today’s world.

 

Part of my job is living experiences. I experience and then I write about it. It’s not always great but you always learn something new about a place, a product or yourself; sometimes a little bit of all of it. I’ve been lucky because I’ve been able to take my family along to live these experiences as well. I know it’s a little bit cheesy but I just have more fun when they are around to see it from their perspective too.

I do completely realize that which I am complaining about is a total first world problem and I feel like a complete jerkface. This is what separates us from the animals, right? It could definitely be worse, I could be complaining that I don’t know where my next meal is coming from or where we’ll be sleeping tonight but I get to complain about having too many places to be at one time or having a packed schedule with awesome experiences. I know I am blessed but it’s still hard being overscheduled.

Still, I am human and I need a minute every now and then to just be. My favorite activity to do is binge watch television after the kids go to bed, since I never get to watch television in real time. I mean seriously, what parent ever gets to watch a show at its regularly scheduled time or all the way through? It’s like getting to eat dinner with no interruptions and while the food is still warm. Sure, it happens occasionally but it’s about as rare as a newborn sleeping through the night. I’ve heard of it happening but I’ve never actually experienced it yet.

The plan for the next 2 weeks (before our last trip of the summer on August 10) is going to involve lazy days spent poolside, afternoon bike rides while the tree shadows play on our faces and lots and lots of laughter. Movies under the stars in the yard or at the drive-in, picnics, barbecues and lots and lots of friends are also on the summer bucket list.

Hulu, Summer, Back-to-school, kids, downtime

But the thing I am secretly looking forward to the most on super-hot August days is coming home, blissfully exhausted from some sun drenched adventure, collapsing onto the couch or building a pillow fort with my daughters, snuggling under a fuzzy blanket in an air conditioned house with no place to be and watching some Disney movies on Hulu. We’re looking forward to Tarzan, Hercules, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pocahontas. Or maybe I’ll introduce them to some of my favorites like The Karate Kid 1-3, Race for your Life Charlie Brown, How to Eat Fried Worms, Charlotte’s Web and the Baby Sitter’s Club.

Hulu, Summer, Back-to-school, kids, downtime

That could definitely be fun. I’ve been sharing my favorite childhood books with them and it’s been awesome for all of us.

Not familiar with Hulu? I discovered it a couple years ago when I broke my leg and watching tv was the only thing I could do while confined to bed. Hulu is the next generation of TV. Their game-changing TV experience shifts the way consumers experience TV. This is TV built around you.

Hulu offers original series, full libraries of some of the most popular shows of all time, films and new episodes anytime on internet-connected TVs, smartphones, game consoles, set top boxes and mobile devices. This year, Hulu added live news, entertainment and sports programming – making it the only TV service that brings together live, on-demand, originals, and library content all in one place, across living room and mobile devices.

How much does Hulu cost? Limited commercials plan: $7.99 per month (get a one-month free trial) No commercials plan: $11.99 per month (get a one month free trial) For $39.99 – far less than a traditional cable package – Hulu will give you more than 50 popular live and on-demand channels, PLUS their existing library of more than 3500 TV and film titles. No other pay TV provider can offer that. Get a one-week free trial. And you can also add SHOWTIME and HBO to your existing Hulu subscription for an additional fee.

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What’s on your family’s summer bucket list?

Hulu is a leading premium streaming service that offers instant access to live and on demand channels, original series and films, and a premium library TV and movies to millions of subscribers in the U.S. Since its launch in 2008, Hulu has consistently been at the forefront of entertainment and technology. Hulu is the only streaming service that offers both ad-supported and commercial-free current season shows from the largest U.S. broadcast networks; libraries of hit TV series and films; and acclaimed original series including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Mindy Project, The Path, 11.22.63, the Golden Globe® nominated comedy series Casual, as well as the upcoming Future Man and The Looming Tower. In 2017, Hulu added live news, entertainment and sports from 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, CBS Corporation, Turner Networks, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive to its offering – making it the only TV service that brings together live, on-demand, originals, and library content all in one place, across living room and mobile devices.

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lying, What to do when you catch a child lying, tween, mom, how to talk to your tween about sex, mother/daughter

Have you been struggling with how to talk to your tween about sex? Me, too. At what age did you have “the talk”? I mean we’ve talked about puberty. In fact, we’ve talked puberty to death. It’s old news. They both know so much about the inner workings of the female reproductive system that they could probably teach a class. But we’ve not quite made the leap to …you put the penis in the vagina and do that thang. I’ve been mulling this idea over for years, waiting for the right moment. I just haven’t been ready to see the innocence disappear from her eyes.

I told my tween that she and I would have “the talk” before she turns 12. In a culture where Teen Mom is a show that makes celebrities, I want my daughter to know babies are a lot or work and where those babies come from. She wants nothing to do with that conversation. Boys are not even on her radar yet. She is still pretty happy with unicorns, slumber parties and playing with dolls but I don’t want her getting misinformation about sex from other kids. I promised myself I’d talk to my tween about sex before she was 12 and now, I have less than a month, people.

Fool that I am, I made plans. The universe laughed at me and then life intervened. Now, I’m binge-reading all the articles on how to talk to your tween about sex because a teachable moment has arisen. No, before any of you have a stroke, it has nothing to do with her and sex. It’s more of a collateral damage situation.

But how to talk to your tween about sex is not an easy thing to figure out. It has to be the perfect balance of honesty, openness and availability.

The conversation has to be had with every child and no nervous giggling or embarrassment is allowed on the parents part. We have to be a source of information and comfort. They have to believe we know what we’re talking about and not be afraid to ask questions.

Last Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, I’m sure you know where this is going, and let’s just say the Big Guy and I were feeling particularly amorous. Him and all his damn romantic gestures. Anyways, apparently, we actually made some noise. We usually use our inside voices because, you know, KIDS! (TMI, I’m sorry.)

My 11-year-old had the misfortune of getting up to pee at the wrong time and now, we all need therapy. It’s all giving me flashbacks to the time when she was a toddler and she caught us “wrestling”. If these kids would JUST STAY IN THEIR BEDS. (Sidebar, just say no to co-sleeping this is what got us to where we are today. I jest, sorta.)

The thing is the tween is very mature in many ways but very immature in other ways. She’s at that age where she’s beginning to look like a young woman but her brain is not quite there yet. She’s caught somewhere between working her eye roll and still coming in for snuggles and mama cuddles on the regular.

Either way, you’ve got to figure out how to talk to your tween about sex sooner or later.

Anyways, to be clear, I was not howling at the moon or anything like that but when you are a kid and you hear anything coming from your parents’ bedroom other than snoring, you are instantly disgusted. We had no idea any of this took place until the following morning. We thought they were asleep.

All I know was that she got up on Wednesday morning particularly annoyed for no particular reason, as far as I was aware. I just took it for regular tween behavior. Honestly, one minute she’s being all tweeny and the next she is playing American Girl dolls with her little sister. I can’t keep up. She is a fantastic kid. She’s just a bit moody these days. I get it. I’ve been there. I am sympathetic.

But after school, I asked her point blank how her day was. Her answer was,

“It would have been fine if I had gotten more than 3 hours of sleep last night!”

I volleyed back with my standard,

“Well if you went to sleep at your bedtime instead of staying up messing around on your tablet or playing Barbies, you wouldn’t be so exhausted and grouchy.”

Big mistake.

To which she responded,

“No, mom I only got 3-hours of sleep because of you and dad!”

And with that, her lip curled and I could see the disgust. Suddenly, I felt like I was in that commercial back in the 70’s where the kid does the really shitty behavior, I think it was drugs or something, and says, “I learned it from you, dad!” It was that bam! You are to blame.

My next question, the one I wish I had never asked, “What is that supposed to mean? How is this our fault?” I was a little annoyed because I am not, in fact, to blame for everything.

The answer I didn’t want to hear,

“Well, I had to pee and when I got up I heard your “weird noises” coming from the bedroom AND my sleep pillow and FIFI were held hostage in there! How am I supposed to sleep without them and after hearing THAT!!!!!”

There it was. Firstly, I was a little embarrassed that she heard anything so I did what any sane mom would do, I told her that it was her dad. My second thought was, “Oh no, we traumatized her!” I finally did it. I irrevocably damaged my kid. I have to start saving for the therapy.

Then, I thought to myself, this “tween” who pushes me and pulls me back so much on a daily basis that I don’t know if I’m coming or going had purposely left her snuggle pillow and lovey in my room so that she could sneak in there in the middle of the night to sleep. Oh yeah, she still does that occasionally. I’m not complaining but she does bear some responsibility in all of this.I’m not going to lie. I was pretty embarrassed. I don’t get embarrassed but we were both red in the face. Then I sucked it up and said,

“Hey, I know it was uncomfortable to hear whatever you heard but we’re married and we love each other. This is what people who are married and in love do to share physical intimacy. It’s completely natural!”

Then I decided to add, “Besides, isn’t it better to hear “that” than your father and I screaming how much we hate each other behind those doors?”

To which she agreed. Then she looked at her little sister, her voice went down near a whisper and she said,

“But I didn’t want to hear you DOING.IT!”

Then, I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

My response, “Firstly, we never saying “doing it” ever again. It’s called “making love.””

Because hearing my 11-year-old say “doing it” in reference to her father and I, skeeved me out. Of course, hearing myself say, “making love” out loud was nearly as creepy. So we decided to just agree that when the bedroom door is shut, we’re probably together not sleeping. I told her if it really bothered her, I could buy her ear plugs. She was mortified but swiftly answered,

“Yes, please!”

Boundaries were set.

If the bedroom door is shut, stay out. I considered getting one of those old license plates that said, “If the bedroom’s a rockin, don’t bother knockin” and hanging it on our door but I thought it was probably still too soon for that joke.

We still have to have “the talk” but I’m pretty sure she knows what’s going on. I also feel like I need to add a disclaimer to our talk that when she has sex for the first time, what she heard will probably not be what will be happening because, you know, teenage boys are bumbling idiots.

But what am I going to do, tell her to sleep with older men if she wants it to be worth her time? Nope, I’ll just let her suffer through crappy first-time sex like the rest of us besides, after all that eye rolling shade she’s been throwing my way lately, an awkward first time when she’s at college is just what the doctor ordered. Shhh, don’t tell me otherwise. College is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Anyways, I’ve still got to have this talk but now, it feels super weird because I feel like she’s going to relate the entire thing to her father and me. And EWWWW!

What would you do? What’s your best advice on how to talk to your tween about sex?

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sexual health, women's health, women's bodies

Sometimes as a busy wife and mom, my life can get pretty hectic. Probably a lot like yours. It’s not easy when you have to be 100 places at the same time and you have little people depending on you for survival. That’s a lot of pressure, in and of itself, add to that work, errands, husband time and the fact that I am not as young as I once was and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed pretty quickly. That’s why I trust sites like anipots.com to provide me with the right knowledge regarding health supplements and remedies.

The thing is that this happens quite frequently and when it does, I don’t feel like myself. Does that happen to you? I’ve noticed that whenever my life gets busy and I’m experiencing a lot of emotional stress, there are always accompanying physical ramifications. For example, when you’re stressing out over why the baby isn’t sleeping through the night and the next thing you know you get a monster pimple between your eyes or you remember in the middle of the night that you have to bake 50 cupcakes for the PTO bake sale and then you fall victim to a migraine.

I’ve had an extremely stressful few months recently. I broke my leg last fall which created a host of other issues, as you can imagine mostly because when you are confined to one place and can’t bear weight, you start to feel like a ghost in your own life. You can’t imagine the emotional stress that feeling irrelevant can put on someone. Makes you appreciate what it must feel like to be elderly.

Then this spring I started having gallbladder attacks which led to a surgery to remove a diseased gallbladder. If you’ve never had a gallbladder attack, I don’t recommend them. They feel like an induced labor with no epidural. This caused more emotional stress that manifested itself by physically wiping me out. On top of all of this, I’m pretty sure that I’ve entered perimenopause land. They say it can start anywhere from your thirties through your forties (or even earlier for some) and can last anywhere from 10 months to 10 years, so that makes it a definite possibility.

I haven’t noticed any major symptoms like hot flashes, irregular periods or lower sex drive but others like urine leakage (hello, giving birth to two babies with huge heads), fatigue (a mom’s work is never done), mood swings and trouble sleeping (well, I’m a mom and a diagnosed insomniac so this has been part of my reality since having kids) but other than that I feel like I’m 25-years-old. Well, except for the occasional vaginal dryness but I blame that on the stress. Not to be too graphic but sometimes it’s like a slip and slide down there and sometimes it’s like the Sahara. I adjust. I’m not giving up my sex life because my vagina is being bipolar. Hey, 2 pregnancies, a broken leg and wonky gallbladder didn’t stop me. I’m not about to let aging win the war. I’m not dead yet.

The thing is life slows down for no woman so we have to make time to take care of ourselves. Sometimes that means getting some extra sleep, sometimes that means taking vitamins and exercising, sometimes that means sneaking away to pee in silence and sometimes that means giving yourself a little help in the lubricant area. Hey, my mama always told me, “God helps those who help themselves.” I have no shame in helping myself to the sex life I want. If that means picking up some Vagisil ProHydrate then I will. Vagisil ProHydrate Natural Feel helps make my love life feel natural again without the dryness that comes with perimenopause.

 

Unfortunately, it quite literally, took me falling and breaking my leg and being completely bed ridden for 4 months to learn that lesson. So when your body is telling you to slow down or take care of it, do it. You only have one body and one life. Enjoy!

What do you do to relieve stress that’s just for you and nobody else?

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parenting, how to survive parenting, mom mantra, exhausted mom

Ever find yourself Googling how to survive parenting? My girls are past the toddler years and we even lived through the threenager years…twice! We’ve survived the first days of school and those first years of the insecurity of the early years of elementary school and learning to coexist with others. We are falling fast, headlong into prepubescence and the tween years, which as far as I can decipher is basically a much taller, more vocal threenager who has perfected the eye roll so well that she just may injure herself doing so. It nearly gave me whip lash just being on the receiving end of one earlier this weekend. Yet, at the same time, they are my most favorite people.

It seems like forever ago that we were worrying ourselves silly about every single choice we made when they were newborns and even longer since bringing them home that first day and sleeping with the lights on so that we could watch every breath she took to make sure that she was still alive. I remember the overwhelming fear that I was going to somehow break this precious piece of perfection the minute those insane doctors allowed me to leave the hospital with this brand spanking new perfect newborn.

The point is that parenting is overwhelming at every age. It never gets easier it only gets different. That’s why we mothers have this mantra, and you might not even realize that it is yours, “Can’t stop, Won’t Stop.” I wish there was some sort of mom bat signal that we could shine out to other mothers in the dead of night like a bat mom rescue signal, or there was some sort of letter we could pin on our chest to signal to other mothers that we are exhausted and overwhelmed and in desperate need of a moment of silence, a nap, a hug or just an ear to listen. Instead, we’re all like the little mom that could…just chugging along, praying, “I think I can, I think I can” hoping to survive until our partner gets home from work. We mark our days by putting out metaphorical fires and surviving one catastrophe to the next. It’s not really living so much as its survival.

I’ve been a mom for 11 years now and I can tell you, if it gets easier, it’s not in those first 11 years but I’ve picked up some pointers along the way. Being a parent is hard work, especially when you consider what’s at stake; your sanity, your children’s lives and your quality of life. Oh and your partner, can’t forget about him or her because even if you’re in this shit show together, you’re not really. One of you is doing more work. But who’s keeping score?

How to survive parenting?

When the girls were littler, back in the days when I had a 2 and 4-year-old (and honestly, for a few years after that) every 3 months I’d have a meltdown. I needed the release. Those were my limitations; 3 solids months of non-stop doing my best parenting and then I needed a good cry (a sobbing your face off ugly cry.) In retrospect, I’m not sure if I was crying from feeling like a failure to my children, sucking at making time for my husband, the catastrophic state of what was my home or mourning for my life, the one I knew I would never have again.

I know it had a lot to do with being left on my own to figure it out while my husband worked out of state. I never felt so lonely and overwhelmed as I did in those days even though I was never technically alone (little people had attached themselves to me like barnacles and for 97% if the time I loved it but for the other 3% I felt like I was that guy in the Scream painting by Edvard Munch.) I wasn’t even allowed time alone to hear myself think. Not sure if it was from missing someone to help with the parenting, having someone to talk to about it or the feeling like when he came home on the weekends the Big Guy was secretly thinking to himself, what the hell has she been doing all week…this house looks like a tornado hit it. All I know is that I spent a lot of the early years of parenting feeling buried inside myself; unseen, unheard and invisible (well, unless you consider being a human feed machine, booger and ass wiper and always eating cold food while tiny people asked me a zillion questions being visible…ironically, those were the moments when I really wished I could be invisible.)

The thing is I loved every single moment of it and I hated it too. I loved (still do) my children more than anything else but I put myself on the back burner. I lost myself to a mom uniform (mine was yoga pants and t-shirts, for some it’s a pair of jeans and a sweater or a comfy maxi-dress) and a soft body (because who the hell has the time or the energy to work out when they have little kids). I became unrecognizable on the outside, even to myself. I was in survival mode or maybe it was beast mode, “Can’t stop. Won’t stop!” Because when little people’s lives are depending on you, there is no option even when you want to collapse and say you quit (and we’ve all wanted to. You beautiful exhausted mom reading this, you’re not alone and I see you.) It’s okay. We’ve all wanted to tell the boss to take this job and shove it at one point or another.

The thing is, like I said, it doesn’t get any easier but it gets better. My theory is that babies are born so freakishly cute to us so that when they keep us up all night and take us to the brink of insanity we can be soothed by a coo or a smile. As they get a little older, they get even cuter and that is because those are the real butthole years. Oh if those adorable little smiles didn’t melt our hearts, parents would probably be abandoning threenagers on the carousel at the mall at an alarming rate. Then, they settle in at absolutely freaking adorable from the ages of 4- about 10ish; everything they do is sunshine and out mommy/ daddy hearts almost explode. Then one day, we wake up and they are tweens and they are kind of smelly and starting to perfect that whip lash inducing eye roll that I was warning you about. I hear that over the next few years they become heinous back talkers who know everything and go through a rough patch physically, I think this is nature’ way of making sure our parent hearts survive their departure to college. Otherwise we’d all die or follow them. At this juncture, I can’t guarantee I won’t do both.

The secret to surviving these early years is acceptance. Accept that it really does go by at lightning speed and accept that you love them more than you really want to admit so much so that you worry at night that it might kill you dead if they ever leave you or God forbid, something terrible happens to them. The bottom line is that parenthood is minutia peppered with misery and profound moments of bliss and it’s the most amazing, wonderful thing that any of us will ever be a part of but it also kind of sucks and that’s okay too.

Let it go. Perfection is not attainable in parenting. In fact, it’s a moving target. Do your best, love your children, love yourself and love your partner. Don’t worry so much about the house and laundry, they will still be there tomorrow (unfortunately, I know this first hand). Don’t be afraid to share your struggles with other moms, think of it as your own personal bat mom signal. Talking about it really does help. Why do you think I started this blog in the first place? Believe me, your kids are not the only ones bickering constantly, talking back, not sleeping and living on chicken nuggets and good looks. You are not alone!

Make time to hear yourself think because your thoughts are important. Steal moments to catch your breath and every once in a while, lock the door when you go pee, drive alone with the music you like to hear cranked up 10 decibels too loud for your toddler’s ears and just try to remember that you are still a person and you are not alone. We (the other moms) see you. I promise you, one-day sooner than you think, you will be alone with your thoughts again and you’ll be able to take the time to shower, shave and dress like an adult.  You’ll even get to eat warm food and talk to adults again and you will most definitely miss these exhausted, overwhelming moments of now. Did I mention that I cried like a baby the first day that both girls were in school all day long?

Of course, that’s about the same time your “babies” will start throwing you major shade and rolling their eyes at you like it was their job but it’s also about the time you can have real, meaningful conversations with them because they are becoming adults. There’s that damn misery profound bliss thing again.

I see you. What’s the one moment in parenting that you really wished you could send out a bat mom signal and have someone come to your rescue? Let’s have a conversation, share it in the comments.

What’s your one tip you’d give another mom for how to survive parenting?

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The other morning I woke up; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and , by all accounts, it was going to be a beautiful day. I lay there for a moment enjoying the silence.Quiet, the whole house was still. All that I heard was the faint sound of the wind chimes, like the bells from some distant church. Absolutely everything was perfect. Then, from out of nowhere, I get a miniature sized karate chop to the face.It startled me at first, as it does every morning.Then I roll over to see the cherub like visage of my 1 year old, still sleeping. Her light brown hair lay in a ratted jumble, spread out amongst the pillows and she is completely oblivious to the pain in which she has just inflicted. I smile, how could I not at such a face. So, I lay there, still as a mouse, trying to preserve every last moment of the silence. Oh, how I adore my children when they are asleep. They resemble perfect little angels with their perfect milky skin all aglow, their hair tousled in chaotic perfection, as they lie there in complete peacefulness. I am envious and , at the same time, I feel so much love for them that my heart feels as if I can not contain it. I can not leave the bed of my sweet co sleeper, for fear that the moment that my feet hit the ground, the spell will be broken and she will awake. So, I lie there, for what seems like an eternity, waiting for her to awaken on her own. The silence, really is wonderful. I close my eyes and decide to make the best of it. I resign myself to peacefulness and at the very moment that I settle into sleep, the door bursts open and my 4 year old screams “Good morning , Mama!” Waking her sister, breaking the spell, ending the silence, my sunshine has arrived.

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tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

There is a new bed in town, the Sleep Number Sleep IQ Kids Bed and it’s not only intuitive, it keeps your kids in bed so they can get the rest all growing children need, allowing you to get the sleep you need. This amazing new smart bed knows when your kids are sleeping and when they’re awake. It even has a monster detection feature on the accompanying app, so kids feel safe from unwanted visitors. Now, only if it had an invisible force field to keep kids in bed, right?

This revolutionary new kid’s bed monitors sleep cycles and can help parents decipher if diet, stress or other activities throughout the day are impacting the quality of their day. I experienced the Sleep iQ Kids bed for the first time at CES in January and it was amazing.

A monster detector deciphers when under the bed is clear of even the scariest of boogie men. By hovering a smartphone or tablet in the direction of the bottom of the bed, a small monster icon will appear and determine if the coast is clear. This would have been amazing when Ella was having nightmares about chickens and lemurs under the bed!

tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

The bed, equipped with tiny hidden sensors, uses digital-signal capture within the mattress and processing techniques to pick up on motion and pressure. It tracks a child’s breathing and heart rate throughout the night too, and blends that data with other factors to determine a SleepIQ score in the morning; the higher the number (based from 1 to 100), the better the quality of sleep.

It’s also interactive. A sleep dashboard (available via an Android app or desktop) shows parents how well each child slept and alerts them in real-time if they need attention and are out of bed. The bed can also tilt if a child wants to read or has a stuffy nose from a head cold or allergies. Meanwhile, soft lights around the bed glow when kids get up or want to read and parents can turn them off remotely when it gets too late or little people nod off to slumber.

The bed is designed to grow with a child. Once they hit 10-years-old, they can manage their own SleepIQ score and see for themselves how exercise, sugar and TV time impact how they feel in the morning. This is intended to teach kids how to make better choices throughout the day and absolutely for newly crowned tween who thinks she knows everything.

tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

SleepIQ Kids, available in stores now, is priced at about $799.99 for the twin size mattress and will come in twin, full and queen size options.

In conjunction with the retail launch of the only smart bed for smart kids, the SleepIQ Kids bed, Sleep Number is rewarding kids who sleep well with six college scholarships! With all the talk about the ballooning cost of college, this contest will truly make some lucky kids’ (and their parents’) dreams come true.

Sleep Number, the sleep innovation leader whose mission is to improve lives by individualizing sleep experiences, is helping make kids’ college dreams come true. In celebration of its new SleepIQ Kids™ bed, which is available today in all Sleep Number® stores and online, the company is launching a contest to give away six college scholarships and six SleepIQ Kids beds. Optimal sleep is important for all and especially for children. That’s why if your child still encounters any sleeping concerns, it’s recommended to try the ferber method.

Sleep Number understands the correlation between sleep and performance, which is why they are recognizing good sleepers who have big ambitions with the opportunity to win one of six college scholarships.

To help parents achieve their kids’ dreams, Sleep Number is hosting SleepIQ Kids Scholarship Contest at all Sleep Number stores, and will award six kids with a college scholarship and a SleepIQ Kids bed – total prize value is $134,000.

Families can visit a Sleep Number store to find their Sleep Number® setting and learn how a better night’s sleep helps kids succeed. Depending on their age, children will either draw a picture or write an essay about why sleep is important to them and how it helps them achieve their dreams.

After visiting the Sleep Number store, parents will receive a special code and Web address to submit their child’s entry online; a piece of artwork (for ages 4-9) or 200-word essay (for ages 10-14). Contest-entry details are available July 31. To find a Sleep Number store, visit SleepNumber.com.

The SleepIQ Kids bed is truly revolutionary. Not only does it offer kids comfort and adjustability with DualAir technology but it also tracks their sleep so parents can help their kids improve both at sleep and in life because the better you sleep, the better you perform. Plus the app includes a monster detector, which is really cool.

Disclosure: I attended CES with Sleep Number to see the bed in person but all opinions of the tech and coolness factor of the Sleep IQ Kids bed are all my own.

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Second baby syndrome is real and anyone who says it isn’t is a damn liar. Fast forward to two years after the birth of baby Bella. We were blissfully happy with a gorgeous, though demanding toddler (whom I was completely in love with) who wanted all of my time, every single waking moment. She had decided long ago that co-sleeping was the thing for her, and was still in our bed, with no end in sight. Not that I minded, it was comforting to see her tiny cherubesque face in the middle of the night as she head butted me when I awoke for the 100th time to pee because I was 9+ months pregnant. It made it hard to bask in the glory of the pregnancy of baby number 2, when baby number 1 was still a baby.

The second time, I only gained 18, ok 20, lbs. But for some reason I seemed a lot larger. It was pregnancy 2.0 and I was like Godzilla. The first pregnancy was nothing like the second pregnancy. I didn’t start showing until I was 8-months pregnant. I looked a little thicker in the waist but at my baby shower (2 months before my daughter was born) people were teasing me that I didn’t look pregnant. And I really didn’t, well, only in my ass.

There I was, bigger than before  ever, chasing a sprinting toddler who had the energy of a boxer puppy on crack cocaine, I was absolutely drained. I had all day sickness for 4 months. It was so bad that I had to wear sea sick bands! I looked pretty ridiculous. Motherhood is hard, y’all.

No one was quite as impressed that I was pregnant the second time around. Don’t get me wrong, we were all ecstatic. We planned for baby #2, and got pregnant right away, it was just different because the time that I used to bask in all of my procreating glory last time, was now being used to shuttle a 2-year-old to classes, play dates, and constantly trying to explain and prepare her for her coming soon baby sister. I had to prepare myself to go through labor again and come out the other end the mother of two kids.

I was obsessed with making baby # 1 not feel left out or abandoned by the pending arrival of baby #2 so much so that when I actually did go into labor, I only stayed at the hospital long enough to give birth, spend the night and then I went home. I was there about 32 hours total. I blame it on the screen saver on my cell phone. It was my 2-year-old smiling like she was the center of my universe and the guilt that she had to make room for someone else, gutted me completely. The betrayal.

Second baby syndrome was in full force in our home.

I loaded up my brand spanking new baby girl, all the mega maxi pads with wings, mesh panties and Dermoplast they would give me and I went home. But bringing home baby was different than the first time. There was no 15-mile an hour drive home. Step on it, Jeeves, I’ve got a baby at home that needs me. There was no time to recoup as a family. The Big Guy took a week of paternity leave and we took turns staying up with a colicky, jaundiced newborn and quelling the fear of lemurs under beds, singing Wiggles songs and dealing with regression. Second babies are exhausting.

What once was a mandatory 6-weeks before we went out into the world was a day. I had a newborn who needed to be checked. I had a 2-year-old who had classes to attend and play dates. I couldn’t punish her plus, I didn’t want this to be the beginning of years of therapy and sibling rivalry. What used to be packing the equivalent of luggage to leave the house became keys, diapers, wipes, a bottle, snacks and a stroller. Believe me, it was twice the babies and 1/2 the stuff. Baby wrangling is hard, folks.

I spent a lot of those first few weeks reevaluating what motherhood should look like. You know it’s so easy to be a great parent when you don’t have children but once you add real life, breathing, children who you love more than life itself to the mix, things get a little less black and white. I broke all of my own rules. Wiggles in the middle of the night? Sure. Co-sleeping? Absolutely. 5-second rule for the binky, hell yeah! Bottle when needed if the breasts don’t provide enough. Yes, a thousand times yes. Don’t sweat the things that you can’t change. Love your children and do what works for your family. That’s the good stuff; all the love.

Second baby syndrome is awesome.

It means you have a second baby to love and twice the love to receive in return. Who gives a shit if your house looks like it’s been hit by a Tornado? Who cares if your legs haven’t been shaved in 3 weeks. Look at their faces. That is unconditional love and it’s priceless. They grow up. Way too fast. Your house won’t be dirty forever. Before you know it, they won’t need you for everything and soon after that they will need you for even less. Enjoy every minute of it now.

 

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