Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Where I Find "My People"

Being a stay at home mom can be lonely, especially when both your kids are in school. You get them up, get them dressed, feed them, pack their lunches, argue with them about not watching tv before school, get their school stuff together, bundle them up, strap them in the car, drop them off at their respective schools...and then you are by yourself. 

You have responsibilities, like errands and things around the house, but you don't have a job to go to and a boss to whom you report. If I wanted, I guess I could sit on the couch all day and watch tv and eat Bon Bons. But I don't, and I don't know another stay at home mom who does.

So as not to feel so lonely you are pushed over the edge, it is important for someone like me to be part of a community, It is important to surround yourself with likeminded individuals, who share the same interests. Some people do this through church. Some people have weekly book clubs. Some people do this through mom groups. Some people get very involved in their kid's school. Some people do this through exercise classes (I had my first experience with SoulCycle last week and I have words...but that is for another post).

My community is a little unconventional.

Sure I have the people I see at the gym every morning, and I have mom friends that I meet for lunch, and play dates, as well as being an active parent at both of my children's school, but I tend to find my peace and "my people" through a different, more convenient, outlet.

I am a very creative person - I need to do something creative every day or I feel funny, or empty. Whether it is taking photos, writing, playing the piano, making dolls in my studio, decorating my house, arranging flowers - something needs to stimulate the right side of my brain on a daily basis. To satisfy this creative need, and my need for a creative community, I take online photography classes. I know this sounds strange, but through The Define School of online photography I have met some amazing, creative, similar individuals. By "met" I mean I met the online - I have never actually met these people in real life. That alone sounds really weird, especially to my parents generation I am sure.

Each of the classes I have taken (I think I have 6 under my belt - each 4 weeks) are led by the most ridiculously talented and inspiring women, who have pushed my creative boundaries and made me the "Unapologetic Artist" (also the name of my favorite class I have taken at Define, taught by my dear friend Carolyn Mara Harris, who is also the most bold and brilliant artist I have ever come across - check her out on Instagram @carolyn_mara) that I am today.

one of my shots from my Unapologetic Artist Class

Each time I take class there I am giddy with excitement when it starts, and teary-eyed when it ends. If you are like me and want to be part of something amazing with creative women and men all over the world, please check out The Define School.

Now, this second place I find "my people" is a place that I never thought I would EVER touch with a ten foot pole. I am not one for spiritual thoughts or beliefs. I am fine with others believing and practicing their religions, but I don't believe that there is an almighty being who is watching us and judging us and responsible for our behavior and whatnot. I don't believe the words in the bible should be taken as law, but rather a bunch of stories, some with valuable lessons and themes, others just pure crazy fiction.

With that said, I do feel that we all have an energy around and in us, and that there are certain things we can do to shift and move that energy for the positive.

Last year was a tough one for my family, with losses on both sides, illnesses, injuries and just over all bad luck. A friend of mine, and past teacher at Define, happen to post something on Facebook that a friend of her's commented on. That friend happen to be the actress Carrie-Anne Moss of Matrix (and now Jessica Jones) fame. I inquired how they knew each other and my friend pointed me to Carrie-Anne's website, Annapurnaliving.com. At the time Annapurna was offering a 10-day simple meditation course.

Meditation? Chanting and humming and that baloney? Not for me...or is it?

I needed something calming and positive in my life. I needed way to control the stress and anxiety I was starting to feel. I needed a little quiet in my life. I am not one to shy away from trying new things, so I signed up. And boy am I glad I did.

Carrie-Anne is this magical human being. The kind of human being that I wish I was. She is so at peace in her life, and so deep in her thoughts and just the type of person that I really want to be. Every day she would send us a video with some inspirational words, and every day I would anxiously await the ding from my computer telling me I had new mail, hoping it was from Carrie-Anne. I couldn't wait for my kids to go to school and husband to go to work so I could sit on my sheepskin and just "tune in."

This month Carrie-Anne launched The Fierce Grace Collective. As soon as the first email announcing this community/collective (whatever you want to call it) was sent out, I knew I had to be a part of it. For a tiny monthly fee, you join an online community of like-minded women, seeking spiritual support and calming guidance, led by the ethereal Carrie-Anne. We practice our mediation daily (a new one each week), have creative prompts (things to write in a journal about, or even something you can photograph and share) and nightly visualizations (this is where you lay down and listen to Carrie-Anne's calming voice share some of her wisdom and guidance).

At the moment there are about 200 of us, literally all over the globe. There is an online community where we are able to share thoughts and feelings with each other too...and you know I have thoughts and feelings!

Many of these women are stay at home moms like me, looking for some direction in their lives, trying to figure out what is next, so I am excited to get to know them and be on this journey with them.

"My people" might not be able to meet me for tea, as they are scattered all over the globe, and I have never met most of them in person, but we share common interests and passions and are like-minded individuals, and that is all that matters to me. I have real friends in my life, people I see on a daily basis, and talk to on the phone, but I just so happens to have a lot of friends that I can only communicate with through a screen! Welcome to 2016!

Where do you find your people???

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Young Lovers are Idiots

I had a conversation with a 23 year old female today that ignited a fire inside me. Not a good fire of passion and motivation, but a fire of rage and frustration, so I am taking to the blog to share my feelings.

Without giving away who said 23 year old is - let's call her Sara for this story's sake - I will give you a little background on our relationship. I do not know her very well, but we have the kind of relationship where she feels comfortable enough with me to share some pretty intimate details about her current relationship wither her boyfriend. I do not reciprocate, as we are living in two completely different worlds, but I do share stories about my girls and silly things that happen during the week. She gets a much more deep with me. I have basically taken on the role of her older, and much wiser, sister, with whom she feels comfortable sharing her boyfriend troubles.

Over the past few weeks she has shared with me stories about her very new boyfriend. They have only been dating for two months, and already there are issues. He has some emotional baggage that he should be talking over with a professional, but instead bottles up and releases his anger onto Sara. She has even called him verbally abusive. He snaps a the littlest things. He turns minute conversations into all-night arguments. He confides in his ex-girlfriend and rubs it in Sara's face, and he belittles her job. Shit, his mother even told Sara that she shouldn't be dating him. And she tells me all of this, in what I think is a cry for help.

Now, I am not one to sit by and listen to this kind of bullshit and not say anything. I have years of experience with this kind of situation, and consider myself somewhat of an expert in the field of horrible boyfriends. Not that I have had a ton of boyfriends in my life, but I had one, for almost 4 years, that pretty much took the cake when it comes to boyfriends that you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy.

Today I looked Sara straight in the eye and said (in so many words), "get out. Get out of this relationship before it is too late. Get out while you are still young. You do not deserve this kind of bullshit. No one does. No one should be treated the way you are being treated. You are young, and beautiful and smart and motivated and have the world at your finger tips. Dump this loser and move on with your life. This is not love. You are not in love with this terrible person. Love should be easy. Love should feel good - shit, love should feel amazing. Love is not just something you feel, but something you do. This person does not love you if he treats you like this. GET OUT NOW."

God Damnit I wish someone slapped me in the face when I was 18 and said these words to me.

When I was 17 I met and "fell in love" (my blood is boiling right now as I type this - how stupid are young lovers???) with a boy. Never had a boy liked me before, but this boy did. And this boy was popular, and was friends with the older kids, and was out of high school and had a real job. How cool was it that someone like this, someone who I later found out had red flags galore (terrible childhood, treated his mother and brother like crap, overweight, didn't go to college, flirted with everything in site - and later cheated on me multiple times, disrespectful to my parents, treated my brother like shit, horrible temper, verbally abusive...I could go on), actually paid attention to me and wanted to be my boyfriend? We fought all the time. My parents LOATHED him (rightfully so). I became a different person when I was with him. I did whatever he wanted me to do...I can't even say more because it makes me so freaking angry that I wasted so many years of my life with this loser.

But oh, how I wish that someone pulled me aside and said what I said to Sara!! I wish someone shook me and said "You are better than this! You deserve so much better than this!! Why are you wasting your time, and your youth on this piece of garbage? Why do you let him make you cry? Why do you let him get to you - let him make you become this horrible bratty selfish teenager? You used have so many friends! You used to be close to your Mom! He is driving a wedge between you! You are ruining your life you stupid naive girl!!!"

Maybe my mom did say those things to me. Maybe someone else did, but I was so self-involved that I wouldn't have/didn't listen to anyone that tried to steer me away from this loser. And you know what? Looking back on my life, I wouldn't change a thing. Because of this relationship with this guy, I am the person I am now. I am in the amazing relationship I am because of who I became after I dumped this guy.

If you met me today you would not believe for a second that I used to be this pathetic, submissive shadow of a human. I am so strong willed, so outgoing and so much braver than I used to be - but it took going through all of that bullshit to become who I am today. I am not saying that everyone needs to go through something like I did to become an independent woman, as I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but that was my path to become the woman I am today.

I am fearful for when my girls get older. I am scared that they are going to fall into the same trap that I did, that Sara has, and let a man control them. I am scared they will let a man make them feel pain and sadness. I am scared they will let a man get into their head and make them feel less of a person - make them feel that they aren't deserving of what they really want. I will do my best to tell them about what I went through, and give them advice and hopefully they will start out their dating lives as strong independent women, unlike I did. I will always be there for them, even if they won't talk to me, and I will remind them constantly that they are amazing, beautiful creatures, and should be treated as so.

Here are my words of advice to women of all ages out there: No man, or woman, or whomever you are in a relationship with, should ever make you feel badly about yourself. No one you are in love with should constantly make you sad. The beginnings of a relationship should not be challenging. New love is the most exciting love - you should want to be with each other every chance you get. You should be smiling ear to ear when you see this person, and never want to let go of their hand. Your partner should not make you cry - unless it is because he or she did something insanely romantic and sweet for you. If you are constantly fighting, this is not the right person for you. If you are nervous about saying something wrong in front of this person, this is not the right person for you. If you cannot be your amazing self in front of this person, this is DEFINITELY not the right person for you.

Love is not just something that you feel, it is something that you do. This is something that my husband said to me once and I will never forget it. You can't just say you love someone and think it will all be ok - you have to live the love. You have to put their needs before your own. You have to want to make them happy as often as you can.

You have to love who you are when you are when you are around your partner. And if you don't? Move on with your life. There is a lobster out there for everyone, you just have to keep looking.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Time for some Botox!!!

My entire life I have been told I look like my Mom. Not that we resemble each other, but that we look exactly alike. If someone has met my mom, and then sees me for the first time by myself they will tell me "oh I knew you were Donna's daughter as soon as I saw you!" And it is true - we do look a lot alike. We are about the same height, both have short hair, pretty much the same eyes, and other similar facial features. I always referred to myself as the "Northern Version" with dark hair and pale skin, of tan, blonde highlighted Donna.

Before I go any further I must say that my mother is beautiful. She has always been beautiful, and looks at least 15 years younger than she actually is, so when people tell me I look like her, I take it as a compliment...now on with my story...

When I was in my teens, and starting to really look more like my mother, I LOATHED when people told me I looked like her. It wasn't so much that I didn't think we looked alike, or didn't want to look like her, it was more that it was all people told me. Every time I saw her friends, or even complete strangers, it would be all, "you look more and more like your mother every day!" It was all I heard - that I was a mini-Donna. I wanted to be my own person. I wanted them to notice me for something else, and not just that I looked like my mother. I wanted my own identity. And really, what 18 year old wants to hear nothing but how much they look like their 40-something year old mother!

The older I got the more ok I was with it all. People would joke with us and call us sisters, much to my mother's delight. I would laugh it off, because they were not being serious, but being flattering to my mother...until they actually were being serious.

In the last 5 years my mother and I have been called sisters a handful of times - and each time was in all seriousness. In that time, my mother has since let her hair go naturally gray, I have put on a little weight, but not much else has changed. Sisters? Are you serious?

I know what you are thinking, that these idiots that said this were trying to flatter my mother, but I kid you not, they seriously thought we were sisters. Do I look like I am 63 years old? Does my mother look like she is 37? Do we both look 40? 50?? What are you saying you imbeciles!!???

Last year, my husband treated us to a spa day in honor of Mother's Day. I was getting a facial, while my mother was getting a pedicure. I am talking (it is one of my pet peeves when getting a facial [and getting my teeth cleaned] to be constantly asked questions) and I said something about "my mother getting a pedicure" and the aesthetician stops what she is doing and literally gaps and says "that woman out there is your mother? I swear to God I thought you were sisters!"

Never have I wanted to slap someone so hard in my life (well, until later but you must read on).

This is what I wanted to say to her, but of course I did not:
Sisters? You thought that woman with the gray hair out there was my sister? Sure, she looks fabulous for her age - of 63 - but your first thought was that I was her sister and not her daughter? What age would that make me? Let's pretend that you thought she was, what, 50? What age does that make me? 45? Am I her younger sister? Or am I her older sister? I think my mom could pass for 55, maybe 52 - do you think that I am actually 36, as I am in real life, and that I am the OOPS! of the family and we are actually sisters? Why would you say this to me? In no way is this a compliment to me. You are saying that I look MUCH older than I really am. What woman on any fucking planet wants to be told that?????? Do you know how this makes me feel???

I just also have to throw out there that this woman proceeded to tell me that I should shave my face with a razor "a la Caroline Manzo." I can't even....WORDS.

Let's fast forward 7 months to the week before this past Christmas...

My brother and I stop at Target after a grueling workout at the gym. We are sweaty, and flush and in gym clothes (obviously). My brother stands next to me (he is 19 months younger than I am, about 6 foot 5 to my 5 foot 9) as we are at the cash register. The cashier, an Indian woman approximately in her late 40s, looks at me and says....are you ready for this....

"Is this your son?"

I literally did the thing where you point to yourself and then look around to see if she was actually talking to me, as I was filled with a rage like no other rage anyone has experienced before.

This is the perfect depiction of how I felt:

"Me? You are talking to me? You think this man looks like he could be my son? Me?"

"He is not your son?"

Here is what I wanted to say, but of course did not (but probably should have): My son? Are you fucking kidding me with this, woman? Do you need your eyes checked? You think that this MAN, standing next to me right here could be my son???? What are you saying????? Are you saying that I look old enough to have a 35 year old son? Or are you saying that he, at six foot five, looks like he is 6 years old? What is it you are saying woman?? Because in no way are you coming out of this situation without being slapped across the face. 

As a decent human being, with good manners, I would never think twice about saying something like this to a complete stranger. I would never comment on a person's appearance, especially someone that I didn't know. Of course I am curious why you have that bandaid on your face, but I will talk to you and pretend like I don't see it, as I was not raised by gorillas in the mist!!!!

I get flushed when I workout, and when I am embarrassed or nervous - do you know how many people in my life have told me this? Do they think I do not know this? What good is it you telling me that I have red cheeks? You are just making them redder.

It goes without saying that my New Year's resolution is to take better care of myself, my skin, my hair...and possibly look into a chemical peel, face lift, botox and other rejuvenating treatments as I apparently look like I am a 60 year old mother of a 35 year old man.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What to Play with a Terrible No-Good Sport

I am a competitive person. I am the daughter of a professional athlete, and I think because of that I have always been an ultra competitive person in some aspects of my life. I wanted to be the first person down the hill when we went skiing. I wanted to have the best backhand and the fastest serve at tennis camp. If you have it, I want it bigger and faster and with more gadgets (cars, cameras, phones, etc.). If I bake a cake, it is going to be the best looking (probably not tasting) cake you have seen. And when it comes to board games - let's just say I once made a grown man cry when he wouldn't make a trade with me in Monopoly (at least that is how the story goes when the sister, who is also one of my closest friends, of said man tells it after a couple drinks). 

It is not one of my best qualities, I know this, but it is not something that I rub in people's faces. It is truly for personal reasons that I want to "win." I don't see anything wrong with wanting to win when you are in any sort of competition. I want my girls to grow up wanting to win things, and doing their best to do so. I want them to be competitive like I am. It is, of course, ok if they do not win, but I want them to want to win. I do see a problem with throwing a tantrum (no matter what your age) when you do lose, or rubbing it in people's faces when you do win. Phew - that was a wordy paragraph - on to my point!

My 3 year old, Val,  is a very poor sport. This is something that we have recently discovered after playing many games of Disney Princess themed Candyland while on vacation last week. 

Sure, we have played board games with her in the past, but they are either cooperative ones, where you all work together towards a common goal, or if it is one where there is a winner, she usually gets board after five minutes and walks away. This did not happen with Candyland. 

The first few times we played, her sister won. We had the conversation about being a good sport versus a bad sport, and we all congratulated Marlo on her win and went about our business. But then the next time Val won, and the Competitive Kraken was released...

She kept asking to play the game, and now while we played she would whine after every turn if she wasn't in the lead. When it was everyone else's turn she would say to us, "Mom, don't win. I want to win. Dad, please don't win. I really want to win. You should lose." I would look at her and say, "anyone can win Val, we are still playing. Just wait an see." To which she would respond some sort of whiney response like, "but I want to win! You can't win!" 

She would be in the lead most games, and then get a card that sent her back behind everyone else...and then lose her bloody mind. We would tell her to be a good sport, no one has won yet, she hasn't lost yet, yada, yada, yada. And then someone would get a card that sent them backwards too and her mood would immediately change now that someone else was in the losing spot. And then she would ultimately lose the game...and then lose her shit. 

We would then start the "poor sport" talk again, and tell her that she can't always win, but it went in one ear and out the other. "But I wanted to win!! I wanted you to lose!!" Man, we have our hands full with this one. 

We have now sworn off playing competitive board games with Val until she can learn to be a better sport. Thankfully at home in Boston, the majority of the games we do own are made by a company called Peaceable Kingdom. The idea is that when you play their boardgames, you are all working together as a team towards one common goal, whether it be to get to Mermaid Island before the witch does or free the bugs before the spider fall. Their board games are the perfect games to play with little competitive monkeys like my Val Gal. 

Our favorite cooperative games are the following: 

1. Hoot Owl Hoot - Everyone works together to get the baby owls to the nest before the sun comes up!
2. Mermaid Island - Similar structure to Hoot Owl Hoot - you have to get the mermaids to the center of the board without the witch getting them first, but this one you spin a spinner, instead of drawing cards. The girls especially love this one as we have named the three mermaid playing pieces. 
3. Willy's Wiggle Web - Santa just brought this one for the girls and it is already a big hit. It comes with paper webs that you stretch out and the kids have to cut (with the provided kid scissors) the bugs free without letting Willy the spider fall. 

Peaceable Kingdom offers a variety of other games, as well as matching games and puzzles (we have three different versions of these and the girls love them). 

So until Miss Val really understands the age old words from that Yo Gabba Gabba song "sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but it's ok. You try again!" we will be attempting to keep our kingdom peaceful by playing games from Peaceable Kingdom!! 

(And no this is not a sponsored post, I just really love what this company is doing!) 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Six shows you should be watching, but probably are not!

I was going to entitle this post "Six television shows you should be watching..." but I just realized that I don't watch any of these shows on my actual television anymore. Who needs TV when you have Hulu and Netflix, and you can carry around your iPad with you from room to room while you put away laundry?

Most shows on actual broadcast networks are total garbage. To find groundbreaking "television" you must turn to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime or obscure actual networks like FXX.

There are so so so many good smart "television" shows out there right now, and I bet you aren't watching them, nor have you heard of them in some cases, so I watched them for you and made this list!

In no particular order, here are the things that you need to start watching:

1. Master of None (Netflix) - I feel in love with Aziz Ansari back when he had a very minor part on Scrubs in 2009, and again as Tom Haverford on Parks & Recreation. Anyone who has an affinity for 90s hip-hop is a friend of mine. His latest show (that he created and wrote), which was just released a few weeks ago (all 10 episodes are streaming now) is freaking amazing. AMAZING. I think I watched all 10 episodes in one day. It is smart, relatable, hysterical, moving, relative...you need to be watching this masterpiece, especially if you are a human in your 30s (30 year old horses need not watch). It is honestly unlike anything else out there. Turn off that Big Bang Theory garbage, and treat yo self to Master of None. (I am currently listening to his latest book on Audible as well! All Aziz all the time apparently.)

2. You're the Worst (FXX) - This show is my husband's worst nightmare. He cannot stand to watch a show where the cast is full of horrible selfish people (he will leave the room if I am watching any Housewives episode). I don't think I could ever get him to watch this show, based on the title - and the fact that everyone is this show plays a despicable character - but I love every one of them. The main characters are self involved 30 somethings afraid of commitment and change, who are also alcoholics and drug users, as well as clinically depressed narcissists (well, one is depressed, but all are narcissists). It is so well written, and honestly laugh out loud funny. The first season is all on Hulu right now (and for $11 a month you can watch anything on Hulu without commercials now - have you tried watching television on On Demand? Is there anything worse than not being able to fast forward commercials??????? NO!! - for some reason I just said this whole parenthetical in Aziz' voice in my head - yikes.) The second season is currently airing on FXX.

3. Jessica Jones (Netflix) - Holy bejesus. I love love love a show where things happen that you totally don't expect. I won't give anything away but after the first episode I just stood there staring at my iPad (while in my closet putting away laundry - again, who needs tv?) in total shock. This show was ten times better than I could have ever imagined. A dark, scarred and emotionally damaged female super hero? Sign me up!

4. Fargo (FX) - I can't say much about this, as I have only watched the first episode as I am waiting for Hubs to be less busy to watch with him. But having seen the glorious first episode I am waiting with breath that is bated to continue watching it. I have heard nothing but praise for this season of Fargo.

5. Transparent (Amazon Prime) - I watched this series when it came out last year, but in anticipation of the second season starting December 11th, I had to add it to this list. It is groundbreaking, it is heartwarming, it is heartbreaking. It is a must see. Moppa!!!!

6. Difficult People (Hulu) - I love watching Billy Eichner acting a fool while running all over Manhattan, and now I love him even more after watching his latest endeavor, Difficult People, in which he costars with Julie Klausner. Here is another smart, well written and laugh out loud comedy about generally horrible celebrity-obsessed people - and I can't get enough of it!! Especially Andrea Martin, who plays Klausner's mother. That lady gets funnier the older she gets.

I beg you to stop watching Shonda-shite on TV, and cancel that Scream Queens series recording and start watching one of these shows...at least so I have someone to talk about them with!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dinner Winner

Last week I wrote about our struggles with dinner, but this week I write about our triumphs!

A friend read my post Picky, Picky, Picky Eater and immediately informed me of this amazing product that has changed dinner time in their house, the Dinner Winner Tray by Fred & Friends.  I am willing to try anything with my kids, so I hastily purchased two trays via Amazon as I could not go another night fighting my kids to eat their dinner.

The kids were immediately drawn to their colorful new "plates" and I loved the retro design and feel. I let them both see the trays before I started to prepare dinner, and told them we were going to play a little game while we ate. Mommy was going to put a treat under the "Finish" top and if they ate their way down the path and got to the Finish space, they could have whatever I put under there.

I had them in the palm of my hands. Games? Prizes? Mom is actually letting us have dessert???

I explained to them that some nights the spaces on the trays would be filled with things that they don't eat all the time, and that they had to try them. I also explained that if they didn't eat all (ok, 90%) of the food on their tray that they wouldn't get the AMAZING prize (which has been M&Ms the past four nights), and that is ok.

Let me tell you this - for four nights in a row my kids have been asking to play "Dinner Winner" and are absolutely elated when they sit down to eat!! I got them both to eat the crap out of a ham and cheese quiche, they are eating their vegetables, and last night I even got Marlo to eat "weird" pizza that had fresh herbs on it. I am still in shock.

They have been so good at waiting to have their prize too. And totally understand that if they don't eat the food in the spaces they don't get the prize, as has happened for each of them one night.

I know there are articles out there that tell you not to bribe your kids to eat, and not to make them eat all their food, etc., but we tried those methods. I tried the "You don't have to eat all of it" method or the "try bite" method, but nothing worked. The kids ended up just walking away from dinner and then throwing huge fits at bedtime because they were so damn hungry. This might not be the best way to get them to eat, but for four days it has worked for us!!!

I wish they made this for adults, but instead of a food prize it was a pill you could take to lose 10 pounds!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rave Bath

My kids get up early. Most days they are both up before, or close to 6 AM. Couple that with school from 8-3 (Tuesday through Thursday - Monday and Friday they have half days), and come 6 PM my kids are on a one way train to Crankville. It is hard enough to get them to sit and eat all their dinner when they are like this, let alone get them to eat and then go upstairs to take a bath.

There is the repeated chorus of "I don't want to take a bath!!" combined with writhing on the floor. Then the protest continues - "Why do we have to take a bath? We just took one yesterday? I don't stink! I am clean! Smell me!! I'm too tired to take a bath!" All too frequently there is some bribery on my part - an extra book, waiting up to see daddy, extra time to float in the tub, fancy bubbles, etc., and usually they take the bait and get in the bath. 

But I have a sure fire way to get them in the tub, no questions asked. 

Glow Sticks.

We had done this last year when we were living in the apartment a few times, but I totally forgot about it, until one of the girls found the glow sticks we had kicking around from Halloween. The past two nights the girls have actually asked to take a "glow stick" bath, each night running upstairs, racing to see who can get undressed first. Damn does that make the evening much more enjoyable!!

For just $19.99 you can buy a pack of 300 of the 8" sticks, on Amazon.com, which are the bracelet size ones, and that will last you a crazy long time. I let the girls have 8 glow sticks a piece each bath and it is plenty. 

 So if your kids protest the bath, get them excited with this simple and cheap idea. 

Just watch out for the crazy college flashbacks - wait, am I the only one that used to dance with glow sticks in college???

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Picky Picky Picky Eater

I had the following conversation with my children tonight:

Me: Who's excited for roasted cod, parsnips and carrots for dinner!

Marlo: Not me!

Val: (who now repeats everything that her sister says) Not me!

Me: Come on! This is dinner. You have to eat it.

Marlo then sidles up to me and puts her arm around me and says...

Marlo: Mom, you can put it in front of me, but I am just going to stare at it. I am not eating that for dinner.

Val (from across the room): I'm not eating that for dinner too Mom!

Me: Would you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?


Marlo: Now that I won't stare at. I will eat a PB& J!

Mom throws up the white flag as she doesn't have the fight in her tonight.

Aaaaaaaaand Scene. 

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with Marlo, almost 6, that went something like this:

Me: Marlo, why aren't you eating your lunches that I pack you? You love egg salad. And yesterday you didn't eat the carrots and hummus, or the chicken salad the day before.

Marlo: I used to like those things, but I don't anymore.

Me: Since when?

Marlo: I like eggs, but not egg salad. I like carrots, but not with hummus, and I don't like the nuts in the chicken salad.

Me: Then don't eat the nuts (out of the salad that you ate a bowl of two days prior, including the nuts).

Marlo: Mom, I only like tuna salad for lunch. Pack me tuna salad for lunch every day and I will eat it.

Here we are two weeks later, and there has been a tuna sandwich in every lunch I have packed for her. And every day she eats every last bite of it.

What happened to my adventurous eater?? What happened to the girl that ate beets and lamb chops? What happened to my girl who would try anything? Where is the girl that used to eat whatever I gave her to eat?

When I was young I ate everything that my mom made. With the exception of Sloppy Joes (something about the smell and consistency of the meat product made me ill), I ate everything that my mother ever placed in front of me. I remember having my cousins over when we were around 6 years old, and one of them pitched a huge fit because my mom made different Mac n' Cheese than her mom usually made. She called it weird and wouldn't eat it, and I was shocked at her behavior (and can still replay that scene in my head to date) because I wouldn't even think to complain and whine about food! My mom made it, I ate it. It was that simple.

If we were at a friends house, we ate what their mom made. If we were out to dinner, we ate what we ordered. If we were at a birthday party, we ate what was served and didn't complain.

A few weeks ago, at one of the hundreds of birthday parties we now attend, we were eating pizza with about 20 other children. I am standing with other adults across the room from the kids, and I hear Marlo shout, "Mom! This pizza is gross! It isn't the kind I like!" for all to hear. WHAT? Not my child! I ran over to her and told her she can't say things like this, and she had to eat it. Of course she pushed it away and then started whining about how hungry she was, to which I responded, "then eat your pizza." It was all down hill from there.

She has become so particular about foods that she actually told me there are only 5 things that she will eat for dinner: hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, spaghetti and mac n' cheese.

I honestly just died a little inside. My kid refuses to eat anything but the norms you see on crappy kids menus. Even if it is delicious home cooked, organic and healthy, she refuses to eat it. Yeah I know, she is (almost) 6, but it drives me insane that I have to make two meals every night of the week, or bargain and fight with her for an hour before bed time.

The other thing about her "menu" is that she won't just eat any pizza or any spaghetti, it has to be pizza from a particular restaurant (I kid you not - this kid won't eat frozen pizzas or most delivery pizza) or a certain sauce on her spaghetti. I once switched out the marinara I usually buy with one I got from Costco and she was having none of it.

She also all of the sudden stopped liking snacks she used to eat daily: she will now only eat one brand of cheese sticks and no other, she stopped liking the kind of pickles she used to love, she no longer likes Fig Newtons (or Fig Newmans as we get at Whole Foods). She also is very particular about things in her school lunch: if a strawberry touches anything else in her lunch, she won't eat it and if the cheese is not out-of-the-fridge-cold she won't touch it.

I just don't understand where this is all coming from. She didn't used to be a picky eater, but here were are arguing over dinner most nights. I envy those families that can make one meal and sit down together and enjoy the same thing. Don't get me wrong, we have done that - on nights where I make hamburgers and hot dogs.

Thankfully I can still get Val to eat pretty much whatever I put in front of her. I guess I have 2.5 more years to go until she just stares at her dinner and refuses to eat, like her sister.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Zig a Zig Ahhhh

If you haven't watched the Spice Girl's "Wannabe" video lately, you should stop what you are doing now and watch. It is a brilliant piece of pop culture history. Sure, it might be one of the silliest music videos ever, but it is mesmerizing.

Why have I seen it recently? Well, I let the girls watch the Chicken Little movie recently and there is a scene where Ugly Duckling is doing karaoke to Wannabe and it is now forever ingrained in my girl's heads.

I actual love when this happens - when a song from years ago pops up in a kid's movie, and then my kids think it is this awesome new song that they want to hear in the car all the time. My favorite time this happened was when they heard "Send me on my way" by Rusted Root in the Ice Age movie. It will now forever be known as "the Ice Age song" but at least I get to listen to decent music in the car every now and then! I absolutely refuse to download "Gangham Style" which they heard at the end of some squirrel movie they watched with the babysitter last week and won't stop singing - of course with all the wrong words.

Back to Spice Girls magic...

My kids have watched this music video so many times that I can't help but dissect it every time I watch it now. Here are my favorite takeaways from this work of art:

  • There is a mad cast of supporting characters. My first favorite is this delightful old bag who looks like a skunk died on her head. She is thrilled when the Girls come and interrupt her dinner and does a pretty decent two second dance with them. 

And this woman

Who is obviously stealing hair styling tips from one of my favorite characters ever, Ruby Rhod: 
Bitch stole my look!

  • There is a seriously lack of bras and lot of blatant nippleage (yes, that is a word I just made up and here is a shot for my husband of his favorite Spice Girl) 

  • Baby Spice looks like a drowned rat. These days, where you can't spit in the wind without hitting someone with a weave in Hollywood (that is a saying right?) Baby would be chastised and not allowed to leave the house looking like this with her thin, stringy, greasy do. And how weird is it that a grown ass woman called herself "Baby" and then dressed like a child and we were all ok with it?? I also have to go on the record that I owned both the shoes Baby is wearing (in black) and the shoes Posh is wearing. Ah, 90s fashion at it's best. 

  • Let's refer to the photo above and talk about how horrendous the dancing is in this video. The only people with any sort of rhythm are Scary and Sporty (who by the way must be significantly taller than the other girls as she is in flats and the others - except Scary who is seen next to Sporty but standing on a stair higher - are all in heels and platforms). It is painful to watch the jerky movements of Posh and the awkward broken moves of Ginger in her circus act unitard (which was done about 20 years before you Miley!). 

  • Ginger is SUPER handsy in this video. You can see her here humping this aghast Marilyn Monroe/Cindy Lauper lookalike, who by the way has the worst VPL (visible panty line, of course) ever. And at one point she grabs Baby's butt under her skirt.
  • At more than one point Scary Spice forgets to lip sync her line in the video. She should be singing but she is actually kissing someone at a certain moment. 
  • If you didn't notice, the entire video is shot in one take, which is impressive and just ridiculous. You see Ginger multiple times look away from the camera to look behind her so as to not trip over something, or fall down the stairs. 
  • Who would have known from watching these Girls that Posh spice would turn out to be the most famous of them all! She is a total worthless mannequin in this video, and is practically hidden in the back the whole time - for good reason. Her talents were never singing or dancing, they were posing and designing clothes, and marrying well, and look where she is today!

I could go on, but I don't want to ruin the magic of the video for you all (like I did for my friend once when we watch the original Annie and I commented throughout the movie how ridiculous it all is and  in turn ruined it forever for her - sorry!) Sit back, relax and enjoy the madness. And tell me what you want, what you really really want and please don't let it be to slam my body down and wind it all around, because that sounds painful. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Project Playroom: The Accent Wall

I am not afraid of color. You would not know that if you stepped into my house as most of the walls, tile, cabinets and furniture (so far) are white, beige, gray or greige (a combo of the two). I made two very bold color choices when designing this house. One (which you will see in a post in the near future) is a kelly green vanity in the girls' bathroom. The second is this accent wall in the playroom. 

Both of these decisions were met with much hesitation when I told my builder about the bright bold colors as he is all about the neutral tones. I have two kids, I am an artist/crafter/designer myself and wanted to do something that popped in my otherwise sterile and boring house (just wait until I repaint my dining room table legs hot pink!). I was later told by said builder that he loved my decision on color, so there! 

I had originally planned to paint more than one wall in the playroom this beautiful teal color (Miami Teal by Benjamin Moore), but decided to stick with this one side wall. The windows in the house are to the left of this wall, and get incredible light in the morning as our house is Northeast facing. 

I kept this wall simple as the color is already an attack on the senses, and put the spin art canvas M and I created last year as the main focal point. Below are table and chairs from Ikea, and for now we have that yellow crisscross rug from Overstock. I had plans to buy a new fancy rug for in there, but that won't be happening until the girls are older and aren't spilling things all the time, or drawing on rugs with markers!

Hanging in the corner of the room is a tent from Land of Nod, that is affixed to the ceiling. More on that awesomeness in a later post!