Tag Archives: Kids

Why I Yell: An Open Letter to My Children

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Why I Yell: An Open Letter to My Children

My dearest daughters,

Today I heard the way you were shouting at your baby sister for touching your Barbie and it sent chills down my spine. Not because such anger seemed to be coming out of such an adorable little creature. Nope. I felt shame because you were just mirroring what I do when I am upset with you.

I’ve seen you get angry before but today your words matched mine. Not pretty words. Not loving words. And for this I am truly sorry. While I secretly hope that you are all too young to remember my recent frustration and lack of control, I nevertheless feel awful that this perhaps gives you permission to also be frustrated and out of control.

I’m realistic enough to admit that this will likely not be the last time that I lose my mind. I just hope that the 95.3% of the time that I am a patient and calming force will be what you remember me for.

In the meantime, if you would like to help me out, my sweet girls, you are welcome to do so by doing the following:

  1. Stop standing on chairs. Cause and effect seems to be lost on you people. If it hurts when you hurl your lifeless body 4 feet onto the ground and land on your head, then hey…here’s a concept, maybe don’t do it again.
  2. Flush the damn toilet.
  3. Be kind to each other. You may not realize it now but that little pest sitting next to you will probably be holding your hair on your 21st birthday (I mean, let’s be honest…you have my DNA). And she will hold you while you cry the first time your heart is broken. And she will be the first person you want to call when you get a promotion. (Wait! You better call me. Then your sister will be the second person you call). Now that we got that straight, please just be kind to each other.
  4. Do what I say. And do it right when I say it. I realize if my own mother is reading this she is probably rolling her eyes but come on! I thought I had ordered those kids that were not going to make me repeat everything I said 437,240 times. It is extremely exhausting. And I’m starting to hate my own voice.
  5. Treat your Dad and I with respect. We made you. We own you. We can end you. Please just show us the respect that we deserve. I would think that the fact that we have actually shown you proof that the world opens up to every wish and possibility your little heart can dream of when you show us respect would result in said respect. You are super smart. You could totally play us if you wanted to but for some reason you don’t choose this route. I’m giving you a golden nugget of wisdom here.
  6. If you have to open 3 doors to get to me, I’m probably trying to get away from you. Perhaps just give me 15 seconds of peace.
  7. Don’t cry over food. Ever. You are putting too much importance on fruit snacks and goldfish. Save your emotions for things that matter.
  8. Please don’t use my toothbrush. I mean, I love the 4 sinus infections I get every year and all, but can I just have one thing that you don’t stick in your mouth?
  9. Appreciate your family. You are so lucky to have so many people who love you. Cherish it. Eat it up. Hug each other instead of bickering. Be thankful instead of jealous.

And with all of that said I want to tell each of you, I love you with all that I am. You kids are the light of my life. I promise that even if you don’t do each of the items above for me I will do my best to not lose my cool. Well, at least not as much.

Your loving Mom. Always and Forever.

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Sesame Street Strikes Again – Because Little Kids LOVE Murderous Gangsters

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I have always loved Sesame Street. I truly believe that as a child the show helped me learn the alphabet, how to count and what a llama was, and it does the same for my own children. My kids don’t really watch it that often though. We are more likely to be watching Finding Nemo, Wreck it Ralph or Up at our house.

But this morning I turned it on for the little ones while they ate their pancakes and was once again shocked at a show that the writing team chose to mimic. This isn’t my first time being blown away by one of their episodes. For my previous rants on Sesame Street’s choices please see Debbie Does Disney and Sesame Street Strikes Again.

Today’s episode was “Birdwalk Empire” based on the uber-violent HBO gangster show “Boardwalk Empire”. Really? My husband and I watch this show and by my count 247 people were violently murdered this season alone (I’m making that up but it’s probably pretty close).

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The puppet version of the show featured Nucky Ducky & Mallard Capone going head-to-head at the boardwalk with Clucky Luciano and his gang to figure out who has the best bird walk. They ultimately decided to combine their walks in a compromise of song and dance. How beautiful.

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Well produced? Yes. Clever? Yes. I know Sesame Street has always used pop culture to keep lessons relevant. But I still feel slightly uncomfortable with such an innocent program choosing to commemorate the shows on TV that are based on murder, guns, sex and drugs. Seems a little dirty to me. Is it just me?

Watch Birdwalk Empire

Assigning dollar values to my emotional wealth

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For many, many years I was blessed to have a position in the professional world that provided me with many rich experiences. I enjoyed first class flights, sitting in VIP tents at golf tournaments and private suites at sporting events, exploring cities I hadn’t yet been to, eating at fantastic restaurants, and pulling all nighters preparing for new business pitches. I’m not going to lie, it was really fun.

But here I sit…14 months into being a stay-at-home mom. Boy, my world has changed. I’ve traded tailored slacks for my husband’s pajama pants and don’t have a single regret.

I hear a lot of moms say “You just can’t put a price on the joys of motherhood” to which I say “Ummmm. Sure I can!” I used to somewhat frivolously spend money on lattes, pedis, clothes & yummy team lunches. And it’s funny how those things have been replaced by things far more valuable than I ever imagined.

I know someday I will have to go back to work again (Uggggggh!). For now though it is obvious to me after adding this all up that I am an emotional MILLIONAIRE!

Then: Starbucks morning lattes and scones
Now: Snuggling in bed every morning with my baby while she has her morning bottle – $275,320

Then: Lunches with co-workers
Now: Cutting sandwiches into tiny circles, squares and triangles and arranging tater tots into the letter “R” – $14,205

Then: Night out at happy hour with the girls
Now: Dancing around the living room with a toddler to “I’ve Got a Dream” from the movie Tangled – $52,975

Then: Mani/Pedis whenever the heck I felt like it, usually every other weekend
Now: Being the first one to hug my husband every night when he walks through the door – $97,200

Then: Dropping my sick child off at daycare when she is technically better but still not feeling 100%
Now: Resting, snuggling, watching movies, taking warm baths, eating good food and taking time to get better while being comforted by mommy and daddy every moment she is feeling yucky – $430,268

Then: Dry Cleaning everything I was too lazy to wash
Now: Wearing a daily uniform of pajama pants and t-shirts so I can use them to wipe something disgusting off my children if I need to and I’m comfortable enough to get on the floor and play airplane – $17,250

Then: Benihana once a week
Now: The joy I feel when I make a meal from scratch and my husband likes it so much he goes back for seconds – $15,590

Then: Drinking a glass of wine and watching the sunset with colleagues at the AT&T at Pebble Beach
Now: Not missing my daughter’s school music performance this year – $125,400

Then: New Years Eve on a rooftop in Vegas
Now: Counting down with my family and kissing my husband and kids at midnight under blazing fireworks in our suburban neighborhood – $25,678

So, what have YOU changed in your life and how is it contributing to YOUR emotional wealth?

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Please read my latest “Mommy Knows Best” article in Healthstyle Magazine

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My friends at Healthstyle Magazine have done it yet again. The just released Winter issue is packed full of wonderful health hints, lifestyle tips, recipes and more!

This time the article I contributed (which begins on Page 26 – click to read here) is about how participating in fun outdoor activities with your children can help both you and your kiddos burn calories while having fun and bonding at the same time. My beautiful stepdaughter Maura assisted me by modeling and participating in the activities with me. It turned out super cute.

Some of the other interesting articles in this issue:

– How to beat arthritis for good
– Delicious and healthy breakfast recipes
– 6 surprising energy boosters
– How a former Arizona mayor is helping change the healthcare industry

Thanks again for reading!!!!!

The Cleanliness of My House (Fantasy vs. Reality)

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I am a complete neat freak. My motto when it comes to the home is “a place for everything and everything in its place”. My family is coming into town this weekend and as usual there isn’t much I have to do to get ready because my house could pass the white glove test. You could also eat off of the polished floors and it’s impossible to tell I have kids because toys are nestled away in their toy boxes and color-coded & labeled bins. Laundry is done, dishes are clean and as usual my house smells like cinnamon sugar this time of year. Here are pictures of my bedroom and kitchen to prove what I’m talking about. Clean! Clean! Clean!

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Bwaaah haaaah haaaa! FANTASY!

Are you on crack?!?! We have 4 kids!!! If my house looked like that all of the time I would be some sort of magical stay-at-home princess fairy. How could I keep it that clean when 90% of my day is spent arguing with a 3-year old about why she can’t have 5 peanut butter cups and the other 10% of my time is walking around picking up peanut butter cup wrappers. And toys? Sad to say, but I could replace the entire city of Who-Ville’s stolen presents. And none of them are ever put away. EVER. I sing the clean up song 436 times a day. My life is like Groundhog Day. Every night the house is clean for when my husband gets home and then by 8am it looks like a bomb went off and I have to start all over again.

So, folks. Drum roll please…..this is what my house looked like 2 hours ago. REALITY!

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I envy those people who truly do have a clean house all of the time. I myself find it impossible and hope that sharing my reality might make you feel just a little better about the condition of your house right this second. It’s ok. My kids are happy. My husband did not marry me for my domestic abilities. So all is good.

Now I better stop blogging so I can go figure out how to make my house smell like cinnamon sugar because that sounds awesome.

What if I posted what I was really thinking on Facebook?

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What if I posted what I was really thinking on Facebook?

Do you want to know what kind of Facebook posts I enjoy reading the most? The raw, honest, often hilarious, self-deprecating ones where people are sharing real honest-to-goodness things that happen to them and are not embarrassed of what people might think or censoring themselves in any way.

I am probably the worst offender of the “typical Facebook” post. I post pictures of my adorable kids doing adorable things, I shout out when my husband brings me flowers, I tell funny stories about my day. Sometimes (in fact, most of the time) I actually think before pushing the share button “who gives a crap about this?”. But I send anyway because I can’t help myself. Maybe deep down it is my way of documenting my life. Or maybe I just think my life is so exciting that you all must immediately hear how awesome it is. Either way, my posts are, as are most of yours, really positive representations of what is not typically an entirely positive daily experience.

I love my life. I love the beauty in it. And I love the messiness of it. So why don’t I share everything with y’all? I promise I will not make this an everyday practice but wanted to make Wednesday, September 18th “authentic post” day and show you what I would be posting if I were to not censor myself. Things like this…..

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Sesame Street Strikes Again

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Recently a friend of mine posted a link to a new Sesame Street segment on their Facebook page. It was another unbelievable play on a sexually-charged, ultra-violent cable show created to teach our children. This time it was “Sons of Poetry” based (duh!) on the very popular fx show Sons of Anarchy. (This isn’t the first time Sesame Street has left me perplexed – see my blog on True Mud here.)

I completely understand what they are trying to do over there at Sesame Street. They are trying to entertain the parents while educating the children. And don’t get me wrong I totally appreciate the effort. But to use True Blood and Sons of Anarchy as their inspiration, two of the most mature and violent shows on TV today, seems so odd to me. The theme songs & graphics match perfectly. The muppets even look like the characters. One muppet in the Sons of Poetry is even wearing brass knuckles for God’s sake. Really?!?!
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So, of course my sick-minded, former marketing brain started to churn and think of all of the other inappropriate shows that my friends over at Sesame Street could mimic next. Please don’t judge me. I’m a stay at home mom and my brain is slightly atrophied so I have to use it in any way that the universe presents itself these days. Oh, and you’re welcome!

Sonnets in the City (based on Sex and the City)
– what better way to teach children about rhyming and iambic pentameter than to share 4 new york fashionista muppets sharing a sonnet about Manolo Blahniks during muppet fashion week?

Nip/Truck (based on Nip/Tuck)
– 2 plastic surgeon muppets would take trucks that want to “change” the way they look and make their dreams come true. An ice cream truck could finally fulfill its life long dream of looking like a shiny red fire truck. A garbage truck can finally look like the cement truck it had always felt like on the inside.

Baking Bad (based on Breaking Bad)
– a muppet in his 20’s and his muppet science teacher would go to secret hideouts in the new mexican desert in their muppet RV and use science to bake secret treats that everyone will want….really, really bad.

Keeping up with the Compound Fractions (based on Keeping up with the Kardashians)
– A blended family full of loud mouthed, self-centered yet oddly rich-as-hell muppets will create contrived and ridiculous situations to teach fractions. If Khloe muppet has 2 stupid conversations with Kim muppet and Kourtney muppet has 1/2 a stupid conversation with Kanye muppet and Bruce muppet just sits there and says nothing, how many stupid muppet conversations happened?

Game of Pronouns (based on Game of Thrones)
– Joffrey the muppet would teach pronouns like himself, whatever and nothing. Khalisi the muppet and her muppet dragons would teach pronouns like everyone, much and everybody.

The Walking Red (based on Walking Dead)
– a group of zombie-hunting vigilante muppets will try to save mankind by solving riddles that reveal the color RED.

GigoLOWS (based on Gigolos)
– this segment will show 4 male muppets going from seedy Vegas bar to seedy Vegas bar wearing really tight shirts (complete with a spiked blonde, overly tanned muppet named Brace) comparing the height of barstools to teach the concept of HIGHER and LOWER.

So there you go Sesame Street. Your creative team can thank me later. Can you all think of any other examples? Get creative and please share them….

5 Reasons it Sucks to Talk to Me on the Phone

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1. It is a 100% guarantee one of my kids will want something from another one of my kids, they won’t get it, the kid that has the thing will purposely withhold the thing so that the kid without the thing will end up crying. Both kids will interrupt our call to tell me their side of the story. Telling them I’m on the phone and to work it out themselves only fuels their argument and both of them will probably cry.

2. Someone in my house will do one or a combination of the following things: poop, choke, cry or hurt themselves. I will try to rectify this situation while still talking to you but I probably will lose track of what I’m saying or more likely what you’re saying.

3. My toddler (who has watched Spongebob silently for the last 45 minutes) will suddenly find it imperative that she sings a song full of complete nonsense about bugs or her birthday or a bug’s birthday or something equally ridiculous. She will sing this loudly and obnoxiously until I scream (likely in your ear) or laugh (also likely in your ear).

4. At some point in our conversation I will probably have to pee. Depending on who you are I might just pee with you on the phone. Do not take this as a sign of disrespect. Quite the opposite. The more I pee, the more I love you.

5. About 5 minutes in you will regret your decision to call me and not your mother. At least when calling mom it is completely silent in the background and you can complete a sentence.

How Stumpy and Spike Came to Live at My House

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We just became the proud parents of two baby bearded dragons (temporarily named Stumpy and Spike). This choice in pets was NOT my idea. My husband had a dragon in college and loved him and has always wanted to get another one. This added to the fact that my toddler is obsessed with all things dragon (the fairy tale, fire-breathing kind) was all it took to stop into the local Petsmart and become new parents, again.

When I saw them I thought they were pretty cute little babies and when I looked at my husband’s face I knew we wouldn’t leave without one. But after he picked out the one he wanted we saw that another one had 1/2 its tail missing. Sadly a bigger dragon had chomped his tail and he had to have it partially amputated. We knew no one would adopt him so we also brought home this “special needs” dragon (Stumpy).

Pre-Dragons my daily routine included many tasks that kept me wildly busy. I have a now-mobile infant that likes to constantly move, eat & poop. I have an extremely spirited toddler who likes to touch everything in sight, leave trails of crumbs and spills in her path and wants what she wants when she wants it. And then there are the 2 pre-teens which are pretty self-sufficient but are not in short supply of drama. So, I wasn’t necessarily looking for more things to do. But here I am…..

1. Dipping live crickets in a special blend of calcium and other unknown stuff and staring at the dragons for the better part of a 1/2 hour each morning to make sure they actually eat them and that Spike isn’t getting them all.

2. Spending another 1/2 hour a day as an amateur dragon sociologist studying their behavior. I’m always wondering why Spike is doing this and Stumpy is doing that. I feel oddly over-protective of Stumpy because of what he’s been through. My desire for the little ones in this house to get along clearly extends past the human variety.

3. Cleaning up dragon poo. (I seriously didn’t need to clean up anyone else’s poop…I was at my quota already). I highly doubt Calisi has to clean up her dragons’ crap.

4. Gently mysting the dragons with water 2x per day. Ya’ know, because the Dean Dragon Day Spa is the place to be if you are a dragon who wants to get pampered.

So basically, these little dragon babies have added more to my plate than I thought. But I am astonished at how much I can love these little boogers. They really have their own personalities and are fun to watch. They apparently live an average of 8 to 10 years so let’s see how I feel in a few years. But for now, I welcome them to the family.

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Puerto Rico Love (by guest blogger – my 13 year old stepdaughter)

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I have not been blogging lately and feel negligent for going 11 whole days without connecting with my blog friends. We are in the middle of a move across the country and just returned from an amazing family vacation to beautiful Puerto Rico.

We stayed in a gorgeous suite overlooking the ocean, snorkeled on our private beach, swam at the base of a 30 foot waterfall and dined like kings. None of that has anything to do with this post I just had to brag, rub it in, whatever you want to call it. Come on! Give me this. It was AHmazing.

Anyway, upon our return my stepdaughter shared with me a story from the trip that she had written about. I thought it was so cute and well written that I asked her if I could share it. She seemed pretty pumped up about that so I introduce with great pride my guest blogger Maura, with her story of young love and child marriage on an island in the middle of the ocean.

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Here is a story for anyone who needs a good laugh or is just down right bored (like me). It all started in Puerto Rico, my family’s hotel room was right next to my dad’s friend’s family (wow lots of ‘s). They had a 7 year old boy and a 5 year old girl. Anyway, the day before we were leaving my sister and I were talking about characteristics of our dream guy and the 7 year old boy was doing what I would say, like I said I like a guy who can sing and behind me he started singing gangnam style. After doing all of those things he was looking through a shell collection in the room and found one that looked like a ring and got on one knee and proposed to me (ha ha ha). At first my sister and I were laughing so hard it hurt because we thought he was joking but when I saw how serious his face was I stopped and didn’t know what to say (not wether to say yes or no but not to hurt his feelings). I mean I am not a mean person so I went along with it and sure enough we got married right in that Puerto Rico hotel room (not for real of course). So there you go, how many have you got married to a 7 year old in a hotel room in Puerto Rico?