Archives for October 2011

Mommy Moment – Gigi Style

That’s right! It’s time for another Mommy Moment at the Monster! If you’re not sure what a Mommy Moment at the Monster is, head over and read all about how Mommy Moments at the Monster came to be.

So let’s welcome Gigi from Kludgy Mom! I have known Gigi since almost the beginning of my blogging life. In fact, she used to be my fairy blogmother! Now, she is a true friend, heck we like each other so much we went into business together AND started Have Wine, Will Drink together! She’s a fantastic writer, knows just about everything there is to know about blogging (especially all the techie stuff that goes over my head), and is funny as all get out.

Go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!

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How Not To Be A Room Mom

I’m so excited to be guest posting here at Nat’s blog!

I used to be a pretty active parent at my kids’ school. I volunteered weekly in both classrooms on top of arranging class parties and being the overall Annoying Room Mom Asking For PTA Fundraiser Money Again.

In about January, I got a bunch of freelance writing jobs, and work, mommying and wifey-ing was bearing down on me.

Valentine’s Day was approaching quickly. I met with Boy Wonder’s teacher to get all of the prep work done for the class party.

Supplies for cookie decorating – check
A fun educational game/activity – check
A Valentine craft – check
Goodie bags – check

A week before the party, I put on my Wonder Woman cape. I hit Wal-Mart, party supply list in hand. I knocked out the list in no time at all. I organized the supplies at home, assembled goodie bags, packed everything in recyclable totes and had it all ready to go the day of the party.

Party day arrived. I took the kids to school. Put some makeup on. Cranked on a bunch of freelance work so I could be fully “present” for my kid’s party, for which setup began at 12:30. At noon, I had everything ready to go, bags near the door so I wouldn’t forget a thing.

Ahhh, I thought. I did it. I gave myself a mental pat on the back for being such an Awesome and Organized Mom. I ate some lunch and played on Twitter for a bit. My phone rang at 12:15.

It was one of my helper moms and friend, Julie.

“Is everything okay?” she said.

“Um, yeah. I’m getting ready to head up for the party setup.” I said.

“Okay, see you then,” she said.

What was that all about? I wondered. And I went up to the school.

As I walked down the hall carrying 3 giant tote bags of supplies, I noticed there was a flurry of activity in the 2nd grade wing. I entered the classroom.

Boy Wonder’s teacher and 3 other moms flew up to me.

“Is everything okay?” they said.

“Yeah, everything’s fine, why?” I asked as I started unloading the supplies.

God, these women are so uptight! I thought to myself.

“Well, we were started to getting worried that something happened when you didn’t show up at noon for the party setup.”

“Noon? The setup is right now, at 12:30,” I said confidently.

“No,” the teacher said. “Setup was at noon. The kids are coming back from recess right now.”

I turned and saw 20 amped-up kids filing into the classroom, awaiting The Party.

The Party That Was Not Set Up Because I Am Not Awesome and Organized Mom. I Am Old and Forgetful Mom Who Cannot Remember Any Event Without It Being Scheduled In Her iPhone.

That I had no iPhone back then was part of the problem.

Horror filled my heart, combined with equal helpings of anger, disappointment in myself, and the worst possible feeling a mommy can feel: shame in front of other moms.

Nooooooooo! A major party faux pas in front of other really organized moms! The shame!

I wanted to crawl into a ball and roll away.

I turned back to the teacher.

“Oh my God, I’m SO sorry. I’m never late for anything! I feel terrible, all these people waited 30 minutes and I had all the supplies. I’ve been working a bunch of jobs, and….”

“It’s okay, Gigi,” the teacher said, “We can get this set up quickly.”

We got it done. The party went on. I pulled myself together. The kids had a great time. All was not lost.

And that evening, as I related the story to my husband, he finally agreed. It was time to get an iPhone.

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Thank you for sharing this Gigi, and for being honest about how how heartbreaking it is to realize that we’ve screwed up at being the “perfect mom”. If it makes you feel any better, Ethan’s only been in preschool 2 months and I’ve already done the same thing…I forgot he had a school carnival and he almost missed it!

There’s no manual out there for what we do, so sharing stories like this helps us all learn from each other.

Now head over to Gigi’s place Kludgy Mom and if you are new there, make sure to tell her that I sent you!

Monster Likes #38

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Every Saturday, it’s Monster Likes time! I list my favorite selection of posts I found throughout bloggy land over the past week.

If one of your posts is listed below and you want the badge, just shoot me an email or leave me a comment and I’ll send you the badge to put on your post!

And now on to the good stuff….

Tarja over at The Flying Chalupa cracked me up when she wrote The UnSocial Network…and if you are addicted to social media, this is a must read!

Jessica over at Four Plus an Angel wrote about The Benefits of Blogging Less, and it’s some of the best blogging advice I’ve seen in awhile!

You know I love Ilana over at Mommy Shorts, and she didn’t let me down this week when she posted about Cheap-Ass-Last-Minute-No-Effort Baby Costumes. The photos are hilarious!

Rachel from Mommy Needs a Vacation wrote over at momtastic for her regular wine gig, and it’s all about Halloween Party Wine Goodies. If you’re a fan of wine, definitely check it out! (I want to try out that Vampire Vineyards just because of the name!)

I’ve had several people ask me to write a post about all of the changes going on at Klout. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, over the past week, many people saw a significant drop in their Klout scores, and many people were upset by it. I haven’t gotten around to posting it yet (it will be up on Tuesday), but until then over at Cleverly Changing, Elle wrote about the Klout Changes, and it’s worth checking out.

I’m Trying Something New Here, Too…

Occasionally, I will receive an email about something that I’m not willing to write an entire blog post about, but that I think is worth mentioning…so I thought I could put those things here and if you want more information about them, you can click over to the links and find out more. Here are some cool things I received this week…

Walmart Wants To Save You Money

Walmart’s Christmas Price Guarantee promises that if you buy an eligible product at Walmart any time between November 1st and December 25th and then find that same product advertised for less at another store, Walmart will give you a gift card for the difference. Guaranteed. I’m not a huge fan of Walmart, but I know that I will be buying the girls’ tricycles from their and watching to make sure that I get the best price!

Wine Tasting Parties For A Cause

HOPE at HOME is ONEHOPE Wine’s (and you all know I love ONEHOPE wine!) grass-roots effort to bring cause-branding directly to your home or business through private wine tasting events. But where ONEHOPE brings so much value is through their charitable ties. They are taking the Tupperware party a step further and building a private wine-tasting program that could also serve as a fundraising platform. It’s a fun way for people to give back and experience wine tasting in a new way. It’s a cool site and a cool idea…check it out!

Attend a Virtual Wine Tasting!

Wine Twits is having a virtual wine tasting in the month of November, and if you have never participated in one of their virtual wine tastings, you are missing out! Nouveau Day celebrates the official arrival of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday in November all around the world. It’s one of the biggest wine events of the year! Join the Nouveau Expression celebration and be first to taste and share with friends. Register today to be included in this year’s #NouveauDay Virtual Tasting Event!

Cheerios Wants To Send Cheer Through The Mail

When our troops are called to serve, their families must rise to meet the challenges of service as well. To thank them, Cheerios and the USO have partnered in a postcard campaign that spreads Cheer directly to these honorable military families and supports USO programs. During the months of October and November, 2011, specially-marked boxes of Cheerios cereal will feature Cheer postcards on the front of the box. You simply cut out the postcard from the Cheerios logo, write a message of thanks on the back, add a stamp and mail the pre-addressed card to the USO. The USO will deliver the Cheer card to military families across the country.

But that’s not it. For each postcard received through November 2012, Cheerios will make a $1 donation to the USO to help fund programs that support military families. To kick off the campaign, Cheerios has already donated $150,000 to the USO and will donate up to an additional $100,000 based upon the number of postcards received from specially marked boxes now through November 30th, 2012. Sending a “Cheer” postcard is a simple way to say thanks and lift the spirits of our country´s military families. So, take a moment out of your day to spread some Cheer and send a message of thanks!

Guayaki Is On A Mission

Have you ever heard of yerba mate? It’s a traditional tea-like leaf native to the South American rainforest revered for centuries as a powerful rejuvenator.  Yerba mate has the strength of coffee, the health benefits of green tea and the euphoria of chocolate. Guayaki is a sustainable yerba mate company, and they are on an incredible mission to restore the endangered South American Atlantic Rainforest and create living-wage jobs for indigenous farmers. Guayaki has also been nominated in the BBC World Challenge, and needs votes to win this renowned competition.

Earning the distinguished BBC Challenge award would bring worldwide attention to Guayaki’s innovative business model. If you are interested in supporting this effort, you can watch a quick, one-minute video on Guayaki and vote at: http://www.theworldchallenge.co.uk/finalists/6/Jungle-Brew.

Not into voting but want to know more? If you’re curious about how you can influence Guayaki’s mission, you can see your personal, positive impact by using Guayaki’s new app! The Guayaki app lets you see number of trees, actual square feet & ecosystem service dollars you are personally protecting each year just by drinking Guayaki.

Disclosure: I have not received any products or any other form of compensation for mentioning these various campaigns. The information was emailed to me, and I thought it was worth sharing. 

Lila and Mia Host ‘The Bidness’ – Round 12

The Business Lila: I’m sure that you read my mom tell you about how we aren’t taking naps anymore. She says we are boycotting naps. But we just don’t need them anymore.

 

The Business Mia: Yeah, I have a lot of stuff I want to do. Like pull all the clothes out of our drawers. And put all the new diapers in the Diaper Genie. And pull Lila’s hair out.

 

Lila: And it hurts when she pulls my hair. It hurts a lot. She is mean. But putting diapers in the Diaper Genie is fun. And sometimes I bite her and that’s fun too.

Mia: But we wanted to tell you about when my mom and dad took us to Irvine Park. We got to go see the ducks and ride the train and see the animals in the zoo. They eat pumpkins.

Lila: We went without Tater cuz he had school. So we got to go all alone with mom and dad. That doesn’t happen very often. Usually Tater gets to go to the special places.

Mia: We got to see bears and raccoons and a mountain lion. And we got to feed goats.

bear eating pumpkin at Orange County Zoo racoon eating pumpkin at Orange County Zoo racoon eating pumpkin at Orange County Zoo mountain lion at Orange County Zoo

Lila: Don’t forget the train! We got to go on the choo-choo train. It says “Choo Choo!”

train at Orange County Zoo train at Orange County Zoo

Mia: And Tater still doesn’t know! Mom and dad says it is a secret. I guess that’s what happens when you go to school – people have secrets and fun when you are not at home.

Lila: Uh huh. That’s true. I don’t want to go to school. Nobody should have fun without me.

Mia: I want to go to school. Then I can do whatever I want and Mommy won’t say “NO NO”

Lila: But what if they do secrets without us? I will be mad.

Mia: Then we will just mess stuff up so they know that we know they have secrets!

Lila: Oh! That’s a good plan!

Mia: I know.

Lila: But anyways, the animals were so cute!

Mia: Look! We even have a video!

Lila: It was so much fun! So if you live in Southern California like we do and want to have fun this Saturday, go to the Halloween Zoo-tacular at the Orange County Zoo from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside Irvine Regional Park! The first 100 children ages 12 & under in costume will receive a free gift!

Mia: And they are gonna have crafts and face painting and trick-or-treating and you can watch the animals eat treats and go to a big pumpkin patch!

Lila: But don’t tell Tater what he was missing. He would be SO MAD! Uh oh! I think he’s coming!

Mia: Uh oh! He is! See you later!

Disclosure: I wrote this review after being invited to the Zoo-tacular event at the Orange County Zoo at Irvine Regional Park. We received free admission and parking, as well as tickets to come back again later this year. All opinions expressed are my own…they did not ask me to blog about our experience. However, we have enjoyed Irvine Park for years and will continue to, so I was happy to tell you all about it!

Where Have You Been?

I’ll tell you where I’ve been.

Trying to hang on to my sanity.

You know that whole Terrible Two’s thing? Yeah, I’m living it right now. With TWO Terrible Two’s. My life has pretty much been a non-stop nightmare. Not only are the girls into absolutely everything – and I’m talking making one mess and then making another while I’m still cleaning up the first mess – but they’ve also decided to boycott their daily nap.

Now I know kids give up naps. You might remember last December when my girls dropped their morning nap. I had a hard time giving up that one, but the bright side was that I still had Nap #2, and it was anywhere between 2 and 3 hours long.

During Nap #2, I got a lot of work done – it was my time to write my SmartMomPicks.com and SmartMomStyle.com posts. It was my time to write my own blog posts for the next day. It was my time to get through emails, tweet and pin. Generally, it was my time.

Over the last couple of weeks, they’ve decided that they didn’t need no stinkin’ nap. At first, they’d stay in their room and play and eventually fall asleep. A few days later, they decided to open the door and come out; I’d chase them back in and make them lay down. Eventually they’d go to sleep. But this last week? Nap boycott. No way, no matter what I do, will they lay down and nap. They cry, I cry, and we are all miserable. The witching hour starts at 1pm instead of at 5pm. We are all tired and cranky.

But not only are we tired and cranky, I have no time to work. I have no time to blog (last week I posted a Mommy Moment that I didn’t write and my first vlog…that was it). I fell behind on my SmartMom posts. I didn’t have time to tweet…and that more than anything makes me sad.

So now I’ve got them all running around, demanding attention, wanting something to do every minute they’re up, and I am losing my mind. Writing is my time to wind down, to recharge. It takes the edge off. Those 2 or 3 hours everyday gave me time to do something that I loved that was only for me. Now that I’m losing it, I’m having a hard time.

PLEASE – I need your advice, your tips, suggestions and I need to know how you all do it! Help me before I lose my mind entirely!

It’s the last day to enter my California Wine Club FREE WINE giveaway! Enter now!

Mommy Moment – Jamie Style

That’s right! It’s time for another Mommy Moment at the Monster! If you’re not sure what a Mommy Moment at the Monster is, head over and read all about how Mommy Moments at the Monster came to be.

So let’s welcome Jamie from chosen chaos! Jamie is a mom of four and a great story teller. I recently had the chance to guest post on her blog, and jumped at the chance! So I wanted to return the favor and have her share her words with you here so that you can see just why I like her so much!

Go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!

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I can recount the events of this day as if they happened yesterday. It’s been over 2 years now.

Mornings in my house, no matter what I try to do, are never smooth sailing. I’m not a morning person and everyone else IS. So I am usually the sour face running around trying to get everything ready in not enough time. Rush, rush, rush. This particular morning it was five minutes past time to go. Everybody was ready except me. Middle-man kept whining something about his feet or his shoes. He was a fresh one year old so he wasn’t really talking. Just grunts, making a few understandable words, and whining. A lot.

I looked at my husband with a WTF? and he said, he’ll be fine, we’ve got to go. Right. And off we went.

Drop off was normal. I carried him in, got his breakfast ready, big guilty hugs for being so short that morning, AGAIN. And off I went.

Fast forward to pick-up time… his teacher tells me that he’s been kind of grumpy all day. Just not his usual self, she says. I look at him with a fleeting moment of concern. Wondering if it’s teeth, an impending ear infection? She told me he did take a good nap but the rest of the day he was just off. Hmmm. Well, time will tell. And off we went.

The boys and I met family for dinner. Well, others ate dinner while I dealt with middle-man. His teacher was right, he just wasn’t himself. He was way more whiny than normal. Nothing seemed to please him. We rushed through the meal and headed for the car.

Once I had them buckled up for safety I threw my arms in the air and in a monster-ish pleading voice said, what in the world is wrong with you buddy!? He quickly pointed to his shoes.

Monter-ish voice again, your shoes hurt? Still? More nodding, pointing and his mumbled yes mama.

Alright, alright, lets just take them off then.

Shoes off, socks off. I inspect both.

You could hear my heart break from miles around. If not that then you certainly heard the moan that came from deep inside my Mother’s gut.

There, inside the shoes of my baby boy… stuffed all the way down… were socks.

A second pair of socks. Socks from another day. Socks that had been stuffed inside his shoes, crunching his sweet toes. ALL. DAY. LONG.

His toes were visibly red. Crunched. Jammed.

He just looked at me. With those great big beautiful sea-glass green eyes… He cried the whole way home. There was nothing I could say to him to make this better. I just kept repeating over and over again, I’m so sorry buddy. Mommy is so sorry.

And I cried right along with him.

Not because of the socks or because of his poor tiny toes.

I cried for the 10 seconds that morning that I didn’t listen to him! I didn’t stop and try to figure out what was hurting him. Isn’t that my JOB? It would have been such an easy fix. Instead I rushed and shooed him about. Instead I didn’t pay attention.

A moment he will never remember, one that I will never forget.

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Thank you for sharing this Jamie, and for being honest about how all too often we don’t listen/care/pay attention to what our kids are actually saying to us. I had a similar thing happen last week and this story hit a little too close to home. It’s a great reminder to slow down and breathe.

There’s no manual out there for what we do, so sharing stories like this helps us all learn from each other.

Now head over to Jamie’s place chosen chaos and if you are new there, make sure to tell her that I sent you!

It’s not too late for you to enter my California Wine Club FREE WINE giveaway! Enter for your chance to win now!