Archives for December 2011

Out With 2011 and In With 2012!

Happy New Year! Yes, I know it’s a bit early, but you won’t be hearing from me again until 2012. I wasn’t going to post anything else this year, but my good friend Gigi over at Kludgy Mom had a great idea for a link up: What one word would you use to describe your 2011, and what one word do you hope will define 2012?

2011: The Year of Chaos. Now don’t get me wrong…I don’t think that the chaos is going away anytime soon. But this year I felt like I had lost control of everything. The twins were only a year old, and SO much work. Being a mom this past year was rarely fun — it was definitely work and tested every ounce of the very limited patience that I had. I am not sad to see 2011 go.

Just over the past couple of months, I’ve felt a shift in our lives…the girls are getting easier now. They aren’t just “work”. We can leave the house with just a couple of sippy cups and a few extra diapers. I’m not afraid anymore to take three kids out in public by myself. I feel like now that they are communicating, they’re also understanding more and are more well behaved. It is, after two very long years, *finally* getting easier.

So what about 2012? I pronounce the Year of 2012: The Year of Growth. I’m talking about my growth. Now from a blogging perspective, 2011 was pretty good to me. I was sponsored by Clever Girls Collective to attend EVO. I got a writing gig with SmartMomPicks.com and SmartMomStyle.com. Gigi, Shell from Things I Can’t Say and Ashley from My Front Porch Swing started a social media business and Have Wine, Will Drink. I got a lot of sponsored posts, advertising, and all of that fun stuff…I finally started making money from my blog!

In 2012, I am focusing not only on my blog, but on my freelance work. I have something I’m super excited to announce about an opportunity that is starting for me in January, but for now they are making me keep it quiet, which for someone with a big mouth like me, has been very hard! I also plan to grow my social media presence, specifically on Facebook. I want to learn more about blogging and social media and share what I learn with you.

But I also want to focus on personal growth. Getting into shape (I know it’s on just about everybody’s list), spending more quality time with the kids. Focusing on balancing my time on the computer with my “real life”. Reading more, which I miss so much. Watching less TV. And on and on…

So there you have it. Goodbye 2011, hello 2012! What is your one word to describe 2011 and define 2012? Link up over at Kludgy Mom’s!

Don’t forget to check out my Favorite Posts of 2011 and link up yours, too because I’m hosting a Best of 2011 link up!

And if you want to check out some amazing streetwear designed by kids, then my $30 Bobiam giveaway is right up your alley.

I was also notified that you can still comment on my Serve post through December 31st for a chance to win $100!

I recently told you about mine and the girls new found love: Tea Collection clothing. Guess what? They are having a HUGE sale right now! Tea Collection is offering up to 60% off on pants, dresses, and shirts. Make sure to shop Tea Collection and save up to 60% only while supplies last. This is a deal you definitely don’t want to miss. Happy Shopping!

Letters For You: Sharing A Letter To Ethan

A very good friend of mine Tonya over at Letters for Lucas  asked me if I would like to guest post in her series Letters for You, and of course I immediately said yes! So today, head over to Letters for Lucas to read all about my current mommy guilt as I share a letter I wrote to Ethan.

But while you are here…why not check out my Favorite Posts of 2011 and link up yours, too because I’m hosting a Best of 2011 link up!

And if you want to check out some amazing streetwear designed by kids, then my $30 Bobiam giveaway is right up your alley.

I was also notified that you can still comment on my Serve post through December 31st for a chance to win $100!

I recently told you about mine and the girls new found love: Tea Collection clothing. Guess what? They are having a HUGE sale right now!  Tea Collection is offering up to 60% off on pants, dresses, and shirts. Make sure to shop Tea Collection and save up to 60% only while supplies last. This is a deal you definitely don’t want to miss. Happy Shopping!

Mommy of a Monster’s Best of 2011: My Favorite Posts Of The Year

Last week, I told you that one of my favorite posts to write in last year around this time was  Mommy of a Monster’s Best of 2010 in which I went back through each month of the year and picked my favorite post of the month. It was fun to do because I found some posts that I really liked and had forgotten about, and ones that I wanted to share again.

I’m doing it again this year, and I want you to join me! Link up anytime through the 31st, grab the button (you can get the code for it over on my sidebar), and slap the button on your post. Visit other’s who link up too. I can’t wait to see your favorites!

Here are mine…enjoy!

January

The Business This post wreaked havoc across the Internet! Okay, that might be a huge exaggeration because really it only started the twins hosting The Bidness and Lila was featured over at Mommy Shorts’ blog a time or two. But it was fun to share Lila’s look with everybody! And yes, she will still give The Business if you ask her to.

February 

Literal Literalness…Literally I am beyond literal when it comes to thinking. I’m so literal that sometimes it’s scary, which is why this was such a fun post to write.

But I also have to mention The Usual Suspects because everybody loves when I write and share photos of the trouble the girls get into when I’m not paying attention…and because this post won me a Blogma over at All Things Fadra!

March

The Ocean had me yearning to scuba dive, something I haven’t had a chance to do since a couple of years before Ethan was born.

You loved Blogging Must Haves (And Have Nots) for Newbies and so did BlogHer because they syndicated it!

April

All those things that moms say? I tried to list them all in If You Really Knew Me, You Would Know That…  I had no idea I talk about poop so much!

May

You guys wanted to see The Business live and in person, and I caught it in Ask and You Shall Receive!

I also wrote about being a Senior Hottie, and if you were in high school in the early 90s, you loved the big hair, Glamour Shot, and scrunched socks. My mom did not love hearing about my trip to Tijuana with my girlfriends that I lied to her about…

June

A post I enjoyed writing then and once again enjoyed checking out again now was My Free Pass List.

July

I loved telling you all about my first Evo experience with The Bloggess Turns Me Into a Zombie, iPad Envy, and How I Almost Died at Evo ’11. It was a great conference and I can’t wait to go again in 2012!

August

I loved Write Something from the Heart because it gave me my “real” voice back.

September

I hit a Mommy Milestone with Ethan’s First Day of Preschool. I can’t believe how big he is!

October

Just Breathe was something that I re-read often, but I also shared my first vlog ever!

November

Hands down one of my fave posts of the year: What I’ve learned Since Becoming a Mom (The Things That Suck), which also one me a second Blogma over at All Things Fadra!

December

I had a few really fun ones this month, including What Our Elf On The Shelf Is Really Up To When We’re Not Home and also White Trash Gift Ideas. And of course this post would be on my list because it’s all of my favorites!

Now go find your favorite posts from this year and link up!

Mommy of a Monster

There aren’t any rules – you can do what I’m going to do and share your favorite posts every month of the year or you can pick one post that was you feel was the most important one you wrote for the entire year. Or maybe you want to do it by categories: your funniest post of the year, the one that got the most comments, the one your readers liked most…or maybe it was a post written by somebody else. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it!

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If You Don’t Know Bōbiam, You Should

If You Don’t Know Bōbiam, You Should

….I know you are probably wondering, “What the heck is Bōbiam?!”

Well, let me tell ya, Bōbiam is an artistic streetwear company. They make clothing for men, women and kids and also hats, beanies and bracelets. Now what makes them unique and worth checking out are that the clothing they produce is created by youth artists only, some as young as 5 years old!

Bōbiam’s mission is also really incredible: they help kids channel their energy, good and bad, into the creation of artistic streetwear.  They give back to kids through charities and causes that use creative ideas to help kids become the best version of themselves.  They want to help their artists achieve success and “express themselves in ways that enable them to become confidant and strong adults, capable of leading others.”

Another cool aspect of their clothing is that it’s all of their clothing is has UV protection to help protect you from damaging sun rays that can lead to skin cancer. They also donate $1 from each UVSmART sale to charities that support skin cancer research!

I was lucky enough to get a chance to get one of these young artists’ creations. I received the Ribbet Layered Tee.

According to the artist, here’s what Ribbet is all about: “I was thinking about magic toads when I drew Ribbet. He has legos for hands. He has a force field around him to protect him from other evil toads. He is very shy and afraid of people. He becomes very aggressive if you try & touch him.”

When I wore this shirt the first time, it got a lot of attention. Partly because it wasn’t my usual “style” (and I use that term loosely because I don’t have any style!), and mostly because it was so unique…it’s not something use see everyday. What I like about it is that it gave me the chance to start a dialogue about a very cool company that has passion for something they believe in. And when I told people that the artist was only 7? They became even more interested!

It’s a cool shirt right? And you want one of your own, I’m sure! So how about I give you a chance or two? The good people over at Bōbiam want you to experience their streetwear too! Enter to win a gift code valued at $30 to select an item of your choice.

Just visit Bobiam.com and leave a comment stating what you would choose if you won. An additional entry could be to share one unique fact they’ve learned about Bobiam from visiting their website.

And that’s all there is to it! If you like the Bobiam style as much as I do, make sure to stalk them on Facebook and Twitter to keep track of all the cool things they are up to. Good luck!

This giveaway begins on Tuesday, December 27th and will end on Monday, January 2nd, 2012 at 8:30 pm. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. The winner will be announced on Tuesday and must respond within 48 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen.

Disclosure: I received a free Bobiam t-shirt in order to write this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Daddy Moment – Craig Style

Well, it’s time for the last Mommy Moment at the Monster of the year…but it’s not a Mommy Moment…it’s a Daddy Moment! If you’re not sure what a Mommy (or Daddy) Moment at the Monster is, head over and read all about how Mommy Moments at the Monster came to be.

Today, I’m so excited to welcome Craig, AKA Booyah Dad on Twitter. Craig is funny, supportive, Daddy to two beautiful little ones, and husband of a dear friend Nichole (in these small moments). 

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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First and foremost, I want to thank Natalie for welcoming me onto her site and letting me share some of “my style” with her loyal readers. I’ve only had one other guest post before, which was on my wife’s site in in these small moments.

But Natalie was one of my first friends as I entered the crazy world of Twitter and has always been very kind and warm. I still remember how disappointed she was that she was out of town and couldn’t help me reach my first milestone of 100 followers. But she’s been there ever since, so thank you Natalie!

I am blessed with two wonderful children: Katie, who is 4 ½, and Matthew, who is 2. But as I reflect back on my experiences of being a father, I can’t help but go back to some of those early days when I first realized I was even going to be a father…and how truly terrified I was about what was undoubtedly before me.

You see, my wife had been a nanny for years and seemed to be a walking encyclopedia about all things babies. And while that comforted me, I on the other hand, was awkward around babies and wondered how I would manage my own?!?

Of course, when my daughter graced our lives, I quickly learned the myth that it will all come naturally wasn’t such a myth at all. I very adeptly settled into my role and embraced everything I could about being the best daddy possible. But that’s not to say it didn’t come with a few challenges along the way!

When Katie was just a week or two old, she had the natural challenges with a developing intestinal system and struggled with some early gas. But all the recommended remedies didn’t seem to be working? She cried in pain and we couldn’t seem to help her. Even my wife was stumped and in a panic ran to the drugstore to get a different brand of relief.

After I got over the initial panic that she was leaving me alone with our newborn daughter for even twenty minutes, I kept consoling Katie and doing whatever I could to make her comfortable. I thought I’d check her diaper once again and as I gently removed the straps, her moaning stopped immediately.

“Um, Daddy? You had my diaper on WAY too tight!!”

Oops!! #lessonlearned

This one I can still thankfully laugh about to this day. Mainly because Katie was okay, but it certainly reminded me that I needed to get my priorities straight in terms of protecting my daughter over capturing that moment for posterity purposes.

I guess I really did have her back! But um, #anotherlessonlearned

But in the end, I guess it’s a testament to our adaptive nature as human beings. I gain more confidence every day as a father and yet I humbly acknowledge that I’ll have a lifetime of being tested. But do I panic when my wife leaves the kids with me? Not in the slightest! I welcome the special bonding time with the kids and am happy that she’s getting a break. Do I think I have all the answers?

Not. Even. Close.

But I realize that nobody does and it makes me feel good when even my wife relies upon my expertise. Do I make mistakes? Every single day, but I strive to learn from those mistakes and reflect upon how I can handle the situation differently the next time.

I truly cherish being a father. Nothing warms my heart each and every day more than when I open the door and am the recipient of sheer joy from my children. It makes me realize that to them I am not perfect; to them I make mistakes; to them they wish I did things differently at times.

But to them? I am their daddy…..and they love me and make me feel so very important. And for that? I am eternally grateful to them for the gift they have given me…..

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Thank you for sharing this Craig because this is EXACTLY what sharing these moments is all about. None of us have all the answers and all of us can use as much support as we can possibly get! And all of those mistakes that we make along the way will give us the knowledge to pass along when our children have kids some day!

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 Twitter and say hello to Booyah Dad and if you are a new follower, make sure to tell Craig that I sent you!

And don’t forget to link up your favorite posts of 2011 in my Best Of 2011 link up!