October 31, 2007

We're Not In Kansas Anymore...

Or in 1988 for that matter. You know how I know? Halloween has changed my friends! And it's depressing if you ask me. I'm a sucker for holidays. No matter what, I'm right there decorating the house or throwing a themed party or what have you. So now that my two are old enough to get dressed up and appreciate the trick o' treating aspect of Halloween, I was thoroughly excited and looking forward to tonight. We got all dressed up (myself included) and, along with skeptical-paranoid-overprotective hubby, set out for the neighborhood.

Here's why things are different:

1. Last week, Chatterbox got a note home from school that the students weren't to wear any Halloween costumes to school today. I assume it was so as not to offend those that don't celebrate the holiday and to remain politically correct in these hyper-sensitive times. Whatever.

2. Tonight, we met up with some neighbors and made the rounds only of houses that we knew. Remember the good old days when you and your siblings or friends walked the neighborhood going door to door until your candy bag was overflowing? And then you came home, dumped your loot onto the living room floor and set back out for Round 2??

3. We hid the candy the girls collected on our rounds and replaced it with candy that I bought to give out to the neighborhood kids. This was hubby's idea. I had just planned on carefully checking the candy that the kids brought home, throwing out anything suspicious or homemade. But like I said, I live with skeptical-paranoid-overprotective hubby so he wasn't having it. And of course the girls were none the wiser and munched away contentedly on Mommy's safe and secure Costco candy stash.

4. It's 9pm and it seems that the trick o' treating time is over! My doorbell has stopped ringing and I still have a bunch of candy left to handout. Now I distinctly remember going until 11pm some Halloweens. I guess nowadays it's all about going trick o' treating at your local mall or zoo at 4pm and calling it quits after collecting a reasonable amount of animal crackers, boxed raisins and pretzels packs. BO-RING.

But what are you gonna do? Better to be safe than sorry. All I know is that the good old days are gone. No more homemade rice krispie treats from Ms. Dunwoody around the corner and no more gorging on assorted sweets lest your parents be accused of contributing to the nation's child obesity epidemic.

We're not in Kansas anymore. Or at least we're not in Montreal where I grew up.

I bet they're still out trick o' treating there.
This entry is cross-posted at DC Metro Moms Blog.

Yes, I Actually Looked This Up

Oldest has made a simple request, he wants to be a Ghost and all he wants is a "white sheet with two holes." I offered to buy him several costumes but he declined my offer. I even said, "I'm not sure how to make a nice ghost." And he said, "Simple, put a white sheet on my head, cut two holes for the eyes, then cut the bottom. It's so simple, and that's what I want." It's not that I don't want him to be a ghost, it's just that I want him to be really cool ghost, not just a white sheet with two holes.

So, finally, here I am, at 4 p.m. on Halloween night, checking to see if I can find directions on how to jazz up a white sheet with two holes but it seems as if I can't. Luckily, I bought the white sheet already (you never know, maybe there will be a Halloween shortage).

In case anyone is confused on how to be a Ghost, here are the directions. It seems Oldest had it right on the money. What a smart boy.

How to Create a Ghost Costume

Introduction: Here's a quick, easy-to-make Halloween costume. Remember to get creative with enhancements so that your little one stands out among the other ghosts running around on Halloween night.

Difficulty: Easy

Step One
Get your hands on a white sheet that you don't mind cutting. Remember to wash it before you use it.

Step Two
Put the sheet over the person who plans to wear it, with the person's head in the middle of the sheet.

Step Three
Draw two circles around each of the person's eyes with a crayon or other blunt marker.

Step Four
Mark how much material has to be removed to keep the sheet off the ground.

Step Five
Remove the sheet.

Step Six
Cut the eyeholes in the sheet using cloth scissors, and cut the bottom off if needed.

Step Seven
Cut the sheet in a ragged fashion at the bottom for a more ghostly effect.

Tips & Warnings
If desired, you can enhance the eyeholes with paint. Green and black are especially effective.
Be sure there is complete visibility from inside the costume, especially if the wearer plans to go trick-or-treating.

Stop eyeing that "Star Wars"-print flannel bed sheet. It won't work. If you don't have white sheets, go for a ready-made ghost costume.


October 30, 2007

Being a mom and looking great - you can have them both!

Addendum to my post about work/life balance -- which, by the way, was drafted about 12 days ago and just never made it to the blog - so much for work-life balance:)

Anyway, in honor of the last day of this month (can't remember whether it's Work-life appreciation month - or what!!!) I convinced myself that I MUST stay up beyond my bed-time to post this entry to the blog.

I think that it is possible to balance all the pressures of daily life as a working mom AND still look fabulous - how, you ask????

First tip, get a trim/cut as regularly as you can. Uncombed hair works very well if it was recently trimmed/cut. You will find that you can get away with a quick finger toss, if it's been freshly cut.

Second tip, take your styling utensils to work with you. I would try to get myself and DD together in the morning and out the house by 8 a.m. - and it just wasn't working. And then one day when I was running a bit late, I decided to take the flat iron into work with me and do my hair when I got to work. Ta da!!!!!! why didn't I think about this before. It saves me about 15 minutes every morning and my hair looks a little bit better because it doesn't have to face the elements on the way into the office.

Last tip, get a pair of fabulous black or brown pumps. Pumps always dress you up and it makes you feel sexy and in control. I advocate having a beautiful pair of shoes handy at all times. For me, it's such the opposite of a "mama" stereotype that it takes me out of that mama-mode and transforms me into the power lady at the job. When I'm in pumps, I think I'm hot and that makes me feel good which translates into a happier mom and happier wife - this is in my world and I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of flack for this tip:)

To bed I go!!!!!!

October 29, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys...

My little nephew was playing with a measuring tape last week and accidentally sliced his finger all the way through to the tendon! He ended up having to undergo a 3-hour surgery. He's fine now (and back to being rambunctious), but what a scare! Auntie Fe sent a picture of him post-op:

Doesn't his little sad face just break your heart? The things little boys get into...

October 25, 2007

Love It! Thursdays

As I look toward the weekend, I am dreading the fact that I will have a minimum of four loads of laundry to get done. I know it's not that much in comparison to the rest of the world - but I simply cannot understand how 2 1/2 people generate so much laundry on a weekly basis - it just makes no kind of sense!!!! Anyway, laundry is the bane of my existence on the weekends. It seems to rule my life because everything somehow revolves around getting all the laundry done.

One product that I have discovered that has made my life a lot easier when it comes to DD's clothes is applying a stain remover as soon as I undress her. DD is a little dainty (or at least I'm trying to make her dainty) but when we pick her up from day care, she is absolutely a mess - her butt is dirty; her knees are filthy; her stomach is a mess - it's just too much. So, as I undress her, I rub a little Spray'n'Wash (with Resolve) Stain Remover pre-treatment formula and voila! - when it comes out of the wash, it's just like new.
Give it a try - or any of the other on the market.
I give pre-treatment stain removers

Love It! Can't live without it!

Do you have a laundry tip to share? Or have you had a bad experience with these spot removers Tell us all about it and don't forget to link back here.

October 19, 2007

Working Mama Drama

So this morning was Chatterbox's parent-teacher conference at her school. Let me me just preface this entire post by reminding you that she is THREE. So the idea of the conference was cute, but when it came down the weighing the logistics vs. the benefits, the whole thing seemed ridiculous this morning at 7am.

First, because of the conferences, the entire school is closed today. I mean, I get the fact that they want to devote a day to the cause, but I mean, couldn't they have the teacher's aides do activities with the kids today? Crafts? Games? Reading? Playground? Fortunately, we have a nanny and so having Chatterbox stay home today was no big deal. But I know some other parents had to take off of work to stay home with their child.

Then there was the issue of the appointment time. Her teacher had a sign-up sheet posted outside of the classroom where parents could sign up for their meeting time. Now because Chatterbox started the school year in the Sunshine Room and was moved up to the Primary Room a couple of weeks into school, by the time she got to her new class, the early morning slots for parent-teacher conferences were already taken. The earliest we were able to get was 9:30am.

Pretty much the most inconvenient time for a working parent because your entire morning is shot. And so you have to take sick leave for your morning. Setting aside the leave part of it, I am exceptionally busy at work this week and, as J. Ny mentioned in her last post, every minute of the day is precious. Losing any amount of time means staying late which presents a whole other set of issues.

So anyway, I arrive at 9:29am on the nose and am told that the teacher still has to take another parent ahead of me. No biggie. So I wait. And I wait. And I wait. And half an hour later, I am still waiting. The assistant tells me: "If you need to leave, you can go and you can just do the conference over the phone." Excusemewhat? A phone conference was an option? Nice of someone to mention that. Of course I would have preferred a face-to-face meeting, but seeing as how this week was going, and seeing as how I am at the school every day, a phone conference would not have been the end of the world.

And so I leave. Extremely p.o.'d that I have now wasted an entire morning. I drive my 45 minutes to the office and arrive to see a message waiting for me from the teacher saying that she's sorry that she missed me but that she looked outside her classroom and didn't see me, but that I should call her to do it over the phone. It's just a short conversation, she says, one where we set Chatterbox's goals for the year to make sure we are on the same page.

Well, I got news for ya Miss M. We are not on the same page. I'm on the page that had to break my neck to make this day work.

I think Chatterbox's expression in her classroom photo pretty much summarizes how I feel today:

Oh, and Miss M.? How about we make Goal #1 to re-take this photo?

For crying out loud.

October 18, 2007

LOVE IT! Thursdays: Sanity-Saving Gadget

During our trip to Chicago week before last, we stumbled upon a fair where my sis and I got the cutest little gadget! It's called Finders Key Purse (get it??) and it really is the best thing since sliced bread. And maybe reality tv.

Finders Key Purse is a key chain designed to hook on to the side of your purse (or pants pocket, etc.) so that you won't have to dig all around your bag searching for your keys or phone. Brilliant! To make it even better, the woman who designed it offers the key chain in a variety of adorable designs. The charm faces outwards so all you see is that cute little design. I got the Red Pump (naturally) and Lisa got the Fleur-de-Lis. For a mere 10 bucks, we were sold.

I have to say that I love this little gadget. The design of the hook makes it very difficult for it to fall off the side of your purse, so while the contents of my bag could be a disaster, I can rest assured that my cell phone is always where I can find it. Such a small thing, but it really makes life that much easier! Lisa uses it with her T-Mobile Sidekick and there is a design that works with keys too.

I give the Finders Key Purse:

5 gavels: Love it! Can't live without it!

October 17, 2007

Work/life balance - maybe this month?

Just in case I forgot to tell you - I got a new job. Yeah me!!!!! I was /am really happy because not only was it a new job, but also a promotion. Well of course, needless to say there was a crazy learning curve. And along with the pressures of a new job, a manic boss, and my slightly-A-type personality and need to do a fantastic job, it's been very hectic around these parts. I have not had a moment to really breathe since starting the job. So, the fact that we are celebrating/recognizing National Work & Family Month, comes at just the right time.

I have not had the best time balancing work and life recently, but I have discovered a few tips that are starting to make it a little better.

1. Bring a little work home - I know that most people say that this is a no-no. And I'm pretty sure that the experts will advise you to stay clear of this. But, this has bought me an extra hour with my family every day. Rather than staying at work to wrap up loose ends, read that last report, or send those last couple of emails, I've started bringing these things home with me and doing them after DD goes to bed at 8:30. Even if I work for an extra hour after she goes to bed, it's not as bad as staying at work for that extra hour and only seeing my DD for a little over one hour a day.

2. Use every minute of the work day wisely - I typically work from the time I get into the office to the time I leave. This is quite horrible and also probably ill-advised. But, I work a pretty hectic and demanding job that really requires about 11-12 hours per day. Because I don't want to put in those kinds of hours, I only work while I'm at work -- Very rarely do I check email, surf the net or talk on the phone. I've found that this approach allows me to put in an 8-9 hour day and get out and get home. The alternative approach is to work a strict 8 hour day and then come in for a few hours on the weekend. That sometimes works depending on the week; but I much prefer have my weekends to myself.
That brings me to my next tip...

3. The weekends are for you and your family - My weekends have been focused on spending time with DD and DH. We typically have breakfast together both Saturday and Sunday and then we hang out together for the rest of the weekend. Some days I take DD and the both of us just do our thing (well mainly, my thing). Other times, we hang out as a family and try to give everyone a little time to do what they like. The down side to this approach is that there is little time (really no time) for friends and family. And also very little time for yourself ... if you've got an idea about how to solve this, please share.

4. Use technology as much as possible - Strange tip coming from me considering that I only just got a cell phone a couple months ago (and guess what - I still don't use it - but I digressed). Back to the point, order online as much as possible. You can order and have almost anything shipped to you; and the things that you must pick up, check to see if you can cut the wait time by placing an advanced order. A cell phone (if used correctly) can allo you an extra few minutes on your ride home in the evening to chat with friends and family. Email/IM family and friends as well. I've started emailing my mom rather than waiting until the weekend for a half and hour phone call - who's got the time - so now we email during the week about everything.

5. Carpool with your husband, if possible - We're a two car family, but my car has been in the shop since last Monday, so we've been forced to carpool. Although it is tres inconvenient and I'm on the bus as a result, DH and I have had an extra fifteen minutes to connect. My tune may change next week after we try to kill each other because we've had too much of each other...I'll keep you posted!

Anyway folks...these few tips have been helpful to my over the past few weeks. Try one, try them all......let us know how it's working out for you.

Oh NO She Didn't.

Yesterday, at work, someone from another division said to me: "So - when are you due?" OH YES SHE DID.

Suffice it to say my trendy babydoll sweater is going right back to the store.


October 15, 2007

Close Encounters of the Bloggy-Kind

***** Update - it just so happened that a girl in my office stumbled upon our blog today after visiting dcmetromoms. And guess what, she saw my pic! So, here we go, another reader right here in our back yard! Funny!!!!

How exciting! Our first Real-Life Bloggy Friend Encounter.

Last weekend, Justice Ny and I were at a mutual friend's house celebrating her son's birthday when our blog came up in conversation. J. Ny swore that she recognized one of our blog readers, J.J., from a previous party that our friend had hosted. Sure enough, when J.J. arrived she confirmed that she visits MamaLaw! What are the odds? She is a sweetheart - funny, smart and adorably preggars. Pleased to finally meet you J.J.!

L to R: Justice Ny, Justice Fergie and JJ from Mischief Makers.

October 11, 2007

Happy Anniversary Hubby


October 09, 2007

All This And Halloween Too

"...it is the sense of the Senate that...reducing the conflict between work and family life should be a national priority."

Thanks to the passing of U.S. Senate Resolution 210 in 2003, October was officially declared National Work & Family Month. It's nice to know that the powers that be are realizing the importance of balancing the workplace with the home. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to know that my workplace was celebrating the month with a series of weekly lunch programs, including: Managing Work & Life; Strategies for Healthy Meal Planning; Stress Management; and Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning. I went to the first program on Managing Work & Life and in addition to participating in a useful discussion about assessing priorities and managing time, came away with a few ideas to add some balance to my days.

One of the exercises we did during that program was make a list of all the roles that you play (i.e. parent, employee, spouse, coach, volunteer, homeowner, etc.) and then list what is important to you about that role; whether you are satisfied with the role; and what you could do differently to achieve balance. At the end, we had to brainstorm strategies that we could incorporate into our daily and weekly routines to achieve more balance in our lives.

Some simple ideas that I plan to incorporate:

Family Breakfast Day. It's pathetic, but we never eat breakfast together. Hubby leaves the house at 7am so that's generally out of the question. But I would like us to all sit down for at least 15 minutes in the morning - I think that would be nice for all involved. Giggles would get to have some time with us before everyone flies out of the door for the day, leaving her with the nanny; and hubby and I would get some time with the kids before going to work. It will mean getting up a bit earlier (or being late!) one day or the week, but I think we could get used to it.

Small Project Calendar. I have a zillion things that I "plan on getting to" one day. Organizing my recipe book. Sending digital photos to be developed. Re-potting my plants. Framing my wedding photos. Clearing out the cabinets under the girls' bathroom sink. And so on. I figure if I schedule to tackle one of those projects every couple of weeks, I might have better luck. Neglecting the small projects like these are what makes me feel like I am not in control of my household and not satisfied with my role as a homemaker.

Some other tips:

Use your lunch break. If you work outside the home, running an errand or two on your lunch break is a great idea. It's also good to just take 30 minutes to relax, read a book or take a walk.

Program your neighbor's phone numbers in your phone. I used to have this but didn't put it back in when I got a new phone. It's funny how many times I say to myself "Darn it! I wish I had Caroline's number with me." Especially when we were out of town last week, etc. Neighbors can pick up your mail, keep an eye out for a delivery, find the house keys that fell out of your purse onto the driveway. Whatever.

Exercise and Sleep. Sigh. Yeah, yeah, we know.

Shop online. Saves time, energy and sometimes money. Now that I can do!

Happy National Work & Family Month!

Oh and check out Mommy Track'd - it's the perfect website for moms managing work and life.

October 05, 2007

Fergie's Guide to Style: Items 4 & 5

The Black Dress.

Ain't it purty? I'm wearing it at work today (with a cardigan). I like that it can be dressed up or down. In fact, I might just keep it on and change my shoes for my mom's night out this evening.

Speaking of shoes...Here are my black "heels" (Because, who am I kidding? I'm not really going to wear heels on a regular basis.)

Don't fret. I do have a pair of black Tahari peep-toe heels though, just in case I have somewhere exciting to go.

A girl's gotta have options.

October 04, 2007

Into the Mouths of Babes

Alrighty, I have a confession to make.

Giggles sucks her thumb.

And it's gotten progressively worse. At first she only used to suck it on occasion, but lately, chances are that she sucking it more often than not. It really doesn't bother me all that much. I know that possibility of braces looms in our future. But it doesn't drive me nuts and I'm not a stickler for making her stop.

Enter hubby.

He is always after her to "take her thumb out of her mouth." I think he is particularly insane about it because he sucked his thumb for an embarassingly long time as a child. Whatever the reason, it's starting to cause tension between us. He makes her cry when trying to stop her habit and I hate that. Why can't he just let her be? She's only 18 months old. Am I being too lenient? What should we do?

Anyone have any advice?

LOVE IT! Thursdays

Yes, I'm totally cheating, but I just have to tell y'all that I finally got my car and...I LOVE IT! Here she is:

I took this pic with my camera phone this morning in the parking garage at work, so of course the picture doesn't do the car justice. If anyone is in the market for a new car, definitely look into the Acadia. It's the new crossover from GMC. Mine seats 7, but you can opt for it to seat 8. Like Justice Jones said to me: "It's like a hidden minivan." We got the DVD package for the kids and it came with free OnStar and XM radio. It's very spacious, rides smoothly, doesn't feel like a big 'ol truck, and is adorable. There are 2 sunroofs and dual everything. Of course, I've had it all of 1 week so I may find a reason or two to gripe about down the line, but for now, this mama is a very happy camper.

Now I just need to get seat protectors to save my precious new seats from toddler terror.
I give the GMC Acadia:
5 gavels: "Love it! Can't live without it!"

Do you love your family car? Hate it? Tell us all about it and don't forget to link back here.

October 01, 2007

Laugh Out Loud Funny

Unfortunately I'm not as tech savvy as most of you so I can't figure out to upload this video.
But please click on this link to get a taste of some funny. The entire song was on YouTube but now it's gone. If anyone can find the whole clip, please let me know.

Thank you Tanyetta at Days Like These for introducing me to this mom/comedian. Her name is Anita Renfroe.

Happy Monday!

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