October 30, 2008

Our Ghoulish Gourd

Tonight we carved our first pumpkin! We've had pumpkins in the past, but usually I just draw the jack-o-lantern face on with a permanent marker (urban, I know) or I just stick in the Mr. Potato Head features and call it a day. But this year I decided that the girls were finally at an age where they would be excited and could help carve a pumpkin. I also have such great memories of my mom carving our Halloween pumpkins and I wanted to share that feeling with girls. I'm glad we did it! We had fun and it wasn't nearly as involved (or messy) as I thought.

The amateur sculptors, ready to go.

Spoons ready!

L'il Buddy makes an appearance.

Taking the pumpkin's "hat" off.

Halfway there...(notice the requisite Dora sticker)

Enjoying the show.

Mid-way through the doorbell rang and these goodies were left on our front step. Turns out we'd been "ghosted" by our neighbors. Cute!


Happy Halloween!!

The Morning After

It's 1:11 am, and I'm not asleep but wide awake! I should be grading the mound of papers staring at me but instead I just spent the last hour and half doing everything but that. And what's worse, none of that stuff was important, time sensitive, necessary, or any of those things that you sometimes find yourself doing during the midnight hour.

I did come across a great sale at Old Navy. Who can pass up a sale? I bought Daugther some cute shirts for $3.99 and a bunch of other stuff that she needs. The weather has been cool lately and she has grown out of all her clothes from last year. I love a sale and I love on-line shopping. I also "window shopped" a bunch of really cute shoes inspired by Fergie's recent post. I put them all in my shopping cart and then did not complete the sale. Does anyone ever do that? Shop on-line, put things in your cart, then not complete the purchase? I swear I get a thrill from doing that.

Okay, I'm going to bed right now! I mean it. And I will wake up exhausted, not ready to grade papers, and regretting every second of my last hour and half in the morning.

Good night.

October 28, 2008

Pumpkins and Hay Rides and Germs, Oh My...

Fall is officially here. To usher in the season, last weekend a friend and I took our kids to the pumpkin patch. Chatterbox and Giggles were so excited and reminded me throughout the week that we had to go "THEPATCHMOMMY!" to get our "punkin. " Finally, Saturday morning had arrived and we were off. Well, not without a fair share of "getting ready." I swear I started to get ready to leave the house around 8am (hubby was at football) and we did not pile into the car until about 11am. By now, I should certainly qualify for "veteran mother" status, but it still took me forever to get 3 kids and myself out the door. After 30 minutes of me trying all the tricks on the book to keep the girls awake during the ride there -- they are so cranky if they fall asleep and are woken up before they're ready -- we had finally made it.

One long and bumpy double stroller ride to the entrance and a sizeable wait in line later, we were ready to...eat. We hadn't even done anything yet and it was already lunchtime, but that's how these things go, isn't it? So we all scarfed down several hot dogs and handfuls of chips and decided to jump on the hayride. The hayride took us around the farm and to the pumpkin patch where we could (finally!) pick out some pumpkins. The kids took their jobs very seriously and painstakingly combed through tens of gourds until they were satisfied that they had chosen the perfect one. I had to take a break and have a seat right there in the middle of the patch since my arms were about to fall off from carrying the baby, the diaper bag, the camera, and multiple pumpkins. Sitting in the middle of the patch in the sun holding Li'l Buddy and watching the girls romp around was one of those moments that make you stop and count your blessings. But enough with the nostalgia -- up next...were the goats.

I am not a big fan of petting farms. Sure the concept is "cute" and I like the thrill that the kids get from getting up close and personal with the animals, but I also hate how dirty the kids get from getting up and close and personal with the animals. It's the Kate in me. And this particular petting farm did not disappoint and had the feed dispensers to let every willing small hand feed the slobbering animals right from their palms. (Yechhh.) Chatterbox didn't let me down though and, true to form, freaked out just as the goat was trying to eat the pellets out of her hand so she didn't end up touching any animals. Woot! Giggles however is fearless and fed several goats while loving every minute of it. It was then up to me to watch her like a hawk to make sure she didn't put her thumb in her mouth before we could go and wash hands. (Gag). After the goats we saw pigs, chickens, a steer and an emu. By this time Skipped Nap Syndrome had kicked in and the children were delirious and chasing each other around the farm screaming animal noises. We decided it was time to wrap up and after multiple trips to the (yechh) porta-potties and handwashing stations we were on our way.

It was a fun outing and the kids had a great time. And no doubt strengthened their little immune systerms in the process. Now that's what I call multi-tasking.

October 27, 2008

Disney's Mad Women

I never finished posting about my fabulous trip to Disney. Hi Disney Moms! In case you missed my post from two weeks ago, a group of us were invited to Disney so that we could provide the Disney folks our two cents on Disney's current marketing and advertising campaigns. The focus was whether Disney does or doesn't appeal to African-American families, and why. We spent a great weekend with several Disney executives that either oversee or work directly in PR and advertising. (Thumbs up, BTW, to Disney, for having such a diverse staff! More companies should model your commitment to diversity!)

Being with these women who shared an obvious energy about their company was awesome. The whole time I was there I kept thinking of the show, Mad Men. You know, the best show on television. Set in the 1960's, the main characters of the show are a group of high powered advertising men that work on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, NY. If you haven't scene it before, I warn you, you'll get addicted. Check it out on Demand.

The men of Mad Men would never think to sit down with a group of consumers, especially women, and ask us what we thought. They are above that, much to smart, paid way too mujch, and, much to talented to even think of such thing. Not Disney's Mad Women. They sat us down for some straight talk about the company. What they are doing right or wrong, and what could be done differently. Amazing.

Isn't it great how as bloggers, we have the ability to impact the advertising world? How we can share our opinions, ideas, or criticisms and people will listen? We can reach out to tens of people every day, (ha, ha), that we've never met and then end up being hosted by a company because they want our two cents on their product. How cool is that?

Well, I love Disney, and have always loved Disney, and even before they treated me to champagne, limousine service, and before I sat around a table in a bar taking shots of lemon drops with one of their mad women, I was a fan of the company. Now I'm hooked.

By the way, for any other companies that may come across this post, I've got a lot of opinions, so feel free to contact me if you want to put me up for a weekend. (*wink!)

PS, Did I mention that I met Patrick Ewing while at Disney? Hey Patrick!! Remember to leave a comment! :)

October 24, 2008

Friday Rundown

  • I'm so glad it's Friday. I'm beat! Not that the weekend will be spent lying around the house - it never is - but at least I won't have to go to work.
  • Tonight I'm going to a DC Metro Moms Blog event sponsored by the Chevy Traverse -- I'm sooo excited. Should be a blast.

  • Tomorrow, if it doesn't rain, we're taking the kids apple picking. I haven't been since I was a kid so I'm looking forward to it. Chatterbox has already decided that she wants to make an apple pie. I want to try my hand at apple crisp and apple fritters. Oh, and I can't forget caramel apples.

  • The guy who hands out the morning paper at the Metro each day always gives me a chuckle. Everyday, without fail, he says: "You're looking gorgeous today, Miss!" I mentioned it to hubby who of course said "Yeah, but how many teeth does he have?" Well, if you must know, he has 4. But really, that is besides the point.

  • Some fall/winter shopping is definitely in order. I desperately need new everything. Comfy winter boots, tall boots, a leather jacket, a winter coat, a tote bag for commuting, rainboots, shoes for work...I need it all.

  • I need to come up with a fundraising idea for the girls' school. The goal of the Parents Committee is to build them a small playground in the spring. Any suggestions?

  • I also need to decide whether I'm going to subject myself to taking the girls to Disney on Ice next month. Of course I haven't even mentioned it to them because if I did, I would never hear the end of it. I'm still on the fence.

What's on tap for your weekend?

October 23, 2008

What's my name?

Yesterday I responded to JJ's post about my DD (who will be three next month) learning to say the name “Barack Obama”. Her version of his name is “Barack andObama”. Well, there has been a development since I last posted.

DD: Mommy, what’s my name?
Me: LadyBug (my nick name for her)
DD: No. What’s my name?
Me: I say her name.
DD: No. I am Barack andObama!

Yes…she’s now responding only to the name “Barack andObama”. Love it!!!!!

Best Sign Seen In A Grocery Store

October 22, 2008

From the Red Carpet...

Thanks to MyBrownBaby for giving us a bloggy award! We are totally flattered and already big fans of your blog.

And now it's our turn to pass on the award to 8 of our favorite blogs
(note: we love so many of you that it was hard to choose just 8!).

In no particular order...

3x Mommy
Mischief Makers
It's A Schmitty Life
Baby Bunching
Mom On the Rise
Self-Made Mom

To the MamaLaw nominees: All that's asked of you is that you pass the award on to your chosen eight blogger buddies, and leave the following message on your post: “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

Isn't the bloggy love just great?

October 21, 2008

There's A First Time for Everything

Yesterday was the first time I voted for a president, ever. Not because I'm a political deadbeat, but because I just became a U.S. citizen last year. I was so excited. I took the two little ones with me and we were chanting Obama's name all the way to the check-in table. It was fun until Little B started saying his name while I was at the booth casting my ballot. I had to zip his lips immediatly in fear that someone would kick me out. I don't think anyone really knew what he was saying but ya never know. I didn't want to take any chances.

Also, here's me, Oldest, and some friends at an Obama rally a few weeks ago. Don't ya love my shirt? My friend, pictured with me, made them. Aren't they fab? (Shamless plug- contact me if you wish to purchase one and I'll hook you up!)


Don't forget to early vote if your state offers it.

October 20, 2008

Pumping at Work: A Tutorial

It's official. My (short) maternity leave is over and I'm back at work. Nevermind the commute, the long days, having to leave my adorable little baby behind -- the most frustrating thing about being back at work is...having to pump. You would think that by now I would be an expert at this since this is baby #3 for me, but the truth of the matter is that it just doesn't get easier! Always one to help others though, I offer you the following tips when it comes to doing your motherly duty on the job.

1. Each morning, when leaving the house remember to pack ALL parts of your pumping paraphernalia to take along with you. This will avoid you getting into an argument with your husband, with whom you are carpooling, about having to turn around and go back home because you left your shields in the microwave sterilizer pouch on the kitchen counter.
Read More.

October 16, 2008

Master Snaggle Tooth & Miss Prom Princess

Master Snaggle Tooth lost six of his baby teeth already. As you can see from this picture, he's barely got any teeth!Two of the six have grown in, the other four have yet to come in. Three of the six came out in the last seven days and one more is on its way out. What the heck?

Is this healthy? Three teeth in one week? Talk to me Mamas. We'll eventually know because I scheduled an appointment with his dentist but of course, the first available appointment was not until the year 2018. I also booked appointments for the other two, back to back. I'm crazy, I know. It will take a team of us to make that happen. I'm sure one of them will try to escape and run for the hills. Probably Little B. He's known to run out of places he doesn't like. (The school classroom for example, during the first week of school.)

In other news, look at Miss Prom Princess. I took her to get her hair done at the coolest salon for little girls on the face of this earth. Sweet & Sassy. The entire place is plush and decorated in pink, silver, and purple. "Bling" is everywhere and they sell the cutest accessories. I realize this may make some of you groan and grumble but come on! Wouldn't you have loved to get a mani/pedi at the age of six? Or attend a spa day birthday party? Okay, maybe that is kinda crazy.
Back to Miss Prom Princess, she would barely move her head all night because she didn't want to mess it up. Hubby asked her if she was going to the prom and she said "yes."
What a trip.

LOVE IT! Thursdays: Da Bib

This summer I was lucky enough to receive 2 free DaBibs from Chez Shea Baby, Inc. When they arrived I thought that they were really cute and stylish, but that because they were so big, I probably wouldn't end up using them for awhile - until Li'l Buddy was eating solids at least. Boy was I wrong! For the past month or so, Li'l Buddy has been drooling like it's going out of style! I asked the pediatrician at his 2-month appointment if he was (gasp!) teething, but she assured me that he was not and that the drooling was likely because babies' salivating glands are immature and uncontrollable at that age. Thank goodness. At the rate he's growing though, I wouldn't be surprised if he had teeth by next week.

In any case, I started putting bibs on him. You all know how those infant bibs are: very cute, flimsy, and tiny and all matchy-matchy with the little outfits? Well, they might have looked cute, but were definitely not doing the job of keeping him dry. So I dug out a
DaBib and decided to give it a try. It was great!

Just like the company says, the bib is very soft, super absorbent and provides full coverage. It wasn't too big at all as I had expected. One of the best things about it is the "scrunch" neckline that prevents anything from leaking through to the neckline -- often a problem with the regular bibs I used with my other kids. The back is waterproof too, so there's no leakage that way either. My only complaint (and it's a mild one) is that the fastener is made of velcro, so when the baby falls asleep and I want to remove the bib to put him down for a nap, I have to say a prayer that the "riiiiip!" sound doesn't wake him up. Other than that, it's great!

DaBib retails for $12.99 and comes in a variety of styles. And, if you buy 3, shipping is free.

I give it:

4 gavels: "Liked it. I would definitely recommend it."

October 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary Hubby!

Can you believe it? 5 years (3 kids!) and counting...

Love ya. You are my rock.

Musical Cars

Our vehicle situation is pretty crazy right now. When we were looking for a nanny, we made sure to ask that any interested candidates have a car since we knew we would need them to pick up Chatterbox from school. Luckily our fabulous nanny had her own car and lived very close to us, which made for a lot less stress in the mornings. Fast forward 1 year and add Giggles starting school and a new baby to the mix. Pile on top of that the fact that our nanny's car is in need of major repairs and that she has been sharing her car with her sister and that she moved to another county. Sound complicated? But wait! There's more...the nanny's car, an older model Ford Explorer, doesn't have a center seat belt in the back seat which means that she can't have 3 car seats installed. This is a problem since she now needs to pick up both Chatterbox and Giggles from school with the baby in tow.

We toyed with the idea of buying her a car for use with the afterschool pickup, but of course we were trying to avoid the added expense. Not to mention it just seems so excessive to me (and we already know that I am fighting a daily battle with the mommy guilt that we are paying someone else to do the things I should be doing). So we had the bright idea of having a center seat belt installed in her car so that she could accommodate all 3 kiddies. Well, it sounded like a brilliant fix until we got to the dealership and discovered that her back seat is not a bench, but 2 individual seats that are connected, so a center seat belt can't properly be installed. You still with me?

So. Things were fine over the summer because I was home on maternity leave and took my car to drop off and pick up the girls from school, but...last week was my grand return to work. What to do? What to do? We decided to try out me catching a ride with hubby in the mornings and him dropping me to the Metro which I could take to work. That way the nanny could use my car to do the drop off and pick up. Aside from the fact that I feel even worse because I don't even get to drop off the girls to school and interact with their teachers, etc. , the other problem is that hubby has a shorter work schedule than I do and so it ends up with me bolting out of the office about 15 minutes earlier than I'm supposed to, running to the Metro, him picking me up, and us speeding home to relieve the nanny before her set 10-hour shift is over. Whew.

Not complicated enough? You're right. There's even more. This week hubby found out that the brakes on his truck are shot and that until he gets everything repaired (for the low, low price of $1,000) he absolutely cannot drive it. Luckily, today the nanny was able to borrow a car from a friend that can take 3 car seats, and so hubby drove my car today.

Sheesh. Talk about trying to make it work.

October 14, 2008

Relax, Relate, Release

First let me say how JEALOUS I am of Justice Jonesie's trip to Disney to the Mommy Blogger Weekend! I had to miss it because one of my best friends got married on Saturday - of course the wedding was wonderful and beautiful (another post for another day) but I am still sad that I didn't get to meet all of the sista-mommy-bloggers out there! Sounds like you guys had a blast.

October has been a busy month though! Last weekend I went on (which has become) my annual girls' trip to Bethany Beach, DE. After agonizing for days as to whether I should go and leave my little baby behind, I decided to just do it and am I ever glad that I did! We had the best time. There were 6 of us that went, including A Shorter Mama (who is so much fun). The weekend kicked off with the roadtrip to our friend's beach condo, just a couple hours away, while we chatted and looked forward to sleeping "in" (after all, 8:30am is late when you have small kids) and getting in some "me" time. The weekend did not disappoint: we stayed up late, slept in, relaxed on the beach -- the weather was surprisly warm -- went shopping, drank martinis and ate good seafood. Really for me, the best parts of the trip were the heart-to-heart conversations, the uncontrollable laughter and the feeling of being carefree, if only for 36 hours.

Well, except for the continuous breastpumping of course.

It was a wonderful way to wrap up my summer. Since this was my last weekend before returning to work after being on maternity leave, the girl time was just what the doctor ordered. And of course the kids and the baby were completely fine and barely even missed me all weekend.

I'm already looking forward to next year!

October 11, 2008

A Letter to Hubby

Dear Hubby,
How is everything going so far? How are the kids? You must be exhausted, I'm sure. It's tough being me, isn't it?

I'm having such a great time here at Disney. It's been just great meeting all the moms that I blog with. I've also met many new moms. I still can't believe I'm here! It's truly a magical experience and place.

We'll, I'm in my room and just wanted to remind you of a few things:

1. Don't forget to put matching clothes on Daughter. Remember what I said about just putting a dress on her so that you don't have to worry about matching. Use only the dresses hanging in her closet, please don't dig through the drawers or anything because most of those clothes are too small.

2. Don't forget to put Little B on the potty. Remember we are potty training him.

3. Don't let Oldest watch too much TV.

4. Please cut the grass before our HOA fines us.




Okay Hubby, Have a great time! It's time for me to take a little rest before we go to the Party of the Senses. It's Disney's version of a food and wine festival. I think we're going to meet some celebrity chefs!!!



October 09, 2008

Mama's Going to Disney World!

Hello all, This has been a hectic week. The usual running around, kids, work, etc. But there's one thing that has kept me going. The fact that this weekend I'm off to a Disney Mom Blogger's Getaway hosted by the generous folks at Walt Disney World. Disney has activities planned for the entire weekend and therefore has requested that we not bring our husbands or children. Rats! I was so disappointed that the family couldn't join me. A whole room at one of Disney's finest resorts, all to myself? What on earth will I do with myself? It will be tough, but I think I'll manage without them.


October 02, 2008

'A Disaster of Epic Proportions"

The little island of Haiti is near and dear to my heart. My father was born and raised in Haiti and most of my family still lives there or owns homes and businesses there.

Located only 600 miles from Florida, Haiti recently experienced a disaster of epic proportions. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. More than 60% of Haitians do not have access to clean water. Many children have died due to disease or infection as a result of dirty water. Many children also die from malnutrition because many people can't afford food.

Recently, four hurricanes swept over this little island and flooded many of the roads in the villages and towns. More than 8 bridges that connect towns to villages (and food to the people that live in these villages), were wiped out by the flooding. After the last storm, many Haitians were stranded on the roofs of their homes for almost a week -- without access to food or water. Wyclef Jean and Matt Damon recently visited Haiti in an attempt to provide relief, help Haitians, and bring awareness to the dire situation. Matt (can I call him Matt?) said that there were no words to describe the devastation.

The United Nations sought $108 million of aid to help Haiti. But so far, only 2% of that money has been collected. The first storm hit in August and since then, the people have been suffering even more than they had before the storms.

When considering which organizations you would like to contribute your charitable dollars to, please consider donating to charities that help Haiti. If I may, I would like to recommend The Lambi Fund and Yele.org. Both of these organizations provide direct relief to Haiti and have a standing record of making a difference.


Chatterbox learned a new word at school yesterday. You guessed it - the "eff" word. I couldn't believe it! And she had to know it was bad because when I asked her to repeat it to me after Giggles tattled on her, she refused. I must have looked visibly panic-stricken because she insisted that she could not repeat it and wouldn't tell me where she heard it. I mean, I knew this would come one day, but so sooon??

What's next? Crystal meth in her backpack?

I know. NOT FUNNY.

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