May 31, 2009

Scene & Heard: Like Mother, Like Daughter

At home; Sunday morning.

Me: Chatterbox, we have a lot of cleaning to do today!
Chatterbox: I can't deal with it.

To be honest, neither could I. And so we went to the park. True story.

May 30, 2009

No more whys

My 3-year old daughter has hit the "WHY" stage. I hear "WHY" to every single thing ... why does she live there? why is her name so and so? why are we going there? why? why? why?

As you can imagine, it's driving me nuts. Her father has limited her "WHY"s to three. I can't do that (although it's working out very well for him), so I'm stuck with the hundreds of whys.

Here's the conversation in the car today...

DD: Mom, can I get my juice please?
Me: I can't get it right now.
DD: Why?
Me: I'm driving in a tunnel and I can't stop to get it?
DD: Why?
Me: Because there are no traffic lights where I can stop to look for it and give it to you.
DD: Why?
Me: more whys please (read screaming)
DD: Okay mom, okay mom (hands gesturing)....slow down! Just s.l.o.w. down!

All I could do is laugh out loud. Hilarious.

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May 28, 2009

Books on tape - I guess that should be cd!

Hubby and I had a little spat this morning - well, no one would really know that it was a spat because it wasn't the usual screaming, slamming doors and stomping out of the room. I guess I was calm today! But he ticked me off so bad this morning that it was all I could think of all the way to work.

I'm not going to get into the substance of the disagreement because it was so illogical that it's not worth mentioning. All I could say is that men are really very different. You would think that this should not come as a revelation at this point in my life - I mean c'mon, I'm a grown 35-years of age and I've been at this dating/relationship/even marriage thing for a long time now. But, yes ... they are really from mars!

Despite the anger that I felt at that moment, I managed to keep it all under control. I said nothing and I went about my business. Of course, in my slightly passive aggressive way I didn't really say anything to him at all after this ridiculous discussion. But - I did not explode and I forgot about it as I got to work. This evening when I got home I was fine and that's very abnormal for me as I tend to hold on to things and stay mad for a while.

I attribute this strange (but welcome) behavior to the fact that I've been listening in the car to Pastor Joel Osteen's book "Become a Better You". I love Pastor Joel! I actually wish that I lived in Houston to attend his church. There is just something about him that reaches your soul - you know what I'm talking about? Don't worry, I'm not trying to recruit you into some strange internet cult!

Anyway, I've been listening to him during my extremely short commutes and this morning was a testament to how your mind sucks up information without much effort. Unlike the attention needed to actually read a book, listening to a book on tape requires far less concentration. Of course, what quite often happens is you have to listen to it a few times to really digest the information. So, I've probably listened to the entire book about 5 or 6 times since I bought it, and I think the message is embedded in my brain now.

I can't recite passages from the book for you (i.e. not a cult), but this morning's episode surely proves that the messages are impressed on my psyche and are changing my behavior.

I'm really happy about the way I handled the situation and I give part the credit to listening to Pastor Joel on a daily basis (mostly I credit a higher god).

Give books on tape/cd a try especially if it's a book that you've really wanted to read and just never had or will have a chance - it's a great way to multi-task. This proved to be a good thing for me and my marriage as well.
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May 27, 2009

A Trip to the UniverSoul Circus

Last weekend, I was invited to bring my family to a performance of the UniverSoul Circus! It was an awesome opportunity and one that we all looked forward to because we had been to that circus before (actually, with Chatterbox but before I had Giggles) and we had a blast. The circus folks were super-accommodating and even managed to get us tickets to an earlier show than the one planned so that I could get my troops home and in bed at their normal bedtime. [Respect the nap, right? Well, you've gotta respect bedtime too!] I invited Giggles' Godmother to come along with us and Justice Ny's daughter and mother as well -that was the same day as Justice Ny's birthday and so she was able to enjoy an afternoon with her hubby while her daughter enjoyed the circus.

We were greeted by Paula Murphy, the Executive Vice President of the circus, and she took us to our amazing ringside seats and set us up with more refreshments than we could eat. By this point, we could feel the energy in the air and the kids were excited! The tent was packed with people, young and old, who were ready to have a good time. And what a good time we had! The show was big fun from beginning to end. The "ringmaster" was a grandma from Around the Way and she was a riot. I still can't stop laughing when I think of her belting out the lyrics to Soulja Boy's "Turn My Swag On" - wig, cane, saggy pantyhose and all. From the China Soul Flyers on the trapeze to the Magic Comedy Act performed by Wandi & Sifiso to the Contortionists from Guinea to the fearless artists on the Wheel of Death, it was all thoroughly entertaining and there was something for everyone to enjoy. And don't let me forget the tigers and horses, and even elephants that the kids could ride during intermission! The highlight of the event for me was definitely the Caribbean Carnival portion of the program where the Zante Trini Zante dancers from Trinidad & Tobago played "Mas" and limbo'd under flames and stilt walkers defied gravity. Throughout the entire show the music was electrifying and the energetic vibe infectious.

Once the show was over - not before a side-splitting Old School vs. New School singing contest - we were invited to take a VIP tour of the behind-the-scenes area of the circus, guided by Ben Johnson the circus's Director of Operations, along with the other invited bloggers. My friend Smiling Mama was there, and I met some new bloggy friends, including Teia from DC Mama and Racine from BudgetFab. The tour was both educational and fun and we got an up close and personal look at the performers and were given the chance to take photos with them and ask questions. What struck me the most about the entire experience was the true international nature of the circus. There were performers from all over the globe: from Asia to Africa to South America to the Caribbean to Atlanta, GA - and they all considered one another family.

I can't say enough about the circus and the people who make it happen. This show is a must-see for your entire family! If you live in the DC Metro Area, the show will be playing until May 31 and with upcoming shows in cities like Baltimore, Norfolk, Greensboro, Columbia, Indianapolis, Houston, and Birmingham, Memphis, Cincinnati and Chicago, there's bound to be a showing near you! So you've gotta go. Because really, at what other circus can you both see a moving tribute to Barack Obama and shake your groove thang to Beyonce?

Oh and be sure to check out the UniverSoul Circus blog and their Facebook page. It really is the most interactive circus in the world.

Thanks Paula, Ben, Kristin and Monica! You all rock and we had a really great time.

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Food Court challenge

I faced my first BetterU challenge a few minutes ago - the food court! I forgot to bring my lunch today and I was holding out until I got home. I figured I would eat oatmeal all day...but who was I kidding?!?!

I ventured off to the food court and realised that since taking my health/weight seriously I have not made a fast food decision. As I walked toward the food court, my heart was pumping. I could smell every.single.thing. Subway bread, pretzels, cookies, Japanese stir fry and pizza. OMG....what was I to do? I don't think my sense of smell has been that heightened in a really long time (actually, not since I was preggars).

As I got nearer, my mind was racing trying to figure out what I should eat. Thank goodness the first store into the food court is a Smoothie King. I bee-lined that way grabbed a smoothie and started drinking. As if I couldn't torture myself anymore, I continued walking (with smoothie in hand) toward the well of the food court. I bypassed the cookies and Subway (although that's supposedly not bad for you) and grabbed a banana and walked right back up the ramp and out the door.

I am so proud of myself!

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May 26, 2009

Easy Steps to Becoming a BetterU

Hello Ladies!!!

Next Monday is the official start to the American Heart Association's BetterU makeover. The BetterU makeover is a twelve week self-guided course to become heart healthy. It's called a make-over because that's exactly what it is. It's meant to make-over your daily habits so that you are more aware of choices you make and educated on steps to improve your health. You can be as aggressive about the program as you chose. The makeover is not about losing a whole bunch of weight and spending three hours a day at the gym. Instead, it's about making changes in your life that will help improve your heart health. For you, this may mean making healthier food choices. And for others, it may mean incorporating physical activity into our weekly routine, whether it's a 20 minute walk or time in the gym.

The course lasts 12 weeks and is done on-line through the AHA's web-site. If you prefer, you can print out your 12 week guide and do it that way. Although the program is meant to last 12 weeks, you may stretch it out longer if you need more time to complete a week. You can also return to a previous week if you need to.

Below are a few quick steps taken from the registration process that summarizes how to get started and what you can expect as you begin the course.

Step #1

To sign up, go to this link. You'll be asked to register and registration takes a few quick minutes. Choose a Monday you want to start the program on. On that selected day, you'll receive a reminder with a link to your first Go Red BetterU course.

Step #2

Come up with your goal for the 12-week program. What behavior(s) you want to change in the next 12 weeks? What do you want to gain from becoming a BetterU? Pick a day and time each week that you will take 30 to 60 minutes to review the course and set weekly goals.

Step #3

Encourage your female friends and family members to join the BetterU. Having a network of family and friends that encourage and support your lifestyle changes is key to your success. By recruiting others to better themselves, you will not only help them prevent heart disease and stroke, but also help yourself by building a support team with similar goals.

We want all of our readers and friends to join us the next 12 weeks to become a BetterU. Will you join us? Will you register? We know you will.

Good Luck! We can’t wait to see the BetterU!
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Better Tuesdays: I'm tired of being fat!

I've been making little changes over the past four weeks or so to start becoming a Better Me. I'm watching my diet (little carbs, more veggies, no snacking, little fat), trying to exercise when and where I can (taking the stairs, walking, doing little work-outs etc.). So, I've been feeling really good about my progress and looking forward to the coming weeks when I'll actually start the Better U program. In fact, I think I kinda have a head start because of these changes ... so why do I still feel so fat?

I put on my fat suit this morning, you know, the one that is cut a little bigger and usually hides the extra pounds, and it's STILL too tight!!!! I feel really discouraged and disheartened today. Somehow I thought that I would put it on this morning and feel like a superwoman because I must have lost some weight - right? Judging from the way this suit is fitting today, I feel like I've gained a pound or two. This just isn't fair!!!

I'm venting a little and I know that I have to keep at it and I am reminding myself that it took months to put on and will inevitably take months to come off. I think I'm just having a bad day and I'm struggling a little.

So, as I write this post and eat my oatmeal I am hoping that I will feel a little better as the day progresses and get back on the wagon (or is it off the wagon - who knows!!!).

Hope you're having a Better Tuesday today! Share your stories with us and let us know if you're joining us on this journey.

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May 25, 2009

Respecting the Nap

Remember Mamalaw # 7 - Respect the Nap. Well, this is exactly what I did yesterday: Respected the Nap. For about one hour I sat in the car in the parking lot at an outlet mall waiting for princess to wake up. Oh....the importance of that nap! I will admit though that the time I spent waiting does not compare to the value of a well rested and happy toddler. I was actually able to spend a couple hours shopping. Happy Memorial Day!

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May 21, 2009

Jon & Kate + 8 - 1?

So what's the deal folks? I heard rumors last week that Jon stepped out, but Kate seemed to be confident that the rumors weren't true and optimistic that the marriage could withstand this rough patch. Then I heard another report last night that they're splitting.

I have seen the show but I don't watch it religiously (what? I know and I'm a reality tv junkie). So, I am by no means in a position to really comment about it. But, I've been hearing bits of info and I have so many conflicting thoughts about the situation.

First, I saw a clip where Jon said (and I'm paraphrasing here) - sometimes I just want to be Jon, not Jon and Kate plus eight. I could totally understand where he's coming from. There are times that I just want to be Ny, not mommy or wifey, just Ny. And I'm pretty sure you guys can relate.

Then, on that same thought I assume he wanted to get married and wanted to have kids - mind you he may not have asked for eight kids, but he wanted kids. When you make a decision to have kids, then your priorities should change. You've got to put their well-beings ahead of yours. So, buddy these are ALL your kids (and there is no doubt about that - just look at them) so you've got to step up to the plate and be responsible.

Also related to that thought, where does he get off trying to leave this marriage and family and leave Kate with eight kids to raise on her own - that's ludicrous!

On the opposite side, although I don't watch the show every week, the times that I have seen it there is such little love between Jon and Kate. It's so apparent in their body language and they way they talk to each other. It's very, very noticeable in Kate. She speaks to him like he's a child. There is no romance (but c'mon we know how that goes so neither of them gets dinged here) BUT there is no intimacy in the way they interact either. Have you ever seen them sitting on the couch together during the interviews? He always sits with his arm around her while she scoots over as far as she can to the other side of the couch (and it's an really an oversized chair) and turns her body away from him. She acts like she's really disgusted with and by him - acts like she doesn't even want him around. So I look at this and it doesn't come as a surprise that they may be separating. I'm not excusing his actions (so don't beat me up) but I'm just not that surprised.

As you can see, my thoughts are all over the place on this one - but I do hope that they figure out a way to make sure that those kids are protected and happy. If that means sticking out or separating - whichever way they decide just as long as those kids are happy, that's all that matters to me!

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Product Review: Pub Corn

It's no secret that I love popcorn (kettle corn is my absolute favorite) and I like to enjoy a yummy cocktail every now and then (my new favorite is this fabulous grapefruit, rosemary concoction that I had in Seattle at Ray's Boathouse). So. Good. So, imagine my delight when I received an invitation to try out popcorn that tastes like drink cocktails! Now this is a product review that was right up my alley.

I guess first I should give you some background as to why the heck someone thought liquor-flavored popcorn was a good idea. Basically, Cary Silverman, a senior business student at the University of Missouri (hey Anheuser-Bush territory, no? Maybe it was in his blood), is the inventor and founder of Pub-Corn. The idea for this tasty treat came to him when he saw some college kids sneaking liquor into the movies. Apparently Americans consume 16 billion pounds of popcorn and spend almost $100 billion on beer and liquor each year, so it was a combination that made sense. He wanted to capture the refreshment of a frosty lager or the delicious taste of your favorite cocktail in a convenient, crunchy snack.

And so my convenient, crunchy shipment of Pub-Corn arrived in the mail and I tore into it right away. Pub-Corn comes in 4 different flavors: Beer, Irish Cream, Pina Colada and Margarita. [FYI - the Margarita flavor wasn't included in my sampling pack so I can't speak to that one] I started with the Pina Colada and was pleasantly surprised. The popcorn is crunchy and light and the flavor is distinct, but not overbearing. And it really does taste like a pina colada. The Irish cream flavor was good too and a favorite of Chatterbox's (could be problematic). I only ate a few of the beer-flavored popcorn, namely because I hate beer and so I figured (and was right) that I wouldn't be a fair judge of that one. I can say that it defintely tasted like beer though!

I liked the idea that Pub-Corn fills the need (and I use that word loosely) for an alcohol-like experience for those who may not be able to enjoy an actual beverage. For example, Cary ships Pub-Corn to truckers who would like to drink a beer but can't do so on the road, and to pregnant women who crave a cocktail but can't drink one. I also can see Pub-Corn being a fun party snack or a cute hostess gift.

So check out Pub-Corn and order yours today! You can sign up to be a Pub Crawler and receive FREE samples and a FREE mug and other special offers. You even request a specific flavor by emailing the company too.

Now if only someone would come up with a fat-free snack that tastes just like chocolate. Or hickory-smoked bacon. Or french bread smeared with brie. Then we'd be in business.

Check out Cary & Pub-Corn on CNN:

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May 19, 2009

The Purse Keeper

One of the many random things in my overloaded mommy brain is the precise location - at all times - of Giggles' Item of the Week. Does your kid have one (or more) of those? It's like each week she latches on to a new (or old) toy, accessory, bizarre trinket and must have it in her sight no matter where she is. Sometimes it's a plastic Hello Kitty watch from a McDonald's Happy Meal of times gone by. Or it could be a particular princess wand. Her purse is a recurring Item of the Week. It's a Dora the Explorer pink vinyl thing filled to the brim with assorted junk, ahem, personal items. Let's take an inventory, shall we?

  • Her "cell phone" (note the QWERTY keypad for easy text messaging)
  • Her stunna shades (a must for every 3 year-old diva)
  • Her Skittles lip balm (because what self-respecting woman doesn't carry candy-flavored beauty products around?)
  • Her (broken) pink beaded necklace (in case she is unexpectedly called for Afternoon Tea at Sleeping Beauty's place)
  • Her rainbow bracelet (a lady can never have to much bling)
  • Her "camera." I put that in quotes because it is not functional and is actually a TJ Bearytales prop. But what she doesn't know won't hurt her. Let's just hope she doesn't run into Beyonthe on the street and try to snap a pic. Then there will be hell to pay.

To be honest, I think her purse/accessory obsession is adorable. And refreshing since Chatterbox, my oldest, wouldn't carry a purse if you paid her. Well, maybe if you paid her. What drives me crazy is that she can never FIND the doggone purse. This forces me to take a mental snapshot whenever I see it lying around in some obscure part of the house/car. Take for example this evening: she was barely out of the bathtub - literally still dripping wet - when she panicked because she did not have her purse. I paused, closed my eyes and tried to recall where I last saw the thing. "It's in Mommy's bathroom on the floor next to your step stool!" I triumphantly exclaimed. And she scurried off happily to retrieve her beloved handbag.

I must also mention the fact that she must have the purse hanging on her headboard as she goes to sleep. That and her special pink blanket. So after the normal hectic routine of getting 3 kiddies fed, bathed, homework'd (well only Chatterbox), read to, teeth brushed, prayers said, and tucked in, I invariably have to fetch the Item(s) of the Week before she can rest her little head. I'm sure some parenting expert somewhere has a perfectly legitimate explanation for this behavior - in fact I felt a similar sense of panic when I thought I had lost my favorite pair of gold hoops last month (found them!) - and if it makes her feel comforted in some way, then I'm all for it.

Just don't ask me what's happening with Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin or who Obama is considering to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court. I have no time or brain space for such things as I am too busy identifying the whereabouts of my baby's treasure.

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Better Tuesdays: Exercise should be fun!

As you know the mamas here will be participating in the AHA's Better U program beginning on June 1st and we are on our journey to become Better Us for a myriad of reasons. I decided about three weeks to get a bit of a jump start and I have been making little changes here and there in hopes that when I actually start the program it won't be such a shock to my body.

So, on Saturday I worked out!!!! Yes, me...I can say it with a straight face. I'm in a little bit of pain, but I did it and it felt really good. I hate working out with a passion. I've always admired those people who love to work out and can't go a day without it - I'm the opposite, the thought of actually getting off my butt and doing something is not at all appealing. But this time was a little different and I am so excited to start doing it on a regular basis.

Hubby and I went to a tennis court and did our own little routine. I know the tennis fanatics out there will balk at the thought of someone doing something other than tennis on their court, but it really worked for me. Maybe it was the padded flooring - I don't know. Anyway, we did a few laps, did some sprints, jumped rope, did some strength exercises with a medicine ball and then ran around the court with princess. It was so much fun and I didn't even really feel it - at least not until I woke up on Sunday morning!

That's what working out should be - it should be fun! Well I enjoyed it and I felt so good that I think I want to do it again today. I might be crazy - but summer is right around the corner. In fact I want to also buy a tennis racket and just run around the court - I don't care that I'm not good just as long as I'm out and moving.

Also, I've found that wearing a pedometer has been very effective. It's like I'm in competition with myself. I check it ALL the time (I might be a little obsessed) and when I see that I'm not near my target of 10,000 steps I've been getting up and doing some walking.

Wish me luck today. If you have any other suggestions for making it fun, let me know. And, check out our Better U bloggy partner Joshilyn at her her blog.

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May 18, 2009

Saying "No"

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been a people pleaser. Whether it was my parents, my teachers, or my (gag) boyfriends, I've always tried to make everyone happy - even if it was to my detriment. It didn't help that I am also a classic overachiever and a Type A personality, which lent itself well to law school and the bar exam, and even motherhood, where I proudly sport the title of Alpha Mom. It's only been in recent months that I've realized that this "quality" of mine to do it all and do it well might actually be more of a curse than a blessing.

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May 17, 2009

A random club observation

I celebrated my 35th birthday yesterday - yeah! The day was jammed packed with activities because hubby did a really good job of making sure that I was happy.

I feel compelled, however, to make an observation about what I saw at the club last night - and yes, I said club (you see my mommy came for a surprise visit for my birthday so I got to see my mom, mom and princess played all day and hubby and I went out on the town ... just the two of us).

So, we were the very first people in the club (and I attribute it mostly to the fact that we were just about the oldest people there). Being the first there gave us our choice of where to sit/stand, so we got a great little spot near the bar and we spent the entire night there.

I saw very attractive and mostly fly young ladies, dressed to nine coming in BUT the guys were just okay looking and okay dressed. I think the best looking guy in the place was hubby (and I'm not being partial)! Really, the guys were not good looking and they all looked like they had just rolled out of bed and came to the club.

What I found interesting as I watched the flirtation throughout the night was that every single girl in the club was extremely self-conscious. I saw each and every one (white, black, latina) fixing, and primming, and adjusting, and re-arranging constantly throughout the night. I saw the multiple trips to the bathroom to reapply lipstick and fix hair. All the while, the guys were just laying back. The women strove to perfect their looks while the guys just didn't care much about theirs. I wanted to scream - "stop fidgeting ... look at him". If guys go through the same self-consciousness as women do, they sure don't show it. Why are we so critical of ourselves? And, when does it stop? Does it ever?

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May 16, 2009

Sweet Southern Hospitality

Imagine our happiness when we learned that Southern Living Magazine awarded us the honor of being the Southern Living Mama Blog of the Week. Each week one outstanding mom blog is featured on their “Live Healthy” site. Blogs that are chosen address address work/life balance, health, and other issues relevant to Southern moms.

Why thank you,

Enjoy a glass of sweet tea and read the sweet article here.

May 15, 2009

Rollin' with the DC Metro Moms

Last week I had the privilege of attending two awesome events with my fellow DC Metro Mom bloggers. First, let me say that the DCMMB crew rocks. The personalities are fabulous, there are jokes aplenty and a good time is sure to be had by all when everyone gets together.

On Monday we were invited to a party, graciously hosted just for us by Quaker Oats, at Good Stuff Eatery. While that would have been reason enough to celebrate, the cool-factor of the event shot through the roof when we learned that the restaurant's owner, Chef Spike from Bravo TV's Top Chef series was going to be hanging out with us! You know how much I love Top Chef and so the chance to meet Chef Spike in person was beyond amazing. He was funny, friendly and down-to-earth - just as I expected!

Later on in the week were invited to a luncheon at PBS headquarters to meet with the big dogs behind the hit kids' show SUPER WHY. The PBS crew couldn't have been better hosts. Right off of the elevator, I was greeted by Clifford the Big Red Dog and got to enjoy a delicious lunch in the company of, of course, the rockin' DCMMB bunch and SUPER WHY Creator and Executive Producer, Angela C. Santomero, and Lesli Rotenberg, PBS' Senior Vice President of Children's Media. The event was held to share the research and development of PBS KIDS shows like SUPER WHY, one of PBS KIDS most popular shows for preschoolers. You can read all about our visit to PBS here, but one thing I must say is that I was struck by how much careful thought and research goes to into every second of the SUPER WHY show. If you are a parent of a preschooler wondering what channel to turn the TV to for your little one, you can rest assured that the brains (and moms) behind the PBS Kids programming have the best interests of your little ones first and foremost in their minds. The visit, presentation, and discussion made a huge impression on me and it's for that reason - and not because of the generous swag bags that they sent us home with - that I have become a total PBS Kids cheerleader in my home. Not only for the television shows, but also for the educational and entertaining content that is provided online at The website is uber kid-friendly, interactive and has a ton of great games, quizzes and activites for kids to do. I had to drag Chatterbox away from my laptop (it's Mommy's turn now!) last night because she was so into playing the SUPER WHY games. And that's not all - now you can download their at-home educational curriculum chock-full of fun learning activities to do with your preschooler called Learning With SUPER WHY, right here.

I remember growing up on PBS (Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, Mr. Rogers - the whole deal) and so I am quite comforted and touched by the fact that my kids will, hopefully, have an affinity for PBS too.

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Here's to 35!

I am turning the big 35 tomorrow. It seems a little surreal for me though. I'm officially crossing over into that next box - you know, I'm moving from the 25-34 box into the 35 to what, 44 box - I guess! Or is the 35-50 box - OMG!!!!!

I feel like it snuck up on me. I can remember turning 25 and I definitely remember turning 31 because that was the weekend that I finally got over my horrible bout of morning sickness and it was the birthday that my husband coined "the last birthday of not being anyone's mama". But where have the last 5 years disappeared? I got married and had a baby, switched jobs three times, gained about 25 pounds and everything else is a blur. It seems like ever since having my daughter it has really been about her.

I never wanted to be one of the mothers whose life revolved around her kids but it seems like that's exactly what I've become. And I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. It just seems to be! I have tried to stay a little fly - but c'mon though how fly can I really be when I'm 25 pounds overweight? I have tried to get my hair and nails done when I can. I have had a few facials and spa days. But in all honesty I don't think that I've done enough of those things - the things that I should be doing for myself. I've been on one girls trip and that was our trip to Dallas with the AHA. There have been no mommy-daddy vacations. I hardly shop for myself. And a night out is a dinner for three - not two.

I would like to change these things (and I've said it before) and I think that this is the perfect time. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter with all my heart and I love the person that she's becoming. I also like the place that I've reached as a mommy (and a wife). But I also believe that my daughter needs to see not a perfect mommy, but a mother who can keep it together. And I think my hubby would like to see the same too! I don't think it's healthy to be so caught up with your kids that you lose yourself in the process. I feel like I'm slipping away.

So, I guess this birthday is another turning point in my journey....and gosh, there seems to have been a lot recently. My birthday wish for this year is to "keep it together!"

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May 14, 2009

Crazy, not sexy, not cool!

A funny/crazy conversation on Saturday night:

Hubby: So are you ready?
Me: Ready for what?
Hubby: Another one?
Me: Another what? (quite confused)
Hubby: Another baby?
Me: Are you crazy? (In retrospect, not how I should have answered) No...I thought we decided (together) that we were just fine with one.
Hubby: Well yes, but she's getting so big. She's not a baby any more.
Me: I know. And another one will also grow up really fast and not be a baby any more. So, let's just forge ahead with this one. She's got enough personality for us to handle!

Is he nuts? He must be joking - right? First of all, springing this on me in such a nonchalant manner. And secondly, we've already decided...we've talked about this and decided that one was just right.

I really don't think I can have another baby. It sounds really selfish of me (I know) but I honestly cannot handle another one. I'm having such a hard time balancing this act and there's only hubby and baby, I can't imagine adding another baby to the mix.

He must have been joking - or has he lost it?

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May 13, 2009

Bubble lady

As you know I returned to work on Monday after being off for 2 months. So far, it's okay - the biggest issue that I am dealing with is not being at home when hubby and daughter get home in the afternoon. In fact, it appears like I'll be the last to get home all the time because I work until 6pm (but that's another post).

Anyhoo, I'm sick now - I know...what are the chances, right? It appears that I've been the bubble lady for the past two months and was insulated from the rest of the world. I am positive that I picked up some sort of virus on MONDAY while riding the bus - swine flu...hmmmm maybe!!! All the more reason for me to return home and do what I've been doing - right?

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May 12, 2009

Better Tuesday: Bootcamp for a Better Me?

Last week, Justice Ny announced our plan to make Tuesdays "Better Tuesdays" - the day when we share our health and fitness progress with you. If you're feeling the need to jumpstart your wellness plan, you should join us...In fact, leave me a comment if you want to do Better Tuesdays with us - the more the merrier!

While in Dallas we were each given a health assessment to take home. No surprise - while my health stats were generally good (normal cholesterol, low blood pressure, etc.) my weight was not. In fact, an analysis of my BMI put me squarely into the "overweight" category. Yikes. Of course I've known this all along but to see it in black and white was not cute.

Since having the baby last summer, I've done a decent job of controlling my eating habits. I do (almost) all of the things that the health professionals recommend:
  • I eat a healthful but light breakfast every morning

  • I eat small meals throughout the day

  • I bring along healthy snacks with me to work

  • I avoid eating late

  • I watch my portions

  • I don't eat junk food

  • I try to avoid carbs and refined sugars (this one is really hard for me!)

Of course, there are 2 parts to every fitness and weight loss plan, right? Eat healthy and exercise. It's exercise part that I have the hardest time with. I started going to cycling classes twice a week last month and am trying to keep that up. But I need more. While we were in Dallas, I remember our fellow blogger Joshilyn saying that if there is a bootcamp program near us, then we should totally do it. And so, on Sunday I was reading the summer program guide for my county and lo and behold what did I see but an ad for a bootcamp to get moms in shape after having their babies. It's a 2-month class, every morning, five days a week from 5:45am to 6:45am. I'm thinking I need to do it. It will be hard (oh so hard) but it will force me to shed the pounds that are weighing me down physically and mentally. I haven't even mentioned it to anyone for fear that they'll think I'm crazy for entertaining the idea. But I'm thinking it's time for drastic measures.

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I'm Not Failing as a Mother or Wife

Have any of you ever felt like your home life was out of control, or is it just me?

I have this weight on my shoulders lately that just seems to get heavier and heavier. I don't know what it is. Is it hormones, is it stress, WHAT IS IT? I can't shake it. Lately I've been in a funk and feel like my home life is out of control. And by home life, I mean my children, the house, and all the things that go along with keeping a house/raising children. Remember Ny's post last week where she described trepidation about having to return to work? She described feeling a sense of calmness since she's been able to focus on family first rather than her job, all thanks to her layoff from a job that was very stressful. I totally understood what she meant. When the home life is good it seems that everything else just falls into place.

I know I'm overreacting but this stupid guilt is weighing heavy on my heart. My two boys are constantly fighting and therefore, I feel like I'm constantly yelling at my kids. Hubby and I seem to only have enough time to keep the family/common areas of the house clean, therefore I don't even want to walk into any of the bedrooms or bathrooms. I remember one night a few weeks ago, our neighbor came to get her son who is now Oldest's BFF. When she walked in, the dog started barking like crazy, Little "B" was in the middle of a having a fit and crying, and the house was a mess. The whole time I had this fake look on my face like "Yeah, I have this all under control." She came, saw the madness, quickly got her son, and ran the hell out of Dodge.

I wanted to die of embarrassment. Her house is always spotless. Meanwhile, I prefer to use the guest bathroom in my house because it seems like that's the only one safe to use. (Boys)

I won't go on and complain about how laundry is everywhere, how my garage is full of stuff I need to mail or take to Goodwill that was packed up weeks ago. I won't because complaining and feeling overwhelmed is for the weak.

Instead of worrying about how I'm setting a poor example for my kids each time I yell at them to stop fighting, or clean their rooms while mine is a mess, I'm going to finish reading all those books I bought last summer on raising good kids so you don't have to yell and I'm going to shut up and put up. All this complaining is getting me nowhere.

I am not one to feel pity for myself because my life is "so hard." I know plenty of women that have it much harder than I do. Feeling pity is for the weak. I didn't go to law school because I'm weak. I didn't have a baby, get my best grades, graduate from law school, pass the bar, and start my first job all in one year because I'm a wimp. Nope, not me.

It's time to tighten up my laces and pick up where I left off in this marathon of life because I'm really just getting started. School will be out in less than two weeks so I better have it all together by then. I try to make sure my kids have great summers so I need to stop feeling like grouchy mama and start acting like super mama.

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May 11, 2009

Avon Beauty Giveaway!

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating on a call with Suze Orman who graciously spoke to a group of us mom bloggers about making smart financial choices in this unstable economy. Well not only did we come away with golden nuggets of advice about how to take care of our families' botton lines, but Avon who hosted the call also gave us fabulous gift bags chock full of beauty items so that mom can take care of herself too. One lucky MamaLaw reader will win her very own Avon gift bag - all you have to do is leave us a comment telling us one creative strategy you have taken to protect your family's financial well-being in these turbulent times. We'll pick a winner on Friday, May 15 at midnight.

Each gift bag includes Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan: “Keeping Your Money Safe and Sound” as well as more than $100 worth of Avon products including:

· Solutions AM/PM Total Radiance - Refreshing Day Cleanser/Makeup
· Removing Night Cleanser
· Solutions AM/PM Total Radiance - Day Cream SPF 15/Night Cream
· Big Color Glossy Lip Pencil in Glossy Sand
· Spectra Lash Mascara in Black
· True Color Eye shadow Quad in Purple Haze
· Ultra Color Rich Extra Plump Lipstick in Wine Rose
· Pro-to-Go Lipstick in Cherry Glisten
· Spotlight Eau de Toilette Spray
· Ironman Eau de Toilette Spray

Interested in becoming your own boss? Visit Avon's site for details on becoming an Avon Independent Sales Consultant.

Don't forget to tweet or post about this giveaway (and let us know in the comments) for extra entries!

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May 09, 2009

To Mom - Happy Mother's Day

Let me tell you about my mom. Then again, if you know me, then you already know my mom. You know why? Because I talk her about her all the time. I think about her all the time. I strive to be like her all.the.time.

My mom is the strongest, most compassionate, fair and accomplished woman I know. Every special memory of my childhood involves her in some way - from her having a song for every single little thing to her strict and scary rules about staying on the honor roll in high school to her being at every single school or extracurricular event I ever had. My grandfather always used to tell me: "You know, you're lucky to have that mother of yours..." And even during those days of my days of rebellious teenage years, I knew he was right. No matter what I had on my mind, I could always talk to my mom about anything - and I still can.

In fact, now that I'm a mom, I have even more respect and appreciation for her. She's only become a better person in my eyes as time goes by. She's been through a lot - basically raising my sister and I on her own and spending 20 years in a tumultuous relationship - and yet she remains loving and giving and full of life. I tell everyone that I hope I'm half the woman she is when I'm her age: she is respected by her colleagues at work; she is active in her church; she volunteers as a guardian ad litem for children in the court system; she devotes heart and soul to helping the poorest people of Haiti; and to top it all off, she has fun. She's an active member of a women's organization that performs musicals and donates the proceeds to charity; she does yoga; she travels - the list goes on. Not to mention how fabulous she looks doing it.

And I haven't even told you about what a phenomenal support my mom has been since I've become a mom myself. She has been right there with me every second of the way and is now a fabulous grandma, even making sure to fly up to see her grandkids at least every three months. I could go on about my mom. I thank God for her in my life. And I hope she knows how much she means to me.

Happy Mother's Day Mommy!

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Since becoming a woman and then a mother I respect and appreciate my mom for not only what she has done over the years but more importantly how.

My mom basically raised my brother and I on her own for most of our lives. She did have lots of help from my grandmother and aunts and I think that made it a lot easier – I think and hope – but by all determinations, she was a single mom. In spite of having two rug rats to raise on her own she excelled in her career and provided us with everything that we needed and wanted. And, she did all this looking as fly as can be – she had matching 3 inch heels for every outfit!!! Boy…how I wanted to walk in those heels.

Well, today I still want to walk in those heels. She has always been open and understanding, and she always was able to relate to what we were going through, especially as teenagers. She gave me freedom to figure out who I was but was always there to remind me of the parameters that she established. She still offers a lot of insight and guidance, and does it in such a way that I always feel like it’s MY decision, not hers. She was, and still is pretty cool and hip – in fact, she’s the life of the room – any room. She’s friendly and compassionate and comfortable in her skin. She doesn’t hide her flaws, in fact she quite often laughs at them. She has the ability to make the richest, most powerful person, as well as the beggar on the street feel comfortable and welcome in her presence. She’s never slowed down and has never been afraid to learn something new. She has always been and still is full of energy; in fact, I think she never sleeps. She’s embraced being a grandmother and she has always put our needs ahead of hers and although I’m almost 35 and my brother’s 30, she still does.

She loves with all that she is and gives all that she has. If I was allowed to pick someone to be my mom, I would pick her because she’s the best! I love you mom.

Happy mother’s day everyone.

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The Picture Post

I know, it's taken a shamefully long time for this post, but finally - finally! here are some photos from our trip to Dallas with the American Heart Association's Go Red Better U campaign.

As soon as we get the professional photos, we'll be sure to share them with you guys. In the meantime, try your best to enjoy my amateur snapshots.

Since I'm on a roll with the photos, I might as well share pics from our spring break trip to Jacksonville and Miami. It already seems like so long ago that we were basking in the sun and having fun with friends and family. Clearly we are due for another trip...[Warning: Chatterbox took some of these photos so a few of them they may be, um, artistic]

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