November 28, 2009

My 5-Year Old Needs a Secretary

Ok, so you warned me. Before Chatterbox started kindergarten, I was put on notice by all of you primary school aficionados that the paperwork and homework involved was no joke. I laughed. I scoffed. I did not take heed. Well. The joke's on me!

Let me introduce you to the Daily Folder. It's brightly colored and is adorned with a lovable little frog sporting the motto: "Fully Responsible Organized and Growing." But do not be fooled. This Daily Folder and me? We have a love-hate relationship. Each day Hubby or I have to initial the Behavior Chart and return it back to the teacher. Then, there's usually about 3 - 5 notices or forms that need reading and filling out.

And don't get me started on the items that require a payment.

Continue reading My 5-Year Old Needs a Secretary...

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November 24, 2009

Stop & Think: Holiday Edition

It's funny; the students in Chatterbox's school are participating in the "Stop and Think Social Skills Program" which teaches kids interpersonal, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills (and I could think of an adult or two who could benefit from this exercise). Anyway, each week they focus on a different topic - from "listening" to "teasing" to "being brave." Stop and Think day is once a week and I dare say that I had mine on Sunday.

I carted the three kids to a children's holiday event for a group that I am a member of. The event started at 9am (on a Sunday). By the time we got to the place and parked, it was already 9:45am. So then we were rushing to make sure that the kids were able to decorate the cupcakes, color the pictures, listen to the performer, and watch the magic show before it all ended. The holiday event was supposed to be even more exciting because there were vendors selling all sorts of fun, luxurious, yummy and stylish items so that folks could do some holiday shopping. I invited my sister along for this very reason. And she did enjoy herself.

It was only by the time we got to Aisle No. 3 of the collection of shops that I realized I needed to Stop and Think. The girls were all sugared up on cupcakes and were running amuck. Touching expensive pearl bracelets on display and stabbing each other (and anyone in striking distance) with their balloon swords. L'il Buddy was not in a good mood. He didn't want to be in the stroller, he didn't want to be picked up, he didn't want to eat a snack, he didn't even want a balloon sword - nothing. The only thing he wanted to do was holler and scream and wriggle and throw. It was then, in Aisle No. 3, that I stopped and thought to myself: "Fergie, this is not keeping the holidays simple."

Why did I subject myself to a 9am event, 40 mins. away from home, without bringing along Hubby? I basically asked for trouble.

And so, I am pleased that it is not too late for me. Thanksgiving is a couple days away and I can still salvage my sanity this holiday season. In fact, I will have no choice but to relax and slow down when Hubby and I leave for our spa vacation on Thursday. Yep, that's right! Grandma is coming to town to take care of the kiddies. And clearly she already had her Stop and Think moment: the first thing she said was: "Turkey? Who wants to cook a turkey? Let's order one!"

Mama does know best.

And you know who also has her mind right? Simple Mom. She has a checklist for 12 Weeks to a Peaceful Christmas. Don't worry that Christmas is less than 12 weeks away - you can still jump in now at Week 5 and save yourself loads of drama and stress.

Stop. Think. Don't feel the need to trek the kids all over town for various holiday events. Order the turkey. Heck, order the pies too. It's all good.

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Our Big Catch!

Oldest and I caught the ugliest looking thing but boy, was he pleased. Here's a picture of our catch.

The fish is called a toadfish- ugly color, green eyes the color of something toxic.

We fished for about an hour and enjoyed some quite time together. We saw dolphins playing in the water and enjoyed the quite time together. When you have a large family (crap, do I really have a large family?), it's important to have one-on-one interaction with each child. The little kids (we used to call them the babies, *sniff) take up so much of our energy and Oldest's patience.

What do you do to spend one-on-one time with your children?

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November 20, 2009

I'm Going Fishing

This mama is going fishing today. I'm going to drag my eight year old with me and we are going to catch us some fish. I seem to be the only one in my family that enjoys the sport and I'm perfectly happy sitting outside to enjoy a beautiful day while waiting for a bite. My family, however, does not enjoy it as much. There is no return for them if no fish are caught. But that's all part of the game!

Wait, enjoy, rest, and wait. The fish will come.

My love for fishing may be news to some of you. Some of you may even laugh at the idea that I love to fish. But a diva can be fly while she fishes, right?! Put a cute jumpsuit on tennis shoes. Through a cute hat on and voila - the perfect fishing outfit. In fact, I'm going to buy this cute shirt because it matches my cute tennis shoes perfectly.

So wish me luck because if we don't catch anything this time around, I may have to start going alone.

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November 18, 2009

It's [Not] All Gravy

Today I was sitting in the faculty lounge reviewing lecture notes and preparing for class. One of my female colleagues was in there baking greenbeans, chicken, and, well, working.

We started to chit chat and wouldn't you know, her meal was for the Thanksgiving Holiday Feast at her daughter's school. Ah yes, the Thanksgiving feast and parent sign-up sheet. I'm pretty familiar with this requirement. My colleague goes on to say that this week alone she had already been at the school one other time for another Thanksgiving obligation- the holiday play. And before you know it, were talking about all the requirements of having a child in school.

Preaching to the choir sister; try that times three!!

Finally, her chicken was done and she was off to the races to deliver her food, decorations and paperwork in hand, of course.

Poor thing. I know exactly what she is going through. Trying to juggle her work and family requirements all with a smile on her face.

I always thought that raising kids would get easier as they get older (so cliche, I know). But really, it just creates new challenges. This week alone I have three Thanksgiving events to attend. Each one with a please bring X item with you. As organized as I try to be, I'm not. So each night this week I've been looking through my class lists to make sure I didn't forget to buy vanilla, not white, whipped, not cream cheese, cake frosting. And if I did forget, I had to decide whether I would make a run to the 24 hour Walmart at 11:34 pm, to buy said cake frosting, or wake up at 6 am while the rest of my family sleeps peacefully for the next 45 minutes.

As much as I look forward to the holidays, it's not all gravy! It means extra time in three classrooms for me, making costumes for plays, reciting lines, practicing songs, and extra activities in the evening. And don't be fooled into thinking that the minimum one hour of homework each night eases up during the holiday season. No sir, not second grade homework.

And, after all the turkey eating this week, the kids will be home with yours truly for Thanksgiving break which, wouldn't you know, is a week long and this would be the perfect time to catch up on all my other work.


I'm not sure how my full-time working moms do it but I can tell you, I'm beat even with my "flexible-work-from-home-a-few-days-a-week-schedule." (Notice those air quotes around my flexible-work-from-home-a-few-days-a-week-schedule? That's because that used to be my mantra, however, I have many a weeks throughout the semester where I'm working like a high paid attorney at a high-powered firm except that I'm not well paid and I'm not at a high-powered firm. But that's all a topic for another day.)

What happened to keeping it simple during the holidays? I don't know. Maybe such a thing does not really exist. If it does, I don't think it can co-exist with a working mom's schdule.

What do you think?

P.S. If you haven't read our MamaLaws that should govern the unviverse, take a moment to do so now. Enjoy!

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November 16, 2009

I'm Coming Over!

I've been so overrun with home, work, outside committments, and just life, generally that I haven't been reading my blog friends nearly as much as I used to. And I miss y'all. So I'm taking this week to dust off my Google Reader, stop by and see how you're doing.

So hide the laundry piles (no really, don't) and put the lemonade on ice because I'm coming over.

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November 13, 2009

The Help

I just finished (literally just finished) reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and I just had to post. You must read it. It's one of those books where you'll let the laundry pile up, the kids stay up until 10pm, and throw a frozen pizza on the table for dinner, just so you can keep reading. The gist of the story is that of a twenty-something white woman in 1960's Mississippi who grows frustrated of her empty life as a "society" woman; living only for bridge club dates and Junior League meetings. She has a deep-down desire to be a writer and decides to write a book on the most controversial topic there could have been at the time: race relations in the South. Her angle on the issue is unique, however. She asks the black maids of her unknowing friends if they would share their stories of what it's like to work for white families and the adventure begins.

I don't want to give the plot away, so I'll stop here. Kathryn Stockett is phenomenal and her characters jump off the page. You'll find yourself thinking about them even when you're not reading.

Of course there has been some critcism of the book, seeing as how she is a white woman partly writing in the vernacular of black women in the '60's South. I will admit that I was taken aback by that in the beginning. But once you realize what an honest and respectful job she does of honoring her characters, it quickly becomes apparent what a gem this book is.

*This is a purely independent book review! I saw it at the bookstore, bought it and loved it. The end.

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November 08, 2009

Sunday Crawl

A few months ago I posted about that darned Sunday Dash where craziness seemed to overwhelmingly dominate every single weekend. Somehow or the other, I'm now in the opposite place. I now find myself in an absolute slump on Sundays. Not only can't I get everything on my mental list done, but I feel like I can't get anything done.

My list includes completing the laundry, flat ironing my hair, shaving the undergrowth on my legs, move my clothes from the chair to the closet, unpack winter clothes, put away princess' summer clothes, wash bathroom curtain, clean and organize princess' toys, buy a car and I feel like it goes on and on and on.

I've been meaning to do all these things for a few weekends now and nothing! It's disappointing because I can't account for my time so it doesn't make much sense why I can't complete these tasks. Maybe I'm rebelling against myself - not sure. But, I will be honest, it kinda feels good.

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November 04, 2009

Love Without Bias

Last night hubby invited me to watch a sports documentary with him (yuck!, I thought; but since you asked, sure…why not, I thought). I don’t watch sports, so you can only imagine my enthusiasm to watch a sports-related documentary. I was rather pleased that I took him up on his offer because I was moved by this film. It was a reminder of so many things about life and I encourage you to catch “Without Bias” the next time it appears on ESPN.

The film documented the tragic death of rising basketball star and local DC-area legend Len Bias. Apparently, Len Bias was destined to outshine Michael Jordan; he was on fire and had been drafted (maybe even Number 1 drafted) by the Boston Celtics - he apparently was going to be their savior! The film chronicled his skills and talent as a college basketball star and showed clips of the excitement that he caused in Boston and in the DC-area. As it turns out, the night upon returning from Boston (and incidentally, signing a deal with Reebok) he partied a little too hard and a little too long and mixed alcohol and cocaine and died.

His death triggered an entire series of events, some were directly tied while others were outgrowths of the tragedy, including the FBI investigating the local DC drug trade, Congress’ war on drugs, mandatory minimum sentences, increased awareness of athletes' drug use, the eventual downfall of one of DC’s biggest drug lords and maybe even the Marion Barry sting.

The most heart-wrenching part of the story for me was to watch his mother go through the unthinkable. I broke down in tears because I just couldn’t imagine how a person could withstand such heartache. Despite my horror, his mother was strong, composed, organized and in control. She stated that she knew death was coming, and she was prepared for it. She discussed her faith in God and her understanding that her son was in a better place. Strangely though, she also discussed the fact that she hadn’t understood and appreciated who “he” was and didn’t understand the world that he was in.

It was a cautionary tale and a welcomed reminder to stay strong in your faith because anything could happen at any second. It was a reminder to love your child at every moment because that child is a gift from God. It was a reminder that regardless of your child’s age, as a parent, that person will always be your child. It was a reminder to always keep the lines of communication open with your children because you could be the only person to offer a life line in times of trouble. It was a reminder that things could always be worse so be thankful for the graces that you have now.

There were so many other reminders for me about my life and my family’s trials and tribulations. And who would have thought that I would have gained a little more insight about life from watching ESPN! Thanks hubby for the invitation; I appreciate it.

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November 02, 2009

Stay Near Home Mom

I'm guessing it's because I've been away from home a lot in the past few months, but my girls are now asking me to stay home on a daily basis. It's unusual because they generally don't pay hubby or I any mind if one of us comes or goes, but lately, they get upset if I even leave to get my hair done. And mama needs to get her hair done. In the past couple of months I've been to Pittsburgh, Dallas, Bethany Beach, New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. So I totally know why they keep asking why Mommy always has to go to "meetings." Along with everything else, balancing the travel aspect of my career and professional pursuits is becoming increasingly difficult. Of course, they're totally fine when I'm's just that I miss them. Terribly. And apparently they miss me too. Hubby and I are gearing up to go away for Thanksgiving since we never get to go away together. I'm already starting to feel a twinge of guilt about that.

Every.single.morning they ask me why I have to go to work. They plead with me to stay home. Try having your heart broken each weekday morning on your way to the metro. It sucks. Big time. I explain that I need to work to earn money so that we can pay for things like groceries and Hannah Montana boots. So, over the weekend Chatterbox came up with her own solution: "You can work at my school, Mommy! You can help Miss D. cut paper frogs."

Oh how I wish I could.

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November 01, 2009

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition - It's a Giveaway!

Is your three-year-old daughter driving you crazy with the incessant watching of HSM 3? Is your five-year-old daughter working your nerves with the constant references to Hannah? Or is that just me? Ahem. Just when I was about to swear off Disney for good (ok, not really - after all, Tiana is coming!), they won me back over with their limited release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition. The original movie made history in 1937 as the first full-length animated feature ever made. Another fun fact for you movie buffs: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first film to ever have a motion picture soundtrack, and the first film that uses music to advance the story.

For the first time in 7 years, Disney is releasing the classic movie, and it's in high-def Blu-ray. in the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition Combo Pack, there is a Blu-ray disc and a DVD all in one package. The set also comes with plenty of extras, including High-Def sound, Backstage Disney scenes, Disney Family Plan games, and tons of other bonus features. Thanks to Disney and One2One Network for sending me and my girls one to review. Now, I don't have a Blu-ray player, but it didn't matter in the least. My girls and I watched the DVD version on my laptop on the plane ride home from Blogalicious and it was great. Brought back memories for me (and also a few chuckles at how times have changed). I was worried for a second that my kids would get bored of it quickly, since it looks so different than the cartoons that they watch these days, but they loved it.

Would the little princess in your life like to have her very Diamond Edition of Snow White? She's in luck. For your chance to win a copy of the Combo Pack ($39.99 SRP), please leave us a comment. Giveaway ends Sunday, November 8.

Ah yes, Prince Charming. He hasn't aged a bit.

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