Jul 31, 2011

A Fellow Blog Post Worth Reading (warning included)

I haven't quite gotten into promoting other blogs or other blog post, however, there is a mommy blog I follow on Twitter and FB that put up a post last night that was just too good not to share. This a post for all mom's out there, old, new or in between.

Now I must give a disclosure that this blog is not for the faint of heart, the easily offended or people who just read the titles of blog post and make judgements. She calls things like she sees them and uses what ever language she feels necessary to convey her thoughts and feelings. So you have been warned!

And who is this person you might ask, The Scary Mom. You can follow her via Twitter, Facebook, or Blog.

The post is called The Scary Mom Manifesto.

Read it, Share it, tell me what you think. 

Jul 28, 2011

I Have Been Google-ized

I would guess that for most of us out there we have a go to company for most of our computer products and software. That one place we feel comfortable and all things are familiar. For some it is Apple others Windows those companies and products that we get into and it just spirals out of control. First an iPhone, then iTunes, iPad, iBook, iMac or first Windows 7, MS Office, Outlook, Window 7 phone, and on and on and on.

For me it has become Google. I use Google as a search engine and Google Chrome as a web browser. I have not 1 but 2 gmail accounts. I use the Google product Blogger to publish this blog. I have written about my conversion to Picasa here. When I need to read or create a document (which thankfully is not often any more) I use Google Docs and now I have succumbed to Google Calendar.

Changing to Google Calendar was not an easy choice as I have been a long term minion to Outlook, which stems from my working days. But as I am more and more on the go I needed something that I could update on the go and that would sync with my home computer wirelessly. And voila there was Google Calendar with Outlook Sync. Now at first I was skeptical that it would actually work buy low and behold the last two days have made me a believer. Once I entered an appt on my computer within minutes it was on my phone and today I entered an appt on my phone and by the time I got to my computer 30 min later, yep you guessed it, there it was. So now I can continue to use an interface I am familiar with, Outlook, but have the ease of accessing my calendar anywhere and changes made to one show up on the other.

Thank you Google for continuing to suck me in with your products. Yes I am a member of Google+ and when you really get it up and running I am sure I will be a convert as well.

The Making of a Boy's Bedroom...The Bedding

Ok so this was going to be a post about the bedding I got for my son's new big boy bed, but we are going on our 26th day of 100+ degree day so there is no way I am putting a quilt on his bed. So until the winter comes I will have to show you the cool sheets we got and a picture from the catalog we purchased the quilt

So here are the sheets. I got them at Target and they are so cute. They are primary colors and have all sorts of transportation vehicles on them. They are nice and soft, and he is right at home in them! And for full disclosure I have fallen asleep in them as well. If you click on the picture it will take you to the Target page. 

Next is the quilt we bought. At first I was going to go with a them, trucks, construction, or something along that lines until we saw this in a catalog. I then realize I could get a multi-colored quilt and let the sheets and extras do the theme. This way when he decided to change what he likes I am not having to change everything.

View In Room

I can't wait till I can finish it all but that will be several months away.

Jul 27, 2011

The no-kids-allowed movement is spreading - Parenting on Shine

WOW, is all I have to say after reading this article. On one hand we are becoming so intolerant and on the other we are also undisciplined. I can see both sides of the story.

I do know that as a parent of a 4 year old boy I try to balance taking him out in public and teaching him how to behave with not being overly intrusive to other patrons in a restaurant, store or movie. But how else is a child going to learn if you don't expose them to the situation. Just talking about behavior doesnt' get there.

What are your thoughts?

The no-kids-allowed movement is spreading - Parenting on Shine

Jul 25, 2011

Boys and Starting School

I have a little boy. I call him little but he just turned four in May and is already chest high to his mamma. But as a mom he will always be my little boy.

Now when the sonogram confirmed, twice, that he would be a little boy I was excited and a little apprehensive. See I grew up around girls. No brothers, no close boy cousins, no boys in the neighborhood to play with, all estrogen all the time. But as an educator and having a husband who had 2 brothers I figured I could figure this out no problem.

Well was I in for a shock. Theory is good, reality is shocking. I was unprepared for the amount of energy one little body could have. And you can read and study all you want about the differences between girls and boys and you will only be a 1/10th prepared for the real thing. But as time has gone on I have learned all of the names of the equipment on a construction sight, I can build a mean megamatropolis out of Lego's, clean grass stains and blood out of clothes and understand that when daddy is around I am only needed in case something gets wet tears, blood or urine.

So now that we are entering the stage where he is about to go to school I am painfully aware of how schools these days, actually not for a long time, are no long boy friendly. Even 14 or so years ago when I taught it would be boys you would see in the hall for misbehavior, boy at lunch detention as a punishment, boys having to stay in from recess because they did not finish their work and boys who filled my class of students with special needs. Schools today are so academically driven, and test result based that the flow of a classroom is made for girls. Girls who sit, girls who mature faster than boys, girls who are more into reading, girls, girls, girls. And as a mom of a boy and an educator I know my son is a very typical boy, active and curious.

So it was with great frustration and anxiety that I picked out his first preschool which he will start in the fall. I was looking for a 2 day a week 1/2 day play-based program. After all he is still a kid and he will have 12-18 years (if he goes to college) worth of schooling, let him play now and learn some as he goes, but play and have fun! I was fortunate enough to find the WDS program at UCC and am probably more excited at this point for him to start school than he is. An it is not so I will have free time, it is because I know he will be in an environment that will foster his need for movement while teaching him social skills and some academics as he grows.

I also know that I will have my work cut out for me in picking out the school where he will get the majority of his education. So in this regard I have been reading like a mad woman trying to get all the knowledge I can so I can pick out the program that will be best for him. I know there is no perfect option out there but as a parent it is my job to see he gets a proper education and the school and teachers are just a portion of that process.

To that end this article hits the high points and I have found helpful and fairly inclusive of some things to know when picking out a program. It is by no means comprehensive but and outline.

Thrive in 2025 - Help Your Son Succeed in School

*the photo of the boy playing is not my son and was created by Photostock

Jul 22, 2011

The Making of a Boy's Bedroom...The Basics

I will spare you all the laborious details about the planning of our 4 year old room. You really don't want to hear all that and besides it would be too long to read because we are planners to the nth degree. It took us 6 months to pick out our living room furniture, 2 months of that was just on color swatches. Geez, are we anal retentive or what!

Anyway I will pick up about 2 weeks ago when my hubby said ok lets do it. Now this project was a little time sensitive since we couldn't plan for months on end due to my son's growth spurts. We had hit the basics and the rest will come over time. In other words it is a very fluid project.

So 2 weeks ago when hubby gave me the go ahead, young son and I started by going to look for the most important part of a big boy bed, the mattress. I must say this will probably be the most fun my son will ever have shopping. We went to 3 or 4 stores over the course of several day and he "tried" out every mattress in every place. It has a riot now that I look back on it, but a little stressful during the actually events.

So after our adventures in the stores we settled on a nice Euro-top twin mattress by Sleep Designs from Sleep Experts, and I have to give kudos to Jenny, our sales lady. She was the most patient person with young son wanting to try out beds. And I will admit that this was a factor in our deciding to go with them. They were very helpful and personable. So if your ever in need of a mattress I found them to be very competitive.

So we went to pick up the mattress last Friday and set it up on Saturday. Now I don't have pictures of us taking down his old bed but let me tell you it was a family affair. Both my son and my hubby had tools in their hands and I was the one who kept up with all the hardware that was taken off. Whew, I needed a drink after that!

So here are some pics of our new big boy bed. We are waiting for the quilt from Pottery Barn Kids to get here and we still have not made a decision on the headboard, like a said a work in progress.

Our first nap-time. I think he likes it.
Sound asleep

Jul 21, 2011

Blog Writing App

So I'm always on the look out for new apps that are useful. And normally I only get free apps, but every once in a while ya got to pony up the $$ for an app.

This is the case with the app I am using right now to write this post. Since I am now more and more on the go with my 4 year old taking him to this activity or another and I have really gotten into this blogging thing I needed an app that allowed me to post on the go. And since Blogger is so behind the times with not having an app for the OS platform I finally bit the bullet and got an app called Blog Press.

From the reviews I have read it seems to integrate well with Blogger so we'll see.

So right now I'm in my backyard watching my child play in the little pool and blogging. How multi-tasking of me.

I Hate Housework

So I detest having to clean the house but it is a necessary evil. I procrastinate every chance I get. But I am trying to turn over a new leaf and making more of an effort to have a cleaner house and I am always on the look out for things that make it easier.

Here is and example of one of those things, the Swiffer Duster. This thing is great! It has a telescoping handle, which means I no longer have to pull out the ladder to dust the ceiling fans the crown molding or the top of the fridge. Also it is great for dusting the blinds on the window.

Also they are disposable, trap the dust, throw in the trash. I have even found them in the Amazon.com subscribe and save department for cheaper than I can get them at Wally World and they are delivered to my doorstep, so it is a win/win.

Do you have any housecleaning tips or gadgets that you just couldn't live without?

Jul 20, 2011

Stomach Revolt

So yesterday was the first day on my journey to lose some weight. I am using the Lose It! app via my iPhone because I have had success with it before. Like all apps it take a little setting up but once you've done that it is pretty easy.

So to start out you put in your current weight, your goalweight, (height, age and gender) and how many pounds you want to lose per week. Then it tells you how many calories you need to consume to achieve that goal. So I type in all the requirements and, OMG, are you kidding me, really, are you sure that calculated right, this is a joke, where's the hidden camera, in other words compared to what I was eating it was a low amount.

So I diligently went about my day putting down every morsel that passed my lips. Every once in a while I would pat my tummy and assure it that soon food would be coming. But like Pooh Bear, there was a rumbly in my tumbly all day. My stomach revolted. It gurgled, belched, rumbled, tumbled and did everything it could to say FEED ME!

So at the end of the day I was 200 calories over my limit, hey its the first day! I know that it will take my body some time to adjust, I just hope my body doesn't cannibalize itself before that happens, ha ha, not likely!

And for those of you loyal readers, I don't plan to blog about this everyday so, whew.

Jul 19, 2011

Another First

So yesterday I got past my reservations, hang ups and apprehensions and took my son for his first experience at the movie theater. We went to see Winnie the Pooh!

I have thought about doing this many times but I have had reservations based on past experiences. See I find that they play the sound way too loud and I was concerned about it bothering his ears or scaring him. Also, I had apprehensions about his chattiness. I wanted him to have a good experience, but I also wanted the other patrons to have good experiences too without the distraction of a chatter box.

Well all of my preconceived notions were put to rest yesterday.

We went to the early show and it was a Monday therefore it was not very crowded. The movie was not so loud that you couldn't hear yourself think and since it was a movie for kids there were many other chatty kathys there. The movie was only and hour and fifteen minutes long, just right. Add all those things together and it made for a great experiences for both of us.

It is a shame that there are not more kid friendly movies out there for us to go and see but as they come out I will now not hesitate to say, hey lets go to the movies!

I also want to give a thanks to my WWF in San Fran who reminded me that even if it didn't turn out to be a perfect experience it was a chance for both of us to have a personal growth experience.

The Making of a Boy's Bedroom #2

So we have made the decision to finally make our son's room into a big boy bedroom as noted here. So as this transformation happens I thought I would give you a few before pictures. And yes I know we are not designers and not big into room decor.

This is the crib that has served us very well for 4 years

The recliner that I have rocked him in a many of nights and 
some of his construction toys

I now this is a fuzzy picture but it is to show the corner space
that I need to figure out how to use.

Starting Again

Well in the Farmer's Almanac it says today is a day to start a diet to lose weight. So once again I am going to start trying to lose weight.

Now I have, for the majority of my life had a weight issue. Why? Because I like to eat and sit on my ass. I am in the words of my son's dinosaur cartoon, a carnivore, not a omnivore or herbivore, I like meat, greens things rarely touch my plate. Add to that carbs like bread and sweets and Dr.Pepper, and it is a recipe for miss broad-ass. I know, I know I should eat better but I don't. I also detest exercise. I have many excuses as to why I don't exercise, time, knee injury, or the plain I just don't wanna. So with this combination I'm, let just say overweight.

I have in the past lost the weight and then gained it back. I have done Weight Watchers and lost 40 lbs, then a car crash derail my routine. So between my routine, which I need to be successful, being screwed up, and working on a dissertation I started eating poorly and sitting on my ass even more. Add to that the 40 lbs I gained during pregnancy and I was as heavy as I have ever been. I did loose the 40 lbs I gain while pregnant but not the 30lbs I gained after the accident.

I have also at one time or another done Lean Bodies, The Adkins Diet and other fad things but nothing seems to work for me as well as just plain ole journaling and counting calories (or points).

So Memorial day weekend of 2010 I decided I was going to lose some weight and with the help of Lose It! an app found in the iTunes store, for free, I began the arduous task of counting calories and watching what I eat. And sure enough, slowly but surely I lost 18 lb by the end of the year. Then once again a situation arose that threw off my routine and because of circumstances we were fast food dinning regularly.

Fortunately I have only gained back 10 lbs not the entire 18 lbs I lost so I am not starting off from scratch.And our lives have gotten back to a place where I am cooking at home most of the time. So as of today I am back on the Lose It! plan. I hope that I can loose the 10 lbs I have gained and then some more but baby steps. I don't do this for looks I am doing it for health and to set a better example for our son on healthy eating.

PS. As if my stomach some how knew what was coming up, I woke up this morning to a grumbly tummy as Pooh would say!

Jul 16, 2011

Family Visits

We had the great pleasure of having family down from Michigan this past week. We don't get to see them very often so it is very special when they are able to travel down here to see us. Below is a timeline of pictures from their past visits. We Love You Guys!

Three years ago

Two years ago

This year

Jul 14, 2011

Wise Words from my 4 Year Old

So this morning did not go as planned. It was a school morning, we ran out of bread last night, we needed to pick up my mother in laws medications and well I was just a little frazzled.

After getting cross with the pharmacy for holding out on fill all the prescriptions for the approval of just one from the physicians office and then having the physician's office claim they never received the refill request, then calling back the pharmacy only to have them tell me they faxed it to the right number but would try again and finally having it all resolved I was just a little bit on the testy side.

I also had to get the stuff for tonight since after school we run home eat lunch, take a nap and by the time that is all finished it is time to start supper for before my in laws come over and after that it is clean up the kitchen, bath book and bed, and I was just feeling a little overwhelmed. I did not have the patience to run out of bread or be a go between the pharmacy and physician's office!

So when we stopped by the house to drop off the groceries and use the bathroom before heading out off to Museum School my 4 year old looked up and me and said:

"Mom, you just need to chill out!"

Yes son either that or ask for a prescription for Xanax.

And Yes I am just a little type A in my personality, not as much as before I had a child but it's still there.

Leaving Product Reviews

Do you read product reviews before you purchase a product? Do you leave product reviews, good or bad, after purchasing a product?

For me the answers are yes and no.

This really kind of stuck out for me the this week when looking to purchase my son's new mattress. Of course anyone  who has tried to purchase a mattress recently knows it is almost impossible to compare apples to apples across many different retailers. Even though store X and store Y have the exact same product store X calls it by one name and store Y calls it by another, this way they don't have to price match. UGH so underhanded. So you have to investigate the details of the product to know you are comparing the same things!

Anyway, I started searching reviews for the the 2 mattresses we narrowed it down to and found that one or two bad reviews can be spread all across the internet while a good review barely shows a blip on the reviews. 

I have found this to be true on the most websites I visit to research products, it seems like the people who complain the loudest get the most hits. And while yes I want to know the cons to a product, I also want to know the pros. 

So I have decided that I am going to try and do a better job of writing a review of products (on the appropriate website) that I have found to be good and live up to what I expected them to be. And to write if they didn't. 

If you like a product, like the new app on your iPhone, the TV you got from Amazon, the new mattress from Sleep Experts or the Johnny Walker Black you had last night, give it a shout out on their website or the many other review websites. Others might like to know more than just the negative stuff.

Jul 13, 2011

The Making of A Boy's Bedroom

So the time as come in our household to make our little boy's (ok he's 4, not so little) bedroom into a big boy bedroom. Now we skipped the whole toddler bed thing and are going straight from a crib to a twin size bed.

Judge me as a mom if you will for my child still being in a crib but he sleeps 12-13 sometimes 15 hours a day including naps, is safe and has never tried to climb out. And one of the most important things beyond nutrition for a growing child is sleep. It is the only time the pituitary gland releases the growth hormone.(ok, I'll get off my soapbox)

OK, on with the post. So we have poured over catalogs, websites, sales circulars and have finally come up with a plan. Though my son is not one for shopping he got the biggest thrill out of shopping for the mattresses.

So the first part of the transformation took place last night with us ordering his mattress and foundation. It should be here on Friday. Now on to the rest.

It has been a long time since I have done a room from top to bottom and I forgot what all it takes. So a shopping  I will go.

Jul 12, 2011

Kids Are So Literal

Today on our way home from Museum School we passed by some tractors with brush hogs sitting on the side of the road. Know how much my son loves tractors I pointed them and this is the exchange that followed:

"Look, there are some tractors."

"Mommy, they aren't moving."

"No looks like they have gone for lunch." (meaning the drivers)

"Mommmyyy, tractors don't eat lunch!"

Okay score another for for the observant 4 year old.

Jul 10, 2011

Called On the Carpet by my 4 Year Old

So you know how as parents when our children say, "mommy look at that..." and we as parents sometimes say, "yes sweetie what color is it..." or some other lame answer and don't really look?

Well this morning while getting my 4 year old dressed the blinds in his room were open. And as the conversation progressed he said, "look mommy at the birds in the yard." "Yes" was my reply continuing to put on his shirt.

His reply was swift, "NO mommy, look with your eyes!!"

Okay caught in the act of not giving my full attention to what was important to him and call out for it...just a reminder that what is important to him should also be important to me.

Just a gentle reminder to not just go through the motions but to do a better job of listening to my son.

Jul 5, 2011

10 Things Never to Say

So I am way behind on my magazine reading as I documented here several months ago. And I have only gotten more behind since then.

So this morning I let my son play outside before it got to be hotter than Hades. And when we came back in I let him take a bath and play in the water. Surprise, today instead of my usually "take time to clean the bathroom" routine I grabbed the magazine on the top of the pile. It was the Redbook mag from March, hello, I am really behind. Darn you Stephanie Plum for being so inciting to read.

I quickly flipped through the magazine and came upon a interesting page that was very appropriate for me and several of my gal pals and I wanted to share. I'll post the the link to the website. These are lists of 10 things to never say to either a Stay-at-home mom (SAHM) or a working mom. For those who haven't been in either of these shoes the decision is never an easy one which ever is chosen.

FYI as a SAHM #8 really gets me.

10 Things Never to say to...A working mom

10 Things Never to say to...A Stay-At-Home mom

Jul 4, 2011

Blog Hopping

So, it's a holiday, happy 4th of July to all the American readers out there, and my hubby and son are down for a nap. Why am I not asleep too, because I drank a huge Diet Dr.Pepper at lunch and am wide awake! Got to love the Diet DP!

So what do I do to keep quiet while the sleep, I'm blog hopping. That is finding a blog, reading it, then click on a link from that blog to another blog  so on and so on. It is amazing where you end up.

An interesting thing to me is that I thought I was inconsistent about blogging, nope there some blogs out there that haven't been written on for 3 years. It makes me wonder, did they forget they started a blog, did something happen to them, or did they just get too busy with life and never went back to delete the blog. Who knows.

One interesting blog I found was from a lady in Canada who posts recipes and food pics. Oh my gosh my mouth was watering looking at her site. She hasn't posted in a while because it appears she just moved but I am bookmarking her page and I hope she starts blogging again. If you want to take a gander yourself her blog is called Better than Take Out

Oh well off to do some more hopping. Have a fun and safe holiday!

Jul 3, 2011

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

WOW, can it really be a year since I started this blog, My, my how time does fly.

I started on a whim and because my friend Ardis blogs and I always love her posts. This is also why I choose Blogger as my blogging host. I also love technology and learning new things. So as the blog has progressed I have monkeyed with the layout, background, fonts, colors and several things. It is a learning process.

But here recently I kept hear about this up and coming new blogging website called Tumblr. NPR reported it, PC Mag wrote about it so I thought OK, maybe the grass is greener and ventured into new the new site. I created my blog tried to make it my own with a template and found out that it unless you know write in HTML you are stuck with preset templates. There is very little customization once you have picked a template and they want to charge you for some of their better templates. WHAT, are you kidding me, so after a day or two of jacking with with my site I deleted my account and came back and did more research into Blogger.

What I have found is there is a whole community out there that is more than willing to share what they learn and know about how to make your blog your own with backgrounds, banners templates and other things (The Cutest Blog on the Block, is my current favorite).

So for you that read my blog either by choice or stumble upon it through a FB or Twitter link I will be changing things up. For example for the month of July I have decided to go with a patriotic theme. Now it might take me till the end of the month to get it like I like it, but as I said this is a learning experience for me.

What do you do to keep the old brain cells firing, read Tolstoy, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or that yuck thing called exercising?