Monday, December 30, 2013

Celebrate New Year's Eve Family Style at Knott's

#KnottsNYE
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
We love Knott's Berry Farm! This family friendly amusement park becomes Knott's Merry Farm for the holiday season, which sadly (or not-so-sadly for some parents) is winding down. Knott's is a wonderful and affordable way for our family of five to be entertained locally.

We're so fond of Knott's, that we've recently decided to get season passes this year. That's a big commitment considering our tight budget. But from my experience, Knott's provides tremendous value for the nominal amount we spend for the day of fun.

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve day and we're looking for a little staycation family fun in Southern California. We're bringing in the new year at Knott's! Au revoir 2013 - bonjour 2014!

#KnottsNYE | Midnight Fireworks
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
Here are some of the entertainment features we can anticipate at the amusement park tomorrow:
  • Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies musical comedy show
  • The Reflexx 80s cover band
  • DJ REESSO spinning popular music
  • Comedian magician Dana Daniels with his psychic parrot
  • Sharp Turn Ahead teen musical duo
  • Party in the Dance Hall country dancing
  • Salsa Dancing with Louie Angon, DJ JC & Snoopy
  • It’s Christmas, Snoopy encore performances. Snoopy and his pals skate their way through the joys of the holiday season.
  • Snoopy’s Magical Nights of Lights sparkling lights and holiday music throughout Camp Snoopy
  • Midnight countdown with fireworks
  • Midnight Party on the Midway
  • Stilt walkers
  • Party hats & noisemakers
  • New Knott's Sky Cabin with special lighting effects
#KnottsNYE | It's Christmas Snoopy
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
#KnottsNYE | Dana Daniels and his psychic parrot
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
#KnottsNYE | Snoopy's Magical Night of Lights
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
#KnottsNYE | The REFLEXX
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
#KnottsNYE | Sharp Turn Ahead
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
Knott’s New Year’s Eve Celebration (#KnottsNYE) is included with regular daytime park
admission and is open for the extended hours of 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

If you're interested in a 2014 Knott’s Season Pass, now is the time! A 2014 pass offers a year of family fun and includes one free visit in 2013 - there is now one day left in the year. Also, for a limited time, you can purchase a Season Pass for as low as six payments of $13!

All ticket and park information about Knott’s Berry Farm can be found at www.knotts.com or by downloading the Knott’s mobile app for your smartphone.

Interact with other Knott's enthusiasts on social sites; use #KnottsNYE for the Knott's New Year's Eve Celebration:

I hope to see you there tomorrow! Happy New Year to you and yours!

*Disclaimer: Big thanks to GigaSavvy for providing us with tickets for Knott's New Years Eve celebration in exchange for a written post.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

3rd Grade Grumbles

We're several months into our oldest chickadee's third grade year and a little over a week to go until Christmas break. It can't come soon enough!

What a school year from hell it's been so far. My daughter has been struggling to keep up with her homework, math concepts, reading comprehension... We just had the parent teacher conference with the teacher a few weeks ago and she told us that she was falling behind, is immature for her age, struggles to focus to keep up, we should get her tested, etc. She claims that her second grade teacher didn't do a good enough job moving her forward.

It made me feel sad and frustrated for my daughter, guilty that I'm not able to do more as a mom and kind of mad at the system. I'd already been staying up until 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. some nights to work with her on all the worksheets and assignments. I've been trying to teach the challenging concepts in fun, different ways. It's so demoralizing.

We've scheduled an appointment with a pediatric neurologist, but the appointment is in January. The teacher recommends getting a tutor in the mean time. I've asked her what I should have the tutor work with her on, since I've never hired one before. She said that if I'd like to talk about it, that I can stop by after school sometime. (Unfortunately, work is a hindrance in that idea.)

Although I work full time, I try to do everything in my power (and beyond) to be involved in my kids' education. I get to work late and leave work early to maximize my time with them at home. I send money and supplies and baked goods every time they're requested. I volunteer. I joined the PTA.

I'm so burnt out. I don't like feeling like my daughter isn't succeeding in school. I also don't like feeling like the public school system is killing her creativity and interest in learning. I'm confused about whether or not she has ADD and how I should best help her if she does. I wonder what changes I should make additionally in our lives; like homeschooling, private school, unschooling.

I guess I'll just take it a day at a time. During Christmas break we'll take some quality family time to catch our breath (and review all the math concepts) and try to focus on the blessings in our lives. I pray the rest of the school year goes smoother.

 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Self-Loathing Sunday


Here are some things that are chapping my hide and pulling at my psyche:
  • Not enough time
  • Not enough energy
  • Not enough motivation
  • Insecure about my lack of exercise 
  • Confounded by my perpetual muffin top and saddlebags
  • My house is a messy pit and will remain a messy pit
  • My husband isn't affectionate enough = I'm not lovable
  • My kids are trying to destroy the house and undo my cleaning efforts
  • Cleaning is too hard and boring
  • My life is passing me by
  • I have no talents or gifts
  • I have no close friends
  • I don't have a vision for my future
  • I want to move, but forced to stay
  • Trapped
  • I'm not a good mom
  • I'm not a good wife
On an optimistic note, our Sunday ended up being fairly fun and rewarding.
  • Went to church
  • Had spaghetti for lunch
  • Mopped the floor
  • Cleaned the baseboards in the dining room
  • Played outside with the girls
  • Spent quality time talking to a new neighbor who is really cool
  • Had a delicious dinner cooked by Daddy-O
  • Read some good books to the l'il chicken hawk 
  • Read my own book while bouncing on the trampoline
  • Went to bed at a decent hour
I am my own worst enemy with finding faults and lacking confidence. Plus, Sundays give me anxiety. 


 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ready or Not, It's Christmas Card Time!

Christmas season is just around the corner! I know it's sacrilegious to say before Thanksgiving, but it's a reality. This is the time of year when the real hard core moms start working on their picture-perfect family photo for their picture-perfect Christmas card. So they can WOW you with how they've got it all together and look good doing it. And if they're really driven, they'll include a double-sided, 10 pt. font, family newsletter re-capping their year's activities and children's successes. 

I'm not a total over-achiever, but I do like to send out nice photo Christmas cards each year, while trying to make them funny if at all possible. (See the funny ugly Christmas sweater at the bottom of this post to see what I think would be funny to wear in a family photo). This year, I'm happy to have been introduced to a custom card making company Minted.com. Minted.com has an online community of designers that create awesome cards, stationery, party supplies and other quality custom paper products.They've been in business since 2008 and get thousands of new designs each month.

Minted.com has an extremely user-friendly site design and selection options. It's the premier marketplace for crowd-sourced independent designers from around the world and offers the best materials for the 'celebrations of life's most important events'.

When I was searching for the perfect Christmas card for 2013, I really appreciated how Minted.com made it so simple for me. I like how you can sort through all the selections by number of photos you want to include on the card, the format of the card (flat, folded, mini book) and more economical options like petite size or postcards. You can also select your preferred color and paper quality. For each card, you can specify which holiday you'll want to feature on the card as well: Christmas, New Year or Holiday.  The cards come at different price points, which is helpful for frugal-tastic working moms like me!

It's extremely hard to choose, but here are five of my absolute fave Christmas cards on Minted.com. I've never been one to do a Christmas newsletter, but the mini book option seems like a great way to include extra family details without boring people to tears or provoking anger.

Newsletter alternative: 'Annual Nice List' mini book by Up Up Creative
Whimsical 'Holly Jolly Wishes' card by Griffenbell Paper Co.
'Santa Gram' card by Lori Wemple
'Holiday Map - West Coast' card by Jill Means
'Aquarelle' card by J. Bartyn

If you're a diehard Christmas card sender who loves beautiful designs, I highly recommend checking out Minted.com. You can also interact with them on their social sites: Facebook.com/minted,  Pinterest.com/minted, Twitter.com/minted.

By the way, before I forget to mention, Happy Thanksgiving to you!! I'm thankful that I have readers like you who take the time to listen to me ramble on and let me vent my disgruntlements. 

Disclaimer: I was provided store credit from Minted.com to facilitate this review. All opinions remain my own.

     

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just Say No to Kidz Bop on Sirius XM Radio

Imagine my surprise and horror when I was flipping through my Sirius/XM Radio channels today and discovered they'd added a new children's radio station - Kidz Bop! All Kidz Bop all the time! GAG CHOKE!

Marlo Thomas in 1972 | Free to Be You and Me
The 35th Year Anniversary!
I hope my children do not discover this channel. It's bad enough that they fell in love with the one Kidz Bop CD that my oldest chickadee received as a gift at her 8th birthday party and proceeded to play it continuously for months. Then she hosted several dance performances for us at home, complete with disco lights, my black knee-high boots, party girl clothes and questionable dance moves. Yes, it's all innocent fun, but YIKES! My husband and I snuck scared glances at each other throughout the dance show.

Kidz Bop is a gateway drug into the more insidious pop culture with bad music, fashion and 'role models'. I'm not ready. Nope. I insist that my kids listen to Kids Place Live as long as possible. Fun lyrics, stories, lessons, laughter and the sound of childhood.

In the car lately, we're back to listening to my all time childhood fave - Free to Be You and Me - 1972. Girl power! Why rush them to grow up to feel objectified with low values and self esteem? It starts with music, I say!

One of my all-time favorite poems/songs on the Free to Be You and Me CD is Housework by Carol Channing. Maybe this song is why I'm such a non-conformist, undomesticated, uninterested housekeeper as a grownup. As a side note, I played this song for my mother-in-law several years ago and she disagreed with it and said that she LOVED doing housework. Sigh.

Housework by Carol Channing:
You know, there are times when we happen to be
Just sitting there, quietly watching TV,
When the program we're watching will stop for a while
And suddenly someone appears with a smile,
And starts to show us how terribly urgent
It is to buy some brand of detergent,
Or soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
To help with the housework.

Now, most of the time it's a lady we see,
Who's doing the housework on TV.
She's cheerfully scouring a skillet or two,
Or she's polishing pots till they gleam like new,
Or she's scrubbing the tub or she's mopping the floors,
Or she's wiping the stains from the walls and the doors,
Or she's washing the windows, the dishes, the clothes,
Or waxing the furniture till it just glows,
Or cleaning the fridge or the stove or the sink,
With a light-hearted smile, and a friendly wink,
And she's doing her best to make us think
The her soap, or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
Is the best kind of soap, or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
That there is in the whole wide world.
And, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't,
And maybe it does what they say it will do,
But I'll tell you one thing I know is true.
The lady we see when we're watching TV,
The lady who smiles as she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans,
Or whatever she does on our TV screens,
That lady is smiling because she's an actress,
And she's earning money for learning those speeches
That mention those wonderful soaps and detergents and cleansers and cleaners and powders and pastes and waxes and bleaches.

So, the very next time you happen to be
Just sitting there quietly watching TV,
And you see some nice lady who smiles
As she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans,
Remember, nobody smiles doing housework but those ladies you see on TV.
Your mommy hates housework,
Your daddy hates housework,
I hate housework too.
And when you grow up, so will you.
Because even if the soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach
That you use is the very best one,
Housework is just no fun.

Children, when you have a house of your own,
Make sure, when there's house work to do,
That you don't have to do it alone.
Little boys, little girls, when you're big husbands and wives,
If you want all the days of your lives
To seem sunny as summer weather,
Make sure, when there's housework to do,
That you do it together!

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Merits of Having a Small But Mighty Blog

Cheers to CeCe on her post on BlogHer this week: "Why I Like Being a Small Blog". She spoke on points that I've had bouncing around in my head for years and some I hadn't even considered in terms of enjoying being a small time blogger, writing for fun, personal enjoyment and not feeling obligated by it.

She inspired a lot of people with her words and that is why I enjoy personal blogging. It's so refreshing to read the authentic thoughts, feelings, ideas and doubts of a personal blogger; and not those that are always trying to push products.

CeCe lists ten reasons she's glad she's a small blog. I say, "AMEN!"
  1. Pressure
  2. Scrutiny
  3. Hate mail
  4. Reader interaction
  5. Blog reading
  6. Social media and marketing

  7. Blogger burnout

I haven't been blogging regularly (if at all) the past several months. Typically I aim for one new post a week. I doubt anyone's missed my words, but I do miss writing! There is so much competing for my time and attention. I'm in a busy season of life and I'm trying to do better about cleaning and organizing my house (which I haven't made too much of a visible dent) and being more present with my three kids. I suppose my husband should rank in there somewhere too.

When I blog, I tend to check out for several hours as I work on writing, back end logistics and then promoting, which all has various levels of internet distractions along the way. Since I work full time already, I try to squeeze in a blog post occasionally from work, but I try not to make a habit of it. I feel guilty if I blog from home and I feel guilty for writing at work, and if I tried to blog from my mobile phone on the go, the formatting would be all wonky; plus it's not as relaxing and enjoyable.

Twitter is a good outlet for me from work or on the go though to get a little fix from 'micro-blogging' and connecting with other like-minded bloggers; especially other working mom bloggers. I'm @seemomwork - feel free to say hi to me once in a while! I'm a frequent dropper of the #workingmom, #wohm and #worklifebalance.

What are your thoughts on the merits of being small in a world of BIGGER IS BETTER?

Getty Images

Friday, October 18, 2013

Family Fun at Knotts Berry Farm's Camp Spooky

"Cheer - not Fear!" was the motto of our day at Camp Spooky early this October. We were invited to experience it with our three young children, and we had a blast!


Camp Spooky is inside Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, California and it's geared towards younger children. They have rides, entertainment and activities just for the little ones that don't want the thrill of the big rides and scares.

Read about all the fun Camp Spooky offers as well as all the details you need to know in my original post.

Here are some photos from our day. (My husband took a ton and better quality photos on our professional camera, but I'm writing this from work and I only have access to my cell phone photos - shhhh!)

On the way to Camp Spooky for some Halloween fun!
We had Little Miss Muffet, a black cat and a knight for children that day and they were all so cute and happy to be dressed up. I was one of the only parents dressed in costume - I was "Pumpkin Spice" with a bright orange bob wig and a funky orange velour dress. You couldn't miss me.
Me as "Pumpkin Spice" | Photo credit: Desiree Eaglin
As a side note, I was only slightly embarrassed to be one of the only moms in costume. I got a lot of looks of surprise and smiles, points and laughs, but it was a nice change from being relatively invisible most of the time. I kind of like being a dork; a cute dork.
Little Miss Muffet's cookie decoration
My black cat's cookie decoration
Snapshot of the cookie recipe 
I like watching the kids get excited about fun, childhood joys. I love to see life through their eyes. So Camp Spooky was perfect for that. The Peanuts Gang were awesome as usual and they loved doing a parade with them. They also loved the rides and going trick-or-treating at the various stops. The candy was amazing - I know because they were nice enough to share with me. 
Lucy in her Halloween costume at Camp Spooky
My knight in shining armor

Snoopy and Woodstock with my costumed chickadees
 There wasn't a lot of really scary parts of Camp Spooky except for the naturalist exhibit with the creepy, crawly critters. Yikes! These bugs freak me out!!
Scariest part of all - the Hissing Cockroaches! aka Nightmare in a Cage.
Scary scorpions from Africa!
Yucky.
We are already halfway through October and Halloween is right around the corner, but there is still time to go enjoy Camp Spooky at Knotts Berry Farm. It's running every Saturday and Sunday in October and is a part of the regular admission to Knotts.

So take your kids and get your Halloween cheer on!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary Camp Spooky tickets from Giga Savvy to facilitate a review.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Halloween Cheer - Not Fear - at Camp Spooky!

It's officially October! Time to get in the spirit of Halloween! Celebrating Halloween with three small children is cute and fun. No scary or inappropriately sexy costumes in our house - yet.

We have a small list of our favorite Orange County Halloween activities, but one thing we are adding new this year is Camp Spooky at a historical Southern California theme park - Knott's Berry Farm! We are going this weekend and everyone is psyched to get a start on the festivities and the candy.

In our family, we've got an eight year old girl who wants to dress up as a cute, candy corn witch, a six year old girl who wants to be a vampire kitten (and she wants me to make her costume...hmm...) and a two and a half year old boy who wants to be Bat Man or Super Man (he keeps changing his mind.) I might dress up as Piper Chapman from Orange is the New Black (post-incarceration); so easy and so awesome. Daddy-O has a variety of funny costumes in his closet to choose from (he likes the inflatable costumes - like the man riding an ostrich).

Knott's Camp Spooky
Camp Spooky is Knott's Berry Farm's Camp Snoopy turned into a family friendly Halloween party for young children up to 11 years old (and parents who refuse to grow up.) I adore Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang! It will be going on every Saturday and Sunday in October.  It takes place during the day (before the terrifying Knott's Scary Farm activities begin) and promotes Halloween cheer rather than fear.

Knott's Camp Spooky | Buena Park, CA
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
Costumed kids can partake in many fun and entertaining activities at Camp Spooky: 

  • Snoopy's Costume Contest - show off their costume as they join cheerful monsters and Peanuts characters in a parade
  • Charlie Brown's Spooktacular Show - a theater performance of classic Halloween tunes
  • Monster Factory - a fun, interactive maze where kids make their own scary creations
  • Trick-or-Treating at five Camp Spooky locations
  • Creepy Crawly Critter Cave - Knott's park naturalist will show the kids some slithery, slimy, creepy, crawly critters
  • Scary Stories at the Lodge - master story tellers will spin crazy, creepy and silly stories to entertain the kids
  • Kooky Cookie Painting - decorate and devour a delicious cookie

Knott's Camp Spooky | Buena Park, CA
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
Camp Spooky is included with regular park admission to Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park (online ticket prices are $29.99/$39.99) and operating hours are 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.


Look for me there (as Piper Chapman) this Sunday! I'll also be tweeting some fun photos - #campspooky.




Disclaimer: Big thanks to GigaSavvy who provided us complimentary tickets to attend Camp Spooky in exchange for publicity.


 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Why I'm Not a Soccer Mom

You won't see me wearing this hat.
(Amazon Affiliate link)
It's a busy season with the kids' schools starting, homework and a heavy workload at husband and my workplaces. Hence the blog going stagnant. I think of topics I want to write about often, but haven't shoehorned the time in to blog. Now I have about 30 minutes until the L'il Chicken Hawk wakes from his nap and the kids will expect to be fed dinner.

Speaking of time, I'm thankful that we're not a family completely overbooked with extracurricular activities. I'm glad I'm not a soccer mom! It seems like mass quantities of kids are at the park every day for hours on end for games and practices. Although Daddy O says that he enjoyed soccer when he was a kid and that team sports are great for building character. (Then he should take them and pay for it.)

Saturday mornings we go to the gym for parental fitness and then it's errand time, lunch time, then nap time. We do chores at home and after that, the day is pretty shot. Sunday mornings we go to church and then it's the same monotonous routine. I don't have the money, time, energy, or stamina to spend weeknights/weekends for 'child enrichment'. Especially since the little guy is hyperactive and makes public outings chaotic. And so many other things aren't getting done at home; I don't know when I'll ever have a clean home.

Don't fret though - the chickadees aren't deprived. They do YMCA Adventure Guides with Daddy O where they go on weekend camping trips once a month. We also do fun things like ride bikes, rollerskate, free play, birthday parties, meet up with friends, road trips and not to mention lots of laundry.

Even though it's going to make things more tricky and tiring, I just signed both chickadees up for a month of karate at the YMCA on Thursday nights ($40/month each) and the oldest will start guitar lessons on Wednesday nights ($45 a lesson). Now that I think about it, I better cancel those lessons; I can't possibly justify spending that expense each month.

I'm trying so hard to have zero balance on my credit card and it's inched up to $3000 and I also need to save for a new car and my getaway vacation cabin. I wish I had unlimited time and income so I could let the kids all try out all kinds of activities. I would love them to try tennis, basketball, hockey, volleyball, soccer, art, choir, horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, swimming, piano, acting, language, Girl Scouts, bowling... the list goes on and on.

The thing is, why should you have to pay for kids to take a class? We go out and teach them certain activities ourselves and show them how-to piano lesson videos on YouTube, trying to instill an interest and natural curiosity. I don't want to burn them out on too many classes and waste money and time (unless it's my husband's money and time of course). All my 'disposable income' goes towards childcare during the week, college savings, retirement savings and my personal savings.  Oh and the Y membership and semi-regular gel manicures are some splurges. My Amazon Prime membership has proven to be pretty pricey lately too... I need to get that under control.

So that's my life update and blog diarrhea. All three kids are acting manic and it would appear they would benefit from joining a soccer team with all their aggressive energy. Gotta go!

- Elle


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kids Say the Darndest Things

The latest from my chickadees:

5 year old - "Mom your boobs are big."
"No they're not. They're a size B."
"Yeah. B for BIG."

8 year old - "You look like Miss Piggy in those shoes."

My ego was inflated and then swiftly deflated by my little darlings. But you have to laugh.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When Imaginations Run Wild

What ID Addicts Should Know
Photo credit:
Investigation.Discovery.com
I watch a lot of ID (Investigation Discovery) on TV which shows a lot of real crime dissection; it's very addictive. They feature shows such as Deadly Affairs, Surviving Evil, Scorned, Deadly Sins, Deadly Women, Happily Never After, 50 Shades of Deadly... you get the idea.

It's irresistible! I think I've been watching a little too much lately, because in my mind, I anticipate a crime scene around every corner. Or what I call, 'a Stephen King scenario'.

This morning I went to an eye exam appointment at a new place I've never been before off the beaten path. I had decided to switch from the Lens Crafters/Costco experience to a real office setting. It was the first appointment of the day (8:00) and there were no cars in the parking lot and no human beings within sight. It was eerily quiet.

I cautiously walked up to the office. A young, bearded receptionist man checked me in, which is not an everyday thing in a medical office. Everything continued to go as you would expect in a clinical setting, but I was hyper-aware of every little thing and on guard.

Then I went into the exam room with the older eye doctor. Door closed. Lights off. My glasses were removed. Everything was a little bleary. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. I almost think an eye exam is more frightening than the gynecologist or the dentist. His face was so close up to mine and it's so uncomfortable. His eye looking directly into mine.

Scenes ran through my head about rape, kidnap, murder. My husband didn't even know where I was or the new doctor's name. Not that he would need to; but in case anything happened, that would be good information for him to know.

When I left, we were all laughing over something funny. I stepped outside into the fresh air with a sense of relief. The parking lot was filling up with cars and there were people walking around. I felt safe and glad to be alive.

At what point do you determine whether frightening moments like those are paranoid suspicions or valid intuition you should heed? Should a woman always tell someone where she's going or have a male chaperon with her at all times? Inquiring minds want to know...

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Potty Training Complaining

I just realized that I've been potty training/toilet coaxing/bathroom nagging for way too many years. Each of my three children are resistant to using the toilet on their own initiative. They don't mind soiled pants. I almost think they like the negative attention.


My two chickadees (8 and almost 6) were 3 when they started being consistent about the toilet, yet they continue to have potty accidents during the day because they don't want to be bothered with taking a break from playing. They also rush through the process and often fail to wipe; which I frustratingly discover later on in the day.
Our semi-successful potty seat. "Feed the froggy."
(Amazon Affiliate)

Moving on to the l'il chicken hawk... he'll be 3 in December. I pay extra for the potty training service at his preschool and he's off and on with his 'training'. If you remember from previous posts, I have been mainly cloth diapering him since he was an infant. The preschool prefers to use Pull Ups instead of cloth diapers or the thick training underwear with vinyl underpants over it. He poops all throughout the day, so he can't necessarily be bare at school.

I don't want to keep buying Pull Ups. I feel it's a waste of money. I just want the kid to be potty trained. It is extremely time consuming to monitor his potty behavior and clean up after accidents. It's much easier to change an infant's dirty diaper than an active, strong, wiggly 2 1/2 year old. Always having to leave the rest of the children and family activities to go back and forth to the toilet with frequent psych outs by him.

Tonight he tricked me saying he had to go potty at bedtime, so I took him out of his crib to go to the bathroom. Then he proceeded to demolish the bathroom without relieving himself; toilet paper, Kleenex, soap, water, toothbrushes, door stop cap, spider killing, decorations. Anything but the act of peeing. I insisted he go or we wouldn't leave the bathroom. Finally after an hour, he peed; stubborn boy.

Sorry, but no, I will not do sticker charts. I will often give treats like jelly beans and I cheer and high five for poop and pee, but I don't see the point in having sticker charts - something I have to create, manage and cajole a kid to do something they should naturally be inclined to do without my over-involvement.

I guess I'll just stick with it and try not to take it too seriously. Keep him bare butted as much as possible when he's at home and try to make it a positive experience; as hard as it may be. I'll keep cloth diapering with double inserts at night. Maybe I can stick with training underwear and vinyl underpants at preschool if he regulates his poops.

Any advice? (Aside from sticker charts.)

 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer Fun and Other BS

Since I haven't been blogging or using social media regularly the past month or so, here is what I have been doing instead:
  • Trying to keep up with the laundry/housework (failing)
  • Going to work (half-heartedly)
  • Traveling to Seattle and hanging out with old friends
  • Working out
  • Juicing and trying to eat more veggies
  • Tending to my garden
  • Camping
  • Potty training a resistant 2.5 year old
  • Coaxing chickadees to do what I want (what they should)
  • Harboring anger and hostility
  • Watching Orange is the New Black episodes (finished season 1)
  • Planning fun birthday parties 
  • Daydreaming about making changes in my life to be happier
  • Listening to The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls on audio book.
  • Fighting with my husband (today specifically)
About fighting and being angry... I don't know why it's so difficult for Daddy-O and I to get along lately. We can't communicate. It was better when we each took separate trips away from each other and we came back refreshed. Now we fought because I didn't tell him I was planning on building another planter in the backyard; the ugliness factor, logistics and lack of money. I don't like to argue and I don't communicate well orally. I have my ideas and plans all my head and up there everything seems logical and easy and affordable. 

I'm not an over-spender. I'm a frugal saver in fact. Sometimes I splurge, but not often. I told him I don't need to tell him all my plans of what I want to do to the house. We've lived here about 5 years and I don't do a lot of projects or shopping for the house. I mentioned we need to start doing some projects and I'm going to initiate them with or without him. That didn't go over well. He started getting hostile about 'his money' and all the other bullshit. 

Thank God I work and have my own money. I couldn't imagine asking him for money. No matter how frugal I am, he still treats me with suspicion over the big ticket items I want to get and do for the house. It's frustrating. Especially since there are so many bitchy overspending trophy wives in this area of the country that stay at home, have nannies, gardeners and everything they want and need to make their pretty little lives comfortable. That will never be my reality. He should feel lucky.

Well, rant over. A dude from Craigslist is coming over soon. :) He's installing my new garden planter in the backyard.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Tell Elle: New Working Mom Angst

A good friend of mine, who has worked with me in the past and saw me go through the changes of being a new mom, had her first baby this year. She went back to work full time a few months ago and I've asked her to write on her experience of being a new working mom. I've experienced it three times now myself - and the whole going back to work after maternity leave is never easy.

Here is her experience with emotional angst over with being a new working mom.
When asked how I feel about being a working mom, I cry a little on the inside. I wished I could strictly be a stay at home mom. I wished I didn't have to "make ends meet" and need my income to survive. I wished I could wake up and sleep with my baby and not miss a thing (Like the Aerosmith song ). 
Every day my baby is growing and doing new things, having new experiences, having new facial expressions, understanding and learning and expressing herself more than the day before. I miss her every second of the day. I am tearing up as I am writing this. I could just say, screw it all and just stay home, but the bills will pile up and she wouldn't have as many toys, or clothes or even a savings, so I do the responsible thing and work.
Sometimes I feel a slave to my mortgage and my debt. Sometimes I want to be a hippy and not care about late payments or keeping my house so tidy and nice, but in the end I know everything I do is for my baby. I want to give her the world and more.
At work I have to pump and my boss is semi-understanding. She did not breastfeed, so she doesn't understand why I do it. She has asked me a couple of times, "How long do you plan on breast feeding?" Which I think that it's not that she actually cares as much as wonders how long I will continue to take extended breaks. It's annoying, but I continue to smile, I continue to give my baby my best and convince myself every day that I am making the right choice. That she is in great hands with her grandmas and remind myself that I am working to provide her a better life.
I can totally relate with her sentiments. Even after being a mom for eight years now, and juggling three little ones, it hasn't gotten all that much easier. I still have days where I miss my kids terribly and second-guess my decision to be a working mom. But then again, I don't see any other feasible option. I like having my own (albeit small) income and the certain freedoms that come along with it (economic, psychological...) I want a stable economic future for me, my husband and each child.

If you'd like to share your working mom story, email me at Elle [AT] SeeMomWorkBlog [DOT] com. I'd love to hear from you!

Here's a small selection of light reading material for working moms.