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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Don't Want to Forget

Kira's favorite phrase:

"I'm starving to deathany, Mom."

Marisa's favorite phrase:

"Not yet."


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Monday, June 29, 2009

First Aid Kits

Update your first aid kits. Do it TODAY.

I attended a teen youth group sleepover this weekend. Inevitably one of the kids got hurt. The owners of the home brought out their first aid kit - after they found it. The products were terribly outdated. I suppose that they had simply overlooked the need for such a kit because their kids were much older, but even teenagers get hurt sometimes.

There are several pre-assembled kits on the market that aren't too terribly expensive. However, if you want to build your own first aid kit, the Red Cross has an article that can be quite useful. Check it out.

The Anatomy of a First Aid Kit


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Diaper Bags

One of the biggest concepts to learn for new parents is the art of packing a diaper bag. In an effort to make this task a bit easier, I wrote an article about an article to take the mystery out of the job. If you have a new baby on the way, or have a friend with a new baby on the way, then check out my article about packing a diaper bag.

(I can't reprint the article here due to publishing rights.)

Also, if you have any tips for packing a diaper bag - leave me a comment.


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yet Another Icon

What is going on today? Yet another American Icon has left us. Just a few short hours ago, Michael Jackson passed away from a heart attack.

Say what you will about his eccentric lifestyle, the man had talent. His music spanned the ages and still rings in our ears.

The shocking news is quite a jolt to those who grew up with him and his amazing music.

With A Saddened Heart

I want to send a bit of sympathy out to the family and friends of Farrah Fawcett.

Quoted from this article:

LOS ANGELES – Farrah Fawcett, the "Charlie's Angels" star whose feathered blond hair and dazzling smile made her one of the biggest sex symbols of the 1970s, died Thursday after battling cancer. She was 62.


This is such a sad day. I remember watching Charlie's Angels when I was little. I loved that show so much.

Make Believe

Most kids love playing games of make believe. You can encourage this particular type of play by providing certain materials to assist your children in their imaginary games. Here's a short list of items that your child might find amusing to play with.

- different types of clothing for dressing up (The thrift store is your best friend.)
- cardboard blocks for building cities or forts
- pillows and sofa cushions
- blankets of various sizes and colors and fabrics
- stuffed animals
- kitchen stuff (dishes, food, pots and pans, etc)

Turn them loose with a variety of objects and let them create their very own special games. You might just be amazed at the games they come up with.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Precious Places from Fisher Price

Fisher Price is launching a new series called Precious Places. This new series will include movies and toys for little girls to enjoy.

As a part of their advertising, Fisher Price is offering a FREE DVD for you and your girls to enjoy.

To order your very own copy of this new princess series, just visit this site and place your order.

The DVD is completely free. There are no shipping charges or anything. All you have to do is make your request. I ordered mine today. The site says it will take 12 to 14 weeks for delivery, but they do offer a video of the first episode right on the site if you can't wait to show your kids. They also offer links to pre-order the toys that go with the series. No doubt your girls will enjoy this one...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Painting Walls

Do you have to repaint a wall or two? Do you want a bit of willing help with that painting job?

Well, enlist your kids to help.

Small children love to paint. You can give them a small paint brush and teach them how to paint the walls. Let them help with the first coat of paint. They'll be happy. You'll get some much needed help. Their painting skills will be irrelevant because you'll be painting over their work when you do the second coat of paint anyways.

I recommend letting your child use a small 1 inch painting brush or even smaller art brushes for their masterpiece. The smaller brushes hold much less paint and has a smaller chance of leaving clumps of paint on the wall.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dad's Day - Glitter Graphics

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Little Bribery Goes A Long Way

I am not above bribery to get what I need. Some may say that bribing my children is the worst thing I could ever do, but I think bribery has a very valuable place in my world.

Getting my kids to put their toys away is just nearly impossible. Last week I stumbled across this clever bit of an idea. I pulled out their gummy snacks and declared that they could only have a gummy if they picked up a toy and put it away.

I went through about 6 packs of gummies, but the toys got put away without whining or complaining. There was a whole lot of giggling and racing to see who would get the next gummy. The toys got put away. The kids got their snack (plus some). The Mom got a clean floor. Everybody wins.

Tonight I pulled out the chocolate for bribe time - ahem, cleanup time... I found these really cute miniature chocolate bars from Hershey's. They are just so darn C-U-T-E. Actually, they're baking pieces in the shape of Hershey bars. They're intended for cookies or brownies, but they're just perfect for bribe time because the kids end up with the equivalent of less than half of a regular sized Hershey bar. They don't realize this, though. All they see is that they are getting lots and lots and lots and lots of chocolate. (Let's hope it takes a long time for them to learn that particular Mathematical concept.

So when you want something done and you're tired of begging, pleading or yelling --- pull out the chocolate and get busy bribing. Tell anybody who dares to criticize you that Mom said it was okay.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I have been blessed with wonderful children, each who has a very interesting disease.

Yes, I said blessed!

Yes, I said diseased!

My 14 year old son is afflicted with a particularly interesting brand of OCD! He absolutely needs to have a complete schedule in order to operate happily. Well, perhaps the proper way to describe Gibson's disease is more like an extreme desire to know exactly where the day will take him - in complete and total detail. If we said we would be somewhere at 2:00 and managed to be early or late by even just a few minutes, Gibson was traumatized. Unfortunately for Gibson, I am not a 'schedule' person. It took me a long time to realize what it was that my child needed in order to make his life easier. Even now, I have a hard time complying with his needs regarding schedules and itineraries. I try, though. We learned early on that Gibson does not like surprises. We can't plan anything as a family outing without telling him where we're going. I have found that giving him a general idea of our plans helps both of us. He knows what is going on, and I don't have to stick to a schedule. It's a barely adequate compromise, but it works - for the most part.

My 4 year old Kira has her own little disease. She has what we call a 'sensitive soul.' She feels things more strongly than most people. She has a sense of deep awareness that causes her to be a bit over reactive to certain situations. As she gets older this sensitivity will serve her well, but without the maturity and self control that comes with age - well, let's just say that her sensitivity is a real sensitive issue around our house. We've had to learn how to cope with the occasional moments of unexplained tears or the deep and certain heartbreak of a child who's determined that the world has come to an end because her little sister doesn't want to play the same game. I love Kira's sensitivity, but there are times when I wish she was a little more tough in order to face the realities of life. Just tonight she snuck off to the living room while we were all piled on my bed. We heard a bit of sniffling and went to investigate, only to find her silently sobbing on the living room sofa for no apparent reason. It took me a good ten minutes to pry her thoughts out of her. She was so upset all because I asked her not to walk on Daddy's back while we were piling on the bed because she might hurt him or get hurt herself. For whatever reason, she became heart broken and slunk off to cry alone. It took a good ten minutes of snuggling her up close and rubbing her back in order to get her calmed down enough to even tell us what was wrong.

And then there's Marisa.

Dear, dear Marisa is 3 years old and owns the entire universe. Yes, really - she does. Just ask her and she'll tell you that she owns the universe. She'll tell you quite emphatically that it is all hers - only hers - nobody else's - and NO SHE WILL NOT SHARE UNLESS SHE FEELS LIKE IT!!!!

I diagnosed Marisa when she was just a few hours old. Her disease is truly a rare one and was quite obvious from the very beginning.

"Her diagnosis?" you ask.

Well - it's the very rare disease called ZFT. Yes - ZFT - ZERO FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE.

Those of you who say this is just the normal affliction of every toddler in the world - you're wrong. This isn't your everyday, typical level of frustration. Marisa isn't like other children who test their limits or seek out higher levels of independence. She simply does not tolerate frustration. NONE - ZIP - ZILCH - ZERO!!!

We figured this out pretty quickly with Marisa, but like most parents, we expected she would outgrow her issues. Yeah - we were pretty delusional.

Marisa is the only child I have who experienced an extensive amount of tantrums. I don't imagine I helped very much because I would regularly lay down beside her on the floor and join her in the kicking and screaming. After all, if she was going to have tantrums then she needed to see how to do it correctly. Trust me when i say that she did not find my antics to be amusing. When most children would stop and laugh at their Mommy having a tantrum, Marisa would become enraged that I would dare mock her in such a way. (She wasn't even 2 years old the first time I did this...) Marisa has even been known to spank herself for doing something right after she was told not to do it. So how does a parent go about reprimanding a child who spanks herself then giggles?

And oh the drama... Marisa is definitely the queen of drama. When she laughs, she embraces the laughter and immerses herself in the moment - heart and soul. When she cries, she embraces the tears and immerses herself in the moment - heart and soul. There is rarely an 'in between' for Marisa. She's an all or nothing kind of girl. Oh - and she's definitely a Mommy's Girl. She occasionally graces her father with a momentary glance, but when it comes right down to it - Mommy is the onliest one. This can be quite irritating at times - if your name happens to be "Mommy."

As is fitting for the queen of drama, you should note that Marisa received several paragraphs in this post while Kira and Gibson only required one. There is no doubt which child requires a bit more thought when it comes to dealing with her issues...

Ah - I must go now... my Queen is calling, and nobody ignores the call of the Queen.

(Disclaimer: You may notice that I failed to mention my oldest child, Angel. Well - her disease changes regularly. Currently she's afflicted with a case of newadultitis... There's just not much to say about that.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Did you ever have a simple question for your pediatrician and wish you could talk to them about it without a trip to their office?

Well guess what! You probably can.

Most pediatricians will gladly give you their email address to use for simple questions or simple refill requests. You can use that email to communicate with your doctor without wasting your time - and his - with an office visit for something that is fairly easy to deal with.

You can ask for a refill to be called in for regular maintenance medications that won't need a visit, such as eczema cream or allergy medicine.

You can even keep your doctor updated on issues in your child's life, particularly if your child has other doctors.

When Kira had her surgeries, I kept her pediatrician informed about her progress through his email. I also avoided quite a bit of hassle when I needed some sort of information that could be dealt with without a visit. After all, taking Kira anywhere while she was in her cast was more than a little difficult.

If your pediatrician refuses to give you his email address, ask him why. He may have had a bad experience or saves this means of communication for certain special cases. Kira's orthopedic surgeon did just this. Only certain patients with extreme cases were given his email address. Others were directed to go through his assistant for any kind of questions they might have needed, so if your pediatrician won't give you his email, don't be offended. He probably has a good reason...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pediatrician Problems

I've been very blessed to have a wonderful pediatrician. However, I've known many people who haven't been nearly as lucky as I have. They find that their pediatrician isn't quite what they were looking for, yet they feel bad about seeking out a new doctor. There's some sense of loyalty when dealing with doctors.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are unhappy with the performance of your child's doctor, then there are a few things you can do to fix the situation.

First, you should discuss the issues you are having with your doctor to try to come to an understanding. (Unless the issues are extreme, talking about it first is the best thing you can do. Of course, there are times when talking to the doctor is pointless, particularly if you have a serious difference of opinion on key issues such as vaccination.)

If you talk to your doctor about the problems you are having, and you're unable to come to an understanding, then you need to consider finding a new doctor. So many new parents feel badly about looking for a new doctor, especially if they've been with their pediatrician for a few months.

If you do decide to switch doctors, you may want to notify your pediatrician that you are leaving and why. It isn't necessary to notify your pediatrician, but if you decide to give him a reason then be sure to keep it professional. Written notification may be the easiest way to let your doctor know why you've decide to go to a different doctor. You can easily detail the issues that have led you to switch doctors and avoid any kind of confrontation.

One last thought - If you think your doctor has given you an incorrect diagnosis, it is absolutely acceptable to seek out a second opinion. It isn't disloyal or rude. It's responsible parenting.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Glow Sticks

For $1.00 per kid, you can have a night of fun and entertainment with very little effort.

Visit your local dollar store or Michael's, and pick up a pack of glow sticks for each child.

Open each pack, then activate all the sticks. Hand them over to your kids and turn out the lights.

This is what I did tonight. My girls have been running around with their glow sticks for nearly an hour now.

For a bit of added fun, pick a room that you want to decorate.

Clip the tips off of a few of those glow sticks so that the liquid can come out.

Stand in the middle of the room with the lights off and shake each opened stick vigorously.

Let the kids enjoy their new starry room.

Oh - and don't worry - the color will fade in a fairly short time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Day

Around my house we have a pretty constant battle about who gets to go first (or be first, or eat first, or - really - just about anything "first.")

After the millionth argument one day about who was going to be first, I finally had an epiphany. There had to be a solution to this constant bickering. Indeed, I was right.

So was born "First" day. Each day would be somebody's first day. All I had to do was institute this new policy.

I started by explaining to Randall what I was going to be doing. After all, if a new policy has any chance of being successful, everybody has to be in on the game plan. Together we decided that we would use an odd / even alternation. Kira's birthday is on an even day and Marisa's is on an odd day so this was a logical option.

After we worked out the details, we told the girls what we were doing. I took a bit of time to explain our method and what this new policy would mean.

Now, instead of "Me first! Me first!" I get to listen in on the endless discussions about who's first day it happens to be. At least they no longer argue over it.

Oh, they still argue. I couldn't possibly be lucky enough for the arguing to stop completely. But at least we've settled the "first" issue.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Where Is the Value in This?

I've read several articles lately about parents who send their teenage child to stand on the side of a road with a sign of some sort that details all the evils of said child and his or her behaviors. One such article was with regards to a kid who had poor grades in school. One was a kid who had been caught in some sort of minor criminal activity. The parents felt that making the child stand on the road with their sign would somehow change the child's undesirable behaviors.

It's been a while since I saw one of these articles, but the image has stuck with me. I believe I have to address this before I can let it go within my own mind.

I wonder what brings a parent to believe that this is a good idea. What will be accomplished from this type of punishment?

Well, for starters, the child will be thoroughly humiliated. People will drive by and stare at the child. They will laugh at the child. They may even taunt the child. The child will be embarrassed and probably angry and hurt.

Where is the lesson in this?

The child learns that behaviors that are unacceptable will be met with other behaviors that are - or at least should be - unacceptable.

The child learns that it's okay to laugh at somebody who has failed to meet the expectations of others.

What the child does not learn is the value of good grades or good behavior. The parents teach their child that if the child does not meet certain expectations, the child will be subjected to the world to be stared at, laughed at and taunted.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think parents should be involved in their child's life. I also think there are times that a child needs an extreme level of discipline. However, intentionally setting a child up for blatant humiliation just seems inappropriate to me. The child may choose to adhere to whatever stipulations have been given in order to avoid future humiliation, but at what cost? The parents lose so much more than they gain when they resort to this type of punishment. They lose their child's trust. They lose their child's confidence. They most likely lose a great deal of respect, if they ever had any to begin with.

I do believe that parents who resort to this type of discipline should stand beside their child with their own sign that displays all the ways that they have failed as parents, because quite frankly, if a parent needs to resort to such public humiliations just to get their child's attention then they have certainly failed as a parent.

There - I feel better now. I can move on.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Did It

I went to the Dollar Tree today and purchased several squeeze bottles - the red and yellow ones generally intended for ketchup and mustard.

I bought a big bottle of clear laundry detergent.

I came home and poured detergent in each squeeze bottle.

I put a different food coloring in each bottle.

While I was doing all this, Randall was depositing the children into the bathtub.

After the paint was finished, I went to the bathroom and began squirting paint onto the girls, who immediately started begging for my paint bottles.

They spent nearly an hour in the bathtub painting rainbows on the walls and each other.

The water was a dark and dingy green color within a few short minutes, but I have no doubt that each and every inch of those girls is completely clean now, not to mention the giggling that I heard from the bathroom.


I'm the greatest Mom in the universe. I have managed - in just one day - to insure that Kira is completely and thoroughly addicted to Starbucks Hot Chocolate.

The good thing is - Kira is LOVING sitting here in the coffee shop and doing her school work. She's done nearly ten pages of work already. I think I've found a new favorite spot for doing school work. I've even managed to get some of my own work done while she's eating her chicken nuggets (from McDonald's) and drinking her "This is SO good, Mommy." hot chocolate.