Thursday, March 31, 2011

Published!

I love magazines.

I love magazines even more when I've written something in them.

:)

Therefore, I love BRINK Magazine to its very marrow.


Check out their April/May issue, I'm on page 4 and 5.

Auntie Em!

These past two days we've been pounded with horrible weather.

Tornado warnings, lightning strikes and thunder that shakes the whole damn house.

Needless to say, it's been exhausting (my favorite word, I tell ya!).

Need proof:


There is rain forecasted for the rest of the day and then tomorrow our blessed Sun returns.

Thanks goodness.

I've watched enough Nick Jr and Disney Junior to last a lifetime.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mother Knows Best

When I became a mother, it really helped me understand my own mother better.

Having children of my own made me realize her love and her sacrifices for me (and my siblings) throughout the years. All that overprotectiveness suddenly made since.

Now that I am a mother myself, those words of wisdom she heaped upon me are some of the best words of wisdom I'll ever receive.

My favorite, besides breastfeed your babies, is to trust your gut.

Nothing can be more correct in my opinion.

Your gut tells you everything you need to know about raising babies

If it feels wrong, don't do it. If it feels right, go full steam ahead.

Easy peasy.

Best advice ever, thanks Mom!

Speaking of Mom's, Mother's Day is right approaching quickly and you always want to make sure you get the right gift and card for your Mama.

Tiny Prints has a wide variety of gifts to customize just for the woman who gave you life.

Their Mother's Day cards can make you laugh and cry and the best part, they are gorgeous!

"Tiny Prints provides simple, modern and unique stationery from Father’s Day Cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards, business cards, and even custom wedding invitations or photo birth announcements. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities. With Tiny Prints by your side commemorating every holiday and momentous occasion is a cinch! They offer perfect party invitations for every occasion and memorable personalized photo-gifts like notebooks, photo books and calendars to commemorate the event."

Check out everything Tiny Prints has to offer and pick out the perfect gift for the Moms in your life.



I participated in a Global Influence campaign with Tiny Prints and received a gift code for my work. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

What's For Dinner?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Love/Hate Relationship

Once upon a time, I loved bedtime.

I loved the quietness that came with it, the serenity, the lack of actually needing to do anything but lay in bed motionless.

I use to love sleeping and that heavy feeling that came with sleep.

I miss sleep. I'm starting to curse bedtime though.

Yes, I know: blasphemy.

But seriously, I am starting to hate bedtime because I know I won't get to sleep! I hate bedtime because sleep is something I know nothing about lately.

Turtle is recovering from pink eye, an ear infection, the stomach bug and a bunch of jammed packed weekends which threw all of us through the wringer.

So I get it, sometimes it takes a while to get back on track with things, but dammit! The child is not sleeping, which means I'm not sleeping and I get groggy and grumpy without my sleep.

I haven't had a decent night sleep in well over a year and I'm starting to think that sleep is trying to permanently break up with me.

I'm not thrilled about this.

I just want for once to enjoy bedtime.

I want to curl up around my pillow, sink into my crisp sheets and drift off to dreamland without any worries.

Not stress out about the fact that I don't get any sleep, which leads me to staying up late worrying about not sleeping, then falling into a fitful sleep that is accompanied by wake up calls every two hours.

Sleep... I hate you and love you at the same time.

Food Strike!

Recently Turtle has stopped eating table food. Sure, she'll gnaw on a bagel or a waffle and occasionally she'll let me feed her baby food but if I cut up fruit, give her some of my dinner or anything of that sort, she throws it on the floor... literally. I spend a lot of time cleaning up the damn floor. I've tried new foods to entice her. I tried making her boring and bland food. Nothing! She's more interested in crawling on the table than eating. Of course, I'm worried about her. She's already so small and petite! The only upside to this whole fiasco is she's nursing much more. We've gone from 3x a day to 5-6x a day. And, of course, we are still nursing like crazy all night long (seems like one long nurse to me). So I imagine that she's getting what she needs from my milk, but like I said, I'm still a worry-wart about her. Tell me I'm not being crazy. Please?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mom Central: Bio True Review

This is my first ever video review (vlog?). Don't be so harsh, please. :) This review is of Bausch and Lomb's Bio True saline solution. Enjoy! “I wrote this review while participating in a Mom Central Consulting blog tour on behalf of Bausch + Lomb Biotrue. I received a Biotrue sample and a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Woe is Me

It’s always been my belief that home should be where the heart is. Home should be your refugee. Home is where you go to escape it all. Lately, my home has been the opposite. Lately, my home (which I love so much) has been overrun with people and I don’t like it. The quietness that once enveloped me is now chaos and I have frazzled nerves because of it. And it’s a situation that is out of my hands. I can’t kick these people out. I can’t bring back the serenity that I built up. And I want to cry. It will be a steady stream of endless tears for the next month until the mess that is surrounding me disappears. And a bad case of the grumpies. Feel sorry for my husband until then.

Friday, March 25, 2011

That Feeling Deep Within'

You know when one of your kids gets sick with something contagious and you battle through it like a pro?

You keep them hydrated, happy and pumped full of Disney Princess movies.

You go into Super Mom mode, damn the consequences!

And then, just as the make a break for better-ville, you feel it.

In your gut.

You feel the first twinge that something may be off.

You try and ignore it and go about your business.

Until you have to stop and admit defeat.

You are sick, courtesy of your child.

That's me right now.

I caught the bug that my youngest had.

And I just want to curl up in a ball and ignore the world.

But I can't.

I still have to be Super Mom and entertain the masses. Kids don't stop, or really care, if Mom is sick.

There's arts and crafts to be done, lunches to be made, games to be played.

All while you feel like you want to die.

This really is a test of my strength.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

I share a lot on this blog, I don't hold much back... there's one main thing I don't share here and that's my husband.
Mainly because he's mine and I want to keep something for myself.
But today is a special occasion and I want to share him with you (for only one day).
Ten years ago today, I married my man.
My best friend, my partner in crime, the father of my children.
And as I look back on the past ten years, all the fun we've had, the places we've been, the children we've made together.... I get this prickly feeling in my eyes, my stomach starts to tingle and I want to grin like a fool.
I am so lucky.
Yes, marriage is not as easy as the movies make it out to be and yes, he's grumpy a lot and works too much but he's my husband and I could not make it through a single day without him.
He is my rock.
He is the one that encourages me to do what I do. He is the one that tells me like it is and when I'm being a bitch.
He is also the one that makes me who I am.
Without him, you would not have me.
So here's to my man.
Happy Anniversary Love.
I love you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Westgate River Ranch Resort Review

About an hour and half away from Orlando, the Westgate River Ranch Resort is gloriously secluded from malls, shopping centers and big box stores. Tucked away on over 1700 acres in Polk County, the River Ranch is the spot to be if you want to get away from everyday living and see how the cowboys (and girls!) live.

With activities ranging from skeet and trap shooting to hayrides, there is something for every member of the family to do.

We scheduled a weekend trip, selected our activities to keep us busy and set off.

Yes, the drive was boring but thankfully I had a DVD player for the oldest, a nap arranged for the youngest and a co-pilot to entertain me.

Once we arrived, the long drive was forgotten. The place is spectacular.

And we had picked the perfect weekend to visit.

The skies were blue and cloudless.

Plus, it wasn’t hot, which is a main sticking point in any weekend trip we take.

The River Ranch is huge and stretched out all over the place. There are endless pastures, white fences and animals everywhere. There’s even an airport!

There are accommodations for all: guest houses, regular hotel rooms, camping grounds and RV lots to rent.

We were put up in a typical hotel room that had so-so d├ęcor and the wear and tear of a 70s hotel but we didn’t have plans to spend much time in our room, especially with so much to do.

After dropping off our luggage, we hit up the petting zoo where my girls fell in love with day old goats and mini-horses that loved to be stroked. There were peacocks, guinea hens (which made me feel like I was at home), donkeys, buffalos and more.

We ate dinner at the Smoke House Grill (the only restaurant on property besides the general store which has a deli with sandwiches and pizza), did a little fishing at the marina and called it a night because the next day was packed and we wanted to be well-rested.

The next day consisted of horseback riding (where I went all by myself and enjoyed 45 minutes of plodding along on a horse named Beau), pony rides (the oldest got to ride a mule and a mini named Rickie), more fishing, more eating, a swamp buggy ride, two trips to the arcade, three trips to the General Store for drinks, four rounds of skeet and trap shooting and to end the day, we went on a traditional hayride (complete with a singing cowboy) through the Ranch’s pastures and had a cookout with other guests.



Another tradition at the Westgate River Ranch Resort is the Saturday Night Rodeo.

A family friendly rodeo packed with ranging bulls, trick riding cowgirls and lots and lots of pride. One cowboy rode two horses at once, a bull tried to climb out of the gates like a monkey and a cowgirl rode her horse upside down.

Oh, and the best part of the rodeo: the Calf Stampede.

The Calf Stampede is when kids go out in two groups (under 8 and under 12) and chase calves with the hopes of grabbing a ribbon from their tales.

Yes, their tales.

And I let my oldest go out there.

In fact, I encouraged it.

And boy, did she go full-on with it.

She raced and chased those calves with all of her heart.

She did not catch a ribbon but I was so proud of her that she went out there and did it.

The Rodeo was also my kind of Rodeo because it only lasted just over two hours, there were no long drawn out waits, they got you in and out and made sure you had one heck of a time. Plus, you were right in the action with seats right near the fences.

There was a block party (which happens every weekend after the Rodeo) but with two worn out kids, we called it a night.

The downsides to the River Ranch are it’s huge and you can either rent a golf cart to ride around (for $60 a day plus deposit), walk or drive your car from place to place. There’s only wifi in the main lodge (and you have to literally be in the lodge to access it), the only playground is located up at the front of the ranch and the cost of drinks is a tad steep.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the Westgate River Ranch. The kids had tons to do, we had tons to do. It was a nice stay with tons of friendly staff. Everyone was willing to chat and help out with directions if needed

My advice to you when staying at the Westgate River Ranch is to bring your own drinks, hold on to your maps (yes, it’s that big) and get ready for some down-home fun.





I received a weekend stay at the River Ranch Resort in exchange for my review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sleeping Isn't For Me, Apparently.

I must have done something horrible in a past life.

Because I am being punished viciously in this life and I want to curl up in a ball and cry foul.

Turtle is not sleeping.

Seriously. She. Is. Not. Sleeping.

All this week, she has been sleeping lightly, rolling all over the place, waking at every sound and basically, waking up (every night) from 330 am to 500am.

I am the walking dead.

I am so tired I cannot talk straight.

I mix up words. I'm behind on work. I am behind on my blog.

On top of it all, I have Roo's birthday party and the mother load of family coming in this weekend.

How I will survive, I have no clue.

I imagine I will have to load up on soda and rely on my Mama to keep me a float.

Wish her luck!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Roo: the Four Year edition

The other night I looked at you and thought, surely you've been with us longer than four years. It seems like that I can't look past the four years since you've come into my life.


It seems like life didn't really begin for me until you came along.


And as you dance past me as I write this, I stop and smile.


You are amazing.


Yes, that is my favorite word for you and you will continue to hear it from me for the rest of your life.


You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are spunky. You are crazy. You are life.


You are also my alarm clock, my soother, my toy dropper, my back seat driver, you are the best parts of your father and me all rolled into one super cute package.


The past four years have been a wonderful learning experience for me and I thank you so much for letting me be your mother. It is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.


You are so loved, please do not ever forget that.


I love you so,


Mommy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weepy Mommy

My oldest turns four on Tuesday... And I just want to cry.

Four?

Seriously?

Wasn't she jut a baby?

Wasn't I just changing her diaper and nursing her?

Egh.

Time flies too fast now that I am a mother. It seems like I'm on a bullet train trying to put my feet down, a la Fred Flintstone, to stop it.

All I'm doing is burning myself in the process.

This girl is growing up too fast.

Or I'm just moving too slow.

I just want to hold her and beg her to stop growing up. I want her to remain my little girl. I want her to stay with me forever and be my sidekick.

...

I'm just going to go hug her and try not to cry in her hair.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Getting Lucky With Redbox

Ah, getting lucky.

Feels good, doesn't it?

This month Redbox wants to help you get even luckier

How, you ask?

Join their “Lucky to Have Friends Like You” Campaign!

All you need to do is sign-up at www.redbox.com/luckyus and Redbox will send you a unique web address just for you. Every time you have a friend reserve a movie online with your special web address you will receive a code for a free one-night DVD rental at Redbox.

This offer is good from now until St. Patty's Day so gets to clickin' and getting lucky.



I participated in a Global Influence Campaign with Redbox and received compensation for this post. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Before and After the Destruction

My girls are famous for being able to destroy a room in less than 0.06 seconds.




And I'm famous for going behind them and picking everything up every 1.6 seconds.




Sometimes I can head them off... other times, I can't.




I do try though.




And I do succeed sometimes.




Here's proof.




Before:




After:




Now, I need a nap.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: Essential Red Riding Hood

I got an iPod touch for Christmas and love it... adore it.

I also love the fact that there is, literally, an app for everything.

Including some of my favorite stories, like Little Red Riding Hood.

I recently reviewed the Essential Red Riding Hood app with my oldest.

The app will read the story to you as along the way you can do activities like fill Grandma's picnic basket with food and paint Red's cape.

Features include:"Beautiful classic illustrations updated with engaging animations. Professionally narrated audio engages and entertains. Innovative touch activities, fun, and surprises to play along with. Two reading modes: Narrated and read by myself. Quick table of contents to jump to any page in the story. Send a friend a Red Riding Hood postcard"

The app is adorable and Roo enjoys it as well and that is what matters to me most when picking apps for the iPod.

You can purchase your own Essential Red Riding Hood app at the Apple App Store.

Also, visit the makers of Essential Red Riding Hood's website, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mommy Confession: I like alone time.

I've manage to work out Turtle's sleeping schedule where she crashes for the night around 7 or 8 at night.

And I love this because when she's out, I'm off duty... kinda.

Roo stays up later than that (sometimes really late) but she's on Daddy's watch at night because someone needs to stay in the bedroom and "watch" Turtle sleeping because she sleep in our bed and who knows if she'll just wake up and start crawling in the middle of the night.

It could happen!

So I take it upon myself to sit in the dark bedroom watching mindless television all while tweeting on my iPod or updating my Facebook status.

And most of the time, Roo will come running in and ask me to help her with something, come look at something or make her food.

I oblige her whenever she does this, but I tend to come right back and sit in my recliner and ignore the rest of the world.

And she tends to ask me to stay with her after her requests, but this Mommy is a bad Mommy and tells her no.

Because this time at night is really the only time that I get to be by myself.

This quiet time when Turtle is sleeping and Roo is with her Daddy is all I get.

I can sit here and do absolutely nothing if I want and I don't have to explain it to anyone.

Firsts

This weekend is a monumental first for this family.

A first I am so damn excited about that I want to jump and down (while holding my boobs because, come on, they've fed two babies) and go: Sqqqqquuuuueeeeeeeeeeee!

We're going on a vacation.

A mini weekend vacation, but a VACATION!

*sigh*

We've never done this.

Sure, we've traveled but we're going someone where it's only the four of us, no in-laws, no aunts or uncles, just us.

The four of us.

Plus some horses, swamp buggies, bulls, skeet shooters and hayrides.

Yes, I know, I have all of these here on the farm, but this is a farm isn't a farm, it's a ranch with room service.

The Westgate River Ranch Resort is in my sights and I'm saddled up and ready to go.

We've got a rodeo to attend, skeets to shoot, horses and swamp buggies to ride and hays to lounge in.

Come on Friday!

Toy Story -- Hawaiian Vacation



Toys Story never fails to amuse me, I am so glad that they are doing a short to go along with the new Cars 2 that is coming out this summer!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ops, I did it... again.

I have to tell you something, I have be rather forgetful.

I have to write things down constantly... and even then, I forget about 45% of the stuff I have to do.

Seriously, I have a calendar on my ipod, a desk calendar and ends amounts of To-Do lists that are littered around my house.

I even forgot my phone was in the pocket of my shorts and washed it.

It's that bad!

It drives my husband crazy that I am so forget.

Mainly because he can be forgetful as well and is always asking me to do things for him and when I drop the ball, he drops the ball and it's not pretty.

I'm in the need of something solid to help me organize my life but what?

Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Breastfeeding Ain't Always Easy

I have to be honest with you... Sometimes breastfeeding is really hard.

There are times when it seems like it's more of a pain.

Seriously, a pain.

Right now I'm struggling with Turtle and her joyful love of biting.

And hell, it hurts like a sonofabitch!

My goodness does it!

When you are dealing with a constant biter and the soreness the thought of giving up breastfeeding does cross your mind.

Then your heart breaks because you don't want to give up the breastfeeding relationship you share with your baby.

And then she bites you and you cry because it hurts physically and mentally.

I have always known that my nursing relationship with Thrtle was not going to be anything like the one I had with Roo. Turtle is not a sit for hours nurser. She gets on, gets off and goes about her business.

I have always had a sinking feeling that Turtle would give me up way before I was ready to give her up and now that she's over a year, I'm getting worried.

Especially now that she loves to bite me.

And she's not all that interested in nursing I'm fearful, sad and honestly, crushed.

So even though she's biting me, I am going to push through the pain. I'm going to grimace and put up with it because I can't give up on her. I can't deny her. I can't quit.

Because breastfeeding is worth it even though it can be difficult. All of the good blocks out the tiniest of bad.

Giveaway: Yoplait Prize Pack



Recently Roo has taken to not liking milk.

Every morning I try, but she has developed a love for water and nothing else.

So I've had to expand her menu to make sure she gets calcium elsewhere since she won't drink it.

One spot I find it, and she actually likes it: Yogurt!

More specifically Yoplait Kids Yogurt.

She eats it up like candy.

Seriously, if I'm not careful the girl will go to the fridge herself and pull some out!

Luckily she can't peel the tops off yet so I'm good there.

I like that she likes the Yoplait Kids Yogurt because it has calcium as well as Vitamin D. It gives me a small peace of mind that at least she's getting some calcium.

We were lucky enough to get a Yoplait Kids Yogurt Prize Pack which included a free coupon, a Scavenger Hunt game, a bouncy ball and a tote with spoons to put out yogurt in when we're on the go.

And you can be lucky too. I've got a prize pack to giveaway to a reader!

You'll receive the same items I mentioned above if you win.

All I want you to do is tell me how you get your kids to drink milk or if they don't, where do they get their calcium from?

Contest ends March 10, 2011.

Extra entries can be earned by tweeting about this contest (up to 2x a day!). Please leave me a comment for each tweet you do.




I received a Yoplait Kids prize pack from Yoplait through My Blog Sparks. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more info.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review: Dinosaur Train Make a Match

Oh, Dinosaur Train. You and your catchy tune and adorable characters, you are taking over my house!




But in a good way.




Roo has recently discovered board games and is now at an age that she has the patience (and skills) to master them.




While she's not a pro yet, she's well on her way.




The latest game to land in her lap is the Dinosaur Train Make a Match game from the world of The Jim Henson Company.




What is it, you ask?




From the press release: "In the Dinosaur Train Make A Match game, Buddy and his friends sharpen children’s memory skills in this special matching game that features a Buddy figure! To begin play, 48 game cards featuring favorite Dinosaurs from Dinosaur Train are shuffled and laid face down in 6 rows of 8 cards each. Players take turns turning over any two cards—so all players can see them—to find a matching pair. The game features “Take Buddy” cards, “Wild Cards” and “Lose a Pair” cards to add to the excitement. Players count their matching card sets at the end and add extra points for the player holding Buddy to determine who wins. The Dinosaur Train Make A Match Game is for 2 to 4 players, ages 3 to 6, and is available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide for just $9.99."




Roo adored this game and while she would rather hold the Buddy figurine than let anyone else, I'm cool with that.




You can watch Dinosaur Train on PBS KIDS (check local listings).


Also make sure you like the Jim Henson company on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for the latest Dinosaur Train news.






I received the Dinosaur Train Make a Match game for review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Admitting Fault

It's never been my thing to admit that I'm wrong.

I mean, seriously, who wants to admit to being an asshat?

Not I.

Especially when I was younger. I was cocky, bitchy, holer-than-thou, etc. etc...

Hey, at least I can admit it.

Now that I'm an old lady in my 30s, I can see when I'm wrong. Sometimes I can see it a mile away and can rein myself back before I get in trouble.

And while I do slip up sometimes, I find it easier to say, "I'm sorry."

As an elder now, I can see the good in apologizing.

I can see the wisdom in it.

And I feel good about it.

Of course, some people always will be asshats and douche bags and never hear me utter the words, "I'm sorry" just because they are asshats and douche bags and they deserve what comes to them.

But me, I'm cool.

And I'm sorry.