A Nighttime Story

A Nighttime

Almost every night before bed, our children ask me or dad to read them a story. It’s a nighttime tradition I cherish. Especially as a graduated English and Literature major, literature–whether children’s, adult, fiction or non–is near and dear to my heart.

When my first was born in 2012, I read to her constantly. I took it upon myself to adopt the idea of speaking to my babies as adults (thanks Meet the Fockers–see video clip here) and carried it over into literature as well. I read her Lewis Carroll’s version of Alice in Wonderland the most and several other well-known classics.

As I began to look into children’s literature, I found there are so many children’s books that are also rich, moving and contain meaning. I started to fall in love with children’s literature and become intrigued with weaving meaning and lessons in with lively, realistic or completely unrealistic, imaginative children’s stories. The Pirate Train

Last night I read our children a new book, The Pirate Train by Nicole Plyler Fisk. It’s captivating, it’s fun and it’s a great, imaginative story about family. It contains planes, trains and pirate ships, because like the author mentions in her dedication to her son, “Why not?” My three-year-old laughed along with the story and my one-year-old pointed at all his favorite illustrations as we read through the book. It’s easily becoming a favorite.

To top it off, there’s a read-along online, too, for when mom needs a few minutes to herself and the kids INSIST on reading!

Do you have a nighttime story ritual, or do you read to your children often? If so, what’s a book you would recommend?

The Pirate Train banner

Disclosure: HE partnered with The Pirate Train to bring you this awesome post because I only recommend products or services I believe will be awesome for my readers as parents and that I consistently use or believe in, personally.

10 Things No One Tells You About Post-Baby Body

10 Things No One Tells You

For those women who were blessed with super pregnancy genetics or able to stay in shape and maintain their glorious pre-baby body, my hat’s off to you, and I also have some built up anger towards you stored in the back of my brain that I blame for my inability to lose more weight. It’s okay though. It forces me to compensate in other areas, like writing and making lists.

And with that, here are 10 things no one thinks to share with you about post-baby body.

1. Getting dressed and using the restroom while you’re dressed—with the underwear and the spanks and the bra that’s a full body suit—will now be, at least, a 10 minute ordeal. And by ordeal, I mean the definition of ordeal: a painful or horrific experience.

2. People may tell you that every time they sneeze they pee a little and you may laugh, but what they really mean by that is your bladder has gone from let’s say the capacity of a dam to the capacity of two swinging doors at your local saloon.

3. If you thought periods were rough before, you may beg to experience the pre-birth ones again. Periods are just so much more generous in your post-baby body, with the blood and the bloating and the hanger. Really, you shouldn’t have, Aunt Flo. It’s too much.

4. The shopping and the mirrors and the clothing sizes, oh my! *Insert hysterically laughing and crying emoticon here*

5. Your post-baby body will likely react to summer like it’s the plague. Before it was a relaxing, happy, sunny time; now, it’s a sweaty, overheated, kids all around making noise, smelly, disgusting, headache of a mess.

6. It’s a very real possibility that you may go from never, ever considering plastic surgery to Google searching “tummy tuck” on your computer.

7. Your body will surprise you with how long it can run on no sleep and caffeine.

8. If you didn’t have it before, you will acquire super sonic hearing that allows you to hear or awake to any noise a child makes within a one-mile radius.

9. You may never willingly put on shorts or a swim suit again.

10. Who needs tattoos? You have tiger stripes—more commonly referred to as stretch marks—and they’re just as artistic … and permanent.

This all may seem a bit disheartening, but if you have children, you know, really, it’s not. They’re worth every grey hair and sleepless night, but sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and laugh about the changes and transitions we as women and life-providing vessels must endure. Still, I would rather turn into one big stretch mark than think of my life without children. Plus, when you find the right person to raise children with, it becomes obvious having a Victoria’s-Secret-model body is not what life’s all about.

Our physicality is never permanent, and it should never define us. Our influence, our character, and our family are what is truly important. Regardless of the size of your mom jeans, you’re still you, you’re still beautiful, and you can still enjoy a laugh on behalf of all mom bodies out there. Who knows? Maybe the ‘mom bod’ will become the new ‘dad bod’ trend sometime in the near future.

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15 Completely Illogical Reasons Mom Wants Another Baby

 

15 Illogical Reasons Mom Wants Another Baby

Photo courtesy of Tabitha Odle, Alathea Photography

There’s no denying that there’s a longing–no matter how illogical or fleeting–each time a chapter in life comes to an end. Especially when it’s time to decide whether you want to continue having kids or be done.

It’s during that decision making process, or even after you think you’ve made the decision, that you begin to notice the little, ridiculous things that make pregnancy and having a new baby seem suddenly and unrealistically awesome again.

Here are 15 reasons that make mom-ing seem wonderful all over again.

1. There are so many toys and an entire playroom that need a few more years of use–otherwise, your either hoarding kids’ toys or giving them away, and that seems like a waste of an entire room full of toys.

2. That one time one of them actually did something sweet that brought tears to your eyes.

3. There’s an outfit at Target you want your kids to wear, but they’re all too big now.

4. You’ll do everything perfectly this pregnancy–yoga, classical music, clean eating, the works.

5. You secretly look forward to the hospital stay after giving birth.

6. All of your babies have hit the stage where they’ll no longer cuddle.

7. Because you want at least one pregnancy where the gender remains a surprise.

8. For 9 more months, the eternal baby bump you have will actually be because there’s a baby in there.

9. There are endless amounts of awesome announcement and reveal video/photo/post ideas bouncing around in your head.

10. Being required to meet with an OBGYN 20+ times throughout your pregnancy will also double as a checkup anytime your hypochondria kicks in.

11. There are so many names you still want to use.

12. The firsts never get old, and there’s only one way to get more.

13. There’s a higher chance at least one of them will take care of you when you’re old.

14. There are plenty of nursery themes you have yet to execute.

15. So you can take advantage of all the new developments and items you wished you’d had when your other children were babies.

 

21 Reasons Summer is a Parent’s Frenemy

 

Summertime

As a general person before kids, summer was the season to look forward to all year long. It was a time to relax, get a tan, be outside, enjoy friends, travel, read a book … until you become a parent–enter clunky toy to the head, exit summer-before-kids daydream.

Yes, it’s mostly enjoyable to spend more time with the kids. The family time and summer activities are a great change of pace, but there’s no denying that the second we become parents summer goes from being our BFF to being our frenemy.

Here are 21 reasons summer is now the season parents love to hate.

1. Someone we know will graduate and make us feel old. Bonus points if it’s one of our own.

2. The kids are home all day. Every. Single. Day.

3. Bathing suits are no longer our friends.

4. It’s too hot.

5. And sweating all the time sucks.

6. Sunscreen is slimy, smells weird and has to be slathered all over ourselves and the kids every time we step foot outside.

7. At home, the air conditioning only cools some rooms–either the kids’ rooms are way too cold and the parents sweat all night or the parents’ room has to be kept bone-chillingly cold to keep the kids comfortable. Main gathering areas are always hot.

8. Fans just push around hot air.

9. Family vacation.

10. Large bodies of water are the highest item on our worst-case-scenario list; they’re also the highest item on our kids’ to-do list.

11. It wouldn’t be summer without at least one sunburn … with peeling skin.

12. Unless it’s raining, there’s no justification for not wanting to go outside.

13. The only good time to workout is way too early in the morning or way too late at night.

14. All the good t.v. shows are off the air until Fall.

15. The Oscar-worthy movies don’t come out until December.

16. Your home has replaced the school as the place everyone’s kids hangout all day.

17. Ergo, you have to go grocery shopping daily.

18. There’s no point in doing anyone’s hair, because humidity.

19. Aside from the 4th of July, back-to-school time is the closest thing to a holiday.

20. If you dare take advantage of being able to have an outdoor event, it will rain.

21. The amount of people at any kid-friendly attraction (zoo, amusement park, museum, playground, swimming pool) is absolutely unreal. And borderline not worth it.

10 sentences that perfectly describe being a stay-at-home parent

Stay at Home Parents

Photo courtesy of Flickr’s drinks machine.

1. You almost literally spend your entire day picking up, cleaning and washing clothes, but at the end of the day, for the life of you, you cannot explain how your house looks the exact same as it did that morning.

2. Someone comes to the door unannounced and you can guarantee they assume you’re a lazy so-and-so who’s spending the day on the couch and hasn’t washed anyone or cleaned anything in weeks.

3. That stain … everywhere.

4. What’s that smell?

5. You’ve almost completed a task uninterrupted, you realize it seconds before finishing, panic and quickly locate each child.

6. Is it nap time yet?

7. You see there are truly similarities between parenting and partying: cleaning up children’s–or grown children’s–vomit, being so tired–or recreational–that colors make sound, staying up until 1am every night and knowing half of the people around you only like you for your boobs.

8. People ask you to hang out when they’re off work and you’ve stopped feeling bad when you say ‘no,’ because, well, you’re never really off work.

9.You can honestly say you’ve held deep, intellectual conversations about poop.

10. Is it bedtime yet?

 

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5 STL Mother’s Day Ideas

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1. The Ritz-Carlton offers a Mother’s Day Weekend Saturday Tea
At Saturday Tea, May 9, the Ritz-Carlton Chefs offer an event to honor mothers. With a decadent menu of mini-sandwiches, scones, sweet treats and a plethora of brewed teas, Mother’s Day Saturday Tea is relaxing, classy idea for a STL Mother’s Day gift.
The cost for this event is $49, or $39 for a cream tea experience (includes tea and scones only). Reservations are required and can be made by contacting 314.863.6300,–extension 433. To find out what other Mothers’ Day events are available, visit the Ritz-Carlton site.

2. Brunch at the Missouri History Museum’s Bixby’s

Bixby’s brunch will include locally-sourced ingredients for some of the gourmet favorites on the menu. There are three brunch opportunities on May 10–10am, 12pm and 2pm.
The cost for this event is $34.75–children are $16. Reservations can be made by contacting 314.361.7313, and more information can be found here.

3. Laumeier Sculpture Park Art Fair

From May 8–10, Laumeier Sculpture Park will host its annual art fair, offering moms and families several artists to check out along with activities and events everyone can enjoy. A Mother’s Day brunch presented by Whole Foods will also be held during the art fair on May 10 at 10:15am and 11:45am. Other special activities include Art of the Vine and Art of the Ale.
The cost for the art fair is $10–children ages 6–11 are $5. For more information or to find out more about the events and activities, visit Laumeier Sculpture Park’s site.

4. Get Crafty with CBS St. Louis’ Homemade Mothers’ Day Gift Ideas

Sometimes the best gifts aren’t bought, they’re made. Here are some simple, fun and crafty ideas for the little ones to contribute and create something special for mom. Check out CBS St. Louis’ Homemade Mother’s Gift guide.

5. Take a Photo or Make a Video for Mom around STL or right at Home

If getting crafty isn’t your–or your kids’–thing, why not use all the wonderful modern technology and city around us to your advantage? Take photos throughout the city or make an awesome video to show how much you care. There are even contests online that can honor and give mom some well-deserved recognition! A contest I recommend right now is one that shows appreciation for federal-employee mothers. This year, Harris Federal is hosting a “My Mom is a Federal Hero” Video Contest for Mother’s Day, where children can make a short clip explaining what their mom does at work and why she’s a “federal hero.” The winner receives a free Amazon Mom membership and a $1,000 Amazon gift card; two runner-ups also win $100 Amazon gift cards–both awesome Mother’s Day gifts!
For more information or to enter the “My Mom is a Federal Hero” Video Contest, click here. Deadline for this contest is Friday, April 24. Voting begins April 24 and runs through May 4. The winner will be announced on May 6.

 

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To the new mom who was bullied by “the girls” for posting photos of her baby…

…this one’s for you.

I am in no way going to pretend like some Facebook posts don’t annoy me. We all have those eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-our-head people posters on our friend list. Guess what? You can unfollow them, save your eye rolls and continue scrolling your timeline in peace. There’s no excuse for lashing out or bullying others for posting what they want on their own personal accounts.

No one deserves to be bullied, especially as a new mother. We have enough on our plates with lack of sleep, tears, hormones, diapers, spit-up and anything else life throws our way. For Jade Ruthven, new mom to 6-month-old Addison, “the girls” decided to throw a nasty letter her way to let her know how much her new babe was inconveniencing their lives:

Letter

A letter from “the girls” to Jade.

I’d like to respond to that letter. Not because Jade hasn’t done a wonderful job of confronting it head on–considering it’s gone viral–but because I’d also like to let “the girls” know that they’re “pissing a lot of people off.” So here it goes…

Dear “the girls,”

So glad you were able to take time away from your kids to let Jade know you are “SO OVER” the running commentary of her life on Facebook.

From your letter, I couldn’t tell if you were aware of what Facebook is, so let me share. Facebook is a running commentary of people’s lives. If you’re SO OVER that, you probably shouldn’t participate in Facebook.

I’m unsure if any of “the girls” work, but maybe you can all find other things to do with your time besides scroll through Facebook if it annoys you that much.

It’s awesome that your kids are great too. A great place to share that is on Facebook.

If you’re uninterested in what Jade and Addy (or anyone for that matter) are up to, there are a couple quick and simple options you may be unaware of available on Facebook. If there are posts, photos or updates from a “friend” that you don’t like or agree with, you have the option to click the unfollow button. This means you will no longer see any of their updates unless you seek them out yourself. If you no longer want to be Facebook friends with someone, you can also unfriend them. Along with no longer seeing their updates, this also means you are generally unable to seek them out as well.

As long as a person’s posts and photos remain within Facebook’s guidelines–which can be found here–”the girls” do not have the authority to control what others do or do not post on their personal accounts.

I’m writing this to let you know what people really think.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear how you feel about “the girls” letter to Jade.