Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happiness Helpers

Well, as it happens, strep throat (see last post) has also helped me eliminate a very bad habit of mine: shouting at my kids. I can barely raise my voice right now, so there's been no shouting on my part for two whole days. Today will make three. Last night at bedtime I talked with my girls about that difference. They really like it.

This morning, after an episode where I would have shouted if I could, I suddenly came up with the idea of Happiness Helpers, and I enlisted my firstborn immediately. I told her that I really wanted this house to be happier with no shouting and less arguing and many more hugs, more love and more respect. So, I asked if she would like to help me make that change. She agreed to be my partner and I gave her the job of "Happiness Helper". We'll make an official badge this afternoon and lay out her role, which is that of "role model". I explained that it meant that she would be in charge of demonstrating (she surprised me by knowing what this word means) the behaviors we want to see more of: good listening, respect, and care. She happily agreed and we hugged to seal the deal.

I'm excited about this opportunity. I am grateful, as strange as it may seem, for all of the opportunities for change that have come from one bout of strep throat. Look around you and see all the doors that open from one seemingly negative experience. I'm going to be an agent of change, making partners of my children, from this day forward. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

PS: The book link is one I own, which is a tremendous resource. After reading it once for college and once more a couple of years ago, I'm finally ready to utilize it. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And the Universe answered... with Strep Throat!

Whatever you want to call it, God, the Universe, a higher power... it's who or what we pray to, or send out our silent wishes to when we're in need. A few days ago I was thinking to myself how I needed to detox a bit from too much coffee and too much wine. And get more sleep! I certainly need more sleep on a regular basis. How to accomplish this when I need more sleep for less coffee and we're busy tasting wine to set our inventory for our new retail store (not complaining!!).

So, the Universe granted my wish in an unusual way: Strep throat. My kids aren't sick, though a couple of them have runny noses, but yesterday I woke up unable to swallow without severe pain. I felt achy all over, freezing cold, and my throat... I couldn't even consider drinking coffee because it hurt so badly to swallow. Thank goodness the girls had school, and my darling husband was here to take them, so I could stay home and rest. Like it or not, the little guy went down for a nap at 10am and so did I. He didn't sleep, but I did. And then again after lunch and then bed at 9:30. I was asleep before my daughters (they were being naughty. I put them to bed at 8pm). I only had soup, juice and water all day!

I think I woke up every time I swallowed last night and am pretty sure my fever broke as I woke up in a pool of sweat (I never sweat). So, I called the doctor first thing and the doctor said, "Strep!" I haven't had this since I was a kid, but it certainly has managed to allow me to detox, get more sleep and drop a couple of pounds at the same time.

When you call, the Universe answers. Not always in expected or welcome ways, but it certainly does get the job done.

My 4-year-old daughter's drawing of Mommy sleeping on the couch. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The sting of rejection

Ouch. I've heard of it, read about it, but never experienced it. Until today. My baby boy wanted nothing to do with Mommy once Papa was around. When Papa left the room, the boy screamed. He swatted my hand away when I tried to comfort him. Enter big sis. She laid a gentle hand on his back and stroked him saying, "It's ok. You want Papa? He'll be right back." He quieted down immediately and let her just stroke his hair and back until Papa returned. It was one of the most beautiful parenting moments I've experienced so far. And also, a little sad. I've never been rejected by my little ones before.

Papa takes the girls to school now that he's working at home. For some odd reason he always gets a shower and I rarely do! The girls start school 30 minutes apart so he takes one at a time and returns between as we live just 2 minutes by car from the school. The little guy screamed and cried when Papa walked out the door with the first to go to school and waved goodbye vigorously out the window. The same big sis was there to comfort him.

Now, big sis gets her shoes on to go to school when Papa returns and the little guy gets out his coat and starts trying to put it on. He's not yet 19 months old. Big sis proceeds to teach her little bro how to put on a jacket. He is ready to go. So, we agree that he'll accompany Papa to take big sis to school. Papa can't understand my mixed emotions. The little guy won't even give me a kiss goodbye. Just swats me away again. Big sis gives me a comforting, loving hug. She understands. She is beautifully empathetic.

I am thrilled to see the relationship between my husband and son. I feel no envy, only love and warmth. Still, the rejection stings. It is bittersweet. And a new experience for me. Yet, I embrace each moment of motherhood - good, bad, happy, sad. And all of those that fall in between.

Sibling love

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monkeying Around - a costume review

I had the exciting opportunity to do a review of a costume for the online costume company Costume Supercenter. In return for an honest review of their product, I was given my choice of costumes from their website. Who needs a holiday to play dress-up! I love encouraging imaginative play in my children and right away asked my 4-year-old daughter what costume she and her big sister might be able to share. Somehow I never lose my optimism!!! She wanted a butterfly costume, her sister yet another Ariel costume. I must admit one of the several choices of Ariel on the website was very different and lovely, but we already have two of those!

So, on second thought, to the disappointment of the girls, I decided to get the boy's first costume! I never dress up babies for Halloween, but this year the little guy will be two years old and will make the absolute perfect... Monkey! You can see the website's picture of the costume here and you can see my guy in the costume here:

Sorry the picture isn't very clear, but this little monkey NEVER stops moving! The pictures are taken from my phone, as this monkey dropped my camera in the cat's water dish recently.

The costume is a size 2T and my little guy is just 19months, so it is a bit long on him, but it should fit perfectly by October. Plus, I love when there is room to grow so to extend the life of a costume. And this one is going to get plenty of use. Check out the next picture:

The 4-year-old actually fits in the costume perfectly! My kids tend to run a little on the smaller size, though.

And, of course, my little actress had to get in on the event! 
She's 5 and managed to fit, though it was snug and short on her:

This monkey costume comes with feet, big enough to fit over shoes, and the head is separate from the body, which makes it more comfortable, in my opinion. The material polyester and dry clean only, which is my only complaint. I never take anything to the dry cleaner if I can help it. But those brand name dryer dry cleaning cloths work well enough most of the time. As I was checking the links you'll find below, I noticed this cosutme is currently out of stock, but I'm betting there will be more by the time the costume season rolls around.

You can check out other toddler costumes here, and other animal costumes here. And besides those they have a full range of costumes from infant to adult. I found the selection to be excellent and the prices were great too! Another thing I think most moms will appreciate is that they offer free size and product exchanges, including shipping, and the directions to do so come along with the costume. So, you buy a costume, you and your little one decide it isn't the right one, and the company exchanges it free of charge! I love this!

I am very pleased with the costume, the customer service and so are my kids!
You can find Costume Discounters on Facebook, Twitter and again, at these links: – toddler costumes – animal costumes – Monkey Toddler Costume

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Passon praise and Spring break

I really appreciate all of the many wonderful comments about my last post. You'll be happy to know that in celebration of reaching 300 followers, which will happen within the next week, I'm guessing, I'm going do a giveaway in conjunction with the Passion Test facilitator mentioned in my previous post! Check back for details in the coming days!

Ahh, the last day of spring break! It's been fun and interesting having the girls home every day all day this week. Last Friday I decided that I was also going to take the week off. Off from most wine work, off from the blog and off from any other tasks that required focused attention. Instead, I gave myself to my kids.

Finally, I see in them a passion for reading! All it takes is one good book, I guess. My 5-year-old is crazy over 'My Secret Unicorn' by Linda Chapman. She actually chose reading over a video! Hooray! And I got to read too!! I ran right out and bought 'Land of the Painted Caves', the final book in the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel. I thought it would take me longer, but found myself reading every spare moment and then some! I came down with a timely cold which allowed my hubby to feel bad for me and let me lay around last weekend which gave me a good head start on the book and I finished it today! I have mixed feelings about it, so if any of you are big fans and want to do a book club chat of some sort, let me know!

Thanks for all of your support and continued following as I write posts that are few and far between!