Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Things In My Store

I am so excited to add a few new things to my online store including a new little girl swarovski bracelet, cell phone/bookbag/luggage tags, and little girl earrings. Here is a link to the store and then I have put my photos here.

My Store

Swarovski bracelet:

Must Have Tags:


Coming soon will be a new line of beautiful and colorful swarovski pearl earrings and more jewelry for the "princess" section.

The Mommy Wars

Sometime back in 1992, I made the decision (along with my then-husband) to go back to work after giving birth to my first child. I was lucky enough to have an extended maternity leave of 4 months and had saved enough personal vacation to extend that another month. I was also lucky enough to have a supervisor who was very understanding of the transition I would have to make upon going back to work and was willing to work with me. I explained to her that always my child comes first and we worked together on those issues that would inevitably come up not just now but in the future. I promised myself I would never push my baby on anyone if he was sick or needed me and I would never let work get in the way of an important function that involved him or any future kids.

What I didn't realize at the time was that whether or not I liked it I was going to be thrown into the "Mommy Wars." I was totally clueless of the term and the internet wasn't around for me to figure it out. But the judgements and questions certainly were there. Many women who I knew or were acquaintances of actually challenged me on my decision. I heard a lot of "why would you have a child if you were going to pawn it off on a day care worker?" I took offense to those questions. Those women don't know me, they don't know my family situation, they didn't know my level of love and committment, they didn't understand my relationship with my son, my husband and God.

Back then (and still today) I am a lover not a fighter. Certainly I have opinions but I don't presume that my opinions are the right's just the right way for ME. I couldn't understand why there was (and still is) such a thing as mommy wars. Why not be supportive of each other and build each other up? That's my thinking anyway. Thank goodness we live in the greatest country in the world where we CAN make that choice freely and openly. We can work outside the home or work inside the home. Either way, it's work. Hard work.

The Mommy Wars never got easier as I had more kids. In fact, with the internet coming long, I read more about the wars. I read forums that pit working moms against stay at home moms and all the time I scratch my head. More judgments, more presumptions, more perceptions. I don't quite get it.

I read a lot of reports about kids in daycare. The statistics say that day care kids are more likely to grow up to be aggressive bullies. Day care kids are more sickly. I think to myself "but my kids all went to daycare and they are not bullies or aggressive and they go to the doctor only once a year for a checkup (knock on wood)." Maybe the stats are true. I don't know. But they aren't true for me and my family.

And then on Friday I see something I never thought would ever happen. A working mom on a Republican ticket. How very interesting! Whatever your thoughts of her are politically (I don't blog politics) I have to wonder if Governor Sarah Palin was ever asked why she decided to go back to work after her children were born.

It definitely makes me wonder.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

California Dreamin' - Day Three

Continuing with my California Dreamin vacation series.....

After our nice drive up the PCH and past Santa Barbara, we ended up at a resort on the oceans at Pismo Beach. It is a really nice beach area fairly close to the town of San Luis Obispo. The beach has a really nice boardwalk and pier type of area where we had a BBQ dinner. It's very touristy here so there are lots of ice cream stores, candy stores, and souvenier shops.

After dinner we walked toward the beach and found a candy store where they sell all kinds of chocolates and salt water taffy. Silly me thought salt water taffy was only popular on the East Coast. Anyway, this particular store also sold chocolate covered bugs. That's right...BUGS. We were fascinated and thought why not try some bugs. So the older boys and husband tried chocolate covered scorpions while I played it safe and went for the worms. Both were really no big deal. In fact it just tasted like crunchy chocolate.

We moved along and watched the sunset off the pier and it was quite beautiful but very COLD. I could not believe how cold it was for an August day.

After much needed rest, we woke up the next morning and enjoyed a nice leisurely morning at the hotel. We mapped out the day and husband suggested that we might want to venture over to the sand dunes. Curiously I said yes not really knowing what to expect. After a fairly short drive we drove down the highway and saw signs for the sand dunes. This venture took us on the beach where we literally drove on the beach (I thought that you could only do that in Daytona) and then to a trailer that sold dune buggy rides.

After a quick education and $250/hour, my older boys and husband decided to give it a try. Geared up in helmets and safety belts, the kind dune buggy guy strapped them in and they were on their way. While they were out dune-buggying, I stayed on the frigid beach with my two little munchkins trying to figure out a way to keep two little people entertained while surrounded by a mountain of sand and 40 degree beach water. We decided to sit in the sand and just play away until the older ones came back. They tell me that it was an awesome experience and that a few times on a few intimidating 40 ft sand dunes they actually were a bit afraid but said the entire experience was worth it.

After leaving Pismo Beach we enjoyed a scenic ride up the Central Coast of California. I enjoyed looking at the mountains since we don't get to see much of that kind of land in Florida. Our goal was to get to Monterey before dinner. We ended up making good time and had some time to kill so we ventured over to a nice park right near our hotel. Although I didn't take any photos while there, this little town is so quaint and cute. It was still quite cold and I still had my jacket on but we had a lot of fun at the park. We ended up retiring for the night pretty early because the agenda for the next day was going to be pretty full.

Next up: Monterey Aquarium, Pebble Beach, and the moment we all were waiting for....San Francisco!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is This My Daughter or Hannah Montana??

First Day of School - Bittersweet

First days of school are always bittersweet...for me, anyhow. It's yet another reminder that my dumplings are growing up. It's always a day of firsts. This week it was a major first for my princess - first day of kindergarten. I have been watching her excitement grow all year long awaiting this day. We bought her uniforms, new shoes, new belt, new bookbag, new supplies box, new lunchbox, new water bottle to go in said lunchbox. I made her a new pair of earrings.

We walked her in to make sure she got to where she needed to be. We briefly met with the teacher in the cafeteria. And then the teacher gathered them all in a line and walked them to their class. My princess waved to us the entire time she could see us. She was BEAMING!. And we were crying.

And then there were the older boys. One in high school, one in middle school. It's his last year of middle school.

Next year they will be going together. Maybe even driving themselves. I shudder to think that I have only 3 more years with my oldest before college. It's not that far away. Where did the years go?

When you first have kids, people tell you that the years will fly by. I know they do and I know they will. I try to make the most of each day but that doesn't stop time. You always want to hold them and kiss them like you did when they were firstborn.

So I do what I always do. Embrace the moment and let myself cry. Because this is life.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

California Dreamin' - Day Two

Day two of our California tour found us on a leisurely drive through L.A. and toward the beaches. I then had a brilliant idea that we should meander through the town of Calabasas. Why Calabasas you ask?

Perhaps it has something to do with this...

This is the store where they film the show "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" which is one of my favorite E! celeb reality shows. I felt like a paparazzi jumping out of my car to take photos of the storefront. In reality the town is so beautiful and shows more of the country side in the mountains in LA County.

After we left Calabasas we headed over to Malibu and the Pacific Coast Highway where we were hoping to run into some stars hanging out at the beach. I am pretty sure I saw Matthew McConaughey but upon second glace it ended up being an impersonator of this character...

I don't know how I mixed the two of them up...maybe it was just my imagination wanting to see Matthew and his beach tan.

So after not seeing so many stars we continue up the PCH for a leisurely drive toward Santa Barbara. The PCH is really nice but I was not too impressed with it in the L.A. area. It looked to me like any other highway with beach on the side and with my being from Florida it didn't look much different than the beach roads I have seen all my life.

We finally make it to Santa Barbara right in time for lunch and I am really impressed with how beautiful this beach area is. The weather is picture perfect. Air temperatures are mid-70s with low humidity. The wind made it feel a bit chillier and the water temps are much colder than what I am used to here in Florida. We find the Santa Barbara pier and it was amazing to me that you can drive your car on it. We did that and found a cute restaurant to eat lunch right on the pier. After lunch we walked up and down the pier. There were tons of sailboats in the water and was such a relaxing time. We made our way down to the beach and played in the water and sand and just soaked in the California air.

After we left Santa Barbara, we continued up the PCH to a beach called Pismo Beach where we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and evening on the boardwalk. We ended up at a little candy store on the waterfront that is known for fudge, salt water taffy, and chocolate covered bugs. Of course, we had to try some bugs so we tried worms and scorpions. I have to say that was interesting watching one of my kids chew up a scorpion but in reality they tasted like crunchy rice krispies dipped in chocolate. The night ended as we watched the sunset and then turned in to end another fun filled day on the California coast.

Stay tuned for Day Three where I will talk about our first ever dune buggy rides on the famous sand dunes at Pismo Beach and the most beautiful ride of our lives as we drive up the PCH through the mountains of Big Sur. I can see why it is called one of the nicest drives in the entire country.

Friday, August 15, 2008

First Day of School Anxiety

My precious princess is starting her first day of school this coming Monday and last night was the first night that I saw her cry about it. I asked her why she was crying and she said that she is going to miss all of her preschool friends when they all go to new schools. Even though I told her not to worry, that they will probably see each other at the preschool camp on occasion, I couldn't help but think of how we all experience this type of anxiety no matter how old we are.

I thought that all of the talking in the world with her probably won't rid her fears of the first day in a new school. After all, I am experiencing the same fears as I start a new job in a few weeks...and I am 42 years old!

I understand where she is coming from being a creature of habit myself. I like it when I know everyone and everyone knows me. I like knowing where the restrooms are. I like knowing all about my boss. I love having my same ole friends around who know all of my quirks and when to laugh at my jokes. I hate forgetting the new co-workers names because there are so many of them that I cannot keep track of them all. I hate trying to learn a new organizational chart.

I am finding a lot of similarities between me and my princess' feelings at this moment in time.

So I decided to try to help her much like I am helping myself just reminding her that it is ok to feel scared and nervous and anxious. Trying new things will always make you feel that way no matter what it is we do in life. But once you get past it your eyes will be opened to a new world filled with new people, new experiences, new friends, new tasks, new challenges and this newness will eventually become familiar once again.

It's hard to explain that to a 5 year old so I did the best job I could. And then I told her I would buy her a "lunchable" and a brownie to take to lunch on the first day. I think that is what did the trick.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

California Dreamin' - Day One

After a really nice 4 1/2 hour flight from the east coast to Long Beach, we made our way to our hotel for some much needed rest in the Los Angeles area in anticipation of our first full day at Six Flags Magic Mountain. We definitely had to move from east coast time to west coast time.

After a decent highway drive from the hotel to Magic Mountain, one thing I noticed was that it is DRY in California. The mountains are huge and beautiful but also very brown! Which probably explains why everywhere you go you see signs on conserving water. Also, in August, it is a fairly nice 80s temperature in the city but when you go to the valley where Six Flags is it gets into the upper 90s.

Six Flags was a really fun day as you can see from our picture on my new banner. I have never seen more roller coasters in my life than at this park.

If you want to see them more up close and personal go here.

In addition to the many coasters was a really awesome kids area. There were a ton of rides for the little ones including a real Thomas the Tank Engine Train! My little guy was in pure heaven.

Of course he wanted ALL of us to squeeze on this train which we did lovingly for him.

My prince and princess enjoyed the many other kids rides like the tank engine roller coaster, Tweety's bird cage ride, the spinning tea cups, the carousel, and a pounce and bounce ride. The little ones were having so much fun there that we decided to hang around for a while with them and let the big boys loose to run around on all of the roller coasters.

However, the best ride of all in kiddie land was not really a ride. It was a playground called The Looney Tune Lodge. This was a huge fun zone filled with slides and thousands of foam balls to throw all around and put in these big cannon-like devices so they can be catapulted all over. It was loads of fun and a great place for kid energy.

Overall, I would rate the experience a huge success. After all, how many theme parks can you go to and get a plate of sushi? Not many.

Day One finished with a very hot, sweaty, and tired group of people as we headed back to the hotel for a nice bath and good night sleep.

Stay Tuned for Day Two where you will hear about my paparazzi moment, our drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, and how I swear I saw Matthew McConaughey.

Back From Vacation

We are finally back from a very long and fun-filled vacation that took us all the way across the country to the great state of California. Our plane just landed at 5:30 this morning and boy am I tired. I have to choose between the 10 loads of laundry that await me or sleep off some of this jet lag.

There will be weeks of blogging to come on the trip with lots of pictures! Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why Do They Call This Yoga?

I went to my first yoga class this morning. I think they need to rename this to "Body Pretzel Twisting" which is how I felt before, during, and after. The instructor says "just put your right leg over here, your left leg over there and twist your arms back there" and I am thinking "how exactly are the human bones supposed to twist in this manner" until I look around and see other women doing it. Ugh, I think, I have given birth to 4 children through my hoo-ha so surely I can get into this plank position. Well that was the easy part. Staying there and balancing on one foot with both arms over my head for 20 minutes was the challenge.

In the end I got through it and I want to continue...not because I am a masochist (well I am sort of) but because I want to be able to master getting both of my legs behind my head. I just love a challenge.
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