Jan 26, 2012

I remember the absolute thrill of attending my first concert- The Beach Boys- at the Champlain Valley Fair circa summer 19...um... coughletsjustsayitwasalongtimeago'causeI'moldcough. It POURED down rain, and our seats (2nd row, baby!) were not under cover. But faithfully we stood, my dad and I, so that I could see John 'Uncle Jesse' Stamos guest star on the drums. I've been particularly reminiscent of this in the past few days because we were able to get tickets to take Viv to see her very first concert (unless you count seeing James Taylor in-utero). We're taking her to see the Fresh Beat Band! She doesn't quite understand how, exactly we'll be seeing some of her favorite TV Characters in person, but she's excited none the less, and we are thrilled to be taking her. Of all the characters in today's line-up of children's programming, I have to say that the characters from the FBB are some of the less annoying of the bunch. Even IF 'new' Mirena is fooling no one, and Twist is freakishly tall to the point of distraction ;-)

Which brings me to the real point of this post... with quite the long and slightly roundabout intro... children's TV characters! Unless you don't own a television, you have to have been subjected to them at some point, even if just in passing. If you're a parent or caregiver, you likely find yourself singing various theme songs at any given time of the day or night like my husband and I find ourselves doing. There is a lot of children's programming out there that is witty, educational and that you don't mind your child insisting upon watching 127896239472 times.

And then there are others.

Here is my list of the top most annoying children's characters:

Um... what-the-dealie with the little bald Canuck?
Look, I like Canada, really. I mean, I practically LIVE in Canada, but c'mon! I know I am not alone in thinking it was kind of unfair of them to unleash such unapologetic whining upon the rest of the unsuspecting world. It's a conspiracy I tell you! It's revenge for Americans pointing out that 'Canadian Bacon' is really just ham!

I'm not sure I could begin to touch upon all the things that are off about this show, the least of which is a backpack that needs it's own episode of 'My Strange Addiction.' Oh, and BTW, are you the map? I wasn't sure the first 5 times you said it.
As for Dora herself, holy yelling everything you say, Batman! Not just yelling everything, yelling everything *three times!* I understand the purpose, and I'm glad she's good at following directions, but sheesh!. Maybe if we all promise to religiously clean the wax out of our ears she'll take.it.down.a.notch.
Do you think Dora is annoying as ****? ...........Buena!
Barney [Bahr-nee] Noun, Plural-neys, Definition(s):
1. Big
2. Purple
3. Douchey
Sweet sassy molassy, he certainly serves as a fantastic reminder of why dinosaurs are best left extinct!
Plus, I think he's a drunk.

Yo Gabba Gabba:
I guess this show doesn't actually classify as annoying (at least for me, in the grander scheme of things). I love the guest stars and bands! However, it undeniably classifies as 'WTF?!'
One word: Muno.
That really should take no explanation, lol. Even if you've never heard of the show but were witness to the Superbowl commercial for Kia. You were likely one of millions who were left wondering why they had a giant studded dildo with a face parading around as a children's toy. 'Nuff said, eh?
Um... DJ Lance's.. lets discuss this unitard situation. Unitards in general, really, I discriminate against all unitards alike. I feel like homeboy could be just as effective in a nice pair of pressed khakis and a polo.
An open letter to Ruby,
You are not the boss of Max. Just sayin', bossy britches!
PS you are never going to get your 'Good Listener' Bunny Scout Badge. Ever.

Cat in the Ha
I know, I know, what issue could I possibly have with such a wonderful, classic character? Don't get me wrong, we love Dr. Seuss! Viv even had a Seuss-themed party last year! It's not the original story, or even original movie (the 1960's cartoon that is) I find to be obnoxious, but more of the PBS science field trip version.
First of all, could he BE more of a creeper? In each show he tempts Nick and Sally with some sort of cool field trip and then tells them in.every.episode. "your mother won't mind at ALL if you do!" Um, hey A-hole! On behalf of mothers everywhere, we DO mind! Stranger danger anyone?

If you're looking for some less nerve-grating options, here are a few that are Vivi, Mommy and Daddy approved:

The Bearenstain Bears (they have always been a classic)
Olivia (That is one sassy little pig!)
The Fresh Beat Band
Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends
Magic School Bus (really, this show rocks)
The Backyardigans
Angelina Ballerina
Thomas and Friends
The Wonder Pets (although I know most of the world will disagree with this)

So, what children's shows do you love/hate?

Image Credits
nickjr.com, pbskids.kids.us, disneyclips.com

Jan 24, 2012

It's my sanctuary and I'm claiming it!

Pre-wedded bliss:
My bedroom is my sanctuary. As I arrive home on any given night my bed is neatly made and is screaming my name. I can get into comfy pjs, a new pair of socks and be completely enveloped in this cozi-haven. I snuggle into the middle...it is my sweet slumber

Wedded Bliss/Pre-babies:
Our bedroom is our sexy sanctuary. Two nightstands, two sides (albeit I don't get the middle anymore but love means compromise, right?) a love nest where we can come together at the end of our long work days and eat ice cream, watch a movie, or practice making babies.

Then practice became perfection (which as most know doesn't take as long in the sport of baby making) and the real babies arrived:
My sanctuary has now become the family bed. While our children do not sleep with us somehow, someway our room has become a catch all for every.person. in our family. Laundry, mail, spit up, diapers (yes, even the dirty ones) and all things child related have wound up in my once known as-sanctuary.

Present day-January 2012, 3.5 yrs of marriage, 1-2yr old and a 6 month old later:
When did this happen? How did this happen? (answer: all of the above) but seriously why can't the children have their space and I get my own? I mean they get the whole damn house. I, at one point, thought that I could have a house and have kids without people walking in and knowing kids live here (in hindsight I don't know if I even like this perspective...ponder this...back to reality). As a mom, I have voluntarily given up all the obvious things that non-moms know about i.e. sleep, body, modesty, eating privately in restaurants without people scowling at me with judgment; but then there is the list of things I didn't know about i.e. the ability to drink a glass of water without fingers in it, the privacy of going to the bathroom or taking a shower by myself, losing my hair *literally* due to hormones, and then my favorite my personal freedom of choosing my own scented fragramce and accessories (because for those of you who aren't aware, for the first 2 years you smell and look like baby vomit and breastmilk/formula, and if you are lucky) And you know truth be told I wouldn't trade any of it and on most days I don't complain about it. I can proudly where a vomit-scarf to work *uknowingly* (but really because I didnt realize it until I was walking into my office) But seriously, my bedroom?? Why that? I'm not fancy. I don't need spas or expensive lounges to relax I just want my nicely decorated and clean room with the comforter I purchased and the matching his/her sidetables to curl up into so that after I have fought hours of bedtime wars and cleaned a messy house and pumped my breasts for the 8th time, and worked all day... I can crawl into a made bed without having to clear it of your crap. And *your* refers to you darling baby # 1, adorable baby # 2 and you my loving husbandperson. All of you ARE guilty!

I don't want your mail, I don't want your stickers, take your empty bottles, and your dirty socks. Throw pillows are not dinosaurs and those fake flowers belong in my perfectly placed vase and NOT IN THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL! I'm drawing a line in the sand. This mom is re-claiming her right to her room! Get on board and get the picture or get LOCKED OUT! and yes, this applies to said husbandperson as well. If you would like to join the ranks of the grown ups then please remove your crap from where we lie, if not I have the address of a comfy couch I can refer you too! **Smooches**

Jan 19, 2012

If you're anything like me, then you understand the never-ending battle between knowing that you need and want to do certain things for yourself, and the knowledge that doing anything for *you* will likely take away from your already precious little time with your kiddos.

Looking back on life before my sweet Vivi came into the world, I would leave work and meet my friends at the gym to workout or walk everyday. I love the natural high that a good workout brings, and found that when constantly active I was physically, mentally and spiritually at my healthiest.

I need that.

Yes, need.

But when my daughter was born, I didn't want to compromise any of my time with her; The hours between the end of work and bedtime are so few and fleeting! So for me, when faced with the decision to do something for me or to spend time with my daughter my mind races with the anxiety that she's only this age this one time! And the conflicting but you need to be healthy for her!

Don't misunderstand me, I think 'me' time is important for everyone and am not saying anyone should feel guilty for taking it. What I am saying is that it's not always that easy, and that isn't often acknowledged. After all, moms today are supposed to be able to do it all, right? < --- (lolz!)

Earlier last year I decided that something needed to change. I needed my old healthy lifestyle back, without taking away from time with my daughter.

The problem was, we live in the Arctic Tundra. Okay, okay, so not that far North, but believe me, Vermont sometimes feels like it! The ground is covered in ice and snow for like, 9 months out of the year, so the reality of running, biking, walking or really anything outside is just not feasible the majority of the time. We do have a gym, but holy heck is it expensive for a family pass; and any parent/child classes are always scheduled during the 9-5 workday (don't get be started on this, I'll save that for a whole other blog post).

So I decided to improvise! I dug out my balance ball and started from there. I researched home workouts and Pilates and turned my living room into LO's Gym every evening. Viv thought this was a riot! I quickly found that she was mimicking my motions and trying to exercise right along with me. As you can see from the pic I was able to snap of her (please do excuse the quality, it was dark and she was moving) showing daddy how "mommy does exercise," she thinks it's hiii-larious. She loves exercising right along side me (and daddy when he joins us!) Gradually I've started adding to my "gym" with small weights, resistance bands, and the pièce de résistance- an elliptical bike!

What has proven to be an epic win on the mommy-front is setting everything up in another room along with her easel and paints [Bonus: a yoga mat makes for a great washable drop-cloth!] I've made a circuit training cycle of 1. Bike a mile 2. Ab reps 3. Change easel paper 4. Leg reps, repeat! Who needs a fancy expensive gym? Besides, Viv doesn't mind my singing along loudly to 'Moves Like Jagger.' Well... at least not too much ;-)
(Again, please do excuse the quality, it was dark and I was biking)

So whether you're a parent or just plain busy but want to stay active, here are a few ideas for non-gym workouts:
  • Put on some tunes and have a mommy-kiddo dance party! Come on, you know you've been secretly saving that cheesy playlist for something! Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about... you know, the one with O-Town and Debbie Gibson on it. Vivi loves this! She gets to dance and get her wiggles out, and I get to spend time with her (albeit making a fool out of myself) and get a good workout!
  • Old-School Play: If you have enough space indoors, jump rope and hula-hoop it up! Who doesn't love to hula hoop? They even make specialty hoops designed for exercise!
  • During the warm months (as few as there may be) there are the obvious hiking, biking, swimming, running, etc etc. Also, try going to the playground! Only don't sit on the bench and watch, run around, climb, slide and swing with your kiddo.
  • If you have OnDemand (or just the internet), there are a lot of family-geared workouts that are short enough to hold your kiddo's attention, but long enough to actually be a good enough workout for you. My daughter enjoyed the 'Family Walk' segment the best, as she got to pretend to be in a marching band the whole time.
  • Make it a game: I don't have the FitDeck Junior, but after learning about it, I must have it! It's essentially a deck of cards with illustrations describing upper, middle, lower, and full body exercises. Each exercise has a kid-friendly name like funny names like the Inchworm and Flamingo. I think I would like to create my own version that also incorporates dance moves that we love.

So there we have it! And they've really worked! I feel great and Viv is having fun- what more could I ask for?

I would love to know what other people do to involve kids in your workout!

Jan 8, 2012

Are we bad parents?

So fittingly, last night after *literally* hours of bedtime wars with both my toddler and my almost 6-month old, we were finally lying down in quiet and my husband asks "are we bad parents?" :::silence::: The negative connotation of this kind of flips me, he didn't ask are we good parents, no the opposite, now I have to really think about this. My response to him at the moment was, "I don't know. I hope not, but I guess it's too early to tell." In my head I thought a zillion awful thoughts and scenarios such as "oh, geez this could scar someone for life. Me? Them? I don't want to be a *bad* parent what if I suck at this? What if I am permanently and utterly screwed up? What if my girls..? How do I? What can I? What if...uh, wait a second, now here's a conversation to kick start that blog of ours!"
Consider it my intro. I have two beautiful daughters almost three and almost 6 six months and a loving husband but our life is chaos, complete and absolute chaos. We have our ups and downs, struggles from all directions, a minimal sometimes seemingly non-existent bank account, two full time jobs, an endless number of appointments and meetings, my mother lives with us (we'll refer to it as a full-time, temp position) and a yellow lab; all in a two bedroom duplex and a stamina that is run entirely on caffeine, I should take stock in Starbucks and GMC [note to self for later]. Anywho, this is my life and it's a fantastic one. We constantly remind ourselves how lucky we are and that at 26 and 28 years of age we aren't supposed to have it easy. If we really want to get somewhere in life we have to trek through the rough stuff up a mountain to get to see and, more importantly appreciate, the view from the top. In a very quick nutshell, that's me, Kiki.
But back to the issue at hand, good parents or... bad? It's a daunting topic, no decent human being wants to be a bad parent but it's completely illogical to think at times that you are doing all the "right stuff" (yes, feel free to entertain NKOTB for a moment) back to the matter- parenting in 2012 is not what it was in 2002, 1992, 1985, or 1960 with one exception, parenting is not for the weak and any single person blessed enough to become a parent at arguably, any child bearing age, has the capacity to become a phenomenal parent as long as they are dedicated to loving unconditionally. It's not hard to do this when you have kids and actually most will confirm that it's pretty easy to do the loving part- it's a natural gift the hard part is remembering. While you always know and remember that you love your child it's a challenge at times to keep that in the forefront of your mind when your two year old uses every trick in the book to challenge bed time and ultimately throws a tantrum that makes even you, for a split millisec wonder if that child you hear screeching is being beat all the while you are in a whole other room in a separate part of your home not near the child whatsoever, knowing the last time you saw your precious dear she was lying in her bed saying "Aaamen-love you mommy good night." Hugs. Kisses. "okay, stay in bed" :::door closes:: parent exits. (for anyone wondering there is no issue here, none, no yelling, a seemingly successful bedtime routine, then all of a sudden the door shuts and something possesses your child to scream a scream so utterly alarming that if you didn't know better yourself you might think "well what the hell did that parent just do?? Should I make a 'call'? Are they okay???" immediately following the thought with "oh shit, that's my child, I am the parent! The neighbors are going to think I did something!" Not helping matters is the thumping of her feet as she is jumping and throwing her body to the ground because that is waaay better than the bed as she fights with all their might this idea of going to bed. I rush in-calmly [intended oxymoron]trying to settle the situation loud enough so that maybe the neighbors can hear the muzzling of calm cool connectedness from an adult (think the teachers in charlie brown) while crossing my fingers that they have been through this too and know exactly. what is going on. I keep my cool for the first hour but as we near hour three I pull out every trick I know until finally, I allow my thoughts reference an inappropriate adult sleep book (not to be mentioned here) and then walk in sternly and state We're done. No more ___, ___, and/or ___. (feel free to be creative) go.to.bed. now. "just, one more hug, NO! GO TO SLEEP! If you get up one more time you're ...grounded!!! (uhh, she's 2??!!) I walk out going WTF, really? You couldn't come up with anything better than that??? What are you going to do take away her sippy cup??? Ri.diculous. In this moment, no I do not *feel* like a good parent I feel like crap. Mind you, and I'd like to make it clear there is absolutely no physical, verbal, or emotional reaction or action from parent to child, none. I have done nothing wrong but stood my ground and keeping in mind this episode plays out 5/7 nights a week having not mentioned at all the screaming infant who refuses to be put down or to sleep by anyone but mommy and that I average a shower every 2-3 days, and that odds are this episode will be repeated tomorrow I think the fact I/we still have any sanity left to have this conversation tells me yes, yes we are good parents. Damn fine ones if you ask me.

Jan 6, 2012


Hello there Interwebz, we have missed you! We've been busy wrangling ...er...raising the daughters we are referring to in our title (not to mention everything else that life encompasses). But, after about a year and a half, Kiki and I have decided to join forces and re-enter the blogging world.

Having both blogged in the past, we know there are a million "mommy blogs" out there chronicling fitness, crafting, cooking, wit, wisdom, life as a SAHM, etc. You name it, it's been covered. So why should you read our blog? After all, we haven't hiked Everest after losing 400 lbs between us; nor have we organized any sort of 'Million Mom Coalition for the Abolishment of Boxed Mac and Cheese'. We don't grow all of our own food or make our own fabric from the wool of our family goats (I don't care if this IS Vermont, the only animal allowed around here is our slightly ornery cat). And we've certainly never penned a cookbook on how to make an 8-course meal with 3 ingredients in a crock pot. Though now that I think of it, Kiki probably could pull that one off.

What you will find here is real-mom (and woman, and wife) accessibility and insight. We know that having a family and a career (um, and a life) means that sometimes making through the day is only possible by the grace of God and large amounts of caffeine!

Anywho... always perfect and put together we are not. Although it's always a goal. right? We are yoga-pants-wearing; binge-caffeine-drinking; cheesy-movie-loving (Steel Magnolias-whaaat!); extremely slightly neurotic; fashionistas-on-a-budget; wives and mothers who are making the most of every minute of our laughter-filled, sometimes flustered, blessing-filled lives!

Um, plus we're pretty hilarious sometimes. ;-)