Friday, May 28, 2010

Giveaway - Haute Tots Gift Certificate

I told you all about my Mother’s Day - "Just Another Day in Paradise", now you tell me about yours! Did it measure up to your expectations? What was your favorite part about the day? Did you get anything good?
Share your Mother’s Day with me by commenting on this post and you’ll be entered in this month’s give-away for a $20.00 gift certificate to Haute Tots. What’s that again, you ask? Haute Tots is where you go when your Baby Bella is starting to grow up! Check it out at; when you visit the website, you’ll find the same unique quality you’ve come to enjoy in Baby Bella, but the toys, gifts and clothing are chosen your toddler and preschooler rather than for your baby.
When you comment on this post, make sure you include your first name and e-mail address so we can let you know you’ve won. You also might also want to add your e-mail to the mailing list for this blog so that you know when we have our next contest! The deadline for this contest is June 14th. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review - Bebe Au Lait Magnetic Bib

Kasia and I were very excited to try out the Bebe Au Lait Reversible Double Bib this month. The bib is touted as a “mealtime revolution” because is “totally reversible, with a possibility of four sides,” which “allows for a super clean feeding every time, even when busy moms and dads haven’t had a chance to wash it.” Now if that isn’t the bib for us, I don’t know what is. Busy mom? Check. Disdain of laundry? Check. Bring it on, bib. Bring it on.

We got the bib in the mail right before lunchtime and put it on immediately. Kasia looked pretty darn sweet in her new bib. I do love the Bebe Au Lait styles—always a bit funky with a twist of cute on the side. Kasia liked the bib right away because it fastened in front, with magnets, which meant that I didn’t have to pull it over her head or tie/snap it behind her neck. She’s at that age where she really hates things being pulled over her head, so this was a definite bonus. I also liked the fact that the Bebe Aut Lait Bib was bigger than most bibs, making it easier to keep her shirt clean overall. The only drawback we found during that first mealtime was that the bib didn’t fit snugly around her neck. Instead, it left a gap between her neck and the collar of her shirt where food could (and did) get on the shirt. Because the bib closed with magnets that had to be placed right over each other in precise spots, the bib wasn’t really adjustable around the neck, so there was no good way to close this gap.

We used the bib a few more times before we had to wash it. Just as advertised, there were many more clean surfaces on the Bebe Aut Lait Bib than there are on traditional bibs, so I got to use it longer before washing it. Who wouldn’t love that? I also enjoyed the terry cloth backing on the bib, which I used as a washcloth to wipe down Kasia’s face the last time we used the bib before washing it. When it was really messy, I washed the bib and dried it… and then I went to fold laundry the next day (what? I didn’t fold laundry the same day I washed it? A real shocker, I know). Because it had sat in the dryer for a day, the bib had lost its form and was rather wrinkled, which I didn’t like at first (despite the fact that I *hate* ironing and all other things laundry-related, I also hate wrinkles. Yes, it’s hard to be me sometimes). But the bib actually straightened out pretty quickly with no major hassle (and certainly no iron). It did shrink a bit in the wash/dryer, but this turned out to be a good thing because there was no longer a gap in coverage between Kasia’s neck and shirt collar! Problem solved. We’ve been enjoying the multi-surface bib ever since.

The bottom line: A mealtime revolution? That might be a stretch. But it *is*a handy, uniquely-styled bib that you and your baby will both enjoy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Top 10 Quotations about Mothers

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
~ Elizabeth Stone

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.
~ Jewish proverb

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
~ Tenneva Jordan

“I know how to do anything - I'm a Mom.” ~ Roseanne Barr

It was my mother who gave me my voice. She did this, I know now, by clearing a space where my words could fall, grow, then find their way to others. ~ Paula Giddings

Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate. ~ Charlotte Gray

"I'd like to be the ideal mother, but I'm too busy raising my kids."
~ Unknown

A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary. ~ Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~ Unknown

And remember that behind every successful a basket of dirty laundry. ~ Unknown

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just Another Day In Paradise

My Mother’s Day wasn’t perfect. The weekend brought rain and snot. At one point, I found myself huddled in a car with a crying, snotty Kasia and a crying, cold James, watching the soccer game that James was supposed to be playing in (I kind of deserved this, since I had completely underestimated how cold it was—it is NOT supposed to be 35 degrees in May—and had forgotten to bring gloves or a hat for James). I didn’t get to sleep in on Mother’s Day, as I’ve learned that me sleeping in only leads to a grumpy husband who didn’t get enough sleep, and then no-one is happy. So I got up with the kids, bright and early. I didn’t get the tulips I wanted, even though I sent my husband an e-mail that said, “FYI, I like tulips.” Apparently the message was too subtle. I changed my outfit twice before going to church and still had massive amounts of snot on my shirt when we arrived. We ate out at restaurant for lunch, but between a squirmy baby who had missed her nap and a hyper 5 year old who literally *jumped* out of his chair four times, I didn’t get to eat my food until it was cold. There was laundry to be done, a house to be cleaned, and dinner to be made. And nobody else volunteered to take over those duties.

So, my Mother’s Day wasn’t perfect. But I chose to love it anyway.

I chose to love it because I know full well that there are too many women who ache to be mothers and are struggling on their journey to get there. Woman who will spend Mother’s day trying desperately to forget that the one thing they want—to have a baby to snuggle and kiss and rock to sleep at night—seems to be only a distant dream that will never become a reality. Women who have lost babies who were part of them, if only for the briefest moment in time. I know this because I was one of those women. And so I chose to love the snot and the tears and the laundry and the chaos because they are part and parcel of this amazing gift called motherhood.

I chose to love it because my son has another mother, his Ethiopian first mother, who didn’t get to see him jump off of chairs today. As grateful as I am for the joy that this amazing little boy brings into my life and as much as it physically takes my breath away when I think about the prospect of not having him here, I will never forget that my joy comes at the expense of another mother’s loss. I wish I could reach out to his first mother to tell her that James is safe, and he is happy, and he is loved. Oh, how he is loved. But I can’t. And so I chose to love the day and this boy and all his energy to honor the sacrifice his birthmother made. And I chose to love the day because I am heartbreakingly aware of how, with just the smallest twist of fate, I would not have had the chance to hug this little boy and watch him jump off chairs, and see him grow up before my eyes.

I chose to love it because, all over the world, there are mothers who can’t feed their children or keep them warm or keep them sheltered from the rain. On my Mother’s Day, I got to give my children food without thinking twice about how I would make this happen. I got to clothe them, and when they were cold, we got to snuggle in a car, protected from the rain. And when they were sick, I got to wipe their noses with a clean cloth and give them medicine to ease their pain and tuck them into warm beds. I got to give them warm bathes and clean clothes. I got to keep them safe. So I chose to love the day because I know how extraordinarily lucky I am to be able to give those gifts to my children and how many mothers would do anything to be able to do these simple things for theirs.

I chose to love the day anyway because behind the joys of motherhood, there is a sadness that always lingers in the shadows. I miss my mom. I miss her smile and oh, how I miss her voice. Her voice, the one that had the ability to make me feel safe and warm and loved all over. I miss that feeling, the one of complete and utter unconditional love that only a mom can evoke. I miss her profoundly and deeply and achingly. And yet the grief is bittersweet. The bitterness is obvious. The sweetness is the clarity that such a loss brings about the brevity of life. That clarity shapes my days. I chose to love the day because I truly understand, down to my very core, that these moments with my children are excruciatingly, breathtakingly brief.

So I chose to love my Mother’s Day. It wasn’t perfect. But it was full of moments that were oh-so-sweet. I woke up to James spontaneously shouting, “Happy Mothers’ Day!” with no one to remind him to do so (remember, my husband was still sleeping). My baby girl woke up and smiled at me with her two new teeth peeking out. My husband presented me with a Dairy Queen cake which I had also requested (okay, so truth be told, my e-mail actually read: “FYI I like tulips and Dairy Queen cake.” He just went for the cake part instead of the tulips part). I felt my mom’s presence in church. At dinner that night, James insisted I get the first piece of cake and crawled over into my lap to give me a kiss. I got to hug my children and watch them play and to put them to bed with full bellies, clean pajamas, and warm blankets. My day wasn’t perfect. But it was more than I deserved. And it was more than enough.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Not Just Mothers

It’s almost Mother’s Day! Lately, I’ve been thinking about this whole motherhood thing and how vast of a job it really is. As I pondered this, it struck me that we’re not “just” mothers.

We are CEOs, balancing finances and organizing supply acquisition; coordinating schedules and multi-tasking household chores; negotiating with babysitters, daycares, pediatricians and principals; fearlessly taking on those who challenge what we know to be best in order to protect that which we are building.

We are magicians, waving our magic wand to make lost pacifiers and Transformers and car keys appear out of thin air.

We are superwomen, using our powers of good to heal bumped heads and skinned knees with a single kiss.

We are musicians, singing our children to sleep at night and making up silly songs to elicit smiles.

We are keepers of tradition, taking the customs that we learned from our parents and passing them on to our own children in the hopes that they will do the same.

We are chefs, infusing our family’s food with love.

We are teachers, patiently bestowing upon our children the skills they will need to be successful in life.

We are historians, carefully documenting family milestones in pictures and journals, scrapbooks and photo albums.

We are coaches, guiding our children and cheering them on as they learn to take their first steps, say their first words, and make their first friends.

We are engineers, meticulously designing paper airplanes and cardboard box dollhouses, Lego towers and Popsicle stick mansions.

We are lawyers, defending our children’s rights and advocating for justice to a world that sometimes just does not make sense.

We are counselors, helping our children learn to manage their emotions, soothing their bruised egos, teaching them how to negotiate life, and standing by them as they discover and find ways to love who they are.

We are artists, coloring and gluing and cutting alongside our children.

We are executive assistant, seamlessly weaving together schedules of play dates and T-ball games, pediatrician visits and soccer practice, park outings and school concerts.

We are police officers, enforcing bedtimes and healthy food choices, card game rules and quiet zones.

We are nurses, triaging our children’s wounds, taking temperatures and giving Tylenol, keeping bedside vigils all through the night.

We are weavers of dreams, suppliers of hope, and fountains of love. And we are so much more.

This Mother’s Day, take the time to celebrate all you do and all you are. You deserve it. :)