Friday, September 25, 2009

Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

Last year we bought no less than four new pair of sneakers (tennis shoes for you mid-westerners) for Noah. Frankly, I lost track, so it may have been five. One pair he put a hole in the toe the first week. They would literally fall apart within a two months of buying them. The kid is tough on shoes!

Did I mention I was buying them at Target? For about $15 a pair? Thinking I was saving myself a few bucks since he wore them out so quickly?

This summer Rich convinced me to buy Noah a pair of sneaks at Stride Rite. We paid around $45 for them. He wore them all summer. Every day. At camp, where he was outside and was playing hard!

He's still wearing them every day and there isn't a hole or loose piece on them. Amazing!

So when Stride Rite offered me a free pair of shoes from their new Sensory Response Technology (SRT) collection to try out with Kiel I jumped at the chance!

Not only was Kiel getting a free pair of shoes (they retail for $50) but according to the press release they sent me "this revolutionary children's footwear technology, developed in conjunction with the Leon Root, M.D. Motion Analysis Laboratory at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, improves the way a child learns to walk via a sensory feedback system, an ultra-flexible design that allows for more freedom of movement, and a unique construction that reduces the number of stumbles and falls.  SRT’s features promote a healthy lifelong walking pattern and improve baby's ability to respond to their environment."

We had to take the pair they sent to a Stride Rite store to get a larger size because I misjudged Kiel's shoe size when they asked me.  

Kiel thought he was pretty cool at the Stride Rite store having his foot measured. I should have taken pictures. Or better yet, video, because as soon as he had the shoes on and we let him off the chair he took off like a shot, and ran right out of the store into the mall. The kid is fast!

Kiel's been walking for close to a year, so honestly I was a bit skeptical that these shoes would improve his walking. Well imagine my surprise when he took off that first time running and I could see that he was steadier on his feet. 
I don't know why it took me so long to believe this when it comes to new shoes, but you really do get what you pay for. In this case not only did we get a well made shoe for Kiel that I know he will outgrow before he'll wear it out, but we have a shoe that really is helping him walk better. 

I'll definitely be checking out Stride Rite when Kiel outgrows this pair. Maybe they'll let me try out their Toddler Tech line next! 


Thursday, September 24, 2009

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

That phrase is a new addition to the wall of the karate studio Noah and I go to.

It was also the topic of our promotion lesson in karate tonight.

It's an interesting question.  And as I ponder it I can't help but think that there really isn't anything I'm not doing because I'm afraid of failing.

Maybe I'm on a bit of a high right now since I have accomplished two of my goals in the last couple weeks. I have some of my personal writing published (professionally I've been published a few times) and tonight I promoted to yellow belt.

The writing is something I've wanted to do for a long time. The karate is a new goal and in many ways a much bigger accomplishment for me.

For the first time in my life I am enjoying doing something physical besides sex.  Having a goal to work towards such as earning my next belt feels good! And I'm not afraid of failing. I know this is something I can do.  I will be a black belt by the time I'm 45.

There are things I'm afraid of failing in, but it doesn't stop me from doing them. Parenting Noah is pretty high up on that list. I do fear failing him, but I'm not going to stop trying. And most of the time I believe Rich and I will figure out what he needs and he'll be OK.

A year ago I was afraid of failing in my marriage, but we didn't give up on that either and we are doing so much better.

At work I push myself to take on new and more challenging projects. I like what I do and really have no interest in doing anything else right now.

The only thing that continues to niggle in my head when I ponder this question is having another child. If I knew I could get pregnant, have a healthy child, and Rich and I would have the energy and resources to parent that child I would do it in a heartbeat. I don't think its really the fear of failure that is stopping us from doing it though, it's more a lack of financial resources and Rich's age and lack of desire to have a third child that prevents us.

Maybe I'm not reaching deep enough inside me. Or maybe I've reached a level of contentment that I should accept and be happy about. Deep stuff, huh?

So what would you do if you knew you could not fail?


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Does this make me a published author?

You know, I'm really not one to blow my own horn. I think boasting about ones self is so unbecoming, don't you? I mean really, is it necessary to brag about your accomplishments?

Uhhhhh...HELL YEAH!

It is when you get something published! Like for reals published. In a book you can BUY! Even if it is only two pages. But we don't really need to talk about that part of it.

So, umm...yes. You can see some of my writing in Kimberley Clayton Blaine's (the Go-To Mom) new book:

The Internet Mommy: Inspiring Interviews and Stories from Mother's Who Work and Play Online. How Social Networks Influence the Way Moms Make Money, View Life, Find Friends, and Raise Kids

And yes, I could have made the font larger!

Blaine’s book features essays from more than 40 hip and well-known mom bloggers from around the country, which she refers to as her “circle of moms” she found through social networking and blogging.  Blaine is a long-time producer of online content that examines women and family issues, and has built her support-base of mom-bloggers on Twitter, Facebook, Google alerts, and while simply being loyal readers of their blogs.  Blaine hopes her personal “circle of moms” will inspire other online moms to build a support-system that allows them to identify opportunities and thrive online.

“Consider this book ‘mommy power unleashed,’” said Blaine. “The Internet has created a giant playground for moms to create a staggering array of businesses, including products and services that real moms need and desire. If this book can inspire one woman to take the plunge and support their livelihood online, then it’s a victory.”

About “The Internet Mommy”
The blogging moms contributing content to the book range from tech-savvy to irreverent to spiritual. Regardless, all of the bloggers have a point of view and words of wisdom to share. The wide-ranging content comes from A-list sites including, a savvy social networking site for moms; I’m Not Obsessed, a popular celebrity mom blog; TechMamas, a technology blog with a parenting slant; and White Trash Mom, the mom who is on a crusade against perfection. According to the author, “there is a long list of truly clever ideas from truly clever women.”

The part of the book that I wrote is titled "The emotional power of Twitter." It's a very serious post about finding out that a wonderful little girl, Maddie, had passed away suddenly and quite unexpectedly.*

Not to detract from the seriousness of that post and the emotion I was trying to express in it, later in the book is a chapter about an email exchange Kimberley and I had several months ago and how it led her to visit my blog when I was reviewing a blue vibrator. So, although I only wrote one of the chapters, another one talks about my blog and links to it. 

Of course I ordered my copy (you can buy it here btw). It arrived Friday and I've come close to devouring the book. It's good! The rest of it I mean, not just my two pages! It's a combination of blog posts like mine and interviews from successful women who have built a career online. It's a great combination of entertaining and informative. I am honored to be a part of this "Circle of Moms."  

You really should buy the book! It's only $12.95 on Amazon.  You won't regret it! And don't forget to skip right to page 33 first!

Thank you Kimberley for letting me be part of this and part of your "Circle of Moms"

*I have to admit to some trepidation as to how Heather and Mike will feel about this. I hope they see it as a tribute to Maddie, and don't find it a reminder of their pain. I did email them about it, but I think they must receive tons of email and may not have realized mine was serious.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

A post where I rock the honesty, and fear the fall out.

Alternately titled "WOHM, WAHM, SAHM, bamm...thank you ma'am"

If you are looking for the Wall Graphic giveaway go here.
If you are looking for the Zhu Zhu pets giveaway go here.

I changed my work schedule so I can be home in the afternoon when Noah gets home from school. Now he doesn't have to go to the aftercare program and we don't have to worry about getting approval and coverage for his TSS hours.

I also thought after the stress of our evenings last year since we didn't all get home until 5:30pm or later, then had to get dinner, do homework, and get the boys to bed (Kiel at 7pm and Noah by 8pm) that this would make life easier for all of us.

It means I'm going into the office one more day a week, but I leave by 3pm to be home to meet Noah's bus.

I'm going to say right here and now, and I am NOT being one bit patronizing, that I have a whole shitload of respect for full time WOHM's, WAHM's and SAHM's. I do not have the patience or temperament to stay home with my kids full time. The chances are that if I had to stay home with my boys for an extended period of time that my already fragile sanity would break completely. If I had to work full time nothing would get done around the house at all and my stress level would be even higher.

When you have kids I don't think being a "full time" anything is easy, it's not to say you might not love it, I just don't think it is easy. And when you have to worry about other mom's criticizing your decisions, or thinking what they do is harder than what you do, well, it just makes it worse.

I have been incredibly lucky that my job, and our finances, allow me to work part time and have a fairly flexible schedule. We are even luckier that our daycare (one of the employee benefits of the hospital my husband works for) is teh awesome! Both my boys love(d) it and thrive(d) there. They both have the temperament that makes it easy for them to be in a group setting like that (well, maybe saying easy isn't the right word with Noah, but he always enjoyed it and went with a smile on his face). And the staff are all wonderful! So any guilt I may feel about working or not working has nothing to do with daycare.

I'm not even sure the last three paragraphs are necessary for this post, but for some reason I felt the need to say them. Probably because I fear anyone getting all judgy on me and the decisions our family has made. Which is ridiculous I know, but I do, so I did.

Anyway....the point of this is that I changed my schedule and now I'm home every day so Noah can ride the bus home and we can go to karate class, or therapy appointments (which I'm trying to find and figure out still) and have time to do homework and get dinner, and maybe even clean the house ha ha ha ha ha.

And you know what? I kind of hate it so far. Like to the point of crying a few days as I'm driving home because I'm dreading it, then feeling guilty that I'm dreading being with my own son, and playing the pity game because why is it I have to make all the "sacrifices."

And oh my god, Martyr Complex much?


Adding to all of these muddied up feelings I'm having is that once I decided to make this change, and started to put the pieces into place to do it, I started to have fantasies of a "June Cleaver" afternoon.

Picture this: me greeting Noah at the bus with a big hug and an "I missed you son" and hearing from him "I missed you too mom, I love you, you are the best mommy ever," then coming inside to fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk waiting for him at the table, talking about his day, and then effortlessly moving into homework time which he did with a smile and little assistance from me as I started dinner. Then after his homework was done and he puts everything back in his backpack ready for tomorrow he asked what he could do during "help mommy" time. And again, with a smile he would take out the trash, or water the plants, or clean the toilets. And then I'd let him watch a little TV while I finished making a nutritious dinner that everyone will eat. Rich would get home with Kiel and soon after we would all sit down to our nutritious dinner that everyone will eat and talk about our days.


OK, are you done laughing yet?

Imagine my surprise when it didn't exactly go like that.

Instead: I greet Noah at the bus, the bus driver waves me over and tells me Noah has been spitting at the other kids. Noah tells me he only received 46 behavior points out of the 60 he could get because he hit a kid at recess and was rude and defiant with his teachers. I ask him to pick up his backpack and come inside with me so we can have a snack and he starts to whine that he wants to play outside. I tell him that after snack and homework (which seriously, if he would just sit his butt down and do would take all of ten minutes) we can come back outside and play. He whines some more and says he's not hungry, that his stomach hurts because it is still full from lunch. I say that's fine, we don't have to eat snack, but we do have to do homework. He stomps inside, throws his backpack down, and refuses to come to the kitchen table. When I do get him there, where I have a bowl of pretzels and some juice waiting, he refuses to actually sit down. I take away a smiley from his token board and he gets mad. He starts to knock things off the table, then he kicks some things in the family room. I tell him he has a choice, he can come to the table and do his homework and earn his smiley back,  then we will go outside and play, or he can go up to his room and take a nap. He gets angrier. He throws things. His speech starts to race and he complains. And then he gets really mad, picks up his glass of juice and throws it across the kitchen floor. Then he stomps up to his room, throwing and kicking things in his way and slams the door.  I let him stay there until Rich comes home, because ohmyfuckinggod, I might kill him.

Understand why I'd rather be at work? Because that was an actual afternoon last week.*

I'm insightful enough (sometimes) to realize that if I come into this with a bad attitude Noah is going to pick up on it. I do realize that to get him to change his behavior I need to change mine. I also realize that change can be hard. And I'm making a lot of changes at once. So I'm trying to cut myself some slack and not beat myself up when I slip and fall back into my old reactive ways.

But damn, most afternoons, I'd rather be at work.

*Yes, we are doing a new behavior program, and I will have my new blog up soon where I'll be talking about it. It is helping, but clearly, not enough yet.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Giveaway!! It will make me happy if you enter!

***and the winners are Red Duchess and Megryansmom!  You will be hearing from Uprinting this Friday with details on how to order your wall graphic!*** is introducing a new product and they are offering two of my readers a chance to win!

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Seriously, this is the fourth giveaway they have offered my readers, which is cool in itself, but I'm being completely honest when I say that so far my experience with them has been great.

I told you a few posts ago how much I love the business cards and stickers I've received from them. And I can't wait to get the custom greeting cards I'm going to be ordering soon using some of Noah's artwork.

Their newest product is an innovative adhesive fabric that is called a Wall Graphic. Just imagine a huge sticker that you can peel and stick on any flat surface! (Similar to the Fat Heads stickers you’ve seen on TV).

These wall graphics use the same high-quality printing they use for their poster prints, so you can print photos, artworks or patterns in great detail.
I think these would be cool to use in a kids room or maybe even for your blog or business logo!  How about using a picture of the kids and getting this for the grandparents! So many possibilities!  

Personally, I'm awfully tempted to get this picture blown up! I think my husbands coworkers could have a lot of fun with it! Imagine that in 24" x 24" size! Those are some big nostrils to shoot spitwads at!
And, as I said, two of my readers will win a 24" x 24" Wall Graphic of their own to embarrass their loved ones with

Shipping is free on this one, but there is a $5 handling fee. However, I will personally reimburse you for that, because you know what, it really isn't a giveaway is it if you have to pay something for it! I'm hoping Uprinting figures this out soon! And, I'm sorry to say, again this is only open to US residents.

BONUS: will be hosting a Video Blog Challenge in October to find the most creative Wall Graphic Print! The winner will receive a cash prize, so if you win make sure you make your own Wall Graphics video entry!

To enter just leave a comment on this post! Don't forget to include your email address!

For bonus entries tweet about this and then come back and leave another comment on this post to let me know!

This contest is only open until September 14, 2009 so you don't have much time. As they say, enter early and often! I'll use to pick the two winners the next day.

Don't forget to enter the other giveaways I have going on too, so scroll down!


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Zhu Zhu Pets review and GIVEAWAY!!

*****And the winner is...........Jaime aka copperllama! Congrats Jaime!*****

Recently MomSelect offered me the opportunity to try out the new Zhu Zhu pets!   In fact, the company sent me pretty much the entire habitat plus two of the hamsters, the car and an exercise ball! Seriously, this is the biggest review I have ever been part of!

Zhu Zhu Pets are fun, interactive hamsters that talk, move and even navigate their way around their own habitats. And the best thing about these pets?  No mess and no fuss…just hours of interactive play!

I waited until an afternoon that Noah and I were home without Kiel, since the recommended age range is 4 to 8 years. Noah was SO excited to try these out.

Here is everything they sent us except the two hamsters.  Wow huh?

Here we have started to put the habitat together. I'm pretty good at putting stuff together, and I'm going to admit this was a bit tricky until I got used to how the connections fit together. And to be completely honest, I think the quality of the connections could be improved. They weren't always easy to get together and sometimes didn't create a smooth path for the hamster to travel.

Even the kitten is getting in on the action! Actually he was pretty fascinated by the hamsters and definitely did not know what to make of them. Watching him check them out was as much fun as watching the boys play!
We took a basketball break in the middle of putting this together. It was a time consuming process. By the time we got back to it Kiel was home and demanded to be part of the action.

Kiel was as fascinated by it all as the kitten was. Of course his ability to grasp the concept of how to use it was about the level of the kitten. It didn't stop him from having fun with it though!

A lot of the fun included lifting up the lids of the habitat (most of the pieces are hinged so you can access the habitat if the hamsters get stuck, which happened fairly often to us).  Not shown here is the Go Go Adventure (exercise) Ball, which Kiel assumed should be thrown as all balls should be thrown.  After throwing and having it separate into its two pieces, he put one half on his head. I really need to get a picture of that, because, Hello! Cuteness!

Here we have the habitat put together. Noah dictated where he wanted everything to go. There are a lot of options on how to put it together, and you can take it apart and rearrange.  I recommend adults do this part though, because as I said before, it isn't always easy getting the connections together correctly.

Now, I have boys, and I'm assuming that my boys are fairly typical in their creative play ideas, which included using their Matchbox cars in the trails. Hint: they don't work well in there and they get in the way of the hamsters. Still, it didn't stop me from finding several cars parked in the garage the next morning.
Later in the evening I found Kiel riding on the back of this tractor with one of the Zhu Zhu hamsters and a few Matchbox cars going for a ride with him.
So, what did we think of the Zhu Zhu pets?  Well, my boys certainly had fun with them, and they've been playing with them every day since, although less each day as the habitrail has gradually come apart. Again, boys! And I found Kiel riding his turtle into it, and Noah pushing Kiel's large trucks into it. I think they may have been involved in one of Noah's little "fits of anger" which means they probably were at the receiving end of a few kicks. Gotta be completely honest...
The hamsters are definitely cute! And fun to watch them move around. They move around erratically, which made it even more fun to watch Kiel and the kitten try to figure out.

Unfortunately, as I pointed out before, I had problems with the quality of the connections between the different parts of the habitrail. And I never did figure out how to keep the garage doors on it.

This must be used on a flat surface, not carpet. Even our wood floors with the very slight irregularities between the boards created some problems for them.  I never had luck with getting the exercise ball to work properly, even though included with it is a piece to hook on to the hamster to help stabilize it inside the ball.  The hamsters frequently got stuck in the trails, either because they jammed themselves in somewhere or they flipped on their side. None of this seemed to bother my boys though.

Kiel is definitely too young for them. The age range does specify 4 years as the minimum age, so this is no surprise. And Noah? Well, as excited as he was about it, and as much fun as he had, he's just not the kind of kid that this is suited for. He's too rough with his toys and doesn't have the patience to make sure everything is set up correctly.

If I can make a bit of a generality here, I think this toy is probably best suited for girls, probably in the 6+ age range.  Not that there aren't boys who would enjoy this as well, they just need to be able to play more calmly than mine do.

I'll give the boys a few more days to enjoy this, but hopefully not enough time to break anything, then I'm going to pack it all up.  I'm going to look for a family that will enjoy this and wouldn't be able to buy it on their own. At work we always sponsor either a family or a woman's shelter during the holidays, so that might be an idea.

Now, on to the good stuff!!  I am able to offer one of my readers a hamster and slide & ramp! 

All you have to do is leave a comment here! 
If you'd like to earn extra entries you can Tweet about this contest and link to this post - you can tweet once a day, just come back and leave me a comment each time.
I will use to chose the winner. You have until midnight on September 15, 2009 to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address IN the comment.

And if you happen to know me in real life, you can enter too! Don't be afraid to comment here!


Blog improvements?


1.  So I've mentioned before that I added CommentLuv to MNT. I really like that it links to a commenter's last blog post, which makes it super easy for me to visit, especially if it is a new reader.  However, it seems to make the actual commenting more difficult and a bit confusing. What do you guys think? Too confusing? Frustrating? Keep it or ditch it?

**I deleted CommentLuv. Thanks for your input everyone. I do think it was just too much work to leave a comment using it. I know when I leave a comment somewhere I don't want to have to futz around, I just want to be able to write it. If any of you know any other application that makes it easier to pop on over to someones blog from their comment let me know!

And FYI I love to reply to comments via email, but if you haven't made that option available in your blogger profile an email address doesn't show up for me.

And B.  I added an option to sign up for email updates when I post a new blog entry. It's over there on the right sidebar, about mid-way down if you are interested! I promise your email address will not be abused!


First day of 1st grade!

Last year. 
I guess he did grow a little bit! :)


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Win 500 Business Cards!!!

Just like I promised, here is the contest for 500 free Die Cut Business Cards from! provided me with my business cards for BlogHer and as I've said in earlier posts, I was impressed!  I chose 2x2" cards on 13 pt uncoated cardstock with color on both sides.

Here is a picture of the card, front and back. What you see on the right side is the sticker they did for me a few weeks ago.  It's not a great picture because you don't even come close to seeing the vividness of the color.

I really like that they offer a variety of Business Card Sizes (2x3.5”, 2x3”, 2x2") as well as cardstock and coating options.  I chose the 2x2" option because I wanted something a little bit different and I thought my logo was a good fit for it.  

Once again is offering Two, yes 2, of my readers 500 free business cards. You provide the design, choose your options, and pay for shipping (which I found to be very reasonable!)

I will use to chose the two winners.  You have until midnight on September 10, 2009 to enter. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me what you'll do with the cards if you win. Don't forget to leave your email address IN the comment. I'm still figuring out this CommentLuv thing.  If the comment box is visible, click on "comments to ponder" below and to the right of my Katt signature.

And if you happen to know me in real life, you can enter too! Don't be afraid to comment here!

 Shipping must be paid by Winner. Offer Valid for UNITED STATES SHIPPING ONLY.