Saturday, July 31, 2010

Growin Up Too Fast: by Louise @ Lou Loves Learning

Today's guest post is by Louise Edington. Like me, Louise is new to the blogging community, and I am super excited for you to read her guest post. I "met" Louise at @BlogDangerously 's #wineparty on Twitter. (If you haven't picked up on it yet, this mama is addicted to Twitter!) Louise likes Twitter too. Follow @LouiseEdington. You can visit Louise at her blog, Lou Loves Learning.

Growing Up Too Fast!

We recently went on a family road trip to California and visited The Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco. This took me back to memories of me when I was around 11 which is smack bang in between the ages my two girls are now (12 and 10) - I grew up in England by the way.

At that age I had an Easy Rider poster on our playroom wall and used to borrow my teenage neighbours record player and records for a weekly disco that I ran for my school friends. I used to charge a small entry fee and with that I bought biscuits (cookies) and lemonade to for all my friends. Early signs of entrepreneurship?

I also remember that The Isle of Wight Festival was on and my teen neighbours went. I couldn’t understand why my mum and dad wouldn’t let me go with them! And I remember that my mum would try and recreate all the 60’s fashions for me as she made most of our clothes and she even bought me a pair of boots like the ones in the picture.

These memories made me look at my girls and how hard it is to let them grow up and be themselves. It’s so hard to let go and I had far more freedom at that age than my kids do now. My eldest got really upset the other day over some little thing and sobbed that she wished that she were 18 and that we didn’t tell her what to do all the time (I seem to remember that we had told her off for not doing some small chore). I remember feeling way more grown up than I was allowed to be.

I do also remember those hormonal ups and downs but it’s so difficult to know exactly how to deal with them as a parent of two girls. I do my best and communicate and hug way more than my mum and dad ever did but I still feel I’m not quite getting it right. Add to that equation two very different personalities in my girls and I’m learning that each one is going to need very different things from me as a mum.

We have started to allow them some freedom. My 12 year old went for a sleepover with a 13 year old friend the other day and was exploring our small town and riding around on the free bus in the town and she loved it. I was, of course, worried sick. We also drop them at the movies on their own and leave them at home alone for short amounts of time while we go to yard sales or on a date night.

I’m learning that this time is way more difficult than when they were younger even though we have the freedom to go out without them at times. I’m also learning to understand where my mum and dad were coming from all those years ago.

How do you cope with either the actual or the thought of the process of letting go with your kids? What are you learning from seeing your kids grow up?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Guest Blogging is Like a First Date: by @MamaOnDaGo

Today's post is by @MamaOnDaGo. She is yet another connection I have made through Twitter! I don't know her first name because she is cautious about putting that kind of information out there on the internet. I think that is pretty smart. You can find her work at MamaOnDaGo.

Guest Blogging is Like a First Date

For me, I think guest blogging can be compared to a first date. First things first, you have to meet the right person or right people (totally acceptable in this scenario). Once that occurs, they invite you over and you accept. The days and nights leading to the date/post you think about various topics to discuss. Should you be funny? Can you be funny? Are you even funny? Should I be more serious? Is that too boring?  There's this feeling of pressure and anxiety that kind of builds. This feeling is true in my case. For some dating/blogging comes more naturally.
Seriously, who wants to totally blow it on their first date? More so, who wants to suck as a guest blogger?

I'm new to this blogging world. The only high tech things I know how to do on the computer is Google things, check my email, and shop. I can push that cart button and enter my credit card number at the speed of light.  My husband and I would poke fun at people who spent their days and nights on the Internet "meeting" people and having "discussions" with people. 

Gees, get a life? Go out there and meet some REAL people? 

Just recently, my husband told me, "You've entered the world". 
I thought to myself, "I've entered the world." 

It occurred to me some of the topics I would discuss with my husband are about people I've met on the Internet. As if these people were people I've actually met and had discussions with. He would see me smirking or even laughing out loud at some of the posts or comments. 

In the past few months, I've managed to meet a group of interesting individuals who have inspired me, pulled at my heartstrings, made me almost pee in my pants laugh, and related to me.  At first, it was difficult to meet people that did any of these things. I was lost. I kept posting and Google-ing various things to help lead me to the right people. I knew absolutely no one that blogged.

This thought crossed my mind, "Is this a total waste of time? Is anyone other than my family and friends reading anything I post?"

At the very least, blogging became therapeutic. It allowed me to organize my thoughts instead of keeping them inside. It allowed me to make a virtual memory book because I have yet to keep up with my kids own Memory Book.  For heavens sake, I should have just bought a diary. Dear Diary....

One day I discovered ThetaMom. Her motto is "Redefining the Role of Motherhood....One Mom at a Time." I thought, "OMG, this is what I've been looking for". From her, she led me to blogdangerously and wineparty. It just snowballed from there.

That's how NewBreedMama and I met you know. At the wineparty. That's where all the chemistry happened. *lights dim, music starts*

It occurred to me, "I am meeting REAL people!" 

I'm MamaOnDaGo. I have a lot of baggage (2 kids, a husband, and I work a lot of hours). I enjoy people who don't take themselves too seriously and enjoy a good glass or bottle of pinot noir. Let's cut to the chase because I'm tired, I'm not getting any younger, and life is too short. I'm glad to meet you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

THE BUCKET LIST: by Molly @ Life with the Campbell's

My guest blogger today is Molly, AKA @salamicat to you Twitter Addicts out there. Check out her work at Life With The Campbell's.

When asked if there is any must know information that I should share with my readers, she responded, "Well, I am an Erma Bombeck Writing award winner, and my husband is an accordion player. I think that says it all." 

Side Note: I don't know if I should admit to this or not... But, if you're anything like me, you're about to go Google Erma Bombeck. :)

Anyways, Molly is a great writer and promoter of blogs. She was generous enough to let me re-post one of her favorite articles. Enjoy!


As I was making a quick pass through the house, tidying it up before leaving to run some errands, I came across a big book on the floor in my husband’s “office.”  Its title alarmed me:  “1001 Buildings To See Before You Die.”  I wasn’t aware of this goal of Charlie’s, and I had to sit down for a minute to process what this might mean for the remainder of MY life.  Honestly, I had thought Charlie was finished with traveling.  But this opened up some scenarios in my imagination that gave me the willies.
Let’s start with the United States .  Evidently, there is a Medical-Dental office in San Francisco that is a must see.  It seems that it is modeled after a Mayan pyramid.  Inside, the ceilings have Mayan glyphs.  There are bronze chandeliers.  I wonder if the exam tables look like the altars for human sacrifice?  Do the spit sinks have little waterfalls?  Do you have to make a doctor’s appointment in order to get the tour?
Then there is Hangar One, at Moffett Federal Airfield in California .  Ok, it IS one of the largest unsupported structures in the United States .  But my God, IT IS AN AIRPLANE HANGAR.  And by the way, in 2003, it was discovered that the entire structure was leaching toxic lead and PCB’s into the surrounding soil.  NOW THAT IS SOMETHING YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS ON YOUR NEXT TRIP!
Charlie has always had a thing for industrial parks.  Often, when I request that we “go for a ride,” instead of gliding through sylvan glens, or looking at the latest in McMansions, I find myself looking out of the windows at gravel pits and concrete facilities, sewage processing plants, or Charlie’s favorite:  the abandoned General Motors factory (of which we have PLENTY in the Dayton area).  So I am sure that on his list of places to go and see is the Magnitogorsk Metal Kombinat, or “Stalin’s Pittsburgh ,” in Chelyabinsk Oblast, in Russia .  This place was created as a model industrial town for making steel, and it was home to a few thousand industrial workers living in tents.  Wow, to be a housewife in THAT town!  Even the BOOK says that in this place, living standards and quality of life were “very low.”  Obviously, a must see for American tourists!
I don’t know about you, but visiting places where they butcher things has never been high on my list of places to go before I die, but apparently the “Stalls and Abattoir” in Vrin , Switzerland , are a real tourist Mecca .  The buildings’ sloping roofs and wooden construction owe much to the Swiss chalet design.  But this would be my first question:  WHY DON’T WE JUST GO AND SEE SOME SWISS CHALETS
This book has A THOUSAND AND ONE of these places!  Granted, it does include the Arc de Triomphe, the Alhambra , and the Parthenon.  Ok.  But my husband has been to all those places.  I have even been to some of those places.  Knowing my husband, those places on the beaten track would have no real appeal, because ALL THE TOURISTS go there.  Oh, no!  For us, the Pentonville Prison in London would be on the itinerary, along with the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast , the Tampere Fire Station in Finland , and by nature of its name, the Dick House in France .
Living with a man like my husband, who has his peculiarities, such as keeping track of the pollen count each year since 1990, or maintaining a spread sheet that records the amount of watts of electricity that we use yearly, should have prepared me for this.  I wonder: are there travel agents who sell these tours?  How would one advertise them?  “Boring and Obscure Landmarks the World Over?”  “Architecture for Geeks?”
I have never been one of those retired people who yearns to take a cruise every year.  Or one of those women who likes to travel with packs of other women to see art museums, opera houses, or cathedrals.  I don’t really want to snorkel or scuba on the Great Barrier Reef .
But any of those things sounds very appetizing when compared to the Hermann and Steinberg Hat Factory.
Visit my blog!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Different World: Having a Child with Special Needs by Susan @ Best Dressed Baby in the ICU

Today's guest blogger is Suzanne from Best Dressed Baby in the ICUSuzanne is a very courageous woman and a dedicated mother of a child with special needs. You can follow Suzanne on Twitter @bestdressedbaby. Here is her story.

A Different World
This is my first time as a guest blogger and I just want to thank Lindsay for allowing me the opportunity to talk to a new audience! So here's a little background about me: I am the mother of a special needs/medically fragile child – my beautiful Ella Grace was diagnosed at birth with a rare genetic syndrome called Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). I have spent the past two years documenting every diagnosis, procedure, surgery and hospital stay since her birth on her Caring Bridge website and only recently began blogging as an outlet for myself.

Since I'm not the mother of a "typical" child, I'm going to write about what I know and that is being the mom of a special needs child. I started my blog to help shed some light on our world so that others can develop an understanding of, and maybe even change their ideas about, families like ours by helping to eliminate the "fear of the unknown".

I'll admit it. Before I became a special needs parent I was scared of people who were 'different'. I feared them because I didn't know how to act around them or what to say. But let's give ourselves a little credit: as humans we naturally fear what we don't understand and it's human nature to be curious about anything that is out of the norm for us. It took me a while after Ella Grace was born to figure this out, but that's why people stare!

In the beginning I would get really annoyed with the stares, like it was a personal attack on my child. But eventually I realized that in general people aren't meaning to be rude. They're just caught off-guard and are curious about something that is different from what they normally see like...say, maybe a baby with a feeding tube coming out of her nose?! Did I ever see or know what a nasogastric tube was before Ella Grace was born? Not so much. And unless you're in the medical field or happen to have a special needs child yourself, chances are you haven't either.

Shortly after realizing this, I had another epiphany: most people aren't even aware that they are staring. And so I noticed that offering a quick smile to "the starer" can be very beneficial to all parties involved by making "the starer" aware of their behavior either prompting them to feel comfortable to make conversation or to go on their way.

The bottom line is that regardless of what is going on with our child, they are OUR CHILD and we are proud of them and love them just as much as we would a typical child. We want to talk about our children but find people in general feel it may be rude to ask questions. For me personally, this is not true. I am happy to talk about Ella Grace. I'm not embarrassed. I'm not going to be upset that by asking a question you are pointing out that she is different (we tend to learn this pretty early on from the doctors!) so please, ask away.

Yes, it can get tiring repeating things over and over, and we have our "days", but for the most part we are dying to talk about our kids just as much as you are. And the fact that most people are afraid to talk to us can make our world feel very isolated at times.

So the next time you see one of us around, give us a smile and ask a question or make a friendly comment. Something as simple as "How old is she?" or "That sure is a pretty bow!" can make us feel like we are part of "normal" society and open the door for a conversation.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bug Juice: by Becky @ Our Peaceful Home

Meet today's guest blogger, Becky. You can find her on Twitter @BeckyWebb . Becky's blog, Our Peaceful Home, is one of my new favorites. Becky has a toddler and an infant so her family life is never boring. Actually, life at Becky's house is rather comical, and there is always enough juice to go around. Enjoy!

Bug Juice

My husband and I happen to think our bug is the funniest little man in the world.  He's 22 months with bright sparkling blue eyes and cheeks that scream "Squeeze me please!"  The truth is that he knows he cute.  I know, I know, I'm a little biased.  Ok, I'm terribly, horribly biased.  But really, what mom isn't?  This little man spends much of his days looking at his reflection in the oven and laughing at himself like he's the funniest kid in the entire world.  He spends even more time standing on his head with the same silly laugh over and over.  He really does keep us cracking up 95% of the time, the other 5% of the time are the crabby days.  Sure, he has his crabby days, but don't we all?  It's true that he is the light of our life and we are thankful for our little man everyday.

Tonight, my husband and I were both getting ready to relax over dinner with a cold adult beverage.  To be honest, this cold adult beverage looks a little like juice to a 22 month old and my 22 month old is obsessed with juice.  Even though the "juice" we usually give him is in a cup, where he can't see the color, and it conveniently almost always water.   Not there is anything wrong with giving your kid some juice, but I'm honestly kind of this want to be health nut.  So the majority of the time bug only has water in his cup.  Bug calls everything juice, even his water.  

As I was pouring my "juice" into a frosty cold mug bug started pointing and whining.  "Juice, juice", which really means he wants some.  I looked at my bug and said, "no honey this is mommy's."  After that he looked at me with the sweetest little face and started saying his "peease, peease, peeeeeeease" (or please to those of us who have been speakers for a long time). (Peease, really is one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard.)  Finally I said, "baby, this is adult juice."

Bug is just starting to pick up almost everything we say.  I've never head him say the word adult before, but I wouldn't be surprised if I did hear it.  The other day my husband said "shoot" and after that we kept hearing "shoot", "shoot", "shoot" but it actually sounded like, shoot with the i sound instead of the o sound in the middle of the word.  So you can imagine what we kept thinking we heard.  Finally, I started hearing.  "Adult juice"  "adult juice"  "adult juice" and all through dinner "adult juice".   We couldn't top laughing.  There really is never a dull moment being a mommy.  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Professor Clemente's Rules For Marriage: by Krista @ Not Mommy of the Year

First, a word from your sponsor. I am super-excited to be on vacation! Uh, I mean, I'm thrilled to announce my very first guest blogger EVER! 

As our vacation approached I grew increasingly concerned about the state of my blog during our week away. Hubs tried to calm my fears. He said, "Just throw up a post about being on vacation for a week and sorry about their luck." *Gasp* What?! Sorry about their luck?! Uh, no. What if... OMG, what if they (my readers, you) don't come back?!!! What if they get all mad that there's nothing fun to read at A New Breed of Mom and I lose my small, but loyal, readership that I have worked so hard to build up?!

In the week that followed, I quickly learned from all my Twitter-Mommy-Friends (Thank you! Thank you!)  that there was such a thing a Guest Bloggers. And Auto-Posting. I had an epiphany! Bingo! Problem solved.

Oh, but wait. What if no one wants to guest post for me?

Well, I decided to just 'put it all out there' and write a post about needing guest bloggers. Would anyone come to my rescue?

I was AMAZED with the response I got! And, I about fell over in my chair when this awesome lady DM'd me and volunteered to guest post "if I wanted her".... IF I wanted her?! Hello? Krista? Are you there? Your blog is legendary!

So, with no further ado, I am Happy/Excited/Thrilled to present Krista, from Not Mommy of the Year!! (You can also find her on Twitter @notmommyoftheyear)

Professor Clemente's Rules For Marriage

Hey guys! I’m so happy to be here, putting my feet up on Lindsay’s corner of the internet, flipping through her magazines while she’s kicking back and enjoying her vacation. In fact I was so excited to crash her space, I mean, water her flowers while she was gone, that I didn’t give much thought to what I would write about when I volunteered.

But then she accepted and I was all, YES! For a few minutes, then I was “CRAP. What am I going to write?” Lindsay writes great posts about parenting and marriage and looking for a higher power on her blog. On mine? I mostly whine about my kid not napping, how fast she’s growing up and not being able to go happy hour.

But then I was thinking about happy hour and my carefree college days and I remembered a lecture from one of my favorite Sociology professors at Penn State (We Are… PENN STATE!) I’ve got to admit, there’s not many lectures from college that I remember. A communications major, I didn’t have to take copious, careful notes and pull all-nighters prepping for an exam. There were no four hour labs with glass beakers and foaming liquid. No, instead, I just had to be able to put pen to paper and write. (Perhaps, I should have paid a bit more attention.)

Anyway, back to this particular lecture. This particular day I sat in the Forum, with my feet propped up on the chair in front of me, my notebook out, prepared to take notes, doodle or make a to-do list. But when Professor Clemente started talking about his rules for marriage, my interest peaked. I wrote down every word on the transparency (Damn, I’m so old we used transparencies, sharpies and overhead projectors when I was in college). When the semester was over, I ripped that piece of paper out of my Mead college ruled notebook and saved it with my college mementos like bottle caps, ticket stubs and photos.

When my future-husband and I met, I found that piece of paper with the 16 rules one day when I was looking through my box. I read over them and compared my new boyfriend to the list, wondered what our life would look like IF this relationship went the distance.
When we married and I was clearing out my college memory box to create a family memory box, I came across the list again. And, again, I saved it. Because this advice? Is some of the best advice I’ve ever received on marriage. Some of it hits home a little more than others. And while I certainly haven’t mastered the wife thing, actually, I’m less likely to be Wife of the Year than I am Mommy of the Year, I’ve bolded the ones that I either try to live by or that I hear in my head every once in a while.

Clemente Rules for Marriage

For Both
1. Base marriage on mutual respect – demand it.
2. Talk every day. Love is necessary, but not sufficient.
3. Don’t let TV become your third partner.
4. Eat together as a family.
5. The most fascinating aspect of marriage is not that adults can produce children, but that children can produce adults.

For Her
1. Don’t marry a guy who won’t talk.
2. Don’t try to change a jerk.
3. Don’t compare him to your dad.
4. Don’t play the “little woman.”
5. Work hard to find a good father for your children.

For Him
1. Reduce looking at women as sex objects.
2. Don’t compare her to your mom.
3. If you drink, don’t marry a girl who doesn’t.
4. Don’t play macho man with your wife.
5. Don’t let your wife monopolize child rearing.
6. Never let her go.

I love these and can’t tell you how many times I think back to that lecture hall in November 2001 and hear the voice of a wise professor and remember the young girl who thought they all sounded so simple. Two years into a marriage, I know it’s not as simple as it sounds, but I’m working on it.

What do you think? Are there any points up there that you passionately agree with or vehemently hate? What’s the best marriage advice you’ve received?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On Vacation, Stay Tuned, Next Week is Chalk-Full of Guest Bloggers!