Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tales from the Motherhood's Mother's Day Giveaway

I just discovered this neat blog, Tales from the Motherhood, where the author blogs about all the craziness of mothering 3 little kids BUT she's also a former child actress so she throws in random stories about hanging out with the former heart-throbs we all had crushes on in our youth. Win! So I'm catching up on all her fun stories but meanwhile she is doing a Mother's Day giveaway with Tons Of Cool Stuff so here's my entry.

As a disclaimer: my mom was {mostly} a great mom when I was growing up. My dad was a tyrant so my mom was definitely the good cop. We had a rough time in my teen years and she's got some quirks we're working through in our adult relationship, but for the purposes of this entry, I'm just talking about the good stuff. Here we go:

1. What is your best childhood memory with your mom?

Hmmmm, can't think of an individual memory. She was good with holidays--Christmases were awesome. We did all the things you're supposed to do: bake cookies, assemble gingerbread houses (from scratch! How did she do that?!), see Santa at the mall, etc.

2. Was she consistent with her discipline?

As I said, my dad was a tyrant. He was constantly angry and our punishment usually correlated with his anger level rather than our actual transgression, so his discipline was totally inconsistent. My mom was the one we went crying to afterwards. So I guess her discipline was consistent, i.e. "Wait till your father gets home."

3. Did you ever make your mom cry because you were so unruly or disobedient? (When I pushed my mom too far she would say, “I quit. You can go find a new mom.” That was her form of crying.)

I don't remember my mom ever crying. Now that I'm a mom, she has told me there were days when all 4 of us would say "I hate you" to her--so I know she had her moments, but to me she always seemed to have it together. {Unlike in my parenting, where I am constantly losing it in a variety of ways.}

Also, when we were older (too old to be spanked), discipline was probably more consistent, in that we were always told to "Go to your room!" I actually liked going to my room. ;-)

4. Do you remember any of the special things your mom did for you?

Sadly, I mostly remember the bad stuff. {I own that, it's my glass-is-half-empty problem.} Okay, here's one: For two birthdays in a row (ages 16 and 17), my parents were out of town. On one of them, they sent me flowers. Like real flower delivery, ring the doorbell, flowers. I thought that was very cool!

I remember the trips we took to visit colleges, just me and mom. We had a lot of fun and I look back and am amazed that she could go to these places we'd never been and drive around and navigate us to these schools. Wow! {That's not a skill I possess, I tell ya!}

Alright, there's my entry. Hope I win, it's tons of cool stuff! Now go over to Tales from the Motherhood and enter for yourself!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why I... Use a Toddler Leash

Vanderbilt Wife has started a new carnival called Why I. I love to explain why I do the things I do, so here goes. In my latest issue of Parents magazine, their etiquette guru, "Judy on Duty" states (apropos of nothing, just a little bonus blurb):
"Leashes are for dogs, not kids. You wouldn't put your child in a crate, or let him poop on the sidewalk, right? If you have a bolter, invest in a cheap umbrella stroller with a buckle."

So this is for "Judy"--why I use a toddler leash. Once upon a time, T was a super awesome shopper. I'd strap her into the umbrella stroller or plop her in the cart and she was a happy camper. {Okay, so I had to give her something new to play with every 5 seconds, but we managed.} Then one day (3 or 4 weeks ago?), we arrived in Target and she didn't want to go in the cart. Always one to pick my battles, I thought Okay, let's give this a try. So I let her walk around with me. Mostly it was okay, but checkout was kind of a nightmare. I was trying to both watch her and pay at the same time, and failing at both.

The next time I went shopping, I was determined to do it my way. She protested going in the cart, but I put her in anyway. And she threw a big fit. And kept throwing the fit. Standing in the cart, wailing, crying, loudly. This particular day, I was shopping for a lamp. We were in the lamp aisle for a long time (still with the tantrum-throwing) so I thought I'll just take her out while we're in this aisle. Again, nightmare, she wouldn't stay in the aisle, she kept wandering off, not conducive to, you know, choosing a lamp.

The next time I went shopping, I tried putting her in the stroller. Big protest. This time my son was with me and I thought, He can hold her hand. Long story short, I'm in the toddler clothes section and T bolts away, L running after her, and I had to leave my cart, including my purse {causing heart palpitations as a native Chicagoan} in the clothes section while I run my pathetic mommy-run halfway through the store to catch up with them.


Now when I shop, T looks like this (except, you know, she's a girl):
And she loves her "monkey" (technically it's a bear, not sure why we call it "monkey") and we survive shopping. She is safe (and not throwing a tantrum) and I am sane (because she is safe and not throwing a tantrum). I think that is a win all around.

But that darn "Judy" is in my head making me feel like a bad mother and I'm paranoid that other moms around me are "tsk-tsking" in their heads. {For the record, I've yet to receive a negative comment. There have been some stares, but a couple "cute" comments (and T is darling) and one older woman said it was a great invention for keeping kids from running off. Thank you, ma'am, you made my day!}

I am angry that "Judy's" judgmental blurb made it past Parents' editors. She must have a really great life that everything always goes as planned. I bought the toddler leash for L to use in airports and zoos, not for T to use on an everyday trip to Safeway, but my life doesn't ever go as planned. And I improvise. So sue me.

Ah, thank you Vanderbilt Wife, for helping me get that off my chest. You can check out and join the carnival here.

Have you ever used a toddler leash?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday-- My Favorite Movies of All Time

In the past, I have avoided naming my all-time favorite movies. You can read here about my favorites of 2010 and about some movies I don't think you should miss, but it's hard to narrow down my favorites forever and for always. But it's Top Ten Tuesday, so let's give this a try. In no particular order....

1. Dead Poets Society. My all-time favorite for a very long time; it's probably not my #1 anymore but certainly top 10.

2. Deep Impact. Hubby and I can watch this over and over. A great action adventure but also inspires deep thought.

3. Contact is another sci-fi favorite. Jodie Foster is {sadly} one of the few actresses that can sell super-smart. Love her! And probably my favorite Matthew McConaughey role.

4. Signs. This is probably my current #1, I never get tired of watching it. Like Deep Impact, it's both a good adventure but also thought-provoking.

5. Little Miss Sunshine. A special little film, there is one part that consistently makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Priceless.

6. Lord of the Rings trilogy {I know, that's technically 3 movies}. Epic.

7. Braveheart. This is a sentimental favorite--Hubby and I watched it on our first real date and then annually on the anniversary of that date for many years. Eventually we couldn't watch it yearly anymore, but it still deserves a spot in the Top 10.

8. While You Were Sleeping. No profound thoughts, I just love this movie!!!

9. Jane Eyre. I know I've mentioned on here many times my love of the book and this movie. I think Charlotte Gainsbourg is the perfect Miss Eyre.

10. Mansfield Park/Pride & Prejudice/Persuasion. How did I get to the end of my list without any Jane Austen?! Forgive me for cheating, I'll just throw these 3 in together. {And technically P&P is a tv miniseries. Oh well.}

Honorable mention: Ever After is another of my favorite chick flicks that I can watch again and again.

May I just take a moment to say that I love what imdb.com has done to make searches so easy with the drop-down feature. Love it!

Ack that was hard, I'm already second-guessing myself! And I feel like I'm forgetting something. Oh well, for more Top Ten fun, head to Oh Amanda.

What's your favorite movie of all time? Or just for today? ;-)

Friday, April 8, 2011

That's Life 4/8/11

I have decided to rename my "Week in Review" posts because I never remotely kept up with a weekly review. I thought I would now call it "Life Update" because that's what it will be, but that's boring so I'm going with "That's Life." Clever, huh? ;-) So here's what's been going on lately.

First, I'm having so much fun at the Ultimate Blog Party, hopping from blog to blog {putting things right that once went wrong and hoping each time that the next leap will be the leap home--forgive my random Quantum Leap reference} finding new blogs to read and getting new readers (I hope!) in return. {Welcome new readers!} I haven't been able to hop around nearly as much as I'd like 1) because I have, you know, stuff to do and 2) because as part of Lent, I ban myself from the computer from noon till T is napping (about 3 to 4 hours). I would use that as an excuse for not posting more often, but we all know I've always only ever been inconsistent with posting. (Yes, I meant to be redundant.)

T has been a super pain in my rear this week. She had a fever one night, otherwise she doesn't seem sick, except for extra fussing and clinging. She wouldn't let me leave her side all day yesterday. Makes it hard to get anything done. This week's project is TAXES, yes I've put those off way too long, but now I've added up our medical expenses (are you ready for it? over $18,000--that's premiums, prescriptions, speech therapy, Neocate, doctor co-pays and L's endoscopy), and this morning I started Turbo Tax. Finally!

I finished reading Memoirs of a Geisha. I'll write a full review soon but as a preview: two thumbs up. My new upstairs book (that I read during the kids' baths) is Casting Off. So far so good, though the writing is flat compared to Geisha, but the plot moves satisfyingly.

I'm way behind on reviewing the movies we've watched, so look for a long post soon. I can tell you that we watched Hot Tub Time Machine this week. It's not near as good as the Hangover (plot=bad) but it was very funny. BTW, John Cusack looked awful. Has he just aged or has he had a {bad} facelift/botox? I fear the latter. John, you should know better. Anyway, it was quite fun to have an '80s film icon in an '80s flashback movie. And the casting of Crispin Glover was inspired. Nice touch!

EE update
Not much new with L. I think I've mentioned before my frustration that even with his "favorite" foods, he eats like 3 bites. Or he'll say he wants "egg on toast" or a "peanut butter sandwich" (technically it's Sunbutter), but by the time I fix it, he barely takes one bite. Grrrr. On a positive note, we have found a way to make grilled cheese that he likes and doesn't make his tummy hurt. No butter. We use a non-stick skillet and layer GF bread, cheese, GF bread; cook, flip, cook. It's more toasted than grilled, but he doesn't seem to care. Yea, a new food!

T's speech
T still says very little and it can be quite frustrating. {She's very hard to put to bed and I'll ask what's wrong, what she needs, and she speaks a language I can't understand. :-(} However, she's been starting to put phrases together which is so exciting! Ugh, I can't think of any examples. "All done" + "hot dog." That's a simple one, but I know she's put together a few things that really surprised me. I'll try to keep you posted.

That's it. Have a great weekend! What have you been up to?!

P.S. As usual, these are NOT affiliate links.