Monday, June 30, 2008

40 Words About Me

Here's an exercise you can do with your children or simply on your own. Have them jot down forty positive adjectives that describe their personality. The rules are simple, but there are no exceptions: No less than forty, and nothing negative.

Here are mine (then it's your turn):
Funny Friendly Flirtatious Crazy Cuddly Cute Sensitive Sexy Smart Emotional Exciting Energetic Caring Creative Romantic Intense Dramatic Overwhelming Funky Fabulous Frank Radiant Responsible Rebellious Reflective Philosophical Playful Sharp Stunning Sweet Lovable Charming Talented Outrageous Generous Independent Ambitious Sincere Mature Courageous
After completing this exercise, you and your child will most likely have smiles on your faces from focusing on all of the wonderful traits that make them unique.

Try this with children (or adults) when they've had a bad day, or on your own when you need a little pick me up. It's tough to select forty. When you're having a good day, you might have trouble narrowing it down. On days when you're feeling low, don't stop until you've reached at least forty but keep going if you still need a boost.

With younger children, have them spell out their name and select a word to describe themselves using each letter of their first name. You can continue with their middle and last name if they're willing. This is a fun exercise that young children enjoy doing using the names of their friends or loved ones.

For older children, any time they say something negative about themselves, remind them (and perhaps pull out the list) of the many positive attributes that you love about them.

Update these lists often. It's another great way to encourage yourself or your children.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

How Open Are You?

While the article that is the most popular over at Tango | smart talk about love is about open marriage, I have to wonder why so many people are opposed to this concept (myself, included).

I have never really thought about an open marriage before (my ex and I were monogamous) and the only image I have of this type of relationship is from the swingers' parties that I've heard about and that are generally frowned upon.

I've spoken to a few people about their experience with having an open marriage. They have all said that it didn't work for them and either the couples experienced conflict and emotional damage from it, or they simply chose to live a monogamous lifestyle, after all.

The fact that so many people are clicking on this article says a lot about the sanctity of marriage (and helps to explain the divorce rate). I think many adults - married or otherwise - flirt with ideas that they're not quite sure about and haven't shared these type of fantasies with their significant other.

The idea of having a relationship which is all about open communication makes complete sense. But why have sex with another person if the goal is to enrich your relationship with each another? Why not talk about your fantasies and find out if your partner is willing to try something new?

The reality for most married couples - I have heard - is that their relationship lacks spark after a while and sex becomes monotonous. Change it up a bit, people. Watch an erotic film together or buy some edible underwear or engage in foreplay that involves whipped cream or body butter.

After all, you might not realize that you and your partner share the same fantasies if you don't ever share them with one another.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Healthy Sex Life = Healthy Marriage

Everyone's "doing it." Talking about sex, that is. It's everywhere (or maybe I'm just noticing it more lately because I'm not gettin' any).

In the past month, author Douglas Brown and his wife Annie have appeared on the "Today" show to discuss their exhausting adventures of having sex for 101 days - in a row!. A writer for the Denver Post, Brown wrote about the impact this experiment had on his marriage in Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (No Excuses!).

Many studies have proved that having an active sex life is good for one's health. Did you know, for example, that having sex three times a week burns around 7,500 calories in a year -- the equivalent of jogging 75 miles? Now, I realize that jogging 75 miles in one year is not a whole heck of a lot to brag about (it's less than 2 miles per week people), but let's not forget the fact that making love on a regular basis can also help lower your cholesterol, reduce stress and help protect a woman's heart (literally and figuratively).

Just Do It promotes the idea that a healthy sex life is also a key ingredient to a healthy and successful marriage. So, what are you reading this for? Go on, you know you need to burn off a few calories.

Multi-Tasking Moms

Are soccer moms a dying breed?

According to marketing and advertising representatives from companies who cater to families with children, the modern mom maintains her career, family, friendships, book clubs, play dates, after school activities, and date nights, as well as managing her local community and on line network and blog, all while looking good and feeling even better.

What the article failed to mention is the fact that today's women (mothers or not) grew up under a different set of "rules" than those our own mothers experienced.

My favorite T-shirt when I was around five years old (I remember it vividly) was one that read: Anything Boys Can Do, Girls Can Do Better!

Available at

Not that I believed that to be true, but it empowered me to try harder, not be intimidated by those who said, "but you're a girl," and gave me permission to be whoever the hell I wanted to be. At five, I may not have realized the impact this would have on my future self, but I now know that I'm now not alone among this generation of women who refuse to settle - or sacrifice - when it comes to our careers, our families or our happiness. We make choices and with every change there does come evolution.

I don't have a daughter and perhaps I never will but I can only imagine how difficult it is to raise a young girl these days. While I was singing along to "Like a Virgin," before I was old enough to understand what that even meant, today's youth are learning about sex at a much earlier age and are exposed to much more than many parents choose to admit.

If moms do have such an impact on the advertising and marketing campaigns that major companies create, shouldn't we be witnessing a shift in the levels and frequency of sex and violence featured on television and everywhere else in our society?

I'm not sure where us Multi-tasking Moms need to start for these changes to take effect, but I do know that with each forthcoming generation of women, and future moms, change is bound to occur and the companies that cater to them are going to have to modify their approach accordingly.

It's going to be an exciting ride and we have the women and moms before us to thank.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sex Ed - Grown Up Edition

I'm working on writing a curriculum entitled, Let's Talk About Sex: Straight Talk Between Parent and Child. I'll be teaching this one-hour workshop to parents in the community in September. Incorporated in the workshop is a growing list of topics to help young parents educate their children so that they can - hopefully - make smarter, healthier decisions when it comes to their bodies and their sexuality.

STDs are top on the priority list as far as things I plan to cover. Some parents might want to know why my first concern is not "birth control," or discussing reasons to abstain.

Times have changed since my parents were teens. Times have changed - dramatically - since I was a teen. Sexually active people (no matter what their age) have always put themselves "at risk" for unplanned pregnancies, hence the name "birth control."

What amazes me is how little is known or discussed about STDs and the prevention of them. Sexually active individuals are more likely to have an STD, pass along an STD unknowingly or contract an STD than they are to conceive a child! This is the reality that young people, in particular, are having to deal with - unfortunately, from first-hand experience.

There have been many reports and discussions in the news about young people engaging in oral sex more often than the "sex" sex that most of us knew as teenagers. Yes, oral sex "existed" then, but there are many young people today who consider themselves virgins (and admit this proudly) even though they've participated in oral sex.

Times certainly have changed. With statistics being what they are, this type of ignorance is more dangerous to a person's health than they realize.

Let's start to educate ourselves and our children before it's too late.

Thank you to LOVE IN THE TIME OF HERPES for the inspiration behind this post. And a big thank you hug goes out to the blogger for her dedication to educating readers and allowing those of us who have an STD to "come out of the closet."

Happy Hour - Summer Edition

I'm pleased to announce the upcoming one-hour workshops offered this summer at Babies in Bloom, located in Vista, California.

Especially considering that most of the clientèle to this boutique are new or expectant parents, I'm excited to teach fresh parents skills and techniques to use for years to come.

As a Certified Parent Educator through the International Network for Children and Families, I will be offering the following one-hour workshops:

Saturday, July 26th
11:00 am

Participants will be able to learn the difference between feeling-stoppers and feeling-encouragers and how to work with children's feelings in each developmental stage.

Saturday, August 9th
11:00 am

Learn to identify 9 temperaments that can cause behavior challenges. Easy to use skills are taught to manage them.

Enroll today! Class sizes are limited.
*Enrollment is required for each workshop.
$25 per person; $40 per couple.

Please contact Happy Healthy Hip Parenting for more information or to enroll.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

NBC's Baby Borrowers: Harmful to Children

I've recently read on line discussions about the new reality show from NBC called Baby Borrowers. When I first heard about it, my first thought was as to where these "babies" come from. I decided I'd rather not know and tried to forget these type of reality shows are still in existence.

Then, just yesterday, I received a statement from the Zero to Three organization which explained the great risk the parents are putting their child under for the sake of entertainment, and I'm assuming, money.
From the NBC official Baby Borrowers' website:

NBC's upcoming reality series "The Baby Borrowers" is an intriguing new social experiment based on the hit British program that asks five diverse teenage couples -- ages 18-20 -- to fast-track to adulthood by setting up a home, getting a job and becoming caring parents first to babies, toddlers, pre-teens and their pets, teenagers and senior citizens -- all over the course of three weeks.

As the social experiment begins, the five young volunteer couples are asked to literally grow up overnight when they are each given a home in a quiet cul-de-sac outside Boise, Idaho and attend pre-natal classes as each "mother" wears a simulated "empathy" belly to prepare them for the arrival of their "baby."

When a real baby (all aged six-11 months old) appears at their door -- courtesy of five pairs of real volunteer parents (some of whom were teen parents themselves) who entrust their infants to one of the couples -- the nervous, fumbling teens are in for three long, arduous days that make chilling out a distant memory. They must stick to rigid routines, handle the feeding chores, diaper duty and crying jags that might be shared by baby and teens -- all the while under 24-hour supervision by nannies and the real parents who are stationed next door, watching via monitor, and able to step in at any time. Plus, one teen from each of the couples must start a job, ranging from working in a local vet's office to a lumberyard, leaving the other alone as caregiver for the day.

After three surprising, intense days, each teen couple will bid bye-bye to the baby and receive a toddler as their fast-forward adult life progresses. They will have to cope with typical "terrible twos" behavior, including pouty tantrums, potty training and other messes. Three days later, the weary couples must face the reality of parenting several sassy pre-teens/"tweeners" at once -- each with a family pet in tow, adding to their responsibilities.

While the idea behind this show is one that I agree with - Yay for trying to prepare young people for the "reality" of parenthood and even a committed, adult relationship - surely there must be other ways to go about this that don't involve removing a baby (between 6 - 11 months old) from their parents for 72 hours. Here's the official statement from Zero to Three:

“It’s not TV, it’s birth control” is how NBC promotes its new reality series “Baby Borrowers.” On June 25th, the show will be launched on national television as an “intriguing new social experiment that asks five diverse teenage couples to fast-track to adulthood by setting up a home, getting a job and becoming caring parents.” Unfortunately, the NBC series exploits very young children in the pursuit of entertainment.

The babies and toddlers participating in this series will be separated from their parents and caregivers for three days. Unfamiliar teenagers will take care of them during this time. This setup can be very harmful for the babies and toddlers involved. For the past 80 years, many studies have shown unequivocally that babies and toddlers suffer when they are exposed to this kind of prolonged separation from family and left with people that they do not know or love. As all parents know, babies and toddlers are very distressed by separation. They cry, cling, and search for their parents. The longer the separation, the more upset they become. Some children are unable to sleep and refuse to eat. The responses routinely last long past the child’s reunion with the parent. Prolonged separations heighten young children’s separation anxiety and damage their trust that their parents will be available to protect and care for them. Children can become angry and rejecting of their parents after being reunited with them, damaging the fabric of the child-parent relationship.

These findings have become the basis for a new science of early childhood. A robust body of early childhood development and brain research clearly confirms the critical nature of early development. It is a time when young children form attachments with parents and caregivers, develop security and a sense of self, and learn what to expect from the world around them. Studies show that babies and toddlers need to feel safe and secure in order to form a positive sense of self, to form healthy relationships, and to feel confident to explore their world. This sense of security is dependent on the availability and stability of their trusted primary caregivers. Being separated for a three-day period from a parent or trusted, familiar adult, and being thrust into the care of a total stranger who has no experience with the child—how he or she is comforted, likes to be fed, held, etc.—and who has no experience caring for young children at all, can be very stressful for the child.

As a “safeguard,” NBC has hired a nanny to be nearby in case there are concerns. However the nanny is no more familiar to that child than the two strangers who will be caring for him for three days. The nanny does not know him or what his signals mean — such as what he needs when he cries out in the middle of the night, or how he shows he is hungry, tired, or is overwhelmed and needs a break from play. Moreover, even though the parents of these young children are watching via closed-circuit television, the babies are not aware of that and have no way of knowing how long the parents will be gone.

Legitimate social experiments are not conducted on national television or on reality shows. "Baby Borrowers" may have a catchy theme, but it exploits young children with potential harmful consequences. This is no social experiment. It is an extremely misguided endeavor that puts at risk our most vulnerable citizens, young children who need our love and protection.

As a parent, I cannot imagine leaving my baby with someone else for longer than an hour with someone who wasn't family or familiar with childrearing. The whole concept of this show is completely disturbing to me and is is a "trend" in reality television that I hope ceases to continue.

Here's a reality show for you [insert sarcasm]: Let's follow up with these borrowed babies in fifteen years and see "how they're doing." Better yet, let's follow these young "couples" and see where they end up - together or otherwise.

What Utensil Are You?

I haven't posted a personality quiz for quite a while and I absolutely loved this one. Both the subject matter - utensils - and my result (chopsticks) put a smile on my face so I hope it does the same for you.

My result:

You Are Chopsticks

People see you as exotic, unusual, and even a bit intimidating.

You are a difficult person to figure out.

In truth, you try to live a very simple life.

But most people are too frenzied to recognize the beauty of your simplicity.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Sale @ The Land of Nod

Blue 8-Cube Bookcase - 8-Cube Bookcase (Navy) 28

Kids Outdoor Furniture Collection - Adirondack Loveseat            (Antique White) 40

Svan Bouncer - Svan Baby Bouncer (Lavender) 25

Funny Baby Snapsuits - Snapsuit (My Dad's a Geek) 0-6 mos

No Child Left Inside

Richard Louv was the first to give name to a phenomenon we all knew existed but couldn't quite articulate: nature-deficit disorder. Since its original publication, Last Child in the Woods has created a national conversation about the disconnection between children and nature, and Louv's message has galvanized an international movement.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder is the inspiring work that proves children need nature as much as nature needs children.

The new edition includes:

  • A field guide with 100 activities to promote change in your community, school, and family
  • 35 discussion points to inspire people of all ages to talk about the importance of nature in their lives
  • Field notes from the author about the growing No Child Left Inside movement
  • New and updated research confirming that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults
Richard Louv is the chairman of the Children & Nature Network, has served as adviser to the Ford Foundation's Leadership for a Changing World award program and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.

To learn more about the Leave No Child Inside Movement and how communities and organizations around the country are helping to reconnect children with nature, visit the Children & Nature Network.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Baby Planners™ Seal of Approval

I received an official Seal of Approval today from The Baby Planners™ | a Consulting Service for Expecting Parents!

The Baby Planners™ | Seal of Approval

In case you've missed it, they've had some wonderful press these past few months, from Daily Candy to The Washington Post to People Magazine! Check out their press page to read all about it!

They're also going to be working again with Babies R Us. They'll be featuring items from their stores when they showcase The Baby Planners' Five Essential Items for Bringing Home Baby tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25th on the KTLA Morning Show. Of course if you don't live in the Los Angeles area, please check out the link on their site in the coming days to view the segment.

They've also announced that they are now featured columnists on one of the most comprehensive social networking sites for new and expectant parents, The Cradle. Their monthly column "An Inside Look with The Baby Planners" started this month - visit them for the inside scoop on all things fabulous in babydom!

Sex After Babies

Having a baby truly does change your life, especially your sex life. I breastfed for eight months and I can recall not wanting anyone else to put their lips - or hands - on me after feeding every twenty minutes for eight long months. My nipples were sore, I was exhausted and wanted to curl up and sleep for those precious moments between feedings.

Christen Clifford's Baby Love is a one-woman play focusing on her parent's sex life as well as her sex life after babies. She discusses everything from trying to conceive to masturbating while breastfeeding; from the humiliations of postpartum sex to the eroticism of parenthood.

Read more on The Daily Bedpost.

Getting Back to Natur

hessnatur creates pure and natural clothing, with a simple principle: to respect the planet and the people who produce and wear their clothes.

All of their exclusive designs are made from 100% natural fibers. They offer a wide range of natural fibers, from cotton and linen, to silk, wool, and luxurious fibers including cashmere, alpaca and mohair. Their goal is to be 100% organic in everything we make. All of their pure cotton is 100% organic. Only the limited availability of other natural fibers in organic quality has prevented them from being 100% organic. That’s why they are pioneers in helping to develop organic farming.

They also ensure that their natural fibers stay pure throughout the manufacturing process, so that no toxins from dyes, bleaches or other chemicals can harm the earth, or the people who wear or produce the clothes.

The U.S. on line shop for hessnatur will be opening soon. Be the first to learn about the organic clothing they create by signing up for their newsletter, or request a catalog.

Founded more than 30 years ago by European environmentalist Heinz Hess, hessnatur designs organic and natural clothing for women, infants and toddlers. Since their founding, they have been governed by a simple principle: human beings should live in harmony with each other and with nature.

hessnatur is located in Butzbach, a village in a hilly part of Germany, near the Taunus and Westerwald Mountains and the Rhine River. It’s an area of great natural beauty and the people, naturalists at heart, have been leaders in the European environmental movement for over 40 years.

The building where the staff spends their days working is as environmentally sound as they can make it. They climb the stairs to get to their offices. They have no air conditioning, which tests their commitment to the environment every August – German summers can get surprisingly hot. They have a cafĂ© on the top floor, with long tables where they can all share excellent lunches prepared by Thomas. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried his eggplant schnitzel! Their children are welcome; spouses and partners join them for lunch when they can. And they invite you to join them, whenever you’re in the neighborhood.

Respect for the planet and for its people is fundamental to the way they do business, interact with their partners and each other. Their commitment to the quality of the clothing is matched by a commitment to the quality of the lives of those who create the clothing, and to those who wear it.

Clothes are more than what you wear, they’re how you choose to live.

Haute Items of the Week

In researching companies and products that I want to check out, I discovered a great many items to share:

Castle Building Block Set

Kids Crooked House

Sigg Fireman Water Bottle

Blue Reversible Hoodie by Oeuf

Tetrad Shelving

Vine Flourish Decal by Scribble on Walls

Monday, June 23, 2008

Giveaway: Pink Lemonade Bags

Pink Lemonade Bags is giving away a beautiful bag to one lucky reader! The giveaway is being hosted by Notes From My Nest.

Deadline to enter is noon (EST), 7.2.08. Open to US residents only.

Donations Now Accepted

Schedule of a Single Mom:

6:30 am

Alarm goes off. Mom showers and gets dressed and ready for work.

7:00 am

Four-year old wakes up, goes potty, heads to kitchen table for breakfast. Climbs down from his chair to wash his hands.


Four-year old finishes eating & playing. Heads to family room to play some more. Mom spends quality time with son.

7:45 am

Son gets dressed while Mom puts lunches together. Son watches PBS kids.

8:15 am

Mom and son brush teeth, pack up belongings, apply sunscreen, turn off lights and lock door.

8:45 am

Mom and son arrive at first day of Summer Camp. Walk around campus together and check out classroom.

9:00 am

Son says quick goodbye without looking at Mom. Mom stands at doorway watching son interact with new teachers and friends. Mom fights back tears of both joy and sorrow. Realizes she won't see her son for over 48 hours.

9:10 am

Mom arrives at work. Gets down to business.

4:39 pm

Mom heads out of the office to get to meeting with client.

5:10 pm

Mom arrives ten minutes late. Orders first coffee of the day.

5:15 pm

Mom meets with client whom she charges by the hour.

6:30 pm

Mom realizes that she's extended the meeting by fifteen minutes. Packs up belongings and says goodbye to client.

6:35 pm

Mom heads to grocery store where she is surrounded by too many childless couples making out in the aisles. Vows to never grocery shop with future partners. Ever.

7:05 pm

Mom arrives home. Has dinner in front of computer.

8:00 pm

Mom checks email and responds to several inquiries.

9:00 pm

Mom calculates her expenses and realizes she doesn't charge enough to cover her costs.

9:25 pm

Mom realizes that donations can help cover the costs to make up for the discounts offered to parents who are financially challenged.

1:00 am
Mom heads to bed feeling good about helping parents enrich their relationship with their children.

Lessons for Living Longer

Can blue zones help turn back the biological clock? A recent article from NPR discusses the new book from Dan Buettner, entitled, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest

According to Buettner's research, the regions in the world where people live the longest are the Sardinia island in Italy, Okinawa Japan, Loma Linda California, and Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula.

Also interesting to note is that those who eat peanuts on a regular basis live longer than those who don't.

Here are the basic guidelines for living longer:

  1. Create an environment that encourages physical activity
  2. Set up your kitchen in such a way that you're not overeating
  3. Cultivate a sense of purpose
  4. Surround yourself with the right people
There's no need to hunt for the Fountain of Youth. You can simply extend your life by changing your habits and surrounding yourself with people who encourage and support your lifestyle.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In Good Company

Shop CompanyKids®

Foldable Floor Tray Table

Kids' Beach Chair

Skull Hearts and Tattoo Heart Bean Bag Covers

Chooka Rainboots
(They DO come in my size!)

Canvas Cargo Storage Bench and Ottoman

Natural Storage Units

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Baby & Child from Restoration Hardware

I don't get out much and I don't have a baby anymore so I was surprised to receive the Baby & Child catalog from Restoration Hardware. Soft colors and sophisticated designs make up this stylish line of furniture and bedding for the nursery.

Create a Baby Registry and receive $100 off any $300 purchase!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pregnancy Pact

This saddens me:

Teen Girls Make Pact to Get Pregnant

I can't even begin to comment. But, The Blogess did a great job and pretty much covers everything I would've said, were I not drinking decaf espresso (I'll save that story for another day).