Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vote for Me

No, I'm not running for President and I'm not asking for you to select me for Parent of the Year. What I am asking is that you please vote for my blog which is included in the Parenting category of this year's Love This Site Awards presented by Divine Caroline.

You do need to register in order to vote, so I understand if submitting your email address to yet another site is not on your list of priorities, but if you are into blogging, whether it's reading them or writing your own, I would greatly appreciate a vote to put my parenting blog on the map.

My site is included amongst many amazing writers - many of whom I have voted for already - but if you enjoy this site, why not practice your voting skills for the upcoming election. I'm not going to ask you to wear an "I Voted," sticker, but if you ask nicely, I may just create one!

Comment Luv

Comments are what makes the blogs go 'round. Seriously. If it weren't for comments, I'd wonder if anyone was reading these words, although it probably wouldn't make one bit of difference. I would still feel compelled to put my thoughts and opinions down in writing since that's what us writers do.

I was a bit concerned about yesterday's post. I didn't really expect anyone to comment since it was a pretty personal piece that touched on many different subjects, all relating to sex.

Jared, my new BFF, wrote a simple statement in the comment field which has inspired today's link share. If it weren't for my dear friend - and fellow blogger - Jared, I would not know about the following amazingly wonderful sites, blogs and resources:
Just 4 Families - written by a fellow Top Health blogger through Wellsphere
minti - powered by parents
Jorim's list - Not a blog, but a video game content resource site for parents
Will U Sit - a matchmaking service between parents and babysitters
21st Century Dad - doing everything mom does (except breastfeed)
Just Daddys - a place for dads to be dads
And last, but certainly not least, Jared's blog, Dad Thing - a Dad's view on parenting. I love photos and images in blogs, and one that particularly caught my attention was from a hilarious post he wrote called I Wasn't Invited. He has other funny and insightful posts, but check this one out to get a feel for his writing.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Caught in the Act

I taught a class on sex last weekend and shared some rather intimate details about my sexual history. I believe that in order for parents to be comfortable talking to their children about sex in a healthy manner, they too need to feel comfortable talking about their own sexual history and experiences.

I still remember the day that I explained to my mom that touching myself (down there) felt good. I thought I was the first person ever to discover this. I was only five years old at the time. She turned white and immediately reacted by protecting me in every way possible since she had assumed that I had been sexually abused.

She assumed correctly, of course, although I'm not quite sure if that experience could've been classified as abuse, since the person who had "taught" me about sex was someone whom, I choose to believe, had not had a healthy introduction to sex himself (he was a friend's older sister's boyfriend).

As you can tell from reading this post, and many others found on this blog, I have never had a problem talking about my sex life, although I don't startle random people with too much information on a regular basis.

My son discovered my vibrator last night (and my stash of condoms) while I was preparing for my date. I had, up until this point, kept these things in a fireproof safe that is always locked. Even though the safe is kept at a low level in my room (under my nightstand next to my bed) I had no idea that my son would ever be smart enough to find the keys, let alone figure out what they were for.

As I'm doing my hair, I hear my son say, "Mom, what are these?" Immediately, I knew what he was referring to and I quickly removed the items from the safe before answering his question, or had a chance to pick up anything from inside. I simply told him that the things in there were not for children and I put them away, out of his reach. I made sure that he wasn't able to see where I put them but wondered when the right time would be to actually explain what these "secret" items really are.

Since he's nearly five, I too, want to protect him in whatever way possible, especially when it comes to protecting his innocence. I know there will come a time when I will have to talk to him about masturbation and sexual pleasure. For now, I want him continue to be a child, playing and learning as a five-year-old should be doing while I continue to keep my adult toys a secret.

Both of these stories came to mind when I discovered the Masturbation Tips on the Women's Health website. I have come a long way since the days when I thought that masturbation was an experience that was not to be talked about, let alone an activity that a young woman participated in.

I've grown to appreciate my body more and more over the years and I love discovering the ways that I can please others and show others how to please me. Being sexual is a normal and healthy part of being an adult. I have also come to have my favorite techniques when it comes to pleasuring myself, just as others do and I'm the first to tell people that the most intesne orgasms are the ones I give myself but if there's anything I've learned in my twenty+ years as a sexual person, it's that you can't expect someone else to be able to pleasure you if you are unable to pleasure yourself.

If you are looking for ways to heal from sexual abuse, I urge you to join a support group, find a therapist that specializes in sex abuse or share your thoughts anonymously in an online forum. There are many people who share these same experiences, unfortunately, and many others who are available to help you heal.

11 Step Program for Parents-to-Be

I have been discovering many great Moms who Twitter since joining this amazing group of women a few weeks back. Just yesterday, I found this hilarious post from Real Tech Mom and just had to share. Check out her blog and the 11 Step Program for to Complete Before Having Kids.

For many of us, we've found out - through hands on learning - what it truly is like to be a parent. As funny - and true - as this list is, I don't think anyone is ever really prepared for the changes and challenges that becoming a parent brings.

I teach one hour parenting workshops and a 15-hour course on Redirecting Children's Behavior and am amazed at all of the new and expecting parents who are eager to gain some tools and techniques to use with their children when the time comes.

Classes are scheduled in La Mesa at Java Mama and I'm pleased to announce that there will be additional workshops held in North County as well, at the Babies in Bloom boutique on the border of Oceanside and Vista.

Check out the class schedule or calendar of events for more information. I am also able to cater courses and workshops for your mom's group, PTA or at your place of employment. Contact me to set up a customized program that fits your needs and schedule.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Newly Designed Website

I am so excited to announce that my website has a fresh look. Thanks to @mikeward of Mike Ward Design, my Happy Healthy Hip Parenting site is finally, truly hip!

Coming soon - the same fresh look at a new and improved blog site. There's always room for improvement so if there are any suggestions that you may have regarding the website or this blog, please let me know.

Second First Date

After a successful and fun meet 'n greet, my new male friend picked me up last night for our first official date. Let me step back a few days though to share with you how the week went.

Our meet 'n greet was last Sunday and I had a really good time. I thought he had a good time as well. In fact, he had mentioned a "next time," so I assumed that we'd communicate afterward about seeing each other again. Three days went by without hearing from him and I was a bit concerned. I was confused. I was disappointed. It's not easy to get back into the dating scene, especially when it involves searching through numerous online profiles, trying to determine how to reach out to those who peak my curiosity.

On Wednesday afternoon, he finally called but, because I was at work, I wasn't able to take the call. He did leave a message and I found myself laughing out loud when I listened to it. He joked about how he had read a Guy's Rule Book on Dating and noted that it had officially been 72 hours since our first meeting so it was now the opportune time to follow up. Then he simply asked if he could take me to dinner on Saturday and left it at that.

I had to arrange for a babysitter in order to confirm that I could go out but that only took a few minutes of text messaging to schedule. One of my son's former teachers who lives in our neighborhood agreed to come by to hang out with him so I could go on this date. She's married with no children of her own (yet) and is someone my son feels completely comfortable with. What would I do without teachers like her?

Saturday arrives and it's amazingly hot out. I'm sweating already because I'm a little nervous and I'm not quite sure what to wear. I change my outfit a record number of times before finally deciding on a black top and jean skirt. Casual for a first date, I realize, but since I was overdressed for our meet 'n greet, I figured I could get away with it.

I had no idea where he would be taking me but this is what has always intrigued me about dates. Normally, I would be a bit concerned about getting inside someone's car without knowing where our final destination would be, but I eagerly climbed inside when he finally came to pick me up.

He was a few minutes late and didn't mention it when he pulled into the parking lot but since I'm notoriously late for just about everything, I really can't hold that against him.

Once again, he impressed me. We drove up the coast and went to a restaurant overlooking the ocean. It was a beautiful night so we sat outside, enjoyed a few glasses of wine with our meal and laughed, a lot.

We played the back and forth questions game and got to know each other a bit more. Not once was there an awkward moment in the conversation - that is until I asked about why he signed up with eharmony. There was a moment of silence before he revealed that he was looking for a partner; someone he could go home to at the end of the day and share his life with.

He asked the same question of me, and since it was only fair, I admitted that I wasn't quite sure what my goal was or is with eharmony. So far, I met a nice man who truly knows how to treat a woman and plans great date nights and I'm enjoying it. I'm not sure where this will lead or if I will meet more men to spend time with but I'm having fun, I'm making up for lost time and feeling good about myself and the man I'm getting to know. I don't really know if there's reason to think beyond that as far as the future is concerned. I've always been the type of person who lives in the moment, enjoys just being where I am and who I am with.

And I did enjoy where I was last night and who I was with. We went to a concert afterwards (I love live music) and he treated me the entire night, something I was not used to at all. We danced, laughed, touched each other innocently, but often, and when I cut the night short (I was expected home by midnight), I truly did regret having to end the date.

When he dropped me off at home, he got out of the car to walk me to the door. I embraced and thanked him for the fabulous night. I kissed him softly on the lips before saying goodnight and moments later, I fell asleep, smiling.

I thought about him as soon as I woke up, still smiling.

That was the first date that I've been on in a really, long time. In fact, he even asked me during dinner about the last date I had. Sadly, I couldn't even recall when that might have been, or with who. But what I do know is that I will remember last night's date for a long time to come and I look forward to our next.

More Dating Tips:
Dating Tips and Advice

About.com: Dating

Your Romance Guide

Relationship Advice

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Men Marry

I'm feeling it today. The long week and lack of sleep is affecting me and I'm having major writer's block.

I've been scanning articles and blog posts on line all week, trying to gather some inspiration for an original, thoughtful and humorous post. But, I'm afraid I've got nothing.

Writer's block happens to the best of us. Luckily, there's several articles that I did find that not only include great lists (I love lists), but appeal to me as a single woman. I say this because I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for in a man, but I'm pretty sure I'd like to eventually meet a guy comfortable enough to check out the same sites that I do, namely What Men Need to Know and Husbands and Dads.

I'm not saying that guys I meet need to be married with children (seriously), but I do think that there are certain men out there who also want to eventually be in a committed relationship and are looking to meet other men to act as mentors. I appreciate the insight found at Husbands and Dads and of course, the humor found at What Men Need to Know.

If you are a man (or woman) preparing for marriage, or want to confirm the reasons why your married friends are encouraging you to find that special someone, you've found a great resource at the site where it's cool to be a family man.

I was a bit disappointed that Having Sex Wearing Nothing but Socks was not on the list of 15 Things that Guys Do that Drive Women Nuts. Oh well, perhaps I should work on a list of my own.

Oh, and in case anyone's wondering. My "not a date" from last weekend is taking me out for our first date tomorrow evening. I'll have my report Sunday. Now pardon me while I head over to study up on the 10 Surefire First Date Conversation Tips.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And the Winners Are...

Congratulations to Rockin' Mama and Loving Danger. Rockin' Mama won four out of the five giveaways offered last week (winners were selected at random, I swear). She will be receiving the Countdown to My Birth daily calendar, the Halo SleepSack, giggle guide to baby gear and Making Me. Loving Danger won the Banda Bib.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My New Gig

I've been asked to write the blog at my son's new school this year to get the parents and community excited about the Annual Fund that raises money to keep the school going.

I enjoy writing. In fact, it's my first love. My mom taught me how to read before I started kindergarten and around that same time, I began typing short stories on her typewriter and have grown up with a passion for the written word.

As I've grown - and evolved - so has my passion for writing. From poetry to fiction, erotica to my current interest in non-fiction, I've been expanding my horizons for three decades now, moving from one writing project to another.

I'm pleased and honored to have the opportunity to write in yet another capacity, even if it is for a select audience like the parents at my son's school. Even though my son's just beginning his "career" at this school in Pre-K, the children he's in class with every day are going to be his friends for life, or at least that's my hope for him. The school is an independent school and will go through the 8th grade so he will literally grow up with these same kids.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts and inspirations with the parents at school. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue to juggle all of the responsibilities in my life. I have trouble saying no and this project was no exception. I do feel, however, that my belief in the school and my passion for children and families will be a contagious force that continues to help our community grow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trading Up

I wrote about The Great Minivan Trade Up last month and I was excited to learn that Dad of Divas is moving along smoothly in his goals.

He was interviewed recently by his local paper, the Herald Times Reporter. Since the current trade up includes drinks with a fellow blogger, I figured I'd have to come up with something equally exciting to offer as a trade up.

Suddenly, I'm reminded of my first day on the Stanford University campus just a few months back. I was there for the Professional Publishing Course and found myself at the bookstore just hours before checking into my dorm.

Just as I was about to head to the opening class, two young teenage boys stopped me. Or perhaps there were three. They were very shy, looked extremely nervous and a little annoyed at the person who ignored them just seconds before turning to me. I stopped to hear what they had to say.

Apparently, as part of their assignment for their summer class, they were asked to hold a similar experiment in trading up. They offered me a band-aid and asked if I had something of more value in exchange. They even suggested a pen or pencil, which I of course had on hand.

After they thanked me and walked on to the next unsuspecting bystander, I realized that I had actually gotten the better deal here. After all, pens are easy to come by these days. Companies give them away, people leave them behind or you can easily find a woman with a purse who most likely has one.

But, ask your average Joe for a band-aid and you'd be hard-pressed to find one. As a mom, I typically have one in my purse but I was pretty surprised that these young students felt that a pen was of more value. The value of certain material things is subjective.

Back to my point. The blogger, Weaselmomma, who kindly offered her company during Happy Hour along with her recipes for some pretty amazing goodies, realizes the value of these two things. Oh, and she even threw in an autographed photo of herself so you can say you knew her when she becomes famous.

Even if this mini-van trade up does not make her famous, it most certainly will provide her with some new readers. So, to my readers, I now challenge you. What would you trade this little package (approximate value $250) for?

Head on over to The Great Mini-Van Trade Up to offer up your own collection of goodies.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Things have changed since I was in high school and certainly since my parents were teenagers. Young people today are constantly "connected" and social networking has changed the way people meet, date and get to know one another.

One thing that I noticed is that my perception, of myself and the world, has changed quite drastically since I was young.

My life experiences have made me more confident, more comfortable and because of this, more attractive. I'm not afraid to look someone in the eye and say this and I hope that all young women will embrace this knowledge for themselves:
A woman should not expect to feel special because a man treats her well. She should expect a man to treat her well because she is special.

Meet 'N Greet

Today was the first face-to-face meeting with a man I met through eHarmony. I was a bit leery about it since he told me that he wanted to meet somewhere to watch football. Not typically my idea of a first date, I took my chances and decided to meet him at the pub he suggested.

The morning started out pretty slowly. I woke up feeling very groggy, without any caffeine in my house and suddenly not that excited to put myself together to meet someone that I didn't know at a pub to watch a football game.

My dear friend, hairdresser, matchmaker and the person I seek for wisdom and advice was able to help me prepare for this first meet 'n greet. She did my hair, spoke about her relationship and where she is in her life and gave me some helpful advice for first date conversations. I also mentioned, only half-seriously, that if this date went well, she'd have to do my hair every time I was to see this guy!

Even though I knew the dress code was going to be ultra-casual, I decided to get dressed up anyway. I wore a white skirt and a black top with comfortable and casual black wedges that had a strap around the ankles. I have to admit, with my hair done by a professional and a sexy outfit, I felt pretty damn good walking into that testosterone-filled bar on my own.

Seconds after I approached the bar, I see him. Yes, I can tell from the back of his head that it's him, except he's talking to an attractive waitress and doesn't appear to be looking for anyone. I watch from a few feet away, try to make eye contact with the blondie who's captured his attention, and then find myself ordering a beer. Their conversation continues so I head to the bathroom, take my time taking care of business and return to the bar to find - they're still talking.

Already, I'm annoyed. I wanted to leave but then, I sat down, took a few sips of my beer and waited for him to notice me. He spotted me as soon as he turned back towards the bar. I made a passive-aggressive statement about how I had thought that was him. He didn't dare ask me how long I had been sitting there.

We walked to a table in the back near the window so he could see the game. Yep, he picked the table and his seat so that he could see the large-screen TV behind me. What was I thinking?

Actually, all of this is quite funny and at that time I'm thinking to myself, I better not be expected to pay for my half of this so-called date. Just when that thought enters my mind, he tells me that this is not a date. It's simply a meet 'n greet. He actually uses those words so I'm suddenly feeling less pressure to have this whatever-you-wanna-call-it fulfill any of my expectations. Not that I had any to begin with. I was actually telling my friends that I was a bit concerned that this guy might be a psycho or a freak of some sort which is typically the case (in my mind) with men who add their profile to an online dating site. I realize I'm being a hypocrite here, but bear with me.

After ordering our meal and chatting for a few minutes, it dawns on me that not once has he looked up at the television. I look back at the TV only to realize that his team is not even playing. They have the channel to another game and so he is forced to actually pay attention to me. This is when things get interesting.

We take turns asking each other questions as if this were an interview of some sort and before I know it, we're talking about strip clubs, rumors of him being gay and both of us having parents that have been married for around 35 years.

We talk and laugh for quite a while and I realize that while there's no sparks or real butterflies or any of that gushy stuff that I used to feel when I was young (and naive), I do notice how comfortable I am, how confident we both appear to be and how nothing about what he says seems to frighten me. I do think I may have scared him a bit when I mentioned that I drive a mini-van, but these are the kind of things one needs to share before getting too involved.

There's no awkward moments at all in the conversation and when he suggests that we go down to the art festival taking place in Old Town, I readily agree. He politely opens the car door for me (which is a company car, by the way). We drive down the road and suddenly, he asks the question that I'm least prepared for.

Yes, the conversation turns to the online dating scene and how I ended up there. Luckily, this is a first for both of us and I'm slightly encouraged by the fact that he was a bit concerned that I'd be a psycho or a freak of some sort.

The art festival is amazing. I buy a small, beautiful box which I intend to use for jewelry. We look at the unique art and end up inside a candle shop. We're both equally eager to dip our own candles. His, of course, turned out much better than mine, but he is an artist after all.

As we're walking down the street, a woman stops me to ask where I get my hair done. She's admiring my new style (thank you, Cynthia) and I give her my hairdresser's phone number since she's seriously wanting to know where I had it done. My date, I mean, my new male friend, teases me, calling me a celebrity. I'm blushing but feeling pretty damn good.

Overall, the date - I mean meet 'n greet - turned out well. We share many of the same beliefs and values and had plenty to talk about. He did mention a 'next time' so we'll just have to wait and see what adventures he has planned then.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How to Talk to Your Children about Sex

Yesterday, I taught my first parenting workshop on Talking about Sex with Children and Teens. I think, for the most part, the audience was pleased since they had many questions and I was able to answer them all. Actually, I take that back. Several of those who attended the workshop ended up answering a few questions so I feel as though I should've taken a bit more control as far as keeping to the course outline.

Unfortunately, I did run out of time and wasn't able to cover everything I had hoped to. I do have copies of the course outline, the stats on STDs and teen pregnancy and of course, the questionnaire that many of those who attended were interested in receiving. 

The conference itself was amazing. Keynote speaker Max Simon reminded me a bit of my son and I could actually see glimpses of my four-year-old years into the future, having the same sense of himself and the world. It was great to see this successful and responsible young man sharing his childhood memories with us and what he learned growing up with parents who used the Redirecting Children's Behavior model of parenting in their homes.

Susie Walton, founder of Indigo Village and the person behind this first of its kind conference brought me to tears when she spoke about her vision for this event and of course, the Village itself which she opened a few years ago.

The rooms were filled with parents of all ages, with children and grandchildren of varying backgrounds. What was so inspiring, was that each and every one of us - whether presenting or attending - were there for the same reason: to bring peace into our homes, our hearts, our relationships, and our lives.

If you are looking to reduce the stress in your home or are anxious to create a more loving and balanced relationship with your children, spouse or parents, please seek out a Certified Parent Educator in your area. There's hundreds of us waiting to meet you.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Does Love Mean?

The one thing I miss about my marriage is my in-laws. That's right. I actually enjoyed spending time with my son's paternal aunt and grandma. I don't hear from them anymore, except on rare occasion that Grandma J forwards me an email that she wants to share.

They're almost always those emails that require you to forward them on to a certain number of people in order to guarantee your health, happiness, luck or prayers answered.

Whichever the case may be, this is my version of forwarding the message on. This one was worth sharing:

What Love means to a 4-8 year old:
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?'

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca - age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6
"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7
"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss." Emily - age 8
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Bobby - age 7
"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." Nikka - age 6
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle - age 7
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." Cindy - age 8
"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine - age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." Chris - age 7
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4
"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7
"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." Mark - age 6
"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8

And the final one:

A four-year-old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy replied, "Nothing. I just helped him cry."
Now, don't forget to forward this to at least five of your friends...or else.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Making Me

Author Julie B. Carr wrote a pregnancy activity book for big brothers and sisters (ages 5 - 10). With four colored pencils, a 24" Mighty Measuring Tape and a page by page pregnancy journal and countdown to help older siblings prepare for the big day.

Not every big brother or sister is a toddler. This book is designed specifically for the older sibling to help promote understanding, involvement, and bonding with the baby-to-be.

Have fun doing your very own activities!
Includes something for siblings to do - coloring, counting, measuring, jumping, journaling, and more - every day for nine months.

If you'd like to register to win a signed copy of Making Me: The Pregnancy Activity Book for My Big Brother or Sister! - either for your own children or as a gift for someone you know and love, simply include the due date of Baby #2 in the comment field and include an email address so I can let you know if you have won.

One winner will be selected randomly.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Halo SleepSack

The HALO SleepSack wearable blanket is the nation's best-selling wearable blanket for babies. It is intended to lessen the likelihood that a baby can get entangled with clothing and loose bedding during sleep.

The SleepSack wearable blanket is sleeveless and is worn over pajamas or a t-shirt to take the place of loose blankets. It's the only product to carry the First Candle / SIDS Alliance #1 Safe Sleep Product Gold Seal.

Recently, it earned the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths' (CSID) Gold Seal.
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, HALO Innovations has a singular mission: to help create a healthy and safe sleep environment for people of all ages. New this season are the brown tones that have become popular in the infant bedding and apparel marketplace.

To register to win a beautiful Mocha Velboa SleepSack (Small for infants 0 -6 months), please include your baby's date of birth (or due date) in the comments below. Be sure to include your email address so we can notify you if you win.

One winner will be selected at random one week from today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Invest in Your Community!

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting offers unique parenting workshops based on the Redirecting Children's Behavior program.

Your support makes it possible for us to work with families of all income levels.

Invest in your community today! Begin by checking out this logo gear that comes in variety of styles and sizes.

My personal favorites are the Messenger/Diaper Bag, the License Plate Frame, Bumper Sticker, and of course, the Ceramic Travel Mug.

giggle guide to baby gear

Chronicle Books exhibited at ABC Kids Expo for the first time this year. Author Ali Wing was signing copies of her new book, giggle guide to baby gear. Ali is the founder of giggle - a web site and national chain of baby boutiques offering the best products on the market for families with children.

Let the experts at giggle make it easy to choose the baby gear that's right for your hip family. The giggle guide to baby gear features handy checklists that let you know what you need to buy, and when to buy it. It also provides detailed guidance on big-ticket purchases from cribs to car seats.

To win an autographed copy of the giggle guide to baby gear, simply leave a comment here with the due date or birth date(s) of your children.

A winner will be selected at random in one week.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Banda Bib

Today's blogoversary giveaway comes courtesy of Bazzle Baby, based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Banda Bib by Bazzle Baby, offers something different, really different. A bib that's designed specifically with your dribbling baby in mind! It's adjustable, fashionable and made with 100% soft cotton fabrics free of harsh chemicals.

One size fits all with these Banda Bibs that fit close to the chin to absorb moisture, and help eliminate soreness and chafing. They're great for teething and fashionable feeding since they accesorize baby outfits.

Winner of the iParenting Media Award, and many others, Bazzle Baby also offers Big Bibs, Burpers, Bitsy Bibs, Squeaky Shoes, and Paci Clips.

If you'd like to win a Banda Bib with a pink & white butterfly pattern, simply include your child's date of birth in the comment field and be sure to include your email address (which won't be published).

Winners will be selected at random at the end of one week. Be sure to stop by tomorrow, and the rest of the week to register to win some additional prizes offered by some great companies that were exhibiting at last week's ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Countdown to my Birth

Our first giveaway this week is a countdown calendar/pregnancy journal for new parents preparing for the birth of their baby. Countdown to My Birth: A Day-by-Day account from your baby's point of view is a page-a-day calendar that covers the forty weeks from conception to birth.

I was lucky enough to have met author Julie B. Carr in Las Vegas last week as she explained to me the idea behind this calendar. Her publisher, Meadowbrook Press, kindly offered this pregnancy journal (with stickers) to us to give away for our blogoversary celebration!

Each day will help expectant parents enjoy the milestones along the journey, from discovering the baby's first heartbeat to the point in which baby is able to open his eyes and begin to look around.

This makes a great gift, not only for new parents to learn more about their baby's development in utero, but for any parent-to-be.

To register to win, simply comment below with the expectant due date of your new baby or a baby you know and love. Don't forget to include your email address so I can follow up with the winner. Email addresses will not be published.

One winner will be selected at random at the end of the week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Other Woman

There are two types of women in the following scenario. Those who have been cheated on by a man and those who are the other woman. I have little respect for both of them if they are aware of the man's behavior. Continuing a relationship based on lies and deceit is not healthy. I encourage any woman who is involved with a cheating man to move on. She deserves the chance to find a true relationship built on honesty, devotion and mutual values.

I follow Lena Chen at many of the social sites she is a part of. I first learned about her through Twitter and immediately grew fond of her graphically detailed, and honest commentary about her sex life over at her blog Sex & the Ivy. As a Harvard graduate, Chen is educated and well aware of the reputation she has built for herself. What I admire most about her is her openness and her ability to express herself without concern as to who she may offend with her language or the details that she shares.

I was pleased to also discover her at The Frisky, one of my favorite sex blogs. The other day she wrote about her experience as the other woman and how she went about revealing her relationships to the women that were committed to the man involved.

While I don't always agree with her or relate to many of her experiences, I do think that what she has to say in this particular article serves to empower women everywhere to raise the standards that they expect from the men in their lives.

The Women, is a new movie produced by Mick Jagger and Diane English, who also directs the women-only cast. Diane is also the screenwriter of this story of Mary Haines, a woman who is forced to deal with the wide range of emotions experienced from the most ultimate betrayal: that of her cheating husband followed by an even more astounding deception from her close, female friend.

Without a single man in this all-star cast, The Women is bound to be the ultimate chick flick. Betrayal of any kind is a powerful thing and changes a person's life one way or the other. Having women in my life that I rely on to keep my most intimate secrets and desires, I would have to argue that being betrayed by one of them would kill me in a more devastating way than a cheating man ever could.

Featuring Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annette Bening, Bette Midler, Cloris Leachman and Debra Messing, the gossip and buzz surrounding this dramedy should be enough incentive for women everywhere to be the first ones to see it for themselves.

Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton: Live from New York

Since NBC had this video removed from YouTube due to copyright issues, I feel the need to share it with those who were not able to watch Saturday Night Live last night.

I too agree that Sarah Palin looks just like Tina Fey so it's great to see her come back ato SNL to play the woman who stormed onto the political scene just weeks ago and keeps on surprising us.

Chick Flicks that Guys Will Enjoy

I have a hard time believing that most guys would enjoy a chick flick but I do know that there are those who will sit through them in order to placate their date.

Here, then, are the top ten chick flicks for guys:
  1. When Harry Met Sally
  2. Breakfast at Tiffany's
  3. Once
  4. Amelie
  5. Say Anything
  6. The Break-Up
  7. Legends of the Fall
  8. The Notebook
  9. Thelma & Louise
  10. There's Something About Mary
Now, I don't know about you, but there are a few on this list that I have to argue wouldn't be considered chick flicks in my book. There are even more that I feel some men would not be willing to sit through - even with a promise of hot sex afterward.

What's your opinion?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In the News

These following articles in today's San Diego Union-Tribune caught my attention:

What stories from your local newspapers should parents around the nation be aware of?

One Year Blogoversary!

An entire year has gone by since I first started this blog. It's evolved quite a bit in these twelve months, as have I, and I thank each and every one of you for taking time out of your day to stop here, visit and perhaps leave a comment.

Comments are what keeps us bloggers going so even if it's to disagree or to ask a quick question, I truly appreciate what readers have to say.

In honor of the one year anniversary of the blog and my company, Happy Healthy Hip Parenting, I will be hosting several giveaways and contests over the next week. Great prizes were donated from some amazing companies that I discovered at the ABC Kids Expo last week in Las Vegas.

If you'd like to learn more about the upcoming baby gear giveaways, you can subscribe to the blog via email, RSS Feed or text messaging!

You won't want to miss out on your chance to win so be sure to stop by every day next week.

And, by the end of this month, a newly designed website will roll out over at the Happy Healthy Hip Parenting company site. I'll launch the new design over here, so keep your eyes peeled for the wonderful graphics created by Mike Ward, friend and colleague whom I met over at Twitter.

There are many wonderful people I've met on line over the last year, so again, thanks to everyone for your support and interest.

Dating Experiment

It wasn't until I read Cindy Lu's The Four Man Plan that I realized that dating is a science. She clearly demonstrates, with her own examples and examples of others' personal experiences, how the idea of dating changes drastically when you look at it as an experiment as opposed to a chore.

Many people, particularly in my situation (divorced, parent & thirty-something) have negative views of dating at this stage in our lives. Recently, thanks to Cindy and her brutal assessment of my dating past and how I need to change in order to have relationship success, I have signed myself up over at eHarmony. That's right. I am now involved in an on line dating site, which is much more involved than I had ever thought.

I heard of many people meeting through this particular site and marrying. I was always skeptical of dating sites and hesitated when I discovered the cost involved in putting my profile on line for all the eHarmony men to see.

Over the last few weeks, I've discovered more about myself and my wants and needs than ever before. The personality profile and the questions you are asked to answer told me a lot about how others perceive me and the positive and negative impressions that I may leave with others.

Through a series of question and answers sent back and forth in a program called Guided Communication, you are able to really delve deeper into a person's values, beliefs, lifestyle and personality.

While it's important to be attracted to someone's profile pictures, the next step and those beyond, really allow you to get to know someone pretty intimately before ever deciding if you want to pursue a relationship or even a first date.

I'm not trying to sell the site to anyone, in fact, I'd be pretty embarrassed if any one of my readers just so happened to come across my profile on the site, but I do plan on updating my progress here as I get to know some pretty amazing people, whether or not we end up dating in "real life."

Wish me luck!

Friday, September 12, 2008

America's Most Attractive Cities

San Diego sits at #2 on the list of America's Most Attractive Cities put out by Travel & Leisure. I have to agree that the majority of the men and women here are quite attractive.

Is it the amazing weather here that just makes everyone less stressed and more at ease? Is there something in the water? If so, I'm going to be sure to start drinking it more often.

Where does your city fall on the list?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Single Parents Connection on Facebook

I joined Facebook back in July, when I attended the Professional Publishing Course at Stanford University. My colleagues from different parts of the world insisted that I join and needless to say, it was a wise decision to finally participate in this networking site for adults.

Unlike MySpace (a circus in comparison), Facebook has clean pages and fun applications that let your contacts know a little more about you and allow you to customize your pages or upload photos, an RSS feed from your blog - or anyone else's - and chat with those who you are networking with by adding them as a friend.
David, over at Dad's House, invited me to join the Single Parents Connection group not that long ago. I was thrilled that he and Rachel - of Single Mom Seeking - put together this group of bloggers who all chat about life as a single parent.

If you're a single parent, you won't want to miss out on this opportunity to connect with others who know exactly what you're going through.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Proud Body

I wish I had known about this belly-casting kit when I was pregnant with my son. I loved being pregnant and was even brave enough to wear a bikini on the beach when I was nearly six months pregnant (and unable to see my feet).

Proud Body is the original creator of these pregnancy art kits which are keepsake works of art which capture that precious time when baby was lovingly carried inside mommy's belly.

The Belly Cast Kit comes with everything you need including detailed instructions. It takes just 30 - 40 minutes and, after its dry, you can decorate it in any way imaginable!

You can also purchase the
Belly Painting Kit to turn your pregnant belly into a work of art by painting right on your belly. Or you can easily apply one of the Tummy Tatts, and show off that expecting belly!

Visit the online gallery to find inspirational ideas for your own creation.

Purchase your belly cast, painting kit, or temporary tattoos today!


I am amazed at all of these beautifully designed products that I never knew about when my son was young enough to use them.

Combi makes a 3-in-1 high chair, booster chair and toddler seat that is trendy in design and functional, lightweight and easy to use and move.

Don't miss their adorable activity walker (which looks like a car) or their pod bouncer (available in three colors: mandarin, chili or wasabi).

Itzy Ritzy

Itzy Ritzy introduces this luxe, eco-friendly line that is all the rage for discerning parents and tots.

Besides their infant seat covers, their product line also includes shopping cart & high chair covers, designer blankets, and eco-friendly burp cloths.

Even the packaging is visually appealing. The items come inside sleek paint cans for an additional design element that caters to those hip parents and grandparents looking for a unique product as unique as their child.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sycamore Kids

One of my dear friends had this hammock for her little baby and I admired it before hearing her rave about how effective it was for getting him to sleep at night and nap time.

With three different options for hanging it around your home or nursery, this is a great bassinet, bouncer, and baby carrier all in one.

Internationally safety tested, and easy to use, this hammock does exactly what you need it to - to settle and calm your baby - helping him or her “sleep like a baby”.

Stay At Home Dad

What else have I missed? With a total of 344,737 views at the time of my discovery, chances are you've probably already seen this. Or heard it. Or both. I love it. I especially enjoy the part where he "straps in" his baby into the car! Hilarious.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chronicle Books: Parenting & Kids

Chronicle Books, from San Francisco, has some great titles for parents, kids and everyone in between.

This is their first year exhibiting at ABC Kids Expo, but I have a feeling that their booth will expand next year, as well as their fan base!

Here's just a small sample of their latest titles for parents:

Little Fit

Little Fit sent me a postcard prior to ABC Kids Expo. Right away, I knew I'd feature them here since their hats are perfect for the trendy parent (and their tots).

Husband and wife team, Julie and John Arata started Little Fit which is a collection of high quality, hip hats with an emphasis on FIT! Not to mention their great designs!

They're fun, fashionable and certainly a great style for the modern children of hip, happenin' parents!

These are a few of the styles they have to offer:

All I can really say about this new company is that their products are really f-in' cool. Not to be missed! Available in two sizes: Little or Big.

OnTray by 42 Kids

OnTray effortlessly attaches to the shopping cart's handlebar allowing your child to easily feed themselves while your hands are free to shop!

When shopping with young children, holding a snack for them while pushing a shopping cart, are you wondering, "Isn't there an easier way?" Or, "I have a fabric cover for the seat of the cart, but I need a place for my child to easily grab their snacks, so I can shop!"

This is a small, inexpensive product which will make all Moms and Dads wonder why they didn't think of it!


Innobaby's Natural Seat Topper is a multi-use seat topper designed to keep babies and toddlers more comfortable in their strollers, car seats, swings and more.

Designed for babies with eczema and sensitive skin, Natural Seat Topper features an earth-friendly fabric, ramie, which is a premium natural fiber known for its absorbency, breathability, and durability. Natural Seat Topper's patented design offers improved ventilation in addition to the natural benefits of ramie fabric. This combination helps reduce the chance of overheating and relieves the discomfort from perspiration. Additionally, ramie fabric naturally offers resistance to bacteria and stains.

Natural Seat Topper is available in a variety of trimming patterns.