Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rock'n Deals from Rock'n Sprouts

Tomorrow is the first day to take advantage of the amazing five-day offer from Rock'n Sprouts. Take 25% off of your entire order when you use coupon code YOHOHO25. Here are a few of the items I added to my wishlist, some for my son and some as gifts for other lucky beans:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Makes Jeff a Happy Healthy Hip Parent

I met Jeff Tincher through Twitter, when I commented - sarcastically - to one of his tweets.

Jeff writes over at Daddy's Toolbox when he's not working (at home, or at the office). During the day, he is a developor and consultant for Springhouse, a computer training and consulting company, located in Exton, Pennsylvania.

Jeff has two great children. His son Logan is 4 and daughter, Kaleigh, is 2.

I asked Jeff several questions about his role as a parent and he shared several stories about his relationship with his children.
1) What makes you happy, as a parent?

I like watching my son get excited when I tell him he has done a good job or like the other day when I told him that I took his drawings and the paper that he wrote the alphabet on to my work. I told him I had my friends (coworkers) use it to help them spell! He was so excited. As for my daughter, she and I have the Father/Daughter bond going. We rub noses at night - that is our thing!

2) What is your proudest parenting moment?

I've had a few proud parenting moments so far in my children's 4 and 2 years of life. There are things that I can't believe our son knows how to do, so that makes me very proud. Like the other day he was writing all of this alphabet, his name and some other things. He's really good with that! He then was drawing pumpkins. I watched him draw a perfect pumpkin, down to the 2 triangle eyes, nose and mouth! I was shocked.

3) What is your biggest parenting challenge?

Dealing with whining. I immediately go insane at the first whine. :-)

4) What’s your favorite family-friendly restaurant?

We like Red Robin in Exton, PA. Oh EXCEPT when the "BIRD" is there. It scares my kids!

5) What advice would you give to new or expecting parents?

Sometimes you just have to "give in" or else it's a battle with your kids. Like right now, I'm listening to my wife put our four-year-old to bed. He is fussing and screaming that it is NOT a school night. Well, it's Monday night so, "Yes it is!" I would have caved in by now and given in. My wife is more stubborn and is up there trying to make him understand.

6) Who or where do you go to for parenting advice?

I mainly ask our other friends with kids. I've set up a group on Facebook for the parents of kids that go to our daycare. It's starting to help. We are building a support network.
I think it's a fabulous idea to start an online support group of parents that you know. Playdates and playgroups were first created for this same reason, but it's great to have a place to go 24 hours a day to ask questions and chat with other adults after the kids are asleep - or during nap time.

What makes you a happy, healthy, hip parent?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Can You Say Oliebollen?

Have you ever participated in a shopping spree? Those that I've seen on TV during game shows of the past created the shopaholic in me. The energy and excitement of trying to get as many items into a shopping cart in a limited number of minutes gets me all worked up just thinking about it.

Oliebollen, an online shopping site filled with hip items for cool kids, is hosting a Shopping Spree like no other.

Starting this morning and going on for the next five days (Nov. 28 - Dec. 2), Oliebollen is offering an Arm Chair Holiday Shopping Sweep. They promise five full days of special deals, freebies and of course, a whole lot of fun.

Every day of this event, five free items will be offered on the site, only you'll have to click through the site to discover which ones can be added to your shopping cart at no additional cost. Of course, there are rules and tips for this great promotion, so head on over to Oliebollen to learn more, shop in your pajamas and stock up on fantastic toys, books, clothes, furniture and other cool gifts for babies and kids.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

This year, I'm grateful for:

My son
- He's nearly five and he is becoming such a mature young man. He makes me laugh on a regular basis and inspires me to be the best mom I can possibly be. I'm so proud of him and all he's learning and accomplishing.

My son's teachers
- There are many teachers who work with my son on a weekly basis. From the two teachers in his classroom, to the
Spanish, Art, Music, PE and Enrichment classes, these amazing educators put so much time and energy into each and every child that they teach.

My parents
- My mom and dad are always there for me when I need them. They've flown out to San Diego so many times since my son was born that I couldn't possibly pay them back for all the miles and airport adventures they've experienced on our behalf. They're flying out again in mid-December and I couldn't be more thrilled to have them here for both Christmas and my son's 5th birthday.

My sister
- She's put up with me for years and still manages to listen, offer advice and know me better than anyone ever could. She's a great mo
m, a super-cool aunt, a wonderful friend, fabulous wife, and an amazing massage therapist!

My ex-husband - He's put up with my moods and listened to my opinions whether he's agreed with me or not (mostly not). He's always there for our son and helps me out when I truly need it. He's a fantastic father and I love seeing my son's face light up when he gets dropped off at his dad's house or when he gets picked up from mine.

My co-workers - These are the women I see on a daily basis. They've seen me through a wedding, pregnancy and supported me through my divorce. They have truly become great friends and mentors who have guided me in my career and helped me in "real" life.

My colleagues - For providing emotional support, offering suggestions and allowing me to do the same.

My clients - For trusting me with their parenting issues and allowing me to work closely with their families and recommending me to other moms and dads.

My readers - I'm truly grateful for my readers, who loyally visit the sites I write at (here, Intent, and the Examiner) and leave comments, provide great feedback and share my site with others.

My friends - For those who follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or who know me in the offline world, I could not have gotten through the last few years without them, especially those who listened to me bitch, complain and allowed me to share my random thoughts at wee hours in the morning.

What and who are you thankful for this year? If you have a blog, add yours to the I am Thankful Meme, hosted by Mommy Community.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Makes Amy a Happy Healthy Hip Parent

I met Amy through our connection on both Twitter and Facebook. She joined the Happy Healthy Hip Parenting group and introduced me to two great sites that she is a part of. She is a blogger at ParentSphere and works behind the scenes for Great Au Pair.

Align Left

Amy is mom to three-year-old Hailey. She was kind enough to take some time to answer some questions about her experience as a parent and offers some great advice for expecting parents.

1) What makes you happy, as a parent?

Oh my, so many things! I look at the world so differently now. I notice my surroundings more because I see them through my daughter’s eyes. I mostly love having someone to teach. It’s a fantastic feeling knowing that she’s learning something new each day and I play a big part of that.

2) What’s the healthiest thing about your relationship with your child?

We are very open with each other. Granted, she’s only three, but we communicate with each other very well. I hope we can keep the lines of communication open for a long, long time.

3) Kids say the cutest things. What is the funniest story you recall about your daughter?

I probably Tweet something new and cute she says everyday! One of the funniest things I always tell people is when she was just under two years old and she needed a diaper change. I told her it was time for the diaper change and she patted her butt, looked up at me and matter-of-factly said, “Nope, stays in my diapee.” That was the first time she really started showing attitude.

4) What is your proudest parenting moment?

Tough question. I have many “proud” parenting moments, hard to pick out just one. I feel very proud when we’re out and she uses her manners. I always feel good about that. She’s very polite and that is important to me.

5) What is your biggest parenting challenge?

Picking my battles and being consistent. I want to maintain openness with her throughout the years, especially when she’s school-aged. My goal is to have her always feel comfortable confiding in me, no matter what.

6) What’s your favorite family-friendly restaurant?

Oh, we LOVE dining out. I suppose my absolute favorite is Red Robin in Plainfield, IL. We go there a lot. My daughter gets her balloons, the food is good and we always have a fun time.

7) What’s your favorite activity you enjoy with Hailey?

Just being out and about. I love taking her to the zoo, museums and to the park.

8) What advice would you give to new or expecting parents?

Be prepared to be totally unprepared! Each day, each stage is something different. Embrace it. I never believed it would go as fast as it has but here I am, with a three-year-old already and I was once wishing the baby stages away! Soak it all in, ladies.

9) Who or where do you go to for parenting advice?

I generally consult friends in online communities like Twitter and The Motherhood. Chatting with friends over the phone and running this or that by them. My mom. Of course I still go to her too.

10) How would your daughter describe you?

She’s still unbiased. Though, I’m pretty sure if you asked her, she would tell you that I’m the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spending the Holidays On Your Own

Being single is never as lonely as when holiday season is here. Being a single parent is awful when our children spend the day with their other parent. Luckily, we're not alone. There are others out there who share this same predicament and there are great resources that provide support and suggestions for those of us spending holidays alone, or at least without our child.

A website that I just discovered today, Solo Dad, posted a wonderful list - 5 Ways to Have a Great Solo Thanksgiving.

For more great everyday tips and articles on single parenting, visit these great sites:
Single Mom - for single moms by choice or by chance
Single Mothers - resources for single moms
Single Moms - this site is for all single parents (both single moms and dads)
Single Father - resources for single dads
Just 4 Dads - resources and legal advice for single fathers

Are you a single parent looking to date another single parent - who understands your issues and schedule? There are several sites that offer dating services for single moms and dads:

Single Parent Meet
Single Moms and Dads
Single Parent Love
Single Parent Match
Single Parent Matcher
Parent Fishing - they'll hook you up!
Single Parents Mingle

If you're a single parent and have success stories - or horror stories - to share about these sites, please let us know.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sexiest Films of All Time

While I have only seen 23 out of the 50 movies listed in Entertainment Weekly's 50 Sexiest Movies Ever, I do have to say that I agree with many of their selections.

Those on my top ten list include:
  1. Unfaithful
  2. Cruel Intentions
  3. Secretary
  4. Dirty Dancing
  5. Like Water for Chocolate
  6. Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  7. A Walk on the Moon
  8. Before Sunset
  9. Swimming Pool
  10. How Stella Got Her Groove Back
You'll have to pick up this week's issue to see which other titles made their list. Sadly, my all-time favorite film, The Thomas Crown Affair, with Renee Russo and Pierce Brosnan, did not make it to the list.

Which films would you include on your top ten list?

Related article:
Sexiest Men Alive

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dating Tips

Yahoo! Personals offers great tips for dating and this holiday season, I'm definitely going to be taking advantage of these suggestions.

Dating Coach David Wygant offers articles and provides great examples for dating inspiration.

Since singles have a more difficult time with being on their own during the holiday season, it makes sense that more singles put themselves out there prior to Christmas so they're not standing under the mistletoe alone.

David's Five Reasons Why the Holiday Season is the Best Time to Date:
1) People have taken year end inventories
2) Christmas shopping
3) No one wants to spend New Year's Eve alone
4) Unlimited holiday events
5) Plan your own events

He also offers suggestions to single moms on how to jumpstart their dating lives under the following scenarios:
1) How to meet a man while your child is having a temper tantrum
2) You're trying to negotiate with your child in the grocery store
3) Meeting a single dad and his kids for a playdate
4) Online dating techniques
5) How to write your online profile
6) What not to say when you're on a date

David Wygant offers dating bootcamps and is also the author of Always Talk to Strangers: 3 Simple Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Makes Carla a Happy Healthy Hip Parent

I met Carla through our Single Parents Connection on Facebook. She’s a single mother of three. Her oldest, Bud, is 13. Kaitybug is 11 and Miss E is 6.

Like many single parents, Carla works numerous jobs. She is a substitute teacher, an on-air talent for Froggy 106.7 and a Recovery Coordinator for her church.

Carla took some time out of her hectic schedule to talk about what makes her a happy, healthy, hip parent.

1) What makes you happy, as a parent (besides when your kids finally fall asleep)?

As a single mom I’m not ashamed to admit it’s having a night off!

2) What’s the healthiest thing about your relationship with your children?

I let them feel what they feel. I was taught “cry today, get up tomorrow,” but I want my kids to know that it’s ok to have a bad day. I want them to live life instead of plowing through it.

3) Kids say the cutest things. What is the funniest story you recall about each of your children?

Miss E. is the comedian of the family but her most recent funny moment was this Halloween. She was a bee… “so I can sting the boys.”

When Bud was in sixth grade we started talking about his future and how to achieve his goals. He wanted to get online and look at colleges so I showed him how; five minutes went by and I heard “Mom I’ve found the college for me!” I asked how he knew it was the one to which he replied, “Because it has two floors in the cafeteria!” I was quickly reminded that he’s still very much a kid.

Kaitybug likes to tell on me. I got pulled over by a police officer for speeding and while he was standing at the window asking for my information she piped up and said “Hey Mom, does he know you ran that red light too?”

4) What is your biggest parenting challenge?

Crawling into bed at night and not having someone there to fall into.

5) What’s your favorite family-friendly restaurant (name and city, please).

Casa Mare in Fort Wayne, IN.

6) What’s your favorite activity you enjoy with your children?

It’s different with each of them…I love when I put Miss E. to bed and we say our prayers. She is truly selfless in those moments. With Kaitybug she and I are growing closer and I’m watching her become a young lady. I love to listen to her talk about her friends while she helps me cook. And my son…my favorite thing to do with him is take him out to eat alone. I get his full attention and he gets mine. It means a lot to him, which in turn means a lot to me.

7) How would your children describe you?

A few weeks ago we had a meeting at church which my son and I were apart of. We each had assigned seats so he sat at the back of the room and I was at the front. At the beginning of the meeting, we were asked if anyone wanted to share good things going on or blessings in their life. A few people stood up and shared and then my son stood up. He said with a trembling lip, “I am so thankful my mom is my mom. She taught us about God and that changed our life. My mom is my hero.”

My children and I have been through so much in their short time on this Earth and that night he gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, they see my heart above my past. They hear my love above my words. The feel God above the moment.

8) Who or where do you go to for parenting advice?

I have an inner circle of friends that know my heart and know my past. They aren’t afraid to tell me the truth and I have the utmost respect for each of them so I turn to them often. But before any of that, I pray. I simply pray.

9) What advice would you give to new or expecting parents?

Your job is to be their parent not their friend.

10) What is your proudest parenting moment?

When someone tells me how much they enjoy being around my kids, not because of my parenting but because of the people they are…I think my kids are awesome and love to hear when others see them that way too!

Carla is an inspiration to all parents and I truly believe that her kids are the wonderful people they are because of her. Children learn by example, and through hard work, discipline and balancing work and family successfully, Carla’s three children are just as successful; just as happy, healthy and hip.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Precious Moments

by Steve Goodier

A golf enthusiast listed three mental techniques to improve one's golf game. And the great part is this: these techniques not only help to improve a game, they can help all of us live better lives. They are mental attitudes that can help you and me live more in the moment and less in the past or the future. Here they are… golf tips for better living.

1. Resist the urge to add up your score as you go along. If you anticipate your score, you'll be distracted from the task at hand. In other words, live more in the present. Clear your mind of past mistakes and even past successes, and try to think only about the here and now.

2. Focus. Concentrate on hitting great shots rather than worrying about bad ones or what others will think if you miss. Visualize the ball going to your target. This is a terrific technique for daily living. Focus. Concentrate on doing the present task well rather than worrying about what others will think if you should "mess up." And get a picture in your mind's eye of succeeding at the thing you are doing right now.

3. Keep your mind on the hole you're playing. Don't think about how you are going to play the last hole. This is about resisting the urge to think ahead. If we pay close attention to the present, the future will take care of itself. Our present moment is full of power and wonder. It deserves our full attention.

Now, did you notice what all of these tips have in common? They are not about understanding the past or setting goals for the future. They are simply about living in the present moment.

The present is too important not to pay attention to it. One doctor said, "I have learned from speaking to many cancer survivor groups that (when you have cancer) the watch on your hand no longer says, 'Tick, tick, tick.' It now says, 'Precious, precious, precious.'"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Magic of Macy's

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

The magic of the holiday season is revealed Christmas morning, seeing the look of amazement in our children's eyes as the milk and cookies have disappeared and presents have filled the space under the tree.

The act of giving and receiving gifts mirrors the love we share and gratitude for our loved
ones. There are so many ways to express the magic of the holidays and this year, Macy's is offering a great promotion that will have parents and children spreading joy in the weeks to come.

Writing letters to Santa Claus is an age-old Christmas tradition for children all over the world. Macy’s is collecting these
letters in a special Santa letterbox at all Macy’s stores.

For each letter receiv
ed, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation® has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. The Foundation's mission reflects the life-changing impact that a Make-A-Wish® experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors, and entire communities.

The Macy's Believe Meter will measure America’s belief, based on our collective spirit – including the amount of letters received and other current events that reflect the season’s generosity.

I'm looking forward to watching and helping my son draft a letter to Santa. He'll be excited to see the big red mailbox at Macy's and we'll both walk away knowing that other children will benefit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saving Your Relationship After Losing Your Job

According to many different studies, the top ten most stressful life events are:
  • Death of spouse
  • Divorce
  • Marital separation
  • Jail term or death of close family member
  • Personal injury or illness
  • Marriage
  • Loss of job due to termination
  • Marital reconciliation or retirement
  • Pregnancy
  • Change in financial state
Losing one's job changes your financial state and - often times - causes a person to go into a different state, emotionally. How do couples, especially those with children, handle this life-changing event?

Dr. Nancy Mramor offers ten tips to those going through this devastating time in one's life:

1. Focus on priorities, budgeting and resolving financial issues. "If there's something deeper to begin with, then couples can get back to that. But if the marriage was too based on social status and money, then once it's pulled out, there's nothing there."

2. Get outside supports. "Get as many people on your team looking for a job as possible."

3. Try to find agreement about what should be done and establish a timeline.

4. Consult experts and find out the best ways to manage your existing resources. "Don't be proud. Get advice. This is a time to consult people who you trust and who can guide you through this."

5. Strengthen the family by spending time together at home and include friends. "It's fine for kids to know that for a while, the family isn't going to be spending as much money. Kids should really understand what their parents' resources are."

6. Keep up communication with your spouse. "Really listen to the other person before you fire back, then respond in a way that's loving and respectful. You can have a loving, healthy debate with your partner as long as things are said with respect and love." Career transitions coach Stein agrees: "Keep talking to each other. It's not wrong to feel things, but it's essential to really listen to one another."

7. Reassess your wealth. "People have lots of things they don't need. Sell the things that are valuable. Get rid of everything in your life that doesn't have a strong value for the family and you as a couple. Only hold on to what's sentimentally important."

8. Understand the impact of stress on your body. "Maybe you can't keep your gym membership but you can take a walk. Express physical affection as a source of comfort. Deep breathing is one of the most powerful ways to restore your health."

9. Adopt an "attitude of gratitude" and live in the present moment. "Gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in people's lives and allows you to see everything that's good and possible. Give thanks for 10 things each day."

10. Focus on what you have, rather than what you don't have.

I know several people who have lost their jobs, reduced their hours or have had their income reduced in some way. Knowing that there are others in the same predicament may also help people deal with this hard time during this time of year.

Typical Reactions to Job Loss

Coping with Job Loss
Unemployment & Job Loss Support

If you're concerned about child support and how your monthly payments may change due to a job loss, contact a family law attorney in your state.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Makes Laurel a Happy Healthy Hip Parent

I first connected with Laurel Snyder through Twitter, a social networking site that is both addicting and inspiring. It provides marketers and bloggers with great resources and countless contacts. I'm friends with her on Facebook and follow kidlit bloggers closely, which is how I first discovered her.

Getting to know someone is easy to do when they have children. Simply mention their role as a parent and you'll start to hear stories that tell you everything you need to know about the way they behave, behind closed doors. Laurel is a happy, healthy, hip mom and without meeting her in person, or her children, I can say that based on the answers she provided.

You may know Laurel from the books she's authored: Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, Inside the Slidy Diner, The Myth of the Single Machines, Half Life, and Daphne and Jim. You can find Laurel's books at your favorite independent bookstore. She's currently working on her second novel.

It's my opinion (and that of most others I know) that all parent
s are working parents. Laurel does, however, earn a paycheck from her writing, although she admits that the bulk of her income goes to child care. Here's what else Laurel had to say, in her own words:
I write books for kids, and thank my lucky stars I'm able to publish them. It's a blast! Not only do I get to think and dream and get paid, but I also get to do events for children, and bring my kids along!

How many children do you have?

Two, both boys. Mose is 3 and Lewis is about one and half. They're wild men.

What makes you happy, as a parent (besides when your kids finally fall asleep)?

Oh, man. So many things make me happy. But most of all I'm happy when I see them having fun with each other. In the bath or the yard, digging with sticks, or sitting on the couch looking at books, or building a fort with pillows. didn't expect they'd be ready to play together this early, and it is really amazing. Sometimes in the car the older one will start laughing for no reason, and Lew will imitate him and they'll just cackle.

What's the healthiest thing about your relationship with your children?

I'm a believer that the most important thing is that I not be resentful or stressed, so I cut a lot of corners (baths, meals, etc). At least at this point, that feels hugely functional in our house. I'm not ashamed (or secretive about) Cheerios for dinner, or them sleeping in the buff, or sometimes turning on the TV for an hour before preschool, so I can have coffee and listen to NPR. I feel good, and so they feel good. They're VERY relaxed kids.

Kids say the cutest things. What is the funniest story you recall about each of your children?

Oh, recently Mose adopted this imaginary friend named "Little ghost". And one day we were driving in Virginia, and he freaked out and was like, "We left Little Ghost!" So I asked him where we'd left him. And he pointed out the window, to where we just happened to be passing an awesome pumpkin patch full of scarecrows and dogs and all sorts of fun stuff. Convenient, eh? We stopped, and ended up with a ton of cookies and cider. Oy.

Lew isn't very verbal yet, so everything he does is adorable, but it's very hard to describe. I love when he "talks" on the phone. And the minute we get in the car he sings and sings until we stop.

What is your proudest parenting moment?

Is it weird that I can't think of one? I don't really think of it in moments. As a stay-at-home mom, my life feels like a giant wave of routine, but I love it. Maybe that I have driven 12 hours (ATL to Baltimore) and back, by myself, three times, with both kids. I feel like it's something to be proud of that I have two boys under three who can sit and talk and sing and sleep and manage a drive like that together.

What is your biggest parenting challenge?

Balance. Isn't that true for everyone? Finding the moment BEFORE the moment where I get frustrated. Setting aside time for myself, but not skimping on the kids. Being a good mom and also a good woman. And remembering that sometimes you can't do it ALL and you have to ask for help or call it a day.

What's your favorite family-friendly restaurant?

Dakota Blue, in Atlanta. They have baskets full of toys and are just grubby enough. But not too gross. I also love to go to Holy Taco. The only Mexican place I know with brisket tacos, amazing margaritas AND chicken nuggets (or as Mose says, "tikken donuts").

What's your favorite activity you enjoy with your children?

When my husband is home and we're all here together on a Sunday morning, and we read the Times and drink coffee and the boys make a mess with art supplies and we eat sausages and raisin toast off paper plates in the living room. Usually there's some TV involved and nobody showers. It doesn't happen often enough.

What advice would you give to new or expecting parents?

Do all you can to relax. I'm really worried for the Purell mommies who spend all their time researching toxins online and fretting over babysitter reccommendations. I understand the impulse, the desire to keep your kids safe. But you can't protect them from everything, and the end result is often, I fear, messed up kids.

Who or where do you go to for parenting advice?

My mom. My friends. But most of all my gut. I believe in having a pediatrician I trust and leaving medical questions in her hands. After Lew was born I tossed out the books (except the AAP, for 911 moments) and swore to stop the Google searches. We all have instincts and the books tend to get in the way. Online medical and parenting advice is like the "monkeys with typewriters" phenomenon. For every concern, some crazy person online will have guessed correctly, simply because there are 8 trillion crazies online. But you can't spend your life cutting out every food that turns up in a "study." I believe in moderation.

How would your children describe you?

Mose says I'm a goofball.

To learn more about this goofball mom and author, visit her site or those of her publishers: Laurel Snyder
Random House
Ten Speed Press

Monday, November 17, 2008

Single Moms at Single Dads

I just discovered a new resource for single parents. Single Dad, founded by a man who shares my area code, is an online community which provides articles, blogs and event listings. Basically, it's a social networking site dedicated to fathers who just so happen to be raising their children on their own (or at least sharing the job with a single mom).

I've been looking for a site like this for single moms, but I don't think they'll kick me out if I register. A mutual friend, author of Single Mom Seeking, Rachel Sarah, has volunteered to help out Single Dad by providing insight into the life of a single mom.

If you have questions you'd like Rachel to answer, head on over to the Dating and Single Moms page to submit your questions.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How Not to Be a Soccer Mom

YouTube better watch out. There's a new video site that's just moved up a notch on my online video list of sites with great resources.

Howcast is an online directory of How-To videos. Here's a few of my favorites, including the How To Not be a Soccer Mom that I first discovered:

Also not-to-miss videos on parenting include:
How Fatherhood Changes Men
How To Put the "final Touches" on Potty Training
How To Reignite Your Sex Life After Having a Baby

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Makes Tracy a Happy Healthy Hip Parent

True to my word, I'm highlighting happy, healthy, hip parents over the next few months who may not be famous but who are raising amazing children and celebrating many other successes in their lives.

Facebook has brought me face-to-face with several high school classmates since joining, including Tracy, mother of two. Her son will be turn four in less than a month and her daughter just recently reached her six-month milestone.

Besides being a mom and wife, Tracy works as an Accounting Manager for Bechik Products, Inc., a small mattress supply distributor and manufacturer in Eagan, Minnesota. She also recently started TNT Dancer this year, a one stop shop for all dance necessities. Her goal is to grow this online business, quit her full-time job and spend more time with her children.

I asked Tracy to answer a few questions about her relationship with her children and her role as Mom.

1) What makes you happy, as a parent?

I love watching my children learn. Ryan is writing his name and beginning to read short words. It absolutely fascinates me. He isn’t even four yet! Their little minds just blow me away.

Lea is rolling all over and laughing constantly. No matter what kind of a day I had I know that she will make me smile. Every new action and gesture she makes is amazing. Just seeing my children and receiving hugs makes me very happy.

2) What’s the healthiest thing about your relationship with your children?

My children and I have a great relationship. Ryan and I are constantly laughing and making up new games. Our imaginations run wild and that is not only healthy for him, but it keeps me young.

Lea lights up when I walk into the room. Whenever she is sad and just needs a break, Mommy can always calm her down. Sometimes she just needs a break from Daddy - not everything is a game at 6 months!

3) Kids say the cutest things. What is the funniest story you recall about your children?

Ryan is constantly saying cute things. A few of them are:

“I am handsome, just like a Daddy!”

About his Spider-Man Halloween costume (it had poofy arm muscles and pecks). "I have muscles like Daddy and boobies like Mommy.”

“Mommy, you are my girlfriend.”

Lea just squeals a lot.

4) What is your proudest parenting moment?

When Ryan told me how he spells his name and then wrote it. I was so proud. He loves to learn and I like to think that I have something to do with that.

5) What is your biggest parenting challenge?

My biggest challenge is my physical limitations. I have multiple sclerosis and it can be very challenging to work full-time, take care of my 2 kids at night, and maintain a tidy home. Luckily I get help from my husband around the house and with the kids. My mother is also a huge help.

The challenging part is fatigue and how that makes it even tougher to keep up with an almost four-year-old.

6) What’s your favorite activity you enjoy with your children?

My favorite activity with Ryan is reading. It is relaxing for me and Ryan is starting to learn the words, so very fun for him.

7) How would your children describe you?

I think that Ryan would describe me as a goofball. We are always laughing and singing. Anything to be silly. My Mom was that way with my sister and I. It was great. I am bringing that same smiley outlook to my children.

Lea probably just thinks I'm the lady who changes her, gets food, and smiles a lot.

8) Who or where do you go to for parenting advice?

I go to friends or my Mother for parenting advice. If the questions I have are too technical I do some research on-line or call the doctor.

9) What advice would you give to new or expecting parents?

Enjoy every moment with them because your parents were right…they grow way to fast. Get down to their level and act like a child. Always laugh! They are only little once.

I encourage you to visit the National MS Society and donate an amount that you can afford to help fund cutting-edge research, drive change through advocacy, facilitate professional education, and provide programs and services to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.