Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Support Afterschool Programs in Your Area {sponsored}

Thursday, April 8, 2010

When I was four, my mom worked and I went to daycare.  From the stories my parents tell, I hated it. I would cry every day at drop off. It got so bad that, anytime we got into the car and headed in that direction, I would "scream bloody murder," (direct quite from my mom) and my parents would have to spend a long time calming me down. After awhile, my parents decided it wasn't worth it, putting us all through that, and they decided my mom would stay home.
For us, we've been very fortunate in having access to good care for Tyler. We put him in kindergarten literally at the last minute and were lucky our school had spots open so close to the start of the school year. One of the reasons we like our district is the on-site, affordable child care. When I was working, having before and after care right on the school grounds gave us so much peace of mind. Tyler loved Miss Rosie and Miss Molly! They helped the kids with their homework, gave them a snack and offered a good balance between play time and crafts.

But, I had working mom guilt that we weren't able to enroll Tyler into any type of sports or have after school playdates because of our schedules. Now that I'm home, I'm trying to make up for lost time. The few hours we have together after school before the homework and dinner chaos have become really special. We're taking full advantage of So Cal living and we go to the beach, the park, the farmer's market, on bike rides, play tennis, hang out at the pool, to the local skate park or occasionally for Fro Yo or ice cream. Tyler loves his martial arts class and now he wants to start competing in tournaments (hold me!)

Just like my mom, I know I'm blessed to have the option to stay at home. I also know that my situation could change, I'll have to go back to work and we'll need to utilize the on-site care at school again. Finding affordable, quality childcare shouldn't be a luxury or dependent on the neighborhood you live in, but that's the case for lots of working families. 15 million children take care of themselves after school. I see kids Tyler's age walking home after school and it makes me sad thinking they might be alone for hours until their families get home.

Afterschool programs can help keep kids off the streets. My brother didn't go to a formal program. He wasn't a trouble maker, per se, but occasionally things seemed to "just happen" to he and his friends. The hours right after school are when kids are most likely to experiment or get in trouble. My brother got involved in soccer and I firmly believe it kept him on the right path.

The Afterschool Alliance  and its partners are working to keep affordable programs available for all families. Quaker Chewy, a new partner, created a contest to help spread the word about Afterschool Alliance. If you have an iCarly fan at home, enter the Afterschool Rocks Sweeptsakes and Miranda Cosgrove could play a concert for your kids' school and a meet and greet with Miranda.

If you want to get involved in afterschool programs as a volunteer or find a program in your area the Afterschool Alliance has links on their site. They're also on Twitter and Facebook. You have until April 16th to get your daily entries into the sweepstakes.

What are your favorite after school memories?

*This is a sponsored post from Quaker Chewy Afterschool Rocks. I was compensated to write this post but the thoughts and memories I'm making with my son are completely my own.

Conflicted: When Business and Home Collide

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My little man has inherited his mother's Gift of Gab. The kid starts talking as soon as his feet hit the floor in the morning. Unfortunately, Chatty Patty is getting in a little bit of trouble at school. We've talked with him about it. Hopefully it's sinking in that disrupting the class is not OK. 

Tonight is Open House at school. I also have an event I agreed to before the date for the open house was set. I feel that I need to go to school to set up a meeting with Tyler's teachers. He's also really looking forward to showing us his PowerPoint presentation (is anyone else's kid doing PowerPoint in second grade?!). 

I want his teacher to know that we're involved parents. I also want Tyler to know we're proud of him. But, this event is a good networking opportunity. It's hosted by a really good local ad agency and there are several people working there I'd like to meet. 

I don't know why, but now that I'm home, it feels harder to juggle all my roles. I decided to stay home to be more available to my family and to make our lives less chaotic. But, the more involved I get in social media, the more opportunities I have and I'm spending more time trying to (hopefully) create a business.

I feel stuck in the middle. Should I be a good mom and go to Open House or think of my professional goals and go to the event?

What would you do?

Music Soothes: Living With the Decision Not to Have Another Baby

Monday, March 1, 2010

*Giveaway info at the bottom of the post. Read it carefully! 

I love music. I get it from my dad. He's a big music buff used to have the reel to reel or record player going all the time, mostly with Motown. I love how, in an instant, a song can hit you in the gut and take you somewhere, even if it's to a place you don't want to be. Sade's new CD, Soldier of Love, and the Babyfather single has been on repeat in my iTunes lately. The lyrics made me cry a few days ago, reminding me of a sacrifice we made that still hurts every now and then.

I’m stunned
In a daze
He had the whole street set ablaze
It’s only love they say
Makes you feel this way

Our decision not to have another baby was several years in the making. We didn't make it lightly (who does?) and it's one I'm still struggling with. Sometimes, like on our trip to Orlando, I'm fine with it. Smug even. Watching other parents struggle to fold up their strollers to get them on the shuttles, the giant diaper bags, dodging strollers in the parks or getting hit in the back of the heels by one all gave me a sense of relief that those days are behind me. Three cheers for having a kid who can wipe his own butt, tie his shoes, carry his own jacket and stand in lines until almost midnight so we can ride Space Mountain two times in a row.

But other times, knowing we're not going to have another takes the wind right out of my sails. All the babies at Blissdom, the pregnant moms in my feed reader, the man at the park embracing his pregnant wife from behind, both with their hands on her stomach. Woosh!

She liked his eyes she wanted more
The baby gonna have your smile for sure
He saw a lovely girl
Smelling sweet and soapy like fresh air
She saw him looking acted like she didn’t care

I know Tyler would be an awesome big brother. At the end of his daycare days, he was one of the oldest kids there. The woman running the program would tell  me stories of Tyler trying to cheer up the younger kids when they were crying and offering to help with snack time. When Bossy and I were walking Chicago after BlogHer, I told her about the time last summer when I watched Tyler sit on the curb outside our house. He had his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands. He sat there for almost 10 minutes, scanning the street, hoping some other kid would walk by and they could play together. I cried telling Bossy that story. I told her I felt like I took something away from him and he had no say in it.

And Phil is such a great dad. I'm a typical Daddy's Little Girl. I have the type of relationship with my dad that often made my mom jealous. It was the blind adoration that did it. I feel the same way sometimes when Tyler will say, "I miss Dad" when I pick him up from school or the way he runs to greet Phil at the door when I can barely get a hello sometimes. I totally get where she was coming from. Even though there's no guarantee we'd have a girl, the thought of Phil and little girl together makes me all warm and gooshy on the inside. I know he'd love to have his own Daddy's Little Girl too.

Even to the angels it may sound like a lie
For you child
He was the troops and extra backup standing by
For you child
For you he’s the best he can be
For you child
For you he’s the best he can be
Oh child don’t you know
Your daddy love come with a lifetime guarantee

All of this has me so conflicted. Add the grief I get from my mom now and then and it's even harder. I'm not sure how much longer it will take for me to be at peace with the decision, or if I ever will. But, I can always listen to music. It really does soothe the soul.

What music is moving you lately?

The giveaway: I have another copy of Soldier of Love for you. I'm so glad Sade is back on the music scene. This is a great CD.

I'm hosting the giveaway on Twitter. DO NOT leave a comment here! Tweet this message or create your own but it has to have the hashtag for me to track.

RT to win a copy of Sade's CD Soldier of Love from @ADramaticMommy. #SadeCD

Winner chosen at random from all Tweets. You don't have to follow me, but I need to see the hashtag. Giveaway ends on Friday, March 5th at noon Pacific time. I'll announce the winner here and on Twitter. Good luck!

Thanks to Big Honcho Media for the review and giveaway copies. The affiliate link is to Amazon.

For Phil: Who's A Really Great Dad

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My husband is the "fun one" in the family. He can be silly with Tyler, wrestle with him on the floor, and is generally more open to playing than I am. Last night, Tyler asked if they could go out and play Nerf tag. 

Despite still being tired from vacation and spending his day in meetings at work and trying to make a dent in an overflowing Inbox, he said "absolutely" with no hesitation.

I don't tell him often enough how much I appreciate him as a father. 

Thank you honey for being so willing to put on goofy glasses and wear a target on your chest in front of the neighbors! 


Hey, Hey, Hey Goodbye!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

After nine awesome days, we kiss our first Disney vacation goodbye!

Living With Boys, Never a Dull Moment

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tyler had Martin Luther King day off of school. We got up on Tuesday and started getting his breakfast and lunch ready. He must have still been in vacation mode, not realizing he had school that day, because I came out of the kitchen to tell him his breakfast was ready and saw this:

Love this kid!

I Thrive Under Pressure (I Hope)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Let's hope the second and third wind I used to get when I was a working mom kicks into high gear soon.

-I will most likely have to re-shoot part of my Tastemaker video.
-I still have one more video to make.
-Blissdom is right around the corner.
-I still need to arrange after school childcare for Tyler for while I'm away.

-Our family vacation is right after that.
-I still need to arrange for cat sitting while we're away.
-Said cat shit on the carpet this morning.
-I used the Spot Bot and promptly spilled the dirty water back into the carpet.
-I'm taking Tyler to the doctor shortly because the side of his neck is swollen and tender to the touch since yesterday.

The pressure is on, but I can take it. How has your day been so far?

Wordless Wednesday: Christmastime

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

(We hid the tickets for an upcoming trip in the box, more later)

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday as much as we did!

My Favorite Christmas Ornaments: A Tradition

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We have a set of ornaments we consider very special. They're my favorite ones to unpack every year. My dad started giving them to Phil and I several years ago and it's became a tradition that we'd get one from him each Christmas. They're the annual ornaments from The White House Historical Association.

My dad used to work for the Secret Service. He's been to Washington, and The White House, so many times it's become a non-event for him (I was young when we went as a family, but I do remember the VIP treatment we got on every tour we took).

Even though anyone can order these ornaments, I love that they've come from my dad. He started in the Secret Service when I was three. He has such a unique connection to our nation's government and its history. Each year's ornament depicts a different scene, is inspired by White House events or re-creates an era of President's past.

The 2002 ornament is inspired by the glass chandeliers in The East Room.

2004's ornament is of a sleigh ride on The North Lawn, something President Hayes liked to do with family and guests.

The 2007 ornament, my favorite so far, is of President Grover Cleveland's wedding in The Blue Room.

My dad has walked the White House halls, been in these rooms and stood on the White House grounds. Something about that really speaks to me. I love that we will have these heirlooms to pass on to Tyler.

Are there any holiday heirlooms in your family? Who gave them to you?

Happy 7th Birthday, Little Man!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I've tried to put together a post several times and nothing sounds right. I've heard that, when you have story to tell and don't know where to start, it's always helpful to go back to the beginning. These are excerpts from my journal during my pregnancy.

January 28, 2002

Last week and this week I've been having Imaginary Pregnancy Symptoms: tired, faint cramps, cravings and really sore boobs. I'm either late or pregnant. I took a HPT and saw a faint line. I'm not sure what to make of it.

March 1, 2002

The waiting was killing me so I broke down and took a HPT right when I got home. The faint line isn't so faint anymore! I can't believe it, I'm pregnant! I called Phil. I was going to wait until Tuesday [after the doctor appointment] but I had to share. On our first try, we made a baby!

March 6, 2002

I got the blood test results and I was right! I couldn't keep the secret, I called Mom. Needless to say she was shocked. She was out with friends from church over the weekend and they were talking to her about their grandkids. When they asked if I was thinking about kids she said, "I'll be 75 before I'm a grandmother!" We showed her.

April 4, 2002

I went to St. Louis with Mom. I had my first OB visit the day after I got back. I got to see the baby. Talk about amazing! To see that little blob and the only moving part is the heart. I wish Phil could have been there.

May 12, 2002
Today is Mother's Day. I haven't yet thought of what that means to me. I'm so ready to be a mom. Part of me feels it's the direction I've been heading.I have no idea what career path I should take. Maybe 'Mom' is it. Phil called to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. I can't wait for him to come home. We'll finally be able to act like expecting parents. Next year at this time we'll have a 7 month old boy/girl.

June 22, 2002

Phil is finally home! I got to pick him up on Saturday the 1st. It was the best day I've had since I found out about the baby. It was so good to see him again. He was surprised by how much I was showing.
Now for the really exciting news: It's a boy! We went for an ultrasound on the 17th. It was so good to have Phil home for that. He's only seen the baby in the ultrasound photos I sent to [Hawaii]. I'm glad the baby was moving around so much. The lab tech had the perfect side view on the monitor. She asked if we wanted to know the sex, but I spotted the evidence before she said anything. It was a little surprising since I'd been "feeling" girl for a long time. But of course, I'm happy. We've started working on our lists of names.

August 6, 2002
Wow, I can't believe I'm this old. I never pictured being where I am in my life at this age. I figured I'd have kids by 23! Shows what I know. But, here I am, wife and soon to be mother.

October 2, 2002

Countdown has begun. I'm at home on semi bedrest. Doctors orders.
I feel like more should be happening internally. I haven't had any Braxton Hicks (at least I don't think so). My mucus plug is still there. The baby is less active but so am I. It's hard to get into a comfortable sleep position and my heartburn is out of control. When the baby does stretch out it's either against my cervix or rib cage. Talk about painful! I've been catching up on all my baby book reading. I still have to read the manual on the breast pump. It looks pretty scary!

November 1, 2002

Well, tonight's the night. I went to my non stress test appointment this morning. When it was my turn for the sonogram, I told the nurse, "please tell me something that means this baby will be coming out!!!" I got my wish. My amniotic fluid dropped from a 9.5 on Monday to a 3 today. The lowest it should be is a 5. The nurses called the doctor's office to get their advice. I'm going to the hospital at midnight for my induction.
It's close to 7pm and I should be sleeping. I tried but I can't stop thinking about what's to come. After months of waiting and wondering he's finally going to be here. Until the doctor tells me he's fine and I hear him cry, I won't be able to breathe. After tonight, my life will never be the same. We will leave this house a couple and come back a family.

Happy Birthday Tyler. We love you so much, and have since the day we found out you were coming. Without a doubt, you are the best thing that's ever happened to me. You carry my heart in your pocket every day. Watching you grow and mature has been so wonderful. You're an amazing little man. I can't wait to see what changes come in your seventh year. You blow me away, every single day.

Maybe You Need to Ask Different Questions

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Overheard: [Tyler to his friend J] "My mom would probably say no. No, no, no, no. That's all parents seem to say sometimes."

Tyler: [to me] "No offense, Mom."

None taken, little guy. None taken.


Friday, October 2, 2009

We're taking Tyler out of school a little early today to head up to Disneyland for an early Halloween party. He doesn't know it yet, so I'm looking forward to the surprise. It got me thinking about the vacation post I did a few days ago. I was, well still am, pretty spoiled but my kid has gotten to do some pretty awesome things as a result of this little corner of the web I have.

We don't mind spoiling him when he's earned it. But this idea he has about going on vacation being the coolest thing ever! has me wondering how he views things like what we're getting to do this evening. We tell him they're special occasions that we are fortunate enough to be included in, but maybe to him they are part of his 'normal', if that makes any sense.

I don't want him to start to taking our outings for granted, thereby taking us for granted. I don't want him to develop a "what have you done for me today" kind of attitude. That would suck because I have no patience for brats.

I'm not really going anywhere with this. It's just something swirling around my head today. What's swirling around in yours?

Vacation's All He Ever Wanted

Friday, September 18, 2009

I took Tyler to get his haircut for picture day. They stylist took him back to the shampoo bowl to get all grass and leaves out of his hair (do people with girls have to deal with that?). She asked him about his summer and what types of things he did.

The little stinker said we didn't do anything fun over the summer! WTH? We went to the beach EVERY day for week when the relatives were in town. We went to Sea World. We spent a ton of time at our neighborhood pool and had Deb and her family over twice. I'm sure there's more, I've just blocked it out already. I was a bit miffed.

Then, she asked if we'd gone on vacation and all the anger fell away and I reached for my Worst Mommy Ever hat. This is something Phil and I feel really badly about. We've never been on a family vacation. Phil has gone to visit friends. I took Tyler to visit my grandparents. I've gone on trips.

But, we've never gone anywhere as a family.
We have the best intentions every year. We think about where we can go and come up with a budget. We were supposed to drive to Utah and go camping with friends but we would have been driving back three days before BlogHer and I just couldn't do it. Tyler's face when we told him we weren't going after all made me feel like shit.

I know it's not about WHERE you go, but what you do together. I get all that feel good stuff, and it's true. But. I can't help feeling like we're not making any memories. And to be perfectly candid, I want him to have an answer to this question. I want him to be able to tell his friends about the places we've gone. I want him to see other cities and states.

I shouldn't care about Keeping up with Jones' but I'm big enough to admit that I do, at least a little (who the hell are the Jones' and exactly how did they become a standard to look up to?).

Living in southern California is like being on vacation and I do feel lucky and appreciative when I get glimpses of the ocean as I run errands. But there's nothing like the anticipation of going somewhere new, eating different foods and sleeping in a hotel. Hopefully we'll be able to give that feeling to Tyler someday.

(National Lampoon poster from Google Images)

Geek References Are Above His Head (For Now)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Scene: It's early evening, just after dinner. Tyler comes in from playing outside. He sits down on the couch next to Phil.

Tyler: "Daddy, can I ask you a question?"

Phil: "42."

T: "What?"

P: "The answer to your question. It's 42."

T: (confused) "My question wasn't about how old you are."

[Mommy, sitting at the kitchen table, can barely contain herself and has to work hard to stifle her laughter]

P: (to Mommy) "You can wipe that smirk off your face."

I love my kid!

11 Years Equals

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

132 months
573 weeks
4015 days
96, 423 hours
5,785,436 minutes

Thank you for spending all this time with me. Happy Anniversary. I love you.

Oh, To Be A Kid Again

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children
teach us what life is all about." -Angela Schwindt

Overheard: Tyler Explains Being Biracial

Friday, August 14, 2009

"My mommy is brown and my dad is white.
They mixed together and made my color."

Mama, Look At Me!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Mama, did you see me?! I was in the deep end!"


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Scene: The family decides to take a late afternoon visit to the pool. The mother, who prefers to jacuzzi, notices an unusually high amount of debris floating on the surface. Father and son dive into the pool. Mother grabs the pool skimmer-cleaning thingy.

Son: "What is Mommy doing?"

Father: "She's cleaning the leaves and stuff out of the jacuzzi."

Son: "Why?"

Father: "Mommy works here now."

Son: "Yay! Mommy found a new job!"

Wordless Wednesday: A New Take on Tetherball- BootyBall

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For more Wordless Wednesday visit 5 Minutes for Mom, Mom Dot, What's That Smell
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