Hamilton: Dear Theodosia

I am basically obsessed with the Broadway musical Hamilton. From the minute I get in the car to the minute I get out of the car at home I am listening to the cast album. Even Mike asks for the ‘Ta Da’ song, which is called ‘You’ll Be Back’. At night when I can’t sleep I YouTube all things Hamilton – interviews with the writer and actor Lin-Miranda Manuel, mashups, bootlegs … it’s a problem.

What’s Hamilton? It’s Alexander Hamilton’s life story (loosely) set to hip hop music. I have never learned so much about history and retained the information like I have until I heard Hamilton. I find the story of how Miranda came to write and star in the musical utterly fascinating.

One song I play over and over again is Dear Theodosia. It is a love letter from Aaron Burr to his daughter Theodosia and from Alexander Hamilton to his son Phillip. It really makes my complex feelings about being a Mom seem so simple and beautiful. Of course, the dynamics between Hamilton and Burr during this duet could be a term paper on it’s own, but I’ll save that for another time.

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12 For 1 Launches!

The past two years has taught me quite a few things when it comes to diapers:

  • Babies need a lot of diapers and diapers are expensive.
  • WIC and other social service programs don’t cover the cost of diapers or wipes which is not only a mental health issue for parents and a health and hygiene issue for babies.
  • There are very few diaper resources in Caroline County, Maryland – my hometown. And there is no single resource for people to find or donate diapers on Delmarva.
  • If you ask for help, people will help.

This is why I am excited to FINALLY announce the launch of 12 For 1 – Diapering Delmarva! Not only will the diaper drive be hosted through the new site, but it will also be a place for people who are looking for a place to donate diapers and a place to receive diapers on DelMarVa. Organizations are listed by county and include as much information as we could find.

This site has been all consuming for the past few weeks and I couldn’t have gotten it done as quickly as I did without the help from Phyllis, Jessica W, Momma Sandi, S., and Jeny Tyler Creative.

I am still updating content and gearing up for June’s diaper drive, so I hope you will help me spread the word and share 12 For 1 with your friends and family.

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Dear Mike: January and February 2016

Hello my little lovie!

2016 has already been an eventful year and we are only 2 months in! It seems like suddenly you are this short, funny, opinionated adult. I should put emphasis on OPINIONATED. It seems that Daddy and I wanted you to talk so badly that you took it to the next level and always have something to say. That’s not really a bad thing.

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You are still very obsessed with the Minions. The good thing is they encourage you to eat bananas (but only out of the peel and perfectly yellow like your momma likes them), but the bad thing is Daddy and I are SO tired of the movies. Sometimes we try another movie, but we always default back to the Minions per your request.

Dinosaurs! You have taken to wearing your dino tail and feet again to stomp around the house. The other night when you were in the bathtub you asked me what was in the drain. I told you to look an you said dinosaurs. Through our conversation I found out we have three nice dinosaurs living in our drain. I think I am okay with that.

You are a pepperoni lover to the fullest. If we ask you what you want to eat 9 times out of 10 you say ‘onis’. I am sure it isn’t the healthiest option, but you counter that with ‘baby corncobs’, apple sauce and whatever well rounded meals you get at daycare. Thankfully. You never say no to Reese’s or lollipops either.

You have turned into quite a hoarder. Anytime you leave a room you have an armful of random things, we like to call your treasures or ‘deedurs’. Sometimes it’s kitchen utensils, sometimes it’s random papers from the table, sometimes it’s just toys. But they go everywhere and sometimes you even ask for a bucket. Needless to say we don’t bat an eye when we find a crab mallet in the bathroom cabinet.

We got to visit Pop-Pop for his birthday this year and you had so much fun. The cats weren’t thrilled with your visit, but you were so excited to be able to touch a real life ‘key a cat’.

We also went to the BWI Airport Observation Deck to shake out the sillies on weekend and you loved the whole airport experience. Every time someone came on the speaker to make an announcement you would say ‘uh oh’! You were also pretty disappointed when we couldn’t take home one of the model airplanes from the display.

This highlight of the last 2 months was the SNOW! We had almost 3 feet and got to spend some quality family time together. We bundled you up and you had a blast trying to run around and helping ‘shovel’. You were perfectly content playing inside as well – we watched movies, made cookies and didn’t spend much time wearing anything but PJs. You did go sledding out back for the first time and you LOVED it. I mean, LOVED it. From standing at the bottom I would see you with a flash of fear, then total joy.

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo

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French Twist: BCPL Challenge

When it came time to pick a non-fiction book for the Baltimore County Public Library Challenge I had quite a list to pick from. But since Mike has hit the ‘trying twos’ and he is in a French daycare, French Twist: An American Mom’s Experiment in Parisian Parenting by Catherine Crawford seemed like the logical choice. I was not disappointed!

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Crawford is a Mom in Brooklyn with two kids who were about 4 and 6 when she took an interest in how the French parented. After seeing her French friend parent and observed how polite and well behaved her children were – it was time for Crawford to make some changes to her own family dynamics. She set out to raise her children ‘the French way’ and through the book she shared her observations, discussions with French parents and how her kids reacted to suddenly becoming French. Her writing style is so laid back and honest it was an easy read.

I knew the French, and every other culture, parented differently, so I was curious about what my daycare provider, R., might be practicing with her motley crew. Here are some of the highlights from French Twist:

When the French need a solution to a particular problem, they tend to consult one source, not fifteen different friends or chat-room chums. This has the effect of cutting down on anxiety—and does wonders for just about every aspect of parenting

Hello. You are reading my blog. How did you get here? Probably finding out what I did for infertility, sleep training or how to make homemade baby food. I am guessing I wasn’t your first OR last stop. We are all guilty of that – stop. I would tell you how, but I am still trying to figure out how to do that myself.

Oona and Daphne had to figure out a way to adapt to the adult world, and not the other way around. This is an integral concept in French parenting.

Ah – I loved this overarching idea. But again – so hard! Crawford’s kids were a little older than Mike when she made this lifestyle change. I wish she spoke more to how the transition was, how long it took before it ‘stuck’ and if there were any kid sized meltdowns. We are working on this concept.

In France, everyone in the family has a job. The parent’s role is to be the chief, and the children have the job of obeying their leader. French children are raised with this in mind, so there is much less debate and resistance.

I AM THE CHIEF. I AM THE CHIEF. I AM THE CHIEF.

“Don’t give everything to the baby. Especially remember that your breasts are for your husband.” I love this quote, a little bit of wisdom imparted to a French friend by her doctor after the birth of her first child. I love this quote for what it suggests—and for how hilarious it must seem to nearly every American mom.

One thing that really got me thinking was the topic of breastfeeding. In America, if you don’t breastfeed for as long as possible you are made to feel like a failure. In France, if you breastfeed past 3ish months, you get the same reaction from people. It seems the US is the only country that puts a large emphasis on breastfeeding. We all know how that went for me and I have always been okay with it.

If you are a soon to be parent, new parent or old parent – put down What to Expect and pick up this gem. You will learn A LOT and be entertained.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nomo FOMOing

It usually happens around Wednesday evening. That dreaded question. What do we have going on this weekend? As a working mom, my weekends are considered a sacred time for being with S. and Mike and making memories. When it’s cold, we usually defer to the mall play area. When it’s warm, we end up at the local playground. But there is always something tickling the back of my mind. FOMO. The ‘fear of missing out’. It isn’t until Monday when I see on Facebook all the festivals, grand openings, free play events that we missed. How do these parents know what’s going on? Am I missing the newsletter? Did I not get the ‘things to do with a toddler’ website when Mike was born?

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I decided to stop FOMO’ing and figure this out. I asked these well connected people where they get their weekend plans and now I am sharing with YOU so you can stop FOMO’ing, make memories, try something new AND have akid that take a nap on the weekend.

{Red Tricycle} S. loves the Red Tricycle emails! They have a bunch of cities, so he subscribes to the Washington DC email. They have a great event listings page. I feel like the featured events are very art-centric and that’s not a bad thing.

{Housewives of Frederick County} I consider the lovely ladies of HOFC to be among the blogging elite. While their event listings are more Frederick County focused (and free!), they blog about lots of stuff.  I really like the DIY section.

{Macaroni Kid} Like Red Tricycle, Macaroni Kid is a national site, but local areas are ‘run’ by local parent publishers. Our local publisher is very active in lots of groups and sends out a weekly event email. I really consider her a local ‘expert’ and have found some fun stuff for us to do on weekends.

{EventBrite} EventBrite is not just for kids! Anyone can sell tickets through EventBrite, so it isn’t focused on world tours or high dollar events. Think Girls Night Out, local expos and networking events. The cool thing is you can search your zip code, then narrow it down to type, price and date. It’s a great resource for planning a date night or finding a new group that has your interest.

{Moms with Tots} A great resource from another Maryland Blogger friend who posts ‘week of’ events. She also has the option to submit events, so there is a wide variety from exhibits to open play at local gyms.

{Local Facebook Group} Though this is last, this is where I recommend you start. I joined a ‘Moms of’ group on Facebook and these ladies are a wealth of knowledge. They all get different information from different places on local events and then are happy to share it with the group. Just search Facebook for your area.

Here’s to no mo fomo’ing!

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Not a Morning Person

The scene: Mike’s room with the lights on, like every morning. Mike is curled in the corner of his bed looking snug as a bug in a rug.

 

Mom: Mikey, let’s get moving kiddo.

 

Mikey: NO. No movin’

 

Mom starts to walk out

 

Mikey: NO, NO, NO! Mommy wait!

 

Mom turns around<

 

Mom: Ready to get up?

 

Mikey: No. Milk

 

Mom: Okay, let’s have milk in Mommy’s room

 

Mikey: No. Milk here.

 

Mom: No bug. Mom’s room.

 

Mikey:

 

Mom walks out again

 

Mikey: MOMMY NO NO WAIT!

 

Mom: Ready?

 

Mikey: No. Lights off. Lights off PLEASE!!!

 

Mom: Okay kid. Get your ass up. This is getting ridiculous.

 

Okay, not really. But close.

 

-So, good morning, good morningSunbeams will soon smile throughGood morning, my darling, to you.-
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Someday, Someday Maybe: BCPL Challenge

Next up on the BCPL Challenge was to pick a book by a celebrity. A quick scan of my Amazon wishlist made my choice hard – I have lots of celebrity authors on there! I finally settled on Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday Maybe. I am  in a bit of a Gilmore Girls phase right now and so excited about the miniseries they are now filming. Graham seemed like the obvious choice.

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Or was it? I am starting to question how I pick my books. Graham wrote in the first person and I couldn’t help but picture Lorilei Gilmore. For some reason I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t necessarily think it was that engaging.  A fast talking, sarcastic 20-something trying to be an actress in New York before her self imposed deadline.

We’re all working hard, but so far away from what we actually want to be doing. We’re all peering in at the window of a party we aren’t invited to yet, a party we wouldn’t know how to dress for, or what kind of conversation to make, even if we came as someone’s guest.

Franny lives with her two roommates, takes an acting class and works as a waitress. She takes the reader through her quest to actually ‘make it’. We see her ups like getting an agent, and her downs, a commercial for a discount clothing store in an ugly sweater. I give Graham credit, she really captured the feeling of being in a new environment and the feeling of being self conscious. Everyone can relate to that and I felt like Franny’s inner conversation really matched what mine would be in a similar situation.

Today is the day you have to start believing in yourself. No one can do it for you anymore.

I think this book would be a good choice for a young adult who wants some light reading. It was a quick and easy read. Oh! One thing I really liked was the fact it took place in 1995ish. So all the challenges were magnified by the fact there was no internet. Getting lost on the way to an audition, getting scripts by fax, missing a call because someone forgot to change the answering machine tape – all unique challenges for a younger generation to consider.

I wouldn’t suggest buying it this one – I think most readers would be a one and done.

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Preschool Woes

I was thinking yesterday about my a ‘parenting style’. Am I a Helicopter Parent? A Free Range Parent? An Unconditional Parent? No folks. I am don’t fit into those neat little boxes. I fit into my own parenting style which I call the ‘It Didn’t Occur to Me Parent’. Signing Mike up for preschool really confirmed that parenting style.

It’s a damn good thing my niece is a few months older than Mike, and my brother and sister-in-law are on top of things. If we weren’t following the path they made, poor Mike would still be drinking formula in a bottle because, well, it just didn’t occur to me to ween him off. My ADHD tends to put me on auto-pilot which isn’t always a good thing.

It didn’t occur to me that Mike probably should go to preschool this year. There was no email from the department of preschool or a knock on the door from preschool police. But then again, how hard could it be? As it turns out pretty complicated. When I went to preschool, there was only one in my hometown. No application process or required tours. There weren’t options like Montessori, co-op, or religious affiliation. And there certainly wasn’t a waiting list.

I had heard there were a couple of preschool expos where they all set up display tables and we could get all the information in one shot, so I decided to ask my local mom’s Facebook group how it all works. Here’s how THAT went:

“Not to make you feel worse, but most places have done their open houses and some of the more popular ones will probably be full soon.”  Yes. I do feel worse. And thanks for a non-solution.

“There was a fair scheduled last weekend at the college.” Great! Thanks! But that does nothing to help ME. 

“We elected to keep our kids in a home daycare until they are 4.”  I am glad you made a decision that works for your family! I am not sure if you are mom-shaming me or not, so I will just move on. Also, another non-solution.

“Registration for many schools started in January. Call NOW!!” I should also note, this response currently has 5 likes. I also currently have a stomach ulcer.

By the time I read through these, I was pretty sure Mike was not going to preschool this year and will never, ever reach his full potential. Although I will say, that there were a few helpful responses that didn’t make me feel like the world’s worst parent.

So S. and I took to Google and have narrowed a long list down to three options to check out. It seems they all have rolling registration so we can set up a time to tour them next month when life calms down a bit. Perhaps Mike won’t grow up and live in our basement because it didn’t occur to me early enough to register him for preschool.

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Kiss My Grits

The Scene: Rushing Mike along to the car because we are already running late.

Momma: Mikey, be careful, it is really icy and I don’t want you …

Mikey: (sitting on the icy parking lot) WAILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Momma: Oh, baby (picking him up). Did you fall? That probably scared you!

Mikey: (tears and red faced) Hurt butt!

Momma: Oh goodness.

Mikey: Hurt butt, hurt butt!

Momma: Okay, well let’s get into the car seat and I will give you a book (really wants to say ‘get in the damn car already, we are so late and you are fine’)

Mikey: (screaming loudly) KISS BUTT! KISS BUTT MOMMA! KISS BUTT!

Momma: (trying not to laugh) Can I kiss your hand lovey?

Mikey: (getting increasingly louder) NO NO NO KISS BUTT!

Momma: Okay, lovie. (kisses hand and taps butt)

Mikey: (tears stop instantly) Thank you Mommy.

TGIF.

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The Dollhouse Murders: BCPL Challenge

Thanks to Snowzilla, I finished another book for the Baltimore County Library Challenge.

I wanted to pick The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright as my favorite book from childhood, but believe it or not, it was also published the year I was born. Since it harder to find interesting books by the year they are published, this one is going to count for that category. Stay tuned for my review on a favorite book from my childhood.

In the meantime, stop what you are doing and go read The Dollhouse Murders. I was a little worried it wouldn’t be as good now that 20 some years have passed, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This books has all the makings of the perfect YA thriller – a new girl in town, a temporary stay in a dusty old house, a family secret and dolls that move. Amy is a typical thirteen year old girl in a new town with a special needs sister. Her Aunt moves into Amy’s great-grandparent’s house to prepare it to sell and asks Amy to come keep her company. Amy discovers a dollhouse in the attic in the likeness of the house they are stay in. However, the dolls begin positioning themselves into the same places where Amy’s great-grandparents were murdered. A family secret she didn’t know about, but now the dolls are trying to tell her something – but what?

Dolls can’t move by themselves, she told herself, and felt goosebumps pop up on her arms.

I can see why my middle school self loved this book. It was creepy enough to keep me up for a few nights worrying about my Barbies coming alive, but not scary enough to make me sleep with the light on. Wright brings the characters to life and makes dolls sending messages completely plausible. My only regret is I didn’t get the original cover art work. Which was AWESOME.

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Also, in my research for this book I just discovered there is a video. A VIDEO version of this book. Seems like a worthy investment to me.

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