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!


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.


“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.






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!

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.




Mom walks out again




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.-

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.

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.

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.




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.


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.

Girls in White Dresses: BCPL Challenge

My goal for this year is to read 16 books so when someone shared the Baltimore County Public Library 2016 Reading Challenge I thought it would add a twist my reading goal and help me branch out a bit.  I tend to read what would be classified as ‘literary fiction’ and shy away from ‘science fiction’ or ‘fantasy’. And no. I have not read Harry Potter. I just can’t.

Here’s what the BCPL Challenge looks like:


I am a huge fan of BookBub so I have a lot of really random books in my Kindle collection. I decided to start there and tackle ‘a book with a color in the title’ which led me to Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. I decided not to read the summary and had no idea what I was in store for. I finished it yesterday and if you ask me if I liked it, I would probably take a long pause and say ‘I’m not real sure’. Which seems to be pretty common based on the reviews.


Girls in White Dresses follows a group of girls navigate life post college. Each ‘chapter’ is its own little mini-story from a different girls point of view. They suffer through bridal showers, drunken nights, boyfriends who are weird, boyfriends who are not weird, job loss and the general post college ‘what the hell is going on with my life’ moments.

I felt like I was watching an episode of Girls (which I gave up on after the first season). The characters were so … dramatic and immature most the time. I didn’t find them relatable because once I graduated college, I met S. a few months later and didn’t have the ‘never find a husband’ thoughts. And I lived in the suburbs in a world before Tinder. I didn’t keep in touch with many people from college, so perhaps I was missing that ‘everyone is progressing and I am still figuring it out’ mentality.

And the boys! In this book they were all so different, and I hated all but one of them. It was almost like the girls were trying to live this Sex and the City lifestyle and it came across as desperate and high school-esque.  If the guy is strange (like eating a box of macaroni and cheese out of a pot strange), just break up with him. Everything didn’t have to be so damn dramatic and difficult.  Of course, my parents might say otherwise. 

“Breakups are tough,” Isabella said. “But you got through it!” “I’m glad you’re over him,” Shannon said. “Now you need to go find another asshole to fuck with your head.”

There were some funny stories about family dynamics – Moms that used funny expressions and sisters who meddled. And my favorite story was about a boyfriend who was obsessed with politics and left his job to go on the campaign trail with ‘The Candidate’ (who was obviously Obama).

So all in all, it wasn’t a horrible book – but it’s the kind of book I will see in a few months, buy it because it looks good and forget I already read it until chapter 3. Borrow it from the library friends. Don’t buy it.

Suuchi Custom Clothes

I am not stranger to the idea of custom clothing. Growing up I remember going to Joanne Fabric and flipping through those huge books of patterns and then watching Mom sewing on our coffee table.

Matching Easter outfits, circa 1992
Matching Easter outfits, circa 1992

Then I was lucky enough to visit China 3 times and each time I was advised to get a custom suit. You couldn’t walk ten feet without someone handing you a business card for a dirt cheap piece of custom clothing.

I have to admit, as someone built like a soft refrigerator, the idea appealed to me. No more button down shirts that didn’t allow my arms to move and pants that didn’t require hemming. But it seemed getting clothing fit to my exact measurements seems pretty costly, something a Kardashian would do. I doubt Kim could fit that booty in Old Navy jeans off the rack.

Well friends, let me introduce you to Suuchi. Based in New Jersey, this is truly a ‘made in the USA’ company. And get this. Your affordable pieces are delivered to your door in about 5 days. They have everything from shirts to pants to scarves.

Once you pick your product, you take your measurements and chose your fabric. They have basic colors and then some unique, fun patterns as well.  I was so excited to be asked to work with Suuchi as a Style Advisor because they are truly a small business with small business values. I was given a scarf so I could go through the process and they responded to my questions quickly and personally. I really felt like I was their ONLY customer, which is so not true, but critical to win my over in the customer service category.

I really wanted a fun scarf to add some of my personality to my work unofficial work uniform (dress pants, tank and cardigan) so I picked the stretchy scarf with stars. I was so impressed with the quality of the fabric, it was thick and, duh, stretchy. It was the perfect length and there are quite a few ways to wear it.

Guess what! You can win a custom scarf! The winner will be announced on Friday, 1/15/2016 after 5PM EST.

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You guessed it, this is a sponsored post. Suuchi sent me the scarf in return for my honest review. My thoughts are my own – trust me, they can’t afford to buy a positive review. 

Dear Mike: December 2015

Hello Love!

Happy 2016, you rang it in fast asleep in your crib, but it was exciting none the less. December was a big month for us with celebrating the holidays and building new traditions. You handled it like a pro, just going with the flow. The weather has also been super crazy, so we’ve taken advantage of the warmer days outside playing Hide and Seek. You are pretty good at finding us, but not so much at hiding. Thankfully!


{Hanukkah} You, my love, are a fan of candles. Each candle we lit for the 8 nights you wanted to sing Happy Birthday and blow them out. You were also very excited with the gelt Bubbe brought you.


{Christmas} Christmas was so much fun this year because you are really starting to understand things. You prayed each night (and still do) for ‘Seen-tah’ and presents. Your favorite gift wasn’t the balance bike like we thoughts, but the Melissa & Doug Latch Board Daddy picked out! You enjoyed taking ornaments off the tree and eating ‘can cans’ (candy canes). We did go see Lights on the Bay and you weren’t impressed – maybe next year!


{Talking} I can’t believe we thought you were having speech problems. You are a talking fool now! Daddy and I were just marveling over how we are having actual conversations now. Turns out you are quite opinionated – you like to tell us to ‘stop it’, ask for ‘ah ah juice’, have a ‘Minion bath’, and watch ‘Cat Boy’.

{Visiting Santa} We weren’t sure you were going to take to visiting Santa this year, but we headed out to Homestead Gardens anyway. We got in the LONG line and you spent your time watching the cool train set. As we got closer you got more and more excited. You tried to cut the line a few times too! When it was our turn you walked right up to Santa like he was your long lost Uncle.


{PJ Masks} You are a HUGE fan of ‘Cat Boy’, or as Disney calls it, PJ Masks. You sing parts of the theme song and can watch it over and over … and over. Daddy and I are a little disappointed there are only 5 episodes on demand – we are learning the dialog too. But your excitement is infectious and you call Daddy Cat Boy and me Gecko – leaving you to be Owlette.

{Halloween} That’s right – Halloween. You are obsessed with YouTube videos with Halloween themed, kid friendly songs. You walk around the house making ghosts noises and referring to yourself as a zombie or monster.

Well Bug, you are changing, literally, daily and it couldn’t be more fun. I love seeing your little personality become HUGE.  You fill my heart.

I’ll eat you up, I love you so,

Momma xoxo