Posts Tagged ‘Just For Mom’
My favorite local non-profit, the Scripps Parent Connection, has a Groupon out today! I’ve been a member for more than 9 years and credit them with saving my sanity during the early years of motherhood.
Within three months of delivering Mallory, I was sitting in a Starbucks with another new mom. We both had called the Parent Connection office to say we lived in the East County, had 3-month-old girls and wanted to connect with other mommies. The Parent Connection put us in touch and, as easily as that, the East County Moms Group was created. Within a few months our playgroup had grown to 10 East County moms, and we’re all still friends today!
From training baby to sleep to tackling the terrible twos, the Parent Connection has guided San Diego families through the ups and downs of parenthood for 34 years. Get your $9 Groupon today and start enjoying the benefits like $2 off admission at this weekend’s Fall Harvest Festival and attending Parent Connection-led classes and workshops. Get discounts to favorite attractions like Seaworld, Legoland and Disneyland, and gain access to more than 250 playgroups countywide! Breakfast with Santa is right around the corner … a wonderful way for your playgroup to celebrate the holidays.
I love the Parent Connection so much that I helped organize a Groupon to tell more San Diego moms about it. Click here to view “my” Groupon. Trust me, it’s the best $9 you’ll spend all year!
$5 a Week
After spending $75 on tickets for last night’s Disney on Ice show and what felt like that much on food and drinks, I had to deal with both kids begging for Disney Dare To Dream toys.
How did I handle it? I said, “Sure! Let’s go check out what they have.”
You see, two years ago, when Mallory turned 5, we instituted an allowance program. Today, Gage gets $5 a week and Mal gets $7; $1 for each year they’ve been alive.
Ever since they’ve started to receive allowance, it has been up to them to save their money so it’s available for purchases like Disney on Ice chotchkies.
In the beginning, Mallory would spend her $5 right away, and I worried that I should force her into saving a certain amount each week. But after a few situations of seeing something that she “really, really wanted” but didn’t have the money to buy, she learned on her own the importance of saving for something special. Gage has easily followed in her footsteps.
Some families tie allowance to chores. Others are opposed to that approach. In our family, allowance is earned when the kids show us the behavior we expect. That might include cleaning their rooms, setting the table, being nice to each other, feeding the pets, brushing their teeth without being reminded 10 times…whatever mom and dad decide.
Recently we’ve noticed that withholding allowance is an effective punishment that works better for our kids than time out or taking away a favorite toy. The kids are competing to see who can save the most money right now, so the threat of losing allowance is a powerful incentive to be good little children.
Last night Mal spent $12 on her Pasqual toy and Gage spent $16 on his Flynn Rider sword. They paid me back out of their piggy banks (they always know to the dime how much they have in it.) I helped them subtract what they’ve spent from what they had. It’s a good math lesson, for sure!
Allowance has taught our five and seven-year-olds the value of money. They know how long it takes to accumulate money at $5 and $7 a week and will often skip a purchase rather than dip into their banks.
If you’re looking for a way to curb the “gimmees,” teach kids the value of money, encourage good behavior and help your child feel she is contributing to the running of the household, I think allowance is a great place to start.
A Great Escape – Whale Watching
Looking for a different way to spend some alone time with your hubby or friends? How about on board a spacious boat on a beautiful sunny San Diego morning sipping Baileys and hot chocolate while sea-life and birds entertain you with their playful antics? That’s what my best friend and I did recently, and it was so much fun to catch up with the bay and ocean as the backdrop.
This was my first whale-watching trip since moving to San Diego 14 years ago. I can’t believe what I had been missing…
My wonderful whale watching experience was with Flagship Cruises, which partners with wild life experts from Birch Aquarium. In addition to many dolphin and seals, we saw 5 whale tales during the tour. Had we not seen any whales, Flagship would have given us a ticket for a complimentary future cruise.
Flagship’s 3 1/2 hour tour was an exceptional mom’s morning out with my friend, and it would have been great date with my husband. But my 6 and 8-year-olds would certainly prefer the shorter 1 1/2 hour Patriot Jet Boat cruise, also offered by Flagship and Birch.
There’s just about one month left in this year’s whale watching season in San Diego, but with twice-daily tours, escaping your routine to enjoy the magic of migrating whales will be easy to do. Especially if you WIN a free pair of tickets compliments of Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises!
Want to go? Just comment below for your chance to win. One reader will be randomly selected this week.
For more information visit www.flagshipsd.com/whale-watching or call 619.234.4111.
Bye Bye Max & Ruby
I’m excited about this weekend’s Just Between Friends consignment event because it’s forcing me to do the spring cleaning that I should have done before the new Christmas toys arrived. I’ll be getting rid of some treasures that we no longer need, but I have to admit it’s hard to let some of them go.
Like our Potty Power DVD. No, it didn’t really help speed up the potty training of either of my children, but it did provide hours of entertainment to them. Potty Power represents a time in mommyhood where toilet training was just about the most important thing going on in our home. Like so many moms, I worried, I was frustrated, and I tried just about every trick in the book including DVDs of little princesses learning to sit on the “royal throne.” Now those days are (thankfully) long behind us, but the video is kind of a bittersweet reminder that I don’t have toddlers anymore.
Ditto with our Max & Ruby video, book and doll collection. Boo Hoo. After years of reading these stories nearly nightly, my big kids now think that Max & Ruby are quite boring. But I feel I owe those sweet little bunnies so much. I seriously believe that Ruby helped teach Mallory how to be a good big sister to Max. (I mean Gage.) I hate to see them go, but they will be loved just as much by some other family I’m sure. (and for up to 90% of what I paid!)
The Just Between Friends sale is this weekend, May 4-5 in San Diego’s East County. It’s not too late to consign and it’s just the right time to think about buying. For more information visit http://sandiego.jbfsale.com.
What: Just Between Friends Consignment Event
When: May 4 & 5
Where: Faith Chapel, 9400 Campo Road, Spring Valley (just off Hwy 94)
Happy Baby = Happy Mom!
Learn Techniques for Successfully Parenting Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers While Supporting a Great Cause!
**This blog post was submitted by the Postpartum Health Alliance **
The Postpartum Health Alliance (PHA) is a local non-profit organization that offers support and referrals to San Diego mothers and families struggling with Postpartum Depression and related disorders. PHA is thrilled to have Dr. Harvey Karp, creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block as the keynote speaker for the First Annual Happy Moms, Healthy Families Luncheon.
Dr. Karp will speak for 90 minutes about his landmark techniques for defusing tantrums fast and helping even easy tots be more patient, cooperative and confident…in just days! Dr. Karp has been featured everywhere from Time Magazine to The Dr. Phil Show, and is endorsed by celebrities, sleep experts, pediatricians, and thousands of happy parents.
Not only does attending the Happy Moms, Healthy Families Luncheon provide attendees the opportunity to hear from Dr. Karp (and a delicious lunch at a beautiful venue), but it is a chance to support the work done by the Postpartum Health Alliance here in San Diego.
100% of the proceeds from the Luncheon are used by PHA to run its programs, including the warmline, which takes calls from mothers and families struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety and offers a listening ear, a supportive peer, and referrals to a wealth of resources for help and healing. The proceeds also support PHA’s outreach efforts which focus on informing professionals and the community at large about postpartum depression so it can be identified, treated, and even prevented.
As a mother who suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, I can attest to the importance of reaching out to new mothers and letting them know that they are not alone as they struggle. Few people know that as many as 15-20% of new mothers will suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety. Even fewer people know that there is help. We at PHA work to ensure that all mothers know that feeling terrible is not their fault and that they can, with treatment, get better.
Please join us at the Happy Moms, Healthy Families Luncheon. Tickets can be purchased at www.happymoms.eventbrite.com.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to one of our volunteers, please call our warmline at 619-254-0023.
Kinda Funny, But Not Really…
When I heard that this week was “World Continence Week” I chuckled. Is there seriously a day or week to recognize every condition or situation known to man?
I guess World Continence Week was why this adult diaper cartoon was floating around Facebook.
Haha. Adult diapers.
I know my friends and I laugh about this topic a lot.
“Sorry kids, can’t join you on the trampoline. Haha…I pee myself when I jump” (or laugh, or cough…)
I was laughing, but this cartoon made me pause. If my girlfriends and I suffer from stress induced incontinence now when we are still young and strong, what will it be like when we are old and weak?
The slogan of World Continence Week is Managing the Mother Load, referring to the load pregnancy places on the pelvic floor, as well as the other burdens we mothers must balance, which can result in us not prioritizing our own health needs. In my case, I’ve had a mild (but very annoying) problem with incontinence for at least 6 years, yet I have never once mentioned it to my gynecologist. I guess I just thought it was an incurable, natural consequence of pregnancy and vaginal childbirth or my fault for not doing enough Kegels during my pregnancies.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is defined as involuntary leakage of urine following exertion, and childbirth is considered the most common cause of SUI.
As the baby grows, its weight and the pregnant uterus produce anatomical changes to the bladder and urethra. There is also increased mobility of the bladder due to hormonal changes in pregnancy, which can also affect the pelvic floor complex. Some studies show that incontinence can occur as a result of pregnancy alone, regardless of whether the baby is delivered with a lot of pushing through vaginal delivery or through c-section. If you’ve carried a baby, you may have “my” problem.
So what can we do?
Well, the first step recommended by experts is to see your doctor (GYN or primary care for example) for evaluation and diagnosis. I am not going to make a special appointment for this, but I will talk to my awesome doctor during my next annual visit. I’m assuming he will refer me to an outpatient pelvic physical therapy program, which I’m totally up for if I am not able to successfully treat myself with pelvic floor exercises.
I just ordered this video and these vaginal cones, after reading that Kegels using weights are more effective for increasing vaginal floor strength. There are many You Tube videos offering Kegel exercise instruction. From what I gather, it can take several months of daily exercising “down there” to see improvement. I’ll let you know how it goes.
If you are pregnant or a new mom, be aware that incontinence is a very common problem. I hope you won’t wait 6 years like I have to investigate solutions.
Mai Tais at Sunset
So I have one final favorite that I want to share with you this Mother’s Day. Here’s a hint…it includes mai tais at sunset.
If you live near Pacific Beach, you are probably familiar with the annual summer luau party that the Catamaran Resort hosts. You don’t have to be in Hawaii to feel like you’re on vacation. The Catamaran luaus are pretty authentic and are definitely a great way to spend a San Diego evening.
From the moment you step foot onto the grassy lawn that overlooks Mission Bay, you’ll be serenaded with tropical music, greeted with colorful leis and handed your soothing cocktail. After the ceremonial entrance of the pig, a fabulous buffet of fresh salads and fruits, Kalua pig, pork loin, miso glazed salmon, guava chicken and assorted rice and vegetable dishes awaits you.
While you feast, you’ll enjoy the sounds of the South Pacific and authentic dances and stories of the islands. As the sun goes down, the fire dancing begins, delighting all ages.
The Catamaran Resort Summer Luaus start in late June and run through August. There are generous discounts for military, and their children are invited to attend free. But readers of The Mom’s Guide to San Diego have the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Tuesday evening luau of their choice. (an $116 value!)
To enter to win, simply reply here with how you are planning to spend Mother’s Day. This prize will be awarded to one reader this Sunday!
Mom, Be My Valentine?
Hopefully you’ll be celebrating in a sweet way on February 14th, but why not give yourself the extra gift of a girls’ night out just before Valentine’s Day? The fabulous ladies of SD Moms’ Night Out have put together another terrific event.
I’ll be there…will you?
When: Thursday, February 9, 2012 from 7-9pm
Where: Sè Spa at Hotel Palomar San Diego, a Kimpton Hotel,
1047 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Parking: Valet $7/hour or Park at Horton Plaza – parking is free for 3 hours with validation
Cost: $20 online through midnight on Thurs., Feb 2, 2012/ $25 at the door – tickets can be purchase on the SD Moms’ Night Out website.
Your MNO ticket includes:
– Entrance to Sè Spa
– Complimentary wine throughout the evening!
– Light appetizer fare courtesy of Hotel Palomar Salt Box Dining & Drinking
– Special discounted mom menu for future spa services when book at the event.
– Hand masseuse and chair massage on-site
– Live acoustic entertainment
– (1) raffle ticket
– Opportunity to win amazing raffle prizes
– Support the American Heart Association. Click here to visit our Go Red for Women Campaign fundraising page and make a donation today!
– A night to relax, mix and mingle with like-minded women
– A fabulous night out!
Mom’s Time Out
On February 28th I’ll attend the SD Mom’s Night Out event at Humphrey’s. These events have never let me down. The food, the free flowing wine, the venue, the raffle prizes — always terrific. For only $30 per ticket it’s a great night out.
While the SD Mom’s Night Out events started as a way to mingle with local mom-preneurs, I think they have evolved into evenings that celebrate all moms, working or not. I hope to see you there!
On April 28th I’ll be attending the 20th annual Spring Fantasy Luncheon benefiting the Scripps Parent Connection.
Not only have I attended this event many times, but I co-chaired it a few years ago, so I know first hand that it is a fun time with your gal pals. If you love to shop and get a deal, don’t miss the SFL. All of the best companies donate auction items to this 30-something year old charity, so this event always has the BEST auction items for moms and families.
You don’t need to be a member of the Parent Connection to enjoy this 20s-themed ladies luncheon with wine and champagne at the Del Mar Hilton. You just need to be a momma who’s in need of a good time. Who’s in?
Mommy & Me Afternoon Tea
The Westgate is a grand hotel located in downtown San Diego near the Civic Center. I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon there recently when my daughter and I attended the Fancy Nancy Tea Party. I had always heard wonderful things about the hotel’s traditional tea service, which made selecting The Westgate as the location for our Fancy Nancy Tea Adventure, a no-brainer.
If you are looking for something extra-special to do with your little one or are searching for a different mom’s day out opportunity, you’re in luck. The Westgate offers its traditional tea service every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 until 5:00 p.m. Playing in the background is gentle harp music, and on the menu is a selection of fine teas, savory breads and sandwiches, sweet berries and scones and a selection of delightful desserts.
The Westgate has generously donated an afternoon tea for two with tax and gratuity included, which one lucky reader will win. If I could win this prize, I’d research the upcoming performances at the San Diego Civic and Balboa Theaters and coordinate my special tea around a theatrical production to make it a full day of fun. (Peter Pan, featuring Cathie Rigby, is coming in November and we always enjoy The Nutcracker in the winter!)
To be entered to win this tea-for-two prize, reply here with who you’d bring, what occasion you would celebrate or what fun downtown happening you’d squeeze in before or after tea. One winner will be selected this week!
More is Less
This weekend has been crazy with Little League closing ceremonies, Girl Scouts bridging ceremony, a summer kick off party at our school, La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade, a family volunteer stint with the Arthritis Walk, my volunteer obligation to the school rummage sale, church, a mother/daughter Jamberry home party and a dinner in Coronado with friends.
While not every weekend is this jam-packed, the entire school year has felt hectic to me. There were many things I wanted to do with my kids and never got the chance to thanks to our ever-busy weekends. Yesterday, I began to think that our summer family motto needs to be “less is more.” I want less of a schedule and more time to relax, connect, be creative and be together.
Everyone says, “enjoy them while they are young, time flies by so quickly.” My kids and I seem to spend more time apart than together each week thanks to school, work, sports, extra-curriculars, play dates, parties, etc. etc. This summer I want to make a conscious effort to slow things down and not feel so scheduled. Aren’t they supposed to be “lazy” summer days?
So while our friends are planning their week-long summer camps, I am planning to purchase a Aztec Aquaplex membership so we can spend our days at the pool when we’re not at the beach. While I am at work, I plan to have a sitter to the house so that the kids are still able to play with their own toys, with each other and with the neighborhood kids. And instead of sending them here and there to learn wonderful things without me, I plan to do wonderful things with them like taking a sewing class with my daughter at Sew Inspired, learning to make perfume at Tijon, fishing with my son at Santee Lakes and panning for gems at the Julian Mining Company. I want us to spend a day at Old Flieglers Farm and visit Keys Creek Lavender Farm before it closes for the season. I want to take an OC outing where we do things other than Disneyland including our first trips to the American Girl Doll Store, Discovery Science Center and Medieval Times.
By the start of the next school year, when we get back to full school days and weekends full of social and sports activities, I’d like to be able to look back on summer and feel like we truly had a break from crazy schedules. I want to make sure we slept in a lot, learned some new things and, most importantly, that we had less stress, less chaos, less obligation and more togetherness.
Less is going to be more.
Do you remember when I made a resolution to camp with my kids this year? It was my preferred way to celebrate Mother’s Day, so all next weekend we’ll be enjoying the great outdoors without a spa in sight.
But because a little pampering is always in order, I carved some time out of our baseball-filled weekend and treated my daughter and myself to pedicures at BE Polished Studio in Coronado. Mallory and I may not be able to go back to “regular” pedicures ever again!
Fifteen minutes after leaving our home in East County, we arrived at the adorable BE Polished Studio just across the street from the Hotel Del. Parking was a breeze, and the meter charged only .25 for an hour. After picking out similar shades of beachy blues, we got comfy on a settee and prepared to be delighted.
With our “Mommy & Me” pedicure package, I enjoyed a glass of champagne while Mal sipped sparkling cider. Our hot herbal neck wraps soothed our shoulders, while our feet soaked in giant bronze bowls filed with warm water. The rhinestone flower that was included in her darling diva pedi sent Mallory over the moon.
We had one complaint related to our outing, and that is we didn’t give ourselves enough time to enjoy a bit of Coronado. These snazzy toes really wanted to walk on the beach or at least take a stroll over to the Del.
BE Polished will be serving up mimosas, manicures and posh pedicures from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. this Mother’s Day, May 12th. They offer mom’s night out events, darling diva parties and gift certificates (any dads reading this??).
BE Polished is open daily at 1113 Adella Avenue on Coronado. For more information visit them at www.bepolishedstudio.com or call (619) 437-1440.
I hope you have a fabulous Mother’s Day however it is spent!
Is there something great going on this weekend that you’ll have to miss because you don’t have a baby sitter?
If you are searching for a sitter save the date for next week’s Urban Sitter “Speed Sitter Meet & Greet” event. I went to one in November, and it was truly a unique and fun way to find help.
All I had to do to be a part of the event was respond to a Facebook invite. Before I knew it I was sent profiles of the Urban Sitter representatives who would be attending. On paper, they all looked great with varying degrees of experience with children and varying degrees of availability. Several were education majors, all of them were in college or had already graduated college. One wanted to be a pediatrician. So far so good.
On the evening of my event, I walked into the beautiful Hapa Yoga studio where the speed sitter event was being held. I enjoyed a glass of wine, some delicious peppermint bark and mingled with several really nice parents before we all moved into the main yoga studio, which was aglow in candlelight.
Each family took a seat on a comfy cushion in front of a prospective sitter, and we just casually chatted for about 5-7 minutes before being directed to move onto the next sitter. There were 12 Urban Sitters in all to meet, and each was better than the next in my experience.
Speed sitting is modeled after speed dating, and really is a great way to start the sitter seeking process. You get to meet face-to-face and tell each prospective sitter about your children and your family’s needs. You get to ask questions, and by the end of the evening you know who you’ve clicked with.
My sitter event was during the holiday season, and I haven’t had a need to hire anyone (yet!). However, I did come home with the profiles and photos of each sitter and showed them to my children, telling them a bit about my favorites. They’re really excited to meet Rachel, or Abby or Heather soon.
When I’m ready to book a sitter, I just log into my FREE Urban Sitter account, search the profile of my sitter and request help. Or, I could post a job and see who responds. But, of course, I’ll be directly contracting with the lovely ladies that I clicked with at my speed sitting event.
Check it out for yourself either in person or online:
When: Tuesday, January 29th from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Nature’s Whisper Yoga
What mom doesn’t want more pampering and time with her girlfriends? Before I had children, it didn’t seem possible that I’d have to work at making myself a priority in my own life…that carving out time for myself would actually become a new year’s resolution.
But that’s where we are, so I’m thankful for Serenity Spa for helping me kill two birds with one stone. Last night, eight of us headed to Sorrento Valley for Serenity’s spa happy hour, enjoying cocktails, delicious 1/2 priced appetizers and fabulous mini-spa treatments.
I’ve loved Serenity for years now specifically for their high quality, affordable happy hour treatments that each come with a cocktail of choice. There’s a sauna, jacuzzi, pool and relaxation room to sit and chat with your girls. This spa is connected to the Hilton Gardens hotel. When I first noticed that, I had low expectations. But I promise you will not be disappointed with the quality of the treatments or the food that is served from the hotel’s Bistro 39.
Last night, from the happy hour menu, I had fresh crimini mushrooms baked with boursin cheese and white wine, served with toasted baguette slices and jumbo marinated artichoke hearts quick-fried and served with parmesan cheese and garlic aioli. YUM! My girlfriends had the grilled mahi tacos and said they were excellent. My sister raved about the ahi.
The total cost for my 25-minute “stress buster” massage, an awesome 25-minute scalp massage, two glasses of white wine, two fabulous appetizers plus a generous tip was a whopping, $82. Four fun hours at the spa with my girlfriends…PRICELESS!
The Invisible Mom, Building Cathedrals
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .
I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her
inscription: ‘To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make everyday, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don’t want my child to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
I love this story by Nicole Johnson, a bestselling author and speaker who has served as the Women of Faith dramatist for over 10 years. She is also the founder of Seasons Weekend, a retreat for thirsty souls everywhere. For more information about Nicole, visit www.FreshBrewedLife.com.
The Power of a Playgroup
Last week one of my playgroups took a trip to FUNbelievable, and it was fun. As we sat around watching our kids play, we chatted about our upcoming Disneyland mom’s night out and the birthday party for a 4-year-old that was happening the next day.
But the party didn’t happen, because that very night his dad died of a sudden heart attack leaving behind that little boy and his 7-months pregnant mom.
Now, I am a huge fan of playgroups. I am on the board of the Scripps Parent Connection, which has been known for its ability to connect young moms through play groups for more than 30 years. My own Parent Connection playgroup first met nearly 6 years ago when our babies were only a few months old, and just last week we were together again for one last middle of the day meetup before our kiddos were off to kindergarten. In addition to my PC group, I belong to a MOPS group and several Meetup.com groups like the one that was chatting happily with its member on the very day her husband would tragically die.
For as much of a playgroup advocate as I’ve been for 6 years, I never imagined how one would pull together to help a member in need. The FUNbelievable, Disneyland, Meetup.com group pulled together in person and through Facebook to raise more than $2,000 in just a few days to support this member. The owner of Playtown generously opened her business for an after hours fundraiser. Members who sell products and services like Thirty One Gifts, Stella and Dot jewelry and Pampered Chef donated proceeds from sales and silent auction items. Lots of people simply contributed money to a Pay Pal account that was set up to take donations. Others are sending meals to the family. It is a total outpouring of support like I’ve never been a part of before.
Let’s hope that the only support you and I will ever need from our playgroup pals is for our sleepless nights with newborns, our desperate days of potty training, the bitter sweet celebration of kindergarten, friendship and Moms’ Nights Out. But, it’s nice to know that they will be there for much, much more if necessary.
Please feel free to submit your own playgroup link in the comments section below if you’d like to be added to the new “playgroups” resource tab on this website!
To Blog or Not to Blog
What I don’t do here is disparage any company. I want my business to accentuate the positive and, honestly, we’ve only had the occasional less-than-good experience.
On the other hand, I do like it when moms share their feedback, good or bad, about businesses that I consider patronizing. Like the mom who told me in a parenting forum that her son lost part of his finger to a rabbit bite at a San Diego petting zoo. Ouch!
And the mom who told us on that same message board when her son was locked in a van for an entire afternoon because no one at the after school program that picked him up realized he had fallen asleep. It wasn’t until 6 p.m. that anyone even knew that he was missing.
If asked, I would certainly tell moms about our recent day camp experience during which I saw kids (not mine) running throughout the building un-supervised when I showed up early for pick-up. We didn’t tell anyone we were leaving, and no one was at the desk to verify that I was walking out with my own two kids.
I wouldn’t call that company out on this website because that is not the point of my business. I simply do not review a business that I cannot recommend, and I express my concerns directly with the business.
But I wonder, where do you go when you’re looking for insight into San Diego companies, especially the ones you entrust with your children? Yelp? Facebook? Parenting forums?
Vons.com to the Rescue!
Allow me to set the scene.
We returned from vacation last week. The next day, my husband left for work. He is still there six days later. In the meantime, between unpacking bags, wrangling two babies and getting our kitchen torn apart unexpectedly, I was sort of overwhelmed.
Yesterday, while secretly praying for bedtime to come sooner, my daughter asked for “booberry gogurt” for the 516th time. We had little food in the house, I couldn’t leave with drywall guys working in the kitchen and I had absolutely no energy to even THINK about going to the store once they left (1/2 hour before bedtime).
Then, the magic words from my friend, Lindsay: “Buy some groceries online. They’ll bring it to you!”
Now, my first thoughts were:
- It’s probably too expensive
- They won’t have the brands I like
- It will take too long to get it delivered
- I don’t want someone else choosing my produce
- Some things I will farm out, but grocery shopping should not be one of them
Well, let me tell you. I was absolutely wrong on all counts. It has been such a wonderful experience I decided to write a blog article about it!
Busy, overwhelmed, overextended parents, take note!
I signed up at Vons.com yesterday afternoon. Upon registration, they offered free delivery (usually $10-$13), a free case of water and a free 8-pack of paper towels if I placed my first order within 24 hours.
Last night at 8:30pm, I went through the short list I’d already made, then went through some recipes and just found (shopping by aisle) and clicked what I needed on the website. No list making! They had every single brand I wanted, and I was also given an option to give my “personal shopper” a note for each individual item (i.e. ripe bananas please). Also, I could let them know if I would accept a substitution if my item wasn’t available. I finished my order, chose my delivery time (today at 2pm-3pm) and paid with a credit card. Done.
Of course, I forgot the dishwashing tablets but I had until 3am to make changes. So I went back in, found my order, added what I needed and done. DONE!
So, this morning at 4am, my personal shopper gathered all my groceries, put them in plastic bags and loaded them on a refrigerated Vons delivery truck.
At 2:04pm, my new Vons BFF, Michael, arrived and delivered all of my groceries TO MY KITCHEN. He had me check the list (there were two items unavailable) and had me sign it. It included my full receipt, discounts for my frequent shopper card and even the gas points I earned.
Now, get this. The produce they chose was better than I would have found myself. And all of my bags were packed perfectly so that unloading took half the time. All the dairy in one bag, all the baby food in another, all the veggies in another. I know this seems basic, but my bags are always a mish mash of everything and it takes forever to unpack once I get home. This was like a magical elf knew exactly what I needed and did it! A personal shopper elf!
Let me make this perfectly clear. This service spared me list making, grocery shopping with two babies (who always lose their minds with 3 aisles to go), gas, hauling groceries to/from the car AND I have free water and paper towels.
ALL FOR FREE.
How on earth I have never thought of doing this before is beyond me. I immediately thought of those initial days starving as the mother of two (or even one!). Friends or family who may need support and you don’t want to send another casserole. Getting ready for a party and sparing yourself the grocery visit. My BFF Michael informed me he delivers “a lot of alcohol”. I hope he’s talking about parties and not overworked parents. : )
The best part? My little girl went down for her nap still asking for her favorite yogurt. When she woke up? Booberry gogurt for EVERYONE! She was so excited. She definitely agreed a magical elf had visited.
So, fellow warriors in the fight against time, this service has changed my life in one 24 hour period. And I may or may not still be in my PJs at 6:30pm watching CMT, but my fridge is full of healthy (and not so healthy) treats with no extra effort from me. I feel refreshed and ready for another single-mom duty day tomorrow!
Check out Vons.com for more details.
You Are Not Alone
by Dr. Jaime Friedman
A friend recently said to me that maybe there is a reason that I have a difficult daughter. Maybe it is to help me be a better pediatrician. I thought about this concept and realized that, over the years, I have come across many families with similar situations to mine. They have a child, typically a second born girl, who is headstrong, stubborn, needy, demanding… do I need to go on? The most important support, I believe, I have been able to give to these families is not necessarily advice on behavior management, but just to say “I have been there” and “you are not alone.”
All children have their issues and all children are fairly egocentric. Furthermore, all children go through phases in which they are developing and growing, causing them to feel, and act, out of sorts. However, for some children, their behavior problems go above and beyond what we expect for an average child. For these kids, the ability to regulate their emotions can be extra difficult. These are the children that have tantrums well beyond the toddler years. For some children, the need to be in charge and in control is overwhelming. These are the children who fight to be first and are perceived as bossy. Yes, these children are the future leaders of America, but how do we get them to adulthood without pulling our hair out? I wish I had the answer! What I do have is 7 years of experience to pass on to my families so they know that they are not alone.
Here are some things that I have learned:
- Ignoring tantrums works at every age
- Hungry and/or tired children are the enemy so avoid late nights and stick to a schedule
- You will always need to pick your battles, so remember to say “yes” (when it’s acceptable) before the whining and tantrums start and if you say “no,” stick to your guns
- Bribery is sometimes a necessity, shhh
- A little bit of positive, undivided attention goes a long way
- Reward charts/monetary rewards are useful for kids of all ages
- It’s ok to allow yourself time to decide on a consequence. Sometimes consequences given in the heat of the moment are unrealistic or impact the whole family. Lack of follow through is the last thing you want for a difficult child
- Don’t be ashamed to ask for outside help
My daughter has always had a hard time talking about her behavior. Going to a psychologist allowed her to talk about her feelings in a safe and playful environment. She is now working on better ways to solve problems and express her emotions.
If you have concerns about your child’s behavior, talk to your pediatrician.