Friday, July 31, 2009


There's something about going to the zoo that I equally like and dislike at the same time. On the one hand, it's the ZOO. You get to see the lions sleeping on the big rocks, the rhinos sitting in the sun, the prairie dogs digging their holes and the peacocks flashing their feathers (sometimes. They're really not all that exciting when they're not). On the other hand, I can never leave without feeling bad for the large polar bear in his way too small "habitat," the chimpanzee who sits sadly staring out through the glass and the black bear, who, at our zoo, seems to be the outcast bear and barely even gets up most days.

Big Sister E loves the zoo, though. I think most kids do. Our little playgroup visited there this week and even though we've seen the same giraffe a million times, the kids were still right along the railing watching him sit in the grass. The tiger, who seems to be a little neurotic, was doing his usual pacing back and forth along the window and everyone made sure they had a spot right up there to feel like they were inches from him (that glass is WAY thicker than inches though, right? RIGHT?) when he passed by, back and forth, back and forth. We said hello to Leroy, the zebu, who is always a friendly fellow and squeezed in a little time feeding the goats before the petting zoo area closed for cleaning.

The best parts of the zoo, however, are the attractions for children. There's a big playground area with huge rocks and rope ladders to climb, tunnels to disappear into and multiple slides for what seems to be the ultimate in kid enjoyment: sliding. There is also a beautifully-decorated carousel where kids can choose to ride animals like a jaguar, dolphin or warthog up and down, up and down while moms like me get dizzy standing next to Big Sister E as we go around. Finally, there's a small train driven by an elderly gentleman who takes his engineer job seriously and dutifully points out the 4 animals that the train goes by (it's a pretty short ride) even though the wallaby is always a sleeping lump on the ground and the red panda is nocturnal, so he's barely ever out (he's very cute though, when he is awake).
The trip ended with a picnic lunch where the kids did a great job sharing their grapes and crackers with each other and I managed to not lose too much hair to Little Sister B's clutches. And the best part? Both girls fell asleep in the car on the way home and, after moving them into their beds, they both napped all afternoon. I'd say that definitely made things zoo-rific. Zoo-tastic, even.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Raising sisters

When I was pregnant with Big Sister E, I was fairly certain that I was having a girl. Sure enough, when the ultrasound revealed that I was right, I was overjoyed knowing that I was going to have a daughter (or pretty overjoyed, considering the ultrasound tech pointed out at least twice that with girls, they're pretty sure but it's not quite as easy as with boys. Yes Lady, I understand anatomy, THANKS). Two years later, when I was pregnant with Little Sister B, I thought she was going to be a boy. I don't know why, I just did and I was pretty sure. So, when we had her ultrasound and were told that she was a girl, I was amazed that I was wrong. I was all, really? And the tech was all, see the lines? Do you understand anatomy? Oh, RIGHT.

Their first picture together taken right after bringing Little Sister B home from the hospital

Now that I've had 7+ months to witness my girls as sisters, I am beyond happy that they will have each other as a friend forever. I can't wait to see them grow up and play together and share secrets and whisper late into the night and hear about when they call each other to commiserate on how crazy Mom is... oh wait, I probably won't hear about that.

For now, it warms my heart to see them together and when Big Sister E gives her little sis hugs and kisses and rushes to make sure she has a toy (or two... or TOO MANY as in the picture here), I couldn't be more proud of her. There are moments when she, understandably, doesn't want her hair pulled or her toys taken away. But there are also times when Little Sister B is in a crabby mood and all it takes is her big sister to sit down in front of her and patiently give her a rattle, then a block, then a stuffed animal, and on and on forever. Big Sister E takes those responsibilities as a big sister very seriously and, as well as playing, she really loves helping Mommy and Daddy whenever she can (sometimes I even have to stop her from helping when, say, it's probably best that I am the one who throws away the poop-covered diaper or feeds Little Sister B her cereal. Letting a toddler take charge in either situation seems to end up in a mess that is just not pleasant).

There are days like today that I pause and think, how did I get here? Growing up, my mom always told me how time goes by so fast and the years slip away as you get older and yada yada, all that stuff that GROWN-UPS always drone on about, but all of a sudden it makes sense. She was... right. How old will my kids be (or will they be fully grown) before I stop asking, how is it possible that these are MY CHILDREN? And will I ever stop being baffled that I am SOMEBODY'S MOTHER?

I have a hunch that it is a little too late for me to wonder if I'm up to the task of raising these girls, no? But as I watch them play and learn and grow together, I just hope that I can show them how lucky they are to have each other and that the bond that they have as sisters will last a lifetime. I think that one day they, too will realize that giving each of them a sister was the best thing I've ever done.

Two wonderful, beautiful somebodies.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mail Delivery: YoBaby

I started feeding Little Sister B solids when she turned 6 months old, per my pediatrician's instructions. Part of me really wanted to get it going earlier, in a let's-just-get-on-with-this sort of way, but I still waited. As it turned out, Little Sister B didn't really GET IT like Big Sister E had done when she was a baby. Instead, the rice cereal just ran down out of her mouth and she would just sit there, letting me catch the same spoonful off of her chin and shoveling it back in, only to swiftly catch it again moments later.

An entire month went on like that, no matter what I tried to feed her. About two weeks ago, the light went on. Or, in her case, the taste buds and the tongue action magically began to work. Rice cereal and oatmeal suddenly weren't so bad and she was willing to try most any vegetable or fruit that was offered. Some are definitely better than others, but she'll usually oblige me by eating most of what is put in front of her, even if it isn't all that thrilling.

And then, over at This Side of Eternity, I won a YoBaby gift pack and now, when I pull out yogurt for Little Sister B, it's like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. She loves it and can't get enough. It's the jelly to her peanut butter, the ketchup to her french fries, the ranch dressing for dipping her pizza into (hey, don't knock it until you've tried it).

I try to have both of my kids eat at least somewhat healthy and I love that "YoBaby yogurt is rich with nutrients, purely organic, and made with whole milk recommended for proper nutrition." It's 100% natural and has nothing artificial in it, so I don't feel guilty at all about letting her enjoy it. In fact, I'm really happy that she likes it so much - and that I still have four more coupons for free yogurt!

So, thanks This Side of Eternity and Stonyfield Farm, Little Sister B is not only boosting her brain development and immune system and growing strong, but she's really loving doing it with YoBaby yogurt. And, for having to bring that large envelope all the way up to my front door, thanks, Mail Carrier.

(Other than the coupons, bib and bowl that I was lucky enough to win, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way but instead just really thought this is too great of a product to not share my opinion)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The big 3-0. Minus the 0.

It's almost August already? How did that happen? Where does the time GO?

Big Sister E's 3rd birthday is quickly approaching, meaning I have about 2 1/2 months to plan what we will do to celebrate. Last year was easy, she was all about monkeys. They were by far her favorite thing, so I took the idea and ran with it, ending up with monkey balloons, monkey cups, monkey gift bags, a monkey shirt, monkey cupcakes and my pride and joy: the monkey cake. I'm not the most talented person in the kitchen and I know mine didn't come out quite as perfect as Martha's, but I was still impressed with myself. Plus, it took ALL MORNING to make, a feat in itself considering I was pretty darn pregnant with Little Sister B at the time and didn't do all that much standing. Big Sister E loved it and has talked about it ever since.

This year? Sure, she still likes monkeys. But they aren't nearly as exciting as they used to be. If you ask what her favorite animal is there's a chance that monkeys may still get a vote. However, peacocks seem to be mentioned more lately. As well as dig-digs (prairie dogs). Who has a prairie dog party? And I don't think there's even a small chance that I could make a peacock cake that would even REMOTELY resemble a bird, let alone a peacock. I have a few more ideas, but I'll have to think about it all for a while more. I'm also waiting on a recent giveaway win to arrive before I commit to an idea because I think it'll help me make the final decision.
As well as fretting about the party, I've heard from more and more people lately about how 3 is harder than 2. Terrible Two's? 3 was much worse, they say. I'm not sure if them telling me this is along the lines of sharing horrible birth stories with pregnant women or details of root canal pain on the way to the dentist (which, by the way, I had a temporary crown put on my tooth the other day and was there a need for the hygienist to pull so hard on my cheek in an effort to help hold my mouth open? It seemed a little unnecessary). But yet, they tell me. Or else I just bring it upon myself when I come across the stories on other blogs and can't seem to stop reading them.

I'm not sure if I will be able to handle 3 if it's that much harder, because we've had a pretty crazy ride with 2. Some days have been wonderful, fantastic, fun-filled, joyous times with my sweet, loving Dr. Jekyll. Then there are the other days, or that SAME DAY or even 30 SECONDS LATER that Mr. Hyde appears and the tantrums, yelling and crying just make me want to take Little Sister B and go hide somewhere, preferably somewhere soundproof. However, I have to remember that we've come a long way from when Big Sister E changed from my cute, content baby into this person with thoughts and OPINIONS and feelings that are hard for her to express. I, for one, think I am just going to choose to ignore the warnings about 3 and focus on the good things that are to come.

Like partying.
(Halloween 2008, two weeks after her birthday. What else did you think she'd be?)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mail Delivery: Baby Banz

Big Sister E is a fashionista, what can I say? Due to a win of mine on icefairy's treasure chest, she received a Bucket hat and Sunglasses set from Baby Banz that she adores and has been rockin' ever since. The hat, for sure. She's very off and on about sunglasses, as she is about most things in life ("I want gween beans. GWEEN BEANS." Ten handfuls shoved in her mouth. "I don't LIKE gween beans." Sigh). So the sunglasses haven't been worn too many times, but the hat is definitely receiving lots of love and the sun could shine a little brighter on the glasses tomorrow, one never knows.

Maybe it's the pink flamingo color or maybe it's because the hat is adjustable and, therefore, fits very comfortably on her head, but any time I mention anything about wearing a hat, Big Sister E runs to get this particular one and makes sure it is firmly on before we head out. She has worn it to the park, the zoo, in the water at the splash park, even just for a stroll around the block. It does a great job of covering her
head, ears, neck and face, which is important for her fair (okay pale, very pale) skin when we're out in the sun. It even has a UPF rating of 50+. Plus, no matter what she has done it it and how wet, wrinkled or crumpled it has been at the end of the day, I flatten it out or hang it up and it looks pristine by morning. This set is definitely going to last for quite a few more summers for her... and just when she outgrows it, it'll be time for Little Sister B to take it over.

So, thanks icefairy and Baby Banz, Big Sister E is not only protected from the sun, but she's stylish and happy about it. And, for getting that padded envelope to fit nicely in the box, thanks, Mail Carrier.

(Other than the hat and sunglasses that I was lucky enough to win, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way but instead just really thought they were too cute and of such high quality to not share my opinion)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Disclosure Policy

Here's the thing. It's my blog.

Whether I'm writing about a product or my family, I'm going to be honest. Sure, if it's an item or a company or WHATEVER that I like, I tend to rave about it a little bit. But who doesn't? If you had found a product that you thought was cool, wouldn't you be excited to tell YOUR friends?

To get it out there, yes, they sent me the product for free. And yes, that gets me excited to try it because I'll try just about anything if it's free. But if the product sucks, what would be the point of writing a positive review for it? I look at it this way. If I try out a dishwasher detergent and my plates are still dirty afterward, I'm not going to suggest to my mom that she go out and buy that detergent (if she ever came into this century and got a dishwasher), no matter how much I did or did not pay for it. So I assume that my readers deserve the same respect. If I try a product that I don't like, I'll take the advice that I'm always telling Big Sister E: Just say No, thank you.

Here's the bottom line.

When I read reviews, I want to know if a product is worth my time and money. Therefore, when I write my own I write a thoughtful, honest review using some humor... and cute pictures of my girls (because those make everything better). I want the information I give to readers to help peak their interest in a good find and hopefully aid them in becoming a better consumer.

When it comes to sponsored posts, yes, I've been paid to include a link or two in with the rambling story that I might be telling. Does it change my story? No. Does it change the fact that I'm writing what I want to write? No. Does it put a tiny bit of cash in my pocket at the end of the day? Yep. Simple as that.

Need it more technical-like? Here's the formal one:

This policy is valid from 16 September 2009

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

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Sorry about that.

I think the mailman hates me.

We actually have two different main mail carriers and one doesn't seem to mind me so much, but the other one? He hates me.

What can I say? I get mail that is too big to fit in the mailbox fairly often, meaning they have to get out of the truck and bring it up to the front door. The one is always smiling and will bring ALL of our mail to the door when he brings the packages up because that's the NICE THING TO DO. The other? Will bring up the one item and leave everything else out in the mailbox so that I have to walk my lazy self down the driveway to get it. I guess he thinks that if he has to go out of his way to walk up to the house then I should have to go out of my way to walk the same distance. Also? If there is a chance that the package can be smashed, flattened or otherwise crunched enough to fit into the box, OH YEAH, he'll get it in there.

Well, Mailman, let me tell you. Even though you may get annoyed when you see my name on yet another package, I LOVE you and your cute truck and when I hear the familiar vrooom noise that can only mean one thing, it makes my day.

Thanks, Mail Carrier.