Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Mom Meet Mom

fathers day gift guide - mjom meet momHave you gone out and got the hubby a gift for father’s day yet? If you’re like me, you are just now starting to think about what to surprise him with this year. Growing up, it felt like we always got my pops the same golf shirt every year. I’m not saying that’s a bad gift by any means, but it would have been nice to throw a curve ball at him once in awhile.

When I decided to put together our Father’s day gift guide, I thought about how different each of the Mom Meet Mom cofounders’ husbands are. That’s reality – not all dads are the same. For every one who would love a BBQ apron, there’s a dad who wants Daft Punk tickets. No kidding. With that in mind, I broke down the following guide by type of dad for y’all. Good luck mommas!

The Outdoorsman

1      Fishing trip with the guys or the kiddos if they are old enough

2      Nice sunglasses

3      Map for next family camping trip

4      Tools (always a winner, but make sure you know what he needs)

5      Bathing suit - what guy couldn’t use a new one, right?

The Businessman

1      Island Tie

2      Wallet

3      Nautical Belt

4      Dress shirt or golf shirt

5      Briefcase/laptop bag

* Or how about something FAR from business so they can take their mind off work ; )

The Sentimental

1      Dad storybook with photos (Write your own story and illustrate with real photos of Dad and the kids via a site like Snapfish or Shutterfly).

2      Family photo desk calendar

3      Frame his college or high school jersey

4      Framed black and white of dad and the kids

5      College sweatshirt from his school

The Athlete

1      Coffee table sports book

2      Tickets to a sporting event – maybe once he’d never buy himself

3      Sailing/surfing lessons or skydiving (eek!)

4      Nike fuel band

5      Golf clubs, a new hockey stick, etc.

The Creative/Musician

1      Concert tickets to see his all-time favorite band

2      Vintage T-shirt of favorite band (etsy or ebay)

3      Record Player

4      Unique artwork – blown up album artwork could be a DIY

5      Instrument accessories or sheet music

The Party Animal

1      Casino tickets – let him have a guys’ weekend on you

2      Sports bar gift certificate

3      Horse shoe set (great for dads of older kiddos)

4      Home beer brewing kit or a local brewery tour

5      Grill accessories – replace the old icky ones and everyone wins!

The Computer Geek

1      Book on (or by) his role model (ie. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc.)

2      Vintage computer gaming /arcade t-shirt – hello, Thinkgeek.com!

3      Personalized computer accessory (monogram/family photo)

4      Book on the history or technology and innovation

5       iTunes or online game gift cards

All Dads

Sure, every dad is different, but here are some Father’s Day gift ideas that’ll please the dad who is hard to buy for – and we know plenty!

1      A massage gift certificate – what dad couldn’t use a massage?

2      Yankee Candle Man Candles (seriously, they’re awesome).

3      A custom video of him with the kids. Check out the app Magisto for this!

If you have other Father’s Day gift ideas, please share them with us all in the comments section. Because I’ll be the first mama to admit, I have no clue what I’m going to get my man this year!

Expert Beauty Picks for Moms – Summer Edition

PHOTO: Brittany Fischer- Beauty Editor, Gloss48.com

We know you probably don’t have time to scour the latest magazines to find out what the hottest new beauty products are, but we also know you’d probably like to give them a whirl. So, we consulted Brittany Fischer of Gloss48.com (if you haven’t heard of it, you’ve GOT to check it out.) It’s our fave new site because it features week long sales of boutique beauty brands–from natural skincare to stunning lipsticks to luxurious bath products, they’ve got it all! Here are Brit’s top picks for a busy mom dealing with summer heat and humidity. Here’s what she had to say:

1. Sunscreen is a no brainer. Let me guess: you know you need it, but you can’t seem to find a good one that actually makes your skin lookbetter, am I right? In my experience, the drugstore sunscreens have a tenancy to break me out and/or leave me with a white cast that looks dreadful in photos. Yuck. Plus, I’d love to be able to keep a sun block in my bag that I can slather all over my face and also use on my little one in a pinch. That said, natural is the name of the game. My absolute favorite is this one by Lather. It’s so nice and lightweight–not greasy in the slightest! Plus, not only does it NOT break me out; it actually clears my skin up!

2. All the moms here at Gloss48 are obsessed with Vertere.

And when I say obsessed, I don’t mean it in the way that sales associates say it when you try on a top and they go, “Ohmygod-i’m-like-totally-OBSESSED.” I mean that they are seriously head-over-heels in love with this stuff and that they would actually go CRAZY if they had to be without it. Our co-founder Laura forgot it when she visited Australia and was barely able to enjoy her trip. Let me explain: if you are dealing with breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and aging all at once, this is your new jam. I’ve heard countless women say that it clears their skin overnight and that the results are dramatic and immediate. It’s God’s gift to mommies and their complexions, seriously.

3. You want your lips to be soft and supple with a little bit of pigment, but heavy, goopey glosses and lipsticks are so not in the cards for summertime. Haughty Cosmetics lipgloss is super light, smells and taste good, and doesn’t leave a big sticky kiss mark on your little angel. It’s the perfect summer lip product.

 

Stay tuned for more summer beauty tips for moms!

xoxo

Weaning: Why Worry?

I have conflicted feelings about weaning. Which makes sense since I lucked out with two little ones who each spontaneously self weaned at eighteen months. That means we weaned on their timelines, not mine. I was honestly ready to give extended breastfeeding a go, having watched many of my friends nurse their daughters and sons until two or even beyond. But sippy cups won out over my D cups and unless the mister’s vasectomy fails I will never nurse another baby ever again.

The conflict in my head and in my heart comes from that word “never”. Nursing my daughter was a struggle for so long but eventually we made it work – and it was work. (Don’t let anyone tell you breastfeeding is easy.) I loved our breastfeeding relationship in that way you love something that costs you time and tears. Nursing my son was a joy from the very beginning, and so I loved that nursing relationship because it felt natural in a way I’d not experienced with my first.

And now there are so many experiences that will only live on for me in my memories. The feeling of a new baby latching on for the first time. The fluttery feeling of a baby who has fallen asleep at the breast. Quiet nursing before naptime. Having my son doze off on my lap. It’s a little – maybe a lot – sad that this part of motherhood is over for me.

But I have never been afraid to wean and so when my children decided that soy milk was more appealing than mama’s milk I made the conscious decision to celebrate rather than mourn. My babies are growing up, and that’s a good thing. I know people whose babies will never grow up, either because they are gone or because for them time has stopped, and I try very hard to remember that every ending will be followed by some fascinating, wonderful, glorious new beginning.

It has been a few months now since I nursed my son for the last time. Long enough that I can no longer count off the number of days or even weeks. I can’t remember whether it was a goodnight nurse or whether he signed for it or not, and that’s probably for the best.

I’m glad now to be able to wear all kinds of shirts and dresses without having to worry about how I’ll maneuver a breast out and back in again. My breasts have slowly morphed back into shape to look more or less like they did before I ever had children. Instead of a goodnight nurse, my son and read a story and sometimes have a cuddle if he’s sleepy enough to keep still.

I’ve never been afraid to wean because I knew that a change doesn’t have to be a loss – it’s just a change. My daughter still loved to snuggle after she weaned. And while snuggle sessions with my son were mostly tied to breastfeeding he has his own peculiar ways of showing his affection, and gradually I’m learning to speak my little boy’s love language.

Maybe that’s all it takes. One phase of life gives way to another, sometimes too early and sometimes after a struggle, but walk joyfully from one to another and you’ll see the good. Weaning means our little ones are growing up – and after all, isn’t that the point of the motherhood journey?

Top 10 Signs You are a Mom On a Girls Weekend

Editors Note: The following guest post is from our good mommy bloggin’ friend, Whitney Fleming, of Playdates on Fridays.

I just returned from a girls weekend to celebrate my dear friend’s 40th birthday. It was fantastic. She somehow assembled an amazing group of ladies from the different stages of her life ranging from her college sorority sisters to business contacts she had turned into good friends.

Although all of us were very different, we shared the common bond of motherhood. Each of us could relate to the challenges of raising a child, whether it was: “Should I send my daughter to private high school?” or “When do I wean my son from the boob?”

We all needed a break, just like I believe all mothers do. Time to worry less about everyone else and more about enjoying life. Some of us needed a break from being a working mom and the pressures of juggling a career, a marriage and a family. And some of us needed a break from being around our kids so much that we forgot what it was like to wear real clothes.

Girls weekends give moms the opportunity to recharge and remember what their life was like B.C. (before children.) It is not about what you do, where you go, or what you spend. The important thing is to get away from the rut that can be parenting and connect with the people who know what it’s like to be in the trenches.

I like to believe I am a subject matter expert on girls weekends (check out my blog post on Five Signs You Need a Girls Weekend here or Five Signs You Have a Girls Weekend Coming Up here). No, I am not off galavanting every weekend, but I have been able to spend alone-time with my friends a few times a year. Sometimes, when my kids were younger, it was just a few hours; this last trip was a beautiful three and one half days in glorious Boston.

And although I came back feeling exhausted, with aching feet from dancing the nigh away, I now feel ready to take on the end of school craziness and the summer months with my kids. My husband did great shuttling them to all their activities, and I think it gives him a better perspective of what my life is like on a daily basis. My kids were bursting at the seams to see me and share all their adventures over the weekend. I think we were all the better for it (or at least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself!).

So, although there is an unspoken rule that what happens on girls weekends, stays on girls weekends, I did want to share my “Top Ten Ways You Know You Are a Mom On a Girls Weekend.” I normally write Top Five lists, but there were just too many to narrow it down.

Let’s just say that I am going to use the same disclaimer as the Law & Order episodes: “Although inspired in part by a true incident, the following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.” Yeah, let’s just leave it at that.

So here it is – Top 10 Signs You are a Mom on a Girls Weekend

  1. A Liquid Lunch has nothing to do with breastfeeding.
  2. After one cocktail and a Maki Roll you decide to lose your Spanx. You need two of your girlfriends to actually get you out of them in the restaurant bathroom.
  3. You log a night of dancing in a club as activity points into Weight Watchers.
  4. When mentioning you think you are about to get a blister, five different character-themed bandaids are thrust at you.
  5. When a fight breaks out in a bar, it initiates a discussion about time outs versus positive parenting.
  6. When you get “hit on” by a guy, you actually text your husband to tell him you still got it.
  7. The only time the discussion gets heated is when debating whose labor/delivery was worse.
  8. When the cabbie slams on the brakes, your hand goes out to protect the other passengers.
  9. When someone wets their pants, you know it was because they were laughing too hard, not because they refused to go on the potty.
  10. You wipe off the table with a Wet Ones before dancing on top of it.

Whitney Fleming has nearly ten years of parenting experience, 15 years of public relations and marketing experience, and almost 20 years of wine drinking experience. This make her extremely qualified to write a blog about family, relationships, and getting through this thing called life. To read more from her, please visit her blog at www.playdatesonfridays.com.

Using Mother-Daughter Book Clubs to Raise Confident Girls

…in a culture where sexualization and gender stereotypes are the norm, that is. Today, we’re honored to have a guest post from Lori Day, author of Her Next Chapter – THE comprehensive guide to mother-daughter book clubs, and a giveaway of the book (scroll down to enter). It’s a fantastic resource for all moms of girls who want to counteract some of the negative messages society is constantly throwing at our daughters.


Years ago, as the working mother of a young daughter, I sometimes struggled to achieve that elusive work/home “balance” women often speak of so wistfully. I looked for ways to spend quality time with my daughter. One of the most fulfilling and most memorable undertakings of those years was the formation of a mother-daughter book club, a collaboration with my then-eight-year-old daughter and four other mother-daughter pairs that would last for six years. We all discussed the need to counteract stereotyped and sexualized girl culture with positive messages about who girls and women really are and what they can do. As mothers, we wanted to work together as a “village” to develop open communication with our daughters early on, so our girls would be listening (and talking to us) when all the marketing and media messaging aimed at girls needed to be deconstructed and kept at bay. We knew it was becoming increasingly difficult to raise happy, healthy girls with good self-esteem in our increasingly shallow, beauty-obsessed society. We felt we could do a better job at this together than separately.

I also remember noticing how few of my daughter’s books had female protagonists, and of the ones that did, how few of those portrayed women and girls in strong, positive roles. I noticed that girls did not seem to mind reading books about boys, but that boys had no interest in—and in fact avoided—reading books about girls. I started talking to other mothers, teachers, and colleagues about this, and found that they all observed the same behavior, and all felt frustrated by it.

Research supported my observation. For example, in 1996, a wonderful movie came out: the film version of Matilda by Roald Dahl. Great book, great movie. But the movie bombed at the box office, and its production company went on record saying it would produce no more movies starring girls, because they were money losers. Girls went to see the movie but boys stayed home, and thus the potential market was cut in half. This was the same dynamic that happened with books about girls. I recall a lot of mothers talking about this and feeling sad and outraged. Everyone wondered whether the Harry Potter series, which had just begun at the time our book club formed, would be receiving the same voracious following if it were about a Harriet rather than a Harry. Funny (and depressing) how these conversations so many years ago were not very different from the ones we still have today.

Around the same time that I was contemplating a book club, a woman named Shireen Dodson wrote a book called The Mother-Daughter Book Club, and another called 100 Books for Girls to Grow On.  My local bookshop in Concord, MA devoted its storefront window to a display of Dodson’s books, as well as some of the books Dodson recommended girls read, all of which focused on strong female heroines. As my daughter and I walked past the bookshop, the display in the window beckoned to us and we went inside. My daughter immediately said, “I want to do that!”

Thus began the club that all roads had been leading to. Over time, as the girls got older, the mothers handed over the reigns to the girls, who chose the books we would read together each year. I can say without hesitation that our mother-daughter book club was the most extraordinary formative experience in my relationship with my daughter, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to any mothers looking for ways to expose their young daughters to female-centric literature, and to enrich their emotional bonds with their daughters.

Now, fourteen years after starting our own mother-daughter book club, my daughter Charlotte and I have written a new book about a more modern version of mother-daughter book clubs. In a culture that is not always healthy for today’s girls, and that can make the job of raising girls feel intimidating or isolating, it is crucial for mothers to join together as “villages” to model positive femininity and guide daughters in ways that are uplifting and enjoyable.  Our book, Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More, shows mothers how to form reading clubs that provide a vehicle for teaching media literacy to girls so that they learn to think critically about their lives as females.

Although much of the focus of our book is on what mother-daughter book clubs can do for girls, I can’t stress enough how much these clubs can do for mothers as well. Raising kids today is hard, and raising girls comes with its own unique set of challenges for mothers. There were times I felt confident about how I was parenting Charlotte, and other times I looked to the moms in the club for assistance—either through a direct conversation, or simply by watching what they modeled with their own daughters.

This learning from other trusted and respected mothers is perhaps one of the least discussed but most important benefits to a mother-daughter book club today, and here’s why. Over the twenty-five years I have worked with kids and parents, I have noticed a decline in the internal confidence mothers have about parenting. In my educational consulting practice, I am routinely involved with attentive parents who love their children deeply, but seem to need my advice on everything—from the smallest decisions like what music classes to sign them up for, to the largest, like how to help them stand up to bullies or how to get help for their teens’ depression. That’s fine and that’s my job. But what concerns me is how dependent on expert advice lots of mothers have become in recent years, as if they are birds that have suddenly lost their inner compass while migrating.

I have huge concerns about the parenting culture we now have, especially for mothers. Mothers are under constant media bombardment. You cannot open a magazine or browse articles online or tune in to FaceBook without reading some version of how mothers are doing it wrong. Or can’t have it all. Or should have it all. Or are not following the “right” method for potty training or breastfeeding or violin instruction or fill-in-the-blank.  And none of them, it seems, can regain their figures quickly enough after giving birth, like celebrities do. It is endless. Mothers need to seek less validation for their parenting decisions, to judge each other less, and to find more ways of forming genuine connections with other women who sincerely want to be their allies, not their “mompetitors.”

Mother-daughter book clubs are a way to sidestep some of these distractions and instead listen closely to other chosen mothers that you trust. They can provide a measured amount of communal upbringing that is sorely lacking in today’s world, and are a fantastic way of building community among mothers, a goal of Mom Meet Mom! Mother-daughter book clubs are not only a way for girls to find their inner voices, but for mothers to do the same. Together, from one generation to the next, we can change the world—one girl at a time, one book at a time, one voice at a time. Welcome to the village!

And now enter to win your own copy of Lori Day’s Her Next Chapter so you can start your own mother-daughter book club! Can we just say how cool we think it is that Lori co-wrote the book with her daughter??

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Food Allergy Awareness and My New Chapter

Editors Note: The following guest post is written by Lisa Ficke, founder of FARM and mother of two adorable girls. Her daughter, Sophia, has a life-threatening milk allergy. 

About three years ago I came to a crossroads in my thinking. The first few years of adapting to parenting a life threatening food allergy was absolutely overwhelming. I began to see everything in a different perspective.  All of the good and wholesome ideas I’d thought I’d known my whole life were nipped at and deconstructed until I felt clueless and alone in our circumstance. We literally had to rethink everything and be okay with the fact that it seemed no one understood our decision making. That in itself proved to be particularly challenging. We’ve struggled greatly to find a support system because, like with most anything, people’s interest in our situation revolves around their own self interest and desires. People somehow don’t understand that our lifestyle is not simply a choice, but a life preserver that keeps our little girl alive and breathing day to day. We’ve learned to initiate compassion and encourage change, but have realized that the only thing that matters is our child’s safety and not anybody else’s input.

We don’t have the generational choice to do things the way someone else has, or follow anyone’s footsteps. We have to travel the unknown and make our own path against all of the obstacles. We are trailblazers in this way and hold a great deal of responsibility and trust from others. A little over a year ago I finally gained a comfortable grasp on our situation. I started to see the strength in the foundation we are building for our daughter and our family moving forward. God has plan for our lives and our small family couldn’t be more perfectly made for one another. We are many moving parts all working for the same purpose, and I now find myself counting all of the small blessings we’ve received. Every kind gesture and every attention to the details we take so seriously. The people who have opened their eyes and their hearts have made footprints on our path and our souls. They have stood along beside us on our journey, never allowing the extra efforts to pull us into a distant relationship.

One of my biggest hurdles was gaining the understanding that we are never going to be the easy, low maintenance family that I had envisioned we were in the beginning. I don’t like to leave a footprint, or be any added trouble to others so, in the past, I had usually settled for less not wanting burden others to ask for more. That ideal version of myself is not realistic in our lifestyle so I’ve learned to embrace the change. I know that we aren’t high maintenance, we are at a higher level of consciousness, not everybody can “get” that. I also realize that I have learned A LOT, and it’s nice to have a system that works and some newfound confidence with it. This is something I once thought I’d never get. I’ve always been better at advocating for others than for myself so God’s perfect plan created a circumstance to explore my own strengths.

As a teenager, I always imagined that I would be a health driven mother someday. Encourage my children to make healthy choices, eat their veggies, take their vitamins, exercise, etc. I never imagined or conceived of the notion of having food allergies as a main decision maker in my family. It never occurred to me that a food allergy could shape our lives and change every relationship the way that it has. Or that in my quest to find milk-free items for my daughter I would uncover the dangers hiding in foods marked “wholesome”. I would switch to organic, I would lay off the meat, and I would look to sesame seeds for calcium, but I have. And my journey so far has given me wisdom, strength and a huge life’s purpose. There’s a dichotomy between keeping your loved one safe and convincing the world to care. Finessing our way to that understanding is my biggest life dream.

The day came in my journey when I realized I had plateaued in my Food Allergy advocacy efforts and I had a spirit inside me that wasn’t done. I looked to food allergy organizations to begin my own chapter, but was facing a lot of regulations and commitments aside from the mission to advocate. I realized I was a little different in my convictions. Although we are all fighting for the same thing- food allergy advocacy and the well-being of those affected with food allergies, my focus is not on “fixing” the allergy. Finding a cure would dramatically reduce my fears, but there may be something next to worry about. I don’t look at this “invisible disability” as something being broken. I look at food allergy, diabetes, ADHD, autism, cancers, heart disease and the common spectrum of physical ailments as a result of what really is “broken” in our food supply, and our societies value systems. When food choices becomes more important than a persons health and well-being, this becomes the issue that has something wrong with it.

Food is fuel. I don’t mean it shouldn’t be enjoyable, delicious, and socially experienced. I simply mean what I said it’s very basically just fuel. I understand that there’s an emotional connection to food. An aroma that reminds you of your grandmother, or a time in your life you like to remember. These emotional associations with food are crutches for our feelings. When food manufacturers capitalize off of your patriotism, or feelings to sell you a low cost- high chemical diet, without a care in the world about your health, well THAT is what’s broken in our society. When people are offended by my daughters allergy because of the effort and thoughtfulness it requires, that is the problem.

As I looked left and right and looked to find inspiration in other groups, I saw people looking to be cured from their allergy. The truth is that there is a much deeper root here. I’ve seen children with milk allergy undergo the oral immunotherapy challenge and “outgrow” their allergy. I’ve also see the same kids get their allergy back 2 years later. We have to fix the root cause. The chemicals, the psychological imposition on our idealism leaning toward food and gluttony instead of compassion and understanding. Don’t get me wrong I WANT A CURE, but in the meantime I’m doing something more than just waiting for it.

I started my own not for profit event organization called Food Allergy Resources & Mentoring www.fa-resources.org Our mission is to create public awareness of the growing food allergy epidemic across the globe and to provide a voice to those who live with food allergies. Through outreach and events we help to keep the topic of food allergies ongoing to promote positive changes and mindfulness in our communities. Please continue on this journey with me there, and take a moment to count your blessings this week. A friend of mine said to me “Your daughter’s allergy may save your life.” That could very well be true. A food allergy heightens your awareness of what you’re eating, and in return you begin to eat much better which will help you throughout life. There’s always a blessing in a challenge, but most people dwell on their challenges and don’t see the blessing in time to fully appreciate it. Find your blessings this week and always.

My Review of the GMC Acadia

True mom confession: I’ve never driven an SUV.

Until recently, in spite of the whole suburban mom of two kids thing, I had never driven an SUV. Actually, it goes even further than that – I had never even had any interest in driving an SUV. Sure, there was my ex-husband’s van, which had fake wood paneling, belched blue smoke, had an unreliable transmission. I drove that for about a month before acquiring my beloved Corolla (may she rust in peace). And there was that one time that I drove a delivery van for my high school boyfriend’s dad. But, other than that, I’ve been strictly a sedan girl. My first car was a Mazda 626, next the aforementioned Corolla, and I’m now the proud owner of a Ford Fusion. So, when I received an email inviting me to participate in the GMC “Fun Seattle” program, which would allow me an opportunity to drive a GMC Acadia for free for 3-5 days, I was a bit dubious about the accuracy of the program name. “Fun”? In an SUV? But I’m the mom with tattoos and purple hair! I’m pretty sure that I am not allowed to have fun in an SUV.

So, naturally, I said yes. I mean, who would turn down an opportunity to be really awkward in an enormous vehicle for a long weekend, right? Plus, we are still in the process of moving our stuff to our new place one carload at a time. If nothing else, we could move some of the more unwieldy items and save on the cost of a UHaul.

Fast-forward to Friday, March 14th, when a charming, blue-eyed man named Adam politely refused to be photographed while explaining the ins and outs of the Acadia he had brought to my house. He demonstrated how to fold down the third row of seats, how the second row of seats could be shoved flush against the front row of seats, and the location of the OnStar panic button. He laughed politely at my jokes and tolerated a surprisingly lengthy tangential conversation when Bubba asked me what S.O.S. meant, and didn’t comment on the fact that I was wearing a macaroni necklace. I was still unsure of the vehicle itself, but Adam definitely got a gold star.

cherry blossoms... and huge vehicles

Adam left, and I started in on the unwieldy process of moving car seats over from the Fusion into the Acadia. I was delighted to see that they had a variety of anchor points for car seat tethers…and then significantly less delighted when I realized that none of those anchors would work for my rear-facing Britax Roundabout. This was a big strike one against the car for me. We strongly embrace extended rear-facing in our family, and it was disheartening that the designers would do something as accommodating as including car seat tether anchor points without ensuring the same safety-enhancing feature would be available for the first two years of a kid’s life. But what can you do? We anchored the baby’s seat to the bottom rail of the driver’s seat and moved on with our lives.

Here’s my next confession: confronted with an opportunity to drive an enormous vehicle for free for 76 hours, I completely chickened out for the first 48. Every time we got into the car, I tried to psych myself up, but…I don’t know. I’m only 5′ 1″ tall and the whole size thing just intimidated me. However, being a passenger gave me great opportunities to fiddle with all the bells and whistles the car had without, you know, crashing into anyone.

So, I’m going to admit this: being a passenger in the Acadia? Totally super fun. The seats were comfy, with seat warmers built in in case you’re a chilly butt sort of person. The independent environmental controls for the front and rear portions of the car invited endless fiddling. I felt fancy when I got to press the OnStar button and ask the friendly-sounding Southern lady to look up our favorite brunch restaurant and magically upload turn-by-turn directions to the navigation system. XM radio helped satiate my recent need to listen to sad emo pop music, and I got to watch the little LEDs in the side mirrors turn on and off as sensors detected cars in the Acadia’s blind spots. This would be a great road trip car, for sure, particularly in light of the fact that our family could pretty easily set up a makeshift bed in the back. Save on hotel costs! Bunk in the giant vehicle!

Still, I knew I’d be missing the spirit of the “Fun” program if I failed to overcome my anxieties and drive the darn thing. On the 17th, the baby woke up super early and Bubba slept in. We were out of some crucial-to-a-preschooler breakfast item (yogurt? milk? I don’t even remember), so I seized the opportunity, loaded the baby into her car seat, and navigated the already formidable early rush hour traffic for a quick grocery run.

the steering wheel was very smooth.

Now here’s where things get weird. Remember that I have literally zero experience driving an SUV (and oh man, was I ever thankful for those blind spot sensors and rearview camera when backing up), so I don’t know if this is normal, but…

I don’t know.

I swear that it was just like driving some kind of hover elephant. Or maybe an AT-AT.

Look, it was just weird! So quiet and serene and so high up…I just felt very removed from the road experience! Not necessarily in a bad way, but just strange. The ride was decent, she certainly had a little kick, which was nice. The texture of the steering wheel was luxuriously smooth. But a lot of the bells and whistles that made the car really fun as a passenger were less enticing as a driver. I wasn’t interested in flipping stations on the radio, even with the voice command features allowing me to just say the name of the station I wanted. Environmental control fiddling was right out.

We spent Monday, our family’s grocery day, putting the car through it’s paces. It was more comfortable wading through rush hour highway traffic than anticipated. I definitely appreciated the peppy engine when we were running late getting home for the baby’s nap. Bubba loved the car, which made the whole process of going to the butcher AND the hippie grocery store AND the drug store way more fun. Realistically, if it hadn’t been for the tether anchor thing and the weird land yacht feeling, I’d probably feel better about it…but then I’d have had to cope with sticker shock. Fully loaded, this was a $50,000 car! On balance, I’d rather use that money as a sizeable down payment on a really nice house, or, you know, take off from work for a year to “find myself.” Plus, even if you got past that bit, you’d be looking at $45 or more in ongoing subscription costs for the OnStar and XM radio services once the initial grace periods ran out.

All in all? I think the Acadia might just be too fancy for me.

That said, you could probably talk me into borrowing one for a road trip.

This one, on the other hand, loved it.

P.S. I was not required to write this review as part of the GMC Fun Seattle vehicle loan program. I was not paid to participate in the program, nor did I pay GMC for the opportunity to participate. All my opinions are my own, and do not reflect any endorsement or indictment by Mom Meet Mom.

P.P.S. if you’re like me and think SUVs are kind of weird, or if you love SUVs and think I’m weird, please share your sentiments in the comments!

What happens when no one is looking out for YOUR child?

Picture this…

YOUR child is out in the ocean swimming proudly, waving and smiling. He’s just out there being a kid – enjoying life. Suddenly, something or someone pulls him under. He gasps. You run toward your child, unsure if you will make it in time. You see him gasp again and then go under again. By the time you get there, he’s cold, blue in the face, and unconscious. You pull him out of the water and onto the sand. You do what can to try and keep him alive until help comes. You hold your breath and pray. Please don’t take my child today.

Now, picture this…

Waking up EVERY morning, knowing that the above scenario could happen to your child, today.

Welcome to the life of a food allergy parent.

Every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the E.R.

While it may not be your child, it’s very likely someone elses.  And with the souring rates of food allergies among children today – now impacting 1 in every 13 children- there is a solid chance it could be your child tomorrow.

Caption: “Real Allergy Faces” image borrowed from our good friends over at FARM

In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, we ask that you stop and think about a child you know with food allergies. Is there a way you can show him/her you care? What about that child’s mother or father? As a food allergy mom, I will tell you that there’s really nothing like hearing words of support from non allergy parents. It makes me feel like, well hey, maybe we have a bigger tribe than we thought looking out for our little guy. Now that’s pretty cool.  

So please, take a moment and help that boy or girl in the water by simply opening your eyes and making yourself more aware of food allergies.

Thank you so much.

#FoodAllergyAwareness #TealTakeover #FoodAllergyAwarenessWeek #FoodAllergyAwarenessMonth 

Are you a food allergy mom? Join Mom Meet Mom for free and find other local food allergy moms. Plan safe playdates, exchange recipes, and well, just socialize with other moms who have similar food allergy challenges.

 

Spring cleaning with kids

Spring is such a fun time of year! Everything is filled with renewed energy as we gradually see our chilly winter days replaced with sun and warmth. With all of that extra energy, it can be a great time to help your child reclaim their space. Here are some tips to help you and your child work together!

  • Start with a plan: what does your child do in his or her room? Sleep? Change clothes? Play? Ask your child what their room is for, and help them write down their answers. In our house, bedrooms are just for quiet activities – sleeping, changing clothes, and reading.
  • Eliminate the unnecessary: On the first pass of cleaning the room, bring three boxes. Label one, “trash,” the second, “give away,” and the third, “relocate.” The first box is for things that are too broken or worn out to give away. The second is for things that are still in good condition but don’t get played with or no longer fit. The third box is for things you’ll keep, but belong somewhere else. Not sure what belongs? Refer back to the plan for what the room is for! If your child is hesitant to give things away, it might help to tell him or her who will get their hand-me-downs, whether it is needy kids or neighbors. Or, give your child the opportunity to hold a garage sale and keep the profits!
  • A (kid-friendly) place for everything: Once you have removed everything that doesn’t belong in the room, it’s time to make sure that everything that remains has a place to live. If you make sure these spaces are kid-accessible, it will be easier for your child to keep things tidy without your help. An inexpensive closet rod doubler and kid-size hangers can allow a younger child to hang his or her own clothes. Lightweight cloth or cardboard boxes make for great small storage spaces. It doesn’t need to be expensive, either – all you need are some plastic coat hooks and a piece of fabric to make a toy hammock! Remember that these storage spaces can be personalized, too. An older kid might like to update the look of his or her room by painting or applying fabric covers to these elements. It’s a cheap way to keep their space fresh!
  • Maintain it: help your child get into a habit of daily tidying. You can make it part of the bedtime ritual, or an afternoon activity – whatever works best for your family. Set a timer so you don’t take more than a few minutes. And keep that “relocate” box! During your daily tidying, put stuff in there that doesn’t fit with the plan for the room. At the end of the week, these things can be put back into their proper homes. If the same items show up in the “relocate” box again and again, consider creating spaces for them in the room!

Have any more tips for cleaning with kids? Please share in the comments!

The Hardest Lesson to Teach: Failure as Part of Life

I’m at the dance studio two nights a week and get home pretty much either right before or immediately after P. ought to be going to sleep. More often than not, lately, she’s awake and waiting for me when I get home. It’s not ideal, but it does give me the chance to ask her this question:

Do you know what I do more than anything else when I’m at dance?

The answer is always the same: screw up. The thing I do more than anything else at the ballet barre and in adult company rehearsals is make mistakes. So many mistakes.

Tap is not a problem – I am the best tapper (not the best dancer, mind you) in my class, though a big part of that is that I have been tapping 15+ years longer than most of the others. But ballet? And modern and jazz and all of the other styles of dance that I did not take seriously back when ‘dancer’ was still a fairly big part of my identity? I am bad. So bad.

In ballet especially, I am pretty much constantly screwing up. If my degagé is where it ought to be my arm is suddenly flagging or my hips are no longer square. More than a few pique turns and I’m practically falling over. In company, I am probably the absolute slowest to pick up the choreography. When we start a new routine I usually feel like I am falling all over myself. I have to ask more questions than anyone else. I have to ask the choreographer to repeat themselves more than anyone else.

But that is why I am there.

I’m there to learn, not to kick ass. If I wanted to kick ass I’d stay home and do all of the things I usually do because they come easily to me (YMMV) and so they are fun in that way that stuff is fun when you have put in your 10,000 hours. Ballet and all the other styles of dance I did only half heartedly as a kid and then a teen because I was lazy/felt fat/scared to be bad at things/lame about practicing/etc. are what I do to challenge myself.

Heck, I am 34 years old. Tell me to cambre´ and I am going to groan like an old lady. I’m flexible, yes, because the one thing I’ve done every day for years and years is stretch, but since I wasn’t exactly working toward a higher développé or whatever it didn’t make me a better dancer. Just dancing will make me a better dancer.

So why do I ask P. if she knows what I do more than anything else when I’m at dance?

P. is a perfectionist. At least, I can’t help thinking that when the littlest mistake can launch an epic fit. Writing the number four backward, for instance. Reading a word incorrectly. A picture that doesn’t turn out just the way she pictured it in her head.

Or a few missteps in dance class.

I want her to know that doing something well doesn’t mean doing it perfectly, but rather doing it with great dedication. One of my favorite little life sayings is “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.” Not failing means not pushing yourself, not trying something new. Failure is growth. Can failing be demoralizing? Absolutely, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

P. needs to learn that now so she can avoid the trap of never trying anything new because you’re too afraid to mess up and let the world see that, hey, you don’t actually know everything. I missed out on some really great opportunities because I was too afraid that people were going to realize I wasn’t all that. Which is something that, looking back, they obviously already knew since I was young and inexperienced.

Now I’m older and inexperienced, but the biggest difference between me then and me now can’t be measured in years. The big difference is that I no longer give a damn who sees me screw up. Mostly, anyway.

Nowadays I’m proud enough of myself to show the world I am trying without worrying about who sees me fall flat on my face. And that means that I get to be even prouder when I don’t.

It’s a feeling I want P. to understand sooner rather than later, which is why I’m always quick to let her know that, yes, I messed up and guess what?

It was fun.