calling in the professionals

29.06.15

Tips for Parenting a Preschooler @ohbotherblog

Recently, I attended a workshop series called “Parenting the Preschooler,” which is offered by Family Child Resources and Family First Health, two great organizations in my city. It’s no secret that I’m having some challenges raising a spirited little girl, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

While nothing in the class was particularly mind-blowing or new information, our instructor was very informative and knowledgeable and I found it extremely helpful and refreshing to be surrounded by parents and caregivers who were experiencing my same frustrations.

Our instructor led us like she was prepping us for battle. There was a lot of talk of not giving in, not letting them see you cry and not letting them break you. It’s us vs. the toddler… and let’s be real: a lot of times it feels that way.

The big takeaway for me was the importance of completely ignoring irrelevant behavior, as in ignoring your kid when they’re acting like a brat.

Parenting a toddler: ignoring irrelevant behavior @ohbotherblog

Our instructor emphasized the point of not giving in to the whining and the tantrum. If you break after an hour, your kid knows that they just have to whine for an hour next time and then they’ve got you. 

She warned us that the behavior will most likely get worse before it gets better. Again, don’t give in. And then, when the behavior finally stops, immediately praise your kid for working through their tantrum. This will teach them that tantrums don’t get your attention and encourage them to try a different approach to communicating.

I had an opportunity to test out this approach immediately on the car ride home with Holden. And… it worked. It took 25 minutes, but she stopped. I’ve probably used this technique at least once every other day since taking this class, and it really does get easier and the tantrums are shorter and less severe. Sometimes it’s easier said than done to completely zone out and ignore your kid who’s going full Exorcist in front of you, but I’ve really been happy with the result.

We also talked about effective Time Outs, which should be reserved for serious rule breaking like hitting, throwing things or breaking a family value you’ve deemed important.

Tips for effective Time Outs with a toddler @ohbotherblog

Another mother in the class mentioned that she had trouble getting her daughter to stay in Time Out, a problem I have been experiencing with Holden. Her solution was, rather than make her daughter sit facing the wall, she let her daughter sit with her back against the wall during Time Outs. That way her curious, busy little girl could still see what was going on around her.

Immediately after the workshop, I also Amazoned (yes, I shop on Amazon so much I use it in verb form) a new Time Out timer: the Amco Digital Color Alert Kitchen Timer/Clock.

Amco Digital Alert Color Time Out Timer @ohbotherblog

The clock slowly (soothingly) flashes yellow during Time Out, then flashes faster red during the last minute and beeps when time is up. If you set the timer for more than 10 minutes, it flashes green. At this point, the recommended Time Out length is one minute for every year of age, so three for Holden. 

I think the flashing yellow light mesmerizes her, which helps to calm her down. The red light is an indicator that she’s almost finished with her punishment. So far, this timer has been an amazing tool in my discipline arsenal. As a bonus, she’s much more calm when she comes out of Time Out than in the past.

Ain’t no shame in my game: I’m super glad that I went to this workshop and am already planning to attend next month’s workshop: “The Power Struggle.” Sound familiar?

Parenting a toddler @ohbotherblog

 

cheater thank you cards (again)

23.06.15

Birthday Pancakes for a picky toddler @ohbotherblog

If you’ll recall, Holdy’s third birthday party was a few weeks ago. She received a lot of generous gifts from family and friends, so it’s time to say, “thank you.” 

If you’ll also recall, I’m kind of lazy  overwhelmed by life busy and usually looking for the easiest way to pull things off.

After Holden’s first birthday, I said, “thank you” with what I call “cheater thank you cards.” I googled “birthday thank you poem” and then found a first birthday thank you poem in an old Babycenter forum that I tweaked. This is what I ended up with:

Easy (cheater) thank you cards for first birthday. Birthday Thank You Poem. @ohbotherblog

I cheated even more for the thank you’s for GB’s first birthday. I used my Pampers Rewards Points toward 25 free Shutterfly 4×8 photo cards, uploaded a photo from his birthday party and reused the same poem.

Easy cheater thank-you cards for a baby's first birthday @ohbotherblog

That (cheap) process worked super easily for me, so I replicated the formula when it came to the thank you’s this time around.

I had to adjust the poem a bit to be appropriate for a third birthday party, but I thought the results were pretty cute:

Easy cheater thank-you cards for a kid's third birthday @ohbotherblog

The literary masterpiece went like this:

Thank you from Holdy!

The party is over; I’m officially three!
Thank you for sharing my birthday with me.

Pancakes are my favorite;
I hope you liked them too.
My birthday was so fun, because I spent it with you.

Thank you for my gifts, my wishes and more.
See you next year, when I turn four!

The “pancakes” line could easily be swapped out with “cake” (or whatever random food item your child exclusively eats and you choose to plan a party theme around). And yes, I realize the “and more” was a stretch, but I was experiencing some writer’s block on other words to rhyme with “four.”

I did let Holdy “customize” the envelopes for a more personal touch.

Let your toddler color and place stickers on a thank you card for a personal touch @ohbotherblog

Oh, and here’s the original poem from the first birthday, if you want to cheat like I did:

The party is over. I’m officially ONE!
Thank you for coming;
I hope you had fun!
Sending big kisses,
from me to you.
See you next year,
when I turn TWO!

birthday clock photo, year 3

15.06.15

In keeping with my (stolen) tradition, I snapped Holdy’s birthday clock photo at 7:23pm on her birthday.

Take a photo of your child every year at their birth time on their birthday! @ohbotherblog

While it’s probably the most stressful minute of my year to try to capture that shot, I’m going to try to do it every birthday. (And yes, I realize that the date format is in European style in that shot. Oh well.)

Here are previous years’ clock photos:

2nd birthday clock photo @ohbotherbotherblog

Her first birthday clock photo didn’t go so hot.

Birthday tradition: clock photo showing birth time @ohbotherblog Birthday Tradition: First Clock Photo at Birth Time @ohbotherblog

Getting GB’s clock photo will prove a bit more difficult, as he was born at 2:31pm (despite his birth certificate saying 2:41pm–trust me, I remember. Oh, I remember.)

GB's first birthday clock photo @ohbotherblog GB's first birthday clock photo @ohbotherblog GB's first birthday clock photo @ohbotherblog

Sorry, I’m going to have to embarrass you at school every year, Buddy! All in the name of tradition.

Holden’s Princess Pancake Party

08.06.15

Pancake Birthday Party for a Picky Toddler @ohbotherblog

As I’ve shared, Holden’s eating habits can be challenging. As such, I would say the kid probably eats pancakes for at least seven of her weekly meals (don’t judge me; sometimes it’s not worth the battle).

So for her third birthday this year, I decided to go with what we know and have a breakfast pancake party… a Princess Pancake Party.

We took over the mezzanine level of our Central Market House downtown. The Market is closed on Sundays, but Mezzogiorno at the Market is open and happens to make bangin’ pancakes.

Princess Pancake Party at Central Market in York @ohbotherblog 

I decorated the mezzanine with Dollar Tree finds, in pink of course. And yes, those are frappuccino bottles doubling as vases. I saved a case of them after seeing a cute Pin for a milk and cookies party theme. No, I never had a milk and cookies party. Yes, this is the first time I’m using them in two years.

Princess Pancake Party for a picky three year old @ohbotherblog

I gave the kids a table of their own and filled it with activities to (hopefully) keep them entertained while waiting for pancakes.

Princess Pancake Party for a Picky Toddler @ohbotherblog

Coloring books, crayons and glitter pens to decorate their individual princess hats (again, all Dollar Tree).

Table activities to keep toddlers busy at a birthday party @ohbotherblog

Breakfast snacks consisted of a breakfast pastry platter, fruit tray, coffee, mini bottles of chocolate milk and orange juice… and mimosa fixings for the grownups (especially for me).

Mimosas for Mom at a kids' birthday pancake party @ohbotherblog

The birthday girl was so excited to see all her family and friends gathered to celebrate her.

Holdy's arrival at her birthday party @ohbotherblog

It was a perfect #whatholdywore opportunity to capture her party ensemble.

#whatholdywore princess dress and sneakers @ohbotherblog

#whatholdywore princess dress and sneakers @ohbotherblog

Holdy and her friends had fun coloring and decorating their hats.

Crafts to entertain kids during a party @ohbotherblog

And the moment we were all waiting for: Birthday Pancakes!

Birthday Pancakes for a picky toddler @ohbotherblog

Birthday Pancakes for a picky toddler @ohbotherblog

Birthday Pancakes for a picky toddler @ohbotherblog

After we all ate pancakes and Holden opened her gifts, the party was over, lasting about an hour and a half in total–my kind of kids’ party!

Oh, and I’ve been trying to find theme-appropriate t-shirts for myself to wear to each party. I found this tee at 5 Below (flower crown is my own!):

Happy Birthday Holdy! @ohbotherblog

 

I’m thinking this may be our last birthday party for a bit. Although this party was relatively easy to pull off, I’d like to focus on fun activities/experiences, rather than a party, for the next few birthdays. Remind me I said this next year!

to my daughter on her third birthday

06.06.15

Holden,

Holden, Holden, Holden. Where do I begin? In this past year you have blossomed into quite the spirited, creative, silly, fiercely independent little girl. No two days are ever the same with you and absolutely no days are boring.

You started attending daycare (“school”) three days a week this year because we thought a little structure and socialization would be good for you (and for our sanity).

 

Big day for #weefees (and mom)! #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You enjoy school and have made some good friends, like Rylee, Daphne and Liam. You’ve learned your ABC’s and count 1-2-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 (we’ll work on that). You like to do art and take part in creative play. Lately, however, you have been getting notes about having trouble following rules, having meltdowns and hitting your friends. bad behavior notes from daycare @ohbotherblog I’ll be honest: your behavior has become a bit of a struggle for us recently, but we’re working through it. Most issues arise because you are THE most stubborn and independent person I know. You want to do everything yourself. I’ve seen you throw a 30-minute tantrum because I flushed the poop down the toilet before you could. That tantrum actually ended up with you in Urgent Care, in a story I will share over and over again in your teenage years to embarrass you.

 

  #brute #weefees #terribletwos #onlyslightexaggeration   A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

We try to work your independence to our advantage, and enlist your help around the house. You’ve been picking out all your own clothes this year, which has led to the Instagram hashtag #whatholdywore, because oh boy, there have been some doozies worth sharing. I let my toddler dress herself. #whatholdywore @ohbotherblog

Your latest trend has been wearing pants over shorts. I can’t wait to use these photos for future embarrassment opportunities. I’m willing to admit I’ve resorted to reverse psychology to get you to do what I want sometimes:

 

#whatholdyate #reversepsychology #weefees #ohbotherblog

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

Child, you do not eat. For the longest time, all you would eat was pancakes. And sometimes sushi. It has gotten to the point that your birthday party is actually a pancake party because that is your lone dietary staple.

Pancake Birthday Party for a Picky Toddler @ohbotherblog

You have a very active imagination and you’ve really started to embrace creative play as of late. Most of your scenarios involve a dinosaur or someone needing help and calling for their mommy (which makes me feel good). You also like to play “Miss Amanda” (your former daycare teacher) and boss your stuffed animals around.

 

Packed house and only one server at this #rwyork establishment. And she’s mean to boot. #weefees A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

One time I heard you/ “Miss Amanda” say, “Fine, if you’re not going to listen to me, I’m just going to leave.” I figured, if I were teaching toddlers, I’d probably say the same thing. Speaking of the darndest things you say, other sayings that have cracked me up:

  • “I can’t BELIEVE this right now.” (complete with hands on head)
  • “What’s that face about?”
  • “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” (your standard goodbye greeting, regardless of time of day)

You also always follow up telling me you love me with, “but I might get mad at you sometimes.” (Thanks, kid). You like to make up your own song lyrics:

 

spettacolo serale da #weefees #latergram #ohbotherblog A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

 

I sure hope this kid isn’t banking on a career as a singer/songwriter. #weefees

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You’ve started making some amazingly silly faces, with this one being my favorite:

 

Farm Show Carousel #latergram #ohbotherblog A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You usually bust that one out when you’re being scolded and it’s really hard for me not to laugh.

We’ve identified this as your “lying face”:

 

I’ve identified this as her “lying” face. #ohbotherblog #weefees

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

(That’s you promising not to hit anymore. Liar.)

You are whip-smart. You are sassy.

 

Werk it. #whatholdywore #ootd #ohbotherblog A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

And you are oh-so destructive.

 

Sunday evening art project (followed by bath night). #ohbotherblog #weefees

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

But you are also a sweetheart. You are a very protective and attentive big sister to GB. You stuff his Nuk in his mouth when he’s upset (when you aren’t sneaking a suck or two on it yourself), and you literally smother him with hugs. And you always offer him an inferior toy before you just snatch one away from him. He follows you everywhere and you’re remarkably tolerant of it (except for when you’re in the bathroom). 

 

Easy like Sunday evening. #ohbotherblog A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You always ask for “a kiss and a hug” when someone leaves. You give out a ton of compliments: “I like your hair.” “I like your toenails.” You ask me to “hold you” when I tuck you in at night. You tell me I’m your best friend (I’ve also heard you say that to your Duke and to GB, but I’ll let that slide).

You like to read books, sometimes making up your own stories to go with the pictures. Sometimes you “read” to me, and by “read to me,” I mean you point at the picture and say, “Tell me what’s this. Now tell me what’s this.”

You like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Doc McStuffins, Yo Gabba Gabba and Daniel Tiger.

You started gymnastics this year at Skyline. You expertly perform headstands and forward rolls and sit like a butterfly.

 

  Get right outta town with this. #weefees #ohbotherblog   A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You are pretty much potty trained at this point, after a very trying potty training boot camp weekend in the fall. We still have our accidents and you do wear Pull-Ups to bed, but I’m very proud of you for being such a big girl.

Potty Training Weekend with a 2.5 year old @ohbotherblog

I reread last year’s letter to see what changes we’ve made since your last birthday. Back then I acknowledged that you had entered your Terrible Two’s early, that you were an overly aggressive hugger with an impressive vocabulary, who loved her dog and her brother. It’s funny to see how your personality has been solidified from such a young age.

I’m happy to share that you’re developing into a very special, smart, creative, funny, unique sweet little girl. I’ve heard you described as “someone who lives life out loud,” and I think that’s pretty accurate.

“I might get mad at you sometimes,” but that’s just because I’m still trying to figure out how to raise such an independent little woman.

I want my children to be independent headstrong people. Just not while I'm raising them @ohbotherblog

You’re three going on 13, the toughest challenge I’ve ever faced… and the most rewarding. I love you very much, Punk. Happy Third Birthday.

Potty Training Weekend with a 2.5 year old @ohbotherblog

A rustic bridal shower

03.06.15

With my cousin’s wedding coming up in just a few weeks, I wanted to share some adorable photos of her rustic bridal shower. Her super creative bridesmaids decorated perfectly to accentuate her wedding theme.

Tree stump and Mason jar centerpiece for rustic bridal shower or wedding @ohbotherblog

A gorgeous centerpiece, complete with tree stump base and Mason jar vase.

Tree stump cupcake stand for rustic bridal shower or wedding @ohbotherblog

A beautiful tree stump cupcake stand.

Guest Book Jenga for Bridal Shower @ohbotherblog

The bride and groom love hosting Game Nights so all guests signed Jenga Blocks with messages for the couple.

Mason Jar themed bridal shower and wedding @ohbotherblog

Both the wedding and shower invites used the Mason Jar theme.

A home improvement gift set for a Mason Jar themed bridal shower

The shower invite also let guests know that home renovation gifts would be appreciated as the newlyweds work on their new home.

A home improvement gift set for a Mason Jar themed bridal shower

I hopped aboard the Mason Jar theme with my gift, filling a jar with a Home Depot gift card and some pink mini tools for the bride.

Can’t wait to see all the fun rustic details at the wedding!

a trip to the hands-on house in Lancaster, PA

30.05.15

We took a trip to the Hands-on House Children’s Museum in Lancaster, PA recently. I had taken Holden to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia when she was about 18 months old and we had a lot of fun, so I was psyched to find a kids’ play museum so close to home.

I was told in advance that there would be age-appropriate activities that could scale for a one-year-old and an almost-three-year-old, so we gave it a shot.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

The Hands-on House boasts several indoor interactive exhibits. First is “My Backyard,” which resembles a woodland wonderland.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

The Fun Farm.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

The Corner Grocery Store.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Mostly Make-Believe, the dress-up section, complete with pirate ship!

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Marty’s Machine Shop, filled with all sorts of whozeewhats and thingamajigs.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

And the fantastic Play Garden.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

It’s easy to see how Hands-on House is great for all age levels, even little crawlers like GB. We were able to find activities to entertain both of them in each exhibit. He was a bit skeptical at first:

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

But soon he was climbing and exploring away in My Backyard.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog 

We had a ton of fun over in The Farm area. Holden especially loved picking corn.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

So cool — the ears were velcroed to the wall!

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

She kept stealing corn from the grocer’s basket to feed to the pig.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

We were cracking up at the egg-laying chicken activity, no pun intended. Every now and then an egg would come shooting out, surprising both of us.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Both kids hopped up in the driver’s seat of the tractor. Getting them to take turns was no small miracle.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

We stopped in between The Farm and The Grocery Store to deliver some mail and blast some germs.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Here’s a great example of the scaled activities. Each exhibit has a mailbox located outside so you could actually read the address and deliver mail all throughout Hands-on House. Or, you can just move packages from the incoming bin to the outgoing bin like my kids did.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Over in the Grocery Store, Holden went shopping for shellfish and produce.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

GB opted for the canned food aisle.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Holden played at the check-out counter:

Hands-on House in lancaster pa

while GB opted to shoplift.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Leggo my Eggo, indeed.

Holden’s favorite exhibit was, of course, the Make-Believe Room. 

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

My little narcissists loved the stage and the mirrors.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog IMG_8040 Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

We then headed over to the Machine Shop, making Holden clock in before we started.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

There were lots of fun things to do with widgets and obstacles, kind of like a large-scale game of “Mouse Trap.” I think my kiddos were a bit too young to fully enjoy this section, though GB did get to slobber up a wiffle ball or two.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

From the Machine Shop, we headed outside to the Play Garden, which is a) beautiful and b) chock full of age-appropriate climbing structures.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

GB enjoyed eating mulch, as per usual.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

 

There was a super fun sandbox. I was interested to see how GB would respond, having not been in sand since last year’s beach trip.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

 

Luckily, he loved it.

My favorite part was when Holden came whipping down the slide so fast, she missed her feet.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

 

I know, I know: that’s terrible, but I laughed so hard.

Hands-on House Children's Museum Lancaster PA @ohbotherblog

Overall, we had a great experience at the Hands-on House. The nature of the exhibits make it a great place to visit again and again… and it’s priced affordably enough to do so!

Daily admission is $9.50 for adults and $9.50 for children over age 2. An annual family membership for just $99/year gets you free admission, discounted guest passes, member mornings and reduced birthday party rates.

Memorial Day through Labor Day
M, T, W, Th: 10am-5pm
Friday: 10am-8pm
Saturday: 10am-5pm
Sunday: 12-5pm

www.handsonhouse.org/visit

 

ditching cable and streaming TV

18.05.15

How to ditch cable and stream TV @ohbotherblog

I get questions every so often from people who are interested in ditching cable, so I figured I’d put this down in one place once and for all.

When I moved last fall, I chose not to bring my cable package with me. Since having kids, my personal TV-watching time has decreased, but I couldn’t give up television entirely because, yes, I let my kids watch TV sometimes (!) and because my dad (aka my daycare) appreciates being able to watch TV throughout the day. So here’s what we do in my house:

  1. I switched to Verizon as my Internet provider (about $56 a month for the enhanced Internet package to accommodate streaming.)
  2. I have a Roku, which ranges from $39.99-$99.99 on Amazon.
    1. I also have an Apple TV in my upstairs bedroom, though I actually prefer the Roku.
  3. I have Amazon Prime Instant Video through my Amazon Prime/Amazon Mom account ($99/year, so $8.25/month).
    1. There are some shows/movies that require purchase, so I try to be discerning. For example, Season 2 of Yo Gabba Gabba is free on Amazon Prime, but you have to purchase other episodes or seasons. I finally broke down and purchased Season 4 for my own sanity.
  4. I have Hulu Plus for new episodes and full seasons of current TV shows and some movies ($7.99/month).
  5. I have Netflix for movies, older seasons of TV shows and Netflix Original Series, like House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange is the New Black ($7.99/month).
    1. If you can do without the Netflix Originals, this is a platform you could probably forego as there is quite a bit of overlap with Amazon and Hulu.
  6. I just signed up for Sling TV, which allows you to stream live TV on cable networks like Disney Channel, ABC Family (because I love Pretty Little Liars), AMC, ESPN, TBS, HGTV, Food Network and more ($20/month). You can also add HBO for an additional $15 a month.
    1. I signed up for Sling essentially just to be able to watch the Mad Men series finale live but it’s looking like it may become an integral part of our TV routine.
  7. I purchased a AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna for $24.99, which attaches to the wall behind the TV and gets me two networks (NBC and Fox)… and their weird digital channels (my Fox station has a digital channel that has all 1970’s sitcoms).
    1. This has been great for my avid Dateline viewing and some live events like awards shows that are on NBC or Fox.

So, for a $65-75 starting investment (Roku Stick + digital antenna), you can take the first step of saying goodbye to cable. Yes, I am still paying about $100 a month for my Internet and various streaming channels, but it’s less than I was paying for cable + Internet previously and I essentially have on-demand access to just about any TV show or movie imaginable. And, it keeps both my toddler and my dad happy. Annnnnd, most of these channels have mobile apps as well so you can stream on your phone or tablet.

By the way, if you don’t already have an Amazon Prime membership, I highly recommend, if only for the free two-day shipping. I Prime everything, including toilet paper (TMI?).

on working, mom guilt and saying “no”

17.05.15

Coming down from a very busy week that was filled with various work-related and networking activities, I wanted to share a bit about some things I’ve been struggling with lately. 

If you follow me on Instagram (which you totally should, btw), you’ll see a mix of photos, from what I’m eating for lunch, to Holdy’s outfit of the day (#whatholdywore):

 

#whatholdywore: a ridiculous outfit and a bad attitude #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

To photos like this:

 

 

Just another Thursday. @arthur_daughter @susquehannastyle

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

I count myself as very lucky to have a job that essentially blends seamlessly with my personal life. As Marketing Director for Downtown Inc in downtown York, it’s pretty much my job to tell everyone about all the fantastic things going on in our town. A lot of time that requires me attending those fantastic things. Other times, it requires me planning them. So that means, basically, that I work a lot. But I love it. As my boss says, “it’s not a job; it’s a lifestyle.” And I really believe that to be true.

That does mean, however, that finding a work-life balance has some additional challenges for me. Whenever possible (and appropriate), I love to include my kids in my work. In truth, I’m doing all of this for them: working to build them a town that they can be proud of and will hopefully want to come home to. Holden loves coming to the pretzel shop:

 

Surprise pretzel shop visit by #weefees

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

 And attending some of our downtown family-friendly events:

 

My little #gogreenyork buddy! #weefees

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

But most of the time, I’m relying on the kindness of my parents (without whom I could not survive) or family friends to watch the kids while I “work.” I just recently (hallelujah!) found a non-family/friend babysitter who has a license and is reliable, which I’m sure will be a game-changer.

I am acutely aware of the judgment I receive sometimes. This week in particular, I could tell my dad was annoyed by the schedule changes and juggling. It’s even gotten back to me that some feel my parents are “raising my children for me,” which is beyond hurtful to hear.

Which brings me to the guilt and the struggle. The guilty mom struggle is real. I know that I need to start saying “no” to some extracurricular things that take me out of the house, particularly during the week. I say “no” to Holden all the time; why is it so hard for me to do it elsewhere? A lot of what I am doing outside of the house is for the kids–a new board appointment for example; though I can’t use that excuse for everything. But then again… do I need an excuse?

I’ve read some articles recently about a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in April 2015 that concluded the amount of time mothers spend with their children, ages 3 to 11, has little relationship to how successful those kids become in life. Success is far more dependent on the mother’s education level and family income, the report says.

That’s not to say that parent time isn’t important, of course. But it seems to show that quality over quantity is the key. Though if we’re being honest, I’m sure I lack in the quality department sometimes as well.

Some other pieces from the study that felt somewhat validating:

The study also found that mothers today are actually spending more engaged time with their children than they did in the 1970’s, and that’s even with more of them in the workforce.

The report also debunked another common myth: That time spent specifically with mom is better than time spent with anyone else.

Suck on that, haters.

When it comes down to it, there is always going to be judgment. And there’s always going to be guilt… no matter whether you’re working or staying home; whether they’re in daycare or family members are watching them; whether you send them to public school or you home school. You’ve got to get to the point where you feel confident and validated in how you are raising YOUR family.

So… now I’ve just got to work on that. And on saying “no” a bit more.

Here’s more info on that study, if you’re interested:

Mother’s Day in Cape May

12.05.15

 

Every year over Mother’s Day weekend (and again in October), my family visits Cape May as a tribute to my late Nanny. You can read all about it in a previous post and about my fun (funny, wonderful) Nanny here.

This past Mother’s Day, the Ladybugs (my mom, aunts and cousins) and two Stinkbugs (my uncles) made the trek to the shore.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

We always stay at the Marquis de Lafayette, partially because of the large rooms, partially because of the great location, and mostly because of the bangin’ breakfast buffet that includes pounds and pounds of bacon.

The ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

 

Our trip always consists of shopping on the Washington Mall and Happy Hour (that turns into Happy Evening) at Cabana’s Beach Bar & Grill.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

We spend the evening drinking cheap pitchers of cheap beer and dancing to fun cover bands.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

This trip, for something a little different, we visited Willow Creek Winery. It’s super gorgeous and has only been open for 2.5 years. We got a kick out of their Wilde Cock wines.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

I sported by new culottes jumpsuit from Elizabeth & West Fashion House in downtown York, plus my new sun hat, purchased at a Cape May boutique.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

We took our growlers of sangria out to the patio for sunshine and tapas.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

Oh man, the tapas.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

On Mother’s Day, we always head to the beach to “Nanny’s Spot” to spend some time with her.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

We sign balloons and release them into the sky with messages for her.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

And we leave little tokens behind in the rocks where we scattered her ashes.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

This time, as we left the beach, a little visitor tagged along.

The Ladybugs visit Cape May @ohbotherblog

 

We love and miss you, Nanny. Happy Mother’s Day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie