Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's in a Name?!

Growing up, I was one of four kids.  Three girls and one boy.  Lots of pets.  I vividly remember my mother always mixing up our names.  I was always called by one of my sisters' names.  I don't remember her ever forgetting my brother's name, but I do remember her calling my younger sister Buttons, our dog, more than once!  I never understood this.  How could my mom forget our names.  There were only four of us!  But, then it got worse.  At the grocery store we would run into someone and I would have to whisper what their name was, whose mom they were and any other important information I might have.  This was a skill that came in handy when I was an adult working.  On sales calls I could always remember not only the client's name, but the name of their spouse, their children and where they took their last vacation.  At work functions it was very easy for me to strike up conversations because I always seemed to remember an odd fact or tidbit I had picked up, making that client or member feel really important that I remembered!
Sadly, those days are long gone.  Now I find myself calling my children by the wrong name on a daily basis.  Sometimes I even find myself saying, "you there in the red shirt".  Often I can get that out faster than the correct name of the kid.  I do mix up the twins and the boys and the girls.  Luckily I have never called anyone by our pet fish's name (yet!).  But this does also extend to my kids' friends, my Daisy Troop and even other adults.  Not proud mommy moments, I know.  What happened?  Is this just another example of "Mommy  Brain"?   I know there are tricks - when you first meet someone, use their name in a sentence when you are speaking with them. That will help you remember.  You can also come up with little sayings and/or associations that will help you remember: Sally who lives by the swing and is Suzy's mom with the Siamese Cat.

Recently I was called out on this.  I ran into a neighbor that I don't see very often.  I knew her name was either Karen or Lina.  But wasn't quite sure.  She even said to me, "Hi Kathleen, I'm Lina.  I wasn't quite sure you knew what my name was."  Of course, I tried miserably to downplay it, "Hi Lina, of course I knew that was your name!".  What I really wanted to say was, "Lady, I can't remember the names of my own children, how do you expect me to remember yours!"

Has this happened to you, or am I the only one!

Thanks for stopping by & have a great day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Vaccines are a pretty hot topic.  I am a member of several multiple clubs and was very surprised by a posting the other day. A parent of twins was not going to vaccinate his infants.  At all.   This parent was looking for feedback on this.   I did not realize just how controversial it is. (Because most of news comes from Disney Jr.  If it isn't on there, chances are I probably haven't heard about it!)   I also didn't realize what a "black and white" topic it is. People are very for or very, very against.  I was under the impression that once a child entered public school that they were required to be up to date on all vaccines.  Not so.  There are exemptions out there.  I was even more surprised to learn (from the World Health Organization) that in Western Countries, highly contagious diseases that were eradicated years ago by vaccines are on the rise: measles and pertussis to just name a few.

 There have been studies done linking mercury in vaccines to autism.  There have been other studies done, dismissing these claims.  I don't know what is right or wrong.  But for mom's who have seen immediate effects on their kids after they received a vaccine, you can't tell them that it is nothing, or there is no connection.

Last month I was at the doctor for a routine check up.  They notified me that my tetanus vaccination had expired (learned that it is only good for ten years! check yours!).  They also suggested that I get the pertussis vaccination.  There was an outbreak at one of our local schools and I am constantly around kids (my own, my Daisy Troop, my kids' classes - it never ends I'm surrounded  by kids!).  So, I went ahead and got the dtap vaccine.  The nurse let me know that it would hurt and my arm would be sore. Boy, was this an understatement!  Of course, I ended up having a reaction to it.  Day one I was fine, by day three I could not move my arm and had a lump the size of an orange at the vaccination site. Even now, six weeks later, I still have a little knot where the needle went in.

We do vaccinate our children, they are  current on their vaccinations and do follow the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  I personally, do believe in vaccines and want to protect my children.  I did, however, break up their vaccinations.  When my children were infants, they received all of their vaccines, just not all at once.  We spread them out.  By the time they were one or two, they were all caught up.

What do you think?  Have you vaccinated your children?  Why or Why not?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Note: Today's Blog expresses my views and opinions only.  I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.  Please consult a licensed health care practitioner for any medical advice.  Thank you! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Saying Thank You!

With the end of the school year, along comes the opportunity to say Thank You to our teachers, coaches, bus drivers etc.   You know who they are!  These wonderful adults that work with our children all year long.  We have been very Blessed this year.  All four of my children had truly wonderful teachers.  Between all four of my kids, we have five teachers, two bus drivers, two LAX coaches and two ballet teachers we would like to show our appreciation to.  Now, this can add up quickly.  But, don't worry! There are many ways to show appreciation and thanks without breaking your budget.

Note: If you are a teacher that has one of my kids this year, you can leave the page now.  Thanks for stopping by.  Come back tomorrow!  Don't want to spoil any surprises....

Here are a few of my favorite teacher gifts.  Please leave your favorites in the comments section below!

Group Gift:  This is a great way to give a gift.  We are doing this for my son's teacher and did this for both of his LAX coaches, too.  It is very simple.  One mom volunteers to start the collection and buy the gift.  Through email, back pack mail and whispers on the field, money is collected.  Then, you can buy something really nice for your teacher or coach!  For both my son's teacher and coaches we did gift cards.  A VISA or AMEX gift card is a great gift. This way the recipient can use it anywhere. With a group, you are also usually able to give a nice amount, too.The thing you need to remember about this is  to start early. Notify the other parents well in advance.  Also, it is good to give a suggested amount, but let everyone know that any amount they can give is fantastic! One thing to watch is the service charge fees.  If you buy the cards at the grocery store, there is typically a $3-$5 activation fee per card.  Some banks do not charge this fee if you are a customer.  Check your banks website before you head out to purchase!

Gift Cards:  I am a huge fan of giving (and receiving!) gifts cards!  For Christmas we gave our teachers insulated travel mugs filled with candy and a Starbucks gift card.  This makes a very nice end of year gift, too.   With gift cards for coffee places, like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, you can get a card for a smaller amount too, a $5 Dunkin Donuts goes a long way!  This is something that pretty much everyone will use too.  There is only one person in the world I can think of who would not like a Starbucks card, and that is my mother! (Lines are too long, coffee is too expensive and she can make a better cup of coffee at home for free.  Mom, have you ever even had a Starbucks?  I don't think so!)  But, if you give her a Starbucks card that is fine - because it is something that she can re-gift to one of her kids!  You can also get creative with a homemade card, "Thanks a Latte" for all you do", etc.  With gift cards you can usually purchase them on line and they will either email them to the recipient or mail you the actually card for no additional fee.  A great site for gift cards is Yiftee.  We just used this to send a teacher a gift card for Georgetown Cupcakes.  Who doesn't like cupcakes!  What I like about Yiftee (www.yiftee.com) is that it is electronic, city specific and supports small businesses.  Also, if you recipient doesn't like the store you sent it for, they can pick another store.  They are not stuck!

Bags:  I love bags!  Bags have a million uses.  When you are a teacher or a coach you usually have one or two of these (at least!) to haul all your stuff in.  We purchased bags for several of our teachers this year and will fill them with surprises and homemade cards.   Some of my favorite places to buy nice bags are from Thirty One and Clear Gear.  These bags are durable and just all around awesome!



Homemade Gifts:  Gifts do not need to break the bank.  A homemade gift is very personal and gets the kids involved, both of which I love!! A homemade gift can be artwork, a craft project,  baked goods, a nice potted plant, or some seasonal seeds and a watering can (check the dollar section at Target!).  For teacher appreciation week the twins and I made really beautiful cards on the computer using a photograph of my twins on the front and a nice poem inside.  Baked Goods are great.  One of my good friends gave me this great brownie recipe.  Hope she doesn't mind that I will share with you.  It is so good and so easy!  Start with your box of brownie mix.  Instead of baking it in a square or rectangle pan, bake it into cupcakes!  She made this with regular sized cupcakes using cupcake liners and they turned out perfectly.  I tried it with mini cupcake pans using a nonstick spray.  Mine did not turn out so great.  I definitely suggest using cupcake liners and you need to shorten the cooking time on the box.  Take off about 10 minutes and watch them closely.  When the toothpick comes out clean they are done.

Thanks for stopping by & have a great day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mommy Brain

Mommy Brain.  Mommy Fog.  This phenomenon usually manifests itself first during pregnancy.  Third trimester, you know when the baby is pushing on everything, including your brain!  I didn't realize that it would last so long beyond pregnancy.  Like four years!

This week has been especially "foggy" for me.  The kids think it is hilarious! Mommy is so silly, let's just watch and not say anything and see what she does next!  Here is just a sampling of what I have done (or I guess haven't done!):  squirt ranch dressing instead of chocolate syrup in a cup of milk, put eggs in the pantry, put milk in the cupboard, put the cereal box in the fridge, took off my makeup with Bactine (I'm very, very lucky here.  Someone who shall not be named left this in the spot where my eye makeup remover is typically kept), almost squirted Bactine into my contact lens case, (I think the dangerous substances need to be stored out of my reach and not my kids!). 

Luckily (knock on wood, jump up and down and spin around), I have never ever forgotten any of the children or left them anywhere.  I have left stores without my purchases or purse.  Have gone to the store and gas station without my wallet (this was awhile ago!), but always keep the kids with me!

I have no idea how to combat this.  Of course more sleep, but who has time for that!  More coffee, but I'm on decaf. these days. Too much caffeine and I'm even more of a mess, and a shaky one too!

Have you been struck with this malady?  What are your tips?

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

End of Year Ideas

It is that time of year.  Depending on whom you are speaking with, they will tell you it is the most wonderful time of year, or they may tell you  they want to change the calendars back to March!  End of School.  Summer of vacation.  Yeah summer, boo school is out.  My twins finish up their year next week.  Yes, next week.  Thursday, May 23rd.  One week from today.  Now, they are only in preschool for two days a week.  But I really like those mornings.  It is just enough for me to get some errands or work in and it is great for them!  I have seen enormous changes this year.  In their confidence and their abilities, both socially and academically.  But, I digress!

Summer vacation is just around the  corner. I know a few moms who have every single minute of their kids summer planned: camps, vacation, tutoring sessions, etc.  Me, not so much.  My older two are signed up for swim team and all four are signed up for two weeks of VBS.   We will be at the pool pretty much everyday and are looking forward to planning a few visits to the beach to visit Grandma. I am on the lookout for some camps.  I love using certifikid.com to find our camps!  I used that site last summer for two different camps and it was great!  We will definitely take advantage of living so close to Washington and visit the zoo and museums.  I like to get their early and avoid the tourists and other one million people from the area who had the same idea!  Now that the twins are four, outings and day trips are so much easier!

I need to start to get my stockpile together.  I have a few things from their birthdays and Christmas in my prize closet that I am looking forward to pulling out to keep them occupied during a summer storm!   I was at the local dollar store this morning, looking for ideas on craft projects, workbooks and activities to keep the kids entertained.  They might  be out of school, but I still need to work and I definitely want to avoid the summer slide! 

What are your plans for the summer?  What do you do to make sure the summer slide doesn't happen in your house?

Thanks for stopping by & have a great day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Line Cutting, Seriously!

I don't know why, but for whatever reasons, line cutting really pushes my buttons.  Gets my goat and all that jazz!

In my opinion, line cutting is a rampant problem in the area where I live.  I'm wondering if maybe it is just me.  Maybe I am just too sensitive.  Maybe I am too rigid.  Maybe I am just plain out wrong for teaching my kids to wait their turn.  In our house, lines are important.  With four kids, to eliminate pushing, shoving and the me first dance, there are times when we have our kids line up.  In a good way, like "who wants a popsicle, line up by the freezer". Or,  to control chaos when we are going outside: "get your shoes on and line up by the door".

Most of the time I do speak up.  But, it depends on the situation.  During spring break the kids and I went to Chuck E Cheese.  I did nicely ask the 12 year old who was pushing my four year old to get to the soda fountain first, if he would mind waiting his turn in line.  I also did also point out to a fourteen year old who cut in front of my six year old at the prize counter that my daughter had been waiting.  Actually, got support from the Chuck E Cheese worker on this one too! Who did indeed say,  this little girl (my daughter) is next. 

Sometimes I am just too dumb founded to say anything.  Like at Target the other day.  A new cash register opened up and next in line was called.  That was us.  By the time I got the twins and all of our stuff together a line three-deep had formed at the newly opened register.  Other times, I think it is best to let the kids work it out themselves.  Like at the school bus line.  (I really don't care as long as my kid gets on the bus!)  When I first witnessed this I was amazed.  The kids line up, by order of arrival time.  Whomever arrives first at the bus stop, is first in line and for the most part the kids stay in that line.  Except for a few.  There are one or two late comers everyday who instead of going to the back of line and waiting their turn,  go right to the front of the line.  Everyday.   Line cutting at its very finest.  I'm still trying to figure out if there is some sort of bus stop hierarchy?!  I just figure that the kids learn it somewhere...maybe from their mom cutting in line at Target!

Is this a problem for you?  What do you to avoid? How do we stop the cycle!

Thanks for stopping by & have a great day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Blessings

Yesterday at my twins' preschool it was the Mother's Day Tea.  The kids (with the help of their wonderful teachers!) go all out to make us moms feel special!  The teachers work hard to set the room and make the food.  Great little sandwiches, muffins, brownies, cookies, fruit, lemonade and of course iced tea!  I think my twins ate an entire plate of brownies. The kids work very hard on making the decorations for the table and little gifts for us moms to take home.

Surprisingly at our table yesterday, I was the only mom.  One little boy was with his dad and another one was there without a parent.  I don't know what their situations are at home.  We all smiled at the table and my twins and I talked with both boys and helped the one who was there alone fix his plate.  This really got me thinking.  One, of how fortunate I am to have my four children who are all my blessings, and two to have my mom.  I lost my father at a young age, my mom has always been there for us.  As our rock and I know we take her for granted! 

I know quite a few people who have lost their moms this past year.  I know that this Sunday will be bittersweet.  I also know too many people who have lost their children.  I hope that your Sunday is extra special.  Whether your child walks with you here on this earth, or if they are watching you from above, you are still and will always be their mom.

  Happy Mother's Day.  Wishing you and your loved ones many Blessings.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I see London, I see France

In most homes, the next line would be I see your underpants.  In our house it is the opposite!  My Baby A (now big kid four year old twin boy) does not like to wear underpants.  We have tried boxers, we have tried briefs, we have tried boxer briefs! He does not like them.  We have tried Scooby Doo, Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear, Bat Man, Spider Man,  plain ones, ones with pictures.  You name them, we tried them!  He does not want them.   He will not wear them.  We do make sure they are not too tight, and have gone up a size. He will still not wear them.

On Sunday, we had a family birthday party to go to.  Our conversation with my son went something like this:

Parent: It's time to get dressed for the party
Child: Okay
Parent: You need to wear underwear
Child: No
Parent: You really should wear them
Child: No I don't, a birthday party is not a school day or a holiday

We have him convinced that it is a school rule to wear underpants, so on most school days he will wear them.  However, there have been quite a few days when he has gotten himself dressed and gone in commando.  The teacher's know, on those days his pants are on backwards, too.  They are cool with it and very supportive (thanks KUC!)!  Days he does wear them, as soon as he comes home he changes.  Usually he will put on his pajamas.  This kid likes to be comfy!

We have also told him that he needs to wear underpants under his uniform to Tae Kwon Do, because that is like school.  Last week he refused, and just wore his pajamas underneath.  It worked.  Master Chao didn't notice, or if he did, didn't comment.

The Holiday rule we must have told him along the way, and it stuck.  We have tried the underwear on vacation rule, the underwear in restaurants rule and the underwear when you go to the store rule.  Those, not so much and are hit and miss.  I was able to convince him to put some on for his four year check up a few months back. I really wish I took a picture of his thoroughly disgusted face when the doctor asked him if he liked Scooby Doo.  He responded with a very firm, no I do not like him.  Then the doctor asked, why Scooby's face was on his butt!  Needless to say, my son was not impressed.

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy your day!