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Mark. By Jess Giveaway!

Well, here it is!! I am officially offering my very first GIVEAWAY, thanks to Jess over at Mark. by Jess! In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to find a way to thank all of my amazing followers and what better way than to offer an awesome product for FREE? But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a mom to win! Anyone can enter by using the Rafflecopter form below.

First of all, let me share a little bit about Mark. “Mark. is an expertly edited beauty & fashion boutique that is constantly launching fresh, on-trend products. Inspired by the hottest runway looks of the season, mark. offers young women must-have, cutting edge trends before they even hit shelves. If you live for the rush of a great find, meet mark.”

To help me out, my friend Jess and I decided to partner up to offer you a great product from Mark. by Jess! Check out Jess’ Facebook Page or her entire Mark. Store! Jess is also the author of the blog, Jessie Jo At Home, so be sure to stop by and say hello there as well!

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We thought that every mother could benefit from a little pampering so we are offering you a chance to win the For Goodness Face Antioxidant Skin Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30! This product is an “oil-free moisturizer that helps protect skin’s natural beauty, and is packed with a powerful antioxidant combo of dark chocolate, blueberry extract, lemon fruit, European herb extract and Canadian willow herb extract, plus the all-important SPF 30 to guard against the sun’s damaging rays.”

Good luck, Happy Mother’s Day, and thanks again for the love and support!

Enter by using the Rafflecopter form below! This contest will start on 4/26/2013 and end on 5/3/2013. Must be 18+ to enter. This contest is open to US residents, only. The winner will be chosen at random by rafflecopter and notified by the email address on file with rafflecopter. Must respond to winning notification within 48 hours or another winner will be selected. The Honest Mommy is not responsible for shipment of this prize. Contact The Honest Mommy with any questions!

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A Sincerely Sarcastic Letter to My Lovely Neighbor

If your sweet, little dog mysteriously disappears in the middle of the night, I swear, I had nothing to do with it.  Photo via Petfinder.com

If your sweet, little dog mysteriously disappears in the middle of the night, I swear, I had nothing to do with it.
Photo via Petfinder.com

 

Dear Lovely Next Door Neighbor,

I am writing this letter to inform you of a few things that have come to my attention. Since we live so closely and I truly care about you and your family, I want to share a few things with you. I think you might find some of this information very important and a little concerning.

It seems as though your dog, Chester, is escaping into the backyard sometime between midnight and 2:00am every night. Since my bedroom directly faces your yard, I can hear him barking loudly and sadly, wanting to come inside. I know that since you are so considerate and caring, there is absolutely no way you’d just put your dog outside in the middle of the night and let it bark for long periods of time, especially since you know that we have a baby trying to sleep in our house. I’m really concerned that you might not hear him barking and that you might need to get your hearing checked. I just love and adore your little dog and I feel so sorry for him when he is left out in the cold at night. Who knows what could happen? Someone could just walk right into your yard and kidnap him and then we’d never hear his loud, piercing bark ever again. It’s horrifying to think about. While I would definitely never do anything like that, I think there are some people that would. You can’t be too careful these days.

I also wanted to mention to you that I think your husband might be sleep- walking. I’ve woken up the last several Monday nights around 11:30pm to find him dragging the large, noisy garbage can from the street back up to your garage. While I know that it would bother me to leave my trash can lying in the driveway all day, I know he doesn’t mind because I saw him walk by it twice earlier in the day. There is just no logical reason that he’d decide to drag it back up at 11:30 at night. It’s just so loud – obviously it would wake the neighbors. I know he wouldn’t do that. You should really encourage him to see his doctor about how to treat his sleep walking. Maybe you can have his hearing checked while you are there.

While we are talking about your husband, please, give him our best. I am assuming that he has a back injury or some other health problem that has prevented him from being able to rake up your leaves. An injury can really be the only explanation as to why you would let old, un-raked leaves sit in your yard for six months. Actually, I have the name of someone who you can hire to take care of them for you. I’ll track down their number and pass it along to you. In the meantime, I hope your husband is feeling better soon.

Lastly, tell your son that we are so impressed with how his basketball skills are coming along. I know he is getting better because every night, at 8:00pm, while I am trying to rock my baby to sleep, I can hear every bounce of the ball, every shot he takes, and every time he cheers so loudly and excitedly for himself when he makes a basket. Don’t worry about the noise keeping the baby awake. Seeing your son’s skills improve is definitely more important than getting my baby to sleep at a decent hour. Practice makes perfect, right?

Oh – One more thing. I am so glad that you decided to install a very sensitive and extremely bright motion light on the side of your house. This is a great way to keep the neighborhood protected. Where did you get that light? It stays on for like, 15 minutes! I didn’t even know you could find motion lights that stay on that long. It makes me feel very safe. And really, don’t worry about it shining directly into mine or my baby’s bedrooms. After we realized how difficult it is to sleep with bright lights entering the room, we just went ahead and purchased room-darkening shades. No biggie.

So that’s about it! I hope all is well with you and I hope your husband is feeling better soon. Let’s get together soon!

Sincerely and Definitely NOT Sarcastically,

Your Very Kind and Caring Neighbor

 

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Bedtime Battles

Stalling Tactic #1: Squirm as much as possible so that Mom is unable to zip PJs.

Stalling Tactic #1: Squirm as much as possible so that Mom is unable to zip PJs.

 

As a mother, I often find myself thinking about the future for my son.  I wonder if he will do well in school, if he will make lots of friends, and if he will be successful as an adult. I think about if he will be into sports and what kind of occupation he will eventually choose. I’m sure every parent wants their child to be talented in their own way and to nurture and use those talents throughout their lives and their future careers.

And I’ll tell you what, after an evening like the one I just had, I’m pretty sure I have discovered one of my son’s most incredible talents – the ability to stay awake at all costs. And I swear, if avoiding sleep was a sport, we’d be headed for the big leagues, baby.

I can understand how an older child can avoid falling asleep at bedtime now and again. I know that children are master stallers – perfecting their excuses like needing a drink of water or needing to use the bathroom or needing just one more bedtime story. However, when I had a child, I didn’t realize that even babies were capable of avoiding sleep. Seriously, aren’t infants supposed to sleep like 14 hours a night or something ridiculous? Not only would my son probably stay up until 11:00pm every night if I let him, he wakes up at 5:30am every single day – no matter what time he finally gives up on staying awake.

After a really long day and a really short nap this afternoon, I thought for sure I had this one in the bag. I figured he’d be asleep before he even finished his last bottle tonight. As it turns out, apparently Grey took a little training in stalling because he has figured out that if he pokes his eyes and swings his legs around simultaneously, he is sure to stay awake.

Our bedtime routine looks something like this. Diaper change, bottle, rocking chair, transfer to crib. On a good night, we do this cycle once. On a rough night, we go through the cycle twice. On a really shitty night, I start taking shots of vodka between cycles because after several cycles/shots, at least I will be asleep (or passed out), even if the baby is not.

I went into Grey’s room, picked him up, and sat down in the rocking chair to start Cycle #3 of our little charade tonight. As I began to rock him, he opened his eyes, looked at me, and laughed. Who knew a 14 month old was capable of thinking his little manipulative, stalling ways were hilarious?? What a little shit. It’s a good thing he’s cute. And all I have to say is this – if I show up to work tomorrow with a hangover, I am totally blaming the baby who drove me to drink during our bedtime battles.

 

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How Having A Beer Helped My Marriage

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I got a sitter so that we could go to the bar, have a beer, and catch up with each other. We ended up talking about our relationship as a married couple. While it’s not something that we typically discuss often, I am beginning to realize that talking about your relationship is probably the first and most important step in achieving a successful and happy marriage. Later, as I was browsing through blogs and articles online, I came across a post written by a married couple that shared the seven ways they saved their marriage. For someone who reads a lot of magazines, articles, and blogs, I typically steer clear of this kind of thing, but after the discussion that I had just had with my husband, it piqued my interest.

As I read through the post, I quickly remembered why I normally avoid reading anything that claims to improve my marriage or spice up my sex life. While I am sure that there are many very informative and well researched reference books about successful marriages written by qualified therapists, I find it impossible to believe that a two page blog post  (or a book for that matter) written by a stranger will do anything to improve my own personal relationship. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s awesome that this couple had the balls to share their experience, but I just don’t think that what saved their marriage will benefit me in any way. While I am no expert myself, what I do know is that every marriage is exceedingly unique and that a “one size fits all” fix will most certainly fail for many couples.

While I don’t think the post was suggesting that exactly what worked for them will work for everyone, I think I get caught up in reading these types of articles that way. It suggested to let the little annoying things go, have sex even if you don’t want to, don’t compare who does more work/more chores. It also said not to bring up past issues and to stop focusing on the negative things in your relationship. All decent advice and all shit I’ve heard before.

Unfortunately, I am a woman, so I can’t help it if despite all my effort, I am forced to bring up past issues just in case there is the chance my husband wasn’t listening the first time I yelled at him about it.  I’d love to let the little pet-peevy type things go, but some of us can’t, so my advice to all husbands is to just stop doing things that annoy us. Sometimes, after running the parenting marathon all day, I am too exhausted to think about having sex, much less staying up past 9:30pm at all. Not to mention the fact that I am covered in spit up and snot is grossing me out and I’m sure it’s not exactly turning on my husband, either. And lastly, women only compare who does more chores because we are always the one who does more chores. Am I right, ladies??? Alright, alright. Just kidding on that last one, honey. Luckily, my anal husband thrives off completing tasks, especially chores. Gotta love him for that.

Like I said, I am no expert, but what I’ve realized is that even if marriage comes easily and naturally before having children, the moment that little bundle of love enters your family, everything will change. You begin an entirely new relationship with your husband – not just as spouses, but as parents. It’s a fast-paced and tiring new challenge. It can become very easy to lose sight of your relationship as husband and wife when you are constantly focused on your relationship as parents. Both are equally as important and go hand in hand. So while I might not be able to let every single little thing go or have sex even when I’m too tired, I do know that finding an opportunity to actually talk to each other once in a while about how things are going can be really helpful – even if that means having to get a sitter on a Sunday to find two hours alone to catch up.

Writing this post didn’t help me to come up with seven tips to improve my marriage (or yours), but I can say this. The next time that I feel the urge to scroll some article about how to better connect and communicate with my spouse, I will close my computer, call my sitter, and meet my husband at the bar to enjoy a few cocktails and a little conversation. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get crazy and even attempt to stay up past 9:30pm just for the sake of a little extra time together.

 

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My Parenting Solo Act

My husband has a really amazing job that he loves, which is totally tough to come by in this day and age. We are so lucky that not only is he employed, but that he enjoys what he does and he gets paid enough for me to work only four days a week at a job where I can bring Greyson with me. Unfortunately, his job requires him to travel somewhere between 1-2 months per year. Before I had a child, I didn’t mind his traveling at all. It was like a little me-time vacation to have dinner with the girls or to stay home and catch up on Keeping up with the Kardashians. However, after Grey was born, his traveling became a little less of a vacation and little bit more like mommy overtime hours.

When my husband is getting ready to leave, I have to mentally prepare myself for tackling my parenting solo act for several days and nights. I mean, there are women who raise children by themselves so clearly I should be able to handle a few days. When he calls me from wherever the hell he is that particular trip (which I can rarely keep track of), I give him a nice little speech about how we can get through it, it’s not that bad, and it’s just a few days. Then I hang up and attempt to believe that what I just told him is true.

On the first night, I convince myself that I am a positive, supportive wife and mother who can handle anything. I can not only take care of the baby while nannying for two other children during the day, but I can also keep the house clean and maybe even toss in a load of laundry after the baby goes to bed.

I have a few rules that I attempt to stick by on a normal day. I typically try to keep it to two cups of coffee. I try to encourage the baby to eat new foods and to have some veggies. I limit TV to a little in the morning and a little before bed. However, by day two on solo duty, I slowly begin breaking these rules one by one. I pour myself a large glass of wine and turn on the television. A little extra Elmo never killed anyone, right?

By day three, all hell breaks loose. At this time, I am usually exhausted from getting up with Grey during the night by myself. I typically look like a strung out, crack head mommy from the amount of caffeine I’ve consumed in the last three days. The baby wears PJ’s for the majority of the day because I’m too worn out for a little dressing wrestling match. On night number three, I opt for a making a strong cocktail over cooking a meal. I let Grey eat toast and yogurt for dinner in front of the television that has been streaming Sesame Street for several hours.

I can’t imagine how people that parent alone at all times get through more than three days without losing their sanity. Maybe it’s because I am with my child and two others all day that makes it difficult. I am literally on the mommy clock at all times for several days straight. Maybe it’s because I don’t have family close by that can stop over and give me a break – or at least give me another person to talk to. Not that I don’t love talking to Greyson, but he can only answer me with a total of about four words (dog, more, please, all done…).

Now that you have an idea of what three days and nights look like at my house when I’m alone, you can imagine what happens after that. It’s a slow progression towards parenting pandemonium. My husband’s next trip is planned to span five days. My mom decided to take her vacation time from work and  to come into town to stay with me while he’s gone. And thank God for that. By day five, I’m afraid I would be doomed to overdose on caffeine, cocktails, and Elmo on DVR.

 

 

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A Mommy Haiku

Grey played with toys for a total of two minutes today. Hence, the short post.

Grey played with toys for a total of two minutes today. Hence, the short post.

A Day in the Life: A Mommy Haiku

Diapers and bottles

Chasing a busy toddler

Is it bedtime yet?

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Dressing to Impress

Remember those peaceful mornings in your previous (kids-free) lifetime when you could take a hot shower, try on several outfits before choosing the most stylish one, and spend the better part of an hour doing your hair and makeup without interruptions? Ah, those were the days. As you already know, running the household is a full-time job that starts the minute you wake up in the morning and lasts until you lay your head down on the pillow at night—that is, if your kids will allow you to sleep a whole night through! In the daily rush to make sure diapers get changed, lunches get prepared and packed, and the older kids get to and from school and extracurricular activities on-time, you probably aren’t left with a lot of spare time to get ready in the mornings. Why should you care, anyway? Most of your time outside of the house is spent running errands or playing taxi, not going to high profile work lunches or fancy dinner dates.

But making sure you look your best on a shopping trip or school run can actually be a major confidence booster. The old saying “if you look good, then you feel good” certainly applies here. Let’s face it: stepping out in your track suit or pajamas and a pair of tennis shoes will leaving you feeling disheveled, scruff, and a bit down in the dumps, while slipping into a nice blouse and a pair of fitted jeans instantly makes you feel (and look) more put-together. You don’t necessarily have to buy a whole new wardrobe each season to look stylish, either: investing in some staple pieces like a no-iron cotton blouse, cardigan, pair of dark wash jeans, slim black pants, and a few figure-flattering dresses and skirts can go a long way in helping you to creating a polished look. Want to update your wardrobe to incorporate the latest trends? Test them out on your accessories first. Choosing a comfortable shoe or handbag with in this season’s hottest color or fabric choice can be a great way to make a statement when you step outside—without the hassle!

As for the kids, their wardrobe requires a bit of extra consideration as well. The right threads can help your children express their individuality and boost their confidence amongst their peers. It can also be a fun way to introduce them to new shapes, patterns, and materials, as kids’ clothes tend to be much more playful than the adult variety. This season, the hottest looks for kids include throwbacks to the ‘60s and the ‘70s, as well as bold colors (poppy red, sunshine yellow, nectarine) and geometric prints. Browse the kids clothes from AlexandAlexa to see the latest looks from designer children’s wear brands that are sure to get your kids excited about what they’re wearing.

 

 

 

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The Entertainment Committee

Who needs baby gates when your kid is stuck in a sauce pot?

Who needs baby gates when your kid is stuck in a sauce pot? 

 

 

As a mother, I am beginning to realize that I have embraced several new roles in my life, including “housewife,” “milk machine,” and “bottle washer.” Most recently, I’ve accepted the position of “entertainment committee.” At 14 months, Greyson is at an age where he will play independently for a total of about ten minutes if I’m lucky before returning to swinging from my pant legs and begging for my attention. Generally, when he is occupied, I try to utilize every second to do as much as possible. I can pull this off for a short time before my motherly guilt returns and I feel bad for ignoring him in order to get a few things done. On the other hand, if I am folding laundry washing dishes, or surfing Twitter (you know, all of the important things that work-at-home moms do…) and it’s quiet in the playroom, it’s pretty safe to assume that he’s doing something naughty. Somehow, I ended up with a kid who is like the poster child for getting into all things dangerous. When I set him down on the floor, I swear he sniffs out the outlets. There can be 300 toys in the room but he’d prefer to find the nearest lamp and attempt to knock it over. If you have lost something that could be considered a choking hazard, I can almost guarantee that you will find it in my child’s mouth.

Because of this, one of the most challenging times of day for me is while trying to cook dinner. At this point of the day, Grey is tired and hungry and completely reliant on the entertainment committee to keep him occupied. Since I can’t trust him out of my sight for more than three seconds, I’ve resorted to unlocking at least one cabinet in the kitchen for him to play in while I (attempt to) cook. I’m unsure of why we spend any money at all on toys when a cabinet full of Tupperware could entertain the kid for days. When he gets bored of that, I let him play the drums on my Caphalon pots and pans. One night, he even realized that my sauce pot is big enough for him to sit inside. Whatever keeps you contained, kid. And after he lost interest in that, I opened the fridge and let him scope out the contents. I’m pretty sure he spent 15 minutes reorganizing the condiment shelves. Looks like he inherited his daddy’s self-diagnosed OCD after all. He may even have gotten a taste of a few things before I realized he was capable of popping the tops open. Turns out he likes ketchup and mustard. Good to know, I guess.

So at that time of day when your child is tired of their toys, bust out some Tupperware and a wooden spoon and let baby go to town. Surprisingly, kitchenware makes for good childproofing, too. Who needs baby gates when your kid is stuck in the sauce pot? And if you’re lucky, your child will be as anal as mine and might even reorganize your fridge for you while you cook dinner. Not a bad deal at all.

 

Baby OCD: Reorganizing the shelves in my fridge.

Baby OCD: Reorganizing the shelves in my fridge.

 

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Why Moms Don’t Need Gym Memberships

Before becoming a parent, I enjoyed late night dinners downtown and Friday evening happy hours with friends. As a mother, I spend my Saturday afternoons hitting Target to stock up on diapers and researching the latest video monitors on the internet. Awesome, right? Mommy Hobbies are definitely different than what I did prior to parenthood.

With that being said, becoming a mother doesn’t mean that I’ve totally lost interest in the things I used to enjoy doing. In fact, I’ve learned that it’s imperative to find a way to incorporate my hobbies into my day-to-day parenting. Otherwise, I’ve realized that it’s very easy to lose yourself to feeding schedules and bed routines.

In my previous post called Mommy Hobbies, I shared a little bit about some of my passions prior to parenting. Surprisingly, despite my wine drinking and cigarette smoking days, I love to be active and exercise. When I became pregnant, I gave up my gym membership for baby making. After 40 long weeks, I couldn’t wait to return to running as soon as the doctor cleared me. And boy, did I start running. Running around like a mommy with my head cut off. Breastfeeding, diaper changing, bottle washing, coffee drinking, etc. You get the idea.

While I wasn’t always fitting in a traditional workout, I quickly realized that mothers do not need gym memberships in order to be active. To all of you pregnant women and new mothers out there, I will tell you the secret to getting into shape. Simply have the baby. Then, you will officially be starting the Mommy Workout Plan. Just to warn you, this isn’t a three times per week plan. This is an every day, every waking moment, every attempting-to-sleep minute, 24/7/365 workout regime. And by the way, this workout is accompanied by the “I don’t have time to eat” diet. While performing the Mommy Workout, you are guaranteed to lose weight, get in shape, and run yourself ragged. Enjoy. Here it is:

The Mommy Workout Plan:

Midnight Warm Up – Warms ups are performed before exercising in order to prepare muscles and increase heart rate. Mommy’s Midnight Warm Ups look something like this. Wake up. Make a bottle. Run to the baby’s room. Feed him, then rock him back and forth, bounce him up and down, whatever his preference, for at least 15 minutes. Repeat rocking as necessary until baby falls back to sleep. Depending on how old your baby is, you may complete several reps of this warm up throughout the night.

Mommy’s Morning Circuit Training – “Circuit training is a form of resistance training using high-intensity aerobics. It targets strength building and muscular endurance. An exercise “circuit” is one completion of all prescribed exercises in the program. When one circuit is complete, one begins the first exercise again for the next circuit. Traditionally, the time between exercises in circuit training is short, often with rapid movement to the next exercise.”  Mommy’s Morning Circuits include showers, getting dressed, packing lunches, making breakfast and herding children/husbands out of the door. Each circuit will take at least 10-12 minutes. Mommy’s Morning Circuits are intensely aerobic. If your makeup is sweating off your face by the time you walk out the door, you’ve completed the circuits successfully.

Mommy’s Toning Tactics – Toning exercises are meant to develop physique and increase leanness, creating muscle definition and shape. Don’t worry – you won’t need to purchase any equipment for these exercises. As long as you have a shitload of laundry, a car full of groceries, and a heavy toddler who prefers to be carried everywhere, you’re set. There are innumerable amount of toning exercises you can try, but here’s a few to get you started.

  • Mommy Squats – While holding your toddler who refuses to be put down, bend and pick up all of the toys, cups, and other crap that are constantly lying all over your floor.
  • Laundry Lifts – Stuff your laundry basket as full as possible. Carry it down two flights of stairs. In one hour, return downstairs to switch to dryer. Carry full laundry basket back up two flights of stairs. You can modify this to become more challenging by carrying your child up and down the stairs with you. You will most likely repeat laundry lifts for at least two loads per day (more reps for larger families).
  • Crouch and Reach – If you are a parent, you are most likely aware that there are least 200 toys underneath any given piece of furniture in your house. The behind/under the couch is literally a black hole. Bend and reach at least twice a week to search underneath all furniture to keep up on lost toys.
  • Baby Bicep Curls – Get a good bicep burn by lifting baby 3000 times per day for various reasons (in and out of high chair, in and out of car, in and out of crib, and so on).

Child Chasing Cardio – When there are several children in the house, chances are you will be chasing one, carrying one, and changing one at all times. I’m not even kidding that I wore a pedometer once and I walked something like five or six miles in eight hours. Taking care of kids is pretty much like owning a treadmill. You are always moving but never getting anywhere.

Wine Down Time – The cool down is a crucial part of every work out. Cooling down allows the body to return to a resting state. To end your Mommy Workout each night, enjoy a little Wine Down Time by indulging in a large glass of vino. After a particularly challenging day, enjoy the whole damn bottle and get a few hours of shut eye before starting all over again at Midnight Warm Ups.

 

Occasionally, I wish I had the time go to the gym and get on the treadmill. But most days, I feel like I’ve already run a marathon by bedtime. Even though it’s not typical training, I still feel proud of that. So there it is. The reason why moms don’t need gym memberships is because parenting alone is damn good exercise.

 

 

Circuit Training. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_training on April 2, 2013.

 

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