Why you should date your children

The definition of a date is [according to Google] “a social or romantic appointment or engagement.”  To further clarify, romantic is defined as “conducive to or characterized by the expression of love.”

There you have it.  A date is really an opportunity to engage and socialize with someone and show them how much you love them.  Doesn’t that sound like something your child would want to do with you?

Last week my four-year-old son took me out on a date.  He insisted on wearing his Sunday Best, complete with a tie and crazy, cool spiked hair.  I fancied up from head to toe, wearing my favorite heels and I even dug out the reclusive curling iron.

All week leading up to our date, my son had been talking about it, the excitement in his voice coming out in squeaks and giggles.  So when the big night finally arrived, he was over-the-moon thrilled and eagerly said goodbye to his little sister as he skipped out the door.

I don’t know what it was– the delightfully cheesy movie we watched through our popcorn crunching, the chocolate lava cake we indulged in after our dinner out on the town, or the “way-past-our-bedtime” cruise through the dark neighborhood streets with him meticulously directing my turns from the backseat—but the entire night was magical.

If the chocolate cake wasn’t enticingly persuasive enough, here are 10 reasons to date your child.

  1. One-on-one time is invaluable.

When was the last time you really got to spend alone time with your child—no rushing, no one fighting for your attention, no stress, no schedule—with just the two of you enjoying each other’s company?  For me, it doesn’t always happen that often.  Sometimes it feels good just being with them and knowing my only responsibility in that moment is to hold their hand.

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  1. You really get to see your child and notice the little things.

Soak in that adorable nose, the tiny freckles dancing on their skin, the way their eyes twinkle when you mention how late you’re staying up past bedtime (even if it is only a half hour).  They are only small for so long and I’m guessing they won’t want to date you forever…at least that is the hope.

  1. It lets them see that mom isn’t really a crazy, over-protective, demanding psycho who’s lost all capacity to have fun.

Maybe it was the after-high from the giant chocolate cake that he devoured, but I swear my son looked at me differently that night.  He genuinely enjoyed being with me, as did I with him.  I wasn’t refereeing a sibling rivalry, pleading with a two-year-old to poop in the potty as opposed to the floor, while simultaneously arguing the nutritional value of a banana versus a cinnamon bun flavored Toaster Strudel.  The weight of the world was momentarily lifted and I was free to just relax and be me.  Continue reading

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A Lemon Affair: Adding zest to a 1st birthday party

You did it!  You successfully survived your first year of parenting with most things still intact (aside from your sanity and social calendar).  I know millions of people have done it before you and millions will do it after you, but you still deserve an award, or at least a stiff drink.

When the time comes to celebrate that first birthday, it can be a bit overwhelming.  It’s not just a birthday party, after all, it’s a we-survived-and-so-did-this-tiny-human-we-made-but-how-did-the-time-go-by-so-fast-and-i-need-a-drink-because-everyone-is-asking-me-when-I’m-having-another-baby-and-my-boobs-haven’t-even-recovered-from-this-one-yet, kind of party.

If you’re wondering just what to do to celebrate that momentous occasion, check out this first birthday bash that my talented friend and her husband threw for their main “squeeze.”  I have to mention, she is a professional event manager so every last drop of this party is perfection!

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Dream it, scheme it, don’t forget to THEME it!

Coming up with a theme is just fun.  This is probably one of the few birthdays where you will get the final decision, so choose wisely.  Before you know it you’ll be planning an obscure “Rango” party and wondering how in the world you’re going to create and explain an armadillo cake for your guests. Continue reading

Big love from little hearts– 10 Valentine’s Day ideas to inspire

Don’t forget…Valentine’s Day is this Saturday! Share the love!

Laugh 'Til You Sprinkle

Throughout life, there are monumental moments that break the mold and stand out above the rest–the birth of your children, exchanging vows with your true love, opening the cards stuffed into your homemade valentine mailbox in elementary school…

Oh, what a glorious event that used to be– tearing into that delightful letterbox that your torturous teacher made you wait to open until the end of the day.  There certainly was something magical about those little folded cartoon valentines, sealed with a tiny, bent heart sticker and strategically given out amongst classmates and friends.

As it turns out, once you become a parent you realize that’s what Valentine’s Day is really about—simple, down-to-earth expressions of love and kindness.  You voluntarily forgo the overpriced food, cheap champagne and unattainably high expectations of romance for stolen kisses over Sponge Bob mac-n-cheese.

Rose petals are replaced with scattered doll clothes and Legos.

Night lights and glow stars have taken the place of candles.

And chocolate….well, there’s…

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Lifestyle Photography: what it is and what’s to love

If you’ve ever endured a photography session at a traditional studio, perhaps inside a mall or department store, I’m guessing you’ve had an experience that goes a little something like this:

You show up about 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time, entering a room that has nearly reached fire code capacity.  There are no seats to be found amidst the sea of denim and Aqua Net, so you send the family into the lobby while you fight your way to the counter to check in.  Returning to the lobby, you find your son has successfully managed to remove every last trace of gel from his hair and your daughter is lying down on the ground, shoes off, practicing what appears to be the “stop, drop and roll” technique.

By the time they call you back into the broom closet to take photos, the kids are on the verge of a stage 5 meltdown and the adults are no longer speaking except through clenched teeth.  Despite the photographer’s desperate attempts at amusing a 3-year-old with a dog toy, the uproarious enthusiasm that played out in the lobby is nowhere to be found.

In an effort to avoid this grueling experience and to take a photo that captures the true-to-life spirit of their children, many families have forgone or at least supplemented the traditional “pose and say cheese” studios with what is known as “lifestyle photography.” Continue reading

Whole eggs, broken hearts

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is a children’s classic written by Judith Viorst that takes you through an awful day in the life of a young boy, Alexander.   Everything seems to go wrong and nothing goes his way.

For me, this day came earlier in the week.  I woke up to find the remains of our three beloved chickens, eaten by coyotes during the night, followed quickly by a child with a fever pushing 103 degrees, a trip to Urgent Care, a trip to the doctor’s office, stops at three different pharmacies to find the necessary medicine, oh and there was no coffee left.

And I had a public display of teary emotion after I found out the cost of my sick child’s medicine was totaling close to the cost of a car payment.

And we’re currently in the early, soggy stages of potty training.

And….well, it was just a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  Continue reading

Who invited crazy face?

Some of us know this scene all too well.

You go out into the world with good intentions and who you thought were the rational children you’ve been nurturing and loving since birth, only to enter a crowded vicinity and have PDI kick in.  And not just any case of PDI…the full-blownsies.  I’m talking about Public Display of Insanity, also known as PDI.

PDI comes in various forms, strengths and audible levels, but usually involves situationally inappropriate displays of extreme emotion, slurred and unrecognizable speech, an abundance of tears, flailing of limbs and unwarranted disobedience.

It is a very common disorder found in children (and some adults) brought on by over-exhaustion, hunger, too much attention, not enough attention, and/or absolutely nothing at all.  It occurs any time, any place, but only under optimal conditions for embarrassment.  Making important phone calls, entering a place of peaceful business, and attending any event that requires extended periods of silence will almost always guarantee an outbreak of PDI.

Warning signs of PDI include a sudden lack of enthusiasm, whiney speech, a persistent complaint of hunger, an abrupt bout of defiance and/or an abnormal amount of face scrunching.  Should you witness one or more of these signs in succession, you should immediately grab the ticking time bomb that is your beloved offspring and make a dash to the nearest exit.  If you must leave your unpurchased items behind, so be it!

In rare and extreme cases, these warning signs may be masked by superficial displays of joy and enthusiastic bliss, in which case an escape is unlikely.  You will quickly find yourself face to face with an unforeseen case of PDI.  These are the absolute worst.  Do not panic.  It is still strongly encouraged that you leave the building you are in (yes, you must take your little crazy human with you), but avoid eye contact with strangers and employees at all cost.  Their hollow glares are intended to eat your very soul and will only make your pain and suffering of PDSD that much worse.

That brings us to the subsequent condition: Post Display Stress Disorder.  Often following a particularly robust case of Public Display of Insanity, PDSD is a condition involving hot flashes, extreme embarrassment, heavy breathing, blurred vision, and a strong desire for happy hour.

It not only affects the parental unit of the displayer, but it can also spread to surrounding individuals in the general area of the PDI occurrence.  If left untreated in individuals without children, PDSD can become an unintended form of birth control.

While there is no known cure for PDI, parents can take comfort in knowing that they are not alone.  Millions have suffered and continue to suffer from this horrible condition.  PDI and PDSD are temporary disorders that will improve naturally over time.  If you are a grown adult and find yourself suffering from PDI on a regular basis, you should see a doctor.

*The fine print: all conditions mentioned previously including PDI, PDSD and the “full-blownsies” are fictionally based on actual events occurring in nearly every household in the world.  In other words, it’s a joke people.

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“Hey Honey? I have an idea…”

I have ideas.  I mean A LOT of ideas.  I take “dreamer” to a whole new level.  The problem with this is that I get extremely passionate about these ideas without first filtering out the crazy.

Pinterest isn’t really helping my cause any either.  One minute I’m convinced the kids need triple bunk beds in their room and the next I’ve determined we need to quit our jobs, sell the house and start a farm.  It’s exhausting.

This past year our Christmas card fell victim to one such idea.  When I came to my husband with an idea, it was met with a deer-in-the-headlights look of panic.  Apparently he was having a difficult time embracing my vision of bringing a live chicken into the house for a photo shoot.

But, being the good sport that he is, he gathered his patience and together we made one crazy idea come to life.  Merry [belated] Christmas to you.

christmas card 2014