Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moms Aren’t the Only Ones Who Are Overworked and Underappreciated – A Tribute to the Employees of the Sprint Store by Wireless Revolution

Well, I’m deep into Birthday Season – two down and I lost count of how many left to go. Thomas’s party was good minus all that pesky underlying tension and fear that someone might go rouge. Nothing a half a bottle of Chardonnay (thanks, Kroger for putting Hess on sale for $10 a bottle), Cheetos, and Jersey Shore couldn’t fix. And most importantly, Thomas had a great time. All he wanted was cake and presents, and we didn’t disappoint.

My brother’s birthday was at Los Locos in Rochester. The food was totally awesome. Thomas was in love with the mooing cow statue . . . and ironically his beef taco.

Birthday Season is not for the weak. It takes a lot of work that is easy to take for granted
  • Clean house - CHECK
  • Clean clothes - CHECK
  • Cake and decorations - CHECK
Prior to all this hard work, everything was going according to plan. And then my phone needed some service. I say “my phone”, but it really is my lifeline out to the world. There was a revolutionary update that needed to be installed on my Sprint Transform, so I did it.

Then it appeared that my apps were not running the same. And my battery was dying. I was freaking out, I tell you, FREAKING. OUT.

When other things are out of my control (like the possible explosive chemistry in family dynamics . . .in which all the players were going to be at my house in less than 24 hours), I hold on to things that should work, like my phone. And I obsessively nervously wash my hands.

So I did what anyone who under extreme duress would do: go to my local Sprint Store by Wireless Revolution. Here, everyone is so friendly and interested in making me a happy customer. There, I feel like people listen to me and make my needs are a priority. Kinda like therapy, but much cheaper and less time consuming.

It’s not at all macho and condescending. Scott kindly talked me off my ledge.  He kindly explained that my phone was not acting up, and ensured me that this update was a good thing. Also, he patiently showed me how to change the settings on my apps. (Hmmm, I think there is a metaphor in there that I have yet to fully realize). And most importantly, he didn’t make me feel like an ass.

Scott isn’t the only hero in this story. Earlier that week, I was in that store for forty-five minutes for a checkup with my phone (which was one hour and fifteen minutes faster than my scheduled appointment for Thomas’s well checkup). Mark took his time fixing my phone so it would be all ready for this awesome new update. He didn’t look at me with judging eyes when Thomas demanded, “pretzelscrackersproteinbarsNOW!” Instead we commiserated on toddler behavior and the trials of potty training. Seriously? Mark really took his time and made sure my phone was in tiptop shape . . . and we had some parent talk. How awesome is that?!

Wayne, who sold me this phone in the first place, was nice enough to give Thomas a decoy phone to play with when I could no longer meet his “pretzelscrackersproteinbarsNOW!” demands. I should also note that Wayne was really patient in explaining my phone options and helping me become acquainted with my phone when I didn’t even understand the concept of Droid Platform. I’ve come a long way, thanks to his patience.

Now all is right with the world, thanks to the fine gentlemen of The Sprint Store by Wireless Revolution.

And it’s easy to take a phone that works for granted. As it is a clean house and clean clothes.

So I wanted to make sure that the people responsible for keeping me connected with the outside world (which allows me to know what is going on outside of Disney Junior) know how much I appreciate them and all their wisdom. Good customer service is hard to come by these days and not all phone stores are created equal (Note: I went to a store than rhymes with Z-Shmobile for my brother’s birthday gift and left thanking my lucky stars that I don’t need to deal with them).

So thank you, Mark, Wayne, and Scott! I don’t think I could ever be tempted into change services because of you and your supreme customer service.

And let it be known, I have in no way been compensated for this post. Sprint Store by Wireless Revolution is just awesome, and I thought everyone should know.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


This is just a test.  I repeat, this is just a test.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tales from the Mythical Land Called Southern California

Alternately titled: St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel and Laguna Beach, you are so lovely and hence have ruined my life.

Well, I have uncovered myself from my post-trip laundry and was all ready to blog about my adventure but then I got swept up in preparing for birthday season (you could read about it here, here, and here, but simply put, from the months of March to May, we have a slew of birthdays thrown in with Easter). The kickoff to the season is at my house this Saturday, so I’ve been a bit busy.
Which is a far cry from my incredible time in California. (Especially the part when I went to Spa Gaucin to get a massage and afterwards, ate grapes and sipped wine in the cozy post-treatment room).

First of all, it was 70 degrees and sunny Every. Single. Day. And get this, people actually go OUTSIDE to walk and get exercise. They don’t pack up their kids to go walking for exercise . . . at the mall. And it should be noted that outside included a beautiful beach and bluff with lots of flowers. This definitely creates a different experience than walking past the store fronts of Forever 21 and Wetzel Pretzel.

Also, there were healthy food options everywhere I looked. For breakfast, I had a Mediterranean omelet with roasted tomatoes, artichokes, feta cheese, and chicken sausage. Another day, I had an egg white burrito with chicken chorizo. (Which totally balanced out the pound of prosciutto and fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese I had on my “ham and cheese” sandwich). (I did say healthy “options,” but seriously, I could not pass up that prosciutto).

It just makes me realize how hard I work to have an active lifestyle in Michigan . . . especially with all the ice we got today. At the end of March. Mother Nature has no mercy for us, none! (And not even in the summer because in July, we’ll have 90 degree heat with 100 percent humidity). People just seem to have a much easier time being healthy. Maybe that’s why the overall vibe was laid back and casual, as in, “Hey, I am going for a seven mile hike today up the coast and bluff. But afterwards I might want to eat at a really cool restaurant so I am going to wear my ‘good’ workout clothes that actually look like an outfit, not some baggy, faded maternity rags.”

I realize that where we were staying was probably not representative of the major cross section of Southern California’s socioeconomic status. I mean, I am sure not everyone lives in houses like this (although MTV would like to have us think so):

Houses right by our hotel. 
Check out those windows!


Houses right on Laguna Beach.
What's it like when the ocean is
your backyard?

At least my family who lives in Bakersfield in Northern California doesn’t have a house like that.

But it seriously was beautiful and I don’t even know what the word is, maybe unique?

I’m thinking that maybe the cool artists’ colony in Laguna helped with that vibe. We went on a tour and our guide was amazing. We got to see how etching was done and watch an artist paint in her gallery. Everything just seemed so relaxed and natural and effortless. It really got me thinking . . .

I know part of traveling is appreciating home (which I am coming to), but there was a huge part of me that was kind of depressed that living in the suburbs of southeastern Michigan isn’t as beautiful and artistically inspiring as Laguna. Part of me left thinking that maybe I was accidently born in the wrong state. (And maybe traveling without a diaper bag and a 30 plus pound weight on my left hip made things seem really relaxed and effortless. Just a thought as I am writing this out).

And seriously, I would love to live there except for the following reasons:
  •  I know for a fact that I could not afford to live at the St. Regis for more than a half a day.
  •  I have an overwhelming fear of earthquakes that could break California right off into the ocean.
  •  I could run into Vicki or even worse, Alexis, from The Real Housewives of Orange County (Tamara, I would be OK with seeing you since you dropped that dead weight names Simon).
  •  I would miss my friends and family.
  •  Finding a new pediatrician seems like an awful lot of work.

So I’ll leave you with the pictures of The Mythical Land of California (minus the spa pictures (obviously) and my adventures in eating sushi because I had to concentrate all my efforts on not focusing on the squishiness of raw fish in my mouth. And taking of picture AND doing that was much too much).


On the way to the pool.

The actual hotel.
Or my pretend home, as
I like to think of it.

The hotel from a distance.
Too many rooms to clean,
if I actually lived there, right?

Lemmon trees right on the property!
The beginning of the 7 mile
hike up the beach and bluff.

About 5 miles into our walk. 
See what I mean about the scenery
being more inspiring than the mall?

Harrington and I on Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Abyss of Fear by Real Mommy Chronicles

I am out of the office this week so I asked Annie from Real Mommy Chronicles to guest post for me. She. Is. Awesome. I love her! We met at BlogHer last year in the way back of the breakfast room with the morning keynote speaker. We both had backgrounds in education and new to blogging. And we just kinda clicked. Anyway,

I love her writing style because it’s so honest and funny. And this post is no exception. Because her reaction to her son being left handed? Would have totally been me. And probably a lot of us moms in some capacity because wow! Is it a lot of responsibility or what? (As I am enjoying some time off with The Hubs and getting some serious spa treatments). (At least that is what I am envisioning this business trip will be like since I am writing before leaving). (Hey, I think I earned it. I mean, I did fill out Marie’s kindgergarten packet before I left. And by packet, I mean about 22 forms. If the FBI is looking for an almost five year old double agent, look no further. Because I have done all the paper work).

Without further ado, I bring to you Annie from Real Mommy Chronicles. . .

The other I day, I posted about an article I read about left-handedness. My older son is left-handed and I have to say that at first glance, the article’s declarations freaked me out. I had always thought being a lefty just meant being more creative, and here they were associating it with loads of other terrible illnesses or conditions.

I had that moment of panic. I was on the verge of calling multiple specialists and figuring out how we could test for all of these possibilities early.

Get a hospital room ready! We’re coming in! Move! Move! Move!

And then I smacked myself across the face.

Okay, I know you don’t know me (yet!) but I would never actually hit anyone, let alone my fabulous self.

But in my mind I had to smack myself. Shake my shoulders. Bring me to my senses and drag me back from the abyss that can easily swallow you up as a parent.

The abyss of FEAR.

They say that having a child is like living the rest of your life with your heart outside of your chest. It is so, so true. I often find myself telling people that the most surprising part of parenthood is the pain. I don’t just mean childbirth. I am talking the excruciating pain of seeing your child hurt, in pain, suffering, struggling, or dealing with any of life’s cruelties. Nobody warns you about the level of this heartbreak!

Because we want to spare our children from any pain (and to be honest, ourselves from enduring the pain of watching their pain), I think we can sometimes go overboard. We all have heard of a ‘helicopter parent,’ but lately I have seen similar behavior in more subtle ways.

Sure, you don’t hover while your child goes down the slide at the playground, but you are waiting at the bottom with the Purell.

You let them feed themselves, but every single thing on that plate is organic. Down to the dipping sauce for their carrots.

They are allowed to pick out their own outfit in the morning, but all of their clothing is made of hemp. Even their socks.

And of course they are allowed to walk to school, but obviously they need to wear a helmet.

Now let me clarify. I totally have Purell in my diaper bag and purse, try to feed my kids as much organic food as possible and make them wear helmets on bicycles or scooters. In fact, I even think they have a few organic clothing items. (Hand-me-downs, for sure) I am talking about parents who focus on one issue and go completely nuts.

The truth is that I understand the urge to protect our children in this way. I don’t want any toxins entering their pristine systems. But at what point do we have to release a little? At what point is the ‘getting out of control’ really about control? We can’t control every aspect of our kids’ lives for very long. For the short period of time we have them in our nests before they take flight, do we really want to be focused entirely on the details of their surroundings and consumption, rather than filling them with creativity, trust, and love? (Love being 100% organic, by the way!) Sure you can probably do both, but we all know there are only so many balls we can juggle before some start falling.

I have to say that I don’t just blame us, the parents. Every day there are multiple articles telling us about everything that can go wrong with our children. Giving us study after study about possible correlations.

Strawberries are good. No, wait, they’re bad. Hold on, actually, they can save your life. Oh, nope. Spoke to soon. If you let your child eat strawberries they will immediately combust.

And the products! Oh, the products! Well, of course now that your commercial has told me that my child can die in horrendous pain if he touches markers that contain Jutelgyn 567-N (I totally just made that up.), of course now I want your markers that do NOT contain Jutelgyn 567-N. In fact, now I NEED them. $47? Done.

You just know that ‘Baby Bubbles’ are going to be in stores any day now. We can roll them around instead of using strollers and they never have to touch a thing!

But I think we have to keep ourselves in check a little. Largely because nobody else is going to keep us in check. Do you know how much money is being made off of all of us crazed parents?!? Of course many concerns are real, but that doesn’t mean our intense love for our kids isn’t being exploited a bit. And it doesn’t mean we have to fall into the abyss of fear.

Because more than anything else, what our kids really need is us. Being there for them. And being sane. And letting them live a little.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Feel Good Friday – Paczki Day (Otherwise Known as Mardi Gras)

Hosted by Lia Sophia Tomgirl

In other parts other parts of the country, Mardi Gras is celebrated with parades and alcohol and beads and more alcohol.

But here in the Midwest, specifically in the suburbs of Detroit, we do without the alcohol and parades. Instead, we live it up with Paczki Day. (Pronounced poon-chkee)

What’s Paczki Day, you ask?

It’s a Polish tradition before Ash Wednesday where one eats copious amounts of fried dough filled with jelly or custard. There’s like a gagillion calories in just one. In theory, it’s OK because then one would give up such indulgences during Lent.

It’s such a big deal, that people (like my uncle) will go to Hamtramck (the epicenter of all that is Polish in the Detroit area) in the wee hours of the morning and wait, often times for hours in a line that winds around the block, for their precious paczki.

I, fortunately, did not need to go to such extremes to enjoy these fried goodies. In the morning, The Babes and I went to my parents’ house to instill the importance of this gluttonous tradition and enjoy our Paczkis.

But get this – on the way to their house, I found out that I won free Paczkis in a contest that I entered at the Macomb Patch! And if you are local, you need to check out this website. It. Is. Awesome. They report what's going on in my neighborhood. And not in a dry, boring kind of way either.  More like a juicy, interesting news with an interactive approach.   And they give out Paczkis. Seriously, I love them!

And so do the Babes! Well, the paczkis anyway. Check out these pictures of them trying to scale the refrigerator to get the paczkis I hid:

Well, everyone, have a great weekend! I will be out of the office for the week, but be sure to check out my guest post by Real Mommy Chronicles!!

I’ll be back next Friday with tales from a far off land called California where I hear they have something called sunshine and warm weather. I hope I don’t disintegrate into ashes upon seeing the sun due to my uber winter white skin.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Feel Good Friday – Thanks, CSN Stores!

Check out Feel Good Friday
created by The Girl Next Door Grows Up
 hosted at Lia Sophia Tomgirl

I love blogging. I love it. I love everything about it. I love writing. I love connecting with others. It makes me happy. The added bonus? Occasionally asked to do a sponsored post.

Like when CSN Stores asked me to do a post about their website. Do you remember when I talked about the awesome website, CSN? I was feeling all bluesy about winter and felt a bit perky when I could do some retail therapy with them. Well, they gave me a $35 credit to get anything I wanted. So guess what I got? A toaster oven. WIN! (Win as in yea! Not as in Charlie Sheen WINNING). No more smushed bagels! No more rubbery pizza crust!

And the customer service with CSN is awesome. First of all the website was super easy to use. Next, they upgraded my shipping right away. WIN! Also, their prices are awesome. I saw the same Black and Decker toaster oven at Target for $15 more (Please don’t be mad, Target. My heart still belongs to you).

Like I said yesterday, I don’t know where this blogging and writing is going to take me. But if I get to enjoy a few perks every once in a while, I say that's Feel Good Friday worthy.

I will leave you with a few photos taken by Marie documenting the CSN experience

Have a great weekend!

OOoo!  Check it out!  CSN delivered this
fine toaster oven in a jiffy!

Me taking it out of the box, looking very intense.

Where the hell does the tray go?
How do I toast stuff?
And there's Marie's foot.

Oh, the tray goes IN the toaster over. 
Yes, I see.  Good thing I read the directions.

Oooh, doesn't it look shiny and beautiful!
Also, please note me in the glass reflection.
Because it will never be this clean again.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Life Plan Take 2! And Big Thank You to Aunt Becky

You know what I thought was missing from this post?
Me.  Dressed up as an angel.

My dear Aunt Becky from Mommy Wants Vodka (and Mushroom Printing and We Know Awesome and Band Back Together) is awesome. If you don’t know who she is, you must go check her out, like right now. Go ahead. Click on some of those links. I’ll wait.

Awesome, right?

Well, when I first got started with this whole blogging thing, I was pretty clueless. I didn’t know where I was going with all this writing and blogging. I really thought that I was going to teach and have babies. End. Of. Story.

But it wasn’t the end of the story. Because as it turns out, 32 is kinda young to end the story of one’s life, don’t you think? I did. I mean back in the colonial ages 32 was considered elderly. I’m pretty sure that bout of pneumonia last year would have been the end of me back then. But we’ve come a long way since then.

Yea for penicillin and computers!

So I really enjoy blogging and writing. And then I ran into Aunt Becky’s blog and her whole campaign for Bringing Aunt Becky Back. She really inspired me to keep on finding my happy even though I wasn’t quite sure how or why or how.

Recently she wrote these two posts about the whole dilemma with What To Do With The Rest of Your Life here, here, and here.

So it got me thinking and this is what I came up for me.

I stay home with The Babes, and I blog on the side. I am not sure where writing and blogging will take me, but I know right now, with both home all. the. time., I can’t give it my full, undivided attention. But the Babes are not going to be young like this forever, and I don’t want to look back and wish I would’ve been there for them more.

But on the flip side, they are not going to be young like this forever, so I have to have some sort of plan and direction so I don’t park my ass in front of the TV all day with my friends at The Today Show.

So I am treating this window of time as my internship for The Next Stage. By the time Thomas is in school full time (in 3 years), I will have hopefully figured out enough about blogging and writing to have A Plan. But right now, I am just going to keep on writing and learning and raising these Babes to be awesome little people. I find if I put too much pressure on myself it have all the answers, I get a tad bit totally crazy anxious. And then I get frustrated that I am not where I “should” be.

And that’s just not where I want to live. I felt when I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to be in college. And when I was in college, I couldn’t wait to be working. And when I was working, I couldn’t wait to be home with kids. I basically wished my first 27 years away.

And now that I’m here, I don’t want to wish this time away. Living in the present is hard, at least for me. But I think that’s a lesson for me in all of this, too.

So thank you Aunt Becky, for another post of inspiration. I *heart* you. Big time.