Thursday, February 11, 2016

Learning how to lose

I think it is great when children enjoy sports with a bit of competitive flair. Succeeding at a sport builds confidence and keeps our young people energetic and healthy. But one of the most important things that sports can teach us is how to lose.

If you follow BalancingMama on Facebook, you may have seen the recent conversation that came from our volleyball tournament experience. Our six-to-eight-year-old girls had their first tournament the other day to close out the winter volleyball season. The bracket was set up in a weird way, with winners moving on to the championship match and losers playing a consolation match. Not a typical tournament situation, but we all understood the schedule going into the day. Alas, our girls- team did not win their first match, so we were placed in the consolation game.

The parents decided not to play it

The parents felt like it was "pointless" to play again since we could not win the tournament. They mentioned that only first and second place would get medals... so why play that last game?

Um... because it is fun? Because the girls can get more play time? Because it is the last hurrah of our volleyball season? Because it was on the schedule and we all knew what the bracket entailed?

How about to teach our girls how to lose?

I was against leaving that day in a forfeit of the final game. My daughter wanted to play and she didn't understand why so many parents refused to stay. Yes, she enjoyed her ice cream with a few teammates instead, but we could have done that after the consolation game, anyway. 

I know in our youth sports "career", we will probably encounter poor sportsmanship often. I just wish it wasn't so. Kids need to play the sports they love because they love it. They should be proud of their winning accomplishments, but understand that losing is part of the game. There always has to be a loser. Sometimes in life, that loser is going to be you... or us. Losing teaches us how to find the good in a situation and enjoy what we can. Losing teaches us to face disappointment but contain it. To keep it within the realm of that one situation and to not allow it to take over our happiness.

In life, we will all lose somewhere. We can decide it is all pointless and go home, or we can smile and play again simply because it is fun.

Monday, February 8, 2016

What is there to do at the Children's Museum of Atlanta?

Our family received complimentary tickets to view the newly-renovated Children's Museum of Atlanta and the current exhibit, Mystery of the Mayan Medallion. As always, all opinions are 100% mine. 

 My family is new to the Children's Museum of Atlanta. I took a small toddler Amelia there many years ago, but other events, time, and distance kept us from returning. So the entire family jumped at the chance to view the new renovation and Mayan Medallion exhibit this weekend. An Atlanta attraction that none of us had really seen before? Yes! A perfect Sunday morning outing. 

With an almost 6-year age gap between my children, we were curious if the Children's Museum of Atlanta could entertain her as well as our little guy who just celebrated turning two. The museum did not disappoint! It has captivating exhibits and play spaces for all ages. (Even my husband and I played and didn't want to leave!) 

The current feature exhibit is The Mystery of the Mayan Medallion. While a bit over the toddler's head, it was a perfect mini archaeological adventure for our second grader. Andrew did enjoy running in circles through the "cave", as he called it, and peering at insect and arachnid specimens through a magnifying glass in a rotating display, before scampering off to play with the foam darts, magic sand, or to clomp up and down the piano stairs. Did I mention there is a lot of fun to be had at this museum?!

The big hit of the day for my children was the child-sized diner a'la Waffle House in the Fundamentally Food area. Kids gravitated towards this amazing kitchen where they could serve up pretend bacon and eggs, coffee, and (of course) waffles to grown-ups in diner stools or at a classic Waffle House booth. The Diner includes an interactive jukebox filled with kid-friendly music. The children of many ages seemed to play together exceptionally well, and everyone had a great time. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mommy and Me Monday: Snow, Anniversary, Birthday!

On Friday, we had early school closings. The flakes began to fall that night. On Saturday morning, we had more snow - and the kids went out to play! That evening, as is the norm for Atlanta winter, roads were clear and dry and life moved on. I enjoyed a grown-up dinner out to celebrate my 13-year wedding anniversary (today!). Tomorrow, my little guy turns two.

What a fantastic few days of events!

Here we are enjoying our southern snow day...

Linking up with Really, Are You Serious for Mommy and Me Monday! A snow day is a great opportunity for a fun photo with the kiddos.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vinegar for cleaning: top 5 best uses #home

Do you ever have towels that smell musty no matter how much you wash them or how much snuggly clean, mountain fresh, or floral  fabric softener you use? I just found the solution! One wash with vinegar instead of detergent (and omit fabric softener) can do the trick! This brought life back to our fluffy towels because, finally, they do not stink anymore. I was about to purchase new towels so my 99-cent bottle of white vinegar saved us some cash too.

Do you use vinegar for cleaning at home? You should! Vinegar is one of the most useful items in my pantry. It's not just for salad dressing and dyeing Easter eggs anymore!

Vinegar for cleaning: top 5 best uses at home

(1) Floor cleaner - if you have tile or hardwood floors, you can mop them with watered-down white vinegar. It works just as well as store-bought floor cleaners and it's super easy and inexpensive.

(2) Bath and shower scum remover - A white vinegar scrub can remove stubborn film around the bathtub from grimy kids. You can also get the scum out of shower door tracks/frame by letting some vinegar sit in the grooves for several minutes, then rinsing out.

(3) Removing smells from laundry - As mentioned above, one wash with a cup of white vinegar in the washing machine (instead of detergent and with no fabric softener) can get hard-to-remove mildew odors from fluffy towels. After the vinegar wash, restart another cycle using detergent and softener as usual. Speaking of laundry, a rinse in vinegar can also remove detergent residue that can dull black clothing items.

Friday, January 15, 2016

I forgot how annoying toddlers can be

My little guy is turning the big two in just a few days. He is bursting with new words every day and he is a non-stop ball of inquisitive, noisy energy. I feel like my daughter was a whole lot easier. I mean, she certainly had her awful moments, but I seem to recall that she would sit once in a while.

Maybe I just forgot how annoying toddlers can be. It has been many years since I had a toddler. This recent post on nails it. In 25 things I forgot about having a toddler, the writer hilariously reminds us of the shopping cart Houdini action, never-ending need for door locks, and amazingly destructive powers when it comes to anything the older child holds dear, among others.

She also reminds us that the toddler years fly by quickly. At almost age two, my guy is transitioning to a preschooler faster than I can keep up. He is yelling more and hitting more, but he has decided that chicken is not a method of torture and he will take a bite or three if he feels like it. Progress.

This week? He began an additional day of daycare. He walked into the room on his own today. He grinned at some kids and without tears, turned back to me and said, "bye, Mama!". Progress!

Um... what? That confident little boy walking away from me... when did that happen?


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The only conference where shoes are optional! #BeachesMoms #BeachesDads

Who takes off their shoes at a conference?
BeachesMoms and BeachesDads do!

Social Media on the Sand was an amazingly successful conference and networking event yet again in 2015. Social Media on the Sand 2015 was the second of what will hopefully be a long-running annual experience for social media influencers and their families. See the past BalancingMama BeachesMoms posts to learn about more of my favorite elements of the resort and conference, and enjoy this fantastic video form our friends at Beaches Resorts.

I guarantee it'll make you smile!

This year’s Social Media on The Sand ‪#‎BeachesMoms‬ and ‪#‎BeachesDads‬ ditched the boardroom and set-up shop along the turquoise coastline of Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa. With their feet in the sand, the 150 social media influencers sharpened their skills, created meaningful opportunities for their business and of course, immersed themselves in the Beaches Luxury Included Vacation lifestyle. From ‪#‎throwbackthursday‬ 80’s Party and Sip and Sail Welcome event, to a Trick-or-Tweet Halloween bash, this year’s event was epic!

For more info on the event, check out

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Her last princess movie.

She never wore an Elsa dress. She never asked for her hair in braids or for a funny snowman companion. I was not aware of it at the time, but our family outing to see Disney's Frozen two years ago marked her final princess movie. Some time after those closing credits, my little girl who loved all things sparkle and shine did the unthinkable... she grew up.

While the rest of the little girls in the world were obsessing over Queen Elsa and Princess Anna and squeezing plush Olaf toys for a cozy night of magical dreams, my girl was moving on. One week ago, we peeled the Cinderella decals from her bedroom walls. We donated a few princess dolls to charity last month. My daughter, at 7 1/2 years old, is too mature for princesses. In fact, she's embarrassed to have any connection to princesses. I am not supposed to call her my princess any more.

"You can call me anything else, Mom, but not 'princess'. I'm too big for that." 

We own the Frozen DVD, but I think we watched it twice - by my request, not hers. My daughter's bedroom now shows off a funny Minion poster on the closet door and an Avengers poster on the adjacent jack-and-jill bathroom door. She laughs at the Lego Movie and she buries her nose in Harry Potter books.
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