Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Success

Oh. My. Gosh.

Halloween was a BLAST this year! Amelia woke up in the morning, asking "can we do Ha-wa-ween now?". She was excited all day long. She put on her costume and accessories without complaint. Even let me do the purple hairspray.

We have an awesome neighborhood. A huge group of us met early and attacked the neighborhood together. Everyone had costumes and cameras. After the first couple houses, Amelia got the hang of it and chased after the big kids to each doorstep.

Here are some highlights of Halloween 2010!

Amelia loves her surprised pumpkin

Happy with her hot pink nails

My rock-n-roll diva!

The superstar with her back-up singer & (sleazy) manager


Really funny neighbor & his kickin' drum beat
Goodnight, Mr. Pumpkin

Happy Halloween

Hope you have a spooky fun night!

Pics from Halloweens past...

Amelia's 1st Halloween:
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Last year - our adorable ladybug!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mine is bigger

From a NY Times parenting blog. Published Friday morning.
Gotta love it!

OCTOBER 28, 2010, 10:37 AM

Mothers’ Brains Are Bigger


Yes, it’s based on a tiny sample — just 19 women, all in their 30s and all college educated. True, it’s a preliminary finding.

But let’s put that aside for the moment and indulge ourselves, shall we?

The study, which appears in this month’s issue of the journal Behavioral Neuroscience finds that women’s brains grow in the months after they give birth, leaving them smarter than they were before.

Read more at the original location: CLICK HERE

Friends 2 Follow Friday

Ahhh, my third favorite day of the week.  Saturday & Sunday are the winners, of course. But Friday is a pretty darn good day.

Can you guess my favorite thing about Friday? That's right - it is Friends 2 Follow Friday! I get to feature a wonderful blogger and brag about how great they are to read and tweet with.

Today, meet Stephanie, a pretty cool Twingle Gal. I've only recently discovered her blog, but I enjoy peeping into the world of a mom with twins and a baby. She must be Superwoman, because one Amelia is enough to wear me out daily.

Oh - and by the way, she taught me that "twingle" means twins + single child. A new word of the day!

When was your blog born - and why?  I've been blogging on and off for about 2 years, but it was only this past June that I developed Life of a Twingle Gal to keep family and friends abreast of my day to day experiences raising our twins and newest addition.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What was I thinking?

I went through a big horror movie phase in my high school years. I could watch any awful, disgusting movie and not blink an eye. I could watch all by myself, downstairs in our house, lights turned off. My family members certainly did not want to watch with me. I had some friends who shared in this movie interest, but sometimes I was on my own.

I specifically recall movies like



and Dr. Giggles

I thought they were GREAT!

But now I have to wonder, what on earth was I thinking?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Number generated by
Counting to 19... 
The 19th follower listed in my Google Friend Connect is Avant Garde Parenting! You won the Glee Gum prize!

I will contact you with your selection of prize. Choose from a Mini Glee Variety Pack (21 4-piece packs) or a case of Wee Glee Gum (8 1-oz. packs).

Didn't win?
Try some Glee Gum for yourself! For a store locator, click HERE.

Wordless (almost) Wednesday

I had no idea 2-year olds got report cards!

Why is it, as adults, we often neglect these basic things?

Happy attitude.

Interact appropriately.



Would you ace your preschool report card today?

- - - - - - - - -
Become a Google Friend Connect follower - click "follow" down the left sidebar. One lucky follwer will win a case of yummy Glee Guum tonight!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My zombie face

What is a mommy of a non-stop 2-1/2 year old supposed to do when sick for 3 weeks straight?

She looks at me like this,

while I feel like a total zombie. I have a wicked cold that seems to enjoy living inside my body. It has camped out for weeks and refuses to leave. Mommies never get a sick day, so I can’t seem to catch up on my rest and actually fight this nasty bug.

I tried to perk myself up by looking better. Because seriously, people, I look frightful. I blow the ghoulish yellow gunk out of my nose a zillion times a day, and now have rough, red, cracked skin. I ran out of Achooz and stole all of Amelia’s Boogie Wipes days ago. So now I look a little like a pitiful Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Minus the antlers, of course. But makeup isn’t helping. And even if it did, my eyes are puffy and red, totally adding to the “undead” appearance.

Perhaps I can find solace in the fact it is almost Halloween. Because maybe, if I play it right, my zombie-esque new features could result in a realistic spooky costume. Here are some thoughts:

Drunken pregnant lady – fits perfectly with the bloodshot eyes and rosy nose. Stuff a ball or pillow under my shirt, mess up my hair, grab a Smirnoff bottle from the upper cabinet, and I’m good to go.

Plague Sufferer – simply add some fake blood underneath my nose, draw on some purple-ish splotches on my neck & chest, and darken my already puffy eyes. Dress in tattered old clothes to resemble a peasant girl from the 1340s.

Rabid bunny rabbit – smear some marshmallow cream or whipped cream around my mouth for that foaming look, then don a standard bunny costume. Act erratic, roam aimlessly in the street, and attempt to bite the neighbors.

Think I could pull it off?

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This is my first ever entry into "Word Up, Yo!", hosted by some of my blogging faves: A Belle, A Bean, & A Chicago Dog, Taming Insanity, and Mommy of a Monster (I Mean, Toddler) and Infant Twins.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Favorite Email

Do you have childhood books you remember vividly?

Do you remember these?

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My heart broke for Ramona Quimby when she misunderstood a school fad and cracked a raw, gooey egg over her head. And when she overheard her teacher calling her a "showoff" and a "nuisance". And as she fought off pestering from Yard Ape. I identified with Margaret's desire to grow up and away from her life as an "underdeveloped little kid". These girls were so... real.

Several years ago, I read a grown-up Judy Blume book titled Summer Sisters. I liked it. I visited her website to see if she had any others, and came upon her email address. A real, live email address for this writing icon. I just had  to email her - Judy Blume!

So I emailed one of my writing heroes. I told her how much I enjoyed her new book and explained that my childhood years would have been missing something if she hadn't written about Ramona, Beezus, Margaret, and Superfudge.

Guess what? She wrote me back!

Dear Julie,

Thanks so much for your warm note. I'm touched by your feelings about Summer Sisters and how well you remember my other books. Wish there were time for a longer, more thoughtful response, but I'm overwhelmed right now and trying (desperately!) to find the quiet time necessary to write. Hope you understand. Readers like you have made my career and I can never thank you enough.

Come back and visit my website again. Hope to get some new info up soon.


I've saved this email ever since. This was before Twitter, before social media, before most blogs. Actually interacting with a famous author was a very special treat for me.
I wonder what parts of Amelia's childhood will stick with her? She is already a bookworm, I wonder what books will forever remain a piece of her childhood? Which characters will she identify with?
I'd like to keep my girl little forever, but watching her grow up will be mesmerizing.

I wonder who she will be?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chew on this

It seems allergies are a really big deal these days. We have to be really careful what we bring into Amelia's school because of a few student allergies. Recently, my friend at A New Kind Of Normal posted a gluten-free Halloween candy list. She made me realize that an exciting holiday like Halloween could easily become a bit of a misery for kids with allergies. That's why I made sure to select gluten-free nut-free treats for our neighborhood trick-or-treaters. I want to make sure they can actually eat what I give.

I recently received a few samples of Glee Gum. As I delved deeper into their history and product information, I was pleased to see that Glee Gum is gluten, dairy, soy, and nut-free. It has no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or sweeteners. Glee Gum is also eco-friendly, made with rainforest chicle that is sustainably harvested. You can see the "tree to Glee" process in a neat photo slideshow here.

I enjoyed the little square pieces of Glee Gum. And the tiny Wee Glee Gum was even more fun! The flavors were enjoyable - tangerine is my favorite. And when I wanted that minty flavor, spearmint was just the right option. But you can try them all for yourself - Glee Gum comes in six mouth-watering flavors.

Glee Gum can be found at Cost Plus World Market and similar stores. Want to find the store closest to you? Visit their STORE LOCATOR.  You can also follow Glee Gum on Twitter: @GleeGum or find Glee-Gum on Facebook.

Verve, Inc., the company brains behind Glee Gum, also offer make-your-own-candy kits. When Amelia is older, we're definitely going to try these! What a fun idea for Christmas or birthday gifts. Kids and parents can make their own gummies, chewing gum, and chocolate. All wrapped up in a cute and entertaining kit.

Super simple giveaway. One of my Google Friend Connect followers is going to win a free case of Glee Gum! Choose from a Mini Glee Variety Pack (21 4-piece packs) or a case of Wee Glee Gum (8 1-oz. packs). Glee Gum can only ship within the continental U.S., so only those followers are eligible.

Not a GFC follower yet? Just click 'follow' (look down the left sidebar) and follow publicly.

Want extra entries?

You can tweet (3x bonus - tweet once per day): 
I want to win a case of yummy Glee Gum from @BalancingMama!

Or comment (1x bonus):
Comment below and let me know why you want to win a case of Glee Gum

New GFC followers/entries accepted through Wednesday 10/27 at 10:00 PM eastern. Winner will be selected via and notified. If I can't find a way to contact you off your Google profile, Twitter, or blog, I will post the winning name on Thursday 10/28. That winner will have 4 days to contact me with a mailing address (remember, must be continental U.S.). If I have not made contact with the winner by 11:59 PM on Sunday 10/31, I will select another winner from my GFC followers.

Glee Gum provided me with free samples of their gum. However, all opinions expressed about this product are solely mine.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday

Welcome, weekend. Oh how I love you.

Friday, once again, brings me the honor of featuring another fantastic blogger. Today, I am ultra-excited to introduce Jen from Buried With Children. I don't know how I'm getting these amazing, funny writers to visit my little blog, but I am beyond thrilled.

Jen's tweets crack me up on a regular basis. There isn't much to make me laugh out loud in life, but she's definitely caused a chuckle or two. Or fourty.

 Are you laughing yet???

Blog name?  Buried with Children

When was your blog born - and why?  My blog was born in 2007 when I was 28 weeks pregnant with my triplets. I was in the hospital on strict bedrest and needed a way to keep family and friends updated on mine and the babies progress. I kept it going after they were born to share our stories of what is felt like being 'buried with children'.

Twitter/Facebook? I have accounts for both but I totally like Twitter better. Find Jen on TWITTER

The writer behind the words - list 5 adjectives that describe you.

What surprised you most about parenthood? Everything. 

But seriously, I think it was the fact that every decision that I make effects my children. I am shaping these little lives to be functioning members of society. Now if that is not pressure, I don't know what is. Also, how even though I love my children dearly I can't wait to be away from them and when I am away from them I can't wait to be back with them. It is inner turmoil at its greatest.

What does balance mean to you? Balance means keeping everyone happy while still finding the time and energy to maintain my sanity and happiness. I have found this balance... not yet but that doesn't mean I don't try every single day.

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do? Ask someone for more time. Ok fine, I would go to a swanky restaurant and have a meal, savoring every delicious bite of food.

Are you a blogger that wants to be a Friend 2 Follow? EMAIL ME!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Me me me

Writer's Workshop Thursday again!

This week, I chose Mama Kat's prompt to spruce up my ABOUT ME page.

So click on over and check it out. If for no other reason than the extrememly cute photo of a 1-day old Amelia on there. How can you not love it?!?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


When I was pregnant, I joined an online message board group through iVillage. There, I virtually met and befriended numerous mommies, all of us expecting our bundles of joy in April of that year. Several are now Facebook friends. I love watching their children grow, just as they are watching Amelia grow through my photos, status updates, and this blog.

Tragically, one of those mommies must say goodbye to her husband today. The father of her precious children, ages 2 1/2 and 4. From what I've learned about him, he was a joyous person, an amazing dad, and a loving husband. He bravely fought cancer for 2 years. We thought he was doing OK... but he died, rather suddenly, with his family last week.

My heart aches for this family. For the wife/mother who must move forward with an empty space in her heart. For those children, who are struggling to understand where Daddy went. I cannot even begin to imagine how badly they hurt. How lost and confused they must feel. How much they want to scream at the world.

I don't know what I would do without my husband. I will count extra blessings today.

You do the same.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Creativity time

We enjoyed some family craft time this weekend. I highly recommend it - no television, no toys, just Mommy, Daddy, and Amelia working on a project together.

We made masquerade masks!

Supplies needed: white masks, popsicle sticks, glue, and decorative items (feathers, sequins, stickers, etc.)

While Daddy acted as glue assistant, Amelia concentrated hard on the task at hand:

Work in progress - lovely!


Surprise! Can you guess who is who?
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Artisans (giveaway!)

The holidays are fast approaching. Stores are squeezing the witches, ghosts, and pumpkins on their shelves to make room for the accumulation of holiday lights, cards, and ornaments. But as I look at the store shelves, I have such a “ho hum” feeling.

It’s all the same. The same old holiday stuff.

I learned recently about a fabulous online shopping site called Novica. In association with National Geographic, Novica’s mission is to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity.

Want to know what this means for you?

It means you can find unique, quality, handcrafted ornaments and home décor for the holiday season. And unique, thoughtful gifts! Novica offers handmade jewelry, gorgeous handbags, home décor, and more. Even corporate gifts for those hard-to-shop-for business people.

About a month ago, I won a Novica giveaway from a fellow blogger. I was so pleased with the experience and the items, I am excited to spread the word. And happy that the good folks at Novica were willing to let me do so.

The first item to arrive at my doorstep? The adorable and fuzzy alpaca wool finger puppets, crafted by Virginia Apaza Ticona from the Andes.


They came packaged in a charming bundle with complimentary gift wrap.


Amelia loves her new animal puppets! Considering she puts socks on her hands on a regular basis, I knew these would be well loved right away.

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I had a difficult time deciding what to select for myself. The jewelry is really lovely. The handbags are colorful and fun. But in the spirit of the upcoming holidays (and a desire to fight the same-old, mass-produced blahs), I selected these precious celadon horse ornaments from craftswoman Duangkamol Srisukri from Thailand. Seeing them online, they made me smile right away.


I chose the museum gift box as well. I knew it would give me an extra grin when I opened my package.

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How pretty is this? I’m definitely keeping this box.

The horses even came with a story:


Unlike the stores, I have restraint when it comes to pulling out the holiday décor. So I don’t have my sweet little horses hanging on a tree yet. For now, they get to enjoy the view from our family room mantle.

I look forward to these horses being part of our Christmas tree decorating festivities for years to come. Hopefully Amelia will have them on her tree one day. If I agree to let her grow up, that is.

To experience the beauty and craftsmanship of handmade products from around the world, visit

Want to shop for FREE?
Enter for your chance to win a $35 gift code to use on the site.
(But I warn you… you will have a really hard time deciding what to buy!)

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

Congratulations to our friend @JunkFoodKids!

Winner was chosen with from my spreadsheet of entries. GFC follower entries = x3.

NOVICA provided a gift code for my purchased items. All opinions about the experience and products are entirely mine.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friends 2 Follow Friday


Thank goodness the weekend is almost here. And thank goodness for another Friends 2 Follow Friday!

If you don't yet know Jamee from A New Kind of Normal, you're missing out! She is an amazing person, fighting many battles while holding strong to her faith and relationships.

Blog name? A New Kind of Normal

When was your blog born - and why? My blog was born in July 2007 as an outlet during our struggle to get pregnant. So it began as an infertility blog but grew into a chronic illness and faith blog. Along the way adoption and parenthood have been added in as well!

Twitter/Facebook?  Both!

Find Jamee on TWITTER
Find Jamee on FACEBOOK.

The writer behind the words - list 5 adjectives that describe you.
Nerdy, Compassionate, Discerning, Persevering, Musical

What surprised you most about parenthood? How you to could love someone so deeply in such a short amount of time! The moment Abby was placed into my arms

Open Waters

We were on a boat. A sailboat, if I recall correctly. Amelia, a little round toddler bundle in her orange life jacket, was squealing with glee as we crested wave after wave. I could see the breeze come to life as it rippled through her shiny hair. I saw myself in the reflection of my husband's sunglasses when he looked over to grin at me. I almost expected child-like squeals from him as well.

We were laughing and smiling. Basking in the warm glow of the summer sunshine. Feeling our faces moisten with sea spray. Scanning the waters for sea life.

I have no idea where we were.

Or how we got there.

Because then I woke up. Slightly confused, I looked around the darkness of the bedroom. My heart sank... because I realized it was all a dream.

But even a dream can make you happy. I can't hold back a smile even now. Maybe I had a glimpse of the future. Maybe we'll go boating - in a few years once Amelia's had some swimming lessons.

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru 

(This post was inspired, once again, by MamaKat's Writer's Workshop! I chose this prompt from this week's selections: "...and then I realized it was all a dream")

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The things she learns

I am a firm believer in "school" at a young age. For socialization as well as learning. Amelia learns so much more from school than if she were only home with me. There's just something about that environment; the peer pressure of other kids, an authority figure who doesn't break as easily as mommy or daddy, and different toys/book than what we have at home.

Amelia learned her ABCs before I even thought it was time to teach her. She knows her colors, letters, numbers, and they're starting on shapes. It's so exciting to hear her talk about her school lessons at age 2 1/2. She's soaking it all in and, well, she's just brilliant. I'm allowed to say that, right?

You know what else I get a kick out of? The other learnings she brings home from school. The things she learns from the other kids, far from the lesson plan of the day.

While these probably shouldn't entertain me so much, I admit I have to stifle a giggle or two.

She now squashes ants - "Mommy, ____ does this. We step on ants together."

She learned all about spitting - "Hey Mommy, ____ goes pfffffft at lunchtime. It's called spitting. I can spit, but it's a no-no."

And she's learned the fine art of backpack selection - "___ has a monkey backpack. ____ has Dora. ___ doesn't have a backpack, just a school bag. But I like ___'s backpack best. It is blue. Blue is my favorite color. It's a nice backpack."

Ahhh, school. Quite a learning experience all around.

(Working to grow my Google Connect followers - click on the followers box at the right to follow publicly. Thanks!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Punk Princess

I've taken Amelia to the store several times to look at Halloween costumes. Every time, we have come home empty-handed. She has no interest in the costumes. And wow, these things are expensive!

The last time we visited Target, Amelia pointed and squealed with glee as we passed through the girls' clothing section. She had her eye on a hot pink sparkly tutu. And a matching hot pink skull t-shirt:

Seeing as these were the only Halloween-themed items Amelia had interest in, I purchased them. Now I'm trying to figure out how to turn this outfit into a Halloween costume. Without spending a small fortune.

Here's my idea. Hairspray her usually wacky hair into wild spikes. Maybe use some color spray to turn it pink or purple. Maybe some harsh streaks of blush on her cheeks. Add a small toy "electric" guitar or a cardboard guitar I make myself. Throw on a bunch of colorful plastic bangle bracelets and some leggings in a clashing color to the hot pink.

Punk Rock Princess?

Think I can pull that one off? Or the bigger question: Do ya think Amelia will let me do this come Halloween night? Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Where I live

My crazy week of surprises (and some heartbreak) caused me to miss this week's writing prompt from Mama Kat. But I really liked one of the choices: show us where you live.

Better late than never!

The view out my window

This is a photo taken from the upstairs landing, looking out our big window above the front door. Sometime last fall.

Where do I live? I live somewhere I love. We're suburbanites all the way, about 20-30 miles out of the 6 million+ population city of Atlanta. The city offers us things we wouldn't get in a smaller town. We can fly nearly anywhere non-stop. We have professional sports of every kind - football, baseball, men's & women's basketball, hockey, and men's and women's soccer. When we manage to get out sans child (ha!), we have opportunities to see touring Broadway shows and fantastic concerts. The aquarium is fantastic. The Botanical Gardens includes interesting things for all ages. Yeah, we've got pretty awful traffic. But that's the beauty of working from home! (Sorry, my dear traffic-stricken husband.)

But living in the 'burbs, we also have those things you don't get in the city. We have roads through the woods, trees branching out overhead. We have nearby small farms with goats and llamas. When we want to visit a playground, we have our choice of several within just a few miles.

We've lived in this home for 8 years. And within the past couple years, we've finally begun to turn several neighbors into really good friends. There's something wonderful about knowing that people who live so near actually care about us. And we feel the same. We keep an eye out for each other - when a lost dog is wandering around, when a strange van is parked outside someone's home. As we've endured some tough times lately, my neighbors have been supportive and caring.

I like where I live. It really is my home sweet home.

(Working to grow my Google Connect followers - click on the followers box at the right to follow publicly. Thanks!)

Some good news

Wow, if Amelia reads this blog one day, she's going to think I'm one depressed mama.

I don't mean to come across that way. Yes, challenges have been thrown at us left & right throughout the summer and even into October. But ya know what? We survived. We met each challenge head-on and gritted our teeth until the stress had passed.

Certainly I had my share of tears. Nearly an anxiety attack or two... or three.

"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger" -- or something like that.

As of this moment, things are looking up! I'm ready for the weekend and I am ONE PROUD (balancing) MAMA.


My sister-in-law came into a fantastic deal for a nearly-new wheelchair-accessible van. Now she & her mother can get out of the house with MUCH more ease. They even celebrated with dinner out on the day of the van's purchase.


My sweet kitty Claude is gone, but he's not suffering anymore. And Amelia surprised me with total understanding. "I know Claude's gone, mommy. He's happy."


Amelia's bout of vicious Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease (plus an ear infection we didn't know about) sent her to the ER earlier this week, but she is back to normal again. She's playing and making everyone around her laugh - just like the Amelia we've come to love so very much.


Amelia slept last night and took a nap today with no pacifier! She couldn't use it during the painful throat/mouth sores from HFMD, so we took advantage of the situation and removed it for good.


After discovering that Amelia goes potty at school, I was able to get her to admit that our at-home potty (with potty ring) is just too big. We went to Babies-R-Us yesterday morning and she picked out her very own potty. I left the decision completely up to her, and she is thrilled with her quacking musical ducky potty. We've had it in our home for  a day, and she's used it many, many times!

Wow, what a week!

Such a growing experience (and a test of sanity) for us all. 

But we made it through. Hip hip horray!

Now, life, do you have anything else to throw at us? Or do we get to enjoy a little break from your insanity? Let me know... I'll be awaiting your reply.
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