Monday, June 29, 2015

Mommy and Me: Selfie Silliness

When Andrew is finished eating at a restaurant, he gets very antsy. I usually scarf down my food quickly or (yep, I'll admit it) hand him my child-locked iPhone. The other night, both kiddos and I went out to the waiting area. Andrew giggled at the rain and passersby through the window and we took a few silly selfies.

Forgive the terrible lighting and fuzzy pictures. Spur-of-the-moment selfie photography, you know. Apparently, it is impossible to get a decent photo with my funny kids! Fun family moments.

Wishing you all a happy Monday! We are looking forward to a long weekend with the observed July 4th holiday coming up on Friday.  

I'm linking up this post with Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious for another Mommy and Me Monday. Click on over and join us!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Where to find smart content and infographics + earn rewards for free! #Business #ProOpinion

Moms wear a lot of "hats". We have school hats, playtime hats, chef hats, chauffeur hats, and more. Over 60% of mothers also work outside of the home while countless others work from home. Moms hold any business title you can imagine: CMOs, accountants, journalists, administrators, inventors, lawyers, business owners... the list goes on and on. Lots and lots of "hats".

Super Moms are the backbone of our society, obviously!

As my little guy nears his first day of preschool, my business hat is staying on my head more than usual. I am working more, earning new clients and projects, and seeking the latest and most relevant information for social media efforts, business pitches, and presentations. ProOpinion is a unique and valuable data-driven content resource that can really come in handy - for anyone! Male, female, parent or not.

Right now, ProOpinion is looking for more professionals to join the growing community to share their opinions on business, product development, and more. Anyone who wants to shape the future for brands by sharing insight and opinion should look into ProOpinion. Free gift cards are a welcome bonus too!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The best parenting advice never expires

There are pros and cons to having children several years apart. Pro: the older one is helpful and can listen to reason. Con: completely different schedules; often the little one is sleeping when it is time to pick up the older one from school or camp.

I am also learning things about parenting all over again. This could be both pro and con. It seems I have forgotten a lot of the stages and phases and challenges from Amelia. In my memory, she was an easy, sweet, and happy child. But when I look back deep into this blog... my hazy memory sharpens a bit. She wasn't always an angel, after all!

The best parenting advice can span generations. There is no expiration date. As I perused past posts from years ago, I fell in love with this one all over again. It was a guest post from a blogger and PhD who may not be blogging anymore - but the advice still holds true.


Give 'Em An Inch...

...and they’ll take a mile, right?

When Julie asked me to guest post, I was 1.Thrilled and 2.Speechless. No, really, I had no idea what I was going to write about. I write a parenting blog. I should have plenty to say! And I do, but I kept thinking, ‘What do people want to read?’ Luckily, Julie gave me an idea- strong-willed kiddos. Sound familiar?!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What I learned by "going back to work" this week #WAHM

Being a mom is both a joy and a struggle, probably for all of us. My kids are my world and I would lay down my life for either of them if they were in serious danger. And while I am often desperate to get away from them, I find myself rushing back to their arms as soon as possible afterward.

I made my working mom decisions at various points over the past seven years. First, when I fell so in love with a part-time preschool for Amelia (now seven) that I left a really great job at an awesome TV network. Another time, with Andrew (17 months), when I decided to stop commuting into the city and take the plunge into consulting work. 

This week, I was able to go to a client meeting for the first time in a really long time. I stepped off the elevator feeling confident in my new comfortable summer dress and cute sandals, was greeted warmly by an old friend, and received some attention from the quietly sweet shaggy office dog. I did not have to "perform" in the meeting, and it was fun to dig into strategies and challenges and learn what this client faces. I left with a potentially big opportunity and some serious nerves. Time will tell what comes out of the meeting and if my "piece of the pie" is a big one. Or if it exists at all.

Despite the 80-minute drive back home (thanks, Atlanta), the check I had to write to the babysitter, and hungry kids pulling on my leg the moment I walked through the door, I am glad I jumped in and accepted the meeting. 

I learned that I can transition back into the big, scary working world again one day. 

I learned that I do not have to hide behind emails and the comfort of my own home. 

I learned that I've still "got it", and my mind was buzzing the entire evening afterwards. 

I learned that I like getting out of the house, but I was reminded that I detest Atlanta rush hour - which begins around 3:30 and doesn't let up until 7:00. 

I learned that outside-of-the-home working mothers reap some benefits and face some significant additional challenges, like "what's for dinner?" within three seconds of crossing the threshold (with nerves still shot from over an hour of traffic in a 20-mile commute).

I learned that opportunities are out there, if I am willing to figure out how to make them work and put on my brave face. And the decision to take those opportunities? Is all mine.

Moms, whatever type of opportunity you wish for or are facing right now, whether it is work or something else, go for it. Listen to the roar in your heart and take a step down the path that points you there. 

You may learn something! 

- - -
Linking up to the fabulous weekly Writer's Workshop here with Kat Bouska.. I chose the prompt: What did you learn this week?   

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Milestone: Learning to talk & how parents can help

All children are different and they can progress on varying timelines. Generally, toddlers begin to say a few words around 12-18 months old. Andrew is going on 17 months, and his main vocabulary consists of grunts (and a lot of enthusiastic pointing).

His sister was the total opposite: she was talking and repeating words at a very young age. One of my favorite videos of all time is this one, where a 20-month old Amelia cheers for herself after repeating some big words!

I am not concerned that Andrew is slower than she was to learn speech. To this day, our daughter is a bit of a word whiz. He will probably find his talents lie elsewhere. He is  quite good at making gorilla faces! And getting into messes.

As he learns his words, Daddy and I are doing our part to work with him.  Experts recommend the following adult interactions to help aid toddlers in learning to speak:

LISTEN (and repeat)
Listening to our little ones explore various sounds is an important way to show them the power of speech. By listening intently to their sounds - and even repeating those sounds - toddlers can observe facial expression and movement. Letting them know that we listen when they speak also helps them to know that what they have to say is important. It's fun to get Mommy and Daddy's attention!

Toddlers do not need a bunch of baby talk. Speak to them like you would most anyone else. Describe what you are doing or point out things you see. It is amazing what children can understand at a young age, even if they cannot say any words themselves. I can instruct Andrew to pick up a napkin from the floor and throw it in the trash can - and he will do it. If we tell him it's time to get in the car, he will bring me my shoes. The more we talk to learning toddlers, the more they can soak in and eventually repeat with their own voices.

Reading is a natural way for toddlers to learn the rhythm of speech. It can also help them to identify words if you point to objects and words in stories. Plus, reading opens their eyes to the entire world! They can learn about animals, weather, nature, body parts, family... books can send children on a journey just about anywhere.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rainy day toddler activities from Pinterest

My little guy is at the stage where he runs everywhere and wants to live every moment of his waking life outdoors. When the weather is bad, he bangs on the window or brings me his little shoes with a pouty bottom lip. I try to avoid too much television for him (because after outdoor play, TV is his favorite thing in the whole wide world), so sometimes I turn to Pinterest for a few fun ideas. Often, I can find an activity that entertains big sister as well. They are almost six years apart in age, but she will get into crafty or laughter-inducing fun most anytime.

25 Indoor Toddler Activities for Rainy Summer Days includes bottle bowling, making your own snow, shower ball pits, painting with marshmallows, and more.

Pin via "Cloudy With a Chance of Wine" - click link above

Activities to do on a Rainy Day reminds us that some of the best fun can be simple, like peeling tape, walking on pillows, and stacking canned goods.

Another great list is Fun Indoor Activities for Toddlers and Their Parents. This list includes physical activities like ball play and follow the leader that will help the little ones to burn some energy when they cannot run in the yard.

We have been lucky to have several sunny days in a row lately, but I am prepared when the rain finally arrives! What do you like to do indoors with the little ones? Or the big kids?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mommy and Me: Outdoors!

We had a very sunny and warm weekend here in the Atlanta area. We took the kids on an easy hike and waterfall adventure on Saturday with some pool time on Sunday. I made sure to snap a couple photos of myself with my little loves to link up with Really, Are You Serious today.

The waterfall is a fun secret, discovered thanks to my friend over at 365 Atlanta Family. It is High Shoals Falls - not the one near Helen, GA, but another in Dallas, GA just off highway 61. A great little splashing hole!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Best of Six Flags Whitewater: guide to summer fun

If you want a splashing, thrilling, family-fun destination for a sunny summer day, look no further than Six Flags Whitewater in Marietta, GA (Atlanta). The park mixes the right amount of sun, waves, rides, and tree-lined paths - plus great food, comfortable cabanas, and a lot of giggles and screams.

Summer fun may be a little bit different for every family, but here are some of the must-do moments you should seek out at Six Flags Whitewater, as chosen by some of my favorite kid correspondents (my daughter, age 7, and her friends, 8-year-old Jack and 5-year-old Lily).

Dive Bomber - this is the newest, tallest, and possibly most frightening ride at Whitewater today. Dive Bomber is a brand new upgrade of the former Cliffhanger slide, now taller than before and with a heart-pounding floor-dropping launch. Go ahead, be brave: step inside the capsule 100 feet in the air and wait for the countdown.... then speed nearly 90 degrees down in a perfect splash. Dive Bomber was the favorite of the day for the two biggest kids. Even I tried it! The capsule is terrifying, but once you give the "go", it really is a fun experience.

Bahama Bob Slide - this 6-person family tube ride was the favorite of our smaller correspondent (and both moms). Bahama Bob slide is extra fun if you load it with people for optimal speed. We loved that all five of us could ride together! The tube careens down six stories of water, turns, and drops. And you never know who will end up backwards!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mommy & Me Monday: The winter white, beachy windblown look #familytravel

How do people look good at the beach?

Is it some kind of misleading false conspiracy?

When I am at the beach, my hair is windblown and frizzy (even if I pull it back, it has a mind of its own), my arms tend to have a bit of "farmer tan" from usual wearing of short sleeves, my legs are winter white (year-round, unfortunately) and I am certainly not lounging attratcively in a chaise while sipping an iced drink. 

So, I usually stay out of photos. However, since today is another Mommy and Me Monday with my friend Krystyn, I will share our family photo. Memorial Day weekend was a lot of fun at Isle Of Palms in South Carolina. Our schedule was this: eat, beach, swim, eat, sleep, repeat. Not a bad start to the summer season!

So what if the photo is not worthy of a Christmas card? It is not posed at dusk by a sand dune in windless conditions with everyone wearing matching colors. That would not show the real "us", anyway. We mix chaos, casual, and a little bit of dirt - pretty much all of the time.

Happy Monday!

You can share your (good or not-so-good) mommy and me photos also. Hop on over to Really, Are You Serious every Monday!

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