Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The separation anxiety continues...

Separation Anxiety...
"Anxiety provoked in a young child by separation or the threat of separation from their mother."

My little man, now 20 months old, is still a total mama's boy. He has a tremendous need to know where I am and what I am doing at all times. He has improved a little bit at his Monday daycare and his Tuesday/Thursday church program, but (seven weeks later) we have not eliminated those drop-off tears just yet.  

Separation anxiety is completely normal in older babies and toddlers. While separation anxiety is most common in small children between 8-15 months old, it is not considered a disorder or major problem until later, around kindergarten or first grade. I think my guy is just our snuggly sensitive one. Our daughter was born with a strong independent streak, but he would prefer to stay close to me at all times. And when he is away at daycare/school, he often repeats our names, "Mama... Dada... YaYa (sister)..." Reminding himself who we are and saying our names is his way of coping until we return.

Hopefully, as we continue to practice drop-off and pick-up three days per week, he will become more and more confident in his understanding that Mama comes back

If your child is several years older and still experiencing separation anxiety that has begun to affect regular life, this WebMD article may be helpful: Separation Anxiety Disorder. And, as always, keep your pediatrician informed of any worries. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Disney's The Jungle Book: new trailer!

Have you seen the first trailer for Disney's The Jungle Book, the all-new live-action epic? Check it out on The Jungle Book site!

From Walt Disney Studios:

"The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves, who embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known.  

The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong'o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. 

The exciting adventure bounds into theaters everywhere (also in 3D!) on April 15, 2016!  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Some great baby/newborn advice

Now that my little active guy is a running, jumping, opinionated, finicky - but fun - toddler, my baby advice days may be over. I am personally not a fan of the newborn stages; it can be really difficult!

If you are a new mom looking for some tips or expecting a second child and wondering how he or she will change your family, I have a few useful newborn advice posts to share from my friend Meghan over at JaMonkey.com.

In addition to parenting stories, product reviews, and advice, Meghan often shares really fun craft ideas and simple video tutorials. So click on over to JaMonkey.com and see what she's sharing this week!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I miss going to the bathroom alone.... #parenting

What do you miss from the time before you were a parent? 

There are several things for me.
Well, maybe a lot of things.

A few pop into my mind right away...

For one, I miss taking time to actually taste my food at a restaurant instead of constantly digging snacks and sippy cups and crayons and toys out of my bag while I scarf whatever edible concoction is placed in front of me so we can dash out the door before we hit the child meltdown zone. 

I miss waking on a weekend to see an 8 (or greater) as the first number on the clock. Even a 7 is a rare sight on the morning clock these days. It is sad when a 7:22 Saturday wake-up equates to "sleeping in". Way, waaaaaay back in the day, I remember thinking that ESPN's College Game Day program was on a bit too early on Fall football Saturdays..... it starts at noon. 

I also miss going to the bathroom all my myself. Seriously. I would like to have a couple quiet moments in the bathroom to do what I need to do without an extra body in there. These days, I have a toddler shadow who gets into absolutely everything. In the moment it takes me to try to pee, I take away the toilet brush (this week, he seems to think it is a big hairbrush), roll up at least twenty-two squares of toilet paper that he happily unrolled onto the floor, and pry little chubby hands from my bare legs.

He flushes the toilet before I am done. He plays in the trash can. He tries to climb into the tub and gets frustrated that he can't quite get a leg all the way overIf I lock him out, my bathroom tasks are serenaded by a screeching wail that could frighten an angry velociraptor. This is paired with frantic door pounding. 

It's no wonder that I generally head to the bathroom the moment I get home from dropping him at his Monday daycare or the church preschool!

Bathroom activities are not a team sport.

- - -
Linking up to Mama Kat's writer's workshop today! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

When a toddler's cough just won't go away

My little guy, now 19 months old, has been hit hard by the start-of-daycare ickies. It began with a cold and ear infection over a month ago, then developed into a persistent cough that wakes him several times per night. For a while, we were up so frequently that it felt like we had a newborn again! More than four weeks later, he is finally beginning to sleep through a night without a coughing attack.

I brought him to the doctor a few times during this month of cough, but it was never directly treated. Persistent cough is common in toddlers who have had a cold and congestion, and it can last for a few weeks. A general rule is to take them to the doctor if they have a fever or if the cough has lasted four weeks.

How do you know if a cough is "bad"? I like this handy list from KidsHealth.org...

Kids Health - Coughing 
Understanding what different types of cough could mean will help you know how to take care of them and when to go to the doctor. 

Also, what kind of options does a parent have when all the cough medications are for children 4 or 6 years old and up? My friend over at Redhead Baby Mama compiled a smart list...

The Ultimate Cold and Cough Guide for Babies and Toddlers 
From honey pops to tame fiery throats to a simple vapor bath to help stuffy noses, colds and coughs don’t stand a chance! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Comforable in the 2015 Toyota Highlander

We spent Labor Day weekend 2015 on a road trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to review the Ripley's Believe it or Not brand of family attractions. Thanks to the kind people working with Toyota, we were able to travel in comfort and style using a 2015 Toyota Highlander. Here are some thoughts on the Highlander from me, a (2005) Toyota Highlander owner and traveling, chauffeuring, working mom of two.

When the shiny and clean deep burgundy Highlander arrived in my driveway, I immediately noticed the sporty shape and gorgeous lines. My Highlander is a decade old, and I love the more modern and softer (less boxy) design of the recent Highlander models.  And by the way... the official color name is Ooh La La Rouge Mica - how fun is that?!

We enjoyed a comfortable 4-hour drive from the Atlanta area to Gatlinburg, getting to know all of the fancy electronics and gadgets. The Highlander model we tested was a Limited Platinum series, so it had all of the "bells and whistles" like navigation, back-up camera, Sirius XM radio, luxurious captain's chairs in the second row, a panoramic moonroof, heated and cooled leather seats in the front and second row, dual front and rear climate control, plus a pop-up third row that was much larger than the cramped third row I have in my 2005 Highlander.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Yes, the kids need recess! #backtoschool

I remember last year when my friend over at Really, Are You Serious posted about her daughter's recess being taken away as class punishment. She was concerned and I think she had every right to be!

Krystyn wrote...

It’s spelled out on the board at school everyday. The “class” misbehaves or is too talkative and they get a letter marked off. If all of the letters are marked of, recess is taken away for the day.
Their measly 15-freaking-minute recess.  Read her post here: Don't Take Our Recess Away

I have heard mention of "no recess" an punishment from other friends again this year. Why would teachers ever think this is a good idea? Recess helps in social development, physical activity, and let's face it: it gets the wiggles out. Kids, especially young ones like mine and Krystyn's, need to burn energy throughout the day.

Hop over to Krystyn's post and weigh in! What do you think about recess? Do you think it should be taken away as punishment in some situations?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Eight Gatlinburg, TN Attractions for the whole family #familytravel

2015 Toyota Highlander
Are you traveling the Southeast this fall season? Perhaps you are one of ten million visitors to wind through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year?

We spent our Labor Day weekend in the area, driving up in a super comfortable 2015 Toyota Highlander (review to come) and staying in an adorable rental cottage less than a mile from the Gatlinburg Parkway - and within a few steps to a trolley stop. Check out the Gatlinburg cottage rental here - I would recommend it!

 If you are planning a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, a stop in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg should be on your list. I grew up in East Tennessee, so these eclectic towns are very familiar to me. However, if you do not know the area, I can describe those two towns for you: busy, family-friendly, unique, and fun.

Pigeon Forge boasts several museum and interactive attractions, shows, and the Dollywood theme park in a city setting. Gatlinburg is located higher in the mountains with trees and streams, cabins and (sometimes) bears.  Gatlinburg also offers more family attractions than you can do in a couple days, so plan a lengthy stay if you want to try it all.

The Ripley's brand of entertainment venues offers not three, not four, but eight Gatlinburg attractions:
 We were not able to do the Haunted Adventure given the ages of our young children, but lots of pre-teens and teens were coming out of there in an excited, happy state, so it must be scary - and fun! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The at-home parent vs. isolation

Moms (and stay-at-home dads), what do you do when you just. cant. take. it. anymore?

After some very difficult weeks with a mucus-filled, poor-sleeping, daycare-transitioning, almost-two-year-old, I had to pose this question to my mom blogger group. I wanted to scream and run away from home, but instead I reached out (through my iPhone) to some of the most supportive mamas I know.

The responses flooded in almost immediately and it was glaringly obvious: the parenting challenge of isolation is very real and very hurtful.

Many mothers stay at home while juggling a seemingly never-ending list of to-dos which could include multiple kids, sports schedules, PTA, work, and more. We do not have frequent time away from home or kids. We do not have the luxury of "let me finish this thought" when drafting an important email and a child is tugging, crying, screaming on/at us. Let's face it, we rarely have the luxury of going to the bathroom alone. Thank goodness for what restraint we have left when the clueless question, "what do you do with yourself all day?".

Despite never being alone, the isolation is there. We are isolated from what we need as adults.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fall conferences for bloggers, Sep-Nov 2015

September is here!
For me, that means finally settling into the back-to-school routine (we started August 3rd), getting a little bit more used to the start of "ones" preschool for the little guy, plus college football.

For many bloggers, fall means conference time! Here is a list of a few blogger conferences coming up in September, October, and November.


Be Blogalicious
"To grow a supportive and vibrant community of influencers that celecrates cultural diversity" 
Baltimore, MD
Learn more and register for the Be Blogalicious Conference here.

Bloggy Conference 
"Open to anyone with an interest in social media"
Sandusky, OH
Bloggy Conference website


Type A Parent Conference
This happens to be my personal favorite and I highly recommend it! Plus, it's here in Atlanta and this year, I am a presenter! I'll be sharing practical advice for pitching your blog to paid media pros... pssst, we have more budget than PR! 
Atlanta, GA
Lots of great info and events year-round on TypeAParent.com

Social Media On The Sand
This is an invitation-only conference and event at Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos, which happens to be spectacularly amazing! I am honored to be attending for the second year.
To express your interest in a possible future invite, visit Social Media on the Sand 

Moms Meet WOW Summit
Open to moms everywhere who are interested in raising healthy, happy families.
San Diego, CA 
Registration and more info here: WOW Summit 2015

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