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What I'm Watching on Netflix

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This week's picks from my Netflix Instant Watch Library or mail queue:

TV Show:
Swamp People. This show about Cajuns hunting alligators in Louisiana bayous is a thrill ride. The aluminum boats are thin and the accents are so thick that subtitles are sometimes necessary. Need I say more?

Eat Pray Love is a bloated (2 hrs and 20 min), overwrought movie based on a wildly popular book. I didn't read the book, but I think it's safe to say this film adaptation did not do it any favors. Julia Roberts stars as the movie's central character, a writer from Manhattan in search of herself after the collapse of her starter marriage. She takes off on a year-long quest in which she shovels food in her mouth in Italy, learns to meditate in India, and discovers true love in Bali. The best parts of the film is when she is narrating what I assume is direct passages from the book.

Baby Log: 1 Year and 40 Weeks Old

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Things that Marlie and Me did this week:
  • She is such a cry baby and it is driving me nuts. It's sad to lead this week's update with that report, but it's gotten so bad that I worry about her. Crying is her default mechanism when she can't figure out something, when she drops food, when she's told "no", when she can't find a favorite toy...she dissolves into tears over just about anything. I don't want her growing up to be that character on "Seinfeld" who cries at the drop of a hat (she played Bette Midler's understudy and Jerry's girlfriend in the Rochelle, Rochelle episode). I don't think it's too soon to teach her some problem-solving and conflict resolution skills, but how?
  • She is definitely cutting those second year molars. Her fingers are permanently rubbing the back part of her gums. Allergies are also troubling her, all of which is probably making her extra cranky.
  • We are making steady progress on the potty front. She made two attempts at a bowel movement but freaked out each time at the sight of poop in the potty. She leaped up and screeched "ewwww! poop!" She wouldn't sit back down until the offensive turd was wiped away. Then the moment had passed. She is a pro at peeing in the potty, but pooping is apparently too gross.
  • We went to visit a friend and her new baby girl on Friday. Marlie was so smitten with the infant (despite the look on her face in the photo). I think she would love to have a little brother or sister. No, I'm not hinting at anything...just saying Marlie would make a great Big Sis some day. She was so sweet with the little baby. It made my heart melt and my womb do a cartwheel.
  • We piled in the car for a 10 am birthday party on Saturday. I have to give these parents props for a genius party idea for their 2-year-old son. All the kids had a blast and the parents did too. Don't worry I am going to share on Wednesday with photos, so come back and see pictures of the best child's birthday party that we've been to!

flipflop wines: Good Wine for a Good Cause

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I view wine as a symbol of an individual's personal taste. If you favor the finer things, you can buy wine in heavy glass labeled with gold-embossed letters and you can also buy it in a box with a spigot if you prefer no frills.

I was invited to try a new collection of wines called flipflop wines that promises outstanding quality at an affordable suggested retail price of $7 per bottle. I agreed to sample flipflop wines because the name conjured up an image of me strolling along a sandy beach carrying a pair of flip flops in one hand and a glass of wine in the other while foamy waves caressed my bare feet. That's exactly how I want to feel when drinking wine...relaxed and carefree.

I also said yes to flipflop wines because they are socially conscious. They have partnered with Soles4Souls Inc., the international shoe charity dedicated to providing free footwear to those in need. The program will raise funds to provide one pair of flip-flop sandals for each bottle of flipflop wine purchased (up to 100,000 pairs for the first 100,000 bottles sold, where promotion is legal).

So, flipflop wine is a good value and supports a good cause...but does it taste good? The answer is an unequivocal yes! I was sent bottles of Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and Riesling and all three were charmingly delicious. I am partial to Riesling for its sweetness and the flipflop Riesling did not disappoint! It is fruity and silky and was a great match with our chicken quesadilla dinner. Damon's is a red wine man, so the Pinot Noir was right up his alley. His exact words were, "it tastes pretty good." That's a solid endorsement in my book because he's picky and doesn't gush.
I bet you are itching to try the brand that Wine Enthusiast magazine awarded the title of "Best Buy" in its June issue. To locate a retailer near you, connect with flipflop wines on Facebook and they will tell you where to find them in your area. You can also shop online!

Grab a bottle of flipflop wine in your favorite red or white this Memorial holiday, you will totally flip!


Wordful Wednesday: Marlie Sings Her Favortite Song

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I finally got it on video! Here is my little songbird singing "Mariposa"

What I'm Watching on Netflix

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This week's picks from my Netflix Instant Watch queue:

TV Show:
Yo Gabba Gabba is an addictive children's show that I am positive is aimed at driving parents insane. Damon introduced Marlie to DJ Lance et al and I have not had a moment's peace since. She's a total Gabba groupie now. Not only does Marlie watch the episodes repeatedly, she insists that I stand at the ready with the Roku remote to fast forward through the parts she doesn't like. This is why I wanted to limit her exposure to television. Hoperfully, she'll get bored or I am going to have to teach her how to use the remote so I don't lose my mind.

Let Me In is the American version of the Swedish film Let the Right One In. It is the story of a child vampire who is a predator on more than one level. I can't say much more without spoiling the ending, which is what keeps you watching this plodding munch-fest until the bittersweet end.

[Guest Post] Grocery Shopping In Cold Weather

Monday, May 23, 2011

Authored by Leandro Delgado

Going grocery shopping when it is cold out is always fun. You can pick out things to cook that will keep you warm. I love making hot soup, mashed potatoes, warm cookies, and hot chocolate. There are many things out during holidays in winter time that make you feel in the mood to cook. I decide that I am going to go to the store today and find some food too keep me warm on this winter day.
I set my http://www.homesecurity101.com/home-security-monitoring/ alarm and head out to the store. I get there and I see warm fresh baked cinnamon rolls just put out on the shelf. I immediately grab them and put them in my cart. I also get all the ingredients to make fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Having the oven on will help heat my house from the winter cold air coming in. I also buy stuff to make split pea soup, my all time favorite recipe. I go to the dairy aisle and find coffee creamer. In the wintertime they have special flavors. I decide to get fresh apple pie. That sounds like a delicious add on to my daily coffee. Once I am done shopping I pay for my groceries and head home. I pre heat the oven and start to prepare my cookies. They make the house smell wonderful. I then start the soup, and as I wait for them both to be done I read my book by the fireplace.


Baby Log: 1 Year and 39 Weeks Old

Sunday, May 22, 2011

There was lots to celebrate this week, including my birthday and the return of semi-sweet Marlie. I say semi-sweet because the real Marlie is still a handful, but she is not the nightmare that the alien impostor was. I hope my baby girl never gets switched by body snatchers again, but I know that is wishful thinking. This week also saw:
  • The arrival of Marlie's potty trainers. They are cute padded underwear called Potty Patty Pants. We did a dress rehearsal one day and realized there is a lot of practice and patience needed. The plan is to seriously start teaching the potty during the week she is on break from school. Fingers crossed!
  • The rescue of my desktop PC. It's over 8 years old and was so slow that I often wanted to punch it. Then I purchased one of those daily deals to get a PC tune-up and viral removal. I also bought some more RAM and got the dust cleaned out. It's humming and purring now, which is awesome because it needs to continue working until I can afford or win a laptop.
  • The end of my freelance writing gig. The site didn't have the revenue to keep paying writers. It sucks because I enjoyed it immensely, but at least I have a portfolio of articles and the experience. Plus, I now now that I am very good at it!

CLOSED...Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent Review + Giveaway

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent with Oxygen BleachI read a poll recently that said 67% of American women like doing laundry. That's 2 out of 3 women who like sorting dirty clothes, waiting for the laundry machine to clean them, then folding and putting them away. Count me in the minority group who detest laundry.Don't get me wrong. I love clean clothes. I just don't enjoy doing laundry, especially now that there is double the amount with cloth diapers and baby clothes added to the mix. When we were a childless couple, laundry was a leisurely chore we did together on Saturday mornings...it was kind of romantic. Now I am a stay-at-home mom and it has become a one-woman job. There is never a day that I am not doing laundry. My approach is to get in and get out, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about what products I use to clean our laundry or the condition of my family's clothes.

I have become hyper aware of the toxic chemicals in commercial laundry detergents since I became a mom. So, I switched to eco-friendly, all natural detergents and stopped using chemical bleach. Many people think that you have to sacrifice "white" whites and stain-removing power when you use natural detergents. This is a myth that I put to the test with Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent with Oxygen Bleach. I think these before and after photos of my husbands athletic socks speak for themselves. The socks are white...they are not blindingly white, but they weren't bleached with chemicals and that's probably best for the life of the fabric, our skin and the environment.

 Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent with Oxygen Bleach Review
Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent is economical too. The retail price of $30 for a 5 lb container is comparable or better than many national brands. For me, that 80 loads in my HE machine!

Buy It: The 5 lb tub of Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent is on sale for $16.99

Win It: Tropical Traditions is giving one Marlie and Me reader 5 lbs of Powdered Laundry Detergent! Thanks Tropical Traditions!
Mandatory first entry: Check out the Household Traditions page and leave a comment here with the name of another nontoxic cleaner you'd like to try

All extra entries listed below are worth one (1) additional admission into this giveaway. Please leave a separate comments for each extra entry you complete)
Extra Entries for Supporting the Sponsor:

  • Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions sales newsletter
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Standard Extra Entries:
  • Be a current or new follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect (scroll to bottom of page)
  • Be a current or new subscriber of Marlie and Me via email (subscription must be activated)
  • Grab my NEW button (leave the URL of the page where it is posted in your comment)
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  • Follow Marlie and Me at Networked Blogs on Facebook (leave your FB name)
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet this message (can tweet once daily. leave the URL to the tweet in your comment): @Mommy2Marlie is hosting a #giveaway for a 5 lbs of Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent. Enter at www.marlieandme.com. Ends 5/31
  • Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The Rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 5/31/11 at 11:59 pm CST
  • Winner will be chosen randomly from all comments posted using a random number generator
  • The winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond. Please make sure I can contact you either by having an email address visible on your blog profile or leave your email address in your comment(s).
  • By accepting the prize, the winner is granting permission to be identified as such.
  • The winner has one (1) month from the date of claiming the prize to report any problems (lost shipment, broken product, invalid gift code). I will not be responsible for resolving issues after this time.
  • In the event the prize is not claimed in the allotted time another winner will be chosen. Giveaway is open to US/CAN. Must be at least 18 years of age to participate. Void where prohibited.
  • Entries that do not follow instructions or are falsified will be disqualified

The Belated Mother's Day Post

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I invited several of my favorite mommy bloggers to submit guest posts for a series on 21st Century Motherhood because I truly wanted to provide a space for the gen-X perspective on being a mom. I also had a shameful ulterior motive...I didn't have the guts to write one myself. Being the over-comer that I am, I decided to wax stupid about my proudest moment as a mom at the invitation of UPrinting and Giveaway Blogs. So here goes:

Unlike most women, I didn't always dream of becoming a mother. As a matter of fact, I put it off as long as possible. As the oldest of six children raised by a mother who knew how to have lots of babies, but nothing about what they needed to become happy and healthy adults, I was deathly afraid of that I would be just like my mother.

I never doubted that my mom loves all her children, but I could tell even when I was little that she didn't always love being a mom. I used to resent her for going back to work, dating men after she divorced by father, remarrying, making bad financial choices that created hardships, and sheltering us too much. Yes, my mom loved her children, but she was also searching for something that we didn't fulfill.

I worked hard on myself to avoid the same pitfalls that made my own mom such a tortured soul. I went to college because she didn't. I didn't marry at 18 because she did. I traveled the world because she didn't. I didn't have a child in my 20s because she did. I thought being the exact opposite of my mom would save me from becoming like her.

I took the leap into motherhood when I finally trusted myself, when I really felt like I would be a good mom. And you know what? I am darn good at it. I taught my daughter to walk, dance, put on her own socks, and say "shut up, dog!" My proudest mom moment, however, was realizing I had nothing to be afraid of. I am a lot different from my mom, but she is a part of me, which makes us similar in some ways. I am okay with that.

disclosure: This is an entry to the Proud Mom contest, I'm in the running to win $50! Sponsored by uPrinting event ticket printing services!

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

this week I am loving...
  • Happy Birthday Candles on Angel Foods Cake My Birthday! It was yesterday and it was fun! Damon and Marlie made me breakfast. For gifts I received an 8GB SanDisk for my new camera, lots of chocolate, and a copy of the book "Lit: A Memoir." My 89-yr-old grandma remembered and called me to wish me a happy birthday...that was the best! Damon hired a babysitter all by himself and we went to dinner and then saw BRIDESMAIDS at the movie theater. It was gut-busting funny...go see it!

  • Some of you know how I feel about high fructose corn syrup (and partially hydrogenated oils), which is why I found this SNL clip so stinkin' hilarious! It captures the of stereotypes of the hyper-vigilante mom vs. the mom who lets her kids do anything. A perfect and funny depiction of both extremes.

What are you loving this Thursday?! Leave it in your comment :-)

Wordful Wednesday: 35 Years of Me

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It seems like yesterday I was turning 30, now I'm celebrating my 35th birthday today.

So much has happened these past five years. I grew up a lot. I learned to love and trust myself. I packed up my life and moved southwest with my husband. I took control of my health, and I became a mom.

Motherhood is the most defining experience of my life...far above earning degrees, having a career, or even getting married. It has changed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. After almost two years in the role, I think I am finally getting the hang of it.

My gift to myself on my 35th birthday is a pledge to continue working on being the best possible version of myself...to embrace who I am from head to toe, inside and outside. To love my kinky hair, my freckles, my big booty, my runner's thighs, my chicken legs, my phobias (germs) and quirks (I won't eat a fruit that has a blemish). To also love my light brown eyes, my calf muscles, my wicked sense of humor, my bookish intelligence, and my eclectic taste in music, food and friends. My gift to Teresha is happiness with who I am... no regrets, no apologies, no resentments.

I took the long road to get here, but I have arrived and I am so proud of the woman I am today. Happy Birthday to me!

How to Read a Blog

I was welcomed into the mommy blogging community when I started actively blogging three years ago during my first pregnancy. I noticed how supportive everyone was to newbie bloggers, but I also became aware of cliques. There was an invisible line drawn in the sand in the blogosphere between natural birth/medically-assisted birth moms; breastfeeding/formula-feeding moms; product review/non-product review moms. The lines of demarcation are too long to list. I befriended many mommy bloggers from various (and sometimes conflicting) groups and tried to not to choose sides.

Things seemed to have calmed down quite a bit in recent months, but there are still online squabbles that flare up, usually because of a controversial topic. I am always taken aback at how quickly a personal post about a mom's choices, feelings, and opinions can escalate into a nasty cyber feud complete with name-calling and even threats...call me naive.

Moms are sensitive creatures whether we like to admit it or not. We are easily offended and will rush to defend our ideas and values if we think someone else is trampling on them. We sometimes forget that a blog is another person's space and that they have the right to free speech. As blog readers we have every right to object to a post and debate the merits of the content, but we have a social responsibility to understand where the author is coming from and put ourselves in her shoes before we leave a comment.

When I read a post that I strongly disagree with, I close the page and clear my mind of any judgments. Then I re-open the page and re-read the post. Then I follow these self-taught rules for reading a blog:

  • Don't read between the lines. It is often difficult to infer the writer's tone on a blog, which makes it easy to misinterpret what you are reading. If you are unsure, ask the writer point blank what she meant in a comment before you jump down her throat. I remember when Tiffany at Home Grown Families poured her heart out about her conflicting feeling towards attachment parenting and her need for space, she wrote:
    "Lets not even discuss whats going to happen if the Good Lord decides to bless me with a husband. I don't think it's fair to ask someone to practice co-sleeping with his 12 year old step-daughters. (Of course, I'm being facetious but I do wonder about how they would handle it.)"
    So many readers missed the word "facetious" or didn't know the meaning of the word and pounced. Many left comments about how inappropriate it was to have a step-father sleep in the same bed as his step-daughters. It was a joke people...maybe a bad one, but still.
  • Don't take it personally. Remember a blog is someone's private journal that happens to be available for public viewing (and critiquing). It takes a lot of guts to spill your guts online. When reading someone's blog, you are privy to their personal thoughts. Try to give the writer the benefit of the doubt. I know that some bloggers write inflammatory posts just to drive traffic to their site, but most of the time bloggers are just sharing their experiences, not trying to make you feel bad for not doing what they are doing, not having the things they have, or not living the life they live. Kia at Determined To Be Fit had to address this very thing recently because she was concerned people might be misinterpreting her fitness plans as bragging, she wrote:
    "I don’t post my schedule to rub anything in anybody’s face or make anyone feel like “less than” if they don’t do as much as I do."
    If a writer's post makes you feel guilty, jealous, or any other unhealthy emotion...it's time to look inward instead of lashing out.
  • Don't go there. I have read many posts that make me hopping mad, that have me seeing red, that have steam blowing from my ears. I know you have also. You've seen the strongly-worded disagreements in the comments and then writer responds, but not to the satisfaction of the readers. It turns into an argument in the comment section. Other readers join in and take sides. Then someone goes and insults the writer. This a no-no. For example, on a recent guest post on My Brown Baby Kia Morgan Smith decried the marketing of pink toenail polish to little boys, she wrote:
    "I’m just not that open when it comes to having my son actually walk around with neon-pink toenails and getting used to the idea of being primped and pampered like his sisters. In my house, we’re going to leave getting all pretty to the girls and save the Barbershop talk for the boys."
    It's a loaded statement for sure, ripe for picking apart. People started leaving comments calling her a "bigot" and "narrow-minded." I won't tell you what I said (you can read through the 100+ comments if you must know), but suffice to say that I remained civil. I refused to sling dirt like some of the other readers because it did nothing to elevate the discourse or help us reach any understanding.
Disagreements are going to occur in the mommy realm of the blogosphere, but they should not turn into all out war. Blogging is something special, and we should treat each other with respect even if we don't see eye-to-eye. If you really don't like what someone writes on her blog, you can always stop following.

photo credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid. Creative Commons License.

What I'm Watching on Netflix

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This week's picks from my Netflix Instant Watch queue:

TV Show:
The Riche$ is a drama set in the south that aired on FX for two seasons. I remember watching the pilot episode when in premiered in 2007 and thinking that the show was whip-smart and punchy. I didn't keep up with the series on TV, but now I'm working my way through it on Netflix. Minnie Driver, as Dahlia, shines as the recently paroled matriarch of the family of con artists who is trying to keep her family and herself together (her Southern accent is spot on). The plot is too complicated to summarize here, but it involves the main characters taking over the identities of a deceased couple and moving into their mansion. It's nonstop drama and fast-pitch curve balls.

Delicatessen. Okay, right upfront I'm going to tell you that this a foreign language film, so there are subtitles. But if you can get past that you will be rewarded with a twisted tale of what lengths humans will go to survive. It's post-war France and the tenants of a rundown building are surviving on rations of meat from the butcher/landlord. Right away, the movie reveals the butchers unsavory methods for acquiring the meat. It will chill your bones and make you question who the real animals are in our society. Oh, and the French are weird.

Baby Log: 1 Year and 38 Weeks Old

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Welcome to the new Marlie and Me!

I hope you love the new design by Christina of Visual Luxe as much as I do. I threw a bunch of colors and a the word "tropical" at her and she worked her magic. She is a wizard!

I am still getting used to my pretty new blog, especially the added pages. It's going to take a while to get it all organized and work out any bugs, so let me know if you see a kink somewhere.
Thanks for your support during this transition!

It was an overwhelming week at our house. It started early Monday with Marlie being abducted by aliens and substituted with an evil impersonator. The bad alien "Marlie" kicked and hit me, climbed and jumped off of things, threw objects, refused to cooperate and had me saying, "Lord, take the case!" Then just when I think the body snatchers have returned my real baby on Wednesday in time for her first gymnastics class, I am proven wrong. I pick up a feverish alien from school that afternoon. The alien doesn't want to eat or drink anything and is irritable. Ibuprofen helps. It gets worse the next day though. The alien still has a fever, still won't eat, drinks very little and is howling like a wounded animal. Plus, the alien is drooling a lot. I call the pediatrician, but they don't know how to care for aliens. Kidding. I get the "it's-probably-a-virus-push fluids-monitor fever-come-in-if-symptoms-worsen." I Google "excessive drooling + fever in babies" and get hits for Coxsackievirus infection otherwise known as "hand, foot, and mouth" disease. I'm not surprised since Marlie is forever putting crap in her mouth, but she doesn't have the rash on her hands or feet. To be on the safe side though I keep her home on Thursday just in case her saliva is contagious.

Thursday was the longest day of my life. She cried nonstop, whined when she wasn't crying, clung to me like superglue, took little catnaps in my arms, sniffled during her restless naps, screamed bloody murder if I tried to put her down, and soaked three of my shirts with drool. Did I mention that I am PMSing through all of this? This is one area where my maternal instincts fail me. When it comes to taking care of a sick child, all I seem capable of doing is taking temperatures and administering medicine. I apparently have poor bedside manner. I expect my patient to lie still, eat and drink when offered, and sleep it off. Marlie, of course, is not going to be sick according to my expectations. She doesn't suffer in silence and it makes me miserable not to be able to get her to calm down and get comfortable.

Friday was hardly any better, but at least she was asking for food. Comfort food I can do! I got her some homemade chicken soup and saltines. We had a wedding to go to on Saturday and, while I normally treat weddings like a visit to the OB/GYN (an obligatory and awkward engagement on my calendar), I was looking forward to being away from the Marlie-droid (the aliens abductors still had the real Marlie). We shared a babysitter with another couple. This is the first time I let a stranger watch my child. I was proud of (and surprised at myself) for not backing out. I really must have needed a break. The babysitter was super. I told her all about Marlie's recent illness and she theorized that Marlie might be getting her 2nd-year molars. That would make sense since she has been chewing on things again. We left for the wedding feeling like Marlie was in good hands. We checked in on them before the reception. Marlie was gaga for the other couple's little boy. She kept trying to hug him and hold his hand. He tolerated her advances for a little while then he wanted to be left alone. Marlie mistook his aloofness as playing hard-to-get and gave chase. She started hitting him when he wouldn't be caught. He was a perfect gentleman and didn't hit back. I don't know what I am going to do with our little bully. Introduce her to a bigger bully, maybe?

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

this week I am loving...
  • I'm loving how Netflix lets me streams TV shows I never got to watch after Marlie was born. It's like the 2009 fall season all over again! This week I watched season 1 of Drop Dead Diva. This is my kind of show...a dramedy about a spunky, smart and sassy lawyer. She is also way pretty and can sing her a$$ off!

  • My new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 LUMIX digital camera. Damon bought me one for Mother's Day after months of hearing me gripe and even whine a little about all the moments I failed to capture because of the piece of garbage that was masquerading as my old camera. This bad boy is going to put me in the mommy photography big leagues!

What are you loving this Thursday?! Leave it in your comment :-)

Wordful Wednesday: Feeding Mr. Giraffe

As promised, a photo from our day at the zoo last Saturday. Most of the animals were hiding, but thankfully the reliable giraffes (Marlie's animal) were at the feeding trough and ready for some fun.

Baker Brothers Plumbing in Dallas is A+

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We have all heard plumber horror stories...a sweaty guy shows up at your door 3 hours late scratching his exposed butt crack and asking to use your bathroom.

It's enough to make you want to go DIY, but you don't want to chance it. There are professional plumbers out there who are reliable, courteous, and well-trained to fix your pipes. Trust me, I recently met one from Baker Brothers Plumbing of Dallas, Texas.

Two months ago, one of the sinks in our master bathroom started leaking and damaged the cabinet underneath. My husband had the good sense to turn the shut-off valve, but he never contacted a plumber. Don't household repairs fall under the husband's domain?

Anyway, I decided to take matters into my own hands and signed up for a service call with Baker Brothers Plumbing. The phone representative who scheduled the appointment was so sweet and helpful...thanks Tamara! She scheduled a technician for the same day. I also received a courtesy call when the plumber was en route.

plumberMike the plumber arrived on time and was dressed neatly. I showed him to the sink and he immediately got to work diagnosing the problem. He couldn't find a leak in the drain pipe, but he did not stop there. Mike splashed water around the rim of the sink and found spots on the particle board underneath. Bingo! He proceeded to reseal the grout around the sink and also replaced the two lines running to the faucets.

I would absolutely hire a plumber from Baker Brothers Plumbing again! A good plumber is like the perfect little, black dress...invaluable and irreplaceable.

You'll be glad to know that Baker Brothers Plumbing is also involved in our community. Baker Brothers Plumbing has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to install all of the plumbing for a Habitat house right here in our own Dallas community. Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity supporters can support this effort by liking the Baker Brothers Facebook page and telling them why you support Habitat for Humanity.

For every 10 new “likes” on the Baker Brothers Plumbing Facebook page between May 9th and May 18th, Baker Brothers Plumbing will donate one hour of service to Habitat for Humanity! You can also follow this good cause on Twitter
@BakerBrosPlmbg and @DallasHabitat.

I participated in this promotional campaign on behalf of Baker Brothers Plumbing through Business2Blogger

Baby Log: 1 Year and 37 Weeks Old

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms out there! I hope you are enjoying a spa day, breakfast in bed, a lovely brunch with your family, a moving church service, or some sleep!

Do me a solid and read/comment on these guests posts on 21st Century Motherhood:

Following Your Instincts
I Will Not Be My Mother!
No Right Choices for the Modern Mama
How My Daughter Raised Me
Staying at Home and Loving It

Marlie and Me are just happy to be celebrating another day as mother and daughter. I don't know what the husband unit has planned, but he knows he has to make up for last Mother's Day which I spent taking him to the emergency clinic for bronchitis. I'll update this post later with what we did. [update: I got to sleep until 7 am (wee!), my Mother's Day present was a new LUMIX digi camera...way better than the other crap I was using before, we went on a 4-mile walk, then off to brunch, back home we lounged around but Marlie didn't want to relax and soon got very cranky (blame it on the 5:45 wake up). We went to the store to get some sorbet and she threw a full-blown tantrum on the way home that lasted 15 minutes. It wouldn't be Mother's Day if it was too perfect]

As for this past week...
  • Marlie is becoming a more like a big girl everyday. Suddenly, she is skipping and singing along to songs (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is a favorite) and asking her daddy to slap high-fives.
  • She also started going to bed at night unassisted. No rocking, no rubbing her back, no sitting next to her bed until she falls asleep. There have been a few nights where she has resisted going to bed alone, staying up until 9 pm, but largely she's falling asleep alone...Amen!
  • On Saturday, we went to our real estate agent's annual client party at the zoo. It was hot! A lot of the animals were MIA, probably asleep in the shade while us dumb humans baked in the sun. One highlight was the giraffe exhibit. The have an enclosure where you can touch and feed them! It was awesome...Pictures on Wordful Wednesday!
  • We got home kind of late and I put Marlie in her crib for her nap. A few minutes later she was wailing. I got up and before I reached the door to her room, the smell of poop hit my nose. Girlfriend had removed her diaper, but it gets worse...she smeared the poop in her hair! I just could not believe what my eyes were seeing, but somehow I swung into action. I called for Damon while I grabbed Marlie and plopped her in the bathtub. I scrubbed her down then wiped the chunks of poo out of her hair with a washcloth. Damon got in the tub to lean her backward while I shampooed and rinsed her hair (I didn't want poo water getting in her eyes and risking her getting pink eye). I then soaped her up again. I was toweling her off when I smelled her hair...still funky! Another round of shampoo with a few drops of essential oil to kill the bacteria. He hair smelled clean after that. I am still in shock. What would possess her to rub poop in her hair?!?
  • Me? I'm still working out 5 days a week...3 days of Insanity and 2 days of P90X. Yes, it feels good!

Winner of $50 NOVICA Gift Certificate

2008 Nike+ Human Race in Taipei Women's Winner
By Rico Shen (Rico Shen) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Winner of the $50 NOVICA gift certificate
Congratulations...#99 Jenn S.

Random numbers generated May 7 2011 at 7:38:43 by www.psychicscience.org

[Guest Post] 21st Century Motherhood: Following Your Instincts

Saturday, May 7, 2011

This post is part of my Mother's Day series celebrating 21st Century Moms. Please support these guest bloggers by leaving some thoughtful comments.

Following Your Instincts
by Darcel Harmon

The 21st Century Mother needs to know that it's ok to follow her own instincts. Before there were books by the experts, there were the tribes and villages. Even if you are a new mom, you don''t really need to read all of those parenting books unless you want to learn new techniques, or read more about research, or one author's take on a certain subject, or maybe you feel this person really gets it, and you enjoy their work.

Once you became a mother, you knew. You knew that you had never experienced anything like this in your life. Our instinct is to nurture, and love. Why do we fight that? Why do we let someone else tell us to fight it?

I'm not saying that books on parenting and motherhood are bad, I actually love to read. The truth is there is a lot of information out there. So many different points of view, some you agree with and some you don't.
Sometimes your eyes are opened to a different way of living. There are positives to seeking outside advice from friends and family that you trust. The truth is that no one else knows what is best for your child.

We don't trust ourselves anymore, and I don't understand why. I don't know when it happened, and I don't know why it keeps getting passed on to each generation. It's time to change that, don't you think?
I believe it's so important for mom and baby to be with each other immediately after birth. That body contact between the two is like a intimate dance. Together the two of them can make their own mothering path.

It's really a beautiful thing, motherhood. We grow, birth, and mother this tiny person who continues to grow and requires us to challenge everything we thought we knew, or thought that we would do.
In the same way that we go on and on about trusting birth, and trusting that our bodies know what to do.
What about trusting in ourselves to navigate this motherhood journey with our sisters, friends, and sometimes strangers. All of us doing the best we can, on our own path of what's right for our family.

A confident, instinctual, 21st Century Mother.

Darcel Harmon is a Stay at Home Mom to two spirited little girls and one adorable little boy. Her passions include but are not limited to, reading, writing, birth, and breastfeeding She blogs at The Mahogany Way about how Attachment Parenting and Unschooling look in their daily lives.

Stonyfield Yogurt Contests

Friday, May 6, 2011

Stonyfield is a brand best known for its delicious yogurt, but did you know that the company also provides a wealth of education on living organically? Right now Stonyfield is offering incentives to go organic. Whether you are a veteran of the organic movement or just joining, you can enter any of these contests to win some fabulous prizes. I am especially excited because a photo of Marlie and Me is featured in the web promo ad for Organic Family of the Year...next stop television!

Organic Moment
Whatever your reason for choosing organic, we want to hear it.
You may have a single organic moment — a love at first sight story — when organic mattered to you. Or maybe you’ve had a lot of little organic moments that add up to why you eat organic today. Maybe you’re still waiting on your moment.You could win a year of free organic groceries or a month of organic Stonyfield!
You could win a year of free organic groceries or a month of organic Stonyfield!

Organic Family of the Year Contest
How is organic a part of your family? Tell us and you could become the Stonyfield Organic Family of the Year (and win prizes too)!

Act Bolder's Just Eat Organic for a day challenge
Just eat organic for a day! 1-Watch the Just Eat Organic video 2-Be inspired to Just Eat Organic for one day and post your experience 3-Share the video with a friend and encourage them to Just Eat Organic too!
Reward:$1 off 32oz Yogurt; Top Action wins $200 gift card

[Guest Post] 21st Century Motherhood: I Will NOT Be My Mother!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This post is part of my Mother's Day series celebrating 21st Century Moms. Please support these guest bloggers by leaving some thoughtful comments.

I Will NOT Be My Mother
by Quiana Agbai

"I will NOT be my mother!" That is what we mothers often tell ourselves, right? As hard as we try not to, many of us end up like our mothers, some of us in more ways than others.

Being a Type-A lover of knowledge by nature, while I was pregnant with my daughter last year, I was determined to start from scratch and forge my own version of motherhood by reading as much as possible and disregarding as much as possible from what my own mother tried to tell me. It's as though I wanted to rediscover motherhood. I definitely didn't want to be like certain mothers I had met in the past who acted as though they were the first ones on the planet to give birth and raise a child, but I guess what I was really striving for was having as little outside influence as possible and trusting my gut more than any handbook.

Of course this lofty goal was difficult in the information age. Throughout my pregnancy I was inundated with often conflicting information about my diet, exercise, breastfeeding etc. Once my daughter, Virginia ("Nia"), arrived last August it was easier to lay the information aside because I literally had her in my arms. I often had no choice but to trust my gut; there was no baby holding in one hand with a manual in the other!

In a way I do believe that I am still forging my own version of motherhood. I never wanted to label myself according to my parenting style, what I decided to feed my daughter or whether I stay at home with her, which currently I'm able to do. Instead my version of modern motherhood is simply my motherhood. It is a daily experience that evolves and matures. I am learning so much each day thanks to my beautiful daughter, and I feel blessed to have a husband who supports me in my journey.

Quiana lives in NYC and is excited to be celebrating her first Mother's Day with her 9 month old Nia and husband Uka. She blogs at Harlem Love Birds.

[Guest Post] 21st Century Motherhood: No Right Choices for the Modern Mama

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

This post is part of my Mother's Day series celebrating 21st Century Moms. Please support these guest bloggers by leaving some thoughtful comments.

No Right Choices for the Modern Mama
By Christa Terry aka The BabbyMama

A friend of mine was recently going through a crisis of conviction… she loves being home with her daughter, but she feels the pull that only a born educator can, drawing her back into the classroom. On the one hand, she knows the toddler years won't last and she doesn't want to miss a thing. On the other, she loves her calling and doesn't want to get left behind. There is guilt swirling around every path she considers taking.

As we talked about her conundrum, I thought about the other mamas I know… the ones who love work and couldn't imagine staying home with children all day and the ones who can stay home without having to worry about paychecks because the bills are taken care of and the ones who, like me only recently, work with a baby in their laps. The ones at jobs who wish they were home. The ones who are desperate to find jobs because they don't have a choice or are missing the challenge of careers they love.

Nearly all of those mamas, doing the best they can every minute of every day, feel guilt, feel shame, and feel confused. Regardless of their choices.

Modern motherhood? It's all about contradictions. Contradictions, I'd like to point out as an aside, that I'm not sure most fathers ever face-at least not externally in the form of omnipresent criticism.
Contradictions caused in part by that old trope: 'Having it all' and in part by the world around us. Contradictions that are external, and contradictions that are internal.

The culture of the U.S. values employment and income – if you're not making money, you're not worth much. And at the same time, our society claims to value motherhood above so many other things, but there's no support structure in place to make full-time motherhood an accessible primary vocation for many, if not most, women. Many SAHMs are flustered by the common question 'What do you do?' – as flustered as working moms are by the question 'What do you do with you child every day?'

Maybe it's not intentional, but sometimes it seems people do their best to make moms of all stripes feel terrible about their choices. People ask moms at home when they'll be going back to work, assuming they will be doing so shortly. They ask working moms directly and without tact if they feel guilty about letting someone else raise their children. They poo-poo daycare because it's not family and the lack of socialization children at home supposedly experience.

The modern mother cannot make the right choice, because there are no right choices open to the modern mother. According to the world around us, every choice we modern mamas makes is wrong, and too many of us internalize that until we end up second guessing everything we want and every decision we make, from whether to work to whether an all-organic diet is doable to nursing vs. formula to public school or private. It's a huge part of why modern motherhood is, for many people, a stressful and exhausting occupation. In other words, it's not the day-to-day, it's the emotional drain caused by the cloud negativity that surrounds mothers from pregnancy onward.

So what's the takeaway? I believe it's that we 21st Century mothers all just need to do our best. That means making the best choices for ourselves, our families, and our circumstances. That means no longer looking to society to tell us what's best. Throw out some of those contradictions that eat away at us, no matter what choices we've made. And finally realize that there are no overarching best choices; there are only the best choices for you, the best choices for me.

Christa Terry is a writer and editor, a published author, a blogger at Manolo for the Brides and I Know How Is Babby Formed, and of course, a mama. Christa has made it her mission in life to live how she wants to live instead of how the world expects her to, and advises others to do the same whenever she has a venue to do so.

[Guest Post] 21st Century Motherhood: How My Daughter Raised Me

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This post is part of my Mother's Day series celebrating 21st Century Moms. Please support these guest bloggers by leaving some thoughtful comments.
How My Daughter Raised Me
by Czyka Tumaliuan

The teen pregnancy movie Juno was such a hit most probably because a lot of 21st century mothers related to it—most of us are young, unprepared, uncertain and ambivalent about motherhood. More often than not, pregnancies today are “accidents”—born out of a one night stand or a summer fling. Hello? How can 16 year-olds raise a baby when they still need raising themselves? Plus it doesn’t really feel right to have a child with a man who you just saw in a pub.

I, for one, related to it. When I got knocked up I was just dating the father of my kid for a month, and it wasn’t that serious. Well, I was already 21 that time, but my maturity level was of a teenager, if you know what I mean. Initially, I wanted to run from the responsibility. I wanted abortion. I think most of us do. It’s tough to have a baby. Plus there are sacrifices that I have to do that I wasn’t sure I’m ready to do that time—I have to quit graduate school, disappoint my university who gave me a full scholarship, let down my parents, get fat, juggle work and “mommying” and the long list goes on. But, despite these fears and conflicts, I’m a mother. Mothers are mothers regardless of their age, race and maturity. All of us have this maternal instinct that you can’t just run from. It is engraved in our nature to love and to take care of our children the best way we know how.

But that’s the thing: I didn’t know how. Juno didn’t know how. Most 21st century mothers don’t know either. And surprisingly, every mother I’ve talked to, unprepared and prepared (meaning, she got married first and planned to have a baby after), have also no idea how to become a mother. Author of the inspiring blog Marlie and Me Teresha Freckleton-Petite in her article “Finding My Mommy+” confessed that despite her successful academic and professional experiences, she still felt ill-equipped as a mom. Really, motherhood is a different ball game. As she said, there’s a “shift in self” that every mother will go through. And, sometimes, it can be hell. But that’s just a matter of perspective of course. You just have to strike a balance between being a mother and being yourself. You will learn the ropes in the process. But it will be a life-long learning process as your baby grows.

I learned a lot of things from being a mother to my beautiful daughter Sophie. She taught me that facing responsibility is difficult but rewarding. When she was still months old, and she can’t utter a single word, just communicating everything using her actions, she taught me that I should be more sensitive to non-verbal cues because they communicate things much deeper than words. It’s funny because this is the reason why my relationship with her Father grew stronger—I learned how to listen to his silence. Sophia also taught me how to control myself, avoid vices, say “NO” to bad influences, be better a person. Ultimately, Sophia raised me to become the responsible person and mother that I am today. And I think most of us are like that: we were raised by our daughters to become the person that we are today, one way or another.

Have you experienced the same thing? Do you agree with me?

Czyka Tumaliuan is a full-time mother, writer, frustrated artist and a foodie. She plays volleyball to keep fit and sees joy in cooking for her family. She works as a web content writer and SEO specialist for Branders.com, the world’s largest online seller of promotional items.

More Winners!

2008 Nike+ Human Race in Taipei Women's Winner
By Rico Shen (Rico Shen) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

$25 Celadon Road Gift Certificate
Congratulations...#1 Josefine
Random numbers generated Apr 26 2011 at 18:30:34 by www.psychicscience.org

TOATS Organic Cookies
Congratulations...#39 EmmaPeel
Random numbers generated May 1 2011 at 7:33:25 by www.psychicscience.org

Easy Organic Living Challenge Gift Bag
Congratulations...#1 Megan
Random numbers generated May 1 2011 at 7:39:35 by www.psychicscience.org

[Guest Post] 21st Century Motherhood: Staying at Home and Loving It

Monday, May 2, 2011

This post is part of my Mother's Day series celebrating 21st Century Moms. Please support these guest bloggers by leaving some thoughtful comments.

Staying Home and Loving It

By Alexia Sims: mama, wife, blogger and lover of all things bacon

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Cedella I was so incredibly shocked and scared that I honestly didn't think I was ready. I was 30 and had only been married for two months to my husband Michael. There were so many things I still wanted to do. I wanted to write a script and produce a film. I wanted to own a home and have a job with benefits. I wanted to travel the world with my husband. And I knew, cause we had already discussed it, that I would be leaving my job to stay home when we did start a family.

That's what scared me to my core when those two pink lines appeared on that expensive piece of plastic. What would I do without work? Who would I talk to? Could I survive without my mom's help? More than anything I feared I wouldn't be able to cut it in my new position. That I would end up being a mom, like my own, with children raised by babysitters and latch key. And in spite of all my fears, that was the last thing I wanted.

Yep, I said it. I wanted to be a different mother than my own mother. I absolutely adore my mother and think she did the best she could in raising us. But it is the 21st century. Â Thanks to our mothers and all their hard work breaking through the glass ceiling, we have choices, and we can have a family or a career or both or neither. Michael and I, both raised by primarily by sitters, wanted all the moments, milestones and all the firsts to be with us not strangers. For me to be able to stay home and raise our children was a privilege we valued above all.

Our parent's had Master's degrees, big old houses in the suburbs, car payments and retirement funds. All things we're supposed to want. In our first few months of being engaged we talked about how little those things mattered if we weren't able to be watch our kids grow up cause we were too busy acquiring stuff. We agreed that we'd rather have less, live in a cheaper home, share a car and move away from my hometown and family to take over my husband's family business. All in the desire for me to be a Stay At Home Mom.

A mere 10 days after my darling daughter was born, the fanfare and visits had died down, my husband went back to work and my new career began. With no training, no manual, no idea what was going to happen, I became a Stay At Home Mom (or SAHM). Quickly our days were filled with dirty diapers, constant breastfeeding, laundry and soap operas (don't even get me started on the cancellation of AMC and OLTL). I felt I had no friends near by and my mother and sister were too far to be with me very often. Days would go by and without talking to anyone but Michael. It was a steep learning curve and it was the epitome of loneliness.

But no matter how lonely I was I would look down into the face of my perfect and healthy child and know that there was nothing more important than the job I was doing. So like I've done at any other job I've ever had, I decided to be the best damn Stay At Home Mom I could be. I threw myself into my work and my child as if I was aiming for a promotion. But let's be honest. It's rare to have a day off. You're constantly on call. You work an average of 1 billion hours a week and even do laundry while on vacation. But the reward for endless hours of reading Goodnight Moon, watching Elmo and constantly having either spit-up or snot on my shirt? A really good baby.

But what got me out of the SAHM blues? First I found blogging, which totally and completely saved my sanity and made me feel like I wasn't alone in trying to figure out my new role. Writing everything down was incredibly cathartic. Blogs helped with everything from breastfeeding issues and cloth diapering to marriage woes. It continues to be a really large part of why I love staying at home. And who knows, maybe someday blogging will be a job? That would be so amazing.

Next I tried something really revolutionary. I got out of the house! Spending time with friends with kids and making new friends, Cedella and I flourished and came into our own grooves. I could talk to adults without having cocktails? Really? Realizing there were other ladies that I know and enjoy, going through what I'm going through every day? A revelation. Sadly, our soap operas have taken a serious back seat to play dates, library visits and snow shoeing. That's right snow shoeing.

If there's one thing about being a SAHM that I've come to love it's that your job is constantly changing. Every day is an adventure! She learns something new, says a new word or discovers something, every single day. Even the most rigidly scheduled SAHM has days where the proverbial sh*t hits the fan and voila! Whole new job! Today you will be a carpet cleaner! Tomorrow a pirate! Next week? Elmo impersonator. There's never a dull moment, though there are entire days where pajamas are completely acceptable. Take that Corporate America!

I know many amazing mothers, including my own, that work full time and still hold it down at home. And I commend them for doing so. They are much more brave and altruistic than me. I really need to work on taking more time for myself, making time for my blog and fixing my marriage. But while I'm working on all that, I can sleep well, for at least 3 or 4 hours at a stretch, knowing that I won't miss a moment of my little one's amazing life. And that friends, is totally worth it.

Alexia grew up in a multi-racial household in Detroit, full of dance parties and library books, all the while dreaming of all the brown babies she would have one day. 30 something years later, after making movies, seeing a bit of the world and falling in love with a musician, she is a SAHM to a vivacious 15 month old diva named Cedella and pours out thoughts on motherhood and plenty of cute pictures at Babies & Bacon.

Baby Log: 1 Year and 36 Weeks Old

Sunday, May 1, 2011

There is never a dull moment living with Marlie. Just last Sunday at Easter service she ran back inside the church and with the swiftness of a kangaroo boxed the chalice of communion wine off the altar table and onto herself. She looked like a blueberry. That meant no family photo this Easter.

We got a do-over yesterday though thanks to a spectacular Juice in the City deal...$19 for a sitting plus prints (2 5x7s 2 4x6s and 4 wallets)! Of course we ordered a couple of more poses. One of them is going to be featured in my new blog header when the redesign is complete. *squeal*

Marlie was a cut up all week. She keeps putting socks on her hands (don't ask me why). An eyelash fell into her eye and she was screaming like someone was holding a blow torch to her eyeball. So I blew it out. Now she wants me to blow in her eye all the time. She complains about imaginary "itches" and "ows" so I will give her lotion. I would say she is turning out to be a hypochondriac like me if it wasn't for her penchant for eating dog food and putting dirty shoes in her mouth.
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