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Talking to Toddlers Review {Giveaway Coming Soon!}

Monday, July 30, 2012

I have been open about our recent parenting challenges. Lately, every interaction with Marlie escalates into a conflict. It was becoming exhausting so I got us some help.

Parenting a toddler is like getting back in shape, you have to use all your muscles and change up your workout. We all know that we need to exercise to stay fit, but sometimes we need coaching. Taking a parenting course is no different than hiring a personal trainer.

I call Chris Thompson the Toddler Whisperer. He designed Talking to Toddlers: Dealing with the Terrible Twos and Beyond for parents who want to learn how to effectively communicate with their children, diffuse tantrums, and avoid triggers that ignite conflicts. His program has been rated as the #1 Toddler Parenting Course on Clickbank.com, and it has helped numerous parents deal better with their children.  

Our main issue is that our headstrong daughter defies us at every turn and we would respond with yelling which inevitably led to a meltdown. I agree with Chris that many parents overuse "no" and yell at their kids too much. I agree that while it's easier to shout at them or give in at the moment, it's not good for long-term relationship building with your child(ren). I wouldn't however agree that it's emotional laziness or lack of parental creativity that makes parents this way. I would say that we are often overtired, stressed and rushed which makes for a short fuse.

Talking to Toddlers

What I like most about Talking to Toddlers is that its practical. This audio parenting program is broken down into 12 tracks, about 15 minutes each in length. A homework assignment follows each lesson. This is important because so many parenting guides tell you what to do without showing you how. The first lesson is called Double Binds and Presuppositions. A double bind is psychological tool used to get someone to do what you want by creating the illusion of choice. Damon calls it tricking the kid, but I prefer to think of it as misdirection.

I first tried double binding messaging with Marlie on a school morning, a time that is usually rife with drama over breakfast, the no-TV-before-school rule, and getting ready. After she woke up I asked her if she wanted eggs or oatmeal for breakfast. She immediately started shouting that she didn't want any breakfast, she wanted to watch TV. I knew she wasn't going to be an easy convert. But I soldiered on. I then asked if she wanted to help me make hot cocoa and she agreed to that. While making the cocoa, I tried the breakfast question again and got the same "no breakfast!" I didn't press the issue and focused on the cocoa-making. When we finished she asked if she could drink her cocoa while watching TV. I placed the cocoa on the table and asked her if she wanted to put the marshmallows in the cup or if she wanted me to do it. BINGO! She forgot about the TV and eagerly climbed into the chair to add marshmallows to her cocoa. Then she asked for eggs for breakfast. Thank heavens for small victories!

The rest of the course teaches how to get what you want without saying "no," yes/no/compliance sets, the rule of consistency and commitment, the rule of reciprocity, picking your battles, reframing, state management and anchoring, embedded commands and the quotes technique, dealing with physical pain, and how to threaten punishment.

Well, Does it Work?

We've completed a quarter of the program, but I can confidently say that what we've learned and are using is working. I wouldn't call it a magic bullet. My daughter is feisty and does not acquiesce easily and her parents (especially me) are not the most patient people. So getting results has been more like a tortoise-race for us. But we'll get over the hump and get there. Plus, changing a whole family's mindset takes a significant time investment. You have to make the time to do this while juggling other obligations (i.e. work, other children to take care of). I would also say that all caregivers (both parents, grandparents, daycare providers) have to be on the same page otherwise it could undermine the whole mission. 

I did find myself lapsing into old habits, but I didn't get discouraged. I just tried harder. Practice makes perfect. I made a mental note to stop and rethink when I felt the urge to yell. I also allowed myself some exceptions to break the rules such as when Marlie is running toward traffic. I am going to shout at her to stop in a loud and firm voice. I think Chris would agree that this would be an appropriate use of yelling.

Overall, I am satisfied with the results of Talking to Toddlers, and I think you would be too!

How to Get Talking to Toddlers
  • Order the secure digital download at http://talkingtotoddlers.com/cb-order1 for the limited time sale price of $37. You can also order the CD format. Sign up for the FREE audio lesson and you'll also get a FREE subscription to the parenting tips newsletter

  • I will be giving away the digital download version in the Back 2 School Bash Giveaway Hop August 4-10! Be sure to come back and enter!


Make Your Craft Projects Come Alive With AstroBrights Paper!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When I was a kid I loved the sensation of cutting into a crisp sheet of construction paper with my craft scissors. Back then we only had nine colors: blue, red, yellow, purple, green, orange, black, white, and brown. Those were the dark ages of crafting before a paper company came up with a brighter idea.

AstroBrights papers have taken paper crafting beyond the rainbow with 23 bold colors that guarantee your projects will get noticed! They are perfect for projects at home, school or the office. Draw attention to your PTA meeting flyer, teach your kids to make colorful pinwheels, and make your origami and scrapbooking pages pop with AstroBrights paper. There is no limit to the paper-crafting fun you will enjoy with Astrobrights!

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Visit Sponsor's Site

The Kids' Log: July 22-28, 2012

California is not a utopia. I am not complaining, just stating the facts. Every city has it quirks and I am going to have to get used to East Bay's eccentricities (you can drive on the shoulder during rush hour traffic!). I also have to get used to getting my shopping done by 4 pm because stores close very early, they also open late giving new meaning to CPT (which Damom redefined as California People's Time). Another hard pill to swallow are the drivers. They are the worst I have ever had the misfortune to be in traffic with. I am talking worst than NYC and Miami and that's saying a lot. Plus, there is never any parking because spots are limited. This is a city of walkers (probably because there is no parking). I am not used to looking out for pedestrians when driving. Finally, my internal compass is messed up from growing up on the East Coast where we always lived west, away from the Atlantic Ocean. Now inland is east and it's confusing!

The house-hunting continues. We have not found anything that fits our budget that isn't the size of a pea and the rental market is so competitive here.  We learned that the hard way after waiting 3 days after an Open House to apply and found out the property was already gone! One landlord told Damon on the phone that she didn't want a family with young kids moving in and disturbing the upstairs tenant. Um, isn't that housing discrimination? Damon reported her to the housing board. We have always been urban dwellers, but if we don't find something we both like soon (I am not climbing a million stairs with a toddler and infant!) we might have to sellout and move to the burbs. Or lower our standards...duplex with shared washer/dryer, anyone?

I've been taking time to do stuff for me too. I started walking again and I am thinking of joining a running/walking club. I went to the salon on Friday so a professional could fix the damage done by the beauty school dropout. I snagged a couple of books at this awesome used bookstore I found and can't wait to dive into them!

Toddler Log:2 Years 49 Weeks Old
Marlie woke up with a fever yesterday. I hope it's only a cold because we just enrolled in our new health insurance plan and I'm not even sure if we're covered yet. I have been trying to keep Miss Busy Bee busy because idleness leads to trouble. I took her to see Brave on Sunday for some mommy/daughter bonding time. She watched the whole movie but I don't think it made an impression on her the was Tangled did. She is loving her preschool, but she is home with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I have been making an effort to fill up those days with activities which isn't easy when you are also toting a nursing infant. We went to Totland Park in Berkeley on Tuesday and that was fun but exhausting trying to play with her while carrying the baby on my chest. Luckily our Joovy Caboose Ultralight Tandem Stroller arrived in time for me to take her to the Oakland Museum of California on Thursday. It's sleek, it's lightweight, it's so useful and it's affordable!

In scary news, she almost choked her brother by feeding him almonds. After a split second freak out, I calmly explained to her that he is too little to chew and babies only get milk. She was so remorseful and said sorry repeatedly. The next day she saw me nursing him and asked me if I was only giving him milk because babies are too little for food.

Baby Log: 16 Weeks Old
Desmond is such a flirt! He spent the whole time at the hair salon flashing his big toothless smile at all the women. That was until he got cranky from missing his morning nap and I had to force him to  go to sleep. I messed up his stomach earlier this week by gorging on pizza. He was gassy and pooping green stuff for a couple of days. I hope he outgrows this lactose intolerance soon.

He had is own Olympic moments this week. He has been rolling over like a log on a river. And he is creeping all over the place. He is never in the same spot that I left him on the mat.

*This post contains affiliate links*

Blogger Sign-ups Open for Back 2 School Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Trista from Andersons Angels, Jess from MomVantage, Shannon from Mommy of One and Counting & Courtney from Joy of Momma Joyner are excited to have teamed up to host a FUN blog hop called Back 2 School Bash! It will run from 12:01am EST Saturday August 4, 2012 through 11:59pm EST Friday August 10, 2012. It's super easy to join in on the fun of getting our kiddos ready to go head back to school! 

Visit this website for more details. 

Wordful Wednesday: Crazy About Sophie

I do believe he has a crush on this giraffe. He lights up when she comes around. Look at his cross-eyes!

Why Can't I Make Any New Friends IRL?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I have a shameful secret to share. I have not made any new friends in more than four years. I am not talking about people with whom I am friendly and do stuff together on occasion. I have plenty of those. I am also not talking about my blogging buddies (Hi Alexia, Christa, Darcel, Kia, Kim #1 and #2, Krissy, Maureen, Nicole, Quiana!). See, I have tons of those and they are awesome girlfriends, but I only see them in the blogosphere.

I am talking about in real life, go grab lunch, talk on the phone about our problems, meet up at girls' night out, watch each others' kids in a pinch...FRIENDS. I don't have any of those and it is really starting to bug me. For the entire four years we lived in Dallas I didn't have a circle of female companions to hang out with, not like the group of ladies I called friends back in Atlanta. See what had happened was that I got pregnant almost immediately after we moved to Dallas in 2008.  I joined our neighborhood mommy group, but didn't like the clique-ishness. I tried other groups through MeetUp but didn't find a good fit and Mocha Moms activities were too far of a drive. So I just gave up and held out until we moved again.

credit: By John (originally posted to Flickr as Friends soundstage) [Public domain or CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Now I am in a new city and there are women everywhere ready for friending, but apparently I suck at it. I am quickly discovering that making friends with moms is like dating, you don't want to appear too eager. I tried making small talk with a nice mom at the park with a girl around Marlie's age. We exchanged hellos and I began the next sentence with, "we just moved here from Dallas." She suddenly made an excuse to leave. The woman literally leaped off the park bench, grabbed her daughter from the swing, and bolted like they were being chased by a zombie. I sat there alone on the bench and wondered if I had said something wrong. Then I realized she must have interpreted my introduction as a desperate cry for friendship. I feel like I am walking around town with a scarlet letter N for New Girl on my chest.

The last time I had to make friends, I was newly married and childless. It was so much easier back then because I didn't have to consider if we shared the same parenting values or whether our children would get along. I just don't know the rules for making friends with other moms. I know it's harder to socialize when you have little kids, so maybe I my expectations are too high. But I only need one or two fellow warrior moms. Women who want to swap parenting tips, babysitting, kid clothes and have potluck brunches. Is that too much to ask for? 

The Kids' Log: July 15-21, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

*sidebar: My heart goes out to the victims of the Aurora, Colo. shootings and their families. I am just horrified by this senseless act of violence. I don't think I'll ever be desensitized to the brutality of mass killings of innocent people. The only way to end evil is to confront it with peace and love. Please send peace and love to the grief-stricken friends and family members who have to deal with this tragedy*
Sweet Lord, give me the strength! I had to start this week's update with a prayer because my buttons are being pushed. Damon started his new job this week. Heaven, help me! So I am by myself again with a terrible toddler and a baby who is sweet but still needs my attention. While this is not new it is harder to handle when we've been transplanted and I haven't gotten my bearings. We're still house-hunting and that is stressful enough without a certain soon-to-be-three-year-old trying to undo me. 

It didn't help that we both caused injuries to the kids. I caught Desmond with the buckle on his bouncy seat by accident. His arm got in the way just as I was snapping the straps and the skin near his elbow got pinched. He hollered for a few minutes and then he was his sunny self again. Damon slammed Marlie's pointer finger in the door when she stuck her hand in the door jamb as he was closing it. She screamed bloody murder for the entire morning. Anyone within earshot would have called CPS on us because it sounded like she was being abused. In her defense the finger was all bruised, bloody, and swollen. I thought it was broken for a second. Another trip to the ER averted! Good thing too because we aren't signed up for insurance yet. On Friday we moved to another temporary residence. This one is so much bigger and in a better area.

So to recap: Monday was bad. Tuesday was worse. Wednesday saw some relief. Thursday was bearable. Friday was frantic. Saturday was a lovely at Temescal Lake. Here are some photos of Marlie enjoying the lake (Desmond slept in the Boba the whole time):
Marlie trying to play catch with her daddy in the lake

Marlie getting twirled around in the water

Marlie chasing a duck

Marlie feeding the ducks

Toddler Log: 2 Years 48 Weeks Old:
Marlie got to test drive her new school on Wednesday and she loves it so she is going as many open days until her official start date. It was the one day this week that she didn't have any meltdowns. She made up for it on Thursday though because she is going for the world record for most tantrums thrown in a day. After pizza and time at the park, I told her to go take a nap. She immediately started screaming no, the tears were flowing, and she turned to jelly when I tried to pick her up to take her to the bedroom. Why is everything a battle these days? I understand that she is acting out because of the changes and she has a touch of cabin fever. But, Lordy, does she half to be so mean about it? She told me more than once this week that she doesn't have to listen to me and that she isn't happy with me. She told her father that she doesn't love him anymore. Pardon my patois...but backside!

I need to get her sass under control because she is putting a damper on my California vibes. I am not going to start spanking her. I am not going to keep yelling and threatening to take away her favorite toys and TV. I am going to reset our expectations because some things have slipped since we've moved and I am going to work on our communication too. I agreed to review a parenting program and I am going to try it and let you all know if it works.

Baby Log: 15 Weeks Old: 
Desmond is now in 6 month clothes. I bought him a 3-6 month swim set to go to the lake this weekend, but his buddha belly is poking out of the top. I need to return it for a 6-9 month size. He remains the chillax baby that he has been since day one. He is the yin to his sister's yang. I feel bad sometimes because it seems like I am always putting out fires with her and giving him the bare minimum, but he is mostly content to play by himself while I do damage control with Marlie. He actually seems amused by her antics.

He has gotten very good at grabbing and holding stuff. He got a hold of my earrings, that was fun! He likes to remove his pacifier, stare at it cross-eyed and put it back. He is also reaching for food. I might start him on solids in a few weeks if his pediatrician okays it. I ordered a bunch of developmental toys for him this week. I am looking forward to playing with them together once his big sister is in school and I get him all to myself.

I Am Last

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Have you seen those billboards with the tag line "I Am Second"? Well, I think someone ought to design one for moms called "I am Last" because there is a fine line between motherhood and slavery.

Lately I find myself relating to the artificially intelligent character in the movie I, Robot who is struggling to assert his self-identity amongst a race of people who see him as nothing more than an indentured servant. I can also identify with Rosey from the television cartoon The Jetsons, a mechanical maid on wheels, dust rag in hand, cleaning up behind an over-privileged family. I want to be Jane Jetson or Carol Brady, not the help.
This is NOT who I am. Image Credit: Darryl Heine
I am responsible for caring for two little kids, a home, and a husband (did I mention we just moved halfway across the country, upsetting everyone's routines, and are staying in a temporary residence while we feverishly look for a new home?) After a particularly exhausting day of fetching stuff for a high-maintenance toddler while balance a nursing infant on my boob, I started shouting, "I am human being!" I truly feel robbed of my humanity right now, but who took it?

I know I partially to blame because I've always had trouble prioritizing me. After taking care of everyone else and everything else, I am often left without time for myself. This is bad enough without being taken for granted. Articles of clothing are constantly left lying on the floor and items are not put back where they belong because it is assumed that the maid mom will pick it up. I have to consistently remind my toddler that mommy is not her personal valet. I have to be insistent that she clean up after herself otherwise she will try me for the help. Maybe if she saw the other adult in the house picking up after himself she wouldn't act like a scalded cat when I tell her to pick up her toys. I realized awhile ago that a lot of my feelings stem from a devaluation of my contribution a stay-at-home mom. My complaints are often met with the response that it's my job.

Actually, I left the workforce to be a full-time mom although I grudgingly accept that housekeeping comes with the territory. That doesn't mean I wait you on hand and foot. That doesn't mean you don't have to put your dirty socks in the hamper. That doesn't mean I don't deserve a thank you for washing and folding the laundry. I have my hands full with a baby and a toddler and no hired help or even some family nearby to give me some relief, so guess what?! If the dishes don't get done or there is a layer of dust on the mantel, it means that I am couldn't get to it. I feel bad enough about this without being made to feel like I am not mom enough for not having a spotless house. I don't need to be told half-jokingly that the house could be cleaner. I am not a robot, dang it!

I have sacrificed a lot, from my career to my social life. I'll be a monkey's uncle before I give up my dignity too! I am last, and I am aware that I made that choice. I don't plan on on being last in my life forever, just until my babies are old enough to feed, bathe, and clothe themselves. Until then, I would just like some validation for all I do and a little appreciation for how hard I work to put my family first.

Wordful Wednesday: The On-Demand Generation

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We've been in California for 1.5 weeks and Miss Marlie is already jonesing for her favorite show. Unfortunately, the cable service in our temporary residence does not have the Nick Jr. channel. Her daddy had the bright idea to download the Netflix app onto the tablet so we could stream Go Diego Go for her. As you can see in the photo, she is happily plugged in again. The downside? She bumps the screen every minute causing the show to pause or the device to go to the homepage resulting in, "mommy! it stopped working!" And I'm supposed to drop whatever I am doing to fix it because she swears "on-demand"  applies to mommy too.

Our Dream Home Almost Slipped Through Our Fingers

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For my husband and I, buying our first home together was the most important moments in our lives second only to getting married. It was 2008, and we were planning our first move as a couple to Dallas and getting ready to start a family after eight years of saving up.

But it almost didn't happen. When we finally found the home of our dreams, the asking price was higher than what we could afford. Even after negotiating a lower price, we were still short of the 20% down payment required by the lender. Neither of our mothers were in a position to help us out and we wanted to avoid taking out a second mortgage to make up the difference.

It felt like our dream was slipping away until our realtor told us about private mortgage insurance. PMI is a financing tool that assists home buyers who don't have the full cash down payment by securing the mortgage loan. Thanks to mortgage insurance we were able to buy the home we fell in love with. We did not have to walk away and wait until we until could save more money. Our mortgage insurance premiums were tax-deductible which is another reason it was an attractive option for us. Plus, we could cancel the insurance once we built enough equity. It was win-win for us and our lender.

prairie sytle home
Home Sweet Home
We lived in this beautiful home for four years until we moved again recently. Leaving it behind was bittersweet, but we are looking forward to finding our next dream house in our dream city...in East Bay, California!


Win a Personalized Hand-Knitted Christmas Stocking (Open WW)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Christmas in July Hop Button You better watch out! You better not cry! You better not pout, I'm telling you why! Santa Claus is coming to the blogosphere! Christmas in July Giveaway hop is hosted by Matter of Cents, Just Married with Coupons & Sweep Tight. Grand Prize is sponsored by Maggie Bags and is valued at over $600. Maggies Bags takes high-quality recycled material & gives it new life by creating sophisticated handbags that are eco-friendly! Save 25% off the Linear Line with Coupon Code: Christmas-n-July through 9/30. The 2nd Prize is an Ultimate Munchkin Gift Basket, Munchkin offers clever, innovative solutions to help make parenting safer, easier & fun.

My Giveaway Package

Do I have something special for you! Why not get your Christmas shopping started early with this prize... A Personalized Hand-Knitted Christmas Stocking by Gigi82Knits! Open Worldwide!

Winner chooses colors with personalization of up to 8 letters or "Merry Xmas."Ready in about 2 weeks! Let's learn about the woman behind the knitting needles...

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I'm Gigi, I live in Dublin, Ireland, but I'm originally from Germany. I'll be 30 this July (oh no!) and I'm obsessed with knitting!

How long have you been knitting?
I've been knitting since I before I started school, though there were years when I didn't knit at all and I used to never knit in summer (it was too hot to hold the yarn). But now I live in Ireland and there are no hot summers, so I knit all year round.

What inspired you to open an esty store?
Last year I opened my Etsy store because I wanted to start my own business and spread my art around the world: It's a pretty good feeling to know that my Christmas stockings will be with families for generations. People have even contacted me looking for stockings for new family members, because the aunt or grandmother who used to knit them had passed away and they trust me to continue their traditional Christmas stocking.

Nice getting to know you Gigi! Read on for information on Gigi's Personalized Hand-Knitted Christmas Stockings and how you can win one!

Buy It: Want to buy a Personalized Hand-Knitted Christmas Stocking stocking now? Use coupon code CIJ2012 for a 10 % discount. Valid through July.

Win It: Enter my giveaway for one of Gigi's Personalized Hand-Knitted Christmas Stockings on the Rafflecopter Form below.
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The Kids' Log: July 8-14, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Today is my wedding anniversary! Happy anniversary to my husband Damon. Thanks for 12 great years and 2 gorgeous kids!

We just completed our first week as Californians! I cannot overstate how beautiful it is in the Bay Area. It reminds me of the Tuscany region of Italy with all of the hills and mountains and ocean views. We are staying in temporary housing in Oakland while we look for a permanent home. Oakland is great! I don't know why it gets such a bad rap. Yes, there are sketchy areas, but every big city has those. We have narrowed our search to two areas: Lake Merritt and Temescal. We went to four open houses last Sunday. That might seem like a lot, but there are only so many weekends to look. I don't want to be left rushing at the last minute and wind up settling with something less than ideal. So we drove through various neighborhoods with an eye toward proximity to parks and shopping. We are quickly learning how to get around! Guess who finally got a smartphone?Yep, it's me! I have finally joined the world of Angry Birds and Instagram, not that I downloaded any apps yet. Baby steps.

Everything has not been all business. We spent some time sightseeing and enjoying the park. We even went to a farmer's market yesterday. There is so much to see and do. I am looking forward to making our home here. 

Toddler Log: 2 Years 47 Weeks Old:
Marlie had a shaky start, but she is starting to love it here especially all the fruit trees. She loves to pick apples from the trees! I am glad she is going to grow up knowing that fruit isn't grown at the grocery store.

She was the first to get adjusted to the time difference. She is using the toilet sometimes, but her tantrums are at a all time high. We making a conscious effort to be considerate of her feelings and trying to help her adjust, but it's not easy when the parents are stressed out too. We took her out for ice cream one day and she threw a hissy fit  because she wanted to eat her father's cone. Nothing we tried would calm her down so we just went home. It feels like every outing lately ends up like this...her father carrying her kicking and screaming back to the car. Her preschool tour is this week and I am hoping that being back in a class with other kids will restore some normalcy.

Baby Log: 14 Weeks Old: 
Bay boy has found his thumb (sucking it happily as I type this), feet (newest playthings) and his pee-wee (I would use the correct terminology, but I don't want my blog getting slammed with illicit spam). Anyways, thumb-sucking is Desmond's new pastime and every time I change his diapers his hands immediately go to grab his junk.

Fluffy Wishes Giveaway & Twitter Party

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Who is ready to win cloth diapers and accessories? If you raised your hands then you're in luck because the long awaited Fluffy Wishes Giveaway and Twitter Party has finally arrived! We have tons of great prizes to give away, and all for a great cause. Many sponsors and bloggers have teamed up with Fluffy Wishes Cloth Diaper Closet and My Cloth Diaper Stash to help host this giveaway! 

Fluffy Wishes Diaper Closet is a cloth diaper lending service serving Southwest Michigan and newly expanding to Indiana! Fluffy Wishes provides cloth diapers to low income families who can not afford to diaper their children, or have to make the choice between diapers and the basic necessities in life. Fluffy Wishes runs completely on volunteers and donations. There is no cost to families who are approved for the program.

Here is a list of sponsors who made it all happen:-)
GRAND PRIZE (Ribbons n Stitches):
1 Bumkins Pocket Diaper
1 Bumkins Cover
2 FuzziBunz Elite's
2 Kawaii Heavy Wetter's
1 Thirsties AIO
1 Thirsties Fitted
2 Best Bottom Shells
2 Microfiber Inserts (1 Medium, 1 Large)
1 Changing Diapers Book
FuzziBunz Hanging Diaper Pail
Cutey Baby Wet bag
Rockin' Green Sample
Jar of Mother's Love

1 Original Ergo Baby Carrier (Black/Camel)
4 Bububibi Bamboo Pocket Diapers
1 Go Green Champ 2.0

Glow Bug Cloth Diapers - Cloth Diaper
Buttercup Baby - Incredibum Bamboo Cloth Diaper in Raven
Pure and Simple Baby - Dandelion Organic Diaper Bag
Boba - Mystery Twitter Party Only Prize
Rockin' Green - Bag of Laundry Detergent 
The Balm - $30 Gift Card 
Rumpkinz - Mystery Twitter Party Only Prize
Super Lotion - Pure Joy Pack, (5) Happy Packs, Super Happy Pack, Lip Balm
Lollido - Green Pocket Diaper
Diva Cup - Size 1 Pack w/wash & Size 2 Pack w/wash
SoftBums - Omni Solo Cloth Diaper Pack
Fluffy Wishes - Mystery Twitter Party Only Prize (HINT: Econobum) 
Green Baby Goods - $20 Gift Card
Greenie Beanie Bottoms - $20 Gift Card
Ecobloomers - $10 Gift Card
FuzziBunz - 2 Elite Diapers (2 Winners)
Bummis - Cloth Diaper Starter Pack
Jack's Choice - $15 Gift Card
Kissed by the Moon - Hanging Planetwise Wet Bag
Scents from the Moon - $15 Gift Certificate
Kalasz Krafts - $15 Gift Certificate (handmade baby items)
Happy BumsItti Bitti Tutto in Ivory

Some Notes About this Giveaway:
  • Enter on the Rafflecopter form below. There are no mandatory entries, but the more entries you have, the greater your chances of winning. Remember that there are tons of prizes to be given away, so that increases your chances even more!
  • In order to be eligible for the Mystery Twitter ONLY Party Prizes, you still must enter on the Rafflecopter form below, but you must also tweet at least once during the twitter party on July 24th (9-10pm)
  • All prizes will be announced at the Twitter Party. All winners will be contacted by the e-mail provided on the Rafflecopter form.
  • Open to US and Canada
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Wordful Wednesday: "Cali-for-na" Love

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Our first few days as new residents of "Cali-for-na" (as Marlie pronounces it) have been beyond exciting. I think we might be overstimulated from all the sightseeing. I keep telling myself that we need to slow down, we live here now, there is plenty of time to see everything! Yesterday we drove over to Sausalito and then across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Fransisco (there was still a considerable amount of fog at 2 pm, as you can see in the photo) and back to Oakland. It's going to be great living here!

San Antonio's SAVE Program Makes Texas Vacationing Even More Affordable

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SAVE for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I've only been to San Antonio once, but it left a lasting impression on me and I've always wanted to go back. It has everything--great entertainment (SeaWorld) and cultural attractions (The Alamo) and nice weather.  I'll let you in on a little secret..it's one of the nation’s most affordable vacation destinations.

San Antonio is making visitors’ summer getaway even more value packed with SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience. With more than $600 in savings to theme parks, animal adventures, top shops and historic tours, plus great deals on hotels, summer is the time to SAVE in San Antonio.


SAVE is a simple to use one-stop-site for discounts and deals around San Antonio. I immediately found a great deal for the Hilton Palacio del Rio on the River Walk though the Limited Time Offers section. The deal includes complimentary parking and Wi-Fi and a $25 Food and Beverage Credit per stay. That's a steal for $120/night! I also downloaded coupons for several attractions and sightseeing tours I plan to do with the family including: a 4 pack of SeaWorld tickets for $189.99, everyone pays kid's price at Six Flags (that's a $68 savings for a family of four!), $2 off admission at the Wildlife Ranch, and 20% off at the San Antonio Childrens' Museum. I also scored a VIP Coupon Book for the San Marcos Premiun Outlets because mama has to do some shopping! 

Plan your own fun-filled SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience today! Make sure to follow @SAVEinSA on Twitter to receive updates on the latest deals in San Antonio.

Visit Sponsor's Site

For The Ladies Giveaway $78 Prize Value

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's time for another awesome blog giveaway hop. This one is For the Ladies, organized by the hostesses with the most Planet Weidknecht and GoingCrazy!!WannaGo??!! where you can enter to win a giveaway on each participating blog worth at least $25 designed just for the ladies! Giveaways runs from July 9 at 12:01am to July 15 at 11:59pm.

After you enter my giveaway be sure to hop down the linky and enter more giveaways for even more chances to win great prizes!

My giveaway

This $78 prize package features items for going to the beach or just enjoying a summer day outdoors. Here is what one lucky reader will win...

A $20 gift certificate to Sunglass Warehouse and a Poppie Jones Printed Soft Handle Shoulder Bag (open to US only)

Sunglass WarehousePoppie Jones Printed Soft Handle Shoulder Bag

How to Enter This Giveaway:
  • You must use the Rafflecopter form below to record your entries. Comments left on this blog post for the required or extra entries don't count unless you record it on the Rafflecopter form. 
  • Login with Facebook or use your name/email address. The form will remember your entries so you can come back and edit them if needed. 
  • Please wait for the form to load, it may take longer to pop up than the rest of the web page. Make sure you have java script enabled and your browser updated. 
  • If you encounter an error, refreshing the page usually resolves the problem. If problem persists, please report the issue to Rafflecopter. 
  • Login to get started, click "Do It" next to each task to see the instructions, and start collecting your entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The fun continues! Enter more giveaways For The Ladies below...

The Kids' Log: July 1-8, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Greetings from sunny (but mild) California! We arrived late Friday night. Our last week in Dallas was a frenzied blur of activity. Packing and moving halfway across the country with an infant and a wild toddler running is no joke! It was as if they conspired to make things a million times harder.

They took turns keeping us up every night. We'd get one to sleep and the other would wake up on cue and disrupt our sleep or packing. Girlfriend stayed up past 1 am on our last night in Dallas! Then Desmond decided to start teething in the middle of all the madness. Yes, I said teething...he is showing all the signs (rubbing his gums, hardcore drooling, trouble sleeping, slight temperature). Thank goodness for Sophie the Giraffe.

Marlie was not to be outdone. She did her part by taking stuff out of boxes and just plain acting like an escaped zoo animal.We tried our best to explain to her what moving away meant without making it sound like a big deal. Everyday she asked if it was time to get on the plane to go to "Cali-forna," pronouncing it just like the former Governor. But I think she still took the changes hard. She even told me that she wanted to keep this house and she woke up in the middle of our first night here crying that she wanted to go home. Hence she has been acting out more so than normal. She kept peeing on herself and we tried to be understanding as much as possible while reinforcing the message that she is a big girl now and shouldn't be going to the bathroom on herself. Finally we went and bought disposable pull-ups because stopping every few hours to wash soiled panties was getting to be a bit much. Hopefully, she will calm down and get back on the potty train once we're settled. She did use the toilet in the hotel which is a good sign. This is a HUGE change and I'll try my best to exercise patience with her.

The view from our downtown San Francisco hotel room
I just want to give a big momma-thanks to Virgin America for making our plane ride stress-free (this is not a sponsored ad). The very nice check-in and gate agents, the super sweet flight attendants, and the efficient pilots who got us here 30 minutes early made for a ultra smooth trip. After this experience I am done flying that other carrier who I won't mention by name (but their initials are AA). 

We spent Saturday decompressing and having brunch with a friend in SF before moving into our temporary housing in the Laurel District in Oakland. We are all pooped, but so happy to be starting our new lives in the Bay Area!

Toddler Log: 2 Years 46 Weeks Old:
Marlie was a butt munch on the plane! I don't want to fly anywhere with her for a long time. I hope she gets over this phase soon because I am exhausted from all the whining, demanding, and defiant behavior. Her saving grace is her charm. Everything out of her mouth these days is why? what's that? and again! Latest Marlie Logic:
  • she can't take too many books on the plane or it will go down 
  • daddy can't be a princess because he has a tail
Baby Log: 13 Weeks Old:
Desmond did great on his first plane ride! He slept most of the 3.5 hours which was a welcome relief.
His baby vocabulary is developing. His favorite "word" is "oin" (like Marlie's was "gee"). He is acting more like a baby twice his age, he's mastered rolling over from his stomach and he is doing everything in his power to make it from his back to his stomach, crawl, sit up, and stand. I guess watching his sister makes him want to be mobile. He has a smile for everyone he meets and they comment on how engaging he is. He really does love interacting with people and tries to mimic their talk and movements. He cracks up when I tickle his legs. I need to get him on video.

Wordful Wednesday: Loving These Two...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

is like having the best dream ever, but being awake for it. 

Win a LegoLand Florida Vacation from Atlantic Luggage

Monday, July 2, 2012

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Atlantic Luggage for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

This summer my family is moving to a new city instead of taking a vacation. I'm not complaining though because I got to buy a new suitcase for our plane ride.

If your family travels a lot like mine does you should check out Alantic Luggage, the brand for families on the go. I visited their  website and was impressed with their collection of styles and sizes affordable prices. Plus they are lightweight and durable, which is what you want when you are hoofing it through an airport terminal with kids in tow.
AtlUltraLite 3110922-02 image.jpg

Atlantic Luggage believes in the sanctity of the family vacation and wants to send one family on a dream vacation to the new waterpark at LegoLand Florida!

The Atlantic Luggage and Legoland Sweepstakes prize includes:
  • a 2 day vacation for two adults and two children to Legoland in Florida.
  • hotel for 2 nights (one 4 occupancy room)
  • Car voucher
  • Meet and Greet with a LegoLand Master Model Builder
  • A free set of Atlantic luggage
The winning family will enjoy the wave pool, tube slides, and body slides. In addition the family will get to imagine, design, and build their own unique LEGO vessel and set it afloat on the 1,000 ft lazy river.
It is the perfect family vacation. But you have to enter for your chance to win, so go now!
Visit Sponsor's Site

For The Ladies Sponsor Spotlight

Sunglass Warehouse logoIt doesn't feel like summer until I get a new pair of sunglasses. Thanks to Sunglass Warehouse I can get the newest trendy shades for a fraction of the cost. They carry aviators, sport, celebrity, and retro sunglasses priced at $8-$20. That is a steal!
aviator shadesI picked out these Oversized Shield Aviators using the tips for choosing sunglasses for your face shape. Not only are they cool, they provide UV400 sun protection thanks to the mirrored lenses. I've had them for six weeks and they have endured being crushed at the bottom of my purse and stepped on by my toddler without a scratch!

I wish they came with a pouch for storage. Sunglass Warehouse does sell cases for as low as $3, so don't forget to add one to your shopping cart!

Buy It: SW Aviator Shield Style #1155 regular Price: $15.95/Sale Price: $13.56. FREE shipping on orders over $25.

Win It: Sunglass Warehouse is offering one reader a $20 gift certificate. So come back for my Summer Fun Event giveaway July 9-15 for your chance to win! Open to US residents only.Use this password to unlock the giveaway: COOL


The Kids' Log: June 24-30, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

This is a quickie update post. The moving sale was a modest success. We made about $200. Are we in California yet? No. There were a couple of paperwork snags that have delayed our move to the Bay Area, but the kinks are now worked out and we're back on track with a new target moving date set for after Independence Day. We've been ripping and running all week getting organized and shopping for stuff like a super large suitcase for the plane ride. We keep running into people in random places so I feel like we were meant to stay a little while longer to say our good-byes. It's been one long good-bye! I decided to get some things done with the extra time such as getting a haircut at a beauty school to save money. Big mistake! The poor student stylist had no clue how to handle my kinky-curly hair and she cut it unevenly. Luckily, my hair grows fast and I'm on a natural high about moving so I'm not even that upset.

Toddler Log: 2 Years 45 Weeks Old:
One of the moms at Marlie's school offered to take her off our hands on Sunday during the moving sale. She took Marlie and her daughter to the zoo for five hours! It was so great of her to do that. I believe this was the first time Marlie has gone out without one of her parents. By the mommy's account, she did great. We've been talking to her about going on a plane to live in a new city, but I don't think she fully grasps what it moving means. She's excited about going on the plane though! Get this latest Marlie-ism, "mommy, don't bother my things." She said this to me when I used her big spray to keep the airplane-sized mosquitoes from biting me while I went for a walk. This coming from the same girl who went into my make-up drawer ealier this week and dumped out my foundation powder and ruined two of my lipsticks.

Baby Log: 12 Weeks Old 
I cannot believe Desmond is already 3 months old! He is growing by leaps and bounds and hitting milestones faster than even Marlie did. He is already trying to sit up. One day, after I removed his pants to change his diaper, he reached down and pulled the tab! Damon thinks it was just an involuntary reflex, but I think he did it on purpose because he is a baby genius. On another positive note, his hernia is gone!

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