Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Discovering the Me in Mommy

This blog grew out of my realization that motherhood adds another dimension to a woman's identity. And I wish I had recognized these much earlier.

Top 5 things every mommy needs

5. Time without being touched...by anyone -- Pretty self-explanatory, but moms are needed by someone almost their entire waking day (and some moms are needed regularly during their not-so-waking day too). But we need down time. I'm convinced that I need a "nothing box" too!

3. Proper nutrition and exercise -- Some meals and snacks are almost too easy to put together, but we do need to look carefully at what goes into our bodies, as our bodies process it all for our long-term benefit or detriment.

2. Her own interests -- A mom's life can so easily be consumed by her kids and family that she forgets about her needs and wants. Totally ignoring her personal desires can kill the spirit of that vibrant woman.This is for good mental health!

1. Contentment -- My mommy life was not how I pictured it. For several months, I wanted my life to look like my friend's life, and I wasted my own energy which I could have used more positively. Whether the top 5 needs are met as adequately as we'd desire, we have to choose to be satisfied with the life we have, not necessarily complacent, but joyful for what we do have.

I have purposely numbered incorrectly because I want to know what else should be on the list!

Photo Credit: Image: Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Beautiful View from my Window Would Be....

ooh....I'd love to be listening to the waves right now! With a sick toddler, this mommy wants some vacation time to physically and mentally unwind!

 But honestly, for the end of February, with bright sunshine in the Midwest, I shouldn't complain about my view.

Photo Credit: Image: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Souper You!" -- Progresso Soup and "The Biggest Loser Workout DVD Giveaway

It's February, and some of our New Year's Resolutions might have fallen by the wayside. (I had to go back and see what I had wanted to work on, and I do need to get back on track!) One of those was to get this mommy's body working out regularly, and Progresso wants to encourage and support us in the endeavor -- and they want to help a special someone celebrate with a make-over! This year, the Souper You® Contest will provide three lucky winners with an ultimate makeover experience in Hollywood; this includes a trip for 2 to Los Angeles, California where the winner will receive a head-to-toe makeover including hair and makeup, guided shopping spree with a $1,000 fashion retailer gift card, $1,000 spending money and 2 tickets to this season’s live finale of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Visit www.SouperYou.com and submit their photo with a brief essay about why you love Progresso soups and why you deserve a makeover, by no later than February 22nd -- act quickly!

Progresso has many varieties of soups. While I prefer the "light" versions, my husband enjoys the regular ones! But Progresso has someone for everyone. Visit http://bit.ly/ProgressoCoup  to download a printable coupon for $1.25 off the purchase of four (4) cans of Progresso Soup today!

Win It!

Make sure you click "Read More" to enter the Rafflecopter form to win (2) VIP Coupons for Progresso Soup and (1) copy of “The Biggest Loser” Workout DVD!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Win $1000 with Swagbucks 4th Birthday Celebration!

Just want to let you know of Swagbucks' 4th Birthday Celebration starting Feb. 27 because they're giving out four $1000 prizes to their users!

Here's how you enter to win the $1000:
1. Go to this page and RSVP for the Swagbucks Birthday Bash, a 24-hr Team Challenge happening on the 27th.
2. Pick one of the two parties and RSVP for it - if you don't have a preference, click "Surprise Me"
3. That's it - do that and you're entered to win! 
Don't have an account?
Get an additional 110 Swagbucks with code BIRTHDAYBASH12 until Feb. 27 -- that's 140 Swagbucks instead of the customary 30!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Contours Baby Brand

I'm a big fan of Kolcraft and their Contours brand. The Contours brand now has a new look and exciting products! They even launching a new Contours Baby Facebook, so stop on by and check it out!

10 Years Ago!

Last summer, I was able to reconnect with a friend I met 10 years ago, and I blogged about some changes of the past 10 years.

Ten years ago, I had finished my college degree and was beginning my career. A career I wasn't sure I could handle. I had visions of Dead Poets Society dashed by my reality of lazy high schoolers who thought they could bully me and my standards down. Almost coming to a complete break-down by Christmas break, the school provided some time for me to get composure, and after a few extra weeks to recoup, those high schools realized that I wasn't changing my ways. We all survived, though I'd never want to relive that first year again.

But we all need those "first year" experiences to help us grow and mature. Though I'd never want to revisit that first year, I've met students who have a different perspective on that year than I do. While we'll never achieve or experience perfection here on earth, the adage Whatever doesn't kill you makes you strong proves true.

Photo Credit: Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Tough Decision

When I first became a mommy, I was excited to spend time with other moms and share many fun playdates. The reality was that even though I tried my hardest to connect with other moms and to forge new or deeper friendships, the numerous playdates and even new mommy friends did not come to fruition. For several months, I was horribly disappointed that my new life as mommy wasn't as fun as another friend of mine. It took me a bit of time to realize that I was disappointed because I was not content with my life the way it looked, despite my attempts to add mommy flair!

Contentment is a tough decision that pops up more often than a person realizes. It starts with a simple comparison, in my case to the lifestyle I admired in another friend. When the comparison turns into a stark contrast where I do not willing accept my individual life, with distinct quirks and challenges, I become the enemy of my life because I am fighting contentment.

Discontent also leads many down difficult paths. Around here, stories of foreclosures and maxed-out credit is the norm. Mostly that is a result of attempts to squelch discontentment.

A tough decision is to choose to be content; yes, it is good to attempt to be better, but a person should embrace the life they have individually. The grass might truly be greener on the other side, but I'll be okay with it!

Photo Credit: nathanwpyle - my friend, a creative genius

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Carpe diem - the time I actually seized the day!

Carpe Diem -- "seizing the day" looks so different with my mommy glasses on. Before those mommy glasses were prescribed, I had few moments, but this was Carpe Diem in its quintessential sense!

I had the amazing opportunity to fly to the Cayman Islands for virtually free -- I think I had to pay $30 in ticket fees, but I had free transportation through my redemption of mileage, free lodging as I was staying with family, and free meals as my family took care of that also! Being a young career woman, this was more than perfect for my budget!

After a week of a relaxing vacation on clean, sandy beaches with crystal clear, warm water, I was trying to squeeze everything out of this trip! My family had booked a flight back home on an early Sunday morning. My flight would leave in the evening. Frommers and Fodors (my handy trip advisers) mentioned that hitch hiking was popular and safe, and I had the grand idea of trying it out, since I had the entire Sunday left. Without my family's foreknowledge, I said goodbye and walked out to the parking lot and conversed with a local in business attire. She looked like a safe, young career woman, like myself. So I asked her if she would drive me back into the city, and I could find a way back to the airport from another person in the city. She replied that she was being dropped off, but her friend could drive me in. Her friend was not as sharply dressed, but I thought, what's the harm?!?

Heading back towards the city, with my backpack on my lap, the driver informed me that the city basically shuts down on Sunday, and I'd have nothing to do. So she suggested that I come visit her family, and I thought that would be great -- I'd get to know the culture, minus tourists! As we drove, we passed more "rural" areas, and I started to realize that this might not have been too smart. I actually contemplated having to jump out of the car while it was still moving -- then I'd look for a car with yellow license plates, as those were the rentals, and the vacationers could take me back to the airport. Alas, I didn't jump quickly enough, as we pulled into her boyfriend's home, which resembled a shack; she told me that she'd make lunch and then we'd visit her sister. They showed me in and turned on the tv for me. I had them speak in their language, sometimes very loudly, and intermittently my driver would yell from the kitchen,"Are you ok?" I pretended that I was ok and hoped that would be true! Not soon enough though, she finished making lunch, and we were off to visit her brother's house, because that was also close to her sisters. Her brother's house was much nicer, but I was a bit uncomfortable as she introduced me to her sister-in-law...as she was still in her nightgown and in her bed! But those Jamaicans (who were living in the Caymans) were incredibly hospitable. I suggested heading back to the airport, but she wanted to take me to her sister's house. So off we went. We actually had lunch with her sister, and I felt the most at ease there. But I was still anxious to get back to the airport. Finally my driver realized that I was getting anxious, so we arrived back at the airport and said our goodbyes. And I was ready to get back home, thankfully that I did get to experience the culture but even more that my endeavor to Seize the Day didn't get me kidnapped or killed!

Photo Credit: Image: taoty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, February 3, 2012

YouNeverLose.com and $25 AMC Theaters GC Review and Giveaway!

YouNeverLose.com is a new site that auctions off $25/$50 gift cards to retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart at serious discounts - like 90% off retail. In order to receive points necessary to bid on the auction, you buy gift (reward) cards to retailers like Gap, Bath and Body Works, and Old Navy. I could purchase their "lower level" gift cards to give as birthday or Christmas gifts; I could also purchase those gift cards for myself to stores that I know I'll be shopping at! That way, I'll be able to play the auction for free with a winnable chance of getting the "Dream Card" at 90% off retail -- I've seen those $25/$50 gift cards go to the highest bidder for pennies or up to $2! Even with the $5 shipping on those gift cards, it's quite the deal -- note that there is free shipping on the "lower level" gift cards purchased at full value.

Those auctions are quite exciting! Remember to pace yourself!  Each time a bid is placed, the auction time increases by 20 seconds in order to give other players a chance to respond to rival bids.

Sign up is free. Once your email and password are established, you will get a chance to receive extra points for signing up to participate in a weekly 2-question survey, with 5 bonus reward points every month, and 5 bonus reward points on your birthday. After signing up, use code LAUNCH10 to get a 10 point bonus when registering and buying your first gift card!

Win It!
YouNeverLose.com is offering a $25 gift card to AMC Theaters plus corresponding 25 points to play in YNL auctions. Make sure you click "Read More" to enter the Rafflecopter form!

Need Valentines for Children?

If you need to get Valentines for your child's class, Save the Children has designed Valentine's Cards which will go towards helping children in the U.S. living in poverty with health and reading programs in poor neighborhoods and schools! For $25, you'll get 30 limited-edition Valentine’s Day Cards (6 cards of each design), perfect for children to send to their classmates. This limited-edition set includes cards designed by your child's favorite children's book authors and illustrators: Ian Falconer (Olivia!), Kevin Henkes (Kitten’s First Full Moon), Leuyen Pham (Freckleface Strawberry), Brian Selznick (Wonderstruck) and Mo Willems (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!). Consider investing in these children to give them a chance to break the lifelong cycle of poverty.

Make sure to order your cards by February 6 to ensure delivery of your card set(s) by Valentine’s Day!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Healthy, Happy Friends!

"I'm looking for my friends....I'm looking for You!" Sid the Science Kid's "Friends" song is one of daughter's favorites! But it reminds me of just how valuable my friends are.

In the past couple of days, I've had an opportunity to talk via phone with one of my closest friends, who happens to live many states away, and another opportunity to meet up with a new friend for lunch. My long-distance friend is so much like a sister to me, and while we only get to connect by phone about once every two months, she is my most kindred spirit, besides my husband. While I consider her a blessing and a treasure, I'm not sure how often I express that. That thought was brought to my mind this last time, and I reminded her of how thankful I am for her faithful friendship. The recognition of that truth brought joy to me but also encouraged her.

Today my daughter and I met up with another friend for lunch, and we were able to spend more time talking about deeper issues and concerns. It was again a rejuvenating time for me to interact and to build up another individual. I have also expressed the help that she has been to me, and she replied that it "made her day."

I try to remember to use my words to build people up, especially those who truly mean the most to us. Many times, it goes unspoken though not unnoticed. But it is so good to hear (and to say) how treasured someone is to us. I've been trying to also do that with my husband -- thank him for making us breakfast and helping get my daughter's socks and shoes on so we're not late for BSF!

How much joy do we get from those healthy relationships?

Photo Credit: Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net