Thursday, February 26, 2009

Names I Wish I Didn't Know

(Warning. . . I'm going beyond my humor . . but please keep reading). . .

We've heard them so many times. Over and Over, especially if you watch any sort of news program. My husband and I were watching the news last night and we were reminded of the world we live in.

Casey Anthony.

Shawn Hornbeck.

Ben Ownby.

Natalee Holloway.

And the latest, Haleigh Cummings.

Every time I hear one of those names, my gut simply wrenches for the child, for the parents, for anyone who knows that person. I can't even start to imagine what it would feel like, the questions that would go through my mind, how I would react, what I would do. Would I be capable of doing anything at all? Yet the simple fact is that thousands of children go missing every day.
My son, Z1, being the fearless adventurer he is, has gotten separated from us several times in highly populated places. The zoo. The waterpark. The mall. And each time, the terror that rose up inside of me was unbearable. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see straight. And that was for all of 30 seconds to twenty minutes.

When Karen and I started By The Book, we knew we wanted to include a section where you could keep all of the emergency information in one spot. We call it,"The section we hope you NEVER have to use." It includes all of your child's stats- height, weight, birthmarks, recent photos, fingerprints, the works.

We don't like to think about this kind of stuff. After all, we're safe, right? It only takes one moment, five seconds of averting your eyes, ten seconds of getting distracted with something else. If I had to give my child's information, what would I remember? Would I think about the gap between his teeth? The location of his birthmarks? Do I know his weight, height off the top of my head? Can I remember what he was wearing? Do I have his fingerprints? Pictures?

Click here to see what is in the book. You can find the table of contents and look through the emergency section.

Whether or not you buy the book, just do something today to put all of your child(ren)'s information in one, safe, accessible place. ANd give them an extra hug tonight.

Yours, grateful to know mine are asleep in their beds,


Friday, February 20, 2009

Pay It Forward

I just have to tell you all about having my faith in human nature restored. Having previously been in the corporate world, I must admit that I got a bit jaded. Okay, a lot! But what can you expect, I was in SALES!

Since Melissa and I have started
By The Book: Caring For MY Kids and more recently, this blog, I have "met" the nicest people. I put "met" in quotations, because most of these folks have been through email and/or phone contacts. I'd love to REALLY meet them someday and give them a big hug!

Writing, publishing, and marketing our book has been a HUGE learning experience for us. Every time I think I've got it down, I get thrown another curve ball. But I love it! One of the first mentors I found was
Stacey Kannenberg, an author, consultant, motivator and all round great person. She helped us in so many ways, I don't know how I would have gotten such a jump start without her. And since then, I have met dozens of retailers, wholesalers, authors, manufacturers, PR experts and so many others who have helped us. And I don't mean just an idea here or a price quote there, I mean REALLY HELPED.

So we're starting to get more comfortable in our business and we figured, why not start a blog? Melissa can do most of the writing, and I'm technical enough to figure out the internal workings of it. Right? Um, in a word, NO! But once again, somebody who was once a total stranger, came to my rescue.
Nicole Ibarrondo has been FABULOUS, making sense of computer lingo that looks like greek to me!

So I've come to a conclusion: People really like helping other people. I know, you've heard it before. But now, I really, truly believe it. No, I really, truly KNOW it.

So here's a hug and a high-five to Stacey and Nicole and everyone else who has helped us on this journey. Thanks, girlfriends!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Thought It Too. . . Don't Judge Me!

     So the last twenty four hours have been full-on Mommy Duty. No escaping it. It started out like this. . . I brought my little girl (hereafter referenced as Z2) home from school on Thursday afternoon. She attends half day kindergarten. I mentioned that we had some errands to do after lunch to which she replied," Mommy, my tummy hurts."
   "Honey," I said, "It's only one errand. It will be very quick." You see, when Z2 doesn't want to do something or doesn't want to eat a particular thing, she will say her tummy hurts. So of course, when I received this default answer, I assumed nothing was wrong.
   "Okay, dear. If your tummy hurts, let's try some chicken noodle soup," I said in my best, semi-cheery, patient Mommy-voice. I made her the soup and she ate some of it. Off she toddled after lunch to get her socks and shoes. She came back, we loaded up into the car and drove to the craft store.  Our assignment for the day was to make a Valentine box for her "Friendship Party".
(Rabbit Trail: I am so tired of PC Party Names. It's a V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E Party. Just like the Fall Party is a H-A-L-L-O-W-E-E-N Party. But that, my friends, is another blog for another day.)
So we are going quickly through the store, trying to find the appropriate decorations for an empty oatmeal carton wrapped in pink paper turned to a Valentine Castle Box. We make our selection and go to the line, which is six people long and the lady currently at the counter had THREE FULL CARTS. I'm not even kidding. And she's going through the carts saying,"Yes, I think I want this. . . . No . . I'm going to wait on this." 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that was what the whole shopping process  was for. You know, beFORE you enter the checkout lane. But I digress. 
So Z2 and I are standing in line and the four other ladies move to another checkout lane (there were only two). She looks up and me and says,"Mommy, my stomach really, really, BuLLEEEEEEECCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHH!" all down her front, splattering everywhere. Before I could even react, along came the next wave. And the next. And the next. 
It was all over her, and splattered onto my shoes and jeans most everything else within a five foot radius. Sensing a break in her sickness, I quickly moved her to the door, all the while exclaiming,"I'm sorry! I'm so! so! so! SORRY! Really, I-I-I- I'm just so sorry!"
I get her outside and she starts another wave, leaning her tiny, little head out into the street filling up with rain. She finishes and looks up at me and says,"Mommy, aren't you going to go get my stickers?"
Poor baby. Here we are, in the rain she's sick, I'm thoroughly splattered, we both stink and she is worried about not having her stickers. So I settle her in front of the glass door where I can see her, take a deep breath and walk back in the store. All the moms were watching and beginning to giggle.  They called another cashier to the front to clean up. She comes up, gets one whiff and immediately begins to get sick. Seriously. 
The cashier grabbed my stickers, rang me up and got me out of there ASAP.
All I could think as I walked out to collect my child was," Thank You, God. For once in my career as a mother, I will not have to clean up the puke from the floor."

Yours, completely grateful to whomever had to clean it up,


Friday, February 6, 2009

Mommy's Personal Safety Day

       I love being a mommy. I never intended on being a mommy, but sometimes, these things happen. (It was all planned, but I never thought I would it plan that way.) I love being married, too. All in all, I have a pretty good life- not much worth complaining about.
Occasionally, though, I have what I like to label as a "Personal Safety Day". I don't know what happens to me, but something kinda turns inside me and I feel like it is probably to the benefit of every one's personal safety that I remove myself from civilized society. (Truth: I KNOW what's happening to me, I just don't like to blame it on that. I asked my doc about it and he said,"Welcome to the club." OY.) Basically, on a "Personal Safety Day", I'm okay unless someone talks to me. And since living with three other people generally requires some sort of interaction, someone talking to me is inevitable. And I do my best to be pleasant, but invariably, something will happen that just hits the trigger and before I can stop, I say something to the effect of," For your own personal safety, it is probably a good idea to give me a little space."  So you can see why I would  feel it is necessary to remove myself from society (civilized and otherwise) on those days.   
I realized I was having one yesterday when I finally said to my husband,"You know, you have really irritated me like, FOUR TIMES in the last twenty minutes. I think I just want to throw something at you."
He looks at me and says,"Hmmmm . . .  having a "Personal Safety Day" over there?"
News travels fast in the B household. "Kiiiiiiidddds!!!!" he calls out. They flock to the bathroom (where I am still in the tub just wanting to take a bath in peace). 
"Mommy is having a "Personal Safety Day," he informs them.
"Uh-oh," says my boy. "You know what that means. . . " he says, looking at his sister.
"Yep," she says. "We had better get to our rooms for our own personal safety." And they scamper off, laughing all the way down the hall.

The good news is it usually passes within a day.  And that I'm not in denial over it. After all, admission is the first part of the process of healing. Oh yeah, I own it. I know it.  But at least I've trained them to take cover.

Yours, thankful it is passing,


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Please, please eat it!

When did I become the mom who makes one dinner for the adults and another dinner for the kids? Didn't I swear on a stack of cookbooks that I would NEVER do that? Didn't I tell myself that if they don't like what I make, that's just too bad? What part of my brain decided that if they went to bed hungry, I was a terribly mommy?

Somehow, I fell into that awful, awful pattern of making something different for my boys. Now, don't get me wrong, I only do it if I KNOW they won't eat what I am making for my husband and I. So that's not too bad, right? I said, RIGHT???

Well, I found a magical recipe! Not only do the boys like it, but even my husband does (and believe me, he's just as picky as the kids). AND I get spinach into them. Yes, you heard right, SPINACH!

Now, I will share my magic with you...

Chicken and Rice

1 lb. chicken filets – cut into bite-size pieces
1 T oil
(I left this out and used Pam)
4 C fresh baby spinach leaves
1 ½ c uncooked Minute Rice
1 can drained tomato wedges (optional, but they do add flavor)
2 green onions, sliced (optional)
1 can chicken broth
1/3 C Parmesan cheese
(Use your favorite seasoning on chicken before cooking.)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In skillet, add oil and chicken pieces and cook thoroughly. Add chicken broth, rice, and green onion and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add spinach and tomato wedges. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until most liquid is gone and rice is fluffy, stirring occasionally. DO NOT OVERCOOK OR IT WILL BE DRY! (Believe me, I know!) Sprinkle cheese on top and serve.

I know, I know, you're thinking, that looks boring. You're right! Boring, yet nutritional. That's what I strive towards. If it's too exciting, my kids and my husband just look at it with that "What in the world is that and do you really expect me to eat it?" look on their faces. In this recipe, the spinach shrivels up so small, I just tell them it's seasoning. And they believe me!

So enjoy my magical, boring, nutritional recipe. I'm trying to figure out how I can make it every night without them realizing it!