Sunday, February 28, 2010

Next Time Check Out Next

Some people are boutique shoppers. And then there are the rest of us. I think of boutique shops as unapproachable. Expensive. Small sizes! And way beyond my league. I am so insecure when it comes to walking into a shop. I worked retail for years. What is my problem? I don't know.

Last week, I was invited to shop at Next at Beachwood Place and write about it here. With all of the self confidence that I have with boutique shops, I snuck into the mall a week early to make sure I could handle this. I walked by slowly and checked out the store. Located on the second floor next to Nordstrom, I was still afraid to go in on my own. Crazy! I know.

Last Tuesday, I got myself together and met some other Cleveland bloggers (See OHmommy below) to check out Next. And what do you know? The owner and staff were super friendly and helpful. And they gave me a $200 gift card to buy whatever I wanted.

I had a ball trying on the very stylish clothing. I am pretty conservative when it comes to my style of clothes. Shopping at Next was a perfect store for me to find more fashionable pieces that I may not have ever thought to try.

I have an upcoming girl's trip to Vegas in April and I found a black modern jacket with silver earrings that I cannot wait to wear (see pic of the jacket on mannequin above). I also bought a purple top that I can wear almost everywhere and a very cool silver and black bracelet. I loved their jewelry selection and the pieces were really unique with reasonable prices. They also have a great sale rack in the back. Don't miss it! My top was 50% off.

The best part of Next? The people that work there (see pic below). They made me feel comfortable and welcome. Their service was as good as I have had at some of my favorite shops and they made me feel welcome. I will definitely be back to expand my horizons and see what is new. And I will make an effort to walk into the stores that intimidate me. Next time you are at Beachwood Place, check out Next. Go ahead, walk in. I know I will.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Growing Up

I sat and watched her open her baby shower gifts. I smiled on the outside. And I bit my tongue.

"Never gonna use that."
"Who told you needed that?"
"You'll use that for maybe one month."
"Take that back."
"You'll look like a new mom with that."

I looooooove giving advice. So much that I do realize that I am a pain to some people. I just love telling people what has worked for me. I like to help people. But, as I sat through the baby shower, I realized that I need to become "the older mother." You've met her. Maybe she was the one in your playgroup that didn't laugh at you for getting out a new binky when your baby dropped it on the ground. Maybe she listened to your sleep woes without talking non-stop about her sleep issues when her baby was small. And maybe you've told your birth story a million times and she listens every time as if she has never heard it.

I have realized that my baby time is almost over. I need to grow up too. Every new mom doesn't need to know everything I have learned in the past 7 years. She'll learn it in time. And like my husband reminded me, you can't learn it all at once. It would be too overwhelming to know right when you first get pregnant everything there is to know. Who would want to know how hard it is? You get it in bits and pieces when you are ready. I am still getting it in bits and pieces. I am getting this. I am ready.

So, I apologize to my friends and family who have had to listen to all of my tips and suggestions. I am going to work on talking less and listening more. I am trying. I learned that the first baby made me a mother. It was a huge transition. What will my last baby teach me? I am learning so much. But, I'll keep it to myself right now. I promise.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No Help

The Day Before...

Dinner parties sound glamorous. Until you have to throw one. This might come as a shocker but they are a lot of work.

Now if I were rich, I would hire a caterer, cleaners, a nanny and a lady to help me select my outfit for the shindig. But since I am not, I have to be all these and more.

My playgroup friends started a "Not So Gourmet" dinner party club three or five years ago. It has been so long I can't remember. I am up in the rotation.

With a small baby, I am finding it hard to pull all of the pieces together. It is tomorrow night and while I am cleaning my floor, I am writing this post in my head. It will all come together but I wonder how as I scrub around my toilet wishing I had a house cleaner.

Fast forward to the week after...

We did it. And it was a blast! I so wish I had pictures to share. We had a wine tasting. Everyone brought a bottle and we rated the wines. They were all under $10. I threw in a more expensive bottle to see if it would beat the others. And it lost! We threw in a $5 Gallo Cabernet and it came in second. How perfect is that?

We had the best night. Nothing beats time shared with friends. We need to do this more. We love to entertain and we love to be with our friends. We laughed. We told stories and we drank LOTS of wine.

And boy, were we beat. We were so tired after all of our hard word. But, we loved it. We talked about it for days.

What a difference a day makes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Missing Her

I miss an old friend. She's been gone about six months and I never in a million years thought I would miss her. I took her for granted. I didn't even know I was attached to her. She drove me crazy most of the time. Maybe I misunderstood her. Half of the time, I had no idea what she was saying. The other half of the time, she brushed over everything and tried to make everyone around her feel good. Maybe I wasn't a good listener. Maybe I was too busy with my life to really sit and listen to her. I never thought she would be the first to go.

I can't sit around and mourn the loss of this friend forever. I have to move on. I have found a new friend. I have tried to let her into my life. I have known her for a long time. But now, I am seeing her more each week. She is one of the funniest people in the world. No one makes me laugh like she does. But, she isn't the same. I know I am rushing it and I need to give her time. It just isn't the same without my friend.

Oh Paula, I never thought I'd miss you on American Idol. But I do.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Doing It

Whenever I see someone that has lost weight, I always ask "How'd you do it?"

So, I was thinking. How am I doing this?

1. Write down everything you eat in a notebook. Trust me, you won't eat 10 Oreos if you have to write it down. You just won't.

2. Park at the back of the parking lot next time you are out. If America would stop driving around and around looking for the closest spot, we wouldn't have such a weight problem in this country. People around the world walk EVERYWHERE, EVERYDAY. We are such lazy, lazy people. WALK!!!! ( I do this carrying my 19 lb. baby in her carrier- No excuses!)

3. Find a healthier, lower calorie option for each of your meals and snacks. If you to eat a bowl of chili, try to eat 1/2 of what you normally do. Find a smaller bowl. If you drink 3 Cokes a day, drink one. Over time, you will start to eat healthier and you can stick with it. Make small changes. They work.

4. Speaking of small changes, stop eating the crap off of your kids plates. Sit down each time you eat. There is no grabbing of chicken nuggets on the way to the trash. You deserve better.

5. Figure out why you are eating the way you do. What's at the heart of it? Try to feel your emotions instead of eating them. And for me, knowing WHY I am losing weight is helping me to stay motivated. I want to be healthy. I am very afraid of high blood pressure and diabetes. I am going to age gracefully. I will be as healthy as I can be.

I read somewhere that it is hard to be fat. It is hard to lose weight. Pick your hard.

You have to be ready to do the work. I hit rock bottom in October. I saw my future and it included Lane Bryant. It wasn't acceptable to me. I will not be overweight.

So that's how I am doing it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Forcing Me to Do My Job

Ry got into a bit of trouble at school on Friday.

I got a call from the principal.


Then when he got home from school. He lied. Twice. To my face. Even when he knew I was calling the principal to tell her she was wrong about my little angel, he lied. Double gulp.

As I sat deep breathing about where I went wrong as a parent, (go ahead and laugh at me. I really felt this way.) I realized that it was true what older friends have said to me. Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems. And Ry was 7. I was doomed for the teenage years.

So, I sat breathing and freaking out big time. There were many calls to my husband at work and then to my sister. How to punish? What was appropriate? We are corner kind of people. We haven't spanked and when we get really crazy, we send them to their rooms. How do you send a message that lying will not be tolerated?

Dr. Ray, a discipline expert that spoke to our Early Childhood PTA once said, you must know their currency. If you know my Ryan, you know it is his video games.

So, we took it all away. Computers, DS, Playstation and Wii. Right. Before. The. Weekend. He doesn't play hardly at all during the week. Too busy with everything. But, boy does he love to relax and play on the weekends. And most of all, he loves to play with his dad.

And guess what happened? I think he is having a better time without his games. His brother is in on it too! Toys from the basement were brought up. He decorated his Valentines Day box. He read 50 pages of his latest favorite book and he actually asked me to get out his homework so he could start it early.

Go ahead and pat yourself on the shoulder if you are a better mother than me who never lets her kids play video games. You know that kids play better without them. It is a part of my hubby's life so it is a part of my kids life.

So, we learned important lessons in our house on Friday.

Ryan is not perfect.
Kids can lie really well.
Being a good parent is a lot of hard work.
No electronics is a good thing.
We need to set some limits in this household.
I am still afraid of principals.

When I had Ryan, I felt that each stage was hard in a different way. Baby, toddler, Terrible 3's (not the 2's, the 3's are much worse), preschool tantrums, Kindergarten transition and now the wacky first grade behavior. It's all hard. Each stage and in a different way. And if you are thinking "this isn't so bad" just hold on. You are ready to be hit with a doozy. My husband I, the night before the "incident," were just saying what a great age 7 is and how much Ry is growing up. He is. Yes he is. But are we ready for it?

I'm Not Talking About It, I'm Just Saying...