Saturday, December 5, 2015

Little Kid Strider Races

So the season is over, but training never ends. We joined in late spring over in Bethel, CT.  Tim had raced there when he was younger.  We originally went to show Jack how fun riding without training wheels was. We had his Strider (balance bike) and he just went for it on the track, the next week we signed up.

Those who know us, we are not a traditional sports family.  I was a runner in high school and Tim played hockey, we also snowboarded. Baseball, soccer and football are not us.  Although Jack does like the Yankees and Giants because Grandpa likes them. I like to describe us as an X-Games type family, well that and hunting. I can only hope one day they may make it, just like parents want them to go to NFL or MLB.

I won't lie, when he started I was excited but swore I wouldn't become one of those "side-line coach" parents.  Well suddenly I too am screaming "feet, feet, move your feet".  Charlotte joined in too, she likes the attention, going at her own speed, and people cheering.  Jack is a bit more competitive, but just wants to ride down the hills fast.  Scoot and glide up and down the bumps. 

In-between the Strider Races, the big kids race.  Jack likes to watch them and we try to point out how much fun actually riding your bike it.  Until August he was still on training wheels, so those races were off limits. Once one of the other five year old boys moved up, Jack spiked an interest in moving up too. Before the 2016 season, we will look and get him a racing bike, Charlotte will continue on striders for another year. As long as the kids are five and younger they can race Strider Bikes

I do believe the balance and racing helped both kids move on training wheels. They both started on the same day and never looked back.   Like most sports there is a huge community.  Although bikers are racing for themselves, times, points, and places. A lot like when I ran versus team sports. 

Want to know more about Strider Races?  Locally in the Hudson Valley there are a few tracks.  You can go on USA BMX website and join the USA BMX, giving you the ability to race  of your region.  We stayed at our one track but would like to try multiple ones this Spring. Strider is great for two years old and up, some of the younger kids race harder and faster then the five year old races.  They are so cute! 

We are excited for this spring to start racing once again.  Hope to see some new faces too. 

Book Review: They Serve Bagels in Heaven Review

They Serve Bagels in HeavenThe love story of Irene and Saul begins not in this lifetime, They Serve Bagels in Heaven is a Memoir written by Irene Weinberg but told by her husband Saul, from Heaven. Their love story begin lifetimes before this and one would hope many more for them.   I received a copy of this book to review from Intro NYC Blogger Network. An autobiography/biography of a couple.  A woman who lost her husband too soon.
Irene lost Saul in a tragic car accident, she writes about her lifetimes with Saul through her voice and his after sessions with mediums and healers. They had over 5 lifetimes together before being Irene and Saul, interesting and spiritual journey for these two soulmates.  The love that radiated off the pages is what all couples should strive for.  I enjoyed learning about ow they were connected in the past, at different stages of their lives and in different relationships.
imageIrene has gone on to share her story both written and publicly.  On October 2nd, 2015 she was at the Apple Moms' Moms Night Out in Westchester to share her story.  Capturing our hearts, she explained how she began her journey, telling her children and how she continues to communicate with Saul and share their story.  She misses him, you know that from the moment she begins speaking, and throughout the story.
If you are local to NYC, she has been hosting Bagel Chats where you can meet and buy her book.  If not, order her love story today.

Follow Irene and her story on:  InstagramFacebookTwitter

Photo Credit: Dani Cavazzi Photography
Originally posted on Apple Moms in the Hudson Valley

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ocean City, Maryland 2015

Family Vacation 2015

Another summer, another annual family vacation with a twist.  For nine years we have always stayed with family, either sharing a condo with others or whole house, this year we broke off finally and booked our own house.  This year I didn't have to worry about others disciplining my kids, my kids getting upset and stepping on toes.  Roam kids roam! We stayed in the same community we usually stay in, but just the four of us together, planning our days.

Chevy lent us an amazing 2015 Tahoe (have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Tahoe lately?). This truck is incredible and makes road trips a breeze with room, features and the kids are happy too! Love the ease of captain seats to also reach the usable third row. This is number one on our list for our next family vehicle.  Weeks worth of luggage, bikes, and bags  fit with plenty of extra room and my family of four (we could have brought the dogs).

Our rental was beautiful and roomy- a three floor, four bedroom, family retreat.  We had breakfast outdoors in the morning, evenings sat out listening to the frogs in the ponds around the community.  Daily bike rides to the pool, around the block, or to Starbucks.  The kids did great and loved the freedom, bike paths and fun.  Can you believe though in the week we stayed there we never went to the beach/ocean?

The kids loved the pools, we visited Assateague Island one day and did swim in the bay there while searching for horses.  Amusement park visits meant riding the rollercoasters over and over. Mini-golf, go-karts and playing games on the boardwalk. Having exclusive family time was wonderful, much needed without daily responsibilities at home.

Next year we are looking into similar places, having the freedom of choices, possibilities are endless.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why I had surgery.

Last Thursday I am had surgery, it started as a gall bladder issue back in the beginning of August. Once finding out I needed surgery to remove it in September, I decided to also have my tubes removed after discussing lots with Tim and myself. Also thinking it through, I have two incredibly beautiful kids, I have "the dream" boy-girl duo, I have two in full time school now.  We have time to travel, things are easy, and life is good. I love my family as is.

Traveling Trio in September while in PA
My decision to have my tubes removed at 30 ended up being an easy one. Back in February at my annual exam, I had discussed with my doctor that at 35 if I hadn't had the urge or another kid by then I would choose to have my tubes removed then.  I figured at 35, the kids would be 10 and 9, I wasn't going to start over then.  On top of the doubt of starting over, I worried about the health of another baby, deformities and health issues.  I had easy recoveries from both c-sections, but the stress of their births and after dealing with immediate doctors, specialists and surgeons, I have feelings of loss and anxiety.

Jack, my first
Starting over for me is not appealing, for the past two summers vacation has been throwing clothes in a suitcase or book bag and going. No bottles, diapers, sleep routines and accessories. After Jack was born with his hand deformity, needed extra tests done on his kidneys and hearing immediately.  Then, we met with specialists within the first 24 hours. A lot to handle as first time parents.

Jack meeting Char, dukes up!
Charlotte was a routine cesarean, everything was picked out and set.  The day after she was born a hurricane hit and outside the hospital shut down, we were find indoors thankfully.  She was born on a Friday, we went home Tuesday and on Wednesday she started vomiting every 3rd bottle up, even drinking less she was taking in while in nursery.  Friday we took her back to hospital and she was readmitted for another 4 days. She has kidney infection, urinary tract infection and renal reflux (urine was pushing back into kidney) and she was just 7 days old.  To have a baby with a third medical/health/issue, I cannot deal with it emotionally or mentally anymore.  My feeling of loss is just have a baby to bring home without anything to deal with immediately.

I feel starting over would also stop Jack and Charlotte from doing things they are currently into and want to continue.  How can I have a baby out at games, running all over in the car, we would have to slow down for sure.  Also the bond Jack and Charlotte have now, is incredible. They are each others best friends, worst enemies and protectors all in one.  Although they mention babies, its a novelty not life, with one 5 years younger, I would feel they need a sibling to have the connection the first two have. Then I would be up to FOUR. NOPE!   With two, I can handle alone, with two we just go, with two they share a room.

My family is officially complete. My Jack and my Charlotte. The loves of my life.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

New School, New Routine, It's October

It has been a breath of fresh air this year for the kids and I.  Jack started Kindergarten at a new school, Charlotte followed him there, a month in and all reports are how great the kids are doing.  Hallelujah! Jack is riding a bus and loving it, while Char and I have our routine of morning Starbucks together before I drop her off at school.  This year though same school, they are in separate buildings giving them individuality, and identity.  They will not be in the same building together until Jack's in second grade and Charlotte starts first.

I have been home, working on rebuilding my case load for work as my kids transitioned from summer to fall they left me. I am enjoying being home and slowly working on room by room to clean out and organize.  Also working on Apple Moms and growing with the help of the Apple Mom team.  I have plans and dreams and making my goals come true. Although all the extra time I thought I would have with both in school and no work, is still not here.  There really is never enough time in a day.

Another change, the kids are home all week long, no more sleep outs.  This has helped with routine and behavior for both kids, Tim also started vacation time this month giving him more time at home with us as a family and hands on.  He went to school with Jack during fire safety week, and stopped in Charlotte's classroom too.  I am one of the Class Moms for Jack's class. Its all very excited for us this year, sense of normalcy.  After the end of the year and summer we had, coming together as a unit of four was exactly what was needed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Charlotte Turned Four

Charlotte is officially FOUR!

Four years have gone by and #disasterbaby is still on a mission to rule the world, one tantrum at a time. I kid, I kid, well sort of!  Charlotte has brought such joy, sadness, fear, anger and disgust to us- get it? Inside Out reference?  She has though. Let me explain...

Sadness-  She can put on the waterworks in .02 seconds. Really tears? Nah! She still thinks she can get away with things this way. NOPE!

Fear- She is fearless really, I think the fear comes from us because we fear she will hurt herself or do something crazy.  She would walk up to a lion (probably scare it too), touches lobsters, wants to hunt and will do just about anything.  I don't think she is scared of anything, I hope that continues and she never limits herself due to fear.

Anger- She can get angry and she can make us angry.  Her high pitch scream makes me quiver, tantrums over the wrong color she picked out. Nights she declares no sleep, I shoot flames but she is my baby girl.  A "peppery one" most say.

Disgust- Mostly we see this part of her at dinner, everything is disgusting.  She will spit out things, work herself up and best part its over things she ate the night before. Ugh! Most aggravating for Tim and I.

Joy- Her laugh is crazy funny to hear and watch.  She brings us happy memories and her smile is infectious.  I cannot remember what life was like before she came, neither can Jack.  They look out for each other and her favorite thing in the morning now is to get a kiss before Jack gets on the bus.  We bond over Starbucks where she orders Char-Lattes.  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back to School with Momtrends Recap

Some of my favorite companies all came together in July for a Back-to-School Event hosted by Jack is hitting Kindergarten this year, (woohoo!) so attending and finding out all the top trends and what is best for kids and their families.

My must haves include labels, shoes, clothes and organizational tools. These companies make going back to school easy!

Mabel's Labels has been my go-to for the past 5 years.  I started labeling the bottle before Jack was born.  They last, I have some sippy cups for four years now with the same label.  I love their new little kid show labels that teach the kids left and right. Genius! Then extra clothing, coats, and school supplies; I label everything!  

Stride Rite has the cutest shoes for this fall. So many choices, the Made 2 Play are machine washable too.  Did you know they support children's feet and start at newborn, offering fun characters, dressy, sandals and boots. Stride Rite shoes hold up and for my kids last until they out grow them.  We had adorable boots and sneaks last fall and winter along with Made 2 Play sandals this spring.

Matilda Jane Clothing is unique, it can be found online or at trunk shows which are done by Trunk Keepers (independent stylists).  A trunk show can be done with a group of friend- shopping during a girls not out sounds good to me.  Matilda Jane also have clothing for moms, you can coordinate to match your daughter.

How do I organize our schedules for back to school?  With WALL POPS, the make great single or multi-piece calendar sets.  Don't need a calendar? Check out the decorations of your house: kids's rooms, kitchens, and playrooms.  I love the hundreds of styles, dry erase capabilities and that they do not ruin the walls.

Event sponsors included:
Date Night Now by SittercityMabel’s LabelsLysolStride RiteMatilda Jane ClothingWallPopsPlay-DohVamousseThredUpIndigo RooftopGlamSquad

Disclosure:  I was invited as one a mom social influencer and blogger and received a gift bag.  No other compensation was provided.  As always my opinions are my own and honest.  This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blogger Bash 2015 Recap

Earlier this month I attended Blogger Bash 2015 in NYC at Pier 60 (which is beautiful by the way if you have not been there).  The Blogger Bash team once again knows how to party. They had 2 full days packed full of events to get bloggers, like me, in contact with other bloggers, moms, brands and products.  It is one of the only conferences full of people strictly wanting to connect and collaborate with mom bloggers and business owners.  As Apple Moms has exploded this year and going at a veteran attendee, I knew more of what I wanted to get out of it, who to connect with and of course way more friends in attendance, adding to the fun.
Starting on Thursday 7/16, brunch was sponsored by Care Bears Share Your Care, where we learned about the CareBears brand and what they are up to currently.  Care Bears has a 98% awareness amongst moms (well most of us grew up with them), there originally were 10 and now 52 different characters.  This September 9th is National Share Your Care Day, and Care Bears will be donating bears to homeless children in NYC along with ZachKapCares, a nine year old philanthropic boy.

Next we were bussed over to the Astor Place Theater to check out Blue Man Group.  Have you seen it yet?  This was my second time, but first for "poncho seats" and first for fellow Apple Mom Nicole. It is a great interactive show for ages 6-102! Although my kids loved it even younger, depends on sound sensitivity.  Next time I want to be front row for sure.  

That evening Nicole and I went to the Sweet Suite, a great night of moms playing with toys and our kids not complaining.  I was able to check out toys on the market now and toys coming out for the upcoming holiday season.  Checking out new toys from Crayola, Dynacraft, Fisher Price, Spin Master, Alex Brands, Educational Insights and more.  The Blogger Bash team assembles an unforgettable night of fun that has become Sweet Suite, and we just got our boxes of fun with toys from many of the sponsors the kids and I are still going through and checking out.  We are working on videos of those toys to come out soon!

Day two I split between Blogger Bash and another conference I was volunteering at.  I participated in Speed Dating, which was different this year, these brands/companies were also in Expo but we were able to pre register a "path" and met with travel and tourism places.  I am working on guides and reviews of travel- day trips and vacations on Apple Moms so it was perfect for some insight.    I stopped in for Leveraging LinkedIn Panel before heading back uptown.  Side note: if I hadn't lost my Fitbit on Wednesday I would have rocked at steps that day, I walked from Pier 60 (17th & Westside) to the hotel I was staying at 54th and Avenue of Americas (Warwick Hotel), in under an hour and in the heat.  Go me! 

I cannot wait for Blogger Bash 2016.  As a blogger and an influencer it is a must! 

Thanks! +TheToyInsider +Blogger Bash for such a great time

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On the Bikes

We are clearly not your typically soccer or t-ball parents.  Have you met us?  I tried soccer with Jack two years ago- I ended up wearing him in the carrier and Charlotte played when he wasn't pretending to be spiderman on the fence.  So we may not be in the World Series or World Cup years from now,  Oh well!  Our family dreams of the X-Games and Winter Olympics.  Perfect since we (Tim and I)  met as teens on a ski mountain.   Our hobbies include hiking, bike riding, dirt bikes, quads and recently we signed the kids up for strider bike races.

Having active young ones they are on the go,  to sleep, they need to be worn out, so how do you wear them out?  MOVING!  Having issues listening and waiting, team sports are hard right now, probably even more for me.  Stares, comments, do you want me to add a sign to my kids back with a label?  Individual but skilled activities are participated in with ease and they are good.  I mean what kid doesn't want to get on a motorcycle and go?  Or sit on a bike and fly down a hill balancing?  My sport back in high school was running, yes I ran for fun, as much as team sport that was, I was able to let off steam, energy, and set my mind on one goal independently to the finish line.

We love watching them, we love riding with them, heck I like getting on a balance bike myself and racing the kids down the hill.   Its a rush, a thrill and its outdoors.   Hyperactive and busy kids need to move, they need to burn off energy and they need to get unplugged and play outside.  Bikes do this.  Our goal too is to work on riding without training wheels, both have balance its the fear.  Then he can start racing the entire track length.  Until then we will watch bike racing while other watch baseball, and dream of dirt jumps instead of white bases and strikes.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Conference Recaps July 2015

While I continue to recover and plan out posts and reviews coming up between here and Apple Moms in the Hudson Valley, I learned some valuable information.  Be yourself and true to yourself.  When I started this blog, it was before kids, after marriage and just to keep up to date and inform family and friends what we were up to.  Then I began to share pregnancy and house updates.  For there I started to share my opinions on brands/products after becoming involved in some influencer programs.  Then as a person who loves to inform, share and influence others with what I learn and know. (I am a teacher after all), I started Apple Moms (Tots) which is a lot of work, its not just parties and swag.  I have to follow through, hence separating and starting independently as Moms.

Authenticity is important.   I do not like everything, everyone and everywhere I go.  Sometimes things purely do not impact me, I do not have a need or want.  Having a team of moms helps and works as there are moms, who these things do work for, and they do like and want to visit.  So I am still able to get opinions out, just not my own.  Every mom, baby, kid and family are different.  Why do you think Facebook boards do so well too?

So when I meet with brands, companies and people I am able to portray that.  I know what works for my family and what I prefer, like and love.  So I can still help them get their product/message out in some form.   What I am passionate about, you can tell.  Education, travel, family and my kids top that list.

Messages I learned were to share your passions with other, don't push your opinion, don't be unreal, but share your feelings respectfully.   Even more important is to have FUN.  The people I have been over the past 2 years have all helped, changed or became friends.  Everyone's goals are different and most importantly their voice is different.  Like I said above, what works for them may not work for me, their kids and not my kids- we are all different.  I hope and plan on continually being real and true to myself and helping others.

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Mom Essentials for Summer

July is warm weather, lots of family events (summer) and outings and sandals!  What is it that you must have?  Bags, shoes and essentials?  I have a few things that are My Mom Essentials for Summer, they are always with me or my go-tos along with my jeans with a tee/tank staple outfit. #1 essential is my phone hands down, the iPhone 6Plus 128g, over 90gigs are currently pictures.

Bags:  Now that I am past the diaper bag stage (woohoo!), I can have cute bags but I still need a decent size.  Let's face it even though I don't have diapers, baby food and bottles with me anymore I still am the "holder" for everything the kids want to bring but not carry.  Also with always being on the go and still connected online I carry an iPad or my Macbook with me often. Don't forget the camera, external battery and a Thomas train or two and a My Little Pony.  I need something big, but still trendy and something "me".  LeSportsac makes backpacks which are perfect for all my needs and so many fun prints. I found the Voyager Backpack in Blissful, it has 3 outer pockets, 4 inner pockets-3 of them mesh.  Closures include zippers, clips and drawstring.  What I like about backpacks at this point, it fits everything and is practical for days out at the farm, a park, zoo and shopping. I can pack lunches and carry them too. Backpack are not just for kids anymore.

At the last Apple Moms MNO event(check out the MNO events I host), we were able to give away a Medium Weekender bag to a lucky Mom.  The winner was ecstatic.  A great bag for quick sleep overs, gym bags, and travel carryon.  Which is your favorite style from LeSportsac?

Sandals: After having high boots this winter which were total comfort and stylish (I wrote a review for Apple Moms), I was given choice for pair of summer shoes,  I picked out the Priya Sandals.   Totally my style and again comfortable.  Dansko has once again proven that they are not just a work or "grandma person" shoe.  I have worn them to Baptisms, school functions, shopping, events and everyday use.  I love the support, the little bit of added height and style.  I mean I just turned 30, does 30 mean being more practical?  If it does, feet comfort has been the most practical for me.

Water Bottles: So recently I decided I need to drink even more water and also try to lessen my milk/Starbucks intake.  Partly because of the cost and the other because water intake helps with being healthy.  The kids and I are trying out zo-li water bottles in PIP(18oz) and DASH (12oz).  I love how cute they are for the kids and myself.  Straw water bottles, with a mixed of vacuum insulated styles and regular.

Wallet: I need a wallet that carries a lot, bonus would be my phone also.  I found the ideal one at Vera Bradley called the Turn Lock Wallet.  Although in many patterns I chose my favorite color hot pink, since practically everything I own has pink in it, to match.  I can place my iPhone 6+ in the zippered part or close in the front when I am just carrying the wallet out.

Disclosure:  I received some of the products in this post for free in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation was exchanged.  As always all opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.