Saturday, July 30, 2016

KidzVuz Back to School

credit: Josh Strauss Photo

I love Back to School, as a teacher and especially now as a parent because the kids are back to school.  KidzVuz 3rd Annual Back to School event brought together top brands with kids in July.  Jack, Charlotte and I headed down to meet with the thirteen sponsors.  These events hold great exposure to brands but also so kid friendly, many times the brands/companies talking directly to the children.

Juicy Juice had new Splashers to try- YUM! and coloring sheets for the children while I did discuss with the representatives more about Juicy Juice and incorporating it in the lunch boxes for the fall.

Classroom Direct is your go to for all classroom and student needs.  I have used them in the past when I was in a classroom teaching, LOVE them and their customer service. Teachers take note!

Domain Me- The new .ME (Dot-me) domain name for websites. Perfect for people wanting to start more personal blogs, I am thinking for the kids to make their own or use it to link to their KPROCKIDS TV page. (Stay tuned!!)

EZPZ Patches- The no iron, no sow patches for kids to customize everything.

Lucky Bar- Mom-made yummy bars for kids with "more protein than 2 eggs" in each bar.  jack and Char each tried on and finished, WINNING, since I have two very picky kids.

To find out more from sponsors you can find them on social media:
Juicy Juice                          @JuicyJuiceUSA
Classroom Direct                @ClassroomDirect
Galxyz                                 @GalxyzLab
Fin Fun                                @FinFunMermaid
Domain.Me                          @DomainME
Philips                                  @PhilipsNA and @PhilipsSonicare
Pips Island                           @PipsIsland
EZ PZ Patches                     @EZPZPatches
Lucky Bar                             @pickyeatersrule
BackYard Foods                   @backyardfoodco
Bway Zone                            @BwayZone
Zandra Beauty                       @ZandraBeauty
Love, Hallie                            @love_Hallie_

And from the gift bag:
@drinktickle - yummy natural sparkling water
@baronfig  - bespoke notebook
@nealbrothers - amazing potato chips
@DTailsULike - Adorable jewelry
@storyarcs - Pop Tropica and Galactic Hotdog Books
@MabelsLabels - indispensable write-away labels
@NYIscream - BackPack Squishems
@sillicandy - Awesome baking molds

Monday, July 25, 2016

Women and Cars.

The NY Auto Show takes place each spring attracting car enthusiasts and families.  I have attended the past three years for Girls Night Out, run by the She Buys Cars outlet.  I have always loved cars, whether it be the look, brand, speed or features.  My needs have changed over the years as I became a mom, then expanded my family.  My newest is the 2016 Honda Pilot I brought home at the end of December, and in seven months I have driven 15,000 miles.  Craziness, I wonder how many of those miles were just going to Starbucks.

This year at the AutoShow GNO, we heard from several representatives from social media and car companies about the shift in car buying and influence women have in this field.  Did you know women have 80% of the car buying power?  If we are driving we have more to say in what we are driving.  Growing up I know my dad went out and bought the family cars, my mom then drove them. He managed the maintenance and upkeep.  When we have gone out car shopping lately, I test drive, look inside and out.  I still have my husband check out under the hood, and he listens to "the fancy stuff" about the car mechanics.  Ultimately it is what I want, what I want to drive daily. 

I love big- SUVs, Trucks, and Cars. I started at 16 with a "boat", a Dodge Intrepid.  Since marriage my personal vehicles have been a Colorado pick up, Ford Explorer and two Honda Pilots. Don't forget all the trucks and cars Tim has had.  I really want a Suburban or Tahoe, my mom goal. I love the comfort level of bigger vehicles, plus I drive around additional family members often so the more room the better.  

We recently traveled to Edaville USA for Thomas Land with my parents and the kids.  Three generations in a car, needed more room we went with the Chevy Tahoe thanks to District Drive lending us the amazing SUV.  Captain seats, leather, AC in the front seats, DVD player, bluetooth headphones, and more.  We road in comfort for the four plus hour trip north.  This SUV skips nothing inside. Trunk space was perfect of the luggage for all five of us.  In December we had driven up and down Vermont snowboarding as a family and tested the GMC Terrain.  This was perfect for a smaller family without the need for lots of seats and room, but needs amble trunk space. 

Are you a Mini-Van, SUV, Cross Over or Sedan mom?  Most important is what works for you and YOUR family.  Everyone can give advice, but that comes from what works for them, not you always. 

My tips:
  • Look, look and look some more. I suggest even going to see the same car at different dealerships and see what other salesman share.  Also different models.  The first Pilot I drove had no pick up, it was the basic model and I hated it.  I needed some power. 
  • Test Drive. Take it our for a spin, local and highways if you can. You want to see how it drives everywhere. 
  • Bring a carseat and try it out. Unfortunately they don't always fit in every car, the way you want, you may have to change position in your new vehicle. 
  • Go in with your must have list when car shopping.  My list was leather seats, 3rd row and DVD player.  Everything else was extra in my mind. 

I am already dreaming of my next vehicle, its just a few years away.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Back to School with Momtrends

This past week I went to MomTrends Annual Back to School Event.  I love learning about new brands and products I either knew nothing about or did not know enough.  Nicole, Sherri and their team hold a great selection of dos and brands to come together with some of the area's mom influencers.
photo: MomTrends

I started with discussing decorating tips with WallPops. Yes they have decor like wall paper and pretty accents pieces but they also are great with wipe off calendars for family schedules and maps to teach the kids about the USA or the world.  I personally have been using their calendar for three years, I swear by it. Each month I relabel and then add as we go on. 

JOULES is from the other side of the ocean, gaining popularity quickly in the US with a store in NYC too. They have great staple pieces, including rain boots, mommy and me sets and clothing for the kids. Classy flowers, basic stripes and more cover their clothing. I can't wait to order something for Charlotte and I to match in. 

Keen: Outdoor shoe gear now for kids.  We are outside with our animals, in the woods, in the water or just around. Keen has shoes for Jack and Char no matter what they are doing.  I am in love with the boots for girls too. You must check them out for BTS wear. 

VAMOUSSE:  We had some cases of lice in school last year.  Immediately I freaked, well this year we have Vamousse for preventative treatment and they have other products that are chemical free so they can still beat super lice.  

photo: MomTrends
Junior Beads by Chew BeadsI LOVE these.  I have two kids who love to chew or suck on things.  I also work with many children who could benefit from safe chew jewelry, certainly the girls will love the choices and the boys too. I cannot wait for Charlotte to wear these necklaces in the fall. She loves dressing up to begin with!
photo: MomTrends

Yoobi: If you shop at Target you have seen it, bright and bold accessories for school or the office.  For every Yoobi piece purchased one is given back to a classroom in need.  

Mabels Labels:  My go to every school year, as I buy new supplies and bags I label everything, this makes the packing for first day especially easy. Clothing labels are most important since my kids go to private school and every kid has the same sweater and sweatshirts, labels helps with telling them apart.  

Nalgene: I am a lunch packer 4 days a week for the kids. Having the best washable and easiest to organize lunchbox is a must for me. These Nalgene Lunch Box Buddy sets are dishwasher and washing machine safe. The top can double as plate, and you can fit all their food, snacks and drinks inside or clip them on. 

photo: momtrends
Ella's & Earth's Best:  Juices, snacks and meals at your finger tips, lunch packing is even easier now.  I love the packages of vanilla cookies with the ABCs on them. Even dinner time with freezer meals or add ons.  Yummy!
photo: MomTrends

I had such a great time and want to thank MomTrends for the invite and all the sponsors too!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Airing it out

So I have been PC "politically correct" about life, marriage and family... and well I am done.  I love my family but I have so many great stories that I have kept to myself, not anymore!  A mixture of "shit these kids said", what did grandma/in-laws/husbands do.  I mean who else received a list of approved names when they were pregnant? Oh wait that was me!  Why not ride my ride with me?

This is me airing it out.

Between marrying young, having a husband deployed, living 4 states away from him all while being in college and starting careers at the same time back in 2008.  I have led an interesting, busy, constantly changing life and it sure makes for great stories.

In 2010 we were blessed with our first child Jack, who was born with complex syndactyly aplasia. Instead of just having a newborn and starting motherhood just worrying about feeding, changing, and sleeping we were bombarded with extra doctor appointments and surgeons meeting us in the maternity unit. Jack was the best thing to happen to us, I have said it before, we are given what we can handle. Jack has "handled" us in the near 6 years he has been with us. He adapted, we have amazing surgeons and therapists over the years helping him succeed. Nothing has held him back.

Six months after Jack was born we found another bundle was on their way, this time a girl name Charlotte. (The name I was told I could not use because an unwed, non pregnant, not engaged 17 year old wanted the name to hypothetically use for her then boyfriend's grandpa, yes I am serious, my sister-in-law requested the name and my Mother-in-Law backed her while  I was pregnant with Jack). I really believe she is a fireball thanks to coming into this world as our area was slammed with a hurricane. Instant love between the two, she came at a great time and fit in just fine.  As I am about to register her for kindergarten next month, she is bound to take on the world. Further CEO, no doubt about it, nothing holds her back and she speaks her mind, oh does she speak her mind. Constantly reminding her "to ask, not tell us" things.

I am first to admit no marriage is perfect and while Tim and I have had our disagreements, certainly we now how to push each others buttons and getting on each others' nerves we still love each other.  Much of our issues have always revolved around finances and his family. I still do not understand why simple things like feed them "this formula in a bottle" were too hard to understand, or this diaper gives rashes (and you provided the Pampers the kids use). As a mother, not being heard when it comes to your kids is hard. Specifically you have had these conversations with your in-laws over and over. Instead of being grandparents to my children they took on parent role. Also, openly admitting to favoring Charlotte over Jack. No wonder why Jack would protest going to their house, clinging to car doors and crying. Once inside he would calm down, why did I still have him go there? My husband.

Then there were decisions made instead of being asked, things done I repeatedly said please don't.  Or things done in front of me just to annoy me. I mean who else takes a kid to JCPenney for Easter photos when it is not THEIR kid? Calling to tell me my daughter was going to see the Rockettes, even though I had tickets for her first show.  I was never asked, just told. Oh and Santa.  I gave birth, I am Santa. Yet again people do not listen and have a person come AFTER Christmas to deliver gifts from SANTA!! You better believe it I was PISSED.  Again my feelings were pushed aside. How much can someone take though, honestly before you just lose it?  How many times can you say the same stuff to someone for them to turn around within minutes and do the opposite?

Oh then the time they sit on your couch and tell you they wished their son never married you? Yeah- Breaking Point. GAME OVER!  How did I even last this long? The stuff that was said- Unforgivable.  I am over pretending, these are things no one should have to deal with.  No one should have to feel and be treated that way.  Its the thousand things that add up.  It is everything adding up, many years, many small things creating lots of resentment.

In the end I will swear to never treat my kids this way.  I will not be the mother-in-law I have.    Never to treat my kids and their significant others they way I have been treated. I always say, never say never, but to these I make the pact.  To these I will hold myself accountable. For me I am airing it out. I want to be more honest, I want to be more candid and now I will. I am sitting weekly with someone to learn how to cope, learn how to change myself to be better and not let toxic people affect me anymore. I let them for years. Like I have said, now it is my family of four. Now it is my rules, my way. I am not having these outsiders dictate my life or my kids anymore.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Getting Ready to Sell Our House

Well it's time to sell our house and move.  We need a bigger house, the kids need and want their own rooms, the family as a whole needs more space.  We moved in here April 2010, as a 3 year home with 1 child.  Within 16 months of living here we had two kids and our grew our home.  Now Jack is 6 and Charlotte is turning 5 next month, its time to find a new home.

While here we have done everything to this house we possibly could. New kitchen, trim, deck, patios, roof, expanded yard, doors, paint jobs and drainage.  This lists expands but I won't bore you.   We are looking now for at least 3 bedrooms, preferably a few acres of usable land (woods are great too).  More space inside (rooms), and privacy.  Maybe a farm (joking...kind of).

I would love for this process to be short, we refuse to settle this time.  So if our house sells first, we will rent until finding "it".  The kids are excited as much as they are driving me crazy, as I clean and organize they pull out new stuff and make messes.  This is my first move with kids, tough work!

Wish us luck, house will be officially listed the first week of July!