Monday, November 30, 2015

'Tis the Season to...Get Rowdy? What Are We Teaching Our Kids

So, here's the example we are setting for our kids...people running to the stores the day after everyone shouts out their "I'm so thankful for..." spiels, grabbing boxes out of the hands of children and acting a total fool.

Black Friday. Yes, it's a wonderful, beautiful, touching example of how people should not act in the season of "giving."

But, wait!

My 15-year-old (as of December 1, happy birthday to her!) daughter just came to me a few hours ago and asked if I had heard the news about Black Friday. Her friend in Canada had told my daughter that she wouldn't want to live in the U.S. if people were fighting in stores the day after we were supposed to "be all thankful."

Which is what inspired me to write this.

This year, people couldn't wait until the day of thanks was even over before the battle of the Christmas sales began. And it just happens to be that the most wanted gift for 2015 is....

A vegetable steamer! Or so, the rest of the world would think, listening to the U.S. top news stories, like the one about the lady who grabbed a box out of a young boy's hand at an undisclosed store.

Now, rumor has it that this particular video that went viral is a hoax, however, it's not the only story about shoppers going stupid on Black Friday. Every year, it seems, there is one brawl or another or at least shoppers grabbing boxes from each other.

Not all of them are hoaxes. This is how people act the day after Thanksgiving. About an item that they are buying during the season of giving.

This is what we are teaching our children.

I had to laugh when I read that the Daily News called it Black-eye Friday. People are even fighting in the food malls now, not necessarily even fighting over gifts.

I'm sure this makes Santa happy.

Security is urged to ramp up by the police. Black Friday is no joke anymore. The best thing we all can do is enjoy our Thanksgiving and relax the day after. Matter of fact, relax the entire weekend!

A billion less was spent Black Friday 2015 for a reason.

It's no secret: Black Friday is usually not the best deals, but rather a teaser for the sales to come. Besides, Black Friday has a much darker connotation than Cyber Monday (named after those of you who sneak and continue to shop at work after the long weekend), for example.

Don't lie, 85% of people asked said they would be shipping Cyber Monday, according to a survey by DealNews. Go ahead and pretend you are one of the 15% of the people who won't.

People ran out to spend $10.4 billion a few days ago, on Black Friday 2015, which was actually down over $1 billion as compared to last year. Makes you wonder what the outcome of Cyber Monday will be. Adobe is predicting their online sales for Cyber Monday will be over $3 billion for their company alone.

Honestly, I find this all quite outrageous. Yes, it's the season to give! But, are we merely fulfilling shopping lists and wish lists or are we actually giving? To me, there's a huge difference, and I find that we are not truly focusing on the fact that it's giving from the heart, not shopping from a list.

You will not find me shopping on Black Friday and even though you will find me online on Cyber Monday, it won't be shopping that I am doing. It's all about manufacturers making money (I'm sorry, but it's true), and we "consumers" have been falling for the trap for decades now.

But, anyway, I'll get over that.

What I can't get over is the entire concept that we're teaching our children. Because they are learning by our actions. If we're shopping on Black Friday as a tradition, that's what they are going to think they should do.

That's not teaching them to give - from the heart. Cyber Monday isn't teaching kids to give from the heart, either, although if you're sneaking at work, how are they ever going to find out. Black Friday is passing on to our children a tradition of shopping, not giving. A tradition of shopping from a list, no less.

It's truly not one of the things that I want to make a tradition in our family. My children know that mom relaxes, and quite possibly decorates for Christmas with daddy and the children while Christmas tunes are playing. Not shopping. Never shopping. I refuse to commercialize Christmas.

It's the season to spend with our loved ones. 

Memories and special moments like decorating for Christmas far bypass any gift that can be procured on Black Friday, in my opinion. Don't you agree?

Sure, the media, and quite possibly your friends, act like if you don't run out shopping on Black Friday, you will be the only one totally missing out. But, we all know that if you sit tight and spend time with your family that day, another sale will pop up before Christmas on gift must-gets.

Those hot items that were on sale on Black Friday will surely see a dip in price again before Christmas. You just have to be patient and keep a watchful eye.
I mean, they're your kids, but mine sure won't be feeling the tradition pinch when Black Friday comes around.

Black Friday has always been a family day in this house, a day to continue to be thankful. And, giving has come from the heart more than from the wallet. (Sure, the kids receive certain things that they really want for Christmas - maybe not all, but they also understand the true meaning of Christmas is giving, not receiving.)

I hope my children keep up the same traditions for their own children.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Devil Wears Prada on North West - No Kids at Fashion Week!

The lady who the Devil Wears Prada was created after, Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988, has made her statement about kids. I had to laugh, knowing full well how the fashion diva can be with her prim and proper English upbringing. Haven't you seen the Devil Wears Prada?

She said that children don't belong at fashion shows!

This opinion emerged after the fashion mogul sat next to Kim Kardashian at Kanye West's fashion show. While she was cordial at first, after North West threw a temper tantrum and had to be removed from her father's show, Wintour turned obviously cold.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving...

And all through my house, the teens were laying around like bums, and the mice were eating the crumbs.

The littles were making a huge mess near the chimney, I swear...with hopes that the irresponsible teens would clean the mess, I declare.

Papa played music as tried to call it a wrap, because all I wanted to do was lay my head down for a long winter's nap.

{Sigh...} It truly is the eve of Thanksgiving and I have many, many things to be thankful for, but to avoid the expense of potentially seeming all mushy, I will just stick to the facts.

The children are all asleep at 11:20 p.m. #Blessing
The house is as clean as its probably going to get tonight. At least it's better than it was 2 hours ago. #Blessing

We have plenty of food for Thanksgiving. #Blessing

We have friends who love us. #Blessing

We have a roof over our heads. #Blessing

And I'm too tired to list anything else, but we are blessed.

Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving. Get stuffed like the turkeys and hopefully the kids allow you a well-deserved nap!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dumbed Down Desperate Parenting

There's lazy parenting and then there's desperate parenting. Then there's dumbed down desperate parenting.

Every parent does a little lazy parenting here and there. (Don't hate.)

But, dumbed down desperate parenting...

Well, let's just say most of us have the better sense to avoid it, despite lack of sleep and sanity. Then again, there are plenty of dumbed down parents out there...leaving us somewhat sane, yet still incredibly exhausted parents shaking our heads in astonishment.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

5 Ways to Regift the Wrong Way

If you've never received a terrible regift, you're one of the lucky ones!

With the season of giving in full force, I thought it would be more than appropriate to mention regifting.

Some of us (I won't mention names) don't seem to understand the meaning of regifting.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Parenting Perfectly - Or Not (Images)

If you haven't gotten it right by the time you have three or four kids, you're certainly not gonna get it right once you've made it to eight...or nine kids (like me).

Well, let me tell seems we haven't gotten the Parenting Perfectly thing right, and I am resolved to believe that we won't ever get it right.

Here's why:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Some Saturday Afternoon Fun for Parents

Just a few memes for you on this blessed Saturday afternoon:

Upcoming Book Release - Goofing Up

Okay, bear with the cover prototype. It's still in the editing stage...a little blurry, and I'm not sure about the colors. But, we are working on it!

Regardless, I'm excited!

Hopefully, you have already read my book, Breaking the Rules. If not, you have some 'splaining to do! I'm just kidding. But, you really need to catch up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Evenflo Triple Flow Tumblers - No Leaks!

Sippy cups are a pain in the butt! You have to go through the leaky, drippy, pours out too much or too little at a time issues to empathize how I feel about sippy cups. 

I've had plenty that have worked beautifully until they took their tenth or eleventh bath in the dishwasher, and then somehow, they loosen and just don't work as good as they do new.

I put the Evenflo Triple Flo Tumblers through the gamut of exercises, put it to the test.

Lego's Finally Created Protection for Parents! Anti-Lego Slippers

I mean, it's about bleeping time!

To be honest, I banned those wretched toys from my house well over a decade ago. Then, a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine's son brought over a bucket of Lego's and once again reminded me why I banned the worst ever toys in the world!

I swear to you, within moments, that bucket full of tiny pieces of extreme torture was overturned and I just about lost the last marble in my mind! I couldn't yell because...well, because he wasn't my kid.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What Are Our Children Learning from the News?

If I had it my way, kids wouldn't be exposed to media and the evils of the world. Nobody's kids would, but especially not mine.

Regardless of how I feel, they hear and see the news, even when we do our best to protect them from it.

Let's see. Just this past week, we had a Republican Presidential candidate asked if he would abort a baby Hitler. On the Democratic side of the ticket, Hillary Clinton supporters are fending off rumors that she wears wigs.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Clinging to the Corner of My Bed

We co-sleep. Or bed-share. Or "practice the family bed." Whatever you call it, we do it.

In my case, it would probably be more appropriate to use the term "family bed," because nine nights out of ten, we have at least 3 kids snuggled and sprawled out every which way in our Cal king sized bed.

I actually got the Cal king sized mattress, not so I could let ten kids sleep in my bed with me, but so that I could have plenty of room to spread out and enjoy deliciously comfy nights of sleep.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas 2015 Schedule

When the end of November rolls around, one of the big questions in our mind is: What is the movie lineup for the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas? If you aren't aware, ABC Family has a knack of compiling all-time favorites, like Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, classics such as Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, newer holiday movies like Prancer, and my favorite of all, the Polar Express.

There is a quick glimpse to the left of some of the movies that you can expect in 2015, but certainly that is not enough for you!

Without further ado, here is the entire schedule:

Tuesday, December 1

7:00-9:30 AM ET/PT – The Preacher’s Wife
11:00 AM-1:00 PM ET/PT – Disney’s A Christmas Carol
1:00–2:30 PM ET/PT – Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
2:30 PM–3:30 PM ET/PT – The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
3:30–4:00 PM ET/PT – Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
4:00–6:00 PM ET/PT – Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July
6:00–7:00 PM ET/PT –  The Year without a Santa Claus
7:00–9:00 PM ET/PT – The Polar Express
9:00 PM–12:00 AM ET/PT –  Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
12:00–1:00 AM ET/PT – The Year without a Santa Claus  Encore Presentation
1:00–2:00 AM ET/PT – Rudolph’s Shiny New Year

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Worry-Wort vs. Problem Solver

While reading an interesting self-quiz the other day at Health Central, I thought: "Self, am I a Worry-Wort or am I a Problem Solver?"

As I made my way through the answers of the quiz, which basically described how Worry-Worts would handle the questions as opposed to how Problem Solvers would manage through them, I became more and more befuddled.

Monday, November 9, 2015

5 Jobs Parenting has Qualified Me For

There was a point in time that I poured my blood, sweat, and tears in the "real" working world. I had a career. I had goals and ambitions that revolved around my career.

What? You thought I've always sat at home in my pajamas, writing nonsensical blog posts and books? Sipping on coffee in the morning and wine at night, enjoying the "good life" of staying in the house all day, with no *real* responsibilities?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Halloween is Long Over - Throw Out the Candy!

I was so done!

While Halloween is definitely a special time of the year for yours truly (the original Wicked Witch of the East - yeah, I'm the meanest one), there is one thing that sends me right over the edge.

We have the little ones, who somehow fly through all of their candy the day after Halloween, flagrantly spreading candy wrappers all over the house. My floors looked like a humongous candy wrapper mosaic!

Friday, November 6, 2015

I'm A Better "Boy Mom"

So, I was reading Raising Boys vs. Raising Girls: Who Drives Mom More Insane? She had a very interesting standpoint, but experience with my own children have been quite different.

As you know, I have nine kiddos. And maybe that's why my experience is so diversified. While I couldn't possibly tell you whether girls are easier than boys or vice versa, I have a feeling that we, as their parents, tend to cater to gender stereotypical roles, as well as subtly imply them to our children.

In my newly released book, Breaking the Rules, I explained how parents subtly and overtly influence their children regarding gender specific behaviors. I'm not going to go over all of the studies and expert opinions that I cited in my book - it's only $2.99, so if you want the extended version and a good read, you should check it out.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I Hate Myself for Thinking It

Diagnosis: Momformation Brain

My brain is overstuffed.

I write a lot. Lists, lists, and more lists. Ebooks, books, and novels. Articles and blog posts. Texting and facebook messaging, Tweeting, Instagramming, and all of that good stuff. Thousands and thousands of words each day.

So, it seems like I manage to get a lot of stuff back out of my brain, but even though I put my thoughts "down on paper" (honestly, I type them), somehow it all manages to stay in my head.

You know what would suck? What if our heads expanded to represent the amount of information that we stored in them? I just know I would look like one of those bobble heads, with a noggin so big, I would not be able to keep it from swaying and bobbing.

I am not a genius or anything. Some of the information in my head is little tidbits that I keep for no apparent reason. Like phone numbers that I once had. What could remembering old phone numbers of mine possibly be good for? I wish there was a delete button, just like the one on my computer.

A cut and paste option would be great, too. Then, I wouldn't even have to write anymore. I could just cut and paste my thoughts onto a word document and be done with it! Wouldn't that be convenient?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Crumb Bums in My Bed

It's one of my biggest pet peeves.

Crumbs in my bed. I don't even see them sometimes, but you better believe that I feel them! The only thing worse than crumbs in the bed are bed bugs.


They are the equivalent of dragging nails down a chalk board for me.

Despite the fact that I am vigilant over not eating in my bedroom - and especially on or in my bed - these children still do it when I am not paying attention. The husband does it right in front of me, even though he will not hear the end of it the rest of the night.

Why can't you eat at the table!?!?!? Or, better yet, on the floor?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Galvanized from Dating Tips - 5 Make "Mom Friends" Tips

Maybe it's just the way that I feel. Maybe you can relate. But, does making friends with other moms seem kinda like dating?

I mean, there's an awkwardness to it. Then, you have to find someone you have something other than family and kids and motherhood that the two of you have in common. And, that still doesn't guarantee that a friendship will blossom. 

I am not talking about socializing with other moms at school events. Socializing is easy peasy. I can do that all day and all night. But, to ask for a phone number or recommend getting together is kinda sorta like asking someone on a date. I'm feeling a connection here...would you like to get together for lunch or a play date or something?

Tell me that doesn't sound just like asking someone out on a date. 

Now, I've been out of the dating game for nearly two decades, so it's not like I'm an expert at it. Far from it. I mean, I can give advice, but as far as going out there and doing it myself...I wouldn't know how to even act on a date anymore, let alone ask someone out or agree to go out sometime. I would be nervous, anxious, and probably sick to my stomach. Blundering and floundering like a fool.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Okay, I'm Selfish (1/24th of the Time)

Remember that Pantene commercial back in the 1980's? Kelly Le Brock flips her lengthy, yet bouncy and swirly tresses and announces, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful..."

Yeah, I agree, it was dumb. It was. But, sadly, we all know it is the truth. Being even halfway pretty ensures haters. It's even worse when you are beautiful female working in the professional world. Isn't it? Surely, the haterisms will fly around the office if a pretty gal works there. Then, if you are super amazing at your job and pretty, rest assured, at least someone in that office is going to play the hater role.

But, there is one type of beautiful that you simply cannot be. If you are a mom who takes care of herself, how dare you? Seriously. Certainly, you cannot be a devoted and nurturing mom if you look pretty. You will never hear the end of it.

No matter how it's worded, the tone of voice is obviously incredulous when they ask the question. "I would never guess you have five children!" Or, in my case, nine. And, "how do you stay looking so good?" That is the question that has perplexed me since the years when I only had three kids, when I started hearing it.

I have asked it before: What does that mean? What am I supposed to look like?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Why You Can't Call Me (The Phone Call Storm)

You can text, Facebook message or email, but whatever you do, please do not call me.

Just the other day, I had all nine of my kiddos settled nicely in the house, some were working on educational computer games, one was reading a book, the littlest ones were watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the baby was busy playing with toys, and the teens were doing whatever was keeping them busy. And it was unusually serene.

A rare moment.

But, I had fed them, provided individual drinks, the house was nice and clean, and all of the children's needs had been met. I made sure of it. I was gearing up to write a blog post, so I had purposely - and personally - ensured that everyone had been attended to. I thought I had earned at least fifteen minutes, maybe a half an hour, to myself.

The chime of the phone did not disturb the tranquil environment, as it usually does, confirming my assumption that I had tended to their needs. As I conversed with the lady on the other end of the line, I watched in amazement how my brood remained motionless.

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