Guest Bloggers

Coach Bags and Good Grades

Today I bring you another guest post (sorry, I know you miss me!) from another awesome friend who doesn’t currently write her own blog.  Kelli and I met freshman year in college.  We were in the same English class.  We didn’t become friends then though.  It wasn’t until the following year when I was looking to move out of my triple (which was the size of a jail cell) and into another dorm or apartment on campus that Kelli and I crossed paths again.  We were both looking to do a room/roommate swap and ended up trying to swap with each other.  However, she didn’t want to live in my triple and I didn’t like the sound of her roommate so it didn’t work out.  BUT, the following year, after I had landed a sweet single room in a campus apartment, I asked Kelli to move in with me.  She became one of my roommates and so began our kick ass friendship.  I only wish I could somehow get her to move back to the Bay State, she is a Sox and Pats fan after all.

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Coach Bags and Good Grades

So, when Kristin (one of my bestest friends in the world and who taught me just about everything I know about Mommyhood, the Red Sox, and the Patriots) asked if I would be interested in doing a guest appearance on her famous blog, I jumped at the opportunity. However, what would I blog about? I mean her blogs are so hilarious and so captivating and perhaps genius. How would I ever compare? Well, I immediately starting thinking about what to blog about—maybe being a new mom, no, wait, how about a working, new mom? Nah, that is boring. What about being a working, new mom who used to go out all of time in college and dance on bars and now just craves a really good night sleep and a delicious cup of Dunkin Donuts blueberry coffee? Well, that sounds pretty good, but I think many moms are in my shoes and might not find that blog entry captivating or genius. So, I started to feel deflated.

Let me take a commercial break. I am a high school mathematics teacher. I am responsible for teaching over one hundred teenagers each year the wonderful world of either Algebra I or Algebra II (and next year, College Calculus!). I also teach at the same high school that both my husband and I graduated from. We are also moving to this school district in the next few months. So, yesterday I was grading a test that I gave my first period students. They performed terribly. I immediately started questioning my teaching and how I prepared them for the test. I did a good job. No, I did a great job. The students did not complete the review packet. The students did not stay after school for extra help. The students finished the test too quickly. It is their fault. I asked my husband—who is also a high school mathematics teacher at the same school—what his opinion was on the situation. He said, “kids these days just do not care about school.” Other veteran teachers said the same thing—“students just do not care. They are apathetic. Their parents give them everything and that is all that matters to them.” So, I started to think about my daughter. Mackenzie is going to be nine months next week (seriously? When did this happen?!) Then I started to think about my blog entry again. This problem is what I blog about…..kids and school!

And so, will Mackenzie be apathetic towards school? Not if I have anything to do with it. Why would “today’s parents” not encourage their kids to do well in school? Why give cell phones, iPods, new Coach bags, new cars if they are not doing well in school? It seriously bothers me—especially now that I am a parent—that parents do not support their children in school. For at least 12 years, school is the only job that children need to have. Of course, they may have after-school jobs for making extra money or to even help out with the bills at home or they may participate in athletics or extra-curricular activities. But, the primary focus should be academics. Let me tell you, Mackenzie will be focused on academics. She might not end up being the smartest kid in the class—and that is okay—but she will try her best in all of her endeavors. Why can’t today’s students be encouraged by their parents to succeed in school?

The Top 10 Reasons I (kinda) Want Kids

The moving continues.  We’re in the new house but no where near unpacked.  Moving with two small kids is VERY stressful.  Lucky for me I have some great friends to help me out with guest blogging for a few more days. Today’s post is from Molly.   I met Molly my freshman year in college.  We became friends immediately.  We were inseparable for the first year and a half of college.  Heck, she practically moved into my dorm room.  The day she transferred to a different college was one of the saddest days of my life :-(  Thankfully we remained friends and are still buddies to this day.  My girls just love Molly and she’s awesome with kiddos even though she doesn’t have any of her own (yet).  Read on to hear some of Molly’s reasons for wanting to have children.

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The top ten reasons I (kinda) want kids…

Man, I miss blogging.  I used to have an American Idol blog.  Unfortunately, when Paula left all of my good one liners left with her.  Ironically, there is just nothing funny about Ellen DeGeneres.  So I invited myself to guest blog while Kristin is moving.

Moving is so much fun… sometimes.  You see, my husband is in the Coast Guard.  Every couple years we have to pick up and move.  It’s not the packing (the military hires movers for us!).  It is the period in between where my husband dreams of all the places he’d love to go like… Alaska (gasp!) that leaves me…. er…. stressed.  You see, I am a bit uneasy about really doing anything in Alaska especially having children. My husband would have had kids years ago but I’m not quite ready.  There are some things that I think would be really great about having children.  Here are ten considerations for the DINKs (Dual Income No Kids)…

1.  My husband and parents– My husband and I were pretty much the first ones in our families to get married.  I think my poor mother was hoping I’d have a honeymoon baby, or at least after the first year, second?, third?!?! Her closet is stock piled with baby sweaters she has knit and it’s a good thing because she’ll probably have arthritis from knitting by the time we have a child.  She’s laid off the “When you have a baby…” comments but I’m not off the hook.  Even though my husband understands that I want to finish grad school first, he’s just afraid of being an old dad.  Honestly, I don’t blame him.

2.  To play with my friends’ kids– My friends’ kids are so amazing.  After I see them I end up talking about them for days.  They brighten up a room and they are so smart.  I have nieces and nephews too and I love being an auntie.  One thing I didn’t have growing up is cousins I was close to. I did have family friends though who had amazing children who are still my friends today.  I just think it is so important to have those people in your life and I’d love to give that to all my friends’ and siblings’ children.

3.  To get some fresh air– Did you ever notice how many people on a nice day are out walking with strollers?  The kids need fresh air.  The kids need watching.  That means I would get out more and probably walk off some of this butt that I seem to have accumulated since high school.

4.  They are funny– Since you all read A Mother’s Work is Never Done you already know all the hysterical things Brinley says.  Also, I love when kids do things that you shouldn’t laugh at… but you just HAVE to.  I know as a mom you can’t laugh at those moments or you’ll encourage bad behavior. Hmm… on the other hand… add that to the list for just being an auntie.

5.  I love buying things for people– Ever since I started earning money I have wanted to buy things for other people.  Shopping for kids seems awesome because you don’t have to feel guilty.  They grow so fast it makes shopping a necessity.  No problem with that!

6.  They save you money on the weekends– I know what all of you are thinking.  Children are expensive, dummy!!!!  I know.  But so is going out to eat and to the bar every weekend—all three days . So yeah, diapers and beer are both expensive.  See number 5 for which I’d prefer.  Anyway, if I change my mind they make 6-packs.

7.  Cooking for two is just plain stupid.– Cook for 2, cook for 3, heck, even cook for 4.  I don’t see much difference.  Besides, I love all the staples of toddler food—chicken nuggets, french fries, mac and cheese.  Yum!

8.  Those darn kids’ tv show songs are so catchy– You’ve caught yourself singing them…. “the phone… the phone is ringing… “, “we did it! ¡lo hicimos!”, or even “try it… you’ll like it!”.  Imagine how much more embarrassing it is to know all the words if you don’t have kids.  I’m sure the shows will change by the time I have kids but I’ll be prepared if they don’t!

9.  Christmas cards– My fridge is covered in beautiful pictures of kids.  I love it.  Every time I grab a seltzer, an apple or a brownie ice cream sundae, I mean, carrot sticks, I am reminded of my people and their amazing children.  I’ve never been one for sending out Christmas cards but maybe a kid is just the right reason to send my love and holiday cheer.

10.  Cookies, brownies, cupcakes…– Oh, here is the brownie sundae again… gee do you think I’m on a diet or what?!?!  Anyway, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to bake.  I think it is my calling in life.  I don’t however want to eat all the goodies.  Nor do I have any bag lunches or classroom birthday celebrations to make chocolate chip cookies, or monkey shaped cupcakes for.  All this talent and sugar and no one to share it with!

With all the wonderful reasons to have children Kristin better watch out… there might be another mommy blogger in a few years!

“I’m Sorry, Gluten Free??”

Today’s guest post is from Devan over at Accustomed Chaos. She is a mommy to three little ones and lives her life Gluten Free. Her blog is great because she is so full of information and shares lots of recipes and ideas on how to live without gluten in your diet. Even if you don’t need to eliminate gluten from your diet, you can still enjoy her recipes. It’s really amazing to read about her journey and how she has done so much to help herself and her family. Here she shares with you a bit about her journey with Celiac Disease. For more recipes and information about the disease, be sure to visit her blog.

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I’m Sorry, Gluten Free??” : My journey through Celiac Disease

Gluten Free” – 3 years ago when I was told by my doctor that this was the only treatment for what I was just diagnosed with, I was both relieved and freaking out. I was a young mother who just had her second child 4 months ago and was just learning how to handle 2 kids 14 months apart and now I was thrown this curve ball.

My heath had been an issue for some time and while I was relieved to finally have an answer for what was going on with me, I was not prepared to have to completely change my eating habits. Celiac disease … celiac disease was the reason for my weight loss, brittle bones, fatigue, digestive issues, walking around with a 6 month-looking pregnant belly (when I wasn’t). Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten – hence the “Gluten Free Diet”. There is no “cure” but the treatment is to strictly follow the diet.

OK… so gluten free, what does that mean? Gluten is in what seems like EVERYTHING. Pasta, breads, cookies, crackers, pizza, beer, … even the glue on the back of envelopes. I had to learn a whole new way to shop, cook, plan and come to terms that I might not be able to eat certain foods ever again.

Fast forward 3 years to today, and I can tell you that it really isn’t as scary as it may seem. The whole house is gluten free, if my husband wants a treat he must have it outside the house. My older daughter (she is 3 now) has also been put on the gluten free diet so it was safer and easier for us to have a totally gluten free kitchen. I have a strict NO GLUTEN rule (one breadcrumb will send me into a downward spiral) and as bizarre as it sounds my husband would tell you he doesn’t feel like he lives in food h*ll, we actually eat pretty good!

The initial learning period can be hard to navigate, but once you align yourself with some really great resources you will quickly realize that you are not condemned to a lifetime of bad food. The gluten free market has grown so much in the last few years and products like gluten free beer, ‘oreo-esque’ cookies, gluten free pretzels, pizza, bread and more – are all available and taste great. My favorite gluten free recipes that I cook on a regular are gluten free lasagna, orange beef with fried rice and peanut butter bars.

Things are not always easy being gluten free. I run a busy household with 3 kids 3.5 years apart and one of the biggest road blocks of being gluten free is we can not easily go out for dinner or do take out. I am also facing another gluten free dilemma when my 4 year old starts school this fall. Although he does not exhibit signs of having celiac disease I am going to have to be aware of what he touches and eats while at school (play doh is not even gluten free).

I am actually one of the lucky ones. Typically it takes the average person 10 years of symptoms and doctors visits before they are correctly diagnosed with Celiac disease. I am feeling so much healthier and I am thankful that my daughter was caught early. Gluten free isn’t a life sentence to bad food but a wonderful way to discover what it’s like to feel healthy and to use that creative cooking side.

Have you ever heard of Celiac Disease? What is the one food you don’t think you could give up?

Banana Curl Envy

This post needs no introduction.  Even if it did, I’m not sure I could stop laughing long enough to get it down.  Just read it and you’ll see why…

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HI! I’m LCW from Waking Up Williams and since Kristin and her girls are busy loading the UHaul for their big move I’m stopping by to leave you readers jealous and swooning over banana curls.  And since I can’t put my feet on her coffee table, since it’s packed up, I’ve kicked my flip flops off and grabbed a pillow, before they were packed, to sit and share with you a fond memory of Kristin, Kindergarten and curls!  Yes, for those of you wondering….I know Kristin in real life, we go waaaay back.  We’re old, because some of you reading were only a twinkle in your parents eyes in 1986, or maybe a small ball of rapidly developing cells.

From what I remember Kristin and I were BFF’s for some time.  We were in the same Kindergarten class and shared snacks, dolls and playtime at each others homes.  I remember her brother teasing us, throwing things at us and just playing his role as the “mean older brother”.  He was cute though, tall, blond, blue-eyed….Oh I digress.

I have lots of fun memories of us, including the time we cut our dolls hair.  I chopped my doll’s bangs so short she looked pathetic and would be ridiculed by the other dolls, what were we thinking?  It’s not like the hair was going to grow back…but we had fun and it didn’t hurt anyone. Although looking back we probably shouldn’t have been playing with scissors or cutting anything without a mom nearby.  But you didn’t come here to read about our silly mishaps…because I have something far better for you, complete with a picture.

I introduce to you BANANA CURLS.  I swooned over Kristin’s banana curls.  What are banana curls you ask?  Well check out this blondie in the third row third from the left.  Yes, that’s Kristin circa 1986 posing for our class picture.


And those curls, I wanted them, I remember asking her all about them. I wanted all the details, down to the temperature of the curling iron (ok I was 5, so I probably didn’t ask that, but I was totally into the curls).  Her response was always, “My mommy does them for me.”  Well I wanted my mommy to do that to my hair too.  I wanted those curls, I wanted the perfectly coiffed hair and all the swooning that followed.  I explained to my mom, in detail the precision and sweetness of banana curls, she tried, she really did, but nothing compared to Kristin’s curls.  I don’t know why she called them banana curls, at the time I thought it was because she had “yellow” hair and they were long, like bananas and well bananas are yellow.  But regardless of their name, I at the ripe age of 28 still have envious fond memories of her perfectly styled hair.

Oh and I bet you’re trying to find me amongst the sea of ponytails, bows and goofy smiles.  I’ll leave you with this, I hate the jumper my mom made me wear, I insisted on wearing a necklace that didn’t match and my mom attempted banana curls, but failed miserably and left me with poofy, bouncy curls far from Kristin’s banana curls.

My Sparkly Pink Life

I am thrilled that Lindsey from High Heeled Mom answered my solicitation for guest bloggers.  She is a fairly new blogger and when I first read her stuff, I loved it!  She’s a mom to three young daughters AND a full-time attorney.  If you’re wondering how the heck she pulls that off, you must check out her blog.  She describes her daily routine and how she manages to get out of the house in the morning, in a suit nonetheless!  Aside from us both being moms to girls we’ve both struggled with cradle cap and wish we had time to learn how to knit.

I really love her post today because I’ve totally “been there”.  Now I have some ammunition to use the next time I’m in this situation.

So, without further ado, I bring you… My Sparkly Pink Life

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The first time you get pregnant, you hear a lot of questions. When are you due? Did you plan it? (Seriously, whose business is that anyways?) Are you excited? (Duh.) And of course, what are you having?

If it’s too early to know the answer to the last one still, the follow-up becomes, What are you hoping to have?

The first time, of course, my answer was the correct answer. I don’t care what, as long as it’s healthy. But yeah, I wanted a girl. When I found out that’s what we were getting, I was so happy, I hardly believed it until she came out, and the very first thing I said when they grabbed her out was, “Are you sure she’s really a girl?” (She was.)

The second time, I put on some show of wanting a boy to even things out, and because it would be neat to have one of each, and because I knew my husband wanted a boy. But really… I wanted a girl. And I got another one. This time I got a good long glimpse on the ultrasound and recognized her for what she was even before the tech said it.

The third time, it became a bit disconcerting. Everyone just assumed we wanted a boy. My husband, of course, did. (And I don’t blame him. If I had two boys, I’d want a girl!) It felt like I couldn’t win- if the ultrasound showed a boy, so many people would be so excited, it would feel like a slap in the face to my girls. And if it showed a girl, I knew we’d immediately get, “So, are you trying for a boy next?”, which would feel like a slap in the face to the girl on the way.

Which she was. Our third daughter arrived, and we had three girls under three. And the comments and questions arrived as well. So here, I present the answers, so that you may avoid the necessity of asking yourself the next time you run into a mother whose home is everything sparkly, pink, and Dora.

Frequently Asked Questions To A Mother Of Three Girls:

Q: Are you trying for a boy?

A: Without spending a whole lot of money on special sperm centrifuges, there’s little you can do to “try”. Besides, we have two toddlers and a baby. We might possibly have more on our mind than making another baby right now.

Q: Does your husband want a boy?

A: My husband loves his girls. My husband wants his girls. He wants a boy. Most guys do, or so I’m given to understand. That said, it doesn’t really matter, since he loves his girls so much and we have limited resources and cannot continue having babies until a Y chromosome hits home.

Q: Your poor husband!

A: You choose! Depending on if I like the “questioner” or not, the answer is either:

No, my LUCKY husband!

Or

Screw you.

Q: Three little girls? That must be a HANDFUL!

A: Sure. But not because they’re girls. Because I have THREE KIDS UNDER THREE!

Q: Is it true boys are easier than girls?

A: I have no clue. I only have girls. I have no basis for comparison.

Q: Well, of course, boys are easier than girls. I have two boys and they’re easy.

A: I have three girls, and they’re easy. What’s your basis for comparison?

Q: You think they’re easy now, just wait until they’re teenagers?

A: I like teenage girls.

Q: You won’t like teenage girls when they’re your own! (Bonus points here if you mention my husband and a shotgun, the syncing of menstrual cycles and PMS, or how slutty your own daughter was as a teenager and/or how much she hated you).

A: Seriously, Negative Nancy, get off my back. They’re toddlers and a baby. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt!

Q: Do you wish you had a boy?

A: No. No, I really don’t. In a way I wish my husband could have a son to share guy things with, but given that I watch sports, drink beer, and play video games, I don’t think he’ll be hurting for every experience. And there are days I turn around and see him setting a crown on someone’s head, or talking to a My Little Pony, and I know he’s just fine.

I really don’t feel anything missing from my life. I love pink and sparkles and princesses. I think little boy clothing just isn’t all that interesting. I love ballerina tutus and fairies and dancing and flowers.

And even if I were starved for a boy in theory… the kids in my house aren’t my GIRLS. They’re MY girls. I wouldn’t want them to be any different, because they’re my babies and I love them to pieces.

The questions will likely never stop, and my husband says I shouldn’t be so touchy. I’m not touchy, I’m a mom. I just can’t understand how anyone could think I consider my kids any less than perfect and complete the way they are- pink and sparkly and all mine.

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