I've been tagged...

I've been tagged to respond to the following statements as a parent. This came at the perfect time - I was wondering what to write about today! {Thank you to the person who tagged me in the comments section of the last post.}

I would never:
Have another child.

I always:
Take my shower before I get Malayna out of bed in the morning.

I got an easy ride when it came to:
Malayna's babyhood. She was a pretty easy baby!

The part I dislike most about parenting is:
The repetition.

The part I love most about parenting is:
When Malayna and I discover an activity we like to do together. I recently realized that we can happily go thrift shopping together. She loves junk just as much as I do!

My terrible parenting secret is:
Malayna was a big surprise! {Okay, I'm not sure if this counts as a parenting secret, but I couldn't think of anything else.}

I would describe my approach to discipline as:
I'm not into punishment or time-outs. I believe in natural consequences.

My worst parenting habit:
Letting Malayna eat lunch while watching TV. I HATE that I do this, but it's really convenient and has become part of our routine. I can check email and straighten up before she goes up for a rest.

The one thing I am really proud of is:
Creating routines {around sleeping} for Malayna. It's very easy to get her to take a rest {even if she doesn't nap} and to get her to bed at night. I think that part of it is just her temperament, but a lot of it has to do with making good sleep habits a priority. It's something that's really important to me and that I think has a huge impact on a child's behavior.

I probably am too lenient when it comes to:
Cookies and cupcakes. There's a cupcake bakery in Jenkintown right across the street from the art supply store. I COULD tell Malayna that she can't have a cupcake every time we go, but their icing is so gooooood!

I hope Malayna inherits my:
Creativeness. {I wouldn't be able to take full responsiblity, though - Jimmy is also creative.}

I hope Malayna doesn't inherit my:
Tendency to be a pack rat. Oops. Too late.

I love that Malayna is:
A girl. I always thought I wanted a son, but I'm SO glad that I had a daughter.

The thing I miss most about my pre-mom days is:
The FREEDOM! I know it's a cliche, but it's so true. I love when I can spend the entire day in my studio. It's really hard to get back into mommy-mode after a day like that.

Motherhood is:
Really, really hard to do well.

Anyone else want to play along?


new layout

I made the blog look a little different over the weekend by adding a column on the left.

What do you think? Do you love it? Hate it? Is it too confusing? Too much going on? Is it perfect?

EDIT: I changed it back to the original version. Didn't like the new one :)



I think I'm raising a collector {otherwise known as a pack rat}.

{nature collection in the kitchen}

{turtles in the dining room}

{baby dolls in the toybox}

{books in the living room}

{beach stones on the windowsill}

I have no idea where she gets that from.

{plates on the dining room wall}

{keyholes on the living room wall}

{jewelry in the bedroom}

What do you collect? If you have children, have you passed on your pack rat gene to the next generation?


...part two

I wrote about the Rose Petal Cottage on Friday and received some interesting comments - some through this blog, and some through email and phone conversations. I want to attempt to address some of them here. Bear with me - I know exactly how I feel about this subject, but I'm not sure my views come across clearly.

I absolutely agree that there's nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom if that's what you choose. When I had Malayna, I was sure that I'd want to go right back to work. And I did, at first. But after a few weeks I realized it wasn't what I really wanted to do - I wanted to be home with her AND work. Luckily, I had a job at the time that allowed me to do just that.

By not buying toys like the Rose Petal Cottage, I'm making a (small) statement. I do NOT want to give money to a company that perpetuates the stereotype that women should be homemakers. If I bought her a toy like that, I would feel like a hypocrite.

The aisles are overrun with princess and frilly fairy costumes. What about a dress-up outfit that consists of a business suit and a mini-briefcase? There are plenty of moms who go to work dressed like this - and I'm sure their daughter would love to look just like mommy. Also, why don't the "girl" aisles have firefighter or construction costumes?

My biggest problem with the princess/pink/everything girly craze is that it teaches girls that they're valued because of how they look. After all, what do princesses DO? Why do most of the fairy tales end with the princess finding a prince? This is 2007! We, as women, have more choices than that. Where's the fairytale about the girl who grew up to be an artist and own her own business?!

The problem, according to Lyn Mikel Brown, a professor of human development and education at Colby College, is 25,000 princess products. “When one thing is so dominant, then it’s no longer a choice: It’s a mandate, cannibalizing all other forms of play. There’s the illusion of more choices out there for girls, but if you look around, you’ll see their choices are steadily narrowing,” Brown said.

It's not that this ONE toy will lead her to believe that being a girl means you look pretty, have a pretty house and grow up to have babies. It's that there are MILLIONS of those toys out there that have the same message. I have to work just a little harder to find the toys that teach her other things. Toys like art supplies, doctor kits, blocks, trucks and cars, gardening supplies, science kits...

As a girl, I loved playing with Barbies. {Yes! I admitted it!} But I also loved riding my bike, catching frogs, swimming in the lake and building forts. {Our family spent summers at a campground for years.} Princesses don't ride bikes and the only thing they do with frogs is kiss them so they'll turn into a handsome prince.

I think many parents follow society's lead when it comes to gender stereotypes. It not only affects their children, it also affects my daughter. Once she gets to school she'll hear all kinds of things about what girls can and cannot do. We each have our own values that we pass along to our children. I want her to know that she can do anything she wants to do. It's such a cliche, but it's true.

I'm frustrated with the choices available to girls. It seems like we've come a long way, but I think we still have so much further to go.


a short rant

Guess what Malayna will never have? The Rose Petal Cottage. Not only is it super-pink {my very favorite color!}, but it's also "an entire world where your little girl can play, discover and explore. It's a place where she and her dreams can grow." Right. As long as her dreams are to bake muffins, wash the baby's clothes, and clean her home.

The little girl in the "Dreamtown for Kids" video sings, "I love when my laundry gets so clean. Taking care of my home is a dream, dream, dream!" Read Alice Bradley's post about this toy at AlphaMom. I couldn't agree more!



Malayna's going to disown me when she's fifteen for posting this.

We went to Barnes & Noble last night to play and, of course, to have a cookie in the cafe. Malayna likes to sit at a table while I get a sugar cookie for her and a vanilla latte for me. While I was at the counter, I turned around to see her standing up, bouncing up and down and scratching her butt. I asked her what was wrong and she said, "nothing!" She sat down, but quickly stood up again and said {very loudly}, "Mommy! There's something IN my butt!" {Did I mention that the cafe was really crowded? And that I'm the kind of person who likes to blend in and not call attention to myself?} I'm guessing that she had a wedgie. I told her I'd be right there and turned around to pay for our stuff.

Yikes. When I turned around, she had her pants down! In the middle of a crowded cafe! And she was scratching her bottom. I think I turned bright red, and quickly pulled her pants up. I told her that she couldn't pull her pants down in the bookstore, and she asked "why?!" Um, well, "because you can only take your pants off when you're home".

Isn't it great that she has no idea that baring your bottom in a bookstore is embarrassing? Or should I be concerned?...


shop update and free shipping!

{pretty new clock}

There are some new things in the shop! You'll find new clocks {like the one above}, and new magnets. {If you order before October 31st, you get free Priority Mail shipping. Just enter code "october" when checking out.}

Is it too early to do some holiday shopping? How about some "I need a new pretty necklace for myself" shopping?


I sure did need this magnet on Monday. Thanks to all of you who commented here and those of you who emailed or called me. I'm trying to find out where Artie is, even if there's nothing I can do about it. I'll just feel better when I know something.

{yay for naps!}

On a happier note, Malayna and I went to the park yesterday to see her best buddy Aidan and new friend Natalie. They had a good time, of course, and she even took a nap! Yahoo! We're going to the park again this morning. Is it too much to ask for a nap again today?



It's 9:45pm on Monday. I just received a phone call from Artie's mom, Missy. I haven't talked to her in over three years - and if I never spoke to her again I would be ecstatic.

She called to say, "You think you can parent my kid? Artie's in boot camp and it's all your f***ing fault." And then she hung up on me.

I took a minute to calm down and tell myself to breathe. I then looked up the number on the caller ID and called her back. When she answered, I said, "Missy. What are you talking about?" I made myself sound very cool and calm {which was the exact opposite of how I was really feeling}. She repeated what she originally said to me and then, "They say that he had no parenting and is allowed to do whatever he wants. So thanks!" {You have to understand how very unintelligent this woman is. I think she truly believes what she said to me.}

"It's all your f***ing fault. I hope your f***ing kid turns out f***ed up, too."

I replied, "Do you really believe it's my fault?" {I did snicker a little here. How could I NOT?} "Well, I hope that makes you feel better."

She hung up again.

I know nothing. I don't know where he is or if he's okay.


Jimmy and Malayna love to sing Frank Sinatra together.


mommy-daughter day

{craftin' in the morning}

Malayna and I had a wonderful day on Wednesday! They don't come very often these days, you know. Maybe it's because we spend so much time together that we get a little tired of each other. Plus, she's 3. Whoever made up that saying "terrible twos" obviously had not hit the threes yet.

Honestly, though, I really don't like that expression. Why would you want to call your child "terrible"? Isn't that just expecting the worst? I like to use more descriptive words for Malayna. Words like: persistent, intense, perceptive, sensitive and energetic. That last one only happened recently. Holy moly does that girl have energy. I am NOT the kind of person who likes to run around all day, wrestle, talk constantly and move from one activity to another in a matter of seconds. All of a sudden, she's that kid that doesn't stop. I think it has something to do with not taking a nap anymore. She has to keep moving so she doesn't fall asleep!

On Wednesday, she slept until 9:00 {because she had woken up at 3 to play}. When I came into her room she asked me who was coming over that day. She asks this most days, I guess because I'm no fun. I told her it was a mommy-daughter day and she asked if we could make something together. Huh? What? Am I dreaming?

When we went to the Festival on Sunday, I stopped at my friend Jessica's booth. She had "make your own doll" kits - filled with a small fabric doll form, glue, sequins, yarn, and paint. When I bought it I had hoped that we could make it together, but in the back of my head I thought that she wouldn't be interested. When I showed it to her later in the day, she asked if we could do it then. I told her that we would save it for a mommy-daughter day.

Any day that starts off with her sleeping until 9 and then doing a craft together when she wakes up is bound to be good! After we finished the doll we went to Ikea, where I actually shopped {and Malayna didn't complain!} and then had lunch together. Since she slept so late I wasn't even going to bother putting her up for a rest, so we headed off to Trader Joe's. Our next-door neighbor works there and every time we see him in the store Malayna gets excited. However, she won't really talk to him when we see him at home. Weird.

It was a perfect day. We didn't have one single issue.

{meet Diamond}

Yesterday, however, was back to normal. My friend told me about a local food co-op, so I decided to try it in the afternoon. There's a little playground there, so I told Malaya that she could play after we shopped. Well, of course she didn't want to wait. She folded her arms, put on her nastiest face, stomped her foot and said, "I want to go play NOW." She repeated it a few more times just in case any of the workers or shoppers hadn't heard her the first time.

When we did get to the playground, she didn't want to play because there was no "inside swing". {She means those bucket swings for babies.} So we got into the truck and drove to one of her favorite playgrounds - one that she usually goes to with daddy. We pull up, and she looks at me with this weird smile on her face and says "WHAT are we doing HERE?" I told her I thought she'd like to play there since they have inside swings. She said "Me and daddy go here. I want to go home." I finally convinced her to get out of the truck and play, but when we got to the playground it was empty. She said, "There's no one here. We shouldn't be here either. Let's go home." Oooookaaaay. Home we went.

I used Ahna's advice when we got home and had a conversation about how I thought she was too small to go places like the co-op with me. She immediately said, "I'm not too small! I'm a big girl!" I repeated that she was too small and her reaction was to smile and say, "Yes, I'm too small." Arrrggghh!

When we were playing with her dolls later, I had the mommy go to the store alone. She told her children that they were too little to go and that mommy was going to shop by herself. As soon as the mommy left, the children said, "Yahoo! Let's have a birthday party!"

She wears me out.




Yesterday was one of those trying days as a parent.

The three of us went to the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival. It's a great outdoor craft show {that I'd like to do next year} in a pretty neighborhood. There are also activities for children - like moon bounces, sand art and face painting. Sounds like a nice thing to do as a family, right?

Jimmy and I told Malayna about it a few days ago and she {seemed} really excited about it. We've been to the Festival a few times, so she knew what to expect. When we got there, however, she couldn't quite cope. I visited a few friends who had booths there and Malayna would not say hello or stop giving dirty looks. No matter how hard we try, we can't MAKE her be polite. It's so frustrating! How hard is it to say hello? I certainly model positive behavior for her - I never walk up to someone and say, "I don't want to talk to you!" Sure, I give people dirty looks sometimes, but never when they're smiling at me and saying hello!

I can tell she's uncomfortable when meeting new people {unless they have a baby or a dog with them}. At this point, I'd be happy if she would just stop glaring at people. She doesn't have to say hello yet - we can work on that later. I'm not sure how to react when she acts like this. I'll admit - I'm not consistent. Sometimes I can blow it off and say something like "she needs a little time to warm up" {um, like a few weeks}. But other times, like yesterday, I just can't tolerate it and it puts me in a foul mood. I'm sure it was because my expectations didn't meet the reality.

Even though we know she can't handle large crowds, we continue to try to take her on outings like this. Should we stop? I don't know. I don't want to give her that much control -we're the parents! On the other hand, do we just put up with it and hope it gets better? I know that I need to learn better ways of coping with this behavior. But she's almost 4 years old - shouldn't she be expected to be polite and greet people when she sees them? Or are my expectations too high?

The day did get better - after we had been there for about an hour, she seemed to warm up. Then again, she didn't have to talk to anyone at that point. We had given up on expecting her to say hello and we put the sunshade down on her stroller so no one would look at her. Worked like a charm!



{reading to one of the babies}

Lately Malayna has been pointing to words and asking what they say. She's noticing punctuation, too. She looks for the dashes in her books and wants to know what an exclamation point is.

She can spell a few words, like dog, mom, dad and Eagles. Since Jimmy is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, Malayna has heard the Eagles fight song her whole life. {Yes, I just directed you to a football website. Don't worry - it won't happen again!} Sometimes when we're drawing together she'll ask me to spell her favorite words - Michael, Leo, puppy, Barbara, Ella, baby.

{daddy and Malayna}

The other day the three of us were reading books before bedtime. I asked Malayna if she knew how to spell "dad" and she said, "g-o-d".

On the other hand.... As is often the case with small children, one day we were talking about butts. I told Malayna that hers was my favorite. She asked Jimmy if it was his favorite too, and of course he said yes. I said, "what about my butt?" She looked at me with pity in her eyes and said, "well, you're smart."


I need your input!

{Malayna's homemade costume for her second Halloween.
She was "two". Get it?}

I have a show in Bethlehem, PA on Saturday. There are a lot of Halloween products {handmade, of course} at this particular show and it has me wondering if I should make some Halloween cards. I have some ideas sketched out, but I'm not sure if people even buy cards for this holiday.

Do you purchase Halloween cards? If so, who do you buy them for?

Please leave a comment with your answers. {If you don't have a Google account, you can still leave an anonymous comment.}

Thank you!



{see pins like this here}

Warning - I'm pretty grumpy today. It's just one of those days. I'm wearing clothes older than Malayna, my house is a mess {Luco is shedding like crazy}, there's nothing to eat here, my truck is still packed from the Yardley Harvest Fest {which means I have to unpack some of it if I want to drive anywhere with Malayna later}, my garden looks gross. Maybe I should just stop there. Oh, and I need a haircut.

But if I continue to wallow in my grumpiness it'll never go away - the day will drag on and on. I'm trying to think happy thoughts. It's not working so far.

Many people love the changing of the seasons. I don't. I guess I'm like Malayna and don't do well with change and transitions {it's more like I passed that along to her}. The weather is gorgeous, but I have no idea what to wear. It's too cool to wear shorts, but too warm to wear long pants. We went to the park again today, but I didn't even feel like walking the trail like we usually do. Which was perfectly fine with Malayna - it meant we went to the playground right away! {By the way, where are all the little kids? The park has been empty since school started. Is Malayna the only child under 5 who doesn't go to school? There's got to be other parents out there who are home with their kids. I know I'm not the only one. Show yourself!}

I was even annoyed at the playground. There was a helicopter mom there with her little boy. He was just about 2 years old and she wouldn't let him do anything without her help, even though he seemed perfectly capable. She also did. not. stop. talking. "Be careful! Watch your head! Don't jump! Don't go down the slide - it's wet!" I kept asking Malayna if she wanted to go to the other playground {there are two in the park} because I couldn't listen to this woman anymore! But instead, she wanted to play with the little boy. Which meant I had to talk to the mom. I just wanted to be left alone, ya know?

She must've asked Malayna a million questions. "What's your name? How old are you? Do you go to school?", not even waiting for her answers. She then went on to try and get her son to perform, but he stayed quiet. Which meant she had to tell me how unusual this was for him - "he usually talks so much! He's really smart. He goes to daycare. I would recommend that every child go to daycare!" Oh my.

We finally got the heck out of there, came home and painted a pumpkin. That lasted all of about 10 minutes. Right now Malayna's in her room resting and I REALLY HOPE SHE TAKES A NAP!
Thanks for listening!

{PS: Thanks for your comments on the last post. I really appreciate them.}