Tag Archives: parenting

Dance Recital

Not a Perfect Parent: Surviving 2 Birthdays, a Dance Recital, and Mother’s Day

I am, quite frankly, surprised I am still semi-sane after the last couple of weeks.  I was a little worried about when and if my survival techniques would kick in.   So much has been happening.  Let me premise this post by saying that life is great, I am a happy parent, and things could always be worse.

In the last few weeks I’ve had two MRIs of my brain and brain stem and found out that I have a thing on my eye that could be cancerous, or not. I’m hoping for not. The way I look at it is that there are a lot of things that *could* be cancerous.  My opthamologist dives head first into anything that concerns him in the slightest so here’s to hoping that he’s being overly cautious about this thing on my eye.  My dr. said he isn’t worried enough about it to do a biopsy so that’s good news!  I could just have a freckle on my eye.. funny, but true!

Here’s a timeline of the last couple of weeks and what’s coming up:

  • May 1st – Tim’s 40th birthday
  • May 1st – I found out about my eye issue
  • May 5th – Madelyn’s dance recital
  • May 9th – Madelyn’s 9th birthday
    • Decorate, pick up cake, and last minute goodies – AM
    • Party with friends 1-3pm
    • Take Sebastian to pick up dance date 5pm
    • Party with family 5-9pm
  • May 9th – Sebastian works at nature center (on Madelyn’s birthday)
  • May 9th – Sebastian’s school dance at night (on Madelyn’s birthday)
  • May 10th – Mother’s Day
  • May 10th – Sebastian starts Final Exam Reviews online (4 hours a night for 5 nights)
  • May 12th – Madelyn’s first ever play with acting class (5:30 – 8pm)
  • May 12th – Sebastian’s last band concert (6-8pm) – I need a clone – how do I pull this off?

Let’s get started..

It all started with Tim’s 40th birthday.   He didn’t want a big party so it was easy enough to plan.
The morning of his birthday I had a follow up appointment with my opthamologist because I failed two visual field tests recently, had laser iridotomy on both eyes for angle closure, and needed to make sure the procedures did some good.   The dr. had ordered the MRIs mentioned above, which I followed through with in late April and got clear results for a few days later.  During the follow up appointment, the dr. found a spot on my eye – also mentioned above.  While I was at my appointment, Tim went to get his emission inspection for his car registration and tag renewal and his Ford Mustang FAILED the inspection.  A couple hours later he left the repair shop having spend almost $400 to repair his car – that didn’t include the cost of tag and registration.  Kind of a bummer of a morning and beginning to Tim’s 40th birthday.

Next thing I knew, were a week out from Madelyn’s 9th birthday so guess how invitations went out –  No, I didn’t buy cute invitations at the store or send them via Evite.  I TEXTED parents a simple “can your child come to Madelyn’s 9th birthday party this Saturday?” invite!   That was pretty embarrassing.  I almost went into a long explanation about why I was texting invitations instead of sending them to school or via email – which was because I had been so stressed about my eye situation and general health issues (sick, neck pain, etc) – but who really cares?   Everyone has issues, whether it’s health, stress, being over-scheduled.  My issues are no more important than yours so I simply asked if their child could come, without apology for the late notice or explanation on why the invitation was given on such short notice.    I felt like unorganized-mom-of-the-year.   Lucky for me most of the parents responded promptly.

Dance Recital – May 5th

Madelyn had a dance recital the Tuesday before her birthday.  Tim was scheduled to work which was a bummer because Madelyn’s used to both of us being at her recitals.   I explained to her that it was going to be just her and I and she accepted it.  The afternoon of the recital I helped her get ready and we left the house 45 minutes early because I saw that a gas line burst on the main road we take to get to the venue and traffic was horrendous.  We arrived 5 minutes before showtime.  Then Tim called.  He said he was on the way to the recital..from work!  Given that his work is not nearby, I was nervous he wasn’t going to make it in time to see Madelyn’s dance and he would be upset given that he left work which is a rarity.  The stars aligned and he made it not only on time but the show didn’t start until about 15 minutes after he arrived so he got to see her dance and she saw him and she could hardly contain herself on stage when she saw him.  It was adorable!

Dance Recital

Madelyn’s 9th Birthday – May 9th

At first Tim said he wasn’t going to be off work the day of her birthday.  It’s unfortunate but it happens.  He’s in the restaurant business and when you’re in the restaurant business you don’t get holidays like Mother’s Day weekend – the weekend Madelyn’s birthday fell on this year – off.   My jaw dropped when he told me he wouldn’t be off.  How was I going to plan a party BY MYSELF?   Ultimately it all worked out.  He was able to take the day off and help with the party.  I’m no June Cleaver or one who enjoys being busy, busy, busy.  The idea of planning a home birthday party, even with Pinterest at my fingertips, is the equivalent of having to go to the library with a fussy three year old in tow, to write a Thesis.    You just wouldn’t do that – on purpose.

Madelyn was pretty bummed that Sebastian wouldn’t be around on her birthday because he was schedule to work at the nature center from 9am-4pm then he was going to a school dance from 5pm-10pm.  She was bummed and I was stressed about that.  A dance?  He’s not a center of attention, social kind of guy so he was pretty nervous.

That said, I pulled the day off and actually had fun!   I decorated inside and outside, balloons on the mailbox and everything!  The party was two hours but seemed like 30 minutes.  We had two scavenger hunts, an acting skit, cake, presents, and playtime.  Madelyn had a blast!

9th Birthday Party

Mother’s Day – May 10th

I bought my mom a Mother’s Day card when I bought wrapping paper for Madelyn’s gifts at Target a week before her birthday.   Finding the card on Mother’s Day was a bit of an issue.  After much searching and a bit of panic, I found the card on the refrigerator, where I put it the day I bought it.. for safe keeping. 🙂   Tim had to work at 9am Mother’s Day.   I slept in.  When I woke, Madelyn presented me with two miniature Orchids.  One from her and one from our puppy.  Really.

In the interim, and after Sebastian rolled out of bed around noon, the kids and I played Monopoly, one of Madelyn’s birthday presents.   The kids did what they do during the game – bickered.  I kept thinking “It’s Mother’s Day, you can’t bicker on Mother’s Day!”.  Well, there is no such thing as a perfect day I decided.

Around 2pm, after playing Monopoly for two hours, I received an email reminding me that Sebastian’s online final exam review classes start at 4:30pm – that day!  Considering I was hoping to take the kids to my mom’s house, fix her dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day, and hang out with her for a little while, I panicked seeing as how it was already 2:00.  What kind of child am I if I only stop by my mom’s house for an hour and a half on Mother’s Day?  What kind of mom and I that I didn’t realize that Sebastian’s final exam reviews started that day?

I took a deep breath and realized that my mom would appreciate any time we spend with her – any day.  She’s not one that likes being pampered.  She likes attention and effort and that’s what we gave her.

When we were about to leave to head to my mom’s house I asked Madelyn if it would be ok for me to give one of the Orchids to my mom, her grandmother.   She said “sure, you can give the one Cody gave you, to Grandmother”.  Sigh of relief!   Pulled that one off!

Mother's Day orchid


The weekend ended fabulously with us having spent time with my mom, Sebastian being home to start his final exam review at 4:30, and Madelyn and I played a fun game of Life and then Monopoly – until after her bedtime.   She gave me discounts on rent on her properties because it was Mother’s Day.  🙂

What a great weekend!

Now I have to get through the next two days.  Then I’ll be fine.  Sebastian’s last band concert of the school year is Tuesday at the same time as Madelyn’s first (ever) play!  I want to be at both but as one human being and parent, I clearly make that happen.  🙁

Perfection is something I usually realize is what took place, after the fact.  This weekend really was perfect even though things didn’t happen the way I visioned.


Not A Perfect Parent: A Mish Mash Of Excitement & Frustration – Cars, A Puppy, Shoes, and Orchids

This is the second post in my ‘Not a Perfect Parent’ series.  You can read the first post, The Almost Daily Big Time Freak Out, here.

I hope you are having a fabulous day! I had a great morning at the Atlanta International Auto Show.  I love cars and gadgets/technology so being surrounded by beautiful cars with amazing technology was, for me, the equivalent of a child being in a candy shop.  I saw huge cars such as the Cadillac Escalade, tiny cars such as the Fiat 500, and a Nissan sports car that cost $149,000!  You read that right, $149k!   It’s pretty impressive but the $33,000 Cadillac ATS sedan and $38,000 (approx) Toyota 4Runner SUV are more up my alley.

Speaking of cars, I have been test driving a Toyota Tundra 1794 for a week and having never driven a truck before I didn’t know what to expect or didn’t expect much, I should say.  I’m kind of frustrated at the moment because this is my last day with the Tundra and I wanted to drive up north (toward the North Georgia Mountains) in it today but I had to go home after the auto show in order to take our dog out (another story completely) and my daughter is sick so I have to be home for her too. I blame my frustration on the dog, not my daughter.

Here is a photo of the Toyota Tundra 1794 I have been test driving.

Toyota Tundra 1794

Speaking of the dog (aka Cody).. if we are friends on Facebook you might have seen my post about our new puppy.  The puppy was an unplanned surprise that my husband brought home in January.  I was not ready for the responsibility of having a puppy and I thought that was pretty clear, but I guess not.  Madelyn, my 7-year-old, is just starting to sleep through the night which I cherish and I wasn’t ready to have another ‘baby’ in the house, much less one that I didn’t carry for 9 months and give birth to.  Had it been a surprise human baby, that’s one thing, but a puppy.. I’ve had a hard time adjusting to say the least.

When I got home from the auto show, I let the dog out and sat down to work.  Within 30 seconds he sat down next to me and looked up at me and started barking.  Barking, barking, barking.  I played ball with him for a few minutes but that didn’t suffice.  He wanted more attention.  I took him for a walk but he still wasn’t happy enough to let me be.  I don’t know what to do.   I was not in need of something or someone else to suck the energy out of me or require attention then along came the puppy.  He’s pretty cute and seems pretty smart so that helps.  But jeez.. a puppy can really change your life.

Here’s a photo of our puppy, Cody.


Enough about the dog and on to something exciting and happy.. I was really happy when my new Elorie Bella Ballet Flats arrived yesterday.  I bought a tan/cognac pair about a year ago and have since tried to find a pair of black ballet flats that I like as much as my tan Elorie flats but had no such luck.  I caved last week and ordered the same shoe in black.    Elorie’s Bella ballet flats are comfortable and don’t look like slippers, a combination which I have found to be a rarity for ballet flats.  I am absolutely not a shoe pro so the best way I can describe these to you is with four words: substantial, durable, soft, and comfortable.

Elorie Bella Ballet Flat

I found these ballet flats on Gilt.com, one of my favorite online designer sample sale website’s.   If you aren’t already a member, you should join today.. it’s free!

Another exciting thing about my day is that there are five blooms on my orchid!

What’s something exciting that happened to you today or recently?

orchid blooms

Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or shoe that you have bought more than one of because you like it so much?

Want to vent and share something frustrating that’s happened/happening in your life recently?



New Book ‘Why Have Kids?’ + #WhyHaveKids Twitter Party Thursday September 13th 7-8pm CT


A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti

Why have kids? Is this a question you’ve asked yourself time and time again? To many parents, this seems like a senseless, no-brainer question, but it’s a legitimate one at that. Parents as well as childless adults have been asking this question for thousands of years. Author and feminist Jessica Valenti discusses the truth about parenting and happiness in her provocitive new book.

WHY HAVE KIDS Twitter Party!

Join #WhyHaveKids 9/13 8-9pm/ET for a Twitter party on the new WHY HAVE KIDS? book! Win prizes, too! RSVP: http://bit.ly/RET1KF

TOPIC – Why Have Kids? with Jessica Valenti

TIME – Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 8-9 PM Eastern (7-8 PM Central, 6-7 PM Mountain, 5-6 PM Pacific)

HASHTAG – #WhyHaveKids


PANELISTS – @MomSpark, @MomSparkMedia, @JessicaValenti, @mommyltloriley, @momwithadotcom, @thefrugalette and @OMGhada (follow everyone before party!)

Follow @JessicaValenti on Twitter!

One of the most high-profile young feminists in America, Jessica Valenti takes on the controversial—but necessary—question: Why Have Kids?

If the statistics confirm that parenting is making Americans unhappy, then Valenti’s question is poised to spark an essential and honest conversation about modern parenthood. Through on-the-ground reporting, new scientific studies, and her own burgeoning motherhood, Valenti offers an in-depth exposé of the world of having (and not having) children. She moves beyond the black and white “mommy wars” over natural parenting, discipline, and work-life balance to explore a more nuanced reality: one filled with ambivalence, joy, guilt, and exhaustion.

“This is a book about how the American ideal of parenting doesn’t match the reality of our lives, and how that incompatibility is hurting parents and children,” says Valenti. “The truth about parenting is that the reality of our lives needs to be enough. Seeking out an ideal that most of us can never reach is making us, and our kids, miserable.” The pursuit of perfection in pregnancy and parenting is giving American mothers a guilt complex and taking the joy out of parenthood. Valenti reveals the disconnect between parents’ hopes and the day-to-day reality of raising children and argues that while debating whether or not to breastfeed means we care about parenting, we really should really focus on raising our childrenas a community exercise. Forming communities of action rather than communities of judgment will help mothers and parents support each other.

Why Have Kids? tackles the tough questions that many parents and potential parents should be challenged to address. Brutally honest and refreshingly insightful, Valenti articulates the problem with modern parenting and offers solutions to social and political issues that can bring joy back to parenting.

A provocative and intimate exploration of modern parenthood by “a gutsy young third wave feminist” – The New York Times

“Timely… [Valenti] states early on that her book is meant to anger people and incite discussions… she wades deeply into the moral and logistical problems facing mothers, with interviews, research and her own anecdotal experiences.” – Kirkus Reviews

“In a culture that glamorizes motherhood, Jessica Valenti daringly articulates the hard work and the personal decisions that are an essential part of parenting. This book is a must read for new parents.”
– Gayle Lemmon, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

Jessica Valenti is the author of three previous books, including The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women. She is also the founder of Feministing.com, which the Columbia Journalism Review called “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.” Jessica – called one of the top 100 inspiring women in the world by the Guardian – speaks at universities and organizations in the U.S. and abroad about feminism, activism, and media. She lives with her family in Boston, but remains a New Yorker at heart.

Visit JessicaValenti.com to learn more about the author and her book WHY HAVE KIDS.

Disclosure: This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a copy of Why Have Kids? and compensation nfor my time investment and work on this campaign.