Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times

It was bound to happen, the dreaded fall cold.  My son miraculously got over his in a couple of days.  But just as we were getting into the "best of times" (i.e. preschool for my son, nice weather, new fall t.v.), my now one-year old daughter has a nasty cold.  One of those beauties featuring two steady streams of yellow fluid pouring out of her tiny nose.  (For more ramblings in the horrific nature of children's colds, see my post: The Neverending Cold).

I keep thinking things will get easier now that my son is in preschool a few mornings a week and my daughter is past the impossible, exhausting newborn stage, and yet, and yet... 

There are still days when I want to go hide in my closet (admit it: you have a hiding spot).  Because if my son isn't whining for me to play cars with him, my daughter decides she needs to spill the entire contents of the Cheerios box on the recently vacuumed floor.  Or there is another stinky diaper to change.  Or someone is hungry.  Or both of them (and I) desperately need a nap, but one is refusing.

                                                       (Image from Schoolofhardknox.com)

Last night, after getting the kids in bed, I wanted to wave the white flag of surrender.  I just simply could not picture being home with both of them all day again.  To survive another day solo with my two young kids sounded impossible.  But here it is, another day.  And I'm here.  What choice do I have?  Moms don't get sick days.  We don't get to occasionally call in and play hooky.  We show up because we live here.

Here's hoping things get just a bit easier soon (even if that simply means neither kid has green snot), moving past the worst of times, and focusing on the best of times.

~Frantic Mama

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Testing. Testing. 1-2-3: Tru Hue Makeup

I can't imagine I'm the only one out there who has never used eyebrow pencils before.  Even eyeliner is a stretch for me.  As in, maybe once or twice a year, I might, just might, try out a little neutral, dark brown eyeliner.  I just started understanding the beauty of mascara this year.  Better late than never, right?

So I was flattered/surprised when Marcella Cardinal, a successful makeup artist/businesswoman, contacted me about her new line of makeup, Tru Hue Makeup.  The main premise of Tru Hue is that in a simple 6 step process you can feel more beautiful in just a few minutes.  A good idea for mamas on the go, I think, even though there are days when making myself presentable feels pointless (do my babies care if I have lip gloss on?).  Still, I always feel better wearing some makeup (regardless of who I see), but I am sometimes bored with the idea of putting it on (if I even manage a few minutes to myself to do so).  So I decided some updates to my routine might help motivate me.

I asked to try out Tru Hue products before writing about them, of course.  After I told her my coloring, she sent me the product of which she is most proud: the Super Wear Brow Definer ($19).  Ummmm... really? I thought.  Not a simple lip gloss or bronzer?  Haven't you seen my blog's name?  I'm lucky if I put lipstick on!

But if you read Marcella's bio, you'll quickly see that she is a master make-up artist (for almost 20 years), so she clearly knows more than I do about how to make the most of one's looks.  I wasn't making any promises, but I figured, let's do this.

When I managed to wrangle both my kids in their rooms for nap [attempts], I sneaked off to the bathroom and put the eyebrow definer on (Dark Taupe for me-- I have dark hair and brows).  It feels and looks more like a little paintbrush than a crayon or pencil.

Looking closely in the mirror in the unforgiving bathroom light, I couldn't really see anything different in my eyebrow area.  Fortunately, I certainly did not see the dark brown crayon marks that I was expecting.  But when I stepped back and looked in the mirror, I thought, yes, my eyes do stand out more.  And yes, my eyebrows do look nicer filled in a bit.  And it was really, really easy (I "painted" for about 5 seconds).

My final test was to ask Frantic Mama Hubby if he noticed anything.  While we soaked our two ragamuffins in the tub later that evening, I asked him, "Do I look better, worse, or the same as usual?"  He said, "Um, I don't know if you look different, but you look good."  Ha!  Smart man.  (Looking back, I realize if he had chosen option B, he would have been in trouble).

*Bottom Line:  If you are on the lookout for a few simple makeup tips or products to add to your routine, I encourage you to check out the Tru Hue Website:  http://www.truhuemakeup.com/.  (Click Here for the Pinterest Page).  On the website, there is a cool "Quick Help" section where you answer questions and are given recommendations about which colors and products to order (I also think the "mineral lip mousse" sounds luxurious.  What a name!).  The website also has a Tutorials section where you can watch Marcella and other women use the various products.

                              (Image:  Tru Hue Creator Marcella Cardinal and her line of cosmetics)

~Frantic Mama

*Please note: I am not being paid to write this blog post!  I agreed to try her product and I really do like it and I like her (yay for female entrepreneurs!).  This is my real, honest opinion.  And I would post "before and after" photos, but I'm still attempting to be at least semi-anonymous here, so you'll have to take my word for it :).

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Monday, September 16, 2013

8 T.V. Shows I Miss (and should come back)

It's no secret that I like t.v.  I don't hide it so I can seem more intellectual.  In fact, there's no other way I like to unwind more at the end of a long day than turning on a good show and cracking open a Sam Adams.

Here are some dearly departed shows I miss, in no particular order:

1.  The Office (British AND American versions (2005-2013).  Most people have seen the American version, and on a good night, it was fantastic.  (I love Steve Carell!).  If you haven't seen the British version with Ricky Gervais, you are so lucky...because now you can order it all on Netflix and enjoy it for the very first time.  Hilarious.

2.  Freaks and Geeks (1999).  Did you ever catch this short-lived, totally underrated series?  So many of the actors are famous now (James Franco, Jason Segal, Seth Rogan) and I'm not surprised.  But it only lasted ONE season. Criminal.

                                                              Ricky Gervais:  The Office

3.  Bobby's World (1990-1998).  I vaguely remember this cute little cartoon created by Howie Mandel.  I watched it way longer than their target audience.

4.  Sex and the City (1998-2004).  I don't care if the women are getting older.  I hate it when people say that.  They're still awesome!

5.  Jack & Jill (1999-2001).  This one is so random, but I remember watching it a lot my freshman and sophomore year of college.  So cute.  Lots of now-famous people in it, like Amanda Peet.  And the theme song, Romeo's Lament, is great.

6.  Arrested Development (2003-2013?).  I feel like I missed out on this show.  I watched some episodes online recently and loved it.  Actually now that I think about it, I heard it is coming back?

7.  My So-Called Life (1994-1995).  Ok, yes, she'd be in her late 20's or 30's by now.  That'd be perfect.  Maybe she would even have a baby and be married to Jordan Catalano!

8.  Felicity (1998-2002).  Noel or Ben?  I'd be thrilled to find out what's going on in 2013.

What small-screen gems am I missing?

*Frantic Mama Hubby thinks Seinfield should make this list.  And I agree that it WAS hilarious.  Loved it.  BUT, I'm not convinced it would be funny if it started up again...then again, I'd of course watch if it were on. And should Friends be on this list?  I think it's run it's course, but maybe not?

~Frantic Mama

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Junior Monet Review (Personalized Keepsakes)

My 3 year old son likes to color and paint (hooray hooray!) so when Junior Monet asked me to try out their product and review it on my blog, I thought it would be a good fit for my blog and fun for my son.

What is it?:  Junior Monet (www.JuniorMonet.com) uses your child’s art to decorate personalized items such as cards, journals, calendars, canvas, stickers, magnets, and posters.  Debbie Lewis, one of the founders (Please note I'm 3 for 3 for featuring female-powered businesses.  Booyah!), wanted to see art celebrated in a more fun and permanent way than to just pin it to the refrigerator.  

How it works:  First you print out a form from the Junior Monet website using regular computer paper and have your child color on it.  Send the art in the mail to the company.  In a week or two, they send you an e-mail with the link to your image.  In their online store, you can choose to have your child's artwork put on just about any object you can think of (the obligatory coffee mug, yes, but also aprons, stamps, laptop sleeve covers, and much more).

What item did I choose?:  I chose a simple tote bag (Budget Tote; $10.95) that features my son's artwork inside a big red truck with his name on it.  I like things I can actually use (I do not need more stuff in my house).  A cute tote that he can carry to preschool or swimming, etc., will be useful.  Including shipping, it was under $20.

                                                              Red Truck Tote (not my son's artwork)

My son's reaction:  Not great.  He gave the tote a cursory glance and went back to watching the Wiggles on my phone.  It had been so long since he had created the art that he didn't really remember it when he saw it on the tote.  Keep in mind that he's only 3.  I think an older kid might think it was really cool, especially if they had worked hard on the art itself. 

My Reaction and overall takeaway:  A great idea, especially for kids older than 3.  Some of the products are very cheap (under $5), but you do have to pay shipping.  The overall process (printing the paper, getting your little jumping bean to sit and color, mailing it, waiting for the email, and then placing the order and waiting for the product) takes a while, so it is not something to undertake for a birthday or occasion one week away.  The artwork on the canvas looks less vivid than it did on paper, so be sure to use bright, vibrant markers on the art paper.

Website:  www.JuniorMonet.com.  Coupon Codes: http://www.juniormonet.com/coupons.html

Let me know if you have tried Junior Monet or plan to try it.  Was it worth it?  Did the recipient love it?

~Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On The Eve of Preschool

*I wrote this the night before my son started preschool.

In some ways, I've waited for 3 years for this week.  Bringing home my son (my first baby) from the hospital after he was born in 2010 surprised me in so many ways that I could never have predicted.  Especially just how hard Motherhood was going to be.

So, after years of being with my son almost around the clock, save the occasional babysitter or once-a-year weekend away, my son and I have been attached to each other's daily lives for over 3 years.  3 years.

With all the challenges and exhaustion that come from staying home with babies and toddlers, I thought I would be completely excited for him to start going to school.  After all, it's only 2 and a half hours long, just a few days a week.  But-- and this is what surprises me-- I'm also nervous.  How will he do?  Is he going to cry really hard, pulling on my leg, as I struggle out the classroom door holding my daughter (because yes, I have a toddler too; it's not as if I'll be alone for 2 and a half luxurious hours)?  Will the teachers like him?  Will they see his true personality and appreciate his sense of humor?  Will he be nice to other kids?  Will they be nice to him?  Is this the right choice for him?

Sounds familiar, right?  Like the night before you started school yourself?  And that's what it feels like this time around.  I'm excited for his new chapter, just as I would have been embark on my own new start (high school, college, new job, etc.) but I'm also nervous about all the unknowns.  He is my heart, and I so want this to be a happy experience for all of us, and especially for him.

~Frantic Mama

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Open Letter of Apology [to all parents who had kids before I did]

You know how before you had kids, you used to think your friends/siblings/co-workers with kids were a little crazy?  You and your spouse would look at each other and under your breath say, "we'll never to that" [whatever that might be].  Oh, how wrong I was.

Here are a few [obnoxious/clueless] thoughts I had pre-baby, that I'd now like to openly apologize for:

1.  Why on earth do they plan their whole day around their children's naps?  Can't the kids just sleep in the car?  (No, they can't 'just sleep in the car' if you want them rested and happy and somewhat enjoyable to be with.  And they plan their days around naps because that is their only salvation!) (For more on the fleeting beauty of naptime, read: Naptime Revisited )

2.  We'll always manage to go out and have fun, even when we have kids.
(Um, unless you have a babysitter (i.e. grandparent) who is willing to give up any of their free time, sadly you will not get to go out and "have fun" whenever you want.  You will need to find, interview, and pay a babysitter, and organize a "date night" (shovel list*) on one of those huge family calendars you never thought you'd buy).

3.  I'll be sure to dress well even if I stay home with kids.  (Excuse me for a sec, just have to stop laughing at myself, as I sit here in my old Adidas shorts from college with a t-shirt I got on sale at Target...ahhhh, ok, I'm back).  (For more on my awesome new mom look (ha!) check out my post: What Not to Wear).

4.  So, if you quit your job to stay home with your kids, you just hang out, watch t.v, take them out to lunch, have lots of playdates, etc?  That'll be a walk in the park compared to teaching [or whatever job you might have] full-time.  (It may be somewhat less stressful than the demands of a full-time career outside the home, but being a SAHM is certainly not easier or less exhausting).

5.  Why don't they ever come out anymore?  I miss her! (Trust me, she misses you even more).

6.  They can't come to our wedding because they have kid(s)?  Really?!  I'm so disappointed!  (Yes, it is disappointing when some of your favorite people can't make it to your wedding, but once you have little babies/kids, you realize why it is so hard to travel with little ones (and if it's a no-kid wedding, what are you supposed to do with your children while there anyway?).  Inability to go to a wedding certainly does not mean they don't care or value your friendship).

7.  What's with all this "picky eater" b.s.?  They should eat whatever's on their plate.  We'll never cater to our kids! (Ah, the sticky smell of ignorance.  You can be oh-so-smug until you experience the joys of a picky eater for yourself.  Because guess what?  If you have a picky eater and don't occasionally make chicken nuggets?  Your kid just might not eat anything but Goldfish that day (and yes, you'll probably buy those too.  Don't judge).

8.  Did you see how many toys they have?  No one needs that many in their house!  Hahahaha.  The innocence of youth.

9.  Oh, come on, potty training can't be that bad.  (My 3 year old went through a stage when the only place he'd pee outside of a diaper was in our shower.  Enough said).

10.  Did you see how much Jack and Diane bicker?  We'll never be that couple.  I might love my husband even more now that we have children, but it is a lot harder to be romantic all the time when you haven't slept more than a couple hours for a few nights and your last meal out was McDonald's.

What am I forgetting?  What did you once mumble smugly about parenthood before creating your own glorious brood?

P.S.  *This post was featured on Mamalode.  Check it out here!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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