Friday, December 27, 2013

Falling Apart

It's happening.  I suppose it had to at some point.  At the ripe old age of 32, I'm falling apart.  Physically, that is.

Here are my Top 3 Issues at the moment:

1.  I'm missing a front tooth.  Really.  It's hideous.  I have a crown covering the nightmarish stump (left behind from a root canal from my adolescence), but it is a temporary one until they can make a good match. In the meantime, my temporary crown has come out a couple of times during meals, and I've rushed to a mirror to stick it back on, trying to avoid looking at my carney-self.  I fear that if I get a few drinks in me, I'll be tempted to whip it off as a party trick.

2.  My back hurts.  Pretty much all night, every night.  It has for years (since having my first child).  But the good news is that I'm finally doing something about it: I've made a physical therapy appointment!  I don't know why I put it off so long.  Life, I guess.  Who on earth has time for such luxuries as physical therapy on top of the daily rigmarole of life-- obligatory kids check-ups, dental visits (see above), nap schedules, The Bachelor, and preschool drop-offs/pick-ups?

                                            (This photo is not me.  A little too dramatic to be.)

3.  I've been diagnosed with the lovely Reynaud's Syndrome.  Heard of it?  Basically, my toes were in so much pain when it got cold outside that with the urging of the hubs, I finally went to a foot doctor.  Turns out, I'm one of the lucky people whose circulation doesn't always reach their feet when they're cold.  This is a problem:  remember where I live?  Minnesota.  It can be colder here than the North Pole.  I think I read that one time.  So just when life couldn't get any less sexy, I've invested in a multitude of big brown slippers, thick woolen socks, and Uggs.

(Photo from

What plagues you?  Misery loves company!  :)

~Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas for Real

Although one might think the night before Christmas with little ones is totally, completely joyful and exciting, there is also an element of work, sleeplessness, and stress associated with it.  

My adaptation of the famous 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas) is a humorous look at what I think is a more accurate portrayal of Christmas Eve in a house with little ones.

You can check it out on Mamalode by clicking here.
It's also on What the Flicka, right here.

(Who doesn't love A Charlie Brown Christmas?)

Merry Christmas to all of my loyal readers and newer visitors.  Despite the chaos of the holidays, we here at Frantic Mama really do love Christmastime, footed jammies and all.  So, "Let's fight the good fight!" :)

~Frantic Mama

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Frantic Mama's Favorite Shows for Young Kids

Yes, that's the title.  My favorite shows for young kids.  Because, just like you [admit it!], I let my kids watch some t.v. during the day.  I do not fall into the group that has the t.v. on all day for background noise (though I am not judging those who do: the days can be long, people!  Do whatever works!), but I do take advantage of the fact that-- finally-- my children can focus on a show for a good 15 minute stretch.

And as anyone with kids knows, 15 minutes is a lot.  In 15 minutes, I can clean up the kitchen and get dinner started.  In 15 minutes, I can check my e-mail and even reply to a couple.  In 15 minutes, I can send a few texts (but only if the kids don't catch me using my phone, in which case they run over to try to grab it out of my hands).

I have two requirements when it comes to Frantic Mama-approved children's television.

  • The show has to hold their attention (both the 1 year old's and the 3 year old's) for more than 2 minutes.
  • It has to be educational.  (I really do think t.v. can be educational.  And I went to Ed. school at Harvard, so hopefully I'm not a complete idiot).  
Without further ado, my Top 3 Favorites are:

1.  Little Einsteins on Disney Junior.  I could be a walking advertisement for this show (actually, Disney executives, if you are reading this, I'm open to any and all lucrative offers).  The characters are smart and kind, use high-quality vocabulary, and travel around the world.  My son knows about Egypt, Antarctica, and Africa, along with various animals and beautiful artwork mainly because of this show.  I love classical music (I'm a nerd, remember?), and they feature a different composer each episode, along with a wide variety of art.  I often end up watching it with my kids (and abandon the proverbial pile of laundry).

2.  Dora the Explorer on Nick Jr.  This might be surprising because a lot of people seem to think Dora is annoying.  I happen to think it is a fantastic show.  There are so many cool habitat, animal, geography, and language lessons crammed into a 20 minute show.  (The Map's voice is creepy, and there's a talking backpack, but overall I still think it's well done).

3.  The Wiggles.  Specifically, The Best of the Wiggles DVD.  Perhaps this one isn't as educational as the others, but it makes up for it with the physical activity and participation it encourages.  Again, some people find the four grown men dancing, singing, and strutting their Aussie stuff to be annoying/laughable, but I find many of the songs catchy, and nothing helps me get out of a slump than dancing around wildly with my kids.

Go, Diego, Go! also looks like a great show, but they don't put the episodes OnDemand, so we don't get to see it often.  My 3 year old son likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but it doesn't completely fit criteria #1 (my daughter is sorely disappointed if it's not Dora or Little Einsteins).  I also find it annoying and ridiculous in too many ways, so it doesn't really fit criteria #2 either.

What do you think?  Is television ruining my kids, or do you let your kids watch some too?  Any shows my readers and I should check out?  Please share!

~Frantic Mama

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

My New Years Resolution: Worry Less, Enjoy More

Worrywart. Worry is your middle name.  Don't worry so much.  Calm down!  Oh, don't worry about it.  I have heard ALL OF THESE phrases a million times in my life.  But guess what, folks?  I am, therefore I worry.  Or, I worry, therefore I am.

On another note:  I've never believed in those God-awful, self-depriving New Year's Resolutions, such as:  This year, I will severely restrict calories [and be miserable all year!]; this year, I will go to the gym daily and get in a sweat [and be miserable all year!]; and, this year, I will never drink a drop of alcohol [and be miserable all year!]).  I don't see how such resolutions are helpful or encouraging at all.

This is not to say I'm an overly optimistic Pollyanna either (I'm a little allergic to those people).  As I said, I'm the epitome of a worrywart.  Hence my blog title, Frantic Mama.  Calm is simply not much a part of my nature.  It is something I relish, however, when I do catch a glimpse of it (perhaps watching a bad Hallmark movie with my husband after the kids are in bed, working on a blog post during naptime...).  Calm is something I work for.

We all have something we want to improve, right?  This is mine.

My non-depriving, resolution/goal for 2014 is to worry less, and enjoy more.  Sounds good, right?  (A side note:  To those delightful Type B's reading, this might sound easy or silly.  If only it were!  I'd love to be more Type B (Would you know, I have never once been described as "laid back" or "relaxed?" What would it be like?? I wonder  But I digress.).  Finding calm, and worrying less, seem to go hand in hand for me.

How can I go about such a large task?  How do I not worry when the preschool teacher calls me [again]? How do I not worry if my daughter has a fever?  How do I not worry about my husband's job security in this (still) depressing economic climate?

One thing that countless "experts" (whoever they may be) seem to agree on is the idea of gratitude being a powerful force in our lives.  That feeling and expressing gratitude is a key factor in our age-old quest for happiness.

I think I agree with these experts.  I find that taking time out of each day to think about what I am grateful for is extremely effective in helping me focus on the here and now, which I think is also a way to slow down, and therefore calm down a bit.  A deep breath, a focus on staying in the moment, and seeking out things, activities, and people that I enjoy-- all of that helps me feel calmer and therefore happier (or is it happier and therefore calmer?  Chicken-and-egg type scenario, I suppose).

                                                          (What does he know that I don't?)

It's said that four out of five people will have abandoned their resolutions by February 1st.  February 1st?!  I guess that isn't so hard to believe if you think of all the aforementioned torturous resolutions (and in that case, I'm glad that people often abandon things that make them unhappy).  But I'm hoping to remain at least somewhat cognizant of my goal for long after the expiration of 30 days.

I'm curious:  Do you make resolutions?  If so, what are your resolutions for 2014?  Have you had previous success setting goals for the new year?

~Frantic Mama

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

The World According to Ceci: My Mom's Lessons

You know how in your twenties, you start noticing that you occasionally sound like your mother? You might flinch a little and sigh, "I'm turning into my mother!"

Then, in your thirties, when you perhaps have children of your own, you hear yourself-- often-- sounding exactly like your mother.  But you no longer flinch.  You accept it.  Maybe even embrace it.  At least, that's how I've been feeling recently.  Because the older I get (and no, I'm not that old) I realize that she was and is often right about lots of life's little (and big) things.

My kids call her "Ceci," pronounced Sessy, because like most modern grandparents, she's simply not going to go with Grandma.  That's because she's less like this:

And more like this:

There are countless Ceci-isms that I enjoy, and surely many more that don't come to mind right at this moment.  However, until she starts a blog of her own (do it, Ceci!), I feel compelled to record some of her most classic/hilarious/ridiculous opinions/sayings here [not that I agree with all of them (still holding out hope that George Clooney will end up with a friend of mine), but beware: some that seem the most absurd, tend to be true]:

The World According to Ceci
  • Energy begets energy (i.e. stop your lollygagging).
  • Chocolate causes zits.  (A hard pill to swallow when I was pregnant).  But wait, you say!  That's an old wives tale!  I will then ask you:  why do I always break out after eating M&Ms?  AND, I must tell you, sorry folks, there has just been new "scientific evidence" that something in chocolate just might cause acne after all.  So, Ceci might be right on this one.

  • Don't drink alcohol during the day. (Again, this seems [unfortunately] to be sound advice; I always feel sluggish if I indulge too early).
  • Be suspicious of anyone who doesn't drink coffee.
  • If your friend has a baby, go visit her; even better, bring her a meal.
  • Lunch is the most boring meal of the day (Ceci has often said: if they made a pill I could take for lunch, I would).

  • Don't live together before you get married (that whole, 'why buy the cow when you get the milk for free' thing).   Is it old-fashioned or a wise form of self-protection?
  • Water your Christmas tree every day.
  • When in doubt, stick with beer.  This is true for me:  I like wine, but it keeps me up at night and makes me tired.
  • Wear layers.
  • George Clooney is gay.  (Alas!  he is now married, so this might be proved incorrect).
  • Don't trust a guy who drinks Diet Coke.  The problem with this one: my husband drinks it.
  • Kids should go to bed early.  Amen.
  • There should be a box of Kleenex in every room. 
  • A nap during the day will make you groggy.
  • Put on some lipstick.
  • Be sure to have plenty of towels and washcloths.
  • Floss your teeth.  (I do.  And it does wonders for shortening dental appointments).

What have you learned from your mother over the years?  Are there any lessons--big or small-- that have especially rung true since having children?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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