Sunday, April 27, 2014

Who ARE BluCollection and DisneyCollectorBR?

*Updated:  July 2014 *See new information provided in the Comments section!*
*I was interviewed for this article on BuzzFeed because of this post.  Check it out for additional information!*

If you don't recognize the names BluCollection and DisneyCollectorBR, then you must not have a kid watching adults play with Disney cars on YouTube.  They even have the "rare" ones-- Tomber, Tank Coat, and RPM, just to name a few (again, if those don't ring a bell, your kid hasn't reached the true outer limits of fascination with the Cars and Cars 2 movies).

My son hard at work with YouTube.

Anyway, my 3-year-old son and I stumbled upon these YouTube videos last year, only to find out that my sister and her sons have also been tuning in.  Ha!  These collectors have hundreds-- if not thousands-- of Disney cars, and many of the accessories and racetracks.  Their channels receive MILLIONS of views.  Rumor has it, they make a lot of money doing this.

(Just a small portion of my son's Disney car collection!)

Here's the question that has been nagging my husband and me recently:  WHO ARE THEY?  Neither BluCollection guy nor DisneyCollectorBR lady ever show their faces on the channel.  Both have accents that are not American English.  And that's about all we know about them.

A cursory search on the Internet yields almost no information about them.  If you get a little fixated (as we have) you search even more [I know, I know, what has become of me?], and still there is very little information out there about them.

So, does anyone have any information on them?  Who else watches these channels?!

*June 2014 Update:  Comments on the blog seem to confirm DisneyCollectorBR is Brazilian (based on accent and her ability to speak Portuguese.  I guess the "BR" makes sense.).

*A second recent comment (see below) has suggested that the two YouTube sensations are married and living in Florida together!  Fascinating!

My son is currently obsessed with DisneyCollectorBR's reviews of the Kinder Surprise eggs and we make our own versions using old plastic Easter eggs and filling them with Micro Drifters, stickers, and, of course-- "flyers!"

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

IS there a Glamorous Side to Motherhood?

Recently, someone on Twitter made a funny jab at my blog's tagline (The Less Glamorous Side of Motherhood) with the statement, "so this implies there is a glamorous side?"  Ha!  Point taken.

It did make me think twice, though.  But, again, I came to the realization that Yes!  There most certainly is a glamorous side of motherhood.  It is displayed to us on a daily basis.  In some ways, it's what we strive for.

Glamour is:  Princess Kate, with perfect hair and an amazing dress, exiting a private plane with her bouncing baby boy.  Or, on a more global level, it is the photos of our smiling, well-groomed families featured on Christmas cards.  The gorgeous shots and anecdotes shared on Facebook.  Fancy diaper bags and expensive baby gear.  A beautiful nursery.  It can even be the moms we encounter in our daily lives, those we see from afar at the park or school, who look relaxed and put together, accompanied by perfectly behaved children.

(A very glamorous photo of out family taken by my friend Michele at mQn Photography on a lovely fall day.  What you didn't see?  My daughter's constant runny nose and me bribing my son with fruit snacks).

This is where Frantic Mama comes in.  It's a behind-the-scenes look at Motherhood.  It's the work that goes into giving your kids, say, a "Happy Easter"-- painting 3 dozen eggs, waking early to hide said eggs, keeping everyone's church clothes [decently] clean, getting to church relatively on time-- and the countless photos we take to get that one amazing shot we can then share on Facebook or on the annual card.

The less glamorous side is the one we groggily face when we wake up with a newborn several times a night, and then, tired and weepy, play cars with a 2 year old the following day.  It is the flight to and from the sunny beach vacation.  It is eating chicken nuggets for dinner.  It is the coffee maker breaking right before you host a big playgroup.  (All true stories for me).

Here's the rub:  I love the glamorous side.  There is nothing wrong with the glamorous side.  It's what sustains us, isn't it?  Despite the effort, I will always treasure the photos my friend took of our family last fall.  Regardless of the nerve-wracking plane rides, I will never forget running around on the beach with my little kids and swimming with them in the ocean.  Even with all the anticipation and worry, I am so proud of my anxious son for being a handsome little ring bearer at a big wedding last summer.  I feel happy and full of pride during those moments when my kids show their best selves during a performance, a Christmas party, or some other get-together.  And, yes, Princess Kate makes a beautiful mother.

So the tagline will continue with full force:  for all of the wonderful moments I share and don't share on the blog, the majority of what I post on Frantic Mama is the less glamorous side of Motherhood, where I try to laugh at the green crayon on the walls, the sticky jelly fingerprints on my old black yoga pants, and the all-too-frequent bleary-eyed early mornings.  Perhaps there's even a certain glamour in that-- the very transient nature of life with young children.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Time I Got Drunk at the Airport Burger King

Did the title catch your attention?  Well, it is TRUE (though it does make me sound more scandalous than I actually am).  Read on for the full story:

But first, here's the back story:
I'm terrified of flying.  You can read all about my phobia from a previous blog post, right here.  Alas, I know flying is safer than driving, etc.; I just don't necessarily believe it.  But I suck it up and fly fairly often considering just how panic-inducing it is for me.  Anyway.  This is important to know for the following anecdote.

Here's a little more back story:
Our family of four (Franticmamahubby, the kids, and I) try to do an annual family vacation.  Of course, "vacation" with young children is very, very different from pre-kid days.  It involves a lot of chasing our children around with sunscreen, yawn-inducing early mornings, and many packages of fruit snacks.  It also involves some really wonderful moments.  We love the chance to reconnect as beach bums without work and schedules clouding the days.

One last back story:
My husband goes on an annual weekend golf trip with his friends.

The plan:
I was to fly down to Florida with the kids and meet my husband there once his friends had left.

THUMP>  THUMP> THUMP.  [That's the sound of my heart pounding at the thought of what that means].

Translation:  I was to FLY ALONE with a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old.  DEAR. Lord.

It's not fun and games to travel by air, right?  Even harder with kids?  Even worse if you're alone with said kids?  Even more gut-wrenching if you have a PHOBIA?  However, I am determined to get over my fear, and I also knew it would be unforgettable to take our kids to the beach while they are so little, so I sucked it up.  "Ok, yes, we will meet you there!" I bravely pronounced when first planning the logistics.

Fast forward:
My kids and I get to the airport, which is no small feat, really, considering the amount of work I had to do already:  Packing alone, getting us out the door on time, driving and parking, unloading, checking in, etc.. So, I'm already fighting off a wicked panic attack (a fun bout of dizziness a.k.a. 'the bends,' accompanied by hot flashes).  We manage to get through security (I shall spare you that process.  A bit of mystery and all).

(Image from; doesn't the picture alone make you all twitchy?)

It's Almost Burger King Time:
I suddenly decided:  the kids need a good meal in their stomachs before the 3.5 airplane ride!  I MUST feed my children.  Truth be told, they were just fine with the snacks I brought; in my mind, though, I suddenly felt it was essential to give them warm meat.  I was simply overcome by the thought.

Enter Burger King:
I was starting to sweat, the kids were getting fussy in the heavy, impossible-to-maneuver double stroller, and the line was slow for no apparent reason.  I ordered their food.  I got them settled at a table.  I started to exhale.  My son announced that his hamburger "WAS NOT PLAIN!"  I had to go back and order another one.  I took my sweatshirt off, revealing a tank top I quickly found out I had not put on all the way that morning.  Most of the crowd saw my bra.  Eh, that was the least of my worries at that point.  Boarding was starting at our gate and my son was going to eat a hamburger or else.

While my kids were picking at their food, I had a brilliant, lightbulb-over-the-head idea:  Vodka!  I retrieved the small unmarked bottle of clear liquid I had somehow gotten through security (Did I mention that part?  Oh yes, well, alcohol helps me calm down a bit during takeoff and turbulence, so I filled a mini shampoo bottle with my allotted 3 ounces and hoped for the best when I sent my purse through security).

I poured half of my stash into my Burger King diet Coke, made awkward eye contact with the hostess at the neighboring restaurant, and chugged.  There was no turning back.

It was time to board, baby.

Here's the Happily Ever After:
We made it safely to Florida.  The kids did as well as toddlers can do on a long flight (though how some people get their children to sleep on planes still mystifies me) with the help of modern devices and ample snacks.  I was never so happy to see my husband in my entire life as I was when he picked us up.

The best part:
We had a wonderful, memorable trip with our young children and their tiny, sandy toes.  My son and daughter will never be this little again, and I think I took over 500 pictures to preserve what I could of this [busy, tiring, but exciting] time in our lives.

(My two munchkins during my favorite part of the day during our trip: early morning, the first ones on the beach!)

So, would I do it all again?  This was actually my second time flying with them solo, and the previous time I did it, I said that would be my last time.  As the saying goes, 'never say never.'

Have you ever done anything a little outrageous with your children in tow?  Please share!

~Frantic Mama

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Frantic Mama & Friends 5 Friday Faves (Round 10)

Did you happen to notice I didn't do a Friday Faves for the last two weeks?  Franticmamahubby was out of town one of those weeks, which means blogging took a backseat to survival.  Then, we were on a family trip the following week, and again, blogging took a backseat to survival :).

As promised, I rounded up some of my friends-- both in and outside of the blogging community-- to share some of their can't-live-without-it items.

I'm excited to share their ideas.  Here they are!

Ceci (remember my mom from The World According to Ceci?):

Pond's Cold Cream
Ceci says it's "the only thing that takes the make-up off easily."

The clean, classic smell of this cream reminds me of her.  It's a little heavy for my taste, but if you have dry and/or sensitive skin, I bet you would love it.

Jennifer Sando @ The Intentional Mom (my blogging bestie):

Aluminum Placemats:  (Available at Pacific Merchants)

These should be self-explanatory to anyone with young kids.  Aren't they a great idea?  Way less nasty than washing fabric placemats with crusted food on them.  Jennifer says, "The aluminum placemats are THE BEST! You can hose them off in the sink or even put them in the top rack of the dishwasher. Love that the description says, 'Go Ahead. Spill something.' Don't mind if I do."

Skinny, cropped Denizen Jeans from Target:  Made by Levi's, only $27.99, and "best of all," says Kate "they're stretchy, flattering, and super comfy."

Also important:  her "ceramic coffee mug with a silicone top that makes it kind of like a to-go cup even though I never go anywhere. It keeps my coffee hotter than a regular mug without a top would, but it's not too travel-mug-ish. If that makes any sense. I use it all day every day and without it I'd be microwaving my coffee every five minutes."

HA!  I can relate----->  "even though I never go anywhere."

Jen @ Wonderfully Unkempt (a fellow Minnesotan blogger):

Jen says, "My favorite thing is my Roku Streaming Player.  We gave up cable about 6ish months ago and I thought I would die without my DVR player. But I haven't missed it with the Roku. I can go and watch my shows the next day, or weeks later. Plus all the PBS kids channel is a lifesaver."

I really like that sound of this device [especially if I could figure out how to use it...].

Elizabeth (my very own sister) and a mother of 3 young boys:  

She uses this product daily and always looks great (even on Facetime!) despite never getting a full night's sleep:

Cover Girl Enhancers Eyeshadow in Champagne ($3.99), a universally flattering shade.

Do you have anything to add to our growing list of items that make life just a bit more enjoyable?  Please share in the Comments.

~Frantic Mama

P.S.  What the Flicka featured me yesterday.  Check out my interview, here!

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Read more of my musings on Mamalode and What the Flicka.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Life as a SAHM without Naps

Today's topic:  I have so much less time to write recently.

For a while, I had it pretty good for a mom of a toddler and a 3 year old.  For the last few months, both of my kids napped in the afternoons, and they often overlapped for an hour.  For roughly 60 precious minutes, with one ear on the monitor and the other on the clicking of the keyboard, I had the chance to kick up my feet, work on my blog, read other blogs, catch up on news and media...until one of the kids woke up.  Most importantly, I had some time during the day to focus on my needs: eating, peeing, writing, catching up on my life outside of Mommyhood.

If you have never spent at least 9 hours alone with and completely in charge of two kids under age 4, you can not know exactly what a day such as this looks like.  To start, it's busy in a I-rarely-sit-down kind of way.  And funny.  And exhausting.  And fulfilling.  And draining.  And sometimes (only a few will admit this to you) mind-numbingly boring.   But it's also sprinkled with moments of amazing joy.  All rolled into one epic day (every day).

To be truthful, it's less like this:

                                                               (Image from PopSugar).

And more like this:

Back to my main point:  Recently, things have changed.  A lot.  My 1 year old has given up her morning nap (so she's up while my son is at preschool), but she still takes an afternoon nap.  My 3 and a half year old son is now officially nap-free.  (And before you even ask, no, he's not one of these kids who will sit in his room and play independently for an hour.  Blame me and my terrible parenting if you want, but it's not going to happen anytime soon).  He prefers to be within 12 inches of me when he is home, and we talk about cars.  We play cars.  We discuss what snacks we're eating (usually fruit snacks).  And we negotiate which scene in either Cars movie we will watch next.  This means that at least one of my dear, sweet little children is within a few feet of me every day, for the entire day.

She's so ungrateful.  She's so lucky to spend all day every day with her little ones.  Oh, dear.  Of course I am.  I'm not saying I want to give up being with them.  I chose to stay home with them.  But let me remind you that a stay-at-home mother's day with no naps means that I don't even have a drive to and from work where I can listen to my music without throwing toys to the back to calm the baby or tossing another package of Cheez-Its [that I never thought I'd buy] at my son.  All of us deserve even 20 minutes a day-- a lunch break, a bathroom break, a commute-- without tending to another person's needs, right?

I think that's the hardest part for me of this time in my life.  Perhaps its introversion in action, or just a final attempt at preserving my sanity, but I often need time to be all by myself.  I need to be alone at some point during the day in a way that humans need air to breathe.  It is so hard to give up almost every minute of my day to other people, even when those people are the very ones who I brought into being and [usually] worship like the beautiful little treasures they are.

So, lovely readers, I'm in a new transitional kind of space right now.  Time to myself has greatly diminished, so please hang with me as I navigate the lukewarm waters of a no-naptime day.

Also, I want to thank all my readers for your loyalty and support; sharing and hearing stories from mothers across the world has completely changed my life for the better!  Please continue to share your thoughts and comments.  It makes my day to hear from you.

~Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What to Expect [when you go to a house with young kids]

*I'm so honored that Mamalode and What the Flicka chose to feature this piece.  I hope it's because other people's houses are as disastrous as mine.*

I get nervous when people who don't have kids come over to our house.  As a mom of a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old, I can say with absolute certainty that my house is never perfectly clean.  While I have come to pretty much accept this, I still worry that people without kids will not understand that dusting is simply not in my repertoire anymore (unless I happen to have a used napkin balled up in my hand).  They won't get the fact that in any given moment a fresh disaster is about to unload on my carpet.  Stains, huge primary-colored toys, and sticky countertops are a daily fixture of my life now; I don't see that changing anytime soon.

(Our living room was originally going to be a kid-free zone.  Ha!)

I've compiled a list to help dear friends prepare for a visit to a home containing young children.  I hope it serves as a warning for what they are about to see when they cross our threshold:

1.  Try to ignore the florescent orange Goldfish crumbs in your path.  I vacuumed the floor an hour a few days ago, but then kids were hungry, snacks were had, tag was played, wrestling ensued, etc., etc.

2.  If there is a "potty trained" kid in the house, there will be pee on the toilet seat.

3.  Yes, my kid looks like a ragamuffin in that faded shirt and the sweatpants with holes in the knees.  He was wearing a nice shirt I bought on sale at Baby Gap for your visit, but then he ate a Nutrigrain bar and smeared red jelly all over himself, and this was the only shirt I could grab within reach.

4.  Don't judge me for the cartoon blaring on the television.  If it weren't on, we would have zero chance of having a conversation.

5.  To the ladies:  Would you kindly consider not wearing your cutest outfit for your visit here?  How about a faded pair of yoga pants, your favorite college t-shirt, and a mismatched pair of socks?  Also, make-up is completely optional, even discouraged.

6.  Could you refrain from placing your coffee/glass of water/beer on a table below waist height?  Liquids in our house are begging to be knocked down within seconds of low placement.  (It’s uncanny, the regularity and speed with which this occurs).

7.  Kindly look away from the dust collecting on various surfaces in our house, as well as the dog hair nestled in the corners, and the dry, half-eaten sandwich on the table.  We cleaned as much as we could before you came, and this is about as good as it gets, extreme babyproofing and all [see below].

(We were in awe of the dark wood staircase when we toured our house before moving in; now look at it).

8.   I beg of you to not cancel last minute or to be excruciatingly late.  It is very likely we have planned our entire day or weekend around your visit.

9.  Please don't ask us what we did last night.  We are too tired to make last night's routine sound exciting and fun [and no, we haven't checked out that new restaurant or seen that new movie with what's-his-name in it.].

10.  Last but not least, in repayment for your consideration of these requests, we as parents promise not to bore you with endless stories of potty training, pregnancy complications, and organic pureed baby food. 

~Frantic Mama

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