Saturday, April 5, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

In an attempt to lure his daughter to the lunch table, the father tempted his daughter with,

"Hey, look at this pickle!"

To which the little girl responded,

"Wow, Daddy, it looks just like you!"

(Spoken by Olivia, age 2 1/2)

Have your kids said something funny? Send it to:

Week In Review

The Top 10 Things I Learned This Week: (It was a very educational week!)

10) When changing your husband’s ring tone, avoid choosing “My Humps”, especially when he has an important meeting with his boss.

9) Graffeeti sneakers also make great gifts for husbands who need to be reminded of certain things, like calling when they’re going to be late, commenting on your new, post-stomach virus figure, and the fact that decks are fun (shout out to Precision Exteriors).

8) When you start to hear pregnancy announcements from a lot of different people, stop drinking the water...I’ve heard it’s contagious (I’m all about green tea and bottled water right now)

7) If you are invited to a baby shower, wait until after the event takes place to reveal your fabulous ideas for presents. (I had to resort to Plan B, which I’ll reveal at some point in the future….)

6) If, in the spirit of April Fool’s, you post your husband’s Mike Schmidt autographed baseball bat on Craig’s List, prepare for some pretty tempting offers.

5) Whether your children are 18 months, or 18 years, at some point they’re going to let you get a good night sleep. I hope.

4) If you agree on a push present, get it in writing (and consider having it notarized just to be sure).

3) If you really want to make sure your son is going to endure playground taunts, name him Shaya.

2) Virginia is for lovers (and for rage-filled, depressed “millionairesses” who wear diamonds on their middle fingers).

1) If you endure the pain of a stomach virus make sure you (1) take advantage of your husband’s turn as sole caregiver, (2) catch up on sleep, and (3) spend some quality time with Dora (or any other stuffed, television character that usually sleeps with your child).

Quote of the Weekend

"Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable."
- Plato

Picture of the Weekend

So young, so adorable, and already so aware of all the best places to hide.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Warning to Parents: The Past Can Harm Your Children

As social perspectives evolve, the way in which we choose to raise our children is also always changing. What was once perfectly acceptable, now raises concerns over any number of factors affecting our children. Spanking, playpens, and even tap water were all pretty widely used a few decades ago; now, not as acceptable.

It's kind of like hitchhiking.

These changes are also readily apparent in childrens programming. In case you're interested, Sesame Street has put out a series of DVDs from their first years on television. These DVDs, however, come with an interesting warning: not suitable for children.


Well, the times have changed and things like Gordon striking up a conversation with an unknown child and inviting him home for cookies and milk is not a scenario parents might want to encourage when their own children are approached by a strange, albeit nice, man. Other no-nos that appear on the videos include overeating of sweets (shout out to Cookie Monster), riding bikes without helmets, and a wide variety of socially unacceptable behavior of both adults and children.

Which brings me to another great example of, oh, how the times have changed. This comes to me by way of the sensational Stacey (who I probably need to buy something pretty, given all the material she's supplied me with):

Riding the wave of all things Horton, a family friend gave Stacey an old VHS of four Horton "episodes", portraying the popular Horton series. The movie was made circa 1965, but still proved entertaining for their daughter who loved the Dr. Seuss books. The last episode was a retelling of our own family favorite, Horton Hatches an Egg.

The Horton cartoon animated everything you might expect from the book: the bargaining with lazy bird Mayze, Horton's dedication to keeping the egg warm despite the awful weather, and Horton's eventual capture by hunters who thought they could ship him to America and make a lot of money on the odd occurrence of an elephant in a tree.

And that is where the movie really dates itself.

As Horton is put on a ship and sets sail to America (apparently we appreciate peculiar pachyderms more than Europeans), a fish jumps out of the water. The fish, bewildered by the image of a sea sick elephant, perched on a nest, does what any normal fish would do.

He pulls out a gun and puts a bullet in his head.

Hmmm...I don't remember that part in the book.

The result: Stacey and her husband Tony have agreed to pre-screen all movies made before the millennium, and their daughter needs to be constantly reminded that not all marine life bear arms.

Another great way to overspend

One of my all time favorite online shopping sites is It is all discounted, designer clothes that are still in style. Though still more than you'll pay at Kohls or some of the other low cost stores, they really have some amazing summer dresses...

and, anyway, isn't Mother's Day around the corner???

Check it out (at your own risk):

Mama Fashionista

So after hours of thumbing through fashion magazines, browsing through stores, and actually paying attention to what other women are wearing, I think I am finally prepared to offer some sort of fashion preview of what we should be wearing this spring.

What Is In:

Bold colors: Specifically bright yellows, blues, red-orange, and fuchsia

Urban Safari: Tailored shirts, rompers, and dresses with front pockets and belts

Dresses: Specifically white ones. The little white dress is all the rage right now and so, get your fake tans and stain sticks ready.

Nautical: In keeping with the white and blue, boatneck shirts with thin, horizontal stripes are the casual tops you should be wearing, matched with wide leg, white trousers or flat fronted white shorts

Natural materials: Whether it is wooden heeled wedges, or canvas bags, the trend is noticeable and often paired with the urban safari shirts and dresses.

Oversized Accessories: Large bags (or small clutches), big, bug-eyed sunglasses, and chunky jewelry remain fashionable requirements

Full, A line skirts - with fitted tops

What Is Out:

Never one to judge another’s personal style, these instructions come straight from the experts. If you own the following, please give them away, throw them away, or add them to your child’s dress up pile:

Clothes advertising the brand name
Clothes that are too well matched; play around with colors and designs
Sequined dresses (oh what will I do with all of mine?)
Peasant tops (and anything bohemian)Pencil skirts (go for A line)
Overtly sexy clothes (think more elegant, feminine pieces)
Black or gray from head to toe
Baby doll dresses

What I’ll Be Avoiding:

In addition to the wedge sandals, gladiator sandals are very in right now, and I will definitely not be wearing them. As a short girl, I need all the height I can get and these ugly, overly busy sandals do nothing to compliment the shape of your leg; however, if you are tall and a slave to fashion…know that these are the fashion must-have shoes of the summer.

Also very trendy and something I’m going to have to pass on are the Maxi Tube dresses. These strapless, floor length beach dresses have nice flow and flatter almost every figure…except mine. Nothing makes me look shorter than this style dress; as for everyone else, there are a lot of cute ones out there.

Where to Shop: Dresses

I realize many of us find it hard to invest in sun dresses when scrubs are more ideal for child rearing, but this year’s trend of simple, comfortable shift dresses (often in very comfortable jersey material) makes the possibility a little more manageable. So, I hit the mall (you know, just for research), and came up with the following summer dresses. Please keep in mind that I do not mistake myself for some kind of fashion expert, I'm just throwing some popular pieces at you, ranging in style and price.
The ones I like, which reflect the white trend, as well as the bold colors, are:

Everything at


It Had to Happen.....

After nine wonderful months of waiting, that special moment has finally arrived for our family:

Our son finally slept through the night.

I awoke with a start, worrying what may have happened. Blurry from more than three hours of consecutive sleep, distorted by a strange glow (could that be the sun?), and panicked over the well being of my son, I raced into his room only to find him cooing away, more than a little pleased with his own accomplishment.

Now, I realize there is a good chance this won't happen again for a while, but at least we know he can do it.

Quote of the Day

“Small children almost never misquote. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.”
-Etienne Marchal

Picture of the Day

If I just I keep smiling, they cannot say no.

(Okay, so I couldn't come up with a good caption for this picture, but it is so adorable- I had to use it!)
Send your best kid pictures to:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Push Presents

One of the latest trends in labor and delivery (yes, there are trends) is the push present. The idea here is that a woman who has endured the tremendous trials of childbirth deserves some reward (you know, in addition to the child and all).

Until I had my own children, I thought this idea was kind of ridiculous. Women have been delivering children for a pretty long time, and so the idea that they now need to be rewarded for it seems like a pretty interesting comment on our times. And isn't the joy of bringing life into the world kind of a big deal anyway?

Well, when I was in the middle of delivering a 10+ lb baby, I had a change of heart. My epidural didn't exactly take, I was having serious back labor, and I wasn't feeling my best. Then the idea of the push present came to mind...why not distract myself from the pain by thinking of some special thing just for me? Realizing that my sushi sacrifice during pregnancy had been considerable, my husband agreed to take me to Morimoto and the deal was made.

We still haven't gone.

And I still kind of think the whole push present thing is silly. Diamond earrings, $700 diaper bags, post-partum plastic surgery are "common presents" I hear about and the extravagance seems so misguided. In contrast, my sister-in-law did get two charms for her two sons, each with the child's respective birth stone, and I thought that was really sweet. And reasonable.

I guess I am just curious to see what everyone else thinks. Has our extravagant consumerism infiltrated even the most sacred, and special of life's gifts? Or, should we take advantage of the means we may be blessed with, and commemorate a priceless occasion?

Feel free to post a comment about an extravagant example, your own push present, or your general opinions about the trend.

In the meantime, I thought I'd help keep things in perspective:

Reports are just coming in that Marc Anthony just gave J. Lo her push present: a pair of diamond earrings worth $2.65 millon.

AT LAST!!!!!

Brooke "My skirt is made of wheat" Burke and David "Me like the Beach" Charvet have finally decided on the name of their now 3 week old son...kind of.

The first name of their boy is Shaya. Shaya Charvet.

Please, enhance the humor by saying it out loud.

And as for the yet to be determined middle name, Brooke posted this on her blog:

You heard it here first! We have finally settled on a name. We waited our whole lives for our son, and couldn't find the perfect fit. Poor guy! Now it's official. Shaya Charvet. We played with so many different names, and both loved Shaya the most. It means God's gift in Hebrew.
David came up with a middle name, Braven, which I really like. I want to give him part of my name too, so I am thinking about double Bs in the middle like my initials, Braven-Burke.
He is the last Charvet to carry on David's family name. He is also the first boy in David's family, the little brother of three princesses, and my youngest. Ya think he is gonna be spoiled?!?! We haven't agreed on the middle name yet, but for all those who have been asking, Shaya Charvet it is!
Shaya joins sisters Neriah, 7 ½, Sierra Sky, 5 ½, and Heaven Rain, 14 months.

So I may officially announce something too:

My new favorite celebrity baby name is Shaya Braven-Burke Charvet.

Because we need more petuli oil and bongos in the world.

Virginia is for Lovers (and Road Rage)

So I just returned from an extended trip to the DC area to spend time with family, exploit the grandparents for their babysitting, and help my niece find a first communion dress. Who would have thought the last would prove the most fruitful?

My beautiful niece could wear a paper bag and leg warmers and still look like she was plucked out of a Chasing Fireflies* catalog. Long blond hair, clear blue eyes, and the sun-funniest disposition meant finding a dress that looked nice would never be a problem. So, we all headed to Tyson's Corner (think King of Prussia and the Westchester for my Penn and NY friends) in search of a gown that would do her justice.

Of course, it took not time finding something, and the only trouble I confronted was (1) my credit card's willingness to keep jumping out of my wallet and (2) the fact that the my invigorated appetite was subjected to the wonders of the food court. Congratulating myself for a successful trip to a major shopping center (and by success I mean no one screamed, broke anything, assaulted another unsuspected shopper, caused us to be chased down by mall security, or went to the bathroom anywhere beyond the designated areas), I headed to the parking lot for a short trip back to my mom's and napdom.

But the fun had just started.

As I made my way through the garage of high priced cards, I had to make an awkward turn to get into the only exit lane available to me. For that reason, my bumper was turned at a slight angle, just barely sticking out into the opposing lane. As I waited for cars to pass to make my turn out of the garage, I caught sight of a quick moving, white Mercedes as it peeled into the garage, ignoring its own stop sign.

Out of nowhere my children and I jump out of her seats as the Mercedes blasts its horn at what could only be our car. My expression must have revealed my perturbed confusion as I turned to see what the problem was.

That is when I saw her middle finger. That's right...this 85 pound, perfectly coiffed shrew was not only giving me the middle finger (something I only realized after I had readjusted my sight from the glare of her diamonds--- and who wears diamonds on their middle finger?---exactly), but my children were also taking in the nonverbal expression since the horn had also alerted them to her fury.

In that one second, as I digested the event, I actually considered what could be so horrible in this wealthy woman's life that she is able to generate enough rage to react in such a classless way over something so minute. I mean, if I cut someone off, I'll acknowledge it...even wave in apology. If I go out of turn at a 4 way stop, I'll pull back to correct my mistake. But this? Is she kidding? Really? The finger?

The second half of the second filled my mind with natural brainstorms of retaliation (and I am really pretty creative/ conniving when I put my mind to it). Not a big fan of my own middle finger (my cuticles are in need of some attention), I considered shouting some of my favorite expletives, taking advantage of one of son's diapers that was quickly making itself apparent from the back seat, or even engineering something with the remaining ketchup packets from 5 Guys. Now the first would just be bad parenting, and though the last two would work wonders on a shiny white Mercedes, my final decision was probably the most effective.

I laughed.

Hysterically laughing, right in her face. My mouth was open, hands were clapping, and I really just let myself enjoy the absurdity of it all.

Well, clearly she was not a woman who enjoyed being mocked as her face shook with wrath and she went on to hurl a laundry list of her own favorites. But I just kept laughing and so she sped away in a rage. The parking attendant, who watched the whole thing go down, joined me in the laughter because he (1) realized she was wacky and (2) probably sees these instances a thousand times a day.

So there you have it. When confronted with road rage (and a trip on the Beltway will certainly provide ample opportunities), just laugh. You won't lower yourself, you won't set a bad example for your kids, and you won't fall victim to anger.

And for me, a small victory for someone who rarely acts appropriately.

Beep. Beep.
*If you too would like to spend too much money on adorably impractical, compliment inducing clothes, visit

The Silver Lining....

Though it took me more time than I imagined to get back on my feet post-stomach flu, the passage of time has served its purpose, and also afforded me a new perspective on the 24 hour stomach virus. I always try to stay positive, look on the bright side, and consider worse alternatives when confronted with a less than desirable situation, and for that I give you:

The Top 5 Reasons Stomach Viruses Are Good (stay with me on this one):

5) Though I wouldn't recommend seeking a stomach bug out, after 12 continuous hours of throwing up, I am loving the weight loss. Can you say spring shopping?

4) I would never be one to keep score when it comes to matters of parenting, but it was nice to completely relinquish mommy duties for a twenty-four hour period. My husband got a brief taste of the daily grind and we're all better for it. Did I mention he left skidmarks in the driveway when it was time for him to go back to work?

3) When it comes to the terrible twos, a good day means only one or two mild tantrums, and the word "no" said under 100 times. Mommy's sickness, however, unearthered a maternal, compassionate side to my daughter that was so wonderful to see. She patted my head, made me a get well card, and even let Dora sleep in my bed.

2) Having spent too much time enjoying the view of my bathroom from the floor, I have finally settled on a paint color.

1) Now that my appetite has returned, food has never tasted so good...and given my weight loss, I can enjoy a few extra calories. That is, until all the knew spring clothes I intend to buy begin to feel tight. And when that happens, I'll just take advantage of a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Quote of the Day

"I've noticed that one thing about parents is that no matter what stage your child is in, the parents who have older children always tell you the next stage is worse." -Dave Barry

Picture of the Day

"Mirror, mirror on the:

developmentally advantageous, age appropriate, sensory sitmulating, vocabulary building, and completely safe activity set,

who's the fairest one of all?"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Quote of the Day

"A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be." ~ Anon

Picture of the Day

Ever the lawyer's son, Connor effectively argued that the Reese's Peanut Butter "Egg" is an acceptable addition to the breakfast menu.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesday's Craft

So this may be an expensive craft compared to rain painting (which we did yesterday), but it can be done over and over again and you might as well make a daily necessity a fun form of self-expression.

Graffeeti Sneakers: These cute sneakers were developed by some civil engineers out of California who were experimenting with the magic of dry erase boards. Available in low and high top styles, as well as a multitude of colors, the sneakers have three “canvases” on which to illustrate, using any one of the six colored dry erase markers. Not only that, the artwork can be easily washed away to recreate anew, and the sneakers also have a holster in which to store a pen.

Also, the company donates a percentage of all proceeds to children’s charities, which makes your purchase fun for your kids and beneficial to those in need.

If you’re interested, visit:

Because Today Should Be Foolish....

Though I never need the excuse of a holiday to torture my husband, the following is a list of great pranks to play on your husband. All but the first prank involve his arrival home from work, and none of them have you tell him some direct information. Pranks that have you tell a story or need you to convince him of something usually fall through…and anyway, we’re women- passive is always better.

5) Change his ring tone to some fantastic song, such as Shania Twain’s “I Feel Like A Woman” or Celine Dion’s “Because I’m Your Lady”. Wait to call him well into the morning to increase the chance he’ll be around co-workers.

4) An obvious one would be to tell him you’re pregnant; however, the manner in which you do it has to be ideal. When you see him arrive home from work, make yourself scarce. Leave a positive test on the kitchen counter (ball point pens work wonders) amid crumbled receipts and tissues. Leave a jar of pickles, a pregnancy magazine, and a baby name book scattered around the house for him to find while he searches for you. Let him find you in the bathroom on the scale and wait to here the inevitable collapse.

3) Have a friend leave a message on your answering machine pretending to be a plastic surgeon’s office confirming your consultation time. Let her be as specific as you want…

2) Let your husband walk in on you in the middle of a “phone conversation” with your mother. Have him hear you say, “Of course you can come for the summer…”, and so on.

1) Leave your computer monitor on with a posting on Craig’s List, where you have put up one of his most prized possessions for sale. Next to the computer have scribblings with estimates for something you want (pool, deck, dining room, etc) and make sure both sales prices are comparable.

Feel free to post an idea of your own in the comment section, I know there are a lot of creative (and calculating) women out there.


Welcome to the world, Charles Michael!

Born yesterday (he's no April fool), his father is reporting that the little guy is, "Healthy and good looking- like his old man. Mom's doing great too."

Congratulations to the new parents of two, and to big sister Lily!

Quote of the Day

“This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.” –Mark Twain

Picture of the Day

The little girl now knew exactly what she wanted for her birthday.
Send your best kid pictures to:

Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday's Meal (or in today's case, Side Dish)

Gracie Girl's Green Beans:

The following side dish was given to me by one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. Quite the cooking ingenue, Gracie prepared these for the family to rave reviews. She even dictated the recipe to me to ensure its accuracy.

To be 8 again.


1 lb. washed & trimmed green beans (Buy the Steamfresh ones--- much quicker)
1/4 c. water
1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1) Prepare Steamfresh green beans
2) While beans are cooking, mince garlic.
3) Melt butter and oil in skillet over medium heat; add garlic and saute
4) Add cooked beans to skillet
5) Gently stir beans until they are well coated


Great Gift Ideas for New Moms

Between Karen, Jeanine, Danielle, and Amanda (and anyone who is good at keeping a secret), I have been inspired to write this latest post:

If you find yourself heading to a baby shower soon and the only things left on the mom-to-be's registry are wash cloths and the diaper genie, I have two favorite gifts that are invaluable to a new mother during those first few weeks:

1) A gift certificate to a credible cleaning service- When bringing home a new baby, most moms face an unusual dilemma: never have they wanted to have their homes more clean and sterile, and never have they felt less of to the challenge of keeping the house spotless. This gives them a chance to have someone take care of it until they find their rhythm.

2) Prepared Dinners- It seems like most babies decide to begin their daily fuss at the same time dinner preparation begins. They're winding down, you're distracted, and food is pretty important. For that reason, another way to make a mom's life easier is to send prepared meals for the whole family. Whether you want to send something little (less than $10 will get you 12 vegetable pot stickers), or a grander gesture (the $124 New Baby Sampler buys you several meals, as well as appetizers and treats for the constant visits from well-wishers), the great chefs at Artiko are a great resource.

It Just Takes One Idea...

Despite the more commonly quoted adage, I happen to think that motherhood is the mother of invention. It seems that every mom I know finds herself saying,

"My life would be so much easier if I they'd make...."

Or, "If I could invent something that would...I'd be a billionaire."

We've heard so many of the unbelievable entrepreneurial stories as well. The entire business that is Baby Einstein was developed by a mother who was frustrated with the selection of developmentally and culturally rich products available for early learners. The result: she is now has a billion dollar enterprise and is still gaining steam. My friend Susan just mentioned a great idea (which I will not divulge) that would be a huge success. The problem is, where do you begin?

How do you get a patent?
How do you develop a model or prototype?
How can you trust that the investors you pitch it to won't steal your idea?
How do you take the whole idea from your head to the homes of millions?

It is actually very involved, but not at all impossible. The biggest hurdles require lots of paperwork, research to prove the success and marketability of your idea to investors, and following the process carefully and diligently.

If you do think you have an idea, you should pursue it. Clearly, the baby industry is booming and there is simply no reason you shouldn't reap the rewards like everyone else.

For a great site, and step by step advice on starting your own business/ developing a product, check out:


Special congratulations to my favorite Karen*, who has just discovered she is pregnant with her second child.

Here's to wishing you a comfortable and nausea-free pregnancy! Enjoy the time of people bending over backwards for you, not having to suck in your stomach, and eating for an entire football team.

All the best from our family to yours.

*At no time do I wish to discriminate against or insult anyone with the name Karen, related to a Karen, or owner of a pet named Karen. I just happen to think this particular one is great (and she laughs at my jokes).

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

"Bama (aka Grandma), the more I am with you, the more I miss you when we leave."

-Ellie, age 6

Voting Issues

The polls are down....

damn those chads.

Please check back later for this week's latest.

The Votes Are In....

First, I realize the votes have been in for a while now, but I’m still playing catch-up.

Second, I have managed to find a few more useless baby inventions and, thanks to an intervention from my family, I’ll be taking a break from my useless baby product obsession after this post (at least until next week). Among the newfound craziness:

Baby Cologne- A product by Johnson & Johnson that systematically destroys one of the best things on earth: the sweet smell of a baby after a bath. Why would anyone want to change or mask that?

Nite TrainR’- I realize bedwetting can be a very serious problem for lots of kids, but at no point should this device (which attaches to the “undercarriage” of a little one and sounds an alarm to rouse the child) be used. Is this really necessary? Who is using this? I guess the answer to the latter would be the same people who use an invisible fence to keep their kids in the backyard.

- This product came to me from the paragon of loveliness, Mrs. Lydia Rydel. This is a bib that is part terry cloth, part plastic, and employs a scrunchy-like mechanism around the neck, all to ensure that the child remains dry, stain-free, and comfortable at the neck while dining. Now, if someone were to give this to me I would certainly enjoy all of the aforementioned benefits, but do all of our advances in technology need to be employed to engineer a better bib? I mean, unless the bib can feed the child, wipe his or her mouth, and check the nutritionally content of all that is ingested, I am not spending $13 on a fancy bib.

And now for the voting results…

Of no surprise, the overwhelming winner is the wipe warmer (my second choice). This product protects little tushies from the horror of being touched by something cool. Not only is this product ridonkulously unnecessary, it is also not the safest thing. A former student of mine once told me about a time when, having left it on for an extended period, the warmer actually caught fire!

I chose the diaper genie for all the reasons I originally posted, as well as its contribution to the laziness factor that is reaching epic proportions in our country (see also: shopping cart returns).

The other options (boppy, child leash, and bottle warmer) came in well behind the others.

Thanks for voting….and check out this week’s poll.

Do It Yourself

Another shout out to Julie for sending this next little treat to me:

Sidewalk Paint

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup Cold water
6-8 drops food color

Mix cornstarch and cold water together in small plastic bowl. Add food color and stir. Paint can be washed away with water (or let the rain be your cleaning lady)!

Quote of the Day

"The hardest job facing kids today is learning good manners without seeing any." ~ Fred Astaire

Picture of the Day

"Fashion fades. Style is eternal."
-Yves Saint Laurent
Send your favorite kid pictures to: