Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflecting on 2010

Wow! What a year it has been. So much happened in the past 12 months especially as Sarah grew and developed by leaps and bounds. Sarah is an incredibly smart, fun, energetic child and so full of life. She truly lived this year to the fullest. She was an integral part of my inspiration and motivation for much change that took place during this past year.

It's amazing how much change can happen with children between the ages of two and three.

It's unbelievable to me that this little person has such a robust vocabulary and a great ability to understand and have conversations. My little girl is indeed growing up.

As challenging as this stage of her life has been it's been the most fun, since we get to play much, read a lot, share interests and get to really know each other. This may sound silly, but it's true. Sarah, in my eyes, while still a little kid, is a grown-up kid. I am sure most parents say this about their children, so why shouldn't I.

While Sarah requires a lot more of my attention being an only child and one with a growing imagination and interest to play and explore, it's been a joyous process but a challenging one too. I will say it's been great to have free license to go on the swings and down the slides with her often and laugh as hard as possible. As a family we experienced many kids museums, zoos and farms this year. I especially enjoyed experiencing life through Sarah's eyes, and plan to continue to do so moving forward, as much as she will let me.

This was the year of "The Helper." This is likely an age thing but boy it has been great. We baked together. She helped rake leaves and shovel snow. Sarah enjoyed setting the table, making her bed and learning how to get dressed on her own. I have also been told she's very helpful at school. The list goes on.

Sarah has also become that much more in love with her books. Her coloring skills have also blossomed. She has also developed a super imagination for pretend play. I look forward to this activity being fostered further in 2011 and moving forward. Sarah has also established relationships with dear friends and family in a way that is so special to watch because they are all on her terms.

This year has also been a test of patience. I was told that the terrible twos would be challenging, and we did experience some of these moments. Daniel and I have also been given a dose or more of what's really in store for us with the unruly "threes." Therefore, one of the many things I need to work on in 2011 is developing greater patience and understanding as a parent. It probably doesn't hurt for me to brush up on some parenting tips and advice from various resources such as books like The Happiest Toddler on the Block and online parenting sites and fellow parenting blogs.

This was also the year of saying to Sarah, "please listen" or "you are not listening." Children have so much stimulus around them that it's so easy for them to be distracted and unable to concentrate. I know for certain that Sarah's hearing is good. Her listening skills on the other hand need much work.

There have been many major Sarah milestones in 2010. As a family we have also experienced several life changes. Having recently moved to a new city, new home, new job and new school including making new friends, there have been many plates flying in the air all at once. In some instances it was an overwhelming experience. But, now, with most of the boxes unpacked and settling in continuing, I look back on this year thankful for the many opportunities and experiences we have had and the journeys that lie ahead that we will take together as a family, and individually both personally and professionally. I am also appreciative to all my friends, family and followers who have played a big part in supporting me during this life changing stage.

While I am not one to really make New Year's resolutions, it can't hurt to jot down some thoughts on what I would like to work towards this coming year:

+ Spend more one-on-one time with Sarah doing imaginative play
+ Help Sarah to become fully potty-trained (we are so close)
+ Go to the gym a few times a week even if for short workouts to decompress and get healthy
+ Limit the junk food and soda (yes, again I have fallen off the bandwagon)
+ Establish a greater level of patience when parenting Sarah, and trying best to identify the signs before meltdowns occur

I think this is a good place to start.

I want to take this time to also wish you and yours a wonderful and prosperous new year and wish you love, happiness, patience, understanding and good health.

I look forward to sharing more parenting information, insights, tips and experiences here at Mommy's Point of View in 2011, and continue to welcome your feedback and perspectives and being part of this community.

Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tantrum of Epic Proportions

On Christmas Eve day, Daniel, Sarah and I spent time with my sister and her family at their house. Our children are close in age and it's so fun to watch and join them in play. The day itself was great. There was much pretending, dressing up, coloring, and of course, eating Chinese food, as Jewish people often do on this holiday.

Just after a late lunch, anticipating to stay a couple of more hours, Sarah started to get out of sorts. Only now do we think that maybe it could have been the monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the food, even though she didn't eat a lot of it, and likely more so due to a lack of napping coupled with all the excitement.

However, I was not buying the MSG link as Sarah has eaten much Chinese food in her life. So, we suspected that the food, excitement and lack of sleep turned her into a holy terror.

It was really weird. Therefore, we picked her up and took her right home. Bummed to leave earlier than planned we did what we had to do.

Daniel and I are used to meltdowns with Sarah and know sometimes that just letting her ride it out on her own often works best. She sometimes gets so worked up that she needs a moment or two or more to come down from the high. At this moment, Sarah was completely out of sorts. Once home, she wouldn't let us get her undressed and into her pajamas, or lay her in our laps for comfort since she was so very tired. She also didn't calm down, as she typically does, after being left alone for a minute or two. She was inconsolable.

Eventually, after much kicking and screaming on her part, we got her out of her clothes, trying very hard to keep quiet and calm, as she really needed a pull-up change. I would have had no problem leaving Sarah in her clothes to sleep the night. But, because she peed much and had a full load I thought maybe this was upsetting her and wanting to give her a fresh pair.

After getting Sarah fully undressed she became unruly. We couldn't even get her into her diaper. It was then that I said to Daniel let's leave the room and leave Sarah to be for a few minutes. I knew I was running a big risk of her peeing or pooping in her room but at that moment I felt Daniel and I could do her no good and she needed to be left alone.

The crying did not stop. The upset for Sarah did not stop. Daniel and I were stumped. We did everything we typically do to console Sarah and at this time we really had no idea what was going on with her. We then started to worry. We felt helpless. It was then that we went back into Sarah's room and tried a different strategy.

I decided to try a different approach. Since Sarah is typically an awesome helper I got her into her helping mode and thought it was worth a shot. And, it worked.

I asked Sarah in that instant, while she was still upset if she would help me pick out a new sheet for her bed. Sarah came back. Happy, bubbly, helpful Sarah returned. It was the most bizarre thing. I then asked her to help me choose from two a pair of pajamas for her to wear. We then played together and read books for a bit longer until we felt it was then time for her to settle in for the night peacefully.

Once Sarah was asleep Daniel and I looked at each other dumbfounded. Seriously. It felt for a moment she was possessed by something because she wasn't acting like herself even when she loses herself.

The good news is that Sarah is fine. It must be what to look forward to as she approaches that age of three, another year I have been told is even worse than the terrible twos.

Oh, the joys of parenting. Ugh.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Never Too Early To Teach Kids Manners

Recently, Sarah told Daniel, who then relayed to me, that it was her teacher's birthday and that we needed to make her a card.

Right then and there I smiled and beamed, hugged Sarah, and experienced a proud mommy moment.

From the very beginning of Sarah's life we would send thank you cards and make phone calls to share thanks and appreciation for the gifts we received. As a crafty mom we started to do art projects that became sentimental cards of thanks, wishes for birthdays and anniversaries and sometimes just because.

My mother raised me to be very mindful and respectful of others especially when it came to receiving gifts for any occasion. I was taught to get on the phone or send a thank you note to show thanks and appreciation. To this day, I still do this and fully intend to have Sarah learn this valuable and important lesson as well.

Regardless of the type of gift or how much it costs a thank you should always be given.

Since Sarah is not quite at the developmental stage to be able to write out her name, instead we trace her hand as her signature. She loves to do this.

After hearing Sarah tell me that we need to acknowledge her teacher's birthday it made me realize that it's never too early to teach children good manners and the importance of saying thank you.

Over the years I have sadly experienced some times the lack of appreciation for gifts given or learned of experiences people I knew had that were not received with a thank you. I dislike this very much.

As we know, as parents, our children are sponges. It's amazing what they can retain and remember. Therefore, instill this important mode of appreciation early on so that children recognize its value.
Who knows, in ten years it may be tougher to get Sarah to send thank you cards but I hope that by continuing to reinforce how it makes people feel that she will want to keep sharing her appreciation.

Thank you my readers for joining me on Mommy's Point of View. You have given me many gifts by coming and visiting my site, sharing your feedback and being part of this community. Thank you very much.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drop-Side Cribs Banned For Good

This week, in a unanimous vote by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a decision has been made to ban drop-side cribs in the United States.

It comes as no surprise considering that there have been so many recalls (as many as 1.5 million since January 2010) of drop-side cribs and, after as many as 32 confirmed infant deaths and 14 suspected other fatalities over the past nine years. The CPSC has confirmed that they are instituting this ban on manufacturing, sale and re-sale of drop-side cribs everywhere in the United States.

Please know that this ban does not take effect until June 2011.

For those of you who may not know, a drop-side crib is where one entire side of the crib can be raised and lowered to reach a child more easily. What's been happening with these cribs is that the side that drops down can come apart and trap a baby in the openings created. It is not recommend for parents to create their own remedies to fix these cribs.

Therefore, in the meantime, if you are expecting a baby please choose a stationary crib with no drop-side feature. If you have an infant at home who is currently sleeping in a drop-side crib please find other arrangements if you can for your resting little one. If you are not able to make a change quickly or due to cost (as cribs can be pricey) please first check to see if your crib has been on any of the previous recall lists available on the CPSC website. Also, most manufacturers of drop-side cribs are providing free and simple repair kits so please research your crib further to confirm that it is indeed safe.

To find a list of recalled cribs, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website included below.

If you or someone you know has a drop-side crib that has not been a part of a previous recall, it may be possible to continue using it. For example, many crib manufacturers are offering repair kits to disable the drop-side feature and lock it in the upright position. This eliminates the danger of the side becoming detached and trapping the infant however it’s not a guarantee.

This ban also means that drop-side cribs will not be allowed in child-care facilities such as daycares as well as places that provide cribs for convenience during travel (e.g., hotels). Cribs will need to be replaced by all these places with safer options.

Furthermore, drop-side cribs will not be allowed to be resold anywhere including consignment stores, EBay, Craig's List, etc. Please be weary if you find a drop-side crib at any of these or other locations including yard sales, swap meets. Please remind and advise the owner trying to sell these cribs of this news and your concerns with them selling it to help keep other babies safe.

While it's good news to know that more rigorous safety testing will be done for cribs it's frightening to think that this was not done already. Then again, that is how we improve upon products. With more detailed protocols and benchmarks to test products our kids use we can hope for even more safe products for them in the future.

I am extremely thankful to the CPSC for finally deciding issue this ban to halt the creation and sale of drop-side cribs. I am also thanking my lucky stars and G-d too, for watching over my Sarah as she slept in a drop-side crib for nearly a year.

Here's to providing comfortable and safe sleeping spaces for our kids.

City Mom Becomes Suburban Mom

When you have lived in a major city a good part of your life and are used to walking from place to place and riding on public transportation versus driving in a car, it can certainly be a big adjustment when you relocate to the suburbs. It's here in the suburbs that you must rely on a car many times to get you from place to place.

However, there are indeed towns we are looking into as well with somewhat of an urban suburban feel and possibly with a main street and are close to the train station for me to easily get to and from work. In the meantime, since we wanted to be closest to family and reasonably near the train station and Sarah's school we chose a suburb with less of city-like feel to it.

Therefore, this has certainly been an adjustment for me since our move. Much of this could also be because we searched for a home and packed up in record time and went very fast, as we expected it likely would. I knew this would be the case but still it's taking time to settle into the change.

The same holds true for when you have kids and live in an urban environment and then move to suburbia. Moving from a major metropolis to a suburb can be a dramatic change for all involved especially when what you have been most used to is convenience.

As a city mom I spent much time carrying Sarah around in a sling or baby carrier walking around the neighborhood, running errands and also during jaunts on public transportation in and out of the city. When Sarah got older and a bit heavier for me to carry we did all these same things on foot with her in her stroller. Then, as she advanced we did the same things with her on a push car, scooter and tricycle. We also would frequent the playgrounds near our home often and daily, pending weather, and would see as many as ten to twenty kids at a time to play with.

Having moved to the suburbs much of this freedom for transportation on foot and getting around town is somewhat and completely limiting. And, the ability to make friends and meet new playmates has been slow and seems to require us to join either a house of worship or sometimes expensive kid-specific classes (e.g., The Little Gym, dance classes).

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining (not exactly). I am just trying to adjust to a new way of doing things that I knew was going to be different. It's just taking me time to get used to this all. I knew what we were signing up for moving to a neighborhood with tree-lined streets with homes and backyards versus apartments and distances further away to doctors offices, school, grocery stores, playgrounds, etc.

There are many reasons why we chose to relocate to the burbs besides a great new job and to be closer to immediate family. Most importantly, we are setting up ground and foundation for Sarah. Her future is what's most important to us and so is establishing a home base where the schools are really good, where we can have more space in our home to spread out, be near by to family, and the cost of living enables us to provide a good quality of life.

The good news is, we are renting a house versus buying at the moment so that we can gauge where we really want to live in the coming year as we explore and discover neighborhoods and learn the lay of the land.

Change for some can be challenging. For me, once I get comfortable I don't typically like change. However, once I get settled in to something new and establish a routine then my comfort level increases. What can I say? I am a Type A personality. Yet, when it comes to Sarah and the life Daniel and I want to create for her, and possibly another sibling (no, I am not pregnant) moving to the suburbs was what we wanted and needed to do.

For the past two years Daniel and I have had this dream to come down to this neck of the woods for the various reasons mentioned above. Starting out in a new area without all that is familiar to us I knew would be tough. I need to be patient, continue to unpack, enjoy the quality time with my family and just know that in time we will feel more at home in our new city.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday: Mommy Moments in Haiku

This weekend was the first since our move to the burbs where we didn't have to drive too far to do anything and instead got to stay local.

Saturday playdate
Spending time, making new friends
A fun time by all

More unpacking done
Second hand kitchen set found
Getting settled in

Happy that it rained
Good excuse to stay indoors
Playroom all set up

Backyard work is done
Man for hire helped us out
Leaves gone before frost

Time to run errands
Readying house for winter
Welcome to the burbs

City to the burbs
This mommy is adjusting
Patient during change

Getting used to life
Being a suburban mom
Need time to adjust

Knew change would be big
Taking each day one by one
Tomorrow, new day

Loving our new home
Enjoying quiet and trees
Meeting new neighbors

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Setting Up Kid Space In Our New Home

Since moving into our new house it should come as no surprise that the two most important rooms to get fully settled and done are Sarah's room and the family room, as these two spaces are where she will be spending most of her time.

Having grand visions for what these rooms should look like and function as has caused me some angst. Let's just say that despite living in apartments most of my adult life I still happen to have some very large furniture. Some pieces are working while others are not. And, others we are just making work. Since this home is temporary until we decide when and where to buy we are making the most of what we have.

Let's just say that the family room has been switched around a lot so far. I am especially thankful for my hubby for amusing me and helping me to make these changes and understanding my need to make them. He knows me so well that he often jokes to remind him to tell him where things are since he knows I am likely to move them again.

I am; however, pleased to say that as I am typing on my computer in the family room with Sarah in here playing I stare at the space and am currently very happy with the layout. This room used to be my favorite. But, then once all the toys entered the stress began to fill.

After Sarah went to sleep last night we moved furniture around and agree that it's likely the best format. And, the toys are placed around the room and it seems a more calming and friendly space for kids and adults to play.

For Sarah's room we had to be a bit more creative. First, her room was a fair bit smaller than her previous room and there was somewhat limited space for all the furniture, decorations and books we hoped to keep included in there. The great news is that this room has an enormous closet. So, I decided to do something my sister did in her kid's rooms, and removed the closet doors. Since Sarah kept opening and closing the doors anyhow in the mornings, it was a no brainer to decide to take them out. So, out they went and in went a bookcase and baskets to maximize the space for her clothes, books and loads of stuffed animals.

Despite Sarah's room being a bit small, we have used the space efficiently and effectively. And, Sarah really likes the cozy feel of it. At the end of the day, she spends most of her time in the family room playing so it's best at this young age to keep the items in her room to a minimum so that rest and sleep are more likely and distractions are less.

More unpacking to do. More settling in to do.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Celebrating Chanukah

Today's Mommy Moments of Reflection from the weekend past mostly center around the Chanukah holiday celebration that started mid last week and well through this weekend. More fun to be had this week.

It was a fun and busy time with family and friends.

Enjoy this week's Hanukkah Haikus.

Celebrate with lights
Chanukah gelt and presents
Toasting happiness

Dreidel dreidel spin
On nun, gimel, hay or shin
Chocolate gelt and fun

Shalom Sesame
Big bird, Cookie, Elmo too
Hugs, photos, movie

Lighting menorah
Starting with shamash candle
Eight days and eight nights

Time with family
Cheering festival of lights
In our new home

Much fun partying
Celebrating Chanukah
Fell to sleep quickly

Happy Chanukah!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Children and Separation Anxiety

As you know, I have since made a major move and relocation with my husband, daughter and geriatric cat to a new city, new home, new job, and new school.

For Sarah, especially, this means new friends and new teachers too. And, much of this can be a bit overwhelming for a little kid to handle.

As previously written here at Mommy's Point of View, these first couple of weeks of daycare drop off have been somewhat challenging helping Sarah to get adjusted. It has been getting better as each day progresses. I know. I know. This all takes time. However, one day in the car getting ready to go to school Sarah said something to me that just about broke my heart.

I will tell you more of this shortly. You need to hold out for just a little bit.

First, let me mention that typically when I drop Sarah off at school I help to get settled in with dropping off her school bags at her cubby, going with her to put lunch in the fridge and helping to get her set up for breakfast. It's after all of this that I then try to leave after getting my hugs and kisses from her. Then, the tears and howling begin and "noooooo mommy, don't leave" begins.

So, back to the car.

Sarah said to me, "Mommy I don't want to have breakfast anymore because when I do you leave."

I just nearly teared up at that moment hearing her say this to me. I did my very best to help her understand and remind her that mommy or daddy would definitely be picking her up at school at the end of the day and that we will indeed be having breakfast together during the weekends and that school days are just a little bit different.

I am pretty sure it's an age thing. Research shows that children at this age go through feelings of abandonment and separation anxiety.

So, I just continue to do my best to help Sarah know that mommy and daddy love her very much and that at the end of each school day one or both of us will indeed be picking her up. Ironically, tonight Sarah said that she said she knows now that we come to get her at the end of the day and that that's her favorite part of the day.

What has your experience been? Any insights or thoughts you want to share?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Helping Kids Appreciate, Understand Hanukkah

Last night and tonight after picking Sarah up from school, we drove around our new neighborhood to look at all the holiday decorations.

I was bummed not to see any menorahs for the Hanukkah holiday in windows at least as far as where we drove around. :(

We did indeed; however, see many homes bedazzled with lights some white and others including various colors of the rainbow. We also saw one home with the big blow up balloons featuring Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger including a lit up choo choo train.

This certainly was enjoyable to see compared to what I have been used to seeing for the last twenty years in NYC where most homes are apartments with few windows and the decorations were not as grand.

During the drives I did my very best to explain to Sarah how these colorful lights are for people who celebrate the Christmas holiday and remind her that we celebrate Chanukah.

It also brought back memories of when my mom and stepfather drove my sister and I around our hometown at night looking at some of the elaborate home decorations some including menorahs and most others with lights of all different colors and decorations of various kinds. Nonetheless, I was always appreciative of Hanukkah growing up thanks to my parents helping by teaching me the significance of this holiday.

I then started to realize that at Sarah's new school the decorations on the walls included paper wreaths, snowmen and trees looking very Christmas like. There was little to no representation of the Hanukkah holiday and I was disappointed. I then approached a teacher who told me that the trees were not for Christmas and that they were just pine trees. For the snowmen she said they were not Christmas-specific despite their green and red hats. She tried to explain to me too that the wreaths were not for Christmas either regardless of them being wrapped with red paper bows.

In that moment I decided that instead of getting upset I would instead take action. It was my job to help bring Hanukkah for Sarah to her school to help her be excited for the holiday and for her to also be proud of who she is and her religion. Therefore, I was sure to send Sarah to school the following day with a child-safe felt fabric Hanukkah menorah to share as show and tell. I was told by Sarah's teachers that the kids liked the discussion and Sarah was excited talking about it. One of the teachers even decided to pull out her Hanukkah books and bring them to school to share with the kids.

After bringing some Jewish tradition to Sarah's school her teachers said that they really appreciated it and that I can continue to do stuff like this moving forward. They like it very much when parents get involved and for us to feel free to do as we hope to keep this important education present in our children's lives. They even encouraged me to bring in dreidels for the kids to play with too. I plan to do that for early next week. I'm excited.

As a Jewish parent raising a Jewish child I know I have a big responsibility to help my child see past all the glitz and glamour of Christmas. It will be my job, along with her daddy, to help her understand the appreciation and importance of what Hanukkah is all about and why we celebrate this occasion called the festival of lights for eight nights and days and celebrate life as Jewish people.

Happy Hanukkah!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mommy Pledge to Get Fit Backfires

Not really sure what I was thinking trying to get started on a weight loss and health kick in the midst of one of the craziest times in my life. Not only did I start a brand new job, but also packed up the apartment to make a major move and relocation, searched and found a home for us to live in, identified and secured tenants to take over our previous lease, find and secure a quality daycare, etc.

And, let's just say, the list goes on with how much has been going on in my life these past two months. Still there is more to do, but the major stuff is complete.

So, with all the stress came much eating and much of it not very healthy.

A couple of days a week for over a month I traveled to my sister's where I stayed overnight and then commuted to my new job. It was the long drives down and back where the bad eating habits kicked in. After a long work day followed by the long drive and no exercise I was exhausted and spent and hungry.

Tonight my husband said I should really give myself a break considering how much we have been dealing with and how much I have accomplished for our family in record time.

I was initially going to write that I really can't say there are any good excuses and that I could have made the time and effort to plan. But, let's be real here. Time was not exactly on my side. With so many plates flying in the air, little sleep and much to do I fell back into my old habits.

Despite making a pledge to get fit and healthy in a previous blog post here and not being able to commit to it, I am committing to it now.

So, instead of beating myself up as that will not do me any good at all, I am making another go at this.

Even though we are still unpacking many boxes, trying to get a routine established for Sarah and us, getting settled, making new friends, etc., I have decided to take the first step.

Tonight, after picking Sarah up from school, she and I drove to the gym and signed me up. The great news is that this gym, like the one I was a previous member of, has a swimming pool where I can also take Sarah to swim. I also get the great benefit of swimming as fun, relaxing and rewarding exercise amongst other activities including an indoor track to run or speed walk. And, it doesn't hurt that tonight happened to be an amazing deal of less than $20 per month, no contract and no sign up fee. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I hope your journey to good health and fitness is working out. And, if it's not, don't beat yourself up. Start fresh and start new. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mommy's Monday Morning Moment in Haiku

If I don't have to get in a car for a long drive for a long while I will be a happy person and a happy mommy.

This past week we spent much time in the car traveling to and from for family get togethers and other auspicious festivities that my goal, hopefully, is to remain as close to home at least for the next week or two if at all possible.

Thanksgiving traffic
Is sure the worst of its kind
Ran late to wedding

Thankful for good health
Happiness, prosperity
Time with family

Sarah time in car
Filled with watching videos
Helping to calm her

Holiday traffic
Was stressful beyond belief
Thankful Sarah calm

Awesome time with friends
Kids playing, laughing, happy
Hard for it to end

Mommy needs more sleep
Need vacation from time off
Pooped from holiday

Still more unpacking
Settling into new home
So loving it here

Here's to a new week
Start fresh and think of renew
Chanukah soon here

Sarah hugs the best
Amazing how they help heal
And ease, warm my heart

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Portable DVD Player: My Savior

This past week was an incredibly busy one for us traveling in the car back and forth to family and friends for holiday, wedding and birthday festivities. Much of the time involved Sarah being in her car seat for long spurts of time.

It first started with the day before Thanksgiving driving to a wedding typically a two and a half hour drive away. We expected to be in the car for likely a bit longer due to the holiday traffic and to stop once or twice along the way for potty and food breaks and some run around time for Sarah. But, due to the crazy holiday traffic, likely the worst I have ever experienced, we could only make one stop along the way as arrival to the wedding we would have been very, very late. On top of it all, because of the insanity of the traffic, another two hours got added on to our commute. We factored in extra travel time but didn't expect this.

As a result we made sure to have a portable DVD player in the car to keep Sarah occupied outside of the typical car games and activities we do. I have to say thank goodness for having this electronic device as it saved our lives that day. Normally, I don't like Sarah to be exposed to too much television time but knowing how stressful the drive could have become with the long hours and stress associated with traffic and Sarah potentially flipping a gasket from boredom it was what was needed for all involved.

Sarah was then in the car for another unplanned two hours that same night as we were not able to make our way to friends who were going to babysit. (Sorry Jessica and Amy for the last minute cancellation) We had to instead drop me off first at the wedding alone, with little time to get to the sitter and back to the wedding in time for the ceremony, and for Sarah and Daniel to then go all the way to my parent's home. Fortunately, thanks to friends I was able to get to my parent's home after the wedding safe and sound. (Thanks Sal and Nori)

Bummed by all of this Daniel was then convinced Sarah was going to be fussy and cranky in the car. With the movies on DVD fortunately Sarah was incredibly patient and seemingly understanding of the situation. If anything, she was content during an otherwise stressful situation for Daniel and I. Despite not being able to dance with my hubby and share in the joy of this wedding with my honey I was glad to know that Sarah was okay and content, not giving Daniel a hard time, and all-in-all she a great time with her grandparents once she arrived at their house.

Nonetheless, when push comes to shove sometimes having video solutions available during long car trips especially at night when it's hard to see in the car to do other activities, for kids, this is a valuable solution worth considering.

I have come to realize that the nature of situations like this warrant the help of television or videos to help a child remain calm and comfortable. I know that I need to research further other car games and activities for toddlers. Often times we do much with her in the car but once sun sets our car activities become limited especially if Sarah's not ready for sleep.

Any ideas you want to share I am fully open to. In the meantime, you can be sure that I won't be leaving home for any long trips without DVD support.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I have much to be thankful for in my life. Not only do I have my health but I also have a super wonderful husband who is incredibly supportive, compassionate and loving. I am also thankful for the sweet, adorable, energetic and vivacious daughter who loves me unconditionally, giggles like rays of sunshine and keeps me on my toes and often in desperate need of a caffeine fix to get through the day.

I give thanks to my friends and family, and readers, and wish you all well this holiday season.

I can't say this enough.
My life as a parent has forever changed me. I see my life through Sarah. She's been my motivation, inspiration, and sometimes aggravation. It's because of her that this Thanksgiving I have something also special to celebrate. Seeing the future I wanted for Sarah, that Daniel and I wanted for Sarah, I was fortunate to find a great new job and relocate us. So, this Thanksgiving we are in a new home, new city, surrounded by family and news friends. We now live in a house with a backyard (yeah!!!) in a great neighborhood with superb schools and a very short distance from close family. I look forward to building our new life with Sarah's future, and ours, in focus.
Sarah's presence in my life continues to be the light that keeps me going and the sunshine that warms my heart.

Sarah has been growing by leaps and bounds since last Thanksgiving. She knows her letters and numbers, can trace them too, loves to ride on the swings and run around too, has a great appreciation for arts and crafts, and is developing at such a rapid pace it's so exciting to help foster and watch her grow.

Today, I share with you this special something from my little special someone as we, together, wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and prosperous year.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Daycare Drop-off Drama

Our move to the suburbs is complete. And, with this comes a lot of newness. As you can imagine, for a child this can be daunting and exciting all at the same time.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that taking Sarah to daycare each morning for the past four school days has been somewhat challenging. Even after taking Sarah to see her new school before the move and talking about this change with her well before the move, still it is scary for her. I can understand that with new faces including teachers, parents and kids this can be overwhelming.

I need to keep reminding myself of this.

Fortunately, Sarah does not kick and scream to get into the car to go to school. In fact, she's excited to go. Once we are in school she's fine too. Taking off her coat, putting her food in the fridge, and roaming around she likes to do. It's when it's time for her to sit down and have breakfast and I need to leave for work that Sarah has her full on meltdowns.

Let me emphasize, Sarah has been in daycare for a good part of her life. So, for her, she's used to going to school for a long day and spending it with teachers and friends.

However, again, newness is certainly making it scary.

So, I have had to tell the teachers each day to "rip off the band aid."

While this happens, in the swells of my body my heart aches and my stomach hurts. On the outside I have to keep my composure as I will either lose it or make Sarah even more upset if she sees mommy with tears. It's so hard to do this. Sometimes I just want to scoop Sarah up and say let's go and we'll see you tomorrow. Clearly, I can't do that. And, since I then call school later in the day to find that Sarah is doing well I can continue. Sarah seems to like it there. She has had the occasional moment of sadness but all in all seems to be enjoying it.

I know that this will get better with time for both of us. In the meantime, I write this feeling such guilt, pain and anguish. I know that this too shall pass.

Still, the daycare drop-off drama wakes me from sleep in the morning before the alarm goes off hoping and praying that that day will be different. Here's to hoping that Sarah will make new friends soon and be excited to go and want to stay at school.

I love that Sarah wants to be with me, and Daniel. Sometimes I used to think how is it she's not mad at us or lashing out at us for leaving her at school for such long hours in the day. But, she still leaps into our arms at the end of each day and that makes it alright.

Tomorrow is another day. Oh, wait. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and school is closed through the weekend. Here's to hoping Monday will be a good daycare drop off. And, if it's not, I just need to remain strong and know that in time it will get better.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mommy's Moments of Reflection

This weekend's moments of reflection.

Awesome time with friends
Watching our girls bonding
Playing and laughing

The move is complete
We are now settling in
Loving the new home

Sarah adjustment
To new home, new school, new friends
It will take some time

The unpacking starts
Finding room for everything
The chance to spread out

The family room
Sarah's favorite play space
Loaded with her toys

Time with family
Sharing with them our home
Making memories

Monkey bars, swings, slide
Backyard playtime so much fun
Meeting new neighbors

Moving and children
Can be somewhat tough for all
Plan accordingly

Make a fuss about
When moving to a new home
Your kids room, play space

Moving can be much
For little kids to process
Give time to adjust

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Must Be Nuts!!!

Last night, after a full day of work and a jaunt to the mall with Sarah for some treats and playtime, there was still something left for me to do before my bedtime that I needed to muster the energy to complete.

Yawning much and wishing for my bed, blinded by piles of packed boxes with more that needed to be packed still there was one more thing for me to do before I retired for the night.

You are likely going to think I am crazy when I tell you more.

Because the following day would be Sarah's going away party at school (since we are moving and she has established relationships with her friends and teachers) I promised myself, and her, that I would make cupcakes for her send off.

Now, mind you, I make cupcakes often. This is not a problem for me. I even had extra reinforcements in place this time around to ensure that this could get done in a timely fashion without too much craziness or mess.

Why couldn't I just go to the store and buy beautifully made cupcakes?

My husband even tried to pep talk me into buying as well. He said that Sarah would love them regardless. He's right. And, I know he's right. Sarah would love them no matter what, whether I made them or purchased them. But, still after the fleeting moment passed of considering store bought treats I still said no. I know I would not be any less of a mom if I bought versus baked. I just feel great reward in making these special confections.

And, since I am not a great cook, I gravitated to baking as it was much easier for me. I am not good as a dash of this here and a pinch of this there. i take great pride in the products I churn out but am also my own worst critic when they don't come out as planned. (note: Sarah's second birthday cake -- not my best creation).

Further, a couple of years after Sarah was born my baking desire grew exponentially. With birthday parties and kid's get togethers happening more often we started to bake together. It became a new "thing" for us to do together. And, I love how adorable Sarah looks in her apron and how much we bond while we bake together.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that despite exhaustion the cupcakes got made and Sarah was thrilled. This time I made the cupcakes without Sarah since it was well past her bedtime. Once we are settled in our new home I intend to get back into our routine of baking together.

I know, you are likely saying I am nuts. I accept that. As a mom, I want to do so much for Sarah. This choice to bake, despite it being late and me being tired, was more about me wanting this for Sarah and how much pride I take in making the effort.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Mommy Moments of Reflection

This was an incredibly exhausting weekend. Lots and lots and lots of packing to do before our big move. Still, though, I find it very important to take Sarah out for playground jaunts, even if for short spurts so that she can get much playtime during all this craziness. It just means staying up super late to get it all done.

This mommy is tired!!!

This past weekend in haiku.

Some much packing left
To do before moving day
So many boxes

Sarah and TV
She's watching so much of it
What's a mom to do?

TV is helping
Sarah's not under my feet
Packing it all up

We will need reprieve
From television watching
After we are moved

Feel like bad mommy
But have to get it all done
Must get over it

Talk about timing
Daniel's book is due next week
We are all tired

Excited for change
And to be near family
To spend lots of time

Need the mommy strength
We will be moved soon enough
Happy, excited

Will miss NYC
Ready for this journey
To our future

Keep following me
Here at Mommy's Point of View
I will still be here

Friday, November 12, 2010

EmbarASSing Mommy Confessional

What is a mommy to do? When you gotta go, you gotta go.

I have a confession to make. I have peed and pooped on Sarah's potty seat. And, I have done it more than once.

Since we are in the throes of potty training with Sarah she sometimes get so excited in the mornings before I am fully awake asking incessantly to sit on the big toilet. Because of this, I often don't get my chance to go to the bathroom first in the morning, a must for someone living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Therefore, once the topic of bathroom comes up my urge to go grows exponentially. Once it's in my head that I have to go to the bathroom, I really need to go. And, since this is such a crucial time for Sarah I can't just tell her to hold it in when we are encouraging her so much to let it out.

But (butt -- ha ha ha), sometimes when Sarah has to go, I then have to go too. She sometimes tells me, "Mommy, you have to wait your turn."

It's in these instances that I have had to resort to sitting on Sarah's potty seat and go.

Hey! It's a potty seat. I am using it for what it is to be used for. This seat does not discriminate against a small tushy or a big one like mine.

If anything, I thought that it would help Sarah to learn that pooping on the potty is good and that, look, Mommy does it too.

Okay. You can be grossed out now. But, when the mornings are early and I'm half awake and have to go to the bathroom, I may continue to use Sarah's potty as she continues to embrace her own growth on the big porcelain tank. The reason this has become the situation is that I don't like to leave Sarah in the bathroom by herself just yet as she has been known to fall off the toilet seat from too much excitement. Go ahead and laugh. I do too.

Let's just say that I am doing this for her safety and my sanity. With IBS when the urge is there to go, I must go.

Oh, the things a parent must do to survive. Have an embarASSing moment or confessional you would like to share?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mommy Pledge to Get Fit and Healthy

Just about this time last year I had an epiphany (thanks to a photo of me from a friend's wedding -- ugh) that I needed to lose weight and get healthy. It was too long after having Sarah that I had not taken off all of my pregnancy weight. I was also motivated by a segment I saw on the Dr. Oz show about the idea of going on a sugar detox and it got me to thinking about a change.

Therefore, I started, the day before Halloween last year and asked my husband to join me on a journey to better health, better eating and better body.

It was incredibly tough.

Deciding to cut out sweets and soda was a start. And, it was a huge factor in my weight gain over the years that it was going to be really, really hard to manage. The great news was that with better eating habits, cutting out the sweets and soda and adding in exercise I managed to lose as much as 15 pounds within four months. My husband lost 17 pounds. We felt great. We felt amazing. We were able to get back into favorite clothes. I finally hit my goal of pre-pregnancy weight.

Then, we fell off track.

For me, every time I have had successful, reasonable, weight losses with amazing results I then add back in the sweets and such in small doses and then the weight creeps back up to the point where I am back to where I started. It's not as if I didn't have a healthy weight loss over time, each time. The temptation of sweets was just so exponential. It may sound extreme to cut out all sweets but for me I am not good at eating them in moderation.

I have been fortunate to have two wake up calls recently prompting me to make a public declaration right here, right now, at Mommy's Point of View to make a change. Ironically, another friend's wedding is coming up in late November that I fear how I will look in photos. And, since starting my new job nearly a month ago, I have been involved with a great new education effort for one of my clients (Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.) that has given me new motivation.

I have been helping to raise awareness about a disease near to my family: psoriasis. This autoimmune skin condition, which can be uncomfortable and painful, affects a dear family member of mine. The more I thought about the campaign and spoke with media about it the more I realized there was something in it for me as well.

While I do not have psoriasis, the message about this program rung true for me. All in all, it is important that we incorporate exercise into our daily lives. In another year I will be forty and the realness of that has also made me realize that like what this program is trying to help people living with psoriasis do, is true generally of life. The importance of regular exercise, healthy diet and stress management can help to improve lifestyle.

And, as a parent, I want to live a long life to enjoy the many milestones I will experience with my daughter. I also want to become the best me that's possible: physically and emotionally. You pretty much can't have one without the other.

So, while I love food, and especially sweets, something has to change.

How is now going to be different?

I want to say that publicly declaring this need for change and to be emotionally and physically fit I have to just try, and try hard.

My husband and I are getting started. We have done it together before and we will do it again. And, instead of waiting for until after much of the overeating may take place between Thanksgiving and New Years we decided that the time is now.

Therefore, I am making my pledge now to become FIT -- emotionally and physically.

Want to join me?

It's going to be a tough road for me but I look forward to what the future holds for a more energized, rested and balanced mind and body.

Wish me luck. I am going to need it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Mommy Moments of Reflection

A very busy weekend indeed for this mommy. Fortunately, I was able to get a mommy reprieve and go to a really fun bridal shower for my friend getting married later this month. I also had time to reflect on the amazing next steps we are taking as a family all for Sarah and for the life we now want to create for her, and us.

Packing up boxes
Getting ready for the move
So much more to do

Bridal shower fun
To celebrate a friend's joy
Soon she'll be married

Time to toast and drink
Laugh and eat and celebrate
A mommy time off

Let's go to dinner
My precocious toddler said
Chinese food we ate

She loves to eat out
Did a great job with chopsticks
Sarah is a hoot

Even more packing
Toys and books and clothes
On sunny Sunday

With her grandparents
Sarah spending time, playing
Laughing, giggling

That much more packing
The end of the tunnel light
Starting to glow bright

Getting excited
Many journeys lie ahead
Ready for new start

Kids open your eyes
To what it is real in the world
Helping set their path

Next chapter for us
Centers around my Sarah
What's next is for her

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Early Morning Potty Training

Sarah has been heavily in the process of potty training very excited to start wearing big girl underwear -- or panties as she likes to say.

She has full interest in going pee pee on potty chairs, toilet rings and adult toilet seats, but has no interest at this time in dropping off the kids at the pool.


I guess this part will come soon too.

I am just happy that she has an interest in potty training. And, with us in the throes of a major move to a new home and new school, I am not pushing at all on this developmental milestone. I even suspect that Sarah may regress during all these new changes and that toilet training may fall back somewhat. Often I think, this milestone is so significant that I keep reminding myself that is has to happen naturally for Sarah so as to hopefully not screw her up too much (Freud fills my brain much of the time during these moments).

In the meantime, Sarah has gotten into the habit of waking very early in the morning around 2am or 5am calling me to say that she needs to go potty. Now, it would be so good to just fall back to sleep and hope that she does too but knowing how critical and important this process is I know I have no choice but to get up and take her to the bathroom. And, ninety percent of the time she does pee. Fortunately, Sarah goes back to sleep after these wake-up relief moments, most of the time. But, please, this tired mommy is already so tired that waking up for bathroom breaks, which I won't even get up for myself, are making me that much more tired.

I know, no water before bed, and other beverages not too close to bed time. Even when this doesn't happen, still Sarah wakes with the need to pee. Wondering if she's dreaming about lakes, oceans, ponds, etc. (giggle). She loves, loves, loves to jump in puddles wearing her boots. Maybe that's what she's dreaming about. (ha ha ha)

Soon this milestone will pass and that little bit of sleep for me will come back, at least until the next milestone that may wake me prematurely.

Happy daylight saving day. Yes, I have been up for a while now. Got to love potty training.

I will say this, I am loving the brightness of the morning. Have a great day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Mommy Moments of Reflection

Here are moments of reflection from this weekend past. What a really fun time!!!

Happy Halloween
Pumpkins, candy, kids dressed up
Great trick/treat weekend

Fun filled costume month
Birthday parties, Halloween
Many dress up times

A princess, Sarah
Excited kid dressed as cow
And kitty cat too

First a blue princess
Then a cow dressed saying "Moo"
And cute kitty cat

Costume party fun
Mommy, Daddy and Sarah
Dressed as three cool cats

Packing continued
Unloading, donating too
Mommy swap meet fun

Sarah's clothes too small
Out with old in with the new
Gently used finds, SCORE!

Volunteering time
Providing for those in need
Every bit counts much

Brownie making fun
Sarah giggles as she stirs
Loving time baking

Princess Ariel
Purple, blue and frilly dress
Twirling all around

Halloween with kids
Much fun you want to join in
Dress up and laugh too

Reminded again
The value of great friendships
I am truly blessed

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Candy Recall Alert!!!

Parents, here's a heads up on two well-known candies that have just been recalled just in time for the candy filled holiday.

Please beware of Nestle's Raisinets Fun Size Bags (10oz) and select Colombina Mega Pops Lollipops (14oz and 28oz).

The Raisinets may contain peanuts as it was produced by a machine that processes peanuts. Therefore, to prevent any serious harm, please do not give out this candy to anyone, and find something else to replace it with. Parents of kids with peanut allergies, I am sure you do this already, but as added precaution, please be on alert should this candy make its way into your kids bags and pumpkins. Bags of this candy were sold in Target, Shop Rite and Don Quixote retail stores.

The Mega Pops Lollipops may have trace amounts of foreign particles that could be harmful, according to the manufacturer. The recall includes the following flavors: watermelon, cherry, orange and grape. Nearly 90,000 bags were sold at Dollar General, Family Dollar, Variety and Fred's stores, and wholesalers as well.

Regardless, as parents, it's imperative that we check our children's candy bags for unwrapped candy or this recalled candy while they are trick and treat and when at home. Let's make sure to remove this candy from the bunch.

Also, if you happen to see someone giving out this candy during Halloween, or another other time, please let them know of this news as I am sure they would not want to risk any harm to our little goblins and their chaperone's.

To learn more about these recalls, including lot numbers and how to get your money back visit the following links below.

Raisinets Recall List

Mega Pop Lollipops Recall List

Be safe this Halloween!

The Power of Friends

Over the years I have truly been blessed with great friends who are caring, compassionate, loving and supportive, and who are a significant part of my life.

Since having Sarah, I have come to realize this that much more in how these relationships have been a significant part of my life, and will be for years to come. I have also recognized that it is absolutely and positively necessary as a mom to include an additional group of friends who are fellow moms. It's these friends that get what we go through as parents, who understand the parental ups and downs, trials and tribulations, nervous breakdowns, and thrilling moments associated with parenthood.

This does not mean that non-parent friends are any less helpful, supportive, loving or meaningful. In fact, since becoming a parent it's these precious individuals who have somewhat become more like family. They are still an amazing part of my life and that of my child. In fact, it's these life-long friends that have now become like Aunts and Uncles to Sarah.

It's my mommy friends that get why I don't shower as often as I would like to, understand why I constantly wear my hair in a ponytail or headband, are there when I have mommy meltdowns and get why I like talking about Sarah incessantly. It's these friends that have given me free license to be selfish and talk about Sarah (the good, the bad and indifferent) as much as possible and to also be the necessary ear to listen to their rants and raves, be the shoulder for their crying, arms to hug and hold them, and accept it all. It's a mommy thing.

It is also nice to witness the bonds being formed between Sarah and the kids of my mommy friends, and also the bonds that these children have formed with us.

As we go through life I am sure you have experienced that our friends tend to change. Sometimes this happens when we experience major life changes and milestones and sometimes it happens due to personal interests or strains or just because.

It's incredibly important and healthy to have friends, old and new, as you walk through life. It's these individuals that provide you support and strength, along with your family, and bring great joy as well.

I certainly do not suggest that you say goodbye to your existing friends when you become a parent, as they are your foundation and much-needed support long before you became a parent. Instead, grow your support system and friend-base to include additional people who get what you are going through as a parent.

Friends will love you through it all. Sometimes there are hiccups. Sometimes there is time off to reflect. Many times the friends you keep are a reflection of who you are, people who inspire you, individuals who bring you strength and joy and who are special souls.

I dedicate this blog post to all my friends that are near and dear and who will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for your love and support, putting me in my place, listening to me rant and rave, letting me be me, enabling me to be there for you, and supporting and loving you.

Here’s to the amazing power of friendship.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mommy Moments of Reflection


Visit to new house
Sarah and Daniel love it
Ready to move in

Sleepless nights thinking
Where all furniture will go
Assessing layout

Weekend flew by fast
Packing, playing, donating
Monday already?

No nap on Sunday
Made Sarah cranky all day long
Hello I B S

The cute things she says
Mommy be safe and careful
Just before long drive

Woke up to nieces
Lots of hugs and kisses too
Makes it all worth it

Ready to start work
Excited for a new week
Much that lies ahead

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mommy Moments of Reflection

I know that today is Wednesday and that my Monday Mommy Moments of Reflection from the weekend past are past due.

Please forgive me.

As you know, it's been a nutty few weeks finding and securing a place to live upon relocation to our new city, confirming Sarah's new school/daycare, signing papers with new tenants who are taking over our apartment, and much else in between to get the apartment painted, packed, cleaned and moved. In addition, I just started my new job this week and loving it, but exhausted with so much else to do before moving day. I know that at this moment I should be packing boxes but just too tired. Needed time to sit and write to clear my head. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I have still tried to make sure to carve out time for Sarah not only for loads of play but also in helping to explain to her daily the changes that are underway.

So, here goes, my Haiku from last weekend are below.

Paperwork to sign
Getting ready for new job
Excited to start

Friend's birthday party
Sarah as Cinderella
Incredibly cute

Snacks and toys and games
Much fun was had at party
Celebrate with friends

Trip to zoo with friends
Carousel, pony rides, more
Loads of fun by all

Time with mommy friends
Thankful for relationships
We're bonded for life

Ready for new job
To grow professionally
Itching to dive in

Graco Stroller Recall

For those of us that have Graco strollers please read the following news regarding an important recall announcement made this week.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced this week a voluntary recall of Graco's Quattro Tour and travel systems and MetroLite Strollers after four recent infant deaths due to the risk of entrapment and strangulation.

This recall applies to Graco Quattro Tour strollers and travel systems made before November 2006 and MetroLite strollers and travel systems created before July 2007. These products were sold nationwide online and in stores between November 2000 and December 2007.

To determine if your stroller is affected by this recall check for the model number printed on a label on the lower portion of the rear frame above the rear wheels or underneath the stroller.

Numerous model numbers are included in the following link below to help you be more certain if your strolle is impacted. The list of products recalled is available HERE.

While some of the model numbers are very close to what's on recall please know that the Quattro and MetroLite strollers ending with the number "3" are NOT affected at all by this recall. Whew!!! Thankfully, my stroller is not affected.

If your stroller is affected by this recall the good news is that you don't have to return it. FREE repair kits are being made available by Graco to help remedy the recalled strollers. First, stop using your stroller. Second, contact Graco toll free at 1-877-828-4046 or go the company's website at to secure a free repair kit. Once you have received and repaired your stroller then you encouraged to use it again.

Let's continue to keep our kids safe.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mommy Moments of Reflection in Haiku

It's been such a crazy week that I forgot to post Monday's Mommy Moments of reflection from the weekend past.

Sorry for the delay. Here goes.

Running around town
Trying to get a lot done
To ready for move

Such a great sister
Watching Sarah, taking care
While I house hunt

Saturday a fog
Tried to make a final choice
Think we found new home

Sunday, Sarah day
Had to be all about her
Playground, friends and fun

With much going on
It's easy to lose sight of
What really matters

Much needed playtime
Mommy, Daddy and Sarah
Reading, playing, fun

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Much Needed Time With Our Kids

It's been a crazy busy week with home hunting, securing the right daycare for Sarah, researching moving companies and finding a tenant to take our apartment and start a brand new lease.

I am wiped out.

I am exhausted.

However, today, I decided that it was imperative to have a day fully dedicated to Sarah since I have been running around so much. As much as there is still a lot to do to get ready for our relocation, today was to be all about what she wanted to do.

We spent the morning at the playground, had a playdate before lunch with good friends, played princess dress up, took a great nap together, had another great playdate with good friends before dinner time, made balloon animals, and ate crepes (Thanks Santina) and ice cream as well.

Today was a super great day. The weather was cool and sunny and not pouring rain. It was exactly what Sarah and I both needed after a busy couple of weeks.

It's amazing how perspective changes when you have children. Searching for a home requires so much more attention to detail as you are interested in the schools near by, location to public transportation, if necessary, distance from relatives, safety in the home, etc.

So many factors to think of.

Fingers crossed (and, from my lips (or keyboard) to G-d's ears) that by this time next week we will have much secured and confirmed. Praying for this so that I can start my new job with much completed on the family front. I will say that relocating a family is a lot of work. And, trying to do it all in such a short period of time has had my head spinning. However, in addition to my new, exciting career opportunity, having family in the area helping with Sarah while we searched, researched and solidified details has reinforced it all.

I know that the calm from the storm will come soon. I am just so excited for us to be making this change. I am also deeply saddened to be leaving behind many great friends, some family, and relationships Sarah and I have developed. Let's just say friends and family, we will indeed have room for you to sleep in when you come over for visits. And, we do intend to be coming back for visits often. New York will always be our home. And, friends are friends no matter where you live, the same with family too.

Here's to great friends, wonderful family and the amazing love and support we have been so fortunate to receive. May you be so lucky too. Thank you.

GPS: A Parent Must

This past week I spent a significant amount of time driving around south New Jersey home hunting and checking out the area for a quality daycare/school, playgrounds near by, and more, as we are soon going to be living down there.

On some of these jaunts I had Sarah with me in the car as well.

My lifesaver during these drives has been with a Global Positioning Device (GPS) -- specifically the Garmin nuvi. I am incredibly thankful to my husband Daniel who is a technology wiz and did much research to find us an affordable GPS solution that was also very easy for me to use. (Thanks honey).

Often times I will print out Mapquest directions when I go out for a drive to an unknown location. But, in driving around to check out the area printing out directions would have been too much and required a lot of unnecessary paper.

Being able to type in the address or landmark I wanted to get to, and so easily, made driving such a breeze. No stress at all while being behind the wheel trying to figure out which way to go. And, if I when I wanted to veer away from the route to check out additional sights, the GPS helped get me back on track.

When traveling with Sarah in the car, and she sometimes becomes finicky or uneasy, and I am trying to think about where I am and may become flustered, it can become a bad combination.

Seriously. GPS has been calming and significantly valuable in more ways than one. Each time I use it, especially with Sarah in the car with me, I think often how parent's who don't have it either built into their vehicle or as an add on, should indeed have it. GPS provides comfort and peace of mind when on the road. It also helps to prevent any individual, including parents, risk of an accident as the driver is less likely to make any quick turn offs from the road if you are not aware of a specific location; otherwise putting you, your child and others at risk.

GPS is a must for everyone, especially parents. I highly recommend this technology feature to make driving easy and the time in the car when traveling to unknown territory less stressful and best for all people in the car and on the road in your path.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday's Moments of Reflections in Haiku

A very busy weekend that was productive and fun combined. Much is happening to get ready for new job, new home, new community, new everything. An exciting new journey for us lies ahead and one that I know will seem less harried once we are settled in. Family and friends have been so amazingly supportive and generous. Thank you to all.

A mommy night off
Bollywood dancing with friends
Great time for release

Hunting for a home
Close to schools, train, family
Must be Sarah safe

Many homes to see
Houses, condos, townhouses
Not yet found the one

A very long day
Searching for a place to live
Tired, exhausted

An all day playdate
Sarah played with her cousins
A fun time by all

Searching for tenant
Posting fliers with details
Boasting views, space, more

Playground fun with friends
Making most of our time here
Before the big move

A three hour nap
During chilly October
Sarah snuggle time

Brrrr, it’s cold outside
Dressed in fleece, scarves and smile
Playtime doesn’t stop

Excited for change
To start our life anew
In South New Jersey

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Having a Child Changes Everything

When you hear the phrase, "having a child changes everything," it's so the truth.

Since having Sarah, Daniel and I have thought much about what comes next. Where will she go to school and how will we pay for it, where do we see ourselves in a five years, do we want to expand our brood, do we have enough space, and most importantly, what do we envision our future to look like and what do we need to do to get there?

These are lots of questions. Some are easier to answer than others. And, with a recession taking place during it all many of these questions have been asked and re-asked and considered many times.

Thus, it has come time to say that after many years of living and working in New York City and Northern New Jersey, my husband, daughter and I, and our cat, are making a major move to the suburbs.

For many of you who know me, know that Daniel and I have tried this once before pre-Sarah. That move left us commuting well over four hours a day and only slighltly getting us closer to my sister and her family. After selling that home after a short time, we realized that the next time we do this it's to go all the way to be closer to family and be closer to work.

Therefore, I am thrilled to report that this mommy, and her family, are making a move away from what has been familiar for a significant part of lives and taking a leap and new journey to the place we will eventually plant our feet into the ground, gain security, be closer to family, and build a future together.

I have been incredibly fortunate to be offered a wonderful opportunity to work with a great company in Philadelphia doing public and media relations. And, this quality opportunity brings me closer to my sister and family -- BONUS! The best part, too, is that Sarah will be able to spend more time with her cousins and also become part of an even bigger, more extended family, something I have been wanting for her since she was born.

Therefore, this brood is packing up and moving on.

Being in New York a significant part of my life, leaving will be tough. This amazing City will always be home for me. However, I am thrilled, nervous, excited, stressed, happy, and a whole host of other emotions, about our new chapter in life.

Let's think about it. In the span of less than a few weeks, I accepted an offer for my new job, handed in my resignation, shared the news with family and friends, lept into trying to find tenants to rent our existing apartment, driven to South NJ a number of times to home hunt and shop for new school/daycare options, gotten in as many of healthcare visits before insurance changes, and overall, planning for a major relocation.

You can imagine that right this mommy's head is spinning.

I am working out the details for when we will be officially relocated and will be sure to keep you posted. Don't you worry. Just because this mommy is moving doesn't mean Mommy's Point of View is going anywhere.

Writing and sharing life experiences as a parent and providing words of wisdom and important news and information has been such a wonderful opportunity for me. I thank G-d everyday for bringing Sarah into my life and giving me some pretty amazing material to work with to create and grow as a person, as a mom and as a woman, and to share it right here with you.

Thank you to all my readers for your support, feedback, commitment and interest in Mommy's Point of View.

It's going to be a crazy time these next few weeks and months. I intend to keep writing through this transition. There are many lessons as a parent that I have learned just in the past few weeks that I intend to share in the future.

All in all, being a parent makes you think very differently. It's no longer about just what you want and what you need. Children play a signficant role in future decisions. It's all about finding the right balance and recognizing what matters most.

Having Sarah has helped to give me, and Daniel, clarity on our future. She has helped us to realize the importance of us wanting and needing to feel grounded and feeling we belong somewhere. (Thanks baby girl). We desire to provide more for Sarah including a quality education for a more afforable price, a backyard for play, more space to roam and explore, time with family, community and grounding.

Having lived a City life for a very long time this may sound odd. There are many wonderful and great experiences living in a major City or in its tri-state area. However, with it comes with a significant financial cost once has to weigh all the options. Therefore, to help provide what we wish for Sarah and to have a balance for us all, this move is exactly what we want and need.

Good luck to you on your choices and decisions as parents. Sometimes these decisions are tough and sometimes they are life changing. No one ever said life was easy, especially for those of us who are parents trying to pave the way for our kids.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sleep Positioner WARNING

You may have heard the news but sleep positioners have issued a warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Let's just say, my heart skipped a beat thinking about the many months that Sarah slept comfortably with her sleep positioner and how much I relied on it.

I know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep on their backs. However, my little wiggly monkey rolled over so much and her startle reflex required that she be swaddled like a burrito and sandwiched in a positioner to keep her calm. And, she also had reflux. Therefore, laying on her back was uncomfortable and difficult. You can constantly try to turn your baby over onto their back but inevitably those that refuse will roll on to their sides or stomachs. Since Sarah was still so young and not able to push up on her arms the positioner gave me comfort and solace in knowing that she was safe. Scary to think that she might not have been.

We used the sleep positioner for approximately 5 months with Sarah bundled up like a burrito and placed on her side. Seriously, she loved this position and slept for hours at a time.

I will say that there wasn't a night that I didn't wake several times to check on her in the cradle beside my bed worrying that she'd roll over or suffocate. Those were a rough few months. Once Sarah got used to the startle reflex and could wiggle her way out of the swaddle that's when the positioner went away and into her crib to roam freely began. That's also when my sleepless nights got more intense because Sarah woke more. We got through it.

Should I have another child I am not sure what I will do. But, in the meantime, I urge you to remove your sleep positioners immediately and talk with your doctor about ways that could be helpful for your baby to sleep comfortably and safely.

For more information about this recall visit the following link at

Here's to our little one's sleeping safely.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mommy's Monday Moments of Reflection in Haiku

Here are today's Monday Morning Moments of Reflection from the weekend past.

To join a great company
Move to South Jersey

Current job over
A new career lies ahead
Exciting journey

Thrilled to make a move
To greener Jersey pastures
To start a new life

Lots of time with friends
Jumping, playing and laughing
Savoring the sun

Clean up and clear out
Donations to help others
All for a good cause

Playgrounds and parties
Swings, slides, monkey bars and more
Fun time all around

Art projects galore
For Daddy, friends, family
Much joy creating

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Helping Kids Eat Healthy

I am a very lucky mom. Not only do I have a great kid but she also eats, and eats well.

Many times mommy friends confide in me about their kids, upset and frustrated because their little ones don’t eat much or eat well. I feel bad when they tell me this because Sarah does eat well and healthy too. She likes vegetables and fruits and eats them often.

While Sarah is only two and a half, this is the right time in her life to establish an interest for healthy foods and good eating habits to help ready her for when she goes to school and as she grows.

Eating healthy can also impact a child’s learning, as it provides quality nourishment to their growing and developing brains.

I could see Sarah really wanting to have her own garden. It can become a fun activity for us to do together over time. In fact, she did just recently ask if we could have a pink flower garden. So, maybe a fruit and veggie garden is not too far away for us.

For families that live in urban areas without backyards, just like we do, consider creating small gardens with flower pots or planters and not be discouraged from this fun healthy learning and engaging experience should open ground not be available for planting.

It just so happens that a grant program from Welch’s®, Scholastic Parent & Child magazine and the National Gardening Association was announced this month to help get healthy eating on track for youngsters.

According to a press release by these organizations, schools with kindergarten through eighth grade around the country have the opportunity to apply for funds to foot the bill for a student-run garden including seeds, tools, and educational materials. As part of this announcement they are encouraging families to take the “Healthy Eating Pledge.”

Sounds like a pretty neat idea.

We can all take a pledge to eat healthy. I certainly know that I can.

This could become an opportunity to help our kids eat healthy. And, if your child is anything like mine (Miss Independent) the idea of having a personalized garden to eat from could be very appealing.

The purpose and value of this program provides thousands of children “the opportunity to learn the importance of incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet and gain a heightened awareness of what they eat and where it comes from by planting and growing fruit and vegetable gardens at school.”

I also think, especially for us moms with preschoolers to consider the concept of an at home garden an option to consider and implement to improve and establish healthy eating habits early on.

For more about this program visit Welch's website. There are also fun games on the site as well to check out to help get us started or how to continue on the path to healthy eating habits.

I thought you might be interested to know the impact that this program had in its first year, 2009. One hundred schools were awarded gardening packages as a result of this effort and well over 12,500 kids including parents, educators and members of the community got involved in developing school-based gardens.

“Students want fresh food from the garden, and they ask for it!” comments Holly Orians from the West MI Academy of Environmental Science, Michigan, a Welch’s Harvest Grants winning school. “The food service only has to say ‘This is from the garden’ and the kids are lined up to get the veggies! We’ve seen improved science scores across the board and also students’ reactions to the outdoors.”

“Of the schools that participated in last year’s program, an amazing 17% reported an improvement in test scores which they attributed to the presence of a gardening curriculum,” comments Mike Metallo, President of National Gardening and KidsGardening.Org.

Overall, this program is not just classroom-based. It helps provide necessary tools for families to establish healthy eating habits into their every day lives.

The release states that “participating families have the opportunity to win a garden a day through September and October, as well as a grand prize to experience farming first-hand on a Welch’s family farm, where the Concord and Niagara grapes that are used to make Welch’s delicious juices and other grape-based products are grown.”

So, let’s all take a stand and make a PLEDGE to healthier eating with our kids by going to the Welch’s Facebook Fan page.

I have already signed up and look forward to getting started.

Good luck. Enjoy! And, here's to happy and healthy eating with our kids.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Mommy Must: Clear Shower Curtain

Just after Sarah was born I was advised, and can't remember by who, to purchase a clear shower curtain.

As most moms know, especially within the first month after baby is born, showering for us falls at to low rung on the ladder of tasks that need to be completed. For me, I was either just too tired dragging my face, constantly being spit up on after nursing or Sarah just refused to sleep long enough during the day hours for me to hop in for a cleaning.

Some of you reading this are nodding along in agreement while others likely may be say "ewwwwwwwwww, gross." If anything, I managed to get in a shower every other day and showered at night when exhaustion didn't fully knock me out by the time I was ready.

Therefore, to help with my shower challenge the clear vinyl shower curtain became my opportunity for necessary renewal and replenishment, and clean. I was able to put Sarah in the bathroom or just outside the doorway in a bouncy seat, exersaucer or behind a gate with toys, books, etc. The fact that she could see me while I ran my head under the water and could talk to her with her seeing me made showering much easier.

Even now, when I am with Sarah in the morning and Daniel is sleeping, while Sarah is playing in the living room across from the bathroom, I still use my clear shower curtain to keep an eye on her while I am showering.

Just know, you don't have to replace your existing shower curtain. Add the clear curtain next to it. On days when she's asleep or being watched by Daniel or someone else I can still draw my favorite opaque curtain for a calm and reassuring, longer shower.

Moving on, as Sarah has gotten older and loves to splash, and splash hard, in the bathtub I have recently been placing the shower curtain in front of her and me during bath time so that I can see her while she's having a ball but also trying to avoid getting soaked. Some days I don't mind it but on others where I am already dressed for the gym, need to run an errand or just don't want to get wet the clear shower curtain has worked wonders.

The best part about the clear shower curtain, besides it being easy to clean, is that it's an easy, affordable solution.

I highly recommend the clear shower curtain as a mom's salvation to more regular showering early on in their little one's lives.

Now lather up!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pre-school and College Financing

It's amazing how much effort and energy is put behind helping to ready parents to save for their children's college education well over 18 years away.

The good news is that Daniel and I are all signed up and contributing regularly and with additional support from Sarah's awesome grandparents too.

However, the thing that's frustrating is that there is little to no preparation from financial institutions, amongst others to mentally and physically prepare parents for the exorbitant costs for preschool care (e.g., nanny, daycare, preschool). Maybe there is and I just don't know about it. Maybe because we have been in a recession and my family has seen the impact of the economic downturn that I feel this way.

It's hard enough getting through the first few months after a first child is born but then to realize that you need to fork over easily as much as $10,000 - $18,000 if not more per year for their care (depending on where you live of course). And, if both parents need to work before a child is eligible for public school kindergarten, the process of saving while paying this extensive cost can be daunting.

I am starting to see that maybe I was just naive and didn't see this cost for what it was when I was pregnant and preparing for Sarah's arrival. I can't say we didn't save, because we did. And, fortunately, we make a good enough living to not have to worry about this. But still, I feel somewhat blindsided but this exponential expense. I definitely did not NOT think about. That's why Daniel and I decided that daycare versus a nanny was the best option for us and Sarah.

And, it's mind blowing that living near a major metropolis the cost to send a child to daycare or to pay for a nanny is close to if not more than the cost of a full college education. And, we don't have 18 years to save for this. We likely have paid for a state or city college education already and Sarah is not yet age 3.

How do parents do it? How do you do it?

It's certainly easy to say either move to a lesser expensive city with a lower cost of living or seek a higher paying job closer to home with similar rewards and benefits.

The good news for me, and my family, is that I have recently decided to do both. With a new job secured with a great company in a new city I have set a new path for my family one that we are excited, nervous, happy, scared, thrilled and overwhelmed by. I recently accepted a new position in another major city with a lower cost of living compared to what we are used to and with daycare fortunately a fair bit less than what we have been paying. Even better is that we will be closer to family.

Overall, I find it rather amusing and interesting that more emphasis is made on saving finances on children's college education versus preschool preparation, with the latter coming first. I recommend and plead that more preparation be offered to parents in the future.

If you are not able to make a major move to city with lower cost of living, get a new, higher paying job or have money fall out of the sky into your lap, look into programs (e.g., Abbott Districts), which provide the opportunity for children ages 3 - 5 to attend schools with quality programming for little to no fee.

So, with this new life change ahead of me including a new job secured, new location and new home to find I am stressed and excited all at the same time. Thrilled to create a new home and environment for Sarah and also to find affordable options to provide her a quality of life that won't feel like saving money is impossible.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday: Moments of Reflection

This past weekend was a whirlwind. My brother thankfully is home from the hospital after his accident this week (being hit by a car while on his bicycle). His memory is wonky and needs some therapy to help him get back on track.

Thanks to everyone for all the kind words, well wishes and support. And, with the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur it was a somber weekend. Thankfully, watching my niece and daughter spending time together helped to bring me back.

So, here is today's Haiku from the weekend past.

Pit in my stomach
Anxiously awaiting news
On my brother's health

Please wear your helmet
When riding bikes and scooters
They can save your life

We prayed for renew
Yom Kippur holiday time
Remember lives lost

Tough time at temple
Missing loved ones gone some time
Prayers for brother too

Time for Mom's birthday
Grammie blew out the candles
Sarah sang the song

Great time with the girls
Toddlers can be so much fun
Laughing and playing

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