Archives for October 2011

A Mother’s Legacy

Have you ever wondered what sort of legacy you’ll leave behind in this world? I mean… what will your friends say about you once you’re gone? What about your children’s teachers? Your neighbors? Your spouse? Your children?

What will they say about you… not only as a person or a friend or a spouse… but as a mother?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. We happen to live in a pretty well-to-do neighborhood. My children attend school at the top rated school in the district. On more than one occasion I’ve gone to school to help in the classroom or whatever… and I’ve noticed that the moms are really put together. They have gorgeous highlights in their hair. Their Juicy Couture tracksuits are free of peanut butter stains. Their nails are perfectly manicured and their cars… well that’s a different story.

I see these moms at school and think that they must be the most amazing mothers in the world. They flash their PTA mom smiles at each other and then I walk in. They look me over in my gym clothes… (I only have so much free time ya know) I actually do have a peanut butter stain on my shirt and there’s dirt under my nails. My hair, on these days, is usually in a pony tail. I’m sure I didn’t brush it because I was too busy running out of the house… trying not to be late for school.

For a moment… their stares make me feel like I’m doing it wrong. They make me feel like I’m not an amazing mom because I’m not sparkled and polished at 8am. But then I realize… I’m doing it just right.

I realize that when my friends and neighbors remember me… they will remember that I was always running late, but it was because I took one more minute to let Allison try and tie her own shoes. They might remember that somewhere on my gym shirt there’s a peanut butter stain because I made my kid’s lunches myself… with handwritten love notes on their napkins. My friends and neighbors could remember that I had dirt under my nails… but it’s only because I was making mud pies in the backyard on a rainy day with the kids.

Sure… my legacy will have it’s missteps and shortcomings… but in the end…

I’m a mom and I might not be living up to the standards of some… but am truly living.

I’d love to hear what your legacy will be like… share with me in the comments below and also take a moment to stop by the Million Moms Challenge forum and see what challenges other moms are facing. Much love.

Time to Start Planning Next Year’s Halloween Costumes Already.

There was a time in my life when I was just freshly pregnant with twins–ahh, remember those days? Me neither, actually. The only days I remember of my twin pregnancy was when I was 72 weeks pregnant and nobody would agree to induce me. But I do have a hazy recollection of a conversation I had with my mom and sister about eventually dressing my twins in Halloween costumes.  How fun this will be!  Sure, to raise twins you have to juggle double the diaper volume, double the very specific sippy cup preferences, double the amount of junk-candy from nights spent trick-or-treating (Butterfingers, you people.  Butterfingers are where it’s at.  Keep the Bazooka for yourselves), but the silver lining in all of this is how fun the Halloween costuming will be for the family and how creative we can all be together!  Yay team!

Costumes for same-sex twins sort of seemed like a slam-dunk: take whatever the more opinionated tot wants to dress as and buy two of them and OH MY GOODNESS YOUR TWINS ARE ADORABLE would surely echo from the cul-de-sac all night.  Seriously, ask any parent of same-sex twins about how many comments like that they get when they dress their twin-spawn alike and you might just be stunned into never making such an unoriginal remark ever again.  It’s sad, I know.  Don’t feel bad.  But it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

The conversation turned more interesting when we entertained the idea of boy-girl twins and those Halloween costume options.  I won’t stand for uncoordination in my children’s clothing, you see (so asserts a dual-income mother of a single child, at the time), so what fun I had imagining my options once they were born.  Memorable suggestions in this conversation included: Luke & Leia, Shrek & Fiona, Mork & Mindy, Woody & Jamie, Dorothy & the Tin Man, toothbrush & toothpaste, Little Bo Peep + a sheep, Greg & Marsha, and Robin Hood & Maid Marian.  I realize now that some of those pairs were not siblings but love interests (oh stop–I didn’t mean the sheep), but I didn’t think about that at the time so please stop ruining this lovely memory for me.

As fate would have it, I was carrying boy-girl twins.  In a tragic twist of fate, they have had three Halloweens and I have yet to coordinate their costumes.  One year I had to work with a hand-me-down with which coordination was impossible.  Another year we had just moved and I was too tired and poor to give nary a care that the girl wanted to be Minnie Mouse and the boy was a pirate.  But this year, this year I got this.  Right?  Right??  This is my year!  Until the girl found a bumblebee costume and made me buy it.  She wears it to bed every night.  I can’t get it off of her without threatening that Santa won’t come if she doesn’t cooperate.  And the boy is committed to being Darth Vader.  He’s four–he doesn’t even know who James Earl Jones even is!  But that’s okay, if I can convince the girl to be Queen Amidala…..ugh, forget it.  Faced with the option of dressing my four year old as if she were Lady Gaga from a galaxy far, far away, I simply don’t have the money or the stomach for it.  But if the girl wants to be a bumblebee, maybe the boy can dress as a…. flower?  A hive?  A bowl of Cheerios?  Oof, I need a lot longer than one week to plan for a costume involving a four-foot diameter bowl of milk.  I am screwed out of the perfect twin Halloween costumes yet again!  Oh, why oh why does this always happen to me?

So you can understand that when it came to Halloween, if there is to be any matchy matchy going on then complete control of their costumes really should belong to me.  Of course I might consider their opinions as well, insofar as I might tell them I will consider their opinions, but Momma has a camera and a need to scrapbook your adorable childhoods so hows ’bout we just wear what Momma tells you to wear and smile.  Smile, I said!  THERE IS NO CRYING ON HALLOWEEN!  WAIT, GET BACK HERE!  I HAVE CANDY!  AND I MEAN BUTTERFINGERS, NOT THAT CRAPPY NON-CHOCOLATE NONSENSE!


Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at Byrds for a Cure.


Spinal Muscular Atrophy

I knew nothing about SMA until I met a woman who has become one of my best friends. I met Cassandra Byrd well over a year ago on Twitter and met in person at one of my Mom’s Night Out Events. Now we go to hockey games, have our own 2 or 3 person girl’s nights out, and catch late night chick flicks. She even contributes to my blog on #twintuesday!

Cassandra is the mother of three beautiful children. She’s also one of the strongest women I know. Our girls go to the same school. Her oldest, Jenna, is in second grade just like my Rachel. Her two younger children, Kyle and Lauren, are twins. They’re 4 years old. They’re not just our friends… they are also our neighbors… only a few streets down.

Kyle and Lauren have SMA. You can read all about it on their website Byrds For A Cure. In order to help find a cure… I’m participating in a wing eating competition at our local BUffalo Wild Wings. You can help too! You can help by coming and cheering me on at the BDubs at 2510 W Happy Valley Rd on Thursday, Oct. 27th at 7pm. Order dinner and 10% of your bill will go towards our cause! You can also donate through my page on Crowdrise. It’s completely secure and you can donate anonymously if you’d like:

Your support in this fundraiser means a great deal to me. Thank you for being such amazing friends and readers. XO- Kelly

My New Fatherhood

Note from the Editor: It’s Friday and I’ve clearly not been writing enough this week… or last! But thankfully… the dads have come through AGAIN. This week, we have John from The Daddy Yo Blog. You can also follow him on Twitter @TheDaddyYoDude. John’s wife is going off to work and he is now becoming a stay-at-home dad. Read on and be sure to leave him a note of encouragement. Oh and… you can purchase the slogan on the left from Spreadshirt. xo-Kelly

It never ceases to amaze me at how my own role as a dad is always changing. As my children grow up and become more individual, more independent, and wiser, I have to learn to adapt my fatherhood to it. I can’t keep parenting in the same fashions when my children and my life change so much.

This week, I had to completely change how I parent. Not because something extremely drastic happened, but because the overall caretaking roles have changed in our house. As my wife started her new job this week, I started a completely different book in my life as a dad. This week, I became the primary caregiver of our children. Instead of being at work for 50 hours a week, I am washing dishes, cleaning house, and taking care of all of the child raising duties that my wife has had for over four years now.

I will admit, without hesitation, that I am still just as nervous as I am excited. This is uncharted territory for me. It is a land that has only been traversed by my wife. It is territory that is a minefield to be walking in. At least for me, I know I can navigate around and adjust quickly to the changes. My main fear is how my children will react.

The second day of my at-home parenthood proved to be everything that dreams are not made of for a working dad who just dropped all but 2 days of his job. It was not cleaning, followed by playtime, followed by nap, followed by more play, crafts, snacks, and watching TV. No, it was a day full of “don’t touch that” and “If you hit your brother one more time…” and the all time favorite “If you don’t stop you will be going to bed early”. Then the words “I want my mommy” started pouring from their pouting lips.

It was that moment that made me realize that this was more than just a shift in work/home habits, routines, and responsibilities. This is a new fatherhood for me. This is a new way of doing things. It’s a new way of thinking. It’s a completely different life now. I’m not the full time, always gone, always tired, working dad anymore. This is a whole new way of living. Time to change the gears, make a u-turn, and prepare for a completely different life. This, is my new fatherhood.

Under Siege: The Battle of No

Or… My New Two Least Favorite Letters.

Note from the Editor: I’ve been lazy this week… But clearly the Dad’s have been on the ball. My friend and new neighbor, Dave, shares below a bit about his least favorite letters… N. O. Happy weekend my friends! xo- Kel

I’ve been trying to find the funny in all of this. To find the things that will make you not look at this posting as though you’re witnessing a guy venting about things that seem unworthy of venting about. I’ve had plenty to vent about over the last couple months…and saying that out loud like this, I feel ridiculous myself.


I’m a very lucky guy. This is true. I have a wonderful wife and 3 beautiful, smart, healthy little girls, each with a crazier, almost sardonic, wit than the last. They’re sweet, sassy and exhibit great understanding of sarcasm for a 5 year old and twin 2 year olds. These are things I find wonderful about my girls. They’re constantly changing, though, and new facets of their personalities come to light at some of the most unexpected of times. With all that we’ve been up to, the events in our lives of late, the twins have found it the right time, for them, to embrace a new, more rigid approach to demanding things. Exhibited by their increasing reliance on the word “No” It’s as if they found themselves realizing that “No” can actually be their pat answer to EVERYTHING that is asked of them. It made this last summer much more challenging in new and interesting ways, but seems to have become their policy in the last few weeks…right in the middle of our move The funny part in this, is that they even answer “No” to things they want…and for a few moments before they realize that they’ve answered wrongly, it’s being able to see them back-pedal, and try to convince me that the “No” was in error, and that they want it…”Yes, yes…”


Beyond the “Battle of the No’s”, It’s been quite a busy couple of months. We’ve spent the last 5 months house hunting, and dragging our three little girls fussing and complaining (and giggling) through the whole process with us. They’ve, to a point, even been able to voice their opinions about the houses we’ve seen along this path to a new home. Mostly, their opinions were laced with lots of saying “No”, of course. I’ve felt a great deal of sympathy toward our real estate agent for putting up with all the drama that these 3 little girls bring along, as if they’re pulling little wagons filled with crazy behind them, everywhere we go. The screaming and the running around like little sugar-propelled crazies through these empty and, sometimes very much, lived-in houses, I’m certain I’ve beaten my personal best for the number of times apologizing for their craziness. They grew to be much better and considerate of the places we were seeing as we went along. Finally, after looking at dozens of homes, we found the perfect house! Two offers, two counter-offers, more negotiating and suspicion that the seller’s agent wasn’t excited about selling the place to us and consequently tried to delay the process even more, we managed to close on our new digs. Not a single “No” from the girls though. They loved the place right from the get go… The girls have good taste.


Back before our daughters came along, moving seemed inconvenient and cumbersome, but a relatively easy process. When there are kids in the picture, however, we’ve learned, that the move goes from being a simple thing to an infinitely more complex exercise in logistics, strategic car swapping, sleep-management and sanity-maintenance. We’re now closing out a week and a half of packing our belongings into a loading truck, driving the massive moving truck to the new place, unloading, sorting, unpacking and organizing is now complete, now for the fine tuning…


{NOTE: it was at this point, as I was writing this last night, sitting on the couch in our dimly lit new living room…that I passed out. Laptop, on my lap… Fingers on the keyboard. I don’t remember much of the moment, but it seems I looked up for a moment too long to watch a scene from “Tron: Legacy” –this is no indication of the quality of that movie, by the way – on the television…then…blackness.  I woke up around 2:30 AM, laptop still on my lap, still whirring… Posting still not complete. Saved the file. Closed the laptop. Fell back asleep.}


…Waking up in our new place is a wonderful feeling. The girls wake up with the sun (which sounds nice, BUT…) and this place just fills up with sunlight and the sound of little girls doing what little girls do each morning. In this case, this morning, little girls apparently come and wake their Daddy, who passed out on the couch last night, by slapping him on the face and exhorting “Wake up, Dada….Wake UP!”  SLAP!


“Leave Daddy alone for a bit, baby. I’m tired…it’s…what?…(looks at watch)…it’s 5:37.”


Followed quickly, in unison, with a…“No!”





Real Men Wear Pink

Editor’s Note: This week we have Jeff, from Out With the Kids, joining us. Below he shares his thoughts on the “think pink” campaigns surrounding October. What are your feelings on it? Give us a shout in the comments and follow Jeff on Twitter @OWTK for more. Thanks for reading on this Dad Stalking Friday!

November will be here in a flash and many women will still be diagnosed with, fight like hell to beat, and unfortunately succumb to breast cancer. That thousands of burly men will spend their October weekends with pink towels tucked into their skin-tight pants and pink tape wrapped around their tender ankles isn’t going to change any of that.

In a culture that simultaneously fears and demonizes homosexuality, and use the color pink to denote all things feminine, the statement being made this month by the players, coaches, and staff of the National Football League is worth noting even if it will not directly lead to the eradication of the disease it is intended to raise awareness of or make the men involved any less homophobic.

There are countless problems facing our world. Whether or not we “think pink,” sign an email petition to help local farmers, or #occupywallstreet, we’re likely not going to shift the balance of power in the direction of the good side, but I’ve come to believe that it’s the aggregate that matters; that tiny things on top of more tiny things over the course of time can and will lead to a better you, a better life, and a better world.

So as we watch the physically gifted lads of the gridiron battle it out this month in stadiums across the country with shades of pink swirling about, let’s take stock of the fact that some good will come from their pink apparel, that the gesture matters because all things matter. It might just lead to an enlightening conversation at home with your child as you cheer on your hometown team together about what it means to support someone or something that is bigger than any of us as individuals. It may very well lead to a young boy seeing firsthand that men needn’t be afraid of the color pink and all the negative stereotypes that come with it.

It may take a long while, but know that someday we’ll have a cure for breast cancer, and for the other things that plague us. In the meantime, hug your mom, grandmother, aunt, sister and daughter a little tighter the next time you see them.