Archives for December 2011

Twins? Say what?

Today is the fifth anniversary of finding out we were pregnant with twins. Most people would be shocked to find out they are pregnant with twins, yes.  But to say it rocked our world would be an understatement.  They’re four-and-a-half years old now, but I’m still not sure we completely believe that we have twins.  It’s still kind of unfathomable.

I will never forget the tense moments of my first ultrasound–it was my second pregnancy, but for a few reasons it was a high-risk one, even before anyone knew I had twins in here.  I was laying down and staring at the ultrasound image on a large screen up on the wall.  I can’t read an ultrasound for peanuts, but my eyes confused my brain because what it looked like up there was two wee little babies.  It was then that the ultrasound tech offhandedly asked, “So, do twins run in your family?”

Ten seconds later, there was a husband-shaped whole through the door.  Ha!  Just kidding!  Doors these days are really solid.  He couldn’t bust through the door in one try, so he just kicked his stool back and rolled all the way across the room until he hit a cabinet.  Or rather, I think that’s what he did–I’m not entirely sure, because all I could do was laugh laugh laugh LAUGH LAUGH OMG THE LAUGHTER.  I like this ultrasound tech!  She’s HILARIOUS!  giggle giggle snort snort, wipe tears away from my eyes and then HOLY CRAP SHE IS NOT KIDDING.  THOSE ARE TWO BABIES.  THEY ARE IN ME.  LIKE, RIGHT NOW.

She was serious as a heart attack.  Which might be what I had, who knows.

Six months later, he had my ears and she had his nose, and I threw up on them while I was holding them right after the nurses handed them up to me.  But then we lived happily ever after, so it’s cool.




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

The Hardest Job You’ll Never Get Paid For

Editor’s Note: This week…. we hear from John @TheDaddyYoDude. He spills the beans on what it’s like to be a Stay at Home Dad and how although it’s the hardest job he’ll never be paid for… it has it’s perks. You can find more of John’s writing at The Daddy Yo Blog. Happy weekend friends! XO-Kelly

Sunshine smiles, laughs a plenty, playtime, ice cream dates, falling asleep to movies, Sunday drives. A few ways to describe or talk about parenting. Children can bring such joy, such love, and such happiness to a parent’s life. They fill our hearts with love and our homes with toys. What a wonderful thing being a parent is. Right?

Well, yes that would be correct. But look at all the magazine pictures, search Google images, or just look around the next time you are in your nearest children’s section of your nearest department store. These are images conjured up from all of the grand memories that come from parenting. Deceitful they can be though. One thing that never comes out of anyone’s mouth when first asked about parenting is “This is the hardest job you will ever have that won’t pay you a dime”.

I would normally start this paragraph with “Don’t get me wrong” but I think you all can say the same thing. I love my children. I love their smiles, their laughs, and the love and joy they bring into my life. I do not love the tantrums, the hitting, the kicking, spitting, shoving, body slamming, jack-knifing, screaming, throwing, heaving, and so on. Show me a parent that enjoys those moments and I’ll show you a babysitter. Parenting is, in fact, the hardest job you will never get paid for.

I didn’t fully realize this until I started staying home during the weekdays while the wife is at work. Previously, I was working 5, 6, 7 days a week, sometimes 50-60 hours a week. I have missed a lot of things in my kids life over the 4 years that I was working full time and my wife was a SAHM. Now the roles are almost completely reversed. Exception being that I still work on Saturdays and Sundays. But for the first time since having kids, I am the primary caregiver.

I am here to fully admit this today: This is not as easy as I had thought it would be. Right now, my wife is laughing hysterically, right in my face, doing the “nanny nanny boo boo! Told you! Told you!” thing. Really, she laughs at me when I talk about the not so fun parts of my day with the kids. In fact, my mom sometimes does to when I tell her about it. Hmmmmm…..

Anyways, I should have known how dumb it was for me to think this would be a sunshine and kisses walk through the park. Even on my breaks when working full time, I have seen the unpleasant side of being the at-home parent. Yet, for some reason I was foolish enough to believe it would be as if I was Barney or some shiz and the kids would be captivated, entertained, and in awe of everything I did down to the sound I make when I sneeze. Then I asked myself recently: What the hell where you thinking?

Turns out that yes, being a primary caregiver is just as much of a job as what I do for a living. I have to be many types of people all in one, at any given time. Dad, doctor, lunch maker, diaper changer, playmate, disciplinarian, the list goes on and on. Truth is, it leaves me quite exhausted sometimes. It qualifies, in my mind, as the hardest job that you will never get paid for. 

But that’s okay. I’ll take the rough days that seem to impact me more. I’ll take having to be an actual adult at times when I really just don’t want to. I’ll take having to keep composure in times where I just want to break down. Because every night, every bedtime that I am home for, the night never ends without a kiss, a hug, and an “I love you”. Even weekend nights when I work, they get a kiss and an I love you from me, whether they know it or not.

Crazy. Life that is. The things that take the most effort are usually the very things that are deserving of that dedication. It might not be easy, but it’s damn sure worth it. And you know what? I think this is a job that I can stick around at for a while. The perks are better than I can get anywhere else.

On Wanting Praise

Editor’s Note: I’ve been super lame lately… but these guys have stuck with me. This week we have a great dad and a great writer and a great e-friend… Jeff from Out With the Kids. This week, Jeff brings to us a story of his brother… wait… no.. not really. It’s a story of music… well… no… I guess it’s not really about music either. Just read. It’s great. Thanks for sharing Jeff! xo- Kelly

When my middle brother was about 14 or so he played an acoustic guitar in front of some folks from the neighborhood.  One guy, the father of a boyhood friend of his, laughed and ridiculed his ability on the instrument.  To my knowledge, my bro hasn’t picked up a guitar (or any instrument for that matter) since.  Could my brother have had a bit more of a backbone?  Yeah, probably.  Could my parents have handled the situation in a different way to get him back in the rock-n-roll saddle?  Likely.  Could that guy from the ‘hood not have been such an ass to a young kid putting himself on the line in public?  Absolutely.


But this post isn’t exactly about my brother.


I am deeply connected to the kid’s music scene.  Some would even say I’m the glue that binds the scene together.  Okay, no one would ever say that.  But I am involved a little bit and happily so.


The Grammy Award nominations were announced this week and, in case you weren’t hip to it, kid’s music has a category.  Used to be two, but that’s another story.  You may also not be aware that the kid’s music world is ripe with creativity, diversity and innovation right now.  Long gone are the days of choosing only between a singing purple dinosaur and 4 Australian guys in primary colored t-shirts.  We are currently living in the Golden Age of Family Music.  Yet the 2012 Grammy nominees for Best Children’s Album are not representative of the current vibrancy in the genre.


This news had me, and some of my peers, in a tizzy at the slap in the face given to the great ones creating great media for families.  But to be honest, I think it was us non-musicians on the fringe of the scene that took the surprising nominee list harder than the actual music-makers.  We felt slighted because the artists that we champion, the entire genre that we prop up for all to see and respect, were in a way disrespected on the biggest stage with all the bight lights of Hollywood shining down.  We were all ready to tell our story on a national stage, to parlay the annual Award season to convert a few more families and national music critics.  Instead, we are kind of back to square one fighting for attention and for the respect of those who continue to put down children’s music as a viable art form.


But this post isn’t exactly about music.


Being judged can suck.  And this coming from one who gets paid to do it, to essentially say: this is better than that.


We adults, for the most part, can process rejection.  Sometimes alcohol is involved.  Kids, though, they are still figuring out their place in the world, what they can and cannot do well, and are still building their self-esteem and protective wall.  Intentional, nasty blows can take a toll – just ask a child actor.  All children take being judged hard.  When a young person exposes his or her vulnerability by performing for others – be it acting, dancing, or playing acoustic guitar – it can crush them to feel negativity.  Some, like my brother, retreat for good.  This is not to say that a constant praise fest is the answer, not at all, but we must help our children develop a level of confidence from within, to not need so much the admiration of “the public”.  Doing so isn’t easy, and I don’t exactly have the guidebook for this one, because we all want to be loved some for what is it we can do, but to temper that desire for praise with a self-assuredness can go a long way to raising a mentally healthy young person and eventually a stable adult without a drinking problem.


I’m no longer a vulnerable tween, but as a passionate kid’s music fan and children’s media critic I too, rightly or wrongly, feel the sting of the hurtful, ignorant “kid’s music sucks” phrase so easily uttered by adults not familiar with the music that would so easily change their mind on the subject.  Short of every single music-loving family giving a few of the great kid’s bands a real chance in their iPods, I don’t know what will ever help me get over it.   I only know that, unlike my brother and his acoustic guitar 35 years ago, I will not quit trying to convince you of its merits.

Find out more about great kid’s music on Jeff’s site


Being a Healthy Example

Lately, I’ve been taking care in how I prepare our foods. I teach my girls to wash our produce and we bake or grill rather than fry. I’ve been switching out some of our less healthy ingredients for more health conscious ones… Olive oil for regular cooking oil, substitute sugars, fresh rather than canned.

To read more about the changes we’ve made as a family… check out my post in its entirety on the Million Moms Challenge. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter at #amillionmoms.

T-Mobile: Wrap It Up!

I’d like to start off by congratulating our winners of the T-Mobile MyTouch giveaway! Congratulations to numbers 6 and 7… Louis and Merrick! I’ve sent you notifications via email… if I don’t hear back in 3 days… I’ll choose new random winners!

While at our Phoenix #TMobileHolidays tweet-up… we learned that T-Mobile makes it easy to find just the right gift for everyone on our lists! Our location even had a FourSquare check-in savings special! Whether it’s chargers, cases, smart phones, or tablets… T-Mobile has it covered.

Looking for entertainment? The new T-Mobile SpringBoard comes preloaded with Netflix and Blockbuster! The HD screen with Superfine Pixel Density will allow your loved one to watch movies in crystal clear quality. Are you looking for something with more power? The new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 offers 1Ghz processor and is 4G capable! T-Mobile is the largest provider of 4G service in the nation…

If it’s smart phones you’re after… we got to play around with the MyTouch and MyTouch Q. What’s the biggest difference? The MyTouch Q has a nifty slide out qwerty keyboard for those who like to text and still feel the buttons as opposed to texting on the touch screen. :)

I read online today that T-Mobile locations all over the country are having a two day shopping event on December 17-18. It’s a 4G super sale! Hurry in and check it out!

I’m not currently a T-Mobile customer… but I was quite impressed with their network and how friendly and knowledgeable the staff was. More than half of our Pheonix #TMobileHolidays attendees were current customers. It was made clear that T-Mobile cares about its small business customers. I was compensated to host the event and share information with my readers… and that’s what I’ve done. In the process… I’ve become quite enlightened myself. Thanks so much T-Mobile for sharing the holiday with us!


I run like the wind, but I run faster when zombies chase me (I can only assume)

Okay so I have, like, a ton of friends who walk–or, more ridiculously, run.  What’s up with those weirdos, eh?  We have cars, dudes.  No need to run.  Seriously, runners are whack jobs.

So hey yeah, I am a whack job.  I run.  I technically haven’t run in a few weeks, but in general I can run and I’m conditioned to run (for example, if zombies were to chase us I could probably run faster than the slowest person around, which is really all that matters when it comes to zombie chases).  But now I have a better reason to run.  And so do you.  Or hey–you could even just WALK the whole thing!  I don’t judge.

The Ryan House Run at DC Ranch in north Scottsdale is three months away.  You can sign up for the 5K, the 10K, or the half-marathon. Or even the 1 mile family fun run.  Team Double Trouble needs more than two people on the team this time (thanks for last year, Jess!).  This event is so much fun, does so much good, raises so much money, and is so newbie-friendly that you ALL should register!  Five kilometers is just 3.2 miles.  Thirty minutes of your time and effort.  Easy peasy.

If you wish to challenge yourself with the 10k or half-marathon, that’s up to you–but you can still use this link to register with Team Double Trouble.  I will run(ish) the 5k.  Team Double Trouble will meet at DC Ranch early, give fist bumps, then off to our starting places.  Following our events, we shall meet up again afterward, give more fist bumps, compliment each other on our Lululemons, agree that we haven’t been to The Herb Box in forever and we should go back soon, acknowledge the good weather, and in general have a great time.  Even if you can’t commit to the race, you can show up to cheer me on, bribe me with a mocha chino, peruse the raffle tables and gamble a few bucks to win a wine basket or sports paraphernalia

I’ve already blogged about what a great cause the Ryan House is.  Sign up to do it with me this time.  Right now is the perfect time to start training for it–the Couch to 5K program was even designed for non-runners.  Your heart will thank you.  I’ll thank you.  Simply put, I want to see your face on March 3rd, 2012.  C’mon, Phoenix!  I know you want to see me all hot and sweaty and gross so early in the morning that I’ve not even had enough coffee to be pleasant to you.

Fine–for those of you who will won’t get off of your derriere’s long enough to run, but still wish to support the cause, donate to The Ryan House via Team Double Trouble here.  It’s for the kids!  As usual!


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