Sunday, March 30, 2014

What We Learned (March 30, 2014 Edition)

Every week we summarize what we learned during the week or the experiences that we had. Below you'll read about what the Mamas did this week and what they found interesting. We'd love to hear from our readers as well! Comment below to let us know what you learned.

1) I forgot how much I enjoy using my Ergo to back carry my sons. Today Mike and my step-son were working in the garden, and Sage was just about to nap time but not quite. So I took the Ergo and put it on, asked Mike to help me put Sage in on my back, and I took the boys for a walk around the block. Sage was asleep by the time we turned the corner to the next street to make our circle. It was very sweet to have a little boy sleeping peacefully on my back.

2) This week was very spring/early summer here in south Texas. After the morning coolness burned off we spent the afternoons and evenings in shorts and t-shirts as the rest of the country gave us nasty looks. Spring is coming you guys! I promise! *Hence the spring-themed banner this week*

3) I added a new medication a few weeks ago that was supposed to decrease my joint pain from my Lupus/arthritis. As I've said before, if there's a side effect, it's mine, I own it. All of them. So an hour after I took it I have been dead dog tired for about 2 hours then it wore off. Finally this week I fell asleep at a stop light on the way to work (and promptly came home and called my doctor). This is NOT working. We switched to taking it at night (which can have the side effect of insomnia, yay). We'll see how this works. Some days I feel like a medical guinea pig where all these doctors are like, "Hey, let's try THIS!"


1. The garage is a great place to play and we are not scared of it anymore. I can cook and pay attention to them at the same time. SCORE!

2. Sailor really wants to babywear again. He wore the girls in a Bjorn forever, beat it to hell, and said he wants an upgrade. We visited our local cd shop and had him try some out. He felt all special! He said he has some thinking to do about which one he liked best. I will say this: all the ladies at the store were all giddy at seeing him try carriers on with Cubby all cozied up in there.

3. I received a gift from myself to myself. Yes, in enabling my own addictions. I will justify by saying that I still have some bday money that I don't know what to do with, ju-ju-be sent me an email, and the rest is history!! I bought myself the Be Set in Royal Envy and I'm excited to transfer my makeup in there. Do you like it?

1. While dog sitting my parents' two female miniature daschunds, my golden retriever paid them no attention at first. Gunner, our golden, is lazy. He lays down to eat. For example, he sleeps in front of the door, as a guard dog (being a door block instead Of barking) Dixie (the younger daschund) has been humping HIM like crazy! She was even humping  his face like 'what, you don't want it dude?!' ...I've learned that this little dog has a large libido. 

2. I've learned that men love el caminos. It's not a truck, it's not a car. It's a ratchet mess, is what it is. I had to ride to middle school in that thing, and was so embarrassed. Now, my dad is buying yet another one (he does this for a hobby...thank you retirement) and more than likely we will get it 'passed down' in the next 20 years or so. Oh. Joy. 

3. I've learned that the one time I don't shave is the one time I am in the mood to wear a sleeveless dress. With 30 minutes to get a baby and myself fully ready (change diapers, bathe and dress both of us, do makeup and hair), I grab the razor. Only a few nicks later on the legs, I was ready..Until I realize as I walk out the door, that I forgot the pits. 

What about you? Comment below with what you learned!
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Super Zip Code Dilemma

"Where do you live?", asked the lady, expectantly. I was sitting at the local mall germ pit, making small talk with the moms there to pass the time while the kids played. 
I told her the exact location of my home. "Wow! That's amazing. All those homes are beautiful there!"

I agree wholeheartedly. The area that I now live in, is known for beautiful homes, gated communities, and expensive vehicles. It is a wonderful place to live in. However, having lived
in the area since we moved from Puerto Rico, I know that there's a certain idea people have about Clarksville: cookie cutter-rich people heaven. I've seen the eyebrows go up and the smiles that follow the statement: "Oh, I live in Clarksville". 

I'm going to be honest here. We don't live in a gated community, we drive a Honda Pilot and an beat up Toyota Celica, and our neighborhood is not inhabited by Stepford Wives. I've yet to see any and I've lived in the area since I was ten years old. Our house sits in a quiet cul-de-sac near farms(horses, turkeys, and cattle), a high school, some woods, and my closet has more yoga pants in it than any respectable woman should have. What I knew that the other moms were thinking was 'she sure doesn't fit the mold of ladies from over there.' You know, the ladies that wear nice labels, always look put together, and drive expensive vehicles that have never seen a car wash but visit a detailer. 

This got me to thinking and it reminded me of the Washington Post article on Super Zip Codes, and how the DC area has a high concentration of them--the highest in the country. The article mentioned this perception of the people that lived in super zip codes, the criteria for super zip codes, and illustrated some of the worries that people there live with: that they could be living in a bubble and essentially, be completely out of touch with the world and its issues. My favorite blurb from the article is where it mentions the lengths people here go to in order to achieve success: having a soccer superstar move in for the summer to coach their child to sports stardom. 

I won't lie. I do know some families that do things like that. They push their children to achieve success by pulling all the stops...because they can. There are a lot of successful business people here, doctors, name it. They have all been well-educated and make very good money.  This is why our area has the highest rate of high school graduates that do move on to higher education(River Hill HS being the perfect example). That being said, I can see how they can lose touch with the world outside. Hell, I know I lose touch! Between doctor's appointments, school activities, tummy bugs...I lose touch with reality too. (What do you mean diaper prices are not in the news?!)

How did we end up in this zip code, you ask? We lived in Columbia previously; about 10 minutes from our new place. My father passed away suddenly and my mother moved in with us. Our little house was officially outgrown and we decided to look for a new place. The Sailor and I had always said we wanted a house with room for the kids and dogs to run, a quiet place to grow old in, where the neighbors were nice, the schools were great, and we would still be in between Baltimore and DC. Clarksville is less than 10 minutes away from Columbia--no brainer. Howard County is where we wanted to stay. 

While I agree with some of the points the article makes, I don't like that the author perpetuated this perception that everyone that lives in this zip fits a mold. I know my family doesn't and most of the people in our neighborhood don't. There is diversity here, if you take a minute to see it. That's what makes this area so interesting. It kinda sucks to be lumped in like that. There's more to this than the zip code. Right? 

As I left the mall (the one that had the shooting incident a little while ago), I couldn't help but think to myself that I don't want the spawn to lose touch with their parents humble beginnings. I want them to embrace diversity, to follow their dreams, and find happiness by doing what they love. I don't think that living in a super zip code will change them. They know the stories of eating only noodles and Spam, of taking public transportation and walking miles to our destination, of moving to a whole new area and starting off with nothing but a box as furniture, and not speaking the language. If anything, living in this zip code is a success story. Hard work and determination do pay off. We may not fit the mold, per the article, but we never have. And I'm ok with that. 

Do you live in a super zip code? Is there a certain perception of the people that live there? Tell us what you think! 

Photo"Map Of USA" by David Castillo Dominici retrieved from
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hey Keurig, We Need to Talk

Haven't jumped on the Keurig or single cup coffee (and tea) brewing system bandwagon yet? Read on to learn about Liz's experiences with it, both good and bad.

"The Keurig hates me," my husband tells me.

It's a coffee maker. How can it hate you?

"I don't know but it doesn't give me a full cup anymore. I press the big button and it gives me a small size."

My husband and I have always been Coffee People. When the Keurig brewing system came out we both saw it and thought it was a cool idea, but not for us. A friend gifted me a brewing system for my birthday in 2012 and thankfully she gifted us a basket of coffee pods, otherwise we may never have switched from our coffee pot.

Once we tried the coffee brewed by the Keurig though, we were hooked. It tasted 200 times better than our drip coffee maker. And that's saying a lot. And it's so quick and easy - you grab a coffee pod, put your cup under, push a button, and coffee. Bam.

But with any great thing come a different set of problems. We have hard water, so we typically have to de-scale the brewer more often than friends with soft water do. So we keep vinegar around so we can de-scale it if it starts giving us a smaller cup or if it tells us it needs to be cleaned (there's a notification, just like everything else in life now). When we try to de-scale, we follow the instructions from Keurig and it never goes as it says it will in the manual. So we end up turning it off and turning it back on after each "brew" so that it will let us keep cleaning it. It's way more of a PITA than de-scaling our drip brewer was. But it doesn't need to be done often. If it notifies you or starts giving you less coffee, my first suggestion is to turn it off (because I know we never do) and back on, and my second suggestion is to de-scale it.

The coffee pods, while easily available, are definitely more expensive than buying regular coffee. We've tried to buy loose coffee and use the insert to brew in the Keurig, but it's not the same. It's really not. It always comes out way more watery than what we want. You can get the coffee pods cheaper at places that sell in bulk or the club-type stores. You can even get them delivered monthly to you from Amazon. If you sign up at Keurig they also send out coupons and deals for coffee pods so there are ways to make it more affordable.

Do you use a Keurig? What do you like about it? What do you dislike?
Sunday, March 23, 2014

What We Learned (March 23, 2014 edition)

It's already almost the end of March! Can you believe it? Each week the Mamas write about their experiences and what they learned. See what Robyn, Lisa, and Liz learned about this week and add in your things you learned or found awesome in the comments!

Robyn: I've learned that having a psychologist as a friend is a good thing when you start seeing a clinical psychologist. Let me clarify. Mama Liz has her doctorate. I don't look to her to solve any of my problems, or help me cope. She is, however, a great listener for when I need an ear. As I told her how the first appointment went, and what the plan was, she said 'I like him'. Score! I'm getting advice from someone good who knows their stuff. Sweet, Thanks Liz!

Gluten free isn't all that bad. My stomach has been whack for years. I would have doubling over stomach pains as a teenager, and even had gotten seen by a gastroenterologist. He claimed sugar was the problem. However, I gave up gluten on Monday this week. Within 2 days, I felt so much better. And I even lost a pound! Double score! 

Lastly, I've learned that apple cider (the beer kind, not the holiday treat) is pretty damn good. After the kids went to bed, dad and I decided to celebrate and be festive with green ones. Be warned though, they have 200 calories a pop! 

1. I went out to meet a couple of girlfriends, who happen to be mamas of 'ausome' kids. We've been friends for a while now, since all our kids were diagnosed at the same time. It was so refreshing to be out, speak with adults, and talk about your reality without being judged. It really energized me!! Me time needs to happen more often.

2. It was 69 degrees and sunny, so naturally, I let the kids go wild and play in the backyard. They stayed out all day with breaks for food and potty only. It is heavenly! They're tired in a good way, got some sun, and got any extra energy out. Win-win!! Bad thing: snow on Monday.

3. My kids FaceTimed with their cousins in Milwaukee. It was so nice to catch up like that with the kids, my sister-in-law and her hubby too. We haven't been able to travel to see them, so it was awesome. Also, the cuteness was too much!! Fun times!

1) I learned that my almost 4-year-old really can't be trusted to "act well" on his own accord. When I was "taking a nap" with Silas he didn't sleep (although apparently I did) and he got up and got into my makeup. The brand new Sephora/Bare Minerals makeup I bought last week? Messed up. He stuck his finger in the foundation stick and almost emptied the loose powder all over the floor (and covered it up with a towel). Then the next night he snuck out of his room while he was supposed to be sleeping and grabbed two of my lipsticks off my bed side table - the next morning I found lipstick all over his quilt. It's time for a lockable makeup box apparently.

2) My laptop has been acting funky for a while now - whenever it "fell asleep" I couldn't get it to wake back up and had to restart it. I was getting really frustrated and was researching new laptops and looking into places to get a Mac fixed. While I was searching for places to bring my Mac I also looked up the "symptoms" and found that all the problems it was having were symptoms of problems with the SMC (system management control). I searched on that and found an easy way to fix that myself. I followed the instructions and it worked! I haven't had to do a hard reset on my computer since I fixed it. I'm hoping things stay that way because I really don't want to get a new laptop or take mine in to be fixed.

3) Last week during my Spring Break I started watching Scandal, a show that everyone has always told me I would like. Well, it has this addictive quality to it, almost so much that, like, I wanted my kids to go outside so I could put it on (because I don't think it's appropriate to watch while they're around). Mike was all eye rolley and making fun of me for getting sucked into a night time soap opera. He'd even ask me, "Did you watch your soap opera today?" One night I asked if he wanted to sit down and watch an episode with me, and he agreed. Now we watch one episode on Netflix of "my soap opera" together after the boys have gone to bed. We're almost finished with Season 2 which means I'll have to find Season 3 somewhere (Hulu Plus?) so that by the time Season 4 starts we will be up to date and be able to watch with everyone else on #ScandalThursdays. I have to say I love that many of the actors live tweet during the East Coast premier of a new show.

Now you! What did you learn? Comment below and let us know.
Thursday, March 20, 2014

What's the rush?

Yesterday, Reagan and I visited the park. Just us girls. I swung her on the baby swing, she sat in my lap on the big swing, we went down the slide, and then I climbed up top and we sat and explored the flat parts of the playground. We played, learned, explored, laughed and enjoyed our time together. 

Everyday, I learn more about her. I learn about me too. Yesterday was a sensory day. As we got to enjoy the warm air of springtime, we also felt the cool breeze while in the shade. As we sat and crunched leaves in between our fingers, an f-16 flew above us. It was startling at first, but my daughter looked at me to see what my reaction would be. Surprised, yes. Scared, no.  Cars passed by, and would divert our attention for a split second.  We would go back to trying to pick off the silver bolts, ever so gently, on the play set. Well, Reagan would try. She was so calm, which relaxed me.  

Afterwards, there was a package waiting for me to pick up at the post office. I carried her in, and she stayed asleep in her car seat the entire time while in line. People would come and go, clack their heels on the floor, and one even slammed the door. None of it seemed to bother her. She was great. 

She was even calm when sleeping. 

She is learning everyday. There are some days where I get stuck in a rut and dont want to leave the house. I just want to relax and enjoy the quiet. Spending time and playing with her is at the top of my priority list. I enjoy playing peek a boo, and hiding my face under a blanket. When she pulls the blanket off to reveal my face, its this joy that just lights up her eyes. 

All of these things made me think. I thought about the cars speeding by at the park. What was their rush? Everybody just seems so busy in today's world and we often forget to "Stop and smell the flowers". Why is that important? 
To me, breaking out of the ordinary is when we learn. New experiences make us vulnerable. They break down the 'unknown' barrier in us, and build us back up. We explore and learn. 

That's why we visited the park. To relax, explore and learn. We left our dirty piles of laundry at home, and took a break. I stopped rushing to make sure the house is perfect before the boys get home. I didn't time dinner, nor rush to fix it. We took care of ourselves and enjoyed quality time out of the house. 

Little Miss R - just relax!

 Sometimes, I need to remember that not everything has to be done right now. Everything can't be perfect all the time. Let go, quit rushing, and enjoy what time you have. 
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Owning the Snow Queen

I was called The Snow Queen in high school. I hated it. It was started by a friend of mine because he thought that I thought myself above everyone and a snob. So, I was a bit sad and anxious when the movie Frozen came out. Strong women were something to be made fun of, not celebrated. Every little girl was excited for that snow queen but all I could hear was the nastiness behind the name.

For the record, I never thought I was above anyone in high school. In fact, I hated being there. Sure, I had a nice group of friends since elementary school but I felt like I could do better learning things on my own at home. My parents were teachers in the local public school system and felt the need to practice what they preached, as it were. For the most part, my head was buried in books or I was busy writing stories, so I can see how that can come off as snooty but when approached, I was always a nice person. I just didn't have time for nonsense. Kind of like right now. 

I hated to be called The Snow Queen. My male friends would shiver when I walked by them and it was annoying as all hell. I would cock my eyebrow at them and they would act as if is frozen them on the spot. Not my fault that I didn't want to fit any sort of mold. Boys are idiots. Fast forward to Disney creating Queen Elsa, a snow queen, and I started to be afraid of her. Afraid of myself. Maybe there was something to the nickname? Doubt is a horrible thing.

The Sailor took the girls to see the movie and I was glad of it but nervous to hear about it all. Banshee loved the movie so much that she started to sing and talk about it all the time. Pixy was excited because she loved dancing to the music and said the story was amazing. Sailor loved it because he said Queen Elsa was strong and kicked butt, certainly a snow queen he could endorse. Huh. Really?

I decided to go and experience it for myself. This was not a Snow Queen to be mocked. She rocked and even though she doubted herself, doubted her strength, she didn't apologize for it once she felt comfortable in her skin. A smart, poised Snow Queen. Now, that's royalty I don't mind being compared to. 

That night, I shared with my girls the name I was called by friends in high school. Their reaction was priceless! Pixy said: "I'm glad you owned it, Mama. Strong ladies are awesome. I want to be like that." Banshee said:" Boys are jackasses." Yup, it looks like I passed on the qualities that I was mocked for to my two little Snow Queens in-training. I think I finally feel comfortable with that name. I owned my personal Snow Queen. Now, I need to look for a mountain and sing out my metamorphosis. What a win! 

Have you owned a nickname or name you were called in the past? How did you get there? Share with us! 

Photo courtesy of "Ice Queen" by Charisma
Monday, March 17, 2014 #WinConverse Shoes Giveaway

It may be hard to believe that spring is around the corner and it is a perfect time to sport some classic Converse shoes as the weather warms up. Popular with kids, teenagers, and adults alike, Converse originally designed the sneakers for basketball players and other athletes and has existed for over a century. As popularity grew, these stylish sneakers showed up on the feet of musicians, artists, skaters, and discerning individuals worldwide. Converse shoes are great for spring - they are available in lots of great colors and are fitting for running errands around town or running down the basketball court!

Today we are bringing you this exciting event sponsored by, and we are giving two of you a chance to win a pair of Converse shoes of your choice up to $70 value. Whether you need a pair for your kids, yourself, or perhaps to give as a gift, there are plenty of choices with a vast selection.

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Purchase: You can purchase Converse shoes in Canada online, however Zelenshoes ships worldwide, so you can shop no matter where you are in the world. If you're looking for a Canadian shoe store, they have a location in Vancouver

Win! Zelenshoes is sponsoring a Converse shoes giveaway, 2 winners can each pick a pair of Converse shoes (up to $70 CAN each pair). Winner chooses based on what's in stock.

Special thanks to AnaB Social for hosting this giveaway. Huge thanks to and all the fabulous participating bloggers as well! Giveaway ends April 18th at 11:59 pm, open to residents of U.S. and CANADA, ages 18+. See detailed terms and conditions on entry form. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below (see directions on how to enter here). Thank you!

Disclaimer: AnaB Social and all participating event bloggers are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  
Sunday, March 16, 2014

Over the Moon Cloth Diapers $20 Gift Card Giveaway

Over the Moon Diapers 
Over the Moon Diapers, LLC is offering a giveaway for a $20 gift code to their store currently. It ends March 30. Entries are easy! Be sure to tell them that Mamas Around the House sent you.

What We Learned (March 16, 2014 edition)

Were your kids on break this week? After a fun week at home, the Mamas have a lot to write about. Well, Lisa wasn't at home, she was visiting family in Puerto Rico. So what did we learn this week?

1) I had the week off for Spring Break so I enjoyed a few new things. First, I started watching Scandal on Netflix. I don't know how many people have told me, "You should watch it, you'd love it," and I've ignored them because I don't have time for another show. But this week I did. So I watched all of season 1 and half of season 2 so far and I am addicted. Love Olivia Pope.

2) I went away for a night with my amazing friend Michelle. We went to a hotel and spa near the house, but it was awesome to get away just for 18 hours. We had dinner, talked about purses and girly things, and I had my first massage. It was fantastic. I'm totally going again. And Mike and the kids didn't destroy the house while I was gone!

3) As I've talked about before, I'm a makeup lover. I have a ton of it but most of it I can't wear without taking allergy pills because it makes my eyes water, my nose run, and my head fill up (fun!). I was talking to the massage therapist and she said that most likely I was allergic to synthetic scents (as opposed to essential oils) and that I should look at makeup that didn't use synthetic scents to see how those did with my allergies. I went to Sephora (which I have decided is the devil) and am now in lust with Bare Minerals products.

1. I've learned that spending time getting done up is worth the hassle. My husband followed me into the gas station on Thursday night and said 'Wow, babe, there's not a swinging dick in this place that didn't notice when you walked in the door.' Damn straight! 

2. We took Reagan to SeaWorld for the first time, and she was amazed at the Azul show. (Dolphins, beluga whales, and synchronized swimmers). I'm looking forward to picnics in the park, and the hot days of summer at the baby water park! 

3. I've learned that spring break meant projects and hard work this week. The hubby fixed house stuff like drywall, texture, and painted. He repaired the wood on the front door and most importantly installed a back storm door that I've been asking for. As I get older, 'things' that are done for us are more important that gifts. Unless it's from Michael Kors. Then, it's debatable. 

1. Banshee decided that she would play a joke on me. She stuck her hands in cold water, waited for me to pull out an arm out of the covers and then....she attacked. I thought I was dying in a frozen wasteland. It. Was. Awesome. Yesterday's hippotherapy must have done miracles again for her to play a joke. It certainly taught us to appreciate all the little things again. Wow!

2. I realized how easy it is to jump back into a routine after it's been interrupted. For the girls, the trip to Puerto Rico was magical and they are not liking the cold weather right now. For me, despite hating the weather with a passion, it has been ok. I finished chores quickly in order to rest. It felt great to get it done so I could relax and get this cold over with.

3. I also learned that my kids are definitely growing up. I've been asked to teach Pixy to tie shoelaces. So, we've been working on that. Sigh! What next? Am I gonna have to teach her to use the curling iron? Sheesh! Stay tuned for a progress report on the shoelace thing. 😉

What about you? What fun things did you do, see, or learn? Share with us in the comments.
Thursday, March 13, 2014

3 Kids and No Husband

"Is she alone?", asked the man in seat 5F.
"Yes. 3 kids and no husband," said his wife in seat 5A, as the man shook his head.

They were talking about me. There I was, on a plane to Puerto Rico with my spawn, on my own. It was a last minute trip. There was a mass and a family get together in remembrance of my father, who passed away this time last year. I had wanted to go but couldn't bring myself to justify buying tickets when we could use the money for something else. The Sailor, true to form, took a quick gig to get enough money to buy us tickets and off we went without him. Poor guy couldn't get off work.

As far as decisions go, it was totally fly-by...the girls have school and here I am taking them on a trip to Puerto Rico. Terrible of me to essentially teach them that playing hooky is OK but this really was a family obligation. I needed to be there. Needed to feel the closeness of my family and through them, feel like my Dad was there.

It seems that a combination of crazy winter weather, frustration with the busyness of our schedule, compounded by the frustration of the Sailor and I always doing things on our own, was just too much. Poor Cubby doesn't even know that he has feet since they're always covered in socks. <insert comment dripping with hate of the polar vortex here>. I needed out and I needed it bad.

So, there I was overhearing this conversation between this married couple(who incidentally were from Milwaukee, as in the same place where the Sailor is from. Can I ever get away from Milwaukee?). I think my initial reaction was to laugh at them. If they knew just how devoted the Sailor is, they wouldn't make a comment like that. My second reaction was mind your business. My third reaction was shock, I CAN hear you, and my last reaction was: I got this because the Sailor is confident that I can handle it all by myself and I'm a tough chick.

I reflected on their statement and also  my reactions, and I came up with this: if I was them looking at me, would I jump to conclusions? Would I judge the picture before me without hesitation? Would I even want to know the back story? The answer is: yes. I would want to know the back story and make a connection with the person before me. I would want to. I would not judge, or add my two cents , or think the worst because I knew that part of what they were thinking was: here we are on a plane in Puerto Rico and here is a Puerto Rican woman with lots of kids and alone, what a pity. Yup....I'd been judged and pitied in the time it took her to utter that one sentence: 3 kids and no husband.

I was in seat 6F holding Cubby in my lap, Banshee sitting in the middle, Pixy at the window, with my heart on my sleeve and I was being judged. Wow. Here's what I should have said: I can hear you and as I see you judge me, so let me share with you my story. My name is Lisa. My husband is in the Navy, he works very hard so that I can stay at home to take care of our children, one of whom is special needs. Guess which one.  He knew that I would forever be disappointed in myself if I didn't attempt this trip back home to attend this family mass and gathering in honor of my Dad. He passed away last year suddenly. I do everything on my own because my husband's work schedule keeps him busy. He is the first to rise and the last in bed, but he doesn't complain. This is why I do everything on my own. I need to take care of the homefront, so our family can be happy. I'm happy in my situation, don't pity me. Please support me. That's what I should have said. Get to know me before you judge me, even on a 3 hour flight to Puerto Rico. I will be buried in memories, as you bury your toes in the sand. It's what I should have said.

Instead, I laughed, shook my head as I did so, and held Cubby, as the girls asked me to help them open their animal crackers. Life it seemed, had gone back to our typical rhythm...with  some tropical flavor mixed in.

Photo courtesy of "Airplane Flying In Sky" by Stuart Miles
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We've Been to Holland: ASD Children and Parties

I was nervous. Banshee had been invited to her very first bday party. This isn't a big deal but it was her first party without the Pixy accompanying her.

Naturally, we were both excited under the nervous shakes.  We don't get invited to lots of events like this, so I bought a cute gift for the b-day girl (a crayon roll from Amyzing Creations on etsy), added some bonus things (a couple coloring books, stickers, a princess wand) and put it in a cute bag decorated with Banshee's artwork. It was a gift we were both proud of for different reasons.

The day of the party came and Banshee asked Daddy to take her to the party. It was being held in Banshee's ballet school, so we didn't have to worry about it not being familiar and risking her shutting down on us. I reluctantly let them both go, nervous that Banshee would do ok and sad that I wouldn't get to be there to experience it with her.

I'm being brutally honest when I say that I worried that Banshee wouldn't participate, wouldn't want to eat the party food, would decide the sound was too loud and rock with her hands covering her ears, bury her face in her hands because the light was too bright, and perhaps the most prevalent of all Bansheeisms: she would decide to spin. Banshee can spin for pleasure for hours if you let her. She says that if you want to feel what happiness is, then you need to open your arms and spin. While I agree with her, especially when the music moves one to do so, it can get a bit frustrating when everyone else is learning to do a silly dance as a party activity.

I did some laundry, I tidied up, I read stories to Cubby, did some homeschool with Pixy, organized a bit and ...still, no report from the party by the Sailor. What was going on? I had prepped Banshee on proper party etiquette, told her to try not to be shy, dressed her in pretty party clothes...did I do enough? I started to feel like perhaps I'd failed her somehow.

Right when I couldn't take it anymore, Sailor texted me this:

Enjoying the birthday party!

This is Banshee playing dress up and taking pictures WITH her friends because they were all
Pretending to be supermodels. Not on the sidelines, not across the room.....she was in the group!!! I was so happy that I started to tear up a bit.

I asked Sailor for a full report, to which he answered: She is having a blast! Banshee's party manners are great, she's engaging with everyone. A little shy for their fashion show, so she started to rock a little, but she did it anyway! So so proud of her.

I read and re-read the text. Wow. What a brave girl, to do the very thing that is extremely difficult for her: to be social. As I waited for them to come home, with Cubby and Pixy ready to cheer for her, I recited a powerful saying that most parents of children on the autism spectrum say: Today, We've been to Holland (from a poem describing a typical child versus an ASD child as countries/vacations) and it was a very good day.
Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Into Cash Giveaway Ends 4/10


Welcome to the Spring Into Cash Sweepstakes!

Spring means planting flowers, playing outside, and enjoying time with our families. It also means the weather is better for fun family activities! What could be better than winning a $250 Visa Gift Card to help your family enjoy spring?

Two lucky winners will each receive a $250 Visa Gift Card.

Giveaway ends April 10th at 11:59pm, open worldwide, ages 18+. Only one entrant per household. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Winners outside of the US will receive $250 via Paypal instead of the Visa Card by mail. Complete each task on the giveaway form below to earn entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Confirmed Winner(s) (by will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Contact if you have any additional questions or comments.
Sunday, March 9, 2014

What We Learned (March 9 Edition)

It's already the 2nd week of March. The weather is still wonky but hopefully we're moving out of the cold and into the spring. Flowers have already started blooming in Texas! There's hope! Every Sunday the Mamas post about what they learned this week and what they expeienced, and then we ask you, our amazing readers, to jump on the wagon and give us the dirt on what good things happened to you. Be sure to leave us some sunshine!

After our front loader needed the bearings replaced (because it sounded like a jet engine), I've learned that the 'upgraded model's difference is foam insulation. So, this week, I've learned to add the title of 'washing machine repair and upgrade man' to my husbands title.

We went antiquing this week, and I've learned that prices are completely negotiable. Towards the end when hubby was loading up some new (well new to us) office furniture, I added four more trinkets to our stash to take home. Totaling over $31, the clerk accepted the $20 I had in hand. So, negotiations do work, Try it out!

Within the past 3 months, our family has lost 4 people very close to us. It seems like life is too short to not take chances while working hard to be a success. With that being said, I am now an official business owner. I learned the process of starting a business through the courthouse, and am beginning to start the website. Stay tuned, great things are about to start happening. 

1. I managed to trade in my phone for a new one. This is huge because while I'm on the iPhone bandwagon, I became attached to my iPhone with its cool Jack Skellington. I have since gotten the new model which I needed badly and I'm learning to love it.

2. I found $10 in between the seats in my truck. What to do with this treasure?! I could buy a million zillion things!! I could but I will settle for a dollar menu treat to share with everyone.

3. I was able to trim Cubby's fingernails after the bloodbath that he created on my face. He scratched me so bad that I have a bit of a shiner. Little stinker! I usually stay on top of it but man...I'm never waiting this long again. I SHOULD know better. Pixy scratched my cornea with her baby nails and caused one of the worst eye injuries my ophthalmologist has ever seen. Sigh..... :)

1. I should have invested in Teddy Grahams when they came out. Seriously. Both boys are crazy for "cookie bears" and will eat them for snack or dessert or whenever you want to throw them at them. Silas was like this with Goldfish at one point too. I know it's just a phase but dang if I shouldn't be buying boxes of these things a week.

2. I finally received my diploma in the mail - I now officially have all my "I graduated with my PhD" accoutrements. Now to find a place to get it framed nicely.

3. Before I had kids I was very much a purse and shoe person. I can't tell you how many Coach purses I had and sold after Silas was born because leather and babies is just not where it's at - I mean if something's going to vomit on your purse, it probably shouldn't be Coach. So I got rid of everything except two small black evening hand bags that sit, lonely, in my closet. A friend asked this week what I had bought myself for graduation and I thought, "Nothing. And I want nothing. Is that weird?" Yes, it is, she responded. So I started thinking, well a new work bag would be nice. And I haven't bought a new purse in almost 2 years, so maybe a bag? I started scoping ebay and ebags for deals and fell in love with Kate Spade's recent stuff. So after a small purse buying spree (that my Mom assisted on), I am done. But all those pretty "girls" (as my friend Michelle calls her purses) are so pretty to look at and drool over.

Now it's your turn - what's been amazing in your week?
Friday, March 7, 2014

Maggie Bags Giveaway - Ends March 28

Welcome to the Maggie Bags Tote of Many Colors Giveaway! 

Sponsored By: Maggie Bags

Maggie Bags are made with automotive seat belt webbing which is built to
meet government safety standards to protect us while in a vehicle. With the
government's high standards, millions of yards of seat belt material are
rejected each year by automakers, so Maggie Bags uses as much of these
rejected materials as possible to create their durable seat belt purses
and handbags. Maggie Bags launched their first line of unique
seat belt handbags in the spring of 2009 with only a handful of
retailers and a small online store. However, today their fashionable and
functional seat belt purses and handbags can be found in hundreds of retailers
across the United States as well as many online retail stores and their
very own online store. With fun colors and multiple styles, you'll be sure to find a bag that fits your style and personality. Below you'll find a discount code for shopping and a giveaway for their signature Tote of Many Colors.

Read Mami's 3 Little Monkeys full review

Discount Code!
Use discount code MAMIS3MONKEYS18 to receive 18% OFF your order at Maggie Bags! No minimum purchase required. Expires March 31, 2014. 

One lucky reader will win a Tote of Many Colors of their choice! 
This giveaway is open to US residents whom are at least 18 years of age. Ends at 11:59pm CST on March 28th. For your chance to win complete as many or as little entries as you wish. There are only two mandatory entries into this giveaway, once you've completed those two entries, all other are optional. The more you complete the better your chances of winning! One winner will be chosen at random on or after March 29th, winners entries will be verified. Winner will then be notified via email if their entries were indeed fulfilled. The winner will have 48hrs in which to respond to the email or a new winner will be chosen. 
Good Luck! 

Disclosure: Mamas Around the House blog is not responsible for the fulfillment of the prize. Prize will be fulfilled and shipped directly by Maggie Bags. If you have any questions or would like to see your products/brand/services featured in a similar event please contact Sarh at
Thursday, March 6, 2014

Brother Bully No-more


 Did I hear that right?

As I'm inside the house prepping for dinner, I hear a total jerk move come from the playhouse outside.

Wow, what a bully move! As I crept outside, I see Kasen outside the playhouse and Sean inside. Kasen has his hands on his hips, being a bully. Sean is on the inside with a toy gun pointed at Kasen, yelling "Stop it Kasen!"

Kasen stood with his head in the corner until i could figure out what to do. I figured I had to take a deferent approach at this in order for him to actually learn the lesson. What I didn't want to do, was yell.  So, I googled "How to deal with a bully"

Believe it or not, there were a lot of forums from parents saying 'Walk away and tell a teacher' Well, that's all cotton candy and caramel apples until the kid is labeled as a nark! Then, they have two labels (a sissy and a tattle-tell). Is that really what we should be teaching our kids from the beginning? To just walk away from a problem instead of trying to solve it? 

Not this mom-especially because I had kids on both sides of the bullying spectrum. Where was I to start? The youngest, I decided. That's where I'll start. 

During our convo, I learned that there was a new kid in Kasen's kindergarten class. He would hit and kick kids on the playground and was sent home with writing in his folder (the worst punishment according to Kasen). 

I've seen his mom pick him up after school, and he is even a little shit to her. She has no control over him and repeatedly says 'That's not nice' in a sweet tone after he kicks her and runs into oncoming traffic. 

My son had tried to be his friend. Finally, he told me that he 'isn't mean to him, but  just ignores him'. Good job buddy! Ignore the problem, but don't let him push you around. From there on during our talk, he cried. Wait, no. He bawled when we were talking because he said he was feeling guilty. He did seem to understand the following lessons: 

 We need to not pick on the weak to feel better about ourselves. 

There are many types of people (religion, race, sex) in this world. Just because somebody is different, doesn't mean they are wrong. 

Setting good examples. He is not the youngest anymore and has a sister that will look up to him and follow by example. 

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Even though someone may be pestering you, being nice is better than being bitter. 

At the end of the day, we prevailed. We learned about bullies and why we shouldn't be one. Most importantly, Mommy didn't yell, but still effectively got the lesson through. 

Hmmm... Guess we both learned something today. 
Photo courtsey of "Child Draws" by Supertrooper
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Julep Maven Subscription Program - A Great Fit for Your Style

Over the past few months we've shown you just how much we love Julep here at Mamas Around the House (MAtH). They provide great beauty products in a monthly subscription set up, and one of the best parts is that each month there may be different things. Liz is a Julep Maven subscriber, and in past months she's received nail colors along with lip gloss, nail color and eye shadow, and even a full pallet of eye shadow. And in the coming months they have awesome stuff coming. We're super excited to see what comes in the next box.

The Riviera for March Mavens

This month's box contained bright, dramatic colors that you'd find on a Riviera vacation. Each month is a different theme, and before the box is sent and your card is charged, you can see what you're getting and decide maybe, just maybe, you want to get all the colors for the month (from all the boxes) as an add on to your box. Or maybe you just want to add on a few colors at add on prices (usually $4.99-$6.99 for Mavens). For my box I received two nail colors and added on two nail colors. There are always samples or something fun such as candy in the box. I love the surprises.

Julep Maven Subscription - first box free
FREEBOX is your code to start!

Right now Julep is giving away your first box for free (just pay shipping which is $4.99) with the code FREEBOX. After that you can keep getting boxes every month for $19.99, you can gift your box to a friend, or you can cancel (but I don't think you'll want to, nail color mail is just way too fun for that).

It's a total win-win. Try it out, love it, and build your nail color and beauty collection. Not a fan? Cancel or gift your subscription to a friend. You'll never know what style fits you until you try!
Monday, March 3, 2014

Madison Reed Salon Quality Hair Color - Try It On Sale!

After reading Liz's review of Madison Reed at home hair color, you may have been interested in trying it for yourself. Who wouldn't want to try healthy, gluten free hair color that makes your hair look fantastic, right? Well, until March 31, 2013 you can try it for 20% off your first purchase. And the shipping is free! Use code NEWYOU when checking out to receive the discount.

Madison Reed Hair Color
Madison Reed Hair Color
This is a great way to try Madison Reed out and see if it is for you. If you love it (which you will), then you can schedule deliveries so you don't have to worry about finding products to color at home when you need them - they'll deliver them to you!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What We Learned (March 2, 2014 Edition)

What, it's March you say? No way! It seems as if Christmas was just last week. Speaking of weeks, what did the Mamas learn and experience this week? Lisa's is way more fun than something that she learned so don't miss it! Don't forget to comment at the bottom with something cool or funny that you learned.

Since this is my bday weekend, I'd like to make my WWL post into a bday wish. I share my bday with Dr. Seuss and Jon Bon Jovi, so it is a cool day.

My bday wish on this, the beginning of my 33rd year, is for some time spent reading a book, eating a lasagna, and getting loved on by my band of misfits. Pretty simple, huh? Nevermind that there's a snow storm on the way...again! With all the craziness of last year and the speed this year has already gotten, some uninterrupted family time is seriously all I want.  That's really what all these weekly lessons boil down to: learning to be a good human while being present for your own band of misfits. So, raise your glass to those born on March 2nd, say it in a Seussy rhyme, listen to some Bon Jovi, and have a great weekend!!

See ya next week! :)

I've learned that a white chocolate shell from a chocolate covered strawberry resembles a biore strip...eww!
Strawberry or Biore...?

I've learned that F16's sound like freedom as I eat my wrap and drink my sweet tea under the shade tree in the 86 degree texas weather. 

Lastly, I've learned that there are some friends that just 'get' you. Usually that conversation starts out like 'omg, you're gonna think I'm nuts, but...' And ends with the other friend feeling relieved as they thought they were the only one in the world that felt this way. Keep that type of friend forever! That's the sign of a BEST friend. 

Last week I wrote about how we changed over our cell phone providers to Republic Wireless to save money. Another part of the "save money" plan was to ditch cable and get Netflix and HuluPlus instead (no we were Netflix free before that). I had planned to do this by getting a piece for our current TV that made it WiFi compatible, but it turns out that our TV was so old it didn't have a USB port. D'oh! So I hawked TVs and decided that when I was ready to change, we'd get a Smart TV, add Neftlix and HuluPlus, and ditch cable. I talked to Mike about it and he was on board. Then a former student who works at an appliance store told me he had a TV on clearance that would fit our needs. Needless to say, we made the switch this past week. While I'm not a fan of making lots of changes in a short period of time, buying the TV, setting it up, getting Netflix and HuluPlus, and transitioning from no cable was actually pretty easy and we're happy with it. Now I'm less happy with my new Internet bill (since we had bundled previously) but that's another story. Now I'm searching for cheaper Internet providers. That's my next project.

With the new TV watching options I've realized we watch less TV. No longer is the TV just "on" at our house - we watch a specific show or movie (and thank God it's not always the same movie anymore) and then we're done with it. There's no just searching for what's on and watching something random because there's nothing else on. I looked at all the kids shows on Netflix and randomly tried Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood for the boys and OMG they are entranced. And it's a great show. Score!

An amazing friend asked me if I wanted to take a mini-vacation during my Spring Break this year, and Mike agreed! So Michelle and I are going to stay in a hotel one night during break and relax. I don't think I need to say that I'm very excited and looking forward to it. Not only will I get to hang out with Michelle which I don't get to do often, but I'll get to relax for almost 24 hours. Nobody asking me for drinks. No little boys getting into a fight (which has started). No dogs. Nobody refusing to eat what I cook. Will I miss my husband and my sons? You bet. Immensely. I'll miss hugs and kisses and sweet boys and cuddling with Mike, but I'll be able to do those things the day before and the day after too.

What about you? Share in the Comments below with us.