A Trip to the Dentist

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) Today was a trip to the dentist for five of the six of us. This will probably never happen again until the kids are older, but we survived and of course there are stories to tell.

Evan went first with his pearly whites and (no surprise) no issues. He was behaved and did well in the chair – at least we assume because he went back by himself. There was a small meltdown about an hour into the visit when he saw the toy that Arianna came out with to which he proclaimed his toy was for babies. Alas.

Isla went back with Daddy moments after Evan. She was a perfect little lady, it sounds like. She let the hygienist and dentist take a look at her teeth and do a little brushing demonstration. Later in the lobby she showed Mama how she brushes her teeth. We’re proud of baby’s first visit to the dentist!

trip to the dentist

Arianna was next. As expected, this kiddo is going to do a number on our bank account. She’ll be starting phase one of orthodontics with an expander soon. Short story – there is no space in her upper gums for her next (loose) baby tooth. Phase two is likely braces on top and bottom. She’s happy. We’re happy that there are no cavities to report.

Ava went in beside Arianna. Mama had the fun of accompanying her back for absolutely nothing. This ‘lil lady clamped her mouth shut and wouldn’t let anything happen. To avoid the risk of her hating the dentist forever, we backed down. Her ‘lil mouth stayed open for the rest of the visit while her daddy got his teeth checked out (and her older siblings placed bets on the number of cavities he’d have).

Thank goodness the dentist work is done for six months (except for Arianna’s ortho). It was a lot at once and the kids did really good considering the chaos that comes when all six of us roll into a business.

What is your strategy to get toddlers to brush their teeth? Help Ava and share your thoughts! 


Playdate Tips For the Introverted Parent

Last week, I got the chance to take the twins to the mall for a mani/pedi and lunch. As I enjoyed my time out of the house with my friend, we noticed moms at the playground either having an official or unofficial playdate with their non-school aged kids. It got me thinking that being on a weekday playdate is probably something that I really can’t do, for a number of reasons. Besides the fact that I am a working mom, my brain hears playdate then introverted parent emerges.

Yeah, I am a social being around people that I really know and trust (you know, besides all you internet pals), but when it really boils down to it, I am an introvert and married to one, too. The sheer thought of taking my kids on a playdate with strangers scares the you-know-what out of me. As you know, I am a brand ambassador for a mom-geared app that helps us to connect with other moms for business, advice, and (gasp!) playdates. I know. Playdates. Before you go calling me a hypocrite, understand that my joining up to promote the MomCo App is part of my way of pushing beyond the comfort zone. When I was asked to write about playdates, my heart starting beating wildly, but my head knew I had to provide moms and dads like me and Greg with some “survival” tips to grow their village through playdates. Thus, this post, Playdate Tips for the Introverted Parent was “born”.

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1. Don’t go to a playground. Your first playdate with a new parent friend (and friend for your child) will be a lot more successful if you go somewhere with walls or paths. I know. Gulp. If your first time is at a playground, you both will spend the time chasing your little ones (they will likely have their own agendas and you will be pushing a swing while your new friend is scooping up kids at the bottom of the slide). The goal of a playdate is to test out waters of friendship for both parent and child, to get some energy out, and socialize. This simply won’t happen on the playground quite yet. Instead, opt for a public space or home with set activities. Go to the zoo and follow the same path. Just avoid the park benches for the first time.

2. Set and communicate boundaries up front. This really pertains to time to meet and end, as well as details like meals/snacks and who is paying for what. You don’t want an awkward moment when you whip out the latest Pinterest bento lunch for your kid and their kid doesn’t have a goldfish crumb to eat. Nor do you want to leave your wallet in the car and make your new friend feel responsible for covering your admission. Awkward is the last thing introverted parents need.

3. Pre-planned activities. If you followed my advice in #1, you went somewhere that allows for things like crafts or imaginative play. Maybe you tried out a session at your local craft store or are bowling. Perhaps you opened your house to the friends and have set up toy stations (with toys/games your kid is willing to share). Having something set up ahead for the kids helps immensely. And parents? Sometimes you need an activity too. Yeah, we can all eventually tell stories of that funny blow-out diaper or crazy in-law, but for introverted parents this won’t come immediately. Plan on something that will get you and the other adult(s) interacting, if even only for a round of Guess Who or Charades. Break that ice first.

4. Schedule wisely. Nap time in our house is typically late afternoon, so for us to avoid a meltdown, 10:30 is usually a good time to get out of the house and playing. Tying back to #2, 90 minutes is also a good length of time that then allows you to split for lunch. Or maybe you are a working parent and can only do a lunchtime playdate. The schedule gives you an out – just don’t stare at your watch or phone and miss out on the precious opportunity you have.

5. Be yourself. This may be the hardest thing to do, but when it comes time to having the adult conversations (which you will, and should, you both deserve it), truly be yourself. There is no better you, and you’ll make honest, lasting friends. Bonus? You’ll be a role model for your kids (and that’s the biggest win).

Should these tips fail you, understand that not all playdates are going to turn into lasting relationships. Maybe your kids won’t get along but you really find a good friend. This is okay, and life. We don’t have to like everyone we meet, we just have to remember to always be kind. If you agree to go separate ways, thank them for a good time and wish them the best at their next adventure. If you hit it off, plan another one in the future (because if you don’t, it won’t happen).

Good luck!

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What tips would you add? Comment below!
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Are you in the Pittsburgh area and looking for a playdate? Right now, my playdate list in our area is blank, but I want to change that. As soon as this mama is back to her normal, healthy self, there will be a playdate with my four ‘lil Burghers in the works. Just sign up for the MomCo App (you need a Facebook account to verify you are who you are, we are all about safety) and watch the playdate section. You can find out more about this app at momcoapp.com. It’s a free app that is available on:

Android Store: http://bit.ly/1GpWVRn

Apple Store:  http://bit.ly/1CLzAUx

Enjoy.

Why We’re Attending the Pittsburgh Parenting Expo

This content has been compensated as part of a promotion for the Pittsburgh Parenting Expo.  However, all opinions remain my own. #parentingexpo

Pittsburgh Parenting Expo
Source: Parenting Expo

This coming weekend (Saturday and Sunday March 8-9), Greg and I will be heading to the Monroeville Convention Center for the Pittsburgh Parenting Expo. No, it’s not because there are going to be plenty of fun to be had, coupons passed out, samples, and even a 55″ TV given away to three people (shh, Greg doesn’t know that yet, and he’s signed up anyways). The fact that the Saturday workshops don’t start until late morning aren’t a bad deal, either. The real reason? It’s because we’re excited to hear about how to be a better parenting team.

Here are the top five sessions we hope to learn from:

1. 3 Reasons Play is Your Kid’s Job – Not going to lie, I’m a pretty straightforward parent. Some days, I worry I am raising ‘lil adults and not kids. We have to talk to Arianna daily, saying, “GO! BE A KID!”. It’s like she doesn’t want to play. This 30-minute session should help us learn how to play with our kids and encourage creative play that has sort of lost its magic in this technology age.

2. 3 Strategies to Get the Behavior You Want…Without Being the Parent You Hate! I’m already a fan of Doctor G, and I’m hoping this session will make my fandom even bigger. Admittedly, sometimes I think yelling is the only way to get through to the kids. Doctor G plans on giving parents ideas to make parents feel better about their parenting style…and ways to deal with the tantrums and defiance that are sure to happen as our kids grow.

3. 3 Ways to Improve Grades, Behavior and Social Skills for Kids with ADHD – Without Medication Although this session is geared toward parents of elementary and middle school-aged children and neither of our kids have ADHD, we’d like to go to this one. We’re not self-diagnosing, but there’s a family history of ADHD, so this one should help us to be armed with advice. I’m all about healing without medication (although I understand there are cases that need it!), too.

4. 3 Ways to Work with Picky Eaters Arianna is constantly wanting to eat. Luckily, most of the time it is healthy. Evan, on the other hand, is incredibly picky. This session claims it will help make meals calmer, happier, and healthier. Can’t wait to get these tips.

5. 3 Ways to Find Healthy Digital Media for Your Children Like I said in #1, we’d love to encourage more play and less reliance on technology. At the same time, the kids need to know how to use technology and have a good balance of play and digital time. This session will give us resources…and bonus? We get to try them out on our phones while we are in the session!

Beyond these reasons, Greg and I are looking forward to the activities, learning about Pittsburgh fun for kids, and spending time together as a team. Often, he’s the parent in the family, so working together to find a good balance is our main goal.

We’d love for you to join us this weekend! Ticket prices are $8 for adults (if bought online, or $10 at the door) and FREE for kids under age 14. I’ve also got a “Blue” Promo code you can use to get tickets for $7: BLUEPITPM (Here’s the speaker list so you can make your own plans!)

Can’t make it, or want to learn more? Check out the Parenting Expo on Twitter (@parentexpopitt), Facebook, and Pinterest.

“Love and Respect in the Family”

Disclaimer: I was provided with a book to review and one to give away in exchange for this review. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Love and Respect in the Family
Source: http://loveandrespect.com/family-book/

When I was asked to review “Love and Respect in the Family” by Dr. Emerson Eggrichs, I was overly excited. Something has been eating at me for months. I’ll go right out and say it, because you all are my safety net: I don’t feel like I am a great mom. I feel like a fraud. Reading the pitch for this book, I knew I had to take up the offer and learn some tips.

Here’s what I was told about the book:

Written by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, it is not just for parents of young children – it is also great for those whose kids are grown, but with whom their relationship may be broken or hurting. Either way, it gets families off of the ‘crazy cycle’ (parents feeling disrespected and treating kids unlovingly, kids feeling unloved and treat parents disrespectfully and around and around it goes…).  

I immediately was brought to tears and responded with a yes. Now, that was about a month ago. The shipping was super fast, but my eyes, ears, and heart weren’t quite ready to read. I got sick, I got busy. I pushed it to the side of my dresser and figured I’d get to it. I apologized to the rep, and dug my heels in and started to read.

Truth be told, I was having a really hard time reading it because I really want to be a good parent and break the cycle of craziness in my house…and in my relationships. I wanted to learn how to handle conflict, but I wasn’t exactly ready to listen.

Once I dug in, I appreciated the framework that Dr. Eggerichs puts around the book. His childhood was not perfect. He didn’t raise his kids perfect. God didn’t make us perfect, either. It’s all really okay. He takes a look into his own raising and how he and his wife Sarah raised their three children, inserting Biblical references to guide us as parents.

Speaking of guide, there is a section of the book, “The Family Energizing Cycle”, that is based on the acronym “GUIDES”, a way to parent as set forth in the Bible. We need to give our children enough to meet their needs (which affirmed for me why I can’t stand the kids being spoiled and why we’re working on them being givers). We need to understand our children (I am working on this – it’s hard for me to understand that a 5 year old does not think like a 30 year old). We need to Instruct our children (like when I talked to the kids about why there are stoplights/rules for a reason). We need to Discipline (but not PUNISH) our children so they know when they’ve made a poor choice (we talk about this a lot). We need to Encourage our children and help them with the things that God has given them (I”m going to work on this with my smart kiddos – we need to enrich their brains more and more). And finally, we need to Supplicate in prayer for our children (I’ve already started praying that God is raising them a good partner, just like my parents prayed the same for me).

It’s not easy, this parenting thing, but it wasn’t intended to be. When we as parents can understand that our children speak in love and we speak in respect and need to meet in the middle, we can have the balance that God intended.

If you’re interested in reading this book yourself to guide your parenting skills, you can find a copy on http://loveandrespect.com/family-book/ for $14 plus shipping.

One lucky reader will be sent a copy of this book – enter through next Sunday 1/19! (Note – this is a new to me giveaway tool, so please let me know what you think.)

Every Bit Three

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This ‘lil boy is every bit of three. Every single beautiful bit.

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When I was pregnant with Arianna, I had visions she was a he. When the ultrasound proved otherwise, I was all worried about how in the world will I raise a girl?!?!  Somehow, I thought raising a boy would be easier.

Evan, my Evan. Maybe it is boy, maybe it is three. You have been all boy in your first three weeks of three. And maybe I should be asking how in the world will I raise a boy?!?!?

The same way we are raising your sister. You will teach us things, make us proud, make us laugh, and make us cry. You will definitely keep us on our toes. Especially if three is any indication of the years ahead, you will be full of life and love.

Keep on being every bit of three. It is a beautiful thing, Bubby. 

Preparing for Baby

Disclaimer: This post contains a review and giveaway. I was provided with products free of charge for the purposes of this review. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Before I became a mom, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really take (okay, have) the time to prepare my body for carrying a child. I didn’t think of things like reading up on healthy conception. To be honest, I was not in a relationship (or place in life)  in which having a child was ideal. Fast forward a few years when Greg and I were ready to have a baby. We didn’t do anything to keep us from getting pregnant, and just figured it would happen when the time was right. Again, we didn’t prepare, and were blessed with finding out we were expecting Evan a month after we moved into our new home. (Stress reduction for the win.)

Now, it’s been almost three years since we had our ‘lil boy, and two years since I started my weight loss journey. Part of the goal of weight loss was to put me in the best shape I could be in so that I could safely carry another baby. We’ve gone back and forth about when the time is right and at what point in my journey would be okay to try.

The baby fever hit me while I was traveling in Chicago in July. I was missing my husband, and happened to be at an event where ProXeed Plus was represented. The brochure showed some happy, strong sperm and gave tips for preparing mom and dad for healthy conception. Not going to lie, I thought about making the connection with them right then and there, but I wasn’t sure Greg would be on board to take a nutritional supplement to help with his sperm health. I passed on the opportunity, but when Greg found the brochure in my bag, he asked why in the world didn’t I go for it?

Here’s why. I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt about supplementing conception. Both Arianna and Evan were blessings in their own way. No timing, no temperature checking, no nothing. We just got blessed with two happy, healthy kids. While we are not Catholic, I wasn’t sure I completely agreed with taking a supplement to help with the process, either. But, after reading up on ProXeed Plus on their website, I realized preparing for baby is 50% me and 50% Greg. If he was interested in giving this a try, I figured why not see what it was about.

So, my research led to a conversation with the folks at ProXeed and they agreed to send us a box of the supplement. When we’re ready, Greg will start to take it. We figure the supplement will help because he hasn’t been 100% on board with the whole “be healthy” thing until the past few weeks when we started seriously talking about baby three. ProXeed will help  because it is shown to “optimize sperm health, and that they can improve sperm count and motility, sperm speed, and sperm concentration”. (And bonus, when he’s ready to take it, the supplement can be dissolved in a cold beverage and has a lemon flavor. I am sure he’ll enjoy that!)

Ideally, you should prepare for baby at least 90 days before you are ready to conceive. (ProXeed works with this plan as those taking it would ideally do so for 90 days.) We learned more about ways to prepare by reading through Amy Ogle’s “Before Your Pregnancy“, a guide for couples thinking about conception. Eating healthy foods, reducing stress, engaging in exercise, and not over doing it when it comes to “the act” all help.

There are so many other things we’ve learned by checking out this book and researching ProXeed Plus, but to share it all with you would take several days. I cannot believe the things I didn’t know before starting my path to motherhood! Here’s an infographic to sort of sum it up:

Prepping for Pregnancy

If you and your partner are interested in reading “Before Your Pregnancy” or giving ProXeed Plus a try, consider entering my giveaway below! (And if you came here too late or aren’t picked as the winner, ProXeed Plus is available for purchase via phone or online for $125.00 for a one-month supply, two boxes containing 30 packets each. For more information or to place an order, visit www.proxeed.com or call 1-888-Proxeed (776-9333).)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No Denying It

Arianna took 0.8 seconds to answer the question Greg and I were trying to.

Where can I go pee, Mama? Greg and I were playing parenting volleyball over the question.

If we let her go back in the house, we would have to dry off and go with her since her swimsuit is complex for a young girl. If we let her go in the pool, a bad habit would form.

Neither of us wanted to tell her the later was okay, but we also didn’t want to come in and miss out on this glorious day of sun.

No worries, the sheepish grin on her face meant that she answered her own question. There was no denying it, she went and peed in the pool.

Thank goodness for chemicals.

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Parenthood Rollercoaster

As parents, we are constantly at the amusement park riding a roller coaster. We have our up days and our down days. There are thrills, and there are chills. This is all part of parenthood.

Evan has been working on the whole potty training thing for months now (remember last week when I mentioned regression?). Today he had an accident in his pants and while waiting for Greg to get clean ones, he started the rest of his business “like an animal on the floor”.

Rather than share with you the (not safe for work) photo that scrolled across my phone screen (honestly right at a minute I needed a laugh), I’ll share Greg’s Facebook status instead.

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Parenting. It sure can be trying, but really it’s pretty funny when you’re not the one dealing with toddler poop.

What parenting rollercoaster has your kid taken you on this week? Take a moment and share in the comments below. Oh, and while we’re talking Facebook, have you liked ‘lil Burghers  on Facebook yet? 

Failure (a Bad Morning)

This was a bad morning in the world of the ladies of ‘lil Burghers. It got real and fast. I go back and forth about sharing, but I need people to understand that being a mom, being a parent, is not always easy or pretty.

You see, Greg and I have a man cold. I’m calling it man cold because I have never felt this way before and am a miserable person. Yet, because I am a woman, a working mom, I shower, dry my hair so it looks half decent (okay, it looked pretty darn good for me today), and pull on my big girl panties and go to work. Greg’s “lucky”, ha. Not really. He has to deal with being all out sick and having to play 2,000 questions all day and keep ‘lil Man from biting his big sister’s back (true story, happened on Monday night and I have no idea how one ‘lil mouth gets on someone’s flat back…but I am straying off course here).

Anyways, I was in the midst of getting ready and told Arianna to brush her hair. Four minutes went by and she was still stalling, just standing and watching me. I lost my ever loving mind. “You know, kid? You have one job to do as a four-year-old and that job is to listen. You don’t have to put on a show that you feel fine and go and do grown up stuff. You just have to listen to your parents and today you failed.” Oh my gosh. I said that to my kid. I wasted my energy and what little voice I had to be so evil to my kid. I told her she failed.

Immediately she brushed her hair then exited the bathroom stage right. She wouldn’t talk to me, and I was in tears for telling her she failed. I mean, c’mon Beck. She’s four years old. It’s not failure. The only failure that was going on was me being a good parent and just brushing her hair for her. But I was afraid to fail and be late dropping her off at school. I was afraid if I didn’t tell her to do something for her self I’d be failing in setting her up for an independent lifestyle. I just couldn’t win. When you add a “go get ’em” attitude to a man cold to dealing with a four year old, it’s just bad, bad news.

Did I fail as a mom? No, I don’t think completely. Did I fail a parenting test? Sure. But I think all parents are going to do that from time to time, right? Did she come back in the bathroom a few minutes later and apologize? Yes. Did I apologize? You’d better believe it, hugs and tears, too. Did we have a good rest of the morning? Sure. But does it still hurt? A ‘lil bit. Will we survive and grow? Absolutely.

Being a parent sure isn’t always rainbows. I am sure I am not alone in my woopsie today, right? As a parent, or a child, what lessons have you learned about tough love or parenting while sick? Leave me some love today, k?

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Arianna last year in our garden…something she is very much looking forward to this year…and today was a gorgeous day to think about summer, huh?

Poking Eyeballs

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Upon coming home from work and a “poke my eyeballs out now” experience at the local library, I really just needed a minute. The small child above decided she would do me a favor and try to poke my eyeballs out for me.

The last thing I wanted was that to legit happen, so I tweeted my frustration and told her to please (for the love) go play in the toy room. She insisted on poking my eyeballs, so I got up from the couch and parented.

Apparently, she wanted to become a pretty princess and to have a snack. “Cuties and berries, please.”

Maybe if my healthy eating is rubbing off on her, my stay out of my personal space when I am enraged ‘tude will, too. Somehow…since she followed me to the bathroom and demanded the photo above, I am not sure she gets it.

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Parenting my mini me is a challenge some days, but worth it every day. Although she’s cute, some times I want to (okay DO) scream, “Go be a kid!!!”. Then it is time for a Mommy Timeout. How do you deal raising the small version of yourself? Comment!!!