Sunday 31 July 2011

Mamas and Papas Sleep Travel Cot

When we rented the villa in France we knew there wasn't a cot so we jumped at the chance to review Mamas and Papas Sleep Travel Cot. If you've not heard of Mamas & Papas they specialise in a range of stylish, but functional products for mothers and babies including pushchairs, maternity wear, car seats for babies and others that are suitable for up to age 12.

Mamas and Papas Sleep Travel CotBlondie Boy had slept in a Pack and Play (what Americans call travel cots) when we were in the US last summer but not since he's when walking and climbing so I was a bit worried about if he'd actually stay in it. 

Well my fears were unfounded. If I'm honest I assumed the only reason Blondie Boy doesn't climb out of his cot now is because he wear a sleeping bag at night so he physically can't; well he slept in the Mamas and Papas Sleep Travel Cot without a sleeping bag and stayed put.  Not only did he stay put but he was PASSED OUT.

He's all crammed up in the corner but that's how he sleeps in his cot at home too, weirdo.  It took a wee bit of getting used to but the cot was easy to put up and down and obviously comfortable for a wriggly toddler, too.

My only complaint is the travel bag. The bag itself is quite flimsy, especially when you consider this is a product which is specifically designed for travel. The bag was ripped by the time we landed Barcelona. Perhaps if the bag was better quality or even if both the handles could be secured together (we speculate a baggage handler grabbed by one handle at that's how it ripped) it wouldn't have ripped.

All in all though I would highly recommend it as the cot itself is extremely sturdy and while the bag took quite the battering the cot itself survived intact.  The Mamas and Papas Sleep Travel Cot retails for £90 but is currently on sale for only £69.

Transatlantic Blonde was provided this product for review but the views expressed are my own.

Friday 29 July 2011

Feminist Friday XII

So I was going to start an experiment; an armpit experiment. I realized that after binning my razor in France I hadn't shaved my armpits in Spain or once I got home to the UK and I figured it would be a nifty little experiment to see how long I could go and what people's reactions would be.  My experiment failed.

Let's stop a minute and look back at the whole idea of women shaving their armpits and why we do it. Do you know why we do it? I sure as hell didn't so I googled it (what did we do before Google? I don't think my Encyclopaedia Britannica would have helped me with this query). According to my research (aka Wikipedia) women's armpits began going bare after several magazines had ads with models sans armpit hair circa 1915. This coupled with the invention on the safety razor apparently sparked a trend throughout the English speaking world.

julia roberts arm pit hair armpit
Somehow in less than 100 years we've all gone from fuzzy armpits to bald armpits with no real explanation. Everyone will remember how the press flipped when Julia Roberts showed up on a red carpet with fuzzy pits. Hairy armpits are dirty, disgusting, smelly and not fashionable---but why?

So I only lasted a week with my fuzzy pits and if I'm honest I'm blonde and not very hairy so it's not even like very much was there. So why did I shave? Well I was going for afternoon tea at a very fancy hotel to celebrate Blondie Boy's Great Grandma's 80th Birthday in a sleeveless dress and I didn't want to do anything that could irk BB's GG on her big day.

Personally I do normally shave my armpits but not so much because I'm worried other people will see my hairy pits, but just I don't like the feeling of hair there. If I want to get all analytical I could say if I never once shaved my armpits to begin with maybe I wouldn't feel that way and you'd probably be right. I think if you want to shave your pits or if you don't that should be your decision, but I do think women shaving their armpits is patriarchally influenced.

Why? Well do men shave their armpits? No. Do men get called dirty or gross for having hairy armpits? No. Do you see the inequality here? I could take this argument even further and say that society's current infatuation with hair removal is patriarchy's attempt to make us all powerless little girls, but I won't digress. I think there is a fine line between hair removal for hygienic purposes and hair removal to adhere to cultural "standards." Don't even get me started on vajazzling or I'll be here all week.

So to shave or not to shave?

Feminist Friday XII

Here's how it works. Write a blog about being a feminist mom, raising a feminist child, a rant or anything that falls under the realm of the theme for the week. Come back and link your post and post the button on your blog.

That's it.

You don't even have to be a blogger to take part - just send me your post and I will publish it on my blog for you. You don't even have to include your name if you prefer.

When you've published it, come back on Friday and via a widget thing you can add a link to your post and share it with everyone. The link remains open for 4 days.

Visit others, comment if you like them or feel inspired by them. Just go out and encourage and support other feminist Moms.

The more support you give, the more you will get back! I can't wait to meet and interact with other feminist moms around the world!

Thursday 28 July 2011

And the Oreo Goodie Box Winner is...

Congratulations! Please contact me within 48 hours to claim your Oreo Goodie Box! If you didn't win check out SusanKMann and Mummytips for two more chances to win a Flip HD Video Camera!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Feminist Friday XII Theme

This week will have an open theme to ease y'all back into the swing of things. There has been a lot of things going on in the news so hopefully you'll have plenty to say!

The Friday Feminist Mom Round up

Here's how it works. Write a blog about being a feminist mom, raising a feminist child, a rant or anything that falls under the realm of the theme for the week. You don't have to be a mom or parent to participate. Come back and link your post and post the button on your blog.

That's it.
You don't even have to be a blogger to take part - just send me your post and I will publish it on my blog for you. You don't even have to include your name if you prefer.

When you've published it, come back on Friday and via a widget thing you can add a link to your post and share it with everyone. The link remains open for 4 days.

Visit others, comment if you like them or feel inspired by them. Just go out and encourage and support other feminist Moms.

The more support you give, the more you will get back! I can't wait to meet and interact with other feminist moms around the world!

Thursday 21 July 2011

Double Stuff Oreo Lick Race: WIN a Flip 4GB HD Video Recorder!

As an American I grew up with Oreos and it's hard to believe they've only been in the UK for 3 years! Well not that hard to believe for me because I remember being crazy excited when I was able to find them in UK stores and I may or may have not squealed like a tweenage fan girl when I found Double Stuff Oreos at my grocery store and immediately tweeted a picture and then bought 4 packages just in case they weren't there next time. So I guess it's fair to say I freaking love Oreos. I regularly had Oreos and Oreo milkshakes throughout my pregnancy with Blondie Boy and while he hasn't tried them yet (they are egg free so he can eventually!) my Mom craved Oreos when pregnant with me so there must be a genetic link!

So when Oreo got in touch about their Double Stuff Oreo Lick Race I was really excited. Oreo is challenging families to upload their attempts to and be in with a chance of winning a VIP family trip to Florida. As an added incentive, for every video race uploaded to the website the brand will be donating £1 to the children’s charity, KidsOut who work with children affected by domestic violence. I'm on the Board of Glasgow Women's Aide so I know how much these children need this kind of service.

Entering is easy:

Using a glass of milk and an Oreo cookie, the Lick Race gets two family members competing to finish their Oreo first by following these six, simple steps:

Twist. Lick. Show. Dunk. Eat. Drink. 

First you twist, then you lick the creme filling, then once you have shown the “clean” cookie to your opponent, you dunk it in cold milk. Next you eat the cookie and finally, you drink your milk.

Upload your video before July 31st for a chance to win or if you'd rather be a spectator you can take your chance and enter for daily prizes like a Nintendo Wii just by watching!

I'm going out with some of my friends tomorrow and I'm going to have her 6 year old challenge me since Blondie Boy is still a bit too small. No offense to Aedan but I'm pretty sure I have this race all locked up! Who will you race against?

To help you make a video of your race to prove your are the UK's "Most Entertaining Lick Racers" I have an Oreo goodie box with everything you'll need including: Oreos, two rainbow glasses, badges and (wait for it) A FLIP 4GB HD VIDEO CAMERA (with tripod)!

To enter:
Follow my Blog publicly (link on right sidebar) and comment how you eat your Oreos! Do you eat it whole, cream first, dunk or something else? (mandatory)

Extra Entries:
-Follow me on Twitter and tweet "I entered to win an @Oreo #TwistLickDunk Goodie Box with @Melaina25 and! You can too! comment to let me know (1 extra entry)
-Check out Oreos on Facebook and comment to let me know which recipe you'd most like to try (1 extra entry)

Make sure to leave each entry in a separate comment.
All entries will be verified and deleted if not valid so make sure to leave the usernames you subscribe or tweet with.

Open to UK residents over 18 only. A winner will be drawn at random on July 28th at 12:00 GMT. Winners must contact me within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn. GOOD LUCK!  CLOSED
Transatlantic Blonde was provided an Oreo Goodie Box but view and opinions are my own.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Things I "learned" on Holiday

-I can live without regular internet, but I don't want to live without regular internet access. I like not being on the laptop but I missed talking to my friends and family and knowing what's going on in the world. There has to be a happy medium between too much and none.

-I don't really like wine. Sure it tastes nice sometimes but I'm never going to be that person who tweets about how they can't wait to get home to a glass of wine or who sniffs corks and all that. 

-When it's toddler skull versus adult face, face will always lose. A headbutt to the nose (which left me vaguely concussed) left my nose swollen for two days and then Blondie Boy tripped on NBH and landed noggin first on my cheekbone. Cheek is just now starting to be less tender. I can only foresee more child inflicted injuries in the future since the two of us are both accident prone and he's a wild ass.

-I not as much of a fat ass as I think I am. I'm not skinny but I'm not as big as I think I am in my head.

-I've got an amazing husband. I still can't believe he found sunglasses for my birthday based on me saying I tried on awesome "diamantĂ© Karen Millen shades" at Manchester airport. He got the EXACT ones I wanted and that's just the tip of his awesomeness.

-It must be so frustrating to be Blondie Boy and only have some words and signs to communicate what he is thinking. My French is appalling and while I could ask for baguettes and pastries at the boulangerie and ask if something had egg in it, that was about it. It was really frustrating knowing that I couldn't communicate exactly what I wanted to say.

-I really want to move some place someday with proper summers. When I lived in the US I always wanted to live somewhere with an outdoor pool; I used to sneak into the apartment complex next to mine and layout at their pool. Having our own pool at the villa just reignited my desire to have a pool and to do so we are going to have to move some place warmer. I was a major pool rat growing up and Blondie Boy loves the water as well. Indoor pools are nice, but nothing beats swimming in the sunshine.

-I've got amazing inlaws. NotBlondeHusband and I were able to spend time in the pool together as my mother-in-law would take Blondie Boy when he'd had enough and dry/shower/dress him. Having BB's Grandma, Auntie Katie and John around to help play with or sit in the house while he slept was amazing. I can't imagine what a vacation just the three of us would have been like.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Guest Post: A Blogger's Confession

When you're an expat you can hear an American accent across a room; you hear that twang and immediately know you're not alone and you have to find that person. My last guest post is by the lovely Erin  from an American Mom in England who's originally from Oregon (but went to university in Ohio) and after an initially difficult adjustment loves living in England.   

This might seem a bit odd, but I have to admit that one of my favourite things about living in England is meeting other Americans who live here.  It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for Americans living abroad to connect.  

There’s something almost magical about the ease with which friendships are formed among expats.  All the differences that might have separated us in the states don’t matter over here.  Instead we bond over the things we miss from home: macaroni & cheese, mountain dew, pop tarts, Mexican food, good sushi.   I think it’s because we share a common cultural literacy with one another that simply makes friendship easy.

Unsurprisingly, my husband disagrees with me.  His theory is that since there are substantially fewer Americans over here we expats substantially lower the level of oddity we’re willing to tolerate accordingly. 

Yet, I know for me that’s not the true.  The expats I keep in touch with are some of the most amazing women I know. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to spend a day in Manchester at a BlogCamp with the lovely Melaina and Lindy.

(Please forgive the crazy frizzy hair, it had been pulled up until moments before Lindy took the photo!)

Besides the obligatory expat chat:  Where are you from?  How long have you been here?  How did you meet your husband?  This is followed by shared geographical knowledge (in this instance Dayton & Cincinnati, OH) and then the inevitable mention of Costco. 
I met two strong independent women who have the self-confidence to be themselves and those are the kind of friends I like the best. 

Thursday 14 July 2011

Guest Post: Abby's Easy Ranch Pasta

The lovely Abby from Life with B and A is back to blogsit again with another one of her easy and crowd pleasing recipes. If you've ever met an expat one of the biggest things we complain about is the lack of Ranch dressing outside of the States. I am no exception and love Ranch and can't wait to try out Abby's recipe when we get back!

Hello everyone I’m back, helping my blog friend Mel out while she’s off on her fabulous holiday! Last time I shared my recipe for Asian Style Pork Chops. I thought I would continue the trend and share another easy peasy recipe with you that is a favorite here in our house. I was given this recipe by a co-worker of mine and it has been a staple in our household ever since.

We call this Easy Ranch Pasta and in fact we just had it last night! Even our 15 month old Drew loves it.

So here's what you will need:

-1box of bowtie pasta

-2 packages dry ranch dressing (Non-US peeps you can make your own Ranch seasoning mix)

-Cooked diced chicken

-1medium bag frozen vegetable mixture ( I use the one with peas, carrots and corn)

Boil water in large pot, enough to sustain the entire box of pasta. In another pot boil enough water to sustain the entire bag of veggies. Cook both pasta and veggies.  While they are cooking dice chicken into small pieces.

After pasta is cooked, drain it and put it back in its original pot.  Drain veggies and put in large pot with pasta. Add in chicken and coat mixture with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add in ranch dressing and mix together. If you really like the ranch taste, you can add a couple of tablespoons of actual ranch dressing from the bottle to thicken things up and make it even.

Serve it up in a bowl or on a plate, and VOILĂ€! Easy Ranch Pasta!

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Guest Post: How NOT to be a Stay at Home Cat Lady

Today's guest post comes from the very funny and very stylish Linz Loves You. We are both freelancers and when you work at home people often ask you how you started and what you do. Here Lindsay tells how she became a freelancer and avoided being a SAHCL.

Never, in a million, gazillion years, would I ever have thought I'd strike out myself in the working world, as it were. But I have, armed only with my social media accounts, two degrees from Cal, and a few $10 words. It's a bizarre world, this world of freelancing.

It's isolating. Working from home gives you the flexibility to work in your pajamas, write off your internet/rent for tax expenses, and work at strange hours. However, there's no coworkers to go to lunch with, or shoot nerf guns with, or bounce ideas off of. It's also allowed me to become a SAHCL, or Stay at Home Cat Lady. Luckily, I have a very snuggly cat... so that's not all bad ;)

It makes you defensive. Not defensive in a bad way, necessarily. Rather, I've found myself constantly having to explain to people and companies that yes, they do really need my services, and yes, they do really need to pay for them. As the age-old hooker motto goes, "You gotta pay to play." And while I'm not selling myself, I am sort of, well, selling myself. Or at least, my abilities and my work. And seriously? That's worth more than $.02 per word. Or $5 a post. Minimum wage is not that low (at least not here), so why would you offer to pay me so little? My favorite thing is having to defend the fact that I do, in fact, need to be paid at all for my work. While I might guest-blog or help a friend once in a while, my writing is a service, just as is a doctor's consultation or programmer's coding. Or a hooker's... yeah. {hi, mom!} Speaking of defending what you do, being a freelance writer also means that you're often trying to justify your work. I've heard "you should just get a real job" more times than I can count. Um hi, this is a real job! Just because it's not 9-5 at a desk doesn't mean that I can't somehow make it work. It's more difficult, and I'm already chasing down people for money, but it's still a job.

Freelancing makes you reevaluate your skills, and work on your weaknesses. If I just focused on my one strength, writing, I'd have a couple jobs, sure. But now that I've branched out to social media management and design, I've gotten more work. I didn't even intend to be a writer when I graduated--I wanted to work as a magazine/book editor or as a marketing person. Well we can scratch those out the window (thanks to my current lack of traditional marketing experience). For my weaknesses, well, I've got them in spades. Freelancing is forcing me to work on my time management skills. Like, big time. It's also forcing me to become better at bookkeeping. And another weakness is, at least in my mind, my design foundations. To work on that, I'm taking a pattern class from Almah at OlliBird, reading some books on design and typography fundamentals, and am looking for summer classes in LA for design and art. Plus, every single project I do--whether writing, SM, or designing-- is a great way to improve upon my strengths and whittle down my weaknesses.

I am a writer. A community manager. And a designer. A jill of all trades geeky, and a stay at home cat lady, to top it off. I'm still learning, and by no means am I a renowned expert at any of those things. But I've got some chops, and certainly some damn good experience. So, if you wondered what I'm doing with my life... there is is. And this cartoon from The Oatmeal might explain it nicely as well...

working from home

Sunday 10 July 2011

Guest Post: Wrong Bat Babe

The first thing you should know about Kat from 3 Bedroom Bungalow is she is the reason I don't smell. She very kindly brought me Secret deodorant to CyberMummy (don't get me started on why UK deodorant doesn't work); actually she brought half of the commissary with her to dole out to fellow expats with cravings.  She's crazy generous, hilarious and I wish she didn't live on the other side of the UK or I suspect we'd get up to lots of trouble.  Blondie Boy watches baseball on TV and says "ball ball" but I often wonder what it will be like when he's old enough to play sports that don't really exist in Scotland. Here Kat talks about her own daughter's perception of baseball.

Hi, I'm Kat and I have lived here in the east of England for about 2 and a half years.  My daughters LaLa and KiKi, ages 7 and 5 respectively, have spent most of their cognizant life here in the UK.  They don't really remember much about our life back in the US and most of their memories have been formed here.  They think they are English about ¾ of the time.  Every once in a while, they remember that they are in fact American, and like any typical American will crow about it loudly for couple of days before they revert back to their typically English manerims. 

I live near an American military base (my husband is in the United States Air Force) and they offer typical American sports for the children of the service memembers to sign up to play.  There are basketball leagues in the fall and winter, football teams in the fall (American football, not footy...though they play that too), cheerleading for the girls and in the spring and summer the offer the most American of all sports, Baseball. 

I signed LaLa up to play baseball this year.  When I was discribing the sport to her, I tried my best to sort of tell her the rules and sort of how it was played and the gear that is used.  It was all sort of in a round about way because she really hasn't been exposed to many sports over here in the UK-other than what as an American I would call soccer, but what Brits would call football (it does get rather confusing).  So, eventually I said something along the lines of “you hit the ball with the bat” and her ears immediately perked up.  She got really excited and then yelled “YAY!! I get to play Cricket!”

Wait.  No.  This is baseball.  Don't let your dad, your dad that is obsessed with the great American past time of baseball, hear you call it Cricket!  He would stroke out.  Ok, maybe not stroke out, but he would be highly concerned and feel that he had failed in his very patriotic (he’s big on the patriotic...he's in the military after all) duty, to teach his offspring the ins and outs of baseball.  Thankfully, he's in Korea. 

So guess who gets to teach her about baseball?  Yep, me.  It's going alright.  Well if you don't count the fact that she got so excited when she hit the ball last night that she ran around all the bases with no regard that she was passing her own teammates that were already on base and got called out for it.  Oh well.  We'll get there in the end.  I hope.  

Friday 8 July 2011

Feminist Friday XI

I'm still on vacation so it's another open theme this week. My contribution is this article which was originally published on The Huffington Post by Lisa Bloom: "How to Talk to Little Girls." I think it's really interesting, but I have to say I regularly tell Blondie Boy how gorgeous he is or ask him how did he get so cute. I equally tell him how clever his is though, too. For me I think it's important to let your children know they are beautiful and intelligent and if I'm honest I'm just as likely to tell a little girl I like her shoes as I am a little boy. What are your thoughts?

I went to a dinner party at a friend's home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.
Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, "Maya, you're so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!"
But I didn't. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.
What's wrong with that? It's our culture's standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn't it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.
Hold that thought for just a moment.
This week ABC news reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that fifteen to eighteen percent of girls under twelve now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and twenty-five percent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they'd rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.
Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What's missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.
That's why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.
"Maya," I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, "very nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too," she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.
"Hey, what are you reading?" I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I'm nuts for them. I let that show.
Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.
"I LOVE books," I said. "Do you?"
Most kids do.
"YES," she said. "And I can read them all by myself now!"
"Wow, amazing!" I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.
"What's your favorite book?" I asked.
"I'll go get it! Can I read it to you?"
Purplicious was Maya's pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.
Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It's surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I'm stubborn.
I told her that I'd just written a book, and that I hoped she'd write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we'd read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.
So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya's perspective for at least that evening.
Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she's reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You're just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.
And let me know the response you get at and Facebook.
Here's to changing the world, one little girl at a time.
For many more tips on how keep yourself and your daughter smart, check out my new book,Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down
Follow Lisa Bloom on Twitter:

Feminist Friday XI

Here's how it works. Write a blog about being a feminist mom, raising a feminist child, a rant or anything that falls under the realm of the theme for the week. Come back and link your post and post the button on your blog.

That's it.

You don't even have to be a blogger to take part - just send me your post and I will publish it on my blog for you. You don't even have to include your name if you prefer.

When you've published it, come back on Friday and via a widget thing you can add a link to your post and share it with everyone. The link remains open for 4 days.

Visit others, comment if you like them or feel inspired by them. Just go out and encourage and support other feminist Moms.

The more support you give, the more you will get back! I can't wait to meet and interact with other feminist moms around the world!

Thursday 7 July 2011

Streaming Flaxing Waxing

I know my Mom must be going through some hardcore Blondie Boy withdrawal right now, so I've scheduled this post of pictures to tide her over.  Look at how crazy long his hair is when it's wet and combed out! Literally 2.5 seconds after I took these his curls sprang back (you can see the ends curling up).

 I love my long-haired surfer dude and I can't imagine him with short hair now. Anyone else out there with a long-haired boy?

Wednesday 6 July 2011

The 100 Club

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world

8. Climbed a mountain (not to the top)
9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea

14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (some of them, anyway)
35. Seen an Amish community (they were on a date at Bob Evans)
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (I wasn’t the one ill)
47. Had my portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen (I made a record number of PB&J for one)
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (no, but I was a professional lifesaver)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

If you want to play copy/paste and bold the one's you've done....

Monday 4 July 2011

Guest Post: Give us a Smile

Meet my friend Kelly from Our Silly Rodriguez Family and her adorable son Gabriel. I suspect that if Blondie Boy and Gabe met up they would get into ALL sorts of trouble and probably get away with it by flashing a cheeky smile. Kelly's asking you all to help give a child a smile; that's not too much to ask is it?

We are calling in our privilege card. We are asking you to join us in helping babies who weren't born into the same privilege as we were. And our babies were. Babies who were born in the third world. To parents who believe birth defects equate to being cursed. Babies who will be shunned, abandoned, or even killed for being born with a wide smile.

Kids who will grow up with speech problems, nutrition problems, social and emotional troubles....

We can help these babies.

Or at least one baby.

Let's do it.

This gorgeous boy changed my life.

This gorgeous boy was loved so fiercely by so many people as soon as he was born.
 I mean...

I dare you to not melt over that face. Double dog dare.

It was the only face I knew. The only face I adored. And before his repair I wept. I wept because I would be losing the face I had kissed endlessly. The face that changed my life in the most incredible way.

And it definitely changed his face. His smile was inhibited and tight for awhile. Surgery was rough.
 After we paid our $10 copay we were treated so kindly. And given the gift of time by "Dr. Magic Hands." And he waved his wand (as my mama says) and repair = done. At 3 months. Exceptionally well done.


His repair-a-versary is creeping up and we figured "hey, let's celebrate this."

Let's help just one kid get their new smile. $250. We can so do this.

 He has faith in us.

He knows we can do it.

The donations go straight to smile train. No money in my grubby hands. Just a quick, super simple donation. $1. $5. $20. Whatever. Every bit brings us one step closer to spreading some love, sharing some privilege.

Thank you for loving my boy and sharing this adventure with us. More than anything we are simply grateful.

If everyone who reads this post donates $2, $5 or $10 we could make a pretty significant difference in the life of a child. Let's make a difference.

Two weeks from today last year, we woke up at 4am. I had to lock myself in the bathroom to weep while Justin did his best to soothe a very hungry little Gabriel. He couldn't eat. We couldn't sleep. The house was buzzing with nervous energy.

I held this tiny guy, in a tiny hospital gown and passed him off...


And even in that moment, even feeling like I was losing a piece of myself when he was taken away, I was grateful.

Looking back, I cry with appreciation. Appreciation for all you that were praying with us and appreciation for the skilled hands of our surgeon. And the nurses. And anesthesiologist. And the vast amount of skilled, well trained and fabulous people caring for our sweet nugget.

The surgery that happened at almost exactly 3 months old. The surgery that improved his breathing. And eating. And health. And the surgery that allowed the cleft to never have a chance to affect him emotionally or socially. And be teased. Taunted. Shunned.

The surgery that so many children do not get.

We can change that for a child. Please donate.