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This Almost 40 Mom Repelled Off a Wall

Orange County Indoor Rock Climbing for Kids

One of new year’s goals was to do more things alone with my oldest daughter on the weekends.  She loves being active and is up for anything so when I  saw the Groupon come in for a one hour session of indoor rock climbing at Sender One Climbing in their Funtopia climbing space I snatched it up.

Now after our experience at Sender One, I had to do a post on the new Orange County indoor rock climbing for kids space because it was so flipping fun I was on an adrenaline high for the entire afternoon.

Funtopia is not just for kids, it’s for adults and kids weighing more than 40+ lbs, so not only was Emma going to go rock climbing, mama was too.

Then I remembered I am sort of a scaredy cat, and adrenaline rushes are really not my thing. I had visions of me strapped into my harness crying to the staff member about my fear of heights a la The Bachelor.

But I am a changed woman lately, so I was going to go for it.

Here’s what’s happening this year – I am turning 40. 

Yes, the big 4-0 is immenient, but instead of being all depressed about getting old, something crazy has switched on inside of me and I am obsessed with trying new things this year.

Thus, the two hour trapeze lesson I bought on Living Social. Oh, and the ballroom dancing lessons. A special thank you to the daily deal sites for feeding my midlife psychosis. This can’t be normal.

So Emma and I went to Sender One on Saturday ready for an adventure. They offer climbing for all levels, including this beautiful (and insane) area with 18-foot high walls for serious climbers.

Orange County indoor rock climbing for kids

Funtopia is a separate area perfect for kids. And almost 40-year-old moms.

Once we were checked in, they got us into our harnesses and sent us in to climb and play. The employees helped us learn how to clip ourselves in and then we were told to just go for it. Up we went on the first wall.

My heart started beating faster and faster the higher I went. Don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look down.

When I got the top I was full of adrenaline, because once at the top, you are supposed to push yourself off and repel down the wall. My daughter flew off without a second thought. The girl has no fear, she lives for this kind of stuff.

I yelled down to the employee below, “I’m scared!” I honestly didn’t know if I could do it, but that seemed like the most fun part.

She yells up, “Just commit to it, the first moment is the scariest, and then it’s fine.

So I committed and took the plunge.

Just like an episode of The Bachelor, but no hunky guy waiting at the end to tell me how proud he was of me. But even minus the hunky guy, IT WAS AWESOME!!!

Total rush.

I just wanted to go again and again.  We explored the entire area which included cool pillars to climb, various climbing walls, even a structure with a high platform on top in which you can jump off to a trapeze swing or a swinging punching bag thing.

Yes, I did the trapeze. Just a taste of what’s to come.

OC indoor rock climbing for kids

It was one of those experiences I will always remember and Emma loved every minute. It was really cool to get to do something like this with her. Except on the way home she told me she now wants to go zip lining. Lord help me if another deal for zip lining comes into my inbox.

Tips on Visiting Sender One with Kids 

Funtopia is for adults and kids weighing 40+ pounds
~ Funtopia is open Monday – Friday from 2-8p, Sat/Sun 10 -6p
~ All kids under 11 must be accompanied by an adult
~ Sessions start on the hour; walk-ins OK if there is space, but online reservations recommended
~ Wear workout clothes or clothes that are able to be moved in. Definitely yoga or workout pants for moms.
~ It’s a workout, you will sweat, dress cool.
~ Wear closed toe shoes (no black soles)
~ Base price $17/hour pp; +$5 for drop slide and jump and catch
~ Fill out waiver online before going
~ Arrive 15 – 20 minutes early to get instructions
~ Bring your camera!!!

SenderOneClimbing.com 

We Need Help

we need help

Well 2014 has come on with a BANG - and the year of the horse is a force to be reckoned with – let me tell you!

Over here at Tiny Oranges we are holding on to the reigns and  galloping full speed ahead to implement new ideas to make Tiny Oranges even BETTER for you.

Why? Because the WHY behind why we work our buns off here at Tiny Oranges is because we want to INSPIRE MOMS like you with juicy ideas.

There are really fun things in store this year including a fresh update to our site design, a big giveaway, and so many things I want to do, BUT I need help in order to get to work on these ideas swimming around in my head!

I am looking for a few very part-time Orange County moms to join our team. Hours are completely flexible (and again, minimal.)

Here is what I am looking for…

Pinterest Development 

Do you love Pinterest? Are you a Pinterestoholic? Would you love to help us build our Pinterest presence?

Because we are a blog on a mission to inspire, we want our Pinterest boards to be filled with so much pin-spiration, it’s a must follow for all moms.

The position would include building and curating our boards, building Pinterest followers, following new pin-spirational people and pinning older posts so we can make our boards the most pin-tastic possible.

Okay, enough with the pin puns.

Approximately 3 hours a week. 

If interested email pinterest@tinyoranges.com for more details.

Contributing Writers/Bloggers 

I am looking to build our team of contributing writers so we can continue to share new and unique ideas from moms at different stages of mommyhood.

Do you love to write? Share your experiences with other moms? Have a passion for certain parenting topics? We would love to hear about your interests to see if it might be a fit.

Graphics are equally as important as writing, so I am looking with someone who has a knack for photography and familiarity using PicMonkey.com (affiliate link) or Photoshop in order to be able to create accompanying graphics.

You do not have to be a professional photographer or graphic designer, but familiarity is a plus!

Approximately 1 post of original content per week.

If interested, email writing@tinyoranges.com for more information.

Best, Jen XOXO

Sibling Conflict Resolution Tip

sibling conflict resolution tip

The post today is about a sibling conflict tip my friend Laurie shared with me. A truly brilliant idea, which makes for immediate blog material.

Does this sound familiar?

You come up with a fun idea to go out to dinner with the family and start talking about where you will go. One child yells, “Ruby’s!!” Their sibling yells (louder), “Wahoo’s!!

And then what was supposed to be a pleasant outing idea has turned into the battle of wills, which each child standing firm in their stance. UGH!!!

A standoff (and headache) ensues and you think, “Why on earth did I start this?’ I should have just boiled some spaghetti and called it a day.

But the dinner idea is out there, and there is no turning back, because really, you don’t want to make dinner, so the conversation and negotiations start.

You might have one child that is likely to throw the bigger fit, so you try to talk the other into going along with their idea so you can just get out the door for pete’s sake.  There might be a bribe involved. Anything might happen at this point.

Or maybe you say, “Enough! I am choosing!” and then they get really pissed off and the fun family dinner turns into a nightmare before you walk out the door. Good times.

But here is a sibling conflict tip that is going to help you.

If you have two children, you have an odd child and an even child.

My firstborn, Emma, was born first. She is a 1, or my odd girl.

Morgan was born second, she is a 2, my even girl.

So, in those situations now, where it is truly just a matter of one opinion or choice vs. the other, you can say, “What day is it? The 12th? Oh, it’s an even day, that means Morgan gets to chose this time.”

The calendar is calling the shots. Blame it on the day kiddos. You are not choosing sides, the calendar is.

I implemented it the next morning, which was the 9th. My kids thought it was a super cool plan. Until my oldest misunderstood and thought since it was an odd day, she would get her way all day. We are working on that one.

Now, there must be a way to figure this out with more than two kids, but I didn’t have the brainpower to come up with an idea. If anyone else does, please comment and share!

beautiful photo by the lovely www.kristineldridge.com

You Are Not Alone

How to Support a New Mom with Baby Blues

My friend Pam, holding my newborn daughter, Morgan, July 2009

A couple years back, as a part of my mommy and me class I took with my youngest, we had regular breakout “coffee talks” with just the moms where we discussed various parenting topics.

One week the topic was about community, and how as moms we all need support. We were asked to go around the room and share a particular time when someone showed us support when we needed  it.

As you can imagine, there were quite a few tears that day. It was a “pass the Kleenex” kind of talk. I felt bad for the lone substitute dad filling in for his wife. I think the topic from the week before was on how to make your own play doh. He picked the wrong week for sure.

The first thing that came to mind was a dark period in the weeks following my youngest daughter’s birth back in July 2009. I was in pain post c-section, had kidney stones, super sore nipples and a newborn with severe reflux and colic.

Looking back, I think I might had postpartum depression to some degree; definitely the baby blues.

I was so overwhelmed and everything in my life felt out of control.

One of my best friends from college knew I was having a rough go of it, so she came to visit me one day. She brought a gift bag with new jammies, a magazine and some candy to cheer me up.

But the best gift I got that day was nothing that could be brought in a gift bag. Just seeing her made me feel better; a glimpse of normality.

We started talking and I got so emotional I blurted out, “I want my old life back!!” Life before a screaming baby, life before sleepless nights, life before this physical pain. I  felt so guilty for thinking that thought but to be able to say it out loud made me feel better. I had been living trapped in my own head and keeping a lot of my sadness to myself.

With her, I didn’t have to worry that she would think I didn’t love my new baby. I didn’t have to worry she would judge me. She knew me better than anyone and knows how much I love my kids.

She let me talk, and cry.

In retrospect, I realized the most poignant thing about that visit was what she didn’t say. She knew I would get better, sleep more eventually, start to heal physically. She knew the postpartum hormones were doing a number on me. I didn’t need a pep talk or a list of suggestions on what I could do to feel better.

She just held my newborn baby and cried with me on the couch. 

In that moment of us sitting there, I didn’t feel alone. In retrospect, what I realized is I just needed someone to be there with me and share the burden of my emotions. Her actions said, I’m here for you. 

I did get better, it took a few weeks, but I got better and better and we adjusted to our new normal. However the colic held on until about four months, which was a whole other story.

BUT my colicky baby grew into the most positive, enthusiastic, happy child you might ever meet. I wish I could have had a glimpse of my future life a few years down the road in that time, but of course life doesn’t work that way.

Life can be hard.

We need each other.

I realize that now more than ever approaching 40. People all around me are going through tough times and serious situations. So if you have someone in your life facing a challenge, or are looking for ideas on how to support a new mom with baby blues, remember that sometimes the best gift is your presence.

A reminder they are not alone.

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Pam, who has always been there for me. 

Minivans: Love or Hate?

minivans

Hi, my name is Jen, I am a mom, and I drive a minivan. The quintessential mom mobile. I know.

I love my Chrysler Town & Country minivan. See that sliding door? That is a beautiful thing when you have young kids.

It’s fabulous to cruise up to school pick up, push a button for the door to open, and watch the carpool kids easily climb in on their own. I pick up four girls in our carpool, and they can all find their way to a second or third row seat with ease. Once everyone is settled, the push button closes the door and we are on the way. It’s like magic. 

I never have to worry about smacking an open door into another car in a parking lot while struggling with my child’s seatbelt. I can push a button on my keys and open the doors from afar to give the kids a head start getting in and into their seats. It’s nice to not have to worry about kids closing the door on themselves or their little fingers.

There are so many cup holders you can’t even use them all. Oh, and I really love the automatic key that allows me to open my car doors by sensor so I don’t have to dig in my purse to find my keys while my hands are full with kid crap.

So, I have to wonder, why would a car designed to make mom’s lives easier and more convenient arouse such hatred in people? 

I have to say I honestly don’t get it. You know who I am talking about ~ the minivan haters.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I wouldn’t be caught dead driving a minivan.” “I just can’t DO it.” “I would never drive a minivan!“I refuse to be a minivan mom.” All with a specific tone of distaste.

Just the other day on Facebook a friend shared they were considering a minivan with baby #3 on the way. The array of “don’t do it” comments were hilarious.

One even commented it was not just about buying a minivan, it was a state of mind. Correct me if I am wrong, but the day you decide to become parents, you basically succumb to the state of mind the minivan represents. It’s called parenthood.

Granted, I could be driving a gazillion other cooler cars, but let me let you in on something that’s not a secret…I am 39 and I am a mom. The kids hanging on me and my hands are a dead giveaway. So is the somewhat tired, frazzled look on my face.

I doubt anyone in the Target parking lot would look and think I was any cooler based on what car I was putting my kid in.

Just the other day at gymnastics, one of my friends came in and told me she thought I left my slider open in the parking lot. When I went out to check, it was the same exact car as ours, a white Town and Country, with its door open, but not mine.

Trying to be a helpful citizen to another (likely) crazed mom who was probably distracted unloading her kids, I decided to ask a few people inside if they, “Drove a white Town and Country?” to try and find the owner and let them know.

One middle aged (and dorky) dad I asked responded with, “OH GOD, NO!

And he said it with such disgust, I almost snapped back at him. Are you kidding me? I wanted to know, what EXACTLY is so wrong about driving a minivan? And who did he think he was?! But I decided to not start up a minivan fight at gymnastics so I smiled and moved on.

[Side note: Regardless of what car he was loading his kids into that day, my assessment of his cool factor would remain the same.]

Yes, it is a mom mobile. Yes, it is a kid hauler. But it’s convenient, and I am a big hit with the preschoolers. One of Morgan’s little friends calls it the Abracadabra car. They get the magic of the minivan. Take that dorky gymnastics dad.

What do you think?

Let it loose ladies, don’t hold back, how do you really feel about minivans? Why do you feel that way?  I won’t get my feelings hurt. Promise.