New MOMMYtoMOMMY.TV Show Launches!

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This is a very exciting post for me as I have a very fun announcement to share with you!

Whenever a fellow mom says she has an “announcement,” I know the first thing that can come to mind, so NO, I am NOT pregnant!  But I am excited to share the launch of a new online show for moms called MOMMYtoMOMMY.TV which I am sure will have webisodes dealing with pregnancy (just not mine) as it is a show exclusively for MOMS!  Here’s a little about this innovative new program…

The Internet is full of places where parents can go to find advice and ideas, but with so much information out there, it can be hard for mom’s to find one place that covers the hot topics that they actually want to hear about.

Kimberley Clayton Blaine, a popular mommy video-blogger and America’s favorite Go-To Mom (and founder of www.TheGoToMom.TV), announced yesterday a new series of unique online programming exclusively for moms called MOMMYtoMOMMY.TV!

Twice per month, Blaine (who produces and hosts the show) will team up with a different momblogger, mompreneur or celebrity guest to deliver info-tainment on the featured topic.  Now do you know why I am REALLY excited?

With its fast-paced style, the show is designed to entertain and inform moms about the things they care about most. The show will focus on relationships, health, child-rearing, social media, along with product highlights, services, and news to improve the quality of life for moms.  No topic will be left uncovered!

What’s more? Blaine has teamed up with Sony to inform moms of the latest and greatest technology so that they won’t miss one minute of those precious family moments.  With webisodes featuring great innovative new products like Sony® α (alpha) cameras, Bloggie™ HD MP4 cameras, Cyber-shot® cameras and Handycam® camcorders.

With celebrity guests, technology how-to’s, great advice, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how a show like this is made there’s something for everyone at this new online community that is created by Moms for Moms. Be sure to take a peak this month at www.MommytoMommy.TV!

And are you ready for this?

I was SO honored (and honestly a little shocked) to be asked to be one of the co-hosts of an upcoming show!  I even have my own “Jennifer” badge, so I guess this makes it official!

We get to tape my upcoming webisode at the gorgeous Montage Laguna Beach – not a bad place to spend the day – WOW! And Kimberley is so much fun to be around, I know we are going to have a blast.

So STAY TUNED and TUNE IN. I know you are going to love the shows!

Have a great weekend everyone!  See you back on Monday!

XOXO Jen

{Special thanks to www.kristineldridge.com for my badge photo!}

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Gift Idea: The Wicked Big Toddlah

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One of our friends got this beautiful, hardcover book, “The Wicked Big Toddlah” by Kevin Hawkes for Morgan’s first birthday and it has become such a hit in our house, I had to write about it and give my mommy review.  I am always looking for great gift ideas for kids and sometimes find myself stumped on the age or sex (I have no idea about boy stuff!) Therefore, when I discover a great gift that could be for a boy or girl, and could be given to a child ages birth through at least age 4 or 5,  it is like hitting the gift idea jackpot!

I personally love getting and giving books for birthday presents because you know it is a gift that will last a long time. And selfishly, after reading the same books again and again, as a mom I love to throw some different titles into the bedtime mix.  It is also nice to have books that I actually enjoy reading too. And this book is just plain fun to read!

With hilarious illustrations with clever detail, it tells the story of an overgrown baby named Toddie growing up during his first year in Maine {therefore the use of local vernacular like “wicked” and the pronunciation of “toddlah.”}

The book opens with a stork delivering a VERY large baby to the hospital and the baby’s uncle Bert yells, “That’s a wicked big toddlah ya got theyah, Jessie!”   The book had me laughing from page one.   Toddie is so big he takes baths in lakes and takes bites out of trees when he starts eating solids.  And the diaper changing page is hysterical.  Let’s just say it really does take a village.

Although Morgan at one is too young to appreciate this story just YET, big sis Emma, at 4 years, thinks this book is an absolute riot. I  have read it every night to her since we got it and she giggles at every turn of the page. Even trying out her own Maine accent, like Toddie, when he learns to speak and says, “Hihowaahya?” {Translation: Hi, how are you?”}

If you are like me and trying to simplify your life these days, pick up a stash of this title to have on hand for birthday parties, and you will not only give a great gift but will avoid a last minute dash to Target!  Buy enough to total $25, and you get free shipping on Amazon too!

Seriously, it’s wicked funny.

{Disclosure: We received the book as a gift and I wanted to share this fun find.  However, I am signed up as an Amazon Affiliate, which means if you click the link to the book above and purchase it online through my link I receive an itsy-bitsy sort of commission. You can click this link here too…The Wicked Big Toddlah…thanks!}

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My Current Mommy Struggle

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That’s a loaded title, huh?  I mean, I have so many “mommy struggles” some days I almost don’t even know where to begin!  But I will start with my current one.

So I signed my 4 year old up for a little 6 week summer school program for a few hours 3 mornings a week to keep her entertained & allow me some time to work.   We originally signed up with a little boy she has known since birth so she would have a friend to go with.  Unfortunately 2 weeks into the program they decided to stop going due to unforeseen circumstances and subsequently my dear daughter has been miserable this week not wanting to go to this new school without a friend.

A little background on her personality.  At home she is rambunctious, extroverted, spirited, and never stops talking. But at preschool school, she is more quiet, shy and much more introverted.  Which is so weird to me!  It is almost like she is a different kid sometimes.

Last year at our first parent conference in the fall when my daughter’s preschool teacher described her as “quiet”  I almost had to laugh out loud as that would have been the last word to describe her. Luckily she made some best little friends from almost the beginning, which made her love preschool because she loved her friends so much. All good things.

Fast forward to her first experience at a new “school” this summer.  Monday getting her there was OK, but afterwards she said she never wanted to go back because she missed her friend, and yesterday there was so much drama in the morning about not wanting to go, it was almost unbearable.

I went on Monday morning and asked the teachers to help facilitate her playing with some of the other girls and tried to introduce her to some of the other kids.   I named one in particular, and said… how about you try playing with {I will call her Abby to protect the innocent} Abby today? After school on Monday I asked her who she played with and she said “no one.”  She told me Abby didn’t want to play with her.

Oh my God moms.   My heart just BROKE.

So I told my husband, in a total emotional “Mommy Bear” state, if she doesn’t like it after this week I am not going to send her!!!

My hubby and I agree on most everything philosophy-wise in parenting, but this has been one time we are not seeing eye-to-eye.  And it is frustrating the heck out of me – mostly because I can also see his points as well.

His point is we are NOT sending her to a torturous place.  It is a cute program with art, puppets, water play, etc.

He thinks if we say “OK, if you don’t want to go, you don’t have to” and pull her out of the program it will send a bad message that anytime there is a tough situation in life or when she doesn’t want to do something or when she is out of her comfort zone, there is an escape.  She’s a creature of habit and routine (definitely her Father’s daughter!) so it’s new and she doesn’t like change, but we have to give her a chance to get used to it.

Interestingly enough, he was the shy kid in school too, so he thinks it is good for her to be in a situation that facilitates her making new friends.  His point is that she made friends in her preschool last year, and she will make them at this program. The problem is that hasn’t happened yet.  Albeit it’s only been 2 days since she she has been there alone.

What I am also struggling with is the fact that this is only going to be the beginning.  My gut instinct is to want to protect her.  To keep her from anyone or any situation that is at all unpleasant or short of SO MUCH FUN.  But I realize I am not going to be able to protect her from everything in life. That’s just life! Mean girls included. Oh God, don’t even get me started on that one.

As a mom (but also the little girl in me) wants to scream YOU NEVER HAVE TO GO BACK!   But I do think it is unfair to not at least give her the chance to make a friend on her own.

So, I will send her tomorrow, it’s water day, and hope that she can bond with someone (God PLEASE!) over the sprinkler. And if not, well, we will just have to cross that bridge next week…

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Lessons in Surviving The 1st Year!

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Today is my baby girl’s 1st birthday!  I can’t believe how fast this past year went. And how much I have learned.  I thought baby number two would be a breeze – I was an old pro – right?!  WRONG! This past year pushed me to the edge as a person more than any year in my life.  As a mom and as a person.

When I had my Dream Dinners party a month ago, I met this sweet mom who was planning her son’s 1st birthday.  It was to be a huge event.  She is Korean and she told me in her culture, the 1st birthday is a big deal. Way back when, the mortality rates for infants in the first year was high, so for a baby to survive the first year was cause for big celebration.

I thought this was a very sweet and significant lesson and it got me to thinking about surviving this first year, not just baby, but mommy too!

So here are the lessons I have learned about surviving the 1st year of my second child’s life…

1. NOTHING was “easier” the second time around for me! I had heard, oh, you will be soooooo much more relaxed, you will enjoy it more, you know what you are doing…HA!!  To endure those hard newborn days with a bright-eyed bushy-tailed 3 year old was 100 times harder than I thought.  To have my attention, time and one pair of hands split between two little humans with different needs was also way harder than I thought.

2.  The sleep-deprived newborn days are torturous, but they go fast. I remember sitting up in the middle of the night thinking life will never be the same.  I will never sleep again and I will never feel normal ever again. I sometimes wanted to sob in the darkness because I was just SO DANG TIRED. When I got like this, I would sing the song in my head “It won’t be like this for long” by Darius Rucker and it would get me through.   I saw it on Oprah when I was pregnant and it made me cry. The song is SO TRUE. If you have 3 minutes today, listen to this song.  Beautiful message.

3. Babies are game changers and you have to be willing to adapt.  Just when you think you have something figured out and things are going somewhat smoothly, they will change the game.  Be it by teething, sleeping (or rather not sleeping), new developmental milestones, changes in mood or fussiness, eating.  You can’t get comfortable for too long.  If things are going well – ENJOY IT – for exactly what it is at that moment!

4. Just when you think you can’t take something for one more day, it will change for the better. Thanks to my cousin Angie for this quote. She has two older kids.  She knows.

5. Control.  Say good-bye. The more I fought to keep control over something, the more frustrated I became.  Learning to let go of things and realize I don’t have total control is an ever-challenging goal for me.

6. Nursing problems – get help if you need it! I had no nursing issues whatsoever with baby # 1.  Nursing was the last on my list of things to worry about because I had already nursed one baby.  With Morgan, I had several problems that persisted through her first 4 months.  I got a lot of help.  In fact, I wouldn’t have gotten through it without the support and expertise of the people at Milkalicious.

7. Reflux & colic can almost send you over the edge. My baby had severe reflux and colic for her first 4 months and it was 4 of the most challenging of my life.  If you are facing this, just know it WILL get better.  I promise.  The early days can feel like hell on earth. But she outgrew it, and we SURVIVED!

8. Seeing my oldest become a sibling has brought me more joy than I ever thought possible. I had no idea how much it would mean to me to see my daughter as a sister.   The unprompted sweetness and kindness she shows her little sister make my heart soar.  No one told me about this.  I love it.  It has made me feel really proud.

9. I have no idea what she “should be doing” as far as anything milestone-wise! I am not reading any books this time (because I have NO time) so when she does something new, it’s like “hey!  look what baby did!  wow!”   The 2nd learns in such a different way – mostly by watching her big sister – and that has been so cool to witness.

10. I realized that for the better part of most days, I’m outnumbered and I need help. I used to think it was a sign of weakness to need help, like I couldn’t handle it all myself, but this time around I smartened up and have gotten more help.  Being a mommy is hard, so get help if you need it!  Find a college babysitter here and there for a few hours, ask family to help, share babysitting with friends.  You got the idea – we were not meant to do this alone!!!  And leave the guilt at the door!

11.  I have realized this year just how crucial it is to have something just for me… time to take care of myself. I made my health a priority and have made regular exercise (running for me) something that is not-negotiable.  No excuses.  I always was filled with excuses before.  No time, no energy, blah blah blah.  My advice, if you are feeling run-down, spent, exhausted, unhappy, start to take 1 hour 3 – 4 times a week to exercise and you will not believe how much better you will feel all around.

12. Anything is possible if you believe you can do it.

13. The love I feel for my children is so equally overwhelming it can almost take my breath away. I never thought it was possible to love another child like my first, as I had never known love like that before. Then Morgan arrived and it was astounding to me how much the human heart has the capacity for such overwhelming love.

14.  Close mommy friends, my “mommy peeps” are more important than ever. And by mommy peeps, I mean the mommy friends you can be REAL with.  The people that you can call when you need to cry, or laugh, the people you can complain to or share joys with and you know you will never be judged. The sort of friends you don’t have to start the sentence with, “I really love my kids, but…”  Or the ones that you can have a play date and if your kid is a nightmare or does something embarrassing, you don’t have to worry that they think you are a bad mom, because they KNOW you.

15. Fifteen is a favorite number so I think this is a good place to stop.  The biggest lesson I have learned this year, is that the most challenging years/times can also lead to the most positive change. These are the situations that force you to learn more about yourself and who you are as a person.  This year almost kicked my butt but I feel so empowered that I SURVIVED,  and we survived as a family. I am coming out of it feeling stronger overall.   Our family feels stronger.  And complete.  It’s a peaceful feeling.  We made it through together and we are happy.  I really believe our kids are here to teach us about life, love, and ourselves.  And what a GIFT that is.  This baby, my one-year-old baby, has been one of the greatest gifts I could ever imagine.

So a very happy happy happy birthday to my Sweet girl!

Have a great weekend everyone, and have a VERY HAPPY and SAFE 4th of JULY!!!!!!

XO
Jen

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Simply Sweet Photography Giveaway!

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Kathryn Crawford is a local mommy of three and the creative talent behind Simply Sweet Photography, an on-location maternity, newborn, children & family photographer serving Orange County and beyond.  I am excited to announce Kathryn is offering Tiny Oranges readers a Simply Sweet giveaway this week!  Make sure to read below for details on how to enter!

Kathryn  has had a passion for Art and Photography her entire life and considers herself blessed to be able to create beautiful images for families as her profession.  She will work with your family to create a natural atmosphere to photograph your child at their best.  Want to see what I am talking about?

Click HERE to visit her Galleries and see some of her fabulous work as well as her BLOG to see her latest and greatest shots!

And, I am excited to share that Simply Sweet Photography is offering Tiny Oranges readers 25% off their print order between now and August 31st, 2010. Fabulous deal!

Hooray!  It’s a Tiny Giveaway!

Simply Sweet Photography is offering a FABULOUS giveaway this week…right in time for Father’s Day and the summer season where there is really no better time to document your kids at this moment in time.

One lucky winner will receive a FREE photo session* (a $225 value!) and one free 5 x 7 print (a $25 value!) * The session location must be within Orange County, CA and will include up to a maximum of 6 immediate family members.

We are doing it a little different for this giveaway~ Kathryn choose the winner and will notify the lucky person via email.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry in order to be counted.  Entry options are:

1. Comment and let us know something special or unique about your family – 1 ENTRY

2. {Like} Simply Sweet Photography on Facebook – 1 ENTRY

3. Follow  @k80tomato on Twitter – 1 ENTRY

4. Sign up for the Simply Sweet Photography newsletter – Click HERE & enter your email at the bottom of the home page – 1 ENTRY

5. {Like} Tiny Oranges on Facebook – 1 ENTRY

6. Follow @TinyOrangesOC on Twitter – 1 ENTRY”

7. Subscribe to Tiny Oranges emails (top right column) – 1 ENTRY

8. Join my Forum and leave a comment or new post – 1 ENTRY

Contest runs through 5pm PST on June 1st, 2010.  Good luck!

{Disclosure: Simply Sweet Photography is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.}

{Important Contest Note:  The giveaway is for one free photo session and one free 5 x 7 print.  Additional prints may be ordered at her current pricing.  You can click HERE to see her price schedule under the tab “INVESTMENT”!}

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