Moms Night Out? Don’t mind if I do…

You know how a baby product will come out and you’ll think where the heck were you when my baby was born? Well, this is one of them. I mean really. I’m just glad that Huck is still little enough to use it. SITS and GRACO asked me to host a Moms Night Out to celebrate the release of the new Snugride Click Connect 4o and you know I said yes! An evening of hanging with some cool DC/Baltimore bloggers, yummy food and a car seat? Yes. Please.

I was so nervous. I don’t throw many parties for the over 4 set these days, would I be crazy excited and make a fool out of myself? Would I do that thing that makes Zach crazy where I apologize for things no one has even noticed? (Answer: yes and yes) One thing is for sure, Graco sent me a lovely food budget and I spent every penny of and we had a blast.

Here’s the thing: my Huckleberry is a peanut. He’s wee. He is just now at 16 months fitting into 12 month clothes. I don’t mind one little bit, they are only little for so long and more tiny baby snuggles for me! He’s healthy and growing properly on the curve so it’s all good in the hood. Boss was so different, we moved him to a big boy car seat by the time he was 9 months as he had outgrown his infant seat, but Huckie? Still kicking it in the Snugride 35. Still comfy. Not scrunched. But new Maryland Law states that our bebe’s must be rear facing until they are 2. 2! Did you know babies are 5 times safer rear facing in a crash? I don’t want to mess with those odds, rear facing it is. Huckie may have room now…but just barely and baby brother is indeed getting bigger every day. Ugh. Graco to the rescue. How I wish I had this car seat when Huck was born! It is the first rear facing car seat that goes from birth to 2 years. It has an amazing base that has 8 position so that baby can have more legroom as he or she grows.  I was worried that it wouldn’t really fit in my Honda Accord, as it’s a smaller car but there were no problems at all. In fact it didn’t seem to take up more room than the snugride 35.

Now is the part that I really love. One day you put your kids in the seat and they fit perfectly. The next morning they’ve grown and you have to adjust the straps, and that is such a freaking pain. Unless you’ve got the one handed slide adjustment that this car seat has. It’s so easy and here is the point in the party when I wished I had video recorded my showing everyone how it worked. Not because I was awesome, I was SO nervous! But because 14 women collectively made the awesomest, most hilarious “oooooooo” noise I have ever heard. Go ahead non- car seat families and giggle…you have NO IDEA how much easier this makes life. It adjusts the head rest and the straps with one slide…”oooooooo” indeed.

(Photo of tired Huckleberry via MamaBearBlogs– Thank you!)

Huckleberry joined the party and did a little dance for all the ladies in just a diaper…forget Magic Mike, Huckie’s got the moves and the ladies loved him. (it’s a requirement in this house) I quickly took the opportunity to snap his cute boot in the seat. We’ve been using the seat for a week now and it’s great. I wish I’d had it the whole time! Now I just need to have one more baby so I can get the full use of it. Babies are like crack, man. Addictive.

There are two things I don’t love: This click connect is not compatible with older strollers and such. This doesn’t affect me as Huck is too big but I know there is an adapter available and that strollers from here on out will be compatible. It wouldn’t prevent me from buying this seat at all. The other thing is that one of the buckles between Huck’s legs is crazy hard to get in there, this might just be my seat…I haven’t heard that complaint from anyone else.

The next Day Huck got his little steering wheel, crawled in and made his super cute voom voom noises. It’s a hit with everyone in the house.

**I am ashamed to admit I was too busy having fun at the party and I neglected to take pictures. Sorry. I was provided with a carseat for review but all opinions are of course my own. Although I seriously thing Graco should consider “Because babies are like crack, man. Addictive.” You’re welcome, Graco.

The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

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The one where there were fire breathing dragons.

There once was a little boy, let’s call him Boss shall we? Anyway this little boy was fairly well obsessed with knight and dragons. This little boy turns every thing into a sword, which is easy to do since this little boy when not a knight is being Billie Joe Armstrong or Trey Cool from Green Day with a healthy dose of baseball player in there so there are a lot of drumsticks and mike stands & bats which can easily be transformed to swords. He’s pretty rad this sword fighting-“punk” rocker-baseball player and when he saw the commercials for How To Train Your Dragon live he stopped in his tracks and said “ooooooooooh” really quietly. When an almost 4 year old boy says something very quietly you listen.

Then we got invited to check it out. We took the Metro. There is NOTHING cooler than taking a train to see a dragon, people! I mean…when you are almost 4.
mentheguy

I wanted to see it from a theatrical standpoint, the sheer technical precision needed to pull off a show like this is guano.  And let’s be honest? I want my very own Toothless the dragon. The movie was almost too much for my little heart to bear, and honestly the show was louder but much less intense emotionally, if that makes sense. Boss wasn’t scared at all! My hyper verbal boy who pronounces considerably and spaghetti properly calls the Vikings Vi-Kanz. It slays me and I want him to say it over and over and over and over again.

For reals it is worth the price of admission to see the dragons. We weren’t allowed to bring our cameras, which made me grumpy especially at the end when we were invited to a tech talk to learn how they built the amazing dragons.  For what its worth I used the very last of my iphone’s battery to take this picture of the mini-dragons with mini people on them.  You’re welcome.
dragon
“close up”
bigdragon

 

Then Daddy told Boss Fred Willard got busted and Boss was like whaaaaaa? Doesn’t he have the internet?
photo 2
I’m kidding, he was just super geeked out about the little people on the dragons.

There was one technical problem during the show which left the parents in my area giggling, but the kids didn’t notice. Well one did and commented on it very loudly which only made the adults giggle harder. All in all I give the show a solid A. We had a blast and also there were nachos. I am a SUCKER for sports venue nachos.

You should totally take your small (or not so small people) to check it out when it comes to your town. And hooray~ howzabout 25% off? Just enter MOM in the discount code box (on some city sites there is a dedicated mom blogger discount code box but it works in either.)

** You know it! Disclosure: I got tickets in exchange for a review. All opinions are totally and completely my own.

TOMORROW IS THE DAY!!

Whoohoo! It’s bittersweet, leaving this space. This space is where I came into my own. But for a while I’ve felt like this doesn’t fit. Like a favorite old sweater, it’s well loved and worn but just not quite right for me now. So tomorrow the brilliant @Japster will move me from here to my new internet home…Belle Reve. I am both excited and sad about it. I’ll still be Minky, I can’t change who I am and I don’t want too but a new internet home now and hopefully a new in real life home soon! Belle Reve. Beautiful Dream. It’s a good place to be…a good place to grow. Hope to see you there!
huckblog1

**So exciting news, my very first Op-Ed is up on iVillage! I DO think women can have it all…do you?

I am a mom blogger

There is a great scene in the last season of the West Wing where Alan Alda’s character calls Jimmy Smits character a “liberal” with a great deal of disdain. Jimmy’s character says {and this is paraphrased because I am no Aaron Sorkin} You fling that word around like an epithet. Well I pick it up, dust it off and wear it proudly.

I pick up the term mom blogger. (I find being called Mommy by anyone other than my children a bit squicky)I am both a mom and a blogger…so that is fine with me. Sometimes I blog about fashion, sometimes my kids, sometimes my struggles with postpartum anxiety. All of these make me a blogger and all of these make up who I am as a mother. It’s not my favorite term, but it is what it is. Humans need to classify other humans and be that as it may…classifications change.

If you don’t take me seriously, that’s fine. No one took Barbara Walters seriously, no one took Bella Abzug seriously, no one took Coco Chanel seriously. I am not saying that I myself am a Bella Abzug, but I am saying that among us “mommy bloggers” we have some of the most creative, intelligent women I have ever had the pleasure to read. Great political minds, brilliant scientists, home schoolers who blow my mind, women who can make a bedspread from old milk jugs and women who’s photography rivals the brilliance of National Geographic’s best. Those who have come from the greatest losses imaginable and prevailed, starting charities and organizations to help others where there was no help for them.

There’s a lot of talk about whether mommy bloggers are relevant, to be taken seriously or are just precious, and it’s a silly argument. A group of women, opinionated, and media savvy are relevant whether you want them to be or not. Thems the facts. Simply by the sheer amount of discussion, posts and articles we are relevant.

First they ignore you (a what? a mom blogger?)

then they laugh at you (a mommy blogger? oh how cute!)

then they fight you (are mom bloggers relevant? what are you doing to your kids by writing about them?)

Then you win.

That Gandhi was one smart man.

Oh blog pitches….and Huggies winner!

Because this blog has so much to do with (bingo, gambling, online gaming)

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Not to steal a page out of The Bloggess’s book, because I do believe she holds the all time record for both bad blog pitches and excellent responses to them, but this showed up in mine (and I am willing to bet a few of yours as well) in box on Thanksgiving of all days. And it made me laugh. Because really? This is just so.dang.lazy.

Good Day:

I was looking at your site http://dialmforminky.com  today, especially the (blog, news, post) that  talks about (online games, entertainment, hobbies)

I think that this site is an excellent site.

I was wondering if you could place a link on your site towards the site of my client

How much do you charge for this?

Please let me know if this is possible

Best

(name withheld because my Mama raised me right)

 

And my response:

 

Good Day:

I was looking at your email today, especially the (solicitation, pitch, form letter)  that  talks about (nothing, on, my, site)

I think that this form letter is an excellent form letter

I was wondering if you could look at a site before emailing said (solicitation, pitch, form letter)

How much do you get paid for this?

Please let me know if this is possible

Best

Minky. (Name given because Mama didn’t raise a coward)

 

And the winner (chosen by random.org because the Boss wanted to pick all the numbers out of the hat and toss them in the air crying out “snow!”)of the Huggies Santa Pants and person who has entered and unbreakable covenant to post pictures of their tiny person is:
picnikfile_2cIvRB

 Full disclosure:Commenter #6 was Marian and I know her! We met on a wedding planning message board one hundred million years ago. Amazing as we are both 28. (oh wait, I turned 30 this year. Whoops!) Anyway, I love Marian and her baby boy Sean, whom we affectionately call Super Baby. Sean had a rough go in the beginning but every day he gets stronger and may I say, unbearably cuter. Marian is one hell of a Momma too. So I can assure you…the pictures? will be epic. Congrats Marian!

 

 

Careful the things you say…children will listen.

Come to me lovah

 

On Thursday Miss Katie and I had a play date planned for The Boss and her Tommy Boy (Max always calls him Tommy Boy) What should we do,we wondered….the week had been filled with 98 degree weather and crazy humidity so we were all feeling lazy, hot sticky and yet tired of being inside. Luckily for us the weather broke Wednesday night and the next day was to be 80 with a light breeze. Hoo-ray! But still, what to do. What. To. Do.

And then in a beautiful example of kismet this here blogger got a little email inviting me to come to Wolftrap Children’s Theatre in the woods performance of PBS Kids Steve Songs on that very Thursday.Confession: I had no idea who that was. But why yes! We would love your free tickets! And so we headed out to meet Thien Kim and Dawn and their broods and to get our toddler groove on with Steve Songs. The Boss is going through this thing lately where everything is scary and he “doesn’t like anything!” so yes, we had to drag his cute tush to the theatre but once we were there he sat entranced as the opening act Baba  Jamal played a thumb piano and told the story of Jamacanda, who had the ears of a donkey but learned to love what was unique about him. I could have listened to that guy talk for a hundred years. And the Boss? He talked about Baba Jamal for the next two days.  Lucky for me he is a local guy so I am hoping to take The Boss to see him again.

As a performer and a parent I have to say once again how I truly, truly, love and appreciate those who have chosen to become children’s performers. It takes a special kind of person and I don’t think I truly grasped how important they are and how much power they have over our little ones before I had one of my own. I only hope when I was doing children’s theatre I did right by those little ones who wanted to meet me. Steve Songs was adorable. And a quick instagram photo to facebook provided this tidbit: He was my friend Kate’s brother’s college roommate! There you go. My brush with fame! They brought his guitar out before he came out and an open stage with a “coustic” guitar sitting unattended nearly killed my little guy as he stared intently at it willing it to come to him…

Steve does the Flat Stanley

“I learned it by watching YOU!” (tell me you get that reference…)

Steve played for an hour, everything from a song about Flat Stanley to one about opposites where he told the kids to scream YES and they all scream NO! It was too freaking cute. The kids went WILD and even stormed the stage at one time. There is nothing funnier/cuter that 50 2 to 5 year old kids rushing the stage and surrounding the performer! It was hilarious! Of course the stage was cleared quickly except for one almost three year old laying down on the stage refusing to leave, while his mother holding a 6 week old baby begged, pleaded and dragged him towards the audience. Why, yes. The Boss was that kid and I was that mom. Out of nowhere an angel appeared from nowhere…Teachmama! God bless her! She gently took Huck from me and I was able to wrangle my little stage hog into the seating area. She was my saviour!

The beginning of the stage rush!

After the show we settled into the soft grass for a little picnic. Some peanut butter crackers, milk, and jammie sammies! The Boss wandering around us exploring. Suddenly like a shot he took off running into the tall grass! Of course I was nursing Huck so my beloved Katie ran after him and Tommy Boy stayed with me. Sweet boy!

Miss Katie said to The Boss “Come down here. I’m going to count to three! One…”

and The Boss responded “TWO THREE FOUR FIVE!!!”

Miss Katie said “Come down here right now!”

and The Boss responded “I learned about opposites! I STAY HERE!”

At which point a laughing Miss Katie hiked up that hill and brought my mouthy cherub back potato sack style.

So, Steve Songs. Entertaining and educational. Thanks a friggin lot, Steve.

 

 

But for realsies thanks to Diane from WolfTrap for the tickets. We had a great time, even if The Boss now has yet another weapon in his arsenal for getting his way.

P.S. Can you tell I just downloaded instagram? Mama needs to take it down a notch, non?

**discolure:  I got the tickets for free. Didn’t have to blog about it…but we had a good time! If I’ve said it once I’ve said it twice: if you get to do something fun with your kids from blogging jump on it! The Boss had a good time and we had a great play date and all it cost was what I spent at Starbucks on the way to the theatre. Mama needs her java.

 

If you’re wondering who is reading…

{this picture makes me happy all the way down to my toes}

If you’re wondering who is reading your blog, I am.

There’s so much talk about Search Engine Optimization and becoming an A-list blogger, making money blogging and “are bloggers really writers”? All of those conversations are important and  I don’t disagree with any of that, oh trust me I am SO grateful that I learned about SEO! However, I am saddened that in the last couple of months several of my favorite blogs have become, well, commercials. I miss reading about these bloggers lives. Oh yes, they did giveaways every once in a while and had ads and sponsored content from time to time. I begrudge no one the opportunity to make money for their family. But by and large what drove people to these blogs in the first place was the blogger, the bloggers families, their activities, their lives.

Now if we’re lucky we get a thinly disguised post about a trip somewhere to do something with surprise! a disclaimer at the bottom saying they were gifted this for review or something like that.  I miss those bloggers.

I miss what was so lovely about blogging in the first place. I miss YOU. Blogging made the world a smaller place for me. It opened up worlds that I had no way to experience before. Homeschooling, conservative families, uber liberal families, families living abroad, families living with children who have special needs.

Perhaps I’m a little nutty (oh, shut it you!) but I feel grateful for having these windows into other worlds. I feel like I know these people- as much as you can know someone on the ol interwebz. When those blogs close down, or suddenly ONLY become giveaways and sponsored posts, well, I miss them. I guess I’m kind of an Internet Peeping Tom, except I’m only looking at what you’re putting out there on the web. No stalking or searching for this gal.

So if you’re a little blog that can (like me!) just writing about life, what you think about what’s happening in the world, about your kids birthday party, health, shopping, crafting etc. and you feel lost in this big old competitive blog world, know that there is an audience out there for you.

It’s me.

I want to see how you decorated your house. I want to know how the cake you baked for your husband’s birthday turned out, and that bathroom re-d0? I am anxiously awaiting those pictures thankyouverymuch.

The Boss and I have been sick this week, again. It feels as if our whole household has been sick since September. Enough with the sick! And while I am fighting a toddler who will not let me on a computer during the day and a pregnancy exhaustion that knocks me out, I am reading. I try to visit everyone who visits me here. If I’ve missed you please let me know. I’m usually reading on the iPhone which is such a drag for commenting….but that’s the way it is. I say to The Boss “mommy’s going to do a little bit of work” (which is total code for hey! mommy wants to read some blogs!)  and The Boss says “I’m going to do a little bit of work too!” and hops right on my lap instructing me to put on Sir Paw Tawney in concert. So, yeah. That’s how the computer thing is working around these parts!

My daily bookmarked blog list is long, and I sneak peaks throughout the day, turning the iPhone this way and that to get a better look at your pictures, to drink in your words. I hope that blogging keeps this element and protects it. The element of the person behind the blog. I read your blog because I like YOU.

And since I like YOU specifically if and when you do reccommend a product or something, I listen. (Heck, my very first giveaway starts tomorrow!) So again, if you get an opportunity to take your kids somewhere fun in exchange for a blog post….do it! (p.s. the Laurie Berkner concert was awesome!) I’m with ya.

But be true to you and I’ll be true to myself and together our little blogs that can, will.

xoxoxox

Minks.