Graco Click Connect Jogger review!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco.

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As it turns out I am a bit of a stroller hoarder. Handbags and strollers. I can’t get enough. But let’s be honest, shall we? I am not, not now, nor not ever going to be a jogger. So what on earth do I need with a jogging stroller? Well, this one is really cute and folds with one hand, so when Graco asked if I’d like to review it I said heck yes. See? Stroller hoarder. Plus total fun to hang with my fellow local bloggers. And? The get together was right around the corner from my house. Seriously.

It’s like a vicious gang of adorable babies in their Graco Fast Action Joggers

Thankfully Katie, our lovely hostess, informed me that the long strap which tucks neatly away in the basket is a handstrap for jogging, so the stroller doesn’t get away from you. Not, as I had previously thought…a leash for Boss.

See? Not much of a jogger! While I haven’t taken it jogging I can say it handled the White House lawn easily (let’s analyze how ridiculous that sentence is at a later date) and unless you’re in Forever 21, it fits through most mall store aisles. (Except Children’s Place. WTH CP? You know we are bringing strollers in!)

It arrived while we were at Disneyworld which was a bummer because I would have taken it with us, but actually gave me a nice present to come home too. So, it’s innaugural outing was at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Good times. Sadly, mine arrived with a flat tire. A quick stop at the gas station for some air and we were on our way! Even sadder? The wheel will only hold air for about a day, but with graco’s customer service another one will be on the way to me shortly. hooray.

Here’s the thing; I really like this stroller. Since we got it I have ditched all the others and Huckleberry is only riging in this one. I wish there was a kickboard for boss to hop on too, but as this is really for actual jogging…I doubt that will happen.

Things I love:

  • Easy to steer-crazy easy
  • dual cupholders, a place for your keys and a brilliant smart hone holder.
  • removable kids snack tray with dual cup holders.
  • smooth ride for Huck
  • massive under stroller storage
  • one hand recling capability.
  • huge sun hood- to protect fair Huckleberry’s skin.
  • works with any click connect baby seat

Things I don’t love:

  • my flat tire
  • it’s huge…but it’s for jogging.

Huck was confused as to why everyone was in his stroller!

 

Final verdict? I’d give it two enthusiastic thumbs up…but I’m too busy pushing it around the mall one handed while drinking a latte. Seriously, I do love this stroller.

Graco’s NEW jogger is the ultimate crossover stroller, combining all the comfort and convenience features of a traditional stroller (FastAction Fold and Click Connect Technology) with performance and maneuverability of an all-terrain jogger.

As an added bonus, Graco’s innovative one-second, one-hand FastAction™ fold automatically locks & is self-standing.

This post is sponsored by the Graco.

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Sickness and sage advice.

I’m crawling out from the week long sick haze of the norovirus. I haven’t been that sick since I was pregnant with Huckleberry and let me tell you…this was way less fun because at the end of it there is no sweet squeaking tiny human to inhale.

sigh.

But I made it, I am up, showered. I even ate REAL FOOD! First diet coke in a week….nectar of the gods, people.

Yesterday after a week of mom being in bed or puking I was finally able to play with the boys. What did they want? Of course, toddler dance party. After that it was finger painting and it was then that Boss said what may possibly be one of my favorite things he has ever said:

When you’re finger painting  

it’s important to keep your underpants on.

At all times.

I may get that on a poster for the house. That’s just good advice y’all.

The Date.

The Boss is all boy. He is noisy, messy, curious and never stops moving. He is baseball, Spiderman, dirt, football and of course, Green Day. He is sports and rock concerts. But the Boss? He loves him some Cinderella.

I don’t mean he loves Cinderella, I mean he looooooooves Cinderella. He watches the movies on repeat (Did you know there was a 2 and a 3? I didn’t but now I can recite them line by line), he pours over the books, staring at her picture. He is in love with Cinderella. He repeatedly requests a Prince Charming costume and calls me Princess Mommy. Princess Mommy? Be still my heart.

I got him a damn Prince costume.

There is a girl in his class at school who is more benevolent dictator than princess, and by that I mean she is awesome. She at 5 knows more what she wants than I do at…well, more than I do. The moment he enters the classroom she say “Max! Come play!” and he says “Yes Leah!” I was not surprised when he asked if she could come over to play and maybe she could wear a dress and be his princess.

{Leah in action. Photo by moi}

Go ahead, make the Princess Leah joke to yourself, it’s inevitable.

A quick email to her mom and the date was set! Oh, he was so excited.  The countdown till Saturday when The Princess (as she was heretofore known) was on and impatience was the word of the week. Finally, the day came and the countdown till the Princesses arrival was a mere hour. The house was cleaned and he was bathed, teeth brushed and Prince Costume on. The costume had been slightly modified to match Daddy’s outfit on our wedding day, which actually made him look like an Amish Prince, but let’s not get distracted from the heart-wrenching awesomeness of it all! So. Suddenly he asks if he can go outside and pick The Princess some flowers. He MUST have some flowers for The Princess, he simply must! And because grandmothers are the way grandmothers are; his grandmother rushed to the store to get him a bouquet of flowers.

{my tattooed Prince Max}

He was nervous. So nervous. He stood looking out the window, waiting for a glimpse, the bouquet of flowers clutched behind his back. We took pictures and he patiently smiled and posed, and I thought this is what Prom will be like. I was caught in that mom emotion of wanting to smile so wide my face will break and wanting to cry that it is simply going to fast. But before I could wrap him in my arms to tell him I loved him The Princess arrived! She came right in and showed us her dress and fancy shoes. Boss handed her the flowers and she thanked him politely as her mother and I both died a little. Then she grabbed his hand and said “Show me your house!” and off they went! There were laughs, and screams of joy, jumping on the couch and playing with every toy in our home. The best of all was that the loyal Footman Huckleberry was included in everything. I came downstairs once to find Boss sneaking his arm around her waist. WHAT THE WHAT??? Later in a moment of quiet I heard her say “thank you for the flowers Prince Max.”

After she left and he and I were snuggled up for bedtime I asked if he had fun and he said yes. Then he said “I love you Princess Mommy”, slipped his hand into mine and drifted off to sleep.

He’s still mine. For now.

Top 5 (completely shallow) things that made 2012 better.

Featuring vacation pictures of 2 precious boys who make my life better! 

(Shopping buddies)

1. Jeggings from Hollister. I KNOW! Once I got over the fact that a.I was shopping at Hollister for myself while most everyone else in the store was shopping for their teen children and b. omg it made me miss California. Will that ever stop? I don’t know… But this tip came from Style Twin Kel (aka Auntie Keek) and dear God I am ever thankful for it! I have skinny jeans to wear with boots, but I hated the way they looked with flats, heels or wedges. Then Kel was all you must possess these you will live in them. Correct she was. The price is right and they are so comfy! I’m living in these, big warm sweaters and my moc slippers. The biggest problem with them is I only bought one pair and I need more. Bonus! They are on sale for 25!

(Batman chooses greeting cards wisely at USPS)

2. Yellow concealer. This is actually a shallow re-deaux from 2008. I had forgotten. Huck has been getting tooth after tooth after tooth (side note his molars might be the size of a brontosaurus’ molars. They are roughly the size of a gobstopper. Possible exaggeration but holy crap are they massive. I can feel the orthodontia coming!) and teething seems to be a lot harder on him than Boss, so we are up a lot. While I personally adore middle of the night snugs and another chance to get high from huffing his noggin; getting high always has a price. This time the price is dark blue bags for days in the under eye region. If I am being honest the eyelids are a lovely bluish as well. Basically I look like I got punched. If you’re looking for a cheap-o fix I can’t recommend Physician’s Formula Concealer Twins in yellow/flesh enough. I am also using the yellow as an eye shadow base and it’s a God send.

 

(you’ll put your arms down when you get to school)

3. Gel (shellac) manicure. Where has this been all my life?? I have both old looking hands and weak nails. I feel a lot better about my claws when I have a mani but my nails bed and polish is pointless….enter gel manicure. Again; I have Style Twin Kel to thank for this. 2 weeks no chips? Even when I am wrestling small boys into car seats. It’s expensive but whoa nelly is it worth it. Considering trying an at home kit, has anyone tried this?

(I tell ya, these encyclopedias will pay for themselves!)

4. Long Tanks from H&M- I honestly don’t know how to get dressed without these. They are thin but long so they give you that nice long layered look without being bulky. I wear them with almost everything including the aforementioned beloved Hollister jeggings. They are like 5 bucks a pop and I buy them in bulk. Cannot have enough.I have been wearing these for years and  I went a size up while pregnant with Huckleberry and if I get to have another I’ll just be praying that H&M never discontinues these.

(Hey! That’s MY batman costume!)

5. My new Michael Kors bag and the matching (from Target) make-up & diaper bags to put in it. I might marry this bag. I might live in it. I might sleep with it at night all snuggled up to it and whispering sweet nothings into it’s many interior pockets. I am in love. I miss Filene’s Basement but hooray for TJMaxx getting all the good stuff since they went out of business and thank you to whoever hid it in the way back just waiting for me to see it, God Rays to hit it and the choir of angels who sang as it floated on the back of a brilliant white pegacorn who flew it right into my waiting arms. Special thanks to my in-laws for the gift certificate.

 

There you have it. The top five utterly shallow things that made 2012 better for me. Life changing? No. But fun! What are your 5 things? Anything I am missing out on?

A New Year….Or I went to the White House with Whore Hair so you don’t have too.

The thing about me is that I can never leave well enough alone. So if one is good, then I need two. Two is great but four would be better! And so on and so on and so on. Thus it was with my blondish hair. Oh! It was so lovely…but wouldn’t blonderish be even better? And the next thing you know, I had whore hair. Cheap, bright yellow and orange whore hair.

Actual picture of me:

Okay not really, but when Boss found this old doll of Auntie Keek’s he declared Mommy! You two are the same! you have the SAME hair. Must remember to thank his teacher for really driving home the same/different lesson. Not only was my hair neon orange yellow but it was also the consistency of straw. Glorious, tough straw.

The only thing worse than going in wanting to be blonderish and coming out looking as if Smurfette were turning tricks on the corner to score Meth is if you go in wanting to be blonderish and come out looking as if Smurfette were turning tricks on the corner to score Meth and having to go to the White House that very same night.

Oh yeah.

There was nothing to be done but cancel. Except, you don’t just not show up to the White House, am I right? I mean it’s not like Michelle was meeting me for dinner, but we were invited to tour the East Wing and see the Christmas decorations which are amazing! Zach talked me into it and after my mother in law dried my tears and handed me a diet coke we were on our way.

There was no sugar coating it. Zach tried and I told him not even to mention it or I would cry again. My mother in law tried to convince me it wasn’t that bad. (it was) and my sister in law said nothing. She just pretended my hair wasn’t neon yellow. And that? Was how bad it looked. Kel is my style twin and if she can’t even come up with a kind word…well, we know for sure it was, as they used to say, shiteous.

And it was. And no, I didn’t let anyone take pictures of me, trust me it was for the best.

 

I tried to hold my yellow head up high as our friends were polite enough to only widen their eyes in shock and disbelief for a mere second or two before they recovered and we chatted about anything other that the straw mop top I was sporting to the FREAKING WHITE HOUSE. The decorations this year were more subdued than last year but it was still exquisite. My two favorite decorations are in the State Room which features both the mini White House and the Creche which is beyond exquisite. Sadly none of my pictures of the Nativity turned out. This is what happens when you have an 18 month old grabbing your camera and a 4 year old missing in the East Wing. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that we blinked and Boss was GONE?? Thankfully he found his grandmother and honestly we weren’t too worried. Security was everywhere, still we were half panicked and half joking that he just wanted to see Bo.

My husband has petted Bo. It’s the single thing I am the most jealous of in any of his White House visits.

Luckily for me, nary a Secret Service agent inquired as to why a ghetto orange blond chick like me was invited to the White House. Manners? They’re used to it? I don’t know. I will say that not even in junior high was I as self conscious as I was at the White House. UGH! Two days later after some very intense conditioning my hair was lovingly colored dark ash blond and I was able to rejoin the ranks of the non whoreish haired.

I’ve never been so grateful for chemistry.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!! This year feels like its going to be a good one, don’t you agree?

ivillage asked Boss what his resolutions for me would be…and he came up with some doozies! (It should be noted that though you can see my hair here it looked WAY worse in real life. WAY WORSE!)

And yeah…mine are…out of reach? pathetic? You decide.

did you make any resolutions?

Me and Lady MacBeth are exactly alike about washing our hands.

I’ve beent thinking a lot about Lady MacBeth, specifically Act 5 scene 1, the famous out, out damn spot! scene which finds our Lady distraught to the point of sleepwalking through the castle and imaginarily washing her hands. I’m awake of course, and far less distraught, but I find myself washing my hands a great deal lately and yet they are never clean.

 Lady M.:  Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!

Me: Here’s the smell of poop still: all the perfumes of Bath and Body Works Peach Bellini antibacterial soap will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh! 

Lady MacBeth had phantom blood and I have phantom poop smell.

See, I have two boys and while they are clean and bathe daily, and they themselves smell of Burt’s Bees and fresh air, it is my little hands that most often wipe their bottoms. Their hands remain free from the clinging, lingering scent of poop. Primarily it is the tiny centurion who is at fault. I could more easily diaper a greased piglet than put clean pants on the Huckleberry. Yet I am skilled…I never actually get the poop on my hands, mind you! I believe it is indeed, all in my mind.

 

And so I wash. And wash. I scrub with a nail brush. I use antibacterial wipes. And yet as I go to brush my slowly growing out bangs from my eyes I smell it, the faint smell of Hucklepoop.

Out. Out damn spot.

Perhaps I am having a mental breakdown about poop. Like Lady MacBeth was about spilling King Duncan’s blood. Alas, no poop has been spilled.

My husband says he can’t smell it, oh yeah you know I made him check. What a good man! I know my hands are completely poop free but I won’t be insulted if we ever meet and you don’t shake my hand, though I promise they are clean. So clean. Scrubbed raw and red and yet….

 Lady M. … What! will these hands ne’er be clean?

Why I am a Democrat.

The election is over and Barack Obama has been reelected. I won’t lie, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Thank God.

But today it was brought home to me how perhaps we have begun to classify, wrongly I hope, people in both parties. Overwhelmingly today I read that Republicans were racists who hated poor people and that Democrats are lazy and just want a hand out. I know several republicans, and they aren’t racist. I myself am a proud democrat and I am not lazy or looking for a hand out.  And so, not that you asked, I give you why I am a democrat.

First and foremost I am a democrat because I want to help others, not because I want help. I am happy to pay my taxes and happy to help others. I LOVE that we all pour our money into one great pot to take care of one another. That brings me closer to you. If you do well, I do well. If I do well, you do well. I’m thrilled to pay taxes that go to schools, roads, fire and police departments and yes…defense.

There is a misnomer in this country that you cannot be a liberal and a Patriot and I am here to tell you that is simply false. I love my country fiercely. I am grateful every single day to have been born in this great country.

We democrats, we work, we pay our taxes. We believe in God or not, we believe you have the right to believe in God…or not. We believe in family. We believe in country. We believe in lifting ourselves up by our bootstraps AND also reaching down to help someone else to do the same. We believe that a woman should have control of her own body. We believe that all rape is forcible. We believe in equal pay for equal work. We believe that old adage “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” We believe that in order for a country as large and varied as ours to thrive we need a frame-work to exist within and that frame-work is government. We believe the government should protect all citizens. We believe the government should stay out of our bedrooms. We believe that as we move forward so must our government. That DOES NOT mean we hate the constitution, think it’s merely a suggestion or wish to destroy it. We love the Constitution.

Now for me, myself; I do believe in welfare and food stamps. I believe it needs to be reformed, it’s outdated and no longer fits the needs of those who need it. I believe there is a certain standard of living all American’s should have, no child should go hungry or unclothed and I am willing to pay into a fund that helps families with nothing have just enough that they can focus on getting out of needing it. They can focus on getting jobs, education. I believe that education is what breaks the cycle of poverty.

Of course there are those who abuse the system. There always are.

There are also billionaires who use tax loopholes they are grandfathered in on to borrow a churches tax exempt status in order to both not pay taxes and not actually give money to the Church.

Abusers abound.

But that’s no reason to not help those who so desperately need it.

I believe in Medicare, I believe in Social Security. I believe that all Americans should have access to health care and that no child should be denied coverage because they have a preexisting condition.  I believe our Veterans should never worry about their health care, both physical and mental. I believe those who serve our country are the bravest and it moves me to tears when I see them return home heroes and I grieve when one of them makes the ultimate sacrifice. Democrats do NOT hate the military.

I believe in education, I believe in making it accessible to all even if I have to contribute to educate your child. It only makes our country greater. I believe in birth control. Sure, it would be grand if everyone waited till marriage but it ain’t gonna happen and so let’s arm our people with the knowledge of how our bodies work and how to care for them. How to prevent STD’s and pregnancy is important. More education and prevention equals less abortion.

I don’t like abortion. I don’t. I could never have one, unless my life was at stake and only then because I have two beautiful children here to care for. I’ve never come across a pro-choice person who was like HELL YEAH I LOVE ABORTION! I can only make the choice for myself, I cannot chose for you-nor do I want too, but I do want you to be safe and cared for both mentally and physically should you need or want an abortion. I can only pray for more sex education and more birth control so we have fewer abortions.

I am a democrat. I am a Christian. I have strong morals. I believe in family. I believe that family comes in many shapes and sizes and colors and orientations. I believe in working for what I have. I believe in sharing what I have. I believe in loving my fellow man. I believe in raising my children to accept all kinds, and to strive to see other’s points of view. I believe in honoring the office of the Presidency, even if ‘my guy’ isn’t holding office.

So please, not all republicans are rich white racists. Not all democrats are lazy and looking out for a hand out. But all republicans and democrats are Americans.

And this democrat American loves her country.

God bless you, and God Bless America.

 

A Perfect Metaphor for Motherhood. Or something.

Remember the days when “Me” time was whole day spent doing…well, whatever it was that you wanted? For some it was the spa (well, for me), or shopping (also guilty as charged), or camping (not on your life, but more power to ya!), or running (Gerlock, I am looking at you…with amazement!). Then we had kids and “ME” time became a trip to the grocery store or hallelujah, Target ALL BY OURSELVES? I feel I can state this with a fair amount of certainty due to the insane frequency of excited tweets regarding this whenever any one of us makes an escape from our oh-so-beloved minions and makes our way out into the world unincumberd by tiny hands reaching out to grab whatever it is we happen to pass by.

Chances of having some food, or kid residue of some kind unnoticed upon our clothing as we walk through the world? High.

My in-laws got me a metric ton of gift cards this year for my birthday. Starbucks. Nordstrom. H&M. To name a few. They know me so well. Zach and I had an errand to run so we loaded the kids into the car and headed out. And ooooo. Nordstrom Rack was right.next.door. Luckily for me, my darling man likes to shop almost as much as I do…or maybe not luckily. Whatever, his conference was coming up and he needed clothes.  So into Nordstrom we went. I bought Huckleberry some kicks. He looks fly #forawhiteguy.

Then the choir of angels sang and the God rays hit a bag…I have a real problem with purses, and addiction really, and Mumsy will tell you that it started early. I went through several school bags each year.

Because, reasons.

It pained me, pained me to walk away from this bag. Calvin Klein, which I don’t believe I’ve ever bought one of his…but this bag. It spoke to me. Probably because it’s a total knock off of a Micheal Kors, but whatever. I love it, and it loved me and I had to leave it there. So I did what I always do. I put it on hold. Sure someone might buy it, but not while I am in the vicinity. Then I remembered…GIFT CERTIFICATE! It was then that I used my terrible math skills to make deals in my mind. I announced to Zach “I’m going to get a big paycheck today and go back and get that bag.” Then the mail came, and my paycheck came, and I went back and got that bag.

Oh, I love it. It carries everything and I feel like a million bucks carrying it. It made me happy to my toes. A glimpse of my former glamorous no need to worry if I have wipes or fruit snacks life, and yet it is big enough to make sure that I do have both wipes and fruit snacks at all times.

Then sweet Super-fly Huckleberry decided that the perfect place to dump out his milk was-you got it- my bag.

I may or may not have cried a tear or two. Or a hundred. Poor bag. Not even three days old and already baptized in the ways of baby. Through the power of twitter people rallied to support me and tell me how to save my bag. She is saved. A tiny bit worse for wear, but certainly not smelling of old milk, thank God. Now she is just like me….she may look good at first glance, but look closer and there is definitely some left over baby residue of some kind.

It adds character, and let’s be honest, happiness.

This Guy Right Here:

This guy makes me laugh harder than anyone ever (Except for Sister Dub and WWJD…it’s like a 3 way tie)

This guy pretty much came in like a Knight on a white horse and helped me.

This guy works so hard for our family, completely changing careers, and rocking it.

This guy is a great father, he is so sweet and kind with Huckleberry and he plays baseball for hours with Boss.

This guy sometimes gets busted watching Family Guy with Boss. Hey, no one is perfect.

This is guy seriously smells so good. Like, for real.

This guy gets on board. I’m into refinishing furniture? He’s into it. Photography? He’s into it.

Let’s discuss those baby blues!

I could list a list so long it would be the list to end all lists of things I dig about my husband.  He’s the shizz you guys, and even if we fight and bug each other and he always forgets to push the drawers in…he is, in the words of Ms. Chanandler Bong, perfection.

Happy Birthday Zachary! I love you so much!!!!