Friday, May 30, 2008

Feeling Yummy?

I asked, practically begged , Mother Talk to review this book. I am hoping to soon start "studying" under a friend of mine who is a doula and to take some classes to start me in that direction as well as to be come a lactation consultant. This doesn't come as news to anyone who has read here for very long at all. I've talked of it often. In addition, I am really interested in becoming certified to teach family life education classes - parenting, child development, etc.

I thought that Anna Johnson's The Yummy Mummy Manifesto would make an excellent addition to my library for new moms. It's quirky, it's fun. This is no What to Expect... book by any means. Unless, of course, it's maybe What to Expect when Carrie Bradshaw is Expecting. Written by the Fug Girls.

I'll be honest. I cannot see myself as a "Yummy Mummy." But I can use what Anna Johnson has to say as a starting place to finding my way out of the frump that I sometimes find myself in. Oh, come on, you've been there, too. We wear our uniforms - jeans and a t-shirt, and our hair "styles," my current fave is the "two days unwashed with a bandana tying it up" style. You know, just like Katie Holmes and J Lo. Heh. Is this how I WANT to look? No, but most days, it's as good as it gets. Johnson encourages moms to forgo the "uniform" and indulge yourself with sexy accessories, soft textures, etc. She also points out that if you MUST wear a t-shirt that crew necks are flattering to very few women. I haven't put this to the test yet, but I have found myself wearing more v-necks and button down shirts, so there is that.

Her chapters directed toward pregnant women are unlike any I've ever seen. Her chapter "Confessions if the Horny Pear" is well, just what you think it is. I can't say that this is a phenomenon I ever experienced. Once I was past the puking stage, I felt big as a house and not sexual at all. But I have had friends who were very, um, amorous, during pregnancy and thought that it was weird. Evidently, it's not. And the author encourages moms to indulge that desire! And I'm all for it. (But if you aren't feeling this way, do not, whatever you do, let your husband read this chapter. You'll never hear the end of it.)

She has a section on the pregnant bride - "The Bride Wore Stretch Lace." And a fantastic chapter on baby names. (Her son's name is Marcello. How awesome is THAT?!) As well as the obligatory chapters on what to eat, what to take to the hospital, actual childbirth and breastfeeding. Though, all of these chapters have a certain edge and candor to them that set the book apart from all others.

As I mentioned, she talks a great deal about mommy fashion. And I find some of her advice a little far fetched for those of us not living in Manhattan, LA or other trendy, major metropolitan areas. Yes, of course, wearing a cute, short skirt with a low cut blouse and push-up bra can do wonders for your self esteem. But in most of the little military towns where I have lived most of my married life, I would feel like I was headed to a costume party. (Okay, I will admit that in the past year, I have become a huge fan of the push-up bra. Mostly because when you have as little up front as I do, a little padding & pushing up does wonders for your self confidence). What I HAVE chosen to do is use this as a starting place to evaluate myself before I leave the house. Am I just "getting by?" Or am I looking the best that I can, appropriate to the situation? Because the stained t-shirt and sweats are doing nothing for me. Short of evoking pity.

But all in all? This book is brilliant. She discusses candidly and logically(!) key mommy sore-points such as house keeping, fighting with your spouse, dealing with the day-to-day drudgery that is parenting, name it. Just reading the table of contents will make you giggle:Morning Sick in Manolos: Finding your feet & holding your ground; Breastfeeding: Going with the flow; Crafts: For Women Who Hate Them; How Old is a Young Mother? The knees are going but the rebellion carries on. Okay, I won't give them all to you. Go get this book for yourself. Even if (like me) your youngest is five. Because what you read might change your life. Or at least make you smile.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I was really excited when I go the email about this contest. I have been wanting to see Mamma Mia! since we lived in England and I still haven't managed it. Air Force towns are not know for their thriving theater districts. So, when I learned that they were making a movie of the musical, I got very happy. THEN....Mothertalk sent me the email about this contest sponsored by Ponds where I could win a trip to the PREMIERE of the movie in LONDON and how cool would that be?! All you have to do is make a video of yourself and two of your friends singing either Mamma Mia or Dancing Queen. OR you can go to the LIVE auditions in NYC on April 28.

HELLO?! What girl our age doesn't know every. single. word. to Dancing Queen? I sent the link to my CRB and told her that she and I need to get together with our friend AR and make the video already and then promptly pack for our trip to LONDON BABY! After all, we spent how long performing together in show choir during high school. Yes, that was....really long time ago. But I know that we've still got it, girls!

Then, CRB (a little put out with me, I might add) pointed out that this contest says that it is for you and "two forty-plus-and-fabulous girlfriends" and just HOW OLD DID I THINK SHE IS ANYWAY since clearly if I am not over forty, then neither is she?!?!


(Though, my dear CRB, you ARE fabulous.) (Sucking up? Maybe a little. She is the mother of my sweet Buttercup, so I have to be nice or I won't get to smell the baby's head anymore & that would be tragic.)
SO.....if YOU are over forty (and trust me you really, truly don't look a DAY over 29), then why don't you make the video and win the trip to London to the premiere of Mamma Mia! Just be sure to take lots and lots of pictures and bring me back plenty of tea and Aero bars, and if you can manage it some scones & clotted cream. Oh, and if you see Colin Firth, please tell him that I still love him.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's not easy being green...

Yes, yes, ANOTHER review. I truly have been reading A LOT lately and I feel lucky to have been afforded the opportunity to see some books I might otherwise overlook. (Thanks Mother Talk!) To wit....

I struggle with the whole "Green" thing. I want to recycle, I really do. But I am very lazy. As such, I will gladly separate out recyclables - if you will come to my house and pick them up for me. Well, maybe not YOU personally, but someone. Otherwise, in spite of my good intentions, those bottles and newspapers are going into the trash. I suffer tremendous guilt over this obvious character flaw. If the powers that be here in Candyland would begin a curbside recycling program, I would be the first to stand up and champion it. I would even be willing to PAY MORE for it. *gasp* So, you see when I saw the opportunity to read Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home by Christopher Gavigan, I saw it as an opportunity to assuage my guilt. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a book that explains how and why the little changes we can make in the way we go about our day-to-day lives can truly affect the health and lives of our children right now. It gives realistic suggestions as to how we can make those changes - what household cleaners we use, the foods we buy, the building materials we use - and does it without getting too preachy.

And best of all, Gavigan states more than once that just making one or two changes in our lives can make a difference. This book isn't expecting us to all trade in our minivans for a Prius, start composting, grow our own foods AND spin flax into linen to make our children's clothes. This book is about people in the real world. REAL moms and dads. Those of us who would like to make the world safe and cleaner for our kids but don't know how. Or at least feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. He explains how buying locally grown foods is healthier (duh) but also, in the long run, is going make the air a little cleaner, because then we won't need to transport produce all over the world. (Which, incidentally, would reduce the demand for fuel and bring down gas prices, but that's another lecture for another day.)

He also discusses one of my favorite (or least favorite!) topics - high fructose corn syrup. If you have ever spent any amount of time with me IRL, you have heard me rail against this evil stuff. And HERE IN THIS BOOK, I have in writing the same stuff I have been telling all of you people. HA! These same friends also look at me like I'm crazy when I insist on buying organic foods and read labels obsessively at the supermarket. It's really just that I love my children much more than they love theirs. *snort* (Please know that that last sentence was dripping with sarcasm. Also, please don't beat me up.)

The book also has contributions from celebrities about how the things they do to be "green." I was awfully skeptical about these. Some are very cool and helpful. Some made me giggle, because COME ON. I will never be Gwyneth Paltrow and make my kids' baby food from organic brown rice and organic carrots that I grew myself. And no, I don't have a Prius and don't plan on it. I have three kids and all their accompanying crap to haul hither and yon. I need my minivan.

But, I did find quite a bit to think about. I do think that I can recommend this book to you. If you are interested, the Healthy Child, Healthy World website is also chock full of suggestions and all kinds of information about living a greener life. In the mean time, I will be writing notes of apology to all of my friends who read my blog. LOVE YA!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Naptime is the New Happy Hour

I wish that I could take credit for that snappy title up there, but it is actually the title of the new hilarious book by Stephanie Wilder-Taylor. You know who she is. She wrote that fantastic book, Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay and got filleted on The Today Show over it. Some people have that pole shoved so far up their butts they can't even attempt to have a sense of humor. If you are one of THOSE people, then you are probably wondering how in the hell you got here you probably won't enjoy this book either.

For the rest of us, who enjoy living our lives with tongue firmly placed in cheek, this book is just what we need! Stephanie is a real mom and makes no apologies for it. She cops to bribing her kid with chocolate milkshakes to eat cauliflower and to letting her watch TV for more than 30 minutes of TV a day. (gasp!) In fact, she even gives us little hints as to how to "decode" the Smug Mommies at the playground by using "New Mommy Math." For example, if a Smug mommy tells you that her little darling only watches "one hour of mind-enriching, educational television a day, just go ahead and add two hours. If she tell you 'No TV ever!' add six. It's
that simple!... Similarly, if Smug Mama tells you that her child is allowed only two small cookies after dinner, feel safe adding five more. If she tells you no cookies, only fruit, go with eight."

Wilder-Taylor is wonderful at getting us past our mommy-guilt and making us see that we are all just doing the best we can. And that anyone who tries to make you think otherwise is full of it. She even gives some suggestions for alleviating that stress that can make your head explode, including:

I found myself laughing out loud all the way through this book. SD is really tired of me reading it to him. Honestly, I had to restrain myself from sharing excerpts from each chapter with YOU. But then you might not get it for yourself and I really couldn't spoil that pleasure for you. See what a loving soul I am?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

here we go!

I've decided that since Mothersource and Charlie and several other folks are giving me these great opportunities to review books and products, I can do it here and save the other blog for life stuff. Everyone wins!!