Raising Darth Vader

darth vader babyEver get worried that you’re raising a future Darth Vader? Or even worse, a Kylo Ren? Sure, we all go through our villain moments, but I’m still on the good side and have hopes of raising a sweet little super hero. So tonight in the bath, that sweet little future hero turns to me, lowers his voice dramatically and says, “I’m a bad guy and I’m going to shoot you.” Then pics up his toy boat, points it as me and goes “Pew, pew, pew, I shot you with my boat.”

W. T. F.

Where is he getting this from? I suspect his dad, who thinks he can watch anything on TV and not have a toddler absorb it all. In fact, I just texted him to ask if he had The Punisher on before he put him to bed last night. Because I find it odd that I get to go on one Mom’s Night Out and come home to a boat gun wielding baby. Moments later he started demanding an actual gun and was very disappointed to hear guns were not allowed in the tub. (Husband texted back, blames it all on YouTube)

This new fascination with the dark side doesn’t stop at tub theatrics. Yesterday at the park another kid was growling at him (it happens) and he thought it was the most fun thing ever because there was a “bad guy” to play with. He talked about him all the way home.

I know they all go through phases and it’s just a new thing he’s learning, but sometimes I feel ill-equipped to get through some of these parenting challenges and I get a little anxious. I start thinking about the monumental responsibility I have to help this little child grow into a good adult. I mean, nobody wants a future Kylo Ren. (at least, probably not the dads 😆)

So here’s to good parenting and the best intentions to raise children on the side of the light.  May the Force be with us, always.

calvin-and-hobbes-Star-Wars-fandoms-darth-vader-2824626

A challenge to help children

My husband travels a lot, and he’s the chatty type who meets people on planes. I’m the type who clams up and reads a book. This leaves him with much better traveling stories. One of his favorites to tell is about the time he met Karen Wolfson. He shared his advice on a few good leadership books and she shared her advice on a good pediatrician for our soon to be born son. Why would this be a recommendation not to be ignored? Because Wolfson Children’s Hospital was named among the top three children’s hospitals in Florida by Child Magazine, so Karen Wolfson knows what she’s talking about.

WolfsonI got the chance to reconnect with Karen on LinkedIn recently and she mentioned the hospital was currently doing their major fundraising event, the Wolfson Children’s Challenge. This annual event, now in its 9th year, features marathons, a fun run and other family-friendly activities. This Thursday, 1/18, the telethon portion starts at CH 4 and runs from 6AM – 11:30PM.

Fourteen teams represent all different volunteer sectors from the Jacksonville region, from mom groups to businesses. Every bit of the money raised goes directly to the hospital and is used for equipment, patient care, and to help cover many other hospital needs. Wolfson is a non-profit helping all children in need, so additional funding through philanthropy is essential for the hospital to meet their goal of providing the same quality care for all children.

When I asked Karen why she was passionate about this cause, she replied “My reason for participating is that children cannot do this for themselves. Each child is precious and deserves the best health possible so that each child can become the person God has created.”

I think that’s worth a call! The telethon won’t be televised all day but will be highlighted every hour on CH 4. You can call 904-348-6022 or 1-800-366-9598 to help with a donation anytime from 6AM – 11:30PM.

 

Under the Influence – finding a new blogging niche

toddler in sunglasses
My son, ready to be a toddler influencer superstar

Back in the day, influencer positions mostly belonged to actual celebrities like movie stars and famous models. Thanks to social media, the new influencers on the block are regular people that like to post their stuff online, like me.

I fell into the influencer niche because I’m a sucker for free samples. Like honestly, if you are giving it away, I’ll try it. I love trying new things. I’m also the person hoarding those little bottles of shampoo and shower caps from hotel rooms just because they’re free for the taking.

When I started blogging, it was from a very personal angle and I didn’t intend to do product reviews. When offers started coming in, I wanted to find a way to satisfy the campaign requirements without turning my blog and social media pages into big boring ads. I’ve made an effort to craft honest, informative and entertaining reviews from my own personal perspective.

There have been a few things I’ve turned down. There was a campaign for new tampons and I just couldn’t see myself posting stylized pics of tampons on my Instagram and discussing my personal flow details. And I think we’d just skip the YouTube review for that lol. And then there was the dating site for people seeking sperm donors. For real.

If you are thinking of giving the influencer thing a try, these are the companies I’ve enjoyed working with the most:

Influenster

CrowdTap

Smiley360

I’d love to hear your recommendations of companies you have tried!

And now I’m off to go try out a new stinky shoe cleaner. Because this influencer life is straight up glamorous. 😂

Tinkering around at Tinkergarten

img_8833Our adventure today was a Tinkergarten class, held at Cradle Creek Preserve in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Tinkergarten is an outdoor learning experience held at local parks, where kids 18 months – 8 years learn through play and exploring the outdoors. They have it set up in 43 states so far, so check out the website to find a class near you. They offer a free trial class, so we signed up to give it a try and ventured out on a cloudy drizzly Wednesday morning to go get our nature on.

We arrived nice and early and then discovered there were no bathrooms. As soon as I learn there are no bathrooms somewhere, I always suddenly, urgently have to pee. I wasn’t up for squatting in the woods (at least not this time) so we took a quick detour to the gas station and headed back. Our class leader Sara said she was looking into moving it to a different park with better amenities and parking. There were only maybe 4 spots in the lot, but you can park on the side of the street.

We got started with a little song and then read a story that just happened to be my favorite book from kindergarten, Stone Soup. After the story, the kids got to participate in making their own version of stone soup using dirt, sticks, leaves and whatever else they could scavenge. My favorite part was when they added the “seasonings” from a bag of lavender that smelled heavenly.

The age range for our class was about 2 – 5, so it was hectic but fun. There were wanderers and the occasional tantrum breakdown, but overall all the kids seemed to enjoy it. Keelan wasn’t sure at first, but after a few minutes he got really into making his “soup” with water and dirt and even went back for extra seasonings.

I’m waiting to hear if the class is going to be moved to a park with bathrooms before we sign up. I really did like getting to visit the nature preserve location because there weren’t any other distractions around, but I can’t be peeing in the bushes. I mean, I just met these people and it’s not exactly a kegger in the woods. 😆

Check out their website Tinkergarten.com to see if there is a class near you, and if not, you can also sign up to be a class leader in your area. I’m actually looking into that myself since I’d like to get paid to play outside with the kiddo!

Unfinished business and the secret stash

I’m wondering if all crafters have a stash of “unfinished business.” I feel this has to be a common thing. And maybe I’m just looking for some camaraderie in my crafty procrastination, or something to make me feel better about the expensive pile of crap I’ve hoarded over the years, but I know I can’t be the only one with the secret craft stash built on intentions of doing amazing things but only collecting an amazing amount of dust.

craft room
A glance at one small section of my craft room.

I’ve got a pile of green ribbon and fabric ready for the Enchantress, some really nice blue, red and gold leather just waiting to become an awesome Wonder Woman warrior, a box of orange latex that was going to become LeeLoo suspenders, and don’t get me started on the patterns that have never even been opened!

I’m currently being forced to confront my craft supply hoarder tendencies while we organize and clean out the attic and garage. The huge cleaning spree has me facing the reality where our lofty crafting ambitions collide with real life and actual time to make things, and the result is a drawer of random things you refuse to throw out because you know as soon as you do, you are going to need it. Because I really need 1,376 googly eyes, right? (I use them to make one small part on Slave Leia costumes, which I haven’t made in over a year)

So please, tell me what you are hoarding and have yet to make. Even better, tell me how long you’ve been saving it. Because I’m pretty sure I’ve had those damn googly eyes for the last 10 years.