The Modern Dad

I was reading this article about Estee Lauder being sued for discriminating against new fathers because dads get two weeks paid vacation and moms get six weeks, and it got me thinking. My husband got ten days of “paternity leave” from the Army when I gave birth. It would have been amazing to have him there for six weeks! I can be honest and admit I spent the first week of him back at work crying every day under the stress of trying to figure out this mom stuff on my own. I didn’t have family around to help so I spent all day Googling everything for guidance. I would have loved to have my husband home until we were both more settled in new life as parents.

father and newborn son

Parental leave isn’t the only thing dads get the short stick on. I can’t count the number of times we have been out somewhere and my husband has brought our son into the restroom to change him, only to find there’s no changing table in the men’s room. As if men never change babies!

Times have changed (thankfully) and dads are much more active in their parental roles. Anything we can do to encourage this, I support! Having a hands-on dad is awesome, and my husband makes a big effort to be part of things. I want my son to grow up with a great father role-model, which is something I missed out on. I only reconnected with my estranged father in my mid 20s, so I don’t even know what dads are supposed to do. I only recently started celebrating Father’s Day and learning about “dad stuff,” but it will always be a bit of a mystery to me.

We always want more for our children than we had, so I’m grateful my son gets to experience having a father, and this is what I celebrate now on Father’s Day. Which reminds me, I need to check the calendar and find out when that is again. I still have trouble remembering!

Hatching a Plan with Reading Eggs

I don’t usually do reviews for computer programs, games or apps, because I can barely find time to get on the computer and take care of my blog stuff, much less learn a new program and use it enough to actually review it. If my 3-year-old son sees me on the computer, he either complains until I get off or crawls in my lap and just wants to bang on the keyboard.

I was very honest with ReadingEggs.com when they asked me to review their program. I was intrigued by the idea of channeling that keyboard banging into a learning experience, but not sure if he would actually participate in the learning portion enough for me to give it a full review. They gave me a generous 4-week review period (click the link if you want to try it too) and said if he doesn’t like it, no problem. I figure we might as well give it a try!

reading eggs

It did not go well the first two weeks. At first he didn’t even want to try it. He refused to sit in the seat. Then he gave it a try for a couple minutes and afterwards wouldn’t touch it for a week. I just kept giving him the option every time he complained I was on the computer, I’d ask him to join me and play “the egg game.”

I am happy to say, not only did he start to participate, but he actually asks at least once or twice a day now to do Reading Eggs. He likes it so much that I went ahead and purchased it for the year! I’ll support anything that gets him interested in learning.

He loves the alphabet eggs, where you click to crack the egg and pictures pop out for each letter. After completing a round, he gets to “paint” a photo and then comes his favorite part – he clicks an egg, something random pops out and then a star at the bottom of the screen eats it. I have no idea why, or what even some of the random stuff is, but every time it happens he screams “And the star eats it!” and laughs like it’s the best thing ever.

And here’s the cool thing – the Reading Eggs program isn’t just teaching him to read, it’s teaching him to use the computer! When we started, he had no idea how to work the mouse and now he can move it around and knows how to right and left click. The little games where he gets to squish fruit or digitally paint are actually improving his hand-eye coordination skills as he learns to move the mouse around. It’s amazing to see how fast he catches on!

We haven’t made it very far through all the website options so we have a LOT more to explore. I’m looking forward to trying out the different games, but until then we have a whole alphabet to explore, lots of eggs to crack and more random things for that weird little star to eat.

Mommy Bloggers are Crazy

For many years I had a blog for my shop. Boutique news, convention wrap-ups, costume stuff, etc. So I thought I knew what I was getting into with the new blog thing, but noooooo. Just like everything else that relates to parenting, I was wrong about the Mommy Blog.

crazy mom blogger

Mom blogging is a different world. There are networks, tribes, pods, loops… and you have to learn to navigate through them. It’s easy to get sucked into the networking thing and then next thing you know all you are doing is posting and liking and commenting in exchange for the same on your stuff.

And these people aren’t necessarily interested in what you are actually posting. They’re only interested in the reciprocal like or comment or share. It’s all a big numbers game where people want tons views and followers so they can be seen as an “influencer.” The more influence you appear to have, the more likely you are to get paid for things and get more free stuff.

I lasted about ten seconds on an Instagram follow loop. And most of the follows I earned from that have already unfollowed me anyway so it was a total waste of time. It seems like Twitter has a never ending supply of parent bloggers tweeting and retweeting every little thing. I’ve been pretty stingy with my blog follows, only following back the blogs that appear to have content I’m interested in reading on a regular basis.

I’ve been able to stay out of the mama drama for the most part. I participate in one Facebook group with a small group of blogging ladies that are pretty awesome. Our rules are relaxed and we haven’t had to do the dreaded Facebook ban on anyone.

I don’t plan on getting sucked into it since I don’t have the time to go leave fake likes and comments all day. And I prefer my readers to be real as well. So if you are reading this, liking and commenting, then thank you! I really enjoy reading the comments and knowing they aren’t just some reciprocal compulsion.

I still have a lot to learn in the business of mom blogging and blogging in general. My goal is to keep things fun and keep enjoying it and definitely Not get too obsessed with stats and shares and how many likes something gets. Of course I pay attention to that stuff! But really, it’s just exciting to be writing something people are actually reading. So again, thank you for being here!

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My Chaotic Attempts at Organization

Moms are busy on multiple levels. You are not just in charge of you. You have to know the schedule for the whole household and make sure everyone else knows what’s going on, and then make sure everything is accomplished as scheduled.

Good thing I’m obsessed with getting organized! Day planners, calendars and lists actually make me excited. I love getting new planners and planning what to put in them. It’s like each time I get one, there’s this magical promise that this will be THE ONE that gets my life in order.

I usually start out pretty gung-ho, filling in dates and events. I feel really on top of things. Then slowly I falter, and eventually forget to keep filling things out and once again fall into chaos.

I’ve tried many things. Some worked, some didn’t, some I still use and some just ended up being good for scrap paper. So here’s the my latest attempts at organization:
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The Giant Wall Calendar 
I have this big 48″ x 72″ wall calendar by SwiftGlimpse up in my home office and we use it as a family calendar. It’s pretty cool that it can go horizontal or vertical. Everybody’s stuff goes on there so we can look and see what’s going on for the year. It’s working out pretty good! So far my only complaint is that the colored markers fade after a few months (black is fine), but not so much that you can’t see them. Just not as bright as when you enter your info.

giant wall calendar

The Dry Erase Magnet Weekly Planner 
Originally my idea for this magnetic planner by Plan Smart was a meal planner like in their example, but I ended up using it more as a weekly to-do list and used the four columns to divide the days up into general sections. It came with three markers, which is always nice. It was packaged nicely too, so it wasn’t rolled up or bent and easily stuck right on the fridge. This one is a pretty good size at 17″ x 11.5″. It was actually too large to fit on my side-by-side style fridge doors so I put it on the side. One of the rare times I opened a package and it wasn’t smaller than I expected!

 

The Black Chalk Board Menu
What I did end up using as a meal planner is this decorative chalkboard menu by Rumula & Co. It’s kind of a flimsy piece that comes rolled up and does not look pretty right out of the box. You also need to buy the chalk markers separately.  Unfortunately it will not stick to the wall as advertised. It repeatedly rolled up and fell off. I still liked the look of it, so I stuck it to the wall and then nailed a frame all around it to hold the edges down. It’s not going anywhere now! The “notes” section on the side works great for the grocery list. I just jot down stuff there as I need it and then snap a pic of the list before I go to the grocery store.

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The Little Daily Appointment Book/Planner
I didn’t use this little 5″ x 8″ planner by Mead more than a week and just saved it for scrap paper so it wasn’t a total waste. It was too small, with too many little lines, and the papers were really thin. I had big plans for something small enough to tote around with me, but it just didn’t work out.

The Panda Planner
Bullet journaling looks like it would be be fun, like scribbling in notebooks in high school, but I’ve been reluctant to invest because it seems like it would take me forever to just set it up, much less fill it out. I felt like the 8.5″ x 11″ soft cover Panda Planner would be a close second since it gave me the freedom to fill it out as I liked but had some guidance and structure built in. I ended up filling out nothing except for the front calendar pages. Apparently, I am not so good with guidance and structure. My planner is pretty much empty after a few attempts at “reviewing my week” and figuring out what I was grateful for or excited about that week. It all just took too much time! I was just grateful I didn’t have to fill it all out and kept it to use the front calendar pages. Probably could have saved a lot of money and just gotten a good size calendar.

So there you have it. Obviously I haven’t figured out the magic solution and I’m still scribbling little notes and to-do lists everywhere. If you have any favorites to suggest, please comment!

*I have tried a few phone apps with calendars and just didn’t catch on. I’m the kind of person who likes to write it on paper.

My Favorite Things This Week

It’s Tuesday and I actually started this as a “things I love this week” wrap-up last Friday so that’s an indicator how my week has been going… Mother’s Day is pretty busy in the mom blog biz. Lots of activity!

So here’s a few things that I’ve been excited about this past week:

Making my gel nails last a little longer! –  I actually got this idea from a blog post on ThinkingCloset.com. I took a way more simple approach and just used a little scotch tape and some glitter polish but had to give credit for the idea. Although I’ve gotten zero compliments, I think it looks pretty snazzy. At least it looks better than my nail polish half-way up my nail.

Before & After

Cobra Kai on YouTube Red – If you loved the Karate Kid when you were younger, you are going to love Cobra Kai! Also, you’re old! Ha, just kidding. But I’m guessing you’re over 30. I totally loved this series and actually signed up for the free trial after watching the first two free episodes. It takes place 30 years after the infamous All Valley Karate Tournament and reignites the feud between Johnny and Daniel-San.

Baking with the kiddo. I hope to be doing many more cooking posts! I love cooking and am excited my son is finally showing an interest. His interest seems rooted in sugary desserts, which are not my specialty, but I can adapt! Check out my awesome cookie-fail photos for proof. I actually just invested in some baking soda and baking powder today since it seems those are two things that keep popping up in these baking recipes. I also created a special shelf on my spice/oil rack just for these random baking requirements like vanilla extract and rainbow sprinkles. I am expanding my own skills to accommodate the toddler sweet tooth.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you momma’s out there, getting by, making it work, and rockin’ the mom thing. Hope you had a good one. Mine was…eh. Lol. I just wanted to sleep in, go to brunch and have mimosas and then take a nap. My husband was not on board with the sleeping in plan and proceeded to let our son have a screaming tantrum in his room right across from our’s without even bothering to shut our bedroom door. When I complained, I got a crappy “He’s 3, what can I do about it?” response. While there are many things I wanted to tell him he could go do…I just grabbed K and put him in bed with me until he stopped crying. Way to mom it up on Mother’s Day right? I did eventually get my mimosas and a nap so I won’t hold a grudge, although I am seriously considering staying in a hotel next Mother’s Day eve and then meeting up with the family for brunch. I think a night and morning to myself sounds divine. Also, I was the only one who tried to get any photos so here’s my awesome selfie that really sums up my day:

candy keane and son

Nap time! And finally, my favorite thing that has happened TWICE in the past week is the super elusive magical nap experience. This is something I took for granted back in early toddler-hood. Then it was taken away suddenly when my son just started refusing to nap. I miss it SO BAD. I used to get stuff done during nap time. As soon as he went down I’d spring into action and get a million things done. Now when it happens I feel like getting on my hand and knees and thanking God and shouting halleluja and I’m not even a religious person.

So that’s the highlights of my past week! How was your’s?