Do You Return Gifts from Your Own Kids?

not actual earrings

I’m one of the lucky ones. Every year, for my birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day, my husband takes the kids out to pick out something special for mom. It’s actually one of my most favorite things, not because I get a gift out of it (although that does kind of rock), but I love how excited the little ones get and find it adorable (and a little hilarious) when I see what they choose as something Mommy must have.

My sweet 6-year-old always heads directly for the jewelry counter. Well, not the counter exactly but the area by the counter. Well not the area by the counter but the area behind that. You know, the place where the 17-year-old girls go to pick out those shiny jewelry-esque accessories, some of which are covered in feathers, colorful “stones,” beads or some combination of the three embellishments. With pride and as much gusto as my little man’s body can muster, he carefully, yet enthusiastically, makes his selection.

“These,” he chooses, with his dimpled grin and smiley eyes looking up at my husband as he hands the ear ornaments over, excited to wrap it up and present ’em to Mom.

Flash forward to Christmas morning when I unwrap the package and discover the youthful, bright blue, dangle earrings. “Put them on, Mom,” my proud son practically begs. Of course I do, because I’m not Joan Crawford here, people. I wear them all day and all night and watch my son’s face beam every time he looks at me.

But here’s the question. How often does one have to wear the jewelry in order to be considered a loving, supportive mom? Every week? Do you leave the house or wear them as your cleaning day best? Some moms admitted they somehow “misplace” the earrings after that Christmas day. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

Do you wear jewelry hand-picked by your little ones?


Does Your Little Girl Feel Like a Heel?

As I sat at a red light, rocking my sweats behind the wheel of my Hotyssey , I couldn’t help but notice them. It was like they had just stepped out of some magazine I would never buy and onto the cross walk in front of me. Dad, looking like a cross between a surfer dude and a suburban dad… Mom, put together perfectly, with long, golden locks and a stylish baby carrier (minus the impossible-to-get-out milk vomit like my carrier used to sport). Even big sister (who I’m guessing was around 5 or 6) was catwalk-worthy, pushing her doll in a stroller, wearing some cute outfit and pink wedged boots.

Wait, what?

I watched the little girl walk across the four-lane street, slowly and awkwardly trying to make her way in her (what I could only guess) were her new “big girl” boots. While they certainly were cute — I might wear a pair like it myself — I wondered, is that really a good idea for little ones to be wearing shoes with a heel — even a wedge?

I turned to pediatrician Dr. Paul Horowitz to get his take on it. According to him, there’s no physical reason a kid can’t wear a wedge — no development risks, scoliosis or foot issues (yes, I asked all of those). However, his face seemed to tell more of the story as he expressed his concern over letting little ones dress well beyond their age. If they’re wearing heels at 6, what will they be wearing at 13?

What’s your philosophy on kid fashion? Does anything go at your house or where do you draw the line?

And the Answer Is…

When I asked yesterday if you were at the gym, sweaty after a workout, and forgot your change of clothes for a meeting, what would you do, the majority of you chose shopping as the perfect solution. (I would love to be one of those people who would wear the sweaty workout clothes and not care at all about doing it.)

Well, I am in the majority because I, upon discovering my clothes, accessories and hair products were still sitting at home, drove to my favorite store, Marshalls, and hit the clearance rack. (The benefit of living in SoCal is that even though summer items are on sale, we can wear them for a while still.) I grabbed a skirt, t-shirt, and a pair of sandals, tried them on and quickly raced for the register — grabbing a brush and can of hairspray on the way.

The grand total of my new work outfit, including shoes — a whopping $33!

After doing the math on how much gas it would cost me, time paid I would lose driving all the way home and back, going shopping was actually a bargain. How often does that happen?

I quickly got dressed in my car (if you were in the parking garage that day, I apologize for the impromptu show) and sprayed my hair back so you couldn’t tell I was just getting my butt kicked. I can’t say I pulled it off completely but not one person held their nose during the meeting, and I didn’t notice those sitting close scooching their chair away.

Overall, I would say my decision was a success.

Married Mom of 3 In Search of Her Groove

It was three years ago this month that I underwent my second surgery. Saying goodbye to what one not-so-subtle person called “everything that makes me a woman,” I embarked on a new life — with new perky breasts and let’s just say less production in the reproductive department. It was challenging, of course, but I also saw it as a new beginning. Right around the same time, I started walking the hills of our ‘hood, pushing two hefty dudes around in the double stroller and taking Pilates twice a week. In six months, I was 30 pounds lighter and stronger than I had ever been. My life’s enormous change morphed into an empowering journey, one that encouraged me to live in a way I never had.

Two years later, we were on the verge of traveling to Taiwan to finally bring home our daughter. We had suffered setbacks with her case and the wait was one of the most excruciating times I have ever experienced. A few pounds crept up as I sat night after night reading other adoptive family blogs, comparing our timeline to theirs, guessing when we’d get THE call. At least I had exercise to blow off some steam.

But when Lucy came home ten months ago, I had no idea that along with her arrival would come the departure of me. The double-stroller walks were the first thing to go, Lucy despised being wheeled around. And to leave her at all to do something for me felt selfish, a decision I can see now wasn’t necessarily the best for anyone. Pilates became a thing of the past in December when we had to make some tough financial decisions. I can see why it costs so darn much — it’s quite effective! But with three small kids, it felt frivolous. So off it went.

With every passing day, my stress level increased, depression set in, and I had no where to turn with the conflicting feelings swimming around in my head — except food. With Jeff working nights and feeling utterly exhausted when I finally got the three kids to bed, I would open the refrigerator like it was a movie marquis, trying to decide which feature I was going to dive into that night. Ice cream? An enormous bowl of cereal? More ice cream? I was overwhelmed, lonely and confused… didn’t that make me deserving of a little treat? Add holidays and eating off kids plates and things were going downhill quick — starting with my rump.

I was able to stay at a reasonable weight even though I had put on around eight pounds. But the lack of exercise saw things shifting and I could feel my clothes fitting more tightly. My ability to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed was more like red-eyed and lumpy-tailed.

Then we discovered the mold.

For five weeks we lived in a hotel and apartment. Jeff was working a zillion hours one day and nothing the next. We were in such a state of instability and insecurity, both at home and work. We had to postpone our annual trip to see my family, which threw me over the edge. Living in a building with a gym was completely pointless, given I couldn’t get to it without three kids in tow. Take out was the only meal I was serving and fast food even entered the picture — FAST FOOD, people! — something I normally only do on the rare road trip.

Suddenly here I was up 15 pounds, more irritable and upset than ever. How did I become this? My eyebrows haven’t been waxed in weeks and my nails… I have to hide my toes, they’re so embarrassing. I had completely lost myself in all that’s expected of me — finding a contractor, entertaining the kids, handling the transition again and again, leaving me last on the list of priorities.

Until today.

I woke up this morning, laced up my running shoes and hit the street. It felt good to move, breathe and — best of all — be alone. Lucy started preschool camp last week (HURRAH – she loves it!) and all of my kids spend three days a week decorating t-shirts, running through sprinklers, and getting dirty in the sandbox. Three whole glorious days that I can work on the exciting new consulting gigs I’ve landed, get myself back in shape, and do all those glamorous things like grocery shop, pay bills and maybe, just maybe, get those caterpillar-channeling eyebrows waxed.

But I don’t want to do it alone! Do you need you get your groove back? Whether it’s weight loss, “me” time or getting inspired, join me! Comment here, telling me how you’re looking to get life going on the right track. Or follow me on, we’ll use the hash tag #momgroove to keep up on eachother’s progress.

Now go get ’em!