The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

REVISED Review of the new Mint Chocolate Vita Top July 28, 2009

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In an earlier post, I reviewed the new Mint Chocolate Vita Top from Vitalicious. The batch of Vita Tops I had received was so minty that I could hardly finish eating one.

Then, I received word that Vitalicious had trouble with some early batches that had too much mint flavor. I received a second order of Vita Tops, free of charge (which I thought was very classy), and these were indeed less minty.

While I do like the correctly made Chocolate Mint Vita Tops much better, and they are not “bad” by any means, they still are not my favorite. I think I would like them more if they had more gooey chips in them; they strike me as a little dry and not as indulgent as some of the other flavors.

For me, the best thing about Vita Tops is feeling like you are having a real, gooey treat (that is a good size) while only spending 1 Weight Watchers Point. This new flavor doesn’t quite fit the bill for me, though it might for some people who are dyed-in-the-wool mint fans.


A SAHM mom ponders productivity and depression July 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:59 pm
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Every parent knows how hard it is to be productive with a mobile baby around.

If my 9-month-old, Mark, is awake, he is generally in one of two states:

1) He is content to play on his own or with his older brother.

2) He is fussy and will calm down only if I hold him (preferably while standing up). If I have ruled out his need for a diaper change or a snack, then he is most likely fussy because he’s tired well before nap time, a situation which I dread.

In the case of (2), it is nearly impossible to get anything accomplished, which is especially challenging if it’s something that can’t be put off until later, such as using the bathroom or putting older brother Adam down for a nap.

In the case of (1), there is more potential for me to be productive. I do need to make sure that Baby Mark is safe by  remembering to close baby gates and doors, and keeping unsafe items out of his reach (the mop bucket comes to mind). Another hurtle is Baby Mark’s interest in what I’m doing, also known as “getting into everything.”

Some days, it’s difficult to keep in mind the big picture — that this is only a short period of time in my life and in my children’s lives. When the house is a disaster, it’s hard for me to enjoy anything, therefore tidying up and cleaning are forefront on my mind. When I am not able to do these things, I get even more frustrated.

The other day I stumbled, completely by accident, on a blog post that perfectly described what I struggle with on a regular basis. This blogger, a dad who ended up being stranded at home with his kids during a blizzard, states:

with the blizzard and the kids, there was no path to action. There was no escape. I can see how many stay at home moms develop agoraphobia and depression.

Baby Mark just woke up from a nap, so I’ll have to end here (ironic, no?). More on this topic later.


Initial Thoughts on “Approval Addiction” July 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:44 pm
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Kid_2 is napping at the moment. Kid_1 and Hubby are out of the house for a bit.

The feeling of being able to hear myself think (and pray) without distractions of any kind is amazing. Since I had a good night’s sleep, I feel more “together” than usual and am remembering what it’s like to feel like myself again.

I began reading Joyce Meyer’s Approval Addiction and actually had time to look up Bible verses.

A few things stood out to me during my quiet time

  • For years, but especially since Kid_1 was born, I have looked to my MIL for approval. When I have felt that I have not received approval, it has really thrown me off.
  • I also have a strong need for approval from my own parents.
  • My MIL seems to have a well-honed, subtle way of witholding “something” that I have a hard time putting a name to. I would call it approval, or acknowledgement, perhaps. Sometimes she simply cuts you off in the middle of what you’re saying. Other times she (appears to) listen to what you’re saying, but doesn’t show that she really cares about (or agrees with) what you’re saying. For years, this has thrown me off whenever I’ve run across it. I have responded by feeling hurt and/or trying even harder to gain her approval (sometimes by finding a different way to explain my point).
  • My MIL may have her own “approval addiction” issues, in that whenever I would bring up a concern I had about how she was caring for Kid_1, she would respond with defensiveness and anger.
  • Being a parent has a way of bringing to the forefront my issues with approval addiction. There will always be people who don’t agree with (approve of) the way you’re raising your children. It might be a grandparent, sibling, or stranger at the grocery store who doesn’t agree with your choices, but in any case, these people are everywhere.

Tried to keep son’s birthday party simple & fun July 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:34 pm
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Kid_1 had his 4th birthday party last Saturday. It was a simple affair. Our theme was (are you sitting down?) “Birthday.” We had red and white streamers and some red and white helium balloons. We hung up a “Happy Birthday” sign which we have used every year.

On Friday night, Hubby made the chocolate layer cake (from a mix) while I put together some quick scrapbook pages (of Kid_1’s first three birthday parties) to hang up on the wall.

At the party, we did not open any gifts. Guests had been encouraged to not bring gifts, although grandparents had the birthday boy open gifts at other times. In all, Kid_1 received four birthday gifts — one from us, and one each from the three sets of grandparents.

As always, I was struck by how much work is involved in even a simple birthday party like this one (part of it is just the cleaning and straightening up beforehand, of course).

Next year, when Adam turns five, I would like to use a charity-oriented theme for his party. For example, guests bring donations for the local food shelf or humane society. More ideas along these lines can be found on the Birthdays Without Pressure website. I love this website because it makes me feel validated in my quest to keep my children’s birthdays simple, inexpensive, and fun.

I hope that when my kids are grown up, we will have many fond memories of their birthday parties, and they will have learned that the important thing is NOT getting a bunch of gifts or having an elaborate, expensive birthday party.


Thanks for the kudos, Rosemond! July 21, 2009

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As readers of this blog are no doubt aware, I am a fan of John Rosemond. I have been a member of his website for some time now, and have written in with questions and comments a number of times.

A few weeks ago, I checked his website for the latest column, and was pretty surprised to find that a “story” I had sent to him a year or so ago was the subject of his column for June 30, 2009 (please note that this link will work only for a limited time).

As it turned out, this technique (with the notecard and stickers) was but one technique we used along the rocky path of potty training Kid_1. By the age of 26 months, he had a firm grasp of where to put his pee and poop, BUT when he was not naked from the waist down, he wet his pants more often than not, EXCEPT when he was at Grandma’s house. This told me that he knew how to keep himself dry (without reminders and such), but that for some reason while he was with Dad or Mom, he preferred to hold his urine for so long that eventually it leaked out, little by little.

In retrospect, I can see that the main issue was a power struggle. I never once thought that we had started potty training him too early — the proof was his impeccable potty performance at Grandma’s house (she did not remind him to go; he simply went potty when he needed to).

I have another blog, but since I keep many of my parenting opinions and practices to myself, I would never share this information on that blog. I have too many family and friends who would give me a hard time about (gasp!) gating my son into the bathroom.


Saw MIL for the first time in over a month July 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 9:27 pm
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Well, well, well. Kid_1’s birthday party was today (4 years old). It was indeed interesting to watch things unfold with my MIL, whom I hadn’t seen or spoken to in over a month, due to an argument that we had (that is another post entirely).

Here are some things I noticed:

  • When she arrived – somewhat early, to give Kid_1 his present before the other guests arrived – I was ready to be pretty friendly (chatty). I complimented her choice of gift and mentioned a few things about Kid_2, whom she hadn’t seen for a long time. I noticed right away that she was polite to me but didn’t really engage with me. Nothing I said seemed to be very important to her (not that she would show, anyway).
  • She never really said anything nice about anything — the birthday cake, the decorations, the photo collage I had made of Kid_1’s first four years, or even our choice of gift for Kid_1 (a child-sized guitar).
  • During a conversation with my parents (who she has openly been rude to in the past), she pulled her classic “no one has any valid opinions, feelings, or experiences besides me” trick. The exchange became pretty heated and at one point she said, “Let’s see, what is that N word, I can’t remember what it is.” Meaning, “I want to call you [my dad] a n_____ but I don’t quite have the guts to say it out loud.” Hubby and I can’t figure out what she was trying to say. The only word I can come up with is Narcissist. Dear reader, do you have any ideas?

Anyway, the birthday party went well overall. Kid_1 had a great time. More on this later!


The most amazing thing just happened. July 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 7:42 pm
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The most amazing thing just happened.

Kid_2 (9 months old) went down for a nap shortly after 1 p.m. He had been tired and crabby all morning, so I was hoping he would have a nice long nap so he could make it through the rest of the day without too much trouble. To my despair, he woke up crying around 1:45 p.m.

I knew he wasn’t fully rested, but the chances of this kid falling back asleep are like 1 in 10,000. I figured my only hope was to load both kids in the car and go for a drive, hoping that Kid_2 would get a few more minutes of sleep.

At this time I was lying in bed, trying to get some rest so I could stop feeling like I was operating in a dense fog. It had been a long, long day up until that point, due to me being worn out and Kid_2 being worn out. I decided that, since Kid_2 wasn’t screaming bloody murder, it would be all right to leave him in his crib for 5-10 minutes while I got some rest.

I didn’t even dare to hope that he would fall back asleep. I know this kid. I know that once he’s up, he’s up.

But then it got quieter, and quieter, and I realized: HE FELL BACK ASLEEP.

As a result, I got a quick nap. And I no longer feel as if I am going to end up in the looney bin. All because I decided to wait a few minutes before going to get him from his crib.


Review of the new Mint Chocolate VitaTop from Vitalicious **SEE COMMENTS**

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 4:38 pm
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Those of you who follow Hungry Girl are probably aware that Vitalicious recently launched a new Hungry-Girl-developed flavor for the VitaTop — Chocolate Mint.

Normally I am a fan of all things chocolate and mint, but I have to report that I do not like this flavor of VitaTop. I believe that mint extract is used to give the muffin its mint flavor, and it is a very strong flavor. It reminds me of the time I tried to use peppermint extract to flavor my hot chocolate, but I wasn’t careful and ended up using way too much.

My hot chocolate ended up being un-drinkable, just like the Chocolate Mint Vita-Top is, for me, almost un-eatable.

**UPDATE** I did indeed hear back from Vitalicious. They offered a choice between a refund and a complimentary batch of the new, less mint-y VitaTops. I chose the VitaTops. I will provide an update once I receive them.


I am one crabby mommy today

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 3:24 pm
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Today is a rough day.

I ate like a banshee all day yesterday, so today I have that yucky experience of getting back on track. Kid_1 came down with a stomach bug yesterday morning, so that was my “excuse” to comfort myself with food.

Kid_2 fell and hit his head this morning, via pulling a kitchen chair on top of himself and landing on his back on the kitchen tile. He seems to be doing all right, but it gave me quite a scare.

Kid_1’s birthday is tomorrow, and his party is on Saturday. I’m excited for his birthday, of course, but it’s hard to summon up the gumption to do everything that needs to be done. MIL will be coming for his party; that will be INTERESTING since I haven’t seen her or spoken to her in over a month. Thankfully DH and I are very much on the same page about this conflict with his mom.

I haven’t quite gotten enough sleep the last several nights, and as a consequence I feel irritable and easily overwhelmed. I hate waking up in the morning and having that feeling of “How am I going to get through today without being the crabbiest mom ever?”


Primal urges got the better of me July 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 8:07 pm
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The last few days, I have been operating in a fog, it seems. Not quite enough sleep, and feeling hungry a lot. For the first time in my 7-month-long Weight Watchers journey, I have consistently had problems with the feeling that I must reach out, grab, and eat anything that is within reach (my baby’s puff snacks are a frequent target). It’s almost as if a biological urge is taking over!

Soooo…. this afternoon I was able to sneak in a nap (a small miracle). Feeling great after the nap, I had the idea to mix up a batch of brownie batter and enjoy some “me time” while the kids were still sleeping. I’m not proud to say that I did very little to resist this urge. It truly felt that every fiber of my being – mind and body – wanted to seek comfort in the form of food and rest. Not even the knowledge that weigh-in is this afternoon motivated me to stay on the straight and narrow.

I also wanted to avoid dealing with the messy house and some other things that require my attention, such as preparing for Kid_1’s birthday party on Saturday.

What have I learned today?

  1. It’s difficult to make good choices when I’m behind on sleep.
  2. When I wake up from a nap, that is a danger zone for me as far as indulging in sweets or other comfort food.
  3. When I’m low on “healthy treats” such as Skinny Cow ice cream, and low on healthy food that appeals to me and is quick and easy (such as fruit that is washed/cut/pre-portioned), that creates another danger zone for me.
  4. If I keep up with my FlyLady routines, I am less likely to become discouraged by messes around the house (this morning I dilly dallied around, and never really got going on my routines).