Weekly Roundup

May 22, 2015
links i love

Head on over to Joy of Mom for the best of what the internet has to offer in our Weekly Roundup! #joyofmom

 

Joy of Mom’s Weekly Roundup

~ This is the coolest speaker I’ve ever seen!

~ Your birdies will feel so special!

~ How fun are these finger puppets?

~ The sweetest little nightlight for any princess or fairy

~ They’ll enjoy chewing it as much as you’ll enjoy wearing it!

~ Your baby will have the sweetest of dreams <3

~ Very much teacher of the year!

~ These organic sodas are super delish (and make great mixers, too)!

~ Didn’t I see this on Thomas?

~ Super soft and kissable lips!

The First Crush

May 20, 2015
by vicki, family

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The First Crush

It’s spring when a young junior high school girl’s fancy turns to ….her first crush.

There is nothing more startling than when your child come comes home and announces that he or she has REALLY noticed a member of the opposite sex. Hang on, moms, I guarantee this is going to be a bumpy ride. I have a friend whose daughter Madison, 13, claims she is in LOVE with a boy in history class. Yes, the girl is using the l-word and her father is turning 13 shades of purple each time she says it. But she says it. She can’t stop talking about this boy.

His name is Aidan and he’s 13 with short-shaved hair and braces. He has already been deemed “way too cute.” He has also borrowed our heroine Madison’s pencil. Here’s the thing….he never gave it back. “That means he like-likes me,” Madison told Mom in the car on the way home from school. “Does it mean he like-likes me, Mom?? What does it mean?” Ut uh…

As a mother, there are moments as delicate as your grandmother’s white lace. They usually occur in the car on the way to soccer practice with 10,000 other things happening at the same moment. Mom usually doesn’t have time to dwell. She must hit the ground running…even when there is no time to think or ask or ponder. The topic was this crush. My friend didn’t want to discourage what were very natural feelings as her tween daughter continued to take shaky steps towards adulthood. At the same time, she didn’t really know this boy. Was this a good thing…or trouble?

“Mom, I’m sure he’s going to ask me out,” Madison boasted and her mom gulped. Mom wanted to approach crush-land in slow motion; daughter wanted to get moving. “How do you know he’s going to (cough) ask you anywhere?” her mom responded. “He gave me a thumbs up sign when he saw me on my way to the bathroom today,” Madison cooed. For a minute, the mom had to stop worrying and smile. Yes, this is what passed for seventh grade “like liking” someone these days. He celebrated her getting a hall pass?

It’s fun to smile about this, but moms know that moments like these are going to lead to discussions and decision. “She’s not dating until she’s 16. Her father and I won’t allow it. Should I tell her the facts of life?” the mom asked me, and there were no easy answers.

I reminded my friend that crushes are a natural part of growing up. Monitoring is a mother’s right and responsibility. And, as always, it was another time to get on that high wire and walk the line between encouraging growth, but in a slow and steady way.

Of course, sometimes life has a way of working itself out. The other day, young Madison came home heartbroken. It seems that her crush borrowed a marker from a girl named Holly and wrote “her” name on his arm. “They’re seriously going out now,” Madison cried, but she wasn’t too upset when her mom suggested a quick shopping trip and dinner to feel better. (Her Dad was also thrilled. A die-hard Bears fan, he had found out that the crush liked THE GREEN BAY PACKERS!)

As for Mom, she got a pause here and really think about her daughter’s future and all the rites of passage they were about to embark on.

Of course, Madison would have another crush, but her mom would decide now how to handle it so mom and daughter wouldn’t end up…crushed.

Photo courtesy of Gina Shuppert with Piper+Claire

The Next Big Step

May 11, 2015
by vicki

The Next Big Step! #joyofmom

The Next Big Step

One of my mom friends called me the other day with true sorrow in her voice. “It’s that time of year,” she moaned and I knew this wasn’t about spring cleaning because we both love going through our closets and pantries. Organic or homemade window cleaner is in our veins.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “I just realized that there are only four weeks of school left, which means Wyatt will be leaving elementary school. He’s almost in junior high, Vicki! Where did the time go?” she said in a wistful tone.

I knew it was one of those happy-sad mom moments. As mothers, we’re thrilled to see our children achieve and get to the next level. We’re right by their sides helping, supporting, lifting and loving as we nudge them towards their bright and happy futures. There is just something about the bigger passages — a graduation, the next level of school, a big birthday (12 to 13 signally the teen years) or an acceptance into college that creates a little stir within us because of the passage of time.

Yes, your precious child is now in (gasp) junior high or (gulp) high school or (big sigh) college! You daughter just got her period; your little boy has facial hair. How is it that the time is moving along so quickly? The truth is that time does move fast. There’s something on the Internet these days telling moms that you only have 936 weekends before your child grows up. I think the key is to remember that time is moving quickly, and to truly savor the moments. What did you do last weekend to make it count? What will you do next weekend? Instead of feeling sad that there are only a few weeks left of this school year, vow to do something special to mark those days.

Instead of feeling wistful that your baby is now in high school plan to do something in the next week where she will say someday, “Remember when I was in high school and we took that car trip?” I heard an amazing story of a mother whose daughter was striving hard to get into Yale University. Finally, the big day arrived when Yale emailed their answer (yes, it’s done via the Internet these days). Instead of running to the computer to find out the next BIG step, mom and daughter decided to take one hour and go out to lunch. It wasn’t a fancy lunch, but they sat, talked, laughed, teared up and then took a little walk around a local park. It was almost as if time was suspended as they just enjoyed that time together when the future was still a big question mark. Then they were ready. They drove home. As they walked through that familiar front door, they hugged and the daughter raced over to the computer. Yes, she was accepted.
That was ten years ago, and now she’s a Yale graduate who still talks about that big day when her mom took her out to lunch.

Time passes, but what’s remembered of that time is up to you.

Photo courtesy of Gina Shuppert with Piper+Claire

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2015
by vicki, motherhood

Happy mother's day! #joyofmom
 

Happy Mother’s Day!

If you’re a brand new mama, perhaps this is your first official Mother’s Day…or maybe you’ve experienced 18 of these holidays and your babies have left the nest. No matter what age our children are, they will always be our babies. And every Mother’s Day (actually every day) is a precious gift, a privilege and honor, and a reminder of how blessed we are to be called “mom”. As I’m writing this, I’m feeling overcome with emotions about “firsts” so I’m just gonna flow with it.

From the very first moment I knew you were coming into my life, I was breathless. My life would forever be different. Indescribably better. And would forever more be “we”.
The first time I saw you, my heart burst open.
The first time you opened your eyes I saw a new world.
The first time you cried, I knew the true depths of my own pain.
The first time you got on that yellow school bus I learned of the strange mix of fear, dread, worry, hope and excitement – that would never leave me.
Then the bus pulled away. My heart pulled away too, and I cried. Big time.
The first time you had a crush, something within me melted.
The first time you had to deal with a boy or girl who broke your heart, mine was shattered.
I was devastated for you. And wanted payback. (Of course, I just wiped your tears.)
The first prom made me a proud, nervous wreck that could barely breathe until that front door opened.
The first drive to college was almost my un-doing, but I never left you know.
The first time you said, “Mom, I want to be a mom like you,” I silently wept.
My child, you were not my first love, but you are my forever love.

This brings me to what it means to celebrate Mother’s Day. Honestly, I believe that it shouldn’t just be one day. Mother’s Day is every single day, but perhaps the card companies have it wrong. Maybe we should be giving our beautiful children cards and pancakes in bed today. There is no greater gift, honor or privilege than to be a mother. When we feel as if there is nothing left to give because we’re human and exhausted, is when we always give more. Moms never sit it out. We stand up, get up and re-up day after day to do the job. And do it the best we can. In every imaginable way.

How do we know if we’ve done a good job? I quoted Dar Williams in my new book who wrote, “You’ll fly away, but take my hand until that day. So when they ask how far love goes, When my job’s done you’ll be the one who knows.”
My heart and hands are full today…and always when I’m with or think of my children.
So here’s to all the mamas who are warriors on the home front.
Here’s to our beautiful children.
Here’s to our mothers who led the way for us, so we could lead the way for our babies.
No one will ever know the depths of a mother’s love.

xo, Vicki
Photo courtesy of Colibri Photo

I had to add the caption of the beautiful mama and photographer, Valerie Baillargeon, pictured her with her two sons. Caption reads: “Where I belong.” It’s simply a perfect caption.

Thank You Mom!

May 10, 2015
by vicki, motherhood

mom_1

Super Cute and Smart Springtime Clothes

April 28, 2015
by vicki

Super Cute and Smart Springtime Clothes! #joyofmom

Super Cute and Smart Springtime Clothes

Yay, spring is here!! Even if it is still a little chilly and wet in your neck of the woods, we all know sun and warmth are just around the corner. But in the meantime, April and May showers are falling and chances are your little ones are eager to get outside and explore the outdoors. And wherever there are showers, there are puddles! Even if you’re not a little kid there is something very cathartic about jumping in a big puddle, so get out there and have some fun! The kids will get the giggles watching mom splash, and they’ll will want to join in on the fun. And let’s be honest, where there are puddles there is going to be mud. Just because they’re going to be muddy doesn’t mean they can’t look adorable while staying warm, dry and eco-friendly with these PVC-free options.

Marimekko Kids raincoats

Why we love these

Since 1951 Marimekko has been designing some of the most iconic patterns and products. The 100% polyester water repellent prints are all so bright and cheerful you’ll definitely forget that its raining outside. The reflective arm bands make them easy to see in foggier conditions and the interior windflap, zip closure and snap flap ensures they will stay snug and dry.

Hatley Umbrellas

Why we love these

Hatley’s child safe umbrella design is PVC-free, has a wooden handle sized for little hands and comes in the most adorable prints to match their other rain gear. Who wouldn’t want to wait for the bus with these super fun brellies?!

Abeko Rain Gear – Waterproof Sou’wester Children’s Hat

Why we love these

These lightweight, Oko-Tex certified rain hats are free of PVC, phthalates and other chemicals. Made in Sweden, their ergonomic fit will keep little heads dry and can even be worn over a winter hat on chillier days.

CeLaVi Unisex Elephant Wellies

Why we love these

We all know the importance of dry feet, and what a cuter way to keep the wet away than with these adorable elephant wellies by CeLaVi. Made of natural rubber with fabric lining, these boots are suitable for boys or girls and come in three darling colors. A slimmer style ensures the boot won’t fall off while playing, yet its still wide enough for easy access.

i play Baby Splash Pants

Why we love these
These polyurethane splash pants by i play are lightweight enough to wear over your child’s pants, and offer an elastic waistband and anklebands to ensure a quick and easy on-and-off.

Pretend and Play Explorer Set

Why we love this

Kids are curious creatures and we all know the puddles and rain are great places to explore the creepy crawlers, especially worms! Let your little scientist loose, they’ll love being able to see who makes the earth their home!

Rainy Days and Mondays

April 27, 2015
by vicki, family

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Rainy Days and Mondays

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had that “preschool tummy ache” on Sunday nights. You know the feeling. It doesn’t hurt badly, but it’s a gentle rumbling that tells you something is happening. As an adult, my Sunday feeling has transferred to the pitfall called Monday mornings.

Most moms will agree that every Monday morning feels slightly overwhelming or like downright overload. As moms, we’re always running here, there and multi-tasking in our busy lives. Then we have our crazy weekends where it’s family fun sometimes on full tilt. Sunday night, you hit the brakes and it’s back to the weekly grind.

I don’t know if you’re like me in the fact that sometimes it’s hard to hit the ground running on Mondays. Oh how nice it would be to have the weekend feeling linger just a big longer. And thinking of my “To Do” list feels like moments ago it was only last Monday. Where does the time go?

Once the day starts kicking in and I, once again, get into the flow of it all. I jump into my Joy of Mom blogs, making posters for our friends on FB, and connecting with so many of you on FB and Instagram. I know and feel, we moms are not alone on this Monday morning feeling.

Last Monday, another mother took over. And I wanted to share this with you. It was Mother Nature. She was calling the shots. I woke up to a very rainy day in Chicago. This is absolutely my favorite weather because there is something so calming, cozy and nest-inducing about hearing the rain on the roof. The rain refreshing and renewing everything outside. And, that day, refreshing and renewing my feelings inside, too, and about Monday mornings.

Smelling the rain through my open window, I woke up happy, peaceful, in the moment, inspired…and most of all really, really grateful. As I looked at my hubby and son across the table eating their breakfast, I sipped a little coffee and felt, “What a precious time. This is what life is really about.” It might have been grey skies outside, but my heart was sunny yellow.

The day wasn’t about waking up and checking e-mails or schedules (as soon as I open my eyes!) I was in my jammies feeling blessed, overcome with joy and truly present in the moment. I also vowed to honor and welcome the new day and the new week. I knew Mondays were hard because I made them hard. And I needed to find a way to change what I had been doing all of these years.

I ask you moms to envision that every Monday is your version of a perfect rainy day. Breathe. Pause. Think of the things you’re grateful for in the moment. Begin your week with those thoughts and you’ll be off to the races.

Here’s to all the little things including the tiniest hand, smallest gesture and a lone raindrop.

Maybe we always remember them.

Here’s to a great week!

Weekly Roundup

April 26, 2015
links i love

Head on over to Joy of Mom for the best of what the internet has to offer in our Weekly Roundup! #joyofmom

 

Joy of Mom’s Weekly Roundup

~What will hatch? The sweetest illustrations ever.

~You don’t even have to be nursing to love this scarf!

~Fit for a princess.

~See, its not just our kids!

~So incredibly incredible and beautiful.

~Now that’s a smart accessory!

~Stomp stomp stomp

Mommy to Mommy: Tips that Work

April 24, 2015
motherhood

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Mommy to Mommy: Tips that Work

Mom: Jennifer from the Chicago suburbs
Kiddos: 3 1/2 month son and almost 6 year old daughter

NOTE: Hi everybody it’s Vicki. When I walked into the (tiny) organic hair salon I go to and immediately saw Jennifer in one of the two salon chairs I stopped in my tracks. (You’ll smile and see why from the pic below!) I don’t which was more adorable. Her absolutely precious baby boy or Jenn in a ‘full on mommy moment”. She was handling it all with serious chill and ease. multi-tasking ease. Talk about multitasking. I just had to get her best tips!

*MULTI-TASK IN A SMART WAY. “My son sleeps a lot,” says Jennifer. “I know his exact sleep schedule, so I planned my hair appointment around when he would go down for his nap. It makes it easy because he’s a sound sleeper and the noise doesn’t bother him. I was able to fit in my appointment and he didn’t wake up until the end.”

*MAKE YOUR CHORES FUN FOR THEM. “I also brought my six year old to the hair appointment. I save her daily movie time for these kinds of things. She looks forward to her movies, so she sat quietly watching on my IPad while we were at the hairdresser. If you save something fun like this your child will have something to look forward to, too.”

*EAT FOR A HEALTHY BABY. “When I was pregnant with my son, I vowed to eat really healthy knowing it would make a big difference with him,” Jennifer said. “With my doctor’s advice, I took a lot of probiotics and drank my super greens. I really believe this made a big difference. I have a baby now who is so content, happy and sleeps really well. He nurses well. He’s just a happy baby. I also give him probiotics now. My pediatrician said it was fine and he doesn’t have tummy aches.”

*BEST DIAPER RASH MEDICINE. “My son occasionally gets a bit of a diaper rash and I use California Baby Diaper Rash Cream because it just works well. But I avoid diaper rash in the first place by having him go number two over the potty. I know when he needs to do number two, so I hold him over the toilet. I hold his legs up like he’s sitting and he never touches the actual toilet. It’s funny to watch, but he poops right in the toilet and he doesn’t sit in it which means he rarely gets a rash. This will also make potty training easier down the line.”

*NOT SLEEPING. “My daughter had a really hard time sleeping when she was younger. We found a great doctor in California who discovered that she couldn’t absorb vitamin B, which is common. She was put on folic acid and B12 — the kind you easily absorb that your body doesn’t have to convert. Her stomach is better and she sleeps much better now. It has been a huge transformation. I only wish I would have found out earlier, which is why I suggest moms have their kids tested for this deficiency.”

*MOM DE-STRESSER. “I like to stick to a schedule, which keeps life stress free. My kids know what’s coming and so do I. And I can get my hair done, which makes me really happy.”

Thanks so very much Jennifer! These are fabulous tips… And, I gotta say, I never before heard about holding your baby over the potty to poop! The best tips come from moms <3

Photo by Vicki at ahavah ORGANIC SpALON

Flowers, Chocolate and Ahhh….

April 21, 2015
by vicki

Win a year of flowers and curated treats! #joyofmom

 

Flowers, Chocolate and Ahhh…. for Mother’s Day (and Everyday!)

Sometimes we just need a little “ahhh” moment in our life.

Maybe it’s a fresh bouquet of flowers. Or a box of melt-in-your mouth chocolates. Or a bottle of perfume that transports you to a lavender field in Provence.

I’d love to send flowers + fabulous curated gifts to every single busy mom out there for Mother’s Day. That’s why I’ve been on (an extensive) hunt for the perfect farm to table flowers! As many of our friends know, I haven’t had a vaca for 19 years. A few months ago, I was on a business trip to LA and my precious daughter (who’s a senior in college) was in LA with me, staying at our friend’s home.

While in LA, we drove a couple hours north to meet with a proprietor and his team from this lovely flower company in hopes to put together a special gift for you. As we drove onto the farm and walked up to the main barn, dust flew up everywhere from our tires and then our shoes. My daughter and I looked at each, smiled, and said without having to say a word (in that unspoken language we moms have with our kids), “Ahhhh… this may be just the right place to be in the moment, take a pause, and soak it all in.” and we walked in gratitude to the barn to meet our new friends.

I don’t know if it was mixture of dust and beautiful sun rays, sound of wood-planked steps, smell of fresh coffee, and not to forget the seriously fragrant flowers all around us – but we felt transported, and it all felt magical.

Everything was so beautiful, down-home, and oh so fragrant! We talked and talked, and walked the fields. Four hours flew right on by! I knew these were the farmers, the growers, to partner with and to bring you a special Mother’s Day gift. So, I’m partnering with our new friends at Stargazer Barn to offer farm-to-table flowers and curated treats. We call this the very special Joy of Mom collection.

From now until the week of Mother’s Day, you can enter to win a package of lilies, tulips and irises plus a special treat of curated artisan products like handcrafted chocolate, cookies, perfume, coffee, jewelry and many more things. And the first collection, for Mother’s Day with feature my first book, The Joy of Mom: Celebrating a Mother’s Love. Close your eyes for a second and imagine a whole year of lovely things delivered to your front door! (I am so there!!)

Personally, I love to imagine our moms out there finally finishing the afternoon rush of picking up kids, shuttling them to soccer practice and dance rehearsals and then coming home to a box on their front step. There it is! What is it? For a second, you hope that it’s not some crazy widget your husband ordered from Amazon to fix the washer and dryer! Instead, you realize it’s for you! Fresh flowers, decadent chocolates, my first book, or other special curated treats! It’s a little well deserved reward for doing what you do every day and being so wonderful at it because shouldn’t Mother’s Day last all year long?

Stargazer Barn sent me a bouquet of lilies to celebrate this coming Mother’s Day, and I have to tell you, the photos simply don’t do them justice. They’re beautiful online, but they’re even better in person and at home, in a lovely vase on your own table. And I’m so happy and grateful that my book is also available alongside these heartwarming gifts of what I personally love – flowers and chocolate.

I wish you all the best of luck in winning beautiful flowers and curated goodies for a year and I hope you enjoy all of the lovely gifts Stargazer Barn has to offer just as much as I do.

From my heart to yours, Happy Mother’s Day!

Xo,

Vicki

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