Millennium Mom

Friday, November 27, 2009

11/27 Blog: Black Friday

Happy (and hopefully a safe and productive) Black Friday to all of you.
I have never done the Black Friday thing. Perhaps because we have always traveled on Thanksgiving, so not being in my back yard, with stores I know, and the ability to quickly hide presents did not exist. I think it would be pretty hard to hide the presents in a van.

It also doesn't excite me to think about getting up at 4am. You all know me, I love my sleep. I would have to go to bed at 8pm to get the beauty sleep I need. But...this year I was actually going to do it. Each year our family adopts a family through the local Salvation Army. I believe this is our 5th year. I started doing it when I realized that Christmas was no longer fun for me. Our kids have more than what they need, as do Arnie and I. And it wasn't fun anymore. We are also so fortunate to be able to give to others, so this was another way we could do that.

When you adopt a family, the gifts have to be delivered early in December, usually around the 8-10th. This year it is the 8/9th. I realized that I only have this weekend and next to do my shopping for the family. On top of that Arnie has his annual ski weekend with his father next weekend in Vail, so the thought of shopping with all three kids in toe didn't seem like a good idea. This meant I had to do it this weekend.

I am sure you are thinking...what about during the week? I thought of that to. But we have Hockey game Monday night for Ben, a work event at our home on Wed, a work event to go to on Thursday and then Arnie leaves. So unless it was Tuesday it wouldn't happen, and frankly I didn't want to do it then because it would mean we would be out of the house the entire week which I don't like to do.

So I hit the flyers. I knew I couldn't do it all, but I wanted to get most of the family's needs done. I realized I could do a lot in two stores: Kohl's and Toys R Us. I made my list, circled away and was prepared. Then my sister in law told us that most stores were giving Black Friday deals online beginning at Midnight. Kohl's was even giving an additional 15% off. This was far too appealing for my husband, as I told him he had to go to be my bodyguard (did I tell you I was really a bit terrified doing this).

So, he woke me up at 12:30 am and we got online. WHAT A NIGHTMARE. Let's just say that the servers were not ready for Black Friday. First Comcast (we are in Detroit) went down as we were two items away from being done on Toys R Us. We switched computers (for some reason we thought this may help, and this way I could be in bed) and tried again. Success, one hour later we had Toys R Us placed (thought, the site was horrible, it would change prices constantly, at times things were on sale and other times not, others it gave one price and then when you went to checkout it would change...a bit frustrating). Then we headed to Kohl's. Same problems there, but this time with their site. Kohl's was SO SLOW, truly painful. It took us 1:45 and we were again two items from finishing. And their site locked up. We got a nice picture of little elves saying "we are sorry but we are trying to keep up." I stayed up for another 30 minutes and we were able to at least "see" the items we needed. But we could never add them to the cart. After an hour we got a message saying "due to inactivity you order has been deleted."

I thought my husband was going to throw the computer through the window. Instead he emptied his mother's dish washer (very loudly and kept me up). So now it is 3:30 am (when we would have gotten up) and we had nothing ordered at Kohl's. This morning we got back online and it was much faster (much later, after 9am) but the pots n pans we needed were no longer available. Everything else was so the order was placed and we still were "happy" with escaping another year without hitting the stores.

I will need to go out on Sunday (likely to Kohl's with my $30 in Kohl's bucks that I earned) to get some items that weren't on deal today. I would love to know how many people were shopping last night and how many had success vs. face defeat like we did. I hope you were all on the successful side.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

11/22 Blog: Traveling with Kids

This week I will do my monthly segment for Fox, the topic is traveling tips for moms with kids. I thought I would post it for you all to read in case you are not in Cincinnati or Facebook.

Tips for Traveling with Children over Holiday Season

Air Travel
The airport

  • Print boarding passes ahead of time, to cut out the time it takes to check-in. Simply walk up to counter with bags to check.
  • Arrive early. It takes a while to get through security, even longer with a family. Be sure to give yourselves time.


  • Wear shoes that are easy to get off and on the kids
  • Take jackets, sweatshirts off early to place in a bin
  • Put all electronics in one bag to make it easier; gameboys, DVD players, computers, cameras and cell phones.
  • Bring food to take on the plane
    Either pack food from home (this will save money) or purchase at the airport. Airlines DO NOT have good food offerings for kids, so it needs to come onto the plane

The plane ride

  • Put all key items under the seat versus in overhead; it gives you flexibility and access at any time
  • Air Pressure at take-off and landing
    Infants – be prepared to feed them at take-off and landing. The air pressure will cause strong pain on their ears, the easiest way to get rid of it is to have them swallowing.
    Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers– have a sippy cup handy
    School age children – have gum handy.
  • Entertainment
    Bring the portable DVD, coloring, work books or any activity they can do on their own. ust remind them the trays can’t come down until you say so.
  • Bring carseats with you. For reference, they DO NOT allow the upper portion of booster seat, the seat must be one solid piece. Only bring the bottom portion.

Car Rides
Prepare ahead

  • If possible coordinate time of travel; it is best if you can limit the awake time in the car. Try to travel during nap times so they can sleep, or late at night after they fall asleep.
  • Strategize on seating and who will sit where. Depending on the age of your child you may wnt to sit closer to the children.
  • Have plastic bags on hand; to serve as garbage bag or if someone gets car sick


  • Pack a variety of food; from snacks, to sandwiches and drinks. Try to limit the amount of stops you have to make.
  • Plan out where you want to stop for dinner and time. On routes you have taken before go to familiar areas. For new routes let and others help you find the right eating place for you.
  • Make sure to have paper towels, napkins, wipes or a rag to wipe up spills


  • Similar to above, be sure to have a range of activities to make the time pass.
    Car bingo is our latest favorite. Make out BINGO sheets for things you would see on a highway (e.g. a bus, motorcycle, tractor trailer, speed limit sign, farm, McDonalds, construction zone and so forth)
  • Have the kids pick out the video they want to watch ahead of time to limit debate.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11/18 Blog: Grandparents Night

Tomorrow is Grandparents Night at Summit Elementary. The night coincides with "book fair" week each year. Why they do it the week before Thanksgiving is beyond me. All I can think is that they believe everyone's parents live in Cincinnati. Last year I didn't even tell Ben. He was in Kindergarten and I hoped and prayed that they just didn't talk about it. I volunteered at the Book Fair that night (one of the only things I can do as it is at night) and saw all the Grandparents coming in with their grandchildren. It made my heart sink.

So when the email came home this year I decided I would tell Arnie's parents about it. They always want to know about "big things" so they can at least make a call on if they can come. They came down for the girls first recital for example. So I sent an email letting them know. As soon as they understood that the kids would go with them to school they were sold and it was on the calendar. I guess I sort of knew they would say yes, but wasn't sure. Heck, its a five hour drive from Detroit for them, and they have to be back for a commitment on Friday. And we are heading there next Wednesday.

But like most Grandparents, its all for the kids and no sacrifice is too large. They will drive down, bring dinner with them (yippie) and spend the evening with Ben and Claire at school. Just after breakfast they will head back home. That is pure dedication. It also melts my heart as my kids get to have a normal school event and forget for some time that they don't live by their grandparents each and every day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

11/13 Blog: Happy Anniversary

This week Arnie and I celebrated our 9th anniversary. I just chuckled as I typed "celebrated" as this day often goes by in the same way as a typical day. We get up, we get the kids ready, we go to work, come home and have dinner and on we go. This year we actually went next door to have cake and coffee for our neighbor Tod's 40th birthday. I must say it was really weird to be celebrating and having cake, with no one knowing it was our special day. We knew we wouldn't go out to dinner given it was a Wednesday, we had swim lessons and I already had two work dinners this week. But going to another celebration really made me feel down. I felt like we couldn't as a family celebrate this special day.

So why did this bother me? I have asked myself this same question. I view my wedding as the best and most significant day in my life (except I guess when I was born which started life). Marrying my husband was not only the most significant thing I have done in my life, it "born" a new life. It allowed me to have new experiences, to birth three children and create a new family that is the center of our universe. So celebrating and recognizing that day is important to me. It shows our kids the importance of it and reminds them the importance of marriage and love in our lives. Not "acknowledging" it made it seem like any other day.

In the grand scheme of things it isn't a big deal. We are still happy and healthy. We had fun with our neighbors and the kids got ice cream. I told Arnie I love him and he is the best husband on earth, likewise for him. So I guess we did celebrate in our own way, and on to ten we go.

Monday, November 2, 2009

11-2 Blog...Know your body

This is a very tough time of year for me. It's the World Series. For those of you who know me well, it should come as no surprise to you that I have had many late nights over the past few weeks. I am a DIE HARD Yankees fan. Always have been. The first season I can remember was 1977...Bucky Dent, Greg Nettles, Lou Piniella, Willie Randolph, Thurman Munson (God rest his soul) and so on. Back then it was the one sport on New York that a family could afford and get a ticket too. And it was on TV, what seemed to be every night on WPIX network (I guess today it would be the CW).

32 years later I am still a big fan. Obviously living in Cincy I can't watch them all the time, unless they make the playoffs. This year was great being in Utah on vacation for one week of the playoffs. The two hour time zone difference meant games starting around 6 vs. 8, and ending by 9:30. It was fantastic. But now back on East Coast time means games ending at 11:30 if you are lucky. This means I am either really tired, or missed the last few innings. I must admit I have done a little bit of both this year. I just couldn't make it last night I went to bed in the middle of the 7th, work was longing the next day. Of course all of the excitement happened in the 9th.

Thank goodness for the Internet and being able to watch highlights, and DVR to play it back (yes, I record them). But it's fun and worth it in the end. Ben loves to watch it with me and as a fan I am privileged to have them playing and the opportunity to watch. Importantly I know my body inside and out and know when I am pushing it too hard. Last week after staying up late two nights, I knew I would need to make up the sleep and planned to be in bed by 9:30 for a couple of nights.

As I tell all the women's groups I talk to, know what amount of sleep you need and respect it. For me it is 8 hours, and I can only not get it for one or two nights before I hit a wall. If I get less than 6 I am pretty much a zombie. With the kids older now I can sleep in on weekends which helps a lot. Even the kids talk about how "mom sleeps late on Saturdays." I honestly don't know how I survived not being able to sleep in for five years. Between Ben being born and Sarah turning 2 (maybe even later) I was up when a child was up. It was tough, but I got by. Now I long for weekends and just sleeping in. I may wake up at 6:45 when Claire or Ben get up, but I can easily fall back asleep...often until 8:30-9.

So my advice is know your limits on sleep and rest and be sure to get it. Your mind and body need the rest and you will be more productive overall if you give it what it needs.