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Today’s Moms Book Bash and Diapers Drive

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but these days, it takes an entire community.

The authorsLast Friday, I had the chance to take part in the Today’s Moms Book Bash and Diaper Drive.  The event promoted Today Show producers, Maryanne Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo’s book, Today’s Mom: The Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year, and it also brought awareness to a wonderful organization, Baby Buggy.  The room, filled with other mom bloggers and social media influencers,  brought together many voices to get the word out about a great new book, but also a great charity that helps moms in need.

Founded by Jessica Seinfeld in 2001, Baby Buggy is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce the financial burden on low-income families by collecting and delivering gently used baby items.  The moms in attendance were asked to donate a pack of Pampers with Baby Buggy’sToday's Moms initiatives in mind.  With about 100 or so moms in attendance, Baby Buggy collected quite a few Pampers to help families in need, but more importantly got us moms talking about the importance of helping NYC who really need it.  If you have gently used items that you no longer need or items that you never had the chance to use (like us,) please consider donating to Baby Buggy.  In fact, I will be donating several bags of unused items later this week.

At the breakfast and book bash, several of Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo’s familiar friends stopped by—fellow Hoboken mom, Natalie Morales and another Today Show mama, Amy Robach were on hand.  The surprise guest was perhaps the best treat:  none other than Fergie ( the “real” one), Sarah Ferguson, made an appearance and spoke candidly about being modern moms and how it’s so important for us to continue helping and reaching out to one another.  It was so nice that she could take time out of her schedule to reach out to us “real” moms, but also to learn the extent of her authenticity and humor!

There were so many fun giveaway gifts—none of which I won—but I’m sure I’ll be talking about them over on The Next Kid Thing. Even though I went solo, I met so many super sweet moms, some local and one from as far as Boston, including  Mary Ann and Alicia@todaysmoms ,@melysas, @primetimeparent, @MommyNiri, @BabyCenterMom and @ChildsPlayComm.

Be sure to check out Today’s Moms book! Thanks for such a fun morning, @todaysmoms!!

Surviving that first year is a piece of cake, especially when you’ve got a community of moms who have your back!

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Next stop, 30 Rock

Exciting news!  Tomorrow, I’ll be at 30 Rock!  The address, not the show.

Why, you ask?  Well, that’s because I was tapped to be a part of the Today’s Moms Book Bash Breakfast and Diaper Drive.  When I say tapped, I mean I signed up and they selected the attendees for the event.  The event is being held by the authors of Today’s Moms.  Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo, producers at NBC’s TODAY Show, have been promoting their book, Today’s Moms: Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year.


This breakfast is another one of the book’s publicity events, but this time, it involves “real” moms and mom bloggers.  I might have survived the first year, but just barely!  I guess I met the requirements!  But still, I’m so excited to be a part of it!  Jeff volunteered to play Mr. Mom for the morning, so the childcare situation is all set!  However, I had the chance to bring a guest, only to realize that I don’t have any mom friends.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I do.  But the people that I wanted to bring have work or live so far away.  I have local mom friends, but not good friends, just acquaintances from playgroup, church and such. (I’m such the antithesis from the groups of moms that hang out and socialize with each other in the  park.)  And my other friends, the DINKs?  Yeah, I highly doubt you guys would even want to go to such an event.  (If my assumption is wrong, let me know if you want to go!)  So besides being friendless, I’m super-excited for tomorrow!

The event will broadcast live on their website.  So, tune in to check us out!  Because it’s a publicity event, they’re encouraging us to blog and tweet. I’ll have my MacBook w/ hot pink case–the one like in Shopaholic, but I got mine as a gift before the movie came out ;)   You can’t miss me!  Cool case, yet still friendless.

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Good fodder

Thank God it’s Friday!  With all that was going on this week, I can hardly believe it’s already Friday.  Last night when I took down the recycling, since paper collection is on Thursday nights, I had to recount all the days in my head just to make sure that I had the correct day.  ha.  I haven’t had a week like this in ages…

We live in area where upon meeting you, people sum you up on where you went to college, what degree you have and yes, what you do for a living.  It’s just a very career-oriented place, with many of us sacrificing space for proximity to our workplace.  But on the other side of the token, I think the general perspective is so different back home.  Some go to college, you get a job, buy a house, have a family and go about your business.  It’s clear cut, making little room for diversion.  It’s honorable but quite different than how I’d also envisioned things for myself.

All I’d ever wanted was to write and be creative, but in a capacity where I had no boundaries in doing so.  I wish I could verbalize the fiery passion that I have for this.  But it’s always been there, and there’s no denying it, which is what landed me here.

Having Jeff along made things even more exciting for the good times and tolerable for those tough times…but things for us have been far from predictable.  We’re in our early 30s now, a time when most of our peers are enjoying their homes, a pair of cars in the driveway and working their way towards the 2.5 kids—or whatever that statistic is nowadays.

For the time being, we’ve shelved hopes for the house in place of pursuing our careers and starting our family.  It’s what some people choose to do.  We have family and friends who don’t “get it” and question our tiny space and how our rent is as costly as mortgages.  That’s fine, but again, I’ll gladly take these life experiences before the house, the 2 cars and whatever else it is that most people think we need to be successful.

Here’s the thing, people.  There’s a method to our madness.  We live within our means–at least we try.  We don’t have to be bailed out of a mortgage that we can’t afford.  And most importantly, we’ve both been given so many awesome opportunities because of this path we’ve chosen. Jeff’s skyrocketing as usual; there’s no surprise there.  And for me, well, I hope to continue to share as things progress. I am behind on posts for Babyrific, but there’s so much I need to share.

This week was the culmination of so much for me.  It’s not just some “little business” that I thought up while I was watching Oprah and snacking on cheese puffs.  For those that don’t “get” why we do the things we do, it’s weeks like this when things come full circle.  I’m doing it, ya’ll.  I’m carpe diem-ing.

The launch of my new site, though still in its early stages, is something that I’d been working toward.  I’m fortunate to be home with my kid, but I maintain the 9-5 workdays (with a little napping siesta every now and then.) But ever since I left my office job 6 months ago, THIS is what I’ve been working toward.  It’s just the beginning, but I finally have that running start.

And as I’ve said to many of you already, I couldn’t have done this without your help.  The encouragement, the belief and the inspiration–all of it has helped me reach beyond my comfort zone.  I am so grateful for the support system that I’m lucky enough to call friends and family.  And a big, big shout out to my kickass husband and all of you that have been boosting me up with the comments and frequent visits to the new site.  Thank you.

I’m not moving mountains here or saving lives, but I’m fulfilling that fiery passion and working it all out.  The small apartment, city street parking, frequent trips to the laundromat with the kid in tow?  Trust me, it’ll be good fodder for that best seller one day.

A girl can dream…

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The truth about motherhood

Yesterday’s Oprah was the talk of Twitter last night.  I have to admit, I was napping because I’m on “vacation” (well, as much as one can consider vacationing in your hometown and sleeping in your childhood bed) The napping part is the vacation part.  But, since I have extra help this week, to me, that translates into sleep.  So, we napped…and I missed Oprah and friends talking about motherhood.  But I did have the chance to read and watch Oprah online and I found it so interesting.

Just like the moms said, there’s so much about motherhood that no one really vocalizes.  I mean, not just the bodily fluids, but the resentment, the guilt, the constant exhaustion, the new types of “flutters,”  the greatness of this love… But for real, I could’ve used that memo a year and a half ago!

  • No one ever warned me that EVERYONE else knows more about my child than me, you know, the person that they poked, prodded and yanked him from.
  • No one ever told me that not only would I not be able to go to the bathroom in peace, but that I’d never be able to change my clothes in peace, either.
  • No one ever warned me about the icepack to the ass.  Um, hemorrhoids?  That phase of pregnancy was an entire hemorrhage.
  • No one ever told me the guilt would eat me alive–not just the working mom’s guilt, but the judgmental guilt, and the am I doing the right thing guilt and as of late for me, the discipline-sometimes-sucks-so-bad-I’m-a-horrible-mom guilt.
  • No on ever told me exactly how much poo and the wiping of another person’s butt would be involved.  I knew there would be a lot, but one day, at the height of the fun–I think there was four poopy diapers in an hour and a half.  Holy crap–literally!
  • No one ever told me just how powerful the little boy hugs and sweet kisses can be.
  • No one ever warned me that getting pregnant wasn’t as easy as I imagined.  It’s easier said than done to plan to wait to have kids once “the time is right.”  When you’re ready, your body/circumstance/nature might think otherwise.
  • No one ever told me how rewarding it all is, you know, after all the poo, Tucks and lack of showering.
  • No one ever told me just how happy and content these two human beings can make me feel.
  • No one ever said that being imperfect is perfectly fine.
  • No one ever warned me about the magnitude of it all.

Jacky and mom
I could go on forever about what I’d wish I’d known about motherhood, but hearing all of my truths would surely get redundant and for some, a lot more TMI!

Based on the “expert” panelists on Oprah, it sounds like none of us are alone in this thing we call motherhood.  Among the “expert” panelists were some influential mom bloggers and writers including, Heather B. Armstrong from Dooce, Mindy Roberts from The Mommy Blog, Daphne Brogdon from CoolMom , BlogHer CE Karen Walrond from Chookooloonks. Heija Nunn from The Worst Mother in the World, Vicki Glembocki author of The Second Nine Months were all Skyped in.  Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile, co-authors of the book I’d Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper and actor Cheryl Hines, star of ABC’s series In The Motherhood joined Oprah in the studio.

While not everything was relevant, it was informative nonetheless.  Running out of diapers?  What?  We live 15 steps from the bodega and CVS.   I know nothing about that.  However, I’m sure not every mom can relate to the amount of discomfort I felt when my kid melted down on Park Ave. or the fury I felt the time not a single person offered to help me hoist our stroller up a set of stairs from the subway platform.

We all have different scenarios.  Some of us are rural, some are suburban and others are urban.  Some have calmer, less acrobatic children.  Others have help.  Some have the juggle down to a precision.  Others handle stress much differently.

And that’s why I put it all out there.  So much of what I do makes up what I blog, what I tweet and influences how I update my status on FB, just like many of you do, too!  I’m not perfect.  My kid is not perfect.  My husband?  Well, he’s close to it (or so I tell him).

But that’s it.  That’s what makes motherhood for our generation so intriguing.  Each mom, each family, each child has their own story, and combine that with the immediacy and convenience of the internet and social media, it truly makes the world such an interesting place in which to live and learn.  I learn so much from what I read online, especially from the people I know personally.  We all influence each other so much, which makes motherhood *that* much easier, or at least not as lonely.

I sure as hell don’t know it all, but it’s pretty cool reading and learning from other people’s experiences.

One of the most memorable quotes I got from the show:

Mothers need to know that if they can’t do it all—or if they don’t want to—that doesn’t make them failures, Amy says. “We need honesty,” she says. “We need to support each other more.”

Lets be honest friends, the lack of sleep, that’s to be expected.  But listen, there’s a lot of poop involved–literally and figuratively.  But it’s so damn worth it.

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Dr. Jen on baby’s sleep habits and nighttime routines

Sleep.  I crave it like a juicy Five Guys Hamburger.  I need it, I want it, but like many moms, I don’t really get it as often as I’d like.  (Sleep, not the delicious hamburger.)
Today, for the first time in a few weeks, I actually feel well-rested.  We’ve been going through our own sleep issues right now, so it’s amazing what an extra 2 hours of sleep can do for you.  Though,  I won’t say that too loudly, I don’t want to jinx it!

Fact:  On average, babies fuss about 74 minutes a day.

Dr. Jen TrachtenbergThere are many reasons behind mom’s lack of sleep, but often, a new baby is at the top of this list.  Even though my child is beyond the baby days, with all this lack of sleep that’s been going on, it’s so fitting that I was able to sit in on an event to listen to Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg talk about something so relevant.  The renowned pediatrician and author of Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children, Dr. Jen offered some invaluable tips and insight on sleep and nighttime routines.  Here are a few things that she had to say about baby and my old friend, sleep:
My are notes indicated with star-pink-32x32

  • Nighttime routine is very important;  I can’t stress that enough, she said.  It needs to be done consistently, on a day-to-day basis.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but more of a daily routine. It’s not a schedule she says, but more of a routine.
  • Not only is the nighttime routine important for the kids, but Dr. Jen says transitioning yourself to nighttime from daytime is really important–turning down the lights, turning down the tv, make it quieter, playing nighttime music such as classical or softer tunes.  In the baby’s room, close the blinds so that baby’s sleep isn’t disrupted by light.  Natural sunlight is known to wake up baby, Dr. Jen says baby should wake up on his own terms.
  • Also check the room temperature.  Babies sleep better in between 68-72 degrees.  Too warm or over-layering the baby can make the baby too hot, thus more fussy.  It’s great to have a fan in baby’s room for many reasons.  There’s new research showing that circulating the air can reduce risks for SIDS for babies.  It also has that white noise effect and drowns out other noises, making it easier for baby to fall asleep. Fans are simple, economic alternatives to those white noise machines out on the market.
  • Good nighttime routines typically start with a bath.  It’s a great time to bond and talk to baby, Dr. Jen says.
      star-pink-32x32 After not having much luck with our initial baby tub, I have to say, Munchkin’s inflatable safety duck tub is the most versatile baby bathtub out there.  It’s portable, inflatable, soft, easy to clean and does the job.  Not bad for $10.
  • Dr. Jen recommends moisturizing the baby right after the bath.  Lotion is a great way to help with massaging the baby.  Baby massages–usually slow circular motions–after the bath is another great time to bond, as well as time to wind down and get ready for bed.
  • going-to-bedQuiet nighttime activity, reading is always recommended.  Dr. Jen says it’s never too early to start reading to your baby.  Starting with a board book that is easy and only has a few words on the page.  Eventually, babies start to respond to rhyming and then inflection in your voice, Dr. Jen says, then reading becomes reciprocal with the anticipation of page turning and when the book is about to end.
      star-pink-32x32Our personal favorite nighttime book is Sandra Boyton’s Bedtime Book.  It’s a short and sweet story about animals aboard an ark that are also preparing for bed.
  • After the quiet activity, ultimately, it’s time for bed.  Dr. Jen recommends putting the baby to bed when she is sleepy, but still awake;  ideally, they should still be arousable but drowsy.  This is important so they learn how to transition from your arms to the bed.  According to Dr. Jen, this is so important for babies so they learn how to fall asleep on their own, and ultimately, sleep through the night.
      star-pink-32x32If they don’t know how to fall asleep on their own or are used to falling asleep with help–rocking, feeding, etc.–they won’t know how to fall asleep without that help when they wake up in the middle of the night.  Dr. Jen confirmed exactly what I kept trying to tell my mom who was big on rocking/singing when putting Jack down for a nap and the occasional bedtime all of those months.  It was so helpful at the time, but unfortunately, Jack never slept through the night until a few months ago (which is a distant memory for now and our current battle!)
  • Dr. Jen is a big proponent of swaddling.  When you swaddle the baby it makes them feel cozy and warm, just like they’re in the womb, but it also decreases the startle reflex they have as newborns, she said. Some moms say that their baby likes to sleep with their arms out, but studies show that babies sleep much better and stay asleep when they are swaddled.  Receiving blankets do the trick, but there are great innovations out on the market equipped with velcro and other things to help with
    The NYT recently provided some information on the “right” way to swaddle.  We started out with several Kiddopatomus Swaddle Mes which were awesome, but Jack grew so quickly, that by the second month we were miracle_blanket_step11looking for the next size.  Recommended by a good friend, I ended up buying a Miracle Blanket which ended up being one of our best newborn gear investments.  There was no Velcro, just more soft fabric to wrap.  I ended up using it until he started to roll over (around the 5-month mark,) which is when pediatricians recommend to stop swaddling.  If you decide to swaddle your baby, the Miracle Blanket comes highly recommended!

      We’ve probably heard or read some of these pointers along the way,  but hearing her actually say it all was that much more reinforcing. Here’s hoping that all of you, including baby, get the sleep you want/need/crave!

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Elmo and You Tube “Poop”

Jack’s been busy building his vocabulary these days.  And just like most kids his age, he is so mesmerized by Elmo.  So naturally, after reading Ready, Set, Brush a gazillion times, in addition to watching Sesame Street every morning, the minute Jack sees that fuzzy baby-talking monster, he squeals.  But last night was different.  When a commercial for Sesame Street Live came on tv, in mid-chew, Jack practically removes dinner from his mouth just to yelp, “Elmo, Elmo, Elmo, yyyeeeee!”  It was both freaky and cute that he can now verbalize his favorite character’s name.  Oh boy, and so it begins ;)

So, in honor of Jack’s latest word, I thought I’d share some Elmo You Tube Poop that made both of us laugh, but for totally different reasons.

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The cow says…

Since I haven’t posted in a few days due to our zombie state, thanks to 3am wakings and the requisite 3am shrieks of teething pain, how about I share a little video of we’ve been up to, you know, besides NOT sleeping and all…

(The cow is pretty constipated, isn’t she?)

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Lessons in Multiraciality

Last night, while reading the touch and feel book, “Who Do You Love?”, Jeff and Jack came across a page with two different colored bears.

“Look, Jack! Those bears are like mommy and daddy.  One bear is brown and one is white, just like us.”

I couldn’t help but giggle over the cuteness.  Jack, with his innocent little face, was laughing along with me, but he had no idea why. But, something tells me lessons later in life won’t be as short and simple.

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Storytime with Mr. Roboto

Who knew Styx wrote childrens’ books?

(watch at the 30 second mark)

Another reason why I married Mr. Right– his ability to  seamlessly interchange the lyrics to an awfully awesome 80s song into an otherwise lame counting book.  (with dance moves, too! haha!)

Jack says Domo Arigato daddio.

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Baby Bibliophile

[flickr video=2847673737 show_info=true w=260 h=195]

Jack loves to read

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

Speaking of sharing, I thought this was too cute not to share. Jack adores books and reading. And like the bibliophile I am, I love watching him “read” so intently.

I heart that he hearts books :)

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