Category Archives: Christmas


10 Ideas to Help Detraumatize Your Toddler During Vaccinations and Shots

1.  Bring a wing-man.

  • Make your partner come with you, or ask a grandparent, or auntie/uncle.  Schedule the appointment during your significant other’s lunch-break if you have to.  Otherwise, you will likely be left holding down your little one by yourself – straight-jacket-style – during shots, which means that no one is there to distract your little baby. 

2.  Download apps on phone that your baby/toddler will be mesmerized with.  

  • My young toddler is obsessed with Elmo, so we have the “Elmo Calls” app on our phone.  This was VERY useful as a means of distraction during our most recent vaccination visit (she still cried…but this app made it so much better).

3.  Bring new or forgotten-about toys.  

  • Pull these bad boys out right as the nurse has the needle ready.  
  • Tip :  Hide the toys in your purse and make sure your little one doesn’t see them ahead of time.
  • Here is a list of toys that my young toddler loves 5 Great Toys for Young Toddlers.  The toy remote control and the stuffed Elmo are great for vaccine appointment distraction.

4.  Consider spreading your little one’s shots out over multiple appointments.  

  • This can be a good idea.  I wish I would have spread out my daughter’s vaccines for her 12-month shots – she had to get four vaccines, plus a finger prick.  That was way too much for her and the appointment was a nightmare (read about it here at What To Know Before Baby’s 12-Month Check-Up).  Spreading these shots out would have made it significantly less traumatic.
  • I highly recommend doing this if your child will be getting his or her finger pricked – that is the worst…the nurse squeezes the blood out…and it’s so sad….seconds seem like hours while this is occurring.

5.  Make sure your little one has a good nap before your appointment.  

  • Tired Baby = unhappy baby.
  • Tired Baby + Vaccinations = VERY UNHAPPY BABY

6.  Make sure your baby has a full tummy.  

  • Hungry Baby = unhappy baby
  • Hungry Baby + Vaccinations = VERY UNHAPPY BABY 

7.  Stop at Starbucks on the way (for you).  

  • This will help you be a mommy ninja.

8.  Call your pediatrician’s office ahead of time to find out details.  

  • Is it 3 shots, 4 shots? 
  • Is there a finger prick?  

9.  Reward brave behavior of your little one.  

  • Ice cream or shakes are a great way to reward your child for brave behavior following pediatrician appointment that involves vaccinations.

10.  If it’s flu season, get the flu shot at the same time as your little one.

  • If you have a toddler, then show them how fun it is to be “brave.”  
  • MORE IMPORTANTLY, get your shots before baby and then convince the nurse that she is “so good at giving shots!” (build up her confidence) and then, she’ll try extra hard when it’s time to put the needle to your baby).  I swear, this method is effective.

Share your tips for surviving vaccinations 
with your baby or toddler by commenting below!


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Baby Shower Idea – Onesie Decorating Party for Guests

We had a “Onesie Decorating Station” at my baby shower; it was a Do-It-Yourself station where my guests got to paint onesies and talk with each other. My shower was held at the house of one of my mom’s friends, and we used her kitchen table as a painting station where my guests painted plain white onesies for my baby-to-be. We had various stencils (shaped like animals, shapes, etc.), various paint colors, and plenty of paint brushes. It was really cute, and touching, to see my friends and family personalize a onesie just for my baby.
One of the main reasons that loved the onesie station at my baby shower is 
because it allowed the baby shower to have a more interactive atmosphere – as opposed to being separated into groups at tables like most of the baby/bridal showers I have had and attended.  The onesie station gave people a reason to get up from their seats and mingle, and I actually got to have conversations and laugh with each of my guests as they rotated between the snacks and drinks to the onesie decorating table.  I think my guests enjoyed it because they also got to talk to one another.

I highly recommend this.  Just make sure that you have a good place to hang the onesies to dry, especially if you want your guests to be able to paint both sides of the onesie, as painting cute stuff on the butt part of the baby onesie makes for a really cute outfit for baby (every baby outfit is cuter when it has cute stuff on the butt, duh).

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Onesie Decorating Party for my Baby Shower

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What Am I Going To Do With My Life Now That Homeland Season 2 is Over?

We just finished the second season of “Homeland”….

Once the second season of “Homeland” ended, I immediately felt deep regret:  

  • I should have watched the episodes at a slower pace. 
  • I should have appreciated the essence of the show in its entirety more than I did.
  • So many regrets!  I love this show so much, and now, no other show can come close to compare to it. 

Without Homeland, what are we going to do on a Friday night now?!  

This is devastating.  

Does anyone, anyone, have any other GREAT show suggestions 
(ideally, a television show that is equally as amazing as “Homeland”)?  

Now that “Homeland” is over, we are so bored.  

Without “Homeland,” we feel so….empty…so lost.

Without “Homeland” to look forward to every night, it’s as if a critical part of my brain will no longer be stimulated effectively, and that makes me sad.

(Yes, this is pathetic, but I do not care.)

I guess that all we can do is wait for the 3rd season to begin.  This will be the longest, most difficult, wait of my life – it may even tie with the treacherous waiting time of pregnancy.  

Please share with us 
your TV show suggestions! We are bored.

Oh, and…


Dear Claire Danes: you are awesome.  

Link:   Homeland: The Complete First Season

My Dog Ate Raisins (Toxic) – Positive Thoughts Needed

Raisins are known to be “highly poisonous” to dogs and cause renal (kidney) failure (Animal Poison Control Center).  In dogs, raisins are believed to cause kidney failure, and even if treated immediately, the toxic effects of raisins on a dogs renal system can lead to death.  Anywhere from 1 to 500 raisins can be deadly for a dog.

Bammer – My Puggle

One of my worst nightmares as a “dog mom” occurred Monday evening.  

I returned home after a lovely, fun and wine-filled Monday night with three of my girlfriends (we had been watching the Season Finale of “The Bachelor” at my friend’s house), and when I walked in the door, I expected the usual tail-wagging greeting that I always receive from my rolly polly little mutt.  But I didn’t get that greeting, and when I walked in the door of my house and into my living room, my stomach dropped:

There, on my living room floor was the bag of raisin bread that I had purchased earlier that week, but the bag was chewed up, empty, and licked clean.   While I was out, my dog, Bammer, who is a “puggle” (a pug-beagle mix), had managed to get a hold of the loaf of raisin bread and eat almost the entire loaf after I had left for the night.  

I love Bammer so much that I sometimes even consider her to be my actual “first-born” child.  

I frantically tried to recall exactly how much of that loaf of bread had been left, all I could recall was that there had been almost an entire loaf.  This was confirmed the moment I looked over at my chubby little puggle, who was laying happily in front of my couch, because she looked as if she had eaten an over-sized football.
I got Bammer when I was in undergraduate school and lived in a single-bedroom apartment by myself, and she has been my best and most loyal friend ever since.  Before I had my actual human daughter (Tessa), it was Bammer’s chubby face that filled up the camera roll on my iPhone; it was Bammer that sat in the passenger seat of my car as I ran errands on Saturday and gave a big doggy smile as the drive-thru ladies at Walgreens and the bank sent over a biscuit to give to my little mutt.  I used to snuggle with Bammer in my bed and promise her that I would always keep her safe and then hug her head until she grunted and snorted in the ridiculously adorable way that pugs do; I used to attend “Puggle Meet-Up Groups” just so I could watch her play and snort with her other puggle friends (pug and beagle mix).  

I’ve been so preoccupied with everything from surviving the newborn stage, to finding time to shower, to balancing my career, that I have somehow managed to effectively fail in my role as a responsible dog owner.   I would have bet you a million dollars that I had left the loaf of raisin bread in a safe place (I could have sworn I left the loaf of bread on the kitchen table and I’ve never seen Bammer climb on the table).  But none of that matters because, at the end of the day, I let my dog become exposed to a poisonous substance, and I should have known better.  This falls only on my shoulders. 

To make matters worse, we had to explore the possibility that our other dog, Chipper, possibly managed to get a hold of the raisin bread too.  Chipper is a much better behaved dog, and thankfully, we later learned that she hadn’t eaten any of the raisin bread.   I spent the next 20-minutes frantically calling every Emergency Vet service on my speed-dial for first, second, third, and fourth opinions. 

Once I was finally able to reach the “on-call” veterinarian from Bammer’s vet clinic, he instructed me to give Bammer and Chipper each a dose of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting.  The hope was that the raisins hadn’t yet been digested.  Thankfully, Chipper’s vomit didn’t indicate any signs of having eaten the Raisin Bread, but unfortunately  Bammer’s vomit was a raisin-filled swirl of bread dough and cinnamon. 

From 11:00 PM that night until 6:30 AM the following morning, I was on and off the phone with the on-call veteranian as he instructed us to continue administering hydrogen peroxide to Bammer until her vomit no longer showed any signs of raisins.  I was cleaning up dog cinnamon-scented dog vomit and rubbing the head of poor Bammer – neither of us got even a wink of sleep (dogs will eat their vomit if you don’t clean it up right away and the entire purpose of inducing vomiting is to get rid of the toxic substances….so you have to literally sit right there with your dog the entire time).

My sister, who is a freakin’ saint and my best friend and the most generous person that I have ever known, got out of her bed and drove over to my house and spent the entire night with me – helping me clean up dog vomit and come up with clever ways to get hydrogen peroxide down my dogs’ throats. (Tip: Ask your vet if you can add a little bit of milk to the hydrogen peroxide if you ever are in a similar position where you need a dog to drink hydrogen peroxide so help your dog’s willingness to drink it). Our downstairs bathroom still reeks of the cinnamon-flavored dog-vomit, and I will not be eating raisin bread of anything with cinnamon for as long as I can see.

I haven’t been that tired since I had a newborn, and I’ve never been that worried or scared for my dog’s life.  

By 9:00 am the next morning, we were able to get Bammer to the vet.  I called Sun-Maid, the maker of the brand of raisin bread that Bammer had eaten, to determine how many raisins were in each loaf of their bread and I was told that there are 150-200 raisins per loaf.  We had counted over 150+ raisins in her vomit the night before; so this was promising news because this meant that we may have gotten most of the raisins out of Bammer’s system before her body was able to digest it.  If her body did digest the raisins, there is a high chance that Bammer’s kidneys will fail.

Right now, Bammer is in the hospital.  It has been 48 hours.  Her blood work after 24-hours, and then after 48-hours (today and yesterday) indicates that the key kidney proteins and enzymes called “creatinine” and “blood urea nitrogen (BUN)” are in the “Low to Normal” range, so this is a good sign (high levels of creatinine and BUN are signs of kidney failure).  Bammer is also producing urine, so this is a positive sign as well.

The vet called and informed me that Bammer was not able to hold down her food today, so the vet is concerned with her pancreas, so they are keeping Bammer for another night.  The blood results for her key pancreatic levels will be back tomorrow morning.  

Please pray for little Bammer.


Many people do not know about all of the foods that are toxic to dogs (chocolate, caffeine, coffee, avocado, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, etc.) In dogs, raisins are believed to cause kidney failure, and if not treated immediately, the toxic effects of raisins on a dogs renal system can lead to death.  (See People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets for more foods that are known to be toxic and deadly to dogs).

How My Toddler Dictates My Bathroom Schedule

The newborn phase was undoubtedly the most difficult, for me.  But, at the very least, after my baby’s one-month mark, I had the option of using the bathroom in my home while feeling confident that my infant would remain in place on his baby gym and not get into trouble.  These days are over!  This confidence has gradually diminished as my child has gained mobility; leaving the door open as a security measure while I pee in my home no longer provides this type of, or any, confidence/security in her safety.  Admittedly, she has kept me company many of times in the bathroom while I go about my business.  But my pre-parenthood-self swore she would never do that!

Sometimes I am afraid to grab a Kleenex or snack from the kitchen while my daughter (1-year-old) plays in the living room.  To you “Open-Themed” home-owners – you have a significant parenting advantage here: I cannot see my living room from my kitchen in my home! The kitchen is a short distance away, but my toddler is attracted to everything dangerous.  That girl can crawl at the speed of light!  My darling little daughter is not quite as interested as I had hoped in the numerous toys I have so carefully selected for her.  Nope. She wants to eat paper (tissue, receipts, magazines…any kind of paper, really), chew on my laptop computer electrical cord, pick the “childproof” outlet plugs out of the outlet (ah!), among many other dangerous things. 

Not only is she crawling, but she is nearly walking! 

Her attempt to walk and stand independently is often met with a huge potential to bump her head.  And dislodging our DVD player from our TV stand seems to be her life-long goal.

What the he*% are the “Terrible Twos” going to bring?

There are days that I don’t brush my teeth in the morning because of my fear of running upstairs to grab my toothbrush…she could dismantle my living room in 30-seconds! And even worse, she could seriously injure herself! Sure, I’ve left a toothbrush in the kitchen for the sake of my dental hygiene  but that soon gets put away or dirty as soon as company comes over and I scramble to clean and tidy up.  I’ve “baby-proofed,” but that means nothing for this child!  They don’t make the type of equipment that she needs, at least not for a price that I can afford!  

I need other items that are in my upstairs bedroom/bathroom throughout the day while my toddler and me frolic in the living room. 
I’ve given up on quite a few of these items – are they worth carrying my 22-pound(+) toddler up my stairs, bending over to grab my chapstick from the floor while balancing her squirmy little body, as my back slowly gives out, and she fusses for her freedom?  Nope!  I will try the lotion from my kitchen sink to cure my chapped lips until naptape comes. My back hurts!

Piggy is gone. Letter to Mr. Mia

BACKGROUND:  Mr. Mia had proudly purchased a set of Melissa and Doug Animal Magnets for our toddler.  Mr. Mia has basically taught our 18-month-old the name of every single animal that exists, and both Mr. Mia and “Baby Mia” (our daughter) have been extremely proud of themselves since the beginning of this endeavor.

Baby Mia’s favorite animal magnet was “piggy” (which she pronounced as “Piggayyyyy!”).

Mr. Mia’s favorite animal magnet was, also, Pigggaayyyy.

Unfortunately, one of our dogs (probably our Puggle, Bammer) also had a favorite animal magnet – it turns out that Bammer loved Piggy too….

Dear Mr. Mia,

I need to tell you something.

Mr. Mia, I need to tell you something:  Bammer ate Piggy.   This is my confession: Bammer ate the Piggy magnet.

She probably thought that it was bacon. 

Bammer, our overweight Puggle (the dog that, according to our veterinarian, is at a serious risk for Type 2 Diabetes), probably thought that Piggy was bacon.  I suspect that the Piggy magnet was sitting on our living room floor (after our toddler had probably grabbed it from the fridge and left it there); so, naturally, our dog, Bammer, probably just thought that Piggy was bacon.  And what dog can seriosuly resist bacon?

Therefore, it’s really not Bammer’s fault.  If anything, Bammer is extremely intelligent for associating a piggy magnet with bacon (after all, she’s only a dog), and dogs love bacon.  

So, if you think about it, we should be grateful for having such a brilliant dog in our lives; we could make millions.

So, back to my confession to Mr. Mia.  This is how it happened:

9-days ago, I walked into our living room – only to see the remains of Piggggayyy (piggy magnet), ripped apart on our floor.  You couldn’t even make-out piggy’s head – it was a gruesome scene – but I recognized Pigggayyy from the remains of his curly tail and his blue magnet background.  I swore to myself that I wouldn’t tell a soul what I had just witnessed.


Then, 5-days-ago, Mr. Mia walked into our living room and asked me where Piggy-Magnet was – I didn’t respond; then, he said, “I guess Piggy-Magnet is gone…”…(followed by the saddest face that I’ve ever seen)….then he walked away with his head down.  It was so sad.

This has been eating me up inside for the last 9-days.

It is killing me.

Mr. Mia:  Bammer ate Piggy.  I helped dispose of the body.

I’m so sorry.  Please forgive me.

Love, always,


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    22 Words of Advice for My Daughter (Volume 2)

    22 Pieces of Advice for my daughter

    To read Volume I of this post, please see Top 35 Life Lessons That I Need to Pass Along to My Daughter

    1.    You wouldn’t care so much what people thought of you if you knew how little they really did.”  – Dr. Phil McGraw

      • When you can’t sleep at night because all you can think about is what other people thought about something you said or maybe something that you did, just remember that other people don’t think about you  as much as you think about you.

    2.    It’s almost never about you.  

      • People have their own demons. Remember this when people are jerks.
    3.  There is often a little truth behind the words, “Just Kidding”….
      • …and a little knowledge behind, “I don’t know”…
      • …a little emotion behind, “I don’t care”….
      • …and a little pain behind every, “It’s OK.”

    4.  If you want a different result, try making different choices.
      • A lot of things in life (but not everything) are reflections of choices you have made. 
      • You’ll never leave where you are until you decide where you would rather be and how you are going to get there.

    Check out our first advice rendition: Top 35 Life Lesson for My Daughter.

    5.   When someone is going through a storm, your silent presence is more powerful than a million empty words (from Thema Davis).

      • When my mom discovered that she had cancer and she had to have surgery to get a tumor in her neck removed, I was at a loss for words and I felt like my presence was worthless because I had no idea what I could say to her that could possibly make her feel better and I was devastated by the news.  That was years ago (and she is healthy now!).  The crazy part:  she talks about how much it meant to her when I stayed with her overnight in the hospital (during my law school final exams) and she talks about it a lot to this day.  

    6.   You are always responsible for how you act – no matter how you feel, so don’t be an ass.
      • You have the right to be angry sometimes, but that doesn’t give you the right to be cruel.  Just because you are free to be angry does not mean that you are not free from the consequences of your choice.  
      • Sometimes silence is the best response when you are angry. 
      • Just as saying, “I don’t know,” when you don’t know, is also a good answer.

    7.   Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones.  
      • I’ve learned that it’s not what happens to people – it’s about what they do about it. 
      • Similarly, “you can’t enjoy your ‘now‘ by worrying about tomorrow’ (words spoken by Janice Joplin). 

    8.   Here is a quote from Asha Dornfest, author of the blog on the blog, from her post: Why disruptive is a good thing)

      • “We can sometimes be our own worst roadblocks in life….frankly, I’ve had to get pushed….I do find that times that I’ve really been pushed to places that I initially didn’t want to go – those are the places where something inside me was enlarged – something about my capabilities changed, and I became more confident.  So I think that our regular detours to places to which we don’t usually go – whether that’s a physical challenge or a mental challenge or even learning new skills or going into a social situation that you’re initially hesitant to do – you’ve got to do those things.” – Asha Dornfest

    9.   Be the type of person that your dog thinks you are…

      • My dog thinks that I’m a rockstar (if only she knew…), but she keeps me held to a certain standard.  
      • Be the type of person you want to meet.  Sometimes life is about finding people who are “your type of crazy.” 
      • Remember that your character is how you treat those people who can do nothing for you. Smile at strangers.  Refrain from judging too quickly.

    10.   No matter how loud the opinions of other people are about you, they do not get to choose who you can be. (Inspired by Dobinsky).  
      • Don’t let yourself become confused between what people say that you are and what you know that you are (this was a challenge for me when I was a teenager).
      • It’s never too late to be who you might have been.

    11.   Exercise in the morning before your brain figures out what it is doing!
      • I don’t do this, but I should.
      • If you succeed in doing this, please tell me how.
    12.  Get a planner.  
      • The biggest lie that I tell myself is, “I don’t need to write that down because I’ll remember it.”  Just write it down (telling this to myself and I write this post).

    13.   Whatever it is that you dislike in another person, you should take care to correct in yourself. (by Thomas Sprat)
      • Just assume that everyone is doing the best that they can.
      • Take into consideration how hard it is to change yourself, and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.

    14.   You teach people how to treat you – by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.  
      • Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love (by Brenie Brown).  If you think you’re being mistreated, ask yourself what you would tell someone that you love if they were in your position.
      • It’s hard to determine where to draw the lines between being nice and standing up for yourself and what you believe.  

    15.   You won’t get anywhere if you have a bad attitude. “Bad attitudes are like flat tires on cars – you can’t anywhere until you change it.” (by Anonymous)
      • A negative mind will never give you a positive life.

    16.   You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. (by Wayne Gretsky).  
      • Go for it.
      • The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens.  Don’t give up.
      • You can keep going long after you think that you can’t.

    17.   Advice about relating to the people around you…
      • We are all making it up as we go along.  
      • It only takes a half a second to write “please” or “thank you” at the beginning or end of a sentence – it adds up to months of mutual respect.
      • Clearing up an issue” with someone in the presence of a larger group is potentially very damaging. If you have an issue with someone, go one-on-one.
      • You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.  (by Dale Carnegie)

    (Source:  Danielle LaPorte:  What I know about working with people (and yes, this also applies to romance — as does most business advice))

    18.   You can learn a lot from your mistakes when you aren’t too busy denying that you made them.
      • Don’t be a “right fighter.”  When you’re wrong, admit it.  Apologize.  Read about The Art of An Apology on  You might also like the this hilarious “Formal Notice of Apology”.  
      • Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated.  Trust is gained.  Loyalty is returned.

    19.   If you keep waiting until you are ready, then you might be waiting for the rest of your life. 
      • Because this post is for my daughter (life lessons I want to pass along to her), then I feel compelled to say that this does not apply to sex or to anything sex-related.  For these these – take your time. 
      • Take chances.  Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.  Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.
    20.  When it comes to love, remember all of these things:
      • Sometimes two people can look at the exact same thing and see something completely different.
      • Anything that you have to manipulate to get is rarely yours to keep.
      • Marry someone who laughs at the same things as you do.
      • Remember that many marriages would be great if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side (by Zig Zaglar).
      • Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, and don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. (by Baz Luhrmann)….Thank you, SunScreen Song.
      • If you start a relationship being the “other woman,” you will likely never be the “only woman.”  What goes around might come around, so be careful.

    21.   Remember the Golden Rule 

      • Doing the right thing is not always easy.  Do not sleep with a married man (or a committed man).  That’s just plain mean.
      • Remember the Golden Rule that you will hear 1 million times throughout your life:  “Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you.”
      • I don’t know who actually uses the word, “unto,” anymore (or ever did?), but you get the point

    22.   For you dad’s out there:
      • The greatest thing a father can do for his daughter is to love his mother.


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    Great Article – 10 Daddy and Daughter Tips

    Source: via Mommy Mia on Pinterest

    Link:  10 Daddy Tips for Raising a Daughter

    My sister came across this blog post 10 Daddy Tips for Raising a Daughter on Pinterest from the website the other day and shared it with me.  This is such a great post that I had to share it here.  It has 10 tips for dads for raising a happy daughter.  I printed it out to share with my little one’s daddy because I loved it so much.  Keep some tissues nearby because you might have happy tears. 

    The blog website is:

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