guest post: Jen from Jenloveskev
August 16, 2011, 2:28 pm
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Jen Lula is a bit of celeb around these parts. She’s a well known fashion blogger and since the birth of her daughter has become a fixture in the Mama blogging scene. Currently she calls NY home but it wasn’t long ago she hailed from Massachusetts and us Bostonians are lucky to get a glimpse of her every once in a while. She has done wonderful things in the local community with the Swapaholics and it’s my belief that her blog is so popular because she is honest, sweet, and very real. With Jen what you see is what you get and we here at Monkey & The Bug just adore her for it. Be sure to read more from Jen HERE.

The Lula clan are serious traveling experts! Jen  has traveled extensively with her lil gal, Rowan. I’ll let her tell you all about it…

Hi Everyone! It’s Jen from Jenloveskev. Hope you are all having a great day! I am honored to share some travel tips with you guys today. It seems like we’ve traveled a lot in these past 10 months since Rowan was born. We’ve taken her to Canada, Florida twice, Georgia, Maine, Boston (of course) and we drive around A LOT.
The first time we got on a plane with her I was a nervous wreck. It made for a terrible flight because I was so tense. I learned a lot that trip. Here are some things that helped me:

1. Stay Calm! The baby might cry, but if you stay calm things won’t seem so bad. I really feel like babies feed off our energy, so if you are calm it will help relax them.  Don’t worry about everyone else on the plane. At worst they have to listen to a crying baby. Don’t let that be an added stress.
2. Be flexible! Being away from home, will never be the same as being at home. The faster you can adapt to new things and schedules while you are away, the easier it will be on baby. Trying to force them into new situations never works, go with the flow!
3. Bring a sling! (or other baby carrier). Being hands free in the airport is a must! You will have so much other crap to lug around, it’s nice to know the baby is strapped securely to you; especially when you are traveling alone.
4. Have Fun! Try not to let the stress of traveling and being away take away from just that, being away. Enjoy your vacation. If you forgot something I am sure there is a Target nearby to go replace it. Enjoy your little one and the adventure of sharing something new with them!
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guest post: Drea of Oh Dear Drea
August 15, 2011, 11:57 am
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As you know, I started a guest blogger series about traveling with little ones. I got a bit sidetracked since I have been doing a bit of traveling…perfect excuse,no? I was in NYC for a buying trip, we shot our lookbook, and now I in Wisconsin (again) with my fam.
I am back on track though and here is a post by Drea of Oh Dear Drea. I am a huge fan of Drea’s blog. It’s full of sweet stories, pics of her adorable lil lady, Marlowe, and yummy vegan recipes. Be sure to check her out HERE.

Now without further ado, here is Drea’s advice on traveling with a babe…

Traveling with a baby: I am not an expert. We’ve traveled twice. Once when Marlowe was 3 months old. The second time she was 6 months old. She’s 9 and a half months now and our next vacation will be a slightly bigger one (or at least have a longer flight) to Massachusetts (soon!). This time with a bigger, more active, louder baby, that wants nothing more than to run around. I’m not very worried…. why? Because I think when you’re traveling with a baby, the best thing you can do is: not take things too seriously.

Don’t over think it. I live for over thinking. I have no choice, I am an extreme over thinker— it gets you no where, especially with traveling. Over thinking can actually ruin a trip. Kids are flexible, on the day to day they do whatever you do and go wherever you go, they can do that while traveling too. So what if their nap or sleep patterns get a bit off course or wonky, these things can be fixed quickly when you return home. For now, enjoy every minute!

Don’t over analyze what needs to be packed and what you think you might need in EVERY scenario. The first time we traveled, it was by car. We filled up that car with everything imaginable. A (HUGE) playpen, toys, tons and tons and tons of clothes (shoes, boots sandals, jackets, swimsuits, millions of pjs, dresses, skirts), burp cloths, bibs, a breast pump, a baby swing chair, you name it: it was probably packed in the car. We didn’t use most of it. Marlowe slept in the bed, not the playpen. She wore the same pj every night and rotated about 3 outfits. The second time we flew. We brought less clothes, no play pen, no baby sling, very little toys. We did bring the breast pump and a stroller this time. We ended up purchasing a 40$ playpen, that was again, NEVER used. She again slept in the bed. And the stroller was pointless, we carried her (mostly in a sling) everywhere. Basically what I’m saying is you can get by on a few pieces of (wisely chosen) clothing and a sling (or a good set of arms). I’m not going to lie, I LOVE packing (weird right?), I look forward to packing as little as possible next trip.

And definitely: don’t let it get to you too much if and when your little one throws a fit. Babies and kids cry. It’s natural. I’m not saying, just let your kid cry it out without at least trying to soothe the problem, but don’t get worked up either. If other people can’t handle your kid crying, then thats their problem. Traveling is supposed to be fun. No matter what happens it will definitely by and adventure traveling with a little one, so just: enjoy it!

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Guest Post: Jillian Pye of Three for the Road
July 26, 2011, 2:43 pm
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The beautiful Pye Family. Photo credit to Adam & Eve Photography

With summer upon us I know a lot of you (myself included) have been doing some traveling. Traveling with a baby and/or toddler (or in my case toddlers) can be a nerve wracking experience.  I’ve asked some of my fav mamas to share their thoughts and advice on traveling with their little ones. All of these lovely ladies make traveling with a tot look like a breeze!

Our first contributor is Jillian Pye from Three for the Road. I love Jillian’s blog, it’s a great example of how NOT to lose yourself once you have a child. The Pye family have set out to live this life to the fullest and follow their dreams with babe in tow. They are breaking the mold for how to raise a family, proving that dedicating yourself to your passions can provide a wealth of life experience for your children. With out further ado….here is Jillian’s thoughts on road tripping it family style.

Hi Everybody! I’m Jillian and I blog over at Three for the Road—today I’m going to talk to you about traveling with a little one. For the past few months my family has been traveling on the road full time on tour with my husband’s music. A long time ago we made the promise that no matter what happened in our lives (kids, school, job changes, etc), we would all stick together. It is really popular in the lives of musicians for significant others and children to be left behind at home–and since that isn’t really our style, we made tour a big family affair.

Along the way I have learned a few tips that I would love to share with you, I am by no means an expert but maybe you will learn something new for your next family road trip!
One of the biggest things that will make your trip easier will be factoring in comfort
–Make sure your kiddo is wearing clothes that are comfortable & fitting for the temperatures in your car (Cash is hot natured, so I dress him according to that) Always have some soft blankets on hand, extra socks and a jacket (no matter what you think the temperature is going to be at your destination.)
–Nothing is worse than sun in your eyes or getting sun burnt through a car window! There are some great window shades on the market for your car, we have one similar to this one and this one is great too. Also make sure to put sun screen on your little one, just in case–protecting their sweet little skin is so important.
You obviously never want your little one to go hungry, but you especially want them to be full of things that are good and nutritious for them,
–One of the hardest things I crossed was making sure that Cash was still eating well & balanced even though we were always on the run! I could make sure that he got his veggies in by giving him one of these, fresh fruit was always an easy thing to pick up & didn’t make a mess, & the classic pb&j was great & easy for in the car. (other favorites include:cubed cheese, chewy granola bars, & baked chips)
–Making sure your kids are eating right will also help to make sure they are pooping. Which is something you might not think of, but it is NO fun to be stuck traveling with a constipated baby!
Entertainment and learning are important in your travels as well, a little nugget whose mind is stimulated will be a happy & healthy traveler!
–We always brought plenty of books & cars for Cash to play with but some unconventional toys you might not have thought of that we always bring along are: a harmonica, a moracca & small ukulele–we would spend plenty of time singing songs and making music together as a family, it was always a big hit!
–I would take the time to talk to Cash about what we were driving by and seeing and I would ask him questions about what he thought. Although your little one might not be much of a conversationalist yet, you will be surprised at what they learn just from hearing you talk.
–Something that is not necessary but was always helpful when we had a really long drive was having a portable dvd player. We wouldn’t put it up until the day was starting to wear on and we were running out of fun activities.
Flying: I have only taken Cash on a plane one time since he was born–and it was just recently when he was 22 months old. I was expecting it to be really hard, but it actually went amazingly well! We were running late for our flight because of security and were actually the last people to board the plane. We sat in a window seat & Cash got to watch the plane take off–we talked about what was going on and about 10 minutes in I pulled his blankie out and he fell asleep right in my lap. He slept basically our whole flight and woke up 15 minutes before we landed, while he was asleep I was able to fill his cup with the apple juice that the flight attendant brought by and had some pretzels waiting for him when he awoke. He at his food and drank his juice and talked the whole time about being in an “ahhplaane.” It was an exceptionally lucky day!
Last words 😉
–Always bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate with you–it will come in handy if you have an emergency and need to fly home at some point on your trip. (We had a BIG ordeal at the airport trying to prove that Cash wasn’t 2 yet!)
–Don’t forget that kids are tough cookies and are good at adjusting and being flexible to your family’s life, let them be a baby–but don’t baby them too much! (Cash was sick at one point on the trip and we let him have his pacifier & watch Blues Clues to his heart’s content…when he got better he thought that was still the M-O. Not so!)
–Enjoy your time together as a family and don’t stress out about the trip too much. Make your plans, but know that they might not happen exactly as you planned. And don’t forget to take lots of photos!
Cash is as cute as can be!
Thanks so much Jillian! Be sure to check out the Pye family’s adventures on their blog, facebook, twitter, and etsy shop.

father’s day post: Michael from The Hipster Dad

We are excited to share another guest blogger with you, Michael from The Hipster Dad. Michael is a local fixture here in Boston, he runs a production company called NextHYPE, is resident DJ for The Liberty Hotel’s Fashionably Late, and a dad of two. You have already seen both his wife, Adriana of Just By Living, and one of his sons, Hendrix, here on monkey & The Bug. We are so glad he could share with us the lessons he would like to leave for his boys…

I can’t believe this is my ninth fathers day. Nine years of being a dad, almost two of which were spent parenting two children. Thinking of how much time has passed, I am drawn to a memory of a much younger me skateboarding down the street my parents lived on. I was in a hurry to get home and I distinctly remember how it was dusk out, the street lights had not kicked on yet, and I was hauling ass on my Vision board. The wind was cooling my sweat soaked body and there wasn’t a car in sight, I was thinking about calling my girlfriend (and I use the term lightly now, I don’t think we had even held hands at that point), Henry Rollins was screaming from the cassette player shoved into my back pocket. Every care I had in the world was about a problem that could have been solved in a matter of moments, I rarely thought past the following day, and never into the next week. All was right with the world, until I woke up face down on the pavement, body sprawled out in the middle of the road, hot flashes of pain coming from every limb, broken pieces of headphone lay around me and my skateboard was at a dead stop a good eight feet behind me, with a tiny pebble lodged into the front of one of the wheels. Little did I know it at the time, this was one of my first lessons in parenthood.

The road that led me to where I am today was long, really really long, and impossibly difficult at times. Going through a divorce, custody proceedings, and still keeping it together enough to come out on the
other side as a happily married father of two seems almost impossible in theory, but it happened, and I would not change a moment of it. I have learned a lot over the past 9 years, and a great deal of it I have tried to piece together to pass on to my boys. Every mistake I make (and believe me, there are plenty!) I try to learn from, to gain knowledge from, to hopefully translate into a lesson I can teach my boys. I understand they will have hardships in their lives, but hopefully not the same ones I had. If I could pave their road for them, rid it of all potholes, speed-bumps, and pebbles, would I? Yes, yes I would. I cant stand the thought of either of my perfect babies going through their first breakup (remember being 15 years old and thinking the world was going to end?), being made fun of in school, getting a call from a debt collector, or having to get over the loss of a loved one, but these things happen. Our job, as parents, is to minimize the occurrence of such burdens and PREPARE them to handle the world with grace, composure, strength, and SWAG.

I love my boys with every fiber of my being. They are THE reason the earth rotates, they are the warmth that emanates from the fireplace on a cold winter night, they are the tiny, bony foot that goes straight for my crotch at 6am when we are snuggled up as the sun rises, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Below you will find a few pointers I have to offer up to them, to hopefully aid their journey through life, because once they leave our homes that’s all we have to rely on is the love and knowledge we have bestowed upon them. This is for you, Christian and Hendrix:

know it feels like the end of the world, and you know what, for you,
it is. But it wont last long. I will never tell you stupid things like
“there are other fish in the sea” because, at this very moment, you
don’t want those other fish, you want the one that got away. I
guarantee you will always remember her, you always remember the ones
you loved (or thought you loved, we will have that conversation in 10
or so years) and rightfully so. Each woman helps to make you who you
are today, both the good and the bad, all help to shape you into the
man you will soon be. It’s up to you how this effects you, my advice:
turn to music. There is a song out there for every moment of every
day, and I guarantee there is one out there for this one. Might I
suggest: The Postal Service, Becks “sea change” album, or one of my
personal favorite heartache artists of all time: Jeff Buckley.

2. READ WHEN YOU ARE MAD: Anger is a waste of time. No one every got
anywhere when motivated by anger. Wars and global conflict never
resolve themselves with anger, and neither will this. Put yourselves
in the other person shoes, could you have handled yourself better? Did
this person act out because of their life, because they are a lesser
man then you? I am not saying to forgive and forget, forgiveness is a
precious commodity and needs to be earned, but what I am saying is to
move on. It takes a lot of time, energy, and effort to stay angry.
Take what you can from this situation, try and learn a lesson from it,
and move on.

3. READ WHEN YOU ARE SICK: You are never too old for your mother to
take care of you! We will always have a bed for you, a safe haven for
you to return to. Everyone needs a break from life, be it physically
sick or emotionally drained, you are always welcome back into our home
and loving arms.

4. READ WHEN YOU ARE BROKE: Opportunities are right around every
corner, you just have to be motivated enough to get up and look for
them. If you have a family to support, bills to pay, ends to make
meet, there is pride to be found in flipping burgers at McDonalds, but
don’t stop there, don’t ever stop there! The sky is always the limit,
and it all starts with an idea and the motivation, the drive to go out
and get what you deserve. The two of you have brilliant minds, don’t
ever let that go to waste!

5: READ WHEN NONE OF THE ABOVE APPLY: I love you. I will always love
you, I have since the moment I laid eyes on each of you. There have
been moments with both of you boys that have brought me to tears,
moments that I will look to for strength in the years to come, because
my love for you defines who I am. Before you were born I was that kid
on the skateboard, just cruising through life, waiting for something
good to happen, and it did. You happened, and it changed my life. The
both of you can handle whatever life has to throw at you, both the
good and the bad. DO NOT EVER let that pebble slow you down, get right
back up, grab your board, and go get what you deserve.

Thanks so much to Michael…be sure to check him out HERE on The Hipster Dad

Father’s Day Post: Jessica and Derek of Tart
June 17, 2011, 1:48 pm
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Our third guest bloggers in our Father’s Day collection are Jessica and Derek from the pretty as can be blog, Tart. Jessica blogs about her life as a musician,  stay at home Mama to Rowan, and wife to “D”. D has been known to write in a series of “Papa Posts” that are heart warming and clever. We knew they would be a perfect fit for our Father’s Day series. Be sure to check out their lovely family HERE and enjoy….

From Jessica….

Thank you Derek for being the kindest and coolest papa ever. You play drums then change a diaper, work on your vintage cars then kiss a boo boo, put on your leopard high tops then rock a BabyBjorn. You’re everything to me and Rowan and we couldn’t be luckier. Happy Father’s Day.

A papa’s word of advice for his little gal:
– don’t sweat the small stuff
– make sure not to take things too seriously and have fun. you want to have some good stories for when you’re older.
– your first car should be a stick-shift truck so that you learn how to drive both.
– never wear the t-shirt of the band you’re going to see play. unless it’s my band of course. 
– don’t date. ever.

father’s day post: adeline’s daddy and local honey
June 16, 2011, 1:10 pm
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All photos credited to Adeline’s Daddy

Our second guest posters are the Naylor Family. Both mama Rachel and Papa Don are bloggers and write beautifully about their daughter, Adeline. I’m so excited to have them both here for our Father’s Day guest series. We hope you enjoy (and good luck not tearing up on this one!).

From Mama Rachel…

I’m feeling warm. The sun is shining where we are today. There is a breeze in the trees and we squint to see the sun drops passing through moving branches. I smile so much my cheeks ache and my eyes water. I think about the coming summer and all of the days we will have like this. A little family. My body responds with butterflies. I think of picking apples in the fall and the rustle of leaves, first snowfalls and cuddling under blankets. All of these firsts for our baby girl. I breathe out so calmly. My husband, her Daddy. He makes us feel so secure, so loved, so ready for adventure. How did I win this life?

I thank my lucky stars EVERY DAY for Adeline’s Daddy. For the man he has become. For the laughter that ensues when he dances toward Addy doing his “Dada Wants Kisses” Dance. For the way our little one reaches for him when she is upset. For the way her head rests on her Daddy’s chest. For the journey that we two have made together…and the excitement that lays ahead for three. For three is surely better than two when there is such love at the core.

Thanks Donny, Donner, DJ, Duder, Naylor, DN, Love of my life, Dada. For everything you give us. Happy First Father’s Day. xo

From Papa Don…

This is my first Father’s Day, and as much as this is a day to celebrate how awesome I am, part of being a Dad is always thinking of your child. So, I have prepared a little list of advice for Adeline for the future (and for me to refer to on my journey)

• Your Mom & Dad are here for you – you may be a little young for this one, but in the future, please remember that your Mom & I are always here if you have any problems or need to talk. Don’t ever feel like you have nowhere to turn, share anything with us… we can help.

• Don’t limit yourself – You are so young, you can accomplish anything you put enough effort and love into.

• Always make the choice that feels right to you – Please always do the thing that feels right to you, don’t think of outside forces. I don’t want to bail you out of jail because Johnny up the street thought it would be cute if you mooned that police officer… you know better young lady.<

• Life goes by fast – don’t waste time.

• Last but not least – Always listen to your Dad.

• I won’t go overboard, I’ll keep adding to the list each year… someday you will be able to read them, I Love You.

.Be sure to check out Don’s Daddy adventures HERE and Rachel’s sweet Mommy blog HERE.

Father’s Day post: Micheline and Family from Flyrish Foibles
June 15, 2011, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Guest Blogger | Tags: ,

This week we will be bringing you Father’s Day posts from a few of our favorite bloggers. Some are veteran Daddy Bloggers and others a bit new to the blogging world. We asked them to share their advice for their children and the Mama’s were kind enough to tell us why they are thankful for the man in their baby’s life. We hope you enjoy!

Hi there! I’m Micheline from Flyrish Foibles and I’d like to introduce you all to my amazing husband T. From early on in our courtship, I could tell that he would make an excellent father. He worked at a day camp during the summer breaks between college and the kids obviously adored him. He was goofy, sweet, and easygoing. He always offered a shoulder to cry on and a feeling of safety. Probably some of the very same reasons I fell for him. And (of course) I was right. T has been such an affectionate, loving dad to Q and they have an incredible bond. My heart jumps around in my chest when I watch these two together. When Q gets hurt and cries for his “Dad-Tob”, I swear I don’t even feel a twinge of jealousy. I just love that he seeks comfort in his daddy’s arms. And I can’t wait to see how T fares with our baby girl due this fall. He says he never imagined himself having a daughter, but I think they will have a special connection. I can so picture him doting on our daughter and creating a daddy’s girl. Happy Father’s Day to my partner in parenting and partner in life! Thank you for being such a hard-working dad. We all lub you to pieces. So, without further ado, here is T, sharing his fatherly words of wisdom.

When we started thinking about having a family, we were not sure we were ready financially or mentally. Ultimately, we thought there was never going to be a time when we were in the perfect position, so we just went for it, and boy am I glad we did. Nothing in my life has been so challenging or fulfilling. Being a Dad has made me a mature and responsible person, much more so than being an employee or husband. Our adventure in parenting has been quite fruitful and fortunate. We have a little boy who is classic, full of excitement, love and joy. Now we have another on the way, this time it’s a girl. I look forward to sharing all that I have and know with them. They will undoubtedly be our biggest achievements. I’ve thought a lot about what I’d like to impart in them and more than anything I want them to be happy. To that end, I have written the following tips…

Seven tips for the path of least resistance through life:

1. Make the best of any situation, especially bad ones. Perception is 90% of any reality, so be quick to point out the positive aspects instead of getting hung up on the negatives.
2. Don’t be afraid to participate and try new things. All that you touch and see becomes you, so live it up while you are in this world.
3. Never miss the first day of class. Show up early and strive for perfect attendance. Attendance is much more important than homework. Listening to teachers is more effective than reading the books.
4. Always put out your best effort to make something you are proud to call yours. Quality is better than quantity. You will not regret putting in the time.
5. Give yourself time to rest and sleep well. You can get very far with a smile and quick wit, but you’ll need the sleep to get your head in the right place first.
6. Treat people with kindness and respect. Even if they don’t return the love, it will still come back to you. If someone does you wrong, forgive, forget and move on.
7. Don’t hesitate to share praise and show gratitude, there are only so many opportunities you will get. Remember those who helped you when you achieve great things. It is what they saw in you that allowed you to attain your dreams.

With Father’s day approaching, take the time to appreciate having a Dad. Give the old man a big hug and let him know his hard work is appreciated.

Be sure to Check out Micheline and her beautiful family of 3 (soon to be 4) HERE.

Mother’s Day Guest Post: Amanda from Lullabies To Terrorize
May 8, 2011, 12:16 pm
Filed under: Guest Blogger, Inspiration | Tags:

Our final guest blogger is Amanda, mother of Jack and blogger at Lullabies to Terrorize. Here are her words…

Greetings and salutations! I was given the pleasure of guest posting here and I couldn’t be more excited. My name is Amanda and I’m a Tucson dwelling mother to a rather sumptuous three year old named Jack. I started blogging about seven years ago starting way back on Livejournal when I was an angst ridden teenager to my now current haunt on Blogger, Lullabies To Terrorize. I wanted to document my time as a young, music/fashion/movie/art loving mom with few friends and quite a lot of learning and growing to do in the foreign land I knew as motherhood. From all nighters at a show to all nighters with my boobs being offered up in vain (I guess some things really do never change); from tattoo appointments to pediatrician appointments,  I slowly, but surely, found my way. So, without further adieu, here is what motherhood means to me.

  When I became pregnant with Jack I was nineteen years old. I was scared out of my mind and confused as to where my life would go now that I had another to consider. Jack’s father (we married after our first year of parenthood) was in the midst of finishing his Masters in Biomedical Engineering and I had just bought my very first car with the money I saved up from my job as a spa attendant, ready to start my life as an independent woman (the shoes on my feet? I did indeed buy them.). Needless to say, we were unprepared. It was tough, those first few months of my swelling with child, but we pushed on through. Jack was born March 8th, 2008 to a twenty year old motherhood novice. While my heart exploded with love for my new son my mind raced with fear. How will I maintain my identity while helping somebody develop their own? Will I fail at this? Will he resent me? Why do my boobs hurt so freaking much?!

     None of these questions have been answered (except the boob one- mastitis). And that’s okay. Because what motherhood means to me is this- it’s an adventure. You may not be climbing snow-capped mountains or exploring the Amazon, but you’ll be learning and growing constantly. Perpetually answering your own questions and creating new ones in equal measure and with those worlds unfold; navigated only by your mind, your gut and your child. I’m not nearly afraid as I used to be. Once I accepted that motherhood need not be entirely defined (how exhausting it would be to try and fit everything into a clean, precise box!) it became easier to navigate. Ready or not, here I come.
If I have any advice for Jack in the future, I would tell him-
1. Be genuine. No matter if it goes against the grain, stay true to yourself. It’s the only way to be truly happy with what you accomplish.
2. Shower regularly. Nobody likes a smelly ass dude.
3. Be a gentleman. They say chivalry is “dead” but that’s just because people have gotten lazy or jaded.
4. Embrace adversity. It may not feel good at the moment, you may hate life, but in the long run it will help you discover who you are and how much you can overcome.
5. Don’t feel the need to buy into trends. Fedoras are not that cool.
6. Do not try to keep a girl out late when her dad says to have her home at a specific time. You will NOT enjoy meeting her father after that.
7. Surround yourself with good music, good food and good people. It will make you feel rich when you may only have five dollars in your pocket.
8. If you want to get a tattoo please consult me first. Please. I beg of you. If you come home with a dragon drinking a jug of Jungle Juice on the arms I worked long and hard for nine months and over twenty-four hours of labor on I WILL smack you. I will smack you hard. Homie don’t play that.
9. Please don’t put me in a retirement home. I didn’t give you my all for sugar-free Jell-O and Bingo Fridays.
10. Remember us when you have your first child and when you feel the love that squeezes everything inside your chest, remember that we too have felt it for you, have always, will always, forever.
Happy Mother’s Day to you and your’s.

Mother’s Day Post: Valeria from A Little Pea Came Along
May 7, 2011, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Guest Blogger, Inspiration

Our next Mama blogger from our Mother’s Day Series is Valeria from A Little Pea Came Along. Read on to hear her very sweet advice for her two little girls.

Mother’s Day as a day to give my mom a bouquet of beautiful flowers and a card to remind her how remarkable she is makes perfect sense. Now that I am included in this holiday it is almost silly. Shouldn’t I celebrate my daughters for all they have given to me? I get to receive a gift and a sweet note from the very person who has given me the greatest gift of all? It almost seems like I am cheating.

With motherhood I unwrapped a whole new facet of my heart and soul, each layer is bright and new and I discover this daily. Every day that I get to spend with Olivia Simone contains an adventure, a challenge, some questions, and a whole lot of loving. With her, happiness is simple and endlessly sweet, being her mama is sugar and I’m eating it up. “Every breath that is in your lungs is a tiny little gift to me”.

In pregnancy I wondered how I could possibly become perfect for her. The perfect woman that she could look up to and learn from, I had to be flawless because that is what she deserves. I had to have all the answers in life, all the lessons learned. Frantic, I realized the impossibility of this task and my limitations in achieving it. Little did I know that the best lessons I could pass on were the very ones my own mother repeated to me year after year, as I was drowning in the throes of teen angst and being painfully clueless. Luckily, the words seeped into my skin and I actually began to live them.

I want my daughters to never forget:

You have to be more than just a pretty face. Your mind, your courage, and your kindness to others will make you unforgettable. Appreciate your beauty but do not be foolish enough to think that this is something that is only visible on the surface. Who you are will make people fall in love with you. The way you speak, the things you say, what you believe in. That will make you eternal, that will define you. Fill your brain with knowledge.

Your body is your temple. Respect your body, it’s what will carry you through life. It is where you will keep your experiences and the wisdom you will collect. Your legs will help you travel the world, your being will bear your children. Feed it right, exercise, embrace your flaws. Do not flaunt it in a way that only degrades you. Share your self only with someone who is as special as you are. You are so beautiful.

Do not poison your tongue with evil words. Those who gossip with you will gossip about you. Stay away from toxic people and bad situations. If you know yourself and what you stand for, it will be far easier to stay away from the pressures of people who have strayed. You can learn a lot from these experiences, but also be wise. Be good to people.

Protect your sister. Protect. Your. Sister. No one in this entire world is more yours than her, and remember that you belong to each other. Even if at times you do not like her, you must always love her unconditionally. The truth is that you were each created from the same cluster of atoms perfectly rearranged, you are one split into two. You grew in my belly and were born out of the same love. When we are gone, you will find your roots in each other. Hold on to her with both hands.

There is so much to life. Yearn for it, question it, find it. Seek your purpose, get to the core. Discover what makes our world extraordinary, care for the Earth, and listen to music daily. Find out why you are here and live it. Don’t waste the day. And when in doubt, dress up.

Song lyric quoted: The White Stripes “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”

Mother’s Day Guest Post: Lauren From Before I Was A Mom
May 6, 2011, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Guest Blogger, Inspiration | Tags:

Our next Guest Blogger in our Mother’s Day series is Lauren from Before I Was a Mom. Read on to hear her feelings about mothering her daughter Sierra and the lessons she hopes to teach her…

At least once a week I am awestruck by the fact that I am a mom. I’ll look down at my daughter, Sierra, and wonder how it’s possible I have been entrusted with the incredible responsibility of growing and now raising this amazing child. Sometime between nervously watching those two pink lines appear on the pregnancy test and clutching my gooey not-even-pink-yet baby to my chest, I began my role as her mama. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I became a mama and even now the experience of being a mama is constantly changing. My role as Sierra’s mama evolves as my daughter grows.

Sierra was born sure of what she wanted and demanding about how and when she wanted it. While this frustrates me at times, I hope she continues to have a clear understanding of what she wants in life and I hope she always demands what she deserves. I want her to stay true to herself, because she shouldn’t have to change for anyone. I never want her to hide how intelligent she is, how vulnerable she may be, or how deeply she cares about something or someone.

Sierra has taught me so much in the last 20 months. She has taught me difficult lessons, like how little sleep a person can function on, how much liquid a teeny baby can puke up, and how complicated a three item trip to the grocery store can be now. She has also taught me about beauty and patience by stopping to examine every single flower in a row of forty. She has taught me about the importance of human interaction and kindness by constantly waving and chatting with strangers in the coffee shop, on the bus, and at the store. Mostly Sierra has taught me about love, specifically the incredible ability of a mother to love her daughter more every day, even when her love felt overwhelmingly intense from the beginning.

I hope in return I can teach her many things in the years to come, but there is one important and complicated lesson I have been turning over in my mind lately. I want Sierra to know that she is beautiful, literally stunning, exactly the way she is, but I also want her to know that being beautiful isn’t that important. I want her to feel confident and good about her body, but I also want her to realize that her intelligence, her kindness and compassion, and her fiercely feisty spirit matter more than her mile long lashes, her deep brown eyes, or her rosebud lips. I want her to be the kind of girl who knows she is pretty but doesn’t think too much about it because she’s so busy pursuing personal interests, working on her academic subjects, and forming friendships with people who are similarly grounded.

Mostly I hope Sierra will feel more happiness than sadness, more satisfaction than disappointment, and more love than anger or jealousy.