Thursday, February 28, 2013

Confliction (& a vlog)

I am a feminist.  I've said it before.  I've also previously mentioned that I am a liberal, a mother, a Methodist, a sister, a terrible housekeeper, a wife, a writer, a red wine lover and a Sunday school teacher among other things.
Nothing says "feminist" more than this picture. 

Sometimes I am full of conviction and know exactly how I feel about a certain issue.  Other times I am full of confliction.  

"I can't wait to get my ears pierced this weekend," Lucy announced at dinner the other night.  She is turning 9 at the end of the week and getting her ears pierced is high on her wish list.  

"When can I get my ears pierced," JT, my 6-year-old son asked.

Hmmmm.  Confliction.  I don't know how to explain why he can't.  Why can't he?  

My husband told him that boys can't, they just can't.

"I'm not sure why in our society it seems more okay for little girls to have earrings and not for little boys, but if you feel really strongly about getting your ears pierced when you are a teenager we can revisit that," I said.

My husband shot me a look that said "oh great, I knew that hippy side of you that I thought was sooo cool when we dated would come back to haunt me."

Then the dinner conversation led to tattoos and more talk of how "I don't regret getting mine and if you want to express yourselves through body art when you are adults and can pay for it, we'll love you no matter what."  I thought my husband was going to choke on his dinner.

But really!  As a parent, I feel confliction.  Aside from all the societal oddities of what is accepted and what's not, I feel like a hypocrite. One because I have a tattoo and I have my ears pierced so how can I talk about not getting them when they are older? And deep down I don't want Lucy to get her ears pierced or JT to get tattoos.  Either I've been married too long to a conservative husband or I indeed have my own inner old, conservative lady showing herself.

I feel the same way about music.  I love pop music.  I love swearing.  I love swearing in pop music.  But I don't love my kids hearing it.  And why is it okay to say "bitch" on the radio but not "ass."  And what about movies? And television? all things that fall under the technology category? advertising? Oh Jesus, my confliction knows no end.

Maybe the world is getting scarier and my convictions are becoming conflictions because my kids are getting older. They are paying attention more, asking more questions and it freaks me the f@*& out.

I'm still all those things that I mentioned previously, but just add slightly conservative and anxious tween parent to the list.

I linked up with MamaKat's Vlogging prompts again to discuss some hot topics.  My hot topics involve my feminist confliction/reaction about Seth MacFarlane's boob song at the Oscars and the hideous new Skecher's shoes for girls and teens called "Daddy's Money."  Yeah, here's my confliction about that.

(If you get the blog via email subscription, here's the link for the video: )

To subscribe to my MomPulse YouTube channel, click here.

The amazing MamaKat (check her out, she is FUNNY).  Each week she has a list of vlog prompts and we all get to play along.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kid Interviews (The Pinterest Poser Challenge)

It's time again for the Pinterest Poser Challenge In an attempt at not being a Pinterest Poser,* every week I  detail a new Pinterest challenge whether it be a new recipe or a craft.   
**My definition of a Pinterest Poser is someone who is all pins and no substance.**

This week's project is inspired by a pin I saw several months ago about interviewing your child.  Well, really it was inspired years before that.  When I was little I used to love to listen to my grandmother tell me stories.  Stories about her life before she married my grandfather and after.  Stories in her words, with her sweet voice.  I always wanted to tape record her (yeah, because I'm that old that we recorded people on clunky tape recorders and kept the cassettes forever).  I never did.  I always regretted it.

I vowed never to make the same mistake with my children.  I vowed to take video of their lives, document the big moments and remember them forever.  And honestly, I've done a pretty good job with the big moments---we have video of the recitals, home runs, first time with no training wheels and more. But I don't have many simple moments or conversations.  

That's where this week's challenge comes into play, I love the idea of doing Kid Interviews. Here's how it went:

Tips for a good interview:
1. Go with the flow.
2. Let your kid talk about what they want to talk about.
3. Don't force it, if they aren't feeling it do the interview at another time.
4. Ask them to describe a specific event, TV show, memory.  Encourage lots of description.  I love the way my kids re-tell a movie and how they interpret the meanings.
5. Do the interview around a birthday or holiday.  The kids can reflect on their favorite moments or what they are looking forward to in the future.  
6. Enjoy it!  You might learn something about how your child is feeling or how they see the world.  And it's great one-on-one time together.
7. Keep it simple. You don't have to edit it with graphics and music.  All you need is a camera (even the one in your phone) and five minutes---boom, you're done. 
8. Remember your audience...Your Family.  This isn't going to be voted on by the Academy, it doesn't have to be posted on Facebook (unless you want to because that's totally okay too, no judgement here dude), this is for you and your family.  

The Kid Interview is definitely something my family will continue.  It is a way to document their thoughts and feelings.  It's a way to capture their sweet mannerisms and voices.  

I don't want to forget hearing my toddler Wade call his siblings "the kids."   I want Lucy to be able to see the confident, hopeful, sweet almost 9-year-old on the verge of "double digits" and getting her ears pierced little girl she is/was.  I want these memories captured forever for me and my kids, and ahem, their kids.  It's part of our/their story. 

Do it, go interview your kid.  It's good stuff, I promise.

Have you made something from Pinterest lately?  

Do tell.

Please share whatever you're working on in the comments here or over on Facebook.

Come on over and follow my Pinterest boards.

Here are some of the projects I've already attempted, the good and the bad:

Homemade Photo Booth Fun- click here

Fake Bangs- click here

DIY Subway Art- click here

Furniture Painting and Bench/Chest Makeover- click here
Thanksgiving-y Project/Gratitude/Holiday Countdown- click here
The Smoothie-click here

The Free Printable Turned Artwork in a Boring Hallway- click here
The chalk board-click here
Seven Layer Dip in Individual Cups (my favorite so far!)-click here
The pumpkin address-click here
The Kitchen Dancing Sign--click here

Come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

Oh yeah, and come follow me on Twitter @AngelaYBlood and subscribe to my MomPulse YouTube channel here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Never Too Old for Art & Adventure

Sometimes I can't believe I'm so old.

I see the "where are they now" slide shows on HuffingtonPost or TMZ and nothing makes you feel older than seeing a greying cast of 90210.  Or when I notice the list of celebrities in their 50s and Sheryl Crow is on the list.  What?  Or when I get excited about an issue of MORE magazine that yes, I now subscribe to, comes in the mail.

It's such a weird age this late 30s almost 40...old but still young. Old enough to really understand the importance of sleep and comfortable pants, but young enough to want to shop at Forever 21; old enough to have real experience and wisdom, but young enough to feel like I don't know anything and need someone older to be in charge sometimes.

Don't Call It A Syndrome
"Maybe I'm too old.  Am I too old to try and be a writer?," I cried to Tim when I called him one disastrous morning after dropping the kids off at school. 

Aforemetnioned morning went something like this (after staying up way late working on a project that I was actually getting paid for):
Exhausted-ly making lunches for the kiddos and trying to get them ready for school, editing a writing piece that I had to send to a sponsor, picking the toddler up after he fell, calling the school to let them know one of my kids had Strep and wouldn't be there, tripping over the mess in the living room, misspelling a word in a Facebook status update to promote a blog post, burning the bacon....feeling like I was failing at everything.  I mean come on, who burns bacon?

My super supportive husband reassured me that I wasn't too old for a lot of things and that I needed to be patient with life. He went on to tell me things I knew like no one can do everything all at once, there will be time to do the things I want, be patient, I'm mostly just tired from lack of sleep not being old and a lot of people burn bacon.  Okay I totally didn't know a lot of people burn bacon and I think he was lying to make me feel better.  And it did.

When I was graduating from college with a degree in communications and a heart full of hope, someone (an older, wiser mentor) told me that we all have to get over our dreams.  She said we have to come to the realization that we aren't going to be on Broadway and get on with our life.  She called it the "Broadway Dancer Syndrome."  "It's called being realistic and practical," she lectured.

Now, that I'm almost 40, you know what I think of her syndrome?  I think it's crap.  I get the fact that we can't all be dancers on Broadway, but why can't we have dreams, bucket lists, crazy sounding aspirations and goals?

Now, that I'm almost 40, I find every late-in-life-discovery story inspiring.  Ray Ramano recently told the story (at the Kennedy Center Honors, not to me personally) of how he was a stand up comic working the circuit and after doing David Letterman's show got the call.  The call that offered him a TV show and changed his life.  He was 38, married with three kids, living in Brooklyn.  Julia Child didn't write her first cookbook until she was almost 50!  Or what about the Grandma Moses story--after she turned 76, Moses began painting after arthritis rendered her fingers unable to do embroidering, her usual artistic outlet.  A collector noticed the paintings at a store near her home and, as the story goes, bought them all, then traveled to her home and bought the rest.  The next year, the grandmother's work was on display in the Museum of Modern Art.

I'm not going for world domination, I just want to write and make a few bucks.  Okay, and someday I want to be a background singer/dancer or tambourine player for a band and run the New York City marathon.  Don't tell me I'm too old.  Don't tell me it can't happen.  Don't tell me it's a syndrome.

Art In The Everyday
A million years ago, I was a student in London, England.  On my own, half-way around the world at age 20 was a pretty thrilling feeling.  Discovering the world, discovering myself.  

My art history professor was an amazing older British woman with a high-pitched voice that was a cross between Julia Child and Dame Edna.  As we toured the great museums of London looking at the art, she would give her own critiques such as "well, this lad must have been completely pissed when he painted this" with a hearty laugh (pissed=drunk in British slang, not mad painters, drunk painters, hahaha).

One day while we were at the National Museum, she spoke very seriously about traveling and adventure.  "Life will send you in many different directions and paths, but I believe you'll be back," she said.  "Once you get the adventure bug, it never leaves you."

As she spoke, I nodded, fully confident that I would be backpacking through the rest of Europe the next year and then settling in New York city with an amazing writing gig after college.  Well, of course, the directions and paths of my life took me on a different route.  Not quite as glamorous, but definitely full of everyday adventure and fun.
This weekend I found a poster of a Van Gogh I bought in London all those years ago.  We decided to hang it on the staircase wall so the kids could be greeted by art every morning as they came down for breakfast and encourage them to find art and adventure in their everyday. 

My professor was right, I will be back, it might be London via Epcot but it will be an adventure.  Just because I'm getting older doesn't mean it's over--the adventures or the dreams.    Now it also means I get to share them with my children and show them they too can dream, pursue their passions big and small and find their own adventures.

This whole ride down memory lane was inspired by my friend Caitlyn Kuskowski.  She works at the play center where Wade goes to chill with his toddler friends.  Caitlyn is 18, wide-eyed and excited. She is about to embark on a grand adventure of her own and it's so much more than touring art museums in England.  Caitlyn is traveling to Thailand to volunteer and work with people that live in the hill tribe communities and with refugees.  She'll be building community and classrooms, teaching people about healthy lifestyles and sustainability and so much more.

In this world of entitled teenagers and twenty-somethings, as a much older woman (her elder really), I find Caitlyn so inspiring and reassuring.  She is a college student who works several jobs and is raising money to go on her trip.  Good kids with big dreams and a crazy great work ethic do exist. I feel good knowing her.  She inspires my memories of dreams I used to have and still do have (I told you I'm not too old).  She is also an inspiring example of what I want for my own kids and the adventures they will have and the good they will do in the world. 

If you'd like to learn more about Caitlyn's story or want to donate money to help her on her adventure click here.

What are your dreams?  Who inspires you?

Friday, February 22, 2013

What Day Is It, What I Know For Sure (this week) & #iPPP

I'm confused, I don't know what day it is.  No, it's not all the drinking I've done lately.  It's just been a wacky week that started with the kids having a winter break from school on Monday and Tuesday, a sick kid home from school the other days, a husband out of town-- which can all lead to I-don't-know-what-day-it-is-itis.  Symptoms include confusion, exhaustion, mild irritability and anxiety, finding ridiculous things funnier than normal, losing car keys, craving comfort food.  I know it sounds a lot like PMS, it's very similar.  

My kids have been a little out of whack too.  Not in a bad way.  They've actually been getting along better than normal.  (That didn't help with my confusion symptom.)  

My little boys have hung out all week.

They even ended up sleeping together like a couple of puppies.

I really don't know much this week except that I think it's almost the weekend and that means nothing because I'm a mom and Saturday is just another day, duh.  But I am extremely grateful for cute puppy/children that get along on long winter days inside, that I truly know for sure (this week).

Here's what else I know for sure (this week):

  • Spontaneous moments of getting along need to be photographed and documented.  Here are Lucy and JT just hanging out playing the iPad. I usually hate electronics, but if the iPad can make this happen more often, I think I love it.
  • Haters are gonna hate, but I love Beyonce.  And I love her more after watching her documentary on HBO.  I was moved.  Yup.

  • Fake mustaches from the dollar store are priceless.  We enjoyed the heck out of wearing these all week.  Lucy even wore one to school for fun.

  • I'm watching the Oscars on Sunday night (and live Tweeting, come play @AngelaYBlood).  I love movies, movie making, story telling, all of it.  My fingers are crossed that the speeches will be good and the host will be funny.

Yeah, there's an app for that.  An Oscar App, I'm not kidding.  Check it out. 

  • Sometimes the shows my tweens like are funny, sometimes.  The older my kids get, I am finding their choice in TV shows more obnoxious.  (I miss Playhouse Disney, which is now Disney Junior, which Wade still loves.)  The other day Lucy and Peyton called me into the living room to watch a show on Cartoon Network and I laughed, it was pretty funny.  Even if they made the mom look totally dorky in the video.

  • The Harlem Shake is overdone and let's face it, weird.  You know the Harlem Shake right?  The crazy video EVERYONE was making the last couple weeks on YouTube.  To be totally honest, the only reason I didn't make one is because my family refused to do it with me. Whomp. Whomp.  Here's my all-time favorite version.

  • Join the Instagram party and come follow me.  I finally figured out how to tag people.

What do you know for sure (this week)? C'mon, we're friends, share what you know.  Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page.

  Come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

Oh yeah, and come follow me on Twitter @AngelaYBlood and subscribe to my MomPulse YouTube channel here.

I'm linking up today with my friend Greta from and Sarahs at for the #iPPP link up.  They host a link up where they encourage people to share "your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favorite photos of the week" from our phones. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Part of The Family & Sittercity's 2013 America's Top Sitter

I recently wished the little girl I used to babysit a big happy birthday on Facebook.  A big happy 28th birthday. Gulp.  How can that be?  It feels like just yesterday we were playing together with her Teddy Ruxpin doll and watching Saved By The Bell after she got home from school.

This little girl all grown up, Amy, is a very interesting grown up--smart, creative, loves her family.  She thanked me with this message:  Thanks! I know!!! It seems like just yesterday we were building tee pees in the backyard!! I hope all is well with you and your family!!

Awww, she remembers.  I babysat Amy and her brother when I was in high school and college.  I loved taking care of the kids and playing with them.  I loved talking to Susan and Jim, the kids' parents.  I grew up with all of them.  The whole family took me out to dinner when I graduated from college.  We've stayed in touch thanks to Facebook and old-fashioned letters on the holidays.

Taking care of Amy and her brother gave me a glimpse of the mother I wanted to be.  A mother that got down on the floor and played with the kids, a mother who the kids could talk to and laugh with, a mother the kids could rely on to keep them safe and protected.  

Looking back, I am so grateful to this family.  Susan, the mother, my boss, was such a compassionate person.  She asked me questions about my life, really took an interest and gave some great advice.  She treated me like a member of her family.  

Now, as a mother to four children of my own, I understand even more how special these relationships are with good, caring babysitters.  When you find someone that really, truly loves your kids, it's a powerful thing.  When you find someone that doesn't mind coming over when your house is a mess and understands when one of your kids is having a temper tantrum filled evening, it's a relief.   When you find someone that makes your kids laugh, helps with their homework, does the cool pony tail braid from YouTube that you have no idea how to do (even after watching the so-called easy online tutorial), is flexible and doesn't get mad when you change the time to come over 238 times because you are a little overwhelmed with life and unorganized, maybe unloads the dishwasher, puts your kids to bed happy and thinks it's funny when the toddler is going through a phase where he licks furniture....yeah, when you find that someone it's amazing.

Those sitters aren't just a part of the great village that helps us raise our children, they are part of the family.
Chelsea is our sitter family member.  Our kids love her, she is kind, understanding, fun and we all love her.

Do you have a special babysitter you and your kids love?  
Sittercity is looking for the best of the best to win its 2013 America's Top Sitter contest.  Your favorite sitter could win $5,000. Yeah, $5,000!

Can you think of a better way to say thank you for everything they do for your kids and for you?  All you have to do is click on this custom Facebook app and nominate a sitter by uploading a picture and briefly explaining why they should be Sittercity's 2013 America's Top Sitter.  That's it!  So simple.

A panel of experts will choose 10 finalists vetted by Sittercity and the final winner will be chosen by the Sittercity Facebook community.  The nomination period ends soon, on February 25th.  Voting takes place March 5th through March 15th.  Go nominate, go vote!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Top 5 Movies For Parents

 I love movies.  I love movie theaters, it is the only place I can truly say that I like popcorn.  I love movies almost as much I love TV and that's pretty huge.  Comedies, action thrillers, dramas, tear-jerkers, Indie, big-budget, artsy, goof-ball....I love all movie genres (I even went through a brief horror movie phase).

Even though I enjoy all movies, I was never one of those people that went to kid movies before I had kids.  Well, okay, I saw Lion King in the theater a million years before I had my own kids and I had to sit through Macaulay Culkin in The Little Rascals with my little brother.

Now my life is dominated by kid movies.  And it's not a terrible thing.  As we parents know, most "kid movies" have a lot of good lessons for grown ups.  In fact, many a kid movie has made me not just a better person, but a better parent.

In honor of Oscar Week, I thought it would be fun to list the top five movies I think every new parent should watch and watch again as their kids get older. 
This post is part of my partnership with Mommy Bear Media, a great place to find and order family friendly movies.

Here are the top five must-watch parenting "kid" movies in no particular order:

Finding Nemo
Duh, right?  I mean the whole idea of holding our kids a little too tight out of fear of the unknown gets me every time.  There have been times when I sound exactly like Marlin the fish as he told his kid fish Nemo he couldn't do things because of his bum fin.  I call them my "Nemo Moments."  

My famous Nemo moment actually inspired the name of my blog--Jumping With My Fingers Crossed. A few years ago, Lucy was was standing on top of a very high playground structure.  I told her she better not jump and that it wasn't safe, she might get hurt.  She replied "I might not."  And with that she closed her eyes, crossed her fingers and jumped.  After sticking her landing she turned to me and said "see, told ya."

My favorite character from the movie is Crush the turtle.  He is so chill and I love him.  I think all parents could learn from Crush.  Learn to relax and let their kids find their own way, make their own mistakes and as Crush says "koo-koo-cachoo find their way back."
I re-watch this one a lot.

Mrs. Doubtfire
This is an oldie, but a goodie.  Maybe this movie hits home because I grew up with divorced parents.  But the movie is about more than divorce, it's about being silly and being present.  We recently watched this movie as a family.  While my kids were laughing at Robin Williams dressed up like a woman, sticking his face in a cake and shouting "Hellllooo!," I was being reminded a very important lesson.  A lesson about the importance of playing with my kids, connecting with them and being there for them.  

Oh this movie is for all mothers who might have gotten a little lost in the whole business of motherhood.  This movie is a reminder of the power of a dream and being steadfast.  It is a reminder of how mothers can be compassionate caretakers and brave powerful women taking on the whole world.  It's about leading, teaching, mothering by example.  And it has horses, it's good.

Beezus and Ramona
I adored these books by Beverly Cleary growing up, so I was skeptical about what the movie would be like.  While the movie is different, it is also so good.  The movie is one of the truly G-rated movies out there.  There are absolutely no bad words or over-your-head-you-dumb-little-kid jokes.  The movie is about a pretty cute family facing some pretty big but true-to-life problems.  For example, the dad loses his job, their car doesn't start, they have to put their house up for sale, etc.  But through it all, they remain hopeful.  The movie highlights how letting go of stress for both dad and daughter can be as simple as rolling out paper across the floor and drawing the "longest picture in the world."  It's simple.

They may not have a huge house or the the best jobs, but they are together and they love each other.  Awwww.  Really so sweet.  "We are movie magic," I told my kids.  "We are living the life of this sweet movie, we are living the happy ending."  We don't have the biggest, nicest house, or the best jobs, or the biggest, best anything.  But we do have so much love.  It's simple.

Toy Story 3
This movie is harder to watch the older my kids get.  Lesson here we all know is, oh man it goes fast.  Play and enjoy every moment.  It's almost too much to write about right?  I mean the scene where Andy leaves for college...sniffle...and goes to the little girl's house...sniffle, sob, sniffle...and plays with his toys...too much!!!!!

What's on your list?  What are your Nemo moments?  You have them right?  We all have them, I hope it's not just me.  

Take a look at Mommy Bear Media--they have a wide variety of older movies and the best new movies on DVD for the whole family. And they offer free 2-5 day shipping on all orders.  In addition to their website, you can follow up with them on Facebook and Twitter as well.