Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yo Gabba Gabba Live!

Today was Yo Gabba Gabba Day!

We were given comp tickets to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live by the kind people at the Oakdale Theatre and the awesome Yo Gabba Gabba promotional staff (thank you, Michelle S!)... and we had an awesome time!

The show was in Wallingford, CT which was about 2.5 hour drive from us, but worth the drive, considering we mostly see shows in NYC, but the PARKING there is horrific, so it's well worth the extra drive time to avoid the city altogether. The theatre was beautiful - spacious, clean, and wonderful.


This was Lilian's first show since she was just a few months old (which I'm sure she doesn't remember) and she was excited and it blew her mind that the characters were right there and LIVE!










They did an adorable balloon segment, where they give Brobee balloons to cheer him up, but then he flies away with all the balloons, and all the kids marveled that he could fly!!!


But then it got one step cooler as they released hundreds of balloons from the ceiling onto the audience! Lilian caught a green balloon, and she was so happy! She felt like she was part of the show.




Then they did a bubble segment... what kid doesn't love bubbles? You can see them on the left in the photo below, I swear I had never in my life seen THAT many bubbles all at one time.


Then Biz Markie blew all our minds with Biz's beat of the day! He was on the screen first, but then he said he wished he was there with us, the screen split, and the real Biz Markie came out! That got a lot of applause from the parents too.



Party in My Tummy was a big hit, Lilian loved the dancing carrot (below).



And then the grand finale. (with confetti pouring on us).

The show was interactive, colorful, fast paced, and just wonderful for the kids and the parents. DJ Lance is totally adorable and did a great job holding the children's attention.

Lilian had such a good time, Thank you again to Yo Gabba Gabba Live for sharing this experience with her!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More WINNERS - Food Should Taste Good, Miracle Balls, and Yo Gabba Gabba

Some more winners this week!

First... the Food Should Taste Good yummy chips giveaway - the winner is #4 - Miss President! (Jennifer). Please get in touch with me and give me your mailing address and 5 flavor choices for me to submit to the company!






Next is the giveaway for Miracle Balls and the winner is #8, Jen @ Fat Not Fluffy. I have this prize at my home, so just contact me with your mailing address and I'll send it out to you as soon as I can!









And finally, the Yo Gabba Gabba prize package goes to #5, Kristen! Kristen, send me a message with your mailing address for me to pass on to the rep. We're going on September 29 to see Yo Gabba Gabba live and I'm so excited, Lilian is going to have SO much fun!





Thank you to everyone for entering! Please go visit here to see my other current giveaways! And I have more products at home awaiting review, so keep checking back!

And while you're here, please do me a favor - click on an ad or two! It adds up, and I get paid! Please help me out!

We Got The House!

We got the house!

I wrote about moving here... and then I mentioned looking at a house last week. Well, it's official! We got the house, ad it just seemed like it was all MEANT to be.

The house on the right (the gray angular one) is our new house, we will get the keys sometime between Oct 1-6 or so, and I hope we can move in soon after! I'm anxious to start our new life in a new place. Though the house looks small from the front, it's actually a good size! It goes back very far (it's 2 rooms across, but 4 rooms deep, for a total of 7 rooms + 3 full bathrooms (one tub, two showers), and a full basement for storage and laundry. It has 4 bedrooms, a living/dining room, kitchen, and a sunken den. It's on a wooded lot with no grass/yard, it's left in its natural state. It has a circular driveway and it's shady.

It's very different than the house we're moving from now. They are both ranch/cottage style, but the house we're in now (the green one on the left), is in a suburban beach community, with lawns and landscaping. Our current house has only 2 bedrooms and one bath (a total of 6 rooms + 1 bathroom), lots of broken appliances and a leaky roof, and an unusable basement (because of mold).

I took a few photos of the interior of the house, but we were looking at it with the current tenants stuff in it, and they were home, so I felt a little awkward taking photos of their stuff, so I only snapped a few quickly, but you can kind of get the feel of the house. The living room has a HIGH ceiling with skylights (and one bathroom has a skylight too), and there are 3 sliding glass doors in the house to the yard. It's a very open/spacious feeling home with a lot of natural light and a lot of windows looking out on the woods outside.

The photo below is the sunken den. The living room is "above" it, and the wall opposite the glass door is an exposed brick fireplace, very cozy!


Below is a photo of the living room, when you are standing in the kitchen. You can see the front door over on the right, and the sunken den is out of the frame on the left. There are three windows on the front of the house (besides the front door ones) and an air conditioner built into the wall.


This is the kitchen. It's on the small side, it's only an "L" shape but it has a decent amount of cabinets, and we do have a usable basement where we can set up a pantry for "bulk" non-perishables. I like how the kitchen is open, so if one person is cooking and people are in the den or living room, the kitchen is still "included". Also, behind where I'm standing to take the photo there is a second sliding glass door (to the same patio that the den opens up to) which is a good place for the BBQ and convenient from the kitchen. And it makes the kitchen very bright!


Just past the kitchen is the door to the basement stairs on the left (which we actually didn't see, but the landlord says is the size of the whole house) and on the right is the fourth bedroom. This fourth bedroom is big, with its own bathroom, and has the third sliding glass door to the outside. It's very bright and airy and has two great windows with a view of nature outside. It's also private, since it's on the opposite side of the house from the other 3 bedrooms, and shares no walls with ANY other room.

Below is the view of the living room from the front door (the front door would be towards your right). The sunken den is is the rear of the photo, the fireplace on the right, ad the kitchen would be on the left out of view. If you were to make a left turn directly behind the wood dresser in the foreground, you'd walk down a hallway where there are 3 of the 4 bedrooms - and 2 of the 3 bathrooms. Down that hallway first is a bedroom on the left (good size), then the hall/guest bathroom on the left (the one with the tub and the skylight), then the master bedroom on the left - which also has a bathroom inside. On the right at the end of the hall is a third bedroom, the smallest of all four.


It has a little front porch and stairs... I always wanted a front porch! No joke! I can't wait to put pumpkins on the stairs in October and planters with shady flowers (like impatiens) in the spring. Maybe even a little bench!


You can see the circular driveway here, and the house is set kind of far back from the street, with trees/forest in the inner "semi-circle" of the driveway, so there is a decent amount of privacy.


And lastly, this is a view from the side of the house, so you can see that it's set in the natural landscape of the woods.


So... that's the house. In case you can't tell, I love it. And we're so excited to decorate our new house and really make it feel like home. It's 52 miles east (and a tiny bit north) of where we live now. It's 126 miles from my parents' houses, just over 1 mile from Missy's mom's house, 0.16 miles (about 4 houses away) from Missy's aunt's house, and about 11 miles from Missy's best friend's house.

Now... how we got it.

I wrote an email regarding the listing and I said we were a family of three with a two year old little girl, and chihuahuas. (Oh yeah, the owners are dog friendly, have their own, and love dogs!) She called me the next morning and I said I wanted to see it ASAP. So we asked Missy's aunt if she knew who lived there since it's her block/neighborhood, and she did! She said two women and two dogs lived there.

So we pulled up to the house and we saw that one car had a license plate that referenced the ERA and there were political bumper stickers on the front door (the landlords live next door, they ow two side by side houses). We were welcomed by two adorable and warm women (perhaps in their 60's?) and their two fluffy dogs. I think they were surprised to see that our "family of three" was a two-mom family! We hit it off right away. Landlord S (not using real names to protect identities) was more shy and reserved, and Landlord M was gregarious, funny and warm. We talked about our dogs and Landlord S said "you HAVE to rent to them, they are dog people too!" Landlord M remembered when Missy's aunt's dog was killed in the neighborhood by an unleashed Rottweiler, and we told her that our dogs were the parents/siblings of that dog. Right away she told us she had other people coming to look at the house, but she liked us and she wanted to rent to us. We told her that our credit wasn't great, but she was willing to work with us to make it happen. And she did. And within a few days, we had signed the lease and left a deposit and first month's rent!

We later google searched the landlord's name and found that one is a feminist activist, former president of NOW, and a overall accomplished, kick ass revolutionary. Her partner is a singer/songwriter of feminist folk music, author, and activist. I joked to Missy that we are moving in next to the Golden Indigo Girls! But in all seriousness, I just felt that our personalities all somehow meshed, and that we'd make great neighbors. And, when I went to sign the lease, she informed me that we completed the "line"... on the block there will now be FIVE gay couples/families in a ROW! How strange is that.

It all happened so fast. We were talking about moving for months, I had been sporatically calling about homes for a few months never getting calls back. And I found this listing, and I told Missy before we even SAW the house, that I had a feeling about it. I just knew it would be our home. And hopefully for a long time. It's like all the pieces of the universe came together just as I needed them to. I can't wait to expand our family in our new home (one step at a time, of course, I don't mean soon).

I can't wait to decorate, wake up in a new place, hang a birdfeeder out my window, host dinner parties and holidays, and make all new memories in this house.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Place Where It Began....

A few days ago I wrote about moving, and how we need to, sooner than later. So that inspired me to look at houses online...

And today we went to look at a house... I loved it. It was perfect for me. Missy had a few "i wish" things about it, but overall she loved it too. That's all I'm going to say about it right now, because it's all in the works, and may not even work out... and that's not really what this post is about (but, whether or not we get the house, when it's decided, I'll write about it.)

But... I was just sitting here thinking about moving, and the strangest thought hit me.

In the past 1.5-2 years, I've really grown to hate the house we live in now. For a year or year and a half, I really did love it, but then things happened, and our family grew, and I learned to hate it. We didn't even bother to decorate when we moved it, we have NO art hanging on any of the walls, etc. It always felt temporary. But now that the possibility of moving on has presented itself, I got really nostalgic about one thing. (I will say goodbye to our yard/deck, my garden and rose bushes, sun room, and other parts that I do love, with no problems).

But as I sat on the bed with Lilian, I remembered that we MADE her in this room. She was an idea... then we made her. And she was conceived right here in this room. And I grew her in my belly in this house. And then we took our 6.5 pound baby home, and she looked so tiny in her carseat, and we ate Thai food while she napped on the table that day, in this house. I'm not reall sentimental about any of her other firsts here, but for some reason, thinking about leaving the room where she received life is making me sad right now. I know it's not a magic room that makes life, but in this moment it kind of feels like it is. It'll pass... and the last time I walk out of this room with its ugly gray walls (the painter F-ed up the paint color, it was supposed to be taupe), I'm sure I'll be glad to move onto bigger and better (literally), but right now as Lilian and I sit in this spot, the very spot where she began, I feel a little nostalgic.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wahmies One Size Diaper *Review and Giveaway*

I reviewed a Wahmies wet bag almost a month ago, and I've been using it every day since, and i LOVE it! Well, at the same time, I received from Wahmies two of their pocket diapers with hook fasteners to review and giveaway!

It is a one size, pocket diaper, and I got the kind with hooks, but it also comes in an all-snap version. You can see that there are snaps on the front of the hook diaper, and that it to adjust the rise for a smaller baby, but since Lilian is two, I have the diaper on the largest setting. It is a fully adjustable diaper to truly fit any size baby. It has three sets of hooks, but I find that using two sets of hooks (the inner most and the exterior ones) is sufficient to keep the diaper in place. It has a soft fleece lining and a waterproof exterior, and the inner pocket is easily accessible to stuff the soaker (liner) inside.

We were sent two diapers, both in blue, and I photographed one open and one closed, above, so you can see the elaborate hook adjustable system inside. I also received two of the One Size Inserts that not only go with these diapers, but can be used with nearly every pocket diaper.

Lilian kept the dark blue diaper, and here are two photos of her modelling the diaper. For those curious, she is almost 34 inches tall and just over 22 pounds, and we have the waist on the tightest setting, but the rise on the tallest setting, so even if she were to gain 15 pounds, we still have about 7 hook settings to go to adjust the waist size. It truly would fit any baby.


(Getting a toddler to sit still for a photo is sometimes a challenge, so I caught her before a nap when she was having some "down time".)


So How Did We Like It?

I love the diaper. I'll be honest, putting on the hooks takes an extra few seconds, and opening the hooks to take off the diaper does take an extra minute or two, but the reason I wanted to try out the hooks, was because of curious fingers! Once you have an older baby, you know that they sometimes like to rip off their diapers for a multitude of reasons, and Lilian is no different. I think she'd choose to be naked all the time if we'd let her. Velcro closures present no challenge for little fingers, and they can often take off snaps too, but there is no way clumsy hands can unhook these. So if you need a diaper that stays put, this is the one. The fit is great, no leaks in the fabric, and they come in an assortment of cute colors.

The one size liner, while it's absorbent, it's also a little inconvenient because you have to fold it to fit the diaper before you stuff it, and if you are stuffing many diapers out of the laundry, I can imagine this would take a while. When unfolded it's like a very thin washcloth in size, and I folded it in thirds to fit the diaper in it's "large" position for Lilian. It worked just fine, but I think I'd prefer not to have to fold them every time. However, since Lilian is at the end of her diapering journey, she won't be sizing up at all. Perhaps if I had a tiny newborn and I was using the one size diapers in their smallest settings, and I could fold the same insert very small, then keep them ad use them until potty training, I'd feel differently and the cost factor of not replacing them would outweigh the annoyance of folding them. However, it is a good, functioning product with good absorbency!

BUY ONE!
You can find a list of the Wahmies retailers here for approximately $17.95 (prices may vary at different retailers, this is just an average price I've seen) for the diaper, the soakers are sold separately.

WIN IT!


I have the light blue diaper pictured above to give to one lucky winner!

Mandatory Entry:
You must be a public follower of my blog either via Google reader/friend connect or Networked blogs. Just leave a comment and tell me about the diapers you currently use and what works for you.

Additional Entries (all worth one unless otherwise specified) Please leave SEPARATE comments for each entry you are entitled to:
* Like Lil Family Blog on Facebook
* Click on both the "Top Mommy" brown button and "Picket Fence" buttons on the right of my page to vote for Lil Family Blog on both sites. (worth 1 total entry)
* Click on the black
Swagbucks button on the right and sign up as my referral. (Will be verified on the Swagbucks site).
* Add one of my buttons to your site (again, on the right of my page, copy the text below the button and then paste it onto the sidebar of your blog). Worth 2 entries.
* Post about this giveaway on your blog or site and leave me a link where I can see it.
* Share this contest on
Facebook. (Can be done easily with the little "F" icon on the bottom of this entry near the comments).
* Add me to your
blogroll/blog list on your site.
* You get one additional entry for every friend/family member you get to enter (they have to leave an extra comment saying who sent them).


This contest will end on September 30, 2010 at 11:59PM EST, no more entries will be accepted after that time. The winner will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. The prize will be shipped directly from me to the winner within a reasonable amount of time, but has been provided by Rocky Mountain Diapers, and I cannot be responsible for any defects or issues with the product. Please see my disclosure link on the top of the page for fine print.

Good luck to everyone entering, and please visit the GIVEAWAYS tab at the top of the page for other cool giveaways, and product reviews to read!

*Disclaimer* - I purchased this product from the wholesale/blogger portion of their website and will be refunded the full value of the item upon review. I was not paid in any other form for our review. All photos, words, and opinions are my own except those quoted. Photos may not be used anywhere else on the web without my permission.

Where to go, where to go?


If you could up and move anywhere you wanted... and have a do-over on your life, where would you go?
(That's an actual question, I'd love to hear your answers in my comments!)

Well, that's where we are right now.

Our house is not suitable for us to keep living in for many reasons. I can't get into full details, because this is a public blog and my aim is not to cause drama, but I will just leave it at: When this house was purchased, it was a fixer-upper. And the owner of the home, just never got around to fixing it up, even though we pay rent, and it's falling down around us. And even if it were fixed up, it's too small for us. It's a beach cottage, it has two bedrooms, one bath, and only 7 rooms total if you count the bathroom and laundry room. We lost one of our major storage areas when the basement flooded in March (destroying nearly all of Lilian's stored baby things), and well... we just need to move. We plan to expand our family at some point, and this house is too small for 3 people, let alone 4+.

And the location... we hate it. We didn't choose to live here, and it was supposed to only be temporary. (For those not in the know, we live on Long Island, NY, on the south shore, about 62 miles from Manhattan and about 20 miles from the Hamptons, so we are allll the way out east). We owed a condo in Hoboken, NJ (and we loved the years spent in Hoboken), but with the plans of a family, I wanted to move somewhere where we could have a private house, with a yard and a driveway. So, we moved into this house (owned by a family member) on a temporary basis while our condo sold, then our goal was to move on. Our condo sold 6 months after we moved here, but by the time the sale went through, I was already pregnant... and well, one thing lead to another, and now it's been 3 years and 2 months and we're still here. We would never have chosen this location, but it was easier than finding a place we thought was going to be temporary, and for a while, I really did love this house... but here we are.

Now it's time to move on. But where? We are literally in a situation where we can relocate anywhere we want (and where we can find a suitable house and a new job for one of us), and it's so hard to decide! We are currently only considering the northeast, because we're from NJ and NY and basically all/most of our friends and family are in the northeast (with a large speckling in California too), and it's just the weather and scenery that suits me. Also, being a two-mom family, we want to stay in a region that recognizes our marriage and/or is accepting of it. Somewhere in the Bible Belt or in the dead of the midwest probably isn't appropriate. Also, I hate hot weather. Seriously, heat makes me irrationally angry and depressed, so moving anywhere much south of where we currently are wouldn't make sense either.

It's funny because I grew up in suburban New Jersey. I went to college in Manhattan and lived there for 7 years, thinking that it was "crazy" for anyone to want to live anywhere else. Manhattan was the center of the universe as far as I was concerned, and I wanted to be right there in the middle of it. Well, that faded and we edged out to Hoboken. While not in the center of it all, I was not only on the horizon, but I had a beautiful view of the center. Then we moved further out by 60 miles, back to a suburb. And now I feel like I need an even more rural move. Funny how people grow and change. I want nature, and space, and privacy, and farms, and fresh food, and clean air, trees and animals. Strip malls and highways can stay here, I want to go somewhere else.

So... we're looking. Right now we're considering The Hamptons (I know, still Long Island, but somehow it's different, and more rural too) where we know a lot of people, so we'd have the advantage or family/friends nearby, job opportunities, and neighbors we "know". But we're also considering Lancaster, PA, one of the places I've visited in the past ten years that really felt like it could be home. And later this month, we're going to visit Vermont, and while we're there, see if that's somewhere we could live (I think it will be and we'll love it). I've always loved Rhode Island. And I've been jokingly telling Missy for 5+ years that I want to move to Stars Hollow (the fictional, quirky, small New England town from The Gilmore Girls).

Where will we wind up? I have no idea. And since we're looking at rentals, and Lilian has 3 more years before kindergarten, we're not making a forever commitment, maybe just a 1-3 year commitment. But I'm ready for the adventure. I'm ready for the next chapter in our lives. This is a unique and awesome position we're in, and I'm ready to jump on the opportunity.


(Photo of the map of the east coast borrowed from the web. If this is your photo and you'd like me to remove it, let me know!)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More Giveaway Winners


Thanks to random.org we have winners for the Rocky Mountain diaper giveaway and the Healthy Hair Plus shampoo/conditioner giveaway!
Thanks to everyone for entering.

Will the winners please get in touch with me? You can email me at LilFamilyBlog at gmail.com with your address! And when you receive your prize, I'd love to know how you like it... or see photos!

The first Healthy Hair Plus winner is #1 (see above)... congrats to illyana delorean!


The second Healthy Hair Plus winner is #5, congrats to Andrea D! Andrea, I don't have your email address or contact info, so please email me (my email is above) with your info!




And our Rocky Mountain Diaper winner is #8, congrats to LD! Please email me your address!



Thanks again to everyone for entering, and everyone for reading!

Do you like giveaways? Go here to see my other current giveaways!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

She Always Makes Me Laugh...

Kids do the weirdest things... and Lilian is no exception. She constantly makes me laugh.

So... a few days ago I was folding laundry on the bed, and when I got to the bottom of the basket, Lilian climbed inside and was pretending it was a boat... the whole time while wearing a pair of my panties as a vest.
It made me think of that Rub-a-Dub-Dub nursery rhyme even though she's in a laundry basket and not a tub, and she's one girl and not three men...
Still she made me laugh.

Then today, her new diapers came in the mail. (I was so thrilled with our Mother-Ease set that I ordered 2 more covers and 3 more diapers. Well, as soon as I opened the box, she was so excited and was naming the animals on the covers (one is the Ocean print and the other is the Savanna jungle print) and naming the colors as she put them on... and when I say put them on, I mean she put all 5 on! Four limbs + one head... is room enough to wear 5 diapers at once, I guess six if you count the diaper she was already wearing on her butt when the box came!







So here is her new collection of diapers from Mother-Ease. On the left is two one-size diapers in white and green (the white one was the free one we reviewed), in the middle are pink and blue Sandy's (we haven't tried this style yet), and her three covers pink and Ocean Air Flows (the pink was the free one we reviewed), and the Savanna jungle Rikki wrap (a velcro version). And we have 6 liners four cotton, one organic cotton, and one bamboo to see which we like the best! The new ones are in the laundry now, and I can't wait to try out the Sandy's and Rikki wrap styles!

Cake Wrecks


Awesome!
Our cake was featured on Cake Wrecks!
The hilarity of our spelling bee cake from 6/4/10 is now up for all to see!


(We are the last cake, you can see my name "Dana A" in the credits. Yay!)


How fun! What a cool surprise today!


And thank you to Sunshine S. for spotting this and pointing it out to me!

The Miracle Ball Method - *Review and Giveaway* - Not Just For Parents (again)

This product review and giveaway is different than all of my past ones, because I was not asked to try this product for the first time to review, but instead this is a product I've used and loved and promoted for years.

If you know me, you've probably heard me talk about The Miracle Ball Method, perhaps recommend it to you, you may have seen me use them, etc. And if you don't personally know me, this may be the first time you hear me talk about them, but it won't be the last.

The Miracle Ball Method is a system for pain relief, stress reduction, stretching, and overall well being. For me, it was the only natural (non-narcotic) pain relief I have found besides massage (which you can't do for yourself).

Elaine Petrone developed the program after she injured herself and ended her dancing career. Since then she has written books on the subject, consulted for large companies about stress relief, and has promoted her method worldwide. (Below photo of Ms Petrone with Miracle Balls is from her website).


The Elaine Petrone Method focuses on relieving excess tension in your muscles instead of building muscle tone like many other programs do. It's not an exercise regime, it's almost the opposite. The method focuses on breathing and becoming aware of your muscles and the tension within.

MY STORY:
In 2002 I was in a devastating car accident. I am not going to share the full details of the accident here, that's a post for another time, but I was left with massive injuries. My left foot was shattered, my left ankle was broken in two places, my right femur was broken all the way through, and I sustained a burst fracture of the L-1 vertebra. Yes, I broke my spine, and no I am not paralyzed. But I was in a torso body cast for several months, and I underwent many surgeries on my leg/foot/and ankle and have a bunch of screws, plates, rods, and pins holding me together now. And although I'm healed, I've been suffering from chronic pain for the past 8 years. My bones are healed, but my alignment is just different now. Things don't heal exactly the way they were, metal rubs on joints and wears them down, my vertebra healed "smaller" than the rest which throws off my entire spinal alignment, and I am just all sorts of "off". I've tried exercise, I've tried pain pills which only provide temporary relief, I've tried using my body less, more, etc. but I never found much relief. But in the years 2004-2006 I was a nanny for a professional mom and her 10 (until he was 12) year old son. I really loved this family and to this day, admire the mom E and her parenting methods. She became a model for the type of parent I want to be. Well, E was into natural foods, yoga, Buddhism, and all things "crunchy". By her TV she had yoga DVDs, mats, and a box of Miracle Balls (see my first photo above). So one day, while her son W was playing a computer game, I decided to read the Miracle Balls book and give them a try. After 20 minutes using the balls, I felt immediate relief from my pain, and it lasted all evening! I couldn't believe it. So the 3 days a week that I worked there, I used the balls for a half hour or so, and I felt a difference in my body the whole week long. The product really changed my life. When W was too old to need a nanny and could walk home from school by himself, not only did I miss E & W, but I missed the Miracle Balls, so I bought my own set. They have been my go-to item for pain relief, I pack them on vacation, and I've given a few sets as gifts. It's a product and method I believe it and I just want everyone I know to try it and be amazed the way I was!

You don't have to suffer chronic pain to get the benefits of these. They'd be ideal for someone who gets stiff working at a desk, someone who sustains a sports injury or pulled muscles, PMS cramps and backaches, and they were my salvation when I was pregnant and I was having muscle pains and aches as my body stretched and grew.

The set comes with 2 balls (some stretches use one, some use two) and a book that instructs you how to use them. The balls are about the size of a grapefruit and have give to them. You use them by placing them under various body parts while laying/sitting and you use the weight of your own body to stretch the muscles while you practice breathing techniques. As you breathe, you can literally feel your muscles stretch, pull, and melt over the surface of the ball. It requires no energy, just focused breathing, and you can do it anywhere there is a clean floor space. Can't you just use any old ball or a rolled up towel with the same effect? Probably... but also probably not. These balls are the perfect size and inflated just so to give you maximum benefits.

My set went a little flat after 4-5 years and I don't have an air pump and I wanted to tell the world about their awesomeness anyway, so I contacted the people at The Elaine Petrone Method and asked them about doing a giveaway promotion, and so they sent me two sets, one to replace my old set, and one for me to give to a reader. But i urge any reader who suffers from chronic, occasional, or sometimes pain to purchase a set. It'll be the best (approximately) $15 you'll ever spend.

Purchase Miracle Ball sets here, there is a travel set, one with a book, one with a DVD, etc.
You can also purchase them in stores. I have seen them in 2 of the major book retailers (the two that both start with B and are all over America), some health food stores, and they are for sale all over the internet through other retailers.

WIN IT!

One lucky reader will get a set of their own to try, and I hope you love them as much as I do.

Mandatory Entry:
You must be a public follower of my blog either via Google reader/friend connect or Networked blogs. Just leave a comment and tell me about any pain you suffer and what your favorite pain relief methods are.

Additional Entries (all worth one unless otherwise specified) Please leave SEPARATE comments for each entry you are entitled to:
* Like Lil Family Blog on Facebook
* Click on both the "Top Mommy" brown button and "Picket Fence" buttons on the right of my page to vote for Lil Family Blog on both sites. (worth 1 total entry)
* Click on the black
Swagbucks button on the right and sign up as my referral. (Will be verified on the Swagbucks site).
* Add one of my buttons to your site (again, on the right of my page, copy the text below the button and then paste it onto the sidebar of your blog). Worth 2 entries.
* Post about this giveaway on your blog or site and leave me a link where I can see it.
* Share this contest on
Facebook. (Can be done easily with the little "F" icon on the bottom of this entry near the comments).
* Add me to your
blogroll/blog list on your site.
* You get one additional entry for every friend/family member you get to enter (they have to leave an extra comment saying who sent them).


Good luck to everyone entering!

This contest will end on September 21, 2010 at 11:59PM EST, no more entries will be accepted after that time. The winner will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. The prize will be shipped from me to the winner within a reasonable amount of time, but has been provided by the Elaine Petrone Method company and I am not responsible for any defects with the item. Please see my disclosure link on the top of the page for fine print.

Disclaimer: I was sent two sets of Miracle Balls for free, but was not compensated in any other way. All opinions here are my own. I am not a doctor, physician, and I do not work in the health industry. I am not claiming that these will cure any ailments or injuries, I am just hoping that you perhaps will experience the same pain relief that I did, but I make no guarantees. All products and methods work differently on different people, we all have different body shapes. I am not responsible for any injuries you may sustain while using this product. Be careful!


Do you like giveaways? Click the link on the top to see my others!

Yo Gabba Gabba Live - *Giveaway*


Lilian enjoys her TV time and she likes a variety of shows including Yo Gabba Gabba. And if you're a caregiver of a young child, you probably know, that Yo Gabba Gabba has awesome music, and as an adult, is one of the most fun shows to watch, so I encourage her to choose this show!

So when we got the opportunity to get tickets to the Yo Gabba Gabba Live tour presented by Kia Motors, I was so excited for both Lilian... and me! Kia Motors America (KMA) caused quite a stir with its first-ever Super Bowl ad, which featured a colorful cast of life-size children’s characters in the 2011 Kia Sorento CUV, including Muno from YO GABBA GABBA!, the award-winning children’s television series and live tour. Building on the momentum and increased brand awareness generated by the 60-second spot, KMA plans to extend its relationship with YO GABBA GABBA!, as the presenting sponsor of the upcoming YO GABBA GABBA! THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY! tour. We're going to a matinee show in Connecticut at the end of September and I couldn't be looking forward to it MORE for Lilian. She's going to have so much fun and lose her mind over it! You can see the full list of tour dates and venues here. There is also a contest online to WIN free tickets and a VIP package... so click that link to enter!


I hope some other readers will purchase tickets for the tour to take their children, and to get them excited, I have an AWESOME giveaway for a Yo Gabba Gabba prize pack including the "Yo Gabba Gabba! Clubhouse" DVD and the "Party in My Tummy" book, which promotes healthy eating. One lucky reader will win this DVD/book gift set from Yo Gabba Gabba! The DVD features performances by musical guests Erykah Badu, The Killers, Jimmy Eat World and more - which is fun music for not only your preschoolers, but for mom or dad too! That's something that I love about Yo Gabba Gabba, is the way they mix adult/contemporary music and artists with the children's songs/themes, which makes it cute for the whole family. (When Weezer was on and had the "All My Friends Are Insects" song, that song was stuck in my head for weeks! I loved it as much as Lilian did.



So, in case you couldn't tell... I'm super excited about this! I just want to say:
Thank you to Michelle from the Yo Gabba Gabba PR crew, thank you to the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT, and thank you to Kia Motors for giving my family to attend this awesome event.

Buy your tickets!
Enter to win your own VIP tickets.
And...

WIN the Book/DVD set here!

Mandatory Entry:
You must be a public follower of my blog either via Google reader/friend connect or Networked blogs. Just leave a comment and tell me what your child's (or your niece, godchild, nephew, best friend's child, etc.) favorite TV shows are and if they have a favorite Yo Gabba Gabba character.

Additional Entries (all worth one unless otherwise specified) Please leave SEPARATE comments for each entry you are entitled to:
* Like Lil Family Blog on Facebook
* Join/like Yo Gabba Gabba on Facebook.
* Click on both the "Top Mommy" brown button and "Picket Fence" buttons on the right of my page to vote for Lil Family Blog on both sites. (worth 1 total entry)
* Click on the black
Swagbucks button on the right and sign up as my referral. (Will be verified on the Swagbucks site).
* Add one of my buttons to your site (again, on the right of my page, copy the text below the button and then paste it onto the sidebar of your blog). Worth 2 entries.
* Post about this giveaway on your blog or site and leave me a link where I can see it.
* Share this contest on
Facebook. (Can be done easily with the little "F" icon on the bottom of this entry near the comments).
* Add me to your
blogroll/blog list on your site.
* You get one additional entry for every friend/family member you get to enter (they have to leave an extra comment saying who sent them).


Good luck to everyone entering!

This contest will end on September 15, 2010 at 11:59PM EST, no more entries will be accepted after that time. The winner will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. The prize will be shipped directly from the Yo Gabba Gabba Live people to the winner within a reasonable amount of time. Please see my disclosure link on the top of the page for fine print.

Disclaimer: My family will be attending the Yo Gabba Gabba live tour at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallington, CT for free. I was not compensated in any other way for this review or posting. All opinions are my own.

Weaning... part 1


So, my daughter is 2 and still drinks from a bottle (the photo on the right is from last week). She doesn't ONLY drink from a bottle, she can use a sippy cup, she can drink out of a real cup (though it sometimes gets dumped down the front of her shirt if I don't help her), and she just learned to use a straw about two weeks ago. But she still uses a bottle and she still drinks formula.

Some back story... I planned to breastfeed. Before I even got pregnant, I knew I'd breastfeed... but what I didn't know, is that breastfeeding requires teamwork with a newborn that doesn't always comply. For her first 3 weeks of life, Lilian rejected the breast and only wanted bottles. At some point, she'd breastfeed sometimes, but she was always a mostly bottle drinker. I pumped breastmilk until she was 8 months old, but even then I had milk supply issues so she was always supplemented with formula. (All of that was very emotional and depressing in the first year of her life, but the disappointment of not being able to breastfeed did eventually pass. I hope to be able to breastfeed future children, but I also realize it's not the end of the world, and I gave it my best try). To add to the confusion, she had milk protein allergy, so she was on hypoallergenic Nutramigen (and still drinks it.)

At one year old, the pediatrician recommended whole milk - and it made her sick (and made her scream in pain), so we tried lactose free milk - with the same result. So we went back on the formula. We were told that the main reason children are taken off of formula at age 1 and put on milk, is because formula has a lot of calories in it, and they want to prevent childhood obesity. But Lilian has been off the charts for weight (below the 0 percentile) for a year, so that wasn't a concern. The doctor told us if she started to get overweight, we'd have to switch her, but she's still underweight. In the past year, we've tried soy milk and she just simply won't drink it.

She has a healthy appetite, and everyone who knows her knows she's a good eater. She eats pretty much everything except oatmeal, mashed potatoes, and spinach - these seem to be the only food she hates so far. Her favorites are broccoli, olives, salad, pickles, chicken, and cheese. She eats beef (hamburgers or meatballs), turkey, tofu. She eats carrots, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers. She loves rice, pasta, and will nibble on bread. She eats ice cream and cheese with no problems. She has a healthy variety.

She also drinks juice at home (once a day with dinner) and in restaurants. Sometimes as a treat we'll order her lemonade. But she drinks a lot volume wise, she likes to drink. (And she also pees a lot!) I stopped bringing a bottle out with us a few months ago. In restaurants, she'd just sip out of a glass (and I'd help her tip it back so she didn't tip too far and spill). And in the past two weeks, she's drinking out of straws, which is fun and exciting. But a few times a day, she'd still ask for bottles of formula - first thing in the morning, mid-morning, before and after nap, and before bed.

Well, my mom told me I was crazy to let her have a bottle still, that she should have been off it ages ago, to just take it away and that's it. And the pediatrician at this last visit told us no more formula! Soy milk only, from a cup. And then the last few days, we spent a few days out of the house - 2 at my mother in law's house, then 2 at our friend's house for a pool party sleepover... and I just took the opportunity to not even bring a bottle, and so she went 4 days without it. She drank juice, some sips of soda, some water, and someone even got her to drink a cup of chocolate soy-milk (with a spoon). Today would have been Day 5 I think with no bottle.

A few times today, she asked me for a bottle, and I just said "no bottle" and offered juice or something else, a distraction. But she's had very little to drink over the past few days compared to usual. Then after her nap today, until bedtime she was very whiney and clingy. If she threw a tantrum, it probably would have been easier for me to say no. But she asked only once for a bottle, and when I said no, she just whimpered and requested a hug instead. She made me hug and cuddle her for 3 hours. If I released the hug a little or loosened up, she'd cry again and say Hug. After a few hours of this, I decided to give her a bottle. So I did, and she drank 5.5 ounces of formula, handed me back the half-drank bottle, and now she's relaxed and content. And I feel good about the decision.

Does she need to give up the bottle, of course. But does it need to be cold turkey with no explanation that a 2 year old can understand, I don't think so. She gave up the pacifier on her own at 7 months, she just spit it out in her sleep one night and never reached for it again and so I packed them away and we never looked back. And no bottles in public has been the first step, and maybe we'll now say just one a day or something. But it just felt so silly to see her suffering when I had cans of formula and bottles in the kitchen. One more day, three more days, one more week, or even three more weeks doesn't matter and isn't hurting anyone. It just felt like I was going against all my parenting philosophy of going with my maternal instincts and letting her guide her own development. I'm not concerned that she'll be 6 years old running around with a bottle, but just because she turned 2 last week also doesn't mean that it needs to be torn from her hand and packed away forever. We're both clearly not ready, and it may take a little more time, but I'm okay with that. So if we can get through days without it, then good. And if she just needs it once in a while, I'm okay with that too. It just breaks my heart to see her so sad, when she doesn't understand why I seem to be saying no for no good reason. We'll get there...
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