The Clothing Speaks Volumes

Moving back to New York City has enabled me to fully delve back into one of my favorite hobbies--People Watching! There is seriously no better place to people watch than in NYC, where people feel free to express themselves and are not afraid of being who they really are. (This is one of the main reasons I think that this is the greatest city in the world!) Whether you are looking at what people are wearing for fashion inspiration or for admiration or simply watching the way that people interact with one another, you can pretty much pick any street corner and your people-watching cravings will be fulfilled in no time! One of my favorite places to people watch "the show" is from the Union Square Playground. This is a great spot because people are coming and going all day long, as they visit the Union Square Market, the stores, the restaurants, or even the hospital in the area. I also can let my little man play happily, while I sit back and enjoy the sights, um, I mean, people. Of course I get a front row view of what all the Union Square parents are wearing to play with their kiddos, but I always try to look beyond those gates to explore life outside the playground. (Even if I don't always get to live it at this stage in my life, I get to observe it!) While visiting this spot last week, I decided to observe from a fashion perspective (of course!), but instead of silently critiquing everyone's outfits, I decided to explore each person's fashion sense from a different … [Read more...]

The Big Fight

  At this point in life, I think that we are all aware that conflict arises. We're not all made the same way, so opinions can collide no matter who you are speaking with. Ironically, I have found through my experience that we tend to argue most with the people we love the most. Why is this? I'm not sure, but maybe it is because we can more easily vocalize our opinions to those people who we know the best and make us feel the most comfortable. Who knows? The trickiest thing for me is dealing with conflict whenever it comes to Branden. I obviously want to teach him to respect other people's opinions, but I also know that it's  important for him to be able to make his own points as well. It is a two way street that I want to show him, to not only be able to listen, but how to be heard. I guess whenever it's all said and done, I want my son to be able to fight fair. So then, how do we teach our children to fight fair? Through example right? Hmmm, that can tricky, because it brings on a whole new slew of questions, the main one being: Is it okay for our children to see or hear us fight with our spouse? Children idealize their parents, so whenever they witness them fighting, no matter how small or big the fight, it can scare them. I know that in my house, Branden gets overwhelmed and starts telling us "Shhhhhhhh" even when my husband and I are having a passionate conversation without conflict.  To me, that is a pretty big message that strong emotions can be a … [Read more...]

Mindful Eating

  I have always considered myself to be a pretty healthy eater, only giving in to the 'bad foods' whenever cravings arise that just can't be controlled by any other measure. I read all the nutrition labels for the foods I eat each day, especially while grocery shopping and choosing foods that I'm going to cook with for my boys. I've always tried to be on top of new food research, findings, and protocols, because I feel that as a mother it is important for me to be on top of what my family is putting into their bodies. In some of my recent research, I keep running across the words 'mindful eating,' so I decided to do a bit of research and share my thoughts with you lovely Mamas. According to The Center for Mindful Eating, this process essentially revolves around making yourself more aware and 'mindful' of what you are putting into your body. Being aware of what we put into our bodies on a daily basis, we will then be able to better satisfy hunger, know when to stop eating, make better choices, and free ourselves of bad eating habits. Meditation practices are also encouraged to go along with this healthier lifestyle. The meditation role is to help you accept, remain whole and balanced, while being conscious of your well being. The connection between mindful eating and the meditation will help you feel more complete and well rounded. Therefore, this new process has left me thinking: have I been looking at food and nutrition all wrong my entire life? I … [Read more...]

The Boona Boona Bug — A Short Story About Bedtime and Childhood Fears

Editor's Note:  As I looked to weed out any typos in Allison's piece about Branden and his childhood fears (see "Facing the Fear"), I couldn't help but reflect upon my own experiences with my now twenty-something children.  As I read about Branden and his scary "spiders", I flashed back on the joys and challenges that occurred along the amazing journey and privilege of helping my own children grow up. Allison's clear and open discussion of these issues took me back in time to one night of my parenting, when I was fortunate enough to roll with the punches and find some inspiration.  I can't say that the type of motherly inspiration revealed in the following story was ALWAYS the case, but it was at least my best intention.  So remember, fellow Mamas, it's always easier if you can laugh!  dhc The True and Scary Story of The Boona Boona Bug, A Short Story about Bedtime and Childhood Fears  by Deborah Hetrick Catanese The nightlight shone in the little girl’s room, illuminating the sweet face of the sleeping child.  D tiptoed through the room, setting the well-worn copy of Good Night Moon on the bookshelf near the door on her way out.  She audibly sighed, her shoulders slumped slightly with the tiredness that only the mother of young children can fully grasp.  She went to the next room, cracked open the door slightly, and peeked inside at her youngest, who bore a peaceful, angelic expression, now that sleep had erased the eager excitement that his three year old face usually … [Read more...]

Facing “The Fear”

  Over the weekend my husband and I took on the huge challenge of cutting Branden's hair. To most parents this might seem like no big deal, but for us it is one of those moments that we dread. You see, my little man has a huge fear of getting his hair cut because he thinks that the freshly cut hair falling to the ground is spiders. We have done everything to help him understand that this just isn't so, but nonetheless, he freaks out uncontrollably each time it is hair cutting day. (You may notice in the picture with this post that there are some longer pieces that shouldn't be there, but his frame of mind indicated it was time to quit!) This experience had me thinking a lot about fears. Accepting them, overcoming them, and dealing with them. We all have fears, but as adults we don't typically handle them the same way that children do, as it's just not acceptable behavior. I'm sure that we could all sit with a pen and pencil, and list our 2 or 3 things that we are fear the most. For most people, this ranges from public speaking to flying, snakes, and even death. And, yes, spiders! Then, there are the daily worries that we experience and the lingering anxiety that I have come to define as "The Fear." What I mean by this is that moment of hesitation that keeps you from doing something that might actually be good for you, because you are over-thinking the situation. In this moment, you begin to doubt your abilities to complete this task successfully, and then you … [Read more...]

Making Necessary Edits

  As I was going through my closet this past weekend and making some necessary edits (so that I can add new magical pieces, of course), I realized that its important to edit our lives the way that we edit our closets. As we grow up and our lives evolve, it is important (and sometimes imperative) to make necessary edits to the way we are living, to the people we surround ourselves with, and to the daily choices that we are making in order to live a more fulfilled life. Therefore, I decided to break this process down into the phases that I go through whenever I am about to make changes to my existing wardrobe and allow it to be a metaphor for my life. Phase #1: The Evaluation During this phase, I examine my wardrobe and make a list of things that I know I want to get rid of. In our lives, this phase would be an evaluation period where you really look at your life, both the things that you love and the things that you want to change. Take some time to really think about what you want out of your life (after all, we are responsible for our own happiness) and what you want to achieve in the future. This could take some time to put things into perspective, so don't rush it. Some questions to consider: What can I purge from my life to make it better? Who/what is bringing me down in my life? What needs to be added to my life to make me feel more fulfilled? Phase #2: The Plan During this phase, I sit down and come up with a course of action in order … [Read more...]

Mama to the Rescue

  Ever since my sister and I had our babies, we have been faced with many different situations with our little men that have perplexed us beyond belief! Children get into all kinds of trouble on a daily basis, and when you are a first time mother, it can be rather intimidating when you realize that you don't know all the answers. (And even more intimidating when you realize how many questions there are!) Luckily for my sister and me, our own Mama is a registered nurse, and ALWAYS on speed dial! Our mother has been there through thick and thin, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as our emergency go-to person for tons of questions. She surely has become our "Mama to the Rescue!" In addition to being a nurse, my Mama is a nurturing mother of 4, a caring grandmother, and one of my best friends. Due to her fashion sense and petite figure, she has been teasingly tagged with the nickname of "G.I.L.F." among our family. (Meaning: Grandma I'd Like to ...well, you know.) I'm sure many Mamas have someone that they trust on speed dial to answer important questions in their life, other than 911 and poison control of course, but for those of you who don't, I thought it would be helpful to share my Mama's Mommy advice with you all!  Below you will find my Q's and my Mama's A's. What are some of the funniest situations that we, your daughters, have called to ask you about over the years regarding "emergencies" with our babies? "There have been many stories to chuckle over, … [Read more...]

I’m Trapped!

  I'm not going to lie, being stuck inside with my overly exuberant three year old because of the cold weather has not been fun. It's one thing if you live in the suburbs and playing outside is, well..., an option. But, being stuck in a New York City apartment with a young child due to weather is not an ideal situation. I know, I can hear my own mother now, "But you have all those museums, the park, the aquarium..." The truth is, all those activities are easier said than done, and often require both my husband and I to be there. Not to mention planning and packing drinks, snacks, and traveling on the subway. Sometimes, its just easier to stay indoors. But then, staying indoors requires some creativity on my part to keep my little man occupied and out of trouble. I thought that I would share some of my favorite snow day activities with my fellow Mamas, just in case you are suffering from being trapped indoors as well. Movie Day- Whenever I plan an indoors movie day activity with my little guy, I try to make it as special as possible. We typically plan on screening a movie that isn't a part of our current collection so that he is excited, focused, and ready to sit still for two hours. I also try to plan a special treat to go with the movie as well. My little guy is a sucker for popcorn, but we have been trying it with a different twist by using these great popcorn seasonings from Kernel. Indoor Camping Adventure- We recently purchased Branden a great indoor … [Read more...]

The Potty Dance

  My independent, assertive, little man has decided to take a stand.  Against potty training, that is. I keep telling myself "He will do it whenever he is ready" and "Boys start potty training later than girls," but it's getting to a point of frustration for my husband and me. I'm trying not to stress over it, but I feel like we have been dancing around this subject since our son turned 3- the subject of the potty dance, specifically- and while my husband and I are dancing, Branden sits and observes. This thought keeps me pondering over the question: How do I engage my child in 'The Potty Dance'? After talking to many friends and family and reading many articles online, I'm learning that every child is potty trained differently, and at a different time during their toddler years. At this point, I feel like we have tried every trick in the book, but the only response I get from my little man is "I can't do it!" Of course, we explain to him over and over that he can do anything he puts his mind to, and that "can't" should not be a part of his vocabulary. But he's 3, so ya know, this concept goes a little over his head. Part of me is also worried that I am going to discourage him and make him feel bad about himself if I keep pressuring him to do something that he knows he's not ready to do. Overall, it's a very nerve racking, touchy subject for a parent. After scouring the Internet lately, I have come across a really great resource, the Baby Center. This … [Read more...]

Sharing is Caring?

  I was recently reading an article online that compared sharing among young children to sharing among adults. Sharing is something that we greatly insist upon and enforce between  children in our society, but is not expected of groups of adults the way it is with groups of children. The article went on to compare children sharing their toys with friends, or even with children they've just met, to what would happen if adults were expected to share their coveted electronics that keep them "connected" to everything on a very personal level. This struck me as a very good point, and it got me to thinking, I'm not sharing my Tory Burch Reva Flats, so why should Branden have to share his favorite toy? We always hear people stressing to their little ones "Be nice, you have to share." We put such a stress on sharing at a young age, yet most grow up to be possessive about our belongings anyway. So what is our purpose? Are we trying to prevent selfishness? Postpone it? Or...are we inadvertently CAUSING it? After sorting out my thoughts on this issue, I think that the main question can be stated very simply: Why do children have to share, but adults don't? I suppose that we could say that we enforce sharing among children to use as a tool to teach children certain values that will help guide them as they get older. Teaching them to share nicely will hopefully promote selflessness throughout their lifetime. It will help them learn to give to people in need and be able to … [Read more...]