Since we're close to the new year, I thought I'd give you a little motherly advice to carry you into 2011.
Okay, where to start...
- Never eat a hot dog from a quickie mart. Ever.
- If you have trouble figuring things out the first time, don't skydive.
- That bit about wearing clean underwear just in case you get into an accident? It really is a good idea. (Don't ask how I know this, just trust me.)
- The only thing to fear is fear itself...and creepy guys that hang out at the mall...and green lunch meat...and sheer mountain drop offs...and -- Oh, for crying out loud! Who made up that crappy saying? There is PLENTY to fear so always keep your eyes open.
Sorry guys, that's all I've got for now. I promise to post more later. To round things out, how about a sickeningly sweet sentiment accompanied by super cute animal photos? Yes, I know. It's not my style, but I've had fluffy puppies on the brain all week and I need to purge. Be warned, though, the following message has so much sugar it may induce your gag reflex. Grab your barf bag and let's go!
UPDATE: Okay, here's the deal. The original post did have a super syrupy little story accompanied by cute animal photos. At the time, the photos used were all listed as 'free-use.' Well, lo and behold, one of the 'free-use' photos I used was just spotted on a greeting card. Looks like the photographer, unbeknowst to me, cashed in and sold the dang thing. Good for the photographer. Bad for me. Truth be told, I kinda freaked out. So I decided to go back and scrap the story. Tragic, I know., but I had to. But never fear, if you came here for cute animal photos I will not disappoint. Below, please find some Creative Commons photos of little cutie patooties. That's right. I'm not just looking out for me, but for you, too. **HUGS**
“Life is short.”We hear that all the time. And, yes, there are people out there who, through tragic circumstances, have their lives cut short. But for the most part? Let’s be honest: life is very, very long.Still, the rumors are true. As you get older, time seems to fly by faster. Why is that? I’m not exactly sure. I think as I get older, I ‘experience’ less. Yep, I’m talking about the whole ‘stop to smell the roses’ thing. I’ll be honest, I’ve stopped to smell the roses many times. I know what they smell like and, frankly, I’ve got a boat load of presents to wrap RIGHT NOW. The clock is ticking. I don’t have time. I’m livin’ in the fast lane, people!Here’s the thing, though. While life, in truth, is very long the special moments are not. They’re short. If you don’t take the time to stop and savor them, they disappear. They fade away. They become a blur on the highway.This holiday season I’m giving myself a very special gift: time. I’m going to slow down, engage all my senses and soak in every moment I can. Now if you’re a teen, you might think that’s a stupid idea. Savor the holidays? Come on! You’re folks are lame and the last time you checked, your baby brother was still a booger. You don’t want to slow down time, you want to speed it up. You can’t wait to grow up and get out of the house. That’s when you’re real life will begin.Don’t fall into that trap. Because once you grow up and leave the house, there will be another goal you’ll feel pressured to zoom toward, another stage of life to race through. Life is not a race. When you hit the finish line, there’s no trophy for being first. Remember that this holiday season. Remember that afterwards, too.
With that being said, I'm signing off. My kids are on their winter break and I want to enjoy every minute with them. Why don't you get off the internet and spend quality time with your family, too? Trust me, you won't regret it later.photo link
I feel your pain, kiddo.
Another website recently reported that some teen girls are so obsessed with fame they are trying to get pregnant in order to audition for MTV’s reality show, Teen Mom. How delightful!
Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know. The info came from nameless ‘industry insiders.’ Regardless, I feel the need to address any poor soul who, in the hopes of scoring fifteen minutes of fame, ends up with a million minutes of misery.
That’s right. You heard me. Motherhood sucks.
Okay, so it doesn’t suck all the time, but I’d be lying if I said it’s a bed of roses. Moms deal with a lot of crap, both literally and figuratively. Along with many great moments come a lot of awful ones…and boring ones...and bang-your-head-against-the-refrigerator ones, too.
Now before I continue, let me give props to Teen Mom. They don’t glamorize motherhood and do a fair job of showing how hard it can be. Still, MTV is in the business of entertainment and what they highlight on the show reflects the most interesting parts of the girl’s lives. ‘Interesting’ doesn’t always mean ‘good.’ In fact, a lot of it’s bad. Still, it’s interesting.
When you have a baby, there’s not a lot of ‘interesting.’ In the beginning, your life revolves around feeding the baby, rocking the baby, and changing the baby’s diaper. Not the best prime-time TV fare. And those diapers? They don’t smell like freshly baked apple pies, and newborns go through at least eight a day. You have to feed them eight times a day, too, and not just during daylight hours. There are midnight feedings, 2 AM feedings, 4 AM feedings…. Get the picture? Trust me, when you have a baby you never look at a pillow the same way again.
As they get older you don’t have to change their diapers and feed them as often. Instead, your time is spent running around after them making sure they don’t ruin everything you own or, God forbid, get hurt. Until a kid is at least three years-old, if you don’t watch them every minute they could die. Seriously. Did you know that most moms with young kids go to the bathroom with the door open? They're not exhibitionists. They just need to be available every single moment in case something terrible happens.
Case in point: One day I really had to ‘go’ (‘nuff said). Feeling brave, I left my then twenty month-old son on the couch and went to the bathroom fifteen feet away. I couldn’t see him from there, but he was engrossed in Dora the Explorer so I thought I was safe. A few minutes later I heard a soft whooshing sound. Was water running somewhere?
Yep. As soon as I hit the john, my son had headed up the stairs and into the master bath’s Jacuzzi. By the time I got up there, the tub was filled with five inches of water. He was too little to be able to get out of the tub on his own. If I hadn’t arrived in time….Luckily, I arrived in time.
I’d like to say things like that didn’t happen often, but I’d be lying. When you have a toddler, crazy stuff happens all the time. Their life is literally in your hands.
As for that mention earlier about Dora the Explorer? Be warned. All those annoying children’s programs, music, and toys will dominate your life. Forget Pretty Little Liars. You’re on the Yo Gabba Gabba bandwagon now.
As kids get older things don’t get easier, the challenges just change. There’s so much activity! The next time someone asks for my address, I’m just going to give them my license plate number. Plus all the cooking, cleaning, helping with homework. Holy frickin' moly.
Still, it’s the mental aspect that’s toughest for me. Even though I have good kids, sometimes we struggle to get along. Shocking, I know. Plus I love them with every fiber in my being and want them to grow into happy, successful adults. A lot of pressure goes with that. I’m constantly worrying about how well they do in school, do they have enough friends, do they have the right friends, etc. The worrying never stops. Heck, I’m forty-three and my mom still worries about me. When you sign up to be a mom, you sign up to place someone else’s needs over your own for at least eighteen years. Is that worth a photospread in Okay magazine? Not in my notebook.
Now I’m not saying don’t have kids. There's a lot of joy in parenting, too. Just don’t have them when you’re a teen. There’s so much out there you've yet to experience. Doing it with a child is so hard. Somethings you can't do at all. Getting an education, travelling…even going out to a movie is tough. To give all that up for a shot at temporary stardom? Crazy.
Well, I’m done here. I hope I made my point. Now go give your mom a hug. She deserves it.
Last week I shared my childhood holiday shopping memories. Problem is, I STILL can’t get that Barbie Country Camper out of my mind. Damn that orange hippy-flowered vehicle! It made me wonder, what were the ‘must have’ items of other generations gone by? That's why I bring you…
THROUGH THE AGES: Holiday Shopping
All I want for Christmas is...
Below is a list of all the cool new toys and other hot items that debuted in each decade (I marked them in red), as well as some info on popular items with teens.
1900s -Now keep in mind that for the first few decades, kids didn’t expect much for the holidays. Many just got stockings with some penny candy, an orange, and maybe a small gift or two. If you were a boy and your folks had a few bucks in their pocket, however, you might get a Lionel Train. Woo hoo! Crayola crayons came on the scene a little later, which were much more affordable for everyone. Later on there were teddy bears, named for then president, Teddy Roosevelt, and die cast cars. If you were a teenaged girl, a popular gift might have been a sewing kit or a new book - complete with bookmark! Exciting times, I know.
1910s - This decade was a dream for budding builders. Tinker Toys, Erector Sets, and Lincoln Logs were all introduced. Girls got a special treat with the introduction of Raggedy Ann, the sweet doll from the popular children’s book series. Though older girls didn't really get toys back then, some received an Ouija Board, marking the first -- but not last -- time they’d become popular.
1920s - Raggedy Ann continued to dominate until late in the decade when Madame Alexander Dolls became all the rage. Doll chinaware and furniture were also popular. Boys delighted when the yo-yo made its first appearance. Sleds were hot, too. As for the older set, one traditional gift for girls was a fancy box of stationary. Think anyone would have a use for that now? I wonder….
1930s - In this decade board games made their debut with the classics Sorry and Monopoly. Betsy Wetsy, the first (and unfortunately not the last) peeing doll was born then, too. With the following year came the View-Master. Everyone had to have one, not just kids. Featuring color -- yes, color! --- 3-D photographs of places and things around the world, it was a favorite gift for many age groups. Since it was the depression, many girls would have been thrilled with a new coat, shoes, or other piece of clothing. Hard times, folks. Hard times.
1940s - What did the future for the Forties hold? Teen girls asked the Magic 8 Ball, which made its first appearance. Like every decade before and after, teens also asked for clothes. Board games continued to dominate in all age groups with such new additions as Candy Land, Scrabble, and Clue. Then, of course, there were Tonka Trucks -- made of die-cast metal, not plastic -- making them perfect for ramming into Mom’s coffee table. Near the tail end of the decade, little girls wanted the Baby Coos doll and, for both boys and girls, cowboys and Indians were the bomb. Everyone wanted a cowboy hat and two gun holster cap gun set like Hopalong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger. Yee-hah! This trend continued well into the Fifties.
1950s - Lots of fun ‘hands on’ stuff came out during this time. Silly putty, Legos, and Play-Doh were all favorites. There was also Mr. Potato Head, complete with everything but the potato -- a real one had to be supplied by parents. The hula hoop also debuted as well as the beauty and fashion icon, Barbie. She looked pretty smokin’ in that black and white striped bathing suit. Me-yow! For older kids, record players were high on the list. What better way to listen to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Ricky Nelson? Through the next four decades, records would be high on all teens lists. Brownie cameras were also popular. Angel Face powder and other make up were on some girls' lists, plus -- I won't say it again -- clothes.
1960s - Enter G.I. Joe who, despite what every boy in America might have believed, was created so Barbie could have a cool boyfriend. Etch-a-Sketchs, Hot Wheels, and Twister also came into existence. My favorites? The super cool Lite Brite and (drum roll please) Easy Bake Oven. Nothing like a 40 watt light bulb to bake those 3-inch cakes! For older kids, the transistor radio finally got cheap enough to ask folks to buy one. You could take music with you where ever you went! For older kids, 8-track tapes for stereo systems also made an entrance. For teen girls, nothing beat the oval-shaped princess phone. In fact, whether it be the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, even Nineties getting a phone in your room was the HUGEST THING EVER. Girls also fancied those new portable hair dryers with the flexible tube that pumper air into a shower camp -- no more sleeping in rollers. Hooray! “The Swinger,” a fun Polaroid camera was a hit with teens. Much later in the decade, when things got groovier, lava lamps made their first appearance, becoming a popular teen gift item in the Seventies, too. They also craved anything with a ‘peace’ sign.
1970s - Nerf balls became the rage for boys everywhere, while girls got Strawberry Shortcake. Rubik’s Cube and skateboards were also hot, as well as the biggest movie tie-in juggernaut of them all: Star Wars merchandise. Action figures, trading cards, underoos… ‘the Force’ took over the world. Groovy items older kids went for were mood rings and black lights with corresponding psychedelic posters. Troll dolls and granny glasses were also popular, as were blow dryers, one of the greatest inventions of all time. Lip gloss in a pot made it big and in 1979, every girl -- big or small -- got an assortment of Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers in their stockings. As for ‘peace’ sign merchandise? It made way for ‘Have a Nice Day’ smilie face stuff. That yellow face was EVERYWHERE. Before I end, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this decade also brought one of the biggest games in geek history. The fantasy role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons debuted in 1974.
1980s - Oh, man. I don’t want to relive this…the Cabbage Patch Kids. Children were NUTS about them, making them the must have doll of 1983. Sure, there were Care Bears and Smurfs, too, but Cabbage Patch Kids? Whoa. Teddy Ruxpin, the animatronic talking bear, became a 'wanna have' toy later in the decade, though it was too expensive for many to afford. As for boys, Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entered the scene. For the older set, Trivial Pursuit became the hot game, and everyone wanted a Sony Walkman (with tape cassette!) or stereo so they could listen to their tunes. Roller blades were also introduced mid decade, making anyone who still had roller skates look so lame. After Tom Cruise's hot performance in 1983's Risky Business, teens were dying for a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. The coolest things, though? The decade started with the Atari game system and ended with the Game Boy. The video game era officially began. Then there was the VHS cassette. People could watch movies in their homes whenever they wanted. Huge.
1990s - Move over Ninja Turtles, it’s time for the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers! Later on, Pokemon became big, too. Teletubbies dominated the younger set, as well as a slew of other kiddie TV show merchandise. (Can you say ‘Blues Clues?’) Elmo, being the bad self he is, managed to create a stir all on his own. Tickle Me Elmo was THE toy in 1996. I can’t tell you the amount of mayhem and angst the doll created that Christmas season when it sold out early. Beanie Babies made their mark, too. They were not only popular with young kids and teens, but made a big dent in many a collector’s pocket book in its hey day. Teens were also gaga for slap bracelets, plus we can't forget that the Nineties = boy bands. (For more on that see Through the Ages: Teen Idols.) Many a girl would have freaked for a ticket to one of their shows.
2000s - The beginning of the millennium started off with the Razor scooter craze. Video game systems, be they hand-held or at home consoles, also became must have toys. Tamagotchis left there mark and Dora the Explorer became a household name. Though Barbie continued to reign in the doll department, Bratz entered the scene and shook her world. Mid-decade, Radica’s 20 Q electronic game became a cool gift for older kids. They might also have wanted a DVD of their favorite movie or (girls only) a copy of one of the Twilight books. but if you really wanted to rock their stockings? I had to be a cell phone or IPod.
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this nostalgic trip. Now I’ve got to take a trip to the store and get some REAL holiday shopping done. If you’ve got the time, whether you’re an old fart or a hip happenin’ teen, I’d love to hear what your must have toys were when you were young. Come on, fess up!
Hey! Special thanks to my mom, my Aunt Margie, and my friend, Theresa B., for their' generational' input. Keepin' it real folks. Keepin' it real...
The date: Friday, November 26th
The time: 4 a.m.
Where was I? Not in bed, dreaming of the wonderful time I'd had at Thanksgiving. I was in my car, driving along an empty highway toward the mall so I could shop, shop, SHOP! That’s right. I'm one of those crazy people who got up way too early in search of red-hot deals.
As I was driving along the dark, empty road I thought back to the holiday shopping of yesteryear. Things weren't always so nuts, you know. Or maybe you don't know. That’s why I bring you…
BACK IN THE DAY
Holiday Shopping: Deck the Malls with Boughs of Holly, fa la la la…aw, fudge.
As always, things were a bit different when I was young. First of all, we didn’t have the deluge of kiddie commercials we do now. The Disney Channel? Nickelodeon? They didn’t exist. Children’s programming consisted of a few hours each weekday on PBS (no commercials) and Saturday morning cartoons on the ‘Big Three’ networks: ABC, CBS and NBC (commercials!) If you were a kid, your Saturday morning was booked, not with soccer games or Tae Kwon Do practice, but watching cartoons. That’s when we learned about cool stuff like Rock’em Sock’em Robots and Hippity Hops. When Christmas time rolled around, the retail industry took it up a notch. That’s when the Sears Wish Book came out.
cue the singing angels….
Behold the Magic!
That’s right. Back in the Seventies, many purchases were still made through catalogs. Twice a year, Sears and J.C. Penney came out with big, thick ones stuffed with everything -- clothes, bedding, socket wrenches, you name it. Right after Thanksgiving the Wish Book appeared in all its glory. The back of it was filled with pages and pages of toys. I still remember spending hours pouring over it while making my wish list to Santa. Barbie’s Country Camper, come to mama!Of course, there were regular retail stores, too. I grew up in a town about an hour outside of Chicago. In the early Seventies we didn’t have much, just a down town with a grocery store, furniture store, five and dime, shoe store, clothing store, etc. Our first big box mart didn’t come until later in the decade with the introduction of Kmart, home of the blue light special. As for toy stores, the Toys ‘R Us (known back then by the classy name ‘Bargain Town’) was so far away we never seemed to be able to make the trip (At least that’s what Mom and Dad said. Hmmm....)
Still thinking about that Country Camper...
During the holidays, our best bet was the local Ace Hardware. It always cleared some aisles in the back to make room for all the neat Christmas toys. Then, of course, there was the mall…
Ah, yes -- the mall. In 1973, one opened up ten minutes from our house and our shopping lives were transformed. So many stores in just one place! It was open on Sundays, too, something local businesses had never done. That was the place to shop, particularly during the holidays, and Black Friday was the coolest day. Why?
Stores didn’t open early and there weren’t any bust-down-the door deals, but something fantastical did occur. On that day, every store -- including the mall itself -- unveiled their Christmas decorations. That’s right, no holiday decor until AFTER Thanksgiving. The whole world instantly transformed into a holiday wonderland. Store hours were extended, too. Many stores, including those in the mall, stayed open until 9 p.m. instead of the regular 5 p.m. We could shop whenever we wanted.
Like most girls, as I got older shopping became one of my favorite pastimes, holiday season or not. My dad would slip me five dollars, maybe twenty if I needed a new pair of shoes, then drop me off at the door with my friends. We’d walk around, hit the record store, and check out clothes at the Limited Express and Benneton. Sound kind of familiar?
Despite all the killer deals we have these days, holiday shopping just doesn’t seem to be as fun as it used to be. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom shopping for twenty people instead of a kid shopping for four, or maybe it’s because stores keep pushing the holiday season further and further forward each year. The ads alone are daunting. Whatever the reason, I get a little sadder each year. A little more jaded, too....
Dang! Am I starting to sound depressed. I think I need a little ‘retail therapy’ to perk me back up. Anyone want to go to Kohl’s with me? They’re having a big sale and I have a 30% coupon.
Anyone? ….. Anyone?