Car Seat Safety – Get Your Car Seat Installation Inspected!

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Car Seat Safety – Get Your Car Seat Installation Inspected!

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@AmerAcadPeds @NHTSAgov @safekidsusa @KiwiMagazine @AAASafety @parentsmagazine @DartmouthHitch #CarseatSafety

*This post today is in the name of safety and if I can help even one family it is worth it. When better to do so than on the heels of September (phew! just made it) which – if you did not know – is Child Passenger Safety Month.*

Well it happened. We upgraded my little smush baby (shown above as he left the hospital) into his big boy convertible car seat. I pushed it back for as long as I could until I realized I was jeopardizing his safety by being a big emotional mess.  Sound familiar? Speaking of, we’ll talk again in two weeks when he turns 365 days old…

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I have been thinking about car seats ad nauseum. Do I switch them around? Give him my daughter’s? Buy new ones? Do I really need one or even two in my husband’s car? Ugh! Now that our two car seats will be in my car, it leaves my husband’s car – in which my children rarely travel – car seat-less. I’m trying to figure out what to buy, how much I really want to spend ($0), and what is the best of the least fancy ones that I can justify using less than once a month. I’d love to know what you use for your secondary car.

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Anywho – in thinking nonstop about car seats, I wanted to make sure I installed my baby’s (I can say baby for two more weeks, so let me) new car seat properly. So yesterday, in honor of his inaugural voyage I headed over to Hassell Auto Body to see Justine – the amazing car seat doyenne, for a complimentary car seat safety inspection.

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Monday through Friday from 10am – 2pm Justine (who holds a National Child Passenger Safety Certification through Safe Kids Worldwide in collaboration with The National CPS Board) is happy to pop out of the office and check your car seat. No charge, no inconvenience, no muss, no fuss, just a smile and her check-list of safety. It takes about 15 minutes. She is petite but boy can she yank a strap! I could not believe how much tighter she got the LATCH belts and how she saw things about the positioning I completely missed. She even held my baby (BABY!) while I removed a seat insert she advised was not optimal for his safety.

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Hassell Auto Body offers this wonderful, generous service in honor of it’s founder’s daughter Kimberly who was a member of the Nassau County Police Department. Her involvement with the Safe Kids program inspired the Hassell family’s interest in assisting Long Islanders with their car seat safety and their participation in the Kids In Motion’ campaign to educate people on children’s safety. You can also thank them for helping with the awareness signs, LED radar speed displays, and other programs dedicated to child safety around Long Island.

But it doesn’t seem like Hassell’s philanthropy ends with child safety. The Hassell Auto Body office (located at 390 Rte 109 in West Babylon, (631) 587-5500) was literally wallpapered with letters and thank you notes from local organizations and charities commending them for their contributions. It was really impressive. They even gave away Thanksgiving turkeys last year for those in need!

Please, I beg you, get your car seat installation inspected.

If you are not located on Long Island, please visit Safe Kids Worldwide or safecar.gov to find a location near you that will check the installation of your car seat. This is a simple step that could save your child’s life.

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A few interesting links I found in the googlesphere:

I leave you with a few safety tips from Safe Kids  and a video to figure out what is appropriate for your child:

  • For the best protection, keep your baby in a rear-facing car seat until 2 years old. Kids who ride in rear-facing seats have the maximum protection for the head, neck and spine.
  • The center rear seat is the safest place for a car seat.
  • When your child outgrows a rear-facing seat, move them to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors. Use the top tether until your child weighs 40 pounds.
  • Kids can remain in some forward-facing car seats until they’re 65 to 80 pounds depending on the car seat limits. You will then switch to a seat belt that goes through the car seat at that time.
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If I Say “Done” You Say “Done”. Day 32 of My Favorite Things: Being DONE! I did it!

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Day 32 of My Favorite Things: Being DONE! I did it!

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@TheMintChipMama Facebook

OMG – So you know when you have no time to breathe and your house is a mess… Always? Yes, that’s continuously me. Know what’s fun? Launching a blog. Know what’s more fun? Declaring before I knew how labor intensive each post would be that I would write one every day. For a month. Ugh…..

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Day 15 of My Favorite Things: Downtown Bookworks

With that being said, this has been a really fun month. I made some amazing brand connections and really told the story of nouns (people, places and things) that I believe in and have meaning to me and my family. I have connected with tons of new people on so many different levels and I made new friends!

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Day 1 of My Favorite Things: Aladdin

I am really proud of myself for completing this #MintChipMama31DaystilBTS. Hip Hip Hooray for me! For those who also blog you know how exhausting it is. For those who do not – it is exhausting! I invite any and all of you to give me a pat on the back the next time you see me.

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Day 20 of My Favorite Things: Stride Rite

Going forward The Mint Chip Mama will be a weekly blog. I will continue to feature nouns I really believe in, make life easier, are more “Earth-friendly”, and bring a smile to my face. I have some great upcoming posts (in my unique writing style of making you cry and laugh) up my sleeve, don’t you worry.

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Day 16 of My Favorite Things: Evenflo Feeding

I will also continue to do giveaways because – who doesn’t like winning stuff!

If there is something you would like me to write about – just ask. If YOU want to be a guest blogger – just ask!

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Day 6 of My Favorite Things: Mabel’s Labels

A little secret: In case you missed it – at the bottom of each post I wrote: “Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter. Love me forever. #MintChipMama31DaystilBTS” For each “Love me forever” I linked to a different picture of myself from all around the world. I had so much fun reliving my past 36 years. I forgot I used to do fun and cool stuff before my title was “Mom”. I hope you enjoyed them too. If you missed one they are all posted on my Facebook page.

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Day 13 of My Favorite Things: Fruit of the Loom

Finally – As I said when I started this odyssey these are all brands I really use and believe in for years. I cannot thank the brands and their Public Relations teams enough for believing in me – a new comer to this Mommy Blogging world. As Travis Birkenstock said “Thank you for taking a chance on an unknown kid”. I look forward to working with you all again in the future! 

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Day 2 of My Favorite Things: Jessica’s Natural Foods

In case you missed any of my posts, all 31 are below.

While the giveaways are almost done I still welcome your comments on the page.

If I make you laugh, please like my Facebook page.

Even better please share the posts on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Mama’s gotta eat.

Day 1: Happy childhood memories come in a jar…with a spout! Day 1 of My Favorite Things: Aladdin

Day 2: Your Granola-ing… What’s your price for flight. Day 2 of My Favorite Things: Jessica’s Natural Foods

Day 3: Am I in a Spa in Thailand or My Shower? Day 3 of My Favorite Things: Vitabath

Day 4: Nursing 9 to 5, What a Way to Make a Human. Day 4 of My Favorite Things: Glamourmom

Day 5: Lice, Lice, Baby. Day 5 of My Favorite Things: Vamousse

Day  6: Label it, Just a Little Bit. Day 6 of My Favorite Things: Mabel’s Labels

Day  7: I’m Loppin’ On Sunshine, And don’t it feel good (HEY!). Day 7 of My Favorite Things: Fiskars 32″ PowerGear Bypass Lopper

Day 8: Pride: In the Naaaame of Ribbons. Day 8 of My Favorite Things: RSDubs Ribbons

Day 9: It’s Up to Me, New York, Neeeew York. Day 9 of My Favorite Things: Manhattan

Day 10: SnackTaxi, SnackTaxi Riding in the Backseat..Day 10 of My Favorite Things: SnackTAXI

Day 11: Everything but the Kitchen Sink. Day 11 of My Favorite Things: NKThreads

Day 12: My Baby’s Got Class, Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine. Day 12 of My Favorite Things: Not Just Art & SoulShine Classes

Day 13: Gonna Make You Sweat-shirt, Baby. Day 13 of My Favorite Things: Fruit of the Loom

Day 14: Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Hangin’ Stuff. Day 14 of My Favorite Things: WallPops

Day 15: Life is But a Beach, Sweetheart. Day 15 of My Favorite Things: Downtown Bookworks

Day 16: Pump Up the Cans, Pump It Up While Your Feet Are Stompin’. Day 16 of My Favorite Things: Evenflo Feeding

Day 17: Pump Up the Volume, Pump Up the Volume, Pump Up the Volume. Milk! Milk! Day 17 of My Favorite Things: PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Day 18: Might As Well Face It, You’re Addicted to Joe’s. Day 18 of My Favorite Things: Trader Joe’s

Day 19: We… Are A Part… of A Recycled Nation. Day 19 of My Favorite Things: Preserve

Day 20: Shoe’re The One That I Want Oh Oh Oh. The One I Need. Oh Yes In Deed. Day 20 of My Favorite Things: Stride Rite

Day 21: I’m the Ice Cream of the Crop. I Rise to the Top. Day 21 of My Favorite Things: Baskin Robbins

Day 22: It’s Saturday. I’m Going to The Met. Day 22 of My Favorite Things: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Day 23: Tooth of Hearts. Two Hearts That Beat As One. I Need You. I Need You. Day 23 of My Favorite Things: Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide Electric Toothbrush

Day 24: Try to Say Adventureland without a Smile. Day 24 of My Favorite Things: Adventureland

Day 25: Carry Your “Kitchen Sink” in Style. Day 25 of My Favorite Things: Kipling’s Joslyn Tote

Day 26: Ain’t Nothin’ But a Book Thang Baby. Day 26 of My Favorite Things: Books

Day 27: It’s 2pm Eterna-a-a-a-all. Day 27 of My Favorite Things: Globalization

Day 28: Eruv Pre-K: Day 28 of My Favorite Things: Back to School

Day 29: You Swing Me Right Round, Baby Right Round Like A Record, Baby. Day 29 of My Favorite Things: Swing Kingdom Mountain Climber from Wood Kingdom

Day 30: 482,400 Minutes. How Do You Measure, Measure Eleven Months? Day 30 of My Favorite Things: My Children As Siblings

Day 31: Bidet is Gonna Be the Day That They’re Gonna Throw it Back to You. Day 31 of My Favorite Things: Luxe Bidet Neo 180 (Elite Series)

Bidet is Gonna Be the Day That They’re Gonna Throw it Back to You. Day 31 of My Favorite Things: Luxe Bidet Neo 180 (Elite Series)

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Day 31 of My Favorite Things:  Luxe Bidet Neo 180 (Elite Series)

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@LuxeBidet Facebook

I love Europe. I love the food. I love the history. I love the culture. And I love that if you stay at a nice hotel you will find a bidet in your en-suite lavatory. Yep. I look forward to many things when I travel abroad and a bidet is always one of them.

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The beautiful bathroom at the Alfonso XIII Hotel in Seville, Spain

Why is this? For those laughing to themselves right now secretly saying “me too!,” I needn’t elaborate. For those who are not — allow me to explain.

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Our bathroom in Santorini, Greece

When you need to – shall we say – take care of business, very often – shall we say – an acceptable exit strategy – is a challenge. Many opt for wads of toilet paper; however a dry sweep doesn’t always do the trick, as you know. I was of the “wipes” persuasion for quite some time (even pre-kids… I am very cosmopolitan) which provided an acceptable conclusion. However, upon returning from Italy last April, my daily morning routine left me wanting more. I longed for those days in Tuscany: the fresh pasta; the cappuccinos; the clean feeling after – you know. Plus, you know I am an Earth-friendly hippy – I hated wasting so many wipes. Apparently I was not alone in using them – the poor sewers.

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The least luxurious accommodations I ever visited, in China

During one of my – shall we say – business meetings, I was playing around online as I often do and the deal of the day on Amazon was the Luxe Bidet Neo 180 (Elite Series). Always a fan of a deal, I pondered the idea of buying it and soul-searched for a while to decide if I was that cool. I mean – we did already eat dinner after 8pm, enjoyed full fat cheese, and wore a lot of black. We were practically European. But could I do it?

I realized my anniversary was upon us as well as moving into our first house. So yes, I pulled the plug (ha ha, actually it’s called a flapper, I just looked it up) and ordered it “for” my husband.

When it arrived, I excitedly wrapped it up and presented it to him. I thought he would be bowled over (HA! Good one me) but he was a bit skeptical. I reminded him of our long walks sans children next to the Arno, our daily mandatory gelato rule, and how nice it was upon our return to our hotel after a big dinner to have the luxury lavatory accommodations we so rightly deserved. His eyebrow was raised but always the good sport he said “why not?” (if you know my husband you know that is not true at all, so allow my creative license).

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Bongiorno from Toscano!

We moved into our house and I immediately set up my new bidet. It was FANTASTIC! I mean – if you want to feel like the Queen of England and all. Sitting on her throne (no really, I kill me). I was able to set it up myself in about fifteen minutes using the basic tools I had at home. I was very surprised (and impressed) that it was so easy to do and – Voilà – it worked! I even celebrated by eating some Fiber One to try it out (just kidding).

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One of my overall favorite bathrooms at Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, CA

To use the bidet you simply pull up a small lever (as a bonus it is like a throttle and you kind of feel like you are in Top Gun) which then shoots water from the bowl – up. You can adjust the angle as well as the pressure.

When I was originally researching the bidet I was not sure it would be sturdy if it was an attachment. I have to say – it is very sturdy – we’ve been using it… daily… for almost a year and it still looks brand new. I was also skeptical about the cold water option thinking that would be weird, but it isn’t at all. You don’t even notice the temperature. Even first thing in the morning when I am barely awake and usually have – shall we say – conference calls in my office, the water temperature is fine. I love this product. It is amazing. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It also looks somewhat low-key so it can be there without raising too much interest from your kid.

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The Wallenstein commode (south)

As my mother would say, it “tuch-as a long time” to take the plunge and get it but it was well worth it (hilarious, it’s almost too easy). As a busy mom who really, really appreciates a good business meeting (especially when I can sneak away for thirty seconds alone) this bidet makes me feel like I work for a Fortune 500 company. If only it came with dental.

*GIVEAWAY* Luxe Bidet has generously offered to give away a Luxe Bidet Neo 180 to one lucky reader!

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What is your favorite activity to do while in your “office”? Catch up on trashy magazines? Check your email? We promise not to tell!

Winner will be chosen Wednesday, September 24th.

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Here is a little more on Luxe Bidet because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:

Luxe Bidet is a growing company based in San Diego, California. We pride ourselves on producing premium quality bidets as a hygienic and comfortable alternative to toilet paper.

Bidets are often recommended for the elderly or for those recovering from surgery, but they can be used by anyone. They cut down on toilet paper usage, improve hygiene, and leave you with a refreshingly clean feeling. Even children at an appropriate age can operate a bidet on their own.

Luxe Bidet products are mechanical attachments and cost far less than many electric bidets. Installation is simple so you can do it yourself. All accessories are provided; you only need a screwdriver and wrench.

For more information visit the FAQs.

Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter. Love me forever. #MintChipMama31DaystilBTS

482,400 Minutes. How Do You Measure, Measure Eleven Months? Day 30 of My Favorite Things: My Children As Siblings

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Day 30 of My Favorite Things: My Children As Siblings

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@TheMintChipMama Facebook

Last night my husband and I were discussing our disbelief that our baby boy was turning eleven months old today. I was – not surprisingly – gushing about how absolutely smiley and happy and delicious the baby was all day. My husband got a devilish look in his eye and asked me “Do you remember when you wondered if you could love this one as much as the other one?”

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Almost exactly a year ago I wrote my first piece for The Huffington Post titled “Can an Only Child Make Sense of Having Two Children?”. Well, 482,400 minutes ago I was able to affirmatively answer “YES” to this question.

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Not only do I love this baby so much I want to wake him up at night and play with him (partially kidding) but watching my two children play together is just about the most wonderful thing in the world. It makes me so happy to have given them each other. It also makes me happy that I get to witness these special little shared moments. They are my favorite moments of the day.

As a follow-up to my Huffington Post piece, I admit – as usual – my daughter was right. She became a sister with absolute grace and the biggest open heart. She does take care of her brother. She feeds him, she likes to push the stroller, she always has a burp cloth handy, and she even goes around my house pointing out choking hazards. I have said more times than I can count (laughing, mind you) “I don’t know how I had you without you to help me”. It astounds me every day how caring and thoughtful she is towards her brother. Or how many good ideas she has “Mama, why don’t you use the carrier when you drop me off at school, it will be easier for you than getting the stroller up and down the stairs”. It’s amazing. My love for her and admiration of her has grown more than I could have ever realized.

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I must admit too – the little guy is pretty enamored with his sister. He has this secret smile and giggle for her I’ve yet to see awarded to anyone else. (There is a small possibility I am crying right now…).

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So in honor of the anniversary of this post, the eleven month birthday of my son and the four and seven twelve’s birthday of my daughter (she is very into fractions), here it is. I can’t believe I ever doubted it. It is true what they say – my heart grew 100%. Possibly even 300,000,000%.

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The Huffington Post

Can an Only Child Make Sense of Having Two Children?

August 30, 2013

I am an only child.

When I was growing up, it was all mine. The toys were mine, the games were mine, the attention was mine.

I didn’t have an older sister to steal clothes from or an older brother to protect me. Nor did I have a little sister to dress up or a little brother to harass. It was just me and my unhappily married parents.

In some ways, not having a sibling was OK. I never had sibling rivalry, never had to wait my turn and never had to put a sibling’s wishes above my own. But I didn’t see it that way when I was young. I yearned for a sister or brother.

Recently, after speaking to a friend who is also an only child, I had an epiphany — 35 years in the making. I realized that it was my family dynamics, not the lack of a sibling, which caused my angst. As my friend spun tales of “Three Musketeer” trips to Europe, delicious crepes and fine dining with her parents, I nodded and listened to how nice it sounded to be her when she was growing up.

Until I stopped her and said “wait… that is not what I lived through!”

My parents fought for as long as I can remember. It was bad. They divorced when I was in high school after a long time of staying together “for the family.” I realized as I was having this conversation with my friend that maybe the desire for a sibling was actually my longing for a normal, happy family (which we have now, many years later).

I was shocked. How did I not see that?

My epiphany totally rocked my thought process and it jumpstarted me into thinking about giving my daughter a sibling of her own. My husband and I always spoke of having more children. Our first was getting older and I was approaching the dreaded 35. We needed to get our acts together. I was excited to expand our family, but also a little nervous.

OK, a lot nervous.

Since I am an only child, how would I know how to have two children? Luckily, most of our friends had their second kids by now, so we were easily able to observe them. It seemed pretty basic. The bottom line is this: you love the other kid too. Pretty easy. Yes, yes — a second round of sleepless nights, diapers and all the “baby” stuff you would expect. But as far as this overarching fear I had of “another,” it didn’t seem to plague my friends as it did me.

We began gearing ourselves up to tell our daughter she would be an older sister in October. As expected, she was beyond thrilled. We were giving this little munchkin — who is the epitome of a little girl — her own, real-life doll. “Excited” was the understatement of the decade.

Over the last few months, our daughter has declared that she will be in charge of night feedings, diapers and pushing the stroller (rock on, we’re going to hold her to these!). She also has shown a tremendous amount of empathy by saying how she wants to pass on her clothes that no longer fit and the toys she no longer plays with to her new baby sister Chloe (no, we do not know the sex, no Chloe isn’t on our short list). Last week, she told me she will come to the hospital to take care of me, and — when the baby is born — introduce it to our family. Today, she said that she will give the baby her most beloved doll so the baby can have a doll filled with her love. I almost cried.

This child, this 3 1/2-year-old, is already filled with so much love for her sibling and they have yet to meet. I admire her tremendously for this. I wish I had as much assurance as she does. I wish I knew how I would handle two when my world has been so focused on one. How will I take sides, choose which one gets their way without offending the other, be an impartial juror? How do I understand the daily sibling tangles?

The answer is this: I simply just don’t know.

I guess just like when you have your first — and it hits you like a pile of bricks — you figure it out and do your best.

The books say not to compare your children, to let each child shine in their own way and that your heart does expand to give each 100%. I keep reading because I’m scared. I have no frame of reference for a sibling in my life and it seems in this case, I’ll have to follow my daughter’s lead, loving unconditionally, sight unseen, and just open my heart and share everything I have in there — even my dolls — with both children.

I realize in the end, the one thing this family has going for it that my family did not is my husband and I are in love. We’re partners. We actually like each other (94.5% of the time) and like to do things together. So, I think we’ll make it. One day, we will also go on those “Three Musketeer” trip, but as Four or Five Musketeers. Same idea, just a few more crepes.

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Thank you Ross Wallenstein for making these amazing children with me. You and our children are and will always be my favorite things!

Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter. Love me forever. #MintChipMama31DaystilBTS

You Swing Me Right Round, Baby Right Round Like A Record, Baby. Day 29 of My Favorite Things: Swing Kingdom Mountain Climber from Wood Kingdom

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Day 29 of My Favorite Things: Swing Kingdom Mountain Climber from Wood Kingdom

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@WoodKingdom Facebook

I would consider the first day of school the official last day of summer. With that said – that does NOT mean we have to say goodbye to one of my favorite things – playing outside.

We moved into our house in January between snowstorm D and snowstorm E of the 2013 season. While most normal people think of paint colors, furniture, carpeting or home improvements all I could think of was buying a swing set for my backyard. My backyard!

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After living in Manhattan for thirteen years – almost four of those with a child – I was busting at the seams to open my door and let my daughter run free. Picture the scene from Funny Farm but not a dog and we have a fence. I started researching swing sets immediately. Plus, a swing set is a rite of passage for a suburban kid, right? The kid plays outside, while the parent watches them from the kitchen and cooks dinner. Wasn’t there a Norman Rockwell painting of this scene?

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Asking around – all roads led to Wood Kingdom – a store located in Farmingdale with a huge selection and helpful staff. After much research I decided on a customized PVC (yes PVC DY) Swing Kingdom Mountain Climber. Three swings on one side and one baby swing on the other. Plus a wave slide, rock climbing wall, monkey bars, and a rope wall. I was very excited. I mean my daughter was very excited. I kept upgrading to a bigger and better swing set eventually settling on this PVC one because it required no maintenance. Ever. That was worth paying a little more to me.

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What’s that you say? I don’t have to pack a bag of stuff and/or put on shoes/pants/a bra so my kids can play on swings? Wa-hoo! Plus there’s that part about it being great exercise. Not to mention fun. Not to mention we got a hammock swing for me and that I fit on the “big girl” swings and can go so so so high! Watch me! Watch me! But I digress.

Given my daughter’s previous backyard was “going to the park” I was eager to get her new shmancy swing set installed. It was so cool when it came. A truck arrived with our partially built swing set in the back. A bunch of nice guys who had driven in from Lancaster assembled it in my backyard as we eagerly watched. And then bam it was up – out the door to play!

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It has been amazing in all three seasons so far. Since it is right in our backyard my daughter can play on it even for ten minutes on a cold day just to get some fresh air and exercise. My son loves the baby swing and having the second arm to separate him makes me feel safe when my daughter has a bunch of friends over and they are rocking out on the glider (an impulse addition that is the surprising star performer) or on the monkey bars.

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This swing set makes me so happy. I mean my kids so happy… I love sitting in my kitchen and watching my daughter play on it. I love inviting her friends over after school and having half a dozen kids on it and it still looking like ten more could fit. I love that I don’t have to worry about splinters or up-keep or walk to a park for some fun. I simply love this swing set.

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If I put as much energy and effort into decorating my house, there would be at least one picture hung on a wall after nine months by now. But then I would have to hammer a hole into my wall – which is too much of a commitment.

If you are on Long Island, I high recommend checking out Wood Kingdom. Besides tons of wood and PVC swing sets (on super sale right now because it is the end of the season), they have play equipment, sheds, trampolines, fences, and amazing toys like Air Swimmers (a remote control fish balloon that is crazy awesome fun).

Thank you Wood Kingdom for introducing me to a great, fun, and safe product. You have become one of my favorite things!

 

*GIVEAWAY* Wood Kingdom has offered to give away a clown fish Air Swimmer to one lucky reader!

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What summer activity are you going to carry into the Fall?

Winner will be chosen Wednesday, September 10th.

Air Swimmer

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Here is a little more on Wood Kingdom because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:

For over 20 years, Wood Kingdom in Farmingdale has been serving Long Island and the tri-state area. We are a family owned & operated business featuring indoor and outdoor showrooms. Offering top quality Swing-sets, Birthday Parties, Sheds, Gazebos many other great quality indoor & outdoor fun products from the industry’s best manufacturers. Our friendly and professional sales staff will be sure to find a product to match your needs. We deliver, install and maintain swing sets, trampolines, basketball systems, sheds, and gazebos in New York, Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New Jersey, Connecticut.

In addition to the Swing-sets & Sheds, Wood Kingdom offers a large selection of outdoor & educational toys by Step 2 & specialize in high quality Basketball Systems & Trampolines.

The Children’s Birthday parties are something we take great pride in. Wood Kingdoms’ birthday parties started 18 years ago and have been an indoor party industry model. The party business is a unique and ever changing concept in which we are always striving to be the best. In our clean and child friendly atmosphere your child & guests will be sure to have an enjoyable and amazing experience that will create lasting memories. Call today to schedule your child’s birthday at Wood Kingdom and be sure to take advantage of our flexible Open Play sessions.

Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter. Love me forever. #MintChipMama31DaystilBTS

Eruv Pre-K: Day 28 of My Favorite Things: Back to School

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Day 28 of My Favorite Things: Back to School

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In honor of my daughter starting her last year of Pre-K tomorrow, I am posting my Huffington Post article from 9/26/2013 titled “It’s the End of Our World As I Know It, and I Feel… Guilty”.

Our world has changed fifteen ways up, down, left, and right since I wrote this article last year in my little 750 square foot apartment on 95th and Third.

While this amazing little girl may not have changed that much between last September and this September (minus a few inches on her hair and adding a few inches on her height) many things are different in her world. Her school, her room, her city, her Daddy’s job, and that big belly I had last year is now her baby brother (born two weeks after I wrote this).

I am amazed every day at what she says, her mannerisms, and how spectacular of a little lady she has become in such a short time. Not to mention the most fantastic, loving, sensitive, caring big sister. My baby’s growing up. sniff sniff. And I could not be more proud.

Happy first day of school to all the little ones out there ready to bounce on to the bus and to all the Mamas and Papas out there who will be crying in the driveway.

************ It’s the End of Our World As I Know It, and I Feel… Guilty ************

As my husband and I dropped off Rebecca — our 3-and-a-half-year-old daughter — for her first day of nursery school last week, I realized that it was the first day of her 15 year five day scholastic journey. We’ve entered the big time. Basically, she is about to graduate high school and go off to the University Michigan — my alma mater.

I mean college.

I mean we’ll let her decide.

But you get my point.

The obligatory “1st Day” sign was made. We forced her to take the photos we wanted to post on Facebook (I mean save forever in our photo album). The clock struck 9:00 a.m. School was in session. Rebecca didn’t even turn around for the movie scene farewell. She was over the moment.

Days pass. As every parent hopes, Rebecca talks about how much fun she is having and all the new friends she is making. The highlight of one day was finding out that one of her new classmate’s middle name is “Rebecca.” Talk about having her mind blown. We’ve discussed this five times.

Everyone talks about life flashing by in the blink of an eye. It was just February of 2010. I was just nervously packing my hospital bag, gearing up to become a first time mom (cue tears streaming as I write this). I was praying with every bone in my body for a little girl exactly like Rebecca. It is amazing to think now how I didn’t know this little girl yet. I didn’t know her personality, the sound of her voice, the feel of her little hand gripping my finger.

Blink.

This little person — who I know better than anyone else in the world — is now in school five days a week. She feeds herself, goes to the bathroom herself, picks her clothes out and dresses herself (“I said a DRESS!”), and even sometimes… refuses to hug me.

And then there’s me: 35 weeks pregnant and about to pack the infamous hospital bag again for our second child, who I know just as little about as I did Rebecca at the same point. I’m freaking out more because I know what is coming instead of freaking out about the unknown.

I cannot believe school has started. It is the end of September and our family has reached a pivotal checkpoint in preparation for the baby’s arrival. I was excited for the return of the routine and the glorious 20 hours a week of activity (not provided by me) for the home stretch of my pregnancy. We have no outside help, so school is my babysitter/day care/nanny/childcare provider. Also, being in her groove would offer some type of continuity so when the “new sheriff” comes to town, Rebecca will have her own thing going on and not feel totally shafted.

I just cannot stop thinking how Rebecca’s time as an only child and as the center of my universe is over — which makes me so sad. She, on the other hand, is ecstatic. This very affectionate little girl, who is SO excited for her sibling to come, has no idea what is actually going to happen. I feel guilty about that. I am sure many of these emotions stem from my fear of almost being the mother of two when I am an only child (something I explored in my last blog post here).

I laugh at the small amount of sleep I get now since I know it will feel like a vacation compared to what is about to come. Mostly, I mourn (in-advance) the end of my alone time with Rebecca — something I cherish more than anything in this world. We have fun on our stroller-less New York City escapades, easily hopping in a bus, subway or cab with just a small bag. I know I will still have moments where it will just be the two of us, but it will not be the same again.

Color me hormonal, but each time we read, watch TV or play outside, I think how — in just a few weeks — this will be done with a newborn on my breast, my hand in a diaper, or my eyes slowly shutting and my attention to Rebecca almost nonexistent. I already resent myself for my expected short fuse, for changing Rebecca’s world, and leaving her to feel like a second-class citizen. I shirk at the anticipated tantrums and whining (is there anything worse than whining?).

Life is not like a box of chocolates for a pregnant woman with a 3-year-old. My life is like a carousel. And much like the whole summer spent unable to hop on, I can only watch it spin round and round while I get dizzy.

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