Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm Not About That #ALSBucketChallenge Life

Let's talk about the ALS Bucket Challenge . . .

I'm vain. I admit it. I'm not about to submit my thick fro to a bucket of ice, but it's been entertaining watching others do it and when it goes wrong, boy does it go wrong:


There's also been quite a bit of foolishness around this challenge including this I saw on Awesomely Luvvie's Facebook wall (she expressed how ignorant this comparison is which you can read more about here):


Anyway, I knew it'd be a matter of time before someone would nominate me and lo and behold my sister did, but I quickly had to tell her to go somewhere with that. 

While some people are getting up in arms about this challenge happening at a time when there's so much turmoil domestically and abroad, I believe there's room for multiple causes and concerns. Are we that simple that we have to be one-track minded on issues? What law is there that we can only focus on one or two at a time? 

I remember first learning about ALS in Boston during a talk I attended for my job. It was eye-opening in the same way I believe this challenge is. Awareness is key for so many causes. 

Oh and if you want to see a pretty cool round-up of celebrities fulfilling the challenge click here.

I, on the other hand, will be making a donation. 

What are your thoughts on the challenge? Ill-timed or doesn't matter? Have you taken the challenge?
 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Peace of Mind with Genworth #LetsTalk

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Genworth. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

My husband and I both experienced the loss of our maternal grandmothers since we've been married, and it's generated some important conversations between us especially concerning the long term care of our own parents. Insurance provider Genworth realizes the importance of such conversations and has launched its "Lets Talk Tour" to get Americans to start discussing and planning for long term care.

With my late Grandma Emma at my bridal shower in 2009
What exactly is long term care? It's assistance that helps people with issues often related to aging for an extended period of time either in-home or at a facility. It's not the most exciting topic to think about, but it's one that we need to be sure to have with our loved ones. My readers are mostly in the same demographic of having parents in their 50s and 60s - the age that's it's critical to have these talks especially as Americans are living longer. However, while Genworth research shows that 75% of seniors are comfortable talking about aging, less than 20% of their children broached the topic.

While I haven't explicitly asked my parents what their own plan is, I have talked to them about the disparity I've seen in how we handle aging in the U.S. vs. what I saw when I visited Nigeria and saw Uka's grandma right before she passed away. It's definitely the "American-way" to put the elderly in facilities and while I wouldn't want to do that to my parents and instead honor them the way I see in the Nigerian tradition by taking care of them, I cannot predict the medical care or assistance I might need in doing so. That's where long term care insurance like Genworth's would be helpful.

The "Let's Talk Tours" are spurring the education and dialogue on the topic and while they've already visited NYC, there are upcoming tours in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas which you can learn more about here. Also, check out this quick recap of the NYC tour featuring Rob Lowe which happened last month (on the day Grayson was born in fact!):


 

If you're like me and thinking about longterm care, please visit Genworth's Let's Talk Tour page and get inspired to have the conversations with your older loved ones. Start with a simple question over a cup of coffee: "How do you want to age?" and go from there. The peace of mind is worth it!



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's Here!: The Legends of Oz Doll Collection by Madame Alexander

Disclosure: I'm a member of Madame Alexander's Mommy Advisory Board and received the Legends of Oz doll collection for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.


Friends, I have to admit I've been holding out on you: around the time Gray was born we received the full collection of Madame Alexander's Legends of Oz dolls. Nia saw it as another surprise tied to the arrival of her brother and they were warmly welcomed into the doll "fold." One night when I got a break from Gray's cluster feeding, we set up the dolls and turned on Mr. Lovebird's favorite movie for a fun family night:

According to Nia pants are optional when watching movies O_o
The Legends of Oz doll collection includes the characters we know and love (Dorothy, Glinda, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion) as well as China Princess all from the animated feature Legends of Oz which premiered in May of this year (you can watch the trailer here). While Nia loves setting up the dolls in pretend scenarios, I'm more taken by the little details that Madame Alexander is known for - the high quality materials, tight stitching that's build to last and the whimsy facial features which invoke fun.


The preschool age is prime-time for pretend play and the Legends of Oz doll collection is perfect for that! She loves re-creating scenes from the movie as well as incorporating them with her existing dolls. It's so funny to watch some of the scenarios she comes up with!


I have to admit when discussing the Legends of Oz collection with Nia she remarked how she missed Toto as well as questioned where the Wicked Witch was. I wanted to know what happened to Dorothy's red ruby slippers, but I guess we need to watch Legends of Oz to find out. It'll be another fun movie night for us I'm sure!

I especially liked the straw coming out of Scarecrow - little details like that are so special!
A great way to build a collection for your child, each doll retails for $15 and can be purchased at MadameAlexander.com.

Be sure to follow Madame Alexander on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest doll innovations!
 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Becoming a World Explorer with Little Passports

Disclosure: I received Little Passports for review purposes; all opinions expressed are my own.

Since visiting our family in Nigeria a few years ago Nia's had a very global perspective - she still remembers our trip fondly and we still enjoy looking at pictures from our visit. Growing up I longed to travel and traveled extensively as a young adult, but I hope Nia gets to go more places than I ever did and starting at a younger age.

I've come across Little Passports via social media and was curious about it especially remembering my childhood wanderlust so I was delighted when they reached out to me to experience it with Nia! With the World Edition focusing on over 25 countries and geared towards kids ages 5-10 and the USA Edition focusing on the 50 United States geared towards kids ages 7-12, Little Passports provides kids with the opportunity to learn about culture, history, and more.

Here's our adventure . . .


To my surprise Nia recognized the suitcase when it arrived - it turns out our neighbors have it and she's played with it there. Their mom even told me how much her kids enjoy it and gave me a tip to laminate the map (great idea!)


I selected Brazil for Nia to experience as her first adventure especially due to World Cup fever and this summer being the first that she played soccer. She was excited to participate in all the activities which I was surprised as she just turned 4 and I was curious if it'd hold her interest. It definitely did!


I found that I learned as well during our experience - I had no idea there were amethyst mines in Brazil! Activities where the parent and child learn together are so rewarding and relationship building. 



Created by two moms (tying into my mompreneur appreciation!) I also appreciate how Little Passports has such a unique combination of activities for kids and how it ties in online too. The games are smart and the entire experience online and offline is customizable - Nia especially enjoyed writing her name in her suitcase and typing her name in online. It's so important to foster a global perspective in kids from a young age and Little Passports does just that. It's something I wish I had growing up!


Also, with our upcoming trip to San Antonio I was interested to hear that Little Passports has partnered with JW Mariott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa to give young travelers the Little Passport experience. Although we'll be at Riverwalk for Blogalicious, it's the start of a partnership that I hope will spread! Participants will receive the Little Passports - JW Marriott San Antonio Edition journal featuring the geography, history, and points of interest of Texas and the beautiful Hill Country. Each of the 24 pages in the interactive guide is designed to teach, challenge, and entertain young explorers. The Little Passport experience is complimentary and will be offered on Saturdays and holidays to resort guests ages 5-12 years old throughout the 2014 summer season.  Reservations are recommended through the Range Riders Kids’ Club. For more information call 210-276-2500, extension 4347.

Be sure to follow Little Passports on Twitter and Facebook for all the adventure fun!

Are your children into exploring the world? Which countries do you think they'd like to visit via Little Passports? I think Australia would be fun!
  


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Baby's First Beach Visit

Captured by Aunty Ariane - thank you!
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Virginia!

Typical Virginia pose! (thanks Aunty Ariane for the pic!)
Some of you may have been startled (and chuckled) upon seeing my personal Facebook status today:

I'm telling ya! The qualities that can drive me nuts at times are the same ones I want my daughter to have as an adult: tenacity, curiosity, defiance (to a point!) etc. . .  In utero she was much different than her brother and those traits are still carrying on especially her penchant for breaking into a passionate dance whenever a beat drops!

We are celebrating her birthday this weekend at a local splashpad/sandbox - her request for a very specific park was answered! I'll pick up a Frozen cake and we'll celebrate with a few of her buddies and my family. 

It's been a fun year for Virginia: she started preschool and became a big sister. We have more (bittersweet) transitions coming and I'm approaching cautiously to navigate her through them. 


Next up? Pre-K 4 in a few weeks. 

Oh and a funny memory for the day? When she woke up and I sang to her she smiled so big and graciously (the sweetest she's been in about 4 days O_o). She asked, "Am I 4 today?" I answered yes and she replied, "But I don't feel 4!" I then told her I'd confirm by looking in her mouth and she opened wide and I took a peek and proclaimed, "Yep! You're 4!" and she beamed. 

I love my Nia!

Do you remember being 4? I have strong memories at that age especially of nursery school. What about you? 
 
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Leave Your Troubles on the Water

Summer's still going strong for us (nope, it's not over til my birthday September 22!), and the past few days we've had quite an aquatic time along the Eastern seaboard. Take a peek:

A double rainbow after dinner in Portsmouth, NH
Happy to have the pool to herself at our hotel in Manchester, NH
Mr. Lovebird enjoyed GoGo squeeZ on the the Circle Line Cruise's Pirate and Princess Party for Nia's 4th birthday
Our first family trip to the Jersey Shore this season - spy that sand on the baby feet???

We have some big things going on around here (hence the single blog post last week O_o), and we're ending the summer in a very exciting way that I can't wait to share publicly. 

Have a good week everyone (it's Nia's birthday week), and if I get a bit temporarily sporadic here follow along where I'm plenty busy over on Instagram ;-)

How was your weekend? Any bodies of water involved?

 

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