Monday, January 30, 2012

Mother of Five!

Being a mother of five children often garners me a lot of unsolicited comments and stares. Watching us trot across a parking lot like ducklings in a row almost always results in a, "Wow! Are those all yours?" Yes, they certainly are.  Most people don't pick up strays along the way!  "My, you have your hands full!" Yes, while I certainly never suffer from boredom, my heart is pretty full too, and that's a great feeling! "How do you do it?"  The same way you do, just on a slightly grander scale!
Having a larger family was not something I had always dreamed of or planned, but now I couldn't imagine life any other way.  My husband is, and has always been, a great partner in child rearing. I plan, organize, and fret over every detail, while my husband hops in the car and wings it.  I read, do homework, and study with them, while he starts wet paper towel fights, wrestles, and plays Nerf guns.  The kids are pretty adaptable to both of our styles, and even the youngest appreciates the balance between us.
The children have also learned a lot from being part of the clan.  Each kid has chores that must be completed, more out of necessity than anything else.  The chores are traded in once a year and new jobs are assigned.  We don't pay the kids...I figure, nobody pays me to do all this laundry!  Besides, the life skills they are acquiring are priceless!  The kids have also learned to take care of each other.  My oldest adores our youngest.  Whenever she is home, she assumes most of his care, just because she wants to.  She loves getting him up from nap, changing him up, and watching him play in the yard.  This relationship is beautiful to watch blossom.  Our kids are learning to share our time and attention.  We often take one kid at a time out to do errands.  During that time, we hear more about their thoughts than we would in a week!  They have learned to make wise choices about their activities.  We allow each child to choose one sport or activity at a time.  They must then see it through to the end of the season before changing or deciding on something else.  This has really taught commitment and responsibility.
All in all, having five children is a balancing act...but so is having one or two!  So the next time you see us out and think, "God bless those parents!", don't worry, because we know He already has!
Jennifer Oliver Nunes is a mother to five wonderful, crazy children and is happily married to an equally wonderful, crazy man. She spends her time trying to balance her family's hectic schedules and activities and praying for her checkbook!

Truck Noises - Nature or Nurture?

As the mom of two boys, I've had to make 'truck noises' since they first started flipping through picture books and playing with 4-wheeled vehicles.  And I have to admit - I'm terrible at making truck noises!  Their dad can do it, their uncles can, Grandpa and Pepere are experts but me (and Nana and Grandma) don't stand a chance. I've really tried over the years - motorcycle sounds, trucks crashing, helicopter propellers - but no matter which vehicle I try, it sounds terrible!

So the boys found a solution - they give me the beat-up van to play with!  It's the one that looks most similar to our mini-van and doesn't have any cool sounds associated with it!  So while they get to drive all the cool monster trucks and race cars and instinctively make the appropriate sound effects, I travel silently.  And even when I try once again to master the 'vroom', I get side-ways glances from them that let me know I should leave well enough alone.

So my answer to whether truck noises are nature or nurture, I'm going with nature!  Perhaps some day I'll start a support group for all of us 'moms of boys' who desperately want to enter their world of trucks but for now I'll sit back with my 'van' and try not to look disappointed :(


Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Monster Jam is coming and you can win a FREE family 4-pack!

To enter, comment below with what you would name your own Monster Truck!

Deadline to enter is Friday February 27th, 2012 at 5pm.  

Winner will be drawn with the help of

Well, now it's funny!

I wanted to let you guys in on a little story that was NOT funny at the time but now is.

My two children are about 14 months a part. So at one point they were both babies at the same time. One a little bigger, stronger, and bossier than the other though. I had to constantly make sure the older daughter didn't injure the younger brother on an hourly basis. Hardest part is to do it and not get in the way of a possibly beautiful relationship/friendship between the two. By this I mean not constantly screaming, "O my god! Stop trying to jump on your brother's face!" and what-not. She didn't know any better and I didn't want her to grudge this new intruder. But the moment he grabbed her and bit her face I didn't find it funny. But shortly after and now I laugh at the image of such a beautiful docile creature attacking, and I am thankful that my daughter "might" think twice before putting her hands on him. (I will not reveal this to them until they are adults of course!)

What's something that horrified you, but are now laughing?
Sue Eldridge is a stay at home mom with no time on her hands. She has been married for 3 years, has a two year old, and a one year old. She keeps busy with obvious duties as well as her own home business. She plans to homeschool and go back to college when her children are old enough to tutor her. 


Monday, January 23, 2012

Nervous Nelly

I have always been a worrier. I worry about everything- food poisoning, dying, sickness, bees, family, job related things. I have never been a great sleeper and much of that is due to worrying. My brain just never shuts down. It never stops thinking of the hundreds of things I need to worry about it.

But two years ago I began a level of worrying I never imagined possible. Becoming a mother made me crazier than I was before. Hard to believe and I did not think it was possible but it happened. I worry about everything EJ related now and 24 hours a day. I never stop and sometimes I get myself in a tizzy. Even EJ has started saying to me, "Mommy, don't fuss!" I think he already recognizes that I am a worrier.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I don't want my anxiety to rub off on him and make him an anxious person. My following too closely behind him, smelling and tasting everything he eats, and telling him to be careful a hundred times a day has to rub off on him and I don't want it to. I want Mike's laid back personality to rub off on him.

I also want to be able to relax a little but I somehow don't see that happening. Even from the start, I was worried he wouldn't walk, worried he wouldn't talk, worried he wouldn't attach, worried about his health. It is never ending and so much deeper than the worrying I used to do about myself. That has basically stopped all together. I think my arm could be falling off and I would still be worried that he didn't drink enough fluids that day.

I know I am not alone in this. Just talking to my sister or other mom friends, they have all told me that they have elevated levels of anxiety since becoming a parent. I have often seen status updates of friends who feel overwhelmed or anxious and are unable to just relax. Finding the balance of relaxing and enjoying parenthood while still being careful, aware and cautious seems to be a difficult task. And I am far from finding that balance.

I recently visited a Buddhist Zen Center and attended a meditation class. They talked about the concept of being in the “now”. Not rehashing the past or worrying about what may come in the future but enjoying the moment you are in right now. It was eye opening. I spent so much time worrying; I am very rarely in the now. It is an extremely difficult thing for me to do all the time but I have been trying to stop more and focus on “the now”. When I do, I honestly feel more at peace and relaxed. I have also just started at a weekly yoga class. The dark, wood room with quiet music was just what I needed to “shut down” for an hour and a half and recharge. But I still have a long way to go.

The other night, EJ woke up at 2:30am and yelled to come into our bed. I placed him in between us and he rolled over to me, grabbed my head and gave me a kiss. He then said, "I love you Mommy! I love giving you kisses." Well, my heart melted. He then placed his hand on my forehead and said, "Do you feel warm?" Oh boy, it may be too late...

Lauren Jordan is a part-time stay at home mom.  She has been married for 7 years and is the mom of a very energetic, hilarious 2 year boy!  She hopes to some day get a full night of sleep.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

800 Fans!

We've just hit 800 fans so it's time for a give-away!  The winner will get their choice of either a 6-visit or $20 in store credit good towards any class, play pass, event or Melissa & Doug item.

To enter, please answer this question:

What is your child's favorite part of Kite Tails?

Deadline to enter is 5pm on Friday January 20th.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Opening My Eyes

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I read a friend’s Facebook status that really made me think. This person posted about how differently they now thought of this holiday after adopting their child. How it took on more of a meaning to them now that they were raising a child from Ethiopia. I also read another friend’s status quoting MLK and talking about how we have not yet fully achieved his dream of living “in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.

Truthfully, before adopting EJ I had thought little about race. Although raised right outside of Boston, I grew up in a community of mostly Italians. We had one African American boy in my class from 3rd-8th grade and in high school we had very few students from different cultural backgrounds. I have never even had an African American friend. I was extremely naïve in my thought process about race. I just assumed everyone liked everyone regardless of skin color. That is what I had been taught and since I had seen very little for myself, it is what I assumed to be true.

Then we adopted a baby from Ethiopia. After about a week home I realized that I had been very sheltered and very stupid. I started to read more, notice more, and learn more about race and cultural identity and how our society perceives it. It was eye opening. The first time Mike and I took EJ to Target together and had a man stare at us, shake his head and walk away, I actually felt rage. The first time someone said to me, “Oh his skin isn’t that dark.” I wanted to be sick. The first time I read a news story about an African American teenager being wrongly accused of a crime I grew very fearful. When I searched for the “dark skinned” Elf on the Shelf this Christmas and could not find it in most stores, I became outraged. Where have I been? What rock was I living under?

We recently began thinking about where we want to settle in RI and what school system EJ will attend. I can’t help but be angry that the diverse schools we would like him to attend are not academically acceptable and are not where we would choose to live. This is a huge discrepancy in our society, one that never affected me before so I didn’t pay attention it. As we look at towns that have the best schools systems, we face raising him in a town where he may be the only child of color in his class. It just doesn’t seem fair to him. Private schools are very expensive and we are not yet sure if it will be a viable option since I stay home part-time.

This decision continues to be a struggle for us. It has made us more keenly aware that there will be more struggles to come that we need to prepare for. It is our responsibility now to ensure that we look at the world the way EJ needs us to and not the way we have our entire lives. We don’t look at him and see an Ethiopian child and truthfully, most days we don’t even think about him being adopted. But the world looks at us and him a little differently and it has completely changed the way I now see things.

Lauren Jordan is a part-time stay at home mom.  She has been married for 7 years and is the mom of a very energetic, hilarious 2 year boy!  She hopes to some day get a full night of sleep.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The 'girls' might be on the news tonight (AKA: Breast feeding and a baseball super-star)

Lately, I've heard a lot of chatter about Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Today's rumor about closing off an entire floor, to include the NICU,
to allow them to host a private catered lunch in a hallway made me tilt my head and say
'they crazy-stupid-ridiculous whaaaat?!?!?'

I'd ignore this as hogwash; but have a personal story that leads me to believe something this
ludicrous really could have happened.

My daughter was born at a top-notch hospital in Manhattan, and was in the NICU.
Days after giving birth, via c-section, the lactation consultant, who had all the time in the
world for mothers with babies in the nursery but no time for NICU babies,
finally got around to helping me with breast feeding my child.  

*Side note:
I believe the universe was experimenting on just how far you can push a 1st time Mum
with a child in NICU by giving me raging hormones;
a ridiculously young Mum of 4 with no desire to see her baby and a smelly inconsiderate family
with children invading my space as a roommate;
and the lactation consultant who never had time for me;
oh..and a ride on the roller coaster of raging hormones...did I already mention those?

After days of pain management staff asking if I wanted this or that narcotic,
and me answering 'No thank you, Tylenol is fine; but I would not mind a glass of wine,
and could somebody please get the lactation specialist to see me', she finally arrived.

I walked down the hall with the consultant, who I secretly wanted to handcuff to me
because my hormones made me a crazy person and I feared if she walked away from me to ignore
my need for her help one more time, I just might have to jump her spider monkey style and
wrangle her down to the NICU. 
We skipped the elevators and she tells me they're not running because so-and-so baseball star 
*sparkle in her eyes*  is there.  
He made a large donation to the NICU and was on his media whore tour of the hospital at
that very moment.
I wondered how this made any difference in my world.
What the odds were that this was why she finally had time to go to the NICU, and wanted to say
unless he wants to come carry me down a few flights of stairs, this post-op c-section chick is
taking the elevator.
But knowing I had large doses of crazy raging inside of me, I kept my mouth closed in fear of what
might actually say.

We made it to the NICU and went through the regular ID check...times ten.
Again the voice in my head asked why security would be higher in the NICU for a baseball star.
I mean, wouldn't they care just as much about who enters the NICU regardless of who is
visiting that day?
The babies are just as precious as a baseball star, right?
I stifle the snark and walk the consultant to my baby's isolette and she looks at me like a
crazy person.  

In all fairness I was one.
Have I mentioned the raging roller coaster ride of hormones issue yet?

She looked at my baby and then at me several times before saying in her sweetest
you-are-a-crazy-person-and-look-like-you-may-snap-at-any-moment voice
'No dear, I mean your baby'.
I told her this was my baby and showed her my bracelet.  
I took a little moment of joy in how uncomfortable she was when gathering up the courage to
ask what the father's nationality was.
I'll be fair.
I am fair skinned, blond haired and blue eyed and my baby had jet black hair, was very red
(this is how jaundice appears on darker skinned babies), with very Asian features.
But we were in a city hospital in The Big Apple - the freaking melting pot of the country.
In this day and time, are mixed babies all that unusual?

I finally got that cleared up and she asked me to partially disrobe so she could help me.
Apparently there is an unspoken rule that it is common practice to lose all modesty in the NICU.
One boob is just like any other boob in that area.  Nobody cares about the size shape or color,
or that the shades might be open for all of Manhattan to take a peek.  
So, I dutifully flashed the room  while this woman tried to get my baby to drink.
We had trouble and there were many tears of frustration.

Then, all of a sudden, there were very bright lights coming down the hall.
I saw HUGE television cameras coming towards the room and taping EVERYTHING! 
2 NICU nurses flew Crouching tiger kung-fu style, to push partition screens and tried to give
me some privacy. 
But not before I gave the camera crew got a show for free.
I remained smashed in the corner with a screaming child
while my consultant made googly eyes at Mr. I have the power to shut down all business Baseball guy.
I contemplated letting the crazy out and screaming a bunch of nonsense and obscenities to clear
the room.  But I remained calm.
Partially out of the shock and horror that I might be on the news, half naked.

I suppose it made for an interesting story for my husband when he arrived.
'Hey babe, you missed 'the girls' making their film debut.'   
It's funny now; but back then, I was furious that all of us were so inconvenienced by a celebrity.
Really, are a bunch of hormonal, anxious mothers, and sleep deprived fathers, truly the group
you want to inconvenience?

So, take note Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Beware of the hormonal women.......  have I mentioned the raging hormones?
How could a woman who just gave birth not grasp this concept?
At the very least, gift them all with some wine.  It'll take the edge off and possibly take the crazy
down a few notches.

* I would like to add that the NICU staff at this hospital was superb, and the only reason I did not lose
my marbles completely during my stay.
And we got a bobble-head baseball star doll out of it.
It's a fair trade.
My dignity and modesty, and never being able to have the upper hand in movie deals by saying I have
never and will never appear on film naked.
.... all for a bobble-head.  Sure.......
Guest blogger Kim:
After surviving the corporate side of the fashion world in Manhattan, Kim is happily living her nutty life in the biggest little state in the union with her sasquatch obsessed husband and wildly funny daughter, The Chicklet.
She believes sharing life's stories is a wonderful form of therapy, and let's face it, we could all use a little therapy.  
Kim strives to be a Supermom; but her cape is defective, like so many others.  Darn cheap mass produced piece of crap capes.....  
Read about her crazy life and disdain for the supermom society at

Unique Gifts

This post is long overdue but I had to wait until my family actually opened their gifts before I could broadcast them to the world.  Over the last year I have met a lot of wonderful, creative women who just happen to make beautiful items that I gifted my family with this year.

Grandma, Nana and my Tante (Great Aunt) are always challenging to buy for but this year I knew well in advance what they each would get:  a sweet bird's nest necklace by Kristria Designs!
Kristin made me 3 beautiful necklaces with two little eggs in each - one for each of my boys!  The necklaces are unique and I love that they were handmade with love here in RI!

Next up were my brothers - again, difficult to buy for.  But another local mom came to the rescue.  Unique Pl8z & Frames had a booth at a fair earlier this year and I was drawn to the bright colors of their license plate art so I ordered one for my older brother and his wife and after getting it in, quickly ordered one for my younger brother too!  My older brother got one with our last name spelled out and here's my younger brother's one - he's a passionate skiier and lives up in VT!
And the last unique gift I found was for my 8 year old niece who lives in Chicago.  Last year I found some Transformer Snuggies at Wal-Mart for only $1!  This was a great deal for my nephew but I still needed something for my niece.  So I picked up a plain pink one and had my friend Rachael at Stitch Me This embroider a cool design on it for me.
So there they are - 3 unique, affordable gift items!  It felt great to shop from local moms and my family really appreciated the thought and care put into each.  Hope you check these 'shops' out next time you're looking for a gift!

Happy shopping!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This is a Stick-up!

For Christmas, EJ received three Disney movies. Up until now he has never sat long enough for a movie and I was skeptical to stray from PBS. I just letting him watch the Disney Channel. Although he will only sit to watch one full episode, he loves TV and I am always trying to limit it the best I can. Especially since he turned 2 and became a sponge who repeats everything! At least with shows like Sid the Science Kid and Super Why what he repeats back is somewhat educational.

I recently picked him up at school to take him for his flu shot. I told him where we were going and he said, “I am getting a vaccination?” Thank you, Sid the Science Kid.
Even Handy Manny has taught him Spanish. Everything in our house is now done “muy rapido”!

But the past few days EJ has become obsessed with Toy Story. Truthfully, I have only watch parts of it as I am cleaning or cooking but it looked cute enough and I was happy to make dinner. What harm could there be? After all it is Disney!

Tonight before bed I put EJ on the potty. While sitting there he pointed his toy hammer at me and said, "This is a stick-up! Everybody move!” (I think the line is ‘Nobody move!”) I was being held up by a toddler on the potty with a hammer. Thank you Disney. Tomorrow we are back to PBS…I don’t see that annoying Caillou holding anyone up.
Lauren Jordan is a part-time stay at home mom.  She has been married for 7 years and is the mom of a very energetic, hilarious 2 year boy!  She hopes to some day get a full night of sleep.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Top 10 Lessons for Mothers with Sons

Top 10 Lessons for Mothers with Sons

I saw a similar post like this on facebook the other day and thought it would be fun to jot down my own special lessons! Having a son of my own, is by far the greatest gift I will ever receive. I strive to raise a well-rounded, loving, caring, creative, empathetic, goofy, non-judgmental, confident, appreciative, cultured, generous, nurturing and determined young man. Here are some of my all-time important lessons that I want to instill on my son Landon. This is solely my opinion, others choose to raise, teach their children differently and have the right to do so.  This is just a glimpse into how we are hoping to raise a gentleman in today's society!

10. Teach your son to respect others.
Have your son appreciate all others have to bring to this world. Man or Woman, Young or Old.....For their brains, their talents, their beliefs etc....Respect is key!

9. Let your son play with dolls.
If your son wishes to play dress-up, feed a baby, play house- let him. It will make him a better friend, son, brother, uncle, and father one day. I fully believe that toys are toys....there to stimulate learning through a creative outlet- there should be NO GENDER with toys.

8. Teach your son how to wash a dish, do their own laundry and cook.
Start small, Landon sets the table and helps retrieve items from the fridge. He puts his dirty laundry in a hamper....once he is older the steps will continue. Help him be self-sufficient...there will come a day where he will leave the house and be on his own- and maybe one day- his significant other will thank you for it!

7. Let your son have his "OWN" relationship with his father.
I know I will always be his "Mommy", always there to love him, hug him, kiss him and protect him. But, his Father will be the one to teach him things that "Men" do, know the answers for everything, and teach him to be a great man. I want Landon to have an equally strong and separate relationship with both my husband & I.

6. Let him be a dreamer.
One day he wants to be a Circus Performer, the next an Astronaut......He wants to play Soccer then its Tae Kwon Do.....Let him dream....let him try....let him fail or succeed......Hopefully- he will have no regrets for a road he didn't travel.......

5. Read to him & With him.
Reading is such an important part of my life- I love sharing it with Landon. Reading takes him to new places, meets new people & he learns new things. It teaches patience and fosters a bond between the reader and listener.

4. Let him be a "BOY".
"Boys will be Boys", isn't a saying for no good reason....Let him run, jump; kick, scream, play tough with toys.....Watch him enjoy playing in the mud, sliding in the dirt, getting his clothes dirty....

3. Allow him to express his emotions.
This is a difficult for us as a family sometimes....Landon has a hard time expressing his feelings due to his sensory challenges. He has become amazingly aware of his emotions over the past year and we as a family have been able to be more patient with him. Don't tell him how he feels- let him tell you, or show you. Let him draw it, scream it or act it out.....Emotions are a tricky thing and I allow Landon to feel the way he feels....Once he gets his emotion- its easier for us to work with him. Its been amazing to watch him express all his feelings.....AMAZING!

2. Let him have his own style.
Landon likes what he likes....He likes his long hair. I get "crap" for it almost everyday. Many call him a girl....but he wants it long.....He chooses his clothes, his shoes and even his socks & underwear. He likes what he likes.....Watching him at 4 years old feel independent makes my heart melt. I see how happy he gets when he tells me that he loves his long hair....or his new Pink Sweatshirt with Skulls on it! Even though only 4, he is his own person with his own opinions. Don't forget that.

1. KISS Him, HUG him, SHOW him LOVE.
Its the misconception that if us mothers show too much love and affection for our son's than they will be a " Momma's Boy"....well- I say to that- Whats wrong with that?? Whats wrong with loving your child, and having them know that no matter what, they will always have a safe place to come home too......I never want my son to think for one second that he isn't LOVED. The more I can do to show him that he is an amazing person just for who he is and that my love is unconditional- than I am doing it!

Kisses Landon- This Mommy Bear Loves you-


Joy Adamonis is Mommy to a 4 year old named Landon. When not playing Pirates, Cars & Legos she enjoys scrapbooking, couponing, dinners out with friends and spending time with her husband of 7 years. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Finish this sentence...

Finish this sentence: "If Moms/Dads ruled the world..."

Here is mine (what's yours?!):

If moms ruled the world people wouldn't be so freaked out to see a breast in public.


Sue Eldridge is a stay at home mom with no time on her hands. She has been married for 3 years, has a two year old, and a one year old. She keeps busy with obvious duties as well as her own home business. She plans to homeschool and go back to college when her children are old enough to tutor her.