Moving out of toddler days, cruising on into Official Big Kid world, Ms. Mary Mack turns FOUR years old today!
We have been celebrating all week with Four Days of Fab Giveaways. Speaking of, we have our first winner from Monday’s Honest Tea giveaway: Jeanine from Mommy Entourage … come on down! You have won a 30-day supply of Honest Kids juice pouches. Just drop us a note with your mailing address and you’ll be sipping pretty (yes. I said it.) in no time. Congratulations, and thanks for playing along!
We’ll be announcing the winner of Day 2’s “newborn” jackpot on MMM’s FB page on Friday afternoon, so be sure to
toss your hat in the ring if you haven’t done so already. [UPDATE: We have a winner: Joanna G.!]
There’s still time left on Day’s 3 Happiness giveaway too. The winner for this fun one will be selected Sunday and announced on Facebook. Get on it, friends! (Another thing to get on? Adding you “Like” to MMM‘s Facebook page. We like you, so why not return the favor, yes?)
And that brings us to today, the fourth and final day of fab freeness (alliteration!). First, a quick connect-the-dots story …
When I first launched this blog four years ago, I had just gone back to working as journalist, this time freelance and working from home. Oh, yeah, and there was also this new element of being someone’s mother. So I was a freelance journalist with a one-year-old baby boy. Major distinction. I was still trying to figure out how to set up a proper home office (i.e., not just work on my bed); how to quit constantly giving the breast pump the finger; how to use red daggers shot from my eyes to stop loud neighbor noises from interrupting my kid’s naps; how to be OK with the nanny seeing my son’s New Thing before I did; how to scrape together 30 minutes to get a smoothie alone (rare!); how to wrap my head around this work-life balance business everyone was talking about; and how to write about any or all of it in an honest, meaningful way.
Thankfully, there were other mothers — bloggy world veterans — who had come before me, smoothing out the path as best they could. I took a few months to do some research, reading other parenting blogs, following some of these (primarily) women on Twitter, before I rolled out Ms. Mary Mack. I wanted to know — as much as one could in advance — what I was about to get in to.
I read a. lot. of “mommy blogs.” Some were so-so. Some were just not my jam. But there were oh-so many that were smart and sharp and hella funny. One fine example of this is Mom-101 by Liz Gumbinner. A writer “hailing from the justly maligned world of advertising,” Liz is thoughtful and kind and real. I regularly read her posts and, truth told, was clearly giddy when she started following me on Twitter a few years back. (Listen, you don’t want to know the sound I made when Lisa Belkin of Motherlode fame actually left a comment on my blog and invited me to write for her at the NYTimes.com. Hey … the small things excite a girl. Either love me or leave me alone.)
Over the years, I’ve talked (in person a few times) with Liz about Brooklyn life, parenthood, shoes, Martha Stewart, whatever. We’ve become colleagues, friends. She recently asked me to be a contributor to the fantastic Cool Mom Picks. You know I happily said yes; I’m no dummy.
When I was putting together a list of cool giveaways for this 4th blogiversary, I asked Liz if she wouldn’t mind pointing me in the direction of someone willing to work with me. And without a minute’s pause, Liz came back with actual contacts, because kindness, lending helping hands? — that’s how she rolls.
So, thank you, Liz/Mom-101, for being open and plain ol’ nice, especially out in these blogging streets where not everyone is trying to share contacts or be collaborative.
And now … GIVEAWAY TIME! Tea Collection has very generously offered to set up one lucky reader with a cute-magoots wardrobe set! You may choose one set from the following:
Here’s an example of a sweet girls set:
Outstanding, right??! To enter is easy. Just read the rules below. Good luck!
Received some sad news about a long-ago friend losing her mother to cancer a few days ago. This on the heels of losing her grandmother just six months before that. And, unfathomably, her father 4 months before that.
Then more bad news, this time about a food blogger I met once or twice. Her dear husband is gone. And she is suddenly a widow, a single mother raising two daughters.
As this weighty week comes to an end, I’m choosing to pay my respects to the departed by celebrating life. Celebrating those small moments that are sprinkled throughout the days. Those good things that remind us to keep our heads up and hearts full.
1. This kid of mine is Good Things defined. Today he’s officially 30 months old. Yep, a 2.5-year-old … full-on toddler time. As busy (oh, and I mean bizzz-eee) as he keeps me, this little guy also makes me laugh really hard every single day.
He’s made our “easy-does-it” approach to potty training a complete cake walk. And he says things like this:
The Grandma: Come on, let me change your diaper.
The Youngster, finger wagging at her: Oh, no, no. I’m walking away from you. (And he does.)
2. A new recipe for blueberry muffins made even sweeter when spooned into mini cupcake pans.
3. You know how much I dig a smart blog. So it was nice to find out about this one: 1000 Lives in 100 Words. It’s exactly as the title tells it. The blogger is aiming to meet 1,000 people and get them to write their story in 100 words. Simple but really quite special. The point behind this project is excellent: “To remind us that our lives are important. [This blog’s] here to remind us that it’s not the years in your life; it’s the life in your years.” Fantastic.
4. My mother is in CT helping us out. Thank goodness for thatwoman. This morning she pulled something out of her magic hat that made me smile and feel sad at once. This watch:
It was a gift from my father’s oldest friend Ossie, who died two months ago. Ossie gave me this watch when I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old. It made me feel special and important and fancy having this “grown-up” watch. Looking at it now, all skinny and small, I remember that time. And I remember Ossie. This slim, little number definitely falls under the Good Things category. And to my mother for bringing it up here with her … well, you already know where we’ll file that.
5. These two chaps:
Now, turning it over to you … what’s good?
We’ve been kind of holding summer hours over here at Ms. Mary Mack. “Summer hours” sounds much better than saying: We’re dancing as fast as we can and our heels are scuffed raw and the toenails fell off a few weeks back and we’re lightheaded from the lack of sleep and proper fuel, so it’s best to lower the volume on this crazy music since it’s clear we can’t unplug the whole, damn thing.
Yeah, so like we said … summer hours.
Even though time is tight ’round here, I still want to share a few good things with you (while I keep tapping out a beat with my one functioning limb).
First, there’s the winner of the latest giveaway in The Confab. Through random selection, I am pleased to announce that the winner is … DeeDee! Here’s her best undercover cleaning tip:
“My best tip is for the car. While I’m getting gas, I clean out the garbage left over from a week of carpooling & running back & forth to games & practices for the kids. If the car is already clean (I think that’s happened once) I clean out my purse instead.”
Thanks, DeeDee. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know whether you’re going for the Real Simple magazine subscription or the gift card for The Container Store.
Some other good things to share:
- My wise little sister sent two web sites my way. Both are utterly engaging and special. Word of warning: These blogs will keep you clicking deeper and deeper into them, thus ignoring the work you originally set out to do. The first is called almost fearless. It’s all about a mama, a dad, their little guy named Cole and the adventures they have “traveling around the world avec l’enfant.” But it’s also about people grabbing life by the sweaty hand and gripping it tight as they lead it where they want to go. As the traveling mom put it: “It’s about creating a life that works for you.” I’m already scheming on ways I can connect with this fabulous global mama for — you guessed it — our Global Mamas project. Hmm …
- The other blog is called bleubird and, like I said above, it’s pretty special. This mom of three is all sorts of creative and DIY-ness. There’s a recurring thing on the blog called What We Wore. The photos are so full of fun you kinda wish you could slip into the frame and pose too. Enter stage left!
- I’ve been checking in on this site called The Burning House for a few months now, and I’m always enchanted. The premise is simple: If your house was burning, what would you take with you? Folks gather up said items and take a photograph of their lives — essentially — on creative display. And me being me, I find this infinitely intriguing. “What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities.” That’s part of the brief write-up on the site. So very true. Curious, if all loved ones were accounted for, what would you grab if your house was on fire? Leave your answer in the comments!
- [JUST ADDED!] The mind behind The Burning House — Foster R. Huntington (real name? I wonder.) — has yet another fantastic blog called A Restless Transplant. Huntington is doing what I would love to do: walk along life and capture fascinating moments, people and places along the way with a photograph. With categories like “On the Road,” “Side of the Road” and especially “Changing Seasons,” Huntington shows what being covered in creativity is all about. Indeed, I’d like to meet this person.
- Read about Susannah Mushatt Jones in the paper yesterday (the actual printed newspaper. Yep, old school like that.) and thought, Now, that’s just terrific. Ms. Jones, who lives in a senior center in Brooklyn, turned 112 this month. She might just be the oldest person in New York state. “She likes men, but not her ex-husband. She likes bacon and watermelon, though not necessarily together,” the story said. The best part was when Ms. Jones was told about her honorable new title, she smiled and said, “I can’t be.” See what I mean? Delightful.
That’s all I’ve got … for right now. Have a wonderful weekend, friends. Stay tuned to MMM, though. Coming up this summer we’ll have more Global Mamas (talking Turkey!) and more fine folks sitting with us in The Confab. Soon, soon.
Until then, stay cool. Don’t go frying any eggs on your front step.
What a busy week! Lots going on. Several pots boiling on the front burner. I’m gearing up for my Half-Marathon race Sunday morning. Equally excited and nervous about that.
Then, in some other big news … I finished reading a novel (Water for Elephants) this week. Oh, yes. That is indeed big news. It’s the first full-fledged novel—not short story or magazine piece—that I have been able to read, cover to cover since becoming a mother. And it only took me two weeks to do it! Hey, one mother recently told me that she hasn’t been able to finish reading a book in the 7.5 years that she’s been a mother. So hand claps all around for my mountain-climb, I say. [Ed. note: Read this book on the iPad. And I liked it.]
While there’s plenty going on in the bloggy world, I’m afraid this week’s Best of the Blogs wrap-up will be a brief one. But feel free to share news-y links to stories you’ve found in the comments section below. Let’s make this a group project, yes? It will be like putting all of our Easter eggs in one cute little basket.
- Speaking of books, my dear friend Barney sent me this link to a list of five good books for mothers that ran on USA Today. I’m really interested in checking out the one by Stacey Edgar called Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made It Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide. (Thanks for looking out, B.)
- There’s a New Tiger in Town. Oh, you didn’t hear? “Tiger Mom” (Amy Chua)’s daughter, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, recently started her own blog.
- We said it before: we like what the WSJ‘s working parents’ blog The Juggle is saying. This week they ran a post about Babyproofing Your Marriage, a companion piece of sorts to another WSJ story on the problems many couples encounter once le bébé enters the picture. Then I read the always-sharp Double X blog’s take on this idea of “Hello, baby! Bye-Bye, Marriage!” This post asks if pre-baby marriage counseling is the kind of stuff “expectant, neurotic yuppies” care about. Curious, what do you think?
- Tell me you’re all old enough to remember Blossom? Or be kind and just pretend that you do. Anyway, the child star of that show, Mayim Bialik, is a full-blooming woman now, with kids. She’s on the sitcom (and one of my Dad’s favorite shows) The Big Bang Theory. Bialik also has a Ph.D in neuroscience—and a good head on her shoulders, which is clear when you read her post about the “roles of a working mother” on TODAY Moms.
- Next Sunday is Mother’s Day! Rejoice, Mamas. You deserve a day and 20,000 more. The on-point women at Cool Mom Picks have put together a fantastic gift guide that shows how they got that name. Definitely pass the link along to your husband, partners, family, and friends with a strong hint and a wink.
Have a great weekend, folks. Let’s hope our feet hit the ground running—literally—on Race Day. Send your speedy wishes this way.