Archive for June, 2011

Is going barefoot old-fashioned summer fun or something else?

Growing up in Georgia we would spend the whole summer barefoot.  We would run out the door and through grass to our friends’ houses and down to the creek. Sometimes we would “fire walk” on the black asphalt but you couldn’t do that in the middle of the day. You would burn the soles of your feet and that, my friends, is not fun.

Michael thinks my feet are so rough because I was barefoot as a kid all the time. I think I just need a pedicure.

(The New York Times Well section recently ran a blog about is it healthier to run barefoot?)

I think flip flops are so popular now that maybe kids are wearing flip flops instead of going barefoot. Are parents more afraid of stepping on stuff or is it just that flip flops are more socially acceptable?

Arizona is even more flip flop crazy than Georgia I think. These folks wear flip flops literally year round and even to church! I have multiple pairs of flip flops here — including my everyday flip flops and my rhinestone fancy flip …

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Tips for taking a stress-free trip with extended family?

I will be taking two trips this summer with extended family (one with each side). I am sure this is a very common way to take trips but also can be a stressful one. I wanted to get your thoughts and tips on how to enjoy inter-generational and extended-family trips while avoiding little irritations or conflicts.

For example, do you try to stay in one big house or rent individual houses or condos so everyone has their own space to retreat back to?  (I would love to rent one giant beach house but I actually think in the long run we are better with individual condos so you can have some family alone time. It also makes it easier to get the kids to go to sleep.)

How do you handle:

  • Different bed times for kids or even adults (my dad likes to go to bed early!!?
  • Different expectations for lazy or quiet time on a beach trip?
  • Different expectations for activities not on the beach – do you all go crabbing, go to see movies, ride bicycles, play tennis, go to the water …

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Are you taking a trip or a vacation?

My mother reported that recently Kelly Ripa was talking on the “Live! with Regis and Kelly” show about a trip versus a vacation. Her husband Mark will filling in for Regis.

My mother says that Kelly explained the difference as this:

If your kids are traveling with you with then it’s a trip.

If your kids are not traveling with you then it’s a vacation.

I thought that was so true and very funny. I have written before about how I think beach trips are exhausting and are essentially just having to set up your operations in a whole new less efficient place. You guys ripped me a new one on that blog. (I can’t find the link. It’s too old.)

But I am hoping that now that my kids are older it won’t feel like that much work. They can all shower and dress themselves, even the 4-year-old. They can entertain themselves and will get in bed when you tell them. So hopefully we will get some relaxation too.

Do you see Kelly’s distinction between a trip and a vacation? How can …

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Are you taking your kids to see NKOTBSB? What old bands do you want to see?

The News Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys (aka NKOTBSB) are coming to Atlanta tomorrow, and I am wondering what moms are heading to see them and if they will be bringing their daughters?

My sister-in-law saw the NKOTB in recent years and took my niece with her. They loved it.

Since my brother got his new heart two years ago they have been able to do a little more and seeing favorite old groups is high on their list. They saw Def Leppard last weekend without their kids but are planning to take the kids to see Huey Lewis and the News. (I think that’s a really great one to see with kids. There is nothing bad going on there.)

They were talking about going to Journey and I was so jealous! I would love to see Journey.

You’re never quite sure how kids will react in concerts. It might be too much stimulation. Too loud or too many people. I would think the outdoor shows would be easier on kids – less loud and less intense.

The first concert I ever went to was Earth Wind …

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Favorite type and place for swim lessons?

My kids have taken swim lessons many ways over the years and from varied instructors.

When they were little I did private lessons with a certified swim instructor that lived in our neighborhood. She did a great job “tricking” them into swimming while they thought they were playing. She was a mom so she was good with the kids and always showed up. Although she was more expensive than what the YMCA was charging for a group lesson I felt like each child was getting very individual attention and the instructor was spending those 30 minutes completely concentrating on my child.

As they got older I tried some group lessons at the Y. The first round was more successful than the second round.

At that point Rose was a very good swimmer and the group lessons were good for her. For a while she was the only girl in the class and was very small compared to the boys but she was kicking their butts swimming laps. And she really liked that. So I think at that point the group setting was …

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Real life ‘Super 8′: Do your kids like to make movies?

I love it when my kids ask if they can use the Flip cam to make a “movie.” It doesn’t matter to me or to them what they are going to shoot. What I love is them planning a scene, acting it out and making sure they capture it just how they want it. I love the creativity that goes into deciding what they are going to shoot and the teamwork they need to pull it off.

Walsh loves to create battle scenes with his Lego men. He also likes to shoot what he’s playing on his Nintendo DSi. (I guess because he watches how to get through hard stages of video games on You Tube so he is looking to recreate that.)

It’s just so easy now for kids to make “movies.” The equipment is often readily accessible at home, small, easy to understand and gives immediate satisfaction as they can watch it on the camera, on the computer or on their TV.

I think the big difference today from the ’70s is the kids don’t think of it so much as making movies but as making You Tube videos. They want to post …

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Greatest Dad in Atlanta: How will you celebrate Father’s Day?

The AJC wants to you to vote for the Greatest Dad in Atlanta but you have to submit his photo and a brief statement about why he is the greatest dad by today (June 16). Voting will then take place from June 17 through June 19. The Greatest Dad winner will be announced on June 20.

Click here for all the details.

So how will you be celebrating Dad this year? Will you shower him with gifts, make him some BBQ, give him some free time for golf or play video games?

What will you give to the grandfathers and Papas out there? How do they rate?

I have made photo books of the kids for the grandfathers since they live so far away now.

We got Michael the new ESPN book, a new shirt, a sunshade for his car window and a photo book. I wanted to get him a new MP3 player since he’s had his since Lilina was born but I walked out of the Best Buy confused. I think he’ll have to pick it out for himself later.

In the past we have given the grandfathers movie passes – so they’ll take us to …

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Is living together before marriage just accepted now?

I was surprised that very little was said last spring about Prince William and Kate Middleton living together before getting married. I wondered if it had just become so common place for modern couples to cohabitate before the wedding that no one thought anything about it — except for my mother who commented on it several times.

The other day, I ran across some very interesting marriage statistics in a Wall Street Journal that definitely confirmed my hypothesis but also surprised me.

From The Wall Street Journal:

“Couples’ average age at first marriage has risen by several years, to 28 for men and 26 for women. More than 70% have already been living together by the time they marry, researchers estimate.”

I’m not naive and I knew that couples were living together before marriage – but 70 percent??!! That’s a huge number. Has the tide turned that much in the last 15 years that you are the odd couple if you DON’T live together before getting married?

Although I …

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Do you have one of these: The unmatched sock pile?

This is our sad pile of unmatched socks. Should we give up hope, wear them unmatched or hang in there waiting for the mate to show up? (Theresa Walsh Giarrusso)

This is our sad pile of unmatched socks. Should we give up hope, wear them unmatched or hang in there waiting for the mate to show up? (Theresa Walsh Giarrusso)

My sweet Michael spent Sunday afternoon washing and folding clothes for the family and adding to our perplexing and frustrating unmatched sock pile!

We created a basket for unmatched socks thinking after two or so loads it would all even out. Eventually the mate would turn up and you can re-create the match. However, the pile just seems to grow and the mates never turn up. Michael is threatening to throw all the singles away. I’m not ready to give up hope!

Do you have one of these piles at home? How do you handle the family socks? You always hear about domestically accomplished families pinning the socks together or washing them in a mesh bag so they don’t separate. But I don’t think we’re that advanced. Are you using any special techniques to keep the socks together? Would you trash these singles, hold out …

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What do wedding registries say about modern couples?

Can the gifts a couple registers for tell us about how their relationship works? Retailers believe their gift choices offer insight into the homes and expectations of the modern couple.

The Wall Street Journal talked to four major retailers, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Macy’s and Crate and Barrel, to glean what couples want today.

From The Wall Street Journal:

“At Macy’s, premium kitchen cutlery has rocketed to the top of wedding registries in the past five years, partly due to grooms’ influence, says Susan Bertelsen, group vice president, wedding and gift registry, for the retailer. She also credits men for helping drive sales gains in home bar ware, such as ice buckets and cocktail shakers. And Michelle Mesenburg, director of marketing for home items at Target, says grooms-to-be are helping drive the growing popularity of electronics or camping gear as wedding gifts….”

“These days, family-sized barbecue grills, bamboo bath accessories and sports gear are cropping up. …

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