Archives for October 2010

How to Parent JOY-Fully

I made this video for my girls. Mostly I just wanted to make them smile. I pulled together five second spots from random moments we caught on tape this summer.

At the time these moments were taken they seemed very un-important: waking up early and playing on our bed; swimming; put-put; go-carting; the park.

But when I watch them now, it hits me. These are not un-important moments. They are the most important moments of all.

When your kids are big and grown, what moments will you remember? What moments will your children remember? I’ll bet, like this video, it will be the little moments that leave the biggest impressions. [Read more…]

How to Happy HALLOWEEN and Connect in the Kitchen

Kids love Halloween. I don’t know about yours, but mine love everything leading up to the big night as much as the trick or treating itself. Plans for what to wear begin as early as July. And no matter what ages your kids are, it’s always fun to get creative in the kitchen. Cooking is such a great way to connect.

Here are three super easy ideas that don’t take a lot of supplies, talent OR time. And they are SURE to be a hit with your tots to tweens.

Watch the 5 min video below and I’ll talk you through making each one. The segment was taped live on Oct 29th on the St. Louis morning show Great Day St. Louis. The cliff note version is below as well! 😉

Watermelon BRAIN: Just a small watermelon, [Read more…]

How to Begin Processing Post-Divorce

It’s been called the post-divorce rut, the single parent the rut, and a few other choice things…whatever you call it, one thing is for certain: it’s no fun being there.

I had been waiting and waiting and waiting for sixteen long months for my divorce to end. Every single day felt endless, like I was the smallest hamster on the hamster wheel. Motions, court dates, piles of attorney bills.
And then POOF!! SPUTTER!! SPUTTER!! It was done.

A simple stamp on my divorce decree that said “FINAL” branded me as a single mother, branded my daughter as the child of a divorced household, and branded her father as a single dad. It was surreal.

My first emotion? Being utterly, down to the bone, down to the marrow in my bones, tired. Not too tired to smile, mind you.

Friends took me out to celebrate. I had dinners, I had drinks, and, I had desserts. Lots of people called, visited, and emailed. It was a whirlwind. Then, a few weeks later, [Read more…]

How to Get Real

May you dwell in the house of the Lord forever” is more than a symbolic statement. It means, may your perception of what’s real and what’s not real be based only on God’s eternal realities, every moment. ~ Marianne Williamson

Apparently, it’s time for my personal reality check. It’s been a busy few months. That would be an understatement. Since June, MMM was part of Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Connecting in the CyBear Century. We also co-hosted Virginia’s virtual baby shower with KMOV, raising money for March of Dimes. We were on a panel at the Type A Mom conference, coordinated the St. Louis Mom Fashion Haul, and this week, speaking at the RISE Big Idea luncheon.

This on top of being mommy: parent-teacher conferences, birthday parties, soccer practices, soccer games, soccer games, soccer games (yes, I typed that three times)!

At least once a week, someone asks, “How do you do it?” I wish I could say that passion fueled me through all these activities. I wish I had a magic answer, at least one better than what I’m about to admit. But in fact, [Read more…]

How to Get Ready to Adopt

With all my heart, I truly believe that just as a child is conceived physically, an adopted child is conceived in the hearts of a mom and dad.

As an adoptive grandma (alias, Mimi), I witnessed that event in the hearts of my daughter, Lisa, and son-in-law, John, who adopted our precious grand daughter, Megan Grace, seven years ago. It so happened that I knew the birth mother and our daughter, Lisa, knew of her also.

Adoption Conception

When I told Lisa that this young woman was experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, she began weeping. Not sure, what was troubling her, I asked. She said she felt so burdened for the baby and for the birth mother. Gradually, she realized that those were the tears of motherhood. What a gift! I call this adoption conception!

Listen to another mother describe her adoption conception: “If I had to pick just one moment of absolute, unadulterated joy it would be the moment I saw her photo pop up on my computer screen. I kept saying, [Read more…]

How To Make Time for Your Dreams

I had the HAPPIEST night ever on Tuesday night. We had a GNO. Like in real life! Not to knock our online GNO’s but sometimes, a girl’s just gotta be able to share the real deal: real food, real wine, and real hugs. We had, what Danielle dubbed “The Fashion Haul of All Fashion Hauls” at dotdotdash.

But in the midst of all the shopping fun, which is well documented in pics and video footage, was a very heartfelt message for us moms.

Depending on your stage of life (or even your stage of motherhood), you may find yourself having to shelve the dreams you once had for yourself. But for Alyson, owner of dotdotdash, the dream didn’t go away. With three kids, ranging in age from 11 to two, a wonderful husband, and everything she could ever want, Alyson has the perfect life. Yet she wondered, “Why don’t I feel perfect inside?”

Alyson shares the internal dialogue that inspired her to start this sweet little storefront boutique tucked in a great St. Louis neighborhood. After waking up from the new mom fog she asked herself, “Do you still really want it? Then you need to take it.” So there.

The business that a few years ago meant boxes and boxes of shirts on her dining room table has grown steadily into what you see here… a line of soft, comfortable casual wear for busy moms who need easy-going clothes. Just to drive home the message that you don’t have to spend a fortune to feel great, Alyson gave us each $100 credit to put together a mix and match outfit. Of course, with Alyson as our personal shopper, who could go wrong?

Your dream might not be your own little shop of fill-in-the-blank-here. It might be, like Heidi Howe’s, recording an album. Or, writing a book. Whatever your dream is, give it some space and time in your life. I’ll say it yet again: how can we teach our children to pursue their dreams if we do not give ourselves permission to do the same?! If you didn’t catch what Alyson said… “You hope that they [your children] find their passion within.”

Full disclosure: Alyson Garland is a dear friend. Our kids are dear friends. And, she’s my personal dresser! *wink* And may be Zen Mommy’s from now on as well! If you watch our videos regularly, almost everything I wear is from her shop in Demun.

Stop by Dotdotdash and tell them MyMommyManual sent you over. You’ll get 15% off your purchase! Thank you, Alyson for sharing the love.

And take a look-see what Kelli and Melody and Suzanne and Danyelle took home at The Fashion Haul of All Fashion Hauls. Actually, Danielle is posting a full write-up with prices and such!

Love you, fabulous St. Louis Mamas! (more pics below)

Sign up! *wink* We’ll keep reminding you to take care of YOU and your dreams! [Read more…]

How to Have Some Fun!!!

If you’ve taken our Yoga Parenting class on Ritual/Play, you’ll know we think it’s important to get silly with our kids. And yet, it can be challenging for us moms to exercise those “play muscles.” When I was married, I delegated the rough-housing, tickling, wrestling to dad. But why?! Are we short on time? Or are we too busy being the R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-L-E adults?! (said in stodgy boring documentary voice).

I very often fall into the trap of feeling responsible for making sure my kids brush their teeth (as you recall from another post), take their medicine and eat their broccoli. Can you think of anyone more UNfun than mommy? Ugh!

A few minutes of playing goes such a long way to filling our buckets. So infuse a little fun into your day, moms! It’s your JOB!

Suzanne and I had so much fun on the trampoline that day. I’m telling ya, there’s nothing like getting physical to lift your spirits. On any given day but especially when you’re feeling a general sense of malaise, just channel your inner @AlliWorthington and [Read more…]

How To Know When To Get Relationship Help

One of my earliest posts for My Mommy Manual was How To Move Past the Nit-Pick.  I have taken my own advice.  There has been a lot of deep breathing, accentuating the positive, and looking toward the long distance.  However, it’s come to a point where I just cannot click and move on.  In fact, there’s been a lot of clicking, but we’re not moving on.  I am stuck with the question of how do I accept another’s shortcomings and still be authentic about what’s not working in our relationship.

My husband and I are at an impasse. We’re not communicating well. We’re not having sex. We can barely have a conversation right now without one of us taking a sassy tone with the other.

I’ve seen other relationships crack under the same pressure. He works too much. I feel over-burdened by having to manage all things related to the house. You know…keeping the house picked up (kids’ toys!), cleaning, laundry (oh the never-ending piles of laundry that need to be washed, folded or simply put away), meal planning and cooking, paying the bills and balancing the checkbook. Then there are our two boys with drop offs and pick-ups, soccer practice, swim class, homework and play dates.  Let’s not forget the trips to the library, Target or whatever other household need there is. I’ve asked Husband to do the dishes after meals that I cook and yes, he has had to put away a load of laundry now and again. He’s complained that he’s doing a lot more around the house and I’m not doing enough. Them are fighting words, Buster Brown.

[Read more…]

Cackle Laugh — Roar!!!

For more cute-school pictures, go to our Huggable Moments Gallery. And you can add yours!

We post our favorites here and on other sister sites so be sure to leave a line or two about your picture when you send it. This is a sneak peak of how my two little ones will [Read more…]

Goal Setting Exercise for Children

Goal setting is a skill that allows us to recognize our wants and develop a plan to attain it.  By stating our goals and making a plan, we stay organized and develop confidence by accomplishing the steps required.  Simply put, this is the way we achieve our own success.  Of course, we all want our children to learn how to accomplish their goals as well, the question is…how?   If a child is able to practice goal setting effectively, then he/she will be able to learn the important skills of time management, organization, and (as a result) building positive self esteem.

I always say that success is a loose term and should be defined by the individual. I believe that my child will also only be successful if she can meet her own goals (not mine). I will be very careful to not define success for her. But, I also want to give her the skills she needs to meet her goals and feel confident in the little successes in life. So, I came up with a little skill setting exercise…


Help your child figure out a ffew things that they want. Ask them to be specific and tell them to picture themselves doing (or having that). Have them close their eyes and visualize the goal or draw a picture of what it will look like. [Read more…]