Drama for Mama: American Idol

Wednesday night recap:

Order has been restored to the universe. Logic, once again, reigns supreme because Megan Joy was eliminated on American Idol Wednesday night. If anyone else but her had been the one to go, I would have wondered what the voting public was smokin’.

Joining her in the bottom three were Allison, who had tragic fashion sense the night before, and Anoop, who not only sounded a bit karaoke Tuesday but also got really snippy and a tad bit bratty with the judges. I think he realized by Wednesday that he was a little too full of himself on Tuesday. I bet he’ll be better next week.

I fast forwarded through that weird Lady Gaga special performance, but I totally loved seeing good ol’ David Cook back on the Idol stage to sing his new song, “Come Back to Me.” He was always the real deal on this show and still is. His mama was in the audience, singing along with her boy and looking as proud as she ought to. David’s first album has gone platinum and sold more than a million copies in three months. Wow.

Next week it’s down to 8 contestants on Idol. The competition just gets tougher from here on out. Stay tuned.

Tuesday night recap:

Okay, I’m going out on a limb but here goes: I predict that Arkansas native Kris Allen will take the title this year. He was brilliant Tuesday night. If things continue on their present trajectory, I think it will come down to a battle between Kris Allen and Danny Gokey. Adam Lambert might hang on to the third spot, but I don’t think he has the mass appeal that Kris and Danny do.

Now that the predictions are out of the way, here’s my quick recap of what happened on Tuesday night, just in case you missed it.

Anoop: He sang “Caught Up” by Usher, but I was not so caught up in it. I like this guy, but he’s just not cool enough to pull off a song by Usher. Sorry. The judges were not impressed. Simon said it gave him a headache.

Megan: She sang some Bob Marley song that I can’t even remember the name of. The very first phrase of the song sounded nice and then it went right into the ditch. Oh, man. It was painful. Randy said it was “like watching paint dry.” He said it was boring and it took forever to listen to it. Wow. If that doesn’t send her home, I’m not sure what will. But she takes the criticism in stride and smiles her way through it.

Danny: He sang “What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts, and he sounded great. This guy knows how to pick his songs, and, more than any of his competitors, connects with his music and his audience on a personal, emotional level. That’s what is going to get him into the finals, if you ask me. The judges gave him high marks Tuesday night.

Scott: He finally had a great night because he sang a Billy Joel song, “Just the Way You Are,” with only the piano backing him up. And this guy can really play. His vocals were good, too. I don’t think he is going to get close to the title, but he definitely had a good showing Tuesday night.

Allison: Oh, honey. What evil stylist told you that the rocker outfit would really work for you? That stylist is not your friend. But this is not about clothes, even though the judges all found her appearance to be distracting. She sang “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt, which was a great song for her voice. But it sounded a little forced and uncomfortable. Maybe her nerves got to her a little bit.

Matt: He is still one of my favorites because he’s such a cool mix of Michael Buble and Justin Timberlake. But here’s the problem. He really likes rock music, even though the style of his voice is best suited for R&B. He wants to do both. But ya can’t have everything, Matt. So listen to bands like The Fray on your iPod but only perform the ones that let your vocal talents shine. I hope this performance doesn’t land him in the bottom three again because I think this guy has real talent.

Adam Lambert: I think I’m the only person in America who just doesn’t “get it” when it comes to Adam Lambert. I genuinely liked his performance last week, and this week’s performance wasn’t nearly as irritating as that awful “Ring of Fire” thing he did a few weeks ago. But there is something about that shrieky falsetto that Adam does that I find annoying and indulgent. Maybe it’s just me. He sang “Play That Funky Music” in an unusual arrangement. Paula nearly flipped she was so happy with it. I just don’t see it.

Lil Rounds: Not sure what’s going on with Lil. She was so incredible during the early rounds but seems to have faltered a bit. She has lost some of the originality and edge that made her so appealing. She looked beautiful Tuesday night but sounded more formal or stiff than what I would’ve expected from her. But her vocals were solid, so I think she’ll be safe another week. Her little girl hugged Randy after her mom’s performance, and Lil cried. Aww… I love a mama who loves her kids.

Kris Allen: I’ve already made my bold prediction about Kris. What he did Tuesday night helped inspire that prediction. He sang “Ain’t No Sunshine” in a new arrangement. (Not sure if he arranged it or had some help.) He played keyboards, which he hasn’t done before. He hang a string quartet accompany him. And this really old song sounded brand new and cool again. I’m tellin’ ya. This guy’s song choices remind me of David Cook from last season. Some guys just know what they’re good at and what they can really do. Kris may be one of them. The judges said it was the best performance of the night.

Bottom three prediction? I’d go with Megan, Anoop and Allison.  Tune in on Wednesday to find out for yourself.

Spring Clean Giveaway: Win a new washer and dryer!!!

If you just read the headline, I bet you’re saying “NO WAY!” right about now. So let me just say this: “YES WAY!

We’re hosting a huge “Spring Clean Giveaway”, courtesy of our friends metrologo.gifat Metro Builders Supply. And the lucky mama who wins is going to have a brand spankin’ new washer and dryer on pedestal stands delivered to her house! Oh yeah, we almost forgot… IT’S FREE!!

It’s not just any old washer and dryer set. We’re talkin’ about the mac-daddy, high-rollin’ Whirlpool Duet front-loading washer and dryer set perched atop pedestal stands with pull-out drawers. That means you won’t be bending and stooping anymore, and you can finally get all those cluttery bottles of detergent off the top of your dryer. Check out the glamour shot of the washer below. (Click on the photos to go to the Whirlpool website and read more about the product features.)

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As we’ve said before, we do our best to hand-pick the advertisers on this website because we believe that part of our job as mama bloggers is to help point our fellow moms to the best places to shop. I’ve personally shopped at Metro for years and have always been happy with the level of service I get when I’m there. It’s the kind of place where the salespeople actually remember your name. (Sorta like Cheers, only without Norm and beer.)

Not only do they remember your name, they know what you bought last time you were in the store. But what I love most about Metro is that these people KNOW their products. They don’t have to look stuff up in product brochures or “get back to you on that.” When you ask a question, they know the answer because they’ve studied what they sell. As a busy mama who needs to understand what she’s buying, I respect and appreciate that. (Here’s an equally impressive photo of the dryer we’re giving away.)

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HOW TO ENTER: Throwing your name in the hat for this prize is even easier than throwing dirty clothes in a brand new washer. If you’ve shopped at Metro before and have a good experience to share, send us an e-mail or click the “comment” button below and tell us about it. If you haven’t shopped there before, simply tell us why you should buy your next new appliance there, based on what you’ve read in this article or in the posted comments from your fellow moms. 

For extra chances to win, e-mail your friends/family about our Spring Clean giveaway and be sure to put mamas@nwaMotherlode.com in the CC line. We’ll give you an additional chance to win for every friend you tell. (Tell 10 friends, and get 10 extra chances to win. Cool, huh?) We’d also love for you to write about the giveaway on your blog or website and link to this story. Help us spread the word — but don’t forget to send us a note so we’ll know you did!

A winner will be chosen AT RANDOM from the posted comments and e-mails.

Of course, in an economy like this one, we can’t wrap up this article without talking about money. The retail value of the set Metro is giving away is about $2,500!!! Regardless of whether you win this set or not, do yourself a favor and check Metro’s prices before you buy your next new appliance. Because Metro Builders Supply has been around for 30 years and is the largest authorized contract distributor in the Midwest, they have the buying power to offer the lowest possible price on more than 30 different brands of appliances. If you don’t remember that important fact, you’re not doing your wallet any favors.

We can’t resist. Before we close, here’s one more glamour shot. Below is a photo of one of the pedestals that come with the washer and dryer set. The winner will get two of these!

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Nice, huh? This is one of those times when Shannon and I really wish we could enter our names in our own website’s drawing because we would both LOVE to have this washer and dryer set move into our laundry rooms. But we’ll settle for being the ones who get to tell one of you that you’re the lucky mama who has won the Spring Clean Giveaway. We want to say a big “Thank you” to our friends at Metro Builders Supply who truly value good “Word-of-Mom.” If you want to check them out for yourself, they’re located on US 71B between Springdale and Lowell. Click HERE to get directions or call them at 479-750-2200. Tell ‘em the mamas at Motherlode sent ya.

Good luck. Spread the word, and Happy Spring! 

Product review of Bumble & Bumble hair powder

bumbleb0ct_152x358.jpgGirls, let me tell you, my gray hair was shining through.

I had just gotten a haircut at East Meets West Spa & Salon (atop the hill on Steele Boulevard by the new Shogun in Fayetteville) and Julie couldn’t help but notice my very gray roots. She gently suggested that I use some Bumble and bumble hair powder to hold me over until my next color. She sprayed some on the roots — careful not to get it on my forehead — and I was suddenly less frumpy! Since I’m also prone to oily hair, the hair powder kept my hair from looking the wrong kind of shiny when I didn’t wash it the next day.

My experience with Bumble and bumble hair powder (I have brown hair and I used the blonde version, so experiment) was really positive. I know it’s available at East Meets West Salon.

Bb. is also great for thinning hair in addition to root touch-ups. I also loved the volume it created!

Doc Talk: On mammograms

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morgan2.jpgDoc Talk is a weekly series that lets you go on a virtual visit to the doctor’s office. We ask the questions moms want answers to, and the physicians of Mercy Health System provide the answers via video podcast.

If you have a medical/pediatric question you’d like a video answer for, e-mail it to us and we may include it in an upcoming installment of Doc Talk. Click on the nurse’s photo to get more background info on her training.

Q: What’s the difference between mammogram, breast ultrasound and breast MRI?

video12.jpgA: Click on the video podcast icon on the right to see Megan Morgan discuss these differences and at what age to get a “baseline” mammogram.

Megan Morgan is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas. She practices at Rogers Medical Center, which is located in the Physicians Plaza just off Interstate 540. For more info on Megan, click on her photo to watch her bio podcast or call the office at 479-338-5500.

logo_mercy1.gifNWAMotherlode.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

Devotion in Motion: A ‘Dear John’ Letter to Paula Deen

“Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.”  Colossians  4:14 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Dearest, dearest, Paula Deen,

pauladeen.jpgHow sad I am that we must now break up. Oh, how I have loved you from afar.  For the past decade (with the approval of my wife) you have been my TV girlfriend, as I watch you each week on Food Network.  I love your blue eyes and your silver hair.  I love your hearty laugh and your bright smile.  But most of all, I love the things that you cook.

I love the way you deep-fry everything—except for the things that you pan-fry.  I love the way you fry chicken and the way you fry fish.  I love the way you fry vegetables, like potatoes (both Irish and sweet), okra, squash, and eggplant.  I love the way you fry things that don’t even need frying, like Twinkies and cheesecake.  I love the way you fry things that aren’t even really food, like green tomatoes. (Have you ever thought about frying a bicycle tire?  If you ever decide to, please give me a call.  I’ll be right there watching you, with little hearts coming out of my eyes. Especially if you roll it in corn meal first.)

Paula Deen, another thing I love about you is how everything you cook begins with three sticks of butter.  Goodness, girl, you are keeping the National Dairy Council in business! I have noticed that your recipes have so much more flavor than the low-fat versions they sell at the store. Is that why you put butter in everything?  Your full-fat dishes are so tasty! You’re the only the only girl I know who says, “Okay, get out  some cream cheese, a Boston Butt, and three sticks of butter—we’re making an angel food cake!”

Paula Dean, one time on Oprah I heard you say, “I’m your cook, not your doctor.” Ah, my sweetest, therein lies the problem. Someone has come between us—my cardiologist, Dr. Bennett.  Paula, he says we can’t “go together”. He says we can’t even be “close friends”. Dr. Bennett says you are not the girl for me—because you’re just no good for me.

First of all, Dr. Bennett says you don’t know how to measure anything. You always measure butter by the “stick”. But, Dr. Bennett says you are supposed to measure butter by the “TEAspoon”. (Incidentally, a teaspoon is about the size of the first joint of your index finger.) And, if you’re measuring butter, it’s supposed to be the soft margarine that comes in a tub, not a stick. And, Paula, my cardiologist says the way you measure mayonnaise (by the cup) is all wrong. Dr. Bennett says you measure mayonnaise by the “TABLEspoon”. (And a tablespoon is about the size of your thumb.) He says that Miracle Whip is better because a tablespoon has only 35 calories–instead of the 90 that you find in the same amount of mayo.

I love you, Paula Deen, but I’ve come to a realization: It’s nice to have a cook, but more important to have a doctor.  It’s even in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul had health problems, and took his doctor with him whenever he traveled.  He even called him, “Luke, the beloved physician.” And if I want to be around to finish raising my kids, I’ve got to do what my doctor says. That’s the most important thing, because I want to stick around with them. (The mamas who read my column need to think about this, too.)  So, I’m leaving “The Land of Milk and Honey” for “The Land of Silk and Sweet’n’Low” in hopes that I can finish the work that the Lord has given me to do.

Don’t worry about me being lonely.  Dr. Bennett has introduced me to a new girl.  I take her to dinner every night.  I am afraid that the church may not approve of her because she is a married woman, and she is not “the salt of the Earth”. Her name is Mrs. Dash.  (She’s a spicy little mama.)

So, Paula, I’ll be seeing you.  I just won’t be eating what you’re cooking.  I’ll eat my low-fat diet to try to keep my heart healthy—and maybe the Lord will keep me around to watch your program for a long, long, time.

Love and best dishes,

John

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” *Sing that  title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi.  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church ( where the preacher’s other new girlfriend is “Olive Oil”).  You should write him at extramailbox@juno.com.

The Rockwood Files: Letter to My Machines

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Dear appliances,

We’ve been together a long time now. And you’re great. Really, you are. I want you to know how much I appreciate all the work you do around here. I seriously don’t know how I’d run the household without you.

But the truth is, I need a break. I need an appliance vacation. I’m just a little tired of stuffing clothes into the washing machine every single day. I resent being at the beck and call of the clothes dryer’s alarm. I can’t just drop everything and rush upstairs to empty it every time it says so. I’ve got work to do, kids to feed and another riveting round of Junior Monopoly to play. By the time I get back to the dryer, the load of dry laundry has developed a few thousand wrinkles and is begging for a visit from its cousin, the iron. But I broke up with him years ago. He’s still collecting dust at the top of the closet.

So I make my peace with the wrinkles and begin the tedious task of folding the clothes. And I fold, and I fold, and I fold. As I run around the house depositing those stacks of folded clothes and towels back into their designated drawers and shelves, I have the strangest feeling of deja vu. Didn’t I just fold and put away this very same Elmo t-shirt just a few days ago? And then I realize that, yes, I did. After a quick trip to the backyard to play with the dogs, it landed right back in the washing machine. Oh, this vicious laundry cycle can wear a person out!

Sure, I could take a day off from laundry now and then. Maybe I could even take off a whole week. But we all know I’d end up staring at a mountainous pile of dirty t-shirts, jeans and Spiderman underwear, and it would take the better part of the following week just to conquer that mountain. No, it’s not worth it. A load a day keeps the mountainous piles away.

Don’t even get me started on the dishwasher. Sure, he’s a huge help but he needs to be emptied nearly every day! I’m beginning to measure my week by how many times I’ve sorted the forks, knives and spoons. By the time I’ve reached five or so, I know the weekend must be getting close.

And what’s going on with the refrigerator? Did you know she’s been secretly hoarding dinner leftovers for weeks now? Just today I opened her up and discovered a box containing two-week-old taco pizza that had nearly fossilized. Then I found a forgotten fruit that had oozed juice everywhere. If the oven can clean itself, why can’t the fridge have a self-cleaning crisper drawer? How was I supposed to know two weeks had flown by since I cleaned it out last? I was too busy folding clothes.

I know how this must sound. I don’t mean to seem ungrateful. I know that without all of you, I’d be scrubbing that Elmo t-shirt against a washboard and hanging it out to dry. Without you, the milk would spoil after only a day. Believe me when I say it’s not you, it’s me. I just need some space. Even the best of friends need a little time away.

So please understand if I let the lid slam down on the washing machine now and then. Don’t hold it against me if I let crumbs pile up in the bottom of the toaster. It’s just that there are so many of you who need attention and only one of me. A girl has to get out now and then for some fresh air and sunshine, perhaps a relaxing trip to the mall or the hair salon. When I come back, I promise I’ll be better. I’ll empty the dishwasher with gratitude and fold that wrinkled laundry with a smile on my face. Because we’re all in this thing together. Running a household is a big job, and we can’t afford for any one of us to break down. Keep the faith, my friends.       

Sincerely,

Your benevolent master

The Mom Whisperer on Cleaning: Are you a Sunburst or Paper Doll?

Guest post by Vikki Spencer, momwhisperer.com

cleaningimages.jpgI have read volumes of books on organizing, dozens of articles on cleaning, met and interviewed a“cleaning/organizational” author in person, and surfed websites for systems that would promise everlasting organization. Here is what I know for sure about “messyness” – it’s very personal.

The personal-ness of clutter is the only thing that explains why we can buy books, read articles and still not have a place for unopened mail versus opened mail versus bills to pay versus receipts to save.

Here are 5 aspects of “messyness” to help identify the core of personal target areas that need clutter TLC – without reading volumes to figure it out.

Rat Packer: You love piles. You know where everything is based on what pile it’s in. This type needs a visit from the permission fairy either weekly or monthly to set aside time to sort piles. It’s not finding the right type of container, it’s all about scheduling time to do it.

Sunburst: Burst cleaners will let the mess go until a sunny day and then clean it all themselves or enlist everyone’s help in one big burst of energy. It’s always put off until a crisis point hits and then it’s all hands on deck until everything is done. This type of messy could benefit from a short 15 min. daily routine. Every night before bed, just get things into the room they belong. This will go a long way minimizing stress while still allowing for the Saturday power clean.

Paper Doll: Some moms can handle the general cleaning except the “paper” (mail, things to file, bills, etc.) If you don’t have a system for mail, create one that makes sense to you. Use folders labeled “To File”, “Bills”, and “For Hubby”. Five minutes of opening mail and placing it somewhere productive will change your life.

Project Runaway: Some moms find projects their nemesis. Whether it’s scrap booking or playing guitar or mountain climbing, the intent to do the project can take up a whole closet or a whole spare room. If you realize your project has run away and taken on a life of it’s own, it’s time to corral it. Make a place and time to really accomplish/ enjoy your hobby. Otherwise, get bins, storage, or space to keep it tidy and neat until the next session.

Perfectionist: For this type, everything has to go in it’s perfectly right place, labeled, and planned or else what’s the point? There is never enough time or space or correct bins. This type can benefit from choosing the battles wisely. If the kitchen “junk drawer” absolutely needs 5 containers to hold everything, then let go of keeping the landing space perfect when the kids come home. Choose what matters most and find success without driving yourself (and others) crazy.

Apply the above information to your life and begin to make it work for you. Learn you’re a pack rat? Ensure that everyone knows what’s in the piles. Ready to Burst? Experiment with 15 min. a day for a quick de-clutter. Discover your inner paper doll? Commit to 5 min. a day and a labeled plan. Projects running away? Lasso them and corral them where you can find them again. You’ll save yourself time reading about organizing and more time actually living it.

Vikki Spencer, M.Ed. is owner of MomWhisperer.com, a personal development site for moms. For the last five years, she has been a professional life coach who supports moms to identify, create and celebrate change. She believes no one is “just” a mom and has been known to hold the Wii boxing title in the family.

SLIME “recipe” for you to invent at home

slimeimages.jpgAre you looking for something fun to make with your kids? Lynette, a Northwest Arkansas mom of two, shared this “recipe” that her mom shared with her.

“Last time I made it, it got moldy after a couple of weeks, but I think something from the kitchen table must have gotten into it while the kids played with it.  The other batches I’ve made lasted for months in Zip-loc bags,” Lynette said.

Here’s how to make your very own slime:

Solution A:

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 cups Elmers white glue (apparently it must be Elmer’s glue)

Food coloring of choice

Mix these 3 things together until completely dissolved

Solution B:

4 teaspoons borax (can be found in the laundry detergent aisle)

1 1/3 cups warm water

Mix these 2 things together until completely dissolved

Pour solution A into solution B.  Do not mix!

Lift slime out and knead into shape.

Another tip: If you are going to halve the recipe, use only half of solution A and mix the whole amount of solution B.  The results will be the same.  Do not double the recipe and do not reuse solution B.

*This information was found on the website recipesource.com and was provided by Jeanne Lupien (link).

Hair: “Help Me Rhonda” on kids’ cuts

Dear Rhonda,

My son’s hair ALWAYS sticks straight up around the crown of his head. I’ve tried letting it get longer on the top, but it didn’t help much. Any ideas for how to fix this?

Dear Mama,

alfalfa-images.jpgThere are several ways to get a great look, even for a crown area that won’t lay down. First, letting it grow will give ie more weight and can cause it to lay down a little better. If that approach didn’t work for you, consider going shorter in the crown area. Your stylist can cut the crown with clippers and a comb, moving with the hair growth. It should give is a smooth look and shorten it perfectly.

As it grows out, however, the hair will naturally want to stick up again. I had a client whose son’s hair did the very thing you’re describing. I cut the hair close with clippers and, as it grew out, his hair stuck out horribly until the next haircut. After chatting with his mother, we decided to cut the hair down his part shorter so that it would also stand up, giving the overall look we wanted. His hair was so cute! With a little gel, we created not only a stylish look that was age appropriate but it also helped to blend in that unruly crown area as it grew out.

Take a minute or two to talk with your stylist and see what he or she can come up with. Be creative! Sometimes you have to step outside the box to find a way to fix what seems “unfixable.” Good luck.

Rhonda Moulder is a mama to two beautiful daughters and is also a stylist at Blue Door & Co. in downtown Bentonville. E-mail her a hair question at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com or call for an appointment at the salon at 479-273-4433. Have a happy hair day.

Life With Ladybug: Q & A with a 7-year-old

By Shannon Magsam, quiz queen

I saw this kid Q & A on another website and thought I’d conduct my own experiment. Do this with your own kids to find out what they really think of you. Here’s what mine thinks of me:

phone071223-201219.jpg1. What is something mom always says to you?

“I’m on the phone.” (Hissed, with emphasis on the word phone).

2. What makes mom happy?

Spending time with me. (Buttering me up for an outing?)

3. What makes mom sad?

Having to go somewhere that she doesn’t want to go to. (Like that outing?)

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

By tickling me.

5. What did your mom like to do as a child?

Play with her horses.

6. How old is your mom?

Um, 45 (Ouch. Not yet.)

7. How tall is your mom?

That’s kind of hard. Ten inches? (I’ll concede that I’m short, but I made it past 10 inches in the womb, dude.)

familyguycouch_v2_05_72.jpg8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?

Family Guide. (Um, Family Guy is NOT my favorite. Her dad is kind of partial, though.)

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

Work (Mostly)

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Because you’re nice? (This kid is really angling for something.)

11. What is your mom really good at?

Being a good mom. (OK, it’s official.)

Ok, what else is mom good at?

Writing. Working.

12. What is your mom not very good at?

I do not know. Just say playing.

13. What does your mom do for her job?

Make websites and blogs.

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?

Italian.

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

Because you’re a good mom. Like, there’s lots, but I had to pick one. (Like, gag me with a spoon.)

cruella-images.jpg16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Minnie Mouse from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Wait – Cruella de Vil. (Wait. What?!) In her own defense, she says, “You look like her!”

17. What do you and your mom do together?

On the weekends we play as long as you’re not working. (Ouch again.)

18. How are you and your mom the same?

We’re nice. Our noses, our toes-es AND our eyes. And our face. OK, that’s all.

19. How are you and your mom different?

With our hair. I have blonde and you have black.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

She says that each time. A lot. She says it a lot.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?

Because he’s funny. Tee-hee-heee (Imitates mom’s laugh)

bag0512-0806-2418-0823.jpg22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

The mall. I mean, going shopping.

Well, out of the mouths of babes: I’m an old workaholic, shopaholic, Family Guide-loving mom who says ‘I love you’ a lot and looks like Cruella de Vil. Fabulous.

Pet Parenting: Meet our new animal advisor

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Mamas, you asked for it and we got it. We’re introducing a new feature on nwaMotherlode.com next month called Pet Parenting.

From advice on how to introduce your newborn to the family dog to bringing home a new puppy, our resident pet behavior counselor, Denise Holmes, will talk you through your perturbing pet problems in this question-and-answer feature.

We’ll start with the questions on Thursday, April 2. Feel free to send your questions to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Denise, who owns a local private counseling business Ain’t Misbehavin’, has been training animals for 25 years. Actually, earlier than that if you count the years she spent training her neighbor’s dogs after they saw how she handled her huge, well-behaved St. Bernard.

Denise also developed a product that’s just for brand-new moms and is available at retail outlets around NWA beginning this month. It’s a CD called My New Best Friend and features actual newborn baby sounds. It’s designed to help introduce the family pet to a new baby. Denise literally recorded her own friends’ newborns for the CDs and the noises range from contented chirps to what is called “baby bedlam”.

“I lovingly call it raging baby,” Denise said with a laugh.

The CD, along with detailed instructions for pet/baby introductions, is available for $16.99 via PayPal on Denise’s website, (CLICK here to go to her site and download the media zip file).

Or, as I mentioned, you can now buy the CDs at local businesses, including: Dog Party USA in Springdale (a doggy daycare and boarding facility where Denise offers dog training to individuals and families); Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville; Babies and Beyond in Fayetteville;  Copper Pig in Fayetteville; and Big Wag Dog Bakery in Rogers; Colliers Drug on Dickson St. in Fayetteville and at Willow Creek; Best Friends Veterinary Clinic in Fayetteville; Rover Oaks Grooming in Fayetteville; and West Oaks Animal Hospital in Fayetteville.

Denise, who has a microbiology degree (minor in psychology) from the University of Arkansas, has initiated a variety of programs in Northwest Arkansas to further the health and well being of people and pets in the area. As a consultant for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, she helped shape its first animal-assisted therapy visits. She also established Pawsitive Connection, Arkansas’ first non-profit organization supporting animal-assisted therapy.

One of my favorite programs is the one she started at the Fayetteville Public Library called “Sit. Stay. Read!” My daughter read to a toy poodle named Betty all last summer and it was a great way to encourage literacy through fun. And children don’t care if they stumble over words when they’re being heard by a forgiving canine.

Denise’s slogan is Love. Trust. Teach. She believes true training has to happen in that order.

Welcome to nwaMotherlode, Denise. We’re looking forward to the animal advice!

P.S. If you have some adorable pet pics we could use for future installments of Pet Parenting, e-mail ‘em to the mamas! We know pets can be babies, too. 

Good Gossip: A Guilt-Free Dish

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Anybody in the mood for a little celebrity gossip? Oh, good. We’ve got some. And the best part about our gossip column is that it has been sanitized for your protection. We compile the most interesting tidbits we find and leave out the nasty, mean-spirited stuff your mama always told you not to spread around. Hope you enjoy this helping of guilt-free gossip.

cherylhines_300x435.jpgCheryl Hines, star of the new sitcom In the Motherhood (which debuts this Thursday on ABC) recently told People magazine what she has learned about motherhood: “You think that the spit-up and the poop are going to be the hardest things, and it doesn’t even scratch the surface.” Amen to that, sister. (Source: People Magazine, March 30, 2009 issue.)

At a supermarket in Juneau, Alaska, a Girl Scout troop was robbed of its cookie-sale proceeds. One week later, Gov. Sarah Palin stepped in to help the girls quintuple their cookie sales on March 14th.  They sold about $4,000 in cookies. (Source: People Magazine, March 30, 2009 issue) NOTE: Speaking of Girl Scout cookies, did you hear the news story about the little girl who took her cookie goal to You Tube. If not, check out this LINK.

doranews2.jpgHave you heard about Dora the Explorer’s “tween” makeover? After parents were less than enthusiastic about the idea of Dora growing up to possibly be a tart (based on an initial sneak-peek silhouette), a Nickelodeon rep told US Weekly Magazine, “This is just one doll. She’s not like Barbie. And the TV show isn’t changing, nor will the other young Dora products.” The new dolls (which are supposed to come out in October) will plug into a PC, allowing kids to control Dora’s speech, actions and hair length. The idea is to give parents more “wholesome alternatives” for when their daughters grow out of preschool age, according to Mattel. The actual doll looks pretty tame compared to the silhouette — apparently some people thought the tunic was a super-short dress. (Source: US Weekly magazine, March 30, 2009 edition)

martinamcbride2005.jpgMartina McBride’s new CD called Shine got a great review in People magazine. The album includes a song called “Don’t Cost a Dime,” which may be inspired by the economy, and the reviewers love her breakup anthem called “Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong.” (Source: People Magazine, March 30, 2009 issue)

The name of the week? Atlas, apparently. Ann Heche and boyfriend James Tupper took the name from Greek mythology  when naming their firstborn on March 6. The name hasn’t made the top 1,000 for nine years. Ann also has a 7-year-old son, Homer. (Source: US Weekly magazine, March 30, 2009 edition)

julia_roberts_425x300.jpgJulia Roberts‘ new movie Duplicity is now in theaters and is her first movie since 2007. She said “I don’t have the bug to work,” she says. “I have the bug to make good movies, and those don’t come along very often.” Julia and husband Danny are the parents to twin 4-year-olds and a son who is nearly 2. (Source: People Magazine, March 30, 2009 issue)

New Moon, the sequel to Twilight (in case you live under a rock, that’s the horror romance based on Stephenie Meyer’s popular teen novel) begins shooting later this month. It’s expected to be out in theatres on Nov. 20. Twilight earned $190 million. (Source: US Weekly magazine, March 30, 2009 edition)alisonsweeney.jpg

Alison Sweeney, host of Biggest Loser who also plays Sami on Days of Our Lives, had a baby girl on January 12th. Megan Hope Sanov weighed in at 6 pounds, 7 ounces. She joins brother Ben, who is 4. (Source: People Magazine, March 30, 2009 issue)

Online Mamas: Are you using Firefox?

Before we started this website, we thought the term “Internet browser” meant somebody who liked to surf the Web. We have since learned that your Internet browser can make a huge difference in the quality of your time spent online. Do you know what type of Internet browser you’re using right now? If not, look up at the top left of your computer screen. Does it say “Internet Explorer” or “Mozilla Firefox” or maybe “Safari”? These are different types of browsers, and you need to know which one you’ve got.

Here’s why it matters: Not all browsers are created equal. Some are faster and some are vs-firefox-logo.pngbetter at displaying certain websites. We’ve asked our techie friends, and they all agree that Firefox is the way to go. (The Firefox logo is pictured on the right.)

Firefox is definitely the best browser to use when you’re here reading nwaMotherlode.com. We’ve had some problems with Internet Explorer’s inability to display certain pages correctly. If you ever see something on our site that doesn’t look quite right, it may be a problem with your browser. Please shoot us an e-mail if you ever have problems getting our page to display correctly. We’ll jump right on it and get it fixed.

But the best way to prevent problems is to use a browser that plays nice. So here’s a link to our favorite: Firefox. Follow this link to go read about it and download it for FREE on your computer. Be sure to make it your default web browser so it opens any time you’re ready to search the Web. We think you’ll be surprised at how much faster it is. It’s safe, and you don’t have to worry about it messing anything up on your computer. It will walk you through the download process, which is quick and simple. Firefox has features like “one-click bookmarking” so you can easily save your favorite sites, and it also has parental controls so you can be in charge of what your kids are seeing online. Read more about the features by clicking on the Firefox logo above.

Hope this tip helps improve your time spent online!

Fi(gh)t For the Cure Event at Pinnacle Promendade TODAY!

wacoallit002_zi.jpgAre you constantly pulling at your bra, feeling the pinch of an underwire or suffering from squished back fat? A bra fitting might be just what you need! And helping out a good cause in the process makes it even better.

Dillard’s at Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers is inviting women to help fight breast cancer by joining them in the lingerie department for a complimentary Wacoal or b-tempt’d bra fitting on Wednesday (March 25) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For each woman who participates, Dillard’s will donate $2 in your name to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (no purchase necessary).

Wacoal will donate an additional $2 for each Wacoal or b-tempt’d bra purchased at the event. You’ll also get a free pink sport water bottle (while supplies last) for participating!

If you’d like to make an appointment, visit the lingerie department on the first level of Dillard’s. For more information, contact Dillard’s 479-936-7984.

Thanks, Kara, for the heads up!

All Akimbo on VBACs

By Kim Blakely

Just so you know, I’m not the kind of pregnant lady who has written up a detailed birth plan, complete with a list of musical accompaniment. I’m uptight and opinionated about some things, and I like to plan, probably more than the next woman, but for some strange reason, giving birth is something I look at completely differently.

I’ve heard from more than a couple of presumably well-meaning folks that I must have been devastated not to be able to have a vaginal birth with Mojo. Really, though? Must I? I can’t say I was. Honestly, I was so happy to meet him, and so ecstatic that he was healthy and in my arms, I couldn’t have cared less how he got there.

So, when I asked my doctor early on if a VBAC would be a good idea for me this time around and she said if she were in my place, she would certainly try for one, I decided I probably would, too. I had done some research and I knew the risks, and though, frankly, a 1 in 100 chance of uterine rupture and the possibility of death for mom and baby sound a little scary, I still thought, OK. I’ll go with it. I know lots of people do it without complications, and though I have my reservations, I feel sure that my doctor will be on top of things.

I had a c-section with Mojo at 37 weeks because I developed mild pre-eclampsia and I couldn’t be induced because he was breech. While I can’t say it was a horrific experience – I didn’t develop an infection or anything horrid – it’s certainly not something I’m anxious to go through again. Recovery was … not fun. I still have some pain in the area of my incision all these four years later, and I wonder if surgery made my endometriosis a bigger problem than it might have been otherwise.

My doctor said that if this baby isn’t breech, and if she isn’t too big, I would be a good candidate for a vaginal birth.

Today, though, I had another regular appointment. After holding my nose and downing the orange Glucola (yuck) and then giving blood for the one-hour glucose tolerance test – my doctor met me in an exam room. She sat down and flipped through my chart … and then she said, “We have a problem.”

My brain raced hither and thither, trying to remember if there were tests I had taken at my last appointment that could indicate that something was wrong with me or my baby, but it was coming up with nothing, so I finally said, “What’s the problem?”

As it turns out, the partners in her clinic have just voted to do no more VBACs because of the risks involved. She’s still willing to do mine, but if I go into labor and she isn’t available, it’s straight to the operating room I go – without so much as a pass at the stirrups. She promised she would come in to deliver my baby if there was any way she could, and although she does have some travel arranged for the end of June, that should be well after I’ve given birth.

I haven’t had a chance to really talk with my husband about this yet, but I could tell immediately that upon hearing the stats in the doctor’s office and finding out that none of the other doctors who work with her would do a VBAC because of the risks, he’s feeling squeamish.

So, at my next appointment (three weeks from now), should I schedule a c-section, or should I stand fast, maintain the status quo and hope for the best?

Really, I’m not dead-set against having a repeat c-section, especially if that seems to be the best course. But who can say, right? From what I’ve read, there are no definitive indicators that point to an increased chance of rupture. But then, I also realize there is no guarantee that a c-section won’t result in some kind of complication.

I’ve never been away from Mojo overnight – much less the three or four nights that I would have to stay in the hospital if I did have another c-section – and that is certainly a factor here. The last thing I want is to worry that he’s sad or upset or that he resents his new sister for keeping his mama away from home.

This is way too much thinking for someone who is trying hard to live in the moment, to savor what I know will be my last pregnancy. If I could only remember where I put my crystal ball, I could put this whole thing to rest.

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