Monday, September 30, 2013

New Fall TV


I love television; it is my ultimate guilty pleasure. Of course Fall is my favorite TV time of the year because there is a whole lot of new shows to check out. This year there is a whole bunch of new shows across the networks. Here are a few I am looking forward to...

  • The Crazy Ones (CBS)- Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are back on TV. This show is a comedy about a father/daughter who work together at an ad agency. 
  • Super Fun Night (ABC)- After her breakout performance in Bridesmaids and her unforgettable character in Pitch Perfect, Rebel Wilson in coming to TV. Rebel plays Kimmie, an attorney who has a standing "Friday Night Fun Night" with her girlfriends. 
  • Mom (CBS)- Anna Faris (of Scary Movie fame) stars in this new comedy. As a recovering alcoholic and a single Mom, Anna's character Christy decides to move in with her Mom to start her life over. 
  • Dads (Fox)- From the creator of Family Guy; this show is about 2 guys in their 30's who work as video game executives. Both of their Dads move in with them. 
  • Welcome to the Family (NBC)- I caught the first episode of this show and because it involved a Latino family I was skeptical. The show is about 2 recent high school graduates, a college bound Latino son and a slacker white girl who are in love, pregnant and getting married. Now these 2 families are forced to get along. 
  • The Goldbergs- The 80's are backs! Follow along with The Goldbergs as they live life to the max. The billboards of this hilarious family portrait was enough to get me interested in the show. 
  • Sean Saves The World- I loved Sean Hayes as (Just) Jack in Will and Grace so I was excited to hear he was starring in his own sitcom. In this show Sean plays Sean, a single gay Dad who is thrown into parenthood when his 14 year old daughter moves in. As he balances parenthood and his career he gets some help from his Mom played by Linda Lavin. 
Along with these new shows there are a lot of returning shows I am anxious to start up again:
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Big Bang Theory
  • The League
  • Glee
  • 2 Broke Girls
  • Parenthood 
  • Modern Family
What shows are your current favorites?
What new shows are you looking forward to checking out? 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Rituals and Routines: Creating a Family Culture - Part 2

Some years ago, I saw the creator of Spanx on Oprah. It was once of those great shows where little inventions made folks millions. What was amazing about this woman's story is how she talked about a successful road that was also filled with failures. She was able to fail and continue time & time again. 

In today's society, we're all somehow programmed whether by our upbringing or media to feel that we have to be "perfect" at everything. We only want to shine the light on successes. We want to have all the answers and get it all right, all time time. Of course, that isn't how life works. 

Life is about a willingness to navigate the good and the bad. For the creator of Spanx this idea of accepting successes and failures came with a simple question as she grew up. Everyday her father would ask her what she succeeded at and failed at that day? Every single day she became more and more comfortable with acknowledging her failures and a successes. 

My husband and I caught wind of these two questions and knew they fit in well with our family's rituals and routines. Ever since we began asking our children these questions and they've really enjoyed sharing their answers. But I will admit it's often hard for our seven year old to identify a failure (and the babies just babble). It's so ingrained in our oldest, even at such a young age, that he should only have "good" things to share. The question about failure though it seems negative is actually a great way to allow children to accept and understand their emotions around shortcomings. It almost desensitizes a person who would otherwise become addicted to approval and a need to be perfect. We hope to show our children that in everyday we have things we do well and other things we do not do so well. And honestly, I believe it makes us less fear-based. If failure doesn't scare us, imagine all that can truly be accomplished. 

As a mother, I think about how I live my day and I do my best to communicate with my children. I share the things I succeeded in and the things I failed in. Sometimes that failure could be how I lost my patience and yelled unjustly at one of them. I love how vulnerable and honest we all allow ourselves to be as well as how much this prepares our children to face the real world. As a family we aren't tied to the good or the bad and don't seek the ever-fleeting "perfection" we might otherwise live our lives craving.

What life lessons have you learned from failure?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Colors For Fall


Fall is finally here! And as the leaves changes so do the "it" colors of the season. This season we are seeing a trend of darker, richer and bolder colors. You will start to see these colors in beauty and clothes. Some of my favorites....

  • Metallic- metals like chrome and copper are a great way to add some shine.
  • Grey- possibly influenced by 50 Shades of Grey? I love this color, it pairs so well with lots of great colors like yellow and turquoise. 
  • Navy- everything nautical is so trendy right now. A deep navy blue is a great way to keep on trend.
  • Emerald- I am a little bias by this color, it's my daughters' birthstone. Great deep green. 
  • Chocolate - back in my early 20's I was in love with brown nail polishes. I owned every shade you could imagine. I am very glad to see it's back. 
  • Plum- a deep purple and magenta mix that will look fantastic on a crisp fall night. 
  • Gold- I am so in love with gold right now. I can't wait to add some gold pieces to my wardrobe! 
So tell us, how do you change your look when the weather changes? 
What fall trends are you looking forward to? 
Or not looking forward to? 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm Sorry For Your Loss: What more is there to say?

I've ached from a far for loved ones lost: my aunt almost two years ago, an older cousin defeated by cancer who left her young 16 year old behind, and my grandfather many years ago. The ache was different each time and somehow greater for others. I remember my mother's pain when she lost her sister. I remember how she threw herself across her bed to cry uncontrollably after hearing of her father's passing. I didn't know how to help her. I so badly wanted to take away her pain. I wanted to erase it from her memory and somehow heal her heart. If only I could have spared her this ache. Wishful thinking, I know.
                                          

To date, I have been spared from the deepest most aching losses. I've never lost a parent or a sibling. Or worse, suffered the loss of a child or spouse. But for those that have, all I can do is pray deeply for their healing. I wonder what more can be said and I wonder what more can be done?

Just the other night, I said "I am so sorry!" to a friend from high school who lost her only brother two days prior. In such modern times, the news of his passing spread across social media. Instantly so many from this family's circle knew of their ache even if they didn't experience it firsthand. The outpouring of love on social media (and otherwise) was far-stretching. Yet, a family is left longing for the moment just before the outpour. My friend longs for her brother's voice and his vibrant smile.

In these moments of loss it is almost impossible to know how to comfort such aching hearts. Those left to mourn are in a pair of "shoes" that require bravery and hope. They carry a little anger and so much confusion. Those shoes are tattered by the long walks of numbing tears and the deep desire that this is all a sick, sick dream.

I prepared a warm meal, offered to run errands and took my friend's daughter out for a fun afternoon. I offered support that comes in the form of service accompanied by simply saying, "I am so sorry." In the end, there's really nothing else to say. I decided to be in service and not say anything else. I didn't ask how he passed. I didn't say I understood, because I don't.

However one day I too will walk in those dreaded "shoes". Such is life. I will wear them and I will hate them. I will receive apologies from those who can't really understand (and from those that do).  And while I pray for that moment to escape for at least a century, I offered what I could to a family left reeling from loss, I said I am sorry and did the only other thing that ever comes to mind... tell those I love JUST how much I do, today and everyday!

What have you found helpful or how have you expressed comfort when dealing with death and loss?  
Your input allows us to learn from each other and be better for one another in moments of loss...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guest Post: The Fab5: 5 Girlfriends Who Stay Connected Through Their Blog!

People start blogs for lots of reasons. Some are looking for a community, some are looking to make money. But when 5 friends got together and decided to start a blog the did it as a way to keep the bond between them strong. I think that is a great reason to start blogging.



Who makes up the Fab5? Tell us a little bit about you?

Adri: There's me Adrianna, but everyone calls me Adri. The oldest of the group, by a couple months. You would probably find me on Pinterest, looking for my next project. I love to make things, food, decorations, clothes. Ahh yes, in my dreams I'm this high-end fashion designer, in real life far from it. I love to read, reading helps me escape life. I think I'm a home-body, but I do love to go out and be adventurous once in a while. Though hard to admit (not sure why) I’m a hopeless romantic.:)

Gina: I'm Gina! I'm currently in Law School trying to make my way in the world. I love to be out and about, but right now I am currently living in the library. My dream is to work in the public interest field doing immigration law. My favorite poem is the rose that grew from concrete by Tupac & I love hip hop and R&B music. I'm from/currently in Southern CA.


Deb: Then you have ME, Deb! I am on a mission! I have this vision of who I want to be and my goal is to achieve it. I am passionate, super motivated, I am day dreamer, and a performer. I am DRAMATIC, gawd that was hard to admit. I have a strong personality, pretty sassy, but I also love very hard. I have this unsettling feeling that I can achieve greatness in every sense of the word, and my anxieties stem from an inability to control a lot of situations that I fear can deter me...

Brenda: I'd like to think of myself as a free spirited, open minded, and down to earth kind of gal. I love trying new things and going on adventures. I love traveling and would one day like to backpack through South America.

Evette: I’m Evette, I wouldn't know how to describe myself in one word but I’ll try to give you a little bit about me. I love music and watching live bands do what they do best. I enjoy drinking in the woods and going to music festivals. I love tights and funky glasses and you’ll always see a big smile on my face and mostly with lipstick on! I am a Virgo and I’m really big on astrology. I currently live in Los Angeles County but I’m more of a city girl and thrive to live in downtown where bars are located steps away. I love shoes and I live in flats, it’s rare that you'll see me in sneakers. I have been told that I date all the wrong men but what can I say? I like to have fun!!



Why did all you decide to start up a blog?

Deb: After having these girls day in and day out to lean on, perhaps even sometimes taking it for granted unknowingly not having it, finding myself navigating some of this stuff on my own just became really lonely and difficult. I really needed to touch base with my girls to keep myself sane, as sane as I can be.
Brenda: After we all graduated, I kind of felt a void by not having my close friends around. I was roommates with Deb and Gina at one point. And ways slept over Adri and evey's place. We were all so close to each other in proximity that it was too much of a change moving back home. So starting a blog helps me keep connected with some of my dearest friends.

Evette: We decided to start a blog because we can no longer just show up at each other’s places or sleepover to talk about our boy drama and just everyday things. We all have shared beds at one point in time and we have shared a big chunk of our lives together. These girls helped me out of my darkest days and were there to smack me into reality when I needed it. We have been too busy to return each other’s’ texts because they’d just be way too long. Its crazy but in a blog you can read it and not feel interrupted by whatever it is that is going on around you. It’s like sleepover nights all over again.



What kind of blog is Fab5?

Adri: I don't know how to describe the blog. The 5 of us are completely different from each other, and that is why we complement each other so well. So here in the blog, you will hopefully find something and someone you can relate to. It's a baby blog for now, we just started but I think we have covered a lot of things happening in our lives now.

Deb: it's a reality show blog. lol. It is a trailblazer, it is 5 young latinas on the pursuit of happiness, is it how to? More like a how dont! Is it a fashion blog, yes we all have our diff styles I guess. Is it an advice column? YEAP, we are pretty opinionated, let me TELL YOU! IT'S NEWS WORTHY! bahaha JK. It is just realness.

Evette: A blog where we tell you about our lives... Its raw, it’s emotional and everyone’s story is different. It’s like an Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, Amores Perros) movie at the end… all the stories tie into each other and every one affects everyone else’s lives.



What do you love most about blogging?

Adri: What I love about blogging, and this blog is that I feel connected to me friends again. At Berkeley we would see each other practically every day, and I enjoy coming to the blog at the end of the day to read my friends thoughts, how little or big they are.

Gina: I love to see what's going on and it reminds me of being in school and just sitting in a circle and talking about random stuff.

Deb: I like that its an outlet, I really miss talking to them, I miss being involved in someone else's life. I miss the listening. I missed my friends. The blog also has shown me that we are all working simultaneously in diff areas towards the same goal. We want to be happy, we want to grow, and we want to love.


Describe Fab5 Adventures in 5 words?

Adri: Entertaining! Fabulous! Diverse! Craziness! full-of-love.
Gina: Amazing! Love! Girls! Happy Place!
Deb: Cray, CUTE, Human, Sassy, therapeutic
Brenda: Honest, lively, fbgm, fun, funny
Evette: Our struggles make our friendship.




This is us: five completely different women in completely different parts of California, and in different parts of life. Somehow, we all come back to each other. And we love sharing our thoughts here at our blog. Thank you HerMamas for letting us into your space!! We love your blog!! 

Thanks so much for the great post ladies! You can follow Fab5 and all their adventures at:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Instructions Not Included: Movie Review

                                                         
Eugenio Derbez is a Mexican comedian, actor and writer who worked diligently for over a decade to release his movie, "Instructions Not Included." This Spanish language movie (with english subtitles) is such a sweet tale of courage, parenthood and life's ups and downs. I first caught wind of this film because it felt everyone was talking about it across social media.

I was especially excited to watch this one being that it was entirely in Spanish. My mother is primarily spanish-speaking and was beyond excited that her daugthers wanted to take her out to the movies. We had an amazing time and after watching this movie together we each felt happy we did. The movie is quite funny, but also incredibly touching. I won't give anything away, but I will insist, this movie is a must see film. In a nutshell, this is a story of coming into parenthood unprepared and afraid and learning to become fearless in the process. And for some it might even be a tearjerker, well worth the TEARS!

So load up the car and take your entire family out to see this amazing film that continues to expand its theater locations and critical acclaim. You won't regret seeing it! And you'll find yourself recommending it to your friends, too. 

Have you seen Instructions Not Included? Share your favorite scenes with us. 
And for those wanting to watch it, don't read on, unless you want to read possible spoilers... 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Motherhood and Opinions

The other day I posted onto my personal Facebook page that my daughters had been exposed to chickenpox. In the comments I mentioned that they were both vaccinated for the virus but I was still worried about them coming down with the pox. I had a Facebook friend comment and in a very friendly way gave her opinion on vaccines and chicken pox. She basically stated that in her opinion children were over-vaccinated and she didn't see anything wrong with her child getting chicken pox and developing immunity that way.

Now I understand that she was just stating her opinion, and she is entitled to that opinion, but her words still made me feel defensive. As if I had to defend my decision to immunize my children. I replied to her comment:


I know she didn't mean anything by stating her opinion, but it brought out the Momma Bear instincts in me. I was already in a stressful situation, worried that my kids might get sick and although I respect her opinion, I didn't ask for it. People base their opinions on their own experiences. She bases her opinion on vaccinations on her healthy child. The opinion of a Mom who say has a child with an immune deficiency (and something like chickenpox could have an awful effect on) would have a different opinion on vaccinations.

Social media outlets make it easy for people to state their opinions on the things you do. It is easy to take these opinions as criticism on your parenting skills. And it is easy to jump into defense mode. I need to work on being more confident on my parenting skills and not let others comments affect me.

Do you think social media makes it easy for people to criticize each other? 
Leave us a comment with your opinion (we are asking for it!).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rituals and Routines: Creating a Family Culture - Part 1

I routinely ask my grade-schooler two simple questions: What's the most important thing? And what's inside you? "I AM the most important thing! Lots of LOVE is inside me!", proudly answers my son. The answer has always been the same: ME and LOVE!

I ask these questions and know that a simple routine leads to a strong family culture. Firstly, I want my children to grow up knowing they matter first! It's not a parent, friend or significant other's opinion that matters most, but theirs! Truth is, in a world where we're addicted to approval, I just want to teach my children to love themselves first and to seek their own approval and acceptance beyond all else. 

Secondly, if I am a broken record about all the love inside them somehow I know they will instinctively love themselves (and others) freely. I believe they will place love and their own acceptance as a high priority by always reciting the same answer to mom's ever present questions. They reinforce the principle that they are are their number one fans, full of love and self-acceptance.

Last night, after I tucked in my son. Adorably my daughter asked for me to tuck her in and she wanted me to "ask her kesssstons too!" So I asked the usual and when I said "What's inside you?" she looked down her shirt and answered proudly, "butterflies!!!!!" It was a precious moment. While basking in laughter I tucked her in saying, "Yup, you're full of butterflies and LOVE, lots and lots of butterflies and LOVE!"



This is one simple example of a routine that creates a culture and mindset in our family.
Share your family rituals and routines with HerMamas!
 Please comment below!

Part 2 of this Rituals and Routines post will include a piece on preparing kids to FAIL! 
Don't miss it next week on HerMamas.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Hard Look at Postpartum Depression: Dark Side of the Full Moon

What happens when what is suppose to be the happiest time in your life just doesn't feel that way? Postpartum depression is a very real and can be a very scary thing. A new documentary called "Dark Side of the Full Moon" takes a look at how common and even how severe these mental disorders can be. This film also looks into options for women who are suffering from them. There is a general lack of knowledge on the subject, as well as a lack of resources for women to turn to.

All 3 women who worked on this film together went through their own battles with anxiety and postpartum depression. They knew that their stories needed to be told. This illness affects not only the women who suffer through it, but also their spouses and especially their children.

 

Along with the film you can visit the website Darksideofthefullmoon.com to read the stories of survivors. Real life stories from real people all over the country. You can even share your story if you are so inclined. By sharing stories women are putting a face to this illness and showing the world just how common this is, and what women need to survive it.

As a Mom I know the pressure that comes with the idea that you are suppose to be able to do it all. The mentality that everyone elses needs come before your own, even if you are silently suffering. It is hard to admit that you need help and when help is hard to find where do women turn?




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Five Options for Tutoring a Child - Guest Post by Jessica Socheski

The following guest post was contributed via email submission by Jessica Socheski. Today, she shares tips on how to secure effective tutoring for your child. Take it away Jessica...

While some parents might feel reluctant about hiring a tutor to help their children, this can often be a wonderful way to help children who are having a difficult time listening and learning from their own moms or dads. Because, each child is different and subsequently learns in their own unique style, it is important to explore different types of tutoring. Here are 5 major ways to tutor your child and how they can work for different personalities.

1. Private Tutoring
The most commonly referred to style of tutoring is one-on-one instruction. Usually this comes in the form of meeting with a teacher after class or when a tutor comes directly to the child’s home once or multiple times per week. The National Center for Learning Disabilities recommends this as “perhaps, the most desirable” form of tutoring because the “tutor considers your child’s needs and the school’s and teacher’s expectations.” Tutors can be retired or active teachers or college students.

Private tutoring usually works well for any student because it is undivided attention from a person who has been chosen based on their knowledge and fit with the specific child. Although parents would like to be the ones who can help their kiddos with everything, it is sometimes better to relieve tension from the parent-child relationship by bringing in a third party to inspire and motivate the child.

2. Tutoring Centers
A closely related option to private tutoring is finding a local tutoring center. At places such as Sylvan or Huntington, students can work with a one-on-one instructor and/ or in groups to get the attention and reinforcement they need. Centers have also proven effective by using specifically developed methods of teaching concepts to accompany classroom learning. This method can work very well for many children but especially more social ones who want to be with people.

3. Online Tutoring
A newer approach that may work for older students who can work independently on a computer is called online tutoring. This works when an instructor meets in real time with a student over the internet. Using a headset or video calling program, the tutor and the student are able to interact mimicking a face to face meeting.

4. Tutoring Software
“From the earliest days of computers, researchers have strived to develop computer tutors that are as effective as human tutors” writes Kurt VanLehn in his paper on intelligent tutoring systems. However, it is hard for software alone to stand in for a human who can oversee and know where a child does not understand a concept.

However, this does not mean that computer programs are totally out. Depending on the child, tutoring software might be the perfect method for practicing problems and reinforcing concepts. And for children who love technology, this is a potential way to help them become excited about learning.

5. Peer Tutoring
Peer tutoring is a tutoring arrangement where students work in pairs or groups with students of the same age or older children. This kind of environment can help kids to learn and practice academic tasks, but it is not the best fit for every child and may not be able to totally replace normal tutoring.

The National Education Council found in a study that “Most of the students benefited from peer tutoring in some way, but same-age tutors were as effective as cross-age tutors.” So peer tutoring can have good effects if the child can learn from others well and work in group situations.


So when searching for tutoring for kids, first identify what strategy seems to work well with your individual child’s learning style. 

Jessica contributed this piece as a guest contributor via email submission. While insightful, please note, her views are exclusively her own and not necessarily shared by HerMamas.com. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

"Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
                                 -HispanicHeritageMonth.gov


I like to say that I am 2.5 generation Mexican-American. Both my parents were born in California, both my grandmothers were born in the United States, and both my grandfathers were born in Mexico. Despite the generational distance from Mexico, my childhood was filled with Mexican customs and traditions. I just didn't realize it at first. Never once did I realize that things like....

  • framed pictures of La Virgen de Guadalupe on the wall
  • walking Las Posadas at Christmas time
  •  going to a curandero when some was really sick
  •  blessing a new house by burning sage
  •  being afraid of La Llorona 
  •  even inviting everyone over for some beers after buying a new car or bringing home a new baby (remojo!)
... were part of my heritage. These things were so ingrained into my everyday life, and I grew up in an area that was at my guess 99% Mexican and Mexican-American, so it was a part of my whole community. I honestly thought that is how the world was (Yes I realize how sheltered my childhood was!).

At 13 I moved to a new city and started a brand new high school and was SHOCKED to figure out that not all people with brown skin were Mexican! It was a culture shock in the sense that I was realizing that a lot of the things that made up my family and our lives were because we were Mexican-Americans. I know this seems like common sense but it was a big wake-up call to me. I realized 2 things that would lead me the rest of my life. First as I realized that my family's ways were part of our heritage, customs and traditions I became very protective of them. This feeling of protection would put me on my academic path. I went to undergrad and graduate school for Chicano Studies. The second thing was I became fascinated with other cultures and their customs, traditions, religion and foods. 

Now my children are not only 3.5 generation Mexican American, they are also only half Mexican-American. I do my best to preserve the traditions of my childhood and their father's childhood. I also do my best at exposing my kids to other cultures and traditions. I want them to keep our heritage and customs alive while appreciating and understanding others' heritage and cultures. It is my hope that by doing this I am raising well-rounded and tolerant children. 

We are so lucky to live in a country where so many different cultures mingle together to create diversity. I believe Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time for everyone to appreciate and experience how rich, colorful and yes even yummy the Hispanic culture is. 


Will you be doing anything to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Co-sleeping with a grade schooler

I know I'm not alone. Kids love sleeping with their parents and I don't just mean parents co-sleeping with an infant. I have a seven year old who is desperate to sleep with me nightly. It's amazing how much little ones love the connection of sleeping with parents. There's just nothing better than a nightly cuddle and I get that. Sadly, as much as I love that he's always insisted on sleeping in our bed, this issue was for a long time a nightly battle. Bedtime was always something I dreaded because my oldest would insist, nag and whine about how he was desperate to sleep with us (well, me). My husband is part of this by default.


To regain some control over this nightly situation we settled on offering my son a deal. First, he gets to sleep with us every Tuesday. Next, he can't complain about not sleeping in our bed Wed-Mon., and if he does, the Tuesday deal is off. This one night as a give in really aided in the nightly battle of having our son whine and complain about not being able to sleep in mom's bed. We also make sure to spend time unwinding nightly and reading books to allow for that connection my kiddo is craving. 

Mom and kid Tuesday nights sleepovers have been a good compromise and I now have my three year old in on the action. As soon as she could comprehend what was going on she wanted in. I also have a two year old so I get the feeling I may just one day spend every Tuesday in bed with three kids! Could that really be my life in a year or so sleeping with a 3,4 and 8 year old? The answer is yes and honestly I'm okay with it since one day when these kids are teenagers I'm confident sleeping with mom and dad will be a lame thing of the past. But until then, I need to upgrade to a California-king size bed and enjoy every millisecond of my kiddos' desire to co-sleep with their momma.

Have you have to struggle with a bedtime routine that includes a child desperately avoiding sleeping solo, in their own bed? If so, tell us, how'd you wean your little tyke(s)?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Avocado: An App for Couples

Life is busy. There are so many schedules and lists that are needed to keep a household running smoothly. In our house there were so many notes and lists on paper it was making things more complicated than it needed to be. While listening to a podcast recently I heard about this app called Avocado. An app made for couples to help them stay connected and on the same page when it comes to...really anything.

My husband and I decided to give it a try. We both downloaded the app to our cell phones. Me on my iphone and him on his android phone. Then he went in and opened the app and made us an account with a password. Then I opened my app and entered the account info my husband had already set up. And that was it! We were up and running.

Avocado is kind of like a personal Facebook/calendar/reminders/lists for couples. This way we can keep track of things like stuff we need from the store, things that need to get done around the house and even our homeschooling schedule. It is like having all our calendars and schedules and post-it notes right on our phones. I love how easy it is to add something and even delete it. For example if we need toothpaste I can add it to the "Things We Need From the Store" list. Then the next time one of us is at the store we can pull up the list, grab what we need and then delete it once it's been purchased.




There is even a cute and silly way to send a little affection to your significant other. You can send a hug or a kiss, but in order to do this you have to literally hug or kiss you phone!

You can find the app HERE

How do you stay connected with your significant other? 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mother's Guilt: There's Nothing Quite Like It


I'm a working mom and sometimes I feel that equates mother's guilt. Then again plenty of stay-at-home moms often talk about their bouts with guilt. Truth is, we're all prone to it. Moms, dads... Anyone in a child's life often deals with guilt and doubt. 

For me, mother's guilt is often the by-product of how I chose "tough love" in a behavioral situation or when I cannot be at school functions because of work. There's nothing quite like hearing your child's disappointment and seeing it written all over their faces when they know you'll be missing a school function because of work commitments. 

My son has back-to-school night in a week or so and I'll be at a conference out-of-state that day. No matter how many different ways I explained this trip was planned months in advance, mom had no control over flight schedules and I had no clue I'd miss this event, all my son heard and seems to understand is only one thing: "mom will not be there."

My son immediately crossed his hands in disappointment murmuring "all you care about is work." There's the dagger. Bring on the aching guilt. For a mother that lives for her children, I try to understand him and know he doesn't fully mean that and deep down he knows how much I love HIM. But the truth is, I am missing back-to-school night. I'll feel guilty the entire flight home thinking about what I'm missing and the excitement in my son's face as he shares stories about his new classmates and teacher with his dad, NOT me. 

Yet, I can't let guilt completely win. Positivity is greater than guilt and it must take over in times like these. It does my parenting soul good. And as they say, "conflict calls for creativity!" 

Firstly, I recognize guilt for what it is. I quickly do my best to snap out of the turmoil guilt causes and shift into a place of action. I'll communicate with my son about how much I wish I could have been there even if he's the one laying on the guilt. I'll then use a creative way to make my presence felt. Maybe it's a simple note in his backpack the day-of wishing him luck or a special treat his teacher hands him that night i.e. sweet treat delivery from mom: who wishes she could be here. In fact, I'm thinking of penciling in an alternate pseudo back-to-school night just for us.

So I'll work the creative angle this time while I valiantly wait for the next inevitable sting of mother's guilt. I'll wait, ready to defeat it. All mommas are imperfectly human and in our humanity is a little bit of the good, the bad and the guilty!

Comment below and tell us how you handle an all-to-common bout of mother's guilt?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Guest Post: Modern Dads Review by Joey Lerma

It took me over a year but I finally got my husband to write a guest post for us! 

Joey Lerma is a stay-at-home Dad. He spends part of his days potty training his 3 year old daughter and homeschooling his 8 year old daughter; the other part working on a horse ranch. Plus, he has a beard that would make the Duck Dynasty guys jealous. Yes he is as amazing as he sounds. Take it away Joey.....




When I heard that there was a show on A&E called Modern Dads I thought "hey I'm one of those, let me check this out!" I set the dvr to record the show because who watches live tv anymore? I hit play and the show starts out like I'm about to watch the world's most deadliest jobs with the intro talking about how everyday is a life or death situation, blood sweat and tears, and if your mind wanders for two seconds someone gets killed. The theme song for the show talks about having "swag" calling their minivans "whips", and the moms paying the bills. Once I got through the theme song I almost didn't watch the show but I stuck with it.

Now to intro the dads. First there's Nathan: he's a first-time dad and admittedly he's a crier and his son Cormac makes him a better dad and more emotional. Next is Stone: who is a single dad, according to this reality show, he is good looking, I think I can tell what a good looking guy looks like and I don't believe him to be one. The show puts him out there to be the stud of the group and all around ladies man. Then there is Sean: who is "the funny guy" who is sort of step dad to two girls. Last is Rick: the veteran dad, he has four kids and nothing can scare him.

This show makes stay at home dads look like they have to "man up" every little task. In a recent episode they are given the task of planning twin one year olds birthday party. They want to make the cakes look like small cities and dress the girls up like Godzilla. It's then decided they will have a medieval theme (princess). The funny dad decides to build a stock but can't even operate some basic tools so his girlfriend has to finish it for him while he has a tea party with the girls. I wouldn't be surprised to see future episodes with the dads power washing the kids clean and duct taping the kids in their car seats.

I considered myself a stay at home dad, until I watched this show! If this is how stay at home dads are perceived, I don't want to be in their company. I am a stay at home parent, I have changed countless diapers, cleaned up vomit, bathed, fed, dressed, and taught my two girls that they can do and be anything they want. This is what any stay at home mom or dad should do.  We don't always do things the right way but we figure things out together as parents. So that's my two cents on this show, I don't have high hopes for it but I will give it another chance. In the end it's like all reality shows "scripted".

Joey Lerma is the father to 2 daughters and is not looking forward to their teenage years. He enjoys MMA fighting and Clippers basketball, but as the only male in the house, he is forced to watch way more Kardashians than he is comfortable with. He is married to HerMamas co-creator Elissa Lerma and you can follow along with all their adventures at Punk Rock Parents.

Monday, September 9, 2013

So who gets custody of mutual friends after a breakup or divorce?

I was listening to a radio show the other day where the co-hosts were in a heated debate about the aftermath of break-ups. The co-hosts asked one key question, "what happens to friends who are close to both parties in a failed relationship?" In essence, who gets custody of mutual friends?

This topic got me really thinking. I've been on both sides of this issue. I've lost good friends that went along with an ex (in most cases rightfully so) and I've also chosen to side with neither party in an attempt to salvage two friendships. I will admit the latter is hard. 

My brother and his girlfriend of over a decade called it quits a few years ago and I couldn't bring myself to pick sides. Firstly, it just didn't feel right to do so. I remembered how it felt to get dumped by a friend when it didn't work out with the ex. I remembered all the moments I shared with my brother's GF. And more importantly, I remembered that in this matter, I had a choice and a relationship with BOTH.

My brother wanted me to "pick him" and actually asked for me to choose. I get that it made sense for him and that it would maybe help him close this chapter of his life. But I couldn't do it and I didn't. I explained to him that I loved him and that I would attempt to remain neutral and friends with both.

Today, I make it a point to never cross their paths. I have to be flexible. I believe I can be there for both in two separate circles. In fact my latest effort is to never tell one of the other. So far, I'd like to think I've made it work and I stay connected to both. After all, I love them both and a break up doesn't change that.

Have you been left in the aftermath of a breakup having to pick a side? Who ultimately got "custody" of you? Share your stories with us... 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Currently Obsessed!

Just a few of the things we can't get enough of....


Elissa....

  • Royals by Lorde: I must listen to this song on the average about 20 times a day. I love the slow tempo of this jam. And the lyrics are amazing. "We're driving cadillacs in our dreams". In a society that is celebrity obsessed this song is a reminder that I am not a Kardashian, but who cares. 
  • Sweet Tea: I have to admit it, I am a sucker for McDonald's sweet tea. Over the last few weeks we have been trying to perfect a homemade sweet tea recipe in our house. We are so close to sweet tea recipe perfection!
  • Duck Dynasty:  I am late to the Duck Dynasty game. This show has just started its 4th season on A&E and I so wish I would have gotten hooked sooner. First off my husband and his beard could fit right in with the Robertson clan. Besides the silly situation they find themselves in what I love about this show is that it's positive. People are not fighting or backstabbing or getting drunk and arrested. Instead this is a close-knit family who love each other and like to be around each other. What a concept! 
Irene....
  • Breaking Bad: This is the last season to enjoy this incredible show.  I've been pretty addicted since I started watching some years ago. The drama on this show can be so intense and I really appreciate the evolution of all of the characters. Great writing, too. I'm sure I'll be obsessed up until the final second of the final scene AND I can't wait!
  • Wake Me Up: I just love the lyrics and up tempo beat to this new Avicii song. I recently went on a sweet vacation with my husband where we found ourselves listening to this song on repeat, somehow it now always reminds me of the excitement of a great vacation and my honey! I just love how music has the power to do that.
  • Social Media: As I often say, "I live on SOCIAL MEDIA." If you don't like my chronic IG photo posts, Facebook status updates/check-ins and weekly blogging fits then you can immediately unfollow (unfriend) me. I put everything on the internet as a scrapbook of sorts. I often look back on posts and photos fondly and in an odd way I feel like I'd be missing so many amazing moments of my life if they weren't captured in that one moment in time. I'm a social media lover and obsessed probably for the long haul. I make NO APOLOGIES for that!
There you have it... our current obsessions, now, share YOURS!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In-Laws: they drive me crazy AND make me better!

Life will test you. Everyday we're tested. It's a part of living in such a complex world. One area where I am often tested is in "dealing" with my in-laws. I find that I am so different  than them. This isn't a right verses wrong or good verses bad different, it's just different and differences can create challenges. Maybe this is something all married couples go through, but I've definitely been dealing (for lack of a better word) with being so different than my in-laws for the better part of a decade now.

To be clear, my in-laws are humble, kind, united and fun-loving. I'd like to think I'm blessed for having the husband I do and his family of origin (in-laws), but then there's the challenging part. My in-laws (including my husband) can be very free-flowing, easy-going and not very communicative. I am anything but free flowing. I appreciate structure and planning. Plus, I talk a lot, but that doesn't make me the best communicator per say, but I do speak my mind and I speak it often. 

Now there's the challenge. I often butt-heads with my husband (and his family) because I expect structure when they don't. I expect to voice concerns when they rather not delve into tough conversations for the sake of avoiding conflict. I say, bring on the conflict, ha! Okay, maybe I'm not encouraging conflict, but I appreciate open dialogue. 

For years, I'd exist in an annoyed state frustrated by the easy-go-luckiness of it all. Like the "oh if we don't find a hotel during this last minute NYE trip to Vegas we'll just sleep in the car!" Yeah, I'm NOT sleeping in the car! But this was a microcosm of so much more. We were and continue to be different. 

It drives me crazy and yet it makes me better. I've learned to become less rigid with structure, I've changed my expectations and still try not to sacrifice who I am in the process. I continue to express my thoughts even if those make me the odd ball. Like the photo with this blog, I'm the one red apple, different than the green ones but with my heart in the right place.

In the end, my hope is to work with my in-laws NOT against them and in so many ways its made me better for life, period. In a world where we have to deal with so many people in different types of  relationships, I've been blessed to grow in this particular family.

Ultimately, I like to believe that I was blessed with this family so different than the one I grew up with to become a bigger and better me. And at the same time I'm hopefully allowing my in-laws a chance to also grow and see the world in a perspective other than what they're use to. Plus, my children get the best of both worlds and hopefully find a happy medium in which to grow and come into their own. 

Who challenges you... a co-worker, boyfriend, best-friend? 
How have you grown from a relationship with someone you perceive as very different than you who is also someone you care a lot about?