Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Top 10 Reasons the Hello, World book is the Perfect, Personalized Baby Gift October 11, 2013

Written by Jennifer Dewing and illustrated by Holli Conger

Written by Jennifer Dewing and illustrated by Holli Conger

My neighbors recently welcomed home their first child, a beautiful baby girl. My husband and I didn’t falter; we bought the biggest box of newborn-sized diapers we could find. Babies need to be changed an average of 12 times per day–a practical gift makes sense.
We were stumped about choosing a more personal gift to offer. The transformation of becoming a parent is life-changing. The overwhelming love that blooms within the heart deserves to be honored, nurtured, and celebrated. But how?
Hello, World! delivers on the top 10 list of what to look for in a baby gift. Written by award-winning author Jennifer Dewing and illustrated with adorable animals by artist Holli Conger, Hello, World! comes personalized with the new baby’s name and photo (optional). If you provide the parents’ names, the city where the baby lives and the baby’s birth weight, the book will include that optional personalized information as well. Like all I See Me personalized books and gifts, this new title makes a special gift and lasting keepsake.

1.     Make it a Keepsake. Personalizing this book with baby’s thoughtfully selected name will be something that baby (and the new parents) will treasure for a lifetime.

2.     Educational. Babies learn and develop right before your eyes. This gift is educational and helps to fuel the new baby’s brain development.

3.     WOW Factor Hello, World! is sure to get a lot of “OOOHS” and “AAAAHS” when opened by the new parents.

4.     Growth Potential. This gift grows with the baby. A special book is a gift that baby will use for years and keep forever.

5.     Picture Perfect. Any gift that can be customized with a baby’s photo is sure to be a hit with new parents. And, baby will delight in seeing himself or herself on the gift. (My “big kids” STILL loving seeing photos of themselves as infants. Me too!)

6.     Drool Over It. We’re talking “baby gift” here. Hello, World! is colorful and something baby will literally “drool” over.

7.     Cuddle Factor. Both parent and baby will love snuggling up with this story.

8.     Built to Last. Let’s face it, babies have curious and exploring little hands and mouths! This book is a quality gift that is built to last.

9.     Easy-to-Order. Hello, World! can be delivered to your special delivery within a couple weeks of birth.

10.  Made in the USA. Feeling patriotic? Hello, World! is made right in the USA.


*I was not compensated for this recommendation. Hello, World! is a high-quality, charming keepsake.


Book Review: What happy working mothers know September 16, 2009

Science and sociology have made great strides in understanding what makes us happy and how we achieve it. Written by a behavioral scientist, Dr. Cathy Greenberg, and an international lawyer and career coach, Barrett Avigdor, What Happy Working Mothers Know: How New Findings in Positive Psychology Can Lead to a Healthy & Happy Work/Life Balance (Wiley; Hardcover; Sept. 2009) explores how working mothers and employees in all workplaces can be more content.

What Happy Working Mothers Know lays out the scientific research that has been done to show that happiness reduces stress related ailments and makes you healthier. Greenbery and Avigdor believe that “if you want to be your best at whatever you do, whether it’s a job, volunteer work or being a parent and partner, happiness will make you your best.”

Here are the top ten tips from What Happy Working Mothers Know:
1.  Learn to love yourself as much as you love your friends and family.
2.  Choosing your own path is always a good thing-no matter what you choose.
3.  Life happens – it’s what you choose to focus on that becomes your experience – so focus on the positive.
4.  Learn to forgive yourself the way you forgive others.
5.  If you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, don’t ever stop dreaming for yourself.
6.  Half the battle in life is choosing something you love to do. The other half is celebrating along the way.
7.  You may take a different path from the one you envisioned, but the detours are worth it because you learn as much from failure as success.
8. Happiness begins when you learn to accept that you’re loved and valued for who you are, not what you do.
9. When you accept that perfect does not exist and allow yourself a few mistakes, you’ll go a long way toward being happy.
10.  Set the same standards for yourself that you apply to your loved ones; cut yourself the same slack you give others.

What Happy Working Mothers Know is written by two working mothers who are also certified executive and personal coaches with a combined experience of over 50 years in the business world. Cathy L. Greenberg, Ph.D, is a former partner in two of world’s largest consulting firms and a recognized expert on leadership with over 50 articles and books. She is a master certified Professional Executive and Personal Coach (MPEC).

Barrett S. Avigdor, JD, is an international lawyer and talent development innovator. She is the Director of Legal Talent Strategy at Accenture, a global management consulting and outsourcing company, and a certified career coach.

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Win! 1 of 4 Copies of “Because I Said So” by Dawn Meehan March 29, 2009

meehanbookNeed a laugh?
I’m giving away 4 FREE copies of Dawn Meehan’s new book, “Because I Said So…And Other Tales From a Less-Than-Perfect Parent”!

Meehan began her writing career with a hilarious eBay auction for a package of Pokemon cards inadvertently placed in her shopping cart by one of her six (yes, SIX!) children during a particularly harrowing grocery shopping trip. The story she told was so engagingly funny (haven’t all us moms had our own “special” moments in the grocery store with our own wild monkeys, er, innocent cherubs?) that her popular auction listing earned her appearances on NPR, ABC World News with Charles Gibson, CBS and CNN. (And she sold the cards for $142.51!)

Dawn Meehan’s wonderful, warm and funny book is filled with tales from the motherhood trenches, as she pokes fun at her mothering mishaps–but always with a tender heart toward her family.

A natural story-teller, Meehan shares her tales of triumph and woes much like we might dish about our own parenting dilemmas at a playgroup–and always with a positive, funny spin. I found her book comforting. There have been plenty of nights I’ve laid awake next to a toddler who just… won’t… go… to… SLEEEEEP! breaking apart and examining my struggles over what ought to be easy (a simple visit to the post office, convincing a child to put on his shoes and get in the car, deciding whether the boys can have an extra cookie or let them bawl about it for the next hour.) Dawn Meehan understands these struggles—and bears witness to them daily with her six kids—with a big heart and patience to spare, sharing it all with a good laugh.

Moms Like It!

  • “If you’re having a crazy day, read Because I Said So… and not just because, er, I said so, but because it’s fun and probably a lot like your life six times over.” — Jen Singer, creator,, and author, Stop Second-Guessing Yourself The Toddler Years
  • “No parent is perfect. But if you’ve ever found yourself in the unpleasant company of other parents who didn’t happen to get that memo, then this is the book for you. Because I Said So will have you laughing until your cheeks hurt, and you might even start feeling a whole lot better about your own parental adventures. You’re going to love this book!” — Martha Bolton, bestselling author
  • “Stories more gripping than duct tape and humor funnier than a stand-up comic! I laughed until cappuccino came out my nose. Many have claimed to be the next Erma Bombeck, but only Dawn Meehan can rightfully wear that bathrobe. Hers is the permanent new voice of parenting humor for us all.” — Debi Stack, author of Smotherly LoveTM: I Know Where Your Buttons Are and I’m Not Afraid to Push Them

WIN! One of FOUR free copies of Dawn Meehan’s new book, Because I Said So!  All you need to do is leave a comment on this blogpost!
Four winners will be randomly selected on April 30, 2009. 
Keep it for yourself–or give this heart-warming book as a gift for Mother’s Day or a baby shower! (My Aunt Janet had six kids (all boys—gasp!) Hmm, I think I might send her a copy. It’s cheaper than therapy.)

Learn more at Guidepost Books, or visit Dawn at


Kids Books Reviews – Candlewick Press July 31, 2008

For most adults, checking the mailbox daily is as banal and routine as flossing; My children, on the other hand, clamor daily to accompany me to the end of the driveway to reveal its mysterious contents. Imagine my children’s happiness when Candlewick Press kindly sent a bundle of books for us to review. I assembled my distinguished panel of judges (Joseph, age 3; Noah, age 1; Daddy, old enough), and we’ve spent the last week weaving these tales into our regular rotation. Here are our (not paid for) impressions.

Beep Beep and Choo Choo by author/illustrator Petr Horacek.

These books are simple, but hardly simplistic. Aimed at children 2-5, early readers enjoy fun words for sounds: “Chug”, “clack”, and “toot” go the train, “Vroom” and “whee”, go the car. Reminiscent of our favorite Eric Carle books, Horacek’s mixed-media illustrations and playful die-cuts make these colorful books re-readable. Of course, both my sons are enthralled with all things that go, but these stories are especially meaningful; Joseph carries around the Beep Beep book and wistfully contemplates the last two pages, featuring first a window behind which Grandma peaks out, and at last, arrival at Grandma’s house. (We miss you, Gramma!) And Noah, my potty-trainer who adores trains, cannot get enough of Choo Choo. He too finds magic on the final page, when the train pulls up to the beach (“hooray!”). We are fortunate enough to live only a few miles from a sunny California beach, alongside which a train faithfully captures my little beach boys’ attention every time it passes.

Roadwork by author: Sally Sutton; Illustrator: Brian Lovelock

This beautifully illustrated book also features zany sounds made by a variety of construction machines. Following the crew as they build a new road, the text reads with poetic cadence. I like this one at bedtime, because I can read it much the way I do Goodnight Moon, as a spoken lullaby. Very handy for me, the final page has illustrations for numerous types of digging and building machines, so mommy can finally call a front-end loader a front-end loader, and an excavator and excavator. (I’m sorry to admit that I’ve called more than one type of machine a “bulldozer.”)

MiniBugs Books by author/illustrator: Jessica Spanyol

Keith and His Super Stunt Rally Racer; Bob and His No. 1 Van; Giorgio and His Star Crane Train; Clemence and His Noisy Little Fire Engine
Let me first say that if you have little ones who LOVE things that go crash! boom! bang! and those crashes result in everyone happily soaking wet or being tossed high into the air, they’ll adore this collection of Mini Bugs stories. These books are fast and vigorous story-telling; please be advised at bedtime! I can’t help but think that Ms. Spanyol writes like a “cool aunt” who brings her nieces and nephews the noisiest toys, the kind which eventually drive parents to the brink. The drawings resemble something she might have scribbled in her notebook, which I believe speak to children’s sensibilities. These are some silly, raucous books–beware!