Monthly Archives: June 2008

It has arrived…… the first tooth!

Since John Patrick started solids almost a month ago, I’ve been so focused on his eating that it was his daycare teacher who first noticed that he had cut a tooth. To make a long story short, here are all the symptoms I thought were caused by “carrots” but were indeed symptoms of teething: (don’t ask me why I thought it was carrots)

  • diarrhea
  • lots and lots and lots of pooping
  • fussiness
  • getting up multiple times in the night
  • diaper rash

Reason #56 why daycare has been a positive for my family. They actually know what they are doing!




Filed under Baby, Daycare, developmental milestones, Take a Moment, Teething

Let’s Read~ A Review

In part of my effort to increase the likelihood of Becca speaking (reading and writing) Spanish and English, I requested all of the books from my local library on that topic. I’ve decided to review Leamos! (Let’s Read!) for Everything Educational Thursday. Let

Let’s Read! 101 Ideas to Help Your Child Learn to Read and Write (Leamos! 101 ideas para ayudar a sus hijos a apredenr a leer y escribir) by Mary and Richard Behm (2000) was one of those books that I had requested and one of the first books that I read because it was really easy to flip through.

As promised, there were 101 activities in the book and they were all numbered and placed in chronologically order. Technically, this book is not specifically about raising a child to speak Spanish and English. Rather it is a book that is written in Spanish and English. So just like the title (Leamos!; Let’s Read!), each reading idea is written in English and Spanish.

In general, I found the activities to be fairly basic reading ideas and didn’t read anything revolutionary. Instead, it reminded me of some of the things that I know that I should be doing with Becca but I don’t always do. I also found a couple of cute ideas that I might incorporate into our lives:

#35. Your Own Museum

I liked this idea for when Becca gets a little older. Basically, instead of Becca just gathering a bunch of treasured odds and ends in her room (or scattered around the house), I should set-up a little museum for her. She would write a description for her item on an index card and then proudly display it in her museum. I could definitely see myself dedicating a shelf or two to this in her room. It would definitely help to showcase what she has become attached to as well as to weed out the junk from the “museum quality” items.

#63. Answering Questions

This one would be good for a long car trip. In this activity, you explain to your child where you are going and talk to him/her about what to expect. As part of your discussion, you ask your child to come up with a few questions they would like answered on the trip (“Will we see any cows? “, “How many times will we stop?” or “What does the ocean look like?”). While on the trip, your child will be on the lookout for the answers and place it on the index card. I also could see myself asking my child to make some predictions about the trip and might ask them to participate in planning the trip beforehand. In this way, they can check their predictions or see if we have stayed on the planned route. I definitely could see these taking some of the angst of a long car trip.

#84 Understanding Commercials I thought this was an important suggestion because children are bombarded with commercials. In this activity, Mr. and Mrs. Behm suggest that you talk to your children about the commercials they see. You can ask them to identify the product being advertised. You can also ask them to differentiate between the facts and opinions included in the commercial (this is an essential skill) and you can ask them to rate the effectiveness of the commercials (thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs sideways). By doing this, you are not only helping your child to understand the concept of the commercial but you are laying the groundwork for him/her to be an educated consumer.

There are a few other cute ideas but those were the three that really stood out. I will definitely use them when Becca gets a little older. This book, although basic, was a good refresher for me and would be helpful for a parent who does not have a background in education.


Leamos!; Let’s Read by Mary and Richard Behm (2000) provides simple activities to increase your children’s reading comprehension. It is probably best for parents who have children between the ages of 3 1/2 to 7 years old. Since it is such a quick and simple read, I would recommend checking it out from the library (plus it is difficult to find through Amazon).

Happy Reading!

Mary Kate

P.S. For other things educational, click here. If you are participating in Everything Educational Thursday, leave a comment with your link (or e-mail me at marykatenj at and I will post it. If you are interested in participating, leave a comment or e-mail me.


Filed under Bilingual Child, Everything Educational Thursday, Product Review

Becca and her GiGi

My Grandmother and Becca

In Memory of my grandmother (1913-2008 )

Click here for other amazing Wordless Wednesday participants. Click here for other Baby, Toddler and Beyond Wordless Wednesday Pictures.

If you are participating in Wordless Wednesday, leave a comment so I can check out your picture of the week!
Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Mary Kate


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Remembering My Grandmother

Some may remember that my grandmother just celebrated her 95th birthday, unfortunately, she passed away this week and I will be attending her funeral tomorrow morning. I am still a little in shock and can’t believe she had really passed. I had begun to believe that she would live forever and I could imagine myself attending her 100th birthday party. I never imagined myself attending her wake and funeral but here I am.

My walk of shame this week would be sadness that I decided not to visit my grandmother this weekend. Omar and I had planned to take Becca to visit my grandmother on Father’s day. She had recently been hospitalized, although she had been doing¬† a little better, and I thought it was important to visit her.¬† But Sunday rolled around, we had had a busy weekend and I got hung up in the idea that since it was Father’s day, we shouldn’t be traveling (Don’t ask me where this idea came from). In any case, I figured I could always visit my grandmother this weekend, right? It wasn’t as if she was going anywhere. So I felt a little guilty about not going but I knew I would have another chance to see her. I never expected to be seeing her this quickly and in this manner.

I would like to light a candle in honor of my grandmother and I am going to be drinking a Beefeater Gin Martini w/ a dash of vermouth in her honor as well.


5 children

13 grandchildren

12 great-grandchildren

You’ll be missed.

With Much Love,

Mary Kate


Filed under Take a Moment, Walk of Shame

Walking Away

As part of my new gig at New Jersey Moms Blog, I was asked to read Writing Motherhood by Lisa Garrigues and write a thought-provoking response based on one of two prompts. The prompt I chose was the following one:

Good Enough. In her book, Lisa recounts a time she was a “bad” mother, first leaving her sick daughter to fend for herself, then dropping her daughter at the tutor, only to forget to pick her up an hour later. Think of a time you slipped up as a mother-lost your temper, said no for no reason, sent your child to school with a fever. Our writing invitation: Write about your most outrageous or inexcusable bad mothering moment.

Since I do the Mom Walk of Shame on a regular basis, this prompt seemed like the natural one to choose. I figured that if I gave myself enough time, I would naturally stumble into a new example of being a “bad” mother and sure enough I did this afternoon.

As you may be aware, I am currently working as a consultant which means sometimes I am giving presentations outside my home (like tomorrow) and sometimes I am working from home (like today). Most of the time when I work from home, I am preparing for a presentation or writing curriculum. Usually, this is a pretty solitary activity but occasionally it requires me to have lengthy conversations about an upcoming presentation or a curriculum project I am working on. Today was one of those days.
The problem is that me-on-the-phone=Becca-screeching-for-attention and today was no exception. As soon as I was engaged in the phone conversation (with a new client), she made a beeline for the slightly ajar bathroom door and I could hear her giggling with glee as she swung it wide open. I, meanwhile, was trying to continue my conversation as I quickly ran over to sweep Becca off her feet and get her out of the bathroom.

I grabbed Becca by the waist as I was simultaneously trying to string together a thought provoking response to my client’s questions and was seeing visions of Becca tipping head first into the toilet. As soon as Becca felt my arm circle her waist, she lunged forward, began frantically grabbing at the tiles trying to pull herself into the bathroom and started screeching at the top of her lungs.

Instead of politely requesting that I call my client back in 10 minutes (once I had wrestled my toddler to the ground), I walked away from Becca. I just placed her on the floor and walked away.

When Becca felt me release her it just sent her into a higher decibel. As my mother-in-law (who watches Becca when I am working) ran to soothe my daughter, I closed the living room door to muffle the sound, apologized to my client for the interruption and continued my conversation. Becca continued screaming until my mother-in-law soothed her to sleep and laid her down for a nap. I finished up my conference call and hung up with a satisfied sigh and then had a minute to reflect on the incident.

I walked away from my daughter as she was screaming my name. I put someone else’s needs and wants before hers. I allowed my mother-in-law to soothe her instead of taking the opportunity to do so. I walked away! What was I thinking?

I had gotten so caught up in my own life that I forgot that Becca is only 21 mos and rarely understands any subtle hints I might send her way. She can’t distinguish between me gabbing on the phone with my sister to me having a professional conversation with a colleague. How is she supposed to know that?

Fortunately, she is still a little young to remember me walking away from her but it still makes me sad. I need to figure out a way to balance work and play. I could have delayed the conference call for another twenty minutes and used that time to interact with Becca and soothe her to sleep. One of the perks of working at home is that I am supposed to have more time with Becca, quality time.

Feeling like a heel,

Mary Kate

P.S. For other things educational, click here. If you are participating in Everything Educational Thursday, leave a comment with your link (or e-mail me at marykatenj at and I will post it.

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Filed under Everything Educational Thursday, New Jersey Moms Blog

Hanging Out at Lowes

Click here for other amazing Wordless Wednesday participants. Click here for other Baby, Toddler and Beyond Wordless Wednesday Pictures.

If you are participating in Wordless Wednesday, leave a comment so I can check out your picture of the week!
Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Mary Kate

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Totspot – The Place to Be

Check out:

Jim (my hubby) found this amazing site and I am totally addicted. It’s an easy way to set up a website for your little ones that tracks everything going on in their lives. This is great for us because basically our entire family lives in Florida or places other than New York. Before finding this site we uploaded pictures on picasa and videos on YouTube and emailed updates to family, but everything seemed so disconnected.

Totspot has it all. You can keep up with your kiddo’s firsts, growth charts and write journal entries telling everyone about all the “cute little moments” family and friends far away are missing. You can also upload pictures and videos. After you get your page up and running, you just send an invite to friends and family and they can view your child’s page and keep updated. They can even leave comments for your little one. I’ve only been using this for a few days but already I feel so much more connected to our friends and family that are all over the place. It’s a one stop shopping type of place. People can stop in and find out everything that’s going on with John Patrick. My sister-in-law loved it so much that she set up pages for her boys too so now John Patrick has “friends” that he shares pictures with.

And as Jim put it: “Now I don’t have to feel all this pressure to create a really amazing website for John Patrick”. This is just a really fun and easy way to keep track of everything going on with your kids and keep everyone connected.

Do I sound like I work there or something? I wish! ha ha


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Filed under Baby, Family, Product Review