More Rebranding for and by the Kids!

My own kids have used their creativity to do some of their own rebranding as of late, so I’ve added their gems to this list below.

As I see so many parallels between my professional background and parenting techniques, I’ve decided to write a series of posts on All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing.

Part 1: Rebranding

It’s something that companies turn to when the current brand has grown a little stale, as a way to reposition it for future growth and success. Think of the best example – Coke switches to New Coke – only return to Coca Coca Classic to appease upset customers.

Little did I know as a marketing student and professional how useful rebranding would be as a parent. A parental rebranding is an amazing way to help motivate your children’s behavior with a positive and fun approach to everyday tasks. Words like special, magic, bonus, play, and adventure should be used LIBERALLY in any parental rebranding.

Just take a look at some of my favorite parental rebranding examples:

1. Celery becomes bamboo, and you pretend to be a panda chomping on it (credit: my 3.5 year old daughter).

2. Dessert becomes Lunchtime / Dinnertime Bonus and even has it’s own theme song:

    Lunchtime bonus, Lunchtime bonus, Lunchtime bonus, if you eat well (clap, clap).

3. Get over here and clean up now becomes, “I need a special helper.” or “Will you be on my clean-up team? We then sing the Wonder Pets Teamwork song together.  My daughter even asked me to be on her clean-up team this week.  Score 1 Mom / CEO! 

4. Trip to the store or a walk becomes a Secret Adventure. Dress-up costumes, sunglasses, magnifying glasses, flashlights, and backpacks are excellent accessories for secret adventures.

5. Reminder to use manners becomes use the magic words.  I’m sure you’ve heard and used this one before!

6. On our vacation the toothbrush travel holders became spaceships.  Seriously – the green spaceship was constantly with my son in the car!  Find your own spaceship in the travel section at Target.

7. Quick lunch because we have an appointment to get to became a Mini-Lunch today. I think the term mini-lunch just sounds a little more fun than my usual terms: snack, lunch, dinner.  I’m not asking any questions because it worked, and we made it to the noon dentist appointment with a few minutes to spare.  YES!

8. Broccoli becomes Green Trees. Who doesn’t want to pretend they are a giant chomping on green trees?

9. Green beans becomes Worm-ies.  My 22 month old came up with this, but still did not eat the wormies on his plate.  Maybe next time!

What things have you rebranded for your family?  I’d love to hear your own creative ideas!

Q&A: Marriage, Babies & Bliss

To put the “social” in social media a bit more, I couldn’t help but participate in the latest Old School Blogging Q&A that I was tagged in by Kerry from Breadwinning Mama.  Blogging certainly has given me a glimpse into the minds and lives of so many interesting people – many of whom I consider “virtual friends,” as I eagerly read about your latest musings.

So if you want to know more about my marriage, babies, and sources of bliss, read on!  And feel free to participate too by grabbing the Old School Blogging button & copying and pasting the questions below.

1. How did your husband pop the big question?

He had just moved to Pittsburgh the night before, and I remember him calling me several times during the day while I was at work.  I thought it was a little out of the ordinary for him, but I figured he was bored with unpacking.  After another phone call, I came home and was greeted at the door by a very dressed up boyfriend.  He brought me inside, where he had arranged all of the postcards, letters, and little things we had exchanged while living in separate states and even countries (I worked in Tokyo, Japan, and studied in Vienna, Austria after dating my now husband for only six months).  He brought up memories of our relationship and said something to the effect of, “You’ve given me all of these things, and now I have something I’d like to give you.”  He got down on one knee, broke out the ring, and popped the big question! I said YES!

2. What are the three most surprising things about married life?

Time passes so quickly – we’ve been married for seven years now, and I can still remember our wedding like it was yesterday.

It really can take a lot of work to make time for each other – especially after having children!  We try to do date nights at least once a month and are trying to carve out time daily to connect with one another.

We have discovered new hobbies together – we first met playing basketball, but have also played volleyball together.  We also enjoy cooking, searching for the best Wisconsin cheddar, drinking wine, snowshoeing, hiking, and traveling.  My husband is also an amazing driver’s ed teacher, patiently teaching me how to drive stick-shift!

3. How did you find out you were pregnant for the first time?

I thought it was bad Mexican food that I had while going out to eat with two of my closest girlfriends. After calling them, and realizing that they were not sick, I took a pregnancy test the next morning. When the “pregnant” line became clear, I woke up my husband to share the exciting news! He asked if I followed the directions (not sure how you can mess up peeing on a stick besides “missing” all together) and was sort of in a morning haze of disbelief / excitement.

4. How did you choose your first baby’s name?

My husband actually found my daughter’s name, and I found our son’s name.  I think they both came from baby books, though I do know that we liked the meaning of their names.  My daughter’s name means wisdom, and my son’s means diligent.  We hope they are BOTH smart and hardworking…someday!

5. Describe where you see yourself in 10 years from now…

Hmm, this sounds too much like a job interview question!  Well, I will be working in a marketing / management role.  Okay – on to family life –

Our children will be in late elementary school and middle school!  We would eagerly share in their activities and continue creating our own memorable family outings and vacations.  I’d like to travel internationally with my husband to Japan and with my entire family to the UK and Austria.  We will most likely still live in Wisconsin to be close to our families, while traveling across a few states to visit aunts, uncles and cousins from time to time.  I know for SURE that we will escape Wisconsin winters for a little reprieve!

6. Describe how you find bliss, either with words or images.

I find true happiness in some of the most unexpected moments.  It can be something funny that my children say – for example, my daughter refused to run ahead with me during our walk, saying she wanted to stay with our whole family.  I always love a good hug and cuddling up to read stories together. The images below are wonderful reminders of how blessed and happy we all are!

My little man grinning and wrinkling his nose

My little man grinning and wrinkling his nose

smiling in the snow

Big sister’s BIG Smile

Playing outside with my daughter

Mama O and Family with "Engine" cake

Celebrating special moments as a family

Now tag 5 of your bloggy friends!

I’d love to read about engagement, marriage, babies and bliss from my friends at these fabulous blogs – Motherhood is an Art, Keeping it Real, Pursuit of Plenty, The Sadder but Wiser Girl, I Will Have My Cake.

Anyone else who’d like to play, please do, let me know and link up with Elaine!

The END of Napping as We Know It

It has happened now for good.

The END of NAPPING for big sister.  At just about 40 months, she has said goodbye to her afternoon nap and hello to an earlier bedtime!

The end of napping as we know it is tough for me.  I CHERISHED coordinated nap schedules with big sister and little brother snoozing peacefully, freeing me up to do my own stuff.  I talked about how I love quiet time in this post.

How do I know the end is here?  Well, she hasn’t napped in over a week.  Today I tried my best to tire her out, complete with running around at open gym, more climbing and playing at the Y, and over an hour of reading together.  I successfully left her in her room for quiet time, and when I checked on her, it was clear she was just playing and chattering to herself.  Sigh….

According to the BEST sleep book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D., naps disappear between ages three and six.

“On their third birthday, most children (91 percent) are still napping every day. At age four, about 50 percent of children nap five days a week, and by age five, about 25 percent of children are napping about four days each week.”

With naps out the door, I think I will still continue about an hour of quiet play in her room after reading stories together, secretly hoping she will decide to nap on some days.  Other parents, what do you do when the napping stops?

Big sister sleeping at 10 months old

Big sister sleeping at 10 months old

2012 Off and Gone

The past tense of “on the go” – a phrase I like to use at Go Mama O – is “off and gone,” or so I’ve decided.

It is so appropriate, as the end of 2012 was off and gone like a curious toddler in the toy aisle among our busy holiday festivities.  I have been mentally writing this post for a few days and feel blessed with some down time to pour it all out for your reading pleasure (by the way, THANK YOU dear readers)!

2012 Badger fans watching the Rose Bowl

2012 Badger fans watching the Rose Bowl – Too bad the 2013 Badger Rose Bowl ALSO ended in a loss. Hmm..I did wear the same sweatshirt both years.  Maybe that’s the problem!

As I reflect on 2012, I am proud to admit that I am happier, less stressed, and a more patient stay at home mama, who occasionally does freelance work.  I think it’s taken me a while to adjust to my routine at home and just enjoy the present. Being at home with my children HAS been such a blessing, and I know I will fondly look back on this time – even when it wasn’t all rosy dealing with diaper duty, potty training, sleep deprivation or tantrums galore. My kids have taught me some pretty amazing things this past year.  See my top 5 things I learned from my kids entry.

I compare the picture above to the ones below, taken about 1 year apart, and it reminds me how far my kiddos have come this past year too.  MAJOR milestones for little brother  – going from 4 months to almost 16 months, he’s now much more a toddler than my baby boy.  He’s been walking much more than his long preferred butt-scooting, and saying a lot of words in his sweet little voice. I love it when he says blanket, sleepy, and TREEEAT.

Christmas 2012 Little Brother on the go

Christmas 2012 Little Brother on the go

My daughter has come a long way too from 2 to 3 years old!  For a while I thought she was in an “anti-mama” mode, but after being at home with her, I feel that we are much closer, and it’s typically me she calls for in the middle of the night.  We’re conquering potty-training and enjoying a lot of pretend-play with our train and animal loving little girl. She tends to carry on a dialogue with herself throughout the day, as if she’s narrating her own life.  Sometimes I’ll hear her say, “Put this over here (or insert any sentence)…the girl said.”  I think she is a blogger or thespian in the making!

Christmas 2012 Mama O and big sister
Celebrating Christmas 2012 – Mama O and big sister (she’s watching TV)

I’m looking forward to a great 2013 with my family.  I’m excited to see what will come along – new opportunities, challenges, and much more to discuss in the coming days.  I’m doing my best not to be anxious about not having a “plan” worked out, which is difficult for a planning girl to do.  I’m trusting in God’s plan for me, trying to listen for signs that I’m on the right track. For the moment, I think my happy, healthy family is indicating that I am where I’m supposed to be right now.