Sunday, March 27, 2011

Race To Nowhere

Greetings everyone! My tendency is to get obsessed with things and then let them slide. This blog may be no exception. I love it, but it's time consuming. Somehow, time has become a precious commodity. There never seems to be enough of it. However, I have a new obsession bubbling over, so I figure I'll take the time to blog about it.

I just saw the movie "Race to Nowhere." It's a documentary about "the dark side of our high performance culture." I'll sum up my reaction to it in three words...color me rattled. What this movie shows is how we push our kids into too many activities, how our schools (elementary, high school and college) stress and burn out our kids with too much homework and too high an emphasis on test scores with a lack of regard for personal development, healthy relaxation and creativity. Of course government is in on the action. Schools' funding is dependent on achieving high test scores forcing teachers to focus on "teaching to the test," pushing aside creative thinking and teaching our kids to work in groups which are skills that are used in the real world. The "top colleges" demand a transcript full of AP courses, high standardized test scores and a full resume of extra curricular activities. This looks great on paper but the reality of it is ugly. The workload associated with AP courses is overwhelming (and the "regular" courses aren't exactly a free ride either). These kids are spending six hours in school and then come home to 3-4 hours of homework. I don't know of an activity that is less than an hour and a half round trip with most being longer, so that's the cherry on top of the workload. It's not uncommon for kids to be up until the early hours of the a.m. to get it all done. This is what the "good schools" say you need to be doing to get in. Of course, if you don't go to a "good school" you'll never get a "good job" and make lots of money so it all filters down. Now, I'm not placing the sole blame on colleges. It's a really complicated problem that spans from government, to schools on all levels, right down to individuals. Good luck finding a solution that satisfies all of these parties.

What bothered me the most about all of this is how as parents we've just accepted this and also use it as the standard of achievement. It's hard not to. I feel like we are besieged with the message that if we don't push our kids to get the homework done, get the high test scores and participate in the activities that they're not going to be successful. We want to give our kids every advantage, but are we really? I have yet to meet a parent that says "I just love all of the running around we do." Everyone I know is saying, "This is nuts," but no one does anything to change it. Why? I have to believe that it's out of fear that if we don't participate, our kids will not only not be successful, but they're going to be left out. Most of us roll with the majority and what our friends are doing.

So here's the deal. It's not realistic for me to go stomping capitol hill and campaigning for changes in the government, but it is realistic for my husband and I to get a hold on what's going on in our house. After all, it's not my kids who are filling out the forms and sending in the checks for these activities. We do have a choice. I'm going to ask myself what are they really getting out of these activities? I suspect if I did some research, most three year olds don't even have the mental capacity to engage in "team sports" so I think I'll ditch the organized t-ball for playing in the back yard. There's two hours of my life I just got back. If I want it to be more social, I'll invite a friend over. Just because we've seen footage of Tiger Woods having a monster golf swing at age three doesn't mean this is the path we all have to go down for success. And P.S. I'm not sure it worked out so well for him either. Maybe we should ask the question if elementary football really requires a four night a week commitment. Do we really have to spend our weekends traveling with our ten year olds for soccer and baseball? If your kids love it and you love it - great. Knock yourself out. However, most parents don't love it. It's a strain. Statistically, the majority of these kids who start at such a young age aren't even going to play through college let alone go pro. So doing it in the name of their success really doesn't add up. Meanwhile everyone is run ragged. At my house we're good with homework now, but if my kids start sacrificing their sleep and are doing it at the expense of everything else, it's time to have a chit chat with the folks at school. As for developing a stellar transcript for college, there has to be a correlation of what's on that paper to real life. Enron looked okay on paper too...for a while. Trust that the reality will always make itself known. If our kids are stressed, depressed and exhausted, that transcript is no measure of success.

Grant you, an hour and a half documentary should not be the soul source of an opinion, but let me tell you, it was a real eye opener. It's hard to see a problem when it's so big and we're all so entrenched in it. It's really worthwhile to go see this film. To check out the website and find a screening click here. It made me realize that I shouldn't just accept what is generally accepted especially when my gut is telling me that it's all too much. Be sure to go to the research section. I'm only a mommy blogger pontificating on a movie, but some pretty big brains have researched this stuff. We just have to get our heads wrapped around it and be brave enough to make some changes. Again, maybe some of you out there really thrive in this environment but I think the majority of us feel that we're fighting to keep our head above water. It's time to take the reigns.

Here's to choices that are right for you and a bright future!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

If You Build it They Will Come - Let Me Know How That Works Out For You

Hi Everyone! Some have asked me, "Am I off the list for your blog? I haven't gotten anything in a while." That would be a no. You're on the list, it's just that yours truly hasn't written jack in months. I can't quite explain just didn't make it to the top of the priority list these past few months. But Alas! It is now 2011. It is time for resolutions and fresh starts, so here I am!

Here's the deal. I have always wanted to develop one of my interests into a money making business. I have also always had the vision of being self employed and working from home to build in that flexibility we busy moms need (hello bazillion half days of school). Who doesn't love the vision of these infomercials where these people are lounging pool side spending time with their family because they developed a business so easy and so profitable that the cash practically runs into their accounts at the press of a button? I love the "Mom-preneurs" that occasionally show up on a talk show (I think Oprah had one). Julie Clark, founder of the Baby Einstein company made a video for babies on a shoestring budget. Poof! Millionaire! Some lady started making "gibets" for her kids' Crocs at her kitchen table. People liked it. Bam! Gazilionaire! If only it were that easy! It's kind of like Santa Clause. You love the idea and the magic of it all, but you know what the real deal is. Developing your own business is hard. Any show that suggests that all you need is a great idea and that it will grow organically into a successful business may as well be selling crack pipes. I can only imagine the number of flights Julie Clark and the Gibit chick got on to figure out production and distribution of their product. Successful businesses are blood sweat and tears to get started...period. As for myself, I am embarking on yet another entrepreneurial journey. I've tried my hand at freelance marketing and a network marketing business. I dabbled in a food business and here I am blogging. I'm game for a lot of ideas and not afraid to put it out there for a test run. One of these days I'm going to find what works. My newest entrepreneurial venture is a specialty medical marketing business. I have two partners which I think will be the key to our really does take a village. I'll keep blogging about whatever I feel like, but rest assured, my adventures in entrepreneurship will surely make an appearance here and there. Wish me luck.

By the way, if I could make an income blogging, I would totally do it. I just don't have a clue as to how. I bought two books on the subject. I don't think I'm cut out for hard core, money making blogging, but I do have fun with it. Bless my friends who get a kick out of what I write, but here's the and my eight followers aren't exactly taking it to the top. So, while big buck blogging doesn't appear to be in my future, I would be very happy to work on growing "followers." As a group, I swear my girlfriends could run the universe. Surely, someone out there knows a good way to increase followers? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? (Sorry, had to be done). I don't think you can comment on this blog unless you have a gmail account or are a follower (C'Mon! Take the plunge!). If that's too daunting, just send me an e-mail. Right above the comment box, you'll see a series of "buttons." Just click the envelope to e-mail me.

Happy new year everyone! Here's to putting yourself out there and doing great things in 2011!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Us Magazine Review

Hello and happy Labor Day weekend! In the earlier stages of this blog I said I would do an Us magazine review weekly...obviously that didn't happen. Truth is, many weeks in a row I didn't find anything entertaining/notable enough to write about. I mean, do we really need me to pontificate on the farse that was Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin's engagament? Bachelor engagements have been more genuine (and longer) than that for pity sake. Alas, this week had some notables that I felt like writing about, so here we go...

First of all, I think "Teen Moms" have been featured on the cover three out of the last four weeks. I don't watch this show. While it probably makes for compelling TV (hopefully it gives the whole, not so pretty picture), I don't think these girls should be treated as celebrities and be showing up on magazine covers. Should we really be glamorizing their very difficult life choices? On a lighter note, or should I say emaciated note?

This picture is frightening to me. Worse is the caption ' "I try to do a variety of exercises," a cut Kelly Ripa...tells Us." First of all, those aren't "cuts" of muscle...they're protruding ribs. Her sternum is grotesquely protruding, and her jaw looks hollow. Okay, so the arms and legs look like they have some muscle tone, but all in all...waaaaaay too thin. In light of the popularity of the movie "Kick Ass" I think Kelly Ripa is going for her own movie franchise "Carc-ass." Please eat a sandwich.

Next up we have unfortunate dresses. Jessica Simpson got a full page spread on an ill fitting red dress that admittedly looked just awful. The media calls this poor girl out on everything related to her appearance. I say, "leave her alone," however I will gladly take a shot at Kate Gosselin.

I looked at this and I thought, Didn't she wear? Isn't that from? and after a little research, yep, she wore a costume from Dancing With the Stars to an Emmy party. (sorry the picture is so grainy...had to pull a low resolution one from the internet)

Now, there is no shot in hell they asked this woman to dance (hello, one DWTS judge said she looked like a shopping cart that her partner had to push around, and another said it was "hard to watch."), so let's sum it up with one question...Why? Outside of the dance floor, the only place these costumes are appropriate is a tranny convention. Then again, she had on enough makeup (you could pave a road with the amount of mascara)and the hair looks wiggy enough, so maybe? Now, there's a new reality series for you. Moving on...

Much earlier in the magazine they had a whole spread on Katy Perry and cute little dresses she was wearing. I always thought she had a bit of a Betty Boop thing going on, but when I saw the first dress I had to pat myself on the back for the accuracy of the thought...

Am I off base here? I have no beef with Katy Perry, it was just a notable in my shallow book.

And that's a wrap. Frankly, I like writing about the real life mommy stuff better. Let's see if back to school offers any more material. Enjoy the holiday weekend and I'll talk to you soon!

Monday, August 30, 2010

10 Misconceptions of Moms and Back to School

Okay, so I didn't write this, but I wish I did. The "buying crap that you already have in junk drawers" in misconception #2 is speaking to me...BIG TIME. It made me laugh and I think it will make you laugh too. Thank you K for sending to me in the first place. Laughter feeds the soul.

10 Misconceptions of Moms and Back-to-School

Misconception Number 1: Moms miss their kids when they go back to school
Seriously. I've had enough of you by now. Every morning with the "what are
we going to do today, Mom?" is finally over. I've had looked at your face
twenty-four seven for the last 77 days. It's time to go learn something. No
more asking me about the pool, when is the next snack or if you can stay up
late and watch a movie. It's over..You're going back to Hogwarts and I get
to have a life again. There is a Christmas morning for parents and it's
called "back to school".

Misconception Number 2: Moms like to go school shopping.
Are you freaking kidding me? Why do I pay taxes?.so I can rack up a 200
dollar bill at Staples for crap that we have laying around my house in junk
drawers. Why does it have to be new pencils? What's wrong with the chewed
up, broken strawberry shortcake pencils sitting in the bottom of the toy box
for the last 6 months? And how many subject books can you possibly need?
What happened to reading, writing and arithmetic. If they added a couple of
things for parents to that list I wouldn't mind so much..why not pencils,
erasers and vodka ...or some Nyquil.

Misconception Number 3: Moms like back to school night.
Why must we do this every year? I got it already. You're the teacher.I'm the
parent. My kid is either going to be smart or dumb. If he gets a certain
number or colored dot on his discipline chart, he can't get a prize from the
prize box. Pretty simple stuff. Listen, I'm pretty old school. If he doesn't
listen to can throw something at him. I don't care. But I got a lot
of work to do at home and I'm paying a babysitter right now. Plus, I'm
pretty sure you are going to assign some project on wigwams made by some
Indian tribe I've never heard of, so I need to get home and start my
research. So, I got it. We're all here for the betterment of the kids. Blah
Blah Blah. Can I leave now?

Misconception Number 4: Moms like school paperwork.
How many trees are you planning on killing to tell me the same stuff I had
to pay a babysitter to listen to the other night? You know our name, where
we live and our emergency phone numbers. He doesn't have a
him "stinkbutt" for all I care. We don't have any "special circumstances"
that you need to know about. He lives in a home with two parents who may or
may not like each other at any given time and they will fight. If that
qualifies as a reason he can't get his homework done on time then he won't
be able to function as an adult and have a real job so you may want to
"educate" him on that life lesson.

Misconception Number 5: Moms like covering books in that annoying sticky
What exactly will you be doing with these books that I have to cover them in
a plastic laminate? Do you often teach in the rain? Or while the children
are drinking soda and eating soup? Do you know how long that takes? Has any
parent in the history of education been able to do it without any air
bubbles in it? From now on I'm covering it the old way.brown paper bags.
That way I can cover the books and pack their lunches at that same time. Who
says moms can't multitask?
PS. Please tell my son if he can't find his lunch to look in his science

Misconception Number 6: Moms like helping you with your homework.
What? I am scared out of my mind. I'm pretty sure that I forgot everything I
learned in fifth grade by the time I was in sixth grade. I have no idea what
you are talking about most days. I don't really know my 12 times tables, I
read the cliff notes to all your summer reading and I don't know how to
conjugate anything but I do know that song "conjuction junction what's your
function" if that helps at all. And please don't even say the words "new
math" to me. What the heck was wrong the old one?

Misconception Number 7: Moms can't wait to pack your lunch every day until
we die.
I hate doing laundry. Making dinner every night is the bane of my existence,
so making your lunch every day for an entire year, in terms of "mom fun",
lies somewhere between brushing plaque off the dogs teeth and scheduling my
annual pap smear. Listen, as a child I hated what my mom packed me for
lunch. But, like every kid before me, and every generation to come you will
find a kid to trade with.I'm sure someone likes sardines.

Misconception Number 8: Moms love after school activities.
I don't know who made up this idea of organized clubs and sports but they
should be the ones in charge of carting your ass around. Don't get me wrong.
I'm not against all after school programs. I just wish they would offer it
during hours that would work best for me so that dinner wasn't at 8:30 at
night followed by 4 hours of homework. Why not do it on the weekends and
call it "after-hours activities" so mommy and daddy could actually go out
one night and pretend that we have a life of our own. Don't worry about us
though I'm sure that me and "what's his name" will be married a very long

Misconception Number 9: Moms don't mind taking you to school if you miss the
Your bus comes at 7:10 am..which means that you should be standing by the
door at 7:05 am. Not eating breakfast , chasing the dog around the house or
in the bathroom, asking me to check your homework while I'm taking a shower.
Get it together! I don't like running down the street in my jammies at 7:12
screaming "Please wait" or "If you stop I'll show you my boobies."

Misconception Number 10: Moms cry on your first day of school
We do cry but they are tears of joy. I have done my job. I have successfully
kept a human child alive for at least 5 years without doing any major
damage. Motherhood is the hardest job in the world!! Sure, doctors save
lives and CEO's run million dollar businesses teach a kid not to
poop their pants and then you can say you've made the world a better place."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wrapping Up Summer

Hello Everyone! Yes, I have been out of touch for quite some time, but I've said it before and I'll say it again...until it pays the bills, it's called a hobby. So, here we are less than two weeks before school starts and I find myself in the scramble to get all of those "summer" things in before we hit the madness that is "back to school." Where did the time go? I have to laugh at myself. Sometimes I reread my blog posts thinking of ways I could have made them better (sentence structure...YIKES!). In rereading "Summer Buzz" I have to say that was an idealistic joke. Here's how the summer went down.

First two weeks out of school, you decompress while simultaneously try not to lose it on your kids as they alternate between bickering and begging you to do unrealistic things (No, we're not going to Dorney Park today or going to Rita's for lunch).

Camps - We ended up extending from three weeks to six. During these six weeks, by the time I shuttled everyone to where they needed to be and got the baby two naps, the day was gone and I still hadn't unloaded the dishwasher. Don't get me started on the rest of the to do's that got ignored (unless of course you count "update Facebook status").

The Shore - One week vacation. Fun, fun, fun! Then I came home to all of the laundry and the wreckage that was my house. It took another full week to recover.

And that pretty much brings us up to date. As for some of those other things that I swore I was going to do this summer, here's how that went.

Journaling/Writing - this lasted for my son until camps started, then it was out the window. As far as my blogging, look no further than my last entry date (July 13th) to see how well I did with that.

Reading - We actually did pretty well here. I am on my third book for the summer. Our son has gone above and beyond on the summer reading and we're almost done reading the fifth Harry Potter Book. Tangent time! In reading "Eat, Pray, Love" I alternated between thinking, "Wow this chick is cool and gets it," to being exasperated with the endless self introspection. Enough already. I'll still see the movie, but will probably have to wait until it comes on pay per view. Also, I have to wonder about these authors who write about disturbing sex crimes as in "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." At the end of the book there was an excerpt from the author's next book "The Girl Who Played With Fire." Lo and behold it had another disturbingly graphic sex crime. I'm thinking nobody should let their daughters near this guy. Just Sayin...

The board games - I said we had a million that never see any action and were going to get played this summer. In the end, the only action they will see is the big heave ho as I give up the ruse that they'll be played. In regard to these and the other stifling amounts clutter/junk I have in this house, I am adopting the mind set of an environmentalist. I need a 50% reduction in crap to save the environment that is this household. Purge 2010 is in effect. It has to go out now, because if it doesn't, the back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas junk just gets added to it and, oh, here come the men in the little white coats...

Playgrounds - I got to my first playground with the kids this past Monday. It was fantastic for about fifteen minutes and then 4 groups of campers invaded and bedlam ensued. That was fun.

The Library - Do we even have a library around here? (That's code for "I never made it.")

Triathlon - Yes I did it! Time and placement are nothing to brag about, but it's done! I'm contemplating another triathlon or two and have signed up for a half marathon for February. I just ran my new long of six miles and feel like I need a hip replacement, so I'll let you know how training for that goes. By the way, why don't I look like Twiggy yet?

That's pretty much it. Grousing aside, it really has been a good summer even though it wasn't the picture of perfection, but then again, what is? Have fun cramming in the best of what summer has to offer into these last two weeks. If you don't hear from me before, chances are I'll see you at Staples duking it out for school supplies. Until then, be well and have fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Wanted to Tri, but I'm Still a Du'er

Hello everyone! This past weekend was supposed to be my first ever triathlon. This non swimmer, biker and runner started training in January, so needless to say there was quite a bit of excitement and anxiety surrounding this event. Alas, the local river is highly volatile and thanks to a persnickety Mother Nature, the swim got cancelled. The event turned into a duathlon with a two mile run, seventeen mile bike, followed by a 5K run. Stupidly, I have never run more than 4 miles consecutively, so I wasn't sure how running five (even if it was broken up in two parts) was going to go down. I'll cut to the chase and tell you that I finished with control of all bodily functions. For the first time out, this was the only goal. After all of the anxiety over potential crashing and burning on my bike, getting dehydrated, or just discovering the hard way that I am incapable of being a multi-sport athlete...those never came to fruition. Here are the the snippets that made the event memorable and also forced me to laugh at myself.
1. Packet pick up the day prior in the rain. The place was a freakin swamp especially in the area in front of the port a potties. EVERYONE goes to the bathroom before the race. The thought of waiting in standing water (in the sneakers I'm supposed to race in) for port a potties is enough to make me break out in a rash. I'm thinking there's no way the area is going to be sufficiently dried up by race day. I come up with the brilliant idea that I'm bringing my wellies to navigate this marshland. The practicality of this was in the idea alone. Triathletes look pretty sleak and techy and there I am lugging a pair of wellies (which I never wore - ground was pretty dry after all). Hello stupid.
2. The transition area. This is where you come back to after each portion of the race to change out equipment for the next leg. It is not a spa. You want to get in and out of there as efficiently as possible. Some people bring balloons to mark the end of their rack so they can easily locate their bike. I did this, but probably didn't need to as I was the only one with a pair of wellies sitting with her bike. I was nervous about setting up my area correctly. It turned out to be no biggy, but a special shout out to the girl who showed up late, pushed the bikes over to fit hers in, and consequently knocked over my bag allowing ants to get in and attack my nutrition bar.
3. My bike. The only change I made to my entry level mountain bike was taking the child seat off the back. I didn't even take off the metal framing that supported it. Being a triathlete is not a cheap hobby. Seeing as it was my first time and I needed swim lessons, gym membership, tri clothes, etc., I decided that this was one area that I would cut my investment. When comparing my bike to the others in the race, I would say it was like Titanic vs. a speed boat. If I had to do it over, I would have left the child seat on, planted a doll in it and placed one of those "Baby on Board" signs on the back just so everyone else could be in on the joke. I will own up to stopping once in the race because I seriously thought something was caught and dragging in the back of my bike. Nope, the dang thing is just that heavy. I've already been to the bike shop to buy myself an early birthday present.
4. This was an all women's triathlon, but I didn't expect Mother Goose to show up. Nope, not the writer, the damn bird. One was crossing the road during my bike ride. There was another rider to my left and the curb to my right so my choices were few. Perhaps the bird saw that my bike weighed 500 lbs and could do serious damage and therefore decided to slow down and prevent a collision. I congratulated myself on saying, "Oh Damn!" instead of some other choice four letter word. Very lady like if I do say so myself. My fear of crashing is what prevents me from taking a hand off the handlebars to pat myself on the back.
5. I have tried several times to become a runner and failed. However, after pedalling a mac truck for seventeen miles, I have never been so happy to start running in my entire life. I actually felt energized knowing it was the last part of the race and started to enjoy myself (maybe it was because it was here I started passing a few people). I also enjoyed seeing the gals who chose to wear tiaras, a boa and even a tutu. Rock on ladies!
6. The finish! Wahoooooo! I did it! The husband came down with the two older kids who made a "Way to Go Mom - We Love You!" sign. It was a mental snapshot I will not soon forget. I am reminded that I started training when my youngest was three months and who is now nine months. I was able to do this nine months post partum...nothing to feel bad about there.
So, I have been renderred victorious in my first multi-sport event. I will cop to disappointment that it was not a triathlon. Still, I was extremely happy with my duathlon experience. I feel energized and more upbeat than I have in months. It has made me want to be overall healthier and work to improve. I came home and signed up for another triathlon taking place later this month. I really want to get in a tri...I did train for it. The bike shop just called saying my new bike is ready. Happy birthday to me! In conclusion, I have to say that all of the thinking and anxiety beforehand was erased as soon as the race was under way. It amazes me that sometimes doing something is easier than thinking about it. So if there is anyone out there who can't imagine doing a duathlon or triathlon, I assure you, I used to be that person. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking and start doing. I am crazy happy that I did. Have a great day everyone and if you have a chance, make like Nikey and Just Do It!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm Not Feeling the Justice

Hello and happy heat wave! It's a doozy, that's for sure. I've seen at least three or four postings on Facebook that show people's car thermometers with temps over 102 with some caption marveling at the oppressive heat. Mother Nature has been working the power play all year (first the crazy winter and now this). Girlfriend needs to go on vacation and take a load off. So what does one do when it is actually too hot to go to the pool? When I posed this very question to my almost five and a half year old daughter "K" she promptly answered, "Can we go to the mall?" I contemplate this. Lately the mall has been dangerous. A while back it used to be our favorite hangout. We would get a little lunch, visit the pet store (free), toy store and Disney store (free, with a large dose of will power), and a visit to the rides. The rides can potentially suck quarters out of your wallet at the speed of light, but luckily K was happy to just jump on and off the rides without a single quarter going in, so they were free too. It used to be the perfect two to three hour outing. Fast forward a couple of years into a crap store, closed. Toy store, closed. Rides, getting too old to care. So now I equate the mall with the money pit and/or full deployment of meltdown management skills as I say, "No" to everything K wants to buy. However, on this occasion I have two birthday presents to buy, so I say, "Okay, let's go have some lunch and buy our two gifts, but NO Disney Store!" I recall our last "free" visit which culminated in our buying a pair of shoes for $7.99 (but not before she begged for everything else in the store). I justified this because they were cheap and had every color of the rainbow which means they would go with almost any outfit. K would sleep in these shoes if I would let her, but at the end of the day, I caved and bought her something when it was supposed to be a "no purchase" zone. I feel my authority as a parent go down the drain as my follow through on my "no purchase policy" goes out the window. Back to the present. We head to the mall and enjoy a girls' lunch (I have nine month baby girl "A" with us too) and then head out to buy our gifts. Gift number one is a visa check card, no fuss no muss. Done. I head to Ann Taylor Loft for gift two. There's a good sale and I am pleased with my second gift purchase. Done. Now what? We walk along, I ignore the request to go to the Disney store, and then we see them...peace signs. Lately K is obsessed with peace signs. Anything emblazened with them is instantly cool. The store is Justice which incidentally is where I buy all of my niece's gifts, so it's not like I'm unfamiliar. I'll sum up the store this way - sparkles, and tie dye, and peace signs oh my! Truly, it is the peace sign mother ship. Mylie Cyrus' "Party in the USA" is playing confirming we are in tween universe. I usually don't set foot in the store without a 40% off coupon. Just our luck, today the entire store is 40% off with no coupon (even ain't Target). Up till now, K has been too little to fit into their clothes so I was pretty safe outside of the webkins, junky jewelery, fuzzy covered notebooks and other tween treasures (nightmares) they sell. K resembles a pinball machine bouncing from rack to rack as she spots each peace sign. I agree to the matching back pack, lunch box and water bottle (appropriately blinged out and peace signed) as they are school necessities. Then we start eyeing up the clothes. A feeling of dread hits as I realize I have been sold out by a growth spurt...their smallest size now fits. It's not like we're short on clothes, but K has grown out of some of her things. A peace sign bathing suit and pajamas (the pj's totally make her look like a teenager - tank top and lounge pants - I want to cry) later we find ourselves at the checkout counter. It is here we spot the peace sign head bands and pony tail holders. Why stop now? Throw them in. If I find these in pretty pony hair at any point I am going to kill myself. Tally it all up and we have our new hundred dollar store (that title was previously reserved for Target, but at least then it was groceries and other "necessities"). I am somewhat mullified by what I "saved" with the 40% off, but there is no way in hell I'm ever buying anything in there without it. K walks out carrying her Justice shopping bag looking like a scene from Pretty Woman. She is beside herself with joy. I can't get out of this mall fast enough. An effort that is being hampered as Baby A keeps grabbing everything that is sparkled and in arms reach (which is everything by the way). As we finally make it to the exit, we pass Abercrombie. The manequin is sporting a skirt the size of a postage stamp and a plaid shirt tied above the naval (and it's not looking as innocent as Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island either). Maybe I can live with over priced bling and peace signs after all. Stay cool everyone...even if it means a trip to the mall!