Christine Park

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kids' Artwork: to Treasure or Trash?

So the other day... TVNewsMom... under the cover of darkness, grabbed a stack of papers off her nightstand... and furtively threw them in the trash can. Immediately, the guilt crept in... but was quickly pushed back. Better to be a little heartless than a hoarder.

So goes the daily inner battle of a mom who appreciates her child, the budding artist, but appreciates a tidy house even more. Apparently I am not alone. In fact, the dilemma has so permeated popular culture that the New York Times had to weigh in, in an article titled, "When Children's Art Takes Over the Home."

In it, a 36-year-old mother of a prolific preschooler says, "I do think my kids are awesome. I tell them how great they are. But we’re not going to build an addition on the back for every piece of crayon art they’ve ever done.” Another mom, an artist herself, describes how her daughter's artwork is taking over the home, "Some 20 paper grocery bags full of Josie’s art already occupy the storage room, the basement and the closet." I'm assuming, much like at our house, the coveted surface of the refrigerator is already full?

TVNewsMom is fairly new to this... Syd's only been in preschool for a year-and-a-half, and when she "graduated" last year, I sorted through everything, and saved one box of her most impressive work. But lately she's amped up her production levels. I mean, like at least 5 drawings a day. With each, she lovingly declares, "This is for you, mom, because I love you! I'm putting it next to your bed so you can see it every time you wake up!" Day after day, the little pile grows, pages of stick figures, upside down houses, and a rainbow of oddly shaped flowers... all evidence of her undying devotion to me and her crayons.

Somebody help! Apparently there's an entire book devoted to this topic. Dr. David Burton's Exhibiting Student Art. While this guide is aimed mostly at teachers, the author has some tips. He says, store the artwork in two boxes. One is a temporary file, the other, more of a permanent vault. Each piece can include a makeshift museum card. Write the title of the piece, the age of the artist and the date. He says to involve the child in the decision-making process.

Other moms swear the digital age has solved this dilemma. They either scan or take pictures of their child's pieces and create digital photo scrapbooks to document their kid's creativity. But I don't know if a photograph can quite transport you back to these tender times, like the smell and feel of the original can. The crooked lines, the imperfect cuts, the texture of too much glue.

What say you? Are you a keeper or a chucker? And how do you justify it? I take comfort in the fact that this is just a phase... but once she's in elementary school and the artwork subsides... then come the report cards, book reports, and school projects. And as I recall, those are a lot bigger than just a piece of construction paper covered in glitter. But at least they're a lot cleaner!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To Friend or Not to Friend

When did "friend" also become a verb? When Facebook took over the world, that's when.

My Facebook friend (used here as a noun) Tracy Correa just wrote a great article in the Fresno Bee called "Teen Crisis: Should they friend parents on Facebook?" Thankfully, my children are only 4 and 2, and hence, too young to be on Facebook. (Although I wouldn't put it past my 4-year-old daughter, who is 4 going on 14!)

But plenty of parents are or will be facing this issue before they know it. When that time comes, I, for one, would like to think that my daughter would be among the 16% in a recent Kaplan survey that said parental friending "was a condition of parental approval for starting a Facebook page." Yet the same survey also says 40% of the teenagers surveyed simply ignored their parents' friend requests! How is that even acceptable? The kids complain of having to censor themselves because their parents are able to monitor their posts. Well I say, "GOOD." Maybe that might make you might think twice before posting risque pictures and profanity, or evidence of illegal activity, or becoming an online bully.

Kids need a private space, I get that. I promise, as God is my witness, to try very hard not to read my daughter's diary, if she were to ever have one. The thing is, THE INTERNET IS NOT PRIVATE. Let me say that in all caps and bold again: A FACEBOOK PAGE IS NOT YOUR PRIVATE SPACE. Depending on your privacy settings, all it takes is a friend of a friend to view your posts or your page, and that could lead to trouble.

What kids (and some adults) have a hard time realizing (until it's too late), is that Facebook posts have real life consequences. Did you hear about that 22-year-old waitress who lost her job because she vented about a customer in her Facebook post? Or how about that Illinois high school student who could be expelled for ranking his female classmates on his Facebook page? The list of cautionary tales could go on forever.

Bottom line: parents need to be monitoring their children's pages. Not as a friend, but as their parent.

But there are rules for parents too. This may be the best part of Tracy's article. Facebook etiquette for parents who are friends with their teens... ROTFL! oops. sorry. so uncool.

-- Don't post embarrassing comments on your child's page -- better yet, refrain from commenting.

-- Don't share embarrassing photos that you think are adorable but your child most likely does not, and refrain from "liking" said photos.

-- Don't "tag" your child in photos (which then automatically shoot directly to his/her page) unless you ask permission first.

-- Don't send friend requests to all of your child's friends -- people you mooched from his/her friends list.

-- Don't post reminders on your child's wall such as, "Don't forget to wear your retainer."

-- Don't make critical comments about the appearance of their friends in photos (i.e. that girl is showing a little too much cleavage).

-- Don't try to be cool by using terms like LOL, BTW, LMAO and the like -- especially if you have no idea what they mean.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Feel the Burn: Laser Hair Removal

Who's tired of shaving? Me! (I would raise my hand, but I didn't feel like shaving my underarms! It's winter... so what???)

SO after years of painful and ugly razor burn and ingrown hairs (I may have gone to Berkeley but I do not embrace the "natural" look), I was lured by a Groupon for discounted laser hair removal at Vivande Med Spa in Fresno. The deal, at the time was $150 for three treatments. After consulting my girlfriend who had had it done somewhere else, I bought six treatments for $300. I have since seen even better deals on Groupon, like today's: six treatments for $100 at Sanctuary Med Spa in Merced.

Anyways, I've gotten a lot of questions from curious friends and relatives about the process and the effectiveness of it. So I brought along my camera to my last treatment. Remember, when you go in for each treatment, you need to have about 3-5 days of hair growth so the laser can target the hairs. And your skin will be sensitive a day or so after treatment, like a sunburn, so it's best not to shave right after. Basically DO THIS DURING THE WINTER, when you're in turtle necks, not tank tops.

It's worked wonders so far... I just finished my fourth laser hair removal session, and I barely have to shave anymore. And the hair that does grow in is very thin and wispy. This is one beauty investment that I feel is well worth the cost... and pain. No pain, no gain, right? It's still January and I'm saying, bring on summer!

Friday, January 14, 2011

11 Step Program for those Thinking of Having Kids

Just had to repost... for all you parents and soon-to-be parents out there... or for those who just need assurance they should remain childless.

by Amy Lawrence on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 7:24am

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.

2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home.

4. Pick up the paper.

5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...

1. Methods of discipline.

2. Lack of patience.

3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.

4. Allowing their children to run wild.

5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)

2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.

4. Set the alarm for 3AM.

5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.

6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.

7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.

9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.

2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.

4. Then rub them on the clean walls.

5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.

6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.

Leave it there.

2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.

3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.

4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.

2. Make a small hole in the side.

3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.

4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.

5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.

6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Which Fresno Barbie Are You?

Found this hilarious post on a blog:! The Fresno-Clovis area has some very... distinct neighborhoods... and with it, comes some very distinctive stereotypes.
This post does not reflect the opinions of TV News Mom and is not meant to offend any readers... but continue on for a good laugh!

River Park Barbie
This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included are her own Starbucks cup, credit card and country club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Physical Trainer Rocky. You won't be able to afford any of them.

Fig Garden Barbie
This princess Barbie is sold only at BB Pepper. She comes with an assortment of designer Handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey, and a Gary McDonald custom home. Available with or without tummy tuck and face lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version.

Clovis Barbie
This modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Windstar Minivan or Chevy Tahoe and matching gym outfit. She has no full-time occupation. This soccer mom enjoys shopping at Target and eating lunch at Tahoe Joe's. Home Builder Ken or Law Enforcement Ken sold separately.

Pinedale Barbie
This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife, a Chevy with dark tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable bills) unless you are a cop, then we don't know what you are talking about.

Tarpey Village Barbie
This pale model comes dressed in her own Wrangler jeans two sizes too small, a NASCAR t-shirt and tweety bird tattoo on her shoulder. She has a six-pack of Bud light and a Hank Williams Jr. CD set. She can spit over 5 feet and kick mullet-haired Ken's butt when she is drunk. Purchase her pickup truck separately and get a confederate flag bumper sticker absolutely free.

Sunnyside Barbie
This tobacco-chewing, brassy-haired Barbie has a pair of her own high-heeled sandals with one broken heel from the time she chased beer-gutted Ken out of Tarpey Village Barbie's house. Her ensemble includes low-rise acid-washed jeans, fake fingernails, and a see-through halter-top. Also available with a mobile home.

Tower District Barbie
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair, arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup and Birkenstocks with white socks. She prefers that you call her Willow. She does not want or need a Ken doll, but if you purchase two Barbies and the optional Subaru wagon, you get a rainbow flag bumper sticker for free. She works at Costco, eats lunch at Irene's on Saturday's and goes to Express for drinks.

Westside Barbie
This Barbie now comes with a stroller and infant doll. Optional accessories include a GED and FAX bus pass. Gangsta Ken and his 1979 Caddy with 22" dubs were available, but are now very difficult to find since the addition of the infant.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just in Time for Valentine's Day... Victoria's Not-So-Secret Sale

Ladies, you know it's time to restock your underwear drawer. Especially the 25% who recently admitted in a Consumer Reports panty poll that they have a pair of underwear they'd be embarrassed for someone to see. I seriously LOL'd when I saw this stat. I'm guilty myself... so the other day, I literally threw a dozen pair in the trash. Repeat after me: "It is NOT okay to put on a pair that has holes in it, no matter how much you love them."

That evil empire known as Victoria's Secret has made no secret of it's semi-annual sale. I think I got, no joke, like 5 catalogues in the mail touting this event. In years past, they would go straight into the trash, I mean, recycling bin.

This stems from the fact that all my past experiences ordering from the catalogue and website have been... well, complicated, to put it nicely. In fact, a recent attempt at exchanging part of a gift I received for Christmas has turned into a two-week exercise in mismatched bras and panties... with unanswered e-mails to customer service and paying for shipping twice.

But today... all my frustration melted away when I walked into the Victoria's Secret store in North Fresno. The large sign read all sale bras $15.99 and panties $2.99. Not to mention, when I perused their sleepwear and nighties, I saw adorable slips and camisoles, especially in red, like the ones above (perfect for upcoming Valentine's Day!) marked down an extra 50% off to like $10-$12! This is cheaper than anything you can find online or in the catalogues. Better yet, you can try on everything and you don't have to pay for shipping! I really rediscovered the joys of old school brick and mortar shopping today! Some of you reading this may be, like, DUH. But when you've got two kids under the age of 5... shopping online often becomes the ONLY option.

While I'm not ready to ditch Amazon yet... I'd say when it comes to lingerie... I'm sold on buying in person. But hurry! The sale, I was told, ends Monday. And just think how thrilled your man will be when you tell him your entire ensemble cost a mere $20! You normally can't even buy a bra at V.S. for that price!

p.s. for the more adventurous... Fredericks of Hollywood is also have a monster sale. But again, the real deals are in person. Who doesn't need stripper heels for $6? Happy Valentine's Day fellas!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Verizon iPhone

We waited and waited and waited. And waited some more. And all that patience paid off. The iPhone 4 is finally coming to Verizon! TV News Mom is thrilled because now she doesn't have to go with AT&T (rated by Consumer Reports as the worst cell phone service provider) in order to get her hands on that piece of eye candy Apple known as the iPhone4. The Verizon version is ever so slightly different from the AT&T version. They moved the antenna to work with CDMA (Verizon's cellular network) and the volume and mute buttons are in a different spot, so the old cases may not fit. The phone will operate on Verizon's 3G network, not 4G data.

Current Verizon customers will be able to pre-order on Feburary 3rd for the standard $200 price for the 16GB model on a two year agreement, $300 for the 32GB version -- everyone else can order on February 10th.

As soon as the announcement came out of New York, I checked my phone upgrade plan, which says I am eligible for a phone upgrade August 31, 2011. Argh! I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN STAND TO WAIT THAT MUCH LONGER!!!

In the meantime, I will continue to use my Droid. See, the thing is, I'm not UNhappy. And I do love having a full qwerty keyboard. But when it comes to ease of use, available apps (click here for the best apps for moms), and my phone not crashing, the iPhone4 is where it's at.