UrbanSitter: Book a Sitter on the Run

I need a back up sitter.  Or seven.  It’s so frustrating to have a sitter cancel, or to not be able to book one when you desperately want to go out or get to a meeting.  I found a solution that is affordable, simple and very easy to use – UrbanSitter.

Founded by four parents in need of reliable sitters, UrbanSitter is a website (and an app) that allows you to book sitters who have been recommended by your Facebook friends.  You can sort sitters by availability (time and date), background checks, location, and even by rate.  You can also see the reviews of the babysitters.   It’s incredibly simple.  The real magic of UrbanSitter is that it syncs with Facebook  to show you babysitters personally recommended (used and reviewed) by your friends.   I always feel better booking a sitter knowing someone else I know has used them in the past.  In addition, many of the sitters on the site can provide you with their own background checks. And, my favorite part of the service – many of the sitters take credit cards! No cash involved.  How amazing is that?

I recently attended a luncheon hosted by my gal pals at MomsLA & UrbanSitter at Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach.  Many of the local sitters where there and we were able to interview them in a round robin of speed interviews.  I was very impressed with the women who were there representing the service.  I met many Loyola students, a mom who home schooled her kids who is babysitting to earn some cash on the side, and a filmmaker, who loves working with kids in her spare time.

A few other great things about UrbanSitter:

• Badges on sitter profiles indicate average response time to job requests, number of ‘repeat families’ who have booked them multiple times through the site, and if they accept credit cards for payment.

• You can also post a job for last minute help or recurring needs like Monday/Wednesday/Friday sitter or even full time nanny. Just write a description of your job and we’ll let you know when sitters express interest. You can also sort your list of candidates by the same filters as in a search and easily book interviews.

• Sitters keep their schedules online, so parents can book jobs and interviews for a specific date/time — instantly at the click of a button!

• Stay organized with handy email reminders and access to your babysitter bookings.

UrbanSitter is running a sweepstakes contest – you could win a year of babysitting for date nights.  (Or a few hours alone!)  Click here to enter!

 Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post for MomsLA and Urban Sitter. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

Don’t have a will? You are being a neglectful parent.

I have a friend whose father recently passed away.  She misses her dad terribly.  Worse, her father didn’t have a will.  She’s stuck dealing with the nutcase ex and the legal system, from several thousand miles away.  It’s costly, dramatic and frankly, devastating.  And, we held a fundraiser last year for a Kristy Kaplon, a young mother who was pregnant with twins.  Her husband, Brian, was shot and killed by his best friend.  He had no will.  Can you imagine the hell that she went through?

When the MomsLA gals approached me about doing this sponsored post about estate planning, I jumped at the chance to share some wisdom about planning for the future with y’all.

There are a million reasons not to put together a will and/or estate plan.  My friend Kim Tracy Prince covered this subject a while ago.  The first reason that I hear frequently from people is that it’s expensive to put together a plan for the future.  Let me tell you this – you know nothing about expense until you have to deal with the legal system in a probate situation.  It’s extremely unkind to do to your children and loved ones.  If you don’t do it now, they will have to go through hell later.  And never mind when there are small children involved… if you don’t have a will set up when you have children, I honestly believe it’s neglectful.  Enough preaching from me.  I’m not the expert.

Meet Sona Tatiyants, an Estate Planning Attorney, who talks about why you need a will or an estate plan:

And here’s some information on what happens to your kids if something were to happen to you:  (In other words, why you need to get up off the couch and make a plan, Stan.)

Right now you are either feeling smug or scared.  Which is it?

Smug? Then you’ve gotta plan.  Yay you!

Scared?  You need a will and an estate plan.  It’s doable.  Very doable.  Just get it done.  Your loved ones will be thankful that you did. And so will you.

For more information, check out Sona Tatiyants, Los Angeles Estate Planning Attorney’s website.  Or, find her on Facebook or Twitter.

* This post is part of a sponsored campaign for Sona Tatiyants, Estate Planning Attorney, and MomsLA.com.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this video are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Tatiyants Law, MomsLA and Debbie Goldberg aka Manhattan Beach Moma make no warranty about the accuracy or reliability of the information in this video or any linked sites.  Transmission of communication is not intended to create and receipt does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information in this video is at your own risk.

I feel the love!

Happy Mother’s Day.  In honor of all the moms who inspire and influence me, I share this with you:

I hope you feel loved and appreciated today!

Drybar Opens in El Segundo

At last!

Drybar has opened in Plaza El Segundo.

I’ve always lamented that the South Bay needs a place like Drybar, where you can drop in, get your hair washed, blown out and then styled.  And get this – it only costs $35.00!

Founded by Alli Webb, Drybar now has 13 locations and performs an average of 24,000 blowouts per month! Wow!

So if you are looking for a great place to get your hair blown out in Manhattan Beach, look no further than Drybar.  I can’t wait to get my hair fluffed and buffed soon!

Have you tried Drybar?  What do you think?

I’ve Turned Into One of Those Annoying Mompreneurs

Last week, when I should have been celebrating the fact that I was quoted in the Huffington Post’s Small Business section in an article written by my friend, Sandy Abrams, I was feeling bad about myself.  Prepare yourself to be annoyed by this bit of brilliance that actually came out of my mouth:

Debbie doesn’t have a set amount of hours of work per week. She says “I work until it all gets done. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer typing away, emailing, on social media sites while promoting our business and networking. In the restaurant business, there are no 9-5 hours, which also works in my favor. I can make time for the stuff and the people in my life that matter – my husband, my kids, my family, my friends.”

I’ve turned into one of those annoying mompreneurs who claim to do it all in the blink of an eye.  I work until it all gets done?  Did I really say that?  I wasn’t even drinking when I wrote that.  Let me be honest, my friends, it never all gets done.   Never.

There are days when I don’t read to the kids before they go to bed because I’m just too tired.  There are days when my kids go to school without finishing their “shares” just because we didn’t get to them during our homework time.  (Mind you, homework in our school district at this age is supposed to take 20 minutes.  20 minutes, my ass! It takes us 20 minutes to get the two math sheets done.  After that there is reading, an online computer program, more homework sheets, word cards, math cards and spelling words.  I’m lucky if it’s an hour per night.)  You get the point.  I regret saying “until it all gets done.”  There are dust bunnies that have lived under my bed since 2001.  Nothing is ever “done” in my home or office.

I didn’t lie about getting it “all done.”  The honest truth is the defination of “getting it all done” changes by the moment.  It’s like triage at the hospital.  Which wound is bigger?  What needs attending to first?  Things that are not immediately important get pushed off  the plate until further notice… which means until the deadline approaches.

And the last sentence… oh that one really made my stomach sick.  “I can make time for the stuff and the people in my life that matter – my husband, my kids, my family, my friends.“  Really?  I haven’t flown home to Boston in 5 years.  I rarely see my friends who live out of my immediate geographic radius.  If I can’t see you at basketball, Brownies or whatnot, I’m probably not available.  If you don’t come to me, I’m probably not available.  It’s a sad truth.  I’ve/we’ve made progress.  We have exclusive family time a few weeknights and one weekend day.  We try to get out on that one weekend night to see friends – but that all depends on the sitter schedule and the post-surgery exhaustion schedule.  It’s not easy being my friend.  Except for pizza.  If you hang in there, it’s likely I’ll feed you pizza frequently.

So I guess the honest truth is that I make more time my for my kids and husband and 73 jobs (mom, wife, business owner, blogger, chic-on-crutches who has surgery frequently,  etc.) more than I do my friends.  That’s the sad truth.

Forgive me, my friends.  If I can still call you a friend.

40% off Halloween Costumes & more at Halloween Illusions – Torrance

Before you start scrambling to put together your Halloween costumes, check out this deal from Local Deals for Moms at Halloween Illusions in Torrance.  For only $15, you get $25 to spend on your little goblins!  (They sell lots of adult costumes, too!)

This deal is valid through tonight only!  Click here to get in on the deal!

* This deal is brought to you through my affiliation with Local Deals for Moms. 

First Grade Times Two: Tell Me It Gets Better?

My kids started first grade earlier this month. Since then, we have been dealing with crying fits, insecurity, exhaustion and plain ‘old drama. I am feeling helpless, burnt out and needed. Needed like never before.

Kindergarden at our school was lovely. There really wasn’t much to complain about except the hours. They went to school from 11:20 until 2:45. It was tough to get much done, never mind shower! Beyond that, Kinder was a near-perfect bubble of safety and love for them.

The kids started school with the expectation that first grade would rock! Hanging with old friends while making new friends! New fun! New, new, new!

Yah, well I should remove the exclamation points from those sentences. First grade has been a rough ride for my kids. Especially my girl. She seems to be having a very tough time transitioning to the long hours. She says she misses me so much. Typically, she is very independent and easy going. She says she cries two or three times a day. She misses her old friends, many of whom are not in her class anymore. She only sees them at recess. School is just too long.

Hear that? That was the sound of that pretty shiny bubble popping.

I have talked with her teacher. She says this is normal. She thinks my daughter is very sensitive. Maybe too sensitive. Time should make this better. First grade is a big adjustment.

Change is good. It is certainly necessary. I just hope I get my happy-go-lucky bright shiny lover of bubbles back soon.

I Let My Son Jump Off a Cliff

I let my son jump off a cliff.  I didn’t want to.  I did not want to see him launch himself over a 25-foot high cliff.  He’s only seven.  And even now, it feels wrong.

We visited Yosemite in July.  During our travels, we discovered Rainbow Pool.  It’s a stunningly beautiful place tucked away off the side of a road into the national park.  The kids enjoyed playing around in the water.  Nate?  He couldn’t take his eyes off the falls. He couldn’t stop watching the people jumping off the cliff.  Or riding the falls like a water slide:

I said no.  No. No. No. No.  And hell no.  He’s too young.  Can’t swim well enough.  On our first visit there, I won the battle.  On our second visit to cool off, I made my son and husband SWEAR there would be no JUMPING OFF THE CLIFF.  They agreed.

After playing around for a while, and watching the jumpers, Adam decided Nate was ready.  He said yes.  I was not happy.  Not really.  But I also knew this was an important moment.  Adam was honoring and encouraging Nate’s sense of adventure.  I had to trust in that, while praying that he would be okay.   Adam had a plan.  A fellow dad was in the water, waiting for Nate to jump while Adam was with Nate at the top of the cliff.  Adam and Nate climbed the cliff.  I almost couldn’t watch.  And I couldn’t not watch.  I didn’t videotape because it didn’t feel right.  They stood up there, and walked to the edge.  It took a minute or so, but he did it.  Nate jumped off that cliff.  He stepped of the edge and soared into the water.  I was terrified, and yet incredibly proud.

Sometimes, we just have to let go, so our kids can fly.  And believe me, he flew!

Never Second Guess Your Gut Instinct

We all do it.   We question ourselves.  We think we’re overreacting.  Overprotective.  Crazy, even.  But we’re not.

Should I let him ride his skateboard down that hill?  Well, he has a helmet on.  He’s got his pads on.  He will probably fall.  Maybe he can do it.  I should let him do it and see what happens. 

There is a twitch in our gut that tells us something isn’t quite right.  Maybe it’s a simple thing like skateboarding down a hill.  Maybe it’s something more daunting, like walking home from summer camp alone.  We question that feeling – it’s so fleeting – and yet, so powerful.  Am I right? Am I going overboard?  Am I paranoid?  I’m paranoid, right?

It’s easy to squelch that feeling, especially when we’re busy, or caught up in our own thoughts.  Sometimes I’ve said yes to something my kids have asked for and then two seconds later I snap out of my revery and realize, no I don’t want them to watch Ben 10, again.  The answer becomes no.

This week, Leiby Kletzy, a nine year-old boy,  was kidnapped and murdered by a monster  a man named Levi Aron.  Leiby was walking home alone from summer camp through his tight-knit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.  This was the first time Leiby had walked alone in the city by himself.  This is where the gut instinct comes in.

Leiby’s parents walked the route from summer camp with him.  He had a specific meeting point where he was to join his mom.  It was a short walk through a safe neighborhood.  The Kletzy parents did everything right.  Leiby did everything as instructed.  But he got lost.  Or confused.  And this is where the best laid plans went wrong.  He met a real-life monster, Levi Aron, who took advantage of the situation.

I can’t stop thinking about the horror and fear that this boy must have felt in his last hours.  And, his parents.  How they must hurt.

I pray for Leiby.  I pray for his parents.  I will remember this lesson.  I hope you will too:

Never second guess your gut instinct.  If you need to rehearse a walk home from camp, it’s probably not the right thing to do.  You can make a perfect plan in a safe neighborhood, and there are still monsters along the way.

It’s our job to remember that there are real-life monsters – pedophiles, murderers.  There are no borders that keep these evil and sick people away from our children.  We are the border.

 

Motherhood is fast and fleeting… some days/Advice for new Moms of Twins

Our twins turned seven on Saturday.  This picture of them snuggling together, poorly wrapped by this inexperienced mom, was taken on the day they came home from the hospital.  They seemed so fragile at that time.  Nate weighed 4.8 pounds and Ryann was 5.3 pounds.  They were teensy, but healthy.

We had a night nanny for a few nights when they first came home so I could get some sleep.  Adam had to sleep as he was working on a crazy busy show at that time.  When she left, I was so scared to be across the hallway from them.  It felt too far away.  I slept on their floor just to listen to their breathing on many a night.

The days after they were born, at first, were a hazy blur of diaper changes, sleep deprivation and many photo opps that were shared with our families.

That changed when Adam had the opportunity to take some time off.  He asked me if I wanted to take the babies and go across the country in our motor home.  If not, he’d go back to work.  Hell yes, I said! I was so thrilled with the idea of getting out of the house and spending time with Adam and the kids and our two dogs.  It was a perfect trip, really.  Every where we went, people fawned over us and the babies.  No one could believe that we actually took to the road with two tiny infants.  In so many ways, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.  Thankfully, our pediatrician, the amazing Dr. Vivian Liu, okayed our trip and gave us her blessing.  And, best of all, Adam had the time and the opportunity to bond with the babies like I did.  He’s an awesome dad, and an amazing husband.

One of the first stops on our trip was Bryce Canyon, Nevada.  It was exceedingly hot, but dramatically beautiful.  Look how great my husband is – he’s hiding my post-baby-belly with his body for this photo!

It’s funny – I look back at these pictures and think – I was beautiful.  And obviously happy.  So happy.  What more could a woman ask for?

We traveled to Indiana, to visit with Adam’s family.

It was incredibly special to be able to drive our newborn babies to our family – 2,000 miles across country!  From Indiana, we drove to Charleston, South Carolina, to visit my Dad, a.k.a. “Boston John.”

Being in our motor home with the babies and dogs was incredibly comforting.  To this day,  I treasure the trips we take in the motor home.  I love being able to hear everyone breathing at night.  I love listening to Ryann talk in her sleep and giggle at silly dreams.  I love listening to Marley Moose Goldberg snore.  Here she is watching over her babies during an afternoon nap…

On the way home we stopped at Graceland.  These kids were well-travelled by the time they hit 12 weeks!

The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.  I’m so glad we did it.  I hated coming home.  I dreaded being alone with the babies, and missing my guy.

I survived the long tedious days when we came home….and often, it was a joy taking care of them!

What is the point of this blog?  It’s this:

1.)  Take time to go out and have fun when your babies are young.  Go travel.  Go out to dinner.  Your kids will never be better behaved than they are when they are infants.  Enjoy it!

2.)  Know that you are not alone.  You will have dark and long days by yourself.  Reach out to mothers of multiples organizations like Beach Cities Parents of Multiples Association.  You will not regret it!

3.) Remember this:  these days really are fast and fleeting.  I cannot believe my little beach babies are 7.  You will survive.  You can thrive.  It’s a choice.

How did you survive the early days with your multiples?  Do you have advice to share?

 

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