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And Here's Another One

Thursday, March 30, 2006
My friend Dorianne has the baby bug, too. I wrote the foreward to her new book, Baby is a Four Letter Word. (Dorianne is kind of like the Starbucks world's Erma Bombeck -- or the Sarah Jessica Parker of the Tim Horton's world. Take your pick. She's funny and not pretentious at all, even though she is gorgeous and talented. Maybe she is humble because she was once dissed by Colin Firth while she was on assignment in London, UK. Colin: your loss.

BTW -- If you read the foreward to Dorianne's book, you'll find out that Dorianne and I met in a coffee shop. One in this chain in BC. Maybe Kim remembers which one.

| posted by Ann D @ 3:36 PM

In The Family Way

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
It's amazing how many of my friends are in "the baby business" in one way or another. Here are some tips from my friend Kim Mallory (a Vancouver photographer who does gorgeous mother-baby photography, amongst other things) on how to prepare for baby's first photo shoot. And in this blog post, another one of my friends, Tracey Ruiz, shares some slice-of-life reflections from her life as a doula.

| posted by Ann D @ 4:46 PM

Better Than Coffee

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Nothing like wandering out on to the Web and diving back into the blogosphere to find nice things being said about your books by Andrea Gordon, Dani, and Marla. (I hate to sound pathetic, but these are the moments that make the really dark days as a writer worthwhile.)

| posted by Ann D @ 8:13 PM

She's Funny That Way

So Shelley wants us to out the funny gal in our life -- the one who makes us laugh out loud in front of our computer screen or double over laughing while we're strolling down the sidewalk or shopping at Winners.

The funniest gal I have met in a long time is a blogger you may know.

She

  • has a sweet faced, sweet-potato lovin' daughter;

  • is head-over-heels in love with a guy who isn't merely a hopeless romantic: he's also a damned good sport;

  • does the most outrageous things, like throwing herself against bakery windows;

  • says totally wacked things to make you laugh when you really shouldn't be laughing (like once when I was speaking in front of a group, she put up her hand and asked, "Who is that little man behind the curtain?"); and

  • if you ever get her to consult on a book of yours, you will live to read her outrageous margin notes and comments.


She's good for the soul.

And the funny thing about Marla is that some of the funniest things she blogs about end up making you cry. Funny how that works.

| posted by Ann D @ 7:35 PM

Postcard from Planet Baby

Friday, March 24, 2006
I have been having the most amazing week, hanging out with my sister, her husband, and their new baby. It has been such a privilege to have the opportunity to see the baby changing day by day and -- even more fascinating -- to watch my sister's confidence in her mothering abilities begin to emerge. The more she learns about her baby and the more she tests her theories of what her baby wants and needs at any given time, the more she feels confident that she is uniquely qualified and capable of being a mother to her baby.

My eight-year-old is with me for the week. He's been busy entertaining my sister's dog (to minimize "sibling adjustment"), helping me with cooking and laundry, and making presents for my sister and her husband ("Dads are always forgotten" he tells me). He's been doing inventory of the baby's gifts ("six pairs of shoes!") and reducing inventory of my sister's supply of cookies and cereal bars. He's having a great time and I think we've only broken one dish since we arrived. It's been a great week.

We're starting to pack up for the trip home. I have 2000 emails to catch up on and a whole lot of work to do when I get home, but sometimes you have to take a timeout from life in order to pay attention to what's really important in the life of your family. Babies are only four weeks old once and a mother needs support when she needs support. It's that simple.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:28 AM

What I Did During the March Break

Sunday, March 19, 2006
We took the kids away for a couple of days to enjoy a mini-vacation. (Okay, a mini-vacation interrupted by my going to the Wiley offices to sign 200 books for the Sleep book panel members, plus a bunch more for giveaways, but that's my idea of fun, so whatever. We all have our own, twisted ideas of fun.)

Anyway, we were staying at this medium-prized hotel (when you've got a large family and you need two rooms every night, you tend not to stay at the super-posh places). On Friday night, Neil decided to catch a movie with our oldest, so I stayed back at the hotel with the three boys. Around 11 pm, a really nasty domestic fight broke out in the hall, with one guy threatening to kill another guy. (It sounded like a really bad episode of C.O.P.S. going down, except the only thing between the very angry guys and the woman they were saying not-very-nice things about was a hotel room door and the door hardware I suddenly didn't have all that much faith in. I wasn't sure if they had weapons -- it sounded like they had weapons -- so I told all three boys to get away from the door and to stay on the side of the wall behind the bathtub because the ceramic tiles would protect them. (On closer inspection, I realized it was a fiberglass tub surround. I will have to do some investigating to find out how well tub surrounds stop bullets. I'm not thinking I'm going to be overly impressed.) Anyway, I called the front desk and they apologized for the inconvenience and advised me to keep the kids in the room. A while later, the police showed up and took "the bad guy" away and let the other people go to Tim Horton's. (I told you this was made for TV.) The whole thing was over by the time Neil and our oldest got back from the movie. Luckily, the eight-year-old (who was initially very scared) wasn't too traumatized by the experience. He just wanted to be sure that the police took the bad guy away. I assured him that the police wouldn't let bad people go to Tim Horton's.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:48 PM

T.O. Mama to the Rescue!

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Every woman has experienced the hell that comes from not being able to find the lip balm at the bottom of her purse because there's too much stuff between you and it. Well, my days of getting stabbed by a pen en route to the Burt's Bees' Honey Lip Balm are behind me now, girls, because my fairy godmother T.O. Mama felt my purse pain and sent me Purse Brite -- a purse organizer that comes complete with its own remote control. (Back away, guys!) I am going to see if they have an office-sized version that I could wrap around my office. Back soon.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:01 PM

Club Mom Wants YOU, Mommy Blogger

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
And they're willing to pay decent money, if they end up hiring you for one of their mom blogging positions.

(As you may recall, I'm one of the site's (so-called) parenting experts, so I just got this in my in-box. They've invited me to apply, but I thought I'd throw this opportunity out to all the rest of you. I'm not sure I have time to apply for this, even though it sounds like a really cool opportunity. Anyway, here's the scoop from ClubMom headquarters:

If you are unfamiliar with ClubMom, it is the website where millions of moms go for real-mom information, mom-to-mom connections, and rewards. We are impressed with your blog and would like to share some exciting opportunities we have available for bloggers.

We are inviting you to apply for any of the opportunities summarized below. Furthermore, we would be most appreciative if you would blog about these opportunities, spread the word to your network, and generally help us find the best Moms possible to fill these roles.

We will start out launching a number of topical blogs on ClubMom. Initially, we're aiming to have ten blogs but that number can change based on the quality of the applications that we receive. We are looking for diverse voices on diverse topics including blogs on pregnancy, homeschooling, single moms, starting a new diet, celebrity gossip, family finances, running for office, making a difference, and other topics based on your recommendations (additional topics and descriptions are included on the application form). Compensation: $500 per month for each topical blog (5 posts per week will be expected); in addition, 10,000 ClubMom Points per month which can be redeemed for great rewards from the ClubMom Rewards Catalog including gift cards, spa services, movies, etc.; plus performance based bonus.

We will also launch "The Best of Mom Blogs Editorial Round-Up." We are looking for someone to launch this blog who has a great and distinct voice and, hopefully, someone who has already developed a following for her existing blog. This round-up will describe and point to the most interesting and compelling Mom blogs -- in and outside of ClubMom. Compensation: $1,000 per month; in addition, 20,000 ClubMom Points per month; plus performance based bonus

Applications for the above mentioned opportunities are available on this blog and are due by March 30th.

We want to get the word out to millions of moms and plan on promoting the Blogs on ClubMom through a number of channels including placement on the home page including a featured Mom Blogger of the day; links throughout the site and on relevant channel pages; integration into newsletters; a separate Blogger index page; PR initiatives; and much more. Our PR initiatives will be kicked off in April with the goal of making a splash around Mother's Day and beyond.

We encourage you to apply for the opportunities above and to spread the word!

- The ClubMom Team

| posted by Ann D @ 6:38 PM

Operation Healthier You

Monday, March 13, 2006
Anyone want to join me in setting some health goals for themselves? It's not a diet challenge, weight-loss challenge, exercise challenge, or anything competitive. It's all about setting achievable, measurable health goals for yourself and lining up some buddy support. As moms, we often do a great job of being our family's health caretakers, but we neglect our own health along the way.

I've got one buddy on board -- she can "out herself" if she wants to! I'm posting my progress over here. I need to get back on track after being in the book writing insanity zone for too many months and totally neglecting fitness. (I've still got my baby toe in that crazy place, as I continue to make my way through the final chapters of author review (the "speak now or forever hold your peace" stage of reviewing your manuscript), but I'm almost "sprung" and will finally have the opportunity to make myself more of a priority in my own life. (How insane does that sound?) My specific short-term goals are

1. plan meals ahead of time -- as opposed to living a "just in time" mealtime preparation lifestyle (not the healthiest)
2. drink lots of water every day
3. figure out how to fit exercise back into my life in a fun, sustainable way
4. not snack in the evenings.

I'm not going to blog about this over here anymore because I don't want to bore people to death who aren't interested in joining in Operation Healthier You. The rest of this discussion will take place over here.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:41 PM

Trixie Tracker

Sunday, March 12, 2006
And speaking of great inventions, The Trixie Tracker is now available for general release -- great news for parents who are tired of tracking their little ones' sleep patterns on post-it-notes that keep going AWOL in the middle of the night. You can also use this highly versatile tool to track your baby's feeding schedule and other biological habits. It's pretty amazing.

I wrote about The Trixie Tracker in Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler: The Ultimate No-Worry Approach for Each Age and Stage, but because my book was overlength, one of my editors edited the reference out. However, The Trixie Tracker will be one of the items that gets included in the book website that is being designed right now. (I expect it to launch sometime in April.)

| posted by Ann D @ 10:00 PM

Mom Inventors

Saturday, March 11, 2006
Okay, all you amazingly talented moms with fabulous products that you've invented -- products that could benefit from a bit more profile. This sounds like a really great opportunity to me. Check it out. But if you're going to enter this contest, do it fast. The deadline is March 15th.

Mom inventors wanting more info on what's involved in bringing a product to market may also want to check out Mom Inventors and The Mom Inventors Inc. Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating and Selling Hot Products by Tamara Monosoff. The book offers tons of great tips on researching your market, creating your product prototype, protecting your idea, manufacturing your product, and bringing your product to market. What I like about the book is that it features case studies and practical advice from real-life mom inventors. There are also lots of helpful website links and other helpful resources at the back of the book. (If you've ever read any of my books, you'll know that a I'm a resource junkie, so you shouldn' t be too surprised to learn that this is one of the first things I look for when I'm checking out books: do they tell me where to go next in my research?) It's a great book for mom inventors: one that will leave you feeling inspired rather than discouraged.

Note: Canadian moms will have to do additional research about trademark and product safety and labeling issues in the Great White North -- the book is very U.S.-focused -- but if you're a Canadian mom inventor, you will still find this book of value. Read this book to learn the basic lay of the inventor's landscape, and then go searching for Canadian-specific information later on. (You'll find a lot of what you need on the Industry Canada website, but you'll need to visit at least a few other government websites to find out everything you need to know about product safety standards, etc. The Canadian government doesn't like to make things too easy for you. Otherwise you might find the whole process boring....)

| posted by Ann D @ 12:56 PM

Hot Fantasies Over Hot Coffee

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
1. I'll get my in-box down to "zero unread email messages" without cheating and opening a new in-box.

2. My office will be so lacking in clutter that someone will ask me if this is where I actually do my work.

3. Coffee will finally achieve food group status.

4. The doula concept will spread to all areas of life. It will be possible to hire a home office doula to help you survive the "birth" of your business; a cooking doula, to help you to set up your kitchen and teach you some cooking basics; and a relaxation doula, who can teach you the art of unwinding, if that doesn't happen to come naturally to you.

5. Cottage season will magically become 8 months long rather than 4 months long (okay, 4 1/2 months long if you want to get technical). (Only 76 days left until the Friday of the May 24th weekend.)

| posted by Ann D @ 8:31 AM

Food Issues Article

Thursday, March 02, 2006
I am writing an article about real women and weight issues. I'm specifically interested in talking to

1. a new mom who gained extra weight during her pregnancy and who is looking to lose that weight in a healthy way
2. a woman who has had a problem with "stress eating" -- and who has come up some strategies for dealing with stress eating
3. a woman in her 30s/40s who has seen a few pounds creep on recently, and who is trying to tackle those pounds in a healthy way
4. a woman who has always struggled with a weight problem and who can talk about the frustration of being overweight and getting on and off "the diet rollercoaster"
5. a woman who is a binge eater or who has had a previous struggle with an eating disorder and who can talk about what kind of things can act as triggers when you struggle with food issues.

Please email me (use "food issues article" as your subject line) at ann@having-a-baby.com if you fit one of these profiles, you're Canadian, and you'd be willing to talk to me about your experiences.

Thanks,
Ann

| posted by Ann D @ 6:06 PM