November 16, 2010

Silicon Valley Moms Group Acquired By Technorati Media

-5Reports of our demise, as the saying goes, were premature. The Silicon Valley Moms Group of sister sites is taking up residence in a new location. Look for that great timely, opinionated, poignant, and sometimes just plain funny parenting content you're used to seeing on this site over at The Women's Channel at Technorati. After 6 great years of blogging here, we've moved to a new home.


Jill Asher, Beth Blecherman & Tekla Nee

Co-Founders, Silicon Valley Moms Group

June 28, 2010

Whose vacation is it, anyway?

Mappa1 Today was our last full day in Rome.  And if I'd had my way, I would have spent it wandering the narrow medieval streets, popping into boutiques.  Or taking the tram up to the new MAXXI contemporary art museum. 

Instead, I was burped at by a brontosaurus and sneezed on by a mammoth.  Oh, and I spent about $60 for the privilege.  All over the city, the Time Elevator advertises itself.  It's one of those simulated motion rides, all about the history of Rome.   And for the last 4 1/2 weeks, my kids have wanted to do it. 

They have enjoyed many of the other activities that we've done (activities chosen, by and large, by the grown ups).  But they've also put up with countless visits to churches and shoe stores, lots and lots of walking, and numerous "picnics" involving yet another salami sandwich on a bench, because their parents didn't want to pay for another restaurant lunch.  Oh, and they put up with a lot of time in the apartment, away from their friends and toys. 

Continue reading "Whose vacation is it, anyway? " »

June 23, 2010

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok: A SV Moms Group Book Club

Transplanted from Hong Kong to New York City as a (very poor) young girl with her mother, Ah-Kim or Kimberley, struggled to make things better for her family, to learn English, to walk the line between traditional Chinese duties and the Americanized teenager she grew into. Join us today as we discuss the book Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok.

Girl in TranslationHere are what the SV Moms Group contributors ave to say today, all inspired by the book Girl in Translation:

Silicon Valley Moms Blog is hosting the book club discussion this month. Please leave a comment here to join in the discussion.

Past SV Moms Group Book Clubs have included:

Click here to read all about the SV Moms Group Book Club.

June 22, 2010

Reality Bites

Rome 368 We're in Rome, Italy -- three weeks into a five-week stay.  Our three children are all experiencing it quite differently.  Our oldest is soaking up the history and just being here, loving feeling like an "expert" on all things Roman.  Our daughter is seven, and she's enjoying the shopping and gelato.

Our youngest is four, and is having the toughest time.  Not that it's horrible, it's just that he's too young to really appreciate much of what the city has to offer, and frankly, he misses his toys.  On the other hand, he's more interested in speaking Italian than the other kids; he even likes to order for himself in restaurants.  And he is really enjoying learning stories of things that might have taken place here:  gladiators and the Colosseum in particular.

So it's a shame that the cold hard truth keeps getting in the way of his experience here.  During our visit to the Colosseum, we talked up gladiators and fighting.  We happily pointed out where the wild animals were kept, and fantasized about what animals there were.  So naturally, he turned to me -- in all seriousness -- and said "Mommy, can we come back here tomorrow and see the real gladiators fight the real wild animals?"  I don't even want to think about the look on his face when reality rained on his parade, and he found out that he will never see real gladiators fighting real wild animals.

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June 21, 2010

When I Write About My Children

IMG_4167a I've been asked over the years, by non-bloggers mostly, if I ever worry about how much I write about my children on the internet. Or even why I do it at all. There are certainly people that would not take this road, and I understand that.

Five years ago I started my personal blog, in part, as a way to record some of the funny things my older son said and did. It quickly turned into a way for me to document the fun and not so fun parts of parenting him, a child that we were discovering had special needs.

My older son knows that I am a blogger, although I won't even pretend that at seven he really understands what that is. He knows that I write and people read what I write. He knows that some of my words are in a book. I tell him when I write about him, and I show him the pictures that I post of him. Right now he thinks that is "cool" and he even asks sometimes when I'm sitting down at my computer, if I'm writing about him again. If I tell him no, he wants to know why not.  Someday he may not think my writing about him is "cool." And if that time comes and he asks me to stop, I will. If he asks me to remove what I have written about him in the past from the public domain, I will seriously consider that as well.

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June 18, 2010

Savor the Baby

Blog Pictures 001 Every night around 6:45 PM, all heck breaks loose in our home.  There's screaming and hollering, kicking and flailing, and tears, lots and lots of tears. That's because, every night, around 6:45 PM, I start to put my 13 month old daughter to bed.  She's a really active toddler who never seems to get tired, and we haven't quite mastered her falling to sleep on her own yet.  I have to tell you...bedtime is rough.

Tonight was different, though.  Tonight, while my toddler was screaming at the top of her lungs, face red and wet with tears, I looked at her and remembered...she's just a baby. Each day that she wakes up, I never know what to expect from her. I don't know what new words she's going to surprise me with (a few days ago, she said "t.v." and handed me the remote control), or what new feat she will accomplish (she now discards trash in the trashcan on her own!).  Because she grows and develops at the speed of light, and since I can barely remember life before her, it's easy to forget that she's only been here for a very short time, and not only is she Mommy's Baby, but she's a baby baby. Like, for real!

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June 16, 2010

Working to Pay

Money As a non-profit professional who makes a fair wage, I know that I am fortunate to have a job in this economy that I like. And as mom who works outside of the home, I know that I am even more fortunate to have a daycare on-site at my job where I can visit my daughter anytime I want.  Really, it's just a great situation overall.  Well, except for one little thing.  Okay, one big thing.  Paying for daycare is putting me in the poorhouse. 

I didn't realize how much daycare really cost until right before my daughter was born.  There was never a question about where she would attend because I knew I wanted her with me, so I didn't inquire about prices until right before I left for maternity leave.  When I was given a price sheet, and I thought the weekly rates were monthly rates, I thought about giving notice to my job right then!  I knew there was no way that I would be able to pay what they were asking.  Fortunately, my job began offering a 30% discount in the daycare as part of our employee benefits while I was on maternity leave, so I was able to afford the expense. Barely.  Even with the discount, it still takes about a third of my salary to cover the cost. 

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June 15, 2010

Let’s dance


So, my car was in the shop for a month while the mechanic replaced a fuel pump and assorted parts that seem unusually hard to secure given that the car is foreign. And old. I got it back about a week ago, and yesterday I noticed some fluid leaking from the undercarriage. After contorting himself to try and figure out what it was and where it was coming from, my husband declared it oil, leaking from some age-pitted connector tube (I’m sure he called it something else but I’m not going to bother trying to dredge my memory banks for the actual term – see third paragraph for why). The car was born in 1998, by the way.

Last weekend, our computer’s hard drive went down. Irreparably. We carried it into our not-so-local Apple store. “Oh,” said another customer as we walked by the iPad table where he and scads of other people were fiddling around on the testers, “I remember that model.” During our appointment at the Genius Bar, the tech (nice guy, very sympathetic) weathered giving me the information that the drive was done and that there was no way to retrieve any data (i.e., my two completed novels, a manuscript-worth of short stories and poems – most of them not backed up since the last ice age, if ever). “But, you’ll get a fresh new drive under your extended warranty,” he said brightly. “With that – and I’d suggest you bump the memory to help it run faster – you should be able to get another two or three years of good use out of it.” The computer was born in 2008.

 Age-pitted. Slow. Creaky foreign-born parts and irretrievable data. Story of my life. No, really. I was born in 1960, and this week I turn that age my mother taught me to dread. In case I was in danger of forgetting, I got my AARP card in the mail not so very long ago.

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June 14, 2010

Is Inner Drive on your kids map to Success?

Trophy I've been mulling over the story of Abby Sunderland since first hearing she was lost at sea earlier this week. As a mother I am especially relieved to hear she has been rescued and is safe. As a mother I can also imagine the confusing combination of feelings her parents have experienced, not only the last few days, but for the past several months since Abby first set sail. I have no interest in judging the parents. I know that has been done, and will continue to be done. But as I've written before if you don't know the entire story, if you haven't walked that specific journey, perhaps you should withhold judgment. I don't know the entire story and I don't have teenage children. And, while I had a certain level of ambition when I myself was 16, heading off on my own on a journey around the world would never have crossed my mind.

So what is it that motivates a sixteen year old to attempt a solo journey around the world? I can speculate that in Abby's case it was a combination of a passion for sailing, a need for recognition, perhaps a need to best her brother, or maybe just the desire to be the best at what she loves. Abby clearly has an "inner drive" to accomplish something amazing. And that has had me thinking, what drives some children to do the amazing? Why do some children push themselves harder to achieve than others?

Continue reading "Is Inner Drive on your kids map to Success?" »

June 11, 2010

Virtually addicted -- are you and your children at risk?


800px-Children_computing_by_David_Shankbone   "Mom, I'm going to rot my brain" my son says to me, as he settles down at the computer to play a game of Virtual Villagers or takes his Ipod out to watch a video or text a school buddy.

Sometimes he'll put a new strategy up on the chess website he's created -- but more often he's enchanted by the endless moving pictures, choices and sounds of the online world.

Actually, my son is a little old for some the games he plays online. Many of his tween peers are already playing virtual shootfests of mutually assured destruction. He still knows the difference between pixels and reality.

But it's my 15-year-old daughter I'm more concerned about. She has Attention Deficit Disorder, and when she returns from school it is a constant struggle to keep her from talking on the phone while watching television, or messaging a friend while I think she's writing a school paper.


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June 10, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ball Game


By now you may have seen the video of the toddler who appears to be sipping from a beer bottle at a recent Philadelphia Phillies game. It's all over the Internet. While this appears to be the latest in a line of blemishes on already over-scrutinized Philly fans, I, for one, am angered at the way the rest of this country views Philadelphia, and it's fans.

As many videos, tweets, and blog posts erupted with the story of a young boy picking up a beer bottle and putting it to his lips during a Phillies vs. Padres game a few days ago, comments began pouring in in response to the BREWhaha. Many people saying that the bottle was clearly empty; that the boy was obviously not actually drinking beer. Some commenters adding that sneaking an occasional sip of beer while Mom or Dad looks the other way, is a rite of passage for many kids. Or that in many cultures, children begin drinking alcohol, beer,

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June 09, 2010

Look Who's Talking

Out of the bluMom's Camera 101e, my mom asked if she could watch my two boys for a couple of days. Before she finished asking me, I had the kids packed and waiting on the front lawn. I adore my sons, Quincy and James, but the opportunity to be child-free was wonderful. 

While the kids were with Grandma, I luxuriated in my freedom. I went to an art film in the middle of the day. I had a leisurely cappuccino at the local coffeehouse. I got a mani-pedi with a hot stone massage. I also went out to dinner nearly every night with my husband, Kevin.

On our first kid-free night, Kevin and I hosted a party for some of the kids at church and then caught a late dinner. We sat across from each other over a boatload of artfully arranged sushi and all I could think of was sleeping. Kevin kvetched about his day and his coworkers and the overly loud party at the next table. I listened half-heartedly and feigned interest. When I talked, Kevin listened quarter-heartedly and feigned interest less well than I did.

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June 08, 2010

My no wheat, no sugar, no dairy diet

IMG_1969 Around Philly, the spring allergies are wicked. This year was no different. Once the middle of March rolled in and the tree pollen started to spike, my allergies kicked into overdrive, but something odd happened along the way. For three months, my sinuses were so swollen that I couldn't breathe, taste, or smell. I rinsed out my nose, to no avail. I visited my allergist, but the allergy shots didn't help. The doctor prescribed a nasal steroid and antibiotics, neither of which worked. I was starting to feel desperate. Would I ever be "normal" again?

Two weeks ago, I went to see family in New Jersey. During the visit, I learned that one of our family members had changed her diet in order to deal with her arthritis. Her doctor convinced her that she might have food allergies that were manifesting in joint pain. So, she began to eat organic and she avoiding wheat, sugar, and dairy... and it was working! Her joints were no longer in pain. She didn't have to take any more arthritis medicine. Her energy levels had returned.

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June 07, 2010

Horse latitudes, doldrums and dark matter

Moon My daughter plots weather patterns.

No, she doesn't want to grow up to be a meteorologist. It's part of her honors science class, and, throughout this past first year of high school for her, the class has prompted some very interesting changes at home. We've had to watch everything on TV that has to do with volcanic eruptions. And in a freakish sort of coincidence, the earthquake in Chile took place just around the time her class was studying tectonic plates - so she was able to add scientific snippets of information to each newscast in which the disaster figured.

Although the class is not her absolute favorite (that passionate honor is reserved for her history class - but that's a subject for a different post) it is the class that has generated the richest - and perhaps most varied - vein of conversation for us as a family.

My husband is pretty knowledgeable about natural history, so he can hold his own in many of the conversations engendered by the earth and space science curriculum.

Me, not so much.

Continue reading "Horse latitudes, doldrums and dark matter " »

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