Friday, July 1, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bittersweet Vacation

Bittersweet is the only way to describe the past weekend. My husband and I took our first vacation without Baby Crawfish to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary.

When I booked the trip to the Marriott Grand Hotel, I had envisioned sleeping late, room service and lounging by the pool with Customer Service by Peter Shankman accompanied by a drink with an umbrella in it. It was the perfect not too close to home but not far enough from Baby Crawfish location.

While I did get the drink with the umbrella and I did read the book, which was great by the way, I did not get the rest of the vision.

It started off by the fact that it took me two days to just pack her! I was so afraid to forget something that she would need that it was an exhausting process. The morning that we left for the trip, hubby and I threw our bags together and ran out of the door. While Baby Crawfish had perfectly matched outfits for her weekend, mommy on the other hand did not. We are talking navy yacht club logo flip flops with a black dress to dinner, oh well.

For the three hour or so ride from New Orleans to Point Clear the topic of conversation was nothing but Baby Crawfish. I am really not sure what we talked about before she was born.

The Grand Hotel is absolutely beautiful, (review of the hotel to come in a later post this week) and just what we needed.

I learned, what many parents before me have learned, you are now trained to be on your child’s schedule. At 6:30AM when hubby and I were wide awake wishing we were still sleeping I knew my vision of sleeping through breakfast was shot. I camped out in the bed and refused to get out before 9AM, strictly on principle.

By the time the last day rolled around I hoped out of the bed at 6:30AM threw the bags together, just as I did when we were packing them in the first place, and convinced hubby that it was time to go home. I just needed to get home to my Baby Crawfish.

Over all the trip was wonderful, hubby and I really enjoyed all the resort had to offer and the uninterrupted conversation. This weekend has shed a light on a new perspective to vacation. You can take the mommy out of the city but you can’t take the mommy out of the girl!

To make it worse, when we got back Baby Crawfish had gotten two teeth in our absence! My first words were, “We are never leaving again.”

Lesson: It is good to get away and be a couple and it is VERY ok to miss your baby terribly!

I will miss her just as much on our next parents’ only vacation! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Get your entries in!


Just a reminder that all entries for the Ringling Brothers Circus ticket give-a-way must be in by Monday, June 13 by 5PM. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Use Marketing Powers for Good Not Evil: A Happy Ending

This is an old post that was very popular, that I am reposting with an update. The couple who were fundraising have been blessed with a child! Check out her blog post with the story of how it happened.

Originial Post:
Mommyhood is an amazing and exhausting experience. I wish that everyone, who wants to, could be blessed with the experience. It breaks my hurt to think of a childless mother.

A Facebook friend I went to college with posted on her wall to buy Burpies for Babies. As a mommy who loves to check out baby gear, I clicked the link and was surprised at what I found.

The link goes to a couples blog which details their path to become parents through adoption. Burpies for Babies is a way that they are raising funds to help pay the costs for an adoption.

For just $10 you can get a handmade (and very cute) burp cloth to help this couple from Shreveport, Louisiana. I don't know this couple but hope you can join me in helping them to achieve the most rewarding job of being a parent.

Check out their
blog for more of their story and to purchase a Burpie for Babies. Also like them on Facebook.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Magic Ball


So Vtech invented the Move and Crawl Ball or as it is known in my circle of moms, The Magic Ball. They are doing a terrible job of marketing it so I wanted to throw them a bone.

The Magic Ball has taught many babies, including Baby Crawfish, how to sit up within days of purchasing. I know it sounds crazy. If your child is around the time where they should be learning how to sit up or are trying and just have not gotten it yet…get the Magic Ball.

The Magic Ball is the perfect height to get them that little bit of steadiness and confidence that the child needs to figure out how the sitting up thing works. Once they get the idea, they are good to go.

The ball also rolls around by itself so now that Baby Crawfish crawls, it moves around and she chases it giggling away. There is something about it rolling by itself that she finds hysterical and fascinating.

For just $14.99 at Babies R Us, you can get a Magic Ball that sings, counts, makes animal noises, teaches shapes, rolls, lights up and has taggies. The packaging says promotes sitting, but I have been amazed at the results.

I make a motion to change the name of the Move and Crawl Ball to the Magic Ball. Any one second?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Give- A-Way: A Family Night Out for The Greatest Show on Earth


What:
Watch out NOLA, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is rolling into town! Crawfish Tales will award two winners with a Family Pack of 4 tickets to the show time of your choice!

BARNUM 200 SM, a new jumbo-sized, un-miss-able event celebrating The Biggest Bash in Circus History will be at the New Orleans Arena for seven performances Thursday, June 16 - Sunday, June 19.
From the moment that you arrive, the momentum explodes as The Greatest Show On Earth® comes to life in a way that can only be inspired by the greatest showman who ever lived.  At BARNUM 200, the funtastic and funbelieveable experience answers “What wonders create The Greatest Show On Earth?”

How To Enter:
To enter, comment on this post and tell me your favorite part of the circus. Is it the elephants, the clowns, the acrobats, the cotton candy?

Tweet or post a link to this give-a-way on Facebook for an additional entry. 

The Circus Experience:
To kick off the The Ringling Bros. experience, a free and open to the public event, the Crescent City Summer Celebration Parade, will be held on June 15 at 11AM at the intersection of Girod Street and Loyola Avenue.

The circus animals will be on parade lead by Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, along with the show’s clowns and dancers. Guests will also have a chance to win free tickets by catching some of Ringling’s exciting throws!

The parade will begin at the New Orleans Arena and go down Girod Street, left on Baronne Street, up Poydras and conclude on Loyola Avenue. As the parade comes to the end, a “watering” event will be held on Loyola Avenue where spectators will have a chance to see how Ringling keeps its largest and most pampered animals cool in the summer heat.

Bonus: If you have not made plans for Father’s Day. Dad will get in FREE to the circus on June 19th performances, 1:00 and 5:00PM, code FATHER at the box office.

Deadline: 
All entries must be submitted by June 13. The winner's name will be posted on the blog on June 14. The winner has 24 hours to contact me to claim the prize.

Didn’t Win:
Tickets are $90 (Circus Celebrity), $45 (Front Row), $35 (VIP), $25, and $15 for Reserved Seating. Tickets are available at the New Orleans Arena Box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. 

Crawfish Tales Details:
Disclosure – A product was provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the writing of this review; however, opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When does the new car smell wear off?


I call myself a new parent but when does a new parent stop being a new parent?

Baby crawfish is now eight months old. While I feel like I am getting better at this parenting this or she is getting easier, I still feel like there is so much I don’t know.

A few weeks ago the entire Crawfish family had the stomach flu. I am not ashamed to say that I had no idea what I was doing and the idea of the emergency room did pop into my head several times. We never made it to the emergency room, but it felt like I was back at the beginning of this parenting thing helpless and unsure of what to do. I was able to compose myself, think about the situation, think about what Baby Crawfish needed and respond. I didn’t call my mom. I did it myself…as a mom.

With each new stage she reaches I am learning just as she is. Every time I get confident that I have a handle on this, she throws me a curve ball and does something such as stand up in her bed or gag herself sick on her food.

I am not sure that a new parent ever stops being a new parent in the fact that each and every age brings new rules, products, situations, challenges, and exciting times.  So in that case does the new car smell ever really wear off? 

Give-A-Way: Monte's Birthday Party at Hotel Monteleone


Give-A-Way: Monte's Birthday Party at Hotel Monteleone


Winner: Erika Lehmann. Thank you for submitting the most entires! Enjoy Monte's Birthday Party with your daughter!

What:
The Hotel Monteleone's lovable mascot, Monte, is celebrating his birthday! Crawfish Tales has two tickets to give-a-way!

Monte's birthday party will be on June 11 from 10AM-noon at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter.

Monte the Lion is one of the most loved – and most cuddly - members of the Hotel Monteleone family. Children attending the party will have the chance to take pictures with Monte on his birthday and play with his mascot friends including Gumbo from the New Orleans Saints, Hugo from the New Orleans Hornets, Boudreaux from the New Orleans Zephyrs, Riptide from Tulane University and Havoc from Loyola University.

A birthday cupcake making station will sweeten the mood along with food, pictures and games. As a special birthday treat, Monte the Lion will premiere his very own children’s book and will sign copies for all party goers.

Didn't win: 
Tickets for Monte's party can be purchased for $25 online.

There is a bonus: Everyone who purchases a ticket will have the chance to win four tickets to “Shrek the Musical” at the Mahalia Jackson Theater and to meet the characters live. “Shrek the Musical” will be in New Orleans May 31 – June 5.

Crawfish Tales Details:
Disclosure – A product was provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the writing of this review; however, opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Time to go Royal Street Strollin!


Some people are Jazz Festers, some French Quarter Festers, but to each his own. My favorite NOLA event is the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience’s Royal Street Stroll. There is nothing more relaxing then browsing through million dollar jewels, art and antiques at M.S. Rau or visiting the Historic New Orleans Collection with a glass of wine in your hand. Galleries and shops in the 300-900 blocks of Royal Street stay open late to host the strollers.

Get a babysitter and enjoy a night out with an endless glass of wines from around the world. The event is from 5:30 – 8:30PM and covers the 300 – 900 Blocks of Royal Street. Tickets are $75 a person in advance.
The event will feature food samples from Antoine’s, Drago’s, Bourbon House, Cuco’s, GW Fins, NOLA Restaurant and the Pelican Club.

Anchoring the Royal Street Stroll and will be the Hotel Montelone’s Rock the Block. In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the hotel, music by the Bag of Donuts from 5:30 – 8:30 will play in the 200 block of Royal Street in front of the hotel. Republic National Beverage will provide Margueritas, Firefly Vodka and Bacardi Hurricane.

No children are welcome so take advantage of it! Put down the bottles and the diapers and enjoy a night out!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fighting Hunger is a Family Event


I work with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana to lead the fight against hunger in 23 Louisiana Parishes.

Louisiana tops the nation with one in four children ages 0-5 who are at risk for hunger. As a new mom, knowing that 1 in 5 kids under 18 struggle with hunger every day just in my own community is devastating. I can’t even imagine putting Baby Crawfish to bed at night knowing that she is hungry or deciding to buy gas to get to work instead of putting dinner on the table.

Good nutrition has such an important role on a child’s physical, behavioral and mental health. For just $5 you can join the fight.  Second Harvest Food Bank is hosting the second annual Rubber Duck Derby on Sunday, May 22 on Bayou St. John at 3:45PM.

10,000 rubber ducks will race to the finish line to help battle the everyday disaster of hunger in our community.  The derby is a fun day for the family and quite a spectacle to see!

Right now as the price of gas rises and as kids who usually receive free and reduced lunch are getting out of school, additional strains are being placed on families already struggling to meet daily needs.

Those families as well as the families facing the flooding from the Mississippi River will turn to Second Harvest Food Bank. Please help Second Harvest by participating in the Rubber Duck Derby. Ducks can be purchased for just $5 online at www.no-hunger.org.

And the winner is…

And the winner for the Lead in Battling the Stomach Flu goes to…Mommy!


I am so honored to receive this award. There were times when I didn’t think I was going to be able to pull through, but after loads of laundry, nights without sleep and even the cat throwing up…I did it!

First of all, I want to thank my mom. She taught me, by example, how to care for a sick family. No matter how sick mom is she can power through to care for the rest of the family.

I would like to thank my supporting cast including Pedialyte, Gatorade, Pepto Bismol, Clorox, Lysol, and Tide. Without such a great supporting cast I couldn't have risen to the challenge.

WebMd, Google and the 24 hour hotline at Ochsner were my inspiration for this role. The information that you shared with me was invaluable and armed me with the resources to get the job done.

Lastly, I want to thank my fans Hubby and Baby Crawfish. This was a challenging role but was great experience in helping me to prepare for the next.

(Elevator music begins)
(Exit stage left)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First Time For Everything

Since I first found out I was pregnant it has been a snowball of firsts. First time hearing the heartbeat, first ultrasound and first birth and now we are on to Baby Crawfish’s first tooth, first crawl and first time pulling up in her crib. This past weekend was my first Mother’s Day.

Of course Hubby did a wonderful job making it special but for me it was a strange day filled with emotion. There has always been the marketing push of get your mom flowers or card for Mother’s Day and honestly I have never thought twice about it. I always got my mom a present and showed up for the family function.

Now that I am a mom it was a day that really made me think about my responsibility as a parent. My mother-in-law gave be the Jose Balli Mother's Heart Hollow Pendant to commemorate my first Mother’s Day. The pendent is covered with images representing the roles that a mother plays.  A safety pin as a caregiver, chef's hat as a cook, taxi as a chauffeur, band-aid as a nurse, apple as a teacher, and a mop as a housekeeper. The back of the charm "Thanks Mom for everything". It was amazing how this one little charm summarized my emotions.

Mother’s Day highlighted for me the role that I have in Baby Crawfish’s life and that I accepted, with enthusiasm, such an important job.

There are so many things about my mom that I remember from my childhood and so many things that I want Baby Crawfish to have, do, see, experience, and learn. It is a huge responsibility to be able to shape someone’s life the way a mother can. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Of course I knew this but for some reason Mother’s Day made that connection for me on a deeper level.

I always thought Mother’s Day was about thanking mom for everything she did for me. But on my first Mother’s Day, I found myself reflecting on how important it is to be a mom. It is a job that I am proud to have and even though some days are more challenging than others, it is a job I will never give up on.
Happy Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Marketing insights into the journey of motherhood

By Lori Luechtefeld
If you want to connect with moms, you must understand what drives their activities in the mobile and social spheres. Consider the marketing implications revealed by BabyCenter's Tina Sharkey as she takes a look at the daily life of the modern mom.

When a woman becomes a mom, her daily schedule dramatically changes. She has less time for consuming media. Thus, marketers who want to reach this valued demographic must understand what drives a mom at every stage of her journey through motherhood.

During her keynote address at this week's iMoms iMedia Summit, Tina Sharkey, chairman and global president of BabyCenter LLC, shared insights into the daily life of the modern mom, including her increasing dependency on mobile and what drives her in the social sphere.

The motherhood journey beginsA new mom is born every seven seconds, Sharkey pointed out. And when a woman becomes a mom, she takes on many new roles -- all of which are relevant to how marketers interact with her. Consider these roles:
Dr. Moms: As Sharkey pointed out, 15 minutes with a doctor is not enough for a mom. Thus, given that nearly all moms are managing the health and well-being of their households, 84 percent say they use the web to learn about children's health, and nearly the same percentage say they would go online for a second opinion.
Mealtime moms: About 85 of moms do most of the mealtime preparation in their households. Thus, most are using the internet to look up kid-friendly food recipes.
Green moms: New moms are looking to protect more than just the polar bears, Sharkey said. Their No. 1 reason for making environmentally conscious decisions is the well-being of their children. More than 90 percent of moms say their concern for their children inspires them to be eco-friendly, and nine out of 10 moms buy green products at least sometimes.
Gadget moms: Moms want tools, not toys. About 55 percent say that simplicity, multi-use, and convenience are their priorities when purchasing new technology and electronics -- not feature richness.
What does this mean for marketers?
Sharkey noted:
  • Motherhood is a profound transformation. Life transitions open up customers to marketing messages.
  • A mom becomes a new kind of consumer. The decisions she makes when she becomes a mom influence her brand choices for years.
  • Her time matters more when she becomes a mom. Thus, be engaging and stand out.
How social plays into the mixSocial media is mass media for all moms, Sharkey said. And when a woman becomes a mother, she goes about creating new social circles. That said, a small percentage of moms do the vast majority of the sharing via social media. So who is it that brands want to reach? Consider these three groups of influencers:
Field experts: These expert influencers are passionate on very specific mom-centric topics. They draw on their personal opinions and are driven to share because they've faced certain challenges as mothers.
Lifecasters: These women are living in public and will tell you everything about anything. They are always connected, and although they don't take deep dives into any one topic, you never know when they'll throw out a useful piece of advice. They love to share, and that includes bargains and deals.
Pros: These are the mom bloggers who have turned their passion into a profession. They take social media seriously, and they tend to build vast Twitter networks as a means of distributing their information.
What does this mean for marketers?
Sharkey noted:
  • Mindset matters. Marketers should build social strategies around inflection points at which consumers are seeking new relationships and information.
  • Context frames the conversation. Moms use different social sites to fulfill different needs.
  • The 80/20 rule applies. About 18 percent of social moms wield 78 percent of the influence.
How mobile supports a mom's new roleMoms are more mobile than the rest of us, Sharkey said. About 53 percent of moms purchased a smartphone as a result of becoming a mom, and their phones serve many purposes. They are a helping hand, serving as a means of entertaining kids when moms need a few moments. They connect moms with the information they need to make decisions for their families. They serve as a source of relaxation as well; apps such as Facebook and Angry Birds become guilty pleasures for moms. And unlike other consumer groups, many moms are happy to engage with mobile ads when they offer value -- particularly in the form of coupons.
What does this mean for marketers?
Sharkey noted:
  • Mobile gives moms super powers. They feel empowered, connected, and more confident.
  • No social strategy is complete without mobile. Moms are using social via mobile to achieve different goals throughout their days.
  • Mobile creates limitless new ways to engage. This includes new ways to learn, share, and act -- not to mention connect with brands.
Lori Luechtefeld is senior editor of iMedia Connection.
On Twitter? Follow Luechtefeld at @loriluechtefeld. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet, and stay up to date on happenings at this week's iMoms summit through the hashtag #iMediaSummit.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bottles Up!

So Brett Anderson at the Times Picayune has red beans and Tom Fitzmorris has stars, but Crawfish Tales has bottles!

As one of the most popular posts so far on Crawfish Tales, Are You or Aren't You, has prompted me to keep a log of the most baby friendly places in the Greater New Orleans area. Tell me where are your favorite places and why, or who needs a little improvement to make baby the most comfortable there.

Rankings will be listed by bottles, four bottles is the top score meaning that the welcome mat is out for baby. Let's give credit where credit is due.

When you are out and about check out the place. Is there a kids menu, highchairs, a changing table, can you fit a stroller through the aisles, what is that key element that makes it baby friendly for you.

Email your rankings and comments to crawfishtalesblog@gmail.com.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who is your Mom-Guide?

As a new mom you know nothing. You don’t have the experience or knowledge to know what is wrong with your child. Baby Crawfish is seven months old. I can’t believe it. It is flying by!  I feel like I am getting a handle on this mommy thing. Either I am getting better at it or she is getting easier…probably a little of both.

I could not have made it to this point without the help of my Mom-Guide. The person who you call to find out if poop is supposed to be that color and for a pep talk when you have not slept in two days is your Mom-Guide. Your Mom-Guide is one of the most important people who helps you during your pregnancy and helps to form you as a mom.

Your Mom-Guide has blazed the trails of mommy hood before you and is a wealth of knowledge. Of course your own mom is a resource but not like your Mom-Guide who is up-to-date on the latest products, baby rules and will tell you that not every day of pregnancy is blissful.

I found out this weekend that I know more than I think I do. I have become a Mom-Guide to those behind me on the mommy hood path. I was helping a newly pregnant cousin cope with morning sickness and had flash backs to my good friend helping me through the same thing.

 I remembered how important my Mom-Guide was to me and that is was my duty to pass on the role of Mom-Guide. It was a major milestone in my mommy career.

Take a moment today to thank your Mom-Guide!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Battling The Diaper Need

Can you imagine not being able to go to work because you can’t afford to buy diapers to send your child to nursery school? Can you imagine cleaning used diapers because you can’t afford new diapers?

1 in 3 American moms struggle with diaper need. Of course this tears at a mother’s heart but the baby also suffers. If mom can’t provide a new clean diaper this means that baby is kept in wet, dirty diapers for extended period. Through research Huggies has found that as a result, these babies are more likely to experience signs of irritation and discomfort, cry more, and suffer from worse diaper rash.

“Imagine everything it takes to be a mom. Now imagine it without diapers,” Huggies.

The Huggies Every Little Bottom campaign which is designed to combat the diaper need has donated over 22.5 million diapers so far. With the average infant using 6-10 diapers a day totaling about $75 a month this is a strain on families especially now as gas prices are soaring and food prices are rising.

At the recent Mom 2.0 Summit held in New Orleans, Huggies was on the ground informing moms about the program. Moms that retweeted about the Huggies Every Little Bottom campaign helped to donated over 3,000 diapers to babies in need in the New Orleans area through Second Harvest Food Bank.  

Please join them by supporting the Huggies Every Little Bottom campaign. Learn more about the program or donate diapers. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Use Marketing Powers for Good Not Evil

This is an old post that was very popular, that I am reposting with an update. The couple who were fundraising have been blessed with a child! Check out her blog post with the story of how it happened.

Originial Post:
Mommyhood is an amazing and exhausting experience. I wish that everyone, who wants to, could be blessed with the experience. It breaks my hurt to think of a childless mother.

A Facebook friend I went to college with posted on her wall to buy Burpies for Babies. As a mommy who loves to check out baby gear, I clicked the link and was surprised at what I found.

The link goes to a couples blog which details their path to become parents through adoption. Burpies for Babies is a way that they are raising funds to help pay the costs for an adoption.

For just $10 you can get a handmade (and very cute) burp cloth to help this couple from Shreveport, Louisiana. I don't know this couple but hope you can join me in helping them to achieve the most rewarding job of being a parent.

Check out their blog for more of their story and to purchase a Burpie for Babies. Also like them on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby Book as a Travel Guide


As a baby gift, I received the New Orleans baby book by Lil Squirts. The book was done by a local company to highlight a baby’s firsts, New Orleans style. The pages include first trip to the Audubon Zoo, French Quarter Fest, Mardi Gras, City Park, Café du Monde and even my first evacuation.

 Hubby and I are having way more fun completing the pages than Baby Crawfish is I am sure. We are experiencing the city as tourists in our own town. We are making our way through the pages and doing some things for the first time ourselves. We have taken her to the lakefront, the Audubon Zoo, Oak Alley Plantation, Southern Yacht Club, LSU, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Racetrack and she is only 6 months old.  I am sure when she is older we’ll have to do it all over again so she can actually remember.

Almost every weekend we are doing something new and completing a new page. We are having fun experiencing things as a family. As parents we are working out the kinks in getting around with a baby. At Oak Alley we fed Baby Crawfish just before the mansion tour began. Our thought was that she would be full and quiet on the tour. In reality it gave her a full belly and when the Baby Bjorn is tight around her belly it turns in to spit up. Normally this would be no issue, but around 200+ year old antiques…nightmare. I was so worried the whole tour but lesson learned.
photo by Hubby

This past weekend we went to the Audubon Zoo. Both Hubby and I have so many great memories there from our childhood so we became members. The membership gives us unlimited visits to the zoo each year so we can go for an hour or a day. Baby Crawfish got to feed a giraffe, which we called Sophie (see old post for background, http://bit.ly/g9Fvay). She also made friends with an alligator.
photo by Hubby. No the picture quality is not bad, the alligator just keeps a messy room.

As summer is kicking off I invite you to introduce your baby to her city. Do what the tourists do and go where they go. After all they are getting to experience the best of the city. Be a tourist in your own town.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A prenatal massage that edited motherhood

This came my way via @TomMartin. When I read it all I could do was respond, "wow".

Written by Ashley Bond   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 20:22
A few weeks ago, I sat down on a bench to rest my weary legs.
This was my view.

It was a beautiful day in Telluride, where I spent a week with dear friends and family.
The idea of a ski "vacation" while 5 months pregnant and two kids in tow created a lot of anxiety for me. The dreadful anticipation of a long flight, playing musical beds for 6 nights and being left behind to babysit the kids all day while everyone else skied was reason enough to just stay home with the baby and send my husband and 4yo packing.
But I went anyway. And everything was fine.
Since I couldn't/wouldn't ski, I had to create my own vacation. And for me that meant a chance to be alone, come and go as I please, treat myself to a fabulous cut and highlight and indulge in a 90-minute massage.
So I booked a babysitter for a few hours everyday and took what was mine.
I snapped this picture 10 minutes before I had one of the most powerful experiences of my life as a mother.
I've had at least 50+ massages in my lifetime. It's one of my guilty pleasures. I don't buy expensive shoes (anymore) and I don't shop (anymore). I splurge on babysitting, Thai food and really good massages.
I did my research and found a therapist who seemed to have a good handle on things. Her name was Diana Marshall. Booking a massage without a referral is a risk but I was desperate. My body ached from travel, pregnancy, parenting and general over-exertion.
I also had an uncomfortable tightness on the left side of my belly. My OB said I was fine but I couldn't help worry that there was something wrong with the baby.
So I went in for my massage. I told her what I wanted and in a joking way asked her to use every tool in her toolbox to make me feel better: deep tissue, Thai massage, Prenatal massage and Craniosacral Therapy (whatever the hell that was...but it was on her website and looked pretty good).
She nixed the Thai massage because of pregnancy limitations and went for the deep tissue. Out of the all the massages I've had, this was by far the best one yet.
The last 20 minutes, she asked me if I'd like her to do some Craniosacral work and try to "tune into baby" to see if there was anything baby wanted to tell me.
Ummmm, ooookay?
Her hands cradled my head and with the lightest touch and slightest movements, my mind and body became quiet. It was the most still I had ever been. I felt like I was floating. I had no thoughts. It was peaceful.
Once I settled into the stillness, she moved to the baby. She went strait to my left side where the tightness was, put one hand over it and the other beneath it. She used the same techniques. I never mentioned anything about my left side.
Out of the blue, she asked me if I had been a "cord baby", as in "were you born with the cord wrapped around your neck".
I asked her why she was asking and she said that she had the sense that the baby was holding on to something. That the baby was tense, uncomfortable.
Oh, crap.
I snapped back into reality for a moment and started to worry: Wait a second. Maybe I DON'T want to know what baby has to tell me. What if baby tells me something is wrong? What if baby tells me something is wrong with ME!
But it was too late. I was in. I had to listen to what my body (and baby) had to say.
"No." I said. "To my knowledge, I was not a cord baby."
She continued working.  I felt the baby fall into the same stillness. Diana said that if I'd like to ask the baby if there was anything it wanted me to know, now would be the time.
Oh, god. Weird...but why not.
So I tuned in and sent the message...and the baby sent one right back:
"Let go."
All of a sudden a flood of emotion poured out of me, my eyes drowing in tears. I knew exactly what this message meant.
I just cried.
But then I regrouped. And when I found my stillness again, I did it.
I let go.
Then I felt the baby move. It drifted away from the tightness and floated across my entire belly as if to finally stretch out and relax for the very first time.
This was a sobering moment for me. It was in this moment that I gained a deeper understanding of motherhood. I realized how my own anxieties, fears and insecurities affect not only the little person growing inside of me but the ones growing up right before my eyes. I got it. We're connected.
I let go of a lot that day. And I have since made a conscience effort to be kinder to myself, to let go of unrealistic expectations, to forgive, to enjoy life a little more, to rest. I owe it to myself and I owe it to my children because if I want them to live peaceful and joyous lives, I must do the same.
Afterwards I sat with Diana for a while to process exactly what just happened to me. She talked to me about Craniosacral Therapy, how it works and how it is being used to address not only pre/postnatal issues but also pediatric issues such as colic, chronic ear infections, learning disabilities, behavior problems, autism, attention deficit issues and more.
This was mind-blowing to me.
Craniosacral Therapy was developed by an Osteopathic Physician and biomechanics professor named John E. Upledger. The therapy has to do with releasing restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. You can read all about it at www.upledger.com and I've listed some more resources below.
This type of therapy is used to treat a whole host of issues in adults (headaches, back pain, depression, sinus congestion, TMJ) but what I am most interested in learning more about is how it is used to treat infants (tramatic births, colic, reflux), children (learning disabilities, sleep problems, ausitm, ADHD, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders), pregnant women (stress, past emotional/physical trauma, discomfort) and postpartum women (realignment, muscle rehabilitation, c-section recovery, traumatic delivery).
Unfortunately, there are very few resources here in New Orleans; however, I did manage to locate ONE person who, believe it or not, is actually a leader in the field of Pediatric Craniosacral Therapy. We are playing phone tag at the moment. I hope to connect with her and gather some more information to share with nolaParents so that anyone interested in exploring this alterntative therapy for themselves or their children can do so.
 Check out the article on nolaParent.com.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

If you have a tag line, live your tag line

Everyone knows that pregnant women are crazy but I would say that new moms are crazier. The combination of exhaustion, recovery and uncertainty means that you don’t know your own name much less what to do with a new baby.

So many things have changed since your mom has had a baby. A new mom must rely on their gut and the pediatrician. My pediatrician team at Ochsner Heath System is my navigator to this new baby world. I say team because it is not just the doctor that helps you, the nurses are key.

Ochsner’s tag line Healthcare with Peace of Mind is exactly what I have experience from day one of my pregnancy from the OB’s office to the hospital stay and now on to the pediatrician. The doctors and nurses are outstanding but they are only as good as the company. Ochsner is a company who is living the tag line from the bottom up. This is evident from everyone I have interacted with from the lady who greats you at the elevator in the hospital and on to the person who schedules the appointments for the pediatrician.

On a random day of flooding in New Orleans, Baby Crawfish decided to get sick as a dog. Without power at home and at the doctor’s office. I didn’t know what to do. I was feeling alone and unsure of what to do to help my child as her tears were making my heart hurt. I pulled out my phone and tweeted @OchsnerHealth. Within seconds they responded and reassured me and helped me to secure a doctor’s appointment as soon as the power was restored. In the moment it was all they could do, but it was more than enough to make me happy. Having that appointment was the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew that in a matter of a few hours I would be getting Baby Crawfish the care she needed… Healthcare with Peace of Mind.

I did my homework to find the right pediatrician that was a good personality and parenting fit for Baby Crawfish and I. When finding your pediatrician, make sure to get feedback from friends and family prior to the baby arriving. Meet with the prospect pediatricians and make sure you agree with their stance on vaccines, feeding and care. Take notice of their interaction with you. You want to feel empowered and not belittled as a parent. Also meet the other pediatricians in the office, if your doctor is not in the office or out of town you will need to rely on them.

All pediatricians are not created equal make sure your family is receiving Healthcare with Peace of Mind. Thank you to my Ochsner team for being there for us!


This is not a paid endorsement. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pink Ponies: A Marketing Case Study

I came accross this video a few months again, but wanted to share it because I think it is just fabulous. A a PR girl turned mom it worries me that I will think like this :). An advertising agency applied a marketing plan to a kid's birthday party.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Attention Facebook Shoppers.

Baby clothes are just cute. Buying baby clothes is better than buying clothes for yourself because they are tiny, cheaper and always fit. Unlike shopping for a post baby body which is never fun and always leaves me in a bad mood for sure.

Facebook shops are a virtual craft fair, similar to www.etsy.com. Most are stay at home moms with a sew machine and a crafty eye using it for a part time gig. These shops sell anything from monogrammed bloomers to personalized sippy cups. If you want to get your child’s name on it, there is a Facebook store that has it.  Baby Crawfish won’t have the same outfit as the kid two cribs over at nursery because mommy didn’t get it from the mall.

There are several things that make these shops such a success. First, it is free. There is no fee associated for the seller such as with ebay.com or etsy.com. Second , usually these vendors are in your Facebook network and there is a mutual friend connection so you “know” them.  Next, these shops are set up on a social network so there are “like” functions and the wall feed for a built in promotion system.

There are two styles of Facebook shops. Both use the Facebook picture albums to showcase their merchandise. There is the standard order system where you pick your color, size and design. All of the items, fonts, designs, etc each have their own a picture album for you to browse and create your item. The second is an auction system. These shops announce a time that new inventory will be posted and there are limited quantities. The first set number of people to tag their size and contact information to the Facebook picture wins that item in the auction. 

All transactions are done through Pay Pal keeping it safe and secure for both parties. The items you purchase can be shipped to you for a minimal fee of a dollar or two, or you can pick them up during "pick up hours". 

Even Facebook shops have sales! Every so often an album is posted featuring the discounted merchandise. Weekly giveaways are a must. Most of the shops that I frequent hold a weekly freebie giveaway. All you have to do it comment on the freebie picture of the week and you are entered…simple.

The only thing these shops lack is a frequent buyer program… ;)

My favorite Facebook shops are:

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are you or aren’t you?

Are you kid friendly or not kid friendly? That is the question. There are a few kid friendly criteria your restaurant should meet before targeting families as your customers. Go beyond providing two crayons and a coloring sheet to providing a fully thought through experience for your diner.

 Just because a restaurant has a kids menu does not make it child friendly and the same thing goes for a store selling children’s clothes. Have you thought through you customer experience? Does your restaurant have the appropriate baby gear to meet your customer’s needs? Do you think about the parent’s experience dining with a child?

As a new parent I had not thought of these things as necessities till recently but the restaurants that successfully meet the following needs are my top choices. Here is the recipe:

  •          Call Ahead Waiting. Waiting for an hour and a half before you get to the table is a recipe for disaster for the parents and the fellow diners. Children no matter what the age, have short attention spans, are frequently hungry and almost always tired and cranky. Parents have a small window of time to get in, dine and get the kids home. Help out by offering call ahead waiting. 
  •          Comfortable Tables. I don’t mean cushy seats. I am talking about a table away from the drafty door as little kids are sensitive to the temperature. Also a table not in the walkway. As graceful as people think they are both wait staff and other patrons bump tables and chairs. Let’s not run the risk of someone knocking the baby carrier over or waking a sleeping child.
  •          Secure Seating. I don’t want to just sit the baby carrier on the seat and hope that no one bumps the chair. Two plus a high chair, please. I don’t want just any high chair; I want the baby sling that can accommodate the baby carrier or the high chair that can be flipped over. Both of these options will keep baby safe and secure while mommy and daddy enjoy a nice glass of wine and a tasty dinner.
  •          Kids First. Restaurants that bring the kids meals before the parents’ entrees get brownie points. This is a simple and much appreciated gesture. There are a few key reasons why this is needed. Kids are hungry from when they walk in the door. Keep them calm by keeping them busy…eating. Parents can get the kids fed and then when their meal arrives they can actually enjoy what they ordered without stopping every few seconds to cut up chicken tenders.
  •         A Changing Station. If you have a kids menu, obviously you are expecting kids in your restaurant. Have you provided a place for diapers to be changed? I think this should be a part of operating requirements but anyways. Make sure there is a place to change a baby. Having a pedestal sink and no Koala station is not helpful. Get a counter top before I have the urge to use my table as a changing station.


Making your restaurant kid friendly is easy and is not a budget item. Most of your employees probably have kids. Treat them to dinner on the house and ask them to document their experience. Then send them over to your competitor and see how you rank.

This is so important parents that Open Table has begun giving awards for Top 50 Kid Friendly Restaurants., http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?pid=386

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Without

All parents fear something happening to them and their child growing up without parents. As a new mom, this runs through my mind all the time. This weekend I watched Life As We Know It (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1055292/) and bawled my eyes out when the parents died. It is a parents’ worst fear.

I recently I heard about a five-year-old boy, Trey, who lost both parents. His dad died serving our country and his mother past just a few weeks ago. Trey is now without parents but not without a loving family. His grandfather will now care for and support him.

Trey’s mother, Melissa, graduated from Archbishop Chapelle High School in Metairie as a member of the Class of 2000. After hearing about her passing, classmates immediately rallied to aid her son. Over a dozen girls, some just acquaintances, spearheaded a fundraiser. A car wash was held on Sunday, March 20 to help raise dollars to help the grandfather pay Trey’s school tuition at St. Ann School and costs with raising and supporting him.

After an article ran in the Times Picayune (http://www.nola.com/east-jefferson/index.ssf/2011/03/st_ann_student_is_beneficiary.html), the community response to help Trey not be without was absolutely amazing. I am very proud to be a member of this community who can help a little boy with open arms and open wallets.

Although Trey will be without parents, he is not without a positive road ahead of him. If you would like to help Trey, you can make a donation at any Capital One Bank branch to the Michael Scott Evans III (Trey) Fund.

The car wash not only sent a message to Trey that his community supports him, but enough money was raised to pay his tuition and then some. http://www.wdsu.com/video/27257158/detail.html

Special thank you to Auto Zone and Advanced Auto Parts locations in the Greater New Orleans Area for providing the supplies needed for the car wash. Also,thank you to Eva Barkoff, the Times Picayune, nola.com and WDSU-TV for helping to spread the word. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Research Needed, Just Grab a Stroller

You have spent thousands of dollars trying to market to me. I have seen your print ad, received an email blast or was chatted up on Twitter either way…it worked! I am in your store! You would think that would be the end of the marketing game, that now I am a loyal customer…think again.

No matter how you reach your target audience, if the store experience does not match up you have wasted the dollars spent on the campaign. If your target audience is mommies, please borrow a baby stroller and try to navigate your store!

I have discovered this problem only five months ago when Baby Crawfish joined me in my shopping adventures. I never knew that this problem existed before but as a mommy it is a big problem and very frustrating. When shopping in the children’s department you would think that a mom and baby team would be able to cruise between the racks with ease but this is not the case. If you add to the mix a sleeping baby and hitting the stroller on the racks while trying to navigate, this can only lead to disaster and immediate surrender back to the car to return home.

Marketers spend so much time carefully researching what influences purchase decisions. Not being able to access the products on the rack or make it to the checkout counter is a challenge that is easily fixable. It won’t take thousands of dollars spent on research to experience your store as a mommy, just grab a stroller and go.  I understand that retailers need to maximize their product per square foot but keep your target audience in mind.

It is so hard to get around as a mom. You have to pack enough supplies for what seems like a month, find a parking space big enough to park and be able to get the baby seat out, you have to pull out the stroller, load up the stroller with all the stuff you packed and then once you have crossed those hurdles you can make it into the store. Help your target audience have an enjoyable experience while in your store and then you will create a loyal customer. 


Here is another example on Knowing Thy Audience, http://www.blueacorn.com/blog/ecommerce-business-issues/know-thy-audience-members/

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Job Well Done- Marketing Sophie The Giraffe

If you are a mom to a drooling baby who appears to be getting teeth but there are no factual signs of teeth, then you know everything goes in the mouth. Finding the perfect chew toy that can occupy their hands and mouth at the same time and not be your hair, cell phone, car keys...is quite the challenge.

Baby Crawfish was given Sophie the Giraffe as a baby shower present. At the time that I received her she was just a cute little chew toy that a few mothers recommended to me, I did not know the power or controversy that she possesses.

Baby Crawfish is in LOVE with Sophie. I don't know what makes her magical but she is and it works I am not asking any questions. I am going with it and always have Sophie on hand at all times like I she has trained me to do. The controversy comes in is that Sophie is $25. People, including my mother, gawk at how expensive that is for a chew toy and that it looks like a dog should play with it. Let me share my view... I don't care!! Sophie's magical powers allow Baby Crawfish to be quiet and well behaved just about anywhere we go. If those magical powers cost $25, do you take debit?

Through fantastic celebrity endorsed product placement, Sophie has become a status toy. Parents who don't have her want her for their child because not only does their favorite celebrity baby with a food name have her, but the baby two cribs over at nursery does. This is the start of the child's need for the most popular toy and the cool tennis shoes. Bravo to Sophie's marketing team. Your product placement has led to Sophie being the number one baby toy for 30 years!

The LA Times did a fantastic article on the powers of Sophie, http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-sophie3-2009oct03,0,2251259.story.