Thursday, May 30, 2013

Somebody owes us money.....

And I think it is Disney…….

Marketing has always been a major part of American culture, but over the past two decades retailers have become savvier and realize that the most effective marketing is the marketing targeting children.  I would love to tell you that being aware of this, the Cheney’s are immune to the effects, but that would be a big fat lie.

According to the 2008 YTV Kids and Tweens Report, kids influence:

·         Breakfast choices (97% of the time) and lunch choices (95% of the time).

·         Where to go for casual family meals (98% of the time) (with 34% of kids always having a say on the choice of casual restaurant).

·         Clothing purchases (95% of the time).

·         Software purchases (76% of the time) and computer purchases (60% of the time).

·         Family entertainment choices (98% of the time) and family trips and excursions (94% of the time). [1]



I find it funny to think about how much we are influenced by the choices of our children, but it really is true.  We have traded in fancy restaurants for Red Robin, Panera, or MOD Pizza (our family favorite), vacations MUST have a swimming pool, and even our “style” is kid approved.


The thing I am most amazed by is how a cleverly crafted commercial can launch the next big thing.  As Tinkerbell and Elmo have lost some of their flare in the past few years, Disney decided to launch a re-imagining of Minnie Mouse, they don’t need a “new” character, the old ones are perfectly fine for their purpose. Gwen:  hook.line.and.sinker.  In fact, it is RARE to go a day without some Minnie Mouse influence.



One of Claire’s current interests is Brave.  That one is obvious, easy marketing and a great movie.
Lost tooth plug!


Her other, interest obsession is Winx Club Fairies (sorry Disney, Nickelodeon won this time).  Claire saw one single commercial, and was determined to watch this show.  It targets girls phasing out of the toddler shows, but not quite ready for the shows containing real people.  The only problem we have is that Winx is growing faster than its products.  I hope they have dealt with this issue BEFORE Halloween.  Luckily, we were able to find a couple dolls that we let Claire buy with her chore and tooth fairy money.



Why does Disney owe us?  Well, Disney, we buy A LOT of your products. (I know, that’s the point)  BUT, the very best marketing you have is super cool kids, like ours, walking around head to toe in Disney products.  Our kiddos make their little buddies obsessed with your products, even if they have never seen your show.  Roy Disney, Contact me if you are looking for a place to send our check.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daddy's Girls

This “keeping up on the blog” thing has been a little more difficult than I anticipated.  I have decided that I am a binge blogger.  First step is admitting it, second step is praying that my readers accept or at least deal with it.

It was Saturday, and Bryan needed a couple hours to do yard work.  He usually does this every weekend from Aprilish though September.  The girls and I were inside, they were finishing up breakfast and I was doing some cleaning that I chose to ignore on Friday. 

The girls were getting anxious and impatient with Dad as he was finishing up mowing the lawn, and they could join him outside to “help out”.  Luckily, Bryan embraces these times and assigns the girls tasks while he does the real work.  Fortunately, we have girls that love to get a bit dirty.  I usually stay inside and get some time away from the little blessings, you know, to catch up on the Real Housewives I may have missed that week.

The girls make sure I feel included and bring their treasures to the window to show me.

I took pictures this day specifically so I could write a blog for how thankful I am of the Dad Bryan has become. (Thanks Honey, you amaze me!) By the time they got inside, it took 2 hours longer than expected and I had to give baths to two VERY dirty girls, I was no longer feeling so Bloggy.  I ended up not writing that night.

A couple days later I came across this cute quote:

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys." 
--Harmon Killebrew   

These girls are pretty darn lucky.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Finding Nemo: Part Deux

Since Claire was young, she and Roxy have had a tumultuous relationship.  It hasn’t always been that way, but the BFF status retired back in early of 2008. In her early days (read immobile sleeping days) the two of them used to cuddle and sleep together, it was really precious.  We were thrilled, as we were the nervous doggy parents that didn’t want to “forget” about their “first” born.

I don’t remember the exact date, but both Bryan and I remember the event quite clearly.  Claire had learned to sit up on her own and was comfortable sitting up to where Bryan and I were not in arms reach.  Innocently, Roxy came to cuddle with her BFF.  Her BFF was excited to see Roxy too and unfortunately had recently gained some new control to her hands and grasping abilities.  With one quick lunge Claire successful reached her furry friend and pulled out two great big handfuls of hair.  Roxy yelped and quickly moved away.  They have not been cuddle buddies since the incident.  After a quick gaze through the pics, this appears to be one of their last moments “together”.

 Claire has desperately wanted a pet since the event, and longs for Roxy to not be scared of her.  We have made strides, but Roxy still shakes at the touch of her sis.  Oddly enough, Roxy is not remotely scared of Gwen and the two of them play quite well. 

Claire asked for a kitty for her birthday and Christmas this year.  While wanting to meet her need, neither Bryan or I have any desire to take on another pet, and quite frankly neither are kitty people.  This Valentine’s Day Bryan had a great idea.  He wanted to get the girls (really Claire) their own first pet, a fish. I didn’t have any major objections; they are low maintenance and can stay in the girl’s rooms.

The girls were thrilled upon receiving the fish.  Claire got a red Beta, which she named Goldie, and Gwen got a blue Beta that she creatively named Nemo.  I didn’t have high expectations for the longevity of the fish, but was thrilled at the passing of February that the fish A. were still alive and B. Still were of interest and attention of the girls.

March 19, 2013 may forever change my thought of the girls having their own pets, at least in their early youth.  I was down stairs fixing some dinner and the girls were quietly playing upstairs in their rooms.  Claire comes down and pats the back of my leg and holds out her hand, “I don’t think he’s moving.”  I look down to see Nemos lifeless body in her hands.  WHY on earth is she holding the fish in her hand, and WHY is this fish missing half of its fins?!  Before I could ask such questions, Gwen comes down showing me the barely moving Goldie in her hands, “Its Goldie!”  She is so proud to show me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures to show.  I was too grossed out and only wanted to get the fish out of the way and clean the fin parts off their arms.  Apparently, they wanted to play with the fish, and apparently it was bad idea.

When Bryan got home we told him the sad news, and he went up to grab the bowls out of the girls rooms and officially put away the tanks.  I hear a BIG sigh, “Claire, will you come here.” *serious tone* Ut-Oh!  This doesn’t sound good.  *saucer eyes* Bryan presented her with two combs he found “hidden” in her room.  Each contained the remnants of poor Goldie and Nemo.  Claire confessed that they were only trying to brush their hair.  She wanted to make their fish pretty.

A hard lesson was learned today for both Claire and us.  I don’t think Claire will ever again play Beauty parlor with a fish and Mom and Dad will confidently wait on that kitty. Gwen, she’s still trying to Find Nemo.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Star is Born

I really wanted to watch the Oscars this year and watch it without too many interruptions.  This is not an easy task.  I am perfectly fine with pulling the winners list online after the show, or watching any missed acceptance speeches online.  That being said, I LOVE the Red Carpet.  I love seeing the stars arrive. I love seeing what couples are together and which ones appear to be on "rocky" grounds (awful, I know). And I love oogling over their perfect make-up, hair and attire.

I needed an action plan to be able to watch this peacefully.  I first talked up the awards show to the girls; I explained that this was the Olympics for the Movie Stars.  We then made popcorn and prepared fancy drinks (apple cider in flutes) for the occasion. They were ready.  Gwen sat and devoured the goodies and Claire ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the princess dresses with me.  She is still upset that she never got to see Gabby Douglas dressed up like a princess (guess she took my Olympic metaphor a bit too literal) but enjoyed watching the girly event.

This was our favorite (it HAD to have a full princess bottom):

I really try to let the girls dress themselves.  This is a little hard as I think most parents love to have the children "present" well.  That being said we already control just about every aspect of their lives, so I feel this is a great area to let go just a little and let them express themselves.  And really, we are the ones buys the clothes, so how bad can they really mess up selecting their choices and piecing the items together.
Today at school is movie day.  Claire has been talking about this for a couple weeks; this event has been highly anticipated in the Cheney household.  Apparently, they take the kids to a pretend movie theater where they get to watch a movie, eat pop corn, and drink juice boxes. Claire woke up SO excited for her big day.  She informed me that she HAD to dress like a Movie Star for the occasion, and that Movie Stars dressed like princesses. Gwen, of course, followed suit.  I tried to put "normal" clothes on her and recieved a sharp, "NO, I Movie Star, too!"
I made sure to snap a picture of the final product.  I am thankful this blog "forces" me to bring out the camera, I usually don't snap these "little" things.  Here are the girls, VERY proud of their Movie Star looks.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bright Twirling Dresses

I have always read blogs: mom blogs, money blogs, self help blogs, nutrition/exercise blogs, travel get the idea.  If you have something of interest to say, I am willing to listen.  Every once in a while a blogger even moves me enough to take some form of action in my life.  This happened to me a few days ago.

One of my girls friends shared a blog called "Dear Mom on the iPhone" that really got to me.  The entry (included in the link) spoke about us moms going to the park and spending our time on our smart phones or media of choice.

She writes, "Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.
You aren’t."

You may wonder why this moved me, as I am the last person to spend time on my smart phone (I don't have one).  Well, you can substitute this with whatever Mommy friend we invited to the park that day.  The Moms sit chit-chatting and the kids are playing.  Win-Win, or so I thought.

Well she has a point, so this day we will go to the park by ourselves and play the three of us together. We didn't need friends to enjoy our time.  It was going to be a glorious time laughing together, chasing each other, and simply enjoying one another's time.  You get the idea, this day was going to be picture perfect,  it was even sunny!

Upon arrival at the park, we noticed immediately, the play structure had been invaded by a group of older kids, probably including some middle schoolers.  We headed over to the toddler section, and Claire immediately bored of the structure as well as Mom and Sis's company.  She wanted desperately to play with the big kids whom were playing a good old fashioned game of Hot Lava.  I gave her the go ahead and told her to have fun. Hhrrmmph, this is not exactly how this played out in my head. I then realize I am thrilled she has gained the confidence to enter a group of kids so confidently, she would have not have done this a year ago.

I still had Gwen, the little one whom still enjoys playing with Mommy as much as anyone else whom could be around.  I asked her what she wanted to play on, and to no surprise responded, "Swing." and took off at the speed of lightening.  I followed over to the set prepared for some pushing.

Though only about 15-20  steps behind her, Gwen's impatience led her to climb in the seat all by herself.  The problem, though, is that she entered through the leg hole of the swing and only her head could fit through the hole.  She started screaming, "IT'S TOO TIGHT!"  She was right, the hole was too tight and this Mama wasn't so sure she could get her out.

After a long five minutes, A LONG 5 MINUTES, I was able to get her out with the help of another mom.  We were only about 30 seconds away from calling the fire station but, thankfully, did not have to. I had to turn her upside down and hold her completely still and the other mom positioned the swing to that her nose fit perfectly into the corner of the leg hole. Wheew! She's free.

This day, I didn't see my girls in bright twirling dresses. I didn't have a picture perfect day I had anticipated. BUT I did see them pass two major milestones, which I am positive to remember.  Claire turned into one of the big kids at the park, she made friends completely on her own and didn't need mom to guide the process.  Gwen, well, she got her head stuck in a swing.  Every kid has do that at some point, right?!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

These Little Lights of Mine

Well I am finally caving and attempting to enter the blog world. I feel this will not only allow us (read, me) to share our lives, but to also reflect and appreciate these moments.  As many know our last year has been quite hectic.  Bryan, as normal, works hard to provide his girls a SAHM and Brooke works two PT jobs to provide her and the girl's activities to do to fill up their days.  While this arrangement has been amazing we have quickly realized how easy it is to get mixed up in schedules and not take time  appreciate one another or the million little things only a 2 and 5 year old can provide.  While difficult, we strive to tackle each day with intent, not to just get by, but to really love one another and see the "light" we each saw as we first met one another.

These little lights are our family.

Bryan is the head of the family.  Or so, that's what us girls tell him he is.  We love that Bryan/Dad is Goofy and fun and so thankful he does his best to spend as much time as possible with us. Bryan has committed to bed time stories with the girls regardless of how tiring his day might have been.  While it often annoys me that he can't do anything simple, I appreciate that he constantly makes everything an experience for the girls.  A simple request to go outside and play soccer lands our family at Skyline Stadium (One of our local HSs) so the girls can play on a "real" field.  He constantly creates memories for our family and for that we all are thankful.  The best part of our day is opening up the front window and calling for daddy till he gets home from work. (This can be up to a 45 minute commute)

While it is difficult to explain my own personal role in the family, it is quite easy to say I am the manager of the family. (Though it seems, slowly, Claire is taking over that role)  Essentially, I create the family calendar and let everyone know what/when/where.  The girls and my day are filled with playmates  swimming, gymnastics, soccer, pre-school and MOPS.  Luckily, the girls also accommodate a little of "me" time and have become quite popular at the local Y, while Mom works out.

Sammamish Presbyterian Church has been a host to a variety of our activities. This is where we meet for MOPS, pre-school, church/Sunday school and one of my PT jobs.  It is easy to see we spend a lot of time there and  the church has truly provided us with a community in Sammamish that we could have not imagined.  I expect the friendships the girls and our family have made will last a lifetime, we are truly blessed.

Claire, our first born, has taken that role very seriously.  She tends to be our more responsible child, likes to please people and follow rules. (don't get me wrong, girl loves to test)  I am constantly amazed by the size of her heart.  I truly don't know if I have ever met anyone so passionate about everything they do.  She loves family, friends and her teachers with such completeness. She engages in activities, holidays, church, and birthdays with so much intensity.
A small example: She still sees her pre-school teacher from last year almost every day, but still acts as if it is a great reunion every time.  Miss Patti is greeted each time with a cheesey grin and a big hug. Claire reminds us daily that our hearts are limitless.
Currently, Claire plans on being an astronaut, but doesn't quite know how that will fit in with being a rock star.  She sings about as well as both of us, but luckily has the confidence to just possibly pull it off.  This girl will be the type that can do anything, because she dreams big and believes she can.

Little Gwen is our rascal.  This two year old has more energy and craziness than I can comprehend for her 25 lb body.  With a loss of words to describe her personality, I will just list the ones that have been tossed around: Tornado, Three Snapper, Out-of-Control, Smarty Pants, Feisty, and lastly self described "I Supa-Fast".  For her first 18 months she was VERY attached to mom, we were even a bit worried. NOW,  I am convinced she was just playing a big prank on us, and knew it would provide her with a cozy spot on Mom's lap.  Gwen brings a lot of laughter to the family.  She reminds us to roll with the punches, life isn't always predictable and we've actually learned to like it that way.  She has an opinion and we will take that into account.  She has taught me to accept character clothing and shoes, and that socks aren't always needed in the winter. At this point, we will have to wait to see what this girl has in store.  I have no doubt it will be entertaining.