Twisted MixTape: British Invasion (of my playlist)

Hooray  it’s Twisted MixTape Tuesday again!

Our harmonic hostesses Jen at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee are giving us a freebie today. The theme is Anything Goes! So, I decided to reveal my love for British pop music.

I lived in the United Kingdom from September 2009 to February 2013. During that time, I developed a taste for dance/electronic type music. I had to, or I wouldn’t be able to listen to the radio. So, this week I give you:

British Pop Music Will Infect Your Brain And Leave A Permanent Mark

BritishInvasionOfMyPlaylistbyYouAreAGoodMamadotcom

The criteria is simple. The song must have appeared on the UK top 40 Chart at some point between September 2009 and February 2013. Easy peasy.

I had a hard time narrowing it down! So first I’m going to do my own Top of the Pops. Top 5 songs that hit #1:

1. Sing by Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth Band featuring The Military Wives’ Choir (6/62012, 1 week)

This song was written to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I just think its beautiful and love that they use military wives (being that I am a military wife myself). One of the few non-dancey type songs ever heard on the radio over there.

2. She Makes Me Wanna by JLS (featuring Dev) (8/6/2011, 1 week)

This is such a stupid song. But I just love it. Anytime it came on the radio, I’d start dancing in my station wagon. Thank goodness my kid was too young to be embarrassed.

3. Changed The Way You Kiss Me by Example (6/8/2011, 2 weeks)

I love this man’s voice.

4. Heatwave by Wiley ft. Ms. D (8/11/12, 2 weeks)

If I still partied, this would scream summer in the dance club to me. But I don’t party, so instead I just laugh ’cause this guy says his name a bunch in the song.

5. Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia (2/11/12, 1 week)

David Guetta pretty much ruled the UK airwaves while I was there. He had so many songs with so many different collaborators. This one is my favorite. I AM TITAAAANIIIIUM!!

BONUS: Killing In The Name by Rage Against the Machine (12/26/2009, 1 week)

The Christmas #1 is a big deal over there. It’s the last number one of the year and it means a lot to the Brits for some reason. For quite awhile, the Christmas #1 had been whoever won X Factor that year. But in 2009, a British couple started a campaign to have this be Christmas #1…and they won. Awesome. Plus I just love this song – it’s tied with Lose Yourself by Eminem for my most motivating running song.

Those were my favorite #1s as chosen by British listeners. But they don’t always get it right *cough* Bom Bom Bom by Sam and the Womp *cough* so I decided to do a list of my favorite songs that should have been #1.

1. Earthquake by Labrinth ft. Tinie Tempah

“I’m feeling like a straight tenna.” Epic lyrics.

2. We’ll Be Coming Back by Calvin Harris ft. Example

Did I mention I love Example’s voice? Especially when it’s used to croon these lyrics over a slightly haunting melody.

3. Wonderful by Angel

This song changes direction so many times. I love it. Plus he says he feels “mayjah” which always makes me think of Posh Spice.

4. Down With The Trumpets by Rizzle Kicks

Just a couple of kids, getting together and making awesome music. I think this was the first British song I loved the first time I heard it on Radio 1.

5. Untouched by The Veronicas

This speaks to my inner junior high girl and her hopeless crushes on boys. I wish this song had been around then so I could have swooned over my “true loves” while jamming out to this song.

REVIEW: SumahoMAMA Touch and Sing Along Picture Book

REVIEW: SumahoMAMA Touch and Sing Along Picture Book

*Full disclosure:  I was asked to do this review and the company provided me some dolla bills to purchase in-app features. All opinions and pictures are my own and not influenced by the cheddar I received. All screenshots were taken by me during actual gameplay.

I feel like a “big-timer.” I was approached by SumahoMAMA to review their Touch and Sing Along Picture Book, which is available as a free app. Woot! My son loves playing on my iPad and I like giving my opinion on stuff, so WIN.

youareagoodmamadotcom

The app is free to download (see links at end) and comes with a few songs. I purchased one of the Super Value Packs, which netted me 6 additional songs for $4.99 (a savings of $0.95, as the individual songs are $0.99 apiece). Each song plays in the background, while an accompanying game provides several ways for the child to engage by touch or sound. These are the songs I tested out with my one-week-shy-of-3 son:

Hokey Pokey (free)
I wish I had something nice to say about this one, but the avatars used to do the Hokey Pokey all creeped me out. It randomly tells you to shake it, but when you shake the iPad, nothing appears to happen with the avatar. Plus, it’s kind of confusing because the avatar faces you, so it’s left is the child’s right; so the avatar will put its right hand forward and say it’s the left hand. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but doesn’t seem helpful to me.

SumahoMAMAHokeyPokey
I wouldn’t want to do the Hokey Pokey with these characters

Alphabet Song (free)
Really cute game. A balloon is held up with a letter and the child is asked to find the same letter out of 6 other balloons. Once he picks the right letter, he gets to see an interactive picture of something that starts with that letter (for example, he could strum the guitar for G). It’s also split up into sections (A-F, G-L, etc.) and toggles between uppercase and lowercase letters. Once my son realized the purpose was NOT to pop every balloon, he really enjoyed finding the letters and getting the “special surprise.”

TheAlphabetSongSumahoMAMA
Bigfoot dances!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (free)
This one teaches kids the names of the planets. The planets are all sort of swirling around the screen, and are named as they are touched. My son particularly loved the rocket that occasionally flies by. My beef with this one was the weird characters that popped up on the planets as they were named. Some of them looked like they died after being named! Venus’ worm lost its head, Jupiter’s frog spun in circles, Mercury’s fish died, the astronaut popped the moon and looked terrified as it sped off in space, and Uranus’ ice cream splattered all over the inside of its spaceman helmet. WEIRD.

Unnecessary death in a children's song
Unnecessary death in a children’s song

Old MacDonald Had a Farm (part of $4.99 pack; $0.99 for individual song)
While the song plays, your child can make sheep jump over a fence, touch various animals to hear their name and voice (Mooooo! Cow!) or mess with the farmer. It engaged my son for awhile, but the song is on a loop (and the activities don’t change) so became very repetitive. It also seemed a little disorganized, as the activities didn’t correlate at all to the song (it’d be singing about ducks while my son was counting a sheep, then making the donkey bray after hitting the cowbell).

OldMacDonaldHadAFarmSumahoMAMA
Just way too much going on in this one

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad (part of $4.99 pack; $0.99 for individual song)
The song plays on a loop while a train passes through a countryside. Lots of things to touch and hear the name, and quite possibly the world’s most annoying whistle. My son loved touching that whistle button so much, I had to take it away for fear my head would explode. The child gives it two thumbs up, the mother gives it two thumbs in the ear. So if screeching whistles give you a headache, my advice would be to encourage listening to other songs or pop headphones on the kiddo while he plays.

Decent little game, minus the whistle
Decent little game, minus the whistle

Parade of Wooden Soldiers (part of $4.99 pack; $0.99 for individual song)
As the song plays, you get to touch the toys and make them move. If you touch the door that says, Do Not Open, a little boy peeks out and the toys freeze. Pretty cute. My son loved touching the airplane and making it fly away, with the fire-breathing dragon a close second. He even made up a little “story” – that the dragon was cleaning the airplane when it breathed the fire on it. The musical instruments that a child can “play” are a cymbal and a piano – much less annoying to me than the whistle!

It's a toy party, until you wake the kid up
It’s a toy party, until you wake the kid up

Bingo (part of $4.99 pack; $0.99 for individual song)
This one came with 5 rounds of a “Find Bingo” game – the child is presented with a picture of Bingo the dog and asked to pick him out among several different dogs. My not-quite-3yo son finished the 5 rounds in about 60 seconds. He enjoyed replaying it, but I don’t think it was worth $0.99.

Good concept for game; not enough content
Good concept for game; not enough content

The Farmer in the Dell (part of $4.99 pack; $0.99 for individual song)
While the song plays, the child is presented with a pattern and asked to choose which one will come next (example: child, wife, child, wife, ?). This one was a bit of a challenge for my son, as we’re still learning patterns. However, it only came with 3 rounds. Not worth $0.99 to me.

Not enough content for $0.99
Not enough content for $0.99

London Bridge (part of $4.99 pack; $0.99 for individual song)
I’m not even sure what the point of this game was. A character starts to walk across a bridge, the bridge falls apart and the character falls to the water. Luckily, the character is saved before he hits the water – either by a ship, a mechanical fish, a friendly mermaid, a grumpy octopus or a dragon. There are different characters to drop into the water – a soldier, a punk rocker, and so on – but that seems to be the extent of the game. The bridge pieces change each time it resets, but there doesn’t seem to be much, if any, interactive play. As far as I know, the character never makes it to the other side. Definitely not worth $0.99.

It's fun, if you just like watching people fall off a bridge
It’s fun, if you just like watching people fall off a bridge

There are other songs available as well, such as The Muffin Man, The Wheels on the Bus and a few others. In addition, there are several traditional Japanese children’s songs sung in English. All are $0.99, unless you buy them as part of a Super Value Pack. Then you save $0.95.

The app also allows you to record your own versions of the songs, which is kind of fun. Then you get to hear just how off-key you actually sing! But as a military parent, I see an added bonus to this feature. When Mom or Dad has to deploy, he/she can record the songs before leaving – allowing a child to hear Mom or Dad’s voice anytime.

Bottom line
It’s a great free app in that it is colorful and keeps a toddler entertained. I would have paid money for one of the free songs (The Alphabet Song), but didn’t think some of the others were worth their $0.99 price tag (Bingo, Farmer in the Dell). Others were fun, but kind of weird. And I’m pretty sure the creepy clown and hairy chest guy from the Hokey Pokey will be included in my next nightmare. If you asked me to say yea or nay, I’d have to say meh.

SumahoMAMA has some videos on YouTube, where you can preview the songs: http://www.youtube.com/user/sumahomama. Or if you’re ready to try it out, find your version here:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id655370145
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.xing.picturebook&hl=en
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E95A4JE

I’m Auditioning For Idol!

I’m Auditioning For Idol!

…Blogger Idol, that is. I don’t want to be the next William Hung.

It’s a little scary to put myself out there like that. It’s one thing to do blog hops and link-ups, which bring great exposure. This is putting my stuff out there for the specific purpose of being judged. I’m already pretty sure I’m not going to get picked for the Top 12, but I’m going to do it anyway. I’m scared to death of being rejected, but even if I don’t make it, I figure I can learn something from it. More people will see my words, which is awesome. I’ll probably get to find some other great blogs (I never would have found Momastery if I hadn’t gotten to know some other bloggers from the Honest Voices link-up). And who knows – maybe I’ll make it into the Top 12 and get the chance to hone my writing skills and get solid feedback from other writers.

There are some great prizes involved: $300 gift certificate to Marware, $300 gift certificate to Bullet Designs, One Free Month of Intermediate Level Blog Management Services from Bloom Blogs ($249 value), 1 Week of Full Service Pinterest Management from Little Birdie Social Media ($50 value), One Year of PicMonkey Royale ($33 value), $25 Gift Certificate to Baconery (mmm, bacon) and a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. I’m uber-duber excited about the PicMonkey Royale prize – I love making buttons for my posts on PicMonkey and I’m dying to try out the Royale features (but I’m too cheap to buy them). And who doesn’t love free money at Amazon?

If I make the Top 12, you may see me begging for votes. I’ll try to keep it to a minimum, pinky swear. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter and, if you feel so inclined, support me in going for Blogger Idol 2013! Check out http://www.facebook.com/bloggeridol and let them know you want ME to make it to the Top 12! You can also find the list of judges and let them know how awesome I am (and read their stuff ’cause it’s good).

BloggerIdol2013YouAreAGoodMamadotcom

 

Sobriety Birthday Sounds Beautiful

Today’s post is a two-fer. There are two things I wanted to write about and they actually meld together quite nicely.

SobrietyBirthdaySoundsBeautifulYouAreAGoodMamadotcom

Número UNO: Today marks seven years of sobriety for me. 2556 days since the last drop of alcohol passed my lips. It’s freaking amazing. I wrote about it on my sister-from-another-mister blog Sober Mommies. Pretty please head over there and check out my rumblings about this accomplishment! I’m uber proud of myself. Go read my post here:

http://sobermommies.com/2013/09/10/no-7-year-itch-here/

Welcome back! Because I know you went and read my happy birthday post, right? RIGHT? Ok!

Número DOS: it’s Twisted MixTape Tuesday, which is my new favorite thing. You have to check out Jen at My Skewed View; she always puts together a great mix with songs I’ve never heard of. Plus you can check out tons of other bloggers having fun with music.

So what does Twisted MixTape Tuesday have to do with my sobriety birthday? Jen gave us the theme of beautiful songs, which we get to interpret any way we like. My idea of beautiful songs are ones that tug at my heart strings and make me happysad. You know, where you feel an ache in your chest but still enjoy the beauty of the lyrics and music? And you kind of enjoy the ache? Only me that feels this?

Anyway, that’s how my recovery birthday makes me feel. I’m so happy for what I’ve accomplished, but get a little melancholy thinking of all the damage my alcoholism/compulsive behaviors have caused. So, here goes…

Top 5 beautiful songs that make me happysad, but will probably depress the shit out of everyone else but hey who cares, it’s my sobriety birthday!!!!

1. Babylon by David Gray
This song. The weekend I quit drinking, I was pretty low. Getting raped while blacked out will do that to you. As I was driving home, this song randomly popped up on my iPod and I felt compelled to LISTEN to the lyrics. My Higher Power was speaking to me through this song:
If you want it/Come and get it/Crying out loud/The love that I was/Giving you was/Never in doubt/Let go of your heart/Let go of your head/And feel it now

2. I Wish I Was the Moon by Neko Case
Gorgeous, just gorgeous emotion evoked by this song. This is the tired part of me looking back and going, why didn’t you fix your shit sooner?

3. Good Night, Bad Morning by The Kills
Pretty much sums up my drinking days: nights that I thought were good, followed by mornings full of puke and regret. So glad that’s not my life anymore. This song is the epitome of happysad for me.

4. Let Go by Frou Frou
Learning to live in sobriety is hard. And scary. Especially taking that first step. Imogen Heap’s gorgeous voice helps.

5. Everything In Time (London) by No Doubt
I love Gwen Stefani. These lyrics defined me for so long: I’m feeling lost inside the low. Lost no more. But I still love this song.

And because it’s my 7th birthday, 2 bonus songs! The ones don’t make me happysad. They make me feel joyous.

6. Hang On Little Tomato by Pink Martini
Such a happy, hopeful little ditty. Bonus: PM is from my hometown. Portland represent!

7. Thrash Unreal by Against Me!
Ok, so this doesn’t make me 100% joyous, but I do thank my lucky stars that I’m not going to be the woman at the end of the song, trying to pick up young dudes with my old-ass drunk self.

I Support You: Gena’s story

I Support You: Gena’s story

This series was inspired by the I Support You campaign, which was created by three amazing bloggers: I Am Not the Babysitter, Mama by the Bay and The Fearless Formula Feeder. I want to provide a place where moms can feel free to share their experiences and find encouragement, love and acceptance – regardless of feeding choices. All moms deserve to feel supported. 

ISupportYouSeriesbyYouAreAGoodMamadotcom

Gena is the mother of two – one handsome boy and one lovely lady. Read her story below and give her some love in the comments!

Please share a brief summary of your feeding experience.

I formula fed both of my children, ages 6 and 2.

What was your original plan for feeding your children, and how did that compare to what you ultimately ended up doing?

With my first child, my plan was to breastfeed for a month or so.  I know many would think it sounds very unmaternal, but I was not really into nursing, but I thought I would give it a try for a month or so.  When he was born, I tried having him latch on, but he wasn’t getting anything so he kept stopping.  I tried using the breast pump and then they gave me some medication to try and get milk to come in.  Because he was so big (almost 11 lbs) we began giving him formula until I was able to nurse.  After about 5 days, there was still no milk or even colostrum, so we decided to stop and just use formula.  With my second child, I just went right with formula.  It was what I knew and it had worked well with my son, so we went that route.

What kind of support did you have for your feeding choice?

My husband did want me to nurse at first, but when it didn’t work and the formula was working well, he was on board to stop and use formula. My mom didn’t nurse me or my brother, so she was very supportive of my decision.

What was the best part about how you fed your children?

The best part, by far, was that other people could get up and help with all of those night feedings!!!  I also, would not have nursed in public, so I think it would have been difficult to adapt our lifestyle to staying home all the time.  With formula, I was able to feed him wherever we were.

What was the worst?

The only negative that I can think of is the cost!

What myths about how you fed your children were the most hurtful?

That my kids wouldn’t be healthy since they were not nursed!

What is your “truth” that counteracts those myths?

I had friends that had kids the same age as mine that did breastfeed and their kids actually got sick much more than mine! He was almost a year before he had his first cold or ear infection.  At that age, 2 of my friends children already had ear tubes put in!

What would help you (or would have helped you) to feel supported/understood in your choices?

I felt supported by those who mattered!  I didn’t pay much attention to those that don’t know me or know my reasons for my decisions.

Think ten, twenty years into the future. If you could give your grown children one message about how they choose to feed their child what would it be?

Do what you feel is right!  What works for you and your baby is the most important and you do what you think is right!

Thank you for sharing your story, Gena! You are a good mama.

Tell us in the comments about your feeding experience and how you rocked it like this mama!

The Best of Third Eye Blind – Twisted MixTape

I’m trying out a new game this week! An awesome chick called Jen Kehl does Twisted MixTape Tuesday. Every week, she gives us a theme and challenges us to create a 5-song mixtape. This week’s is pretty easy: Best of any Band. I’ll play!

I kind of had a hard time picking a band, but only because I kept ignoring the one my mind would go to automatically. In high school, I was a huge Third Eye Blind fan. HUGE. Like, memorized every song on the two albums they’d released, plotted to run away to San Francisco and just knew I was going to someday marry Brad the drummer. They played in Eugene, OR when I was a senior in high school. So my mom took my best friend and me to see them. And we got to meet them. Squeeeee!

Me (and my mom) with Brad, Tony and Arion. Stephen wouldn't take any pictures. Jackass.
Me (and my mom) with Brad, Tony and Arion. Stephen wouldn’t take any pictures. Jackass.

Anyhoos, I present to you my Top 5 Third Eye Blind songs:

#1 Anything
This song is way too short. I want many more minutes of its awesomeness. I love the way it starts slow, crescendoes to crazy, then drops off. And who wouldn’t love to have someone croon, “Anything for you…”

#2 Motorcycle Drive-By
I was really depressed in high school. This song spoke to me. “I’ve never been so alone, and I’ve, never been so alive.” When I’m depressed, I feel this burning, aching in my chest. Like there’s always been. God I love this song.

#3 The Red Summer Sun
Rock. It builds. There’s a little “doo doo doo doo doo doo” ditty in there. Then it builds and Stephen does his best butt rock scream: “It’s been a long time, been a long time/To walk with the mighty.” YES. Probably the only 3EB song you could headbang to (in parts).

#4 I Want You
I thought this song was the height of Le Sexy Times at a time when tongue-kissing was the most daring sexual exploit I’d achieved. But if you really listen to the lyrics, they’re kind of dark and weird. I still like it.

#5 The Background
Did I mention I was really sad in high school? I tried to hide it. And did a fairly good job (until sophomore year). The background was where the truth was.