Aug 27, 2014

Swiffering Into The Hearts Of Family And Friends... #SwifferEffect #BigGreenBox

When we recently moved from our wall-to-wall carpeted condo, into our wall-to-wall hardwood floor house, I was so excited to NEVER vacuum again. I was so sure hardwood floors would be easier to clean and maintain. I was right about the easier to clean, but the maintain part was a little more than I bargained for. First of all, floors in general when a toddler is running wild, are bound to stay dirty.  And hardwood floors show that. From muddy foot prints, to tracked in grass, to crayons that miss the paper and hit the floor... I was noticing everything! I found myself sweeping and moping regularly.  Which, is not only annoying, but regular mopping is not great for the floors.

Then... a ray of glorious light shined upon my door, like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, The Swiffer Big Green Box appeared... and my world changed...

<Insert singing angels>

Aug 26, 2014

10 Things Working Moms and Stay-At-Home Moms Have In Common...

The other day while talking with a friend about the ridiculousness of the so-called "Mommy Wars", I realized that regardless of whether a mom is working out of the home or in the home, they are both essentially spending their day doing the same things.

For today's Top 10 Tuesday, I thought I would share some of my realizations, or really, proof that the mommy wars are a joke... 10 Ways Working Moms and Stay-At-Home Moms Have The Exact Same Day:

1. Mornings SUCK. Every morning, every mom is up way too early hoping to have enough time to make breakfasts, pack lunches and get everyone dressed and started on their day... Then spend whatever time is left trying to make ourselves look fabulous presentable.

2. We wipe asses all day. Whether it's a kid or a boss, someone needs their ass wiped.

3. We clean up messes all day... that we didn't make. Whether it's a kid or a coworker, someone is making a big mess we will inevitably clean up.

4. We can't get a thing done. Whether it's a kid or coworkers/clients, someone is doing their best to keep us from accomplishing one thing.

5. Lunch is an afterthought. Whether you are at home or the office, lunch constitutes wolfing something down so fast you barely taste it.
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Are You In The Knowzz? #AppReview #AmazonGiveaway

Do you ever find yourself in need of a plumber ASAP or desperate for a last minute babysitter, but have no idea who to call, or trust? Well, there's an App for that! With Knowzz, you can find a plumber and babysitter that come HIGHLY recommend by your friends, colleges and neighbors, in seconds! Are you in the Knowzz?

 Knowzz, is an app available on iOS and android, that uses the contacts in your phone in conjunction with your Facebook contacts to put together a comprehensive list of trusted people in your community...

Once you download the app, you are asked to answer a couple of demographic questions, then you are on your way to being in the Knowzz!

With Knowzz you can... 
See who is the top recommended plumber by your community.

Forgot who your friend said was the greatest pediatrician in town?
Now you always Knowzz...

Want to Share your recommendations with friends?
Now you can in seconds...

 Never stress who to call again, because once you Knowzz... you always Knowzz!

To entice you into trying out Knowzz, the creators are giving away FOUR $25 Amazon gift cards!  Download and sign up below!

 To just download now (and still be automatically entered to win) CLICK HERE!


* I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.
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Aug 25, 2014

KidCash: A BRILLIANT Way To Teach Kids Moral And Financial Responsibility! #ParentingGameChanger

* I was provided with a KidCash kit for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. As if!

When the genius mother behind KidCash reached out to me to conduct a review, I took one look at the product and said, I'm in! Any chance you have HusbandCash too?  

You all, I just absolutely LOVE this product, and all it can do for a family as a whole.  

"KidCashTM provides children with a smaller version of the real world, complete with currencies, tickets and bonuses that their parents define and control. It engages children in the kinds of productive and responsible behaviors today that allow them to effectively manage their lives tomorrow."  -KidCash Crew

The main concept behind KidCash is not only to teach a child about the value of money, but to also teach an understanding of how hard work, kindness and good behavior attribute to a better life...

Please take a moment check out this video explaining how to use KidCash. 


First of all, I LOVE Lisa. She is clearly an amazing mother, runs her household like a queen, and no doubt has two beautiful children on their way to an amazing future.


Here are the tools that come in your KidCash Kit...

  • Kid Cash Dollars
  • Detailed instruction booklet with tips for success
  • Worksheets for goal planning
  • Bank Books
  • Booklet of Violation tickets
  • Booklet of Bonus Bounty 
  • Allowance schedule planner

I think this is absolutely brilliant!
You can sit down as a family and talk about the things your child(ren) want, need and look forward to doing. 

I love both concepts. Violation tickets are a great way to curb difficult talks until everyone is ready to calmly discuss the issue, and Bonus Bounty allows you to reward your child for going above and beyond!
The entire kit works together to help your child with all aspects of his/her life, and gain a better understanding of how the real world works! Brilliant.

I love EVERYTHING about KidCash. I can't wait to start using this with Ollie and FTD. That's right, the husband needs this too.  
So get this, while, Lisa-the creator of KidCash, would certainly LOVE to sell a million and one copies of KidCash, more than anything she wants parents to realize just how amazing the tool is, so she is offering FREE downloads of the kit. Yes, totally free!  How amazing is that?  The download is in Black and white to save ink, but it still does the trick. She told me that the system did so much to help her household, that as a mother, she wants to help as many families as possible realize the greatness of the system too.  

"We built KidCash to help your little ones understand not only the importance, but the value in taking responsibility for their actions by setting up manageable goals, rewards and dealing with consequences that they can actually learn from. 
Happy Parenting."


For those of you who want to buy the complete kit, in color and with all the pages, coupons, cash, booklets, activity sheets and detailed instructions with tips for success, Through October 1, 2014 you can save 15% using the coupon code: 1sttimemomdad at checkout!

To download your free kit now, CLICK here!

To buy the entire kit in living color and all it's awesomeness at 15% off (Code:1sttimemomdad)CLICK here!

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Someone Get Me A Hot Glue Gun. I'm Totally Ready! #DIY

As some of you know, my friends insist when it comes to me and crafts, "DIY" stands for, Dumbassery Imminent You... poor thing. I want so bad to be crafty. I would love to have the ability to walk into a craft store and see the possibilities in the rows of fabrics, yarns and crafty things, or go to garage sales and find treasure in old furniture.

In an effort to change my craft-fail fate, I spent the weekend DIY-ing this thing I found in my shed left by the former owners of the house. I call it a thing, because I have no idea what it's called.  When explaining it to friends and neighbors I call it an..."Iron screen folding three panel thing..."  See, I told you I'm helpless, I can't even name the thing I am trying to fancy-up! So anyways, here is what I'm talking about...

Cute, right?  I will say this, I knew what I wanted to do with it the minute I saw it, so maybe I am not as DIY- hopeless as I thought...

Get this, the former owner had it in the GARDEN! It was so super dirty when I pulled it out of the shed...

First, I washed all kinds of dead vines, dirt and bird crap off of it. I guess she was trying to get something to climb through it.

To bring my vision to life, all I needed to do was spray paint it black. The only obstacle was the yellow gem like things. How do I spray paint it, and not them, AND not spend hours taping them?  My friends, the light bulb went off, and genius came through... teacher stickers...
You know who was more than happy to help!

Once the stickers were in place I sprayed the hell out of the screen.  Two and a half cans of spray paint later, my masterpiece was STUNNING!!!  I DID IT!!!

My sticker idea worked! 

Are you ready to see what this was all about???  


Isn't it beautiful?!  I am so freaking proud. I did it.  I had a vision, that actually worked out. 


You all, I am hooked!  I want to DIY and paint EVERYTHING!  I also need a hot glue gun, because I hear that's when DIY gets really fun.  

Are you DIY hopeless?  Come along and learn with me, I am going to try to do a project or two every month!

Read more ...

Aug 24, 2014

Sunday Book Review: It's Never To Late To Be Worthy Of...

Author, Susan L. Zirilli, provided me with an electronic copy of her book, It's Never To Late To Be Worthy Of... for review. All options are my own.

"Worthiness is a treasure. Open the door to your own treasure hunt filled with priceless riches called serenity, balance, fairness, abundance, and authenticity. A call-to-attention on feeling and acting upon your own intrinsic worth, this book will encourage you to lead a life of greater self-importance and allow your dreams to actualize, take root and BLOOM!" 
-Susan L. Zirilli

Before I had my son, I had a great sense of worthiness, maybe too much. I had nothing but time to indulge in my worthiness of anything and everything. I was a young professional with plenty of money and time outside of work to indulge in the things I wanted, when I wanted. Then, I became a first-time confused and overwhelmed mother. I was too busy to even think about my worthiness of the things I needed and wanted.  You know, worthiness of...

A hot shower
Hot meal
Spit up free clothes
An hour a day to myself
Five hours of solid sleep
Lunch with the ladies...

Within about six-months of losing all touch with my worthiness, I was miserable. Unfulfilled. I was 100% mom and milk factory. I was crazed.

It wasn't until my husband, tired of seeing me drained, miserable and well, bitchy, told me I needed to "Get out of the house for a few hours. Go shopping or something," did I realize that I was really in need of a change of focus.  I needed to stop trying to be a full-time 24/7 super mom.  I needed to find a better balance in my life between Motherhood and Me.

Over the last near two-years I have been working to regain my sense of balance. My sense of worthiness of...

A hot shower
Hot meal
An hour a day to myself
five hours of solid sleep
Lunch with the ladies...

In finding this sense if worthiness to take time for me, I became a better mother and wife.  I was happier and more relaxed. I was worthy of more than just motherhood, I was worthy of me and my time.

This is the message Susan L. Zirilli stresses in her amazing book. Not only are we all worthy of..., we need to act on it.  

An excerpt from, It's Never To Late To Be Worthy Of...

These words are words we should read and believe everyday. We all are worthy of whatever it is that we need... 

The book continues, not with a long drawn out story or long winded cycle of this is how you achieve your life worth, like so many self help books do, but instead, is filled full of phrases of things you are worthy of.  Things like:

It's Never To Late To Be Worthy Of... 

  • Of saying NO to ridiculous favors asked of you
  • Of asking for necessary favors.
  • Of Praying, Meditating and being present in your own life
  • Of crying because it makes you feel better.
  • Of being guilt-free of the things you really should not have to feel guilty about. (MOMS! This one is totally for us.)
  • Of removing the toxic energy in your life.
  • Of finally giving up on someone else so you can rescue yourself.
  • Of using two expensive tea bags in one cup of tea.
  • Of investing Time Energy and money on your own needs.
Ok, I could go on and on! The phrases are so amazing, and so many are relevant in my life. I now find myself from time-to-time opening the book to revisit some of my favorite phrases. I do this over coffee in the morning while Ollie is having breakfast. Reminding myself to take time for me, and that, today, I am worthy of... my happiness, time and treasures.

It's Never To Late To Be Worthy Of..., is a fun fast read that you will surely revisit many times for strength, reassurance and a reminder to take care of yourself because you are worthy of it...

To get your copy of, It's Never To Late To Be Worthy Of..., CLICK HERE! 

Read more ...

Aug 23, 2014

I Feel Like I Start Every Sentence With... No, Honey, We Don't...

Somedays, I feel like I start every sentence with, "No, Honey/Ollie, we don't..." And then finish with whatever dumbassery the toddler is up to. You know...

No, Ollie, we don't...
  • Color on the walls.
  • Terrorize the cat.
  • Go outside without clothes/diaper/shoes on.
  • Jump on the bed/furniture/mommy's bladder/daddy's head when he is sleeping.
  • Throw our toys.
  • Announce every time we fart/"take a dump". (FTD is responsible for this one.)
  • Eat cupcakes/cookies/ice cream for breakfast/lunch/dinner.
  • Climb up the drawers to get on the kitchen counters.

You get the picture...

So what is this, "We" business anyway!  It's not like I'm the one announcing farts!

I've decided that I say, No, honey we don't, because "No" alone is pointless.  Every parent of a toddler knows to a toddler, the word,"no" alone with no further explanation means, HELL YES, DO THAT SHIT!!!  So needless to say, I'll say any phrase necessary to get my toddler to listen and stop doing "that shit!" 

I'm convinced this "We don't..." business somehow makes more sense to him. Like our pack doesn't do that, so you shouldn't either, and then magically he gets it. I also realize most times he is only listening because I am either holding him back, dressing him or taking something away simultaneously to drive home the, "We don't..." 

What's really got me on this topic is the way I say it to him. It comes out in this pitiful tone that sound more like, "Oh you poor boy, that's dumbassery?" Where as, when he is super naughty he gets the full angry tone of, NO! You don't do that because it is dumbassery and you know it! 

So after WAY too much thought on this, I realized I say the two depending on wether or not I want to be grouped into the dumbassery...

For example:

If Ollie announces his fart, he gets..

NO, Ollie, we don't announce our farts... 

If ollie farts on the neighbor's dog, he gets 

OLLIE! NO! That's naughty! You don't fart on the neighbors dog!

(Yes, it's happened-- he laughed so hard he farted again, then everyone laughed, and well, thanks to the hysterical laughter by all, he tried every time he saw that little dog until the day we moved. Yes, that's a whole other post...)

So you see...  the moral of the story... actually, I don't know. Other than, raising a toddler is funny and annoying at the same time, and I say the most ridiculous shit out loud on a daily basis.  

**Ok, now it's your turn, I want to hear your latest, "No, honey, we don't..." I know you have one... every parent does!
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Aug 22, 2014

Easy Killer, He's Two...

My kid is full of energy, a HUGE risk taker, loves to climb high, go fast on the swing or his tricycle, talks back, digs his heels in, runs 10-feet ahead of me, is happy to be dirty, lives to give me mini heart attacks... loves to cuddle, laugh, be tickled, play catch, is kind and generous...

Parenting for me is CONSTANT trial and error.  My kid is awesome more than not. Yes, he is full-on 90% of the time, but he is two and fabulous. Somedays, my back aches from bending down to say, NO! We don't... a thousand times. And thankfully, somedays my arms hurt from all of the cuddles. It's give and take.

Truthfully, I absolutely love that my kid is full of energy. Of course, because of this energy, I have plenty of moments where I have to stay on him and be a mean mom, which sucks. But he is two, that's just how it is. For me.

Sometimes, telling Ollie, No!, and redirecting him (five times!) doesn't work. Sometimes, I have raise my voice to get the point across, or really just to get his attention. Sometimes, he goes to timeout, and yes, sometimes he gets a swat on the hand. He's a toddler, shit gets crazy from time-to-time.

My least favorite crazy time is when we are in the store and he is out of control. When people look down at us, I just want to say, Look at me, I am doing the best I can. Easy killer, he's two! This is not easy, and your shitty stare and head shaking are making it worse for ME! So bugger off! 

What I also want to say is, what you are not seeing right now is that my son is so incredibly smart, talented, athletic, kind, generous, shares his toys and cookies, loves to give hugs, and really is just as sweet as he can be. I am so incredibly proud of this. Some of his traits he was born with, some are from my stellar parenting skills. All are what make my son the dynamic little toddler that he is.

Parents of toddlers, this shit is not easy! So next time you see a parent in the store with a wild child, walk by and say, I totally get it! You are doing a great job.  The one thing that will make this phase easier is if we encourage each other, judge less and most of all, know that we are truly doing the best we can and this too shall pass... to adolescents where I hear things really get interesting... 

Read more ...

Aug 21, 2014

24/7 Toddler-ing Madness

As most of you know, I have Ollie in a "Mother's Day Out" program twice a week on Monday's and Wednesdays. He goes from 9-1 and it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!!!  Well, what you all don't know, because it's so hard for me to talk about is... The program shuts down for three weeks in August to completely clean the place, train teachers and prepare for the year. My friends, Ollie has been home, with me, since August 1st. He goes back August 25, or next Monday.

I'm not sure if I will make it...

Over the last three weeks of 24/7 toddler-ing I have learned few things:

1. Those two days a week, make such a difference for me. I can get things done, take a breath, call a friend, have lunch, do what I want without a crazy kid in the middle.   I have NO IDEA how full-time stay-at-home-moms of one and especially multiples do it.  If NEED my time. (I cannot recommend a Parents Day Out program enough!  We go to the church a couple of blocks away and LOVE IT!  Call the closest church, and schedule a visit.)

2. My kid is full throttle 24/7 and learning and growing everyday, right before my eyes. Some things are awesome, some are annoying...

Being that we have been together 24/7 I am noticing all of his changes, manners and that, without fail, if I say NO or don't do that, he gets gitty with excitement and does it... and that's not where the fun ends...

Lately, he is a talking machine. If he's not talking, he is singing. His vocabulary is fantastic, and for most everything he can communicate what he wants/ needs. But here is the kicker... He sounds Australian. Yes, FTD has managed to pull it off. For example, Ollie says, "Caaaaaa" instead of "car". I drew the line when I caught FTD teaching Ollie that "Z" is really "Zed."

Potty training is on his terms.  Some days, he is all about it. Others, not so much. I always ask, but don't pressure him. I was hoping to be out of diapers by now, but I'm thinking a couple more months, then push for it.

Toddler Tantrums are regular occurrences and from hell. Ugh. Just about anything will set him off. The level of freak out usually depends on how tired he is. Tired=Armageddon

Some of my other observations are...
  • He is obsessed with cars, car washes, trucks, butts, and getting in trouble.
  • He thinks he is the boss.
  • He announces what he is doing and thinking and needs. There are no boundaries or filters to what he will say.
  • He is constantly in the refrigerator and freezer looking for snacks. SUCKS!
  • He is doing this baby talk thing lately. SO ANNOYING!
  • He can sing all of the ad jingles on YouTube because I am a stellar parent. (Think: Wayfarer)
  • He still loves Mickey Mouse clubhouse. but will not watch more than 5 solid minutes of TV before running off to find a toy or trouble.
  • He loves to ride his tricycle... halfway on our walk then have me hold him and the tricycle the other half.
  • He is still a picky eater, but I'm thankful that I can get him to eat most any fruits, and a few veggies.
  • He loves to cuddle again. Which is awesome! 
  • He sucks at staying in his bed all night. SUCKS!
  • It's dance party all day everyday. Sometimes he doesn't even need a beat. He just sings and dances.
  • He has WAY too many toys, but somehow manages to play with each one daily.  I think it has something to do with the 10-second toddler attention span.  He can get through a toy box in 5-minutes.
  • He can run fast, climb high and jump on and off of everything. The kid is a heart attack to take to a jungle gym. 
  • He naps at noon and goes to sleep at 8:30... in a perfect world. It's more like give or take and hour... of me begging him to go to sleep!
  • He LOVES to color and make things. We have arts and crafts every day.
  • The kid is an absolutely adorable go-go-go independent brilliant pain-in-the-ass, and I could not be more thankful and blessed for this time I have with my bad ass toddler.

Read more ...

Aug 19, 2014

BB Blocks: A Super Cute Way To Document Your Child's Milestones... #Giveaway

I received a set of BB Blocks to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own.

Something I have always regreted is not getting professional photos taken of Ollie when he was a newborn. I love those photos, and hate that I don't have my own. I know. Horrible right?  Still, it's not like I haven't personally taken four zillion photos of him since the day he was born. Still, none are great posed milestone shots. My neighbor just took her son to have his "3-year photos taken." The way she told me it sounded like, thats a normal thing for parents to do. Like, go get his 3-year flu shot. I just nodded, like, Oh yeah, the 3-year photos... 

Should I be having regular milestone photos? I download the photos I've taken of him regularly, but... well... I have only printed out a few. Is there something wrong with me? Should I be documenting with regular photo shoots?  Because, if so, crap!  I don;'t have the time or money for all of that.  But thankfully, now that I have these super cute BB BLOCKS, I can fake it tip I make it. Check this out...

Tell me that is not the face of a two year old devising his next round of mischievous toddler terrorizing! So cute.

The blocks are great to have around for playdates and sibling group shots and relatives. I've learned to leave the BB Blocks out so they are quickly accessible for a playdate photo bomb.

Each set comes with one larger block with "Weeks"- "Months- "Years"  and the two small blocks are numbered 0-9.

There are three different color schemes to chose from: Cotton Candy, Woodlands and Bold.  I have Bold.

If you want to document the whole family and need more than two blocks, you can also buy extra blocks separately. 

Want to get your hands on BB Blocks right now?  Good news, you can find them at a store near you!  To find a retail location for BB Blocks, or to order online, CLICK HERE.

Want to try your luck at winning a set?  Sign up below!

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Aug 18, 2014

10 Sanity Saving Parenting Tips

For the billionth time, Parenting is so hard. Thankfully, the good times outweigh the trying ones, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a 24/7 365 job, that's constantly changing. Once you become a parent, "dull days" cease to exist. They are replaced with emotional roller coaster rides that grab you by the heart, and then take you and your patience to the ends of the earth and back.

During my short time so far as a first-time parent, I have learned valuable lessons the hard way that have led to rules I now parent by. Below are 10 that help me maintain my sanity (for the most part) on a daily basis.

1. Laugh at yourself- First and foremost, Laugh. Parenting is hard enough, if you don't find the humor in it, you will go bat shit by the end of the first 6-weeks.

2. Laugh at your child- Kids are hysterical, laugh at them. Most of all, laugh with them.

3. Forgive yourself- There is no such thing as the perfect parent. No. Such. Thing. We all make mistakes. If at first you don't succeed... you will eventually.

4. Forgive your child. Those little shits... mean well. Just like us, kids make mistakes too. It's part of life. For little ones, life is all about trying new things and testing limits. They are bound to screw up a few (hundred) times.

5. The Joneses are assholes- Damn those Joneses trying to set standards and pass judgements. Pay no attention to the talking heads, they don't know you or your child.

6.  Your instinct is right, listen to it. Mom. Dad. Listen to your inner parent, it knows what's best. Don't let someone or some book make you think otherwise. Start with your instinct, then go from there.

7. The "Right Way" is the way that works for your family. Your family is the new normal. Don't let a book tell you your instinct is wrong. You know your child(ren) better than anyone else, work within those bounds.

8. Say I love you and hug your family everyday. Who doesn't love a little acknowledgement and affection? I know kids especially do. So give it to them. Make there be no question just how loved they are.

9. The dishes can wait. Don't sacrifice your family time. Take the time to be with your family now, because tomorrow is not promised. Besides, the dishes will always be there.

10. Love every second and every stage because when they pass, you will miss them dearly. Yes, even the really annoying stages. Everyday goes by so fast, try to remember and document as much as possible.

What are your parenting rules for staying semi-sane?
Read more ...

Aug 17, 2014

Parenting Fail: I Sort Toys... Everyday.

My name is April, and I'm a compulsive organizer and... I sort toys everyday. I have been doing it for about three years--Since before my son was born. Sometimes twice a day. I know what I'm doing is wrong, because when it comes to organizing a toddler's anything, it's pointless, but I can't help it, I LOVE ORDER! My friends, I hope making this confession today will be the first step to healing from this dumbassery.

This is what I do every night so I can sleep.
Each bin organized by toy type--
Books, Cars, Balls, Tracks, People, Animals, Musical Instruments...
It's a sickness.

I love organizing.  I love everything to have it's own place, and be in it. I love order, light, fresh air and simplicity. My toddler, however, only seems to like three of the four; order doesn't mean jack shit to him. He could care less if his car was in the car bin, or the people bin. I know, because when we have clean up time before nap time, he puts things wherever he wants.

It's a vicious cycle.
I sort. He destroys it.
Rinse. Repeat.
Every night, I go around the house with a laundry basket and pick up all of the toys at once, then sort them into their respective toy bin. Hours I have wasted doing this. HOURS. Being that I have been doing this sorting and resorting business since I was pregnant (FTD played with Ollie's toys before Ollie could), you'd think I'd know by now how pointless it is. I'm actually not sure which is worse, my compulsive sorting, or a two year old having so many damn toys that they need to be sorted. Especially because he can get hours of entertainment out of a cardboard box. 
FTD made him a car wash out of an old box.
He plays with it more than any other toy.
 He drives ALL of his cars through it a few times a day.
It's safe to say this cardboard box get more play than any other toy.
I have wasted so many hours of my life on this sorting dumbassery. And for what? My own happiness? Mr. Jack Shit Toddler, clearly couldn't care less. As much as I'm trying to teach him to get with the program, I know I'm asking a lot of a toddler. 

I need to let go of my chronic sorting... for now.

At least the every night business... 

I've got to learn to be happy with the fact the toys end up in any bin at the end of the day. The sun will still come up tomorrow, and the toddler will still wreck the joint. Sorting changes nothing. 

Who has time for all that resorting nonsense?

I know what Sweet Brown would say...     

Are you a chronic sorter too?
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Aug 14, 2014

First Time Homeowner Fail: I Called The Tree Police On Myself.

Being that I'm a fairly new first-time homeowner of a very old house, I'm having to learn some lessons about homeownershit the hard way. Like...

1. The home warranty people live to nickel and dime and annoy you.
2. A good plumber and electrician are hard to find and expensive as hell.
3. Bills are scary, and keep you up at night, so a good budget is key.
4. Owning a home on a corner lot in a desirable zip code with it's own garden tour is a lot of pressure, including from the city, which I just learned the hard way when I called the tree police on myself... by accident of course.

Our hundred year old home sits on the corner of a beautiful street lined by MASSIVE trees.  According to my neighbors, they were planted by the city and are about 40-50 years old. Some are in better shape than others, but for the most part they are uniform and lovely.  I have two on my property.

Our home is also located a couple of blocks from a middle school, and since school has been back in session, our sidewalk has become a kid highway in the morning and afternoon. One of the trees along the road is FULL of deadwood, and drops a few large branches every time the wind blows. Worried about the safety of the kid highway, I called the council, and said, Your trees by my house are full of deadwood, so you need to come deal with this hazard to children, ASAP!  

The council lady told me that she would put in the report, but that it was possible that even though the city planted the tree, I would be responsible for it since it's on my property. I explained that tree was sitting on the road, on the other side of the sidewalk from my house, and that I was sure it was the city's problem. Not mine...



The city arborist came out, looked at the tree and then got back in his truck. I went out to see what his plan for the tree was, and are you ready for this...

He gave ME a Citation!!



He told me that the tree was my responsibility, and that he wrote me a citation to have the deadwood removed, and would put in for a permit so the tree service that removes the deadwood can close half the street.


Citation? Permit? Tree Service? My problem?

He told me I had thirty days to get the tree taken care of, then he would come back and check it out and if it looked good, remove the citation.
Thankfully, it's not a huge amount of deadwood, and most of it has already fallen to the lower branches. 

Of course, I asked the million dollar question... Am I getting a fine or do I have to pay for this permit?

The arborist told me that there would be no fine, and that I just needed to have the deadwood removed and that was all I had to do.  The rest he would do.

I just looked at him and said, So I basically just called the tree police on myself?

Arborist: Yes, ma'am. You sure did. But don't worry, just get the deadwood removed and care for the tree and this will likely be the last time you see me.  Unless your sidewalk becomes a trip hazard.  

Oh. shit. Not the sidewalk too?

Arborist:  The sidewalk is the city's problem, so if the sidewalk becomes raised by 5 inches from over growth due to the roots of the tree, the city will come out and fix the sidewalk, but you would have to remove the tree first. 


So, now I have to make FTD climb a ladder and remove deadwood from the tree. No freaking way am I hiring a service!  It's bad enough I called the tree police on myself, I'm not adding a costly insult to my injury!  Besides, I have faith that FTD will do a fabulous job...

Lesson #444 from the first-time homeowners in the hundred year old house on a corner lot in the urban jungle: Don't call the council on yourself, call on your neighbors only. 

Want to know and see more about the 1920's fixer-upper, the renovations we have done so far, and the things we have learned?  Check out these other posts....
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Toddler Bed Update: It Sucks, I'm Buying A Real Bed.

The toddler bed is complete crap.  I mean crap to a level of having no more use in my toddler's room than a pile of crap. It's been almost two months since FTD drug the pile of crap into our house, and I told him then it was going to suck, and again everyday since. Ollie has not slept in his bed from start to finish more than three nights. At least TWICE a night, I am woken up by either the creepy toddler stare calling my name from the side of the bed, or him doing a really crap job of trying to sneak into the bed.  Everytime, I carry him back to his bed, most times with much protest. SUCKS!  I'm officially doing what I should have done in the first place, buying a twin bed. It turns out, I need a place to sleep now.

That stupid toddler bed has done nothing but wreak havoc on the nightly sleep routine in my house. I knew moving Ollie from his crib to a toddler bed would be a challenge, at first. I just had no idea that after two months of taking Ollie back to his bed every single time he got out of it, would do absolutely nothing to keep him in it...

Every night the madness starts at bedtime with Ollie INSISTING on me cuddling with him in the bed. "Mommy, feets up!" Take another look at that bed, does it look like I fit? Hell no! Does Ollie understand that? Hell no! So what do I do? What every other parent does in that situation, I do what ever it takes to get my kid to go to sleep... I do my best to get at least half of my body on the bed. Then, to make matters worse, Ollie also insists on cuddling with our cheeks touching and his arm around my neck in a 'sleeper' death hold, so the minute I try to sneak away, he can tighten down on me.

I do this with him every night, sometimes for up to 15 minutes. FAIL!

Then, as if cuddling in a screwed up contorted way for 15 minutes every night is not bad enough, within a few hours, Ollie is up and down all night. This means, I am up and down all night. Which leads to FTD getting bitched at every morning. Even the cat is annoyed! But, I had been warned so many times not to let him in the bed, that I was diligent about taking him back to his bed every freaking time! Did it ever work? NO! He still got back up an hour or so later.

So, two weeks ago, in an effort to stop some of the wakings, I let him stay in bed with us when I was either too tired to take him back to his crap bed, or it was after 5am, and I was afraid he would stay awake if I carried him back kicking and screaming. I decided doing that was a survival tactic, so it was OK.

But now this is pretty much what goes on in my bed EVERY NIGHT...
Letting him in the bed is nowhere near were the fail ends... after an hour of getting kicked and headbutted repeatedly, or just kicked off the bed, I go get in the toddler bed.

Yes, I get in the damn bed.

My legs hang off, my head is bigger than his toddler pillow, the blanket barely big enough to cover half of my body... Whatever, I go to sleep, and that's what matters. So what if I wake up in pain, and barely rested, it's still a better alternative to the kicks and headbutts. On the nights that I have the energy, I drag the damn toddler mattress on to the floor. It still doesn't change the fact that I am too big, and it sucks!

I know what you are thinking... Get a gate, lock the door, grow some balls, who's in charge...  Fair enough. But, I think I am just going to go with buying a twin bed, so I have somewhere comfortable to go at two in the morning...

I was warned that toddler beds were a waste of money, and I have to agree. Buying a big bed is inevitable, why not just buy one now? I told FTD that in the beginning, but since we were given the toddler bed, he took it.  FTD promised it would be OK.  He was POSITIVE Ollie was ready. My friends, this may be one of the first times ever that I am NOT glad that I was right and FTD was wrong.

I'll let you know how the twin bed goes...

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