5/31/14

YAY!! The Pools Are Open! #LittleSwimmers #Huggies #Giveaway

This post has been brought to you by Huggies, but that's all, the story is all about me, so of course all opinions are my own!

Yay, it's Memorial Day! I love this national holiday for so many reasons. Of course, first and foremost, it is a day that Americans come together to remember the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. Not only do I think of the fallen soldiers on this day, I think of their family members too. I want them to know that their lives were not lost in vein. I am raising my son in a beautiful, safe and free country because of those who fight on the front lines to keep it that way. 

The other reason I love Memorial day is because, to me, it is the kick-off to summer! I know after Memorial Day weekend, I can garden without fear of frost, I can wear dresses and sandals non-stop, and... and... THE POOLS OPEN!!!! Memorial day is also the national day of pools opening. 

This is the first year since getting pregnant that I am excited about the pools opening for two reasons.

1. My rather plump post-pregnancy bottom is finally not so plump.
2. It's time to teach the toddler to swim.  

I am so excited about teaching Ollie to swim.  I grew up near the ocean and so did FTD, so we both learned to swim at a very young age. We want the same for Ollie. Truth be told, if we still lived near the ocean, I would have had Ollie in swim lessons by now. But, since we do not have a pool or ocean in our backyard, I have not made it a top priority.

Last summer, Ollie was just a little over one and happy to run wild through the sprinklers at the park and zoo splash pad. This summer, the boy is nearly two-and-a-half and needs to learn to swim.  And since he is still in diapers, that means we need to wear swim diapers. (Yes, it's time for a shameless plug, but hey, there is an AWESOME giveaway to go with it!) 



I remember when I first took Ollie to the mini water park at the zoo. A friend and I met to take our littles to the zoo, and since it was such a hot day we decided after we got there to let them run around in the toddler sprinkler area. My girlfriend immediately whipped out a swim diaper. I asked her if they were really necessary.  --You know me, the constantly confused first-time mom.--  She said they were great because they keep the water out. Meaning, your child doesn't look like it's carrying around a super load in their diaper.... like my kid looked like after 10-seconds in the splash pad sprinklers... 




Needless-to-say, now that it's pool and sprinkler season, I will be keeping a couple of Huggie's Little Swimmer diapers on hand for those impromptu pool and sprinkler trips. 


·         Easy Open Sides that make removing the swim pant easier and provides easy disposal
·         Special leak guards made for water help protect against a mess
·         Stretchy sides for a comfortable fit, in and out of the water.
Speaking of trips to the pool, have you taught your little one to swim yet? Are you/did you spring for professional swim lessons, or teach your little one to swim yourself? I would LOVE to hear your stories!

Oh and... Good news! Huggies wants to make sure one lucky reader is fully prepared for those impromptu trips to the pool and sprinkler too, with a super Little Swimmers prize pack! Sign up below!


Includes:
One Pack of Little Swimmers Diaper
Hooded towel set
Bath toys
Arm Floaties




I May Be A Mother, But That Doesn't Mean I Am A Super Hero. OK. Maybe It Does...

As far back as I can remember my mom always had a smile on her face, except, of course, when either I or one of my siblings were naughty. She always had a positive attitude and encouraging words. That's what good moms do, stay positive and maintain their smile and composure. Looking back, I don't know how she did it as a single mother of three. I only have one little one, and I still have a terrible time somedays keeping a smile on my face when life knocks me down. Still, I do. It's a mom thing I guess, because prior to becoming a mom I would sob like a baby and complain to anyone in earshot.



Between the recent purchase of our new home, the renovations and the intense process of moving, every single hot button I have has been pushed. I stress about the new bills, I ache from head to toe from renovating and now moving, and am so tired from the nonstop of it all, that even my yawns are yawing! Still, I make sure that Ollie sees a happy mommy, three meals a day with snacks, a bath and has a room that he can enjoy playing and sleeping in, because at the end of the day, that is what matters most to me.

His room was the only room completely finished when we moved it. 
OH and FYI: I did tear up a little when we said goodbye to his first room.  Ollie on the other hand was like, Peace Out room!


Sorry, back to having super powers...

Since becoming a mother, I've noticed how my patience and ability to press on and stay positive has increased exponentially. But it was this move and the tests that came along with it, that made me realize just how much stronger I am. It's no longer a question of "if" I can do it, it's just "do it!" Full Stop.  If something needs to be done, I do it.  If it sucks, so be it, I do it.  If I have to work into the wee hours of morning to finish it, so be it, I do it.  And what's more, I haven't had many pity parties, but rather moments of "Hell yes, I am on it, I can do it!" I am celebrating my new found super powers.  I am proud that when I think I cannot go on, I do.

I feel good.  I feel empowered.  I feel like an amazing mother.  I fell like I can do anything I put my mind too. It's a wonderful feeling, and I know I have becoming a parent to thank for that.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go move a mountain... of clothes, toys and other assorted crap into their place in our new home.






Headleveler Pillows: Customize Your Family's Perfect Night's Sleep (#Giveaway US & CAN)

I was provided with a free product to facilitate this review. All Opinions are my own. As if! 


As a belly sleeper, in an attempt to find the perfect night's sleep, I have tried hundreds of pillows. You know, the pillow that does not leave me with a sore back, neck and eyes that won't fully open, no matter how much coffee I consume. I've tried every, "As Seen On TV," pillow and even once this $120 super gusset pillow that was supposed to be the best ever-- It broke down in a couple of months and was one of the worst ever! Thankfully, I have finally found the perfect pillow, and it's not some super fancy memory foam and ridiculously priced. Just very well designed and made... and for under $100! Headleveler Pillows are custom made pillows to contour YOUR head, neck and shoulders, and they are SUPER affordable! (I'm on my third month sleeping on one, and it's still like the day I got it!)


When I was contacted by the Headleveler company to conduct a review, I was skeptical of this perfect, "Made To Measure Pillow." After all, I had been through hundreds of perfect pillows, and was sure the perfect pillow did not exist. Especially, when I was still sleeping on a less than perfect mattress. Still, I was curious, so I said, OK.  Then, what happened next was... well... personal...


I was sent an email with the following questions...

Could you please provide me with the following information so that I can send you the proper thickness for your pillow.  Here are the questions:

Height:
Weight:
Do you have wide or average shoulders?
Do you sleep mostly on your back or your side?
Do you have a pillow-top mattress (foam on top of spring mattress)?
What type of pillow are you currently using?  (i.e. ordinary pillow, foam pillow, thick, thin)

WHAT? You want to know, WHAT? Even I don't know my weight. No one should!

Desperate for a good night's sleep, I walked my plump bottom into the bathroom and climbed on the evil thing... I replied with my answers to the questions and then answered the ones asked for Ollie.

That's right, this review is not only about me... it's about how Headleveler pillows are custom made pillows for kids too! 

A week or so after sending my unspeakable numbers, the perfect pillow for Ollie and I arrived.  Pillows like I have never seen... They had three clearly defined sections, and each was a different size than the next. Baffled, by the baffles... I read the information sheet that came with the pillows.



I turns out, each section is independent of the next, and custom designed different part of your body--to ensure perfect alignment when sleeping!  Very Cool. Now, I see why my height, weight and other info were needed.

You, all. WOW! And for men, this is the pillow that stops snoring... I know this because FTD keeps taking mine from me. And as a testament to the pillows, I take t back because I sleep so well and deeply, that I can't be bothered but the freight train  snoring. I told him if he left it alone, I would get him one for Father's Day.  Seeing as how mine was made for me, not, 6'1 and lots more pounds than me, him!

FYI: Headlever or "Ortho-Cerv" Pillows, have been around for 25-years now and are 100% made in Canada, from materials to production. No need to worry that your child's pillow has been sitting in a container floating across an ocean for the past 3-months... Currently,  Headleveler pillows are sold all over Canada and the US in orthopedic stores, and are recommended by medical professionals (In both Canada and the US!) to those undergoing physical therapy, and for athletes too!

OK!  Enough about the adults, on to the kids...

When the granddaughter of the inventor of the Headleveler pillow moved from a crib to a toddler bed, her mother had a horrible time finding a child sized pillow for her daughter. Especially, one that offered support AND was hypoallergenic AND machine washable AND not massive on her toddler bed... So, the mini-me "Junior" Headleveler was created!



 They are the cutest little pillows, with custom made pillow cases. Ollie LOVES his!


The main thing I love the most about this pillow, is that it is sturdy and contoured for my little one's little neck. I also like that the pillow is not squishy. I know he is a big boy now and all, but, I still won't let him have super squishy stuffed animals or pillows. It makes me nervous. Plus, the Headleveler pillows fits nicely into the washing machine, which is handy when a toddler is involved.

Ollie's favorite part is having a pillow like mommy and daddy.  I know, he says it; "Ollie's pillow, like mommy and daddy."

Currently, there are two children's pillows available:

Junior Small--for a 20-35 pound child
Junior Large--for a 35-50 pound child

To comply with safety guidelines, Headleaveler pillows are not recommended for children who are still in cribs...


Bottom Line: These pillows are the goods. I can also say, (in a week or two) my whole family sleeps on them.  (Happy early Father's Day, FTD!) I absolutely LOVE how at the end of the day, when I lay down, I actually feel the stress come off my spine and neck. I melt into the pillow and my bed comfortably.  Seriously, it's NO BS! I really really really love theses pillows, and I have NO doubt you will too!

If you order right now, First Time mom & Dad readers get free shipping through the end of the month of May. Use promo code: "MomDad1" at check out. And that's not all!!!  If you order now, you get a free custom fit pillow case for your child's pillow!  To get started now, CLICK HERE!

Felling lucky?  Sign up below for your chance to win a Junior Pillow for your little one!  TWO will win!!







5/30/14

My Toddler Has A Raging Case of Selective Hearing

The older my toddler gets, the more amazing and fun...and annoying... he is. Now, at the ripe age of two-yearsand four-months, he can hold a conversation, ask questions, make jokes, sing songs, recognize numbers, letters, shapes and colors, and a few other things that clearly show he is brilliant, but what's really amazing about all of that, is that he managed to learn it all with ears that appear to only let in about 10% of sound. Or at least that's how much of what I say to him appears to be heard.

The biggest slap in the face is that sometimes my kid acts like a complete fool just to see how I will react. Is he already so bored with life and his plethora of toys, that to find amusement he has to mess with me?

Ollie, don't you dare pull that plug...
Huh? What, Mommy?

It absolutely blows my mind how toddlers have this inherent need to test limits... Over and over and over...

For example, my toddler has this thing about getting into a car that drives me CRAZY! Here is how it plays out... when we leave the house to go to the car, he darts to the yard and runs around until, after plenty of bargaining and threats, I have to run after him and catch him, or, knowing it will be an issue, I carry him from the house to the car, while he kicks and screams like I am trying to kidnap him. EVERY DAMN TIME! Then once I have him in the car we have the same talk about how that behavior is naughty, and that I am very disappointed. Then I make one threat or another about no park or toys. He could care less, he already had his fun. By now, he knows better, but apparently would rather get in trouble than listen.

Other things that I say regularly that do not appear to be heard are...

  • Stop slamming the door.
  • Don't you dare run away from me.
  • Stop chasing the cat.
  • STOP! (In general)
  • Don't throw your toys.
  • Pick that toy up.
  • GET DOWN NOW!
  • If you behave in the store then...
  • Eat your vegetables.
  • Please don't throw your food at the cat.
  • Please stop driving your car into me/the door/the wall...
  • You have to wear pants and a shirt.
  • You cannot go outside without your shoes on.
  • Lay still your are going to get poop everywhere.
  • GO TO SLEEP!


Really the list goes on, but I am sure you get the idea.

Now, for the list of things he never fails to hear...


  • Do you want a cookie/ice cream/cupcake?
  • Do you want to go shopping?
  • Do you want to make a choo choo track?
  • Wanna go for a walk?
  • Wanna go to the park?
  • What do you want to eat for dinner? (Not that he is going to eat it.)
  • Bob the Builder is on!


Clearly, there is a pattern here-- If it's awesome he hears it, if it it's not awesome, forget it. 


Damn the terrible twos... I feel like I am a broken record stuck on saying "NO!" and "Dammit why me?" I keep trying to charge my childless neighbors for the birth control I provide on a daily basis.  I'm pretty sure they hear us coming and run to the window to watch the comedy show unfold.


As much as I want to say, this too shall pass, I know this selective hearing pattern all too well, I followed it as a kid... My mom finally broke the pattern when I was old enough to understand that if I didn't listen, I would lose my Nintendo for a week. I sure did listen up when the thought of not saving the princess was on the line.


I cannot wait until the day comes when that kid finally understands that I control who saves the princess and when.



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5/28/14

The Best Sunscreens Of 2014 Are In. Did Your Favorite Make The List?

Thanks to a family history of skin cancer, and a few scares of my own, I am extra cautions when it comes to protecting my son from the sun's rays. Some of you may remember the umbrella stroller trick from when Ollie was still to young for sunscreen... 

I don't care if it looked silly, my kid was cool and safe!

Everyday without fail when I know Ollie will have an opportunity for prolonged sun exposure, I cover him in sunscreen, 15-30 minutes before we go outside. I want to make sure he understands from a very young age that putting on sunscreen is essential before going outside to play. 

Of course, while I am a huge advocate for avoiding prolonged sun exposure all together, I know that is not always easy during the summer months. In fact, I LOVE being outside, and so does Ollie, so I make sure I take the necessary steps to make our fun-in-the-sun safe! 

1. Wear Sunscreen--reapplying as needed
2. Wear a hat and sunglasses
3. Stay in the shade whenever possible
4. STAY HYDRATED!!!! 


Here are some tips from HealthyChildren.org on the best way to protect your child in the sun.

·  Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, umbrella, or the stroller canopy.
·  When possible, dress yourself and your kids in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, like lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats.  
·  Select clothes made with a tight weave - they protect better than clothes with a looser weave. If you’re not sure how tight a fabric’s weave is, hold it up to see how much light shines through. The less light, the better.
·  Wear a hat or cap with a brim that faces forward to shield the face.
·  Limit your sun exposure between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, when UV rays are strongest.
·  Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection (look for child-sized sunglasses with UV protection for your child).
·  Use sunscreen.


FUN FACT: When it comes to choosing the right sunscreen, The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:
  • Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays).
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or greater.
  • Water resistance.

We all know using a really good sunscreen is the key to safe fun in the sun, but do we all know the difference between, "best" and "safest"? Just because it says, SPF 55, it doesn't mean it is safe to use on your child's sensitive skin. To find the best and safest sun care products for my family, I turn to the EnvironmentalWorking Group. For those of you who do not know, The Environmental Working Group, is the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization. Their mission is to "Serve as a watchdog to see that Americans get straight facts, unfiltered and unspun, so they can make healthier choices and enjoy a cleaner environment." 

Each year, the EWG does a study of over a thousand sunscreen products available on the American market. The products are rated on five factors encompassing overall ingredient safety and product efficacy in providing sun protection, then given a rating from zero to five. This year, only 149 products passed the test, with only a few getting the top honors of a 0-2 low hazard rating.  

To see if your favorite sunscreen made the list of the best sunscreens of 2014, CLICK HERE!






5/27/14

We've Moved! In Other Related News... I think FTD is a hoarder... and my kid has WAY too much crap!

We did it. We finally moved!  Well, we moved the majority of of our stuff... 


In the last three days I have learned two valuable lessons:

1. Moving=The fastest way to realize just how much unnecessary crap you have.
2. Home Ownership= Bills, Bills, Bills...

Ok, one more thing..

3.Moving from a shoebox apartment into a new house=AWESOMENESS!!!! 

You all, even after hiring movers, and filing the rather large truck full of stuff, we still had a quarter of our stuff left to move! 

HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? 

I'll tell you how.

My kid has WAY too much stuff.  

And FTD has too many shirts.  

And me, well... I may have a few too many shoes dresses books things too. 

Nonetheless, we are on night three in our new house!

How is that going you ask? It's going... 

The first night, not a damn one of us slept. Ollie was up and down, Professor (a.k.a "the Bloody Cat" was up yelling and meowing THE WHOLE FREAKING night. FTD was crazed. I was crazed... it sucked. 

Night two, pretty much the same thing, except FTD ran to the basement to the peace of his old faithful couch and slept well.  So when Ollie was up at the ass-crack of dawn, I sent him and Professor down to the basement to find daddy, and slept in. 




Ready for another night of pure ridiculousness, I made up the bed in the guest bedroom, (a blow up camping bed) and told FTD he could go there if Ollie comes into bed. I settled in to bed early, ready for round three of crappy night sleep.  Sure enough, since I was prepared, Ollie stayed in his bed and Professor didn't make a peep. #ThankYouGod

Feeling good tonight, I decided to tackle the stack of mail I had been neglecting over the past week preparing for the move. Half way through the stack, I was ready to throw up.  It was bill after bill after bill, and in between one company or another trying to sell us insurance or some other house related thing. Apparently, home ownership comes with a daunting amout of bills too.  And scary ones, like mortgage, water, electric/gas, cable, mortgage, renovation costs, a plumber--thanks to our first leak, home warranty insurance, mortgage... I'm seriously freaking out.

Of course, FTD and I ran the numbers over and over before buying the house, but the unknowns and stack of bills are still scary as hell.  I swear,  becoming a grown-up is one of the dumbest damn things I have ever done...

For those of you who are wondering about how the renovations are coming along... Swimmingly. They are coming along swimmingly! 


You can now call FTD the Mud/Spackle King
Ollie's room was a big one.  His floors were so wrecked from glue and crap we decided to lay a floating wood laminate floor over them until we had the time, money and energy to attack them. 



From the paint to the floors, I am SO pleased!!!

I bought a wallpaper steamer contraption to finish off the walls in four rooms and a hallway... I'm only a few rooms in now... and the yard is coming along nicely too! 

It took us two weeks of ass-busting work to finally realize we were not going to finish before we needed to move in, and to start a priority list and budget so we can set realistic goals. For now, we are happy with the extra space and fabulous neighbors. The rest will come in time...


Next up... the tiny pink potty.
Why yes, that is louver door you see...
Ugh...



5/21/14

Five Fun Summer Date Night Ideas for Busy Parents

(Due to the popularity of my post, The One Thing All Parents Should Have, about the importance of date night, I am posting this fabulous guest post that has some really great date night ideas! I personally love the idea of a blanket in the backyard stargazing... after a fabulous dinner out of course... ENJOY!)

FTD and I watching the sunset in OZ.
Magic.
 
It’s almost the end of spring. Soon, the kids will be out of school, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to cut back on date nights with your spouse. On the contrary, there are several simple, yet fun date night ideas to tackle during the summer months; all you need is a babysitter and a couple hours of free time:


Picnic & Concert in the Park
As the days get warmer, more and more cities are opening their seasonal, outdoor music and arts performances and festivals. Depending on where you live, you might be able to attend weekly concerts in the park or a food festival in your downtown district. Things to do vary from city to city, but you and your spouse should take advantage of community events, especially if they’re free of charge. For example, packing a picnic and going to a concert in the park can be a fun way to spend a couple of hours on a weeknight without getting home too late. Some cities also offer outdoor dances, so be sure to check your city’s website for upcoming events.

Moonlight Kayaking
If you live near the ocean, a river, or a lake, then there’s probably a kayaking company in the proximity and if you’re lucky, they might offer moonlight kayaking. What could be more romantic than cruising along the calm, moonlit water in a tandem kayak with your spouse? Of course, if you don’t own your own kayaks, then this is probably the most expensive date night option on this list. No worries, however: daily deals sites like Groupon and couponing websites like SumoCoupon routinely offer discounts on local water sports (including kayaking) so be sure to keep your eyes out for limited-time deals.

County Fair
Who said the fair is just for kids? Sure, bringing the kids during the day can be a blast for the whole family, but if you want to go on a date with just your husband or wife, then a night at the fair might be what you’re looking for. County fairs usually offer musical performances in the evenings – oftentimes “older” music that your Bieber or One Direction-loving kids might not care for – and you can partake in the rides and food and other fair activities while someone else watches your kids at home because tonight, it’s all about you two.

Drive-In Movie
Think drive-in movie theaters aren’t around anymore? Think again. Drive-ins.com lists thousands of drive-in theaters around the country and there might be one near you. It may be too hot to going out during the day, but as the cooler evening comes around, pack up some popcorn and adult beverages of your choice and watch a movie with your spouse from the comfort of your own car.

Stargazing

For parents who can’t find a babysitter or don’t want to stray too far from home, stargazing from your own balcony or backyard can be a fascinating – and romantic – way to spend the evening. This date night requires telescope, or at the very minimum, an app to tell you which stars are where. If you live in a metro area with heavy light pollution from the city, then this might not work, but otherwise, stargazing – along with desserts and decaf coffee – can be a great way to not only relax after a busy day, but also take in the wonders of the Milky Way Galaxy with your spouse.


What is your favorite date night?

5/19/14

Do You Know Why Wallpaper Is Called, Wallpaper? #DIY

Wallpaper is called wallpaper because, shit, was taken. It appears that, headache, ridiculous, stupid, unnecessary, horrible, frustrating, hateful, and complete crap was taken as well, so the evil genius who invented the shit had to settle on, Wallpaper. 


I think that looks like the hand of Satan.
It is the wallpaper from hell after all...
Fine... Wallpaper is not complete shit, but it sure is when you are trying to peel it off a wall. And well... I suppose it may have a place in homes with really screwed up walls, but for the purposes of this post, I will be referring to it as, 100% unnecessary, shit!  (If you are really interested in knowing the history on Wallpaper, there is a link at the bottom of this post. FYI: Wallpaper dates back to the 1500's!) 

When I first walked into our new house, the wallpaper didn't bother me. I thought, Eh, wallpaper, whatever, I can handle that junk! I'll just peel it off, no problem.  WRONG!  


The shit is EVERYWHERE!
The first day after closing, when FTD and I started renovations, I found a tiny little piece of wallpaper peeling off, so I grabbed it and ripped it off the wall. To my surprise and delight, it came off really well! So I found another piece and pulled it, but this time it barely came off. Uh, Oh...


It got ugly when I turned the corner...


FOUR DAYS LATER!!!!!  

I have gone through all kinds of methods to remove that awful shit! 

I have tried the following:

1. Peeling with just my bare hands and a paint scrapper-Day 1 FAIL! (See above photo)

2. Fabric Softener picked up at the dollar store mixed with water in a spray bottle- Day 2 EPIC FAIL! 
(See hand of Satan photo above, I created it with the cheap fabric softener.)

3. Expensive Downy fabric softener mixed with HOT water- Day 3 Fail (See photo below)

4. A Wallpaper remover steamer contraption- Day 4 SCORE!!!  Game-freaking-changer!!


Clearly, I am not messing around with that shit anymore. 
During my fails, I soaked my beautiful hardwood floors in fabric softener, I nearly glued my fingers together wiping glue off the paint scrapper with my bare hands, got a nasty blister from the constant scrapping with the paint scraper, and peeled the rouge pieces of wet wallpaper off the hardwood floors to find stains from it. See, it's SHIT! When I finally couldn't take it anymore, I broke down and bought a wallpaper steamer to get the damn shit off the walls. 

There should be a rule that, if you put up the shit, you have to take the shit down!

TIP:  When buying a large item from a hardware store, go to the website, find the item and see if you can buy it online then pick it up in the store, then search coupon sites for coupon codes and enter them in at checkout. I saved $10 on my Wallpaper steamer! 

As soon as I got home with the wallpaper steamer, I filled it full of water and let it sit for 15-20 minutes to heat up.  While I was waiting, I scored the crap out of the walls to help the steam get to the glue.  Then once the steamer was ready, I held it on the wall... OH. MY. Goodness! That steamer was an instant game changer.  INSTANT!  

I was so amazed. I held the little square thing in place on the wall for about 30 seconds, then EASILY peeled the wallpaper off.  But... only to the point where the square ended. After a little trial and error, I learned to hold it in place for 30 seconds, then slowly move it up the wall to keep the momentum going.  This steamer also gets the glue off too!  It's still a little messy in that water gets everywhere, BUT, it's only water, not fabric softener! You all, I may just survive this shit...


The expensive downy was used on the left side.
The right side is after only an hour with the fancy steamer contraption!
Can you tell how high I can reach without my ladder?
Tomorrow, I tackle the room with TWO layers of shit...
Follow on Instagram to see the progress.
Instagram: FirstTimeMomandDad
Don't worry... more to come once the room is completely stripped and painted...


For a history lesson on Shit, a.k.a Wallpaper, Click Here! 



5/18/14

Finding The Corner Of Mom And Badass

Since becoming a mother I've struggled to find that perfect balance between Me and Mommy.  Well, not since becoming a mother, more like since month ten of motherhood, when I got tired of being a selfless, sleep-deprived, friendless walking zombie. At that point I started trying to figure out how to be true to myself AND be an awesome mother at the same time.

Finding the corner of mom and badass has been a process to say the least.

5/14/14

Hi Lady! Hi Man! HAHAHAHA, I Just Farted! Happy Birthday To You...

Oh how I love my filterless two-year-old. I am learning everyday that not only will my toddler repeat every word I say, sometimes he will repeat every word he knows in four minutes or less...


There is nothing more adorable than a toddler's voice and proud attempts at holding a conversation. My son's voice can melt my heart, and also embarrass the hell out of me while doing it. While I am so proud to say, in the last three weeks his word bank has tripled, it also means those embarrassing moments seem to be happening much more often. Thank goodness not everyone speaks toddler,  because if they did...

Lately, Ollie wants to address EVERY person we come in contact with. If it's a woman walking by, he waves and says, "Hi Lady!," and for the guys it's, "Hi Man." He even does the same for boys and girls. It's cute and all, but EVERY man, woman and child? Ugh. I'm torn at this point between teaching, "Stranger Danger," or just let him continue to be a cute outgoing kid a little while longer. Even if it does mean me either apologizing or having the, "What a cute kid...," convo with every person we pass. Every. Single. One.

Speaking of random convos... Being that we are in a new neighborhood, all of our super awesome neighbors keep coming by to introduce themselves, and you know who is right up in the mix... "Hi Man!" Then off he goes on a tangent about something that not even I can understand.  Of course, the new neighbor nods and smiles and sometimes even tries to talk back. Eventually, Ollie gets annoyed that we don't understand him, and stops talking.

Once the adult conversation carries on for more than two minutes, the wild toddler is immediately struck with a raging case of boredom. Meaning, he begins to entertain himself...  Usually, he starts by looking for dangerous or naughty things to do to win back my attention. If that fails, he returns to our conversation to start a new one, which usually involves him saying random words and singing random songs... NONSTOP.  I mean, he will carry on about anything and everything, including  pointing at random object and naming them, just to keep the attention on him. Bush, road--NO running in the road!- blue car, dog, door, sky, AIRPLANE!!!, mommy, Hi Lady, Hi Boy... A, B, C, D, E, F, G...

Ollie LOVES to sing.  LOVES IT! He sings all of the time. During a recent conversation with my neighbor, he looks over at Ollie, then back at me, and says, "Is he singing Happy Birthday To You?" I don't know why, but he sings it probably 20 times a day.  I told my neighbor that indeed he was singing it, and most likely because he is hoping a slice of birthday cake will materialize once he finishes singing.

The worst is when I am holding him during a conversation with someone, and he farts on me, or really even just thinks about doing it. Immediately, he laughs hysterically and announces what he has done. I would take a Happy Birthday marathon over that any day.  FYI: I have FTD to blame for that.  Potty humor is big business in my house.

I really love that my little one is talking up a storm, even if only three of the twenty words are understandable during any one tangent. I think learning to talk is such a magical time in a child's life, and I do all I can to encourage Ollie to do it. Yes, even if it embarrasses the hell out of me. I hear, "Enjoy it while it lasts...", all of the time, and I know this is one of those times for sure. And truth be told, I don't even mind that he accosts every person we pass, sings happy birthday to them, then farts on me or them while announcing it and laughing hysterically. Such is the toddler way... At least it is for mine.

5/13/14

Dear New Neighbors, I Promise Am A GREAT Mother.

I am just going to come out and say it, moving with a toddler SUCKS!  Doing renovations with a toddler REALLY sucks.  I feel like I am near tears pretty much all of the time, however, I am a mom, so I just keep smiling and trying my best...


I absolutely love my new house, and my neighbors, and my neighborhood for that matter, BUT, I feel like such an asshat mother right now. On our first day of major renovations, FTD and I had a priority list and were focused, we also had Ollie at our feet desperate for attention, and probably a little reassurance that everything was going to be OK in this new big house. So, what did FTD and I do? Our best. We tried to take turns looking after Ollie and playing with him in between projects. Still, it was a balancing act that left us both exhausted.

Being that Ollie is a very inquisitive kid, who has been locked up in a condo with no backyard all winter long, he is desperate to go outside and explore his new yard--front and back. I try to keep him close, but truth be told, that is near impossible, unless I CONSTANTLY reprimand him and chase him; something I have no desire to constantly do! I firmly believe that if I let him explore his new surroundings the newness will wear off and he will be content staying close to me.

To the outsider looking in, I am sure it looks like I am some super lazy/indifferent mother.  Well I'm not! Since being in that house, I have had to reprimand him more times than I want to admit, but in lieu of doing it in the front yard where everyone can see, I take him inside and talk to him. I am not a mom who is a spanker. I do implement time-outs on occasion, but I have found with my kid, he understands when I talk to him.  He's smart, he understands.  Does he always listen, no... but he is a TODDLER!!!  He is in constant test mode, so sometimes we have to have the same conversation a few times. Still, I do not think spanking or locking him in a room will do a better job of driving in my message.

Speaking of test mode, he is also desperate for attention. With all FTD and I are trying to do at the new house, I'm sure he is feeling left out. He is acting out more than normal, and not listening like he knows he should. I am trying to be patient, and remind myself that this too shall pass.  It just sucks to have it unfold in front of my neighbors. My new neighbors no less.  Ollie runs across yards and refuses to listen sometimes, so I have to chase after him, to which he thinks is a fabulous game. I on the other hand, want to cry.

This is him running across our front porch.
Seriously, the kid NEVER stops! 

I Just feel so lost lately with what to do.  I feel so torn between house projects and letting ollie runaround and play. I feel like I look like a terrible mother who lets her kid run wild and misbehave. I swear I am not.  I am just a first-time mother of a busy toddler, trying to figure it all out.

FTD and I have always let Ollie explore and learn. That's our parenting style. We talk to him like he is a grown-up and teach him consequences, and not through spankings. We try not to only say, NO! and nothing else.  If we say No, we explain why.  I don't want to shelter my kid in a room and control his every move.  I know kids like that, they eventually grow up and go wild.  I would rather my child be wild now and learn consequences at a young age, then do it in his teens.

Parenting is so freaking hard.  I try to find the humor in it as much as possible, and remind myself that the hard stages will pass... most likely for new ones, but none-the-less, they pass. My kid will soon stop running across the neighbors yard, and hopefully the neighbors will see that he is a good kid, and won't run out into the road. Hopefully, I will stop being so sensitive and caring what other people think. I know I am a good mom, and even though I make mistakes, I am still a very good and loving mom.

Oh how I miss the easy days...



5/12/14

For My Birthday My Husband Bought Me A 100-Year-Old House!

It's true, last Friday we FINALLY closed on the 1920's fixer-upper. After almost two months of stress and more stress, we were given a closing date, that just happened to be on my birthday!  What a gift, huh?


The former owner's key... 
Let it be known right now, I am a wanna be writer, and FTD works for a school that caters to children with 'learning difference,' so while our income is above the poverty line, it's not anywhere near six-figures... so, saying my husband bought me a house for my birthday, and meaning it, is CRAY CRAY!

It's just so 
unbelievable we own a house.  Three months ago we never dreamed it really possible, with my lack of gainful employment and FTD's limited credit and employment history in the States.  Not-to-mention, thanks to our different nationalities (I'm American, FTD is Australian), it feels like we have spent our time and money proving that we should get to stay together. We never really felt like we should put down roots anywhere since immigration could pull them up at anytime during the residency process. I still feel like he could be taken from us at anytime.  Seriously. When I was pregnant with Ollie, we had a routine interview with immigration to verify our marriage and proof of having a true relationship. 

When the interviewing officer looked through our ultrasound photos, marriage certificate and letters from friends, she said, "I need more proof."  
I looked at her with my best, go right to hell, face, and said," I am carrying his child!,"  
She replied with, "I don't know it's actually his."  

You all, I wanted to climb over that desk and unleash my wild pregnancy hormones on her ass.  Yes, I know she was just doing her job, but for f'k's sake!

Sorry, I digress,  Our new house...

We finally closed last Friday, on my birthday.

Magic!

The day was absolutely magical.

I kept finding myself so overwhelmed by emotions that I just kept breaking out into tears. I honestly did not think the day would come.  Between Adam not holding a permanent residency card, to me not having an income worth a damn, I was sure the bank would pull the plug. I had to keep giving them more and more history of payments, tax forms, the promise of Ollie's first born son... It seemed like every time I gave them something, they wanted three more things.  It was never ending... Then the appraiser insisted on things being fixed, and since we bought the house, "as-is," we had to make the repairs or give up the house! The LONG, incredibly invasive, process was absolutely insane! Then, last Monday, I got the email with the closing date confirmed.  SAWEEEET!! No more 800sft, one bathroom, third floor walk-up, with no backyard and a toddler to remind me of that EVERYDAY!


FTD opening the door to our new home for the first time.


My friends, FTD did it...  He carried my rather plump derrière across the threshold into our new home. It was SO AMAZING!!! After tears, hugs and kisses, we turned to look at our new house... a.k.a the fixer-upper.  Lawd have mercy, we have our work cut out for us! Luckily, we bought a new grill and plenty of beer to take the sting out...

In all seriousness, we have elected to stay in the shoebox walk-up for three weeks while we tackle the place.  From hideous wallpaper, to asbestos tiles, to FILTHY carpet in Ollie's room that is covering horrifying linoleum that appears to have been super gorilla slime glued onto the near 100-year-old wood-- that we still have no freaking idea what we are going to do about--to a mystery leak in the garage, to cast-iron pipes that are corroding... and a yard full of amazing plants and flowers that are being strangled to death by euonymus--LOTS and LOTS of euonymus. Did I mention that we LOVE THIS PLACE?


I spent a good part of Sunday HACKING away at the euonymus.
I felt like an archaeologist trying to unearth ancient bones the way I had to carefully cut around the poor plants being strangled by the evil weed.

On our first night, we did what any new home owners would do-- We (FTD) put together our new grill, then invited our new SUPER AMAZING neighbors over who have a two year old boy that Ollie already talks about non-stop, and drank beers and grilled out in our new backyard.  BLISS!  Freaking. Bliss.

Then... Saturday morning rolled around...

The time had finally come for the renovation madness to begin. I tackled the hideous wallpaper, while FTD began the process of figuring out the electrical system and measuring the floors and windows. Thankfully, the house is structurally sound, so even though it needs quite a bit of love, it's not going to fall on our heads while we fix it up.

I'm not gonna lie, I hugged the walls and even kissed one.  I was finally home, and madly in love with every square inch of it... Happy Birthday To Me!

Ready for some #RenovationMadness DIY Photos? Don't worry, I will tell you all about my adventures in peeling the wallpaper, and FTD laying the hardwood over the horrible asbestos tiles.  But, for now, I am SO SO SO exhausted from our first weekend dealing with the madness, photos will have to do.  But don't worry, no way would I not let you in on the details of the insanity renovations. I learned quite a bit about stripping wallpaper this weekend... 



That Wallpaper... 
And while I'm at it, that green paint! and those WRECKED blinds... No really, I LOVE this house!
FYI: If you put wallpaper in your home,
one day someone will say VERY VERY VERY bad things about you... 


I started in one corner and... yeah, it sucked!
Thanks again, Shay and Hannah, for pointing out that mirror looks like the mirror from the ring.
I locked it in the closet...



This Instagram pretty much sums up how bad removing wallpaper sucks...
To see regular updates on the renovations, follow me on Instagram...
http://instagram.com/firsttimemomanddad 
 
Bye-bye asbestos tiles!
As much as we wanted to remove them,
our bank account and time decided otherwise.
FTD laid a floating laminate floor over them instead while we figure it all out.  

Look how pretty my kitchen floor is!


I am SO pleased at how nice the color match is between the new floor and the 100 year old original wood floors are!
YAY, FTD!
As I type this, he is still at the house finishing up the breakfast room.
He is so awesome!!!!


And last, what about the little guy you ask?  He is already over the renovations and wants to move in, "NOW, Mommy!" 


That second chair is for his new best friend.
I am SO happy about this.
What a blessing to have a super Two across the street! 

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