6/29/14

"I Sleep In Mommy And Daddy's Bed?" CRAP! Nooooo. What Have I Done...

The advice I heard the most while pregnant was, "Do NOT! Let that baby into your bed. EVER!" I was warned that from newborn through infant, it was incredibly dangerous. Then, some of my been-there-done-that friends, through tears in their eyes--or possibly just blood shot eyes from lack of sleep-- said not let my son in my bed at any age, because I would NEVER get him out again. 

So I didn't. 

Except this one time. 

Recently.



FTD and I were incredibly careful to not let our infant son in our bed, no matter how tired we were.  As Ollie got older, we still didn't let him in the bed, not even to nap. Our friends took too much care to warn us of the, "you will never sleep alone again," fate we would face if we let him in the bed. Lucky for us, Ollie never seemed bothered by it. From his first night home from the hospital, until recently (2yrs4mos), he slept in his crib every night.

Then he got really sick.

I was afraid he was going to have horrible breathing problems from the sickness and die. (It really wasn't that bad, I was just suffering from first-time mom paranoia.) So, I let him sleep in our bed so I could watch him--FTD slept on the couch I barely slept that night. Partly because I was so worried about him, and partly because he kept tossing and turning and kicking the crap out of me.

I will admit, I did like cuddling him, and having him close... So I may or may not have let him sleep with me one or two more times while he got better... Being that hind sight is 20/20 I realize that decision may have been foolish for a few reasons.

1. I quickly learned that once cuddle time was over, I couldn't get to sleep thanks to his Chuck Norris scissor kicks and headbutts... in between barrel rolls from one pillow to the other.  

2. There is absolutely no solid sleep to be had when that sleep sucking machine is in my bed.

3. The kid is now OBSESSED with sleeping in mommy and daddy's bed. 

Getting him back in his bed has been the challenge of the century. (Think: F-Bombs sprinkled with tears and frustration.) Thankfully, after a few days, he's back to going to sleep in his bed initially, but the minute he wakes up in the night, he comes into my room and tries to get into bed. He cries to me and FTD like a monster is going to eat his face off it he has to go back to his room. Feeling horrible, but still desperate to keep him out of my bed, I sit in his rocking chair and rock him back to sleep. Sometimes this process takes up to an hour.

Holy crap, it sucks!

But, I am adamant to right what I have done wrong.  I am not going to break.  His ass is going back in his bed every night. I know what it's like to sleep without a toddler foot in my kidneys all night. 

I want that back. I will have that back.

My friends, I now join the ranks of been-there-done-that parents preaching the most important rule of thumb when it comes to babies/toddlers and sleep: DO NOT let that child in your bed.  If you do, you will either NEVER get them out again, or lose many a hours of sleep trying! 


6/28/14

10 Things My Toddler Is Doing That Will Make Yours Look Like An Angel

For Today's Top 10 Tuesday installment, I thought I would delight you with a Top 10 List of things the Wild-Child is up to lately...





1. MINE! MINE! MINE! Everything is "MINE!"  I could pick up a cat turd out of the litter box and he would declare it, "Mine, Mommy, Mine!"

Two years ago when I first read this, I thought it was super funny.
Now, I totally get it how true it is...

2. NO! EVERYTHING is NO! I've decided he answers, NO!, to everything just so he can feel like he has some sort of control, because sometimes it makes no sense.

Me:  Ollie, do you want an Ice Cream Cone?
Ollie: NO!
Me: OK...
Ollie: MINE! Mine Ice Cream Cone, Mommy.
Me: No.

3. Clingier than a school girl with a crush! "Mommy, hold you!" I hear it all day, and at a stout 35 pounds, hold you mommy not only gets old, it gets heavy!

4. Escape artist. He has learned how to turn locks and open doors. We officially have to lock the front and back doors from inside with a key. The poor kid, already trying to run from us at 2. Sorry, kid, 16 more years to go... turn your little Jeep around.


5. The second I get on the phone, ALL HELL BREAKS LOSE! I swear, the minute I get on the phone he gets gitty with excitement for the possibilities.  I can see the little hamster wheel turning in his head... He can't decide if he should draw on the walls, throw his toys down the stairs or chase the cat... or try to do all three at once.

6. If it can be launched, it will be launched. My kid is going to be the next Peyton Manning for sure. He throws EVERYTHING!  It's actually a real issue. Nothing is safe-- toys, chairs, remote controls, food, anything and everything.

7. Working the lip like a pro. It's the craziest thing, over the last week, Ollie has figured out how to pout. (I'll get a photo and post it to Instagram.) It's super cute, but the problem is that he clearly knows that. If he wants something he curls that cute little lip out and pouts. Being the spineless pushover that I am... it works like a charm. 

8. Stubborn as a mule. If the kid is not interested, he will plant his feet, curl his lip and declare that my idea or what ever I want is dumbassery, and that he has no intention of entertaining it.  Think: bedtime, nap time, clean-up time, or any other time that infringes on his time. I have to pick him up, all 35 pounds of concrete pile-on, and move him kicking and screaming.

9. The boy who cried, "Poo-Poos, Mommy." Since we are still actively working on potty training, Ollie knows if he even hints that he has to go, we stop what we are doing and take care of business.  So now when he is not interested in something--i.e. Bedtime-- he insist that he has to poo poo.  It sucks because I have to honor that request. Yes, I am fully aware that 95% of the time I'm just a pawn in his poo-poo game.

10. Toddler Picasso. The kid is going to be an artist. Working in the medium of "Anything will do." Especially mommy's lipstick and eye liner.  #FAIL

All I have to say is, Thank You, Magic Eraser.
(You had it right, Des!)
Oh and, speaking of masterpieces, he picked that awesome outfit out, socks and all!


Please, remind me again how I will look back on these crazy toddler years fondly...


6/27/14

Do Something Truly Patriotic For Independence Day... #TRUCARE4TROOPS #FallenPatriots

I am working with TruGreen to bring you today's post supporting an amazing cause. All Opinions are my own.



I am so proud to be an American. When I think about my country and freedom, my heart fills with pride. I have traveled all over the world, and every time I board the plane to come home, I am so thankful to be returning to the States. As Americans, we are afforded so many freedoms and opportunities that billions around the world dream of. In order to keep our borders safe to protect our freedom, hundreds of thousands service men and women work and fight tirelessly. Tragically, many lose their lives fighting for our beautiful country, leaving behind a family that desperately depended on them.

Because I am desperate to show my gratitude to those serving, and to their families for their incredible sacrifice, over the past ten-years I have worked with numerous organizations to support and bring awareness to the men and women fighting on the front lines for my family’s freedom. So when TruGreen reached out to share an incredible project they are doing in association with the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, I was so excited to jump on board! My friends, in only a few minutes, you can help a child of a fallen soldier go to college! (It's totally free, and you may even win a $500 Visa cards for your hero!) 

Today, June 24, 2014, TruGreen launched a massive social media campaign to bring awareness to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Foundation. The foundation helps children who have lost a parent serving in the armed forces fulfill their dream to go to college. (LOVE THIS!) TruGreen, knowing the importance of supporting further education, has decided to not only spread awareness for the Foundation, but also to donate money to support a child's dream! In an effort to bring this awareness and get the community involved, TruGreen is asking for your support and favorite photos and stories of your hero!  




Here is how the two part social media campaign works!

Today through July 13, 2014, TruGreen is asking you to post your favorite photo of service men and women (veterans too!) on the TruGreen Facebook campaign page with a little story about your hero. For every posted photo, TruGreen will be donating $100! Then, from July 14th through July 23rd, you, your friends and anyone else you know, can go vote for your favorite photo. For each vote, TruGreen will donate $1. The top FIVE winners will receive a $500 Visa gift card! In addition to your photo and votes, TruGreen will donate $1 for every like their Facebook page receives too! 

My friends, this campaign is really important to me. I want to do all I can to support a child's dream of further education. Please support this campaign in anyway you can.  


Please head over to the TruGreen Facebook Children of Fallen Patriots Campaign page, throw them a like and get your photo and story posted... Click Here to get started

6/23/14

This Mother's Split Second Decision Saved Her Son's Life.

I woke up on April 28th, 2014 with multiple news text alerts on my phone, all saying the same thing. 

"Deadly Tornadoes rip through Arkansas. Death Toll 19."


As the day progressed, the text alerts kept coming with increasing deaths from the tornadoes. Concerned for a friend and her family, I sent this message:


I keep getting text alerts with increasing numbers of deaths due to the tornadoes in your area last night. I cannot stop thinking of you and Little O. Are you and your family OK? ❤️


The next day, I got this back:


Yes, thank you! My brother's family (6yr old, 2 yr old) were thrown from an interior laundry room that was separated from many walls, to about 20ft from their house. Thankfully, my sister in-law put my 6 yr old nephew's bicycle helmet on him, because when they found him covered in debris, even though the helmet had smashed almost completely apart, it still protected his head--the helmet saved his life. He is horribly bruised and cut up, but the hospital has released him. 



My sister in-law landed on top of the 2 yr old. It's nuts. We have been up all night waiting for their release from the hospital. There is nothing left of their home, cars and neighborhood. They had to wait over 2 hrs for paramedics, even then, a paramedic carried my sister in-law about a half-mile to the ambulance. Then they were sent to a hospital an hour away. But they are OK! Don't have any worldly possessions, but OK!



This is all that was left of their Home... A floor, with missing tiles.  
300 other families lost their home that night. 
The huge crack in this helmet tells a story no 6-year-old ever should have to...


Thank God his Mother took the warnings seriously.
She saved her son's life that night.
Their dog was found the next day. Alive, but deaf. He lost his hearing during his pass through the deadly tornado. 

My heart sank. I could barely swallow.  

The mother landed on her 2-year-old.  The dad was ripped from his son. Their home shredded and dispersed over a 100 mile radius. (A woman 120 miles away found a photo of the little boy and used social media to find them.)  Still, they all survived. 

Over the next month I continued to check up on the family.  I wanted to do something. Anything.  I was assured that there was nothing I could do. Yet, at least. Their insurance covered the basics. They moved into a tiny apartment. They were doing their best to rebuild their lives, and of course, holding tight to each other. 

Today, they are trying to find a new normal. Trying to cope with the aftermath of losing everything, and living with the fear of it happening again. The parents are working tirelessly to rebuild their lives and find a new home. The kids are trying to be kids... living with constant fear and anxiety.  

Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Each year thousands of families deal with Mother Nature's wrath. Thousands lose everything, and are left with nothing but a small check from insurance companies to rebuild. Some not even that.  

My friends, I am telling you about this amazing family today because I want you to remember them the next time the news cuts in on your favorite show to tell you to take cover.  Instead of getting mad that your show has been interrupted, take the warning seriously. Get out the bike helmets and take shelter. Remember that had this family not, they may have lost much more than their home and possessions that night. 

There is an amazing website created by the U.S Government (DHS/FEMA) called, Ready.gov. The website covers preparedness-- before, during and after-- every type of natural disaster.  Please, please, please, check it out to review what you can do to protect your family and home from the natural disasters prone to your area.  

6/20/14

5 Things The Parenting Books Don't Tell You

Have kids they said... It will be fun they said... LIARS!  Or, they were not parents who said it, but rather aunts and uncles who come pick up the kids, take them to an amusement park, jack them up on candy and crap, then return them later that day resembling exhausted gremlins.

My kid after an afternoon with aunt Jen. 
While I do love being a mother, and truthfully, my kid is a lo of fun, there are certainly some moments that suck, because they appear to be NEVER-FREAKING-ENDING! For that reason, I think the parenting books keep things from us parents, because then the book would not be about tips for parenting, but rather tips for birth control. Here are five of those not so awesome things about being a parent. (Spoiler Alert: This is really a rant from the mother of a toddler!)

1. Sleeplessness- By far the worst part about being a parent is the constant lack of sleep.  Once you become a parent, eight solid hours of uninterrupted sleep carries the same odd as winning the Lottery.   Newborns need round the clock care. Toddlers think they are roosters that need to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn, or worse, try to sleep in your bed with you, but really just kick the crap out of you all night long.  Kids five and older think early bedtime is for losers, then still wake up at 7am ready to rock. Teenagers are sure bedtime is for losers and stay up all night banging and clanging and then try to sleep all day. Then once your kid gets their driver's license, forget ever sleeping well again!  Sucks.

2. The mess. Kids are tiny tornadoes that rip through the house on a daily basis throwing everything out of order, while spilling drinks and snacks along the way. Between the dishes, spilled drinks and food and toys and clothes strewn about the house, it looks like we have had a raging college style party. Except somehow, a two-year-old made the mess! How does that happen?!  I start everyday with a clean house and spotless kitchen, by midday the place is a shithole! 

One day I will learn...
3. Constant fear- I live in constant fear that something is going to happen to my child.  Every time he coughs, gets a fever, tries something new, climbs on something, breathes... I am terrified something will happen to him. It's shear stupidity to worry so much, but such is the life of a parent. Sucks.

4. Having to be the bigger Asshole- Sometimes when my kid is a super A-hole, I have to out Asshole him to rectify the situation. My kid is so deep in the throws of the Terrible Toddler stage. He is constantly being naughty and testing every limit. A.k.a Being an A-hole. Because of this testing, I spend a good part of my day saying, No!, making threats, following through with the threats and being angry and frustrated, I feel like I am a big asshole too. It really sucks that I have to be the bigger A-hole to stop him from being one.  I have a feeling his will be the case throughout the teenage years too. Super sucks!

5. All the crap they want/need! Kids need a lot of crap!  It seems like the older they get the more they need! Between my son's constantly growing body and short attention span, if I am not buying new clothes and shoes, I am buying new toys or education development tools. Then the outgrown or unwanted stuff piles up because I cannot bring myself to give it away--I spent a ridiculous amount of money acquiring the stuff, I want to somehow figure out how to get my money's worth. I will most likely send my kid to college with 10k in hot wheels, Thomas The Tank crap and assorted electronics that promised to make him a genius. 

What about you? Anything to add to the list?

6/18/14

Epic Fail: One Of The Biggest Mistakes I've Made As A Parent...

Lately, when I look at my son, I see more boy than baby. Needless to say, this makes me so very sad. He is growing up way too fast! I want to somehow figure out how to it all down. Unfortunately, this was not always the case. Starting the first few weeks of my son's life, I started wishing for milestones he was nowhere near meeting. I dreamt of the days he was walking, or talking, or a fully weaned baby that would sleep through night. Now that he is, I wish he was still that cuddly little sweet baby that would stay where I left him, let me hold him as long as I wanted, and didn't run away from me in the grocery store screaming, CAN'T CATCH ME, MOMMY!!!



Wishing for milestones is probably one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make. I know this because it's one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. My baby was perfect and wonderful just as he was at every stage of his life. The time I spent wishing for him to be more than he was, wasted precious moments that I wish I had back now.

Parents hear all of the time, "It goes by so fast, cherish every moment." It doesn't take long to know how true that statement is. So then, why do we push our kids? Why do we wean them on to solids too soon? Or wean them from nursing too soon? Or worse, spend hours freaking out because our child did not meet a specific milestone the day the parenting books said they would. I think I know why, because we all want our kid to be the best. We push them to be the best they can be, even if they are not ready to meet our (unrealistic) expectations.

Something FTD and I have been struggling with recently is whether or not to move Ollie into a toddler bed.  I do not want to do it. FTD, is all about it. He wants to move Ollie into a Toddler Bed ASAP.  Being that we just moved, I think now is certainly NOT the right time.  FTD says that I couldn't know that until we try. Well, I don't want to try!  I want to let Ollie sleep in the comfort of his crib as long as he wants.  It's his bed. His space. And he can hold on to that as long as he wants!

So who is right? Who knows.

What I do know is that Ollie will be in a big boy bed eventually. He will not stay in a crib for the rest of his life. Just like with the milestones he has already met, some he met early, some late, some on time, but all he eventually met. Pushing him to meet milestones he is not ready for will not make things easier.  In some cases, pushing him only made things harder.

Pushing too hard always results in the same thing for both of us, frustration.

In a way, he decided when he would meet all of his milestones. As much as I tried to will him to sleep through the night, he didn't do it until he was ready.  He also crawled, walked and said his first words when he was ready. Sure, I encouraged him, and gave him the tools and toys to help him along in meeting his milestones, but ultimately, he took those first steps not a day before he was ready.  

Being a parent is so incredibly hard sometimes... a lot of the time. It's our job as parents to encourage and push our children to be the best they can be. That being said, pushing or wanting a child to be or do something before they are ready just because you want it, is most likely always going to end in failure, frustration and/or regret for both of you.

Learn from me... Don't waste your precious time with your child wanting them to be anything more than what they already are, your perfect little blessing.

6/16/14

I Finally Weaned My Son. It Only Took 2-Years And 4-Months... OK. Four Days.

It's official, I Got My Boobies Back! I am no longer breastfeeding. That's right, this time last week I was still nursing the two year and four-month-old man-child.  I just couldn't stop, and Ollie sure as hell didn't want to.  It was something special, and something inside me said, keep going. Then, last Wednesday, that little voice FINALLY said, it's time. Of course, Ollie didn't think it was time, but after a few days, he was OK with it too. While the decision was bittersweet, I know in my heart, it was time to finally wean him completely from nursing.

I cannot believe I nursed my son for over two years! I honestly HATED nursing  those first few weeks. It was hard, and painful and tiring and annoying, but a little voice inside my heart, and FTD, said, Don't give up. Keep going.  Every day, I would tell myself I could stop tomorrow, just keep it up today. Then, around the 6-week point, both Ollie and I had the hang of it, so the little voice said, good job, you can quit at the 6-month point. Since I never really actually liked nursing, I kept up this little game of, "you can quit when..." until I was so close to Ollie's first birthday, I decided I could make it, then that would be it!

Wrong.  When Ollie's first birthday came around, I couldn't quit. The little voice said, Keep going.

The little voice was coming from my heart. I was finally at a point where nursing was second nature, and worked like a charm to get Ollie to sleep.  Not to mention, such an important source of my son's nutrition. He also HATED cows milk, almond and soy milks, and all bottles in general, so the weaning process was not going to be easy, even if I wanted to. So, I kept on nursing, without any real idea of when I would quit. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nursing until two, and even beyond, is recommended, so I felt like I was not outside of the norm.



Throughout the next year, I slowly began weaning Ollie from six feedings a day, down to one or two. I started by not nursing him in the morning when he woke up.  I would make breakfast immediately instead. Next, I cut out nap-time nursing. He was not fond of this, but after about three days, he would fall asleep rocking in my arms. But his bedtime nursing was special for both of us, plus it never failed at getting him to sleep, and fast.

I was always told that he would wean himself, so I waited...and waited... and waited, but it NEVER came! I was convinced by 18-months he was just comfort nursing; He didn't need it, but only did it because he was used to it. So over the next couple of months I tried to wean him a couple of times and failed. I needed help if I was actually going to wean him, so I emailed, Cindy Leclercan International Board Certified Lactation Consultant since 1993, who I had the pleasure of working with when I reviewed her App for new moms called NuuNest. (I cannot recommend it enough.)  She told me not to worry, that I would know when it was time, and that when it came I would have to be diligent. She shared the story of how she weaned her children, and promised me that I would know.  And that whether or not I did it today, or when Ollie was 4, I was an awesome mom and that it would be the right time, and not a day too early or too late. 

At first I was annoyed by her saying, you will know when it's time, and not, DO IT, DO IT NOW! And here's how... But now that I have done it, she was right. (Of course she was right!  20 years of Lactation expertise and all...)  Over a six-month period I emailed Cindy four or five times, saying I think it's time!  And she would send back kind and encouraging words, but looking back, I see now that she could tell from my emails, that it really was not time.  Most likely because I was stopping for all of the wrong reasons.  

Sometimes, I felt the pressure to stop because my son was a week over one, and in America that is just WAY too long.  Sometimes, I wanted to stop because I was sick of always having to be the one to put Ollie to sleep. Or because I wanted to go back on my anxiety medicine when times got tough.  Or  because I wanted have my body back, and go out with my girlfriends or to dinner with FTD BEFORE 8:30 or 9pm when Ollie would go to sleep. Truthfully, all of those reasons were good, and cause for quitting, but just were not enough individually to make me stop.  Mostly because the reasons for continuing outweighed the reasons for stopping.  

I loved nursing Ollie.  I loved the fact that I was passing on so many amazing nutrients to him.  I LOVED that nursing could get him to sleep easily every time. (Noticing the sleep theme here? It really worked like a charm!)  I LOVED that we shared this bond.  I loved that he got so much comfort from it. I LOVED holding him close every single night. I loved that after all of the struggle and pain I went through to nurse him in the first place, now it was easy, and wonderful and such a blessing.

Then... the day came.  Ollie had spent the days leading up uninterested, biting, hitting and moving around quite a bit while nursing. On that fourth night I got so frustrated that I stopped him mid-nursing, put him in his crib and walked out of his room.  I told FTD that I was finished nursing and would never do it again, then marched off to the shower, leaving him to get the wild-child to bed.

I kept my word. I can't believe it, but I really did, I stopped nursing that night.



Even though I walked out, never to return to nursing, it was VERY hard to stick with it.  I called family and friends for support.  One of my friends, a pediatric nurse, and fellow nursing momma, replied with this text when I asked if I was doing the right thing," Well yeah! if he can't practice good manners, he has no business in the boobs! That's a life lesson for the boy! ; )"  I love her.  Of course she sent all of the right encouraging words about how amazing I have been for nursing for so long, and this if it's time, then it's time, and don't look back!" And so, I did my best to not look back, only forward.

We are now nearly a week into not nursing and things are going well. Fearful that this would be hard on Ollie emotionally, I have been very comforting and patient. I hold him when he asks, I tell him I love him and am proud of him all day long. The first three days were a struggle. He would scream and cry to nurse, but I stood my ground.  I would offer smoothies and lots of cuddles, and redirect his attention. FTD was fully on board with weaning, and did all he could to help both of us through the process, including dealing with the bed time struggle. By the fourth day, Ollie was fine.  He didn't even try to nurse! That was when I knew for sure I made the right decision. 

Nursing my son will always be one of my proudest achievements in life. I fought hard for it, and worked hard to keep it up, and oh my goodness was it ever worth it! I also know that I made the right decision to nurse him for as long as I did, and would tell any extend nursing mother, Good for you! Keep it up... you will know when it's time.  And when it's time, you will do it. Don't worry if you try and fail, just take that as a sign that is really wasn't time. But when it is...The first few days will most likely be hard for both of you, but by the fourth day, things will be much easier.  I just kept telling myself that he could not nurse forever, and that it was time.  Yes, it was definitely time...  








6/15/14

Happy Father's Day to You Rad Dads And Single Moms!

This morning, I had Ollie run in and tell FTD, "Happy Father's Day, Daddy! I love you." Then give him a hug and kiss. FTD, hugged Ollie back and then said, "Thank You, baby. I love you too. I've never heard those words from a little person before."  FTD then looked at me, holding Ollie tight, so happy and content, smiling a very well deserved, rad dad smile.


I realized then that this was the first time Ollie could say those words. Sometimes it's the smallest things...



I would like to wish all you rad dads out there a very happy and blessed Father’s Day. To those first time dads, CONGRATULATIONS!! Today you join the amazing father’s of the world on this very special day, now celebrating YOU too!


To those single dads out there, well done. It's not easy. Even if your child(ren) cannot express how thankful they are for your tireless selflessness, support and love, they are, and one day will tell you themselves. You are a Rad Dad!

To those not so rad dads...get your shit together and man up. It's never too late to be a rad dad. Never. 

To those outstanding single mothers out there doing the job for two, Happy Father’s Day to YOU too! My mother is a single mother, one heck of a single mother at that.  My mom played catch with my brother, taught all three of us how to drive, fed and clothed us and always gave us a shoulder to cry on, still does. Every Father’s day my siblings and I celebrate our wonderful mother.  She did the job of a father and well! So to all of you single mothers, this day is for you too. 
Happy Father's Day Rad Moms!




6/13/14

Is My Kid Extraordinary? Absolutely! Aren't They All...

I was recently asked by a Media company I work with if my kid was extraordinary.  Um... Yeah.  The kid is BOSS! But, really, aren't all kids extraordinary?  When asked to elaborate, I wrote this...

My kid is the most extraordinary of them all! Well, I think so.  He is just over two-years-old and can run, jump, climb chain link fences, and give me back-to-back mini heart attacks ALL DAY LONG! Sometimes, he can even make crazy enough noises in his sleep to induce a few more mini heart attacks. He can say his ABC's, count to twenty and recognize numbers and letters. He can even read a few words, and hold very interesting conversations about his day and how he took a "dump" in the potty. (Thanks again FTD for teaching him to call it a "dump".) And what's even more extraordinary, he managed to learn all of this with a RAGING case of selective hearing! His memory is extraordinary too, he can remember things from when he was 18-months old, though he does have trouble remembering the rules, and that nap-time and bed-time are for sleeping, not driving me crazy. Yeah, my kid is definitely extraordinary.

He even does laundry!!
So what if sometimes I find a Hot Wheel or twenty in the wash.
I'd have to say all littles are extraordinary. It's amazing how they grow and learn. How they are fearless, yet cautious. How they are stubborn, but love to please. How they will throw a raging end-of-days fit one minute, then run off laughing and playing the next. How they can seem so tough and big one second, then crawl in your lap for a cuddle the next. How one day they know ten words, then the next they know twenty.  How one day they love grapes, then the next they are launching them at you in disgust. How one day they are happy to be carried, then the next they will insist on walking. Ok, you get the picture. Now, allow me to elaborate...

In my son's two short years, he has learned and accomplished so much. It's really amazing to sit back and watch him grow and process things. It's also scary to see how he has absolutely NO fear.  If he sees a big kid do something, he will try it.  If it looks fun, he will try it.  If it looks scary, he will consider it. He wants to try everything, and lives life without fear of failure.  The kid is truly amazing. Even if he does scare the crap out of me and test my patience on a regular basis.

I am convinced my kid has a danger beacon built into his brain where his fear meter should be.  He climbs every thing he can find, including ladders and chain link fences.  He tries to ride big kid bikes, skateboards and FTD's Moped. He jumps off two-foot retaining walls, and runs up and down steps. He will also eat just about anything that looks tasty off the floor. He has absolutely no fear.



I know I carry on about how his Toddler Code of Conduct is all about 100% naughtiness 100% of the time, but he really is a good boy. Yes, sometimes he throws monstrous toddler tantrums, talks back, and has a problem listening, but thankfully, that's only a small part of his story. What he does most is blow my mind with his ability to learn, grow and love. He is so sweet and kind, and fun to be around. I can't help but thank God everyday for my little blessing.


ALL kids are absolutely amazing, regardless of challenges and differences. They are incredible little miracles that teach us about life, unconditional love, patience and understanding. They don't have to do much to be extraordinary, because they naturally just are.




6/12/14

My Ultimate Job As A Parent...

There is a BIG difference between GIVING your kids the world, and SHOWING your kids the world. The difference being, one will ruin them, and the other will enlighten them...

Some of the most miserable and nastiest people I know, are some of the wealthiest people I know.  Conversely, some of the happiest and kindest people I know, are some of the poorest people I know.  Now, I am not saying wealth and poverty go hand-in-hand with happiness, but I am saying it appears that respect and appreciation for people and things can get very skewed when money is involved. 


If you give your kids everything, how will they ever appreciate, or understand the true value of anything? I recently read an article highlighting famous baby's birthday parties, and was beyond shocked and amazed by the extravagant parties and gifts the parents gave their child.  Beyonce and Jay-Z spent a rumored $200,000, on Blue Ivy’s party, in addition to an $80,000 diamond-encrusted Barbie. How in the hell does a 2-year-old play with a diamond Barbie? And how do you follow that up? They don't make diamond ponies... or do they?

I have a girlfriend who works as a personal assistant in Hollywood for the rich and famous. One of the families she worked for had her make sure their son always had a certain amount of cash in his wallet and his car was always fully gassed up.  So, EVERYDAY, she replenished his cash and filled up his car with gas. And to top it off, the son was always nasty to her, and treated her like she only existed to tend to him. How sad. 

I will feel like such a failure as a parent if I raise my son to think he is better than the next person.  We all get here the same way. Sure, we are born into different circumstances, but those circumstances can change in a second. We could lose everything overnight, any one of us. It's how we cope and move on that counts. If you have no idea how to operate in the real world, then your chances of overcoming are not going to be good.

 Kids should be allowed to be kids.  They need love more than toys. Life experiences over sheltered existence. They need to experience diversity and understand how to deal with it. They need to go to a public playground and understand they are no better than any other child there, and learn to share and play nicely with each one.

If you raise your child with credit cards and bank accounts, how will they ever experience and learn to love the simple things life has to offer? I don't care how wealthy my husband and I are (which is not very) or become, our son will never be given everything his heart desires. I think that would be doing a great disservice to him. I don't buy him a toy every time we got to the store (or really anytime), nor do I bribe him with gifts for good behavior. Good behavior is expected in our house. While it is acknowledged, it is by no means rewarded. I want my son to grow-up with strong values and a good kind heart, and understand how far that will get him in this world. Which, is a lot farther than money will. 

My ultimate job as a parent is to raise a respectful, compassionate, well-behaved child, that can find happiness in simple things. I will teach my son the value of money, and the pride that comes with working hard to earn the things he wants and need. Most of all, I refuse to let my son grow-up thinking he is better than anyone else, because to me, that attitude is the seed that grows into a life of hate and unhappiness. 

UPDATE: The 1920's Fixer-Upper...Moving is Major!

We are officially in! It's been three weeks now... and we are FAR from settled. You would think going from 800sqft to 2000sqft would be easy. Not even! It turns out, FTD, Ollie and I crammed what seems like 4000sqft worth of crap in  the five closets we had in the old place. It looks like we are going to be living out of boxes and bags for the next 10 years. I was also not prepared for the shock and anxiety of being a home owner. My friends, I have been ananxiety filled mess these past few weeks. I'm here to tell you, moving is hard, and stressful, and new home ownership is some scary business!

From the minute I walked into the house I loved it.  I even loved all of the ridiculous wallpaper.



Then... we started moving. I slowly began to trade my love for the house, for fear and anxiety. I wanted out of our tiny condo for so long, I thought moving would be this awesome thing.  I was wrong.  It's big, and scary and a HUGE adjustment. I had no clue how much work and emotional moving can be. Who knew I needed to mentally prepare myself for this move?

Thanks to a very long conversation with my Realtor/old friend, I found out my extreme anxiety and buyer's remorse was par for the course. Thanks to her reassurance, I have relaxed... and yes, started working on the next renovation project... the tiny pink potty!


The whole thing needs to be gutted!
Except the super deep soaking tub. LOVE IT
FYI: The room is so tiny, that it has a louver door!
We are going to fix that first!
For those of you that do not follow me on Instagram, here are a couple of other renovation and DIY projects I've been working on...

That linoleum is super gorilla glued to every shelf and cabinet and drawer in the kitchen.
SUCKS!!
I had no choice but to clean it, then stick contact paper on top of it.
The kitchen is on the MAJOR Renovation list, so the contact paper will do for now.
That filthy carpet was on the stairs for FIFTY years!
5.0. Fifty.
I dry heaved when the carpet people pulled it out.
SOOOOO GROSSSSSS!!!!
THAT is my mailbox!
LOVE IT!!!
Everyday the mailman scares the crap out of me.
I'm sure someone is breaking in.
Now that the DIY and renovations are back in full swing, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see the updates as they happen! If you are just joining me on this journey, you may want to read:

1. We Bought A 1920's Fixer-Upper! Why, Yes... We Are Completely Nuts!
2. 5 Important DIY Tips For First-Timers
3. Do You Know Why Wallpaper Is Called, Wallpaper? #DIY

6/9/14

And The Award For World's Worst Sleeper Goes To... My Kid.

I would like to extend a huge congratualtions to the parents who thought their kid would win this award, but did not. Did you really think you had a chance when my son won this award last year by a LANDSLIDE?  I imagine we will win this award until he is 15.  Which, at that point I expect I will be begging him to WAKE -UP instead of begging him to... See photo below.

Yes, this is a real book. You should hear Samuel L. Jackson read it...FUNNY! 
Since my sweet little bundle of non-sleeping joy came into this world, he has been testing the theory that humans need minimal sleep to survive.  Not only has he been testing this theory for babies and now toddlers, but adults as well. So far, the results of the test point to it's true, humans only need minimal sleep to survive. Albeit, we turn into evil psychotic bitchy humans, but, we function nonetheless.

I can hear my bestie, mother of two, telling me that children do not sleep well until they are four. I can hear her saying that because she has been saying it to me since my son was four-months old and showing no signs of sleeping through the night, unlike the rest of the four-month-olds I knew. Silly me, since my son was 6-weeks old I started hoping he would sleep through the night like those BS happy sleeping kid books said.

FYI: Those books were WAY off, because he is two-years and four-months old now, and STILL NOT SLEEPING WELL! MOTHERFU%#&#(@)#!!!!!!

You see, your child will NEVER take the award for world's worst sleeper from my kid, he has been sleeping like shit his entire life, he is a professional.  

Ollie started sleeping through the night when he was about 18-months old.  And by sleeping through the night, I mean, 7:30pm to 5:30/6:00am. Now, at 2 years old, I can count the number of times he has slept past 7am on one hand! Seriously. I blame nursing for the crappy sleep the first half of his life. He would wake up wanting to nurse every couple of hours until he was 18-months. Now, I don't know what the hell his problem is!

The only thing I know for sure about my kid is that, the later he goes to sleep, the earlier he wakes up.   If he goes to sleep between 7:30-8:30 he will sleep until 6:30. If he goes to sleep anytime past 8:30 he wakes up the equivalent before 6:30.  So if he goes to sleep at 9pm, he wakes up at 6am. 10pm bedtime he wakes up at 5am. It's SO maddening! Even when we go to a friends house, and he plays like an animal ALL NIGHT with another child and not leave until 9pm, he will not fall asleep in the car on the way home, he will sit there wide eyed, waiting for his bath and night-time story, and then once asleep at 10pm, still wake up at the ass-crack of dawn (5am) ready to get on with his day.

So again I have to say... You see, your child will NEVER take the award for world's worst sleeper from my kid, he has been sleeping like shit for his entire life, he is a professional.  

So what about naps?  Those are hit or miss, and follow the same rule of sleeping thumb. His nap time is between 12:30-1pm. If he goes down earlier or later, he will only sleep for 45-60 minutes. Randomly, he will sleep for three hours. But on average, he sleeps for about two hours... As long as I sit very still and quietly after the first hour.  That's right, he sleep like the dead the first hour, the next one or two is iffy.

Of course, I have read every sleeping book, consulted his pediatrician, asked friends, family and even strangers on occasion.  It turns out, genetics and sissy parenting are to blame.  FTD and I are not tough on Ollie about sleeping, we never have been.  We did not attempt any form of Cry-It-Out. When our pediatrician recommended putting up a baby gate, we ignored him. When he would wake up at 5am, one of us would get up and play with him. When we were told not to feed him until 7am, we would feed him earlier if he was hungry. Plain and simple, we suck and are to blame for our lack of sleep.



I do have one caveat, we lived in a condo with paper thin walls, so to keep the neighbors from completely hating us, we did what needed to be done to limit the crying. Well, now we live in a house... and it's time for a baby gate... I think... ok, shit, it's not. I CAN'T DO IT!!

I am so afraid of traumatizing this kid. I don't want him to be afraid of sleep, or his room, or me! I also don't think my sanity can last another two years to see if my friends theory about children not sleeping well until four is really true.

And what's sparked all of this is that, for the past two weeks he has been waking up at 5:30am.  It's devastating. He was really sick, so I blamed that, now... I have no idea what his deal is. Ugh. I got nothing, other than my prayers every night that Ollie will sleep until 7am.

What about you?  Do you or did you have a terrible sleeper?  What do/did you do to fix the madness?


It's that time of the month again... the one where I beg for votes... Please, if you love me, pity me... Please click the banner below to throw an automatic vote my way!


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