The Best MOMent Of My Day...

Even though I am guilty of saying the best MOMent (Mom loving moment) of my day is the minute nap time starts, or on Mondays and Wednesdays when I drop Ollie off at play school, or the minute bedtime starts... Even still, none compare to the very best MOMent... the MOMent that comes out of nowhere and fills my heart with joy and peace...

Right after my son turned one, he stopped wanting to be held. I guess he needed his independence, or to keep moving since his legs would take him where ever he wanted to go. Whatever it was, the only time I could hold him for more than 30-seconds was when I was nursing him to sleep. It was sad, I wanted to cuddle with my sweet baby. He wanted nothing of it.

My kid can be so full-on wild sometimes that I am sure he is possessed. Such is the way of the toddler, right? He's the king of testing limits, running wild and growing intellectually and physically by leaps and bounds, daily. He moves swiftly, like a ninja jacked up on sugar. He's constantly on the go from one toy or activity to the next. Of course, with an attention span that rivals a blowfly's, I'm not that surprised by the constant movement. But every once in a while, he will slow down, and crawl in my lap... And that's when my beautiful MOMent begins...

Out of nowhere, my little wild child wants to be held. It's WONDERFUL! He crawls in my lap, asking for a "cuddle" and snuggles in close. He hugs me. I hold him close. I squeeze tight, he squeezes tighter. I breath in his sweet baby smell, and try to feel his heart beating against mine. Time stops. The world is perfect. There is peace all around me. Life is good.

There is absolutely nothing better in this world to me than the moment my son and I share together.  A moment that involves nothing other than the love we have for each other. As we embrace for that very sweet quiet moment, we both absorb each other's love and scent. In that moment, the world is safe and good. In that moment, I feel that magical love that only a parent and child share.  It's truly the greatest moment of my day. I am so very very very blessed to have it.

That MOMent is a gift. A blessing. A MOMent I try so hard to embrace and remember everything about. It's without a doubt the most beautiful and peaceful moment of my day.

My friends, please take a MOMent today to experience this sweet blissful feeling of love and peace. Hold your child tight, and be silent while you breathe in her sweet scent. Squeeze a little tighter to feel his heart beating against yours. Tomorrow is not promised, so today, don't miss out on what will undoubtedly be the greatest MOMent of your day...

The Concepts Are In From The Interior Designer... I Need Your Help.

The concepts are in!!!  

Remember how I started working with the interior design firm, Havenly, to overhaul my big strange front room?  Well the concepts are in! And I need your help...

For those of you just joining me, Havenly interior design, is an eDesign firm that offers incredibly affordable interior design services! All you do is sign up, answer a few questions, send over photos of the room(s) you want designed, and then next thing you know your personal interior designer is calling you to make a game plan!

It's a three step process:

1. Consultation
2. Concepts
3. Final Room Rendering-- you even get a personalized shop with all of the pieces used in your room to make purchasing easy!

I am now at the stage where my interior designer has taken the information she got from my questionnaire and from talking with me on the phone, and come up with two room concepts for me to look over and comment on.

This is the existing room...

The room is 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. As of now, the dining room is on one side and sitting area on the other.  We have NO idea what to do with the room...
My friends, I need your help!  Below I have posted the two concepts. In each concept there are things I love so much, and other things not so much... I would LOVE to hear what you think!

What are your likes, dislikes and favorite pieces! 

Concept 1


I would love to hear what you think.  What are your favorite pieces??

To read my first post about Havenly, and the process, CLICK HERE

To have Havenly design your rooms too, Click Here!

My Toddler Had His First Swim Lesson! And I Learned A Big Lesson Too...

Last week, a friend called to let me know the place where her son has swim lessons was having a special day where he could bring a friend to join him, and wanted to see if I would be interested in letting Ollie join.

Free swim lesson? Yes, please!

I've heard horror stories of toddler meltdowns at the first lesson.  Heck yeah, I want a free test run..

On the morning of the lesson, I showed Ollie toddlers taking swim lessons on YouTube, then spent the rest of the morning talking it up big time. I made it sound like he was going to the party of the century, and he was gonna LOVE it.

It worked! Because he did LOVE it.

Well, he didn't love it at first. At first he thought it was some big scary business...

I walked him over to the side of the pool to where his teacher was already in the water sitting on the steps with his friend. She said it was best if I just handed him over to her, so she could walk him around inside the pool to get acclimated. Even though this was my first toddler rodeo at the pool, this was not hers, so even though he was apprehensive and clinging to me, I handed him over... He was not pleased.
OK. He Was Pissed. 
I told myself before we went that if he got hysterical, I wasn't going to push him. No way was I going to traumatize him on his first trip to a "real" pool. Even though he was upset and crying when I handed him over, it was about a 4 on the scale of 1-10, with a 10 being traumatizing screaming. His teacher carried him over to a basket of toys and gave him a little turtle to squeeze and play with. Thankfully, he stopped crying and calmed down within a couple of seconds of the turtle being handed over. Tear-free, he let his teacher carry him all over the pool, and then back to me at the steps. I nearly passed out when she sat him down on the step and told him to stay there seated, and HE DID! I was sure the second his teacher let him go he would climb out of the pool, and run to the safety of my arms.

Not even.

He was really enjoying himself! 
She came back to him with a little swimming contraption he could lay on to stay floating, but also kick freely. Sure enough, he climbed right on and was off kicking away.

I was so proud of my big brave boy.
Over the next half hour she alternated between Ollie, his friend and another little boy. The teacher was wonderful, and even though all three boys were at different levels with swimming, she was able to work with each one and keep the other two interested. The lesson was a HUGE success.  We are definitely going back. In fact, Ollie was ready to get back in the pool after the lesson was over, and has not stopped asking to go back since leaving.

I think learning to swim is such an important life lesson. Swimming is not only a fun thing to know how to do, it could save his life. I had every intention of getting him lessons next spring, but after seeing how much he loved it, I'm going to start him in lessons now. Plus, it will give us something fun to do to get our minds off of being stuck inside during the long cold winter months.

I'm so happy we went, and so proud of Ollie. My little brave fish...

In other related news... Ollie was not the only person who learned a lesson, I did too. You see how grainy and crappy those pictures are? It's because I have come to depend on my camera phone for capturing moments, when really, it doesn't capture them so well. This camera fail has made me realize that moving forward, I will bring a REAL camera to all of Ollie's big firsts and events.  Because these are big moments that I need to captured and saved forever, not just let them get lost in the shuffle of 4000 iPhone photos.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend... 
it's the last of the summer of 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.

6. We entertain children and their silly ideas. ALL DAY. Whether it's your kid(s) or your coworker/clients throwing ridiculous ideas and dumbassery at you, it's happening to all of us. All day long.

7. At 5:00pm the work day is FAR from over. To a mom, 5:00pm means it's time to shift into night-mom mode; Make dinner, baths, bedtime, prepare for the next day.

8. Bedtime is the best time. The minute the kid(s) are asleep, all moms do the happy dance.

9. We spend the evening doing all kinds of things we don't want to.  Even though we all just want to sit down and relax, we can't until the dishes are done, the laundry is switched over, the clothes are laid out, and the next day is prepped for.

10. We crawl into bed EXHAUSTED! With all the ass wiping, mess cleaning, constant interruptions, poor nutrition and caring for our family's every need, how could we not crawl into bed EXHAUSTED?


Top 10 Tuesday: Understanding Children...

There is not a parent around who can say their preconceived notions about children and parenting were correct. In fact, I'm fairly certain all would agree nearly everything they thought they knew, was so wrong. I am constantly having to apologize to friends and family for my foolish judgments I passed about their kids and parenting before becoming a parent myself.  Here are 10 things, of the four million, that everyone should know about children.

1. Unfortunately, children are not programmable robots. I see it all the time, my kid acts out in public and people shake their head. I know what they are thinking, Can't you make him sit down and shut up.  No. No I can't. Because if I could, I would! There is no magical way to sit a kid down and say, this is life and how you should behave... and have them fully understand.  Trust me, if this were possible, bedtime, nap time, and potty training would not SUCK!

2. Children need to know EVERYTHING, but on their own terms. Life is one big science experiment to a kid. While it would be nice if a child just took our word for it that fire is hot, they still need to know why.

3. Keep your expectations low. If you hold a child to high standards, then both you and the child will constantly be disappointed. Children live to wow adults and be helpful. If you set the bar so high, it's impossible for them to do that, then you are really the one with the problem, not the child.


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!


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... 


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.


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?


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....

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...
Credit: HowToBeADad.com
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...


Can't Beat 'Em, Let 'Em Join. 5 Ways To Get Your Child To Help Around The House.

Some weekends, I have a higher likelihood of winning the lottery, than getting anything done around the house with a toddler in tow. Invariably one of three things will happen:

1. The minute I turn my back on my toddler, his built-in homing beacon for finding danger and trouble goes on high alert.
2. He follows behind undoing everything I've done. It was clean/fixed... three seconds ago.
3. He does everything short of handstands and flips to get my attention focused back on him.

Being that we just moved into our new fixer-upper house, and have a very long "To-Do" list, productive weekends are key. Each weekend, FTD and I talk about what we want to accomplish, and how the other can help, or look after Ollie. We learned early on that keeping our toddler happy and occupied, and getting work done, takes a very delicate balance. Most times one of us does something while the other looks after Ollie.

Frustrated that this method makes us half as productive each weekend as we need to be, I adopted the mindset of, "Cant beat 'em, Let 'em join you! When I looked at my list and realized some of the things Ollie could, not only "help" me with, he would like to do it too!  I started letting Ollie help me tackle my to-do list.

Here are five ways I tricked got my Toddler excited about helping around the house...

 1. Laundry. Ollie loves to help me do laundry. I've even created a fun learning game when sorting the clothes to keep him focused and engaged. First, I have Ollie help me sort the clothes. I ask him what the garment is and the color of it. If he gets it right, he gets the honor of throwing the garment in it's respective pile. Then I let him load the washing machine, while we count each thing as he throws it in.   
2. Preparing Snacks.  Ollie LOVES to help in the kitchen.  He is constantly trying to climb on counters, stir, chop, wash... he doesn't care, if it's going on in the kitchen, he wants in. I try to keep a wide variety of healthy snacks ready to go, so I don't resort to handfuls of goldfish and apple sauce pouches.  I will let Ollie pick the grapes off the vine and put them in the colander to wash and help me blend up the fruit and yogurt for his popsicles and put the lids on the filled popsicle molds.  

 3. Yard Work.  My boy loves to dig in the dirt. He has a small collection of bulldozers and shovels that he plays in the yard with. Thankfully, he's pretty lame at actually digging a hole, so I don't have to worry about massive toddler craters  taking over my yard. When I need to work in the yard,  I set him up close to where I am going to be working and let him dig away next to me. And when I need something raked, or help putting branches in the waste bags, he is always happy to help. Sometimes he really does help too! 
4. The Floors.  I have wall to wall hardwood in my house. Wall. To. Wall. That's a lot of dust-mopping and regular mopping. Ain't nobody got time for that! Well, a toddler does... I love my Swiffer dust mop. I attach the little magic dry mop duster cloth, and send him on his way. He happily pushes the dust mop around the house.  Of course, because he is a toddler with the attention span of a rock,   he only half does it and for only a few minutes, but if I leave out the dust mom he picks it up a few times a day, so in the end, it's helpful.  
5. Picking up and putting things away. Call it lazy--because it kind of is-- but I try to get Ollie to help get things for me and/or put them away every chance I get.  He gets so excited when he finds something and brings it to me. I'm still working on getting him excited about putting things away.                                                                                                              

I've realized that my kid genuinely loves to help me with all sorts of things. Yes, it takes twice as long and can get messy... but he gets so excited when he thinks he is being helpful, and thankfully, in a way, he's actually is..

How do you get your child involved?


I Hit The Mommy Reset Button!

I'm a firm believer in the importance of hitting the Mommy Reset Button, unfortunately, I forget to hit it until it's way overdue...

My day usually starts abruptly with a crazy toddler pouncing on me, and most days doesn't stop until bedtime. Between Ollie keeping me on my toes all day, my freelance writing, this blog, unpacking  and renovating in our new house, I feel like I never stop going! Most days, I crawl into bed exhausted and think, What the hell just happened? 

Like most moms, I go-go-go and rarely stop to take quality time for myself. After a fews weeks of the constant going, I start to run on autopilot. I feel like I'm just reliving the same cycle everyday. Eventually, it becomes depressing in a way. That's when I know it's time to go out, get away for a night with friends, and enjoy myself.

Last week, when a girlfriend asked if I wanted to go out dancing, I immediately said, Yes, Please. We made plans to go to a fabulous club with three other girls and dance our butts off. I could barely wait, I needed a night out with the girls so bad...

I forget how wonderful it is to get out and get away from it all, until I do.

It's magic.

I danced my butt off.

I drank big girl drinks

I had big girl conversations.

I laughed until it hurt.

I had the best time.

I hit the reset button. 

I'm all better now.

My friends, I cannot recommend a reset night out enough. Get out, get away, recharge and laugh. If you haven't done it in a while, pick up the phone or email a friend to make plans. You deserve it.


Who Told My Kid There Was An Award With Cake For "The World's Craziest Toddler?"

Damn the terrible twos. DAMN THEM! And damn whoever told my kid there was an award with cake going to the World's Biggest Little Sh*t!

So far, my toddler's run at the terrible twos has:
  1. Advanced my hair greying by 62%
  2. Made me lose 44% hearing in both ears from the random no reason toddler screaming. 
  3. Caused deep forehead wrinkles from the numerous times a day I have to raise my eyebrows for the, "Are you kidding me right now," look.
  4. Inflicted permanent back pain from having to pick my flailing toddler off the ground during a random no reason toddler temper tantrum.
  5. Made me a huge liar when on numerous occasions I said things I SWORE I would never say that my mom said.

I hate to admit it, but I think all those moms are right, the terrible twos only get worse at three and four! Just when I think I have made a breakthrough on correcting one bad behavior, he replaces it with another.  Sucks.

The other day I was folding laundry, and in comes Ollie right over to the basket with the clean clothes in it, and sticks his dirty foot in the basket. I told him, No, please do not put your dirty foot on clean clothes... when he doesn't take his foot out, I help him.  The little shit tries to do it again, and again... and AGAIN!  I was crazed. Two timeouts later, he tried AGAIN! WHAT THE HELL??? I ended up putting the basket away and taking his favorite toy with me.  Sometimes there is just no getting through to him!!!

It also turns out that my sick childish sense of humor is not always helpful when raising a toddler.  While it's good that I can laugh at the really crappy parenting situations (eventually), it's not good that I laugh uncontrollably at the super naughty stuff my son does or says.  Now that Ollie is talking really well, I have nearly bitten my tongue or cheek off trying not to laugh.  It's terrible! 

The other day he said, "Mommy, my balls are itchy!"  OMG! I couldn't help myself... I laughed out loud. What toddler says that? I immediately called FTD to tell him, and he says, "Well, they probably were." I'll give you two guesses who taught him to call them "balls." I ended up having a longer talk with FTD about the the situation than Ollie. Which, I know was fruitless, there is no way around it, my kid is the son of FTD, he will have to be home schooled. 

Toddlers can be little terrors, and sometimes I'm positive that mine is leading the pack. It's clear that this age is going to be difficult with constant testing and naughty behavior. While my kid is really a very good boy, he is coming into this stage of independence and crazy behavior that I can tell is going to break me if I don't break it! Plus, no way can I let a two-year old think he has any chance at winning the war on who makes the rules. Mommy makes the rules! 


I'm Never Buying Another Popsicle Again. EVER! #MomMoment

Ollie loves popsicles. What kid doesn't, since most popsicles are essentially fruit flavored sugar on a stick. In an attempt to get my son "healthy" popsicles, I started reading the ingredients in various brands. I was shocked to find that most all were made with a bunch of crap. Even the ridiculously overpriced brands that promised "100% fruit", were packed full of ingredients I couldn't pronounce. Still, being the sucker loving mom that I am, I bought the sugar sticks to please my son. Little did I know, those artificially flavored ice sticks were not only highly addictive to a toddler (Think: Screaming for his precious four-hundred times a day), they make their poop green! GREEN!!!! That's when I knew I needed to draw the line on store bought chemical popsicles.

My friends, I never in my life thought I would say this, but, I am now a professional popsicle maker!  Crazy, I know... But it's SUPER easy, fun and WAY cheaper than buying crap popsicles.

All homemade with ONLY healthy ingredients!
And cheaper than store bought...
When I started on my quest for popsicle making, I was amazed at just how many differnt molds were available, and more important, how cheap they all were! I've seen the molds at Target, the Dollar Tree, grocery store, specialty stores... They are everywhere once you start looking for them. My most expensive popsicle mold purchase to date are rocket pops I got at Pottery Barn Kids for $14. All of my other molds have cost between $2-$10!! That's the cost of a box of crap popsicles!
I bet there are thousands available! 

Thankfully, there's no short supply of recipes available online, including adult popsicles too. (I just saw a recipe for strawberry champagne popsicles!) Now that I have made a few different recipes, I have found that I like making up my own recipes using what I have in the house. If the strawberries or bananas need to be eaten ASAP, I throw them in the blender with a little organic apple juice, yogurt or Keifer with probiotics, and instantly have yummy popsicles made from fruit I would have had to throw away otherwise!

These are Keifer and frozen fruit!
HINT: Yogurt/Keifer popsicles melt MUCH slower than juice/water based ones.
It's not so scary to hand one over inside the house!

I'm so stoked that Ollie loves his popsicles as much as I love the stuff in them. I also love that he helps me make them. I dump the ingredients in the blender, let Ollie push the button to blend it all together, then poured the mix in the molds! After a couple of hours in the freezer, they are ready to be gobbled up! the best part, I don't mind him eating as many as he wants, at any time I have two or three different varieties packed with fruits and veggies!

Yes, veggies! I'm on a mission to see just how many healthy things I can get into a popsicle, including but not limited too, all fruits, and veggies like kale, spinach and carrots! If I thought I stood a chance with salmon, I'd give it a try.  I'm so proud of my healthy homemade popsicles. I feel like such a mom... #MomMoment

My friends, DO THIS!!!  If your kid loves popsicles like mine does, get on it! You and your bank account will be so glad you did! All you need is popsicle molds and anything you can think you want in your popsicles! Of course, Pintrest is FULL of recipes, I also found a website that has 50 recipes for super healthy popsicles.

August is upon us, how nice would it be to keep your family cool with super healthy popsicles?

For the page with the 50 healthy popsicle recipes, CLICK HERE!

If you have a favorite recipe or tip, please share below!


Mom Score: I Figured Out How To Get Fruits and Veggies Into My Kid's Diet!

Ever since I heard the CDC's statement that kids in the 95th percentile are considered to be "Obese,"I've really been thinking a lot about what I can do to make sure my kid is healthy, and more importantly, has a healthy approach to eating. Seeing as how my toddler's diet is 95% controlled by me, it's up to me to provide as may healthy options as possible. FYI: The other 5% of his diet is made up of 1% the crap he picks up off the ground and eats before I can stop him and 4% what FTD, family, friends and bank tellers hand my kid. I have it in my mind now, that since you are what you eat, I want my kid to eat as much awesomeness as possible!

When Ollie was a baby, he would eat anything I put in front of him.  As he got older, things got much trickier.  He only wanted pasta, yogurt and bread. To make matters worse, I would let him have those three things because I just wanted him to eat. So every night, I would make a dinner for Ollie and then something different for FTD and I. I just wanted the kid to eat!  FAIL! FAIL! FAIL!

When I finally got sick of making two separate meals to let Ollie have his way, I started trying to make him eat what FTD and I were having.  Some nights went well, others ended in yogurt or pasta.  Throughout it all, I tried to get him to eat fruit with each meal. Veggies were an uphill battle, but I tried those every night for dinner. Still, pasta, bread and yogurt made up a large part of his diet. FAIL! FAIL! FAIL!

Then this whole thing with CDC saying my kid was obese, came to light.  While I knew in my heart that even though Ollie had never been below the 95th percentile for weight or height his entire life, he was still a healthy boy, by no means Obese! After talking with Ollie's pediatrician about my concerns, and being told that Ollie was certainly not obese, but rather a strong healthy boy, I calmed down, but the pediatricians final words on the matter lingered...

"It's important that you focus on your son's diet more than numbers. He is a great kid, feed him great food."

Damn right, he is a great kid! He deserves great food...

Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to make a change around our house that includes having healthy vitamin rich foods right at Ollie's finger tips. I keep fruit bowls out on the counter with washed fruit for him to grab, and his favorite little bowl of grapes washed and ready in the refrigerator. I only give him water to drink, and thankfully he is cool with that. At each meal, I make sure he as at least one serving of fruits and veggies and grains. Most times, I have to be sneaky with the veggies and hide them in sauces or mixed well with other foods. I'm happy to say, I have recently found he loves dipping carrots in hummus, peas, corn (On the cob) and edamame... Yes, edamame!

I've learned three important lessons through this change:

1. It's not about trying to get all of his needed fruit, veggie and grain servings in during the big meals, but rather try to get him to snack on healthy foods to take the pressure off the big meals. He will snack on edamame and carrots if I leave them in a small bowl on the coffee table, and graze over fruit mid morning and afternoon.

2.  I don't want a "chicken and french fries" kid. I cannot feed him what he likes all of the time. It's such a fail! I have to keep introducing new foods, and old ones he has turned his nose up at. Which, I have been pleasantly surprised to see him eat foods I never thought possible a couple of months ago!

3. I am helping my kid learn a healthy approach to food. My goal is to get him to constantly try new things, and to enjoy the fruits of the earth...  NOT the fryer vat at Chick Fil-A.

All that being said, it's not always peas and carrots now; feeding a toddler is definitely a process. Some days he is open to try new things, others he is a total shit. But the small victories of him eating all of his veggies at a meal or asking for fruits for his snack over chips, makes the process worth it. I have to admit, I feeling very proud of myself and my son's nutrition these days.

What do you do to provide healthy meals and a healthy approach to food?

10 Things I Learned About Breastfeeding... The Hard Way #WorldBreastfeedingWeek

Without a doubt, my biggest accomplishment in life next to having my child, is exclusively breastfeeding him well past his first birthday. But, like every other major accomplishment in my life, it didn't come easy.

Let's just say, it's a freaking miracle I lasted two years and four months of nursing, because the first two weeks and four days were a total shit show. I had low milk supply that required days of CONSTANT pumping in between nursing to improve my crap supply. My newborn would take FOREVER to nurse, sometimes an hour! And don't get me started on nipple cripple! My kid had no teeth, yet left me feeling like I"d spent an hour with my tits in a meat grinder!

Yeah, my whole preconceived notion about how breastfeeding is natural, surely it's not going to be hard. 

HA! Oh, how wrong I was...

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I dedicate today's Top 10 Tuesday to 10 Things I Learned About Breastfeeding... The Hard Way.

1. Nursing IS NOT Plug-and-Chug. It's still baffling to me how something so "natural" can be so damn hard! Between learning the proper latch and the best hold, it took lots of time, patience and pain to get the hang of it.

2. At first... Cheese Grater. Guys, want to know what a woman goes through in the first few weeks of nursing? Hook a vacuum hose up to your nipple for 45 minutes to an hour, and then take a cheese grater to it for the same amount of time. Voila... nursing tits!

3. MY nursing is apparently everyone's Business. It's really amazing. No one cared about my boobs before I had a baby, but post baby, they become the highlight of conversation, sometimes with total strangers!

4. It. Takes. A. Village. Between doctors, lactation consultants, my husband's 24/7 support, a massive pump, and a bunch of creams, I FINALLY got the hang of it.

5. HELLO MASSIVE BOOBIES! By the time my milk fully came in, I was up THREE cup sizes! Those puppies got so big it looked like my armpits grew a set!

6. There is no rest for the weary nurser.  Nursing is 24/7. Every two hours without fail if I wasn't nursing, I was pumping. It took nearly 6-months to get everything to level out! Needless to say, I was one tired, cranky big boobie bitch!

7. There is no time-limit to nursing. The start of my nursing journey was so rough, I was sure I would never be able to make it to six-months.  Every day I would tell myself, just one more day... When I made it to a year, I was sure that would be it... Not. Even. I nursed my son until he was two years and four months old. And I am proud of it, even if I did get some of the shittiest comments and rude looks. "You are STILL nursing?" Damn right I am. It's my kid and my choice. I nursed him until the time was right for BOTH of us to stop.

8. Breastfeeding is NOT always a choice. I NEVER thought I would nurse. Never. I honestly didn't know anyone who did, however, thanks to the small village and contraptions mentioned in #4, I did it, and I am SO thankful and blessed for it. That being said, my heart breaks for my girlfriends who were determined, and could not. My heart breaks for the mother's of premies who never got their milk. My heart breaks for the woman who found breastfeeding was not for her, and got chastised and shit on for not "making herself" nurse.   

9. Breastfeeding is one of the very hardest things I've ever done. Full stop. In my case, it took a lot of work, pain, time, loss of sleep and selflessness to nurse my son for nearly two and a half years. Even though nursing became easy enough by the sixth month, it was a very hard fought road to get there.

10. Breastfeeding is one of the very best things I've ever done. Full stop. Nursing my son will always be one of my greatest achievements in life. Hard work pays off, and I have one healthy, strong, incredibly smart, badass BOSS kid to show for it!

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Amazing Facts About Toddlers.

Here are ten amazing facts about toddlers. Facts I wouldn't have believed unless I witnessed them myself....

1.     Toddlers are one big mess making factory. They can stand still in an empty white room and still figure out how to make a HUGE FREAKING MESS! I sometimes think my Toddler has a magnet for crap embedded in his body, so the minute he walks through a room all kinds of crap comes flying out from every corner, and lands at his feet.  Even though I watch it happen, I cannot wrap my head around the fact that something so small can completely wreck everything in 3.2 seconds! 
2.     Toddlers think everything is awesome... for five seconds. The attention span of a toddler has to rival that of a blowfly. Every single new thing my toddler comes across is bad ass.  He HAS to have it. Then five seconds later, he is on to the next awesome thing.
3.     Feeding a toddler is like feeding a monkey. A picky, drunken monkey. Between the flailing arms, the poor spoon/fork usage, the food launching and the occasional bite that actually makes it into their mouth… yeah it's monkey business. Frustrating patience testing monkey business.

4.     Toddlers have NO use for clothing. My kid thinks shoes, pants and socks are the dumbest damn inventions. He has no use for them. My toddler would prefer to live as a free ballin’ nudist, and that’s all there is to it.
5.     Toddlers Have NO Shame. They will stop in the middle of a large crowd to concentrate on crapping their pants. They will fart in the arms of President. (I bet at least one has done it before… this year.) They will scream bloody she-is-kidnapping-me murder the minute you pick them up to leave the park, and best wishes to those that think errands will be run in a timely clam orderly fashion. They have no shame, and are happy to prove it. 
6.     Toddlers are 24/7 wrecking balls. If you love something or it is just expensive, a toddler will destroy it. DESTROY. IT. Again with the magnet theory. Toddlers have a homing beacon that seeks out expensive things, danger and trouble.  
7.     Toddlers only have an ON switch.  The minute they learn something, that new function stays on! Walking, running, dancing, talking, repeating bad words… they learn it, and Man, it's SO ON!
8.     Toddlers like everything on repeat. I have read, and re-read, the same book for days in row.  I have watched the same Mickey Mouse Clubhouse shows so many times I know the words. Why, yes, I have tried other books and shows. He doesn’t want those, he wants his Trucks and Diggers book read front to back, then back to front...  OVER AND OVER AND OVER. Don’t even get me started on the books with buttons, but only one button will do OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I have also stood by while my toddler has gone up and down the slide four hundred thousand times. Repeat I tell you. Repeat.
9.     To a toddler, ‘No’ means proceed at your own riskThey know better, but if they really want to do something, they are going to do it. Toddlers invented the theory: It's far easier to ask forgiveness, than permission.
10.  Toddlers ensure that there is never a dull Day. EVER!  For example:  Yesterday morning we needed a few things from the grocery. So I made my iced coffee, got Ollie and I dressed, and left for the store. Once at the store, (shoes already off of course) the second I unbuckled him from his car seat he lunged into the front seat, knocking my iced coffee into my drivers seat, (MY seat!) then he sat in it to drive the car. (Yes. Yes, I did want to shed a tear.) With no towels on hand, I used a diaper to sop up the coffee. Then, I turn my sights to him. Of course, while I was focused on cleaning up the coffee, he was climbing around the car turning on every button and emptying out my bag. When I finally caught him, I somehow missed him crapping his pants between leaving the house and that moment. Did I cry? No. Did I lose my temper? No. This is just another day in the life of a parent of a toddler.   

Call me certifiable, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  It's the teenage years I am afraid of...


It's Time For The Great Toy And Crap Clean Out of 2014!

My kid has WAY too many toys. He is two, and I am pretty sure he already has more toys than I had throughout my entire childhood. It's not that we spoil him--actually FTD does, but that's not the real reason Ollie owns a small toy store--it's because my sister spoiled the hell out of her two boys, and has passed the spoils on to my kid. Since free is free, I don't say no to the toys, but now that my house looks like Toys R' Us exploded in it, it's time to do a little clean out. It's time to dump the broken toys, donate the toys that are no longer loved, and clean up and fix the toys that he plays with.

It's Time For The Great Toy Clean Out of 2014!   
This is only a quarter of his bounty of toys.
When Ollie turned one, my sister dropped off the complete, Thomas The Tank train set with tracks. There were so many tracks and engines that we could build the entire island of Sodor, including the structures, buses and Harold the helicopter. There was also a huge bag of every engine color, size and style, I think I counted four Thomas engines alone.  It was INSANE!  Ollie was is heaven and so was FTD.

Then, two days ago, she dropped the Hot Wheels motherlode at Ollie's feet. In two big tubs there were close to 250 cars, tracks and specialty sets. Ollie has not stopped playing with it all since it arrived. Which means, his four million other toys have sat unloved. That's what made me look around and see that my kid has WAY too many toys, and that it's time to give some away to kids who will play with them.

Now, before you start thinking I am the mom who gives all of her kid's toys away, I should also say, a large amount of the toys are no longer age appropriate for him. He still has teething toys that he continued to play with well after his teeth came in, but now, are no longer an interest. He also has doubles of toys, and lots of broken toys missing wheels. wings, heads, books with half the pages torn out... All of that stuff needs to be fixed or thrown out... most likely the latter.

I LOVE the toy and crap clean out! Unfortunately, FTD and Ollie HATE it. Since they both just complain and get in my way the entire time, I am throwing them out of the house Saturday morning so I can get the job done. My first try at a toy and crap clean out ended with them taking every toy back out of the boxes and swearing up and down the box was full of their favorite toys and they HAD to keep them. Yes, *THEY* FTD considers most of Ollie's toys his too.

I'm so excited to get the clutter, crap and toys Ollie no longer loves out of our house, and into someone's who will. I'll also take this opportunity to gather old clothes, blankets, hats and gloves to donate as well. I have a system where use three boxes and one BIG garbage bag, the bag of course is for the broken toys, then I designate each box as : Orphans, Church, Sell. I give the nicest toys to the orphanage, the well loved toys to the church since most are used in the daycare, and for stuff I spent too much on that Ollie barely used or played with, I'll have FTD try to sell it on Craig's list or at a yard sale.

This system works great because I can go through everything quickly and not think twice about it.  Once it goes in the box, it stays in the box. Then, I immediately throw it all in the car and drop it off at each place.  If those boxes sit in the house, and either FTD or Ollie finds them, I can kiss that box goodbye.

I am so stoked to get this clean out underway. Most of all, I can't wait to see my living room floor again! The toys have taken over, and it's time for me to fight back!

How do you deal with the toy explosion? Do you have a system for cleaning out toys and clutter?

The Archives

Follow by Email

Looking For Something?