9/30/14

10 Things I'm Always Doing That My Toddler Gets In Trouble For

Nothing sucks more then when I have to reprimand my kid for doing the EXACT same things I do, or worse, just did!

Hellllooooo, Epic Fail Parenting moment. 




For today's Top 10 Tuesday, I thought I would share a few of my recent run-ins with the toddler version of me. Without further ado, 10 Things I'm Always Doing That My Toddler Gets In Trouble For...

1. Throwing Toys. When it's time to clean-up, I have always thrown the toys into their respective storage bin to get everything put away as quickly as possible. Thanks to that, so does my kid. Except, he just throws them, no storage bin in sight.  To stop the toy chucking madness I have a laundry basket I gently place the toys in, then carry them over to the toy box.  It's a start...

2. Insisting on ice cream and cupcakes for breakfast. Is any real explanation necessary? The minute a child finds out about the existence of cupcakes and ice cream, everything else becomes inedible shit. I know, I still feel that way all these years later.

3. Nap and bedtime are optional. It's always fun explaining why Mommy doesn't have to take a nap.

4. Saying a 'Bad Word'. Whoops! fail... but I dropped the bag on my foot...  I locked us out of the house... I forgot where I was going and missed the turn...  Sometimes only one word will do!  And 'sugar' and 'dangit' are not it!

5. Refusing to eat vegetables. This goes back to my preference for cupcakes over cauliflower. Still, I've paid my dues in veggie consumption, he has not.

6. Spending too much time playing with technology. Even though I could spend the entire day with my nose in my eReader, on my MacBook or playing on my phone, my kid CANNOT!  I'm working on setting a better example.

7. Climbing on the furniture. I am the guilty of using a kitchen chair to get to the top of the cabinets, or standing on the coffee table to adjust the ceiling fan, or worse, sitting on the kitchen counter while FTD cooks. It's becoming increasingly hard to explain why it's only cool when mommy does it.

8. Negotiating. The only thing worse than trying to negotiate with a toddler, is when he tries negotiating with you.

9. Making a huge mess, then leaving it. Ok, so maybe I leave the dishes until morning, but no way am I letting my kid leave his mess until morning!

10. Repeating the same thing a thousand times.  Just because I have to ask/beg/insist thousand times, doesn't mean it's OK that he asks, WHY? a thousand times!




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9/29/14

My Lesson In Boys Being Boys, Girl Bullies, And Indifferent Parenting.

Being that my son is an only child, I worry about him learning to share and socialize with other children like he would naturally having a sibling. For this reason, I take him to a two day a week preschool for a few hours a day to socialize with children his own age, take him to kid friendly events, and of course set up playdates whenever possible. I also do my best to teach him to be kind, courteous and well-mannered around all people, regardless of age.

Just like any parent, I want my son to be awesome, have lots of friends, and be fun to be around. So far, so good. But then there is always the variable that can make this difficult, other kids. Other kids teaching him naughty behavior or bullying him. I recently learned no matter how hard I try, there is no way to avoid either. The only saving grace, is how I deal with it as a parent.

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9/28/14

Who's Ready To Lose 15 Pounds In The Next 30 Days? #3030Challenge

I love the holidays. I love the food, family, fun... I hate the fat. It never fails that I gain a few extra pounds eating, drinking and being merry. To combat this, I try to get myself in a healthy lifestyle mindset. You know the saying, it's easier to keep the weight off now, then work it off later.

So what's the plan you ask?

It's 30/30 Challenge Time!

Here's the lowdown...

While watching an episode of, "The Doctors", about quick diet fads, exercise plans and healthy lifestyle changes, one of the programs stuck out to me, The 30/30 Walking Challenge. The challenge requires you to walk (or do some physical activity) for thirty minutes a day for thirty days.

For each diet/exercise plan, the show followed one participant to see if the plan actually worked. The girl followed reported that by the 14th day she was already feeling,"great." She admitted it was difficult at first, but that by the end of the second week, she began to look forward to her walks. By the end of the 30/30 challenge she lost ELEVEN pounds total! All she did was walk! 

Did you know, walking regularly can:

  • Lower your heart attack risk, 
  • Help you lose and maintain weightloss
  • Add years to your life, 
  • Help you sleep better.
  • Better your over all health and mood. 
Imagine all of these things, IN LESS THAN 30 DAYS!! 

(Don't believe me? click HERE to watch a short video about this program.) Another great aspect to this program is that it's FREE. All you have to do is walk to reap the benefits. No gym membership, diet or personal trainer screaming at you necessary.

My friends, just think... in two weeks you could be sleeping better, reducing your cholesterol and chances for a heart attack, losing weight, and become a healthier, happier person. How could you not want to at least try? I am tempted to just call it the 30/15 challenge, because I have faith after you walk for thirty minutes for 15 days straight, you will want to keep walking.

                                       


Here is the plan:

On October 1st, start walking! ( Or today for that matter!) The beauty is that the program will end the day before Halloween, just in time to be feeling great before the holiday temptations hit. We all know, if you are feeling great, you will make healthier lifestyle choices. Hopefully even keep walking at least 3-4 times a week!

I really want this to be something that you can easily incorporate into your day.  In an effort to help you all get creative, I have come up with a few ideas to easily blend the challenge into your day!

1. If you take public transportation to work, walk to the next furthest stop or station.  (I know for those non-morning people this is a stupid suggestion)
2. At lunch, walk 15 minutes away from your desk, eat, then walk back--maybe even the long way back.
3. On the weekends go explore a new (historic) town or nature trail with the family.
4.  New mothers on maternity leave, this challenge is CRUCIAL for you. Go for a walk by yourself every evening when your partner gets home. Of course you can take the baby, but getting out for some alone time will kill two birds with one stone for you!
5. Only need a couple things from the store? If one is close enough, walk there!
6. Walk the kids to school for the month.
7. On rainy days, clean or organize a closet for 30 minutes, better yet, go to the indoor mall for some retail therapy--Again, kill two birds with one stone!
8. Go walk through an outdoor mall.
9. For a week straight walk out of your front door and take a different street or path and see what you find!
10. Take your walking shoes to work with you, and put them on before you leave.  The first step is ALWAYS the hardest!

HINT: Tell as many people as you can that you are doing this. Get a support group to help encourage and hold you accountable!

YOU CAN DO THIS!  It's just 30 minutes for thirty days.  It's not hard, or an on going commitment.  This is a challenge that you know you can do. Let me know how I can help. I LOVE getting your emails and hearing your excitement!  Keep them coming!

Firsttimemomanddad(at)gmail(dot)com  (<---I write it like that to keep the idiot spammers from annoying me... as much as possible!)

Also,  make sure you are following FTM&D on your favorite social media page to stay up to date!  Please also feel free to post your walking photos to the First Time Mom and Dad Facebook page.



YOU CAN DO THIS!





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Sorry I Can't Talk Right Now, I Have Toddler Super Glued To My Face.

Holy freaking cling-on, the kid is super glued to my face. And when I say super glued, think: WILL NOT LET GO!

Because peeing in private is overrated. 
Photo Credit: Getty Images
You all, the kid is a cling-on. He is so clingy right now, I cannot even go into the bathroom without him demanding to come. I cannot get through a night without him standing next to my bed waking me up with the creepy stare.  I cannot cook without having to hold him. I cannot talk on my phone, type on my computer, do laundry, get the mail... I cannot do anything without him. NOTHING!


I try to remind myself that in less than a month the kid has had to deal with:


  • Moving
  • No more nursing 
  • His playschool class was changed for summer session and both his teachers were moved and best friend graduated to the threes

I understand any one of those things could send him into cling-on mode, so I suppose all three warrant the glued-to-my-ass attitude.

Lately, all he wants to do is stand next to me, sit in my lap or be held. Which, I shouldn't complain, because I do enjoy the cuddles, but not when I am trying to do something and he is jumping up and down yelling, "HOLD YOU, MOMMMMMMMY!"  That gets a little annoying.

I am trying to be understanding and patient. He is only a little guy in a big world, and I am his shield. It only makes sense that he would want to hide behind his shield, with all of these strange new things going on.

I just hope this passes soon, because at his stout 35-pounds, my back and arms are either going to break, or get me a bid for the strong-woman contest.




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9/26/14

5 Tips For Tackling Weekend Projects With Kids Around #DIY

Very early in our renovations of the 1920's fixer-upper, I learned that getting anything done with a toddler around was damn near impossible a challenge. Between my toddler needing his usual undivided attention, and wanting to help, I found myself constantly stopping and starting then stopping again.  After a bit of trial and error, I finally figured out a way to entertain the kid and complete my projects.  Below are five things I do before beginning any project to ensure, shit gets
done...



1. Hire someone.
2. Hire someone.
3. Hire someone.
4. Hire someone.
5. Hire someone.

KIDDING.

Although... It would TOTALLY work!

Seriously, here are 5 Tips For Tackling Weekend Projects With Kids Around:


1. Plan ahead and plan for the worst. Have a clear idea of what the project is going to take to be completed, and any and all possible issues that may arise, then make a list of the tools and supplies needed. If you are paining, make sure you add spackle and sandpaper to the list. Nothing sucks more than being in the middle of the project, and running into an issue. Plan for the issue, so you will will have the tools you need on hand to fix it.

2. DO NOT take the kid(s) shopping for supplies. If you've never taken a kid to a hardware or craft store, consider yourself lucky and MUCH saner than me. You need to have time to look at colors, touch things, price match and ask questions, all of which are not possible with a kid in tow, especially a toddler!

3. Create kid activities. Before starting any project, I make sure I have a list of things for Ollie to do. During the planning phase of the project, I look for little activities Ollie can do to "help" me. If I'm working in the yard I will give him a bucket and ask him to fill it with sticks or leaves, sometimes it's as easy as giving him his little toy lawn mower and asking him to mow the lawn for me.  If we are working inside, I will set up a table close by with his own little craft projects with crayons, stickers and games to play.  If the kid is not busy, then neither am I!


Ollie's project while inside.  When we are outside, he is collecting sticks and leaves for an art project, then sorting them by size and color.  I expect all projects to buy me about 30 minutes!  Ahhh the attention span of a toddler.

4. Prep the night before. If possible, start prepping the night before. I tape, move furniture, get the supplies ready, set up Ollie's play area. The point is to spend your project time actually doing the project.

5. Have a realistic timeline. Probably one of the biggest lessons I have learned during the renovations is that each project takes FOREVER! If I think something should take an hour, it's really going to take three. If you plan to have the project finished in one day, make sure you have a backup plan if it takes two. No weekend project can be completed if you have only a short window.  Make sure you have plenty of time to complete the project, because when kids, unforeseen variables and awesome impromptu weekend events are thrown in to the mix, nothing really goes as planned.

So what's my weekend project?  Besides putting the finishing touches on the living/dining rooms! (Before/after photos/post coming next week!)

I'll be refinishing my childhood coffee table!

I have this coffee table that I REFUSE to let go. My mother bought it right after I was born, and because it's solid wood, it has survived the test of time. There's even crayon under it from my brother and I when we were Ollie's age. The table has also served as the base of many forts for my brother and I, and now for my son.

Here's the thing though, the center is MDF! It's the craziest thing, the middle of the table is this crap fiberboard with a thin layer of wood on top. After years of kids climbing all over it, water and food being spilled and everyday life, it's chipping and becoming a safety hazard. It's time to fix that.

I was able to pull the top layer of that MDF off in one long strip!  YUCK! 

Being that this table is super special to me, before writing it off, I want to chip and sand away the center and see what I am left with.  I have grand dreams of doing a mosaic in the center, but with the table being so heavily used, I'm afraid that's not going to be the best base. The plan is to sand the table down to smooth, and paint it, so it will be safe to use again, then go from there... Knowing me, I will have to find a way to add some flair.

I'm searching for inspiration... Have any ideas???

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see how the project goes...

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1920's Fixer-Upper Update: The Renovations And #DIY Are In High Gear!

All summer long FTD kept nagging me about all of the time I was spending in the yard, and not inside the house where the "real work" needed to be done. I promised FTD that I would be stuck inside from October to April, giving me PLENTY of time to fix the inside... and to bugger off because I LOVE MY GARDEN!

As promised, with the autumn leaves beginning to turn, I'm ready to go all Martha Stewart meets Pinterest inside my house.


I have so many projects going on, I thought I would just throw them all out in this post, then over then next few weeks post on each one as I finish them. If you have any tips or tricks to make them easier, PLEASE TELL ME! I am so sick of learning this DIY & Renovation thing the hard way...

First, the lawn.

I was so excited about the idea of getting a whole new lawn.  My lawn was only 10% grass and the rest weeds and bee loving Clover, I wanted it gone. Little did I know, killing the lawn and reseeding it would be so SCARY! You all, my lawn is brown. BROWN! It's been six days since TruGreen did the power seeding, and as promised, I have been doing my part by watering diligently. Which, constantly watering the entire lawn SUCKS!

Day 1

This morning when I woke up to my lawn still being brown, with no real grass in site, I started to panic. Then, after running into a friend at the grocery store who had done a similar lawn killing and reseeding, told me to be patient, keep watering, and not to worry, the grass will come, I relaxed. (Thanks, Erin!)

Then wouldn't you know, after dinner I went out to check the lawn, and there right before my eyes, were little baby grass blades. I did a dance and called for FTD.  It's Here. It's Here. The grass is here!!!


You all, I am SO STOKED!

Next Friday I will post a full update on, Operation New Lawn.

Now, on to the big projects going on inside!

Have I ever told you how I much I don't like my Rookwood Pottery Fireplace? Probably not, because I am embarrassed to admit it. Especially because everyone who comes in my home that knows about   Rookwood pottery, drools all over it. Well, I don't care anymore to admit it, it's UGLY!


WAIT!  Before you call me an ass, I do love the style, it's just the color. I think the brown in the tile makes it look dirty.  But everyone who sees it says its supposed to look like that.

Then, this week while over at neighbor's house who has a similar Rookwood fireplace, I noticed that hers was much cleaner and prettier than mine. She told me it was because the woman who lived in my house before me for 70 years would use furniture polish to keep it clean and shiny.  And that it probably needs a really good cleaning.

WHAT?  Furniture polish on pottery tiles?

I marched right home, grabbed a Magic Eraser and started scrubbing. SURE ENOUGH!  The brown came off! The brown grout wasn't really supposed to be brown either! The whole damn thing is covered in polish and dirt build up.



Sonofabitch!

So now FTD and I are hard at work trying clean to clean the YEARS of furniture wax off the tiles and grout, with an ammonia, vinegar and baking soda mixed with warm water solution. I can't wait to see how awesome the fireplace is going to look when we are finished! Hopefully it's not going to take us years to get it all off!

We are also in the throws of a major overhaul of the living room and dining room! We are trying to bring the renderings from the interior design we are working with for my Havenly ambassadorship, to life!


Hopefully in two weeks we will have the completed room with new paint and furniture! And since we have to pay for all of this paint and new stuff, I am getting creative!  Wait until you see some of the #DIY and #Upcycling I have planned! Follow my social media for updates and look for a #DIY post next week!

And last... the bomb I dropped on FTD...

In just under a month his brother is flying in from Australia to help us tackle some projects. I told FTD I was determined to renovate the kitchen, and hopefully sooner than later. Like when his brother is here.

At least knock out a wall, and move some things around. In a perfect world we will overhaul the whole damn thing. I mean GUT IT! The cabinets and counter tops are from 344 B.C. and definitely would not have been my first choice back then either! And who puts a stove in front of an air duct? #Dumbassery



I'd say I have a few good things lined up.  What about you? Are you working on any DIY or RENO projects?  Have any tips or tricks you can share??
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9/25/14

Baking With My Big Boy. #Awesomeness #DoThis

Somewhere between two and two and a half, my little guy began talking and singing up a storm, and insisting on doing everything, including the things I'm doing. If I'm eating, sleeping, working, cooking, cleaning... he needs to be right in the middle of it, asking questions and trying to help. Even though sometimes it's SUPER annoying, I know it's the only way he will learn, so I try my best to be patient and let him help when he can; Even if it does take four hundred times longer, makes a HUGE mess and drives me crazy. It's for the good of my little man's understanding of the crazy world.

In an effort to nurture his love of learning and helping, I've started letting him help me do all kinds of things. Sometimes it works out well, others not so much. Some of you may remember the toilet mopping incident.  




Thankfully, last week when I decided to let him help me bake a cake, there was no such failure. Only lots of proud moments for both of us.  The whole experience was so awesome...

It all started when I was working on a freelance article, and needed to do a little cake baking research. (Read: I just wanted to eat a cake, so I made up an excuse.) Being that I procrastinated with the article, I had to run out to the store, with Ollie in tow, to buy cake mix to bake it immediately.  When he saw what I was up to, he got SO excited. It was there in the store that I decided I would let him help. The whole way home I explained what WE were going to do, and how he could help me, but only if he was a big boy and followed directions.

As soon as we got home, I dug out his cooking apron, and handed him the box, so we could read the directions together.

He was so stoked!
I have to admit, it was a little scary handing over a full bag of cake mix to a toddler. I had visions of my kitchen coated in flour...

He did it!
When the time came for the eggs, I cracked them into a measuring cup. (Tip from Rachel Ray: It's easier to fish egg shells out of a small bowl then cake batter.) It also made it easier for Ollie to pour them in the bowl.

He didn't spill a drop!
At this point, I was SO proud! I couldn't get over how big and wonderful he was, and that WE were baking a cake together! This was such an awesome mom moment for me.

Once all the ingredients were in the bowl, I pulled out the mixer... The poor guy was TERRIFIED of it. The two big beaters that snapped into the strange contraption.  He was freaked out!


Before I even turned the thing on, he jumped off his chair and ran off. Once he realized it wasn't going to kill us, he climbed back in his chair, but still kept his distance.

Then, are you ready... I poured the batter in the pan, and marked it with an "O" for Ollie and me!!
We even sang the song...



SO PROUD!!!

I'm not sure which one of us had a harder time waiting for the cake to cook then cool. What I do know is that both of us were equally excited to frost and eat it!!!


I had so much fun spending the afternoon baking with my son.  I can't wait to do it again. He loves it as much as I do, and truth be told, he didn't make any bigger mess than I would of. He only made it way more fun.


My friends, DO THIS! 

Bake something with your little.


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9/24/14

Who Is This Kid At Preschool, And What Did He Do With My Son?

Starting last January, the wild-child has been going to a two-day a week 'Mother's Day Out' program. While we got off to a rocky start (read about that here), he now LOVES it. He gets to play with new toys, do arts and crafts with paint, play with play-dough and most of all, interact with other children. I get to have three hours to catch my breath. You know, because my toddler is "spirited" and "full of energy". Everyone says it! I have a couple of friends who tell me how they think they would have lost their mind of my wild child was their child. Well, according to his preschool teachers, he is just the sweetest, kindest, brightest, well-mannered toddler. They ALL love him. As they should, but who is this child they are talking about?


Surely, not my wild-child!

Why is it that my toddler is the sight of perfection while at school, or at the neighbor's house, but when he is home, he is on a mission to break shit and give me a heart attack? And I know this is not just my kid pulling the Jekyll and Hyde routine! I hear other parents talk about how their child is crazy at home, but kind and polite when in the care of others.

What is THAT?

I suppose on one hand I should be proud that my son is such a good boy at preschool. I should pat myself on the back for somehow teaching his Royal Wildness to take it down ten notches when in the care of others.

I'll tell you what I do make it a point to do, praise him the whole way home. I tell him how proud I am of him for being so bright and well behaved. Then, when FTD gets home, I start back up with the praise. I want to make sure Ollie knows how proud FTD and I are of him for his good behavior.

I do this for two reasons:

1. So he keeps up good behavior while in the care of others.
2. SO HE DOES IT AT HOME!!!!!!

I just don't get it, why can't he be a good boy at home all of the time?

Clearly, he knows how.
Clearly, he knows it's the right thing to do.
Clearly, he knows I want him to.
CLEARLY, he doesn't give a shit!

Being that we are in the throws of the terrible twos, not only does he not give a shit about being well-behaved at home, I am certain he tries to get in trouble! It's like he LOVES to push my buttons, test the limits, climb on everything like a monkey, refuse to potty train even though he knows how to...  He also knows when to crawl in my lap and be sweet to erase all of his crazy.

It's amazing how my kid already knows how to work the system at just two years old! He is perfect at school, adorable to strangers, cheeky and funny when company is over, a limit testing terror when no one is looking... I just hope this brilliance extends to a profession so he can take care of me when I am older and in a loony bin thanks to his antics!
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9/22/14

Be Very Afraid If Your Child Says This To You...

Last Friday, while Ollie was having lunch in front of Sesame Street, I decided to mop the kitchen floor. After mopping, I ran to the basement to switch the laundry. When I came back upstairs, I found Ollie dragging a mop through the house. A very wet mop...

Ollie: Look, Mommy, I'm Helping!

Me: How did you get that mop so wet?

Ollie: In there! 

He runs over to the bathroom door and points. I follow him to where he is standing over the toilet and pointing in the bowl.

Me: You put the mop in the toilet?

Ollie: YES! I'm helping mommy mop the floors.

Even though I wanted to lose my shit, I couldn't. He genuinely thought he was helping.

ME: In the calmest tone possible, I said something to my child no parent ever should... Honey, we don't mop the floors with toilet water. 



I looked behind me at the trail of toilet water leading from the bathroom, through the breakfast room, down the hall and into the living room. I didn't know if I was going to cry or throw up, or both. I may have done both. I'm not sure since I've nearly blacked out the horrifying scene...

I was so thoroughly grossed out, I called FTD and whined into the phone, Ollie just mopped the floors with toilet water. ALL OF THEM! 

He was speechless. The man couldn't even make a joke.

Ollie stole his thunder like never before.

I immediately soaked the mop head in bleach, made Ollie sit in his highchair instead of his big boy chair to finish his lunch, then proceeded to mop every square inch of the floors in my house.

Every. Square. Inch.

I wanted to yell and cry, but I couldn't. All those times I got him to, "Help mommy Swiffer the floors", and then praised him for his hard work, backfired. I created this monster. In a VERY small way, it was part my fault he drug the mop covered in toilet hell through the house.

Please, my friends, if you learn nothing else from my stellar parenting, take these three valuable lessons with you...

1. Don't leave the mop out.
2. Helpful toddlers are just as dangerous as Silent toddlers.
3. Be very afraid if your child says anything remotely close to, Look, Mommy, I'm Helping!  




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9/21/14

The Two Wheeling Toddler With A Turbo Muffler...

For those of you who follow me on social media, you know FTD put his life in danger when he bought my little baby a bike. Who buys a two-year-old a bike?  My husband that's who!

The bike came with the license tag, "Jesus Loves Me."
 I told FTD he better hope Jesus Loves him too.
Every Saturday morning, FTD takes Ollie out to garage sales while I sleep-in. (SCORE!) Even though they usually buy the most ridiculous stuff, including but not limited to, dirty toys, old electronics, clothes and other assorted yard sale nonsense, there are the rare occasions where FTD slinks sheepishly into the house and says, Come see what Ollie picked out.

You see, he ALWAYS blames the toddler for the poor decisions.  This was the case last weekend when he insisted he had to buy Ollie the bike when he climbed on it and said, I want this daddy. I have to admit, a bike and helmet for under $20 is not such a bad thing, but... it's still something I didn't think he was ready for.

Oh. How. Wrong. I. Was...

He jumped right on the bike and took off. 
I couldn't believe my eyes.  

FTD and I were so proud of him. Of course, FTD was also beaming about the fact that he was right about Ollie being ready for a bike. I honestly didn't think kids started ridding a bike until they were AT LEAST four.  I was wrong.

My friends, I'm here to tell you, a two-year-old can ride a bike. I'm also here to tell you they make turbo mufflers for them too...




Is your toddler a two wheeling rock star too?  When are you planning on buying the first bike?
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9/18/14

The Ark Toys: Great Toys Are Just The Beginning! #Love #Review

*Even though I did work with The Ark Toys and received the amazing HABA pegging game free to facilitate my review, I was in no way swayed to tell anything but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in this fine post.  All opinions are my own!




I want one of everything at The Ark, and here's why... 

The Ark toy store opened it's doors in the 80's with the mission to provide high-quality wooden, educational and imaginative toys and games that met Waldorf School standards. Throughout the last thirty years, The Ark has stuck to that mission by offering its customers the absolute highest-quality toys, games and services available, while not forgetting the old-fashioned, all around fun toys that challenge our imaginations and expand our capacity to think and grow.

 I LOVE THAT!! 

We were sent a HABA Pegging Game that Ollie LOVED right out of the box. He sat on the floor playing with it the rest of the night. 



HABA Pegging Game:
Made in Germany from all-natural beech wood. This high-quality toy comes complete with 36 wooden pieces and one pegging board. Spanning a wide age range from 2-6, this versatile wooden toy can be used as a tool to improve color recognition, sequencing, creative thinking, logic, color matching, building, dexterity, size sorting, and even mathematics.
This pegging game is not the only toy we own that can be found at the Ark.  Seriously, I LOVE THE ARK! 

Ollie got this wooden sorting game for Christmas last year, and he still plays with it.  



Over the last year, it has been wonderful watching him go from sorting the shapes, to learning the height progression. The best part is that after a year, he is still learning and growing with this toy. LOVE IT! 

With so many apps and easy to hand over tech gadgets, it's so important that as parents we still provide the good old-fashioned learning games we grew up with. It's also important to look outside of the big brand stores for those toys. I walk through the aisles at those stores and see all of the main stream and  overly commercialized plastic toys, and think, is this it? Where are the fun puzzles, learning and sorting games? 

I'll tell you where they are... They are at a toy store that still believes in real toys. At The Ark.  


Here are a few of my favorites available at The Ark...
































When The Ark says "Great Toys Are Just The Beginning" they mean it. The store has EVERYTHING! Even bikes, scooters and skate boards. 

To check out The Ark, and see if there is a store near you, CLICK HERE!
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9/17/14

What It Really Means When A Toddler Says, I Wanna Do It MYSELF!

Well, my friends, it's official... Ollie has reached the,"I wanna do it MYSELF!" stage. He is insisting on doing EVERYTHING! For those of you who have not experienced this toddler phenomenon yet, let me just enlighten you to pretty much the outcome every time...

Nine times out of ten, one of us has a complete meltdown.
At first, being the clueless first-time mother that I am, I was stoked. It's about time the kid did some stuff for himself. Please, my darling son, feed, clothe and bathe yourself.

I should have known it was too good to be true...

I always talk about two things when it comes to parenting, how incredibly hard it can be, and how it takes patience. LOTS of patience. This stage is a perfect example of that. I quickly learned, even though it's hard as hell to sit back and watch him take four hours to do something that should take four minutes, it's important that I have patience with him so he can learn. Even if that means I have to sit idly by and watch the shit show slowly unfold. And when I say slow, I mean slooooooow.




I do love that he wants to do more for himself, and become a "big boy," but OMG it takes him forever and most times, I have to correct what he has done. It never fails he puts his shoes on the wrong feet, even though the whole time he is doing it, I am try to explain the difference between 'left and right feet'and to line up the big toes... but it's not until he takes the first steps and realizes that something is wrong, does he stop and try again. How I have hair left on my head I don't know.

I suppose there is no good fix for this stage, other than to accept it, and yes, encourage it. HOWEVER, I have found self-medicating nightly with a fabulous wine or Manhattan, is very helpful.

What about you? How are you dealing with this stage?



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Potty Training Update: There's Good News... And Bad News.

As promised, I went through with the push to potty train over the weekend. It was an adventure to say the least...

If only it really was all smiles...
I started the 72 hour potty training adventure on Friday morning.  I knew if I had a shot in hell, I had to start while FTD was at work. The man LOVES to make Ollie laugh while he is trying to use the potty. He is a walking potty humor joke book. It's poop this, crack the porcelain that, fill the bowl... make a log cabin... it NEVER ends!

Sorry, that's a whole other post...

As some of you already know, Ollie has been using the potty off and on for about a year now. (Yes, a year, and he is still not fully potty trained.) About 98% of the time he only uses the potty because we ask him if he needs to go... For a while he was using the potty as an excuse to get out of doing something (bedtime), but has since learned new tricks for that, so he rarely asks to go. Recently, he has also been using the potty at school which lets me know, IT'S TIME!  

I learned last week, if he has to go, and his diaper is off, he will go without being asked, so being the lazy mother that I am, I kicked off the 72 hour adventure with a free ballin' boy. That's right, I'd rather risk the house getting hosed, then having to CONSTANTLY ask him if he needs to go...

Three hours, four hundred trips to the potty and five rolls of toilet paper later, I was feeling very proud of my little guy.  Every two minutes, he was off and running to let three drops out, then declare a victory. We would do the potty dance and move on... for two minutes until his next trip. I couldn't tell if he was stoked he could go, or if all that air made him feel like he had to go.

Either way, he was going.

By the time FTD got home Friday night, Ollie was a potty maniac. Albeit a streaking one. FTD was a little leery about the diaperless adventure, but he soon saw how good Ollie was at going on his own.  Ollie was great, he even washed and dried his hand EVERY TIME! Day one was a successes in my book!

Day two was more of the same; diaperfree and wild with the potty. Until, we had to go out to an Oktoberfest party at the local German club. Still the ever lazy mother, I slapped a diaper on him, and off we went...

Good times.
You all, there were port-o-potties there. NO WAY WAS I USING ONE WITH A TODDLER!!!  Can you imagine? We could have filled a lab with germs by the time we made it out of one.  Not to mention the ridiculous amount of questions I'm sure Ollie would have had about the petri dish potty. Yes, I know my time will come to use one with him, but dammit, it WAS NOT going to be last Saturday at a beer drinking festival of Gremans/Austrians/Wild Americans! Hell to the NO!

So here is where we are after a weekend of focused training:

1. Ollie is happy to go as long as there's not the convenience of a diaper. Which means, he knows what he needs to do, he's just as lazy as his mommy.

2. Potty training is not for lazy people. It takes work on both parts. If you want to push your child to train before he/she is flat out asking to use the potty, then you are going to have to be just as dedicated as you want your child to be.

3. We are still in diapers. Though, when we are home he is not!  I'm trying to teach him how to pull up and down loose shorts. I figure snug fitting underwear might confuse him into thinking he can just go...

Biggest lesson learned:

Potty training takes a lot of work, dedication and stages. We started with just learning about the potty, then learning to notice the sensation, then using the potty when the mood hit... now we are onto getting his pants up and down... and me not caving and doing it for him. Even if it means he nearly pees on me trying to get his damn pants off.

I wouldn't say this weekend was a fail since Ollie is not fully trained, and Ollie certainly didn't fail since this was all my idea, and he did go like a thousand times. Could I have been more diligent? Absolutely. Am I going to stay on him? Absolutely.

Stay tuned... there's way more to this story...

If you have a potty training story, PLEASE SHARE!

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9/10/14

Wash Those Hands AND Cover Those Mouths. The Enterovirus D68 Is NO Joke... MUST READ!

Well... it's that time of year again... Cold and Flu season. 

As if we need to start the season off with a bang, the first potentialy deadly Enterovirus is attacking our children. According to the The Center for Decease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a non-polio virus that causes severe respiratory illness in children, has been confirmed in an alarming number of children in Missouri and Kansas. 
Investigations are also underway in a dozen states throughout the midwest and west with possible cases of EV-D68.



Dr. Gail Shust, assistant professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, says, "The number of cases in the states that are affected is massive. We just have to see what happens to other states and how it spreads. The burden on the health care system of states where it's affected has been huge."

So far, Missouri and Illinois are the states most affected by enterovirus D68According to the CDC, in August hospital officials at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri and University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital in Illinois notified the CDC about an increase in enterovirus cases that they were seeing. The CDC did further testing of specimens that were sent their way from the two hospitals and found that 19 of 22 from Kansas City and 11 of 14 from Chicago tested positive for enterovirus D68, also known as EVD-68.


This is really scary to me! To hear a specialist say, "We just have to see what happens to other states and how it spreads."  That just sounds like, "yeah, it's bad and we have no idea what to do about it."

 Here are a few things to know from the CDC about EV-D68...

Symptoms

  • EV-D68 has been reported to cause mild to severe respiratory illness. However, the full spectrum of EV-D68 illness is not well-defined.

Transmission

  • EV-D68 is not frequently identified, so it is less studied and the ways it spreads are not as well-understood as other enteroviruses. EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, and the virus can be found in respiratory secretions such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. The virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.

Treatment

  • There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections.
    • Many infections will be mild and self-limited, requiring only treatment of the symptoms.
    • Some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy.
  • No antiviral medications are currently available for treating of EV-D68 infections.

Prevention

  • There are no vaccines for preventing EV-D68 infections.
  • You can help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by following these steps:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
    • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
So there you have it my friends and fellow parents, lets do all we can protect our children and fight the spread of this virus!  


And a special note to those asshole parents that take their kids to daycare or school sick, STOP IT!!!!  You are making this worse! I know you have issues with taking time off of work, but this is serious, call a relative or friend, do all you can to keep your child from making mine and countless others sick...


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THIS Is What Happens When You Turn Your Back On A Toddler...

At exactly two and a half, my toddler has reached what I like to think of as the epicenter of his ridiculousness.  He is the king of testing limits, ignoring "NO's!" and all together trying to live by his rules. Getting him to stay in timeout for more than 20-seconds has officially become known as, Mission Impossible. And the stuff that's starting to fly out of his mouth... I know the parents of three and four year olds swear it gets worse, but I just can't imagine how.  No freaking way can it get any worse...  I will lose my freaking mind!

THIS is what happened when I turned my back on my toddler in the store...

He is in the ball cage. IN IT!

It gets worse?!


The thought of my kid getting progressively worse over the next two years, takes my breath away.  I just cannot imagine it. And I mean that in a, If I imagine it I will need a straight jacket and a vodka Valium direct I.V., sort of way.

Recently, my toddler has turned into such a little $h*t. No, make that a $h*t and a half! When he is in his, I don't care what you think or say because I can do what I want, element, he is horrifying! He hits, throws things, ignores me, and/or pinches me! WTF?! It's like he goes from sweet and helpful, to psycho and horrifying in 3.2 seconds.  

I am constantly telling him, and anyone who will listen, he is lucky he wasn't born in the 70's, because he would constantly have a red ass! In the 70's parents spanked... in the aisle of the grocery store. Now, in 2014, if I even think about spanking Ollie, not only do I feel like a HORRIBLE mother, I am afraid CPS will be at my door.  

With spanking out, and "talking about it" laughable, I am left with, timeout.  Which is basically, mission impossible. Trying to keep Ollie sitting in the timeout chair for 20-seconds takes me 20-minutes.  He is awful. The goal is to put him in timeout and make him stay sitting quietly for 20-seconds.  Yes, 20-stupid-measly-seconds, and it's still freaking impossible!

The way it works is, he has to sit in the chair for 20-seconds, and if he sticks even a toe on the ground before time is up, time starts over. You all, the little $h*t sits still for five seconds, then starts trying to test how close he can get his toe to the ground and still get away with it.  

Yesterday, he was terrible, and FTD and I were too... He was in timeout and kept trying to stick his toe down on the ground, so what do we do... Laugh. Both of us had to look away while we helped him count! FAIL!

Even though I insist my sick and childish sense of humor helps more than hurts when it comes to parenting, it's times like that when my kid is being cheeky and naughty, that I need help.  I nearly bit my tongue off trying not to laugh! 

I just can't even deal with the idea that it's going to get worse!  How? How can it get worse than this?



OR this...

          


HOW????

If my kid gets progressively worse, I will be in a padded room before he turns three! 
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9/9/14

Potty Training A Toddler On His Terms. A.K.A Waiting For Rain In A Drought.

First, let's start with FTD's Take on Potty Training... 

From Diaper to Despair!



SO... It comes to this then...

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Pregnancy Causes WHAT? Great.

*I'm working with to Preparation H®  to help women understand their options when evil things happen to their body. All opinions are my own.

So get this... Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, makers of Preparation H®, the #1 Doctor recommended OTC brand for hemorrhoid relief, conducted a recent survey by Harris Poll of more than 1,100 women nationwide and found that 59 percent of women would prefer to talk about how much they weigh than that they have hemorrhoids and 40 percent of women would rather disclose their salary than talk about their hemorrhoids.  

FUNNY!

In my opinion, talking about your hemorrhoids is about the same as talking about taking a crap; It's personal, kind of (a lot) gross, and well, who really wants to admit to it? I would like to say not me, but during my pregnancy, I lost my classiness, and started talking about all kinds of horrible things that were, or supposed to, happen to my body. Hemorrhoids, were at the top of the list next to stretch marks and cankles.



Me, the day before I popped delivered my son.

For those of you who didn't read my pregnancy blog, Tiredofbeingpregnant.com, allow me to enlighten you to a few of my hemorrhoid statements I posted during my pregnancy...


  • "Hemorrhoids are really just varicose veins of the rectal area."
  • Hemorrhoid is a hateful word and should never be used in my presence."
  • In regard to pregnancy: "Clearly this is to prepare me for life as a mother.  My baby is ALL I SHOULD CARE ABOUT NOW!!!  That's what I hear screaming out from this pregnancy. I don't want to pee or fart all the time...too bad baby does.  I don't want heartburn and indigestion... to bad baby says don't piss me off and you will learn.   I don't want hemorrhoids... baby says too bad there's not enough room in here, I decided to move out some of your internal organs! 
  • The hemorrhoids are knocking at my back door and it’s the most terrifying thing. It’s 3 Colace a day for me right now. 
Clearly, I had NO shame and a serious fear of getting hemorrhoids when I was preggers. But really, what pregnant woman doesn't have this fear? Sadly, for so many, that fear becomes a reality. A very sad, miserable, uncomfortable tear-inducing reality. 

Hemorrhoids, happen. 

They happen to the best of us.  

Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, makers of Preparation H®, realize that hemorrhoids aren't just ailments of old men, they happen to women too; Young, happy pregnant women. 

In an effort to make this ridiculous issue less ridiculous, Preparation H® now makes a line of products that are specifically formulated for a woman's delicate skin.



I have to say, this is really nice. REALLY NICE.  It's also about freaking time!  Hemorrhoids and pregnant women have been at war with each other since FOREVER. Thank goodness, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, makers of Preparation H® recognized the need for women specific products! 



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9/8/14

I'm Featured In The October Issue Of Parents Magazine! Wait Until You See Why...

A couple of months ago, I got this email from an editor at Parents Magazine...

Dear April,
"I work for Parents Magazine, and we'd like to use a short excerpt from  your FirstT Time Mom and Dad Blog. We have a feature in the print issue called 27 Words in which we feature a slightly edited excerpt from a different blogger every month... 
                                                     
I could barely contain myself! 

Really?

Parents Magazine wants to use MY words.

Twenty-seven of MY words!

What an honor.

I couldn't wait to see what 27 words, from over 800 posts, they picked. I mean, 800 posts is a lot of words.

All the tips, stories, reviews, pearls of wisdom...

Or was it something FTD wrote??

Oh, God. No... Not His "My Marital Bliss", Post?!

 WHAT COULD THE 27 WORDS BE?????

... Here's what we'd like to use in our October issue, if you give us your permission, from the post "Ever Notice How Toddlers Run EVERYWHERE?" (http://www.firsttimemomanddad.com/2014/01/ever-notice-how-toddlers-run-everywhere.html). 

My friends, I nearly died...

DIED.

Sit down, swallow your water/wine/beer/bourbon and cross your legs...

My first words in print relating to this blog are...

Drum roll please...


"27 Words From “First Time Mom and Dad” 
I often think if I spent a week following my toddler, doing exactly what he does, I would lose half an ass cheek on each side. 
—“Ever Notice How Toddlers Run EVERYWHERE?”, FirstTimeMomAndDad.com"
Wait.

What?

Half an ass cheek?

On each side...


Well, I suppose that's about right for this blog.
 I strive to find the humor and positive side of parenting.
Chasing a toddler is hard work!







Looks like I need to talk more ass cheek!



                                                                    What an amazing honor! 


                Yes, my mother is SO PROUD.

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