Reclaim The Heart Of Your Home In 15 Minutes... #15MinReno

**This review was made possible by iConnect and Mr. Clean. I was provided the featured product and compensations to facilitate this post, but all opinions are 100% mine.

I don't know about you, but the heart of my home, is the Kitchen. Everything that comes out of the kitchen is full of love, thought and hopefully, nourishment. Unfortunately, in order to pump out constant love and nourishment for my family, one big mess must be made. 

Especially when I have help from the wild-child toddler, or my husband. While FTD is a brilliant cook, he's not so great at cleaning up.

Being that I have a busy, demanding schedule, sometimes, I decide that the kitchen is clean enough when the sink is clear of dishes and the counters are wiped of. Needless to say, it's not. So, I have a weekly routine that I do to reclaim the heart of my home, in about fifteen minutes! 

Since buying our house a year-ago, I have drawn up grand designs for a major kitchen renovation. I mean knocking out walls, putting in a door to the backyard, new appliances... 

Oh, yes, my dreams are very big. But until that day beautiful day comes, I do my best to keep my little kitchen clean, and as functional as possible. 

A big part of my weekly routine, is deep cleaning the stove (the true heart) and cabinets.

I know, when I hear the words, "deep clean," I think of getting dirty making things clean, too. Well, not in this case, thanks to the help of my favorite house helper, Mr. Clean!

Seriously, what did moms do before Magic Erasers? The number of times those miracle little pads have removed toddler mayhem from the walls, floors and TVs, is INSANE! 

Sorry, I digress. I JUST LOVE THEM!

My stove... It's old, but very unique. It also is very large, and being that it's white, not only does it get dirty easily, it shows it! My cabinets are 1970 classics and show grime in the grossest way!

I know I say it all the time when I talk about my Kitchen reno, BUT!, who puts a vent in front of a stove?!  Talk about a pasta steam facial!

So once a week, I fill the sink with a squeeze of Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle 2x and hot water. The soap is this super cool neon green. Something about the color just screams, GRIME I'M GONNA GET YOU!


Check out my sparkly stove after a good wipe down with Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle 2x and Magic Eraser Extra Power Sponge...


Can you believe how great it works on the grime hiding under the burners??? (I cleaned all of the gunk off the burner, but I wanted you to see how insane the cleaning power is in just that one spot!)  

As if that's not enough awesomeness, it shines the chrome on my stove too! ALL IN ONE WIPE!  

I love that bald man. 

I really cannot recommend a good cabinet wash down weekly, or at least monthly. Even though it's easy to look past the grime, especially on forgiving cabinet finishes, the bacteria breeding ground is still there. Lurking... 

FYI: Here is a close up of a small squirt of the Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle 2x, allowed to penetrate for a minute, and then BOOM! one wipe with a clean Magic Eraser Extra Power, and my stove looks 1970's brand new to match my 1970's brand new cabinets!

Already thinking about your hidden grime, and how you've neglected it?  It's OK, we all do it.

TIP: Getting into a weekly routine will help make "deep" cleaning a breeze!

Want some more awesome #15MinReno ideas?  Join the Mr. Clean #15MINRENO Twitter Party with Celebrity guest, Johnathan Scott of HGTV Property Brothers!  You can win some awesome prizes too!  

Twitter Party Details:

Date: August 5th at 8pmCST 
Hashtag: #15MinReno
Celebrity Guest: Johnathan Scott of HGTV Property Brothers
Prizes: 4 Renovation Kits including multi-use screwdriver, tape measure, various Mr. Clean product and a piece of decor. 
Grand Prize: $400 GC to a Home Improvement Store
RSVP here: http://vite.io/iConnectIM

Now your turn, how has the Magic Eraser made your life easier and #15MinReno a breeze? Do you have plans for a home reno project?  Or do you need some inspiration?  Connect with Mr. Clean on Facebook and Twitter!


10 Timeless Toys That Will Take You Back To Your Happy Place

*I would like to thank Tin Toy Arcade for partnering with me to create this post on timeless toys. I did receive compensation, but all opinions and toy favorites are my own!

The other day I was talking with a couple of parents about how the toys our children love, are the same ones we loved.  From My Little Pony, To Slip 'N Slides, To Cabage Patch Kids, and every other toy we buy our children that we think, If only I still had MY Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Bright... 

Then we started talking about the true toy classics. The toys that have spanned three and four generations, that our children still love today.
I just had to share how amazing it is that those same toys our parents and grandparents loved are in our homes today!  

Without further ado, I dedicate this Top Ten Tuesday to, 10 Timeless Toys That Will Take You Back To Your Happy Place. (Complete with history lesson about each toy's origin!)

My dad had them, my brother had them, and now my son has them. Rockem Sockem Robots were introduced by Marx Toys in the 1960's.

Seventeenth century Flemish painters show children blowing bubbles with clay pipes, which played into Generations of 18th and 19th century mothers gave their children their leftover washing soap to blow bubbles. At the beginning of the 20th century, street peddlers and pitchmen were among the first to sell bubbles as a toy. There's no denying, children for many many many more years to come will be blowing bubbles. 

One of the earliest documented jack-in-the-boxes was made by a German clock maker in the early 1500s. It was a gift for the son of a local Prince on the boy's fifth birthday. A plain wooden box with metal edges and a crank handle, it played a simple tune and the 'jack' was a comical devil with a 'leering smile'--according to a pamphlet published by the Nuremburg Toy Museum. When other nobles requested a "Devil-in-a box" for their own children, a trend took off that continues to this day. I prefer the cute monkey over the freaky clown myself.


The first flip book appeared in September, 1868, when it was patented by John Barnes Linnett under the name kineograph("moving picture"). I just colored one with my son last month. Now that's staying power! 

 The Sock Monkey
The iconic sock monkeys made from red-heeled socks, known today as the Rockford Red Heel, emerged at the earliest in 1932, the year the Nelson Knitting Company added the trademarked red heel to its product. FYI: The red heel of the sock, it the Monkey's Mouth!

Rubber Ducky

Talk about staying power, this little guy has been around for nearly 75-years!
Sculptor Peter Ganine created a sculpture of a duck in the 1940s, then patented it and reproduced it as a floating toy, of which over 50,000,000 were sold!


An early 1990's favorite, The Stop Rocket was invented by Fred Ramirez, President of D&L Company. Hard to believe that's 25 years ago! My Brother LOVED his, and today, Ollie is CONSTANTLY getting the rockets stuck in our trees. Thankfully a good wind or rain comes along to knock it loose!


Paul K. Guillow, a World War I U. S. Navy Aviator, took his love for flying and turned it into a timeless toy, the Balsa wood airplane!  After Charles Lindbergh's famous solo transatlantic flight in 1927, Guillow capitalized on the aeronautical craze sweeping the nation with his line line of balsa wood model kits. The first line of Guillow balsa shelf model kits consisted of twelve different World War I biplane fighters with 6 inch wing spans that retailed for 10¢ each! 

The Slinky! 

 In 1940 Richard James invented this "precompressed helical spring" toy. Seventy-Five years later, there is not a household that hasn't had one thrown down the stairs. 

And last, my personal favorite, and my son's too...


Invented in the 1970's the Fisher Price Children's music recorder, complete with five double sided records, playing children's song's 100-years old, is by far my favorite, and brings back so many wonderful memories!
Needless to say, I had to get one for my child...

All of these timeless toys, and many more can be found at the Tin Toy Arcade, enter FIRST15 to get 15% off your purchase! To shop now, click here

How many of these do you have in your home? What is you favorite timeless classic?

*I would like to that Tin Toy Arcade for partnering with me to create this post on timeless toys. I did receive compensation, but all opinions and toy favorites are my own!


'Terrible Threes' Or Not, The Kid Has LOST HIS MIND!

There is kind of this behavioral 'Ebb and Flow' with my todller. He goes through super naughty phases, then calms down a little, then loses his mind with naughtiness again, only to calm back down to angel-child status.

I've come to realize the calm down phase should only be seen as sort of an intermission before his next ridiculous Act.

You would think by now, nothing would surprise me. I do, after all, have an evil genius for a toddler.

Clearly pondering "What's the worst that could happen if I pull the plug on this place."

This kid is crazy, and enjoys kicking things up an extra notch for extra fun...


Finding The Balance Between Nap Time, Rest Time and Screw It...

A few months ago I posted about Ollie showing signs of being ready to drop his nap.  Being that I had heard from multiple parents to expect the nap to go away after Ollie turns three, I was ready for it. Not to mention, that study I posted about saying, After two, naps can spoil sleep. (I called BS on it, and I was right!  Ollie was the exact opposite!)

What I wasn't ready for was the internal struggle over whether or not to let him drop the nap.

At first, I let him go without naps.  Since so many parents told me it would happen, I just went with it. But after just a week of letting nap time go, I noticed that it was making my child a miserrbal brat from 4pm on, and a terrible sleeper at night!  Sure, he went to sleep by 7pm without issue, but he tossed and turned all night, waking at least three or four times.

Rather than force him to take a nap, I tried to make him have "Rest Time" in his room.  He could play quietly in his room for an hour.

This kind of proved to be worthless too.

We went back to taking naps the next week...

For those of you facing the nap transition period, I thought I would outline the difference I see in my child between Naps, Rest Time and  saying, Screw it.  Because, to just make the blanket statement, "children stop having naps after three," is TOTALLY CRAP! Just like with every other big change with your child, you have to find a comfortable balance to make the transition as smooth as possible.


Ollie is nearly three-and-a-half and still NEEDS his naps. His nap begins after lunch between 12-1pm and lasts about two hours.

He wakes up refreshed and happy. And stays that way until bedtime at 7pm. I try to get him up to the bath by 6:30 but due to he and FTD playing and him getting a little older, I let it slide until 7-7:30. He is asleep by 8:30 every night. Though I shoot for 8pm.

Naps, by far, make for the best day for both Ollie and I.  Sure bed time is a little more difficult, but to have a nice guy all day, and a GREAT sleeper at night, it's worth it. When Ollie has his nap, he sleeps at night from 8pm-7am.


Rest time is that in-between nap and screw it phase. I usually resort to rest time when Ollie is being SUPER difficult about taking his nap. Or, we have had a crazy busy day that kept us out past nap time. I stick him in his room for an hour to play, which he rarely protests, since he is already tired from missing his nap.

Rest time only nets me an early easy bedtime that starts at 7pm. He tosses and turns all night long, and wakes up four or five times crying.

Needless to say, even though the early easy bedtime is awesome, it's not worth the horrible sleep we both get. Rest time is my last resort. Ollie falls asleep around 7:30pm and wakes around 6:30am


Screw happens on the rare occasion that nap time and rest time are impossible.

No nap or quiet rest time results in a demon toddler. Think: Mean as hell, almost like a Godzilla toddler. He throws toys, temper tantrums, his food and anything he can find to toss at Professor the Cat.


Being that screw it, results in complete and utter toddler dumbassery, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, my three year old is FAR from not needing a nap.

Bottom Line:  Every child is different, and just because every kid on the street stopped having naps after turning three, doesn't mean your toddler will be the same. And even though I love an easy, early bedtime, it's not worth the last three hours of the day when my toddler melts down, only to toss and turn all night.

Besides, I need his nap time to recoup too, so as long as my child needs a nap, I will give it to him!


Is THIS The Future Of Medicine? I Think So. #momsloveamwell

I've partnered with the One2One Network and Amwell to talk about an exciting way to see a Doctor from the comfort of your living room. All opinions are my own.

I was recently asked to test an app that allowed for a doctor, therapist or nutritionist visit in the comfort of my home. Being that this idea of home doctor visits has always been a dream of mine, I was excited, but also VERY skeptical. I mean really, a doctor visit via an app? Really?

Still, my want for a home doctor outweighed my skepticism, plus the first visit was free, so I really had nothing to lose...

Last Friday afternoon, I was having some issues with a current prescription, and couldn't get in to see my regular doctor, so I thought what the heck, I'll give the Amwell app a try.  Ollie was napping, and FTD was in the other room, so all was quiet. I downloaded the app, and began the process.

While the app was walking me through the options and process, FTD yells out from the other room, "Amwell?  Are you doing that through my work insurance?"

Me: Huh? No, it's a blog thing.

FTD: They just set up Amwell at work, we can use our insurance for it?

Me: Huh?

FTD: The teachers are going mental over how great and convenient it is.

ME: Why have you not told me about this?

FTD: Huh?

Yep, that's pretty much the cycle of most our conversations.

Sorry, I digress...

After filling out my name and a few personal details, I chose to speak with a family physician.

When the time came to enter a payment method, I entered "HashTagFree" in the coupon code space, and was immediately placed in the "waiting room" for the next doctor. In my case, it was the wonderful Dr. Sherri DeHaas. (Of course, I didn't know she was wonderful at the time, but she sure proved to be!)

After about a twenty minute wait, there were three patients in front of me, sure enough, my camera turned on, and there was Dr. DeHaas, smiling at me!

I. Was. Floored.

We exchanged pleasantries, I told her I was a blogger working on a campaign to test Amwell, but that I was also having issues with a prescription.

We immediately went into Doctor patient dialogue; Her asking me health questions, me giving her the long answer.

Before I knew it, 10 minutes had passed and I felt like she was the greatest, kindest doctor EVER.

She agreed that my medication was not working, and recommended a new one. One that I had heard of, and was happy to try.

I nearly died when she said, "Ok, I've sent the prescription to your listed Pharmacy, you may pick it up in about and hour.



That's it?

You just called in a new prescription? I'll be all better by dinner time?

We exchanged our goodbyes, which really amounted to me gushing over how amazing she was and how thankful I was, and then I hung up.

An hour later, I was in my pharmacy drive-thru picking up my new prescription!

The next morning, I was all better.

After what I experienced in 30-minutes using the Amwell app, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the future of medicine.

I even got a recap of our appointment emailed!

All information is protected, just like your regular doctor!

Of course, there will always be a need for certain in-office doctor visits, but when it comes to colds, headaches, croup, depression, anxiety, sore throats, stomach flu... I'm sure you see where I'm going-- this app is going to save so much time!  The last thing I want to do in the dead of winter is drag my sick son to a doctor's office, only to sit in the "sick room" and catch something awful myself!

I also thought about being on vacation and needing a doctor, this will be huge! Or for FTD, a typical man who HATES the doctor's office, this will be an epic game changer. Even he said he would use the app if he needed to see a doctor.

There are so many reasons this app is amazing, and will no doubt be a regular go-to for me since my insurance works with Amwell flawlessly.  I'm already looking into my insurance working with both the nutritionist and therapist, because I would LOVE to have both in the comfort of my living room!

Wouldn't you?

If you said, Yes! then I have great news! Every FTM&D reader gets a free visit!!!!!!

Yes, YOU, get a free doctor, nutritionist or therapy session FREE!  All you have to do is download the app, choose your doctor, and enter "MOMSLOVEAMWELL" in the coupon code area when prompted to pay! No insurance info needed. It's super simple, non-invasive and AWESOME!

Who knows, your insurance may cover all of your visits thereafter too!

To download the Amwell App now, click here.

* I participated in the Amwell blog program as a member of One2One Network. I received compensation but all opinions are my own.


10 Potty Training Tips And Must Haves #GameChangers

After trying on and off for two years to potty train my toddler, needless to say, I've been through the potty training struggle and know what works and what changes the game. In and effort to save you from my potty training plight, I've put together a list of 10 things that I couldn't have survived potty training without.

1. Patience. I know it may sound cliche, but patience was the number one thing that got me through the PT battle. Once I accepted the fact that my child would fully potty train on his time and terms, I relaxed a little. Most of all, I stopped holding myself 100% accountable that my toddler was not potty trained by two.

2. An Emergency Mess Kit. Under the kitchen sink, I kept a plastic bin full of quick clean-up products. Whenever the kid would have an accident, rather than scramble to find the products I needed to clean up the mess, I would just grab the bin on my way to him, and his mess.

I got the entire kit at the Dollar store for $5! SO WORTH IT!

3. A toilet seat with a built-in toddler seat. This thing was magical for getting Ollie to pee on the potty.

4. A stepping stool. When the wild-child started trying to go on his own, I was afraid he would fall off the toilet and bang his head on the tile when either climbing up or down from the potty. So, I got him a Child's Step Stool. The stool was awesome for both safely climbing on the potty, and for reaching the faucet to wash his hands!

5. Self sufficiency. It took me a while, but I finally realized my kid would never be able to go by himself as long as he needed me to help with his pants. Not to mention, most likely lead to a HUGE reduction in the number of accidents on the way to the potty.

6. Bribes. I know many experts frown upon bribing your kid, but in this case, bribes are WAY better than diapers. I started with mini M&Ms, but quickly realized my kid would have a mouthful of cavities at the rate he was "going potty" for a treat. He was pretty much squeezing out a drop or two for candy.  So, I switched to dollar store trucks and army guys at treats.  If he used the potty ALL DAY, without any accidents, he could choose a toy.

FYI:  After about a month of bribing, I told him he was a big boy now, and didn't need a treat for going potty.  I added something about how mommy and daddy don't get treats before he took off knowing where the story was going...

7. Emergency Change Kit- I keep an emergency change kit in my car so if there's an accident, I don't have to scramble for wipes or new clothes. Because I'm here to tell ya, pee in my car is not cool.

8. Foaming soap. Oh the bottles of gel soap that went down the drain unused.  Oh the bars of soap that shot across the bathroom--he thought bar soap was actually a toy game of shooting the soap out of your hand. Yes, FTD is behind that.  I found that foaming soap slowed him down, and since it's already lathered, it made it easy for him to easily distribute the soap in the tops and bottoms of his hinds.

9. Nighttime Diapers- Naturally, the older my toddler gets, the more he pees.  He can fill up a regular diaper by 3am.  Just like pee in my car is not cool, pee in my bed is really not cool! After a couple of unpleasant nights, I sought out nighttime specific diapers for toddlers, not big babies. Since switching, he has not had a leak since. While I hope and pray he is night trained sooner than later, I'm not taking any chances on middle of the night surprises.

10. Flushable wipes.  Above all, flushable wipes were the game changer. At first, they were awesome for just wiping him in general, and the few misses he made. Then, they were great for stopping him from trying to unroll the ENTIRE toilet paper roll. I taught him that butt wipes were his special toilet paper, and that he only needed ONE.

Now that he's wanting more independence in the potty, the wipes give me piece of mind that he's is wiping with something much more effective than toilet paper.

I LOVE this brilliant little contraption from, Bob's Butt Wipes, that allows the wipes to hang from the toilet paper roll holder for ultra convince! Check this out...

There are multiple colors available to match your bathroom.

Bob's Butt Wipes for Men
Lil' Booty Adventure Wipes for Children
Bou De' Wipes for Women 

At $9.99 for the holder and a two packs of wipes, Bob's Butt wipes are totally worth it! you can buy them online here, use code FTM&D15 for 15% off!

What has been your potty training saving grace? 


One Of The Greatest Parenting Inventions, Just Got An Upgrade! #Love #BobsButtWipes

*I've partnered with Sterling Global Products, LLC, to start a conversation about how awesome butt wipes are for potty training, and what happens when they are kicked up a few notches. All opinions are my own.

Who knew potty training could be such a long, drawn-out process?

For me, it's been a two year extravaganza of pushing, regressing, ridiculous misses and messes, and lots of tears. Mine of course.

As you may already know--because I bitch about it all the time-- I've been trying to potty train my child for two years thanks to my mother-in-law sending potty training pants and big-boy underwear for his first birthday.

Why? Because she says FTD potty trained right after his first birthday. So naturally, Ollie will too... <Insert-cough... that sounds more like me saying, Bullsh!T>

Fine, I'll admit, Ollie is definitely FTD's mini-me, but trying to potty train my toddler at the age of one seemed a little cray-cray.

I was right.

My child was no potty prodigy.

Not. Even. Close.

Thankfully, right after his third birthday, he started using the potty regularly. Nine times out of ten, he  even went without being prompted first! Still, I had to stay close to supervise his potty breaks to keep him safe from falling, and of course, clean.

A HUGE Game Changer for me were Flushable Butt Wipes.

At first, wipes were awesome for quick though convent clean of both my toddler. Then, once the kid decided he needed to be more undefended at pity-time, wipes proved to be great for stopping him from trying to unroll the ENTIRE toilet paper roll. I taught him that the wipes were his special toilet paper, and that he only needed ONE.

The wipes give me piece of mind that he's NOT making a huge mess with the toilet paper roll, and that he's wiping with something much more effective than dry paper.

And then, as if butt wipes couldn't get better, Bob's Butt Wipes, Lil' Booty Adventure Wipes and BouDe' wipes came with their own handy holder! Check this out...

The holder is sturdy, easy to use, and re-fill. Not to mention, the butt wipes being in a convent spot makes it easy for Ollie to grab one without having to turn around or reach down.

Did I mention how funny the names are?  There are multiple colors available to match your bathroom!

Bob's Butt Wipes
Lil' Booty Adventure Wipes
Bou De' Wipes for Women! 

At $9.99 for the holder and a pack of wipes, Bob's Butt wipes are totally worth it. Enter coupon code "FTM&D15" to save 15% off your order! To order now, click here.



Confessions Of A First Time Mom: I Have More Issues Than Vogue

So, I'm nuts when it comes to my child.  My long time readers know that, but according to my sister, an avid reader and critiquer of my blog, I've been holding out on you. Apparently, I need to let the world know just how neurotic I am.

This past weekend, a church near my house had their annual picnic. Complete with carnival rides and kids games, and my personal favorite, a cake wheel where you place a dime on a number between 1-120 and if the spinning wheel lands on your number, you win a cake!

Unfortunately, the weather forecast was calling for 95 degrees with a heat index of 100-105.

All weekend long my phone was blowing up with text messages from the National Weather Service with heat advisories and a reminder to stay hydrated, and if possible, avoid going outside.

Needless to say, I was less than stoked about the weather.  My little fair skinned red-headed toddler definitely does not need to be out in that kind of heat, on a black top parking lot no less.

 Our top of the ferris wheel family selfie

Being that the weekend long picnic is kind of the highlight of our summer, not going was not an option. So, I planned ahead for the heat.

My prep went like this:

In my handbag, I packed LOADS of sunblock, bug spray and a hand fan.

In a small cooler I packed:

  • Three large bottles of electrolyte water (partially frozen to keep extra cold) 
  • Two frozen washcloths- for the back of my toddler's neck to keep cool
  • A Travel pack of baby wipes (storing them in the cooler meant that would be cool on his face and hands)
  • Frozen grapes and strawberries in snack bags

Clearly, I wasn't messing around.

I don't care how nuts it sounds, I never leave the house without over-thinking what Ollie might need for whatever adventure we are embarking on, even if it is to an event a few blocks away.

My sister, mother of two boys (8 & 9) laughed at me, but in a way that I could tell she was more amazed, and even slightly impressed, than anything. She couldn't believe how much I had thought through the day about what my son might need to beat the heat.

For me, it seemed like second nature.

It's in these moments that I realize how much of a neurotic first-time parent I am, and how no matter how old my child gets, I will, in a way, always be a first-time parent.

The LAST thing I ever want to be is under-prepared for my son's needs. So, I over prepare.

Surely, I'm not the only neurotic mom (over) packing an entire cooler full of heat beating things?

                                    Riding the helicopter for the FOUR MILLIONTH TIME

Sure, I've been caught without an extra diaper, wipes/napkins or water, but dammit, once is enough for me! So, I over-think what my kid would possibly need before leaving the house... and my car looks like it...

I am a sucker for handing back snacks, drinks, toys, baby wipes... whatever he needs that I have on hand, I send it back to him. By the time we get home, it looks like I held a daycare in my backseat.

Yes, I do know how jacked up all that nonsense is. Am I going to stop?


I can't!

I'm driven by this first-time mom need to prepare and please.

See...  More. Issues. Than. Vogue.

But...   I'm a first-time mom, so isn't that just par for the mom-course?

P.s. Even though I obsessed about my son's needs all weekend, I still managed to have a fabulous time. I even made FTD ride a super fast and scary ride with me! As you can see, he was super STOKED about it!


So You Mean The World Won't Explode If I Deviate From The Routine?

Routine. Is. KEY.

Those three words were burned into me while pregnant by every been-there-done-that parent I encountered and parenting book I read. All agreed, the routine would be the saving grace for both my child and I.

All I had to do was wait until he was 6-8 weeks old, then start a nighttime routine; bath, books, bottle/nurse, bed. From there, I could work towards a 24/7 routine that would make life easier for both my child and I.

So, naturally, I listened.

Over time, the routine became EVERYTHING!  I lived by the clock, and so did my infant. He ate, napped, bathed and breathed his routine. Just like my friends and the parenting books said, it made life for both of us in some strange way, comforting. I could plan my days around the routine, which made socialization and even grocery shopping easier.

Of course, as Ollie got older, the routine changed in terms of mealtimes, number of naps and playtime, but what always stayed same was the bedtime routine:

6:30pm bath
7:00pm books
7:30pm bedtime

Three and a half years later, I'm still obsessed with sticking to the routine.

While I'm not sure who finds more comfort in the routine, me or Ollie, I know we both need it to maintain peace and harmony.

FTD insists that as long as we are having fun, the routine can wait.

I insist otherwise.

It turns out, we are both right.

The routine is key for a child. There are numerous studies that prove it, HOWEVER, I'm starting to realize, the older my child gets, the more it's OK to relax about the routine.

This summer FTD, Ollie and I are getting out more, which means, we are staying out past naptime, and bedtime. At first it made me crazy. I was concerned that missing our routine would definitely result in a cranky child that, thanks to being overtired, hungry, or both, would be a terror.

Well, I was wrong.

I'm learning that missing bedtime, or not having a bath, will not result in a Godzilla toddler. And gasp, the world as I know it, will not come crumbling down on my head. Stopping my family from living and enjoying themselves is not worth getting worked up about following the routine.

While I expect the normalcy and predictability the routine affords my family to be a saving grace for many more years to come, I'm learning to relax a little and let the good times roll past 7:30 if need be.  

Life is about living, not sticking to a routine...


What about you? Is routine everything in your house too?  Have you started letting the routine shift the older your child gets too?


What All Great Parents Have In Common

Three years into being a parent, I've learned new challenges come with every milestone and birthday.
Great parents face those challenges head on and find solutions to overcome them.  Below are a few of the ways great parents rock parenting like a BOSS...

 Great parents:

  •  Figure it out.
  • Sneak veggies into meals.
  • Stay up all night watching over, and worrying about, their sick child.Devise evil plans to get their child to help clean up their toys and room.
  • Shower their child(ren) with love, encouragement and guidance.
  • Great parents fail. Then learn from it.
  • Live for their children.

  • Love unconditionally
  • Accept their role as parent...  like a BOSS.

Something else all great parents have in common, is self doubt. It doesn't help that haters, nosey know-it-all in-laws, society and "experts", are constantly telling them how to be a parent to their child. When this happens, feeling like a great parent can be difficult. And for a great parent, feeling like a crap-parent can be devastating.

Parenting is extremely hard, and thankfully, extremely rewarding. While it's scary and confusing at times, I've learned to relax and deal with each challenge as it comes, and do my best to find the humor in it.

I have no doubt, the 'terrible threes' will be nothing compared to four, and four and five nothing compared to the teenage years, but I can't worry about that now. I have to stay focused on today's challenges and how I am going to figure out a solution, because that's what great parents do. And I'm a great parent.

No, I don't always get it, "right". But I learn from mistakes and appreciate the lesson. Above all, being a parent is the greatest blessing I have ever known. My son is the brightest, most beautiful, wonderful and amazing little person. Which, is due in part to my parenting triumphs and failures, and I'm so very proud of each one, because the sum of both make me a great parent.

If you relate to this, then pat yourself on the back and tell the haters to piss off, because you too, are a great parent.