Thursday, December 23, 2010

When to visit the Doctor!!!!

I think I am quite laid back as a parent in general when it came to new Mommyhood. I wasn't the type to call the doctor every other day or stress out over every little sound and noise she made her first few months.
We have lucked out as Katie has never really been sick other than a little cold here and there that makes her crabby and irritable. She never really even spiked a fever that was worth any concern.

So last week when she got a fever over 100 for the first time, and was a little cranky and clingy - I assume it was just the dreaded 2 year molars. So we gave her some Tylenol and let her watch a movie an called it a day.

Fast forward to this weekend, when she got another fever, and then started having trouble sleeping through the night. I still thought it was molars and didn't worry too much although I started looking up some symptoms just in case.

That's when I realized it wasn't molars. There was actually something wrong with her. She would spike a fever in the afternoon - not eat, refuse to pee, she woke up with AWFUL breath that we couldn't get to go away even with brushing her teeth and she wouldn't drink anything.

Then she said her back hurts. I figured she was copying me as I always have a heating pad due to her brother and the penthouse he's created in my belly - but then I read about Urinary Tract Infections and realized I totally missed it:(
Unfortunately I didn't figure it all out until night time when we were putting her down.

So I called the doctors after hour service and talked to her pediatrician who said we would have to just get a urine sample in the morning. Not something I was looking forward to.

That night as she woke up for almost 2 hours to hang out with Dave saying she was sick and being pitiful - I was convinced I had let Katie get like Kidney stones... I was up all night and couldn't wait to get her into the doc in the morning.

I even ran over to the docs office before she woke up to get a urine sample kit to ensure it wouldn't be a contaminated sample because I knew she wouldn't be cool with giving a sample at the doctors office.

To cut this short... this is what happened.

She woke up, I dealt with her awful dragon breath, got her hydrated a little and got her sample. (pretty easily too - I just put the cup in the bottom of her old potty and held it up for her - she didn't even pee on me!!!)

We go to the doctor, they check for strep (because of her breath) and UTI - AND NOTHING.
The doctor doesn't know what it is. She says she is obviously fighting something - and it could be viral (new parents least favorite words to hear I'm learning, as that basically means we don't know what it is, so we'll call it a virus and since viruses can't really be treated, you just have to wait it out)

She did give us Antibiotics which is the first real medicine Katie has had to take. We wait to get the official lab results back on Monday, but the doc says she thinks that the antibiotics will kill whatever is in her system.

A few things I've learned from this:

A) It's not always "just teething"

B) Urine Sample collection kits are good to have at home just in case (I never thought anything close to that sentence would ever come out of my mouth!

C) My kid is a ROCKSTAR for only being a little cranky and whiny and wanting to hang out with Dave at night considering there is obviously something legitimately wrong with her.

D) My doctors office is pretty kick ass and I am glad that we chose one that was just one town over because it makes it SO Much easier for last minute emergency situations like this!

Anyone want to share a medial experience about their kid on here... good or bad??
Anything you've learned or wish you had known before???

Lucky for us, we got it taken care of just in time for the holidays!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Gift Itch/Daycare in the mornings

Is anyone else just dying to give their kids just one of the new toys you have sitting in waiting for Christmas?

I don't know about you but Katie is BORED at home. I mean... TOTALLY scatter brained, can't even be bothered to color or do crafts anymore bored so every time she has a meltdown I am so tempted to just pull out something new so that it can keep her attention for just a little while.

I haven't done it - but man oh man am I tempted. This is the one true downside to having a baby with a birthday in the beginning of the year because then we get hit twice within 2 months with gifts and then we have a dry spell for awhile because we don't want to spoil her with getting stuff all year long. Even though we obviously buy her stuff during the year and so does her grandparents.

So, today we tried to make up a matching game with some of her flash cards which lasted all of 15-20 minutes. (She's awesome at sorting colors and shapes so that's what we went with) and it was only 9:00.
So, we took her out to shop a little bit and then went out to lunch where she proceeded to scream I WANT PANCAKES to everyone that walked by - but all in all it was a successful morning!

So, we have been able to hold off on giving her any presents for one more day.

In regards to her boredom, we are finding it VERY VERY hard to keep her interested in anything these days.
She knows her alphabet, her numbers 1 - 10, her colors and lots of shapes. She talks like a 3 year old and is able to figure out puzzles labeled age 3 - 5. She is potty trained.
So, I'm out of stay at home mom material at the moment.

With the new baby coming, we have decided that it's time to start sending Katie to daycare in the mornings so that she can get some circle time/play time/craft time in a structured setting with other kids to ensure that she is getting socialized and I can have some alone time with the baby so she doesn't feel neglected. (especially in the beginning when I'm nursing)

So, we are taking some tours over the next few weeks and we think we are going to just bite the bullet and spend the money to send her to daycare 3 mornings a week from 8:30 - 11:30. Until her brother comes, I will be doing consulting work during those hours to help offset the cost and to make me feel better about being a stay at home with no kid in the morning! Once the baby comes, I probably won't be able to work as much - but I'm hoping to be able to continue working at least a little bit to bring in some money and hep keep me sane!!

I never thought I'd be so ready to send her off to daycare/school. But she is obviously ready and we really think it will be good for her and I'm sure it will be good for me too - so hopefully it's a win/win for everyone involved. Guess I'll just have to keep clipping coupons to help offset her expense now:)

Anyone else send their kid to school/daycare early because of similar reasons?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Getting your toddlers to eat

O.k. I think Dave and I have been very good/lucky about most of the obstacles you face raising a toddler. (at least with this kid:) - let's see what happens with number 2.

We magically avoided biting/hitting/tantrums (for now) She is very well behaved 98% of the time and always has been, she potty trained in less than a week and we have been able to stick together on the little discipline we have to impose on her.

We are very very careful with ultimatums and we make sure that if we threaten her with something and she doesn't follow through that we follow through with the punishment. It's hard because most of the time we'd rather just forget about it to make it easier... however, we don't want her to think that she can get away with stuff.

This brings us to our biggest and most disappointing failure to date....


We waited too long to force her to eat regular food. For dinners, we had still been giving her something different up until about 2 - 3 weeks ago because we didn't want to deal with the hassle of sitting down to a nice cooked dinner and having to fight with her about what to eat.

That was our fault and mostly selfish because we wanted to eat in semi-peace... so now that we are making really good dinners every night, and trying to force her to eat it - we have tears and yelling at every dinner.

We try to bribe her by giving her a little bit of something we know she likes and making her try what is on her plate to get more and that sometimes works..... but for the most part I think we are failing miserably.

I know some people send their kids to bed hungry if they don't eat what is for dinner and up until now I had been afraid she'd wake up during the night hungry and to be honest, didn't want to deal with it - but at this point I realize we have no choice and have to make this right.

She doesn't like meat. I think it's a texture thing. She puts it in her mouth and then spits it out and says... "No this, take it away please". She eats pasta, but it has to be a certain shape or it appears to freak her out and she won't even put it in her mouth.

She won't eat mac and cheese, and hates vegetables.
We even tried to let her pick out vegetables at the store like my friend suggested, but that doesn't seem to be working. She eats plenty of fruit and likes yogurt and cheese, but won't drink milk.

Help me. I'm at a loss. I know a lot of you say that your kids are picky eaters at this age, but this isn't picky - this is down right resistance.

The only thing I noticed is that she has a play food set that includes peas and I think that sparked her interest in eating peas - because she will eat those sometimes... So for Christmas, I bought her a vegetable play set and am looking for some other foods to try to help, but I am not sure that will be enough.

What do you do and how long did it take until your child started to actually comply?

I'm pretty bummed about her lack of eating - especially since as a baby she ate EVERYTHING....
Suggestions welcome:)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Practical Christmas?

I've been frugal for as long as I can remember. Even when I was working Full Time and we didn't have a kid, I never was capable of blowing money on things we didn't need.
My most expensive treat was my gym membership.

I still have clothes in my closet that I wore in College/High School, I hardly ever pay full price for ANYTHING and I love sales and coupons. I use the library and comparison shop if I have to buy a book. (which I hate doing!!) We have a Keurig - but I don't use it every day - it's for special days and stressful days:) I make my meal plan based on what is on sale for the week and yes, I'm only 29.

This year for Christmas I am doing all my shopping online again to avoid the CRAZY crowds and waiting in line, etc... I always get free shipping so you can't beat it.

I was trying to think of what to get for my husband and I just can't think of anything that will really be a WOW gift. I thought I had done well last year when I found a local cooking school and bought him some classes there (he loves cooking) and this year I'm just tapped out for ideas.

So, I suggested that we give ourselves a budget and then just spend it on whatever we want for ourselves. Which is really the same thing as giving your husband a list and dictating exactly what you want him to buy for you, only you avoid any upset if he gets the wrong color/size or model!

My husband said that might be nice... except he knows I won't buy anything fun for me. And he's right... I'm already thinking of just using that money towards my gym membership or for clothes for after I have the baby - which totally defeats the purpose as the idea was that we'd buy something we wouldn't normally buy.

I have no problem buying for other people and if my husband came home and said he wanted to spend $1000 on a guitar or something - I wouldn't protest because he works hard and I feel he deserves it... but I am incapable of spoiling myself in the same way. My mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year and I told her I wanted new baking pans... and I did, and I love them - but that's how my head works when it comes to gifts...

Any of you have the same problem?

My frugality has made it so that we are able to live on one salary with no problem - I never have to question if we can afford something that we need - because we don't spend on things we don't need. My biggest spending habits tends to be on clothes - but all my clothes are so old that it's kind of necessary! So I am trying to stick to that so that when we have 2 little ones running around - we are still able to live the same way.

So, I think for me this Christmas - I will buy myself my gym membership and some new clothes and I'm happy with that - more than happy with that. It suits me!

Anyone else have trouble spending money on themselves?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Watch your mouth

Like everything else so far - Katie started talking early. She went from a few words to a whole lot of words very quickly, and is now speaking in broken sentences. You can have a conversation with her and she remembers and responds - it's great!

Potty mouths. We always joked around my family how I was going to have to start watching my mouth because she would repeat and for the longest time we had no incidents.. I thought we were kind of in the clear. I had almost forgotten about it to be honest.

Then one night my husband was wrestling her to try to get a diaper on (before she was potty trained) and he got frustrated.... he did that parent breathing out thing that we assume will make some sort of impression on our kids, only it doesn't and Katie picked up right on cue and said,
"Damn it!"

Plain as day and appropriate for the situation as it's the only bad word he usually says.

We laughed out loud because not only had she stored this little piece of information - she figured out the context in which it was to be used!

The following week, we went to my parents house and my father was reading something and innocently stated out loud... OHHHHH DAMN
not 2 seconds later our little parrot said to herself... OH DAMN

We laughed about those cause it's still so cute but then she got serious.
The other day we were putting in the car for the beginning of a LONG journey over Thanksgiving and a cop squealed out and sped off for NO REASON near us (no flashing lights, just showing off) - so I was complaining about how obnoxious that was and all of a sudden Katie said

So, my husband looks at me and I look at him and we said to each other... what did she just say? So we asked her what she said and she said... "Fucking" with a big old smile on her face.

Then the panic sets in and we are both looking at each other saying... I don't think I said that - did you say that.

So, I said... Katie why are you saying that and she goes,
"Mommy said it over there" and pointed to where I was just complaining about the cop.

Busted by a 22 month old.

So, now I try very hard to think before I rant. She hasn't said it again - so perhaps it was an isolated event for now - but we'll see.

So, for those of you with potty mouths who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant... NOW IS THE TIME TO STOP YOURSELF.
You might think you can stop when the baby comes... but it doesn't work like that -so if you really want to beak the habit - start now.

AND even if you think they aren't listening to you - they are. Always. So just remember that as you go into another room to talk on the phone to your best friend about something that bugs you - because they are like little shadows and can often go undetected!!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Travel FAIL

I don't know if it was the onset of the Terrible Twos or the fact that Katie had a cold that got worse apparently when we were en route to Thanksgiving but this was the worst travel trip for us ever:(

Luckily my husband is a genius and suggested that I take Katie to my moms house (our first stop on the trip) early in the day versus our usual time which is after work right before bedtime. So, Katie and I didn't hit any traffic - had a successful potty stop and got there with little drama.

She seemed to get worse at my moms house and was quite pitiful laying on the couch watching tv after a failed nap and became emotional about everything.... so we chalked it up to being tired.

Then we went to bed and Katie ended up having to come in to bed with us - kicking me out - so I had about 4 hours of sleep before our 4 - 5 hour drive on Wednesday.

Not to go into too much detail - it just went downhill from there. From having 2 cars for the first part of the trip to having a cranky - sick child and a cranky pregnant wife and hitting traffic- my poor husband is a saint for not leaving us on the side of the road!

At the end of the week, we decided that for the next few holidays we are going to give ourselves a break and not travel and just experience holidays at home. Because our family is all away - we tend to end up packing up the car and traveling to them which has been fine until now, but as I read everyone's FB statuses about having put up their Christmas tree last Friday, etc.... knowing I still had a 6 - 8 hour drive PLUS unpacking to do PLUS grocery shopping to figure out and laundry, etc.... we decided that for Christmas we would invite my parents here and wake up in our house and not have to travel this time.
It will be sad - cause I have to say there is nothing like waking up at my mom and dads house for Christmas... but I know I will feel a million times better being home and not having to deal with the travel and traffic.

Now on to a million things before the next holiday - including deciding whether to put Katie in Daycare for 2 or 3 mornings a week so that she can get some time with other kids and I can work a little in peace and quiet.

I hope all of your Thanksgivings were more successful than mine... Lesson learned - we will fix it for next time:)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lovey Surgery and advice

Katie, like most kids has a Lovey. (I hate that term by the way - I prefer Favorite toy or something of that sort) Here they are at their first meeting - she was barely crawling and he was young and plump and pretty.

Anyway - she has an ABSOLUTE FAVORITE that she must sleep with every night and that has to come on long car rides with us. Luckily for us, she doesn't insist on taking it into everywhere we go, and we always made sure to explain to her that that wasn't an option - because I don't want it getting dirty or lost - so it always stays in the car and waits for us.

Anyway... we had learned early on by watching our friends that once your kid adopts a favorite, (you will never be able to determine which toy will be their favorite - try as you might!!!)
it's best to have a duplicate. We have also heard horror stories of lost faves and trying to replace them and children rejecting them because they don't smell right or look right like this;

Our good friends son had a bear that he very quickly decided was his favorite, but before they realized just how serious the addiction to the bear was, it started getting grungy from every day use... (you know what I'm talking about)

By the time they realized they needed to find a back up - it was too late - Bear Bear was too worn and comfy and the new one was new and just all around WRONG (plus hard to find as he was bought by a family member in a little shop somewhere - so not exactly readily available)
- so he would never take new bear bear over old bear bear.

Bear Bear has gone under a few minor surgeries to fix eyes, and tears and rips... all of which were pretty traumatic for the boy and I didn't want to have an emergency situation with Katie - so I tried to plan ahead.

I personally remember when my mother had to give my Favorite Cabbage Patch baths in the washing machine and how miserable I would be to be without him for a few hours...
I still have him - He lives in my room and isn't allowed to play with Katie for very long.:)
Anyone know what his name is???? Bonus points if you comment it first! Maybe I'll send you something fun in the mail!

So, we watched and we learned and I told myself that as soon as she "picked a fave" I was going to get a back up and then swap them out every few weeks so that they would wear down evenly and she wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
Here they are when I first bought Ba Ba number 2. They look fat and plump and happy and bright and cheerful.
We've been swapping them out every few weeks for about 6 months now.
(and by "we", I mean me of course, cause it's totally a mom thing and Dave is kinda clueless... every once in awhile I will let him know that I swapped them - just so he feels like he's part of it!!!)
It's worked like a charm!! She can't tell the difference and neither one is really grungy. She has caught me a few times and seen both of them. The last time was a month or 2 ago and made me worried, because she was old enough to remember that she had 2 and I was afraid she'd figured me out. I was able to stealthily hide the second one when she wasn't looking and she hasn't asked about him since... but - my window for that is gone, if she finds them both now - she will remember and the Jig will be up! So we hide the second one in our blanket chest now underneath the extra sheets!!!!

This was her the last time she saw them both - she kept saying... 2 ba ba's and after I hid the second one - she said - mommy, more babas??? luckily we distracted her and she forgot!

Here is a picture of them now....

As you can see, they have seen better days! They can't even hold their heads up and they are starting to fade in color. My dilemma now is that I want to add some stuffing to them so that they perk up a bit - but I'm afraid to open a seam. Every time I'm ready to perform surgery on the back up one, I chicken out for some reason.

Does anyone have any suggestions for the best spot to open up a stuffed toy and re-close without ruining it?????

So... new parents - trust me, as soon as your kid picks a favorite - BUY A SECOND one... it's TOTALLY worth it. As ours is a Webkinz... it cost us $25 bucks and bought us a second year of the online game subscription that she loves playing with on the computer. So it was win win for us!

Scour Ebay and Amazon if you have to - but you will be glad that you did when the original one gets filthy or worse, and you have a second one ready to go that has been swapped out periodically so they look, feel and smell the same and your child doesn't know the difference and you can avoid the Lovey Breakdown!!!!

I hope you all have a good week - we are off for our holiday travels and I will be back posting next week!

Goodluck on Black Friday for any of you that actually brave it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Travel with Kids

With the holidays coming up and in-laws who live 6 hours away - I figured it was fitting to write a posting about traveling for holidays with kids.

We do our travel by car - so unfortunately I have no ideas or tips for traveling any other way - but after a lot of trial and error we have found the perfect way to get from here to there with minor breakdowns and frustration.

First off, we NEVER travel on the actual holiday itself. We make sure that we leave at least the day before as we can't even imagine being stuck in holiday traffic with a baby/toddler.

We have tried everything from traveling in the morning or at night, to breaking it up and here is what works for us.

  • TRAVEL TIME / Breaks
We start our trip on day 1 - lucky for us - my parents house is 2 hours into the drive to my in-laws so they are a good stopping point along the way. In the past, we have driven past my parents house and found a hotel to stop at for the night for bed so that we can finish the drive in the morning. It all depends on whether we want to spend the money on the hotel or not.

If you have a little extra cash - I HIGHLY recommend this option. If you plan ahead, you can even get a good deal on Hotwire or priceline and pay less than regular price and the further you get on day 1 - the less you have to drive on day 2.

So, we get to our stopping point on day 1 - stay overnight and then get up and get back in the car ASAP to complete the drive. For us, that means another 4 hours - so we know ahead of time that we are going to make at least 1 or 2 stops along the way. We try to stop for a meal and a little walking around time for Katie so that she isn't restless in the car. This makes our total drive more like 7 or 8 hours depending on where we stop - but since we break it up and get out of the car for Katie, it makes it almost bearable.

  • Entertainment
  1. Portable DVD Player - I hate to say it, but I don't know how people ever traveled with kids before they were invented. My in-laws bought ours and it has been one of our most used items ever. (we take a lot of long drives)
  2. Basket of toys - we have a tote basket that we keep on the floor full of toys/books for Katie at all times. We try to swap out the toys every once in awhile for variety to keep her entertained.
  3. BONUS TOYS - I found a product called Water Wow - it's like Aqua Doodle, only you fill the special pen with water and your kid colors over the special pages and it uncovers beautiful colors and pictures. It only entertains her for maybe 20 minutes - but that's 20 minutes of peace and quiet for us. The good thing about it is they have different characters. She has played with a Sesame Street one before but we bought her a Thomas one a few weeks back that she hasn't seen yet - so that will be our bonus toy for the home stretch when she is screaming OUT OUT OUT of her car seat:)
  4. Katie's CD's - we have a few music cd's that are specially for Katie. Sesame Street, Wiggles, etc... she stays happy for longer when her music is playing versus ours.
  5. Ipod Touch - I happen to have one and have downloaded some free games for toddlers on it that will keep her entertained for a few minutes at a time.
  6. Snacks - if she's eating, she's usually not complaining!
I know it doesn't sound like much - but it's enough to get us through the possible 8 hours in the car over 2 days. I find that having the toys in the car at all times makes packing to go anywhere way easier because I'm not grabbing toys every time we leave the house.

I think the most important aspect of going anywhere for so many hours is letting Katie out of the car for a few minutes at a time. It sucks for us because it makes our drive that much longer, but it makes the traveling bearable so it's necessary.

When Katie was an infant - we would do the same drive in one day - at night. She slept so well in the car seat - that we would do our heavy driving after we put her to "bed" for the night in her cars eat and then she would wake up for a few minutes once we got there, which would make for an interesting hour or two once we arrived but it would make it worth it because then she wouldn't spend the better portion of her day in the car seat while she was awake.

How do you travel with your kids? What tips do you have? I'm always looking for new must haves and tricks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gym Nursery Fail

So - on Tuesday when we went to the gym, Katie was good for at least 40 minutes and I was able to get in a VERY nice long walk. When I went back to the nursery to get her - I heard her from the hallway - her hyperventilating, freaking out, red faced, can't breathe crying. She doesn't cry much - but when she does, it's pretty dramatic. Apparently right before I got there, a little boy in the room who cries a lot (but only for like 20 seconds, then he's over it) started crying and then Katie started crying - only she didn't stop after 20 seconds. So I didn't think much of it because we were leaving anyway and the lady said that she had been perfectly fine up until then.

So, we go again today and she goes right in, and her friend comes too and I get on the stair machine. (the super cool, scary looking one they use on Biggest Loser that looks kind of like an escalator, it's AWESOME and very hard!!!) Got 15 minutes into my workout when I hear my name being called to the nursery. Same story - the boy started crying and that set off Katie and she wouldn't stop.

So, I asked the lady when the boy was there and she said pretty much every day at the exact same time that we can go - which of course, figures.

So, do I assume it's really this little boy and try to re-arrange when we go around when he won't be there (but her friend probably won't be able to go at the same time) OR... do I just throw in the towel and figure that it's a sign that I shouldn't be trying to go to the gym?

I'm frustrated because the whole point of me going during the day with Katie is so that it:
A) gets us out of the house
B) doesn't cut into my PT work
C) doesn't mean I have to go at the crack of dawn

So I don't really want to go at night when the gym is most crowded and I'd rather be home with Dave and Katie - so I'm feeling very defeated:(

On a totally unrelated side note - I just discovered the MOST AMAZING SNACKS EVER!!!! They are called PUFFINS and they are usually in the healthy section of the store. They taste kinda like Cap'n Crunch only healthier and way less fake and are full of good stuff like Fiber with very little sugar. Katie loves them as a finger food and I've been taking hits off her snack cup all morning and might just break down and have a whole bowl for myself:)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Division of Labor in your house

As a sociology major in College - I read a lot about division of labor and gender roles, etc... The whole topic fascinated me even before I was married with kids and gave up my "office job" for the 24 hour job of staying at home.

Before we had children, my husband and I were both very neat in our own respects so it wasn't like we really had any huge mess to clean every week. (we were only home at night)

I typically did all of the HEAVY DUTY cleaning - the bathrooms, kitchen, vacuuming, etc... Dave has always been good about doing dishes and cooking - he loves cooking and he won't object at all if I ask him to do any of the other stuff... I just always kind of did it myself. (I was always home more than him too as he commuted to work and I didn't - so that might have been part of it.)

I don't think we ever discussed who would do what - we just sort of fell into that habit and it worked.

Then when we had our daughter and I decided to stay home I sort of started to feel like it was my job to do all the household stuff.
Grocery Shopping, Cleaning the rooms, Organizing her clothes, Laundry, Vacuuming, Mopping, Bathroom cleaning, etc.

Luckily, my husband would do all of this stuff and he does help me (especially now that I'm preggo again) however, I have found that I have a system and it's fast and his system is slow and it makes me crazy - so I'd much rather just do it all myself while he entertains Katie. So the fact that he doesn't "do more" isn't because he isn't willing, but more because I'm a control freak and would rather just do it myself. I also work PT doing online consulting - which adds to the home/work/life balance on my end and my husband is very supportive of it.

I don't work much (I try to do between 5 and 10 hours a week) and I don't make that much money - I do it because I feel like I NEED to be contributing something, even if it's just enough money to cover shopping sprees for Katie and I. It's something I do for myself which adds some stress but makes me feel better in the long run so for now, we make it work.

At the end of the day, my husband is usually the one who runs the dishwasher and he still does the boy jobs like going up into the attic and taking the garbage out but everything else is pretty much all me. He does like to cook and on weekends, I love when he takes that on because he has way more patience and makes much better stuff than I do! However, I don't think I've ever heard my husband say - I think I'll clean the toilet today.

As far as childcare goes - I think we have done an excellent job of splitting the job. (that is not my family in this pic but I thought it was fitting!)

Granted, Katie is a daddy's girl and prefers to be with him at night once he gets back from work - which means I get some "down" time to a certain degree as he does bath and bedtime - but we trade off on mornings waking up with her and trying to keep her quiet so that the other can get a few more minutes of sleep and we've always done that.

Even though my husband has a full time job that he goes to every day - we are lucky in that it's only 5 minutes away so he doesn't have a long, taxing commute or anything to worry about - so he has always been more than happy to help me with whatever I need. He has NEVER made me feel like it is my job because I'm home, to be on duty 24/7 and I love him for that! He truly understands just how hard it is to be a stay at home parent, even though he hasn't had to do it full time and I realize that I am one of the lucky ones!

How does it work in your house and why is that so? Are you happy with the division of work at home?

I'm not looking to start any fights between spouses (comment anonymously;))- just want to start a conversation.

I have to admit - I take a lot of pride in staying home. I get a HUGE rush of adrenaline when I save large amounts of money through planned grocery shopping and coupon clipping. I enjoy managing our household finances (even though it's my husband who makes the money). I love making a nice meal for my man when he comes home at the end of the day.

But, I will admit that being a stay at home mom is harder and more stressful than working any job I have ever worked and that I need time outs and back up a lot and I thank my husband for providing that for me every day! On the flip side, I also believe that my husband is entitled to down time as well and we try very hard to make sure that we each get a little time each week to ourselves so that we don't lose who we are as individuals in the shuffle of life/work/parenting.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crazy Pregnant lady at the gym

That's going to be me - today - I hope. 22 weeks pregnant and I thought that I could use a little exercise and I thought the nursery at the gym for Katie might be a good place for Katie to get some energy out and play with other kids.... so today my buddy and I are braving it back to the gym with our 2 daughters in hopes that they will stay in the nursery long enough for us to at least get a mini cardio work out in.
I miss the gym terribly. I had been doing Zumba and spinning before we got pregnant and then the first trimester literally kicked my butt into total submission and I didn't renew my membership because I hate wasting money and figured if I wasn't going to go for 3 months, what was the point??

But, they sent me an offer to join again for cheap with no commitment and it's only $2 an hour to put Katie in the nursery - so I figured for 2 mornings a week - even if I just walk a half hour - it will benefit us both. So, Wish us luck and cross your fingers that I don't hurt something as it's "been awhile"

I will post some pictures later of our cookie craft project. I am making all kinds of cookies with Katie to give to our family that we are going to visit in Maine next week. I let her put some of the ingredients in and then I mix it and then she can cut them out. (today it's sugar cookies)
I bought some icing pens for decorating which was a little expensive as I was trying to make this as cheap as possible - but I figured they were better for her. I got the cookie mixes with coupons and on sale - which is my new thing. I am 100% attempting couponing.

I'm hoping Amy might help us with a guest post about how she does such an amazing job - because she is quite the motivator for me:)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Activities for the kids

So... My daughter is 22 months old and REALLY craves interaction with other kids. Not side by side play - but chasing playing trains, talking etc...

I'm finding that she is starting to act out when we are at home just the two of us and I have come to the conclusion that she is bored with me and home. (I know the feeling, I hate being home all the time)

I try to get us out of the house - but I am trying to avoid going shopping and spending money just to have something to do. I have vowed to up the craft anty and this week we are starting with making cookies for our family in Maine who we get to see next week. (She likes helping bake)

There are also 2 amazing libraries within a 10 minute drive from us that we frequent. The kids room in one has a separate room for them to run in AND about 50 puzzles for them to play with, so we will be going there at least once a week during the winter. Unfortunately due to budget cuts, all the cool kids programs the libraries around us used to offer are being cut - and her age means she isn't eligible for some of them as she's too young. But I HIGHLY suggest looking into your local libraries if you haven't already! Katie LOVES the library.

But, I need other suggestions for fun activities for an active toddler that require minimal running after by mommy. (baby # 2 is making it harder for me to "run" around at the moment!!) And puzzles are fun, but she isn't tired after wards.

A friend invited us to a gym today that has open play. It's about 30 minutes away - and for $8 we get an hour of open play - so we are going to try that out. Is it nuts to drive 1 full hour round trip for 1 full hour of play every week? Does it make sense as it's fairly cheap and she will hopefully get her energy out?

We are thinking of putting her in a day care program starting in Dec or Jan for 3 hours - 2 days a week so that she can socialize more and play with other kids - but in the meantime - what types of activities do you, or did you take your toddlers to that were good for them and didn't include shopping! I'm looking for "class" type activities that don't cost more than my car payment!

(little gym and gymboree would be great, but seeing as how we are one one income - I can't justify the payments just yet)

(when you ask her where she went today - she usually answers target or grocery shopping... poor kid - knows that's usually where we go!)

Any and all suggestions are more than welcome!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Awesome Kohls Toy Sale!

Kohl’s: Even Hotter Deals on Fisher-Price Toys

This Deal was hand-posted on Friday, November 12th, 2010 at 8:47 pm.

Wow! The Kohl’s Fisher-Price deal I posted about the other day just got even sweeter! You see, not only are the select Fisher-Price toys available here still discounted up to 45%– but when you add a toy to your cart it will automatically be reduced an additional 20%! …AND even better, if you spend $50 or more you can use coupon code EXTRA20 to get an additional 20% off your purchases + if your total is still over $50 after the 20% coupon code has been applied, you can stack with code EBTSHIP50 to score FREE shipping! …AND finally, you’ll score $10 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend (after discounts)!! Wahoo! :D

Here are a couple toy deal highlights:
(The price shown is after the automatic 20% discount at checkout)

*Fisher-Price Hideaway Hollow Cottage Set $18.19 (Was $34.99!)
After the 20% coupon code only $14.55!
This same toys is priced at $38.96 on Amazon.

*Fisher-Price Amazing Animals Tubtime Tugboat $12.99 (Was $24.99!)
After the 20% coupon code only $10.39!

*Fisher-Price Little People Take-Along Circus Set $14.39 (Was $29.99!)
After 20% coupon code only $11.51!
There are also lots of other Little People Take-Along toys priced at just $14.39 after the coupon code too!

…AND lots more!!!

*Note: If you have a Kohl’s charge card, you can really score a sweet deal! Use coupon code HOLIDAYGIFT to save an additional 30% off you purchases + use coupon code FREE2MVC to score FREE shipping– no minimum!

(Thanks so much, Daphne!)

Annie here, I used this last night and bought a bunch of presents for family and my daughter and got a crap load of discounts! PLUS if you order something and you don't end up wanting it.... don't forget you can return it to any Kohls store -

At this rate, I should be done Christmas shopping in 2 weeks!

Happy Shopping!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas Shopping at the craft store

If any of you have Thomas fans - AC Moore is having a sale this weekend for 40% all Thomas Wooden Railway stuff... If your kids like them, then you know each teeny tiny train is about $15 - this is a GREAT way to get them for cheaper.

Also, if you don't frequent AC Moore and Michaels, you might be surprised to know that they carry all kinds of toys as well as craft stuff, so if you get your hands on any of their coupons, (which you can print online now - usually 40 or 50% off one item) you can get yourself a deal!

Happy Shopping!!!!

Elf on a Shelf

If you have a toddler who is nearing the terrible two's - I have a Miracle book for you!

It's called Elf on a Shelf - and although I have never read it myself - I plan to buy it soon for the Holiday season.

Here is the premise... You read the book to your child which explains how there is a special elf (stuffed which you can buy anywhere or use one you have) and your child has to name it and santa sends it to your house to check in on your children from time to time to make sure that they are behaving.

You sit the elf somewhere in your house different every night so your child wakes up and looks for him - and you remind them how the ELF IS WATCHING.

Sounds creepy right? Well, my BFF used it when her daughter was going through the terrible 2's and the frustration of having a new baby in the house and it worked wonders.

My BFF took it one step further and told her the elf comes to visit once a month and then just put it out every once in awhile to instill the fear of the elf in her children.

I think it's genius!

Here is a link:

The book is kinda pricey but if you can borrow it, or get it from the library or get one and pass it around your family for the holidays - I think it's worth it:)

Thanks for reading and posting:)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stay at home Mom Burn out

I love my daughter.
When I left my job in Human Resources after she was born it was a pretty simple decision. Although I loved working, here was this teeny tiny little creature that needed me and I felt I needed to be home with her all day every day. The idea of putting her in daycare just never sat right with me. (although that had kinda been the original plan)

So I traded my blackberry and addiction to reading work emails at all hours of the night for spit up and dirty diapers.

Then we made the decision to move so that we could be closer to my husbands job so that he could be home more with us. It was the best thing we ever did. He gets to spend so much time with her and it really helps me with my sanity to know that he's home by 5:15 every day and doesn't leave the house until 8:30 in the morning to get to work.

But that meant we left our comfort zone where we knew things and people and were going to have to start over on our own.

It took a year - but I have made some friends here and I am finally starting to feel comfortable. I go to a book club and I use the internet to stay in contact with people and I met some local moms with kids around Katie's age that I really like and get along with AND they have awesome kids that Katie loves to play with which is a bonus!

But something is seriously still missing. Perhaps it's because Potty training only took a few days and because I can have full on conversations with my 22 month old - but I really don't think she needs me anymore. Not the way a baby needs it's mother. I feel like I'm holding her back. She LOVES hanging out with other kids and playing with them - especially older kids that will really interact with her. (Chase me is her favorite game)

So, last week I took her on a tour of a Daycare/preschool to see what kind of part time options we could find for her so that she could get more time with kids and she LOVED IT. Didn't even look twice to make sure I was still in the room and didn't want to leave.

So, here is my dilemma...
I'm burnt out on staying home.
I miss work.
I miss adults and deadlines and meetings and conference calls.

I love my daughter to death, but I feel like it would be beneficial for us both if she went to daycare at least part time and I got to work a little again- so now I'm getting that itch to go back to work

Except I'm 5 months pregnant with baby number 2 - which means I'm committed to staying home until I feel like our son doesn't need us anymore - which is fine - but how can I get over my frustration in the meantime?

I feel like an awful parent who is counting down the months until I can put her in "school" part time a few days a week - not just so she can play - but because I need a break too. It sounds so selfish - I need a break from my child hounding me for ever changing requests and interrupting my phone calls and walking into the bathroom with me.

How do other stay at home moms stay sane? I think I'd die without naptime. Once 4:30 comes around I anxiously await my husbands return. I think part of my frustration is that even though I'm the one that gave up working to stay home with her - he's the one she adores. She wants nothing to do with me once he gets home - which only adds fuel to the fire of my frustration at being home to begin with.

Tell me it's not just me that misses working sometimes and dreams of the day they can go back into corporate America and be ME again - not just Katie's mom. I hate to say it, but it's not enough for me.

Perhaps I need another hobby?


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


They take manufacturers coupons - all you do is collect a bunch and then mail them in with your account number and they add them as a credit to your account. Then you watch for the stuff that you have coupons on for, to go on sale and you get a double deal!
(and you don't have to remember to bring the coupon with you, etc... I always forget to use them when I pay which irritates me)

  1. Their prices are usually the lowest I could find - especially when they have sales.
  2. They offer free 2 day shipping if you spend $49 bucks which is SO Easy to do - especially on newborn and size 1 diapers since you will literally go through like 20 a day at first so you might as well stock up so that you NEVER have to run out at the last minute!!!!
  3. You can combine it now with their sister store, which has all kinds of stuff you have to buy anyway - so why not get it for cheap and delivered to your door!
This was my absolute favorite find when my daughter was a newborn and I fully intend to use it for baby #2.

One other piece of diaper advice... TRY SEVERAL BRANDS!
After she grew out of the Newborn Swaddlers, I hated pampers - she leaked through all the time and we also used to get a lot of defective diapers in our packages (broken tabs, etc....)
SO, I tried Huggies (there are always coupns for them) and hated the way they fit her and then tried Luvs because of their 100% money back guarantee and have been hooked ever since. She never leaked through and we never got defective ones.

Once she got older, we also had to get Huggies Overnights which was the only way she would get through the night without waking up wet.

I have heard good things about the Target brand and the Rite Aid brand Tugaboos...which is exciting because they are cheap too!

Let me know which diapers and deals you liked!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Welcome to the new blog

I'm not sure how many people will read this - but my hope is to create a blog where parents can share successes and failures in child raising and get support and suggestions from each other. I am hoping to have a semi-open forum where people who follow and are active on the site can put up their own postings and we can all contribute through comments, etc....

I figure we can use this site for suggestions on EVERYTHING pregnancy and kid related from registering for the most useful items, avoiding items that don't add any value to your life, daycare, staying home, discipline, tantrums... you name it, let's talk about it! Even stuff like where the best deals are for diapers and toys, etc...

My first post will be about Potty Training as we just had a VERY successful week with our 22 month old daughter and figured I would share some tips that I had accumulated from months of research on the topic.

I hope this blog is of interest and that it can become a place where we can come every few days to laugh and smile and learn from each other!

Please send me suggestions for other things you'd like to see or talk about or anything!!!

Happy Reading!


Potty Training Success Story

Here it is. My all inclusive step by step list of what we did and how we did it. I can't believe it myself... but it worked. It's been 4 days now - no accidents. Not even in her pull ups while we are out.

MONTHS ago I had picked up a book at the library written by a mom who had Potty trained successfully. It had certain tips like - don't use Pull Ups unless you have to because they are too much like diapers and might delay your child from getting the concept of wet and dry. So I took note of that and decided when I did it, I would go balls to the wall underpants and training pants.

I'm glad I did.

  • We started out like 3 months ago just trying to go occasionally - not pushing her. I think that was key.
  • We bought the Baby Bjorn which has a VERY Simple design and NO bells and whistles. I had read reviews that said that some of the music ones are distracting and hard to clean and I figure 1) that's gross and 2) it would be like a toy and your kid will probably get sick of it just like any other toy
  • We had the potty out with her toys for months so she was familiar with it and NEVER was scared of it
  • We had tried training pants for a day or two (months ago) but it was too early. She obviously didn't like being wet but didn't have control of her bladder yet. She would tell me as soon as she wet - but it didn't seem like there was any sort of pattern to her peeing or anything - so we stopped and let it go.
  • A few days before we really tried we started talking to her about how big girls go pee pee and poopy on the potty and not diapers. The diapers are for babies.
  • She picked out her own panties - Elmo and Dora for variety and I concentrated on her keeping them dry
Fast Forward to last week.
If you read this, you know I was home sick with a cold 2 weeks ago, so I figured since I still wasn't feeling well, we wouldn't leave the house for a few days - and then figured it was the perfect time to try to really potty train.

So I rolled up all the area rugs and got the 409/paper towels/wipes and m&m's (one per pee and a few if she went poopy), etc ready in the living room.

The first day we started after naptime and had about equal failures to successes - but she totally started to understand the concept of wet and dry. It was a frustrating start - but the key was writing down every time she went and sat so I could try to see if there was a pattern - and there was!!!!

She was peeing every 15 - 20 mins and then nothing for over an hour. I called it cluster peeing! So, with that information, I was able to watch her on day 2 and try to figure out how often I should make her sit on the potty because if you've potty trained before you know that most kids don't like being forced to sit if they don't have to go and the more you force it, the more they resist.

I really think this was important because she didn't get too sick of it. We used the kitchen timer an every time she heard it - she actually got excited and would go to the potty. (not every time... but most of the time)

We did this for 2.5 days and on the 2nd full day - she was no longer cluster peeing as much - she had figured out how to control it so that she "got it all out" and didn't have to go as often. I still had to watch her like a hawk and pay attention to make sure, but she seemed to be getting it.

  • By day 3, we went out to Target and I brought the portable potty seat. I put her in a pull up and was expecting her to go in that. I was prepared for disaster as she always hated public bathrooms for diaper changes, but amazingly she went on the first try. Her reward for going at Target was a lollipop. She stayed dry the whole day and even tried twice more at a different store.
  • I think it was important to get her in the public bathroom early because there was no reason to be scared of it. My husband actually had read that online and I thought it was crazy and was terrified to do it, but am so glad I did!!
  • Then on day 4 my husband and I both took her out to the store together to pick out MORE panties and had her try in the public bathroom again. If you look at the picture closely you will see Elmo, & Dora panties and Thomas boys briefs.. We couldn't get her to leave the store with anything but Thomas and I personally don't have any gender issues with boy stuff versus girl stuff and they don't make Thomas panties so I figured if that's gonna keep her dry - she can wear them and I have to admit... it's pretty adorable!

  • Day 5 - was a family party which included a drive and long time in a pull up. I was nervous about the drive and about pooping because she hadn't done it yet on the potty and I knew she had to go.
  • We put her in a pull up and started driving and she kept saying pee pee potty - so we asked her if she had to go and she said no - a little later on she said she had to go - so we told her to hold it and we would set up the potty in a minute - we pulled over into a parking lot and set up our AWESOME portable potty (the Potette) in the back of our CR-V and couldn't believe it when she actually went!
  • I had shown her the portable potty at the house so it wasn't the first time she saw it which I thought was important. I set it up with the SUPER COOL absorbant throw away baggy thing pictured above with the turtles and umbrellas on it. And I had set it up on our toilet so she would see what it looked like when we had to use a bathroom in public. I think these were key steps to making sure she didn't freak out seeing it for the first time in the back of the car or at the store.
We survived an entire 45 minute drive, a whole 3 hour party and 45 minute drive back and she had no accidents and when we got home that night she went poopy potty for us - which we were so excited about.
  • Since I thought that was going to be harder than peeing - I bought her a special toy - a Thomas Train track and we told her if she went poopy potty, she could play with the train track and apparently it worked because she went and then immediately asked for it. so, for now we let her play with it after she goes and then put it away at night and take it out again the next time she goes.

  • I couldn't be happier or more surprised. I really think that watching her pattern and literally stalking her every move for the first 2 days made it easier to anticipate when she would go and not force her to sit for long periods of time.
  • Amazingly after the first day with no accidents she started waking up from BOTH naps and bedtime completely dry and then going pee pee right away. So, as of tonight she is back to regular diapers at night (just in case) and pull ups during naptime.

  • I am hoping to stop having to use pull ups during naptime by next week - to make sure she gets it - but lucky for us.. she doesn't go in them - and waits!:)

Here she is with her poopy prize and wearing her Thomas the Tank Engine underwear - (obviously not shown)

I couldn't be a happier mommy right now!

I hope this helps anyone thinking about potty training or who is frustrated going through it right now. The same things won't work for every child... but I do think that.
  1. Introducing it early is important (without force)
  2. Watching your child for patterns once you start
  3. Finding the right motivator for your child... some kids like stickers, some like TV - use whatever you have to is my theory - especially since Katie stopped asking for M&M's every time starting at day 3 - so she wasn't getting them as much
  4. Using portable potties and introducing them at home helps
  5. Try both the little potty and a training seat on your toilet from the beginning, so they don't get used to one thing and refuse the other.
  6. Finally, I think you have to be dedicated and patient. You have to be willing to stop and try to get them to go potty at the store - versus just letting them go in their pull up - because they won't understand why they should do it at home, but not when they are out.
Goodluck with potty training and please please please feel free to comment with other ideas and suggestions to help other mommies out there too!