Thursday, September 29, 2011

I love this stroller!

When we started looking for double strollers - there were a few things I wanted out of it based on other doubles I had seen.
  • I wanted a tandem because side by sides are cumbersome.
  • I wanted the front seat to have a snack tray (My MacLaren didn't have one and it kind of bugged me after awhile.)
  • I wanted the front seat to recline so that the kid sitting in it could take naps.
  • I wanted a decent sized basket so that I could put stuff down there.
  • I wanted it to steer easily, and possibly with one hand.
  • I wanted it to fold down easily and not take up too much space in my trunk.
  • I wanted Katie to like it so that she would want to use it during those times when we want to be able to walk a little big faster.
  • I wanted a large sun canopy, because my MacLaren was definitely lacking in that area and I had to buy an extended visor for ours so that Katie wasn't in the sun all the time,
So, I did some reasearch and found the Joovy ultralight caboose.

Before I made the purchase, I researched on Craigslist to try to find a used one - and I did - an Orange one from 2009. We bought it and immediately fell in love.

I liked it right away because you could use an infant carseat and then once the baby was older put them in the stroller seat itself like the bigger double strollers.

It is SUPER COMPACT - although it's a double, it feels more like a large single stroller. I LOVED that because I drove a friends sit and stand tandem before and HATED IT - it was heavy, unbalanced and hard to steer.

It's light and folds down with one step and fits nicely in my trunk, leaving some room for groceries, etc...

It has some funky colors - which I like.

Katie LOVES IT. She will stand on the platform sometimes or sit on the toddler seat and when she's really tired, we put her in the front and carry Ben and she can relax a little.

I can also steer it with one hand, even with both kids in it which amazes me!

The Sun visor is AMAZING and covers everything.

So, after having the used one for about 4 months, I decided to sell that one and splurge on a new one. (there are very few things I splurge on now a days)
We went to Buy Buy Baby with a 20% off coupon from Bed Bath and Beyond (WHICH THEY ACCEPT) and got a brand new one in Greenie color (Katie's favorite color is green) for 20% off.

We brought it home and Katie and I put it together - it took about 20 minutes maybe and then we were off.

The only downside I have found so far is that it doesn't hold up well "off road." We went apple picking and pushed it through the orchard and it felt a bit wobbly and I was worried about the wheels because they are plastic, not air - so you could tell it was struggling. But it made it just fine, it was just a little hard to push and I was overly nervous about it because we had just bought it!

We bought it because we don't plan to jog with it, or take it hiking, etc... We plan to use it around town, at the parks or if we go out shopping and it is perfect for all of those things.

So, if you are looking for a double stroller to use for the same things that we use ours for - definitely look into the Joovy Ultra Light. They also have jogging type stollers that have good reviews. Also, if you are going to buy one - take a coupon and get it at Bed Bath and Beyond - what a great deal!

Happy Shopping!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I posted about this on my FB page and it generated a very interesting conversation so I decided to expand and see what others have to say.

Let me preface this with this, this is not a place for bashing. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I want everyone to feel free to share their perspective.

Personally, I can't really see a good reason for home schooling... Unless you live in the middle of nowhere and sending your kids to school would somehow be a huge time consumer. Then, maybe I could understand it. Or, I have heard that some states actually offer serious support to home schooled childen and allow them to be involved in extracurricular activities with the school kids - then maybe I could understand it.

Now... by homeschooling - I don't mean you teach your 3 year old to spell - I am doing that with mine and I don't consider that homeschooling. I am talking about serious - all day long full time education of your child at home instead of enrolling them in a school program from Kindergarten on. I just think you are doing your child a huge disservice for a million different reasons.


Learning Style


Separation from the home

These are just a few things that I think of whenever I hear or read of someone homeschooling.

I think that unless you make a huge effort to ensure your kids are mainstreamed in other areas of their life - their social skills are going to suffer regardless of how hard you try to teach otherwise. You can't really teach how to be social with other people, particularly people that are different than you unless you experience it firsthand.

Learning style & Adaptability- I would think that most parents would have a very hard time not catering to their child's best learning style - which means your child might not learn how to adapt to different teaching styles... goodluck in college with that one... particularly as teachers change their styles from day to day and class to class.

Separation from Home. I really feel that kids need to be able to survive and thrive away from their parents and their home. Unless you plan on keeping your child at home with you forever - this will probably not end well for your child. They are going to have to go out on their own eventually and they are going to have to be able to figure things out for themselves. I don't know if it's in our parental makeup to allow your child to learn from experience and mistakes the way it is for a teacher. We have that innate desire to protect our children from everything we can -so I would think that homeschooled children would be sheltered.

Now, I am totally open to hearing how homeschooling parents avoid these pitfalls and negative "side effects" if you will of homeschooling. I would also love to hear some real time reasons for homeschooling your children instead of sending them to school.

Personally, we are getting ready to look for a house and the top item on my list is checking out the school system before we decide where to move. If the school system isn't rated well, then we are moving that town to the bottom of our list. (although I'm not eliminatng these towns completely) Perhaps that's not something that everyone is able to do, but it is part of the foundation of us choosing where to lay down our roots.

Also, I don't agree with the concept that other people aren't qualified or capable of teaching your child and that only you can do a good job.

Education should not be the teachers responsibility only - parents NEED TO TAKE AN ACTIVE PART in their childs education and I think the combination of regular schooling plus parent participation is the key to a successful experience for any child.

O.k. thoughts!!!!!!!!!

Big Week for us

  • First week of school for my 2 1/2 year old

  • She also got her first shot all by herself at the doctor (flu) with minimal crying

  • First tooth broken through for my 6 month old

  • 6 month appointment got an A+ and he only cried for a few seconds and then he was back to his happy self again

  • 6 Month old has started sleeping all night, with one night feeding between 1 and 2

  • My PT job is going well and keeping me busy and happy

My kids are growing up! It's amazing.

The only bad part to my week is that I can't seem to find the costumes I made for my husband and I last year for Halloween and I really want them for a party at Sesame Place tomorrow.

Things are looking up!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First day of Big Girl School!

SCHOOL(copied from my personal blog as I feel it's relevant!)

Monday was Katie's first day of school. (Pics to follow)

We made a biggish deal out of her leaving and she picked Ba BA up and told him, It's ok baba I have to go to school but you will pick me up later and kissed him.... it was ADORABLE!

Dave took her for drop off and then Ben, Ba Ba and I went and picked her up after lunch. I could tell she had been crying because her little pink eyes said it all... The teacher said she was really good until some of the other kids started getting picked up - then she got a little sad and asked for me, Baba and Ben...

She didn't pee the entire time she was there - but didn't have an accident either....

She did however, eat her entire lunch which was VERY impressive because she's so finicky at home.

She told me about the teachers (whose names she doesn't know - but she calls them, the mean teacher, the brown teacher and the blue teacher)

Apparently the mean teacher was mad at some other kid - I couldn't get a clear story - although today she said the Mean teacher liked her a lot and gave her a hug....

The Brown teacher is another story - I asked her what was brown because I was hoping she was referring to her clothes (like the blue teacher) but nope - she said her face and her hands....

What do I do? She's not wrong - I just don't want to offend anyone... I'll deal with that later...

She also sang the circle time song and pretended to do circle time with her friends at home.

Fast forward to this morning... she woke up later than usual and we had a bit of a rush to get out the door. She was a big apprehensive about school so we were worried she would be upset - but Dave said as soon as they got to school she cheered right up and was fine.

I didn't call to check on her today because I don't want to be an annoying mom and there really isn't anything I could do since I won't go get her....

Baba, Ben and I went to pick her up and she didn't see us walk in - she was happy as a clam and playing... When I told her it was time to leave her response was, But I didn't play play doh yet...


The only problem so far is she refuses to pee - but we go as soon as we get home. I also use hand sanitizer on her hands once we get to the car and wash her hands right after the bathroom to try to help with delaying a house full of sick people thanks to daycare germs...

They let her go with the PreK kids during lesson time - and that makes me happy because they are learning spelling and words, etc....

So far, so good - now I just gotta find her fun snack/drink holders and cups that are personalized so that we don't have to write on ours with Sharpie every day. (it doesn't stay permanent on those items)

There's lots of cute stuff online, but I gotta do a little more research!

More later - just wanted to put up a quick post - it's working and so far everyone is happy!

Yay for Big girl school!

P.s. I just researched some labeling products and have fallen in love with - I think I will be placing an order shortly - they are dishwasher, and washer safe and they have ADORABLE pictures and color choices! I can get her trains with green and pink and purple on them - PERFECT!!

Has anyone used these? Anyone have any other suggestions for labels for school stuff???

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why I wish I had my second child first!

O.k. O.k. you are all right - the second child is different.

You don't jump up every time they put something in their mouth, you don't jump to their every cry. You don't try to wrap them up in a protective bubble like you do your first.

I wish I had my second child first, because Katie would be a better eater. I would have forced her to eat more, earlier and she would eat what we eat for dinner.

Ben is 6 months old and I find myself mixing peas with apples for him or squash and green beans - I never did that for Katie and I was super cautious of letting her eat things because she didn't have teeth and could choke, blah blah blah

You make noise around your second kid. Dave and I used to sit silently in the car while Katie napped because we were afraid of waking her up - I don't even think I vacuumed when she was around because I was afraid it would scare her.

It's different with your second. We went to an event for Katie and I had to put Ben down for a second and all there was was the carpet that people had walked all over and wasn't exactly clean - so I put him down - I never would have put Katie down on a carpet like that hahahaha

He survived and he's just fine!

I let him play with a spoon today. It made him happy - I was watching him - he didn't choke

I really wish I had had my "second child" first because I feel like we would have had a less stressful first year with Katie!

I can only imagine what it's like when people have 3 or more... they probably don't even use car seats

We won't be having a 3rd. Ben has sealed the deal on that one with his inability to sleep at night. He wakes up betwen 2 and 3 and wants to hang out and play for about 2 hours and then he has the nerve to be happy, playful and cheery in the morning - while we are dreary, cranky and sad!

So unless we can have a kid who will come out around 5 years of age - 2 is it for us!

Maybe we'll get a fish


How/When do you do it?

I'm dying here. I want nothing more than to get to the gym for a spin class or a Zumba class - but then I would be leaving during dinner time and I don't think that's fair to Dave - plus I can't justify spending the money right now on a gym membership.

I don't know what it is about going to the gym that is so fun for me, but it is.

AND I'm horrible at working out at home - as in I can't do it. I don't know what it is, but I'm incapable of doing a video or doing one of the on demand things. I always find an excuse to stop and do something else... which I wouldn't do in class.

Is it bad that I'm not that concerned about REALLY getting back into shape? I mean I want to, but not enough to actually wake up early to get some sort of work out in or force myself to do a video.

How do other moms find the motivation to get workouts in??
Particularly since I'm working a little at the moment, it's the LAST thing on my to do list after the BAZILLION other things I have to do. I'd much rather sit on the couch and catch up on DVR.

The only way I think I would be able to do it is if I somehow force myself to get a gym membership and then go while Katie is in daycare and put Ben in the nursery for an hour. But then he isn't getting the one on one time I wanted with Katie being out of the hosue for awhile, so the guilt kicks in.

ugh - I wish there was a pill you could take to stay fit - only while your children are young - once they are more self sufficient, I will have NO PROBLEM going to the gym - but for now. I find it very hard!

Want to know what I find easy? Eating ice cream in front of the tv after a very long day. Or having cookies and milk before bed - that's easy! And almost Guilt Free;)


O.k. ladies - it's getting close to Halloween time.

Do you buy or make your costumes?? How do you pick what your kids are going to be>? Do you do themes? Do you you let your kids pick?

Last year, we were a Sesame Street Bunch.
I crocheted an ERNIE sweater for Katie because she LOVED bert and ernie at the time - put her in a pair of jeans and then bought her red converse to look like him because she loved him.

I made Dave a Bert shirt by painting stripes on it the color of the shirt he usually wears on tv and got him green pants and drew him a serious unibrow.
I made myself a Big Bird shirt with cut out "feathers" made of fabric which I then glued ALL OVER A while shirt that I had to dye yellow. I also made myself a Big Bird hat that looked like a Beak with styrofoam eyes.
I also got myself some leggings that I made to look like Big Birds legs.

It was awesome - except people didn't really know who we were and that made me sad, With store bought costumes - there is no need for imagination, etc... so I was kind of bummed but Katie loved it and we loved it and had a good time.

This year, Katie said she wants to be Thomas the Train. I looked it up online and can make her a train to wear out of a box - so it would be a 3D costume. Ben could be either another train or Sir Tophamm Hat (she originally asked that Dave be Sir Tophamm Hatt and I be Mrs. Tophamm Hat)
I was so excited at the prospect of making costumes, and then I got busy with trying to prepare for a craft fair as well as working a special project part time for my old company.

But, I am dedicated to making costumes again this year - I enjoy it and even though it's not cheaper - I feel like it makes Halloween more special. Making costumes is NOT that much cheaper than buying and it takes time and energy to put them together - so it's certainly not an "easy way out"

I also figure my time is running short in terms of being allowed to make costumes by my children - so I will take advantage while I can!

Do you make, buy? Who picks costumes? Do you dress up with your kids?

I love Halloween - particularly because they are so little. I get such a kick out of seeing all the different costumes and kids:) I feel like it's a day for innocence and fun and I'm holding on to it for as long as I can!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Separation Anxiety

Thank God for my parents.

They are as active in my kids lives as grandparents can be. I think the first time we left Katie with them, she was 5 weeks old and we went to see a movie.
Then when she was 3 months old, my grandfather passed away in Puerto Rico and I had to leave her with my dad and husband to go get on a plane and go be with my mom.

It wasn't easy - but I did it and knowing my dad was there to watch her made it ok.

Now, I have left her with close friends before for short periods of time but not that often. She has been ok as long as it's someone she knows. I have tried to take her to the gym with me and leave her in the nursery and they always have to come get me because she freaks out. Usually it's when another kid starts crying - it sets her off and she starts her crying, screaming, hyperventilating thing... it's not pretty and breaks my heart.

I want my kid to be independent. I want her to be able to stay somewhere without us and be ok and happy and have fun. Her experience at the gym nursery had made me nervous about her being away from us.

Fast Forward to now. She's 2 1/2 and has started going to my parents house by herself for sleep overs. At first, I didn't know how she would be because she was so nervous before when we weren't around - but with my parents - she doesn't even think about us.

Literally - when my parents ask her if she wants to call us - she says no.
No tears, no asking for us, no nothing.

I am not pining for her because I know she is having a great time and I know they are having a great time too.

Is this bad? I don't think so. I think it's healthy for parents and their kids to be able to be away from each other occasionally. I think the fact that she has no separation anxiety is a good thing. My husband and I take advantage of the fact that my parents and my kid like being together and we use that time to get away together sometimes because we think it's important to have time alone away from the kids to remember why we got married in the first place! To try to have conversations that don't revolve around the kids (although that's easier said than done)

I'm nervous about her going to daycare in 2 weeks but I know it will be good for her and that after the initial transition - she will love it.

Our kids will not be by our sides or under our roof forever. I want them to be independent and strong and happy individuals who don't need me all the time. This is not to say that I don't get sad at the fact that she doesn't even want to talk to us on the phone after being away for 3 nights - but I know that ultimately, it's good for her and for us.

With Ben being so dependent on me because of nursing, we had a rough patch where he had a little anxiety being away from me - even with my husband - and we made sure to encourage their time together so that he would get over it. It worked and it made me happy. I didn't want him to ONLY be happy when he was with me - I think some moms kind of like when their kids are like this, but me, it made me sad.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding Daycare

Well, the time has come. I am ready to send Katie off to daycare part time so that she can get some structure and socialization and I can get some one on one time with Ben and maybe some time for working too!

It's exhausting. We haven't lived here long so it's difficult not having too many people we can ask for references for. Money is also an issue as I stay home - so we are on one income.

I am not looking for a 5 star educational program - but let me explain why - she's 21/2 - I am looking for her to start playing with other kids her age and have some structure to her day. I know where I want to send her for Preschool and they have an EXCELLENT curriculum - so when I am back at work - she can get the 5 star treatment. For now - we are on a budget.

Luckily, we live fairly frugally - so think we will be able to accept the extra expense because we know it will be good for all of us. Ben, me and Katie will all get time we need. If for some reason, it doesn't work out - we can take her out and it won't be a big deal.

So far I have called around 6 places and they range in price from $35 per day to $75 a day. (FOR PART TIME HOURS - 3 days a week) Yeah - talk about sticker shock.

I visited one place yesterday that I wasn't in love with because it seemed so day-careish - but that's what it is - a daycare! I heard good reviews - the price is right AND I really liked the teachers I talked to and the flexibility within the program. I asked for some parent referrals and am waiting for them to call me back and then tomorrow I am going to go down and leave a deposit to make sure I grab the spot available in her age group.

I'm nervous because I don't want her to cry on her first day - but I know she needs it and I know it will be REALLY good for her. She doesn't have much family - so I really want her to be around kids. Although I am ready for this and I think she is too - I can't help but be nervous because she's never been away from us with anyone but family or close friends....

How did you find daycare for your kid?
Did you have to change programs? Why?
How did you handle the first day?
How many of your kids get upset when they DON'T get to go to daycare???

Tell me, tell me:)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I need a break from staying home

Don't judge me. I have been home FT for over 2 and 1/2 years and I am spent. Absolutely, completely, exhausted. Here comes 100% brutal honesty - I am sick of playing - in fact, I'm no good at it. Katie asks me a million times a day to play with her and no matter what we are "playing" I am always doing it wrong, or I take the wrong thing, or she changes her mind 2 seconds into it, etc...

I am not cut out for this.

I potty trained her, I taught her her ABC's and numbers and counting and to love books and reading. Lord knows she talks so much because she is just like me - so I will take responsibility for that too...

But I am done. I am ready for someone else to step in. I want to be a part time parent for just a little while. I know it sounds awful - but it's the honest to god truth. I got a little taste of working again doing a special project for the company I used to work for and I had forgotten how GOOD IT FEELS to work. To have deadlines, and talk to grown ups and do interviews and organize files and get emails.

I love all of it. I'm good at it.

Ben is still waking up 2 times at night - with one time either being in the middle of the night where he wants to hang out for a few hours OR a wake up for the day between 4:30 and 5:30. Between that, and my thyroid still leveling out and the millions of other things I am doing during the day, I realized that I want to work - I don't really want to play.

I'm not saying I don't do things with her - we baked cookies today while Ben was sleeping and it was great - I read to her all the time and I take her to the park and the library and gym classes too - it's just that I need a break. Being a stay at home is way harder than I ever thought it was - and I miss working. I can't explain how good it feels to work again.

She's 2 1/2 and she's ready for daycare. Pre-school won't take her until she is 3 - so that is next September - so I think I am going to suck it up and find a part time morning program for her so that she can have more structure and play with other kids and maybe learn some stuff that I can't teach her.

It will also give Ben some one on one time with me, which he hardly ever gets and it will give me more time to work and pursue work and figure out when and how and where I am going to go back Full Time.

I never thought I'd be a stay at home mom at all - I was always gonna have a career outside the home. That's why I got my Masters at night while working a FT job.

I'm proud of the fact that I lasted as long as I have. I just think I am tapped out at the moment. Who knows, maybe I'll finish this special project and then decide that I want a break from working - or maybe she won't do well in daycare and I'll have to pull her out again - either way, I have decided to try to make it work for her and for me. It's not fair to her that I am so tired and burnt out and cranky when she changes her mind a million times - she's 2, it's what they do.

Before you judge - please realize that the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side and staying home full time isn't for everyone.