Bedtime: A Step-By-Step Process of This Mom's Struggle for Peace and Quiet

Here's the real deal, folks...bedtime routines are imperative, but can be complete bullsh** and a waste of time.  Reality is we are just trying to survive until they fall asleep. I think we can all relate.  I thought I would just give you a quick look into the real-life, daily events that lead up to the peace and quiet that comes with a sleeping (eventually) kiddo.

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Step 1: Dinner...maybe.  I don't know if it's his age (3 years 8 months) or just the fact that he has become a complete asshole at meal times, but dinner is a struggle.  I don't know if he's really hungry, he says he is.  So I make dinner.  It's unacceptable.  At this point the dinner could be ice cream with candy on top...he pushes it aside. "Chocolate milk, please." Ummm, nope, not happening.  Full meltdown.  Throw away the dinner and pray he ate well enough during school and snack time to sustain some sort of normalcy.  So fuck dinner, apparently that's not gonna happen.

Step 2: Bath.  Crying because he didn't get to put in the bubbles.  Get the kid in the bath.  I'm in the splash zone.  Soaked.  Sit and listen patiently to a full reenactment of the movie Jaws staring a Darth Vader and a whale we bought on vacation (please note: he has actually never seen the movie Jaws so I have no clue where this is coming from, but it's pretty damn accurate.) Clean up dishes while listening to the sound of what can only be described as a deluge of soapy waters being haphazardly splashed about.  Pray that the lavender aroma and warmth of the tub are working some kind of magical spell on him, making him tired, and feeling restful, only to realize this is the exact definition of a "pipe dream."

Step 3: Pajamas.  How dare I even suggest putting on pajamas while he runs around naked, only to refute any argument for actually wearing nighttime clothing?  He ends up in a t-shirt, no underwear (obviously that's too much) and a full Kylo Ren costume (complete with mask, gloves and a light saber.)

Step 4: Crazy Hour.  Now I don't know if this is just specific to my child or if it's a universal law that all children lose their damn minds during the twilight hours, but it's definitely  a thing.  Full bat-shit crazy mode. There he is, running in circles, light saber battling with the dog and shouting "the weapon is mine" at the top of his lungs.  Mom losing patience.

Step 5: The Pre-Crash Famishment. Because dinner wasn't an option he's now bargaining for a snack...ugh.  You give in.  Pirates Booty and pudding is officially "dinner."

Step 6: Clinginess.  The tired is sweeping over him.  He's feeling full from the above mentioned snack and now it's time to adhere himself Mom. "Just snuggle me! I need my blanket! Read that book again.  Now this one.  Now tell me a story. I'm thirsty.  I have to pee again!" Initially you try to lay him in his bed but that's literally the most offensive thing that has happened to him all day and he's now in full meltdown, so you try the couch.  Eventually you're both in your bed.  Mom is passing out, the dog is snoring, and kiddo is wide awake and conversations are starting to take on a "whose on first" vibe.  No one is making any sense and you have to pee so badly, but you can't move or its all down hill from there.

Step 7: The Crash...it finally happened.  He succumbed to the need to sleep. You can finally finish the dishes, take a shower, have a glass of wine, read, catch up on a show, oh wait...and pee...alone!!! Whatever you want to accomplish, now is your time.  This is the peace and quiet you've been craving. You peel off his Kylo Ren costume and do a little happy dance.   Quietly.

Step 8: Move the child. I put him into his own bed. Usually without any issue, but occasionally you lay him down and he freaks out, almost levitating above the bed as if it's some sort of magic trick and refuses to entertain the idea of snoozing in the expensive Pottery Barn Kids twin bed with organic mattress you painstakingly picked out for his Star Wars themed big boy bedroom and so you just put him back where he started.

Step 9: Time for Mom to sleep.  It only takes 5 seconds for you to fall asleep because this whole process has you so bone-weary that your eyes just shut and you're done...

Step 10: Mid-REM crisis: "Mommy I have to pee! I want to sleep on your bed! I need my blanket! I'm thirsty! Is it time to wake up?" You're startled awake, ripping you from your dreams.  Oh hell no! ...back to sleep...You are allotted 6 inches of the queen sized bed.  He has the rest, but still manages to kick, slap, and sweat or drool (and on a great day...pee) on you while you struggle to eek out just a few more hours of some-what quality shut-eye.

And it all repeats itself the next night... The struggle is real, Moms.  Respect.

 

Monday Fave Rave: Back to School 2016

Hallelujah it's back to school time! Today B starts his first day at a new preschool and my nerves are shot already.  He's not a huge fan of change or new situations and gets anxiety at drop-off even if he is comfortable with his surroundings so today is a big day for both of us. I will try not to cry too much.  As always, I want to share some of our must haves for school and let you all know how I prepare for Back-to-School as a single Jedi parent of a young Padawan in training.

I like to lay all of his stuff out after he falls asleep and make it a surprise when he wakes up.  It gets him excited and motivated to put it all on and get ready for the day.  THis worked so well this morning.  He had no anxiety at all, didn't fuss over getting dressed or leaving the house.  I was also able to snap off a few cute pics to share.

Here's a list of our must have items for school:

1. Name Bubbles for labeling everything...and I mean everything we send or wear to school.  It's way easier than labeling with a sharpie like my parents did or losing uber cool items to the lost-and-found bin.  I keep the clothes labels in his drawers so I can just pop one on to his shirts and shorts when we lay clothes out for the day.

2. Shoes! We buy two new pairs of shoes at the beginning of each school year.  I typically let B pick his out, too.  In the past we have been a huge fan of Stride Rite. They are great for  early preschoolers.  This year we chose to go with a more athletic shoe from Nike.  I know it can be very pricy to buy name brands but try shopping at Shoe Carnival or Famous Footwear for discounts.  (Also, the Name Bubble mentioned above have shoe labels! Sweet!)

3. Clothes: Well of course my child will basically only wear clothes with his favorite characters on them, including his underwear.  Ugh.  I have found great success with Hanna Andersson for everything from socks and undies to back packs.  Their shorts and pants are amazing! Thanks to European sizing and attention to detail their clothes will last forever.  Organic material, adjustable, washable and durable...all of the things you're looking for when's you spend good money on school clothes.  (Check out the PJs too...so cute!) I like to have him help me pick his clothes out the night before and lay them out for him to see.  It makes getting dressed in the morning a lot faster and he feels more confident when he picks the outfit.

4. Lunches: We have a variety of lunch boxes from Thermos.  I like to switch it up. Because my little guys is more of a snack eater I pack a selection of little things for him to pick and choose from.  Typically he will eat most of what I pack.  Hummus, yogurt, and cheese are good protein options along with a fruit (he likes apple slices, strawberries or grapes) in these cool camp tins from PB Kids.  I alway include a juice and a surprise treat like nut free cookies, gummie bunnies, organic chocolate cookies, Yummy Earth treat for fun.  Add a cute little Star Wars note to make his day or a sticker to keep him smiling. I prepack lunch boxes as soon as we get home from school.  It helps me just stay on top of that task and I am not scrambling to pack it all in the morning.

5. Nap Mat: This is our first time having to bring a nap mat to school.  He's not a napper so...good luck with that, teacher.  Getting B to take a nap is like getting anything done with a toddler at home...nearly impossible.  I decided to go the discount route when purchasing the nap mat for fear that he may not use it and it will end up a wasted chunk of change. Zulily  had really cute Robot nap mat by Olive Kids that we are going to try out.  Kiddo has already been laying it out on the floor and reading books on it so maybe it will work for quiet time at school.  Fingers Crossed.

6. And last but not least a cool back to school Star Wars themed printable for uber cute pics!

So, there you have it.  Our MLR Back to School list for 2016.  Wish us luck on our new journey at a new school. We are very excited to be attending Bright Horizons this school year.  I was pretty impressed with the tour of the facility, the teachers all seemed really great and they plan a full day of learning from my little preschooler.

Good luck to all you parents braving the back-to-school crazy this week!

Just remember...

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Traveling with your kid: Managing the Crazy

  Traveling with kids SUCKS! It's horrible. I absolutely want to take adventures and see the world with my child, but let me be honest by saying that I'm literally praying daily for someone to invent teleportation or the "beam me up" situation from the Star Trek. TSDSTTR PA062 Before I had a child I would say I was an expert traveler, I had packing down to a science, and the ability to travel anywhere at anytime.  Now? Oh, how the game has changed my friend.  As a person living with anxiety I really don't enjoy the traveling with my kid in tow.  It freaks me out!  I need lots of time to prepare, pack, repack, panic, and repack again.  That usually helps me control the anxiety, so needless to say, I'm pretty good at it.  Here's what we so to get through it.  ***Note this is for ONE parent flying with ONE child.***

His Carry On: (Boy 3 1/2 years old): Pick a backpack that has plenty of room but that your little one can wear or even better a rolling back pack like the ones from Pottery Barn Kids that they can pull around behind them. In quart size ziplock bags separate the small toys, crayons, etc so that you can not only see them but feel them while you're searching thru their bag for them because they just can't (ugh.) Grab a few brand new Grab and Go fun packs from the Target dollar section or the Dollar Store.  Get one new decent sized toy that kiddo has never seen before but really likes (i,e. a Spider-Man or Barbie, or an Imaginext) this way they have a surprise that will keep them preoccupied for part of the plane ride. On this trip we're trying a new Disney Star Wars kinetic sand playset...it may be a disaster, but he loves them and it will keep him entertained (wish me luck.) image   I swear by the iPad mini, but make sure you have enough memory to download a new movie and maybe a few episodes of their favorite show, just in case there isn't any wifi.  Other Apps to consider are VUDU, Disney Anywhere, Netflix and YouTube Kids for wifi hotspots or even use your phone as a hotspot for driving. Snacks: just a few so that they can grab it themselves. I pack 1 Pirates Booty, 1 Veggie Stick, 1 Annie's fruit snack, and one small pack of cookies or graham crackers...but here's the thing if you run out of room just grab some snacks after you get through security.  We usually find hummus packs, yogurt, a bagel, or pick up a smoothie at Starbucks. Pack a hoodie, an empty water bottle, some toddler flushable wipes, a spare pair of underwear and a wet bag or gallon size ziplock bag for any accidents that could occur.  Don't forget their blanket or favorite stuffed animal for comfort.

My Carry On: I carry a pretty big (but very chic) back pack.  I don't do the tote bags because they tip over, can be reached inside of and they pull one shoulder down or slip off and just make your life a little more unbearable.  A backpack makes your hands free to hold onto little ones and a rolling suitcase.  Keep liquids to a minimum (if any at all) and contained to a quart size ziplock or clear makeup bag.  I pack a few daily wear contacts, mascara in travel size, hand sanitizer spray, lip balm and a good tinted CC cream (you can buy anything at your destination that you may need beyond the bare essentials.)  I highly suggest skipping the laptop computer if you can and investing in a good tablet that can replace it while you're traveling.  I love my iPad Pro and found it at a good price at Costco! You won't have to unpack the iPad's at security so that totally rules.  Grab a comfortable, light and versatile cardigan for the air conditioning and a bonus is that it can double as a blanket. Lululemon or Three Dots make great ones.  I pack a compact cross-body bag in my carry on.  When I need it on my trip it's there but one less bag to sling around my neck at the airport.  You can even store your wallet, keys, and sunglasses in it and ready for when you get to the hotel.  All you need accessible for travel is your photo ID, boarding pass (which you can put on your phone now), cash and your phone.  Hello! That's why I suggest a backpack  plenty of little pockets for that crap.  Remember to bring a snack for yourself, a refillable water bottle, toothbrush,  antibacterial wipes, facial wipes (please don't confuse the two...ouch) and your phone charger.  In fact, most of the time I only carry the USB cord to save room because you can plug it into a hotel TV or charging station at the airport.  Most places have joined the tech revolution and have USB ports for charging now.  We only need one cord for all of our devises.  A good pair of ear buds or headphones just in case you can manage to catch a movie or listen to your tunes if kiddo falls asleep is a bonus.

What we pack in our Carry On Size Suitcase: Basics and favorites.  For a 4 day trip we need to keep it simple.  Anything longer try to see if laundry is available.  I only fly with a carry on suitcase.  I almost NEVER check a bag.  I can't stand waiting for it to get off of the flight and such, and for us that has added an extra hour stuck in the airport and not on our way to the fun stuff.

For my little dude:  I pack sunglasses, a baseball cap, 4 pairs undies, 3 t-shirts, one collard shirt, 2 shorts, 1 pant, 1 pair of pjs, one swim outfit, 2 socks, 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair flip-flops or crocs. (Remember the hoodie in the carry on.) Roll each outfit together including undies.  Stick socks into shoes.  Anything over that is too much probably.  Lay it all out and see if you can edit or combine outfits to make even more room.  Here's where you can get them involved....have them pick out the clothes they want to wear.  My son hates to wear a collard shirt or anything dressy so I have him help me choose his outfits.  I have a higher success rate when his opinion has been factored in.

For me: I can get away with dresses for day or night and simple sandals.  For a 4 day trip I do denim cutoff shorts and 2 cotton tank tops, cotton sundress, simple black dress that can be worn day or night, white jeans with a grey or black cotton t-shirt, maxi shirt and white tank top and one basic black bathing suit. (Remember you have a cardigan in your carry on bag for layering.) Do your self a favor and just leave the crazy big platforms and whack ass fancy heels at home, girl.  You won't want to be burdened with them in your bag.  Simple black sandals, comfortable flip-flops, one pair of comfy pjs, however much underwear you feel you need, and 2 bras should be sufficient. You can wear your sneakers to travel in.

Consider shipping: Diapers, liquids, bulky items and extra clothes can be shipped to Grandma's, but you can also check hotel policy and for longer trips this is super simple and easy to do and just makes dealing with checked bags a thing of the past. Hallelujah!

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What we're wearing to fly: Gone are the days of dressing to the tens for airline flights. Boo can wear his favorite t-shirt, comfortable cotton shorts (with pockets if you can,) crocs and a baseball cap.  I always travel in black leggings, cotton tunic style t-shirt, 'no-show' socks and Adidas sneakers (preferable black and white because they go with all of my other clothes.) I wear a sports bra to travel in just in case I get the ol' frisk and fondle by the TSA agents.  A baseball cap always is helpful so that you don't ruin your blowout by pulling your hair up and wasting that time an energy.

Airport Tips: Buy snacks and fill water bottles after you get through security checks.  Make sure you are early for flight times...and by early I mean like an hour or more kind of early.  You have no idea how long the lines can be, who will need to pee or poop (which with a newly potty trained kid can take some time) and it gives you plenty of time to make sure you can check in at the gate and let them know your needs to pre-board.  A few times I have been lucky enough to upgrade seats to first class or business class on the cheap so look out for these options.  Trust me, they call it first class for a reason.  I don't like traveling with a stroller or car seat.  It's just as easy to rent if you need to.  Try finding a car service that supplies the seat.  You'll have to buckle it in but that's old hat for a seasoned parent.  Less is more here, people.  I have been known to buy a cheap umbrella stroller at Rite Aide or Target in desperate times, but I prefer not to relive those.  Once you've been seated on the plane make iPads readily available along with water bottles and blankies.  Sometimes the pilot will let the kids see the cockpit which is pretty cool and totally take the flight attendants up in the little wing pins...cause that's about all that is free on an airplane now.  Also, if you can allow your little one to sit in the window seat you'll be happy to have that entertainment but if not the middle seat will do and if the person next to you is annoyed offer to buy them a drink.  This is real life and in real life kids travel so we all have to deal with it.  They can be nice or go to sleep.

Many trips will be taken, many people will be annoyed by kids on an airplane...even in a train or on a boat...it all sucks.  But for us it's about memories.  Try to be prepared, try to keep your wits about you, try not to over pack or over stress (like I have a tendency to do) and remember to have fun.  As much as we hate the travel grind the kids can't help who or how they are and most of the time they're more well-behaved than the adults.

Good luck and ALL Love,

W and B

 

How having a child in preschool is giving me a middle school complex

When my son started preschool I honestly thought it would open a wide variety of social avenues for both of us but I'll be honest, it hasn't.  In fact, I almost feel like parenting is cliquier than middle school was, and middle school didn't go well for me.  I wasn't "cool" or part of a crowd so much that I really felt like I belonged.  I was awkward and chubby and never quite fit into the standard idea of what was 'acceptable' the middle school hierarchy of what is deemed 'normal.'  Girls were mean and boys were meaner.  There was no winning.  I wasn't popular and I really didn't like putting myself out there, but I genuinely thought I was awesome...it was everyone else who seemed to have a different opinion.  It was just hard and I hated it.  imageReal talk: when I joke and say Tina Belcher is my spirit animal...I'm not really joking, total truth! We've all felt insecure and misunderstood. So why is preschool giving me serious flashbacks? Well, it's because once again I find myself feeling those old, familiar feelings of exclusion creep back in.  This time by members of the same peer group...other moms.  

I'm a single parent, currently staying home to be there with my son to help ease his transition into school full-time.  I'm not any different than moms with husbands or partners at home.  We all struggle with the same things. All parents battle against sleepless nights, potty training, how to get your child to eat, sick babies and skinned knees.  I do all the same things the other moms do.  So why do I feel so different?  It's such a weird feeling to describe.  I often feel like I'm wearing the invisibility cloak (ok, Harry Potter references probably don't make me any cooler) and it's like they, the other moms, just don't see me. I could be standing right next to them, wearing the same brands and frequent the same places, but for some reason I just don't fit in.  I felt the same way walking down the school hallways.  Lonely.   It isn't that I don't like some of the moms, it isn't that some of them don't acknowledge me.  I'm grateful for the people who I have met that choose to greet me with a kind "hello" and a smile.  I don't want this to diminish those Moms who go about parenting with the true spirit of community and support.  Let's face it, they are not all that  way.  There are those who judge and there are those who choose to, by whatever motivation, harbor some deep-rooted insecurities of their own.  For some reason it bothers me and that's the truth.  I can say a million times that I "give zero f#&%s" about what anyone else thinks, but I do care and I care who it affects my child.  Leaving me out leaves him out, and that is something he just doesn't deserve.  He's a highly social boy with a loving heart who is kind and sensitive.  I love that about him, his dad loves that about him.  That's the person we are working so hard to raise.

In a particularly hurtful example of how  we have been affected by this type rejection my sons feelings were affected and it killed me.  Almost the entire group from his preschool class worked amongst themselves to plan a Disney day with the kiddos.  We've all chatted about Disney and it was apparent that nearly everyone is an annual pass holder, and so are we.  On this day they all met for a group day at the park.  The next day, however,  all of the kids were talking about it amongst themselves at school.  I had no idea this had all transpired or I would have been more prepared for the tears and obviously painful conversation that occurred at pick up.  My son said to me,"all of my friends went to Disney and they didn't invite me." I told him it was ok and maybe we could go next time...but then he said,"they don't like me, they didn't want me to go."  I couldn't help it, the tears just fell out of my eyes.  I tried hard to hold them in.  I am NOT A CRIER.  Now that I'm a full-grown adult don't let shit get to me. But this totally broke my heart. I explained to him that they did like him and that I would take him to Disney anytime he wanted to go.  He's 3 years old so most of the rudeness and flat-out thoughtfulness of everyone else it lost on his innocent sensibilities and he got over it. I, on the other hand, felt completely cut to the quick. Do I think this incident was intentionally meant to hurt me or my son...NO! I choose to believe this was just an unfortunate thing that happened.  But it sucked, big time.  For the purposes of full transparency I'll say this: we can't go to every birthday party or join every activity like everyone else.  Our family is split between to households and juggling time with Boo is a delicate balance of scheduling and planning each week and weekend between the two parents and sometimes a grandparent.

I'm not writing this for sympathy and I'm not writing this to point fingers at any particular set of moms or another.    I'm simply stating that how we treat one another as mothers and parents (although I never hear of the "Dad Clique" but I assume it's a thing) can directly color the way we treat our children and the other children in our community. Whether it be at preschool or the elementary school bus stop or at the soccer field, or dance class... respect each other as members of the same tribe.  Being exclusionary creates division where division doesn't need to be.  I'm not saying that we all need to be best friends, but how do you know we wouldn't be?  I just didn't think at 36 I would feel like a the middle-schooler again...Where do I stand? Who do I talk to? Are my clothes ok? Will they like me? But what's super messed is that at one point I found myself asking the question: will they accept my son regardless of me? And sometimes the narrative in my head would be so loud I'm surprised the other moms couldn't hear my internal dialogue echoing  "just like us, we're cool, just please accept us."  US, as in, totally hoping that some asshole adult would give my son and I some sort of preschool mom clique seal of approval.  Nope, no more.   I just can't.  I'll smile and talk to anyone willing to return the social niceties, but I won't be made to feel like I'm not good enough to be let into some secret club of people who deem themselves better than myself or anyone else and I surely won't let my son fall victim to that kind of mentality.  In an ideal world all mothers would stand in solidarity of one another and we would all genuinely be good friends, but this is reality.  Reality is we all don't fit in, we all don't have to.  At this point in my life I have to be able to deal with the fact that I still don't fit in, just like in middle school...but maybe other mothers feel the same way.  If you've ever felt excluded, over-looked, under appreciated or like a social pariah, come join me at the 'nerd table.'

All Love,

W & Boo

 

Mom Purse: WTF is in there?

Let me just preface this by saying that I hate wearing a purse.  In my former life I would never wear a purse.  Cash and keys in pocket and out the door.  Now, with a child, I'm just proud I'm not leaving the house without luggage.  So while I was walking around the grocery store the other day and realized...this purse is heavy as F%$#! Then I stuck my hand in there..."WTF is in here?!?" In an effort to be as transparent as possible here's what I found in there after I removed the 47 crinkled up receipts and about a dozen expired coupons: sunglasses (severely scratched so thank good they're cheapos from the drugstore), Disney passes, 14 pounds of loose change, enough singles to make a stripper jealous, 4 tubes of lip balm and 2 shades of lip gloss that I NEVER wear, a beer ticket (you know, just in case), some Boogie Wipes (because I have used a sleeve in the past and thought that maybe that was my "rock bottom"), hand sanitizer, hair ties for pulling up my barely brushed tresses, a lollipop stick (that was still wet), my hard case wallet that holds my debit card, Costco membership card (hallelujah) and my variety of discount cards for ice cream, cupcakes and coffees from around town and the piece de resistance...hidden in one of the pockets was a unwrapped and unused (obviously) tampon that I found Boo swinging around by the string one day in the middle of Target (not pictured...you're welcome.) Feel free to share what's in your purse because we all know it's a disaster in there.

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WTF Wednesday: Reasons why Summer is the Worst...

It's summer time. Time to cue up the iPod's with all your favorite songs, stock up on lemonade supplies, crank up the AC and gather up the beach gear.  But also, let's admit that summer is the WORST. When the kids aren't in school full-time and it's hot outside our families take on a whole other level of crazy.  Let's list the ways that summer is the absolute most annoying time of year: image

1. No school? No Bueno.  The kids are bored as soon as the novelty of the "schools out for summer" mentality wears off.  By my calculations that's about 15 minutes post end-of-school-year-celebrations.  Boredom leads to messes. Messes lead to annoyance.  Annoyance leads to frustrations. And that, as we all know too well, leads to meltdowns...on EVERYONES part.  Surprisingly, there's a lack of day camps from the last day of school for about 2 weeks post-insanity.  That's two whole weeks of figuring out what in the actual F#*% you are going to do with your kids.  And yes, I realize we all would love more time with our kids to vacation and whatever, blah, blah, blah....reality is...they don't want to spend all day everyday recreating Norman Rockwell moments with their parents.  They want to hang out with friends and be preoccupied with teachers and counselors and activities.  Real talk: no school sucks!

2. The public pool is my own personal hell.  Really.  Let's add the beach to that list...and water parks.  All of that blows.  The pool is overcrowded with parents and kids seeking some sort of relief from the stifling heat.    Parents: please watch your kids at the pool.  Get off your phone, put down your book, and open your eyes! My little guy LOVES to swim and for a three-and-a-half year old he is a damn good swimmer (thanks for amazing swim lessons and A LOT o commitment on my part by taking him to the pool for daily practice and confidence building ::pat on the back::) but I would never take my eyes off of him or be more than 4 feet away.  OK, so your kids are bigger and older and so they can go do their own thing.  Sounds great, can't wait for that day, BUT my kid can't so help me out and make sure your raging preteen doesn't jump, splash, bump, hit or generally rough house around the little guys. Find somewhere else besides the kiddie pool for that!  There have definitely been times that myself or daddy have fallen victim to this type of crap happening around us or our son and it ruins the whole experience for everyone. Same goes for water parks except add asshole adults acting like previously mentioned goober kids and you have everyone's worst nightmare.  And the beach? Please y'all, I love the beach. Love.  Or should I say 'loved' the beach before I had a child...now it's more of a chore than a relaxing zen-like retreat.  Beach toys, umbrellas, chair, towels, sun protectant armor and lugging all of that crap down into the burning sand only to end up sitting next to a group of co-eds chugging brewskis and wearing less than dental floss.  Here in Florida, some beaches allow driving and parking on the beach.  Seems like it would be convenient.  I find it scary and dangerous.  Every year some story on the news about someone being run over on the beach...uh, no thanks.  And the sand....everywhere and anywhere it can be hidden...for weeks.  We went away a few weeks ago to a beach resort...I'm still finding sand in things and places that I'd rather not.  Ugh.

3. Camp!  Camp is good for the reason that it gets the kids out of the damn house and into some structured activities that easy the pain of boredom.  But camp is also a huge pain in the ass.  We have to send B to camp "swim ready" and pack clothes and a lunch for the rest of the day.  Only childless people would believe getting a 3 year old "pool ready" first thing in the morning is easy.  Putting sunscreen and swimwear on a little kid is like wrangling a greased pig and dressing it for one of Jacque Cousteau's deep water expeditions. Don't forget you must label everything.  If you don't, than just pull out some cash and burn it. Same thing.  Everything will end up lost in the ether of day camp craziness.  We like NameBubbles. And don't get me started on trying to survive the parking lot and the daily drop off/pickup systems of camp... AHHHH!!!

4. Ice cream.  We love us some ice cream and popsicles but good gravy...what a mess!!!  How is it possible to hand a child an ice cream or some other frozen treat and within 30 seconds realize it's in their hair, all over them and their clothes and shoes...then the realization that it's also all over you and in your hair and in your purse and...OMG...it's just everywhere.  The only solution is hose everyone off after a trip to ice cream stand.  I'm still cleaning a popsicle stain out of the car seat and surrounding areas from a disastrous and poorly thought out decison on my part.

5. The heat and all of the things that come with rising temperatures.  Luckily we live in Florida so we are prepared for year round heat and humidity, but 105 degrees in the shade? It seems like summer started WAY early this year and the heat has been worse than ever before. Maybe I'm imagining that but, ugh.  The car feels like an oven, your boob sweat is literally out of control, there's no point in even doing anything with your hair cause you know you are going to end up looking like Hagrid within 5 minutes of exiting the safety of your air-conditioned domicile, wearing less clothes means shaving your legs way more often than the lazy days of winter, and even the dog won't entertain the ridiculous idea of subjecting themselves to heat stroke. WTF?! I've never been so happy for daily rain showers in my life, but even those leave little relief from the oppressiveness of the climate outside.

All of that being said, summer can bring some good times and great memories and even though right now, at this very minute I hate all things summer, I still do them for the sake of love and laughter with kiddo...and for the simple fact that there's no escaping it. Also, thank goodness this year school starts incredibly early here in the sunshine state.

Good luck surviving the rest of the summer!

All Love,

W & B

Monday Fave Rave: The Summer Edition

Its summer and that means no school, summer camp, beach trips and vacations galore.  It also means asking yourself  "What in the actual f%*# am I going to do to get through the rest of this summer alive and intact?" Living in Florida, the heat is unbearable at times and the rain can ruin any plan at any time.  Luckily my little guy is attending "camp" three days a week to prevent boredom on his part and a full scale mental breakdown on mine.  We have just moved to a new house and we haven't gotten to the 'build a pool' phase of being settled in...we literally haven't even gotten to the 'kiddie pool in the back yard phase' because, well, YUCK.  As soon as you fill it up the water gets hot and gross and I'm just not into it and neither is he. We DO like to spend quite a few hours at the community YMCA pool or rec center pools.  This requires keeping a 'pool bag' packed at all times.  Something we can just grab and go whenever we're ready.

Here's what we pack in our Canvas tote:

Sunscreen: We love Coola!! Both the spray and the lotions are organic and high performing. Added Bonus, they smell great!

Towels: I'm currently obsessed with these Turkish Bath Towels. They're light, easy to pack, take up very little space, dry quickly, double as more stylish cover up when you need it, and are a more chic alternative to the same old beach towels we've used in the past.  (Tip: lately I've been finding them online and locally at TJ Maxx on the cheap.)

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A wet bag: For both of our swimsuits post plunge we throw them into a Wet Bag.  I have always had these handy anyways for wet clothes or accidents 😬 (Tip: I found some at the beginning of the summer in the dollar bin at Target, but you could always use a ziplock.)

Along with toys (B is allowed 3 small pool toys, seriously...you don't want to look like John Candy in Summer Rental hauling the entire house out everyday) sun hats, goggles, keys, cell phones (do yourself a favor and spend the cash for a LifeProof case) and flip flops you should throw in some Boogie Wipes, Swimmers Ear Drops, Water Proof BandAids, and a Contigo Water Bottle. (Tip: Like everything else in my house I find this all at Target.  Gotta love that RedCard discount!)

I don't overpack bags ever.  Less is OK.  These are the essentials.

Good luck surviving the summer break and feel free to let us know some of your favorite items for beating the heat.

All Love,

W & B

 

WTF Wednesday: Toddler Toys Are The Worst

I would say nothing drives me more bat-shit crazy than a few of my son's favorite toys.  Seriously, who ever invented some of this crap needs a slap.  With Christmas fast approaching, my little guy is looking forward to receiving plenty of gifts from the big man in red.  I, on the other hand, am dreading it…oh, and conveniently we have a birthday right after.  Double to crap, double the pain in my ass. Look, it's not like we don't or won't buy or kids annoying shit.  It's just that we have to deal with them and we all deserve the rant.  So heres my list of "pain in my ass toys of 2015."

  1. Play doh.  What sick bastard thought that this was fun for anyone but a toddler? It gets everywhere.  You have to tell everyone (including the dog) to not eat the damn stuff. You will never have a nice area rug ever again if you imbibe in the play doh, just a fair warning.
  2. Legos…no surprise here.  We've all stepped on one and screamed a few curse words that may or may not be the reason your toddler says the "F" word in public to this day.
  3. The Fart Blaster.  Good gravy, this thing has pushed me almost to my limits.  There isn't anything more annoying than waking up to a toddler fart blasting you in the face with this very annoying gun-like toy that makes me want to run for the hills screaming and pulling my hair out.
  4. Anything with glitter on it.  Ugh, really? Like I need more shit to clean up, now we've added sparkle to the mix? Thanks.
  5. Anything that requires a PhD in Engineering for me to A) remove from the box or B) assemble.  Real talk: I'm too tired for that shit and my kid wants the damn toy, so why do they make it all so difficult to play with?

So do us a favor and don't buy us this stuff, OK? If you promise not to we will invite you over for birthday parties and pool parties and not complain when you eat all of our food or drink all of our wine.  Even better, we won't buy these for your kids.

Persnickety Palate: Trick Your Toddler

These days getting Boo to eat anything that isn't hotdogs or mac'n'cheese is basically a miracle.  He's pretty resistant to eat anything vegetable related…so I trick him.  I hide veggies in everything.  Is it just us? I mean, I feel like I hear other people saying that their kid will eat anything… I want to slap them.  I have worried myself sick in the past thinking that my child will end up unhealthy, but the fact is feeding them a balanced diet is possible. Here are my top tricks for sneaking in nutrients into your toddlers otherwise crap diet:

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  1. Replace lasagna noodles with zucchini ribbons, or make "pasta" with this handy little tool.  My kiddo will eat anything with a pasta sauce on it, so this is always a great options for replacing gluten and carb loaded foods with a veggie.
  2. Add frozen spinach to meatballs.
  3. Reduce ground beef, chicken or turkey portions and add ground mushroom.  This is a great boost of vitamins and minerals.
  4. Try adding a bit of pureed pumpkin or butternut squash to tomato sauces.
  5. Add steamed and pureed cauliflower to cheese sauces.  This can lighten your alfredo and mac'n'cheese considerably.
  6. Always add spinach or baby kale to your smoothies.
  7. This Airfryer is amazing.  We make a ton or sweet potato fries, zucchini fries, tater tots, etc. with little to no oil.
  8. If you have a juicer making carrot juice or beet juice to add to fruit juices and freezing into popsicles makes kiddos happy and cools them off.
  9. Add whipped avocado to puddings and brownie mix.
  10. When in doubt look for store bought items that add veg to the old standbys (just be ware of added preservatives, dyes and sugars!!)

Monday Fave Rave: Target Obsessed

Anyone who knows me know that I am totally TO (Target Obsessed.)  It's my happy place. A place I like to escape to while kiddo is in preschool.  I swear I could walk around in that red palace of impedimenta for days.  It's also just super convenient that they sell all of my favorite brands these days.  For busy parents with a multitude of tasks to juggle, we can all appreciate a one-stop-shop.  This also happens to be Boo's first choice in bigger retail stores too. I don't know about you guys but I'm kind of picky about what I feed Boo, use on our skin, or purchase for the home.  I try to go for the most organic, GMO free, artificial additive free, all natural as I can, when I can.

Heres my list of Target must haves:

  1. Annie's Organics everything.  From soup to snacks this brand is a go to for us and we can usually find our necessities on sale.  that's awesome since my picky eater goes through about 6 cans of Bunnies a week.
  2. Zarbees.  Holy crap, I love this brand!! Finding supplements and all natural meds for children is not an easy task.  Other brands on the market are homeopathic and give my son an adverse reaction at times.  Once I discovered this brands I fell in love.  Adults won't miss out either.  Personally, I can't take many OTC meds, but this stuff helps me feel a lot better when the germs get the best of me.
  3. Nature's Wick candles and home scents are so awesome.  I am officially nuts for them.  I love the wood wicks and soy based wax.  No stinky chemical doers when you blow them out and their unique scents, like bonfire nights, keep my whole house feeling all warm and cozy, even with stinky kids and a smelly dog running around from time to time.
  4. Pacifica is a great brand, but I specifically love these makeup remover cloths are super luxurious feeling and smell fantastic.  Keep these in your gym bag or purse and they are safe to use on the kids, too.  Trust me.
  5. Imaginext are the greatest toys ever.  I recently stumbled upon these for my 2.75 year old.  They are perfect.  Fisher Price hit right on the money with cool characters and infinite possibilities to encourage your little one's imagination and story making skills.  We have probably a million of these because I buy one to two "mystery packs" per trip.

Next time your in Target check these out and please let me know if there is a "must have" that you guys are obsessed with, too.  I am always down to try new brands.

Next week look for my have rave on local Orlando shops for all of your gift giving needs!!!!