Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The day that Paper Coterie made me cry!

I got my package from Paper Coterie.

It led me down memory lane. Oh, boy! I got out all the tiny little items I wanted to put in his memory keeper...oh boy.

 I put in invites from baby showers, the card from the ultrasound tech (she had what he weighed at 17 and 21 weeks since we had to have an extensive ultrasound), many ultrasounds, cards of wishes from my shower, 'First' cards from holidays, his Happy Birthday to You book (we used as his guest book at his 1st Birthday party) and card from the nurses in the NICU. I also added a newborn diaper, binky, first birthday invite, first Christmas card, birth announcement and his take home outfit. I'm surprised it all fit and that will openly admit that I might be a candidate for the hoarders show.
 It's perfect. Then, I cried.
 How did my tiny baby get so big? These were around his legs! Oh, sniff, sniff.
After I was able to contain myself, I remembered I ordered something else! I also ordered him a ABC book, "About me A to Z!'' He is really into letters and loves books so I know he will love this. It came in a cute little package.
 You can add pictures of things you want and add pictures of your child. Most of the pictures match up to the letter on the page (except this one just because I love it!)
Just a reminder that today is the last day for the $40 credit. Use code BeginAnywhere AND don't forget to enter my giveaway for $40 credit and FREE SHIPPING!

I warned you. It might make you cry.

Honestly, I loved both but the memory keeper shocked me at how much I loved it. I could not bear to throw those things away and having kept them aside somewhere, a few things got wrinkled.  I'm beyond thrilled that we now have a special place to keep them and know exactly where to find them if I decide I want to make myself cry again. 

I love that we can keep it on a shelf in his room and I might get one for each year since as you can see, I save everything. 

disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this post but I received product in exchange for this review. The opinions, thoughts and even the tears are my own.  

When I grow up.

Life has just been passing by and I try to catch up with it but it runs way too fast and always in the same direction.

I got a job yesterday. Then, I had to turn said job down. I was left feeling frustrated and upset because I really wanted to take the job but it was a steep pay cut we can't really afford right now. I try to find the positive in it but it can be hard when things never seem to go your way. I quickly made myself snap out of it because I am blessed for what I have. While that is not easy to do and while it sounds so cliche to even say, it's very much true. I think of the people we miss, the people who desperately need work, or even my dear friend, who is going through hell right now.

That always stops the pity party but I am often led in the a wonder less direction.

Where do I go from here?
How can you be lost in this digital age? Get out your damn smart phone, woman!
What do I want to be when I grow up?
Wait, Amy, I thought you were grown up? 

I am grown up, right? I mean we own our own home (actually, nope, the mortgage company does,) own my car (wait, again, the bank owns it still,) and have a child (uh, I hope the bank doesn't own him too!) As a child I defined 'grown-up' as someone having those things but I often think to myself, 'Ha!' your are far from a grown-up! You don't even know what you wanna be when you grow up!'

I think back to what seems like a lifetime ago, to the dreams I so bravely and naively would conjure up inside my innocent mind. Doctor, curer of world hunger, farmer of money trees and a mom to a litter of kids.

So, besides the whole doctor, curing world hunger and growing money on trees thing, I am who I wanted to be when I grew up.

Even Momma Amy.

As a self-proclaimed fastest diaper changer in the Midwest, a toddler distracting extraordinaire and a boo-boo kisser, we all know it cannot pay the bills. (Now, if I could only get paid for every dirty diaper I've changed or boo-boo I've kissed)

I could go on to say that your position a mom in fact does get paid, in kisses and the reward of watching this creature grow from a gummy bear to a live talking, running, mischievous child (too bad I can't pay those banks in kisses!) but while it may be true, it does not put food in that child's belly and bills cannot be paid with monopoly money (though I think we'd all be rich if that were true!)

I still find it a struggle with where to go from here because my most important position I'll ever hold is that butt wiping, boo-boo kissing role as a mom but that doesn't mean my other job isn't important too. I work because well, we like to be able to pay those banks but I have worked hard to get myself through school and to where I am now. I think my ideal situation would be to work part-time, even if I could afford to not work. It took me a  while to realize that I do indeed like working, I just don't like the stress that comes with holding multiple positions.

When I first went back to work and as I adjusted to that new role as this constant juggler, I felt like I was drowning and needed to be rescued. I thought being a SAHM was the answer but the more I dove deeper, I knew that it was all for selfish reasons. I was tired of juggling. I didn't sign up for all this overtime, especially unpaid!

As time went on and as Brady decided that sleeping was way better than partying all night, life got a bit easier in many ways. I have learned to be content with what cannot be changed and searching for what can be changed. I might not know where that may be or what other title that it may add to my ever growing list but I can tell you one thing, I'll figure it out one day. Maybe when I grow up. Until then, I have to remind myself to sit back and enjoy my most important place in this world.

As mom to this amazing little soul.

Please continue to pray for little Olivia. I'll be posting more information soon but she did not reach remission as hoped and the next step is a bone marrow transplant. Her momma is a dear friend and babies should not be allowed to get this sick. She goes into the hospital today for several tests and treatments. Please keep her in your prayers and that they find a match. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How To Bake With A Toddler

Recipe adapted from the life of an active toddler:
1. Take off your pants. Wearing shorts must not be suitable for baking. 
2. Draw on legs, face and hands with markers. This has nothing to do with baking, it's just fun.
3. Put on rain boots.
4. Pour in the ingredients.
5. Put your hands in and mix it all up. 
6. Take the spatula mommy hands over to stir. She tells me to use the spatula but it's way more fun to put my fingers in it. 

7. Stir. A LOT.
8. Throw some on the floor.
9.  Throw yourself down on the floor when mommy says we are all done. 

 10. Enjoy!

Brady loves to cook and while he is good at 'helping,' his recipe won't really get you a nice yummy cake so here is an easy recipe for play dough!

No bake play dough recipe:
  • 1 c. water
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. salt
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • Food coloring (if you choose to add colors!)
Combine ingredients in bowl and mix. Add more flour if mixture is too sticky. Store in a plastic zip-lock bag.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Begin Anywhere: Paper Coterie Giveaway!

I wanted to post this asap as there is not many days left in August! I placed an order and will post a review once I receive it, which I can hardly wait for the package to arrive!  I've seen several friends that have recently order books through Paper Coterie and I was so excited to find that I was given an opportunity to give you a chance to try them out! 

Paper Coterie has photo books, journals, guest books (great for weddings and birthday parties,) growth charts, decor and more! 

August is officially “Begin Anywhere” month for Paper Coterie, as their gift, your can enjoy $40 to spend during August with the code “BeginAnywhere” 

Hurry! It's only good until August 31st so go there now! 

I truly went back and forth what to order! I mean for hours...I could not for the life of me decide because I really wanted everything! I'm big on saving everything (and I think it's gotten worse since I've had a child!) No, don't call "Hoarders'' on me quite yet! 

Memory Keeper: This is a great way to store important memorabilia, papers or pictures. I'd like to order one for some things I have saved from our wedding and for all the things from Brady's birth (his teeny tiny footprints, teeny tiny hospital band, and all the other tiny things I put aside.)

An adorable growth chart! There are so many of them, I could hardly choose which one I liked best. I absolutely love that they are personalized and think this would make a fabulous baby gift for someone!

One of their many photo books but in particular one of the ABC Book's since Brady is very much into learning about them! I think he would love looking at this, especially since it can be personalized with pictures of things he likes and pictures of him and those he loves!  

They also have an @ Book which I plan to make after his 2nd birthday. It is a very clever way to remember all those things about him when he's TWO!

 I decided to order the memory keeper because I have so many things from the hospital and his first days of life that are so precious to me, I wanted a safe and special place to put them and it will be something I can pass along to him. I'll share when I get it! They also have one that is perfect for all of those pieces of artwork that gets sent home from school!

I have gift codes for $40 and free shipping to give away! 

To enter: 
Please tell me what you would get with your gift code! 

Giveaway will end September 1st at midnight! 

Disclaimer: I was provided products to review in exchange for this post. The thoughts, opinions are my own. I was a fan of them before this review. 

Soap Time: Review and Giveaway!

My child is a very, um,well, he likes to clean (which I hope sticks) and to be clean. He LOVES washing his hands, loves any sort of soap but I still worry about making sure they get washed well enough. We are introducing the potty and to me it's more of an important time to ensure hands get washed. 

When I heard about a product called Soap Time®, I was really excited to try it and I have to say, we loved it! I loved that it is a functional product that also teaches healthy habits. 

What is Soaptime®? It is a soap product that sits on a base that activates sound and lights when used. When the sounds and lights stop, that signals to the child that their hands are clean! It is recommended that we wash hands for at least 20 seconds and this is a great way to get kids to teach healthy habits! 

 The system includes 3 uniquely Themed Bottles: ABC, Earth, and Elephant, each recognized by the SmartBase®. ABC’s theme is language, Earth’s theme is nature, and Elephant’s theme is wild kingdom.  All bottles have educational themes narrated by Professor Goodhabits.  The music was written, produced, & recorded by Brian Vander Ark, of the Verve Pipe, which is pretty awesome in my book. I'll take him over cheesy kids music any day!  

The final verdict? Two thumbs and 10 CLEAN toddler fingers up! I think it would be a great tool to add to classrooms too (for you teachers out there!) because it is said that each kid gets an average of 8 colds a year! The CDS recommends that hand washing (you have to use soap!) is the best way to ward away nasty germs!

Soaptime is available at Bed Bath and Beyond and click here to find a location near you!

 One of you will win a set of Soaptime® products of your own! 

To enter:
Tell me what you like best about Soaptime or which bottle is your favorite! 

Please enter by September 2nd at midnight! 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Soaptime set. The review, opinions and thoughts are my own. I really like clean kids and hate nasty germs

Monday, August 22, 2011

Training the beast

Only a mom could write a post that includes undies, pee-pee, poop, and Elmo. 

I seriously cannot believe I am about to say this but I bought my child undies this weekend. I think I wept a tear because there is no way my baby is near that age. Nope. 

Now, before you think I'm nuts...while I think he shows a few signs of readiness, he's nowhere near there. I've posted about this before but he has struggled with rashes on and off since last summer. I thought it was a summer, heat related issue but it.never.went.away. Ugh. 

The breaking point was watching my child scream bloody murder in the tub this weekend and has not wanted to get in all week. I don't want him to associate pain with something he loves. He literally laid on his belly  watching Sesame Street and then fell asleep on me, which I loved but not under those circumstances. It breaks me heart but it literally makes changing diapers hell for both of us. I've tried just about everything under the sun, ever cream, ever kind of diaper, prescriptions (he also gets eczema with the yeast rash,) nakie time, cornstarch, baking soda and are now trying cloth wipes, tea tree oil and running around in undies just to give his booty a break. Literally, I think we've tried almost everything, short of cloth. 

I've contemplated cloth but I kind of feel like he'll still have the same issues as long as there still is 'pee-pee' and Brady's 'do-do' touching his skin. If anyone has any other ideas, I'm all ears. If you want to hear more about my kid and his skivvies, read on!

So, we broke out the undies and let him run around. He LOVES them and was super proud. It was fun until I heard, 'Uh, oh, pee pee!' and found him in a big, wet puddle. I realized then, I was probably the one that was least ready in this house. I talked to him about how we pee-pee (which is one of his most used words...right along with doggie do do) on the potty. After I cleaned it up, I looked for him but couldn't find him. He had ran to the bathroom and was sitting on his potty! I think he should get an A for Effort, even if it was a tad too late! 

It's always nice too when you're at Target using the bathroom and he's screaming, 'Momma pee-pee!' I'm sure there are/will be worse things to come out of that mouth. 
That's my life. My child running away from me. Sigh. At least he's pretty darn cute in those Elmo undies. 

Speaking of Elmo, he is IN LOVE with Elmo and growing more so with all of Sesame Street, which makes me smile because it's something I grew up with. It's funny to watch it with him and think my mom did the same thing years ago. Here is a short snippet of him naming all of his favorites! (We had just made playdough and I'll post the recipe we used later this week!) 

Uprinting giveaway!

I pin a lot of prints on Pinterest. Sadly,it's kinda funny but most of our walls are bare. I'm trying to change that and maybe even cover your walls too! 
One of you will win an 18" x 24" Poster from Uprinting! I'm working on making a poster for Blake and Brady's big birthday bash that I'm planning too! I'll share when I finish it! They also have Canvas prints and reasonable priced at that! 

To help you create your poster Uprinting has Poster Printing Poster Templates  and Custom Posters

To enter tell me what you would order from Uprinting!

Want extra entries?
Follow Uprinting on Facebook
Follow Uprinting on Twitter

This is a fast giveaway so please enter by August 24th at Midnight!

Disclaimer:This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given and I will receive a poster for hosting. Opinions and everything expressed is my own. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School with Tiny Prints

Growing up, there was always something exciting about the new school year. From the smell of new notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils and back to school clothes,

Even though I'm out of school now, I can't help but still feel the excitement. This year, I'll share the excitement with my own child as he goes to preschool himself (after he turns two, sniff sniff!) This week, Facebook has been filled with posts from parents talking about the their babies going to preschool or kindergarten for the first time and that is a big step. A friend posted the other day that while she is a very emotional person, she does not get emotional about the first day of school. I know I will. While each year brings new and exciting things, it always means another year is gone way too fast.It's bittersweet. It's sad to watch you child take a new step in life but I know how much he'll love it! He will  learn new things and meet friends his age and I know it will always be harder on me than him. To ease myself into the new school years, I hope to start a fun tradition by taking a picture of him on our front porch, holding a sign that says the grade he'll be in!

Tiny Prints wants to help make back to school fun!

Stickers for everything from school supplies, lunch boxes, gifts and so much more!
Adorable thank you notes for teachers and school staff!

Disclosure: I received product in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed were my own.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grant's Farm

We are lucky that living in St. Louis, there is so many awesome things for kids to do and we finally took a trip to Grant's Farm or what I will deem as heaven on earth for my child. If my child could have his wish, he would play outside, surrounded by all kinds of wild and exotic animals with a sippy cup of milk in tow.

 It was the first family day we have had in way too long and it was much needed. It was a good day.
Camels were a big hit and I wanted to take him home until he sneezed on the lady next to me.
He just took it all in, watching the animals. 

Then, we fed the goats, or the 'puppies' as he called them. Those things are crazy and if you've ever been to a petting zoo with hungry goats, you understand exactly what I'm saying. I refuse to actually step foot inside so we fed them bottles of milk from the fence!
 He was so intrigued but a bit leery so he watched at a safe distance. That goat later got his head stuck and another visitor had to help guide his head back in. 

Next, was the parrots. Near the parrots was a big, fat peacock. When we told Brady to look at the peacock, he screams, "Deecock." Of all the animals there, he picks up on that one and he now thinks that all funny looking birds are called, 'deecocks!'
We got super close the the Elephants!
Stopped to see the big Tortoise.
He thought it was so cool he was allowed to roam free. Grant's farm is not as big or as crowed as the Zoo, so it was much easier for him to roam free. Well, until he threw a big, fat tantrum right near the Camel's and dropped to the ground.
He fed the 'bock-bock' chickens.
Mommy made him pose for pictures.
Fed more chickens. Actually, I'm pretty sure he was feeding corn to the gerbils here.
Then, he fed a Llama and his day was complete after a ride back on the choo-choo! It really was a good day and reminded us we have a lot more places to venture and show our son. I think one of the best parts of being a parent is watching your child enjoy themselves and I soaked in every minute of it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The way of life

Things have been quiet around here and I really have been lost for words. A lot of crappy things have happened to too many people and it just sucks. About a month ago, a friend's nineteen month old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia while on vacation visiting family.

I can't tell you how many times I found myself in Brady's room, just watching own child sleep and just soaking him in. I can't tell you the last time I took a moment to do the simple task I spent  the first week of his life doing. I walked into the darkness of his room, kissed his forehead, and watched his chest rise and fall with each breath. I sat down, grabbed his hand and we prayed for that little girl.

They are moving cross country and will welcome their second child this January so please send some prayers their way.  (O, you have lots of people rooting for you!) I plan to walk in September at Light The Night for her and my coworkers son. Here is her Light the Night page and any little bit can help...even signing up to walk yourself!

On the bright side, my friend got new boobs today...and it is the last step her journey through Breast Cancer. She's a rock star for sure!

We celebrated my BIL's birthday last week and that was another first that we survived. After you lose someone, the first year of holidays and special days are just tough and it is just the way of life we just seem to know but we made it through a big one.

On a lighter note, my child officially has the worst new word ever. Doo-Doo. While walking outside with the sitter, she told him not to step in the doggie doo-doo that someone ignorantly left on the sidewalk. He runs around the house saying, "puppy doo-doo!'' all day long, except for it sounds more like puppy doe-doe.

That kid....his personality makes life so much more interesting and leaves us laughing through it all. He's got his own little unique personality. I've known that since the day he was born, which explains the fact that the kid can say, Puma, Peacock and Giraffe, and can tell you the sounds that a snake, bee, mouse (he shrieks, it's hilarious) and other less 'common' animals. Ask him what a cow, duck, or even a dog says and he looks at you like you have 3 heads. It's our way of life and at least life will never be boring with him around!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Litttle Movers Slip Ons: Diapering a Maniac

If you have every tried to diaper a baby or a toddler that is active and mobile, you will know exactly what I mean. Diapering a toddler is like entering WWIII. It can be difficult. It can be dangerous and even explosive. If your child is anything like mine, he does not sit still. I swear he bounces and jumps all the time, even in his sleep! There are only a few times throughout the day when you need your child to not flail around like a maniac or trying to climb up your hair....diaper time! I think we have gone through the 'lets get this diaper changed as fast as we can' stage and the 'well, at least noone got any poop in their mouth' stage. It's just not easy when they want to squirm, wiggle and play a game of you can't get a diaper on me!

I've seen ads for Huggies Little Movers Slip-on and I have been quite intrigued. The thing about my child is that he thinks running away from me is quite funny, especially after bath time (because you know he HAS to walk from the tub to his room with the towel wrapped around him BY HIMSELF!) He then throws the towel down and runs away. He finds it so amusing (even though I always win), I call him the "DIAPER DASHER!"

I have found a few tricks for diapering my little runaway:
  • Bribing...wait, I'm just kidding, I mean I let him play with my cell phone. This usually does the trick especially if I have a fun toddler app for him to play! 
  • Stash stickers with the diapers. I put one on the back of his hand and by the time he peels it off, voila, diaper changed!
  • I sing a silly song about stinky Elmo or something that I pull out of my exhausted brain.  He finds it oh so entertaining.
  • I ask him where his body parts are. If he is distracted and his hands are busy, it goes much faster and well, it saves a change for grabbing things that well, shouldn't be grabbed.
  • A special toy or item. I have a few toys or things that he loves to play with stashed away near his diapers in case of a true diaper emergency. A choo choo train, nose bulb or a mini lotion bottle is our go to emergency diaper weapons of choice (my child loves lotions!)
 Do you have a nickname for your diaper dasher, wiggle worm or squirmy stinker?

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Huggies blogging program, for a gift card worth $35. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Monday, August 8, 2011

He learned it from!

This is what happens when you tell your child to run to the bathroom because it's time to get in the bath but you stop to throw some clothes into the hamper!

My mom gave him a mirror to show him what he looked like but he used it to apply a bit more. I guess he was trying to conceal the marker that was covering his face and body.   

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

21 months

Dear Brady;
Oh, little boy. You have morphed into a chatterbox this month. I'm not even sure I can even remember all the words you have in your ever expanding vocabulary but I can tell you that it is wonderful to witness. I really can't get enough-your little voice, the way you say each word and how you come up with the creative and silly things you do. 
Every time you see something, anything, you go 'oh!' like it is the most amazing or exciting thing ever.
Sometimes you call me, "momma, Amy'' which I think it pretty darn funny. Grandma's puppy has been staying with us the past week and after she jumped and licked on you, I taught you to tell her, 'No, down' but you've been telling her, 'NO-NO, puppy!" You say it all day even when she's not around.

You've sprouted a lot of new words like, 'boom-boom, uh-oh (instead of your usual, OH NO!), bubble, puppy, momma giraffe (well, momma everything,) Elmo, Papa (grandpa,) Baby Elmo, Beep-beep, Ding-Ding, Mina (Marina a character on a show,) dinner, boo-boo,  just to name a few that you use most.

You also think that everyone can blow you a bubble and will ask!

You have to show everyone your boo-boo, even if it existed months ago.

Your excitement over the small things is apparent in my life. Daily. You also do not miss a single beat. You notice everything!
You love to help. Cooking, cleaning, putting laundry away. You are the best helper a momma could have! When putting away laundry, you like to hand me the hanger and I hang it up. You even know where your jammies and short go. You are getting quite good at wiping your own face and would much rather use a fork than your fingers!
You are a busy bee all day. You still love legos, arts/crafts/coloring, blocks, books but have really started getting more into cars, trains, baby's (like your stuff Elmo, Scout, horse, etc), figurines (like Little People, Horses, etc) You have names for each one and interact with them. It's adorable.

You are so perceptive. You make the little noises I do (like, tsk tsk or a big sigh!) complete with hand gestures and it cracks me up. I really have to watch what I say and do. You are my little mimic! You've started sitting on your chairs, hands on your knees and then you have to cross your arms like momma does sometimes!
But....then you do silly things and those are not always the safest or the best use that toy or household item! You are a jumping bean. You literally jump up and down, up and down. You've learned to walk backwards too. You still remember how to 'march' and climb up on the fireplace hearth to march up there. Mommy cringes everytime!
I've talked about this so much, little man but you have your own sense of style. You now like to pick out your own clothes and even though we like to stay in our jammies longer on the weekends, you tell me when you are ready to get dressed!
You love to wear momma's shoes, daddy's too.
Momma is pretty excite that you're hair has finally started growing all the way back in and the curls are back! Somehow, they look different and I think it's because you look so grown up to me.
You're love for outside hasn't changed. In fact, we've had a Heat Advisory for the past 3 weeks and it does not bother you one teeny bit, red cheeks and all.
See how happy being outside make you? Your smile is like a twinkle in the sky. It is so small in the big world but makes a huge difference in my life. Have I mentioned your laugh because know you tilt your head back when you laugh hard, like it is the funniset thing in the world. Sometimes, you'll even add a little 'ha-ha' to it and it makes me laugh!

If someone does something funny, you will go, 'Oh, Daddy' and throw your head back. Ah, the character you are!
Dirt. Rocks. Water. Mud. All rough and tumble you are. It cracks me up because when you're eating and you get food on your hands,  you want your them washed but you will play in the dirt till the cows come home!

See what I mean?  You are my little nature boy.

The other day, Grandma was moving some stuff into the basement and left the door open. You took it upon yourself to run outside. Luckily, I was on to you but you gave me quite a heart attack.
We've spent quite a bit of time outside and in the water with it being so hot. You love it. We think you might have a future in Life guarding, perhaps?
You developed some sort of allergy to sunscreen and broke out in an awful rash full of hives. So, mommy puts on a ton of clothes when we go swimming but you don't mind at all. Though, I have to remind you to keep your hat on!

You got to go to your first parade and had a blast. Fireworks are not your favorite thing, yet. Now you know why, Boom-Boom is a new word!

You are one of the friendlies kids and when someone comes over that we haven't seen in a while, you warm right up, grab their hands and show them your toys!

You are such a little character and some days, I feel like you are so grown up. Then, I see a picture like this and I seem that you will always be my baby as much as you might not want to be. You're very independent these days. You have to walk up the stairs by yourself and, 'do it' you say.
No matter what. You'll always be my baby.
I love you so and can't believe that in three short months, you'll be two.