October 15th – Raising Awareness

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October is well known for being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and unless you’re a sufferer, you most likely don’t know that it’s also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared the month of October as the month to honor those who have lost their children. Furthermore, October 15th has been further distinguished as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” (Reagan)

6fe109a3d6500ba075228d45f23c5278The statistics revolving around Pregnancy and Infant Loss are absolutely devastating and most people have no idea how common it is until it happens to them or a close friend or family member. Every year, out of the approximate 600,000 pregnancies, almost 200,000 of them end in some type of loss either while pregnant, during delivery, or within the first year of life. TWO. HUNDRED. THOUSAND. And that number isn’t even totally accurate because a percent of those losses occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

My recent miscarriage (you can read about my story here) brought a whole new meaning to the month of October for me. So here I am, battling with my own emotions, again wanting to ensure that women know they’re not alone. I know how it is and I know how it feels. If it takes me having to slap my heart on my sleeve to help 200,000+ women feel more comfortable, then that is what I will do.screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-6-00-46-pm

“By keeping these discussions taboo, we rob people of the basic support and understanding necessary to deal with their loss. By keeping these discussions taboo, we force women and families to suffer in silence.” – Tara Moss

There are resources out there that offer support. You don’t have to remain silent. Don’t be ashamed to reach out and ask for help or to simply share your story. That’s what these organizations are there for, they understand.

On October 15th, from 7PM-8PM in all timezones, families will light a candle in remembrance of all of the sweet babies gone too soon. Joining in this National Tribute will not only help raise awareness but show support to those who you don’t know may be suffering silently.

Who will you be lighting a candle for? 

– Kirstyn

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Nootrobox GoCubes Chewable Coffee {Review}

I’m not a home-brewed coffee drinker, I never have been and seeing as how I am 26, I probably never will be. I will, however, indulge in any type of cold coffee. I love the taste of coffee and I love the smell of it, so I’m not sure what the issue is with drinking it hot. So when I was offered to review Nootrobox’s GoCubes Chewable Coffee, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

GoCubes are chewable coffee cubes that offer the caffeine off a cup of coffee without the jitters. Nootrobox has added L-theanine, B6, and methylated B12 for an extra boost and to help alleviate those all well known coffee jitters.hero-shot-yellow

More about the cubes: they come in a pack of 4 and there is a flavor assortment in each pack: Mocha, Pure Drip, and Latte.

The fact that they are concentrated caffeine, as well as a few other ingredients, makes the reaction completely different than drinking coffee. They worked rather quickly and lasted for quite some time. I didn’t experience the jitters or stomach issues I experience after drinking coffee.

Flavor wise, I don’t know where to start. You have to first explain to yourself these are not chocolates or candy, so do not expect them to be sweet or like anything that would be pleasurable to your pallet. The initial taste was okay, but the longer the cube was ibj289byrsdcj4ts00z4on my mouth, the weirder the taste became. It was a cross between black coffee and how a coffee filter smells after it’s wet (kind of sour). Each pack contains all three flavors, so if you don’t like one certain flavor, you’re pretty much out of luck as they all look and smell the same.

Convenience wise, they are fantastic! The small package is easily transported and can be easily carried and stored in your purse, gym bag, desk drawer, etc. Unfortuantely, the package is not resealable. So if you’re only needing 2 cubes, you have to wrap up and clip the plastic package to keep the other two cubes fresh.

Nutritionally, they’re not too terrible for you. A little bit high in sugar and carbs for people, like my husband, who choose low carbs options to accompany his gym regime. Given how a plain black cup of coffee is sugar and carb free, this could be a problem for some. What I don’t like is the first two ingredients being glucose (corn) syrup and sugar. I drink my coffee with sugar but real sugar, not highly processed syrups.

The price point is pretty high, but our BurritoBuzz readers can get 10% off your order by clicking here! They run about $39 for 20 4-packs. That is roughly 40 cups of coffee. Comparing it to the typical home brew, you can purchase a 33.9oz container of Folgers and brew roughly 270 cups of coffee for about $18. However, you will lose the convenience, (almost) immediate energy kick, and other brain focus ingredients.

I would have to give the GoCubes a 3 out of 5 stars. I think there is a little room for improvement and tweaking that could be done to packaging, price, and definitely taste, but overall, a very innovative product that tackles the quickness and convenience of needing caffeine that we all know too well and that exhausted parents need.

– Kirstyn

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

My Experience with Misoprostol (Cytotec)

When I went to my OB appointment following my recent miscarriage, my uterus was empty aside from some lining and some clotting but my doctor still prescribed me oral Misoprostol (Cytotec).

Although my body will expel everything all in due time, I believe the main concern comes from not expelling the remnants quick enough and becoming septic, causing an infection. After long thought, research, and discussion with my husband and even though the human body is a well oiled machine and knows what needs to be done, the fear of infection which could potentially lead to sterility consumed our thoughts and ultimately led me to  the decide to take this medication. It was obviously prescribed for a reason.

I immediately turned to Google to find the answers to all of my questions, most are still unanswered. My non-expert conclusion: This medication reacts differently with everyone. It’s worrisome especially because this medication is prescribed (or at least with me it was) with a narcotic pain medication and a strong anti-inflammatory. My mind automatically goes “holy shit, this is going to suck.” Yesterday, on my way home from the doctor, I experienced some pretty heavy cramps and passed large(r) clots when I got home. The cramping has stopped, but I thought I was going to throw up from that pain, so I was really dreading this.

Emotionally, it’s really hard to take a pill that is prescribed for abortions, to induce labor, and to essentially finish or start a miscarriage. I know I am no longer pregnant, I passed the placenta, baby, and other “products of conception.” But this is it. This finishes and finalizes the physical aspect of losing our baby.

The medication states it can take up to 4-6 hours to go into effect and the strong effects should subside within 12 hours. It is prescribed as “2 now and 1 every 6 hours thereafter until complete.” So I will be taking this medication from 11:45 am today until 11:45 pm tomorrow, every 6 hours for one entire day.

A few bits of advice given to me by my doctor:

1. Do not be alone while taking this medication. This was recommended by my doctor as the amount of bleeding can cause dizziness and the potential pain can be debilitating.

2. Take the medication early so given the medications “typical timeline,” the majority of symptoms will be completed prior to bed.

3. Stay on top of the pain with pain medicine. Do not wait until your cramps are painful to take a pill. It’s way easier to stay ahead of the pain than it is to get rid of it once it sets in.

4. Invest in some nice, thick long pads. I have been using Poise Overnight Long Length Pads since my miscarriage. These are the best. I have tried Always Nighttime Pads and have experience numerous leaks over the sides. The Poise pads are long, thick, and super absorbent. I have not had one single instance of leaking. They have leak lock sides to prevent leaking during the day and at night. They’re not cheap, but they’re worth every cent. I believe they’re around $25 for 60 of them at WalMart. Here is my experience:

September 13th:

11:45am – Took my first two prescribed Cytotec pills, 1-800mg Ibuprofen and 1 Percocet
12:45pm – No pain
1:45pm – Eensey weensey back cramp comparable to PMS symptoms before starting a period
2:45pm – Back cramp subsided, still nothing
3:34pm – Stomach cramps that resembled hunger pains. Uterine wise, nothing.
4:45pm -Stomach cramps remain, nothing.
5:45pm – Took my second dose of Cytotec and 1 Percocet (just in case). This has been pretty uneventful thus far.
8:24pm – Still nothing. I’m so confused.
11:17pm – Still nothing. I’m remembering the cramping and passage of clots and tissues yesterday and very early today and wondering if my uterus is already cleared out therefore the medicine has nothing to do.

September 14th:

9:30am – I’ve taken my 4th dose of Cytotec and still nothing.

12:34pm – Slight cramping resembling a period. Nothing crazy.

3:45pm – No cramping. Passed a few small clot, but not even really bleeding.

Took two more doses this day. All in all, it was pretty uneventful. No real pain, no crazy bleeding, and well, not at all what I expected. I’m sure everyone’s experiences will be different. So really, I’m sort of confused by the whole process. I was expecting labor pains, crime scene bleeding, and debilitating symptoms but luckily, I snuck by with some hunger pains and a cramp or two. I will be following up with my OB just to ensure my uterus is clearer.

If you have your own experience with this medication, please comment and let me and others know how it went for you.

– Kirstyn

I Am The 1-In-4

“I’ll see you in my dreams tonight.
I’ll kiss your cheek and hold you tight.
I have no more tears left to cry.
You’ve flown away, my butterfly.”

This is not going to be a typical BurritoBuzz blog post. Typically we’re reviewing products, being sarcastic, writing about Lego’s and organization. We’re making our readers laugh and living the happy mommy dream one post at a time. However, I am sharing with you today about a topic that isn’t talked about, taboo in a sense; people aren’t made aware of it because no one talks about it and it’s heartbreaking: pregnancy loss. This is going to be real and this is going to be tear-jerking, but not only do I want others to be able to try to understand, I want other moms who have experienced loss to know that the moms here at BurritoBuzz sympathize with you, can relate and are here for you. 

**Please keep in mind that this is my experience. If you have cramping, bleeding, back pain or another out-of-the-norm symptom, please call your doctor or visit your nearest ER as soon as possible. **

I couldn’t even think of a witty typical BurritoBuzz title for this post and I’m sure that has to do with the fact I simply can’t think at all right now. It’s like a blurred shade has been pulled over my eyes and I just go through the motions to make it through the day.

Nothing I can put into words will truthfully help anyone understand. It’s one of those situations, that if you haven’t been there, you can’t even begin to imagine the pain. It’s one of the worst things I have experienced in my entire life, and I’m still trying to figure out how to make it from day to day. I promise I’m not being overly dramatic, it absolutely f*cking sucks. a27c0fe7949608c3784b2b824e541dd3

The wounds are fresh and very, very new. Not even a week ago, I was being rushed to the ER via ambulance with my 10 week old fetus in a tiny little container on my lap. I had suffered a spontaneous complete miscarriage at home at 9:42pm on Thursday, September 8th, 2016.

Let me start from the beginning. Here’s how it all happened:

Sunday, September 4th – I was seen in the ER for minor spotting with no accompanied cramps. An ultrasound was done and we were told our baby was fine, growing right on schedule, strong heartbeat and the spotting was from a subchorionic hematoma and there was nothing to worry about. Given the positive news, Danny (my husband) left for a funeral in California.

Tuesday, September 6th – I was back in the ER, as the blood had increased, still no cramping. Given the same information as before in regards to the baby being healthy and everything looking perfect.

Wednesday, September 7th – I was seen by an OB. I had yet another ultrasound where she told me everything was perfect, the baby looked great. I still had the subchorionic hematoma, but there was no harm to me or the baby. She told me I had a less than 2% chance of pregnancy loss. I was told to expect some minor (if any) cramping while the bleed cleared itself out. She then reiterated the “low, low risk of loss.” I remember hugging her as I left and thanking her because she put my mind at ease. I immediately called Danny and told him the great news.

Thursday, September 8th – Typical day at home. No bleeding. Few twingy cramps here and there, but nothing worrisome, all to “be expected.” I laid down in bed with C (he sleeps in my bed when Danny is out of town). I felt a peculiar “pop” right above my pelvic bone and vaguely remembering Googling “can you feel you baby move at 10 weeks?” While reading about how chances are extremely slim, I felt more wetness than normal. I figured I was spotting again. I had light panty liner on, so no worries. However, felt the urge to go pee. I stood up out of bed and from there to the hospital is a huge blur. I remember barely making it to my tile floor before the amount of blood became alarming, as it pooled around my feet. I remember trying to stay calm since my 3 year old son was still awake. I remember sitting on the floor of the bathroom on the phone with Danny telling him I had a miscarriage and was holding our 10 week old fetus in my hands. He didn’t want to believe me, swore I was mistaken because less than 36 hours prior I was told everything was perfect. I called my mother-in-law to come stay with C and I sat on the bathroom floor, in a huge puddle of blood, clots and tissue, with our baby, crying hysterically. I remember intermittently answering and making phone calls to my husband and listened to his beg and plea for me to be okay and get to the hospital. I remember trying to clean up the floor before my mother-in-law got there. I suppose this was out of embarrassment and instinct. I don’t remember her coming over and I don’t remember calling 911, but now know the reason I did was the amount of blood I lost. I don’t remember how my baby got placed into a tiny Tupperware container. I don’t remember the ambulance ride or getting to the hospital. I was in such a daze. A blank stare daze. I didn’t speak. I didn’t think. I didn’t move. I laid in the hospital bed, still hemorrhaging severely while the doctors did whatever they needed to. There were so many people, so many questions, gowns, blankets and IVs. My heart rate was through the roof and my blood pressure was low.  I had lost a significant amount of blood, to the point they were hanging bags of blood to give me (which I guess I refused until 100% medically necessary). They estimated from 9:42pm to the time I had gotten to the hospital, I lost between 550-575 ml of blood. I don’t remember anything else past that point. I was discharged roughly 8 hours later with instructions, narcotics and an empty womb.

September 9th-12th – Bleeding, mild cramping, exhaustion and still emotionally numb.

Monday, September 12th – I followed up with OB today and it was horrible. I walked down the hallway of the Women’s Health Clinic as the sound of fetal heart monitors echoed out of the rooms and into the hallway. The doctor came in, did an ultrasound and said that aside from some average clots and a thick uterine lining, my body had expelled everything itself, as if I was somehow unaware of this. She prescribed Cytotec to re-induce labor, Percocet and Ibuprofen for pain. The Cytotec will “shorten the rest of the process to 1-2 days”. I can’t write about my experience with the Cytotec because I haven’t began taking it yet and haven’t decided if I will. If I chose to take it, I will write about it. My body is naturally doing what it is supposed to do and the doctor said everything will resolve itself. I did not need and as of right now, will not need a D&C. This appointment was extremely hard. Not only did I see the same doctor who told me the day before I miscarried that everything was “perfect,” but I also saw my barren uterus. The same uterus that was so full of life, kicking feet and a beating heart last week. It really took a bigger toll on my already fragile emotional state.

Emotionally, I’m still not sure what is going through my head. The “Stages of Grief Cycle” is  a universal kinda thing but what is all true is that we all grieve differently and this cycle is a bunch of bullshit. Just because I’m choosing to share my story doesn’t mean I am in the “Dialogue and Bargaining” stage and given how I’m feeling, I am image011_0somewhere between my personally improvised grief cycle categories of “not wanting to get out of bed in the morning” and “sitting on the couch in a daze all day.” What has truthfully helped me a teeny tiny bit, is the outreaching of my family and friends who have been there and experienced a loss. The support of my husband is outstanding and people have come out of the woodwork to offer their condolences and share their stories. They’ve offered “tips and tricks” for what has helped them, links to websites, books, songs, blogs, etc. Does it heal the pain? Absolutely not. Does it help by surrounding yourself with others who can truthfully relate? Absolutely. Surround yourself with anyone and everyone you feel comfortable with and bask in the love and support you’ll receive. There have been moments when I want to be 100% alone and just be able to cry and scream without anyone consoling me. There have been moments when I want someone around because I won’t breakdown around others and it’s nice to be able to feel “normal” in the sense of having a casual conversation. It’s a crazy mixture of wanting people around, but wanting to be alone. I’ve found myself locked in my bedroom with a house full of people just to keep myself from having a panic attack. There are other days when I have been at my mother-in-law’s house, laughing and interacting with other members of the family. I do want to take an extra moment and touch on my wonderful husband. Even from over 2000 miles away he has been my rock through all of this. He answers the phone no matter what time of day, he calls numerous times a day to make sure I’m okay and he knows how to make me laugh even through all of this. He even sent me a dozen red roses to ensure I knew he was here for me. I have never doubted his support and do not fault him for being away. If we received even a slight bit of hesitant news on that Sunday, he wouldn’t have left. I strongly encourage you to take comfort in your spouse or significant other. They may not show it as emotionally as you will but trust me, they’re hurting just as bad.
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I can’t tell you how to grieve and I can’t give you a timeline as to when the pain will subside because frankly, I don’t think it ever will completely. What I can provide is a support system and the ability for you to reach out to someone who has been there, understands what you’re going through and can offer a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.

I’m here for you, mama. We’re here for you. You’re not just a 1-in-4 statistic like the world labels you as. You’re a grieving mom to an Angel Baby. 

– Kirstyn

 

A new way to grocery shop: Walmart Grocery Pickup

Wal-Mart-Grocery-Pickup-Parking-sign

Grocery shopping is the errand that all parents dread (I do at least). It never seems to go smoothly, there are always crying children (sometimes mine), and it’s just overall stressful. It’s like there are set scenarios that always play out: the toddler falls asleep one red light from the store parking lot, a diaper explodes in aisle 9, or there is a choir performance from the older kids full of repetition of “I’m bored”, “can I get this?”, “can I go to the toy section?” or “are we almost done?” It can never be a simple, quick trip to the grocery store. Until now.

I saw a posting about Walmart and their new online grocery pickup on Facebook and had no feelings toward it either way. I didn’t see myself grocery shopping online and then have someone else load my groceries into my car for me. I don’t even let the baggers at Publix or the Commissary take my bags to my car, so why would I let someone else do my grocery shopping, bag all of my stuff and bring it out and load them in my car? It seemed like the lazy easy way out. But then it clicked. It’s not lazy, it’s convenient. I work 40 hours a week, get off at 5:30pm and have a 40 minute drive home every single day during the week. If I stop to grab groceries on my way home, I typically don’t get home until almost 7:45 – 8:00pm on a good day.

They don’t offer online pick up at the store in my town yet, but they do in the town where I work and where my mother-in-law lives. We just so happened to be heading to her house on a Sunday and I happened to need groceries, so why not give it a try?

Let me start by saving you $10 off your first order. Use promo code RCMUR0YA (that’s a zero not an “o”) at checkout on your purchase of $50 or more and you will automatically save $10! 1

It was a rather simple process. I went to Walmart Grocery online, put in my zip code, signed into my walmart.com account and viola! It allowed me to choose my store, secure a time slot to pick up and then add items to my cart. You can search through the “store” by department,

2 or search for the items you know you need by name. I quickly added items to my cart (it shows the total in the corner and there is a $30 minimum) and when you’re ready to check out, you simply put in a credit or debit card number, check out and then you receive a detailed list of your order and pick-up instructions via email.

The instructions were quite simple. In short, “Go to the grocery pickup location. We will call you 15 minutes prior. Call us back 10 minutes prior to your arrival and again when you get here.” It even showed me a cute little map of the store and where the parking locations were in the parking lot which were marked as well.15469435 It was that simple.

So I called 10 minutes before and again when I got there. Not even 5 minutes later, two sweet young ladies brought me my groceries and I never even had to get my kids out of the vehicle. I received a “Welcome” bag containing some grocery and health care full size samples such as After-Sun Aloe wipes, Sea Salt Covered Raisins, Cucumber Ranch and some other goodies. They loaded the items into my car, I signed the delivery receipt and I was quickly on my way. I hesitantly added produce and eggs to my list and surprisingly had no issues. They showed me my eggs before placing them in my car and my bananas were handled with care and not bruised.

I did figure out that if the store is out of stock with the item you want, they will offer you a substitution at no extra cost, if available. I wanted a 1lb bag of Gala Apples, but since they were out of stock, they gave me a 3lb bag of Gala Apples for no additional cost. Also, if they don’t have the item or a substitution, they immediately issue you a refund for that item.

Overall, if I had to give a star rating, it would be a 5 out of 5. Quick, easy, convenient and so worth it. I would definitely recommend it to busy moms if it’s available at your local Walmart!

– Kirstyn

Finding Mary Poppins

fecsw3ihprcwbtbqpeln.jpgAt some point in our crazy journey of parenthood we’ve all needed a babysitter… Which means we’ve all realized just how virtually impossible it is to find someone who is the perfect fit, and who won’t break the bank.

After over a year as a SAHM, this momma has rejoined the workforce…which also means, I’ve rejoined the someone-else-has-to-watch-my-kiddo-force too.

So, how exactly do you pick the perfect sitter? Note: I have not personally used every resource listed in this post, so please do your own homework and research.

Try sites such as care.com or sittercity.com.  They require tons of information from people soliciting their sitter services, and most have background checks available to.

You can even turn to Facebook to the local buy, sell, trade pages as they often contain a vast amount of information. Do your research. Ask for references. Meet with the sitter prior to dropping your child off, and go with your gut.

Your best place to start would be writing down just exactly what you want in a sitter so you can narrow your search down.

  • CPR/SIDS/First Aid Certified

If you’re going to have someone with your child during the day, unless you’re going to wrap your kid in a bubble, it’s good to find someone who has been trained for the worst. Things happen. Even under the best care and watchful eye, things happen. If someone is prepared to deal with said “things” then it makes it all the better.

  • Cost

I have found that home childcare ranges from $50-$200/week. I always shoot for somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. It needs to be worth while for you to work. If you’re working just enough to pay for childcare, then what is the point of working? But also remember, you get what you pay for, typically.

  • Availability

Will the sitter be available when you  need them to be? Do they offer drop in care or last minute care? Nights? Weekends?

  • Meal Plans

Maybe it’s just me but this is a big one. If someone is going to feed my kid junk food all day and sugary juice, I won’t even entertain it. I’m not asking for free range chicken and bacon wrapped filets, but at least hit some different food groups other than “highly processed” and “full of sugar”

  • Experience with food allergies

If the potential sitter has no clue what gluten is, and your child has a gluten allergy, this is probably not a good match. I prefer someone who knows the warning signs of a real, true allergy attack and knows when action is needed.

  • Punishment tactics

This is a touchy subject. I am not so picky on who punishes my child…but better yet how they punish him. I had a potential sitter tell me that she has spanked children before. She has SPANKED a child that did NOT belong to her. I was baffled. I mean, I can deal with an age appropriate time out,  removal from the situation,  or even a stern “no”,  but lord help the person who lays their hand on my child.

  • Activity plan

Coloring? ABCs? Macaroni pictures? Something other than a TV on a constant repeat of a DVRd Peppa Pig? Ask. Seriously.

  • Duties

Are you expecting the potential sitter to come to your home and clean? Take the child to appointments, or play dates? Are you wanting them to help with bottle weaning, or potty training? This all needs to be conveyed and explained.

It’s hard enough to find child care. It’s even harder to find someone you trust.

Do your research. Don’t be scared to ask for references and follow your gut.

Your Mary Poppins is out there.

-Kirstyn

Product Review: Imaginarium Mountain Rock Train Table


Let me start off by saying that if you don’t have 3-4 hours of your life to put together a train table, then this isn’t the one for you. However, if you can find a few hours, which I’m sure you can, it is well worth the time (and money) spent.

We bought the Imaginarium Mountain Rock Train Table for C last Christmas on sale, but for the quality, I would absolutely have paid the full price of $149.99.

The table itself is quite heavy, made of real wood, sturdy with a storage drawer. What I like about this is after the “train phase22711866-imaginarium-mountain-rock-train-table-05_updates” is up, the bottom platform flips over to a plain green so the table can be utilized for something other than trains. (We plan on attaching Lego boards to it and turning it into a Lego table).

The track itself and all of the components are of great quality as well. I was worried at first that C would end up breaking some of the moving parts (the working crane, doors, and destination board) but honestly they’ve he0ld up fantastic. The crane spins around, has a magnetic piece on the end to “pick up the cargo” and is able to be raised and lowered. There is also a bridge that makes train sounds as the trains are pushed across it. C loves making the trains say “choo choo” and gets extremely excited about the flashing lights. maxresdefault

So included with the train table is “eight trains, two vehicles, three traffic signs, a fueling station, five cargo bundles, four street lights, five wooden figures, four rock trestles, two viaducts, four trees, a crossing gate, two trestles, two construction zone cones, four rocks and over 55 pieces of wooden track and accessories”. There is A LOT of pieces. Almost too many. We bought this for C when he was right around 2 years old knowing that the recommended age is 3. C has always been ahead of the learning curve so I figured why not?  I kept a lot of the pieces put up initially as no one in their right mind would give a child this many items. Over the past year, C has free choosing of what pieces of his train table he would like to play with. However, I still have a huge problem with the “two construction cones” and the “four rocks”.  

 C has never been one to put things in his mouth however, I feel that even for a 3 year old (the recommended age) these pieces are far too small.  If a child would happen to put these in their mouth, they would surely choke. The rocks are roughly 1″ in diameter and honestly, they scare the heck out of me! I can safely say that they will be going in the trash. The traffic cones are on the smaller side as well (about the same size as the rock) so for safety, I put those up as well.

Another thing I like about this train table is that it is compatible with Thomas the Train, Chuggington, and Brio trains. We still had some Thomas trains from when E was younger that we were able to pass down to C and they work and fit perfectly. They even have the same sensor to allow the bridge to make noise when its pushed across.

Assembly wise. My gracious. Overwhelming to say the least. The instructions are semi-helpful in letting you know which boxes to open and what is contained in those boxes. They also instruct you on how to put together the accessories such as the Train GarageUntitledMy problem came with track assembly. None of the pieces are actually labeled leaving it up to you to figure out which piece is a “L” and which piece is a “J”.  It was definitely a pain in the butt and took about an hour just for the track. After it is all assembled, KEEP YOUR INSTRUCTIONS! I threw mine away thinking I wouldn’t need them again. I almost had a full blown panic attack when C walked up to me with a piece of the track and said “it’s broken Momma.” I had a vague image in my head of how it was supposed to look… and since I threw the paper instructions away, I had to look them up online but it would have been way easier if I had the instructions handy.

Overall, 5 out of 5 stars. Hours of fun for the whole family and definitely versatile. Just keep the rocks and cones (They’re in Box B) out of little hands until you personally feel comfortable giving them to your child.

-Kirstyn

Gobble Gobble. 

I’m a fan of Thanksgiving for the sole reason that I get to spend an entire day with people I love…and craft…I absolutely love crafts. What I love more than regular crafts is Thanksgiving crafts. Who doesn’t love hand print turkeys?!

Every holiday (and all other days that end in “y”) I find myself scrolling through Pinterest looking for the next crafty item to do that I can use to decorate the house with. Since Thanksgiving is approaching, I decided I would share some of my personal favorite things to do to keep the kiddos busy during their break.

1. Thanksgiving Apron found on Education.com


2. A Paper Fan Turkey from A Girl and a Glue Gun.


3. This simple Tissue Paper Turkey from CraftyMorning

All three crafts are cheap, simple, and virtually mess free. The paper fan turkey makes a really adorable centerpiece and the apron, a fantastic gift for the cook.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Kirstyn

Product Review: Easie Eaters Fork and Spoon


C is a lefty. It’s very apparent, especially when he’s eating. He was having a rough time initially with hand to mouth coordination using a straight spoon and couldn’t grasp the “turn your wrist” concept. This resulted in more food messes along with him getting frustrated that he kept dropping his food.  I decided to look into left-handed utensils and found these.

Pros:

  • Thick, textured handle-wonderful for tiny hands
  • Lightweight
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Bright color
  • Fork actually stabs into food (unlike most children’s plastic forks)
  • Angle is perfect.

Cons:

  • Spoon is shallow compared to the My Spoon Left Handed Spoon
  • Price ($6.25+$5.25 S&H) is a little steep, although this is sold as a set.

Overall I would give the Easie Eater Fork and Spoon a 4 out of 5 stars with my main concern being the depth of the spoon. Definitely worth the purchase as we have significantly less mess and less frustration during meal times.

-Kirstyn

Product Review: Tooth Fairy Tykes


I received this adorable doll from Tooth Fairy Tykes and couldn’t wait to give it to K as she recently discovered she had a wiggly tooth!

I think her exact words when I gave the doll to her were “It’s so amazing, I’m going to go pull my tooth out right now!” and boy did she sure try with no success.

But then one day…

 She was so happy to finally be able to utilize the doll. Under her pillow, the little doll slept with her tooth in its tiny little pocket.

Speaking of the tiny little pocket…that is one of the 2 things I would change. The pocket is tiny, and I mean tiny. I was actually concerned about the tooth falling out in the middle of the night. I think a fantastic upgrade would be to make the pocket about twice the size with some sort of velcro closure or a way to keep it shut.

The other thing I would change would be to line the pocket with some sort of wipeable material. I would have loved to be able to wipe it out after use since there was a recently pulled tooth in there. Instead, I went ahead and washed the whole doll. Oh well, that worked too!

The doll also comes with an app timer to help children brush their teeth for an appropriate amount of time and also an e-book download. This doll definitely beats those cheap plastic treasure chests I had for my teeth when I was K’s age, but would I truthfully purchase a doll for $14.99 for a tooth? Not so sure. However, I do believe in supporting companies with heart. Tooth Fairy Tykes regularly donates their dolls to children’s hospitals to help bring a smile to every child. In my opinion, supporting a company that gives back is worth a couple extra bucks.

This would definitely make a cute gift from Grandma or a special bribe if your LO is particularly scared to lose a tooth!

-Kirstyn

 

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Week On. Week Off. 


I feel obligated to tell people I meet about the fact that we have week on, week off custody of all three children. The reasoning is so when they try to make plans and I reply with “if we have the kids”, they don’t give me the crazy stare and wonder where I would be stashing my children for the night-and “their mom (or Dad in C’s case)” is not an acceptable response to “whose watching your kids?”

Divorce is ugly. Divorce with children is even uglier. Essentially, the only people who lose are the children. Our parenting plans are set to up to maximize visitation to the benefit of the children. Week on, week off. Sunday to Sunday. Holidays are split up as well. So breaking it down in a non-legal fashion, we have all of the kids one week and 0 kids the next. Holidays are dictated by a piece of paper.

At first, we had C full-time, so although E and K got picked up at 6pm, C kept us in “parent” mode per se. Then things changed. The first Sunday exchange with C was terrible.  He was a little over a year old and had no idea what was going on. I shut the door, turned around and burst into tears. An eerie silence flooded the house. It was unnatural to be away from him. My DH, who had been doing this for 5 years, knew the feeling all to well and explained that it never gets easier.

You’re probably thinking how awesome the break is and yes, while it’s nice sometimes, deep down it sucks. It allows for the scheduling of the doctors appointments without having to find a babysitter, it allows for me to get my house clean and laundry caught up and it allows ample travel time (which we do often), but it also allows me to miss milestones, school projects, football practices and school dances. It allows me to be secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) judged by the gaggle of moms at the park who want to set up a play date, for “next week”…

So having only have 182.5 days a year with your children, how can you maximize the time?

  • Plan accordingly

 I have it on my calendar in my phone when we pick up the kids. It allows for me to easily see when to schedule appointments, family vacations, and sleepovers. It definitely helps me keep track of everything and when to plan things.

  • Don’t waste valuable time 

When the kids are home, we don’t like to sit in the house. School nights are slightly different, but we at least try to play family games or watch a movie together. Weekends are a different story though. We plan fun things the kids will remember that get us out of the house and active.

  • Be involved

We go to (almost) all school programs, events, and class parties whether the kids are with us or not. We also try to go once a week to eat lunch with the kiddos at school. They love it and so do we. That extra 30 min on a random Tuesday definitely helps break up the week.

  • Be flexible

At some point in time you will have to celebrate a birthday the week before, do thanksgiving dinner 4 days before, or move Christmas until the next day. Don’t worry, it will be okay. It’s not so much about the date, but the memories and meaning behind it.

My husband was right, it never gets easier. As a parent, being away from your child for any reason is unnatural. However, making up for lost time is quite possible with proper planning and a positive attitude.

-Kirstyn

Who Doesn’t Love Grocery Shopping?!

I never knew food was so expensive until I became the SAHM who takes care of all groceries. (I also never knew packing lunches was the most miserable “mom” task ever).

We have a family of 5. I shop only at  big name stores (Publix and Kroger) and we have a $500/month grocery budget. If we break that down, that is $100/person…it seems like a lot of money but to some it will seem impossible. However,  I stay at or under my given budget most of the time. Have there been months where I have spent $800 on food? Absolutely. But there has also been months where we’re barely touching $350. But trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.

The question is how?

  • Planning-both trips and meals

I typically spend Sunday’s planning my meals for the week (Yes, I grocery shop every week). While I’m planning my meals, I also write my grocery list. Going to the store without a list is asking for trouble. You’ll most likely wind up in the candy aisle trying to decide which chocolate wrapper will be quieter when you’re trying to sneak it from your children. But no really, a list is necessary. I don’t make a fancy list with aisle numbers on where everything is but I do try to keep it organized and grouped together by food group. Also, there is an amazing app Grocery IQ that allows you to input your grocery list either via typing, barcode scanning, or voice. The app also lets you put in the quantity you need, and the aisle category it in is. It also keeps a history of past items so if you’re like me and buy most of the same stuff every month, it saves you a little bit of time. Best perk of them all, it’s free!

Now back to the meal planning, I only plan dinners. Breakfasts are usually cereal or something quick and easy for the kids before school. Lunches are typical as well so it’s easy. A typical week in our house goes something along the lines of cook, cook, leftovers, cook, out to eat, cook, cook. I also plan quick, easy (healthy) meals that I know my kids will eat. Meatloaf, homemade pizza, tacos, quiche, spaghetti, chicken fajitas, sausage and rice, and chicken fried rice are just some of our daily meals.

  • Skip the prepackaged items

Just because it’s prepackaged doesn’t mean it’s the best way to go. Companies typically hike up their prices (and preservatives) for prepackaged food because it’s convenient. People pay for convenience. When you break it down, you can roughly get more than twice as much product for generally the same price and it’s typically healthier.

For example, you can buy a box of (4) Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches for $5.44  -or- you can buy (12) English muffins for $2.28, (12) eggs for $1.98, and (12) sausage patties for $3.96. So for $8.92, you can get 12 sandwiches (that freeze and defrost perfectly)

  • Stock up on non-perishables

Especially when they’re on sale! I have enough cans of green beans in my house to survive the end of the world…twice. Seriously, there is a lot. If something is on sale, and it won’t go bad, save yourself some money (and time) and buy it. I recently just purchased 5 containers of juice as they were on sale from $3.98 to $2.00. So not only did I save myself almost $10, I saved time on shopping trips because I have juice for at least 4 weeks. Most items that you keep in your pantry, won’t go bad for quite sometime as long as they’re closed and sealed properly.

  • Buy in Bulk when practical

We have a Sams Club Membership and it’s fantastic. I typically buy bulk items there. It is definitely worth the money we spend on the membership and keep an eye out because sometimes they do free memberships or passes.

Buying in bulk is initially more expensive. Calculating it out however is more cost effective and beneficial. We typically buy non-perishables or foods we go through quickly from Sams. Buying in bulk again helps save time and money.

Believe it or not, it is cheaper to buy (1) 3lb container or peanut butter than it would be to buy the equivalent in single jars.

  • Coupons

I was the crazy coupon lady for a little while. I was getting shampoo and conditioner for $.33, toilet paper for $.10 and free toothpaste. It was fantastic! I then realized that companies rarely put out coupons for everyday food items. They’re typically for paper goods. Sure, you can find some ones for food and absolutely use the ones you find. Because essentially, cents leads to dollars.

Saving $.35 on cottage cheese two times per month is a yearly savings of $8.40…that’s almost enough to make homemade breakfast sandwiches!

I know grocery shopping isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but it’s a necessity. With a few tips and tricks you can make it almost, almost pain free.

-Kirstyn

Please Don’t

…no seriously, please don’t randomly touch my kiddo. It’s creepy. It’s weird. It’s rude and completely unsanitary. No, I’m not a germophobe but I have no clue when the last time you washed your hands was and they don’t need to be all over my kid’s face. End of story.

It started at the mall (only like the most germ filled place ever because no one covers their mouths and they bring their plagues in with them just to get all the good sales.) C was happily in his stroller continually asking me 150 times for Mickey Mouse on the iPad while I was shopping. I didn’t have the iPad, so in order the keep the peace, I settled for my phone. So there he sits, singing along to Season 2, Episode 9 Mickey’s Color Adventure at the top of his little baby lungs and out of no where his bubble is popped. Not a literal bubble…but his personal space bubble. I looked around in  dismay as to why this random lady was touching my child…and it’s not like it was a you’re-cute-I’m-going-to-pat-you-on-the-head touch. I’m talking like full palms to his cheeks, lots of squishing, making kissy faces and overly excited expressing how “precious” and “handsome” my child was.  Now, I’m not typically a mean person, I’m not confrontational and I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings but I stared at this lady like she had 3 heads and before my mouth could even open, poor C shrieks “ow! no touch me!” And she laughed..logically, first reaction would be to remove your hands from the now screaming child’s personal space but no, she laughed and proceeded to exclaim how “daggone adorable” he was. Oddly enough, none of the things she is calling my son (precious, handsome, adorable) require any sort of tactical anything. Keep your hands to your self.

Like my mom always told me, “you look with your eyes, not with your hands”.

They make signs for it because obviously it’s an ongoing trend. You can pick one up here.

Moms, it will happen. Everyone and their brother will want to squish your LO’s face and tell you how adorable your kid is (like you don’t already know). A simple “please don’t touch him/her” may sound mean, but it’s for the best because you really have no clue where their hands have been.

-Kirstyn

The Sound of My Sanity

…being flushed riiiight down the drain.

Legos. You know what I’m talking about…those little expensive sharp cornered bastards that you can never find when you’re trying to clean up…only when you’re barefoot in the middle of the night trying to check on your LO. Yea, those. They suck and I hate them. What I hate more that Legos themselves is the bucket I store them in…and worse than that is the noise it makes when the whole…entire…damn…bucket is being dumped out. The whole thing.

And you know just as well as I do that once you tell a two year old to help “clean up”, and he sings that cute little song, that he still won’t clean up and will subsequently destroy everything you’re trying to clean.

So what do I (try) to do…

  1. Cycle out the toys. C has a toy shelf thing with bins on it. Some bins get put up depending on how much I feel like picking up that day..errr I mean so he’s not overstimulated… diversified stimulation is a good thing…or something like that. Each bin is organized… One has Legos, one has cars, one has trains, one has foam letters, one has musical instruments, puzzles, random junk that doesn’t belong anywhere else, etc. I typically leave out something fun, something busy, something intellectual and always his trains. He also has 24/7 access to his bookshelf.
  2. Start a Routine. C knows that before nap time and before bed time we clean up… And then I typically clean up little by little throughout the day. He also knows where his toys are kept and what goes where, so that definitely helps. He cleans up well, just not to my standards.
  3. Task it out. “You clean up your shapes, while I clean up your cars”…and he will. Then I get the “I help you” phrase and quickly have to find the next spot for him to clean before he all of the sudden wants to play with his cars again. Keeps him busy so he doesn’t destroy too much, and helps at the same time.
  4. Set up designated areas. I’m not a “helicopter mom”…frequently C plays in his room, unsupervised, by himself (gasp!) and he’s perfectly fine. He will bring his shapes (or letters), his guitar, and his (unloaded) nerf gun to the living room when I’m sitting out there, and he is absolutely allowed to but he knows that nothing gets left on the floor and his toys either stay on the love seat or the ottoman. He also knows that the living room and the main hallway are “play zones” and knows the whole house is not his for his toys. Don’t get me wrong, he is allowed anywhere in the house (except upstairs by himself) but the toys, not so much… designated areas.

Now if you’re one of those moms that’s perfectly okay with your entire house looking like Toys’R’Us threw up in it, more power to ya. I’m too much of a neat freak for that and I know I’m not the only one out there. The most important thing is make your kiddo responsible for his/her mess… After all, you’re the mom not the maid…

-Kirstyn

Fruit with a side of ketchup

As parents we always try to do what is best for our kiddos, especially when it comes to nutrition and eating. With C’s gluten intolerance it makes me slightly harder but we’ve figured it out…except when he wants to be picky.

Seriously. This kid will ask for crackers and only eat the cheese out of the center and then stack all of the slobbery crackers up and say “ew momma” but if you give him plain cheese he won’t eat it, but he will devour plain crackers…whatever, the crackers are the least of my worries, especially after last week.

No exaggeration…the kid would only eat:

  • Fruit snacks
  • Oatmeal
  • Hot dogs
  • Ham
  • Chicken nuggets
  • And fruit…but only if he had ketchup to dip it in. :gags:

I’m seriously trying to figure out how he survived on 6 items all week…and even more so, why I let him!

This goes back to the “pick your battles” scenario. Is it worth fighting over? Is it really that bad that he will only eat his pears if they’re dipped in ketchup? No. At least, no matter how disgusting or redundant the meal may be, at least he’s eating.

So let your kiddos eat their 6 special items all day every day, because trust me, it will change and soon they won’t like those either.

Product Review: Boogie Wipes

If you’re anything like me, you cannot stand snotty noses. If it wasn’t frowned upon, I would wipe other people’s kids noses. I have actually offered other moms wipes to clean up their kid…I hate snot that much.

C is also over dramatic. I could touch his face with a feather and he would say “oww” and he really hates having his nose wiped. I’ve tried everything…Kleenex (both with lotion and with aloe), baby wipes, paper towels, my tee-shirt, his tee-shirt, my hand, toilet paper, everything and it was always the same “oww” response…and then by the grace of God, I remembered I had gotten some Boogie Wipes at my baby shower.

My initial thought was that this was just a fancy wipe with some grape scent to entice kids to not scream like banshees while getting their noses wipes. I was wrong.

Boogie Wipes are saline based wipes to help dissolve and clean up those (un)lovely dried up boogies that happen more times than not.

Pros:

  • Alcohol free so they don’t dry out little noses.
  • Available in different sizes; 30 count or individual for on the go.
  • Saline based so they’re softer on the skin

Cons: 

  • In comparison with baby wipes, they’re pricey. It’s roughly $5.00 for the 30-count pack and if it’s allergy season, this adds up quick.
  • They’re not very absorbent. If there is a lot of snot, best bet would be to use a Kleenex first, then the Boogie Wipe.
  • The Fresh Scent is very strong and overpowering in comparison to the grape and unscented.

Overall, I’d definitely have to give a 4 out of 5 stars. They’re fantastic for those dried on boogers, but for a truly runny nose, grab your kleenexs too.

-Kirstyn

Keep Calm And Carry Epinephrine!

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The only words I need to see are “wheat flour” and “may contain peanuts” and the product gets put right back….depending on the child I’m buying for.

You might read labels to check how many calories you’re eating. I read labels so I don’t kill my children. I’m sure caloric intake would be far less frowned upon.
K has a severe peanut allergy. It’s manageable because it is often very clear what has peanuts and what doesn’t. I never leave the house without her epi-pen and she too knows to read labels.
C’s allergies started out in infancy when he had an adverse reaction to dairy…the red dye 40, gluten, tomato and corn allergies didn’t hesitate to follow… I knew nothing about food allergies and was so upset that my little baby would never be able to eat some of the best foods around!  I began making a lot of his food and purchasing anything that had the words “gluten free” and “dairy free” plastered on the front of the package. Of all of his allergies, his gluten intolerance was by far the worst. The littlest trace of gluten would disrupt his digestive system in such devastating ways. He would get so sick he would become dehydrated and refuse to eat or drink anything. He cried in pain. I could tell in my LO’s eyes that he didn’t care about the food, he wanted the pain to go away. When he started to get a little older, and we frequented restaurants more and more I began to wonder what people with a gluten allergy eat at restaurants! Everything seemed to have some sort of sauce, bread, seasoning or dressing on it and even the simple request of “on the side” became a daunting task because it was often messed up. It was frustrating.
So I compiled a list of resturants who off Gluten Free menus.  You will have to ask for it (if they don’t have it already listed) and you will get weird looks but it works. You and your LO can go out to eat like a normal family and eat (semi) normal food.
Here’s the list:
Applebee’s
Chilis
Red Robin
Claim Jumpers
Ruby Tuesday
Olive Garden
Baja Fresh
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Chipotle
Bonefish Grill
Red Lobster
Outback Steakhouse
Longhorn Steakhouse
Mellow Mushroom
P.F. Changs
Wendy’s
Arby’s
McDonald’s
KFC
Panera Bread
Subway
Denny’s
Starbucks
Coldstone Creamery
Dunkin Donuts
I hope this helps!
-Kirstyn

Octopus Hotdogs.

BigBlendedFamily.com_

Blend·ed Fam·i·ly
noun. a family that includes children from a previous marriage of the wife, husband, or both parents

Well, Merriam-Webster, you should put a caveat somewhere in your sounds-so-easy-to-do definition that truthfully explains well, that is not so easy to do and at most moments in time you will stand wide-eyed staring at your DH about what the in the heck just happened. It’s not like the movies and there is no “What to Expect When…” book.

Now, I will say I’m not a psychologist, therapist or an expert for that matter. I’m just another step-mom trying to figure out the secret, but this is what I’ve learned. (My focus initially is going to be more on the relationship with the older children, C is still to young to figure out or realize what is going on)

Our History

I got divorced from C’s father when he was just shy of being one. It was a huge change, but thankfully, he won’t remember most of it and although I’m sure it did, it doesn’t to this day seem to have an effect on him. His father and I are civil. We worked out a parenting plan that worked for us, we communicate freely as necessary, we’re flexible when it comes to times, days, etc for visitation. It’s great.

Danny got divorced from E and K’s mother in 2010. They were a bit older (7 and 3 at the time) so they remember a little more about life before the “Big D”. There is not a single drop of civility between Danny and his ex-wife and it’s truthfully not Danny’s fault. I could write a whole book about that situation and the effect it is having on the children who are now 12 and 8, but it’s honestly not my story to tell it’s theirs. It does however play a gigantic part in what goes on in our household because there is a lot of brainwashing, bad mouthing, and negativity being fed to them by their mother about Danny and I. I will however, spare you the details.

I met Danny in college in 2013. We instantly hit it off. We were very open and honest with each other from the start. He knew about C and I knew about E and K. We didn’t however introduce our kids into the relationship until we knew this was a for sure thing.

Our parenting plans match almost exactly. We have week on, week off, 50/50 joint custody. Broken down this means, all 3 kids 1 week and 0 kids the next.

So here it goes…

What I’ve Learned

  1. You are not their mother. They will make it known and it will usually be out of anger.

    Let me start by saying I am in no way trying to replace E and K’s mother. I know the maternal bond is a unique, strong, unbreakable one and I fully understand this. I would be lying if I said it didn’t suck because I love them just as I love my own.  It really hit me when K (in rebuttal to me sending her to her room) said to me “Just wait until I tell my real mom”. I’m 100% positive that she took my heart with her to her room and stomped on it. Repeatedly. I was speechless. It was one of my many wide-eye staring moments. I then offered her my phone, she refused, and stomped up the stairs and slammed her door. What do you do at this point? You breathe. You don’t take it personally. They’re testing their boundaries. They’re figuring out just how far they can push you. You know that you’re not their real mother but still hearing from their mouth is still pretty painful. Eventually, they’ll apologize and life will go on.

  2. There will be jealousy.

    It might be towards the kids or it might be towards the ex, but it will happen. You’re secretly (or outspokenly depending on your attitude) going to resent her because she gave birth to them…because she took off the fingernail polish that you put on your step-daughters nails to replace it with a color that matches hers..because your step-son has a picture of her and him on his iPad. The list could go on but trust me on this one, it will happen. You’re going to be jealous that your spot on your DH’s lap was taken while you were up getting a drink of water or that he is upstairs having a tea party instead of sharing a cup of coffee with you. Mark my word, it will happen.  Jealousy is such a difficult emotion to manage. I won’t lie, I still struggle with it everyday. It still hurts when K comes home with her nails blue instead of pink and with a huge smile on her face says “They match my moms”. I choose to join in her excitement and let her know that we will repaint them again when it starts chipping off KNOWING it will be taken off again the following week. Again, breathe. It’s trivial (most of the time) things that don’t have any lasting effect on your life. I’m sure 5 years down the road, the color of her nail polish the week of September 3rd won’t have any bearing on life.

  3. Your marriage will hardly ever come first.

    If you’re reading this for advice then it is safe to assume as some point in the not so distant past, you were single parent whose child/ren came first. It’s not easy to switch back to the focus-on-my-marriage aspect of life. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take time. What I recommend and what I have found to work for us is to set your alarm for 30 min before the kids get out of bed. Spend this time laying in bed, talking, catching up, drinking coffee, reading emails, etc. with your DH. On the weekends, they know after they wake up to play quietly in their rooms until Danny or I come to get them. It helps. Try it.

  4. You are set in your ways. More than you thought.

    You’ve been the only adult in life making decisions and things were done how and when you wanted them. Your husband is the same. Cram that all into one household, add in the children, and (in our case) the dog and hold on because things are about to get crazy. You will be used to sleeping with the door shut, he’s going to want it open. You’ll compromise with leaving it cracked. You make hot dog octopus with little beady ketchup eyes and he cuts them into slices. Seriously?! Slices?! Where is the fun in slices!? This is a pick your battles moment. Not everything is worth it. Let him cut the hotdog into slices, it’s less work for you.

  5. You’re going to love his kids.

    You’re going to love them more than you ever thought was possible. You will be proud of them, you will be sad for them, you will fight for them just as you would your own children. You will place them on the same pedestal as your do your own child. Eventually the word “step” will get left out and the fact that they aren’t technically yours will fade. The Mama-Bear will come out, the snotty noses will be wiped without second though and eventually you will be the one they are waking up at 3 am because they dropped their stuffed elephant and can’t find him.

    Lastly,

  6. There is no secret or answers.

    You can read books, you can read blogs, you can message me personally and I will happily answer your questions and give you all the advice in my mind but honestly, what will make it smooth is what works for you, your children, your SO, and essentially your family. There will be tears. You will yell and I am sure at one point in your wide-eyed stare you will wonder what you got yourself into. But at the end of the day, it’s not all bad. You may have taken your family of 2 and squished it together to make a family of 5, but that’s just more hearts to fill with love…and more octopus hotdogs you have to make.

-Kirstyn