Book Review: Dreaming in Color {The Adventures of Oliver Poons}

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Author, Lauryn Alyssa Wendus, is at it again with a new children’s book featuring her star character, Oliver Poons! You might remember my previous review about Lauryn’s first book, Oliver Poons and the Bright Yellow Hat. If not, you can read it here! My daughter was nearly 3 at the time, but she really enjoyed the first book, so I was not surprised that she was excited to read another Oliver Poons book. Not only that, my younger son (16 months) was excited about the new “kitty book” too!

Lauryn does a fabulous job telling a simple, rhyming bedtime story about Oliver Poons and his pals working together to bring colors back into Oliver’s dreams. It’s a perfect story for little ones, because the rhyming keeps them interested. Kids are introduced to new animals and colors throughout the story, which is great, too. The same characters are brought back from the firsoliver-poons-dreaming-in-color-cover-600px-510x510t book of the series, so in our house, we often can’t read one book without the other. My oldest is into longer stories “with lots of pages, Mom!” nowadays, but she still remained interested in this book and I love that now my youngest can read along with us.

Lauryn’s mother, Lois Wendus, is the book’s illustrator and she does a beautiful job again in this second book. I just love the mother-daughter duo behind this series and their mission, “our products are designed to inspire a happy day and happy dreams for your child.” And it’s not only about their products bringing joy and smiles, but the Oliver Poons Children’s Company also supports children and animal rescue by donating a portion of their proceeds to organizations like Mission for Orphans, Inc. and No Kitten Left Behind. They also have a campaign right now (#YellowHatsforCats) where they donate a portion of their sales to various animal shelteroliver-poons-childrens-co-logos to raise awareness about animal rescue.

You can find both books of the series online in hardcover, paperback, or an ebook version. You can purchase the hardcover book for $19.95 on the books’ site or here on Amazon. There are other items available on the Oliver Poons website, too. Workbook learning activities, an interactive floor game, Oliver Poons artwork, and even the floppy yellow hat itself are available for purchase on the website.

These books would make a wonderful Christmas gift for any little one, especially those who adore cats like mine! You can feel good about giving these books to a loved one because not only are they receiving a fun loving, adorable read, but somewhere else another little kiddo or kitty will also be a little happier too!

Follow Lauryn and learn more about the adventures of Oliver Poons on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

– Megan

**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.**

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Mouthguard Challenge: Game Night Just Got More Fun

Who doesn’t love playing games at family get togethers during the holidays? It’s so fun and a great way to connect with family you may not see very much, if at all, throughout the 51Si5d+l+yL._SX300_.jpgyear. Last year, Pie Face was a huge hit at our get togethers but it was extremely hard to get your hands on one. This year, Mouthguard Challenge needs to be on everyone’s wish list and is a must for your holiday parties!

It was created by Alex Mandel, funnyman Howie Mandel’s son, and the apple definitely did not fall far from the tree! Alex did not disappoint with this hilarious game! It not only contains speaking challenges but “extreme” challenges that are actually challenging, like drinking water without dripping on the table and who can eat a banana the fastest – way harder than it sounds! There are 51 specifically developed tasks, revenge cards and mouthguards included, along with rules of how to play. It’s super easy to play and can be played with 2-5 people and is meant for those 16 and older (not because it’s a dirty game, it’s family friendly, I think maybe because of the size of the mouthguards). Check out this video of my husband and I playing for the first time:

If you’re looking for something to spice up your holiday parties and get togethers this year or if you just want to add something fun and unique to your collection of games, this is the game! Find yours at Hallmark, select specialty stores, or here on Amazon for only $14.99 + free shipping with Prime. `At that price, you can buy a few more to give as gifts! Watch Alex and his friendmouthguard Roman do the Mouthguard Challenge here and see Howie Mandel’s Mouthguard Challenge video here! Your stomach will be hurting from laughing so hard! 

And don’t forget to follow Mouthguard Challenge on Instagram and Alex Mandel’s Vlog on YouTube for more hilarious videos!

– Casey

**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.**

Essential Oils for Allergies {Lavender, Peppermint & Lemon by Young Living}

younglivingallergiesburritobuzzIf you follow my posts, then you know that I am a pretty crunchy mom. When it comes to my life, and my children’s especially, I try to use the best products available. There are so many chemicals surrounding us on a daily basis, so I try to limit chemicals and artificial ingredients that we put into our bodies specifically.

I found essential oils when BK#1 was little. You can read about Tummy Gize and how I use it here. I also use oils for teething, you can read about that here. Last year, I found a blend that works wonders for our family’s allergies. I have some pretty rough seasonal allergies, my husband has seasonal allergies and some specific allergies, and our littles definitely inherited them unfortunately. Thankfully, right now,  it just seems like the babies have seasonal allergies. Their pediatrician prescribed some over the counter allergy medication. They didn’t really help, so she then prescribed prescription strength medicine. After  some time, I didn’t see much of a change in symptoms even though my one year old was taking medication every single day. I consulted with our pediatrician and we decided to start exploring some natural remedies for their allergies before extensive allergy testing and medications.lrj2b.jpg

I started diffusing a blend of peppermint, lavender, and lemon and saw immediate results. Not only were the results immediate, but they were continuous. They are still working. Any time the kids are having any allergy symptoms, I diffuse the blend and their sniffles subside within minutes. As an adult, I not only notice my runny nose and sniffles disappear, but my sinuses are clear! If you have allergies, you know how amazing this feels.

***Before I go into how it works, I need to preface with the fact that I am not a Young Living rep, nor am I being paid to endorse Young Living*** 

I have done the research and tested multiple other brands. Young Living is the best quality and works the best. You can find many different brands at many different price points for your budget. But like most things, you get what you pay for. It is just that simple.

HOW TO USE

Apply:

  • Always dilute with a carrier oil (like coconut) for little ones.
  • Apply to base of neck.
  • Apply to bottom of feet and put on socks.
  • I apply Lavender alone on my cheekbones and bridge of my nose for sinus pressure relief.
  • You can also make a roller ball using equal parts of each oil for travel and to have the oil already mixed on hand.

YOUNGLIVINGBURRITOBUZZALLERGYSEASONDIFFUSER.jpgDiffuse:

  •  I diffuse for the kids 95% of the time.
  • I use this diffuser instead of an expensive one from Young Living and it works great and has never broken. (I have a Young Living diffuser that has died)
  • Fill diffuser to fill line with water then add 5 drops Lavender, 4 drops Lemon, and 3 drops Peppermint. I put the diffuser in whatever room we are in and it runs for around 6 hours before I need to refill.
  • Depending on the severity of their symptoms, I diffuse 24/7 or just in the morning when they wake with sniffles.

Ingest:

  • Add 1 drop of each oil to 1 teaspoon of local honey for children. For adults, use 2-3 drops of each oil.
  • It is an oil, so it will be a little rough on the pallet. Just use a chaser like a glass of water.

Peppermint and Children

Always be safe with your oils. Especially with peppermint. Peppermint is one of the most effective essential oils for respiratory infections and congestion, but it can be dangerous for young children. It can slow breathing, so be sure to always use a safe diluted amount. There are many different opinions and ages that are suggested. Some say don’t use under age 3, some say it’s safe as long as it’s diluted. Our pediatrician said that she felt it was safe if heavily diluted or diffused. I don’t apply blends with peppermint to my little ones, but there is plenty of research saying that if applied safely, it is okay to use. I just worry so much as it is, so I completely avoid applying it since diffusing the blend works so perfectly already. Please read more about oil safety here.

Fall is my favorite season, but our bodies don’t like the weather changes as much as I do. I am so glad to have found a natural solution! I hope this blend helps you as much as it helps my family.

– Amanda

 

 

What is your parenting truth?

Parents aren’t perfect.

Sometimes it’s so painfully evident.

At BurritoBuzz, the intent is to make parents feel like they aren’t alone, to offer some guidance, and to show that parenting in its rawest form is pretty rough sometimes. The endgame: we all love our little ones so stinking much that we’d do anything for them. Most of us are just trying to be the best possible person for them every single day. Are all days perfect? Definitely not.

So we want to share some of our imperfections. We want to shine a light on the humorous side of parenting. Tell us your stories of your imperfect days. Your comical days. The days when you haven’t had time to shower and the T.V. is babysitting your kids. We want to hear it all.

We plan to compile an anonymous list of parenting woes and post it here on BurritoBuzz. So leave us your stories! Head over to our welcome page and at the bottom you can submit your truths.

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Dear Daughters: Don’t Always Be Like Me

FullSizeRender (59)There are things I don’t like about myself. When you have kids, you think about all of the characteristics and traits you don’t want your kids getting from you. Not that those traits are necessarily bad, but that you, as a parent, don’t want to deal with in a little person. There are also things you hope your children don’t pick up from watching you because you suck at those things.

Here are 10 things I hope my girls don’t learn or inherit from me.  

  1. My inability to do makeup. Seriously, I am so bad. I only wear mascara and eyeliner (because putting on anything else would take hours) but I end up with black all over my face. I use an embarrassing amount of Simple Face Wipes, they can literally remove anything. I hope while watching me over the years, my daughters don’t think that that is how you apply it. I will be directing them to YouTube makeup tutorials when it comes time for them to start wearing makeup.
  2. The fact that I can’t do anything but straighten my hair and put it in a pony tail. I got a curling iron because I wanted to do “beach waves” (because beach waves are so in) and I literally can’t figure out how to use it. It just leaves kinks at the ends and doesn’t curl very well. So I hope my girls can learn how to do their hair from YouTube tutorials as well.
  3. I’m am stubborn as shit. The only reason I know I am stubborn is because my almost four year old is exactly like me and she’s stubborn as hell. The two of us butt heads like you wouldn’t believe because of it. I can only imagine how the teenage years are going to go. I also pray my four month old is an angel. I cannot handle two mini-me’s.
  4. My daughters will never, ever see me wearing heels. My husband and I have been together 6 years and he’s never seen me in a pair. I have super flat feet and can barely walk in them but when I was 19, I thought I was cool and went clubbing a lot during that winter. By spring, I was in a cast up to my knee to help set my foot (I sprained it one icy night) and the toenails on my both big toes died and fell off. So, no, I don’t like heels and my girls won’t catch me wearing them.
  5. I can’t cook to save my life. Yes, it’s true. I can’t cook and what I can cook isn’t the greatest. My husband jokes that he should have married my best friend instead because she is a phenomenal cook. Maybe I should have married her, too.
  6. I don’t want them to be afraid to make a mess. Even though they see mommy cleaning constantly, I don’t want them doing the same and worrying about the mess they’re making rather than playing with their toys. Mommy has OCD, they don’t need it, too.
  7. Mommy has an anger problem and yells. A lot. Don’t be like Mommy. My parents never spanked us, but my dad yelled and his voice had the power to bring me straight to my knees and tears to my eyes. He can still make me cry just by raising his voice. I’m the same way with yelling, however, I’m trying my hardest not to lose my cool so easily. I’ve already noticed my oldest yelling (like her mommy, because we’re identical) and I hate seeing her getting angry like that.
  8. I look like I’m seizing when I try to dance. I can’t dance at all. I like dancing, but I have no ability whatsoever. So I hope my oldest, who is taking ballet this fall, will have the dancing gene that is completely absent in me.
  9. Please excel in school like Daddy and let us be able to watch you walk at you high school graduation (unlike mommy). It’s true, I got suspended on the last day of school because I drank all night (with about half of the graduating class) and passed out while taking my final French exam. Because of the suspension, I couldn’t walk at graduation. My parents were pissed and I feel bad that they weren’t able to see me walk across the stage and get my high school diploma (I did graduate and get my diploma though). I just hope my girls take school more seriously than I did (and not worry about boyfriends and the crazy parties) and get good grades to get into a good college.
  10. Sunscreen is your friend! I went tanning in a tanning bed almost every day for years in my late teens/early twenties. My skin, at 28, is awful. I will slather the shit out of my kids with sunscreen until they’re physically able to beat me off of them. I better never catch them in a tanning bed either. But seriously, I hope they’re smarter than me when it comes to the sun.

– Casey

I Swore I’d Never Do That

I’m sure you’ve said it before children and I know you’ve heard it many, many times from people without children or those expecting their first baby.

“I’ll never let my child do that.”

“I’ll never give my baby/child that.”

“I’ll never do that with my baby/child.”

The “nevers” are endless before you have kids. It’s entirely way too easy to judge someone and to say you’d never do something with your child or let your child have or do something. I’ve done it and I can guarantee every parent-to-be has, too. But once baby is here and baby gets older, your whole perspective changes. Those “nevers” turn into “okay, just this once” then they turn into “sure, whatever it takes to shut you up”. Here is a list that I swore I would never let my kids do or have but instead are now regular occurrences in our house.

  1. Co-sleeping. I said I would never ever co-sleep with my children. My motto used to be “my baby sleeps in her crib and only in her crib”. With my oldest, she only ever slept in her crib. Baby number two changed everything. She started sleeping in our bed around 2-3 weeks old, when we learned she slept much better with me. My husband Baby in Bed with Mom and Dadhas been sleeping on the couch for the past 3 months but as long as we’re all able to sleep, we’re totally fine with her in our bed with me. **The AAP does not recommend co-sleeping with baby. Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website for the recommended sleeping guidelines to prevent the risk of SIDS.
  1. Formula. Nothing is wrong with formula, as both of my girls have strictly been formula fed. However, when I was pregnant, I was hell bent on breastfeeding my first. It would have saved us a ton of money which was another reason I was determined to breastfeed. Fast forward to my emergency c-section and pneumonia after my surgery, I didn’t care how baby was fed as long as she was fed. I tried for the first day but it was just too hard for me so we immediately went with formula. My now almost four year old is a 40 pound, perfectly healthy little monster. With my second, I tried breastfeeding for two days but ultimately switched to formula as it was extremely painful. Kudos to all of those who kick ass at breastfeeding!
  1. Pacifiers. I never wanted my babies to use pacifiers. I hated (still do) seeing older kids using them when they clearly didn’t need them anymore. I’m okay with infants having pacifiers to help sooth them, but I didn’t want to go through the weaning once they were older. So with my first, I chose not to use a pacifier. However, the nurses in the nursery at the hospital gave her one (eye roll) but she gave it up on her own at 3 months old. With my second I gave her a pacifier right away, as I learned with my first that it is a little silicone savior. She’s not crazy hooked on it, but it has saved several meltdowns at naptime and bedtime and I am totally okay with her having one.
  1. iPad/TV. We’ve all heard it, TV rots your brain. So when I was pregnant, I was adamant about not letting my kids watch too much TV, let alone have a tablet or iPad. Fast forward a few years and my oldest can work the iPad better than me. She can navigate through Netflix and Hulu to find her shows so fast, it’s kind of crazy. I swore my kids wouldn’t fill their time just watching TV but when you have a wild toddler to occupy and you’re tired from said toddler being up half the night, yomcdonalds4u cave. You give her the iPad to hopefully get a few more minutes of sleep. It’s happened more times than I like to admit but hey, TV has helped keep this mama sane.
  1. Junk food. Another thing I swore I’d never let my kids have is junk food. McDonald’s, pop, stuff that’s plain bad for you. “I will never let my child have McDonald’s!” is something I know I’ve said quite a few times. And now, my oldest gets a Happy Meal once or twice a month. When we’re out running around at dinner or lunch time or she’s been an especially good girl, she gets one as a reward. The same with pop. We let her have a little bit of Sprite (and only Sprite – no dark pop) for special occasions, like at the movies or sometimes with dinner at a restaurant. It’s not the end of the world but I remember judging other parents for it and I’m sorry for that.
  1. Calling my oldest Sissy. One thing that always irked me (for no real reason) was when older sisters were called “Sissy” by her parents. I would always say to myself that I’d never call my oldest Sissy when she became an older sister. Welp, that’s exactly what I call her when talking to her baby sister. I actually have a million cutesy, probably annoying to them (or they will be annoying in the future), nicknames for each of my girls which I never thought I’d do.
  1. Spanking. This is a huge one. I never thought I’d be the one to spank my child. Growing up, my brother and I were never spanked by our parents. My dad always yelled, which can still make me cry at 28 years old. Our three year old ispinocchionose2 a wild one and sometimes nothing else but a little spanking on her behind works. I don’t do it to hurt her, I do not do it hard enough to leave a mark or when I’m angry. It’s more of a swat to get her attention.
  1. Become a liar. Since becoming a mom, I’ve also became a pretty good liar. I never thought I’d lie to my own children, but it is so necessary to be a liar. Just little, harmless lies like when the ice cream man’s music is playing, it means he’s out of ice cream or their teeth will fall out if they don’t brush them (my personal favorite).

If you’re an expecting parent, you’ve said you won’t do at least one of these things. At the time, it’s nice to think you won’t. But trust me, you will break and you will cave and you will end up doing things you never dreamed you’d do just to make life easier. And an easy life is a good life.

– Casey

Mom Hair: I Took the Plunge

As a mom of two kids (a new baby and wild and crazy almost four year old,) I have zero time for myself. Absolutely no time. I used to pride myself in having cute manicured and polished nails (done by me nonetheless), but I can’t remember the last time I painted them. However, I do make time to paint my toes but that’s because I only need to do them every month or so. Now that it’s summer, I make myself shave my legs at least once a week. I don’t want people gawking at my leg stubble when wearing a dress. Who wants to put pants or shorts on when it’s 90 degrees out? Bring on the chaffing. I haven’t had a haircut since July 8th of last year. Yes, it has been almost an entire year since even a trim. It was practically dead and way too long for my liking. It was always getting caught under my purse and diaper bag straps, not to mention my three month old loved on it pulling on it the point where I think I’m missing chunks. So I took the plunge.

I got a Mom Haircut.

What’s a Mom Haircut you ask? Just what it sounds like: a shorter, more manageable and easy to to do hair style, perfect for busy moms with no time. Okay, it’s probably not what Carol-Brady-Brady-Bunch-Theoryyou’re thinking. I didn’t go and get a Carol Brady haircut and if you’ve seen the SNL skit dedicated to Mom Hair, I didn’t go that far, no soft waterfall in the front and knives in the back. But something in me did break and I decided the long hair had to go. I was tired of throwing it into a ponytail every day or trying to find the 20-25 minutes it took to straighten it (only for it to end up in a damn ponytail an hour later because of the awesome Ohio humidity). My scalp was starting to hurt every time I took my ponytail out at night because it was entirely too tight, otherwise my hair would just fall out of the pony. It was frustrating and painful. And a baby yanking on my hair nonstop is definitely not my idea of fun. So I did it. I chopped almost 6 inches of that shit off.

It was the best decision I could have made.

It’s not super short, but it’s short enough for me to quickly style it daily and actually look put together. I didn’t even want to be able to put it up in a ponytail. but who am I kidding, I need to still be able to throw it up. My hair is starting to fall out from when I was pregnant (yay for hormones returning to normal levels) so I’m hoping cutting it will lessen the amount lost. I want thick, healthy hair again so I hope I’m on my way! I also wanted some color. I just really needed a change from my boring straight dark brown hair. For me, highlights are too hard to keep up with. I don’t have the money or time to get my roots touched up every 6-8 weeks. I didn’t want to color my hair all one color either because of the outgrown roots. So what did I do for color?

Ombré and Balayage are perfect for Moms.b8d182f64a31d492675a8661fe84a925

I decided to get quite the change with subtle ombré! Ombré is having tones of color that shade into each other, graduating from light to dark. So my stylist dyed the bottom of my hair blonde to where it gradually goes to dark at the top. How perfect is that? It was dyed to look like it’s grown out. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a Mom style to me. No need for touching up roots!

I am so happy I took the plunge. I love my new cut and color. I honestly feel like a new woman. It’s pretty awesome how a new hairstyle can take your self esteem to a whole new level. I don’t know if it’s technically “Mom Hair” but it might be, therefore I will wear it proud for all the moms out there rocking their version of Mom Hair. My almost four year old said it was really pretty (but she didn’t want her hair like that) and my husband said I was the hottest MILF ever which is quite the compliment. True or not, I am a definite MILF in my own eyes, which is all that matters.

– Casey

Mommy has OCD

Being a parent is hard. I mean, it’s a never, ever, ever ending job. Your work is never done and will probably never be done even when your babies are grown with babies of their own. But I find being Obsessive Compulsive AND a mom is literally the hardest thing I may ever do. When you have OCD, you obsess over specific things. For me, it’s cleaning and tiporganization. If you come to my house and I’m expecting you, you most likely won’t find any toys in the living room, kitchen, bathroom or our bedroom. All of my three year old’s toys are in her room with a few lucky ones in the future playroom in the basement. All of those toys are organized to a damn T. You wouldn’t even know we have children if it weren’t for their pictures plastered on the walls, artwork displayed on the fridge, the rack drying my youngest daughter’s bottles on the kitchen counter and the mamaRoo in the living room (it’s hard to move and store). Being told “for having kids, your house is the cleanest I have ever seen” is one of the best compliments I have ever gotten. Here is a little glimpse inside my irrational and sometimes crazy OCD mind.

Dishes: There cannot be any dishes left in the sink at night for me to do in the morning. There is no way I can sleep knowing they are there. I just can’t. Also, iftoys2 you want to see me to go bat shit crazy, go ahead and put a dirty dish in the sink right after I get done washing and drying all of them. I freaking double dog dare you.

Toys: Ahh, with kids come massive amounts toys. You can throw one away each day and it seems like three show up in its place. Who buys all this crap anyway? When I notice my daughter is done playing with something, like Lego Duplos for example, no matter how bad I fight it, I have to clean them up and put them away even though I know she will get them back out five minutes later (it happens every time). They all have specific places for them in her room, too. Although my husband knows this, he refuses to put them where they go. I think he does it on purpose to see if my head will actually spin all the way around.

Sweeping: If you have a dog or cat or both, you know how much hair they can produce. You can find it along the baseboards of each room, clumps of it stuck to the carpet, pretty much everywhere in your house. It is utterly disgusting and gets even worse the two times a year when our Border Collie/Lab mix sheds his coat. There are days when I don’t get to eat but remember that I had some of his hair in my mouth several times that day so that must count as eating something. Anyone know how many calories hair has? No matter how many times I vacuum the entire house and brush his coat outside, the hair never goes away and it’s almost maddening Washing windowshow fast it finds its way back to the baseboards.

Windows: The hardest ‘chore’ (if you want to call it a chore) for me are the windows. They are never clean enough, even the ones my toddler isn’t able to reach and lick. If I see a smudge or streak, I have to drop everything (except the baby, I lay her down), get my Windex and paper towels and get to cleaning. But it’s never good enough. Sometimes it looked better before I tried to clean them which fills me with rage which means it’s earmuff time for my toddler as I drop a few f-bombs. Someone should invent self cleaning windows or a spray like Rain-X so it repels everything. Did I just invent a multi-million dollar product? Shark Tank, here I come! 

Laundry: I never understood when people said ‘it’s laundry day’ and have mounds and mounds of laundry to do. Every day is laundry day at this house. I do at least one load a day. We have a hamper in our room but no clothes ever see the inside olaundryf it. They get thrown downstairs and get put in the washer and I run it when it’s full. There are never any towels on the floor or random socks anywhere. If you looked in our closets you would definitely know someone with OCD lives here. All of our clothes are organized by color and sleeve and pant length. Yes, I know I have entirely too much time on my hands.

Making Beds: If I could, I would make the beds while my husband and and daughter are still in them. I just can’t with unfolded blankets, pillows thrown about and the sheets wrinkled. It makes my skin crawl just looking at an unmade bed. I don’t drink coffee or tea in the morning (or at all – how am I so high strung without caffeine?) so to get my day going I have to make our beds. Now that I say that out loud it sounds a little crazy.

Organizing: I like to think of myself as the Queen of Organization because my house is so organized that it annoys the shit out of me (and my loving husband, too). Everything has to be lined up perfectly, centered on the wall, facing the right way, labels out and it has to be clean. Rugs on the floor have to be lined up perfectly to the couch or in the center of the cabinet it lies under. I don’t even like my husband to touch certain things because I know he won’t put it back the correct way. He knows he will feel the wrath of his crazy ass wife. How in the hell am I still marriCrazy housewife with kitchen toolsed? My husband is an honest to God saint.

I’ve seen quotes saying “a messy home means love lives here” or something to that effect. A messy home may mean that love lives there but it doesn’t mean love doesn’t live here. It’s just a spotless, well manicured kind of love so mommy doesn’t lose her shit.

– Casey

My Toddler Needs a Leash


This past Sunday, my two daughters, mother-in-law and I celebrated Mother’s Day at our local zoo. My husband works Sundays so it was just us four. It’s a small, quaint zoo 
which is perfect to walk through for a few hours on a beautiful sunny day. While walking up a hill to the black bear exhibit, I noticed a woman “walking” her toddler. Literally, she had her little girl on a leash which seemed appropriate as the little girl was tryingllleash to run away. As her mom yanked her back several times, I got to thinking about my own crazy toddler. Surely she could benefit from being restrained, right? I had witnessed some disturbing behavior from her while on our outing and since a straight jacket in public seems a bit rash, I may have to invest in a leash.

Playing chicken in the parking lot

When we pulled into the zoo parking lot, I got her out of the car while I got her sister’s stroller out of the trunk and packed our stuff into it. Maybe because I’m new at being a mom to two kids and this was our first real outing, but I sort of wasn’t paying attention and there was my daughter, playing in the middle of the parking lot. Luckily for us both the car that was coming toward her (and by coming toward her I mean at least 100 feet from her) was driving very slow. A leash would have been very helpful.

Keep her away from the penguin exhibit

The first exhibit we came upon was the penguins which is equally fun and scary because you can penguin2walk up a set of stairs and look down into their tank. Unbeknownst to me, she had the head of a little Sofia the First figure in her hand from the car. She walked up the stairs to get a better look at the penguins and tossed poor Sofia’s head right down into their tank. She then had the balls to throw a fit when I said she was gone forever. Leash, please.

She prefers eating lunch off of the ground

When it was time for lunch, all she wanted was popcorn. Which is probably the healthiest thing she at that day (popcorn = corn, corn = vegetable, vegetable = healthy). The small box, which was anything but small, of course made its way to the floor and there she sat, eating it off of the floor. At least she was eating, right? She’s a very picky eater, so I consider this a win.

Name Game

In my opinion, you should always like the name you pick for your child. But when theyname hit the toddler years, you better really love it. I probably yelled my daughter’s name 200 times while at the zoo (four hours total). Every two minutes I was asking her not to do this or that and to come here or stop walking ahead of us. By the end of the day I wanted to rename her Jerkface.

The hills have eyes

What’s fun about a hilly landscape is your toddler trying to roll down those hills. Unless they’re very steep and have pools of water and sharp rocks at the bottom of them. I had to stop her from tumbling down a handful of times and then listen to the tantrum that ensued because I wouldn’t let her throw herself down the hills to mangle her pretty little face.

My little kleptomaniac

The zoo is smart. To exit, you have to go through the gift shop. How genius is that? To leave you have to either buy useless shit for your kids or you have to drag them out kicking thiefand screaming because you don’t need anymore useless crap in your house. Because I was tired, I didn’t want to fight her so I told her she could have a little pink octopus stuffed animal and a squishy little frog. That little klepto tried walking out with said toys because she’s impatient and didn’t want to wait in line. If I had a leash I could have yanked her back instead of chasing her thieving self down.

Mother’s Day at the zoo was a blast, don’t get me wrong. Toddlers are nuts so I expected her to be a little wild. But I’m guessing that mom with her little girl on the leash was laughing at me as she saw me chasing my daughter around. I mean she was the smart one, she just had to give a little tug on that leash to bring her daughter back. One should be running for only 3 reasons: someone’s trying to kill you, something is on fire or someone said free food. Not because your child is insane when in public.

– Casey

Payback is Coming, Little Girl

They say when you have children, they will be twice as rotten and bad as you were when you were a kid. Now I don’t know if there is scientific proof or if you can chalk it up to karma, but in my case, it’s absolutely true. My daughter is a complete basket case lately. It could be caused by her new baby sister and she’s rebelling or the fact that she’s three and a half and that’s what three and a half year olds do. She’s always been known to be able to push my buttons just imageright but recently she’s taken it to a whole new level. I’m guessing it’s payback for all the hell I caused my poor mom, God rest her soul. When I think I’m going to lose my shit, I take a second to daydream about all the ways I will wreak havoc on my wild child when she’s an adult and I’m a little old lady.

Change My Diaper 

She may be 3 and a half and completely potty trained when it comes to peeing, but she STILL will imageonly poop in a pull up. She can go on the toilet, she just chooses not to. It’s like I’m changing an adult’s diaper and it’s disgusting. But payback will come when I’m too old (or too lazy) to use the bathroom and require a diaper and she’s the lucky duck that gets to wipe my ass.

Take Me Shopping

When I get too old to drive, she will be the one to take me grocery shopping. And when I ask for a imagecandy bar in the checkout line and she tells me I can’t because of my diabetes, I will throw the biggest, loudest, on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming tantrum she’s ever witnessed. She’ll cave from embarrassment.

I’m Hangry

When it’s time for dinner, she’ll make something healthy, possibly organic, and I will refuse to eat. imageShe’ll demand I at least try it and I will promptly throw it, along with my dentures, on the floor and flash a huge gummy smile. Nothing will enrage you more.

Grandma Time

When it comes to her children, my grandchild, she will probably be over protective (as most mothers are) and only want the best for them (as most mothers do). So does grandma. That’s why I will give them WHATEVER they want, when they want it. I will spoil the shit out of them and send them back home loaded up on candy and Mt. Dew. Payback, baby.

I love my strong-willed, slightly crazy little girl and I wouldn’t want imageto change her or dampen her wild child spirit because it’s what I love most about her. I will, however, pay her back tenfold when it’s her turn to take care of her aging mama.

– Casey

What I’ve Learned After 4 Years of Marriage

My four year wedding anniversary is tomorrow. I know it’s not the longest time, but being married to someone for any length of time comes with lessons and should be celebrated these days. Marriage doesn’t seem to mean much of anything lately. It’s ‘just a piece of paper’ is what a lot of people say. But that piece of paper binds two people together, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. It’s easy to bail and get a divorce if it gets hard, but it takes much more to stick it out and make it work. Here are a few things I learned over the past four (wonderful) years of marriage. My husband has the worst memory. When it comes to taking out the trash. The trash goes out the same night every week (unless there is a holiday to throw it off), which is Monday night for Tuesday morning pick up. For the life of him, he cannot remember to take it out without me writing a note or telling him 12 times before I go to bed to take it out. 

You can’t smother your husband because he is snoring or breathing loudly. I am a very picky sleeper. I can’t sleep with any noises other than the fan on the nightstand. But my dear husband sometimes snores or simply ‘breaths’ as he says (which is loud) and it makes me want to smother him with a pillow. But that is illegal. So I just shove him so he rolls over or I put a blanket on his face (making sure he can still breath) so I don’t have to hear him.   Let your husband know you’re OCD about cleaning before you wed. I can’t stress this enough. It will prevent a lot of arguments if he knows exactly how you want things done. Ha, who am I kidding? You could write a list, take a video, show him a million times and it still won’t be up to your standards. And that’s okay. You two will always do things differently. Cut him some slack and tell him thank you for trying.


Say ‘I’m Sorry’
. This one is easy and straight forward. If you messed up, forgot something, made a mistake, say you’re sorry. Also, be easy to forgive (big and small things) and after you forgive, wash your hands of that issue. Don’t rehash past mistakes and throw them back in eachother’s face. Continuing to bring up the past prevents healing and moving forward.


Don’t compare your relationship to someone elses relationship
. This is counter productive. Your relationship is unlike any other relationship, it is unique to just the two of you. So comparing it to what someone else does or doesn’t do has no impact on your relationship. If you’re jealous of what someone else has or does, there’s a problem. Work it out.


What is your husband’s Love Language? What is yours?
If you don’t know what you or your husband’s Love Language is, take this quiz to figure it out! Mine is services: nothing makes me happier than my husband washing the dishes without me asking or sweeping the floor for me. And my husbands is physical touch: he wants to be close to me all the time. It’s crazy accurate and will show you in what way each of you wants and needs love. Then talk about how you both can show each other love. 


Surprise each other
. Who doesn’t love surprises or to be ‘spoiled’ every once in a while? Leave little love notes around the house for your husband to find or pick up his favorite candy or kind of beer on the way home. Cook his favorite meal just because or rub his back after a long day. Never stop doing things to show you’ve been thinking about them all day. The little things are the best things and the ones we remember most Your husband comes first. He is your partner in life. Even before your children, your husband should always be your #1. And he is also an equal. If he is discipling your child(ren), don’t interfere. He may discipline differently but that’s okay. Your child will respect him more if you don’t interrupt and tell him he’s wrong or correct him in anyway. I’m learning to do this myself. P


Intimacy
. Sex is important. Even after having kids, being busy with work and home life and everything else that is thrown at you on a daily basis, you have to make time for intimacy. As humans, we crave feeling and being wanted by the person we love. Don’t put it on the back burner.

Happy Anniversary, Allen! 

– Casey

 

I Made a Huge Mistake

I did something really stupid this past December. Something I fully regret and I’m here to warn parents so they don’t make the same mistake I made. It may seem harmless and innocent, maybe even a little cute at first but it quickly turns to hate, frustration and bleeding ears (figuratively of course).  In December, I showed my 3 year old some videos on YouTube of Christmas light displays. She loved seeing the lights around the neighborhood at night so I knew she’d love watching them synched with music on the iPad. I was right, she loved them. While looking through the videos, I remembered hearing about these videos of people opening ‘surprise eggs’ that kids loved for some reason and again thought she would get a kick out of them. I searched for ‘surprise eggs’ and a million and one videos popped up. That is where I made my mistake. I opened the door to YouTube for my daughter. I showed her what kind of whacky people are out there in the world and she now happily contributes to their million dollar paychecks. Yes, a few YouTubers make millions from posting videos on YouTube.    So it started with Christmas light displays then I upped the ante to Surprise Egg videos which then exploded into complete obsession with the YouTube Kids app. Sidenote: YouTube has it’s own kids app that I highly recommend rather than using the regular app. You can customize it with what age range of content you’re okay with your child watching, can set a timer and even remove the option of the search bar for older kids. Now back to her obession. There are several YouTube channels that she is completely nuts over. They all vary with toy-related content, but they accomplish the same thing: they annoy the shit out of the parents.    The premise of the videos are to open, unbox and play with different toys on camera, like Play Doh sets or Kinder Eggs, and show all the fun that can be had if you begged your parents hard enough. Companies send the reviewers toys for free because they’re smart. They know if a channel (who gets millions of views) reviews their toys, kids will eat that shit up and get their parents to purchase it. It’s actually completely genius. They’re so happy and inviting, it’s hard not to watch. Some of them are sort of hypnotizing. They suck you right in and soon you’re on Amazon, ordering every Season of Shopkins they have available. For a few of the reviewers, you only get to see their perfectly manicured hands and nails and hear their almost soothing voice, complete with European accent. They are quite mysterious when you don’t see their faces.    Just don’t fall prey. This is a PSA to keep your child(ren) away from YouTube at all costs. Please don’t make the same mistake I did. I’m still paying for it as I’m forced to listen to my daughter whine and cry over wanting watch her ‘videos’ on the iPad on a daily basis. These videos are sort of like crack for toddlers. Just say no

– Casey

Try & Get Some Damn Sleep

As a first time mom, you’re constantly told ‘make sure you sleep before the baby comes!’ and ‘sleep as much as you can because once baby is here you won’t be sleeping at all!’. It’s common sense to get sleep before baby comes, right? If it were only that simple.  Within days or weeks of conception, you’ll notice how frequently you have to pee. How is it possible that something that can hardly be seen under a microscope can cause you have to pee 10+ times a night? It’s mind blowing but true and the peeing only gets more frequent at the end when baby is using your bladder as a trampoline. Baby also seems most active at night because you’re not moving around (trying to relax, ha!) and you’re noticing the movements more which makes it so fun to try and fall asleep when you have a tiny human using your organs as a punching bag or practicing his or her kicks into your ribs. As baby gets bigger, you may experience awful back pain related to pressure baby puts on the sciatic nerve. It makes laying flat or in any position really painful. It’s so fun trying to get comfortable every time you get in and out of bed from the 10+ times a night you have to pee. Also, beware of charley horses. You’ll wake up thinking it’s Shark Week and Jaws is gnawing on your calves. There’s not much you can do to stop them once they come, you just have to wait out the 30-45 seconds of excruciating pain. And then there are the dreams. Pregnancy brings on the craziest dreams. You’ll have a blast trying to think of reasons why in the hell you’re dreaming about having an affair with Jimmy Fallon. So you’ll stare at the ceiling dissecting each bizarre dream and feeling super guilty while your husband sleeps like a baby next to you which makes you want to smother him with a pillow, but you can’t because you have to pee. Again.  So my advice for sleep is this: invest in adult diapers so you can just pee when you have to go, find a chiropractor that is trained to adjust pregnant women and don’t kill your husband for actually getting a full night’s sleep. He’s only half to blame for the position you’re in.

Here are some tips to sleep better while pregnant:

  1. Buy a pregnancy or body pillow to put between your legs to help with back pain.
  2. Elevate your head to relieve acid reflux.
  3. Sleeping on the left side is best for baby, blood flow and for circulation. 
  4. Limit your fluid intake in the evening.
  5. Keep your body moving during the day to stay healthy and burn off energy.
  6. To help with charley horses, message your calves when the cramp starts. Be sure to strerch and stay hydrated during the day. Also, some say that pulling your foot fat or standing on it will make it dissipate a little faster.
  7. If your sleeplessness turns into insomnia, speak with your doctor.