“Oh, You’re a Private School Mom”

Uhm well, I’m just a regular mom whose kids happen to attend a private school. No need to be rude.

I always dread that simple question.

“What school do your kids go to?”

It’s like a staple for any conversation when it comes to moms of school aged kids…it’s also the question that I blame for the demise of my adult friend life. I never realized that there was such friction between private school and public school moms until I experienced it first hand.

There is one day I remember so vividly because it was my very first run in with the hatred. I was at the park, carrying on a  conversation with another mom, we’ll call her “Random Mom.” Our booger faced toddlers were running around, throwing mulch at each other, getting along just fine. Somehow it was brought up that I have 2 older kids as well. I’m sure you can guess the next question out of Random Mom’s mouth…”Oh neat, what school do your kids go to?”. I replied like any polite person would, and by the look on her face, people passing by would have thought I just pushed her child down a slide. I was a little caught off guard by the wide-eyed look, but what happened was next was just baffling.

She said in the snarkiest tone ever, “Oh. You’re one of those. You’re a private school mom”. She then proceeded to get up off the bench, summon her spawn and told him that they had to leave and he could no longer play with C because they don’t talk to people like us. 

Wait a minute. Our kids can’t play together because my kids go to private school? What sense does that make? Oh, it makes no sense at all? Exactly.

But it didn’t stop there, she then proceeded to go on a rant about how private school is the reason for the downfall of the public school system. How I should send my children to public school and make a charitable donation to the school system every year instead of paying their tuition. She honestly made me feel bad. But why?! Why did I have to feel bad for choosing an educational system that suits my family?

I will start off by saying that in no way, shape, or form am I badmouthing public school systems. There are some fantastic public schools out there but unfortunately, they’re not for my kids. I would never look down on a parent (or their child) for going to any school whether it be public, private, or in-home. My entire family and DH graduated from a public school. I didn’t have any problems with it. However, my school aged children attend a highly rated private school. They attended private preschools as well and their younger brother will follow in their footsteps. Does that make me any different from the moms of public school children? No. Does it make me a bad person? No.

Many would do great in a public school environment, however, my children, more specifically E, is not one of them. He has ADHD and needs the extra attention and focus that his private school can provide. His entire school (PK-12) has less than 600 kids. He needs that. He needs the consistency, the attention, and the communication that is provided. Depending on your child’s specific needs, here are some benefits for each school type that I’ve experienced:

Benefits of Public School:School house

  • Teachers tend to be more qualified
  • Higher focus on core subjects (up to 3 hours per week)
  • More diverse population
  • Typically offer more sponsored clubs and activities.
  • Offer disability services

Benefits of Private School:

  • Smaller classes
  • Less time spent on federally mandated paperwork and more time spent on instructing
  • Strong parental involvement
  • Most teach foreign languages starting in Kindergarten
  • More focus on individual success and not school wide ratings.

So now what’s my point?

Ignore the “Random Moms” and do what is right for your family. 

People may judge you. There will always be someone who isn’t happy but, unless that person is directly effected by the decision, their opinion doesn’t matter. Do your homework and research the schools in your area. Decide what your child needs and what is overall best for your household.

-Kirstyn

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DIY Crib Rail Guards

Just when you think you have everything in your house baby-proofed, your LO starts chewing on the crib rails. Paint, yum. My husband and I actually purchases a convertible crib that will transition into a toddler bed and then into a full-sized bed. So, we want this thing to last because it really wasn’t cheap.

We made a quick trip to Babies R’ Us this past weekend, only to find that covering three rails with the guards is about $75. No thanks. As if having a baby isn’t expensive enough, I’m definitely not paying $75 for cloth to keep my teething monster from chomping on some paint.

And, as much as I love Pintrest, I really am NOT a DIY person (unless it saves me some cash.) In this case it saved me a ton! I made a run to JoAnn Fabrics and picked up some Moroccan fleece print that matched my LO’s room perfectly (and it was on sale for 50% off.) So, score 1 on the sale. And score again on the print, because the ones that were $75 at the store were just an ugly canvas beige color. I probably spent $12 on fleece and had some left over (I’d recommend getting 2 yards.)

So here are your steps. The entire project takes about 45 minutes, and there is absolutely no need for perfection. All of the ties you cut will be hidden once double-knotted.

First, measure your section, and cut a piece of fleece that is that length. In width, you should have approximately 3 inches hanging on either side past the bottom of the rail (these will be your ties.)

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Seriously, don’t worry too much about cutting straight. Do have a good pair of scissors so you don’t end up with threads hanging all over, though.

Next, leave your fabric right there and cut out where your rails are.

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NOTE: At the end, you might have to NOT cut a space to make an extra tie. Your ends should BOTH have ties (otherwise you’ll end up with a weird piece at the end that isn’t tied down.)

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To make the other side of the crib, I just laid my pattern down and cut a copy into another piece of fabric.

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Once your fabric is set, drape it back over and double knot each tie to it’s match! I knotted loosely the first time to make sure I didn’t have to redo anything, and then went back and tightened each knot afterwards.

So there you have it! Love these, and they match my LOs room so well!

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-Katie

Delta Children 36″ x 36″ Playard {Review}

Most of us are pretty used to the typical pack n’ play– small, compact, pretty light in weight. We have one that we use all the time, especially for the use of the changer that’s an extra and fits into the top.814CMDrEYiL._SX522_

Once my LO really became mobile, I wanted something a little larger. I remember my parents having a playard that was fairly large; my brother and I could both comfortably play in it. Having a baby that is insanely tall (way off the char71YFVLC0PfL._SY606_ts for his age,) I wanted to find something he could lay in and not be smashed if he rolled around. After some searching I finally found this Delta 3ftx3ft Playard. Not a terrible price, so I quickly ordered it. My LO
crawls all around the living room, but for those times that I quickly need to leave the room, I set him in here for a bit to play (and I’m a firm believer that learning to play alone is important, though he gets plenty of love and play with us throughout the day!)

Pros:81i0GNqEQ0L._SX522_ Quite a bit more space to play. Much more sturdy than a typical pack n’ play (LO leans on the fabric, stands, holds on to the rails.) Easy to put up. Soft mattress that doesn’t require an extra sheet. Cute design. Not overly expensive. Easy to clean. Fits toys and baby can crawl and roll around.

Cons: Heavy. Not great for anyone with a small living room since it is so large. Feet stick out a bit, and I sometimes run my feet into them. Definitely not something I’d travel with. No wheels, so you can’t roll it around (but I’ve been fine pushing it around the room, without the child in it of course.)

Overall, this was a great option for our family. We use it every day, and it’s nice to just keep toys in here without having to put them away in a toy box. Delta isn’t a brand I’m very familiar with, and this product was impossible to find anywhere in-store. Ordering online was fine (though, I’d recommend ordering from Amazon instead of Walmart. Our experience ordering this from Walmart was absurd.)

-Katie

I hate it.

mom-pulling-hair-out1 (1)As parents, there are a lot of things that we hear and shrug off (because let’s be honest, we might not agree with what’s being said, and it just isn’t worth the argument.) This is not to say that I don’t appreciate the good-will of others, because I firmly believe that others just want to converse and help as much as possible. Mothers of all generations can identify with the struggle of being a new parent, and genuinely want to be of some assistance.

One phrase, however, that I’m not particularly fond of is “we survived it”.

For instance:

-In talking about babies no longer sleeping with anything in their cribs (blankets, bumpers, stuffed animals, positioned, etc.) I have heard, more than once, “my baby was fine.”

-In talking about seat belts and car seats: “We never wore seat belts, and we’re fine.”

-In talking about eating GMOs (scientifically proven to have adverse consequences): “we eat it and we’re fine”

-In talking about old toys that may be coated in led paint: “our kids played with them and they’re fine”

ETC.ETC.ETC. Seriously, this could go on forever.

But here’s the thing: you may be fine, but obviously some child wasn’t, or it wouldn’t have been changed. When someone contracts Ebola and lives through it, they can say “I’m fine, I survived” but does that mean you are okay with contracting Ebola? NO. Perhaps a brash comparison, but as a civilization we are constantly modifying, improving, and revamping. And why would it be any different when it comes to the safety and well-being of our children, the most important age group of our population?

The simple answer: No child should die from faulty products. It just shouldn’t happen. If you quickly Google “baby recalls” you will come up with an unending list of recalls, from top brands nationwide. When my child’s car seat is recalled, you’d better believe I’m the first in line to call and get a replacement.945f84468a72aea103b63c65ed81c62b

My child’s safety is of the utmost priority. Just “surviving it” isn’t an option.

Criticize me all you’d like, scoff, mock, think I’m crazy… But I’m always always going to do what is in the best interest of my child. And the crazy part? The generations thinking we’re crazy for all of the baby products we have or don’t use were probably told the same thing by the generations before them… “we survived it”. Yeah, my car seat is super padded. Yeah, I’m using safety straps for the large furniture that could fall over on my baby. Yeah, I’m not using the crib bumpers “that everyone used” back in the 90s.

So parents, let’s just remember that when our children are grown with children of their own, we aren’t going to criticize the latest baby products. I think we all could just use a break and some breathing room.

-Katie

Graco imonitor Vibe Digital Audio Baby Monitor Review

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Let me just start out by saying that this monitor does not have good reviews! We received this monitor as a baby shower gift and I have never been a fan of video monitors, so we kept it. Below are the reasons why I rate the monitor a 4 on a 5 point scale.

Pros

  • User friendly (even my husband can figure it out)
  • Clear signal- we have never had a problem hearing anything.
  • Good range- we use it around our 2000 sq foot house and never have a problem. (Even in our back yard it picks up well)
  • Great features- I love that you can use a vibrate option since my husband is a very heavy sleeper so it always wakes him up.
  • Comes with 2 units- we never use them outside of the bedroom and living room.

Cons

  • We live in a ranch so we are always on the same floor but we still experience feedback at times.
  • The battery life isn’t great; it needs charge pretty much every night/day.

As I said before, we love this monitor and plan to buy another for BB#2!

-Kayla

To the Moms of Multiples…

Expecting Multiples, Helpful Hints to Prepare for the Bundles of Extreme Joy that are Soon to Arrive.

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I actually felt your eyes roll just now; but multiples really are double (or triple etc) the joy, they are also double or triple the everything else. My multiples are twin girls, 2 yrs old, fraternal. You will need to know that last part but I’ll get to that soon enough. I’ll try and go in order because if you are like me (Type A, a woman, slowly going crazier and crazier with each passing moment) then giving them to you in order will be the first help I give you because you will not have time for lists and planning like you used to once the beautiful but helpless offspring are here.

  1. Plan ahead. Now! Start doing everything you can to be prepared. Reading this is a step in the right direction but once you are finished don”t watch another rerun of Roseanne (is it the one titled A Stash From The Past? If so you can start right after. Haha) , go do something.
  • Nursery: Clear out your scrap booking supplies or your man’s many video games from the room formally known as the spare or catch all (the place you throw everything when ppl are coming over and you cleaned twice already that day but your children outnumber you so of course there was a blanket laying on the stairs and laundry not quite put away, etc). You will still need a place like that even more than before once the babies are born so find one, mine became the basement. Anyways, decorate it and assemble that Ikea furniture as soon as you can (when you find out the genders or if you decide to go neutral) because you don’t understand yet how much harder it will be the more pregnant you get.
  • Freezer Meals: Some of the things on Pinterest will become reality unlike that amazingly beautiful yet impossible hairstyle board. Write down what you need for all of the ones you will be preparing (some pins have the lists there to print which is super). I started with 2 weeks worth to get my feet wet. Buy a crock pot if you don’t already have one! Buy meat and vegetables from the discounted (almost old) area of the grocery store. You are freezing it so it will not get any worse and will be as if you bought it and used it that day. Take an afternoon (enlist the hubs or a friend) and chop all the ingredients needed to be chopped and follow the directions for each recipe to prepare. It might take you a few hours but will save you so much more time in the future. Now, make those meals for dinner for the following week or so to see if you like them and how easy they are. Continue to make and eat them or at least make some for the first month or so to eat AFTER you and your suddenly bigger family are home from the hospital.Cute twins baby girls under the pink blacket
  • Baby Shower: Have one. I don’t care if not your first child and it’s a faux pas, that goes out the window if you thought you were trying to have one child and got more than you bargained for. The few people who frown upon it can just not participate (those ppl still came to mine but if they didn’t I wouldn’t have let it bother me, I would just agree to disagree and move on). Things are expensive and you will need two of the same thing even if you are like me and thought you wouldn’t. Quick note about bottles to register for: Go with ones that don’t have a million pieces to each bottle because you will be washing every one of those about 12 times a day for a while and the less parts the better. At one time we had 35 bottles and still had to run the dishwasher every day to keep up.
  • Diaper Party: Google it. Plan one (it’s the guys’ version of a baby shower), have one. Ours was about $90 to throw but we didn’t have to buy diapers until the girls were 18 months. If you don’t have any children yet you will not grasp the amount of diapers you go through let alone be able to imagine that number doubled.
  • Be frugal. That means something different to each of us. Some used things are not gross, some are. Everything you can stand to get used or handed down use as long as it is safe (Google it and find out). Cut back on frivolous spending. Again, that means something different to each of us, but be conscious of your spending and whatever it is you buy all the time that is either bad for you or otherwise, reduce it a little but don’t give it up entirely unless you want to because you are still human and deserve brand name coffee, shoes, etc from time to time just not as much as you might be used to. Sorry.
  • Buy Ahead: Buy clothes that match when you see them on the clearance rack at Target even if they won’t fit your kids now, just think about seasons and sizes. My biggest piece of advice on this is to search the Facebook sale groups for another mother of multiples like yours just a year or two older and buy their gently worn clothes and toys. Their sons wore that Christmas vest and boat shoes for 3 hours once and they weren’t even old enough to walk. Buy that. Santa should also start a lot earlier than before to save money too. My 3 children’s gifts may or may not be already wrapped…
  1. Get A Sense of Humor And Realize Life Can Always Be Worse
  • Team Up: You and your significant other need to get on the same page for multiples. There’s no time for yourself in the first few months no matter who or what you are unless you are a celebrity and have maids, a nanny, and a cook (thank you crock pot freezer meals!). With one baby one adult can have the other adult “have a turn” so to speak with the baby so the woman can shave her legs finally or the man can go draft his fantasy football team. With multiples this is not the case. You will be holding one of the babies to either feed, change, bathe or put to sleep pretty much constantly for a few months. The only difference from singletons is now HE is too. You and him (or her or whichever applies) are going to be getting a lot closer now even though it will feel the opposite. Help each other, love each other, radiate that to your kids in the big picture. Which leads me to my next point.
  • Constant But Not That Bad: There it is, the truth. Every child is different so again this means different things to each individual. My twins are Poop Picasso’s and my investment in a carpet cleaner has been one of my better ideas. My twins are also climbers and climbed out of their cribs before they could walk.  Your multiples will be different from mine, we don’t know how so but they will be, so the best piece of advice any parent of multiples can give this that it’s constant but not that bad. Things will smooth out and everyone will adjust.
  • Develop A Schedule And Stick To It For-evaa: Keep the constant not that bad by developing a schedule. With our son we parented kind of lazy, he had no strict schedule of naps etc. With our twins we had to, it was the only way to ensure the little peace there would be.
  • Get Used To Strangers Blabbing At You: Why on Earth is the milk in the back of every store? You do not understand that obstacle until you have multiples. Every single elderly lady used to have the same hair color as one of your twins and every third person either is a twin or knows some twins and feels like you should know. Why? I don’t know, so you can bond while checking if each individual egg to see if it is broken in the carton you grabbed (from the top which surely means they must be if no one else bought them yet). Are they twins? Are they identical? Is one a boy and one a girl (even though they are both dressed in a pink dress in a pink and purple car seat)? How old are they? Do twins run in your family? How do you do it? Did you know you were going to have twins? The questions and comments are endless. Sometimes I answer, sometimes I pretend I didn’t hear them and on a few occasions I’ve lied. Are they twins? (As I’m quickly walking with two crying babies in the cart to get milk and bread which by the way has nowhere to go in the cart because there are currently two car seat carriers in it taking up all the room.) Nope. (And I kept walking). I just couldn’t pretend to pretend they actually cared that day. Oops.
  • Make Time For Yourself And Your Relationship: This one is a bit tricky but still important. It can be as simple as watching a show every few nights together after the kids go to bed. If you and your significant other aren’t happy it’s hard to raise children who are.
  • Know That Time Is Fleeting: Time really does fly. Sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes not. Be present and try not to stress over every little thing that does or does not happen exactly when or how you wanted or thought it should go. That cute laugh when you tickle your babies will change but so will things that are absolutely not cute and trying during parenting, so just know nothing will last forever (and try and appreciate and enjoy the good times no matter how hectic each day is).

Lee Griffiths, Guest Blogger

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

Product Review: Munchkin Nursery Projector & Sound System

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PROS: I’ve used this sound machine since my LO was about a month old. It has 6 different sound options from classical music and nursery songs to nature and white noise. I’ve kept it on the ocean track for the majority of the time. The blue part on the bottom is a built-in nightlight that isn’t too bright and can be tapped to turn on (perfect for midnight bathroom runs!) It ALSO has four different rotating scenes that can be projected onto the ceiling. The cartridges for these scenes conveniently store in the side of the unit. There is a timer for the sound option (I leave it going nonstop) and it also has the option for voice activation so if your LO wakes up crying, it will automatically turn on.

You get all this in a compact unit that has a good length of extension cord and plugs in to an outlet. I’ve used this an average of 3 times a day for over a year and it has never had any issues at all!

CONS: Really the only con I can think of is that is does need to be plugged in so there is a cord risk if it is not put up during the day or in a higher up location.

This sound machine will cost you about $29.99 and in my opinion, it is totally worth it. This has become a staple in our bed and nap time routine and my LO loves it! It’s easy to travel with and has been reliable in spite of CONSTANT use. A winner in my book!

-Chelsea

Product Review: Tommee Tippee Sippy Cups

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PROS: In the world of sippy cups, the only thing that matters is does it spill. This cup truly does not. Now I can’t guarantee you that your LO will not take a sip and bubble it all back out over the living room carpet. However, when she rolls it down the entire length of the hallway, it won’t leak.

The cup has a two part piece within the lid that prevents spilling. There is also a built in cover for the mouth piece that is right on the lid to further prevent spills. You can see it in the picture above. It also has textured, rubber sides to help those slippery baby fingers to grab on a little better.

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CONS: This cup is a little on the heavy side. I tried to give it to my LO when she was around 6-7 months and it was little too heavy for her when it was filled with juice or water. Also, it is dishwasher safe but you need to make sure that the pieces in the lid stay put after washing. They click into place so it’s not hard to put back in if it comes loose.  Lastly, it is a little on the pricier side when compared to other cups. It will run you anywhere from $7.99-9.99.

Overall, when it comes to infant and toddler sippy cups, this one is higher quality. It’s a little costly, but worth the investment if you want to prevent leaks. A good find, great to add to the baby registry!

-Chelsea

Product Review: Diaper Genie Elite

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PROS– Listen, that baby poo is going to stink up any nursery no matter what. Here is one that at least does what it says it’s going to do. The Diaper Genie Elite is great because you don’t have to touch it. I hate my SILs diaper can because you have to open the lid manually and push the diaper down into it. Nasty. This can is pedal activated, you drop the diaper in, *poof* it’s sucked down. The scent is contained as best as it possibly can be.

The reason I love this particular model, the Elite, is because it comes with a mini can as well as a large one. The mini can is NOT pedal activated (you have to push the diaper down into it) but it is spring activated (so it sucks the stink down) like the large one and uses the same bags. I LOVE the mini can because it is perfect for traveling! Being a military family, we travel non-stop and this is great to throw in the car and take to the MILs house so I’m not throwing nasty diapers into their kitchen trash. I also used the mini can when my LO was sleeping in our bedroom early on. No middle of the night trash runs. No stink. Perfection.

CONS– I did break one already. But I can’t even blame the can. I used and abused that can and I overstuffed it with dirty diapers and broke the spring. My bad. So it’s not titanium, still good quality. The biggest con is definitely the bags. The refill containers for the bags are going to cost you anywhere between $4.99-$6.49 and “last” for 270 diapers. That’s a little crazy if you ask me but there is a plus side. They always have coupons available at http://www.playtex.com and there are several different generic brands that fit the unit. I’ve also seen some people use plain old trash bags.

In my opinion, I’ve seen several other units and this one gives you the most bang for your buck. It’s reasonably priced, keeps the stink out and prevents you from touching that nasty diaper any longer than you have to. The refills are pricey but coupons and generic versions are available. The mini can is a lifesaver for me. I am a believer!!

-Chelsea