Let's Ride a Train

One of my favorite experiences as a parent is experiencing things with my kids for the first time.  Ryan loves Thomas the train but has never actually rode on a train.  We decided to take the kids to local state park that has an old train ride.  It is fairly short and inexpensive so it is perfect for first timers (including a restless toddler)!

The kids had a blast and I think Alex and I had just as much fun watching the world through their eyes!


Baby's First Visit to the ER

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Ava was crawling at 6 months, walking at 10 months and was running around full force shortly thereafter.  She is my little "ninja warrior" and although I am constantly telling her to slow down, she doesn't seem to want to listen.  A couple days ago, one of my biggest mom fears came true.  

Ava was running around our living room and I heard a familiar "thump."  Generally, A is a pretty tough girl.  This time she cried hard so I  ran over and picked her up.  There was a nasty cut on her cheek.  Insert mom freakout. It was one of those moments where I didn't feel fully qualified to be responsible for another human being.  How do I know what requires an ER visit?!?!  

After a few frantic texts to friends (complete with pictures...sorry guys!), I brought her in and after a quick exam, I learned my poor baby needed a few layers of stitches.  As a mom it was absolutely heartbreaking to watch them stitch her back up but she was a total trooper.  After the procedure when we were waiting to be discharged, she even took a nap on me.  I couldn't remember the last time Ava slept on me so I laid back and enjoyed the sweet moment with my baby girl.

We left with Doctor's orders of ensuring she won't run around for a few days (uh, ok) and not letting her sleep on that side of her face (does he realize she is ONE??  I'll be sure to tell her that).  She is now back to herself and sporting tough looking bandage!  

I can now check this off my list of "things my kids have done to give me a mini heart attack." I deserve glass of wine!


My Early Toddler Favorite Products!

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The response to my Infant Product Hits and Misses post in my deal group was awesome!  I loved our discussion on what you all agreed with and didn't agree with.  Now that Miss Ava is 17 months (where did time go?! ) I figured it was time to update you all on the products we have been loving these days from 12-18 months.  For your buying pleasure (the holidays are right around the corner) you can go straight to the product on Amazon by clicking the picture at the bottom of this post- there are some AWESOME deals so check them out!  Enjoy!

Step2 Push Around Buggy- Every cool kid needs a cool ride and Ava sure does have one.  We gave her the buggy for her first birthday and she has been obsessed.  One of my favorite things is pushing her along while my son rides his balance bike.   She gets a huge kick out of it and cruises contently driving along.

Zoli Bot Straw Cup- I tried a LOT of straw cups with my kids.  This was the winner with both kids when it came to transitioning from a bottle to a straw cup.  Disclaimer: it does leak out the top occasionally due to the pressure (especially in warmer months) but I still love it.  It seemed to be a perfect early learner cup and I preferred it to all the others I tried (Nuk, Munchkin, etc).

Mega Bloks- My son got the First Builders Bag of Mega Bloks for his first birthday and he has loved them ever since.  From towers to houses to cars, we have gotten our money's worth from them.  It is really fun seeing my daughter showing interest in them (and I can feel like super mom building her motor and problem solving skills).  These are one of those "must have toys" in my book!

Ball Pit (and 200 balls)- Best.purchase.ever.  Both my 3 year old and 17 month old are OBSESSED with this thing.  I have rotated it out for a week at a time and every time I bring it back, it is guaranteed to keep them occupied for enough time to allow me to make dinner!  Why didn't we have these things when we were kids?!?!

(note: this was with 100 balls, I eventually added another 100 )

Dinosaur Train Dino Bones Tunnel- I decided to buy this after both my kids seemed to love the tunnel at my daughter's kiddie gym.  To say it is a hit is an understatement.  I liked it from the second I opened the package and it didn't smell like so many toys do.  It is very well made and extremely durable.  They love crawling around in it, putting toys in and doing other random things that keep them occupied while mama sits and observes.  This is a MUST have!

Board books.  My daughter is obsessed with books.  Her favorites right now are Moo Ba La La La and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See.  Those two books account for around 75% of our book reading.  While, reading the same 2 books may get repetitive, it does have its advantage that I don't actually have to look at the words anymore since I have them memorized.  Plus, books make kids smart, right?! :)

Gazillion Bubbles Machine- I bought this after I posted it in my group.  I was nervous because reviews seemed mixed but I am SO happy I picked it up. Both my kids LOVE it and there is something truly magical about watching your kids run around with looks of joy on their faces while popping bubbles! :)

Skip Hop Utensils - One of my most dreaded tasks as a mom has been introducing utensils to my kids.  Meal times become messy and drawn out. Through trial and error with my son (poor first child), I learned that the plastic utensils are more difficult for them to use than stainless steel ones.  I picked these up for my daughter and LOVE them! They are wide at the handle so it is super easy for her to grip.  I now have 3 sets and mealtime is a little less painful.

Ava's Picks:


Potty Training: What Worked for Us

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I don't think there have been 2 more dreaded words in my experience as a mom as these two: potty training.  I felt like it was the SAT's of being a mom- how the heck am I supposed to teach a stubborn 2-3 year old how to abandon something he knew and was comfortable with and do something different?!  It seemed impossible and I felt like I was screwing things up constantly. Thankfully, I passed the test and my kid is now potty trained (MOM WIN)!  
In hopes of helping someone else who finds this whole potty training thing totally intimidating, here is how things went down with us. Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert and I fully expect things with my daughter to be totally different.

At 18 months, I got Ryan the Lil' Loo Potty. It was inexpensive and felt like a prepared super mom ready to tackle potty training.  Riiiiight.  Funny thing was, Ryan wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Sometimes he would sit on it fully clothed, occasionally he would sit on it before bath time but mostly he just yelled "NO!" when I made the horrendous suggestion of sitting on it.  I wanted the potty to be a positive thing so I never pushed it.  It sat lonely and unused in the corner of both our bathrooms.

I also picked up a few books about potty training.  My favorite was Once Upon a Potty because it explained EVERYTHING.  My son, for whatever reason, absolutely loved The Potty Train.  It is a little cheesy but he loved it.  It got him asking questions about underpants and relating the potty to himself.  Others that were in the rotation were Prince of the Potty and Potty Superhero: Get ready for big boy pants! We read a LOT of potty books....

As Ryan's 3rd birthday approached, he still wanted nothing to do with the potty.  While his classmates were slowly all becoming trained, he had still never gone in the potty.  As much as I tried to keep the "I am going to be so casual about this" attitude, I was getting antsy that he would still be in diapers in college.  However, I saw signs of readiness- he loved his potty books, he asked for underwear so I made a big deal of taking him to the store to pick out some (he picked Paw Patrol), and he would wake up dry some nights, pee and ask to be changed.  I deemed him ready.  Whether he liked it or not, it was time. Hellllp me....
Ryan's school had a week long February break approaching so I decided we would do the 3 day "boot camp" style method.   I had prepped him the week before by saying things like "on Friday, we are going to give your diapers away to Ava!  You are big now so you get to use the potty!"  (not sure if this is the right or wrong thing to do, it worked for us).  Friday morning came and he helped me collect all his diapers and we "gave" them to his little sister.  Let the fun begin...

Day 1 aka "I know it is 8am but can I start drinking wine now?"-  Day 1 SUCKS. Sorry but it does. After getting dressed and doing a big celebration of him wearing Paw Patrol underpants, I made a point put him on the potty every 20 minutes to try to go.  I also made a conscious effort to ask him if his underpants were dry in between so that it was on his mind. My rationale was that this would remind him that he needs to be aware of if he needs to go.
I learned quickly that he was afraid of the potty and was going to hold it as long as he could.  By mid-morning, I could tell he was uncomfortable but still fighting it.  I was ready to google "can my kid hurt himself from holding pee?"  Then IT HAPPENED! I never thought I would get so excited about pee.  I was jumping up and down...and he was crying.  He had a couple accidents that day and I did a pull up at naps/night.  By bedtime, I was exhausted and definitely poured myself a nice glass of wine as a reward to myself for surviving day 1.

Day 2-way better.  One accident, some resistance but he was getting it. I also employed a little bribery when it came to going #2 on the potty.  He didn't do it but the cookie was waiting if he did.

Day 3- NO ACCIDENTS and we even decided to ditch the pull up at naps!!!  I was shocked that by day 3, he was accident free!  Going #2 was a different story as he was holding it but eventually he had no choice but to go in the potty (also earning the cookie motivated him somewhat).

The first day back at school, Ryan had an accident on the way to the potty but other than that, 3 days was all it took for us! I stopped with pull ups entirely after about 6 days.  It is important to note that he went through a period where he was wetting the bed at night about 6 weeks after we trained (confused the heck out of me) but I cut off liquids an hour before he went to bed and that solved the problem!

So that is our story!  Potty training did suck but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I really am a believer in waiting until they are ready because he seemed to catch on seamlessly and I (thankfully) didn't have to deal with many accidents at all.  We will see how things go the next time I have to do this but I am hoping it is as easy as it was my first time (yeah, right).

Here are my 8 potty training essentials that helped in our journey...

After a good discussion in our group, here are some additional suggestions that PinkRoseMama readers had!

All About Amazon Subscribe and Save!

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I often post subscribe and save deals on my Facebook page and group.   Since discovering it, Subscribe and Save has essentially taken away the need for me to go to bulk stores like Costco.  I buy so many of of my household products, baby food, beauty products and more through Subscribe and Save!   I no longer have to lug a giant bag of dog food or wrangle a giant thing of paper towels while carrying bags of groceries into my house!  These things are now delivered right to my door!

Halloween 2016

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It is hard to believe another Halloween is in the books.  Halloween is one of those holidays that seems to get better and better as the kids get older!  My little fairy and scary dinosaur had such a great time trick or treating and mama had an awesome time watching them get me candy go house to house.  Just wanted to share a few pictures from our day! 

We participated in the trunk or treat at R's school.  While other parents had elaborate themes, dressed in costume and played downloaded Halloween music, my theme was "I went to Target at 8pm the night before"

The weather actually turned out to be really nice and was perfect for trick or treating!

 Sadly, the dinosaur head did not make it past our walkway but that was ok.  Ryan cracked us up exclaiming "I got CANDY!" after each house.  I love the pure excitement of this day!

Another successful holiday is in the books!  I hope you had a great one, too!  
Bring on Thanksgiving...