11/30/12

Life Lessons From a Craigslist Lady

When Lovebug was around 9 months old we met a family at Burger King to sell them some patio cushions.

I swear to you, meeting that family for exactly 3 minutes changed the way I parent, and the way I interact with children everywhere.

It was a pretty standard Craigslist hand off; the Dad hopped out of the car, I showed him the cushions, and he gave me some cash.

As the Dad was loading up their goods, the Mom suddenly popped out of the front seat and said, "She has to pee, we gotta go in..."

I watched as she started unloading her daughters... one toddler, one baby.

I immediately, being the Mom of a baby myself, got over excited (like I do) and squealed:

"Aww!! She's so cute! How old is your baby!?"

With a purposeful voice, she emphasized each individual child's age to me as she said:

"This one (touching the toddler's head) is 3, and this one (touching the baby's head) is ten months."

Now I hadn't asked about the toddler's age, but the way the woman said it let me know that I should have.

She looked very hard into my eyes as she told me their ages, and I knew that it was important to her that I acknowledge both children... and so I did.

I congratulated the 3 year old on being a big girl and using the potty...she smiled, and then ran inside with her mother.

It was only a brief moment... but it has stuck with me for years.

The way that 3 year old girl put her head down and looked at the ground when I asked about the baby burnt a hole in my brain, I swear it did.

Now that I have my own two children, I try very hard to make sure everyone gets the same amount of hugs, kisses, tickles...everything equal... all the time.


You'll notice if you go back through my blog, I try to make sure everyone gets the same amount of posts, there are never too many about one child versus the other.


It's silly, but it's important to me.

I am not sure how long I will pay such close attention to both kids getting the same of everything, but I hope it is forever.


With Girlfriend walking and talking up a storm these days, it is only natural for people to go to her first, instead of Lovebug.

I mean, come on... she is cute.


But so is he.


I can see him starting to act out to get attention... to be a little sillier slash more annoying so people will just turn their head and talk to him too.

I hate when this happens, and thinks it's a poor representation of the sweet funny child that I know so well.

I wish I could walk into a room and say:

"Play with them both... it's important..they love to be together anyway.." and not have people think I'm a bitchy control freak.


If I'm going to be completely honest.. I'd rather you talk to neither of my children, than only talk to one of them.


You see, because our children are the very best of friends...


It is that much harder when one gets something that the other doesn't... the feeling of exclusion is written clear as day on their faces...


They are very much two peas in a pod, and I know it hurts them when they are treated differently.


I know that other parents have this problem too... not just ones with a toddler and a baby: 

Maybe you can relate if you have one child with special needs, and one without... or one child with excellent social skills who is super funny, and one who is a little more reserved and creative.

Maybe you have 4 children, and one of them is ridiculously good looking.. like I was in my family... (just kidding siblings.)

You get the idea...

Something as simple as sharing the love with everyone, all the time, was something that honestly hadn't occurred to me until that day at Burger King.

I had a one track mind... baby, baby, baby.

I felt a connection to others with a baby my child's age, and that's where my mind stopped.

I am grateful to that woman, for the look in her eye, and the tone in her voice...for asking me to look past her chubby adorable baby, to her also adorable 3 year old...

I only met that woman for 30 seconds, but I instantly knew how important her children were to her;

I knew she would fight for her kids to get equal attention, equal billing time, equal everything... in order to keep them happy.

I can only hope that people feel the same way when they meet me.

Dear Craigslist lady, if you're out there: You changed the way I look at children, and the way I parent. It is my hope that by passing on your message, I can too.


11/29/12

Holiday Wish List

Here's a little bit of what I am we are hoping Santa leaves under our tree for the Dolls this year:

1. Cool and safe? Do they make adult sizes? Yes please!
2. A camera that the Bugs can touch and not break... you know it.
3. These words are my parenting philosophy. ((Save 15% by entering OTP143 at checkout))
4. These blocks remind me of my youth. Love them... love the price more.
5. Felt food! The Bugs are hoping for a kitchen set (encouraging my son to cook: you're welcome future Daughter-in-Law), and this food would be the perfect addition! ((Save 10% by entering FishFood at checkout))
6. Lovebug needs a sleeping bag. I'm not sure what for exactly, but he would love it.
7. This microphone. Because my kids need an excuse to be louder.
8. This poncho. I die. ((Save 20% on your entire cart using code sophiblu at checkout))
9. Balance bikes. I'm new to the craze, but I think I'm a fan.
10. These rain boots are different than any others I have seen... love. ((Enter GRATEFUL77 at checkout for Free Shipping))
11. Love this food sorting puzzle... I can see the Bugs fighting over this for sure.
12. Girlfriend loves to push things around the house, this shopping cart will go perfect with their new kitchen set and felt food from Santa.
13. Lovebug is dying for an excavator he can use outside... and this one is so cheap! Love!
14. Owl trend. I love you... whoo whoo.
15. Lovebug's ladybug night light has seen better days... it's time to change things up... a turtle it is.

Now if this list was made by my children it would be full of all the sugary goodness in all the land for my Girlfriend... and Spiderman, Legos, and Ninja Turtles to his face for Lovebug.

The best part about knowing Santa on a personal level, is getting a say over what kind of crap comes into our house!

Three cheers for being the one that makes the rules!


**I hunted down and begged for the above discount codes... please use them!

11/28/12

A Totally Non-Competitive Ginger Bread House Contest

On my 29 in 29 list, I mentioned that I had never made a ginger bread house, and wanted this to be my ginger bread year... with the Bugs... of course.

I got to talking with my siblings, and found out that none of them had ever dabbled in the whole ginger bread house bidness either... and then...

Light bulb!

A ridiculous idea came to me... one that was really so out of character for me that I wasn't sure if anyone would be on board.

First I called my Brother and Sister in Law, who are always down for a good time and pretty much never say, "No," to anything.

I'm all: "Let's make ginger bread houses... together... like all of us... on Thanksgiving... is that weird?"

As soon as the words were out of my mouth I felt dumb for asking and figured they were probably picturing us all sitting in a circle singing "Kumbaya," and wondering if I had really lost it this time.

To my surprise my Sister in Law was like: "It's not weird.... if it's a competition."

And that is how the Most Serious Ginger Bread House Contest of All Time was born.

Sadly, neither one of my children had any interest in taking part in making a Ginger Bread anything with me.... eating it; yes, building it; no.

We worked in teams, and I got stuck with Husband... who pretty much only participated so no one would make him change diapers.

He was of course, down to have a good ol' time shoving candy into his face by the handfuls... but the J-E-T-S were playing, and there was a fafillion football games to watch so you know... priorities.

Anyway, with my partner MIA for most of the competition; I was happy that we had made our plan the day before, and I more or less knew how to build an aircraft carrier...

By myself... out of graham crackers.

What the?


I know.

Why is it covered in frosting? Why is it... all of the things that it is... just.. why?

I don't know... I just don't know.

It's weird as Hell.

Here's the other thing: My brother called me the day before the contest and was like... "You may as well just stay home, we are going to win."

Real nice huh?

Well.. he was right.


I know.

It was pretty much in the bag for those two the second they pulled out the shredded wheat for the top of the Tiki Bar... they thought of EVERYTHING!

Who knew that my brother and his wife were secretly The Cake Bosses of Ginger Bread houses?


Had I known this; I might not have been so excited to play their Ginger Bread games... not that I am a sore loser... I just don't like playing with winners.

Keepin' it real folks.


In case you are wondering... yes those are gummie BEERS on the bar, that is a ginger bread man bartending, and oh, yup, of course... those are Airheads molded into Palm Trees.

COME ON.

My sisters, when they weren't threatening to kill each other over candy placement... created a singing house... with lights.


OF COURSE those little bitches would make a singing house. Of course they would.



I know... what the fuck is up with my siblings and being the most creative people on Earth??


See if I ever play a game with them again.

My Brother and Sister in Law took first place... obviously... and my Sisters took second... which left me and Husband... you guessed it... as the caboose.

Last place.

But we had an awesome time doing this ridiculous project...

Plus it kept us off the couch after our big ol' Turkey slash Pop-Tart feast.

Not gonna lie, it helped that we had seventy five bags of candy within five inches of our face the whole time...

By the end of the competition all six of us, we were all a little shakey and a lot foaming at the mouth.

But... this is something none of us had ever done before, and will probably never do again.

Except for my Brother and Sister-In-Law... I'm pretty sure those two are going to quit their day jobs, buy oompa loompas, and start a Ginger Bread House sweat shop in their basement.











11/27/12

The Fat Albert Laugh Does It Again...

I don't know what the eff is up with this kid's laugh... but I freaking love it.

She gets me every time.


Love You!

Girlfriend has figured out this whole talkin' bidness... and she is on a freaking roll.

Here she is... in all of her 15 month, open jammies glory... sayin' two beautiful squishy little words:


And in case you are wondering... Lovebug said those same words at 21 months.

I know.

The kid who spoke his first words at 7.5 months ("uh oh!") waited until he was almost 2 to tell me he loved me.

WTF is up with that, Dude??

I gotta admit... I am pretty pleased with my Mom blogger-self for capturing both kids saying, "Love You," on camera as soon as they started saying it...

Admittedly, I'd be more impressed if I could figure out how to get both videos into the same post... but let's not get crazy here people, my time is precious and there is trashy TV to be watched...

Love You!

11/26/12

This Is Supposed to Be a Thanksgiving Photo Dump...

Except I didn't take pictures of anything except the Dolls in semi-matching outfits...


And Pop Tarts. Of course.


We had to include them in the meal... seeing as they were the ONLY thing that Lovebug said he was thankful for...

I'm so proud.


INKtastic Giveaway!

I am a free t-shirt lover. I have a problem.

I can distinctly remember pretty much throwing myself off the top of a pyramid in College to try to get a t-shirt being shot of out a canon.

That is not a joke.

I was all:

"Screw the concussion! I want that free size double XL t-shirt to wear to bed! I don't care what it says, it's free! Outta my way!"

Yeh... outta my way.. NO ONE... because everyone else was on the GROUND and had a head start... you know, cause I was in the air, jumping off a pyramid.

See, I told you; I have a problem.

So when I was contacted by INKtastic to try out their site and make a free personalized t-shirt... it was pretty much fresh muffins, with extra butter, in a basket, with a bow... to my face.

The hardest part was staying under budget (they gave me 25 bananas to work with), and thinking of something catchy and cute to put on a shirt for my Dollface.

I came up with this:


If you follow us on Facebook, you know I've been having a Helluva time finding long sleeved onesies for my Doll...

It seems like all onesies that are 12+ months are covered in bunnies, and squirrels, and cutesy animals that make me wanna barf...

So when INKtastic said "Go nuts,"... I instantly went for their long sleeved onesies (which come in white, grey, pink, blue and black)... three cheers for big, warm, Buddha bellies!

I ordered size 18 months, which fits true to size, and offers a little extra room for my growing girl.

(Baby legs from here)
I really like that I got to choose the font, and the heart, and the whole shebang myself...


There was one zillion options for how you could do things, they even offer stock images if you don't feel like being creative.

I have to admit... I got sucked in to changing fonts and colors, and refreshing the page so I could  preview my image 900 times... before eventually committing to something short and sweet.


I'm glad I did too... because there has never been a more appropriate shirt for my Girlfriend... who has a serious love for all things food related (she gets it from her Mama)... this shirt is her all the way.
Want to make something that is "you," all the way?

What about something for your doll?

Or your husband / wife / Mom / Dad / stuffed animal or DOG (for real)?

INKtastic is giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky Our Tiny Place reader.

I chose to work with Inktastic because it's Christmas time and they offer something for everyone (not just Moms and babes)... so fill out the form below and win some moolah to buy someone a present!!

Everyone loves free T-shirts!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



11/25/12

What Every Mom Wants For Christmas (Weekend Quickie)

While putting up Christmas decorations... Lovebug asks:

Him: Mom, what do you want for Christmas??

Me: I want kids who listen to me.

Him: So you want NEW kids?!

Me: (laughing) No I don't want new kids... I just want you guys to listen when I ask you to do things.

Him: I don't actually think that's going to happen Mom.

Me: Oh it's not?

Him: Probably not. You should ask for a garbage truck instead.


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11/24/12

Donating My Hair; Update

Before you dive into this one... just know that I am not the type of blogger that just badmouths people because I have a platform, and an audience.

I thought long and hard about whether or not to post this, and in the end, decided that what I have to say may help people make an educated decision about what organization to send their donation to.

And so... here goes:

You might remember that I chopped off 10 inches of my hair last winter and donated it to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program....


Well, I have an update for you... kind of.

I feel compelled to write this because I kinda sorta begged you all to donate your hair too... you know, so we could all make one wig and be one big wig happy family... or something?

Just look at the chart I made when two of my fantastic beautiful friends and readers chopped their hair after reading my post... it has stars!


Anyway... I knew, from doing my research that after you send in your hair, Pantene sends you back a letter, letting you know that they have received your chopped ponies, thank you for your donation... yada, yada, yada.

I waited patiently for this letter to arrive until July... and then I sent Pantene a message on Facebook kinda saying,

"Hey... No big deal, but I never got a letter... not like I'm looking for a pat on the back here, but what gives??"

To their credit, I heard right back immediately...like: Oh! So sorry! Will look into it... and then, nothing.

I tried again over the next few months, and got more of the same...

I know I could have just let it go, and not told you all that they potentially lost or never received my donation... but you see.. I had plans for that letter.

It's not like I was hoping for someone to say... you have the most beautiful hair in the world, thank you! we love you! you're beautiful!

It is much simpler and less narcissistic than all that...

I wanted to put it in my Girlfriend's Time Capsule.

I thought... How cool, if in 17 years there was a cure for cancer!

And she was all: How weird Mom! You DONATED your hair?! Who would want your hair?!

I had my heart set on that conversation taking place... and so, I harassed someone (probably an intern, or receptionist, definitely someone who had nothing to do with my ponytail) at Pantene for months on end.

And the final verdict?

Nothing.

The sad news and update is... I have no idea where my ponytails went.

In October, they told me quickly in an email that their stationary was on back order (since February??), but I should know that my hair was received, and my letter will come.

I know. Talk about being a slave to your stationary.

I would have been way happier with something like:

"We received it way back in March, our bad!"

Or... "I see here that it got lost in Texas, but eventually reached us in Ohio (or whatever)"...

Alas, there was no explanation... just... "know that it was received, your letter will come."

No offense Pantene, but I'll believe it when I see it...and until then...

I will continue to think that my hair was tossed in a friggin' dumpster somewhere.

I got that letter way back on October 24... and still nothing.

Hello... by my calendar it is ALMOST DECEMBER!

Fact is.... they more or less don't seem to care too much about my literally long, lost ponies.

You know... as much as hair is a privilege, and not one that everyone gets to enjoy...

It is still a big deal to chop off 10 inches of your hair for someone else... if it wasn't, everyone would be doing it.

So, to say that I am a little disappointed with how Pantene handled this situation, is an understatement.

Hair is not a bag of old clothes...

And if it was, I would have just cut my hair myself and handed it to the pimple-y kid at Good Will...

Like... here kid. Donation. Yes I want a receipt for my taxes. Bye hair... have a nice life.

Cause that's the thing... I did want my hair to have a nice life...

With someone who needed it.

All that to say: I would definitely donate my hair again. It affected me far less than I expected it would, and I was proud to help someone else find their strength and womanhood again.

I am hopeful that my hair got to Pantene, got cut, washed, dried, and sewn up into a cute little bob.

I would recommend donating your hair to anyone, it was an empowering feeling, and no sweat off my back, because I have no reason to appreciate my hair... and for that, I am blessed.

However... I would not go through Pantene again.

I believe that each and every ponytail received should get notification that not only has it been received, but that you did a good thing.

So, if you are like me... and never heard that anyone got your ponytail... if you have no idea where your chopped hair lives right now... let me tell you:

You did a good thing.

And I'm proud of you.

___________________________________

UPDATE:

I received this letter on December 26, 2012... 10 months and one week after I donated my hair.

Thanks Pantene, so glad you were able to re-order your stationary.




11/23/12

She is Changing...

I had forgotten how fast life moves with a new toddler... 


The days are filled with firsts... so many that I cant keep up... 
(First pigtails ever.)
I recently taught my Girlfriend to say, "DaddyDaddyDaddyDaddyDaddyDaddy!" just one endless adorable call for her father when she wants something...

It makes me so proud and reminds me that exclusively breast feeding for 13 months was worth it... because pay back is a bitch, and now when she needs something she's all DADADADADADADADADDDDYYYY and I'm all... 

Awww... sorry I can't help, my boobs are empty and my nails are wet.


Everyday brings new words, new foods, new ways to cause trouble...


She is interested in every little thing that comes her way... and has such a wonderful passion for all things LIFE related... 



Faster than we'd like, our little girl is growing into a beautiful, fiercely independent, strong willed, quirky, weird little thing...


She's learning how to play quietly on her own...
I love that she wears her heart on her sleeve, and shows emotions freely and fiercely, much like myself.


It is bittersweet to watch my baby turning into her own little person, with her own distinct opinions and ideas.


She knows what she wants, and at all costs, she will find a way to get it...


I hope she never, ever changes.


11/22/12

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful all day, every day, for the wonderful, weird little life that we live...


Thanks for being a part of it.


11/20/12

He Said...

Today when I picked him up from school, Lovebug jumped into my arms and said:

"Get over here and give me a hug, you cute Mom!"

For the love of Channing Tatum, my child is trying to kill me with one liners.



Old School Apple Pie

With Thanksgiving just two days away, I thought I'd share my favorite recipe in THA WORLD... in case anyone is still looking for something to make.

This is the easiest pie to make on the Planet.

It is virtually impossible to mess this up...

If you fuck this up, I'm gonna go ahead and say you should just go ahead and give up on the whole cooking-slash-baking-slash-ever-setting-foot-in-the-kitchen-again thing... FOR LIFE.

I got this recipe from one of my brother's oldest friends, he was actually one of the best men in his wedding.

Where did he get it??

From the Home Economics teacher at Madison Middle School in 1995 (okay, I'm guessing at the year, but the school is definitely right).

I love this recipe because it is SIMPLE, hello.. it was used for 6th graders!

So like I said, if you fuck this up, you should just buy yourself a good can opener, and commit your life to eating tuna fish and beans... because there is no hope for you in the kitchen.

I prepared this pie last night in about 15 minutes to have it ready for Lovebug's Thanksgiving Dinner at school today...

Good thing this recipe is fool proof, because baking while trying to tame wild beasts at bedtime is not for the faint of heart.

Okay, enough small talk... I give you... the Easiest Apple Pie Ever:

 Bake at 350 degrees F, for 50 minutes.






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