Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Amazon Cart Full. Christmas is TWO Months Away. For Reals

I'm always so curious what people store in their Amazon cart. If you're like me, you keep a healthy supply of things saved there to watch the prices fluctuate and until you feel totally ready to press that final submit button. Oftentimes, the things get removed as I change my mind and move on.

I've made a list of things I'm considering purchasing for the kids for Christmas and their birthdays (that happen 1-2 months post Christmas) and now I ponder, reconsider, wait for prices to drop and for deals to be had.

This year the kids are getting all share gifts. I don't see a reason for gender-specific toys and really, they share everything anyway, whether it has one name on it or the other. Aside from stocking stuffers that aren't so much share-friendly (socks, toothbrushes, undies), gifts will be unwrapped together and played with together. I also wanted to center around gifts that can be played with by them both at the same time. They are each others' best friend, so I want to continue to foster this special relationship.

The Biggie: This HAPE Wooden Doll House + Furniture

I teetered between the Melissa & Doug Hi Rise one and this, but the elevator on the M&D one made me nervous that they'd break it, plus this one just seems a tad cuter to me. Though, I do like that garage on the M&D one. And confirmed, my local friend has that one with the elevator and she's confirmed it's no longer functional.

There are some accompanying things I might get for birthdays to follow like the baby nursery set and the bunkbed kid furniture set, but we'll see. They are just so stinking cute being so little. Melissa and Doug also has this cute wooden car with people that would work pretty well paired with this dollhouse stuff.
The kids love those little choking hazards called marbles, so thinking a Marble Genius Marble Runner to build would be fun. Benjamin plays with one at his preschool and they have some wooden ones we play with at the Discovery Museum.

Benjamin totally fixated on a Playdough creation set at Target the other day. And since then, his Gawbee went ahead and treated him to it. I might get one he hasn't seen before since it looks like it would be less painful to watch the color-mixing. The wheels are stamps on this Cinderella carriage and it can also probably be used in conjunction with the dollhouse for crossover play. Or maybe that one can just be eliminated from the list, because #playdough. Every parent knows how SUPER FUN it is to clean.

And finally, I was thinking about LEGO. The kids have Duplo we still play with quite a bit and I have a big bag of LEGO Friends pieces to introduce that I scored for a ridiculously amazing price of $3 at a thrift store. (I miss you, Salvation Army on 75th and Lemont in Darien, IL.) The big bag I scored also has LEGO people that can also be used in the dollhouse. See where I'm going with the imaginative play? Finally, we can have small pieces because Claire is almost three and they aren't babies anymore. (Plus, she's never been much of an oral kid.) I want to buy this LEGO Advent calendar for them to share. They would trade off days and then help one another construct. Perhaps it's too advanced, but the creations are really simple and festive. This one might turn into an annual tradition. Update: It's on the way in the mail. I'm so excited to stick it in our hanging Advent Calendar to construct each winter day. I don't know which one we're getting, because I won it in a giveaway! But I think any of the three will be a blast, though I'm partial to the original because I like all of the creations better than the other two.

I'm really curious what the rest of you are buying for Christmas for your kids! Have you even thought about it, or are you totally just buried to your elbows in figuring out Halloween? I've sort of skipped right over the stress of that and moved onto the easy stuff-- things I can put in my Amazon cart that magically appear on my doorstep thanks to my new Prime account my parents gifted me with for my birthday earlier this month.

And honestly, while all the stuff above is nice, my kids have so many toys and so many I weed through regularly that are either junky, not played with, or below their level. Christmas isn't all about the stuff. We're just so, so lucky as Americans to have all that we do that we can casually think about Christmas in terms of a full Amazon cart. It's so easy to become jaded. Hashtag #firstworldchristmas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Excerpts From a SAHM's Diary, Part Deux

So that fancy mom who stole my shopping cart?

I've now got her phone number. And we hung out for two hours today. And I actually like her.

But the first words out of her mouth when I saw her at the library today were, "So how did things go after we grabbed that last cart?"

She redeemed herself later at the park. And it all gets weirder.

There's a dad at the library who attends each week with his kids for storytime, just as we do. They hang out after while kids search for books and play games on the computers and engages in conversation with some of the moms. His wife is a physician in the area and he's home with the kids. He kind of reminds me a mix of a Ken doll and Bruce Jenner before his transformation. But he's really nice and always wears a triathlon shirt, for some reason. He's the coach for a 3yo soccer team that meets right next to the library on the fields next to the park. And it just so happens that some of the moms that attend storytime have kids who are part of this soccer practice. We saw him at that park a couple weeks ago and he and his kids played a little soccer with the three of us.

He hooked us up by telling us there was a magic show at the Pioneer Center Downtown last weekend and the library was giving away complimentary tickets. So we snagged 4 and it was the perfect rainy Saturday afternoon thing to do. And today he told me as they were leaving that he and a few of the moms were meeting at a local {awesome} park we'd been to a few times before.

We grabbed our already packed lunch and headed to the park. Once we arrived, it was fun and games. The dad saw another car pull up and his daughter ran to the car yelling the other same-aged girl's name, excitedly. That name sounded VERY familiar to me. But maybe they have lots of little girls with that trendy name around town, I assumed. Up runs Benjamin's favorite friend from his new preschool class. She sits down on the swing beside him and then said, "Wait, is that BENJAMIN?" He was blushing and STOKED to say the least. He only talks about her every-single-day. Her mom shows, talks about her job as a speech pathologist for the elderly and her husband's gig at the new Tesla GigaFactory. I like the lady. She even ran the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Relay we want to do in June (any takers? It's about $150pp + van cash and you stay up running all night!). We bonded over running and smart husbands.

Then SHE shows up with a couple Starbucks cups in hand, because she's fancy like that. Mama with the cart drama. I'll stop referring to her in all caps from here on out. Because now I know her name and while she's pretty perfect appearance-wise, we ended up liking one another after chatting awhile. She and that first mom (of B's best friend) know one another. So yes. Benjamin was in the class of grocery cart Mama's daughter (not a good fit, preschool #1) and then transferred to a new school (preschool #2) about 5 miles away and is now in the class of speech pathologist Mama's daughter. We're not in Chicago anymore, folks. Paths cross and rather frequently.

Then Mama #3 shows up and everyone knows her, too. Her kid goes to Preschool #1. Turns out I really was the newbie being invited, because the rest of them knew a thing or two about one another (which makes sense because they had to coordinate the meetup somehow).

We left with a picture of all the kids via text and Benjamin gushing to Dad tonight about how he got to play with his bff at the park, to which even he was surprised.

Told you I was on my way to becoming besties with this chick. And did I tell you that out of all the parents there (4 + me), cart Mama lives the closest to us, at just over a mile away. Now let's just hope she doesn't find this blog. That'd be awkward.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Potty Training Uhhhh-gain

Back on the train for the second installment of potty training my children. I'll admit that Claire has probably been ready for eons. And, well, I just wasn't. Because I remember how SUPER FUN it was to potty train Benjamin and how I waited forever because he was so noncommittal (or was that me?) and then when we did it, he was potty trained fully without any need for any sort of pee pad, alarm, pull-up or anything in a matter of like 5 days. He just did it all the time, by himself, without me even bothering. I never had to pull the nagging "Do you have to go potty" before we left for somewhere and I still don't. The kid has an uncanny ability to hold his urine for ridiculously long periods of time. I literally took back all the Pull-Ups I bought in anticipation of using them for years because he never used a single one.

For Claire, I just kind of assumed that if I pushed it off until she was almost three like Benjamin was when he trained, it'd all be roses and easy. Whenever we asked her if she wanted to, she'd always say, "tomorrow" and was happily bringing me diapers and wipes for changings for many months. So it's time.

Someone said something about girls being easier.

WRONG. Double. Triple. Wrong. Liars.

For one, boys can go standing up and somehow it is socially acceptable for them to pee on nature anytime, anywhere. They don't require wiping for that business and you don't have to deal with the fears of them falling into the toilet or those stupid automatic flushers sucking them into oblivion. Real fears from little people, seriously. Girls require lifting onto and/or holding them on the potty or bringing in a potty topper (which I do often) that was virtually unused with Benjamin (he was also good about holding the poop until we were good and home).

Girls require running to the potty, making sure said potty is clean, covering the top, holding there, wiping, flushing, washing... LORD HAVE MERCY.

Boys just piss on a tree and you squirt them with a little hand sani and head on your way.

Claire has been peeing in the potty solidly for 2.5 weeks now. For the last 1.5 weeks, she's done it without accident. I was going to keep her home from school a week ago to continue bootcamp, but then picture day put a snag in my plans. Still, she managed dry diapers at school and using the potty. But this week, she must've eaten something awful because when I picked her up from school on Monday, the teacher handed me a dark bag of super fun, totally diarrhea-filled clothing. And then she proceeded to expel the same fun into her underwear and accompanying pants for the next two days. Finally, the following day, she walked her naked self into the bathroom, sat down and did her business without me accompanying her. Finally. A solid in the potty. Her first one. Pee was a snap, but poop was absolutely not. Benjamin was pooping on the potty before he ever peed, so this was something new for me. What a blast it has been cleaning those clothes. Ick.

We celebrated big with mint Oreos (imperative that you find these at your local market and buy them. They are my fave of all time). She's done it a few times more now with no accidents of any kind now for 4 days or so.

I'm not saying we're out of the dark on this potty situation, but we're headed on the right track. Fruit snacks ready and happy face potty chart taped to the bathroom mirror, we're not turning back. She's not interested in diapers at bedtime (but mommies who don't want to be woken up to wet mattresses sure are) and is requesting underwear like brother, so I've committed to November 1 as diaper-free Wilson household IF she manages dry diapers for the next two weeks solid.

Send us your potty pixie dust and well wishes. Please and thank you. Also, OMG, it's possible I'm done changing diapers forever? Wow.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Halloween Costume Idea Squashed. Help.

I could have the kids just dress in their costumes from last year, because it's not like anyone locally has any clue we're reusing (and so what if they did anyway?).

BUT... they were putting chairs together from the dining table the other days and hauling every single pillow and blanket we own to construct a hot air balloon the other day and I sort of thought, why not that? 

I think Halloween should be fun and creative, but I don't play either of those things well. I'm sort of fun, but not at all creative when it comes to costumes. I just can't handle anymore Elsa costumes (no offense to the millions of children who will be dressed in shimmery light blue with blond braids). 

I took to Pinterest because that's what people my age do in a crisis of absentee creativity in oneself.

I fell in love. Like, head over heels. 



I mean, it's relatively easy and super adorable. I mostly wanted to replicate the yellow balloon one to a T.

Then I visited the party supply store. FIFTEEN DOLLARS for just one balloon filled with helium. Maybe that's not a lot for some people, but this is a DIY project and also, I am literally paying for air in a rubber receptacle that will either deflate or be popped possibly immediately. And if you've ever raised small children, you know that a popped balloon basically means you have ruined their lives. Thirty dollars and the thought of all that stress...

Right then and there, my brilliant idea of creative costumes the kids could help with was immediately squashed. Deflated, if you will. (I know, I'm hilarious sometimes.) I've searched ebay and Amazon for some 36" balloons, but where do I find helium at an affordable price? Maybe I can convince my local dollar store to fill them for a couple bucks each. Hmmph. Totally open to accepting your brilliant ideas, but I'm probably just going to sit on the couch sulking about my brilliant failure of an idea that probably won't come to fruition. 

And so, you'll probably expect to see some re-used costumes this year. At least we have our decorations out and I'm fully stocked on Halloween candy. Snickers anyone?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Oh, It's YOU Again: An Excerpt From a SAHM's Diary

We arrived at the grocery store 30 seconds too late today. As we were entering, the ONLY pink car cart was being taken up by two moms (who apparently grocery shop together). I already think that's weird, but I digress. I can't coordinate a single playdate ever let alone coordinating meeting up at the market to buy groceries at the same time. Are these unicorn parents also ones whose kids behave at the market?

So the lady with her friend says, "Hey! It's you again! Sorry. We are taking the last car cart," as she sort of gives me the shoulder shrug and eyebrow raise.

"Yeah, I know. We're about to have issues here." {I might've also given a side eye roll, to be honest, because her tone was more the sarcastic "sucks to be you" and less of the empathetic fashion I was expecting from a woman I've run into 3x now in the last month.}

Cue the instant tantrum from the boy child. It's sort of an expected thing for this particular store if that stupid cart isn't available. I pull the threats and then the rewards out of my mythical hat at this point, which seem to work. We take a dull gray cart and I stick them both in the back. We scoot on by the free fruit kid basket and that seems to tame the beast, despite him rarely eating more than a couple bites of anything he chooses. He chooses a green apple and apparently hates it this time. Glad I had that grocery bag I carry around just in case for potty training pee clothes so he could spit the apple pieces into the bag. We complete the rest of the trip okay since there were promises of visiting the Halloween aisle.

That mom with the cart. We've had two other encounters. All weird. She's totally the tall and beautiful blond always in ridiculously perfect fashion and the latest Lululemon gear. So there's more than one reason to side eye her.

We first met at the Discovery Museum downtown. She enthusiastically asked if my son went to the preschool her daughter attends, because she recognized him from the class photo reel that sported him with crazy hair and a Mickey Mouse shirt I don't normally allow for such occasions. But this was his first preschool and the one I barely managed a drop-off without a tantrum, so the shirt and hair were the least of my concerns. Just getting there was the goal. I wasn't buying this round of pictures anyway. I'll buy from the new school.

I responded with an, "Oh yeah. He went there. But we switched him to a new school."

Considering that ended our conversation, she probably had a fantastic opinion of me (and my kid). And I wasn't wrong, because our second encounter was at the library for storytime and she dug up the dirty laundry. Once again, her kids were using the computers and mine were itching for a turn. She reminds me that we met at the museum and asked about my concerns with the preschool. I tried to be chill about it and our conversation still sort of ended with minor contempt for some reason. Jealous her daughter was chill about preschool and super mild-mannered? Annoyed with how perfect she appeared to be?

The cart though. Dude. It was definitely our loss and a silly, stupid one at that considering it's all public, shared property, but seeing that it was her made the petty loss super annoying to this flustered mom who just wanted to buy her groceries without any hiccups.

Reno is a small enough city that I've run into many of the same people on repeat. I place all bets on that being a person I become like crazy best friends with in a few months. But if she keeps taking that cart, I might have more than just eye rolls to share.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Blurry Eyes, Clean Teeth and Dead Car Batteries

A couple weeks ago, I ran in some serious winds. After 7.5 miles, I was so done with fighting the insane 30-60mph wind gusts, that I went home and ended it a bit early. Ever since then, my right eye has been really dry and slightly blurred. I met with an ophthalmologist Monday and he checked me thoroughly and dilated my eyes (which totally sucked parenting two kids after that!). I had Lasik 7.5 years ago and my left eye is just under perfect and my right is -.25. Neither should be the reason I'm feeling uncomfortable in my right eye and too low of a change to require a prescription. I left with no real answers after all the tests, but definitely still bothered by this right eye sitch. I'm using artificial tears but it's not helping.

I had a dental appointment last month. This month, I get to endure the first of two fillings that were uncovered during that appointment. (They won't do both on the same day, as they deem it dangerous. I should be clear on my history with them and how coming back is actually more dangerous for them because I will be way more cranky the second go around). Mind you, I brush with 1.1% $20/tube special fluoride toothpaste, with a Sonicare, floss daily with two devices and use fluoride rinse. And still, cavities. #unlucky. I'm also dealing with some adult acne, and I've never had a bad breakout What the crap, dude. I'm turning 34 next week and I don't know what gives! Broken teeth, broken eyes, broken face. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. (Side note: Benzoyl Peroxide seems to be taming the beast, so at least something is partially fixed.)

Yesterday the kids had their dental appointments. I was already marginally flipping out inside because Dad is out of town (mentally that makes things more stressful even thought he'd be working at the time anyway) and because Benjamin's last experience at the dentist's office was one that has been forever burned into my memory. It wasn't the cavity filling, but the aftermath. OH MAN, that was rough. So I'm already clawing my chair in fear that the x-rays will reveal more, despite brushing them both myself with fluoride, flossing and using flouride rinse daily. I'm really anal about the whole process because that cavity filling was traumatic for us all.

I get the kids buckled and realized my keys were still in the ignition. NBD, I've done that before. The garage was closed. Except, they were in the ON position. Like, the radio setting. Which meant, dead battery. I should've assumed all along, because my phone kept trying to connect to my car bluetooth from inside the house, but it still wasn't enough to alarm me. I'd already waited over a month to schedule the kids with this dentist I read about on Yelp (Hollywood themed? Disney posters everywhere? Like you're entering a theatre? SIGN ME UP.). I wasn't about to cancel and reschedule. Shoot, I would run the 3 miles there with them in the jogger if I had to! I immediately started knocking on doors of neighbors I'd never met. On my fourth house, this guy answers, grabs his keys and drives into the garage and jumps my car. Easy as pie. We were actually ON TIME for that dental appointment.

The kids loved the place. Both had x-rays (controversial for some, I know, but our dental history is dismal. Some lady in there was so vehemently against the fluoride paste that she said she would be taking her kids elsewhere if he tried.). They were almost excited for their exams! The cleanings happened side-by-side concurrently and the dentist was awesome and super positive. They left with stickers, toothbrushes, paste, floss and a token to be used at the toy machine (think grocery store quarter machines) before we left. They both got 3-cent bouncy balls and were smitten with the experience. But no one was more smitten than this mama. No cavities for either kid and away we went to storytime.

Kids healthy, mama broken (and apparently losing her mind). Pretty accurate, I guess.