Expectation vs. Reality: Aria’s First Day of School

My youngest, Aria, who just turned 3 in June had her first day of school this past week. She’s never been to any type of daycare or structured environment before so naturally I expected a few bumps in the road. She’s stubborn (I wonder where she gets that from, oops) and likes to test boundaries. She watched her brother get dropped off over last year at the school she’s attending so she seemed eager to go and play. She didn’t understand the concept that it wasn’t going to be a free for all. She’s learning. 

I picked her up from her first day and her darling teacher told me she had a rough time with a few tantrums. I expected it as she’s adjusting. Then later in the day the “first day of school” pictures were posted for the parents to see.

I about died. I laughed way too hard, then felt bad for a few seconds, and went back to laughing. This is going to be one of those gems that I can’t wait to show her when she’s older.

photo proof :

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The morning of with her nicely brushed hair and dress that she picked out. The afternoon at school with her hot mess hair and the most painful smile I’ve ever seen.

Now I’m writing this as she’s at her third day of school. Day two didn’t go much better but we’re working with her at home in hopes that she gets the hang of it sooner than later. I know how much she is going to benefit from going to this early preschool but I’m ready to not push it if she’s truly not ready. It’s a huge adjustment for her but I really think she’ll be able to figure it out. 

Second Child Potty Training Woes

We’re driving the struggle bus hard with potty training my second child. Aria just turned 3 in June and wants nothing to do with her potty. She doesn’t care if she’s wet, dirty, or have any interest in not wearing diapers. Whoever coined the phrase “boys are much harder to potty train”  didn’t meet my children.  I wrote a post back right before Everett turned three about how he basically potty trained himself. Maybe my expectations were that I would be able to follow her cue like I was with him but that isn’t happening, yet.

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Now, I understand the entire “wait till they’re ready thing.” I really do. It’s just we’re running out of time for her to be ready. I have her enrolled in a 3 day a week preschool program starting in August that they have to be potty trained for. I have been in contact with her teacher and they’re okay with sending her in a pull up but will call me if she has a “messy” accident. Knowing she always poops in the late morning, I don’t want to have to drive up there daily to go change her. My son went to this program last year and benefited so much from it. I don’t want to deny her the chance to do the same just because she doesn’t want to use the potty. So, we’re trying to encourage her the best we can.

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She’s doing her fake smile for the camera but in reality she’s really mad she has to sit there.

So what have we tried?

  • We told her about the “diaper fairy” who will come take all the diapers to babies who need them. We explained to her that she is a big girl now and can use the big girl potty. To make the diaper fairy sound more exciting we explained that she will leave her new big girl undies and a present. She could care less.
  • We let her use the iPad only while sitting on the potty. She loves messing around with the electronics and while she will sit there with it, she doesn’t want to actually go.
  • Tried motivating her with stickers. This girl loves her some stickers but when it comes to being rewarded with them, she doesn’t want tons to do with them.
  • I let her pick out her own big girl undies and told her if she goes in them we’re going to have to get rid of them. She seemed really upset when she “made hello kitty cry” but it hasn’t stopped her from doing it.
  • Currently going sans pants around the house. We’ll see if that helps. This might just be to help my sanity because I am getting extra sick of more laundry.
  • We’ve tried some of her favorite snack rewards. She just gets emotional and wants them wether she has gone or not.

So I know that time is really the only thing that is going to truly help her get ready. If she’s not there in 4 weeks then looks like I’ll be driving up to the school to change her. That sounds awful but I bet seeing other kids in her class using the bathroom could be beneficial to the process. The program has so many benefits academically and socially that I really don’t want her to miss out on.

Stay tuned and if you have any other tips on motivation, please share! 

Aria turns THREE [featuring Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake]

This past week my youngest little love, Aria, turned three. It’s incredible how fast the passed few years have flown by. I blogged my entire pregnancy so I know I have a lot of readers that are with me thinking, “how is she three?!” I know guys, I know.

Her actual birthday was Friday June 9th. My parents flew into town from Detroit to come and celebrate with her. We decided to have a smaller more intimate party on her actual birthday before the big party the following day. Just a few of her favorite things; pizza, gifts, and of course ice cream cake.

Aria Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake

Nothing beats the smile on her face when she saw the cake and we were singing too her.

So for the cake we went with a Blue Bunny vanilla bean blondie cake that I was able to just pick up while grocery shopping at Walmart. I already had so much to do with getting my house ready for a big party, I didn’t need yet another stop to grab a cake from a speciality store. It was absolutely delicious and perfect for this smaller occasion.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake

After we chowed down on some pizza and ice cream cake, it was time for a couple of presents. We let her open the gifts from my parents, my husbands parents, and us. You could tell how special she felt having the evening be just about her. I really don’t think that birthdays need to be extravagant for the child to have an amazing time. This simple evening was perfect. She was beyond excited and it was minimal stress on everyone else!

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I have included a $3.00 off coupon that is redeemable at Walmart only for a Blue Bunny ice cream cake of your own! Along with the coupon below, be sure to check the Valpak envelope that comes in the mail for an additional $3.00 off!

She had such a great birthday, was beyond spoiled, and I feel very lucky to have such great family and friends that are apart of our lives. Her big party on Saturday was amazing but Friday was fantastic as well. Of course, in typical me fashion, I completely was engrossed in the party on Saturday and didn’t take one single picture. Luckily for me, a few friends took pictures. Hey, at least I got these few!

My Child: The Great Sharpie Thief

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My daughter is a Sharpie addict.
She is a Sharpie thief and / or hoarder.

Aria is just over two years old and can’t control herself when there is any type of marker around. She colors so nice on paper with crayons but when theres a marker she has to mark every single thing she can find. I have to use Sharpies at work and I use them really often in my paper planning stuff. So, there is nothing I can do about them being in the house. I figured that putting them up on a shelf, on the kitchen counter, or even on my tallest dresser in my room was enough. I was wrong.

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I’d like to say that this was the first time that anything like this happened but that would be a lie. This is about the 7th time. Each time it happens I move the markers to a different spot or hide them but somehow she finds another marker and it happens all over again. I’m convinced she has a stash hidden somewhere that I’m not aware of.

I went to the kitchen to make myself a bagel. It takes about 3 minutes for the bagel to toast and another minute to put the cream cheese on it. In 4 minutes she found a sharpie and colored my planner, her hands, her feet, my desk, my desk chair, my brand new computer, and her face. I can’t even you guys.

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I’m a weirdo about my planner so as soon as this happened… I knew I was doing absolutely nothing Monday- Wednesday that week.

Now you want to know to get sharpie out of stuff and off your child?

You don’t.

You throw out everything or live with the annoying black marks.

You let your child walk around looking like a damn zebra and live in their stripes.

 

 

My Daughter is a Squirrel

Squirrels are really high up there on my list of favorite animals. I love watching them scurry around the yard and hide things in the nests in the trees. They make really cute little squeaky noises, have adorable bushy tails, and by far the most adorable little noses.

I loved them a lot more before my daughter turned into one.

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My Reasons Aria is basically a squirrel are as follows…

  • The girl makes nests out of everything. It’s pretty cute when she cuddles up in things that she’s supposed to, like blankets. It’s not so cute when you leave her alone for two minutes and she empties out your drawers and burrows in your clean clothes.
  • Some squirrels really like “dens” at the base of trees. Aria also likes creating a den in just about everything she can squeeze into. Her favorite places include behind the couch, behind my stand up mirror in my room, under the kitchen table, and behind the art easel in the living room. Again, pretty cute routine toddler behavior except she screams bloody murder almost every time because she is either stuck or whacks her head on something.
  • Squirrels tend to bury things so other predators don’t find what it is that they’re hiding. Well, apparently in this house my husband and I are huge predators. This girl can hide things so well that we literally tear the house apart and can’t find what it is that we’re looking for. This has happened to so many things including approximately 8,000 pacifiers and most recently, the baby monitor.  I’ve looked everyday for going on 3 weeks now and there is no sign of the damn thing.

Squirrels are cute until they ruin your clothes, hide all your things, and eat all the snacks in the house [okay, that last one is just every kid]

A Letter To My Baby Girl on Her First Birthday

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Aria,

Today you’re 365 days old. I’ve been lucky to call myself your mom for the past year. I vividly remember the second I found out that I would be having a little girl. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I thought to myself, “One day her brother will leave the nest, get married, and have a new main woman in his life. This little girl will be forever my best girl friend.” It’s been a crazy year to say the least. You were born in Texas and shortly after we moved to Michigan before finally settling down in Georgia. You took all the moving around like a champion. You won’t remember not staying in one spot as an infant but I look forward to the day that you ask me why you have a Texas birth certificate. It’ll make for such a fun story.

You were not always the easiest of babies, little girl. As you transition into a toddler, you’re still quite the firecracker. You know what you want and when you want it. In that way, you’re a lot like me.  When you’re feeling up to it, you’re also extremely sweet. I think that you get that side of you from your dad. Although I may be biased, you’re by far the most beautiful babies I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

I’m so proud to call you mine. I wish that I could keep you small forever but I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.

Happy First Birthday Aria Jane.

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Aria’s First Birthday Party [Photo Recap]

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With being a blogger and a mother, you’d think I’d be a little bit better about capturing memories on film. I tend to just live in the heat of the moment and always forget to have my camera around. I tried to be a little better about my daughters first birthday… but so much happened that I missed. I guess that is always going to be the case unless you’re video recording every second. Hey, nobody’s got time for that.

The party was last Saturday (May 30th) in our backyard here in Georgia. If you’re a frequent flier around my blog, you already know our immediate family and a lot of friends are literally scattered across the US.  Despite the distance, we had such a fantastic turnout and really felt the love for our baby girl. Several people traveled hundreds upon hundreds of miles just so they could be apart of Aria’s special day. For that, we’re extremely grateful.

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I kept the decor pretty tame and went with a little “luau” inspired theme. It was cheap, easy, and adorable. I rented a bounce house for the few children that would be there. If I’m going to be honest with myself, I rented it  to keep my 2 and a half year old son occupied.

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As you can see, it didn’t work. He was really good but couldn’t handle the fact that all the attention wasn’t on him.

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Along with her Matilda Jane knot top, her Freshly Picked Moccasins, and Adorable Essentials shorties, Aria wore this adorable crown from Birdy Boutique. It was just the most adorable accessory to have for her first birthday. A girl has got to look as good as she feels, right?

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We sang.

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Chowed down on sweets.

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Got spoiled with gifts.

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The slip and slide made its appearance for the older kids.

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Overall it was a fantastic party and such a fun day filled with love over our baby girl. Excuse me, toddler.

At Home Smash Cake Session Featuring Prim Posies

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The smash cake has to be one of my favorite “traditions” as far as the first year goes. There isn’t too much cuter than witnessing what your child is going to do with a giant, sugar filled, delicious cake in front of them. I’m not one of those mom’s who is worried about a little bit of sugar with my babies so I enjoy letting them go to town.

I wish I could afford to have a professional photographer capture these types of events for me but, like a lot of people, it’s just not in the budget. I have a fantastic camera that I use for blogging and while I’m still learning how to use it… I think these turned out pretty great.

A few tips I used:

  • Play with your setting before you get the child and the cake out there. Take a few blank practice shots so you can see what you’re going to be working with.
  • Work outdoors. The lighting is just that much better. Clean up is also much easier.
  • Take the pictures in the evening hours when the sun is going down. I don’t know the science behind this but I’ve tried to photograph during the day and the light was just overkill.
  • Choose a blank backdrop. As you can see, I used our wooden fence. You don’t want something that is going to distract from your subject.

There’s no surprise with my little garbage disposal we call Aria, she went to town on it. She probably would have ate the entire 4 pounds of cake if I let her.

smashcake2She was slightly hesitant at first but the second the sugar got to her lips she was all in. She can be a little dainty at times so it took her a while to really make a mess but as you can see, she did.

smashcake5There was no way that I was going to keep her older brother away from cake for more than 10 minutes. He patiently waited for the okay from me and had a few tastes himself.

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I swear to you this is her excited face. She does it all the time when we make a “snorting” sound trying to copy us. I couldn’t not capture this face full of cake and showing off her two new top teeth.

Now: The Outfit.

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We were given the adorable cupcake romper for this photo shoot from Prim Posies. I can’t even properly put it into words how happy I am with both the romper and the shop owner, Kimberly. The romper is adorable as you can already see and it is completely handmade besides for the fabric itself. I love the fact that you can’t just run out and buy one at the store. It brings so much more individuality to your child’s wardrobe and allows them to look as unique as we know they are.

The fact that this is handmade is one thing. The fact that it is handmade well is another. I have purchased many things made that were flawed. I know how hard it is to make things like this but when a button falls off taking it out of of the package… That’s a problem. I can assure you that Prim Posies is quality. Every seam is practically perfect and it fit Aria amazing.

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Prim Posies has an Etsy shop that you can find here. She has the most adorable things up for sale and can even accommodate custom orders. I’ve got to know her a little bit working with her the past month so I know that her shop will be “on vacation” for a little while in June since she will be in Greece on her honeymoon. After that though, It’s back to work! To follow along with all the new styles and updates of Prim Posies you can find her on Facebook!

Why I’m Waiting To Pierce My Daughters Ears

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It seems like this can be one of those “hot topics” that gets really heated in the mommy community. Everyone has their own opinion on it and this is mine. I really only have two reasons why I’m 100% waiting until she asks me.

  • It’s her body. It’s not mine. I don’t feel like I have the right to modify her body in anyway that isn’t medically necessary. I understand that these earrings can be taken out and the hole can pretty much close up on it’s own but every body is different. Every healing process is different. It is possible that it might not close especially after being in for a long period of time.
  • I am against piercing guns. I will only go to a licensed piercer and have a needle used. Most piercers will only do the procedure if the child is able to verbally say that they would like it done.

Now, why am I against piercing guns?

  • They are one size fits all. Most of these guns are not expandable which means some people may find that the earrings are too tight. There is often little room to move the backing from the ear because the posts are short.
  • It’s piercing with blunt force trauma. You’re forcing a not so sharp earring into the lobe. OUCH.
  • Lack of training. Was your piercer actually trained? You think that 18 year old girl at Claires really has a lot of experience? I’m not trusting it.

I know it’s common practice in many cultures right after birth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s actually even really safe. It’s just not for me. I’m sure one day it’ll be for her.

 

Planning Aria’s First Birthday

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If you make a big deal out of any birthday, I really think that it should be the first one. I’m not exactly sure why because it’s not like they’re going to remember it or anything. Hey, whatever. It’s what I think.
Aria will be turning one on June 9th. I can’t believe that almost a year has passed. I have already begun the planning process. We have a lot of family from out of town so I wanted to get things to them early in case they are able to make the trip. I was just going to make the invitations but once I get into party planning mode, I can’t seem to stop.

My original idea was to do a ONEderland party. You know, Alice in Wonderland themed bash. It’s a super cute idea and I’m still in love with it. I just couldn’t put the image I had in my head into action without spending an insane amount of money on decorations and party supplies. I decided to go with a pretty common but still adorable theme, the Luau. I have been able to find so many cute things to go all out around here at a decent price.

Credit: Oriental Trading Company

Credit: Oriental Trading Company

I couldn’t say no to this Pinata. The reviews complain that it’s hard to break. The small amount of young kids won’t be able to break anything you give them anyways. I just really like watching them scramble for candy after the semi-drunk adults have to break it open.

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I didn’t go with a Luau themed party invitation but whatever. I thought this one was adorable. I ended up using Vista Print and putting my own twist on the template. The best part was they were less than a dollar a piece. Can’t beat that.

So, if anyone has any great ideas for a Luau party… Start throwing them my way! I have about 6 weeks to finish planning everything. Including the menu.

Oh, and a pig roast is really expensive here. I learned that today.