2018 Easter Baskets

I don’t know why easter and easter baskets stress me out. I guess it’s because I’m trying to put things in it that 1) my kids will like 2) aren’t complete trash that will just get thrown away and 3) will fit in the basket!  I  also don’t like to go overboard and treat Easter like a second Christmas. I still, just like any parent, want to make it fun and see them get excited.

I should point out that we aren’t a religious family so we literally just celebrate the easter bunny and the coming of spring! The bunny comes in and brings surprises for them to enjoy during spring time.

I browsed the pre-made baskets at the store and just felt like my kids would eat the candy and then break any of the toys that were in there in a sugar fueled rage.

So instead… 

This is what I came up with this year.

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These are the same baskets they’ve had since their very first easter! I got them at Pottery Barn kids on mega sale years ago and they’ve held up fantastic.

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So what exactly did I put in them this year?

Aria [3.5 years old] & Everett [5.5 years old]

  • 2 swim suits
  • spring / summer sandals
  • 3 jars of playdoh
  • sidewalk chalk
  • hatchimal eggs
  • slinky
  • cotton candy
  • chocolate bunny
  • educational book [preschool or kindergarten workbook]
  • scented markers [mostly for me, I’m obsessed]
  • silly putty
  • blank drawing pad

I put pretty much identical things in each basket to avoid the inevitable fight between them if they’d had gotten different things. There’s, of course, sugar in there but with all the egg hunts they’re going too, I really didn’t want to fill the basket with more. I was going to be buying swim suits and sandals anyways so why not toss them into the basket! I feel like everything in there will be used this spring and don’t feel guilty since I didn’t fill them with a bunch of junk that will get thrown away in a day!

 

Road Trip With Toddlers

I’m beyond excited that I even get to write this post. Bringing two children across the country in the car sounded like a nightmare but I was beyond pleasantly surprised with how it went.

In February we decided that we wanted to go up to Detroit for a hockey game. It was going to be a quick trip so spending literally $2000 on four airline tickets was just outrageous. We were leaving on a Thursday and coming home on Monday. I couldn’t justify that kind of money for just a few days. Our only other option if we wanted to go to this game that badly [trust me, I did] was to drive.

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The drive, according to google maps, was going to take 13 hours and 10 minutes. I was anticipating at least 6 hours of straight crying each way from my 4 year old and 2 year old. Instead I got about 30 seconds on the way there and about 5 minutes on the way home. WIN.

Here’s what we did.

  • Mentally prepare the kids for the drive. A few days before I started talking to them about how we were going to their “GiGi’s house” but we were going in the car. I told them it was going to be a long drive but if they tried to sleep and were very good then they would get there faster.
  • Leave super early in the morning. We were on the road by 5 AM. It was awful for me since I despise waking up so early but the kids were so tired that they fell asleep within about 30 minutes.
  • Don’t stop for breakfast or potty breaks until they wake. I was starving by 7 AM and had to pee like a racehorse but the kids were still sleeping. There was no way I was chancing them waking up because the car stopped moving until they were done sleeping.
  • Fill them with a big breakfast. They didn’t wake up till almost 5 hours into the drive. We all got out of the car, went to the bathroom, and got breakfast to be eaten in the car.
  • Bring lots of snacks. As soon as someone started to get a little crabby I would offer them a new snack.
  • Limit drinks. This is obvious to me but I don’t want to be stopping with a toddler that has to pee every hour because I’m filling them with drinks.
  • Keep them engaged while they’re awake. I would keep asking them questions about things we were seeing outside. Asking them colors of things, asking them to find certain types of cars, ect. I feel like this really kept their minds busy.
  • Tablets / Screen Time. I think this is really what saved us but I did it in a way that’s probably a little different than what you’re thinking. I brought the kids tablets but didn’t give them to them right away. I did it once they were really getting restless and almost ready for nap time. It was almost like the tablet reset the time that they were in the car. I put some movies on them, turned them on, and they seemed to forget they were in the car.

So what I think really saved us was the fact that they continued sleeping as soon as we got into the car and the fact that they were mentally prepared for the fact that it was going to be a really long ride.

Now, we’re doing it again over Christmas so I can only hope it goes as well as this trip did. Wish us luck and if you have any other tips or experiences with long road trips with kids; leave it in the comments!

The War Against The Toddler & The Tablet

I need to start this off by saying I used to be a huge fan of a little screen time for my children. I loved the fact that I could put on one of my kids favorite shows and I’d be able to get things done. That phase has passed and they’re not so much into watching 30 minute long shows anymore. They’ll watch a few minutes, need a snack, go play with something, and then come bother me for something else. That’s when they started to ask me to watch their tablets. I needed some time to get some things done so I complied. They were unbelievably entertained watching other children play with toys on kids youtube. Why they’d rather watch other kids open up eggs with toys in them than play on their own is beyond me; but I was getting things done.

That’s when the war began. ToddlerTablet copy

My children became addicted to their tablets; more specifically addicted to watching children play with toys and open random eggs with shit in them. They’d ask for them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The first thing they wanted to do in the morning was get their iPads. The last thing they wanted to do at night was to go to sleep with the thing. They got to the point that they’d rather watch other people play than go outside and play themselves. We wouldn’t let them have it the entire day but then we started to see tantrums. When they’d ask for the dumb electronic device and we’d say no… It would get ugly.

Enough was enough. Serious limitations have been set and my children are now experiencing full withdrawl symptoms.

My two and a half year old doesn’t get hers at all. She doesn’t understand the time limits on it that I’ve set. She really has no concept of time which is understandable. I tried setting the thing to go off using “free time” and she had a complete meltdown when the screen displayed “times up for today!”  I decided I wasn’t even going to deal with it with her anymore.

My four and a half year old gets his for a total of about 30 minutes a day; 10 being before bed.  He is absolutely livid with me when I take it away but is starting to understand the limitations.

That’s all I think they’re able to handle at this point and even though I’m getting less things done around here that I really need to get done… I’m not going to raise children who are addicted to screens and literally have meltdowns when the batteries die. This is going to be one war that mommy chooses to battle and dammit, I’m going to win.

P.S. Screw the creepy adults who make those child addictive YouTube videos of opening eggs. You’re the equivalent of a drug dealer in my eyes and I’m not going to stand for it.

It’s a Really Hard Time to Be a Parent

There’s no doubt about it, almost every aspect of parenting is hard. I without a doubt believe the popular quote I see floating around that states “Behind every good parent is a parent that’s pretty sure they’re screwing it all up.” We are our harshest critics and don’t need the extra worry and critique that this day and age of social media brings us.

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Parenting has always been difficult but I believe that this current generation has it harder than it’s ever been because of one thing: the internet. 50 years ago parents would talk to their doctors and friends and now, for some reason, we choose to turn to doctor google and social media for answers to our “problems.” The days where we would just trust our instincts seem to be dwindling down. If your child has a rash from a new detergent they’re having a reaction too, the internet will tell you it’s a type of infectious bacterial/fungal/viral rash that can only be treated by essential oils, a special $600 bottle of lotion, IV antibiotics, and of course not using that detergent anymore.

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The screenshot above is one of many things I’ve run across in Facebook groups that literally made me shake my head.  I obviously am not about to call people out on my blog and I don’t think that this person did anything wrong by asking. She is legitimately worried that she cleaned her tub that her son uses with bleach. She is what I think of as a victim of social media and the internet. I’m sure somewhere she saw how “dangerous” bleach is, even if used correctly, and doesn’t want to risk it. How do you think all of our tubs were cleaned when we were kids? Bleach. I was surprisingly relieved when I read the comments because they were 90% reassuring and rational. 90% is way more than I was expecting which is sad.

Another thing, we all love sharing pictures of our kids on social media. Pictures of our kids in school, pictures of our kids at the park, pictures of our kids doing crafts, and pictures of our kids in the car. On TONS of pictures in the car, I see parents posting a little disclaimer with the caption. Like “We were parked that’s why his straps are like this!” or “I fixed the chest clip right after I took this picture!” It’s great that people are so aware of carseat safety but it’s sad to me that people are almost afraid of what others are going to say about it. I saw a picture with a similar caption and literally couldn’t see anything wrong with the way the child was strapped in. Maybe that makes me ignorant, blissfully so.

I could go on and on about this topic; sharing examples of what I’ve seen but the thing is, I’m sure you’ve all seen it too. My advice is trust your gut and take everything you read and hear with an entire margarita with extra salt. Cheers mommas!

Potty Training With Pampers Easy Ups {$50 AMEX giveaway}

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Potty training is one of those times in raising your children that can be quite frustrating and stressful. Sometimes what works for one child isn’t going to work for the next and it can be a complete trial and error type of situation. It can be hard on the child and hard on the parent when things aren’t going exactly how you want them too. Lets face it, nothing in parenting is considered easy but Pampers Easy Ups are here to help things go as smooth as possible!

My oldest son is about to be 4 years old. I tried potty training him when he was just over two because he was giving me tons of signs that he was ready for that adventure. He wasn’t. It was days of accidents, frustration, and stress. I decided to wait a while for him to flat out tell me he was ready and always gave him the option to go on the potty. Finally, one day it just clicked. I rewarded him with stickers and it was pretty smooth sailing. Except for nighttime. Here we are at almost 4 years old with no signs of being ready to get up in the middle of the night for potty breaks. He was getting so upset when I’d put another brand of pull up on him at night because he “wasn’t a baby and didn’t want to wear a diaper.” I’m so thankful that we’ve found Pampers Easy Ups because they really do feel like underwear and there is so much less complaining!

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Now, Aria, my youngest just turned two in June. She’s a little more ready than he was at her age. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that she’s a girl or because she watches her big brother go but we’re introducing the potty and she’s a lot more interested. She was so excited to wear her “Dora” undies!

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Like I mentioned above, they really do feel like underwear! They have an extremely soft waistband that doesn’t dig into the skin. Both my kids have no problems pulling them up or down by themselves either which is great for their independence. They also hold up to accidents which is extremely important to me. No more washing sheets every morning or changing outfits when there is a slip up!

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Potty Training Tips from Dr. Tanya Altmann

Dr. Altmann is a pediatrician and a mom to three of her own children. She has some great tips on the potty training process! I’ve tried quite a few of these with great success and plan to implement more into the routine with Aria as we continue on this journey.

  1. Get your child excited about wearing underwear!
  2. Have patience.
  3. Look for signs that your child is ready.
  4. Lead by example. [I know it can be awkward to have your child in the bathroom with you and sometimes we need some peace but they really do learn by example!]
  5. Be positive and make it fun! [stickers worked so well here!]

Why Should You Choose Pampers Easy Ups in the Potty Training Process?

  1. They really do feel like real underwear but still provide excellent protection against the dreaded leak! I really think that if the pull on protection a child is using feels like a diaper than they’re going to treat it like a diaper!
  2. They come in such adorable patterns that children actually want to wear! They feature Thomas the Train Engine™, Dora the Explorer™, and now Hello Kitty™.
  3. They are really easy for little hands to pull up and down! I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw how independent both of my kids were in them!

You can snag a coupon for $2 off a pack of Pampers Easy Ups here!

Now for the giveaway, enter below for your chance to win a pack of Easy Ups, a copy of the book “The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting” by Ilana Wile, and a $50 American Express Gift card!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A winner will be chosen on September 30th and notified by email. The winner has 24 hours to respond to the email or a new winner will be chosen. All entries are subject to verification. Mom Tails is not responsible for shipment of the prize. Please note that entrants can only win one of the giveaway prize packs from the participating bloggers in this campaign.

I’ve Got The Kid Crud

Everett started school (Pre-K) a few weeks back. In fact, this week will only be his third full week. In that short amount of time he’s managed to bring home all of the germs.

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I knew when my kids started going to school and being around other children that they would wind up with different illnesses. I expected it. What I didn’t expect was it to happen the first week and I sure as hell didn’t expect for it to take me out.

He came home from school one day with a slight fever. The fever was gone in just a couple of hours and then he had a runny nose for the next two days. That was it. He was back to being full speed ahead and didn’t even have to miss school or soccer practice.  Once he was better Aria got it. She had a fever for a little longer and a runny nose for a few extra days but it wasn’t anything too bad.

Then I got it. It started as a horrific sore throat on Thursday and Friday. Then it decided to move to my nose on Saturday. By Sunday, I could hardly get off the couch. Here we are on Monday and it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. The things I’m coughing up are things of nightmares.

It’s just amazing how these things manifest in children vs. adults. It brings me back to last year when Hand Foot Mouth [click here to read about that disaster] ran through our house. My kids were better in a few short days and I had it for almost 10. I guess it’s better it’s me than it is them but dammit, I have things to do! I know this is only the beginning my kid crud journey; My immune system better step it up a notch or seven.

Daily Parenting High vs. Low Struggle

I always figured with kids you’d have your “good” days and your “bad” days. While that’s often the case in the general sense, I never realized how those highs and lows were going to change minute by minute. ParentingHighsandLows

I have two toddlers. It’s obviously not going to be peaches and ice-cream all the time around my house. In fact, most of the time it’s not. Someone is whining for something, someone can’t find a toy, or someones upset about something they lost 6 months ago. That’s just the way it is. It’s just amazing how amazing things can be going and how quickly they can turn at the drop of a hat.

It was a school day and I woke both kids up. I value sleep as much as they do so waking them up was unheard of until Everett started school. We’re working on getting into the routine but some days are a complete struggle. This particular day, they work up without issues, got dressed, teeth brushed, and ate breakfast without one single complaint. They even kept quiet while their dad slept! [he’s on an overnight shift so this is impossible some days] We got to school on time and the entire way there Everett talked to me about how good he was going to be and how he promised me he was going to listen to his teachers. 4 hours later I go to pick him up and he’s in the time out chair. First offense was poking and the second was putting his shoes in someones face. Seriously? Well, I had to listen to him scream about me taking away the iPad for the next 45 minutes. He wakes up from a short nap after we got home and never mentioned it again.

Then the evening rolled around and I made dinner as usual. I always try to offer my picky kids whatever the adults are eating because 1) I want them to eat well and try new things and 2) it’s a total pain in the ass to make them something separate to eat. I made a breakfast bake with sausage and eggs. They absolutely devoured their entire servings. BOTH of them.

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I set them down and take off Aria’s diaper for about two seconds while I put their dishes into the sink. I come back and she had run into the playroom, pooped on the floor, and was playing in it. Fighting the instinct to vomit (I don’t want to clean that too) I throw her into the shower. I went from an “awww! I’m so glad you guys ate all your dinners and behaved at the table” to trying to make sure all the pieces of poop go down my shower drain in about 4 minutes flat.

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Finally, all the poop is cleaned up, the kitchen mess is in order, and the kids are almost ready for bed. Everett requests to watch the Little Mermaid before bed and I allow it. I’m sitting there snuggling an overtired Aria and Everett says to me “Ariel is beautiful just like you mama.” Seriously, melt.

It’s days like today that really show me what an emotional rollercoaster that parenting is. One minute your child does the sweetest thing on the planet or behaves amazingly and the next minute their playing in their own poop or shoving their shoes in another kids face at school. This is what I call the daily high and low struggle with parenting.

Why I’m Teaching My Kids It’s Okay To Talk To Strangers

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You have to hear me out on this topic. I know what you’ve just read in the title is completely going against what all of us have been told for who knows how many years. We have all probably been told at one point in our lives not to talk to strangers. My husband and I have decided that we’re going to go about this a little different than that.

We’re going to tell our children that it’s okay to talk to strangers. I know, sounds crazy right? I don’t want them to have a fear of the general public. I don’t want them to be afraid to say hello, goodbye, or ask questions. My main reasoning is that I want them to feel comfortable going to a stranger if they need help. This logic is really for when they’re more on the younger side, around 4. Right now my kids are 2.5 and a year old so they have absolutely no concept of what a stranger is. Right now we already wave hello to people in the grocery store and say goodbye to the lady at the checkout counter. It’s teaching them to be polite and social but also not to fear the general public.

When they reach about 4 years old, I’ll have a conversation with them about what a stranger is. I don’t want them to hear the word and automatically think that it’s a bad thing but rather just someone that they don’t know. Since there is always a chance of kids being separated from parents or whomever they are with I’ll point out all of the “safe people” to talk to first in the event that something happens. The conversation will go something like “always look for mommy or daddy first” and “if mommy and daddy aren’t there look for your teacher or helper” and lastly “if you don’t see anyone you know, ask for help finding us.” I plan on making it a habit in certain stores that we visit frequently pointing out people who work there and showing them the uniform for if we somehow get separated in a store those would be one of the first people they’d look for besides me.  I would 100% rather have them ask for help from a stranger than be afraid, alone, and lost.

I don’t plan on them ever being out of my site but we all know that accidents happen. Children take things very literally so I’m worried that if they are lost, and repeatedly have been told not to talk to strangers, they could be too afraid to ask someone to help them find someone that they know.

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So to break it down our plan looks like this:

  • It’s okay to talk to strangers if you need help and there is no one you know close by.
  • Never leave with anyone you don’t know regardless of what they tell you.
  • Don’t take any item from a stranger even if they tell you that you can have it.
  • Start young with teaching them their name and my phone number.
  • Don’t let a stranger touch you. If someone is trying to grab you then yell for help.

Why We Decided Against Baptizing Our Children

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This is one of those topic’s that really doesn’t go over well in strict families. Both my husband and myself as well as our brothers, cousins, ect., have all (as far as I know) been baptized. We’re  the first ones on both sides of our families to make a different choice than everyone else. At first I think our parents were upset but now that it has been two and a half years since our first was born they’ve kind of dropped the topic. I don’t really think I’ve ever brought up why we decided to hold off on this very “old school” tradition.

  1. We are not religious people. We don’t attend church on a regular basis and kind of leave religion out of the way we run our lives. I’m not going to say what my beliefs are because that doesn’t really matter but it wouldn’t be right to join a church just to have our little ones baptized.
  2. People tell me that our children will go to “purgatory” and not enter heaven if we don’t do it. Urh, I think that’s a load of crap. Any god I want to believe in won’t punish my children for a choice a parent made.
  3. I’d like them to be able to make their own choices as far as religion goes. I don’t want to do choose for them. When they start having questions I will gladly direct them to people who are going to have more answers than I will.
  4. This point is total vanity and doesn’t really stand ground but I can’t stand the traditional baptism dress.
  5. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m completely ignorant in religious topics. I honestly don’t even know the “Lords Prayer” and find it really awkward when everyone is saying it and I just look around. I feel like I’d be putting on a front and telling a lie if I decided to put my kids through this.
  6. Someone told me to “just do it” because you get to have a party and the child gets gifts that you can save for the future. That’s pretty much the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Going back to reason number 5… I can’t put on a front just for some cash. What kind of person would that make me?

I don’t care what other parents do. Not in the least. As long as they’re not shoving it down my throat or belittling my choices. It’s all good.

 

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.