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!

Custom Shampoo { Function of Beauty }

I finally can say that I’ve fallen in love with my shampoo. 
Let me start this off by saying in no way was I paid to write this review on Function of Beauty. I paid full price for my shampoo and conditioner and was not solicited by the company to write anything. I’m simply sharing for anyone struggling with finding their soul mate of hair washing products.

I spent a few weeks reading reviews and contemplating purchasing from Function of Beauty. I have a few hair issues (dry scalp, dry hair, breakage) that I am always looking to improve. I normally just shopped Target to try to find what I was looking for.  I decided to take the dive into the personalized approach a few weeks back and couldn’t be more glad that I did.

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I’ve been washing my hair with this new formulation for a few weeks now and am already noticing a dramatic difference. It smells amazing, it styles easier, and I am going more time between washes. I’m not going to lie, I try to go as often between washes as I can because 1) washing my hair takes forever and 2) I’m lazy. This shampoo and conditioner are saving me time and I’m forever grateful.

So, how do you create a custom shampoo and conditioner? Simple.

  1. Head over to FunctionofBeauty.com. Using this link will get you $5 off your first purchase and will also give me $5 off my next one.
  2. Fill out a “hair profile.” The website will ask you some pretty general questions about your hair including hair type, hair texture, and scalp details.
  3. Choose a scent. I went with “essential oils” which smells incredible. If I could capture the scent in a blog post I would. You’re also able to choose how strong of a scent that you want. I went with “medium” and it still sticks around for a while. So if you’re sensitive to smells at all, I’d choose light. Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 2.14.54 PM
  4. Pick your hair goals. This was the hardest part for me. You’re able to select 5 different things that you’re looking to get from your hair. There’s quite a few things to choose from as you can see. Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 2.15.08 PM
  5. Name your creation! I went with “longstrong” because that’s a summary of what I’m looking for in my hair.
  6. Check out and get excited! You should have your new creation in about a week or so. They also have options for auto ship programs that give you a 10% discount. I opted for every 4 months.

Function of Beauty 100% guarantees that you’ll love the product you receive or you get your money back. I figured it was worth a shot and it’s one that I’m glad that I took.

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.

CP Slippers [+ giveaway]

Anyone who knows me knows that I have an obsession with shoes. I have more pairs than I’d like to admit and I’m always looking for something new. It’s an addiction and one that I’m okay with. My obsession doesn’t just stop at outdoor wear but it also includes slippers. Lets just say I was overly excited to work with CP Slippers to try out their handmade in Spain leather slip ons!

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They have tons of color options but I decided to go with the turquoise for myself and my daughter. They have kids sizing available too and there was no way that I could say no to matching Aria.

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CP Slippers are handmade in Spain and have been since 1981. They’re made from high quality leather than makes them as comfortable as they look. The simplistic design is what I really appreciate. They’re perfect to just slip on and go about your day.

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I also really adore the story behind the company. CP Slippers is a family owned business. The owners grandfather went to visit Japan and took notice of the tradition of leaving shoes outside and putting on slippers to avoid dirt in the home. He brought that tradition back to Spain with him and started creating these one piece leather slippers for family and friends. Years later the company was formed.

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Want to win a pair? You’re in luck! CP Slippers is giving away a pair to one lucky reader! Just enter in the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can’t wait to see if you win? Purchase now and use code “MOMTAILSXCPSLIPPERS” for a 15% discount!

Sedona, Arizona.

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Sedona, Arizona is one of those places that I think everyone needs to see in their lifetimes. The red rocks look completely photoshopped. For example, the picture above doesn’t look real but I assure you that I was hundreds upon hundreds of feet in the air on a cliff.

Last week we took a trip out there to meet up with my husbands side of the family. Instead of going “home” for Christmas we decided to do a little vacation instead. I couldn’t be any more happy with the decision we made. Traveling with two little ones isn’t easy but going to a place like Sedona was worth every second. It isn’t the best vacation spot for toddlers with all of the cliffs, obviously, but we found plenty to do with them.

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Everett, who is 4,  hiked quite a bit! He did several miles at a time with minimal complaints. Where as Aria, my 2 year old, wasn’t having any of the walking. This made long hikes with everyone difficult but it worked out fine having someone stay back at the resort with her.

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The coolest hike the husband and I did was up to Devil’s Bridge. It really showed me exactly how out of shape I am. The hike was a total of about 5 miles with a lot of up hill climbing and rock climbing. Totally worth it once you get all the way up. You can’t tell exactly how high it is in this photo and my husband isn’t the greatest at capturing pictures but this is the top of Devil’s Bridge.

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Overall it was a fantastic trip filled with some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve ever seen. Pictures truly don’t do it justice. I’d recommend leaving little ones at home if at all possible so you’re able to do more. If you do bring them you won’t be able to do a lot of the long hikes but it’s still unbelievably breathtaking.

31 Things.

It’s my birthday! Not quite the most exciting of birthdays {Thirty-One} but a birthday none the less. Since I love goal setting and planning I thought it would be a lot of fun to make a 31 year old “bucket list” 31years1. Really buckle down and work on hand lettering. Hand lettering is super relaxing and I want to spend lots of time over the next year getting good at it.

2. Sticking with the theme of 31, I’d like to set my goal for this year to read 31 books. If you have amazing book suggestions drop them in the comments or add me on goodreads!

3. Start eating better. I’m setting a small goal of a fresh fruit or veggie daily. I’m not off to a good start as today I had Taco Bell for lunch and pizza for dinner.

4. See Billy Joel live in concert. This is happening in April. STOKED.

5. Spend more time with friends. Life with toddlers gets so hectic but time needs to be made to make sure it happens more often.

6. Spend time with adult coloring books.

7. Learn to drink without a massive hangover. *wishful thinking*

8. Save some money.

9. Go on a couple weekend trips. Explore the state we live in and the surrounding states more.

10. Pay it forward a few times.

11. Spend more time utilizing my planner.

12. Finish the restoration on my kitchen table.

13. Come up with a reasonable cleaning schedule that keeps my OCD in check but doesn’t take up all of my time.

14. Survive a cross country drive with two toddlers.

15. Make a genuine effort to blog more. I love it, I just don’t make the time to do it.

16. Attend some continuing education vet tech classes.

17. Practice with watercolor paints more.

18. Start on that novel I’m always talking about writing.

19. Learn how to edit the “look” of my blog without deleting the entire thing like I ended up doing this past week.

20. Learn the art of patience with toddlers.

21. Take the kids to the park more.

22. Have more playdates with the kids and friends.

23. Get Aria potty trained.

24. Have more date nights with the husband.

25. Get ourselves adjusted to a good schedule. We have had issues with schedule changes every 3 months and now that we’re going to be a bit more constant I’d like to establish our constant.

26. Learn how to meal plan and actually stick to it. Utilize that crock pot more!

27. Go to the movies. This might sound so trivial but the last time I saw a movie in theaters before “Sing” last week was years.

28. Calm down on the Cherry Coke and drink more water.

29. Learn my camera and photoshop a little better and use both of them more.

30. Raise chickens!

31. Help more wildlife [that I can actually release!]

 

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

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It’s unbelievable to me that another year has passed and here I am writing another Christmas post. It feels as if last Christmas was just a blink ago but I guess that’s what it’s like raising little humans.

I’m beyond excited about tomorrow morning in this house that I’ll probably have trouble sleeping like I did when I was a kid. Having two children that understand the concept of Santa and Christmas morning revives all those amazing childhood feelings. It’s not all about the presents but there is just something so magical about the belief in ole’ Saint Nick and watching their eyes light up as they come down the stairs to a tree stuffed with gifts underneath. I just can’t wait.

So on this Night before Christmas I wish everyone the Happiest of Holidays. May your hearts be full and never happier <3

 

Time Change Blues

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We’re a couple weeks into the time change and the kids and I are having the hardest time adjusting to it!  It’s amazing at what just an hour difference makes in a day but I’m noticing it to the fullest.

First of all, Everett was a late sleeper before this happened. I was constantly having to wake him for school but now he’s up and ready 2 hours before his normal wake up time. The second the sun even thinks about rising, he’s up. It seems like he has more energy than ever before at this time too. He’s not just awake and ready to watch a little TV and relax while mom has coffee. He’s demanding breakfast and energetic play time.

Aria on the other hand is deciding to sleep in way later than before. I have to wake her in the mornings that we have somewhere to be which is disastrous. You don’t want to deal with the wrath of waking up the sleeping bear; which I’m having to do 3 days a week.

Nap time has become non existent for me. I’ll put them down and they’re just bouncing around their rooms and destroying everything site.  Before the time change I could always count on at least a 2 hour nap from both kids. This was crucial for me to get things done around the house and of course work on my blog. I blame this lack of nap time for my most recent internet absence.

Then comes bedtime. I’m ready basically as soon as the sun starts setting. My body is like “HEY, IT’S DARK! GO TO SLEEP!” This isn’t really practical at 5 pm, especially since 3 days a week my shift at work begins at 5. The kids don’t seem to care if it’s dark or if I tell them it’s time to start winding down, they don’t want to go to bed any earlier.

So, I’m sleepy and have less time to get stuff done with this “extra” hour of sleep.

Screw you daylights savings time. Arizona has the right idea. 

Another Hard Toddler Lesson Learned

This past week was our counties big fair. We live in a pretty small town [to my standards] so when events like the fair happen pretty much everyone goes. It’s just how it is. I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but last year was my first year going and my camera was stolen from my stroller. So this year I was extra cautious to make sure nothing got stolen but go figure we still ran into some bad luck.

My son is obsessed with Pokemon. He wakes up talking about them and goes to sleep with them. It’s all I hear about all day long. So after using up all of our ride tickets we decided to let him play some games and try to win a prize. Of course he needed to win a pokemon plush.

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$15 dollars later and who knows how many darts the toy was his. I swear I’ve never seen this kid happier than when Piplup was handed to him.

Fast forward about 20 minutes and we were walking to the car. Everett was slow poking next to me. We had about a 1/2 mile walk and when we were almost to the car he shouts “HEY! Where’s Piplup?”

He managed to drop the toy and not notice on our walk back to the car. I went back looking for it with no luck. I’m sure someone either picked it up or it was kicked under a car.

We used the opportunity to teach him about responsibility and taking care of his things. I know he’s only 4 and the lesson is a hard one to learn. I can’t explain how happy he was when he won that toy only to lose it not even an hour later. I think of the situation like me getting a brand new pair of Tieks and then scuffing and ruining them the first time I wear them. It’s a total bummer but it teaches you to be more careful with your things.

fair1Regardless, the kids still had an amazing time.

… & I’m over here like at least this year we only lost a $15 item instead of my camera.

Squirrel Rehabilitation Update #1

I haven’t taken on any wildlife in quite a while. I rehabilitated one rabbit over the summer and one tortoise last spring but that was it for the past few years. I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had the time to commit to anything; until now.

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If you know anything about me, I’m a sucker for squirrels. So last Saturday this little lady was brought into the clinic I work at was desperately in need of medical attention. She had fallen from her nest and was roughed up by what looks to be a cat. Normally if people find squirrels on the ground we tell them to leave them unless they are injured or in some type of immediate danger; this girl was one of the exceptions.

I immediately warmed her up and started the rehydration process. Being cold and dehydrated is a death sentence for these little guys. Also, antibiotics were given right away. Cat bites, assuming it was a feline who left those wounds on her, can be lethal even if they’re tiny. I then brought her home on Saturday night and she wasn’t really eating for me. I couldn’t get her to suckle from the syringe but she was swallowing. I was basically forcing her to eat every 2-3 hours during the day which is appropriate for a squirrel her age. From her appearance, my best guess is that she was around 4 weeks old when I got her on Saturday. Her eyes are still closed but she’s got a great full coat of hair.

As the week has went on (it’s now Wednesday) her improvements are amazing. She had a big wound under her left arm that is almost undetectable now. She wasn’t using that arm well because of pain and swelling but is holding on fantastic in just these short 4 days. She’s now suckling on her own from the syringe and taking larger amounts of puppy replacement milk at each feeding.

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She really cranky when I wake her up to eat but becomes extremely excited as soon as she sees the syringe of formula. I’m just waiting on her eyes to open so I can start introducing solid foods into her diet. It’s going to be a long (6-8 more weeks) process but I’m excited to get her strong and release her back to mother nature.

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*Note: in this series of squirrel updates I won’t be giving a lot of instructions on how to raise them. I don’t feel like that is my place. If you find a squirrel and need assistance I always advice people find a local wildlife rehabilitater and seek guidance there. Don’t trust the internet. It’s a scary place filled with a lot of whack information.