The Morning Routine

From the time you wake up, how long does it take you to leave the house?

Ughh. It takes me a long time.

About two hours. And it seems even longer.

Let me set the scene first. I have two little ones. They go to “school” 3 days a week. I work but have a home office. Some days I have to go to client meetings. Some days I just have to get out of the house for human interaction.

My biggest problem is I don’t usually set an alarm. I wake up when one of my littles wakes up. If I have a meeting in Boston I need to get to, I will set my alarm for 6 and try to shower and get mostly ready before they wake up. They usually wake up about 7am.

So I feed them breakfast. We sometimes play a little bit. The oldest watches a show, or at least we have Disney Jr. on the TV…it takes her a WHILE to really wake up in the morning.

I shower, put on makeup, do my hair and get dressed. Sounds like a lot but I can do all that in 20 minutes max (as long as I don’t wash and dry my hair….hence the sock bun I’ve been sporting a lot recently.

There are days I don’t shower. Shhh…don’t tell. But I still wash my face, do makeup, etc. Actually, I tend to get more compliments on those days so maybe I shouldn’t shower more often :) Ha ha. And I ALWAYS get dressed. Meaning no gym clothes, sweats or pajamas out of the house!

I try to lay the girls clothes out the night before. I give my oldest input, maybe too much, but I usually ask her what color she wants to wear, and she responds with the color and if she wants to wear shirt/pants or a dress. The little one is too little so I still get to pick her clothes :)

I pack their lunches. My husband typically gets their lunches all ready, but I have to put the stuff in the lunch bags, and cook any hot food to put in each girls’ thermos.

I load the car. I often put the girls in the car first, the little one with a bottle and the eldest with a snack. We have a garage under our house and it’s warm and secure so don’t freak out on me. Then I load in their school bags. Then my purse, laptop bag, etc.

I often do a final check of the house to make sure the oven is off, no stove burners are on, irons are off, etc. Another final sweep to make sure kids have jackets, hats, mittens, etc. in the winter.

Then we are lucky to pull out of the garage two hours later.

And many times, I pull a u-turn and head back home for something I forgot.

And sometimes, I have to go back a second time.

Awesome.

Holy moly…I’m tired just typing all this. It’s exhausting.

What is your morning routine line? How long does it take you to get out of the house? Any tips to be more efficient?

 

Rhymes with Curious George

Rhymes with Curious George? Yeah, that’s a tough one. This is a long and windy story so just bear with me…but I’ll try to make it brief.

My youngest daughter’s name is Ella and we often call her Ella Bella. And then we keep rhyming. So sometimes it’s Ella Bella’s feets so smella. I know, genius right?

My oldest daughter’s name is Lily. We always rhyme Lily with chilly and silly and all sorts of other made up -illy words.

But one day she had a better suggestion.

“Lily, Lily, Curious George.”

Yup. That’s it. Give her a break, she’s only in preschool. But she laughs hysterically every time. And honestly so do I.

I’m sure you are thinking I am the worst story-teller ever at this point. But it is a true story, and relevant. Keep reading…please.

We love Curious George in our house and was super excited to be invited to preview season 7 of his show on PBS. We previewed the first episode in a theater and my girls loved it. They sat in their seats in the theater and attentively watched George and his Australian adventure. The show features Bindi Irwin as a special guest…but come on, monkeys and kangaroo? How can you go wrong?

Here’s a sneak peek :

It was a very cute show and the adults were giggling and enjoying it as much as the children. Any who…after the screening, we had the opportunity to meet George himself! I think I was way more excited than my little ones. The three year-old played it cool, but did ask him where the Man with the Yellow Hat was. Smart question if you ask me. My little one, well, she had a meltdown. She is a huge fan of Curious George books, shows and even her little Curious George stuffed monkey, but a 6′ tall fuzzy, in real life George? Not so much.

From that picture, I am not sure you can really tell the fear in my little one, but trust me, she clung on to me so tight, buried her head in my shoulder and sobbed. Uncontrollably. Poor George…I hope he didn’t take it personally.

So we left. Quickly. Without saying good-bye.

And I took them for fro-yo. Because that solves all problems.

Here is more info on season 7 of Curious George, premiering on Monday, December 3rd:

Monday, December 3, 2012

“Monkey Down Under”

G’Day Mate!  George and The Man with the Yellow Hat visit the land down under for an Australian outback safari adventure!  While the Man goes sightseeing for sea cows, George stays behind to investigate footprints in the sand.  Could it be a mysterious hopping clown rabbit?  Or perhaps…a baby kangaroo!

“Bright Lights, Little Monkey”

George, Allie, and Bill go on a late-night search for a mysterious creature – the Perseids. But taking pictures in the dark is hard enough without making noise that would scare away their camera-shy guests. They’ll need a new way to communicate…in a flash!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“We Otter Be Friends”

After an otter swims away with Mr. Quint’s boat keys, a stranded George tries everything he can to retrieve them.  But the otter is a faster swimmer, a quicker runner, and a better hider than George.  Can George out-otter the otter and get the keys back?

“Sir George and the Dragon”

George is starring in his first play.  Under the hot stage lights, George falls asleep and dreams he’s a guarding a medieval castle!  Can the clever monkey figure out how to keep Dragon Charkie out of the castle and be the hero of the play?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

“Hundley Jr.”

What’s long, low to the ground, and loves to clean milkweed off the lobby floor? Hundley’s newest friend and caterpillar, Hundley Jr!  But when Hundley is torn between looking after the lobby and caring for his new friend, he turns his lobby duties over – to a monkey!

“Curious George Gets Winded”

Bill needs one more newspaper delivery to win the coveted Golden Pouch, but a big snowfall ruins his chances. Even with George’s help, there’s no way he can deliver all those papers in time.  Can George’s monkey-made wind sled help the duo sail to victory?

Curious George airs weekdays on PBS KIDS (check local listings). For more monkey fun, visit Curious George’s website at pbskids.org/curiousgeorge. The site has games, printables, and video clips to enrich kids’ creativity.

Checking out the Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40

I was excited to be invited to an event sponsored by Graco to learn more about their new car seat, the Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40. The event was hosted by Charlene of Charlene Chronicles and SITS Girls.

First off, I have to give kudos to an amazing event. As someone who has planned events as part of my “day job,” the event was well-done. The event was held at MiniLuxe Wellesley and it was the perfect spot to get a bunch of moms (some with little ones and others who are expecting) together to learn about Graco’s new product.

There was a chance for a little pampering…wine…and a chance to learn about the Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40. I think all the moms who attended were very appreciative of the spa services, as well as learning about an awesome new car seat.

Now for the car seat. The Graco peeps are super nice to have given me a car seat to take home from the event. I wish I had photos or video of this happening…I carried it on my head, teetering to my car in my 4″ stiletto Louboutins. Working it all the way! Here is a picture of the car seat box in the back of my small SUV.

Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 is the only infant car seat that provides rear-facing protection for babies from birth to 2 years old, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The infant car seat grows with babies from four pounds up to 40 pounds, so parents can keep their children rear facing longer, while making sure they stay comfortable as they grow. You can learn more about the car seat by checking out the Graco Safety site.

I decided to take a video of me installing this new car seat in my car. So check it out:

I used the car seat all week and here are some of my thoughts:

  • I love the idea that Graco provides an option to help us keep our babies safe in a rear facing seat up to 2 years or 40 pounds.
  • It’s great to be able to get longer use out of baby gear, so to be able to keep baby in the same seat for 2 years is great. Then transfer to a forward facing seat!
  • It was very easy to install and figure out how to adjust the settings
  • There are eight (8) different recline positions to provide more room for growing babies…
  • HOWEVER, as you give baby more and more space, you lose more and more space for the front passenger seat. I have a small SUV and it was a TIGHT squeeze on the last recline position, and that is with the front passenger seat pushed all the way forward. If we are to use this seat going forward, we will need to put it in my husband’s car, since the front passenger in that car is usually little ole 4’8″ me!
  • I’d be shocked if you could put the seat in full extended mode in a compact or mid-size car
  • My 15-month-old seemed happy in the seat….I think ;)

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The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

What a difference a year makes

Next week, my baby turns one. Yes, one. Already. How can she be one already? I obviously haven’t come to terms with this yet. But that’s a conversation for a different post.

I was looking through pictures and thought a last year vs this year picture post could be fun.

Since I was 9 months pregnant last year at this time, we’ll start with me :)

                          

Whoa….what a different a year makes. But a funny note, I still wear the dress that I was wearing last year, I just belt it. And the dress I’m wearing in this year’s picture, I wore last year unbelted. Fun fact ;)

Now for my princess….

           

And my baby princess….

            

I can make one prediction for next year….I will not be pregnant again! I love comparing pictures year to year, and now pictures of my girls at the same ages.

Babies on the Move

I remember being so excited for my first daughter to crawl and walk. She crawled at about 7 1/2 months.

#1: Her push up stance....the day before she crawled

She was an early-ish walker at 10 1/2 months. We were so proud.

Fast forward 2+ years to baby number two. The thought of her crawling and walking was not as exciting.

It’s been easy…a toddler and a baby. The toddler is like a tornado sometimes, but the first few months, the baby was a constant. Just in one spot. Minding her own business. Not getting into things. Not getting into her sister’s things. Happy to spend time in a swing, a bouncy seat or just on her back on her play mat.

And then she started crawling. And everything changed. The baby discovered toys. And puzzles. And not just her toys and puzzles, but her sister’s toys and puzzles. And trains. And Disney friends.

But crawling wasn’t so bad. She was always low to the ground, so we learned to strategically place her sister’s special toys a little higher and we avoided any issues.

Until she walked.

Two days shy of 11 months, the baby started walking.

S(&#!!!!!!

She didn’t “just start walking.” Within a week, she was fully walking across the house and using her newfound skills and steadiness to discover and more “new” toys. Including her sister’s kitchen, crayons and shopping cart.

Don’t get me wrong….we are still so proud and excited. But it changes things around the house. And at times makes things more chaotic (not sure that was possible). She gets into everything. And she is a “different” walking baby than her sister was.

#1 was very cautious. She very rarely tried to get into things that were not hers. Like in the kitchen. She never cared about the cabinets and drawers, except for the one lower cabinet where I kept some of her food and snacks.

#2 gets into all the cabinets and drawers, so I’m thinking we need to go to phase two of baby proofing. She’s tried to crawl up the stairs (and with me behind her, she successfully has). She tried to climb on things. She’s quite adventurous.

It’s funny. We tend to “compare” milestones for both girls. And the girls’ milestones are all pretty close, within two weeks of each other. But they really are individuals and each have their own little personalities. It’s fun to compare, but it’s even more fun to see the differences.

My Expanding Family: Anticipating #2

As many of you know, I am a mom to two little girls, ages 3 and 9 months. The age difference is 2 years, 3 months.

When I found out I was pregnant, my little one was 18 months old. She was walking, talking and being a crazy little toddler. When I found out I was pregnant, of course I wanted to tell her and tell her she would be a big sister. But what would that mean to an 18-month-old?

Probably nothing. So I didn’t tell her.

During my pregnancy, I wondered if she was curious about what was happening. Let’s face it, I could eat all the cupcakes in the world and my belly would never grow as large as it did during my pregnancy. I was definitely tired….a lot. I had some days/weeks of doctor ordered bed rest which was very tough. My daughter definitely started picking up on something come my last trimester.

But I still felt it was too early to start explaining what was about to happen. Finally in my last month, we started telling her there was a baby in mommy’s tummy and she was going to be a big sister. We talked about how being a big sister is the best thing in the world. How much fun it would be. To be honest, she didn’t really care much. She’d entertain our conversation for a few minutes, then want to build blocks or play outside.

As she should….at this point, she just turned two.

I think we made the right decision. There is no way a little one can understand 9 months of waiting and anticipation. And if she did get it, that’s a long time to have to wait for something.

Here are some other tips and ideas for getting your toddler ready for their new little brother or sister:

  • Don’t change a lot at once. We had to get out the Moses basket, the swing, and other “baby” items that were put away. We did this slowly and gradually.
  • Her room didn’t change. Many families move their toddler to a new bedroom to make room for the new baby. I don’t agree with this. You don’t want your toddler feeling like you are taking things away from him/her to give to the new baby. The transition of adding a new baby to the family will be easier if you keep as many things  for your little one as possible.
  • Similarly, think ahead about things like high chairs, car seats, etc. If your little one will be ready for a booster seat, instead of a high chair, try to transition in advance of the new baby needing it. Same with the car seat so that our little one thinks it’s a natural progression for him/her, not because of the new baby.
  • Many people say getting your little one a doll works well. Our little one didn’t take to it much, but I’ve seen it work with others and is a great idea.
  • Take your little one shopping to buy a gift for the new baby. A lovey makes a great welcome to the family gift.
  • When the new baby arrives, have a gift that you bought ahead of time for the baby to give his/her big sister/brother. From personal experience, balloons make a great gift, especially for toddlers! When my little one came to visit me and the baby in the hospital, we had balloons for her…from her little sister of course.

Why is my toddler acting like a teenager?

We’ve made it through the terrible twos pretty unscathed. I’m not letting out a sigh of relief yet because many tell us that the “horrible threes” are much worse.

Awesome.

But it seems as if my little toddler sometimes acts like a teenager?

I’ll give examples.

  • After planning for months for a Yo Gabba Gabba themed third birthday party (and by planning I mean pinning things onto my Gabba pinterest board), my little one proudly proclaims “I can’t wait for my Mickey Mouse birthday party!” She totally changed her mind. A toddler’s prerogative? Remedy: there is not one other than I already created a Mickey Mouse party pinboard (even though her party last year was Minnie!).
  • After getting her fully dressed for school in an outfit she’s worn many times, she begins to tear off her clothes and cry “I don’t want to wear this to school,” just as we are getting into the car. Remedy: Now she picks out her own clothes, or at least what color clothes she wants to wear the night before (and this remedy is actually working quite well…thanks to my Mom for the suggestion).
  • She takes about 2 hours in the morning to wake up. She’s a slow riser, that’s for sure. Today I heard her stirring and went into check on her. “Mommy, can you please go back downstairs? I’m still waking up.” At least she said please…. Remedy: I don’t have one. Sometimes it is helpful that she is in slow-motion in the morning and allows me to actually get ready!
  • Sometimes when she is watching a show on TV and my husband and I are talking, she will say, “Mommy. Daddy. Be quiet.” No please there. Remedy: Usually the tickle monster comes out and we chase her around the house. I know that has nothing to do with her asking us to be quiet but hey, what can I say.

Now please don’t take away from this that she is a spoiled little brat. She is not. She is adorable, well-mannered and sweet. And 2 years 10 months. So once in a while, I get these little glimmers of what she will be like as a teenager….and I also remember what I was like as a teenager. Ugh. Gives me a headache.

I will try as hard as I can to keep my little one little for as long as humanly possible. Does your little one have “teenager” moments?

Things My Kids Will Never Know

I just saw a tweet from @bos_sportswoman that said “My son asked me what xeroxing means. I then asked him for a Kleenex to wipe my tears.”

I laughed.

And then I started thinking of all the things I used in my life growing up that my kids will never use or even know about.

  1. Old-school telephone ring. We don’t have a home phone, my husband and I use our cell phones. And we hate ringtones so they just vibrate.
  2. Phone with a rotary dial. That would blow their mind.
  3. A phone connected to the wall by a cord. Blasphemy. Okay, enough phone references.
  4. Typewriter. I remember taking typing class in high school and using 1950′s style typewriters (no I didn’t go to high school in the 50′s…the typewriters were just really old). I’m guessing my girls will never use a typewriter. I find the sound of typewriters oddly soothing and nostalgic. Maybe we should get a vintage one for the house so they understand how “Mommy used to write papers in middle school.”
  5. Airline tickets. Remember the scene in Home Alone where they are getting into the vans on the way to the airport and they check to make sure they have their airline tickets? I love that movie. I remember traveling as a kid and having the card stock printed tickets for our trips. No longer. We just swipe our credit card at the airport and done.
  6. VCRs. Oh the joy of VCRs when you wanted to watch your favorite movie that you taped from HBO, only to find out someone taped a sporting event over it.
  7. Cassette tapes. Remember your favorite mix tape you left in the glove compartment of your car on a hot sunny day, only to find it melted.
  8. Boom boxes. Oh dear. I don’t think I actually walked around holding one on my shoulder. But who knows. Not the same effect if you try putting your iPod on your shoulder.
  9. Encyclopedias. Do they still make encyclopedias? We had a set when I was a kid and that was my #1 source for all my school projects when I was young. I wonder what “reference” requirements my kids will have for their term papers and projects.
What else do you remember from your childhood that your children will never know?

An Open Letter to Moms at Mommy and Me Classes

An Open Letter to Moms at Mommy & Me Classes:

Please stop your whining, complaining and gossiping. Stop. Just stop.

I don’t care that your husband is an idiot. I don’t care that your neighbor’s kid has issues because his hand is always down his pants. I don’t care that your mother-in-law is a helicopter grandmother. I don’t care that you are having trouble losing your pregnancy weight (even though your kid is 3). Yes, I actually overheard all of these things.

I don’t care.

What I care about is spending an hour doing a fun activity with my daughter. That’s what I care about. I care about seeing her face light up when we sing her favorite song, or when she does a somersault by herself, or when she gets to play the drums. That’s what I care about.

I’ve tried a bunch of Mommy & Me classes…everything from yoga to music and gymnastics and others, at a variety of different locations. I’ll say my experience with the yoga (at Isis) and gymnastics (at Shen’s) has been the best and I’ve enjoyed these classes. I think because you are so busy being active that there is no time for the pointless chatter I reference above. But unfortunately, some of my other experiences have been less than stellar. I won’t name where or what classes, but some of my recent attempts have left me frustrated.

I assumed that other mothers attend Mommy & Me classes for the same reasons I do…but I soon found out I was wrong. Sometimes, I think mothers attend these classes to let their kids run loose, which some supervision, so they can talk to other moms, and by talk, I mean bitch and complain. Often time these kids are acting up, doing things they shouldn’t, and even running into other kids, causing dangerous situations.

And I understand that often times, moms feel isolated and want to talk to other adults. But how about discussing how fun our children are…or the new things our children say or do…or the latest boots on sale at Nordstrom…or the awesome recipe we tried last week. What about talking about fun, nice and uplifting topics….or better yet…instead of talking to the other moms, enjoy the time with your child?

Our kids grow up so fast. Am I crazy that I enjoy singing Itsy Bitsy Spider with my little one and feel such joy when her little hands make the spider? Isn’t that what being a parent is about? Enjoying the little things…not missing them to complain to your friends.

Sorry for this rant. I’ve been holding it in for a while. Had to get it out of my system.

Sincerely,

A Mom who enjoys Mommy & Me time with my little ones

Repurposing Baby Gear, Gadgets and Stuff

After your newborn becomes a baby, and your baby becomes a toddler and your toddler becomes a big kid, and your big kid becomes a teenager, and then your teenager becomes an adult…what do you do with all the stuff?

The stuff…you know…the stuff you need, think you need or just bought and never used during each stage. Well, as a mom to a two-year-old and a two-month-old, I’m still in the newborn/baby/toddler phase. But as I leave these stages, here are some ideas of what I can do with the baby stuff:

Diaper wipes warmer – many people think this is an unnecessary baby item…but I know my little ones appreciate the warm wipes on their bum bums, especially in winter! Use the warmer to keep your makeup remover toilettes warm. Makes taking off your makeup and washing your face much more enjoyable before bedtime!

Diaper Genie/Diaper Pail – I think everyone has one of these….and I’m convinced none of them truly work as they claim to. But what do you do with this big hunk of junk when your little ones say bye-bye to diapers? Well, if you have a dog, use it for the poop-bags! I don’t have a dog, but sounds like a good idea to me.

Moses Basket – One of my favorite baby items is our Moses Basket. It was a gift/hand-me-down from a friend and I love it. It is from Restoration Hardware. I only wish you could let baby sleep in it for longer. When baby moves to the crib, use it to hold stuffed animals.

Glass bottles – I registered for glass bottles when I was pregnant the first time and we have a bunch of them. They make great bud vases…water cups to wash off paintbrushes…measuring cup maybe!

Breast milk storage bags – I have a ton of these from my first time around, and I assume I’ll have a bunch left this time too. Use in the kitchen to freeze small amounts of left over wine, chicken stock, or even fresh herbs to use later on when cooking. Basically use in place of a small ziplock bag.

Can you think of other baby items that can be repurposed?