We Started Daycare

Hi folks.

Today, I am callin’ it as I see it, no sugar-coatin’. I am doing this for a couple of reasons. First, the state I am in just plain sucks. And because I notice that ESPECIALLY when it comes to our kids, we have a hard time admitting when things are less than ideal. And I get it, it’s way more fun to post a pic of their toothy little grins with captions like, “First day of school smiles!”. But that isn’t always real life and we know it. So here on this little space of mine, I am going to keep it honest, as I always try to do.

I sometimes call it “pre-school” because well, that sounds better. And I know they color a picture or two, do a worksheet, glance at a flashcard – but when your 3.5 year old is there for more than 2 hours…sorry but that’s daycare. No way around it.

Clara started going half-days, 3 days a week a couple of weeks ago and the decision was NOT easy. Apparently I have champagne taste on a beer budget. I would have loved for Clara to attend one of the more bougie places near our office but doling out $1,700+ a month just is not in the cards for us. We were challenged with striking the right balance of finding a place that was somewhat close by, reasonably clean, had A.C, would take her not fully potty trained, had qualified staff, and of course, was within our budget. So we toured some places, thought more about it, and decided we needed to just pick something, try it out, and see what happens.

Well, here’s what happened.

Morning of her first day – out of a movie. All smiles. Backpack on. Front porch pic.

We dropped her off with no problem at all, except for the fact that as soon as we walked out I began to ugly cry.

I composed myself before getting into the office and the hustle and bustle at work proved to be a great distraction until we received this text in the late morning.

And you know, because I am dramatic and have a sizable anxiety disorder, I did not take this news well. May as well tell me the Titanic went down again, or Tom Hanks died. I immediately started to panic and wanted to go pick her up but her Grandma was already slated to be there in an hour and they said she was having fun.

As soon as pickup time rolled around, I anxiously awaited the text from Grandma. I was hoping to hear that she ended up having the best day ever. Then I heard my phone go off and opened the message to see this photo:

MY HEART. My stomach sank down through the floor and I swear I blacked out momentarily (ok I am being a tad dramatic here, but I am painting a picture). Luckily for me, I work with both my BFF and my husband and they immediately reminded me that she is a covid kid, who needed a structured environment with other kids. That this is good for her. Daycare just kicked her a** but she is ok. I knew she also had fun, socialized, and laughed. I knew she needed this.

I guess what I did not know is…this would be the hardest EFFING thing I’ve ever had to do.

I try to repeat calming daycare mantras to myself when I feel the sadness welling up in my throat. “She is only there half-days”, “It’s only 3 days a week.”, “This is good for her.” BLAH BLAH BLAH. Alllll I want to do is go get her. I want to scoop her up and never let her go. I want to do each and every hard thing for her. I want to be the one to trip and fall and scrape my face instead. I want to shield her, hold her, protect her.

But like duhhhhhhhh I know I have to let her fall. And struggle. And experience hardship. And worse yet, if I don’t – she will turn out all messed up. I guess kids are kinda like soufflés in a way, there are periods where you just have to let them be. And as much as you want to check on them, baby them to be sure everything is going well, you can’t or else it ruins the outcome. More than anything I want Clara to be a strong, capable, badass – and if I follow my instincts I might rid her of those qualities.

As I have stated before, I learn so much each and every day not only about parenting and my kids, but more than anything about myself. And life. How much perspectives can change. I learn how much I don’t know. How much I will never know.

*Insert Jonie Mitchell’s, “Both Sides Now” (world’s greatest song)*

You choose to bring a kid into the world and you have to keep it alive by doing everything for it. Then it grows and instinctively starts to walk, run, talk, etc. It no longer needs you as much. For me, this is SO hard to swallow. I feel cheated, like I wasn’t warned. Sometimes I feel like I am expected to just be OK with the changes that happen as she gets older, but most of the time all of the time, I need a minute. To feel the loss, to try and appreciate and accept the change. (deep breath) I can get there.

To get back to our story, David and I left work that afternoon and I got home to my tired little lass.

I basically did not want to let her go until she was struggling out of my arms. I also inspected her scrapes and her knee actually took the brunt of it. Kids are so resilient, man. Look at the smile on her little scraped up mug.

Since her first day, we’ve had good and bad days. Mornings where she cries, clings to my legs, and says “Mommy take me home!”. And then just today when David dropped her off, she said “Daddy you can leave” and she plopped right down and started playing.

(another deep breath)

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know love
Really don’t know love at all

Adventures in Potty Training

You all knew this was coming. And really, so did I. But I think what I have to say may baffle, shock, even amaze you. So here it is – I do not really care when Clara potty trains. But before you clutch your pearls, know this: we have been solely at home. Clara has not gone to daycare a day in her life. We are lucky enough to have two wonderful people (Grandma and Auntie) who come over during the week and watch her until nap time. So as a result, any urgency with potty training has been shelved. But alas, I know once she does finally enroll in preschool or go to daycare, potty training and toilet use are ubiquitous. I know this needs to happen at some point, but my person laissez-faire parenting style has gotten me this far. Why change now? Homegirl will participate when she’s ready yeah?

First of all, we definitely have a potty-dancer on our hands. SHE KNOWS when she has to go and dances excitedly to show it. Running in place, clutching herself ala Michael Jackson – her body is letting her know. Her brain is the asshole in this equation, making her exclaim, “NO!” very loudly when we tell her to sit on the toilet.

We have tried sitting with her. Taking her into the bathroom with us, or her sister when we go. We reward her when she tries, verbally and with an m&m or two. But it is just not clicking. And I am not frustrated, more perplexed. What is going to be the thing that makes it come together?

One method we have recently introduced is Pinky Bear! This kit includes an interactive board book called “Potty Train with Pinky Bear”, and of course the plush Pinky Bear who is designed with a little front pouch to hold special surprises.

Here’s how we did it: We read the book to Clara while she sat on the potty, talked about Pinky Bear with her and when she was finished – we brought them together. Video disclaimer: kindly ignore our 90’s Olive Garden wall paper and my gaggy, overly excited voice. I can’t help it.

So far, we’ve had pretty decent success with Pinky Bear. Clara gets excited to read the book and see what Pinky has in store for her if she sits on the potty. And while we have not had an abundance of successful potty sessions, at least she is trying!

Pinky Bear was sent to me for review and can be purchased on Amazon here! Also worth noting – Potty Train with Pinky Bear has won the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval and a Mom’s Choice Award Honoring Excellence.

I will keep you all updated on our success, as I am sure you thrilled about. If you have any potty training tips or wisdom, I am all ears!

Palm Springs – What I’m Packing

We are vaxxed waxed and ready to relax y’all!

OK even I am grossed out by the phrase vaxxed and waxed, but it just felt so apropos for our situation. And while I am fine with being slightly basic, I am certainly not comfortable with going full chueg. And while we are on the subject, I for one am delighted to finally have a term for that shiplap, “gather” sign, chevron print aesthetic je ne sais quoi I was never able to put my finger on. But now? I can walk through Hobby Lobby smirking at the cheugiest-of-the-cheug while I myself select my own, slightly less cheugy (?) renditions.

I digress…<- also cheugy.

Ok I’m done.

Well guys, the fam is headed to Palm Springs in a few days! And since it has been, well, forever since we have been anywhere or gone on a plane I thought I would share some highlights of what we are bringing along.

Of course we will start with swimwear, arguably the most important items for this trip.

Infamous Swim – Mini Poppy Bikini Set in Fairy Floss – ON SALE NOW!

Infamous Swim – Gia Bikini Top/Radar Bikini Bottoms in Fairy Floss – ON SALE NOW!

Guys. I am not one to match with my kid. In fact, this is the first mommy+me matching we have ever participated in together. I always thought it a bit cheesy because really, the adult is never going to look as cute as the kid. However, these matching suits have my heart. Clara squealed when she noticed that they matched and THAT – changes everything.

These swimsuits are maybe the nicest I’ve owned. The materials is thick, yet soft, durable, and very comfortable. I was also really impressed with how they come in handy pouches, perfect for throwing in your bag to store your wet suit!

We will also be taking this amazingly soft toddler bamboo bathrobe from Kyte Baby for Miss Clara to warm up in post-pool play.

And if you’ve never ventured over to Kyte Baby – go go go! They really have theee best things and Clara basically lives in her sleep bag walker.

In terms of clothing for myself, I will of course be bringing a few new new summer things I have accumulated. Among those items are these new shorts from Aerie and a couple of cropped tee shirts from Target.

I will also be taking this dazzling tank top from Sparkle City!

(Pardon the Minnie Mouse tattoo on my arm). This tank top is SUPER high-quality! Forget everything you thought you knew about sequined appliques because this is SO SPARKLY. Pageant-worthy, truly. I die for the cut, the band-tee vibe and subtle nod to America. Cannot wait to don this in PS and on July 4th!

One thing I totally dropped the ball on was ordering myself some prescription sunglasses for this trip. Just did not get my act together in time. Luckily I have these adorable new sunglasses from Pixel Eyewear that are both polarized AND offer blue light protection. They feel so high-quality and I love that David can wear them too #unisex.

For the plane ride, I am so excited to wear these new high-waisted, buttery soft leggings from Amazon, by Fenrici for only $20. Also, excuse the body suit cut into a shirt. READ: Body suits are not made for tall people.

Of course no vacation in 2021 is complete without a mask! Since we will have to wear these for several hours in the airport + while on the plane, I am very excited to have two new anti-acne face masks. I am also excited due to the fact that I have been battling some pesky breakouts on my chin recently!

This two-pack comes in light blue and black, offers UV protection, absorbs surface moisture quickly, helps soothe inflamed skin and is super soft!

Now onto the beauty items! I really have not been wearing too much makeup lately (as evidenced in most of these photos), but have been trying out lots of new skin and body care. Here is what I am bringing along:

Of course, sunscreen! I plan to slather it on the whole time we are there and am so happy to have discovered this kind from Earth Baby for Clara.

One thing I hate about so many of those all-natural sunscreens is how white they are, and how it does not rub in! I usually have .0000432 seconds to get sunscreen on her and am so thankful when the task is made easier. This stuff is great because while it is natural, it rubs in SO smoothly and smells really nice.

We are also bringing a vat of hand sanitizer and I plan to throw this bottle of EcoFreaks in my checked bag so we’re well stocked for the week.

This stuff is a nice reprieve from the super scented versions that can leave hands feeling dry. This version is non-scented and contains aloe for added moisture.

Another new item I will be bringing along is this all-natural deodorant I have been trying from mindalt.

First of all, this deodorant smells amazing. Like nothing else I’ve ever smelled before. And I am not going to lie, switching from regular to all-natural deodorant is no task for the faint of heart. There is a definite “detox” period and several moments where extra wetness have become commonplace. What I love about the mindalt deodorant compared to other all-natural versions I have tried, is the strong scent. It seems to really overpower any foul odors and the scent is just so damn nice and calming. They also have a formula to suit any mood – including “more energy” and “more mindful”.

Another item I will be throwing in the ol’ toiletry bag are these self-tanning drops from Tanologist. I love that they mix right in with any lotion and I find that only a couple drops of the “dark” shade provides a nice sun-kissed look, rather than the harshness that a straight-up self-tanner can provide.

I have also been in hot pursuit of some concealer for my face that contains some sort of blemish treatment. I am telling you, these pesky chin zits are driving me crazy. And guys, I think I found my new holy grail.

The August + Monroe 3-in-1 Camouflage is ground-breaking.

I am so thrilled I found this stuff! It is from a clean brand, featuring aloe, arnica, squalane, salicylic acid and vitamin C. The formula is color-adjusting which I have never been a huge fan of, TBH. It starts out white and darkens to skin-tone as you work it in. I was nervous at first, but the coverage is amazing AND it does not feel like concealer at all. See below for some before and afters!

BEFORE
AFTER

No filters! Promise.

In terms of face makeup, I am keeping things pretty simple and bringing along this Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer that I received via Influenster. I love that it provides a nice level of coverage, while also containing SPF.

I swear, I have gotten to try some of the nicest things just by joining Influenster – and it really is totally and completely free. They also do not spam you with a bunch of emails. If you have a ton of Facebook friends, or Instagram followers – sign up here! You fill out a profile with your likes and they send you free stuff. It is amazing. (This is a referral link that I earn “points” for).

And that concludes the most exciting things I will be bringing along with us. What are some of your must-haves for travel?

*Some of the items above were sent to me complimentary for review. All opinions are my own.

Baby Faves: 2 Years

The time has come.

Clara is two years old.  And before you say anything, I fully realize and accept that she is no longer a baby. But like Mariah reminds us, she will always be my baby.

The following are a few items that we have found useful. We have also discovered several items that we thought would be useful, but turned out not to be useful at all. Because at the ripe old age of two, this human has a full-blown personality and has developed likes and dislikes (the horror!). Subsequently, one or two of her favorites are most certainly not mine. These include opening and closing drawers and cabinet doors. Dumping out the contents of my makeup drawers onto the carpet and selecting the brightest shade of hot pink lip stain to smear across her face.

Let’s move on to the things that we all agree work well.

First off, sleep – arguably the most important thing in both her and our lives.

You might know that we utilize the sleep sack as not only a wearable blanket, but it kinda sets the tone. We put that sucker on her, and she knows it is time for bed. And now that she is giant, the little versions for 24 months and under just won’t cut it. Enter Kyte baby!

This is the Kyte Baby Sleep Bag Walker in the color cloud. It is some of the softest material I have ever felt. I would easily wear this myself. All Kyte Baby items are made from buttery soft bamboo rayon fabric and it seriously feels cloud-like.

This sleep sack is labeled for sizes 18-26 months and is in the mid-weight option. I feel like this will fit her forever, due to the fact that it has legs! She still has mobility but due to the tapered leg, it keeps her warm and cozy.

It is also worth noting that Kyte Baby has sleep sacks for the little guys too. I MEAN.

And the color options, come onnn!

Onto the next category – potty training!

We got this little pink toilet for Clara when she was maybe 18 months old. It also “flushes”, i.e. makes the flushing noise and she loves it.

We are still not using this in any regular way. Per discussions with our pediatrician, we are aiming to keep potty encounters fun, light-hearted and positive. We have some successes and plan to get serious once she is ready.

We have also been using a portable potty and training timer. The Potette Plus is pretty cool – a collapsible, portable toilet with liners that folds flat. The 3 in 1 Potty Training Timer is a nightlight and it also plays soft music. You can set it for 30, 60 or 90 minutes and it will light up and play music when it’s time to try using the bathroom. We have been using it as a timer for all kinds of things, and we love it!

And now let’s address bathing!

We have been loving Earth Baby products on our sensitive-skinned little one! Their bubble bath is so great, because it is all-natural, organic and safe for sensitive skin. We also love their shampoo + body wash and conditioner + conditioner.

After her bath, we slather her in CeraVe Baby Lotion. In my experience, the more boring the lotion, the better when it comes to her skin.

 

Next up we have miscellaneous faves, which change week to week and range from K-cups  to ball point pen art installations on the side of my desk.

Also, the kid does love her some literature. Here are some of her faves:

No, David! by David Shannon books are everything. First of all, the main character…need I say more? And the mischief he creates is just so Clara.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She is also very obsessed with Time to Pee! by Mo Willems. We can all recite it by now and the illustrations are too good!

We are also entering the phase of life when characters suddenly become their favorites. She LOVES Elmo, J.J from Cocomelon and most of all – Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

She requests “Hah-Dog TV” (Hot Dog TV) every morning, which translates to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (they sing a song called “Hot Dog!” at the end, hence the request).

So that’s it. We are in full-blown toddler mode and I do love almost every moment. The almost moments come and we try to take them in stride. Pretty easy when she lets me hold her like this:

*The products from Kyte Baby, KalenCom and Earth Baby were sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

It is a New Year.

I feel like this is the celebration 2021 deserves.

And honestly, it’s the Peacock app for me.

Yes, The Office moved to Peacock. And for us anxious people who despise change (especially when it comes to our #1 comfort show) liked Jim, Michael and Angela right where they belonged, on Netflix. The move to Peacock means we must now download a new app? Pay more for the no-ad versions? Dwight, you ignorant slut!

But it’s not just The Office. It is of course, the senselessness that went down at the capitol building too. And the turmoil that has ensued since. It is also my grow-out. The rain. The looming 89273 days of rain ahead. And the 40 more after that. My mom-guilt. The fact that my twice weekly trips to Goodwill are all I have somedays. Or at least, that’s the way it can feel.

But then I realize that my gorgeous husband downloaded the Peacock app for me. And maybe my grow out is a look. And oh! Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race just started! And there is a stash of E’s leftover Halloween candy in the way back of the junk drawer. And really, could Clara be sweeter?? See, things are ok.

And before we move allll the way into this new year, let’s review the holidays. Because while they were covidy and weird, they were awesome.

For starters, I tried these KISS Jelly Fantasy Nails on my birthday and they stayed on for like 10 days!

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here in Portland. A pretty big change from years prior, but I have to say – it was SO nice being home. It was David and I’s first time doing the Santa thing and we had so much fun.

I received the below sweatshirt which is just *chef’s kiss*.

Then we went to the Tri-Cities to see my family!

We discovered Clara’s affinity for a pepperoni stick.

And then it was her birthday party! Mickey Mouse theme of course.

Check out my visor! An antique find from Auntie Amy & Shannon.

I did my first high pony in her hair and omg I die.

So far our new year has been spent hanging up our amazing holiday gifts:

Starbucks runs

The infamous matte black tumblers!

And donuts.

Happy New Year!

Clara is Two

This year on the birthday of our sweet Clara Jane, I decided my feelings would be best expressed in a song, from the motion picture “Fiddler on the Roof”.

Is this the little girl I carried?

Is this the little girl at play?


I don’t remember growing older
When did they?


When did she get to be a beauty?


When did she grow to be so tall?


Wasn’t it yesterday that they were small?


Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

 

A Baby Update: 20 Months

Hi friends.

I had planned to continue showing our baby faves at all the normal milestone intervals – 6m, 9m, 1 yr, 18 months and so on. But then Clara started walking and really, as long as the girl was fed, rested and clothed – all she needed was a little mischief to keep her gears going. Screw the adorable wooden toys, sweet linen onesies and pristine soft leather crib shoes. She was ready for toddlerhood in every way.

Favorites have included scissors, phone cords, wallets, mommy’s pill bottles, sharpies and any other item we say no to. Preferred activities are picking at the mole on my clavicle (I had to have it removed), writing on the walls, the floor, herself and dipping her hands into the fish tank and then licking them.

This all might sound like complaining and truthfully it is and it isn’t. Obviously I don’t treasure following her around with a dust buster and magic eraser. Or clinging to her torso as she noodles out of my arms because I would not let her pick all of the flowers from our neighbors yard. But do I love the look of sheer delight on her face when I ask her if she wants to feed the fish in the morning? Yes. Do I laugh hysterically when she “finds” me “hiding” under the blanket? YAS. Do I share in her exaltation at Dave and Ava, her Hello Kitty plushes and opening the freezer? YES I DO!

It is equal parts joy and frustration. Energy and total exhaustion. I feel like such a dad when I say “this girl is going to keep us on our toes” but really, she is.

Take, for example the lovely spaghetti dinner we were having the other night when she somehow obtained a tiny circular smiley faced sticker, brought it to her sniffer and forcefully inhaled. One hour later David and I were on our way to Randall Children’s Hospital at the behest of our pediatrician. SO yeah, we’re on our toes now. Especially when it comes to stickers. And for anyone who is curious, we did not find the GD sticker up her nose.

Here we are in the E.R

She relishes at the sight of any kind of marker, ballpoint pen or other coloring apparatus. And after several walls scribbled in crayon and legs marked with pen, I got the girl an aqua doodle water mat on Amazon. Both her and her older sister love it and it was $12. It is this one if you are interested.

She is also a huge fan of the out-of-doors, despite my disapproval ;). Luckily though, she prefers walks to hikes and patios to grass.

Since parks these days are abysmal ghost towns that remind us the golden days of yesteryear, we have mostly steered clear. We did stop at one a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t resist an illegal session on the swing set.

But like come onnnn. Look at that face! ARREST US.

Can we also quickly touch on how insurmountably hard it is to raise children, one being a toddler, amidst a pandemic? While working from home full time? While trying to maintain relationships, friendships, connections? While trying to keep a tidy home? A sane mind?

Like I said…insurmountable.

We do not have childcare. So when I say it is a balancing act, it really is. I feel guilty when I have not stepped away from my computer for 4 hours and Clara has not been properly interacted with for more than 5 minutes. But then I feel guilty when I step away for 20 minutes to chase her around the kitchen or read her a book and I realize I’ve missed an urgent message from a co-worker. It’s a lose-lose. I know I am not alone and like HSM reminds us, “we’re all in this together!” but like, damnnn. This is hard.

But here are the things that make it better:

And

oh, and

did I mention?

and these guys too

So I guess the baby update is that she really is not a baby anymore. And while that makes me so sad I could vom, I am also pretty excited and proud at the little gal she is becoming. Stay tuned for her 2 year update in which I will  spend 48 solid hours in tears.