Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ode to the Olympics

Today, was a big day in daycare land.  In honor of the XXX Summer Olympics, my daycare provider ran a "Toddler Olympics," complete with "trike races" and some sort of "ball throw." And then she topped it off with medals for the kids. I'm pretty sure she has the patience of a saint, because I can only imagine trying to pull this off myself. Regardless, picking up T today and having him show off his medal to me was perhaps the cutest thing I've seen all week.

The hubs, of course, wanted to know which event of the Toddler Olympics T won today. Oh, silly hubs. I think we have officially kicked off that period of all kids being #1. I mean, check it out - for sure that's the look of a winner, right?

Shyly showing off his Olympic medal

My proud future Olympic equestrian champ?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

List Time! Plane traveling with toddlers

Before I had T, I very clearly pictured myself jet-setting everywhere with T in tow. Chris and I took a fair amount of trips pre-child – and I went up to NY and DC a couple of times a year to see friends. So, I envisioned just sticking T on a plane and taking him with me. Yea, so that didn’t turn out to be reality.

The dust has settled since T’s first plane ride (at 18 ½ months) and I’m starting to mentally recover from it enough to not get a pit in my stomach when thinking about it. And I’m not gonna lie, no matter how many flights I took pre-kiddo, I was kind of freaking out about getting him on the plane. I know, it was a 3 hour flight – nothing like Erika’s trip ‘round-the-globe. But I still did what I always do when I’m at a loss with the kiddo – I asked my friends for advice.

So, as your favorite crazy list lady, here’s my list of things that were helpful to do when traveling with a lap toddler on a plane.
  1. Ditch the diaper bag – My diaper bag is super cute and super fashionable and fits right in when I am strolling T around Nordstrom. However, it doesn’t zip shut and T likes to pull random things out of it – so it’s not ideal for the conveyor belt in the security line, where I am positive, everything would have dumped out all over the place. As much as it pained me, I took the advice of a friend and swapped cuteness for practicality – a backpack. I still cringe thinking about my accessory ugliness, but it worked.
  2. Umbrella stroller – We brought one. We learned the hard way that we should strap T into it as soon as we left the car. Not doing so made for a disastrous airport experience on the way out. Luckily, we learned our lesson and had a much saner time at the airport on the way home by trapping T in the stroller the second he left the car seat.
  3. In the airport – Everyone suggested we let T run around as much as possible at the gate before we boarded the plane to run down some of his energy. Maybe it was his age or his energy level or his early Olympic distance training – but this advice didn’t work for us. (If you want to cringe, read why here). Instead, leaving him in his stroller and continuously feeding him banana cookies and milk worked better for us.
  4. Books – We brought lots and lots of books with us for the plane. Despite the new ones I packed, he preferred his old standbys – mainly, Elmo & Trucks. We read lots and lots.
  5. Mini trucks/cars – T likes to “vroom vroom” and these don’t make any additional noise to bug the people around us. His dad taught him how to have Hotwheels collisions. Lovely.
  6. Ipad/Laptop – With episodes of his favorite shows. We packed Blues’ Clues, Sesame Street and Yo Gabba Gabba. Also bought him these Elmo headphones – which we practiced him wearing around the house with the iPad before we left. It took a couple tries, but he got the hang of it. (Well, sort of. He didn’t really like wearing the headphones, but he thought it was pretty funny when I wore them.) We made sure NOT to show him any of these things until after takeoff, because well, try explaining to him that he has to practice his patience by waiting until we count to ten 500 times until he can use it. Riiight.
  7. Snacks and Sippys – Since I wasn’t sure which would be better for his ears, we ended up packing two sippy cups – one with a straw and one with a spout. So, we used them both -  one for milk and one for water. And we refilled both of them as many times as he wanted. As you know, I may have ended up dehydrated, T certainly didn’t! And even more of a plus – his ears didn’t seem to bug him one bit.
  8. Drinks! – We went into this trip agreeing to borrow Tina Fey’s philosophy – If all else failed and T was a traveling terror, we would try to keep people from hating us by buying them a round of drinks. I know it might seem excessive because well, you can’t really reason with a toddler in a meltdown, but it was my way of mentally preparing for the worst-case scenario of a plane trip. Really, who could hate our child when we are buying them alcohol? Luckily, T pulled it together when we were actually on the plane because this far-off philosophy seemed very much like it was going to be a reality when we were in the airport.
  9. Baggage – We checked our bags. I hate to check bags. I hate to wait at baggage claim. But, we knew we had our hands full, so we sucked it up and dealt with it. I’m glad we did.
  10. Extra legroom - We debated about upgrading our seats and found it totally worth it in the end. On the way there, our extra legroom tickets also gave us one of the only extra free seats on the flight. On the way home, the extra legroom gave T just a bit more space on a totally full flight to play on the floor. In the end, I really think that extra 4 inches allowed us to hold onto our sanity. If we didn't pay for the upgrade, we probably would have paid to keep our sanity in the form of drinks. 
This is obviously not an exhaustive list. And as you know, we have a lot to learn. I'd love to hear whatever advice any of you with toddlers have for the next time we take on this adventure!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Yes, OMG.  The hubs bought me an iPhone 4S for our anniversary next week.  "So what?" you may be thinking, but you see, I am married to Mr. Frugal and Mr. Practical all rolled into one.  You know that scene in Father of the Bride where the bride gets a blender from her fiance and wants to call off the wedding?  Well, that's the hubs.  But only if the blender was on clearance at Target for $9.99.  I don't say this as a bash, he's just not a sparkly-things-that-come-in-blue-boxes kind of gift giver.  More like pot holders, sheets, mom sweaters and anything "useful" that also happens to cost less than $20.  There are no push presents in this house.  In fact, I don't think I've ever gotten an anniversary gift in 7 years so yes, this really threw me.  I had mentioned in passing a few weeks ago that I was ready to upgrade my phone after 3 years (yes, I give senior citizens a run for their money in the tech department) and that I was drooling over the white iPhone 4S.  The hubs just kind of "hmmd" a response and I figured he wasn't even listening but then here it was on our doorstep!

Now I will be entering the brave new-to-me world of GPS, email, Internet on your phone and all that good stuff (I wasn't joking about being a tech loser) so everyone who knows me should rightfully be a little frightened. 

On a side note, is it really mean to let your child sit on the grimy, gross, dirty excuse for a merry-go-round outside the grocery store and then refuse to put the $0.50 in to turn it on?  I don't really want her knowing that it moves in hopes that will lessen her interest (not likely) and I'm also just cheap and lazy.  But she loves this thing.  I literally had to pry her away with promises of donuts and M&Ms just to get her into the store.  *Sigh*  But it's also secretly adorable, I can't lie.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

To Florida and back

There’s nothing I look forward to more than summer vacation. Long weekends, aside, it’s really the only time all year long when I get to hang out with my hubs without any other social obligations nipping at our toes. And since T has been in the picture, it seems like the one time of year when we really get quality time together as a family. 
So this year, we went to my parents’ condo in Florida for a week. Their condo is in St. Augustine, so we decided to fly direct to Orlando rather than Jacksonville and have a bit of a longer drive once we landed. 
Anyone that knows me knows that I’ve been in a slightly panicked state planning for the air portion of the trip. T won’t stay still for a second, so I was pretty positive that we were going to be the subject of the evening news -- “Family kicked off flight due to unruly toddler.” (I’ve become much more sympathetic to these stories since giving birth.) 
Amazingly, the flight was fine. It was the airport that was hell on earth. Not over-exaggerating.  From the second we got onto the shuttle bus taking us to the terminal, Tyler was hysterical. And it didn’t let up. There is no doubt in my mind that every single person in the security line was praying that we weren’t on their flight. We were THAT family. And everyone stared. Big time. Multiple friends advised us to let T run around the gate as much as possible before boarding the flight so that he could blow off some steam and be tired by the flight. Well, that would have been fine, if he had any interest in staying near a single gate. Not my child. He wanted to run the entire length of the terminal. So while the hubs was off getting the (also recommended) disastrous (berry red) smoothie for the flight - I had long abandoned my purse and backpack at the gate and was running marathons in the terminal chasing after T and carrying back 30 pounds of a kicking screaming mess when he didn’t want to go to the gate to board. Erika and I commiserated on this -- why aren’t there indoor play areas for kids at airports? Really, a little 10x10 foot walled-in area with toys would save more than just parents a piece of their sanity. I apologize for anyone in either airport who we stripped of theirs.  
Hours of torture, yes, but we made it.  My parents were nice enough to overlap with us in Florida on the front and back end of our trip to give the hubs and I some much-needed date-time. (And maybe, just possibly, love on their grandkid a bit). Date night #1 was planned to include a nice dinner, a couple quick errands, and a mini-golfing outing. Very dateish, no? We made it through dinner and that’s about it. Instead, it ended early when I had a bit of a health snafu. Because I figured (correctly) that I wouldn’t have much opportunity for bathroom breaks while en route, I didn’t drink anything on Saturday. Sunday, we spent the day at the beach, where running after a toddler as he sprints for the ocean doesn’t give a person much time to hydrate either. Fast forward to Sunday evening, post-dinner, where the hubs and I head into Wal-Mart (quite possibly my least favorite place on earth) for a quick errand before mini golfing. Picture me, pulling the oh-so-swift move of passing out in Wal-Mart, in a dress, (according to the hubs) on the floor. (Gross. And go figure, no one in Wal-Mart even batted an eye). The hubs is convinced that security has tagged the footage of him getting me out of the store (apparently being dehydrated makes one look both drugged and wasted) in case any 30-something chick turned up kidnapped in the area. I’m more worried that the next email round of “People of Wal-Mart” will feature me in all my glory. Long story short, no extended date night for us. Good start to the vacay. Date night #2 went much better. Although it started with discovering that bad things can happen when we put T down for a nap in just a diaper, it ended with me kicking the hubs butt in mini golf.  And yes, two points counts as kicking his a$$. Date night goal achieved. Finally.
In between the date nights, the rest of the week was as close to perfect as you can expect with a toddler in a new time zone in a new routine in a new place. I got pretty good at making sympathetic noises and eye rolls to random people when he threw temper tantrums at totally inopportune times. (You know, like after my friend and her 9-month old son traveled two hours to get to our place and T made an epic scene when I refused to let him catapult himself into the deep end of the pool during our playdate. Or as soon as we paid our (kind of hefty) admission at the Alligator Farm to take him to see cool animals*.) Luckily, he had his cute moments too, like blowing kisses and waving “bye bye” to every waitress and restaurant go-er he saw over the week and trying to play fetch with random dogs and their owners on the beach. So not everyone in Florida hated us.  
Sigh, tantrums and all, it was great and fun and as relaxing as can be during life with a toddler. And I miss it. Already. I wanna be back on vacation. 

My beach baby

A vacay play date with friends.

We went to see the fishing boats every night. He's blinking, but that is joy on his face. And yes, he is not wearing pants. AGAIN.

On the other hand, T could care less about the gators.

He had more fun playing on the Alligator Farm's playground. And yes, that is sweat. He played hard. 

Contemplating life during a stroll on the beach. 

Playing in the ocean surf. 

Loving "jumping" the waves with his daddy. Some lady actually offered us to borrow her (teenage) son's bodyboard because T was having such a blast. Nice thought, but really lady? Might be jumping the gun a bit.

Trekking to the pool with the hubs.

*Mental Note: 18-month olds could care less about gators and crocs when it’s 90 degrees and 95% humidity outside. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


How is my not-so-little baby 2 years old today?!  She was actually due on the 8th, and 8 happens to be my favorite number, so I thought, oh, that would be cool but little miss decided she needed 5 more days in the oven before making her grand debut so she has to settle for having her birthday fall on Friday the 13th every few years now.  I think waiting for her arrival was my first official parenting lesson in PATIENCE and YOU CAN'T CONTROL EVERYTHING, ha ha. 

Speaking of ovens, ours died about 2 weeks ago (still waiting on the new one) and I decided not to buy an entire cake or cupcake tray from the grocery store, knowing I would eat half the damn thing, so instead I took Audrey to Starbucks for a cakepop because a) I needed a latte and b) cakepops really are the perfect size treat for a toddler.  She loved it and in a few years I won't be able to get away with just a cakepop instead of a birthday cake so I'm enjoying the simple life while I can.  Happy birthday monkey!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bye bye paci

I just realized I never gave an update on Audrey's dentist visit, after hyping it up so much.  So, here goes.  Audrey did survive her first dentist visit a few weeks ago, although it was rather traumatic.  The dentist and staff were great and did their best to ply her with the movie Rio, balloon animals, toys and beach balls but she was having none of that.  She cooperated through the brushing part of the cleaning but freaked out when she had to have some plaque scraped off and then for the flossing and flouride treatment.  I actually had to throw her balloon animal in the trash when she started beating me over the head with it.  Terrible twos anyone?

Anyway, the good news is - no cavities.  And her teeth are in decent shape despite the horrible "brushing" job we do each night.  The bad news - we need to pin her down on the bed now to actually get her teeth brushed.  We need to do this twice a day rather than once.  We need to start flossing her teeth (this should be an Olympic sport).  We need to limit the carbohydrate snacks which apparently turn directly into sugar in the mouth (??) and most of all WE NEED TO GET RID OF THE PACI.  Of course I knew this - she is almost 2 years old after all - I've just been dragging my feet because the pacifier literally saved our sanity the first year of Audrey's life and was the only thing that let us get 4-5 hours of sleep a night rather than 2.  I know that's a lame excuse but when you're so tired you start the coffee machine while not noticing that the pot is still in the dishwasher and flood your kitchen with coffee, you would pretty much give your baby crack if someone told you it would make them sleep.  So I gave her not one paci but three (I know, I know) and by 12 months old she finally started sleeping through the night.  Maybe this wouldn't have been so bad but as she got older and more mobile the pacis started making their way out of the crib and into her daytime routine.  I would give her one to avoid a tantrum at the post office, or when she was teething really badly, that sort of thing.  But since the dentist appointment I have grown a pair and put my foot down.  We did fall off the wagon a bit during our road trip but fortunately we are back on track and only using them at night now.  My goal is to have her off them completely by the time school starts in September but that is probably wishful thinking.  Just like I thought I could potty train her by the age of two.  HA HA.  That birthday would be, um, this Friday and she still can't even get her pants up and down by herself.  But I blame it on first-child parental cluelessness.  Not sure what excuse I'm going to use when we get around to #2...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Road trip re-cap

I've finally mustered up the energy to re-cap our not-so-little road trip.  It wasn't pretty.  (But what Winders "vacation" is I've come to realize.)  Apparently 20 hours in the car does rival 30 in the air on the torture scale, which means we'll be forced to either boat or walk to Brazil in December for the final trip in our YEAR OF HELLISH TRIPS.

After debating about how best to get Audrey through the trek to North Carolina we opted to leave at 2:00 a.m. in the hopes that she would sleep for most of the night to give us a good start.  This was a fail.  Not only did she wake up the second we put her in the car seat, but she was super-excited to be out at night, in the dark, since she never is.  She babbled non-stop about everything she could see for at least 1.5 hours, which was cute and sweet but also exhausting at 3:00 a.m.  She finally conked out for about 3 hours so that was something I suppose.

We were making good progress until somewhere in Louisiana when I came down with some type of stomach ailment.  I won't go into the details (use your imagination) but let's just say I could now write a book on every gas station bathroom between Mississippi and South Carolina.  The hubs finally agreed to stop for the night in Atlanta when I was so dehydrated my eyeballs threatened to dry up completely and fall out of my head.  Fortunately we made it to our first destination - North Carolina - the next day and were able to relax and recover a bit.  The MIL's dreaded "picnic" turned out to be a real picnic with one of the hubs' childhood friends and his family, whom the hubs hadn't seen in about 10 years and whom I had never met.  I don't know how they were coerced into attending this thing but they clearly did not want to be there.  After dinner we were all supposed to head over to this playground area for the kids to run around but instead they snuck off to their car and left without even saying goodbye.  Um, okay.  Apparently we are that un-fun to hang out with.

Fast forward a few days and we're finally in Richmond, VA for my brother's wedding.  We're sitting around eating lunch before the rehearsal dinner when the hubs notices that I'm suddenly looking like I have the plague.  What I thought was a bad mosquito bite turned out to be huge tick bite with the hallmarks of lyme disease.  (The picnic did take it's revenge I guess)  This picture doesn't quite do it justice but let's just say people were stopping me all weekend to ask with horror on their faces, "what the heck IS that?!" 

I actually felt fine but apparently you don't mess around with lyme disease.  The hubs tells me if it takes root in your body it's basically impossible to get rid of, fairly debilitating and can be a recurring condition for the rest of your life.  Needless to say this sufficiently freaked me out and we spent the entire rest of the day before the wedding trying to find a doctor in Richmond who could prescribe me the necessary antibiotics.  The one we found stupidly sent the prescription to a downtown CVS which was closed all weekend so we had to use the hubs' TX medical license to persuade another pharmacy to finally give me the meds.  I wish the saga ended there but these meds are no joke.  The first three days I took them I threw up within 20 minutes, once while outside, totally ruining some poor people's brunch who couldn't decide if I was puking in their bushes because I was pregnant or hung over.  I'm finding this whole experience to be a case of the cure being worse than the disease, but the hubs tells me it's this or IV antibiotics at the hospital which I guess would suck more???  I don't know, it's FML all around as far as I'm concerned.

In case you're wondering about the wedding itself, it was fairly uneventful, aside from our hotel elevator setting on fire at 7:30 that morning, forcing us all to evacuate for 3 hours and then walk up 17 flights of stairs with a 2-year old when we could finally get back into our room.  Audrey did make it down the aisle as a flower girl with my help - after ripping out the bow in her hair and throwing it across the church - but then shouted through the entire ceremony, which, thankfully the bride and groom didn't hold against her.  At least she looked cute, right?

I didn't get in any beach time in Delaware after the wedding because these stupid lyme disease meds make you crazy-sensitive to the sun so even in the shade I practically fried.  And I continued puking my way through our car ride home (this time from the meds) and discovered that I cannot understand one single thing that anyone in Alabama says, so, it's best that I never move there.  I'm trying to find a silver lining in the fact that my Theory shorts now fit again, which hasn't happened since before I got pregnant, but I think the hubs is officially going to have to drug me through our trip to Brazil in December.  Then I'm putting a moratorium on all trips for the next 10 years.  Disneyland be damned.