Monthly Archives: April 2013

The great toy purge

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photo(1)Before William had even reached the age of one, I heard my friends and fellow parents’ warnings that toys seem to multiply mysteriously. We don’t know when it will happen (maybe as we sleep?), but one way or another they end up taking over your house. At the time we only had a few blocks, stuffed animals, and rattles for Will to play with, so I couldn’t even imagine what they were talking about.

Even after his first Christmas and throughout his first year, we just didn’t seem to collect toys. In my naivety, I threw William a huge first birthday celebration with the intention of greatly expanding our rather small toy collection. It went as planned and now our toys were getting more interesting, but still not overwhelming.

Fast forward a couple of years…now two kids, a few birthdays, and of course Christmases and our toys are officially taking over our house. During these years, Jason and I made another fatal mistake in the toys v. humans war – we created a room solely designated for toys (aptly called the playroom). You might be pondering how this could be a mistake. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you and hopefully you will learn from us. Now that we have a room that we could just throw everything into, we quickly lost track of the toys and they seemed to multiply even faster. It’s a lot easier to overlook the quality and quantity when it’s in a room that you can just throw it into and close the door. Not to mention, we just gave them a breeding ground.

The other day I looked around and realized that we had toys that had never been played with. We also seemed to be hanging onto broken toys, toys missing pieces, and toys that were no longer age appropriate. Jason and I easily agreed that it was time to go through and weed out.

I’ve heard that some parents go through with their children and explain that they are giving to children less fortunate or even more age appropriate and teach a valuable lesson during the purge. Jason and I are not those parents. We put our boys down for a nap and got to work. It was quickly obvious our individual downfalls. Jason was reluctant to remove anything that had been played with in the last two years. If he ever witnessed either boy playing with a toy, he was quick to defend it’s rightful place in the playroom. Mine was all sentimental. Favorite toys from years ago that neither child has touched in ages. Toys that took me forever to find, but that I knew Will would love (and he did). It was just too hard to get rid of things that once brought so much joy.photoWe made a smart move and decided to divide some toys to take to each grandparents house. Now things that weren’t favorites, but we just couldn’t imagine parting with yet, remained with our kids and found a home, but not ours. And yes, we did donate all the other toys that no longer had a place in our home.

Even though we felt a little saddened to see some of these toys go, now that they’re gone I don’t miss them a bit. The room is still not as empty as I’d hoped, but we did make a nice dent. Neither boy has even noticed a difference.

During the purge, Jason and I discussed the future of gifts. Since last Christmas I’ve been rethinking our traditions in gift giving. The boys have more toys than they know what to do with. I really don’t mind the spoiling on the day, but lugging everything home and finding a place just seemed so crazy this past year. There was just too much stuff.

I understand that toys will come and go. There will be favorites that will change with age and preferences. New movies will premiere and new interests will evolve causing toys to rotate, go out of style, or just general loss of interest . This is the first purge of many to come. How you decide how much is enough and when does it become too much?

(Random) Acts of kindness

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photoI had this post ready to go for Monday, but after the Boston bombings I became a little disheartened with humankind.  It was a tough day all around.  On the  same day, one of my best friends moved to New York and it was the anniversary of her father’s death.  I knew that it was a difficult day for her and was preparing for our good bye when I heard about the bombings.  It was just too much and I felt empty.

Now after a couple days have passed, I’ve realized that we need acts of kindness (random or not) more than ever right now.  We need to support and love each other.  That said, here is my original post:

Here it is…another potty training post.  Not intentionally.  Unfortunately, this time I have to talk about the potty.

Saturday was a potty training break through…we had the first poo poo in the potty.  I bribed promised Will that if he did that, we would go for ice cream.  We celebrated at Dairy Queen.

I wanted to make sure that William knew why we were there, so I told anyone within ear shot that we were celebrating poo poo in the potty.  Although completely embarrassing (and I’m sure the teens going out on a date were not appreciative), I made a huge deal about William and his accomplishment.  We ordered our ice cream during this constant praise and sat down to enjoy.

It wasn’t until I was entering the receipt into my budget a couple of days later that I noticed that the cashier gave me a discount.  I was truly touched.  It wasn’t a lot, but it was definitely a little act of kindness for my accomplished son.  He didn’t make a big deal about it, but just extended a little bit of benevolence our way.

I’m turning 35 this year and decided a while ago to celebrate with 35 acts of kindness.  I already have a few ideas in my head, and it will probably take the entire month of October to do, but now I am so excited to do this.  I just know how I felt when I saw that receipt and hope to extend those feelings to someone else.  I’m still looking for ideas, so please pass them my way!

Hi, I’m Mollie, and I’m an app-aholic.

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originalLast fall my company decided that I need a company cell phone and “forced” me to move to the new iPhone. There were no complaints here and I ran to the nearest Verizon and ordered my new phone. Since it was backordered, I impatiently waited weeks for its arrival. Finally, the day came and now I am a proud new owner of an iPhone.

We had our honeymoon phase. It took a little getting used to, but within just a couple of days, I couldn’t imagine life without it. Our courting period began with downloading any essential apps. I quickly had easy access to my favorite stores, social media, of course business functions, etc. It wasn’t long before I realized that there is an app for anything and everything, with a lot of free versions, and I became addicted.

Recently my husband and I decided that our current financial situation was not in our best interest and decided to revamp our budget. Guess what?!?! There is an app for that! I quickly had just about every financial and budgeting app on my phone to see which would work the best for us. That’s another advantage, there are usually many free options for your needs, so you can see which one works best for you. If you don’t like it, just delete it.

I have so many apps on my phone, that during my recent hospital stay, my doctor actually commented on it. I feel like I’ve been around the block with some app essentials now, so I’ll let you in on my favorites.

Accounts 2 Checkbook – I love this finance app. There is a free version that I started with, but since I knew that I didn’t want to live without it, I forked over the $1.99 for the full version. It only took one click for me to transfer my information from the free version to the full version. This app tracks all of our bank accounts, provides numerous graphs to evaluate spending, and I even keep my personal budget in there. I love that every time I buy something it just takes a second to enter it into this app and each purchase is easily recorded. I no longer have a purse full of receipts to enter into our budgeting spreadsheet when I get a chance.

Everest – I am a very goal oriented person, so I knew that I had to have an app to help keep me on track. I love the options, like short and long term goals, the ability to focus on certain goals, etc. I also like that a community is provided, or you can follow your friends, or you can go at it alone. There are also community challenges that range from health to adventure, financial to creative, etc. if you are looking for a team to join or a group with similar goals.

Toca Doctor Lite – I am sure that I would love all of the Toca Boca apps, but most of them are paid and I like free. My 3-year-old loves Toca Doctor Lite. It only took a few times playing for him to understand all of the games and now he “fixes” his patient like a pro. This app is entertaining, keeps my child engaged, actually takes some hand/eye coordination and even a little brain power, and is just overall cute.

Timehop – My sis actually introduced me to this and now I look forward to it daily. This app takes your Facebook history and tells you what was happening in your life x amount of years ago, depending on your posts. Even if you don’t have a post for that day, it gives you a tidbit of history for that date. You can even share your history on Facebook, which is fun is something incredibly exciting happened that day. I will admit that I am kicking myself now for not having more posts on Facebook, but I still love seeing the pictures of my kids, status updates of where we were in our lives, and realizing how much difference even one year can make.

And finally,

Red Stamp – Not only am I an app-aholic, but I am the WORST thank you card writer in the history of time. I rarely send them and if I do, I never feel at peace with what I’ve written. In comes Red Stamp. This lovely app has a vast collection of cards for numerous occasions and sends them to your chosen recipient. I’m not sure that it’s the best way to tell my husband “Happy Birthday”, but it’s great for a distant relative or to send my husband a just because note. You can upload photos into your cards, send pretty inspirational messages, and even send thank you cards.

I hope that you enjoy these apps. What’s your go to app (I’m always looking to add to my collection)?

Potty Training

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photo(10)I promised myself over and over again that I would absolutely not write a post about potty training. I sincerely apologize to those who could care less about potty training, because I hear ya! But here I am, writing about putting “pee pee” and “poo poo” into the toilet. Here’s the deal, recently we’ve decided to actively potty train and I feel like I am living a nightmare, so I have to share.

My oldest son is 3 ½ years old. He was slightly premature and I blame his early arrival for so many things. I have done no research and I have no idea whether or not it actually had any impact, but I always found it to be an easy fall guy. So when he had zero interest in the potty for his entire life, I figured that it was either normal or due to his early arrival.

After a few diaper mishaps and blow outs paired with the realization that he really is at that age, I decided that it was time. Our sitter was taking some days off over Spring Break, so that was my opportunity to “boot camp” him in our house over five straight days. I prepared myself with some tips and tricks and on Day 1 even armed myself with a potty trained friend William’s age and his mom, a good friend of mine to keep my sanity. Here’s how it went:

Day 1 – I told William that there were no more diapers for him and that he’d have to wear only undies now. He seemed to understand as I dressed him. He had lots of fun observing his friend use the potty all day. He even had a few pee pees in the potty. He wet his bed during his nap, but I was prepared with a Good Night mat. He had an accident later that night. Nothing too eventful to report.

Day 2 – William came down with a nasty stomach bug. We ended up putting him in a diaper since we were scared that it may turn into something nasty down there and we thought that the last thing he needed was to worry about the potty.

Day 3 – William is on the mend and back to trying to use the potty. He’s pretty dehydrated and managed to hold it all morning. I’m pretty sure he thought that he would have a diaper on during the nap, but he didn’t, so he wet the bed again. Loving those Good Night mats. Not a single use of the potty all day. He just pretended that his undies were a diaper, I guess.

Day 4 – I had some previous commitments, so William stayed with Daddy all day. After an awful Day 3, I decided to make him naked from the waist down (previously just wearing undies) and see how that goes. William did not like being naked. Daddy said that he did great and used the potty a few times. He even had his first dry nap!

Day 5 – I’m becoming a bit more confident, especially after such a great Day 4. I kept him naked again today. He held it until nap time again. As I was doing laundry, I kept thinking that I smelled something. I decided to check on William and found that he had pooped (and peed) the bed. He was frozen in fear and I was at my breaking point. Thank goodness we had dinner at Bapa and Nana’s, so I had to pull myself together and move on.

The five days weren’t even close to my expectations. I thought at that point we would have it down and I would confidently send him to the sitters in his undies. I debated for a good part of the night and then I finally sucked it up and messaged the sitter that William would now only wear undies during the day. Here we go, no turning back.

Day 6 – I didn’t get a ton of details, but William came home in his back up pants and I have a bag with wet pants. Definitely had an accident.

Day 7 – The same as Day 6. Sigh. I am relieved that at least he is holding in the mornings and in the car, but I’m definitely losing my patience. I used my last trick – extreme bribery. I promised him that if he put pee and poo in the real potty (not the one that we have to dump) then I would take him out for ice cream (I think that we might have tacked on a cheeseburger, too). That resulted in quite some time sitting on the potty, but no action. I’m out of tips, tricks, and advice, and now I just have no idea where to go from here. If this week doesn’t get any better, I’m really going to have to evaluate how to continue.

Day 8 – I can’t believe it. It’s our first dry day. We even had a party that night that was about an hour drive and he did great in the car and at the party! I am so proud of him!

Day 9 – Another dry day! I can hardly believe it! The sitter even had to take one of her kids to the dentist and William used the potty there. When he came home he let us know that he needed to use the potty and just did. I think that it’s finally clicking!

Day 10 – He had a great day. Unfortunately, during a fit on the way home from the sitter, he peed himself. All over himself and the car seat. So frustrating.

10 days and counting. I still am not confident enough to say that yes, he is potty trained. Please pray for me (and focus on my sanity).

I’m a little disheartened with all of the potty training advice out there. I will admit, I have no idea how or why it will finally click for William. I know that he always understood the concept, but it seemed that one day he didn’t want to use a potty and the next day he did. No rhyme or reason, just a 3 year old deciding on his own. Unfortunately, his mind still gets sidetracked enough or he just makes up his mind that it’s not going to happen right now, and we are right back to Day 1. To all of the other moms who haven’t potty trained her 18 month old in 48 hours, I know the feeling and I’m here for you. I’m not going to make it sound easy and I’m not going to give you a magic solution. You know your kid, so do your best with what you know – you have my full support. And good luck!