I Can Haz Blog?!

Oh, hi! What’s up? Not much. Um. So, I haven’t been blogging much lately. For one, there was that whole me-going-to-Chicago-with-a-toddler thing. Which, by the way, was so not as terrifying and scary and hard as I thought it’d be. And I also had a blast in Chicago (and Milwaukee). And I’m glad to be home, even though I had a great time. And I will post pictures soon….ish.

So, yeah. I’ve just been kind of trip-detoxing, working my tail off at work and spending time with my husband and wiggly, hilarious toddler. I’ve been kind of on a different planet and blogging hasn’t been at the front of my brain so I apologize for the silence. Soon I’ll blog about the trip to Chicago, my own tips for traveling with a wee one, and a post about feeding bread to ducks with scary red faces and screaming like a little bitch.

Lucky you.

 

Six Years.

I haven’t been around much, but I have a good reason. On Thursday, Nellie and I flew to Chicago to visit my family. I’m currently in Milwaukee with my brother and his girlfriend while my dad and stepmom watch Nellie. Today we are driving back to Chicago to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday with the rest of our family. I’m very excited!

Today also happens to be my six year wedding anniversary. My husband stayed behind in Tennessee due to some scheduling conflicts that weren’t resolved until the last minute. We are spending our six year wedding anniversary apart, which sucks, but we’ll see each other soon. It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since we said “I do”. Our wedding day was beautiful, special, and full of really great memories.

Happy six years, sweetheart. I love you. You are a better husband and father to our child than I could have ever dreamed.

 

Eating Clean

My friend Michelle mentioned that she and her family were attempting to eat clean, which I thought was a bizarre term. Who the hell eats dirty? I mean, besides crazy people and hoarders. I just sort of smiled and nodded and pretended I knew what eating clean was, because it sounded very progressive and smart.

Then I decided to look it up and it’s actually really simple: Don’t eat shit. Don’t fill your body with garbage.

I’ve been having stomach issues for about two weeks now and I think it largely has to do with my diet. I don’t gorge myself on junk; during the day I eat pretty much the same thing for lunch (turkey sandwich on wheat, bowl of soup, apple, orange. Wash, rinse, repeat). But for dinner it’s usually whatever is fast and tastes decent. Frozen pizza, fried potatoes, leftover chicken nuggets that the kid didn’t want.. Crap, crap, crap.

In my attempt to learn about clean eating, I came across a blog (another Michelle suggestion) called The Gracious Pantry.  I clicked on her “Clean Eating 101” tab and started reading. Clean eating is really very simple: don’t eat processed things. Don’t eat things with ingredients you can’t pronounce. A general rule of thumb is if what you’re about to eat has more than 3-4 ingredients in it (and those ingredients you can’t pronounce), it’s not clean. TGP has developed a plethora of tips and trick for eating clean, plus recipes galore. The idea of clean eating has burrowed its’ way into my brain and has been snuggling in for a few days. I’m intimidated, and worried that I won’t do it “right”. I’m worried people will think I’m silly. I’m worried it will be too expensive. I’m worried that I don’t have the time to prepare and cook things that are clean.

But, I’m going to do my best. As TGP suggests, I’m laying down a few ground rules for myself:

  • Limit white sugar with the goal of eliminating it completely. Also limit artificial sweeteners.
  • Limit amount of food with ingredients that sound artificial/processed.
  • Eat at least 1 fruit and 1 veggie a day.
  • No fast food. Ever. Period.

Those may seem like really small steps but I can’t make big leaps. I’m not that kind of person. The sugar/sweetener thing is going to be hard enough, because I loves me some Splenda with my coffee. Instead of focusing on the things I’m not going to be able to nom anymore, I’m going to set my sights on some recipes I’m excited to try:

Mexican Crock Pot Chicken

 

Chicken & Rice Soup

 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

 

So… All of this looks and sounds really good. I don’t look at these images and feel sad and like I’m going to be deprived. That chicken and rice soup looks so good I can hardly stand it. I’m not expecting to be able to do this all at once, and I know that I will break sometimes (hi, Thanksgiving and Christmas) but I think that small steps can lead to big ones. Let’s see where this takes me!

P.S. Thanks to the Gracious Pantry for the lovely pics & recipes!

Repeat After Me

Nellie never ceases to amaze me with her vocabulary. I’ve tried to count how many words she knows but get lost somewhere around 50. Some of her most recent favorite things to say include:

  • My-Mahhh! (Spider-Man)
  • Kulk! (Hulk)
  • Seeeoooww (Thor)
  • Lo-lee (Loki)
    Seeing a pattern yet?
  • Ma MA!!
  • Bye ‘coo! (Bye school!)
  • Ni-nigh (night-night)
  • Shoow? Shoow? (paired with the sign for “more”, this is her word for more)

Today, she also learned that when I say, “Who wants to go to Gran’s?” she enthusiastically responds, “Ah do! Ah do!” This also works for:

  • Who wants a million dollars? (ah do!)
  • Who wants some cheese? (ah do!)
  • Who wants to sniff daddy’s feet? (ah do!)
  • Who wants a booger pie? (ah do!)

Toddlers are fun. You can make them say gross stuff and they don’t even realize it. It’s pretty much the best ever. We’re having a lot of fun with her growing vocabulary and miraculously, she still hasn’t repeated her first swear word.

What kinds of fun things does your toddler say that cracks you up/makes you smile/makes you gasp and want to change your name and join the Witness Protection Program?

 

Big Girl Bed

Earlier this evening, on a whim, we decided to convert Nellie’s crib into a toddler bed. It was my husband’s idea, and I was skeptical and hesitant. For one, it was a big step and two, SHE’S STILL MY BABY DAMNIT. BABIES SLEEP IN CRIBS. CRIBS FOREVER.

After some gentle encouragement, I finally agreed to give it a shot. It was surprisingly easy for him to convert it, and before we knew it Nellie had her very own Big Girl Bed. As soon as we gave her the go-ahead, she excitedly scrambled up into the bed by herself, grinning from ear to ear and declaring, “NIGHT NIGHT! NIIIIIGHT NIGHT!” She spent the rest of the evening playing on the bed: climbing on, crawling off, putting various stuffed animals and baby dolls “night night”. We felt confident and happy that she was so thrilled with her new “night night”.

When it came time to put her to sleep, we did our normal routine. We gave her dinner, a bath, and some snuggles. We handed her Fox, her paci, and her “nigh-nigh” (her blanket) and put her down in her bed. She snuggled in with her butt up in the air like she does, and we tip-toed out of the room.

About fifteen minutes later, we heard a thump and a wail. She had rolled out of bed and onto the floor. Daddy retrieved her, gave her some love and put her back down. Over the course of the next hour or so, we went in there no less than five times to gently remind her that it was bedtime and place her back in bed. Once I found her playing with her activity table. She played with the baby monitor. She took her sippy cup of water and knocked on the door with it.

But she never cried. The various scratching and activity we heard earlier that signaled to us that she was out of bed ceased, and as I type this there are no peeps coming from the monitor. So far, Operation: Big Girl Bed is a success.

 

Advice Needed: Traveling with a Toddler

In one month, Nellie and I will be flying by ourselves to Chicago to visit my family. Yeah, I’m willingly putting myself into a flying metal contraption with mobile, curious toddler. Snakes on A Plane is mild compared to Toddlers on a Plane. Seriously. Chaos and carnage. Anyway.

My grandfather turned 90 years old (!!) earlier this month but his party was pushed back to late September so my cousin (who was very pregnant on his birthday.. So pregnant, in fact, that she had her daughter on his 90th birthday!) and her family could attend. Joshua wasn’t able to get the time off work, so Nellie and I got our flights booked and we will be flying solo. I’m really excited to be going home to Chicago, because it’s been almost three years since I’ve been and my grandfather has never met Nellie. His wife, my late grandmother, is Nellie’s namesake so this is a really special visit.

The flight is only about an hour and a half long, but I am begging you for advice. What is your #1 tip for flying with a toddler? I also have a few questions/worries that I’ve been obsessing over wondering for a while. Such as:

  • Nellie has her own seat and I planned on putting her car seat in it so she’d have something comfy and familiar to sit in. Since my husband can only come so far with me into the terminal, how the shit am I supposed to wrangle a 20 month old, luggage, my purse, and a car seat? The car seat is the main thing. What the hell am I supposed to do with it?
  • Should I get a baby leash? I hate them normally but the thought of Nellie in a crowded airport surrounded by plague-carrying, baby-snatching, brain-eating strangers makes me a little panicky. STAY AWAY FROM MY BABY OR I WILL CUT YOU.
  • What are guidelines when it comes to sippy cups? Am I going to have to carry several thimbles full of milk/juice/Jack for Nellie to sip on during the flight or do they make exceptions for sippy cups?
  • Anyone have an iPad I can have borrow? I swear there’s almost a 43.1% chance I’ll bring it back. Those are good odds. C’mon.

In all seriousness, I would love your advice for flying solo with a toddler. Lay it on me. Also, please send vodka. For me, not Nellie. She likes margaritas.

 

 

The Kitschy Cupcake Giveaway ~ Unique Jewelry!

My friend and former coworker Angela asked me if I would like to host a giveaway and I was very excited. Angela is very fashionable and always came in to work with really unique pieces of jewelry and as it turned out, she made them all herself!

She opened up her Etsy shop last year, and has made some really awesome one-of-a-kind items. She describes her style as being “inspired by my love of kitsch, cupcakes and rock & roll”. I like rock & roll, I effing love cupcakes, and I’m pretty sure I also like kitsch so I was excited to host a giveaway for her. Here’s an example of just a few of the cool items she offers:

Halloween is coming, and these vintage horror movie-inspired hair clips would be really cute to pair with a fun outfit for the holiday:

For the Hello Kitty lover, there are lots of cute and funky pieces to choose from:

If you’re into items that are cute and girly with a slight touch of the macabre, she has these skeleton cameos:

One lucky Mommy Boots reader will win a $20 credit to The Kitschy Cupcake! Entry is super easy with Rafflecopter!



PLEASE REMEMBER: If you don’t complete the mandatory entry, YOUR EXTRA ENTRIES WILL. NOT. COUNT. Don’t cheat. I WILL find out and then I’ll have to come and break your kneecaps.

The Kitschy Cupcake has so many different pieces of unique jewelry to choose from, you’ll be glad you have a $20 credit because it’s going to be hard for you to pick just one! Good luck!

 

If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

It’s no secret that I like to sing. I sing songs to Nellie all the time. She’s particularly fond of: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”, “Witch Doctor” (you know… ting tang walla walla bing bang), and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”.

Last Tuesday night we were waiting on her curls to dry after her bath when I started singing her the ABCs. She whirled around with a huge smile on her face and began clapping along with my singing.
“ABCD,” I sang as Nellie clapped. “EFG..”
That’s when I noticed that she was softly saying things along with me, watching me intently while her little hands smacked together.
“HIJKLMNOP,” I continued.
“P…” she said quietly along with me.
“QRSTUV..”
“oo veee….”
“WXY and Z. Now I know my ABCs, next time won’t you sing with me?”
“YYYAYYYY!” she yelled, applauding. “Shooome? Shoome?” she asked, which is her word for “more”.

I began singing again and sure enough, she was saying a few of the letters with me. I was floored. Floored! We sang about four more times before I switched to another familiar tune.

“Old Mac Donald had a farm, EIEIO!”
“EEEEEEE OHHHHH!” Nellie sang. Again, jaw met floor. Every time I got to the EIEIO part, she would chime in. I shook my head in disbelief as my little toddler played and clapped and sang along with me. The last song I sang to her was “Skinamarinky Dinky Dink”.. You remember, the theme song to the Sharon, Lois, Bram and Elephant Show on Nickelodeon? This one comes with hand/arm gestures and when I was doing them she began to mime me.

She and I sat on the floor facing each other and singing songs for at least ten minutes. She listened to me, captivated; my rapt audience of one. She even made requests. When I tried to sing “BINGO,” she shook her head no. I started in with the ABCs again and was met with another “no”. The third time I tried Old Mac Donald and was met with clapping and cheers.

I’ve taken a leave of absence from my women’s chorus and Tuesdays are usually my chorus night… But instead of singing a capella barbershop, I was sitting cross-legged on the floor with my pajama-clad tot with the corkscrew curls and we were singing our hearts out together as day turned to night. I couldn’t possibly ask for more.