Punky’s Awesome Cars Second Birthday Party

Last year was Punky’s one year Dr. Suess Extravaganza, because she and I spent a great deal reading books before bed and spending time hanging out with each other with our noses in books.

I got this from Baby Center this afternoon. Way to put me in a shock for the day. It went from Baby, to Toddler, to Preschooler in a span of time that feels like overnight!

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This year, Miss Punky has gotten really into all things cars and trucks. Kim found some really neat things on Pinterest to make an awesome cars themed party. So, as usual, I ran with it. I’ve been planning more parties and setting up more parties lately and I do love every minute of it. It’s different when it’s your own kid!

Then it’s all the more special!

So, we started with the racecar theme. I incorporated the Cars Movie theme because its trendy right now and the decorations were easy to find and I didn’t have to make everything myself.

So, I made the invitation, and this is the one I’m selling in the shop, it’s not my original, because that has our identifying information it, but this is what it looks like. I’ve shown it before, but I’m so proud of this design, made from scratch, so I wanted to share it again!

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Then came all the ideas that were going through my head. Originally, I was going to have cupcakes and put toppers on them with racing flags and Cars characters. That idea was scrapped when Kim came up with the idea of making the cupcakes like stop lights. Red, green, yellow frosting! So we went with that instead. The food was going to be simple anyway, a small cake in the center for her to blow out her candle, and cupcakes for everyone else. Finger foods and no need for utensils means less clean up!

The night before, we all headed over to Punky’s Grammy’s house to make 100 cupcakes (we still have a ton in my kitchen right now) and help start the cake that she would blow out her candles with. Punky made an excellent taste tester when it came to cupcake batter and the ‘dirt’ for the trimming of her cake.

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It was a pretty awesome experience to make her stuff from scratch as a family. I really have to say, her Grammy did an excellent job with this, I originally asked if she could help us with the project and she took over like a pro. I just love all the things she did with it! The cupcakes and the cake were both a hit at the party and everyone kept asking me where I got them. They were astonished that I didn’t get them done professionally, because they looked so awesome.

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The rest of the food was pretty much finger foods. And a little bit of a wacky array of foods, I admit, but it all went with the theme!

We had Luigi’s Spare Tires (Miniature Chocolate Covered Donuts), Guido’s White Wall Tires (Miniature Powdered Sugar Donuts), Tow Mater’s Tow Cables (Chocolate and Strawberry Twizzlers), Nuts and Bolts (Chex Mix). We set it up like people were eating at Flo’s V8 Cafe to re-fuel and hang out.

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There were four stations through the party venue; Flo’s V8 Cafe, Ramone’s House of Body Art, Sarge’s Surplus Hut, and Tow Maters Photo Booth. I got the inspiration and a few of the signs downloaded at this site which I found through Pinterest and put my own spin on some things.

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The kids had a blast with the temporary tattoos. I just cut out each tattoo individually and then set up the station with a little ‘drip pan’ and sponges for parents to help apply the ‘paint job’ to the kids. It was pretty convenient that the area had a nice sink area to refill the water and make less mess.

The food made up most of the awesome factor as a visual, but I did spend a lot of time on the tables and the decorations. So, we turned a boring clubhouse room into a party room in about 5 hours.

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The tables were set up to look like roads, with black tablecloths and white address labels down the center of them. I got two Cars party theme kits at Walmart for about $7 a piece, they had the cardboard centerpieces and cones in the packages. I bought a miniature helium tank to blow up some balloons that had Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater on them to attach the cones in the center of the tables.

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Walmart had a ton of decorations and party favors fit for the theme, since it’s so trendy right now. I got a couple packages of activity books and a large box of crayons since we were dealing with a bunch of little ones in attendance. I made some custom chocolate bar wrappers with the cars characters on them and set the candies out on the tables too. In the end, there were three die-cast cars running up and down the roads on the table as well, just for an added effect to go with the theme.

Party City had a great scene setter that I put up on the wall, 6ft plastic puzzle I had to piece together on the wall. Punky’s godfather made an awesome little car cutout photo booth with a poster board and acrylic paints. It was way  more awesome than I expected it to even be!

The banner for the entrance was also another find at Walmart and I set out the Cars rug that Punky got for her half birthday and a crate of cars for the kids to play with. They really got a kick out of the cars and driving them around on the roads.

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I recently just learned about Spotify and I’m in love with it. I didn’t really listen to music that much before it, but in my down moments, it’s been a real lifesaver to helping me really get through this anxiety and depression I’ve been in lately. With that said, I was thrilled when I found this playlist for a Cars themed birthday party! So, I uploaded the songs and played it on repeat at the party.

playlistMy mom came up to celebrate Punky’s birthday and she doesn’t have internet, let alone Facebook, so I put together a video of all of Punky’s last two years. I put together a slideshow of her pictures, some of my favorites anyway. I turned it on and let it play on repeat as well, for people to watch and remember and to see how much she has grown and changed in the last two years.

We had a pretty good day yesterday, celebrating our little one’s second birthday. Kim had a small scare for all of us towards the middle of the party. She hadn’t eaten anything because she was feeling good and she sort of fainted on the porch of the clubhouse. The ambulance and firetruck was out there helping with her vitals. In the end, they recommended she go to the hospital, but she was feeling better, so we got her something to eat and she’s been feeling better, as much as she can, since she ate.

Otherwise, we were surrounded by so many family and friends and Miss Punky has so much love in her life and I am so grateful all the great people in her life that love her. As a parent in a ‘non-traditional’ family setting, it is always the one thing that scares me that Punky will be rejected because of her moms. That’s the last thing I want, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I’m so glad, so far, that we haven’t had to deal with that.

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We had the cake, and that was great. I expected her to cry and get upset about the singing and clapping, but she was eating it all up. It was such a 180 from last year!

When everyone was done singing, I had to whisper a reminder to blow out her candle. It was kind of cute to watch after the fact, as I had no idea we were being filled, thanks to Punky’s godmother who had my camera at the time 🙂

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Presents were hilarious with Miss Punky. She would open one present and then get preoccupied with opening it right away and she said “Thank You” over and over. It was kind of awesome. She’s really quite adorable!

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Our Punky is a great mix of all sorts of things. She likes babies and dolls and high heels and she likes tools and trucks and balls. She really is the perfect mix bag for a child. Especially for two moms with completely opposite interests – we suit her interests well, I think.

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Do you see that giant Radio Flyer, with the 6-foot ramp? Yea, that’s from my dear Mama. Can you also notice my face in reaction to this. Punky thinks its awesome, Mommy is trying to figure out 1. how we get it home, and 2. how we fit it in the apartment. LOL. It’s an awesome gift though and she will get so much use out of it this summer!

So, our daughter turned 2 this last week and it was pretty successful, minus the small ambulance snafu, which I am currently keeping an eye on now, taking the day from work to make sure my dear love is okay.

So, the party was a hit, the baby was spoiled rotten, and I am exhausted!

If you are interested in using the printables that I made or acquired for this party, please feel free! They will be at this link for the next few weeks 🙂

I’ll leave you with this day in history for Punky’s birthday on March 7th that I found on Baby Center Birthday Time Machine. Try it out, it’s kind of neat!

History

9/52 – Discovering Dora

Panties that is.

Remember the panties we got Miss Punky for school, in case the thought she might be interested in the potty training? She found a stray package I kept at home and slipped them up around her pants.

This week, we discovered that we love to wear panties. Right now, we are just putting them on. She initiated the idea of pulling her Dora panties up over her pants and running around the house.

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She graduated to wearing these panties over her pull up and now in most cases she will ask for them to be put on. Today she was a little ill, so she wasn’t interested in doing much. I’m sure the panties will come back in style around the house soon enough.

Are we starting potty training? Not really. Do I wish we were? Yep!

We aren’t pushing the issue though. Our Punky monster will be 2 in less than 2 days. More like 1 day and 12 hours or something like that. March 7th at 6:30PM, Miss Punky will be TWO.

She knows the name of all her private areas and where they are located, but she doesn’t know what that means. I also don’t think she is ready to communicate that she has to go or has already gone.

I think she may still be a little too young for panties and for real potty training, but I suppose if she’s good with wearing them and gets used to having them on, perhaps the transition won’t be a nightmare when the time comes!

Day In The Life of Punky – 22 months

The last time I did a Day In The Life was when Punky was 7 months ago. I do so love to do these. I did her daily chronology since she’s been little bitty at 4 months, 6 months, and 15 months. I love to see the changes in the daily life of our kiddo. It’s so fun to look back at them and see how much she has changed and grown.

** As always, for newer readers, please excuse the state of my cluttered, lived in home and know that time stamps are on the pictures but it doesn’t mean she’s literally doing the action from one picture to another. I usually get distracted and she gets moving faster!

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8:12 AM: We started  out in a great mood this morning.

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8:17AM: In true Punky fashion lately, her switch was flipped from happy to cranky in only a short moment. She sat on the potty while I ran her bath water. This is a normal thing for us, but she usually takes her bath at night, but we were headed to the doctor’s office this morning.

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8:22AM: She was not having the bath! She loves baths. Once again, my Punky is asserting her upset twice in the span of 10 minutes. I know – it astonishes me too!

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8:34AM: We had a short respite from anger while eating a little oatmeal pouch for breakfast, drinking milk and hanging with the Giggle Bellies.

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8:40AM: She brushed her teeth without complaint. It was great to have a small moment of good mood. Brushing teeth was her favorite time of day, along with bath, which we had a problem with bath, but yay brushing teeth!

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8:45AM: We had a small meltdown again when we tried to get her shoes on. She snatched the shoe out of my hand and tried her best to get the shoe on her foot, with no luck. She was super irritated with me, but we finally got her shoes on.

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8:57AM: Guess what, I have no idea what she was pissed about, but we got in the car and on the way to the doctor’s appointment. Another spontaneous tantrum.

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9:09AM: Exploring the doctor’s office waiting area seemed to be allow her to be less irritated. SO, she climbed all over the chairs, and it wasn’t any time before the nurse called us back.

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9:16AM: She got to sit pretty on the scale and got weighed. She was 29.7 pounds today. Then she didn’t want to get off the scale at all. I knew were were at the doctor’s office, so I let her do whatever she wanted, since she was surely going to be unhappy soon – with reason.

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9:56AM: After a quick look-see with the nurse and doctor, it was not so awesome when we learned we would have to get a ‘urine sample’. Hm. This Mommy was trying to figure out how we would accomplish this and KNOWING this wouldn’t go very well. By the time this picture was taken, she had the urine bag attached to her “no no area” with sticky stuff! She was pissed.

Then I was instructed to have her drink as much as possible. If she didn’t pee in this bag, we were going to have to give her a catheter. I was not able to take a picture to illustrate just what a train wreck attaching that bag was, but let me tell you – I most certainly wasn’t looking forward any kind of catheter situation with my sweet, temperamental toddler.

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9:57AM: And this is how well that went. For the girl who has been sucking down her sippys at record speed, she decided this was the moment, she wanted nothing to do with that cup. I did coax her to drink a bit, but it was nothing like what I was hoping for and the whole time, I was very much dreading the likely hood of a catheter.

****I have a picture of the pee in the bag, but only to show her Mama the strangeness of a bag hanging out between our kid’s legs. I’m not showing that on the blog. Rest assured, no catheter was needed and she did in fact pee in that bag, beyond all odds****

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10:02AM: This is how she felt about having that bag removed. I can’t imagine how that felt. A very ‘super sticky’ bag stuck down there and then being removed. I would feel violated too! Poor kid.

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10:06AM: She had another meltdown for a good five minutes while we waited for her pee analysis. By the time she calmed down, the doctor came back in and she freaked out again. Basically, she’s fine.

So, the doctor was concerned about her sugar levels or a UTI, given her excessive drinking and peeing and it turns out her urine is fine. She is physically fine. She’s just almost two. Which means she started the “TWOS” two months early and I suppose I’m happy that’s all it is!

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10:27AM: To make it up to her for basically wasting both our time and putting her through violation of her private areas – I took her to Smallcakes. It’s a cupcake shop. I think it was a success.

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10:57AM: When we got home, she hung out in her room, just in time to catch a little Yo Gabba Gabba and silly faces. She made that face without prompting. I think she was telling me how she felt about the procedures she had just endured this morning.

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12:16PM: I’m not sure what she did in her room up until this point. I got distracted and she was quiet. But, she came out to check on me around 1-ish and approved the new header of the blog. That I spent at least an hour on. Perhaps that’s why I was distracted!

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1:03PM: She found it very amusing to be taking a nap. Every time I end up looking at her room, it just makes me sad that she pulled her star fabric off the wall and I don’t have nails to put it back up!

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5:07AM: Punky took a good 2-3 hour nap and went back into toddler mode. I decided when it was time to do laundry, I would take her with me. She’s such a good little helper. I took her to the laundry room in our apartment complex, which took a good 15 minutes to get there, because we do have go up 2 flights of stairs and down 2 flights of stairs. The toddler likes to take her time.

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5:18PM: Just a little moment with the cat. Let’s just mention that Kitten is the most anti-social cat I have ever met in my life. She doesn’t let anyone touch her except for Kim. The entire first 2 years we had her, I wasn’t allowed to touch her at all. So, when Punky comes over and tries to mess with her, its usually bad news. But, when the kid cries, Kitten is all over it. **PS, that’s not the cat’s blog name, that’s her actual name, because Kim and I flaked on naming her.**

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7:10PM: Dinner of tortellini and garlic bread with a side of juice box and Giggle Bellies. Hence the very big smile. ALSO, she’s been eating more. Thank goodness – there for a minute, I thought we were going to have a toddler that was fueled by cookies and crackers forever!

We’ve taken to not looking her directly in the eyes during dinner time, to hopefully prolong the idea of eating things that are actually good for her. So far, if we don’t engage the beast, she eats a good portion of her dinner.

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7:38PM: I took Miss Punky back to the laundry room in our apartment building to pick up the last bit of laundry from the dryer. She loves to pull the clothes out of the dryer and put it in the basket. We had a small meltdown when Mommy’s jeans got stuck and she couldn’t pull it out. Once I pulled it to start and loosened it up, she was happy as a lark.

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8:10PM: Jumping on Mommy’s bed before bedtime. This is a normal bedtime routine since she was teeny tiny. Love it! Every night it’s something we all do as a family, tickles and jumping on the bed.

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8:32PM: And this is when our night ends. Bedtime. Laying down with monkey and her sippy. And the start of Mommy’s quiet time to take time to write this.

So, what do your kids do all day?? Have you thought about documenting their movements throughout the day? It really is pretty fun and sort of enlightening. It also shows the growth and change in her each new time I do this!

A Creative Mind Need An Outlet During Toddler Terrorist Attacks

I am very sure that I have more ideas in my head than I can possibly get out right now. If you have been reading for a while, you know I have a full time job as a customer service representative in a PBM Call Center. In my free time and usually in the evening and weekends, I also run an Etsy shop for printable invitations and decorations. I have been designing for the shop for almost a year with a great vision of making sure that parents-to-be like Kim and I had a resource to share our joy as much as straight couples.

I’ve always had some two mom invitations for baby showers, but for some reason I never thought about pregnancy announcements! Today, in a stroke of creativity, I came up with some pretty cute pregnancy announcements for the LGBT community. I only share this on my blog, because I know there are a lot of two mom households who are trying to conceive and it you are one of them, check out the link to my shop on the sidebar for discounts to blog readers.

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Click to go to shop listing

I also would love to have any suggestions or extra awesome creative ideas from the readers of this blog. I’m hoping to grow my shop to be more than a hobby. Someday, maybe it can be something more of a job, since my full time day job is getting me down lately. Just in general, it’s not challenging me and I feel pretty damn stale right now. At least this shop, my second job, my second baby – allows me to get the challenges and the creative juices flowing – the goal I have been desperately trying to get out of my day.

I just wish I could make a living on it.

I find it adorable when my daughter watches me work, from my work station on the couch from my laptop in the living room.

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In Punky news, she’s been what I like to lovingly refer to as a “Tiny Toddler Terrorist”. Literally, she’s been acting really weird. One minute she’s fine and the next minute she’s screeching for no reason at all. It’s messing with my sensibilities. Seriously. I can’t figure out what the problem is. Usually, I lay her down for a nap and she goes to sleep and it makes me think that she just wanted to lay down. She’s totally mobile, so I don’t know why she can’t just lay her little self down on her own. She climbs in and out of the bed all day, but she has to have Mommy lay her down in it to sleep.

It’s really the strangest thing ever.

She gets frustrated easily and when she gets mad about something she can’t do or can’t get to work right, she throws herself on the floor and bangs her head on the floor. There’s concrete under there, and I’m positive it hurts, though she looks at me LIKE I SLAMMED HER HEAD into the floor. For real?

All I can do is stare at her in disbelief sometimes.

She’s really so cute in public and for that I should be grateful, since frankly – most toddlers spend most of their energy being cranky and ridiculous in front of other people. It’s like an embarrassment factor that’s built in on toddlers. But, get her home and she’s a ball of “NO” and screams and throwing things around. She’s kicked the cat more times than I’m willing to admit and I have tried both time out and smacking her booty.

Neither seems to make a difference.

It seems like now is the time for the terrible twos and they have come 2 months early. She’s pretty much doing everything early. Teething, talking, colors, eating, weaning. Literally, she’s just doing everything early and I’d be ok with it, if she wasn’t being a royal pain in my ass.

And then there are cute moments, like this when she cuddles with the giant sock monkey her godparents got her.

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Halloween and NaNoWrimo

So, we had a great Halloween, we just jumped on the bed like normal. We didn’t take Punky trick or treating because well, she’s still too small to enjoy it and the candy really is just for us! But, I did dress up at work and it turned out pretty awesome. We did a family themed Halloween costume this  year. Punky was Snow White, I was the Evil Queen and K was Mirror, Mirror. It was awesome fun. 🙂

Here are some of my favorites from this year’s Halloween season.

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We got a family picture, but Punky was pretty scared of me in my costume, so she wouldn’t sit still for a nice picture.  Overall we had a great time though this season.

Now that it’s November, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month. For those who don’t know what it is – click the link and join me, it’s not too late!! Basically, the goal is to write 50,000 words in a novel for the month of November. I’ve been doing it for 6 years and I have won every year. Last year, it was close.

Last year and this year I am making a bet with myself. If I don’t win, I have to send $50 to the Westboro Baptist Church and benefit Fred Phelps. Whom I’m sure all of you know the infamous hate filled church leader. I do not want to send him money. THUS, I will be winning this NanoWriMo! Day One: 2177 words written!

Wish me luck, because frankly, I’m not as prepared as in years before. I will be writing nonstop for this month!! Let’s get the writing on and ready to go!

Hope all of you had a great Halloween and are looking forward to the Thanksgiving season.

Moving From Baby to Toddler

Our little Punky is going to be 2 in four and a half months. When the hell did that happen?! I’m STILL astonished we even have a child. I’m STILL astonished when I look at her and feel like I’m in a dream. Like is this really my life?

I know that work has been a little stressful for me and frankly, I’m pretty sure I had a mild nervous breakdown a couple weeks ago when the supervisor position went haywire. But, I saw a side of me that I haven’t seen in years. I don’t want to see that side of me. I’ve worked very very hard to leave her behind, the bitter, angry, selfish, bitch me has no place in this new life we are building with our most precious baby girl turned toddler.

I’m not ashamed to say that I am going to be getting my medication readjusted and I’m relieved about it. I’m not a nutjob, seriously, but I have a lot of mood problems and my hormones are still out of whack from having Punky, and my anxiety  is “through the roof” if you hear K tell it. So, I’m getting it fixed.

I also learned, while I have always known this, that my childhood was lacking in places I didn’t really notice until I had a kid. I know my parents did the best they could, I didn’t really lack for much, but my noticing it now, makes me even more determined to make sure that Punky has the childhood I didn’t have.

With that said, we do so much with her that I never got to do. Tuesday, we went to the pumpkin patch and she had fun, even though she didn’t have a nap and kind of started to melt down. In the end, I think it was a success.

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This picture warms my heart, I absolutely love seeing Punky and K together.

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Punky is checking out the chickens.

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Taking a little break and looking around the scenery.

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This last week or so we have been putting together Punky’s big girl room. We finally got the non-essential furniture out of there and now, I’m totally going nuts! We have picked the universe theme. I like the sciencey bit of it and she really enjoys the stars and the lights that go with it.

We live in an apartment, so we aren’t supposed to paint the walls, so I did have to improvise some of the wall decor!

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So, while Punky heads into being 2 years old, we are getting ready to put together her toddler bed, finish up her room and continue to make me thrilled to have the child we have, tantrums and all!!

My next post will likely not be until after Halloween or the Halloween party we are going to this weekend. More pictures of that to come, for sure!

Our World Is Full Of Awesome

On the wedding front, we are still saving up the money to drive to Iowa and get the marriage license to make this thing legal. Not as romantic as a wedding should sound, but it’s practical. The fun part is on Pinterest. I was a little discouraged about the venue and stuff being so expensive, well out of our price range. However, we have some awesome and very supportive friends. They suggested some great parks and places in the area. So I am going to scout this place out in person. It’s $100 for the whole day. I think I can spruce it up and make it wedding AND reception worthy. I already have lots and lots of ideas in my head.

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It holds 100 people, which is great for K’s huge Italian family and my semi-large out of town family and of course our friends and co-workers!

I’m thinking if I can get some fabric, we can put it around the outside edges to make it more like a ‘tent’. I am envisioning getting some stringed lights to hang on the inside to give the lighting more of a glow and romance. I have gone to Pinterest for centerpieces and all that, so we can get decorations cheap at the craft store and I’m pretty darn crafty.

We also started painting in this house. K’s therapist recommended that she get some of her creative ideas out in the form of painting. With her BiPolar Disorder, she has a lot of racing thoughts in her manic swings and it’s difficult for her to concentrate. So, this is one way for her to get it out and have an outlet for those thoughts. She has painted some pretty nice paintings. We are a Doctor Who family, so she painted a galaxy painting with a TARDIS for me to display in my cube at work.

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People comment on it a lot and absolutely love it. I helped her paint this one, we did it together. So I really took a liking to painting, so I painted one of my own last night!

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Punky has been way more vocal lately and that’s pretty awesome. Her little voice just melts my heart and I love it! Here’s a little treat – I think I figured out how to post videos!

Picture-Perfect Weekend

God, I do hate password protected posts. I will just say it. I hate the stupid spam codes and I hate passwords I have to try and remember. While I totally know they are necessary. I still hate them. I especially hate that I have now had to put one on this blog!

Ugh.

Anyway, onto more fun things. AND the reason this post is password-protected.

I got a free camera on Friday. Well, let’s back up, so my camera, that my good best friend got me for my birthday … oh … three/four years ago, it has decided it wants to die. It hasn’t quite died yet, but it makes documenting every single, solitary moment of my daughter’s life very difficult when it just doesn’t want to get the pictures right. They are sometimes blurry, sometimes dark, and sometimes the lens doesn’t come out of hiding at all and there are moments, when my poor … very ill camera doesn’t shutter at all, or shutters too much.

So, my trusted camera has been on life support for some time. Frankly, I find taking pictures with my phone just inadequate. SO, what’s a girl to do when she NEEDS to take pictures of the cutest damn kid in the universe? She searches for a camera.

Where did I get a free camera? Well, I will tell you. I am a member of Freecycle. If you aren’t a member, you really should look up the local group in your area. I’m sure they are all over, well, at least, I’m sure they are in the US. Not so sure about internationally.  Basically, you sign up for the group, linked to YAHOO.com and you post for things you would like to have. All for free. You can also post things you want to get rid of. All for free.

I took a chance and asked if anyone had a digital camera that they just might be interested in giving me. For free. Now, look, I didn’t actually expect someone to give me a camera. But, I took a shot. And guess what? A very nice man contacted me about a camera. ARE YOU KIDDING? I’ve seen things like clothes or books or toys and such on the site, never something as great and wonderful as a digital camera. I mean seriously, we know how much these things cost.

So, the camera isn’t anything special. Not really, but it’s new to me. I am now in possession of a camera AND a 32 GB SD card (Which will hold … wait for it … 9,999 pictures!) for which I just had to use immediately.

I took Punky to a beautiful little place we like to take pictures from time to time and they turned out awesome. I also figured out, after editing these pictures, that my nearly 18 month old baby, just isn’t a baby anymore. She is getting too big. Getting too big, too fast!

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Punky is also in a very “Huggy” phase right now. AND I love it. She’s just too damn cute for words. Of course, I’m biased, so I will let you be the judge! Hugs and sweet baby “Aww” that comes out of her mouth, just makes me want to melt.

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After we got home, I gave her a hula hoop and we ran around the courtyard of our apartment complex. I just had to shoot her there too. By the end of the day, yesterday, she was just too sick and tired of the camera, but I did get some excellent pictures.

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This post is really just rambling and not worth much of anything – except the pictures that I took of my precious daughter with my free camera. And, as I look at the pictures and I look back at all the pictures I have of her life thus far, I am reminded – just how lucky K and I are. To have her, to even have her here. Through all the emotionally draining and physically exhausting times we have had over the last 10 years, THIS is what we have to show for it. We may not have a lot of money, but we have happiness well beyond anything we imagined we would have in that college dorm 10 years ago when we met in a little piece of internet history.

And in the end, it’s worth it. I mean really, when you think about, nothing else matters, but this moment. Oh, and this one, where you started using spoons……

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Take care everyone, there’s not much happening in our little corner of the internet. I hope things are all well with everyone who has followed. AND, I really appreciate you all, especially those of you who have followed along despite the stupid password!

Rachael

Hey Parents, Let’s Stop Parenting With Fear

I’m not sure I will ever understand the idea of parenting with fear. The media and the ‘research’ out there is geared towards fear and scaring the shit out of new moms and dads. We are in a constant state of fear when it comes to our kids. Making sure they are eating right, sleeping right, playing right, talking right, walking right, freaking blinking right. Or if you are a Whovian, you teach that kid not to blink at all.

Where is the line drawn?

In the end, does it really matter what the research says? No two kids are the same. No two techniques work for the same child nor for the same family. Why then, are we letting ourselves get all worked up about what the media says is the right way to parent? Why are we up in arms if the mother next to us isn’t doing the same thing we are.

Are there great benefits to breastfeeding? Absolutely! However, there are some women who can’t breastfeed and frankly, formula feeding your baby is just fine. They get the same nutrients, the same nurturing from a bottle as they do the breast.  I did both. I breastfed and yet, my baby didn’t latch properly – ever. It was never something we were really in sync with, Punky and I. So, I pumped. I hated it, but I pumped because I felt like I was obligated to, because I wasn’t a good mother if I didn’t give my child breast milk.

You know what I learned? Punky loved me either way. Punky just wanted milk and her Mommy. She didn’t necessarily need the two together from the same body. She was perfectly content to have formula as well, when I made the decision to stop pumping, because my breasts were getting mastitis from not being able to pump regularly when I went back to work. Punky didn’t mind. AND, frankly, I’m sure she would rather her Mommy feel better and not be in constant pain that drink breast milk.

Is it possible that crying it out can be stressful for a baby’s little brain? Absolutely! However, there are women who need to sleep in order to be better for their child. I was one of those women. I let my baby cry it out. I did in fact sleep train my baby. You know what the results were? One night of Mommy and baby crying it out and then …. a very happy, well adjusted toddler, who takes naps like a champ and doesn’t have a problem sleeping through the night from 8:30 PM until 10 AM.

It’s absolutely bullshit to sit there and say that ‘research’ says that crying it out has adverse effects on EVERY child. I refuse to believe that. Do I think excessive crying can be stressful for a baby? Yes. I do, but in the same token, we all know it’s more stressful for Mommies. The argument “If you hear your child crying and it doesn’t pull at you like a heartache, there’s something wrong with you” is accurate. However, it really pisses me off when people assume that I’m a heartless mother because I let my child cry it out for 1 night. Let’s get something straight right now, I read the research for both sides and let me tell you something, both sides blow each other out of the water. In the end, the conclusion in, it doesn’t matter if you use the sleep train method, the crying out method, the rocking method. Use what works for YOUR kid and stop assuming things about people you know nothing about.

Is organic the purest way to eat? That’s what we hear. It is likely better than fast food, well, duh, of course it is. However, if organic seller were really concerned with our health, they would make their foods more affordable. Period. What’s really the difference between organic apples and regular old apples? I’m not sure, I simply don’t know. I’m not afraid to admit that. The major difference I see is the price tag. So, in the end of the day, Punky can have the apples that have the same look and taste at a fraction of the cost. There’s no way I think it’s appropriate to tell my daughter that she has to rape her wallet just to eat an apple. If you can afford organic, I think that’s awesome, but let’s not forget that most of America is struggling to make ends meet. They don’t need to be made to feel bad that they can’t give their child the ‘right’ fruits and veggies.

In regards to the fast food debate, Punky gets fast food. We eat fast food in this house. A chicken nugget is not going to kill anyone. Is it likely not as healthy as some carrot sticks, yes, that’s right, it’s not the healthiest food out there to give your kid. However, after a very long day at work, shockingly some parents work, we don’t have time or energy to cook a full meal and still have time to spend time with our kid. So, would I rather sacrifice a few carrot sticks for precious time with my daughter? You bet I would. At the end of the day, don’t let someone make you feel bad for the food choices you give your child. Organic, regular, fast food, is your kid getting fed? Yes. Are they healthy weight? Yes. Then who gives a damn what others think!

Can it be a reality that spanking your child can hurt? Yes, you better believe it. I know from personal experience that a good spanking can sting like hell. However, are there really adverse effects to a little smack on the hand or diapered rear? I guess it depends on the child, doesn’t it? There’s a great big difference between spanking and beating your child. I will be the first to say that I don’t think spanking should be used as a scare tactic for controlling children. However, there are some times when a child needs more than a shake of the finger and a raised voice to get their attention.

I’m not advocating one way or another, because we do both timeout and smacks on the hand around here. If Punky is getting into something she’s not supposed to be, after a resounding “No.” if she doesn’t listen, it’s possible she will get a smack on her hand to show her that it’s unacceptable to touch whatever her fingers are reaching for. If she is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the living room, I remove her from the situation and place her in an area where she can’t get attention for her behavior. Let’s just remember that a spanking doesn’t mean you are beating your child. We should all know the difference, seriously.

I could go on and on about the things we parents let others dictate is right or wrong. What we allow the media to drive fear into us. TV or no TV? Front facing carseats or not? Cutting their hair or not? Gender stereotypes, gender roles, and much much more.

What’s the moral of my story here?

Kids don’t come with a manual, parenting doesn’t come with a training class.  Stop stressing yourself out. Stop stressing your kid out. Shit, stop stressing ME out.

Do what’s right for you. Do what’s right for your child. We have enough going on in our lives now, too much in fact, to allow someone who isn’t living in our home to dictate how we raise our children. Do you love your kid? Do you show your kid you love them? Are they fed, dressed, bathed, and healthy? Do your children have a roof over their heads and parents who love them? If so, forget the fear tactics and the ‘rules’. Do what’s best for your kid and stop judging others for a choice that may or may not be the same as yours.

Happy parenting, you all!

Mornings with Punky and Me

With the change in shift at work has finally gotten to be a little more settled. I’m told that I will be in the position for a little longer than I anticipated. I’m A-OK with it. I have never enjoyed my job more than I do right now. I thought I enjoyed being a senior, but in all truthfulness, I was a mini-supervisor.

Now, I have a full schedule of one on ones with my own people on my team and development and time management and keeping busy. I miss my little one a ton and I have been so sleepy, working 3 to midnight that I haven’t gone to many of our meetups with the group. We were able to make it to a playdate on Monday and today. It was pretty cool.

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Punky and I had a nice toe painting before I went to work a week or so ago. That was great. She went with her Mama to a fancy Italian restaurant and we learned that she may not like hot dogs but she will devour calamari. This kid did not get my taste buds, for sure! She has been living on fish sticks and popcorn shrimp this week from what I am told.

Monday we went to a playdate at a play place in town. We went with our playgroup and got to hang out with other moms and toddlers of her same age. I love taking her to this place because there are so many things to do. This time, she got to play at the water table – AND BECOME SOAKED – and paint her own face. She had a blast.

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This morning we hung out at the local fitness gym. They hold an open gym for toddlers and we have only gone one other time. This time, she went all over the place and was really adventurous. Punky has just learned how to jump, kind of … so the trampoline was the place she wanted to me. She did wade around in the foam pit for a bit, which was a little out of my reach, so as usual, I was anxious the entire time, but she had fun.

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The best decision I made in my parenting so far this last 17 months was to join this group and take Punky out places. It makes things incredibly fun for her, it exposes her to all sorts of things and we get to bond one on one. No matter what my work schedule looks like, I always have the mornings with my Punky. ❤

Take Care until next time!

Rachael