Christmas Countdown Out of Whack

Well, I’m terrible at updating the countdown this year. But we have done all sorts of fun things.

Day 11: Pick out ornament for the tree (2012 was Cat in the Hat, 2013 was Tow Mater, 2014 is Minnie Mouse) This was the first year that Miss Punky picked out the ornament herself. Its going to be a very Merry Minnie Christmas. Literally. She has asked for only two things from Santa. Minnie Bike and Light Up Shoes. I have the bike in the works (her godfather is painting an old bike we had) and the light up shoes I got for her are Minnie Mouse and the bows and hearts light up. She’s going to love them.

From her moms so far I have gotten her a zebra print Minnie Mouse bath robe, because she’s so dramatic about being cold when she comes out of the tub and dries off. The small walk to her room or down the stairs in just a towel brings on the jitters and shivers. Its pretty darn adorable. I also found the cutest Minnie Mouse duffel bag for traveling and it comes with a sleeping bag. So when we go visit my family, she will have her own bag to take! Just like a big girl.

So – Minnie Mouse is the theme of this year.

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Day 12:Angel Tree and Senior Tree at Walmart. Walmart always sponsors children for Christmas. Kim and I have been picking stars off the tree for several years. This is the first time Miss Punky picked her own star. A 6 year old girl who wanted a baby doll and stroller. Miss Punky picked out the baby doll and I added the cheapest stroller(cause we aren’t made of money) to give to the little girl. Our bank sponsors seniors. I always try to take one of those as well. Punky picked a Grammy instead of a Papa and we bought their wish list item of art supplies.

I always feel bad that the paper ornaments with all the senior citizens on it are not usually touched. In fact, when I went to put the gift in the their collect box, there was trash inside of it, but no gifts. When we went back to Walmart the end day of the collection, there were still the same amount of ornaments on the tree. No one ever thinks of the senior citizens – at least that’s the way it looks. It’s pretty sad.

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Day 13: Kim’s grandfather’s union always has a Christmas Party and he gathers all his grandkids and great grandkids together for chili and nachos at 9am. We adults are getting to be a little less steel stomached for it. But they have Santa and pictures and lots of great things for the kids to do. Its a nice time normally. I didn’t get to attend, because with this midnight shift, I have been sleeping in late. So, I’m not in the family picture with Santa. But! Miss Punky is sitting on Santa’s lap! How exciting is that development?!

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Kim, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Uncle Eric, Punky, and Aunt Ashley

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I very small portion of the very large Italian family that I married into. They are all the grandkids and great-grandkids and their parents.

Day 14: We colored plastic ornament balls with sharpies for our neighbors and their kids as well as her godparents. She had fun just scribbling and it really added character to the gifts.

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Day 15: We filled the ornaments with hot chocolate and then delivered them to their new owners. They are lucky they got any marshmallows though, because she kept putting them in her mouth, instead of in the ornament!

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So that’s what we have been up to so far. I have also mailed all my Santa Letters this year. I dropped them in the mailbox to be picked up yesterday, so they are on their way to all the kids on the list. 140 of them this year!

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We have 9 days til Christmas. This has been the most interactive holiday with Punky – the one where she has participated, started to fully understand that this is a holiday, and really gotten into the spirit. I can’t wait to keep on making traditions with her!

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The Bumps In Our Road

The first of these lyrics hit home on me right now.

“Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over”

And in the end, that’s all I need to keep remembering. Kim was so sick we really thought she had a disease that wouldn’t be curable, our car was repossessed for a few days last week, we were near eviction from our apartment, and we are now in the basement of my in-laws; but the hard part is over. It really is. No matter what I wish the circumstances were right now, the path to our destination may have twisted a little and taken a different path, but we will get where we want to be – regardless of the bumps in our road.

Kim is feeling much better and on the road to a speedy recovery back to her old self. With much help from great people, the car is out of repossession. We have a great bit of family that was able to get us moved out of our apartment and into the basement before Monday – when the eviction would be going to the lawyers – saving us thousands of dollars and issues with our credit.

This is likely the lowest we’ve been and yet, as I sit on my bed, in our new home surroundings, I have never been more hopeful for a brand new start and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – the worst is over, the hardest part is over.

We got a  storage unit, which is filled to the brim, even though we tried our hardest to throw out a lot of the things I’ve been holding onto for a very long time. Luckily most of my ‘sentimental items’ are digital and now backed up on my 1TB hard drive I got for my birthday. We had so much more stuff than the storage unit will hold, so we will probably have to upgrade the storage unit, blah! For now, it’s in the garage, taking up more space, because it won’t fit in the basement with us.

Here’s our new home, of course, there are some things we still have to unpack and whatnot, but so far its getting to be a little homey and comfortable for the time we will be here. **The beautiful model on the couch is my love, Kim!**

Living Area:

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Dining Area (behind the living area):

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Bedroom Area (Next to the Dining Area:

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And yes, we do have two beds, because Kim and I are old so-to-be married lesbians and frankly, we don’t share bed space or bedding well!

While down here hanging out the first night, Miss Punky was jumping on our beds, like normal and her shoes tripped her up and she fell head first into the concrete floor. She bit right through her bottom lip and it was pretty darn scary and I know it was painful – it bled forever! She tried to eat pizza last night for dinner and it kept burning her lips, she was so upset, that really is her most favorite dinner time meal. By morning, it had at least scabbed over a bit, but it sure looks like a nasty war wound, poor kid!

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With the move has come with transitions for Miss Punky of course. She doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. She actually sleeps two flights up from us, in the nursery for the grandkids. They have a bed up there already and it was less cramped down here in the basement if she slept up there. Its a change for both Mommy and Punky, as I’m used to her room being right NEXT to mine and I could hear her if she cried or woke up.

And while we use the cry it out method for the most part, its hard not to get up and make sure she’s alright in the middle of the night, when you have three flights of stairs to get to her. Not to mention, that she really doesn’t know where her moms are in the middle of the night or how to get to them, which in my mind, my anxious Mommy mind, its scary and traumatic for my baby girl.

Our apartment was her only home. Its the only home she has ever known. She’s two and she confused. She keeps telling us she wants to go home. She doesn’t fully grasp the idea that we are already home. We brought her down to the basement with us for a bit tonight and she knew that Mommy and Mama’s beds were down there, the familiar things from home are down here – but she still doesn’t fully understand that Grammy’s house is now her house too.

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I know she will get used to it and its not going to be damaging or traumatic for her, but as a Mommy, a stressed out Mommy, it makes me sad that she has to go through such a confusing time – moving out of the only home she’s known and sleeping in a bed she’s not used to, surrounded by a room that’s not familiar with all her toys in storage, except for her most favorite Baby Ellen and a few comforts from “home”.

Of course, the Nook with her most favorite game “Toddler Shopping 2” is also here, and she sure loves that game. If you have a toddler and they like playing with apps, this is an app to try. Its so simple and I don’t have any idea what the appeal is, but she could play with it all day!

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Its an adjustment for us all – but I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I really appreciate all my blogger friends and my family and friends in our personal life that have given such beautiful and much needed words of encouragement while we all three come to terms with the path of our lives right now – and helping me see the silver lining where it is! I really am feeling much lighter as a result of your kind words. That’s why I love this community of bloggers!!

Besides … with a smile like this in your view, who could be sad for long!

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20/52 – And the Busiest Week Ever

Ugh. I have been a terrible blogger this last week. Of course, I did have my 30th birthday weekend and it was awesome.

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I worked on Memorial Day, which consisted of me sitting at my desk, working on this little pretty!

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Its a “Smash Book” which is like a scrapbook, but in so many ways, it is not a scrapbook. I have been putting all our trip pictures in the book and it has been awesome. You can journal and you can stack pictures on top of each other. Its like an art journal and I love it. An “unscrapbook” if you will. I got it for my birthday on my trip and it’s been fantastic to put together.

And then I was helping plan a very special first birthday party for one of my friends’ kids. It was a vintage circus theme and it was pretty darn awesome.

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We are dealing with some concerning health problems with Kim, this time not mental by physical – we have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, so more to come on that, I guess. Its been a little stressful here in our house.

Bills piling up, sickness, and looking for a new place to live. I just think we need something new. A new change, something to get us back on track. I’ve been stressed to the max the last week or so, which is likely why I haven’t really done much blogging, because I just don’t have a lot of ‘nice’ things to say.

And then I remember, we get through every storm and while we may be battered and torn, we are not broken. We will get through it in one piece, even if there are chips and scratches along the surface.

Miss Punky is loving school and loving swimming! Right now, the pool has been her most favorite thing. Her Grammy has a small pool in their backyard and thank goodness this kid doesn’t burn like her Mommy. She is developing quite the little tan lines, even with the 100 proof sunscreen I slather on her! These goggles get me every time!

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Friday and Saturday, I think she may have gotten a little too much sun and she was running a fever and extra cuddly. Which, I don’t mind, the cuddling part, but it sure makes me sad with my Punky is sickly.

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If you don’t know what “Fever Bugs” are or you haven’t seen me mention them before, I swear by them! Great for infants, but Punky is also too wiggly for a thermometer and far too impatient. She picks the bug, knows it stays on her head and Mommy can check it anytime she needs to up to 48 hours as long as it doesn’t get pulled off or wet. You can order them online or go to Walgreens, its the only place I have found them in a retail store.

All my Must-Have mommy items for those of you who are expecting or TTC’ing. Total lifesavers and if I was coming to your baby shower you would get one!

 

She was better by the time we made it to the party yesterday, full of sugar highs and bubbles. We had a great time yesterday and while I am not going to work today, for other health reasons related to Kim, we had a pretty good weekend.

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Next major event will be Papa/Uncle Day. I’m still trying to figure out what I will be doing for that, but we will surely have a great big celebration of all the great and wonderful men in Punky’s life!

16/52 – Inside Our Home

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I’ve been really bad about keeping up with the Project 52 Challenge. This picture was earlier this week. I think it may have been Sunday. Basically, we are an electronic family and we love all things electronic.

Punky and I share the Nook, I actually took this picture from behind my laptop. So, as you can see, we all have something electronic in our possession and that’s just the way we spend family time.

Quiet. Small breeze from the patio door coming in. At the time, it was nice – not rainy in our neck of the woods. It’s since been a little of everything. The joys of living in the Midwest of the US.

One day it’s sunny and 70 and the next day is 30 and storming. Which is why I ended up with no voice and a sore throat for nearly two weeks. I missed upwards to 32 hours on one paycheck, with no pay. Let’s talk about how stressful that is!

Thank goodness, I work in a call center, so they had some overtime available. I have been able to make up all but 17 hours. It’s better than nearly a whole week.

I’m feeling much better, but now we are afraid there may be mold in Punky’s room and we may need to clean it out and get it looked at. I’m not looking forward to going through all her clothes and toys in that room. Not to mention dismantling her bed.

I feel like I haven’t seen Punky in ages, really. I know I have. But, I’ve been working so much this week to make up for the hours I missed while I was sick – and when I’m not out of the house working, I’m on my laptop working in the Etsy shop filling orders.

It’s like lesbian baby making season. Seriously. I’ve done at least 7 baby shower invitations for lesbian couples this month all having baby showers on May 31.

This design is by far the reigning favorite in the shop.

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I almost want to call it the lesbian baby boom and for all you TTC’ing, take it as there’s something in the air. I am crossing my fingers for all of you!

So, while I work overtime and over normal – I posted up a bunch of pictures of Punky around my desk. It makes the time go by a little faster and makes the time I am on this phone, tethered to this desk for several hours a day, a little more bearable.

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It doesn’t hurt that there are several people at work who are constantly asking to see current pictures of Punky. She really became quite a mascot of the team while I was working for a different supervisor. So, the team still comes by my desk periodically or stops me in the hallways and asks for new pictures.

It is super awesome to hear how cute she is and how smart she is and of course, how much she looks like me. It’s not one day that goes by that I don’t get that at least once a day. I’m ok with it.

So, our last two weeks have been full of sickness and working. Not much family time to be had, since Easter when my mom came to visit. I’m hoping tomorrow can be a nice day and maybe I can take Punky outside, perhaps to the park if I’m feeling adventurous and not lazy.

Otherwise, we can kick the ball around outside in the apartment complex, before she has another week at school. I freaking love this cute little picture of her leaving school with her nap mat and headed home with me.

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For Mother’s Day a local photographer is offering mini Mommy and Me sessions and I thought maybe I would take them up on it. We don’t have any ‘professional’ pictures because I generally take them myself and I think they are pretty ok, for an amateur, so I can’t really justify spending money on it.

But we don’t have a family picture since last Easter and I think I would like to have one. So, I may look into doing this, depending on our money situation in the next week or so.

So, maybe we will have professional pictures to post soon!

Cross your fingers for me to have a relaxing, none crazy Sunday tomorrow so I can de-stress and spend some quality time with my girls.

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!

7/52 – Exploring the Ever Growing Toddler Terrorist

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We have been dealing with the early stages of the terrible twos. This includes tantrums that have been known to shriek at the top of her lungs, throwing her food on the floor and the ever popular banging her head on the floor. This has been going on since she was about 18 months old, slowly escalating to where we are today.

I’ve talked about the fact that both of Punky’s moms have some sort of diagnosed mental health issues. I have a little PTSD and Anxiety and Kim is Bipolar with a heavy dose of her own PTSD. Having a toddler thrown in the mix has been hard. Not unmanageable, but hard.

We are the type of parents who want to instill respect and manners in our child, use discipline that is appropriate for her age and her understanding. But, at the end of the day, whether you like it or not – whether people talk about it or not, I’m going to say it – the TWOS suck and she’s not even officially two for another two weeks.

The situation escalated last night when I came home and found a distraught Kim sitting in a chair with Spaghetti and Meatballs at her feet. Astonished by the amount on the floor isn’t even the most telling part. The story that Kim told me – just reinforced that we need to do something different.

Punky managed to kick her high chair tray so much and so hard that it came loose and it dumped an entire child’s bowl of food on our carpet. We aren’t a family of means, we live paycheck to paycheck, period. Now we have a very large orange stain on our carpet.

All Kim could say was “Why won’t she just eat?”

And my response, probably not the most empathetic was “She’s two.” Plain and simple. We both know it. But, frankly, rationally it’s hard to think logically when the child doesn’t think with reason or logic herself.

How do you handle a two year old who is so smart and so sweet and so full of life and on the go and then can very quickly turn into a completely different person in a matter of seconds. I know this is just the developmental stage, but it’s wearing on us. It’s wearing us very thin.

When I went to my therapist appointment today, we talked about it. I cried, I broke down a lot in that hour. I’ve been having increasingly more anxiety attacks, mostly at work – but that’s another story, and I’m finding it hard to cope at home without feeling like a terrible mother.

We are trying to steer away from spanking, I was spanked as a child and I’m sure it’s not left any damaging, lasting effects on me as an adult, but it’s just something I want to use as a last resort. It’s becoming more difficult.

She gave me some tips and I think we will be putting them to use. So far, we have talked about tackling some of the behavior by praising the good behavior more. We shower the praise when Punky has ‘learned something new’ but not really when she’s doing ‘desired behavior’. It never occurred to me to praise her when she’s not screaming at me and just playing normally in her room.

So today, Punky and I went to the store and picked out some stuff for the new sticker chart we are making, I’ll post more about the construction when I come up with the design I like. We picked out stickers with Dora and Cars and stars and all her favorite things. We picked out a ‘reward bag’ that I will introduce that has little trinkets like bracelets and candy necklaces and light up rings and all sorts of goodies for her to earn.

This afternoon, when we got home, she was in a “terrorist” state, she needed a nap for sure and for a toddler, nap time and sleep time have never really been much of an issue for Punky. She tells us when she’s tired and for the most part, goes to sleep with no problems or small bouts of crying it out. So she went to take a nap and her moms, exhausted already, took a nap as well.

When I woke up, I decided to try the method of ‘grazing’. We’ve done this all along, sort of. We give her a bag of veggie fries and she can eat them whenever she wants or she doesn’t really eat breakfast at a table or in her highchair, we just give her a finger food of some sort and call it a day.

The “grazing” method, from what I have read is all about letting her be a busy and exploratory toddler while still having snacks and foods available to her. I gather it’s all about not confining her to one place to eat. I’m not sure how it will work for dinner time, but so far she’s been receptive to the ‘snack tray’.

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I took a muffin tin that I already had in my kitchen and let her help me fill the compartments. So, I filled it with stuff we had in the kitchen already. I know some of it, like jello and fruit snacks, may not be the most healthy, but I wanted to start with familiar foods to her, that I know she will eat and move into other foods.

I put the fruit snacks in the center, surrounded by the granola bars and diced fruit, hoping to entice her with the stuff she’s never wanted to eat before.

The Apple O’s (knock-off Apple Jacks) went first and she’s found the fruit snacks and they are also gone. But, she’s also ventured into the granola bar and I’m waiting anxiously for her to pick up a banana or a pineapple.

IMG_4734When I introduced the tray, I made a point to let her fill the compartments and then tell her she could eat as much as she wanted or as little as she wanted. This was all her food and she could put it in her belly whenever she wanted.

When she comes up to the tray, which is stationed by my seat on the couch in the living room – on a table at her height level, I have been telling her “Good job!” or commenting about how “YUMMY” new foods are and stuff. So, far she’s stuck to the familiar food and perhaps when that runs out she will try something newer. In any event, I’m excited to see if this helps create a more peaceful mealtime for us and for Punky.

So far, she’s gone back and forth between the tray and her room and dancing in the living room. We have only been implementing it for approximately an hour, so I’m not saying it is a cure all, but for the time being, we are getting some sanity.

I’d be all ears for any other suggestions or tips on how we can curb some of the tantrums and eating issues we are having with the little one. I’m all about ‘ignoring bad behaviors’ but at the end of the day, I’m afraid ignoring it reinforces her to act out to get attention.

We are slowly coming up with ways to tame our toddler terrorist and I am all open for suggestions from veteran moms or moms in the same boat! Tell me what has worked for you, seriously. I’m willing to try anything.

In other news, another way we have been talking about curbing the toddler twos is to get Punky into a preschool in the area. She’s going to be 2 in early March and the place I’m looking at have a preschool program that I really like. It’s going to be a financial stretch, having to live paycheck to paycheck already, but 2 days a week will give Kim a much needed break and Punky some social skills with other kiddos. In the end, I think it will also help me – knowing I can come home from work to a peaceful, more harmonious house and family. Here’s to hoping it helps – though I’m not looking forward to sickness and germs that come with ‘school’ and ‘daycare’ in small kids, but it comes with the territory and I’m starting to think the good effects may outweigh those flaws.

Hello … Are We Sure This Is My Life?

So, its that time again. I just can’t even believe our kid is coming up on the 2 year old mark. I mean, seriously. I carried her inside of me for nearly a year and now we have had her in our lives for damn near 2 years.

Does this feeling of disbelief ever go away? I mean, I’m still astonished that we have a kid. I’m still astonished every day that I wake up and go into her room and find her there. I still sometimes feel like I’m living in a dream world, waiting to wake up from this life where we have been together for almost 11 years (through mental illness, a plethora of moves, and a baby carriage) and we have a child against all odds.

It never would have been possible for us to get pregnant the way most lesbian couples get pregnant. We aren’t the ‘saving’ kind and frankly, we are very not thrifty with our money. We live paycheck to paycheck – even now, so going through any sort of fertility treatments, like another great blog buddy posted her medication costs and I damn near fell out of my chair. Buying up sperm at a sperm bank would never have been an option for us.

The first time we looked into the sperm banks online, we were seriously considering it, but when it came time to really step into the financials of it all, we knew, it wasn’t in the cards, realistically. In fact, I think Kim and I were pretty resolved to never having kids of our own.

I think that’s why my astonishment still lingers. I know that it’s tough for the gals and couples out there who are struggling with their baby making journey and my heart breaks for all of them with each new BFN. But, I am so very thankful for the turn of events that happened so unexpectedly in our life.

No, we didn’t conceive in the conventional lesbian way, not even the ‘turkey baster’ way. I’m not ashamed to say that we went the cheap and some would call it “easy” way. I don’t think we called it easy at the time. Emotionally and physically the whole thing was draining. However, lucky for us, it didn’t take long and we had a baby in the belly. Thank goodness, I don’t think we would have been strong enough to make it more than 1 cycle.

I really can’t thank our donor enough for all that he helped us accomplish with the goodness and selflessness of his heart. Literally, I’m going to be forever grateful to that man for giving us a piece of himself and asking NOTHING in return.

My point is, holy shit, we have a two year old and I still look at her in complete and utter awe. I don’t know if that is a normal feeling for all moms, I’m not sure if this is something extraordinary I am feeling. But, I keep waiting for the feeling to wear off. I keep expecting that one day I will come to grips with the fact that I have a tiny mini-me running around our apartment.

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So, speaking of our nearly 2 year old, it’s that time again. It’s time to start planning a birthday party. I am what I guess you would call a “Pinterest Mom”. I never really noticed that this was a negative term until I read about it in another blog buddy‘s post a few days ago. In the end, I figure anyone who thinks it’s negative is simply jealous.

I also read an article on Babble about giving up the extravagant parties and have low-key affairs for our kids. Well, that’s all well and good, but not going to happen. The first birthday party, the Dr. Seuss Extravaganza, was mostly for me, people asked why we would want to have such a large party for  one year old who wouldn’t remember it.

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You have a point. However,  I’m not ashamed to admit that the party was purely for me. I wanted to celebrate her first year with a bang. I wanted to make sure everyone could celebrate her with us. I wanted to always remember the first birthday of our only baby girl. Our miracle baby, whom we didn’t think would have ever existed. So, yes. We had a giant party in her honor and no, she won’t remember.

So, why then, would I want to put myself through another giant party for my two year old? I have two sets of family members on my side of the family, Kim has two sets of family members on her side. If we didn’t have the money or the willpower to save for sperm, we sure as hell don’t have the money to save for four different birthday parties.

Instead, we suck it up and make one very large event. It’s just easier! It will likely be the way of her life for many years to come until celebrating with her aunts and uncles and grandparents become a thing of the past and we transition into the slumber parties and spa days for her birthdays.

I’m going to milk those days as long as I can. So, we have decided on a cars theme this year. Punky is all about her cars right now. She’s loving the cars and the trucks and drives them all over our apartment for hours.

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So, it only makes sense that we would make it a big to-do. So, I am sending out ‘car’ invitations with ‘pit crew’ VIP passes. My goal is to make a few wearable cardboard box cars for kids to race around in out of diaper boxes, if I can muster the creativity and the talent!

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I can’t decide between a dress similar to this one:

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Or this one:

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But I’m leaning towards the tutu just because I am likely going to be making her dress myself and my sewing skills may not be sophisticated enough for the first one, even though I think it may be more Punky’s style. We will have to see!

Anyway, the great birthday bash preparation has begun for the All Out Cars Event for Punky’s second birthday. Do I think it’s over ambitious? Yes. Do I think it’s ridiculous? Yes. Ask me if I care? I don’t! My kid will always have the best of everything. She will have all the things I didn’t have (that’s a post for another day) and she will grow up knowing she was loved and cherished by her mothers no matter what may come.

Period. Whether she’s down for it all the time or not. We will likely smother her in our love.

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When she looks back on her childhood, I want her to smile. I want her to remember the good things she did, the fun she had and the joy she had being a CHILD. I don’t want her to grow up too fast, I don’t want her to be surrounded by things she doesn’t need to know yet. I will keep her small and happy for as long as possible. If I have my way, she will never have a sad day in her childhood, ever. At least not on my watch.

So will her party be excessive? Absolutely. Does it mean I’m probably spoiling her? Yea, most likely… She’s still the nicest, sweetest, kindest little toddler on the block. I think a little happiness in a kid’s life is A-Ok and I’m more than willing to provide it for her!

If you wanna follow all my preparations, you can check it out on Pinterest, where I pin pretty much obsessively. Check out my board.

4/52 – Adventures With Mommy

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This week was really all about exploring the adventures we could have with Mommy. And learning that sometimes, the best “me time” is time with the little girl who makes your world go ’round. I’m exploring and learning new things too!

 

Day 7: Walking Through WhoVille with Mommy

Originally, we were supposed to go to Christmas in the Park. In our location, it’s a place where you drive through the park and they have big light scenes and decorations. We will still do that, but I was shopping yesterday and I came across a flyer on their classified boards.

A local church down the road was putting on a Who-bilation Celebration in their church. We don’t usually frequent churches, as we all know, but this looked like something right up our alley, what with the Dr. Seuss theme we have started with Punky.

So, we pulled out her birthday dress, and it still fits, so she and I made an appearance at the church and pranced around the WhoVille streets.

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They had all sorts of games and candy and picture ops. She got her picture taken by complete strangers, but I figured, perhaps it was fine, since her pictures are all over the internet now, huh. Anyway – she got to go into the bakery and the cupcake shop, decorating with lots of icing and sprinkles.

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After about an hour of hanging out with all the WhoVille people, we took a few pictures with the backdrops they had all over the church hallways. The Grinch was running around stealing cookies and cupcakes throughout the halls, but she was not really interested in him.

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By the end of the night, we were tuckered out. We stopped to get Mama some dinner and headed on home, hopped up on all the Christmas sugar we were given at the party!

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Before we headed out for the evening, Mama and I put her new big girl bed together. So she was able to come home, change into her pirate pjs, open up her envelope on her bed and see that she had a new car hidden inside of it!

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We are going to see how it goes with her sleeping in her new big girl bed. So far, she loves it and she hasn’t really gotten out of it. I must admit, she has slept in it before, because we got the bed from Grammy and Papa. She is familiar with the bed, but she very cute in the bed. I am interested to see how she does tonight.

Let me just say … my baby looks so big in that bed! I am starting to get more sentimental as the year goes on. She’s going to be two in March and just watching her sit and lay in the big girl bed, makes me super emotional!

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I just want to keep her as small as she is. She is mimicking more, she’s talking more, she’s learning so much, so fast!

In other news, Kim and I downloaded the application for our marriage license. We filled it out and we are looking into getting this under way soon! We definitely need to get married before my work benefits kick in around June, so she can be covered on my insurance properly.

We just have to get the trip scheduled for our five hour journey to Iowa. We need to get this application to a notary and mail it in. Then we can go to Iowa, hopefully with a two witnesses and a minister. We got more planning to do, but we are getting closer!

Day 7 for this Christmas Countdown is definitely a hit.

DIY – Christmas Countdown/Advent Calendar (Non-Religious) For Toddlers

I know, two posts in one day, but I’m just so damn proud of myself right now. I have been looking for a way to countdown the days until Christmas with Punky. However, I didn’t want to use one of the religious advent calendars that are geared towards the birth of Jesus or scriptures from the Bible.

This year, I just wanted to focus on activities that we can do as a family. Little things every day that we can do together, either in the house or out.

So, I made my own. I didn’t really want to buy one, I wanted it to be special to our family. And, we all know that I have an Etsy shop for digital design, so I hopped onto Photoshop and made up some cute little Christmas Countdown cards and took some fun ideas from Pinterest as well as from mine and Kim’s family traditions growing up.

I decided to do a step by step, in case someone wants to make their own. I think ours is definitely geared towards little ones. Small children or toddlers who may or may not yet understand the meaning of Christmas, but are small minds ready and willing to be molded. A great time to start teaching by example and forming great traditions for years to come!

Without further ado, here’s a tutorial for you! My very first ever DIY post on the interwebs!

Optional: All the cards and numbers I used in ours are here. Feel free to use them, though they are geared toward our location and our family specifically, most of them can be used for just about anyone.

What You Need: Scrapbook paper (8X8), ribbons, craft scissors, regular scissors, self laminating pouches, hole punch, tape/glue stick

Step 1:

IMG_2799I got some funky and pretty scrapbook paper that I wanted to turn into paper envelopes. I am working with a toddler here, so no need to get fancy with my envelopes. This was the simplest envelope tutorial I could find. And while they weren’t all uniform, it doesn’t matter, she’s not even two yet.

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Pick out the design you want

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Turn it design face down and at a diagonal angle.

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Fold the two corners in – so that they meet in the middle and tape the intersection.

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Fold the bottom section up to the intersection in the middle and tape both sides down.

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Fold the top section down to the middle intersection and crease the paper, but do not tape.

Make 24 little envelopes like this. You can use all the same colors or a color scheme. I just liked the random and the pretty.

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Step 2:

Cut out your numbers. I used fun craft scissors to spice up the edges, you can cut straight edges as well. Totally up to you. You can also simply write the numbers on the outside of the envelopes if you don’t want to download the numbers.

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Step 3:

Attach the number to the outside of the envelope. Make sure you tape it down or glue it down really well. Leave top flap open.

IMG_2809Step 4:

You can write your own activities, get on the computer and make up some cute cards like the ones in the download link or you can use the ones I have made and used. If you opt to make your own, I used a 4X2 dimension and that made it easy to fit in the envelopes. Either way, cut them out and get them ready to go.

IMG_2811Step 5:

You also don’t have to laminate, but since I’m working with a toddler, I really wanted a way to make the cards durable. So, I laminated and cut them out. TIP: If you haven’t ever used the self laminating pouches, make sure you leave room on either side of your card so you can cut them out. Also, don’t cut at the edge of the card, leave a small amount of laminate around the edges otherwise the backs will fall off!

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Step 6:

Put your cards in the envelopes. I tried to decide which day of the week and the dates of things. I wanted to make sure if we were going out somewhere, it was mostly on the weekend or if it was a night I had to work, we would be staying home to do things. Strategies are key in my life, I would assume for anyone with a toddler, the same would be the case. Anyway, my cards went into their envelope homes with very much planning behind it.

IMG_2813Step 7:

Hole punch a corner of the envelope. Be careful not to hole punch with the numbers upside down or hole punch through your cute little card.

IMG_2814Step 8:

String the envelopes onto a pretty ribbon. I just used a sparkly silver ribbon I had in my craft/party planning supplies. Nothing too fancy. I chose to string it from 24 down to 1, because I intended Punky to pull from the bottom. Make sure you decide which end you want to start on and work backwards when you string the envelopes.

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Tada! Beautiful, cheap and toddler proof countdown to Christmas. I plan to add a few little chocolate or candy treats in some of the envelopes, small toys and surprises as well. I know a laminated card with words on it, will not hold her attention, but if she gets a treat or a present every day, she is sure to be excited about her first ever Christmas Countdown Calendar.

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I hope to make it more festive in this corner later in the week!

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I’m pretty excited to see her open her first card. I hope doing things like this will instill in her the magic and the excitement kids have for Christmas. You know, some people don’t want to “lie to their kids” about Christmas and allow their children to believe in imaginary people (don’t get me started on the Christian reason for the season), but I say, why invite the stress and the worry. I love the idea of giving my kid an imaginative and magical holiday.

And what better way to do that than to spend time doing something fun and geared towards Christmas every day of December leading up to the holiday!