Monday, November 16, 2015

Vent Post

Fair warning: Any negative comments will be deleted.  And there's a good chance this post will be deleted in a bit since it doesn't fit into what I try to keep on my blog, but I really need to type it out for myself right now :)

I have always been quick with my emotions.  I feel things very intensely and hubby says I carry them close to the surface.  I get my feelings hurt easily, I feel deeply for others, I worry about everyone.  I can also be incredibly joyful and giddy and child like.

I am having a very hard time with the amount of blatant biogotry I'm inundated with on social media.  And, me being the way I am, I have a hard time with stupid and feel the need to comment and get riled up.

In particular, I'm having trouble with all the hate towards Muslims.  If I see "not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims" one more time I might explode.  It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

As someone who got her degree in Child Development and has two children of her own, I have an especially hard time with the stories about the children.  The story about the Syrian refugee (same age as Squishy) who drowned trying to get to a safe place has stuck with me for months.  Then last week I saw a story about a mass grave found.  Over a thousand people.  Including toddlers and their toys.  My heart breaks for them and I've taken enough time to educate myself to know why they are fleeing and why it's not so easy to "just fight back".

Now since the devestating Paris attacks, many Americans have found a new found vigor for saying no one can come here.  When I asked whether families should just stay and die, many told me I should take my children to the Middle East and die.  That we are more important that them.  That our lives are more important than them.

I don't believe that.  I don't believe I am any better than those people and I can't imagine being turned away if the tables were turned.  It's like no one cares to remember history.  To the horrors Christians have committed in the name of God.

We look back on past genocides in horror, yet so many just want to ignore this one.  Why?  Why are people so hateful and fueled by fear?

I know I can't change anyones opinion.  That no matter how eloquently I voice the truth, they don't care. 

It makes my heart hurt so badly that people can be so fearful as to turn the other cheek.  When someone said we should let them come and put them in camps I wanted to scream!  That never ends well.  EVER!  Does no one understand history?

Right now the plan is for my girls to receive a classical education that focuses heavily on history and literature from around the world.  Instead of just studying California first, they'll learn about the world starting right away.  I just hope I can help them to see that the world is bigger than just America and that the people out there are good people too.  We are all just people on a planet.  There are bad people; but, the good still out weigh the bad.

I've also just been hurting and longing to find a way to help.  Tonight I finally decided I'm going to skip Christmas this year.  The only thing I really want is out of our budget for now so instead I asked hubby not to buy me anything more and instead anything we would have spent can go to a charity working directly to help the refugees.  I don't need new foundation or Uggs that badly.  I do need to feel like I'm helping that badly.

I'm also seriously debating deactivating social media through the holidays.  If I do, I'll update the blog more frequently.  While I can read the news stories with an aching heart, they don't cause as much pain as the vitriol from my neighbors and a few facebook friends.  I just can't handle it.  Right now I'm sad for the world and feeling dark.  I don't want to feel that way.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Recipe: Lucky Charm Bird Nest Treats

Ever since Squishy started school we've been doing a lot of cooking.  While it can be time consuming, and messy, to try to cook with a three year old, it also has a ton of benefits.
  • Teaches her how to cook
  • Teaches her how long it takes mommy and daddy to make the food she refuses to eat
  • Teaches basic math skills (counting, measuring, fractions)
  • Teaches patience
  • Teaches how to follow directions
  • And helps to teach kitchen/oven safety
Last week we made some delicious apple muffins that I'll probably share with the blog later on.  I forgot to take pictures this go around :(  It corresponded  with reading Apple Farmer Annie.

This week we read Who Took the Farmer's Hat so we made bird nests.  Her teacher supplied a suggested recipe to make bird nest snacks but I of course had only two of the gazillion ingredients and I avoid taking both small children to the store unless absolutely necessary so we had to make do.  Instead, we made a slightly less healthy version with snacks we had at home.

Click below to find the recipe!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Color Activity for Preschoolers (and it's a snack!)

We officially started the school adventure two weeks ago, and major props to me because I didn't cry like a baby cutting onions.  Squishy peaced out and was painting before we even left the building.  We are so excited and part of the big reason I wasn't a total trainwreck is because we love the school.  It's preschool-12th grade, focuses on a classical education, AND is half homeschool/ half in the classroom.  We are beyond stoked.

Even at the preschool level we're doing some homeschool stuff.  Usually we read the weekly book that's read in the classroom and at home.  Then we do a science and/or math activity.  Most of the activities are suggested by the teachers and come from other blogs and we might share those (with credit of course) if we enjoy them; but, the ones we come up with on our own (and work out) I look forward to sharing with you. 

Without further ado...

Rainbow Yogurt Drops

What you'll need:
* yogurt without a lot of coloring
* food coloring
* ziploc bag
* baking sheet 
* parchment paper
* a small spoon

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Oh, Facebook

Oh, hai, blog.  It's been awhile.  I meant to come back to you with a few super cool art projects I did with Squishy; but, then I logged on facebook.  The art projects will have to wait.

When I first got facebook as a bright eyed and bushy tailed college freshman in the Fall of 2005 I was smitten.  I could make new friends from my new school. I could keep in contact with all my friends from high school.  It was glorious.  Everyone was looking for rides home or talking about the music they were listening to.  There were no obnoxious memes.  There were no creepers from god knows where trying to add you.

Then facebook exploded.  Everyone and their mom, including mine, got one.   It was still cool, albeit a little less of a community feel.  I was able to share my picks from our trip to Dublin easily with everyone.  I was able to announce our engagement and hit everyone important, except grandma, in one quick post.  It was still cool.

But then things started to change.  You added everyone you knew and you felt bad if you deleted someone.  If you deleted someone, it CLEARLY meant you despised them, even if you really didn't.  People started posting politically memes.  Some of them were obviously false, and snopes confirmed it; but, still you stayed silent.  Maybe you start to despise facebook.  Maybe you start to see that it's not all it's cracked up to be.  Maybe it makes you start hating some people because of the uneducated shit you post, but you don't want to delete them because outside of the book, you really like them. 

That's where I stand now.  I fucking HATE facebook.  I can't delete it though.  Not yet.  See, I have anxiety and phone calls are the devil.  I hate talking on the phone.  It is the worst.  I'm okay on the phone with my mom, and that's about it.  I don't even like talking on the phone to my own husband.  I do not do well because I can't see you and I can't read your face and end up assuming I'm boring and you hate me.!  Yay!  So facebook is perfect because I can actually communicate...except I don't.  I don't talk to anyone.  Ever.  I'm the worst.  You email me, I can do that.  You text me, A+ much like.  You skype me, pretty good unless my children are squirrels.  My friendships have suffered.  But with facebook I can at least pretend we're still friends and stalk you from afar! 

What tipped me over the edge you ask?  Well, the picture of the little boy from Syria who drowned a few weeks back.  I'm not going to describe it, or post it, it's easy to find and I can't see it anymore.  When I saw it, I sobbed.  I just want to pick up his little body and hold him close to my heart and snuggle him.  My Squishy is the same age as him and I can't even begin to fathom the heartache his father feels after losing his wife and two children. 

I've also thought a lot about the father who is selling pens to provide for his two children.  Just regular pens.  Someone took a picture of him trying to sell pens while his young daughter slept in his arm.

Then... I log into facebook.  I see multiple posts about how the president is just allowing the refugees into our country to create a massive network of terrorists.  Or how they're all wealthy and are clearly just using an excuse to come to our country.  Yeah.  If anyone bothered to step outside there xenophobic bubble they'd see this is a global crisis, but fuck that.  Merica!  Bald eagles!  Fear of foreigners! 

It's becoming toxic to see that kind of shit.  It hurts my heart and makes me hate people a little more everyday.  Even if I know it's out of ignorance, and not true hatred, it still weighs on me.

Right now I need facebook to help me figure out what the heck is going on with my high school reunion, but I'm thinking about moving away from that platform afterwards.  Use this blog, or another that I can password protect, to update people about my family.  I need to look out for me and I'm really sick of hating everyone.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Five Tips for Surviving Life with a Toddler & a Baby

Currently, we have two daughters (2.5 and 9 months).  We did this 100% on purpose and will probably do it again with another baby.  For the record, we are not as crazy as our friends and family might think. This is how we've survived...
The Squirrels in Question (aka Squiggles and Squishy)

1.     You have to LAUGH.  Some days will be utterly and completely ridiculous.  Some days they will only want to go in opposite directions.  Some days the big one will hate the little one.  Other days she'll be pretty sure she's the mommy and she loves the baby ten times more than you ever could.  Some days they'll fight.  Some days they'll love each other.  You will only survive it if you're willing to laugh with them and, let's be honest, sometimes at them.

2.     Some days the older one will come first.  One of the best pieces of advice I received when I was pregnant with #2, was that sometimes you need to just let the baby cry to help your older child.  It's advice I've followed and passed on to more than a few people. Your instinct will likely be that the baby should always come first, because baby; but, baby will survive and when you devote some time to your older child when they really need it, they remember that they are sometimes more important than the baby.   

3.     Some days will be really, really freaking hard.  Do as Elsa and learn to Let it Go.  I'm not saying let kids get away with whatever they want or turn on the TV for hours on end.  I'm just saying, don't be too hard on yourself.  If you need some quiet time, turn on a movie.  We're partial to Doc McStuffins.  If a little person misbehaves, follow through with your normal consequences, but then move on with your date.  Don't let it stress you out.  I've found that if I don't let it go, even small instances can wind me up.  I'm learning to deal with it and then just moving on.  My "favorites" lately have been when the two year old decided that carpet was a good place to color the day after I rented a rug doctor and when she colored all over her sisters new push toy in the matter of 60 seconds.

4.     Try to Organize.  When Squiggles first came home things were chaotic.  I felt like I was pulled in too many direction at once.  I quickly realized that it wasn't just the challenges of the new baby sending me spinning, I figured out that I wasn't organized and it was making me crazy.  I took steps to keep the house neater and found ways to work in the housekeeping aspects of parenting and it allowed me to feel more relaxed with the girls.  I know it sounds impossible and like the least of your worries; but, it does make a difference.  I'll try to do a little write up on how I manage that and include a link here soon.

5.     Remember they are only this age once.  This is a great reminder for both your best days and your worst days.  On your worst days you can remind yourself that this chaos will pass sooner than you think.  Soon they'll be able to entertain each other, communicate with each other, and they'll be more independent.  On your best days you can remind yourself that this magical time won't last forever.  On those days take lots of pictures and give lots of hugs.  It really does go by so very fast.  Someday I'll have two dramatic teenage girls.  I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling I'll be longing for these days in 14 years. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

One of THOSE Days

Sometimes as a parent you have one of those days.  Unless you're a Stepford parent don't even try to pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

One of those days....where you are 80% sure your children have actually been replaced by small gremlins who only look  like your children.

One of those days...when your older child seems to have lost the ability to entertain themselves and the little one thinks everything is sad.

One of those days...when you consider hiding in the bathroom for five minutes but remember that there's a very good chance that someone would get hurt in the meantime.

One of those days...where you start to wonder whether you might actually be done making miniature humans.

One of those days...when all you want to do is scream at the top of your lungs into a pillow and you honestly wonder how you are going to make it through the rest of the day.

We all have those days.  If you don't, I will say right now I don't believe you.  I honestly think it's days like this that keep us sane. It reminds us that we're only human.  That perfection isn't realistic.  And when days like this are done, it helps us remember that we can get through it the next time it happens.

Today was one of those days in our household.  The baby, my lovely 9 month old Squiggles, has been a stage five clinger.  Putting her on the floor has been labeled a scream worthy offense and god forbid the pouch of peaches takes more than a second to reach her mouth.  She will make her wrath known.

The big kid, well, she's been potty training and chose to use today as her regression day.  She's also lost the ability to entertain herself and during this blog post, when she was supposed to be napping, she informed me over the monitor that she needed a new pullup because she'd taken hers off.  Yup.

Days like this are hard.  I waiver between utter exhaustion, extreme frustration, and a deep and profound love for the day.  It's like a roller coaster. But even as I hear the toddler refusing to sleep and the baby is rolling on the floor next to me talking to a notebook, I wouldn't change these days for anything.

These days remind me that I will get through this.  They remind me that parenting is an adventure and I'm only human.  They remind me that someday I will have no little bodies in my house and I will yearn for days like today.  They remind me that, at the same time, when I have no more little bodies in the house I will be content and won't feel the need to fill my house with cats or rats or bats.

Remember when you have one of these days that they are fleeting.  That although other mamas may pretend everything is rainbows and sunshine and unicorns pooping glitter, everyone has those days.  Even those mamas.  And if they don't, if they're just that perfect, they'll probably be a crazy cat person or have creepy realistic doll children when they have an empty nest.  You don't want that.  I'd much rather have a few rough days than resort to doll children ;)

Remember these days can turn on a dime and remember those moments when a little person crawls into your lap, wraps their arms around you, and says "Mama I love you."

A non-Gremlin Day.

Monday, October 6, 2014

How to Have an Awesome Disneyland Trip with Your Littles

Hubby and I are Disney addicts.  Movies, books, tv, and, most importantly, DISNEYLAND!  We live 200 miles away but still manage to go about three times a year and we're annual passholders.  Squishy is two and some change and has already been seven times that I can think of.  When I ask if she wants to go to the park, the kid asks if we can go to Disneyland.  I tell her no of course because who wants to drive that far midday but it's a good example of how we are THOSE people.  The crazy people.

Because we go so much, and because we've learned the ins and outs of how to have an awesome trip over the years I thought it was time to pass that info on to those of you who may be getting ready for their first trip with their kids, or even for veteran park goers who want to make things a little bit easier.

Photo courtesy of:

Don't Bring...

* Your $700 stroller.  Just don't.  Unless you're planning to have someone with it at all times, I highly advise you don't take that gamble.  Strollers do get stolen from Disneyland.  It's not a myth.  The likelihood isn't high; but, personally that isn't a gamble that I'm willing to take.  We have a Baby Jogger City Select that I love more than my car some days but I only take it into the park if I know that someone can be with it at all times.


* Babywear, rent a stroller, or invest in a cheap stroller that wouldn't break your heart if it grew legs and walked away.  On our most recent trip, if we knew all of us would be going on rides, one of us would wear Squiggles and Squishy hung out in our $25 umbrella stroller.  So much easier to maneuver.  I can collapse that sucker down and bring it on rides or into the restaurants.  It's just a lot easier.  In the past we've rented the strollers at the park $15 for the day and if they go missing there are locations in the park where you can get a replacement.

Don't Bring...

* Your regular diaper bag.  Unless you have a really supportive cross body bag or backpack don't bother.  If you're going to the parks well prepared you'll have that sucker loaded with snacks, water, and all your baby goods.  It gets heavy.  Trust me.  My shoulders and neck learned this the hard way.  Thanks for nothing Petunia Picklebottom!


* Bring a backpack with supportive straps.  Sure, it might make things a little harder to find but it makes lugging all your gear a heck of a lot easier.  I'll go into what we pack for a day at the park in a second, but suffice it to say we get our use out of the backpack.


What to Bring:

Other than your normal kiddo gear there are a few things I always try to bring with me
  • Sunscreen, or hats, for little ones.  You'll be outside a lot and it's sunny in SoCal.
  • Water.  Bring in a few bottles of water.  Bottled water in the park is outrageously over priced and there are water fountains you can use all over the place.  
  • Granola bars.  Chances are, at some point, you'll be standing in line and someone will end up starving.  They will be pretty sure they are going to collapse before they make it on the ride.  For those occasions have granola bars.  They are typically pretty filling and can help tide you over.  We like cliff or quest bars from the grownups and quaker chewy bars for Squishy.
  • Apples or oranges.  Really any fruit that won't get squished in the backpack.  
  • More diapers than you think is necessary and a change of clothes for young kids and babes.  Murphy's Law is real folks.  We have had epic blowouts in Disneyland even though we almost never have them at home.
  • Camera.  Disney photopass folks will use your camera for pictures with your favorite characters.  And they don't suck at it.  And it's free.

Where to Stay:

I'm not actually going to say much on this topic as we do tend to stay in one of the Disney hotels, although we have stayed off site a handful of times.  So I can't really give great recommendations for where to stay off site. 

The Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian are both beautiful and incredibly convenient.  We love them both and I can answer questions about them in the comments if anyone is interested in knowing more or anything about our experience with either. 

I will say if you are really wanting to stay at the Grand Californian but turned off by the price, check out David's Vacation Club Rental (here).  The Grand Californian has villas that are for Disney Vacation Club members; but, you can go through an intermediary, like David, and rent someones points.  That's what we did on our most recent trip and we got a one bedroom suite, with a full kitchen, living room, two bathrooms, and laundry for less than the price of a regular Grand Californian room.  Seriously.  Same hotel.  Same stylings.  Biggest difference is less frequent cleaning.  So worth it!  ((We also saved A TON being able to cook some of our meals and make sandwiches etc.))


How to Organize the Day:

The night before you go to the park, make a game plan.  Know what you want to do the most that day.  If you want to make sure you get a Fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers make sure you are in California Adventure when the gates open.  If you want to meet Elsa and Anna, you best be at Disneyland at rope drop.  Knowing what you want out of the day is VERY important.

In general, Hubby and I usually hit up the park in the morning and then in the evening leaving the midday heat and crowds to other people. It gives us a chance to recharge and keeps us from getting burnt out.  

We typically go to Fantasyland first thing in the morning at least once.  Those lines are always extremely long and they tend to be shortest in the morning, and very late.  

We also never wait in line for something with a fastpass.  You can hold one Fastpass for each park at a time and, to us, it's just not worth it to stand in line when we can use a Fastpass and spend our time shopping, eating, or spending time on rides that don't require quite so much of your day in a line.

((For those who might not know, a Fastpass is a pass to get on the ride during a set time.  For example, you head to Splash mountain and see the wait is 60 minutes but you have two impatient kids.  Next to the ride there will be a kiosk for Fastpass.  You insert your park ticket into the machine and it will spit out a voucher with a time range on it.  When you are in that time range, you return to the ride, present your ticket to a castmember (Disneyland employees are castmembers) and you'll get on the ride after a much abbreviated line.)) 


Misc Quick Tips:
  • If you're traveling with a baby or toddlers, utilize the baby care center.  The care centers have a clean spot to change your little one, small toilets for potty training kids, stations for nursing or pumping, and high chairs for feeding.  PLUS, they have most of the gear you might have forgotten for baby, available for purchase.  In DISNEYLAND, the baby care center is located on the end of main street on the right hand side if you're looking at the castle.  It's right next to corn dog cart and Plaza Inn.  In CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE, the baby care center is located to the left, and slightly behind, the Ghiradelli shop which is in the wharf area where many of the restaurants are.
  • If you want to make your trip a little extra special, ask if you can ride in the top of the Mark Twain River Boat.  They might not say yes, but if they do you might get to sign the special guest book and be in charge of the horn.  We did it a few years ago and I loved it a lot more than my age should allow ;)
  • Try the goat effect.  When you're on Big Thunder and see the goat on the hill on the right handside on the hill, watch it as you go around the turn.  It'll make you super dizzy and is therefore super fun.
  • When you're on Winnie the Pooh, look behind you and up in the last few rooms of the ride.  You might catch the remnants of the Country Bear Jamboree.
  • Touch the apple while in line for Snow White.  Just do it.
  • While you're at it, stare at the window above the ride when you get off.  You might just get a glimpse of evil.
  • If you're traveling with a baby or someone who doesn't like rides, ask about the parent switch pass.  Parent A asks for pass and stands in line with a kiddo.  Brings the pass for Parent B when they're done and Parent B gets to ride with kiddo without having to stand in the super long line.  Usually you get to use the Fastpass line.  This is not available on all rides.
  • Know the heights of our children before they go.  It will prevent a lot of heart ache if you grab a map and can see in advance what the height requirements will be before you tell your kid about a ride.  I've seen a lot of little ones with dashed dreams when they don't make the height requirement.  
  • If your kid is a sloucher, but is tall enough, have them stand with their arms stretched up.  Helps them hit that marker.
  • Keep your receipt for souvenirs.  If they break, and you have the receipt, Disney will normally replace it, no questions asked.
Honestly, there is so much more I could say.  I could be a this for hours.  I will say, if you have any questions please feel free to ask it in the comments.  We love Disneyland and there is a good chance we'll know the answer whether it's about dining, rides, the resort hotels, etc.


If you want to meet Elsa and Anna, you need to be there at park open.  Disneyland no longer just has one long line to meet the ladies of Frozen.  Currently, if you'd like to see them, you need to arrive at park open and head back to Fantasyland.  There you will join the line that stretches towards Big Thunder and you will receive a voucher to come back at a set time to meet them.  In order to get this voucher everyone in the party must be in the park, or at least have been in that morning at some point.  This means dad can't go and get the voucher while everyone sleeps.  Not everyone needs to be in line, but everyone must be in the park and whoever is in line needs to have ALL the tickets for the party. You then return during your designated time and stand in a shortened line.  This was done to alleviate the three hour wait some guests were experiencing when trying to see the Queen.   PLEASE NOTE: these passes are frequently gone in just a few hours, if not less.  If you get to the park in the afternoon you will not be able to attend a meet and greet with Elsa and Anna.  You can still see them on a pre-parade float.