Well...we did it! We closed on our house! We're homeowners! We now own a 1975 white ranch in Massachusetts.
Luke checking out the new house for the first time
Hours after closing, the wallpaper was being torn down by our workmen, the toilet held together by a bobby pin (literally) broke, and Luke ran as fast as he could into a fall, totally feeling the excitement around him. What a whirlwind!
Our first time using our keys!
I can't believe how fast the wallpaper is coming down, and am happy that I took my "before" pictures just in time! This means that we have to decide on paint colors very soon! Here's what has caught my eye so far...what do you think? Any favorites? Any recommendations that you've recently used?
I have teamed up with Aly from Ooh La Lovely Blog, Pamela from Macdonald's Playland, and 18 other awesome bloggers to bring you this $205 Target Gift Card Giveaway! Simply enter in the rafflecopter below for your chance to win and be sure to check out all of the wonderful ladies who have teamed up to bring you this giveaway! Giveaway ends next Monday, November 3rd! Best of luck!
“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies and Target. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”
I recently posted about my current "hobbies" now that I have a toddler. Another one of my "hobbies" is to do everything in my power to make diaper changing go smoothly. Everything in my power to not let diaper problems interfere with Luke's sleep, and not let diaper problems hurt or damage his precious skin. We've been a Huggies family from the start. We've always used Huggies Little Movers, but just had the opportunity to try out their Snug & Dry SureFit, too. These are designed to stay with Luke through all of his twists and turns with 12 hours of leakage protection to last even through the night. It was easy to find Luke's size 6 in the baby section at Target, and a kind employee offered to help me get the diapers into my carriage. I really like that the elastic around Luke's thighs feels softer than other elastics, which is important for my son's healthy thighs! These diapers feel thinner than others without sacrificing durability so they fit nicely under the many layers of clothing as we enter colder weather.
The Natural Care Wipes Triple Clean wipes are thick enough to handle any mess, and the texture and scent are gentle on Luke. The wipes even come in designer tubs to keep them moist and on-the-go stylish containers for easy access. Luke inherited my sensitive skin, so when we find something that keeps his skin clean without being harsh, we are thrilled. Not only can we use these wipes to clean sticky fingers in the car or stroller, but I also use the wipes to clean my calligraphy nibs! I just learned that Target is launching a new subscription program for automatic shipments of diapers, wipes, formula, and other household essentials. That's one less thing on our to-do list each month. This way, you don't have to search through the website for the products you love each month, they are already on their way. I find that automatic shipment also means I won't be picking up extra goodies that we don't need, and keep our costs down by only getting the essentials. My grandmother watches Luke sometimes and on a few occasions, he came home with his diaper on backwards. When I told my her that I was reviewing Huggies diapers, she replied, "I love Huggies diapers, they even work backwards!"
A hit recipe in my house! Now, I haven't been sharing every recipe. A few have been respectfully given a thumbs down. But this one...this one is a keeper!
Grocery list: (I think I would double this next time)
1 package chicken tenderloins
1 head of iceberg lettuce
1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper
Cilantro (the Gourmet Garden Cilantro in a tube is awesome!)
1 large tomato
Low-fat sour cream
You will also need chili powder and cayenne pepper.
In the Crockpot, add the chicken, sliced peppers, chopped onion and tomato, about 1 tbsp of cilantro, and the juice from 1 lime. Sprinkle with about 1tsp chili powder and 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like spicy!) I had this on high for about 5 hours. At the half way mark, I took out the chicken pieces and chopped them up into smaller pieces (optional).
Meanwhile, chop up the avocado and mix with 1 tbsp cilantro and juice from the other lime. Clean about 6-7 large leaves of iceberg lettuce leaves and space them out on a plate.
Fill the lettuce with the chicken mixture. Top with the avocado mixture and a dollop of sour cream. That's it! Enjoy!
I had a patient today ask me what my hobbies were. Just trying to make small talk. But the "interesting" part was my response. I pretended to finish typing something to gain time to think. Then I slowly turned to him with a mouth open stare and responded, "I don't know." I followed-up with, "I have a toddler."
In my defense, I haven't been on first dates or an interview for a while...I didn't have my answer canned and ready to go. I guess in the past, I would have said jogging, but now I couldn't even tell you where my sneakers are.
The truth is that I have many things that I like to do: any arts and crafts, consign, cook, calligraphy, sew, photography, blog, jog...none of these give me as much joy as the following ten current "hobbies:"
1. Coming downstairs in the morning and having four sippy cups clean and ready for daycare.
2. Luke laying still for a diaper change, or sitting in his car seat without the karate leg chop maneuver even if it involves letting him hold the thermometer. (Oh it's not cruel! You know that maneuver.)
3. Pulling away Luke's dinner tray just before he wipes (flings) all if his food and ketchup across the room in effort to tell us he's done.
4. Having this conversation...
Repeat 100 times until he grins, nods his head and says "yah!"
5. Getting a report from school that says "nap: 12:30-2:30."
6. Luke blowing kisses before bed while saying "mah."
7. Luke running full speed, legs faster than body, down an incline and somehow managing to stay upright.
8. Hanging up Luke's "artwork" from school.
9. Looking through all of his photos when he goes to sleep.
10. Every stinkin' thing about that little guy! He's tiring and full of energy, life, and joy! Sometimes I literally can't keep up. But he's such an angel and we thank God everyday that we get to be with him. I'd give up my "hobbies" one million times over to be with my Luke.
What are some of your mama-of-a-toddler hobbies? Do you still manage to keep up with your pre-mama hobbies?
As you may know, I work with Pediatric Ophthalmologists as an Orthoptist. I'm also a mommy. And tomorrow, those two worlds will collide. I'm taking Luke in for his first eye exam! As I race around, prepping for his visit, I start to think about the now thousands of "first eye exams" that I have been part of, and the frequently asked questions and/or comments.
1. My toddler doesn't know his letters, how will you possibly check his vision?
If the child is able, we can do matching with letters or matching with symbols. Otherwise, there are still ways to determine whether or not the child has a preference of either eye, or whether or not the child can track and hold fixation with each eye. We do eye exams on many non-verbal children and have a variety of ways to check vision other than reading a line of letters. The doctor will also get an objective measure of the child's eyes through their cycloplegic refraction. You could ask for a copy of the matching card and practice these at home if you think you will be a frequent patient.
2. I don't think he understands that game.
You might be right! But I've been able to check depth perception on a 20 month old and it would be a poor exam if I didn't at least try with all children. Sometimes I'm assessing other parts of the child while keeping them busy, so it's okay if they don't understand what I'm doing. It really helps when the parents help encourage, or avoid distracting the child. That's when we can get the best exam.
3. Why do you use dilation drops? I know what that's like and they really sting and then hurt and they make your eyes feel funny for hours and I really just don't want you to do that to her.
I understand. And we won't force you. But, not only does dilation allow the doctor to get a better view inside the eye to see the optic nerve and retina, but they also "paralyze" the lens so that the doctor can determine whether or not there is a need for glasses, or even predict how frequently your child should be followed. The drops do make the child blurry and light sensitive, and can sting going in. It works best if you do not use those words and consider the drops as part of a comprehensive and accurate exam. If drops are a huge issue, which they can be, ask your doctor if it is possible to get a prescription of the drops and administer them at home before coming in for a future exam.
4. If my child does need glasses, do they even make glasses for children this small?
Yes, children may need to wear glasses full time even in infancy. There are special flexible glasses. Some children have trouble with wear as you would expect, but some children wear them with great compliance and little trouble!
5. What's the best way to prepare for this exam?
One of my co-workers gave her daughter artificial tears a few days leading up to the exam so that her daughter wouldn't be scared of the drops. I thought that was clever and it worked for them! I know that the same method wouldn't work for my son. It depends on the child. In general, its best to stay calm and minimize the drops, as you would a shot at the Pediatrician. One patient is only allowed to play a certain app when they're at a doctor's exam. One mom brings M&Ms and dispenses them for encouragement. Bring sunglasses if you have them as the child will be light sensitive. Pick a good appointment time if possible, not near nap time and when you won't be in a huge rush.
There is also a list of terms that may be used that I compiled here.
Here's what I have prepared for Luke tomorrow:
The normal diaper bag things like diapers and wipes, there can be long waits!
wipes, keep those hands clean
lollipops, something special
a pumpkin flashlight
a juicebox and water
fruit snacks and crackers
a squeezable applesauce
the stroller to stroll if we can't keep still while waiting
our babiators! these are awesome kid sunglasses
list of questions/family history so you don't forget when there is a toddler running around
With all of this being said, I'm still nervous for his appointment tomorrow, just like any other parent. I'm hoping that the snacks and toys I've packed will keep him happy, calm, and busy, but you truly never know how they will react!
Do you have any other ideas to prep for this eye exam, or any other toddler doctor visit?
Change your address through the USPS official address change form. There are a few options when you google address change form, make sure it's the one through USPS, it should only cost about $1.00. You can do this in advance.
Start showing your children pictures of the new house, or drive by the new house so that it won't be totally foreign to them. Let them be a part of the transition.
Continue to purge! Go through my 31 day organization challenge to start going through some spaces you might otherwise forget. I'm really going to regret doing a total purge as soon as we're eating dinner on a cardboard box in the new place. But for now, it's calming to have less.
Keep packing! One box per night, you'll be thankful later!
Continue to list companies that will require a change of address...credit card company, bank etc.
Schedule to get utilities into your name and out of your name at the old place. It is cheaper just to transfer rather than end and restart them.
What else should be done at the one month countdown mark?