Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas! - Gift Review #1

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I hope your holiday season is going as well as ours. I was lucky enough to be given this whole week off work and I'm soaking up every moment. We are ALL sleeping in, spending days with family, and mornings at the park. I am so thankful.

Christmas morning was as magical as we expected! For those that don't know Jack sprained his ankle about two weeks ago and the healing process is taking significantly longer than we thought. So Christmas morning he didn't run to the presents bright eyed and bushy tailed like we hoped but he was still super excited! I'm not sure he knew exactly what was going on but the giggles, smiles, and ceremonial eating of wrapping was amazing. I love seeing this special time of year through his eyes.

As usual Max and I and our families went all out this year. We always promise to keep it small but our eyes and hearts are bigger than our budgets. So with that in mind I thought I would start a review series of some of the gifts we got. Hopefully they will save you a little headache if you're looking to round out items you got, or for any birthdays that might be coming up. Holiday birthdays can be hard, I know ;).

The first one is a review of my current diaper bag and why I'm moving to a new one that I got for Christmas.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Flying Alone with a Toddler

With a full week to recover from our flying adventure I think I'm finally ready to talk about it :)

Let me first say that flying with a toddler is hard. They are mobile, opinionated, and devoid of all logic and reason. And then if they are under 2 you are going to put this frantic, crazed, illogical, and non-verbal mess on your lap...the whole way.

We are lucky enough to live fairly close to my family so the plane ride is only 2 hrs. As I predicted the hardest part is the airport waiting time. Those 2 hrs you thought were bad when it was just you and you didn't know how you would pass the time so you binged watched Netflix and ate a scone and thought you were wasting your life...yeah those two hours sound blissful. This time I spent it chasing a toddler around and hoping TSA wouldn't confiscate my bags or declare a bomb threat because I had to leave them to keep Jack from going down the ramp towards a plane that was not ours.

So 5 things to remember while in the airport with a toddler:

1. Do everything in your power to fly with someone. Your third grade teacher was right the buddy system is the best system. Whether it's a friend, your spouse, your partner, your grandma, a mom cohort, just someone that can help you out. That way one person can watch the bags while you chase the toddler. Or watch the toddler while you go to the bathroom and pretend to pee just so you can get a few minutes alone. Things are always easier with buddies. If you just can't fly with someone else find where another family is sitting and park yourself next to them. They'll give you an understanding nod and smile and won't freak out if your kid screams or runs into them. It takes a village....even if it's someone else's.

2. All the snacks, but also the right snacks...because they are dictators and the want everything, but only the right everything. I carry a snack pouch in my purse/diaper bag at all times. It has a squeeze pouch of fruit, fruit snacks, and sometimes a bar of some kind. These are Jack's usual favorites. Plus on longer outings I carry his Munchie Mug (single greatest invention ever, except it doesn't fit in a cup holder....WTH?!) which had gold fish this time. Usually he loves fruit snacks but on this trip he decided they were sticky globs of poison that he would rather stick in his hair, on his pants, or throw on the floor....enter the gold fish. Variety is key people, but also All.The.Snacks.

3. Restraints. This might be a stroller, car seat, leash, or an actual ball and chain. You need someway to hold your squirmy toddler while you get things done or if you need a break. When you are trying to squat over a gross toilet in the bathroom you don't want to be wrestling with your toddler. Of if your a dad traveler you don't want your toddler reaching over to the next urinal. I don't know what that's like but it can't be good. If you finally get the coveted chair by the only outlet you want to be able to sit down and recharge your battery and you. You might be tempted to bring an umbrella stroller, don't. If you have to then fine but remember it's free to gate check no matter it's size so the bigger the better. Get one that can hold your crud and invest in the front tray for ALL.THE.SNACKS (see above) and toys. This will give you a few extra moments to enjoy the coveted outlet chair.

4. Bring a "lovey". For Jack that's a binkie and blankie but it might be a favorite toy or stuffed animal whatever they cling to and immediately calms them. At some point they will have a fit, they will scream, kick, cry and hit whatever is near them...which is probably you and like a 100 other people. So being able to pop a binkie in or cuddle with a blankie or squeeze a teddy just might diffuse the super awkward situation. And you win parent points with the on lookers. They think you are amazing and on top of your kid. When really you are crossing your fingers and hoping it works. Never let them see you sweat.

5. Find a window. Planes are cool, they are big and they make loud noises, kids love them. Let them watch out there as long as they want. We stood by a window for a good 20 minutes before he realized there were no planes there and he was looking at a loading dock...who cares. They love to take in the world around them, so let them! And it's a great opportunity for some learning. Teach them the word plane, sky, clouds, flying, pilot, etc. This was a life saver.

Side Note : Chasing a toddler does not lend it self to picture time. See tip #1

Once we survived the airport waiting it was time for boarding and the actual flight. We flew Southwest so everything will pertain to them specifically. We boarded between the A and B groups during family boarding. Because Jack is getting bigger now I thought an isle seat would be best. It would give us a little extra room to spread out. So we picked the first one we saw with an empty middle seat just in case it wasn't a full flight. We sat down and Jack was being a terror. He was throwing every toy I gave him and spit out his binikie several times. I was able to gather everything up myself but I felt a little out of control as people stared at me horrified as if I had brought a disease on board. Then because it was a full flight, obviously, a very very nice lady sat next to me. I could tell she was a seasoned traveler with her perfectly sized under the seat bag and fancy airport accessories like nice ear buds and a pillow. She didn't seem to mind Jack at all. Even when he threw his head back and smashed her arm on the armrest as the flight attendant was instructing me to put my mask on before his she just smiled. After that one fit he did great. He never cried and only thrashed a little. I ordered a coke, which I knew might be a problem but I was dying of thirst. With only a swig left he spilled it all over our tray. As I was rushing to grab baby wipes as they were the only thing I could think that would help me clean up she grabbed her air sick bag and let me put the whole mess in there. She even giggled when I noticed too late that Jack was pushing buttons on her laptop. I know she'll never read this but kind lady I thank you. You made my first flying trip so much easier. The world needs more yous.

The flight back was basically the same except people were grumpy about ending their vacations so no one helped me with Jack. One lady even rolled her eyes at me when I asked for her help. Jack was throwing his usual fit during the "don't die" instructions and he threw his binkie down the isle out of my reach. I leaned over as far as I could because his leg was stuck between my leg and the arm rest and I just couldn't reach it. I kindly asked the lady if she could help me and grab the binkie at her feet. She rolled her eyes and said "fine". Mind you she was middle aged and traveling with her family. Lady the world does not need more yous.

All that being said it really didn't go as bad as I most people say it would. I survived the tantrums and running around the airport and Jack had a grand ole' time. People will either be nice or they won't and you can't help that so do the best you can and make sure to be your toddler's parent and not play buddy. Keep them safe and enjoy your travels. Those big things out of the window take you some pretty cool places and it's so much more fun to discover those together.

And remember...ALL.THE.SNACKS.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving!

This year we spent Thanksgiving in San Jose with my family. I had a boat load of PTO so Jack and I took the whole week off and left extra early to get our vacation started! Max had to work on Monday so he joined us later that week on Tuesday.

This means Jack and I had to fly...alone. It was terrible and not so bad at the same time. But that's a story for the next blog post. Today is all about the amazing festivities.

We landed Saturday the 19th a little battered, bruised, and tired but all in one piece. CA is 1 hour behind us this time of year which means Jack's beloved and perfectly working schedule is all thrown off. We got to my parents house around dinner time and bed time was not far off. Jack doesn't do well in new places, he's very timid and shy. That first bed time was almost like having a newborn again. His tiny fingers dug into my arms so I couldn't lay him down. He was over tired because his body was telling him it was 9:00 PM instead of 8:00 and his surroundings were all strange. He would start crying as soon as I bent over to lay him down and heaven forbid I sneaked out before he was asleep. But after an hour or so he calmed down and we both slept great.

Sunday we spent the day in San Francisco with my sister. I planned it so we would be driving during nap time. It worked like a charm. He napped the whole way and was bright and cheery when we finally arrived. The weather was nice and cold and even a little drizzly, which annoyed most people but these desert rats were so excited!

My sister planed a whole mini day at this place called the Exploratorium. It was so much fun! We got to see and do so many things. It was all a bit over Jack's head but he loved having open space to run. We saw things about cells, mirrors, lights, optical allusions, inventions, animals, plants, and oceans. Even as an adult I learned a whole bunch of new things!

We spent the rest of the day lounging at her place watching the busy SF life go by. I'm so glad Jack finally went to The City.

Max joined our little entourage on Tuesday and we were both super excited to see him again. It was so weird without him. You would think after all the long distance China trips I would be used to it but every night sleeping by myself felt very odd.

We spent the other days lazying around the house. Jack learned how to go up and down the stairs "mostly" safely and also what big boy "Time Out" is like. We have entered the smacking, hitting, screaming, and kicking stage in full force. Before he would always hit us out of frustration and it was more like he didn't know what he was doing. Now he purposely walks directly in front of you, looks you in the eye, and smacks you as hard as he can. I was shocked the first time but oh well. Max and I are still getting our discipline ducks in a row but Time Out has become a staple in our house now... boo.

Thursday was amazing. We watched the parade, made delicious food and enjoyed all the family time.

Two Shall Enter...None shall leave?

My Grandma is loving every second of being a Great Grandma. Her peek-a-boo skills certainly surpass all of us. She got the best giggles. It was so sweet watching them play together. I wish we lived closer.

That Saturday night we got packed up and ready to leave. Our flight was early Sunday morning. Again it left us a little battered, bruised, and exhausted but all in all it could have been worse. I am so Thankful I got to spend this fun holiday with my family. I'm already wondering when I can head back. I miss them so much and I know they miss us too.

The Price, Van Domelen, Kelly, Wilson Family

3 generations of  girls

The Grand Kids

Great Grandma & The Wilson's

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday too!

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Happy (belated) Halloween!

You all know Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays and this year we could really do it up because Jack is just starting to get old enough to enjoy it. Last year he was only 6 months and Arizona is still really hot this time of year. I didn't feel like taking a sleepy infant around to houses in the heat to get candy he couldn't even eat, so we stayed home and passed out candy to all the ghouls and goblins. But this year he's old enough to walk and have some fun.

I enlisted Max's help in finding a  pumpkin patch that he could run around in and possible pick out his own little treasured pumpkin. He wasn't as excited because of the aforementioned heat but I promised we would go early and leave before nap time at noon so he agreed. There is a farm in Dewey, AZ called Mortimer Farms (which is near Prescott for those not familiar with the state) that he used to go to as a kid, he said it was huge and had lots of things to do and see.

I couldn't have been more exited.

We decided to go the weekend before Halloween weekend in hopes it wouldn't be as busy. And it worked out perfectly. We got there right as it was opening at 9AM. We lathered sunscreen on our palest of pale son and headed off towards the fun.

When you first walk in you come across some pigs.

This was so exciting for me that I'm pretty sure I left Jack and Max behind and elbowed a few children out of my way. But once they caught up we tried to get Jack to pet and touch the pigs but he was a little scared and decided to just watch his crazy his mother point and giggle :).

We kept walking down the path and came across an old tractor and some chickens.

Ever since Jack was little we have called him our chicken baby. Everyone was forced to buy us "gender neutral" baby items since we kept his gender a secret. This means we had a lot of animal themed things and chickens were a big hit. His favorite bath toys are chickens and he has a chicken towel. He also loves his farm books and toys the best. And if you remember his first birthday, you can sense a theme.

He didn't seem to love them as much in person though.

We continued on our way and walked across a cute bridge and over to the tractor hay ride.

Jack is obsessed with automobiles; cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, etc. Anything that has an engine. He's like a dog and tries to run after them which leads to some scary and eventful walks around the neighborhood.

The tractor ride was a huge hit and he couldn't get enough of it. We sat right up front so he could see it the whole time. He was mesmerized.

The tractor dropped us off at a corn maze. Max was less than enthusiastic about walking around in the heat with no shade and a toddler but I convinced him to do the easy trail that we were told kindergartners had done the week before.

This turned out to be our favorite part. It took about 10-15 minutes and Jack led the whole way! He ran down the path and played with some corn stalks and made sure we got out safe and sound. He was a very trustworthy, noble, and brave leader :).

We then circled back around toward the entrance and picked out our pumpkins. We got to pick them right off the vine! I've only ever picked ones that were already cut and displayed on some pretty hay stacks. But it was so fun to go pumpkin hunting!

We then took a quick turn on a jumpy platform and a pony ride. Jack felt mediocre about the pony ride but loved the jumpy platform. They allowed parents on which was a good thing and it meant I could give him a few good bounces to send him flying. His smile says it all :).

We left at 11:00AM on the dot. And got home just in time for nap time. Promise kept.

However; Jack did refuse to nap and kept us up and tired the entire rest of the day. But that's Jack's fault not mine :)

Now a few weeks later it was time for the big day. (you can read Lesser Places to see the super cool hike we went on in between Halloween events.)

A while back I decided Jack and I were going to be Ariel and Flounder. I had assumed Max would join in on the family costume and after much convincing and everything costing too much he agreed and dressed up as Prince Eric.

I also decided I was going to dye my hair red. I've always wanted red hair but too cheap to actually do it. I've used box dye before but always with the help of one of my high school friends. This time I did it myself. It was significantly more difficult not to mention I was a lot more nervous. It didn't come out quite as I pictured but it's still pretty cute. Next time I'll pony up the money though ;).

After work and a few pictures at our house we headed over to Max's parent's neighborhood since theirs is a lot nicer than ours. My mother-in-law came with us which was a big help with dealing with Jack, the wagon, and taking pictures.

Jack was nervous at first; he's always been a shy and timid baby. But he did throw a few smiles and walk up to some doors which out too much fuss. And for all the hippy-no candy worriers out there we only got 1 piece per place and he doesn't get to eat any of it. He's still a little too small. Maybe an M&M here or there and a lolly pop with supervision but it was more about the experience and excitement. And lets be real I was the most excited one out there ;).

We had so much fun enjoying Jack's first trick-or-treating and watching him try to figure out why everyone around him looked so funny.

I hope your holiday was just as enjoyable and extra SPOOOOOKY!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jack's 18 month Update

Last Sunday Jack turned 18 months (aka 1.5)...WHAT?! I miss my baby but I'm loving my toddler too :)

This is his new little smirk and it's amazing.

Weight: 23 lbs (6%) - he's always been my little peanut.

Length: 33" (40%)

Loves: He loves to play peek-a-boo and chasing games. Max and I will frequently be sitting on the sofa only to see a tiny face pop out from behind the bathroom door. We both shout out peek-a-boo and he runs into another room to hide. He has his favorite corners in the house and those quickly become "hiding" spots. He has also recently learned how to hide his own face for peek-a-boo. He smacks his hands over his eyes and then lets go waiting for you to say it. You have to be quick though because he doesn't wait long! Most of the time his hands barely make it to his eyes though. Recently he's been putting them over his ears. He smacks the sides of his head and pushes really hard like he's trying to pop his head off. Neither of us really understood what he was doing, because he was still staring at us, but after a few fits and screams we figured out it was his own version of peek-a-boo. (see animation below!) I hope he never changes :)

He also loves to be chased and surprised. We play a game called "MAMA Monster!" I sit on the floor in the intersection between the kitchen, dinning room, family room, and hallway. He runs by as I play grab at him and tickle him. I cover my eyes and he comes over to quickly uncover them and run away. The giggles that ensue are truly infectious and I hope he never loses his love to play.

He also loves to feed the dogs and play outside. Every day when we get home from work/daycare he runs inside, checks that his robot vacuum friend made it "home", and then runs over to the dog bowls. I scoop their food and hand it over to him. He "pours" the food out into each bowl. And if some misses and falls on the floor he picks it all up one piece at a time. He then stands guard as they eat and as soon as that last piece of kibble is gone he snatches their bowl up and puts it back in the bin. No extra crumb licking for these dogs. And since the nights are cooling off we are spending more time outside. And he simply can't get enough. He runs around forever looking and touching everything. He's avoided touching dog pop so that's a win. But getting him to go back inside when it's dark is a chore. He sticks his arms out so they're wider than the door frame and we can't get through while he screams and kicks me. But the magic and wonder in his eyes as he runs around outside is amazing and it's worth being kicked in the stomach...again ;)

Hates: Recently he's been hating to get his diaper changed. He hasn't fought me like that since he was a few months old. But not he's bigger and can wiggly away faster and kick. One good kick to the stomach or chest hurts!

Milestones: He's walking! That seems obvious but he took his first steps at 13 months and the day before Max left for his many week trip to China. I was so happy Max got to see it before he left. He's gotten so good now that he runs everywhere and even walks on his tip-toes sometimes, which is pretty adorable. And he's already grown out of many shoes. If anyone knows where to get CHEAP toddler shoes I'm all ears. He's a size 4.5 - 5. I'm going to try so I'll let you know how that goes.

His speech changes daily so it's hard to keep up on. He knows : Dog, Book, Hot, Dada, Sheep, Fan, and there is a whole slew of words he has said a few times but he's not consistent with so I don't know if they count. And like all toddlers he knows more than he can say. He understands pretty much everything Max and I say to him. We're trying to get him to use words instead of crying or whining for things but it's hard when you know what he wants and it's easy to just give it to him. But we're trying.

He's learned a few songs which is ADORABLE. His favorites are If you're happy and you know it, Wheels on the Bus, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. He tries to sing along to wheels on the bus and the itsy bitsy spider and it's so cute. He also tries to make the spider motions with his hands which is pretty similar to just clapping but he's always so proud of himself that we have to congratulate him when he tries.

Sleep: He's still amazing in this department. He sleeps from 8 - 6:30ish. He sleeps longer on the weekends sometimes but 6:30 is when we have to get up for daycare/work. He doesn't like sleeping in new places very much like when we're on vacation but I don't either so I can't blame him.

Eating: He eats pretty well. He eats all his breakfast which is usually oatmeal and yogurt. Then most of his lunch but he barely touches dinner. I think he likes to fill up on breakfast and lunch because let's face it they are much more delicious. He also drinks a few glasses of milk a day and water in between meals. I try to make healthy-ish snacks for him but he doesn't always agree. It's usually some kind of made up trail mix. He loves dried fruit so it works well. He's currently eating Rice Chex and dried apricots. He hates veggies but what kid doesn't. I try to sneak them in places but he generally knows and avoids them or spits them out. Feeding my child has never made me feel more like my own mother ;)

Teething: He has a pretty good mouth of teeth. He has his front 4 uppers and lowers and then two molars on the left and working on one on the right. Having some grinding, chewing teeth really changed the game for him. He loves to eat some food that was too tough before.

Jack has been the most amazing and wonderful toddler. He has his moments of tantrums and missing naps but all-in-all he's been super easy. Our biggest battle is that he never poops! Which isn't so bad. I love him so much and I feel so bittersweet about him being one and a half.

Mama and Dada love you Jack!

Now for a little peak into our photo shoot session :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Annual Cabin Trip #3

It's been super crazy around here and I just haven't had the time to post as much as I want. But I promise I am trying to get back on track!

Last month the Thursday Crew made our annual trip to the cabin. The first trip was when I was 10 weeks pregnant, the second was when Jack was 6 months, and now he's almost a year and a half. Time sure does go crazy fast!
Bottom Left: 10 weeks preggers
Bottom Right: Jack is 6 months
Top: Jack is 17 months

Max and I had to work on Friday so we couldn't leave until 5:00 and we got up there right at bed time....which would be awesome except Jack slept the whole ride up so he was in no mood to sleep. So we stayed up late playing, running around, and enjoying the cool night as we waited for the rest of our friends.

As everyone arrived Jack started getting grumpy so I started the painful process of getting jack to sleep in a new place. He never does well and I expected hours of crying and cursing under my breath but leave it to that stinker to do something unexpected. After all the regular routine was over I laid down on the floor next to his pack-and-play for like 10-15 minutes and he was out like a light. I couldn't believe my luck. He even slept in the next morning until 6:30.

While no one else thought that was "sleeping in" Max and I were ecstatic :). He left to do some fly fishing and Jack and I hung out on the porch with the dogs until it was time for breakfast. The morning was so cold and breezy. It was amazing after the hot summer we've been having in the valley.

After Max got back and we had an amazing breakfast (shout out to the Tippins'!) the girls headed off on our walk and the boys headed to the shooting range. I thought I could let Jack walk along side us and burn off some energy but he refused to hold my hand.

Every mom just rolled her eyes and giggled in solidarity.

We spent the rest of the day playing games and watching Jack enjoy the outdoors.

It was pretty warm up there especially with no air conditioning so it was a no pants, diaper only kinda day.

As day time gave way to night Jack spent most of the time indoors to avoid the bugs and only venturing out to enjoy some s'mores over the grill.

We had so much fun just like always and I can't wait for next year!

PS - Chrome users. I noticed there might be some issues viewing the blog so if you are experiencing this I'm sorry and I am desperately trying to fix it.