Dear Mike: September 2015

Dear Mike –

Whoa, September blew by! I have to admit – this is my favorite month! The weather is cooler, it’s Grandma and Daddy’s birthday and it’s when Daddy and I got married. It was a pretty laid back month for you – just hanging out and being a toddler.

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{Speech Therapy} Daddy and I decided to get some extra help with your speech. You were talking a lot, but it was really hard to make out what you were saying and you weren’t saying many sentences. Well kiddo, that has all changed. Miss Lisa has come over a few times and I am not sure you’ve stopped talking since! She thinks you are charming and catching on really quickly – but we knew that would be the case.

{Food} I am really worried about our grocery bill when you turn into a teenager. You are eating EVERYTHING in sight. I am pretty sure you ate 5 mandarin oranges today alone! I really like pudding (punning), macaroni (ma-nonie), chicken (shick-in) and anything that is on someone else’s plate.

{Playtime} Stickers are where it’s at kiddo. Bonus points if they are Minion stickers. You also are obsessed with cars – specifically the die cast cars from the grocery store. You always seem to find the Scion Xb and shout ‘Mommy car’ proudly. Also coloring and chalk are popular these days. OH! I can’t forget. You love to write your name. Well, spell it (over and over) while someone makes your hand write it.

{Books} Every night you get to read 2 books and it seems like we are back to Llama Llama Share (yamma yamma shay) or any book that has counting or the ABCs. You’ve been doing it for awhile, but you really like when we pause and you fill in the word.

Well my love bug, October is already turning out to be amazing.

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo

Friday Five: Wedding Edition

As of today I have been married for FIVE YEARS! That doesn’t seem long considering we started dating 10 years ago. I usually spend our anniversary reading our wedding ceremony and flipping through pictures. The best part of the wedding (I mean, aside from getting married) was our ceremony. We are Unitarians and had it pretty free and easy with the ceremony structure. It was really a FUN day because it was what we wanted. So for today’s Friday Five, in no particular order, here are my five favorite memories from September 25, 2010.

{The Ceremony} Like I mentioned, we wrote our own ceremony and I truly love each aspect of it. We mixed in a few different traditions from different cultures like stomping the glass and a wine ceremony. We spent a lot of time talking about our reading and how to pull everything that was special to us into a quick ceremony.

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{My Girls} I decided I didn’t want to be Bridezilla – it wasn’t my style, so I didn’t want any bridemaid drama either. Lucky for me my three closest girl friends were of the ‘drama free’ mentality too. My Maid of Honor was my sister-in-law and best friend who tells it like it is. My cousin and best friend from growing up were my bridesmaids who were equally fun and organized. They really made the process not only hilarious, but relatively stress free from start to finish.

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{Yichud} When you tell people about your upcoming wedding they tend to mention not eating. Well I like to eat and we paid a lot of money for the amazing food (pasta and fajita bar) so I was going to eat. I also wanted to spend some solo time with my new husband. Enter the tradition of the Yichud. The term “yichud” also refers to a ritual during an Ashkenazi Jewish wedding in which the newly married couple spends a period secluded in a room by themselves. We are not orthodox, but liked the idea of 15 minutes alone. Since we got married in an opera house, we used a dressing room. We had a plate of food and let our amazing photographer, Laura Dye, in to snap a few candids and then we just talked about random stuff. We hadn’t seen each other in a few days and just had this huge life altering event. This might be my favorite memory of the day.

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{The Candy Bar} So this wedding fad of having a candy bar for guests? I was 110% in. Since the vibe of the wedding was ‘vintage’ my sainted Mother scoured the internet for throwback candy.  It looked AWESOME and it was a hit as a thank you for our guests.

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{My Brother} I have one brother who thought it was a good idea to follow in my dad’s footsteps and be a Seabee in the Navy. The Navy tends to dictate every bit of a military family’s life – even the extended family. My brother was in training and flew in at some ungodly hour the day of my wedding and flew out at some ungodly hour the morning after. Having him there meant so much to me, I couldn’t imagine him not standing up there.

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Dear Mike: Summer 2015

My dear, sweet two year old –

I hope that when you read this letter you will understand how important the 12-4-1 Diaper Drive is in our lives and understand why you didn’t get a June (or July, or August for that matter) letter. It’s so hard to keep up sometimes because you are literally changing overnight. It seems daily you do something, your Dad and I give each other a ‘look’ and instantly deem you amazing.

{You Turned 2!} We had a great time celebrating your second birthday at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, which we turned in Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse. We had all your favorite foods – cupcakes, hot dogs and Goldfish. You had a grand time running through the sprinkler with your friends, especially Mollie. Your favorite part was singing Happy Birthday to yourself. In fact, we’ve pretty much sung happy birthday to a pretend cake and blowing out the candles. birthday

{Beach Days} Daddy spent a lot of time at the beach growing up and we were eager to get you there as well! We started small by going to Sandy Point State Park on the Chesapeake Bay. You were a little hesitant about the sand and getting in the water, but before long you were sitting in the ‘surf’ and throwing sand. We went back a few more times and each time you were more and more excited. I have to admit, your favorite part of the beach is the snacks!

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{Books} You got your first library card for Anne Arundel County and not a moment too soon – you are reading up a storm! Each night you get at least two books and it’s a struggle to convince you that it’s time for bed. Your favorites are Go Digger Go (because Daddy does the sounds and beat boxes), Llama Llama, Chesapeake 1, 2, 3 and Chesapeake A, B, C. I love that you love books.

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{Vacation} Daycare was closed for two weeks so Miss Rachel could have a much deserved break so we decided to take a mini-vacation to the beach! We stayed with Aunt Phyllis and Bubbe which meant you got to sleep in bed with Mommy and Daddy and chase Mellie the cat around yelling ‘me-oh, me-oh’. We went to swim in the bay and the cove we settled on was shallow enough for you to walk in the water which you thought was cool. You also explored the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach and the highlight was playing enough skee-ball to win a toy car.

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{Baseball Game} For Father’s Day you got Dad tickets to a Bowie Baysox game. We weren’t sure how you would like it so we prepared for a quick exit. I must say – you LOVED it!  You happily sat in Mom’s seat and patiently waited for the next time you could cheer. And while you were waiting you chowed down on hot dogs. It was a really fun experience and next year we are planning on taking you more often AND getting you your own seat.

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You had a great summer Bug. It was so much fun for me to see you grow and show Daddy and me how independent you are becoming – like climbing a ladder at the playground, wanting to water the flowers and have a little more unsupervised time. It’s hard to let you do those things, but each and every time you prove you CAN do it and if you stumble, you shake it off and keep on keeping on.

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I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma, xoxo

Friday 5: Running Accessories


If you follow me in real life, or even on social media, you know I am starting to think about fitness and how to incorporate it in my life. I’ll be honest – it’s really, really hard. I am carrying a lot of extra weight and have a pretty messed up relationship with food. But as a Momma, I need to set a good example and I am embracing that idea. So guess what? I’m a runner!

It sounds really funny to say that since my inner mean girl disagrees – I rarely run more than a mile, I do walking/jogging intervals and I’ve slacked off the past month. But when I tell all my friends who are ‘real’ runners they disagree. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast – if I am move faster than a walk, I am a runner. Suck it inner mean girl!

The best part of being a runner is all the cool accessories, so for my Five on Friday I want to share my top 5 running accessories. Even if you don’t run and do some other activity, these apply to you too!

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{Ape Tape} I won’t go into the science of Kinesiology Tape, but it works. I first used it when I was in physical therapy for a shoulder injury a few years ago, but now it seems to have gone mainstream and you can get it in a variety of colors and brands at the drug store. I have something weird going on with my ankle, so it helps to use K-Tape before a run to offer stability and help me not feel so achie afterwards. I’ve trade a lot of brands, but Ape Tape is by far my favorite. It is thicker and lasts much longer than other brands.

{Fitbit Flex with fastener} People either love or hate activity trackers and I am a lover. I picked the Fitbit Flex because it was affordable and has an easy interface. I love going for a run and getting into the groove and feeling my wrist buzzing because I hit my goal. The only complaint I had was my fear of it falling off. BUT – I solved that problem pretty quickly with Allbingo’s silicon fasteners. They keep the Fitbit strap secure and adds a pop of color.

{Thick to Thin Gear} Have you heard of Thick 2 Thin? They are an amazing body positive company out of Virginia who creates gear for athletes – and firmly believes we are ALL athletes. I love that their new line of shorts and shirts will come in much larger sizes because I love to wear looser clothes on runs. They sent me a tank to wear for my virtual 5K and I felt awesome having a trendy shirt that expressed how I felt – strong and athletic. Plus their company values are exactly what I need. Do you follow them on FB? They are a fun bunch!

{Brooks Shoes} Running doesn’t have to be expensive, but you MUST MUST MUST have a solid pair of running shoes. I bought a pair of name brand shoes in an outlet store and after one run I was in enough pain that I dug the receipt out of the trash and returned them. I headed down to my local running store, Pacers, and they watched me  run and found a few pairs of shoes that fit my running style. Brooks Ghost 7 ended up being the best pair for me and they have been worth every penny.

{YouTube Beats Per Mile Playlist} I admire people who can run without music because I am certainly not one of them. Since I have an old phone and don’t want to lug my iPod with me, I have been listening to YouTube’s Beats Per Mile playlist. It’s got some great songs with a beat that keeps me moving.

What are your ‘must have’ workout accessories?

 

Yep, you guessed it. Some or all of this post is sponsored. They might have offered the product, but I offered my honest opinion. This post also might have affiliate links. I might get a small kick back, nothing that will let me quit my day job and nothing that will raise the price for you. You’ve been warned.

Sago Mini

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S. and I knew from day one we wouldn’t keep Mike from glowing screens. We agreed that while we live in a technology based world and our son should be a digital native, screen time still needed to be limited and purposeful. Do we use the iPad or Disney Junior as a babysitter? Yes, occasionally. Let’s face it – sometimes a sure-fire distraction is necessary for survival. But do we keep an iPad in his crib or channel surf on a Saturday? Absolutely not.

We started looking at apps that were free, but quickly found that we got what we paid for – either an eventual purchase or something that didn’t interest our discerning child. Also, we were less than thrilled with the non-stop advertising.

Luckily we found the answer we were looking for in the Sago Mini, a cool and creative collection of apps for toddlers and pre-schoolers. (Full disclosure: We purchased our apps at full price and were sent free downloads by Sago. But hopefully you all know me well enough to know it’s going to take a lot more than a free app for me to recommend a product.)

Sago Mini apps are not free; they run about $2.99 each and are worth every penny. We have built our library to approximately five games so far, but I use the word ‘game’ loosely because there is no end goal, no level, no rewards. The apps are more based on free play and discovery.

Mike’s current favorite (and ours too!) is a simple one called Space Explorer. With his chubby little finger, he drags the space dog round the galaxy where robots, stars, aliens, and the moon are encountered. At each stop, something happens to the dog – the alien hugs him, the robot sings, the stars disappear. There is no set course or a right or wrong way to go. Mike, by way of the dog, simply glides around space seeing what there is to discover.

Mike’s other Sago Mini favorite is Monsters. This one is slightly more structured than Space Explorer but still allows him to follow his own plan. A monster appears on the screen and has to be dressed, fed, and have his teeth brushed (something Mike is strongly opposed to). After all that is completed, the Monster’s picture must be taken. It’s a simple app that leads to lots of giggling when Mike decides to brush something other than the Monster’s teeth. I confess that after the Monster eats, he burbs, causing Mike to laughs like a crazy man before he politely says “excuse me”.

Sago Mini’s company quote really sums up what they are working towards and have successfully achieved so far:

“The scandal of education is that every time you teach something, you deprive a child of the pleasure and benefit of discovery.” – Seymour Papert

I can’t praise Sago Mini enough for creating unique, simple apps for toddlers and preschoolers. Because I have become so enamored of their products, I contacted them with a compliment. Much to my surprise, they thanked me by providing five free downloads. That’s what I call good customer service! Enter to win one of FIVE free downloads this week below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Thank You

I have struggled with how to express the thankfulness in my heart for the outpouring of support for the 12 4 1 Diaper Drive. Each time I showed anxiety about ‘making it all work’, someone would come through in an amazing way.

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Thanks to your help, we donated 18,186 diapers to St. Martin’s Barn. While so many people donated with money, diapers, wipes, rash cream and support – a few people deserve a specific shout out:

{Sam} I married him for a reason – he blindly follows me with my big ideas and never asks questions. In fact, he always encourages me to take things one step further! I knew he had my back because he believed in the cause and in my vision (though hazy at times).

{Sandi} My proofreader, graphic designer and brainstorming. Also, conveniently, my momma!

{Mike} My lucky charm father! Not only did he win the company 50/50 raffle, he donated his half to the cause. Plus he manned the loading and unloading of diapers. Logistics are kind of his thine.

{Choptank Transport Community Involvement Team} It was my first year with a corporate supporter, and Choptank blew it out of the water! I couldn’t have managed all these diapers without their space as well. Special thanks to Harriet, Roxanne, Verna, Hailee, Lauren, Nicole, Dana and Lauren.

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{Tri Gas & Oil} Another great company who jumped in to help collect diapers.

{Preston Ford} Not only did Preston Ford gracious donate a check, they also supplied a van to help transport diapers to St. Martin’s Barn. Mr. Ayers wasn’t just a driver, he was a loader and unloader as well.

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{Andy Pandy and Cutie} Ask and you shall receive. These diaper companies sent me large quantities of diapers because they believe that babies should have dry tushies.

And you! Everyone who supported me and the 12 4 1 Diaper Drive. My heart is full and tushies are dry.

Same time next year? See you then!

 

Huggies Wipes to Save the Day!

We are patiently waiting for the day when Mikey is out of diapers, but one thing we will keep in our home until the day we are too senile to ask our great grandkids to restock them is baby wipes.  I don’t claim to be a label snob, but since Mikey was born, we use ONLY Huggies ® One & Done ® and here’s why:

Triple clean technology – It sounds fancy, but these babies are THICK. So you don’t need to worry about ickies touching your hand, whether it’s from cleaning up a spill or the *ahem* traditional use for baby wipes.

Smell – While I love the baby powder smell, I am always happily surprised by the sweet smell of cucumber and green tea.

Convenient – I never thought I would ever be saying this, but one of my pet peeves is when I pull out a wipe and instead of just one, I pull out half the pack. I need to be able to tug, snap and have in my hand exactly one wipe. Huggies ® One & Done ® meets this need every time.

I also love Huggies wipes because they did this:

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Our little artist managed to get dry erase marker all over the throw pillows. After a few swipes with Huggies ® One & Done ® wipes the evidence was gone! Playtime should be fun right? Imagine all the places you could need Huggies wipes to get out stains – the office, the car, the garage, even your purse!

Check out Walmart’s video “101 Uses of Huggies Wipes” and let me know if they missed anything!

 

1183 Days

Hey you guys? 

We have 14,200 diapers. FOURTEEN THOUSAND AND TWO HUNDRED diapers. To put in perspective, if we were supporting 1 baby, these diapers would last for 1183 days or until he is 3 years old. So basically, that’s enough to keep one kid in diapers until he is potty trained.

I am literally stumbling trying to find words. A few weeks ago I was having a hard time imagining that the goal of 10,000 diapers would happen but we saw that goal and kept on moving.

There is still one week before we drop these diapers to St. Martin’s Barn, so there is more time to donate. And really until diapers are considered necessary and provided by safety net organizations, our job is not done. But for now, we have done something HUGE.

Thank you for donating, thank you for your support, thank you for sharing updates, links, articles and suggestions. Thank you for seeing the need, thank you for standing up for the cause online.

Thank you. 14200