Life Update: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE GOOD:

So last time I gave you a full-ish update, I mentioned that Dan had gotten a part-time job and we were still looking. Yo, Pharmacy is not a joke right now. Anyone thinking about going into it should know that getting a job is REALLY DIFFICULT. And not just for an unfinished resident. I mean, IN GENERAL, it’s incredibly competitive.

But something kind of amazing has been happening to us lately…

The job that Dan landed is a PRN job which if you are not familiar with the medical field it basically means “as needed” or like “a substitute pharmacist pretty much”. He was told that it would probably only be one weekend a month. Like ten hours or something like that. So yeah. It was a PANIC. Ten hours a month ain’t a real job. So we were up to our necks trying to find something else.

BUT THEN. Once Dan got all trained up, he started getting a lot of shifts… and then a second site hired him… and then they started giving him remote shifts. Now all of the sudden he’s working full-time.

I kept watching our Google calendar fill up month by month before finally, I realized… this is the job. Dan loves it. It’s the EXACT company that he wanted to work for. And he gets to spend a TON of time with the family. Like… this is it, dude. Why mess with such a good thing?

There are other little details that need to be ironed out since PRN isn’t a traditional job, but I think we can make it work and I finally feel… settled. I spent the last however many months feeling on edge and overly anxious about “THE JOB” when… it was there all along. He had it within the first six weeks.

THE BAD

I always have to mention the writing so here it is.

I re-read my last “Life Update” from May and it made me freaking whimper. EVERYTHING IS STILL THE EXACT SAME. LIKE NOTHING HAS CHANGED ALL SUMMER. Isn’t that dumb!? I work on stuff every day with like so little to show for it. And I know, emotionally, I’ve had a lot on my plate… like honestly a bowling ball on my paper plate. But still! It really sucks. Because through all the hard days the ambition has not gone away. In fact, I would say that the ambition has only gotten bigger and meaner. Like a fat, feral, untamed ambition eating me from the inside out. And all I do now is sulk around the house complaining that I don’t have ten more novels finished since May.

I just want something to happen. Anything. A big gust of wind in my sails. I need to feel like I’m moving forward.

THE UGLY

It’s been a very difficult time for me personally.

Someone very close to me has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. I don’t want to say who it is, to respect their privacy, but just know that it is a relationship that is absolutely irreplaceable. Every day I have to wake up and imagine what my life would be like without that person. And I don’t know what’s going to happen.

If you are the praying sort… or you vibe with vibes… or you’re a really cynical person but you’re good at sending funny memes… just keep me in mind, I guess.

Other than that kids are doing great! They are so sweet. Getting bigger every day! Life overall has been good… which is weird because it’s been the absolute worst year of my life.

Also in retrospect, I should have started with the worst thing and ended with the best thing. Welp. That’s what I get for trying to do some cutsie title. SORRY. Tune in for, hopefully, some cheerier updates down the road.

What My Day Looks Like with Two Little Kids

Okay, so a year and a half ago, I made a schedule of what it was like to have one kid. Well, here’s my schedule of what it is like with TWO KIDS. When I was pregnant with my second, I looked and looked and looked for this kind of post… I could never find it. So I MADE ONE MYSELF YOU’RE WELCOME.

*I will note that there is no schedule with the second for the first few months. And then they dip down to three naps a day and it all comes back to you. By the time it’s two naps a day. NO PROBLEM.

yup

8:00 (ish) Wake up, breakfast, get everyone dressed

Honestly, it’s such a mystery when my day is going to start lately. My baby is very consistently like 8-8:30, but for whatever reason these past few weeks my Toddler has been like 7-9. I wake up, I give the baby a bottle. Jack has a waffle, cereal and strawberry milk, (which he wants every day). I have to change everybody, sit the toddler on the potty. Eat breakfast and get ready myself, which is probably the biggest challenge. Showering has to be quick and I’m usually getting out soaking wet to move the baby back to his toys.

9:00 The daily chores

Every day I make the bed and do dishes. And then I have one chore assigned for that day of the week, like laundry or bathrooms. Sometimes I get them done before the baby’s nap. Most of the time I don’t.

10:30 or 11:00 Casey’s Nap

I put the baby down and then play with Jack, but I let him pick what he wants to do.

12:00 or 12:30 Lunch

I wake the baby up. Which always feels mean but worth it to get a mutual nap from the kids later. We have lunch together and if my husband is home we’ll go out somewhere fun.

mccarthyme

1:00 “Recess”

I call this time Recess in my mind. Pfft. That’s probably dumb. But mostly it’s just where I let the kids play rough and tumble for the last little bit before they sleep. During the blistering Arizona summer, I pull out the plastic slide and try to make a fun play place inside.

2:00 Both kids Nap

This eclipse is everything but it’s so hard to navigate. Jack first and then Casey. If I’m lucky I can get about an hour to myself. I *try* to reserve this time for writing, but honestly a lot of the time I’m so tired I end up sleeping!

4:00 Variable. Usually screen time

Whenever the kids wake up I try to keep it chill. I don’t have a set time for this, but every single day I try to have a reading time where I just read the kids books for a while. Right now, Jack is loving “Pajama Time”

pjtime

5:00 Dinner

I learned the hard way that dinner has to be as early as possible or the kids get GROUCHY. I’ve started meal prepping and it’s honestly SAVED MY BUTT. I can feed the kids when I need to and there is still a meal for Daniel when he gets home, I don’t have to worry about staving off the kids until later.

6:30 Some kind of adventure

Okay, so… here I just try to do something fun. Swimming is a good option right now in the heat and I prefer sunset swims because 1) Not as hot 2) Shade. Don’t have to sunscreen the kids! 3) For some reason, we get the pool to ourselves at that time and 4) THE SKY IS SO PRETTY!

If we don’t feel like swimming, we go to the play place at the mall. In the cooler months, we’ll go to the park or something.

8:00 Getting ready for bed

Bath. PJS. Brush Teeth. Prayer. Bottle. Blankies. Bed.

8:30 Both kids go to bed

I’ll probably have to put the toddler back like 600 more times. But then Daddy and Mommy get to hang out! And be so exhausted to do anything other than zone out in front of the TV…

bedtime

A Sappy Post About My Sappy Wedding Anniversary

Guess what day it is?

 

Five years ago TODAY Daniel and I were marrrrrrrried. Woooohoooo! In honor of this sweet, sweet, milestone, I decided to write a sweet, sweet blog post for my sweet, sweetheart. It will be so sweet in fact that it might make you sick if you ingest too much of it… so be prepared. CUZ IT’S ABOUT TO GET ROMANTIC UP IN HERE.

oneiwant

Dan. What up, bro?

Maybe no one else will read this post. And that’s okay. Because today is about you, my love. So I’ve been thinking lately, about all the times you’ve told me how you feel “boring”. And that’s just crazy. For me, you are the opposite of boring. You fascinate me. My life comes alive anytime you come home from work or wake up next to me or spend time with me (when you honestly could be doing anything else at the moment). My heart goes from zero to fifty, like, just at the chance to hang out with you, because you are just a big ball of FUN. And I wish I could think of a better way to say that… like, you know, if only I were some kind of an author or something and I knew how to write words.

I love the way your eyes crinkle when you smile. And I love your laughs. Sometimes you have this high pitched “HA” and then other times you sound like a freaking duck choking on a popsicle stick. I love it though. Like that’s when I know we’re on a super good inside joke, is when we’re both WHEEZING like we’re dying.

I love how at the end of the day when we put the kids to bed, our activity of choice is trashy reality TV with a side of cheesecake. Like, that’s all I want in life, honestly. But I also love the things you watch when you’re not with me. Like, documentaries about lions and people detailing their car or something. Videos with scammers scamming other scammers. And divers collecting stuff in muddy rivers. I just like the small interests you have. I don’t know. It’s attractive to me. Because, sure, like you could be SUPER into sports or something. And be that guy who’s into sports. Or working out or something that is some general interest. But I really like that you like weird things. I like when you want to show me a video about space or tell me a weird fact you learned that day. I really, really love that about you.

OH MY GOSH and how lucky that we have the same taste in movies? I mean, basically. All I want to watch are old movies. And you adamantly refuse to watch the same movie twice unless it’s Black Hawk Down or American Sniper (for some reason?).

dankids

I love the unique way you walk. I love your voice. I loved your voice when you called me up for our first date, even though I basically interrupted you to tell you I was on the news for doing a flash mob. Ah, the way you say my name too. When you’re talking to someone else about me it’s this nice soft “Val”. But when I’m in trouble it’s, “VAL-REE!”

This is selfish, but I really love the way you love me. I love that you confidently tell people that I’m an author. Like as if I already had a successful career or something. And when you want to bring me to all your parties because you think “I’m an ace up your sleeve”. (I wish!)

aww

I love the way you love the kids. You are a great dad. You worry that you’re not. But you really really are. You are always RIGHT THERE to take them and play with them. Give me a break or help me with something around the house. Ha. You are the Starsky to my Hutch when it comes to chores. I’m so incredibly lucky that I married a guy as helpful as you are.

Seriously, and it’s not just me. Like that is your legacy. I think you get a call every freaking day from SOMEONE needing your help and advice. Whether it’s about car stuff, or medicine, or a financial decision. YOU are the person that everyone turns to because you are competent AF!!

dadgrad

You make me happy every single day, with all the puns. And all the pranks. There has not been a single day that I have not laughed since I met you. You are a hidden treasure in a lifetime ocean of day by day challenges. (Another “River Rat” reference?) Just when I think there is no possible way I could love you more, you do something else that gets me. I feel like the Grinch, except my heart is blowing up to like thirty sizes bigger.

I just love you. That’s it. I really do.

Literally Just a List of Things I Want to Remember About My Children

So Jack turned three yesterday.

 

They grow up so fast. Literally nothing else they can do fast. Putting on shoes. Picking out what they want for lunch. You know, walking. But growing up… I swear sometimes I look over at them and feel like they look more grown-up than they looked AN HOUR AGO.

So anyway, in honor of my mommy nostalgia I decided to make a list of cute things that I don’t want to forget about how they were at this stage of life.

 

#1 Jack refuses to call hearts by their real name, he insists they are “farts”

#2 Casey’s favorite song is “Skidamarink”. No matter how hard he is crying, he will immediately stop if you start singing that song.

#3 Jack calls grandma and grandpa “grampens”

#4 Every time we go out everyone comments on how happy Casey is

#5 Jack has a major obsession with hats

#6 Casey loves to put toys in his mouth and turn them into actual whistles

#7 Jack has to point out every single cactus he sees… and we live in Arizona

#8 Casey eats his entire weight in blueberries… every day… like at what point does he turn into Violet Beauregard?

#9 When Casey crawls around on the floor, Jack joins in because he thinks they’re “playing doggies”.

#10 Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s just going through the motions and you don’t catch these little moments. But it’s always big love and big rewards.

 

HAPPY LIFE LIVING GUYS

Life Update: Hi! So, it’s been a secret disaster

Hey, remember when I had a weekly blog and then dropped off the face of the planet for a couple of months?

So it’s been more than two months. I feel bad about that. This is literally the longest that I’ve ever gone without posting anything since I started the blog. (Even after having a kid.) I was secretly hoping for things to settle completely before coming out and having to talk about this. BuUuUUuuUUuuut that hasn’t quite yet happened, so … I’m just gonna talk about it, I guess.

 

dep1

 

My husband and I play this game when we’re stressed out. I call it, “Lay the Cards.” When we’re anxious about something we come up with four different outcomes.

  1. The absolute best dream outcome that could ever happen in your wildest imagination.
  2. A good outcome that’s also realistic.
  3. A bad outcome that’s more realistic.
  4. The absolute, complete worst outcome you can think of suffering through.

We look at all the outcomes and try to come up with how we would respond to each scenario, therefore ‘laying out all our cards’ and preparing for anything.

Well, one night we played that game… and the absolute, complete worst outcome that we came up with… ENDED. UP. HAPPENING.

Of all the times we have played that game, that has never happened to us. Never ever.

I don’t want to get into the details of things, because overall I just feel like that’s unprofessional. (Even if it’s not my profession.) But basically what I can tell you is that a situation got to a point where it was completely out of our control and Dan was forced to end his residency only ninety days shy of graduating.

We were told from multiple sources that an early termination from a residency would result in being “blacklisted” from ever getting a job at a hospital or clinic. And if that doesn’t seem so bad, let me concern you by phrasing it another way… You could spend five years of your life, get into an unbelievably massive student loan debt and be told you’re not getting your dream job only 12 weeks away from qualifying.

BUT YOU KNOW FREAKING WHAT?

It’s been six weeks. And Dan GOT A JOB. AND IT IS IN A HOSPITAL BY THE WAY. Let me just rewrite that for any abused lil’ pharmacist. MY HUSBAND GOT A JOB IN A HOSPITAL WITHOUT A RESIDENCY. IT IS POSSIBLE AND REAL TO DO SO. The coolest part about the job is that it’s the exact same company that he wanted out of residency anyway. The un-coolest part about the job is that it’s part-time so… Foot in the door, but we’re still looking to take another job. 

Um. So yeah. It’s been hard to write. Upkeep simple things like this blog. In theory, it seems like I should have MORE time to write now that Dan is home to help with the kids. But I’ve been spending all of my free time elbows deep in Google job searches and ad posts. I’ve actually developed a long term twitch in my both my left eye and right eyebrow soooo… yikes? Daniel keeps telling me to write, but it’s been hard to motivate myself to do ANYTHING lately.

 

dep2

 

It sucks. We have a lot of dreams and plans now idling behind a blockade. We’re likely going to be staying in Arizona for a good long while. But that’s hard to say as we’re still interviewing for full-time positions right now. So, sorry for anyone hoping for the Manwill return to Utah. And sorry for being a buttface and not updating this blog. But lots more news and interesting(?) posts to come.

12 Things I Think While Watching Kid Shows with my Toddler (2019)

Parents, I know you feel me.

 

#1

Me: Which TV show do you want?
Jack: *picks the one with the most annoying voice actors*
Me: … … Okay, movie night. Mom’s choice.

#2
Why do I find the Dad’s voice from Daniel Tiger so sexy? Do I need to see a therapist about this?

#3
Chris from Sesame Street is a gosh darn treasure. Prove me wrong.

ChrisKnowingsElmo

#4
I honestly didn’t know it was called an “excavator”…

#5
Blippi makes thousands and thousands of dollars every time he plays on an indoor playground and I need to reevaluate my career choices

#6
Johnny Johnny how do you feel about tooth decay?

#7
Okay, how is “Cocomelon” a more marketable name than “ABC kids”? 

bath

#8
Mm-hmm shark doo doo doo doo doo doo… Stuck in my head doo doo doo doo doo doo

#9
Hello, I’m the mom from Ryan’s Toy Review and I do COCAINE

#10
How does Cheesy from Super Simple Songs look so much like my friend Josh? lol

Image result for Cheesy super simple songs

#11
Not much of a surprise when you watch them open this egg 30 times a day

#12
Childless person: Um, your kid watches a lot of YouTube…
Me: *shows them my brother finger*

Casey’s Birth Story

46795048_1822708701161680_805893305345769472_n

October 16th, 2018 6:00am

It was two weeks before my due date. I kept waking up all night to go pee like fifty billion times. I just had a TON of pressure. Daniel snoozed his alarm for work and as we were laying there I was like, hmmm… actually, these are contractions. Regular contractions.

I slapped Dan’s arm and was like “Hey, I keep having false labor contractions.” Haha, so let me go into this: when I had Jack he came a week late. So I FULLY expected to deliver much later. Like I was seriously looking into an elective induction if the baby was going to go longer than his due date. My mom had bought an airplane ticket to arrive ON his due date and then stay the next couple of weeks after. Soooo “denial” is going to be a strong theme here.

Because my mom wasn’t coming for another two weeks, I was majorly stressed out about who would watch Jack in the event I had to go to the hospital. My dad had GENEROUSLY offered to hop on a plane moments notice if it came to that but Hey Man… I had better been pretty dang sure I was in labor before telling my dad to drop everything and fly to Pheonix. So as you can imagine I was preggy stress crying about it. Dan talked me down. He texted my dad just letting him know what was going on and then I sent him to work, telling him that it was “probably nothing”.

 

9:00am

I took a shower and ate breakfast *just in case*. I still wasn’t super convinced that they weren’t false contractions, so I decided to lay on my side for a minute to see if they would go away. They most certainly did not. They were ten minutes apart and every other one sucked worse than the last. I called my dad because I was about to have a friggin’ panic attack on whether I should tell him to fly to Arizona or not. He said he had already looked into flights. (He was obviously more convinced than me.) My dad told me to call the doctor to see what he thought. I was super unsure about doing that, because OBVIOUSLY the doctor would just say, “Yeah? How about wait until they are five minutes apart lasting one minute for a whole hour and then just go to the hospital. Why are you bothering me with this?”

I decided to call the doctor and waste his time anyways. At first I got the emergency answering service which I thought was really odd because it was past nine and that’s normal business hours. The conversation went like this:

RECEPTIONIST:  And what’s the purpose of this call?

ME:        I’ve been having contractions all morning. They’re ten minutes apart. I just want to know what the doctor thinks I should do.

RECEPTIONIST:  Okay, but is this an emergency?

ME:        … … Um, I’m in labor?

So they send the page out and my actual doctor’s office calls me back. I told them I was contracting every ten minutes and they countered with hey, go to the hospital. I was floored. They told me it was likely I was laboring during the night since I had pressure. My doctor was already at the hospital doing a surgery so they told me I might as well go in and get checked.

I called Daniel at work like Hey I know you’ve only been there for an hour but come home and drive me to the hospital. Then I called my dad and told him we would soon know whether it was real or not.

 

12:30pm

So we get all checked in. I’m totally calm and like whatever, not even in any pain or anything. I was totally sure I was only a one. I packed my bag SO half-a$$ed because I was like oh, they’re just sending me home anyways. Like I didn’t even pack underwear or a hairbrush. So when they told me I was at a three, I was like… wut?

Me: Am I having a kid today?
Nurse: Let’s just keep you for a while and see…

At 12:30 she came back in to check. I was still at a three which was like, oh good, send me home I want lunch I’m friggin starving. But she kinda hesitated and was like you know what let’s just have you walk around for like an hour and see what happens.

 

46744455_2236515679968533_733559940047699968_n
me, totally calm and thinking that I’m going home sometime soon.

(I should also mention that we had Jack with us this whole time. He was such a good kid! I was really impressed with him. I thought that he would be somewhere between being bored or traumatized, but he was super excited to be out of the house and playing with Daddy.)

 

1:30pm

We were given the green light to walk around the hospital and I immediately waddled my fat butt down to the cafeteria. Look. When you are at the hospital in labor, they don’t let you eat anything for a long time… and that’s rough because I’m a pig. So oink, oink. That’s what I chose to do, okay! I was SUPER big and pregnant in nothing but my flimsy hospital gown and socks walking through the cafeteria trying to decide what I was going to eat. It’s fine, I’m sure everyone knew why I was there and that I didn’t have anything contagious. I mean, only my husband could have given them what I had. ANYWAY I chose to eat a fruit cup, because even though I was starving this labor thing was getting pretty real and I knew that things would get intense later that night.

But I was wrong. Not about the fruit cup, but about things getting intense much later. Things got intense RIGHT THEN, REALLY FAST and REEEEEALLY painful. The walking just like dropped him down or something I don’t know, because it hadn’t even been ten minutes out of triage before I was feeling like I was about to die.

We ate quickly and I could barely even make it back to the room. The labor was insane. When I was in labor with Jack, I was having contractions that lasted five minutes a piece instead of the conventional ONE. Well. Yeah. That was happening again. When the delivery nurse came in to transfer me she took one look at my face and walkie talkied for the anesthesiologist to meet us in the delivery room. Which I was super glad about… well sort of.

WARNING!! If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you may want to skip this section of the birth story and just start reading onwards from 5:30. Horror story ahead.

So here’s another comparison to my first labor and delivery: with Jack my epidural was AMAZING. I didn’t feel it at all. It worked perfectly. It was like the golden standard of epidurals, really. With Casey. Holy balls. This was the worst thing about the whole entire delivery and when I say horror story, look, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

By the time the anesthesiologist came in, I was in full blown labor. I had escalated from a 3cm dilation to a 5… IN HALF AN HOUR. Things were nuts! I was like hysterical. It was crazy. I mean, ME, I was crazy. Daniel had left to take Jack to a babysitter out in the parking lot and I was bawling out of control saying stuff like, “Please don’t do anything until my husband comes back. I want my husband, I’m so frightened. I just want my husband!” He came back in, but the hysteria didn’t go away. I felt delirious. Like, I felt like I wasn’t even myself and I was trapped in this painful body watching myself go bonkers. They were trying to give me specific advice on how to sit and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell right from left, the pain was just so overwhelming. I even remember yelling at the nurse, “I’m hurting so much that I can’t even comprehend what you’re telling me right now!”

They attempted to put the epidural in but it DIDN’T GO. I actually felt it stab me in the spine. Like I know what it feels like to have your spine STABBED from the INSIDE. It was a horrific pain… on top of an already horrific pain. Looking back, I don’t think that it was the doctor’s fault. I think it was because I was so out of it with the labor and like having a panic attack and stuff that I just couldn’t sit well enough for them to do it correctly.

It took 35 minutes for them to get my epidural in. They may not seem as bad as it is, so try to imagine this: You are having one of the most generally recognized worse pains in the world cramping your body for full minutes at a time and making you hysterical… while at the same time someone is behind you, literally stabbing you in the spine the same area where most of your nerve endings are. Okay, THAT is what it was for 35 FREAKING MINUTES. Like… an entire episode of The Office is 20 minutes. You could finish watching Diversity Day and I would STILL be getting poked with a needle on a hospital bed for ALMOST ANOTHER EPISODE MORE with tears dripping into my husband’s helpless arms.

But I will say this… Even with how painful that medieval spinal tap was… IT WAS STILL WORTH IT BY FAR. So I hope that tells you something about how hard it is to deliver a baby. And I also hope that you give your mother a phone call today.

 

5:30pm

After I got the epidural, things were calm, borderline boring. Jack was gone and well taken care of. My dad was on his way from the airport. Dan was working on projects, of course, because residents ARE SLAVES. If I had been delivering at his hospital, they probably would’ve made him do some rounds while he waited. Nothing too eventful happened here. I took a little video and hung out. I was basically paralyzed I was so numbed up, my back was still sore though.

At six or maybe even later, the doctor came in and broke my water. I was at a nine by then. The nurse said that they were going to wait until I could absolutely no longer take the pressure anymore and then they would have me push. She said it would be worth it to hold out as long as possible because then I would have to push less. So I just kinda sat there wondering if I was going to be able to feel it if a baby started coming out of me.

 

7:00pm

I felt the pressure pretty soon afterwards. They checked me, I was a ten. I remember the nurse said, “Yeah, there’s no more cervix.” Gnarly. I had the shakes so bad. They were like violent. I wasn’t hurting, but I was shivering like crazy.

MORE SEMI HORROR MOSTLY JUST GROSS DETAILS HERE. You can skip this paragraph too if you want. So I had to puke so bad. And this exact same thing happened when I was pushing with Jack. I was told that the before the baby comes out, his head rests on a nerve that makes you super nauseous. You don’t feel the pain of it because of the epidural, but the pressure wants to make you barf. Well I was trying so hard to hold in my DANG FRUIT CUP. And honestly, you know when you are trying not to throw up like you can’t even move or talk or breathe or anything. Finally, my nurse said, “Just go ahead and do it, it will help push the baby out anyways.” Hahaha! So I was like, yup, I’m there, and I let it all out. And she was freaking right, dude! I literally felt the baby get pushed down when I puked. You use the same muscles to throw up / push a baby out. ANYWHO. Not sure why I felt the need to include all that, but there you go. All the honest and disgusting details of birth.

So they get me ready to push. They basically had to hoist my BUM LEGS into the stirrups because I was so dead down there. I did three sets of pushing during contractions. (For your information, in between contractions is hilariously awkward. I was sitting there all spread eagle while my doctor stands at my hooha, hands on his hips talking about “how he knew I would beat the gal in nine because it’s my second time.” It’s all casual and every day for them. For me, it’s all naked and life-changing and this big medical trauma.)

That was a tangent. Hi! Okay, back to Casey.

Three sets of pushing and he was out. POP! It was like ten minutes of pushing. Maybe five. With Jack I remembered sobbing and being SO melodramatic and yelling, “My son! My son!”. With Casey, I was still in so much shock at his early arrival that I just stared at him with a stupid look on my face, feeling super confused at how the whole day went.

He was so pink and had lots of hair and chubby cheeks. He is this easy-going lovey-bug! And I couldn’t be more thrilled to have him as an addition to our family.

46812387_291068218204723_1461881115210940416_n

The Moment I Found Out I was Pregnant!

Sweet baby comes this month! Aaaah! In the past few weeks, I went from scared to peacefully accepting to REALLY excited! Not that the anxiety has gone totally away. With Daniel’s medical residency, being far away from family and navigating a clingy toddler, doubling my number of kids will definitely be a challenge but I’m just ready for it all. Ready to fall in love all over again.

Anyways, in honor of it being his birth month (well, month of his due date) here is the exact moment I found out he existed! Enjoy!

PS. Yes, I know this is 2018, but I’m a freaking grandma and I don’t know how to hold my phone horizontal when taking video.

 

Sensory Bin Play

I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but… I think I might have just stepped over to the Pinterest side of me that I didn’t even know I had. I started doing something new with my son, not having any idea of how it would turn out. And let me tell you, it was a BIG HIT.

Let me introduce you to “Sensory Bins”.

sensory bins for kids final 75

My sister has often mentioned the importance of sensory play. She’s a preschool special education consultant, so any advice she has to offer in way of cognitive development is going to be pretty valuable. It kept coming to my mind because I’ve been dying to try to find things for Jack to do. It’s too hot to play outside (other than swim) and this toddler NEEDED something new. BAD.

I started looking up sensory tables, knowing how ridiculous I was being since 1) I cannot afford to buy a sensory table and B) where the heck would I even put it. After some research, I found a new love. Which is sensory bins. And OH. MY. GOSH.

They are SO easy. You can find EVERYTHING you need at the dollar store. The only expensive problem is that I have too many ideas and I wish I could put together one for every week of the year. Seriously. I love these things. And not only do I love them, but you know who else does? MY TWO-YEAR-OLD.

He asks to play with them Every. Single. Day. As soon as he’s done eating breakfast he’ll walk over to the hall closet and point. “Bin! Bin!” When he plays… honestly, it’s actually quiet. Like NAP TIME QUIET. I am so obsessed with these, I don’t even know where to begin…

kwiig

I guess I’ll start with the bins themselves. What the heck is a sensory bin? Basically, all it is… is a shoe-box sized container filled with some kind of material that a kid can just stick their hands in and feel! Texture is important. You can also put little treasures and toys in. Scoops, funnels, anything that will let them play around and experiment. It’s basically a miniature sandbox. (Actually, you can totally use sand!)

Is it messy? Yes. But isn’t everything else that a toddler does? Yes! In my experience, it hasn’t been bad at all and YOU are the one who controls what kind of a mess it is. YOU are the one who decides what kind of a bin it will be. You don’t even have to do it inside if you don’t want to!

41458409_2193008114286155_1510085921175764992_n
Make sure you get a bin with a tight lid so you can store them away!

 

So with that, let me show you what I put together, so you can get an idea:

 

I found these colorful packing peanuts. So fun. Despite the fact that he was the one who picked out the Styrofoam peanuts, this is actually Jack’s least favorite bin. I’m not too worried though because I think he’ll like it more as he gets a little older. I’ve hidden wooden numbers in there, which will be fun when he starts to learn how to count.

Bin $1

Numbers $1

3 bags of packing peanuts: $6

Plastic shovels: $1

ALL IN ALL: $9

 

I reeeeally love this one. BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING DINOSAUR THEMED!

Bin: $1

Red kidney beans $1

White beans $1

Dinosaur play set $1

Plastic shovels (shared with the other box!)

ALL IN ALL: $4

 

This is my most recent one, I put it together for the fall time! Take note of the messiness in the background.

Bin: $1

Corn Kernels: $2

Fabric leaves: $1

Set of Dump Trucks: $6

ALL IN ALL: $9

 

This one is the holy grail of sensory bins for my toddler. Honestly, he’s kind of obsessed… THE WATER SENSORY BIN. And okay, I know what you’re thinking. Yikes! But here is what I do. Knowing that I was going to try out a water bin, I got a towel from the dollar store (bonus! This one is a cool round shape!) I set it out in the kitchen and put a bath mat ON TOP of that. Double protection. Then I have Jack sit with the bin on the bath mat. We’ve had a bunch of spills but it was no big deal with this set-up. I will say though that the first time he did this, he got pretty soaked himself- so that’s something to think about!

As you can see, I started to switch it up by putting in a tiny droplet of dishwashing soap and giving him one of my slotted spoons. He adored it. He likes to throw in glass aquarium pebbles, stir them around with the spoon and scoop up bubbles. This has been a massive hit at our house. In fact: Tantrum Warning – may cause a lot of tears when putting away!

Bin $1

Aquarium rocks $1

Water: Free

Spoons and dishwashing soap: On hand

ALL IN ALL: TWO FREAKING DOLLARS

41471179_183920572417733_2974193500188311552_n.jpg

Today he also decided that he wanted to “wash” everything in my baking drawer. So prepare yourself for this kind of discovery/shenanigans.

I’ve been having way too much fun. I found an easy recipe to make fake snow. I think I’ll be putting together a winter bin in a few months!