You may have heard of the terrible twos or the three-nagers, but I am going to call it the terrifying threes, because that is exactly what it is to me. If you have a 2 year old then you should quit reading because I do not want to scare you, but if you are in the terrifying three stage or past it, you will hopefully relate, and if not, tell me so I can get her help because clearly I am not the problem!Read More
I was driving my daughter to preschool last Monday and I was listening to her babble in the back seat pointing out every thing she loved while looking out the window. Toddlers really do have a way of making you stop and smell the roses as they find joy in the most simple things. She kept repeating herself about how cute these little trees were and how she wanted one at Christmas, so when she started to shout "MOM I AM TALKING TO YOU," I finally turned around to see what she was pointing to. They were just small ornamental pine trees in this yard by her school. She just couldn't believe they had real Christmas trees in their yard and she wanted one of those too. No, she wouldn't remember if we have had a real tree at Christmas yet since she just turned 3, but it really made me stop and think about how I may be choosing the easy route over the experience. Why? Because it is easier. And we have become so obsessed with finding the quickest, cleanest, and most thoughtless option, we often forget that most things in life come with a valuable lesson or experience. So why have we become so busy that we do this? Busy on our phones, computers, and trying to keep connected to the world. What for? Don't get me wrong, I am writing this because I had the revelation that maybe that is exactly what I am doing right now and stopping to ask myself why, has led me to this post. I am guilty. I don't know why looking at my phone has become more enjoyable and taken over the many joys in life. I find it actually more depressing than anything to open up FaceBook and see the animal abuse, the child abuse, the politics, the hate, the bullying, the killing. And yet, I am choosing to waste time on that rather than baking, blogging, exploring, reading and simply just living my best life. I have decided to give this whole Easy or Experience thought a go. Seriously. We have a fake Christmas tree. Why? Haha because it is easier. Less mess, no pine needles, and I don't have to water it or hunt for that "perfect" tree every year. Because in this society we are all about perfection. So this year, we are getting the real thing baby!! We are going to go as a family and find whatever tree my daughter thinks is great, and that will be our tree. I will still put up the fake one, because I love the season and I love the celebration, but we are going to experience it with new eyes. Who knows, it may just become a new tradition for us! If you hear me complain about the mess, kindly remind me of this post!
If you are my friend on FaceBook, you may have recently seen my post about my cake pops.....they were made with love! Haha. Another lesson for me. My daughter loves cake pops and asked me for Mickey Mouse ones for her Birthday. Every year I either have someone make me the cutest cupcakes or cookies, buy the decorations and buy all of the food. Why? It's easy. I am not sure what else I am too busy doing at that time, but apparently I am. But when your daughter asks you to make Mickey Mouse cake pops, Pinterest to the rescue. The process it takes to make them is long! Finally I was done and I was frustrated, annoyed and felt bad because they were.....well ugly. But my daughters eyes lit up when I showed her the Mickey Mouse cake pop just for her. She said "Mom, I love it. Thank you". "You made this for me?" Yes baby girl, I made those. My heart melted and yet these hideous looking cake balls were a pain in the butt to make, it was so worth her reaction. ( I have yet to decide if I will make them next year). Bwahhhhaaaa.
Now that it is Fall here in Iowa, most of us are cleaning our yards up before the first snow! EEEK! Last year I managed to rake up a small pile, just enough for my daughter to jump and play in the leaves, then hired it all to be cleaned up and taken away. I have terrible allergies, so I try to avoid raking and playing in them myself. I took sweet photos of her last year playing in them so when she is older she can see how "awesome and loving" her Mom was to let her do that. Haha (insert sarcasm). This year, for the ultimate experience, I made sure that I was a big girl and took my allergy pill. I used the blower to gather the leaves and then I raked them into a HUGE pile, big enough for all 3 of us to play in. The dog, daughter and I :) I forgot how much I actually like to rake and do yard work. I do have a garden, but it is not the same! Is it really that hard? The simple answer is no, no it's not. AND I have this really great picture showing how much joy it brought her :) No that is not the pile!
The list goes on and on. It is a choice that we have to make every day living with children and even relates to our spouses! I totally know there are times that you can not jump in a puddle or play in the rain, but the times that you can, why not let them? What is it seriously going to harm? The amount of excitement from my daughter when I let her play in the rain is exceptional! Best day ever. What's another outfit change when you have already changed 3 times that day already! Haha. And going back to the spouse thing, I am not an expert, actually I have learned a lot in my short life. But what I do know is that when I make the choice to choose love and kindness, my world rotates a lot more smoothly then when I choose stats. No keeping score, no counting flaws, but taking the time to leave a note somewhere, sending a nice message throughout the day goes a long way! You may be asked a favor by your significant other and to you it seems so crazy that he or she thinks you have this time and doesn't he know that you are already busy enough? I promise if you choose to look at it as an opportunity to show love, it will change your life! I have a friend who has 3 kids and is married and we were chatting about kids and the work and all the same things we always chat about as women, and she mentioned she made her husband his lunch everyday. What? Are you serious? I was a little taken back and didn't understand why it was nothing to her but only to realize that it was her choice. She wanted to and enjoyed it. She already made 2 other lunches for her kids, so why was it so much harder to do 1 more? A light bulb went on inside my head. This was one of her ways of showing him love and appreciation. It would be kind of hard to be mad at your wife then sit down only to realize she made the food you are eating :) Bwahhhaaa At least he has to think about it!
I tend to avoid things that are messy. Hate to admit it but I do. Why? Because it's all fun and games until someone has to clean it up. Painting is messy. We have painted...a lot.
Playing in the mud is even worse. But we did it. Someone else seemed to enjoy it too.
Halloween is not my favorite Holiday by any means. I am perfectly fine to skip carving or de-gutting pumpkins, but yet again I have my daughter to thank for allowing me to experience it all over again this year! And it just keeps getting better! What happens when 2 perfectionists try and de-seed and carve 1 pumpkin? Haha it was hilarious! My daughter carefully plucked each seed from the pumkin and no seed was left behind :) We cleaned and cooked our seeds for the first time together and fought over who got to eat the last one! So much fun!
How many things in your life could you change to experience it, instead of just doing it? I am going to make a list with my daughter for this winter and we are going to write down things that she wants to do. Yes, she is only 3 but have you ever talked to a 3 year old? They know EXACTLY what they want to do :) Haha. So far on the list is the ride the train at the mall and build a snowman! If you think your child forgets things, maybe you should give them more credit that you are because my daughter will remember there are sheep at Von Maur the instant we step inside that store....even as a 1 year old! They KNOW!
I know people are so sick of politics and hearing about them and people's opinions are being plastered all over social media and in our very own streets, but are you looking at this election with the easy or experience aspect? It is so easy to sit back and post such hate, negativity and spew awful words from your mouth but are you gaining anything by doing that? A lot of posts are focused on "How will I tell my children?" You tell them that change happens, a lot, and it is hard and uncomfortable and sometimes very painful, but you are strong enough to move on. There will be more change in their lives that will occur other than just changing Presidents. You show them love and grace and they will respond positively. Certainly I am a little scared of how President elect Trump will handle this job, but instead of rioting, damaging our country, or using Facebook to post such nonsense, maybe I will try to experience it from another angle. Remember when your Mom told you "Not to judge a book by it's cover?" Maybe we all should apply that to this. Above all, this is our America and it can only be great again when people start choosing love over hate. Go out and volunteer instead of wasting time rioting. We are putting our police officers more at risk when we display this violent behavior. People make mistakes all of the time, we are all sinners but we have a forgiving and loving God. Let's be more like that. YES we are in for quite the experience so buckle up and do your part to make it worth it. We are in charge of ourselves and our actions so let's put our best foot forward and pray for Trump, pray for your friends, your family, your children and your enemies. Love trumps ALL.
November always has a way of making me reset, rethink and show gratitude. Maybe it's Thanksgiving, the Holidays or just family events. I don't know but I hope that after reading this blog you come out with maybe a new perspective or have your own "ah ha" moment too. Maybe it is for your kids, your spouse, or yourself. Trust me when I say that the memories and experiences that come from living your life are much greater than any other "business" that we choose to fill our time with!
Much love friends and cheers!!
Where do I even start with this topic? Maybe how I got this brilliant idea to start it? Well, I am ashamed to tell you that it all began because I did not want to be THAT Mom who was the last to potty train their child. No seriously. Potty training is really all about me ya know. But really though. Before we started the potty thing, she would tell me at Target wearing her diapers that she had to potty and I would tell her that we didn't have time, just go in your diaper. I know, Mom of the year right here. Also I am the one who would be doing 99% of the training and that alone is super scary and overwhelming so who wants to do that?? I came up with so many excuses as to when we would start and why she wasn't ready but the only problem was me. We are in gymnastics class with several kids around the same age as Rowan and I noticed a little girl not much older than her come in with undies on. So I began to fish around about how old was the child, how did they do, and was it as awful as everyone says. I really asked every single parent I ran into from then on. You could call me the potty investigator. Haha. Then one day a little boy came into class and his mother mentioned that they were "commando" and potty training. So now and BOY and a GIRL were trained before my child? How can this be? I asked her how she started and she said that she was reading the "Oh, Crap" book and it was working. I immediately went home and Googled it, bought it for my iPad and told myself I am going to start potty training....soon. That was Wednesday. I look at my calendar and start to pick out dates to start....and I can't find a single date that gives me 3 days at home. Crazy huh? I am a stay at home mom and I can't find 3 days at home. Weird. I mean trips to Target count right? If you know me, shhh MOM don't say anything, you can't tell me nothing. I can do it and I will do it, my own way and I will make a way.
So Friday comes along and after sitting down to read "Oh, Crap" I figured now is the best time, even though we are leaving for Minnesota the following weekend, she will already be trained by then right? Pants came off Friday at 3pm. Literally. As I start to read it, I feel like this is just a guide and so I start to skim further into the book to find what I really need to know since I clearly know everything already. Haha. For the first few times at the potty, she did great! She peed like a champ! I couldn't believe it! And I kept thinking, well we are done right? That was easy. Not so fast. We got the pee part down but what about the poop? I kept her in dresses with no undies on because I am not going to look like a "bad mom" and let my child run around naked outside. Remember this is all about me :) No poop on Day 1, surely it would be coming on Day #2. Yep, it came alright. Outside by her swing set in the grass and she was so proud! Ok, at least it was outside so it was easy clean up. Thanks kid. If that was the worst thing, we are still surviving pretty well. Day #3. Because I know everything and do not follow advice until I am desperate, I never stayed home with her to train her because who has time for that? I was anxious as heck and I now know where every bathroom is in every place I go! Off to Nana's she went. This mama needed a break and Nana was also graced with a turd outside too :) Haha. The dogs have taught her well. Day #4, me alone with her again while daddy worked. She was awake for a hot minute until I smelled poop. This time it was not so convenient. Caught up in her skin tight jammie's....into the tub she went. 8:00 am, and outfit change #1 not sure why but I decided to put shorts on her with no undies today instead of a dress, but I did. Maybe because I assumed she had this pee thing down. I Let her play outside for a minute and saw a small puddle of water on my deck? Hmmm Rowan what is that? I peed. Seriously? Yep, so back inside for pants change #2. Go back to what I am doing and come back outside to another small puddle next to the first one....ummm what is that? Did the dog mark her territory and pee too? Nope. Outfit change #3. Oh man, it is only 8:30 am and I am loosing this battle hard! It is not even 9am and I want to hit up a patio for a glass of wine!! So sheepishly I pulled out that book that I thought I didn't need and skimmed right for the get my child to poop chapter and why all of a sudden is she regressing!!! HELP ME!! After the book calmed me down, I put her back into a dress without undies. I felt a sense of defeat. I finally broke down and made a stupid sticker chart that everyone said to do while thinking this is a waste of time and not worth it but let me tell you, she loves to put that sticker up like "look at me". We were fighting for the control and she was winning and she knew it. We had no problems the rest of the day but we can not get this poop thing down.
Sooooo what do Mom's do when we want our kids to do something?? We bribe them, well at least I do :) Since the whole "let your poop go swimming" thing wasn't working and I thought I better find another term since it was the start of pool season and I do NOT want to be the one that makes everyone clear the pool due to a floating turd. The sticker chart wasn't working for poop, I had to think of something she really wanted. Oh, I know. A crab. Yes, you heard me right. My 2.5 year old wants a hermit crab thanks to the mall kiosk where she has to hold one every single time we go. BINGO! "Ok Rowan, you poop in the potty and we will go to the mall and you can get a hermit crab and bring it home." Literally the next morning, she pooped on the potty before gymnastics and immediately said, "let's go get the crab." Oh crap. She remembered. A deal is a deal.
We are now the proud owners of Daisy the hermit crab and also I am a sucker because she still won't poop in the toilet. It is either in her pants or outside. WHY WHY WHY! I am a pretty open person when it comes to talking about bathroom habits and I can't imagine her feeling embarrassed about it. I even make up stupid songs like "poo poo in the potty" and sing them to her! LOL
As for that Minnesota trip, it was a 36 hour weekend for a wedding that Rowan was the flower girl for! Imagine my terror when I realized we had to drive 4 hours with her and I had to let her walk down the isle with no underwear on....I really really contemplated putting a diaper back on her for that 30 minutes. But I didn't. We took the potty in the car and let her use it when she had to go, which was twice. I put a puppy training pad on her car seat to catch any accidents that may occur. Best idea ever, even though we didn't need it :) We only had 1 poo accident and 1 potty incident. Not too shabby for all of that travel and craziness! She walked down the isle like a pro and we have decided that she makes such a cute flower girl, we will now be renting her out for weddings :)
Well we are on day 14 and we are still working on it. We have the pee down, it's the crap I can't handle. Time to pick up the book again as now I see where the title came from. Very clever. As for the bribe, well Daisy the hermit crab was eaten by our Goldendoodle :( I am currently working on my next bribe! I just keep telling myself, it will happen, she will do it....and I am still waiting.
All I know is that I have some great photos and stories to tell her when she is older about how potty training went and what is better that making memories and remembering how we all survived! Again, people with more that 1 child....you are seriously all saints!
Whew! These past few weeks have been a whirlwind and I can't even believe I have the time to sit here and write this! But this crummy weather, my hot tea and couch were calling my name. If you follow my blog, you will know I ONLY pack in a carry on suitcase 1.) because I am a control freak and scared to loose it and 2.) I am impatient and don't like to wait to pick up luggage, but this last trip to Cabo with my family, I caved and checked a bag. Seriously the best decision ever. And I will NEVER again choose to fly out at 5:30am ever again....getting up at 3 am is not for anyone! I was traveling alone (first time internationally) with my 2.5 year old daughter and it is too hard to pack for her in 1 suitcase let alone a carry on! Diapers, life jacket, clothes and shoes. And there was NO way I could've made it through the airports with my child, suitcase and buggy all intact without checking a bag. So I sucked it up and checked it, but next time, if I stay at a house like we did this time, I will wait and buy diapers at the Mega Mart and save myself some packing space :) The best part was that my daughter was an absolute gem the entire trip! She had a few 2 year old moments but seriously the trip was so nice and it helped by having a cooperative child....every Mother understands this!
We flew first class our entire trip thanks to my little blue card (not pill) from my fun job as a Stella & Dot stylist! Why not right?? I sell it for fun, I will use my income for fun! Now I am not sure I ever want to travel coach again :) But if you think you get stares when you fly coach with a child, you should see the looks and comments you get flying first class with one! The eye rolls and the sighs! Haha but I loved the cover up comments when she was a complete angel and actually quieter than the snoring man 2 rows back. One lady said, "oh thank God for iPads" No honey, thankfully I have been fortunate enough to travel with her since she was 4 months old and she is used to it and loves it. But yes, thank God for iPads too :) Have a toddler and traveling soon? I would like to pat myself on the back for packing an amazing backpack for a child!
1.) Window cling ons. I may have to give some credit to my daughter for wanting these at Target and the idea then coming to me. Best.Idea.Ever. No mess, cheap, and reuse able!
2.) Water Wow books! Fill a plastic paint brush up with water and paint pictures and then re-paint once they are dry! Lots of different ones to choose from too! You can find them at Target, department stores like Younkers and of course the airport if you want to pay double!
3.) And this shoelace and block thing from Target dollar spot! Is there anything you can not get in that money pit they call the dollar spot? UGH! Kept her attention for ever! Keep on taking my money Target.
My family picked us up from the Airport and drove us to our home away from home! Our first time using a home booking site since we usually plug in a place to go on Expedia like an all inclusive! It was actually really nice! Gated community, large pool, private (rocky) beach, and close location to downtown. It was in Cabo Bello and our home was called Casa De Esperanza or House of Hope. You can learn more about their mission at hopeforloscabos.com as all donations for the house and car (after costs are covered) go directly to various areas of need in Los Cabos. The house has 3 bedroom and each room has their own bathroom. Staying somewhere and doing good all at the same time is a win win for me!
Since my husband and I have been to Cabo 2-3 times before, I was more relaxed knowing a little about the location. We tried to eat at all of the "it" spots for my family to see and experience and hit up all of the little trinket shops for crap we all didn't need, but what is the fun if you don't come home with maracas? Haha Oh and a drum, a bracelet and a "drug rug" or poncho as I call it! Never heard it called that before! But my little lady looks awfully cute in it!
1.) Cabo Wabo
2. The Office
3.) Captain Tony's
We did not party here: (Although there were a few babies in the bars)
1.) Cabo Wabo
2.) Squid Row
3.) Jungle Bar
Walking the marina is always fun! Lots of shops, restaurants, Starbucks & entertainment. I know I am not young anymore, but I will still never understand the need to walk the streets with only a swim suit on. Does that make me old? Either way, we saw a lot of booty and drunk people :) Always very entertaining.
You must do the touristy thing and go to the Arch. Rent a glass bottom boat, and take a little ride to Lover's Beach, Pelican Rock, the Arch, stinky seal rock (seriously smells so bad) and lastly Divorce Beach, but swimming is not recommended here. Surprised? Me either 😊
Biggest funny of the vacation. Yes it involves my daughter. So I was showering with her when a little wall lizard came out from the drain and ran out of the shower onto the baseboard. Of course my bug loving daughter thought she needed to catch it. I laughed and let her out to catch it thinking that they are so stinking fast, there will be NO way she will catch it. Low and behold, she walked over to it, reached down and picked the darn thing up no problem. UGH!! So out of the shower I go to get a cup (with no lid) to keep it in. Brilliant I know. Well she played and played with that lizard until he no longer had a tail, then it was time to let me die in peace. RIP lizard. Only my child.
Of course I did a little "work" on my vacation! Yes, selfies are my job, and just wearing it out and about people see the goods and want to know where they can get it! Showing off Stella & Dot's accessories and their versatility is part of the work, but also a selfie shows how simple it is to look "put together" for any occasion. I think if people really understood how easy & fun this job is, more would do it! They just hear "selling" something and say no way. But having a stylist on my team paying off student loans and saving for a trip to Disney is more motivation to help others earn extra money too! Oh and if you didn't already know, this vacation is a big ol' tax write off, just ask me how!!
*Follow me on Instagram for outfit and jewelry details ashleyn2504
A huge thank you to my family for setting up this very fun vacation and for making memories that will last a lifetime! I already miss you all and look forward to the next time we get to see you!
Lady and Red