Once upon a time, Summer wasn't plagued with an intense lust for electronics.
Movies. Games. LeapPads. iPads. YouPads. Whatever. Once upon a time, entire days were spent outside. From morning until the dinner call and even that hour before bed, we ran around the backyard. Played in the dirt, the sand and the grass. The hose ran all day long and we lived in our swimsuits.
Now, before you jump down my throat, there is a time and place for everything and I am a major fan of electronics. During The Winter That Would Never Die (also known as The Winter I Was 37 Months Pregnant), movies, games and LeapPads became my best friend but there is little to no place for them here and now.
Now that summer is underway, the kids are well on their way through Electronic Detox and we've begun planning a handful of activities to keep our heads and our hands busy throughout the summer months. As much as I may want to sit back on my haunches and say, "but it's too hard to do those things with a baby," I have two other little busybodies who don't necessarily buy that excuse. Plus, sometimes the adventure bug bites...
And sometimes it means you're roasting marshmallows in your backyard. But when the adventure bug does bite and you have a momentary lapse in judgement, forgetting you have three kids under four and live two hours from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you plan a trip to Dutch Wonderland. Because any place that refers to itself as "a Kingdom for Kids" is surely a place you'd want to go when you're 4 and 2, right?
With attractions like their Dino Dig and water park, Duke's Lagoon, I'm not sure who is going to have more fun- us or the kids! Have you ever been? I'd love to hear about it!
In the mean time, while we plan our trip, we'll be renting paddle boats, watching fireworks for the 4th, making sun-tea, building sand castles and searching Pinterest for the best recipe for sidewalk paint.
So, what kinds of things do you have planned this summer?
This a sponsored post written on behalf of Dutch Wonderland.
I will be the first to admit that I have the mouth of a sailor. I love a good four-letter word, my most favorite of them all being "fuck." There's just so many different ways it can be used and just the slightest shift in intonation has it taking on a totally different meaning. I just fucking love it so much and that's coming from a girl who goes to church on Sundays and spent much of her formative years in a kilt and knee socks. And yes, there is absolutely nothing ladylike about it and I don't care one bit.
We all know kids are like tiny little sponges soaking up anything and everything around them and the last thing I wanted was for my innocent, angel-faced children to run around the playground or worse, pre-school, saying, "Fuck! I lost my _____."
(The answer to that blank is usually keys or wallet and as of late, my mind).
Therefore, I have always been particularly mindful when choosing my words within ear shot of my children. Have I slipped up on occasion? Sure I have. I'm no saint but I've definitely scaled back on the f-bombs since my oldest starting talking.
That's why I was recently caught off guard when, while riding in the car on his way to run some errands with my husband , a tiny voice suddenly squeaked from way, way in the back seat, "come on, you fucking kids!" followed quickly by an exasperated sigh.
Now, there were two ways to deal with this. One would be to ignore, ignore, ignore which is what I think you're supposed to do in these types of situations and two would be to instill the fear of God in him with the hopes that he'll never again mutter those words until at least high school. My husband chose the latter only after stifling a mature case of the giggles.
What is it about little kids saying terrible, horrible words that makes it so damn funny?
The good news is that after that moment, he never again uttered the word and if you're thinking he heard that from me, you've got to be out of your f*cking mind. I mean I know I have rough days here and there but I would never, ever say that to my kids no matter how much I may want to sell them to the circus at the end of the day.
Not to be showed up for a moment by his older brother, the following day, while in the kitchen whipping up a delicious lunch of PB sammies with a side of goldfish, I overheard the middle child dancing around the house singing, "Dad says shit! Dad says shit!" at the tops of his little tiny lungs.
Well, he certainly couldn't be faulted for telling the truth that's for sure.Talk about feeling like you won Parents of the Year.
Fuck. I think it's time my husband and I clean up our act or at least step outside every time we feel the urge to use a four letter word.
At this rate, does any one want to place bets on what the baby's first word will be?
It's been a few years since I've written about why I chose the blog name, "I Love You More Than Carrots," and since it happens to be the most popular question I receive in regards to this blog (the second most popular question being, "how do you drink and breastfeed,") (Seriously, I couldn't make that up if I tried), I thought I would take a moment in honor of Father's Day that is rapidly approaching and explain a little as to why and how the name came about.
Head on over to the ILYMTC review blog now to read about the history behind ILYMTC and why it's tattooed on the inside of my wrist. You may want to grab a tissue...
I remember reading somewhere that, when surveyed, the average Mom of Three (MOT) said that her biggest challenge with three kids was that she only had two arms. I read this little tidbit long before I even entertained the thought of having a third baby and it's amazing how quickly after birthing our newest addition that I looked around the OR wondering where a third (and let's face it, fourth) arm might be hiding.
Sure, all moms could use an extra hand (or two, or ten). It's one of those Shared Motherly Desires that bonds together those of us in the trenches, specifically when our offspring are acting particularly, what's the word... hellacious.
For me, my biggest challenge is often navigating parking lots and crossing streets while simultaneously trying to herd what feels like a pack of feral cats but is really just my 4 year old and 2 year old. It's in those moments that I wish I could tie them both to the baby's stroller and drag them close behind me.
Which baby product company offers that stroller attachment? Hello, cash cow!
Although our home environment is much less stressful than, say, a parking lot full of cars, I continue to struggle with Having Two Arms And Three Children (HTATC. Look it up, I'm certain it's a syndrome).
Can you picture me trying to spread peanut butter on a sandwich, build a garbage truck from only red and yellow Duplo blocks (exasperated sigh, MOM!) while nursing the baby and pry an overzealous two year old down from the kitchen table? If you can, then you just witnessed yesterday's twelve o' clock hour in our home, just one out of the twenty-four hours in the day.
You can only imagine what the other hours must look like.
As a MOT, when everyone is melting down over various life disappointments, not only is it difficult to think straight over all the screaming but it's difficult to decide in that moment whose needs to meet first.
I've quickly learned, in my six weeks as a MOT, that addressing the older twos' needs, the two that can understand, relate and negotiate, is usually the best way to deal with the drama. This often requires putting the baby down, in a safe place, while tending to the Drama of the Hour (DOH).
Do you know what else often requires the use of two or more hands? Baby equipment. Whether it's a stroller, high chair or baby pen, most "safe baby spaces" on the market require the use of two hands to operate. That doesn't work for this MOT. I need something I can manipulate with one hand and one hand only and something that doesn't send me into a fit of muttered curse words and screams that would rival the screams and shouts of the DOH.
Always use your playard on a flat, even surface.
Want in on a little sanity-saving secret? No, it's not wine (today,) it's the 4Moms Breeze. Whether I use it as a bassinet next to our bed or a safe space to place the baby while on the main level of our home, away from poky fingers and inquiring big brothers, it only requires the use of one hand to open and close. It's that easy. After several weeks of using the Breeze, I can say without a doubt that I am a Breeze Believer.
Whether we're on the main level of the house, in the yard gardening, getting ready for bed at night or road tripping to Gammie and Poppy's house in New Jersey, the Breeze makes this MOT's life that much easier.
From diaper changes to cat naps to "Mommy Just Needs A Minute," the 4Moms Breeze has been a MOT must-have. Just look at this lady- nary a sweat broken nor manicure chipped while setting up the 4Moms Breeze.
In fact, I would almost trade the use of a third arm for our 4Moms Breeze, that's how much I love it. And I'm not the only one who loves it.
Head on over to the 4Moms Facebook page to read other mothers' testimonials as they share their Breeze Believer stories during the Breeze Blog Tour and offer their readers the chance to win their own Breeze all month long! 4Moms is also running a contest on their Facebook page - A Breeze A Day daily giveaway! The contest has four rounds, each one starting on a Sunday in June. You enter once each round to be eligible for that week's daily drawings.
Today and for the next seven days, you can enter right here on I Love You More Than Carrots for your chance to win a 4Moms Breeze! Giveaway is open to residents of both the U.S. and Canada! No purchase necessary to enter. Entry is easy! Use the Rafflecopter widget below. Winner will be contacted via email and announced once confirmed. Good luck to all those who enter!
I don't know why but I am borderline obsessed knowing what other mothers keep in their diaper bags. It's like maybe they're keeping something in there that I've never even heard of, something that may even change my baby's diaper for me!
Similarly, I'm often much more interested than necessary in what women keep in their purses. From diapers, wipes and teethers to wallets, mascara and change purses, I love a highly recommended product and so these kinds of posts are some of my favorites.
After posting this picture on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, I received a few questions about the diaper bag that I shockingly find myself carrying these days. I say "shockingly" because prior to having our third, I wasn't so much of a dedicated diaper bag kind of gal. I re-purposed the larger handbags I had and always made sure to keep plenty of diapers and wipes in the "emergency basket" in the trunk of my car, thus eliminating the need for a large dedicated bag.
It's no secret that our third baby has turned our lives upside down in more ways that just one and in keeping with that upheaval, he even has me carrying this awesome new diaper bag and I'd be lying if I said I didn't absolutely kind of love it. The bag is made by Warm Milk and is called the Warm Milk Baby Hobo . It can be found on Amazon although I purchased it off of Zulily during one of their "Favorite Diaper Essentials" flash sales.
I love this bag for three reasons:
1. Sparkles. Duh. (And plenty of space and pockets to stuff, well, stuff.)
2. It's a backpack which allows me the use of both hands should I need them to wrangle any one of the boys at any given moment. It also has plenty of secondary straps should I want to carry it as a shoulder bag instead but I've mostly been wearing it as a backpack or using it clipped to the stroller or a shopping cart.
3. It comes with a removable travel-size nursing pillow. Yes, like a Boppy but on a much, much smaller scale and it's actually easier and more comfortable to use. Perfect during those first six weeks and then removable when you no longer need it and want to fill the bag with even more baby crap stuff.
So, want to know what's inside do you? Only my favorite baby products of all time. Each of these products is tried and tested by me, a mom of three under four and endorsed honestly by yours truly. This post isn't sponsored in any way by any of the companies represented. I'm just sharing with you things that, as a mom, I absolutely love and things that have made my life as a mom that much easier.
And yes, this all fits in my diaper bag.
1. Skip Hop Pacifier Pocket - Red - Clipped to the outside of my diaper bag and filled with two extra pacifiers, I love this little pacifier pod. It has saved me many times from having to dig around the larger compartments of the bag while trying to soothe a screaming baby!
2. Munchkin Arm & Hammer Disposable Changing Pad - I keep a few these folded in the pocket with my diapers and will throw them down whenever I'm on the go- You never know the surface you'll need to change your baby on and truthfully, I even use these when changing the baby on the leather seats in my car- they heat up during the summer months and it's nice to have that thin barrier!
4. Huggies Wipes Clutch and Clean - I hadn't heard of these until bloggers I read worked on a sponsored campaign with them. Finally, a company produced the perfect reusable wipe clutch! I keep one of these in my diaper bag as well as the "emergency basket" in the trunk of my car. Perfect for on-the-go and kind of cute, too. See, sometimes those sponsored posts do work!
7. Boob Design Washable Breast Pads - I find that washable pads tend to stay in place better than the paper-y disposable ones. These have a soft "neutral" colored skin side that, in the case they do slip, doesn't call immediate attention to your boob! I can count of two hands the number of times I've walked out of the house without these- keeping an extra set in my diaper bag has saved me (my t-shirts and my dignity) many times!
8. Baby Diapers - Size 2 and 5 for the two tiny heinies that I currently have still in diapers.
9. Joovy Boob 5-Ounce Bottle - I love these bottles. My breastfed baby has no difficulty switching between breast and bottle with these! Introduced during week three of life, we haven't looked back since. I keep one of these tucked in my diaper bag just in case.
10. Similac Advanced "On The Go" Packets - Even though we are currently exclusively breastfeeding, I always make sure to travel with a handful of these on-the-go formula packets. You never know what kinds of emergency situations will arise and I feel more comfortable knowing I'll always have something on hand to feed the baby with!
14. aden + anais Bamboo Swaddle Blanket - A long time a+a fan, it was only with this baby that I started using their super soft bamboo swaddles and I will never use another muslin swaddle blanket again. They are just the softest of the soft and such a great (large) size for swaddling, floor play, etc. And they also double as a perfect car seat and nursing cover.
15. Kate Spade Wallet - Brightspot Avenue Stacy - To give you an idea of the size of the wallet I carry around- and it fits perfectly in the front bottom zipper compartment of my bag, making it extra easy to access when it's hung from a shopping cart or stroller handle.
16. Extra Onesies and Legging-Type Pants - I always keep two extra onesies and two extra pairs of cotton legging-type pants on hand. Whether it's a diaper blow out or baby is too hot or too cold, there's always something for those "just in case" moments. Add a pair of socks too.
19. Camelbak Products Kid's Water Bottle - Absolute favorite water bottles for my older boys. I will even clip these to their backpacks when they head off to camp, school and Grandmas! These bottles have been dropped, kicked and hurled across our kitchen and they still remain intact.
22. Antibacterial Hand Wipes - Because my boys have an affinity for Walmart shopping cart handles, worms and every single toy in the waiting room at the pediatrician.
23. Melissa & Doug Water Wow Travel Coloring Book - Perfect for car rides and those long wait times in doctor's offices! I always keep two of these on hand- what's more? They dry clean and can always be reused! (I purchased mine on Amazon but other moms have informed me that they've found theirs in Target and Michaels craft store).
24. OXO Tot On-the-Go Feeding Spoon - We obviously don't need this yet with a 6 week old, 2 and 4 year old, but I love this spoon and the tiny travel case it comes in and always packed it when I would travel with my older boys when they were eating purees.
27. Monogram Sun Hat - Always great to have on hand for those unexpected stops at the park!
28. Small Mint Itsy Bag - This holds a makeshift First Aid kit with band-aids, adult and children's Motrin, gas drops as well as a nail file, hair ties, travel dry shampoo and a pair of tweezers.
29. The Mommy Hook - My MIL gave this to me when my first was born four years ago and I honestly thought to myself, "I'll never use that thing!" And it wasn't until I used it while shopping the mall with my girlfriend that I realized what a lifesaver it could be. Rather than jamming bags, be them shopping bags, grocery bags or handbags, into the cargo basket of your stroller, just clip The Mommy Hook to the handlebar and hang them from there! Amazing.