Toddlers, They Change Like the Wind

Everyone says it, toddlers moods can turn on a dime, with the wind, by the minute, no matter how you want to put it, a toddlers crazy tornado of emotions, are a very real thing.

We have two small kids Ellie (3.5) and Hudson (1), they are both sweet in nature, loving and love to smile. This lovely dispensation is what helps us forget the times of shear madness that ensues at a moments notice – typically caused by something completely ridiculous!

Things started off great this morning, I worked out at 5am, had a cup of coffee, watched the news and was in a generally relaxed mood. At 6:45am, our typical argument with Ellie occurred while trying to get both kids ready for school and out the door by 7:30am – we have 45 minutes and counting to get them fed and out the door. Challenge Accepted!

I get out clothes for our darling angel, only to have her yell that she would like pink shorts and a purple t-shirt. Outfit I had chosen for her was teal shorts with matching… let’s call it a blouse. This was not up to Queen-bee’s standards, so much so, that she refused to get dressed yelling and screaming. For good measure, she also reminded me to stop buying her dresses and to tell her Meme (my mom and her grandmother) the same.

Sometimes this happens because we give a cup with a lid, or without lid, drink with ice or without, or for Ellie, a restaurant with no shrimp cocktail on the menu.

This is an example of a typical change in attitude, our little guy doesn’t really know this difference yet, being about 14 months old. His biggest worry is when his Facetime spotlight is taken up by his sister.

What do we know about these little toddlers moods? Well they have difficulty expressing emotion, they get frustrated and aren’t sure how to communicate this. I found a great piece on Parents.com that explains this a little more.

So as parents how do we navigate all of this? Honestly, I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers here, the real truth is that we all do our best  to be patient. These days may seem long to us, but we know the years will go by quickly. We will be onto the next phase before we know it, and these moments will be memories that we cherish.

So what is my plan for all of this? Well that changes like the wind as well, I’ll try all of the tactics that are out there, but at the end of the day I’m going to love them both really hard and above all practice patience in the hope that it will give way to them having patience one day. Give them an extra kiss or hug, have tickle fight and make as many memories as possible.

Leave your tips and/or experiences in the comments below – I would love to hear them! After all, parenthood is a journey and as the saying goes, sometimes it takes a village. ; )

Lilly Pulitzer After – Party Sale!

meg and ellie lilly

7:45am on Monday, August 28th and there are 5,000 other shoppers in front of me? I said to myself, “What?!?!” The sale had not even started yet!

I braved the virtual line, frantically searched, scrolled, added to cart, and patiently waited to see that my orders were finalized… then SUCCESS! “Order received” then a after patiently waiting for the next screen , “due to high volume you order should arrive in 2-3 weeks!” and just like that, heartbreak ensued. When I had originally logged in, the homepage stated it would only take 2-5 days for ground shipping! Although I got some great deals, this was a tough pill to swallow.

This my friends, was the roller coaster of the Lilly Pulitzer “After-Party Sale”, which was happening after dropping off the kids for their first day of school. Needless to say, it was an emotional morning for this Mama!

Usually when the sale starts I am commuting, or in a meeting, or preoccupied with something else, but this year, THIS was my year! This particular sale, all started with my 3-year old asking for the Lilly leggings by name, this was a milestone for this mother daughter relationship – one which brought a small tear to my eye. While she doesn’t always love dresses, the girl has good taste! Do you have favorite annual sales that you make sure to hit up for your kiddos? Let me know more in the comments below. ; )

Here are some of the finds I FINALLY received for both of us! Luckily summer is hanging on, so we can both wear some of our finds!

ellie lilly mania
This is a skort, super cute for this shorts loving girl!
lilly leggings
Must have leggings for Ellie!
meg lilly shirt
Love this top, can’t wait to wear with white jeans!

Orange bunny or Purple bunny… aren’t we all just, Bunnies?

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In this crazy world, where unfortunately many prejudices have reared their ugly head over the last year… I have been left as a parent with one important question – how do I teach my children about acceptance, inclusion, and the importance of diversity?

I was very fortunate to grow up in a house hold where my parents talked to us about diversity. We were taught that no matter a persons gender, background, religion or race, we are all the same. This has always stuck with me.

I personally want to teach my children about how wonderful the world is, how everyone’s difference’s and unique personalities make life the beautiful thing it is. That they can learn so much from befriending people from different backgrounds and walks of life. That diversity should always be promoted and that a mono-chomratic outlook should never be embraced unless its for their #OOTD. I want to raise kids who embrace everyone and who set the example for their peers.

Last year, while my daughter was at our community library for story time, an author came to read to the kids and sign books. The author, Nannette Brophy Major read her book “The Color of My Fur”.

It’s a book that follows Umber, an orange bunny. Umber and his friends were treated poorly by all of the purple bunnies because of the color of their fur – they were different. This difference led to conflict between the purple and orange bunnies.

Without giving away too much, a world was painted for these bunnies without color, at which point the bunnies couldn’t tell each other a part. This made them realize they were in fact, all alike! It’s was a great lesson for kids about the world and about acceptance, helping them to understand that at our core, we are all the same.

I want my kids to be kind, respectful, and accept everyone. To have the courage to stick up for those who aren’t treated fairly and to always hold these values close to the vest – this is my wish as a parent.

In my search for further inspiration, I found a great post on SheKnows.com, with a full list of other books to check out as well. All books that emphasize the importance of teaching our kids tolerance and diversity.

How do you teach your kids about diversity and acceptance? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Philly Stay-cation

As you know Disney was postponed…yes we have a date to look forward to which brought me out of depression! I was mentally going on vacation this week, so of course there was no chance of working all five days, we had to do something! So we planned a little Philly Stay-cation. Philadelphia is about an hour and half from our house so most times we just do a day trip, but this time we didn’t have to rush, squeeze things in and didn’t feel over scheduled – we truly got to relax and have fun as a family.

old city family pic

Here are some things we checked off the list…

On the way down, we stopped at LegoLand Discovery Center, this is a new addition to the area and it was great for both kids! They have a big “brick” area for little ones and both Ellie and Hudson loved it. But you can literally build on the walls and little stations through out. They also have an interactive ride, which both kids and parents enjoyed as well. We were there during the week and basically had the place to ourselves, if you go during the week kids under 5 are free…total score for us and great way to save $ and beat the crowds!

We arrived in Center City  and checked into the Sofitel, you can’t  beat the location, price and accommodations. Not to mention we asked for a Pack ‘n Play for the little guy, there was no charge and it arrived with little baby soaps and lotions. Love how they take care of you here, service is just incredible!sofitel welcome

We decided to venture to Buddakan for dinner…super early bird special time of 5:15 since the kids were with us. This was a gamble, we knew going into it we had borrowed time until a melt down from someone ensued. Let’s just say it was a stressful yet delicious dinner..but we survived!

After dinner we headed farther down into Old city and found the most adorable old time ice cream shoppe; Franklin Fountain. We were able to grab a little table outside, people watch and take in the charm of Old City. The flavors were great, including lots of classics and the “cup” is take out container…nice touch!

franklin fountain ice cream

The next day started with juices from Sip N Glo Juicery   then to Federal Donuts for their special six of the day. I know the irony of this is hilarious, but they were both delicious and a must if you are in the area!  I mean a green kale juice and a nutella donut go perfect! There has to be some sort of balance right?

federal donuts

We then met up with my parents, they had their hearts set on seeing the kids for Disney, so they made a last minute flight and hotel and spent their 38th Anniversary with us. The kids were over the moon to see them, Even though they live 6 hours away, we face-time almost everyday making it a little easier however harder to say goodbye.

We headed to The Franklin Institute, which at first I wasn’t sure if was too old for my kids. However we had a blast…although Ellie was intimidated by the neurons of the brain we had a great time. The heart exhibit was was fantastic, it brought back so many memories of going there as a kid myself, The earthquake section was really cool, kids can try out a few different levels of intensity and see what the affects are. The final stop here was The Train Factory, where there is a giant steam train inside the museum. You can walk inside and take a behind the scenes look at the train – for older kids there was a station where you can build your own train too.

We were hungry at this point, but of course on the walk both kids fell fast asleep – we headed to Reading Terminal Market. It’s a giant indoor market that is filled with good food, sweets, flowers and everything in between. It’s loud and always crowded which makes for a great spot for the kids. We finally scoped out a table in the midst of the lunch time rush. The great part about this place, everyone can have something different – Chris and I went with DiNic’s for roast pork sandwiches and brisket. This is a Philly must and oh so good!

reading market food

The next morning we needed to get some exercise after a few cheat meals – the kids ordered room service with my parents and Chris and I went for a running date to the Art Museum. Great way to connect and work off some of the calories – however Chris kicked my butt as usual!

morning phillly run

On the way home we went  to The Please Touch Museum, we received an annual membership this year and it was the greatest gift for us as family. Perfect location for the kids to use their imagination and really play and interact with other kids. Ellie especially the little grocery store – they have done a great job making this life like for the kids. Was hilarious when she picked up Swiss Cheese for mice?!

PTM

It was a great few days stay-cation in Philly – we walked, laughed, ate a lot and spent some awesome time with family.  Now back to reality – today’s agenda is working out, meal planning and organizing and maybe planning another NYE getaway?! Grand Cayman? Costa Rica?…stay tuned!

 

How Many Monkey’s In The BED!

monkeys1

Co-Sleeping –  a topic that comes up quite often amongst parents… to allow or to not allow it?

To be honest, this is something I struggle with constantly – my babies are only little once and if they want to cuddle, I think to myself, ‘why not?’

Any time my husband Chris is away or my kids are sick, I cave and I sleep on a little sliver of our bed allowing my toddler to take up an entire king size. I’m definitely more of a softy when it comes to this topic, Chris says, ‘once we let them, it will have become habit and harder to break.’

While I agree, they have both grown up so quickly, and while yes, I know this sounds insane because they are both 3 and 1 respectively, it feels like just yesterday they were born.

When we do let them, they both want to be as close to us as possible, and while I know this won’t last much longer, they are toddlers, they still have that baby smell and I can’t get enough of it. Sleeping next to me, I know they are safe, breathing and of course, kicking : ). These memories are priceless to me and so are the scents – I know when they are teenagers I will remember these times like my parents do of me, fondly.

For me, it ultimately goes back to that fine line between enforcing good behavior and practicing self-discipline while still having fun with your kids. The bottom line, just like anything in life whether it be eating healthy, finding time to workout, or painting that bedroom… its about getting it in, where you can get it.

Life’s about a balance and its not always a perfect one, or the same for everyone but about finding the one thats right for you and one that you can feel good about. As long as are holding yourself accountable (in a non-stressful, non-toxic way), you’re being a good parent.

Being a parent of young children is often about survival mode. Being the best parent you can be while still working full-time and remaining a sane functioning human all while keeping them innocent for as long as possible with lots of kisses, hugs, and endless snuggles.

No matter what your thoughts on the topic, it’s about what works for you. Mom judging is the worst… not your monkey’s, not your circus.

To all the Mamas and Papas out there, enjoy that extra cup of coffee, make morning memories with your kiddos and cliff hang off the bed if you want to!

Kids Fall Fashion OverHaul

I will admit, I LOVE buying clothes for my kids, mini clothes are just too hard to resist! Nearly every season, I go way overboard, only to realize I had purchased items to “save” for a special day that, once reached, no longer fit my kids. This season I have promised to be more sensible.

This year Ellie needed almost everything new… (NBD$!$!) not easy on our wallets but, I love a good challenge. I had a plan for the first time ever, I made a list of everything she needed and went to search!

I absolutely adore Boden for kids, but let’s be honest I can’t afford to get everything from there. They are having a great sale right now that is a must! Here are a few of the key pieces I got for both Ellie and Huck. The fox pull over over is reversible, super warm and on sale right now – can’t wait to see it on my little guy!

I also went to Jcrew Factory, I find the best deals from here for both of them but Ellie especially. She is in a T-Shirt phase right now and the keepsakes T’s from here are so cute – perfect for school!  Janie and Jack Outlet  is a must for Huck, they didn’t have a ton for fall and winter yet, but was able to nab this plaid shirt for only $8 that I thought would be great for school pics this year.

crew and janie and jackAfter I went for some “statement pieces”, I decided to move onto the basics. We did a HUGE shop from Old Navy! They both needed staples for the season and they had a giant sale this past weekend at the outlets.

This year I wanted to keep things more neutral and versatile for both kids, so I could match more and mix it up. Their sales are amazing here and the clothes fit great on both kids. I find they seem to run bigger but the adjustable pants are great for my kids and often, last longer.

old navy cloths

Lastly, especially when visiting my siblings in NYC or when I am in the mood for a good online purge, I will often try ZARA and H&M – both have fantastic options for kids and a price point that can’t be beat. Sometimes I think, “wait, are my kids better dressed than me?!?!”

Hence my next plan, forcing myself to buy clothes and shoes – not always easy for a mom of two small children with a full-time job but thats the challenge we call motherhood, right? I can still rock the messy bun but if you see me in Mom Jeans, please send for help!

Change of Plans

In my previous post, I talked about the excitement around our upcoming trip to Disney. We had planned, organized and had begun packing. Our whole family was overjoyed with the anticipation of this adventure to the ‘happiest place on earth’. Like the Super bowl winners (GO PATS!), we were GOING TO DISNEY!

Then Hurricane Irma began to gain strength and has since destroyed everything in it’s path – ruining homes and leaving those affected with an unimaginable loss. We watched the devastation of beautiful St. Marten, where we spent Christmas a few years ago making wonderful family memories – now an island that is 95% destroyed.

With much discussion, constant refreshing of weather.gov and really weighing out our options, we decided to postpone and rebook our trip. Disney customer service was fantastic and beyond accommodating in helping us to refund the entire trip, making this process seamless.

While we were disappointed, the safety and concern for those affected was our biggest worry. Today, I sit thankful that tonight I will be able to tuck my kids into their beds,  for the fact that my family is safe and one day soon able to make more memories.

pray for florida

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been and will be affected by this monster storm.

Stay safe Floridians!