a letter to my son

Carter,

I am confident that at your 21-months of age you do not quite have the ability to understand just how much things are about to change around here. Trust me when I say that in my 28-years of age, I can’t begin to comprehend it either.

When mommy talks to you about your baby sister and you give her belly hugs and big raspberry kisses, it melts my heart, while simultaneously breaking it knowing that my one-on-one time with you is going to be drastically reduced in the coming weeks.

I know that you’ll never remember your life as an only child. Uncle Nate is closer in age to mommy than your sister will be to you, and I have zero recollection of my life without him. As an adult reflecting on my relationship with my brother, I think that’s awesome. As a mother reflecting on my relationship with her son, I find this a little devestating.

When we spend time building tunnels and playing with trucks and jumping on the bed even though I’m supposed to tell you not to do that, I like to think that we are making memories you will cherish forever, when in fact, we’re making memories that only I will cherish forever because you’re still too young to remember these things.

You’re too young to remember us playing with crayons for the first time, to remember using mommy’s giant belly as a race car track, our ”airplane” rides, hide and go seek games, and to recall our mornings spent couch cuddling while watching the Today show or an episode of Team Umizoomi.

You’re too young to remember singing the ABC’s in the car on our way to play gym class and you’ll never be able to recall how many times mommy kisses your face in any given day.

What I will remember most about our time before the birth of your sister is being in complete awe that we were slowly but surely figuring out this whole growing up thing together. I hope that as you get older you won’t look back and realize that your dad and I were totally winging it from day 1, but it’s been amazing that we’ve been able to navigate through infancy and early toddlerhood together without any major body or emotional harm.

I can’t promise that the coming months won’t be without feelings of neglect, and I take comfort in the fact that you won’t remember those feelings, no matter how crummy I think it is that you won’t remember the positive feelings, too. What I can promise you is that mommy will be trying her hardest to figure out life with 2 precious children – and that the birth of your sister will introduce so many great things into your life.

Having a sibling is one of the best things that I can even possibly describe. Even my negative memories of growing up with your aunt and uncle pale in comparison to all the positive ones – and the relationships we’ve established as adults is something I hold so dear to my heart. Even when we disagree, it comes from a place of love, and I don’t have any doubts that we’ll find a place of resolution in all of our arguments and go back to the light-hearted and loving friendships that have formed over the years.

When you’re little, your sister will try to play with your toys, mess up your towers and try tirelessly to keep up with you and your friends. All of these things will drive you crazy. That’s ok.

As she grows up, I hope you will help teach her to stand up for herself and not be afraid to get her hands dirty. Help her be strong and not take any shit from anyone – even when you’re the one trying to dish it.

Know that my love for you as my first born child is unparalleled, and that no matter how hard I fall in love with your sister and how many mother-daughter memories we may have that will be foreign to you, my love for you as my son will be steadfast and forever a safe place for you to land.

I can’t wait to see you as a big brother.

Love,

Mama

 

a cheap DIY-ish gift idea

I called this DIY-ish because it requires only a minimal amount of crafting and a little online ordering savvy. I stumbled upon this fabulous little blog and, more specifically, her tutorial for a Fathers Day Magnet Board.

I completed my own version of the magnet board for under $25.

I skipped the adorable sticker she provided, and instead chose to just decoupage some paper I found at Michael’s on the smaller sized mighty magnetic board found at The Container Store for a whopping $4.99.

I ordered one sleeve (9 magnets) of my Instagram pictures from StickyGrams for $14.99 to decorate the magnet board and the intention is to hang it in his office. The magnetic board holds about 5 pictures, so he’ll be able to interchange them if he ever gets the urge. That or I’ll steal the rest to decorate our fridge.

I’m pretty new on the Instagram bandwagon, but my username is the same as my Twitter handle, becs1017, so if you’re that amped about seeing more pics of my family, go follow me there. Fortunately, almost all of the pictures I’ve taken with the app are of Jason and Carter, or just of Carter, which fits the Fathers Day theme quite nicely.

You could obviously give this to any sort of family member that likes to look at pictures of you and your family.

Hope all the daddy’s out there have a fantastic Fathers Day!

Jason, I promise your day will be filled with lots of monster daddy hugs, your choice of breakfast as long as it’s pancakes or french toast and minimal complaining about being tired. We love everything you do for us and think you are one amazing (-ly hot…) father.

 

that time my son peed in a restaurant

To set the tone of this story, I need to let you know how much I hate taking Carter to restaurants these days. As much as I love going out to eat, taking him with me is just not worth the delicious food. Especially since I’m pregnant and can’t even indulge in a glass of wine (or a shot of Jack…which sounds much more appealing these days…).

It’s not that I don’t love taking him places. I just need those places to be the types of locations that don’t frown upon running, yelling, screaming, throwing and/or climbing. I love taking him to playgrounds and parks – generally any large outdoor place. He’s as boy as they come and even story time at the library is considered a success if he only beelines away from me a handful of times.

I consider myself lucky every day I get through that he doesn’t run into the street or jeopardize his life in one way or another.

So after a bright and early 6am wake-up and an hour of play outside in ridiculous Virginia humidity, we made our way to my favorite breakfast spot in my hometown. As much as I bitched about what a bad idea this whole taking C out to eat thing was,  I was admittedly pretty stoked to get my fill of blueberry pancakes.

Anything blueberry has really hit the spot with me this pregnancy, and did during my pregnancy with C, too.

In an attempt to look moderately stylish, I’ve put my huge, black leather diaper bag away for the summer and have opted for a more casual, brightly colored crossbody style bag that I paid a whopping $25 for at Target. The only problem with this bag is it doesn’t have the million and one pockets of my diaper bag and therefore can’t store all of my out of the house must haves for emergency situations.

Emergency situations like having to take Carter out to eat.

I managed to find one book and one toy car shoved to the bottom of my bag. They entertained him for about 2 seconds before he was reaching for any and everything he could get his grubby little paws on.

As luck would have it, we had horrible service and everything was taking a super long time. I had distracted C with creamers, jelly packets (which his buddy Noah had somehow figured out how to bust open…), pieces of biscuit, some milk and some oddly sounding nursery rhymes when I looked down and panicked.

“Omg who’s water did he spill everywhere?!” I asked frantically, as “water” seemed to gush down his highchair.

My mom, who was on the other side of him, looked at me, and then at her full glass of water, and then at MY full glass of water, and then back at me before it hit me.

That wasn’t water gushing down his highchair.

Carter was peeing down the highchair. At a restaurant where people eat food.

In public.

As is the norm for me in awkward and uncomfortable situations, I burst out laughing.

I waited for him to finish, as I certainly wasn’t going to parade him through the restaurant to the car while he was in the middle of making more of a mess, on both of us, calling attention to the increasingly wetter kid and mom bouncing out and leaving people wondering what kind of mother laughs at her son peeing in a restaurant. (Answer: this kind of mom).

We walked out, changed both his diaper and his shorts and returned back to breakfast at which, upon getting back to the table, I hear my mom telling the waiter how clumsy she is and how the spilled water just went everywhere.

Water everywhere, ma?

The rest of the breakfast was only the moderate clusterfuck I’ve come to expect from these kinds of outings and the pancakes were delicious.

Worth the trip? The laugh certainly was.

Has this ever happened to you? What kind of embarrassing things have your kids accidentally done in public?

 

things like THIS

Perhaps what I was trying to describe here was much better described with this.

Anyone else have tears in their eyes or am I just an overly emotional pregnant woman?!

The “Thank you, Mom” campaign by P&G is a great concept as moms certainly don’t get the appreciation they deserve on a daily basis.

*Thank you to MY mom! You didn’t mother an Olympic athlete or have to send me off on buses or anything, but you did a pretty awesome job dealing with the many, many ups and downs in my swimming career and my many, many mood swings, mind changes and poor decisions…especially in my early 20′s.

I pray every day that my daughter doesn’t pay me back in kind.

Have you thanked your mom today?

what’s in that massive bag, anyways?

I read a post my friend Chelsea wrote about what’s in her diaper bag. Chelsea’s daughter is only a few months old, and as I read through her post I realized how much my diaper bag contents have changed over the last 18 months.

So what’s in my massive bag, anyways?

Short answer: everything.

Longer answer, with crappy cell phone pictures, goes a little like this…

For starters, I’m obsessed with my diaper bag. Obsessed. It was a “mother’s day” gift from my husband before I was even technically a mother and before C arrived I used it to tote my laptop to and from work.

Except that’s a lie, because I didn’t actually have a laptop at work at that time, so I used it as a big purse. Because let’s be honest, it’s THAT chic, and I couldn’t wait to use it.

It’s the Timi & Leslie Charlie Tote, owned by one Jessica Alba (although she’s probably moved on to something newer and cooler by now…) and one Rebecca Reed, and that’s really all that’s important.

Here is the classy looking website picture, complete with the accessories it comes with:

And the beauty shot of the inside…

And then there’s mine……

diaper bagdiaper bag2

Almost two years later and it’s holding up pretty well! I have the shoulder strap on there, and use both carrying methods interchangeably.

So about what’s inside.

I dumped the contents of my bag from today’s trip to Harris Teeter onto my dining room table and this is what I found:

everything in my bag

First thing to note…I realize none of my little bags match. I don’t care. They are all individually adorable and are never all out on display at one time (with the exception of this picture…), so I frequently get compliments on each one as they are pulled out for their very different reasons.

My SIL’s mother made each and every one of them for me (the 3 cloth ones at least) and I am so thankful for her! They give me such an easy way to organize all my crap…because even with all those pockets you see in the inside shot above, it’s very easy to lose things in such a huge bag.

Those bags are my diaper bag sanity savers. There are tons of cute shops that sell similar bags on Etsy if you aren’t lucky enough to have Momo in your life.

So what’s in all those bags, you ask?

Let’s start with my diaper changing essentials:

changing essentials

1. Honest Diapers - these are the diapers I now prefer to put on Carter as often as possible. They are all-natural and chemical free. There is, however, a Pampers Cruisers diaper underneath there as I still use them for naps and bedtime because C is a superman in the peeing department while sleeping.

I generally always have 3 diapers in that bag at all times.

2. Wipes – These wipes are the Pampers Sensitive Convenience Pack that I picked up at Target last time I went grocery shopping. I like these because they are cheap, soft and are easy to access with a wiggling toddler on a changing table. They are good for on-the-go, the flip top keeps them from drying out.

3. Baby Powder – It’s Johnson and Johnson and I’ve been weaning myself from using this on C daily because of the bad stuff in it. I have a huge guilty conscious when it comes to natural products with my son and am trying to move towards using all products that are as natural as possible. While I think baby powder is helpful in the summer when it’s hot and he’s stuck with his boy parts cramped up in a diaper, for daily use, I am cutting back.

4. Honest Hand Sanitizer - For obvious reasons, I love having hand sanitizer with me. When you’re holding a toddler in a public bathroom, it’s not always feasible to wash your hands without putting him down to run around and touch god knows what. Having this on hand allows you to feel clean after a messy diaper change. I keep the smaller, 2fl oz, bottle in my bag.

5. Honest Healing Balm - I use this if C has any redness in the diaper area. The trial size has been perfect for the diaper bag.

6. Changing Pad – it came with the diaper bag. It’s awesome and has held up during multiple, multiple washes, and is so necessary for public diaper changes.

The snack bag.

the snack bag

Oh so important for my little guy that eats like a full grown man…especially when he gets cranky and we’re in public. I always have NutriGrain bars, applesauce and raisins on hand whenever we leave the house, along with a sippy cup of water.

Yes, I realize I just admitted to giving my kid food to curb public tantrums. I try to stick to healthy snacks, but judge away if you’d like. Sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do….amiright?!

The toy bag.

the toy bag

It looks kinda lame today…what 18-month old wild child will really stay entertained by 1 book and 2 cars? But as we were only going to the grocery store and our local HT has the awesome race car carts, I was counting on us vroom vroom-ing and beep beep-ing our way through our shopping trip, making the toys unnecessary today.

If we’re going for a longer outing, or god forbid out to a restaurant (which I try to avoid at all costs right now…), I fill that bag up with play remotes, blocks and more books that make noise or have flaps. Mostly things for him to fiddle with for 45 seconds and then throw across whatever room we’re in, but I give it a good effort anyways.

The emergency bag.

the emergency bag

Nothing in this bag would solve a real emergency, but whatevs. The bag itself is ugly and plastic-y and stays zipped away in the diaper bag, but it still has some items that I always like to have on hand.

1. Children’s Tylenol

2. SPF50 sunscreen

3. Spiderman band-aids (duh…)

4. Nasal aspirator

5. Butt Paste

6. First aid kit

7. Hospital Vaseline

8. a comb (no idea why…as C’s hair is often all over the place no matter how frequently I brush it)

Mom’s emergency bag.

mom's emergency bag

These items, however, really do solve personal emergencies.

1. Mascara - I use Mary Kay’s Ultimate Mascara in black. Mascara and lip gloss are my go-to make-up items after I slather myself in tinted moisturizer before I leave the house to make myself less scary looking.

2. Lip gloss – As a natural follow-up, I have 3 tubes of lip gloss in my bag, all Mary Kay, too. I keep on hand, at all times, Au Naturel and two discontinued shades that closely resemble this and this.

3. Chapstick with SPF

4. Tylenol – it’s off-brand, but this pregnant girl can’t take anything else and it’s a must for the onslaught of a massive headache while out with a toddler.

5. Honest Face and Body Lotion – it’s the trial size, again perfect for the diaper bag.

6. Scented hand lotion – I got it as a gift for participating in a marketing panel discussion. It smells amazing, and sometimes that’s needed.

7. Aveeno Natural Face Sunscreen – SPF50 – you can never have too much sunscreen on hand.

Only thing missing in there is a bottle of wine, right?

The extra pockets.

extra pocets

1. Boogie Wipes – between teething and a cold that has lasted since November, having saline wipes on hand is really crucial for me as C’s nose has been running like a faucet.

2. Wet Ones – antibacterial hand wipes. For obvious reasons, right?

3. Stroller straps – they came with the bag and are clutch for keeping the diaper bag off the ground.

4. Tide To Go Stain Pen - again, a no brainer to have on hand.

5. Brush – who even knows.

6. Bibs

So there you have it! The multiple contents in a massive diaper bag of a mom of one 18-month old. I usually keep an extra shirt and a pair of pants/shorts in there, too, for accidental spills or tumbles while out and about, but in an effort for full disclosure, that back-up outfit is MIA from the bag at this time.

I hope that this was helpful for mothers who may be transitioning from a baby diaper bag to a toddler diaper bag!

For other moms with kids of a similar age to Carter, do you carry anything extra or different than the things I keep on hand? Any must-haves that I’m missing?