Sunday, December 18, 2016

No, We Aren't Doing the Elf on the Shelf!

Christmastime is fun for everyone. It's always so cheerful and Christmas music paired with some hot chocolate or coffee is something I always look forward to. But with Christmas, comes all the Elf on the Shelf posts and pictures. I see funny memes of moms setting their alarms to remind them to move the elf so they don't forget. I thought about starting up the Elf on the Shelf back when I only had one kiddo. Then again this year when I saw it at the book store. But then I remembered that I don't have time for that nonsense. I mean, I'm sure a lot of other moms who actually do the whole elf thing don't either, but I really don't want to add another thing to my list.
Here's the thing, I may seem like I have it all together and that I'm on top of everything and always on my A game, but that's simply not true. I just don't always share the crappy parts about how the week is going. So let me be honest here for a bit. We just got back from a weekend away in Bloomington and I still have not gotten the dishes done from Friday before we left. Because I seriously cannot pack for our entire family while getting my entire to do list finished. I tried staying up one night to get things done while my kiddos were sleeping and it went really well. I got a ton of crap accomplished in the short hour or so I stayed up after them. The down side is that they still woke up at their normal time while I really wanted to sleep in a bit later. So, maybe getting up earlier than them would work better.
Anyway. I tend to always have a ton of things I'm working on all at once. I try not to overextend myself, but some days I just don't care if I've gotten the dishes done or the laundry folded. There are tons of time where I forget about the laundry sitting in the washer and go to bed without transferring it over to the dryer. So how am I going to remember to move a dang elf, create something "bad" for him to do then get to bed. It's just not going to happen. I mean, our Christmas countdown has at least 4 days that need marked off still because we're just too busy and too forgetful sometimes.
I'm not saying the elf isn't a cool idea, because it totally is. I do enjoy seeing pictures of people getting creative and crafty. I'm just saying that maybe I'm too lazy to do the elf thing. Maybe I'm just not a cool enough mom. Or maybe I just really don't care. Because we do the whole Santa thing and that is hard enough. I have to make sure I don't slip up because there have been times I almost did. I'm pretty sure last year I said something along the lines of "We're seeing the same Santa we did last year." Oops. I mean, of course we are. Luckily I don't think they were listening. Hopefully no other kids were listening either. If so, sorry other parents! I also try to make sure no one else ruins the whole Santa thing for my kids. One day last week we were at Chick-Fil-A and some kid in the play area was trying to tell my five year old that Santa wasn't real. I almost yelled at that kid. I mean, don't be a jerk and ruin it for everyone else, okay?
So, do you have an elf? If so, what is your favorite prank your elf has pulled. If you don't have an elf, do you do any other fun Christmas activities?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dear First Time Mom: You Don't Need All That Crap.

I'm going to start off by saying that I support a mom's decision to put whatever she feels like on her baby registry. There are some things other parents use that I don't think I would use for my babies. And I'm sure there are things I used that other parents didn't see a need for. This is based on what I felt my needs were for baby one and two. Things we asked for that we didn't need and things we didn't bother buying for our second go around.

Looking back before we had babies, we always lived a pretty minimalist lifestyle. We didn't like clutter. We didn't even have a table in our first apartment together, so that space was completely empty except for my husband's computer. (Which only took up a small amount of space.) When we moved into our second apartment, we kind of kept to the minimalist lifestyle and had a pretty bare bones place. It's when I got pregnant with our first son when I started noticing all the things that started invading our apartment. As first time parents, we thought we needed all the things for our precious snowflake. I laugh at the first time mom me. She was pretty funny. I remember making my registry and putting all sorts of cute little things on it. There were things that we bought ourselves that we ended up taking back because we didn't really need it. Our baby monitor that we thought we really needed, we hardly used because we lived in a single floor apartment.

We ended up having a ton of large items in our tiny apartment that we weren't even really using that much. As soon as my oldest started to roll over, we stopped using the changing table and it became a catch all for all the junk. Coats, diaper bag, mail... whatever we brought into the house that day would end up going on the changing table. We hardly used the highchair either. By the time he was big enough for it and old enough to eat food, he wanted to sit with us and eat from our plate. So the highchair was pretty much a useless waste of space. When it came to the swing, we didn't have any big fancy contraption. We had a small swing that sat on the floor that really could even fit in the bathroom if I needed it to. The one large item that we really got a lot of use out of with our first son was the jumperoo. My kid loved this thing so much. We assumed our second would love it too, but he hated it and cried every single time we put him in it. So we sold it shortly after.

Even our crib was a catch all at first. My oldest slept in his bassinet for the first few months. He loved it! After that, he slept in his crib for a while until I ended up bringing him to bed with us while my husband was away. From that moment on, we just decided to bed share.  So the crib went unused for the longest time. Until we decided to side cart it with our bed. That's how we've been using it for the past several years. We attempted using the bassinet with our second son as well, but he hated it, of course. I just ended up bringing him to bed with us from the beginning. Because it's really hard to get any kind of sleep when your baby refuses to sleep in the bassinet, even though it was right beside our bed within arms reach. I think in that case, an arms reach co-sleeper would have been a perfect compromise. I think if we have another baby, that will be on the list of things we get.

As far as the registry goes, only ask for things you really, really need. Because people like to stray from the registry often. Give them enough options without overwhelming them. I saw it a lot working at The Green Nursery. People would come in, take a look at the registry and say, "I know she asked for this and that, but I think I'll grab this and go get something fun that she didn't ask for." So I know from experience, that you'll end up getting a lot of things you didn't even really want. So keep it simple and ask for the necessities.

We didn't have a baby shower for my second son. Mostly because we had everything we needed. We had an abundance of clothing and blankets. Because everyone and their mother will give you outfits and blankets. For some reason, those are the number one baby items. I also suggest that if you plan on babywearing, skip the infant car seat. I know it can be really convenient, but babies really outgrow them quickly. At least I know my boys did. If we have another, we're skipping the infant seat, going straight for a convertible seat and doing a ton of babywearing. Because let me tell you, lugging that heavy car seat around isn't really worth the convenience.

There are so many things we'll do differently if we have another baby. Tell me what are some things you asked for that you didn't really need or use. Are there things you didn't ask for that people just felt they had to get you because it was just too cute? I'd love to hear the things that really helped out during those first few months that were a lifesaver.