Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pure Disney Magic: Disney on Ice Rockin' Ever After Review

Grace and I got the opportunity to go to Disney on Ice: Rockin' Ever After at the Sprint Center on Wednesday night. Feld Entertainment generously provided us tickets and I can honestly say that it was a magical experience!

I really wasn't sure how Grace would do with the show. I fully expected a meltdown because it started at 7 PM and her normal bedtime is 7:30. I planned on just ducking out and heading home when she started to throw the inevitable tantrum. I shouldn't have been worried. From the moment we got to our seats, Grace was hooked. Her eyes never left the ice. She clapped, danced, and smiled as her favorite characters skated around the ice.

Grandma bought her Max the horse and she loved it!
My favorite picture, pure joy!


The show highlighted four Disney movies: The Little Mermaid, Tangled, Brave, and Beauty and the Beast. I was so impressed by the beautiful costumes and sets that really helped bring the characters to life.

Grace's favorite section was Tangled. She has seen the movie a couple of times and absolutely loves Maximus the horse. As soon as he came out on the ice, she lit up and started saying "neigh, horse, neigh!!" She clapped and danced along to all of the songs. Her excitement was contagious!


I loved how they did the floating lanterns, they were gorgeous.


I enjoyed all of the songs from Brave. The music was amazing and it was so much fun to watch the Scottish dancing. I really don't know how they manage to do all of the steps while on skates!

Merida!

I wish they would have incorporated more of the Brave story. They only did the introduction, mentioned that Merida tried to change her fate, and then cut to the end. I would have loved to see at least a little bit of the bears. Grace did tend to get a little bored during the slower couple skate sections, but there were only a couple of those and they did not last long. I believe that overall they did a wonderful job of shortening the songs enough to keep the show moving at a good pace.

I got the chance to visit with some other local Mommy Bloggers at intermission and of course we had to get a picture! In the middle is Rebecca from A Beautiful Ruckus. Rebecca is the mom of 2 year old quads. Yes, you read that right, she has four 2 year olds! Her kids are adorable and her blog is a great read so check it out! On the right is Julie from Director Jewels. Julie has kids almost exactly the same age as mine. You've probably seen her son Lincoln on my blog before. She is an amazing crafter and you need to read her blog!



I know that Grace will not remember going to this show, but I am so happy that I will have this memory of her. She loved it so much and has asked to look at the pictures multiple times. I know we will be going back the next time a Disney on Ice show comes to town!

You will not regret taking your kids to see this show! There is still time to get tickets to tonight's show at the Sprint Center in Kansas City! Use the code BLOG to get $5 off your ticket purchase (Not valid on Front Row, Rinkside or VIP seats. Not valid on kids seats.) Order them here!

 *In exchange for sharing this show information with you, I received tickets to Disney on Ice. However, the above opinions expressed are my own*

Monday, March 25, 2013

Naptime Update

I posted a couple of weeks ago about how horrible nap time is in our house. Unfortunately, I don't really have any great news to share but I will post a quick update.

After writing the last post, I decided to see how Grace would do without a nap. Overall, skipping naps seemed to work okay. She would start to get tired around 6ish, but she would power through until bedtime at 7:30 PM and then sleep straight through until about 7:30 AM. She was generally pretty happy and we didn't really have any major tantrums on the no nap days.

I also tried a few days of trying to get her to take naps. We generally spent 30 minutes to an hour of her fighting me tooth and nail for her to actually give up and fall asleep. After sleeping for only 20 to 45 minutes, she would start having a sleep terror and those would last anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes. When she finally snapped out of the sleep terror she would be wide awake but grumpy for the next hour or so.

When I talked to her pediatrician, he really didn't have any good suggestions. He said just to let her cry it out and eventually she will learn, but honestly I can't do that. I've tried and failed at nap time. I know how the cry it out process works (we used it for bed time very successfully) but every attempt I've made at nap time ends up with her screaming for hours on end without ever sleeping. I see no reason for everyone in the house to be extremely miserable when she's doing fine without naps. He said that toddlers at this age still needs naps and that I should keep trying. I didn't argue but I will not be taking his recommendation.

For now, most days we will not be doing nap time.  That might change this spring/summer when we are able to get outside and do more activities that help get her energy out. There are still days where she falls asleep in the car if we are out and about. But most days, I simply encourage her to rest for an hour or two in the afternoon by letting her watch a movie (Tangled is the recent favorite) or by cuddling up and reading a stack of books.It seems to be working out pretty well.

I've learned pretty quickly that what works for one child won't always work for another. In our case, as much as I would love to have a 2-3 hour nap from her each day, it's not worth how miserable the fight makes both of us. I much prefer my happy girl!

Playing night night with Connor and all of her babies

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dreams of a Gold Medal

Dear Grace,

Sweet girl, before you were born, I thought stage moms were crazy. I thought women living vicariously through their children were desperate, sad people who honestly needed to just get a life.

But I have to admit to you that I had a moment today. As we were playing at a local gymnastics center during open play, I looked at the older girls flipping and jumping around and thought, I wish I could have done that. You see, this gymnastics center is known for producing amazing gymnasts, in fact, two of of them were on the silver medal winning 2012 Olympics USA Gymnastics Team. And for a split second, I saw you doing that. I saw you flipping and dancing and flying through the air. Of course, I imagined you at the Olympics. I got giddy just thinking about it. 

Then I snapped out of it. Baby girl, I will be proud of you whatever you end up doing. I promise that I will let you choose the activities that you are passionate about! I vow never to become a crazy Dance Mom. But if you choose to do gymnastics and go to the Olympics, I certainly won't complain :P

You had an amazing time at the gym this morning and I can't wait to expose you to new fun activities as you get older.

You loved the foam pit
Exhausted after running around, bouncing and jumping.



Love,
Mommy


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nuby Natural Touch Rhythm Dual Action Electric Breast Pump Review

When I was pregnant with Grace, I remember being overwhelmed when I started looking at breast pumps. They are so expensive and there are so many choices. I recently got the opportunity to try Nuby's Natural Touch Rhythm Dual Action Electric Breast Pump and Sterilizer Kit and I'm happy to say that it is a great reasonably priced option that is efficient and easy to use!


The Rhythm™ Dual Action Electric Breast Pump closely mimics breastfeeding while maintaining efficiency and comfort. It features a fast rhythm to encourage milk flow, and a slow rhythm that gently expresses the milk after flow has begun. Some women require more use of the fast rhythm, and some require more use of the slow rhythm. Whatever your rhythm is, we have a setting for you. That's because you can set the programming unit to remember your unique combination of fast and slow. That way, the next time you need to express, all you need to do is sit back and relax. You can also choose to run your breast pump off the battery pack or a standard wall outlet which make it perfect for home or travel.


When I received the pump, I was happy to see that it was easy to put together. Many other pumps require the use of tubes that can get tangled or allow milk to flow into the pump motor. The Nuby pump is a small unit that can be plugged in or used independently with a battery pack. It quickly converts from an electric pump to a manual pump if you just need to quickly relieve engorgement or pump quietly.


A great feature of the Nuby Rhythm Dual Action Pump that I have never seen on any other pump is the option to program your own rhythm settings. I programmed in my settings the second time I used it and now don't have to worry about it anymore! I can put my hands free pumping bra on and do other things (such as blog or read to my kids) without messing with the pump buttons.

The pump is easy to program! You only have to use a couple of buttons!
The box includes the following:
  • Compact Travel Sanitizer
  • 6 Disposable Breast Pads
  • Breast Pump Standing Cradle
  • 5oz/150ml Natural Nurser™ 
  • Electric breast pump with personalized programming unit
  • Flex Neck Silicone Horn and hygienic travel cover
  • 5oz/150ml Natural Nurser™ with slow flow nipple and hood
  • Manual breast pump hood
  • Manual breast pump handle
  • Silicone storage lid
  • Box also includes battery pack, adapter, and other spare parts
Requires 4x AA batteries (Not included)

I love that the horn includes a hygienic cover so that you can place the unit in a purse or bag for easy travel. The compact size of this pump makes it a perfect unit to keep in your car or purse just in case you might need it!

It comes apart easily to wash and Connor takes the bottle that comes with it without complaint. This set retails for $99 which is a great value compared to other pumps on the market! 

My only criticism is that it is a single pump. I am able to get a lot of milk expressed with it, but it obviously takes longer than a double pump would to pump both sides. I'm hoping Nuby comes out with a double pump in the future!


The Nuby's Natural Touch Rhythm Dual Action Electric Breast Pump is available for purchase at these retailers:
  • www.BuyBabyDirect.com
  • www.Amazon.com
  • www.Kohls.com
  • www.diapers.com
  • Target 
For more information about other great Nuby products, check out their social media pages!


I am writing this post as part of the NUBY Mommy Blogger Program. I did not receive compensation for this post, although as part of the program I may receive items to sample or review. All opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Despicable Me 2!

Gru is back! Grace is obsessed with Despicable Me and I really enjoy watching it with her. I can't wait to see the new one that comes out on July 3rd!


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Follow on Twitter @DespicableMe #DespicableMe2 
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Follow on Instagram Minionnation

A day in the life: A hard day

Yesterday was one of those days. Moms, you know what I'm talking about, those days when you feel like you take one step forward and 10 steps back. I feel like sometimes we "mommy bloggers" only show the shiny, fun parts of our lives and rarely share the nitty gritty day to day stuff of being a mom. Because not every day is filled with stimulating activities, yummy recipes, and cute smiling kids.

My day yesterday went something like this:

3 AM to 7 AM: Connor was up every 30-45 minutes. I have no idea why. He wanted to use me as a pacifier and fell back to sleep nursing every time. The moment I moved him off of my boob he cried. I fell asleep multiple times with him on me and finally got him to let me put him down about 7.

7:30: After a few minutes of almost getting to fall asleep by myself, I heard Grace wake up. She started screaming because I don't make it in there within a minute to get her. We snuggled on the couch and started watching Monsters Inc, our morning routine

7:35: Connor woke up screaming. This is not normal for him, usually he'll sleep for a couple more hours in the morning allowing Grace to have some mommy time to help her wake up and giving me some time to get both her and myself ready. But he didn't go back to sleep. So I went in to get him and Grace started throwing a tantrum because she doesn't want Connor to sit with us while we watch the movie. I tried to ignore her but she wasn't having that.

7:40: Grace got a time out due to hitting Connor during her tantrum.

Things calmed down slightly after that and Grace played nicely for most of the morning. Connor took his nap and I was able to get a blog giveaway post done. I was feeling pretty accomplished despite our rough start.

Then we had a huge milestone! Warning, this is about potty training, so if you don't want to read about it, skip this paragraph. Grace had asked to sit on the potty once each day Sunday and Monday but she hadn't done anything except sit there for a few seconds. So when she asked again on Tuesday, I didn't expect anything. But much to my surprise, she got really quiet for a few seconds and she peed! You can imagine my excitement! I almost screamed how proud I was of her and quickly swooped her to give her a cookie as a reward. She was all smiles and we celebrated her accomplishment.

In my excitement, I realized that I had no rewards system set up for potty training and cookies were not going to work every time. So I packed up the kids to head to Target to find some stickers for a potty chart and some cheapy toys for prizes.

We were mostly successful on our Target trip. We found stickers and some cute stuff in the $1 section. But after about 10 minutes in the store, both kids started to get pretty fussy and whiny and so I made a beeline for the checkout. Target only had 2 lanes open and both had long lines. I picked the shortest of the 2 lines and tried to calm the kids down. I was obviously struggling and got some sympathetic looks from other moms waiting with their kids. The lines were taking forever and several people were lined up behind me. An employee finally opened a lane next to us and as I was trying to navigate my cart out of line to move over, a middle aged woman by herself with a huge cart full who was behind me quickly ran over and started laying her stuff on the belt. I was so mad and gave her a very nasty look. It would have taken only about a minute for me to check out before her but instead I waited another 5 minutes while she checked out with a full load of groceries. I know I don't deserve special treatment because I have kids and I don't expect it, but don't cut in line lady! Then Grace fell in the parking lot on the way out to the car and scraped up her knee. Thankfully Target isn't too far of a trip because the car ride home was not pleasant.

I tried to get Grace to nap when we got home but it didn't work. She just screamed and Connor needed my attention so I gave up. The afternoon was spent trying to keep them happy. Grace pulled out almost every toy she owned while I bounced Connor, nursed him, tried everything I could to keep him from screaming. My attempts didn't really work. He just was having a very fussy day and nothing was helping. Within 5 minutes, Grace managed to lock herself in the bathroom, she pulled all Connor's dirty clothes out of his hamper, and she dumped an entire bag of goldfish on the floor.  She threw a tantrum when I showed her the potty chart I made because I wouldn't let her have the stickers to play with. I didn't even show her the prize basket because I knew that would just cause an even worse tantrum.

During all of this, I discovered that Grace's picture from a previous blog post is being used as a random German modeling site's Youtube account picture. This really upset me and I spend 20 minutes going through Youtube's policies to try to figure out how to get it removed. I think I finally get the procedure started but it will take 48 hours before I know if I've made any progress on getting it taken down.

By the time Mike got home, I was in tears because the house was a wreck, I had yelled at Grace all afternoon, and Connor wouldn't stop crying. I was questioning myself for posting the kid's pictures on the blog and I was (and still am) worried about our privacy. Grace kept giving me hugs trying to make me feel better which of course made me cry more because I felt like a horrible mom for yelling at her so much when she really is a good kid.

This is what my living room looked like by about 4 yesterday. It got worse before Mike got home.
Mike quickly came to the rescue and took Grace to play. He turned on the vacuum and put Connor in the swing while I took a few minutes to myself. I felt better pretty quickly and we played as a family for a while before Grace went to bed at 7:30. She hadn't napped so she was exhausted and fell asleep pretty quickly.

7:30-9:30: Tried to get Connor to sleep. He would go to sleep only to wake up the second I put him down. We did this about 5 times before he finally stayed asleep.

9:30: I realized that I was starving and tried to find something healthy to eat. I ended up eating 4 chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious. Obviously chocolate was needed on a day like that.

I spend the next 30 minutes or so catching up on Facebook and blog reading before dragging myself to bed exhausted. 10:30 is my normal bedtime but I couldn't even keep my eyes open that long.

Parenting is hard. Parenting two young kids is harder than I ever thought it would be.

But overall, it's the most rewarding job I've ever had and I love it, even on hard days. I love having this blog. I love documenting my kid's lives and I enjoy going back and reading all of my old posts. I'm still not sure what to do about the privacy issue. I just wanted to share that some days are hard. But tomorrow is a new day! Today has already been a lot better!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wristy Buddy Review and Giveaway!

I think Connor is officially teething. If you have read my blog from Grace's early days, you will remember how hard teething was for her. She popped her first tooth at four and a half months. So now that Connor is about the same age, I've noticed him drooling a ton and wanting to chew on anything he can grab. He is constantly trying to put things in his mouth, but his coordination isn't developed enough to hold on to things for long periods of time. When I heard about a great new product called the Wristy Buddy, the ultimate teething wristband, I was excited to try it!

Here is a little bit more info about the Wristy Buddy:

Wristy Buddy is designed for babies who haven't developed the motor skills to hold traditional teething objects. It is made of absorbent materials to help keep little faces and clothing dry. Its various textures and colors engage and stimulate. It is easily accessible to your teething baby and is more sanitary than traditional teething objects. Wristy Buddy is machine washable. 

We received the Cow Wristy Buddy to try.


The Wristy Buddy slides right onto baby's wrist and is extremely soft. It is not too tight on Connor (he's pretty chunky) and the fabric is stretchy so it will fit him for quite a while.

He immediately put it in his mouth but right now his favorite thing to do with it is to rub it on his cheek. I love that it's soft enough to be a comfort object for him. He loves to gnaw on the cow's nose. He hasn't tried to chew on the other pieces yet, but I'm sure he will find them soon. The materials are very sturdy and I know that this toy will get a lot of use during the next couple of years.


I really appreciate how absorbent the Wristy Buddy is! I also like that I can simply throw it in the washing machine and soften it up any time I need to.

We love the Wristy Buddy and I think it would make an adorable baby shower gift! The Wristy Buddy is also available in a lion design.


Visit the Wristy Buddy Facebook page for more info on where to purchase them!

Giveaway
 
One lucky Moments That Take My Breath Away reader will win a Wristy Buddy!

How to Enter:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Follow the instructions on the widget to enter. All current likes/follows count! Please contact me if you run into any technical difficulties with Rafflecopter.  The giveaway runs through Monday, March 25th at 11:59 PM CST! Open to US and Canada residents. The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was not compensated for this post. I received the item(s) free of charge for reviewing purposes. All opinions are honest, and my own.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Warm Weather Weekend!

After months of cold weather, we had two days at the end of last week with temperatures in the upper 70s. It was so gorgeous and it just so happened that my parents were in town to spend time with the kids, so we took full advantage of the gorgeous weather! We spent plenty of time outside and even visited the zoo. It was pretty busy because it was spring break and it was so nice outside, but we all had a great time anyway.

Not happily waiting to go in. She was very excited and didn't like having to wait for Papa to buy tickets.

Connor was very excited for his first trip to the zoo!
Watching her favorite animal, the polar bears!


Connor spent most of the trip chewing on his stroller straps but it kept him happy

Showing us the monkeys

She was fascinated by this guy with the very long tail

Watching the monkeys with Grandma

This elephant was enjoying giving himself a mud bath. He had dug a huge hole in the ground and was flinging mud everywhere. It was pretty funny to watch but we were a little worried that if we watched too long we might get muddy.

Enjoying the view from daddy's shoulders

Getting pretty tired at this point but she didn't want to stop.

We thought this would make a cute picture but we didn't realize until we put her on it that there were bugs swarming around it. We took this picture and immediately got her down!
She was asleep before we even got out of the zoo entrance. Connor did amazingly well and except for a short fussy period before I found somewhere to feed him, he was happy the entire time. He fell asleep as soon as we put him in his car seat. I can't wait until it's warm enough to start going to the zoo more often!

I realized today that both kids had their first trips to the zoo at 4 months old. I still don't think they look much alike.
Grace's first tip to the zoo at 4 months (May 2011)
Connor's first trip to the zoo at 4 months (March 2013)
It's 40 some degrees again today and I am so ready for spring!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Reader Shutting Down

If you haven't heard, Google is doing away with Google Reader. To keep following my favorite blogs, I've switched over to Bloglovin! Here's the link to follow Moments That Take My Breath Away if you are interested: Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Grace got really sick last night so my posts have gotten pushed back. I'll post more when she's feeling better!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Connor's 4 month appointment

My boy is a chunk! He weighs 17 lbs 2 oz which puts him the 88th percentile. He is 25 1/2 inches (61st percentile) and his head is 17 inches (66th percentile.) To compare, at 4 months, Grace was 25 1/4 inches, 16 lbs 5.2 oz, and her head was 16 3/4 inches.


His stats didn't surprise me at all, I mean he's comfortably wearing 9 month clothes so I know he's big. What really surprised me was that our pediatrician, who has been practicing for 30 plus years, mentioned that he is the strongest 4 month old he has ever seen. He sits unassisted for over a minute, rolls both ways, and tries to get his knees under him when he is on his tummy. One of his favorite games is sitting on my lap holding on to my fingers and pulling himself up to a standing position over and over again. He fully supports himself and only uses my fingers for balance. Okay, I'm done bragging for now. The pediatrician did make me worry because he said that Connor will probably be able to pull himself out of his crib pretty early, but I'm hoping he's wrong! Grace still hasn't tried to climb out of hers (knock on wood) so I can always hope right?!

This boy hates to wear pants. He would lay with his feet up in the air all of the time if he had a choice!
It's hard for me to watch him getting this big. He is my last baby (more on that in a later post) and I will miss my tiny baby cuddles!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Remember to appreciate the small things

I wish I could see the world through the eyes of a toddler again.

She looks at a balloon floating in the air and says "oh wow! wowee!"

She touches shaving cream, rice, or sand and smiles with real joy.

Chasing the dogs or daddy around the house sends her into fits of giggles.

She can play for hours with stickers and she will smile as she says "this one, that one, pretty!"

Doing "chores" like throwing away a diaper, feeding the dogs, or helping unload the dishwasher is fun and deserves a "yay" and a hug from mommy.

I love watching her explore and discover new things. Every day she learns a couple of new words and is so proud of herself when she masters one.

Some days may be hard. There's a reason they call it the "terrible 2s!" But in my moments of frustration, I try to remember to see things through her eyes. And the world is a much better place :)

Playing with tissue paper





Friday, March 8, 2013

The Remedy for Cold Season~ Little Remedies Care Basket Giveaway

It's been a horrible flu and cold season, but luckily *knock on wood* it hasn't hit our house this year. There isn't much worse than watching you child when he or she is sick and I always try to have some things on hand to help relieve their pain. My go to brand for children's medicine has always been Little Remedies.
Our Little Remedies® are unique because they contain only what’s needed to make your child feel better. That means no dyes, no artificial flavors and no alcohol, ever. Sure, we're scientists and researchers, but we're parents, too. And we believe there's a better way to get better.

I love the Little Remedies philosophy of "less is more." I don't think our kids need all of the dyes, flavors and alcohol that are so prevalent in other children's medication on the market. The Little Remedies line includes products for fevers, colds, and tummy troubles. Their gripe water was the only thing that would get rid of Grace's uncomfortable hiccups that she got daily and the gas drops have been a lifesaver with Connor's awful reflux gas.

Giveaway

Little Remedies has generously offered to give one Moments That Take My Breath Away reader a care basket filled with their great products!


The basket includes:

How to Enter:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Follow the instructions on the widget to enter. All current likes/follows count! Please contact me if you run into any technical difficulties with Rafflecopter.  The giveaway runs through Friday, March 15th at 11:59 PM CST! Open to US residents only. The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.


The first entry is mandatory- Visit Little Remedies and leave a comment on this blog post telling me which product you would like to have for your little one. Once you complete this entry, the widget will give you the option of completing the rest. Complete more steps for more chances to win!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was not compensated for this post. I received the item(s) free of charge for reviewing purposes. All opinions are honest, and my own.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Toddler Activities: Indoor Bubbles

Grace loves all of the sensory activities we've been doing lately and with the number of hits I've been getting on the posts about the other activities we've done, I'm guessing your kids do too! I'm excited to share this new one with you, it's so easy and fun. You probably already have all of the supplies in your kitchen! It seems like the simplest activities are the biggest hits in our house.


Indoor Bubbles
 
Supplies:
A casserole dish
Water
Dish soap
A straw
Food coloring (optional)

Fill your casserole dish about half way full of water and add a few squirts of dish soap. Add food coloring for fun if you want to, we made our mixture purple! Show your toddler how to blow through the straw into the water to create bubbles!


If your toddler is anything like mine, she will try to drink from the straw instead of blowing through it and you will blow most of the bubbles. She still had a great time playing and kept asking me to blow more.

She loved that the bubbles stuck to her hands and didn't break easily.


She kept asking "more mama, more!" and would show me any empty spaces in the dish.


She loved sticking her hands and arms in the bubbles.

She figured out that by blowing on the bubbles, they would move and she could create little ponds.


The table did get pretty wet and she needed a clothing change afterwards but it wasn't hard to clean up. Plus the table got very clean!

This kept her entertained for about 20 minutes and she has asked to play it several more times since then. I classify that as a success in our house!

Check out other easy and fun activities for toddlers here

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