HOOO Turned Off the Light?

Once upon a time, over Christmas break of 2015, we adopted a super cute Skip Hop owl night light courtesy of the Myrtle Beach grandma. The blue owl sits on my nightstand and glows while Babystar nurses to sleep each night. The very wise owl gently turns itself off after thirty minutes. I love this thing!


One day many months ago, Babystar was playing with the owl an dropped him onto the floor. A piece of plastic broke off of the battery case. We fixed this by covering the bottom tightly with packing tape.

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We use this owl every night. After a few battery changes, the tape method grew less effective and more annoying. If the nightstand was nudged at all, the owl would abruptly flicker off, sometimes causing bedtime distress and NOBODY LIKES BEDTIME DISTRESS.

We replaced the owl in November. ($19.03 via Amazon Prime.) Bedtime improved greatly until a few weeks in to the new owl coming to live with us. Owl #2 broke for real. Even more broker than Owl #1. The battery pack legit broke off and fell inside the owl completely. In fact, we have been using the OG (less) broken owl for months, with our handy tape hack. Fast forward to March and we finally got around to calling Amazon and they replaced it with no issue. Amazon is awesome or maybe we just spend waaaay too much money on Amazon but either way, YAY.

Let’s see how this goes. Take three.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,634.23

VCU and Melissa and Doug and Lucy.

Last Saturday was ‘Admitted Students Day’ at VCU in Richmond, and the Teenager is one of those admitted students. We woke up before the sun to drive down and check out the school. The Teenager has big decisions coming soon, but shhhhh, she doesn’t like to talk about it.

(Side note: Since I have been paying attention, I have noticed that literally every adult asks every college senior they meet if they know where they plan to go to college. Poor kids.)

So, we went to VCU. VCU is cool. Babystar hung out in the Tula for most of the walking tour bits. We all got free lunch at Chick-fil-A (thanks, VCU!) but had to pay $2.88 extra for Babystar. Pretty good deal.

(OMG, Babystar accidentally drank some of my husband’s lemonade instead of her water and then got obsessed. She cannot say ‘lemonade’ but she tries and it sounds like ‘ell-mell-mleh’ and her tongue literally turns upside down in her mouth and it is my new favorite thing. #favoritethings)

After college-ing it up, we did a 180 and went to the Children’s Museum of Richmond to let the toddler run out her wiggles. That place rocks, btw! There are a bunch of different areas all sponsored by local (or regional, I guess) businesses. There was a tiny Wegman’s play grocery store and a kid-sized play Silver Diner and a cool water table area and a tv studio and a stage and a reading room and a separate giant toddler area and and and we didn’t even have time to see everything. Legit cool. If the Teenager decides on VCU, we will definitely buy a family membership there. (No pressure, Teenager.) $30 after AAA discount plus a carousel ride.

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On the way out (we only left because they closed), I bought Babystar some cool Melissa and  Doug activity books. Except they aren’t really books. I bought some paint with water activities and reusable sticker scenes. They were $4.49 each, totaling $24.13 with tax. So far we have played with the puffy barn scene stickers and she is OBSESSED. We also did one of the Paint with Water pages and it was a huge hit. (I did one too — it’s super fun!)

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We were completely exhausted, but still hungry, and we can never leave Richmond without stopping at our favorite restaurant, Lucy’s. This is not the kind of place that has a kid’s menu, and it’s not really for kids. I mean, there’s no strippers or anything, but also their single high chair is from, like, 1973. (But luckily, they let us come eat anyway.) Thank you, Jason Lucy, for making a super yummy grilled cheese sandwich for Babystar. She totally ate one bite and lots of french fries. ($5.) And she loves the homemade ice cream on homemade cookie sandwiches. And omg so do I. ($3.)

The sun was setting as we finished dinner and headed home. So pretty.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,615.20

 

Fun in the Sunshine State

Earlier this month, Babystar and I (and my favorite 3.5 year old niece, V) flew to Florida to visit family. My (20yo) son and mom and dad and grandmother and sister and nephew, along with random other cousins, live just outside of Jacksonville, Florida. My nephew just turned three (since the trip, actually), so we were riding deep with ToddlerMonsters.

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We stayed at my parent’s house, so it was actually a really inexpensive trip. Babystar still flies free. (I didn’t buy V’s ticket.) I still would have taken the trip if Babystar did not exist, so I would have had the expense of the ticket either way. I thought hard about this, because I started to list the ticket price as part of Raising Babystar. But. I miss my oldest child, my mom has cancer (and reads this blog like a good mommy — hi mom!), my dad can’t really travel while he’s busy taking care of mom, my grandmother is getting very old (omg I cannot even think about that), my nephew keeps growing, and my sister is too far away and just, you know, life. So, yeah, I would have gone anyway. I DID pay for my dad’s parking ($6) and he only parked to come in and help me with the bags since I had the babies. And I had to bring along Babystar’s car seat, so I bought a car seat cover for $19.99.

I brought snacks from home for the airplane ride to Florida. I did buy a bottle of water at the airport but I always do that. I drank most of it, too. Babystar LOVES the airport! She was excited that we were getting on a plane but her dad had taken her twice already just to watch the planes. (Metro fare $1.75 x 4 but I think I need to tell him that I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t need a ticket. Maybe she just wants her own. He’s pretty cool like that.)

I went to the grocery store in Florida to stock the house with Babystar-friendly food. Mostly fruits and organic eggs and whole wheat bread and ‘hippie’ stuff like that. Of course we shared with everyone, but I totally went just for the Toddlers. $51.95. And I brought a bunch of disposable diapers with me. Not quite two packs but I did buy two packs of Target brand diapers. $9.98.

We were there for only four days, and a lot of the time was just spent visiting. OMG am I eighty years old?? Come on sweetheart, let’s just sit and visit. HAHAHA.

My sister and I took the three toddlers to an AMAZING place in Jacksonville called Bay & Bee. You may remember the name as the place I sent my oldest child last June because they got the Tula Coast the same day that my son flew to my house. I need to thank him again, because Bay & Bee is so far across Jacksonville it is basically in the Atlantic Ocean. But it was freaking awesome. (I will share more in another post.) It was also FREE to first-time visitors, and my sister had never been either. So the Littles played for hours for free. Wow.

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We went to Chick-fil-A afterwards. It was just like home: play place then Chick-fil-A. LOL. $27.64. (Two adults and three Tinys, but I wouldn’t have been there at all if not for Babystar so I guess it all counts, right?)

The next day we drove all the way into Jacksonville AGAIN to play at the Hands-On Children’s Museum. ($20.50…I paid for my oldest son and his girlfriend too, but again, we wouldn’t have been there if not for Babystar.)

It was extra sweet because I remember going to the same place with my first two babies who are now basically senior citizens.

All that driving took all that gasoline so I filled the tank: $47.37.

The rest was all family visiting and family dinners. I did buy an overpriced cup of fruit and a ‘blueberry cookie’ (except it really was a muffin) for the girls at the airport for $8.73.

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On the ride home, my darling niece explained to me the per the pictures in the safety instructions booklet, we were going to ‘fly and fly and then go in the water’. Um. And then when we were landing at DCA, which is right by two rivers, she saw the water and said, loud and excitedly, LOOK I TOLD YOU WE ARE GOING IN THE WATER. I hope the people sitting near us weren’t nervous fliers. HAHAHAHAHA.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,550.19

Cold!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have molars. Four molars. The landing was a bit bumpy, but we are in the clear.

Babystar handled it like a little champ. It only really bothered her at night, and since she sleeps with me, I heard every cry. I ended up giving her Motrin and/or Tylenol to get her through the worst of it.

Babystar was also sick for a few days so we went through the Motrin/Tylenol cycle to bring her fever down. However, she will now actually TAKE medicine so I guess that’s good. Protip: measure in the dropper but give it to Baby in a spoon. It worked for me. Good luck.

  • Infant Motrin 9.99
  • Generic infant ibuprofen 7.99
  • Infant Tylenol 9.99
  • Children’s Motrin 5.99
  • Children’s Tylenol 5.99

The trying-hard-to-be-a-cliche husband bought the children’s versions by accident, but Babystar is in the right weight class so we used them in a pinch. The bottles are sitting mostly full in the medicine cabinet though. Hopefully they don’t expire before she turns two.

I have before mentioned my love and support for Hyland’s Teeting Tablets. But. That last, recent, round of articles finally knocked me down. I am not at all actually convinced that they are harmful to Babystar. But that *what if* in the back of my head finally got loud enough for me to stop using them. Ten points to Big Pharma. Jerks.

We did the cold washcloth trick for awhile, and she liked it until she didn’t. I had some teething rings given to her long ago, and she didn’t really like those either. She very much likes chewing on frozen silicon kitchen spoons. Once we discovered this, we bought more at Home Goods ($3.99) plus a pair of pink whisks to add to her kitchen utensil collection that have nothing to do with teething but she liked them so ($3.99).

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When she wants one, she tells us ‘cold! cold!’ and points to her mouth. Good communicating, Babystar.

Do you have any teething tips? What worked? What didn’t work? How are you feeling about the Hyland’s Teething Tablet controversy (if you care at all)?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,351.03

 

Do I Have a Target on My Back?

I must.

I SWEAR with that place. Target, I mean.

Last Friday afternoon, the girls and I went to Target. The Teenager was to be Cinderella at a five-year-old’s birthday party the next day, and we went in search of a blue headband. We found one for one dollar! Score, right?

No. I spent $58. And change. And most of it was (of freaking course) spent on the baby.

So, ok, Babystar needed new socks. She has a big bin of infant socks that we have been stretching over her getting-so-big toddler toes. And I have been searching for socks that SHE could easily put on (which means NOT the fold down kind) and that had a lot of rubbery grippy bits on the bottom because she is forever at a soft play room in her socks. Ta-daaa! $10.49.

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Also, the Dollar Aisle had kid’s sunglasses. The black pair might be a little big LOL. $3.

 

And can Cat and Jack please stop being so freaking CUTE? And CHEAP? $4.50? Did a child make this shirt? Don’t tell me. I guess I should investigate this. Dammit. I love them so. It all seems too good to be true, though.

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(Babystar was SUCH A GOOD SPORT about modeling all of these for me!! She even had the ‘impatient but whatever’ attitude that I imagine most models have. Except Chrissy Teigen. Obvs.)

I also bought more of the foamy Method soap. Dispensers and refills. Babystar likes washing her hands. To be accurate, Babystar LOVES washing her hands. Which is great. Time-consuming but great. I also wash my hands waaaay more due to diaper changes and sticky watermelon so all hand soap purchased Friday goes on Babystar’s tab. $12.97.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,303.10

 

 

Out, Damned Toxins.

Out, I say. Get thee chemical self beyond my house!

Yes, perhaps I am being over-dramatic. But maybe not.

As I have mentioned over and over again, our home had the Plague for a full month. Many plagues in succession, actually. So I bought some Clorox bleach wipes and cleaned everything. Every. Thing.

What is better for Babystar to lick — bleach or germs? I genuinely don’t know. I DO know that the bleach destroyed the skin on my hands. The infinite hand washing likely did not help either. (Oh snap, I AM Lady Macbeth!)

I love Babyganics high chair and toy cleaning spray, but it has been out of stock at Target and Babies R Us whenever I have checked for the past two month. We ordered some from Amazon and seriously WHY didn’t I just do this earlier? It was $7.98 for two bottles.

During the height of the plague, Babystar got a diaper rash. She rarely gets diaper rash, and it could have happened for many reasons: she was sick, she was wearing disposable diapers for weeks, and she had a LOT of extra poopy diapers which meant a LOT of wipes against her skin. I can fix two of these things.

She’s back in cloth diapers. (I do not know for sure that the disposable diapers CAUSED her rash; Target brand disposables do not usually cause a rash and we use them as her overnight diapers. Ironically, Babyganics diapers DO cause a rash along the elastic edge but I think she is just sensitive to something in those particular diapers. Anyway.)

And after lots of research, we ordered a box of Water Wipes for $31.79 from Amazon. We had been using the Costco wipes with no issue, but I think the recent extra diaper changes using these wipes could have caused the rash. I totally, scientifically, tested one of the Costco wipes on my own (clean) bootie to see how it felt. It stung. Poor baby. Hopefully the Water Wipes will live up to the hype. (I totally tested them on myself already and there was no sting at all. It was a bit cold, though.)


Can we start a freaky internet challenge like planking and tebowing and owling (w.t.f.) called, um, wiping(??) where we test baby wipes on ourselves? Probably not; it would get X-rated pretty quickly. But I highly encourage every parent (DADS TOO)  to test your baby’s wipes on yourself. You know, in the privacy of your own bathroom or youtube channel or whatever. It totally stung and kind of blew my mind.

Yes. YES. I challenge you all to try using your baby’s wipes on your own bits. Report back. Let’s get real.

Oh, also relating to this dark time of winter, we bought a humidifier ($49.99), we bought an extra 3-pack of pacifiers to switch them out more often ($6.99), and we paid a $15 co-pay at the doctor’s office. Y’all. The humidifier is an elephant. Meet Elly.

RAISING BABYSTAR:  $15,272.14

Airplane + Food.

We went out to dinner last month and did not order a single thing for Babystar. She shared with everyone, and basically got the Teenager’s extra side (fries which is all Babystar really wanted anyway).

But. Whoops. We forgot to bring any toys. WHAT ARE WE, ROOKIES?!?

Luckily, we were at Longhorn Steakhouse which is in the parking lot of a strip mall. One of my favorite strip malls. It has a Home Goods (cue that ahhh ahhh shhhhhh music). And luckily (luckily?), there was a 40 minute wait so the girls and I walked over to Home Goods just to browse.

When my darling husband texted us to say that the table was ready, the Teenager had to text back: we’ll be there in a min. mom is buying an airplane. emoji emoji emoji.

Babystar LOVES this Melissa and Doug airplane. She played with it at dinner. She plays with it all the time at home. She has decided that certain two passengers are ‘mommy and daddy’ and she even eats lunch with the mommy and daddy at her little table and feeds them and shows them her toys. She uses the luggage as cell phones. I saw her take a selfie with one. Best. Toy. Ever. Plus it was only $13.77 because Home Goods is the bomb diggity. (Am I allowed to type bomb and airplane in the same blog paragraph? I can’t keep up with the TSA rules.)

 

We did buy some food for Babystar in February. I’m still only counting food that I buy specifically for her. I eat a lot of it, but I buy it for HER. She eats a lot of my food, too. She’s lately loving salmon, but we don’t cook any more than usual. I just eat a little less. She also shares our veggies, but we would always cook the entire bag. Again, I just eat a little less. A toddler serving is like a couple of bites for me.

We buy a LOT more fruit than we used to. A whole lot more. I try to buy in season and whatever is on sale but DUDE FRUIT IS EXPENSIVE. I never noticed before this fun, terrifying project called babycostsmoney.

  • graham crackers 2.99
  • clementines 14.47
  • strawberries 13.97
  • blueberries 4.98
  • tater tots (1 of 3 bags for the month but she eats a lot of the Teenager’s tots) 3.09
  • apples 12.54
  • pears 5.71
  • watermelon 11.36
  • shrimp platter 11.99 (she didn’t eat a single one of course but we bought them for her)
  • granola bars 5.19
  • grapes 3.05
  • organic carrots .99
  • cucumbers 1.69
  • chia seed waffles 5.98

Plus some fast food meals out. Shhh, don’t talk about it.

  • Chick-fil-A 1 strip meal 3.39
  • Chick-fil-A 1 strip meal 3.39
  • Chick-Fil-A 2 strip meal 4.69
  • Elevation Burger fries 2.95 and orange slices 1.95
  • Costco pizza 2.19
  • Costco pizza 2.19
  • Costco pizza 2.19
  • Pizza Hut pizza via Target 4.29
  • Pepperoni at Sbarro (Yes, just extra pepperoni. She shared our stromboli.) 1.49

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,232.37

 

 

 

 

 

More Adventurous.

I miss Rilo Kiley. I miss when I used to be hip on all the new music. One of my favorite things about Nook is the fact that they play (kid-appropriate) indie music and not in-your-face toddler tune/nursery rhyme/wheels-on-the-bus type of stuff that I get to hear PLENTY of, thank you very much.

So anyway, I paid $120 to join Nook for a month. February 15-March 15 you will find me there A LOT. Especially on Thursday mornings for Baby Yoga. (OMG, I took Babystar for the first time last week and she was SO INTO IT. For like ten minutes before getting bored and wandering off but still. Next week we are shooting for twelve minutes.)

I’m not sure yet if I will join for another month, but maybe. There are lots of other classes that I very much want to check out. Membership gets me in even if there is a wait list, and I love being VIP, even at a baby play place. A day pass is $20 so we just have to go six times to cover membership. And with the membership, I can pop in for 45 minutes so Babystar can play, and then leave before she gets bored, and I don’t feel like I wasted $20.

So far, we dig it.

As I’ve mentioned before, it is the opposite of a place like Busy Bees or a soft play room, so we still go to those too. I recently bought another $36 3-visit pass to Busy Bees. And I went on a 2-for-1 Tuesday with Babystar and my niece so that was another $15. Oh, and I treated my SIL and niece to Chick-fil-a that day too ($23.47 for all four of us, but we wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for Babystar and Busy Bees so I think I have to include all of it). We also went to the cool play room with the giant ball pit again ($5).

Cooler than ALL OF THESE is the Building Museum in D.C.! 


I recently went with a mama friend who has a membership and so Babystar and I got in free. I helped pay for parking ($4.60) and bought some lunch at the cafe ($9.63) and I really might consider joining also. It’s only $90/year and the Building Museum has constantly changing exhibits. Not all are kid friendly, but they do have a permanent kid friendly area that is so popular that you need timed tickets that you can only get once you arrive at the museum. The area has a fully stocked mini-house, a bunch of building toys, blocks, dolls, a wall of cool latches, and so much other stuff that I can barely remember everything. I remember that none of the kids (age 1-5) were ready to leave when we had to leave. That’s high praise.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,091.48

 

Snacks, Pals, and SnackPals

AKA That Time I Tried Tryazon.

Have you ever heard of Tryazon? The concept is pretty cool. You sign up and they email you ‘party opportunities’ which is code for ‘free stuff in exchange for free marketing.’ All well and good, fair is fair and all that jazz. When you see an email that interests you, you fill out a short application and Tryazon then chooses a certain amount of ‘party hosts’. (Usually 100 but I have seen less.) You get a box of goodies and have a party inviting your friends over to check out these goodies and then post about it on social media.*

If you check #tryazon over on my Twitter or IG, you will see some pictures of my party.

I invited about a million people, but the party day turned out to be the first 70+ degree day in our area in MONTHS (last Friday), so lots of mamas took their children outside to play instead. I don’t even blame them. I would have done the same thing. Don’t worry, I did take Babystar to a park before the sun set. I’m not a MONSTER.

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Before I knew that only a few (wonderful, stunningly gorgeous) friends would turn up, I went to Trader Joe’s that morning and spent $44.09 on fruit and cheeses and crackers and a few bottles of sparkly stuff to drink. Non-alcoholic because BOOOOOOORING but also because it was the middle of the afternoon and I have too much responsibility for day drinking these days. Which, quite frankly, sometimes very much sucks but here we are.

Oh wait, I ate a 0.19 banana while shopping so that’s actually $43.90.

Tryazon sent me plastic snack dispensers called SnackPals from a company called Wow Gear. They also sent a Wow Cup, a cool looking game to play from Madd Capp Games, and three different types of snacks to fill the dispensers (goldfish, gummis, and Cheerios).

 

Ok, so I signed up to do this to see if I was a ‘Brand Ambassador’ type of person. I am not. I am more of an ‘honest review’ type person. I never really learned that lesson about ‘if you can’t say anything nice, STFU.’ I think I will not be asked back. Whoops.

I WILL say that one mama LOVED the SnackPals dispenser. She went home with two of them — the unopened door prize and one of the demos. She said that her son refused to stick his hand into that other variety of snack containers. You know the kind I mean; there are several on the market but they all have a sort of plastic seal with a scary claw like opening that keeps the snacks from spilling out. We have the ubbi tweat container and Babystar digs it. (We had two and lost one and I don’t miss it enough to replace it. So there’s that.)

The point of the SnackPals container is portion control snacks for kids while on-the-go. Or while at home, too, I guess. You fill it with snacks (goldfish or gummis or m&ms if you are competing for favorite parent that day), turn it upside down, give it a solid shake or two, turn it right side up, then open the top to dispense a small portion of snacks. That totally happened when the adults experimented.

However, a three year old in attendance could not figure out how to work it or even open it. That is unfortunate because I kind of think three-year-olds are about the perfect target audience. The one year olds ignored it, even when they saw that there were snacks inside. The five year old shook and dispensed, shook and dispensed, over and over so there was no portion control aspect other that a parent saying hey that’s enough which we could do with literally any container.

The five year old quickly became the hero among the children there and wielded her power like a proper Snack Princess.

Because we were FULLY COMMITTED to this product review, we even checked to see if it fit in the stroller. It did not (we only checked the one already open and parked out front but dude).

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Also, it has no handles. Little fingers need handles. Mamas holding seventeen things need handles. If it’s not going to have handles, then it should at least fit in a stroller-sized cupholder. Right?

The Wow Cup sippy cup COULD NOT BE SPILLED. If all you are looking for in a cup is that it can not be spilled, look no further. But also, not a single one of the six children at the party could drink from it. (Yes, I washed it in between tries while wishing Tryazon had sent more than one for review. And to be fair, the four month old baby didn’t even try. Lazy baby.) Even I couldn’t get any water out. A couple of other ADULT WOMEN with brains could not get any water out. One of the mamas in attendance luckily had a similar sippy cup for her one year old and told us that we had to sort of squeeze/bite the sides to make it work. We did. It worked. But WHY would you want to teach your child to bite the lip of a cup?!? What about when they drink out of a glass made of ACTUAL GLASS?!? Seems dangerous to me. Hard pass.

(But then later that night I made my husband try it, you know, for research, and he drank with no problem and didn’t even understand my confusion. So, obviously, I need to replace our wine glasses with plastic and metal.)

We did not play the included game at the party. It looks really fun, and it will be played very soon at a child’s birthday party, and I think it will be perfect. It is labeled for players age six and up (which is why we didn’t play it and quite frankly why would you send that particular game along with snack dispensers and a sippy cup??) and it is for 3-13 players. I think the girls will have a blast playing at the party.

The party was fun. Parties are fun. But I would have rather spent $40 on a party on a day of MY choosing and not had the conversation center around baby products. Well, the conversation almost always gets around to baby products anyway because we mamas are #basic like that, and I guess it was kind of fun to have something new to experiment with, so I guess I might do it again but I am pretty sure I will not be asked to do it again.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,882.78

*Now the Tryazon web site has an option for something called ‘Tryabox’ where they ship you something to review and you don’t have to commit to a party and that sounds really cool. I like parties but again: $43.90. Which I know I did not HAVE to spend (and I definitely have leftover snacks) but what kind of host invites adult people to a party and offers them only Cheerios? Not me.

 

College Applications.

Just kidding. Babystar is a long way from college. The Teenager has spent the winter meeting application deadlines for school in the fall. Not the baby. That would be ridiculous.

RIGHT?

Apparently not.

We just spent $100 on preschool applications for the fall. One application was $75 and I already know that Babystar is waitlisted. One was $25 but we have not heard back yet.

All the local mamas told me to try for at least three preschools, hoping to get into one. I didn’t listen; I only submitted two applications. But dude. She’s not even two (well, she will be two in the fall). I sort of figure that my ‘Option Three’ will be to not send her to preschool in the fall. Two-year-old classes are only two days a week for like three hours. It’s a big step, but also, it’s totally fine if she doesn’t go. Right?

Did I just BREAK THE BABY OH NO?!

(Just kidding. Probably. Hopefully.)

Btw, that video was taken at the library, which is FREE, although we did buy a Little Critter Numbers board book for fifty cents from the library sale.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,838.88