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

 

Winter is Numbing.

Winter means indoor play spaces.

Indoor play spaces mean germs.

Germs mean sick babies.

Sick babies mean sick mamas.

When sick babies and sick mamas FINALLY feel better, they want to play. So we go to an indoor play space and puke and repeat.

We were lucky enough to have a few surprise parkweather days this winter, but we have mostly been spending all that overflowing toddler energy at indoor play spaces. Or literally puking on my head. Extremes are so IN this season.

We usually go to Busy Bees. Mostly because Babystar loves it so much. As soon as we are close, she starts chanting ‘balloon, dog, balloon.’ But actually mostly becuase it’s next to a Chick-fil-A and they sell magic chicken sandwiches with the superpower to instantly brighten my day.

I buy 3-visit passes to Busy Bees for $36. But if we show up in the last hour, it’s only $10 so I pay that instead. I have already spent $56 this calendar year at Busy Bees but I still have one visit on the card. Sometimes the toddlermonster lets me sit by the wall and zone out for a few minutes. Worth it.

We  went to the recently opened Nook in north Arlington, which is basically the opposite of Busy Bees. It’s a ton of fun but full of neutral colors and imagination-based play stations. We loved it and will go back but it’s pricey at $20 (we went for $15 this visit with our MOMS group). Babystar made a painting (with really cool stamping markers so it’s basically pointillism right?), played in messy kinetic sand (that messy stuff they have near the front at every Brookstone in every mall), cooked some fake dinner, and tried to move in to this super cool tunnel with STARS in the ceiling (pinpricks of light but the babies were fooled). I didn’t snap pictures because I had other adults to talk to (AWESOME!) that day. Oh, plus they have free cookies. Hm. Now I want to go back.

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We drove up to Maryland, to check out the College Park Aviation Museum. Babystar loves airplanes and she had a blast at this museum. It was completely deserted so she had all of the toys in the hands-on area to herself. She was actually free (under 2) but the Teenager and I were a combined $7. If we were closer, I would take her there all the time. (When we were leaving, the Secret Service rolled up and locked down the tiny airport next door. It was a few days before the inauguration and we totally wonder who was flying into College Park. And also, why? D.C. is kinda far away, especially in traffic.)

We checked out another soft play room close to home. The Chinquapin Park Recreation Center Soft Play Room is REALLY cool. It’s sort of small but with an extra bouncy floor and lots of tall things to climb on. Plus there is a giant ball pit. (And weird green lighting; I don’t know what that is about.) Babystar loved it and would want to go every day, but it’s $5/half hour. We spent $10 but she would have played another hour in there.

 

We space these out with free library story times (that always include lots of songs and wiggle time) and the free soft play room at the local community center. And parks, weather permitting. And if I’m being honest, sometimes I count running around Target as her outing for the day.

The other half of the days have been spent indoors on the couch. Sick. Sick. Sick. I got Babystar hooked on Super Wings (an airplane cartoon on Sprout — she LOVES airplanes) during a particularly bad stretch where the whole fam was sick, and now she is a Super Wings junkie. If the TV is off she just starts chanting, ‘airplanes, airplanes.’ Crap. Why didn’t I stick with the freaking penguin documentaries??

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,631.67

It’s the End of the Year as We Know It.

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The week between Christmas and New Year’s always feels sort of like a half-deflated balloon. All the hype leading up to Santatime has ended, but the year isn’t quite over. School is out, Husband’s work is (sometimes, partially) out, and the whole schedule is off. But. It’s not yet time to jump back on the Resolution Train. (Hurry and eat all the carbs, CHOO CHOO.)

This past week was full of lots of surprise home-alone time. I’ve been organizing closets. I know — I am SUCH a party animal. Babystar has been having park adventures and mall adventures and general errand adventures with her dad. She loves it so much. The little monster is all like BOY BYE MAMACITA as soon as she hears it’s time to put on shoes.

Babystar got her first ever Dippin’ Dots on one such adventure ($4.75.) She rode in a cool rented stroller with a steering wheel ($4.50.) She had a slice of Costco pizza ($2.16). She conned her dad into buying two penguin ornaments that do not spend much time on the tree because Babystar is OBSESSED with penguins ($5.98). She came home one day with two half price Christmas balloons ($11.75).


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Speaking of penguins, we got tired of watching the March of the Penguins trailer over and over and over and over and bought the digital version of Happy Feet on Amazon ($7.99). OMG she does the Happy Feet dances and I DIE. We have watched it thirty-seven bazillion times already. In four days. That’s like 0.000000234 cents per viewing. Not bad. (No, I did not really do the math.)

Oh! He’s also been buying the disposable diapers. A LOT of them, but whatever. We still use one per night but he often takes disposables instead of cloth on their outings. I am 100% fine with this arrangement, but I did forget to include the diapers lately. Target has had them for $4.99 for the last month, and they are $6.49 usually. I’m guessing here, and I don’t like to guess with this project, but I’m going to guess anyway. Four at each price = $45.91. I definitely bought two packs while she was sick in November. Because gross. And we just bought some so we are set now. These *should* last 28 days but they won’t. Many nights she pees between the time we put on the disposable and the time she falls asleep. And many weekends she hangs out in disposables because she is hanging out with dad. (He totally uses cloth too. I think he just finds it easier to change her out of the house when he can toss the dirties. I don’t know what it’s like trying to change her in the men’s room so I’ll just take his word for it.)

Today we went to a kid’s New Year’s Eve Party at Busy Bees ($30) with a countdown and everything, and I’m already home sitting on the couch waiting impatiently for Kathy Griffen and Anderson Cooper to show up on my television. It was really quite fun but of course it was because check out the band.

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Babystar is crashed out on the couch next to me. For now. Not for the year tho, I’m pretty sure.

Cheers, y’all! Now GTFO 2016.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,210.23

 

And the Actual Retail Price is…

Here in Northern Virginia we have a cool play space called Busy Bees. It is geniusly located next to a Chik-Fil-A so it is basically Preschool Paradise. Imagine an old school Discovery Zone meets Pinterest. Everything is pretty and picture perfect. The colors are turquoise and lime and purple instead of primary red, yellow, and blue. Instead of a ball pit, they have a balloon room. It’s adorable and I love it. They have complimentary coffee and wifi, and no stupid rules about ‘outside food’ since they don’t sell crappy pizza or anything. (They do sell little snacks in case you forget to bring your own.) I can see myself getting addicted to this place. And like any smart dealer, they let babies in for free to get them hooked young. (Once Babystar hits her first birthday, it will cost $15.)

Since her admission is free, we stop in for short visits at least once a week these days. Recently, I needed to change her diaper while there. In the bathroom (cutely labeled ‘Potty’) I found the most amazing diaper pail/trash can. There was NO SMELL when I opened the slide-y door to discard the dirty wipes. I looked around like I expected Ashton Kutcher to pop out from behind the toilet.

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When I realized that I had indeed found a diaper pail that could contain the diaper smells (of lots of babies and toddlers all at once), I swear I heard angels singing. The changing table was bathed in a warm glow. Cartoon birds swooped down and helped me fasten Babystar’s diaper. I said out loud to Babystar that we were getting one of these for home. I don’t care if it costs one hundred dollars. Yes, I remember saying that verbatim. Whoops.

I was close. Dammit. $79.99.

But I ordered one anyway. In navy. It is currently en route. Dude, I can’t wait.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $5,988.00