Storing the STUFF.

Where does it all come from? I am writing a blog about literally all of the stuff we buy for this baby and I STILL DON’T KNOW where it all comes from!!

Ok, some of this stuff was given to us (and we are very grateful), but that alone cannot possibly explain what is happening here.

For the first time since we moved into this townhouse nine years ago, we have had to rent a storage unit nearby to help store all of our crap. Yes, it’s all mostly crap. And it is definitely not worth the cost of the storage unit. But it IS cheaper than marriage counseling.

I’m joking.

No, I’m not.


Due largely in part to some very good things — my son moving back home and going back to school nearby but of course needing some closet space of his own, my oldest daughter going away to school and packing up a bunch of her things in boxes that we have to put somewhere, being lucky enough to have a little surprise Babystar but needing to pack up a lot of breakables that were previously stored all around the house — we ran out of room in our not-that-big townhouse.

I blame the baby. We were always able to make room before, but now we have to be really careful where we put things. Plus she needs a room (even though no she doesn’t because she sleeps with me). Plus she has way more stuff than the rest of us (and it’s all sticky).

Example: Her things take up FULLY HALF of our already-small townhouse patio, and she is only 1/5 of our family. Size-wise, she is only like 1/20.


I don’t even want to talk about our living room.

So, yeah. The cost of the storage unit is ALL ON HER.

I paid $35 to open the unit, and it will be $127 per month. (I actually did this last month so I already paid $127 for June.) Going forward, I’ll add the recurring charge to her monthly food posts. Baby costs MONEY, y’all.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone else live in a tiny house with a tiny person? How do you do it? Where do you put everything?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,311.45

 

 

 

Another Food Post.

I dread these necessary-for-accuracy-but-totally-boring food posts.

The following is a list of food purchased specifically for the ToddlerMonster in June. She does eat OTHER food. In fact, the following is mostly a list of foods offered to and refused by the ToddlerMonster. (Except the fish. We don’t buy extra steak or chicken for her but we buy extra fish because she eats so much fish.)

  • penguin crackers $1.49, $1.49, $1.49
  • frozen pizza $2.29, $3.79
  • frozen french fries $1.89
  • blueberries $1.79, $1.79, $4.99, $3.99, $3.79
  • string cheese $1.79, $1.79
  • strawberries $1.29, $1.29 (Aldi price!!)
  • freeze dried strawberries $1.29
  • freeze dried bananas $1.29
  • oatmeal cereal bar cookies $1.49, $1.49
  • organic rainbow baby carrots $1.69
  • animal cookies $1.29
  • pineapple bits $0.89
  • m&m’s $1
  • peaches $2.98
  • melon slices $2.99
  • bananas $1.74, $1.48, $0.87
  • apples $3.99, $4.99
  • Trader Joe’s mac & cheese $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • Trader Joe’s apple bars $1.99, $1.99
  • Trader Joe’s blueberry bars $1.99
  • Trader Joe’s strawberry bars $1.99
  • SO MANY POPSICLES $4.69, $469, $4.69, $4.69
  • eggs $4.99
  • salmon $8
  • sea bass $6
  • Caesar salad $4.99
  • Kid’s pasta at Busboys and Poets $6
  • side of fries at Busboys and Poets $5
  • Angelico Pizzeria cheese slice $3, $3, $3
  • Chik-fil-A kids meal $3.39, $3.75, $3.39
  • Kid’s chicken and fries at Boardwalk Fries $4.99
  • french fries at Five Guys $4.19
  • kids meal at McDonalds $2.99, $2.99
  • spring rolls at T.H.A.I. $5.99
  • spring rolls and fried rice at Peter Changs $2.50
  • Robek’s smoothie $4.99, $4.99, $4.99
  • kleenex in a Moana box $1.99*


Not on the list because it is free: mama’s milk.

I have no idea what is up with this new nursing all day, erry day thing that she has going on now. Maybe she’s trying to kick it retro?

Babystar was basically day-weaned, and then the two year molars showed up and everything changed. She wants milk ALL OF THE TIME. I was using the ‘don’t ask, don’t offer’ method of gentle weaning, but apparently just my existence in the world is a reminder that I have milk. And that she wants the milk nownownow.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: To those of you out there that successfully weaned a toddler with little to no tears, HOW did you do it? I have exactly zero ideas. I have googled. I have asked friends. I have googled some more. I have asked the doctor. I got nothing. Please help.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,852.64

*Yes, I know that this isn’t food but it was purchased at the grocery store and once she saw it, she HAD TO HAVE IT, and we didn’t feel like fighting that particular battle. Kleenex is at least useful. It could have been, like, Moana paper plates or something else that we really don’t use at home.

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in the Park.

This is the last known photograph of Babystar’s favorite water bottle.


It was a blue and yellow (and metal) smaller size Contigo that her grandparents gave to her during her last visit to Myrtle Beach. Blue and yellow are her favorite colors! She loved pushing the button so the straw would pop up! (She could actually open and close it herself and it was still 100% leak-proof in my bag.) And Contigo beverage containers are magic so her water stayed cold all day!

(Seriously, Contigo makes MAGICAL containers. My coffee stays hot for literal hours. This is the most important thing for me as a SAHM so yay Contigo.)

Alas.

We totally left Babystar’s favorite cup at the park last Tuesday. I would have gone back to fetch it but I didn’t realize it until about 10pm and I knew the squirrels had likely taken it by then. Lucky squirrels. I hope they at least figure out how to get the straw open.

I was devastated. Like, way more upset than I needed to be over a freaking sippy cup.

Amazon Prime to the rescue — almost. Apparently, there are no more blue and yellow ones. But at least her water will be cold again. $15.99. (Hella expensive for a child’s cup but completely worth it.)


RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,084.64

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Parents, what is your kid’s favorite kind of on-the-go cup? What is YOUR favorite?

New Clothes. And Old New Clothes.

New Clothes: I bought Babystar a ‘Wild Feminist’ tee during Feminist Apparel’s 25% off sale recently. (I bought a few for me and a few for my oldest daughter but figured that Babystar needed at least one. I’m a sucker. I know. $22.47 after the discount.)

 

More New Clothes: I also bought her the coolest pink sunhat from Costco that supposedly will last for years if she doesn’t lose it. (Spoiler alert: She or I will lose it.) The hat fits children ages 3-10 according to the tag. Babystar must have a big head because it fits now, but it is adjustable. $7.99.

 

Old New Clothes: While my almost-adult goddess child was getting ready for prom, Babystar went into her dresser and chose her own ‘pretty dress’ to wear. As I removed the tags for her, I realized that 1) she had clearly never worn this dress and 2) I had not added it to the blog. I bought the dress at Costco back in February for $12.99 intending it to be her Easter dress. But then my MIL bought her a cute tutu dress with a bunny on it to wear on Easter instead, and I forgot about this one. It is ADORABLE and I think she may wear it every day now. She’s on kind of a dress kick lately. 


(And MY GOD will you look at that beautiful Prom Goddess and her stunning gown!?)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $17,061.57

 

Balloon Life.

Toddlers like balloons.

Toddlers love balloons.

Toddlers are obsessed with balloons.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t generalize. MY TODDLERMONSTER CAN NOT GET ENOUGH BALLOONS in her life. She’s living that balloon life.

This Peanuts balloons has been around longer than the actual Peanuts comic strip. I think we brought it home in late January. I will miss this one when it’s gone. $6.99.

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This lucky little guy moved in at the beginning of the month, but he’s still hanging around looking shiny. $3.99.

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And these superstars were given to Babystar when we left the Children’s Museum last week, or the week before, they are all running together. We drove them ninety miles home because we love that little ToddlerMonster.

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They hang out near the sky because they are stars, duh. Also because one of the strings is only about four centimeters long.

Does anyone else have a balloon-obsessed toddler?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,665.97

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Cloth.

With few exceptions, Babystar has been in disposable diapers for about a month now. I started when I packed the bag for the Women’s March last month and disposables were so much lighter. I kept her in disposables through a bathroom renovation that took away my access to the diaper sprayer for a week. Then we all got sick and now we are better but yet the disposable diapers remain on the baby.

I’m not gonna lie — I don’t hate them. They are not as cute as the cloth diapers, but they definitely have their benefits.

disposables

But today we are back in cloth. Let’s do this!


We bought eleven packs of diapers during this glorious, lazy month. The Target brand was somehow always on sale for $4.99. Score! So $54.89 for almost a month. Eh. The fancy cloth we use costs $30-35 each. I think you CAN save money using cloth but I definitely did NOT.

(We still have disposables left but we also still use them at night and on Sundays in the church nursery.)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,738.38

Oh My Darling, Valentine.

I belong to a chapter of MOMS Club International (and I just paid my annual dues which are $25 but really $26.80 if you pay online and I paid online). This month our MOMS Club decided to have the kids make valentines to bring to a local assisted living home. This is the same place where my motherfreaking rockstar Teenager hosts a weekly ‘art club’ because she is an amazing human with nothing but kindness in her soul and also because she has to do a community service project to earn her IB diploma. Anyway. I have not met these seniors but I have heard a lot of great stories and I want them to have wonderful valentines from the adorable children in our club.

Something always comes up, right? On the day that we planned to make the valentines, one mama couldn’t leave her house because her children had turned into flying monkeys from Oz. Another mama had an exorcist-like vomit situation going on. Another mama had a baby that set the house on fire. Probably. I think the remaining children wrote an avant-garde musical and went on tour. Or something like that.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone showed up last week when we were meant to make the valentines. Babystar was actually the oldest of the only three children there, and she was all about the markers for approximately three of the one hundred twenty minutes. She created a stunning work of art. (The other two were a bit too young.)

Babystar loved the stampy markers at Nook last month and clearly remembered them because she basically reenacted that super fun marker time. Except these were not the right kind of markers. Whoops.


This past weekend I went to Micheal’s to find some of those stampy markers and some age appropriate valentine-making supplies. So basically, foam hearts and stickers. They were out of valentine stickers so we got animals and cars and stuff. I used a couple Micheal’s couponS and the total was $22.03. I did get one small pack of heart stickers at Target for $2.99.


We made some valentines. I know some other mamas in the group made some valentines. At least we won’t show up empty handed. If we run out, Babystar is A+ at blowing kisses.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,683.49

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