Fall Wardrobe: Toddler Edition.

September was the kind of hot that made me doubt Fall even existed. October gave us a few less-than-scalding days, but it was still too warm for a jacket. Or socks. FINALLY, now that is is freaking November, cooler weather has descended upon the us here in the DC area. Praise be. Hallelujah. Amen. Blessings to the Horae. All of it.

Babystar is super lucky; she has a Grammy that loves to shop. And by that I mean that WE are all very lucky that Grammy loves to shop, because we get surprise boxes of clothes throughout the year. Last month we received a box full of 3T leggings and a few other random outfits.

Fun fact: Grammy (aka my MIL) has started removing all of the tags before mailing so that I cannot exchange anything. And almost everything she sends is pink. Or flowery. Or pink and flowery. Grammy is also on board with the star theme so we get a lot of star prints too. I love it. I really do love it. But the tag thing is hilarious.

So obviously, Babystar is SET on leggings this fall. In fact, the leggings drawer literally overfloweth. AND YET I BOUGHT TWO MORE PAIRS OF LEGGINGS ANYWAY. Partially to balance the pink and partially because Target was having a sale on Cat and Jack but mostly because LOOK HOW SWEET. ($3.75 each! Cat and Jack was 25% off of already stupidly low prices. COME. ON.)

Cat and Jack leggings

We also bought a few long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts that should last the season. (Maybe. I do love a good sale. And I kind of hate laundry.)

 

Clockwise from the rocket ship: $5.99, $8.99, $4.50, $5.99, $5.99, $3.75, $5.99. Everything was 25% off except the Ghostbusters tee. But obviously we had to buy the Ghostbusters tee. With tax, everything was $51.62.

I will probably buy her a coat or something this winter. (Probably this one.) If my lovely MIL doesn’t send a box of various coats in various lengths and various weights and various fabrics first. (I love it. I hope that is coming through. I really do love her thoughtfulness, and she waited a long freaking time for a grandchild.)

Unrelated (always related): I have been encouraging the toddler to choose her own clothes. That is my version. Her version might be different and include the phrase “I do what I want.” But the end result is that I have learned a fashion secret. Nobody but NOBODY can mix patterns like a Toddler.

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,020.55

Happy Halloween!

I freaking LOVE Halloween!

I have a box of spooky Halloween decorations in the basement, PROBABLY WITH REAL SPIDERS BECAUSE BASEMENT. This year, all of the morbidly awesome decorations are staying in that box in the basement.

Babystar says everything is ‘too scary.’

Ok, she’s totally right, but LAAAAAAAME.

This year we embraced the pumpkin. We bought seventy-five MILLION pumpkins and mini gourds and mini pumpkins and more pumpkins at the cutest little orchard in Thurmont, Maryland. ($46.85.)

babystar with pumpkin

We piled the pumpkins all over the house.

pumpkins on mantlepumpkin decor

We had a pumpking painting party for Babystar’s friends. And my friends. Let’s be real; she’s two years old. I pick her friends. ($13 for stickers, $3.99 for muffins. I already had lots of paint. And lots of apples.)

painting pumpkins

In definite non-scary but totally adorable form, we are dressing as llamas this Halloween. Everyone thinks we are sheep, probably because the costume cannot actually extend our necks. So we spit on everyone instead. Just kidding. Maybe. ($25 for the Toddler Llama and $20 each for the Teenager Llama and Mama Llama. $1 for the plastic pumpkin.)

This picture is actually from Saturday, and it was rather warm that afternoon. I’ve got my llama toes out. We’ll wear the same costumes for Trick-or-Treating tonight, and I hope it’s a lot cooler. Literally cooler, like temperature-wise. I’m sure it will be fine either way though, because Babystar is 100% ON BOARD with this whole Begging-for-Candy situation.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,098.77

 

 

Forty.

I never thought I would be chasing a toddler at forty years old.

IMG_4185

I was a teen mom before Instagram and Facebook and the MTV show. I mostly just hoped I wouldn’t have GRANDCHILDREN by age forty. (I don’t. I somehow have two amazing college students with practical knowledge of birth control.)

My Teen Marriage didn’t last (surprise!) but I have been married to my current husband for over ten years. We tried for a baby almost right away, but then got sucked into the dark depths of Secondary Infertility. As anyone who has been through any type of infertility knows, it was HELL. After six years of charting and procedures and hoping and crying and crumbling, I gave up.

I had to give up. For my sanity and for my marriage, I needed to stop the monthly devastation. I had two unbelievably amazing children and my husband had two wonderful step-children. We were both very lucky, actually. And our family was complete.

My two wonderful children lived in Florida with their dad during the school year (another long story for another time), and I missed them so much all the time. I luckily had a job that allowed me to work from home, wherever that home might be. We made a hard decision to rent an apartment for me in Florida during the 2014-2015 school year. It was my son’s senior year of high school and my daughter’s sophomore year of high school. I found a three-bedroom apartment across the street from the high school for less than $900 per month. At that point, I was spending about $1500 each month on hotels and AirBnBs and airplane tickets and car rentals and dinners out with the kids in Florida. The finances sucked but it kind of made sense. So I moved there without my husband.

But of course we visited one another.

IMG_3935

Imagine my surprise when three months into the school year (and three months into my Florida lease), my period was late. Holy crap. I could hardly believe it. I didn’t believe it. And then I couldn’t deny it. I took a pregnancy test and called my husband 700 miles away with the news.

I WAS PREGNANT! OMFG.

IMG_0567

But. I was living in Florida for the school year. The school year that ended in May. My daughter was turning sixteen in May. My son was graduating in June. Babystar was due on June 19.

That was a hell of a ride.

IMG_9488

I went to doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds without my husband. I heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time all by myself. I sat alone to take the gestational diabetes test. I drove myself to the hospital when I started bleeding early in the third trimester and sat in that hospital bed texting my husband five states away while he checked the airline schedules. (I was ok. The baby didn’t come until June.)

img_4093

I fetched my own ice cream. I spent too much money on pedicures just for the frequent foot massages. I ripped my cartilage and had to bind my ribs myself because the doctors I was seeing were not my own and were pretty horrible and I was not invested enough to find a new temporary doctor in Florida. I had strong faux contractions from about Week 22 and I laid awake night after night trying to get comfortable. I complained to no one. (Ok, those two wonderful college students might disagree.)

I didn’t set up a nursery, because I wasn’t home. I didn’t shop for the baby because I was too busy with my teenagers. (And we were too broke from supporting two households.) I basically tried to ignore the pregnancy. Not because I wasn’t excited — I was! I was that wary but ecstatic sort of excited experienced by parents that gave everything trying for a baby. But. But still, I didn’t want anything to take away from being in Florida with my teenagers.

Who were not at all amused, by the way. Well, my son thought it was hilarious. My daughter just rolled her eyes.

I threw a Sweet Sixteen birthday party for my daughter at 36 weeks pregnant. And I danced — in heels! I sat on backless bleachers for hours at 37 weeks pregnant to watch my son graduate high school. At 38 weeks pregnant, I sold as much as I could and packed up the rest of that Florida apartment and moved back home.

I went into labor two weeks later, on my due date. I was out running last minute errands for the baby. Everything was last minute with this baby. My son was driving but I wouldn’t let him take me home until we finished everything on my list.

I was right.

Babystar was born the next day.

cropped-img_4895.jpg

And all of a sudden I was paying attention. I didn’t put her down for months. You can’t spoil a baby, right?

Babystar has been the best little surprise. She definitely changed all of our lives. My daughter chose a close-ish state school and I am certain the main reason is her two-year-old BFF. My husband was Mr. Live Music and Football Games and I can count on my fingers the concerts he has been to in the last two years. My plan was ALWAYS to spend my fortieth birthday in Cape Town, finally reaching my dream vacation destination. Instead, I am having a movie night that will probably be a Moana double feature. First Moana, and then Moana again.

And I fucking love it.

My birthday blog post was going to be a story about me and how I felt about turning forty. And just like my life, this post was taken over by this tiny human that I never expected to meet. What’s forty? I’m too busy building block towers and pushing swings and reading picture books and blowing bubbles to care.

IMG_1121

 

Baby Leash.

At least it’s not a muzzle.

(BRB going to google if toddler muzzles are a thing. No? No. Ok, cool. I didn’t want one anyway.)

Babystar is an unpredictable little ToddlerMonster. As is to be expected. I love the unpredictable things she says to me all the time. I love most of the unpredictable things she does all day long. I do not love the sudden unpredictable public sprints.

Like many good parents, we tricked the trusting little monster. She wanted her very own backpack. Mommy has a backpack. Big Sister and Big Brother have backpacks. Her cousins have backpacks. I borrowed one of the Skip Hop Zoo collection backpacks (with safety strap) from a friend for a trial run. She loved it, and barely notices if I have to grab the safety strap. Not a leash. A safety strap.

Whatever. It’s a leash. And I don’t care.

She loves that she can carry around a few books and a toy car or tiny Care Bear or whatever. I love that if my own backpack gets too heavy I can fit her water bottle into HER backpack and help her become an independent human and build a strong character and mostly take some weight and bulk out of my own bag. I don’t always attach the harness but I always have it with me. When we are walking near a road or in a big crowd of people, I like the peace of mind that the harness gives to me. I don’t lead her around by the safety strap. I do loop it onto my wrist and then hold her hand. It’s a great backup for when she gets OH SO EXCITED ABOUT THAT THING WAAAAY OVER THERE HURRY HURRY MAMA! (It is usually rocks. It is always rocks.)

 

When the safety strap is not keeping her super safe, I can loop it around the backpack’s handle and give her a little free range chicken action. She doesn’t even notice or care that it’s there. She is just excited to have her very own backpack.

skip hop zoo backpack

And, ok, she picked out her very own backpack all by herself. But since it does have a LEASH, I find it absolutely hilarious that she chose the dog.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,526.63

 

CONFESSION TIME: Who has used a baby leash? Who hates me now?