The Organized Toddler Room.

I have finally done it. I have fully unpacked Babystar’s room.

Please behold the cleanest this room will ever be.

toddler room 2

It’s still clean and organized if you open those closet doors!

toddler room 9

Everything is a little creamy beige and boring right now, but I barely care because it is ALL PUT AWAY. I’ll grab some Command Hooks and put up some pictures later. When I unpack them. For now, check out the awesome ORGANIZATION in this room.

I put that old af beat up nine-drawer dresser that I bought from Craigslist for $15 one hundred years ago in Babystar’s closet the very first day we moved in. There is a scary door in the back of her closet that leads to a strange tiny attic room and I didn’t really want her to go exploring. She loves exploring. I use that dresser for extra diapers, blankets, wipes, and random things like that.

The other side of the closet has a brand new super cool Tot Tutors Kids’ Toy Storage Organizer that I bought on Amazon last week for $55.11 on sale. It was super easy to put together and it comes with twelve bins for organizing all of the toddler’s tiny toys. Four bins are bigger, eight are smaller, and they are perfect for holding her dinosaurs and baby doll clothes and rocks. Yes, rocks.

We also bought a great Tot Tutors Kids Book Rack that was ALSO on sale for $24.04. It’s not anything like a regular bookcase but it does make me feel like I’m in a doctor’s waiting room. Which is extra fun when I’m getting my daily regimen of seventeen plastic shots. In my head. The bookcase is really just four fabric slots that hold bedtime books, titles facing out, at toddler eye-level. It’s perfect for Babystar, as she has not figured out to work shelves like a person yet.

toddler bookcase

We also splurged on a Melissa & Doug toy box ($87.18 ON SALE!!) that holds about 5% of her toys. Don’t get me wrong, it’s plenty spacious and it holds a lot of toys. Babystar just has WAY too many toys. Yes, I just noticed. Whoops. Bad mama.

The toy box is really well made and very cute and doubles as a bench and it has those safety hinges to protect tiny fingers and I put a couple pillows on it that are probably on the floor by now but they did look cute for this picture.

I also found space in this room for my mother’s old rocking chair and the lion that Santa Claus used to scare Babystar in 2016. I could probably fit anything in this room. Babystar has by far the largest bedroom of all three kids. And she doesn’t even sleep in her own room. The other half of her room (not pictured) is actually just her dresser and the guest bed. The guest bed is currently just a queen mattress on the floor so if you are planning a surprise visit, BYOB. B is for boxspring.

The most AMAZING RIDICULOUS AWESOME thing in Babystar’s room is the giant KidKraft Savannah Dollhouse sent by her grandparents. It is so tall that she can’t even reach the attic. Yes, the dollhouse has an attic. It’s bananas. Babystar loves it.

The dollhouse is scaled for dolls as large as Barbies. I kind of thought her Strawberry Shortcake dolls would move in. But no. She sometimes crams her stuffed animals in there, and, um, they totally fit. But she usually just uses it to play Trolls. The Trolls are SO TINY in this giant mansion. Check out Bridget.

kid kraft dollhouse2

And because I am also obsessed with this dollhouse, and the fact that it has a porch swing (because it has a porch WUUUUT), this would be Princess Poppy’s view from said porch swing.

toddler room 3

I also actually HID a bunch of her toys and books because she has WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. I put a bunch of crap quality items in clear storage bins from Target (four at $4.99 each) and plan to rotate. If I don’t forget. And it’s kind of fine if I do forget, because really? She’s all set. Half of her toys are downstairs anyway. I live in a children’s museum.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,288.22

(This post contains affiliate links. I FINALLY signed up for the Amazon Associates Program. I am hella excited. Please read the official legal disclosure on the full page.)

Toddler Love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Once upon a time, when I was young and punk rock, I thought that Valentine’s Day was a stupid made-up joke. I have never cared if I ‘had a Valentine’ or made a big deal if I DID happen to be in a relationship on February 14.

But I ADORE the kid-version of the holiday. I can’t get enough silly puns and sugary love. Still Hallmark, but harmless. (And I am 100% behind Galentine’s Day because that shit is genius.)

Somehow this year, Babystar found out about Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the forty million times we have been to Target in the last month. Plus it’s a NEW Target, so I don’t yet know where all of the land mines seasonal aisles are located. (I know now.)

We explained all about Valentine’s Day (the kid version) and she wanted to make Valentines for her friends. So sweet. But of course we just moved over 1500 miles away from home so none of her friends are nearby. She talks about them every day and tells us about things that happened ‘yesterday’, but she also knows that Colorado is VERY FAR AWAY from where we used to live. I wish I knew what was in her awesome Toddler Brain.

Babystar chose a pack of Trolls (of course) Valentines from Target ($2.50) and she made her Valentines. And then we mailed them to her friends ($6.86), some of whom are babies and will not even understand the whole postal system thing. But hopefully they will still like looking at the cute Trolls on the Valentines.

Best of all, she made Valentines for all of us too. I helped write the names, so I got a sneak preview, but they have been in her microwave waiting for Valentine’s Day. OMG THE CUTEST.

Trolls valentines

Um, can someone tell me the best way to get crayon off a table top? I’m tired of scrubbing.

RAISNG BABYSTAR: $26,101.93

 

Spoiling Babystar.

There is a long history of movie titles using the formula VERBing GIRLNAME.

Driving Miss Daisy. Chasing Amy. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Killing Zoe. Raising Helen. Stealing Beauty. Kissing Jessica Stein. Finding Dory.

I’m hoping if I use a fancy Hollywood name for this blog post, no one will notice that I have gone FULL BRIBE with the toddler.

Moving is hard, y’all. We have only been Colorado residents for three weeks. We still have boxes yet to be unpacked. We still haven’t found the plastic sink that goes in her play kitchen. And Babystar is pretty chill with everything that is happening around her.

She plays with the toys that she has, and gets excited whenever we unbox new toys.

But we also needed to stock the house with groceries and toilet paper and coffee and wine (!!!) and some more towels and hand soap and lamps and just house things.

If you look at the huge number by the dollar sign at the bottom of my posts, you will likely discern that I am a total sucker for buying toys for Babystar. But now we have turned them into ‘Listening and Patience Presents.’ I let her choose something fun during each long errand (usually Troll-related, but it does vary) and then I use the method taught to me by my dear friend and supermama Mary Catherine. The Patience Present is hers to lose. As long as Babystar listens and is patient during the outings, mama will buy the toy she has chosen. If she does not listen or she runs away from me (which used to be a problem back in Arlington ALL THE TIME), then we have to wait until our next errand trip to buy the toy.

So far, it works. I definitely think that letting her pick her toy/whatever and hold it while we do the rest of the shopping helps immensely. A total physical reminder IN HER HAND to listen to mama.

Dude, if you told me you could make my toddler behave in the shops for five bucks, I would totally do it. Trolls are about five bucks, and those are her favorite presents right now. I am ALL IN.

So, anyway, behold the baby’s recent bribes.

trolls

Trolls, purchased separately. $4.99 each.

felt mail

Felt mail, for playing along with Blue’s Clues. $3 at Target.

rocks from ned

A box of rocks. $12. Yep. From our adventure in the adorable mountain town of Nederland. The locals call it ‘Ned.’ And I’m a local now. So the rocks are from Ned.

She also chose a ‘Cloud Guy’ pillow ($7.99) for her Patience Present from Ikea* and she sleeps on him every night. Hopefully Cloud Guy AND Babystar will soon move into her Big Girl Bed (Coming Soon).

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,092.57

*I firmly believe that EVERYONE that doesn’t have a breakdown in Ikea deserves a Patience Present.

Wild, Wild West Part Two.

The Colorado Saga continues as our three heroines drive west out of Kansas City in search of dinner. Have you ever driven west on I-70 in Kansas? Almost immediately, we were forced onto a toll road with only one gas option and one food option. We accepted our fate, filled up the gas tank, and ordered our Chicken McNuggets.

(P.S. WHAT are the toys that McDonald’s is handing out in their $2.99 Happy Meals these days? Some kind of anthromorphic line of furniture? I don’t get it. But ok. Babystar’s washing machine probably WILL have opinions in the future so she may as well pretend all about it now.)

I digress.

I broke our family’s cardinal rule about ‘no screens at dinner’ because 1) road trip and 2) fast food. Princess Buttercup aka Navigator Extroidonaire pulled out her phone to check our route ahead and figure ouT where we would sleep. We watched the sun set from our sweet window seat at McDonald’s and calculated the distance to Topeka.

Kansas is wide af, y’all, so we knew we wouldn’t get to Colorado that night.

Princess Buttercup is ambitious, though, so she checked the distance to Denver just for fun. Eight hours. We would arrive at 12:35am if we drove to Denver. And that’s AFTER the time change when we cross into the Mountain Time Zone.

Nope. Nopenopenopenopenope.

Except YEP. Because we also discovered that there was a huge winter storm warning for Colorado and parts of Kansas starting at 1am that night. Snow AND ICE was predicted after midnight and throughout the following day. We had two choices: stop in Kansas and get snowed in for two days or race the storm to Denver.

We are idiots. We raced the storm to Denver.

The sun had set by the time we got back on the road. Has anyone driven through Kanasas? What does it look like? I genuinely want to know. As far as I can tell, the state is pitch black and full of UFOs. An hour or so into Kansas, we noticed bands of red lights blinking in unison. They would disappear and reappear, always blinking the same alien codes.

I’m pretty sure NOW that they were wind turbines. But we were pretty sure THEN that earth had been invaded.

Also, it was before midnight on a Saturday night and there were like five other cars on the road. I was under the impression that I-70 was a major highway but I felt like I was driving through an episode of True Detective: X Files. There were gas stations about every twenty to thirty miles but when my needle dropped under a quarter tank, I started to worry. We drove through a long stretch of road seeing nothing but aliens, so when I finally saw an exit with a sign that promised gas, we stopped. We drove almost a mile down a dark road before finding the gas station.

Y’all. OMFG.

We pulled up to one of the four pumps. There was a guy in an older pick up truck pumping gas already, so we obviously waited for him to drive away before even unlocking the van. When I did get out to pump gas, I left the keys in the van with Princess Buttercup and Babystar and gave strict orders that they should lock the doors while I pumped the gas and went inside the gas station to pee. If I was abducted by the aliens, Princess Buttercup was to hop in the driver’s seat and speed away without looking back.

When I got outside of the van, I noticed that the gas station was actually closed. Great. We were alone with the aliens. And there was nowhere to pee. Also, they only sold two kinds of gas — diesel and not diesel. There were no pesky octane levels or anything from which to choose. I hurried to fill the tank and then got back on the interstate as quickly as possible.

Two miles later we stopped at the most glorious, brilliantly lit gas station and convenience store combo in all of Kansas. We got caffeine and chatted with the lovely WOMEN that were working there and finally peed and got back on the road to Denver.

Fun fact: the border town between Kansas and Colorado on I-70 is called Kanorado.

We crossed into Colorado eventually, and somehow drove 180 MORE miles through the worst fog ever to our hotel near the Denver airport. By midnight, we really were the only vehicle on the road. Well, it was us and the trucks salting the highway. Everyone else had enough sense not to drive in ZERO VISIBILITY conditions. But we did finally make it to our hotel that night. We had booked two nights at the Embassy Suites because we wanted the extra space and we wanted an on-site restaurant since we knew we would be stuck for a little while.

The hotel had given away our room.

Y’all. I straight up cried right at that poor night clerk. I didn’t yell at him. I just started crying at him like a soap opera diva. When I finally pulled it together, I learned that they had held a room for us at the hotel across the street. We packed our things back into the van and drove across the parking lot. The snow started about fifteen minutes after we finally checked into our room for the night.

Everything turned out all right in the end. We ended up in a two-bedroom suite for two nights, paid for by the Embassy Suites that bumped us. (Thanks again, jerks! Actually, they weren’t really jerks they were just oversold like every hotel. And they paid for our stay across the street so that was cool. They would not bring me wine though. I asked.)

And then on Sunday morning, after having slept only about four hours, I got a miracle phone call that our furniture was going to be delivered the following day around noon. PERFECT.

The Alien Fog drive though hell was worth it.

This was almost two weeks ago and we are still unpacking.

We also just got internet. Like, five minutes ago. And we still don’t have television, though I’m sure we could probably stream something if we had time to sit down.

I still have no decent pictures. Please enjoy this picture of the inside of our moving truck.

moving truck2

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,054.61

Wild, Wild West.

We made it to Colorado!

(Actually, we made it to Colorado over a week ago but we are still unpacking and we still don’t have internet so I blog from a coffee shop down the street when I can convince the older kids to hang home with Babystar which is not as often as I would like since they both are getting over the DeathFlu. Anyway.)

Let’s see how much I can fit into this forty-five minute coffee break.

The girls and I left Arlington on January 15.

Oh, but before that, we spent all of January packing and also taking Babystar on a Farewell Tour of her favorite parks and friend’s houses and indoor play spaces (because it was super cold!). I used up the rest of my passes to Nook and Busy Bees and we played at Scramble a few more times. (We spent $38.00 at Scramble that last week including snacks).

We didn’t get far on January 15, but the movers were really mean to me and I had to get out of Northern Virginia for my sanity. Plus we didn’t have any beds to sleep in anymore. We spent the night near the Virginia/North Carolina border and the drove to my brother’s house in Ashboro, North Carolina, the next day.

My brother works at the North Carolina Zoo so we got an awesome behind the scenes tour. Dude. DUDE. It was amazing. We met a bear and some zebras and an ostrich and a rhinoceros. Princess Buttercup and I were awestruck. Babystar was so casual about the whole thing. She fed a freaking BEAR and was like, “Next!”

Toddlers, dude. I can’t wait to tell her the story when she’s older.

She really did love the ostrich, though. They are super silly birds, and she laughed and laughed. She also loved the flamingos. Because they were pink. And the sea lions, because they were on a rock and she was super jealous because she loves rocks.

TODDLERS.

Anyway.

We got snowed in at my brothers for an extra day but finally got on the road again eventually. We made it to Tennessee and had dinner with friends before stopping for the night.

I bought Babystar a $7.00 pint of Haagen Daaz from the hotel snack bar.

The next day we got up early-ish and drove to the Parthenon. Did you know there was a Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee? I did not. We found out about it while lying in the hotel bed the night before.

It was super awesome. Babystar’s admission was free, but I did buy her some little toys in the gift shop for $13.40. We all adored the 42-foot Athena statue, and Babystar kept asking to go back upstairs to see ‘the tall lady.’

athena

Eventually we got some Chick-fil-A ($3.49 for Babystar) and got back on the road and drove through bits of Kentucky and Illinois and past St. Louis before stopping in Missouri for the night.

We drove to Wonderscope in Kansas City the next day to let Babystar get some quality playtime in and some wiggles OUT.  Wonderscope is a super cool children’s museum and I’m really glad we stopped. Admission for the three of us was $24 ($8 per person) but it was totally worth it to let the toddler play. We all played a bit, actually. I preferred the Art Room, Princess Buttercup was obsessed with the huge play grocery store, and Babystar loved the Vet Office. We did lots of check-ups on ‘Tillie’.

We finally left Wonderscope at 5pm when they closed, and we decided to drive out of the city before stopping for dinner.

The plan was to eat, drive a little ways, and find someplace in Kansas to sleep for the night.

Things did not go as planned.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,051.62