Monday, November 24, 2014

Stop Judging the List, Santa

Yesterday was one of the those days where I just needed to get out of the house, and I suspected Reagan did too. Her surgery was five days ago, and she's on her way to recovery, but she's been spending a lot of time mooching around the house and whining.

Which I get, by the way. I'd probably be doing much MORE whining. 

Anyway, I asked Reagan where she wanted to go. We didn't need to do any errands - I'd done most of them during my "mommy time" on Saturday. She asked for the toy store, so, after a quick caveat with the girls about whether or not we were there to purchase toys (we were not), off we went.

Sometimes it's nice to just meander around a toy store with no expectations at all. I solved the "oh, look at this! I want this!" issue with two strategies.

1) Each girl was allowed to hold and carry a toy in each aisle. When we moved on, they had to leave the toy behind. If they didn't want to, we didn't move on. With something new around every corner, they were usually very willing to give the toys back, and they were excited to actually get to hold a few things, rather than the typical "look, don't touch" rule.

2) They were allowed to use my phone to take a picture (or have me take a picture) of any toys they wanted to add to their Christmas list. Rather than saying "we'll put it on your list", they were able to actually do something about it. It also let Madison look at the toy as she painstakingly writes her list.

Which brings us to the list...

Last year was the first year that Madison really understood the concept of a Christmas list. Rather than limit her items, she is allowed to ask for whatever she wants, with the understanding that Santa doesn't get everything. We have her mark two or three things that she really wants - things that Santa will try his best to get. Last year she was obsessed with a toy camera and a LeapFrog music player. She consistently asked for them. Every list she made, every Santa visit, every relative or stranger who asked what she wanted was met with "a camera and a music". When Santa came through on Christmas morning, she was deliriously happy. She got plenty of other gifts - including a dollhouse - that she loved, but she was so happy that Santa had read her letter and remembered what she'd told him.

Well this year she's been asking for a dancing Palace Pet. The girls watch Disney Jr, and although it is technically commercial free, they do market some of their own products pretty heavily. This Palace Pet, which I actually got to play with at an event this summer, is one they pushed for a while this fall. She's seen it in Target, and in Toys R Us, and at Walmart, and she has become obsessed.  

You control the dancing and moving with your magic wand.

The problem is that I don't want to get this toy. It's something that's going to need batteries. It's something that she and Reagan are going to fight endlessly over - and I'm not buying two. It's something that, because it needs an uncarpeted floor, is going to end up underfoot in the kitchen while I try to make dinner. And rather than something that I can see lasting, I suspect that this is the kind of toy that will fizzle as the year goes on. She's got plenty of other things on her Christmas list. I've suggested plenty of other toys that I think are more worth it. Longer lasting. Less...commercial. Better.


This is what she's been asking Santa for. She's stayed consistent. It's what she really wants (or at least, thinks she wants). Would I ever buy it on a random day? Of course not. Which is why she's putting her faith in Santa. She's been waiting patiently to share this toy with Santa, and ask him to try as hard as he can to put it under our tree.

Isn't that sort of the point of the Christmas list? Something impractical. Something that you know you wouldn't get everyday. Something you are excited about and are willing to wait for. Sure, she could use another set of tights and another leotard to go into the rotation. There are some learning toys that she's really excited about that will end up under the tree. But let's be honest - that's the kind of thing that I'm going to get her anyway.

We've had one disastrous Santa visit where I was too busy imploring the picture people to take the picture (don't worry, that story is coming) to hear what she asked for, but I know we've got a few more Santa encounters once December hits. And I think if she stays consistent, then Santa needs to stop being judgmental, and fulfill a four year old's wish. She has plenty of time to consider the pros and cons of every present - who am I to bah humbug all over her Christmas spirit?

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sprucing Up the Space - One Pillow at a Time


I am the worst at decorating.

Not for holidays. I'm actually pretty good for holidays. But when it comes to every day decor, I am paralyzed by indecision. I love the things I see in the stores, but when it comes to actually spending the money to get things to make my house look pretty, I freeze. I would rather make no decision than the wrong decision. Which is just ridiculous.

This is why my throw pillows essentially came from the dollar store...and look it.

When Adam and I first moved into the house, we bought several rooms worth of furniture. I was able to buy pictures for the walls somehow, but for some reason I decided that the old throw pillows from my college apartment - some of which were given to me as hand me downs from my in-laws - still worked.

Ten years, two kids, lots of spills and a lot of use later, I still haven't replaced them.

About a year ago, the girls started pulling the stuffing out through the rips in the seams. Rather than buy new pillows when I had two crazy toddlers, I stumbled upon some throw pillow covers at Dollar Tree and thought, hey, these'll work until I'm ready to replace them.

Spoiler alert: This is not a good or a long term solution. These pillow looked - and felt - worse.

Wayfair has been my gateway into home improvement, so I clicked on over to get some ideas. Pillows and throws? Don't mind if I do. Kids or not, some things just need to be replaced.

Now I can very easily become overwhelmed on sites like this. But because you are able to refine your search so specifically, it wasn't a big problem. I wanted machine washable, first off. I wanted to try a pattern instead of the solid covers that show stains so easily. I wanted a color that could move between our living room (dark greens and burgundy) to our family room (sage and brown).

I looked at a few that were very tempting.

I loved how delicate this print was, but I couldn't get the right color combo.

I was so intrigued by this, but it seemed a little too modern for me.

These were great too!

I loved this look, but realized that I wasn't looking at pillows that could move from room to room. I needed to go darker. Something that would pop against the brown in the family room without clashing with the forest green and maroon.

Finally, I settled on these. They had the versatility to go from room to room and the durability we needed in our common spaces. In the winter, they'll go beautifully with my holiday decor. I still may get another set for  a  light look for the spring, but right now, they work! (Look at me, going from dollar store pillows to seasonal pillows!)

Little by little I'm getting over my fear of decorating. And I'm remembering that while the dollar store is great for some things, decor is not one of them.

The best news for you, readers? I am offering an exclusive promo code here for 15% off ANY pillow, pouf or throw! The code WFPTP15 is valid 11/20/14 through 11/24/14. Whether you are thinking holiday gifts or just sprucing up your own space, it's a great time to save!

I received product compensation from Wayfair in exchange for this post. However, all opinions remain my own.  photo mediumsignature_zpsbff01a79.png Pin It

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trusting Our Gut and Losing the Tonsils

Last year, when we were concerned about Reagan's speech, we visited Madison's old ENT to see if Reagan, like Madison had, would need tubes.

Reagan is a weird kid. Her ear infections always presented strangely, so we weren't quite sure how many she'd had. But her ENT knew us, knew Madison's situation, and thought that tubes were a good idea. So the week before Thanksgiving in 2013, Reagan had tubes placed.

Well, to be honest, the ENT thought there was something else going on. When we walked into the office, she greeted me and the family as old friends, and before opening the chart, looked at Reagan and said, "so, you're here for adenoids?"


As soon as she opened the file, she realized we were not, and focused on Reagan's ears. But once she confirmed our suspicions, she brought the conversation back to adenoids. She asked about Reagan's sleeping habits and vocal tone and how she typically breathed and how often she was congested. But to be honest, I hadn't thought much about it. She told us that Reagan appeared to be a case for an adenoidectomy.

Adam and I hemmed and hawed and hemmed and hawed. Finally, we opted to just do the tubes. We knew it was an easy surgery, and we knew that if it was going to impact her speech, we'd know quickly. Adenoid removal before two had to be done at the hospital - not the surgery center - and would need an overnight stay. After our experiences with Madison, we wanted to avoid that. So we put it off.

And once again, in mid-November, we found ourselves at the ENT's office. The ENT confirmed her tubes were still perfectly placed, and strongly recommended we talk about adenoids again. Throughout the year I'd been doing some research. My google search history proved that I was dwelling on the idea that many of Reagan's toddler trials might have something to do with her head - not just her age.

Adenoids and toddler eating habits
Adenoids and sleep apnea in toddlers
Adenoids and behavior in toddlers
Adenoids and sinus infection

Ok, were these people describing my kid?

The clincher for me was when another mom went through the surgery with her two year old a few months ago. The difference she saw, just by fixing this one little thing, was quick and impressive.

So when the ENT brought it up, I was sold.


She brought up the tonsils. Often, she told us, if there's even a question that tonsils may need to come out, and an adenoid surgery is scheduled, it's best to just go ahead and do both. Reagan hadn't had frequent strep or tonsillitis (she's more of a sinus infection afficiando), but her tonsils were definitely bigger than normal. Her ENT suspected that a year from now, we'd be scheduling surgery number three.

So do we do it?

She wasn't constantly sick.

But all those articles on Google did mention tonsils along with adenoids.

The surgery was more invasive with a longer recovery.

But she'd be done, with (hopefully) no long term memory, and we wouldn't have to revisit.

She'd definitely have to stay overnight.

But she might anyway.

As Adam and I started to hem and haw, we had an overwhelming sense of deja vu...and last time we'd had this conversation, we'd made the less invasive choice and regretted it. We could have been done a year ago - and now we feared we'd be going through yet another conversation a year from now.

So little Reagan, a few months shy of three, had her tonsils and adenoids out with her first hospital stay.

How did it go?

Well that's a story for another day...when I'm not so exhausted physically and emotionally.

Did we make the right call?

We'll find out in about a week when she's all healed up, but her ENT certainly thought so.

Are we glad we trusted our gut?


What would you have done? When the doctors leave it up to you, do you fall to one side or the other? Do you trust your research or trust your gut?

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