Friday, December 8, 2017

Freya is 3!!!

Miss Freya is 3! Its amazing how much Freya has changed but the very core of who she is will never. She is such a fun loving, adventurous, courageous, child that knows what she wants. Our Disney trip was a prime example of how adventurous this little girl is. Where Morrigan was always glued to my side, Freya went running through busy Main Street in the Magic Kingdom with her hands clasped in front of her running at full speed. 
She is such a different kid that it's like becoming a new parent all over again. I had no approach parenting in a completely different way with Freya. She is passionate about what she loves, which is mostly all things Disney. This girl thinks she is Elsa! When meeting Anna at Epcot she was asked if she had ice powers, my husband and I just looked at each other and laughed. She answered exactly how we thought she would, by confidently saying yes, of course I have ice powers. Then she twirled her hands around like young Elsa does in the movie and she saw sparkling magical ice the rest of us aren't privileged to see. Her world is bright with wonder, her imagination is like a blooming flower I hope never wilts. 
As I type this, she is on my lap, dressed as Anna, eating Pez, asking a dozen questions about what I'm doing. She will repeat thing over and over until you repeat it back to her to make sure you really understand her. This girl does not like being told what to do. Her stubbornness knows no bounds. You could be giving her exactly what she likes, food, candy, toys, whatever the case might be. But if she is not asking for it, she wont accept it. When she does get what she is asking for, she is the most grateful child imaginable. I've seen the girl become ecstatic over a hamburger. Imagine, she is sitting at a table waiting patiently for a hamburger. I put the plate in front of her, she takes a loud, long inhale then yells, "My burger! Thank you Momma! Thank you so much! I love burgers! Thank you!" It makes me so happy to see her happy. 

What makes her most happy is her sister. Her father and I are second to her sister as her favorite people in this world. As much as they can argue, nothing makes Freya more happy than having sister time. It could be anything from her sister playing Barbies with her or her watching her sister play her Xbox. Freya cries every morning her sister leaves for school and when her sister leaves for dance. The times Morrigan goes with friends, that's so much worse. She melts in front of the door and cries from being left behind. She things she is 11 too and no one really has the heart to tell her she isn't. Luckily, Morrigan has some pretty great friends that will include Freya often. But preteen girls don't want toddlers around all the time and Freya is too young for her own friends.
Three year old Freya is going to be fun. Her little body will be able to keep up with her big heart and ever expanding mind. All those things last year she was just too little to do will not be so difficult this year. This year will be more climbing, more jumping, more running, and more adventures. I look forward to tried afternoons from chasing my ambitious little girl with the desire to do everything. Look out world, here comes 3 year old Freya!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Morrigan is 11

It amazes me how fast a year can go by. I remember being a child and a year seemed to drag on. Once I became a parent I feel like I blink and a decade has gone by. This time wrap is most evident in how fast my oldest daughter Morrigan has grown.
All those baby toys and toddler size Christmas dresses that were Morrigan's and I have unpacked for Freya reminds me of how Morrigan was at each stage of her childhood. It's a trip down memory lane in a box. That 2T Easter dress reminded me of the Easter Morrigan was running a fever of a 102.6. That was a tough day especially for her. Or the Ariel stuffed toy that Morrigan carried everywhere. Once, when Morrigan was 3 she dropped her Ariel in the middle of the pedestrian only road on Derby st in Salem. Her father and our friends turned back to go find it while Morrigan and I ran to catch the author we were in Salem to meet and have sign my book. We made it there in the very last second before she started her class. That Ariel was recovered, washed, and continued to be her cuddle buddy at night. Now it's in Freya's arms every night.
I sometimes expect that little kindergartener with the missing front teeth to get off the bus dressed in a Disney Princess shirt and leggings covered in tiny pink hearts. Instead, this beautiful pre-teen steps off the bus in her button up plaid shirts and her laced up black boots. She looks so grown up that I have to take a double take to make sure its really my kid.
In the past few years she has really come into her own. She is still shy but she can speak her mind. When she speaks, her vocabulary amazes me. Her understanding of the world and the society we live in is starting to take shape. She's forming her own opinions and backing them up with a fair amount of logic.
At this point, I can say my daughter is a kind, caring, empathetic person who believes in fairness for everyone regardless of race, sex, creed, immigration status, sexual orientation, and political affiliation. She's a feminist at heart, it seems to be her biggest cause. 
So watch out world, my Morrigan is now only 7 years away from adulthood!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to Survive a Long Car Ride with Children

A long car ride can be exhausting for anyone of any age. Children are usually have the most difficult time since they are little Energizer Bunnies that can't keep still. Having them belted into a car seat is not easy for them and hence, not easy for you, the parents. I've compiled my time tested list of must haves when taking young children on a car long ride.

  • Portable DVD Player. The power of a good movie will quite your little munchkin down for over an hour! Arm yourself with your kids favorite DVDs and you too can survive your road trip. I personally own (and love) the RCA 7-Inch Dual Screen Mobile DVD System. I have two kiddos so having two screens with the same movie is helpful so there are no arguements over who gets the screen in front of them. Plus, having the screens headrest mounted means the toddler can't drop (or throw) the DVD player. You can buy them refurbished for only $49.95 from Amazon. And if you're a Prime customer like me, you will love this item has Prime shipping. Check out the link bellow.

  • Lovelys. Don't forget your child's lovelys. Having their favorite stuffed friend or their blanky is important for your little one's comfort. Just make sure that they stay safe on your car ride as things often get left at rest stops. Make a rule that stuffed friends must stay in the car. Also, its a good practice to check for your child's lovely before hitting the road after every stop.

  • Mess Free Coloring. Pack crayons over markers or get some mess free markers. My toddler loves Crayola's Color Wonder Mess-Free Coloring Books and Markers. There are so many different character themed coloring books and many different color markers. They even sell a travel case which not only holds everything in place but it offers a coloring surface while in the car seat. My suggestion is to load up on many different books and extra markers. Mess free coloring has kept my kiddos busy during trips which saves my sanity as I know they wont get marker covered hands or faces, you can't put anything past a toddler.

  • Pillows. Even if you plan on staying at a hotel at night, a pillow can still come in handy. Children often nap in car rides, even big kids. If you child is in a booster or a regular car safety belt then it is best to pack a pillow so they can rest their heads. Its not a bad idea for any adult passengers as well.
  • A Cookie Sheet. Sounds strange but cookie sheets are awesome for a car ride. I buy each kid a cookie sheet for things like coloring on or writing in journals. Also you can bring magnets to entertain your kiddos. Cookie sheets are metal and using them to display letter magnets or magnetic puzzles. Your older kids into Minecraft? They can build a Minecraft scene with magnets that resemble the blocks from the game. 
  • Reusable Puffy Sticker Sets. These sticker sets worked wonders for my toddler. It would work even better for a Preschooler. I found Disney themed stickers for our resent Disney trip and my toddler got a new set every time she fussed. I brought 3 which worked wonders for the ride to Disney. Next time I will buy 3 more for the ride home as stickers get lost or lint covered. 
  • Snack Cups. The most brilliant inventions, snack cups. Especially those straw cups with the snack compartments. If your car seats lack cup holders then you are really going to love the compact design of a snack and drink cup. We usually get ZakSnak Tumblers. They have all kinds of characters from Pokemon to R2D2 and Princess Poppy to Minnie Mouse. We bought Lion Guard and Shimmer and Shine for our toddler who loved the characters which made it seem like a special treat. You can find them at Target or on Amazon. 
  • New Character Toys. Kids love receiving new toys. Something new will give your child a whole new world to imagine. I recommend toys your child doesn't already have. If you buy another Littlest Pet Shop and your child has a dozen or more at home, they will loose interest quicker than a whole new toy. And from one mom (and Dad) to another, don't and I can't stress enough, DO NOT buy Legos! No matter how big your big kid is, Legos go everywhere! If you buy a set and those sets needs every stinking Lego piece, I promise you, one will get lost and spoil the whole set. You will have that big kid beside themselves over a single missing piece. Its not fun!

  • Snacks! Snacks! and more Snacks! Trust me, snacks of all different kinds are necessary for a long car ride. Make sure you have a variety from pretzels to fresh fruit. As much as I usually like to push the healthy snacks, on a long car ride have a few fun sized candy bars tucked in your purse so when the kiddos are fussing and don't want to sit in the car any longer you had them a fun size Musketeers bar and enough the silence.

  • Electronics. I saved this one for last because its usually the most expensive. But having a few games on a tablet or smart phones help. If you have an old smartphone that you don't use load it up with games over your home WiFi. Make sure the games don't need the internet to run and you have a free way to entertain your munchkins with electronics. If you don't have an old phone laying around then get a kid friendly tablet. This may not be as expensive as you think. We've heard good things about Dragon Touch tablets. A few of our friends have them for their toddlers and preschools and they have held up the constant drops from tiny hands. I found a Dragon Touch Y88X Plus 7 inch Kids Tablet 2017 Disney Edition, Quad Core CPU, Android 5.1 Lollipop, IPS Display, Kidoz Pre-Installed with Bonus Disney Content (more than $60 Value) for 68.99. The cases come in a couple of different colors so check them out.

  • Camera. Whether its an old point in shoot or a disposable, giving an older child a camera to take their own photos can be a great source of entertainment. Plus, you get great selfies and shots of the kids during the ride without any effort on your part. :)
Hope this list helps. Please leave any other suggestions in the comments bellow. Don't forget to pack some things for the ride home as well. I hope you all survive and enjoy your trips with your children! Stay sane!