The Mimmo Caddy: Solving the "My Car is a Hot Mess" Problem

7.15.2019

I received a product for free in exchange for this review.

A few months ago I saw a blogger I follow post about the company Mollie Ollie and specifically their Mimmo Caddy. It has a number of different functions, but I personally thought it looked like the perfect thing to keep in my car for general trips and also our longer drives to Texas. I reached out, and they kindly sent me a Mimmo Caddy to review. Excuse me while I'm awkward need R to get in the photo with me ;)

Before I go any further and you start skimming (I see you), I wanted to let you know that they are having a Prime Day Sale! Today and tomorrow (July 15 and 16) get 10% off 1, 20% off 2, or 30% off 3 of the Mimmo Caddy! If you miss that or don't want to buy right away, you can use the code 10LadyOkie for 10% off starting July 17 and going for 2 weeks.

What I love is that it stays in shape even when it's empty. There are velcro inserts, so you could keep them out and have an even larger center area, or you can have dividers like I did. 

I really like the outside zipper pocket, which has these elastic pieces to hold smaller items, maybe pens or nail clippers or just whatever you think you'll need. And the material is soft and chemical free! 

I'm thinking this will be great for our road trips to Texas and keeping handy in the car for being out and about. My little Ford Focus has treated us well, but that thing is a hot mess and needs all the help it can get.

For now I added a few diapers (actually pull-ups, because A Certain Someone is peeing in the potty holla!) and a thing of wipes, a set of extra clothes for each kid for emergencies, plus some books and a car toy. It will be great for keeping their water bottles handy and any snacks I pack for longer trips.

If you're interested in checking out the Mimmo Caddy for yourself, don't miss their Prime Sale July 15 and 16! Or, use the code 10LadyOkie for 10% off starting July 17 and running for 2 weeks. Thanks to Mollie Ollie for letting me try out their Mimmo Caddy!

4th of July Weekend: The One Where We Did All the Things

7.07.2019

Hello! Did all my American friends have a good 4th of July? And did all my non-American friends have a good 4th of July minus the fireworks and the waving of American flags? ;) 

Both Jordan and I were off work Thursday and Friday, and it was the best 4-day weekend I can remember in recent history. Mostly because I can't remember the last time I had a 4-day weekend. We ate popsicles on the back deck, went to the park multiple times, went to the science museum, went to a 4th of July party, stayed up late to watch fireworks, had a friend come over, got ice cream, and I took an afternoon nap every. single. day. while J napped and R watched Daniel Tiger (she hasn't napped in over a year and a half; we've tried), and I have no regrets about any of it.

I also love that the kids get more time to be together. Since they are at daycare all day during the week in separate classes, sometimes I feel guilty and wonder if it's going to hurt their relationship at all. But they really do love each other, and there are some super sweet moments. Of course, they also can get into it pretty hard, but we always make them apologize and give hugs, and I pray they will grow up knowing they always have each other.

It's crazy hot here in Oklahoma, and I don't even care. Summer can stay forever as far as I'm concerned, minus my most hated of all things: mosquitos. I tried to sit out on my deck last night after the kids were in bed and they destroyed me. They don't care one squat about Jordan, which he claims is from all the garlic he eats constantly (seriously never met anyone who loves garlic as much as that guy does), but they have always loved me, and I do not share their feelings.

Over the weekend we discovered our bird, which we were told was a boy when we bought him a year ago, is actually a girl. Jordan came running in shouting something about Moses having laid an egg. AN EGG. I was like, what? Apparently they can lay unfertilized eggs, and the kids were very confused and excited about the sudden appearance of an egg in the cage. Jordan was like, "I had suspicious... I never could get her to sing like male birds are supposed to." I said, "What do girl birds do?" And he said, "They lay eggs." There are currently three eggs. So that's happening apparently. 

I pretty much don't watch TV these days, but my long afternoon naps the past few days have given me the ability to stay up past my usual bedtime, and I've been watching the Netflix show Dead to Me. I don't know if watching 6 episodes in 2 days is a true "binge watch," but that's certainly more TV than I've watched at one time in a very, very long time. I was a little scared because it's Netflix and rated TV-MA, and I was prepared to turn it off if it was bad, but I was surprised to find that so far, the worst of it is really just a fair amount of the F word. I don't say that lightly, of course. I don't like the F word. However, if I have to choose that over nudity and a lot of crude sexual references, I'll take some cursing. Anyone else watched it? I have a few episodes left still!

Jordan and I also watched the new Netflix movie with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston Murder Mystery. We are really living up our long weekend! We never watch movies! It was ridiculous as expected but mildly entertaining, and I didn't hate it. I wouldn't watch it again, but it was amusing and not as dumb as other Adam Sandler movies I've seen (I've just never been a fan of that type of humor.)

I read Daisy Jones and The Six in about a day over the span of two days. The kids have been loving our splash pad in the backyard, and I got some good reading in on Thursday while they played for an hour or so. Here's my Goodreads review if you're interested. Basically, it is getting a ton of buzz right now, and it's legit. Super creative, unique book. I read it, but I think it would be an excellent book to listen to on audio.

On July 4th, I took engagement photos for a friend of Jordan's. Or, should I say I took photos *of* their engagement. So far in 2019 I've now taken photos of a home water birth and a live engagement. These type of events are stressful! Like, if you miss the moment it's over and done, and you can't be like, oh wait, yeah... my setting was off and the photo is blown out. Can you get down on one knee again, and can she act surprised?  Or, So, the photo of your baby coming out of you was way too dark. Can you please put him back in? I don't think so! But thankfully she said yes, and everything went well, and I think I got some good ones. Really expanding my photography portfolio this year! Not that I'm going to quit my job and be a professional photographer, but it's fun.

I'm not happy our holiday is over and it's back to the daily normal tomorrow BUT, my birthday is on Wednesday, so that's fun! The kids have swim lessons all week, so I think we will probably just wait and go to dinner to celebrate next weekend. We are going to try a new-to-us pizza place! I love doing something new for my birthday. But on the actual day, I'm thinking I'll take a half day in the afternoon, and maybe leave work and go home and take a nap before picking up the kids. Although honestly I'll probably cave and go pick them up immediately because I can't handle it ;)

Hope you had a great weekend and have a great week!

Birthday Boy!

6.30.2019

A couple of affiliate links used in this post. Sharing a few things we've been loving this summer!

We've had such a busy week and a half since I last posted! Our sweet ginger baby turned 2! We had his party with family this weekend, and it was so fun. I went pretty low key with decorations and food, and we only invited family, but somehow it still felt like a lot to prepare. Maybe that's because I only started buying stuff two days before ;)

His favorite present was a big blue ball. He opened that first and then pretty much didn't care about any other present. I'd try to get him to come over and open something else, and he would shout "Goal!" and run around the corner. R didn't mind, because that meant she could open more of the gifts. My brother and sister-in-law got R and J a combined gift of an OKC zoo membership. I'm so excited! We have science museum passes and love it, and I can't wait to go to the zoo more. So fun.
After cake and ice cream, we turned on the splash pad in the backyard. My friend showed me one that she bought her kids, and I had never seen anything like it. I bought one the next day. We got this one, and I really like that the bottom fills up with water too, so they can play in it like a little pool. I turned our Little Tikes slide into it, and they have a blast sliding down.
(This picture is from a week or so ago, not the party. It's fun to get out for a bit after we get home from work/daycare before dinner! p.s. This is the tarp I bought for the deck. It's the 10x13 size and has been working well!)

I actually have no idea what J's 2-year stats are for height and weight because I forgot to schedule a 2-year checkup! We will be going in a week to finally get that taken care of. Only almost a month late ha!

He's super sweet but also super feisty. He's a mama's boy through and through. When everyone was singing happy birthday to him, he got bashful and hid his face in my shoulder and it was the cutest thing. We love him so much and are so thankful he's part of our family.


Now it's officially time for Jordan and Amanda birthday month! Heyyyyyyy.

Swimsuit Reviews

6.22.2019

If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably know I've been on the hunt for a swimsuit. I have one I bought a few years ago from Target, and I like it fine, but it's a little bit big, and I'm just in the mood for something new. Now that the internet is onto my search, I am seeing nothing but ads for swimsuits on all my social media accounts. I've checked out so many sites! And I would be up for trying out some of these shops, but I think any store that sells swimsuits online should offer free shipping and free returns. It's so hard to find suits that fit, and I need an easy return process if something doesn't work out.

With that said, I know of course that all body types are different and suits are going to fit people differently, but I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the suits I've tried recently!
*There are some affiliate links in this post. Thanks for supporting my blog!

TARGET

I bought this without trying it on when I was in Target and saw it on the model. I got a size Medium. The size was correct, but unfortunately this didn't work for me and I took it back.

PROS: 
-Price
-Fun colors and design
-Free shipping + returns

CONS:
-Skimpy butt coverage
-Wasn't long enough in the torso, so it pulled down in the front, even after adjusting the straps all the way.

SUMMERSALT
>>>> The Sidestroke ($95)

I first saw this suit when a blogger I follow posted a photo wearing it. I have never in my life spent this much on a swimsuit, but it has amazing reviews, and I figured I could at least try it. I filled out their fit guide, and it recommended I get a size 6, but I bought a size 8, and I'm glad I did. It was a good fit for me. That said, I was super sad this didn't work because I truly loved it.

PROS:
-Extremely easy return process + free shipping back to them
-Love the colors
-The design is fun and unique. LOVE the one-shoulder strap and how the back looked.
-SUPER SOFT. The softest swimsuit I've ever touched.
-Loved how it fit on my upper half.

CONS:
-Skimpy butt coverage (the website says this is a "C" butt coverage, but there's not way that's true)
-No cups built in, so I looked "cold" all the time even when I wasn't, if you know what I mean. Also the white band hits right on the *ipple, so that's a huge concern. I could have lived with the butt coverage, but for the price, I didn't want to be constantly worried about headlights. <-- a few of the reviews mentioned this, but honestly I'm shocked more people didn't have this issue. Or maybe they just don't care?
-Shipping to me cost $8. Boo. Free shipping back, but really $8 shipping is a ripoff for how expensive the suit is.

AMAZON


This suit was recommended by a friend of mine. I purchased a version of the same suit just without the ruffle. I think this has potential! Unfortunately I don't know what Amazon's problem was, but it had been over a week and hadn't shipped, so I cancelled the order because it was coming with something else I needed that wasn't going to arrive in time. I haven't reordered the suit yet, but I still might. It has good reviews and looks promising! Sorry I can't actually review this one, but I know someone in real life who has tried it and loved it! Just make sure and look at the sizing guide. This runs suuuuper small.

ATHLETA

When I posted about swimsuits on Instagram, I had numerous people recommend Athleta, so I figured I would give them a try. With free shipping and free returns, I didn't have anything to lose. And I actually found something to keep! Here's what I ordered:

>>>> Loop Back One Piece (Tranquil Blue color on sale $64.99)

I ordered a Medium Tall in the Tranquil blue because that color was on sale. The red and black were both $108. I loved the detail on the back, and after the Summersault problem, I was happy this suit had built-in cups. Unfortunately, it was horribly unflattering. I am not a large person, and this suit made me look extremely poochy in the stomach area. I don't understand what kind of photoshop magic they did to the models to make it not look awful in these photos.

PROS
-Price
-Cute detail in the back
-Built-in cups
-Adjustable straps
-Tall options for longer torsos

CONS
-VERY unflattering color and design; I don't think a different color would have looked any better.
-The chest area bunched up horribly and looked silly
-Butt coverage was still not as much as I'd prefer but was ok

>>>> Cloudbreak Rib Bottom (sale $29.99)

I bought these bottoms to go with the top below. They were comfy and I liked the material, but I didn't keep them.

PROS
-Price
-Material
-Design (I liked the little cutouts on the leg; it was cute without being too much)

CONS
-Skimpy in the butt (are you noticing a pattern???)


Heyyyyyy we have a winner! Yes, I kept one finally! Although I had been looking for one-piece suits, I loved the look of this tankini top. It had an athletic vibe without looking like something an Olympic swimmer would wear. Plus, a fun design!

PROS
-Price
-Long enough to cover my stomach even with a longer torso
-Cute design
-Built-in bra (you actually purchase by bra size)
-Adjustable straps
-Fit perfectly!

CONS
-None!

Since I obviously returned the bottoms I bought to go with this top, you're probably wondering what I'm wearing with this. I actually have 2 bottoms that will work that I've had for years from Target. One is a blue bikini bottom. The other is a black swim skirt. It's really cute, and I love that my entire butt area is covered by the skirt part! 

And maybe you're thinking I'm a grandma and should calm down about my constant need to cover my butt. But I really don't think I'm asking too much to find a swimsuit with enough material to cover my bottom so I don't have a wedgie after taking 5 steps. I'm going to be bending down to pick up my kids and running to play with them, and I just want my butt covered, dang it! It really should not be that difficult.

I've checked out a number of other options for swimsuits besides the ones above. If you're going to suggest it, I'm sure I've looked at it. But after finding the Athleta tankini, I think I might be good for now. I've burnt myself out on suits for the moment, and surprisingly many of these other sites don't offer free shipping or returns! I already lost money paying shipping for my Summersalt suit, so I'm not eager to repeat that mistake.

All that to say, where is your favorite swimsuit from? What are you the most picky about when trying on suits? What is your preferred swimsuit style?

Beware Nesting + Aggressive Geese

6.17.2019

I know I've said it 598 times, but weekends are really my favorite. I love spending so much time with my kids, and I'm honestly never excited to head back to the office on Monday. If anything, being with them so much on Saturday and Sunday only makes me miss them more on Monday.

That said, it is pretty exhausting to spend allllll day with two toddlers. (Is R considered a toddler anymore? Maybe she's a "preschooler" now even though she doesn't go to preschool... ?) Unless it's raining or really cold or just way too hot, I try to leave the house with them at some point, just to get some fresh air and get out of the house. I know you guys feel me on this! 

Usually I take the kids by myself and give Jordan some alone time at the house, but on Saturday he came with us! I took my big camera and had fun taking some pictures of the kids as they ran around, and then I gave it to Jordan and he took a few of me with them on the swings. I have never been the type to jump out of a picture.

There's a great park close to our house, and it never fails that as we pull in I think about what a blessing it is to be able to live in a time and place that has free parks where the kids can run around and play. I know that sounds cheesy, but honestly, it's not something I want to take for granted. One thing the kids love about this park is that there's a pond and always tons of geese to watch. But we immediately noticed a sign when we got out of the car: Beware! Aggressive + Nesting Geese.

Does anyone else get freaked out by geese? I won't lie, I'm a little afraid of them on a normal day. They are fast and have huge beaks, and I panic a bit if they start walking toward me or the kids. The geese this weekend were no joke! There were tons of them ON the playground area honking and sticking their necks out, and I may have screamed at Jordan to grab J and run when he (J) was walking a little too close to one. But we stuck to the opposite side of the playground area, and no one was harmed by our park outing!

I try to enjoy the moment and not feeling like I have to document everything, but it is also fun to get the camera out and take pictures of them playing. I love photography, so it's fun practice! 
On Sunday I played violin at church, and we had a Father's Day recognition. I know Father's Day can be so hard for some people, either because their father has passed or because they don't have a good relationship with their own father or the father of their children. There are also those who would love to be a dad but aren't yet, and a few close friends of mine are in that camp. Yesterday the kids and I called my dad, my father-in-law, and both my grandpas to wish them a happy father's day. It is a gift from God that I have such wonderful fathers in my life! (I didn't intend to get so sappy in this post, but Father's Day will always give me all the feelings because 2 years ago J was born on Father's Day morning. His birthday is tomorrow the 18th, but Father's Day was on the 18th in 2017!)

We wished Jordan a happy father's day, and I gave him the gift I made: a 5-minute video collage filled with clips of him with the kids over the last 4 years. He loved it! Plus he loved it more because it was free lol ;) I actually did buy something for him: another pair of Bombas socks because he loved the first pair I got him a couple of months ago. (Use my referral code and get 25% off your first order!) R and I also baked him some cookies!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and have a great start to the new week! Tomorrow J turns 2! Hold me.

sometimes our drive home from Texas takes an hour longer than it should

6.09.2019

Hello, and welcome to the new week! I hope you had a great weekend. 

Thanks to everyone who left comments on my last blog post. I admit that I wasn't expecting it, but I read them all and appreciate the honesty and discussion. This year I've really cut back on blogging just out of lack of time mainly in this season of life, and lately I seem to only pop in when I have something more serious to share. I'm excited to get back to blogging about more fun life things too. It's something I've been thinking about lately, and I want to do more of it! Of course I'm not afraid to be serious, but I've been missing just hopping on here to write and share more casually. I'm grateful to all of you who take the time read, whether you've been following for years or just joined! 

We drove to Texas this weekend to celebrate my niece's first birthday. If it's a smooth trip without hitting construction or having to make extra stops, it takes about 3 hours exactly from our house to my parents. We make the drive every 6 weeks or so, sometimes sooner depending on what family events we have going on. A few times we've gone 2 weekends in a row, although that's for special circumstances. Sometimes our trips are really smooth, and sometimes they are a total disaster. Since having kids, our drives usually fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

Our drive home this time was a disaster for so many reasons. We drove right into a huge rainstorm, and people were actually pulled over on the side of the road with hazard lights on waiting it out; we stopped at Whataburger to go to the bathroom and get some breakfast biscuits, and not only were the bathrooms out of order, but the biscuits took twenty minutes and were burnt and hard when we finally got them; we hit two spots of construction, and when we finally got through all of that, J had a giant poop explosion. 

We pulled into Braum's, and I could not believe they didn't have a changing table in the bathroom! But by then it was too late, and poop was literally falling out of his shorts (I found a little bit dried on my ankle later, I'm not kidding), so I changed him on the counter next to the sink. People kept coming out of the bathroom stall, and I'm like, "So sorry, there isn't a changing table in here." The positive side was that since I was right next to the soap dispenser I basically gave his legs a bath with wet towels and foam soap. I'm pretty sure I horrified a few people, but what restaurant doesn't have a changing table??? Has anyone else had this happen, and what did you do? Should I have changed him on the floor? So our little drive that's supposed to take 3 hours took just about 4. Hopefully we earned ourselves a few good trips coming up.

But we of course always love our time in Texas with family. My sweet niece had an adorable "One in a Melon" birthday pool party! So fun. J's birthday party is in a few weeks, and I need to start planning!

After we got back from Texas, J took a nap while R and I played. Then I took the kids on a walk. They are getting heavier to pull in our wagon! I kept asking R to look at me so I could take a picture, and she literally spun all the way around until her back was facing me. Ha! They both crack me up so much.

Hope you all have a great Monday with no bodily fluid explosions!

Life Lately: June

6.03.2019


So I'm loving summer so far.

May has been a more difficult month for me the past few years just because of all the things I mentioned in my last post. Everyone is all "school is over! summer!" and I'm like, "nothing is different! hurrah!" I obviously feel led to share my experience as a working mom, hopefully with the intent to reach and encourage other working moms who may be out there looking for someone to relate to. But I have to say, sometimes I wonder what my real-life (and online-life) stay-at-home mom friends think of me. Are they like, Really, Amanda? This again? So dramatic. I mean, maybe I'm just extremely obnoxious to everyone I know. And I'm not saying that so you'll comment and tell me I'm not obnoxious. It's just that I really can't tell because I don't get much feedback at all on things I post about working mom life from non-working moms except that people ask why I don't just find a job teaching English so I can have summers off. I really don't want to be a teacher, though! Is there a job where I get all the school breaks and I can use editing/writing skills and not be a teacher or go back to school to be something like a librarian? I'm open to ideas!

Anyway, May is past us, and of course things are actually different in the summer once I settle into the idea. There are so many wonderful things to be thankful for, and we've been loving June so far! I took them to get smoothies on Saturday morning (see above), and they were very excited to get their own kid-sized ones. We've never done that before. It was fun, and there were only minor spills.

A few weekends ago we spent the evening at a friend's house, and once it started to get dark they set up an outdoor movie for the kids. It was the absolute cutest thing! R loved it and got really mad when we told her we couldn't stay for the whole movie. We hadn't planned ahead for it because I'd forgotten my friend mentioned they might do it, and we didn't have any bedtime stuff for J, and both kids were super tired anyway. But we're planning on doing it again soon! 

Storm season in Oklahoma started off pretty mild, but then it went crazy and we had a couple weeks where it just wouldn't.stop.raining. and we were on weather watch every night. Jordan got in our storm shelter to clean it out, although our first choice is to head over to his parents' house because their shelter is much larger and more comfortable. 

We actually did have to wake the kids up around 11:00 one night and drive to their house and get in the shelter because the sirens started going off. Jordan was up and came running in saying, "There's a tornado headed right for us and the sirens are going off. We have to get the kids up now." We got them both out of bed and into the car and grabbed the emergency bag and were backing out of the driveway in about 10 minutes, which I thought was pretty good! Thankfully the tornado went north and all we got was a lot of rain.
So I give myself an A+ for getting out of the house in a timely fashion when a tornado is coming, but I'm going to go ahead and admit that I have to give myself a C- for meal planning basically for all of 2019 so far. I'm just not into it, and we've been eating the weirdest meals lately. Every night it feels like I'm searching the pantry and fridge for anything that even remotely goes together. I haven't spent time making freezer meals in months! I'm totally off my game.

And I never never thought I would say this, but we are still getting one Hello Fresh box a month and absolutely loving it. We look forward to it every time! I accidentally skipped last month's, and even Jordan was sad about it. I always turned my nose up at meal subscription boxes, but it's been great for us in this current season of life and just a fun thing to do. Plus the price breakdown actually is not as insane as I thought considering many of the meals have leftovers. We also eat out very, very rarely, so it all evens out. Jordan's been getting into cooking lately and likes having all the ingredients prepped and ready to go. If you want to try it out, I just got a code yesterday for $40 off your first box, which means you can get 2 meals for 4 people for about $20! I will get a few dollars too for referring you. Here's the referral code :) 

One meal we've been eating a lot are these homemade pizzas. The original recipe came from one of our first Hello Fresh boxes, and we've adapted it slightly but keep the same idea. They are extremely easy to make and can be on the table in 30 minutes (including the oven cooking time), they're customizable, delicious, and the kids devour it. We loved it when it came in the box, and I was so excited when I found Italian chicken sausage meat at Sprouts and these individual-sized flatbreads at Aldi so we could recreate it. We tried them once before with breakfast sausage instead of chicken sausage, and it wasn't nearly as good and a little too greasy. We make the kids' without sautéed zucchini because neither of them will eat it, and we added turkey pepperoni on top because we love meat haha. Soooooo good and so easy!

That's all I've got for you at the moment. June is shaping up to be super fun. J's birthday is in TWO WEEKS. He will be 2 and I'm not ready. He is still my little baby who wants to be held by mama constantly. For a little while we will have a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old! Craziness.

"Do Your Kids Get Sick a Lot?" and other questions about daycare

5.23.2019


As a mom who works a traditional office job outside of the home where I don't get school breaks like teachers do or other people who work various jobs in the school system, one unexpected trigger point for me the last couple of years has been the start and end of the semester, when moms are posting their kids' first and last day pictures. Whether it's kindergarten, preschool, or parents' day out programs, it's a reminder of the fact that our year is not broken up in such noticeable sections.

I have never taken a "last day" picture, because there has been no last day. 

There is no "first day" picture because nothing is ever starting. 

It's just always the same, every day, all year. And that's our routine, and most days it's fine; but I'm just being honest: I've realized that seeing these pictures is a trigger for me that makes me feel kind of sad. So that's where I've been for the last couple of weeks, as summer starts for everyone else, but our world continues on. (I wrote a 12-minute memoir post about this last year if you're interested.)

So this "summer," our kids will just keep going to daycare every day like they always do. The reason I've written so much the past 4 years about being a working mom and about daycare is because when I was a new mom with a brand-new baby, I knew I was going back to work and putting R in daycare. I wanted to find other moms who were doing the same, and I had the worst time finding anything on the internet that was in any way positive or comforting about daycare. Literally, I just googled "daycare," and I went through the first 6 pages of links without finding a single thing that wasn't either a horror story or a sponsored ad for a local daycare. I did find this gem of a title: "Is daycare bad for your kids versus parenting?" Because I guess if your kids are in daycare you cease to be a parent. There's also this title: "Sorry, working moms, daycare is bad for your kid." I actually tried to read this one but couldn't because it was making me enraged. Google "daycare good or bad" and see how long it takes to find an article saying good. They are ALL bad.

I've written posts about why we chose a traditional daycare setting over something in someone's home and why we like it, so I won't go into that here, but I did want to answer a few general questions about daycare that people seem to have, now that we've been doing this for almost 4 years. Because I'm super extremely VERY MUCH A LOT passionate about spreading the daycare and working mom love on the internet. I want someone in my situation to be searching for comfort and positivity and to find it so they hopefully feel a little bit better and not just like someone is beating them down with the weight of shame and guilt.

I got a few questions when I polled my Instagram followers, and I'm adding a few in of my own that I think people often wonder about daycare and working mom life. Feel free to let me know in the comments (or email me) if you have other questions! I am truly an open book and would love to chat about our experience.

Do your kids get sick a lot?

It's just a fact that children are tiny carriers of germs, and it's a fact that going to daycare means being exposed to all the things. It's hard to say what "a lot" is, because I have nothing else to compare to, but yes, I'd probably say that my kids seem to be sicker more often than kids of my friends who either stay at home or go to an in-home daycare. For example, my friend stays at home, and her son got sick with a cold-type thing for the first time just before he turned one. One! There's no way. My kids get colds all the time, random fevers, R got hand/foot/mouth, and I'm sure it's coming from other kids at daycare. Unfortunately that is a downside, and you can't so much avoid it.

I will say this, though: I do think it depends somewhat on the child, because the first 2 years of R's life, she was definitely sick more often than J was.

Do you do parent/teacher conferences?

Yes! Our daycare has the opportunity to sit down with the teacher one-on-one for a half hour or so and have a parent/teacher conference twice a year. I never did it with R's teachers until she was 3 or so, just because I never felt like there was much to say. I talk to them a lot during dropoff and pickup, so I feel informed overall. But once she started getting a bit older, it was good to talk to her teacher more about how she's doing developmentally compared to other kids her age, how she's playing, and all of that stuff.

How do you make friends with other daycare families?

I think the answer to this is going to be different depending on what your daycare is like. For me, I'm not friends with any other daycare families, and we've been going there 4 years! Our daycare is large, and it's in an area where people can be working or living all over the downtown area, so people really don't linger during dropoff and pickup. I do see the same people in the hallway each day, but everyone is rushing in and rushing out. Our daycare doesn't do any outside activities or events other than a Thanksgiving meal, but I'm sitting with my kids and focused on them and not chatting with anyone else. R also hasn't (until now) really been old enough to have friend birthday parties, so that hasn't been something I've explored.

However, I have two friends with kids in daycare who have an experience that's different from mine. Their daycares are smaller and more intimate. There are a few events at the daycare throughout the year, and my friends are actually friends with some of the other daycare parents as a result. So I think largely this depends on the size of your daycare and also your interest in making friends. I think if I really made an effort to talk to other moms I see in the mornings I might be able to build a relationship over time, but honestly I just haven't done so.

What do your kids learn that surprises you?

I think this has been one of the best things about having my kids in daycare. They have both learned so much from their teachers and friends. They do flashcards in Spanish, and one day R came home counting to 5 in Spanish! A few weeks ago they learned about honey bees, and while we were driving home we passed some flowers, and R started talking to me about how the bees pollinate plants. Like, okay???? They really learn so much, and it's fun to see.

Of course, they also learn things I'm not thrilled about from friends in the class. Nothing major at this point, but I do realize she's more and more aware of things as she gets older, and I unfortunately can't control what another parent says or does with their kids that influences how that child acts or talks around my kids. It does scare me, I won't lie. But I just have to put my trust in Jesus and remind myself that he is in ultimate control, and that all I can control is that I do my best to raise her well. I always talk to R about her day, what she learned, and I ask her if anything made her happy and if anything made her sad. I hope we can build a relationship of trust as she gets older to talk about anything she may have questions about!

Do you feel like your kids are being raised at daycare?

This is a huge one. I feel like most articles I read about the negatives of daycare include the fact that kids are being "raised" at daycare and not by their parents. My honest opinion is that this statement is completely ridiculous. When we first put R in daycare and I was talking to Jordan about this very thing, he said something that's stuck with me ever since. I don't know if he even remembers saying this, but he told me, "When they're at daycare, they're basically in a holding pattern." He's big into airplanes, and what he meant was that sometimes an airplane gets put in a holding pattern when there's a big line of planes waiting to land, and the plane just has to keep circling the destination city until they're given the go-ahead. The dictionary literally calls it "a state of no progress."

Now, of course kids progress at daycare. I just talked in the question above about how much they learn during the day, and sometimes it's not going to be all good. But I've always felt (and still feel) that the idea of a kid being raised at daycare by the teachers is only true in as much as the parent is or isn't connecting with their child during the hours they are at home.

Every weekday I get basically 1 hour with my kids in the morning and up to 3 hours in the evening depending on when they go to bed. So that's 4 hours a day, which is about half or even less than half of the time the daycare teachers spend with them. (Super depressing if I think too much about it, so I won't.) I won't deny that the teachers are with them for a longer period, but that absolutely does not have to mean that they are influencing my kids more than I am or that they are raising them.

At the end of the day (literally at the end of the day when I pick them up), J gets the biggest smile and sprints right for me. R yells "Mama!" and immediately says, "Do you want to come see what I made today?" I'm their mom at the end of it all. I'm the one they want to see, the one they want to show things too, the one they go home with. Yes, the daycare teachers talk to the kids about not interrupting, about playing nice with friends, about standing quietly in line, about not throwing toys, and that's necessary and great. But it's a holding pattern. 

Jordan and I are the ones who discipline. We are the ones saying prayers at night and not letting them be disrespectful to us or to each other. We are the ones setting boundaries on snacks, enforcing that they say please and thank you. And we are the ones talking to them about what goes on during their day at daycare.

I think a child could be considered to be raised at daycare if they weren't having much interaction with their actual parent in those outside hours. But if we are talking about a parent who cares about their kids, loves their kids, and spends some intentional time with the kids in those hours (however little it may be for various reasons), I absolutely disagree with anyone who claims that the child is being raised at daycare.

Do your kids get scratched/bit a lot?

Well, mostly no, because my kids are doing the biting and scratching. I'm not kidding! This has been an ongoing VERY STRESSFUL "phase" ever since R turned 9 months and became a cannibal. I was hoping since my first child was a violent friend, my second wouldn't do this to me, but in fact just yesterday J got moved up to the next class "due to the excessive aggression." I asked his new teacher if compared to other kids his age his aggression seemed normal, and she admitted that he was "above average." Sooooo, that's a no. ANYWAY. To answer the question: yes and no. What do you consider "a lot"?

You see all these news stories about some kid coming home from daycare covered in 50 bite marks and being sent to the ER. It's not that I don't believe this happened, and I don't want to be insensitive, but I'm just trying to picture the scenario that would cause something like this, and I don't understand. This is the extreme, not the norm (and I'm still confused about what type of situation would cause this).

Yes, it's a room full of toddlers, and yes, they get into it with each other. There are scratches. My kids have come home with bite marks, sometimes more than one. Sometimes it wasn't noticed by anyone, and we discover it on their upper back during bath time. Maybe I'm the minority on this, but it honestly doesn't bother me. Let me repeat: they are toddlers.

I love our daycare. I think the teachers do a wonderful job. I think watching 8+ toddlers all day sounds incredibly stressful, and also toddlers are freaking fast. I've watched R bite a friend while she was standing right in front of me (the friend took her blueberries, if you're interested), and it happened so quick I couldn't stop it.

Obviously it's not okay to hurt people. Biting/scratching/hair pulling/pushing are not okay. These are behaviors we need to work on and eliminate. But it's normal for their age (at least for J's age right now), and it happens. I've been on the side of the parent of the kid who is doing the biting and scratching, and it's not fun. I feel horrible that some other parent has a kid with a scratch on their face or a bite mark on their arm from my kid. So when my kid gets bit or scratched, I guess I just have a different perspective. (Happy to chat about this with anyone who is interested! I have read so many things about biting, and we've tried so much also, so I feel like I know way more about it than I ever wanted to.)

Do the kids go outside?

Yes! Each class has 2 blocks of time to either go outside or go in the gym to play. They go outside whenever possible, but depending on weather they go to the gym. They have scooter toys, balls, and I've seen them get that giant parachute thing out that I totally remember loving to play with when I was in elementary school! In the summer, they do water play outside once a week with hoses and water tables.

I'll end with an easy one:

Do you pack food?

All daycares are different. Our daycare provides breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack, so I don't have to bring anything! When R was little, it was really, really hard for me to not have control over what she was eating, so I brought her a lunch from home. But I didn't do that with J because I didn't have that same problem ;) I'll be honest and say that I don't always love the food options, specifically the snack. It does follow government standards, but it's just not always what I would choose. That's taken me some getting used to giving up control in that area, although if I did need/want to bring my own stuff, of course I could!

Those are all the questions I have for today. I'll do a part 2 post if there are more! Feel free to leave a comment or email me :)

In closing, I'm going to share my favorite article ever on the subject of daycare. I've shared it before on the blog, but I need to highlight it again because it's just that good.

May So Far

5.21.2019


I published a blog post on April 7 in which I talked about trying to sell a chair on Facebook marketplace and having a terrible time. I'm happy to report that only over a month and a half later I finally found someone to follow through on buying the thing, and it's no longer sitting in our entryway blocking our front door. Literally you couldn't open to door all the way because of the giant chair. 

The lady who messaged me about it that afternoon was "very interested" (her words) and pleaded with me to hold the chair until that evening until her husband could come to pick it up. I wanted to tell her that the chair hadn't been claimed in almost 60 days, and I wasn't too worried. She texted me to say her husband was on the way to my house, and then an hour passed and he hadn't shown up, and I was mildly panicking because hello, I'd given a complete stranger the real address of my actual house and what if he's a serial killer or some kind of crazy person. Thankfully, when he finally showed up he was a tad crazy but only in the way of old people who think you have all day to chat about life. He recognized our last name, and it turns out he knew Jordan's grandpa back in the day and got to talking all about it. I should have been more surprised, but that's just Oklahoma for you.

But we got rid of the chair! I only had to slash the price 5 times, wait almost 2 months, and get stood up by a handful of flaky Facebook people to get my $30 cash. Really I should have just put it on the side of the road, but $30 is $30, am I right?

Question: how lame should I feel that the most exciting thing that's happened in my life in the last 2 weeks since I've blogged is selling a chair on the internet? Never mind, don't answer that. I'm living the American dream, people! Try not to be jealous.

May has been super busy so far. On the 11th, Jordan and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary! We took the kids on our annual IHOP anniversary meal. We've gone every year since our first anniversary, and it's become a fun tradition. Trying to take a good family selfie has also become a fun tradition haha! ;)

The next weekend, Jordan's brother and my sister each had college graduation stuff, so we took a kid and split up. R and I went to Texas, and Jordan stayed in Oklahoma with J. Friday my sister graduated, and Saturday I helped host a bridal shower for my cousin's fiance! 

We've also just been outside a lot. Last year's back deck project nearly destroyed our marriage, and I'm sort of not kidding. BUT! We've been having a lot of fun out there this year so far! I got a $7 kiddie pool at Big Lots, we have a water table my in-laws bought us, and we have a miniature slide/swing Little Tikes playset that I found on the side of the road. Backyard fun for all!

I know I've bemoaned the fact that my kids will not for the life of me play with any kind of sensory bin longer than .87 seconds, but I came up with a genius idea that they have actually been loving. I have one of those giant bottles of Gerber baby soap that someone gave us as a baby shower gift. I give them some rags and turn on the water hose, and they "clean things"! They LOVE it.

Speaking of the back deck, we've had bad luck with gazebo-type things to block the sun, so this year we are trying out this sun shade. So far it's been great! Of course, we will see if it holds up under a freak storm (the last two ruined our gazebos!), but it's really helped keep it shady when we are out there playing in the middle of the day AND much much much cheaper, so if it does get ruined we aren't out a ton of money.

I'm currently in the process of planning our first family vacation! We are just going somewhere within driving distance for a long weekend, but I'm really excited. We haven't gone anywhere as a family of 4 other than to Texas and back for the weekend. And while it is a 3-hour drive one way, we do that so often it doesn't even feel like a trip anymore honestly. This time we might get crazy and drive 5+ hours! ;)

Not to end abruptly, but that's all I have for now, and also I want to get to bed. Hope you all have a great week!
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