Category Archives: Toddler

Life in April

It’s a cool and rainy April evening here. I don’t mind the extended winter. When the triple digit summer days come I long for cooler days! The hubs and I are enjoying an easy going evening so I thought I would write down some memories from the past month, whether just moments at home or actual outings.

Rachel is in neck-deep in terrible twos. She spends her days either making loud demands or throwing tantrums. She’s a second child, so thankfully by now I know it won’t last forever.

She is also crazy. Have I mentioned this before? Crazy, and with an ultra high pain tolerance. She’s sporting some pretty large bruises these days. Mother of the year here didn’t even know how she got this awful bone bruise on her shin (she got another identical one of the other shin a few days later too). Part of the problem is that she doesn’t cry when she injures herself. The other part of the problem is that she has ZERO FEAR of hurting herself. And she moves ninja-fast.

Last night, while sleeping, she managed to give herself a black eye. She told me this morning that she bumped her eye on her bed. There were no tears in the night. Sigh.

In short, Rachel looks like an abused toddler. (But I assure you she is not!)

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Josh got a trip on the train as a gift for his birthday last month from Grandma and Grandpa. We traveled with Grandpa on the train while Grandma babysat Rachel. Josh loved every second of it! We ate lunch and then turned around and took the train home. Perfect outing for a 4 year old.

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Lawn mowing, weed eating, pull weeds, REPEAT. I wanted to live where we had more space to run around and play, and I love it here! It is a lot of work, though. My hubby gets really bad asthma from just being outside this time of year, so it’s up to me keep up the yard work. Good thing I like yard work!

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I dug a ditch two weeks ago in the front yard. We got a ton of rain and the water was coming up against the foundation of the house. So, I dug a ditch to put in a french drain (the drain still isn’t in….). It definitely helped with the next storm we had. (Ahem… so did unclogging the downspouts on the gutters. Next time I know to make sure to check that *first.*)

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Every now and then, Rachel slows down enough to enjoy about 3 minutes of snuggle time with Mommy. She ONLY slows down if she has her paci and blankie.

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Josh: Can you take my picture with Dad, Mom?

This kiddo just adores his Daddy. The hubs was gone for a week helping to rebuild houses in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, and this little boy sure did miss all the creativity and fun that his Daddy brings him. They build some really cool things together (things I would never think of). Josh’s ideal day would be just getting to stay home with his Daddy, with no one else around. He loves one on one time.

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Last but not least, I leave in a week or so for my consultations with the endometriosis specialist surgeon and general surgeon. I had an MRI done on my right shoulder and cervical spine to rule out other causes of shoulder pain. My MRI results did show that I might have some bursitis in my shoulder. (I wouldn’t doubt it – I had a bad injection done a few years back in that shoulder and I’m pretty sure the nurse actually injected TdAP into my bursa – it hurt for months after.) It hurts occasionally there but it’s pretty mild and I’m pretty sure that the shoulder pain I’m experiencing is not related to that at all.

I gave away all my baby stuff, and to my surprise I felt better after doing that. I’m coming to terms with getting a hysterectomy, if necessary. Like I’ve mentioned previously, I’m pretty sure I have diaphragmatic endo, and I want to make sure it doesn’t turn into thoracic endo (endo in the lung cavity). A hysterectomy won’t prevent that from happening (because I’ll have to take hormone replacement since I’m still in my 30’s) but I do think it’ll help slow down the endo growth and help reduce pain. I’ve been thinking about the possibility of getting a hysterectomy since before I even had kids and can’t believe how hard of a decision it is for me to make!

I’ll update after my consultation!

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Rachel is Two!

This bundle of nuclear energy has turned two! What a whirlwind she has been the past year. I don’t think I know of anyone who has as great a desire to be moving as this little one. Car seats are petty much intolerable for her after about 20 minutes, unless I keep handing back to her books that she’s interested in. She’s also preparing to climb Everest, it would seem, as she can be found trying to climb something just about any moment of the day. There is actually only ONE place I let her climb, and that’s her little play kitchen. (She wants to also stand on it but I draw the line there.) All this boils down to the sad fact that Little Rachel gets in trouble. A LOT.

Bouncing in the baby jumparoo (also not allowed).

Oh, but she is so delightful, and quick to smile and laugh and have fun. Her temperament, although persistent in climbing, is very easy going. She definitely has opinions but her objections are rather short lived.

You can’t tell by her face, but we were both sick here and up at 2 am. She was just loving one on one time with Mommy though.

She’s taken to books, and we are delighted about that! In fact she is rather pushy in letting us know she wants a book read to her. “I NEEEED STORY!” is something I hear all day long. (Hubby loves to tell her that she has her wants and needs very confused.) She also loves to be doing whatever big brother is doing. If he’s coloring, she NEEEDS CRAYONS! If he’s putting a puzzle together, she NEEEDS PUZZLE! If he’s outside, she will be shoving her shoes into your hands, while saying NEEED OUTSIDE! In short, Rachel has LOTS of needs these days.

She got a scooter for her birthday and she loves to ride it around. Josh has the same scooter, only in blue, so it was immediately a huge hit with her. She also got a quilt made by Grandma, and she loves to sit on her toddler bed on her new quilt and look at books during her “book time.”

Although this time she fell asleep during book time!

Grandma also made a matching pillow to go with the quilt.

New scooter.

She wears a size 7 shoe and has been in 2T clothes for a couple of months. She’s been in size 5 diapers for forever… I recently bought size 6 and they were way too big. She always wants to sit on the potty but has only figured out how to actually go potty one time so far. Once she does figure it out, she seems like she’ll be pretty motivated to learn (I hope).

She is our little cuddle bug and occasionally she’ll wake up scared in the middle of the night and need a little reassurance. Thankfully she usually goes right back to sleep. She takes a two hour nap in the late mornings every day.

And sometimes, if I’m lucky, she takes a second nap in the afternoon.

I get a little teary eyed when I think back to how we almost lost her to a subchorionic hemorrhage at 6 weeks pregnant. So it is with great joy and thankfulness that we celebrate her second birthday!

We sure love you, Little Rachel!

 

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Filed under Motherhood, Parenting, Toddler

Our Ongoing Home Reno & Other Updates

Hey there!

Here’s a little update on life for us these days.

House

We moved to our new fixer upper home almost 7 months ago. I joke with hubby that we ought to just dig a big hole in the backyard and start throwing money into it, because it has been one giant money pit! A mold report that came back showing high levels of (non toxic) mold less than a month after we bought the house really pushed us to replace the areas were there had been water exposure (floors, under kitchen sink) much faster than we had originally planned.  And then the snowball just started rolling as one thing led to another. That’s home renovation for you, I suppose!

Here’s a list of some of the things we’ve redone since we moved in:

Tear out back deck (was structurally unsafe).

Deck (removed).

New carpet in family room and bedrooms:

I didn’t really have any “carpet” pictures, but you can kind of see it here.

Removed wall between dining room and kitchen:

Before. (This wall drove me nuts because I couldn’t keep track of the kids!)

After. I love it!

Laminate in kitchen, fireplace room, hallway and master closet:

Closet doors (two sets), screen door, side garage door:

Tile floors in laundry room and kids’ bathroom:

I tried to pick tile that matched the laminate.

Replaced Kitchen counter tops, sink (chipping), faucet & garbage disposal (leaked whenever running):

Before. This wasn’t too long after we moved in.

Before.

After. My inner clean freak is very happy with having quartz counter tops now!

Tile back splash in kitchen (which we had to add because there was a big gap between the counter tops and the wall):

Pulled out melamine desk/cabinets and put in smaller desk area with upper shelving:

Replaced furnace and A/C (yes we wanted to cry when we learned we needed to replace BOTH):

New A/C.

Dishwasher (which died right after the furnace and A/C – more crying, hehe). New dishwasher will be here in two weeks.

Replaced fridge (died on moving day), stove and microwave.

Painted bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets:

Painted ENTIRE house (including ceilings).

Replaced almost all light fixtures and 2 out of 3 fans (we saved the only one that worked).

Whew! That wasn’t even a comprehensive list. And what’s sadder is that the “to do” list is still a mile long! The bottom line, however, is that we LOVE living here. We love the space (1/2 acre), the neighborhood, the proximity to hubby’s work, and also the fact that we live super close to my in laws! (And as a side note, both my parents and my hubby’s Dad were instrumental in helping us get a lot of the above list completed!)

Kids

Josh & Rachel are doing fine. Josh is just over 3 and Rachel is 20 months. I sure do love them and enjoy my days with them. I know everyone else has adorable/smart/funny kids, but some days I seriously wonder which state penitentiary my kids will end up at–because they can be quite devious! Some days Josh and I really do battle it out. I’m no marshmellow Mom in any sense of the word, so I often have to remember to look for ways that I can answer “yes” instead of “no.” Rachel is very determined and doesn’t give up easily either, but she does have much shorter tantrums, which I am thankful for!

I like to remember the following so please tune out if this is crazy boring (I imagine it would be to most):

Josh wears 3T clothing and wears a an 8/9 shoe. He weighs 31.6# (No joke, he’s weighed exactly 31.6# the last several times he’s asked to hop on the scale!) and a few months ago he was just over 3 feet tall. We took away his paci back in April and it wasn’t a big deal at all (we were shocked! And thankful…).

Rachel wears 18-24 months clothing and is somewhere between a size 5 or 6 shoe. She is only a few inches shorter than Josh. She still doesn’t have to many words, but she’s working on it every day. She’s been in a size 5 diaper for a while. I use Pampers diapers and water only wipes or else she tends to be prone to really bad diaper rash.

Don’t be fooled. They’re wanna-be felons, I tell you! 🙂

Weight Loss

I wrote a while back about experiencing unintended weight loss. I’m happy to report that out of the 16# I lost, I gained 7-8# of it back and that seems to be where things have settled. I’m not unhappy about it, but I do wish I had a better appetite most days so that cooking would feel less like a chore.

Endometriosis

I don’t really want to go on and on when it comes to this topic. The synopsis is: The endo does seem to be back. Some months are bad and some are okay. I cut out caffeine back in February which seemed to really help with pain levels. I still seem quite unable to get pregnant without intervention (IVF), so that’s a drag. At the same time, I have little to no desire to go through IVF again (not that we could afford it right now after all these home repairs!). I’ve been thinking about my options for when things DO get consistently bad, pain-wise. One option is to see a specialist who would excise all endo (cutting it out, rather than burning it off) and see how far that gets me. Another option would be to do a hysterectomy and also have current endo excised. This may still not alleviate pain (endo grows back easily and hides, so that it can be tricky even for specialists to find) and I still may require further surgeries. In all honesty, I’m hoping avoid any surgeries at all, because the frequent pain I get from adhesions and scar tissue following surgeries is off the charts.

Well I think that covers some of the basics! Thanks for sticking it through the post!

 

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Filed under Baby, DIY, Endometriosis, Finances, Infertility, IVF, Motherhood, Pain, Parenting, Toddler

Josh is Three!

This little buddy of ours had a birthday last weekend! It was a really fun gathering composed of just family, and it seemed like everyone had a great time!

This was our first party in the new house. My husband is installing new floors this weekend, and we had a wall removed two weeks ago, so our house was a little bit in disarray… but no one seemed to care!

Josh’s baby book – where I try to chronicle things like – is in a box somewhere in our garage. We desperately need to get some bookshelves so we can get those books out of boxes once and for all! For now this blog post will have to be enough to jog our memories later on.

The theme was  “Alphabet Letters” – since Josh is obsessed with letters right now. I ordered these letter flash cards on Amazon and put them up on the wall. We like them so much I think we’ll keep them there for school later on.

You can see where we had the wall removed below. We may have been missing laminate and baseboards, but it was awesome to have that wall gone and really nice for parties!

We had burgers, hot dogs, potato and green salad, fruit, veggies and chips for lunch. I’m a fan of keeping it simple if at all possible. We played an alphabet game and then hit the pinata.

Then we had dessert – a “J” cake for Joshua and ice cream. My aunt helped me make the cake look better than it did originally, thankfully.

And then it was present time! Wow, did this kid get some great gifts perfectly suited to his personality. It was clear how many people in our family love him and understand how his brain works! We are so blessed to have this kind of family support and love.

Happy third birthday, little guy. We love you so much and love to see you learn, grow, and even take on some responsibilities!

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Goodbye, Mr. Bear

We lost an old friend today: Mr. Bear.

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Mr. Bear and Josh have been inseparable for pretty much Josh’s entire life. Mr. Bear was a constant companion, who’s presence was required at book time, bedtime, and often car time as well. I have been blown away by how much comfort one little bear brought one small boy.

And somehow, in the last 3 years, we had never misplaced Mr. Bear for more than a moment. Until today.

Sadly, Mr. Bear got chucked out of the car today by Josh while we were on the freeway. He was in the throes of a raging tantrum at the time. I didn’t even realize Mr. Bear had been relegated to the heavy tires and traffic of I-80 until we got to my parents house half an hour later.

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I admit, this boy has depended on Mr. Bear for the last 3 years, and I was initially upset that Mr. Bear was forever gone. But as my husband says, “When you have kids, you just roll with punches. And there are many punches.”

So I hopped in the car, went to Target and bought another bear.

$9.99 later: Hello, Mr. BIG Bear. Welcome to our family. (We’re not sure if we’re friends yet.)

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Although ten minutes ago, Josh was clutching Mr. Big Bear in his arms while trying to fall asleep.

So I’d say they’re going to be friends after all.

 

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International Flights, Pediatric Dentists, & Weaning

In less than 3 weeks, my 11 month old and I will fly halfway across the world to Australia. She’ll be considered my “lap infant” to save money. We’ll have two flights to get there – a 2.5 hr flight and a 14.5 hr flight. As the days dwindle until we “set sail,” so to speak, all I can think of is: What in the world was I thinking?! Yes, I’m a little anxious about it. Rachel is anything but tranquil these days. She’s prone to screeching at the top of her lungs all.day.long and her chief goal is to get as many places as fast as she possibly can.

Please pray for our seat neighbor on the plane. I really hope they’re a) into babies/toddlers, and b) don’t mind a small human being crawling in their space repeatedly while they’re trying to sleep. (Because who wouldn’t love that?)

Despite the flying part, I am very much looking forward to our quick trip to Australia. My sister and brother in law and their 3 boys ran into a visa snag while returning back overseas last month and actually have to leave their country to Australia for a month while they get visas renewed. Just my sister and the boys will make the trip. So we’ll get to do touristy stuff while Rachel and I are there visiting, and then after we return home the boys will have to do school the rest of the time.

In other news, I weaned Rachel! It happened a little earlier than planned (by 1 weeks) when my milk supply dropped quite a bit and she had been up at night crying a lot because she was hungry. Her diapers weren’t very heavy either, so I decided to bite the bullet and wean her. She immediately took to cow’s milk, which was a huge answer to prayer! She’s been chugging down anywhere from 2-6 oz of milk at a time, and sleeping through the night. However, the abrupt weaning has been really rough on my body. I’ve been feeling really foggy-brained, irritable, exhausted, and headachy. It hasn’t been fun at all. I read that my prolactin and oxytocin levels are plummeting while estrogen and progesterone levels are rising. So my body is one big hormonal mess at the moment and I hope it all gets straightened out soon! Asking the Lord to help me be patient and kind, even though I feel like a disaster on the inside. Only by His Spirit can I do such things.

I took Josh to the dentist last week (I took him because I lost a bet with my husband….just kidding. Sort of.) and experienced unparalleled screaming from that kiddo. No kidding – I was surprised he didn’t burst capillaries in his little eyeballs from all that wild screaming. My ears rang for hours afterward. I apologized to the dental hygienist several times but she acted like it was all part of the 2 and 3 year old dental course. The dentist was a superstar in my eyes after he managed to scrape tartar off of Josh’s teeth (while Josh writhed and shook and screamed with all his might) without drawing as much as a single drop of blood from his gums!

And before I go — I made a big deal about discovering a bean up Josh’s nose several months back. But the truth is, he’s shoved a total of 3 beans up his nose. It’s becoming fairly routine, apparently! I may have to buy my own medical grade suction apparatus one of these days to get those suckers out (no pun intended).

Hope you have a great week! And I hope beans weren’t on your dinner menu tonight. 😉

 

 

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What’s New Around Here?

I am stuck in the midst of the hot, summer slows. Not a lot happening around here these days, other than some play dates, trips to the park, and running errands. We’re doing a lot of staying inside– where the A/C is running frantically to keep us cool 24/7. I’ll be glad when fall comes.

The kids are doing pretty well. Josh is still obsessed with trains, and builds non stop train tracks throughout the entire house every single day. He also brings the tracks to the table and the car. He would sleep with them if I let him. He knows every single Thomas the train character (not because we have them all, but because we read the books to him A LOT). We’ve been at this since Christmas. I have a feeling we’ll still be in train-wonderland by the time Christmas rolls around again.

He also recently shoved another bean up his nose. Thankfully it wasn’t up as high and I got it out right away. What a stinker! He and Rachel love to play with each other and nobody makes her squeal with delight like her big brother. He loves to hide behind the curtains in our bedroom and pop out just inches from where’s she sitting. She LOVES it.

Josh is in his big boy bed now and we recently got a clock set up that changes from a regular night-light color to green when it’s time for him to get up. He knows he has to stay in bed until it turns green. It’s pretty funny to walk in his room in the morning and see him sitting in the rocker, looking at books.

I bought a little potty and have been keeping the idea of potty training extremely low key. I let him sit on it (if he wants to) once or two a day. I put a “Josh’s Potty Candy” — M&M’s  – jar in the bathroom and he gets 1 M&M for sitting on the potty, and 1 for actually going potty. He doesn’t always go potty, maybe about 50% of the time. I honestly don’t even care. I just want him to think that going potty is “fun” and we’ll tackle potty training when he’s older– like 3.

Rachel is 10 1/2 months and is crawling and standing – anywhere she can. She’s a fast little thing and gets around the house in a jiffy! She is stilllllllll nursing (and yes I’m very ready to wean her!) and I’m looking forward to giving her cow’s milk in the next month or so. The girl seems to eat as many solids as I do these days — it’s impressive! Still no words other than “Dada” and of course the cute babbling. Things with her just seem to be progressing so much faster than with Josh. I wouldn’t doubt if she were walking in the next month! She is a very active and determined little girl. I remember reading chapter books to Josh when he was this age and he would still still for about 20 mins while fiddling with a little toy the entire time….

Here’s a few pictures to represent the summer. 🙂

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Doesn’t everyone learn to do somersaults off of their toddler bed?

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Josh is Two!

I can no longer say that I have “two under two.” And that is wonderful news!

Josh turned two last Thursday. We met up with my folks and my sister and her kids at a McDonald’s with a toddler play area for lunch. He had a blast playing with his cousins until he tripped and smashed his mouth. I didn’t see it happen (I was in line to order) but his mouth was full of blood and he was NOT a happy camper after that. He was pretty grumpy the rest of the day, but he enjoyed the number of special treats/allowances he received to celebrate his birthday. 🙂

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At McDonald's on his birthday. Thankfully his older cousin's weren't too ashamed to play with him in the toddler area!

At McDonald’s on his birthday. Thankfully his older cousin’s weren’t too ashamed to play with him in the toddler area!

Josh is thankfully over the flu. It took 9-10 days for him to regain his appetite and resume his normal eating. He lost some weight and his upper arms got so skinny! His appetite is very good now and the kid is making up for that lost weight quickly. I’m so thankful about that!

We had to reschedule Josh’s birthday party to next weekend, thanks to multiple family members of mine getting the stomach flu. And one of my nephews also had a fever of 103.5 F last week from a nasty virus as well. Lots of viruses making their rounds this winter!

And now for the latest on Josh. (I want to remember these details later on!)

Stats. Weight: 24# (I think he was down to 23# from the stomach flu — but was 25# prior to that.) Clothing size: 18 months pants fit his tummy but are getting a little short. 24 month pants are way too big around his tummy still. Shirts: Mostly 18 months. 24 months shirts fit but are baggy. Shoes: 6.

Sleeping habits. Josh goes to bed around 7 pm and sleeps until 6-7 am. I’m SO GLAD his 6 week long sleep regression has been over for at least a month now. That was brutal! He naps once a day for around 2-3 hours. He goes down anywhere from 11 am -1 pm. He still has a pacifier and hubby and I need to make decisions about when and how we’re going to wean him off of that. He loves his blankie and his bear, which are both a must for sleeping with. He hasn’t climbed out of his crib yet, so I’m planning on leaving him in the crib until that happens.

Food. Josh is a decent eater. He can be picky some days. I haven’t gotten very adventurous when it comes to giving him things like soup or other hard-to-get-into-your-mouth meals. I do let him eat yogurt out of the container though and that’s always pretty interesting. His favorite food is (hands down) the almighty fruit snack.

Favorite activities. Reading, reading, reading. Any books on trains or trucks is a huge hit with him. He also enjoys books by Cynthia Rylant (Poppleton) and other short story books. He loves playing with trucks or trains, and watching real trains go by on youtube. He asks to play outside frequently, and loves to color and play with beans or corn kernels.

Reading with Daddy. I have many, many photos of this.

Reading with Daddy.

New train set from Grandma and Grandpa! A big hit.

New train set from Grandma and Grandpa! A big hit.

"Please Mom, can I have your broom?"

“Please Mom, can I have your broom?”

Speech & Learning. His vocabulary has taken off in the last two months. Hooray– we can communicate better! He has too many words to count now. Lately he’s been using 3 word sentences (“It’s a train!”) and 2 word sentences (“Again, please.”) We’re working on colors and numbers. He gets part of the sequence of numbers between 1-10 correctly (“seven, eight, nine, ten!”). I think colors will take a little longer as he’s quite fixated on the color “Green” and guesses that every color is green. He learned his shapes pretty quickly, but sometimes mixes them up.

Potty Training. I’m not going to bother starting this until he’s closer to 3. He wears size 5 diapers, and has now for probably a year or so. I look forward to not changing poopy diapers on him in the future!

Last of all, this little guy loves snuggle time with his momma. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and will screech for me. He’ll lays his head down on my shoulder and snuggles in my arms while I rock him for 3-5 minutes and put him back in his crib. Those are cherished moments, for sure. 😉

This morning. Kiddo has a mouth full of graham crackers.

This morning. Kiddo has a mouth full of graham crackers.

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This is from a few weeks ago, but I just got the pictures off of my SD card today. Love this one!

 

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Stomach Flu

Josh is on day 6 after the stomach flu and is back up to about 50%. His recovery has been much slower than I had anticipated, and he still won’t eat much. Hubby even went to McDonald’s yesterday and brought him a kid’s meal in hopes that he’d eat more than his usual bite or two. He completely rejected a McFlurry and chicken nuggets, but ate fries and apples. It was a win in my book.
And… now I’ve got the stomach flu. My sister and Dad came down with it last night. So much for sanitizing the house.

We’re having loads of fun.

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We Survived Disneyland With 2 Under 2!

I know, I know. With a title like that, I sound like a privileged brat who doesn’t notice the blessing that’s right under her nose. I mean, how many people are dying to a) Just have children (that was us not that long ago), or, B) be able to afford a trip to Disneyland?

I’m grateful, truly I am. That being said, taking two such young children to Disneyland is no piece of cake. I wrote out some tips below for taking small children to Disneyland that I want to remember in the future. And maybe if you’ve got little kids and are planning a similar trip, this post will be a blessing to you too!

1. In all seriousness: Consider delaying your trip. If your children are like ours — both under 2 years old — then I suggest waiting a year or two. We went to Disneyland because my sister and her family are here for a short time in the U.S. and we didn’t want to miss out on a family vacation with them before their kids are all grown up. That is the ONLY reason we went. We didn’t plan this trip for our kiddos (sorry, kids). At their age and stage, smaller scale trips (like to a train museum or a pumpkin patch) are much more their speed.

2. You’re still reading, so I’m guessing this means you’re convinced you need a trip to Disneyland. That’s great! Now you need to decide if you want to drive or fly. Both of our kids are prone to crying/screaming in the car. Our littlest is 5 months old and nurses every 2.5-3 hours except at night. So 8-9 hours (not including needing to stop and nurse Rachel) of driving to Disneyland seemed like a terrible idea. If your kid loves the car, then by all means– drive! Driving all night is also an option because the kids are sleeping, but probably not a safe option for us. We chose the more expensive route and decided to fly and rent a car. This became stressful when we realized we’d have to bring: 2 port a cribs, 1 double stroller, 2 car seats, 1-2 diaper bags, plus all of our clothes/diapers/burp clothes/sippy cups, toiletries, etc. We spent a LOT of time on the TSA and Jet Blue websites trying to figure out what was allowed as far as liquids, and what wasn’t included in our plane fare (we had to pay $20 to check a bag that was 1 inch too large to be a carry-on). Most airlines have special allowances for babies/toddlers so be sure to check that out.

3. If you fly, have a plan for getting through security with all your items and children. I got picked by TSA for a full pat down (yay, me) and both kids were crying at the time. If we hadn’t had help, my husband would have had to go through security with all our luggage, stroller (which they wanted collapsed) and our upset children while I was away not enjoying the pat down. With help it was still a stressful situation. Without help, I probably would have had my own personal meltdown.

Miracles do happen: Neither child cried on the plane and both fell asleep on the return flight!

Miracles do happen: Neither child cried on the plane and both fell asleep on the return flight!

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4. Which leads me to this: BRING HELP! This is of utmost importance. Invite your family or friends to come along and give you a hand. My parents and little sister flew with us both directions (I asked for this specifically). And although we walked to the parks alone, we were almost always quickly joined by various family members. I don’t know how we would have managed without their help. I’m not kidding. At one point my husband was in line somewhere in the park buying us breakfast, and I was at the entrance of Toon Town nursing Rachel on a bench and verbally talking with Josh to encourage him to stay near me. He was obeying for the most part, but it wasn’t a good situation. Thankfully, a Disneyland worker came up and voluntarily stayed nearby to help corral Josh until my family members arrived.

Grandparents are the best to have along on a trip to Disneyland!

Grandparents are the best to have along on a trip to Disneyland!

5. Have low expectations. My goal was to do half days at the parks. On the first day we went for the morning and then came back to the house for naps mid-day. We returned for a couple of hours in the evening and Josh suddenly snapped and had an epic meltdown– which is crazy high-pitched screaming for 10 minutes (it’s never fun when strangers are shielding their ears from the screaming). We learned from that experience, and the next day we just went for a couple of hours in the morning. Josh had a blast playing at the house and Rachel napped well. After the kids went to bed, my mom graciously baby sat and hubby and I went back for a few hours to enjoy some rides.

 

Hubby and I having fun (sans our children) one evening.

Hubby and I having fun (sans our children) one evening.

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6. Take a good stroller. There’s a ton of walking involved on trips like these, such as: Getting to your gate at the airport, walking from the hotel or house to the park (our walk was 1.7 miles each way), and not to mention walking around the parks. Bring a stroller that has reclining seats so that your children can nap in it. We took a double Bob stroller and never had to collapse it once while at the parks. Don’t be afraid to take your nice, expensive stroller. There are expensive strollers everywhere you look at Disneyland! They are also parked everywhere unattended while people go on rides. Just bring your valuables with you.

(On a side note, Disneyland does rent single strollers for $15/day. We opted not to go that route because we would have had to rent two strollers, they don’t recline, and the word on the street was that they’re hard and uncomfortable.)

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7. Have your diaper bag situation down to an exact science. Hubby and I did. We each took a back pack, and each of us had a ziplock bag with wipes, ointment and diapers for both children. We weren’t sure if we’d always be together at any given point in time, so we were both prepared to change diapers. In my backpack I also had my wallet, spare change of clothes for Rachel, burp cloths, two lightweight large blankets (for swaddling/shade), hats for both kids, spare pacifiers (for meltdowns), snacks galore, sippy cup, nursing cover, sunblock, and water for me. If you’re looking for a nice diaper bag that’s also a backpack, here’s the one I have (and recommend!).

8. Avoid rides with long lines at all costs. For an almost two year old, waiting in line is equivalent to getting your teeth pulled. Stick with rides that have a 5 minute wait time!

9. Download the Glympse and the Disneyland app before you go (both free). I hadn’t heard about Glympse before this trip, but it’s is basically using your phone as a tracking device (when you decide to share your location) so that you and your family members can see where the other is at at any given time. Obviously not everyone wanted to go on toddler rides, so we split up a lot. It was easy to tell when a ride was over or if a person was still waiting in line using the app. The Disneyland app was invaluable because it had live wait times for each ride in both parks. Great information to know before making a trek across the park!

10. Review rides before you go. Make sure they are appropriate for your baby/toddler. I literally watched YouTube videos of rides before we went, because several toddler rides at Disneyland have scary themes! If they don’t have scary content, they are at a minimum very loud and overstimulating. Rachel cried during The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at one point because it was scary and loud for her (Josh did okay). Both did fine on It’s a Small World. Our kids don’t have much exposure to TV (Rachel has none) so we definitely took that into consideration when choosing what rides they could go on.

On the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

On the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

It's a Small World.

It’s a Small World.

11. Even if you’re like us and your child has had a meltdown before even entering the park, try to recover and have an upbeat attitude (not something I’m gifted at). Look around and realize that children are melting down everywhere, at all times of the day. You’re not alone, and you’re not the only crazy one to take such little children to Disneyland. (All I had to do was just be thankful that I wasn’t pregnant at the time, because that would have made the trip about 100x harder!) Perspective is everything.  🙂

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