Halloween Cheapies and Freebies!!

I love when companies get into the holiday spirit of things and make their establishments family friendly. I love it even MORE when they accomplish this by giving out free or cheap incentives for YOU to be in the spirit, too! Did you know that today, Halloween, you can get all kinds of freebies for showing up with your littles in costume? Here is a list of my favorites. Please add any others you know of in the comments!

Almost ALL of these require your kids (or you for the adult ones) to be in costume. So don’t forget to dress up the little goblins before you head out!

1. IHOP- Free scary face pancakes for all littles 12 and under in costume -ALL DAY!

2. Sonic Drive-In- .50 corn dogs- ALL DAY!

3. Krispy Kreme- Free donut for ANYONE dressed in costume- ALL DAY!

4. Jamba Juice- Free kid smoothie- From 2pm-7pm

5. Panda Express- Kids 11 and under eat free- ALL DAY!

6. Chipotle- $3 burritos, bowls and salads- 4pm- close

7. Bass Pro Shops- Free Trick or Treating, crafts and goodies- ALL DAY!

8. Lego Store- Free candy and Lego keychain- ALL DAY!

9. Old Country Buffet- Kids 11 and under eat free- ALL DAY!!

10. Free kids meal at Darden’s restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster) with adult entrée purchase and the coupon here – ALL DAY!

And one more just for fun…Shutterfly is offering 101 FREE prints if you enter the code SPOOKY at checkout. Offer ends Nov. 1 so hurry home and load those pics after trick or treating tonight!

Enjoy and remember to be safe out there!!

This was our family costume last year…Magician, Assistant and Rabbit in a top hat!

Poop and Espresso!

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. Between playdates and potty training, Halloween costume preparations and the cold that went around this house, THIS mama is pooped! But, good news! Chuck is officially diaper free during her waking hours! She even managed to stay dry while jumping on Auntie Staci’s trampoline for hours on end! You other mamas know why this is so impressive to me! J

With her new-found ability to “hold it,” Miss thing has also discovered that she really, REALLY doesn’t like to be wet at night. But, since she doesn’t have the physical capacity to stay dry all night, she still goes to bed in a diaper….and she wakes up. Every. Time. She. Pees. “POOOOOOTTTYY!” is her mantra at 12, 2 and 4 am. It’s like I have my newborn back. Without the sweet cuddles. And WITH an attitude. How in the world do I deal with this? Really, I am looking for suggestions. I will say that we have abandoned cloth diapers at night because I thought disposables might keep her from feeling the wetness better. So far, it hasn’t worked like I had hoped.

One of those awesome moments that are funnier later than when it happens, HAPPENED this week. We had a play date with Chuckles’ sweet little girlfriend who lives around the corner. E is about 5 months younger than C and is such a cutie. She is also nicer. I have learned that, at this stage at least, my kid is a bully. My precious baby girl, who use to share so well, who use to be the peacekeeper in the nursery, decided the way to play with her friend was to SCREECH in her face. This led to tears. Lots of tears. Several times. After stealing toys and yelling “no, no, NO” with emphatic arm waving at her bestie, C chose to take the party in to the kitchen, out of the sight of us mommies. I decided to put the baby gate up to keep the girls in the living room with us and asked the kids to come back on our side. E obliged, C did not. Instead she sat down and refused to budge from the kitchen floor. Fine! Stay on that side of the gate by yourself and see how much fun you have. Boo-hooing ensued and fit throwing commenced. I let her stew in her misery for a few minutes. And also, apparently, her poop! She POOPED in her undies because she was mad at me! Oh sure, my kid is TOTALLY potty trained….except when she is peeved at mama! I had to excuse us to the bathroom while I cleaned my vengeful child’s rear and my hands. Afterward, I kept smelling poop and I just knew that I had it ON me somewhere. You know, like when your newborn spits up on you and hours later you find it in your hair. Awesomeness! But, it wasn’t on me. It was on her dress. The dress she took a nap in. The sheets had to be washed. The dress had to be washed. The blankey had to be sanitized. All I can say is I am sorry to E’s mama!

All this excitement happened in the midst of some other excitement! I am taking my blog to the next level. I want to bring my readers more stuff they want to see…more recipes, more crafts, more embarrassing stories from my life and eventually…FREE stuff! One of the cool things about being a blogger is sometimes companies want to reach my readers by giving their products away for free. To be considered for things like that, though, I need to have a BIG cyber footprint. That means, if you like what you read and if you want to see raffles and free stuff here, you have to help me get more people over here.

I have been typing double time to make things amazing here and on my facebook and twitter pages. Working hard on the few hours of sleep Chuckles allows me to get has made for one sleepy mama. And since I am running on bold coffee and espresso these days, I thought the perfect giveaway for my first raffle would be a Starbucks gift card! This first raffle is in no way affiliated or sponsored by Starbucks. I just like their coffee and I would be willing to bet you do too! So, from midnight tonight until 11:59pm on 11/6/13 you can enter to win $10 at my favorite java establishment! Pass the word!

And our winner is….Michele Silverlake!!


Success! I feel like we should have our own one-man band following us around after Chuckles went all day with NO potty accidents! We even left the house in undies and the kid stayed dry!

It wasn’t all a cake walk though. At library story time she kept interrupting the librarian with “Pi-ot, Pi-ot” (which means “potty.”) And as we got up from the circle carpet THREE different times, she held the saggy crotch of her too-big panties and waddled to the restroom giggling. I think the first adventure sans-diaper out of the house was quite the novelty to my little imp! Her enthusiasm makes my heart happy, though, as I have had a few reproachful remarks from well-meaning meddlers, warning that she is still too young to actually be potty trained. You should see the mouths drop when I mention she has been pooping on the potty since she was 8 months old! Despite the doubts and the very true fact that 18 months IS too young for many kids, my kid is ready. And doing a mighty fine job, I might add!

I decided when we started slowly introducing the potty for number ones earlier this summer that I didn’t want to do any kind of food reinforcement. We have enough problems with C eating healthily, shoot…eating, period! So, using m&m’s or skittles was not the right choice for us. I bought shiny smiley face stickers thinking that would be a good reward, but after I caught her trying to eat those, I quickly revised my approach. Chuck is very receptive to all kinds of verbal interaction. She loves to “have conversation” even if I have no idea what her response means and she is constantly searching mine and Hfoe’s faces for approval or disappointment. So, I thought just maybe my kid would actually respond to something less tangible than stickers or candy. And she did! Our go-to for a potty well done has become, of all things, HIGH FIVES! Now, when she finishes and tosses her paper in the water, after waving bye-bye to the pee pee, she throws her tiny pixie hand up for mama to clap! And then she squeals and my heart melts again.

How is it that when we become parents, the whole giant world, all the things we’ve done, things we thought we would do, things we have seen and heard and things we have wept for are instantly wiped away, made unimportant, when our toddler smiles with pride in herself? Really? It’s that simple. In that moment, government shutdowns and health care reform take a backseat to enjoying the site of her self-esteem growing and imagining the confident adult she will hopefully grow into. Maybe my high-fives for her going tinkle on the toilet will help her develop into the self-assured woman who SOLVES health care issues. Too grand a target? Perhaps. But, today, I don’t care! We got to high-five lots of times!
Side note: The Top 5 Things I have learned About Public Restrooms in this process
1. Public toilets are disgusting. If there is a stray pubic hair on the back of the flush handle, the kid will find it. And pick it up. Every. Single. Time. Blech!
2. How do I teach her to hover? This is a very important skill I learned as young adult, but with 14 inch long legs, I am thinking this a skill she will have to work around for awhile. Which leads me to number three…
3. Toilet seat covers are dumb. By the time I get it unfolded and the little center piece ripped out enough to make a hole, she has found the stray pube mentioned in #1, touched the floor, and flushed the toilet twice. Then, when I get the seat cover in to place, the second her tiny tush brushes the wispy paper, it falls IN THE TOILET….rendering it pointless. And infuriating.
4. Non-handicapped people and people without children should be banned from using the big stall. Because they will, usually right before you head toward it with your potty-dancing toddler who you now have to figure out how to hold on the potty in the tiny stall next door, without flashing her baby lady parts to the world, with the door open and your tush hanging out. Exhausting.
5. Washing my kid’s hands after tinkle time at a public restroom is a dance all it’s own. Do I wash mine first while she continues to touch every disgusting thing in sight and THEN hold her up to balance her on my knee trying not to drench us both? Or do I just wash both our hands together hoping I manage to do a good enough job during the balancing act to actually kill all the germs she acquired from #1-4? Conundrum.

Part of Her World

(Originally written for my mama friends at MOPS.)

It was released Tuesday! The iconic animated movie that influenced so much of my childhood came out of the “vault” just in time for my 31st birthday. Disney’s The Little Mermaid, I suspect, was cause for many mermaid parties in neighborhood pools and countless wishes for long, flowing, red locks. I still remember comparing the “mermaid-ness” of my hair with my best friend in her backyard pool…which of course meant, does it become wavy in water? This film made such an impact on my life that I can trace my pre-baby career choice back to the very first time I watched it in the back room of my grandma’s house with my cousins. To say I am excited for its release would be an understatement!

Today I will trek to Target with 18 month old C in tow to pick up our copy of The Little Mermaidso that I may introduce her to the magic. This got me thinking about how so much of the happiness I find in raising this spunky kid is found in how she reacts to and interprets cherished items from MY childhood. I think sharing memorable experiences and awe-inspiring memories, even with my toddler, creates a bond between the two of us that is unique among mother-daughter relationships. She may not adore The Little Mermaid the way I did, but sharing my excitement and enthusiasm for the film not only gives her an insight into what was important to me as a child, but also gives her a glimpse into the fact that that child still lives in me!

Last night we returned home from a two week long trip to Colorado, where I spent many summers of my youth. To see my daughter’s face light up as she hiked (or rode in the backpack) up giant mountains made my heart sing. We rode four-wheelers, fed chipmunks and petted ponies. We lounged lazily and even had the opportunity to play in snow…in September! All of these experiences brought to the surface such fond memories for me, just as they were creating new memories for my little family. My parents, C’s “poppy” and “nanny”, met us at the cabin for a week of our vacation. The joy this kid brings to my once strict dad proves to me Proverbs 17:6!

As I watched C roll around on the floor wrestling with her poppy, I realized that her memories are being made now. The memories she will share with her babies are being influenced even before she may be cognizant of the fact. It is so much more imperative for me then, to live how I would hope she would live and teach her children to live. As her mother, I take to heart Deuteronomy 6:7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  I am definitely not always successful…mostly when she is fighting naptime or throwing a home-cooked meal all over the new wood floors…but I try. Hopefully, when she is sharing the joy she found in Bubble Guppies and Sophia the First with her babies someday, the way I will share The Little Mermaidtoday, she will also remember how I shared my love for the Lord. How despite my imperfections, my adoration for her was a reflection of Christ’s sacrifice for her and she will perpetuate that agape love on the next generation. After all, in this way, I will always be a part of her world!