Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Toddler Transitions Mini Series Part I: Preschool, Not for the Faint of Heart

For the next few weeks I hope to do a little mini series on the transitions that our toddlers face and the way we as parents can make these transitions a little easier for our children and ourselves.  The first transition I want to deal with is preschool.  Preschool is not a mandatory transition as some of the others are.  All children eventually have to learn how to use the potty, sleep in a bed that no longer offers the security of a side, and get rid of their beloved pacifiers.  Most children will inevitably go into a school setting at some point, but not all will go to preschool.  This is a decision in itself.  We always knew that we would send Nick to preschool.  Being that he has a December birthday and the cut off in Connecticut to go to kindergarten is December 31st, we already had a difficult decision to make.  Will we send him when he is 4 turning 5 or wait an extra year?  As of now we are pretty set that we will wait the extra year.  Because of this, we now have to decide whether to send him to two or three years of preschool.

Nick is a pretty smart little man.  Well, that's what we think...don't we all think that of our children?  He knows many a song, knows how to count to 13 (why he stopped there we have no idea), knows a few colors etc.  On the other hand he is also very tiny for his age, shy, and really really loves being around his mommy.  If we started him in September he would be going to preschool with children who are almost over a whole year older than him.  I was always dead set on sending him the day that they allowed me.  That was of course before the decision was imminent and I thought of my little boy being devoured by a 4 year old who was double his size!  Of course this is quite the exxageration but is definitely something to consider, aside from him actually being eaten by a four year old.  My little guy barely knows how to defend himself against a nonsharer on the playground let alone a whole class of children who are most likely further along socially and academically because of their age and their advanced degree of pottyhood.

After months of going back and forth on this issue we have decided against sending him to a formal preschool in the fall.  Two years seems like it is plenty enough.  There are also numerous programs in the area that are similar to a preschool where we will send him.  There is a local children's museum that offers a drop in preschool class a few hours a week and the local high school has a preschool class taught by the high school students every once in a while.  This will give us the time we all need to adjust to the idea of preschool and take our time with potty training, separation anxiety, and of course, growing.  Everytime I hear another mother talking about their child starting in the fall, though, I still wonder if we are making the right decision.  Maybe he would excel and learn more at school than he would at home?  Maybe he would learn how to better control his emotions and develop better socially?  The truth is I have no way of knowing any of this.  None of us do.  As with all decisions that we have to make for our children, we just have to go with our gut and what we think is best for them and hope for the best.

What I have to keep reminding myself is that this decision will not make or break my son's future.  He will be fine either way.

Next Wednesday we'll talk about the transition of potty training where you get to learn all about my son's regression and what we plan to do about it.  Hopefully I have some idea by then!

Monday, March 28, 2011

No Wonder They Go Through the Terrible Twos!

I found myself getting a little anxious yesterday thinking about all of the transitions my two year old will be going through this year.  We recently tried potty training, although it worked for a while we are taking a little break.  I will talk about this another day, but he just was getting too upset over it.  Nick is almost 28 months old and still uses a pacifier at night and naps, is in a crib, wears diapers, and doesn't go to preschool.  That means that within the upcoming months we have some major decisions to make on which to tackle first, when to tackle each, and the biggest decision we've made up to this date, whether or not to send Nick to preschool in the fall.

Looking at all of these adjustments that he will have to go through there is no shock that he has been having a rough time lately.  He has just recently gone back into a stage of severe seperation anxiety.  He is no longer interested in spending time at the daycare gym or having his daddy put him down at night.  He just wants me around 24-7.  Many have commented that it must be the arrival of his younger brother.  I am hesitant to believe that this is the case.  Luke is almost 5 months old and I think that he is fairly adjusted to this by now.  I think our little people all just go through stages and this is one of his.  I have been trying to give him the extra love and attention that he needs and hoping that this phase passes sooner rather than later.  All of these decisions have been putting a lot of stress on the two of us as I am sure he can sense my anxiety.

With that said, I have no idea what order we will tackle these transitions in, all I know is that they are impending and we can both sense it.  Nick has been warned about the pacifier fairy, has started using the potty, and even tried breaking out of his crib.  I hope to be able to deal with each of these in stride, slowly, patiently, and in their own time.  These next few weeks I plan on posting on each of these topics and assessing the best ways to get through them with the least stress on all of us.  Hope you will join me!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crucial Baby Products for those Early Months

I find that after having my second son there are some items that were even more important to have around this time than the first.  We were lucky enough to not have to buy much since our second was a boy as well.  We had all the clothes covered, all the gender neutral gear in case we had a girl, tons of bottles which we didn't end up needing this time around (yay), but we did add a few things to the mix.  Here's a list of some of the things that I found so very important this time around and also some of my favorites from our first.

BabyHawk Mei Tai Baby Carrier 
Hands down this has been the most important thing in my collection since L arrived.  N, my older son is still very much "I want my momma" kind of boy.  When little L came along he didn't give up his thrown easily, or at all for that matter.  This carrier saved me.  I was able to rush around after N, cook him dinner, and still give L the attention and cuddling he needed.  While out and about with N I had two hands to play with and make sure N wasn't running out into the middle of the street.  It was so much easier than carrying L around with my hands or with a car seat!  The best part is you can design your very own Mei Tai.

aden + anais 4-pk. Safari Friends Swaddles
No swaddle, no receiving blanket, no bib, no security toy, no nursing cover, no changing pad (you get the point) can compare to these swaddles.  I honestly used these Aden + Anais swaddles for everything under the sun.  They are super lightweight, breathable, HUGE, and on top of all that adorable.  I get stopped everywhere I go from moms trying to find out where I got these adorable blankets.  They are a tiny bit pricey but so worth it.  I have had the same four since my first son was born and they are in amazing shape.  We use them everyday, have washed them hundred of times and they are in even better shape now.  They get softer each time you wash them.

Boppy Noggin Nest Head Support, Brown Wheels
For those of you who don't remember, my first was diagnosed with severe plagiocephaly when he was a few months old.  He was fitted with a DOC Band after strenuous repositioning for a few weeks and ended up wearing the band for 11 weeks.  Although I do firmly believe a lot of the problem was how he was positioned in utero, I think it could have been helped if he didn't sleep on his back.  Although I am a strong believer in back to sleep, I think there are definitely things you can do to ease the amount of time babies are on their backs the rest of the day.  For one, the carrier, and two this noggin nest.  It has been amazing this time around and I think it has definitely helped for times that L just has to be on his back, which is a lot when you have two young ones.

Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether
Oh yes, I said it.  I never thought I would give into the craze but when I had a teething 3 month old who wouldn't take a pacifier, I did.  This is literally the only thing, besides our fingers that L could get into his mount that young.  Best part is he could even hold it.  My husband became a believer the second I brought Sophie home.  N, our older son, also took a liking to Sophie so she does double duty.  My favorite part about Sophie is her handcrafted, nontoxic paint.  It makes me feel so much better when L is chomping away.

Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper, Yellow
By far the most used  new purchase we made was this Rock 'n Play.  Neither of our children were very big into their bassinets.  N slept in his crib from 3 weeks on, but L was a constant nurser and waker (and still is).  Because of this I was eager to find any solution that would result in L sleeping longer at night, for naps, which didn't just result in me being a pacifier/swing 24 hours a day.  I read the rave reviews and bought this.  It was amazing and still is.  Although L didn't start sleeping any longer it did allow us to just rock him without continuously picking him back up during all the awakenings at night.  It helps with extending naps and makes the baby feel snuggled because of the sides.  It is very mobile so when staying other places we are able to bring this along.  I am actually using my foot to bounce L right now while he is trying to wake up early from his nap!  Did I mention how much I love this thing?!

Bumbleride Indie Twin Stroller - Seagrass

 Expensive, but so worth it!  It is so easy to push around and the kids love it.  My older son loves riding around in it and I love pushing it!  The colors are great and I have used it on runs, walks around town, and even in the mall.  It is a little heavy when loading in and out of the car and does take up quite a bit of room, but I couldn't be happier with this stroller.  I have a feeling it will last a very long time!

I hope I have lent some input into some gadgets you might consider before you first or next baby!  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Amazon Mom Savings

Whew!  After a much needed overnight away from my beloved kids I am finally back on my feet.  You heard it right, I was more tired spending a night away from them then I am waking up three times a night with the little guy, but more on that tomorrow.

I promised you that I would tell you of the amazing deals that I was racking up at Amazon and I am here to do so.  I heard from a few friends that Amazon Mom was worth looking into and  you could save serious money shopping their for diapers, wipes, and other things for your child.  I was hesitant since their was also mention of a prime membership.  I am here to tell you there really is no scam.  Here is how it works:

The key to understanding these deals is understanding the Subscribe and Save program.  You can sign up for Subscribe and Save for anything from diapers and wipes to laundry detergent.  Once you sign up, you will automatically begin receiving these items on a certain day every one, two, three, or six months (depending on what schedule you sign up for).  Just for doing this you will automatically receive 15 percent off and free two day shipping.  You can change your delivery schedule or cancel at anytime with no penalty.  Right after you place your order, you can just cancel your next scheduled delivery at no charge. When you sign up for Amazon Mom, you get a free 90 day subscription to Amazon Prime, which gives you free two day shipping.  You also will receive an additional month of Amazon Prime for every $25 you spend on “baby” products.  The $25 is BEFORE any discounts, including the Amazon Mom and Subscribe & Save discounts.  Amazon Prime will make you eligible for all the greatest sales and the free two day shipping.  Having both Amazon Prime and joining Subscribe and Save will automatically give you whatever you order under this program for 30 percent off.

A Huggies Snugglers 144 count for as little as 27.84!  Wait, it gets much better.  If you subscribe to Baby Talk magazine (free), Parenting, The Early Years, and occasionally American Baby (also free), you will find either a 20 percent off Amazon diapers coupon or a 10 dollar off your Amazon Mom purchase which can apply to most purchases for your child.  Last week I bought a huge pack of pull ups for my son for 3 dollars! I also bought 2 packs of 216 count huggie wipes for 7 dollars.  That is what I usually pay for 1 216 count at Target, with coupons!

Some tips on using this:

-You can use more than one 20% off diaper coupon if the codes are different:  some codes start with a YT and some codes start with a YJ.  You can also use an additional 10 dollar coupon with the two 20 percent off coupons.  If you manage to pull this one off you are really getting your purchase for free!
-Look for Amazon coupons that you can clip for greater savings.
-Babies R Us, Baby Depot, and USA Baby usually carry American Baby and Baby Talk magazines.
-Sign up for Swag bucks where you can get gift cards to Amazon for even greater savings.

Happy Savings!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's Official Coffee Mugs and Sippy Cups has Joined Facebook

I am definitely behind on catching up with Social Media.  Hey, I am still getting the hang of using Twitter as Coffee Mugs and Sippy Cups.  Well, I finally added us to Facebook.  I hope that this will help others be able to stay more connected to my rants and raves.  I am really excited about where this blog is going and would love for you all to join me by liking my facebook page.  This will give you the opportunity to hear first hand when I have posted something new, added a new giveaway, etc.  Add a link to your facebook page and I would love to follow you back!

This weekend for the first time I will be away for an overnight since my second son was born.  I will be stressing like crazy but hopefully having an amazing, relaxing two days.  Stay tuned next week to hear all about my trip and how both kids fared.  Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hottest Tot/Baby Summer Style

If you know me you know how much I love shopping for my children.  My love for clothing was put to the wayside for the love of my children.  Although I would never pass up a shopping spree on my own behalf, I much prefer shopping for my two sons.  Although I have already done my older son's summer clothes shopping I scoured the internet for the most stylish finds for your children this summer.

Everyone is having great sales right now so hurry on over and scoop up these great finds!  I would love to see pictures of your little men and little ladies in their finest summer attire once the time comes!  Without further ado...

The Gap: Hurry up, The Gap is having a Give and Get event where 5 percent of your order goes to a nonprofit of your choice and you get 30 percent off!
I love these adorable overalls.  And they come in mini me sizes!!

 Seriously??  Look at this Romper.

My little guy has the green shirt, he loves it!

Gymboree:  This season their styles are just adorable.
They are also doing a 30 percent off fill your bag event.  I am a big fan of the first few items and my son will be wearing them this summer!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sibling Love: Getting your Two Year Old to Love your Newborn

I thought the day would never come.  For those of you that read my earlier posts since my second L was born, you know that it was not an easy start.  But, hey, what is easy about two under two.  Not only was I an emotional roller coaster, hanging on dearly to my two year old who I had become so in love with that not even my new little bundle of joy could compete with, but N wanted nothing to do with his younger brother.

It wasn't as bad as it could have been.  N wasn't beating, kicking, or throwing anything at his brother, it was more of just a tasteful disdain;  he just didn't care.  No matter how many times the other toddlers we know would drool over this cute little baby and want to grab and kiss him, N had no desire.  I think he thought if he just ignored him we would get rid of him.

The hardest parts were when I would hold L and N would politely say and point, "put L here," and point to his bouncy or swing.  Not only didn't he want to get close to his brother, he didn't want me getting closer either.

Let me not scare all of you who are expecting a second.  These early months flew by.  It was tough at first but I can honestly now say that N is in love with his baby brother.  It started slowly with N just whispering sweet nothings to his brother and now he will do it anywhere we go.  He loves looking at his brother, singing to him, taking pictures with him, and showing him his latest toys.  I can't explain the joy that this brings me.  Everyone told me that this would be the best feeling, but it was just something that I had to experience for myself.  All it took was some patience.  I prayed for the day when it would finally happen, and it did.

Last week my husband was giving L a bath, (yes he finally realized it was easier than giving our 2 year old his, so this is now my duty) and L started splashing around and giggling non stop.  Older brother walked in and couldn't contain himself.  He started bursting out laughing and staring at his brother enjoying his splash in the tub.  Hubby and I were just in awe.  This was the first actual brotherly connection between the two.  Where they were each sharing a giggle with each other and it was just so sweet.  It makes all those earlier months worth it, and I can't wait for more

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coffee Mugs and Sippy Cups: Week at a Glance

Here's what we all have to look forward to this week:

Amazon Mom: Have you heard through the grapevine the news of the awesome ways to save on baby items through  I started hearing about it a few months back and I have really started taking advantage of it.  I'll give you some of my tips.

Brotherly Love: The months and months of praying my older son would take a liking to his baby brother have arrived.  See how they made their first connection.

With Summer arriving quickly I would love to share some of the adorable baby and tot styles for the coming season.  I've already done the shopping for mine, now it's your turn!

Hope to have a great week!

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Addiction to HGTV

There aren't many hobbies that I haven't tried.  I have done everything from dancing to snowboarding to trying to learn how to sew, to baking.  I've done it all.  My most recent obsession, which has actually been going on for a while now is my addiction to HGTV, more importantly, to interior design.  I don't know what it is but there is just something about having all of these designing ideas in my head that just gives me a high.  One of my biggest guilty pleasures lately is praying that my two sons are still napping at 3 o clock so that I can catch even a few minutes of Nate Berkus.  I remember right before my second son was born in November Berkus was doing suprise makeovers to some lucky Connecticut families homes.  I secretly believed that my wonderful husband had submitted my story to Nate and I would therefore wake up one morning, walk downstairs (9 months pregnant and all), and find a completely renovated living room.  Well, I waited....but it never happened.  Funny thing is though that a mere hours before I had my little boy, sure enough, Nate Berkus was on in the delivery room.  One of our final name choices was Nathaniel.  I honestly believe that my husband was just so disgusted with my obsession that he vetoed the name and chose Luke as the winner.

As part of my addiction I spent many hours scouring around for design ideas.  I have gathered some pictures of some of my favorite finds.  Being it a weekend and all I thought we could take some time from talking about our children and indulge in our own passions, or...just mine. Our living room is a mixture of beiges and blues.  I am trying to make it very natural yet contemporary at the same time.  I like using colors that are found in nature.  Some of the rooms I chose have this general theme.  I also have a slight obsession with baskets.  I think they are a great tool for storing toys, books, blankets, mittens, gloves, you name it.  We have quite a few in our living room.  I love the dark wicker colored ones.  Anyway, I hope I can inspire your creative side a little.  Enjoy!

Maybe, if I'm brave enough, I will invite you into my home (through pictures of course) to help me solve my design dilemma.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Are you a Happy Mom?

Finding happiness sometimes can be just finding the little things in your life that bring you joy.  One of those things for me is waking up with my children, giving them something to do, grabbing my cup of coffee and popping on the Today Show.  This is something so simple but for me it is the 20 minutes of my day that I can count on.  Even today, my husband left early for a business trip and wasn't there to wake up and help with the kids.  I woke up though and started my morning the same as any other and I think we all felt solice in this.  My oldest son knows what to expect and it helped us all jump start our day.  I get that 20 minutes to think and do something for myself and my son gets 20 minutes to explore his world.

This morning on the Today show Meg Meeker was on.  I was very excited to see that they were going to be talking about Moms and being happy.  Whenever I see a headline based on moms this always spikes my interest, today especially.  I think as parents we are always striving to make others happy and we seldom take the time to develop our own happiness.  It is not usually something that happens on it's own.  Sure, we are all happy with our children, our beautiful family that we have made, but what do we have for ourselves.

Some of the things that Meg Meeker suggests are taking time to do something for yourself, pamper yourself.  Also, you don't have to feel the need to sign your child up for every little activity.  Sometimes, face time with your children is more important.  They, "just want to live life next to us."  I thought this was such a beautiful way to put it.  This can be hard to do, just slow down and take life day by day.  I think we all have something to learn on happiness and this was made more evident by the startling numbers that almost 50 percent of moms were not happy.  We all know that our happiness can be noticed and soaked up by our children, so if not for ourselves, this is just another reason to strive for happiness.  I plan on picking this book up and continuing on my journey to being a better mom by hopefully learning to enjoy my own things a little more each day.
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