When I would picture having kids, I thought I would have zero desire to ever do the whole Santa Christmas photo shebang. But then you really have one, and you want them to do ALL THE THINGS! Last year at Christmas, Rowan was just a wee thing, so this year was his first Santa experience.
Today is Black Friday, and the Christmas shopping season is official! Let me just start this post by saying I am very anti-toy. Okay not really... I know they are necessary for your child's development and happiness, but with a tiny house and Christmas just around the corner, I'm mildly stressing about it! Also, last Christmas was so easy with a 2-month old... we didn't buy him anything! haha.
Fast-forward a year-- Rowan just turned one in October, so we are pretty stocked on toys! I've had the urge to donate half of everything we own, but I already drive Zack crazy with my anxiety-driven purging.
So I was thinking, what toys can we give him that he will like the best and play with the longest? Some pretty schnazzy research a few years ago showed that when kids could make more discoveries on their own with an item, that their playtime was significantly longer. But okay... that still doesn't tell me which toys may be the best for different stages.
Again, I'm no expert, and observing my child is a singular, unique situation... but maybe these picks will help someone navigate picking fewer, better toys!
If I could've only had one type of toy for each stage, this is what I would choose...
Back when I wrote about my natural birth story, I also wanted to post about the process of packing for the hospital -- which for some reason seemed monumental as a first-time mom. I'm pretty sure it's just one bag and you aren't going to Africa! I didn't get around to it, but all of my friends being pregnant and now visiting all of the new, little bundles at the hospital reminded me of it.
Around the 8th month of being pregsie, I realized that this hospital visit was really going down. I really would've preferred a birthing center or a glamping-birth in a magical forest, but since some of that isn't available in Alabama and since I know that birth complications do happen and woodland animals are no real help, I opted for the unmedicated hospital birth plan. Having the bag planned out is one thing you have control over, I suppose, so thinking about this kind of trivial thing made me feel better as I stared the great unknown in the face!
So I hit pinterest... And what did I find? Hospital check-lists with a zillion and a half items! No lie, one list includes a power strip... A POWER STRIP! I'm sorry, but unless you are married to Tom Haverford who needs to plug in his massage chair and the DJ Roomba charger, why would you need to bring that?
But yet all of the "oh, the hospitals have everything you need" comments meant NOTHING to me! So here is what I personally thought were the most essential TOP 10 hospital bag items.
When it came to planning Rowan's FIRST BIRTHDAY party, I was more than excited to celebrate my favorite day in the history of my life, but I also wanted to keep it personal, low-key, and simple.
If you already know me, you may have burst out laughing at that last line. I have definitely been known to let party planning get a little ridiculous/theatrical at times (i.e. vintage dance cards to encourage old-fashioned party mingling... or hand-drawn marauder's map invitations for guests to locate a quidditch field... OR a full-blown murder mystery plot for a 1920s-themed Christmas party... You get the idea.)
Basically, if there is an over-the-top idea for a party that is completely unnecessary and maybe a touch dweeby, then I probably want to do it.
When you say the words "cloth diapering" you most likely get only one of these two types of responses: the "why yes, of course! Help save God's green earth" or the "WHY?! Whyyyy on God's green earth?!" I am completely sold on the idea of cloth diapering, yet when real life gets in the way it can truly seem like the dumbest idea. Therefore, I have invented what I'm calling the lazy parent's guide to cloth diapering. Someone surely has already come up with something similar, but I'm just gonna pretend like I'm unique for one second!
The first part of this idea I credit to myself (haha!), because I have been known to be somewhat of an obsessive recycler/waste-hater. The second part I credit to my mom, because she is all about doing what you need to do to keep things clean and organized (even if it means using some paper plates so your party clean-up is more efficient -- or something like that.) Then the third part I credit to Zack, because he has helped me to become more of a "baby steps" type of person rather than the all-or-nothing perfectionist that I used to be. OKAY OKAY, I'll get to the point already...
When I was pregnant, one of the most helpful things for me to attempt to mentally prepare for a tiny human exiting my body was to watch birth documentaries (The Business of Being Born, The Science of Babies) and birth stories on YouTube. I've been asked about my natural birth story and have recalled some details to friends, but posting a public account of all the gory details is not what I'm dying to do.
Even right now I'm about to back out of posting this... ha!
But alas, since reading these things really helped me, I'm going to try to tell my tale without hitting TMI code-red. Be forewarned that if you are not currently pregnant or thinking about being, you probably will not care about this post at all.
Okay, disclaimers done!