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Link Roundup – April 15, 2018

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Here are a few interesting parenting articles to read if you’re stuck inside waiting out Winter Storm Xanto like much of the U.S.!

Should We Speak to Little Boys as We Do Little Dogs? via The New York Times

Newborn Nearly Dies in Car Seat After Sitting in Traffic via Mom.me

How Well Do We Understand the Tech Habits of Parents via The Atlantic

YouTube Is Improperly Collecting Children’s Data, Consumers Groups Say via The New York Times

Philly School’s New ‘Calming Room’ Offers Yoga Mats, Drawing, and a ‘Brain Break’ via WhyY

Why Girls Can Be Boyish but Boys Can’t Be Girlish via CNN

Parenting Doesn’t Matter via Slate

What have you been reading lately? 

Participating in a Mom Focus Group

One fun thing I did recently was participate in a parent focus group for a large toy company! I had some free time in the morning so I decided to do something out of the ordinary and was selected to be in the group for moms who had babies in the range of 0-12 months old. They encouraged us to bring in any technology type of device that we were currently using.

When I arrived at the meeting, I greeted the other moms in a mirrored room. I immediately got along with the first mom sitting next to me, who had her second child just a couple months ago. We were a pretty diverse group of moms:

Me: 4 year old boy, 6 month old girl
Mom 1: 3 year old boy, 2 month old boy
Mom 2: 2 year old girl, 2 week old girl
Mom3: 4 month old boy

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Five Friday Favorites – April 13th, 2018

Hello, and Happy Friday!! I’m so excited to share with you all some of my current favorites. I had so many – it was hard to whittle them down to just five, but here they are!

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1/ The Amope Pedi Perfect Rechargeable Foot File – I have to admit I’m somewhat of an oddball in that I don’t love getting pedicures.  I get restless sitting there for an hour, and I can think of a million other things I’d rather do with that hour, but I love the soft, nourished feet I get at the end of it all.  This Amope rechargeable foot file gives me that smooth, callous-free feet I desire so much in one convenient package. I’ve tried other foot files and pumice stones in the past, but the results haven’t come close to what the Amope does for me. I haven’t gotten a professional pedicure in over 6 months, and with this by my side, I may never need to again.

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The trip we had versus the trip we planned

The Train family just recently came back from a trip to the East Coast. It certainly was not the vacation we planned. We originally planned a 17 day trip. It was going to start in Boston to visit family friends. Then we would make our way through New York and Philadelphia to get to my sister’s house in Virginia. After a week in Virginia, she would join us for two days in D.C before we flew home. That was the plan.

It sounds fantastic right? Exhausting, exciting, and full of fun sights to see and time spent with loved ones.  That was the vacation we planned. It was not the vacation that happened.

I am a type A person who likes things to go according to plan, and I struggle with dealing with the disappointment and stress of a plan that goes awry. I know this about myself and I try really hard to maintain composure and not let the stress get to me. But let’s face it. Life as a parent can hardly be planned. I can’t even plan a trip to Target without someone throwing a wrench in it, so why should a huge family vacation be any different?

Here’s the thing. Our trip was full of disappointments and, as I will reveal to you in a moment, a lot of unwanted bodily functions. But we chose to laugh. We had to. So here is the disaster that was our family vacation and how we enjoyed every minute most of the minutes.

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A Staycation at The Great Wolf Lodge

We have a Great Wolf Lodge about 20 minutes from us, and after seeing so many fun pictures from friends we decided to book it ourselves for a mini staycation. Our kids absolutely loved our time there and have been asking to go back ever since we went last year.

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They give the kids complimentary wolf ears at check-in!

Personally, a one night stay was plenty for us. A one night stay gets you two days at the waterpark, so, though the rooms can be pricey on its own, if you think about the price as being inclusive of a two day waterpark entrance for the whole family, it actually seems pretty reasonable. After check-out, you have access to the waterpark until it closes at night.

You can go to Great Wolf Lodge before check-in too and get full access to the waterpark.  So although the official check-in time is at 4 pm, we got there at 1 pm and were able to access the waterpark.  Our room also happened to be ready too even though we checked in early at 1 pm, so going early definitely doesn’t hurt!

Great Wolf Lodge is great for the whole family – it has smaller areas and mini slides for the little ones to splash and play and giant slides and pools for the bigger kids and adults. The targeted age range for Great Wolf Lodge is 3 to 15 years old, so there are plenty of options for the whole family.

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Waiting to get pregnant

I am so thankful for the start of a new month.  The cycle of emotions that I have been experiencing every month lately has been fairly consistent, but March was especially difficult for me. March was the month that our baby I miscarried was due. The reminder on my calendar made sure that I didn’t forget the EDD.

The loss was the hardest the first month after the miscarriage but it’s gotten much easier for me. The girls remind me every so often about the baby and how they wish the baby didn’t die, but I’m thankful that it was a real part of their lives. There are moments when I allow myself to remember the day of the miscarriage, and the horror of the moment when I lost the baby becomes very fresh in my mind.

When the due date approached, I thought a lot about how the baby would have fit into our family at this moment in time. I pictured Lil’ Pizza reading all day to the baby and Baby Pizza (who is most definitely no longer a baby) singing and dancing around the baby. I pictured the chaos of driving all three kids to Lil’ Pizza’s preschool and the days all blurring together and it was all beautiful.

Lately, I’m less consumed about the loss and now more emotional about the desire to get pregnant. March was especially difficult because I had envisioned myself already pregnant again by this point.  We TTC as soon as my doctor gave us the green light (which was after the first period after the miscarriage).  My last three pregnancies happened fairly quickly while we were simply “open to getting pregnant”. It’s very different for me this time around as I long to get pregnant and find myself discouraged every month when I get my period.

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What I’ve Been Reading So Far in 2018

One of my very favorite things to talk about is books! At the beginning of last year I did a surprisingly good job tracking what I read and even sharing my progress on Hellobee (if you’re interested, here is a summary of what I read in March/ April, February, and January of last year, as well as one of my favorite posts on how I squeeze reading in as a mom).

And then I started my 3rd trimester with Baby #3 and, well, life got a little crazy. While I had set an ambitious goal to read more books in 2017 than I had read in 2016 (44), I ended up falling pretty short of that goal. I still read some great books though, including this exquisite YA novel.

With 3 boys under 5 and a full-time job, I’m not going to lie – I find it really hard to start and finish a book these days. But the 4 books I’ve powered through so far in 2018 have been worth the effort. As for the handful of books I’m still working through, the jury is still out on some of them, but I am happy to report I look forward to climbing into my bed with my beloved Kindle every night!

Here’s what I’ve read so far in 2018:

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1. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo (336 pages) – My friends raved about this book (a few going as far as to call it the best book they’d read in years), and Reese Witherspoon selected it as the February pick for her Hello Sunshine book club. I really enjoyed this book and rated it 4 stars on Goodreads, but I don’t necessarily share my friend’s opinions.

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