Weighted Blankets

Around Thanksgiving, I purchased two weighted blankets. One for Lion, in an (rather expensive) attempt to try something new to help his poor sleep, and one for myself because I had heard that it can help with insomnia.

I’ve talked about some of Lion’s sleep issues in the past, including being a low-sleep needs child, night terrors and overall difficulties with sleep since infancy. In addition to these challenges, he often has a hard time falling asleep so when I heard that a weighted blanket can help calm a person down, I wanted to try it. My only hesitation was the cost for something that I had no idea whether it would work or not.

I ended up deciding to buy a rather high quality one, with glass beads in pockets to ensure even distribution and to reduce the noise created while shifting (which apparently plastic ones can cause). I found that the company Sensory Goods had relatively good prices and even found a coupon code and purchased from there, though I also considered Etsy and a variety of other companies. I had read that a weighted blanket for a child should be 10% of the child’s body weight, and that you can add one pound to that number because kids grow so quickly. With the rather high cost for a blanket, I didn’t want to have to turn around and buy another one in three months, so I followed the 10% + 1 pound formula.

Although I had planned to give the blanket to Lion for Christmas, I accidentally opened the box in front of him and when he saw the pattern I picked (Avengers), he desperately wanted to use it. I gave in pretty quickly because I was eager to see whether it worked. Mr. Dolphin told Lion that this blanket would feel like it was giving him a hug and ever since then, we’ve called it his hug blanket.

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A Cereal Family Triumph

So this has been a long time coming, and I am both thrilled and a little sad. Drum roll please….. LeLe is officially sleeping in her own bed! We are going on two weeks now of her sleeping and loving her new bed, and I am really happy.

It started a couple of months ago when LeLe was really starting to get cramped in her bed. She is ridiculously tall, so the converted crib was no longer big enough for her and she was sleeping at an angle into my part of the bed (her crib was sidecarred to the king sized bed). This was so uncomfortable for both of us and I was getting tired of sharing so much of my space. So I started looking for a new bed for her, and I figured the best way to save space in our tiny house was to get a bunk bed and have room for Little Bug on the bottom if he chose to move as well.

I’ve had a bunk bed in my Amazon cart for almost two months, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. This was partly due to anxiety on my part, but it was also a huge expense and I am always careful on how we spend our money. But over Memorial Day weekend, I saw a solid wood bunk bed on marketplace and I jumped on it. The best part? It was only $50 and in incredible shape! The family we bought it from was transition their two boys into their own beds, so they just needed to get rid of it, and I happened to be the first person to contact them. It was really lucky!

So we hauled the bed home and, while Mr. Cereal got it all put together, I went to the store and picked up a bed kit that included a comforter, sheets, and two pillow cases for each of the kids. When I got home, the bed was together, and Mr. Cereal and I worked on getting the mattresses into it. I quickly washed all the sheets and got them onto the beds. The kids were thrilled! They spent the rest of the day playing in the bed and being excited about the newness of it.

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Summer Photography Bucket List

Last year I posted about my desire to try to do a summer photo challenge for myself and take pictures of every day of our summer from the last day of school to the first day back in September. Though I am normally terrible about following through with this kind of stuff, ask me how many 365 day projects I have started and abandoned including this year, I was actually able to do it last year and capture our 78 days of it. This year I hope to accomplish the same for the 72 days we have this year (snow days making this summer slightly shorter), and, at the end of it, I am hoping maybe to create books for this summer and last if I can. I think in the future it would be great to be able to pull out these books and see all the things we were able to do with this little slice of time.  We won’t be taking any big trips this year like we did last year with Disney, but I’m sure we will still find a way to make the most of our days.

Here are the images I hope to capture this year.


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Two Year Update

Where does the time go? I have two two-year olds!

When the girls were turning one last year, I remember having so many emotions. I also remember feeling like the girls must be turning one because it definitely felt like it had been a year since they had arrived! But the second year has been different. I felt like their second birthdays completely crept up on me, and it doesn’t feel like it has been a year at all, except when I write posts like these and reflect on their development and what has changed…



On the physical front, the girls are growing well and they love to dance and jump around!

We continue to work with a physical therapist for Audrey’s overpronation, and she is still wearing her orthotics every day. With summer season now here, one of my biggest concerns was warm-weather shoes/sandals that would work well with her orthotics but that also would allow her some breeze and comfort on hot days. I really cannot bring myself to disclose how much time I spent researching sandals that fit the bill, but let’s just say that I finally settled on pairing some thin mesh socks and a couple of different pairs of sandals. We’re still experimenting with both pairs and, knock on wood, it seems to be going well so far.

The girls have been in swim class since they were about seven months old, and we’ve had the same instructor for most of that time. She recently recommended to us that we move the girls up to the next level of swim class, which happens to be the first level without in-pool parental participation. Up until now, Mr. Starfish and I have been in the pool together with the girls for every single class. And all that time, I will admit that we have longingly looked at the parents behind the glass observation partition who get to avoid the pool and have a cup of coffee while watching their kiddos.

Well, the girls had their first independent class without us this past Saturday and it was….how do I put this delicately?… a complete disaster. Luckily, we were warned that this would likely happen and so Mr. Starfish and I weren’t exactly surprised when the girls spent the whole lesson crying and screaming. Still, it’s pretty obvious that we are many weeks away from sitting down and watching the girls’ lesson while leisurely sipping a cup of coffee. The reality is that swim class currently consists of the girls screaming in the pool, us hiding from their field of vision, and me apologizing nonstop to every staff member who crosses our path!

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Five Friday Favorites – June 15, 2018

Friday is here, and here are my Friday Favorites! It’s always fun to hear about what everyone is enjoying with these posts. I like the mix of different types of favorites that people share, whether it’s products, TV shows, or hobbies. Hope that’s the case for you because here’s my mix of favorites!

1/ Date night exchanges with a friend  – At this moment, I am writing at my friend’s house while her three kids are sleeping so that her and her husband can go out and enjoy a date night together.  Once Baby Pizza started sleeping through the night, I suggested to my friend that we take turns helping each other have date nights once a month.  My friend and I both didn’t have any consistent babysitters and rarely went out on date nights so this has been a great benefit to both of us.  Since we started doing these date night exchanges, we have gone over a year and a half with having consistent date nights every other month.  I think that’s pretty impressive, considering that before that Mr. Pizza and I only went out for our birthdays and our anniversary.  My friend and I both put our own kids to sleep before we leave, so we are pretty much house sitting for a few hours.  I definitely recommend this to any couple with young kids!



2/ Tile Mate – If you are like me, then you are always looking for your phone.  My friend gifted me the Tile and it has been so useful. My girls even love helping me locate my phone by pressing the tile and running around the house to find my phone. Someone mentioned that you could use the Echo to locate your phone too, so I gave it a try. The Echo calls your phone like any other person calling you, which is helpful when you are the only adult in the house with a phone.  However, it’s not as useful when the phone is silenced or if you are someplace else, like a friend’s house. The Tile solves both these problems and the phone still makes a sound even when it is silenced and it can be located outside the home.

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Meet the Parents – Elementary School Edition

At seven years-old BeBe is all about sleepovers and having a friend tag along with her to the fair or park.  Many of her friends are from school, and unlike preschool, I haven’t met many of their parents. We’ve realized if you want your kiddo to have a fun with their school friends you have to make connections with other parents. This is a little tricky since she attends a large public school, and each year they shuffle the classes. The friends she had last year are in a different class this year. BeBe still plays with the friends from kindergarten occasionally, but also wants to play with her new friends from first grade.

If you can volunteer at school often or do parent pick-up you have a better chance of meeting the parents of your kiddo’s friend. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for our schedule, so I have to reach out in other ways. My old method of meeting parents at little kid’s birthday parties doesn’t work as well either because the “invite the entire class” type of parties are fading away. Families generally have a small party at this age or just do something fun with a friend. To meet the other parents then we often resort to having our kids pass notes with our phone numbers to each other. Then we text hello and compare schedules to meet up. I’m not comfortable dropping BeBe off at another kid’s house unless I’ve had a chance to get to know the parents. I typically suggest we all meet up at a park, or skating rink (if the weather is bad). This way the kids can play, and we can meet the parents.

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Summer Bucket List

I love summer, even with the heat and humidity. In part, I personally just hate cold weather, but what I really love about summer is all the great activities. Here in the DC metro area, it seems like there are festivals just about every weekend! While there are fun (and often free!) things to do year round in DC, summer provides a great opportunity to enjoy outside activities.

Here’s what’s on our summer list (in order of price):

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Butterflies abound this time of year!

Hiking – To be honest, I see hiking as a better fall activity when the weather has cooled down a bit. Still, if we get out of the house early enough, we can still enjoy some hikes. We’ve recently been enjoying the hikes around Great Falls National Park, where the kids have seen tons of butterflies, snakes, salamanders, ducks and other wildlife — and, of course, waterfalls. We were really impressed when we set out on a four-mile hike (roundtrip) and the kids made it 3.5 miles before complaining that they were tired.

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It was SO hot on our last hike to Great Falls.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival – Every year, we’ve missed this festival, usually because it is just. so. hot. But I really want to go and each year a different culture is highlighted. I’ve seen the festival in passing (as my taxi drove me from point A to point B for a meeting) and it looks like it takes over the entire National Mall. This year, the focus is on Armenia and Catalonia.

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