Buy Nothing Project

The Buy Nothing Project. Have you heard of it? It’s only a year old and but has quickly become a social movement, with over 25,000 members in over 150 groups, in 6 different countries. If you live in Washington state, you’re in luck, because that’s where it started and there are many, many neighborhoods that have embraced it. It uses Facebook to connect you with your neighbors (and their stuff).

It’s a place to share the three-pack of ketchup you bought from Costco, and veggies from your garden that your family couldn’t possibly eat before they spoiled. It’s a place to find an old pallet to make wall art. It’s a place to give a second purpose to packing peanuts. I even saw a Coach purse being given away. Everyone has things they need and things they can give away to make someone else’s day. There are even “gifts of self” – people offer piano lessons, resume reviews, the use of their truck for moving furniture. Most posts stay up for 24 hours so you don’t have to be glued to your phone to score what you need. People comment with their interest, and you can choose a recipient based on your fancy or whim, you can look to places like random.org, or you can literally draw names out of a hat.

I love the idea of using it to source items for helping the homeless like this local man does.

In my group we have “round robins” – totes filled with items you can add to and take from. Here’s a tote filled with 9-12 month clothes, and it had everything from Carter’s to Old Navy, to Gap, to Naartje (never heard of that brand until now, but I assumed it was uber trendy!). I was so blown away by the very first tote I picked up – not only was it literally bursting with clothes, everything was stain-free and like new, and some clothes still had the sale tags attached. There are round robins for craft supplies, books, and even old school nintendo games. There are “library” lists filled with things people are willing to loan out – everything from Kitchenaid attachments, to camping supplies, Cricut cartridges, to DVDs. There are friendships to be made in meeting the people in your community, but there is always the option of “porch pickups” so you can fit it into your day.

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Day Two: Epcot

On our second day at Disney we chose to go to Epcot because EasyWDW had it as a recommended park that day. Like Hollywood, I wasn’t sure there was going to be a lot for Drake to do. Touring the countries is always a highlight for my mother and I was hoping Drake might get a kick out of it too. We decided to quickly Fast Pass a few rides upon entering, return to the hotel for a nap for Juliet after lunch, and then return to see the showcase as well as Illuminations at night.

This was my list for Drake at Epcot:

The Seas with Nemo - Before coming to Disney, Finding Nemo was the only Disney movie Drake had ever seen (and by seen I mean he lets the movie play in the background while he plays without demanding we change it as he had for both The Lion King & Dumbo in the past).  He was familiar with Nemo and Squirt and Dory, but I don’t even think he understood the story. Still I knew this ride would be one he would want to ride since it had Nemo in it, and he always loves seeing him. The ride takes you through an abridged version of the movie as Nemo moves through each room and its scenes. You ride in an open clam shell that moves along on a slow track as you enter each new area/room.  When the ride is over it leads you into a large aquarium setting where you can see all kinds of animals in small tanks, as well as a huge salt water aquarium  (2 stories) that I believe might be used in some research (there are divers in the tank that swim and wave at you), and a manatee area too.  Drake had a lot of fun running around and exploring this area after the ride was over.

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Sleep-Training: Choosing Our Method

When LO was 6 months old, we decided to try sleep training. We had just moved her bedtime up to 7:30, her bedtime routine was set, and I was tired of spending over an hour rocking and nursing her to sleep. Naps were completely trash; she averaged about 40-60 minutes per day. We had moved her to a crib in her own room at four months, and we had switched from the swaddle to the ZipadeeZip fairly recently.

If I had bothered to read about infant sleep at all before having LO, I probably would have spent ages doing research, comparing methods, and drawing up pro/con lists based on my (zero) experience. Instead, we were sleep-training on the fly, and I had no time to pore over the dozens of books at the library. I was hunting for a method that fit our (loose) criteria, but still had a fairly good chance of working. Here’s what I knew:

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Easy Mom Hairstyles

It’s hard enough on a regular day to find time for your own hair on a regular day. Or maybe that’s just me. Get everyone else ready and then I remember — I forgot to do my hair! School days are most definitely the hardest of any hair days. It’s usually a rush out the door to get there in time and the goal is to look at least half decent (If you drive to school, it’s much easier to just hide out). There are a ton of hairstyles you can do in just a few minutes that will hold up all day long if you need. Here are just a few…

WRAPPED LOW PONY TAIL – grab your hair in a low pony and take a small strand from underneath and wrap it around the elastic. [image]

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Back to School Countdown: 5 tips to ease the transition

It’s officially five more days until HJ begins 1st grade. Coming to this moment has been somewhat of a tumultuous journey, considering that we had wanted to hold her back two years ago before she entered kindergarten. But because she receives special education services from the public school and has an IEP (individualized education plan), our school district strongly encouraged us to have her begin kindergarten on time (even with her late summer birthday).

Then, this past year, we made another go of holding her back. She was doing well in kindergarten, but still not reading and still behind her general education peers. I thought that another year of kindergarten in a general education class might be the best transition. Despite our efforts to convince the district to allow HJ to have another year of kindergarten, they basically said that was not their policy and refused our request. Long story short, we even hired a lawyer to make our case, but in the end, we had to give in since the school was the one giving her the services.

And this is all to say, I didn’t really want her to start first grade this year.

Nevertheless, here we are. Five days before school. And now it’s time for me to put on a brave face and show my daughter that she is ready for this big step. It’s time for me to do whatever I can to help her be prepared.

It’s a good thing we get lots of practical advice from HJ’s counselors and therapists. Otherwise, I would be living in denial and it would be the night before the first day of school, and I would suddenly be saying, “Oh my god, what have I forgotten to do?”

Here are five easy tips that I’m rapidly trying to implement before school begins next week. Five because we have five days left. And easy because that’s about all we have the time and energy for now.

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This Happened

I’ve been fairly absent for a little while now. Two trimesters to be exact.

Yep, that happened.

I wish I could say it’s all sunshine and roses, but when you’re very firmly one and done, a surprise like this is a lot to swallow. But that’s how life works and thankfully Mother Nature gives moms several months to work through the “OH MY GOD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH TWO KIDS AT HOME, GET ME BACK TO WORK NOW!” emotions ;)

The timing of this pregnancy has been a challenge. I found out my exhaustion and really crummy runs were not just because I was pushing a toddler in a jogging stroller in our hilly neighborhood, but something much bigger right around the time when our contractor walked off our nightmare of a house project. Needless to say, if we thought things were stressful up until that point, we were in for a big surprise. We’re working with a lawyer now, but he adds a whole other layer of stress. Initially we just wanted to get the house finished before the Navy tells us we need to move again, but we have a much more pressing deadline now. And the weeks are ticking by really quickly! Breathe, breathe, breathe!

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At the corner of “will” and reality

As nearly all first time parents, I had a lot of ideas for the kind of parent I wanted to be and the rules I would follow and ones I would ignore. And like most parents, I quickly found myself throwing most of those expectations out the window.

Admittedly, my list of things of “definitely will do” and “no way, no how” was fairly short to begin with. I had done a fair amount of reading about the first year and what traditionally happens with sleep, eating, breastfeeding and baby’s development, but I didn’t focus too closely on one parenting philosophy over another. I knew a lot of what I would do would depend on my child and my own and Mr. Carrot’s needs as parents, but there were a few things I was pretty dedicated to – until it turned out they weren’t right for my family.

1) Breastfeeding. I had every intention of breastfeeding – I took classes, read books, talked to friends, ordered the pump before Baby Carrot was even born and was ready with an array of nursing bras, shirts and breast pads. And then Baby Carrot was born early and tiny, with little energy to latch and attempt to feed. The NICU wouldn’t let her out until she showed consistent weight gain, and since she would fall asleep after a few seconds on the breast, we ended up supplementing with formula almost immediately. I went to the NICU every 3 hours during the day to attempt nursing her, and pumped religiously throughout the day and night, but even 10 days later, when she was finally able to come home, I got barely an ounce per pumping session and she was drinking full bottles of formula even after nursing. I spoke with multiple lactation consultants, and stuck to my pumping schedule, but it was obvious that Baby C wasn’t getting much from me, if anything at all, and neither was the pump. After 6 weeks of waking up every 2 hours to pump, trying to nurse a frustrated baby, and worrying about whether Baby C was eating enough, I made the decision to stop and switch to formula feeding exclusively.

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