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Monday, March 31, 2014

Okay, we seriously need to stop cursing...

Well, it happened folks. After three years, Charlie has started mimicking the "adult language" he's heard around him. I know, I know - you're not supposed to curse, no less curse around children. I fully admit it - Jeff curses, I curse (a little more than Jeff does...), and I don't say anything when other people curse around my kids. Charlie was never big on the parroting phrases, but I knew this day was coming. I don't know exactly where he heard it or if he just put 2 and 2 together, but my 3 year old totally dropped the *F bomb* while yelling at the dog for stealing one of his crackers.


We stifled our roar of laughter and ignored it. Hopefully, he doesn't say it again. In the meantime, time to put out the swear jar and hope he doesn't say it at his United Methodist based daycare...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ginny's Wizard of Oz Birthday Party!

Hooray! Ginny's 1st birthday party was an absolute blast! Despite feeling very, very behind the week prior, everything came together thanks to some help from my amazing family. Don't mind the ugly brick - the space we used didn't have prettiest walls, but it worked too well to care!

Inexpensive baskets from Michael's ($2.99) and these cute tins from IKEA ($.99) made for perfect decorations to go with the theme. I picked up paper goods from WalMart and the dollar store; they coordinated perfectly without being an overwhelming pattern.

The space we used was the perfect size for kids to run around. We put the kids' slide, tunnel, tent, ball pit, and a few ride on toys out there and the little ones had a blast. No need to go to a designated party place at this age - they're perfectly happy with a room full of activities!

My quickly deconstructing fruit rainbow. I wish I'd taken a picture of the entire table put together, but I completely forgot in the whirlwind of setting up and everyone dug right in! I guess it all looked just that yummy. ;-) We served a fruit rainbow, a veggie rainbow, buffalo chicken dip, and a soft pretzel platter from Philly Pretzel Factory.

My sister is a crazy cupcake connoisseur (just check out her Instagram if you don't believe me!) and helped me make the cutest Wiz themed cupcakes and smash cake. She also found these cute foam stand up displays at her grocery store for a buck. A BUCK! Thanks for putting together the 9,000 tiny foam pieces, Chris!

Back when we did Charlie's 1st birthday cake, my sister realized that if you paint on marshmallow fondant with the food coloring, it makes a richer color for accents. Painting in the grooves on this "brick road" pattern made it really pop!

And thanks to my good friend Mary (who also has a blog here!) taking pictures, I was able to get IN a few shots. A nice change of pace, huh?

To say she destroyed her little rainbow smash cake is an understatement. Holy moly, she really went for it! There's no denying that my kids love cake.

On a side note, Mary, you can totally come follow me around and be my personal photographer. I actually LIKE how I look in these pictures!

She received so many fun presents that she absolutely loves. Surprisingly (and thankfully), Charlie is doing a pretty good job of understanding that they're not for him. I thought that would be much more of an issue.

Sleepy Dorothy after a long day. From what I heard, most, if not all, of the kids zonked out on the ride home. Too much cake and running around will do that to you! Ginny had a wonderful day. Thank you so much to everyone who took part, whether at her party or through sending birthday wishes her way. She is a very lucky little girl to have so many people who care about her. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Birthday Party Update!

Tomorrow is party day! I had all these plans to work on party stuff last week when I was off, but ended up on the couch with a sick baby. It happens. The good news is that I was able to make Ginny's party dress and knock almost everything off our to do list!

Birthday To Do List:

My absolute favorite thing about this party so far is Ginny's dress. I can't even stand how cute this ended up. I used a Simplicity pattern (#4024) to make it and it took about 3-4 hours. Originally, I was going to just make the dress and put it over a white shirt, but after reading the pattern realized that it was all one piece. Boy, am I glad I made the whole dress - those little puff sleeves kill me! They might be my favorite part. The socks were found at consignment for $1 and couldn't be more perfect for Miss "I Don't Like to Wear Shoes."

Here comes the Mommy guilt. For Charlie's 1st birthday party, my sister and I made a gorgeous cake that took us hours and hours. I am so proud of it to this day. Ginny is getting..........::winces:: cupcakes. I feel SO bad! I know, I know. She's 1 and won't realize it, but I will! There just isn't time to get it all done this time around. My sister and I will try to Pinterest them up with some fondant decorations, so hopefully they turn out alright. 

I'm pumped to get everything decorated tomorrow morning. Check back for pictures of the Ginny's big day! 

I'm a Nuby Mom!

I'm so, so excited to announce that I was invited to be part of the Nuby Mom blogger group! This means that I will be provided various Nuby brand items to review and give away! I sent in my first product request and everything is on the way. I'm pumped to start sharing these new products with you! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Happy Birthday, Ginny!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little Ginny! I can't believe she is one already. The year has gone by so quickly. She's gone from my tiny squish to my spirited, smart, joyful girl.

How things have changed!

This might be my favorite age. Ginny is learning, trying, and doing so many new things; she amazes

us every day. In the past month, she has started climbing into and out of chairs (kid size ones), taking a few steps, playing pretend with her baby doll, pointing at things she wants, giving hugs and kisses, telling us when she's "all done" eating, and is getting into just about everything!

She just might be the happiest little person I know - she is smiling and laughing from the second she wakes up until its time for night night. We are so incredibly blessed to have her in our lives.

The thing that excites me the most are the times to come. I can't wait to see what the world has in store for her.

Happy Birthday, baby girl.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Redefining Pen Pals

Its one of those things that no one tells you; making friends as an adult is hard. Growing up, you're put in all of these situations where you are with other people of similar age, interest, and general purpose. It is easy to make friends...or at least have someone to talk to who understands you. As an adult, however, its so much harder - especially if you have kids. We (the royal "we") don't connect with our local community as much as we once did. Some Moms out there do find those connections through organized play groups and parenting co-ops, but depending on your location and working situation that isn't always possible. 

So what do you do?

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I was one of the only people around me even married, no less pregnant/with kids. Those around my age were just in a different stage of life. It was kind of lonely and I needed someone to connect with. I stumbled upon (I genuinely forget how I even found it) a forum full of other Moms from all walks of life. I joined the board of women also due in December 2010 and started chatting. This was 4 years ago and 15,000 posts and a few Facebook groups later, these women....well, I can't even imagine parenthood without them. 

Between Charlie's birth month group and Ginny's birth month group, I'm part of a few forum boards and a few Facebook groups and the wealth of giving, humor, advice, experience, and support is overwhelming. These women are nothing short of amazing. We chat almost everyday about almost anything - when things are good, when things are bad, when things are crazy. We've been pregnant together, had our babies together, gone through teething, sleep training, breastfeeding woes, marital problems, weight problems, hilarious and frustrating toddlers, name it. The community bands together and the kindness runneth over.'ve never met them? No, most of them I've never met. 

Living in a time of "Catfish" and the "Craig's List killer," trust me - I get plenty of weird looks when I say that most of my friends live out of state and that I've never met them. The funny part is, I get even weirder looks when I talk about making plans to get together with them. So wait, its weird if I've never met these women, but its ALSO weird if I try to meet them face to face? Well that's just confusing. 

The truth of the matter is, in this day and age, making connections over the internet is not only common, but should be expected. The world can be a lonely place when we're moving around so quickly. The ability to find people who can understand and support us is so incredibly important. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my tribe, if you will.

Twenty some odd years ago, we would be called pen pals. No one gives a concerned, judging look about pen pals. Well, we're still pen pals - just with a new kind of pen and paper. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

St. Patrick's Day, Spring Break, and Sickness

What a week! My "relaxing" spring break turned into quite a whirlwind of activity, traveling, and unfortunately, one very sick baby.

I don't know if I've shared this before, but I grew up on Long Island. After heading to college, I didn't visit very often - especially after my family moved out to Pennsylvania. I've been back a few times, but lost touch with a lot of friends and family; friends and family that, fortunately, my sister stayed in touch with. Growing up, it was a tradition to go to the St. Patrick's Day parade in Manhattan with our Aunt and Uncle. I think I started going when I was only 9 months old! Year after year, we dressed up in our goofy green gear and watched the bagpipes, drums, and marching bands.

We hadn't gone to the parade in several years and decided it was time to pack up the kids and get the tradition back on track. We made a whole weekend of it - visiting old friends, eating some amazing NY pizza and of course hitting up the parade.

The parade was a lot of fun, but VERY cold. Colder than I remember it ever being as a kid. Charlie loved riding the bus into the city (of course), but wasn't a fan of walking through the city or sitting on the curb to watch the parade go by. He did, however, go all day without a potty training accident!! SCORE.

Say hello to my grumpy leprechaun. Which brings me to the last part of my spring break - the reason why I haven't posted in a week. Poor Ginny got SO sick while we were out of town. I realized she'd never been sick before; not like this. Her runny nose and cough turned into 104.5* fever and absolute misery. I felt so awful for her. On Tuesday, I took her to the pediatrician and she was diagnosed with pneumonia. If that wasn't scary enough, on Tuesday night we ended up in the ER because she was having difficulty breathing.

While her treatment didn't change, it was reassuring to have her seen. We encountered our first "What is CAH?" situation at the ER. I marked on her entry paperwork that she was cortisol dependent and each doctor/nurse we saw asked for clarification. The doctor tried to explain her condition to his med student, but didn't have it exactly right. That part was slightly less reassuring. :-/

She was pretty knocked out all week and spent most of the day sleeping and cuddling. By Friday evening, she was feeling a bit better and by today she's pretty much back to normal. Thank goodness! I missed her bubbly, smiley self. It was a long week.

Luckily, I had planned to take off the whole week anyway, so I didn't miss work. The downside was that I had planned to use that time to prep for her birthday party this weekend....and now I'm behind. Whoops. Time to kick it into high gear!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Boogie Wipes Review & Giveaway!

**The products for this review were provided free of cost by Boogie Wipes and Little Busy Bodies, Inc. for the purposes of this post. All opinions are 100% my own and I do not review products that I don't believe in or use myself.**

What, what! Giveaway #3 has landed and it's going to save some sleeves!

Boogie Wipes have made an appearance at All Four Love before; they're one of the essential baby items in our baby care tackle box. Look, there they are on the bottom!

Whether it is cold season, allergy season, or just that perpetual runny nose that kids seem to have, we are always stocked with Boogie Wipes. In the tackle box, in the diaper bag, in the car, at daycare...everywhere. 

Founded by entrepreneurial Moms Julie Pickens and Mindee Doney, Little Busy Bodies, Inc. was established in May 2007. Using their business background, they hit the ground running with their idea for saline nose wipes as a solution to kids' sore, red, runny noses. After intensive R&D, surveys, hiring a chemist, and working with manufacturers, they sold their first package of Boogie Wipes in December 2007. In 2012, Little Busy Bodies partnered with Nehmiah Manufacturing, marketers of Pampers Kandoo, to continue expanding their brand and commitment to improving their community.

Now, this part is gross, but we are talking about boogers here. Like these kind of boogers. ::shudders::


My kids hate having their noses wiped with tissues. HATE IT. It's like wrestling an alligator the second they see me reach for a tissue. I don't blame them; kids get that gunky green crust all over their nose and upper lip and of course, one tissue wipe doesn't do it, so you're left to wipe and wipe and wipe. Dry tissues don't work well and baby wipes are too moist and sting if the skin is raw. Poor noses. 

With Boogie Wipes, however, I have gotten some of the most gunked up stuff of my kids' faces with ONE swipe and no fight. One swipe and they're back on the go because, let's be honest, with most toddlers you only get one swipe, so it needs to count. The super soft, alcohol free, saline wipes have the perfect amount of moisture to de-gunk any little face without bothering an already irritated nose.

Now that Charlie is older, he knows what Boogie Wipes are and brings me the tub or package whenever he needs to blow his nose. He loves them! They're also perfect for other gross toddler ailments such as morning eye gunk and gross earwax. Oh, the things we parents clean up!

That's his "I did it!" face. Charlie's favorite is the grape scented wipes - he calls them "purple blows." As in, "My nose is runnin'! I need a purple blow, Mommy!" Also, as you can see, his gash from the other day is healing nicely. 

Boogie Wipes come in 10, 30, 45, and 90 count packages and in three scents (fresh, unscented, and grape). We keep our smaller packs in the diaper bag and tackle box and the big tub ready to go on the bathroom counter. They are widely available at Target, Toys R Us, Walgreens, and WalMart and if you follow the Boogie Wipes Facebook page, you can usually find a coupon or two!

Want to try out Boogie Wipes for yourself? Enter the giveaway below! The lucky winner will get one 2 ounce can of Boogie Mist, a gentle saline mist for stuffy noses, and two 10-count packages of Boogie Wipes in fresh scent and grape scent. You're little one's nose will thank you.

If you'd like to learn more about being a business Mom, Julie Pickens shares her entrepreneurial knowledge with other inventors and business owners through speaking engagements and media platforms. She encourages Moms to embrace their strengths in the Business of Behind the Boogie; a blog which guides them in their journey as an entrepreneur. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Step2 Play & Fold Jr. Slide Review

**I am partnering with Step2 for the following review. I received a product in exchange for my review and honest opinion. No other compensation was provided.**

Several times a week, Charlie asks, "Go to the park to slide??" He loves the park, but with the winter we've had its been nearly impossible to get to work and school, no less the park! Luckily, we've had a few bits of spring time peeking through the ickiness of March....or at least long enough for me to do this review.
Step 2, manufacturer of amazing kid toys, sent us the Play & Fold Jr. Slide to try out and review. When the box arrived, Charlie about lost his mind! "A SLIDE. FOR CHARLIE." It wasn't even question - it was a statement of fact. Today was unusually mild, so we brought it outside to try it out. Hooray for grass and fresh air!

We love this slide! Its is perfect for a toddler's patience level; open the box, pop it up, and you're ready to go! No fumbling for the right screwdriver or following instructions that consist only of arrows and pictures. 

You simply turn the slide over, gently push the stairs away from the slide bottom, and clip the grey safety latch in place with a big SNAP. Once that's set, the slide is safe for littles (up to 43lbs) to climb and slide! It pops down just as easily meaning its easy to store. Living in an apartment, I can't tell you how important that is.

I'm always leery when I see the age range on a toy, but Charlie loves this slide, even as a very tall 3 1/2 year old. So, the suggested age range is spot on at 18 months to 4 years. Ginny is still a little young for it, but that doesn't stop her from trying to play too! By the summer I am betting she'll have it mastered. 

I'm so excited to bring this out to play more when the spring and summer come. We'll be able to put the end of it in the pool or the ball pit or just outside on the grass to enjoy the warm weather. Meanwhile, our slide is taking up residence in the living room as a car ramp, tunnel, and blanket fort support in addition to a slide. 

Summer will come eventually, people - I promise! Follow Step2 on Facebook and Twitter for more information about their entire line up of indoor and outdoor products. Thank you Step2 for letting us try out such a fun toy!