3 Things We Can Do To Fix It

I HATE controversial topics. After pitter pattering back in forth in my mind all day I have decided that I need to make a post just to clear my head. I am not going to debate anything. I am not going to take a side. This isn’t about that at all. We are all sad. We are all upset. We are all hurting. America is hurting. It isn’t what it is supposed to be. I do not want my child growing up in this reality, and I know you do not want yours to either. We need to change it. This blame game, you don’t understand my side of the story BS needs to stop. We need to fix it. We need to make it better.

Respect. We can model and teach respect more effectively than we are doing.

Our country as a whole has respect issues. I hear people say that you have to earn it, but what are you doing to earn it yourself? We are not respectful of one another, yet we have this belief that everyone should respect us and feel empathy for the situation we are in. It’s not OK. People are setting this example for their children and it is only going to get worse. Respect works both ways. You have to act respectable to be respected. It is about your actions.

It is more than just respecting authority, elders, etc. It is also about respecting yourself. We are not modeling respect accurately for our children so they have no way to learn it. When you lash out at others verbally, physically or what have you, you are demonstrating a lack of respect for that person and for yourself. Our young teens in America think it is “cool” and appropriate to behave this way. We have set a horrible example of respect.

Before you act, before you open your mouth, before you type a comment on the keyboard, ask yourself if that is how you want to represent yourself. Are those actions or words something I will be proud of, are they something I want my child to hear/see/be represented by? Respect does not mean you have to agree with everyone and it will all be sunshine and rainbows. You can disagree with someone’s opinion and still respect them.

Bottom line, if we want to fix it we need to do a better job respecting others, respecting ourselves and teaching our children how to do the same. Respect.

Accountability. We can model and teach accountability more effectively.

We also have major accountability issues that need to be fixed as a society. When something happens everyone wants to point fingers yet no one wants to accept or admit blame. Even when something is a complete accident and truly nobody’s fault, people still want to point fingers. We have got to do a better job being accountable for ourselves, our actions and our words both good and bad.

Why is it so hard for people nowadays to admit when they make a mistake? Mistakes happen. It’s how we better ourselves. No one should be beat down for making a mistake. I make 27 mistakes every day. I admit when I make them, I learn, I move on. Be accountable. Model accountability for your kids.

Forgiveness. We can model and teach forgiveness more effectively.

This is two fold, you have to be able to forgive others and ask for forgiveness when you need it too. We love to hold grudges. Why? What good does a grudge do besides breeding anger and hate? People, we have got to do a better job of letting go and forgiving. How will we ever progress forward as a country if we can not move on.

If I tick my child off when he is in his teens, the last thing I want his him holding a grudge against me when he is in his 40’s. We have to teach them the power of forgiveness.

Back to accountability, when you screw up apologize and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is a powerful tool. It is good for the body, mind and soul.

 

Please. I urge you. Let’s fix ourselves. Let’s fix our families. Let’s help fix each other. Let’s help fix the hate in America. Let’s help make America what we want it to be for our children.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios before I am done running my mouth. If my 16 month old sweet baby boy comes to me in 18 years and tells me that he wants to be a police officer I want to feel nothing but pride, not complete fear for his life. If that same sweet baby boy comes to me in 20 years with plans to marry (let’s face it though he is a mama’s boy and will never get married) a sweet African-American young lady I want to feel nothing but pride, not complete fear of what their children will have to live through.

 

 

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Our Anniversary Will Be Awesome Every Year

When you are planning your wedding you put thought into each and every decision. Being a teacher, I knew that summer would be the best time for us to say “I do”. When word started to get out that we were planning a 4th of July wedding on a Wednesday some people thought we were nuts. Some family even suggested that we change it. We weren’t nuts and we weren’t trying to wreck your 4th of July plans. We were trying to have a fun, memorable wedding that would be special to us year after year. 4 years later, we have been successful at achieving that. 

Our anniversary is awesome because we always know what we are going to do. There is no planning. There is no forgetting. There are no expensive trips or fancy dinners. Every year we do the same thing. We watch fireworks, and it never gets old. 

Our anniversary is awesome because we get to spend it together with family and friends every year. 

Our anniversary is awesome because it doesn’t matter what day of he week it falls on. It will always be a holiday. 

Our anniversary is awesome because neither of us ever have to cook a full meal. We picnic with friends and family and only have to bring a dish to pass. 

If you are planning a wedding, I encourage you to choose a date that you want. Don’t worry about what other people think or want. It is a day you will be celebrating forever. Make it great. 

9 Reasons You Need to Attend Pickin’ on the Porch

Pickin’ on the Porch is a live music event that happens at MB Roland Distillery which is located in Pembroke, Kentucky. The event happens on select Saturday evenings in the summer. If you are local and haven’t been you probably should. If you happen to be somewhat near by, Clarksville, Nashville, Hopkinsville, Paducah, it would be worth the drive. 

1. It is free. You can go to this event completely for free. The parking is free. The event is free. You literally just have to show up. 

2. There is plenty of room. There is plenty of free parking available. There is plenty of room to set up to enjoy the music. You are allowed to bring your own blankets, chairs, tents, shades, etc. The only restriction is that you can not set up tents/shades in certain areas. There is plenty of room for kids to run and play. Oh, I almost forgot, you can bring your dog too, theres plenty of room for them. 

3. You can bring your own food. This is pretty sweet. I have seen families who bring in subway, McDonald’s or food from home. You can bring your own non-alcoholic drinks as long as they are in their original containers and unopened. Bottles and sippy cups or babies are allowed. 

4. The music is great. They always have artists who are pleasant to listen to and can play a variety of music. The stage on the porch is pretty neat too. There is an area up front that they keep clear for people to dance. 

5. The environment. It is right at the distillery, which is an old dairy farm. You are out in the middle of nowhere sitting on a lawn surrounded by fields listening to people play music on an old porch. Does it get much cooler than that?! It is also an environment that is family friendly. The crowd stays mellow and in our experience has never been rowdy. It is also a safe place to be. You can leave your stuff and walk around without having to worry. There are also sheriff deputies on site. 

6. They have food trucks. Food truck food is the best! Each time we have been there have been different food trucks, sometimes it’s BBQ, other times we have had burgers or street tacos. Every time it is delicious. 

7. They sell beer. They sell local beers and hard cider by the cup or by the growler. They accept cash or credit card. 

8. Fun for all ages. Everyone has fun. My 65 year old dad came with us and had a blast. Our 16 month old has a blast every time. We have met new people, had great conversations with strangers. It truly is a place you can bring your whole family to for a good time. 

9. Unlimited snow cones. Yes. UNLIMITED. As in unlimited for the entire summer as long as you remember to bring your up back. It is about $6 for a cup, about $3 if you have a military ID. That cup is good for the entire season. UNLIMITED SNOW CONES!!! You can’t beat it. 

Despite his face, I promise the snow cones taste great!

For more information on the Pickin’ on the Porch events you can visit the MB Roland website at http://mbroland.com

5 Things to Consider Before Taking a Toddler to the Beach

The conditions may not be ideal. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to the conditions. If your toddler is anything like mine on a sunny day he refuses to wear sunglasses and keeps a hat on in 30 second increments. He will either need to get used to squinting or get better at keeping things on his head. Temperature is another condition that comes to play. If it is hot, that sand can get hot quickly. Toddlers don’t always understand this right away, especially when they have recently learned to walk. The water may also be colder than comfortable. The water may also be too rough for safe swimming. Go anyway. Just be prepared. 

Sunblock. You will need to put it on. Try to get it on somewhere away from the sand. Sand + sunscreen + busy toddler = chaffing where you don’t want it. 

Food. Pack it. Your toddler will get hungry while there, even if you just fed him. Mess free foods that they don’t have to touch are great for the beach, baby food pouches, yogurt pouches just to name a couple. 

What to wear. Not just your child, you. Have you ever been around a toddler while wearing a bathing suit? You will want a suit that he can’t easily expose anything on you that you don’t want the entire beach to see. Think about a cover up that is easy to put on and take off too. 

He may actually hate it. Yup. What you can’t see in this picture is that my poor little guy is crying. He hated the sand, the water was freezing, he straight up hated it all. We had been at the beach 8 months prior and he LOVED the sand and the water. I was so excited to take him back and he hated it. 

4th of July Wardrobe Using Cloth Diapers 

First off, July 4th is our wedding anniversary. Which means anytime a 4th of Julyish patriotic diaper is released I get the burning desire to buy it. Yeah, we have a lot of red, white and blue diapers. 
Secondly, why does it seem like there are half as many boy clothes when compared to girls clothes? What’s a mama of a boy to do? 

Here are some of our styles for the 4th, or any day really. Some of these diapers are exclusives and may not be available for purchase from the retailer. 

The DIY. I do not take credit for this shirt. The baby boy made it at daycare. Paired with the star exclusives from Lil’ Tulips it’s a winning combination. 

 These stars and stripes tanks were purchased at Walmart for around $3 each. They look adorable paired with the regular line up Smart Bottoms, George and Superhero, Smart Bottoms Too Smart Cover in Hero, or GroVia’s Cherry and Topaz shells. All of these products are available at most retailers including Kelly’s ClosetSquigglybugs & Diaper Junction

The Classic. This one is my favorite. The Diaper Junction Smart Bottoms exclusive “Glory” paired with suspenders and a cute little hat. I just can’t get over how cute he looks in this! 

Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend! 
Click any of the links below to support a small business and buy diapers like the ones pictured:

Click Here to visit Kelly’s Closet 
Click Here to visit Squigglybugs 
Click Here to visit Diaper Junction 

6 Things Cloth Diapering Dads Should Say To Their Wives

6 things you should say to your other half if you really, really love her and want to keep her happy. These will probably be most effective if you cloth diaper, but will work well if you don’t too. 

It’s OK, I’ve got it. In reference to the baby just pooped. Your response should be, I’ve got it. Spraying, dunking and swishing, whatever else needs to be done to complete that change. Your response should be, it’s OK, I’ve got it. Got it? Even if you don’t really got it, just try. 

Would you like me to start laundry? Yeah. Better yet, start it, finish it and put it away too. I absolutely hate putting clothes away. Want to really make a woman happy? Do the one thing for her that she hates doing the most. Oh, and know the wash routine!

Go ahead and buy it. I know your baby doesn’t NEED another diaper, but sometimes buying that diaper is more than just buying a diaper. It makes us feel good inside. We stay up for exclusive prints to stock, we get anxious about fastest finger stockings, we spend hours adding things to our carts just to get to certain amount, we (im)patiently wait for our packages to be delivered, we take pictures of the outside of the packages, open our fluff mail together and post pictures for all to see. It’s more than just buying a diaper. Let her buy them. 

Why don’t you take 20 minutes to sit uninterrupted on Facebook chatting with your other cloth diapering friends. This might be every cloth diapering mom’s dream. 20 minutes without someone watching me pee and trying to hand me bits of toilet paper?! 20 minutes to gab with other moms! Sign me up! Husbands, boyfriends, significant others, say this, it will make her day!

OMG look at this new print!! You getting excited, genuinely excited, about a certain diaper will make her excited too. She will feel like you truly support her in this crazy cloth diapering world. 

You look beautiful. Because sometimes we just need to hear it. Sometimes it’s hard to feel beautiful when you barely have time to brush your teeth in the morning. These words are always nice to hear. 

The Ugly Truth About Swim Diapers

This is the truth. A lot of parents do not realize this. Go on to Walmart, Target or Amazon and read the 1-2 star reviews of disposable swim diapers. Nearly all of the poor reviews state similar complaints. Basically pee everywhere. Complaints such as, “I put this diaper on my child and as we were walking to the pool he peed all over me.”

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Here is the truth about this complaint. Any and all swim diapers are not designed to hold in pee. Swim diapers are not absorbent. If they were absorbent they would also hold in the water your child is playing in. If they were absorbent they would also balloon up like a regular disposable diaper when wet, since that is the part of the diaper that does the absorbing. There is no absorbent material in swim diapers. The purpose of a swim diaper is just to contain solids. That is the dirty truth. People, children, babies, even adults urinate in pools ALL OF THE TIME!

Another major complaint I came across while reading reviews was that the disposable swim diapers are not available in small enough sizes. If their purpose is to contain solid messes, and if you have a baby you know that those messes aren’t always exactly solid, the diaper being too big, well you see the problem. The smallest weight listed on either package is for babies who are 16 pounds. Keep reading, I may have an easy solution for you.

So now I ask you, why as a consumer, do you continue to spend about $10 on a pack of 24 or less disposable swim diapers to throw away that are only meant to contain #2, but are also not completely effective at that either?

Here is where the cloth swim diaper comes in. They will fit better. They will contain #2 messes more effectively. They are cute. They are not expensive. You can reuse them.

Swim Diaper

You have many brands to choose from when it comes to cloth swim diapers. Many are carried at great small businesses like Kelly’s Closet and Squigglybugs. Target has started to carry some cloth options as well. I am going to highlight a few of the cloth swim diapers that we have tried and loved.

Bummis Swim Diapers

The Bummis swim diaper is called “Swimmi”. They are one of the only swim diapers on the market that is a true one size swim diaper. The diaper features rise snaps that you snap together to fit babies from around 10-35 pounds. They are made out of a laminated lycra material, so they will not fade in the water. The snaps allow for an easy change if there is a mess in the diaper. Added bonus, they have some really cute prints for both boys and girls. Oh, and they are made in Canada. The price point for this one at Kelly’s Closet is $23.95. Not a bad price when you think that could fit for multiple summers.

Smart Bottoms Swimmers

The Smart Bottoms side snapping swim diapers are my personal favorite. They are available in a variety of prints and sizes. Here is their sizing chart: Small (8-16lbs), Medium (16-30lbs), Large (30-50lbs). Sizing is generous. The elastics are gentle enough that they do not leave red marks, but snug enough to contain any messes. I prefer to snap mine up and slide it on my little guy like a pair of undies. When taking it off I use the snaps and unsnap it like a diaper. This swim diaper is lined with a moisture wicking fabric to help prevent rashes and keep solids contained. A little birdie told me they may be getting some new prints in soon! These are available at Kelly’s Closet and Squigglybugs for $15.

My swim baby

My Swim Baby swim diapers are great if you have a smaller baby. These run very small. You will need to size up at least one size. Last summer, my little guy was around 10 pounds and wore a medium. They have snaps on one side. The best part is that each swim diaper has a matching rash guard and sun hat. These are on sale for really cheap at Squigglybugs right now but patterns and sizing is limited. They are also available at Kelly’s Closet. This is the diaper that will solve your problem of the disposable ones being too large.

None of the diapers listed above are absorbent, just as the disposable ones are not absorbent. A little mommy hack, get a few cloth diaper boosters. Lay one in the swim diaper when you are on the way to and from the pool or beach. This should help absorb most or all of the pee if your little one happens to go.

Toddler Taco Tuesday

We love Taco Tuesday in the Clark house. We did Taco Tuesday before having children and the tradition continues. There are times that I really don’t care about our kid making a mess everywhere and I let him eat “real” taco salads or tacos with messy meat. But then there are nights like tonight where it is not bath night and I do not want to give him a bath so we do less messy toddler tacos.

For the adults we had crispy chicken tacos with all the toppings, build your own style with rice and beans too. The chicken is the frozen kind from a bag, nothing fancy.

For Mr. Miles he ate a side of fruit (his favorite), a tortilla with refried beans, some cabbage, cheese, and crispy chicken. Everything on his plate he could pick up and eat himself without making a gianormous toddler sized mess. Everyone wins. He ate it all and wanted more.

I love this meal because it’s super easy, can be healthy and everyone always enjoys it. I am all about easy meals.

As for the nifty plate, we LOVE these. It’s all we use at home for dinners. They are made from recycled milk jugs by a company called replay. They also make utensils, other plates, bowls, cups, and snack cups. They are also priced right and dishwasher safe. To buy them click to visit Squigglybugs and type “replay” in the search.

Click here to visit Squigglybugs and get your own Replay Plate

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Surviving 40+ Hours in the Car with a Toddler

Before we were even pregnant we swore that we would not let having children change our lives, meaning we wouldn’t stop doing things we love, we would just do them with our kids. We kinda love road trips. I guess that is why we thought it would be OK to be in the car with our almost 16 month old for well over 40 hours across the span of 2 weeks. And ya know what? It WAS OK! No major crying fits. No tantrums. We did it!

Just a little background, we were not in the car for a solid 40+ hours. We took an 8 hour each way round trip to visit family and friends. Were back home for one night, then drove 11.5 hours to visit friends, another hour to do sight seeing with friends, 4 more hours to stay with family, another 4 hours to see more family, and finally 9 hours home. Total time spent in the car 45.5 hours. This doesn’t count the time spent in the car while at each destination.

Here are our tips for traveling road trip style with a small toddler:

  • Travel while they sleep. Whether it is at night or during nap time you can cover some serious ground while your little one is asleep. Make sure you bring what you need to help yourself stay alert.
  • Stop as often as needed. Stop to switch drivers. Stop to eat. Stop to change diapers. Stop to get out and play. You will need to stop more often with kids, but it’s also good for you to stop too. We planned stops where we knew they had a place to play, sometimes this was a friend’s house, or a cloth diaper warehouse. Make it fun.
  • Pack food. We are big snackers in the car. We packed up a reusable shopping bag filled with random snacks for ourselves. I also packed up a few of these awesome bento boxes called a Yumbox with snacks for the toddler. They are perfect for traveling. When we stopped for fast food it also meant that he could still eat healthier. IMG_20160626_100319929
  • Be flexible. Something will not go as planned. You will be later than expected for a stop. The baby will poop right after you get back on the road. Just like with anything else, when you have a toddler, you have to be flexible.
  • Have a bag of car toys. This saved our trip. I kept a little tote filled with his favorite books, little trucks, teethers, stuff he hadn’t seen in a while and kept it in the passenger seat. When he was awake we would hand him something from the bag. When he was done with it we would usually hear “uh oh”, and then hand him the next thing from the bag. It never got old. IMG_20160621_201532116
  • Have an amazing kid. Some of being able to survive this long in the car is that our kid is pretty laid back. I like to think that we’ve helped make him that way.IMG_20160621_202142889_HDR

Practical Father’s Day Gift

When it comes to gift giving for these sort of holidays, and you have multiple people to think about, I like to keep it simple and find a gift that will suit everyone, that is practical, meaning they will actually use it and reasonably priced. For Father’s Day I have to think about my husband, father, father-in-law and step-father-in-law who all have very vast interests. One thing they all enjoy (or at least we think they enjoy, or maybe their wives just make them do it) is grilling. They also all love your little guy, so he needed to be included in the gift too.

Here’s what you will need to make your own grilling platter:

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  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paint Brushes
  • Multi-surface/ceramic paint
  • plain white platter
  • paper towels

I purchased everything at Walmart. The platters were located by the other plates and dishes and cost $9 and some change. I purchased multi-surface paints, just be sure that you can use them on ceramics. These particular ones were 97 cents each.

Here’s what you will need to do:

  1. Per directions on the paints, clean surface with rubbing alcohol before painting.
  2. Begin painting. I started with the words, because if I messed up, or wasn’t happy with the placement, I could wipe it off with rubbing alcohol and start over without messing up any of the art work.DSC_0170

    3. Add hand and footprints. (Easiest if you have someone else to help you)

     

    DSC_01754. Paint the details. I tried to think of things that could be grilled and were easy enough for me to paint.DSC_0172

    5. Set the paint so that you can use the platters. There should be directions on your paint bottles. For these paints they needed to air dry for 1 hour, and then be placed in a cool oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The other option was to air dry for 21 days, ain’t nobody got time for that!

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    They came out great! I know that all the grandpas and my husband will love them!

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