Toddlers in Kansas City

A few weeks ago my friend Kirsten and I did something incredibly terrifying. We went on a girls weekend with 2 1/2 year olds. It ended up being a really fun vacation. We will be planning another trip soon.

Why did we travel with toddlers? We discussed doing it without any kids, but I’m the one who said we should bring the girls. It was selfish. I knew that John would be fine with both kids, but I also figured I would hear about how hard it was for the next week.

Other than not wanting to hear John complain, I was also genuinely excited to have Audrey and Sophia on our weekend.  They are close in age – only a few months apart, and I want them to grow up as friends. Kirsten is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and I love that we became moms at the same time. Our boys are even closer in age, Elliot is 3 weeks older than Bryan.

So how did we enjoy ourselves with tiny people? We kept them busy, visited kid friendly places, and threw in some fun for us that they would be tolerant of.

The first place we went was Fritz’s Kansas City. After a long drive for both families we thought the girls would be hungry and tired. Fritz’s was a great place to eat, because it is for kids. Model trains run along the ceiling and deliver your food to your table. There is a lot to look at, and it is a noisy place so fussy toddlers fit right in. The food is worse than most fast food, but the kids didn’t mind.

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This is where I learned that Audrey is scared of train rides.

After lunch we headed over to Wonderscope Children’s Museum. This museum is wonderful! We could have spent all day there. The museum is an old school, and each of the rooms  has different activities. Audrey loved the farm room, and would have spent hours in that room and been perfectly happy. Sophia felt the same way about the grocery store room. The gym is still a gym, with lots of toys to run and play on. The girls burnt off a lot of energy playing. We didn’t get to all of the rooms in the time we had slotted for the museum. We will be back, and next time we will plan on spending more time playing.

After running and playing at Wonderscope we headed to Overland Park to do something for the grown ups – we went to A Yarn Shop and More. Kirsten and I are both knitters, and we both wanted to pick up some vacation yarn. The yarn shop had a good selection, but the woman working was far from friendly. I don’t understand yarn shops where the staff isn’t friendly.

The girls were well behaved and excited about the yarn. I let Audrey pick out yarn for socks and I picked up some dishcloth cotton (I’m always running out now that I’m knitting for the YMCA Supportive Housing Campus). Audrey convinced me to buy her a Zebra hat kit, which wasn’t very hard to do. If you are a 2 year old excited about yarn I’ll make you whatever you ask for.

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Can I please have this yarn?

The fourth thing we did was head back to the hotel to swim. The girls were pretty exhausted by this point, but they enjoyed their 15 minutes in the cold pool.

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Sometimes you post an unflattering photo of your child because it is a better picture of your friend.

We stayed at an Embassy Suites, and it worked out great. They have a cocktail reception, so we had a light dinner of snacks (and margaritas for Kirsten and me). In the morning we took advantage of their breakfast buffet. Our suite had a door between the bedroom and living area. That made it easy for Kirsten and I to drink wine and knit into the wee hours of the morning (OK, it was 11, but that is really late for me). It also made it possible for Kirsten and Sophia to get up and going in the morning like they are used to (at 5:30, a full 2 1/2 hours before Audrey and I got up).

Our last stop on girls weekend was the Zoo. Kansas City has a wonderful zoo, we were there for hours and didn’t see it all. Kirsten and I got in a 4 mile walk and the girls loved seeing the animals. I think we will plan on staying longer the next time we go.

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I can’t wait to convince Kirsten to do another girls weekend. Where should we go next?

WIP Wednesday: meh.

I’m in a bit of a knitting rut. I’m still knitting, but I’m not passionate about anything that I’m making. I started back with dishcloths on Saturday, and bound off my 5th today. I’m looking forward to working on other projects for a few days.

In addition to the dishcloths I actually finished the front left panel of my cardigan and started on the first sleeve! I also frogged the small sock and restarted it. I only have a few inches done, but I should make some good progress tomorrow.

I did finish a project that wasn’t a dishcloth. It felt good to get something on and off the needles in a week. When I was in Kansas City I went to a Yarn Shop and More in Overland Park. I love taking Audrey to yarn shops, because she gets as excited about yarn as me. She likes to squish it. She likes to smell it. At the shop she fell in love with a DMC Top This Zebra kit. I’m never one to turn away from a good excuse to buy yarn, so I bought it for her.

I made the puppy hat for her last year and I hate how it turned out – it is short and a little small. I made her the adult size hat so that her piggy tails will fit under the hat. She’s a fan so far.

Next week I hope to make 5 more dishcloths, turn the heel on my sock, and finish half of the panel on my cardigan. I’m ready to start thinking about what I get to cast on next.

 

Five on Friday: Giving the Pacifier Back

A few blog posts ago I mentioned that Audrey was giving up her pacifier. At her last dentist appointment they pointed out that it was changing her bite and said it would be best to give up the pacifier by 3. She’s almost 2 1/2, so we decided now was a good time.

The first few days were filled with screams and tears and pleads for a pacifier. Then she was fine. She wasn’t upset that she didn’t have a pacifier. She didn’t ask for one. There was only one problem. She didn’t sleep. She stopped napping and was not sleeping well at night. She was a wreck.

I caved. I gave it back to her even though she wasn’t asking for it. It is working for us. I’m very happy I gave it back to her, and today I’m going to share 5 reasons I’m glad I gave her the pacifier back.

NAPS – this one is huge. Audrey needs a lot of sleep, so going from a 3 hour nap to not sleeping at nap time meant that she was exhausted, confused, and constantly threw tantrums. I get it, she’s 2, she’s going to have tantrums, but this was a complete change in her personality. The first day with the pacifier back she was so tired she couldn’t sleep. The second day she slept for 90 minutes. Today she slept for 3.5 hours. She’s starting to act like herself again.

Bedtime for Audrey – without a pacifier she played and sang to herself for about two hours before she would fall asleep. With a pacifier she falls asleep quickly.

Elliot’s Sleep – Audrey not having a pacifier at bed time meant that she was making a lot of noise. That kept Elliot up (they share a room). He started crying when we put him down at night. Now that she is quiet when we put her to bed he is quiet too (OK, he always cries for about 2 minutes, and he’s back to that).

Mornings – without a pacifier Audrey woke up when Elliot woke up (about 6:30). With a pacifier she sleeps until 8 or 9. She really needs a lot of sleep, and getting up early was making it even harder for her to sleep.

My stress level – without pacifiers I had a toddler getting about six fewer hours of sleep than she needs. She became, understandably, very difficult to take anywhere. She screamed and cried. She looked like she had been on a four-day bender. I started spending every waking hour worried about her lack of sleeping. Her nap time was so stressful I had a stomach-ache every day when she should have been sleeping. I was too stressed to be a good mom and she was too tired to be a good kid. Poor Elliot and John were stuck dealing with both of us.

So I gave it back. It’s wonderful. I should not have waited over a week to give it back. So many articles I read said to stay strong and not give it back, but had I not given it back I don’t think she would have ever napped again. She’s 2. She needs naps.

I’m not sure if we will try to take it away again or if she will grow out of it. The only thing I am sure of is that giving back her pacifier was the right thing to do.

Audrey’s Birthday Party

I used to love throwing parties. I would make elaborate recipes. I would bake a cake from scratch. I would put thought into the decorations. Then I had kids…and I got older….and lazier. I don’t do that stuff anymore. I had a birthday party for Audrey only because John wanted to have a party. She’s 2. She doesn’t care. But I knew our family would want to celebrate with her, so I got to planning.

The first thing I did was to find a date that worked with my sister, Kathleen. As I have mentioned, we have a small house. It is too small to have a party with 12 guests. Kathleen graciously let me have Audrey’s party there.

The next thing I did was log on to Pinterest to get ideas. I found a lot of inspiration – there are a plethora of very elaborate Mickey Mouse parties for two year olds out there.

I ended up making a half-assed version of Mickey Mouse cupcakes that I found. I skipped the red frosting, red sugar, and yellow M&Ms in favor of something I would actually want to eat.

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I decorated her cake in a similar manner to the cupcakes, using whole Oreos and Mini Oreos. I added red sugar as an accent. I probably would do red and yellow M&Ms as a border instead if I had it to do over. I would also make sure the Mickey on the cake was oriented the same as the Mickey on the plate. She’s 2 though, so it doesn’t matter.

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For the cake I used a Funfetti mix. Sure, I could have made a cake from scratch, but this way I knew it would turn out. I made the my go to Creamy Vanilla Frosting recipe. I love the convenience of cake mixes, but homemade frosting is so much better than canned frosting.

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The decorations were sparse, just 3 balloons. One red, one yellow, and a Mickey happy birthday balloon. The Mickey balloon is still floating around my house, providing hours of entertainment a full week after the party.

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We had nachos to snack on. I love nachos, so this was a good excuse to eat one of my favorite foods. The toppings were queso (the fancy Velveeta and Rotel kind), refried beans, salsa chicken, guacamole, salsa, and black olives.

The party was a hit with Audrey. She loved the presents, wearing her party hat and skirt, and the cake. It was worth the work to spend time with our families and give Audrey a fun day.

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