10 Toddler Products We Love

10 toddler products we love

 Waaaayyy back when I posted about our Top 10 Essentials for the First Two Months. Back then, it was all survival mode and when you found anything that made life easier that item felt like an angel from the heavens.

These days, as we march onward toward a year and a half, my little Tater has truly begun to shed the qualities of babyhood in favor of the independence seeking and exploration of toddler life. She is so busy, buzzing about the house playing with her toys, trying to play with things that are not toys and mimicking everything Justin and I do.

In many ways, this life is easier for me as a mother than early parenthood. I absolutely love watching Tater learn about the world around her and work toward becoming her own little woman. Also, she’s able to communicate more and more, making getting to heart of what she needs or wants so much simpler.

However, this sense of ease does not negate the need for gear. It’s just different, and we don’t necessarily take all of it with us. Here are 10 things we love and in some cases, I feel, we couldn’t live without.

1.  Hyland’s Teething Tablets. We have used these since Tater first started getting teeth as an alternative to pumping her full of Tylenol (I also love Tylenol, don’t get me wrong), but oh man are they necessary now that she’s started getting molars. Ouch!

2. Tater loves to do anything that she see’s Justin and me do, which includes using utensils and eating off of a plate, so this fun dining set from Skip Hop was a great Christmas gift.  She’s actually gotten pretty good with the fork.

3. Sun-Maid Raisins Mini-Snacks. Give a toddler a small box of raisins; buy yourself five minutes of quiet time.

4. We started out with a Combi Catalyst stroller, which unfortunately broke, but I’m kind of okay with it, because we got the City-Mini, which is definitely an upgrade. It folds and unfolds so easily and compactly and is a really smooth, light ride in our very hilly neighborhood. When Tater see’s it, she gets really excited because she knows we’re going somewhere!

5. Mustela 2-in-1 hair and body wash smells so good and is nice and gentle. It’s so much easier just to use one product top to toe during bath time. Only recently have we started needing to introduce a little conditioner to our hair routine. Tater’s flow is very real. 

6. We started using the OxiClean Baby stain remover for breast-feeding poop blowouts when Tater was an infant and it worked like a charm; these days it comes in really handy for getting out the stains after a particularly messy eating session. She revolts against bibs so we rely on this stuff to keep clothes in good shape. 

7. Ouchless elastics for taming the aforementioned flow. Also, tiny pigtails are the cutest. 

8. These kicks are totally on-point. I not only love the style, but also, they are comfy and easy to walk in for her.

9. The imitation game is real, so these are Tater’s keys, which she puts in her purse and tries to put in the door. We have a phone from the same brand, B., that she also really likes. 

10. Crayola ColorWonder Markers and magic paper are AWESOME! I can totally let Tater be creative without having to constantly tell her “No writing on the couch,” “No writing on the table,” “No writing on the wall,” etc. Also, she does a lot of crafts at “school,” so its fun to see her applying what she’s learned at home. 

Parents of toddlers, what product are you loving right now?

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Friday Link Dump: The Underwood edition

Frank Underwood, House of Cards

My heart leapt a little when I got the email from Netflix saying season three of House of Cards is now available for consumption, either in one 12-hour binge sesh, in mini binge-seshs, or one delectable episode at a time. Last year, Dr. J left on a business trip on the day the second season of HoC was released and three-month-old Tater and I took to the couch to watch the whole thing at once. I had nightmares though, so I think I might take it slower this time. Do you plan to watch House of Cards? How are you going to take it in?

Here’s what I’ve been reading/looking at/listening to/shopping for this week:

  • Why didn’t I know about The Longest Shortest Time podcast when Tater was a wee one? I started at the very beginning and have been listening on my commute. Every episode leaves me laughing or crying. It’s beautiful.
  • The Gucci Fall 2015 runway show is a teen dream. None of it is my uniform, but I want to wear all of it…in a Wes Anderson movie.
  • I spent a lot of time this week looking for the perfect spring replacement for the chukka boots Tater’s been wearing all winter. I think these might be it. (Does anyone else find it ridiculously challenging to find a non-black, neutral little girl’s shoe?)
  • The doctor and I are in need of some new bedding. I want a fluffy, white cloud of a bed and I’m thinking we might start here.
  • Mani I’m currently sporting, except with silver glitter.
  • These pants will be mine. Perfect for the uniform, no?
  • I’m so excited to see this. Thank you Netflix for creating ready-to-binge TV.
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How to give a great Maid of Honor Speech

Maid of honor speech

My sister got married over the last weekend. My other sister and I acted as her Matrons of Honor, old married ladies that we are.

One of the more daunting tasks appointed to a Maid of Honor is giving a speech at the reception. Even for me, the most gregarious individual you might hope to meet, the idea of getting up in front of almost everyone I know and giving a speech is really anxiety-inducing. The pressure is made greater by trying to honor someone you really love and respect with the most inadequate of mediums—words. Why can’t there be a Maid of Honor gesture at the reception, such as presenting a bouquet or even feeding the bride?

I’ve been to a lot of weddings in the recent years and these Best Man/Maid of Honor speeches either hit it out of the park or are terrible. There is rarely a middle-of-the-road oratory given.  My favorites typically include a funny story or the reading of an old email from the beginning of a couple’s relationship.

For my speech at Megan’s wedding, I wanted to read a piece of fan mail she wrote to Justin Timberlake when she was 13, but my parents would not release the email to me so I had to think along other lines.

I came up with a theme and I think it was pretty successful. My sister was and still is a hopeless romantic, a trait that has always made me super nervous. So I dialed into that, told some stories about how this played out in girlhood and then in adolescence and up to when she met her husband. After that, I talked about why he was the best person for her, told a few jokes and ended with a toast to the happy couple.

My other sister pulled a few text messages out of her phone. It was all good.

I think the main thing is to make sure you say some honoring thing about the bride and groom, to avoid inappropriate jokes, and to, for god’s sake, keep it short.

What are your tips for a great wedding toast or speech? What is the most outrageous thing you’ve ever heard someone say during his or her toast?

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