Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.


Category : Toddler Blog

The Daily Grind

Around here, every weekday is more or less the same… LONG. I typically wake up around 7 am, start my coffee, drink just enough to get me going, and then spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince Iris to start her day (why is it that kids are impossible to wake up on weekdays, but will pop out of bed like it’s Christmas every weekend?). Once Iris is slowly moving around, I help get her dressed and then we both stumble through the rest of our morning. Breakfast – usually just cereal or yogurt with fruit for her, and more coffee for me. Todd always takes Iris to school, and I rush off to work after haphazardly putting my own self together. I have to stop right here and say how thankful I am that, A) I live less than 10 minutes away from my office and B) my office is super casual so I don’t have to dress up each day. I’m in the office by 8 o’clock and I usually get to leave by 4:30, which means I have just enough time to make it to Jazzercise.

After a full hour of working out, off to Iris’ school I go! Usually with just minutes to spare, I pick her up, dripping with sweat, right before closing time. Should I feel bad that she’s often the last kid to get picked up? Nah. I’m just getting my money’s worth. Well, and there’s the fact that she gets really pissed if I pick her up any earlier. In the afternoon they get to look past all of the “work” and pick the fun toys to play with. Yesterday when I picked Iris up, she was shoving glow sticks into baby dolls’ mouths – and was in pure heaven doing so. Can’t take her away from that!

From school we go home, but not to rest. That’s when another round of work begins, but it’s the best kind. It’s the kind where I make dinner while my family hangs around. Todd’s usually playing a record, Iris is usually begging for a snack, our animals are generally annoying me at my feet, and wine is usually somewhere near my mouth. Finally, we get to eat! And by eat, I mean that we shove food into our faces while Iris sits there eating only her bread, complaining that everything else looks disgusting.

Straight after dinner, it’s Iris’ bath time. After bath time, it’s book time. After book time, it’s song time. After song time, it’s “one plus two equals three time” (that means stay three extra minutes, please). After “one plus two equals three time,” it’s finally MY TIME. Around 9 o’clock I get to take a shower and wash all the work of the day away. From there, it’s time to climb right into a mountain of pillows in bed and watch some sort of mindless television (Real Housewives of ANYTHING). Even though it’s the only time for myself, I usually don’t last more than an hour or so before falling asleep… And then start it all over again the next morning.

Just typing all of this out makes me feel exhausted, however I’m usually excited and ready for each new morning. I realize how fortunate I am to have the family that I have, a job that I love, and to live in a city that makes everything so sweet and easy. One of the very best parts of my day is kissing Iris’ cheek as I wake her up in the morning, even knowing I have a marathon to run until it’s dark. My other favorite part is the feeling of driving to Iris’ school to pick her up in the afternoon. She’s nearly five years old and I still get excited to hang out with my tiniest best friend after work each day. The wine isn’t bad either.

These days, they are long. But more than anything, they are good. In fact, they might just be the best. They will continue to evolve and I will continue to try to capture them, like in this post, because one day I will miss these moments – sweat and all – more than anything.

8 Things I Didn’t Know I’d Miss as a Mom

Before having a baby, you always hear things like “sleep while you can” or (the opposite) “have fun while you still can!” I expected the no-sleep thing and I expected the financial burden of daycare and diapers, but here are a few things that I didn’t expect to miss once I became a mom.

Driving Straight Home From Work
For years I took for granted the simple task of driving home after work. Now, my standard routine involves about an extra half hour (on a good day) of shuttling around in rush-hour traffic to pick Iris up from school. Before becoming a mom, I would get off work and have the luxury of driving straight home, to the gym, or even better – to a bar for happy hour. Fast forward to being a parent and now any extra stop means I don’t start cooking dinner until later than normal, meaning who knows when the food will be ready, meaning I have a cranky kid who will likely be up past her bedtime.

Not Having to Hide My Trash
I can’t throw away an old Happy Meal toy or stale cookie without Iris finding it in our garbage can. If there’s anything that we need to get rid of that Iris might be interested in, I have to hide it beneath the coffee grounds and banana peels. And don’t forget about the bathroom trash! You have to cover some things with toilet paper, otherwise who knows what awkward questions you’ll find yourself dodging.

Spicy food
I love spicy food. My child does not. She has been known to even call white rice spicy. I miss being able to pour in the cayenne pepper to our chili and buying the hot taco seasoning at the grocery store. Having a kid doesn’t always mean that I must forgo my spices, but it does mean that I often have to cook a second, different version for her. JUST what I have time for.

Eating Desserts Out in the Open
Iris eats her fair share of sweet stuff, but when it’s my turn for dessert she will still request to share. Iris can tell any time that I’ve eaten sweets without her. She can sniff out a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on my breath hours later and has a way to find any candy wrapper that I’ve thrown out. I swear she must keep a spreadsheet of our dessert stock because she always knows when a cookie has disappeared. I can’t be the only mom who’s eaten ice cream in the bathroom, can I?

Peeing in Peace
It’s like there’s a sensor on my toilet seat that alerts Iris whenever I sit down. I’ve learned to the lock the door, but that doesn’t stop her from knocking (banging) and asking (yelling) questions through the door.

Want to fly somewhere on vacation? Sure, but that will cost you a whole extra plane ticket. We’re a small family, but anytime we consider flying anywhere I usually run the airfare, times it by three, and immediately change my mind. Road-trip, it is!

Eating Without Poop
What is it about sitting down to a meal that makes a kid have to poop? Even though she has been out of diapers for a couple years, we still sometimes have to assist Iris (especially in public restrooms). I didn’t know that it would be normal to eat piece of pizza, wipe a butt, and go back to eating pizza – after throughly washing my hands, of course. This one I should have known, but four years later and I’m still amazed at her timing.

My Thoughts
R.I.P. my stream of consciousness (1980-2011). Whether I’m at work or at home, it’s nearly impossible to think about something without being interrupted. For example, I have been jumped on, whined to, and begged for juice just while I’m writing this one little paragraph. I miss being able to really hold onto an idea and think it through.

As parents we often have to pause our thoughts, dreams, sleep, fun, pizza, and happy hours, but thankfully it’s all worth it about a million times over. We’re a part of something sweeter than the dessert we sneak in the bathroom and something more thrilling that flying through the clouds. Sure my food may come with more poop than flavor, but I have a feeling one day these will be the things that I miss.

Under the Tree 2015

We’re ten days into December and I haven’t even come close to finishing my Christmas shopping yet. Thankfully, there’s still time left order the rest of my gifts, but the clock is a ticking. Just in case you’re in the same boat as me, I’ve made a little list of some of my favorite things this year for Iris.

Blind Bags
As you may have read, Iris is super into “surprise egg” or “blind bag” videos on YouTube (apparently most toddlers are these days). So I thought it would be fun to make her very own box of surprise goodies to unwrap! For the past couple of months, every time I go to the store I pick up some of the surprise toys. At $3 to $5 a pop, these little suckers add up, so it was nice to spread it out over time. Maybe she’ll get inspired and even want to record her own unwrapping show.

Comfy Critters
We were recently gifted a Comfy Critters gift basket, which included popcorn, cozy socks for me, and a unicorn Comfy Critter for Iris. If there’s one thing Iris has inherited from me it’s definitively a love for being cozy. Comfy Critters is a huggable stuffed animal that is also a pillow and snuggable hooded blanket. Ever since Iris adopted “Unity the Unicorn,” it’s been wrapped around her. One of the best things about it is that if you purchase a Comfy Critter in the month of Decemeber, another Comfy Critter will be donated to the Atlanta’s Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital (just use code BUY1GIVE1 at checkout)!

I feel like these toys are probably some elaborate corporate ploy to embed consumerism in my child’s head from an early age, but alas… I buy them anyway. Besides a chocolate bunny, this is the number one thing on Iris’ Christmas list. And no, you will not find a chocolate bunny on this list because I’d be willing to bet Iris is the only child asking for one YET AGAIN this year. Thank goodness I thought ahead and tucked one away at Easter.

Freshly Picked – The Next Step
As mentioned a couple posts back, Freshly Picked is one of my most favorite shoe companies for littles. When they read that I was sad about Iris nearly outgrowing the moccasins, they treated her to a pair of hard-soled shoes. As cute as the moccasins and tough enough for a four-year-old, I think I love these as much as she does.

Beginner’s bicycle
Sshhhh! Iris is getting her very first bicycle for her BIG Christmas present this year! We haven’t decided on a brand or style yet, but I’m totally in love with the ones from Brilliant Bicycle Co. Now I want one too (seriously, their adult ones are just as awesome).

Alice In Wonderland goodies
Iris has loved the original Alice in Wonderland movie for a couple of years now and it’s been a struggle finding toys to go along with her love. I don’t know if it’s because Alice is one of the few girl Disney characters that isn’t princess or what, but I’m just excited that a few companies have recently created this cuteness that’s now under our tree.

Slip-on Vans

Rifle Paper Co. calendar I purchased locally from Shindig Paperie

Shirts for a cause
What better way to dress your little one than in a shirt that supports a good cause? Here are two of our favorites:

For those of you who don’t know, Art Feeds is a not-for-profit organization that exists to feed creative development and facilitate emotional expression in children nationwide. With every item you purchase, you are helping us reach more children with therapeutic art and creative education programs. Check out their shop (and their cute models) here. :)

Lighthouse For Hope is an organization that helps provide financial assistance for families that are fighting pediatric cancer. Their goal is to alleviate some of the financial stress by providing assistance for day-to-day expenses. The proceeds from the shirts will go towards gas cards, groceries, and clothes. By purchasing a shirt, you are helping families who have a child with cancer. Shop their sweet stuff here.

Did I miss any must-haves? Let me know, as clearly I still have some shopping to do…

Halloween 2015

This year for Halloween Iris was about 2,938 different things. Okay, maybe just four. I know, I know. That’s still about three too many, but I just couldn’t help myself. After weeks of deliberation, Iris chose what she wanted to be for trick-or-treating: a panda. At first I had great intentions of getting crafty and making her costume, but then life was all lifey and I had zero time to do so. I showed her some options on Amazon Prime and she chose her favorite one. Bam! Cute, fuzzy, WARM Panda Iris.

I feel like all of her costumes were somewhat justified, as Halloween seemed to last forever this year. On Friday, we had trick-or-treating on the Fayetteville town square. On Saturday (Halloween-proper), we trick-or-treated around our neighborhood. Then on Sunday, Iris’ Montessori school had their Fall Carnival. I also dressed her up in a couple things just for funsies.

Last year we dressed Iris up as a mini-Tom Petty, so this year I went the same route.

Iris as a mini Ryan Adams

And Iris as Iris Apfel. How could I not?!

On to her real costume…
Trick-or-treating on the Square
(my favorite Halloween tradition)

Trick-or-treating with our neighbor friends
At this point she had gotten bored with being a “regular panda” so she made herself into a “fancy panda.”

Montessori Fall Carnival
Iris in Wonderland!

With another Halloween behind us, it’s time to start getting excited for Christmas! Okay, maybe not quite yet, but if I’m already listening to Christmas music in my car you will never know.

My Toddler’s Unwrapping Obsession

Move over CVS – Iris has a new obsession and, turns out, she is far from alone. Iris’ new favorite thing is watching toy unwrapping videos on YouTube. She calls them “egg shows” because the first videos she watched were of Kinder Surprise Eggs being unwrapped, showing off the prizes inside. She found them on the YouTube Kids app all on her own and now that’s all she wants to watch. Whether they are plastic eggs with surprises inside or little packages with mystery toys, she wants to watch it all. Todd and I were totally weirded out by this obsession at first, but when we realized many of the videos had over a million views, we realized this must be an actual thing. Turns out, it is. I’ve posted clips of Iris watching “egg shows” on my Snapchat and have had quite a few people message me to say their kids are obsessed with them too. So then how come this is the first time I’m hearing of it? Are our toddlers all closeted unwrapping addicts?

For some reason it feels wrong to let her watch it. I mean, with Daniel Tiger at least she’s learning something, right? But then Todd pointed out something. Our parents collected baseball cards, for us it was Garbage Pail Kids, for the next generation it was Pogs, and so on. Can you imagine if when you were a kid there was a platform where you could watch someone open every item of whatever it was that you nerdily collected? For now, we let her watch the unwrapping videos (as annoying as they are), but limit her screen time. And the sucker in me has already started shopping for Christmas stocking stuffers – searching for egg surprises and blind bags in the toy aisle. Maybe I can really make her dreams come true and find some at CVS.

Do your kids watch these videos? Not know what I’m talking about? I’ve posted some of her favorites below.

Blind Bags

Egg Surprise

Kinder Eggs