Lesson 69: Giving your kid medicine is like trying to slip him a roofie

J took Zantac from the time he was about 3-months-old until he was more than 1-year-old. In the beginning, it was easy: we just put the medicine in a syringe and squirted it in his mouth. But as he got a bit older and his taste buds developed more, he quickly decided he wasn’t having that nasty stuff put in his mouth.

He doesn’t take Zantac anymore, but it’s still a struggle to get Motrin or Claritin or any other necessary medicine in him. We’ve done many things to trick our child into taking his medicine, and I am not ashamed of it. It’s not that we give him a lot of medicine, but he learns really quickly when we’re trying to fool him. So we have to constantly be on our feet and one step ahead of him on this one. I’ll share a few things that have worked for us.

The first thing to remember is, never let them see you stir. Anytime we try to drug our kid in secret, we always have to mix the drugs in when he’s not looking. If he sees us, the gig is up.

How to slip your kid a baby roofie:

1. Try mixing the medicine in semi-liquid healthy foods that you would normally feed him anyway, such as applesauce or yogurt.

2. Make a smoothie with frozen fruit, yogurt, and 1/2 an avocado. Add drugs.

3. Try mixing the meds in a bit of honey (only if your baby is older than 1 year).

4. When J started going through an independent phase, we realized that just letting him drink the medicine out of a little cup worked fine. If he could do it by himself, he was more than happy to do it.

5. Distract him. Sometimes I can get J to focus so hard on something that I can just pour the medicine in his mouth and he doesn’t even notice.

6. When all the other methods failed (and eventually, they did), we swapped to chocolate ice cream. 99% of the time, it worked. Just put a couple of scoops of ice cream in a bowl, mix in the meds, and spoon-feed.

7. For that 1% of the time when your kid is being too stubborn even to eat chocolate ice cream, swaddle his little butt, hold him tightly, and slowly squirt the medicine inside his cheek. Squirt a little, then blow in his face–he’ll swallow. It’s not fun for anybody, and you’ll probably get a little spit back in your face–but it generally works.

Do you have any medicine-taking tips that have worked well for your child? If so, please share!

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Lesson 68: Parenthood will make you cry

Or is that just me?

Since having a baby, I’ve noticed that I’m much more sentimental. I’ve always been a bit of a loose cannon when it comes to emotions (I like to call it being passionate… Other people tend to call it stubborn, having a short fuse, or being overly emotional. Whatever.), but parenthood has greatly increased the chance that I will cry.

Tiny J

Sappy commercial? Tears.

J outgrew his 18-month clothes? Tears.

News story about something terrible happening to a child? Tears.

His haircut makes him look like a little boy? Tears.

A song about how quickly time goes by? Tears.


I work in a school. Moms frequently cry during conferences when they are worried about their children. Post-baby, I’m very likely to cry right along with them.


It’s not that I sit around and cry all day, but my eyes spend a great deal of time being watery. At first I blamed it on hormones that were still in need of balancing. Two-years post-baby, I realize that it’s just being a mom. Everything is sweeter now, and the little things are so much more meaningful. The tears that frequent my eyes are rarely sad tears–they’re usually joyful tears, or empathetic tears. And they’re almost always tears that are caused by this enormous amount of love that I never knew I had in me.

I warn you now, if you’re a parent, the following video has a high likelihood of causing a serious case of the sniffles. But I have to share it for two reasons: 1. The growing advertising agency where my husband works created it and I am very proud of them. Good things come in small packages. 2. It’s beautiful. The message is just really beautiful.

If you’re an expecting parent, watch it now, but then watch it again after Baby arrives. I promise, there will be a difference in how you see it later. I expect there will be a difference to me when my child is 6, then 10, then 24.

So grab a few tissues, sit back, and smile.

Advice to New Parents:

Bowtie Pasta Salad

I love this pasta salad! It’s not my recipe, and I haven’t even edited it to make it my own because it was perfect just the way it was when I found it online. Unfortunately, I found it over a year ago when I was searching for a bowtie pasta recipe to serve at my son’s Mustache Bash birthday party, and I don’t remember where it was–so I’m unable to give credit where credit is due.

This makes a yummy side dish, a great party food, or a yummy refreshing lunch on a hot day.

Bowtie Pasta Salad (01)

Cook 16 ounces of bowtie pasta according to package directions. I usually add a little olive oil to the water when cooking pasta, to prevent it from sticking together. Drain it, rinse it in cold water, and drain it again.

Bowtie Pasta Salad (02)

Chop 10 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes into quarters, 1/2 cup celery, 1 red (or yellow) bell pepper, and 1 bunch of green onions. Add chopped vegetables to the cooked pasta.

Bowtie Pasta Salad (04)

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cups mayonnaise, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp dried basil, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and gently stir to combine all ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

Bowtie Salad


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My Little Man

My favorite part of the décor at J’s 1st birthday party was all of his cute little baby pictures. Lord knows we have hundreds, but we sorted through them carefully, chose our favorites–and then vandalized them.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Mustache (1) Mustache (2) Mustache (3) Mustache (4) Mustache (5) Mustache (6) Mustache (7)

We simply strung the photos on yarn, separating them with cut-outs of ties and mustaches, then hung it up.

Mustache Banner

Cheap, cute, and easy. Decorations do not have to be expensive!

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The Mustache Bash

I love to plan a party. And perhaps it comes from my days as a sorority girl (go ahead, judge me), but I sure do love my parties to have a theme. So when it came time to think about J’s 1st birthday party, I knew he (I) needed a theme. After pouring through ideas on Google, I came up with the Mustache Bash. When I started trying to find party supplies, I realized I was SOL because there just weren’t any to be had. Luckily for me, I’m married to a graphic designer. I found some things on Etsy, but other things I had him create or me.

To start with, I found this invitation by Bee and Daisy.


I also found these on Etsy:

Mustache straws Vinyl Stickers

I bought a few mason jars, plates, cups, napkins, and silverware–and that’s it. My husband made all the other decorations for me.

I Mustache Your For a Birthday Wish (1) I Mustache Your For a Birthday Wish (2)

Guests were asked to write a birthday wish for James when they entered the party.

Real Men Eat Cupcakes

My Mom made adorable, yet manly, cupcakes.

Manwiches Bowtie Salad Cheesy Poofs Couch Potato Chips & Dip

We served Manwiches, Bowtie Salad, Cheesy Poofs, and Couch Potato Chips & Dip.

Suckers Cigars

For sweet treats, we served suckers and Cigars (which would have looked much cuter had I used the big, fat pretzels–but these are what I had in my pantry, so these are what I used).

Wet Your Whiskers (1) Wet Your Whiskers (2)

And to Wet the Guests Whiskers, we served lemonade and root beer.


My mom also made a cute little smash cake with bowties around the sides.

Little Man

My sweet boy looked like the cutest little man for his 1st birthday party!

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Lesson 66: Your baby’s first birthday party doesn’t have to be a circus

In honor of my baby boy’s 2nd birthday (which is today! Holy crap! Where does the time go?!), a little walk down memory lane from this time last year…

Let’s face it: First birthday parties are for the parents, not the kid. The kid has no idea what’s going on, will have absolutely zero memory of the occasion, and would probably prefer to not have everybody stare at him and clap while he shoves his face in a cake.


That said–did I have a blast planning my son’s first birthday party? Hell yeah, I did.

But everything I did, I did because I wanted to. I didn’t spend a ton of money and I didn’t compare anything I did with what other moms did. I had an idea, I Googled it, I told my husband what I wanted, and he designed the decorations for me. All the food was homemade, nothing fancy. The “Mommy Wars” can suck it, because I’m not playing that game.

The only thing that was perhaps a little overdone was the guest list–we invited a lot of people! But as I put together the guest list, there were just so many people who I cared about and wanted to share this milestone with. One big thing I learned during my first year of parenting is, when a person loves your kid, your own love for that person grows exponentially. I suddenly looked at friends who had been in my life for years, and when they looked at my child with love, they truly became family. A birthday party is a celebration of family, so I wanted them there with us. We won’t be going all out and having everybody we love at every party–but there’s just something about that first birthday that demands special attention.

Because we had so many people coming, we wanted to make it clear that we weren’t gift-grabbing. We wanted people to celebrate with us; we weren’t trying to create a Toys ‘R Us in our living room. We chose to ask people to make donations to our local Children’s Hospital in J’s honor, rather than bringing gifts. Some people complained about not being able to bring J a gift, others brought them anyway–and that was totally fine. We simply didn’t want it to be an expectation. And we are so blessed with so many things, why not share some of that good fortune?

I wasn’t so consumed with planning the party that I forgot to make J’s actual birthday special. His birthday fell during the week, and his party wasn’t until the following Saturday. Bo and I got him a huge cupcake and let him have his way with it.

Going... ...going... Gone!

Then we took him to a fun Mexican restaurant for dinner (he needed a bath first!). We thought he would love it when they came to sing to him, but instead it scared the shit out of him. But overall, it was fun and I think he enjoyed himself.

Birthday ice cream!

Traditions are really important to me, and I don’t want birthdays to get lost in the party. I love the time we got to spend with just the 3 of us, just as much as I loved the big celebration.

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12 months

Dear James,

In preparation for the your first birthday party, during which time there will be much eating of cake and ice cream, we’ve starting giving you little sweets here and there. Probably not necessary, but I worried it might be a bad idea to shock your little system with pile of sugar all at one time. I’d hate to ruin your big day with a major tummy ache! And what better place to introduce you to your first real sugar, than Krispy Kreme?

Krispy Kreme

You totally approved.

We celebrated your first St. Patrick’s Day this month. And by “celebrated,” I mean I bought you a cute shirt and fed you green food.

St. Patrick's Day

Of this, you did not approve.

You were born only a few days before Easter, so last year you had no clue what was going on. This year, you still really had no clue–but you enjoyed it anyway!


Happy Easter!

And the Peeps? Yes, you liked the Peeps.


In other important news, you waved “bye-bye” and stood unassisted for the first time this month. My baby boy, you’re not a baby anymore. You’ve officially entered the world of Toddlerhood, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I love you Big,


12 months


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Lesson 65: Parents are so predictable

Parents love to offer advice. It doesn’t come from a place of superiority (in most cases). I think it’s more likely that it comes from a place of nostalgia and helpfulness. Even so, there are things that you will hear over and over and it will begin to wear your nerves. Try really hard to smile and nod, rather than replying, “No shit.”

By the way, I’m sure I’m guilty of saying some of this myself. It just rolls on off the tongue. For those of you who did not reply with some bit of sarcasm to me, I thank you.

“Time will fly by!”

Since your newborn doubled in size about 5 seconds after you brought him home from the hospital, you’ve probably already figured that one out. Though it’s true, I have to point out–you really have no clue. You think you do, and then one day you look at your baby and he’s not a baby anymore. And then you look at him and he looks just like a little boy. And then one day you go to put his shoes on, and his feet have grown 2 sizes overnight. So every time you think you know how fast time goes by, you’ll keep getting those little reminders that tell you, you truly have no idea just how fast it goes.

So I think this one, as much as it is repeated, is justified. But still…

What you want to say: No shit. Are you trying to make me cry?

What you should say: Yes, they’re amazing, aren’t they?! Plus with my super badonka boobs, my milk is stout, yo.

“Time to start baby-proofing!”

As soon as Baby starts crawling, everybody will snicker as if they know some big secret and demand that you immediately move to a rubber room. But the fact is, many of us choose to not baby-proof, or at least to do very limited baby-proofing. In our family, we baby-proof only to the extent that it allows us to be lazy at times; otherwise, our son is learning what he can and cannot touch, climb on, lick, or stick a screwdriver in.

What you want to say: It’s Evolution. Crawling is no huge secret. We kinda figured, and definitely hoped, he’d do it one day.

What you should say: Yes, they’re amazing, aren’t they?!

“Now you’re in trouble!”

Once Baby starts walking, the shit is really going to hit the fan! Things are going to be so much different!

No they’re not. Once she’s mobile, she’s mobile. Period. Her type of mobility doesn’t really change all that much. In fact, it was a brief respite for us as J learned to walk since he actually walked slower than he crawled.

What you want to say: Please. I was in trouble just as soon as my pregnancy test showed a big plus sign and I realized my husband had been out of town the month she was conceived.* This is nothing.

What you should say: Yes, they’re amazing, aren’t they?! Such a blessing.

“Oh, now you’re really in trouble!”

If walking didn’t blow your mind, running will. You might as well give it up. No parent ever in the history of parenting has been able to survive their toddler running. It just can’t be done.

Truth? Once J learned to run, he was also pretty darn good at following simple directives. Now, had he been born with the ability to run, we probably would have been in some serious trouble. But as it is, the way development goes in a nice little pattern, we didn’t have a problem.

What you want to say: Nah. He’s leash- and crate-trained. We don’t anticipate any problems.

What you should say: Yes, they’re amazing, aren’t they?!

“When are you having another one?”

You know what? Maybe never. Maybe she doesn’t want more kids. Maybe she can’t have more kids. Maybe she’s been trying for months and months to get pregnant again and hasn’t yet had any luck. Unless you’re close friends with the mother in question, this question is way off limits.

What you want to say: I’m just waiting for my husband to go out of town again…

What you should say: That’s really not your business.

*That was pure sarcasm. My husband is most definitely my Baby Daddy. I’m far too lazy to have an affair. Relax.

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Lesson 64: Your baby will manipulate you

Don’t fall for it. They’re no dummies.


Start establishing clear, firm boundaries at an early age and stick to it–even when it’s hard. It’s difficult for a young child to become familiar with your expectations and to learn appropriate behaviors if you keep changing the rules of the game. Even when they’re this young (especially when they’re this young!), it’s so important that they learn you mean what you say.

Set your boundaries; state them in an age-appropriate manner; and be consistent. Always.

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Oatmeal-Banana Cookies

I don’t know where this original recipe came from, but I’ve seen it all over. It’s a good one! Easy, yummy, and nutritious. It makes a great breakfast-on-the-go for Baby, or a healthy snack.

01 Oatmeal-Banana Cookies

You’ll need the following ingredients: 3 ripe bananas (I throw mine in a freezer bag and freeze them once they get over-ripe, so I always have several on hand), 1/3 cup applesauce, 2 cups oats, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup raisins (I use Craisins or even dark chocolate chips sometimes), 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp cinnamon.

Start by tossing all the ingredients into a big mixing bowl…

02 Oatmeal Banana Cookies

…then mix them all together.

03 Oatmeal Banana Cookies

Spoon them onto a greased cookie sheet and put them in a 350 degree oven.

04 Oatmeal Banana Cookies

Cook them until they’re browned and solidified, about 15 minutes.

05 Oatmeal Banana Cookies


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