Beach Life

We’re back! We had a wonderful time, just no one ask Luffy about it. The A/C in our car went out about two hours into his 12 hour drive home and he’s, understandably, not ok with it yet. I felt so bad for him having to make that hot drive alone, but also grateful that it happened after the dumpling and I were dropped off.

But our vacation! We had a fantastic time with the dumpling and our neighbors. I won’t regale you with a day-by-day synopsis of what went on, but I do have to include a few of my favorite anecdotes:

First up – the travel! The dumpling did great on both flights. He had a bit of a meltdown at the tail end of the flight going there. For landing, I gave him the option of sitting in his seat (buckled) or sitting in my lap. (At takeoff, he’d been very nervous and sat in my lap). He did not want to be buckled, so he defaulted to my lap, but he was very upset with me when I wouldn’t let him kick the seat in front of us. A bit of a mini wrestling match ensued, but all was fine in the end. We de-planed and took off to find dada.

The hour and a half turned two hour (thanks traffic!) drive to Gulf Shores went okay-ish. After thirty minutes of being at a literal standstill, the dumpling started to get feisty, though I managed to distract him with some of those water coloring books. Those lasted another half hour or so until hunger, I think, caught up with him. He’d had a light lunch at 11 and I fed us a protein heavy snack before the flight. He’d snacked on craisins throughout the flight, but he hadn’t had anything really substantial since breakfast and it was pushing 7pm. Unfortunately, motion sickness was also getting to him, so he didn’t really want to eat. We eventually got to our little rental home and the dumpling was SO excited, especially when we saw the neighbor’s kiddo, Gavin. The dumpling zoomed around the house, checking out rooms and the deck, positively bursting with energy.

On the way back, we had a two and a half hour drive to Gulfport. The dumpling managed to fulfill my wildest dreams by taking a nap in the car at 10am. He slept for an hour and I was so pleased with that because it was the only day that I didn’t have a nap outlined for him. (I consider it my duty as a parent to provide a nap opportunity of his preference at a reasonable napping point during the day. For our travel day there, we left for the airport really early to build a car nap into his schedule. For our days on vacation, I still took him in the car for his nap. This day was the only day that I truly didn’t have any idea what I’d do for his nap since our flight was right at naptime. I just kind of hoped for the best). ANYWAY. The dumpling got an early nap in, which was even better considering our flight was delayed for half an hour. In a stroke of luck, we were flying out of the smallest, nicest airport I’ve ever seen. In the two hours we were there, no other flights landed or took off, so the airport was basically empty. The dumpling had (almost) free reign to run anywhere. It was glorious.

Since we arrived so late our first day, we didn’t attempt to take the dumpling to the beach until the next morning. The dumpling woke up just a touch before 6am and we decided to take a walk down to the beach. Our house was literally a minute’s walk from the beach, so we were in a great location. We walked down and tentatively introduced the dumpling to the ocean and, to our delight, he loved it. He had such a blast that morning walking in the surf and playing chase with the ocean. He came back drenched head-to-toe and we had a very hard time pulling him away. Our mantra for leaving the beach would become “we’re not done playing at the beach” as that was the only way we could get him to come inside with us.

That first full day of vacation was a delight and, honestly, probably my favorite day. We played in the surf for an hour that morning, then came back in for breakfast and a break before heading back out mid-morning. We probably played for another couple of hours before breaking for a very late lunch and nap. We headed down again in the late afternoon before coming in for a home-cooked dinner.

The dumpling had a blast, of course, because our general schedule pretty much went out the window. He stayed up late and ate what he wanted. We indulged every request for goldfish or juice (joke’s on him! his “juice” is extremely watered down Gatorade) and considered french fries and ketchup to be an adequate dinner. He had free reign over our iPad for dinosaur videos, was introduced to Peppa Pig by Gavin’s little sister, and was welcome to watch whatever movie our friends had going on their Apple TV (usually Moana as their little girl loves it).

I do have to chuckle a bit because it became pretty clear that we are raising a little indoor-child. After that first day on the beach, where we spent hours playing, it actually became a little harder to get him to go down. So much so that by the last afternoon, when presented with the option of going down to the beach for the very last time or staying inside – he chose to stay inside.

On July 4th, we had a bit of a snafu. We had been playing at a nearby pool in the morning and set off for the 5-10 minute walk home when it was clear the dumpling was tired. I was carrying him, doing my best to center his weight across my ever-expanding abdomen, when I suddenly realized that he was a little too limp. Oh crap, he’s asleep.

Sure enough, he had fallen asleep on me as I trudged through the hot sand. After an unsuccessful attempt at a transfer to his bed, he was awake and oddly happy about it. Luffy was tired and upset over our blunder; I sent him off to take a nap himself while mentally preparing myself for a hellacious afternoon with a cranky kiddo, but it never happened. I got him a snack and he settled down with Gavin to watch something on the iPad. I was able to make myself lunch and actually sat down at the dining table to eat it, feeling like a queen. The dumpling didn’t even get mad at the commercial breaks on YouTube (which I haaate – you watch a video on the PS4 and there’s one commercial at the beginning – you watch the EXACT SAME VIDEO on the iPad and there’s a commercial every two minutes). Instead, he’d use the commercial break to run and grab a handful of popcorn. It was super cute.

All afternoon, we quietly did our own thing until 3:30 rolled around and I knew it was time to make a decision. He’d slept for 10 minutes that day after getting up at 5:20. If I wanted to give him another opportunity for sleep, it was now or never. Since he’d been so pleasant, I was hesitant to force him into the car for a nap. However, he started to do subtle things that I knew indicated he was tired, so I did end up forcing him into the car. And lo, he was not happy with me. He screamed at me, screamed. After 10 minutes of driving, he was still writhing and screaming as only preschoolers on a mission can do, so I did the only thing I could do – I gave in to his demand to go that way and turned the car around. I apologized for upsetting him and told him we’d go back home. He was asleep within seconds. I actually ended up having a hard time waking him and he slept for a full hour even though I had wanted to keep it around 30 minutes.

We rolled with it though and just reminded ourselves that this way he could stay up for the 9pm fireworks. Which was fun! We busted out glow sticks and the kids had a blast. We ended up being in a prime location. Our house was next to a condo resort that put on a large fireworks display over the water. We could watch the fireworks from our deck, which was the perfect low-pressure way to introduce the dumpling to fireworks. Some people in the area fired some rather large ones off as we were waiting so the dumpling got to see a few one-off ones before the large display. He seemed excited, but I think the build-up got to him and he requested to go inside right before the display began. He and I cuddled on the couch for a minute before I realized we could watch them from the window. I made sure that I was full of ooohs and awes for his benefit and he had a great time watching them. He braved going outside in the middle of the display for a minute before promptly requesting to go back inside for the remainder of the display.

Speaking of sleep, the dumpling did pretty great on that front too. His sleep, as y’all know, is always a wildcard while out of town. Luffy and I envisioned the worst while trying to come up possible sleeping arrangements. One of the rooms had a bunk bed in it and, at first, we thought he might like sleeping in there with Gavin. But it turned out that our neighbors wanted their older son (15yo) to sleep in there. We discovered the bunk bed also had a twin trundle and thought the dumpling could sleep on that. Luffy expressed some concerns (the fact that he’d be basically on the floor of a room where he’d be going to bed the earliest and what would happen if he got up in the middle of the night?) that I initially brushed off before panicking over them at midnight the night before we left (typical Belle move, that one). Then, an epiphany! I realized we could pull the mattress from the twin trundle and put it on the floor of our room, which is exactly what we did. We wedged it between the dresser and our bed, so that he was somewhat closed in. He did fantastically. He did request that Luffy sit with him to fall asleep and he did have a couple of middle-of-the-night wakeups (dada! he’d exclaim before I vaulted out of bed to re-tuck him in). We had one super early 5:20 wake-up (that day, I just took him out on the deck with me to watch the sunrise), but he slept until about 6am most mornings. Our day began with his little head popping up over our bed and tiny little giggles as he crawled in with us. It was precious.

And the food, oh the food. Being pregnant, I’m a bit of a downer on the adult beverage front (though my mouth watered over the bottles of lemon vodka and prosecco in the pantry), but I’m pretty sure I ate more than my share of food. One fantastic upside of renting a house, as opposed to staying in hotels, is the access to a kitchen. Even nicer, a couple of our traveling companions enjoy cooking. Thus, I gorged on homemade spaghetti and breakfast tacos, and waffles, and biscuits, and frito pie, and queso. It was all delicious. Plus, our neighbors had arrived a day earlier and stocked up on snacks like chips and cheez its, cookies and candy. I had a couple of shrimp po’boys for lunch/dinner and one delicious bowl of ice cream the night we visited the resort (food trucks and a foam party which the dumpling thoroughly enjoyed). I’m pretty sure I managed to pack on a couple of extra vacation pounds, just in time for my prenatal check-up this morning, but it was well worth it.

All in all, a great vacation. All three of us were worn out yesterday and spent the day lounging about. The dumpling even took his nap on me, on the couch, much to my pleasure. It was a fantastic week.


Memorial Day 2019

We had a really great Memorial Day weekend, even though it didn’t quite to plan. My dad was supposed to visit us on his way through the DFW area to visit his own parents, but those plans fell through.

So what did we do?!

We played at the park. We made pancakes. We swam at a friend’s house. We ate watermelon. We watched Minnie Mouse. We had the best time relaxing and I have a few anecdotes from the weekend:

On Saturday, we were a little surprised that the dumpling didn’t fall asleep during the drive home from Luffy’s parents’ house like he usually does. He was clearly tired, but he managed to stay awake the whole time. So we distracted him a bit, had lunch, and then I took him out to try for another car nap around 1pm. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but the dumpling pretty much exclusively takes car naps on the weekends now. He’s such low-sleep needs that it’s very challenging for us to get him down at a reasonable time otherwise. Plus, I think he takes comfort in knowing that if he falls asleep in the car, I’ll still be right there when he wakes up.

Anyway, back to my story. I take him out around 1pm, which is his usual time for the weekends. He was still awake when we got on the highway, trying to chat with me about cranes and other construction equipment. Twenty minutes later, he transitioned to playing with his water cup, blowing raspberries and telling me where the water landed (over there and over there and over there!). Twenty minutes after that, he was still awake and starting to be not so happy about it.

It can be humorous, in a way, watching a preschooler’s mood decline. He slowly starts getting more and more obstinate, losing his cool over minor matters. He raises his voice at me and I gently remind him to use his inside voice. He gets frustrated with his empty milk cup. Then, we pass a semi and I hear this from the back seat:


“…… uh, ok?”


Right little dude, it’s not a truck. Got it.

Then, as I’m exiting the highway, mere minutes away from home because I have abandoned the hope of a nap happening today, he throws his water cup. I won’t say at me, but it lands close enough to scare me. And I lose my patience a bit. I raise my voice right back at him and say “HEY BUD, you do not throw your cups, especially not in the car and definitely not at your mama.”

And then. He quieted down. Literally 90 seconds later he was asleep and I detoured to get back on the highway.

On Sunday, we went to our friend’s house to go swimming. They were technically hosting a Memorial Day pool party, but scheduling conflicts meant we were the only ones who could actually make it. Fine by us!

Since it would be our first time in the pool this season, I spent Friday afternoon trying to decide on the proper flotation device for the dumpling. He’s getting so big and brave now, I didn’t trust myself to be the solely responsible for keeping his head above water. I know most parents swear by those puddle jumper things but I just couldn’t fathom how kids aren’t insanely annoyed by having those things on their arms. Thus, I landed on an actual life vest – made by Speedo, certified by the US Coast Guard. The only problem was the sizing. They had two: infant and child. The infant is for 0 – 30 pounds, while the child is 30 – 50 pounds. The dumpling’s last check-up was last October, where he weighed just under 24 pounds. I’m sure he’s put on a couple of pounds since then, but he likely hasn’t broken 30 pounds yet. On the other hand, did I really want to buy a swim vest that he can only use for a little bit? Plus, the infant version had head support that I figured would be in his way. So, I decided to buy him the child’s size. We tried it on him Friday afternoon and it was hilarious. It does technically fit him, but it just swallows him up. It’s adorable. He seemed comfortable with it though. And there was a humorous moment when he tried to get something off the floor. He reminded me of 9-months pregnant me – bending and squatting and shifting and trying my best to get down there!

So we brought the swim vest with us and we had a great time swimming! We took it off him at one point because he settled down on the step and the swim vest kept pitching him backwards, poor tiny baby. I was floating on one of those semi-recliner things and stayed close by, but he kept to his step. Adorably, I noticed he was shivering about half an hour later (the step was in the shade), so I coaxed him onto my float with me. And we just floated around the pool together, my sweet boy and I.

On Monday, I explained what a holiday was to the dumpling and how we relax on holidays. We did just that. We watched TV (Minnie Mouse shows on YouTube – he’s obsessed). We went to Target. We got lunch at Potbelly’s where the dumpling scarfed down his applesauce and was delighted by the mini cookie that came with his meal. (Luffy and I polished off his toasted PB&J.) Then, we took a stroll around the outdoor mall and I explained what a “stroll” meant – he kept asking where the stroll was. He then got a nice car nap and we knocked out grocery shopping and spent the rest of the afternoon lounging!

Eggs and Announcements

Five dozen eggs. Four delicious meals. Three egg hunts. Two bottles of champagne. One pregnancy announcement.

Yup! Our Easter was great!

Our weekend started off Friday afternoon, when I picked the dumpling up from school. I could tell he’d had a busy day (he had his first of three egg hunts at school earlier that morning). He looked exhausted in the back seat. I still hadn’t told him about grandma and papa and his uncle and aunt coming in to town that evening because, to be honest, I was a little worried they wouldn’t make it into town before bedtime. So, we stalled by taking a nice walk, opening his eggs from school, and making him some dinner. Luckily, my family did make it in time to see him before bed and he was just beyond excited. He was a literal ball of energy all of a sudden, running around and giggling these little overly-bright laughs. He was having a blast and it was a little challenging getting him to settle down for the evening, but I promised him everyone would be there in the morning.

We decided to order Mexican food for ourselves and, after gathering everyone’s order, I took my mom to the kitchen for champagne. It’s what we do, so I knew she’d expect it. While I opened the bottle, we chatted a bit about what all she had brought with her for the dumpling’s egg hunt and the little cakes she had made. When she finished, I poured us champagne and – all nonchalantly – told her I had a video of the dumpling that I’d been meaning to share.

Last week, inspiration struck when the dumpling and I were playing with sidewalk chalk. I wrote, in big letters Promoted to Big Brother – Dec 2019 and took a video of him using the watering can to erase the letters (his usual method of “playing” with sidewalk chalk).

I had my mom watch it and immediately realized my blunder in that she couldn’t really read what it said without her reading glasses. She thought he was being all adorable, erasing the chalk, when I really wanted her to read the message. Alack and alas!

It was ok though, I just ended up reading it to her and she was so excited. She gave me a big hug and laughed and I said that now I’d go give that second glass of champagne I’d poured to dad. Meanwhile, Luffy set the video up on the TV for the rest of my family. Again, my dad couldn’t read it, but my brother and his wife caught on pretty quickly. We ended up reading it to my dad and he still didn’t quite get it at first, but he caught up pretty quickly.

Hugs were given! Congratulations were shared! Such an exciting time! It was wonderful to be able to share the news with them in person this time around.

My dad was over the moon and wanted to start a pool on when the baby would actually arrive. (His first “wish” was Christmas day and I was like, yeah no. I’d be more than 42 weeks along at that point and there’s no way they’d let me go that long.) He also wanted everyone’s opinion on if it would be a boy or a girl. He thought girl, I think because he wants a little granddaughter.

So we definitely started off on a high note! Saturday morning found me cooking cinnamon rolls and eggs before we headed to the egg dig at the park (put on by the city). The dig turned out to be little kiddie pools with plastic balls (sort of like a makeshift ball pit) with eggs. We had a fantastic time there, though I’m pretty sure the dumpling had a better time playing in the ball pits after the eggs were all gathered.

Then Sunday morning, I went out before the dumpling got up and hid the THREE DOZEN eggs my mom had put together for the dumpling. I think she was just too excited to put together an egg hunt for a little kid again. The dumpling couldn’t believe his luck when we had him look outside.

“What do you see out there?” I asked him.

“Eggs,” he told me very seriously, eyes wide.

“Are they for you?”


“Should we go get them?”

“Yeah,” he told me.

So everyone got shoes and he got his basket and we went outside to watch him gather up his eggs. He had a blast opening them up and quickly moved into playing with all of the little trinkets. After my family left around 11am, we played outside and said hi to the neighbors, accidentally crashing their egg hunt. They were generous enough to share a few more eggs with the dumpling and invited us back over that evening to play.

We then had a fantastic afternoon, just the three of us. My stomach dictated burgers and fries for lunch, so we did that before heading to the park for a walk. The dumpling got a car nap in and then we spent some of the afternoon chilling, watching Daniel. We went back over the hang out at the neighbors and eat dinner with them. The dumpling just loves playing over there, with their kids (and toys).

After we put the dumpling down for the evening, we went back over to the neighbors to watch Game of Thrones with them which is super exciting for me because I used to watch the show pretty regularly, but then lost access and haven’t seen it since season four or so. I highly recommend this method, because we got to skip over five years of dragging the plot out and got straight to the good stuff. They invited us back over next Sunday for the latest episode – woot woot!

And that’s how we spent our weekend! My main goal for this week is to power through to the weekend because (1) Luffy and I have a date Sunday morning to watch the new Avengers and (2) my first prenatal appointment is next Tuesday and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Have a great week everyone!

Perfectly balanced

I know! I know! I have no right to use that quote, my only excuse is that it really does perfectly capture my day yesterday.

I had yesterday off – perks of working in a small office. (Lest you start getting jealous, I should point out that we only get 9 paid holidays a year. Which is actually still above national average, apparently, but still. My real gripe is that each year, a quick perusal of the holiday schedule makes me think that I get 10 holidays each year, until I notice that, without fail, each “yearly” holiday schedule shows New Years 0x and New Years 0x+1 which is just a little bit of false advertising if you ask me… which you didn’t, but you’re here so…)

Wow – off to a real exciting start here!

Anyway, I had yesterday off. Daycare was open, so I dropped that little dude off at school and came back to the house to tackle the first part of my planned day: a deep clean of the living room and kitchen. It was prompted by one too many sticky spills over the weekend, plus the fact that I haven’t truly mopped our home in an embarrassingly long time. You know how it is: I want to mop, but you can’t just mop. Mopping requires vacuuming first. Vacuuming requires tidying up. And if I’m tidying up, I might as well organize. And have you ever tried to organize with a two-year-old underfoot? It doesn’t go so well.

So yeah, I took advantage of my day off to organize the living room, kitchen and office. The dumpling’s play food, for instance, has been reunited with his play kitchen. Trucks are in the living room. Train sets have been reunited. I relocated a child’s table to the office for crafts (it used to be his dinner table, post-highchair rebellion but before he could really join us for dinner). According to Luffy, the dumpling was delighted to find it in the office and sat down to color immediately.

I vacuumed the floors, the rugs, under the rugs. The couch, under the couch. I mopped. I moved the couch to mop under it when I discovered a very crusty patch of what I could only assume was baby spit-up (ewe). My steam mop made quick work of the leftover mess, though the living room smelled distinctly like spit-up for a while after that and I realized that I had totally forgotten about that smell.

I spent the first few hours of my day off deep cleaning and it was glorious. I’m one of those people that finds a tangible sense of well-being in a well-cleaned and organized home. I know that it won’t last long (see above: two-year-old underfoot), but it was well worth the hours. I wrapped up about 2:30 and sat down to a small glass of champagne (a kudos to my efforts!) and crocheting. Spent a happy couple of hours adding on the the dumpling’s blanket and then went to teach my exercise class.

All in all, a very well-balanced day!

Hello 2019!

You’re looking fabulous!

I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s. We certainly did. It was downright peaceful, even though the dumpling was home with us for a four-day weekend. I honestly can’t even complain about yesterday because we had the best day, just relaxing on the couch. We watched Daniel and the Dinosaur Train* and read books and played with trains. Great day!

For our NYE celebration, we went to our neighbor’s house for games and food. Had an impromptu black-out party when a transformer blew around 6pm. Thankfully, power was restored pretty quickly. We also discovered that the dumpling LOVES those popper things. You know, those little “firework” things that you throw at the ground? Our friends had some for the kids and I didn’t think too much of it. The dumpling, however, thought they were hilarious and just laughed and laughed – big, deep, belly laughs. It was precious.

Speaking of the little dude, holy cats is he ever talking now! Just last night, he told me (and I literally quote) “no PJ’s mama, I playing in the water.” This morning, he helped me make breakfast and told Luffy that he was “making eggs.” It’s so precious right now, because he’ll be doing something or spot something and he has to show Luffy, so he’ll be like “dada! a turtle!” It’s too cute, I tell you. TOO CUTE. And just yesterday, he told Luffy “I don’t know” when Luffy asked him to identify a tractor. I was floored, as was Luffy. We were amazed that the dumpling has the capacity to respond with “I don’t know.”

Honestly, that’s about all I’ve got because we had a pretty low-key four-day weekend. I baked some cookies. We took walks. We snuggled** with the dumpling. We had a really cozy New Year’s.

*This is the dumpling’s latest craze. Considering it has both dinosaurs AND choo choo trains, it’s pretty much the pinnacle of preschooler programming in his esteemed opinion. I’m just hoping that I’ll stop singing the theme song by the end of the year.

**WAIT. I do have to elaborate here. Do you remember all of those times I said that the dumpling is not a cuddler? Well I think he’s finally coming around to it as his current favorite activity is sitting in either mine or Luffy’s lap while he watches TV or reads. When he’s on your lap, he just completely relaxes and positively melts into you; it’s the sweetest thing. He’s probably watching way too much TV right now, but I’m enjoying the snuggling too much to care.

Post Merry

Hello again! I hope your holidays were happy and merry and all that jazz! Ours were fantastic, thanks for asking.

We had a really good Christmas this year. No one was sick and my parents’ cats behaved, thank goodness. The dumpling was delighted to find grandma and papa in our kitchen when he woke up from his nap on Monday. We basically just all hung out until I made breakfast for dinner (giant cinnamon rolls, eggs, bacon, and asparagus – FTW!). I opened the champagne as soon as they got there. Because of course I did.

Christmas morning was lots of fun! The dumpling seemed to know what presents were and was all for opening them. His first was a book, that he promptly sat down to read. His second was a Duplo train, which distracted him long enough for the rest of us to open some presents. He ended up doing really well because he made it through everything except one present and his stockings. I’ll gives some props to us as well because we definitely limited presents (he had two from us and technically three from my parents, including the aforementioned book). Then Luffy’s parents arrived and it was off to lunch at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants.

It honestly didn’t go very well, for a couple of reasons. First, I think there was just too much going on. Luffy’s parents got delayed coming over, so they were at our house for a hot minute before we piled into cars and headed back out. Because of that, we had Luffy’s parents ride with me and the dumpling and Luffy rode with my parents. The dumpling screamed the entire car ride because nothing could convince him we hadn’t abandoned his dada at home. So asking him to sit politely at a table for lunch wasn’t a great idea. Then, as if we weren’t making enough of a scene at this restaurant, I fell on my way back to our table. Just completely wiped out. I really don’t have a clue as to what happened except that I think I ever-so-slightly stepped on the outside of my heel (I was wearing boots with a chunky 2.5″ heel). Maybe the floor was kind of slick too? I don’t know. One minute I was walking and the next I was on all fours in the middle of the dining room. It was lovely! There was literally a gasp – OHHH! – from the other patrons as I went down. I bounced back up, assuring everyone I was fine, then booked it back to my own table to cry a bit over my painful palm and knee. One of my knees is a delightful shade of purple now. Lovely.

But that’s ok! We still had a great time. The dumpling went down for a solid two hour nap on Christmas day to recover from the sheer excitement. Other highlights include:

  • I got him foam letters for his bath and that went over well that evening.
  • I drank a LOT of champagne and I have absolutely no regrets.
  • Luffy randomly clicked on a show on Hulu, mainly for background noise, and it turned out to be hilarious. (Superstore, if anyone’s wondering)
  • My mom got us a waffle maker. I’m very excited. Very.
  • The day after Christmas, the dumpling looked up from his breakfast and asked “mama, presents?”
  • My mom cried as she was leaving which is especially adorable because she’s going to be right back here in like three weeks to babysit for us.
  • It’s not really a “highlight,” but I feel the need to memorialize the fact that I cleaned the bathrooms on Monday WHILE I had a preschooler in the house and Luffy took a nap. Go me.

So yeah! That’s about it for us! And since I probably won’t be back here until afterwards: here’s a happy New Year everyone!

That’s a wrap!

Pop the champagne – I’m done with Christmas shopping!

It’s always an achievement, to get everything purchased. Nothing is wrapped, mind you, but my excuse for that is that it’s not a good idea to leave something so tempting within the toddler’s reach. Yeah…

I have to toot my own horn here too because I think I did quite well this year. You know how some years, you’re shopping, and nothing seems to pop out at you? No great epiphanies. No perfect something that stands out. Those years when you end up buying everyone gift cards with the justification that then they can get exactly what they want [jazz hands!]. Those years suck. This year, my friends, was not one of those years. Huzzah!

For my mom, I purchased vanilla beans and I’m making her vanilla extract. Sounds fancy but seriously the hardest part was drinking the wine from the bottle I bought getting the label off the bottle. Now it’s just chilling in my cabinet, getting more delicious-smelling by the day. I also got her a mini knife sharpener because I used her knives at Thanksgiving and had to lecture her on knife safety. Her knives are a menace to society. And thumbs. 

For my dad, I got something a little cheesy. You know those specialty popcorn shops? Yeah, I got him a big tub of popcorn. BUT. (1) He loves popcorn and (2) I’ve had this popcorn because [long story is long] and it’s the BEST popcorn I’ve ever had. Hands down. Even the cheese popcorn, which usually sort of grosses me out, was delicious. So I’m excited to slap a bow on that sucker when it comes in. I’m also hoping he’ll share some before he leaves. 

For both of them, I found these adorable Letters to my Mom/Dad keepsake book … things. The book calls it “a paper time capsule” which, sure, I guess. It is pretty cute though. It’s comprised of twelve pages that fold up onto themselves as letters. Each one gives a prompt like “a special memory I have of you is….” and on the outside you note the date you wrote it and the date they can open it. It’s a cute way to write down a few special memories and thank them for being my parents. That is, it will be cute if I can get all 24 letters written before Christmas.

For my brother, I scoured Redbubble and got him a little wall art for his new house. It’s a black and white abstract guitar. It looks nice; I hope he likes it. His wife was easy to shop for because my bro told me to get her a Google Play gift card. Yay!

For the dumpling, I got him a personalized wooden puzzle with his name and … that’s kind of it. You see, I had plans to get him this block set as well – an adorable little setup that was part puzzle, part block set, part town play. Very cute. And I guess a lot of other people thought so too because when I went to buy it, it was out of stock. Slated for return in January. wah wah. I feel especially dumb over this because I looked it up online a few weeks ago but didn’t buy it because “it was too early” or something. Gah! Clearly I underestimated the Christmas frenzy. I’m disappointed, but the dumpling is still young enough that it doesn’t really matter. I’ll get it for him when it comes back in stock. 

So yeah, that’s a wrap for 2018 holiday shopping! I was super impressed with myself too for having my shit together so early, until I looked at my calendar and realized that Christmas is actually less than two weeks away. So maybe not all that early.