Raising my toddler across the seven seas and through the Arizona desert…

How to Survive Your Toddler’s Cold (when you’re also sick)

Hi everyone! Sorry it has been so long. The little man and I have been battling colds since Christmas, and I think we actually passed the same one back and forth a few times. Here we are, three weeks into January now, and I finally can muster up the strength to get back on the computer and type out a blog. The little man is finally starting to feel better, too. He ended up with double ear infections. We are on round two of antibiotics now and the worst thing is when he gets so worked up that he coughs so hard that he barfs. All over me. And the rug. Oh the joys of motherhood.

I figure you’re asking, how do you do it? How did you get through the little man’s illness while you were feeling crummy yourself? Well, I’ll tell ya, it’s not as easy as your young-and-single days when you could drug yourself up with cold meds and hide under your covers all day long. No. You have another tiny human who feels just as crappy as you to care for and feed and cuddle.

Here are my 5 tips to survive your toddler’s cold when you’re sick yourself:

1) Survival is your number one priority. How do you normally feel when you’re first getting sick? You’re drained and you’re tired. You want to do absolutely nothing. However, your mini-me despite feeling crummy himself still wants you to get up and play with them. My solution: lay in the middle of the floor and pull a huge fuzzy blanket over your head. You can easily drift in and out of sleepy consciousness this way, and your kiddo thinks it’s the COOLEST THING EVER because you’re hiding… under a blanket-fort! Just make sure you have your baby-proofing up to date and close any doors you don’t want your kid venturing behind. I made it to nap time two days in a row of doing this, I just had to turn on Elmo’s World and shift every 20 minutes or the little man would get bored. (p.s. make sure he has access to plenty of toys too. Oh and don’t worry, hubs was in the other room sleeping off his night shift in case anything emergency-like would happen).

2) Speaking of naps… sleep when they sleep. Now’s not the time to stay awake during naps or burn the midnight oil cleaning up the day’s mess after they go to bed. You’re sick. They’re sick. Chances are, if they’re not feeling well, you’re little one will get up multiple times during the night in pain or coughing or sore throat or just plain scared because they don’t feel top notch. Even if your kid was sleeping through the night prior to this cold, 9 times out of 10 they will be waking up throughout the night. You need your sleep to get well! I’ll admit, I was taking 4-hour naps on the couch while the little man dozed in his crib and you better believe I was in bed by 8:30 after putting him down for the night. Shhh! Don’t tell my husband. He doesn’t know a thing about how much sleep I got that first week of sickness.

3) Share each other’s food. Now, this may seem counter-intuitive just because most people are like “don’t spread germs,” but I found this incredibly useful considering we were both already sick to begin with and having the same cold, if I didn’t want to eat it, neither did he. If I thought it was pretty tasty, he did too. The thing to remember with this, however, is that the moment you start to sense that one of you is getting better, STOP sharing food and start making separate meals. Wash utensils like a germophobe. Use hand sanitizer every 5 minutes. If one of you is getting better, you don’t want sicky to get the other sick again. I made the mistake of sharing a bite of oatmeal one morning when I was feeling better and got a third round of feeling yucky for a day.

4) The one thing about being sick that makes it so hard to get over having a cold is that you don’t feel like going outside or going anywhere to do anything. You stay cooped up inside. You both are constantly breathing in the same germy air over and over again. Your noses are stuffed up and either you can’t have a decongestant (the little man) or you’ve already exhausted your supply (this pirate mama). It is important to get outside. Get some fresh air. If you can’t make it outside, take a shower together with your kiddo and let the steam help clear your sinuses and wash all the gunk out. By this point you both should start feeling somewhat better, so go for that long afternoon walk. Let the shower water stay on for longer than your normal rinse. Toddlers are pretty resilient. Yours probably feels much better than you do because he is young and spritely and can bounce back quicker. Who knows, maybe watching him run around at the park or stomp all the puddles in the shower makes you feel a little better emotionally too.


5) Lastly, my favorite tip to surviving your toddler’s cold when you’re also sick is: the moment you start feeling better, relax with a movie on the couch with a BIG GLASS OF WINE. Or a hot toddy. Or [insert feeling-better drink of choice here]. If you’re feeling well enough, a glass of vino may make you relax enough to just not care much anymore about your lingering cold and tend to your still-recovering toddler with a smile. Instead of feeling frustrated because- ohmigosh, he woke up again with a nasty coughing fit!- you calmly walk into your child’s room with some pain meds or milk and gently soothe him back to sleep. You breathe shallow so you don’t stir up the tickle in your throat that could put you into a coughing fit, lay him back down, and slink back to your couch to unleash the tickle into that fuzzy blanket you started out with two weeks ago.

And there you have it, my friends. These tips are probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but heck, they sure helped me through the little man’s first big cold. And you know what, we both survived!

-pirate mama

WWWW: Christmas 2013


Merry Christmas 2013!

Merry Christmas 2013!

Merry Christmas on What We Wore Wednesday! In the Pirate Household, we celebrate with family on Christmas Eve. Each year we have a themed dinner. Past themes have been Italian or Mexican food, hors d’oeuvres, last year was BBQ, and this year was our own version of “comfort food”- homemade turkey noodle soup, broccoli-cheese casserole, baked apples, and biscuits. Yum!

We also pose various versions of the family around the Christmas tree for pictures. I seized the opportunity for the little man and I to be all matchy-matchy for a WWWW.

On the little man: white button down dress shirt and blue argyle sweater vest from Baby Gap, jeans are actually unknown (they were hand-me-downs with the tags removed), and Dockers loafers

On Pirate Mama: purple argyle sweater from Merona at Target, Refuge jeans, Colin Stuart brown booties (not shown)

We hope you and your loved ones had a very Merry Christmas and if we don’t see you before then, have a Happy New Year as well!!

Check out my friends’ blogs: Toronto Mama, A Life From Scratch, Just Another Day in Our Shoes, and Pretty + Small to see their WWWW.


Christmas Cream Cheese Mints


Back in high school, I went to a Christmas cookie exchange party with some of my friends. Some of us made treats other than just cookies cuz, hey, it’s the holidays, right? I fell in love with these cream cheese mints that my friend, Katie, had made. I made them the following year for my family at Christmas and at least one person has requested them each year since, so I’ve been making them for over a decade. They are fairly easy to make and can be fun to do with younger kids.

Here’s the recipe:

one 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened- I just leave mine to sit outside the fridge for about 20 mins)
1 tsp peppermint extract
4-5 cups powdered sugar
5-6 drops each food coloring (if desired)
1/4-1/2 cup granular sugar

When the cream cheese is softened enough, mix in the peppermint extract. I actually add a little more cuz I like mine more minty but the original calls for 1 teaspoon. Slowly knead in the powdered sugar until the mixture is no longer sticky. If you’re using food coloring separate out the cream cheese- sugar mixture into portions for each color. In my case I used red and green for Christmas. Add 5-6 drops of food coloring and knead to mix. (Optional: place the colored portions in bowls into the fridge for 5 minutes to firm up.) Use a spoon to portion out small bits of the mixture and roll them into 3/4 inch balls. Rolls the balls in a shallow dish of granular sugar to coat and set the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten the balls lightly with a fork and let set at room temperature for approximately 30-45 minutes to dry.

Store mints loosely covered in the fridge. Makes approximately 12 dozen mints.

Baby Dinosaurs, oh my!


My boss has this thing where she goes around to some of our offices and draws T-Rex doing something crazy on our whiteboards. One I remember is poor T-Rex trying to make the covers on a bed. When classes started up this fall, she found out she was pregnant. She and her husband found out they are having a girl and are decorating her nursery with a cute dinosaur mural.

I missed out on posing the little man in a cutesy crocheted hat in his newborn pictures, but I remembered seeing dinosaur hats and one of my other friends even sells some. I figured they couldn’t be that difficult to make, and since I’ve been giving crochet a try I thought I would make one for my boss for when her daughter is born. I did a quick google search and found this blog that had a simple pattern to make a dinosaur hat. I surprised myself and finished this in less than a week, but really it only took me maybe 3 hours tops to do all the crochet-work and then attached the spines to the hat and cape. Not bad for a beginner!! I just gave the hat to my boss this week. I can’t wait to see pictures of it on her little girl!

The Power of Community

What would you do if you found out your toddler has a tumor?

Your heart would sink, I’m sure. Mine did, and he’s not even my child. One of my dear friends (and I call her “dear” even though I have never met her, but I have known her for over a year online and through social media) posted to my mom-group earlier this year that it was discovered that her son has a tumor in his brain. She wrote that it is near his medulla, that because of the location it is risky to operate on to remove or even biopsy, but their doctors seem to think it is benign. Fast forward to this December, she posts again after a follow-up appointment. This time the news is more bleak. It has grown. There were talks of treatments to see if the tumor would respond and stop its growth.

Within hours, our little online community reached out our arms and sent out positive thoughts and prayer’s to our friend, her son, and their family in support. In less than a week, she heard from the doctor that there was hope for treatment and the possibility of surgery with a doctor at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We continued praying for them and we became “Team Liam” in support of Liam, her son. One member created a logo, another created a fundraiser site for t-shirts with the logo. We all have banded together and spread the word about this little guy’s situation and the response has been astounding. My friend heard from a neurologist at St. Jude’s that Liam was accepted for surgery! They are on the road to the hospital in a few short weeks for his surgery.

created by K.J.T. 2013

created by K.J.T. 2013

My friend has been amazed by the works of social media and the support we have shown and spread for her son. Within an hour, Team Liam’s facebook page hit 100 likes. Eight days later, it is within 200 likes of hitting 2000. I’d like to see it reach that before Christmas. The goal for shirt sales was 100 shirts. The site has surpassed that and is close to hitting it’s goal of 350 shirts, and still has 7 days left before the fundraiser closes. I am honored to be a part of this community where women have banded together and started something for a good cause. I know that living in this day and age of social media, anything can be an overnight sensation, but this is personal to me. This is someone I know. Two thousand likes doesn’t seem like much, but when out little group consists of less than 100 moms, that kind of number is amazing. I hope that if I need this kind of support for anything in my life, I receive even half as much love and prayers that this little guy has received. If I do, I will be fine. These ladies are my friends, my sisters in mommy-hood. I love each and every one of them and all of their children too. Just like my heart reacted when hearing the news about Liam, I have been floored by the support from these women, and this isn’t even my son we’re talking about. And I’ve cried tears of joy.



If you would like to know more information about showing support for Team Liam, visit his Facebook page. A link to the site to buy t-shirts in support is included on the page. Other comments, please add them to my blog here.

PM Picks: My Favorite **Store-bought** Holiday Treat


I will be the first person to admit that I have no self control between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day when it comes to holiday foods. There’s something about the smells in the air and the crispness of a cool evening that makes me ingest or imbibe every seasonal food out there from pumpkin spice lattes to the Christmas goose (well, I’m sure I’d eat goose if my family ever cooked one). At this time of year, I prefer my foods slathered in gravy or melted cheese, frosted in buttercream, or baked to a sugary goodness. It’s a wonder I don’t gain 75 pounds the last 5 weeks of every year, and it’s surprising that those diet programs don’t see my name come through their membership roster every January.

So, yes, I eat my way through the holidays. I usually prefer homemade goodness (something I will reserve for another post) but today I wanted to share with you my favorite Christmas-y snack that all have to do to indulge in is head down the street to my local Trader Joe’s. If there isn’t a TJ’s in your neighborhood, I’m sorry. You need to do a Google search and find the one closest to you. These little grocery stores are a little piece of heaven. Anyway, find one, go inside and grab yourself a box of Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s.


Joe-Joe’s are a delicious little sandwich cookie that are the TJ’s version of Oreos. While Oreos come in mint and peppermint favors, I hands down believe these Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s are the made-in-heaven real deal. There are actual peppermint candy pieces in the cream center. SO good that I don’t even have to dunk them in milk like I do with Oreos. You’ve gotta try them if you haven’t already, but you have to act fast! They’re only around during the holiday season… and like I said, I have no self control…


Photo of the Week- Welcome to the Holidays Edition

This week the university was on fall break so I had the whole week off. Here in the States (for my international, non-American friends) was Thanksgiving on Thursday. I love Thanksgiving way more than all the Christmas and other holiday hoopla, but I was too frantic on Thursday to gather myself to summarize my thankfuls into a post. I’ll take the usual, thankful for my family and friends, yadda yadda yadda- but don’t get me wrong, I still wholeheartedly am thankful for those things on this holiday. The little man didn’t want to sleep hardly at all that day and then was up for over two hours that night. Anyway, since I had the week off, I finally got to take some “nice” pictures and I finally got around to doing another Photo of the Week.

This time around is the little man, again. I had all intentions of taking some nice Christmas-y pictures of him to put on the Christmas cards this year, but he had other plans… and I had a deadline for getting the pictures done while Shutterfly had a 50% off code. Since he was uncooperative, I only got one barely good picture of the three of us as a family (I had to do a little layering in Photoshop). He let me take pictures of him after I needed those pics done. The photo I am showcasing to you is my favorite of the after-Christmas-card shoot, and this was shot towards the end before he got antsy and done… if any toddler-moms know what I mean. I bet I would have kept his interest for a little while longer if I had unwrapped that candy cane…

Behind the scenes: Flannel snowflake sheet from Target taped to the wall, fake cotton snow and white icicle lights in the foreground, red and green basket from The Dollar Tree, candy canes, and the Little Man is wearing a white bodysuit dress shirt from Baby Gap, tan Sonoma khakis, red Sonoma clip-on tie, and brown Dockers shoes (not visible). Shot at : 1/30s F4.5 +1EV ISO1600

Raising my toddler across the seven seas and through the Arizona desert...

Raising my toddler across the seven seas and through the Arizona desert...

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Raising my toddler across the seven seas and through the Arizona desert...

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Raising my toddler across the seven seas and through the Arizona desert...

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Raising my toddler across the seven seas and through the Arizona desert...


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