‘Parenting’ Category

17 Oct 2013

Elliot – 2 Year Update

Wow….I can’t believe I am writing a TWO YEAR update for my sweet girl! What an amazing two years it has been. Being a mom has been such an unbelievable joy, I can even explain it. Yes, there are hard days, but the good days far outweigh the bad and watching my sweet girl (and boy!) grow is truly a delight and I am so thankful the Lord chose me to be their mom!

Elliot, at 2 you:

  • talk like a 3 year old. People are always amazed at how much you talk. We are able to hold a conversation with you, you ask questions in full sentences, and are so full of words…SO full! ;) 
  • LOVE to play with your baby. You push her in the stroller, you love to give her bottles, put her down for naps, and really do anything a mommy does. It’s so fun to watch you pretend and play with her!20130912_162740
  • you love your baby brother and are SO sweet with him. You ask to hold him a few times a day, give him kisses and call him “Deekey” – you are a GREAT big sister!!
  • are still an excellent sleeper. You go down around 7 pm and get up between 8-9 am…seriously, best toddler sleeper of all time!
  • LOVE your cousins! We just got back from a vacation with them and you are still talking about it and ask to go to the beach house at least once a day. Parker is your best bud!

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  • LOVE the zoo. We have an annual pass there and go about once a week. I always ask you what you want to do each day and you usually say the zoo! You are VERY specific about the order in which we see all of the animals and like to do it the same every time! :) (including putting your face in this sign)

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  • are obsessed with Barney….ob-sessed. At first I thought it was annoying, but now I love Barney too! :) You can sit and watch an entire episode which blows my mind. You love to sing the songs, copy the dances, and just generally love everything about the show. Today you told me “Barney is a boy dinosaur. I love him.”

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  • started at a new preschool this year and have loved it so far! You go 2 mornings a week and you love to paint, do playdough, play on the playground and go to music class at school!
  • love dogs! Whenever you see a dog you get very excited and ask to pet it.
  • can say your ABC’S and count to 6! (not really sure why you stop at 6! :))
  • can identify primary colors – every week you have a new favorite, this week it is blue!
  • love to sing! Your favorites are: Twinkle Twinkle, ABC’s, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Where is Thumpkin and Jesus Loves Me….and the Barney theme song of course!

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I know there are SO many more things I could say about you, but I guess I should stop at some point! Elliot, you are the sweetest girl. Everyone who meets you is just enamored by your sweet spirit! You are kind, loving, smart, funny and absolutely captivating! I am so, SO proud to be your mom and so thankful YOU made me a mom! :)

 

**sorry for the phone pics, I’ve been lazy getting my nice camera out these days!**

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18 Sep 2013

simplify: the diaper bag

I am on a mission to simplify and declutter our life and home. I feel constantly “busy” and surrounded with stuff and it all drives me INSANE!!! I thought it would be fun to start a little series on steps I am taking to simplify and share the things I find that are useful. The first one being….the diaper bag. I carry a BIG diaper bag because I don’t want to carry that in addition to a purse. However, I find that my diaper bag turns into a black hole of garbage and I can never find anything I actually NEED.

I have tried organizing it every few days, separating things into ziploc bags (that then need to be replaced every few weeks) and I just couldn’t find the right solution, which really made me wonder how I was going to carry stuff for TWO kids when I was looking like Santa Claus carrying stuff for ONE kid….but I think I finally nailed it. I SO wish I had a picture of my diaper bag before I implemented this system….it was OUT OF CONTROL!!!

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Going back to the Ziploc bag idea – that actually worked really well, separate bags for all of the things I needed, but again, not lasting. Enter the zippered pouch. I have three of them: 1 for Elliot, 1 for Deacon, and 1 for me (poor Deacon doesn’t have a name on his because I ordered them when he was still nameless…he’s lucky he actually got named ;)).

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the kids pouches are from thirty-one gifts.

Elliot’s pouch holds her necessities: 1 or 2 diapers (depending on length of the outing), a snack or two, and paper and crayons.

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Deacon’s pouch holds: a few diapers, a paci, a burp cloth, my nursing cover and a change of clothes (not pictured)

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My pouch contains: my credit cards, cash, ID, etc…basically my wallet contents, but this pouch is big enough to hold my phone, keys and lip gloss as well!

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there are a few items that we all need to use so those get neatly tucked into the diaper bag pockets. These items include: wipes, hand sanitizer spray, sunscreen, chapstick (well, that’s just for me), and healing balm (for diaper rashes, cuts, etc) and a small changing pad (not pictured)IMG_2470

The thing I LOVE about this method is the stuff you need for each kid is easy to grab. Need to change Deacon? Just grab his pouch and the wipes and you’re set, no need to dig through the bag for each item. Elliot needs a snack? Grab the pouch. It’s also awesome when I am just taking 1 kid with me as I can leave the other pouch at home, or when I drop them off at church, the gym, etc, I can just hand over the pouch for each child without having to pack separate bags each time.  Then when it’s time to go just tuck all of the pouches in and we are all set to hit the road!

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Another thing I have learned along the way is…kids don’t need a bunch of crap to entertain them. Paper and crayons is enough for Elliot. We did get stuck waiting for over an hour at the doctor the other day so I whipped out my phone and we flipped through the photos in the gallery….kept her occupied for 30 minutes! I used to stuff my bag with toys, books, etc, but unless we are traveling I have found that is really not necessary.

To further minimize the need for filling the diaper bag I have a changing station in the car – it’s a little bag that has about 10 diapers for each child , a BIG box of wipes and a change of clothes, so if we need to change on the go or I run out of diapers in their pouches there is always a backup!

Again, I have really loved this new system for our diaper bag, and hopefully it helps you! Do you have any tips for simplifying on-the-go?

 

 

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05 Sep 2013

deacon: 1 month update

Oh….big news…our baby boy was born on July 30! His name is Deacon and he is absolutely precious! We are totally in love and having a blast with our 2 babes!

Well, I’m a week late on this, but better late than never, right? I loved doing these updates for Elliot, so I thought I’d carry on the tradition with Deacon! This one won’t be very exciting, I mean…1 month olds are preeeeetty boring, amiright?

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photo by the studio sarimento

Deacon at 1 month you:

  • are a VERY easy baby. You don’t ever really cry unless you are cold or your tummy hurts, but once those are resolved you are chilled out.
  • sleep about 20 hours a day…no joke. It is very, very rare that you are awake more than 15-30 minutes at a time. 
  • Nurse every 3 hours during the day…like clockwork!
  • Are already a great night time sleeper! Sometimes it takes awhile to get you to sleep but once you are down you sleep anywhere from 6-8 hours, then about another 3.
  • You are on a great little schedule – we really started working on that this week. I wake you at 9 for the day, nap from 10-12, eat at 12, nap from 1-3, eat at 3, nap from 4-6, eat at 6, snooze or “play” from 7-9, bed at 9. Pretty predictable already!
  • no smiles yet, but I am hoping soon!
  • just started focusing on toys and high contrast objects – especially the black framed mirrors over the couch!

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photo by the studio sarimento
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photo by the studio sarimento

Well, that’s about it…he really doesn’t do much…haha! Elliot loves him, we love him, and life is good!

 

 

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26 Apr 2013

the mommy wars.

I didn’t really know this was a real thing until I had a baby. The Mommy Wars – oh man, it’s real and it is RAMPANT, and to me, it’s very sad. I started to feel it when I was pregnant the first time around – people would come up to me and tell me these HORROR stories about what life will be like after kids, telling me to “enjoy it now” and give me all of this unsolicited advice, most of which wasn’t really something I (a) wanted to hear or (b) agreed with. I never really understood why MY pregnancy allowed others to dump their advice and comments on me, just tell me congratulations and to enjoy the journey ahead! But over the past 19 months I have seen more and more that these “Mommy Wars” can TRULY consume you as a mother/parent if you let them. They will make you doubt your own choices, cause you to lose confidence as a mom, and will really bring out a critical and judgmental spirit, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in that kind of bondage just to be “right”….do you?

Not sure what I am talking about, here are some examples:

Breastfeeding v. Formula Feeding:
I personally breastfed my child for about 14 months because that is what worked for us. I was VERY blessed that it wasn’t a physical or mental challenge for me or Elliot, and my schedule allowed this to work. Honestly, we did try forumla for a few feeding because pumping was very unproductive for me, but she ended up being allergic to the formula we tried and then rejected all others – so that just didn’t work for us, we had to find another solution, so we did. Where is the war in this? Some mamas who breastfeed look at mom’s who use forumla and immediately apply the labels “selfish and lazy.” They utter things like “why can’t she just get over herself and do what is best for her baby” without ever really knowing the full scope of the situation. How are you to know if she struggles from severe PPD and needs to be on medication that is not safe for breastfeeding so she can simply function to care for her child? Or what if her baby couldn’t physically latch on to nurse? As a bystander, there is NO way for you to know what led that mom to make the choice she is making, so is there really room for judgement? As a new mom you are told “breast is best” – even the forumla companies say that, but you know what, breastfeeding does not work for all moms, AND (GASP!!!!!) there are some moms who might simply choose to go the formula route because that is what WORKS for their family….oh the HORROR of making a choice for your family! Does that make them selfish? I don’t think so. That’s a pretty harsh statement to someone who is working really hard to feed and care for their baby, just maybe in a way that you wouldn’t for your child. I’ve even heard women say “well, she shouldn’t have even had children if she can’t make sacrifices for them and is so selfish she can’t even breastfeed.” OMG….for real? Makes me scared to know what people are saying about choices I made for my babies if someone shouldn’t have kids because they chose a different feeding method.

What is the point of this? How does the choice that am making for MY child affect you? Why should it bother someone so much if they see a baby being fed a bottle? I actually had a friend tell me the other day she was ashamed to pull a bottle out for her baby because she felt like people were judging her. Seriously? That is ridiculous that we as moms do that to one another. Why blast women on Facebook or try to give them a bunch of unsolicited advice for their choices for their children? This isn’t a war, why make it one? Make the choice for your family, be confident in that and don’t judge others for that choice.

Co-sleeping v. Crib Sleeping
Ahhh….another hot topic! If you aren’t familiar, co-sleeping is a method of keeping your baby in your room/attached to your bed/in your bed (there are several methods), and crib sleeping is pretty obvious…haha! It’s so funny to be that these are issues of the mommy wars. Co-sleepers will tell you that your baby is safer and less likely to die of SIDS, crib sleepers will tell you that their way is safer because there is no risk of rolling over the baby, suffocating them, etc.

In our house we have been crib sleepers since day 1 and plan to do so with the second baby. We made this decision for several reasons (1) Chris is a light sleeper and is woken up very easily by noises; (2) I am an INCREDIBLY heavy sleeper and worried about having a baby in my bed; (3) we really wanted to keep our room “ours” and have our kids have their rooms – for me personally it wasn’t a big inconvenience to walk to Elliot’s room in the middle of the night to feed her (our house is very small) – this is what worked for our family so that is the choice we made. I can’t really say much about co-sleeping because it’s not something I have any experience with, but  I know there are lots of mamas that do co-sleep and it is what works for them, so…..great!

This is another one of those issues that I don’t understand turning into a debate. How does my sleeping arrangement have any affect on you or your children? Does it make me a bad mom because I choose to put my kid in her crib? I don’t think so. Does it make her “unattached” to me? Not that I have seen. So, why try to argue with me over something that is working for my family? Does where my child sleeps affect you or your child/family? I don’t think so, so let’s move on!

 

I could go on and on with examples, but there’s no point. Breasfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping or not, cry-it-out, sleep training, Montessori, baby led weaning or spoon feeding, staying home with your kids or being a full-time working mom…. I could truly keep this list going, but are any of these choices others are making for their kids going to directly affect you? I don’t think so. (I’d love examples if you do think they will!) So….let it go!

So what IS the point of this post? Moms, let’s end these wars. It’s not worth our time or energy to judge other mom’s who are making the choices they are making for THEIR family. Don’t you find it exhausting to live to please others? I know I do. I have worked really hard the past few years to make my decisions for our family and not care about what others think and wow…it is so, so freeing! And can you imagine being on the other side of your criticism? What if someone came up to you blasting you about being selfish, or self-centered, or whatever – how would that make you feel? I don’t know about you, but as a mom I want to raise my children to love others, show Christ’s love to others and not live in judgement, and they will only learn that by example. It’s in our nature to be self-centered, so let’s work against that and support other moms (well, really all people!) instead of beating them down with our words (or thoughts!) – to their faces AND behind their backs. Be confident in YOUR choices for your family and MOVE on…let other mama’s do their thing for theirs!

And before you speak – to someone or about someone, try thinking to yourself: is it kind? is it necessary? is it true?

Let’s end these Mommy Wars….I am SICK of em!!!

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22 Apr 2013

NEVER would I EVER!

The past 19 months of my life have been SO humbling for me, it’s kind of humorous. I used to say I would NEVER have kids, I didn’t want to ruin my life with kids and I wanted my freedom. Well, obviously that has changed…life officially ruined. Kidding, kidding!!!! :) I really can’t even express in words how much being a mom has enriched my life and I never thought I would be so content and truly thriving in this role.

I thought this post would be funny because there are several things I said I would NEVER do, and am quickly learning I should probably stop saying that about anything! So, here is my list of things I said “NEVER would I EVER” to:

1. I would NEVER be a stay-at-home-mom. Annnnnnd, foot in mouth! Refer to my previous posts as that is now my reality. I was so scared being a SAHM would be boring, but I have to say I truly tell Chris everyday “how did I ever have time to work on top of all of this?!”

2. I would NEVER have my kids toys take over the main part of my house.

Exhibit A:

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Exhibit B: the “parking lot” for walkers and ride-on toys

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Exhibit C: her chair. This usually lives in the corner at night and when we have people over, but during the day it sits right in the middle of the living room!

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We live in the city and have a very small house – which means we don’t have a playroom. I am not really sure where I thought her toys were going to go, but some of them have definitely “taken over” our main area, and honestly, I am ok with that! She has toys in her room, but she also needs things to do in the main area when I am cooking, cleaning, doing email, etc – I like to be able to keep my eye on her which ::GASP:: means I have to have TOYS in my living room!!! We do try really, really hard not to keep a lot of toys in the house as we just don’t have the space, so what you see here is pretty much it, other than some books and a few other toys in her room!

3. I would NEVER have those stupid magnet letters take over my kitchen appliances!

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TA -DA!! See image: stupid magnetic letters. I did draw the line at putting them on my fridge as that was the first thing you saw when you walked in my front door (told ya my house was small!!), so the dishwasher is a great compromise! She loved these letters and they are a distraction when she is hanging on our legs as we try to make dinner.

Those are just a *few* examples I thought of as I was looking around my house this morning, and I have to say, I am so glad I was wrong on every single one of those statements! I love that our home feels like a HOME (although, I gotta be careful it doesn’t get cluttered) and that kids can feel comfortable to come in and play without fear of breaking something….and so their parents can feel comfortable. Our life is so, so full of blessings, and I am SO glad I was wrong! :)

So, what did you say “NEVER would I EVER” to that has become a reality in your life?

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