Ad

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday hangover

After any big event there is always that hangover period.

Right now we are in the midst of holiday hangover - toys are everywhere, random toy packaging and wrapping paper scraps are hiding behind every corner and cookies still seem to count as an acceptable breakfast food. 

We had a truly wonderful Christmas celebrating with our family - and as a family of four (which still blows my mind). Gianna is at such a fun age - she loves everything and enjoyed opening wash rags and socks just as much as toys. With the exception of her Saige doll - that was (thank goodness!) the most favorite thing. 


She was also a very gracious gift giver - she was so so excited to watch everyone open the gifts she carefully picked for them. I wish I had gotten a picture of her face while the gift she gave was being opened - it was so joyful and innocent. And she was careful not to spill the secret until it was being unwrapped - I got you a .... She would squeal as the recipient opened up the gift!

Aleesia enjoyed eating the boxes and packaging the most, as expected! She had a long day but was super fun!

 

I am working at home (was supposed to be vacation days, but oh well) and enjoying the holiday hangover - pjs, cute girls, catching up on long neglected laundry, testing out the new toys, etc. 




Tell me about your celebration! And enjoy the holiday hangover as much as you can - 2014 is going to be here in a quick hurry!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Just drowning in busyness and cuteness over here. Substantial thoughts are forthcoming, but for now I leave with you with some cuteness!




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Social media isn’t real life

With the end of the year and holiday season approaching at warp speed it also seems like the feelings overwhelmed and underprepared start to get a little out of control. I am sure I am not the only one who feels that way.  No matter how hard I try to be prepared and organized and ahead of the game, I am just not. 

Normally, I would be all OHMYGAWDOVERWHELMED and wine:thirty all the time.

But my Type-A-ness has mellowed out over the past few months.  I don’t know how it happened or why, but it did. And I AM SO GLAD! I still live in a to-do-list and spreadsheet world so that I can attempt to remember all the things (and I still don’t actually remember them all). But I don’t get as bent out of shape if all the things aren’t done by the end of the day.  There are some things that can get under my skin (dishes in the sink at night) but overall, I feel much calmer and less stressed. 

I have noticed and overheard conversations lately about women being so stressed about everything from the right teacher gift to organization of toys to how do you keep your house clean all the time and find time for extensive (expensive) activities with your family.  Look ladies, we can only do so much in one day and we should all remember that whatever you see on social media isn’t real life.

Not too many people are posting pictures of their huge piles of unfolded laundry, cluttered kitchen countertops, dirty bathroom sinks and played-in playrooms on facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.  Blue box mac & cheese and ramen noodles are two of my favorite things to eat. Gianna usually ends up eating yogurt or applesauce for dinner every night.  I pay attention to what kind of food I buy but not THAT close of attention – I am not paying $10 for organic oranges, I am just not doing it!  I wouldn’t know how to cook or what to do with quinoa and I really have no idea how to pronounce it. Bedtime has been chaotic lately – sometimes we get it just right but mostly it’s madness.

People don’t usually post statuses or whatever about the 15 minutes they spent negotiating with their four year old to come out from under the table and eat her dinner. Or about their gourmet mac & cheese out of the box that they made for dinner. I could post all kinds of crazy stuff that goes on every single day that isn’t social-media worthy and I am sure you could too.

It used to make feel very, inadequate I guess, when I would browse my favorite social media sites – we have a very small house, I work and have a long commute, there isn’t time for an advent activity calendar as much as I wish there was, I think it is totally awesome that you might have done a “12 days of christmas” teacher gift extravaganza but I am going with a target gift card, because TARGET! (and I don’t have time, energy, or quite honestly the funds to pull such an admittedly cool gift together!) there is no way I could spend two hours at the gym every day even if I want too and you guys – I am constantly drowning in laundry and dishes and toys.

But I don’t feel inadequate anymore at all – because this is my life.  I give myself grace and really, I count it all joy. All of the imperfections are still perfect to me. Whatever I didn’t get done today, will be there tomorrow and whatever went wrong today I get a chance to do over when I wake up. My kids still think I am cool even when I am grumpy or exhausted.  I still think my husband is awesome even when he doesn’t wipe off the kitchen counter.  I stay up too late every night and wake up late for work every morning – it is what it is (I really should work on this one though…)  I am just learning to love life for what it is, not for what I wish it was or wish I had (but I really do wish someone would deep clean the whole house and organize the basement for me).

Social media isn’t always (usually!) real life – because real life isn’t always (usually!) that exciting, but it is always pretty real – good, bad and otherwise.  Try hard not to judge yourself against your facebook friends or twitter feed  and just do things the way you want (need) and it will all be wonderful.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Swaddlers First winner!

Capture

Randi – you are comment 5!

I just need your email address so you can claim your prize!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Preschooler Problems {#186: boots with the fur}

Gianna is my little fashionista, or something like that.  She wears what she wants and refers to it as her “Gianna style” which I actually have grown to embrace.  Probably because embracing it avoids many tears and morning frustrations.

Anyway, we were in the car the other day talking about her boots and our conversation went like this:

Gianna: Mommy, I don’t think I like these boonts anymore.

Me: Oh, why not? Are they too small?

Gianna: No, they don’t have the fur all the way around and to the bottom.

Me: Yes they do…

Gianna: NO! They have a button on the side, see it? SEE IT? (she yells at me when I can’t turnaround to look at her rightthisminute because I am you know, DRIVING!)

Me: Okay, what’s wrong with a button?

Gianna: I want the kind with the fur all the way around and to the bottom. You know what I am talking about don’t you mommy? (not a cluee…) You know, like my friend C at school has – kind of like these ones wif no button.

Me: (I finally think I know what she is talking about) Like your brown ones that are too small?

Gianna: Kinda, except I want boonts like C has – wif the tag on the back that says UGGS.

Me: You are not telling me that your friend has Uggs…..

Gianna: Ya mommy, they have a tag on them and they have fur all the way around and to the bottom.

Me: proceeds to tell her why she can not have UGGS at 4 years old and about how it doesn’t matter if your boots have a tag on them or not blah blah blah

------

I can’t believe I just had a conversation about UGGS and that my PRESCHOOLER just name-branded me. I mean, I expected this nonsense eventually but not in preschool! Clearly the 4 year old fashion world is evolving very quickly and we are NOT keeping up.  And I don’t really care – your target brand boots with the fur are juuuuust fine, my darling!

Monday, December 2, 2013

More firsts

It seems appropriate that so many first have been going on here lately, given the entire post I wrote about first year firsts just the other day. (there is a giveaway there, go enter!)

I am not sure I could have used the word first any more in that sentence.

Moving on!

I think I forgot to mention that our first born got her ears pierced, after much begging, with her bestie the other day! I am glad I waited until this was her idea (she has been BEGGING for weeks!)because she reminds me that her ears need cleaned every day, which I know I would forget if I had to remember on my own.  And she has “kitty hello” earrings, such a cool chick!

1468645_10151716803867413_1282505841_n1480755_10151716804157413_906871650_n

I ran my first turkey trot (in super freezing cold weather!) on thanksgiving. It really wasn’t that bad at all, and I am pretty sure the cold motivated me to run faster than normal - I’m not fast at all, so I’ll take any extra seconds off my time I can get!

Aleesia enjoyed her first thanksgiving.

11.28  (11)11.28  (16)<—this is what happens when I try to take their picture!

Gianna wrote out table cards for everyone and decided where each person should sit, she is becoming such a young lady these days!

11.28  (40)11.28  (45)

Our weekend continued with me taking Gianna to the movies for the first time. We saw Frozen which is ADORABLE!

Aleesia had been stuffy (again again again, she’s always stuffy!) and generally crabby so we took her to the doctor, first ear infection.

Followed up on Sunday with her first stomach virus. (honestly. I had no idea a 10 month old could vomit so much at one time.)

It was a super fun end to the holiday weekend up in here! (but overall, we did have a fun weekend)

I also got a little surprise in my inbox today:

1474456_712015778810782_168642048_n

Looks like I’ll be adding “first half marathon” to my list of 2014 firsts.  No backing out or slacking on training now!  I honestly did not think I would be selected (no one else I know who registered was selected) so I am a little shocked, nervous, mostly excited though.  It’s something I’ve wanted to accomplish for a long time and no time like the present, right?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Speedy Firsts {#SwaddlersFirsts campaign}

They always say that any subsequent children after the first one sort of get the short end of the stick when it comes to capturing their “firsts”.

Of course, when I was pregnant with Aleesia I was SURE that wasn’t going to be the case.

And I was of course wrong.

I only remember to update her “first year” calendar once every 6 weeks or so and by then I’m basically making up when things actually happened. First tooth on October 6th, ish. Said “hi” for the first time somewhere in the month of November.  Very precise record keeping.

One thing that I did remember from first baby to second is my love of Pampers diapers (which, you clearly understand by now if you have visited the blog before) but especially Swaddlers.  They are so soft and we never see any skin issues, it’s great.  And Swaddlers come in sizes 4 and 5 now – which is fabulous!

Pampers Swaddlers Packaging

Pampers has come up with some seriously great opportunities to engage mom’s, new and old, including through their “firsts” campaign. 

Being a working mom, I usually miss the ACTUAL first, so I tend to count the first time I see something as “the first”.  (does anyone else do that?) But, Aleesia has been quite accommodating to my schedule and I have been lucky enough to be home for a few pretty big firsts.  The first time she crawled, the first time she pulled up to stand and the first time she took a step.

11.23  (16)

Wait, what was that? STEPS you say? Check her out:

It’s still hard for me to believe this is happening, and I promise to remember to write this in her calendar soon.  I’m sure it won’t be too much longer before she is walking around the house unassisted with that awesome monster like toddle that I find so adorable.  I remember the day Gianna took her first steps like it was yesterday, these things just come and go so fast it’s unbelievable!

Swaddlers can be there for all the firsts in your baby’s life and to celebrate Swaddlers sizes 4 & 5, Pampers has 30 days of incredible giveaways and a grand price of FREE Swaddlers diapers & wipes for a year. (FREE! A YEAR! yay!) Join the celebration and enter the Pampers’ 30 days of sweeps on the Pampers Facebook page where you can win daily prize bundles, plus the grand prize of free Swaddlers diapers & wipes for one year.

Plusandalso there is a great Pampers #SwaddlersFirsts Twitter Party on December 5th at 9PM EST.  If you joined the last one, you know how great they are. Here are the details:

You should RSVP here: http://twtvite.com/SwaddlersFirsts

Because you don’t want to miss out on any of these amazing prizes, including:

3 celebrating Firsts Gift Packs, ARV ($250), which include:

  • Baby’s First Friend Doudou Bear Plush Doll
  • Baby’s First Tooth and First Curl Treasure Box
  • Baby’s First Words Book
  • Baby’s First Steps Plush Toy
  • $50 Shutterfly Gift Card to celebrate all “firsts” moments
  • Baby’s First Bath Robe
  • Pampers Swaddlers

Grand Prize: Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR camera worth $450! <woot! how awesome?!>

To participate, follow your hosts @DoubleDutyDivas, @BridgetteLA, @CeceliaMecca @AngieKcom @WhatMommiesNeed @RamblingChick, and our sponsor @Pampers.

And because it’s December and everyone is busy to the max, I don’t want you to feel left out of the Twitter party prize greatness if you are busy capturing some holiday firsts. I am hosting a giveaway for everyone!

You can win an awesome Celebrating Firsts gift pack too - the gift pack will include:

· Baby’s First Friend Doudou Bear Plush Doll

· Baby’s First Tooth and First Curl Treasure Box

· Baby’s First Words Book

· Baby’s First Steps Plush Toy

· Pampers Swaddlers

Entry is super easy (and there are 2 bonus entry options!) leave a comment letting me know

  1. Tell me your favorite “first” memory – if could be something you remember from your kids or even a “first” in your life!
  2. Bonus entry #1: Share this post by tweeting it out on twitter  or sharing the link on facebook
  3. Bonus entry #2: Tell me your favorite part about the Twitter party on December 9th

Giveaway is open until Friday December 6th at 11:59 PM EST. Make sure your comment includes a way to reach you when you win!

I can’t wait to hear about your favorite “firsts” memories! I think the first steps are pretty close to the top of my list – nothing like watching that sense of independence on their little faces!

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanks+Giving

This year has been simultaneously hard and not-so-hard, complicated and simple, long and the shortest one yet. 

That’s what happens though, huh? It all just goes by in a blur, when you reflect back even when there were days/weeks/months that may have felt like they could not have gone slower.

I will tell you that there were many times this past year when I wasn’t sure where things were going next, how anything good could possibly happen amongst all of the hard things we were dealing with.  But there were more times when I just gave it over to faith and felt assured that yes, things were going to be okay.  We have received so very many blessings this year, small ones that meant the world to us at the time they occurred, big ones that came at the perfect time and of course the biggest blue-eyed-smiley little blessing that we couldn’t imagine life without.

964296_689605631057200_51653880_o

I hope that overall, your 2013 has been amazing, even if there were a lot of hard days throughout.

For each of you who stops over to visit my little corner of the internet Thank you!

And for every blogger friend who I have been awful at keeping up with lately, remind me to come visit!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Longer out than in

Holy COW!

I blinked and this little bitty baby

2.2  (19)

is now this little bitty grown up baby

DSC_0566

She is NINE MONTHS and TWENTY DAYS OLD. It blows my mind.

Aleesia took her sweet time coming into her own, but she has decided that food is yummy, all the toys must be played with and smiling is her favorite.

Just in the past month or so she started to say dada, hi (with waves!), and just this week mama (finally! yay!), and bye.  She’s not always consistent, but she says them each with a purpose.

She started crawling weeks ago but is quickly picking up speed (there are barbie shoes to hung for, afterall).  A few weeks ago she pulled upon the couch, using her mouth for leverage, and hasn’t looked back since – she stands up on anything that could potentially be sturdy.

And last night? she actually played peek a boo with me and stood with no hands. And laughed hysterically!

And this morning? She cruised the length of the couch.

SLOW IT DOWN, my little friend.  No need to beat big sister in the insanely early walking category, I promise!

Speaking of her mouth, she has an unsymmetrical three bottom teeth to her four top ones. Teething is NOT her favorite. Or anyone else’s for that matter. But she’s cruising through those teeth so hopefully it will be over soonish (G had all her teeth by her 1st birthday!).

She naps fabulously for her Aunt Krissy in the afternoons and is doing better going to (& staying) sleep at night. Food really is her favorite – she loves the actual activity of eating and so far has liked everything we have given her except for green beans and broccoli.

DSC_0423

Cheerios are her favorite snack. She’s still pretty small for her age (just over 15 pounds, 6 month clothes, lots of awesome hair), but I personally really like her portability!

And her thighs are getting some chunk on them – it’s pretty fabulous!

DSC_0544

She generally tolerates Gianna’s regular attempts to carry (drag?) her around the house and loves nothing more than to be wherever her big sister is.

Nine months you were inside, which seemed like a relatively long time.  Nine months you have been outside which seems like an insanely quick blur.  But one thing is for sure, you are one special amazing girl whose smile makes me one happy mama!

10.20  (19)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

#Pamperssleepchat Winner

We have a winner!11.9

winner

I don’t know how she did it – but my sister even got random.org on her side so she would win!

Thank you all for entering, and for stopping by the blog once in a while.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

10.19  (15)

big punkin

10.19  (26)

little punkin

10.19  (34)

silly punkin

10.19  (38)

my punkins!

 

((shameless plug – visit my #pamperssleepchat post and enter to win diapers and pjs for your punkin!)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Possibilities not problems

Life has a way of just sneaking up on us, you know? 

One minute things are heading in the right direction and then BAM you need new brakes on your car AND get an unexpected medical bill that puts you two steps behind where you were.

Or your whole house ends up on a constant cycle of sickness throwing your normal “routine” totally off in the midst of job changes and schedule readjustments.  Or maybe, things just stink – it’s one seemingly minor issue/problem/frustration after another with no “good problems” sprinkled in there anywhere.

It’s just all part of the ride, we all know that.  Adulthood can really stink (except that you can eat Oreos for dinner if you want too, there is nothing bad about that) and it can just be plain hard to deal with. This week I was reminded (at church) that everything that comes at us, even when we are SURE there is no good at.all that can come out of it, is a possibility.  Not a problem.

I have had my share of unplanned, unwanted possibilities in life – particularly in recent years – and especially in the past 7 months.  When I had Aleesia and was on maternity leave, the careful financial planning we had done to prepare for my leave was totally thrown out the window by something that we did not see coming – the effects of which are just now being alleviated.  Financial stress is one of the worst kind to have (health issues, notwithstanding) because obviously it affects every other facet of life.

It was a situation that was a little scary and a LOT frustrating, but I had a sense of peace about it all. I prayed about it, for that peace that I felt, and that everything would just work out.  I didn’t know HOW it was going to work out or what was going to happen – but it did.  A client unexpectedly paid in full three months early at just the time a payment was scheduled to go out.  A credit was issued at just the right time. All of these things that we had no control over just kept happening paired with a lot of hard work and things were okay.  I knew we were doing everything that we could and the rest would come and all would be well.  And it was.  The possibilities kept presenting themselves just when we needed to see them. 

Mike started a new, just okay, job in September.  And then he was almost immediately offered a different, much much better, opportunity. He was open to anything and the possibilities with his new position are unknown, in a good way.  We need some of these possibilities in our lives to be good ones – and this one is for sure.

The possibilities are everywhere in life – good, bad, scary, exciting, life changing or not – we are presented with so many things each day.  I have always been a glass-half-full type of person, it takes a LOT to get me down and I don’t ever stay there long but I still can be negative and mad and upset about situations in my life.  But when I started approaching each decision with a  “what if” attitude and looking at each challenge or problem as a possibility my whole world started to change.

What if that new position teaches me something I didn’t even know I wanted to learn?  What if eating that three musketeers bar motivates me to run 4 miles to burn it off? What if our financial situation teaches us to live more simply today to provide us with so much more than we could imagine in the future? What if talking quietly when Gianna is having a meltdown helps her calm down quicker?

I just  feel such a peace, that there is no problem that can’t be resolved, no situation that can’t be brought under control and things have just been GOOD! I feel good, I don’t stay upset about things for long, I have more patience most of the time. Of COURSE I still feel stressed and angry at times, life is such an evolving adventure right now it would be pretty hard to stay in my little peaceful bubble all the time no matter how hard I try.  (I do try to take at least one thing/situation a day and make SURE I see the positive/possibility it holds – even (and especially) on days that just plain suck)

Somehow, I have found a way to give up a little control (to Him, truly) and it has made  world of difference – I know He will lead me through whatever is at hand, even if I have no clue how we are going to make it to the other side.  And for that, I am so thankful – I am more present in my life and fully feel the blessings (big and teeny tiny) that come my way. 

I don’t mean to get all peace and love for everyone here but I just felt like it was something I needed to get off my chest. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sweet Sleep (please sleep?) #PampersSleepChat

We all know I am a sucker for a sleeping baby.  I take a ridiculous amount of pictures of the girls in their sleep.  See?

8.17  (1)8.17  (3)

Except here’s the thing – that tiny one there, she is not a huge fan of night sleep all of a sudden.   We have a good bedtime. And a quiet routine. And always comfy PJs.

However, we discovered a bit of a wet diaper/leakage issue.  We are pretty loyal to Pampers Swaddlers but for some reason had been using a different brand overnight.  They was weren’t fitting her well enough and we were getting pee leakage out the leg hole! and they were no where near absorbent enough.  So we did some research and decided to pull out the big guns. Enter:

BabyDry_Size_4

Pampers Baby Dry! Up to 12 hours of overnight protection! And? They make them in a small enough size for Aleesia! We put one on her before bedtime and don’t have to worry about her waking up wet. Since we switched? NO LEAKS at all (which means she is waking up at night for some OTHER reason!). 

I thought this infographic pretty much summed it up the 3 a.m. wake up scenario prettttty appropriately!

infographic_PAMPERS_RE2

Recently, she started only wanting to sleep on or with me. Which, is precious and awesome for a little while, but I really like to sleep myself and co-sleeping is not my thing.  She is slightly difficult to get to stay sleep and then she wants to hang out with me at 4am.  Needless to say, I am tired and she is not as well rested as we all like.  (Her pediatrician did assure me today that 9 month olds go through a change in sleep pattern/separation anxiety, so I am hoping things will get better soon.)

But now we have the other HUGE sleep-game-changer this weekend (Sunday November 3rd at 2:00 a.m. to be exact) – the end of daylight savings time.  Fall Back. AKA the time when all small children get up an hour earlier than normal.  Over half of moms (52%) feel that their baby's sleep patterns are thrown off when the clocks 'fall back' and Daylight Savings Time ends – I am most certainly in that 52%.  Gianna is old enough that it won’t really phase her, but I have been trying to prepare my sweet little non-sleeper Aleesia for the whole “fall back” situation.

Kim West, “The Sleep Lady”, has some really wonderful tips for helping with the end of daylight savings time adjustment.  These a few of my favorite tips, aside from ensuring they have a dry diaper on right before bed, are:

1. Watch your baby’s wakefulness windows. Children have a limited window of wakefulness (the time that they can be awake and alert without meltdowns) between naps and bedtimes. Make sure that you watch your baby for sleepy cues carefully. Make sure that you’re changing your baby’s diaper right before your child goes into the crib for naps or bedtime. Keeping your child dry will help to prevent unnecessary night awakenings, and help to ensure a happy, well-rested baby the next day.

2. Stick to your flexible schedule. If you always have breakfast at 8:00 a.m., then keep your schedule, but make sure that you are following it according to the time change. You can start slowly adjusting your daily schedule forward in 10-15 minute increments 4-5 days before the time change. So if you normally have lunch at 11:30, on Wednesday, have lunch at 11:40, on Thursday, move lunch to 11:50 and so on. The same goes for naps and bedtimes. The idea is that when the time change takes effect your child’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock will already be in sync with the change.

3. The end of daylight savings is a good time to make sure that your child’s bedtime is age-appropriate. Infants and babies do best with a bedtime between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. Later bedtimes have shown to have a negative effect on children’s attitudes and their ability to focus, and can result in instances of early rising. If you find that your baby has been going to bed too early or too late, take advantage of the time change to gradually shift bedtime (back or forward in 15-30 minute increments over the next week).

I feel like I could pick The Sleep Lady’s brain for hours on how to ease into the end of daylight savings and about a 100 other sleep topics (how to help with self soothing at night. easing them through changes in sleep cycles.)  I could also go on and on about how great Pampers products are and how wonderful their customer service is check them out on Twitter (linked below) and Facebook too!  I mean, they sent me a gift when I was pregnant with Aleesia – it was the sweetest, most appropriate onesie ever:

2.2  (63)

The good news? We can all join Kim West, The Sleep Lady, and Pampers for the  #PampersSleepChat Twitter Party on November 7th at 9pm EST.  Chat about how the end of Daylight Savings Time can affect sleep patterns & get tips on easing the transition from The Sleep Lady, Kim West.

Twitter Party prizes include:

  • $50 AMEX Gift Card, $25 Children’s Place Gift Card, Pampers product and book by Kim West.
  • $100 AMEX Gift Card, Pampers Product, series of books by Kim West
  • Grand Prize: $500 AMEX Card to purchase sleep items such as a new crib, video monitor, etc.
  • To participate, follow your hosts @DoubleDutyDivas, @BridgetteLA, @CeceliaMecca @AngieKcom @WhatMommiesNeed @RamblingChick, sleep expert @TheSleepLady and our sponsor @Pampers.

RSVP: http://twtvite.com/pamperssleepchat

I hope you tune in to the Twitter party – the Double Duty Divas put on a great show! But if you can’t make it or you aren’t loving Twitter – I have a little something special for you too!

Leave a comment with your favorite sleep tip or trick (or your favorite way to appear well-rested even if you aren’t!) And maybe YOU could win a pack of Pampers Baby Dry Diapers, and a pair of Children’s Place PJ’s! [which, I love Children’s Place PJ’s, so soft and such cute patterns!]

I can’t wait to hear all your tips!

The giveaway will be open until November 8th at 11:59pm – enter! But don’t forget to leave an email address in your comment (if I can’t reach you through your Google account) so I can tell you that you won!

Don’t forget to join me on Facebook and Twitter too!

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sometimes, You Just Need to Let Them Play in the Cupboards

DSC_0041

I might not quite understand the fascination with the cupboard that holds all of our containers but it is one of the best ways to occupy these cuties while cooking or cleaning. 

Gianna was really really excited to show her little sister all the fun to be had with these magical plastic containers.

DSC_0042

Aleesia: so, you want me to put this bowl on my head?

DSC_0043

Gianna: YES! It’s fun!

Aleesia: still not buying what you are selling, big sister.

DSC_0045

Aleesia: Okay, Okay, you convinced me, I’ll do it….

DSC_0048

Gianna: Success!

Aleesia: I guess this IS pretty fun…..

Sunday, October 13, 2013

20 questions–4.5 yr old variety

I didn’t get a chance to do these with Gianna on her birthday, so we did them for her 1/2 birthday.  Some things never change, like how goofy she is, or that she needs her lovie to go to sleep…..

1. What’s your favorite color? PINK!

2. What’s your favorite toy? strawberry shortcake – the toy one

3. What’s your favorite food? chicken nuggets, french fries, fish sticks, tater tots, fruits and veggies

4. What’s your favorite TV show? lemme think of it….strawberry shortcake

5. What’s your favorite thing to do with Daddy? wrestle

6. What’s your favorite outfit? My school stuff you bought me from carters… like my heart dresses

7. What’s your favorite game? games on the ipad? – um ….puzzles

8. What’s your favorite snack? goldfish

9. What’s your favorite animal? ponies

10. What’s your favorite book? peter pan

11. Who’s your best friend? Olivia

12. What’s your favorite thing to do outside? play wif logan

13. What’s your favorite drink? “I love apple juice”

14. What’s your favorite holiday? summer

15. What’s your favorite thing to sleep with? my lovie

16. What do you want to be when you grow up? big ballet girl & a big horse rider

17. What’s your favorite movie? Sophia [the first]

18. What’s your favorite thing to do with mommy?  snuggle {melt}

19. Where is your favorite place to go? Olivia’s house

20. What’s your favorite song? justin bieber [fan girl in the making…]

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm not ready for this

Photobucket

She's been stingy with her crawling skills - but I think she is officially over her nerves. 

video
 
also, I have no idea if this video is going to work..I'm not good at videos..

Monday, October 7, 2013

We've Got Spirit

PhotobucketIt's not a real secret that Gianna was a pretty high need baby and toddler.  Or that she took the definition of threenager to another level last year.  Lately, I have been having a hard time finding the right description of her personality.

She is:
  • hilarious
  • sweet
  • caring
  • temperamental
  • detail oriented
  • demanding
  • polite
  • loving
  • rough
  • hard headed
  • bossy
  • schedule-driven
  • independent
  • persistent
She is the complete opposite of "easy-going" or "laid-back".  She is in fact, very particular, very detail oriented.  She takes her time on things that matter to her.

There is not any one task that I would say is "easy" or "simple". Of course, there are TIMES when things go smoother, or she is more cooperative/understanding/willing, but that's not the case the majority of the time.

We spend a lot of time on transitions throughout the day: "Gianna, you have X minutes until it's time to get ready for school"...."Gianna your lunch will be ready in X minutes"... "When the next commercial comes on your show, it's time for a bath"... you get the idea.  We can't just say "time for a bath" and expect that bath to go down without a fight.  It's always been this way, so it's sort of second nature to us now to give that warning to her. 

All of these things I have typically just chalked up to her age.  We try to manage our expectations of her.  But so often we are met with a wall of resistance, a lot of "NO!", etc.  We are also often met with a lot of "Hey, Mommy/Daddy... I love you" which will make you forget about that last battle of the wills in 0.5 seconds flat.

Her attitude and general demeanour got really defiant and somewhat aggressive right before Aleesia was born and about a month after she was here - which made perfect sense.  Gianna's world just literally got turned upside down - A) we couldn't tell her when Sister was coming.  She would ask multiple times a day and she never understood why we didn't know. She still talks about how she wasn't allowed to come to the hospital to meet sissy no less than once a week. (this clearly had a really big impact on her) and B) Once she realized that Aleesia wasn't leaving and that all the time she used to have exclusively with me and Mike now had to be allocated and shared with a screaming baby - that was SO NOT COOL. 

The past few weeks (it feels like weeks, anyway) have been particularly hard. There are epic meltdowns over EV.ER.Y.THING  - what shoes to wear, what toothpaste to use, where that one hair on her head landed, which couch cushion she wants to sit on, if she got two tissues instead of one and clothes are an entirely different VERY LARGE battle (we let her pick out her own clothes and there are STILL tantrums that would make seasoned grandmothers run out of the house).  This is not an exaggeration in any way - she will scream, cry, kick, yell, screech, whimper, etc. for 20, 30, 40 or more minutes.  And literally, she can't be calmed down.  She will even say "I can't calm down" between sobs.  As maddening as it is - it is that much more heartbreaking.  She works herself up to this level that she can't easily come down from or tell us what even started the meltdown in the first place.

Mike and I are feeling very much like we should not or cannot parent her lately.  It's pretty tough, actually.  When I have to leave for work and she is screaming and carrying on so loudly that all of our neighbors probably think someone is plucking her finger nails off one by one because the shirt she picked out is "too big on my shoulders".  It makes for a lot of tears from me too. 

I am generally a very calm person - I don't get mad or yell often. I can handle a lot of nonsense before I just can't anymore.  However the level of  patience and understanding that I have for these epically giant meltdowns that occur, on average one to four times A DAY is quickly diminishing.   We have tried several methods of "charting" her behavior most of which she loses interest in before I am done telling her what the deal is.  Right now she has 4 behaviors each day that we mark with a face (smile, sad, angry, etc.) - if she has more happy faces that anything else she gets a prize (this week is pumpkin window clings!).  She seems to like and respond to this one pretty well so far, but it's not been a full week yet....

We have a few moments/days of perfection, of course.  In fact, today she is having one of the best days she has had in a really long time and she is getting a LOT of praise (and so far, 2 smiley faces) for that.  And generally, if she is having one:one time with anyone, she is amazingly awesome and well behaved.  I don't know anyone else who has a child with such...spirit....so it makes it hard to relate and I am sure pretty much anyone who has not seen one of her meltdowns in person would think I over exaggerate.  I have been scouring the Internet for information - ideas on how to parent her better and more effectively, etc. 

To which I have learned that she fits the bill of a "spirited child" almost 100%:

INTENSITY (loud and dramatic-focused outward, quiet and intently observant - focused inward),

PERSISTENCE ("lock in" to important ideas, love to debate, goal oriented),

SENSITIVITY (easily overstimulated by their environment, low sensory thresholds to any of the five senses),

PERCEPTIVENESS (easily distracted, notice everything going on all the time),

ADAPTIBILITY (don't transition/shift from one activity to another easily),

"bonus" characteristics
REGULARITY (natural schedules for eating or sleeping),

ENERGY (physically active, busy exploring all the time),

FIRST REACTION (quick with drawl when first encountering anything new), and

MOOD (as in moody)



You can probably pick out how each of these fit her personality just from this post - but especially if you know her in real life or have read this blog for any period of time.  I might, for my own sake, take some time to explore each of these further in a separate post, but not today.

When she was a baby someone recommended the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" to me and I never read it.  And it turns out that I need to stop at the store tonight to pick that book up because we NEED IT.  I also ran across a blog post that I NEEDED to read today.  It rang so true to me and it made me feel better. 

This part, specifically, hit me like a ton of bricks - especially the underlined part:

"More than anything, our son wants to feel like he matters. He might only be four and some change, but he feels as if his opinion is just as important as the rest. Yes, occasionally being his mom is like caring for someone with a drinking problem (slurring, falling down, tantrums, moments of love and incoherence). Yes, occasionally he freaks out for no apparent reason. But he’s almost always upset about things that matter to him, things we take for granted. The more responsibility we’ve given him, the more praise he gets for his accomplishments,"

I know Gianna doesn't freak out to get back at us, or to make us mad.  She is having a VERY hard time articulating exactly what the problem is but sometimes, when she can tell me, it's something so simple or something that I would brush off as "nothing" that clearly was NOT "nothing" to her.  We need to focus on those things that matter to her - even  (and especially) if we don't understand why.

It's no secret that this girl is spirited - we all just need to keep learning the best ways to encourage and engage her so that we help her to grow. Life isn't going to get any easier for her if we don't help her understand how to effectively articulate her opinion.  I can appreciate that throwing yourself on the floor screaming "I don't want to deal with you" does seem like an appropriate solution sometimes, but it's not practical.  One thing that does give me comfort is that she always says "I'm sorry, I love you" when it's all over.  And I always tell her that I love her more.  She's always extra sweet after a meltdown blows over.

There is so much more we need to learn and understand about each other as she grows.  And we are heading into another time of transition for our family (more on this soon) so I'm buckling in tight over the next few weeks because I think it's going to get bumpier.  But if you have any advice, I'd love to hear it.

and if you read this and have felt as alone as I have trying to parent a child who tests all.the.limits.all.the.time - you ARE NOT alone.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers, maybe.

PhotobucketI feel like I have a lot of random to say today. 

  • We are part of a CSA and I really love it - it has opened me up to so many new veggies that I would have never tried before.  But right now, I am drowning in veggies and frozen chicken that I NEED to do something with soon!
  • Related: I also need to clean out the refrigerator.  I am sure something(s) is growing in there and I am afraid to find out.
  • Related Related: It's been nice having fresh fruit and veggies on hand for baby food and the like.  I can't get Gianna to eat them to save my life, but whatever I guess.
  • Have I mentioned that I started running recently? Well, in June.  I am supposed to run an official 10k next Sunday (if the national parks open back up....) possible a 15k in November and (if all goes as planned) a 1/2 marathon in May.  I don't really know what I am getting myself into here, but I do enjoy that little bit of time to be alone and clear my head a few times a week.
  • I also have a pipe dream of running the Disney marathon next January. Again, I really don't know what I am getting myself into - so who knows if this will become a reality.
  • I still can't decide if I want to get an MBA or start a PhD program....
  • I did accept an adjunct position for the spring. And I am having second thoughts - not feeling super comfortable with doing it all of a sudden (it's been 3 years!).  If this isn't going to work out, I need to make up my mind NOW!
  • I spent an embarrassing amount of time exchanging ecards and funny animal pictures with my sister the other day.
  • Don't tell me that didn't at least make you smirk.  I
  • Mega stuffed Oreos are sadly disappointing.  Double stuff or nothing, my friends.
  • We have SO MANY apples left - what to make?
  • How is it October, honestly?
  • I have tried several new beers recently - all winners. Pumpkin ale, Carmel Apple something or other. seriously, yum.
  • Clearly I had a lot leftover - so many things swirling around my mind these days.
Have any leftovers? Share!

and, visit Danifred whenever she posts hers  BWS tips button

Monday, September 30, 2013

Perfect Moment Monday: Accidental Stay Home Day

PhotobucketI have been trying really hard lately to just SLOW DOWN whenever I can.  Life moves by way too fast all on its own and paired with our ultra-busy lifestyle, I feel like it just wooshes by before I even know it.

We ALWAYS have some place to be every single day. Work, Dance, Soccer, School, Church, needing to run errands or head to a gathering of one kind or another. 

And at the same time life is wooshing by, I am typically trying to capture the moment somehow so that I don't forget the little things. 

But I realized that I just need to BE a little bit more and capture some moments just in my head, and maybe not with my camera.

When Gianna doesn't have school and when I don't have work we call those Stay Home Days.  We talk about when the next stay home day is by how many sleeps there are until the next one. It's fun.  It doesn't me we literally STAY HOME, just that wherever we go, we get to go together.

Yesterday I was supposed to meet friends for coffee, head to church with the girls and run a few errands.  But coffee got cancelled and the girls seemed extra tired.

So I called it early that morning - it was an official (accidental) Stay Home Day.  I can't tell you the last time this happened - where I did not go ANYWHERE.  The week Aleesia was born, I think we actually stayed home for 2 days in a row.  It has been at least 7.5 months since we had 1 day where we didn't leave the house. (Mike did have to go to work yesterday, which was a little sad)

We fed Aleesia and played with her until it was time for her nap.  When she slept Gianna and I cleaned up the house, made some applesauce, painted, had a good lunch together and danced around the living room in our PJs!  We FaceTimed with my niece for her birthday (how is she 1?) too! Aleesia woke up from her nap, we played with a new-to-her toy together & she went back to sleep (she wasn't feeling too hot).  So G and I played some more, talked, hung out - spent some MUCH MUCH needed time together while her sissy was snoozing away.

At one point, I had just put Aleesia back down for her nap after she fell asleep in my arms and Gianna was sitting in her My Little Pony underwear on the living room floor painting a rainbow with the biggest smile on her face.  And I just sat there and smiled with her.  Capturing that moment not on my camera, but in my memory.  An Accidental Stay Home Day to catch up on home things had turned in to just what we needed to regroup before the start of another busy busy week.  It was a perfect Sunday.  Filled with perfect moments.

check out the other Perfect Moments here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

9.9  (54)9.9  (51)

my tiny dancer heads back to the studio. she loves it more now than ever before.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

(little) Big Kid Snuggles

We all know that babies can be the sweetest snugglers.  Our Aleesia is no exception to that rule and I sometimes just scoop her up for a little extra love and a snuggle.

7.17  (6)

(such a peaceful sleeper, this one.)

Gianna often asks me, after we have done our bedtime routine (including books, kisses, hugs, answers to 19347 questions, etc.), to just “stay and snuggle wif me mommy”.

Usually I stay in her room for a minute or two and then leave her to do chores around the house, or shower, or sometimes eat dinner myself!  And typically even when I stay a minute longer, she begs me to stay “just a little longer” – to which I usually say “mommy has things to get done before she goes to bed, our time is up for the night”.

I realize this is kind of an asshole answer, as a mom, because her time shouldn’t be UP! But there really are still things that HAVE to get done some days.  Isn’t there?

Having been extra busy lately and feeling a little disconnected from my oldest beauty at times, I have been making more of an effort to enjoy the extra snuggles she requests.  There might come a day when she doesn’t want to snuggle wif me – so I feel like I need to just soak it all up right now as much as I can.

But I have learned something during our extra snuggle time – 1) we both need that time to decompress and reconnect on the simplest level and 2) if I just sit with her for a minute or two extra – she falls asleep SO MUCH FASTER. 

Tonight she asked me to snuggle her, so I wrapped my arm around her as she was snugged into her covers, to which she said “not so tight”.  I loosed my snuggle a bit and started rubbing her back a little.  Each time I stopped, she asked me to keep doing it.  I watched her long eyelashes flutter shut and literally saw her fall asleep.  It was such a sweet memory for me – one I am sure I will remember for a long long time – I am thankful that I stopped what I was doing and forgot about what I thought needed to get done right.now to enjoy that moment with her.

It’s such a simple request “just snuggle wif me, mommy” – I don’t know why I haven’t always done it – but I do know that I am making every effort to honor her request from now on.  What an honor it is to be the mommy to this (little) big kid, who I love with my whole heart.

Life is going to continue to be hectic and we are going to need every second we can get to just reconnect and make sure that she knows nothing is more important than that big kid snuggle.

IMG_3681

(a night a few weeks ago when she asked for an extra snuggle. I can’t believe how much I love this sweet face.)