Month: July 2013

The Wise Baby

In case you haven’t yet heard, I’m sharing one of my favorite homemade activities over on The Wise Baby today!

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I will be guest posting on a semi-regular basis over there, doing mostly DIY’s and a few reviews of my favorite products.  In case you haven’t ever visited, the Wise Baby is a wonderful resource for new and pregnant moms, grandparents, and caregivers. They do comprehensive reviews on all kinds of baby products and help you decide what to register for and what to skip.  Plus, they are constantly doing fabulous giveaways (of which, I’m sad I will no longer be able to justifiably enter :().

I am so excited for this new endeavor as I hope to expand my writing and learn some new things in the process.  Enjoy!

BGB pt 1

Well…we finally did it!  We let MG sleep in her “Big Girl Bed” during her nap on June 22.

This was a change that we dragged our feet over, but ultimately, after she started potty training, it was only a matter of time.

We’d been talking to her for quite a while about “her bed” and she was giddy to sleep in it.  We decided to wait for a weekend when we would both be around, especially since I am still napping in the afternoon when both of the girls are.

All day, we prepped her for the change, so by the time her afternoon nap rolled around, she was bouncing off the walls with excitement.  We caged her in with pillows and gave her a few boundaries.

I let her pick out two animals/dolls to sleep with and one toy to play with. The toy was a new privilege and she chose her dollhouse.

We didn’t really talk to her about getting out of bed because we didn’t really know what to expect.  Well the first day was definitely a learning curve for us all!

She spent the first 20 minutes playing “quietly” with her dollhouse. Perfect.

The next forty minutes were spent coming up with excuses to come out of her room.  Some legitimate: potty.  Others sweet: “I forgot to give you a kiss!”  Others just plain funny “Daddy, I need to tell you sum-fin.”  Finally, we cut her off and told her she must stay in her bed for the remainder….which led to this:

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She explored every inch of her bed for the next forty minutes before covering herself up and going to sleep!

The second day her excitement level was still high.  Before climbing into the bed, we talked over the rules, making up some new ones after yesterday’s learning experience:

“remember you can’t keep coming out for kisses and hugs”

“remember you can’t throw all of your pillows off the bed”

“remember you can’t take the bed posts off of your bed”

“remember we don’t throw our houses off of the bed” (yes, it needed to be said.)

She readily agreed and we had a similar story to the first, but with times being reduced.  It was so funny to watch her climb off the bed multiple times, hear the doorknob turn, and then wait for her to make an appearance to explain why she was out.

“Daddy, I need to tell you sum-fin.  ‘We don’t throw our houses out of our beds’.”

Someone is enjoying a little taste of freedom.

Along with her freedom came a graduation into (cloth) pull-ups and she is so very proud of the freedom this allows her. Mama and Daddy are too!  And for us, this means more freedom of not being tied to getting her out of her crib to go to the bathroom, putting the diaper on and off of her, and having a “quiet toy” in her bed has actually kept her pretty quiet.

Naps have been hit and miss for the last few months, but she has taken one practically every day in her new room!

Happy Napping for all! (next part: all-nighter)

Scratch, scratch

Today is our seven year wedding anniversary.

Here is a recap of what our past anniversaries have entailed.

Tonight involves dressy shoes, a babysitter, and a gifted gift card  to a restaurant where most of our dinner will be smothered in either sharp cheese or dark chocolate.

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(heels, oh heels, how long has it been??)

Last year we were riding on the coattails of a disappointing summer and a painful miscarriage.

This year we will be kissing our two girls goodnight and thanking God for His timing.

To say we haven’t itched a bit this year though would be a lie.  We’ve strived and relaxed, we’ve sighed contentedly in our familiar comforts and bandied about some crazy ideas for change.  We’re both still harboring some restlessness from last year and it doesn’t seem as though we’ve reached the final page in this small chapter of our lives.

Year eight?  We’re comin’ for ya {hand-in-hand}.

2 months

Today, Honey Bea, you are two months old!

Here is what we’ve learned about you this month:

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-although still a good sleeper (you can even put yourself to sleep…how did I ever get so blessed??), you are starting to have many more periods of alertness

IMG_1486-your eyes have changed to more of a sapphire blue

-you’ve kept nearly all of your baby hair but it is starting to grow out blonde. Good thing ombre style hair is in 🙂

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-after one off week (growth spurt, adjusting to a west coast time change, being back from vacation?) you are back to only waking up once per night. If I can get you to take a dream feed around 11pm when I go to bed, you will sleep from about 9pm to 5am and then again until 8am.  You’ve slept completely through the night once!

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-you have become much more fond of your paci this month, although not reliant on it to fall asleep (woohoo!!!)

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-you are now talking to us and I seem to elicit the most conversation from you 🙂

-your smile is just the best and we’ve seen a lot of intentional smiles this month.  Your sister is pretty good at pulling them out.

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-your features have started to take on their own appearance and I think that you are starting to resemble me a little bit!

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-Daddy gave you your first bottle and you took it no questions asked.  So thankful.

And finally, just for comparison:

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We love you to pieces and more!  It is so fun watching you grow and change but I do so love you just how you are right now,

A Few of my Favorite Things {post-partem edition}

(disclosure: this post contains links to Amazon.com, of which I am now an Amazon Affiliate.  A (very) small portion of anything you purchase through these links comes back to me in the form of an Amazon gift card.  I figured since 90% of my online purchases come from there, it was about time.  Happy Shopping!  (for both of us 🙂)

Now that I’m a mom (again) and back in the swing of caring for a newborn, I’ve added a few favorite things to my list this year:

Beco Baby Carrier: this is similar in nature to an Ergo (which, admittedly, I’ve never tried) and the only difference I know of is that the baby can face BOTH out and in.  I LOVE this contraption! With MG, I just had an original Bjorn and it hurt my back and neck after only a few minutes of use.  With the Beco, I can wear Bea for an hour+ without feeling any different!  The strap that goes around your waist helps displace the weight and it is seriously amazing how much it helps.  I can’t say enough good things about it!

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-BOB stroller: For MG, we had the single, so we upgraded to the double when we found out Bea was on the way.  This stroller is quite pricey, but in my opinion–so worth it!!  I take the girls on a walk/jog just about every day and the ride is so smooth for them.  It is also made to go “off-roading” and believe it or not can still fold up and fit in the back of both of our cars.  The double is a bit more cumbersome and heavy than the single (obviously), but I still love it.  One of my favorite purchases!

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MealBaby: I would like to hug whoever created this website.  Once Bea came, one of my friends set up a page for N and I and people signed up to bring us dinner.  That means I didn’t have to plan, prepare or cook meals after having a baby.  Does it get much better than that???  Between that, leftovers, having family in town, and takeout, I haven’t had to make dinner since Bea’s been home from the hospital!!!   Considering we still have some of our stash in the freezer, I may just take a few more weeks off 🙂

-large, muslin blankets: of course everyone loves the name brand ones, but did you know that you can make your own?  I followed a VERY simple tutorial I found on Pinterest (follow me here)  and made my own for about $6 each (which is about 1/2 the price of the store-brand ones).  Make them to size and these blankets are just wonderful, especially for a warm-weather baby.  Performing multiple duties throughout the day from a nursing cover, to an emergency diaper change, to a swaddler.  Muslin, I sing your praises!

-Some other favorites  of ours (for newborns) include: MAM pacifiers, the Chicco Keyfit 30 carseat, zip up jammies or baby nightgowns,  glass bottles,

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(she took her first one on her 8-week bday!)

Boon grass drying rack, and headbands from The Pleated Polka Dot (see pic below)

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Those are some of my favorite must-have newborn products.  What are yours?

Life with Two

The other night I looked at N and said, “Wow, what did we do before these two?”  Our former life is growing dimmer in the memory.  Our current grows richer.

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Life with two is definitely complex.  It has challenged me in nearly every aspect of my life:  physically, spiritually, emotionally, I could go on and on.   There isn’t much room for me to be selfish right now and that has sharpened me.

And while I knew it would be demanding, especially physically,  I underestimated how mentally challenging it would be.  Just planning a simple outing requires mental prep the night before: thinking through what needs to be packed, coordinating times to wake up, understanding Bea’s feeding schedule and precisely how it will effect our time away. And then even more effort the morning of to carry it out.  This means I’ve had to say ‘no’ in the past 7 weeks a lot more than I normally do.  As much as I’d like to think that we are pretty flexible and adventurous, it doesn’t take much to throw a wrench in the plans.

DSC_0110 Because it feels like my hands are almost constantly FULL, I almost always have a running list in my head of what to do should a minute or two be spared in the day.  Wash hair, throw the sheets in the dryer, sweep the floor, scrapbook, water the plants,…there is always something  to fill in the gap when my hands unexpectedly find themselves empty.DSC_0071

But it’s not all challenging.

One thing that has made this go around a lot easier is having a built in entertainment system.  MG keeps both Bea and I busy.  Whereas I remember when MG was just a babe finding myself quickly running out of ideas to keep us both from being constantly on the verge of boredom.

Each girl has their own personality and set of demands. Where one is easier, the other is harder.  It is a constant ebb and flow that keeps you from having a favorite or resenting a challenger.

 

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DSC_0069And with every challenge met comes great rewards.  Watching the girls’ relationship develop has reminded me of this. It won’t be long before they are fast friends and I will just be a bystander cheering them on from the sidelines.

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But right now I am in the thick of it.  I am fetching pacis, snapping the tiniest of snaps, searching under beds for lost lovies, up to my ears in a constant cycle of laundry, keeping everyone’s tummy above empty, and answering the same question over and over and over.

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And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly  I love you, the less I am loved.  II Corinthians 12:15

I know I’m not the only mom out there that is feels like I am spending EVERYTHING to raise and grow these children.  It means I’ve given up my dream house, my perfect system of organization, my ideal body, my manicured hair and nails, my less-complicated marriage, my closet full of clothes that AREN’T childproof, my quiet days at the pool with a good book, my effortless vacations, my fulfilling career, EVERYTHING to mother.

And maybe someday some of those things will find their way back to me when I have more time and energy to devote to them.  But for now, I spend myself for these precious little souls.

Gladly.

 

Last Week…

…we enjoyed a wonderful visit to sunny California!

Each year, my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and us try to go on a vacation together.  This year it was quickly decided that our location should be my parents’ house in California.  We’d never done that altogether in the summer before..which lent itself to lots of new fun.

Plus, with Bea only being 6 weeks old, it was nice to be in a “homey” environment and meant less stuff to bring with us.  In fact, we survived with only carry-ons.  If you knew me prior to 2009, you know that is no small success 🙂

Many thought we were crazy flying two under three cross country on a plane.   But we just smiled at their sympathy.  This was going to be the easiest trip yet!  And it was!  Bea was smiley or sleeping both flights there and literally slept the entire two flights back.  MG had her own seat and is old enough to stay engaged with snacks, a new toy, art activities, and videos for all four flights.  Plus, having an entire row to ourselves now that MG gets her own seat was downright luxurious :).

Instead of overwhelming you with pictures, here is a little video I compiled.  Although, WARNING, might be a  little boring if you’re not family 🙂

{note: the firework monologue at the end cracks me up.  I tried to explain fireworks to her before we left and eventually showed her a youtube video to help her visualize them.   This was the result.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/69860941%5D

And after all that….times she covered her ears during the twenty minute show?  Zero}

I used Instagram video for some of the video clips in the movie which is one of my new favorite things…but more on that later.  Also, some of my new favorite mommy products, the complete transition to MG’s big girl bed, and lots of other stuff coming your way soon 🙂