Friday, May 31, 2013

My Little Girly Tomboy

For the past year or so I've been pretty convinced that Grace is going to be a tomboy. She loves to be outside and play rough. Put her next to the toughest boy and she will run just as fast as him. She doesn't shy away when a boy pushes her and pain rarely ever phases her. She refused to wear anything I would try to put in her hair. Dresses got in her way and while she liked pretty shoes, they were kicked off quickly because they weren't comfortable enough to play in. Not that there's anything wrong with being a tomboy, but I'm pretty much a complete girly girl. I would much rather be inside than out, and I have to admit that I was so excited to have a little girl to dress up!

The last couple of weeks I've started to notice a change in her attitude. She went from refusing to wear bows and pulling out any ponytail I tried to put in to asking me to put flowers in and letting me braid and style her hair!
Sorry for the blurry cell phone pic, but this is my first attempt at a french braid in her hair. She has REALLY thin hair so it's not easy!
Fun ponytail style. I'm going to have to work on getting the styles neater! I'm still trying to do them in a hurry before she gets bored and moves.
She got a dress up set for her birthday and had no interest in it until the other day when she brought me the shoes and asked me to put them on her. They even have a bit of a heel and she walked all over the house with them. I'm pretty convinced that she walks in heels better than I do at this point!

At a recent consignment sale, I bought her several Disney princess nightgowns with little hope of her ever wearing them. Much to my surprise, she asked to wear one the other night. And she looked adorable! She's asked to wear them several times since then.

I hope she keeps some of the tomboy in her, but I'm really excited that she's starting to get into some of the girly stuff as well!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Technology Overload

I've realized lately that I have an addiction to technology. I can't seem to go 10 minutes without checking my phone and my laptop is constantly open during the day. I'm always checking email, reading Facebook or messaging a friend. Honestly, Grace isn't any better. She loves having the TV on all day long. She doesn't watch it most of the time, but she watches more than she should. If she finds the iPad, she is playing on it. I literally have to hide it to get it away from her. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think any of that is bad in small increments, but we rely on the TV and iPad way too much and I have been thinking lately that it is time for a change.

So today I made the decision that I am going to give myself a challenge. Starting tomorrow, on weekdays I will only open the laptop when both kids are asleep. Most likely, that will only be at night because Grace rarely naps. I will still use my phone to check on things occasionally but I am going to try to focus on the kids more and keep my phone away as much as possible. The TV will only be on for one short show in the morning and one movie in the afternoon for Grace's rest time.

I honestly feel like we will all be happier this way. I feel like I don't appreciate my time with the kids enough and by stepping away from the technology I will be a much better mom. We will get out more and spend more time playing. At least I hope this is the case. It's not going to be easy for me or for Grace, but I know it needs to happen. I've been trying to cut down on our technology time for weeks but I always seem to give in about half way through the day. Now that I've blogged about it, I have to follow through, right? :)

So what does that mean for the blog? Honestly, I don't know. I am going to keep it up, don't worry. But it might mean that I won't post as frequently. I am going to try to take some time each weekend to schedule some posts so that I still have plenty of great content for you. However, I am really cutting down on giveaways and reviews. As much as I love getting free stuff (who wouldn't?) it was just taking way too much time to handle all of it. I wasn't enjoying blogging anymore and I wasn't getting to post what I really wanted to. There will still be a few giveaways here and there and I will be continuing to do Nuby reviews. There also will be some sponsored posts because we could really use the cash, but overall I'm going to try to return to what I started this blog for, a way to record our adventures as a family.

To be honest, I'm pretty nervous about unplugging! How do you balance playtime vs technology time?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Connor: 7 Months Old


You are growing too fast baby boy. You certainly don't look like a baby anymore and you are anxious to get moving. You still look much older than 7 months because of your hair. Speaking of your hair, it grows at amazing speeds and you are due for yet another haircut. I think this will be your 4th? May be your 5th? I don't remember. You look exactly like your daddy and pretty much act like him too.

  • I'm don't know your official weight or height but I do know that you weigh somewhere around 20 lbs. Your sister weighs 30 lbs. You are going to outgrow her in no time! 
  • Your eyes are blue....for now. I think I see hints of brown in them which would be about the only thing you got from me! 
  • You are very muscular for your age and when you want something, it is difficult to hold on to you. 
  • Your are rolling everywhere and are now rocking back and forth on all fours. You are probably days away from crawling and you will be thrilled when you can chase after your sister and take back all the toys she tries to take away from you. I do not think she will be thrilled at all!
  • You are such a happy little guy. You laugh and smile at everyone and let anyone who wants to hold you. You are an extremely social kid and get bored easily when left to your own devices.You love to make people laugh and I think you are going to love telling jokes. One of your favorite games is to go back and forth laughing with someone.
  • You are starting to love playing "rough" with daddy. You like it when he gently throws you in the air.
  • You love it when mommy sings songs and get the biggest smile when I start to sing Old McDonald. 
  • You love books and try to eat them and turn the pages.
  • You are sleeping so much better now and often go to sleep without fussing. You sleep on your belly quite happily. 
A rare moment sleeping on mommy. You prefer to nap in your crib now.
  • You love your pacifier. After barely taking it for months, it is your new best friend due to teething. You sleep with it in and it has really helped comfort you when mommy needs to leave you with grandparents or in the nursery at church.
I can't tell if you like sister hugging you in this picture or not! As I remember, you thought it was pretty funny.
  • You have two bottom teeth and I think you are starting to work on the top ones. You like to bite mommy when you are nursing and mommy has yet to figure out how to get you to stop. It's painful.
  • You love bath time and love it even more now that you get to take baths with Grace. You splash, play and laugh together and it's pretty adorable. She begs me to put you in there with her. I'm sure you will both hate me for writing that later on.
  • You started on solid foods this month and you love it. Your favorite foods are sweet potatoes and bananas. Your least favorite are carrots and peas. Mommy makes your baby food and will probably try apple and squash next.
  • Your favorite toys are your tool bench and the activity cube.
  • You are wearing 12 month clothes but I've noticed that they are now getting tight. I'm going to have to start getting 18 month stuff soon I think.

Daddy asked me what we are doing for your 1st birthday theme last night and I can't believe that it's even time to think about that yet! You are such an easy going guy and life with you is so much fun.

We love you sweet boy,

Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grace's New Favorite Book: My No, No, No, Day

Every month, Connor and Grace each get a new free book from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.  If you have not heard of this amazing program, check out this post to find out how to sign up!

Grace recently received My No No No Day written by Rebecca Patterson. It has quickly become her favorite and we read it at least 10 times a day.

Too Hot!
Too Cold!
Too Itchy!

Bella is having a very bad day...
This book basically chronicles a day in the life of Grace. But in the book the little girl's name is Bella. This tale of the terrible twos finds Bella not wanting to wear shoes, eat her egg, or sit still in the grocery cart. I can totally relate to the mom in the book who says "and could you please stop lying on the sidewalk!?" Like I said, this is our life. The ending is nice with the little girl apologizing for having such a bad day and being amazingly cheerful the next day. However, Grace hasn't quite processed that part yet and most of our days are "NO, NO, NO!" days. Grace asks for it by saying "my no no book." She's actually thrusting it at me right now because she saw the picture of it. If you have a toddler, this book is for you. I just had to share it with you since it's such a hit in our house!

Disclosure: This post was not sponsored or endorsed by Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. I received no compensation for this post.. This post contains affiliate links. If you place an order through any of these links, I will earn a small amount. However, all opinions are honest and 100% my own.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The oh so terrible 2s

Whoever coined the phrase "the terrible 2s" was completely correct. My sweet girl turns into a little terror multiple times a day. If things don't go exactly how she wants them to go she freaks out and starts screaming, kicking, and hitting. It's bad. I wish I could say that I've figured out how to manage these tantrums, but right now I yell way more than I'd like to admit. She's probably one of the most stubborn toddlers I've ever seen and I never imagined that parenting could be this hard!

I have managed to find a few things that work and I wanted to share them here for anyone else who is trying to parent an extremely stubborn toddler. I've noticed several things that seem to trigger the tantrums:

1. Her mood is heavily affected by sleep and food. If she is over tired, our day is awful. She's a horrible napper so nap time isn't a solution for her like it is for most toddlers. If we keep her out past her bedtime, it's pretty much a sure thing that she's going to be grumpy the next day. If she hasn't eaten or has only eaten junk, she is noticeably irritable. Mike gets bad headaches when his blood sugar drops and we are wondering if she is having the same issue. So we have to ensure that she gets enough good nutrition frequently throughout the day. Routine is key for us to make sure that she is getting enough sleep and good food.

2. Jealousy is a huge issue right now. She wants me all to herself and if she doesn't get enough time with me before Connor wakes up or during his naps, I really notice an increase in tantrums. This is a struggle for me because those are the main times for me to get things done, but I am now making a conscious effort to give her tons of one on one time when he's asleep. If she's had her mommy time, she is pleasant and loves her brother.  If she hasn't, she whines when I'm holding him and begs me to put him back "night night."

3. The biggest factor in her moods that I have noticed is her boredom level. She is a kid that loves mental stimulation. She loves organizing and sorting things. She loves sensory activities and books. She gets bored quickly with her normal toys and loves going new places (as long as I'm with her.) I have been using the TV way too much to keep her entertained and I am really trying hard to do at least one different activity with her each day. As I am writing this, she is sitting next to me playing with dried rice and measuring spoons.  It doesn't have to be something grand, but she needs different activities to keep her mind active. If she gets bored, she throws massive tantrums.

Enjoying drawing with chalk. She decided to sort it.
Now I can try and say that focusing on these things has made her a perfect little angel, but that would be a total lie.  Even on the greatest of days, inevitably, something will set her off. It's taken some trial and error to figure out a disciplinary method that would work for her. First we tried traditional time outs. Yeah that was a joke. She screamed the entire time and would run away over and over. I kept at it because I thought that eventually she would give in. Nope, she would fight me for over an hour. If I didn't have to take care of Connor too, that wouldn't be a problem, but I really don't have the time to fight her like that.

One day out of jealousy, she hit Connor. I made her do a time out in her room. I didn't shut the door and the lights stayed on, but I sat her down and told her that she needed to stay in there for 2 minutes because she hit her brother. Much to my amazement, she stayed. And after two minutes, I went in to get her and she told Connor sorry and gave him a kiss. That has been our time out method ever since. For most things, she gets a warning and the "1-2-3" count before she gets a time out. It only took a few times of doing the counts for her to realize that I was serious, and now most of the time by the time I get to 2, she cooperates. For hitting or kicking someone, she gets an automatic time out and then must say sorry and give a kiss to whoever she hurt. For a few weeks it felt like she was in time out all the time, but it has really gotten better lately. Now that she is talking more, she is able to tell us what she wants instead of getting frustrated,

I keep hearing that age 3 is worse than 2 and I have no idea what I'm going to do if that is true! She is such a bossy little drama queen now, I don't know how it could get any worse!

What are your best tips for dealing with your toddler's tantrums?  I may need them!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mother's Day Gifts for Grandma

I finally get to share what we made for Mother's Day gifts this year for the Grandma's. I got some pictures for them but I also wanted to make a craft. I found this idea in my January Moms online group and instantly knew that I wanted to do it.

I got all of the supplies at Walmart. We used Crayola finger paint, watercolors, and a set of 2 canvases. I also used a sponge brush but I forgot to include it in the picture.

First, I let Grace paint both canvases with the watercolors. She had never used watercolors before but she got the hang of it pretty quick!

I wish I had gotten pictures of the next steps, but it was too hard to get the kids to cooperate and take pictures. I painted red finger paint onto Connor's feet using a sponge brush and used his feet to make the V. This was not an easy task with a wiggly 6 month old. I did the same thing with Grace's hand to make the O. She did not want to cooperate and had to be bribed. She freaked out when I put paint on her hand. It was an ordeal. She finally did one perfectly, but then on the other one moved her fingers all over making a large goupy mess. I was able to wipe off most of that attempt and we tried again. It turned out much better the second time.

Finally, I used the sponge brush and the fingerpaint to add the L and E. It dried very quickly and the grandma's loved them! I wish I would have made one for myself as well. I might try again soon.

This would make a great gift for Father's Day or Valentine's Day as well!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Grace's 1st "Masterpiece"

Luckily it was only on the mirrored closet doors. And in case you ever need to know, use a baby wipe and then glass cleaner to easily get crayon off of a mirror!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I love sleep

I feel like my life revolves around sleep.  Is Grace going to nap? How many naps will Connor take? Will he do cat naps or actually give me some decent time to get some things done. And finally, will he sleep through the night?

For month, we had a routine going for bedtime. We would put Grace to bed and then get Connor changed for bed and into his swaddle. He would nurse and cuddle for an hour or so until he finally fell asleep and I could put him down. The swaddle immediately calmed him down and he normally slept in 4-5 hour stretches. When he reached 6 months, he started outgrowing his swaddles and suddenly he started fighting them like crazy. The hour of calm nursing and cuddling turned into several hours of him fighting and arching his back. So we decided to stop swaddling him. Between moving him out of the swaddle and his first two teeth popping through. my nights of decent sleep quickly disappeared! He was up every 1-2 hours consistently and it took forever to go back down.

I would try to nurse him to sleep, but the moment I moved him he would wake up. He just wouldn't settle to sleep for me and I was getting desperate. After a month of him being up every 1-2 hours each night, we decided that it was time to try Ferber. For those who don't know, Ferber is a sleep training method that focuses on putting baby down when they are awake but drowsy and then going in to comfort them at intervals without picking them up. I wasn't sure how it would work for Connor but the first night we tried it, I was amazed. He never even really cried. He fussed for a couple of minutes and then played and talked for a while. I went in after 2 minutes and then after 5 minutes, told him good night and patted him back. After 8 minutes, he was asleep and slept all night long.

Lately, he has started rolling on to his belly to sleep and he seems much more comfortable that way. He can roll both ways easily so I don't worry about him sleeping on his belly anymore. While I used to pick him up every time he cried during the night, now I try turning on his sleep sheep and giving him his pacifier and he normally falls right back to sleep with no fussing. If he continues to fuss, I feed him and he goes right back to sleep. Most nights, I feed him twice and put the pacifier back in about twice. He's getting very close to putting the pacifier back in by himself so I'm hoping that he will just do it himself soon.

I'm finally starting to feel like a normal person again due to getting reasonable amounts of sleep. He's been happier and takes better naps during the day.

The best part has been that we now have them both to sleep by about 8:30 each night. This gives me some much needed time to myself and time to spend with Mike. Connor has been so much easier in regards to sleep than Grace and I really hope that it continues. Grace never woke up happy or just played in her crib, I regularly hear Connor chatting to himself or playing with his feet before I go in to get him. Grace never napped for longer than 30-45 minutes and I often get 2-3 hours naps from Connor. It makes me realize how people get things done with babies in the house!

I know that many people don't agree with Ferber, but it works for us. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about it!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

So when are you having a 3rd?

First you start dating. Then the questions begin:

When are you getting engaged?
Then you get engaged: When are you getting married?
Then you get married: When are you having a baby?
Then you have a baby: When are you having the next baby?
Then you have a 2nd baby: Are you having anymore? 

It seems to be the natural cycle of young adult life. Now that we've had Connor, I've had several people ask the inevitable, so are you going to have a 3rd? And for us, the answer is no.

This is a weird topic for me, but I thought I'd share because I know many people struggle with this decision. How many kids do we want? I remember talking about it before we got married and we always quickly said "2 or 3." It was such an abstract concept for us back then. We both came from families of two kids, in fact families with an older girl and a younger boy. So two seemed to be a comfortable number for us.

After being told that I shouldn't have any more kids after my Broken Heart Syndrome induced heart failure, I had my doubts about even having 2 kids. Thankfully, I had a completely health pregnancy. But I was high risk and I did have a c-section. Each c-section becomes higher and higher risk and I am getting older. We decided that putting my body through the physical and emotional stress of another pregnancy is not worth the risk.

We feel like our family is complete now with our girl and our boy. I think we get the best of both worlds. Would we feel the same way if we had gotten two girls or two boys? I have no idea. Probably. I can't imagine not having these two sweet babies (yes they are and will always be my babies) in my life.

I have to admit that I still have my moments. Those moments where I get sad just thinking that I will never get to have that experience of meeting my new baby for the first time or those sweet newborn cuddles. Then I remember how much fun it is to have kids that are more interactive. I will never miss the total lack of sleep that comes with a new baby. So two it is. They certainly keep me busy enough! 

How many kids do you want? What made you decide on that number? It's not an easy decision!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day

Did you all have a good Mother's Day weekend? I did!

On Saturday, I was able to sneak away for an hour long massage that was much needed. With how busy I've been lately, even just laying in a room by myself for an hour would have been relaxing, so the massage was heavenly!

I got everyone all dressed up Sunday morning in the hopes that I could get a good picture with Grace and Connor. Connor, of course, happily sat with me for pictures. Grace required some bribing. I am not proud to admit that I bribed my 2 year old with ice cream and outside time at 10 AM, but it worked.

I am happy to say that I finally have a good picture of me with my kids!

After church we went to lunch with family at a great barbecue joint (no wait!) and spent the rest of the day relaxing at grandma and grandpa's house. We had perfect weather and got to spend a ton of the day outside. Just seeing the kids smile and have fun was the perfect gift.  There are still many moments when I look at Grace and Connor and wonder how I got so lucky to be their mom!

I will post what we made/bought for the Grandma's gifts soon!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Outside Fun

Mike occasionally gets the chance to work from home and yesterday was one of those days. He goes downstairs to work but comes up during his lunch to spend time with us and we get to see him a lot more because he doesn't spend hours on his commute. Grace is always thrilled when he's home and yesterday was no exception.

During lunch, Grace decided that daddy was a horsey.

After daddy finished working, she decided that it was time to play outside and we all spent a couple of blissful hours playing outside. The weather was perfect!

I got a bubble gun for a couple of dollars at Walmart and we love it! It makes so many bubbles in a matter of seconds. 


 Grace loves to run laps around our deck and she thinks it's hilarious when daddy chases her.

Connor and I cuddled while watching Grace and daddy run.

After all of the running, Grace decided that Connor needed to have his first trip in the Cozy Coupe. Daddy held on to him and Grace pushed the car around and around. I was worried that Connor would fall out but he didn't need anyone to hold him. He grabbed right on to the wheel and was ready to go!


 Grace had to have her turn too!

The dogs love it when we spend time outside.
 Grace chased them both around for a bit but she finally caught Doc and gave him a big hug. He's so patient with her.

 A rare shot of Grace actually standing still and smiling for a picture!

I love days full of family fun. Grace slept until 8:30 this morning so I know that she was worn out from all of the excitement. I'm so happy our nice spring weather has finally arrived.


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