Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm still here!

Hi there. :) It's been a while; sorry about that. This blog has pretty much been a giant roller coaster for me. I'll hit a peak and feel inspired to write and document everything for a bit, and then I'll come to a valley where I'm not feeling quite as inspired, and I'd rather not write anything than write "fluff." Although I'm afraid there won't be anything inspiring about this post, so I guess in a way I'm contradicting myself, aren't I? Regardless, I just wanted to let you know that I'm still here.

Because I work at a University, in years past I've been bored to tears over the summer, but this year is different. I've gained new and different responsibilities, and we've had a pretty sizable turnover in staffing, so I've also been training and helping out wherever I can. That has kept me busy, and I'm not complaining, but it certainly makes it harder to think about much else during the work week.

Colin and Reid are, as expected, growing by leaps and bounds. At 3 1/2, Colin is as strong willed as he's ever been, but we see more and more glimpses that he's growing up. He is such a helper with his little brother, which is an incredibly sweet thing to witness. Reid is loving, sensitive, and very much a Momma's boy. They both are, really, but Reid still wants to be held and cuddled quite a bit. And who am I to say no to that?!

Until I find the time - or until inspiration strikes - here's a little peek into our world.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Things I don't want to forget

Let’s be honest. As parents, there are moments we’d rather not remember. Like the times our kids have thrown up on us, or the bumps and bruises they’ve had, or teething, or the long, sleepless nights. But there are so many little moments that whiz by when your kids are young, and as precious as they are, many of those moments pass by so quickly that we forget about them. Here are a few of the things I don’t ever want to forget.

The curls. Oh, the curls.
  • The way Reid snuggles his blankie (“bay-bwee”), plays with the tag and sucks his thumb when he’s sleepy.
  • Colin’s crazy prayer requests. When I asked Colin what we should pray for the other night, his answer was, “that baby Reid won’t take my stuff. It’s MY stuff.”
  • The way both kids eat a donut like it’s the last one they’ll ever eat (and then ask for more with their mouths still full).
  • Colin’s amazing golden curls. He gets compliments everywhere we go.
  • Reid's voracious appetite. He will eat and eat until his little belly pokes out.
  • The way they both still run to me for cuddles when they fall and get "owies."
  • The way Colin recently came to my bedside in the middle of the night to ask for help finding his stuffed puppy (which had fallen between his bed and the wall), and then, upon finding it, snuggled right back under his covers like a little angel and went right back to sleep.
  • The way Reid smiles with his entire face. It's contagious.
  • The way my boys light up at the end of the day when I pick them up at daycare.
  • The love Colin and Reid have for each other, and the excitement on their faces when they see one another first thing in the morning and at the end of the day.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Life with a 1 year old and a 3 year old

I used to get a little annoyed when some of my favorite bloggers had more than one child and, as a result, stopped posting as frequently. Now I understand. I'm not sure what has changed, but suddenly with a 3 year old and an almost 17 month old, our lives have kicked into overdrive. Reid has entered into the dreaded climbing stage, where he can get himself into the most precarious situations without any idea how to get himself out of them. If you've raised a toddler, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. During this stage, you (the parent) are always a little afraid that someone might think you're abusing your child, but really he's just clumsy and always hurting himself. His antics are really starting to stress his momma out! In one of his most recent accidents, he managed to face-plant on the concrete slab in our backyard which skinned his nose and caused it to bleed everywhere. Good grief.

Colin, totally unaware of how delicate Reid is, is always wanting to play with him. Often, their "play" involves toys that can easily become weapons, or some sort of awkward wrestling/tickling combo. As you can imagine, this requires quite a bit of supervision. It seems crazy to think that eventually I won't have to hover over them as they play together, and I look forward to that day. For now, though, Momma's gotta make sure nobody is going to get hurt, and needs to be there with a kiss and a Bandaid when somebody does.

Speaking of play time, we've also been spending a lot of time outside now that the weather has gotten so nice and warm. Tee ball is their current favorite activity. Colin practices batting (left-handed, as he is a definite lefty) and Reid is the ball boy, dutifully retrieving balls and placing them carefully on the tee for his big brother. Besides the occasional bat-to-face injury, it's really very cute.

The best part of spending so much time watching my kids play is that I'm getting to see their relationship develop as brothers. Colin loves "his baby" so much and is constantly correcting him if he does something wrong. He also talks sweetly to him and consoles him when he cries. Reid is Colin's "yes man," responding to every single question he asks with a resounding "yeah." Colin has learned this and will use it to his benefit. He'll ask excitedly, "Reid, do you want to go outside?" Reid will quickly say, "yeah!" and Colin will explain to us that Baby Reid wants to go outside, so we should all go.

While parenting these two is honestly pretty challenging most days, it is so amazing to watch them learn and grow. There is never a dull moment, that's for sure.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes

When my kids were babies, I remember thinking that I just couldn't wait for them to start talking. Well, start talking they did, and now they don't ever stop. As frustrating as it can be sometimes to hear "Mamamamama" every two minutes, the cute and crazy things my kids say make it completely worthwhile.

Reid, of course, is not speaking in sentences just yet, although he does throw a "Hey, Dada" in there every once in a while. He loves to repeat us, though, and he is picking up new words all the time. Just this morning at daycare, he said "babbeh-bah" (basketball). 

He also says "Eh-yee" (Ellie, our dog's name), "moh" (more, complete with the sign language for the word), "uh-oooh" (love you"), and "ni-ni" (night night). He melts me about six times a day, basically.

Colin is a perfect three year old. And by that I mean, he's a hot mess. He has moments of absolute sweetness where he'll ask me for a kiss, or climb up into my bed for a midnight cuddle and fall asleep in my arms. But, because he's three, he is also full of energy, curiosity, silliness, and occasionally toddler rage. As a result, he says the most ridiculous, adorable and hilarious things. Here are a few recent examples:

"Momma, I want to watch 'Dis pickle of me' [Despicable Me]."

[From the backseat of my car] "Reid, want to hold hands?"

"Can Reid step in the dog poop? Reid, come here... look at this poop."

"Where is my picnic basket?" [meaning his Easter basket]

Me: "Colin, do you have a girlfriend?"
Colin: "Mmhmm."
Me: "You do? Who?"
Colin: "Mommy!!!"

"This is my engine turtle!!" [holding a NINJA turtle toy]

"Mommmyyyyyy.... [coughs and moans]... I have snot. [dramatically tries to breathe through nose, can't, cries]"

"When I was little, I turned into a baby. But now I'm growing bigger."

[I tell Colin we're going to play the "quiet game."] "I don't LIKE to play the quiet game. I want to play a LOUD GAME."

[Colin and Daddy walk out of Colin's room, after unsuccessfully trying to go down for a nap] "Momma, I missed you. That hurt my heart."

Oh, these kids. I just love them to pieces.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Unpopular Parenting

When our kids were tiny, we thought only of their immediate needs. Feedings, diaper changes, naps, bath time, more feedings, more diaper changes... you get the idea. As they are starting to grow and develop into little men, though, my husband and I have noticed a shift in our thinking. Suddenly, we aren't as focused on their basic needs; instead, we're gaining more of a big-picture view of their growth and development. For the first time, we are starting to picture them as adults. As men. We are thinking about how we should raise them; what we want them (and don't want them) to learn early on. We are thinking about the expectations we have of them, and for them. Of the amazing people we know they have the potential to become, and what we can do to help them reach that potential.

As we think through these things, we are starting to make decisions - some big, some small - that we believe will benefit our children and help them as they grow into the people they are going to be.

Basically, we want to raise healthy kids. We want them to be healthy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As their parents, we believe we have a huge responsibility to point them in the right direction, and that is the root of the recent conversations we've had.

So, what exactly am I talking about? Well, let me start with some of the smaller things. We try to limit our boys' sugar intake. They don't drink sweet tea or full-strength fruit juices. We do buy apple juice, but we usually dilute it with water. Do we freak out if our kids are given a juice box or some other sugary concoction? No. "Everything in moderation" is the main idea here. We just don't want our children to be addicted to sugar. We also try to choose healthy snacks between dinner and bedtime. Our boys like to eat, and they like to snack. I don't have a problem with this, as long as they aren't fueling up on sugar right before it's time to go to sleep. We switch to milk or water, too, and save the juice for the daytime.

Another choice is that we don't watch age-inappropriate TV shows or movies in front of the kids. We don't have specific rules about TV time, but we do let our kids watch "their" shows occasionally. Even then, though, we try to choose things with educational value. Wallykazam and Bubble Guppies are the current favorites in our home. If the hubs and I want to watch something a little more grown-up, we wait until the kids are asleep. Unfortunately, this means that we don't get to watch "our" shows or movies very often, but it's a sacrifice we are willing to make to protect our kids' hearts and minds while we still can.

As far as the bigger decisions we've made... I feel like I need to start with a disclaimer. These are the choices we've made for ourselves and our children, and if you do things differently, please know that we don't feel judgmental toward you at all. Having said that, we have decided to be honest with our kids about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and any other mythical figureheads that may arise throughout their childhoods. This is for several reasons, the biggest one being that we just didn't feel right essentially lying to our kids. We both grew up with Santa, and it was fun while it lasted, but we would rather make Jesus Christ the central focus of Christmas, and especially Easter.

So, what does this mean for our kids? Will we deprive them of presents? Of Easter baskets filled with candy? Will we banish all images of Santa from our household? Will we forego the ever popular Christmas tree?!?

To answer those questions quickly: No, no, no, and no.

Again, our motto is "everything in moderation." We don't believe the idea of Santa is dangerous in and of itself, and we will certainly continue to give gifts at Christmas, and fun little baskets of treats on Easter morning. The way we see it, it's all about the way the gifts are presented, and the teaching of Biblical ideas and concepts that will color each holiday celebration. For example, we give gifts at Christmas because God sent us the ultimate gift by sending his son to be born, live, and die for us. The Santa story is a beautiful example of how to be selfless and find pleasure in giving to others. At Easter time, we decorate eggs to symbolize the new life we are given through Christ.

I realize our views may not be popular. We know people on both extreme ends of the spectrum. Those who will think we're crazy for not doing the Santa thing, and those who will think we're crazy for not going all-in and shunning anything "of the world." To those people, I would say that these are our convictions, and ours alone. We're okay with not being the cool parents in every regard. I'm willing to be unpopular for my kids' sake.

We sure aren't perfect, but we're doing the best we can. We love these crazy little people so much, and we want the best for them.

What decisions and sacrifices have you had to make for the benefit of your children? If you haven't thought about these things yet, I encourage you to. Please feel free to talk to me; I'm an open book and am willing to discuss any thoughts or questions you may have. We're all in this thing together, moms and dads!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I've been published!

This morning, I woke up to a tweet that told me an article of mine had been published over at What to Expect. It was a pretty great way to kick off this ho-hum Tuesday! In my article, I talk about meal planning ideas for working moms. You can check it out by clicking here!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Reid is 15 months old!

Well, he has been since March 18, but since I waited too long to schedule his well visit, we didn't see the pediatrician until yesterday. So here, my loves, is a long overdue update on my beautiful baby boy.

More to come soon, I promise! Work has kept me busy lately, and with two crazy boys at home (well, three including the hubs - ha), I don't have much time to write there, either. I miss blogging though, and have promised myself I'll make time to write more soon.