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Category Archives: Family

Project 52:5 | Boy World

Our house is chaotic majority of the day. On the occasion that I am able to get both boys down for an afternoon nap around the same time I have a just enough time to catch my breath and try and get some chores done. Around dinner time everything hits a whole new level of crazy – my oldest is excited that Daddy’s home and is bouncing off the wall, I’m in the middle of cooking dinner, and my youngest is underneath me pulling on my legs and screaming because I’m not cooking fast enough. From that point on we are pushing through to bedtime, which usually means lots of toys thrown around from Dylan’s pre-dinner playing, bath time, and negotiating them into pajamas. It is quite a fiasco and apparently not only for us.

No matter how crazy it may get there are the rare occasions when they accidently fall asleep and when it happens it is adorable. Lately, it’s been mostly our youngest and man that sweet face and little snore always makes me smile. This warm, tingly feeling comes over me, and I feel the emotion take over, the tears dwelling. The same thing happens when Dylan miraculously falls asleep with us on the couch although it is much more rare. It’s a moment where I miss the babies that they once were, but am so proud of who they are. I am able to reflect on the fact that I have this unexplainable love for these perfect little people, a love that I can hardly understand let alone find the words to describe. It literally takes my breath away. I want for nothing more than to scoop them up and snuggle with them, followed by their soft little breaths keeping me warm through in our bed while we snuggle some more.

Then of course I realize that IF I scoop them up they will wake up and there will be no more quiet, serene little boys and definitely no snuggling and IF I let them cozy up in our bed we would be the ones getting no sleep. So I watch quietly take in the moment and usher them off to bed where they will continue their sweet dreams, while Mama relaxes with non-animated television shows, a glass of wine, and of course my hubby.

If you are interested in seeing other blogs that are doing Project 52s see below. I’ll continue to link as I find them.

Styleberry ~ The Carter Family ~ McBaby Bump ~ LucasandMahina

Project 52:4 | Boy World

I’m starting to learn with my very stubborn and independent three year old that the only way to get him to do what we want when he’s in a mood (which is now most of the time) is to make him think it was his idea or make it a game. He jumps at the opportunity, although it definitely tests my patience more haha! I’ll do just about anything though to avoid those meltdowns. This evening had started with a messy spaghetti dinner and a refusal to bathe, so bring on the games, the jumping through hoops and the bells and whistles. Luckily, my husband is fantastic at this. It’s crazy the things he can get him to do, although I am thinking that all the competitiveness may come back to haunt us later. Guess I’ll worry about that then! Side note: there’s nothing better than seeing them play together.  Our youngest getting bigger is such a double-edged sword. I want him to stay this little baby, but I love that they are getting to an age where they can play and enjoy each other.

Project 52:2 | Boy World

This is one of those moments where I’m sprinting to my camera to ensure I don’t miss it! That way when they get a little older I can prove that they were sweet to each other at one time. Watching our babies learn new things and become more independent is always amazing, although bittersweet. Now with our second it is even better, because we get to see more and more of these moments with the boys. Moments when Dylan is stepping sweetly into that big brother role. He tries to teach him how to do things by himself, for instance feeding himself and when Tillman makes a bit of a mess Dylan’s right there to help him and clean him up. It warms my heart, and brings a tear to my eye.

If you are interested in seeing other blogs that are doing Project 52s see below. I’ll continue to link as I find them.

Styleberry ~ The Carter Family ~ McBaby Bump ~ LucasandMahina ~ Gin and Juice Boxes

Yummy Yummy in my Tummy

I have always had a love affair with food, and not always the healthy kind. I don’t believe in skipping meals. I always have snacks. I don’t do diets, but I try to do moderation and variety. Having children has made me pay more attention to the food I bring into the house and how I prepare it. I spend one day every other week planning a two week menu, going through sales ads, writing up a grocery list, and finalizing everything before I head off to two grocery stores and the farmer’s market all to ensure that we are enjoying what we are eating, have healthy options on hand, and of course are getting a good deal.

Breakfast is usually cereal, oatmeal, or eggs. On the weekends we do bigger breakfasts when Felix is home, because he’s a big breakfast guy (and it doesn’t hurt that he cooks it haha) typically pancakes, french toast, or waffles. Lunch is PB&J, sandwiches, wraps, quesedillas – something quick, served with a fruit, a veggie, and raisins or graham crackers. Snacks are almost always fruit or veggies. Every now and then they will be a yogurt or some goldfish. Regardless of what’s being served I always try and offer a fruit or a vegetable. One of the proudest Mommy moments was when Dylan was presented with a french fry or a carrot stick at a birthday party and he chose the carrot stick! It even surprised me to be honest. I am a big believer in only making one meal for dinner. Dylan is served exactly what we are served, and now that Tillman is starting proteins he will also be eating what we eat more consistently, in a much smoother form obviously. From the beginning I have made my own baby food. I feel that babies at an early age learn to appreciate the intigirity of the food if they are given the opportunity to enjoy fresh, wholesome ingredients – jarred carrots do not taste as clean, and light as fresh carrots and jarred peas are not as sweet as fresh peas. I also make it a point to mix complementary foods to help open their palatte too. I take one afternoon a week, and I make and freeze Tillman’s food, making meal times as easy as popping the cubes in the microwave – done! I found this site via Styleberry that I love to refer to for questions and ideas with baby food making. Styleberry also has some great tips on baby food making and portions, as well as some yummy quick recipes like her pizza rolls she has shared. Just more Mamas helping Mamas which I love!!

At the same time if there is reason that you can’t make your own food don’t feel guilty about it. Make a few things here and there or do something simple like a mashed up banana and avocado every other day. Every little bit helps, and when choosing baby food do your research look into the organic brands like Earth’s Best. When we travel I will use Plum Organics and mix it in with a fruit that is easily mashable. They even offer these nifty little spoons that make traveling so easy! Only do what you can do, because adding stress only makes everything worse!

I feel the biggest keys are variety, and starting early. If several different foods are introduced in the beginning then they may be more inclined to be open-minded about food choices as they get older. Some other things that I have learned to be true, especially with toddlers and preschoolers, are that texture and size make a big difference and if they don’t like it cooked one way try cooking it another. For example, Dylan prefers his meats (pork chops, steak, chicken, whichever) to be cut up into bite-sized pieces or he won’t eat them. He also isn’t crazy about broccoli raw, but he’ll chow it down if it’s steamed. All I have asked of Dylan is to try everything, if he doesn’t like it it is fine, but he has to try it, and then usually I’ll offer it again a few weeks after maybe he’ll like it then. We also try not to say, “Yuck” or “Eww” when we see or don’t like a food because they learn these reactions from us, and if they just copy us they don’t make up their own mind about that particular food.

It definitely is a little trial and error, but it doesn’t always have to be stressful. Make meal time fun for them, which makes less stress for you. Tillman is a very noisy baby, and is very attached to me so while I am cooking I put him in his high chair with a couple of spoons in the kitchen with me so he can see what I’m doing. Usually their is music playing while I cook, so we’ll sing and dance during dinner preparations, or I’ll talk him through what I am doing and him touch and smell the fruits and vegetables we are cooking with. I will let Dylan help put the toppings on our pizza, or let him help toss the salad. He enjoys helping and is always so eager to eat what he’s helped with! There is also some obsession kids have with dips. Salsas, dressings, ketchup, cream cheese, peanut butter whatever they like give them some fruit and veggies and let them dip away! I don’t mind ranch dressing if he’s eating tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots with it. Dylan is doing his independence thing right now, and I have found that giving him choices helps out too. Make sure both options are healthy choices, “Do you want the grapes or the strawberries?” Bottom line is I will never give the boys something that I wouldn’t eat myself, and I want to make their relationship with food a fun and healthy one so that they can enjoy carrots and cake and not just carrot cake, and certainly there is nothing wrong with the occasional burger and fries.

Below is a little peek into dinner for us. I made a Autumn Chopped Salad (shared by my dear friend, Carolyn)but I added chicken to make it a full meal, and used walnuts instead of pecans. It is amazing! Dylan doesn’t prefer a lot of lettuce, so I modified his a little bit which is what I do if salad is being served as the main course. I’ll leave out the lettuce, and serve the other ingredients separately. If salad is the side I just give him a few pieces of lettuce and lots of the other veggies. Tillman’s is the same as Dylan’s, chicken, pears, and peaches (no ketchup and cheese) pureed. I even had some leftover for Felix’s lunch the next day! Enjoy 🙂

Macgyver Mom

We’ll it happened again – motherhood has allowed for very little time, and I have been unable to post in such a long time!  We went home to Colorado in early July to visit and it has taken every bit of the last month to get things back in order and get out of the “vacation” mindset. The boys handled the 40 hour round trip drive as good as can be expected, and we only added an hour extra each travel day for diaper changes, and dog walking (yes we also took our dog). We had an amazing time, but as always with kids there was a funny story to share.

First I wanted to let everyone know that we successfully cloth diapered throughout the whole vacation! Four days of traveling by car, two nights in a hotel, and seven days split between three locations.  It took some planning but wasn’t a big deal. We used the Grovia system while on the road, and went back to our Fuzzibunz once we were in Colorado.  No messes in the car, no diaper rash, no packing cases of diapers, no problems at all.

This story of mine consists of baby wipes, Fabreeze, a breast pad and a comb – Macgyver Mom to the rescue.

One of the reason we had went home was so my husband could re-enlist his mom. She is also in the Air Force. It was a very special occasion, and a very rare one at that. The photographer on base has been taking pictures of re-enlistment ceremonies for 15 years and had never seen a mother/son one, so it was very cool. Julie, my mother-in-law had invited her close friends and co-workers, including a three star general she worked for and his wife. Bottom line there were several people we hadn’t seen in awhile and several important people to meet.  Side note – this was also the first time I was officially an “Air Force wife” as opposed to a girlfriend (there’s a huge difference as you know if you have an experience with the military, regardless of how much time you have been a girlfriend).

We shuttle through the building to the room where the ceremony takes place all seven of us along with a hyper three year old and a stroller. Imagine a maze with narrow hallways, no idea where you’re going and everything looking the same. In addition to all this maneuvering Julie, bless her heart, wants to introduce us to everyone along the way as well – more small offices and more stop and go.

We make it to the room. Felix and Julie are making their rounds talking with the guests. I get Dylan situated with snacks and toys, and Tillman has decided to wake up. Now I will tell you I had help. Aaron and Noel, my brother and sister-in-law are always more than willing to help, but as the moms will understand, when they’re your kids you’re always worried. I also gotten used to Felix and I doing things on our own, so sometimes I even forget to ask for help.

Tillman begins getting fussy, and whining. Dylan’s with Aaron and Noel. Felix comes over to make sure everything is okay. I was hoping Tillman would sleep through most of it, but no luck so I pick him up out of his car seat.

Imagine in slow motion: Mom reaches out to pick up baby. She pulls baby up to her. Baby reaches a vertical position and when inches away from Mom PROJECTILE VOMITS! Three separate times.

The ceremony hasn’t started. I just parked the stroller, we are settled in the front of the room, and I haven’t even met or said hi to anyone yet.

Felix stares in awe, and reaches to grab him to which I say, “Don’t touch him! I don’t need you getting dirty too!” Okay let’s be honest I probably snapped at him both of those comments. Once Tillman is done I set him down and clean his face. Lucky for him there was nothing on his clothes. Of course! I on the other hand am covered from my neck down. The only positive was that the dress I was wear was in a pattern that camouflaged the mess. I tried to be as discreet as possible while I handled it, and cleaned up with the above items. Baby wipes to clean the mess itself, although there wasn’t much hope for my dress, which had a silk liner on the inside that was now sticking to me. A breast pad was used to dry the mess that the wipes left. A comb was to brush out my hair that was also caught in the line of fire, and Fabreeze was to cover the spoiled milk smell that now was making me sick.

I had to sit through the whole ceremony, and lunch after in my “throw up” dress, wondering if the chemicals in Fabreeze would bother my skin or my brain more. I also made it a point to not get to close to any of the guest, so they wouldn’t recognize the smell that they use to freshen up their living room with. Thankfully, I didn’t have to say “Oh that no it’s not Chanel No. 5 that’s clean laundry scent.”

Just another eventful day in the life of a Mom. Moral of the story: Always have an emergency kit fully of seemingly ridiculous items on hand, in the diaper bag, purse, or car. Do not waste your time buying dry clean only pieces of clothing because the one time you decide it’s okay to wear them they will be put to the test and NEVER let your guard down because the minute you let your guard down…

Looks like Tillman’s saying, “Mom, I can smell you over here.”

Operation: Don’t Burn the House Down

Last week I got hit by a brick wall out of nowhere – a migraine struck around 11am. Dun, dun, dun. Meaning I was on my own for at least six more hours until Felix came home. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t have a history of them, which makes them even harder to deal with. It struck when I had the boys playing outside toys all over, heat beating down, sunlight in my eyes. I packed up everything and everyone as soon as I could and headed inside. In the time it took me to make Dylan and myself lunch I was in tears, and it hurt to blink. I tried to make myself eat and drink thinking maybe that would help, and it made me so sick, since I was already nauseous. Dylan was now finishing up an episode of SpongeBob, and let me say that obnoxious laugh is a million times worse with a migraine.

I rushed Dylan off to bed once his cartoon finished even though he had some of his lunch left.  After putting Tillman in his crib and hoping the little he had just ate would last at least an hour, I finally crawled into bed and tried so hard to calm down so I could go to sleep. This is when it turned into one of those awful “how does that even happen” moments…again!

I was dozing off to sleep finally able to get past the pounding in my head, and Tillman started fussing. I reluctantly opened my eyes, and even though I had closed the shades in hopes of shutting off the sun it still was agony. I pulled him into bed with me to stuff him full, and not even five minutes after we settle in he throws up! All over himself, my duvet, my pillow, and me. All I could think was, “Why NOW!?”

I don’t know how I made it through a diaper and clothes change for Tillman, stripping and putting my bedding to wash, and changing myself without throwing up and my eyes falling out of my head, but we managed just barely. I was able to get Tillman back down, suck up all the tears I had cried and finally get to sleep, and those two little adorable terrors slept two whole hours, and I slept right along with them.

I woke with a severe headache, but the worst was over. Unfortunately, since I was out of commission for most of the day my house practically fell apart. All I asked of the boys was to not burn the house down, which I monitored from a fetal position on the couch for several hours. The house was still standing at the end of the day, but my goodness can things get out of hand! Luckily, I have a very understanding husband because it took every bit of the next 24 hours to catch up. Who knew? It does make me feel a little important though to know so much of our daily lives depend on me. Who says being a stay at home mom is easy? I used to until I became one. How about that for a big piece of humble pie!

Frazzle, Dazzle

I have found myself in completely new territory with my three year old lately. What happened to my sweet little baby boy? He has moments where I can still see him, but most of the time it’s some combination of an overemotional, high strung, yelling, ignoring, mean little person! I told my husband the other day, “I was prepared for diapers, bottles, sleepless nights, and the sweet ‘waa’ crying of a baby, but I didn’t sign up for shouting matches, kicking and screaming tantrums, and the endless ‘no’ that seems to answer every question I have. When things are mellow it’s heaven, but lately I even dread having to transition to another activity because a melt down is inevitable. On the rare occasion that we make a smooth transition I find that I’m still holding my breath expecting the worse.

I don’t walk on eggshells by any means, but because we have the same hard-headed personality (couldn’t he have just got my eyes?) it makes for quite a struggle. I’m finding that I spend too much of my time nagging or punishing rather than having fun. Now with my days running together I’m left with the chicken or the egg question – does he act up and then a nag or do I nag and then he acts up? I honestly can’t say, and either way I feel awful.

I also worry about this being a way of acting out with a new baby around. He’s been great with Tillman. Occasionally, he’ll push he’s swing faster than he should and wake him up, and recently we’ve found him pinching him, which I don’t understand, but considering what I expected it’s low key. I’m wondering if he’s channeling some of his feelings in a different direction that ends with him shouting and throwing things?

I feel that parenting is one question after the other, and the minute you find what works to answer the first question it stops working and you’re on to the next question. As stressed as I may be right now I know that this will pass, and I will come out stronger and smarter than I was, but Lord give me the patience and grace to see clearly to make it through.

These are the moments that I’ve realized in the past that have changed my life, and have given me such a new perspective on myself. From the very beginning I have felt love and excitement from my children stronger than anything I could’ve imagined, and it continues to grow. It’s those shouting matches that end with us both in tears hugging each other that have taught me the most. That breakdown in the supermarket has made me a humble person. I have found that I need work on my patience from the pumpkin carving and egg coloring he wanted to do by himself. I need to let go and have fun more often so that I may experience the joy that comes with blowing hundreds of bubbles for hours on end. I have learned the importance of being nurturing and understanding because when he comes crying into our bed at night there’s no better feeling in the world than being the only thing that can call him down. I suppose this is what I should be thinking about during the difficult times, but I can hardly here anything over the echoing “NO.”