Monday, March 2, 2015

My Mally Love

It was with a very heavy heart that I said goodbye to my Mally dog this morning.  Mally's been by my side every day for the last 14 years. She was more than just a dog to me, she was my best friend and first baby. She taught me how to love and how to be a mom.  She was goofy, happy, loving, loyal, proud, obnoxious and opinionated.  She hated the water, but loved to go fishing, camping and to the beach. She loved butt scratches and snow and sneezing.  She loved cheese, chocolate and french fries.  But most of all, she loved me.
I will forever have a Mally-shaped hole in my heart. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mac - 2.75 Years

Dear Macaroni Bologna,

How do I even begin to put down in words just how amazing you are?  Everyone told me that 2 was a magical age that was both wonderful and horribly infuriating and they did not lie.  You are the most frustrating, endearing, exhausting, exhilarating, sweet, obnoxious, stubborn, lovable person I've ever met.  You may only be a few feet tall, but your personality is through the roof.  You have more attitude in your little finger than most grown-ups have in their whole body.  You are such a spitfire and 100% boy.  I refuse to believe that the next update I do on you will be THREE YEARS.  How can that be?!  

Every day you seem a little bit older and a little more mature, which is both heartbreaking and totally amazing.  You are no longer the frustrated and jealous little boy you were a few short months ago when your sister arrived.  You've learned how to control and express yourself so much better these days and (knock on wood) the tantrums are slowly dying down.  You use your words to express your feelings and it's incredible to see the difference that makes in your behavior and attitude.  Don't get me wrong, you still insist on doing things by yourself and must have exactly what you want at that exact minute, but somehow it seems to be getting better.  Most meltdowns these days seem to be over wanting to eat junk food or making you get dressed.  I am such a bad mom.
You are still a total daddy's boy, but I've found the more time we spend together one-on-one, the better our transitions are and the easier you are on us.  Sometimes I just have to put Mim down and focus on you completely for a minute and then you're totally fine.  We're learning how to do this whole "family of four" thing together and we're getting better at it every day.  I'm hoping that we'll soon be able to start doing more Mommy/Mac dates where we can get out of the house and have some time together.  You are such an amazing kid when you're getting ALL the attention - the acting out really only happens when we add more people and the focus isn't 100% on you (believe me, I understand).  You love mommy, but when you get hurt or when you first wake-up for the day, daddy's still the person you want the most.  Of course I wish it was me, but I love that you and your dad are so close and have such a great relationship.  You've got a pretty great dad. 
You are also becoming such a good big brother.  You are much more tolerant of Mim these days (although not completely) and don't mind her being around as much as you did a few months ago. You absolutely love to make her laugh, which is good because she is completely smitten with you and thinks you are the funniest being on earth.  You love getting right in her face and making her laugh. Any attention that you bestow upon her is like gold and she can't get enough.  You still get jealous very easily, so for now I make sure that I hug/kiss you first when I get home and I make sure that you and Mim take turns with things so you don't feel like you're getting passed over.  Getting in front of the jealousy before it happens seems to help a lot.

You started nursery school back in November and are doing great!  You say you don't like it, but I think you have a good time while you're there and you love to talk about what you do at school. Dropoffs are the hardest part.  You do great until we leave the room and then the tears start.  The first few times I dropped you off was absolute torture for me and I cried all day about it.  But every day gets a little bit easier for both of us.  Your crying stops by the time I get around the corner (I stop and listen outside your room), so I try not to worry about it too much.  Your teachers say you're doing great and that you always have fun.  Last week at dropoff, we were hanging up your coat and you said, "I'm not going to cry today, mama."  I told you that was great and praised you for being so big and brave.  As I handed you off to your teacher, your little lip was quivering and you wanted to cry so badly, but didn't.  I was so proud of you!  The crazy thing is, I think it was harder on me that you didn't cry - you are just growing up so fast.

School has fostered a newfound love of learning and questioning things.  You can sing your ABCs and identify most letters.  You can count and show me your numbers on your fingers.  You express your feelings so incredibly well, even your teachers have commented on your incredible verbal skills. You talk like a five-year old and have always been ahead of the curve on your vocabulary and grammar.  You are so inquisitive these days and ask me questions like "why?" and "how?" and "what's that mean?" all the time.  I thought we had another year or two before we got to the "why" phase, but I think it came early.  It's pretty amazing to watch your little brain work and make connections though.  You are such a smartie.  And you're nosy.  Any time you miss what the adults said or don't understand what we're talking about, you say "What'd you said?" over and over again until we stop and explain things you to.  It's both adorable and really obnoxious.

You love music, dancing and playing the guitar.  You have a small guitar (just like daddy's) and you like to sit on your little chair in the living room and play the guitar for anyone that comes over.  You say, "It's the Mac Show!" and begin playing and singing.  But before every song, you have to count it out and you say, "A one, a two, a four, a six."  It's the cutest thing I've ever seen.  You have music at school every Friday and you come home singing and dancing.  You love the "Ram Sam Sam" song at school and are getting really good at singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." Every night before bed you insist on turning on the radio on my alarm clock and we have a mini dance party on the bed before heading to your room. Your dance moves consist of bouncing, twirling and jumping, with weird arm movements.  It's the best! 
The biggest change I've noticed over the last few months though is your independence.  You must do everything by yourself.  You love to dress yourself and are so proud when you get your clothes on without any help, even if they're backwards.  We just let you wear them backwards, since it doesn't hurt anything.  You can put on your own coat, snowpants, mittens, hat and boots too.  The only thing you can't do is zip up your coat.  It's pretty impressive to watch you get dressed.  You love helping and we try to give you chores that you can do to help out.  You are in charge of feeding the fish and dogs every night.  You also vacuum and wash windows.  You're very good at entertaining Mim while I change her diaper and you can let the dogs in and out of the house now.  You helped me shovel the snow off the driveway and you love watering the plants.  I try to let you do as much as I can and we're always looking for new things you can do to help out.  

Oh kiddo, I just love you so incredibly much. You are the most wonderful thing that's ever happened to me.  I am so lucky and blessed to be your mom.  You keep me on my toes and make everything amazing.  Never change.

Love,
Your mama

Likes:
- chocolate
- dancing
- playing the guitar
- chicken burgers
- tea
- chapstick
- playing basketball
- chase
- Ram Sam Sam song
- brushing your teeth
- books
- daddy
- being outside
- sticker books

Dislikes:
- vegetables
- sharing 
- bears
- saying goodbye


Monday, February 23, 2015

There's a Shark in the Toilet!


I was having dinner with some friends the other night (shocking, I know!), and while I was eating my mashed potatoes, I mentioned that my grandmother used to tell us girls that eating mashed potatoes would make our boobs grow big.  Everyone at the table had a similar story of some lie their parents or grandparents used to tell them to get them to eat their food: carrots make you see in the dark, watermelon makes your teeth sparkle, chicken makes you beautiful, green beans make you tall, candy will make you shrink.  It got me thinking about the "lies/fibs" we tell Mac.  I've definitely told him that eating carrots will help him see better and eating fish will make him a stronger swimmer.  But our little fibs go beyond just food.  For example, Mac has a birthmark that we tell him is his "night-night button" and when we press it, he has to go immediately to bed. We think it's genius.
I thought this was such a fun discussion that I asked everyone on Facebook to share the fibs that they tell their kids or were told when they were children.  Here are some of my favorites: 

  • I had a problem with my 4 yr old unbuckling her car seat straps in the car. I told her that the police arrest you if you unbuckle straps while driving. Now she always keeps them on and looks around for police cars. –Jordan

  • One of my friends tells her son that when the ice cream man's song is playing that means he is all out of ice cream.  –Melissa

  • For about a year, I had my kids convinced there was a toy fairy that came at night. She collected toys that weren't put away and would only bring them back another night if they did extra chores. –Nikki

  • We have "parent tax" - all money they get (gifts or in cards or $$ they earn) is "parent taxed" at 50%. That money goes into an account for them. I'm fairly certain they believe "parent tax" is a true tax.  My parents did it with me and I was at least 13-15 before I realized it wasn't a real thing. Kids will have a nice account by the time they go to college.  –Jenny

  • I once watched a relative get his 2 year old son to eat his veggies by periodically checking on whether his arm muscles were getting any stronger. "Hmm, still a little mushy, try a few more bites.  Ooh, getting a little stronger! Try one more bite and let's see what happens." –Anne

  • I was an X-Ray/CT Tech. My children knew I could see bones so they believed I could see through walls, too. Whenever they were too quiet or too loud I would say "I can see you. You better stop doing that!" It always worked.  –Becki

  • When my daughter was small (she's now 18) we had her believing a red dot appeared on her forehead anytime she told a lie. Was a sad day when she finally realized.  –Amy

  • The mall/park is closed.  ALL.THE.TIME.  –Cate

  • I really wanted curly hair as a kid, my mom told me if I ate the crust on my bread I would get curly hair... I believed it. No more crust-less sandwiches.  –Rebecca

  • My daughter would fight sleep and tried every excuse to get out of bed. Her favorite was "I'm hungry!" We explained that when the sun goes down, the food goes to sleep in the cabinets and doesn't get up until breakfast. Surprisingly, it worked.  –Melissa

  • To get our two year old daughter to come inside at night in the summer we tell her that skunks are coming out and we have to run inside so they don't get us.  –Charlotte

  • As a kid, we were told if we played with our belly button, our butt would fall off. Also, if you eat watermelon close to bedtime, you'd pee the bed.  –Laureen

  • We tell ours string cheese is "quiet cheese," so when they are eating it there is no talking. I don't know how or why this works... –Kathryn

  • Our three year old is obsessed with dinosaurs so we always tell him "But dinosaurs LOVE broccoli!" or "the dinosaur looks sick, he needs medicine - do you need some too?" and I always get "YES MOMMY!"  Works like a charm!  –Jessica

  • To cure anything I make up rituals, for example my 6yr old daughter gets out of bed for the billionth time since I laid her down complaining of a belly ache so I instruct her to close her eyes, put one hand above her head, count to ten and walk backwards to her room and that will cure the belly ache. Works every time.  –Lorrie

  • All ice cream parlors are closed during the winter and will not open up until spring. We were going every other day this fall and this momma’s waistline needed a break! –Jessie

  • Growing up my mother told me peas grow behind my ears and between my toes when I didn't clean them.  –Cheyenne

  • We told our son when he got his big boy bed that it was illegal to use a pacifier in a big boy bed. He quit cold turkey.  –Kirsten

  • I told my three redheaded kids I left them in the rain and their hair rusted.  –Cindy

  • I have a friend who "times" her kids. "Let's see how many seconds it takes you to get your shoes on. The world record is 10 seconds." –Anne

  • I forgot to be the Tooth Fairy one night and didn't realize it until the next day when my daughter complained that the Tooth Fairy didn't visit her.  While she was at school I wrote a letter to her from the Tooth Fairy explaining that she didn't visit because she couldn't make her way into her room since it was such a mess and to please clean it and she'd come back the next night. I put glitter in the envelope (to prove it was the Tooth Fairy, naturally) and left it in the kitchen, where she found it when she got home from school.  Now everytime she loses a tooth, she cleans her room!  –Katie

  • My sister told my nephew that calamari is "round chicken." It's one of his favorite foods and he hasn't figured it out for TEN YEARS! –Bethany

  • I told my 2 year old that he can't play in the toilet because there is a shark in it and he will come up if he sees fingers....and that the smell of his poop and pee is what's keeping it away so he has to go potty in the toilet...he potty trained very fast and never puts his fingers in.  –Evelinda

  • I told my kids that chocolate syrup was vitamins for mommy so I could drink chocolate milk without them catching on. It worked for a year!  –Julie

  • After multiple attempts to get rid of my sons paci, we cut holes them and told him that our cat did it.  –Sarah

  • My dad told my brothers that eating dirt would make worms and beetles grow in the belly.  That put an end to the mud pie restaurant in the back yard.  –Laura

  • A friend told me that whenever the batteries run out of a noisy toy that she hates, she tells her kid that it's broken and can't be fixed. –Samantha

  • My children think my husband has superpowers because every time we walk in an automatic door he waves his hand and "makes it open with his mind."  –Laura

  • To convince my 3 year old to stay in bed and go back to sleep, I tell her we're going to have the same dream and we decide what the dream will be (usually about rainbows, unicorns and a teddy bear picnic). I wish it wasn't a lie; it’d be super fun if we could really make that happen. –Susannah

  • I get my son to eat cauliflower (and any other white foods) by saying its special food that Elsa froze for him. –Abby

  • My husband pretends to call & talk to Santa when the kids are being crazy.  –Lindsay

  • I used to cry a lot growing up and my mom used to tell me I was going to run out of tears if I kept it up and I would look pretty silly crying with no tears so I better save them for when I have good reason to cry (and as a side note, I believed this and used to go to the bathroom sink and scoop up water in my hands and then open my eyes under water in hopes of replenishing my diminishing supply of tears). –Donna

  • We tell my 3 year old that green smoothies are actually TMNT mutagen that will make him a ninja.  –Colleen

  • Typical boy mom stuff, like “if you play with it too much it will fall off.”  –Suzy

  • If you don't put away your toys at night, the vacuum cleaner will suck them up and you'll never get them back.  –Cat

  • Ok.....this is horrible, but when our boys were 2, they threw the biggest fits when it was time to cut their nails. I'm talking screaming, hitting, flinging tears. So, I convinced them that if they didn't let me keep their nails short, monsters would come find them and chew their appendages off.  Basically I was saving them by cutting their nails. It worked! –Kristen

  • Everything is 'chicken' in my house. Salmon, tuna, some darker meats, so it's 'OOOOH MOMMY MADE YOUR FAVORITE! CHICKEN!"  –Emily

  • We're not cat people. I may have told my kids that my husband is allergic to cats and that's why we can't have one. Judge away.  –Corey

  • My stepmom told my brother that Barney lived at day care, so we could not watch it at home.  –Brigid

My very favorite “lie” was this one (because it’s so horribly cruel and equally ingenious):

  • When we misbehaved, my mom would tell us she was going to trade us in for better children. She would even get out the huge JC Penney catalog to find new children.  –Melissa
Thanks to everyone that contributed, there were so many great ones to choose from.  Also, I'm in no way encouraging you to lie to your children (especially about anything truly important), so please spare me the lecture about what a horrible rotten person I am, I already know that.  ;)  


Which is your favorite?
Do you ever fib to your kids to get them to do something?
Did your parents/grandparents ever fib to you?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Confessions of a Breastfeeding Failure


CAUTION: If you are one of the three men that read this blog (hi dad!), you might just want to skip this post because today we're talking about boobs.  Well, breastfeeding really, but boobs are definitely involved.  Consider yourself warned.

Ok, so boobs!  We've all got 'em - so, why is it so much easier for some of us to use them than others?  Why is that some people succeed at breastfeeding with little effort, while others go to great lengths and fail?  Why is it that everyone in the world seems to think it's their business whether or not you breastfeed, making the stress, guilt and pressure nearly unbearable at times?  Oh, if I only knew the answer to these questions.  (You weren't actually expecting me to have real answers were you?)
  
One of the things I've read over and over again from new moms is how they are completely surprised to to discover how hard it is to breastfeed.  It's not like this is a secret or anything - everyone seems to tell you this, yet it doesn't actually sink in until someone hands you a tiny hungry newborn minutes after the most painful and traumatizing experience of your life and expects you and said newborn to know exactly what to do with those previously non-functional decorative assets on your chest. Boobs...they're not just for breakfast anymore.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I struggled with breastfeeding with both kids.  My attempts with Mac were a disaster (which you can read all about on Julie's Breastfeeding Diaries series).  Long story short, he never really figured out nursing, I made myself sick with stress and guilt about it and ended up exclusively pumping for 6 months.  It was awful and I vowed to never put myself through that kind of guilt-trip again.  But why didn't it work for us?  Looking back at my efforts with him post mortem, I chalked a lot of our struggles up to a combination of new mom syndrome (severe exhaustion, crazy hormones, overly-emotional, scared shitless, etc.), oversupply and a difficult baby.  I had a tough birth (17 hours of labor followed by c-section) and was a physical and emotional wreck for weeks.  I felt like every tiny decision I made at the time was life and death and would affect us in the most dramatic ways.  I was so incredibly hard on myself as a new mom because I was convinced that it would all work out if I just tried harder.   Mac was also very hard to feed, even with a bottle, and had I been die-hard and persisted with breastfeeding to the breaking point, I still don't think he would have breastfed well and we probably would have both lost our freaking minds.  My oversupply issue sure didn't help anything, either.  

Needless to say, I went into my next pregnancy with a lot of anxiety and trepidation about how breastfeeding would go the second time, but told myself that if it didn't work it'd be fine and we could just move on.  As it turns out, my experience with Mim was completely different.  Perhaps because I had a less traumatic birth or because I knew what I was doing the second time or because she was just an easier baby...who knows.  But she latched right on and was a rock star nurser...until she wasn't.  All of a sudden at 9 weeks, she was DONE.  I thought we had everything figured out (and I was feeling quite smug about it) when suddenly she absolutely refused to nurse. What happened this time?  Hell if I know.  Maybe it was the oversupply; maybe it was my flat nipples; maybe she thought I reeked and needed to shower more frequently.  Babies are irrational beings.  But despite having two lovely months of breastfeeding (although it was still hard and very painful), I didn't get the nursing experience that I wanted to have.  That's when all those horrible emotions I felt the first time around came rushing back and sent me into a downward spiral of despair. There's nothing like being rejected by your babies to make you feel like a horrible failure of a mother.  

Once again, I pumped.  And pumped and pumped and pumped.  For six months.  Just like I told myself I would never do.  I hated every minute of it.  So why did I do it?  Love?  Guilt?  Pressure?  Insanity?  I honestly don't know sometimes.  I have nothing against formula.  I don't exactly enjoy milking myself like a cow.  I'm not into pain and torture.  But I love my baby and I felt so much pressure (from both myself and society) to give her the very best I possibly could and that was one thing I came up with that I could do.  I'm now almost a month out from pumping and my breasts are (ever so slowly) returning to their non-lactating, saggy and deflated sad state of being and I couldn't be happier about it.  I don't regret pumping (I'm super proud of myself for doing it and proud of my body for being able to nourish her), but I sure do wish I would have let myself off the hook and instead used that time to snuggle the baby or play with my toddler.  Oh, hindsight, you bitch.

But through all these struggles, I have been amazed at how wonderful other moms can be.  All that "societal" pressure I was feeling to breastfeed certainly never came from anyone I knew or any pressure I directly received from someone in my life.  Actually, it was the exact opposite. Every time I mentioned my struggles on this blog I received an outpouring of love and support for whatever we did.  No one ever questioned my commitment to my children or my love for them. No one but me made me feel like a failure.  

But in order to get over these negative feelings that I had somehow failed, I had to work through some pretty intense emotions. I had to mourn for the lost breastfeeding experience that I had hoped for.  I had to get over the anger I felt towards both my babies for rejecting me (yes, I know that sounds crazy).  I had to make peace with my body for once again failing me (as it had with getting pregnant, staying pregnant and giving birth).  And I had to get over the feeling that missing out on this aspect of motherhood meant that I was a bad mother.  Lots to overcome. And I'm still working through some of this stuff.  These feelings don't just disappear overnight or with the first formula-filled bottle you give your child.  They will probably haunt me (at least a little bit) for the rest of my life.  Although, hopefully I won't be on my deathbed decades from now lamenting on my lost breastfeeding experience.  Geez lady, let it go!!
What I've come to learn about this whole experience is that every mom is different and has different strengths and weaknesses (doesn't that sound cliche?).  Instead of focusing on the aspects of motherhood that make me feel bad about myself, I need to focus on the good/positive things that I have more control over.  Being a breastfeeding failure doesn't make me a bad mom, just like being able to easily breastfeed wouldn't necessarily make me a good mom.  I have other mommy superpowers, like the ability to heal boo boos with a single kiss, take beautiful photos of my children or turn a walk down the street into a space exploration adventure.   I have to not be so hard on myself for this.   And whatever way you are feeding your baby, whether by choice or by unforeseen circumstances, I hope you're not beating yourself up about it.  Let's all just give each other some grace to do what we need to do and know that as long as our babies are getting fed, they are happy, healthy and loved.  You are a good mom, too!


So anyway, back to boobs...  Despite my failure, I'm still a big proponent of breastfeeding and want to make it easier on new mamas in any way I can.  So, I'm so excited to be able to give away one Breastfeeding Essential Bundle from Fairhaven Health to a lucky reader.  You can win it for yourself or it would make a great gift for an expecting new mom in your life.  And if you are a breastfeeding mom (or are trying to become one), you should definitely check Fairhaven Health's website out. They specialize in all things nursing, pregnancy and fertility and carry a variety of products and bundles for new and expecting moms.  

Back when I posted about my struggles breastfeeding Mim, they reached out to me to show support and encouragement by sending the sweetest emails and this Breastfeeding Essentials Bundle, which contained Nursing Time Tea, MilkSavers, nipple cream and baby balm.  I was an emotional/hormonal wreck, so I cried when I opened the package and saw all these great gifts.  I absolutely loved the Nursing Time Tea (it even comes with a tea ball, in case you don't have one).  I added a touch of honey to it and it was delicious.  Anytime I missed a pumping session, got sick or felt my supply suffering, I'd drink the tea and all would be restored.  The Nipple Nurture Balm is probably the best nipple cream I've used (and believe me, I've tried quite a few in the hopes that they might make a difference).  It was really light and basically melts upon touch, making it easy to apply.  I've also used it on my face (and Mac's nose) when we were sick and dealing with super dry skin.  Worked like a charm.  

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you breastfeed? 
Do you feel like you failed at breastfeeding?
What were your biggest breastfeeding obstacles?


*I received the Breastfeeding Essentials Bundle free of charge for purposes of this post. A big thank you to Fairhaven Health for sponsoring this giveaway and being pro-moms!

*Baby Mim photos by Jessica of Emma Constance Photography

Monday, February 16, 2015

DIY Valentine Heart Suncatchers

Hello Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful love-filled, sugar-coated, heart-shaped, chocolate-covered Valentine's Day weekend.  Ryan bought me a gallon of wine, some chocolate covered strawberries and let me sleep in on Saturday until 10:00 a.m.  It was the best day ever!  He sure knows the way to my heart.  

I mentioned last week that we were lucky enough to get to participate in two blogger Valentine exchanges this year. This one was organized by two of my favorite blog moms, Megan @ The Adventure Starts Here and Elizabeth @ Chasin' Mason.  We totally got our "craft on" for this blog exchange and tried something pretty ambitious that we'd never done before - making tissue paper suncatchers!
I thought this would be such a great craft for a toddler to help out with.  In theory, I guess it was, but in execution, I was SO wrong.  I am seriously out of my mind sometimes when I think that my 2.5 year old will sit, pay attention and help for more than 7 seconds.  Within three minutes of me getting the stuff out to make these, I knew I was probably just going to end up with a huge mess, a glue-covered kid and tissue paper everywhere.  Unfortunately, I was right.
Step 1: Cut out two hearts from white paper.  Place them on a flat surface under some wax paper. Use tape to hold the wax paper down.  Try not to let the toddler pull miles of tape off the roll and cover himself, the table and the dogs with tape.  
 Step 2: Apply glue (or Mod Podge) to the wax paper over top of the heart.  Try not to let the toddler eat the glue, stick his entire hand in it or dump it out all over the table.  
Step 3: Place small pieces of tissue paper on the glue on the wax paper in any random order you want to completely cover the heart. Beware, tissue paper will not only stick to the glue on the wax paper, but it will stick even better to the glue on your toddler's fingers and then be impossible for them to get off, resulting in lots of shaking, rubbing on pant legs and carpet.
Step 5: Distract your toddler with candy or screen time to keep them completely away from the project while you pour yourself a giant glass of wine and spend the next two hours cutting, gluing and making a ridiculous mess in the living room and cursing yourself for trying to be a Pinterest perfect mom and consider throwing all this crap in the trash can. 
Step 6: Place another piece of wax paper on top of the heart and cover with a heavy book (finally found a good use for those old law school textbooks!) and let dry overnight (or a week, whatever). 
Step 7: Once dry, peel the top layer of wax paper off and use your heart-shaped paper template to cut out a heart.
Step 8: Apply a paper border to the heart (optional) and a string to hang in the window.
Step 9: Hang and enjoy!
Of course, everyone else went above and beyond with their Valentine's too. I was so impressed with all the great ideas that everyone had.  Stickers, puzzles, chocolate, popcorn...Mac is such a spoiled kid with these awesome blogger exchanges.  He's going to come to expect some seriously amazing swag for every holiday.  
Make sure you check out all the other moms and kids participating in the exchange.  A big thanks to Megan and Elizabeth for organizing and including us!  We had so much fun with it! 

 Meghan & Noah @ The Adventure Starts Here
Elizabeth & Mason @ Chasin' Mason 
Tawnya & Scarlett @ All of Life's Little Adventures
Ashley & Waverly @ Words About Waverly
Megan & Olivia @ Willow Way
Sara, Mac & Mim @ Running from the Law
Laureen, Tyson & Harper @ Chateau Deveau
Tara, Declan & Calem @ A Tale of Four Maples


Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing you a very happy Heart Day, from these two little love bugs.  
This post is made possible by the good people that make Skittles, Starburst, M&Ms, Smarties, sweet tarts, gummy worms and cookies (aka SUGAR!!!!).  

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine's Day Blogger Exchange

We are so lucky to be a part of an amazing group of bloggers that participated in a really fun Valentine exchange for the kids this year.  Organized by the fabulous Chrissy, of Simple Joys blog, eleven of my favorite mommy bloggers and their kiddos sent each other the sweetest Valentine's you ever did see.  We did a similar Valentine's exchange last year and I was just blown away by how little Mac looked in those photos, compared to this year.  Man, time is flying by.  

I'll start off my admitting that I "accidentally" signed us up for two separate Valentine exchanges and didn't realize my mistake until the last minute, so it was a bit of a scramble on my part to correct my epic screw-up without throwing off everyone's timing (other exchange post coming next week - it'll be like deja vu).  Sleep deprivation and life in general have been kicking my ass lately and I'm a walking disaster these days.  Don't even get me started on my "to do" list, which I've stopped even looking at for fear of having a heart attack.  

Anywho.  For this Valentine, we did a simple printable, paired with gummy worms.  You can't go wrong with gummy worms - Mac nearly ate an entire bag as we were preparing them.  We (tried to) put 12 gummy worms in each bag (and work on our counting as we did that), but I noticed that a few of the worm magically "disappeared" and someone was no longer hungry for dinner.  Well, well.  
We paired our gummy worm treat, with a "LOVE" card I made using photos of the kids hands and feet.  Mac is the top row and Mim is the bottom row.  I love the way it turned out, although I was really hoping to use puckered lips for the "O."  However, toddlers and babies are incredibly difficult models and very rarely ever perform on command (even for treats), so we went with what we could get.    
 It was so much fun to receive all this amazing mail last week.  Mac was excited for all the packages for him and he was thrilled when I let him open everything the other morning and look at them all.
We got crayons, coloring books, bees, painted hearts, cards, tattoos, balloons, popcorn, bugs.  Talk about great stuff for a toddler!  It was like hitting the jackpot.
I even put my "cool mom" hat on and let him have strawberry shortcake flavored popcorn before breakfast.  I think I scored some points with him on that one. 
Of course, Mim was totally excited to get some Valentines too.  It was so sweet of everyone to include her in the exchange, even though she has no clue what's going on and just wanted to eat all the cards.  She's also now covered in glitter, which is going to be impossible to get off of her.  I just finally got all the glitter off of her from Christmas.    
This was so much fun!  A huge thanks to Chrissy for organizing and including us in the exchange and my sincerest apologies to everyone participating again, for being a disorganized mess.  

Here's a list of everyone that participated if you want to go check them out too!  

Did you exchange Valentines this year?