Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Morning at the Park

A lovely morning at the park with my boys:
"Why you take so many pictures, mama?"
 
 
 
 
 
 The BIG slide! My little boy is growing up!
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

taking stock

Making : plans. lots of plans.  not much time for anything else right now!
Cooking : tons of my freezer meals, since our freezer broke down and a bunch of stuff defrosted :(
Drinking : wine, of course! and ice water
Reading: two books: "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandburg, and "Me Before You" by JoJo Meyers.  Both excellent and thought-provoking.
Wanting: more time.  more "me" time. more time for leisurely showers, more time for naps, and more time to craft, sew, photograph, read, and blog
Looking: at beautiful photography, hoping to get inspired
Playing: with my babies.  all day, every day. :)
Wasting: food.  see above freezer breakdown.
Sewing: reusable snack baggies and Cole's Halloween costume
Wishing: for time to simultaneously speed up (so Chase will sleep better) and slow down (because my babies are growing up!)
Enjoying: fresh produce from the Farmer's Market
Waiting: with great anticipation and excitement for Cole to start preschool in two weeks!
Liking: Chloe snuggled next to me, like she is every evening.
Wondering: if I’ll ever feel as though I'm not way behind on everything
Loving: my family.
Hoping: for fall temperatures to arrive sooner rather than later.  I love fall.
Needing: new shoes for Cole. again. kid goes through shoes like I go through chocolate.
Smelling: the pumpkin spice candle I lit. see above re fall.
Wearing: tennis shoes, in an effort to get some chores done today.
Noticing: I desperately need to vacuum.
Knowing: that when it comes to children, the days are long but the years are short.
Thinking: perhaps we've turned a corner with Chase's sleep, and maybe he'll start having some better nights.
Feeling: tired.  always so very tired.
Opening: way too many tabs in my internet browser.  I'm a multi-tasker.

Friday, August 22, 2014

How We're Doing

How we're doing with life right now: Cole is four years, two months old and Chase is six and a half months old.

Cole:

Winning:
  • Being a FUN, fantastic little person!  I'm not sure it gets any better than Cole as a four year old.  This age is just seriously so much fun. Every day Cole has a new and interesting question, comment, or perspective.  Our days are full of thoughtful questions and I have so much fun discussing ideas with him!  Every time we read a book, Cole asks what a word means and it's the best thing to hear him later use it in a sentence.  He comes up with some really adorable phrases: "MOM, I'M SO HUNGRY, MY TUMMY IS EMPTY EXCEPT FOR GAS AND CRUMBS.  JUST GAS AND CRUMBS IN MY TUMMY." (from "The Lorax").
  • Being the sweetest, kindest, most loving big brother in the world.  I can't believe how smoothly the transition from only child to big brother has been for Cole.  I was fully prepared for some rough patches - jealousy, anger, resentment - but it has been 99% smooth sailing.  Cole is the first one to play with Chase, to run to him if he's fussing, to play with him, talk to him, and dote on him in every possible way.  The best part?  All his interactions with him are completely genuine.  Not the type "look at how sweet I'm being", but truly loving playing with his baby brother.  It's pretty much my favorite thing ever.



Working on:
  • Staying focused on a task.  Our slow dreamer boy.  His amazing ability to be super focused on project or book can sometimes backfire when he needs to do mundane things like get ready for bed.  Mostly we combat this problem by just giving him TONS of time to do "must do" tasks (like 45 minutes to brush his teeth, pee, and get pajamas on for bed) but sometimes we just don't have that kind of time built in.  But it's a learning experience and he's getting there.
  • Giving Chase some space.  Cole is so, so loving.  But his particular brand of loving can be a little...um...overwhelming.  Think in-your-face saying "CHASE! CHASE! I WUV YOU! HI CHASE! I WOV YOU CHASE! HI! I'M YOUR BIG BROTHER COLE! I WUV YOU CHASE! HI CHASE! HI!!!!" about a thousand times a day.  Chase honestly doesn't usually mind, but I'd really like for him to eventually be able to entertain himself to some extent, so we'll see if we can help Cole practice some restraint every once in a while.



Chase:

Winning:
  • Being sweet and funny and adorable.  He is just a ball of squishy adorableness.  I find myself hugging and snuggling and loving on this cutie pie a hundred times a day.  He's fun and smiley and oh so patient with all of Cole's lovings. 
  • SLEEPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I never ever ever thought I would say this.  Ever.  But finally, oh finally, we can file "sleeping" under winning.  I know we'll have setbacks...but I am so so glad that after months of incredible sleeplessness, our little mister has turned a corner and is doing so much better.  Thank God, because I was seriously ready to quit and/or revolt.
  • Being in a routine.  We are finally getting a pretty good routine down, and I love knowing when I can schedule play dates and doctor's appointments without interfering with his naps.

Working on:
  • Entertaining himself.  It's pretty much a hit-or-miss with Chase in regards to entertaining himself.  He's either really really awesome at it (upwards of 30 mins of playing on his own) or really really awful (the SECOND I put him down he starts to screech his extreme displeasure).  Sometimes, I really wish I didn't have to perfect my ability to do all things (tie shoes, blow dry my hair, make dinner, etc) with one hand because he absolutely refuses to be put down.  I'm not super stressed about it (the beauty of a second child, pretty much nothing other than sleep deprivation stresses you out), I know he'll get there eventually and I'll be sitting around feeling entirely useless and unnecessary because he'll be so busy exploring.  I'm pretty sure his frustration stems from his desperate desire to crawl and move around to keep up with Big Brother.  Give it two months, little buddy...in the meantime, I'll be over here babyproofing.

  • um, nursing.  Little Man has sort of fallen off the nursing wagon in the past few weeks.  It's just that the world is just so INTERESTING, he doesn't want to be facing me breastfeeding.  So a typical nursing session is he sucks once or twice, pops off to look around, latches back on for a few sucks, then hears a noise and turns to look (WITHOUT latching off - OUCH!), then sucks once or twice, then pops off for a minute or two to be entertained by Cole's antics... he's just not too interested in nursing.  Again, I'm not worried - he'll come back when he really needs it.  I trust that he'll eat when he's hungry!
All in all, life is going great as a family of four! We have our rough times and occasionally still try to figure out the timing of things and balancing everyone's needs, but mostly life is smooth and the kids are happy!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Reading

Cole reading a story to Chase:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Best Buds

I can tell.  I can just tell.

I look at my little boys and visions of their future pop into my head.  Scenes of riding bikes together in front of our house.  Images of tag-team wrestling with Daddy.  Cheering each other on during sporting and music events.  Me standing in the driveway, waving as they both drive off to go camping together. 

These little men are going to be the best of friends their entire lives.

Cole is the sweetest, most gentle and loving big brother you ever met.  And Chase thinks Cole is the greatest thing in the world.



They are so lucky to have each other!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Craft Project

One of my favorite rooms in our house is our playroom.  It flows right in from our entryway, with beautiful soaring 18' ceilings and a gorgeous fireplace.  It also has a huge wall that is a total focal point.  I knew I needed some really fantastic artwork to highlight the wall.

I considered a few different gallery wall options, but decided in the end I needed something simpler but with higher impact.  I love the look of gallery-wrapped canvas prints...but holy guacamole, have you SEEN the prices on those suckers?  Upwards of $75 for an 8x10!  So I figured I'd give this hack a try.

First, I got a large piece of one inch thick foam insulation board from Lowes.  It was around $14 for a HUGE piece.  Then, I went to Staples and handed over my little thumb drive with these photos on it and asked for an engineering print.  Three things you need to know about making engineering prints:  the sizes are ginormous, they only print in black and white, and you need to make sure your photos are SUPER high resolution so they don't turn out all pixel-y when enlarged.  (I also recommend taking the time to walk your thumb drive into the store, not ordering them online.  Their website for ordering engineering prints is super complicated.)  It was less than $10 for all three of my prints.

Next, I cut my foam board into pieces a few inches smaller than I printed my pictures, so I could wrap the pictures around the board like a gallery wrapped canvas.  I used spray adhesive (do this part outside, it leaves a sticky residue EVERYWHERE) and carefully smoothed my photos on.  Wrap the edges like you're wrapping a present, hang some handy Command 3M hanging strips to the back, and you are all set!


 
They seriously make me so happy. 
 
So if you're in search of some fantastic high impact art for a wall and are cheap like me, engineering prints from Staples are your new best friend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Unplugged

If there's anything kids do well, it's hold up a mirror to ourselves and our behavior and force us to take good hard looks at ourselves. 

I can't tell you how many times I've done or said something, only to realize that if Cole had behaved the same way I did, I wouldn't have accepted it.

Or how many times Cole said or did something inappropriate (answer a question sarcastically, slam a door, playfully hit Chris when he's teasing) and I realize exactly where - or more accurately, who - he learned that behavior from.

He copies EVERYTHING we do. 

And so when he started to ask all the time to play on my phone; to ask to see what I'm looking at on my phone, "ARE YOU PLAYING A GAME ON YOUR PHONE, MOM?", to pretend EVERYTHING was a cellphone...

I realized that I needed to change something.

You see, I love me some technology.  I love blogging and checking Facebook and Pinterest.  I carry my Nook with me everywhere in hopes to snag a minute or two of reading.  And ever since Chris bought me an iPhone last year, I have apps for everything I love about technology in one convenient spot.

Also?  Life as a stay-at-home-mama, while incredible and fantastic, is a little lonely sometimes. I love to stay connected with my friends and family.  Chase takes 4 naps a day, so it's nearly impossible to get out of the house.  I love to have some bits of my day that are NOT about children and parenting, where I can occasionally forget that I'm covered in spit up and haven't showered in three days.

But it is starting to take over my life.  It's starting to affect how I parent.  It's starting to affect my kids. I'm starting to think about when I can check my phone next while I'm spending time reading to Cole, or snuggling with Chase.

I got into the habit during those hour-long, all night nursing marathons during Chase's first few months of getting on my cell so that I wouldn't fall asleep while nursing him (and drop him!!).  But now (even though he's still up EVERY HOUR AT NIGHT to nurse, although he's much faster and more efficient), the habit of reaching for my phone while feeding him is carrying over.

I have to stop.  I have to make a conscious effort to unplug. 

Because, I already know and realize, that twenty years from now I'm not going to regret not knowing some random high school friend's Facebook status - but I might regret not being FULLY present for my children's lives.

Those everyday moments - Cole showing me his latest Lego creation or jump move, or Chase's huge gummy grin when he meets my eyes while nursing - I don't want to miss those because I'm glued to Pinterest on my cell.

So I'm putting it out there.  Because nothing makes me put forth more effort and try to be my very best self than my kids.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to be on my phone less: to be more present with my children.  To put my phone down and connect while nursing Chase.  To wait to respond to texts and messages until Cole is down for his nap or occupied.  I'm not going to go cold turkey of just giving up my cell - I don't think that's practical nor necessary.  But less? Less is good.

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