If you use the links below to purchase books of your own, we’ll earn Amazon credit–at no cost to you–to reinvest in more books for next year!
If you use the links below to purchase books of your own, we’ll earn Amazon credit–at no cost to you–to reinvest in more books for next year!
You know when you walk into target to buy toothbrushes and you’re instantly slammed in the face with dollar junk and handbags? Yea, thanks Target.
“Mom! Will you buy me this purse?” says my 8-year-old boy. He was dead serious. Not a crack of a smile on his face. He started pleading with me about how he needed something to hold his collection of Tsum-Tsums, so he could spontaneously trade with friends when the need arose. And to this day, I’m a little disappointed in myself for perpetuating the fallacy of gender roles in children when I said, “Let’s check out the boy’s section to see what they have over there.” ::ashamed emoji::
There was a quick and unimpressed “no” as we riffled through the more masculine options available.
Before we knew it, we had swept past the girls section–you know, the one where I always avert my eyes as we pass by because I will forever be a boy mom and even the slightest glance at those precious girl clothes crushes my soul. Yea, that one.
“This one! I want this one! Please?” He’s holding up a blue pleather Beauty and the Beast handbag from this forbidden girls section that looks adorably like an old book. It wasn’t long before we moseyed on in and my middle boy had also picked out a cute handbag–covered in flowers (and pictured above). What the hay. Who cares. So I buy them.
On our way home, we stopped into Chick-fil-a to grab dinner and maybe I felt a little uncomfortable when my 8-year-old and 6-year-old boys rolled in with cross-body handbags. I may not care, but the world can be cruel–and we live in The South.
But my boys are warriors. They were not phased by the curious glances. Went right over to a table, opened up their bags and started playing with toys.
Several weeks go by and the kids who are quick to forget about shiny new things are still using these handbags to carry things around–collections, Pokemon cards, pencils, art supplies, everything.
But one night at dinner, the 6-year-old says to me, “Dad says you need to buy me a boy bag.”
What?! Excuse me?!
Their dad may be insecure in his masculinity, but he’s not going to pass that insecurity on to his children if I have anything to say about it.
I looked Wade right in the eye, and with the lowest and steadiest voice I could muster, I said “You don’t let anyone make you feel bad for liking what you like–not even your dad.”
In talking with him some more, I could tell that all of a sudden, he was conscious that this was an issue–and it didn’t come from a bully at school or a bigot out in public. It came from his own family.
I reamed their dad, but I was careful to tread lightly in the face of an allegation that I somehow convinced my boys to carry purses. Did I?
Wade stopped taking his purse to his dad’s house and insecurity crept into his life like a stealth burglar. But I tried in every way to make sure he understood that he’s loved no matter what he likes and I listened to his worries as much as I could. Eventually the controversy slipped away, and everything became normal again–without a child feeling self-conscious about whether or not he’s acting boy enough.
It’s been a couple of months and Wade is still using that little handbag. In fact, he took it to school yesterday for Share Day. I’m thankful he goes to a school where children’s interests are celebrated and something superficial like this wouldn’t even be a blip on anyone’s radar.
I’m proud of him for working through this and getting past imposed insecurity. His bravery is inspirational to me.
Ronnie was never phased at all. He continued to carry his bag despite anything anyone said about it. Blessed are the children that don’t give AF.
My boys are warriors with handbags. And if they can continue on with life in the face of criticism now, the world better watch out for what they do as grown men.
They say parenting is hard–single parenting even harder. But despite that solidarity gifted to us as parents, I think we all still have our moments of thinking no one could possibly understand how inadequate we feel–how our own situation must be so unique because it’s the hardest damn thing we’ve ever done and we can’t see the other side.
Raising these three little boys has made me feel the parallel of both joy and struggle and often I have wondered how long I will stay in the trenches.
They bicker–all.the.time. In fact, someone got punched immediately after this picturesque moment. But I can also begin to see how they are destined to be best friends and how they are so intricately connected in every way.
“Don’t pee on each other in the shower!” I can admit that I just stopped typing to shout this at three little gross boys. But I can also boast that last night I sat and watched as they made their own hot dogs for dinner and passed the fruit with civility I never imagined they’d possess so soon. And I had the privilege of experiencing that!
These are the moments of motherhood I’ve been waiting for. This is the time when I get to enjoy my children and love them for who they are without the distractions of every little thing you must keep up with when your kids are too young to do anything for themselves. I have been waiting for this.
Our time is now.
Today, we went to the park without even knowing what time we arrived. I have no reference for how long we stayed other than the fact that we left when we were good and exhausted and ready for video games. I’m guessing by the position of the sun, it was a couple of hours in the beautiful weather. Today, I put the rest of the world away and focused only on one thing–presence with the little people who mean more to me than anything else in this world.
I can’t say that I get to do this often. There are always emails to catch up on, something to clean, bills to pay, everything to do–and I have to tell my kids “Not right now” or “Okay, just for a couple of minutes” way too often.
But our time is now.
We’re transitioning into a stage where I can stop worrying so much about what I have to do for my children, that now I feel like I can focus on what I can do with my children.
And even if it’s still stressful and we still have so far to go, I will continue to share happy moments like this as my message to the universe that I want more. More connection. More space. More stillness. More glimpses of heaven–moments spent watching my little boys giggle while I am filled up with presence. This is what I want for 2017. And this is what we shall have.
My return to designing is right around the corner! I’ve been getting lots of new project requests in while I’ve been out, so I’m now booking for September! If you’re interested in grabbing one of these spots, please get in touch!
This week has been filled with lots of fun – interviewing potential mother’s helpers and ordering Jaxon’s newborn portraits. Charity is a dear friend of mine who gave us the wonderful gift of a photo shoot right in our home. She did Wade’s newborn photos two years ago and it was such a blessing to repeat the process with my newest little addition. Feast your eyes on my cutie!
He’s here! My third little nugget has arrived. Meet Jaxon. It’s hard to believe he was born nearly two weeks ago. This new little guy is so laid back and easy. If he were my first, I’d think this motherhood gig was a breeze! I’m hearing from friends that their third babies are so different from the first two as well – must be special third child trait. I managed to snap this little gem of a photo this morning, but a fabulous photographer friend did a couple of newborn sessions with us and I hope to share some more Jaxon-goodness with everyone soon (with professional pictures!).
I’ve slowly begun to start working again in small spurts, but I totally plan to take things easy for the next few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll be accepting new projects to start in June and July. If you’re interested in grabbing one of those spots, please take the time to fill out my new project request form and I’ll get back to you with a quote for your custom project!
We recently discovered that Ronnie (4) has 9 cavities. Yes, 9. When the dental hygenist showed me the x-ray, I was appalled. I was shocked. I was distraught. Concerned. Worried. Heartbroken. We discussed Ronnie’s diet a bit and discovered a few places we could make some improvement. The obvious place – sugar. While I work hard to avoid a lot of things in our food, I haven’t ever really been concerned with sugar. The only restriction I put on it was that I don’t want my kids consuming high fructose corn syrup and organic raw cane sugar is better than refined sugars. After warning me about juice and sweets, they just assumed I wanted the cavities filled and referred me to a pediatric dentist who could do it over the next few months. But, I’m not so quick to jump to the conclusion that drilling and filling is the best answer – at least not yet.
The buzz around a lot of natural families and dentists right now is that it’s totally possible to re-mineralize teeth and eliminate the need for surgical procedure. After reading several articles and the widely recommended book, Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition, I feel confident in at least trying to help Ronnie heal his teeth. Now, I can’t jump into it full-force and feed my kid liver and veggies while avoiding all grains and sugars, but I can make improvements. Here’s some things we’re trying out:
That leads us to treats. While other adults in my children’s lives feel like the only way to let them have fun is to endulge in processed and crap-filled psuedo-foods lacking any nutritional value, I on the other hand hold the belief that we can have fun while being healthy. At snack time today, I was listing off what we had available so he could make a choice – strawberries, toast, eggs… All of a sudden, he chimed in, “How about a chocolate smoothie?” What a great idea! My kid is a genius. It’s a fun way to have a little treat and get some minerals in the kid’s body – all while having fun because he gets to make his own smoothies and he loves our Ninja food processor. Ronnie gets to pick most of his ingredients and today’s smoothie included: spinach, pineapple, mango, blueberries, avocado, cocoa powder and a little bit of chocolate almond milk to smooth it all out. It ended up being a little too fruity for my taste (I would have eliminated the pineapple and mango), but he enjoyed it.
Think of all the minerals he just slurped up from that little cup? All with minimal sugar. Now I’m on a mission to find other fun treat alternatives (like this one I’ve been making regularly for a few weeks now). Because, cavities be darned, they won’t ruin our fun!
A mom’s typical day can change a lot. As I look back on posts I’ve written about my days, I often read through them and think, “That would never work now.” It’s fun to document our lives and today I thought I’d take the opportunity to share our typical day at home – or at least how it looks for now. Today also happened to be Valentine’s day as well, so there’s a few fun activities thrown in that I’d like to remember.
My day usually starts very early – like 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. It’s definitely not that I’m really disciplined enough to wake up that early. I don’t own an alarm clock and don’t need to set one on my phone either. See, this little one in my belly likes his room and he’s perfectly content upon letting me know when it gets a little cramped in there. It’s usually about this time that he starts pushing on the bladder, I make my trip to the bathroom and then I’m up for the day. This is actually a great thing right now since I just started designing full time and I’ve always got a ton of work to do. This morning I was able to check my emails, respond to a few clients, install a WordPress theme, send a mockup out, and work on a current project’s demo site. I do all this from bed as my two little rascals sleep peacefully right beside me.
About 7:00 and Wade (22 months) starts stirring. I hear some congestion in his chest and lift him up to help it clear. He gags and coughs up mucus all over his side of the bed. I should have known it was coming – he got a hold of his big brother’s buttered toast last night and snagged a few bites before I caught on. Dairy is not his friend. Another load of laundry to add to the pile, but for now I just scoot everyone over so they can get some more rest. Wade falls off back to sleep and I wrap up the work I was doing to head into the kitchen.
I start some Breathe Easy tea with raw honey for Wade, a cup of coffee for me, and sit down at the dining room table to put together today’s activities. It’s Valentine’s Day, so there’s lots of hearts and pink and red and purple. We won’t do much curriculum work today since I’ve got some themed activities already lined up. As I’m wrapping up my preparations, the boys quietly walk into the kitchen looking for morning cuddles. I always ask them the same two questions: “Did you sleep well?” and “Did you have sweet dreams?” Ronnie always replies with “uh-huh” and Wade gives a pitiful “nooo…” I know good and well he got awesome sleep, but I think he likes the sympathy. One day he’ll figure out that I’ll cuddle him up anyway without the pity party.
Ronnie (4) gets sight of his school activities and starts asking questions, so I know now that I’ve got to get on the ball and get the day going. After starting some laundry and a quick diaper change, I throw together breakfast: peanut butter on toasted sourdough bread, raspberries, and a clementine. Ronnie gets a probiotic smoothie and a small cup of juice with cod liver oil in it (we’re trying to heal some cavities) and Wade gets his herbal tea. We all sit together to eat, brush our teeth, and clean up a bit before starting our lessons.
We start off by discussing Valentine’s day, talking a bit about why and how we show love, and then read a few books we managed to pick up at the library last week. Then it was on to the fun stuff.
To take a break from all the girly heartsy cutesy stuff, we broke out an activity from this month’s Kiwi Crate. Ronnie followed the instructions to make a comet, set up some rings, and the boys played together trying to score points like on a skee-ball game. This gave me time to put away the supplies we were done with, change over the laundry, check email/facebook, and set up some more activities.
We’ve worked on patterns a lot in the past, but we haven’t ever defined them as an AB, ABB, or ABC pattern until today. To get things started with this activity, we watched a couple of youtube videos to introduce the idea (this one and this one) and he picked up on it right away. Instead of coloring the page like the directions asked, we used his hearts to make the patterns.
As a winding down activity, I had Ronnie do a puzzle with a sensory twist. Of course, he’s very familiar with his letters, but having to pull them out of a bucket of beans just satisfies his sensory-seeking side for some reason. You can see how Wade (almost 2) just kind of hangs around and “helps” every now and then. At this point, I throw on A Charlie Brown Valentine as a special treat, but the kids end up playing in the living room and entertaining themselves while I put away all the supplies we were done with and whipped up a quick lunch.
Mine doesn’t look as cool as the lunches on pinterest, but I did attempt the hotdog hearts – organic dogs and grass-fed cheddar, of course! On the side, we had strawberries, cucumbers, sauerkraut, and diced tomatoes (only on Wade’s – not shown).
After lunch, the boys helped me clean up the table and then they settled in the living room for some quiet time. Wade watched a little bit of Dumbo on Netflix while Ronnie played some computer games. Ronnie sometimes plays outside or in his room quietly at this time, but today he enjoyed the down time parallel to me. This gave me the opportunity to fold the 3 loads of laundry waiting for me (ick!), check some emails, load up the ThredUp bag that came with our BabbaCo box, and write half of this post. By the time I was done, Wade had fallen asleep on my lap and Ronnie was fixing himself a snack. I silently did a fist pump because Wade has a difficult time falling asleep during the day when we’re not out and about driving around town. Strap him in a car seat and he falls right to sleep but hanging out at home, he fights it. We’re home 2-3 days a week, so sometimes he skips his naps altogether. Thankfully, he sleeps really well at night or else I’d be worried.
With Wade asleep and Ronnie starting to look for something new to do, we decided to open up our new Math-U-See curriculum that got delivered earlier in the morning by our very friendly FedEx lady. He blew through lesson 1 and began lesson 2 before I cut him off. He really didn’t want to stop, but it was getting to be that time of the day where I couldn’t devote as much attention to what we were doing. Wade woke up in a fuss and it was time to start supper.
My bold plan to put a pot of bone broth on to simmer all day didn’t turn out – I forgot. Oops. So, a quickie dinner of pineapple teriyaki meatballs, rice and peas, and sweet potato fries seemed like a good alternative. As I’m pulling out the ingredients, my mom calls and asks if we can come over so she can give the kids their Valentines. I’m thankful my family is understanding of our dietary needs, so she treats the boys to books and crayons with cute v-day cards. I also love that my family lives right down the street and we see them a couple nights a week! So, I pack up our supper and the kids and we head on over. As soon as we arrive, I fix the kids plates because I know it won’t be long before they are wrestling in the living room with their cousin (3). I engulf myself in some much needed adult conversation with Mom, Dad, and my sister while my brother tries to keep the kids from destroying the other room. Eventually, he gives up and retires to his bedroom. Not too much longer and I realize we really need to go. It’s almost bedtime and the kids are getting a little out of control. Just as we’re all packed up, my other brother and sister-in-law walk through the door with my precious little baby nephew (1 month). I fight the urge to stay, but soak up a few moments looking at him before we finally leave.
On the way home, I let the kids call their dad back since he called right as we were leaving – and after a 5 minute conversation, we were in our driveway so I laid out the plan so Ronnie knows what to expect. It’s the same thing every night, but reminding him seems to help things go smoothly. He comes in, takes off his shoes and jacket, grabs the kindle and heads to his room for down time. It’s a good thing the kids got baths last night because there just isn’t time right now. A bath every other day seems to work for us and their sensitive skin. I get Wade changed into his jammies and, after putting our freshly washed sheets back on, we lay in bed reading books for a while. Wade just stopped nursing last month, so these cuddle moments are especially important for him right now. We usually watch Colbert and Jon Stewart from the night before on Hulu and he’ll fall asleep against my big belly.
Once Wade was good and asleep, I crept out of the room to check on Ronnie and help him with a bedtime snack. He was very specific – two boiled eggs and 5 strawberries. Okay, bud. You got it.
As he chowed down, I finally remembered to pick my chicken carcass and throw it in the crockpot with some veggies to simmer down into a bone broth. Should be good and gelatiny by morning. After my last kitchen clean-up of the day, I look over at Ronnie who has finished his snack and is engulfed into an episode of Caillou on the kindle. We brush our teeth and he heads off to bed without complaint. Thank goodness tonight is an easy one – that’s not the case every night! At some point, he’ll creep back into bed with me but its nice for him to have his own space for most of the night.
It’s already 9:45. I plop down on my bed with my laptop on the nightstand to finish this post. I’ll probably be up for an hour or two more to work a bit, respond to emails, and catch up on Facebook and Instagram to see what everyone else did for Valentine’s day.
And, this is our typical day at home – about 2-3 days a week. For the rest of the week it’s errands, church, grocery shopping, homeschool co-op, playdates, special trips to museums, parks, and interesting local events. Some days, I have to work all afternoon so the kids play outside or together in their rooms full of imagination-inspiring toys. And some days we just pack up and head to the beach to relax and enjoy the view. The kids spend a day each week with their dad, so I treat myself to a full day of designing at my favorite Starbucks or Panera (or both!).
Usually about this time every night, I reminisce about times when I could actually take a nap while pregnant. In fact, I slept most of the time during my first pregnancy. Now, I may lay down for an hour every now and then, but there are no naps. Somehow, I still have the energy. I think about the days when my house was really truly clean – when the carpets weren’t stained (darned cream carpets!), the hard floors weren’t sticky, and there were no little boy pee puddles on the toilet seat. And I faintly remember a time when I didn’t just plum forget to take a shower (like today!?). I wonder if my life would be so much easier if I went about things in a more conventional way. But, then I laugh and realize how much I truly madly deeply love my life and the people in it.
Sure, I am now a single, attachment-parenting, homeschooling, full-time work-at-home mom in her third trimester of her third pregnancy. I often feel inadequate – it’s a lot of work. But, how else could I live the flexible and present life I aspire to live? I’m not there yet, but each day I’m closer than I was yesterday.
We threw a Neverland themed party for the boys this past weekend and despite some rain and a sick baby, I think it was still pretty successful. A lot didn’t get done because I was up all night with Wade and, while I had hoped to be doing party prep, I ended up taking two showers after being thrown up on four times. Yep, it was that kind of weekend.
The party was just a small family thing. In fact, there were only 4 kids there, including my two. But, that was just the right size for us. Everyone was supposed to wear pajamas like Wendy, Michael, and John from Peter Pan, so some of us looked like we just rolled out of bed – that was done on purpose!
We decided to do brunch so that we could get bagels and pastries from Ronnie’s favorite place to eat – Panera! We also included some of Wade’s favorites – peppers, tomatoes, crackers, and hummus (from Jason’s Deli).
I was able to get this cute stickers done by purchasing a voucher for Sticker You way back before Christmas. They are dishwasher-proof, so we decided to apply them to some Preserve cups – now we can reuse them and avoid the added trash.
Outside, we had activities for the kids. First up, the Indian Camp complete with teepee, drums, and homemade feather headresses. HOW! We also set up a Mermaid Lagoon with a water table, but that didn’t really get used since the weather was quite drippy. The last station was Pirate’s Cove, a treasure hunt through sand for gold coins, alligators, jewels, and bouncy balls. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of it, but there were little bags and lists for the kids that told them what to find – similar to this one.
I had a “Neverland Swag” table set up with favors for both the adults and kids. Party guests over the age of 4 got little bags of meringue cookies and the little ones got flouro-dipped canvas bags with a Peter Pan Golden Book, goldfish, party cup, candy, and an alligator crayon (Made by Maxx)
Cupcake Stands: Sunday Hatch
Crowns: Felted Kitten
Cupcakes & Smash Cakes: Trader Joe’s
Bagels & Pastries: Panera Bread
Hummus: Jason’s Deli
Stickers: Sticker You
Paper Favor Bags: Gift Wrap So Pretty
Alligator Crayons: Made by Maxx
Get yours at shaybocks.com!
“Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour ” – Ecclesiastes 11:8, The Message
This time last year, I was leaned over a hospital bed in the worst pain of my life. Moments later, I heard my second-born cry for the first time. Since 8:44am on March 25, 2011, there have been many more cries, many more giggles, smiles, bumps, bruises, hugs, kisses, and milestones. My baby is no longer an infant. Today he becomes a bona fide toddler. There’s so much more fun to come, but today, I’d like to take it all in and be happy for our first year together. Afterall, this is the last first year this family will ever have again.
Ronnie is almost four and I have seen his imagination bloom over the last couple of months. Everything is an adventure to him and its such a nice reminder of how innocent and exciting childhood can be. His interest in all things pretend has spurred me to look into Waldorf education. In addition to several blogs that I found extremely helpful, You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy and Simplicity Parenting by Kim John (M.Ed) Payne were amazing resources to get me started. Basically, the Waldorf method encourages free play and the use of fairy tales and imaginative play to learn. Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and the mind behind the method, held the notion that early childhood learning is largely experiential, imitative and sensory-based. This education emphasizes learning through practical activities and “working” alongside a parent or teacher. A Waldorf preschool wouldn’t have desks and worksheets to complete, but they would do some water coloring, baking, story-telling, singing, and lots of natural outside play. I love that this approach emphasizes developing children’s emotional life and artistic expression and allowing the intellectual knowledge to flow from that.
Looking through how other parents have integrated this method into their kids’ day at home, I discovered fairy gardens! Since there’s no little girls ’round here, we decided to call ours a gnome garden. The idea behind a fairy/gnome garden is to give your child a special place where his imagination can roam freely. It’s an opportunity to get outside, breath in some fresh air, and have some self-directed play time.
We got most of our supplies from the local nursery, the dollar store, and Michaels (40% of coupons!). The great thing about these miniature gardens is that you can use your imagination and create your little world with whatever materials you like. For ours, we used:
Next, we filled ‘er up with potting soil and prepared for all our fantastical miniature plants. Once our painted houses were dry, we started laying out our plants and nestling the houses where they naturally fit.
Okay, we’re well into the middle of November and I haven’t even shared our Halloween craftiness yet. I’ve been working like a mad woman lately and between designing, child-rearing, thanksgiving supper planning, and Christmas shopping, time has slipped right out from under my nose. Well, no time for long explanations. Here’s the short and dirty…
We made some Halloween treat bags for Ronnie’s preschool class using this free printable. My computer decided the orange parts should be pink, so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “eh, we’ll give those to the girls.” It seemed to work out okay. Our goal for the treats inside was simple: no crap. Okay, the plastic flashlights and the frostie coupons could be considered crap, but at least there’s no high-fructose corn syrup or red #40 in the bag.
We opted for the Trunk or Treat celebration at the church this year and the boys went as owls. How cute are they? I was so inspired by this tutorial I found on pinterest that I just had to recreate it. Of course, I don’t sew, so I broke out the glue to put these bad boys together. With some linen and a mixture of felt and fleece, these actually turned out okay. We added these adorable crocheted owl hats by Amy K to finish off the look.
Stay tuned for more holiday fun! I’ve got lots of DIY projects in the works. 🙂
Since the moment Wade arrived, he’s been my little side kick. We have never been more than a room or two apart, so its safe to assume that when its time for him to sleep, I’m right there with him. Most of the time I nurse him until he falls off and then we rock or just lay together until he drifts off to sleep.
About two weeks ago, a weird thing started happening. I noticed that if I needed to get up to go help Ronnie or answer the door, I would come back and he would be asleep. He had fallen asleep on his own without a peep! This was all new parenting territory for me since Ronnie had always cried himself to sleep. This happened a few more times before I decided it was time for me to try it out on purpose. I’d nurse him down and then give him his paci when he was done. Still wide awake, he’d lay there as I quietly left the room. The next thing I know, he’s sleeping.
I was perplexed. How did he self-soothe so easily? Shouldn’t he be “spoiled” since I have held him so much and have been there at his every beckon call since birth? And then I remembered why I have taken this approach in the first place.
For his entire life (all four months), he has never had to cry for more than a few minutes before I am at his side. I may not always be able to get him to stop crying, but I respond as quickly as possible. Yes, there have been moments when I seriously doubted my decision to do this because it was simply so exhausting. But a little prayer puts my woes at ease.
Since, as parents, we are our children’s first representation of God, I decided to take my advice from the Good Book instead of well-meaning family, friends, and parenting manuals. In the Old Testament alone, scripture holds more than one hundred references to how people communicate with God through crying. Since a baby can’t talk yet, crying is his only communication. A baby is communicating his needs with a parent just as we communicate our needs to God.
Psalm 34:17 says “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” Does God let us cry-it-out or is he there for us each and every time we cry out for help? I can’t speak for others, but I know that God has always been there when I, God’s child, needed him. So, why shouldn’t I be there when my children need me?
Because I know that I am safe in the comfort of my Lord, I can rest at peace throughout the more difficult moments of my life. I know that if I need him and I cry out, the Lord will respond with compassion. Wade was able to self-soothe himself to sleep because he knows I am always nearby and if he should need me, I’ll be there.
That miraculous Bible – it really is the ultimate manual for life, isn’t it?
Today was a nasty hot day, so it stands to reason that the storm we got tonight would be an angry one. We had just put Ronnie to bed with his sippy cup full of chamomile tea and honey. I was laying in our bed with Wade as he slowly drifted off after a relaxing nursing session. All of a sudden, the sky lit up and BOOM! The loudest thunder I have ever heard! As soon as the noise subsided, a blood curdling scream came out of the room at the end of the hall. This is the first time a storm has ever scared Ronnie, so I ran as fast as I could to get to him and scooped him up into a tight hug. He cried, “I’m scared. I’m outta here!” His matter-of-factness gave me quite a chuckle. I brought him to bed with me and Rob sat with him for a minute to calm him and cover his ears for more thunder. I held his hand for a while and he looked over and said “I love you so much mommy.” Its nights like this that remind me of how blessed I truly am.
My life isn’t perfect. I fight with my husband, I lose my patience with the kids, we wonder how we’re going to pay all the bills and save enough for a future, and often things don’t go my way. But, I have the perfect family for me. Thanks to Him.
I’ve written a lot about how babies come with a lot of stuff. My goal has been to acquire products that give me the most bang for my buck, so I can have less and still provide my baby with the healthiest options for his body and his earth. The products I have chosen have been the most beneficial to me so far and let me preface by saying that I certainly didn’t pay full price for anything on this list – I could never afford that. Thanks to deal sites and discount codes, I’ve scored most of it for 50-70% off the list price. Here’s my top 16:
Today was Ronnie’s first day of school – Preschool Summer Camp! This feels a little weird. Okay, a lot weird. My itty bitty 6lb 12oz baby is now a preschooler. I’ve known for a while that Ronnie has needed that extra stimulation, interaction with other kids, and a good educational outlet. Now that he’s completely potty trained, he gets to do stuff like this. I am so happy for him!
Rob and I started out our day at 5:30am to get ourselves ready before we got up our little guy. He actually didn’t want to get out of bed and it took him a few minutes of cuddling with dad before he’d sit at the table for his breakfast. And then, of course, he didn’t even eat it. I think we’ll have to get up even earlier tomorrow. Once we started on our morning routine, though, it was smooth sailing.
These days, I don’t have enough focus to actually sit down and write an eloquent account of recent days. I’ve got that terrible mom syndrome where I go to the kitchen for a cup of water and end up changing the laundry, a diaper, feed the baby, check my email, make a template edit, and unclog the sink again before I finally remember to grab a cup and put some ice in it. The genius invention of facebook has been helping me to regurgitate my day in short spurts – micro-blogging is certainly more of my thing these days. But, I don’t want to neglect my precious blog over here, so another Randomness post it is!
Being an entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom to two babies while my husband works ungodly hours and goes to school has absolutely forced me to be stronger than I think I am. While I do love the sense of accomplishment (that others may not see, but I do) and I wouldn’t trade this opportunity to live each and every moment with my boys, I dream of the days when the kids are in school, Rob is out of school and working a cake engineering job 9 to 5, and I will have more brain power and time to pursue my passions whole-heartedly. I honestly don’t think I can even imagine what I’ll be able to achieve then – its that good in my head.
Ronnie is 98% potty trained. Yipee! Today, he had to use a public restroom 3 times because we were gone all flippin’ day – and he didn’t have one single accident. He loves boxers, but won’t touch those tighty whities – even with Buzz Lightyear on them. This means he can start preschool! I plan to enroll him sometime this week and he’ll start at the end of June. I think it will be a fantastic opportunity for him to interact with other kids, work on his speech skills, and follow directions for a change (kiddin’!).
Wade had his 2-month checkup today. Our little chunk weighs 15lbs 14oz now. He’s HUGE! That’s in the 98th percentile for his age. And I’m still completely breastfeeding him – no formula supplement at all. At my 6-week postpartum checkup, my midwife said I should bottle the stuff and sell it. She was quite impressed at how “healthy” he is. He’s certainly thriving. He may weigh a lot, but its all in proportion. He’s in the 90th percentile for his height and 95th for his head circumference. He’s got something big in store for his future. I just know it!
Ronnie rode his first roller coaster a couple of weeks ago at Busch Gardens. Okay, so it was a kid roller coaster, but it went up and down and even sideways. I was a nervous wreck, but he enjoyed it so much that he waited in line for a second ride. That’s my cutie sitting next to the handsome fella with the shades pointing at the camera.
I have changed my work routine so that I work in the morning now, rather than at night. Its so much easier just to get up with Rob at 6:00 and get things done while I’m fresh and the kids are still sleeping (more often than not, Wade is with me in the Moby wrap). Before, I worked at night once the kids were in bed. But, I was always tired myself after a hectic day and I would end up working till the wee hours of the morning – making me even more tired the next day. And the cycle continues. This new arrangement works so much better for me.
These green smoothies have been keeping me going. I’ve wanted to try it out for years, but never was brave enough until recently. Even with breastfeeding, I’m not losing weight anymore (after I dropped 25 pounds the first week after delivery). I thought maybe this would help me out, but no such luck yet. Even if it isn’t making me lose weight though, these things are around to stay. They are quite yummy! My favorite is apple, mango, spinach, strawberry, cherry, agave nectar, and almond milk. That sounds like a lot of fruit, but about half of the smoothie is actually spinach. Yum!
The summer bugs are here, so I’ve gone on a cleaning binge. It really grosses me out to see bugs in our living space – especially with the kiddos. So far, we’ve had ants, 1 roach, and a crazy influx of flies. Not sure where they are coming from, but I’ve had to break out some kung-fu-bug-killing-skills. I’ve decided to get rid of half our crap again. Not kidding in the least. I just took a whole car-load of stuff to the donation bin and I’ve got a bit more to go tomorrow. I can also finally get rid of the TA-50 gear, since its been 6 months since Rob’s ETS. Yay! I’m hoping to take some pics of our new cleaned out spaces once everything is gone. 🙂
I have a confession. I’m totally addicted to all of these one-day deal sites that are popping up everywhere. Seriously – good stuff cheap – but it means I’m buying much more than I normally would. Like this adorable organic kimono onsie. Cute and cost less than I would spend on an outfit at Babies-R-Us. I already bought the kids first stocking stuffer for Christmas – Tegu blocks 60% off. Where is the line between being a mom who is creatively working with a budget and over-consumption? I don’t know yet. I do know that I haven’t bought anything yet that I had second thoughts about or regretted. At least I’m intentional about what I’ve chosen to purchase. And usually, these purchases can take the place of something I would have already bought (like new clothes for a little boy who is growing faster than expected). And most of it is not made in China – ultra plus.
We spent Memorial Day at the beach. It took a lot of convincing to get Rob to drive down there on his rare day off, but I pulled it off. I absolutely love how being in the Outerbanks pulls some kind of drive out of me. It reminds me about what I want out of life – the ability to sit back, relax, and soak up the peacefulness. Every time we’re down there, Rob and I DREAM together. And that’s special.
The other day, during a phone conversation with my mother-in-law, I mentioned that Wade was having a hard time napping because every time he’d get to sleep, Ronnie would come up singing or playing a guitar or running loudly and wake the baby. Her response was, “Well, maybe he’ll sleep good tonight.” That’s a pretty well-meaning and common phrase – I guess because babies are known to keep parents up throughout the night, causing sleep deprivation and such. But it made me think. So far in the last two months, I’ve never once had a problem with Wade keeping me up at night. He’s never had a crying marathon or refused to go to bed. Hmm… I must be in harmony with my baby.
Ronnie, my first child, kept me up many a night. I was extremely sleep deprived while caring for him – while my husband was deployed and my family was a few states away. But he was my first. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I thought I did. But I didn’t.
When Ronnie was almost a year old, I was introduced to the idea of attachment parenting. I didn’t do much research into the idea at first, so from the few tidbits I did know, I thought it was a great idea but something that wasn’t really realistic. Plus, it went against everything I’d grown up knowing about how kids should be raised. Little by little, I came to know more about the idea and realized that this style of child rearing was definitely more in line with how I felt intuitively about my mothering style. It’s parenting by God’s design and therefore is pretty instinctual. Society’s pressures about how we should raise our children gets in the way of that instinct and we end up with something totally different, though.
Now, there are some crazies out there that take this idea of attachment/gentle/natural parenting to an extreme. I’ve seen and heard of some pretty interesting stuff that I probably wouldn’t do with my kids. But, of course, every family should take its own path. My kids still have boundaries and rules – they in no way “rule the roost.” What we’re doing right now works for us – and I hope to keep it that way.
In order to stay in harmony with my baby, I follow the 7 Baby B’s:
Wade Lee Bocks | born on March 25, 2011 at 8:44am | 9 pounds and 20.5 inches long
Well, after two months of maternity leave, I’m finally back to work. I’ve actually been easing back into things over the past couple of weeks, but I’m finally ready to make it official. Our son, Wade, was born on March 25 and weighed in at 9 pounds! It turned out to be a crazy labor and delivery story. Life back at home with a newborn and a toddler is absolutely chaotic, so I’m very thankful for my patient clients who have stuck in there with me while I get things back on track.
My design queue is now open and ready for new orders. I’ve updated my pricing, but now all repeat clients will receive a 20% discount. I also finally set up a facebook page for DDS and I updated my portfolio. I’ve got some exciting things coming up and I can’t wait to share it with everyone! For now, I’ll leave with you with some more Wade yumminess…
|4 days old|
Today, Wade is 6 days old! I can’t believe its been almost a week already. Here’s some highlights of the past few days:
|10:54 pm||Finished Nursing right (0:21)|
|10:32 pm||Started Nursing right||null|
|10:28 pm||Finished Nursing left (0:08)|
|10:20 pm||Started Nursing left||null|
|10:17 pm||Pee and Poop|
|8:46 pm||Finished Nursing right (0:14)|
|8:32 pm||Started Nursing right||null|
|8:26 pm||Pee and Poop|
|8:08 pm||Finished Nursing left (0:09)|
|8:00 pm||Vitamin D (0 dose)|
|7:58 pm||Started Nursing left||null|
|7:58 pm||Finished Nursing right (0:24)|
|7:34 pm||Started Nursing right||null|
|7:26 pm||Pee and Poop|
|6:28 pm||Finished Nursing left (0:22)|
|6:04 pm||Started Nursing left||null|
|5:00 pm||Pee and Poop|
|4:12 pm||Finished Nursing left (0:08)|
|4:03 pm||Started Nursing left||null|
|3:58 pm||Finished Nursing right (0:18)|
|3:39 pm||Pee and Poop|
|3:39 pm||Started Nursing right||null|
|1:42 pm||Finished Nursing left (0:11)|
|1:31 pm||Started Nursing left||null|
|1:28 pm||Pee and Poop|
|11:16 am||Finished Nursing right (0:15)|
|11:00 am||Started Nursing right||null|
|10:44 am||Pee and Poop|
|9:11 am||Finished Nursing left (0:21)|
|8:50 am||Started Nursing left||null|
|7:03 am||Finished Nursing right (0:06)|
|6:56 am||Started Nursing right||null|
|6:50 am||Pee and Poop|
|5:57 am||Finished Nursing left (0:06)|
|5:50 am||Started Nursing left||null|
|5:50 am||Finished Nursing right (0:07)|
|5:41 am||Started Nursing right||null|
|5:39 am||Pee and Poop|
|2:56 am||Finished Nursing left (0:08)|
|2:40 am||Started Nursing left||null|
|2:37 am||Finished Nursing left (0:05)|
|2:32 am||Started Nursing left||null|
|2:30 am||Pee and Poop|
|2:05 am||Finished Nursing right (0:17)|
|1:48 am||Started Nursing right||null|
That’s 17 nursing sessions and 13 diaper changes – more than double the guideline for determining if your baby is getting enough. Now, if we can just get a proper latch and relieve the pain, we’ll be home-free. If you’re wondering how I kept track of all that, check out Baby ESP for android. Its very convenient to keep a record right my phone – and its super simple to use. One finger to touch start and it keeps track for me.
So, I’m still pregnant. Yes, my due date was Tuesday. To pass the time, I figured I’d put together a collage of my bad bathroom belly pics:
And those bottom pictures are me on my due date – at 40 WEEKS! I started having prodromal (fake) labor over a month ago, so I thought for sure this kid would be born by now. At my 38 week check up, I was only dilated to 1cm. It was reassuring to find out that I was progressing and I was up to 2cm by my 39th week. Unfortunately for me, at 40 weeks I’m back down to only 1cm. I asked her to strip my membranes at my appointment yesterday, but she said she couldn’t even get a finger in there to do it. That’s when the tears started. It became apparent that my dream of experiencing a completely natural birth probably won’t come true.
They had me do a non-stress test and the baby’s heartbeat was totally fine. But they scheduled two more plus a biophysical for next week. This will be the first ultrasound I’ve had since finding out the sex months ago. I guess they just want to check and make sure all his parts are in working order and how he moves around and reacts to the contractions. Speaking of contractions – I am still having them even though I’m not feeling it. In the 20 minutes that I was hooked up for the NST, I had 3 contractions that I didn’t feel. So, my body is working to some extent. Unfortunately, I’m not feeling most of what’s going on and when I do feel it, its just not intense enough for me to count them and make sure they’re regular for an extended period of time.
At this point, even though I’m not able to count contractions, I am having a ton of back pain and mild cramping (not like contractions, but like period cramps). I am discouraged. I should be holding my baby right now. And if I don’t go into labor before 41 weeks and 5 days, they will have to induce me. I want to avoid that SO bad. A woman’s body was made to do this – I don’t want chemicals to force my baby out.
Today, I am 39 weeks along in my pregnancy. And I think I’m in labor. With Ronnie, I barely felt my contractions, even on pitocin, so I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around. I’ve definitely been contracting all dag-um day and I feel like I have to take the biggest BM of my life. Yes, I said it. Called up my fabulous midwife and she said to call back when it gets much stronger and intense or if my water breaks. So, now I’m just waiting.
So, since I haven’t had to go to the hospital yet, we were able to go get the boys portraits made. Emily, my adopted sister, was able to make a surprise appearance the other day – which is rare. She lives a few hours away and we don’t get to see her often, so mom decided to take the opportunity to get the kids together for a photo session. I have to say, I have some amazingly handsome nephews and son. Seriously, get a load of this…
diaper pail (trash can) from Wal-mart / Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner
Kissaluvs Fitted Cloth Diapers – since buying my set of cloth diapers, everyone has been telling me how they won’t fit the baby at first. Luckily, I had enough reward points with Kelly’s Closet to purchase 4 Kissa’s size 0 diapers to hold us over (at least part-time) until Wade is big enough for the others. We’ll just supplement with chlorine-free diapers. / Cloth wipes – took some hand-me-down receiving blankets and cut them into squares. We’ll just wet them with warm water when we need them.
2 towels and 4 rags handed down from a cousin / 10 BabyKicks organic wash cloths / 6 receiving blankets handed down from Ronnie – the 2 top organic ones were bought from Target on clearance / 4 OsoCozy unbleached prefolds (using them as burp cloths) / 1 extra co-sleeper sheet / Yes to Carrots baby lotion / 3 Aden + Anais cotton muslin swaddle wraps (bought with the 50% off gift card Amazon had back in January) / 1 package of newborn Seventh Generation chlorine-free diapers to get us started
7 sleepers / 5 bibs / 10 pairs of socks / 10 onesies / 5 pants / 3 sensory toys / wee gallery art cards
extras for later: crib mirror, bumbo tray, play mat, doorway jumper, baby carrier, backup formula (from the military hospital), backup diaper bag – all of this was given to me, or else I wouldn’t have any of it.
Carter’s diaper bag – I actually ordered two different handmade custom bags from an etsy shop, but ended up not liking either of them when they arrived. So, I got a refund and bought this one from Burlington Coat Factory – the diaper bag is filled with goodies we’ll need at the hospital, which I will lay out in another post, but for now I’ll just list them: moby wrap, 1 swaddle wrap, 2 prefolds, chlorine-free diapers & wipes, 2 sleepers, 3 onesies, 1 cap, 4 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of mittens, bamboo grooming kit, non-petroleum jelly, lovey (from Grammy) / puj tub (I am in LOVE with this item and can’t wait to use it) – hanging on the back of the bathroom door
12 Bum Genius cloth diapers (and a ton of extra training pants for big brother Ronnie) – under the bathroom sink
6 tops and 2 overalls all handed down from Ronnie / extra clothes 3mo-12mo / and in the bottom of the closet…
A big box full of hand-me-down clothes and shoes!
So, what do we have that you don’t see here?
That’s it. That’s every single thing we own for baby Wade. Stay tuned to find out what we DON’T own for our baby and why!
Orange Day:Focus on all things orange for today. Some ideas are:
Photo from sonictk
Cooking Bagel Smiles: Take a bagel and cut it in half. Allow your toddler to spread peanut butter on the bagel with a knife – but stay close and supervise accordingly! Put some marshmallow “teeth” along the bagel and then place the two halves into a smile shape. Enjoy!
Painting with Oranges: Slice an orange in half and then dip the flesh side into some red, yellow, or orange paint. You could also use a paint brush to apply the paint to the orange. Press the orange down onto a piece of card stock and repeat until you get a fresh piece of art. Talk about how red and yellow mix together to make orange and how the orange paint is the same color as the orange fruit.
Why do we brush our teeth?: Try out this cute little activity at Our Montessori Storyto show your toddler why we brush our teeth. Dip an egg in soda and leave overnight. When you wake up the next morning, the egg will be all brown and yucky. Have your toddler use a toothrbush and toothpaste to brush the egg and get it clean. Now have him brush his own teeth and count to 5 on the bottom and 5 on top. Now your turn to brush his teeth – count to 5 on the bottom and 5 on the top. Repeat 4 times.
Photo from Our Montessori Story
D is for Duck: Follow this tutorial at No Time for Flashcardsto make an adorable duck out of the letter D. Added bonus, she has a little video to show you how to sing a catchy song about ducks!
Photo from No Time for Flashcards