Posts in thoughts
9 months old, my personal Everest

A few ways having a 9 month old is a reminder of being 9 months pregnant.

1. You are carrying a 22 pound extra weight constantly! This time, it's not water weight, it's literally how heavy that baby is!  9 month olds want to be held, want that attention, feel the separation and desperation when you choose something other than them to give your attention. Holding your baby can be just as exhausting as being 9 months pregnant, although there is one plus...you do get to set that weight down at the end of the night.

2. All you can think about it how you want to sit down and rest. I have thought about exhaustion pretty much non stop when following a crawling, pulling up, unstable, wobbly little man.  Keeping him safe has become such a huge undertaking.  I remember the long days of waddling around in the third trimester, and longing for rest, real rest and not being able to get it.

3. You keep waiting for this challenge to be over, which only makes it seem longer.  Waiting for a baby to learn to walk is about as fast as watching water boil or paint dry.  It will eventually come, but you never know how fast or slow it might happen.  It is a two steps forward, one step back journey, and sometimes it really is 3 steps backwards.  How vividly I remember wanting the "labor" day to come in order to meet my little one!

4. You are excited about the future but sentimental about the past.  I cannot wait for my little guy to walk and start saying words, but I'm getting sentimental about his babyhood being over, being able to hold him while he sleeps, being able to hold him for an hour and not get exhausted.  Reminds me of pregnancy, because you want so badly to meet your child, but the journey of pregnancy has some cool moments too, like when you both have hiccups at the same time...:)

5. People say to you, "Rest while you can, you're going to need it"  People are ALWAYS reminding you what lies ahead....like they really know what your life is going to be like.  Before you give birth, it's constantly, rest while you can, you won't get any sleep soon.  Same goes for when you have 2, people say things like "How far apart are they?  Oh wow.  Yeah, you just wait until he starts walking, then you will REALLY have your hands full."  It's easy to let the comments get to you, and really, it's up to you what attitude you will have when it's all said and done.  I try to live one phase at a time...sometimes it's easier than others.

6. Your world will change immediately in the blink of an eye.  Once you give birth, it's hard to think about anything other than your baby.  And once that baby starts walking...it's really hard to remember what it was like to put them somewhere when they can't move from that spot!  

7. Patience is growing deeper as you give to someone other than yourself.  I thought I learned a lot of patience with my first born, just one child.  Then I realized, wow, I have a lot more patience to learn.  This parenting thing is hard whether you have one child or 10...we could always use a little more patience with each one that comes our way.

8. It's worth the battle, the hard, and the ugly. There is joy at the end of the day.  I don't want this blog to sound negative, just truthful.  9 month olds have been might hardest mom days of babyhood, and being 9 months pregnant was by far the hardest time of my pregnancy. The joy of it all is that the hard days are what makes the good days even better.  With each milestone come new challenges, and I'm so happy to be able to take this journey of motherhood!

 

 

5 tricks of a Boy Mom
Yep, I'm a boy mom.

Yep, I'm a boy mom.

Well, the title is pretty self explanatory.  If you are a boy mom, you will need tricks up your sleeve!  I am new at the "boy mom" thing...mine are still little, but over the past 2 years, I have figured out a few things to turn around a situation that is headed in the wrong direction. These will without a doubt change as they get older, but for now, the toddler boy tricks.

1. Hating the Carseat.  If your boy is throwing a fit while you are trying to strap them in for safety, so much so that all of the sudden you think you might have an octopus son instead of a human one, meaning that suddenly his arms, legs, and head are all moving at once....bring out the sound effects.  Machine sound effects are the best.  It automatically gets there attention, and they are so puzzled as to how those noises are coming out of their oh-so-feminine mom, that it will buy you enough time to buckle and tighten him right in!  End with a kiss, so they know you are still a mom, and not a construction truck. LOL.

Yeah, I won this battle, haha.

Yeah, I won this battle, haha.

2. Whiny and Bored. If your boy is standing at your leg, inevitably repeating, "mama, mama, mama, mama," I would say to pull out the ol' "wear a puppy out" theory.  So, there is this theory, that if you give a puppy your full attention for 15 to 30 minutes, and play really hard, that they will be okay for the rest of the evening.  If you don't pay attention to it, it will bug you incessantly for the rest of the evening.  The same is true for toddlers I have found.  Given the situation, I look at what time it is, what our schedule is for that day and decide how I am going to deal with this whiny, bored little guy for the rest of the day.  If it is early, I stop whatever I'm doing and play with him. Give him my FULL attention, because that is what he wants, and that is going to help me have what I need later, (time to do whatever needs to be done that doesn't involve him).  By "play with him" I mean really play, chase him, crawl with him, make him laugh, tickle him, play hide and seek, go outside, or go for a walk, etc. That 30 minutes of full attention is really going to go a LONG way later.

Play hard!

Play hard!

If I'm in the middle of cooking or doing something that has to get done immediately, I start involving him in whatever task it is, even if he can't really help.  1) I give him one sock at a time to load the dryer. 2) I give him the salad spinner on the floor and let him spin his toys around in it. 3) I give him a bowl and a huge plastic spoon to stir his air, while I stir whatever is on the stove. 4) I give him empty envelopes and stickers to pretend he is the one addressing and mailing the bills....and if there is nothing that he can do beside me, I hold him, or set him next to me, and explain EVERYTHING I'm doing in a VERY animated way, so he is captivated by what I am saying for the moment, until the task is finished. :)  If all else fails....I sing...that's right, I bust out the musical numbers and it always gets a smile.  

3. Still awake and not happy about it. This is where whispering and singing quietly reign supreme.  Talking softly in their ear will calm them down and get them to stop crying because they are trying to hear what you are saying.  If they are already in bed, I try to rub their backs and hum a lullaby.  If they are not yet in bed, holding them close, reading a book or rubbing their feet can really help calm them down.  Sometimes I'll get a little lotion on my hands and rub their feet. They both love it.  I think about that verse that talks about a quiet word will turn away wrath, and I think staying calm and talking quietly will automatically promote the same behavior in them.

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4. Too late for a nap, too early for bed. Bubbles and bath time. Yes, a late afternoon bath can be a nice change of scenery when your precious boy is at his whit's end and tired.  Boys love to be naked, they love splashing, they love bubbles, and it honestly relaxes them too!  I have gotten the CUTEST pictures/videos when the boys are taking an afternoon bath because the nap just wasn't long enough that day. It's amazing what a little change of scenery can do in turning a situation around.  Also, outdoor play works with this too. We go on "scavenger hunts" for rocks, acorns, rolie-polie bugs, sticks, horse apples, and whatever else I can think of on the spot!

I don't post bath pictures online...just can't do it, but here is a bubble pic!

I don't post bath pictures online...just can't do it, but here is a bubble pic!

5. Out in public and they give you the "get me out of here" look.  So, this is a tough one, because it kind of depends where you are and what you are doing.  BUT...for the most part...this is where I pull out the silly faces.  In the grocery store, they are staring at you anyway, so why not try to make them laugh instead of thinking how long it's taking.  Sometimes I'll start asking Noah, where his eyes, ears, cheeks, mouth are while simultaneously making a silly face involving that, so it's reinforced and so laughter will follow.  This will buy you about 10 minutes or so.  Also, talking to them about everything you are buying or asking about what colors they see, usually gets their mind on something else for a few minutes.  Usually, if they are giving you that look, there is some reasoning behind it, so I would try to wrap up whatever you are doing.  Obviously, you can't put them in charge of your errands, but you can schedule them at a better time usually.

One trip to Sam's that ended with me pushing the cart and holding a 20 lb. baby at the same time.

One trip to Sam's that ended with me pushing the cart and holding a 20 lb. baby at the same time.

That's it for now! I'm sure these will be ever-changing because they are ever-changing!! (oh, and so am I)

top 10 products necessary for surviving a toddler and crawler

I had a moment in Target the other day when I had both kids with me.  Fellow moms with littles, I think you know where I'm going with this post!  We get a bad reputation due to our little ones' need to scream out in Target, and us needing so desperately to know we can be part of society still even with our unpredictable littles.  I get it. I totally used to judge moms with crazy kids at Target, and then I became one.  I do use caution when entering a store with both kids...I come prepared with my Mary Poppins' bag of goodies and such.  However, this moment I'm referring to wasn't related to a tantrum or fussy baby.  

This was the moment that I spent $160. on diapers, formula, and coffee. And nothing more.  Now, I really do like to peer in other people's baskets at the grocery store.  I think the obsession started around the Holidays when I was cooking so many casseroles, desserts and other goodies and I was in line behind a couple of teenage boys.  There I was with my cart filled with green beans, potatoes, flour, sugar, chocolate chips, butter, milk, etc. and these boys in front of me had a cart filled with Ramen, Mountain Dew, Monster Energy drinks, Bologna, Doritos, etc.  So, ANYWAY, I totally look at what people are buying and try to figure out what kind of person they are, who they live with, what they like to cook and how many people that they have to shop for because my grocery list has changed DRASTICALLY over the last 5 years!! So, back to Target.  I'm in the line, and I look at my cart and almost bust out laughing because I literally have 4 different kinds of diapers (overnights and regular for each boy), formula, and coffee.  I literally judged myself and thought, wow....my purchases totally scream out "desperate mom in need of caffeine and babies with clean behinds"!

It got me thinking about what products I use at this phase to get me through the week.  Some are definite purchases every time I go to the store, and some are things that I specifically need more for my own peace of mind during this phase of crazy littles.  I don't know if any of you ladies out there do this, but sometimes my imagination takes off, and I think..."Okay, so if the Today show came to my house to interview me on the latest tips for the stay at home mom....what would I say?!" The imagination takes off and before you know it, I'm making a list of the top 10 products necessary for surviving a toddler and crawler.  So here it goes, my top products during this season of life.

10. Clorox Wipes/Spot Shot: Enough said....wipe down those counters, tables, toys, anything. Keeps my peace of mind knowing that I attempted a daily cleaning at least.  Spot shot has cleaned so much spit up, crayons, etc. it's hard to keep track of just how much of a lifesaver it is!

9. Glade Air Fresheners/Diaper Genie: Walking into a room and smelling something other than bathroom related scents is amazing.  I put different scents in each room, and I'm happier on the days that have refilled scents of vanilla/lavender and linen/fresh.  I also have 2 Diaper Genies, and have never had anyone complain about diaper related scents!

8. Aveeno Products: These are for me and the kids.  I love Aveeno baby wash, it doesn't have an overwhelming scent, and doesn't leave any residue behind.  For me, I love their Positively Radiant face wash and their body creams really help dry skin!

7. Community Coffee/Coffee Mate: My absolute favorite coffee is Community Coffee, French Vanilla.  I make about 5 cups in the morning, which is enough for me to have one mug and for Ryan to have a slightly larger mug on the way to work.  I switch out flavors of Coffee Mate creamer, but my favorites are the Cinnamon Cream and Vanilla Caramel.

6. Shutterfly Photo Bundles: If you get a membership, they send a coupon of 101 free 4x6 prints about every 6 months.  This is perfect for printing my cell phone pics of the kids and I actually put them in a regular album, not a scrapbook.  Ryan and I both have memberships, so I get 2 coupons every six months, which helps to keep the life documented.  I love having physical albums, much more than Digital Albums.  Plus, I can print the ones that I know only I want to see, not necessarily all the Facebook world.  I only use Shutterfly for cell phone pictures, I use MPIX.com for my nicer camera photos, or ones that I will frame.  Mpix has a higher quality in my opinion, but Shutterfly works great for casual snapshots.

5. Snacks for Mommy Only: That's right, I buy things that only I can have.  Like Dove Dark chocolate, and for a salty snack either popcorn or these Black Bean chips that I know no one else likes in my house!  If you can believe this...I am the only one in my house that likes Hummus...so I have to keep that on hand now, LOL.

4. Bath and Body Works Stress Relief Aroma Therapy: My precious cousin got me some of this during the stressful holiday season, and I must say, amazing!  I use the sugar scrubs and occasionally the body cream. Aroma Therapy works. 

3. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred Workout: I have recently started doing this during nap time.  It is only a 20 minute workout, but MERCY.  Jillian doesn't joke around.  It has been amazing for relieving tension and also helps me focus for the remainder of nap time to get tasks done like editing photos, cleaning, laundry and oh yeah, writing blogs. ;)  I really have noticed a difference in my mood too.  On days that I don't do the workout, I end up sleeping or not focusing and spend a lot more time staring at food that I want to eat, and of course eating some of it too, haha.

2. Bubbles: Definitely a favorite for the kids.  In fact, my bubble machine is been slowing down, so I'm about to buy another.  Both of my kids love popping bubbles.  Noah as of today was running face first into the bubbles yelling, "AAA-CHOOO!" We like to pretend sneeze a lot over here!

1. The Bible: The number one. Hands down.  A MUST READ.  On days that I receive encouragement from the Word, are days that I refocus on what is really important, love my kids better, am less selfish, and less irritable when things go downhill.  Because I am reminded, AGAIN, that this world that I live in, is not about me.  I am not at the center of the universe.  We all exist to bring Glory to God.  I am not worthy of Him, yet He saved me, and paid the price for my sin.  God is my ultimate, and I hope that my life reflects that.  

 

I hope this blog encourages you today! 

Keep a Quiet Heart

Looking my my class curriculum today, I came across a devotion I had written last summer, during a time of trial and stress right before Luke was born.  It's amazing how the Lord speaks when we are weary, and how close he is to the broken hearted.  I thought I would share this with you, hope it gives encouragement and strength.

Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)

 For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;

    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

 

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (ESV)

"and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one."

 

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV)

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come tothe knowledge of the truth.

 

1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV)

"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

 

Quietness is a spiritual discipline that God greatly values.  To be quiet means to have a spirit of tranquility both without and within.  It denotes peace even in the midst of a storm.  Despite outward and inward conflicts, we as believers can have a quiet heart, trusting that God is in control of all things.  A quiet heart can imitate the faith and patience of those who inherit the promises of God (Hebrews 6:12).  So what is blocking quietness in your life?  Are you over scheduled?  Do you have deadlines chasing you?  Are you invested in a relationship that is pulling you away from the Lord? Whatever it is, take a moment today to consider what you might need to step away from in order to gain some peace.  If the circumstance is unable to change, then maybe there is another way to prioritize your life in order to practice some quietness.  Ultimately, it is a refreshing practice, breathing new life into weary souls.