Thursday, February 28, 2013

February's Over?

How can it be the last day of February already? I know this month is shorter than the rest, but it seems to have flown by. I'm always amazed at how time seems to whiz by now that I have kids. It's almost like I blinked and February was over.

The first weekend, we had our housewarming party. I can't really explain how excited I was for that party. I was just so happy to finally have our own place and somewhere to have friends over. For me, the housewarming party was an opportunity to have our friends and family over and make one memory that would be the beginning of a long line of memories in our home. My mom was totally amazing and got all of the guests to bring a letter of the alphabet (decorated/bought/made however they chose) to hang on the wall in our playroom. So instead of getting a bunch of wine or candles, we got gifts that will remind us of those that came to our party. And the wall is almost finished. We just need to hang up the second half of the alphabet. I'll post pictures when we're done.

The next week was a crazy mix of home life and working and little bit of pleurisy thrown in for good measure. Yep, I was super lucky and got pleurisy (which kind of sounds like some disease from the 1800's or so), but really it meant that my lungs were swollen causing me a lot of pain when I breathed. A does of steroids, and all was well again!

For the last couple of weeks, we've been snowed in and forced to find indoor things to keep us occupied. I mean we got about 20 inches of snow dumped on us in the last 5 days, CRAZY! That meant a good deal of baking and listening to some original performances from sarah. (Her new favorite past time is standing on a chair, belting out some nonsensical song at the top of her lungs.) It's been a bit frustrating at times, but also a lot of fun. I love watching the kids use their imaginations and Sarah's songs are always good for a laugh. WE did go out and play in the snow a couple of times, but Andrew hated it and Sarah loved it. Sarah got to go out and "shovel" or make snow angels with Ryan while I stayed warm inside with Andrew.

So I'm hoping March brings some nicer weather so I can get these kids outside and let them enjoy our new backyard and swingset without 20 minutes of putting on snow gear. Or being outside for 5 minutes and having to come back in because someone hates being cold!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Who I am

I am not:

  • A mom who has it all together. I am a mom who loves fiercely, soothes "owies", sometimes cooks, makes mistakes, covers my kids in hugs and kisses, is perpetually running late, wears yoga pants A LOT, and snuggles under the covers and watches My Little Pony over and over.
  • A great cook, but I am learning to get better. I am a good baker though. I made some fantastic raspberry meringue cookies in honor of Valentine's day and they are somehow disappearing rather quickly.
  • Someone who does well with being alone. My problem is I like people until I don't. I withdraw from them when I've had my fill and I have a hard time re-engaging and then end up feeling lonely. I am a sometimes people person
  • A girly girl. I hate shopping, can't piece together an outfit without help, and I am hopeless when it comes to my hair. Hence, my major anxiety over the fact that most of my clothing is about to be retired (to the trash can), because it's older than my kids and some of it, well older than my marriage.
  • A health nut. I try to eat balanced meals, make my kids eat fruits and veggies, and attempt a walk every now and then. But I love pop and I can't stand all the anti-GMO/organic only articles being forced into my email and all over twitter and Facebook. If that's your thing, great. I truly applaud your efforts in having a healthy lifestyle, but there is a way to bring it up and live that way without telling other people they are horrible parents/people if they don't do everything the same way!
  • A good sleeper. I feel tired and then can't seem to get to bed until 1:00 or later. Good thing my kids nap well.
  • Good at meeting new people. I would love to expand my current circle of friends! But apparently I developed this awesome introverted/awkward thing when it comes to meeting anyone new. I can't seem to formulate a thought or make an intelligent statement. As for meeting any new mom friends? I usually can't get past "How old is he/she?' before I run out of things to say.
  • Perfect. I get mad too easily, complain a lot, have problems shutting cabinet doors and drawers all they way, I worry and get anxious over silly things, I am messy and disorganized, and a million other things! But acknowledging my flaws, helps me to continue to try and get better. And as long as I am loving my family and seeking God, I must be on the right track.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

February 14th is special to me because it happens to be the day I got engaged, just after midnight, 6 years ago. I never would have imagined that Ryan would propose on a holiday, let alone Valentine's Day, but it was perfect and memorable.

So from our family to yours, may your day be memorable and special!

Our pink chocolate chip waffles for breakfast

And now my adorable kids in their Valentine's clothes!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning a New Way

Today I want to talk about love. I know it's February and Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so everyone talks about being in love/finding love/losing love this month but I was inspired by Miss Sarah Siders over at Sarah Siders and her #CrazyForLove postings. Seriously, she's an awesome writer and a fantastic mama and you'd be doing yourself some good by checking out her blog. And her writing on love may have been started because it's February, but it is completely genuine and heartfelt. Sarah loves and cares for the people in her life with a passion that's noticeable to all those that have met her. She is a truly inspirational woman, for her love of Christ, her love of her family, and her love of others.

She posted 2 blogs recently on 50 things she loved about her toddler and 50 things she loved about her husband that had me in awe. How awesome to see in black and white what someone loves about their kid or their spouse, how awesome to be that kid/spouse. I wasn't even sure if I could list 50 things I loved about the people in my family. And not for a lack of want, but because I often let myself get pulled into a negative perspective on life, and I block out all the good things I have going on.

Sometimes it's SO easy to let the little things in life eat away at the joy and happiness in life. Man, I have been there, sometimes multiple times a day! The whining, fussing, crying, fighting, screaming, screeching, and yelling just wears on you, until you're convinced that your kiddos must have been replaced with alien invaders. And who can find the joy or remember the things you love when you're half deaf and yelling to be heard over the noise (or even out of frustration)? And then because you're already frazzled and tired, your poor husband gets unloaded on like everything is his fault. Or maybe that's just the way I do things...
But because it's February and everyone is so focused on love this month, I thought I'd try and focus more on the things I love about my family. I'm going to try to not let the little things that go wrong ruin my mood for the whole day or let them wear on me until I snap.

We had a speaker at my mom's group yesterday who talked about not being "the angry mom". And it so struck a chord with me. I want my kids to remember me laughing and having fun with them and not as someone who lost her cool over small stuff and yelled a lot. So I'm making an effort to really examine the reasons I get upset and if it matters in the long run. I want to have righteous anger, anger with a purpose. Not just be angry because the kids made a mess or things aren't going my way.
So here's a few things I'm loving right now:

• a two year old who insists on wearing a bathing suit because it has Ariel on it
• a little boy who is enjoying wooden puzzles and shape sorters
• lazy dogs who are relishing being in the company of the humans they adore
• a hardworking husband who is off providing for his family
• cute toddler toes
• cuddling up with my kiddos
• talking to my kids
• a husband who stays up late even when he has to work to have some kid free time with me
• reconnecting with old friends
• Vanilla Coke because it makes getting up worth it
• reminders that life is about the small moments and not about who was right when or whether or not you got to run errands on the day you had planned to

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Day We Killed Cable

Happy February everyone! Has there ever been a moment when you made a decision that impacted much more than you thought it would? Here's one parenting choice Ryan and I made not too long ago and how it's changed our family.

Before we even bought our house, we made a mutual decision to forgo cable, at least for a little while. We thought that the kids had become too reliant on TV and if I'm being completely truthful, so had I. It was easier for me to just pop them in front of the TV when they were getting into everything than try to find an activity to occupy them. And my parents had the good cable package, complete with tons of kid shows too. So there were always choices for them.

Ryan and I only watched a handful of shows. (Mostly HGTV or Food Network) So we talked about it on and off for a while and then decided that we could live without our shows. We wanted the kids to become less dependent on the TV as well. So now that we've been moved in for a little over a month, I've really been able to see just how much influence I let TV have on us.

The first few days, Sarah begged to watch "Ponies" and when I told her no, she'd ask to watch something else. Unfortunately for her, we didn't have functioning internet for a while, so I couldn't even connect to Netflix or YouTube. So we coped, and it turns out, we had fun. We turned on the radio - mostly for noise because the first few days in a new house make you hear weird things. Then the music led to dance parties in the play room, with me holding both kids jumping around in circles looking silly. But it made all of us laugh and killed some time. And before we knew it, we were missing TV less and less.

After our dance parties, we rediscovered the joy of playing. Living at my parents' house had limited us to a select few toys because the rest were packed away or inaccessible. That meant the kids got bored A LOT faster than if we had more variety. Well, thanks to our new playroom, Ryan and I were able to unpack all of the age appropriate toys that the kids hadn't seen in months. That combined with awesome Christmas gifts, mean that Sarah and Andrew now have tons more options. And you bet that for the most part, I am down on the floor playing with them.

Now I'm definitely not saying TV is all bad. In fact I find it really useful sometimes. Say when a certain almost three year old comes creeping into my room before Mommy's ready to start the day... Yeah I turn on "Ponies" (My Little Pony) for her and let her snuggle in bed with me. But I'm really proud of the overhaul we've done from being so dependent on TV, to making it a once in a while special thing that's not always expected.

Yes, we still watch movies with Sarah now and again, and usually they get to watch two episodes of something on Netflix a day. Generally it's Blue's Clues and My little Pony. (one of each) But the kids don't expect me to always say yes to another episode or automatically turn on the TV when they ask. And it's progress. It was not as smooth of a transition as I had hoped, but we learned and discovered new ways to play and interact. For that I am super grateful.

I know that Ryan and I made the right choice in deciding against cable for the time being. I am so incredibly thankful that we realized the problem now, when it's still easily fixed and not later on down the road. So instead of dealing with frustrated middle schoolers we have toddlers who are easily talked into dance parties or playing chase instead of sitting in front of a television. Our family is really going to benefit from this decision for a long time to come.