Kiss Strike

no-kissing1

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A couple months ago I mentioned that Super F didn’t want me to kiss him in public anymore. It was heartbreaking to say the least, but I knew the day would come. Fast-forward to last week when he asked me not to kiss him at home. I thought, it’s okay, it will pass. Two days later, he still declined my kisses – even at bedtime! I wasn’t sure whether he was trying to get me to beg him to let me give him a goodnight kiss, assert his independence, or just having fun seeing how long he could keep me from kissing him.

My initial urge was to kiss him anyway. But, then I thought about it for a few minutes, and realized this was a teaching opportunity for me. I told him that it was his choice whether he wanted a kiss or not, and if he said no, then that means no. I told him I wouldn’t make him if he didn’t want to. I wanted him to understand that when someone says “no” when it comes to their bodies and personal space/intimacy, that it means no. I want him to respect others and their feelings.

So, after a couple of days and reserving my “best for last” (he ALWAYS wants to be last when saying goodbye) kisses for Daddy, he finally relented and let me start kissing him goodbye and goodnight again.

Briana

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936

n0936
That’s the number of Saturdays we get with our kids between birth and when they turn 18. Less than 1,000 Saturdays before they become adults. Since I work full time Monday through Friday, my weekend are pretty sacred to me already. I had never thought about how finite those weekends were until I saw another mom mention it. It’s amazing how fast those Saturdays go. Now that Super F is 7, we only have 572 left! It got me thinking about how I’ve spent those first 364 Saturdays, and whether I’ve made the most of them. We have definitely had some fantastic Saturdays in those years, but I’m sure some were squandered away. Now that I know the number, I’m going to do my best to fill those Saturdays with some awesome memories for him to carry with him after we hit the 936th one.

Briana

 

photo credit: http://maanumberaday.blogspot.com/2013/01/936.html

Raise the Child You Have…

I learned this lesson the hard way. Super F loved playing ball with us at home in the backyard, or at the park, so the logical step was to sign him up for T-Ball, right? Wrong. He loves playing at SBC_pw-sl-tbhome, but put him on a field with 12 other 5/6 year olds? He didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped he would. I figured it was a right of passage for little boys to play T-ball, as all the boys in my extended family played, and so did my husband when he was little. So, even though he hadn’t expressed much interest in playing on a team, I signed him up anyway. The end result was that he played on the team, but he didn’t enjoy it, or fall in love with the game. T-ball just isn’t for him.

So, now I’m working on raising the child I have, not the one I thought I had. I am going to try harder to listen to him and what he wants to do, and not pressure him into an activity he isn’t interested in. We will keep up with the monthly drawing classes at the library that he LOVES and the weekly swimming lessons, where he is flourishing. We found an acting workshop he is excited to try out, and if he wants to pick up another sport, that will be fine with me, and if not, that will also be fine. The goal is to let him experience different things and find what he loves to do. T-Ball isn’t it. Lesson learned.

Briana

image credit: http://www.scrapbook.com

Mom Friends

Since becoming a mother, I’ve found that having good mom friends has been helpful to me in so many ways. Whether it’s to have someone to talk to about your child’s milestones, accomplishments, or the moments when you feel overwhelmed and frustrated by their behavior, having someone to talk to who gets it is so important. We all walk a different path in life, but we bond over the fact that we are mothers.

My friend recently told me that I am one of the mom’s she wants to be, that I make motherhood seem effortless, while she struggles. But I feel the same about her, as she raises three children while working the night shift at a hospital a few nights a week so she can be home with her kids during the day. We sat there complimenting each other, and it was so refreshing to be building each other up and pointing out what each of us are doing right, rather than competing to be the “better” mom. Tell me about your best mom friend, and take a moment to tell her why she is so great!

Briana

Do You Journal?

Do you Journal?

Young female is writing notes and planning her schedule.

When Super F was young, I had every intention of filling out his baby book in its entirety. I did well for the first year, and then I sloughed off and never finished filling it in. I feel a bit of mommy guilt over his incomplete baby book, but I just haven’t found the time to go back and fill in all the blanks.

What I started doing instead was journaling to him. I found a beautiful (purse size) journal that I could take with me whenever and wherever so I could write to him when I had free time (mostly in waiting rooms at the doctor, or my lunch break at work). It’s less cumbersome to carry around with me than his baby book, and is a bit more discrete.

So, occasionally I write to him about the things we’ve been doing as a family, holidays and how we spent them, the milestones he hits and funny things he says or does. When I don’t have the time to use the journal, I use the notes app on my phone to remind me of the little things I don’t want to forget so I can add them to the journal later. I also use an app called LittleHoots to share some of his anecdotes with friends and family.

What do you do to record the events/milestones in your child’s life?

Briana

 

image credit: http://timemanagementninja.com/

Yes Day!

So much of our time as parents involves telling our kids no to things. No, don’t touch the hot stove. No, you can’t play video games all day. No, you can’t watch tv. No, you can’t have ice cream for breakfast. Sometimes, it’s nice for kids to hear “yes” for a change.

Enter the book “Yes Day”by Amy Rosenthal that Super F’s preschool introduced him to. In it, the parents allow the child one “Yes Day” per year where all of their silly requests are granted. After reading this book, I have tried hard to say yes to Super F more often, and attempt to limit the “no” responses to things that really matter. So, when he asks if he can stand up at the dinner table while he eats, or wear his shirt inside out because it looks cool, I say yes, because in the grand scheme of things it’s not going to hurt himself or anyone else. Dean and I usually reserve Super F’s annual Yes Day for his birthday.

What about you? Have you ever done a Yes Day? What are some of the strangest requests your kids have had?

Briana

Put the Kids to Work

As working moms, our time is valuable, and limited. There are only so many hours in the day to get everything accomplished, and household chores take up a big chunk of that time. As F has gotten older, my husband and I have started giving him more chores around the house. He loves to dust, sweep and bring in the trash cans, and is disappointed if we do these things without him! So, save yourself some time and teach your kids some independence with these age appropriate chores:

Toddler Chores (ages 2-3)

  • Put toys and books away
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Help switch laundry from washer to dryer
  • Help make the bed

Preschooler Chores (ages 4-5)

All previous chores, plus

  • Set the table
  • Clear the table
  • Match socks
  • Water plants
  • Feed the pets
  • Dust
  • Help pack lunch
  • Unload silverware from dishwasher
  • Pull weeds

Early Elementary (ages 6-8)

All previous chores, plus

  • Wash produce
  • Wipe bathroom sinks and counters
  • Vacuum
  • Sweep
  • Put clean laundry away
  • Get mail
  • Rake leaves
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Bring garbage can in from curb

Later Elementary (ages 9-11)

All previous chores, plus

  • Make simple meals
  • Laundry
  • Clean toilets
  • Mop floors
  • Take garbage out to curb
  • Change sheets

Middle School (ages 12-14)

All previous chores, plus

  • Clean tub/shower
  • Mow the lawn
  • Clean out refrigerator
  • Make dinner
  • Wash car
  • Iron clothes

What chores do your kids help out with?

Briana

Building a Construction Birthday Party

(Links to all of the items I used are at the bottom of the post)

For those of you who read regularly, you are well aware of my Pinterest Party obsession. When I was looking for inspiration for H’s birthday party it didn’t take me long to realize that a construction theme was the way to go! What little boy doesn’t love trucks?Construction birthday party

Once I picked out the theme I had to decide how to decorate. I choose to cover the house in caution tape. The kind you can buy for kids parties wasn’t enough so I went with a larger roll from Home Depot. I covered the tables in grey burlap and I bought orange construction signs to go around the house and on the door. I also purchased small black board Construction birthday partyeasels at Michael’s to label the tables. Finally, I purchased a ton of different types of construction trucks. I tried to find them on sale and we let them serve as H’s birthday present from us. I also  used them in and around for décor and ways to hold food and favors.

Next up was the invitation. I wanted something that was Construction birthday partyunique and had the ability to be personalized. That is why I turned to one of my favorite online shops, Etsy.

Now I had to decide what all of these kiddos were going to do for 2 hours. I wanted to have several construction themed activities that were fun and age appropriate for two year olds. After doing some research I decided on three main activities. The first one was a wrecking ball crane. I just knew that all of the kids would love stacking and crashing box bricks with the Construction birthday partycrane. As an added bonus both the boxes and the crane became an added décor piece. The second activity I decided on was an obstacle course using cones and dump trucks. We set this up in our living room with enough space to allow all the children to run the trucks through around and in between the cones. The third, and most popular, activity was a construction themed sandbox. The kids just had a blast.

One of my favorite parts of any event is creating the cake. I like the cake to be the center piece of any partyand I prefer to have the perfect cake not just a cake that will feed the number of people I am serving. That is why I went with a three tiered option. I found some inspiration on Google for Construction birthday party cakethe design and then worked with a local bakery to create a topsy, turvy, sugary mountain of fun!

Fun party favors can add a lot to a party. I wanted a station for the kids to pick up their construction supplies. I decided they all needed construction hats, tool belts, plastic tools and of course trucks! To add a little personal touch I added H2 to each of the hats and tool belts in honor of H’s second birthday.

Last, but certainly not least, is the food. We had the party in the late afternoon so we weren’t supplying a meal. I ordered Pizza from Jet’s and asked them to cut it into bite sizes. Construction birthday partyPerfect for little hands. I cut up a ton of fresh strawberries, blueberries and kiwi to make a fruit salad and we also had Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. In addition, I added some fun and colorful candy including Swedish Fish, jelly beans and Hershey’s kisses. Everything had to be peanut free and with candy you have to be careful.

I hope you enjoyed! What are your favorite birthday party creations?

Peace, Love and Building a Party,

Kristen

All images were shot by Lora Denton Photography. 

How to Create Your Own Construction Party:  (None of these are paid endorsements)

Construction tape link: http://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-3-in-x-1000-ft-Caution-Tape-in-Yellow-71-1012HD/204496955

Grey burlap: Any local fabric store

Construction sign link: http://www.amazon.com/Construction-Cutouts-Party-Accessory-count/dp/B003DVKHTC/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1429730904&sr=8-16&keywords=birthday+construction+party

Link for the Etsy invitation I preferred: https://www.etsy.com/listing/197293651/construction-chalkboard-birthday?ref=shop_home_active_6

Crane instructions: PreparingforPeanut.com had a wonderful tutorial on how to construct the wrecking ball crane: http://preparingforpeanut.com/diy-wrecking-crane-construction-theme-birthday-party/

Brick boxes: For months before the party I stashed away boxes of all shapes and sizes. Anytime I ordered anything I kept the box. Then during the last few weeks I wrapped them in brick wrapping paper which I bought on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AF92SK/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687582&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00GUVTY8C&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0V5RZ5KP4NJPY5Q63QHD

Dump truck obstacle course: I purchased both of these on Amazon. The key was making sure the dump trucks were large enough and that I had enough cones. I purchased 2 sets of the cones and 2 dump trucks.

Cone link: http://www.amazon.com/Sport-Training-Traffic-Orange-Soccer/dp/B005Y0FZBA

Dump truck link:  http://www.amazon.com/American-Plastic-Toys-Assorted-Colors/dp/B002RQU3VQ

Construction sand box: I bought the sand box from Little Tikes. We needed a sand box anyway so I wasn’t worried about the added expense. The sand I picked up at my local Lowes. It took 2 bags to fill the box and I put a little extra in for good measure. http://www.littletikes.com/sandboxes/big-digger-sandbox/invt/624520 

Construction hats: http://www.amazon.com/Child-Construction-Hats-Pack-Yellow/dp/B0023TEEU8/ref=br_lf_m_1001302561_1_1_img?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&pf_rd_p=1879381942&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_i=1001302561&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=125R2E77TAJDEZH3E166

Tool belts: Myfrugaladventures.com gave me the best idea for how to make get these tool belts cheaply and easily. http://myfrugaladventures.com/2013/07/easy-car-organizer-just-77/ Home Depot sells them for just $0.77! http://www.homedepot.com/p/The-Home-Depot-Canvas-Work-Apron-HD324655/202311423

Plastic tools: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DS0JXBQ/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Trucks: http://www.amazon.com/Caterpillar-Construction-Machine-5-Pack-Styles/dp/B003U0O3B4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429732723&sr=8-1&keywords=miniature+construction+toys

 

Running on Empty

long week tired momI am out of gas. Exhaustion has set in. The kind of exhaustion that sneaks up on you. It slowly overtakes you in places like the hair salon or while you are driving. It is the kind you almost need to smack your self across the face so that you don’t doze off mid sentence… zzzzzzz…. Sorry!

There are a variety of reasons I am exhausted. Most of them having to do with all of the things we are doing. I  want to simplify, but you have to give the kids a bath and they do need food. Therefore, I can basically only simplify to a point and today doing anything other than making sure they are safe is difficult.

So here I am on a Friday afternoon at lunch trying desperately not to fall asleep. I am also praying a little that Baby C2’s teething gives us a break.  Anyone want to deliver us dinner. Heck just H’s dinner. I don’t need to eat. All this mamma needs is some beauty sleep.

Peace, Love & Slumbering,

Kristen

busy working mom schedule love letter to friends

A Love Letter to My Friends

Dear Friends:

I love you. I really do. I want to spend time with you. I want to hear all about what you are up to and how life is treating you. I miss our talks. Please know that although I only communicate with you occasionally, those occasional moments mean I really care. Those occasional moments are all I have.

I know it takes me 48 hours to respond to a text or longer. I know emails sometimes go unanswered. I realize I send thank you notes late and that I never call you back within a reasonable time frame. I know that every time you ask me to go somewhere or do something I have what sounds like a million excuses and what probably feels like I am avoiding you. I promise it is not. The babies really do nap from 12:30-3:30 most weekend days. How inconvenient is that! Plus, (shhh don’t tell) I usually nap with them. That is if I am not desperately trying to catch up on laundry so we all have clean clothes to wear or clean the floors because the dogs made them all messy or bathe the dogs, because frankly the poor dogs get so much less attention than they used to.

At this time in my life, everything is flying by so fast that I can’t catch my breath. I work 8-10 hour days and when I get home there is always a sweet little child that has a biological need or an emotional need.

Since I am not there to fulfill those needs every minute of every day, I want to make sure I am there to fulfill them most of their other seconds. However, this means I am really tired! I rarely have a moment to just be still and listen to my own mind, let alone return a text message or take a phone call. Do you know I don’t really get to talk to my husband anymore and we live in the same house!?!?

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. I love watching them grow. My heart aches because I know that these moments are fleeting, they are the best and I will never get them back. So l leave my phone on mute, I have it near me just to take pictures and I try to emblaze this crazy, awesome time into my brain.

Sometimes when I am rocking the baby to sleep, I see you call. My heart wants to answer. I think, “Maybe I could whisper,” but alas I know that if I pick up it will mean another thirty minutes of rocking and I really need to go to bed sometime before tomorrow. Therefore, it is another call sent to voicemail. I don’t mean it to be that way.

I guess what I am trying to say is thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be occasional right now. Thank you for not punishing me for being a “bad friend.” Thank you for understanding. When my children are bigger and want less and less to do with me, I will have more time for long talks and fun times.  I know that some of you know what I am talking about, but especially for the ones who don’t; thank you.

Peace, Love & Friendship,

Kristen

Image credit: Yalenews.com