Monday, February 19, 2018

Well, I'm Officially a Grownup!


True story. I am now the proud owner of a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and I'm still kind of in shock about it! This was a (somewhat) planned move on my part, however I didn't expect to drive off the lot with my new whip this past weekend. I've driven a Jeep Commander for the past, nearly 9 years and I LOVED my Jeep. She pulled our camper for many years, drove us up so many mountains and was there from the day we took Gracie home from the hospital and for every adventure since that time. The Jeep was my first "big girl" purchase following college and I think that's why I've been putting off trading it in, even though it was starting to fall apart. 


Then, about 2 two weeks ago my ABS system starting locking up anytime I went over 60 MPH and several new warning lights turned on. This was super unsafe and freaking me out, and once I found out that repairs would cost upwards of $2,000, I knew it was time. G had been eye-balling the Atlas for months and says that she knew this would be my next vehicle and she was right! She's always right, dang it! 


We went in on Saturday morning to check it out and test drive this, as well as several other SUV's at various dealerships, but I knew right away that this was 100% the one. My fiscally conservative self still didn't feel ready to take the plunge, but when I found out that the 2018 had a 5 star safety rating, seats 7, was marked down $4K for the holiday weekend + they were prepared to give me twice what I expected for my trade-in and a financing package of 3%, I was sold!


Gracie broke my heart when it was time to leave our family Jeep behind, because she was just an ocean of tears. She was so upset that we weren't taking it back home with us, telling me through her tears that, "this is the car that's kept us safe my whole life, Mama". She of course got me crying too and so I'm sure her and I were quite the spectacle balling outside the Volkswagen dealership! Thankfully though, once she realized that Mama would let her sit in the 3rd row seats whenever she wanted and that she could now watch DVDs when we drive places, she was suddenly as happy as a clam, lol!


We had to go back on Sunday for a class on how to work all the bells and whistles on the Atlas, which made me even more excited! They trained us on how Car-Net App Connect works and showed us features that blew my mind! Basically, the car parks itself among many, many other amazing things!


The remainder of our weekend was spent with friends and last night this little dude right here slept for 11 hours straight! It was glorious considering the major sleep regression he's had lately! Today I feel refreshed, like a new mama with an amazing new ride. Life is good!



Friday, February 16, 2018

7|52: #crazyhairdontcare



6|52: 1st Bday Party Planning!



5/52: Twenty | Eighteen


4/52 * Sonshine *


3/52 { Sister Bear }


2/52 | Mama's Boy


Project 52 | 1/52: 2017 Year in Review

If you’ve been following this blog of mine these past couple of years, you may remember a digital project I started participating in back in January of 2012, called Project 52. This is a photo project that’s so easy to do because all that’s required is that you post one photo or video a week throughout the year (which has 52 weeks, hence the Project 52 title) that represents what’s going on in your life at the time. I participated in the project for years, right up until we were in the pit of infertility and I just stopped posting anything. I LOVED doing Project 52 because it kept me engaged in blogland and helped me to document so many moments that are still so special to me. The project was, at times, the only reason I ever got around to uploading photos from my phone, or went online and read other blogs and I miss doing it – so I’m going to give this a go, again!

I’m already starting behind, but that’s ok because it is only February 16th, after all and I fully intend to catch up. I thought it would be fitting that my first 2018 Project 52 post, be our 2017 Year in Review video. I make one of these videos every year and I love them so!

If you decide to participate in Project 52 along with me, be sure to post a link to your P52 post in the comments throughout the year. :)





Monday, February 12, 2018

Almost Six… Oh the Sass!

Believe it or not, we’re going to have a six-year-old in less than ONE month. Yes, she’s going to be six and I can’t even. I would say that this past year has flown by with our gal, but that wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is that 5-year-olds are so damn sassy and smart as hell and have usually figured out all of their parents tricks to keeping them in line, by this age.
Or is this just the case with us?
To say that Gracie is a “spirited child” would be putting it mildly. The girl is on, 24/7. She is a non-stop question asker and opinion giver, who feels ALL-THE-FEELS. She’s not content to just watch TV or chill for more than 30 minutes at a time. She refuses to sleep-in, unless it’s a school day (of course) and ughhhh those weekday mornings before school… *cue head exploding*
Have you ever tried to wake {what I’m convinced is the human equivalent of a sloth} and get them to put it into high gear and get out of bed – without inciting a meltdown?
Have you tried brushing the long mermaid like hair of an almost-six-year-old who refuses to let you completely brush it the night before?
Have you ever asked your kid 12 times (like literally 12 times, in one morning) to brush their teeth, only to discover on the drive to school that they didn’t brush their damn teeth?!
Have you ever tried dressing a kiddo of this age who is determined to be their own stylist, pick their own everything and always fights wearing a jacket, even if it’s freezing out?
Have you ever cried on the way to work because your morning of wrangling your almost-six-year-old out of bed and out the door proved to be just.too.much?
Well, if you have, you’re not alone. I have too! I sooo have and Gawd help us if it doesn’t get easier when Grace turns six.


Our gal goes through phases. She’ll be the sweetest, most helpful daughter a mom could ask for, for weeks on end – and then, like a Gremlin whose been doused in water, she’ll wake up and wreak havoc on her moms, pushing every button possible for a solid week, or two... or sometimes, even three. I’ve tried to figure out what causes these changes in her behavior. Is she going through a growth spurt? Is she consuming too much sugar? Is something happening at school that we’re not aware of? Do we need to get her to bed earlier? Does she not like me right now (yeah, that’s an honest question I’ve asked myself in my most desperate parenting moments). Is she feeling envious of her little brother? Are all almost-six-year-olds just little assholes, sometimes?!
Yeah, I said it and don’t judge me, because it’s a valid question.
When it comes to school, Gracie is as close to perfect as she could be. Her teachers adore her, like literally all of them love her. Her music, art, PE, computer, classroom and classroom aid teachers sing her praises on the regular. We’re told she’s kind and inclusive of who she plays with and how she plays. The kid made Student of the Month in the first few months of school and was selected because of how caring she is with others. She’s tested at a first-grade level since the start of Kindergarten and has had zero issues with paying attention or being respectful in class.
So why do I have to continuously get on her case about the tone of voice she uses with her grandparents, who watch her after school? Why do I find myself constantly having to talk with her about the sass she gives Georgia and I? Why does she argue when we put something healthy in front of her to eat for dinner, when she has no problems scarfing down her healthy sack lunch at school? Why does she think it’s ok to have a meltdown anytime she’s sent to her room, even if it’s following a third warning? Why does she do so great for so many weeks, being her sweet self – only to then take a nosedive every couple of months, totally acting unlike herself? Because she’s our first, I have no frame of reference as to whether this is “normal”. 
Are these highs and lows “normal”?
In all honesty, I’m inclined to blame the holidays for the creation of our tiny terrorist these past couple of weeks. From the months of October to January, girlfriend was showered with things like candy, costumes, school parties, hyper holidays spent with cousins; holiday vacation, Christmas wish lists, more sugar… You get the idea. The showering of presents from all directions has been endless and I feel like the holidays were a trigger like this last year too. She gets so exhausted and then overly emotional + overstimulated + spoiled and then the bad behavior ensues. This is when I go into full-on regulator mode. It’s like the more she acts out, the more my iron fist comes crashing down, desperate to put a stop to it. She doesn’t like it when this happens and I don’t like it either. We’re both stubborn (the apple didn’t fall far) and the more I push, the more she pushes back.
One thing I’m thankful for is that these behaviors aren’t the norm and I’m grateful that I only have to deal with my little Wreck-it-Ralph of a daughter a few times a year, because when the tough weeks hit, they hit hard and I’m left feeling like I’m going to lose my shit. This is basically how I’ve felt mid-December until about a week ago.
Some days I 100% do lose my shit – and then Georgia gets pissed and acts as though I’m this horrible mother who has overreacted and how dare I have a response to the bad behavior that’s playing out right in front of me. For G, everything I’ve mentioned above is just white noise. She can block out the whining and arguing and sass. She will almost always say nothing when she observes Grace giving attitude to her parents, or she’ll say she didn’t notice this or didn’t hear her say that… You get the idea. The bad behavior itself doesn’t bother Georgia, the majority of the time and according to my co-parent, I should “just let it go to” when I see these things happen – but I CAN’T!!! I feel this huge responsibility to raise a respectful, appreciative and patient kid, because these things matter, damn it! And so, as a result, I’m often put in the position of being the “bad guy”, the mean mama.
When I was growing up, I was spanked (with a belt) anytime I misbehaved. I had to answer my parents with, “yes, sir” and “no, ma’am” whenever they asked me a question. No meant no and I didn’t dare talk disrespectfully or shout and throw fits, because there were always consequences. With this being said, my siblings and I were not perfect children and I have clear memories of having such feelings of anger toward my dad anytime he spanked us. I loved him to death and he was such a loving dad in all other aspects, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around being hit. It just felt wrong. It’s because of this that we don’t spank Gracie, but believe me when I say that there are days that I want to. Sometimes I feel like that’s all that will get through to her and that’s usually when things start to change. It’s always when I’m nearing the end of my rope that my sweet girl is herself again. I mean, WTF is that about? I’m always glad when life returns to normal, but I’m also like, what the hell were those past couple of weeks?!!  

I wanted to write this post back in March, right before the baby was born and Grace was acting out, but I hesitated. I knew our sister-to-be was going to have some big things to adjust to and I didn’t want to seem insensitive to that. Following this last tough period though, during the holidays, I felt the need to share my experience. I felt this way because this is the real-life struggles some of us parents go through, as we raise these tiny humans. Yes, kiddos are adorable and the greatest gift on Earth, but it isn’t all smiles and pie in the sky parenting bliss. This shit can be SO HARD. You don’t always know how to navigate the storms that parenting puts in your path. You make mistakes. You say or do all the wrong things. You freak out when you feel that a new bad behavior may become permanent. You stress and compare your parenting struggles to other people’s parenting highlights. It’s emotional and consuming, but there’s also no more important work to be done in this world then to produce healthy and happy kids. So, I’ll end with saying that we’ve weathered this phase and I’ll hopefully be better equipped to handle the next challenge these kids throw my way.
Here’s a few of my favorite pictures of our sassy and (mostly) sweet Sister Bear!
She's one of a kind, this one.


And because she’s just so dang smart, I must include this quick mom brag! The Bean’s Unit 3 Kindergarten Island project is finished and I’m so proud of her! She did 100% of the building of her island, from the newspaper, to plaster, to paint, to labeling everything! We just had to help with the glue gun. Our big girl. She makes us so proud!



Monday, February 5, 2018

9 Months of William // Take 2!


Hi Sonshine, it’s Mama! I’m so happy to finally have some time that isn’t jam packed with to-do’s, because I finally have a chance to write you my 9-month love note. A lot has happened since you turned 9 months and so I’ll do my best to sum it all up. In a few words kiddo, you are the light of our lives. You’re changing at a rate that’s just crazy to us and you continue to be our cuddle muffin. You’re teething now and have popped out 2 of the cutest little teeth. I discovered these teeth a few weeks ago as you and I played on the couch together. It was New Year’s Eve and Mama was playing with you and getting you dressed before heading out to drop you and sister off with your grandparents. You had been extra drooly. You were soaking through bibs several times a day and needing teethers like never before; so I should have known those teeth were on the way. There we sat on New Year’s Eve, smiling at each other, when I caught a glimpse of something white. I shouted to Mommy and sister – OH MY GOD! I THINK HE HAS A TOOTH! Everyone ran over and we began investigating my suspicions. Sure enough, there they were – 2 tiny teeth just barely poking out of your lower gums. We were sooo stinkin’ excited! Sister immediately stuck her hand in your mouth because she just had to feel your little teeth for herself. She then snatched you up and started dancing with you, just as happy as ever. It was such an exciting time for all of us and we were just so proud of you. In that moment, Mama was also a little sad. Getting these pearly whites was just further proof that you, my baby boy, are growing up.





You are on the MOVE now and I’m talking, movin’ and shakin’ all over the place! You do this half-crawl, or what I lovingly refer to as your, “Zombie Crawl” and it’s hilarious. You know how to crawl on all 4’s, but you also know that your zombie crawl gets you places faster. So, while you may start crawling to something on your knees, you quickly drop to your belly and with one knee pushing you along, you’re off to the races! Here’s a video of your absolutely adorable, big boy crawl!




You’ve discovered your sister’s toys and prefer those over your own. You love her microphone that’s on a stand and find a way to pull it down on top of you, on the daily. Thankfully, it’s very lightweight and we have the cord wrapped up, so no injuries so far! You’ve also been loving the Pop ‘N Play that Santa brought you and your moms are so thankful for it too. It’s big and spacious, allowing you to play safely away from your sister’s Legos, small Barbie shoes and all other choking hazards that cover the floors in our casa. In total, you only spend maybe 2 hours a day playing in there, but it’s great for giving you a safe place to play while also allowing sister bear space to play with her favorite things when Mommy and I are busy making dinner or cleaning up.


Growing Like a Weed: You finally had an actual check-up with your pediatrician and didn’t have to get shots this time around, phew! At your 9-month check-up (about 3 weeks ago), you stood at 29 inches tall, which keeps you right at the 69th/70th percentile for height and you’ve started putting on more weight, finally! You now weigh 17.8 pounds, which means you’re still our skinny and tall green bean, but now you fall in the 19th percentile, up from the 13th and you continue to slowly climb that chart. You were such a ham at your 9-month wellness visit and I’m pretty sure that Dr. G loves you. Mama loves that you have so much personality and happiness and that you don’t shy away from showing it to others. :)


Developmental Stuff: you can say Mama, Mum, Hi, Baba (bottle), May (your name for our pup, Mavie), Pop (for Papa) and Dada, lol! You can waive hi and bye. You can give a high-five and clap and you LOVE clapping, btw. You can pull yourself into a full standing position and enjoy climbing up on me and Mommy. You have abs of steel and can go from laying down to sitting up, without assistance. You give big open-mouth wet kisses and they are our favorite things on earth. I’ll say, “kisses for the Mama!” and you’ll lay one, or five on me. Swoon! You dance almost every night with sister and appear to have some rhythm and you yell the funniest things while dancing – so you’ve also found your voice! You can completely feed yourself and fingers crossed, we still haven’t had a chocking situation, thankfully. You take big kid baths with sister now and can sit up in the water, even with it being at a higher level than it probably should be and you haven’t even tried to eat the soap, nor have you pooped in the tub yet! #winning


Nutrition, aka all things FOOD: You still love the baby food I make you, unlike Gracie who was over “baby food” by this point. As long as you keep on loving it, we’re going to keep feeding you purees, because they’re such a great source of vitamins and nutrients + mama loves to make it for you!



*In the puree department, you’ve tried: organic -- pears, yams, apples, kale, banana, avocado, spinach, black beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, summer squash and spaghetti squash.


*For baby lead weaning, with whole foods, you’ve tried: organic -- pickles, olives, black beans, banana, potato, corn, pinto beans, grapes, tomato, blueberries (your fav), avocado, cucumber, broccoli, tofu (your other fav), roasted seaweed, ground turkey, hummus, toast, ham, spaghetti, lasagna, pita bread, chicken, cheddar cheese, pesto pasta, shredded beef and we may or may not have given you a few tastes of gelato and popsicle… The perks to being baby #2…


Our go-to snacky things for you for in-between eats are still yogurt bites, puffs and baby cookies/crackers. I’m thinking that you’ll be eating from a spoon soon too because it’s getting harder and harder to feed you purees with a spoon as you insist on holding it yourself! Needless to say, when I do let you try, it’s a HUGE mess. ;)


Sleep update... or lack of sleep, should I say: Why have you decided to stop sleeping through the night, son?! WHY?? You did so great sleeping 9+ hours straight, for months and then everything changed. We noticed the change right around the time you were getting 2 teeth in, so we’re sure that this is all a result of teething. You’ve suddenly become a very light sleeper, which has meant that Mama’s had to watch Friends reruns on volume ONE, or it wakes you – an issue you never had before. Now you’ve gone to waking 2-4 times a night and tossing and turning more than you used to. This has been tough on Mommy and me because at 9 months old, we’re experiencing the sleep patterns that most parents experience with newborns and we’re not at all used to it, because you’ve always been an amazing sleeper! Now you’re in our bed more than you’re in your own bed and you’ve started wanting a bottle again around 4-5:30am. Mama’s just hoping you’ll go back to your usual sleep pattern soon!  


One very adorable thing you’ve also started to do amongst all the broken sleep, is that you’ll go from laying your head on mommy’s chest or shoulder, while sleeping to doing the same on mine, as you sleep between us. You just get so much comfort from physically touching us and being close to our face and it melts our hearts. It’s looking like we’ll be transitioning you to your nursey closer to your first birthday. We’re just in no rush to ship you off yet!


Favorite things: If I had to pick your absolute favorite things at this age, they would be the following (in no particular order): blueberries + baths in the big tub + watching your sister play + sleeping in a swaddle and with your moms + morning cartoons + being sung to + feeding yourself + organic puffs + the TV remote + hanging out with Papa + peek-a-boo + having your feet tickled + you are 100% a Mama’s boy and even Mommy would agree with this. She was hurt by your clear preference to be in my arms or just your general over the top excitement to see me at first, but now she just thinks it’s great that you love your Mama so much! I think it’s amazing too!


Here’s a comparison picture of you and sister at 9 months old, that makes Mama feel all the feels! My beautiful babies!


There’s so much that’s similar about you two at this age that it blows your moms away. What’s been very different though, between mommy and I’s experience with sister as a baby and you as a baby, is that we seem to be in much less of a rush for you to grow up. With Gracie, we were always eagerly awaiting that next milestone. We were almost impatient in waiting for sister to reach each developmental stage, but with you we’ve pumped the breaks, BIG time. We’re in less of a rush to move you out of our room. We love that you still love purees and plan to give them to you until you no longer want them, without the pressure to move you to 100% solids. We feel less of a need to let you cry things out, because we want to keep you close, just has badly as you want to have us close to you! We’re happy when you reach a new milestone, but also don’t put you through baby boot camp like we did with sissy to learn these new skills. Our thought process is kinda – things will happen when they happen. It’s amazing how much less pressure you feel when it’s your second kiddo. Not only do Mommy and I have the peace of mind in knowing that everything will happen in its own time, but we also have the experience of knowing that you’ll be big in the blink of an eye and we don’t want to rush that. Nope, we sure don't! :)


You, my Sonnie, have now been a part of our family for as long as you cooked in mommy’s belly! The past 9 months have gone in a flash and we’re just so thankful that you picked us to be your family.


Now to get back to planning your FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY, which is in just 9 weeks! While I cry about that, here are a few more pictures from month nine that we LOVE almost as much as we love you!


Swinging… Not really a fan.



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