Do you hear that? That's the sound of roaring belly laughs coming from everyone in my life after they hear that someone out there thinks I am laid back! ;) Kat, I must admit that I am not a laid back person, per se. I am known to love a list, a plan, and a calendar (or three. Come check my house. I'm not kidding.) Thus, it made my day when you asked this question! Perhaps I'm getting less anal-retentive and more go-with-the-flow??! I hope so. ;)
To (try to) answer your question, I really think that having two kids has FORCED me into a more laid back state of acceptance in my life. When I was kidless, I had time to be extra-anal. When I had one kid, I could still be mostly-anal. But now, with a toddler on the go, jibber jabbering non-stop and a nursing baby who loves to pull out my hair...I really have had to let go of a lot of my plans and lists. I wrote a post a few months ago about giving myself a break when it came to being a mom, and I can honestly tell you that since I had that breakthrough, my heart and my mind have been so much more peaceful and still. The days are still long sometimes, and I will never turn down a kid-free trip to Target...but letting go of those preconceived notions of how I SHOULD parent, SHOULD breastfeed, SHOULD schedule naps, SHOULD approach discipline, etc. has been very, very, very freeing. I know this is sounding so vague, but I truly can pinpoint where I let go of a lot of my need for preconceived structure, and it was the best thing I could have done for myself, for my marriage, and for my two girlies. Do I still have calendars? Yes. Do I still have my girls on predictable routines? Yes. Do I still rewrite my grocery list at least three times each week to organize it by aisle/section/type of food at the store? Yes. But the underlying current of how I approach parenting, staying home with kids, my marriage, and life in general has been forced into a much more gentle flow. Two kids will do that to ya. I am certain things have to get even more go-with-the-flow the more kids you have...am I right, fellow mamas?! ;)
"What wisdom can you offer for someone who is about to enter Toddlerville with her first child? Any books/blogs/philosophies/methods you recommend for managing discipline, tantrums, etc.?"
What a great question, Julie! And...may the force be with you as you and your little one enter Toddlerville. It is not as terrifying as I'd thought, but it isn't "easy" either! Here are a few things that seem to work for us:
1. Getting down on their level. I'm sure I stole this from any number of my friends, and it sounds so simple...but it has worked wonders. Whenever Emery disobeys or struggles to master her emotions, it makes such a difference if I get down on my knees to talk to her or discipline her. When we are able to look into each other's eyes, I feel like she listens and responds so much better than when I'm barking out orders across the room.
2. Don't miss the teaching opportunity. My lovely and resourceful friend recommended the book Don't Make Me Count To Three by Ginger Plowman, and this author has so many great insights on God-centered discipline for your child. I love this book. My favorite perspective that she offers is that a parents' very best opportunity to teach your child right from wrong is RIGHT AFTER they have disobeyed. She discusses how so many parents get hung up on the "rod" of discipline mentioned in Proverbs that they forget the rest of the verse...the "reproof." She says that when your child has done something wrong, their hearts will be much more repentant and receptive to examples of RIGHT behavior in that very moment. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." As parents, we are to be our child's "way out," meaning we need to use that teachable moment to show them what to do correctly the next time...thus providing a path of success for the next moment of choice. I LOVE THIS CONCEPT. To be honest, I do not always successfully discipline my little toddler. But, when I make the effort to put these concepts into practice, I can really see results later. Plus, she is so proud of herself when she does the right thing. That makes it all worth it in the end. :)
3. Praise the positive. I kind of think we might annoy our friends and family with this sometimes, but my husband and I really try to go out of our way to praise the heck out of positive behavior displayed by our toddler. This came in especially handy when we brought a new baby into the mix. I was worried (and still am) about how the two get along, but I find that praising Emery when she is sweet to Delia or shares or is loving makes her want to repeat that behavior all the more. Our oogley googley baby voices probably are annoying, but I can see her swelling with pride as she hears our praise...so, oh well. ;)
4. Whining happens...but I don't have to listen to it. Let's face it. Toddlerville brings out the whining. It is inevitable. I copied this idea from a couple of friends: when Emery becomes inexplicably whiny (happens often these days), she is calmly sent to her room. She's not 'in trouble' necessarily, but I do not feel the need to baby and pamper her when she is just flat out whiny. She is sent to her room where she can cry, flail around on the floor, whimper...or, as usually happens, play by herself quietly and forget why she was whining in the first place. ;) She isn't allowed to come out until she is done with her whining, and she'll proudly fling herself from her room squealing, "I HAPPY, MOMMY! LOOK! I HAPPY!" And...then we move on with our day! Works like a charm. Well, it doesn't CURE the whines...it just helps move the day along. And it keeps me from jamming sharpened pencils in my ears. ;)
5. Say their age out loud. Sounds weird, but seriously...saying, "Why are you acting like a TWO YEAR OLD?!?" really helps remind me that she is, in fact, only two years old. Twenty-four short months of living in this world, and I already expect her to have it down pat. Geesh. ;)
I'm loving these questions, gals! Makes me have to take a step back and evaluate how I'm choosing to parent and guide my little ones...so, in a round about way, THANK YOU! :)
More answers soon...
...and I'd love to hear what your answers would be to some of these questions! Any sage wisdom to pass along to other Mommies??
(Promise I'll post the answers to your fun questions soon...but first, look who went and turned six months old without asking permission!!! Gah!!!)
Dear Doodle Bug,
You are SIX MONTHS OLD! One half of a year has already gone by, and now you are on your way towards being a big girl...waaaahhhh! Make it slow down already. :) We are just soaking you up and enjoying each day with you in our lives. What a sweet little lady you are becoming, and I love watching your little personality start to shine through in so many ways.
Here are some of your milestones from your sixth month!
-At six months old, you weigh 20 pounds and are 27.5 inches long! Such a big girl but such a little girl...all at once. :)
-Your fuzzy hair is growing in, and I think it might be starting to turn blond. We'll see! I love when your fuzzy head tickles my chin or my face while we snuggle. Soft baby hair.
-You are moving on up to a size four diaper, and you wear 6-12 month clothing (mostly 9 and 12 month clothing).
-You have the teeniest little feet! So cute.
-You've transitioned out one of your feedings, so now you nurse around 7-8am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm. You get a dream-feeding around 10-11pm, and you eat once more during the night.
-I'm okay with feeding you at night, because you sleep in and wake up around the same time as your sis. You eat so quickly and fall right back to sleep at that nighttime feeding, and, despite the punctuated sleep on my part, I really will miss this last night feeding. You are so still and soft and calm, and you gently touch my face or rub my chest and throat while you eat and fall back to sleep. Precious. I'll be glad for the solid sleep...but I'm not sure I'm ready to let this feeding go quite yet... :)
-This month, you had your first taste of REAL food! You've had peas, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pears, and apples! You still aren't quite sure what in the world you are supposed to do with these new tastes and textures, but you aren't gagging and spitting as much...especially when you eat carrots and fruits. :) You're getting it, baby girl!
-You eat a breakfast of rice cereal, and then you'll have one of your baby foods for dinner each night.
-While you eat, you squeeze your lips together so tightly to keep us from getting another bite into your mouth, or you'll start blowing raspberries. Or you'll sneeze. Baby food...everywhere! ;)
-Doodles, you go to bed around 6:30pm each night, and you wake up around 7:30am. You wake up once to eat sometime in there, too.
-During the day, you have transitioned down to three naps: one in the morning from 9am-10am, another one in the early afternoon from 12:30-3pm, and one catnap in the early evening from 4:30pm-5pm.
-Before naps and bedtime, you get a new diaper, your paci, and we read and sing and rock and snuggle. Love this time with you. After that, we lay you down still awake, and you will flop around, hold your feet, and then usually conk out on your back.
-You like to have your arms up above your head when you sleep on your back, and if you are sleepy while I'm nursing you, you'll hold on to your ears as you drift off. Precious!
-You've started flipping over to your stomach a lot this month when you are in your bed, and it REALLY frustrated you at first. You couldn't seem to keep from getting stuck, and you couldn't get yourself back onto your back. It was so sad! We spent a few days flipping you back over, but finally we just had to let you fuss and figure it out on your own. And you did! Now, you will usually fall asleep on your back, flip to your stomach about 30-45 minutes into your nap, and then you keep right on snoozing!
-Sometimes you will quietly moan to get yourself to sleep. Sweetest sounds ever.
-After your dream-feeding each night, I scoop you up, lay your sleepy head on my shoulder, and rock you while patting your back for a burp. So many times you will 'talk' to me in your sleep. It is so quiet and soft and sweet...and you are right up by my ear, so I can hear each little coo and breath. I absolutely LOVE this moment. I love you, too. :)
-When I go to pick you up from your nap, you are SO excited to see my face peek over your crib! You beam up at me, and your little chin dimples show up!!
-While I'm giving you kisses all over your chubby cheeks, you will open your mouth so wide and latch on to my jaw or my chin! You give kisses back to Mommy!! Love this. The kisses are gummy and drooly and wet...and perfect.
-Daddy really gets you laughing when you are just wearing your diaper and he holds you up over his head and brings you down to his mouth for a tummy kiss! You scrunch up your little body with glee, and you shriek and squeal as he blows raspberries on your chubby tummy!
-Speaking of raspberries, you have learned how to blow them this month...hilarious! You get to going with your raspberries, and the drool starts to fly! It's almost as if you can't stop. Love it! (I do not love it, however, when you blow raspberries WHILE nursing. That's defeating the purpose, my dear.) ;)
-Oh goodness, you are a TV watcher...! If I'm not careful, you'd watch one of your sister's PBS shows all the way through!
-Your daily activities include laying under your floor gym batting at toys, sitting in the Bumbo watching your sister run around, jumping (kind of) in the jumper while playing with toys and listening to the music, sitting in your bouncy chair, laying in bed with Emery while kicking at your toy keyboard that ties to the crib, playing on Mommy's bed, and taking rides in your car seat or stroller. You are a busy lady!
-We took you to the park to feed the ducks! You'd been there before as a teeny weeny baby, but you actually noticed the ducks this time, and you looked around all over the place to try and figure out what was making that crazy quacking noise!
-Your sister turned two this month, and you were a guest at her hippo birthday party!
-We've had dinners with friends, many play dates, and lots of trips around town. You are so laid back and calm, and I love going places with you, my Doodle Bug!
Sweet Delia Jane, you are just that: sweet. You are easygoing, funny, and so very beautiful. I am so blessed to be your Mommy. I cherish our stolen moments together: rocking in your dark room at night, snuggling on my bed, nursing in a quiet room, nuzzling your chin and sides to make you laugh, putting you to bed each night and reading our books and singing our songs. You are priceless, my little one.
"I remember in college that you cut your own hair! I think you might have even cut my hair in my bathroom at Taylor, too! I have always been so impressed by this, and was wondering what your techniques were to cut your own hair!"
Ha ha, Kelly, I remember doing that!!! Oh goodness, those were the days. ;) Well, I guess my one and only secret was that my hair was just so darn long at that time I could easily reach it up above my head to see and cut it--ha! I'm sure my hairstylist would cringe if she read this. ;) I used to cut about 20 girls' hair in high school and college, and it all started because I chopped off my sister's hair into a bob when she was in 6th grade...and it didn't look half bad! My days of being a faux hairdresser are long gone, but if you ever grow your hair out super long, hit me up for some tips! ;)
"I think you always look flawless! Could you give us a peek into your beauty regimen, makeup bag, etc?"
Summer, you are so sweet! Especially since I am currently wearing smudged mascara...and that's it! It's been one of those days. ;)
As far as my beauty/makeup routine goes, I'll just tell you: I'm cheap. The most expensive brand of makeup found in my bag is Physician's Formula. Ha! As usual, we're trying to pinch pennies as the hubster finishes up pharmacy school, plus I am just not brave enough to drop a huge wad of cash on department store makeup that I'm not totally sure I'll like in the end. I'm chicken like that. ;) Maybe someday I'll get brave and try out a few fancy things. Someday. ;) I will say there are five beauty-ish things that I absolutely won't live without (not paid reviews...just my humble/cheap preferences):
Let's just call it like it is: I'm a hairy gal. Gross, but true. I am not dainty enough to go without shaving for a few days, and I am for CERTAIN not going to miss a day of tweezing. My favorite tweezer brand is Tweezerman thus far, and I use them every single day. I get strange satisfaction from tweezing and shaping my own eyebrows, so it's a win-win, I guess. But seriously. If I had to choose one beauty item to never be without, it would be tweezers. So much of a woman's look can be altered and determined by brow shape. Love me some Tweezerman tweezers. (And now the word "tweezer" has lost all meaning since I've said/typed it so much.) ;)
Being a (tired) Mom of little ones, concealer ranks pretty high on my list of must-haves. Again, I just use cheap Cover Girl concealer, and it does the trick. For my face, the concealer works best on the inside corners of my eyes, under my brow, and under my lower lid.
Love me some Cover Girl. ;) These days, I've been using their Lash Blast mascara in 'Very Black.' It makes my lashes extra full, and I don't really notice many clumps or flakes throughout the day. I might never quit using this product, because it is cheap and it WORKS!
4. Anti-wrinkle creams
I started using anti-wrinkle creams in college, because my ageless step-mother told me to. She is gorgeous, has porcelain skin, and you would never be able to guess her age. (She also shuns the sun, and it has paid off. Flawless, I'm telling you.) Anyway, I just use whatever is the least expensive from Oil of Olay, and I really like the smell and thickness of the cream pictured above. Not really sure if it is making any difference or not, but I'm too scared to STOP using it! Prevention, ladies, prevention...or so my step-mama tells me. ;)
5. Lady-stache remover
Oh, friends. This is a must. See #1. ;) My very VERY favorite method of removing the lady-stache is threading, because it doesn't rip, burn, or harm the skin on your upper lip. After years of waxing (and using a tanning bed...shhh, don't tell my step-mom!!) in high school and college, I developed melasma on my upper lip. It is just a darkening of the skin, and it went away after I stopped tanning. Anyway, the only place I have found for threading is at the mall which is about 45 minutes away from my house. There is NO way I am going to pack up my baby and toddler and drive to the mall for hair removal every week! Craziness! So, one of my good friends suggested trying Olay's Facial Hair Removal Duo. There is a protective balm that you put on your skin prior to applying the removal cream, and it has worked wonderfully!
"Can you come to my house and give me lessons on those bows you make?!? I'm tired of zooming in on your pictures trying to figure out how you made them. ;)"
Katie, I wish I could remember where I found those bow tutorials!!! We used so many different online tutorials for our bow making party that I just can't remember. I'm so sorry! I bet yours turned out beautifully, though. You are so crafty. :)
"Your house is (and always has been) the perfect blend of magazine-worthy charm and cozy comfort. Where do you draw your inspiration?"
Gotta love the bestie. Building up my ego and helping me think of blog topics all in one. ;) Well, my friend, thanks for your compliment! My main inspiration was actually my lovely mother-in-law! When I was a new homeowner, I thought my home's pallet would include reds and tans and wrought irons and dark woods. It looked fine...just wasn't me. In the 8 years that I've known her, my MIL has never shied away from giving her entire home a brand new 'feel' just by choosing a new wall color or rearranging her furniture. A few years ago, Russell's parents moved homes, and she decided to use soft aquas and distressed whites and whispers of pastel to decorate her home. I fell in love. It was so peaceful and calm and soothing and spa-like. I found myself just exhaling deeply each time I'd enter her house, and I wanted to emulate that feeling in my own home in my own style. Thus, many of the walls in my house are aqua, I can't stop painting and distressing my furniture, and one of my favorite things about my home are the floor-to-ceiling white, billowy curtains to complete the beach-y feel. This style is not for everyone, but my husband and I really like the calm, peaceful feel of it all. Plus, I can kind of pretend like I am at the beach. Kind of. ;)
A few other house-y things:
--I can hardly bring myself to turn on an overhead light. What can I say?! In the words of Brick Tamland on Anchorman, "I love lamp." Lamps with low-wattage bulbs make the room feel soft and cozy, although I'm not sure the use of roughly one million lamps is the greenest choice for home lighting....oops.
--As goofy as she is, Candice Olson from HGTV's Divine Design and Candice Tells All has some excellent tips. For example, she advises 'flanking' in your design; two end tables each with a lamp on either side of the bed, lamps on either side of the TV/computer, flanking a large piece of art with smaller frames, etc. I guess it makes things feel finished or complete. I love flank. ;) See...
--And finally, you guessed it, Pinterest. I can no longer keep track of the Pinterest-inspired projects around my home, and I love it. DIY (usually...) means CHEAP, and that's another of my mantras: buy inexpensive things that look pricey...that way, if/when the toddler knocks it over, you won't cry.
So, what about you? Any other Cover Girl users out there? Any flanking going on at your house? ;)
Thanks, friends, for thinking up such fun questions! Looking forward to answering the rest of them soon!
Well folks, I'm feeling a bit of blogger's block these days. Whether the block is due to tiredness following Emery's second birthday, the fact that I can't quite normalize with the time change (although I L.O.V.E. this time change...H.A.T.E. the one in the fall), or the frustrating Baby Flapjack phase (coined by my lovely friend) that Delia has entered, where she instinctively flips over to her stomach during her sleep, can't get flipped back over, gets all woken up, cries, and I lay in bed debating whether or not to flip her back over, and if I do, will I have to flip her until she turns 13 years old, etc...whatever it is, I'm just stumped.
I'm going to open the blog up to questions from my lovely and interesting readers! Is there anything you'd like to know about my sometimes chaotic life with a busy toddler who adores Angelina Ballerina, a nursing baby who will probably grow up thinking her name actually IS Doodles, a husband in pharmacy school, and a dog that sleeps 26 hours a day? Ask away! Future baby plans or facial hair removal, diaper preference or dating history, reality TV addictions or really tough parenting questions...
We celebrated Emery's second (sob...) birthday this week, and she had so much fun! Here are a few (read: a million) pictures of our week...
The night before her birthday, we snuck into Emery's room and filled it up with balloons! When she woke up the next morning, we heard over the monitor, "WOWEE!!! Blooooooons!!! WOWEE!!!" Needless to say, she loved it. (Thank you, Pinterest, for the idea.)
On Saturday, we had the immediate family over to celebrate with a hippo-themed birthday party. Oh, the hippo obsession. If you'd like to read about the gassy hippo that started it all, read here. ;) As we round the home base of pharmacy school for the hubby, we are trying to keep expenses down. Pinterest was killing me! So many cute ideas from which to choose, but we kept it simple this year. Simple and special. That's all she needs. :)
We had a frozen yogurt bar (again, thanks Pinterest!) where guests could choose their own toppings. Yummy.
I found a bunch of cheap hippo books online a few weeks ago, so part of Emery's gift served as a little table decor...
...and some gifts served as a LOT of table decor! The gigantic hippo was a hit. She named him "Pinky" after her step-grandpa who sent it to her. Hilarious. Another hippo from Nama rounded out the table, along with the most precious felt play cake from my lovely friend Leslie.
Hippo cookies!!! My favorite part of the party. Yummy. ;) The cookie cutter was found on Amazon, and I used this website's recipe for the cookie dough and icing. (Sidenote: I'd add more flour to the cookie recipe if you use it. It was very wet and unmanageable until I added another cup or so of flour. Be warned.) ;)
The birthday girl in her hippo shirt from this store on Etsy. She picked out a tutu from her Aunt Shelly to complete the ensemble. Stylin' birthday girl. ;)
Artist's easel from Mom and Dad. Chalkboard on one side, white board on the other, and a roll of paper up top to use with crayons = quiet play time for Emery, which thusly = happy Mommy.
I highly recommend the artist's easel.
Birthday girl in her hippo shirt. Love.
Two looks good on her.
My love. (Pardon my EXTREMELY intense smile. I was trying to get her to smile while trying to look natural for the picture while trying to excitedly encourage compliance through clenched teeth. You know what I'm talking about.)
She's been trying to make the number two on her fingers for weeks with no luck. Ah well. You've got eleven more months to get it down. ;)
The fam. Minus...
...THIS precious baby! I want to eat her up. But I won't. ;)
Blowing out her birthday candles! TWO candles this year. Good grief. :(
Playing with her fan club.
It was such a wonderful week celebrating our big girl. Balloons, cookies, family, and hippos.
Such a lovely week.
Even if a tooting hippo was the inspiration for it all...