Saturday, October 29, 2011


Today I have reached what some mothers have referred to as a pivotal age where their "baby" moves from infant to toddler. One friend of mine always claimed that once her children turned 18 months, things started getting easier...and at this point I can agree.

First of all, I literally can not believe that my little peanut is no longer the helpless infant he was only a short year and half ago. Here he was less than a week old (note the hospital bracelet still on his tiny wrist):

Here is my darling boy today @ 18 months!

Loves doing puzzles...
...and running!
I am continually amazed at how quickly he is changing...examples include that as of a week ago, Noah is now able to go down our stairs all by himself so we have taken down the "baby gates" for now. He has added to his animal repertoire by imitating not only a cow, bee, and lion...but now a sheep. He can identify tons of animals in his own way and is starting to read books and play independently for longer periods of time (Hallelujah!). He knows where his hamper is to place dirty clothes in, he understands where his head, hands, tummy, and nose are located, and is beginning to love his routine of watching Sesame Street after his nap. He can ask for his drink, snacks, pacifier, or ask for help without throwing himself on the floor. He is no longer too rough with peers by grabbing hair or clothes but instead "pets" babies and friends with "gentle hands" and a smile on his face.  And, best of all, after 9 months of drill-and-skill training, Noah gladly says "mama" when he sees me now!

My small, tiny baby is a baby no longer...he is a toddler and there is not much I can do to stop it. Perhaps it's the pregnancy hormones, but I quite literally got teary-eyed watching a video Nick took of Noah the other night at McDonald's for his daddy date. Noah was eating a cheeseburger on his wrapper and picking it up with two hands and setting it down gently when he was done taking a bite...his sippy cup sitting nicely on his tray as well.While some reading this may think, get a grip, Michelle...To me in that particular video my Noah looked like a little person and I saw the years moving faster and faster. While there are times I am exhausted being with him all day and get tired of carrying him, dressing him, bathing him, changing diapers, preparing his meals, cleaning his messes...I know all too soon there will come a day when he won't need me as much...or at all. So for now it's my job to enjoy this time where he is moving from a dependent baby to an independent, smart, lovable, kind child I am trying to raise. :-)

Ok...where is that Kleenex again?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Requesting an Open Bar @ Storytime

**Disclaimer...if YOUR particular 18 month old (or better yet, a child who is younger) does enjoy story time, sits still for 20 minutes at a time listening intently to stories read aloud in a whole group by an unfamiliar adult, and is an overall calm, quiet child...then God's blessings to you...and please, please don't let me know about it! :-) Thanks! one call the police or report me. I have not indulged in any "above the age of 21" beverages...yet!  The title simply summarizes my feeling after leaving the local Barnes & Noble for Noah's very first experience with a collective, organized "story time".  Let's just get it out of the way because I'm sure those of you that know my son (and his never ending energy and infant ADHD) are saying in your heads, right at this exact moment..."Michelle, you should have known better..."

Let's lay out the facts of the setting, shall we?
  • First, story time is a quiet time usually to listen to picture books being read by a fun adult.  Well, that right there..."quiet"...really...why would I assume this would fit with us?
  • Second, there are small chairs and benches arranged for the young children to sit and listen. Another key word that I should have known would be trouble..."sit".
  • Third, people brought their dogs (yes, that's right!...and no they were not for the visually impaired).  Two older women had their dogs with them on a really, do you think my kid cares about the book with the mouse and cupcake? Didn't think so...
We arrived about 10 minutes prior, so Noah could have some time to walk around the stage where story time takes place.  Barnes & Noble's children's area is delightful with colorful, organized book displays, a toy train area, and stuffed animals. What a fun place!  As more and more children arrived, I then tried to corral my son to the nearest chair or location out of the way...bribing him of course with his favorite snack of raisins.  That lasted about 3 minutes until he spotted the dogs and pet them with a smile on his face. Ok, fine...we're where is the lady at who reads the book? I wondered as more and more parents began to fill the area, sitting their calm children down with a ziploc bag full of goldfish, pretzels, or cookies. Most of the kids I could see were above the age of 2, so that made me feel a little better considering Noah then moved back to the stage to walk up and down.

The lady arrived with a smile on her face and noticing Noah right away, eating his raisins in fistfuls.  After going around the room introducing ourselves (thank goodness Noah went first) she began to read the first book.  Obviously sitting still and watching her read from a far distance had no interest to him, so I picked him up and stood more in the back talking to him about what she was reading.  He would stare for perhaps 10 seconds, and then want down (with a large side of whining I might add)...this went on for around 3 minutes before I made the executive mommy decision that story time would have to be something we build up stamina for, like church, and 3 minutes is what we'll consider our starting point. 

After changing him (or course he had a messy diaper there too!) and him crying as I tried to hold his hand while walking to the car, I felt as if I had run a race.  Perhaps it was a combination of me being pregnant @ 29 weeks, Noah's whining, carrying his 30 pound frame around the bookstore when he got into things he wasn't supposed to, or the cold, rainy weather we've been having...but I was whooped! And that was a 20 minute

While Noah enjoys books and loves being read to if allowed to sit on your lap...story time is something completely different and I look forward to the time I can bring my Starbucks and listen right along with him as the lady reads the book with a mouse and cupcake...

but for now, our personal best for story time will remain @ 3 minutes...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Laughter is the best medicine

Not sure how many copyright laws I am breaking...but today's post is just fun! I have always loved Anne Taintor's hilarious mix of humor with vintage photographs.  I peeked at her website today ( for some humorous takes on the role of wives and stay-at-home-moms and quite literally spent about 8 minutes laughing so hard I cried.  Really...tears flowing, hard belly laugh, couldn't breathe type of laughing.  Perhaps it is the hormones or the fact that I was just in dire need of a good chuckle.

Enjoy all you wonderful mothers out there! Hopefully if you are having a rough day at home (or in public) with your can think of these humorous quips to make you smile!

WOW! I get to give birth AND change diapers!

the day was in dire need of a Ctrl+Alt+Delete

ta-daa! now let's have a cocktail...

the secret ingredient is resentment

why, I'd be delighted to put my needs last again

Monday, October 17, 2011

A "Praise the Lord" post :-)

This is a "praise the Lord" post that I really should be doing much more often :-) As some may know, at my last dr's appt for baby #2, the doctor was a bit concerned with the growth of the baby. Baby was in the 10th percentile of growth at 20 and 24 weeks...babies below 10th often have complications with their birth or development. So long story short...I have been trying very hard NOT to worry about how today's appt would go, but four weeks is a long time to find out if everything is going the way it's supposed to.

Today was my 28 week appt with ultrasound to check the baby's growth. He or she is now considered to be in the 21st percentile. When I heard that news I literally breathed a deep sigh of relief, so happy to hear that the baby continues to put on weight and develop normally. My doctor was also very pleased with progress but is requesting another ultrasound @ 32 weeks to monitor growth as a precaution.

Funny conversation with the ultrasound tech as she was reporting the growth measurements. She asked if I was eating more calories. I said no, not really believing that the more a mother eats the more the baby grows or weighs. Well apparently that does work today I have learned four important facts...

1. God is good and is truly taking care of me and my unborn child. I just need to continue to trust that he is working everything for our good.

2. My baby is officially 2 pounds, 10 ounces (still so tiny when I compare that to my 30 pound toddler!)

3. My scheduled C-section is tentatively planned for December 31st...may have a New Year's Eve baby! Break out the confetti and champagne!

4. I shouldn't say no to any cheesecake in the future...the baby needs those calories, right???

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Patience is a virtue...can I borrow yours, please?

The dictionary defines patience as "the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like".  The Bible tells us that "patience" is one of the fruits of spirit along with love, joy, kindness, self control, peace, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness...(Gal. 5:22,23). 

Why am I writing about "patience" today, you may ask? Well...thinking the title of my blog (stay at home mom) and the title of this post can pretty much explain this.  Patience is something I have found to really be a challenge for me not only recently, but ever since becoming a mother...and especially after Noah turned one or so. 

All too often, girls and women pre-children dream about motherhood as a blissful journey of peace, true happiness, and contentment...and while all these things can be true (at opportune times like nap time...) I'm finding out really, really quick all the things that people with children tell you...but you really don't listen and understand until you have your own!  And I'm not even talking about the condescending (we know the type, ladies) moms who have raised "perfect" children because of how they went about rearing their children as opposed to your methods. I'm thinking now of all the times I have heard "veteran" mothers say things like "I don't miss the baby stage...", "motherhood is the toughest job there is", "kids can drive you crazy" or "I am so done having children!"  Pre-Noah, I couldn't understand comments like could you not want your child to stay a baby or when do you feel you have enough children?  Well, ladies and gentleman, I am understanding those comments all too well lately and I'm only 18 months in with ONE child.  I can only imagine that patience will be required exponentially as more children arrive and the older my children get...

With Noah approaching 18 months, patience is being taken to an entirely new level with time outs, tantrums, and more repetition than I have ever had to endure! I thought it was annoying and repetitive when I had to remind my 3rd April...the importance of writing their names on their paper. That is nothing compared to the repetition required to change the behavior of a toddler.  There are times I would rather train a squirrel how to knit than have to show and tell Noah ONE MORE TIME not to throw his sippy cup on the floor...or how to eat (not dump food) on his plate...or grab that girls hair...or run out into the road...or throw his Lego blocks across the room for no reason...or color with his crayons and not eat them...and...and...and...

Deep sigh and breathe...

Yeah, you get the point.  Patience is a virtue that every good parent needs to invest, practice, and work on no matter who you are.  And the funny thing is I have always considered myself to have excellent patience, being an elementary teacher and special education teacher. That is part of your job qualification in fact in order to help your students learn.  When introducing a lesson or skill, as a teacher you never assume your students will get it the first time...or even the second or third.  They need practice, guidance, and encouragement to become independent and I pretty much had it down as a teacher...and then my job changed from teacher to mother and "patience" is having an entirely new meaning.

Just today alone, I have most likely said the word "no" over 40 times, taken deep breaths around 15 times, and have given Noah around 10 timeouts...and that was all before noon.  Second guessing myself in the moment I wonder all the time if what I am doing is right or making any difference at all.  But now that Noah is down for his nap, I have indulged in 2 chocolate chip-peanut butter cookies, and am reflecting on the word "patience" I am thinking of the positive changes I see in Noah's behavior from only a few short months ago and counting in my head all the positive communication I have given my little man...15 hugs, 12 kisses, sang 3 songs, and given 20 words of praise all before noon.

Yes, motherhood is a tough job and is requiring tons of patience...but here is a comment I have heard from multiple mothers even after a tough day that I can completely agree with 100%...

"and I wouldn't trade it for anything..."    

Monday, October 10, 2011

Diary of a 30 year old...

Perhaps it's the fact that I have always felt a little out of my "element" as a teen and young 20something...but turning 30 last Saturday was really no big deal! :-) I'm proud to say there were no tears, no regrettable tattoos, and no time on the couch sulking at old photos of my "young" self with a bottle of wine asking pathetic questions like where did the time go or when did my life end? (Well, if I could have had a bottle of wine on my birthday...I probably would have...but you get the point!)

My sister Jessica's birthday is the day before it's always been as if we're "twins" celebrating our big days. As kids we had the two-for-one family parties where Mom would bake one cake and presents were given at the same time. As teens and adults, we often tried to get together and celebrate together when possible perhaps because it always felt so natural for us.

With my sister in Chicago and myself living near Flint...celebrating our birthdays together has been a little more difficult. But as a surprise to me, my husband came home last Thursday presenting me with a card and a polite order to pack my bags and head to the west side (my parents home) to have a girls weekend husband, no toddler...just time to rest, relax, pamper, eat, and enjoy time with my mom and sister.

Honestly, my first reaction to this "surprise" from my husband was...shall we say...a surprise? I guess it felt a little weird that I wouldn't be ringing in the number 30 with my best friend amidst a romantic dinner...or see my child at all that day. But once I got over that...I made the drive out with no extra sounds like baby whining and listening to the music as loud as I liked :-)

Friday (Jessica's bday) was spent sleeping in and then shopping with her. Being almost 7 months pregnant...I didn't try on or buy anything...but instead watched my trendy, "city-girl" sister whip out that credit card faster than you could say "sale" treating herself to many classy and chic items. It was so much fun to just hang out, laugh, and discuss our family, our jobs, and our lives even for just those few hours. :-) We ended the evening stopping by our youngest brother's football game...and then out to eat with our parents.

My birthday started with the sun and almost 80 degree weather...hard to believe! Sleeping in has a whole new meaning now that I am a mom...and I took advantage of that indeed. Around 10:00, mom, Jess, and I had pedicures and manicures while drinking coffee. Following that...we stopped by local pastry shoppe for some much needed sweet treats. Our day continued with a nap and a Mary Kay facial...only to end the 30th year of my life with dinner at Tosi's with my mom, dad, littlest brother, and sister. It really was a fun weekend that was much needed!

Almond horns from Bit of Swiss...heaven!

Dinner @ Tosi's

The birthday girls!
While turning 30 hasn't made me has made me more sentimental. Time is moving fast when you think of it...and it sometimes does feel like only yesterday I was playing Barbies, riding my purple bike, riding horses in the fair, graduating high school, entering college, getting married...pretty soon I will be saying these same things about my little guy, Noah (where's the Kleenex???)...well, not the "playing Barbie's" part I would think.

 It's amazing to me how much change happens, for better or worse, in a short decade. Just ten years ago I was a single gal entering my sophomore year of college at Western Michigan University. Fast forward 10 years...and I am a college graduate with a Master's degree, former teacher, married, mother of one with another on the way. Wow! God has definitely blessed me more than I deserve and that is enough to make me one thankful, happy 30 year old :-)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mama's Little Helper

Noah has been getting to that stage where his never ending energy can be put to some good use! We're approaching the age of "I-can-do-it-myself" rapidly and while I would like to say it's making things easier in some ways (example, I no longer have to go find Noah's shoes...he gladly gets them himself) in other ways finding ways for Noah to help given his limited communication or understanding how to do most things 100% independently can make for some patience-testing moments (breathe,'s just yogurt in his hair...he needs to practice using a spoon).

Here are few things he enjoys doing to "help" out...with a nice dose of clapping and praising to follow! Small jobs Noah can tackle include:


opening and shutting the dryer of his favorite activities with or without clothes!

paying special attention to his blanket

3) CLOSING THE DISHWASHER DOOR (and opening it...again...and again....and again...)


I am especially looking forward to his "help" when the new baby comes...and I'm sure there will be many more "patience-testing" moments to come!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall is finally here!

Easily my second favorite season (close second to summer...I mean, I can't tell you enough how much I enjoy the beach, water, no school, and warm weather). This fall has definitely felt so much different than past autumns most likely due to the fact that I'm staying home with a small toddler who is just amazed at his surroundings every day! Just the other day, we were picking up leaves and exploring them with our eyes and fingers and he loves hearing the crunch of dead leaves as we walk around the local nature trail near the hospital. I think one of the best things about being a parent is that children truly do help you appreciate things again or in a new way...I mean, how often (or when is the last time) have you stopped to pick up a fallen leaf and admire the changing colors and hues? Yeah...that's what I thought.

Noah was around 6 months last year at this time and fall didn't even have the same meaning there for me. We did the "Halloween" thing...but he wasn't at that age yet to appreciate and enjoy the costume, candy, orchards, pumpkins, or the changing scenery in nature. 

Halloween 2010:
Noah @ 6 months...dressed as a little mouse :-)

This year, I am giddy with excitement at taking him to an orchard, sit in a pumpkin patch, and drink cider and donuts. We've already been busy doing a few of these things...along with other adventures due to the fact this weather around here lately has been off the charts warm! Today, for example, we went to the zoo considering the weather was in the 70's. Here are a few things we have been up to as September closed and October opened...looking forward to putting up more "fall" pics soon of all the fun we've been having!

Enjoying a donut with his pal Ray at the local orchard in Commerce

Giant chair @ Long's Orchard

 Hay maze @ the Detroit Zoo...Noah is not really a fan of the scratchy hay as you can see from his expression.
Playing peek-a-boo in the maze

Playground fun @ the zoo!

My cutie-pie!
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