Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away...

Yes, today's title is borrowed from the popular, amazing show Sesame Street. I watched it consistently throughout the 80's and now 30 years later I'm watching it again. Spring is finally, finally here!!! This week alone we're supposed to have highs close to the 70s and I couldn't be a happier mother, wife, and person in general. Knowing Michigan weather can be a little "schitzo"...I am soaking up the rays and taking my babies outdoors as much as humanly possible. It truly is amazing to me how the weather can change your mood in an instant.

Here is another picture collection from our adventures in February and March. We have been relatively busy with swimming lessons, playdates, and daily business of a home with two small children. Olivia is almost 3 months and Noah is six weeks away from turning 2! Cliche, but true...where is the time going?

First time bowling

Intently watching where his ball is going

Enjoying a treat with Grandma

Sitting with "Papa" Hagewood
Went to the Michigan Lutheran District games to watch "Uncle Micah" Olivia is cheering with her great grandparents :-)

Swimming lessons part deux

Wearing Nick's Arkansas Razorback hat...

My sweetheart...almost 3 months :-)

Amelia and Noah playing

Special treat...riding on the big tractor with his great grandfather :-)

Enjoying the playmat

Hanging out with his pal, Ray :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dog Days of Winter...

Winter has been official for quite some time around here but the weather hasn't necessarily lived up to it's Michigan standards of constant blizzards, wind chills below zero, or consecutive cloudy days. In fact it has been strangely sunny and mild making most people happy except for teachers or students who wish for those snow days every week through March.  However, with February coming to a close and this being my first winter "at home"...I feel like it has been the longest winter of my life! Okay...that's dramatic...sorry. I'll rephrase. It's been a "winter of trying to find things to do indoors that accommodate an active toddler, a small newborn, and a mother who desperately needs time out of our house before she begins counting tiles on the kitchen floor" (although...that may be a good counting activity for Noah! hmmm....)

So here is what we have been up to this February in pictures to beat the winter blues!

Playdough! Right now...Noah is still at the squeezing, breaking, throw-on-the-floor...and EATING stage as seen above!

Making Valentine's cards for the grandparents and Daddy!

Making sugar cookies to decorate as gifts to the grandparents

Olivia enjoying some tummy time...and Noah using every effort to observe his sister with his eyes, not his hands :-)
Reading lots of books!

Being SILLY!


A few times a year a lady from Grand Blanc Public Schools comes in to do an activity with Noah through a program called SKIP (Successful Kids Involved Parents). It's a free program for kids 0-5.  At this visit, Noah was playing with a box full of dried beans, rice, and plastic food figurines practicing his scooping and dumping skills. A wonderful 20 minute activity that kept him engaged but required the vacuum cleaner out immediately after!

A Saturday morning trying to get Noah to enjoy painting :-) Usually lasts around 10 minutes!

These are "paint" markers that are waterproof and smell like fruits...
Of course I haven't documented how many Elmo videos we also enjoy on these wintry days when I'm feeding Olivia, changing some one's diaper, loading and unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, or trying to keep this house "germ free" as much as possible. But who wants to see those pictures anyway?

Would love to hear from other stay at home moms what they do to "contain the sanity" through wintertime with toddlers and babies...ideas are welcome!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This Too Shall Pass...

This past Friday, I once again attempted to take Noah to storytime at Barnes & Noble...yes, I am that brave (or love to punish myself?). In the car as I straped Noah in, put the diaper bag under his seat, got back in the house to get Olivia in her car seat, brought her out to put in the car, got myself in the car, and began pulling out of the driveway with a huge "sigh" as I attempted another outing with 2 arms and another set of eyes short, I thought in my head "This is good...this is good for Noah to get exposure to different settings, books, right?" It was around 10 am at that time and the stomach began to grumble. I had time in the car while Bob and Larry from Veggie Tales were singing "This Little Light of Mine" to then replay the events of the morning...

Noah fed- check
Noah's diaper changed- check
Noah dressed- check
Olivia fed and dressed- check
Olivia changed (for the third time since 6 am)- double check
Mommy dressed- check
Mommy's teeth brushed-...check
Mommy fed?- oh dear

This has been a repeat of events since the arrival of my dearest daughter.  Forgetting or not given the time to do the things that seemed so much easier when I just had Noah and even easier when it was just Nick and I (don't even remember those days right now...) has been somewhat challenging. Forgetting to eat is one of them. Now everyone calm down...I eat, trust me! And this baby weight is not coming off by itself (but that's another post for another day).

But I thought about this especially when I walked into Barnes & Noble on Friday morning carrying a diaper bag over my right shoulder, managing a nine pound Olivia in her ten pound car seat in my right hand, and holding onto a wiggly toddler's hand in my left. Luckily, on the way in and out there were kind patrons who most likely felt sorry for me and did their best to help the situation by holding the door for us. We probably looked something like this...

...except we were in a bookstore, I don't have two girls, my hair isn't get the point, right?

Now for the point of this I was walking (okay, hobbling) in to the large, bright foyer displaying various books I wish I had time to peruse and read the back of, I looked to the immediate right and saw my favorite area...the magazine/cafe area. Amidst the tables were a variety of people ranging in ages with one thing in common...they had no children with them and were seemingly enjoying themselves with their lattes, literature, smiles, and conversation.  All seemed well dressed and like they had even showered, perhaps.  It made me look down at my black yoga pants with a white spot on the leg that could have been toothpaste, could have been spit up from formula, who knows... I thought to myself  as Noah tugged on my hand, "that used to be me..." while I was looking at a particulary calm and well dressed female reading an issue of People at a remote table in the corner with her coffee by her side.
That self-talk made me think about some of the things I do miss and have forgotten about now that I am a mother of two. It is only natural (and healthy) that you are not the same exact person you were. Change is necessary and often times hard. However, while I ran through a list in my head of things that I am not always able to do right now at this point in my life...I also tried the "glass half full" method of listing things that I am doing now or have now that won't always be with me. So, since I love lists anyway...thought I would record the list of "Things I Really Miss" and "Things I Will Really Miss" from the thirty-year old Michelle with two small children under 2!

  • Well, I wrote about it...reading magazines and coffee by myself at a quiet table in a bookstore
  • Grocery shopping by myself (see a trend here???)
  • Shopping for myself :-)
  • Listening to music of my choice in the car (right now, our Veggie Tales CD is usually on and there are days if I here "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" one more time...)
  • Taking only 15 minutes to get ready and leave the house...instead of an hour and a half...
  • Bringing only my purse when we leave the house...instead of a 10 pound diaper bag
  • Going on an unexpected "date night" with my husband
  • Time to take a nap, read a book, or watch a movie at any moment of the day
  • A house that is organized, tidy, and clean for more than 12 hours
  • A quiet house
  • Eating a meal without having to vacuum the floor afterward
  • Living at my house...not in a doctor's waiting room
On the contrary to all the things I miss and all the days that I don't absolutely LOVE being a stay-at-home mom, there is the realization that Noah and Olivia will only be small once. Someone (I think my mom..) once told me after having a rough day at home with the kids "this too shall pass".  While that is comforting advice when you are exhausted and your nerves have been stretched to their is also somewhat sad to know that your babies will not always be babies.  They won't always take all your time and energy because there will come a time when they don't need you to the degree they need you now. So in that light, while I was holding a squirmy Noah during the actual read aloud...I tried to think about the things I know I will miss all too soon.

  • Olivia's snuggles
  • Noah's amazement at the smallest stacking blocks!

  • A house that doesn't resembe a toy-bin
  • Noah's giggles in the house
  • Lunchtime with Noah in his bib and booster seat
  • Sippy cups
  • Noah with his pacifier and best friend...his blanket or "na-na"
  • Playgrounds
I am sure there are many more things I will miss along the way as my children grow up. While the stress of raising kids can get the best of any parent, it's appreciating all these small moments while you can that is important. So, while I will be the first to admit that there are days that I do wish my house was cleaner and quieter, that I had the entire day to watch a Lifetime movie marathon instead of changing diapers, washing bottles, cleaning up food particles on the ground, or filling up sippy cups, I will also be the first to say that all of the exhaustion, stress, and time my children 100% worth it. However, that is usually easier to see and recognize once I put them down for bed and have had a glass of wine. :-)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Not all rainbows and giggles...

Purpose of today's post...perhaps get some advice or encouragement from parents who have gone through similar things...PLEASE COMMENT IF YOU HAVE EITHER (without making me feel like a terrible parent, please and thank you!)

As if I wasn't already fully aware that there would be ups and downs to raising children...this was a week of clarity showing me the challenging/frustrating/pull out your hair side of parenting. And it really doesn't have anything to do with being home with both kids on my own for the first time...really...

Noah, who is approaching 21 months of age, has had his share of illnesses in his short little life. Starting at 4 months (ironically right after his first week at a full time daycare...hmmm...) he was on his first round of antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection. From there, there were the occasional run ins with ear infections of which we're up to four. I could blame daycare for that...however the last two ear infections were this year while I have been home with him. Constant congestion/runny nose ever since he was small combined with rosy red, dry cheeks that look like a rash are making us head down the "allergy testing" route...finally. I think I have wiped my share of noses for the Duggar family.

After another doctor's appointment this week to check on an antibiotic that didn't clear up his latest ear infection for Noah we finally decided enough is enough and he needs to see an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor to discuss tubes. From what I have heard and read, they make a world of difference for kids who have frequent ear infections. I was also provided an order for blood work done to find out what he's allergic too regarding the red cheeks and constant runny nose.

Yes you read that last sentence correctly...blood work...done...on my 20 month old as in tie his arm with the rubber band, stick a needle in his small little vein blood work. Eeek!

Well, being the seemingly "good" mother I am, after promising a trip to McDonald's, we headed to the lab yesterday to just "get it over with". In my mind, I was happy for him to get tested for allergies to hopefully find out what is causing all his congetion, runny nose, etc. My gut feeling is cats and/or milk...and finding out answers is what I am craving, not testing and waiting to see what changes. Well, not to digress and to make a long story short, getting blood work done yesterday was quite literally the second most painful thing I had to witness (after the 911 scare in November). I had to hold him down in my lap, watch them stick him not once...but twice in the arm only to get NO BLOOD samples. Yes, you heard blood. We left, him in tears, me in tears that would make their way out on the car ride home...with only bandages on his arm and advice to "hydrate him" and"try another lab to see if they could have better luck".

Granted, I am sure drawing blood from a toddler is not their favorite thing to do nor is it easy...but I was so, so frustrated with how I was treated (I left pretty much feeling no sympathy from the two ladies and made to feel like it was my fault somehow that my kid cried...).

McDonald's was promised and given and soon my little peanut was back to himself eating a cheeseburger. His ENT appointment is coming up in a week and a half and I was told by them to wait on the blood test for now...which is fine by me! Hopefully, within a month, I can report happy changes and answers regarding Noah and his chronic congestion/red cheeks/ear infections, etc. etc.

red cheeks that look like a rash...from what, I wonder??? Still a cutie-pie!

Now onto perfect-sleeps-all-day-is-content-when-I'm-fed baby girl...Well, a severe diaper rash has reared it's ugly head going on over a week. Long story short...she may be allergic (I think...haven't taken her to the doctor yet) to the formula we used for Noah with no problems. I don't want to comment on the breast milk/formula debate in this long post...let's just say breastfeeding is difficult for me so after two weeks Olivia is on formula. However, now with a very red bottom that won't go away...I'm off trying another type starting tonight to see if that changes things. Don't even want to comment on all the formula I have stocked up on that may go unused if she requires a "special type"... (deep sigh inserted here)....

So, in summary:

If Google charged per minute of use, would I be broke? Yes.

Will I get through a seemingly rough week? Yes, because I have a wonderful husband, a supportive mom with great advice, and let's be honest...I have healthy kids. I am not in a situation where life or death is on the line for my children. I can't even begin to relate to those families out there who have children with serious diseases or disabilities that require amazing faith and trust in the Lord.

Will we get answers soon...? Yes with appointments and trial runs of formula and no-milk we will hopefully get aswers soon.

And finally...Will I require a glass of wine tonight? Most definitely...and let's be honest, perhaps two.

For now, this may be a long January/February for the Hagewood household. Again, any advice or encouragement would be appreciated on today's post...I'm in need of both!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bedroom Makeovers

It's been a long time coming...Noah has technically been in his "big boy" room for almost 2 months, but it has truly taken me that long to really get his room in order. With the arrival of Olivia and the need (okay, the sheer excitement and want) to purchase new girl bedding for her combined with a week that was Noah-free (my parents have been watching him all this week so I could rest/heal up from my C-section) gave me no more excuses not to have both their bedrooms done.

It didn't take a lot really. Paint was already was just all those last minute, fine-touch details. Here are the before/after pics...enjoy!



My mom came up for a weekend in November to help paint it...I had the bedding chosen since the summer (from Target) and chose one of the brown tones to make his room more "masculine" :-) All the furniture was scored at the lovely Canton IKEA. Special thanks to my mom and Oma for adding the blue border to his bedspread, sewing the curtains, and extra bedding since I purchased "toddler" sized bedding...for a twin bed!  Oops! But it all worked out great.

Still need more photographs up in his room...this is the photo of Olivia's first day home. I framed it in a shadow box frame and used scrapbook paper to matte.
Little puzzle/book corner

Closet knobs from Pottery Barn :-)

This wall is a little plain goal is to frame some of Noah's artwork to display :-)

Now for our little girl's was Noah's baby room before, hence the neutral green color on the walls and the yellow/brown/green bedding before.


OLIVIA'S ROOM AFTER (Thanks, Babies R' Us!)

Letters already pre-painted from JoAnn Fabrics.

Lots of butterfly decals

Loved these colors right away when I saw it in the store! :-) Pink can be overdone with girls...purple is also my favorite color!
 Happy to report that Olivia has slept in her beautiful crib three nights in a row...such a good little sleeper and she looks so, so tiny in that huge crib!

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