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. :-)
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