Thursday, December 30, 2010

a mother's aspirations for her daughter...

we all have them... aspirations, hopes, dreams, predictions... Erik and I have been making them since Bear's first sweet smile... "she's such a charmer... definitely going to be a people person." This week I made this scrapbook page. It's probably my favorite to date... It is very simple with very little journaling but each thing evokes special parts of my daughters personality that I cherish (and a few things I could even do without...) I thought I should get in writing what they mean though because I'm sure within a blink of an eye they will change as she changes every day!

1. a Doctor...
Bear doesn't sleep... hubby only needs a little bit of sleep to function (though its been increasing with old age), and I am a very light sleeper... Bear inherited both of these traits. If she gets woken up after a 15 minute nap.. she's good to go! Even as an infant she never wanted to miss anything and hardly slept. Anyone who knows us knows sleep has been a constant battle in our house. She is also very caring and nurturing which would come in handy as a doctor.

2. a Zoologist or other job working with exotic animals...
ties in with number 4 a vet... Bear has always LOVED animals. Even as a small baby she was mesmerized by the animals at the zoo. Her first words revolved around lions, tigers, and bears (Oh My! I just had to!) You can't even say the word Z-O-O in our house in less you have the car packed and are leaving in less than 10 seconds to go to the zoo.

3. a Dancer..

This kid definitely got her daddy's rythym! She has always loved music... but what kid doesn't? But she totally cracked me up last week when she said "Shake the butt mom" and lately has been telling us when we need to "shake the booty" Today she demanded we "shake the booty" in the middle of Target... those were some fun looks we got!

4. a Vet...
again she just loves animals. For her 1st birthday we had beanie baby dogs as party favors because she was so in love with dog beanie babies. Ironically all her friends had things come up and we ended up with 15 MORE beanie baby dogs! She had every breed they made and could identify each one by name. She carried them everywhere with her... they have since been replaced by bears but she still cries to go home to her dogs anytime she has been away from them longer than she is comfortable with.

and lastly...
5. a Musician...

She loves music... if she's not going to dance maybe she will play it because this kid is definitely an entertainer... Just yesterday she was banging away on some containers she found and I was really surprised at her rhythm and technique... Hubby played the drums so maybe that's where she gets it from...

Now I know you are all reading this saying hello your kid is two... they all dance.. they all bang on things... they all love animals... Thats why this is so precious to me... this is you at your finest right now... all the sweet lovable things that make me so happy to have a toddler. What do you think your kid will be when they grow up? Isn't it fun to imagine?

My life in a basket...

I love baskets... Whenever I think things are getting out of control in my house (or my life for that matter)I get an incredible urge to reorganize... to do that I buy containers... big rubbermaid tubs, fabric drawers, dvd organizers... but my very favorite are baskets... I've seen pictures in magazines of shelves beautifully decorated with a simple basket... are things overflowing from the basket? No way... When you put a basket on the shelf of a model home it instantly becomes bottomless hiding all of the knick knacks and clutter inside... If anyone knows where I can buy those baskets please let me know! My house is covered in baskets... baskets to hold cookbooks,
baskets to hold coffee,
baskets to hold bathroom products,
baskets to hold remotes and cell phones,
and of course a basket to hold things I want to deal with later...
Do you know what happens when you have too many baskets??? You end up with a house cluttered in baskets and 100 different places to hold things you want to deal with later... So today my goal is to reorganize my containers for reorganization... Any suggestions?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

At barely 2...

Where does time go? I swear we were just trying to make it to 36 weeks before having you... We were just bringing you home... a tiny 6 lb baby... 4 weeks early... we were just watching you take your first steps... and now we are watching you conquer the world one toddler triumph at a time... How are you already 2? I was ready for terrible 2's... (well at least I was trying to make myself ready)... what I wasn't ready for was your hilarious sense of humor... your extensive vocabulary... your caring and inquisitive nature... You are totally 2... and I love it!
At barely 2 you weigh 21 lbs...
At barely 2 you are 33 inches tall...
At barely 2 you love to say "I do MYSELF"
At barely 2 you love to "shake the booty" as you say
At barely 2 you love to sing songs like "ABC's" "Baa Baa Black Sheep" "Tinkerbells" and "I love you"
At barely 2 you say "excuse me" to everyone you walk past in the store...
At barely 2 you have a big girl Tinkerbell bed you sleep in... sometimes...
At barely 2 you don't like to eat much and when you do it's typically "fru sacks" and "yogi"
At barely 2 you love My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake...
At barely 2 you have stolen our hearts all over again...

Thank you for letting us be your parents... for teaching us about life... allowing us to experience it with you... and for reminding us sometimes it's ok to just laugh at yourself!

Mommy and Daddy

I've been gone a while...

I haven't posted in a while... I have been run down, drained, depressed even recently and just didn't have the energy to write... or do much else for that matter!
I had grand plans for my 2 week Christmas break from school (another reason why I love working in the schools)... I had scheduled a few days (4 mornings) for Bear to go to school for a few hours so I could get things done. Before you judge me for having time off and still sending my kid to daycare... we pay for a minimum of 5 hours a week anyhow so I figured I could use the time for doctors appointments, last minute Christmas shopping, renewing license plates that expire a week after Christmas (that just isn't right...)... On top of that Bear eats much better at school. Since she is only 21 pounds at 2 years old I like to make sure she eats as much as possible. Gotta love that peer pressure.
After scheduling all of the above mentioned appointments and getting my game plan firmly established we woke up Sunday morning to a sick little girl. She had the worst cold I have seen so far. She didn't get to school on Monday... or on Tuesday... appointments were cancelled... I felt myself begin to tense up over everything I now had to accomplish in a much shorter amount of time. On top of that Bear was waking several times a night because she couldn't breathe so I was running on empty. All of this culminated on Christmas Eve... She actually fell asleep at 7:40 pm. We played Santa and even watched a movie... smart parents would have also gone to sleep at 7:40 pm... not us... You have probably already guessed it but Ashlyn woke up at 11 pm and not only did she not sleep at all the rest of the night but she screamed hysterically all night long. Nothing made her happy. Eventually at about 4 am she stopped crying with the promise of watching her My Little Pony dvd but of course at this VERY moment... our DVD player stopped working! Are you kidding me?
Finally at 6 am we decided this was ridiculous and lets just let her open her presents. That had to make her happy. She walked out into the living room and ... we had the camera ready to capture the big smile... the slow motion run to the Christmas tree... instead we got... MORE CRYING.. She was so exhausted and so overwhelmed...

You have to love this scrapbook page made with Digi-Designs by Nicole's Swanky Christmas... Look at Hubby's face... he has resigned himself to just holding her and praying it ends sooner rather than later... And her face... well that says it all...

Eventually Bear and I fell asleep on the couch and daddy in the bedroom. We woke up around 10 and finished celebrating Christmas. She was happy and really enjoyed her gifts. We were so exhausted we let her play with playdoh on the couch and really have fun.
As parents we put so much effort into our children having a wonderful magical Christmas it is so heartbreaking when they aren't able to enjoy it... I hope next year is different for Bear and she can really experience the Christmas morning joy... as for me... I just hope Santa gets a little more sleep next year!

Snow fun

We took Bear sledding on Sunday... We were so excited... we bundled everyone up... went to a little hill by our house... I showed her how fun it was by going first... She was excited to try... and then she started to cry... and didn't want to go again... and asked to go home... we have a whole lot of winter left if there will be no sledding, snowman building, or general frolicking in the snow... My kid is going to grow up and hate us for moving her from Florida to Chicago... How much you want to bet she decides to follow mom and dad's footsteps and go to Florida State?

Page made with It's Snow Fun by Scraps N' Pieces

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bear's 2nd birthday!

Just wanted to share my scrapbook page I did for Bear's birthday. I used the blog train blog's The Orient train and it features many different designers (mikki designs- flowers, Eyeinspire- papers, Christine Smith- alpha, Pretty In Green- panda "buttons", Designs by Keira- other flower, Munchkyn scraps- Big pandas).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

division of parenting roles...

is necessary... I don't know if it happens out of habit, personal strengths or necessity... but there are definite roles in our household. Not that the other parent isn't capable of giving baths, reading books, or putting on jammies... it's just become routine to everyone in the family that we have specific roles. Now that I have stated the necessity of it... I am jealous of my husbands role. He is the "fun" parent. He still pulls his weight in the responsibility department but he just makes everything more fun. Even bathtime turns into a waterpark adventure (complete with wet floors and a wet daddy!) I am the "comforter" it has been this way since her first head bump... If Bear is sick, hurt, or just can't sleep she wants mommy. I wouldn't trade this role because there is nothing better than comforting your child... but it's hard. I have to see my child in pain armed with nothing but hugs and kisses. Maybe it is harder on my husband because not only does he only have hugs and kisses but she'd rather have mommy's. Sometimes I just want to kick off responsibility and be the "fun" parent! I want to not worry about rules but I am such a control freak it's difficult for me. As I type this I hear water splashing, animated voices, and my sick child laughing. I guess it's a good thing we have this balance and Bear doesn't have 2 control freak, multi-tasking, never relaxing parents. How is parenting divided in your household? What is your "role" and what is your husbands?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thoughts this evening

I had a few thoughts to share this evening...

1) My daughter just said "Shake the butt" and started breaking it down... Oh Lord!!! I am in trouble! Where did she even learn that???
2) You know your a mom when... you reach in your jacket pocket for your keys and pull out 2 my little ponies and a pacifier... but not your keys...
3) It's never quite Christmas in our house until the smell of candy cane cookies being baked fills the air... Even when I was on bedrest I stirred them from my recliner...It's officially Christmas!
4) Ask me again how I feel about said smell after I bake and wrap 60 of them for tomorrows cookie exchange...
5) I can't ever do it the easy way... For Bear's birthday this weekend I couldn't just buy a cake... I couldn't just make a cake? No I had to make 3d panda bear cupcakes! Everything looks a lot more appealing in a beautiful book made by professionals... And of course I didn't make 15 (she only had 4 friends and their parents at her party)... I made 30... 30 sad looking panda bears... But as a friend said "Man she's going to look back at that and know how loved she is!" I sure hope so!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Comparison Game

One of the very first things I read when I was starting to read what ended up being about 50 books on parenting and what to expect, was to try to not compare your child to other children. They all develop at their own rate... la dee da dee da... and all of this of course went right out the window the first time I walked past a baby in the mall that looked "about" Bear's age. The "about" is the kicker... I have a degree in child development and a masters in communication disorders. I am well aware of the range that developmental milestones are reached... and although there is a wide range a month or two (or four) REALLY makes a difference. So as much as I told myself I wouldn't... the comparison game began... I have a friend who has a little girl that is 4 months older than Bear. Somehow because we were pregnant together (for a few months) and because we were able to share the common language of mothers of infants I feel like our children are "about" the same age. Back in July or August my friend posted how her daughter said this whole sentence about a cat she had seen earlier in the day... it was full of prepositions, nouns, adjectives, verbs and I was jealous... and worried... I started comforting myself saying well her daddy is a doctor, and her mommy is one of the smartest people I know... of course she is talking like that... As educated as I am on development I still didn't rationalize she is FOUR months older than Bear of course she is light years ahead of her talking! Just now Bear told me a sentence with an adjective, noun, present progressive verb, and preposition... Of course it is 4 months later than when my friend's child did just that!
It is also getting to the point where Bear is developing her own interests and skills. Comparison's are a bit harder because different kids are doing different things... I am setting my goal for this year...I really do want to do less comparing... I have a beautiful independent healthy child... Every time I get the urge to compare I want to instead celebrate what Bear IS doing and realize how very blessed I am!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This month I decided to jump on the facebook bandwagon and list what I am thankful for every day. It ended up being such a wonderful experience. A friend told me that she heard that people that write down what they are thankful for daily are happier people. I can definitely say that this has made me more appreciative for my life and I am happier than I have ever been. I was able to truly see all the wonderful things in my life. Here are some of the things that I was thankful for this month:
Day 1- I am thankful for my amazing husband who stayed up with Bear almost all night so I could get a little bit of sleep
Day 2- I am thankful that my mom will be here in less than a week
Day 3- I am thankful for amazing co-workers who making going to work a positive experience... ...I really do love my job!
Day 4- I am thankful for forever friends... so excited to be standing up with you at your wedding Sue and Mark!!!
Day 5- I am thankful to have Bear's bday party figured out!!!
Day 6- I am thankful for Rebel Bar and the windy city seminoles for giving us the ability to watch the FSU with fellow Noles!
Day 7- I am thankful for weekends full of tea parties and living room dance parties! I love my sweet girl!
Day 8- I am thankful for my mother landing safely in Chicago... and for being caught up at work so I can enjoy a wonderful dinner with her tonight without any work stress!
Day 9- I am thankful for the new phrase my daughter used tonight over and over "yuh you". I yuh you too my sweet baby!
Day 10- I am thankful for happy hour with my co-workers... I know I have already been thankful for them but let me tell you it makes life so much better!
Day 11- Today I of course am thankful for our veterans... all of my family, friends, friends spouses who served or are serving! Thank you for protecting us and sacrificing so much. I am also thankful for being raised a military brat... it really has made me who I am today.
Day 12- I am thankful for having sick leave so that I can take care of my child without having to worry about paying the bills!
Day 13- I am thankful that Bear got to meet her great grandparents and also that she was on her best behavior so they loved her!
Day 14- I am thankful for time with extended family. No matter how long it has been it's always wonderful to spend time with family! Hope it's not so long between visits again!
Day 15- I am thankful for power and heat... I am so glad on a cold night that I can turn on the heat to keep my family warm and cozy. I can't imagine having to bear the cold without this comfort!
Day 16- I am grateful for the time I had with my grandma Dona. she never missed the chance to send a sweet letter and always remembered to acknowledge the smallest things! what I wouldn't give to get another note from you happy birthday in heaven!
Day 17- I am thankful for my mom... Thank you for coming to take care of me and Bear and everything else you do for us... I love you!
Day 18- I am thankful for friends that pick out flattering bridesmaids dresses! thanks for the self-esteem boost Sue!!!
Day 19- I am thankful for the nicest most caring medical staff I have ever encountered in my life. Every single person I had helping me today was so sweet and caring it made such a difference.
Day 20- I am so grateful for my sweet little girl who has been so gentle with mommy and has been wonderful about letting others help her today! I am thankful for my amazing husband. He has been running after Bear non-stop and taking wonderful care of me. I love you so much!
Day 21- I am thankful for finally being allowed to shower! feeling a little more human!
Day 22- I am thankful for pain relievers. I just sneezed and thought my body ripped in two!
Day 23- I am thankful that 8 years ago tonight the lady spirithunters had a formal that I needed a date for... that date truly turned out to be my prince charming... I'm so glad I picked him out of the crowd!
Day 24- I am thankful for these past few days with my sweet hilarious daughter and mom. seeing the two of them together melts my heart and although the laughing hurts tremendously its so good for my soul
Day 25- I am thankful for my husband ... I am thankful that as of today he is also 30 and can no longer call me an old lady... I am thankful for all he does for our family especially lately as I've been recovering... I am thankful that he accepts me for all that I am.. even my weaknesses.. and loves me just... the same... I am thankful every day that we have him in our life. Happy 30th birthday old man!

I am so thankful for so many things... Our dinner turned out wonderful. We had hilarious conversations with my sister, her boyfriend, and my mom. I am sure you can tell from my thankful posts that I have amazing friends and family, and a great job. I am so blessed.
I thought I would see if Bear was thankful for anything... I didn't think she would grasp the concept but I told her "Mommy is thankful for Bear, Daddy is thankful for football.. What are you thankful for?" She's not even two so I was pretty impressed with what she told me she was thankful for... she told me without hesitation... "CAKE!" I love that kid!

Of course of all holidays even though it is my husbands birthday... I have a ton of desserts and NO CAKE! Way to ruin the kids Thanksgiving! :o)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mommy's little helper

Sorry it's been a while since I posted. I didn't think this gallbladder surgery would knock me on my butt as much as it has! I am so glad to have it gone but man I've been in alot more pain than I expected. And here I thought I would be back to work by today and I am hardly able to get off the couch!
One positive from this whole experience (besides the fact that soon enough I will be able to eat fried food and gain 10 pounds) is what I have seen from my little one. I spend so much time taking care of her I never realized what a little helper she can be. I didn't expect her to understand what was wrong with mommy. When I got home from the hospital I showed her my "owies" and told her we had to be very gentle because mommy's tummy hurts. She very sweetly touched my owies and gave me the most gently hug ever. It was so precious. When I was resting on the couch she climbed up with me... pulled up my shirt and counted each "owie." I have been carrying around a pillow to act as a barrier when she gets too close and to help me get up. Bear wanted me to come to her room and grabbed my pillow and my hand and said "I help mommy, I walk you." When I don't have the pillow she runs over "Here go mommy!" And proudly brings it to me. Today she kissed my tummy gently at least ten times and asked if it was all better. I couldn't believe the tears that began flowing when she accidentally pressed on one of my incisions and I yelped. It is hard to believe that at such a young age she felt so much when she thought she hurt her mommy. I have just been so impressed with this other side of my sweet girl. She will make such a good big sister when that time comes! Sorry for the rambling. I wanted to let you all know I am alive and kicking and slowly recovering with the help of my little one's kisses and love (and of course my amazing husband and mother)!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where do they get this stuff?

My daughter is going through a language explosion... Even more cool than the new words are the social aspects of language she is learning... like humor and sarcasm! Not yet two and she is seriously already sarcastic!
Today we were in Target and her diaper leaked (yep she's almost two and I still havent gotten the hang of this diaper thing ok really I was just trying to get through 1 more store!) and of course it happened while I was holding her... I told my mom "We gotta go I'm soaked" Bear looked at us and said "Mommy, I soaked TOO!" Like hello people it was my diaper that leaked!
Today I was looking at the Christmas Toy Books and Bear said, "What doing?" I said "Looking at toys." Bear responds "I knew that! I look too!" WOW when did she begin using past tense verbs? and asking questions? and putting sentences together?
I was looking at old pictures the other night and this time last year she was taking her first steps... this time 2 years ago I had just been put on bedrest... she didn't even exist except giving us all kinds of scares in my belly... now she's having entire conversations with me and telling jokes!
Anyone have any cute kiddoisms lately? I feel like I could write all night she just says the darndest things!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The creator of the buffet...

... was not trying to find a way to feed alot of people at once... No the creator of the buffet had to be the parent of a toddler! Eating out has become a NIGHTMARE for us. Here is how the conversation goes in the car... "Where do you want to eat?" "No we can't go there since there will be a wait..." "Nope she won't eat anything there." "Nope they don't have booths we can't keep her corralled." "No they take too long to bring the food." "Where is the closest buffet?"
We have finally discovered the way to eat peacefully! A buffet! Bear gets her food right away and I don't look crazy when I ask the waitress for a bowl of olives! Plus Bear eats free at them for at least a few more months. There is only 1 buffet around us and it really isn't very good at all, however we went there last week just to see how happy it made Bear to have her pick of whatever she wanted to eat and to have it RIGHT then! Her plate was covered in olives, peaches, pears, grapes, and bread. She ate more than she ever eats at home.
Last weekend we decided after this great success at dinner time that we needed to find somewhere for breakfast. Back home this would automatically mean Golden Corral. I looked it up and there was one up here. It sounded like a suburb I recognized so we got in the car and started driving... My phone GPS took us on every back road in the world to get there and what should have been a 30 min. drive turned into 1 1/2 hours!!! It was so awesome though! I remember being a teenager and thinking how UNCOOL it was going to Golden Corral... now I think of it as the best meal out EVER! Amazing how parenthood changes your perspective!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ready to yank this puppy out...

All through my pregnancy any time I felt a pain my mom would say "Maybe it's your gallbladder... You know mine went bad when I was pregnant with you!" And everytime I would respond back "MOM its NOT my gallbladder!" Guess what? It was my gall bladder! A month after Ashlyn was born I was in the ER laying on the floor convinced I was dying... WORST PAIN EVER!!! I've had kidney stones, I've been in labor (though I haven't given birth naturally)... this was far and above the worst! I saw a GI doctor who was a nightmare in Tallahassee ...his words exactly were... "see that air in the corner of the room... it's been there since Jesus walked the earth and it will be there when he comes back. Thats like the gas in your intestines... it's just waiting for Jesus and causing you some ruckus..." First of all buddy I've had all the tests run and it's not gas... second of all... that is your sound medical advice... My intestinal gas is having a revival??? Have I mentioned I am glad to be out of the Florida Panhandle? He then told me to come back in 12 years when I needed a colonoscopy... no offense buddy but I don't even want to hear what analogies you would have for that! Fastforward a year... Saw a doctor up all the tests and he agreed it needed to come out and then we lost our insurance. Now almost 2 years after this all started we have insurance and FINALLY a surgery date has been set 2 weeks from now! I haven't eaten fried food in a year and haven't been able to eat spicy food for at least 6 months! You'd think I would have lost some weight right?
You would also think I would be excited... I am not... I am TERRIFIED... I have had surgery several times and have been put under twice. This time is different... not because I am actually losing an organ this time instead of a pesky kidney stone... I realized my other surgeries were before I had Ashlyn to worry about if something were to happen... even something as small as having to have the full surgery rather than laproscopic... This is an outpatient procedure... 3 little slits and all this pain is over... But for some reason it feels like so much more to me... I know its silly and I know that to my surgeon this is all in a days work... I think of friends who have gone through much more invasive, intense surgeries recently... none of these things calm my fears. They aren't kidding when they say having a child is like having your heart walk around outside your body... Every decision you make affects more than just you... So even though I know how awesome I will feel after this surgery I am more anxious than excited... I know I know I need to stop watching so much Grey's Anatomy right? Friends more than ever I need your comments of reassurance...

Monday, November 1, 2010

You know you are a mom when...

... You get so excited about finding Juicy Juice for 1.50 each you not only buy 10 but you call everyone you know and tell them...

... You have ever gone to the doctor and turned in new patient paperwork covered in one of your little artists finest creations...

... you return home from the grocery store and find two opened boxes of snacks and a half eaten apple...

... you realize the only surface in your house clean enough to take pictures of these things is your washing machine... only because you are simultaneously doing laundry, putting away groceries, cleaning the kitchen, and getting the baby ready for bed...

... you have ever been at the grocery store and realized the contents of your purse includes... crayons, cars, balls, forks, keurig tea and coffee pods, gerber snacks, a dog tail (halloween costume), a rather large mirror (supposed to be used at work for speech therapy but keeps my toddler very occupied), but not your wallet... AWESOME... have been in a meeting and reached in your pocket for a pen only to pull out a pacifier...

... you drive all the way home from work and don't even realize until you get there that you have been listening to Barney... and your child is NOT in the car...

Anyone else have any to add? I know you do!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wouldn't it figure...

I can't remember the last time I rocked my child to sleep... It has been a rough few nights... She fell asleep earlier but woke up screaming and crying in a way I have never heard before. It sounded like what I imagine a coyote caught in a foothold trap would sound like. It was HORRIBLE! It would figure that right when two year molars enter into the picture the only teething relief we have ever found for Ashlyn would be recalled. I honestly can't imagine what life would have been like without Hyland's teething tablets when Ashlyn was teething before... and if tonight was any indication of what two year molars will be like, I don't know if we will survive the next 4 teeth coming in. Please pray for us... it's going to be another rough night...

Finishing things!

If you remember my very first blog post told you about my inability to finish projects. I have closets of materials for projects I was so excited about but never started/finished. This weekend I decided to start tackling some of least the things that are still relevant (as excited as I was about the zoo animals I was going to paint they no longer fit in her room since Princesses are whats cool these days). So this weekend I caught up on some scrapbooking and started making hairbows ...well attempting to make hairbows... I have a long way to go and if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to make fancier ones. Here are some of my finished products! I feel so productive!

kit is Apple-licious by Just So Scrappy

another Just so Scrappy kit... Happy Fall Ya'll (she is the best designer and her kits are only 1.50!!! Check her out at her blog )

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Teen Mom...

Ok so I am a little behind and am just now starting to watch Season 1 of Teen Mom. This show makes my heart so heavy and I can't watch it without crying at least a little.
I feel so bad for these girls, their families, and their children. I think about being a teenager and it was HARD. I would NEVER want to do it again. I think about being a mom and it is HARD but it is amazing and miraculous and life changing and I'd do it over in a heartbeat. My daughter makes me happier than anything in the world. I have never said the words "This is just one more thing I will have to give up because I'm a mom or because of Ashlyn." Anything that I no longer do is worth it 100 times over because I have this little person in my life. Yet I hear this phrase over and over on the show.
I think of where I was when I was their age... I think of what my life would have been like if I were in their shoes... I think it would be similiar to or worse than all 4 of those girls. At that time I didn't have the relationship I do now with my parents. Not that my parents were different, but I wasn't at a point to realize all that they do for me every day. I look at the relationship I was in and holy cow would it have been worse... I look at all the dreams that would have been put on hold...

Now I look at where I was when I got pregnant... my mother lived right down the street and would come over at the drop of a hat... and now that I live across the country all I have to do is tell her I need her and she books a plane ticket (OK it has to be more serious than we are out of milk but still). My husband... what can I say about him except I couldn't do it without him... and the majority of my dreams had been realized or at least started by the time my daughter came.
I can't help but grieve for these girls and boys who are dealing with one of the most important yet hardest jobs any of us will ever have. I grieve for them because they are not getting the experience of parenthood I have. I grieve for them because they are learning so many lessons all at once that most people learn over many years... I grieve for them because they feel that everything they can no longer do is "just one more thing I HAVE to give up because I'm a teen parent." It just makes me so sad.

Not sweating the small stuff...

My child will not die from eating ketchup (and only ketchup) for dinner...
My child won't be the stinky kid just for wearing the same jammies 2...ok, maybe 3 nights in a row...
My child will not go to high school with a pacifier...
My child's college roommates will not have to hold her down to get her to brush her teeth...
My child will not eat with her fingers at her wedding reception...

Clearly you can tell what some of my irrational mom fears are :o) I am really trying to just enjoy this fun stage Ashlyn is in because I know it will pass us by too quickly. I listen to her talking in toddler sentences... telling me what she likes and doesn't like... insisting on wearing what she wants to wear when she wants to wear it and I realize I already have a mini-teenager... I started singing a song I didn't think she had ever heard and she started doing the motions and singing along... I am no longer the one that gives her all her information about the world... She is taking it all in everywhere she is... her teachers at school teach her new songs that are now her favorite. I didn't realize I would already be letting go little pieces of my baby so soon. She just cried and screamed to go with my sister back to the city with no mommy... She is already such a big independent girl!
At least at night as she sleeps she is still my little baby...
Even if she is a little stinky...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We don't have to be perfect...

I think as moms we all feel like we have to be perfect. There are so many pressures on us... breastfeed for a year... make your own baby food (and with organic ingredients as well)... buy all natural toys and make sure NOTHING is from China... search all the labels of every product for parabens, BPA, lead, etc... run to Gymboree... make your own Halloween costumes... make sure your child is learning every second... keep yourself presentable... be a good wife... be a good daughter/sister/aunt/mom/etc... Something has to give! Just remember when you look at the other Superwomen around you something has given in their lives... So if they constantly have beautiful scrapbook pages and pictures on facebook of all their adventures and you hear of all the wonderful things their child is doing... I guarantee you that family had Taco Bell for dinner and god forbid the toddler went to bed without her teeth brushed... AGAIN... I know so many supermoms that are all awesome at different things and let me tell you I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that I rock too...
So to my friend that bakes her own bread, makes her own baby food, works a full time job educating our youth, and goes to grad school... I admire you...
To my friend that is a mother to two (an infant and a just 1 year old), who owns her own amazing photography business, and writes a daily blog, all while being super rad... I admire you...
To my friend who is a preachers wife... who home-schooled 2 kids with a toddler running around... who is dancing again (and teaching dance) after having the before mentioned 3 children and taking a "few" years off... who has dealt with more stress and sadness in the last few years than anyone should have to... who shares these things on her blog with an honesty that has allowed me to get closer to her and relate to her despite the miles and differences in our lives... I admire you...
To my friend who has 2 under 2 (or close)... who had both of those babies during graduate school... who is doing a full time internship with so many challenges... who has an awesome husband who is in medical school so she is often on her own...who is raising little genius babies, who despite everything on her plate does things like organize meals for weeks when you just had a baby (I will never forget this!)... I admire you...
I could go on and on... Every mother I know is amazing... I wish I could take pieces of each of you and create the ultimate mom for Ashlyn... but just knowing you all and being your friend is enough! So next time you are getting down on yourself really look at all the amazing things you are doing... if you can't come up with enough to bring you out of a funk... call me... facebook me... email me... I will tell you all the things I love about you!

Sale on Tag and Tag Jr. Books

Wanted to let everyone know about another great deal on Tag and Tag Jr. Books. Target has them on sale for $10 dollars until the 23rd. Here is a link for $4 off any Tag book over $10. This makes the books $6 each. Not AS great as the Toys R Us deal from a few weeks ago but still a good deal! Makes each book cost the same as any other children's book and these are interactive and fun! I can't wait to give my daughter the books I've stocked up on for Christmas! Hope this helps someone else with their Christmas shopping!

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to get rid of the pacifier without even trying!

As I'm sure you know, we have been battling the pacifier for a while now... Trying out different ways to get rid of it... While I know the best thing to do is to pick one method and really commit to it, I revealed on my first first blog post that I never stick to ANYTHING! So not only does my child still have a "pah pah" (as they are called in my house) but she now wants to walk around with two at all times. If you don't believe me check out the picture I took on the way home yesterday...

A couple of weeks ago we decided to start snipping the tips of her pacifiers. She was NOT happy about this and would just throw them at us and scream. I don't know if it is just a coincidence but the TERRIBLE TWO's emerged on the very same day I made the first snip and have not disappeared. My father-in-law just left today and I really wanted him to enjoy his time with his youngest grandchild. None of my husband's family has seen her since her first birthday 10 months ago and I didn't want him to go back to Florida and tell them we are raising the spawn of Satan. So we gave in and let her have a normal pacifier back. That turned into Poppy going on a shopping trip to buy her even more pacifiers, and now she has an entire arsenal again.
You can imagine how surprised I was when it was bedtime tonight and I asked her if she wanted her "pah pah" and she said "NO!" I was about to jump for joy and announce to the whole world that my darling angel had given up her pacifier all on her own... when her finger went straight up her nose and then into her mouth. Yep for all of you mothers who want to break their children of the pacifier just let them spend the day with a nose-picker/booger-eater... It works like magic...
Now I'm off to research how to stop nose picking! Any suggestions?

P.S. She is really going to hate me for this one someday :o)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Contest to Remember

One of my friends Rebekah Hood writes a wonderful blog I stalk Prior to this blog I stalked her photography blog I have been a client of Rebekah's 5 times! I just love her photography. She did our engagement pictures, wedding pictures, some pictures as a gift to my husband for our wedding, maternity pictures, and 3 generation pictures when Ash was just 6 weeks old.

Her blog yesterday was a contest challenging us to celebrate our little ones in honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance day. Being a fantastic photographer of course her challenge is to submit a picture showing how blessed you feel for what God has given you. It's still open until tomorrow night so go check her out!
This past year has been a very hard year for one of my dear friends. I can't imagine the pain she has gone through losing a baby before even meeting it... much less two. I love you and I think of all the pain you have gone through and wish I could carry some of it's weight.
So today here is how I took to heart Rebekah's challenge. We were in the city watching FSU football... Ash was bored and wanted to go for a walk. So instead of rushing her out and back in as quick as I could, we wandered the neighborhoods around the restaurant. We walked up and down the streets looking for choo-choos, airplanes, red cars, and blue bikes... we stopped to pet dogs... and drink chocolate milk... we picked up leaves and threw them to the wind... we bought a little pumpkin... we met a police officer and looked at her car... and we laughed... For this first walk I even left my camera in the restaurant. I have been "accused" of living behind my camera and not really participating because I'm always trying to get a great picture... I say I don't ever want to forget a moment so I want it all documented... Even though I didn't have the camera I don't think I will forget any of these moments we created today... It was magical. We did wander back to the restaurant and I couldn't resist grabbing the camera as we headed back out to walk again. So I did get a few shots of the day to show you...

Shuffling through the leaves... So much fun!

Throwing leaves!

Does that say happy or what? We had such a great time!!! Thanks Rebekah for opening my eyes to all the little pleasures of my little one!

and of course a day wouldn't be complete without a new scrapbook page! This was done using Just So Scrappy's It's Fall Ya'll kit.

Great New Products!

Since this blog is all about helping out other moms/parents/friends... I thought I would share with you 2 of my favorite new products! Of course I don't work for either of these companies but I just love them so I had to share!

One of the best gifts I received at a baby shower was from one of my best friends, college roommate and one awesome mom! She got me a huge tub of Oxyclean Baby. This stuff is even better than regular Oxyclean. We couldn't buy it where we lived, in the big tubs so she would bring me some whenever she came to visit. I would soak Ashlyn's stained baby clothes and always got the stains out. I didn't just stop there... I used it for all of our clothes. It gets out everything! Something about the baby version is magic! Recently I came across the spray version. I was skeptical but decided to try it since it was a quarter of the cost and seemed easier. This stuff is AMAZING! It even takes out long set in stains! I bought Ashlyn an adorable outfit from a resale but later realized it was stained. Sprayed it with this, let it sit a little while, and the stains were GONE! I've used it for every kind of stain and it has taken them all out! So I give 5 stars to Oxyclean Baby in the spray bottle.

The second product is just as wonderful. It is the new Carmex lotion. I grew up in Alaska where Carmex was a winter staple. It is rich and creamy and soaks right into your skin leaving it nice and soft. The best part though is the smell. It smells like my childhood... a mixture of a Cabbage Patch Kid and a hint of Carmex!!! I can't help but smile all day when I smell it. So if you see it I highly recommend picking up some!!!

Have you tried either of these? Any products you recommend I check out???

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Child's Book of Prayers...

My daughter brought this book over to me last night... already turned to the page she wanted me to read. I turned it to the first page and she turned back to the page she wanted and pointed to it... Ok... so I read it to her...

"O God, make us children of quietness and heirs of peace. Amen - St. Clement."

I kind of laughed to myself. My child who had been up several times the night before screaming her head off. Apparently terrible twos are not limited to day light hours, because my child has decided that 2 am is about the PERFECT time to throw a knock down, drag out temper tantrum about chocolate milk or watching Little Mermaid. She wakes up from a deep sleep to start screaming that she wants these things! And now she is praying to be made quiet and peaceful! So I read it to her... over and over and over... I really hoped that she was such an incredibly smart insightful baby and she really wanted to be quiet and peaceful... give me a break I am incredibly sleep deprived after a week of this...
So as she woke me up again last night kicking, screaming, and scratching me screaming for chocolate milk, I began reciting this prayer under my breath... "O God, make HER a child of quietness and an heir of peace!" Eventually, (and by eventually I mean 45 minutes later) she tired out and then I said "AMEN!"

A Halloween fashion show...

I have already posted how much I love dressing up little people in adorable costumes. This drives my husband crazy but at least I'm thrifty. So far Ashlyn's costumes I have for this year total a grand total of 15.00. I bought them 2 at after Halloween sales last year and the scarecrow at a resale. My father-in-law is in town and I wanted him to see Ashlyn in her costumes and make sure they fit before all of the fun Halloween functions start. I can just imagine getting all excited about a party and realizing none of her 3 costumes fit! Ash decided she wanted to try them on (with a little enthusiastic coaching from mommy). I just couldn't resist showing you a few of my favorite pics from our fashion show!!!

Little Red Riding Hood... look closely the wolf is sneaking up in the background... or stopping to scratch his butt... use your imagination...

Mommy's little flower! These are my favorite costumes, but I don't understand why they sell them with tights. If you are going to put a costume this thick and warm on your child would you really have thin little tights on their legs? We put a nice fleece outfit underneath and it is great for the coldest of fall days up here! Plus the flower hat is so cozy and warm... Do you think it would be ok if this was her winter hat this year?

I love the little homemade scarecrow and wish I was crafty enough to make something that cute! But we all know me... I would buy the material, get out the sewing machine, get frustrated trying to thread the needle and she'd end up dressing up in a toga like a character from Animal House.

Of course you know that she didn't want to be any of these things, but she humored me and seemed to really enjoy dressing up. What are your little monsters being this year? What was your favorite costume growing up?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A name is not just a name....

When my husband and I first found out we were having a baby, we stared at each other in shock, and hugged, and almost immediately started talking about names. Since we were convinced we were having a boy, and we had picked out a boy name long before we were even married it was a short conversation. At the same time that we were weighing the merits of giving our child a family versus on that was all their own, my parents began thinking of names as well... Not names for our child but names for themselves. My father in law has 16 grandkids including our daughter so he has been "Poppy" for many many years. My mother in law is "Grammy" But for my parents this was a monumental first! My mom stated that she is NOT a nana, and would like to be just grandma. My dad also decided he would be grandpa. My grandparents were always Grandma and Grandpa with their last names at the end. Well guess what... picking a name is not always so easy. Our little Kyle dreams were changed when we discovered we were having a girl! A girl!?! We were not prepared for this. Every old wives tale said Boy. We even bought one of those Intelligender Tests and it said Boy! It took quite a while and systematically crossing off each others picks before we finally decided on a name. My parents have found that they also did not really get to decide what they would be called. My mom realized that Grandma is really too difficult for a toddler and decided it would be cool to shorten her name to "g-ma". Just like in 4th grade, when I decided that everyone who has ever known me should now refer to me as Josie, "g-ma" did not stick. My parents have now learned that you do not choose what your grandchildren call you. Your grandchildren name you. My mother is now "gram gram" and my dad is "Papa". After 15 children calling my father in law "Poppy" my daughter has invented her own name and calls him "Pop Pop." I'm already preparing myself for when she decides she doesn't want to be Ashlyn anymore and instead wants to be called something along the lines of Rainbow Sprinkles (which was in fact a suggestion from a niece when we were looking for names).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wake up call...

Wow... I just had a heart stopping, take your breath away, stop and immediately pray moment... I had just gotten home from work with Ashlyn, and was trying to figure out how to deal with the dirty dog that had rolled in mud before work... my husband locked him in his crate because he didn't have time to deal with him and forgot to mention it to me. So as I stared at the dog, Ashlyn wandered off to play. She is allowed to play just about anywhere in the house. We have baby proofed it and she plays nicely by herself. We usually keep the bathroom doors shut. After I got over the shock, I decided I was going to have to wash the dog right away and walked to Ashlyn's bathroom across the hall from her room... and then I noticed... and my heart stopped.
Rewind to last night... daddy gave Ashlyn her bath. It was a crazy night because my sister was over as well. Ashlyn asked to sit on the potty after her bath (didn't do anything on it but we spent a long time sitting there). Then she got new jammies and that is always exciting. Finally my sister left, the commotion died down and Ashlyn went to bed.
Ok fast forward... I walked down the hallway and saw the bathroom door wide open... and in the bathroom was a FULL bath. Toys still floating from last nights bath. With the commotion of the evening nobody drained the tub. Ashlyn was playing nicely, and fortunately she was in her room 10 feet away from the bathroom. But she had been playing for a good 5 minutes very quietly before I walked back that way.
This was such a wake up call to me. You can do all the baby proofing you want but it can be the simplest mistake that can change your whole life! I drained the tub, gave her a big hug, and then said a prayer thanking God for watching out for us.
Prior to this blog, I would have kept this quiet out of fear of being judged a bad mother. Maybe not even told my own family (not that they would judge). But I have promised myself that I will share the ups and downs of parenthood with my readers in the hopes that someone else will read it and say oh man I'm not the only one who has done __________, or in the hopes that it is also a wake up call to someone else... So there it is my crappy parenting of the week award...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I love dressing up for Halloween... I love coming up with the most creative costume and pulling all the pieces together to execute it perfectly! Last year one of my daughters costumes was a cow-duck. I know what is a cow-duck? When my husband was a child my father-in-law used to tell a story about the cow-duck. So in honor of him we made her a hybrid farm animal. She was 10 months old... she had no idea... It actually worked out really well because we put a warm fleece cow costume under a warm duck costume and that was her costume when it got really cold. Plus if it warmed up we could just take off the duck and she was still a little cow. We took her to boo at the zoo and got some interesting interpretations of what she was. We decided to not put her in the costume contest because the other kids didn't have a chance. :o)
She had 5 costumes last year... partly because I couldn't resist every time I saw a cute costume... partly because I didn't want to put a jacket over so I had a costume for every weather change... and partly because I was warned that my time of picking out her costume was very limited. My friend Melissa's son REFUSED to wear the costume she picked out for him when he was about 2 and insisted he be Handy Manny. My daughter is not yet 2 so I figured I had another year before I had to deal with this reality. Last season after Halloween, I bought a few costumes on sale. Look at me being frugal!!! Last night while watching Barney, Ashlyn called me in to fast forward it because she was scared of the wolf on the Little Red Riding Hood skit. Awesome... one of those great finds was of course... Little Red Riding Hood! How much do you think it would traumatize her to wear it still???
So we were talking to Ashlyn the other night and thought we should start prepping her for dressing up. We asked her "What do you want to dress up as for Halloween a flower, little red riding hood, or a scarecrow (some of my budget finds)". Ashlyn's answer... "No, I Elmo!" WHAT!?! My 21 month old not only knows what dressing up for Halloween means... but also has an opinion on what she wants to be... Then she decided later she wanted to be Minnie Mouse (she saw a Minnie costume in the store) because now she wants daddy to be Elmo. Then of course my husband asked "Well what should mommy be?" And my sweet daughter answered "Bar Bar!" What about a GIANT PURPLE DINOSAUR says Mommy to my child??? Really???

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Getting older...

Getting older... Growing up... whatever you want to call it... It has been breaking my heart lately... taking my breath away.

My 30th birthday is quickly approaching... in 8 days to be exact... At 25 I had a little "quarter life crisis". I was NOWHERE near where I wanted to be at 25. I didn't have a successful career, loving husband, bouncing baby, colonial house with a white picket fence... I was waiting tables, and while I did have an amazing boyfriend he didn't even want to TALK about marriage. Fortunately this little crisis helped push me into going back to school for my masters degree. Jump ahead 5 years... I have been married for 3 years, I have a beautiful almost 2 year old... I have my Masters and my CCC's (meaning I am officially a speech language pathologist)... I do not have my white picket fence but we are renting a beautiful house just outside our favorite city in the world. I have never been happier than I am at 30. I love my job, my husband, and my child. I am at a peace with myself that I have never been... I think a lot of it stems from the mindfulness taught to me by the lovely Dr. Lisa Scott. I have truly become a more positive happy person. I think that if you can get past the wild days of life with a toddler, and watch them discover the world it makes you a better person. I love being a wife and mom... OK so I may not be perfect at either of them (my house is an absolute disaster right now and my child is watching a DVD so I can find time to blog) but I love being a wife and mom.

So clearly it is not my ageing that is bothering me so much. I can't tell you how many times this week I have been told "Wow Ashlyn is so big! She's not a baby anymore! She's a kid!" I smile and comment on how big she is but it wasn't until a couple of nights ago that it REALLY hit me. When she is sick I always go out to the couch with her. We have fine tuned the art of how to lay to make her fall asleep and feel better. It always worked like a charm... until Thursday night. She didn't fit... My sweet little girl didn't fit in my arms anymore... not like she used to. She just couldn't get comfortable... Her legs were too long, her head hit too high on my chest, her arms dangled. And it hit me that she is no longer a baby... she really is becoming a little girl... She wears pigtails... she told me what she wanted to be for Halloween (and then what her father and I should be too)...she has real opinions...and she no longer comfortably fits in my arms when she's sick...and that is a much tougher pill to swallow than turning 30... I have a feeling I won't mind the rest of my birthdays as much as I mind each of hers...

Ashlyn and I
December 2009

Let's get real...

Lately I have been trying to take note of different things about my personality... A co-worker at my last job commented on something that bothered her and ever since then it has opened my eyes to some of the other things that probably bother people too... I've tried to work on them but they are quirks of me that I think that have been there a long time. So here are a few things I've noticed about myself lately starting with the one that bothered my co-worker...

1) I talk to myself... Alot... when I work I am constantly talking my way through it. I also make little not just for fun or a tick, but repeating phonemes and sound errors. I would imagine it could sound like a tick to someone who isn't a SLP. I shared an office with 5 other girls last year. Our desks were all up against each other in a little pod, elementary classroom style. Can you imagine how much more annoying writing an IEP would be if I am sitting there talking through a kid's sound errors to myself as I write goals? "hmm OK hab and fibe OK b for v. affricates no too young for th. plurals, possessives, mom seemed nice though..." Nobody ever has any idea if I'm talking to them, talking to myself, or just trying to annoy them. Thank goodness I have my own office at my new job!

2) I repeat things in conversation. It's like I don't think people got it the first time so I rephrase everything I say. I can't believe nobody has ever called me on this. It annoys the CRAP out of me that I do it. Unfortunately I always catch myself just after the 2nd restatement. I am working really hard on this one. I think it goes back to me being a childhood overachiever who needed confirmation that everything I did/said was perfect.

3) This one you probably already know since you read my blog... I am TERRIBLE at punctuation. I don't know how to use it. In elementary school I took gifted classes (a way to keep me from being bored and annoying my teachers) and in my school they pulled you out during language arts. And since we were so "advanced" they never worked on the basics with us just went write into deep thoughts and foreign language, LOL! So now I just put lots of ....'s and !!!'s and it gives my writing more personality (that's what I tell myself). My Clinical Fellow (CF) Supervisor was a former English major and she had a field day with my reports last year. I am very nervous to do it on my own this year. I wonder if I could pay her to edit them for punctuation? I considered at my interview when they asked "What are some of your weaknesses?" to tell them I am terrible at punctuation but I went with the standard I take too much home with me at night. This is always a good one if you work with children, especially children with special needs, because the truth is... If you work with this population, and you don't take things to heart and home with you... you're probably in the wrong field.

4) Although I volunteer for everything I can, and joined no less than 15 clubs in high school, I am actually more introverted than extroverted. I get so involved because I am afraid if I am not at something I will be the one they talk about. Everyone will finally express how annoying it is to work next to me or have a conversation with, and I will be outcast forever! Also if I constantly do nice things and volunteer, people will feel bad talking about me. Sad huh? Probably shouldn't have gone into a career that is dominated by women.

So that's it for today. Now you will probably never be able to read my blog again due to lack of punctuation or hold a conversation with me due to repetition but I've put a little more out there and that's what this blog is all about. What "weird" things are you aware of about yourself?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


When Erik and I took our first trip to Chicago we must have had poor young kids stamped on our forehead... or we must have just arrived in the midwest :o) As we got off the plane and were trying to figure out how to buy passes for the El a couple came up to us and said their vacation got cut short and they still had 5 days left on their 10 day passes. Would we like them??? Um Sure! They actually expired an hour before our flight home! Jackpot! We were staying a block from the Taste of Chicago in the Palmer House Hilton. It was AMAZING! On our first day of the Taste as we were walking in a family stopped us and offered us their extra tickets. It was the most amazing magical trip and we still talk about how nice those people were. Just recently we went to the Wisconsin Dells. A man at the table next to us asked if we had tickets for the day and we said yes but not for tomorrow. He gave us two free tickets to Noah's Ark Waterpark the next day. He said we reminded him of himself. Since he was sitting with his 10 year old son I imagine he was thinking about earlier vacations with a young child. We all know those can be a bit stressful :o) It rained all the next day and we didn't get to use the tickets but it still made our whole day that he had given them to us.
So we now make it a point to give any extra tickets to someone who can use them. After the Wisconsin State Fair we had one lonely ticket left, you wouldn't believe how it brightened up the face of the little girl we gave it to. Yesterday as we were leaving the zoo we had 2 guest passes and 2 tram passes left that would expire before we could get back. We found a young couple with a little girl Ashlyn's age and gave it to them. They couldn't believe we didn't want money for them. Now I think we all know that we sure could use the money for them but it felt so good to give them we didn't want the money. As they walked off to the zoo I could tell it was going to be an even better day for them because they saved almost 40 bucks. It's amazing how much better it can make your day! It's so funny the shocked looks on people's faces when they are given something free. Even if it's just an extra coupon for something they are looking at in the grocery store! Have you ever done this? Doesn't it feel awesome?


For my non-parent readers, co-sleeping is the a fancy word for not being able to get your kid to sleep in their own bed. Just kidding, that's just how we ended up as co-sleepers. This is a hidden secret in our society that drives me CRAZY! Despite the fact that in nearly every country besides ours, families co-sleep. Despite the fact that many people in our own country have done it for generations and continue to do so.. Everyone feels the pressure when the pediatrician asks "Does she sleep in a crib?" to say, "Of COURSE she does! All night like an angel"... Right??? When your co-workers or mommy friends ask how she's sleeping... somehow the fact that how she's sleeping with her head wedged into your ribs and her feet in daddy's back isn't what you tell them. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against it so instead of talking about how those of us that do it make it work, it becomes another measure of how you are as a parent. Like if you can get your child to sleep in a crib than you must be a more disciplined parent than I am, or I must be a crunchy hippie parent (not that they are bad either).
My daughter has always been very attached to me. She also inherited her father's need for very little sleep. As a newborn baby she would wiggle herself across the entire bed to get to me. I'd move her to the middle and wake to have her snuggled right up. It was really sweet to watch! She could smell me from a mile away. Even very young if we tried to put her in her crib she would cry until she made herself throw up. We had a friend over one night who said let me try. We let her.. She came back in less time than we would have saying "I guess your right! She is so upset!" It became easier to stop fighting her! Then after a while we stopped trying to get her to sleep on her own. It got to the point that I couldn't sleep without her. People that say you might roll over on her I just don't understand it... My daughter is like an extension of me when we sleep. We breathe at the same time, her little fingers curl up around the collar of my shirt, my hand, my hair, my sleeve without either of us realizing it... I guess the risk increases when you are drinking or doing drugs but fortunately she hasn't driven me to either yet so we are OK!
All this being said, Daddy doesn't have the same sleeping bond with her that I do. Naps on the couch are their thing. At some point the feet in the back got to be too much for him (have you ever seen how much room a sideways toddler can take in a bed?)so we started to discuss moving her back to her own bed. Grandma helped with the transition and she now sleeps most of the night in a big girl bed... I think I miss it more than she does... but still on the occasional Saturday night when I'm too tired to move her back to her own bed she still curls her fingers around mine and snuggles up in between...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ashlyn's first visit to the men's room...

Have you heard all the debates about what a man should do when he's in public with his daughter who needs to use the restroom? Does he send her in alone? Does he take her into the men's room? Well Ashlyn's first trip to the men's room wasn't with Erik!
We watch the FSU games with the Alumni Club here. During the game, I needed to use the restroom but Ashlyn didn't want me to leave her. My sister said she would go with us to hold her for me. Since Ash LOVES to wash her hands I figured that was fine. Problem was when I got to the restroom, I froze in the doorway... I stood there honestly contemplating when in the world did someone remove the other stall??? I was just in here before the game started and it's only the 3rd quarter? What is going on??? Right then I heard behind me... "Where are YOU going?" Thank goodness it was just my friend Joel and not some random man but yep Ashlyn and I had stood there in the doorway for a good half a minute. My sister even said she kept saying "Ann! That's the men's room!" And yet I was still frozen and my brain instead of recognizing the urinal and immediately thinking Oh Crap! I continue to try to figure out who this speedy re-modeler was that can remove a toilet and stall, re-tile the floor, and install a urinal in a ladies room in less than 1/2 a football game! Wow! The even crazier thing is I wasn't drinking today for some reason! I guess I knew I needed all the brain cells I could get today!!! Wow! I have got to get more sleep!

Friday, September 17, 2010

You are smart, sweet, and beautiful...

We have a dear friend who is never afraid to give parenting advice... Although the first few times I bristled up a bit, I believe I have since learned that she knows what she's talking about. She has two beautiful, polite, well mannered girls that she has raised primarily on her own so she clearly knows what she is doing. She's also a great realtor if anyone is moving to the area :o)
Anyhow every time she sees my sweet 1 year old she bends down to her level, looks her right in the eye, and says "You are SO smart!" She tells me that in Ashlyn's life people are constantly going to be telling her "You are so cute!" "She has the prettiest eyes!" but it is my job to remind her how smart she is! This is so true!

Have you ever heard of Harry Wong? He is a motivational speaker for teachers. He is hilarious and inspirational at the same time. He tells a story of how as a young child of 5 years old his mother convinced everyone she knew to ask Harry every time they saw him "Little Harry Wong... What kind of doctor are you going to be." I will let you read more about Harry Wong on your own but he's AWESOME. His parents never told Harry there was anything else than the best for him. He did become a doctor but not a medical doctor. That's not the point. My parents were like this as well. I grew up not questioning if I would go to college but where I would go. Not only that but which ivy league school I would go to. I didn't make it to Harvard, but that's OK. I am successful and happy. My parents didn't just talk to me like it was already decided but also supported every dream and desire my sister and I had to learn, even if it wasn't what they had pictured we would be or if it changed a thousand times. So I have decided that although she may not understand "Which ivy league school are you going to go to Ashlyn?" She does understand words like smart, sweet, and beautiful.
I want my daughter to grow up with a healthy self image. Instead of saying you are so pretty or you are so cute I want her to know she is a beautiful person. I want her to know she has a good sweet heart. And I want her to know she can do anything she puts her mind to. These are my wishes for her. And last but not least, I want her to know that I am so proud of her. So as I tuck my sweet little girl into bed every night I whisper in her ear as I kiss her hair... "You are so smart. You are so sweet. You are so beautiful. And I am so proud to be your mommy."

I know I heard a version of this phrase somewhere else, so if I stole this or parts of it from you then I want to thank-you! You must be one of those mom's that inspire me to be a better mom.

My question to you... Do you remember your parents doing anything like this? Do you do anything like this with your children?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Holding each other a little closer...

The first time I spent the night with my husband he said, "Please don't be offended if I roll away from you in 5 minutes... I'm not a cuddler." LOL! Talk about romantic right? I was actually so relieved! I hate to be trapped under someone's arm or afraid to scratch an itch in fear of waking someone. don't get me wrong I love to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie but to sleep I want to have my own little space. This has always worked very well for us.
I told you about Erik's theory on not stressing about the little things. It couldn't have come at a better time. In the last few days a lot of sad things have happened around us. None of it really affected our day to day lives but it has weighed heavily on our hearts. There is a blog I have been following about a 5 month old baby with cancer. He was such a fighter and his parents always seemed to keep such a positive outlook on their facebook posts. I didn't know little Mason but a friend from Middle School is co-workers with his aunt or something of that nature. Even though he was fighting such a strong fight against cancer, little Mason got pneumonia and passed away this week. It hurt my heart. That is a pain that no parent should have to deal with. What a sweet little boy. His parents buried him today. If you would like to read about his amazing life here is his blog
On Wednesday, at Erik's work a woman he works with, had a seizure from what they think was a stroke and the paramedics had to use the defibrillator to revive her. She is 38 years old and has 3 small children.
Then to top it all off, I am back doing some rehab work with the elderly like I did this summer. At the end of my shift I went to visit one of my most difficult and favorite patients from the summer. I didn't find her in her room and as I walked back by the front I made myself look at the "In Memory Of" board... And there she was...
Too much pain and death this week. So last night as we were drifting off to sleep I reached over and grabbed Erik's hand. Without saying a word he rubbed my hand and I knew he and I were totally on the same page. After a few minutes I whispered to him "You can take your hand back whenever you need to go to sleep." He took his hand away... I was feeling better so I was OK with this. But just then I felt his hand on my back gently rubbing like we would to comfort Ashlyn. Somehow whether he needed it or just knew I did, there in the dark I feel like I connected with my husband in a way that a million conversations couldn't. I know this blog is about parenting but I feel like recently I have been discovering so much about my marriage and my husband that I needed to share. I was reading an article that asked men and women what they thought was more work, parenting or marriage? What do you think friends? What takes more work for you?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And the Lesson is...

... never trust a sleeping baby!

So Ash was finally beginning to drift off for her nap after laying and watching "George" for well past when she should have fallen asleep. Being the trusting tired mommy that I am, I guess I also drifted off. I woke to her handing me a pen very sweetly. I nicely reminded her we don't play with pens and we went back to sleep. Fast forward to her waking from her nap a few hours later. I had gotten up to get some things done and when I came back in to get her this is what I discovered I had missed earlier in my sleepy state...

Mom's if your child comes to you with a writing utensil the FIRST thing you should do is explore EVERY possible place they could have been recently. She must have really thought she pulled one over on me!
I guess I will no longer keep her journal right next to the bed with a pen in it... Off to get new sheets!

Keeping it in perspective...

As we were driving home from the city where we watched our Noles get creamed by OU my husband said something that brought me to tears. Those who know my husband know that he is a man of few words (unless he's talking about sports). Every once in a while though he says something that reminds me that when he does talk I should definitely listen. I am so blessed to have such a great husband. So I asked if he at least had fun watching the game even though we played so badly. I knew the answer would be of course not, what a waste of a day, waste of money, waste of a year... etc... My husband takes sports to heart. But what I heard was, "Yeah it was a good day. I realized a few days ago that I am not going to stress anymore about little things, including sports. I have a healthy daughter and a loving wife. There really isn't anything to stress about." Wow! So powerful and so true. My eyes began filling with tears. For a Words of Affirmation person this little nugget was like gold to me. I told him I totally agreed, however, I will still stress about money. He said that even money isn't a reason to stress. We will get by, we always do, but to think about all the friends I have that have been dealing with so many health issues with their children/spouses/parents. Our money issues are nothing compared to dealing with the stress of a child with a serious medical issue. We have been so blessed up until this point. He is so right. I am really going to try to stress less and appreciate more. I am even going to go watch the Bears game right now that football is back to a fun game in our household!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Little white lies...

OK people I know you all do this... tell your kids little white lies... I am worried some of mine are going to come to an end really soon as my little one is really grasping the little nuances of the English language.
For example... Somehow Ashlyn learned that there is a Subway next to her daycare and they cookies. I'm not sure how she learned this because we are not huge Subway people and if we do go it's usually in the mall food court. We have never been in the Subway next to daycare but one day as we were leaving she started pointing at it asking for a cookie. So of course I was so impressed that she knew that I just had to get her a cookie! The cashier even gave her an extra one for free since she was so cute! Score a cookie for mommy. You can guess the next time I picked her up at daycare what did she ask for? Yep a cookie. So I began finding ways around the cookie trip every day. My wallet and waistline just can't handle it people. Today I told her "We have cookies at home." She sat so sweetly in the car and of course as soon as we pulled up at the house she said "Cookie peas?" Oh darn! I had really hoped she'd forget... We have NO cookies in our house! Due to my inability to resist yummy baked deliciousness my child is now never going to trust me AGAIN! So I gave her a graham cracker and told her "Here's your cookie sweetie!" I mean it's sweet and crackers really should be salty... so she bought it. She knows they are called crackers but for some reason she totally bought it and has now had 3 of them. So mom friends... what little white lies have you told your children... and how long do you think this one can last???

Ashlyn on the ride home today!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things kids say...

I feel like I've been a little down on my mom skills lately so I thought I would post a happier blog today! Maybe it's because Ashlyn slept in until 8 am on my day off! In true Ashlyn style she did wake up 4 times during the night asking for "choc choc" and when the last one was her standing right at the side of my bed nose to nose saying it I pulled her into bed with me. Any ideas friends? Is she hungry/thirsty at night? Is that why she keeps waking every night many times begging for chocolate milk? I offered water... she didn't like that idea!

So anyhow! Ashlyn has had an incredible language explosion lately. Many many times a day Erik and I say... "I'm 99% sure Ash just said...." We are still in disbelief that she is saying these things but they are always in context and sounds pretty accurate in Ashlyn speak. Here are a few of the recent ones...

While talking to my mother-in-law last night... she asked what the baby likes now. I said Well "her favorite color is yellow." Erik piped up "Well she likes green too." I asked Ashlyn..."Whats your favorite color?"
Ashlyn: "Yeyow, buh dada say geen" HUH?

This morning my phone fell off the bed and Ash tapped me and said "mama! It fell" clears as can be past irregular past tense verb! Craziness!

Also this morning Ashlyn did something that could have been a cough or a sneeze so Erik said "Bless you"
Ashlyn: "No, Cough cough!"

On the way to school we brought our dog Doak because he had to go to the vet. Ashlyn thought this was so silly. I said "Doak is going to school with you"
Ashlyn: "No, coo fo baby!"

I just love this kid to death! How cute is she! I just love her logic and humor and everything that is developing as she grows! We cannot say anything at all around her without her commenting on it! There was a little girl in the kindergarten class I was reading to yesterday that would literally read the story over me... I just wanted to tell her to STOP! And then I realized this precocious kid so eager to please and show off her skills is what I was like 25 years ago and what my daughter will be like in 3 years! Wow!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Crappy Parent Award #2

It has been hectic in our house the last couple of mornings. Daddy is working further away so he has less time to get Ashlyn ready in the morning. I have been getting her dressed and getting her hair combed (which can be quite the task). This morning I put her in a cute little tank top and jean shorts. As I left for work I was surprised at how chilly it was outside. I got to work and called Erik and told him to change her clothes that it was pretty chilly. He said no it will warm up. He did put a t-shirt on her though. I got to school at 4:00 and they were outside playing. All her friends were in pants and jackets and here is my little one in a borrowed sweatshirt cuddled up in the teachers arms. How TERRIBLE did I feel? In my defense it has been in the high 80's so I totally did not expect it to be 65 out today! Also it rained all day yesterday and looked like it would today so I did not think she'd be going outside either. Man I feel bad though! I'm going to have to stock daycare with an entire extra wardrobe just to make up for my parenting mistakes...


Ashlyn: "MAW-MAW!!!!!!!"
Me: "Yes, Ashlyn?"
Ashlyn: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" (in high pitched screaming voice)
Me: (runs quickly to where she is)
Ashlyn: "kahkit?" (in a very sweet calm voice)

This happens in my house at least 6 times an hour... Chocolate Milk, or the lack of, is such an immediate crisis in my house that a blood curdling scream is necessary!
After watching/listening to this exchange a few times my husband noted that it's her response to me saying "Yes, Ashlyn?" He was right of course. If I answered, "I'm coming." She patiently waits. Interesting...the thing is I don't want to jump up every time I hear mama... I would love to know what she wants so that I don't walk all the way to the playroom to discover she wants the chocolate milk, pacifier, doll, ________ (fill in the blank) that was sitting right next to me when she called me. So I told Erik... "I wish I could train her to tell me what she wants..." Yep I said train her... As I said that, I walked to the bedroom to see what she wanted for the 500th time that day...
I walked in and said "Yes, Ashlyn? what do you need?" She patted the ground next to her and said "mama" with the sweetest smile. Here I am talking about training her to facilitate my laziness and all she wanted was to have me near... Wow... Do I win the crappy mom of the day award or what?