Friday, July 5, 2013

A very happy 4th...

I'm a military brat so the 4th has always been special to me.  I thought nothing could top the fun of a 4th on the base surrounded by other families of soldiers.  This 4th topped it all though. 
We moved up here the end of April 2009.  When 4th of July came around we weren't sure what we were going to do. We had a 6 mo. old baby and didn't really know anyone, but a friend Erik hadn't seen since high school lived really close to us and invited us to their house.  It was so nice of them.  We have made more friends since then but it wasn't until last night that I realized how far we have come.  We bought our house last spring and were delighted to find out we could see the fireworks from our front yard as well as hear the music from the big festival our community does down the street.  This year we decided to have a party and it worked out perfectly!
We started the day at the parade.  It was SO crowded.  Right as we were getting frustrated we saw a friend whose kids go to the girls daycare.  They were nice enough to let us sit with them right up front and watch the parade.  It was so much better because the girls got to watch it with their friends.
Then we headed home to finish getting ready for the party.  All of our friends brought dishes which took the stress off of me and we enjoyed sitting around in the front yard, the kids played in the pool, Erik and our friend Scott (the same one that invited us to their BBQ 4 years ago!) grilled, and we played fun games like bags (cornhole) and ladder ball. 

The kids did sparklers (except Ashlyn who was scared it was fire), and threw poppers and then changed into their jammies for fireworks. 

There's never been a fireworks show that hasn't made me teary and thankful (that military brat in me...) but this one made me feel so blessed.  We were surrounded by wonderful friends and their awesome kids.  Kids that my girls are comfortable being themselves around.  Little girls I hope Ashlyn will be BFF's with for many years.  We have come so far from having nowhere to go to have an incredible group of fun families joining us to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and every little triumph in between. I am so proud of us for making this move, taking a chance, and giving our kids the lives we've always wanted them to have! 
Ignore the fact that we look like a beer commercial... we kind of are... we got the beer (REDD's Apple Ale) free as part of a House Party and this is the group pic we had to take. I just had to add it because these are the people I'm talking about!  Good times!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


So if you are a regular reader (I guess I would have to post more than every 6 months to have regular readers)... you will notice a change. I googled my girls names and was SHOCKED to see everything that popped up for them.  So I just spent an hour going back through my blog and changing their names to nicknames and removing our last name.  I just can't be too careful with their internet history and safety.  I tried to think up cute creative names but I couldn't come up with anything good so I just went with their nicknames.  So from here on out the characters on my blog are Bear... a vibrant yet shy 4 year old... Bees... an opinionated loving 1 year old and Hubby... the best darn husband in the world as well as guest appearances by Gram Gram!  I hope this doesn't throw you off too much.  Here they are!

  Bees- 19 months old
 Bear- 4 years old
The whole crew and my whole life
Gram Gram

Whats in a name?

For my husband and I, when naming our children, we put in more effort and thought than almost anything we’ve ever done in our lives. So much goes into what your child will be labeled for the rest of their lives. For us, in naming our first daughter there are already so many females in our family that most names were taken or sounded like a name that was taken… 6 sisters between us with 10 nieces, add on the few cousins and best friends that had children before me and half the names I grew up loving had been crossed off the list. Then when you add in the practicality that Natasha Raquel sounds exotic to a 7 year old girl it didn’t really seem like a good fit for our family. I apologize if anyone has or is naming their daughter that… I really do think it is lovely.
I think there are 2 times in a marriage that you really find out a bulk of information you didn’t know about your spouse. The first time is when you first move in together. Then you really learn who they are. The second time is when you are naming your children. All of a sudden past memories started coming up for both of us… No way we can’t name her that… there was this girl in college… “hmmm I’ve never heard that story before and no I didn’t know that “M------“ is a slutty name…”… interesting. Another issue my husband and I came up against was our heritage. Coming from different origins to we give the baby an Irish name, a Bohemian name? What sounds good with our last name? And is it OK if you are not Hispanic or Italian can you name your daughter Isabella? For the record to our good friends who have a beautiful daughter named Isabella.. I fought that yes you most certainly can but lost that battle… good thing it would have been weird for our girls to have the same name and it suits yours better. And how far removed do you have to be from someone to name your child the same thing as their child? Will they be offended? Do you need to ask permission? Then you get into name meanings. I have always been intrigued by name meanings. Mine means “one of grace” although I am the clumsiest person on earth I like to think I go through life somewhat gracefully… or at least give off that appearance. Bear’s name means “dream” or “dreamer” in the translation we like. I think that is perfect for her. She is our dream come true. I’ll give all of you dying a hint… part of the new baby’s name means “fighter” and we think that’s perfect too… We weren’t supposed to be able to get pregnant when we did but our baby fought to be here… We went through a few scares in the beginning but one of things I said to hubby as soon as we saw that heartbeat was “our baby is a fighter!” so there ya go! Hope that holds you over until I can “spill the beans” on gender and names and you can all run out and start shopping! :o)
So now that all of that is said… Why do people think it is their right to criticize the name someone is giving their child? This is a decision between us the parents. No matter how close you feel you are to us it is a right that is truly only ours. We will listen to your advice about bottle brands, ways to burp or bathe or feed the baby but naming our child is something we’ve put time, effort, and love into. So many people felt they were “helping” us by sharing their opinion the first time around about names we were choosing. It is so so so very hurtful. If you have an opinion keep it to yourself or share it with your own partner but please don’t share it with an emotional hormonal pregnant woman. I have friends that kept their children’s names a secret until they were born. This is a great idea because nobody will make fun of a name once the baby is there. At that point you are criticizing the baby not the name. For us we will share our name because we know we have picked the right one for our child and family… that and if you don’t like it try to convince my 2 year old that her sibling will be named something different because she is pretty set on the name.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Teaching my girls to be a good wife...

I posted a challenge on my FB wall to dad's of little boys. It was a selfish challenge really because as a mom of two little girls I want to make sure that there are a generation of little boys being raised to be a good husband. I challenged my friends to shower their wives with love in front of their sons. Show them how to love a woman. Show them how to be a good husband because in 25 or so years my girls are going to need husbands that are as wonderful as their daddy. Sometimes I think God gave us little girls because of my husband. He is a fantastic girl daddy. Not that he wouldn't be a great daddy to boys but I think every little girl needs a daddy that treats them like they are the most fantastic thing that's ever walked the earth. One who takes time to make them feel special, disciplines them in a loving just way, and treats their mother with respect. I think that these are the most important jobs for the father of little girls. Again this is what I know about.
Upon reading my challenge on FB, one of my dearest friends posed a question to me and inspired (i.e., suggested) this blog post. He said "I'd be interested to hear what you do to model for your daughter what it means to be a good wife." At first I thought OK this will be easy I will blog about it right away. And then I tried to think about it... and it was hard. I think I am often focused on being a good mother and a good wife but I don't outwardly make sure my girls know what that means. I think this is very important! So I have issued myself a challenge. I was looking for something to do for lent. I didn't want to just give something up. I'm sick of that. I give up coffee and on Easter morning the first thing I do after church is guzzle down an extra large Starbucks... I am also on a mission to get healthy so I have already given up almost everything that I would normally give up. So here it is... I will spend the next 40 days actively trying to show my daughters how I love their daddy. Here are some of the ways I show my husband I love him and how I plan to show this to two small children.

 -I want to point out when I am doing something special for their Daddy. I often see something I know he will love and I slip it into the shopping cart. When we get home I find a quiet moment to sneak it to him just to say "I love you" Often this might be a kit kat or something else I know they will steal if they see so I do it discretely. Instead I will say "Let's get a kit kat for Daddy they are his favorite!" I have seen this work before with my 4 year old who will be out and ask "Can we get this for Daddy I know he loves them" This is one of the more obvious tasks that I can outwardly show my girls.
 -I want to point out to them the little things their Daddy does for them and does for me. I do try to do this often and I think it's very important. It's not important for them at this young age to realize that not every daddy does the things theirs does but I want them to know its special. My husband attends every play date he is allowed at, takes them on fun adventures every weekend, runs to the store even on very cold nights because they or I am out of something. So I want to make sure to say to them "Wow aren't we lucky that our daddy took us to the Children's Museum, or brought home fruit snacks because he knows you love them, or made us breakfast Saturday morning!" And although it is my love language and not his to need to hear these things it is a good reminder for me that he is a very good man. It is important to remember my husband (and their husband, and your husband..) chose YOU to be his partner.  He chose to do these nice things for them.  I am so proud of my husband that he chooses to spend time with us.
-I want to go on more date nights and instead of sneaking out I want them to know that I am going because I want to spend special time with daddy just like I spend it with them. I also want to continue our new tradition of eating dinner at the dinner table uninterrupted with him. Often the girls eat dinner early because they are hungry earlier and it keeps them busy while I cook for us(Yes I am a short order cook. I don't mind it) We have been making a point of sitting together and telling them that they can sit with us or play nicely but we are eating and we are not getting chocolate milk, changing tv channels etc during that 20 min or so. I also want to make sure they see me kiss their daddy, hold his hand, sit with him on the couch. Although they may not realize the importance it will stick with them.
 -I want to make sure to not place blame on him in front of them, or defer punishment to him. This is the one that will be most difficult for me. I have a habit of this and it drives my husband crazy. I really really need to stop. It's not that I demean him or put him down but I do say things like "Don't make me tell your dad" like he is going to discipline them so badly when really he is quite the softy in that department. I know this is a standard parental line but I think that it is one of the worst. The last thing I want them to do is fear their dad over something as minor as leaving some toys out.
 - I want to pray for their Daddy. I know I am late to the game on educating Bear about praying but she has been taking a lot of interest in the things she is learning at church so I think instituting some nightly prayers are well overdue and I want to make sure they know that I consider him and them God's greatest blessings in my life. I'm sure more ideas will come into my head as the next month goes on and hopefully I will get a chance to share them with you! If you have any ideas of things I am missing please share! Especially if you are the parent of a little boy and want to make sure I am raising my girls to appreciate your son. If there is something you have found makes a big difference in your marriage let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's not over when they're potty trained

I owe you guys this story... I promised it a month ago... Since it has happened AGAIN (this time not to me... I've learned my lesson) I guess I better share it so that nobody who ever goes to the bathroom with my child falls victim to this scheme... It was Bear's 4th birthday. After her party was over and her friends had left we decided to keep with tradition and take her out to eat. Her only request was a grilled cheese. We didn't want to go far and risk the girls falling asleep during the tempting dusky evening hours and being up all night. Why we decided to go out to eat when the kids were hopped up on sugar and party excitement is beyond me in retrospect. The first thing Bees did was dump Erik's drink all over her lap. Of course since we were running out of the house to get them in the car and to the restaurant so they didn't fall asleep on the way, I didn't check the diaper bag and we did not have a spare change of clothes... So I spent ten minutes hanging the baby under the hand dryer. Of course this was the ONE TIME Erik ordered Pepsi instead of water at a restaurant so even though I got her pretty dry she was a hot mess. I debated running across the street and getting her a new outfit but since everyone in the restaurant already knew we were "that family" I figured why bother! Right as the waitress brought our food out, Bear shouted she needed to go to the bathroom. She couldn't go for the 20 minutes I was in there with Bees... she needed to go right as my sizzling hot fajitas were delivered... Awesome. So we headed back to the bathroom. On a side note why is Chili's open kitchen right by the bathroom? Do you know how distracting this is for my kids? Of course they want to go to the bathroom 20 times while we are eating dinner. We finally get away from the kitchen and into the bathroom. Bear has been on a kick that she can go in the stall by herself so I let her. I know there is no use fighting it. She has never locked the door before and I stand right there and hold it. She shouts for me to come in to help her wipe. I try the door... it's locked... I tell her to unlock it and she says she can't because she has a poopy butt. So I tell her to wipe and come unlock but she insists she can't wipe if it's poopy. I tell her that I can't get in because she locks the door. We go back and forth for 10 minutes about how to get the door unlocked and she refuses to budge from the toilet. I had no choice... I had to army crawl under the stall at CHILI's. How disgusting is that... Seriously?! When I signed up to be a parent I knew I would have to do some gross stuff but army crawling into a stall in Chili's was by far the grossest thing I have ever done! I get her wiped, she hops down, unlocks the door and runs to wash her hands. I scrub my body as much as possible at a public bathroom sink and finally 20 minutes later we head back to the table. At this point the fajitas are cold which is fine because my appetite is gone. As I finish telling the story to hubby.. (Sorry you waited for me to eat honey because I know your appetite was gone after that story too) Bear looks at me and says "Mommy do you miss three?" It took a minute to register but I really hoped this wasn't a sign of the tribulations of Bear year 4... Unfortunately for my sister she pulled the same trick in the bathroom of Red Lobster last week. It was a lot funnier when it happened to someone else but seriously she had already had the talk about not locking the stall if you can't unlock it so I'm afraid to say she did this one to her aunt on purpose. Welcome to 4 everyone.