Things Toddlers Say

This week has been pretty hilarious, and I thought about taking a few of these out to save them for next week, but hey, she’ll say more hilarious things between now and then!

Hubby, relentlessly tickling EK: Ha! I got you! I got you!
EK (amid gales of laughter): Stop it, Daddy! That tickles! Stop it! Daddy! THIS. IS. NOT. WORKING!

Every morning when EK wakes up: Good nooning, Mommy! I need some breffast!

Upon bringing me an imaginary bowl of “soup”…
EK: Try the soup, Mama! It’s not spicy.

Overheard in J’s room…
EK: No! I sit in the bum-bum! (code for Bumbo)

EK (upon finding a bowl of Smarties I had tried to hide from her Easter eggs): Yum! These made my throat feel better!

Playing with her tea set:
EK: I can’t find a doonk!
Hubby: Are you trying to say spoon? Because that’s not even close.

(In response to her delicious lunch her dad made) EK: You’re a good cooker-man!
Me: (small chuckle)
EK: I said, “you’re a good cooker-man”, Mom!
Me: (obligatory big laugh)

After Hubby leans on top of EK to kiss her goodnight: Ow! Daddy, you hurt my boobs! (Guess my sore boobs have been a topic of conversation recently. Pregnancy fail.)

And, for J’s debut on “Things Toddlers Say”31:

J, to the (perfect) tune of the Alphabet Song: A, A, C, C, A, A, C… (He’s a prodigy.)

What were your favorite quotes from this week? What has your toddler said?!

Currently

I’m linking up with Becky at Choose Happy and the other fantastic bloggers for another week of “Currently”, where we just talk about what’s going on in our lives. Join us, and let us know what you’re up to!

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Thankful for || my mother-in-law and our friends Lauren and Drew for coming over on Saturday to help us get things out of our storage unit and into the basement! My m-i-l was kind enough to play with kiddos while the rest of us made 400 trips from the unit into the house with our arms full of boxes or furniture. It was a lovely, productive afternoon!

Excited about || fully moving in, getting the rest of our furniture for the new space (and/or rearranging what we’ve got, and buying something new for an old space!), and getting ready to host the masses for EK’s birthday! My college girlfriends are coming to town, as well as my family, to celebrate EK’s third birthday the second weekend in April. The clock is ticking to get things ready for houseguests and a party!

Listening to || this arrangement of Give Me Jesus by Sarah Watkins and Chris Thile. I sang this song yesterday during church, probably a little less bluegrassily (yeah, I made that word up for this sentence), but I still thought it was beautiful.

Loving || the fact that J is singing wherever he goes, all the time. He sings mostly Happy Birthday and the Alphabet Song, with only two or three real words, but it is so heartwarming to see both my kids loving music so early.

Feeling || BIG feelings. No matter what my feeling is (happy, sad, angry, etc) I’m literally feeling it times a million. Thanks, hormones. Here’s to extra tears, random frustrations, and ridiculous laughter. Pregnancy – the struggle is real.

Thanks for following along with me currently!! Link up with us and join the fun!

Today is the day.

  Today is the day. The day that I read scripture before my kids woke up (rare). The day that I resolved to parent with grace (again). The day I made a nice, big, healthy breakfast for everyone. The day I made a really, really great cup of coffee. The day I got a quick workout in after dropping my daughter at preschool.

It is also the day EK “needed five more minutes” before doing every single thing I asked her to do. The day my son took every item out of every drawer in my kitchen. The day Hubby didn’t feel so hot. The day it was so rainy that my motivation to get things done died at the start.

If I laid out every day like this, a moment-to-moment “things that happened” or “things I did”, how disappointed would I be? How many days would I say I had missed the mark, or wasted too many minutes or even hours? I doubt I would be impressed by my daily productivity or nominating myself for the “best executed day” award. (Thank goodness that’s not a thing, by the way.) I probably would no longer even be happy about the things I did accomplish.

But the things I did accomplish go without mention. The fact that my kids are clean, dressed and well-fed, the snuggles and kisses, the number of times I sang the alphabet song, and the fact that I took a shower. These things are on a list of “things moms should do without recognition”, even though these seemingly simple things are the hardest things I do all day. No one knows as well as I do the struggle it is to get pants on my son, or to get ten uninterrupted minutes to wash my hair or shave my legs. There are days that I feel like I should get a medal for doing those things!

Today, in fact, is that day. So, in honor of whatever your today held, here’s your medal – a medal and a hug for getting dressed today, for washing a dish or two, for getting the groceries, even though you forgot the eggs. Here’s a medal for any outing you made with the kids. Here’s a hug for any moment you were covered in some sort of bodily fluid, and a hug for any time that you’ve heard more cries than laughs. You deserve it.

Going Down!

Our stairs are in, folks. That’s right. Are they usable? Not really. But they’re in. That means we are seriously close. It also means I better find that baby gate, stat. 

 Soon, these babies will be stained to match our hardwoods (upstairs AND down), the runner on the side will be painted all dark “espresso” brown (like our accent trim upstairs) and the banister will be on. Right now it’s still boarded up at the top to prevent my crazies from falling down, and Hubby and I are at a loss as to what wide, sturdy, not totally ugly baby gate to get. The man making the banister can make us a matching swing gate, but that is pretty darn permanent. I don’t know whether permanent is good or bad. There are pros and cons to it for sure… but we just haven’t decided yet.

This basement’s aliiiiiive… with the sound of muuuuuusic…
Someone’s never had carpet in her bedroom before…

We also got our new fridge delivered today! Our mudroom is almost complete! If Hobby Lobby wasn’t such a traffic jam of rude people, I’d go get the rest of those cabinet pulls, and it would be finished! However, I’m not brave enough to go to our brand new HL with both kids, no additional adult, and no cart return anywhere near my car. Yeah, I said it. I hate busy parking lots with kids. (Mom problems, for real.) Anyway, back to the fridge, I went to Costco today just to a get a few things to put inside it – so it wouldn’t be sitting there empty. I ended up with yogurt and cheese. Dairy much? 
Also, a few adorable and hilarious pictures of EK for your pleasure! She loves the new space!!

My Journey as a Mother: Breastfeeding (Part One)

I want to start a series. I don’t know often it’ll be added to, or what I might put in it, but I’d like to call the series of posts “My Journey as a Mother”. Instead of snarky things my toddler says, or cute things I’ve baked with friends, I want it to be honest and personal, about my unique journey as a mother. Since my kids are so young, I doubt I’ll ever truly run out of things to talk about, and I can add things as often as I feel led to write about them. 
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently (as I’m preparing for the birth of my third child) is something I don’t think I’ve blogged about at all – breastfeeding. This can be a really hot topic, one that many women/mothers/caretakers feel passionately about. I don’t want anything I say to be a “persuasive article” or “offensive rant”. I just want to share my story, my struggles, my successes, and my hopes for the next breastfeeding journey on which I’ll embark.

When I was pregnant will EK, it was a no-brainer that I would nurse her. It’s widely accepted as the healthiest thing to do, so of course it would be what I did for my daughter. Where her birthday fell during the school year  (mid-April), I knew I would have several months of potential nursing before I would have to go back to school in the fall and likely into a routine of more pumping than nursing. I was looking forward to April-August being able to mostly nurse, and introduce bottles and scheduling a pumping routine as I went back to work.

This, as you might imagine, wasn’t how my perfect plan worked out.

EK had trouble latching right off the bat. I know now that I didn’t do everything I could have, but she also had a few problems as well. I’ve already accepted this and moved on from it with no guilt, so I will suffice it to say that nursing, after a painful, tedious six weeks or so, just didn’t work very well for the two of us. However, being a mama who wants to do the very best thing for her children, I decided the exclusively pump. This turned into the longest five more months of my life. At first, my supply was good, I was even able to freeze some milk, and never worry about my baby being hungry. She never shied away from a bottle, and seemed very pleased to be fed by whomever offered the bottle to her (just an early glimpse of her hungry-hippo nature that still exists). I got more sleep when Hubby was able to feed her a bottle at some point during the night (or late night before he went to bed, as it often was) and we didn’t know any better than to think this was our best possible situation.

But after a couple of months of pumping several times a day (and sometimes during the night if I got too uncomfortable) for almost 45 minutes each time (looking back, I’m appalled by my slow letdown and need to go through several letdowns to get what my baby needed), I was growing tired of the chore. I was eating oatmeal everything, drinking water like a camel, drinking a dark beer a day, using warm compresses before I pumped, and everything else I knew how to do to up my milk supply and make it worth it to keep going.

It seemed like the harder I tried, the less milk I made. The more I tried to find times to pump at school or during the night, the less milk I got at each pumping session. It was truly disheartening to feel like I was failing at feeding my child the “natural” way. Finally, after a few months of “supplementing my milk with formula” I released myself from the pump’s shackles.

I cannot TELL you how this freed me! Pumping several times a day wasn’t bonding with my baby. It was hardly getting her anything she needed. She was eating enough by the time I stopped at six months that I was barely getting a bottle’s worth in an entire day. It had been such a struggle to force myself to keep going, when I wasn’t yielding enough to nourish her. I was becoming emotionally wrecked about it, and I just couldn’t shake the feeling I was failing. But when I finally let it go and switched to 100% formula (well, she had started purees by then as well) it was a load off of my shoulders and my heart.

And let me tell you – this gal was healthy. (Does the baby in that photo up there look like she’s not getting enough to eat?!) She IS healthy. She is smart, beautiful, well-adapted (as much as toddlers can be) and we do not have a lack of bonding in our relationship! I can confidently say that I made the best choice for her, the best choice for me, and the best choice for my poor Hubby who would lose me for several hours a day to the pump. We were all much happier when we made the switch.

So here’s a little encouragement: breastfeeding, while widely accepted as “healthiest” and “best” and “why wouldn’t you do it?!” isn’t for every mother and every baby. If it was easy, we’d all do it. If everyone was able to be with their baby 24/7 and was blessed with great supply and didn’t have any problems latching and was never treated as inferior by a lactation consultant (that happened to me, also) I’m sure that all mothers would breastfeed. But folks, it just isn’t that way. And that’s okay. Thankfully, there are many ways to have a healthy baby, just like there are many ways to deliver a healthy baby, and there are many ways to raise a baby. Let your mama instincts take over, and do what you believe is best.

I’ll post a little bit about my journey breastfeeding J soon. I hope you were encouraged by my experience with EK.

Did you choose to breastfeed? What was your experience?

Loving on All the Mamas

I was excited to attend a baby shower over the weekend for a friend who is due with her first baby in June. There were a total of 6 of us (out of maybe 17 or 18) at the shower that were pregnant. Even knowing that a shower is typically a lot of gals around the same age, I felt like that was a lot! But it was SO fun to see gals in every stage of life – and several stages of pregnancy – getting together to celebrate my friend and her new little life she’s expecting. 
I think one of the most important things we can do is celebrate pregnant women. Celebrate women in general, obviously, but there are so many unique ways that you can celebrate and bless women who are expecting. Whether or not they have supportive families, if they got pregnant on the first try, or tried for years, new lives are worth celebrating. As a mother of soon-to-be three, I believe that feeling celebrated for every single one of my pregnancies was really special for me. It wasn’t necessarily a shower or gift or party that made me feel special – it was friends’ and family members’ reactions to our announcement, and meaningful things they said (and are continuing to say) throughout.

Women need encouragement. Expecting mamas and new mamas often need it even more. They need to know that they are made for what they’re doing, that they will figure out the best way to raise that little one. Does that mean it’ll always be easy and come naturally? No. But it does mean that we should encourage all mothers in their journey.

I saw something recently about how a mother who had experienced a long journey with infertility and finally was blessed with children through IVF felt the need to defend her children against someone who said her children were “synthetic”. Who on this earth has the right to say that to anyone? To suggest that babies, children, humans are anything but God-given and made of DNA and cells and souls just like “the rest of us” is the most awful thing you could say. So many mothers today are faced with insecurities and fears, not to mention the ever-growing plethora of choices about every single thing to do/be/get for your baby… why would one then start attacking the babies themselves, saying terrible things about how or when or why they were brought into the world?!

So this is where I feel a call to be encouraging, supportive and just plain loving to mothers of all experience levels, all walks of life, and all kinds and numbers of babies. Whatever the reason you become a mother, you should still be celebrated, supported and encouraged. If you know a mama, or a woman who is expecting, do something nice for them. Say a kind word, pop a note in the mail, or pick up their coffee. If you’re close to them, get them a gift, throw them a shower (or sprinkle!) or pray with/for them. I guarantee you, each of them needs a little love, a little encouragement, or just to be seen, known, and loved.

It can be hard… pregnancy, waiting for an adoption to go through, enduring fertility treatments, having little ones, or struggling with teens. All of those things can be hard on a woman, and I know that sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way. That nice thing you do for the mom? It’ll benefit the child, too.

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Things Toddlers Say (and Do)

 There’s a word my daughter said for weeks before I truly understood its meaning. J and I both have humidifiers in our rooms, and she kept pointing to them, asking if she should turn on the “fire”. At first, I thought this was because you can see the mist/vapor coming out of it, and she was associating “smoke” with “fire”. I finally figured out that she was muttering a syllable before “fire” and it was really just an attempt to say “humidifier”. Mom fail.

Overheard in the kitchen this morning…
Hubby: What do you want to listen to?
EK: Rock and roll!
Hubby: Don’t have to ask me twice. (Puts on Pink Floyd.)

Me, seeing EK search through the junk drawer: What are you looking for?
EK: I gotta put some chappick on.!
(I’m sure everyone with a kid knows why I hide my chapstick – I don’t want spit on, rubbed into everything, and then turned up into the lid irrevocably.)

First thing in the morning, when EK climbs in the bed with us:

EK: (to Hubby) Wake up, silly boy!

Upon receiving some Lucky Charms I had bought for St. Patrick’s Day:

EK: I’m gonna eat all the ush-minnows (marshmallows) first!

And now, for my other toddler, who might not use many words yet, but can sure as heck do silly things…

That’s our living room floor – covered in metallic Sharpie. EK never misused the art supplies unless she was tattooing herself. Our son, however, skipped art supplies and went for the same junk drawer mentioned above… and proceeded to give our Pollock-esque floor a little Picasso. Alas, it probably isn’t the last time. FYI though, nail polish remover got it off our vinyl floor!

What has your toddler said (or done) recently that’s worth a laugh?Does your kid do a little art on nontraditional materials?

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Currently: Happy Spring!

Happy Monday! I’m linking up again with Becky at Choose Happy and some more awesome bloggers for this week’s Currently. I love having this link-up every week to start my week off with a fun post. Join us! We want to hear what you’re up to!

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Watching || Gilmore Girls. I know I’m late to the party, but I’m pretty excited to be catching up with Rory and Lorelei. I’m digging all the scenes with Emily; she’s hilariously infuriating.

GILMORE GIRLS (Season 3)

Listening to || worship tunes to gear up for Palm Sunday and Easter. I want to make sure they’re topically appropriate but also good ones that people will know and love. Do you have any suggestions for Easter-y worship songs?!

Loving || warmer weather! I’m pretty sure I’ve said this every week, but every week it’s just been a tease. There are a few warm days, and then we go back into the cooler temperatures. I should be glad, because soon I’ll be complaining about how hot I am all the time. Ha! For now, I’ll be loving that I can wear dresses instead of squeezing my belly into pants.

Enjoying || my Jamberry manicure I did earlier this week! It’s springy and fun – a gift from a Mystery Mama! I’m part of a Facebook group (that I found through a blogger I follow) where we all swapped names and are sending sweet notes/small gifts over the next few weeks. I’m really enjoying it, on the receiving end AND the giving end! I’d tell ya what I sent, but I don’t want to ruin my MM’s surprises!  

Eating || some gorgeous tie-dye cupcakes! I found them on Pinterest, and told my baker friend Lauren about them, and we gave them a go yesterday! We actually used a Paleo chocolate cupcake recipe we had used before (because chocolate) but the dairy-free buttercream icing was the winner of the day. Especially since the EK-approved tie-dye colors worked out as perfectly as we had hoped! We will do them again in “princess colors” for her birthday in two weeks! I am SO happy with the way they turned out! 

Looking forward to || having my whole house back! We are officially at a countdown, folks. Carpet goes in today, stairs go in this week, as well as touch-up paint, and then it’s just cleaning up and moving back in! I can’t wait to be posting pictures of a finished, furnished basement! If you’d like to help us move furniture or play with my kiddos while we move it, or eat pizza and drink beer while it happens, give me a shout!

That’s my life in a little, teeny nutshell, y’all. Thanks for joining me! Now let’s hear what you’ve been doing!

Keeping My Cool When My Kid Can’t

This post also appeared on the My Big Jesus blog! 

A sweet Irish-inspired moment.
A sweet Irish-inspired moment.

Sometimes, your kid (read: toddler) gets upset. Really upset. Really, really upset. For me, when that moment begins, the first thing I want to do is the same thing my toddler’s doing: cry, throw something, run away… you get my drift.

I’ve heard all the ways to prevent these meltdowns from happening: make sure they aren’t tired or hungry, prepare them properly for whatever you’re asking them to do, let them help make the decisions, etc. All of these are well and fine, and may actually work, but every once in a while, the circumstances are out of your control, or things just look differently than you had planned. And your toddler doesn’t go with the flow like she usually does. She freaks out.

Now, in the depths of my OCD soul, I must have order. (Yes, I just sounded like Delores Umbridge in Order of the Phoenix.) I’m coming to terms with the fact that being a mom means not having it. But I like routines, and so do my kids. I like schedules, and so do my kids. But when our schedules and routines fail, we are all a big mess.

This week, my kids were sick. That meant a trip to the doctor (during naptime, because that was the only time they could get us in), humidifiers, Tylenol, movie-watching and trying extra hard to get to bed on time. It also meant no preschool, no church, no play dates, no leaving the house and no fun-having. FOR ANYONE.

On my list of priorities, right behind routines and schedules is getting out of the house. I get cabin fever in roughly 20 minutes. Even if all I do is go to the grocery store and buy one item (typically milk or bananas), I need to get out. Sometimes, putting the kids in the stroller and making laps around the neighborhood does the trick. (Note: this week was cold and rainy.) But I need to drop EK off at preschool. I need to let them play on the playground or at Chick-fil-A. I need to have friends over. I need my kids to have fun so that I can, too.

This week has been a whirlwind of crying, coughing, needing, snuggling, napping, refusing to nap, and wearing pajamas. I’m trying to appreciate these moments of relaxation and snuggling on Mommy’s bed watching Disney movies. I’m trying to appreciate a slow down, especially in the midst of a renovation and gearing up for a busy spring. But it’s been hard. I’ve been reaching out to the Father for patience and for health. I’ve been wrestling toddlers and sickness and the need for caffeine versus the amount I’m allowed to have while pregnant. I may or may not have subbed in sugar on several occasions.

But this is life. This is a season. It’s already almost over. Later when they’re sick, I’ll just hand them a Gatorade and they’ll sleep till they feel better. There won’t be extra snuggles and needing me. I will do my best to rest in these times, to enjoy the break in routine, with the help of Someone who knows the weight of being needed.

Last Basement Update!

This may very well – I hope, anyway – be the last update until the basement is finished! A few of my favorite things happened over the past few days, so I have some more pictures to share!

Here’s our light fixture finally hung, and the walls painted their final colors. We went with the dark color on the big wall, to add a little depth. I pretty much love it.
With the light on, you can see the wall color a little better, as well as our newly laid and finished floors! That’s roughly the color of the hardwoods upstairs, so it should be a smooth transition once the stairs are in.
This is the countertop in the kids’ bathroom. It’s worth two pictures, because the slab we picked out has two different designs. The next picture is the other side of the counter. Same piece of granite!
This is my favorite side. You know, if I have to pick favorites.
Here is the laundry room cabinet and countertop, right when it was installed. (Hubby took the pic while packing for a gig, hence the mandolin in the corner.)

Here's the tile backsplash I've been raving about! I'm totally pleased with it, and I'm already happy being in that room. Isn't it the best?!

Here’s the tile backsplash I’ve been raving about! I’m totally pleased with it, and I’m already happy being in that room. Isn’t it the best?!

This is what it looks like a little more... and that's trash on the counter, not the design in the stone.
This is what it looks like a little more… and that’s trash on the counter, not the design in the stone.
This is the beginning (the top half, obviously) of the mudroom cabinetry. It'll be painted bright white, like the cabinetry in the laundry room. I'm going to find some really fun pulls for the doors and strong hooks that'll hold heavy backpacks and sports bags in the future.
This is the beginning (the top half, obviously) of the mudroom cabinetry. It’ll be painted bright white, like the cabinetry in the laundry room. I’m going to find some really fun pulls for the doors and strong hooks that’ll hold heavy backpacks and sports bags in the future.

Well, there’s everything you haven’t seen yet. I’m literally going to invite everyone I know to a ginormous party when it’s all finished and clean and ready to go. I’M SO EXCITED I CAN BARELY STAND IT.