May 20, 2015

A Letter to the SAHM of TWO

Hey there Mama,

I know how you feel. I know you're tired. Stretched to thin. Hungry. Wondering if your husband will be coming home on time. I know it's not easy, and sometimes it feels like you're never going to get a break. Yeah. I get you. But I have some words to share.

Before J was born, I had the same anxieties as any other mom about to welcome another child into the world. I wondered how I was going to care for them both, get them both feed, bathed, etc. I worried about being able to give enough attention to each of them and how I was going to make sure my first still felt just as loved and cherished. I also thought about the everyday errands like grocery shopping, Target runs, etc. And play dates. How was I going to do it all?

Two months in and I can say that I have conquered all of these fears. Well. Kind of. I still struggle with dividing my attention, but I guess that's just the way it is when you have more than one child. I've taken them both grocery shopping and survived. We do have to make two trips usually, but that's okay. We've gone to Target, many, many times (if only just to get out of the house), and have been on several play dates. Some days are great and J will nap the entire time we're out. Other days he'll wake up mid way through and I'll have to hurry or take him out of his car seat if we're at a play date. I've given them both a bath, one after the other. Bedtime is still tricky, I'm alone many nights when my husband is working and it continues to be my least favorite time of the day. But it's gotten easier. Hopefully it will continue to as J gets older.

Honestly, it's all about perspective. As I talk to other moms with two, or three, that seems to be key. You will not get everything you want done in one day. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. Accepting mess, chaos, and mediocre dinners will get you far. I keep telling myself it's all a season, it will change so fast so soon that these days will become great memories that I will look back on sweetly. I won't dwell on the fact that my kitchen was always a mess, clutter was in every room, and my hair was never done. I'll remember laying on the floor with my children, shaking a rattle, reading a Clifford book, pushing them both in a stroller for a morning stroll. I'll remember how loving Miss A was with her brother, how she'd tell us to pick him up if he was crying, or wanting to push him in the swing. Sweet, sweet memories.

As for outings, the best piece of advice I can give is to have a well stocked diaper bag. That is ready to go at all times! I can't tell you how many times I feel the walls closing in and I grab our diaper bag, get us all in the car, and drive. Maybe we'll stop for coffee or to look at the lake in the neighborhood. We may go to the park to kill some time. Or we just drive..listening to music, singing together as J falls asleep. It helps to have that bag there, ready for you. Diapers, extra set of clothes, snacks for the toddler, water, tissues, wipes, and whatever you might need for yourself (wallet, chapstick, phone). Grab it and go!

I've also realized how important it STILL is to make time for yourself and to have mom friends. Without these two things, I would not survive. I'm lucky to have met a great group of moms shortly after moving here. They are amazing and so supportive. Weekly play dates are good for everyone!
Before I had kids, I loved having time to myself. Now that time to myself is in short supply, it's even more necessary. I crave it. Miss A doesn't nap anymore, so that precious quiet time is over. Lately I've been experimenting with other forms of quiet time. I tried keeping her in her room to play but that didn't last for very long. Now I'm trying the blanket method. I lay out her Frozen blanket in the family room, give her some toys, books, and a snack. I tell her it's time for quiet time, put on a timer (I'm aiming for 40 minutes a day) and leave the room. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If it doesn't work I accept it, no sense in dwelling on it and we'll go outside or get out of the house. "Me" time will come later, usually after they're both in bed. Whatever didn't get done that day will get done tomorrow. You won't find me picking up the house or doing any cleaning after they're both in bed. That's my time!

So, hang in there Mama, you are doing an amazing job. You are so, so lucky to have your beautiful children and they will one day tell you how happy they are that you stayed home with them when they were little. It's all a season. A short, short season. Find the joy while you can.

May 18, 2015

To Do List

It's a Monday morning I'm not ready for. The next two weeks are going to be brutal. I'll be single parenting it up because my husband will be working nights. In an effort to make these next two weeks fly by super, super quick, I'm filling my plate with lots of to-dos.

1. Find a one piece swimsuit that I actually like. We're going to Miami. And we're going to the beachhhh. And the pool! So, a swimsuit is absolutely necessary. I bought a one piece after Miss A was born that is sadly too tight at the moment...damn those last few pounds that need to go! I like this one, but today I'm going to Target to see if I like any there. My days of trying things on in store are gone, at least for now, when I have to take both kids with me. Not gonna happen. So I'll buy them, try them on at home, and probably return them all. Fun times. 

2. Find a dress for my cousin's wedding. Yeah. That still hasn't happened yet. For the same reason I mentioned above...ahem, tummy rolls. I'm not feeling very comfortable in any dress I find. I want something long and flowy that isn't over a $100. Too much to ask?

3. Finish decorating the kiddos rooms. I'm on the hunt for a full length mirror for Miss A's room. I'm setting up a dress up corner for her and I just know she'd LOVE to look at herself. Little did I know a full length mirror is hard to find for a little girls room. It needs to be simple, be able to be nailed to the wall, and cost less than $50. I don't know why this is impossible to find. For J's room I have two art prints to frame and shelves to find. If I had all the time in the world (and no budget constraints) this would have been done months ago! 

4. Order a canvas print. I knew from the moment we got our proofs from J's newborn session which photo we were going to enlarge. I'm going to be purchasing a Groupon from Easy Canvas Prints, love their quality! 

5. Buy sunscreen. It's hot here, the pool is open, and I cleaned our water table yesterday for those long afternoons we're going to have. I also need to buy everything I need to make strawberry ice cream!  

6. Plan Miss A's third birthday party! The venue and date have been booked. The theme has been picked. I'm keeping it low key this year and doubt I'll be making anything myself, but I still hope to make it festive and fun.  

7. Make a hair appointment, dentist appointment,  and dermatologist appointment. Gah. When will I find time for this? We all know which one I will schedule way before the others...priorities.  

8. Laundry. Yeah. That never ends does it?  

May 13, 2015

Late Night Thoughts

It seems whenever I sit down to do, oh, anything, I'm interrupted within a few minutes, sometimes seconds. I began this post early this morning and I'm just now finishing it up, in the dark, next to J while he sleeps. Because I will blog weekly, somehow, someway, even if my posts are scattered and random and don't have many pictures. Hence this mismash of what I want to share today. :)

We went for a walk this morning. More of a power walk, as fast as I can go before one starts asking to get out of the stroller, or for a snack, or for her toddler tubes on Pandora. Luckily the other sleeps peacefully. Trying to fit in exercise is almost impossible, these power walks are the best I can do.

I need a dress for a wedding next month. It's been long time since I've been dress shopping, let alone to a wedding! I'm so excited. For the wedding. Not so much shopping because how am I going to find the time to look for a dress? I prefer shopping in person than online for dresses, so online shopping isn't really going to work for me. Where should I go?  I'm feeling pretty clueless on where to start. 

Miss A insists on wearing a dress or skirt everywhere she goes. Everywhere. Trying to convince her that a dress just isn't suitable for a park is like arguing with a two year old...she may well be a lawyer one day. Girlfriend loves to argue.

The crock pot has been in almost daily use around here. I just can't cook dinner. Like seriously, am I ever going to make dinner again that doesn't involve the oven or crock pot? I've been getting recipes out of a book, The Big Book of Slow Cooking, from the blogger of A Year of Slow Cooking. I LOVE it. It's huge and there are so many great recipes. I borrowed it from the library but I may buy myself a copy one day because I love it so much. We've enjoyed orange apricot pork chops, beef fajitas, and pineapple pork tenderloin. I have no pictures because...#lifewithtwo

I made a cleaning schedule to help me keep track of when a room was cleaned last...and I can't seem to keep up with my own cleaning schedule. An entire day will go by and I'll have cleaned only the kitchen, as that is what really drives me wild, a dirty kitchen. Every night before I can go to bed the dishwasher has to be running, the counters have to be wiped down, and anything that was left out has to be put away. I absolutely hate starting off the day with a messy kitchen. I don't know how to do it I guess, I won't?

And now I have to get some sleep before the first feeding. Good night, or, good morning!

May 8, 2015

Friday Favorites

This week had lots of highs and lows. Our week started off on the low end (burned banana bread, crazy kids), gradually improved by mid week, and will close out with one day off for the hubby. Saturday will be our Mother's Day- how are you celebrating this weekend?

1. Witching hour occurs every evening in our house. Which makes cooking dinner pretty impossible if my husband isn't home. So I have come to rely on my crock pot and oven to do the job for me. I shared one of our dinners on IG this week and many of you asked for the recipe. It is SO good- I forgot to start it in the morning, oops..but it still turned out great because I cooked it on high for about 3 hours. The tortellini goes in with thirty minutes left of cooking time, which is perfect, as it won't fall apart or get soggy. You can find the recipe here, from Damn Delicious! Serve with a salad (if you have time for that) and garlic bread and you're set! 

2. We spent a lot of time outside this week with our friends. A park play date, coloring with chalk and water on the driveway, and playing at a friends backyard. I'm loving it and fully embracing how easy it is to dress all of us- shorts, summer dresses, and sandals. The purchases I made at Old Navy have all been worn and I recommend them all! 

3. With a baby in the house now, we spend the majority of our afternoons at home. Mornings are for play dates and errands. So I'm trying to find fun, easy, and cheap activities to keep Miss A busy. I saw this idea on Pinterest to make ice cube paint! How fun does that sound. If you've got any more ideas like these, please send them my way!

4. I hate to wish away this month...but I can't wait for June!! We will be visiting family back home in Florida, attending my cousins wedding, celebrating my birthday, and spending lots of time together as a family. With all the crazy long hours my husband has been working, he will finally be getting a break! 

5. After two months I've finally been able to pick up a book to read. I picked one out blindly at the library, usually I put them on hold to pick up, browsing doesn't happen very often these days. Anyway, I'm really enjoying it so far! It's a memoir written by a fifteen year old girl. Fifteen! After goggling it today, I read that her book is going to become a movie. Talk about success! 

As always I'm linking up with Five on FridayOh Hey Friday, and Friday Favorites. 

May 6, 2015

J's Two Month Update & Favorites

J had his two month appointment this week, with his first set of shots. I have to say I was nervous about how it would go and how Miss A would react (I don't want her to start fearing the doctor yet), so before the appointment we went out to get some Tylenol and I searched for her headphones so she could listen to music on my phone. She was happy and distracted the whole time, J's cries didn't faze her at all. 

J is doing great! I make small babies, so he is still a peanut at 9.7 pounds and 20 inches long. Considering where he was at birth, it's pretty amazing how much weight he has gained! I'm pleased and so is his doctor. Height is apparently the last to catch up. Who knew.

He is still wearing newborn clothes, which is fine by me, as we have plenty. I'm sure he's going to have the same problem as his sister- shirts will be snug, pants will be too big/long. He's smiling more and more at me, I love it so much that I spend a good chunk of the day in his face trying to get more. I love any noise he makes, except for our witching hour, where we have to hold him upright so he can look around. Otherwise, major screams. He nurses beautifully and sleep is going well (at the moment, knock on wood)- I really can't complain! 

It's funny how it's only been two months but it feels like he's been with us forever. I can not imagine life without him, he completes us, he is a constant source of joy and happiness. I had a few days of the "baby blues" after he was born, but once I got over that, I have been very happy. I don't know if it's because I've been through this before and already know what to expect- none of those new parent worries- or if because he is SUCH a different baby than Miss A. Nowhere near as high maintenance. :) Is that just how girls are? Everyone who meets him says he's going to have a sweet personality and I could not agree more. I can't wait to see him interact with his big sister, who is already eager to show him her toys and chats with him when he's laying down on a blanket. She is a sweetheart.

As for favorites, I have a few new ones! Our aden and anais burp cloths, they are so soft, and absorbent. I also went out and got one of their easy swaddlers; how is everything of theirs so soft! I LOVE this swaddler; it keeps J's arms in and the print is adorable. I also bought him a rattle, which has a handle that he will eventually grab and hold. For now he likes it when we shake it and follows it with his eyes.

While we have the Mamaroo, nothing calmed him down the day of his shots like Miss A's old swing, that I am now SO glad I kept in our storage closet. Once he was in there he passed out within minutes. Also, this bath sponge, that I should have mentioned in the one month favorites. It is so helpful in giving baby a bath right from the get go, seeing as it fits in the sink, it's incredibly soft, and baby can't get hurt if he slips out of your hands. He will be growing out of it soon and we'll use our whale tub, but I love it so much, and will recommend it to every mom now. 

May 4, 2015

Weekend Happenings

Today has been one of those days. A meltdown over a wrinkly skirt. I baked banana bread for too long, causing it to be dry. We were stuck at the doctor's office for over an hour. J has been a wreck all afternoon due to his shots. I have no idea when my husband is coming home. Well. At least it helps me appreciate the good days, because when they're good, they're SO good. Like this past Saturday.

Whenever my husband has a day off, it feels like a weekend. As many of you know, he may have a day off right in the middle of the week, so we may not get a real weekend- which is hard on the weekends he does work and everyone else I know is spending time with their families. He had Thursday and Saturday off, so we made the most of both days.

My father-in-law got him a ping pong table for his birthday and we are just now starting to play, seeing as the weather has been so perfect. It's set up in our garage so we open the door, play some music, and play. Miss A will sometimes count how many times we hit the ball back and forth, or she'll ride around in her trike or Minnie Mouse car. J sleeps in his car seat. :) I'm pretty terrible, but slowly getting better- I can actually hit the ball now and score a point!

We played lots of ping pong, kicked a ball around outside, and had a special breakfast. We also went to the flea market, which was a great way to spend an afternoon. Family days really are the best days.

I'll have to keep these memories close, as today kicks off the beginning of a horrible rotation. 14+ hour days, one day off a week...ugh, I'm not looking forward to the rest of this month. Thankfully this is the last awful rotation he will ever have, he'll only be in the emergency room after this, and that schedule is pretty good. In the meantime I'll have to find ways to survive the days I want to pull my hair out. 

May 1, 2015

Friday Five!

1. I have a confession to make. We are not a fast food family- I'm pretty sure it has been years, YEARS since I've been to any drive through (unless it's a Starbucks), but since J was born I've made a trip to Chick-fil-A four times. I'm crazy obsessed with their chicken fingers and waffle fries.

2. Have you seen Interstellar? What an amazing movie. I was blown away, by the story line, the actors (Hello Matthew Mcconaughey), just everything. I'm not normally into sci fi, that's more the hubby's taste, but this had me hooked from beginning to end.  

3. It's strawberry season! We went strawberry picking twice this week. Once with our playgroup, and then the next day as a family. We have lots of beautiful berries that I plan on using to make strawberry ice cream and these strawberry brie bites.

4. Yesterday I went shopping. For myself! I rarely buy anything for myself anymore, I feel guilty if I do and it's only if I really, really want/need something. My sweet mother-in-law sent me a card and money to do a little when I heard that Old Navy was having a sale, I went to check it out. I got this dress, three tops, and two pairs of shorts. I'm so excited for the warmer weather ahead!

5. I may be insane, but I'm already thinking about Miss A's third birthday party. She's crazy obsessed with Cinderella right now and I know she'd flip over a Cinderella themed party. I found the perfect dress recently and now I'm pinning away. I absolutely love this cake.