Memorial Day Weekend + Summer Fun List

Wow!  It’s so crazy to think this is the last day of May.  We had a great weekend, but it admittedly did not go exactly according to plans due to the rainy weather from a tropical storm off the coast.  Saturday was a great, sunny day.  We enjoyed a very brief visit to the beach.

I also got a manicure/pedicure, but I was pretty unexcited about it.  The weather was so nice.  I would have rather stayed at the beach!

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I got to finish a really good book on Saturday…

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Sunday was slightly eventful to say the least!  Everything started off nice and easy.  I decided to stay home from church since we would be having a visit from Poppy and Moochie soon.  I was out on the deck doing a little HIIT workout when the Mr. brought me Little H with no explanation!  Just take the baby!  When we went back inside, I realized that Holden was throwing up.  😦   Apparently, he threw up in his bed, and the Mr. was trying to get him cleaned up and…yeah, he threw up some more.  This continued for quite some time.  Eventually, he was able to sleep for a bit.  Moochie and Poppy were already on their way over for the baseball fun, so they kept on coming!  Holden perked up when they got here.  After the grown-ups had some lunch, he said he felt up to going to the game.  Off we went!  Then, the sprinkles started and became big fat raindrops once we were in the stadium.

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I was super excited to be out with these guys!  Unfortunately, it was short-lived.  The game was officially cancelled a little over a half-hour from the original start time.  We’ll have to try again!

Since the weather was officially cramping our Sunday plans, my mom and I hunted (literally, we had to hunt!) down a coffeehouse open on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  We ended up at Bad Ass Coffee.

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P.S. My mother is always on-point with her attire.  Please notice her patriotic themed outfit.  She also had a match purse.  I will never be that grown-up.

She said her coffee was good.  I had the decaf which was good, but it did taste like it had been made for quite some time.  The hazard of drinking decaf!

We enjoyed hot dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob, salad, and berry trifle for dessert.  It’s always so nice to have my mommy and daddy visit.  🙂

Monday was rainy!  Again!  We did get a walk in with all children – furry paws, big boy feet, and baby toes.  A Trader Joe’s trip also happened as well as a gym/Wal-Mart visit for me.  Holden watched a ton of TV this weekend with the classics, Jungle Book and Dumbo, to round out his viewing pleasure.  Even though it was rainy, it is always nice to hang out with my favorite people.  Seriously though….the sun!  Come out and stay out why don’t you!?!?

Last Wednesday, I went on a field trip with Big H’s class to a farm/strawberry patch.  So much fun!  However, also so much NOISE on the bus with all those kids!

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Checking out the hive in the picture above!

Although it isn’t particularly sunny today, I do have summer on my mind.  Here’s our list from last summer…

  • Sprinkler time
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Visiting all the Eastern Shore family
  • Color Me Pottery {paint your own!}
  • Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA
  • Brickheadz {Lego Play Center}
  • Norfolk Zoo
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Jamestown Visit
  • Visiting Granny (& Auntie Brookie and Uncle Michael)
  • Fishing Trip for Daddy, Big H, and Poppy
  • Baseball Game – Try, try, try again at this one!
  • Beach – Hopefully, we may even try some quick trips with me and the two H’s.
  • 4th of July Parade – Holden loved being in the parade last year.  We’re looking forward to doing it again!
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Library Visits
  • Little H’s Baptism
  • 1 night getaway for me and the Mr. in July – It will be the first night away from kids since Little H’s arrival!
  • Play Dates with new and old friends
  • Ziplining Date with the Mr. at The Adventure Park

I’m so excited about all these things!  My personal goals for June include

  • Put together easel and little table for Holden to use this summer
  • Develop a little summer schedule for Big H’s days at home {He will be attending summer camp starting in July MWF for half days.} with some fun activities
  • Read 3 books!
  • Take Holden on a Mommy – Son date
  • Run outside once a week

I’m going to be busy!  Hopefully, half this gets done.  We’re going to have a great summer with our newest addition.  🙂  Hope you are having a great Tuesday!

Natalie

 

5 for Friday

Hi there!  I’m so excited that it’s Friday!  Now, I’m on maternity leave right now, so it’s not exactly like I’m super excited to be off from work.  I am excited that the Mr. will be home for three whole days!  That means I will get to talk to someone who actually responds over the course of the day!  🙂  Here are five things on my mind this Friday…

{ONE}

Sleep Training – Gosh, it just makes me tired thinking about it!  We (not really…it’s mostly me) have been a little all over the place with how we are putting Helen down at bedtime.  I’ve read so many blog posts, online articles, actual books, and even a DVD about sleep and babies.  A lot is similar.  However, there are enough subtle differences that can really affect how you approach sleep and your baby…I specifically found lots of differences with how you approach that stressful time of the day from 5:30-9.  Helen is the fussiest from about 7:00-8:30.  In my efforts to help her out, I think I’ve actually hurt the situation by bouncing from one idea to the other.  Last night, we talked about our game plan and committed to following it.  It’s so nice to have a parenting parter aka the Mr. how is on the same page…most the time!  Just FYI – we are following the routine laid out in Babywise.  No negative comments!  It worked absolutely wonderfully for our #1 bambino.

{TWO}

I honestly miss caffeinated coffee.  This is my new French press…  I’m not sure I like it better than a traditional coffee pot, but I do feel less wasteful.  I’m the only AM coffee drinker at our house.  I always feel like I make too much.

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I’ve been on this decaf stuff since last fall.  When I first found out I was pregnant, I was even drinking only decaf tea.  I can’t wait for next spring!  There are so many things mamas give up and/or change when they are pregnant or nursing.  I plan to drink coffee with abandon, rub toxic chemicals aka those found in anti-aging creams and other assorted toiletries/cosmetics all over me, and possibly have more than .5 of a drink next spring.  I will not be the mom nursing her child into preschool!  No thank you.  Truthfully, I don’t enjoy breastfeeding!  There!  I said it!  I do it, because I want the best for my child.  I can’t wait to have nothing latched on to me, but I’m thankful I’m able to do it now when she needs it.

{THREE}

We are hoping to go to the beach tomorrow!  I’m very excited about this!  🙂  I got this new sunscreen spray to try out from Wal-Mart.  I know sprays aren’t the best, but it’s quite challenging to put sunscreen on your own back.

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This is the sunscreen I typically use on me and H…

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It has a great smell, but it does require some thorough rubbing to make sure it soaks in.

This will be one of Helen’s first big outings.  Girlfriend got a new outfit for the beach occasions in her future.

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Link here.

She also has some sunglasses and a hat from here.  I also got Holden one of these SPF suits when he was little.  Technically, you are not supposed to use sunscreen on little ones.  These suits are perfect.  I also used Holden’s when we would go on walks.

{FOUR}

Fun Food – We are supposed to go to a Norfolk Tides baseball game with Poppy (Moochie is watching the little girl.) on Sunday.  I’m hoping the rain stays away for this!  Afterwards, we are planning to grill up some hot dogs and other sides.  I’m going to make this dessert, Red, White and Blue Trifle, from Mix and Match Mama.

{FIVE}

Summer Plans – Holden has two more weeks of preschool.  Then, he’ll be home with Little H and I until after the 4th of July.  He’ll be attending summer camp at his preschool three days a week for half days in July and August.  We thought this would give me a little time with just Helen and also give Holden some fun activities to look forward to each week.  Since we’ll all be together each and every day for a few weeks in June, I’m trying to brainstorm ideas for what we’ll do.  We won’t be jaunting off each day, but I would like to plan a couple things each week to do…like the park, library, does the grocery store count as fun with two kids???  I’m hoping to share that list on Monday.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend!

Natalie

 

 

What motivates you?

Thank goodness the sun is out today!  I was all excited yesterday when I “thought” the weather report was calling for some sunshine.  Well, I was mistaken.  We did have just a peek of sun around lunch time.

Little H, Roscoe, and I even got a walk in today!  I used the Baby Bjorn to carry her, but I’m really excited to try out the Ergo with the infant insert.  We didn’t have the Ergo until Holden was much older, and I’m having a hard time figuring out just how to use it in the front body mode.  I’m thinking it needs to be a two man/parent job the first few times, so I’m stuck waiting for some time when the Mr. is home.

Speaking of the Mr., he’s currently off the OBX coast somewhere fishing.  I’m not super jealous at all.  I am not a fisher-woman.  I wouldn’t mind sitting on a beach with a new book right now, but Little H is playing nice with me today.  We’re having a decent amount of fun.  🙂  Since the Mr. is gone, we had to all load up and do preschool drop-off this morning.  That happened a little later than usual due to Miss Helen’s nap time.  I knew today would be a little hectic with the Mr. not reporting back for dad duty until 8-ish the evening (he left at like 2AM – somehow we were not up at the same time!).  I made a plan and a priority to get some exercise in before taking H to preschool.  I decided LAST NIGHT what I was going to do.  4 miles on the treadmill and some light stretching – I think it’s so important to make a plan!  Then again, I’m a big time planner.  It doesn’t just stop with work-outs.  I was asking Holden to help me plan out our summer fun stuff over breakfast.  His request was the zoo and Colonial Williamsburg.

After breakfast, I plugged in the treadmill and got started.  Did I really want to?  Yes and no.  I really wanted to write in my journal, put on grown-up clothes, start laundry, hang out with H, clean up the breakfast dishes (which I finally just did!)…you get the idea.  There are so many things as moms that we have to do/want to do.  It’s so hard to make your personal health (physical and mental) a priority.  I find this to be especially true when I let the dreaded G word enter the picture…guilt.  Guilt that I should be doing this, more like this…etc.  It’s so hard not to let our “to dos” overtake us.  I am plenty guilty of this.  Doing one thing at a time and writing a list of the top 5 things that need to get done that day are helpful, but what really needs to be done is letting go with the mind.  Being open to what God has for us in each day.  I know that I will be ready to take on the day (and His plans for it) better if I move in some physical way over the course of the day.

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7:51 pace (4 miles)

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Holden practicing his cutting while I’m running – Roscoe trying to join in

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I just can’t give up ridiculous rap music when running.  I’ve tried.  #fail

I hope you get to enjoy the sunshine today (and maybe even a run/exercise of some type)!

Natalie

Another Mommy Monday…

Good morning!  I can hardly believe that it’s still raining!  We have had so much rain in the past 2-3 weeks!  I confess that it definitely affects my mood after this many dreary days spent inside.  Helen and I have braved the rain a couple of days when we had to.  I even tried to take a walk with her one day, and it started to rain on our walk!  So not cool.  Holden’s soccer game was cancelled this weekend due to the rain, and our strawberry picking plans had to be postponed {perhaps indefinitely} too.  Instead, we spent Saturday chatting it up with our visitors.  Moochie, Poppy, and DD came to visit us.  We did nothing but talk and enjoy a lunch out at Whiskey Kitchen.  I had a beet burger with green beans there, and I loved it!  I really like burgers especially ones that substitute meat for something else likes beans.  Sunday was church, gym, dog bath, and movie night.  Holden and the Mr. watched Tangled (new take on Rapunzel).  I never see the whole movie from these Sunday night movie nights since I’m usually fixing dinner or (now) tending to Helen.  However, Holden was so into/touched by the movie that he almost cried when one of the main characters died.  Don’t worry – a magical tear brought him back to life!  Well-played Disney.  On to Monday…

We actually have to brave the rain and struggle out to the grocery store and the library today.  I always get overzealous when I put books on hold at the library.  I recently checked out 7 books!  Although I am home on maternity leave, there is no way I can read all those books before they are due!  I decided to skim Secrets of a Baby Whisperer instead of reading it word for word.  Little Miss Helen is a bit fussy during her naps and especially in the evening right before bed, so I was looking for some insights that might help us.  P.S.  The conclusion is that she might be overly tired, dislike naps, or just dislike the numbers on the clock in the early evening!  AKA I’m not 100% sure what her deal is half the time!  Basically, we/I are going to keep on keeping on with our current plan and hoping that we have it all sorted out by 3 months!  Seriously, a lot of stuff you read says that babies seem to just settle in at around 3 months.  We are about halfway there.  🙂

Two other books I tried were…

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I recommend the first book {warning:  there is a chapter on homosexuality and how it affects boy children…just FYI if you read}.  The book looked at school and just growing up from a boy’s/male’s perspective.  There is also a chapter on discipline and bullying.

The second book was terrible!  Even though the first couple chapters were very funny and spot-on true, the main character’s bad attitude about maternity leave and her newborn baby boy just made me a have a bad attitude about my life!  Nobody needs that!  It’s crazy how much we/I can be affected by what we read, watch on TV, or listen to on the radio.  Got to be careful!

Maternity leave can be really daunting.  You’re at home {most days} with just your thoughts, maybe a pet, and a little baby that has needs but also isn’t able to communicate those needs.  It can be monotonous and frustrating.  If you’re like me, it’s hard to slow down during this time.  I know it’s best for my baby to have a routine, to rest in her own crib, and slowly explore her home, her environment.  It’s hard to “play” with a newborn.  Talk is so important, and believe me, Helen gets chatted up.  HOWEVER, there are times when we have to go out and do other things.  Any time that mom feels like she might be going a little stir-crazy is a good time!

An easy little activity that I did with Holden was to let him smell different scents.  Helen and I did this last week.  I carefully let her sniff nutmeg, cinnamon, a very ripe banana, and a lime!  Be careful not to put baby’s face to close to the items if you try it.

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She even put her mouth on the lime!  Not too much a fan though…

We also have been taking some short walks in the Baby Bjorn, so she can see her surroundings better.  In between rainfalls, we’ve walked around the yard and looked at flowers.  She also stuck her toes in some tall grass.  Very funny facial expressions from that experience!

Well, that’s it for me!  I hope you have a great Monday.  Looks like we may see sunshine later this week.  I’m very hopeful for good weather since I get to go on H’s class field trip to the strawberry patch on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed!

Natalie

 

 

Baby Gear – Top 5

Well, I am no baby expert by any means.  I do have a few favorite actual items and a certain way I like to organize our day to help make things go more smoothly and make us all happy(ier) campers!

ONE

Halo Sleep Sacks – Love these!  I have no time or inclination to become a blanket swaddling expert.  Those receiving blankets look great, and I definitely use them for tummy time or for a light cover when we are in the stroller.  BUT…I don’t swaddle with them.

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They are great!  We used them for big H.  We even bought the ones without the swaddle portion, so it’s basically a wearable blanket.  I believe the rule is no blankets in bed until past 1 year.  Am I making that up?  I probably knew the exact time when I was researching as a first time mom.  You just put the baby in, zip up, and then fold across the sides.  The top layer has velcro, so you can make the swaddle nice and tight to comfort a fussy baby (or just a baby that likes to be swaddled!).  They are pricey $25 and up.  However, you might find some older styles for cheaper prices at Babies R Us.  I used gift cards to purchase mine.  We also have another swaddle thing-ma-do that the baby wears, but we definitely have no blankets we use for swaddling!  Here’s Halo’s website.  

TWO

Angelcare Baby Monitors – We are reusing our monitor we had for big H with little H.  There are ones with sound and image monitoring.  Ours is a sound one only.  The thing that makes Angelcare special is the fact that there is an under mattress sensor that detects vibrations such as those made by baby’s breathing.  Our monitor also shows the temperature in the room.

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Website

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Little H was having a “moment.” You can tell how the bar shows how loud the baby is being.  As if the wails didn’t tell you!  

It gives us so much peace of mind knowing that everything is OK in there.  I find this especially reassuring as we put both big and little H in their own nurseries by the two week mark.  We really like reclaiming our bedroom as ours and giving each baby his/her own quiet space to sleep in.  HOWEVER, it is much easier to do this when you can monitor the baby closely and know that everything is A-OK.

THREE

Vibrating Cradle – This cradle was an attachment from our last Pack & Play which had to be trashed due to some mold/mildew on the little mattress.  We tossed it but kept the cradle.  Our little girl has a (typically) very fussy time around 6:30/7:00-8:00 every night.  We try to let her self-soothe in her room, but she’s not quite there yet.  She’s working very hard on being a thumb sucker like her brother!  When it seems like she just isn’t going to be able to calm down and rest on her own, we put her in the cradle.  IMG_3253.jpg

She loves this thing!  We never used it nearly this much with big H.

FOUR

Babyganics Care Products – I had a student gift me with some yummy bath products for Helen, and I love them!  There is a whole section on the website talking about how the company works hard to make each product very safe for babies.  At our house, the Mr. is usually in charge of bath time, and I admit that sometimes I’m jealous.  I do like a break in the evening, but bath time looks fun as little H usually just lays back quietly and chills.  My favorite product from this line is the lotion – chamomile verbena.

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Website

FIVE

BOB stroller with infant car seat adapter – We’ve finally started taking some short walks together (me, the baby, and Roscoe).  I got our BOB stroller when big H was already big enough to ride in it normally.  We had no need for the infant car seat adapter.  Well…I decided we had to have one for easier strolling with little H.  The BOB is so much smoother than those typical big stroller like the Graco one we have.  They are good for mall cruising, but we don’t do a lot of that.

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Not my pic!  Just want to show how it looks!

P.S.  We paid $60 for that bar.  I’m OK with it though, because I’ve already used it several times.  I anticipate using it a lot more over the summer until the little girl is ready to ride in the bottom.  The car seat just snaps in rear facing using the hook on the underside of the seat and that bar.  Then, you’re off!

I hope you enjoyed reading about some things that are making our days a little smoother these days!  You can’t really be prepared for everything (i.e. the phone call that I received earlier that Holden was sick at preschool 😦 ) but preparation and the right stuff helps!.

Goodbye…Hello!

Well, a lot has happened since my last post.  I decided to shut down the blog in October due to some weird stuff happening on here with followers and just being plain old busy.  We had the holidays,

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plus my sister and (officially) brother-in-law’s wedding with H as the ring bearer in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina,

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H’s first hotel stay (that he remembers anyway!) – He loved the option of watching TV in bed!

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celebrated H’s 4th birthday with a ninja theme at a local martial arts studio,

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had a nice baby shower for baby H given by my sister and sister-in-law,

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and enjoyed Easter with family.

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My dad stayed home from church due to cooking duties (hence he’s in less than his Sunday best), and the new brother-in-law unfortunately had to work.

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The most exciting thing by far in 2016 has been the arrival of our little girl! We shared the big news with family in October. However, I think some may have already guessed it. Helen was born April 10 after a very brief labor.

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She is officially one month old now, and I feel as if we may be emerging from the newborn stage into the (more fun…in my humble opinion) baby stage.

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Picture taken at a little over two weeks old!

Since this is our second time around on the baby trip, I felt a little more confident AND more concerned.  I was (technically, I think it was “we”) were a little blissfully ignorant of how many things could go wrong with a baby being born and how exhausting and trying having a sweet, helpless little newborn can be.  This time we were aware, BUT it was still hard.  I think the most challenging thing has been trying to still be there for big H.  He is so used to having undivided attention!  Thank goodness he has a sibling!  Lots of opportunities to take turns and share Mommy and Daddy’s time and attention.  I’m sure he’ll be a pro at it in no time.  😉

Little H is doing pretty good with the nighttime sleep, and I’ve even slept about three hours straight for one night anyways.  I hate to even say this, but she is also on a pretty good streak with her naps.  Unfortunately, she really has to nap immediately if she gets the least bit fussy or nods off.  If not, the nap then becomes crappy quickly when she does get to sleep.  She absolutely hates from about 6:30-8:00ish every night unless she has her pacifier and vibrating cradle thing that came with our old pack & play.  She won’t have much to do with a pacifier any other time of day.  Naps are about 1.5 to 2 hours at this time.  She’s feeding about every three hours (calculated from beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next). Today is actually a big day as we are trying to see if she can go 3.5 hours.  She definitely can in the morning, but I’m not 100% sure about the rest of the day.  So far…so good but it’s still early.

Big Brother H is doing very well adjusting to his new sister.  He loves to give her kisses on the foot.  He absolutely will not carry her dirty diapers to the trash can, but he thoroughly enjoys listing to her “toots.”  DSC_0371.JPG

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Whew!  That was quite a quick and dirty update of what we’ve been up to since October!  I don’t really know how often I’ll be dropping in here to update what’s going on with us plus any other randoms that cross my mind, BUT I hope to do a little something with it.  This maternity leave is hard work!  However, I do seem to have a little downtime since Big H is still in school 5 days a week until mid-June and little H naps a few times a day.

Thanks for reading!

Natalie