Archive for December, 2014

Cabin Fever

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
It has been raining here for over a week. Today was the first glimpse of sunshine we have had in days. We had over 6 inches of rain locally and several tornadoes in the area. While we avoided the worst of the weather, it has kept our family confined to the indoors for too long.

Christmas day was wonderful, with gifts, food, and family. Nobody seemed to mind the rain. The boys kept busy with new Legos and toys. It ‘s the days that followed; we played board games as a family, but as time wore on, the rain continued. I did my best to keep the boys entertained. The kids are still watching DVR’d Christmas specials a week after Christmas.

Finally after over a week inside, the weather broke today. The boys grabbed their “outside” toys and ran into the still muddy yard. I joined them because I think I needed to get out of the house too. I think I enjoy the sunshine even more than my children. It is cold outside but the sunshine is refreshing. We are going to go outside again tomorrow for as long as we can, especially because there is even more rain in the forecast later this week. I’m hoping the New Year brings many sunny days with it.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2015!




Independent Play

Friday, December 26th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We had a very merry Christmas in our house yesterday. We weren’t certain what the holiday would bring with an almost-two-year-old, and whether he would be actively involved in present opening or entirely overwhelmed.

Rory had a fantastic morning and LOVED opening all of his gifts. His friends and family were tremendously generous, and we all had a wonderful time helping him tear into the wrapping paper while saying, “Open, Mommy. Open.”

The best development of the day, however, was watching Rory learn to play independently with the new train table Santa brought him. Santa delivered it to his playroom directly. We took Rory in there at the very end of the morning after we had opened all of his other presents. He ran to the table and started playing with the array of engines and accessory cars. He spent a solid thirty minutes focused intently on his new toys while the rest of the family finished opening stockings, eating some breakfast, and generally enjoying the slow pace of a family Christmas morning.

It was exciting to see Rory begin to entertain himself for such an extended period of time. Selfish as it may sound, it was also nice to have the time to drink a cup of coffee, sit out on the couch outside of his playroom, and even engage in some adult conversation. I am hoping the novelty won’t wear off too soon, because I could definitely get used to this.

Holiday Hoopla

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Wow, it’s hard to believe Christmas is just a day away. We’ve been very busy attending many holiday events. We had school programs, the community Christmas parade, Santa’s lap, baking cookies, shopping, wrapping gifts, and driving around looking at Christmas lights and a few other holiday activities. We are finally ready to celebrate this joyous holiday, Christmas.

The boys start every morning by finding “Zack,” our family elf, who reports to Santa nightly regarding the boys behavior. We are lucky to still have two Santa believers. Jack is 7, so we know this might be the last year our kids finish their dinner to please a stuffed elf. Our boys are growing up, but we love giving them the kind of Christmas that we remember as kids, full of love and memories.

Every year we go to the Christmas eve church service, and afterwards we get a huge meal of Chinese takeout and watch the movie, “The Christmas Story”. The boys get to wear their special Christmas pajamas and their dad reads “The Night Before Christmas,” before bedtime. The boys write a note to Santa to leave with his milk and cookies. It is a unique way to spend Christmas Eve, but it is our family tradition and we love it.

Whatever your family does for the holidays, I hope you enjoy it in the company of family and friends. Merry Christmas!


Bribery Will Get You Everywhere

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I admit it: I bribe my kids. Well, I bribe Haley. Hudson, at three months, is less motivated by rewards— unless that reward is breast milk— and he knows he’s getting that no matter what. But his day will come. In the meantime, I offer Haley lots of things—new toys, movies to order through the TV, a positive recommendation to Santa, play dates with friends—really anything to get what I want. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it, either.

Once children leave babyhood and toddlerhood, you can’t really make them do anything. You can’t physically force them to listen, and reasoning with a three or four year old is an exercise in futility. So at times I advocate the “telling them what they want to hear” strategy. Often, they’ll forget what you promised (although sometimes they don’t, so be careful!) or it’s something they’re going to get no matter what (a birthday present you’ve already ordered) so you might as well make them work for it.

Bribery works to get Haley to clean up, behave in public, stay in bed—you name it. The most important time I bribe is when it’s time for Haley to take medicine. Haley has always hated taking drugs in any form and usually, it’s something she really needs to take for the sake of her health. So I do what I need to do. The other day, I brilliantly informed her that I could buy an app on the phone that tells you if you’re on the Naughty or Nice List at the North Pole. It’s expensive, but if she cooperated I would download it. She bought into it. I was able to administer the necessary dose and then inform her that—wait a minute—you are on the Nice List after all! I myself may not make the list after all of these shenanigans, but I’m at peace with that. A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do.


Friday, December 19th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
After a great many months of being told that he needs to assert himself with his words, rather than just react emotionally, Rory has entered into what I am politely calling his “mine” phase. In some ways, this is a positive development. He’s had a tendency to react with tears and screams when his friends at daycare take a toy that he is playing with. Now, he fights back a bit more with a firm declaration of “mine.”

I’d seen signs of this new assertiveness brewing, but I saw it in full force for the first time when I dropped him off at daycare yesterday morning. His teacher had a variety of puzzles set up for the class, and Rory quickly took to playing with a farm animal puzzle. When one of his good friends arrived, his friend promptly started playing with the same puzzle. Rory grabbed for the puzzle piece, collected it firmly in a cross-chest embrace, and walked away from the table exclaiming, “Mine. mine!” While the other child’s mom encouraged his friend to share, I gently explained to Rory that the puzzle belonged to the daycare, that he could continue playing with it, but that he should also be certain to give his buddy a turn at some point as well.  I also made certain to point out the range of other puzzles available on the table, and explained to him that if he walks away from the table trying to hoard the puzzle pieces, he should probably expect that one of his classmates might be using the other pieces when he gets back.

That was all, obviously, a lot for an almost two-year old to absorb. Especially when we’ve been telling him to use his words rather than cry. However, now that he’s found a word to use, we’re trying to help him understand how best to use that language without emulating the same aggressive behavior we’ve been trying to help him overcome. It’s all part of learning how to communicate and interact with others, something he has generally been pretty laid back about. In that respect, I’m sure this will be another short-lived stage, and that he and his friends will figure out a way to resolve their differences.

That being said, I am admittedly nervous about the timing of this new tendency given that his little sister due to arrive over the course of the next month. I’m hopeful that we’ve figured out how to help him deal with this possessive streak before she starts stealing his toys away from him. Luckily, I think we will have a few months of newborn immobility before that starts happening.

Muffins with Mom

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
The letter of the week is “M” in Tate’s class. The Pre-K teachers invited all moms to their fun event, “Muffins with Mom.” We were pampered and shared a special morning with our children. We were served muffins, fruit, various beverages, and more muffins. It was a delicious breakfast spread.

The boys and girls have been looking forward to this event all week. They painted a picture of their mommy and made us a silly placemat. The placemat consisted of sentences that they filled in answers to. For example: Mommy’s favorite color is… red. Mommy’s favorite food is… a cheeseburger. Mommy is as pretty as… a princess. Mommy’s favorite thing to do is… take pictures. It was funny. I guess I might need to lay off with the camera. Tate and I ate our muffins and enjoyed our morning together.

Next, Tate got to work on his scrapbook page to document our special day. He lined the border of the page with stickers…lots of stickers. It looked great, and he was happy with his work. We got our picture taken together for the page, as well, and handed it in to his teacher.

I enjoyed eating muffins and socializing with Tate and his friends. The teachers are sweet to host this little event, and I’m thankful Tate gets to participate in these fun little activities.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Monday, December 15th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
We celebrate Christmas in our family, and I was looking forward to Haley understanding the holiday rituals better this year. I explained the usual stuff—you have to be good, we make cookies for Santa, he comes down the chimney and leaves presents, etc. Unfortunately, you can’t predict the reaction of a three year old. I thought she’d buy into it big time. Well, it turns out that this mythology has brought out a different reaction—earnest concerns about home security. Haley does not like the idea of a non-family member coming down our chimney.

As a result, Haley came up with a different plan. Here’s how it’s going to work: Haley’s father is going to meet Santa Claus on Christmas night at the end of the driveway at my parents’ home, where we are spending Christmas. Santa is going to hand him the sack of presents. Then Haley’s dad is instructed to say: “Now you get out of here or there’s going to be trouble!” Haley also mentioned that her dad should use ninja moves if necessary.

I’m not sure if Haley’s declaration will get her placed on the Naughty List. Hopefully Santa appreciates her precocious, protective spirit. Three-year-olds change their minds quickly, so perhaps by the time Christmas comes around, Haley will warm up to the chimney idea. If not, that’s fine too. We’ll pack the cookies and milk (and of course, carrots for the reindeer) to go!

Enjoy the holiday season!

Oh Christmas Tree?!?!

Friday, December 12th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory is afraid of our Christmas tree. We put it up last Sunday afternoon during his nap. We strung the lights on Monday evening, and we are hoping to put the ornaments on tonight. (Can you tell life is busy around here. . . ) But, try as we might, he still does not like to walk past the tree. He insists upon being carried up and down the stairs because the tree is waiting at the bottom of the stairs, and he asks to be picked up the moment he gets home from daycare with his daddy because the tree is just inside the front door.

We’re not entirely sure what we did wrong.

I think we may not have talked with him enough in advance about the fact that we’d be putting a 7 foot evergreen into his living room for a month. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that it seems so tall compared to his little 34-inch self. We’re not sure what, exactly, it is that he doesn’t like about it, but we’re finding ourselves wondering whether he’ll get over it in time for Santa to arrive.

So far, we’ve talked to him about how pretty it is, let him touch the branches, and talked about how it cannot hurt him. We point out decorated houses with great enthusiasm when we are out and about, and we discuss the tree with that same overjoyed tone.

Occasionally, he seems indifferent. Yesterday morning, for example, he walked down the stairs, past the tree, and into the kitchen for breakfast without batting an eye. We’re hoping that becomes the norm sooner rather than later. Luckily, we have a comfy couch in the family room if we end up having to move all of the presents out from underneath the tree. . . let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

New Job

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
After 12+ years of military service, my husband and I made the decision to get out of the Navy and off of active duty. He landed a job as a pilot with a major airline and starts his training this week. The boys and I are very happy for him and looking forward to this new way of life.

Although he has resigned from active duty, he will still be attached to the Navy Reserve Unit with his old squadron here in Mississippi. He can still fly for the Navy, part time, and enjoy the nice military benefits.

Once our friends learned my husband has new job, they immediately asked when and where we would be moving. I would love to move right away, but it looks like we’ll stay put for a while, making our transition to this new life a little easier. We like our school district and we want to minimize the impact on our children. We want to do as much research as possible before we relocate because it will possibly be the last move we do until the boys are in college. We are trying to avoid rushing and risk having to move again.

My husband has done several deployments away from us before, but not in recent years. Now he will be traveling extensively again with his new job. The adjustment with him being away is going to be tough – along with the demands of being a single parent for weeks at a time, but I’m up for the challenge. Face time will be our best friend. The boys and I look forward to boarding our first flight with, “First Officer Daddy.” The world is our playground.

Sleeping Through The Night

Monday, December 8th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
After Thanksgiving, Hudson started to (mostly) sleep through the night. It’s awesome! He’s doing eight to ten hour stretches. He’s only two months old, so I feel very lucky. Haley did the same thing at eight weeks. But now that I’m a second time mom I’m smart enough to know this probably won’t last forever. It doesn’t matter—I’ll take what I can get.

Despite my ability to get a full night of sleep myself, I often feel fatigued. Every evening, I fall asleep quickly—something I never used to do. I sleep very soundly, another rarity for me in the past. I’m grateful that he doesn’t usually stir until after 6, but it takes an enormous amount of reserve and will get up and tend to him. In a couple of minutes I’ve adjusted to being awake and can face that it’s time to tend to the children. But it really feels like I could sleep many hours more.

I don’t know how long it will take to get over this tiredness. I slept poorly in late pregnancy and during the first few weeks of Hudson’s life, of course. It seems that it’s going to take me a while to recover. I’m sure as soon as I feel full well rested, he’ll regress and I’ll face sleepless nights once again—that’s always the way it goes! For now, I’m just going to embrace how good I’ve got it.

Wishing the rest of you a week full of rest!