Archive for June, 2016

Night Owls

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Since we moved, Jack and Tate’s bedtime routine is completely off track. We like to get them to bed at the usual 8 o’clock hour, but with a neighborhood pool open ‘til dark, the sun setting late, and spontaneous invites to friend’s homes, their sleep schedule is completely out of whack.

I am a stickler for a set bedtime routine. It is something my husband and I have found works well for our kids since they were born. Unfortunately, my kids don’t sleep in, so getting them to bed at a reasonable hour is imperative. It doesn’t matter when they go to bed, they still get up early. However, they ARE getting older and they want to swim with their friends and play outside. It’s also summer time. If there was ever a time to stay up late, this is the best time.

As a child, I can remember staying up late on most summer nights. I want my kids to enjoy their summer and not feel like they’re missing out. Random naps are crucial to getting enough rest. Watching my kids swim to their hearts content or seeing them stare up at the night sky with smiles on their faces is a good reason to relax and let them enjoy their childhood. These late nights are what they’ll remember 30 years from now, just like I do.

The Great Adventure

Monday, June 27th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day. She’s married and she and her husband have decided to try to have a baby. I’m thrilled for! Like anyone about to embark on a new journey, my friend had questions about parenthood and sought answers from someone who has been around the block and back when it comes to child-rearing, me.

I think I scared her!

I told it to her straight. You love your children like crazy but they also drive you crazy.

Sleepless nights may be totally worth it, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy! That doesn’t mean that your nerves aren’t completely frayed, that you wouldn’t kill for a cup of coffee when you’re nursing and can only have decaf, or that it feels great when you haven’t showered in a few days. It’s just hard.

You’ll second-guess yourself as a mom constantly, and you will always feel that in some way you are failing. You’re not spending enough time with your kids. They are not eating enough vegetables. You should be reading to them more. Even if you feel pretty good about things, wait until you hit the Internet. There’s a message board or a social media app at your fingertips to explain exactly why you’re doing it wrong.

And somehow, in my humble opinion, I believe that having children is the very best thing in the world. The level of difficulty is surpassed by how ridiculously rewarding it is. You may not feel that all the time. There are times when it is a true struggle. But usually, for the most part, you get to witness these amazing creatures becoming fully realized humans with the satisfaction that you created that.

My friend is going to be an extraordinary mom. I can’t wait for her to embark on this amazing journey.


Library Books

Friday, June 24th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory and Charlotte’s daycare has a small “library” of books that the students are allowed to check out and take home with them each evening.  Throughout the year, Rory has occasionally selected a book to bring home with him.  Recently, however, this has become a more regular event.

His favorite books are the Lego Town early reader series, and the space shuttle book, in particular.  I’m pretty sure he brings that one home every other time.  But we’ve also learned about farming, the Berenstain bears, Winnie the Pooh, Snowbunny, and a number of other stories for young minds and pre-readers.

Rory gets very excited about reading his new book at bedtime, and is equally as excited to return it to the proper place on the shelves the following morning.  We’re doing our best to teach him how to be gentle when borrowing someone else’s belongings.  We’re also helping show him that we have to share the things that aren’t ours (even if that means he can’t bring the lego space shuttle book home EVERY night).

It’s a fun process to watch, and makes me realize we probably need to get him his very own actual library card sometime soon.  Perhaps we’ll put that on the weekend to-do list. . .

Great Outdoors

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Our new house resides on a wooded lot. We love the beautiful greenery that surrounds our house and neighborhood. The trees provide shade from the powerful, southern summer sun and privacy from our neighbors.

The woods provide a home for lots of insects, reptiles, and mammals. Jack and Tate are having a ball finding all kinds of new life. They find lizards scurrying along the deck railing, lightning bugs in the evening, and big spiders that eat the mosquitoes. Our bird feeder is home to countless songbirds and squirrels.

The biggest animals we see regularly are deer. They roam our backyard daily and are NOT easily scared by our presence. Tate looked out the front door last week and found himself staring eye to eye with a deer on our front porch. Jack spotted a doe with two of her fawns while playing basketball in the driveway. We’re not used to sharing our yard with all this wildlife. It is really neat seeing them up close in their habitat.

I’m sure eventually the newness of spotting new critters will wear off, and Jack and Tate won’t think much of it anymore. For now, they enjoy finding new life right in our own backyard.


Mom Style

Monday, June 20th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
One thing I miss about the working world is the fact that when I was a professional, I always dressed the part. I think I wore make-up every day, my hair was at least presentable (most of the time), and I had a closet full of “work clothes.” I wish I could say I still prioritize looking good, but I don’t. Perhaps some women can parent two little kids and still look chic, but that’s not me!

I dress for comfort. Leggings or jeans that fit well enough. Comfortable flats. Hair in a ponytail. But I have no regrets! If I wore make-up, a pudgy toddler hand would smear it. Fancy shoes would not allow me to keep up with my kids on the playground. Long earrings are cute, but I’m risking serious injury from the aforementioned toddler. I do what I have to do in order to the best mom I can be.

Ironically, Haley loves when I take any steps to look a bit fancier. She’ll notice immediately if I don jewelry that’s been sitting in the drawer for a while or put on some eyeliner. She’ll ask a million questions about whatever I’m doing, and I’m happy to oblige. I’ve always liked “girly” things too.

I look forward to a time when I’ll be able to pay more attention to my appearance. On the other hand, there is something really nice about the way Haley and Hudson couldn’t care less about it. When I see myself reflected in their eyes, I look pretty damn good.

Both Ends

Friday, June 17th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I have perfected sleeping sitting upright.  At least three times in the last two weeks I have nodded off at my computer while trying to finish work late at night.  Fortunately, I have not yet fallen asleep on the actual keyboard, but that could be coming.

Work life balance is a complete misnomer.  It is a fiction that we tell ourselves to try to stay sane in the daily effort to organize chaos.

Why do we do it?

Because the chats with Rory on our way to school and work are fantastic.  Because the hugs when I get home for bedtime are divine.  Because there is value in our children knowing and understanding the sacrifices that we made to be there for them no matter what, but still being very good at what we do when we are not at home.  

Does that make having to explain why I have to go to work on the weekend easy?  Of course not.  But I make sure to explain that I get paid to help people solve problems, and sometimes problems don’t happen on timelines we can control.

For now, Rory seems to get it.  I know that razor thin balance will shift over time, as will his willingness to accept my inability to be omnipresent.  And I know I will repeat the same coming to terms with it a year or two later with Charlotte.  Whether it will always be this busy, I have no idea.  My only hope is that if things do stay this way, they will realize and appreciate all that goes in to keeping our little family afloat.  Even if that recognition is 30 years down the road when trying to find their own balance– that will be just fine.

“Eat my Bubbles”

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
I knew, before we moved, that our neighborhood has a swim team. My friend recommended it for my kids because her children absolutely love it. It’s a very casual, organized team that competes during the month of June.

I asked Jack if he was interested in joining the swim team. After thinking for a minute, he said he’d like to sign up. We moved to the neighborhood two days after swim practice started, which was a little confusing for our “new kid,” but he meshed well with his teammates and coach.

My husband was ecstatic that Jack wanted to join a swim, team since he was on one every summer as a kid. I was happy to find a new activity to get Jack involved in right away so he could meet new friends (and to give myself a chance to meet people as well.)

Jack practices every morning for an hour and has meets on Thursday evenings. Jack decided to watch the first meet so he could get a feel for the experience. He swam in the second meet last week and enjoyed every second. Although things were very chaotic, and we’re learning how to read the heat sheets, he enjoyed his first meet and even earned a third place ribbon. He is by no means a Michael Phelps, or the best on the team, but he is having a blast, and that is what counts.

Besides the ribbons, donuts, and games on Fridays, Jack truly enjoys the sport. He is getting great exercise, social interaction, learning the proper strokes, and gaining healthy competitive experiences. I’m not sure if he’ll stick with it, but whatever his choice may be, I support him 110%.


Monday, June 13th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley and I went to the park the other day, where we saw another girl around the same age. The girl obviously wanted to play with Haley, and kept sort of circling around us. I encouraged Haley to speak up, but she can be pretty shy as well. I said hello to the little girl several times, but that only made her run away. Finally, the other girl’s grandfather came over, and he and I basically forced the two girls to talk. Her name was Kara. Once they started talking, it was literally less than a minute before Kara said, “my best friend and I are going to play over there.”

I think it’s really adorable how quickly little kids can become close. To be honest, I’m the same way. If I like you, I like you! I’m missing the ‘skepticism chip,’ I think. The girls held hands, played on the monkey bars, and began a lengthy, serious discussion about which Disney princess is the best.

I’m glad the girls had a great time together. It was okay for me to, though Kara’s grandfather was a chatty type and nearly took my ear off. But hey, whatever it takes to keep Haley entertained on a long, hot day!

So far, Haley has enjoyed many friendships with kids her age with minimal drama. I hope that trend continues for a long time. I don’t like to imagine that at some point, interacting with others could be a source of stress for her. Right now, the experience of friendship is pure joy and I love how much Haley loves it.

Under the Knife

Friday, June 10th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
The day for Charlotte’s surgery has arrived. As I believe I mentioned previously, she was born with a small cyst above her eye that has grown over time. Her doctor recommended at her first birthday appointment that we get it taken care of by eighteen months.

So here we are.

One of the more interesting aspects has been getting Rory prepared for the different routine this morning. We told him all about how Charlotte would be going to the doctor and he’d be going to school. He understood.

We told him they would have to play upstairs because she can’t eat breakfast. He understood.

We told him she’d have a boo boo.  He understood.

He he was still shaken up when I left without him this morning, but I am very proud of my big boy.  Now to tend to the little one and give her extra big snuggles.


Settling In

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
We moved into our new house roughly two weeks ago. It was bizarre at first. It sort of felt like we were on vacation. Now that we’ve slept in our own beds for several nights, it is beginning to feel more like home.

Jack and Tate are acclimating to the move wonderfully. Tate, our social butterfly, is getting off to a great start. He has no problem speaking to anyone. Our next-door neighbors have two boys that are about the same age as Tate, and he loves the novelty of daily (sometimes hourly) play dates. Jack is more shy, but has made friends, especially after I helped him introduce himself to the other neighborhood kids. I meet new neighbors daily on our evening walks and trips to the swimming pool. My husband and I are very happy with our choice of neighborhood after meeting so many friendly people and children galore.

Our boxes are unpacked, but the house is still disorganized. I have to remind myself that there is no rush to get it all set up. Nobody is going to inspect our home. It is more important that we spend time familiarizing ourselves with our new town, and making sure Jack and Tate feel comfortable. My husband and I are happy to say we’re finally home, and we look forward to raising our children here for years to come.