Archive for December, 2016

Happy New Year

Friday, December 30th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin
New years eve is a little different with an almost two year old and almost four year old.  Instead of fun parties and champagne, we will have pajamas, my parents’ couch, some football, and champagne.  Staying up until midnight will guarantee and even sleepier morning when the kiddos wake at 6 am and tip toe their way into our bed.  And the day spent on the couch watching football will give way to park trips, snack time, and mommy watch this, watch this.

In most ways, our post-kid lives are the new normal.  And most days and weekends I don’t spend much time longing too terribly hard for “the way things were.”  Fortunately, I have never actually been a huge fan of NYE.  So I don’t stress, make the best of it, and look forward to the first year Rory will be able to stay up late to ring in the new year with us.

For now, we’ll teach him about resolutions, celebrate, and wait with anticipation for what the new year has in store.

2016 Blessings

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

This year, our biggest blessing was moving to Georgia, where we laid family roots and grew into our new home. The boys are comfortable with their new surroundings, and the sounds of neighbor kids playing out back is just what we were hoping for. Although at times it gets loud, it’s fun to watch Jack and Tate develop new friendships.

Many family and friends came to visit us this year. We also traveled and saw some extended family that we rarely get to see. I’m happy to have had the chance to spend quality time together, and look forward to more visits next year.

I’m thankful for the health of our family. We’ve been thinking and praying for our little friend, Ayden who went through many, many procedures, tests, and experiments to rid him of leukemia. Just last week we were informed the final option the doctors performed worked, and the latest tests revealed he was cancer free! We’re so happy for him and his family. He still has a long road ahead, but this was the best gift we could all ask for.

I hope this year provided you with many blessings, as well. I’m looking forward to the New Year and all it has in store. Happy New Year!

Happy Everything

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I know you’re all busy installing batteries in new toys and eating leftovers, so I’ll just say a quick Happy Holidays to all of our readers. As we head into the New Year (and contend with kiddos who are off from school), remember that the days are long but the years are short. It’s bittersweet, but their childhoods will indeed come to an end. Enjoy every moment you can, and forgive yourself for the ones that are difficult. We have all been there.

Wishing you and your children health and happiness in 2017!

Bah Hum-Bugs

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, so the last thing anyone wants for Christmas is a virus. Our household started the season off miserable. The boys were both sick with a nasty cold that I eventually caught, too. I got it last, but I got the worst of it. My husband was out of town for several days, so I had to keep the household running, which was no easy task. Thankfully, the boys healed more quickly than I did.

I had many things to get done while the boys were in school, but getting some rest took priority. I missed events at school that I really wanted to attend, but I didn’t want to spread my germs. It was a bummer, but completely out of my control. Jack and Tate were very understanding, and I think they appreciated that I stayed home . Fortunately, I still have a few days to play catch up before Christmas.

The good news is we’re all on the mend and getting back into the holiday spirit with cookie baking, holiday lunch with friends, wrapping gifts, and caroling through the neighborhood. I’m thankful to be relatively healthy this holiday season and spending the remainder of the year with loved ones.

Happy Holidays to all!

Partied Out

Monday, December 19th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley was invited to a friend’s birthday party at a local bowling alley yesterday. Shortly before it was time to leave, Haley announced, “I don’t even want to go!” This happens occasionally. Haley gets tired, or cranky, or hungry—or all of the above—and decides she’s not up for socializing. I finally convinced her that we should at least stop by and drop off a present since we had committed to go.

In the car on the way over, Haley continued negotiations. She finally said that she would only stay “for two seconds.” Well, we got to the party. Immediately, a friend from school gave her a big hug and implored Haley to change into her bowling shoes. Haley did and began her game. A few minutes later, I pulled Haley aside and said, “ready to go?” Haley laughed and ran back to her friends. We stayed until the end of the party.

Haley also attended a birthday party on Saturday, so I guess she was just a bit tired by Sunday. I’ve told her that being invited to plenty of parties is a good problem to have. She retorts, “I just don’t know why everyone likes me too much.” Let’s hope that’s the extent of her social issues for a good, long while! And that she’s always willing to lighten up and enjoy a good party.

New Routine

Friday, December 16th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I had Rory’s parent teacher conference a few weeks ago.  In response to my request for how to speed up morning farewells, she offered a great response (which I wish she’d piped up with earlier, though I also understand her hesitance):  have him pick a goodbye routine.  Then stick with it. Consistently.

So now, each morning, we avoid his classroom– going first to Charlotte’s (which is right next door).  We get their lunches put away, the stroller into the storage closet, and her coat hung up.  We each give Charlotte a hug and kiss, and say our goodbyes in her classroom.

Then we head to his, sign him in, put his belongings away, and share three hugs, a kiss, and a shove out the door.

It’s pretty basic, and arguably a lot of steps, to just say farewell.  But we talked it up, let him play a role in choosing it, and have shown him lots of praise and excitement about his success.  In addition to reducing morning stress and making him proud, it has earned me back around 15 additional minutes of early morning time in the office to sort through e-mails and get myself organized before launching into another busy day.  An all around win.  Now on to seeing where else this tactic can assist. . .

Teacher Treats

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate are halfway through their last week of school before the holiday break. Things are extremely busy around here, but as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m trying to take it all in stride. I am trying to appreciate the reason for the season.

Currently, I’m on the hunt for the perfect gifts for the kids’ teachers. Over the years, we’ve given our teachers small holiday gifts. This year, however, I overheard parents talk about giving high value gift cards to teachers. Between Jack and Tate, they have a total of 8 teachers this year. Unfortunately, our budget does have limits.

I truly appreciate all the teachers do for my kids on a daily basis, and I’m happy to give them a gift to show our gratitude. I’m sure my kids’ teachers will be thankful for whatever the kids place on their desk. Do I feel guilty I can’t get them all gift cards? Sure, I do. However, Jack and Tate plan to make them each a card and give them a little sweet something. Will they be able to go on a spending spree? No, but a gift from the heart is always sure to please.


Monday, December 12th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Hudson’s favorite shows these days are Daniel Tiger, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Peppa Pig. It’s fun to see Hudson appreciate the same shows that Haley loved as a toddler. Let’s face it—most of the time, she gets pretty into the episodes, too. Funny how easy it is to catch “big kids” enjoying the “baby things” they claim they are too mature for.

The truth is, I miss the days when TV could capture my kids’ attention and provide me with a crucial ten minute respite to make a call, clear some dishes, or just use the facilities. These days, it’s all about the iPad. While Haley and Hudson each have a few favorite apps—many of which are educational and impressively innovative–their favorite entertainment is YouTube. Fortunately, there’s a lot of great learning content on there as well. Haley has become engrossed in topics ranging from outer space to ancient Egypt. It’s pretty neat to be an inquisitive kid in an age where interactive answers are at your fingertips.

Hudson gets pretty frustrated when iPad time is over, but it’s something I try not to budge on. I appreciate that he’s learning a lot about colors, shapes, numbers, etc., but I also want him to learn primarily through experience. A few minutes into playing kitchen or Legos or dinosaurs and his frustration subsides. A video on a screen may make him laugh, but it’ll never be as hilarious as Mommy’s real life roars.

Finding Joy

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
The Christmas season is in full effect at our house. Earlier this week, we dug out all our old Christmas decorations and added some new ones. We decorated our house inside and out. Jack and Tate are both giddy with holiday spirit. They have festivities at school, holiday TV specials, and new Christmas traditions in our new town. My favorite mom moment, so far, was listening to them both sing or hum carols while playing with their Legos.

I’m trying to not get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. I’m hoping to find little moments of joy throughout the month that are reminders of how special this time of year truly is. I cherish the simple moments, like when the boys get excited unpacking an old ornament, and they recall when and where we got it, when they pick Christmas books to read at bedtime, and I’m most proud when they share the spirit of sharing and giving with others.

Our kids are growing up quickly, and I’m pretty sure the Santa Claus years are almost over, but I’m happy to see the excitement that I remember growing up. I’m very happy to be able to share those same experiences with my children.

Toys, toys, toys

Monday, December 5th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
With the holidays fast approaching, just about every parent is trying to figure out which toys their kids should receive this year. I always go into it with the best intentions. I realize my kids have plenty of toys and don’t need any more. I try to focus my shopping on books and clothes. Then, inevitably, Haley will ask for some specific things, I’ll see great online deals, and the nagging feeling that I want the kids to have a wonderful Christmas will lead me to buy way too much.

Earlier I had finished a roll of gift wrap and I gave the kids the empty cardboard tube. They had a ball with that thing, when they weren’t fighting over it! Children don’t really need much to be entertained. A little creativity goes a long way. They love being challenged to use their own imaginations. And still, I go out and buy a Mickey Mouse this and a Monster High that. I can’t blame it all on them. There is a sick consumerist pleasure in scoring that item, even when it’s not something you yourself want.

I would love to hear any strategies for paring down the holiday craziness. Do you limit the number of toys your children receive? Do you have a spending cap? Do you reserve a certain amount of money for savings or charity? Another looming issue—when you set up these rules, do their grandparents follow them? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Happy Shopping and (Hopefully) Saving!