Archive | December, 2012

New Year’s Resolution

31 Dec

I hardly ever set New Year’s Resolutions because I’m just not good at thinking that long term.  I feel like if I do set them, I will just be setting myself up to fail.  I do like the idea of starting fresh though!

I’ve decided this year I’d like to try something fun.  I saw an idea last year that I thought was pretty cool.  The person took 1 picture every single day of the year.  The picture summed up something that was happening that day, and at the end of the year they could look back at all 365 days of pictures.  Cool right?  I’d like to try something similar this year but I’m going to do 365 Days of Play.  Since I stay at home with A, we are together and playing A LOT.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but some days I feel like the things we do get a little stale.   I am hoping to find 1 new thing each day for us to do together.  Here is how I would like it to go:

365 Days of Unplugged Play

-Each day after nap time I will have an activity planned for A.  It will be something simple we can do around the house.  It will not be expensive or take a lot of time to set up or clean up.

-The activity won’t involve TV or the computer.  I think both of these things have value but in moderation.  A likes to look at pictures of dogs on the computer and she likes to dance along with the Fresh Beat Band, but we keep screen time at the minimum over here.

-I will update about once a week on here with what activities we did and post a few pictures.

I am really looking forward to this challenge.  I’m a little anxious about coming up with 365 different things for us to do but it’ll be fun to push myself!  I like to do creative things with A, and she always appreciates the effort, so we’ll see how it goes.  I am also open to any suggestions you’d like to send my way for what fun things you like to do with your kids that are low cost and unplugged.  Wish me luck and Happy New Year!


Christmas Whirlwind

26 Dec

I feel like I have been lacking a little on the blog posts so I’ll share what a great Christmas we had!  I’m guessing this is going to end up being full of pictures.

We kicked off the Christmas Whirlwind on Friday by attending the wedding of Chris’s good friend from college.  A stayed home with my mom and sister.  Chris and I never go out by ourselves so it was a really nice evening.  The wedding was beautiful and we had a great time.

Saturday we celebrated Christmas with Chris’s parents since they were going to be in Ohio for Christmas Eve and Day.  We had dinner and then opened presents.  A is absolutely in love with the kitchen she received from her Nana and Pop Pop.


I’m not kidding when I say we couldn’t get her to stop playing with it.  I won’t post the pictures we took,  but after her bath she ran down to get in a little more naked playtime with the kitchen.  Chris and I were happy to receive a trip to visit Chris’s brother, his wife, and new baby in Chicago.  We have yet to meet A’s first cousin so we are excited to start planning the trip!

Sunday we relaxed a little in the morning and then went out to celebrate my birthday with my parents and sisters.  It was a lot of fun.  I always love having them home and it always goes by way too quickly.

Monday was Christmas Eve.  We went to Christmas Eve church service at 5:00.  Here is us in front of the tree before we left.


Even though A looks sleepy here, she did a great job during the church service.  She really liked the music and Aunt Hannah was able to keep her occupied with her cherry chapstick.  After church we came back here to have dinner and open one gift (a Christmas Eve tradition in my family).  We opened gifts from our family dog Zoe (she always knows what we will like).  Everyone left and Chris and I got ready for Santa’s visit.  I had such a hard time falling asleep that night!  I felt like I woke up every 2 hours.  I was just so excited for A to wake up and see all of her gifts.

It is tradition in Chris’s family to take a picture on the stairs on Christmas morning.  We are continuing with the tradition so here is A in her Christmas pjs


She was really good at opening up her own gifts this year so it was a lot of fun.  I think one of her favorite gifts from Santa were her Touch and Feel flashcards.


I think they will be great entertainment in the car!  She also loved the backpack from her friend Sage in Oklahoma.  We actually couldn’t get her to take it off for most of the day.


Once we opened all of our gifts we packed up and headed over to my family’s house for more presents and breakfast.  It was complete chaos over there and I loved it.  It wouldn’t be a family Christmas without wrapping paper being thrown all over the place, yelling over each other to see what the other person got, and giving “shine” to whoever opened a fun gift.  A fit right into the madness and was playing with her own gifts as well as everyone else’s.  I think her favorite gift from Grandma and Pop was the Learning Tower she received from them earlier.  We have been cooking and baking together a lot and we both love that thing.  I’ll post a picture and rave review of it soon.  This is not the best picture of her but I feel like it illustrates how exhausted she was after all of the gifts were opened.


She sat in that chair for about 5 minutes and looked like she was going to fall asleep.  We packed up the car and headed home so we could all take naps.

This was one of the best Christmases I can remember.  Last year was A’s first one but she was only 6 months old.  This year was so great because she could really participate.  It has been so much fun watching her play with all of her new things.  Christmas has always been fun but its even more fun experiencing it through the eyes of a little one.  I am really looking forward to next year when she’ll understand even more about the holiday.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas as well!  Looking forward to blogging about my New Year’s Resolution soon 🙂


17 Dec

This past Friday an unthinkable tragedy occurred in Newtown, CT.  I can’t even wrap my mind around it, so I’ve only been taking it in little pieces at a time.  When I think I can handle it, I watch 5 minutes of the news and then I have to turn it off again.  It doesn’t make any sense to me how something like this could happen so I’ve been trying to focus on things that do make sense.

Over the past few weeks A has really taken off with her language development.  She went from repeating Dada over and over again to saying new words almost every day.  It is so amazing being able to watch someone learn to communicate.  She has no idea how far this skill will get her in life; all she knows is that its fun to mimic Mom and Dad.  She has also become very proud of herself when she asks for something and we understand it.  One of her favorite things to say is “more milk” when her cup is empty.  Her eyes light up when we take the cup to the refrigerator to refill it.  She also “says” many things that we don’t understand.  Often times she becomes frustrated when she repeats a “word” over and over again, but I don’t understand what it is that she is asking for.

While I am absolutely delighted that she is learning to talk, it also scares me a little.  Understanding the meaning of words means that one day soon I’ll have to explain to her why terrible things happen.  I’ll have to use those same words that she is so proud of to tell her about difficult things that no one ever wants their child to know about.  I hope that I have the strength, when the time comes, to use these same words to restore her faith.  I hope I can teach her how powerful words really are and how a few simple words can change a person’s day.

My heart is so heavy this week.  The only thing I can think to do is to focus on the aspects I have control over.  I can control the type of language that my daughter hears and learns to speak.  I can teach her that her words can be used to build people up or to break them down. I can teach her that even though we have to use our words to talk about painful things, we can also use our words to give each other hope that the future can be different.

This gets sappy (you’ve been warned)

12 Dec

I’m feeling sort of sappy today so everyone is going to have to bear with me.  Yesterday was a particularly difficult day with little A so it left me reflecting on how it is that I have actually survived motherhood for the past 18 months.  I realized that I honestly don’t think I could have done it without the wide array of friendships that I have.  My friendships are so varied but I need every single one of them.  Here is my friendship inventory:

-I have a friend who has known me since I thought biking shorts and a soccer jersey were the ingredients to the perfect outfit.  This friend recently became a mommy too and we’ve grown even closer over this bond.  Even though we no longer live close by, I don’t know what I’d do without her sense of humor to get me through the good and bad times.

-I have a friend who I first bonded with over making NSYNC paper plates. (Don’t ask) Although she is not a mom yet, she has been one of the people who has been the most enthusiastic and supportive of me starting my family.  She reminds me of who I am outside of just being a mom and wife and makes my stomach hurt from laughing so hard.

-I have a friend who I first bonded with over Mario Kart and disgusting college cafeteria nachos.  She has always been a voice of reason for me and someone I greatly admire.  I don’t know where I’d be without her today considering she taught me how to make my bed in college.

-I also have the type of friends that you don’t choose.  I truly consider my parents and my two sisters to be my friends.  They are the type of friends that you can send a 1 word text message to and they immediately know what you’re referencing and why its funny.  Their unconditional love and support makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.

-I also consider my husband my friend.  Probably my best friend.  He teaches me something new everyday.  There isn’t anyone else I would choose to be on this ride along with me.

-In a new emerging category in my life are my mom friends.  Some are new and some I’ve known for a little longer.  They are the ones I can e-mail in pure frustration and get a response reassuring me that I’m not completely crazy.  Its so special to be forming these bonds with other moms.  I’m always surprised at how much I can learn from them.  Its just nice to know someone else is up at 3 AM wondering if they’re going to get to go back to sleep sometime soon.

So there you go.  I told you it would be a little sappy.  I’m just feeling grateful for all of the wonderful people I have in my life and all of the new friendships I’ve formed recently.  It really does take a village to raise a child…and keep that child’s mother from rocking back and forth in the corner and eating her hair.


Barbara the Elf

7 Dec

I have a confession to make.  I used to despise the Elf on the Shelf.  Then Barbara came into our lives and I was forced to change my mind.  Barbara (so lovingly named by A) is our elf.  She was given to us last year as a gift and A loved her right away.  I had some preconceived notions about the Elf on the Shelf tradition, and honestly, a lot of them were true.  As I opened the box and read the book that comes with the elf, I was a little shocked.  The book explains that the elf comes to stay with your family during Christmas time.  Each night your elf travels back to Santa and tells him if you’ve been naughty or nice that day.  The book shows the elf keeping an eye on the kids and reporting back to Santa on days when they have done something wrong.

I think the only thing I don’t like about Christmas time is this idea of “naughty or nice”.  It is common that I hear parents in the grocery store saying “If you don’t get back in the cart Santa won’t be bringing you any gifts this year.”  Is that really true?  If your child has several rough days in a row before Christmas morning are they really going to wake up to no gifts under the tree?  I am human and although I’d like to think I don’t, I do make mistakes.  I have bad days where I am impatient with A and short tempered with my husband when he comes home from work.  Despite the mistakes I make every day, I’d like to hope there will still be a gift or two for me under our tree.  I would be pretty upset if forgot to wash my husband’s work clothes one day and he said “Looks like one of your gifts will be getting returned.”

All of this relates back to that (semi-creepy) little elf that is now in my house.  I do not like what she stands for.  I don’t like that she is supposed to watch over A and tell Santa if she was being “bad” that day.  Of course, A is too young to understand that this year.  She comes down each morning and searches for Barbara and that is about the extent of her involvement.  I am proposing that our little elf will be different.  I thought a lot about how I could incorporate the fun part of the Elf on the Shelf tradition and lose the parts I don’t agree with.  I decided that I want our elf to represent the giving part of the holiday season.  I am hoping that next year I can use our elf to show A how much fun it is to help, thank, and give to people during the month of December.  I’m thinking one day maybe A will wake up and Barbara the elf will be waiting for her with paper and markers so she can make thank you cards for our garbage men and post man.  Maybe another morning Barbara will have a recipe card and all of the ingredients to make some cookies for our elderly neighbors who love getting a visit.  I’m going to tell her that our elf reports back to Santa and to Jesus.  Our elf tells Santa about all of the good she’s doing and lets Jesus know that she loves to give to others.  On those bad days, of course there will be a few, we’ll work through asking for forgiveness and appropriate consequences, but our elf will not be reporting back to Santa that any of us were naughty (hopefully me included).

I am not saying that the Elf on the Shelf tradition is a bad one.  Its adorable to see how much kids love to run and find that mischievous little elf each morning.  All I am saying is that maybe we can all bend the rules a little bit and use the elf for some good.  I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on what you’re doing with the elf or how you’re promoting a “giving” attitude during the holidays!

ImageHere is A sharing her oatmeal with Barbara the elf.

Fear the Big Guy

3 Dec

This weekend we took A to go see Santa.  Overall I’d give the experience a big thumbs down.  We had our hopes pretty high because last year went so well.  She sat on Santa’s lap no problem, and we got a fantastic picture.  This year we decided to go downtown where Santa would be visiting with the kids in the historic Log House.  We had to wait in line for about 45 minutes, and because A had decided not to nap, she was not too cooperative.  When it was finally our turn we entered the Log House and she proceeded to grip my arm like Santa was the scariest thing she’d ever seen. (Ok he probably was)  The volunteers there assured us that we could put her on Santa’s lap anyway because he was wearing gloves with grippers on them so the kids can’t get away.  Ummm…what?!  I crouched down next to Santa with A, we took a quick picture, and out we went.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the volunteer telling me I should put my daughter on Santa’s lap anyway, even though she was terrified.

I know pictures with Santa are an important tradition.  I just can’t bring myself to force my child to sit on the lap of a perfect stranger if she doesn’t want to.  Later I started to question myself.  Am I never going to make A do anything she’s afraid of?  Will I make things too easy on her if I just let her walk away from anything that might be a little scary?  I often find myself second guessing my decisions as a parent which is good and bad.  I like analyzing what I do so I can be better in the future, but I also drive myself crazy sometimes worrying that I’m not doing what is best.  When I reflect on this situation I feel like I made the right choice.  There will definitely be times in A’s life where I will push her to work past her fears.  Maybe the first time she has to play the violin in front of a crowd of parents I’ll have to tell her “I know you’re scared but you can do it!”  Maybe the first time she has a spelling test at school I’ll have to say “You studied hard for this.  Its ok to be nervous; just do your best!”.  Those will be times where I’ll help her to use her “fear” to make her stronger.  Sitting on a strange bearded man’s lap just so Mom and Dad can have a picture for the fridge…not so much.

12.3.12 003Even Santa seems perturbed.

Here we go!

2 Dec

I’m trying something new and starting a blog.  My husband and family must be tired of hearing me ask “what should I call it?” and “where should I start?” so I’m taking the plunge and jumping right in. I’ve been encouraged by a new mom friend to try this outlet, and I’m excited for the adventure.

I’ll start by introducing myself.  I grew up in Texas and then Pennsylvania with my wonderful mom, dad, and 2 sisters. I went to Penn State and then began my post-college life as a teacher.  I married my husband in 2009, and then our beautiful daughter A came along in June of 2011.  I currently stay home with her and couldn’t ask for a better life.  I feel I have taken on a new job as her mother and teacher, and I take the position pretty seriously. Well, not too seriously.  Its hard to be too uptight when some days consist of repeating “Please don’t put that in the toilet” over and over again.  It is filled with new challenges every day but I have to be honest, I am so in love with it.  When I can find a free minute, I am trying to keep up with old and new hobbies.  I enjoy cooking and baking, crafting, sewing, reading, and am trying to get better at photography.

I want to use this blog to record all of the ups and downs of my life as a mother.  My hope is to connect and share with family and friends. Ideally I can share what I’ve learned about being a parent and learn new things along the way.  Every day feels like an adventure over here and I’d love for you to join us!

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