Friday, May 29, 2015

10 Mins To Yourself: Give Your Toddler a Box

Sometimes, life is just too simple and easy. Why do we make it harder than it has to be? I fall into this trap of needing to always be doing something really creative constantly with my child. Sometimes this means mess-free painting, bathtub painting, or any other Pinterest inspired activity I can find. At the end of the day though, my child doesn't really care what I put together for us to do, she just wants her quality time and something to do. I sometimes fail to recognize this.

The other day, my husband took an empty box and turned it into a train for my daughter, complete with a side door and windows. She loved this and has continued to play with it daily. She loves to have us sit inside with her while she climbs in and out. She also colors the box and brings her babies for a train visit. The possibilities for playing with this box appear endless! 

An added bonus is that my toddler will also play with the box and give me a quick 10 minutes to get a few things done. Who can beat that? And this activity... totally free! It may take up some space, but it's totally worth it!

I have been battling severe allergies this week and thus welcomed this box with open arms! Not feeling well combined with little sleep has made it especially challenging for me to get through this week. Alas, it's Friday (finally) and I am looking forward to the weekend! We have no major plans but to continue working on finishing our basement. I'm hoping to get some rest while I recover from being so sick this week.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Toddler Tales: Not Sleeping Through The Nights

A few weeks ago I posted our daily schedule. I mentioned then that nights aren't easy to predict. Some nights, my toddler sleeps straight through with no issues (YES). Other nights, she wakes and won't go back to sleep for hours. Like 2+ hours. The struggle is real.

Sleep has almost always been a challenge for our toddler. At birth, she had her days and nights backwards and it took months for us to get that switched. It wasn't until just before her 2nd birthday that she finally had periods of time where she slept straight through the night. Prior to that, the 1-2 nightly wakings would only last about 20 minutes. I would have her use the potty and rock her back to sleep. It was fairly routine and predictable. Just how I like it!

In the last couple of months, there is little to no predictability and I'm not entirely sure why. It may partially be due to not really having a routine when she wakes in the middle of the night now. When I got to the point where Payton wasn't falling asleep when I rocked her, I had no idea what to do next. I tried to lay with her in the toddler bed, where she would fall asleep but would wake as soon as I left. Being 7+ months pregnant now, it's not realistic for me to plan to sleep in a toddler bed all night (talk about leg cramps and hip/back pain). Now I feel like I've tried it all, sometimes within the same night. Rocking, bedtime story, sending in daddy, crying it out, laying in toddler bed, parent laying on floor next to crib all do not seem to be working. In the end, our child has ended up in our bed. This seems to be the ony way we all get any sleep. 

When we became parents we really didn't want to allow children to sleep in our bed. This was a personal decision based on the idea that we stood the possibility of never getting them back to their own bed (we still struggle with the idea of having our 2 dogs sleep on the floor). As long as it doesn't appear that our daughter is waking just to come to our bed, I will probably continue on this path. 

It's just amazing to me how one rough night each week can really throw both my daughter and me off these days. A night of little sleep worries me for her as she struggled horribly the next day. She is frustrated easily, has trouble concentrating, and is typically more aggressive. I hope we get this sleep stuff worked out soon!

But... Who can resist such a cute face?
I would welcome any tips/advice you would have for me!

Tell me, have you been sleeping lately?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

An Afternoon At The Park

Today we had the most gorgeous weather you could ask for. It was about 68 degrees with no wind. No wind is a rare treat in our neck of the woods!

I decided to make the most of the beautiful weather by loading up my toddler and going to the park for the afternoon. I'm trying to shove as much fun into this summer before the new baby comes in July. I know once baby #2 is here we won't have nearly as much time (or energy) to dedicate to getting out all the time. 

The park was so much fun! We fed ducks, took a quick walk, played at the playground, and I watched Payton make a new friend. This day is one that Payton will most likely not remember, but I will carry these special memories with me. This season of my life, with one child, will quickly be coming to an end as we add a second child. I treasure so many little moments with my baby and can't wait to watch her as we expand our family.

Monday, May 18, 2015

30 Week Bump Update

I feel like we are rounding the corner and approaching the finish line with my pregnancy with baby #2. In many ways, it's going way too fast! I'm still not quite ready for this baby yet, so I want him to stay put for as long as possible! I'm not really sure how much control I have over that though!

This week kicked off with a 3D/4D ultrasound and I can't think of a better way to start the week! We were able to see our baby napping (for almost the entire appointment) and confirmed again that this baby is certainly a boy! Payton loved seeing her baby brother and did very well through this appointment. She was definitely ready to go towards the end and became quite busy. That was our cue to leave so we headed out the door as soon as we could! We didn't leave without witnessing our daughter blow kisses and wave bye-bye to her baby (cutest moment) first. I can't wait to watch them bond!

The rest of our week is mostly going to be quiet. I feel like we need a slow week to rejuvenate and prepare for the busy days ahead with a summer full of weddings, graduations, swimming, outdoor play dates, and bringing home a baby!

I hope your week is off to a great start!

This post has been linked up to Epic Mommy Adventure's Wake Up Wednesday link-up party.

Monday, May 11, 2015

2nd Birthday Recap

Turning 2 is a huge deal, um, for the parents! Payton still doesn't seem to uderstand birthdays and what they entail, but for the parents, it's a true celebration of the day that changed our lives for the better. I can't believe how fast time has sped up since becoming a parent.

This year, we chose not to have a birthday party for Payton (insert parent guilt here) due to my husband's crazy traveling work schedule during this time. Many work trips were planned, cancelled, rescheduled, and taken with little to no notice. In the end, we decided it would be easier to skip this year's party since we couldn't guarantee my husband would be present. Payton, we promise to make it up to you next year!

Actually, not having a party ended up leading to the most remarkable month long celebration! Our household was so spoiled with visitors throughout the entire month to celebrate our toddler's birthday. The month kicked off with my mother coming to visit for a week! A week, I tell you, is the very best thing in the world when you need a little extra help raising a child and could use an extra nap or two (thanks Mom)! We went to the park, shopped til' we dropped, partied hard, and ate lots of ice cream and other unhealthy treats.

Both of the hubby's parents also came for a weekend. They spoiled Payton rotten with many gifts, including a set of bubbles (an easy favorite for a toddler)! Grandma also gave Payton her first manicure/pedicure and I couldn't believe how still Payton sat. I also couldn't believe how grown up it made her look!

Her uncle also stopped by to help me randomly during the week with Payton's quiet time (no naps here anymore). We loved that, especially since he moved the next week and no longer lives 5 minutes away from us. Now, we have to drive 3+ hours to see him. We miss him so much!

On Payton's actual birthday (which landed on a Tuesday this year) she spent the whole day with me. We kicked off the day with cupcakes for breakfast since you have to break the rules sometimes. After getting dressed, we headed to the library for story time and then spent the rest of the day playing outside. When Daddy got home, the real fun started. We surprised Payton with picking up fast food (although I did pack some fruit sides, drinks, and cupcake dessert) and eating at the park. Like almost any toddler, the park is always a definite win for this girl! She got to feed the ducks and play at the park's playground. She was one happy girl!

We had one last visitor the week of her birthday, one of my best friend's, came to stay with us! We loved having her visit and celebrate Payton's birthday with us! It was such a blessing.

So maybe omitting a birthday party every few years isn't the worst thing in the world. Right?!?!

This post has been linked up to Epic Mommy Adventure's Wake Up Wednesday Link-up Party.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Moments Life Hands Us

Sometimes the best part about being a mother is observing special moments as my little family bonds. These moments take my breath away and capture my heart.

Happy Mother's Day to you all! May you treasure all your special moments in life as they are over in the blink of an eye.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Day in My Life...

When I read other blog posts, I am always drawn to bloggers who share what their daily routine looks like. I thought I may need to do an update and, after some digging, I realized it has been about 9 months since my last daily routine update (read that here). Yikes! Our schedule looks quite different now. I can't even start to imagine what my life will look like 9 months from now!

So, here's how our days roll now:

7:20AM: Wake-up. Get my hubby up, pack his lunch, see him off to work. I then sit and watch some tv for about 5 minutes or lay back down before my toddler gets up!

8AM: Payton is typically up and going at this point. We have her use the potty chair, change her into her clothes for the day, fix her hair, and then we eat breakfast. I try to unload and reload the dishwasher at this time.

Today, I skipped changing her clothes and we also decided to break out of our normal routine and eat outside rather than at the dining room table. Is it too early to start her on coffee? Just kidding, it's only juice in that coffee mug.

9AM: We play! If we are inside the tv may get turned on and I will allow Payton to watch her shows while she plays. She's really into Chuggington, Curious George, Daniel Tiger, and Mickey Mouse right now.

Today, we just ran around outside!

10AM: On Tuesdays, we head to the library for story time. If I have errands in town to run on any given day, this is when we go. I also use this time to play at the park or go for a walk when the weather permits.

Today, we just kept on playing outside and enjoying the weather.

11AM: I throw together lunch (almost always leftovers, today was leftover spaghetti). We then walk to our mailbox to get the mail.
1-2PM: This is typically a quiet time for us since this toddler rarely naps these days. We lay down in the living room and watch some tv shows and read a few books. I close the curtains and shut off the lights during this time.
Today, I got lucky and my child slept peacefully. I consider this a major win!

2PM: Snack time. We had homemade Popsicles made of leftover strawberry and banana smoothie. It's a real hit at our house (and healthy).

3PM: More play time! This girl likes to play!

4-6PM: The hubby is suppose to get off work at this time and we anticipate his arrival. We clean up a bit most days before he comes home and then we spend some time watching for him from our window. Once he arrives we spend time with him before I start supper.

5:30PM: We eat! This time seems crazy early to eat dinner but with a toddler and a pregnant momma, we are starved by this point. After we eat, I load the dishwasher and start it so I am ready to unload it first thing the next morning. We play with payton as a family for a short period of time before starting her bedtime routine.

7:30PM: Bedtime for Payton! Her routine is this: bath, put pajamas on, hugs and kisses, rock in the chair for a few minutes, and then lay down in crib. This routine works very well for us and Payton is typically asleep between 7:30 and 8. This has not changed since my last post! We have set up a toddler bed for her though, we just haven't started the transition yet. I don't know if I'm ready for that yet! 

8-10PM: Tonight I work some more. I vary nightly what I do during this time. Sometimes we have DIY projects to work on, sometimes I lounge with the hubby, sometimes I clean, other days I continue working, it really depends. 

10PM or 11PM: Bedtime! These days, I am fast asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow!

I may or may not be getting up during the night, it's really a guessing game! If I do get up with Payton, she typically has not been falling back asleep for 2+ hours. That is very frustrating for us, but we are trying to find new ways to get her to fall asleep and stay asleep during the middle of the night. What used to work doesn't seem to work now.

What does a typical day look like for you?
This post has been linked up to The Life of Faith Mommy Moment's link-up.

Monday, May 4, 2015

28 Week Bump Update

I don't know if I will ever say that I am ahead of the game! It's been about 8 weeks since my last bump update. I wish I was more on the ball and did these more frequently but life seems to have gotten the better of me. How does life get so busy when children enter the picture?

I am finally at 28 weeks! Our first child arrived at 37 weeks, so I feel like we are getting closer and closer to meeting our little one! Here is what's going on at this time for me:

Gender: Boy!

Maternity clothes: I am wearing all maternity clothes now! There are some shirts and yoga pants I still squeeze into that are not maternity, but other than that all my pre-pregnancy clothes have been packed away! It's crazy how every pregnancy is different! I was able to wear my regular clothes through almost all of my first pregnancy, but there is definitely no way I could do that this time around. I'm sure running during my first pregnancy wouldn't have made that much of a difference (wink, wink)! There is something to be said about running after a toddler all day though.

Sleep: This depends on the night! Payton has been having a lot of sleeping issues lately and has been up for long periods of the night. The few nights she sleeps though, I sleep.
Best moment this month: I love watching and feeling our little one kicking. Finding out the gender and sharing with everyone was also so much fun for us! My mom and I just purchased a "coming home" outfit we plan to bring the baby home from the hospital in and that got me so excited for our baby to get here.
Worst moment this month: Holy back pain! I keep growing, growing, growing, and Payton continues to want me to carry her 90% of the time. It's definitely weighing on my back and hips.
Miss anything: Same as last time, alcohol is hard to give up sometimes. We have had several amazing nights with friends where it would have been nice to enjoy a glass (or two) of wine. I have also missed coffee (I choose to give caffeine up with pregnancies) as I take on days with little to no sleep due to Payton not sleeping at night.
Movement: Baby #2, you are quite strong already! We feel lots of frequent movement. He also likes to sit tightly against my tummy so you can literally feel him against my skin. It's the most amazing experience!
Cravings: Fruits, veggies, and chocolate! I'm really into M&Ms, malts, and strawberries lately.
Queasy or sick: Feeling good.
Looking forward to: I am looking forward to getting the baby's bedroom ready. We also have another ultrasound coming up that I am excited for. I always love seeing our baby!
Have a great Monday!

This post has been linked up with The Life of Faith Mommy Moments Link-up.

Friday, May 1, 2015

2015 Summer Goals

With summer quickly approaching, I find myself daydreaming about warm weather, pools, walks, and barbeques. As I think of summer, I started to put together a few goals I hope to accomplish during this season. Since we hope to bring baby #2 home in July, our summer may be spent mostly transitioning to a new baby but I still have a few goals:

1. Increase Payton's Library Attendance
Since my husband has been traveling more lately with work, we have definitely not been taking advantage of the weekly story time offered at our library. Payton has so much fun being around other children, playing, and hearing stories. I hope to get her there most of this summer!

2. Get Outside
Last summer, we lived outside! You would typically find us in our own backyard or at the park. After baby #2 comes I am thinking, if we get outside, it will most likely be in our backyard. I'm hoping to shake that up a bit with frequent walks in town, feeding the ducks, picnics, and playing at the park. Now that Payton is 2 she is so much more interactive with her environments and these places have only become more and more fun! I'm hoping to work with that by giving her plenty of different activities this summer to enjoy.

3. Prepare for Baby 
After surviving learning how to become a parent to my daughter, I feel I now know a thing or two about preparing for the arrival of a little one. I hope to have our little one's room ready and clothing ready before he comes (opposed to our parents throwing together while we were in labor with our first). I'm also hoping to prepare freezer meals prior to the birth of our son. I remember vividly how hard it was to keep up with the cooking and cleaning so I am hoping some prep work before baby will greatly pay off!

4. Grow a Garden
We have had gardens in the past but this is the very first year to plant our garden from seeds! We started them inside the house and I'm looking forward to moving them into the garden! Our daughter loved the food we grew last year and I'm so excited to see how she reacts to the garden now that she's another year older!

5. Take a Quick, Close to Home Vacation
This may or may not even be a realistic goal. My husband's work schedule has had him traveling like crazy, but I hope to make a quick getaway before our next little one arrives. Before our daughter, we used to vacation all over the world but those trips have been postponed (indefinitely) while growing our family. We did take a quick vacation last year over Valentine's day and we had such a blast! I miss traveling and seeing the world sometimes, but for now, I really love our quick weekend road trips that happen annually with my expanding family.

What are your goals for this summer?

Happy May Day!

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