I feel like the internet is full of ways to entertain and promote curiosity and learning for toddlers and young children, but something I struggle to find are ways to do the same for the little ones even younger than the toddler stage. Don’t you agree? Well, a while ago I found the idea to use painters tape and tape some of Flora’s smaller toys to the wall and let her go at it trying to free the toys. It sounds simple, maybe too simple, but she honestly loves it!
I tape the toys in various heights and she is so proud of herself as she removes each toy from its tape jail. Its adorable. Simple as ever, cheap, promotes learning, coordination and curiosity and so stinkin’ to watch!
Since having my first child five and a half years ago, I’ve been wondering just how I would store my kids important papers/documents/keepsakes. Everyone has their own method that they’re passionate about, and I listened to so many ideas, but ultimately I (finally) landed on this, my own, method. I’ve seen this same idea all over the internet, so I’m not at all claiming it as my own. I’m just super excited about it so I’m sharing it with you in case you’re on the hunt for a good storage idea too! And believe me, if I can do it, so can you. It was super simple and very satisfying.
I ordered file folder boxes and files. The boxes I ordered came in a pack of 4, so I even have one ready for my next baby! Then I ordered a pack of files for each box – the packs I ordered came with 25 (I think) and there are several extra folders in each box, should we decide we need them for something in the kids future. I put the folders in the box and labeled them (in this order):
Then, with my cricut machine, I cut out their first initials in vinyl and applied them to the front and voila! Told you it was easy!
I don’t plan on keeping every single paper from school or piece of art they create (like adorable scribbles on scraps of paper, you know?) But I’m going to mindfully keep the papers that my kids worked extra hard on or are extra proud of. The papers that have a funny story behind them or are particularly adorable. The ones I think they’d be happy to see someday when they’re adults showing their own children their memories.
I have put the bracelets we wore in the hospitals for their births in the Baby folder, along with ultrasound pictures, etc. In the boys Toddler folders, I put the bag of clippings from their first haircuts. Things like that. I also knew I had to have a folder dedicated to their stats from doctors appointments. I’m obsessed with my kids stats so I wanted them readily available.
Yesterday our sweet Flora baby was blessed, and holy wow it was a special day. Craig gave her a blessing as beautiful and as special as she is (and she’s very beautiful and special). I think some of the phrases that were spoken in her blessing will be ones I keep with me forever, as I watch my little girl grow. She is going to do amazing things and live a great, positive life. I’m so grateful for her. We are so, so lucky to be this wonderful little ladies parents. Our family is so very blessed to have our Flora girl. Know who else is blessed? FLORA!
I am writing this on November 7th, and today, Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States. Which also means that today, Kamala Harris became Vice President. Today, a woman got into the office after a long, long, long line of men before her.
I’m going to be honest. The whole feminism thing has never been something I’m super, super passionate about. I mean, I wholeheartedly believe that women should be treated equal and can do anything a male can do. I don’t believe for a second that women are a lesser power or the weaker species. I’ve just never got all worked up about it before or gone out of my way to be any kind of vocal about women’s rights and things like that. I always supported it, but I didn’t put much into it after that.
Then I had a daughter.
When I look at my sweet baby girl, I daydream about her future. I look into her big hazel eyes and wonder who she’ll be. I wonder what she’ll stand for. I wonder what she’ll pursue. I wonder in what way she will change her part of the world. I wonder how she’ll impact those around her. There is so much I don’t know about her future, but one thing I know for certain is that I don’t want her to have to face any obstacle that her brothers wouldn’t have to face just because she is female. I want her to be able to be whatever the heck she wants to be and I want her to be able to do whatever the heck she wants to do.
Kamala Harris being in office is a step in the right direction. Its proof to these little girls (and big girls) that women can do whatever they put their minds to. Truly, I love what Vice President Harris said in her victory speech when she said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last — because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
I hope Flora is one of those little girls. I’ll make sure she’s one of those little girls. I want her to know that yes, she is a woman, and she can do anything she puts her mind to. I’m happy that, though she won’t remember the time of Biden and Harris, she’ll be able to look at history and see that a woman was in office. Who knows how many more will have been in as my daughter continues to grow older. I hope it doesn’t stop. I really don’t. Because little girls, whether they’re paying attention to politics or not, still pay attention to what other girls are doing.
I’m very close-lipped about politics. This post is in no way indicative of who I did or didn’t vote for and I have no intention of getting into that. I’m just looking at this, this moment, as a win for girls. The symbolism and significance of a woman, no matter what she stands for or claims she’ll do, is pretty amazing, empowering and exciting. I don’t speak out about much stuff like this, but people being treated equally is something I’ll always be in favor of.
And my daughter can do and be anything she puts her mind to.
On June 11th, our little Flora was born at 8:30am after a quick and kind of crazy delivery. She is absolute perfection and has changed our family for the better. Life with her in it is pure magic. Yesterday, she turned two months old (how??) and I have finally finished up her quick birth story for you guys. I think about her delivery a lot. It was not what I planned, but it was really incredible.
Now how about a birth story?
On the evening of June 10th I’d started feeling contractions that were different than the Braxton hicks contractions I’d felt the past few weeks. These ones weren’t super painful or anything, but I could tell they were slowly and surely getting more powerful. Harrison had a soccer game and then we went to my parents house for a while and the whole time I could just tell some things were changing, but I decided not to get my hopes up yet at this point and just tried to continue to be patient.
That evening around 9:30pm I felt like there was another shift in my body. More pain. A little more intensity. But nothing serious, yet. I got some stuff done around the house after putting the boys to bed, then decided to go to bed myself around 10:30 to see if I could sleep off the pain. I could until about 1:30am. I woke up somewhere around 1:30 hurting significantly more. I decided to finally download a contraction timing app and laid there in bed, timing my contractions for a while. They were coming anywhere from every 10-30 minutes, their intensity varying all the while. I texted my sisters just to let them know I may be needing them to come over in the middle of the night, then went back to waiting and timing and breathing.
Finally around 4 I had a contraction that made me shoot up. I couldn’t do it laying down anymore. It was a real, painful and powerful contraction. I woke Craig up in the process and I just remember him rubbing my back. He told me a little while later than when he saw me sit up, he knew this was the real deal. As I stood up, my water also broke (but in the moment I wasn’t sure if it was my water or if I’d wet my pants), but when I went to the restroom and noticed blood – a true labor sign for me – I quickly convinced myself that this was it.
Craig and I got ready, I told my sisters to come over and we arrived to the hospital right at 6 in the morning. I was hooked up to the monitors and checked (I was at a 4, with contractions coming every 1-2 minutes apart) and was told I’d be monitored for an hour to see if I progressed, and if I had enough, I’d be admitted.
I don’t think it was coincidence that my nurse (who we loved) randomly decided to check me at 30 minutes. Turns out, I was progressing fast, so with that, she admitted me a half an hour early! She called for my epidural, I got my IV and things started getting real. I was in a lot of pain by this point and I was also as hot as I have ever felt in my entire life.
The next little while was just waiting for things to continue to move. I kept dilating and kept waiting for my epidural. My doctor came in to say hi and check me and asked where my epidural was and the nurses explained they’d called for it couple of times and it still hadn’t shown up. He told them to call for it again. Not too long afterwards he came back in to check again and we knew that it would be time to push soon. Its a good thing I was hurting so bad and just totally in my own head, otherwise I probably would have gone into panic mode. When I had Harrison, my epidural was only sort of working, and I just remember that hurting – so I didn’t want to have to have a painful delivery again. But I was too busy focusing on surviving each contraction and trying not to burst into flames (seriously, I was SO hot) to think too much of my anesthesiologist not coming very fast – although I sure wished he would have hurried.
Around 8:20 the anesthesiologist finally came in and administered my long-awaited epidural. This one hurt pretty bad. I’m not sure if its just because everything hurt so bad at that point or what, but I just remember so much pain. Also, Craig couldn’t fan me anymore while I got my epidural, so I felt so hot I wanted to scream at people. Immediately after laying back down after getting that taken care of, I was checked.
It was time to push. Now. She was right there. But guess what? I was told my epidural would take at least 15 minutes to start working. I asked my nurse and Craig if there was anything we could do to make it work faster (in hind site, I see thats a silly question, but I was desperate) and she very kindly told me that I could wait for the epidural to start working, but that things were moving and baby sister was coming out.
So I started to push. I can honestly say that delivering a baby with no epidural to help me was the most pain I’ve ever felt and a lot more awful than I’d ever imagined, but at the same time, doing it without an epidural made me feel powerful and strong – something I don’t feel about myself too often. It was really neat to literally feel her every move as she came out of my body. Delivering her head and shoulders were…there are no words. Just ouch, ouch, ouch. But thankfully I only had to push a few times – about five minutes – and she was born.
Everyone noticed that she was a “good sized baby,” or a, “big baby,” immediately (I’ve got that with all my kids now). Craig cut the cord and my perfect little girl, my first daughter, was placed on my chest. There is nothing more magical than those moments.
A while later she was weighed, measured, cleaned and cared for. She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 and 3/4ths inches, and 100% perfection.
We only stayed in the hospital one night due to Covid, and were able to go home the next day a few hours after noon. Only a couple of hours before we left, we finally named her Flora. The boys were beyond thrilled to meet their little sister. They greeted her so enthusiastically and sweetly, it melted me.
We are so, so happy to have our baby here safe, healthy and happy!