Time Flies and Kids Grow Up

The other day I woke up in the middle of the night to feed Flora. She’s woken up and needed to nurse to feel soothed. As I sat in the gold chair in her room, I rocked her and held her little tiny hand. I thought about how mind blowing it is to me that somehow she’s already one. That was a very fast year. Her tiny little fingers wrapped around my finger and I rubbed her hands between my fingers. She’s so small and precious. I soaked her in, because I know how this works.. you blink and the next thing you know, your kids are a whole other year older.

I laid her back into her crib then popped into my boys shared bedroom to check on them before I went back to bed. Harrison’s arm was hanging off of his bed in a weird angle, so I grabbed his hand to lay it back on the bed. As I grabbed his hand, I literally froze. I sat there and held his hand for a moment, rubbing it between my fingers. I was just thinking about how fast Flora was growing and how her small little hands were growing every day. Now I was holding my five and a half year olds hands which suddenly felt enormous. There were little scratches and blisters on his hands from all the playing he does. He has big boy hands. Once, they were just like Flora’s.

Time flies. I keep seeing the phrase that, “time is a thief,” or hearing moms telling their little ones to, “never grow up,” and I get it. Man, do I get it. These moments are precious. This phase of life is pure magic. They’re only little so long. They’re only you’re small child for so many years…

But a few months ago I was reading a post on Instagram from the point of view of a father who had a young son pass away at two years old after a courageous battle with cancer. In his post, he told people to stop wishing for your children not to grow up. Stop mourning stages passing. Because someone out there is wishing that they could have watched their child grow up.

I’ve thought about this post so frequently. I see both sides. I truly do. And while I’ll never totally be a-ok with my kids growing up so wildly fast, and fearing that I’m not living in the moment enough, I’m choosing to be so grateful for all of this. I’m grateful I get to watch my kids grow. I’m grateful that time is passing and that we get to pass the time together.

And I’m so very grateful that I’ll be able to hold their hands, in all of their sizes, as it happens.

Easy Entertainment

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!

Memory Keeping

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):

Baby

Toddler

Preschool

Kindergarten

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Stats

Medical

Keepsakes

Documents

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.

What else would you add?!

The Year We Never Saw Coming

Around this time last year, the world as we knew it, changed. There is no way that at the end of 2019 we could’ve ever imagined that 2020 would look the way it did. Its all so crazy and surreal to look back at a whole year later. Remember when the world ‘shut down’ and it was supposed to only last a couple of weeks to flatten the curve? Even then, when everything was first shut down, I don’t think we truly had any idea what was in store for us. Did anyone look at this and think we’d still be in a very similar spot a year later?

I’m grateful for the progress. There is more knowledge and security. There is more peace and hope. I’m very, very thankful for that. But its still hard to grasp. I’m still in a sort of denial that this is the new normal we thought would only have to last a few weeks.

Us, right at the beginning of quarantine

In the space of this crazy year, a lot of big changes have happened in our family.

We added our sweet little Flora to the family, thus having a pandemic baby which is the wildest of rides, and the thing that definitely rocked me the most in all of this. When I found out I was pregnant in October 2019, I truly had no idea that during much of my pregnancy I’d be stressed out about my health and a scary new virus taking over the world. I had no idea how much fear would be instilled in me about the health of my baby. I had no idea how overwhelming it would be to have a baby in the smack middle of a global pandemic. However, there were silver linings, too. Craig was working from home around this time still, so it felt like extended paternity leave. He got to help so much with the boys and the new baby. We didn’t see extended family quite as much as we would have liked to, but it forced us to really rely on one another in a way we’d never done before. It also helped me find my voice and be confident in my gut feelings, when it came to having difficult or awkward conversations with other people when it came to visitors, outings, etc.

We also moved, which is another thing we just didn’t see coming. Our new home has been such a blessing. It all happened so fast and was a lot like a whirlwind while it happened, so now that we are settled and comfortable here in our new place, I’m really seeing how great of a decision this was for our family. Our new home has space to grow and continue to build our family. This is where our kids will grow up and I’m so thankful we are in this place.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself in this year. We opted not to put Harrison in preschool this year and chose to do homeschool. Since Emmett is just two years behind him, I decided to do preschool at home with them both. I wasn’t sure how it would all go. I know I’m capable of teaching preschool level curriculum, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be an exciting ‘teacher,’ or if I’d be able to teach things in a way that my kids would be able to internalize. But thanks to online resources and approximately 8 billion prayers on my part, I found that not only can I do this, but I can be really good at it. The kids and I have had so much fun doing preschool together. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit sad that next year Harrison will go off to Kindergarten and Emmett will officially start in a real preschool.

We learned a lot about respecting others. I think we can all agree that wearing masks is a pain. They’re sweaty, they cause acne, they make breathing seem trickier, but I do think they’re something just fine to enforce right now. I’m definitely not against them. But even more than my feelings on masks, I’ve learned to see that wearing a mask in public is very much a way to show that I and my family love and care for others. Me wearing a mask is an outward way to show that I respect you and your health and well-being. Its also been a nice way to teach my kids about respecting others.

I learned that I’m resourceful. There was the period of time when basic food items were hard to find. I learned to be resourceful with the food I had in my pantry. I learned how to make fun, educational things out of the seemingly mundane things around our house for the kids. I was able to dive back into my love of scrapbooking in all the time spent at home, and made our families own Quarantine Scrapbook, that I really think I’ll cherish and hopefully my posterity will, as well.

My testimony grew tremendously in this year. I’m a worrier. My dad is a high-risk person. I was pregnant for a long time during this and wasn’t sure what Covid could do to a pregnant or breastfeeding woman. I imagined terrible things happening to the health of those I love, especially the people who didn’t take it as seriously as I was. I just worried constantly. I feared the worst happening. I knew the virus didn’t typically have bad things happen to young children, but I still wondered if my children would be the acceptation if they got it. I was a ball of anxiety. Well, I always am. But I was an even bigger ball. I would pray so many times a day and just beg Heavenly Father for clarity and calm. I’d pour my heart out for the well-being of my family. I’d ask for peace of mind, because at times, my mental health struggled so much under all the fear and uncertainty. Sometimes I had to learn some lessons first, or search hard for answers, but I definitely was comforted and felt peaceful. I was strongly reminded that God is in all the details and he is stronger than any earthly person, even stronger than a global pandemic. I was reminded that His plan is truly the plan of happiness, and He knows what He’s doing. I trust Him. I know He has me and my family, and everyone, securely in His hands.

We are a year into this now. I’m not sure when things will be ‘norma,’ again, or if they ever will. But I’m happy to report, that though this has all been crazy and unexpected, I’ve found joy, happiness and learning in the year of quarantine.

Us a few weeks ago

Love you all. I hope you’re all doing ok. Life is weird right now. Life is crazy. Things can be uncertain. But we can do this!

Powerful in a Sweatsuit

Did you watch WandaVision? The series just finished on Disney+, but you can – and absolutely should – still watch it if you haven’t already. I give it all the stars and all the thumbs up. Wanda Maximoff, AKA, The Scarlet Witch, has always been one of my very favorite MCU (marvel cinematic universe) characters, but I think this show put her at #1 on my list.

Anyway, this post will have very small “spoilers,” if you’re worried about that. But mostly, I just want to talk about how…

MOMS ARE FREAKING POWERFUL

Here is why my brain is in this place, and here is how Wanda is also a part of this thought: In the last two episodes of WandaVision, Wanda is in a pretty intense ‘battle.’ She is kicking butt, defending herself and her sons and husband, protecting her loved ones and what she cares about, being super amazing and super powerful….ALL WHILE WEARING SWEATS!

I mean, let’s hear it for the queen!

It made me think of real life. I can’t speak for all of you, but I know I do a lot of my mommin’ while wearing a cozy sweat suit. I also know that sometimes it’s real easy for me to get down on myself because of not always getting ready or accomplishing everything on my to-do list. Or maybe I’m feeling a little guilty because I’m not the “perfect mom” I follow on Instagram. You know?

But then I watched Wanda, who was being awesome and so powerful. In sweats. I mean, will I ever shoot magic red orbs from my palms, be able to alter reality and control things with my mind? Unfortunately, no. But I CAN do amazing, awesome and powerful things in my sweats too!!

Toward the end of the final episode, Wanda turns into The Scarlet Witch, for real. It’s soooo cool – definitely still fan-girling about this. Then she dons her new superhero suit, which, might I add, is the best MCU costume I’ve yet to see. It’s an incredible scene, I won’t lie. But you know what? The new outfit isn’t what made her so cool. It was her and her actions. Sweatsuit Wanda is just as powerful as New Outfit Scarlet Witch.

The outfit, the situation, the location… that’s not what makes us powerful. We as moms, are doing powerful things every single day. And let’s be honest, we are probably in sweats. Our powers and things we balance, accomplish and work at are tremendous. We all have a little New-Outfit-Scarlet-Witch inside of us, we’re just doing it in our Wanda Sweats – and we are awesome! I hope you know that. I hope you believe that.

Sleep Training Baby Sis

K guys. If you pay any attention to me, you probably know that I don’t sleep at night very well. Why? Well, besides crippling anxiety, it’s because little Flora struggles so hard at night time. It was more common than not to get like maaaaybe two hours of sleep – and not consecutively. I rode the struggle bus – heck, I think I drove the struggle bus – daily, and I knew I needed to figure this out. When I don’t sleep, the first thing really affected is my mental health and…obviously I don’t want that. It also made Flora struggle to be the happy girl she naturally is and it was negatively affecting her naps during the day! It’s safe to say, things needed to change.

So I started simple and hey, somehow it’s working finally! I’ve tried this many times, but now it’s clicking for us both and I’m not lying when I say I have cried about this.

I love sleep.

How We’ve Done It

•At dinner time, I make sure she has a nice, full belly

•She takes a nice, warm bath and thoroughly enjoys every second of it (it’s adorable how much she loves baths)

•We lotion her up and put her in cozy jammies and her sleep sack

•We go in her brothers room to read a book, do scriptures and prayer, then we kiss her brother goodnight

•I nurse her for a few minutes then put her in her crib. Sometimes she is asleep, sometimes she is drowsy. I’m not a stickler on that.

•I turn the video monitor on and leave the room and close the doors

Typically she’ll cry for several minutes, but is then able to soothe herself back to sleep (YAY!) And each night she falls asleep quicker. I’m so proud of her. Seriously.

During the night she will occasionally whimper, but is able to fall back asleep on her own. If she is really sad, I go comfort her for a minute by patting her back and speaking softly to her. She also typically wakes up around 2:30/3 and we nurse – in all honesty, this ones for me. My boobs can’t handle going all night without nursing yet.

It’s amazing. It’s so refreshing and it feels strange and so satisfying to be able to sleep so well at night again. It’s been a long time, after all.

Sometimes it’s Hard, Guys

I’m trying to figure out how to say this without sounding insensitive. It’s been on my mind for the past week and I just want to share my thoughts on the topic.

The last few days I have seen several posts about how parents shouldn’t complain about their children. Mainly, the reasons seem to be because it scares future/hopeful mothers.

Here’s the thing. I totally get that! I remember when we were trying for Harrison, it never sat right with me when people would complain about their kids. I mean – you have a kid! That’s something people dream about and pray so hard for. So complaining about these little miracles just seemed downright awful. I still fully understand why people would say this, too. If you know me, you know I 100% believe people should have their own opinions and have every right to believe what they want to. Everyone has their own thoughts and that is GREAT! and I mean that!

However, now I’m a mother. I’ve had this title for a little over 5 hours now. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s my grandest blessing and greatest honor. I love my three children with my whole heart and life with them is even better than the best adventure I could have ever imagined. But motherhood can also feel really isolating and lonely sometimes. Sometimes you feel that way because of what your kids are doing. And..hey, I know it’s not great, but sometimes complaining a little bit feels good. I know that personally, when I whine a little and other moms can relate and share their advice or even their solidarity, it helps me feel less isolated. It helps me feel like I’m not doing motherhood all wrong. It helps ease the mom guilt. I promise I’m not doing it to scare anyone about motherhood. I’m not doing it to make anyone feel like I’m ungrateful for my children. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It just helps me feel less crazy. It reminds me it’s ok if every second isn’t a piece of cake. It reminds me that motherhood isn’t always a walk in the park, and THATS OK. I’m just grateful that there are other moms out there who validate these feelings. I hope I can validate them in other moms, as well. Motherhood is a journey and we are in this together!

As for you wonderful and valiant hopeful mamas and mamas-to-be, I truly hope that when I periodically complain about my kids sleep habits, picky eating or tricky behavior, you don’t see it as me trying to scare anyone or be inconsiderate to people. I’m doing it because just like you are on your journey, I am on mine and this is how I handle it. Guys. I promise you that I’m not trying to scare you. Motherhood is lovely and I’d never try to convince anyone otherwise.

Ok now I feel like I’m rambling. Do you get what I’m saying? I just basically want to say – I get both sides!! But I don’t feel like people should feel like they should be silent about things that help them mentally (like talking about all aspects of motherhood) out of fear of offending. Does this make sense?

Please just know I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers. I adore all of you. Everyone. I will validate all your feelings. Whatever side of this matter you’re on, I absolutely get it.

Alright I need to stop now because I feel like I’m talking myself in a hole. Haha! All of you keep being incredible. I love you all dearly.

A Woman in Office

Wow, is Chelsea getting political on a post?!

No. I am not.

Just hear me out.

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.

Taking Care of MOM

You hear it all the time as a mother. “You need to take care of yourself.” But that can be so hard sometimes. Its something you just don’t totally get until you’re actually in it. I know its so incredibly important to take time out for me. I’m a better mom and wife when I make sure I’m taking care of myself and doing things for myself.

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out just what to do, though. What can you, as not only a mom, but a human being, do for yourself to rejuvenate yourself, refresh yourself and keep the relationship with yourself alive and healthy? I’m going to give you a few of my go-to self care things and some of my fantasy ones as well to hopefully inspire you to do something for yourself!!

Ideas to Take Care of Yourself

  • Take a bath. Not one to wash your hair, shave your legs and ponder the meaning of life. A bath to sit in hot water with a sparkly bath bomb, snacks, a Diet Coke and either a podcast on or something on YouTube. Lose yourself in the moment full of things you love and a whole lot of mindlessness.
  • Go get your nails done. Pick a color that makes you happy. Rock it.
  • Set aside time for yourself to read a book, a magazine, a blog or something of that nature. If reading isn’t your thing, I personally love to listen to a podcast while browsing instagram — or pictures of my kids haha.
  • Exercise. My personal faves are yoga or running. Or heck, try a new workout! Maybe you’ll find something you love and it could become your new outlet.
  • Take a nap. I know some people don’t identify as a ‘nap person,’ but I certainly am and I’m fairly certain that naps can solve lots of problems.
  • Go grab a soda. Going on a ride, listening to music or a podcast and getting a delicious Diet Coke? Sign. me. up. Sounds like a dream come true if you ask me.
  • Call your mom or a trusted family member or friend. Talk to the people who don’t live in your home and just chat. They should be some people that make you feel good.
  • Ice Cream and a show. One of my favorite things to do in the evening is to sit on the couch, watch tv, eat ice cream and play around on my computer. Sometimes I work on blog posts or sometimes I lose myself on Pinterest. Either way I feel awesome.

Those are only a few ideas, but they’re some of my tried and true ones. What are your go-to’s?!

Just remember. You’re amazing and you absolutely deserve time to yourself. You are just as important as your children and your husband. Don’t forget that!

Homeschool

Do you know what’s crazy? Just last week, I was 100% sure that Harrison would be going back to his brick and mortar preschool. I was training him to wear his mask for decent periods of time, I was making myself mentally ok with him being in a classroom, I was excited he’d be back around peers, I just knew I’d be sending him to school.

But then early this week I just kept thinking about homeschool. Then, when I’d try to block even the possibility of homeschool from my mind, something would cause it to pop back in. People would post on instagram about their decisions, a news article would show up on my Facebook feed, someone in the family would say something — and all these things kept bringing my mind back to homeschooling Harrison.

I feel lucky that my only kid in school is only in preschool. I feel confident that I can teach preschool level curriculum. I think this decision and these promptings would be so much more difficult if I had kids in higher grades (so lots of respect to you parents that fall in that category). So one day after homeschooling had yet again entered into my mind, I decided to let it in. I decided to toy around with the idea and see how it felt. I wasn’t committing to homeschooling, I was just feeling it out. So I read some stuff about it, got some ideas, looked on Amazon for supplies and talked to Harrison about the option of homeschool.

Guys. It felt really good. The whole time I was embracing homeschool I just felt peaceful. Not that regular school didn’t feel peaceful — but it didn’t feel like this, either. The option of homeschool just felt right and I couldn’t deny that.

Quite truthfully, I feel that whether I sent Harrison to school or kept him home to do school here, both options would be good for him. I’m not against either. But ultimately, one just felt more correct for us, and thats homeschool.

Now that I’ve committed to this path, I’ve been eagerly scouring the internet trying to find the best things for our ‘classroom.’ I’m also excited because I’ve decided to have Emmett ‘come’ to preschool too! I’m actually looking forward to making lesson plans and teaching both my boys. Its going to be a lot and will surely be overwhelming or chaotic at times, but I’m ready for it. I feel good and I feel ready for this. What a crazy time we are living in, right? Never did I think that my parenting would include homeschooling my kids because there is a global pandemic thats giving that option so freely. Just crazy.

I just want to say, that no matter what you choose – homeschool, regular school, distance learning, etc, I applaud you. These are not easy decisions. These are not easy times. We, as parents, try so dang hard to do what’s best for our own kids and that can be so trying and difficult. I know we are all ultimately doing what’s best for our own unique situations. We’ve got this! We are all amazing, no matter what we decide to go with.

With this all being said, if you, too, are choosing to do homeschool – let me know what resources you’re using!! I’d like to start school in the next couple of weeks and am trying to round up all the things I’ll need! Also if you want to bounce ideas off each other, lets do that, too!! And lastly, if you live around me and have kids somewhere around my kids age…play date?? The biggest thing I’m feeling guilt over right now is that Harrison loves socializing with kids around his age, and he won’t be getting that as much, not going to an actual school.

Have a great day! You’re all awesome, strong and wonderful!