McKenzie | 18 Months |

Again, a little late, but better late than never!

So little McKenzie…You’re a 1 and a half!  How in the world did that happen?!  Weren’t we just planning your first birthday party?!  This past month has been so much fun with you!

What’s Happening:

The Start of Potty Training
You’ve shown interest and I’m cautiously optimistic! I know it is probably still a little way off, but you’ve told Jen at daycare and us when you need to go!

potty

Preschool
I can’t even believe that I just typed that.  How did we get here!?  I’ve been researching local preschools for the past month or two.  First, most are way more expensive than I realized that they would be.  Second, most are charging a lot of money for only 2 hours, 2 days a week.  I was shocked!  After researching a little more, we found a local preschool that we love!  I can’t even wait for you to start there in September!  You are going to learn so much and have so much fun!

Vocabulary
I’m not even sure how many words you know now.  You talk all day long!  What I love about your learning words is that you are finally able to communicate with us!  A few nights ago, you were so exhausted.  We gave you your bath and I sat down with you, just as I do each night, to hold you for a few minutes before you climb in to bed.  You lost your mind.   I wasn’t even sure why!  I assumed it was because you were overly tired.  As I listened closer,  I finally caught on to what you were saying as you were crying! Book! You were upset that we didn’t read!  My little creature of habit! I let you pick out a book, we read it, you curled right up in my arms and went to sleep without a fight.  I love that you can tell us things now!

Your newest phrase that you say each night as we end a story, is “The End!”  You are listening and learning and I love it!

Leading up to Halloween, we taught you Boo, since you were going to be a ghost.  Anytime we asked you what a ghost said, you would yell, “Boo!”

We’ve moved on and skipped over Thanksgiving, since “Gobble Gobble” is a little harder to say.  We’ve started working on Christmas.  If we ask you what Santa says, you reply, “Ho ho!” and if we ask whose birthday it is on Christmas you say, “Baby Cheezus”.  It makes me giggle every time.  There is some slight confusion though because any time you want a Cheez It cracker, you will say Cheezus.  We’ve got some clarification to do!

Favorite Thing
Singing the ABC’s.  It’s your favorite song.  As we sing it, you join in with a random E, G, I, or Z.  You bob your head as we say each letter.  After we’re done singing, you will sing it on your own.  You have the rhythm of the song down, but mumble through most of the letters until you hit your favorites – E, G, I and Z.

Eating
You eat a lot, but are still kind of picky.  You hate any form of meat.  Veggies and fruits…you’ve got it.  Put a chicken, ham, turkey, or meat loaf in front of you and you remove them from your plate.  It’s so bizarre.  We’ve been working on finding new forms of protein that you will actually eat, but haven’t been too successful.

table

You have also become finicky with how your food is presented.  Some days you want things cut, so we cut them up.  Then the next meal, you refuse to eat because you wanted it whole.  Then the next meal you want things cut up.  We can’t keep up!

Sleep Habits
Your sleep habits have been less than stellar ever since daylight savings time.  I think we also had a touch of sleep regression going on at the same time, which means we haven’t been getting the greatest sleep!  For about 2 weeks, you would wake up at 2 in the morning, open your door and stand at the gate.  You would call for me and I would come get you.  As soon as you saw me, you would run back to your bed, grab your blanket, and motion to be picked up.  We’d sit in your chair and rock and you’d fall back to sleep quickly.  You would sleep until about 5:15.  Then you were up again for good!    We’ve been a little tired, but it has gotten better.  The past few nights, you’ve slept through the night again and have only been getting up a little earlier than normal!

Outings
We’ve been busy this past month!

You had you’re second Halloween.  Such a cute little ghost!

ghost

You went to your first show – Disney on Ice. We went with your friend Ella and you loved it!

Disney

You thought you were home, because you insisted on taking your shoes off!

Date Day with Dad – Daycare was closed, so Dad stayed home with you.  You went to a bounce house with inflatable moon bounces with your friend, Adelyn, and then out to lunch!  You had so much fun!

bounce

This month has been one of the best!  You are for sure your own little person, with an ever emerging personality.  It’s so fun watching you grow and I’m so thankful that I’m your Mom!

I love you through and through.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow too.

Love,
Mom

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McKenzie | 17 Months |

Although a little late…I’m still posting!  Enjoy!

17 months old!  Where has the time gone?  It’s hard for this Mama to even imagine. You change each day!  There’s always something new you’re doing to keep us on our toes. Here’s a little re-cap for us to look back on and remember!

What’s Happening:

Cousin
You officially have a cousin!  Aunt Erin and Uncle Brian delivered a healthy baby boy and we are over the moon excited for them!  You got to meet Nathan last Saturday and loved him. You gave lots of kisses and kept saying. “Baby!”.  You will be a great big sister one day!

So Sweet. P.S. You were playing dress up, so you had a tutu on! Nice outfit choice!

Vocabulary Explosion!
Your vocabulary has taken off!  I can’t even keep up with all of the words that you say because you mimic everything we say.  Words that you use on your own on a regular basis and that are clear now include: baby, apple, juice, apple juice, Ouch, more, ball, book, Ellie (for your favorite stuffed elephant), shoes, truck, cat, Stop!, Yeah, and No…along with all of the originals – like Mama, Dada, and dog.  It’s so much fun to see what word you come up with next!

Mimicking
Speaking of mimicking, you copy everything we do.  In the past month, Dad and I have become even more aware of not only what we say, but what we do around you!  You are watching us and learning, even when we don’t realize it!   The video below is just one of the moments that Dad and I caught of you copying us.  You were being grumpy in the back seat on a drive home, so we gave you the I-Pod with you favorite Fisher Price learning games on it.  Dad and I continued with our conversation, but could hear you talking in the back seat.  When we stopped talking and turned around to look at you, this is what we saw… My favorite part is where you hold the I-pod out in front of you as if you are wondering why no one is talking back!


Favorite Thing
This month marked your first time on a moon bounce.  It was at a birthday party we were attending.  You weren’t sure of what to make of it at first, but soon learned how fun they can be!  We went inside for cake and gifts and you were not happy about it!  You were determined to lead us by our hands back out to the moon bounce.  so cute!

Eating
You are still a picky eater.  We normally get one great meal out of you each day.  Other than that, you just snack and nibble throughout.  You seem to always be eating something though, just not always at the specified meal times.  I’m hoping this will get better with age!

Climbing
You are a climbing machine!  You will use anything and anyone to climb up on the sofa! You’ve pulled toys over, your Pottery Barn Chair, used Dad’s legs quite a few times and even the dogs (although we stop you from that!)  A few times, you’ve even gotten up there by yourself…I think you are hooking your foot in the cushion.  Hilarious!

Bed Time Routine
You’re bedtime routine has changed a bit.  You no longer let me hold you while we say our good night prayers.  You happily climb into bed on your own, point to the blanket and request to be covered up.  Then we hold hands and say prayers while I kneel next to your bed.  It’s our favorite time of the day!  I’m sure Dad’s excited too!  You would only ever let me be in the room when we put you to bed, but you’ve started allowing him to join in as well.  It’s one of my favorite times of the day now.  Thanking God for everything we have, for our families and friends, and asking him to watch over all of us. Love it!

Movies
Last Friday night was a cold and rainy night.  Dad was working, so it was just you and me. I decided that we would watch Cinderella!  I put the DVD in and you instantly squealed when you saw the Disney castle on the opening credits.  You sat in your Pottery Barn chair, covered up with your blanket and stuffed animal, Ellie!  You watched the movie for a little, but then moved on to playing, while watching.  The whole time, you loved it though!  You would point out Lucifer, the cat, and laughed from your toes when I called you Gus Gus!  I look forward to more cuddly evenings with you!

McKenzie, life just keeps getting better.  There are still days that are far from fun, but even on those days – I am thankful for a healthy little girl who is able to throw such fits!  From working in a hospital, I know that not everyone is as lucky!

Continue to grow, but not so fast!

I love you through and through.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow too.

Love,
Mom

We’re All In This Together!

Today’s post is about an event that happened over a month ago.  I wasn’t going to write about it, but then it’s one of those moments that keeps coming back to me.  Every time I think about it, it bothers me more.  It was one of those moments as a Mom that I will never forget, for multiple reasons.  Let me explain…

Brian was out-of-town.  McKenzie and I went to dinner to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday.  After dinner, we headed to a local creamery to have ice cream.  After waiting in line for over 30 minutes, we finally had our ice cream and were able to sit down outside at a picnic table.   Thank goodness for McKenzie’s grandfather, who kept her occupied the entire time we waited in line.  You know how patient toddlers can be!

McKenzie made her rounds at the table, taking a little bite of everyone’s ice cream.  Initially, she walked around to everyone for a bite.  Then she sat on the table in front of me for some time.  Eventually, McKenzie scooted to the center of the table, to be the center of attention, naturally!  She stood up on the table, but was surrounded by all of our family.  She wasn’t in danger.  She wasn’t hurting anyone.  We were at a picnic table outside.

That’s when it started…the judging.   There was another curious toddler nearby, who instantly zoned in on McKenzie.  She was older than McKenzie (maybe 3 or 4) and wanted nothing more than to come over and talk to her.  She kept pointing to her and attempting to walk over.  As she pointed, we could hear the mother say, “Yes, I see her.  I don’t know why she’s standing on the table.  We don’t stand on tables.  I don’t know why her Mommy is letting her.”   OK…that was the start of it.  I understand at some point, I too will be in a position to have to explain some unwanted behavior of another child to McKenzie.  I didn’t fault the Mom for this.  It was more of how she was going about it.  Either way, I was ready to let it go!   It didn’t really blip my radar.

Then the little girl proceeded to come right over and sit next to me.  The Mom walked over with her.  McKenzie loves other children, so she instantly started waving and smiling, still on top of the table.  As any Mom would do, I talked to the little girl who was now sitting next to me, “Hi there!  How are you?  What’s your name?”  The little girl didn’t reply, but I hadn’t really expected her to.  This is where a normal mother would have said, “Say my name is… and prompted the little girl.”  I don’t have a problem with you joining our table, but at least be social as a parent.  Even wild animals grunt!  Instead, the woman stood there silent, with a look on her face that I will never forget, still judging me for having my daughter on the table.  I said it again…still nothing.  Still judging.  At this point, I was freaking irritated.  If you’re going to come over, at least be social.  If you think my child is such a heathen and you don’t want to talk, then don’t come over to us.  Right?

Let’s pause the story for a moment before I continue with the epic ending…

Moms, I know that we all don’t raise our children the same.  Some children are allowed to do things that other mother’s wouldn’t tolerate.  I get it, but let’s be honest.  We are all in this together.   Some days, if standing on the table is going to buy me 5 more minutes of peace before a meltdown, then so be it.  If she’s safe, it’s OK!  We weren’t at a fine dining establishment.  She wasn’t standing on the table in the middle of Ruth’s Chris.  She was on a picnic table, which lives outside, which is exposed to the elements…all elements, including seeing other mother’s changing their children’s diapers on these tables.   So was it different from the rules that you have set for your child? Yes.  Will I allow McKenzie to stand on tables when she’s 4 years old? No.  Will I allow it now, while she is still relatively small? Yes.

My point is, stop judging!  We’ve all been there.  If we haven’t, we’ll all be there at some point! Instead of loudly judging, both with words and facial expressions, give that Mom a smile.  Let her know you know exactly how frazzled, frustrated, overwhelmed, and tired she is.   A smile that says, “I get it.  It’ll be ok.  This too shall pass.”   Whatever you do, don’t judge!  We may all raise our children differently, but we all have the same struggles.  So please, stop judging, because we’re all in this together.

Now the epic ending…

The judging continued and the awkward silence ensued while McKenzie and the little girl waved to one another.  With perfect timing, McKenzie grunted and turned red (you know what that means).  Then, before I could even stop her, she hopped and landed, with a blow-out of epic proportions.   It was only up her back, but definitely visible.  As irritated as I had been with this woman, I was now mortified.   How embarrassing!   Again, we’ve all been there, so laugh at the grossness, smile and say have a good night.  Instead, the woman shrieked, picked her child up and ran away.  I will never forget the look on that woman’s face.  Score 1 for McKenzie for giving “shit” right back to the woman who had been giving us shitty looks all night!  Go Team!

McKenzie | 16 Months |

Dear McKenzie,

Happy 16 Months!!  This month has been so much fun!  You are growing up and becoming more of a toddler each day.  You are inquisitive about the world you live in and work hard to figure everything out!  You laugh from your toes, which makes me laugh even harder! You are sweet and caring! If someone is upset, you know it and come hug them! You give kisses freely and are the sweetest!

Each month gets better and better!  We are so blessed to have you as our daughter.

Here are your stats for the month:

Weight: 23 lbs – 75th percentile
Height: 32 inches – 90th percentile!  Where did that come from!?

Both Dad and I were shocked at your stats!  Everyone always tells us how small you are, but according to the charts, you actually aren’t!  Keep growing strong!

Clothing Size:
You are officially in 18 month clothing.  I have a feeling that you will be in this size for some time!

In clothing news, you have so many cute Fall clothes!  I loved your summer clothes, but feel like I’ve seen you in all of them…multiple times!  I am ready to throw new outfits in the mix!  And Fall clothing is just so cute!

What’s Happening:

Toddler Bed
We’ve transitioned you to a toddler bed!   You can read all about it here! You are doing incredible with it!  You still haven’t realized that you can get out of it on your own and we are okay with that!  You have however, figured out how to get in a out of it.  The other night, Dad and I were talking, when we looked back into your room, you had climbed into your bed with a book and were reading.  It made us both stop and realize just how big you are getting!

You love when other people try to fit in your bed with you!  You don’t require anyone to sleep with you…thank goodness…but love when people will lay there with you during the day!   A- Ra (your Aunt Jessica), jumped in to bed with you and pretended like she was sleeping.  You giggled and then snuggled right up with her!

First Circus
You went to the Circus and loved every minute of it!  There were circus dogs as part of the show.  Those were, by far, your favorite part!  You saw them backstage when the curtain opened and kept pointing and yelling “dog-dog!”.  There were 3 acts before their segment and you kept calling for them!  It was so cute and you were so excited!

Favorite Thing
Your favorite thing this month is being outside!  You’d spend all day outside if we’d let you!  At daycare, you get to ride in a wagon with Ms. Jen each day.  You walk with her to drop off and pick up the boys from school.  You love the wagon and want to spend all of your time in it! Most days, there is a slight melt down when we have to leave, because you would rather stay and climb in and out of the wagon.

Playing like a Toddler
I know that you are becoming more independent each day, but you are truly playing like a toddler these days.   I stopped and just stared at you one day when I came to pick you up from daycare.  Instead of wandering around the yard, playing on a blanket, or climbing in and out of the wagon, you were in the playhouse with the other kids.  My heart actually sank for a minute!  My little baby is now actually  playing and interacting the way the older kids at daycare do!  It was such a happy and sad moment!    So fun though to see you getting so big!

Words
You have a few new words this month!  Dad calls our German Shepherd (Kemo), Bubba.  I’m not sure why.  He just started referring to him that way one day.  Well, you now call him Bubba too!  It’s kind of embarrassing that one of your first words is Bubba, but so cute that you call for him!   When we make you do something that you don’t want to do (like change your diaper), you call for him!  It’s adorable.   He always comes running to your rescue!

You also say Bye as you wave goodbye to people!  You say Up as well, when you want us to pick you up! You say other words here are there, but these are new ones that you use consistently!

When you aren’t using your words, you have finally started using sign language!    You will show me the sign for More, when you want more food!  It’s so nice that you can communicate with us, even without words!

Songs
We have always sang songs to you, but this month you have become more interactive! You love The Wheels on the Bus and If You’re Happy and You Know It!  You will swish the wiper blades, clap your hands and stomp your feet.   On our card rides home, if you want me to sing the songs to you, you clap your hands for me.  I start singing, you follow along with your charades and we laugh and laugh!  Love it!

Eating
You have become a picky eater recently, but still eat fairly well.  You are eating more than most toddlers your age, but your appetite on previous months would always include second helpings and shoveling the food in your mouth as quickly as possible.  Some days now you don’t eat as much and other’s you do.  We may have to try a few different items, but you definitely still eat!  Your favorite food is avocado and guacamole!  See the picture below!

This month, you have started using your booster seat at the table, instead of your high chair!  It’s nice to officially have you at the table with us!  You think you are so big now!

WM Guac

Temper Tantrums
The temper tantrums have been getting better this month, but that doesn’t mean that they are completely gone!  Most of your tantrums revolve around not being able to go outside or having to come in from outside.    Life just isn’t fair, is it!?

Please take note of what is in her hand in the picture below!  Still loving her little sandals!  We have since hidden them from her because she would truly wear them every day if she could!

McKenzie, you are so much fun!  You make us laugh so hard!  Our family is now complete with you and we love how exciting you make our days!

I can’t wait to head into the Fall and the holidays with you!  They will be even more special this year!

We love you more than there are stars in the sky!

Love,
Mom and Dad

Live in the Moment

Each night, I spend my evenings following the same routine.  It’s important to a toddler.  We eat dinner and clean-up, then play with Kenzie.  Around 7, we start the bedtime routine, which includes a bath, some reading and then bed.  Before Kenzie goes to bed each night, we turn down the lights.  I hold her and rock her.  Most nights, she doesn’t fall asleep.  Often we spend the time looking at each other.  It’s our quiet time.  It allows us to connect, to settle down and to spend some quality time together.  I stare at her in awe of how quickly she’s growing and how much bigger she seems each night.  I pray to God and thank Him for giving us a beautiful healthy baby.  I pray that he blesses us and guides us to be better parents.  Then my mind wanders and I begin to think.   I think about how lucky I am.  Lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband, a loving marriage, a great job that enables us to have a beautiful house and food on the table and and a life that I am thankful to live.    It’s during these quiet times that it dawns on me. During the craziness of the day, I often forget to live in the moment.

You see, I’m a planner by nature, so I’m always planning 10 steps ahead.  What’s the next phase for McKenzie, what should she be doing, what will she be doing by 18 months, when do we switch her to a toddler bed, should we put the house on the market, when we get a new house what color should I paint it, what career choices should I make, and when will our family become a family of four?  As you can see, a million things run through my mind throughout the day.  Maybe it’s the nature of being a Mom, but I’m sure more of it is my Type A personality.

It’s during those quiet times each night that I find myself thinking.  Thinking that I should be happy with where I am. To live in the moment. To be happy with where we are right now. To stop wishing for the next stage, for the next house, for the next job.   I cherish these quiet moments with McKenzie.  It causes me to slow down.  To sit quietly, to think and to reflect.

It’s at that moment that I realize I am exactly where I should be.  In this house, with my baby in my arms, and my husband in the next room.  It doesn’t matter what degrees I have or what job I hold.  It doesn’t matter that we live 45 minutes away from our families or that we have an incredibly long commute to work.  What matters is that we have a life that is perfect for us.   Each night, I make a conscious decision to live in the moment, to stop thinking, to stop worrying, and to start enjoying the life we have right now and to give thanks for it all.

What Being A Mom Looks Like | 52 Weeks of Blogging With A Purpose

I originally thought that this post would be an easy one to write!  I had a ton of ideas running through my mind, yet every time I have tried to write this post, I couldn’t seem to get the words right.  How do you put into words what being a Mom look like?   It’s the hardest, yet most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  It is constantly evolving and I am always trying to better myself as a person and as a mother.

Being a Mom can sometimes look…

Stressed: Being a Mom comes with tremendous responsibility and worry.  You constantly think through your every move when it comes to your child and when you think you’ve made a decision, you second guess yourself again.   It’s a vicious cycle.  If you’re not worried about whether they weigh enough, are tall enough or if they are meeting milestones, you are worried about how many times they’ve pooped for the day (is it too often or not often enough?), if they’re eating healthy enough, or if you are being the best parent that you can be.  It’s a constant worry…so yes, sometimes I looked stressed.

Messy:  Sometimes as a Mom I look messy.  Some days, it’s because there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.  Some days, a pony tail and little to no make up become my wardrobe.  Even on the days that I put effort in to getting ready and looking nice, it never takes long to get messy.  From a random sneeze, to messy hands, to the face wiped on my shirt – even on my best days, I still feel messy!    Let’s not even talk about how messy the house can seem now that someone scatters toys from one end of the house to the other.

Frustrated: Whether it’s because of the screaming that ensues from our 40 minute ride home (I repeat – 40 minutes of screaming!) or because plans always seem to change, sometimes being a Mom means looking frustrated. Although I willingly put my family first and their needs ahead of mine, it doesn’t mean that it’s not frustrating at times.  There are jobs that I would love to have, but refuse to take because of the hours or the time I would spend away from my family.  There are appointments that are missed because my little one needs me more.   The dream job, the night’s out or the hair color and cut will have to wait until another day…but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel frustrated.

But even with all of the dressed down, second guessing, frustrating days, more often than not, I look…

In Love: This may be the one constant out of all of them.  Being a Mom means being so in love!  Just when I thought that our little family was perfect with just Brian and I, I can’t imagine my life without McKenzie in it.  It now feels complete and whole.  I often look at her and stare in awe of the little person that Brian and I have created.  I could hold her and kiss her cheeks for hours.  My heart could literally explode with the love that I feel for her.

Proud:  Being a Mom means being proud…always…for the tiniest of things.  Of course we are proud when she does something new or accomplishes something great, but we’re always proud.  From learning how toys work, to new words, to climbing the stairs, I’m proud.  It’s the little things though as well.  I’m proud of her when she understands the way life works – like when I take away her new Magna Doodle to clear the screen for her and she understands that I’m not taking it away for good, but rather to assist her.  It’s not a huge step, but I’m proud nonetheless.  It’s a moment that tells me that she’s growing, and maturing, and understanding the world around her a little better each day.

Exhilarated: Watching McKenzie grow and become her own little person is exhilarating.  It makes all of the challenging moments seem worthwhile.  It’s an instant boost to your Mom morale…like you’re actually doing something right.  Being a Mom makes the world seem a little better.  Seeing the world through McKenzie’s eyes gives me a deeper sense of purpose and place in this crazy world we live in!

Grateful: By far, I consider McKenzie to be my greatest accomplishment to date.  I am thankful to have been given a beautiful healthy daughter and that God has blessed me with the responsibility of being her Mom.   Regardless of what being a Mom looks like, I am always thankful and happy that I can call myself, McKenzie’s Mom.   Even on the toughest of days, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Happy:  The happiness I feel is intense.  I smile more and laugh more as a Mom.  With McKenzie, I am in my element.  I swear McKenzie and I have a secret bond.  I can just look at her and she laughs.  Then I laugh and the harder I laugh, the harder she laughs.  It’s the most adorable thing in the world.  Some days, I can make a silly sound and she’ll go crazy.  If Brian makes the same sound, she just stares at him.  It’s just not as funny.  It breaks his heart that she makes him work so hard for things, but it’s also kind of cute.  Cute that her and I have this secret thing…that we can laugh for no reason at all…and that…makes me so happy!

Being a Mom ultimately means being all of the above and then some!  I may be one or all of these at once.  It’s a toss-up, but that’s what makes motherhood such an adventure and a challenge.  I am looking forward to everything else motherhood has in store for me.

5 on Friday

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

One.
I miss my husband!  He’s been out-of-town for the week and I am going crazy!  Not because I can’t handle McKenzie, but because I miss him.  I miss us.  The house feels empty without him.  It’s just not the same.  I absolutely can’t wait for him to get home!

Two.
I am stronger than I realize! McKenzie and I spend lots of time together with just the two of us, due to Brian’s schedule.  I never doubted that I could handle this week, but yet I did.  When I’ve done it in the past, Brian has only been a phone call away.  I always had a safety  net.  This week made me nervous because I don’t have him nearby.  He’s not even in a nearby state!  I managed though. Seriously though, how could you not love this kid?!

Three.
I am so looking forward to the long weekend!  It’s going to be fabulous, even if the weather isn’t going to be the greatest!  It’s time to spend doing fun things with my loves!

Four.
It’s been an emotional week with lots of ups and downs on all fronts. Thought this was appropriate! Well said, sir.  Well said.

Five.
I had my very first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks yesterday.  I’m now officially ready for the Fall.  Although normally not available until September, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, if you give the code PSL 10, you can have one now!  You’re welcome!

That’s it for this Friday!  Have a great weekend!