Dear Life… Letters from a Tired Mama

Today, I am choosing to write letters of “concern” to the areas of my life in which I am struggling. Think of it as the angry holiday shopper, who is being rude to the store employee’s, demanding something or other at customer service and who is voicing their concern…loud and clear!  Yep…that’s me! That’s where I am!

 

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Dear Daylight Savings,
Give me my baby back!  I can’t solely blame it on you, but I will.  Ever since you appeared, McKenzie fails to sleep past 5:45 a.m.  We’ve been uber productive recently, but that’s because we’re up, fed,  and dressed all before 7.  Give me back my baby that used to sleep until 8:30/9.

Dear Sleep Regression,
I want my baby back as well!  You know…the one who used to sleep soundly throughout the night. This tired Mom needs a break.  I need the baby that would sleep 12 plus hours.  Not the one who now finds it fun to wake up any time between 1 and 3 each night to check in on me. The toddler that likes to be rocked, but refuses to fall back to sleep until 4:30, when my alarm goes off at 5.  At that point, if I’m lucky, I can get dressed in peace.  Most mornings, I have a sidekick. Drying and styling your hair with one hand (because someone needs to be held) is a fine art.   I’m begging, let my toddler sleep!

Dear Molars,
I believe you are breaking through.  I also believe that you are working hand-in-hand with Daylight Savings and Sleep Regression.  It’s not nice to gang up on people.  I don’t have solid proof of your arrival, (because checking could mean possibly having one less finger – due to a crazy toddler chomping down) yet I believe that you are here.  You, my friend, are a part of her moodiness and sleepless nights.  Just show up already so we can be done with this whole teething thing.  It seems as though you are also friends with Karma…because we basically survived all other teething sessions without incident yet somehow you want to really drive the point home with this one.

Dear Tantrum Throwing 19-Month Old,
Mommy loves you so much, but I’ve had enough.  I’m so thankful that you are a healthy and independent little person.  I love that you have found your voice, but the constant screams of “Stop!” and the screaming every time you don’t get your way has to stop.  You’ve made your point.  You’re mad.  I get it.  I still doesn’t change the fact that you have to get in to the car seat to get home.  Now let’s move on, so we can end our day – at home and preferably happy!

Dear Husband,
Thank you for sharing the duties with me and getting up with McKenzie in the middle of the night.  You’re probably doing this more for your own safety, because you’d truly have a crazy person to live with if not…but nonetheless, I’m thankful.

And in the true spirit of the holiday season…

Dear God,
Thank you for giving me McKenzie.  I’ll take the sleep deprived nights, the tantrums and the fits, because that means that I am blessed.  Please give me the strength and patience, and maybe even a few more hours (or minutes) of sleep each night.  Amen.

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The Thankful Project: Day 25 – Something You Know

After cutting down our Christmas tree and decorating with a toddler this weekend, I learned a lot.  Who would have thought the lesson would have been taught by a toddler?

Let me back up.  This weekend, we spent Saturday cutting down our Christmas tree.  It’s a tradition that Brian and I have done every year.   Last year, Kenzie was just 6 months old and I carried her in the baby carrier.  Let me tell you, much easier!

family 3

Tree Farm 2012

This year, we have a 18 month old who has more determination and will to do things her way than most adults I know.  Honestly!  We arrived at the tree farm and had a slight melt-down early on because we were making her wear a hat.  Once we were over that, things were smooth sailing…until they told us the tractor that takes you to where the trees are, wasn’t up and running.

“OK”, we thought, “we’ll walk it.  It can’t be that hard.”  Again, naive parent’s here.  McKenzie wanted to walk the gravel road herself.   She wanted to walk it at her pace and if you attempted to pick her up, then she would lose her mind.

trail

See the tree on the upper left side of the screen? The one at the top? That’s where we walked to!

The whole tree experience, that should have taken 30 minutes from start to finish, ended up taking 2 hours.  When we finally reach where the trees were, she had a melt-down because she didn’t want to walk in the grass.  She wanted to stay on the gravel road.

melt

Melt-Down

We finally found the perfect tree and cut it down.  We figured she’d be tired and would want to be carried on the walk back.  Again…we were wrong.  She walked the entire gravel path back.

bri tree

Our tree 2013

I wish I had a way to track how far this little girl walked.  It was easily 3 miles.  She never gave up.  She never quit.  She just kept walking, as fast as her little legs could carry her.

So you know what I know?  Toddlers…they can teach you a lot.  Like how to slow down, to enjoy the moment, to take your time and to really appreciate the things that you are doing, because if we hadn’t, we would have missed the opportunity to capture such gorgeous pictures – the lake, the green trees and the sky.

family

Tree Farm 2013

I’m really thankful.

 

thankful project titleI’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

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

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

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

A Weekend to Remember

I love weekends!  They are a chance to unwind, reset, accomplish tasks, to have fun and spend time with the ones you love. Some weekends are epic and this would be one of them!

We started off the weekend by sleeping in!  Kenzie slept until 9, which was glorious.  Brian and I both had a chance to get up and run, shower and be ready for McKenzie long before she made her first peep.  We enjoyed breakfast and then spent the rest of the morning setting up McKenzie’s new toddler bed!  She was so excited and insisted on being in the mix to help!  We kept telling her that this was her Big Girl Bed and she would giggle each time we said it.

By the time we finished putting it all together, it was nap time.  I honestly thought we would have a fight on our hands, but she pointed to her bed, I put her in it and kissed her forehead and off to sleep she went.  For all of the anxiety I had leading up to it, she did great!

So excited for her Big Girl Bed!

So excited for her Big Girl Bed!

After a nap, we went to the local circus.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I guess I expected a few juggling acts and clowns and a short performance.  I was blown away! The show lasted an hour and a half and included acrobats, jugglers, clowns, dogs and camels!  It was done really well and kept McKenzie’s attention the entire time!

I am emotional on a good day, but it literally brought tears to my eyes to see how excited she was and how happy this made her.  It’s moments like these that make all of the tough Mom moments worthwhile.

After the show, we went grocery shopping for the week and McKenzie was an angel!  We stopped home, unpacked the groceries and then headed over to a friend’s for dinner.  It was a great night for the adults and fun for the kids as well.  There are three kids total ranging from 18 months to 15 months.  Everyone had a blast!

Sunday morning was a lazy morning.  Brian and I slept in until 8 and McKenzie slept in until 10!  I couldn’t even believe it!  Brian and I cleaned and organized the house before McKenzie woke up.  We went to brunch and had a great morning together.

During afternoon nap time, I had a chance to reorganize my upcoming blog posts, organize pictures and upload the new logos!  I love the new look that the logos give the site!  Now to just keep writing!

This evening, my sister, Kyle and my Mom stopped by so that we could celebrate my sister and Kyle’s recent engagement!  We had dinner together and celebrated with champagne and dessert from a local bakery!    My sister is so excited!  It’s nice to see her so happy.  I wish her and Kyle all the best as they choose to start their lives together.

It was quite a weekend to say the least with much to celebrate!  Great family, big milestones, fun times with friends, memorable moments and exciting news to celebrate!

Here’s hoping that having such an amazing weekend sets me up for an even more focused and incredible week!

HeartbeatsandLittleFeet-MeganPinkSignature

5 on Friday

One.
I know it’s still August, but the cooler weather has gotten me in the mood for Fall and the holidays.  I may or may not have been Pinning this…and looking for Christmas card photo ideas.

Two.
I’m working really hard on being healthy – on eating right, on exercising more, on intentionally making the time to do so.  It’s not always easy, but I’m working on it.

fruit

Three.
We plan on purchasing this in the very near future.  So many mixed emotions because she’s not our tiny little baby any longer. What age did you switch you baby from a crib to a toddler bed?

Bed

Four.
There is currently a no kissing, no hugging, no hand-holding rule in place at our house.  McKenzie will not allow Brian and I to do it!   If I lay my head on Brian’s shoulder or lean in to kiss him, she will run over from wherever she is in the room and physically separate us.  She will wedge herself in between us and push one of us away.  It’s a toss-up as to who she pushes away.  I guess it depends on who she likes more that day!

Five.
We’re currently in a Wonder Week. For those of you without children, a Wonder Week is when nothing you do is right and there is a melt-down about everything.  They say it’s caused by their brains growing and neurons firing, but I call it maddening.  It take the strength of Wonder Woman not to lose your mind during this time!

I’m currently reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp.  So far, I’m not very good at any of it.   Any tips on what to do about the constant meltdowns?  Part of me wants to ignore them and not draw any attention (both positive and negative) to them, but I also don’t want her thinking that this is acceptable.  Moms…feel free to help!

Not McKenzie, but similar to how every night this week as been!

Not McKenzie, but similar to how every night this week as been!

That it’s for 5 on Friday!  Have a great weekend!