Shifting Focus

posted on: Wednesday, March 22

We've all heard it before. Being a Mom is a full-time job. Personally I find it very hard to shift the focus back on myself and not the full-on Mom version of myself. Does that make sense? If not I'll blame it on my fuzzy Mom brain and 2 a.m. feedings with a certain little nugget of cuteness. What I'm trying to get at is that it is so so so important to have that "me" time. And we definitely don't get enough of it, mostly because there just aren't enough hours in the day. So hubby and I have decided to try and commit to giving one another that much-needed time to do whatever the heck it is that we want, more often. We have three rules. 1. Forget all chores! So if I decide to out for a couple of hours by myself and I happen to be driving by the grocery store, I'm not allowed to go in. Or if the kids are asleep and there's a pile of laundry to be folded sometimes we just need to ignore it. 2. Be Screen Free. I think this is the most important rule. Me time cannot involve scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or our phones. Period. No explanation needed. 3. Stay on Budget. We recently started a cash envelope system (more on this to come!) and as amazing as it would be to run and get a massage once a week, we need to be realistic here. This also helps us to focus on the little things we enjoy that we used to be able to do (pre-kids) whenever we wanted. For example, read a book or go for a run!

So far, it's been amazing. Even if it's just an hour here or there, being able to focus on ourselves for just a little bit helps keep our family life healthier. As much as I love my Mom-self, it's nice to focus on my whole-self instead. Dads, I'm talking to you too! 

On the Farm

posted on: Tuesday, February 28

A little over a week ago, during a snow day, we decided to head to our favorite farm to visit our favorite friends Maggie, Kathy and Princess. Actually we just met them that day BUT we'll take any excuse to get out of the house these days. Hornstra Farms is local to us and we LOVE them! Not just for the fresh, local and delicious milk, eggs and bread we get delivered to our home — but also for the farm store, ice cream and cows, of course. We particularly love visiting the baby cows in the barn and in the summer you'll find us getting ice cream at the stand. But if you're looking for a fun way to kick those winter blues and get out of the house we highly recommend a stop in. And if you haven't heard about their delivery service check it out! When we want to treat ourselves we get the chocolate milk (a-ma-zing!) and the cinnamon loaf bread. So gooooood!

A Sleep Update

posted on: Wednesday, February 15

For all the parents out there who have been sleep deprived I'm sending you virtual hugs! For all the parents whose children have slept through the night since only a few weeks old and have two plus hour naps all day every day, I want to BE you! Seriously, if you are the latter congratulations on hitting the child jackpot but the next time you have a conversation with a sleep deprived parent and they ask how your child is sleeping, lie to them and then give them a big hug! I'm fairly certain every parent has been sleep deprived at some point. It ain't fun. In fact it is simply the worst in my opinion because it is a physical and emotional process to go through. You can read about our sleep problems with Sydney in this post. In fact, it was almost a year ago that I wrote that post. 

Now we're onto baby number two and if I'm telling the truth I think I have post traumatic stress from trying to tackle naps with Sydney. I get anxious just thinking about a nap schedule for Brayden and despite the fact that he is most certainly my chill baby and exhibits no signs of "I will not nap for you ever" I can't help it. Hubby and I have a great routine down for Brayden at night. It's a team effort and I thank my lucky stars that my husband is right by my side whenever our little guy does wake up. It isn't simply on me to get up and feed him and get him back to sleep and just knowing that I have backup if/when I need it is pretty amazing. BUT we're actually not here to talk about our two month old and how he sleeps (he sleeps awesome, by the way!) No, we are still here talking about Sydney who is now a little over two years old! Say whaaaaat? She still sleeps in her crib (woot woot!) and she was sleeping through the night fairly regularly and napping well for some time. She went through some pretty normal regressions and had a stage where she was scared of things and would call out to us but other than that we were doing well! Towards the end of my pregnancy I think she knew something was up. Things were going to change and I think a little jealousy set in. She started waking up a few times a night requesting back rubs or hugs or even just to talk about something totally random. She was stalling and making excuses for us to come in. And how do you refuse when they cry to you for a hug??? Ohhhh it's so hard. But once Brayden was born waking up any more than we already had to was simply out of the question. We were zombies. He would eat every few hours and then Sydney would call to us and wake us in between. Not to mention SHE wasn't getting as much sleep as she needed. So, enter the sleep chart.

Now Sydney thrives on routine. And she loves to please. She also loves to be rewarded for good behavior. So I designed a sleep chart after doing some reading. She got a gold star for every good night of sleep where she didn't call out to us. We explained that we don't come into her room at night unless something is wrong and we picked a reward to work towards together. The first week she had a couple of nights where she still called out to us and cried. We would go in and explain that she wouldn't be getting her gold star if she cried for things like hugs or water (she has a cup of water by her bed and she would ask for more even when it was full). She realllly wanted those gold stars and we made a BIG deal out of putting them on her chart every morning that she had good sleep. After her first week of good sleeping we took her to Friendly's for ice cream (the reward that she chose!) and we made a huge deal out of it. It was a special lunch date with her own big ice cream sundae and she was thrilled! AND she knew she earned it by sleeping well and putting herself back to sleep if she woke up. The second week she didn't call out to us at all. She got a new Peppa Pig book as a reward. The third week her reward simply became putting the gold stars on the chart. It was now a part of our routine. We phased out the "big rewards" and she's been sleeping like a champ! But she still loves those gold stars! 

Since we were so successful with our chart I posted it on my Etsy shop as a downloadable file. For anyone who is interested, see below. We also have a Zazu Kids Sleep Sheep and Sydney has always slept with a Noise Machine. Lastly, if you're a sleep deprived parent in any way, hang in there and know that you're not alone!! Someday we will look back on this and wish with all our hearts that we could rewind or be called for a hug in the middle of the night! XO

Red Velvet Valentine's Cookies

posted on: Monday, February 13

If you're in need of a last minute Valentine's gift I'm a big fan of homemade, quick and EASY! (I made them while the kiddos were napping.) These Red Velvet Cutout cookies are de-lish! And if I can incorporate a flamingo into anything I'm doing you know I will. I used this Flamingo Cookie Cutter. Happy Valentine's Day! We'll be handing these out to all (five) of Sydney's little friends. I tried but couldn't think of more. A two year old's rolodex can only be so big. Come to think of it mine isn't so different. We like a small tribe, I guess. Find the recipe below and enjoy! XO

Red Velvet Cutout Cookies:
1 cup butter softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2t baking powder
2 eggs
1T liquid red food coloring
1t vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
powdered sugar for decorating/icing 

1. Beat butter on medium for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa, baking powder and 1/2 t salt. 
2. Beat until combined. Add eggs, food coloring and vanilla. Beat in flour with mixer. Stir in remaining flour if mixer can't handle. Divide dough in half and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a floured surface roll half the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut shapes. Place cutouts on uncreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 6 to 7 minutes until edges are firm. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Then decorate!

Bump to Baby - A Photoshoot

posted on: Thursday, February 9

I am FINALLY getting around to posting our baby photos! Or posting at all, really but Brayden is here and we've just gotten into a little routine so, here you go! When I was pregnant with Brayden I pretty much begged my husband to do a photoshoot with Renee Walston Photography. She is local to us and her photos are absolutely dreamy. I came across her images via an old friend on Facebook and I swooned over her work for months! I talked about it enough that I think I finally talked my husband's ear off and he agreed that this would be a worthwhile investment since this could be (gasp) the last time I am pregnant. I'm telling you right now, I KNOW I will get baby fever again but we're pretty certain that we'll be a family of four. So it was important to us to capture this fleeting time! Renee brought us to the most beautiful location on a balmy evening back in September to capture my ever-growing bump. It was such a fun night. We had a little picnic with Sydney and it felt like we were in a wooded fairytale. Sydney was so good and when we got the images back I cried. Pregnancy hormones aside they were just stunning. When Brayden was born we brought him into Renee's studio and she worked her magic again. I still don't know how she posed him so perfectly and capturing he and Sydney together, my Mama heart just about explodes every time I look through the images.