When my daughter was born, I was happy, excited and terrified! My little girl kept me busy. She was active, loved to play, and was the funniest little person I have ever met. Having another child scared me. Even though my daughter was fun, I couldn’t imagine being able to handle another one. I’m a teacher, used to managing a classroom of 30 students, but when it’s your own kids who are with you 24-7, the prospect of two is a little daunting. My husband finally convinced me to try and my son was born in July of last year. Llama and Dude are 4 1/2 years apart. I thought the age gap would be perfect. Llama would be a little more self-sufficient which would leave me with more time to focus on the baby’s needs. Cue laughter here. Sometimes, my two kids are hard and sometimes they are joyously fun and easy. Here are some things I have learned in the past year about having two. 1. They are very different from each other. My daughter liked to sit and play with her toys as an infant. She would bang on her crocodile piano contentedly or sit in her high chair while I made dinner. My son is into everything! His favorite activity when I am in the kitchen is to open up one of the bottom drawers and take out the bread hook and some other foreign part for our stand mixer, and use these both as hammers on our white tile. He then crawls into the living room, raids his sister’s stash of colored pencils, crawls back into the kitchen with colored pencil in hand and proceeds to draw on the floor. He’s only 10 months old! Man, I am in for it when he turns 2. As another example of how different they are, right now, Llama is on the floor reading a book. Dude is digging through my office trash can face first. 2. They will keep each other happy… at times. When I am grocery shopping with my son, he usually lasts about 10 minutes in the cart before he is squirming out and wants me to hold him. The next 20 minutes of my shopping trip usually consist of me holding Dude in one arm and maneuvering my shopping cart with the other. Sometimes, Dude pretends he’s Superman and tries to push the cart as well. Now that my daughter is off of school, she comes shopping with us. We get a car cart and it is utter bliss. Seriously. They play with each other and laugh a lot. Other shoppers in the store usually stop and comment on how cute and well behaved they are. Know that this is only a moment in time and my kids seem to really dig “car cart” shopping. 3. I usually have to protect my youngest from my oldest. Nothing sums this up better than a drive we took about 2 weeks after Dude was born. […]
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Invisalign. However, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. One of the reasons that I love teaching fifth graders so much is that I get to usher kids through school at such a socially complicated age. Not only do kids have increased pressure about grades, but their friendships are changing along with their bodies which throws everyone for a loop. I see kids either withdraw or become horribly mean people at this age. I was the former. Middle school was rough for me. Not only did I seem to gain twenty pounds once puberty hit, but one of my orthodontist checkups delivered some unwelcome news. I had braces put on in when I was in the fourth grade. I loved them for the two years that I had them. I loved picking different colored rubber bands each month. I loved the extra attention each month gave me when I got them tightened and needed to take some Tylenol for mouth pain. I loved finally getting them off at the beginning of sixth grade and having perfectly straight teeth. My doctor gave me a retainer and told me to wear it. I didn’t wear it. In the middle of seventh grade, my orthodontist put the braces back on. So in addition to already feeling self conscious, I now had a smile that I wasn’t thrilled about. Most of my photos from that age look like this: Or this: Now that I have kids I think about how my husband and I will handle teeth straightening for them… and I know they will need it. Thankfully, there are options now that require no metal mouth. I recently attended an event where I learned more about Invisalign, which straightens teeth without the traditional wires or brackets. Invisalign treatment consists of a series of clear aligners, perfectly shaped to straighten your teeth, and are removable. There is also an Invisalign made especially for pre-teens and teens called Invisalign Teen. I remember that flossing with braces was a huge chore (and I seldom did it). Since Invisalign Teen is removable, brushing and flossing are easy and there are no food restrictions (bring on the gum!). As I mentioned above, I had a huge problem wearing my retainer. I worry, as a mom, that if my daughter had Invisalign, she wouldn’t wear her aligners and I wouldn’t be able to tell. This is actually a myth! Here’s why: Invisalign Teen aligners are made with small blue dots, officially called compliance indicators, that gradually fade as aligners are worn. It’s a quick visual check for parents and teens to confirm they wearing aligners long enough to get results. In fact, clinical data from orthodontists confirms that teens wear their aligners an average of 21 hours per day, just as recommended. I was also surprised to find out that Invisalign Teen is covered by most dental insurance policies- just like traditional braces – up to 50% of the cost may […]
Activity 3 If you don’t have time for anything else this summer, read! READ READ READ I can’t say it enough. The more trips you take to the library, the more likely your child is to eventually start picking out books they enjoy. For instance, my oldest Biggie, hates to sit down for any duration of time to read. When I take him to the library to pick his own SpongeBob books he is less reluctant to fight me on it.
I am not one who likes to feel rushed. Now that Mother’s Day is over (and after the spectacular job that my husband did with it), I immediately start thinking about what to do for him for Father’s Day. Perhaps, you’re in the same boat. Have no fear, here is a list of simple, but thoughtful crafts for your kiddos (and some for you) to make for Dad:
Rows of desks. Colorful supplies. White dry erase board covering the walls. I love the classroom. But I’m not quite ready to go back full time. So… I signed up to be a sub. Once a week, my cell phone wakes me up at 5:30am where an automated voice offers me a job. I usually accept the first job I am offered. I view subbing as an adventure to experience new schools and grade levels. Anything goes.
“Mama, can we go to fro-yo, tonight?” Oh, how I wish we could go get frozen yogurt every night. (Frankly, I sometimes do after my daughter has gone to bed.) However, as a parent, I can’t justify letting my child eat that many sweets. I am a self-proclaimed sugar-aholic. I don’t want my daughter to have the same weight issues I did as I struggled to gain control over my sweet tooth. That’s why this dessert is fantastic. Ice Cream in a Blender! However, it is not ice cream in the traditional sense. All you need for this recipe is bananas and milk. There is no added sugar whatsoever. This recipe takes a little prep work, so you will need to plan a day ahead of time. First, take a bunch of bananas that are just starting to turn brown. Peel each banana and break it into chunks. Place these chunks in a plastic Ziploc freezer bag and freeze. I plan for at least one banana per person. Let freeze at least 24 hours. Place frozen bananas in a blender and pour in 1/2 cup of milk to start. Blend. If the bananas get stuck and you hear a whirring noise from unmoving blender blades, stop the blender, stir with a long spoon to dislodge the bananas and add a little more milk. Keep doing this until you have a consistency that looks like this: Scoop out banana ice cream using an ice cream scoop. We like to top ours with a few chocolate chips, a little bit of chocolate syrup or some peanut butter. This ice cream is creamy and delicious and doesn’t have a strong banana flavor. I recommend eating the entire batch because it does not taste as good if stored in a freezer – a strong banana flavor is present. Whenever my daughter asks for banana ice cream, I’m happy to oblige. And my husband is a pretty big fan as well.
My daughter hasn’t been absent very much from school. In fact, I’ve only had to call the attendance line a couple of times. When I dial attendance, I am greeted with a lengthy message detailing all of the information I need to give for my absent child: name, teacher’s name, date of absence, reason for absence, blood type… ok, not the blood type. While these directions would be easy to follow for any normal human being, when I call in, it’s because there is something wrong with my kid. This causes me stress and my brain goes a bit crazy under stress.
What do you do when you can’t call in sick as a mommy? I fear I have contracted the flu on one of the busiest weekends in months. It’s my second sons 3rd birthday (YAY!) and I always take the boys for a special trip for their birthday. This year we went to Connect 5 (stay tuned for a detailed post) and we had a birthday party today. Tomorrow is Water Day at church.
My daughter, Llama, has been exceedingly patient in having a new brother. Every day, when she comes home from school, we have a routine. She unpacks her backpack, removes her homework folder and starts working at the kitchen table while I put Dude down for a nap. Dude is only 9-months old, so I nurse him to sleep in our guest room which is right above our garage. This process involves me laying down on the bed with him and not being able to move or talk for about 15-minutes. This took some practice with my daughter, but she has learned to be very quiet and not call out for me during that time. I usually park my car in the garage, but currently, we are trying to sell our entertainment center. This large piece of wood furniture was located in our upstairs bedroom, but to make it easier for our potential buyer, we moved it into my space in the garage. Thus, I’m parking outside.
When I was a kid, I used to sign up for classes through Tucson Parks and Recreation. I did ballet, tap dance, acting, piano, magic, painting, baton twirling, babysitting, pottery, self defense, gymnastics… you name it, and I probably took a class in it. As I became an adult, I found less and less time to pursue those types of leisure activities. Now, with two young kids, its almost impossible to leave the house. Having young children is rough and neither my husband nor I like to have two kids by ourselves during the bedtime hour. Very difficult. However, I miss learning the fun skills that let me pursue new artistic ventures. Those classes gave me an outlet to express myself as well as accumulate a ton of random interesting hobbies and skills (I actually switched to private baton lessons for a little while). Since my schedule is pretty tight for the time being, I’ve found my creative inspiration in Craftsy. If you haven’t checked out Craftsy.com and are arts-and-crafts inclined, I suggest you take a look. The site has a wide variety of video lessons to choose from. Everything from sewing and drawing to cooking and… jewelry! I’m refining my jewelry skills through a class on Craftsy right now by learning how to work with wire. So far, my teacher on Craftsy has taught me how to wire-wrap top-drilled stones which is how I made these lovely earrings: And used the same elements in the design of this necklace: Also, I learned how to create the nifty wire circles that appear in these earrings. Look for a Whimsicle necklace that uses that wire circle soon. All of these items are available for sale as well 🙂 Classes range anywhere from $15 to $50. The class includes materials lists, step-by-step beautifully produced videos and access to the instructor and other students. The online class hosts its very own online community where students can post pictures of their work and ask questions. Best of all, the video lessons are available to you forever. If you need to re-watch something to remind yourself of how its done, you can. If you are looking for a new hobby but can’t find the time to take a class, I definitely recommend Craftsy. If you end up enrolling in a class, let me know! Especially let me know if its good so I can add it to my wish list. I’m a little addicted.