Poems and Creatives, Uncategorized

Today Being A Mom Was…

 

… being single

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making a fourth trip upstairs during the bedtime routine

neither kid eating the dinner I made

 

little girl snuggling in my arms

 

watching each kid smack their head in rapid succession

watching little girl happily transfer pom-poms from one box to another

playing fart games for 30 minutes straight to delight little boy

trying to engage little boy in coloring without success

dealing with tantrums at the store

reading Corduroy to fascinated kids

holding constipated kids while they cried and screamed

heading to Walgreens in the dark for emergency suppositories

biting grapes in half to share with little girl

knowing that the sacrifice of love was being given and praising the Lord for that.

Galatians 6:9- Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

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blogging, Uncategorized

5 Mistakes I’ve [already] Made as a New Blogger

…and how you can avoid them!

Have you ever heard the advice to Google “top 10 things I wish I’d known before I started ____?” before you begin a new venture? Before starting my blog, I did that and more. I still made mistakes. Big mistakes! Here are the top five mistakes I wish I would have seen before beginning my blog. I hope they will help new and aspiring bloggers!

  1. Using Outdated Information. Old-computer

Starting out I knew there was a huge amount of blog information I didn’t know. I thought my best defense against research-fatigue was to limit the info I allowed myself to be exposed to. I bought a book on blogging, read it cover to cover, and determined that I would only implement it before researching further.

Well, my book was from 2012.  Pinterest was still by invitation only! Five years has made a world of difference in the blogging world. Even 5 weeks can make a significant difference! I underestimated the internet’s rapidity of change. Almost nothing in my book ended up being relevant after I really got going!

2. Being Afraid of Technology Technology-Fear

Again, as a newbie, I knew how limited my knowledge of tech was. The world of email listserves, self-hosted websites, graphic design, etc. scared me and I tried to blog without learning about them. Well, mistake number two! All those things are non-negotiable. It’s better just to bite the bullet and embrace the learning curve!

3. Misunderstanding Audience

In my naïveté, I assumed people would read my blog to be entertained and because they appreciated my writing. That may be partially true. However, I’ve come to realize that people are generally online for one reason: to solve a problem. I was writing to express myself, but not solve any one else’s problems. If I wanted the blog to go anywhere, this had to reverse.

4. Overestimating the Role of Personal Stories news.php

I love to write narratives and anecdotes. But, contrary to what I thought before, they are not a viable blog end-product. The stories in themselves are not really what the blogging community is all about, especially not the monetized blogging community. Stories are valuable and personal aspects of something larger. 

5. Confusing Passion and Experience

The things we are most experienced with aren’t necessarily the things we’re most passionate about. I’m very experienced with laundry, but it’s not my passion. In the world of parenthood and childhood one of the things I am most passionate about is books. I need to find a way to incorporate that passion into my blogging instead of feeling pigeonholed by what a mom blog “should” or “should not” have.

If you ever want to start a blog I hope that this list of mistakes might help. If you’ve already been blogging for a while, what are some of the mistakes you’ve made? How have you remedied them? I know I still have SO much learning to do! 

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share! Pin it to your Pinterest board of choice or share it on Facebook. I’m grateful for EVERY share! 

dazzle

Illness

Sickness, You Will Not Win!

5 things that help in sickness

 

Remember being pregnant and getting advice from people right and left? I remember a lot of advice about sleeping, crying, soothing, but not much about dealing with sick kids. 

 I thought having a sick kid would mean snuggling on the couch watching movies and sipping water (for him) and coffee (for me). Holy cow, was I wrong! 

A sick child is hard. Hard, hard, hard. They cry constantly. They can’t tell you what’s wrong. They cling to you longer than you ever thought possible. 

I’ve found  plenty of recommendations for treating kids’ symptoms (Nose Frida, anyone?!); But I’ve found that even after the nose is suctioned or the puking slows you still have a child who is desperately miserable and desperately helpless.

That is the position I wasn’t prepared for. 

A sick kid doesn’t just have physical symptoms, they have distress, fear, frustration, insecurity, etc. that they are looking to you to solve 24/7. 

They don’t make Advil for that. They don’t even make coffee strong enough for that! 

By the grace of God, this last course of illness was just a tad bit better. I tried some new tricks that were outside of my box.

The overarching difference was that I focused on my sick little boy’s heart and spirit rather than just the physical symptoms.  Even after the fever broke he was still too exhausted to entertain himself. Even after the headache improved he was scared about what was happening in his body. These emotions are where I turned my focus: 

  1. Get a “New” Bed. We switched his pillow to the opposite side and rearranged the sheets. He loved it! In his mind, this was as good as a brand new bed. 
  2. A Changed Change of Environment. In addition to his go-to lounging locations (his bed and the couch) I let him lay in my bed. Since he had not done this before the novelty made it a success! 
  3. Taking Away the Timer. We always use a timer when he plays the iPad. I made a big show of not turning the timer on and it felt so luxurious and special that it noticeably brightened his spirits.
  4. Entertaining Whims. Arguing saps the energy of parent and child. So this round of illness I tried to reasonably indulge Axel’s whims rather than fighting them. When he was convinced he needed ice cream, I drove us to McDonald’s, ordered a kid’s $0.25 kid’s cone, and waited as he rejected it. However, it saved us an energy sapping argument and had virtually no financial impact (I found the quarter in the car), and convinced him that he didn’t want the ice cream after all. Win, win, win.
  5. Let Them Be Helpful. Kids like to be helpful just like adults. When they’re sick, it can easily become all about the parent helping them. However, as easy and natural as this is, I found that letting Axel feel like he was helping was very encouraging to his little spirit. One evening, Ben was helping me in the kitchen while Axel cried for company. After Ben finished, I whispered to him to go tell Axel “thank you for letting me help mommy. That was helpful of you!” He did, and Axel seemed proud and pleased. He had helped mommy!
  6. The Lord’s Sustaining Power. I realized I needed to help Axel realize that we should pray for God to heal and sustain him instead of just praying it for him. Of all the tips here I failed most at this. But it’s so important to show them that none of us are sufficient on our own. Even, or rather especially, at three.

I hope at least one of these tips resonated with you or got you thinking about different methods to try when you’re own child is sick. It’s not an easy thing, we need all the help we can get from the Lord and from each other! Let me know what you’ve found most helpful during times of sickness; I’d love to hear!

PS. I’m working on creating a condensed PDF of the tips in this post….but the learning curve is steep and time is short! LOL!

logic, Reflecting, Teaching, Vocabulary

You’re a Medium Boy! Hooray!

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I got backed into a corner by my own logic this week. One of my go-to strategies for explaining to Axel why he can or can’t do something is by telling him how “big” or “little” he is.

“Here’s your new bed, you’re a big boy now!”

“You don’t need a binky, you’re a big boy now!”

“You can’t drive your car in the street; you are too little!”

“You can’t drink mommy’s wine; little boys can’t drink wine.” (true story)

Now, this logic has gradually been backfiring as he’s caught on that we call him both big and little depending on the circumstance. And, as I *try to* look at it from his point of view, yes, it does seem a bit inconsistent! This came to a head yesterday when I had to scold him for taking off down the sidewalk in his power wheels, alone.

Me: “Axel! You can’t drive on the sidewalk without mommy! That’s very dangerous! You are too little!”

Axel: “Ok. If I’m a little boy than a little boy gets a binky.”

Bam. Cornered. So, instead of trying to navigate the waters of, “you’re too little to drive on the sidewalk but big enough for a new bed… and too big for a binky, etc.” I decided that it was time to coin a new term.

Axel, you’re a MEDIUM BOY!

It worked. Not like magic, but well enough that he accepts it. We definitely had used size descriptors too many times and the credibility was breaking down in his mind. Now, he is a medium boy, and to him that means:

-no pacifier

-he sleeps in a real bed

-he needs to drink less milk and eat more food

-he can walk up the stairs himself.

I’m sure this label will also be outgrown soon, but for now it’s totally working for us. I should probably starting thinking now about what’s going to come between medium and big…..

Movies, Reflecting, Vocabulary

You Say “Errand” I Say…

pigletsbigmovie.jpgAxel has been watching “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie” and/or “Piglet’s Big Movie” every day for the past four months. Talk about a movie jag! He’s totally stuck, but I’m not going crazy quite yet. Why? I’m seeing Pooh’s world come to life before his very eyes. I’m seeing him interact with the movie and transfer it to our every day lives. Witnessing that comprehension and learning is so fun! (It helps that I love Pooh Bear too) One particular instance today illustrates this well.

We have a visual schedule at home to help him make sense of the order of the day. Today he saw the “errands” sticker on board and ran up to his room. I peaked around the corner of the staircase and was soon bombarded with flying shirts and pants!

“These are my expedition clothes!” he chirped. “We’re going on an expedition!”

Now, for some background, in each of the Pooh movies the characters go on an expedition. They talk about their expedition, they sing about it, and they act it out. I hadn’t realized how fully the meaning of the word was conveyed until I saw Axel had equate “expedition” with “errands.” He knew we were going (venturing) out of the house with a purpose (mission).I can just imagine his brain thinking, “Errand you say? Sounds like an expedition to me!”

Now, as much as I hope that these moments of revelation will eventually come from books instead of movies, I’m glad that he sees his fictional world in the real world. The pieces are coming together; he’s having those “aha” moments. It’s so exciting for him and it’s exciting for me; imagination is taking off!

It reminds me of how powerful stories are in helping kids learn. When a vocabulary word like “expedition” is combined with talking animals, memorable songs, and the Hundred Acre Wood, it comes alive.

I’m thankful God created stories to be so powerful. Narratives don’t lose impact the older we get and they can illustrate points that would otherwise be inaccessible. We all have multiple stories (Harry Potter? Anne of Green Gables? Wheel of Time?? 😉 that resonate powerfully with us, that we secretly hope to stumble upon. I’m relishing this time of being able to see life through a child’s imagination. I’m thankful for the brightness in Axel’s eyes and wait for the next car trip that he declares to be, “An EXPEDITION!” 

PS. Here is link to the expedition song, but be warned, it WILL be stuck in your head 🙂

Playing, Reflecting, Teaching

Let Them Be [3]

 

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“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child…”   1 Corinthians 13:11

I love this pumpkin because it really captures the three year old in Axel. He chose a pile of rubber bands, masking tape, and tractor stickers for his decorations and he loves it! He visits it on the porch daily. It doesn’t have a Jack-O-Lantern face (or any other image, for that matter), but it is the sum of his skill level and objects he loves. I love letting him embrace the three-year-old in himself whenever possible. The story below is another example of how I’m doing this!

Kids love to count down to something; it helps them anticipate and build awareness of space and time. We count down to vacations and special events, and, during one-such countdown, Axel got stuck at “four days left.” From then on everything was four days away: his birthday, going to visit cousins, going camping, etc. Even after our vacation was over, he still thought it was four days away! He couldn’t be convinced otherwise.

I decided his joy and pride in knowing this was more important than continuing to argue with him about how many days really were left. I gently continued to teach him how to count days on the refrigerator calendar but let him have ownership of his logic each step of the way. He needed to know that he could use his own intellect, that the way his brain processed was OK and important. Eventually he will learn to count. His concept of time will be accurate. But then counting will not be such a fun game; it will be routine. So, for now, for this precious stage, vacation will remain “four-days-away.” Don’t let them grow up too fast!

 

By the Numbers, The Oscars

An Earplug in Orange Juice Sort of Day

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Sometimes I dream up imaginary awards for the mishaps, triumphs, and cuteness that happen during our days. It’s sort of like my own Oscar’s of Motherhood. It’s very fun and cathartic; it helps me stay lighthearted when I’m tired and cranky! Here’s yesterday’s awards ceremony lineup!

Grossest surprise: An earplug (used) floating into a glass of juice 

Most Shocking Moment: Being bitten…by the three year old who never bites.

Closest call: Power-Wheels’ car battery starting to run low 4 blocks from home (we made it)

Takes the Cake: Aurora puking in the store (keep in mind that I’m unofficially, clinically- emetophobic!)

Angel of Mercy: Lady behind me in line. She offered to hold my things while I tried to clean Aurora up. She then proceeded to pay for part of my purchase that I was going to abandon! I was overwhelmed by the kindness.

Weirdest challenge: trying to bathe Aurora and clean the house with Axel constantly handcuffing me in his new police outfit.

Trophies awarded, catharsis reached. Ahhh. Try it out on your day sometime and let me know how it goes!

 

Poems and Creatives, Poo

If you’re wary of poo, this post’s not for you!

All right, here is the poem for which this blog was named. It was written in a state of crazed exasperation over a crumb-covered floor and dirty diapers galore. Please enjoy. And, a further word of caution, the poem contains poo. So you’ve been warned 😀 diaperseverywhere

 

Cheerios and Poo 

the Cheerios crunch beneath my feet; 

I pick up baby from her seat.

I kiss her nose then shake out her clothes,

and last night’s crumbs fall on my toes. 

“Mom, Mom, Mom!” 

calls a little boy voice. 

“Cookies for lunch! I’ve made my choice!”

“Oh, honey,” I say, 

“you can’t have your way. 

Not this time, not now, 

a cookie for lunch

I cannot allow!”

But, just as my will is standing so firm, 

I hear a sound and feel a squirm.

The gurgling sound came from down there,

and baby’s making the blank pooping stare. 

It’s stinky, so stinky!

The fumes start to rise. 

And to my dismay, 

the boy lays down and cries! 

my strong will is broken,

I hand him his cookie,

and run to the nursery 

to change little Pookie.

Someday lunch will be balanced and fresh, 

but just not today.

Now we all need to rest. 

About Me

Welcome, I’m Scared You’re Here!

…and happy. Mostly happy. I’m new to the blog world and don’t really know what I’m doing, but ready to get this proverbial party started! hellocheeriocover So, a bit about me. I am a:

thinking /giggling/exhausted/artsy/bookish/DIY-ing/caffeinated /handwriting devoted,

wife,

mother of two,

and now blogger.

I live with my three joys, Axel (3), Aurora (1.5) and Benjamin (adult age) in the Midwest. Ben has a Bachelor’s degree in biology, and I have a Bachelor’s in nutrition/dietetics, and a Master’s in early childhood education. Currently, Ben is channeling his 9-5 energy into the corporate world while I hold down the homestead. Our energies combine in the evening into the monumental task of getting the kids to bed!

Join me as I share anecdotes, poems/creative writing, DIYs, book reviews, and pictures from my motherhood experience. My goal is to show just how diverse life as a stay-at-home mom is. I always falter when people ask me, “so, what do you do all day?” The short answer is, “take care of the kids.” The false answer is, “let the kids play all day.” The long answer describes the medley of messes, laughter, diapers, tantrums, games, housework, diapers, teaching, diapers and one-and-a-half-sided conversations that fill the hours! That is what I hope to describe here. These stories are for everyone who is curious about what a mom really does all day and also for the moms who do this everyday. There will always be too much to tell, but each story shared makes the picture more complete.

Ready to join me? There’s a couple things you can do. The nebulous experts of the techie, bloggy world tend to agree that a blog needs followers following in multiple places. I’m going to start out small; here are just two ways that you can follow. Each can be accessed easily in the sidebar.

  1. Follow through email.
  2. Like my Facebook page.

And, in the meantime, be watching for my next post which will contain a humorous poem to kick-off this journey! See you there!