MommyCon swag bags!

One of the great things about attending MommyCon is the free stuff!  Well, free as in after you pay for the event or the VIP sessions.  I’ll be excited to show everything I received!

What I am also excited about for the swag bags is being set on baby shower/new baby gifts for like, the rest of my life! So I need a lot of my friends to have more kids…

Busy busy

We have been so busy lately!  Mostly just enjoying each other and the sun!

Memorial Day weekend was extra long for me.  Thursday I woke up to a spinning world, so I ended up staying home and sleeping hoping it went away.  I’m not sure if it was vertigo or something else, but it was awful.  I woke up on Friday to a planned vacation day back to normal.

We spent a lot of time outside.  Justin, my dad and his dad stripped and stained the deck, which was a great accomplishment!  I did a lot of weeding and tree trimming.  My fruit/herb/veggie garden was planted along with a few plants.  We chopped down a tree and cut down an incredibly overgrown rose bush.  I did many loads of clothes and diaper laundry, which is still not all put away.  Justin and I ended Monday night by moving his office from a bedroom on the top level to a bedroom in the basement.

Eloise is nine months now.  She is crawling like crazy and almost walking.  She can kind of say “mama” and now says “dadada”.  She is a happy little girl at almost every moment, and is doing fairly well sleeping.  We will go in for her checkup next week, and I’m looking forward to seeing how long she is now.  She seems quite tall.  If you’ve seen any photo of her, you know that she has crazy hair.  My mom gave her a nice short pixie cut so that her hair looks a bit more under control.

Lincoln is such a little boy now.  He is enjoying playing outside with his sand and water tables, and loves to help in the garden.  He gets very excited when we find worms, which rarely turns out well for the worm.  He plays with them a bit too long and they dry out.  At least he isn’t ripping them apart anymore!  He currently has two girlfriends at school, so we are preparing ourselves for his teenage years.  We will be starting swim lessons with him soon, and I am very excited about that.  I want to make sure he is and feels safe in the pool.

We try to get outside every night, and I hope to continue that throughout the summer.  Link gets a lot of outside time during the day, but I don’t.  I never used to like the outdoors much, but now I feel like I need them!

My new craft closet:

Eloise:

One of our beautiful blooming trees:

While I was away

Giving up Facebook for Lent was a blessing.  I felt like I spent more time with God, myself, and my family.  I was more present, and noticed the details.  Going forward, my goal is to continue to restrict my time on my smart phone in general.  I want to see my children, and devote my time with them, with them.

While I was away from Facebook, life happened.

Eloise Grey:

Ellie has grown up so much!  She has two teeth and lots of lighter hair.  She is an expert crawler – much different than Link was.  He finally crawled after weeks of army crawling, and then jumped to walking.  Ellie is climbing not only stairs, but chairs!  (So just a small, cushy chair, but still).  She loves to stand and can pull herself up on anything.  She loves to play with tiny fuzzies on the floor, Link’s hair, and any small toy she can find of her brother’s to choke on.  Ellie is a big fan of eating and BLW is going great!

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Lincoln Xavier:

I have fewer photos of Link, because he doesn’t sit still.  He still loves dinosaurs and really any animal.  As I mentioned before, he had his first true injury, and is healing very nicely.  He loves to be outside, once he gets out there.  He often would choose to stay inside, especially if it is windy, but I push him a bit.  He loves his sister, and is learning to be gentler with her (and everyone else).  He is still talking like crazy, and the words he knows continually astounds me.  His imagination has really taken off, and he is now telling us stories he has made up.

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Etcetera:

Justin and I went to California for my work conference.  I did much better than I thought, being away from the kids.  It was great to spend time with just him!

Easter was lovely also, and we were able to spend time with some great friends and family – and welcomed baby Ethan to our “family” on Good Friday!

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We are so blessed, and I am grateful for the past 40 days that I had to reflect on the importance of how I use my time, and who I use it for.

 

I see you, God

Sometimes it’s hard for me to see God in the usual places.  And when I do see Him, I’m not always loud about it.

When Link was born, and after I healed from my baby blues, I tried to make it a priority to thank God for Link daily.  It lasted months, and then dwindled.  When Eloise was born, I was amazed at how she was exactly what I prayed for, but I don’t praise Him every time she smiles at me.  I should.

But today, I recognize God.  He is in the cold water I used to wash my face with since the water heater broke.  He was in the puddle I stepped in, reminding me that we all have obstacles.  He is in my husband’s tired eyes, who spent more time that not rocking our babe last night.  He is in my mom’s pain, as she recovers from surgery.  He is in Link’s tears, and Ellie’s smiles; in Ellie’s tears and Link’s smiles.  He is here, with me in everything.

For that, I will never be alone.

Prepare for and plan for the best

photoJustin and I are going on our first vacation sans children in a couple of weeks.  It’s a work conference for myself, but we are adding a day so that we can spend some quality time together. It will be a great way to strengthen our marriage.

I’m terrified.

We haven’t left the kids yet, but for a night away here and there.  Link tells me he misses me when I leave his room at night!  How will he handle 5 days?  And sweet Eloise, who doesn’t sleep… what will she do when she can’t snuggle with mommy all night?

I know they will be fine. But I worry – I am a worrier.  It will be so good for Justin and I, and it will be great for Link to learn that we leave AND come back.

I did get my will finalized, so if we end up in the Indian Ocean or anything, the kids are protected.  I didn’t put a directive for Alabaster – so hopefully someone will take him.

All this being said, God has us in His hands.  We will all be safe, and loved, and protected.  But say a prayer for us anyway… please.

It is good to stray from the norm

My mom has referred to me as a hippie mom.  I’m not sure that I’ve gone that extreme, but I have chosen some parenting techniques that are not as common.

I breastfed Lincoln and took him to baby yoga. I made all of his solid foods, many of which were organic, and we taught him baby sign.  But he did wear lots of blue, started his solids right at 6 months, and had some formula in his first weeks of life.  It was a wonderful blend of the traditional methods and some newer trends.  We learned a lot about parenting an infant.  There were a few things that I’d wished I’d done with him, and I planned to do that with the next pregnancy and baby.

I found out I was pregnant again (with Eloise), and I considered the things we did with Link, and the things I wished I had.  I decided I would do more prenatal yoga to prepare for birth (I did it almost 5 times… but I was on restrictions a lot of her pregnancy, so I’ll blame that) and that I would get in a place where I wouldn’t need an epidural (I totally had one).  I prepared to breastfeed her without using any formula to supplement, but I knew, based on Link’s experience, that the needs of the baby outweighed my wants.  Eloise was born, perfectly.  We were able to breastfeed right away (thank you Jesus!) and I was able to store up enough extra milk that I was able to donate some, as I wished I could have done with Link.

I cloth diaper Eloise, which I am so happy about.  I love not buying diapers (we are almost not buying any for Link either).  My family was supportive of my decision, although I’m pretty sure they thought that I was nuts, and would give up.  But I was alright with that, and it did encourage me to give it the best go of it that I could, so that I knew if it was right for us.

The next thing that we are doing different with Eloise is baby-led weaning as a way of introducing her to solid food.  It’s going pretty well, although we are on a hiatus to figure out some issues she’s having otherwise.  You can read more about the benefits here if you’d like.  Before my mom read the benefits, she was certain I was nuts.

But here is the important part: It’s alright to do things different than how your mom (mother-in-law/sister/neighbor/friend) did them!  If you, as the trusted parent of this little one, feel that this way is right, do it that way.

I do feel that it is important for family members to be involved in raising your children.  If you, as a grandparent, don’t understand why a certain method is being used, ask!  I am grateful that Link’s and Ellie’s grandparents care enough about them to ask why I do things a certain way.  My children are so blessed!  And I am so incredibly blessed that my husband, parents and in-laws may seek better understanding of what I’m doing, but then they support it.  They know that I am choosing the best for my kids.

I feel that listening to people’s concerns and questions, and then making my own decision, is an important thing to demonstrate for my children.  They need to know that it’s alright to do things different than what is expected of them.  If Link wants a pink balloon instead of blue – great!  If Eloise is dressed head to toe in boy clothes (ok… not quite her own decision yet) – great!  Their mommy and daddy love them, they were designed by God.  That is what matters.

Now… some pictures of Eloise trying to eat food.

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This is an avocado?

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It’s mushy.

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Apples!