Welcome to my crazy life

Just a quick welcome from me to you and a thank you for reading and following along on the crazy road which I call my life. Here you will be able to follow along the ups and downs of our little family's life and adventures as we grow, learn and travel. Plus I will give up some advice on things I have done that seemed to have helped with getting my daughter and son to learn different functions, from sleeping through the night to eating all her food and beyond. Also if you have a question please feel free to leave it in a comment and I will happily make a post just to answer your question. Also keep a look out for new and old product reviews as well as special events. Here's to the family life and to a crazy adventure.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas with lil ones

This Christmas I was stumped as to what to get for the kids. So I went off what they responded to while we were out which was Cinderella, lalaloopsy, and books for my 2 year old girl and cars and things that lit up and made music for my almost 1 year old baby boy. Watching them play with their new toys was exactly what I needed to see I chose right for them. With every gift they opened they were happy even the clothing got big smiles from them. They loved their Santa gifts which were given to them at my husbands work party they got tpy drums,books, dolls, coloring books and crayons, play dough, and so much more. The last bit they get tonight is family gifts and a special gift from the marine corps. All in all this morning has been a happy and wonderful event and a great prelude to the day. Merry Christmas to all of you.

Monday, December 10, 2012

life has been a little crazy but were still here

Well hello my friends sorry I have not been blogging since our mini vacation to merytle beach life has been a little crazy with a very serious note but I'm back now and can't wait to get back to sharing some fun crafts and reviews in just a little so please stay tuned and later today I'll be sharing some of the crafts I've been up to and some delicious cookies too.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hubby home and getting back into the swing of things

So after a wonderful homecoming, we took a great vacation down to Myrtle Beach.  We were able to stay ocean front with a private balcony and though it wasn't "high end" it was still very comfortable and perfect for a family of 4. We spent most of the evening at Broadway at the Beach, an out door shopping center that also has rides and attractions.  We ate dinner a few times at a seafood buffet called Hooks, super fresh and yummy and best of all no wait for dinner.  We spent a little time at the pool with the kids and they absolutely love water and swimming, its crazy. I took tons of pictures of the kids and just had a ball watching my little family come back together and really build bonds back up.  After the beach we went to My hubby's parents house where we went to the NC Zoo and saw the dinosaur exhibit.  We didn't think our little girl would be afraid of the dinos but she would point and name them but didn't want to get close it was cute and she wouldn't walk up to the dinos alone she had to be in Daddy's arms. It was a wonderful vacation and I was just so happy to have family time.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2 under 2 no more :)

Well, this has been in my cards the whole times I have been a mom of 2.  That one day I could no longer claim I am a mom of 2 under 2 as my oldest is now 2.  I wouldn't be taking this that hard if my husband was home to celebrate this amazing thing with us, but we have decided to wait until he gets home to celebrate our little girl's birthday it was still hard to deal with alone.  Luckily we were able to go and share the day with others dealing with this deployment at the squadron and learn some new things about ourselves in the process.  I learned that as long as my daughter is playing with toys I can leave her with a sitter with out her realizing I left and not have her freak out when I get back. I also learned that my son does not know what to do when a man is holding him and kind of freaks out.  Our commanding officer picked him up while they were trying to get him a bottle and I guess he was not sure if he liked being held by a guy, this should make homecoming interesting. 

So with everything going on I am trying to finish getting the house organized and finally have made some head way with pulling things out of the attic and going through them.  I have 3 big boxes to donate to homeless shelters or thrift stores depending on what I find in the area and I am sure I have more to add to that.  I decided that enough was enough and that we did not need to be carrying things around with us for no reason.  I still have about 5 boxes in the attic left to pull out but I decided that the 5 I pulled today would need to be dealt with first and put away properly.  It really feels great to get things organized and I am amazed at the things I have found.  I have a million pads of paper, a bunch of unused flash cards, binders with dividers, a ton of pens, and so much more so I think I am set to go back to school. Yes I am going to be going back to school and getting my Masters of Arts in History with a concentration on European History, hopefully.  I will be figuring everything out once my husband gets home and I can get into the education office on base.

Anyway, so life has been on the go go go here with play dates, beach trips, shopping trips, and plenty of birthday parties to go around.  I know that life isn't going to slow down this month with finishing the house organization and getting my projects finished but shopping trips will not be happening any further until the hubby gets home with one exception to go pick up a free toy my daughter got from Toys R Us, yay for birthday clubs. Well, that is what is going on here. I am continuing to keep busy and keep the kids busy as well and just hope I can really get this house organized finally (clean too).

Well, stay tuned to check out what happens next in our crazy on the go life. 

Quick tip, when facing deployments and you have children who enjoy coloring or making art projects, the best way to keep dad or mom involved with the kids is to send those projects in a care package to show progression or just the creative side of your child.  We had tons of fun coloring and the using the pages to decorate the care packages with the pictures and inspirational notes. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

The wonderful crayon case to go

So one afternoon I was looking at different shops and found this little crayon case and thought what a great idea but what if it would hold more? so I cam home and started looking at the material I had a came across a nice size piece of material I had already cut and sewed into one large piece of stripped material.  I made a pillow of sorts without the stuffing then ironed it flat and folded it into thirds then unfolded one part of the third so that I was left with a nice size pocket then measured out 3/4 of an inch spots to fit the crayons which I double checked a few slots before I sewed them in place and decided that 24 slots was just the right amount and left larger pockets open to either side to hold other things as they grow.  The slots can also hold small colored pencils and thing markers ( which you could modify the design to hold thicker markers or make the whole thing wider to hold full size markers and colored pencils.) I think put in the crayons and affixed snaps to the case where the edge meets the main body, the snaps came from one of my daughters old onesies that I am using for her memory quilt.  Then I put her initials on it as I had them left over from a bag I made for her a while ago.  She is 2 years old and loves to color and can actually put them in and take them out on her own though right now I am still assisting her with this to avoid a giant mess of crayons. This case has already come in hand with her first sleep over she brought the case and I grabbed 2 pictures and her and her friend had fun coloring as a way to wind down before bed. 

So this case is fun for the kids and I found them fun to make and after running some numbers found that I can make and ship these for a flat $20 and a turn around of a week. So for those not interested in making them but would like to get one for your child or a child you know shot me an email at a.reynolds0809@yahoo.com

Oh yeah, if you order more than 3 you get a 20% discount on your total purchase.  Just mention my blog and the code casex320. Can't wait to work with you.

Gabriel and Makenzi big update

The kids are growing like weeds. Gabe Turned 6 months at the beginning of July and weighs 16 pounds and is 28 1/4 inches tall which is the same height at Makenzi at 18 months.  He is tall and skinny just like his daddy.  He is already wearing 6/9 month pjs though his regular clothing range from 0/3 month stuff to 6/9 month stuff.  It is amazing to say he is finally growing out of some of the 0/3 and 3/6 month stuff but most of it still fits besides the pjs.  He took his 6 month shots like a pro and only cried for a minute his doctor said he is very healthy and though weight is in the 60% his height and head have him in the 90% so they said he was good to go.  Gabe these days enjoys rolling around on the floor, attempting to sit on his own, holding his chest off the ground, eating pureed foods, holding his own bottle, and attempting to feed himself Gerber Puffs.  He has had very little interest in crawling but loves to jump in the jumper and watch Makenzi run around. He just loves when she stops to talk to him or plays with him.  She also likes to give him toys he cant really play with but at least she is sharing.

Makenzi is also growing up so fast.  She is now 2 years old and just like me.  she is 28 pounds and 35 inches tall.  She also took her shot like a champ and had also did pretty good with getting her picture done for her 2nd birthday.  Though we didn't have a party on her birthday we are planning to have one when Tyler gets home, we did get to sing to her at a homecoming banner making party which she loved all the attention and had a blast running around with the other kids.  She has so much fun playing with kids right around her age as well as playing with kids that are a quite a bit older than her as well.  She is also adding words and actually saying sentences now. We will soon be starting her potty training and I have gotten some great tips from everyone so if one tip doesn't work we will try another and I have a few that I plan to use together so thank you everyone for your success tips.  I am also happy to say she likes getting her hair done up daily and likes wearing "shoes and socks" as she likes to say.  I cannot believe all the words she has picked up now and she sings along to twinkle twinkle little star and is starting to sing the ABCs along with a handful of songs from her favorite shows.

Well, lately we have just been keeping super busy with play dates and going thru different stuff in the house trying to get rid of things we do not need to be storing. I have also been working hard on getting projects completed because I know when Tyler gets home I will have even less time and energy to do them, so, I have been trying to get them further along if not completed.  I know Makenzi is benefiting big time from getting to play with other kids and have gotten to see a completely different side of her with sharing, which she is pretty good at.  Just today she was being a brat and not sharing when I told her she better share or I am letting the other child have both toys she promptly handed one of the toys over then when she saw how happy the other child was she handed the other toy over and found something else to play with. Gabe also loves being around other kids and I think loves the kids attention than adult attention.  He is all smiles most of the time and Makenzi is too.  I try to keep them occupied and on schedule for the most part though I take them off their schedule from time to time to keep things interesting for all of us.  We have also been able to get thru a full day of running errands with little to no break downs.  I know Makenzi misses her daddy and I cannot wait to have my family whole again.

I am doing well with everything as well. I have managed to lose most of the weight I have been wanting to just a little to go and I will get to my ideal weight.  I have kept myself busy with projects and currently have 1 painting left to do, 3 quilts to finish, and 2 blankets to finish. Plus getting the house fully cleaned up and ready for the hubby to come home to and relax.  Still have a little time to go and so wish I could tell everyone when he will be back but security is our main concern and am unable to pass that information along.  I guess its time to really go thru each room one at a time and clean and organize each room.  Well, that is all that is going on out here.

Stay tuned for the next post I have some great new projects finished and some reviews coming your way.  Take care and thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Baby Bullet and steamer

So, we got a baby bullet with the steamer and let me tell you what a big turn around my son has taken.  He was having such a hard time keeping from spitting up when I had started solids with the jar food and now doing fresh he loves the food and I love that he isn't spitting up nearly as much.  It is such peace of mind that I know what all is going into his little tummy and that its all good foods.  So the baby bullet works exactly as they say it does and its super easy.  Steam things soft and then put them in the blender and add a little water and go. Having the steamer is even better and makes the process even easier because its made to go with the bullet.  There are also easy recipes to follow and really takes the guess work out of how to make things. The best part is that it gives you a guide for what foods to give to your child that are easy and low allergy risk, and the guide goes through the stages.  I have also found that my 2 year old loves fresh fruit puree pops. I highly recommend this system, and really recommend making your own baby food.  I spent $15 and have enough to get me through for 3 weeks plus a dozen popsicles for my 2 year old. 

This is a great product and I almost forgot to tell you the best parts.  The baby bullet system is all top rack dishwasher safe and the steamer also sanitizes bottle nipples and pacifiers as well as makes boiled eggs in minutes. I know this is now a staple in our house hold and look forward to making much more than just baby food with this machine.  I see yummy veggie pasta sauces, awesome fruit yogurt bars, and even some homemade mashed potatoes with veggies mixed in. I know sneaky right?  Well when you have a picky eater sneaking veggies and fruits in where you can is a must.

So go out try this out yourself and then explore the possibilities.  Its a great set up.

Stay tuned I have a few new reviews coming soon so check back soon and often!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Makenzi at 22 months...wow.

Makenzi has turned 22 months old and she is growing by leaps and bounds.  She is starting to have name recognition with colors and letters.  She is counting more clearly and is singing along to her favorite shows.  She loves to color and plays with her toys with such imagination.  she is just shy of 3 feet and weighs about 25 pounds.  She takes naps when she needs them on her own, whether or not I put her down for one, so some days she naps and other days she doesn't. I have found that having a free flowing day within a schedule keeps my kids from getting bored and allows me to get things done, like updating my blog for all of you. 

Makenzi loves her animals and enjoys making them sit on her lap, I don't think they mind though since they don't run away from her once she catches them nor do they bite or scratch her.  I love the relationship she is having with them because it allows me to give a little less attention to the animals during the day and focus on the kids a little more. She also is understanding that if the animals run from her they don't want attention right then and she will leave them alone.

The relationship building between Makenzi and Gabriel is amazing as well.  She loves her little brother, though doesn't always want to let him play with toys. When I get on the floor with the kids, she will come give Gabriel hugs and kisses and tell him "its okay baby" even if he is just hugging her back.  She also pets his head and says soft and makes me rub his head too.  She is also listening to my requests at giving her brother his toy back and will return it after a few minutes.  I love sitting back and watching them interact without me sitting right there and Makenzi will talk to him and calm him down if he starts to fuss, it warms my heart to see her care for him.  She also will hand me his bottle or burp cloth if I drop them when I am feeding him a bottle and lets me know when he wakes up from a nap, even if I already know he is awake.  She runs to me and says mommy baby, mommy baby. 

Makenzi has started to eat more things too.  She no longer is tied to just eating chicken nuggets, popcorn shrimp and pasta, with a few snacks.  Now she will eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and quesadilla, she also will take a bite of whatever I am eating though she doesn't normally take more than a bite but at least she is now trying things.  She loves to eat pretzels, veggie straws, fruit snacks, chips, carrots, and loves popcorn.  She is eating pretzels and drinking milk as I write this too.

So this next month will see the beginning of her potty training as she likes to sit on the potty while she brushes her teeth and when I asked her to go potty while she brushed her teeth she did. I am so proud that she emptied her bladder into the big girl potty. So here we go with another mile stone.  We will also be continuing with building her vocabulary as well as letter number and color recognition.  I know with her next update we will have so much more accomplished.  She seems to be learning a lot in these past few months. I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Stay tuned next update will be for Gabriel at 5 months and oh boy what he is accomplishing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daily life while your away...finding ways to make time fly while dealing with deployment

Life isn't always perfect.  Some time you have to be apart from your loved ones and it sucks, but that is when we hunker down and make it through.  Deployment is not a fun and free time.  There is a lot more that the ones back home are dealing with then just watching the kids or going to work.  I am a stay at home mom and find that this deployment is weighing on me.  I am dealing with so much more than I ever have before day to day I am the sole care taker of 2 kids.  They are temperamental and get bored easily which means they are cranky easily too.  I knew taking on 2 under 2 would be hard but I never thought I would be doing it alone.  Even though it is a temporary alone its the hardest part right now. So stress levels are climbing as Kenzi is wanting my attention and Gabe needs my attention.  I am cherishing my evening time when things are quiet because anyone who walks by my house or calls me at any given time will hear at least one of the kids scream.  Anyway, just to wrap up my point they keep me running all day.  Then add in at least 1 outing a week to get supplies and have adult conversation and the running around for bill pays and you have my life.  Its nuts right now and the time is truly flying.  Half way threw this deployment and I am longing for that homecoming, longing for my husband to get home and take back the things he took care of, like bath time. 

So lets see, my normal day stuff is cleaning, cooking, feeding, and putting the little ones to bed.  Now doing everything I feel like I am getting stretched in many directions but I am okay with that because I know he will (have no choice) but to take back his home duties, granted I don't think he will mind for some reason.  So on top of cleaning, cooking, feeding, bathing, bedtime I am also doing craft projects which I keep adding to but am not actually working on them, I am trying to organize our storage stuff and purge it. Staying on top of bills, keeping the house stocked with food, not killing the animals, and above all else not running myself to the breaking point.

One thing women seem to do a lot is give and give and give and not realize what its doing to them.  Many women, me especially will go out of our way to help our friends and family but when you are the sole care giver to 2 kids and taking care of a household that has to keep running you have to scale back and realize if you keep giving you will end up sick.  I started finding that I was exhausted by the end of the day and still was staying up late to chat with not only my hubby but my friends and family and when he told me that he wouldn't be on at night for a while I realized that maybe I should be taking that time to catch up on sleep since I was so tired.  I had even started to get sick and feel like I was moving in slow motion which are big exhaustion signs that can be damaging, so I scaled down and stopped my diet and gave myself a week of just relaxing and playing with the kids.  Minimal house work and just running my basic errands no window shopping or walking.  I am feeling better already and only half way through the week.  I think this exhaustion was just everything catching up to me.  I have been worried and stressed over the deployment (still am but I guess I am getting use to it) I was stressing over bills and savings, stressing that I didn't have enough time to keep my daughter learning at the right pace and care for my son who is now in the cling stage because his mouth is hurting so much.  I will be very happy when the tooth comes threw, plus he is getting mad watching my daughter run around him and he can't crawl or walk.  I feel that he will be mobile very soon because he is getting so mad about it.

Well, like I said we are working through this deployment with staying busy, though I may have taken on a little more than I should have with my goals. Guess I need to start working on getting the projects completed.  So this is me signing off and reminding you all to stay busy because that is what makes time seem to fly bye.

Stay tuned the next big post will be in a few days as I update everyone on Miss Makenzi's learning curve and how much she's grown. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gabe at 4 months

Gabe is 4 months old and has grown by leaps and bounds.  He has learned so much already that I cannot even begin to imagine what he will do next.  This last month we saw Gabe learn to roll to his side from his back as well as roll from his tummy to his back.  He has rolled from back to tummy once but doesn't have the hang of that one though I know its only days away.  He likes to talk any chance he gets and has an infectious laugh though its not a big laugh its super cute.  Gabe looks up to Makenzi big time and while she is running around him he will do anything he can to watch her every move.  I know he will be mobile a lot faster than she was simply to keep up with his sister.  Gabe has also started to hold his own bottle, he is eating the baby oatmeal with fruit successfully, he can sit up with support and is trying to sit without support, pretty much has control over his head, has found his fingers and toes, and has been trying to catch his tongue.  He has some silly looks that I try to catch on camera but he goes cold every time he sees either my phone or the camera trained on him.

It is so much fun to play with him and he cracks up every time I grab his hand and make him move around as well he cracks up every time I change his clothing.  He thinks its so funny when I take clothing off him and then again when I put clothes back on him.  He also cracks up when I am changing his poopy diaper, this one makes me laugh but in the back of my mind I always think why exactly is he laughing about this. He also thinks its funny when he spits up all over me causing me to not only change my top half but bottom half as well.

Anyway, Gabe is sleeping through the night and most nights sleeping 12 to 14 hours at night he also likes long mid day naps too.  I do plan to move him soon to his own room but as it is just me here for a little longer I am enjoying not having to go up and down the stairs that much more.  Oh well, just gonna have more exercise to the day. 

Gabe's 4 month check up went great.  I was told I was feeding him too much at once but that I was right about how much he need in the day just to space it out a little more like 6 4 ounce bottles.  anyway I was also told that I could cut back on the number of bottles once hes really eating 3 meals from spoons which he is doing that now so every thing is good.  Also at the check up I found out that he weighs 14 pounds and 14 ounces and is 26 1/4 inches long. 

Well, that is what is going on with Gabe and I cannot wait to see what this month holds for us.

Stay tuned to see what my crazy kids do next. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gabe's 1st Bite...oh boy!

So, I had the bright idea to try some rice cereal on a spoon with Gabe.  I figured the only foreign part would be the spoon since he is use to the rice being in his bottles to help keep his food down as he is a little colicy still.  Well, as you can probably guess my bright idea got shot down with the first spoon full.  Now I got the mixture just right and it was a perfect slightly warm temperature but he wasn't going for it.  Shortly after he made this face (see photo) he began to scream his head off and of course I calmed him down and tried again and made him even madder.  The interesting part is that once I cleaned him up and he calmed down the second time what he hadn't drooled out on to my shirt he ate and seemed to like so maybe there is hope for him eating rice cereal yet.  I figured I will just have to keep trying until he is 4 months old which is just around the corner and then we will try mixing the rice cereal with a little added apple or banana baby food, this was the only way I could get Kenzi to eat rice cereal.  Its amazing that we are already at the intro to solid foods step didn't we just have him?  Well, life sure does fly when you have 2 under 2, or just kids in general.

So, I have been asked how I got the consistency to the rice cereal and here is my trick, I use a formula scope in my rice cereal. I take a full scoop of rice cereal mixed with a full scoop of formula then I add warm water a little at a time.  Pretty much following the directions on the rice cereal container but not to the full extent.  I mix the dry rice cereal and dry formula 1st then add the water just a little at a time to get the creamy (cream of wheat) type consistency. Keep in mind that you want to stick with your brand. I use Gerber formula so I use Gerber rice cereal too. If you formula doesn't make a rice cereal then chose what ever jar food you are planning on feeding your child and use their rice cereal. There are organic rice cereal as well from Gerber as well as Best Earth(I think is the organic brand for baby food) if you are planning on making your own baby food and don't want to use the regular stuff. I plan to make my own food but will continue to use Gerber rice cereal and puffs and everything because I am a brand junky and love the Gerber products. 

The other little bit to know is that most babies don't like the rice cereal by itself or mixed like this but they get use to it pretty fast you just have to keep trying (this is what Makenzi's doctor told us when she was at this stage).  If you find that its just not happening, like we did with our first child, our doctor suggested we add apple or banana baby food to the rice cereal mix just to give it a little flavor and it worked like a charm literally a baby spoon full.  Also, I found after you feed your child a successful meal let them sit for about 15 minutes where they are, or until they burp on their own, that way their food settles before you move them around and reduce the risk of it coming back up (again something we learned the hard way with our 1st child). 

Also don't stress your child out with shoveling in the food.  If they don't calm down to swallow the food immediately don't put more in try setting the spoon on their tongue or lips and get them to swallow that bite before you give them anymore and keep the bites small, remember they have no understanding of what you are doing to them so explain as you go and keep calm because they probably wont be.

Well, good luck to all of you taking this step either with me or shortly to follow.  I wish you all great success in your child's first bites and will be keeping you up-to-date with our progress.  I am also open to answer any questions you might have, whether that is about products I've used or anything at random too.  I'm here to help.

Stay tuned next big post will be Gabe's 4 month update, see how he's grown and find out the accomplishments he's gained.  See you soon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kenzi is 21 months old

So today my Makenzi is 21 months old and time is just flying. Everyday she adds more words to her vocabulary. She loves reading and coloring and is very polite with always saying thank you even of she doesn't want something. She also says please when she really wants something. She is very loving and happy and helpful beyond belief. She likes to steal her brothers bottle but only when I've set it down with the top on it and brings it back to me almost as soon as I ask for it. She enjoys her quiet play time and often will take a nap at the point in her day also. She just blows me away how fast she is learning things and even sings along to her favorite theme songs though the words aren't really clear yet. She also likes to dance and will grab your hand an say lets dance when ever there Islamic on she wants to dance to. Lol. She is also liking to play doctor and house with her stuffed animals ber since the new Disney show doc mcatuffins came on so I may be getting her a doctor set to play with in the near future. Well that's it for now stay tuned for next months updates and quick blurbs of the kids. We have gabe's 4 month check up coming up as well as hitting our half way mark. Stay tuned for the next post. I promise it'll be worth it but you'll have to check back and see for your self.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gabe At 3 Months old

Gabe turned 3 months old and it feels like just yesterday he was turning 1 day old. He is growing by leaps and bounds and I cannot be prouder. He can roll over, hold his head up, sit with support. He can stand for short periods of time with a little help. He smiles and coos at me and actually will follow me with his eyes around the room.  He also loves playing with his Mickey Mouse security blanket, something I hear him do in the morning when he wakes up and chews on throughout the day. He is starting to teethe and, thanks to the Born Free bottle, we have much fewer spit up episodes. I have switched him into the size 2 diapers already and slowly switching him into 3-6 month clothing.  As I find clothing getting a little tight on him I remove it from his clothing rotation and as I notice something getting into range for him to wear it goes into rotation.  Though Gabe is still sleeping in our room, he is starting to sleep in his room for naps and I am about to move all his clothing up stairs so that our room slowly starts getting back to normal.  for the most part he sleeps through the night but with him waking up at 6 am every day for breakfast and my knees not being up to par I decided to keep him downstairs for a little longer as to avoid my knee blowing out because I am not paying attention so early coming down the stairs.

Some of the things I have been trying with him is having him sit without assistance, this works for a small period of time until he pushes himself to one side and falls over so I only do this on the couch which I think he likes falling back on the couch since he kept doing it. Another thing I'm doing with him is having him spend time in the exersaucer, he gets to work on balance with his head and get some leg exercise as he likes to go in circles in this. He also has started to laugh today which is technically 3 months and a day old.  Another thing I have been adamant about is keeping him to a bed time and for the most part a bed time routine. Even though I don't bathe him every night I do make sure that he gets lotion put on him, that he gets that super clean diaper (regardless of when I changed his diaper last), he get put into pjs, and then a warm bottle, a little rocking and then normally he is off to sleep, all this is done by 7pm too.  I know early bed time but he sleeps until 6am and I noticed that if he gets to bed to far after 7 that he ends up waking up at 3 am and then 6 am and then 7 and 8 and 9, thus he goes to bed by 7pm and then Kenzi and I play until 7:45 at which she gets into her pjs and we go up to her room where she get a story and tucked in with a kiss and a wish and off to sleep she goes by 8pm. 

Schedules like these are important because they let your kid know hey its time for you to sleep and get some rest for tomorrow.  This is also the best thing you can do for your child every night, have a set routine of what you do, you can always deviate a little from it like not bathing every night or adding some cuddle time in should they have a tough day. I also try to keep them eating meals around the same time every day though this doesn't always work out I still keep it as close as I can.

So Gabe is now taking 5 ounce bottles during the day and a whopping 8 ounce bottle at bed time, though I may be making 6 ounce bottles for day time and 9 for bed here soon.  Also I was told to give him a little rice cereal in his bottles to help keep it down which I think coupled with his bottles has majorly helped.  Oh and he gets 3 meals and 1 snack bottle which right now is just a little 3 ounce bottle but will be going up to 4 ounces soon as well.  He is starting to get fussy with how quickly he can drink the #2 nippled bottles and has been continuing to search for more after he empties the bottle so upping his amounts may be just the ticket.  Today with his breakfast and dinner bottles I had to give him his pacifier (which he never takes) to sooth him and get him to go to sleep. 

Like I said I am so proud of Gabe and how far he has already come.  He is starting to sooth himself and understands that I can't always hold him right when he wants to be held though he picked up Kenzi's quirk with when she sees me running around the house and wants my attention she cries at me, well so does he now, but after I give them both a little attention and adjust everything for them he continues to cry at me (no tears just making the crying sound) for a good 15 minutes.  Something he has taught me is that he will scream at me when he wants his diaper changed and when that happens he doesn't stop until its changed.  Already being demanding.

Makenzi is being a great big sister as well, she like to take his favorite toy and bring it to me which causes him to cry.  I am working on getting her to stop doing it.  She also gives him kisses and hugs and when he is on the couch she likes to sit with him too, even if every time I see her get up with him and try to get a picture she is too fast to get down.  She talks to him when he starts to get upset and shows him her toys and lets him play with a few of them. She also likes to try and put her sunglasses on him which I also had to put a stop to as she stuck him in the cheek and made him cry yet again, I felt bad because I was just sitting next to him watching her go to put her sunglasses on him, after I got him calmed back down I explained to her that he doesn't like purple sunglasses. She also enjoys patting him on his head lightly to show affection to him.  It is so cute because when she does this she normally is saying "It otay."

I am so happy that I have been given the chance to stay at home with my babies and raise them with a good steady life.  Though Daddy has to be away we make sure that he is part of their every day life one way or another.  Kenzi gets to hear his voice every day when we read the book he recorded for her, and they get to talk to him from time to time on the phone as well. I also show them pictures which we have all over the house and Kenzi is good at pointing out who everyone is in the pictures too.  If you show her a picture with Daddy, mommy and Kenzi in it then you ask where is Kenzi she points herself out, the same with mommy and daddy and Gabe if he is in a picture, though she calls him baby or bubba. 

Anyway, I am starting to get off subject so I must wrap this update up.  Gabe is doing great and I can't wait to introduce food to him.  First up will be rice cereal next month for sure.  Stay tuned to see how I get Mr. Gabe to eat solids and what Makenzi might say next.  Life is ever changing with 2 under 2.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Working out with bad knees

So I know many of you know about my infamous knee problems and that since my husband has deployed that not only does my right knee fall apart from time to time but my left knee has decided to join the game and fall apart when ever it feels like it (normally when I don't want it to) as this fun game goes I have 2 knee braces to wear on bad days or when they decide to fall apart on me so that I can keep going.  You may be asking why is she giving us this little back story but its important to understand that I have a issue before I go on.

So down to the point: when you have bad knees your exercising routine has to be flexible so I find different low impact ways of working out and really pay attention to placement when I have to do anything that requires squatting. 

So if you are like me and want to lose weight and work out there are a few simple rules to follow to avoid a full blow out. Watch your foot placement and when needing to do any form of squatting or lunging make sure you keep your leg straight and by all means do not let your knee fall in or out depending on injury.  If your knee is sore take a night off and work on core stuff that doesn't require you using your knees. When possible and necessary chose to do the less impact form of the workout instead of the full workout, as long as you are getting that heart rate up and staying up for the same amount of time you will still be losing weight or building muscle. Also something I found to work better than doing the same workout every day, which gets boring and when something gets boring you tend to not put your all into it which will lead to injury if you are not careful, is to mix up the workout, maybe do your in home work out a few times then get outside and go for a long walk around your neighborhood or on the boardwalk, or some where different to help spice up that workout.  If you have a reliable baby sitter try getting to the gym for some weight training or again just some different surroundings.

The number one rule I follow when working out is to not push my knees too hard.  I do at the most 60 minute workouts a day and when my knees start hurting I don't workout hard until they feel better.  Injury happens for me when I just keep pushing, even when my knees are screaming at me for a rest, so this time around I am listening and allowing for rest.  I have had a few scares while working out already where my knee has started to fall out but I have been able to correct it and keep it from getting too bad with wearing my brace and resting it.  I encourage those with knee issues to look at the reason behind the issue and to make the necessary changes that will allow them to work out or at least get out and walk or run again.  I know part of my knee problem was that my weight had gotten up there and my knees couldn't take it and am already seeing an improvement with them as my weight goes down.

Some of the workouts I do consist of low impact aerobics,  low step aerobics, low impact cardio, core sculpting, muscle sculpting(this is making lean strong muscle not bulk), stretching, a little yoga, and a little walking outside.  This plus taking the NV diet pill and cutting back on how much and what I have been eating has helped me already drop almost 20 pounds. So if I can do this you can do this because I am a foody, I love to eat and I don't like to have to limit what I am eating, but with careful watch and cut back on the amount of food I am doing great.  I eat what I want to eat but I have cut back on portion size big time.  The funny part is that I am not hungry, I have more energy (which is a miracle since I don't get a whole lot of sleep anymore) and I am constantly on my feet all day with the kids.  So, if you are just starting your transformation to a slimmer you or you are at your breaking point in trying to find something that works, try my way, you might be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

One more bit of inspiration, in January I was in a XL shirt and now I am in a Medium top.  Also I was in a size 14 and now I am in a size 10 for bottoms.    I am not afraid to say my sizes or even my weight because its not been super easy or easy at all but I worked hard for it and though I still have a ways to go before I hit my ideal weight, I am proud of the work I have done and happy to share it with you in hopes that everyone will start taking the steps to having a healthier life. 

Remember one step at a time, a good diet and workout schedule must be built on not jumped into so take it one day and step at a time.  I started with just working on portion control then added the workout and finally add the NV pill.  Better to take your time and do it right than speed through it and not have it work at all.

Good luck out there and if you have any questions about what other products I use, workout DVDS and equipment just leave me a comment I am happy to help.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Huggies Slip-on Diapers

Okay sorry it is sideways but my computer did an auto correct and wont put it back. lol. Darn technology.  Anyway, Huggies has a great product here.  My daughter loves Little Movers diapers already but she likes the slip ons even more.  Now that we are out of them every time I go to change her diaper she outs both feet together and sticks them straight out so I can slip the diaper on.  Then she gets mad when I don't.  Slip-on diapers are a great lead into potty training and pull ups and I plan to use them as we really start potty training too.  They do get saggy when she pees in it and if not caught after the 1st pee can cause leakage, but I noticed that she was more inclined to tell me when she had gone when she wore these as she didn't like the sag.  They also are pretty tough even with the rip away sides. I was careful at first but after watching her pull on the sides and not popping it apart I felt comfortable being a little more firm. Speaking of the sides, they are very similar to the pull ups in that they can be pulled apart on the side but you can also put these back together as they are the soft Velcro used in the normal diaper closures.  The sides make it very easy to change the diaper when she has gone #2 and make it capable of being rolled up after being used too.  Also they carry on with Winnie the Pooh as the art work on them just like the regular little movers.  I think these diapers are just great and have been very happy to use Huggies diapers and wipes for both my little ones.

If you have a wiggly toddler and are wanting something for either quick changes or for the beginning of potty training I would say get these.  They work either way just like the regular diaper but can be pulled down and pulled back up like the pull ups but with the padding of the diaper.  Check them out and try them out.  The product speaks for itself for sure.

I recommend this product and any Huggies products, they just have a good quality to them.

My Shutterfly Book...Great Quality like the rest of their products.

I am so happy that this came in the mail early.  I wasn't expecting it until next week and it just happened to be in my mailbox today.  I love Shutterfly products. They hold true to what you make and I have never had something show up at my door that I wasn't 100% happy with the final product.  It is always exactly what I expected or something even better.  This time it was even better than expected. It is perfectly split between the 2 kids and shows Gabes 1st month and a half of life as well as Makenzi's during this time.  I love these books because they make the perfect photo album, where the photos don't come out and get lost.  The best part for me on this is that every page besides the decorative 1st and last page have photos on them even the outside cover and back.  If you haven't been to shutterfly.com you should go and check out their products.  Often they will send special offers for free books like this one or soft cover, as well as free prints, 50% off of products or even just gifts like $10 of a $10 or more purchase.  The only thing you have to spring for when they do the free offers is shipping which will run you from $4 to $10.  I do not believe I have ever paid more than $10 for shipping.  Anyway, check it out sign up for emails and get some of those pictures printed you have been wanting to print.  www.shutterfly.com  There is the link to make it a little easier to check it out.

On Going Project: Makenzi Art

Over the next months, I am not sure how many but it'll be at least 6 if not a whole year, I am going to be having Makenzi color me a picture while she is having fun coloring in her books and making Daddy pictures. I am going to be doing this and putting them up on my way as unique art work plus it will display her progress in hand eye coordination and her artistic style.  The only part of this picture I helped with is writing her name through the middle of the page and the month and year on the bottom(eventually I will have her do that part too) but she did all the rest.  I love that she is grabbing different colors and actually pushing down hard enough to make a mark.  This to me is beautiful and I can't wait to share her art with you all.  The other thing I am doing is writing a quick blurb on the back of these, since they are done on card stock, that tells a little about the project and how old she was and what actual day she colored it on. I got this idea from HGTV, they were constantly talking about having your kids make unique are for your walls before they think they can't draw, I just put my spin on it.  Plus its something that she has fun doing can't wait to get frames for her work of art!

I'll make sure to post each months addition so you all can watch her grow in her art as well.

Project: recycled t-shirts into burp cloths

I had a bunch of scraps left over from another project and was thinking about what to do with them.  While debating turning them into dust rags I was spit up on and watched my t-shirt I was wear absorb the spit up instantly, didn't run thru or dribble down to my pants. It instantly hit me that all the colored shirt scraps I had were "boy" colors and realized that the scraps were large enough to make some double sided burp cloths.  So I went to work and played around with the different size scrap and came up with a bunch of different shapes and mix and matched colors too.  The one on the left has a neck cut out with one side larger than the other because I feed Gabe on his side and he always dribbles a little out of the side he is laying on so I thought why not have one side larger and that way I would not have to bunch up the cloth on that side making him and me more comfortable when feeding.  The second is your basic rectangle burp cloth both are navy blue on one side and the I have olive green on the other side of the bib style and white on the rectangle.

These are super easy to make since it is almost all straight edge sewing.

1.Take your desired colored material line up 2 pieces of T-shirt material back to back so that the inside of the material is facing out and the outside is facing in. 
2.Trim to the same size,
3.pin together to keep from slipping as you sew them up,
4.sew 1/2 inch in(this will keep your cloths from coming apart since t-shirt material is stretchy if you get too close to the edge you run the possibility of its pulling apart) leave about 2 inches open on one end ( for the bib style make sure you leave this opening on a straight edge)
5.through the opening, you will flip the cloth right side out
6.then sew up the opening either with a straight stitch across with the sewing machine or with a ghost stitch by hand.

I hope all of you with little ones will try these out they are great and when your little one has grown you have perfect cleaning rags. Just make sure you wash the burp cloths before using in the baby friendly detergent. Enjoy and let me know if you make them or if you have any questions on how I made mine. I would love to see your version of these great pieces.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Deployment: 2 months done, oh how we miss him

So today marks 2 months that Ty has been deployed and so far I have not burned the house down, pulled my hair out or killed any animals.  I would say we are doing pretty good despite missing him like crazy.  Its hard to be on 24/7 but I would be lost if I didn't have the kids to make the days fly bye.  This last month was full of us just hanging out around the house and enjoying some spring and almost summery type weather.  We went to the park a few times and walked around the little mall here in town too. But mainly we have just been here at the house.  Its easier to just stay home and let the kids play and do their own thing than to fight them to calm down at the store or out.  Kenzi has cut her bottom k9s and is working on getting the top ones through which has put her in a grumpy mood and Gabe follows her so when ever she cries he cries. On top of all that Gabe has also started to teethe which leaves him a little grumpy too.  It also makes for a very tired mommy as I am constantly on the move with them needing changing, food, water, love, or just playing on the floor.  The very best part of this month has been video chatting 2 times with Ty. and also finding out my mom gets to come visit this next month.  I can't wait to see her and introduce her to Gabe.  It was the best surprise after so many plans fell threw.  I'm also working out every night which is helping pass the time too.

Ty is doing better now.  He was having a rough time and still some days are better than others with being away from me and the kids.  He has been enjoying getting mail and loves seeing pictures and is trying to stay connected as best he can. 

Next month promises to be fun and I am hoping for it to fly bye as well. with my mom's visit right in the middle and hopefully nice weather so we can get back into going to the park in the mornings when it is nice out.  I will also be sharing more reviews and so crafting ideas as the month goes on so stay tuned.  Next update will be a Gabe special for his turning 3 months.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Makenzi at 20 months!

Wow! Where did the time go.  My little girl is already 20 months old, she is almost 2.  It is amazing to look back at all the things she has already learned, from rolling over to sitting up and all the way to feeding herself and now talking. I know I will probably repeat all this with her 2 year old shout out but I just can't believe in a matter of months she will be 2 years old.

So the update with her currently she is starting to pick up new words every day, a hear it once and she is running around saying it for the day.  Today she was trying to say monkey but for some reason everything she was saying today began with a b.  It was cute and by the end of the day she actually said monkey and knew what it was as I showed her a picture and she said "mumbey"  I  love her mispronunciations and can't wait to hear her clear it up.  She also is singing and dancing to blues clues songs with hand movements.  She can count to 14 and does every day, she also counts whenever any thing is counted on her favorite shows. She is saying mom and dada, thank you, bye bye, hello, hi ya, mama, baby, cat, kitty, pup, bunny, bubba, oh no, please, yes, no, and see you, and I see you. She has also said "what have I done" and "I love you".  She is also slowly coming away from crying at me and now is trying to communicate with me with pointing at what she wants and saying please and then thank you when I give her whatever she was after.  I am working on getting her to vocalize what she wants and not just point by telling her what she is point at and really making sure I am giving everything names as I give it to her.  We are also working on being more polite when out in public which isn't often but she is doing really well and since she is Gabe is as well.

She is growing like a weed as well and is fully wearing her 18 months clothing and some 24 month/2T clothing as well.  We have also used a few of her 12 month dresses as tank tops with shorts since they are just too short to wear as dresses, though she is almost to big for them now.  She is still wearing size 6 shoes but I've bought her a pair of size 7 sandals so she can wear them until it gets cold again, hopefully.  I just can't believe how much she has already grown and yes I will have a wonderful blog post for her come 2 years.  Stay tuned for more about the kids throughout the months.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Holidays without him...St Patrick's Day

So, St. Patrick's Day is here and luckily almost over.  Though its not a really big holiday, like Christmas or Halloween, but its still a holiday and this year I had to pass on really celebrating it.  We did the whole wear green thing but that is about it.  I didn't get to go all out and make some Irish food since I didn't want to just cook it for me, I forgot to get some beer.  Plus sitting here in the quiet house, kids are asleep, it just sucks.  Today during the day to keep my mind off it being the 1st holiday he has really missed with us.  I had the kids play and let them watch their favorite shows on TV and gave Kenzi new foods all day which she liked so that was fun. For me I just cleaned house and did laundry as well as did some crafting.  Nothing over the top special, just treated the day like any other.  The big thing I am worrying about is how Easter will go.  This will be my first Easter celebration completely on my own.  I guess I should start planning what to do now so that it doesn't get forgotten and I end up feeling this same way.  Anyway, at the very least, we did do a little celebration with wearing green but like I said nothing super special.  I hope that everyone who has gone out to celebrate make it home safe and sound.  For those of us who stayed in I hope you get to do a little something special. 

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Watching my kids bond

I love watching moments like that depicted above. It reminds me that my children are slowly bonding. My Daughter who is just about 20 months old is talking to my 2 month old who is sitting in her old Bumbo seat.  Shortly after I took this pictures she got down on his level and gave him a kiss, I wish I could have gotten that in a picture but she does it so unexpectedly that I am never ready to catch it.  I also wish I knew what was being said to him because she is always so serious when talking to him but ends it with love. 

Makenzi is such a great big sister to Gabriel. She talks to him when he cries and when he doesn't cry she shares her toys with him for a little while.  She shows him how to use her toys too, the way I introduce her to new toy. Its so heart warming I just had to share.  Watching them interact is truly a blessing.  Gabriel watches Makenzi like a hawk throughout the day, even when I am holding him he is trying to watch what she is doing. I feel that he is going to be an early walker just because he is going to try and keep up with her. 

Even today while I was playing on the floor with both of them so that Gabriel could have some tummy time, Makenzi walked up and bent down and gave him a kiss. I told her he didn't feel good today and she patted his head and said, "It otay."  You see, whenever she falls down or runs into anything and it hurts her for a second but she is fine I tell her your okay give her a hug and pat her on the head.  So she has picked up on this and I hear her say it to him from time to time and to her toys when she drops them.  She is so loving to all her pets and to her baby brother, who she calls baby or bubba, and is loving to me of course. At any given moment she will come running up just to hug me or give me a kiss and then run off just as quickly to go and play more, she also does this to our cat, Sammie, and to her brother. 

I really hope that their relationship continues to grow and I will do everything I can to nurture that relationship and the importance of family being part of their life too.  I would not be where I am today without my supportive family and hope I can instill that sense of support they will always have from us and hopefully from each other as they grow up. I honestly believe that success means nothing if you have no one to share it with. 

Anyway, I look forward to writing about how their relationship blossoms over the coming months and years. I know I'll have my hands full as Makenzi starts teaching Gabriel all the things she already knows and buttons to push on both me and their daddy but it'll be worth it to see them grow up together.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: Fisher Price Apptivity Case

So I found this at Babies R Us, Baby Expo and thought what a great idea, I had my old iPhone 3G that was my just in case I screwed up my 4G back up phone so I updated it and download the apps that go along with this case and let my daughter play. She is just about 20 months now and loves this. I am for sure going to have to get one for my son when he gets to 6 or 7 months, though we may get him one for christmas or his birthday instead of just giving it to him.  This is so easy for her to use and she loves the ability of playing with the different apps, I did cut the internet and there was no phone service to it either but just to be on the safe side I put it to airplane mode.  I also put all the apps you cannot delete from the iphone into "folder" on the last page to get them out of the way.  She loves to listen to music on this and look at the pictures I added to it for her.  She has tons of fun just playing the games

Fisher Prices has 4 apps you can download for free plus there are other apps that are kid games and learning games that you can upload to the iphone for free and let them have fun.  This case is very durable as well. My daughter has dropped it over our baby gate into the kitchen where it bounced 2 times before landing on the floor flat, no damage to the case or iphone, she has kissed it, licked it, chewed on the handles and blue sides, stood on it, still no damage.

I highly recommend this toy for any baby to toddler for a learning aid as well as something easy for them to use while you are doing your errands.  You could even hook it into the internet and download netflix on it and let your child what their favorite shows while you are out and about.  This is yet another great product by Fisher Price, and one I plan to buy a duplicate of too.

Try it for yourself, its a great price, $15, at Babies R Us, as well as being sold at Target, Walmart, and a few other places.

Gabe's 2 month Check up

So we had Gabe's 2 month check up today and man has he grown in a month.  He is now 2 inches longer at 24.5 inches long/tall, he has gained 2 pounds at 12 pounds 6 ounces, and his head is 15 and 3/4 inches round, I'm not sure what it was but I know its bigger.  His weight was in the 50th percentile while his head and height was in the 75th percent.  All in all he is growing beautifully and very healthy. I love going to the doctor to get this information since I also get a little pat on the back saying I am doing a good job with my kids.  Kenzi was well behaved with all the toys I brought for her to play with, I am learning pretty fast to pick and choose when to limit her number of toys brought and when to let her bring whatever.  Doctor's visit not for her, let her bring a back pack full of toys.  Gabe did really well with his shots only cried for a few seconds, pretty much how long it took me to get his pants on after the 2 shots were given was how long he cried as soon as I had him in my arms he was fine.  He did act like he was getting sick as I put him in his car seat but that subsided when I gave him a pacifier to help get his mind off his tummy, sucking on a pacifier actually helps a baby's tummy calm down because they stop thinking about either what happened or what is making them sick. 

I also remembered my questions about him turning red which he demonstrated and was told it was normal, asked about his belly button, that the inside was a darker color, that was normal and would lighten and probably disappear as he got older, his colic which has gotten worse since he was born but is now kinda relaxing a little thank the Lord, I was given some other techniques for burping him if he fights burping again.  I also had some questions with his going potty and was told all was normal. So yay! Gabe is healthy and doing great though he was a grumpy butt all afternoon.

Kenzi was rewarded for being good at the doctor's office with a little trip to the park where she got to climb on a jungle gym, go down the slides, and swing.  Then we came home and the kids napped and then it was time for dinner. 

Our next doctors appointment will be when he is 4 months old which I will have to set up next month, but will update you before that, I promise.

Stay tuned later this month I will be doing a special birthday shout out as well as a quick update on Kenzi and a quick anniversary shout out. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Brownies, spruced up

What a great way to spruce up some ordinary brownies.  I added chopped walnuts to the top and to cut back on the calories and make this have a little deeper flavor I took out the oil and replaced it with zero calorie hazelnut flavoring.  By switching it out the brownies turned out a little more cake like but they are super tasty and would go perfectly with a scoop of ice cream but I am just going to stick with my non fat milk to accompany my piece. 

Most of my baking I replace the oil with something better, be that zero calorie flavoring or even baby food.  It is so much fun to play with ingredients.  This one is a basic box brownie mix that called for 1/2 cup of oil and after looking at how many calories are  in a serving and then seeing the serving for oil being a table spoon I decided this one needed to be replaced.  I happened to have some hazelnut oil with no calories so I happily replaced the oil with that and then followed the rest of the ingredients to a T and it turned out delicious.  I even let my daughter have a little taste and she liked it (she doesn't like sweets so her liking this was a big plus for me.) I normally don't give my daughter a whole lot of sweets but from time to time I like to give her a treat and this was hers. 

So my toddler gives it her seal of approval and I urge you all to try it.  I bet you will never use oil again.

Friday, March 9, 2012

6 weeks done....6 weeks closer to seeing my love

Quick blurb, we now have survived for 6 weeks of this deployment and are finally getting into a good groove/cruising speed. Now to survive another 5 and a half months and we will be golden.  What I have planned for the next few months include a few visits with friends, whether via video chat or actually in person, though they are still up in the air.  Some visits with family. Some play dates as well as some play in the park and at the beach if the gas prices don't get too high.  We will also be hanging out at home working on vocabulary and potty training. 

Stay tuned each Friday I will update on how many weeks we have put behind us and once we get that all powerful homecoming date I will let you all know.  Until then stay tuned for the fun things we will do with and saving money all the way. 

This week we spent a lot of time at home due to rainy weather but were able to get out Thursday to the park and play.  It was nice to get some fresh air and Kenzi enjoyed running around with other kids.  She is such a social butterfly.  Today we will be spending indoors again as its suppose to rain.  Check in with us next Friday for an update on what we got to do. 

Sneak peak: I think its time for some arts and crafts as well as some more great outdoors.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

From 1 to 2 under 2, Kids that is

I have been asked a lot how I manage to take care of 2 under 2 and both in diapers, and I can't take all the credit because my daughter who is almost 20 months old is an amazing helper.   I think the hardest part about have 2 under 2 is the attention each wants and needs.  The older they get the more independent they become but until they get the vocabulary and understanding to talk to you instead of crying or screaming at you can be a challenge.  I have found myself giving into the first time mom syndrome when my daughter starts whining or screaming at me where I just want her to tell me what she wants, as she is normally standing at the entrance to our kitchen doing this, and end up yelling over her loud yells.  I almost instantly realize I am doing this and back off and either turn my back to her to let us both calm down or take a deep breath and start the guessing game.  I think all 1st time moms do this at least once a week if not more but curbing it can be a hard thing when you are going on less sleep than you have been getting and stress from other areas of your life that your young kids would not understand.  Something I have learned since adding our second child to our happy little household is that keeping cool under pressure is an absolute must if I want to have a calm house I must be calm and not let myself get upset.

I know that is easier said than done because I am very hot blooded and tend to let people get under my skin way to easily, which in turn leads me to getting upset while on the phone and then my household erupts with kids screaming.  Once it erupts I then have to take a step back and remind myself to calm down and then work even harder to get the kids settled down.  I end up holding my 2 month old son or switching his activity and getting my daughter a snack or some juice or milk depending on the time of day.  Its normally a process that takes about an hour or 2 to get the house back to a calm peaceful place. 

Going out is a completely different experience and often ends with the kids dragging the attention of the people around us as I hurry to get my grocery shopping done or bills paid.  For some reason these are both very stressful events for me and it transpires over to the kids which makes them fussy as well.  It is hard to take care of both of them at the same time, but when you need to get things done its sometime easier to apologize to those around you and just get out of there than to stop and fuss with the kids knowing that they are just going to start up again.  Now by all means this is not saying I just ignore them.  I do try a few times to get them calmed down. I do the normal checks: diapers, hungry, burp, some other form of discomfort, for Gabe he hates his car seat but when going into places like the grocery store I don't have much of a choice but to have him in his car seat so often I will loosen straps to try and get him calmed down.  Its not a fun guessing game but once I strike all those out of the list and the kids are still at it I tend to knuckle down and just get the things I absolutely need and get out of the store and get home.  I think because I am up tight with these outings that it badly effects the kids to act up.  However, I have found, like today, that when I am relaxed and just going into places with a having fun attitude that the kids don't scream at me or any one else for that matter and relax as well.  Lesson, relax and just have fun and so will the kids. 

My biggest advice to anyone who is about to or has just entered the realm of 2 under 2 is to relax and try to see the light side of everything.  After the last month and a half of outings ending with me high tailing it home because I couldn't handle the kids acting up in public I finally discovered that it was me not them.  I had forgotten what I had always told my husband about going out with our daughter, if you are calm she is calm but when you get up tight and worry that she is going to make a scene she will, because you are up tight so she is up tight and irritable. 

Also make sure when you are doing any activity with your kids that you make it fun.  Today I went into Bath and Body Works to look around and spot out some new scents for the house.  I found a few that are really nice and when my daughter started to whine because I was taking to long smelling candles I turned and let her smell it too.  Her tune changed and though I don't think she was actually smelling the candle, the simple act of including her on what I was enjoying relaxed her and made it easier to do what I wanted and let me spend more time smelling candles and looking at the store than I ever have before.  Also because we were relaxed Gabe relaxed to the point that he fell asleep in the car seat he hates so much.  Since he was asleep and my daughter was enjoying herself I was also able to do a little window shopping in my favorite clothing store and have a decent conversation with the sales associate on future sales the store would be hosting, and the current cute new arrivals, no screaming kids to talk over or interrupt.  It was pleasant.  Finally we left and got in the car though Gabe woke up at this point and decided to scream at me for a while he calmed right down once I got him out at the park.  We had a good time out side at the park and downtown in general and again no screaming kids which made for a relaxing outing.  I made the day fun for all of us and made it so we all got to do something fun.  Yes even Gabe as I took him out of his car seat at the park and put him in a front carrier to carry him around then I put him in the back seat of the stroller so he got to look around at the world as we walked.

So to reiterate the whole how do I do it.  I figure out how to stay relaxed during outings and at home, this means taking one thing at a time and when the kids do act up take a deep breath and steady yourself then check everything before chalking it up to them just wanting attention.

Learning how to control your own emotions is probably the hardest thing to do when taking care of 2 under 2 but its not impossible to do.  It will make your life raising kids so close in age much easier.  Another benefit to gaining control is that you don't lose it so easily and tend to get better responses from people when you do have to deal with less than pleasing situations.

You know, we chose to have our children close together so that they could be friends, though if they are anything like my sister's and my relationship then they will fight like crazy but be good friends as they get older.  For us the timing was right to have both kids and plus we wanted to be able to be younger parents and really be able to be active as they grow up.  Having a plan in place when you decide to have a second child so close to the first is a must however if you are military like we are those plans get changed for you here and there.  Such that when we got pregnant this second time we were not expecting to find out that my husband would be deploying the same month that we were do.  I didn't plan to have to be an acting single parent to 2 under 2 and really thought that he wouldn't be deployed that quickly after moving to a new duty station.  It was a shock to say the least and even though we did our best to plan everything out for while he was gone. Things have of course changed but as they finally settle down I can relax a little and like I said enjoy the outings and play time. 

Its a stressful job and I would highly recommend thinking hard and long before having kids so close together but at the same time, for me, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love my 2 beautiful kids and wouldn't trade this stressful but fun life.  I love watching them grow and learn and figure out what this crazy world is all about. 

Well, I hope that this shines a little light on having 2 under 2 and the stress levels that go along with them as well as the fun times you can have if you just take a deep breath and go with the flow.  This doesn't all happen over night and often finding that relaxed pace or emotional control is a trial and error and then finally finding it type of situation.  So take a deep breath and enjoy their little years because, as I am sure you all know, they grow up entirely too fast.

If you have any questions on things to do with 2 under 2, or are just looking for some quick advice feel free to email me at akayda1014@mac.com or better yet leave a comment here, who knows, maybe there is someone else out there who has the same question but doesn't know how to ask.

I'm here to help.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gabe at 2 months

Gabe is 2 months old.  He is learning so much by leaps and bounds and his big sister is one of the biggest factors there.  He watches all she does throughout the day and gets mad when he does not get to interact with her.  I have one of those feelings that he is going to be an early walker.  He coos at us and of course screams at us and watches both me and Makenzi as we go about doing things in the room. 

So far in his life he has rolled from tummy to back, is starting to sleep through the night, he can sit with support and holds his head up.  He can also lift his chest off the ground and burp like a pro.  He has a smile that is contagious, that not only is just at his mouth but you see the happiness in his eyes as well.  We still have not gotten him to sleep in his crib for longer than a half hour but over the next month I will have him taking his naps up there, and who knows maybe I will get him sleeping through the night up there by 3 months.  I am looking forward to his doctor visit on the 12th that will give us his weight and length which I know he had grown tremendously since his one month check up.  Oh an I guess I chose the wrong car seat for my kids as Gabe hates the car seat as much as Kenzi did, and I have tried to make it comfortable for him with no avail so we just try to stay out of it as much as possible. I am looking forward to him controlling his head so that we can leave the car seat in the car and just use the stroller but until then we will just keep working on keeping him calm/out of it as much as possible. Also over the last month I have decided to switch him fully over to formula as he had lost interest in breastfeeding and was using me more to just chew on over anything else.  He is doing great with the formula now that I have found a good bottle to help prevent his spit up.

All in all Gabe is growing by leaps and bounds.  I wish he would slow down but its so much fun to watch him explore his hands and stare his nose down.  He has found his thumb from time to time but has a pacifier that he likes normally in the afternoon or while we are out.  I think he gets car sick or something because he normally will take it after we get out of the car.  The best part of my days lately is watching Kenzi and Gabe interact.  She had a whole conversation with him and he just stared her down the whole time it was so cute.  She loves him so much and likes to give him a kiss on his head every night before I put him in his bed and then she says "awe" but she will only do it if I do not ask her to do it which makes me smile even more when she does because she is showing her love.

Well, that is the update of Gabe for now I will update one more time for his 2 month appointment and then Kenzi will have her spotlight later this month.  So keep an eye out for her special blog post around the 20th. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: Disney Princess Bedtime Story Book

So, my daughter was given this story book as a Christmas present and we finally started reading it the last few nights. The stories in this book are really wonderful with the classic Disney Princesses as the stars of new stories. The stories carry with them small lessons for girls about being nice, using their imagination, among other things.  My daughter, who also doesn't always like to sit still, will lay in bed and listen to me read her the stories, just as long as she can see the pictures.  The art in this book is also beautifully done.  This is one book that I think she will have fun reading from as she learns to read a few years down the road and I know will be one of her treasured childhood books.  I hope to get the other Disney Princess books for her too. 

My recommendation is that if you have a little girl who enjoys good stories or who you want to start getting them to read this is a good book.  It has many small stories in it and the words are not overly complicated and between the stories and the pictures will make an easy reader, with help from mom or dad, for a beginner. 

Check this and other Disney Princess Books out at your local Micheal's Arts and Crafts store, or any book store for that matter.  Worth the purchase.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: Disney My First Princess Toddler Dolls

Above are three of the Disney's My First Princess Toddler Dolls.  These are actually the three that we got our daughter for Christmas this last year. Even though they are not recommended for under 3s, our daughter had seen and fallen in love with the Cinderella doll, so like a good mom I got it for her for Christmas (yes I made her wait and open it at Christmas even though she was with me when I bought it).  After seeing her hold tight to the box with Cinderella we decided to get her Aurora and Rapunzel.  I have to say that I am very impressed with these dolls.  The crowns are tacked on with thick thread and though she has started to get them off now they hold up very well to her rough play.  The other cool part is that there are accessories you can buy for the dolls and the shoes come off too.  Needless to say I have put all the small parts up, which include a comb from each and their shoes, everything else is either attached or too big for her to swallow.  The dolls themselves are well made and after putting each through some tugging tests found them to be very well made. Each year we have gotten Makenzi a few Disney dolls, first we got her the Disney Princess Baby Dolls and this year we got her the Toddler Dolls and have just been blown away with the quality of all of the Disney Dolls we have gotten.  If you have a little girl into the Disney Princesses check out these dolls. I don't think you or your child will be disappointed with them.  The next step from here is to get her the My First Disney Princess Doll but I think we will wait a few years for that one.

To wrap up this review my daughter loves her dolls and all the accessories Disney has put out with them and actually plays with them like baby dolls too.  So check them out, you can find any of these dolls are Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, and Target.  

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Born Free Disney The Lion King Bottle

I went to take some things back to Babies R Us a few weeks ago and found this bottle.  I decided to give myself time to really use and work with this bottle and see if it would help my little guy with spitting up. I had tried the Dr. Brown bottle that I had been given to Makenzi when we had just had her and had no luck. Tried burping every ounce, different positions for burping, and still every night he would wake up spitting up and would wake himself up from naps spitting up.  I have used this bottle nonstop since I got it and he hasn't spit up nearly as much.  Just to see if it was indeed the bottle the last few nights I have had to use a different bottle and he is spitting up again.  I feel so bad for him when this happens, so I think I am going to be going back to Babies R Us and get a few more.  The bottles are not expensive and work greatly.  If your baby is having an issue with spitting up and gas and all I highly recommend this bottle.  I think its easier for him to drink from as well so everyone should use these bottles.  They also have a pink Minnie Mouse version for girls. However, I think I would have used the Lion King one for Makenzi if I had saw them back then.

All in all I highly recommend this bottle. It lives up to all its said to do and is super easy to clean and so far no leaking either.  So go out and get one and try it for yourself I think you will be just as happy as I am.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kids and deployment, my how they surprise me.

Tonight I have been a little sensitive to say the least and while reading an email that talks about the life of a enlisted service member and all they do for us, I started to cry.  I couldn't help it because it made me instantly think about my husband working long days over there in the cold and how hard it really is on all of them. So as I sat here reading my email and attempting to control my emotions, my 19 month old comes over and starts to babble at me very seriously and touches my knee.  All I could say was, "Mommy is okay she is just have an emotional moment." As if that is what she wanted to hear she ran off to play.  Well, my emotions were already running so I knew I was just going to have to let them work themselves out but my 19  month old really thought something was seriously wrong and again came over and was very seriously talking to me turns around away from me and then looks at me again and says I love you.  Let me tell you that this just made me cry more and then she grabbed my hand and pulled me down to her level and gave me a kiss then patted the top of my head.  She is such a sweet heart.

Well, I just had to share that episode of Miss Makenzi being loving.  But I wanted to talk about how she seems to be dealing with Daddy being deployed.  Though on a normal day she plays it away and very interested in learning when it comes time for nap time or bed time or just going out she has really started to act out. You see normal outings for us were on the weekends with Daddy who could give her tons of attention while I took care of Gabe, so now I have to be both mom and dad for the time and its a tough job. I know that once we get into the swing of things and she gets use to going out with me and Gabe that she will settle back down.  People often forget that deployment is hardest on the kids as they may not understand why daddy or mommy all of a sudden are not home to put them to bed every night and that their favorite playmate is gone. The hardest is when she looks around the house asking where's dada. I have come to see that she understands that dada is at work so she will stop looking but its almost an everyday reminder that he's not here. 

I have tried to explain what work dada is doing but I know she doesn't understand to an extent, though, any time that I am upset she is the first to climb into my arms until I calm down and tell her everything is fine. She worries just like I do about him. She has also been wanting to say night night to him every night so I make him a new video of her being goofy, blowing a kiss and saying night night.  I think its how she is coping with not seeing him.  She also gives his picture kisses throughout the day.

Kids have it hardest when one parent has to be away and it is further stressful on them when that parent is in a potentially dangerous place. So part of the way I am helping her handle this stress is by getting her into a fully, though relaxed, schedule.  We get up dressed and have breakfast, then play and have lunch then nap time for both kids so I can have a little quiet time myself, then snack time more play and learning time, then dinner, then I get Gabe bath, bottle, and bed then Kenzi and I have cuddle time and then bath and bed for her as well.  So far I have noticed that she is much more relaxed and listening better since getting on to this schedule. Gabe is having some issues with getting into the swing of just me taking care of both him and Kenzi but I know with a little time he will relax and just go with the flow, so mornings before Kenzi wakes up him and I have some one on one cuddle time.

I will make a few suggestions to mom's with little ones and dealing with deployment, make and stick to a schedule it will make life less stressful for your little ones. Plan your outings out to the last minute of returning home and do your best to stick to that as well, that way you don't forget anything you need for your kids and you get everything done that you needed to.  I have found that by planning everything out I don't have to do a bunch of little runs out of the house, instead I can do one day and take care of everything quickly without the kids getting too grumpy or to far off schedule. Also recognize when your kids are getting overwhelmed while you are out.  With dealing with deployment things effect you and them differently than normal and just like you the kids will have their good days and bad days. Its our job as the at home parents to recognize these things and make our children aware of how to deal with the stress and to help them relax.

When out and my kids get overwhelmed if I can put things off to another day I will so that I can get home that much faster. Also have special snacks that if they lose it, that special snack will take their mind off of the situation.  Also extra toys are a must have and their special items, be that a blanket an article of clothing or toy.

Anyway, I am learning as I go with this but these are the things I am doing and seeing successful outings and day time routines.  I do have to say one thing that schedules for little ones is a great thing whether dealing with deployment or not. It helps them fell more secure in their life and when you keep your word with everything they feel better about their surroundings and you will have a better relationship and less stressful world.  Good luck to all dealing with the same things I am and to all who have little ones.