Friday, September 30, 2011

3 Doc Visits in 1 week

I was run over by a mack truck last night. Oh wait, no, I just didn't ever sleep more than 45 straight minutes. Which is a great way to spend a night or two.

I'm kidding... I'm such a kidder.

Instead, this week has consisted of way too many doctors visits but I've learned a lot so I must pass along my newfound information:

Today was supposed to be Jacks' 4 month appointment, but remember that cold that Max shared with him? Well he woke up Tuesday- day 14 of the cold- and was worse. Super green boogers, major stuffiness, and gooey eyes, but otherwise a very happy baby man and nothing to complain about really. Well, except that he was eating AROUND the clock all of a sudden-- like every 2-3 hours through the night and eating 6oz bottles when I was at work instead of 4-5 ounces. So naturally I was thinking it was a growth spurt, but I decided to email my 2 sources of mom wisdom "just in case".

Source #1 is my mom- and she is wise mainly because she raised me so perfectly :) Ok, I kid, but I just trust her- she raised 3 of us without any major health debacles, she loves my kids more than I knew was possible, and she's in to taking the healthy route.  Her response was to check in with the doctor just in case.

Source #2 is Nurse Laura Hunter from my church who is also co-founder of Moms on Call and the person with the most awesome swaddle that leads to very happy babies.  She also has 5 kids, and is a nurse, and therefore knows tons and tons. And she's just wonderful to talk to, shoots straight, and is kind. She responded with 3 nuggets that all moms should know:

Call the doc/ get it check out if:
  • cold symptoms last more than 7-10 days
  • gets worse for 3 consecutive days
  • or if it's just out of sorts for more than 3 days

So I spoke with J's doctor who had us come in and went ahead and moved his 4 month appointment to the same time, so we could do an all in one-- she took a look at him and he was happy and cute as a button- she even said this out loud :) Then she checked out his left ear, clear and all was good. Then she looked at his right ear- had to clean her little tool twice before she could even see what she needed to see and then she said "wow, he has quite the ear infection".

Insert of "worst mom in the world" feeling here-- not only did my kid have an ear infection and I had NO idea because he was so sweet and happy but he also had dirty ears-- I bathe my children and clean their ears at least 6 nights a week, I swear!

Come to find out, gooey eyes is a sign of an ear infection, which is why they wanted to see us. Also, if a cold is a cold (which is was) and then gets worse again, then it's usually something more, because once you beat a cold, you should be on the mend-- so that was a sign that fluids had settled in there. And then lastly, remember his growth spurt? Not so much-- instead it was very relieving for him to suck/ eat, unlike Max who when he had an ear infection refused to eat-- it could go either way- so if eating is "off" or different then this could be a sign/ symptom as well.

So Jack is on his first round of antibiotics and we're hoping to be mending although nights are still kind of rough- not screaming in pain, but he can't get settled or stay asleep-- he tosses his head back and forth, and the usually succumbs to being awake until I feed him, which opens his ears back up, lets him sleep for about 30 minutes, and then it starts again. This mommy is tired, but relieved to know what's going on. (Side note: have you noticed that once you take your baby to the doc and get them diagnosed that is feels like they should instantly be better since you know what the problem is-- but it doesn't work that way. Instead, you actually have to wait for the medicine to kick in and do it's thing- imagine that.)

Then on Wednesday the whole family traveled to the pediatrician office again for flu shots- we've never done flu shots before and I'm not a fan of vaccines but our J was premature, and I'm not even going to entertain the thought of him getting the flu, especially after Max and I suffered for many weeks last year while I was pregnant and Chad was out of town. I'm not even going to link to those blogs posts from last winter because I want to forget that even happened. But I'll just say that the medicine that they gave my very sick, very feverish 18 month old was known to cause hallucination. 

Well, I learned some things about flu shots too- Gabe was naturally DREADING getting a shot, but I wasn't going to let him bring germs home from his school to our babies and his mom is pregnant and can't risk getting the germs so it was a must. But when we got to the doctor, they mentioned that him and Max were old enough and healthy enough for the mist instead-- they weren't pregnant (ha!), nursing (haha!), allergic to eggs, or going to be around anyone with a compromised immune system (like someone having chemo) for the next 5-10 days. I pulled up the CDC info on my phone, got the scoop, and decided that was the way to go for them- same results, but pain free. But unfortunately, I was not as lucky- due to nursing, I had to have the shot. But I didn't even feel it when it happened, but today is another story....

Here is the info on the flu-shots that I read beforehand-- obviously everyone has to decide for themselves and for their family:
And of course my big question was just if one was better than the other and this led me to believe that the mist which was pain free for the boys was just as good and potentially better! Great news:

Now because none of us have had this before, we actually have to get a second dose in the next 1-2 months, but that's only for this year. And honestly, like I mentioned I'm not super into vaccines and Chad is really against them, so we probably won't do it every year- just years with compromised immune systems-- like pregnancy, a premature baby, or some other unforeseen health problem among our people.

And lastly, for the 3rd doctor appointment this week, I went this morning to my Ob to make sure we don't get anymore Bowman babies quite yet, and realized that early morning appointments are THE PITS if you've been up all night with your baby and if you have to drive in 80 minutes of traffic for a 7 minute appointment. But luckily, I did get to see my most favorite mid-wife one last time before she gets hitched... and ideally one last time for about 18 months, so we can get some sleep before we ask God to bless us once again with another precious little life.

That is all for my nuggets of wisdom, and I hope to not visit another doctor for quite some time, Lord willing, and I hope I don't have any information like this that I can share with you for a while as well!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Public Service Announcement

If you live anywhere near me and you have kids who can crawl/ walk through elementary school, then you must check out the new "CatchAir" that is on the corner of Barrett Parkway and Chastain Meadows. It's kind of like a big inflatable play place, except that it's not-- it's sturdy but soft play equipment with big slides, tons of climbing and swing, stuff for small children, and everyone inbetween. They play fun dance music, they do some interactive stuff with the kids and it's SO CLEAN!! I'd let my baby crawl all over the floor... just as soon as he learns to crawl (BUT NO RUSH BABY J!)

And I know this is just wrong, but I enjoyed the slides and climbing and playing so much that I had to stop several times to catch my breath and so that I could stop sweating. Seriously. A couple of the slides go really fast but are so cushy with padding everywhere-- so sometimes Max would go in my lap and then he would go on his own as well.  We were there for about an hour and a half and we didn't even explore everything they had to offer because we kept doing the same things over and over again.

Now I didn't capture all the fun things to do on my iphone, but this will give you the gist and just fyi, the clubhouse/ treehouse thing is home of several wonderful slides, but my pictures don't do it justice.

So here is the website:
AND there is a groupon for it right now which is how I discovered it:

With winter just around the corner, I'm telling you, this is the fun (warm) (clean) place to be!! I talked about it so much last night that Chad told me I needed to look into a season pass.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DotMom Event

Way back when I was still growing Jack, a blog I read linked to Vicki Courtney's blog. I immediately loved her and started to google her. That's when I found out that she'd be speaking in Birmingham, just a quick 2ish hours from Atlanta, at the DotMom event. After perusing the other speakers, the break out sessions, and everything that would happen at the conference, I knew I had to go. I sent the email to a couple of my mom friends and immediately heard back from Danielle. We both asked our husbands to get us a ticket to the conference for Mother's Day and that was that.

Initially, I asked my mom if she would fly down and ride with me to the conference and keep Jack in the room- but when he came into the world 5 weeks early and started sleeping like a champ, I decided that he would be happier at home, and it would be easier on my mom and Max too. So with the oodles of pumped milk in the freezer, I left the boys with my mom and Eli, their manny. (Chad was here too, but he busied himself with golf, work meetings, and other man stuff.) Honestly, it about ripped my heart out to leave my 4 month old overnight, I had major anxiety for several days leading up to my actual departure, but it was the BEST thing I could've done for my mom-hood and my boys.

The conference was FABULOUS- God was at work encouraging moms, rebuilding moms, strengthening moms, and pointing moms back to him. Every breakout that I went to was amazing, the main session speakers spoke straight to my heart, and I was reminded over and over again by moms that were either doing it or had done it, that even in the midst of baby/ toddler land, there was time for God- it just wouldn't look like it did when I was single/ in college/ kidless. And for 36 whole hours, I was there for me- for my relationship with God, and my important job of being a mom. It was exactly what my soul needed!

I chose a breakout on being a step mom, a breakout on teaching my kids The Word, a breakout on conversations you must have with your son (since I have 3 of them!), and a breakout on "vintage values" in the modern society. I came home with tons of books, I came home with many new tricks up my sleeve, I came home more than ready to be an amazing mom, and I came home with a hunger for God's word. I'm telling you, this was worth all the money in the world, but the ticket was only $69!!

We ended up riding to the conference 7 deep in a Nissan minivan! (Only at a mom conference would the most popular car be a minivan... I can't tell you how many times minivan's were mentioned from the stage!) That included Danielle, our friend Heather, our pastor's wife Kristy, and then 3 other lovely ladies I didn't know until the trip- but God bonded us, of course- He always does that! One wonderful lady even accepted Christ as her Savior for the first time, PRAISE THE LORD. And now I have new mom friends.

SO I'll end by saying that this probably isn't the last you hear of this- especially as I dig into the many books I bought and type up my notes to share with the others (we divided and conquered since there were so many great breakouts) BUT until then, if you're a mom, or a grandmother, this conference is for you AND it's happening again, next year, same time, same place. Mark it on your calendar now, tell me you want to go, and we'll begin making plans. You can buy your ticket now, too, for the early bird discount, click here. And if you're afraid of going because you'll have a baby, make a plan- bring a the baby and sitter, or plan ahead to leave you baby and bring your pump- been there, done that, TOTALLY worth it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Planners, Shoes, Impostors, Bags, and Love

Ok, so that is a really lame title, but these things do not go and they have been lumped together in one post, kind of like a run on sentence that doesn't even form a cohesive thought. That is because I have many things to say- especially coming off a most wonderful weekend at the Dotmom conference, but time is of the essence so I will elaborate on that in the next post, but for now, I will stick with the basics:

1) I got my life planner- but no I didn't pay full price, despite how much I love planning, my husband would croak if I spent $50 on a planner!!!! So I ordered when they were half off. The when I saw it on the front stoop, I shrieked and it's been love ever since.  I take it with me everywhere I got- even if I don't need it :) Isn't it cute? Order yours at That website is full of other wonderful stuff too!

2) I got TOMS for Gabe and Max. Gabe hasn't tried his on yet (he's been in TX for fall break) but Max in tiny TOMS is one of the cutest things I ever did see- and he loves his new shoes. Max loves shoes like his Mama loves shoes- he puts them on and then asks everyone if they like them :)

3) We had a kodak moment... it was a Max imposter... in Max's bed with his paci, buggle and his doggy, but it wasn't him.....

But he was just as cute!

4) I also reached a new low-- I ran errands without children and used a reusable shopping bag as my purse-- then I took it to work the next day as my purse. Really, Lauren? Really? I think this qualifies as "you know you're a super dork mom who drives a minivan when..." moment.

5) While I was gone this weekend, my Mom came in town to take care of my boy (we thought Chad would be working, and last minute he wasn't, so he got a golfing trip out of it instead) and my bro (our Manny) would send me picture updates all weekend and this on is my favorite... I think it's love, for both of them:

That is all for now of the riveting blog post, please come back tomorrow to learn all about the most amazing Mom conference ever and why you MUST attend next year and how it has changed my life- literally :) Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heart Wrenching Loss

On Monday morning, a family lost their 5 month old baby to SIDS. My cousins (Natalie and Nicole) who live in Indiana are good friends with them-  Natalie has a son that same age- they kept each other's boys. And Nicole is a baby nurse who was working at the hospital when it happened. Natalie and Nicole's Dad, my Uncle John, is a pastor and it doing the funeral. The funeral of a baby- a healthy, adorable, precious, loved baby.

There was nothing they could have done differently. But yet, he's gone. He just didn't wake up.

Now I've got to tell you, I've been really wrestling with this since I found out about it. It makes me want to scream, it makes me cry, it makes me want to crawl in a hole and hide, and it makes me want to hold my own baby all day long.

As a mom, I'm mad that there isn't something that could've been done to prevent it, short of standing over the baby's crib 24/7 with your hand on his chest making sure he was breathing. That invokes a fear in me that is like none other. A death that couldn't be prevented? Inexplicable? How does that work? How do you make sense of that in your head?

Secondly, babies are at the highest risk of SIDS between 2 and 4 months old- which my baby Jack just crossed out of that age range, yet this baby was out of that, and it didn't matter.  It still happened. So the "relief" I was thinking and feeling for myself isn't real.

And why can't anyone figure out what SIDS is? Why is it such a mystery? I so badly wanted to believe that it was tied to secondhand smoke, because that gives me some sense of control, and that "it can't happen to my baby" but that's not the case.

Now if I take myself out of it, and just think about those 2 parents- how do they move forward? How do they keep living? What about all the baby stuff in their house? What about their schedule and their lives that revolved around their precious baby's needs- his sleep and his eating and his pooping? What about their house that is covered in his gear? What now? How do they sleep? How do they function? This grieves my heart to no end. This causes a lump so big in my chest that it can't be swallowed. My eyes fill with tears for a family I don't know, multiple times a day.

And then the biggest thing of all, God- controller, healer, life giver, life sustainer-- um, why was your plan to have this baby hear for such a short time? He was so loved. Now there is the hugest hole in many people's lives. What gives?

There is hope found in Jesus, in the after life. But I am caught in the here and now.

Anger. Saddness. Frustration. Grief. Confusion.





Please pray for this family- the parents are Megan and Kevin Bozell. Here is a link to baby Reid's obituary if you'd like more details for your prayers:  Anything you think or feel, I'm sure they're thinking and feeling too, so use it to cover them in prayers. Prayers for comfort, for peace, and for hope. Prayers for sleep, and rest. Prayers for Jesus.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Tim 1:7

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh My Baby J

Today my baby man is 4 months old-- 4 months, already! And he's really coming into his own-- he laughs a lot, talks anytime someone will listen, loves to play with his own hands, will reach for stuff above his head when he's laying on his back, and will blow a gasket anytime you put him on his tummy.  He prefers to be carried facing outward, so he can take in the world. And when he gets mad, it's from 0-60 in .002 seconds, but he usually calms down in as much as well.

Recently, we've discovered that he likes the same exact schedule everyday-- I was just starting the day when he woke up each day, but after some encouragement from Laura, co-founder of MomsOnCall, we changed to the same schedule day to day and it's been great. He sleeps through the night, IN his own crib, IN his own room, that he shares with Max-- ahhhhh. (And then Max shared his cold with us all and made for some long nights, but what are brothers for, right?)

Jack's schedule:
7:00am- Eat
8:00am- Nap
10:30am- Eat
11:45am- Nap
2:00pm- Eat
3:00pm- Nap
5:00pm- Eat
5:30pm- Catnap
7:00pm- Wake up! Playtime!
8:00pm- bath, eat, cuddle, GOOD NIGHT!

Jack still wears size 2 diapers, and we haven't started any food at all. And the main reason for that is just that I'm busy and I'm not ready to bite that off yet, although I do get a little excited thinking about that right around the corner-- that is a super fun stage! Anyway, back to J- he also wears some 3 months stuff, some 3-6  month stuff, and just for fun, I put him in 6 mth clothes but they are really baggy. His spitting up after eating is so much better- 80% of the time, he doesn't even spit at all! And he's still a pro at switching back and forth between nursing and the bottle when I'm at work.

My favorite things about Jack are his 3 legs rolls (that's total: 1 on one leg, 2 on the other), his soft beautiful skin, his facial expressions when he's talking, that he's a cuddle bug, the last feeding of the day when the lights are dim and the house is quiet, and it's just me and him, and my most favorite thing: his breath. I stick my nose in his mouth, literally, ALL the time. Oh, he's just one big ball of heaven.

Jack, I really love being a mom, but being your mom is out of this world amazing.  You're easy and you love me back with all your cuddles and snuggles and I love thinking about you, talking about you, hearing about you from your manny, and really, anything that involves you! When I look at you, my breath catches because you are that precious and that beautiful. And you're even getting a couple hairs on that punkin head of yours! I'm really proud when we go somewhere together- I love that you're mine, and I love when people peer around your seat just to get a glimpse of your cuteness. And you just keep getting better every day! Thanks for being my boy and bringing me so much joy. In the evenings when I start to pray over you and for you, I don't get much passed just thanking God for you and the blessing that you are to my life. I am in awe of what kind of boys God has made and that he has entrusted me with them. You're a blessing little baby, and I love you like crazy!  I pray you let God steal your heart like you've stolen mine- He sent His son for you, because of how much He loves you! Know that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The End of Monthly Check-ins (kinda)

Did you noticed that yesterday was a 19 day and I didn't post a Max blog? What you're not obsessed with his month days like I am and you didn't even notice? Shame on you!

I kid.

But there won't be monthly updates on the Max-man anymore. Mainly because he's passed 2 now and I have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise I'm be saying thing like: Today Max is 142 months- he goes to 5th grade, pee pee's in the potty, wear size 10 pants.... and we all know that isn't cool. AND let's be honest, once you cross over into toddlerhood, there is a lot less change happening from month to month- for instance, I think he might wear a 2T for the next 12 months and do you really want to hear me say that 12 times?? I didn't think so. AND with toddlers, the good stories happen day to day, and you all know I'm obsessed with my boys, so there will be no lack of stories and/or pictures.

So now that I got that off my chest. I'll proceed.

Seeing that Max is now 2, he's hilarious! He says funny things and uses his words correctly so often that it catches me off guard. He's a bossy old thing and stubborn as the day is long. He also can't pronounce his L's which makes for some of my favorite things out of his mouth:

Yook Mom! I put him in my yap! (Look Mom! I put him in my yay!)
He also likes to sleep on pee-yo's. (Pillows, duh!)
He wears beans, not jeans, and I have no idea where this came from- probably his obsession with the letter B.
I also love that he eats Pop-bi-cyles (which are popsicles of course) and I'm afraid to correct this one, because anyone who blends popsicles and bicycles, into one word, is clearly onto something and probably speaking about thing over my head. I don't want to infringe on his genius level.
And when he eats these, I make him go outside, because he is "Max-make-a-mess-Bowman" for a reason. But he wants to go out and eat them alone (I do it myself!) so when I peek out the window to spy, I find him like this:

He's so grown up, pondering the ways of the world, enjoying some alone time, melting my heart.

Max is quite generous too- he went out of his way to share is runny, snotty, booger nose cold with Jack, and myself. I've been up with a stuffy-nosed child every night for 8 nights in a row. Thank you Max.

He also loves me and wants to be where I am all the time. And after 25 months (not that I'm mentioning how many months old he is or anything) I still love it. Keep following me baby, you're my best side kick! But he loves to tell me "I be right back" so he'll climb up on my bed when I'm feeding baby Jack, get situated for 2 seconds, then climb back down, saying "I be right back Mom" and goes out of the room for a swig of water or to say "hi" to Chad and then comes right back, climb back on the bed, and repeats. I think he likes feeling important and busy.

And speaking of busy and important, I'm going to ween myself off the monthly stat updates gently- so we'll go with quarterly through his second year and maybe by the third, halves, but I'm not making any promises. Ok, so that last statement had nothing to do with being busy or important, blame it on my lack of sleep. I'll see you on the 19th of November for the next edition of my love letters to Max.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Re-cap

10 Great Weekend Highlights (in no particular order)

1) The weather here is fabulous- like it's actually fall... in September... heavenly! It's even crisp enough that you're cold in the mornings, oh happy day!

2) The Georgia Bulldawgs won a game... and by won, I mean stomped Coastal Carolina so badly that I felt sorry for them. Then I remembered that it was the third game of the season and our first win, and I got over it. But if truth be told, we will wear our red and black on gameday NO MATTER WHAT. Go dawgs.

3) It's Gabe's fall break this week and he got on an airplane BY HIMSELF and flew to San Antonio to see Chad's parents for the week.  He was chomping at the bit on Saturday, I should've booked that 8am flight because waiting until 12:45p to leave this house was torture for him!  Look how proud he is :) (And if you wonder what he's doing while he there- being spoiled rotten, that's what!)

4) Jack looks like this when he doesn't have clothes. That right there is a highlight in itself. (But excuse the super wet diaper, he was about the be stripped for bath time!)

5) Max's brain continues to amaze me. We were at breakfast on Saturday morning and he took one look at his bendy straw and told me it looked like a telescope. How does he even know what a telescope is?? I'm not one for looking at the stars, let's be honest.

He also wanted me to watch him play tennis and after watching the U.S. Open with Uncle E-yi over the past couple weeks, he noticed (ON HIS OWN) that they dribble before serving and he incorporated it into his own game in our living room.


Pretty much!

6) On Saturday night, we went to a wonderful wedding, sans kids.  My dear friend and roommate from college, Hannah, married Elliot on Saturday night and oh it brought joy to my heart.  I've been looking forward to her wedding for a while- they have the sweetest love story, and several years and several twists and turns later, they sealed the deal, til death do them part. It was gorgeous, they were so happy, and it included a rockin' dance party. And really, I do still just love weddings, especially when God is worshiped and made famous through the couple. Sadly, she moved to Minneapolis yesterday so that she could actually live with her new husband and they are on staff with Campus Outreach. So naturally, I will just have to fly to visit here (but not when there is 30485 feet of snow- because really, snow does indeed get old after a couple inches.)

7) Yesterday, we went to the lake to celebrate my friend Trisha's 30th birthday... we orginally thought it would include bathing suits and sun tans, in typical Georgia form, but please refer to #1.  So it included wonderful deck sitting, friendly chatting, a lovely breeze, and a super game of four square-- love! AND I love Trisha- she's the most fun, most sweet, most caring, most you can count on her no matter what person ever. You should want to be her friend-- but just know that she does have 10,000 friends so it may take some time to get on her social calendar :)

8) I ate cake. Twice. (Wedding and birthday) and I'm still down 4lbs. I also had 2 great runs- wahoo. And my mom encouraged me by saying that I'm building muscle now, so I'm probably getting tighter/ more toned, even though the number on the scale isn't dropping like it did last week. But I did eat cake, twice, and I LOVED it both times!

9) I did my first side by side of Max and Jack at the same age in the same outfit on the same blanket-- the results are riveting! (Max is on the left, Jack is on the right)

They both have disdain for tummy time...

They both like showing off their double chins...
And they're both happier just hanging out :)

The consensus? Max is my clone, attitude and all and Jack is Chad's clone (except for the head size).

10) Way back when, in February, when we found out that Jack was indeed a Jack and not a Luci, we went shopping and found a precious outfit that he got to wear for the first time this weekend (refer to #1)

(So in hindsight, most of the highlights from this weekend are just pictures of my kids, but when you're cute, you're cute-- there's just not a lot to be done about it.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Confessions Of A Super Mom

Ok, so I'm not really a super mom, but I've had two down and out posts this week, so I thought what better way to overcome all that than to talk about what we're doing well....thanks to pinterest :)

Right before I went back to work, I started panicking that Max was becoming a little too addicted to tv- which was directly related to my need to nurse a baby around the clock. So when said baby needed to eat, I'd flip on the tv which would at least keep Max in my sight. Perfection. Or so I thought, until it led to addiction!

So I did what any OCD/organization freak/ type A mother would do-- I began to panic and google and search pinterest... I needed some hands-on, fun, learning, imagination required, toddler development activities that would also keep my tot in eyeshot. And this is what we came up with:

The beans sensory box: Max loves it (and Gabe does too!) And his newest fun thing to do with the beans is hide golf balls in them and have us find them.  He pours, he scoops, he dumps, etc... And yes, I am those things I mentioned above (OCD, type, organized) but when I comes to the beans all over the floor, I choose to look the other way... for at least 20 minutes... and then I begin crawling around like the nut that I am, collecting all the beans and dumping them back in the bucket, before I start twitching.

For learning colors we have three options:

1) Paint swatches- picked up at my local wal-mart-- I have 3-4 different shades of the basic colors-- and at this point Max understands that there are many variations to each color and he gets his colors right 99.9999% of the time

2) Pom pom balls and ice cube trays- these can be sorted by color, counted, arranged, and thrown-- lots of fun had by all!

3) M&M's- Max's favorite things in the world- and Chad had the fantastic idea of using them to play/ teach colors, so now Max affectionately calls them colors.  He'll tell you what color he wants for consumption.

For Creativity and Art we have an art box:

Max has his own set of crayons, his own set of toddler scissors that pop back open after you squeeze them, stickers, and I cut up smaller squares of construction paper so he can make smaller creations that are perfect for his little hands. For some reason, he does much better with a smaller piece of paper when he's creating then when I give him a full-size-- maybe it's overwhelming?! Gabe has a HUGE craft box and spends lot of time creating, so Max particularly likes to get out his when Gabe is in artist mode as well. And for some reason, he always likes to cut when I'm cooking dinner-- and he wants to me "Look Mom" after each snip!

(Love that chubby toddler had making it's way into my picture :) )

For the Alphabet we have several options as well:

1) Alphabet cards the Reed gave Max for his birthday- as of right now, Max prefers to talk about the objects on the cards!

2) We have the letters leap frog dealio for the fridge- Max got this for his first birthday and we've kept it (HIGH) on the fridge since... I keep it was above his level because until recently, he thought they were for knocking all over the floor and driving his mother crazy. But now, as he's shown an interest in the letters and their sounds, I've gotten him a magnetic dry erase board and Crayola dry erase crayons.

3) For now, we use the alphabet that's on our letter tiles, but I want to make a big sheet of all the letters- then we throw a bean bag/ hacky sack and whatever letter it lands on is the letter we talk about. This is obviously an activity that involves me and he can't really do this alone.

4) Lastly, I found a website that has a toddler friendly scripture memory verse for every letter and I made flash cards for each one.  I'm not sure of a "fair" time table, but with the way he's memorizing every song that comes out of my mouth, I know it's possible for him to memorize these 26 verse rather quickly as well, while learning his letters.

And although it does set off my control freak/ cleanliness alarm from time to time, these things are all kept in buckets at Max's level that he can pull one out when/ if he so chooses... well except for the M&M's because they are now used for potty training rewards. He can do free play and create as he sees fit and I also pull out one activity in the mornings while Jack is sleeping, and work through it/ play with Max. And in the very short time that we've had these things going (less than 8 weeks), the things he has learned and caught onto is UNBELIEVABLE! I really do love toddler brains, especially Max's!

Here's to more learning, and growing, and creating, and imagining!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Confessions Of A Tired Mom

Ok, this blog is going to be straight from the heart/ gut- and it might be a little too truthful. But I'm not one for hiding what I'm feeling or thinking so here I go:

I LOVE being a mom- it's the best thing ever and I hope God blesses us with another bambino to love and cherish eventually (after Jack is at least 2!) and I love my kids something fierce- there are not words. BUT I AM TIRED, and I'm struggling with feeling really selfish right now. Like all I can think about is sleeping- that would seriously be amazing- to go to sleep when I wanted, without having to bathe, feed, and put little people in bed. AND without having to pump. (Sidenote: I despise pumping. But my freezer would make you think otherwise. But pumping equals freedom and friend nights and date nights, among other things...) AND the best part of all? Waking up when I wanted to- like when my eyes and my body were ready. But even if someone wonderful and really trustworthy like my mom took my kids away for a night or two, I don't think I'd sleep through the night anyway- I'd be too antsy and I'm so trained to NOT sleep through the night, that I honestly think it would take practice.

I'm also dreaming about reading a book. And I don't mean reading scheduled around nap time or while I'm feeding a baby- I mean, cuddled up on the couch while it's a little chilly, wearing pj's, with a cup of tea reading. Like cover to cover in a day reading. I used to do that, back in the day.

Last Saturday, while driving my MINIVAN with my husband who we picked up from work so he could go to lunch with us, and our 3 (THREE!) boys who were all making noise, I turned to Chad and said "Sometimes I still wish I was still in college." And I meant it in regards to the UGA game- I love football and game days, especially in Athens, but once I said it, I kept thinking about it. I think because there was peace and quiet then and it was all about me: if I was hungry, I ate, if I was tired, I slept, if I wanted to hang out with friends, I just did, without any planning or finding a sitter.

My days are consumed with preparation for whatever is coming next. And I usually do it while holding an adorable chubby man, and finagling a very smart, very busy toddler, who loves hanging on my leg and doing whatever I'm doing. And try as I may, I can never make it to bed until at least 2 hours after Max goes to bed- it takes that long every night to get ready for the next day, sheesh- which includes pumping, my nemesis as I mentioned above. I'm also amazed at how quickly personal hygiene has plummeted on my priority list.

And all of this isn't even mentioning all the thinking about my mom job: is Max learning enough? Is Jack eating enough? Is Gabe making good choices at school? I feel like I'm researching something everyday to make sure I have all the facts- when to start solids, should we get the flu shot, the best way to potty train, what the bible says about this and that.

And then I stumble across this and summed it all up for me and I pinned it on my pinterest but for now, a screenshot:


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Manny

This is our nanny manny, a little wind blown and carrying quite a load, but our Manny none-the-less. He's also my youngest brother and the inhabitant of one of our bedrooms, but better known around our house as Uncle E-yi. And let's just say, he's loved by all!

As you may remember, Eli graduated from the University of Georgia this past May. We all think that it was the chaos of his graduation weekend that actually sent me into labor 5 weeks early, but that is neither here nor there! Eli is that guy- 3 degrees, responsible, very hard worker, great heart, good looking, and fun. And yet his post-graduation plans didn't really go as expected- you can read the details on his blog. (If you have time, read his one comment too, it's from my uncle and it's hilarious. Also, you'll note that this is his one and only post, pester him about post #2,  because he's a great writer, full of witty banter and sarcasm that should not be kept to himself.)

So when his life went array, I snatched him up off the streets.  Once his leases ended in Athens, he headed to our house, and his stuff has been parked in our garage since. He spends 3 days a week keeping my boys while I work, and the other days he can usually be found in the ATL, crashing on his buddy's couch, exercising and studying for the LSAT. He has decided to pursue his law degree and with his poly sci undergrad and his exceptional writing and research abilities, it's probably a good fit. And to remind him of his past, my parents have always said he should become an attorney because "he would argue with Jesus" to which he would reply, "No I would not."

But back to our manny: Eli knows more about newborn feedings, pumping, swaddling, diapers, potty training, sleep training, and scheduling than any male would ever plan to know. He also knows more than most first time pregnant women! I doubt he realizes it yet, but he has gained skills in the past few weeks that his wife will be so grateful for one day that she may indeed can him a saint. But for now, he is just our Manny and we LOVE him. We weren't sure how long we'd have him at our disposal but it looks like we will at least make it through Christmas and I couldn't be more excited. When he's home with my boys, I know they are being loved like crazy. I also know that they are being fed and taken care of and played with and hugged. The only downside to it all is that I wish they were a little older so that they could remember this special time. How many people get to spend about 24 hours a week with a fun uncle who loves them like crazy? Not many, that's for sure!

And although Eli isn't really sure about what God is doing in and through his life right now, it's really obvious that God is using him in our lives at a time when our sitters scattered all over. I was pretty sure I was going to have to quit my job and miss my bosses big book launch that I've been working on for year- literally, and now, I can head off to work 3 days a week without once worrying about my sweet boys. And I can't lie, I don't mind getting to spend some extra time with my baby bro, either :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Joys of Potty Training

So today was a big huge treat because Chad didn't have to leave super early like normal, so I popped out of bed, brushed my hair and teeth and grabbed Max to head out the door to the grocery store. "Treat?" you say? Well yes, because a) I only had to tote one child with me and b) Max loves the grocery store so it was like a mommy date. When I stopped to fill up my car with gas on the way to the store, I even took Max in to pick out a donut because I could take him inside without having to carry a carseat of baby Jack, too. It really felt like I was a free woman!

Anyway, I cruised up and down the aisles and since it was so early, the senior citizens were there playing Bingo (seriously!) and so Max flirted profusely with all of them. He even convinced me to get out of the cart and I thought, what the heck, it's 8:30am at Publix, no one is here, why not? And so he ran up and down with me, and would take detours for more flirting and then re-join me. What a ham.

In less than an hour, I had my cart full of a week and a half worth of grocery, had everything crossed off my list, and got all the deals I had come for, so we headed to check out. Right as they got my last reusable bag stuffed full and added to the cart, I lift Max back to his seat, against his wishes. At that moment he said this mother's most dreaded words while in public: "Mommy, I have to go potty."

So I pushed my cart to the side- full of groceries that I had already paid for that were warming by the second, and took my tot into the PUBLIC restroom and because I didn't have baby Jack with me, I didn't bring the diaper bag which had the hand sanitizer and the travel potty seat. FAIL! We headed for the big stall because without the travel seat, he would have to be stripped all the way down, otherwise his legs wouldn't spread far enough to keep him from falling all the way in!

Once he was on the potty, his did his business rather quickly, and I was proud. After the proper song and  dance, I told him to hold my shoulders and step into his clothes-- instead, he held here:

I gagged.

Then, when it was time to put on his shoes I again pulled him close to me (while I too was squatting and clutching my purse and coupons) and told him to hold my shoulders, but he decided to SIT on the floor and put his hands ON the floor.

Again, I gagged.

Then before I could even regain composure, he said "I flush it" and did this:

With his BARE hands. And again- I had NO hand sanitizer.

The only more disgusting thing that he has done in his life was this: you know, put the cap from the bottom of the toilet in his mouth! It still makes me cringe.

Ahhhh, I am so NOT prepared for the germs and nastiness of toddlers-- especially those that happen in the PUBLIC restroom. I must've been making a face, because as we walked out of the restroom, Max said, "Ew Mom, that was gross."

Hodgepodge Link Up

I've been reading Wednesday hodgepodge for several weeks and decided that it's time to jump in! It's really fun, so if you blog or facebook, you should do it too! Answer the weekly questions, on Wednesday of course, and the link up over at her site :)

Find the weekly questions here:

1. What do you do at the first sign of a cold? Will you get a flu shot this year?

Groan! Because it's usually one of the kids which means some sleepless nights for this mommy! And yes, I think we will get the flu shot this year- mainly because of our little preemie Jack who isn't old enough for it yet but has the compromised immune system as well. I also got the flu last year, while pregnant, and gave it to Max who was about 15 months old and it was HORRIBLE.

2. What advice can you give about how to conquer fear?

Praying! Talk to God about it, find some Truths in His word, and then rest there. But if I'm honest, I need to take this advice to heart!

3. Share two good things about your life right now.

Only 2? I have (1) a really good husband  and (2) three really good boys. Although they do bring chaos, messes and stress to my life, their smiles, hugs, laughter, and bright blue eyes are my favorite things!

4. A hot fall fashion trend in 2011 is a return to sixties style...tunics with pants, shift dresses, pencil skirts, cinched waists, bold prints, high necklines and short lengths to name a few. How does this fashion trend fit with your wardrobe and personal sense of style?

Ummm, let's see, when I lose 17 more lbs then I'm all in! Can't wait for the tunics and I've been dying to pull off a pencil skirt for a while, but it just didn't seem like the right thing to do while pregnant!

5. Were you involved in scouting as a kid? How about as an adult?

Nope and nope.

6. Apple, pear, plum, pumpkin...your favorite fall flavor?

Pumpkin! Pumpkin bread, pumpkin desserts, and most importantly, PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES.... but alas, they must wait until I achieve my weight loss goal.

7. What characteristics do you think are essential in a good teacher?

Patience, kindness, love, organization, and a leader worth following.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I've got a crick in my neck for the third day in a row- I think it's from sleeping funny because I woke up with it 3 mornings ago. BUT I have actually, in all honesty, entertained the thought more than once, that it could indeed be something much worse like the onset of cancer or a horrible brain tumor. Can you say hypochondriac?