Saturday, September 16, 2017

Toddler Approved {Easy Acorn Art}

When we take walks, I like to have something in mind for Aiden to do besides simply walk, or in his case run. Most of our walks become nature walks and we look for certain things together (sticks for throwing into the creek, bugs, cicada shells, leaves, etc.) On this particular day our focus was acorns. Aiden had so much fun and collected so many acorns that I thought I should use them for some type of activity, hence this post.

Originally I thought we would just dip them in paint and use the tops as stamps, but then I remembered doing marble art and thought why not try it with acorns. I love the art Aiden created with the acorns and it was a fun and easy process.

Here's what you need:
-Washable paint
-Egg carton to hold the paint (or other paint container)
-Acorns
-A container deep enough that the acorns won't fall out when your toddler shakes it
-Paper
-First place a sheet of paper in the bottom of your container.
-Then have your child dip acorns in different colors and place them on the paper.
-When you have a good amount of acorns in the container, have your child shake the container back and forth so that the acorns slide all over the paper. Aiden needed help shaking the container at first, but by our 3rd attempt he was an expert shaker.
-Remove paper to let dry and replace with a new one. Repeat!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Potty Training Tips from a Mom in the Bathroom Trenches

We are a few weeks in to potty training and it has gone really well and I'm feeling confident that Aiden has grasped using the big boy potty. (Insert all the praise hands!) Quite a few of you asked what we I did so I thought I'd share a few potty training tips from the bathroom trenches...

1.) In the words of Scar from the Lion King, BE PREPARED. Don't just decide you are going to potty train your kid that day and just make things up as you go along. (Or do and if it works, I'm jealous!) We included Aiden in everything we did to prepare for potty training to get him excited and anticipating it. He helped shop for the undies (Lightning McQueen and Thomas for the win), he helped taste test the "pee pee" and "poo poo" reward treats, he picked out stickers for his sticker chart, etc.

When you think your child is ready, mark dates on your calendar that you are designating only for potty training and don't plan to leave the house for a few days! And before those dates arrive, make sure you have a potty seat (we bought this one) and have a basket of potty related things in the bathroom for easy access (wipes, stickers if you are doing a sticker chart, extra undies, etc.)

2.) PLAY IT UP-Potty training is a big milestone and should be celebrated. It is a big deal to your kid so play it up before, during and after! Don't hold back the celebrations when your child uses the potty and I'm not just talking about the first time they go. We set out his reward treats in a clear container a week before he could actually start earning them. We told him what they were for and he asked about having a potty treat daily. We read the potty books over and over again and talked about how cool big kid undies were! Your kid will play off of your enthusiasm!

3.) READ THIS BOOK-Potty Training in 3 Days. It will change your life. Haha. Don't just skim this book or read it and implement it half heartedly. Read it, highlight in it, talk about it with your potty training support team (husband, grandparents, babysitter, etc.) Use the language in it, it works!

A few other helpful tips:
-Have your child watch the Daniel Tiger potty episode (Season 2, episode 1) It's free if you are an Amazon prime member! The songs in it are wonderful and will get stuck in your head. "Flush and wash and be on your way!"
-Buy an extra potty seat
-Buy a potty chair to keep in the car for emergencies (we bought this one)
-If your child can't reach the sink to wash their hands, buy one of these

And this is where my potty training knowledge ends. Wish me luck as I navigate public outings with a newly potty trained toddler and a baby!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Alder Jacob {6 Months}

Half a year. Alder has officially been part of our family for half a year! I truly can't imagine our family dynamic without this little ball of sunshine in it. He makes everything sweeter and is the most laid back and go with the flow baby! My friend commented the other day on how genuine his smile is. He smiles A LOT and yet every time is just as sincere as the first time.
This past month has been a big one. I busted out my BEABA Babycook and started making baby food again. Alder has tried bananas, apples, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. He loves bananas, but isn't a huge fan of anything else yet. However he will indulge me and eat some spoonfuls of anything if I make googly eyes at him and say "yum, yum, yum!" Haha. The things we do for our kids. Also, he is sitting in his highchair with us at mealtimes and that just makes him seem so much older!
We took a few trips this month. We visited the Columbus zoo, which means Alder has now visited 4 city's zoos. Alder also took his first road trip just him and I. We went to Michigan to meet up with my college girlfriends and had the best time. He also saw the beach for the first time, which I loved witnessing.

He also got evicted from our room and is sleeping in his own room and in his crib. He is still sleeping in his Magic Sleep Suit and loves to sleep curled up with his puppy on his side. 
Developmentally this has been a big month too. He is sitting up well now and prefers to be sitting instead of laying on his tummy. He is very observant and is noticing our cats a lot more too (watch out Bear and Sawyer!) He is also grabbing and pulling on everything, including Aiden's hair, which thankfully Aiden finds hilarious. It must be a brother thing, because Aiden returns the favor and pushes Alder when he is in his jumper, causing the whole thing to shake, which Alder in turn finds hilarious as well. I can already tell these two are going to be the best of friends and watching them laugh together is my favorite thing in the world. My constant prayer watching them together is that their relationship continues to grow and strengthen as they get older.

A few stats about Alder at six months: 

Weight: 16 pounds 8 ounces, 25th%. It is so weird not having my chunky baby anymore. He is so lean and long right now. The doctor thinks he is probably on the verge of a growth spurt.

Height: I'm a bad Mom and forgot to write it down, but I do remember he is average for height, 45th%.

Size clothes: 6-9 month

Sleeping: Oh Alder. It's a good thing you are the sweetest baby in the world because you do not let me get much sleep at night. I know I'm mostly to blame thought because I just can't be mad that I get to hold you and snuggle you in the middle of the night and you are always so happy to see me. He goes to bed easily around 7ish and then is up again around 2ish then again around 5 and I'm not ready to do any sort of sleep training. So for now, give me all the coffee.

Random stuff only parents want to know:

Nicknames: Alder J is the most frequent name we call you.

Likes: Bathtime with his big brother, frozen teething toys, eating real food (bananas are his current favorite), snuggling with Mr. Puppy, grabbing Mama's hair, sitting in his high chair, flipping pages in books as I'm reading to him, picking up his brothers toys and putting them in his mouth,

Dislikes: When people "mess" with his brother, not even joking. He really doesn't like it when Aiden is being chased around the house.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Alder from this month...





We can't wait to see how much you grow and learn this month, buddy.

Watch Alder Grow...
            One Month Update                        Two Month Update                       Three Month Update
 Four Month Update                        Five Month Update                    Six Month Update

See Aiden at SIX months here!
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Monday, August 21, 2017

What the Cool Kids Are Wearing {Fayfaire Clothing Co.}

Whenever I'm out and about with my boys and I get compliments on their clothing, it is usually something I got from Fayfaire, my favorite baby and toddler clothing boutique. They have trendy kid clothes that are made well and that hold up well despite how many times I've had to wash them! I have loved this company (and the family behind it) since it very first started. See my very first post about them featuring little baby Aiden here. I have loved watching them grow and develop this brand! They now donate a baby onesie to every single baby in the NICU via Miracle Babies, which makes my heart happy.
Let me start by sharing a few of my favorite Fayfaire items. I have three words for you: baby trucker hats. First off, I didn't know they made trucker hats so small (Alder is in a 0-6 month size above). Fayfaire has baby trucker hats and toddler trucker hats, which is perfect when you want your kids to match because that is just the cutest thing ever. And since my boys won't be wearing matching bows or headbands, trucker hats it is! These hats are adorable, but they are more importantly very durable. (Trust me, my toddler wears this hat almost every.single.day. And if you don't believe me just scan my instagram and you can spot this hat over and over again.) I love that Alder has one now too!
Looking for a funny baby onesie? Fayfaire has plenty of those too. Their "I drink until I pass out" onesie is perfect for my little guy because it's what he likes to do. The material of this onesie is so soft and it has also washed up well as this kiddo likes to poop outside of his diaper at least once a day. So there's that.
Even if you don't have kids of your own, Fayfaire has items you can give as baby shower gifts or as a birthday gift to your favorite kiddo. Their #Blessed shirt is my pick to give to Mamas as a new baby gift and they offer a variety of color and font options in this style shirt.
Next thing I want to get my hands on...their Grow With Me Toddler Pants. So adorable. Now I just need Fayfaire to start making adult clothing so my husband and I can be cool and trendy like our kids. Do you ever feel like your kids are cooler than you? Story of my life.
Make sure you check out their DEAL OF THE WEEK!

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Life {and blog} Update

I have neglected this little space of mine lately, but with good reason. I am in a busy season as a Mom of two littles and want to be present in it. I am also sleep deprived because one of my kiddos refuses to nap and the other refuses to sleep longer than 4 hour stretches at night. Sleep deprivation doesn't really lead to creative or cohesive thoughts. Oh Mom life. That being said, I do miss this space and I want to continue documenting our lives here and the things I love about life right now. So you may notice my blog got a revamp (Thanks Erin!) which I am hoping will inspire me. So here is a little life update...

Aiden is potty trained. (All the praise hands for this one)

Alder is eating solid foods and loving it.

I just rewatched all 6 seasons of Parenthood and am convinced there is no better show out there. Want to prove me wrong? I welcome all suggestions.

My babies adore each other.

We had a very sweet and very chill summer together with lots of visits to parks and playgrounds. Drew went back to school this week and Aiden asks me at least 10 times a day, "Where's Dada?" I loved our time all together as a family of 4 this summer.

I am a coaches wife and can't wait to take my boys to his teams first football game.

I did a health challenge in July and lost 4 pounds. I also cooked a lot more and a lot healthier. Some of my favorite simple and healthy meals I've been cooking lately: Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Paleo Baked Chicken, Ranch Porkchops and Potatoes One Sheet Dinner, Chicken Shawarma Quinoa Bowls, Stuffed Sweet Potato with BBQ Chicken

I saw Kari Jobe in concert and it was one of the most amazing and spiritual nights I've ever experienced. She is amazing and so raw and real. And her newest CD, The Garden has been playing in my car since Easter and I still love it. If you haven't listened to it, read the story behind why she made it on her website first and then listen. You will love it even more.

My Dad and Drew have been conspiring to make a model train table for Aiden. My Dad bought the Polar Express Train and they are making the table Christmas themed so my parents can set it out each year around the holidays. It is going to be epic.

Aiden is asking more and more questions about everything he observes. My favorite question so far: "Where do toots go?" Hahahaha. My husband's answer: "Up in the sky!" Now Aiden looks for his toots in the sky. Oh boy mom life, I love you.

Alder and I took a solo road trip to meet up with some of my college friends at the beach in Michigan. He was a champion traveler and he is just the most content little guy. I can't believe he has been with us for half a year already!

I am a baby food making machine. My freezer is full of frozen breastmilk and frozen homemade purees. When I look in my freezer I feel extremely proud. Feeding babies is no joke.

I am so very tired, but so very happy.

Thank you for reading and following along. 
I am glad you have stuck around or if you are new, I'm so glad you stopped by. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Alder Jacob {5 Months}

*I'm officially a month behind now with these posts. This one has been sitting in my drafts folder for weeks, but I'm hitting publish regardless because I don't want to forget these days or sweet moments.
Our happy baby is 5 months old! He is such a big sweetheart. This month he has gotten very interactive especially with Aiden! He continues to love watching his big brother's every move and laugh when he laughs. I love watching their relationship grow and my heart is completely melted about 5,000 times a day. Drew and I were just saying we feel like Alder will go from a crawl to a sprint when he starts moving just to keep up with Aiden. We shall see. Currently, Alder is a little ninja baby and anytime he is set down, he instantly rolls over. If we walk away for a minute and come back he will be on the opposite side of the play mat.
He has been a drooling machine this last month and a tooth bud is popping through. I expect to see that first little tooth any day now and for some reason I'm pretty sad about it. This month has been a funny month for my emotions. Alder is still my little baby, fully dependent on his Mama for food and care, but I know that this phase of "baby" is short lived and is nearing an end. He is so interested in our food and is constantly grabbing for it. He will be sitting up by himself soon and he will be starting solids soon too. I just can't believe it. Where has my little baby gone?
While it makes me sad that he won't solely rely on me for everything anymore, it is also exciting. I'm so excited to see his reaction to foods. He loves eating so I think he will love starting to try different types of fruits and vegetables. I'm looking forward to him sitting in his high chair with us at meal times.
This last month, Alder celebrated his first 4th of July with us, spent some quality time with his cousin, got put to bed at night from someone other than Mama for the first time (thanks Aunt Carly) and enjoyed lots of Mama, Dada and Aiden time (thank you summer!)

A few stats about Alder at five months: 

Weight: 16 pounds 8 ounces (As of a few weeks ago)

Height: Every morning Drew says, I think he got a little taller last night! He is shooting up like a weed...or a tree...an Alder tree maybe? Ha.

Size clothes: 6 month

Sleeping: Not as well as his brother at this age. He is so inconsistent. One night he will sleep from 8-3 and the next he will be up every 3 hours wanting to eat. I blame teething and his love of food.

Random stuff only parents want to know:

Nicknames: Alder J. is what Aiden calls him. He has this little melody he sings when he is looking at Alder that is so cute and funny. "Alder J, Alder J, Alder J!"

Likes: Splashing with Aiden in the tub, bouncing in his Baby Einstein jumper, playing with his toys, flipping pages in books as I read to him, getting scratchy kisses from Dada, eating...always eating.

Dislikes: There isn't much that he doesn't like, but I'd say this month, teething is his least favorite thing even though he continues to smile through it.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Alder from this month...





We love our big smiley boy.

Watch Alder Grow...
            One Month Update                        Two Month Update                       Three Month Update

See Aiden at FIVE months here!
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Monday, July 3, 2017

Aiden's 1st MLB Game!

Drew and I have been talking about taking Aiden to a Reds game basically since he was born, but we never got around to it...until a few weekends ago. We strategically picked a game that had an earlier start time so we wouldn't run in to bedtime aka Aiden's cranky hour. We started our day by visiting a favorite sporting goods store of Drews downtown called Koch's. We bought Aiden a Reds shirt and hat and then once he was decked out in Reds gear we walked to the stadium.
Drew picked the perfect seats for Aiden's first game, right behind home plate and up so he could see the entire field. It was an extremely hot day so we paid an outrageous price for two slushies. Haha. YOLO.
Overall Aiden had a blast. His favorite parts were the animation on the screen when a player got walked (a ghost haunting the pitcher). He kept saying "Where's the ghost?" and "See the ghost again?" Haha. He also loved the cheers (CHARGE!) and all the clapping when someone got a hit.
It was so fun to watch Aiden soak in all the sights of his first MLB game and he even got a compliment from a stranger about how awesome he did! He left with a first game certificate, a belly full of peanuts and slushy, a very sweaty head and a smile. We had so much fun on a date just the three of us to Aiden's first (of many) Reds games!