Monday, November 26, 2012

What's in my Google Reader Tonight?

I have been on Blogger for at least an hour tonight. I was planning on just checking my e-mail, but I got sucked into my Google reader. There are some great reads in there tonight, and I thought I could share some of them with you.

Meghan, at High Plains Thrifter, shares some of her weekly finds in her Clickin' Around volumes. I love getting her post updates in my inbox. I think of this post as an homage to a fellow blogger who likes to link with some seriously good taste.

So , what's in my Googler reader tonight that is so interesting?

Joanna, at A Cup of Jo, asked her readers if they were for or against children sharing a bedroom. It seems like such a simple question, but it is a very important one (proof is in the 195 comments!). We knew immediately David would be sharing a room with James when he was born. It has been the most amazing experience to watch them grow into a relationship with each other. Sharing a bedroom has only heightened that experience for them. I wouldn't have their situation any other way.

Photo Credit //  Meghan McEwan

Emery Jo, at Moms are for Everyone, hosted Thanksgiving in her barn last week. The barn was set up rustic and so delicately chic. I have had a few garage parties over the years for the boys, which one party was in the middle of Winter and one of the middle of the Summer, neither turning out well. It is a dream to have a little rustic outdoor like this one, someday.

Photo Credit // Moms are for Everyone
Songstress, Chantilly, releases herself from unnecessary sources of guilt (like feeling not inspired enough or not being creative enough) because sometimes when you are in a rut you haven't lost anything. She reminds us "it's part of the process, sometimes."

Photo Credit // Chantilly Songs
I have been obsessed with The Pineneedle Collective's kitschy DIY projects lately. Here is another one from Annika where she made her own sweater collar clips. Sigh. I wish I were craftier!

Photo Credit // The Pineneedle Collective

I am a sucker for a huge, fluffy, bursting hydrangea. I would love to cover my entire yard with them but Pete just can't love them as much as me. We had hydrangeas as out primary wedding flower. My Mom even left me a hydrangea plant on our doorstep for our first wedding anniversary. Helena, at A Diary of Lovely, links to drying hydrangeas for months of visual (if not sentimental) enjoyment.

Photo Credit // A Diary of Lovely

Lastly, I seriously wish I were as cool as Sandra from 5 Inch and Up. There must be three people on the planet who can pull off the H & M Trend pants, in leather look, as well as her. Sometimes, I just want to transport my being and be someone else for a few minutes. Well, I guess I am in a leather pants-park stroll-London kind of mood tonight. Oh yeah, and I would be an awesome blond, too.

Photo Credit // 5 Inch and Up
Two hours later, and I better give it a rest. This week proves to be one of the busiest weeks of my life. Between: acting coaching for this years Madrigal Dinner, birthday parties, Christmas festivities with the kids, and Matron of Honor duties, this week is going to be a crazy.

Any good reads keeping you up tonight?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday - What I Bought

I love shopping. I really do.

I don't like Black Friday. I don't love shopping enough to be one of the crazies: dragging my kids though the mall, or waiting in line at Target at 11:59 pm on Thanksgiving night. I reserve the right to change my mind at any point in my life.

I do, however, love me some Black Friday sales. Here are few examples of what was shop worthy to me today. I did my shopping from the comfort of my own chair while the boys napped. Ah, bliss.

I couldn't buy anything for myself. It seemed so pointless. There are a lot of things I wanted (here, here, and here), which I placed into my online shopping cart and then clicked the browser closed. My Mom has been asking for a Christmas list and it seemed silly to buy something for myself when someone in my family could so easily get it for me as a present.

Children's Place
I love when my boys wear matching our coordinating outfits (don't ever tell their father I put them in "outfits")! It just makes me happy inside. Both boys are due for new fleeces now that the temps are dropping below 30 degrees around here.

Matching (but not matching) Fleeces: Reg. $12.95, Sale $7, Code 30% off and Free Shipping BF2012HP = $4.80 ea.

Land's End
I am always putting long sleeves under David's tees and sweaters in the winter. I thought a mock neck would be good for when he is playing outside, too.

Long Sleeve Solid Performance Mock Turtleneck: Reg. $16.50, Sale $4.97, Code 30% off and Free Shipping: HOLIDAY 2126 = $3.48 ea.

Cotton Babies
After trying many, many brands of cloth diapers, Flip covers with prefolds are my favorite combination of diapering. No leaks, ever.

Flip One-Size Diaper Cover: Reg. $13.95, Sale B1G1, Free Shipping = $6.95 ea. (seriously, after typing that I am considering buying more right now...)

 Tell me about your Black Friday shopping experience!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Meal Ideas for Your Two-Year Old or Toddler

For a few weeks when David was 2 years old, I tracked everything he ate. Now that James is 1, and starting to eat almost all finger foods, I revisited David's food diary for new ideas for what to feed James.

I kept the document on Google docs, so I could remember to update it throughout the day when I was checking my e-mails and such. I thought I would share with you some of the common meals my 2-year old ate for breakfast, lunch, after nap snacks, and dinner!

I hope some of these meals give you some new ideas for your little ones, too.

Breakfast - All of our breakfasts were accompanied by a fresh, canned or frozen fruit and 4oz whole milk.
Waffle with butter and syrup.
Pancakes with whipped cream.
Sausage patty or links. (I buy frozen)
Hash brown patties. (I put in the toaster)
Cereal bars.
Scrambled eggs with cheese.
Peanut butter, cream cheese or jelly on toast.
French toast sticks.
Pop tart or toaster strudels.
Cottage cheese.

Morning snack - Usually, snacks were given with water.
Baby carrots with dip.
Clementine orange.
Goldfish crackers.
Yogurt covered raisins.

Lunch - All of our lunches were accompanied by 2 tablespoons fresh or frozen vegetables, carrot sticks or alternating fruit and 4 oz whole milk. Often, David and I ate leftovers from the previous nights dinner.
Grilled cheese.
Chicken strips. (I buy frozen)
Mac n' cheese.
French fries or tator tots.
Pasta salad.
Spaghetti O's.
Grilled tortilla with cheese.
Chicken salad sandwich.

After-nap snack- Served with a juice box, V8 splash, chocolate milk or some other non-whole milk beverage, but never pop.
Gerber crunchies.
Pretzels and dip.
Cereal bar or granola bar.
Peanut butter on club crackers.
Cheese and tortilla roll up.
Graham crackers and yogurt.

Dinner - All of our dinners were served with 4 oz whole milk and fruit. We often had a dessert after dinner like ice cream sandwich, Popsicles or a sweet baked item.
Pork chops with rice.
Ham and cheese panini.
Steak. (David's favorite!)
Chicken Strips.
Garlic Bread.
Beef brisket.
Fried chicken.
Swiss steak with potatoes.
Grilled chicken.
Cheese burger pie.
Fried rice.
Pan fried potatoes.

Common Fruits
Clementine orange
Fruit cocktail
Canned pears

Overall, it helps David is a very good eater and likes almost everything. He is not a big fan of over "slimy" foods or red meats that aren't steak. He is not a huge fan of bananas. Sometimes, David puts up a fight to eat supper but ate great breakfast and lunch. Other days, he might have tummy trouble and not want to eat as much.

In addition to what we eat for meals, Pete and I have always stressed rules for eating "like a nice boy" to keep meal time pleasant. I love sitting at the table with my kids to eat. We talk, share things about our day, and laugh a lot. Meal time is a great time to learn! Some of our rules for the table are: pray, sit at the table and eat, eat with a fork or spoon (when he learned, of course), ask to be excused, drink all your milk, "just try one bite", and always asking what he did that day.

I would love any additional ideas for meal planning for your little ones, toddler or pre-schooler!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Good Morning Crock Pot: Chicken Chili

There are few things making my life easier than having supper ready in the morning. My Mom has been telling me, all 4.5 years of my marriage, to plan ahead meals to save on the stress of "what's for dinner?". It sounds easy enough, but I go in phases where I am super cook one week and the next week we are having pizza every other night.

While crock pot meals can get old, trying something new in the crock pot is very exciting! I found a recipe for chicken chili via Photo a Day a few months ago. I found a bag of peppers: yellow, orange, and red for $.89 at Bob's and thought I could use them up for the recipe. I scooped them up and chose to do the chili today so I could use them before they went bad.

Here I am at 8:30 this morning, cooking crock pot chili, and the kids eating pancakes at the table:

Chicken Chili

2 Large Chicken Breasts
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Orange Pepper
16 oz Tomato Sauce
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Corn
1 Can Chili Tomatoes
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
1 Tbs. Chili Powder

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and place chicken on top. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

I tasted the sauce before placing the chicken in the crock pot and it was delicious. It has a little spice from the chili tomatoes. Some might want more, but I have the little ones and want to keep it mild. My husband can always add some red pepper flakes to pump up the heat.

I am serving my chicken chili with baked potatoes. I have seen a few good recipes for sides like: loaded baked potato rounds or oven roasted potatoes with bacon. I might try ones of those if I am feeling adventurous. Even some deep fried pickles sound good!

What's for supper tonight in your house?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

15 Favorite Activities for Mom and Her Little Boys

I love the routine of our little life together. My boys and I have the best time. I am so grateful to be able to spend all day with them. The little things become big things. Even though some of those little things can drive me crazy, I spend more time loving what we do together than being frustrated, overwhelmed, or bored (which might be the most common three negative feelings in my day).
Here is my list: some of my top 15 things to do with my little boys! While, I am sure you can do all of these things with little girls, I just happen to be the mom of two little boys.

1 // Breakfast in bed.
     After David was done nursing/taking a bottle, I was worried I would miss out on that mother-son bonding! Until James was born, David and I had breakfast in bed almost every morning. We were confined to the queen bed able to eat, read, talk, and enjoy each others company. We sang along to Sesame Street and learned to do a lot of things. I was always sad when he said, "All done!" and slid off the bed to go play with toys.

2 // Playdoh, coloring, or block stacking.
     Even "baby James" sits and scribbles when we lay on our stomachs on the living room floor to color. David is obsessed with letters and often draws the same letter over and over. Draw the letter "M". What sound does the letter "M" make? What word starts with the letter "M"?

3 // Cooking together.
   I was really looking forward to the time when David could eat eggs. They are such a great source of protein when the only "meat" he seemed to want to eat was chicken tenders. He spit out the eggs on the first few tries, sadly. One day, I sat David up on the counter and made a big fuss over making the eggs together: cracking the eggs, getting a whisk and letting him stir, letting him sneak cheese, ect. Now he LOVES eggs, and it was super cute the day David asked James how his eggs were, too!
4 // Co-naps.
    I think I love getting a little nap in with my kids so much because I never let them sleep with us as newborns or infants. Now that they are toddlers, I cannot wait to get them to hop in with me, read books together, and fall asleep. I actually have to set a limit to how often I do this as to not let them (or I!) get spoiled. I transport them into their own cribs after some time, but the time I do get with them is just delicious!

5 // Going to see the "pups" aka going to the pet store in the mall.
   Few things make me happier than seeing my boys' faces when I tell them we are going to see the "pups"! James squeals with delight now when we turn the corner to the pup store when he is in the stroller. We make a big deal out the trip by not only seeing all the animals at the pet store, but we ride the elevator at Herberger's a few times and get ice cream at the Dairy Queen.

6 // Going to see the "fountain" aka going to the outdoor shopping mall.
   You may have read about one of these outings, here. Sometimes, I (and we) cannot sit in the house all day. And with leaf eating James, I don't always feel like chasing him around the yard all afternoon picking sticks out of his mouth, either. So, I get my kids out and satisfy my own shopping urge by taking them to the outdoor shopping mall where, I can hit up my favorite (Gap) and the kids' favorite (the huge fountain). It is a win-win.

7 // Lunch at Noodles and Company.
    I am a super hard working and super spoiled mother. My kids are very good natured and I can take my kids anywhere. Yes, it can be painful to teach my kids to sit still in a high chair, not scream, and mind me when it is 2 kids against 1 hungry mom. It is so worth the disciplining when I can take my kids out to lunch, just the three of us, and we sit for 45 minutes over noodles, sippy cups, and diet coke. I swear, it is heaven on earth.

8 // Play dates.
   Nothing makes me prouder than seeing my kids interacting with other kids in a pleasantly-chaotic way. We so enjoy the change of scenery, new toys, new places, and a change of routine. While, the other side of me is silently freaking out they will act out, hit, or do something terrible, I have such an amazing and supportive group of super awesome moms, who constantly inspire me to be the best mom I can be, everyday. Here's one.

9 // Playing in the hose, snow, leaves, grass, rain.
    I cannot express how much my kids love to be outside. In addition to the fun we have, they eat better, sleep better, and are happier! I loved hanging out on my swing this Summer watching the kids, or burying James in the leaves in the back yard this Fall, and watching David put snow into his play garbage truck last week.

10 // Going for walks in the wagon.
    Even though we only walk to the park or do a little loop around our neighborhood, we love our walks in the wagon. We point out all the things we see, have Popsicles, and collect different leaves, rocks, or sticks. Then I pull all the crap we collected out of James' mouth.

11 // Playing at a outdoor park or indoor play land.
   James is just coming into the age where running around at a play land is the best thing on the planet. David is also getting more agile and adventurous, much to his moms panicing. It is a good learning experience for me to let go and let my kids have fun. However, I still see David as my baby and want him to be safe. I still like going out to our local outdoor parks the best:

12 // Having a "pizza party".
     Yes, I don't feel I am at the height of my super-awesome-momness when we have pizza for supper, but there is an element of excitement for dinner (probably coming from me) when we are having a treat. When David gets up from his nap on "pizza night" I always ask, "Guess what we are having for supper?!" David asks, "Piiiiizzzaaaa???!!!??" Don't worry, it is served with frozen peas!

13 // Making a tent.
     I could buy the most expensive, elaborate toy on the planet and my kids could play in tents all day with a stick and be perfectly happy. Tents are the epitome of happiness for kids. I still love being in a tent myself! Tents transform our ordinary living room into the most amazing play place, where David can use his imagination and James can knock it down over and over again.

14 // Reading books.
     I love reading books to my kids. It is the most precious, mind expanding time I could spend with my children. The entire experience: picking out the books, finding where we will read them, getting teddies/blankets/milk/ect. It is additionally wonderful because they have my complete attention, where other times in the day they may not. I like how the kids are drawn to certain books on certain days or certain books for certain times of the day. Book reading is especially awesome when we are reading in our tent, before bed, with the Playskool flash light!

15 // Family time with Daddy.
   There is nothing we could do in a day, that could ever compare the time we get (yes, including me) with the #1 favorite. Daddy. Nothing and no one is more precious to us, than him! Plus, daddy wrestles. Daddy burps. Daddy lets the kids say bad words and has mommy spend then next day helping them unlearn them. Daddy is fun and daddy loves them more than anything, too!

My 15 favorites on this list are not original, by any means, but they make up our days and fill our minds with lots of learning and fill our hearts with lots of love.

What are your favorite things to do with your kids?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Freeze Your Fanny Off

Since completing the half marathon last month, I have taken a 31 day hiatus. Yes, I have ran and walked a few times. However, I have not committed myself to the routine of last Summer.

My biggest excuses? It is too cold. It is too dark. I am too tired. I ate too much for dinner. It is too early. It is too late. In a few short weeks, if not a few short days, I will be saying: It is too icy. It is too snowy. I can't run in Minnesota Winter.

Where did the woman go who told herself: You can do it! You are strong! You are amazing! You can do anything!

Hibernation, maybe?

Enough already! Lace up the shoes, do whatever you have to do to get out there and go! It doesn't matter how slow or fast we go. We just need to go! I want to be able to tell myself this Spring, I don't have to start all over. I can stay conditioned. I can stay in shape. I can help myself be in the best mood I can be in, because I am doing something good for myself.

Let's be able to tell ourselves this Spring:

Like it, share it, Pin It!*

Remember too, to be safe with outdoor Winter exercising. Remember these tips if you are out walking or running in the dark:

  • Wear proper night gear like reflective clothing, reflective vests, headlamps or light clips.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Assume motor vehicles cannot see you.
  • Check weather conditions before your run. Beware of snow, freezing rain and ice.
  • Tell someone your route and an approximate time you will finish.
  • Run with your cell phone.

Check into your local health clubs, gyms, and schools, as many cities have open gym one or more nights a week for a low fee. Consider saving your more intensive and longer workouts for an indoor treadmill. Also, think about having a back-up plan for times when your run is canceled due to weather conditions, like a workout DVD, weight lifting or allowing yourself a day-off with a warm bath!

We were lucky to have had a relatively mild Minnesota Winter last year. Good luck in the coming months!

* Minnesota Winter backgroud image via MN Praire Roots.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving Appetizers

I informed my Aunt this morning my little family would be joining them for Thanksgiving this year. I want to contribute something assuming the turkey is already covered! I mentioned bringing a dessert or appetizer to share.

Appetizer? I don't even think I have heard of a Thanksgiving appetizer. I guess I should have offered to bring a side dish? This "Thanksgiving appetizer" idea got me thinking. What kind of Thanksgiving appetizers are out there?

Here are a few I found:

Turkey Cheese Ball via Taste of Home
Squash-Leaf Canapes via Martha Stewart
Bloomin' Onion Bread via The Girl Who Ate Everything
Cranberry Feta Pinwheels via

I think the Bloomin' Onion Bread could be a winner! What are your Thanksgiving day food traditions? Do you have appetizers at your holiday feast?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

This is Us, and We Have Names

Does this conversation sound familiar?
"How are you doing, Daddy?"
"Just fine, Mommy. How are you?"
"Great Daddy, but I think we are in need of a vacation."
"Why do you think we need a vacation, Mommy?"
"Stop calling me Mommy."
Hi, my name is MaryBeth. Sometimes, I forget I have a real name. I also forget I like my own things. In addition to the kids' favorite: chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, and Spaghetti O's, I really like shrimp.
I don't get to eat shrimp because I am usually sharing a plate with a toddler.
There are a million and one other things I could mention I enjoy having or doing - by myself. However, I chose to have children and share the rest of my life with them! While, having two built in sidekicks has made my life better than I ever imagined...
I miss shrimp. Sometimes, I need shrimp so bad I could scream.
Pete and I took our own mini-vacation a few weekends ago. We went to a wedding in Kansas City and decided last year, when we heard about the wedding, to take the opportunity to ditch the kids for the weekend. My parents took the kids for three days and nights. While I knew I would be missing my kids while we were away, at the time I was missing my husband more.
I think it took us a whole 24 hours to get rid of the baby talk. Ok, we aren't huge on baby talk but you get my drift. After a few days in another town, Pete and I started to feel more like husband and wife than mommy and daddy. I cannot express to you, how good it felt to be reminded how much I love my children's father.


I think a lot of parents, including myself, can forget the relationship we have with our partner is as important, if not more important, than the relationship we have with our kids. As my mom told me once, "Your kids grow up and they leave you." While the statement might sound a little harsh, it is the truth! We are stuck with our partners forever! When our boys go off to get educated, start their own families, or do whatever they choose to do, Pete and I will be supporting at a sweet distance.

My husband will always be in the chair next to me. We will always have dinner together. We will always fall asleep in the same bed. We will always have each other. We have to continue to take the time, when we can, to remember our relationship is important.

Trust me, when the time comes where MaryBeth is spoken more times in a day than mommy, I will be eating a ton of shrimp, with Pete.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Scenic Byway Half Marathon: Part III, Post-Race Pain

Need to catch up? Read Part I and Read Part II.

I paced the race crowd, partially delirious, with big I-am-trying-to-hide-it-but-not-really sobs. I usually feel a little wobbly after races. I think the adrenaline I had been running on for 2 hours continued to pulse through me even though I had quit running. The "podst-run high" is an amazing, near euphoric feeling and I love it. I started to peel my way through the crowd a bit to head towards my family. They were about a half mile away from the finish, so I had to look for them a bit.

When I saw Pete, the overwhelming finisher feeling that was diminishing took over me again and I sobbed as he squeezed me. He was proud of me. I could tell in his face. Pete and I should have run a half marathon together. We both took a serious commitment to running this Summer. However, his aching hip flexor was not up to par in time for the race. I am sure part of him wished he could be there, too, but he never showed that feeling to me in any way, if he did. Proof again, I married the most awesome man on the planet.

I saw my Mom behind Pete pushing James in the stroller, smiling with the "I think you should sit down?" smile. Not because I looked terrible, but because my Mom has worried about me since I first started on my running adventure. It is too hot, it is too cold, it is too far, it is too fast, it is too dark, it is too sunny, it is too populated, it is too deserted... She (and my Dad, too) has reminded me, in the best way, to always be careful when I am running. To pay attention to everything going on around me and what is going on with my body because I could hurt myself! I still feel bad the few times this 95 degree Summer when she called me on the phone to see what was up. "Oh, I just got back from a run." I would say. I am pretty sure she got mad at me a few times. Proof again, my Mother worries the most about me because she loves me more than anything on the planet. I am the luckiest girl alive to belong to a Mom like mine.

My body was feeling great right after the race. I had to get my bearings straight to walk like a normal person after having running form for so long. Other than the normal little aches, I was appreciating the stillness and looking forward to something to eat. I think I started to get hungry around mile 6! My family and I hung out at the race site for a while, but I was starting to worry about the hour drive back home. I often feel pretty sick after long runs, and I wanted to get going to "pay for my run" in the peace of my own home.

I said goodbye to Pete as he drove our car home, and my Mom and I rode together with the kids. We chit-chatted about the race and other things, once we got within 10 minutes of home, I started to feel seriously ill. I dropped my Mom off at her house and called Pete to tell him I would need help getting the kids into the house. Pete was standing in the driveway as I pulled the car in and I am not even sure if I killed the engine I ran into our house so fast!

The next few hours was a torturous event of a typical runners tummy trouble. I couldn't even eat.  On top of feeling like I had the flu, I hadn't properly stretched after my run and the hour long car ride did a number on my recovering muscles. I ended up straining my groin (which I injured before the race but I made it considerably worse running 13 miles) which still bothers me, three weeks later. Later that night, I couldn't walk. I remember telling my Dad on the phone I wasn't sure if I was able to make it to church the next day.

I know now, for future races like this, to plan on taking the entire day to recover from a race. I felt pretty guilty leaving the kids to Pete all day with no warning. I had no choice. I couldn't do a single thing for myself! It was worse than coming home after having our children. I told myself that night, I will never need to run farther than 13.1 miles. I thought at the time, the recovery is just not worth it!

Funny thing is, by 6 or 7 o'clock, my tummy trouble was non-existent and I started to feel hungry. I hobbled around trying to help Pete as much as I could. I sat on an ice pack all night and ate like a pig. The next morning, with a still pretty sore groin, I felt nearly back to normal. I put on my Sunday best and went to church like any other day. Well, with a little limp.

I can't prove it, but have a feeling in my gut (literally!), Gatorade or similar sports drinks make me sick. I was having a rough few weeks this Summer of post-run tummy troubles and I cut out sports drinks after some Googling about it giving runners more trouble than help. When I was running through the mile 11 water stop, I knew I should not be taking the Gatorade. I was hitting such a huge wall, I hoped the sugar would help get me through the last 2 miles. I was desperate. I am sure my tummy issues were from running so far, but I have to think maybe the Gatorade had something to do with it, too.

I have said a million times in the last few months, if I knew last June my running was going to turn into such a huge obsession for 5 months, I would have taken better care of my body from the start. I would have stretched more, lifted some weights, eaten better, and drank even more water. If I had committed the extra effort to my overall fitness, I would have been in even better shape to handle a half marathon. I am sure some of the minor injuries I have had with increasing my miles in preparation for the race, would also be less. I have it my brain to achieve my fitness goals, but I need to remember my body needs training to uphold them.

Ok, if you are still reading, let's break down the race:

Time: 2:05:45
Pace: 9:36 per mile
Place: 95 out of 177

My RunKeeper app quit at 12.25 miles (or two hours), so it adjusted the last mile. The app keeps pretty awesome track of splits. I remember looking down at my watch and seeing many miles finishing around 9:18. My best mile was mile two and I remember trying to get through the muck of runners, so I wasn't running directly next to, behind, or in front of another runner.

Even though I exprienced an adequate amount of post-race pain, I will definitely run another half marathon, someday. I feel my running goals, for the present, have been fulfilled and I am happy to take a month or two break from my usual routine. I still stand by the fact: I am a better, healthier, happier person when I am running. The last few months have been such an amazing and life changing journey! Thank you for reading!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Making Everyday, The Best Day

As we all know, staying home with the kids or raising children in general, is not short of challenges. I am thankful to have two beautiful boys who are innately good and healthy kids. I was sharing some daily challenges with Pete last night regarding David. We have been battling the "terrible two's, but it is hard to describe David as terrible because his "terrible" really isn't so terrible at all.

However, you throw a 12 hour day on top of a little bit of terrible, and a little misbehavior turns out to be a lot more disagreeable than it really is. I have to be constantly checking and reminding myself to continue to have high standards of behavior for David (and James, too), but I also need to remember: he is only 2.

Yesterday, I chose to reprimand more than I chose to reward. I don't like that side of being a mom, but I know discipline has to happen if I want good kids. While it is necessary, disciplining is exhausting. Being a parent is exhausting! While I might want to let the kids get away with unacceptable behavior in attempt to get away from the parenting part, I just keep telling myself that I am making them better, more responsible kids in the end.

So, after having kind of a rough day yesterday, I decided the moment I woke up today to try to improve our day anyway we could. Does that mean I need to be extravagant? No way! Does that mean I need to spoil or let the kids misbehave? Definitely not. I just tried to make our day the best day by just paying more attention to my kids, and rewarding them with positive attention when they did something good.

Good meaning: being kind to each other, playing nice independently, playing nice together, helping mom, helping each other, helping without being asked, listening to mom, eating well, and any other pleasant behaviors I could give positive reinforcements for .

D & J sitting nice by each other, D pushing his own cart, detouring at the craft store to play with letters.

Our day started out as usual, I heard both kids playing and talking in their cribs and got up to get morning snacks ready before hopping them out of bed. I sat on the couch with David and had my coffee instead of drinking it in my chair. I decided getting out of the house for a few hours would be better than stewing at home for the day.

I think if the kids get the feeling they are doing what they want to be doing, they are more well behaved. I tried to approach the day like even though we had to go to the grocery store, it really is time we are spending together learning and having fun. Instead of dragging along the kids while getting a few grocery items, David pushed his own little cart and we picked out what we needed for supper together.

At the craft store, we hung out in the wooden letters aisle for a solid 10 minutes. I swear David picked up every letter. "M. M is for mouse. M sounds like mmmmm."

The boys and I stopped at a little restaurant and shared lunch. David oddly wanted black beans and salad, so we got it and he ate the whole thing. James kicked his legs in the high chair the whole time, shoving chicken and black beans in his mouth like it was the best thing he had ever eaten. The diaper following that meal was an experience to say the least...

We enjoyed each others company, got done what needed to be done, and treated the day like an adventure. With all this "excitement" there was a lot less complaining and misbehaving. Even James was in a great mood. Both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home. I tucked them in their cribs when we got home and enjoyed the sweet silence of sleeping children. A silence I deserved, for it was great day.

Need a little "best day" inspiration for your home? Check out the Best Day Ever Prints from Erin Jane Shop on Etsy!

Photo Credit // Erin Jane Shop

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...