Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cutest Kids In The World

Not a day goes by that I don't appreciate that I am able to stay home with my children.  I know the day will come that I head back to work....sooner than I want to admit, but I really appreciate being able to have the little moments of play time.  And of course, I can't complain about having nap time too, since I am able to get projects done then!  We had fun playing in their bedroom today.  Jack wanted to wear a hair clip, just like Ella.  He wanted pigtails too, but we had to settle with what we could manage!  And do you see that cute pink sweater on Ella?  Well, that was mine when I was a sprouting little 2 year old.  I love it on her. 
 She is pointing to the camera...basically she wants her turn too!
 She finally let me put pigtails in the back of her hair.  It is kind of a big deal around here....that is why I grabbed the camera.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lazy 5 Ranch

Last weekend Joe and I decided that we needed to get away from the cold weather.  So we found an inexpensive hotel (that had an indoor swimming pool) and headed to Charlotte, NC.  We were hoping to make it a fun trip for all.  We planned to hit up some parks for the kids, go shopping for me, and allow Joe a chance to climb at a climbing gym and hopefully also get a bike ride.  It was a little colder that we expected there.  It was actually snowing there when we were driving on Saturday morning, but the sun soon came out. 
 
After dealing with one car sick child and making a stop at a Target for a new jacket, we headed to one attraction that we thought would be fun for the littles.  We went to Lazy 5 Ranch, which is just about thirty minutes outside of Charlotte.  We took both kids out of their carseats as we slowly drove through the ranch.  You can feed the animals from your car, but you are not allowed to get out of the car.  I think they had a blast, but they both got upset after I freaked out when a buffalo clipped the tip of my finger with his mouth.  I lost one of the feed buckets in the process.  Then I upset Jack later on when I lost the second feed bucket to a very aggressive zebra.  He was mostly just sad that we couldn't feed anymore animals.  Sorry Jack!  Below are just a few pictures.  It really was fun and I wish that we lived closer, because I would like to take the kids back there again!

 This was the buffalo that tried to eat my hand.  It really did hurt and scare me so I just dropped the bucket.  It probably didn't help that I was already scared because he was basically sticking his head into our car.  I felt like I was holding Ella right in his face for lunch!







I think the rest of our trip was pretty uneventful. We managed to swim in the hotel pool, go shopping, Joe went climbing, and we visited two parks on a cold Sunday morning.  It was a short trip, but I'm still glad we had a family outting.  I can't wait for more traveling in our future!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Parenting Ups And Downs

I took a bit of a sabbatical from the blog.  I guess my crafting projects have gotten the better of me.  I would like to make a challenge for myself to blog at least once a day.  It would be a good habit to start and a great way to remember some of the silly conversations I have with Jack and Ella.  Maybe I can make that my goal for April....  In the meantime, here is a little update with my struggles and triumphs as a mother.

Parenting Downs:
1.  I used to think I was a patient person, but I feel like I am yelling at Jack a lot lately.  I think I take frustrations out on him or maybe I am just frustrated that he cannot play nicely with his sister.  It seems like we do a lot of time outs lately (especially when we are cooped up in the house for these winter days) and I admit to spanking him.  I hate that I do it, and it definitely comes out of anger or frustration.  I find it hard to keep my cool when he is doing something really bad, like biting his sister.  It really makes me feel like an awful mother.  My goal this week has been to take a deep breath before disciplining him.  Just a second to think about the best action will help me tremendously.  I really just want to be a good mother and I want him to listen and grow up to be a respectful young man and I can't do that by leading with anger.

2.  Jack and Ella share a bedroom and it has meant a lot of adjusting with the sleeping routines.  Fortunately, Ella is a great sleeper.  She still has some nights when she wakes up looking for comfort, but mostly she sleeps from 8pm until 6am.  However, Jack has always woken up at night and recently we started putting him in his bed for the entire night.  After doing that, he was waking up for 4 to 5 times a night.  We would have to go into his room, lay him back down in bed, and then lay on the floor next to his bed until he fell back asleep.  Usually, but not always, this responsibility was my job.  I was just tired of it.  So we decided it was enough and began locking the door shut with a bungee cord.  Surprisingly he has done really well.  After doing good for a week, Ella decided she needed to wake up.  This then caused Jack to wake up and we had a whole night time debacle to deal with.  Both crying while I shut the door is the worst feeling.  However, they both went to bed again.  I would like to think our sleepless nights would be coming to an end, but I don't feel so positive anymore.  Seriously if they wake up and cry despite us shutting the door and using tough love, what else is there to do?

3.  Being a parent is a messy job.  On the last two car trips that we have taken, Jack has thrown up.  It gets all over his clothes and car seat.  And it smells.  You just learn to deal with it.  However, I never thought that dealing with poop, vomit, snot, drool, and food messes would be a daily part of my life. I guess you don't think about that part as much when you are planning to be a parent.  And can someone please give me a suggestion on how to stop Ella from putting her dirty hands in her hair when we are sitting down for a meal? 

Parenting Ups:
1.  As hard as it has been to put Jack in his bed and shut the door each night, it has been especially nice to hear him say, "lobe you mommy!" when I am shutting the door.  It is a special thing to hear your child tell you they love you, especially when you feel like you can do so much better.

2.  We bought a tunnel for Jack and Ella to play with and everyday they have the best time crawling in and out of it.  I just love to watch them play together and laugh together.  It really brings such great joy to watch them enjoying each other. 

3.  Jack clearly loves his sister.  If he is awake when she wakes from a nap, he wants to be the first to walk into the room and get her.  When we are going somewhere he always make sure that she gets to go too.  And despite the fact that he can be really aggressive and mean, he has the most wonderful moments of sharing with her.  It is especially cute watching him try to feed her.

4.  Ella adores her older brother.  Sometimes I wonder why, when he takes toys away from her or pushes her away, but I think I understand why.  He is her constant companion.  They get to do everything together.  We go almost everywhere together and she likes his company and finds him to be funny. 

5.  I try to make it to the gym a few times a week and I love that the kids both run to me when I go to the play area to get them.  I don't know what it feels like to be at work and then return home, but I imagine it would be similar. 

The parenting ups might be short and brief, but really it is the little things that make parenting so special.  I love my kids and I want to be better for them. 


Oh, and just as an update...Ella is trying to say the word dog.  Her favorite books are the Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see? books. Jack really likes to read a book about a puppy called MuddyPaws.  He is learning his colors right now and seems to adore Spiderman.  His vocabulary is really improving.  He can say lots of words and repeat almost everything we say, however he needs to work on his pronunciation.