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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Motherhood and second guesses

Motherhood is filled with second guesses. I've often wondered whether my choice to continue breast feeding my toddler is a good choice, is co-sleeping ok still even though he's 20 months old, should I be using the time out method (because I'm not), do I give in too easily??

As a early childhood "expert" I know that what I am doing is right for AJ. There are so many factors that go into parenting. There's the child's personality, his needs and of course the environment that you're in (just to name a few).I'm so thankful that my husband is very willing to let me let AJ take the lead on a lot of the things that he should take the lead on such as breast feeding and sleeping. WhileI take the lead on setting limits and teaching AJ what's appropriate. 

Now that he's 20 months I've really struggled with continuing to breast feed him. I think it stems from the American culture we are in, where nursing children older than 1 year seems to be taboo or maybe just not very common. I can go back and site research on the benefits in brain development, helping him form attachments, etc. But in the end I think: Oh no, I'm going to meet new moms at the play date and what if AJ decides he wants to nurse?? What will they think??

I honestly always thought he'd ween himself by now, but no, my little guy loves his mommy milk. So here I am wrestling with what I know is right for him (letting him self wean) and the fear that he'll be that nursing 5 year old that was featured in a magazine last year. I'm just an ordinary mom trying to do what I think is best, I'm not trying to start a revolution out there. Only time will tell what and when my little one decides he's done but for now I will enjoy the closeness that I have with my little guy. I know in a few years I will wish for this time back. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

More kitchen fun!!

I'm always looking for things to help entertain my little guy in the kitchen. He loves to be close by wherever I am at and I spend quite a bit of my day in the kitchen. I found magnet scenes at dollar tree. I also bought a pizza pan to keep the magnets on and he's been enjoying playing with the magnets while I'm cooking or preparing meals.

This morning he woke up very early, so we made breakfast for his poppa and this was the snowman that he put together.

He's slowly seeing where the hat goes and will point to and name the snowman's nose and eyes and mouth.

He also enjoys playing with the nativity scene especially the animals and baby Jesus.

How do you keep your little ones entertained while you cook or work in the kitchen? I'd love to hear your great ideas. :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Job title: SAHM

Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I'd be a stay at home mom. Growing up I was always in some sort of leadership role, had very good grades and was very active in some sort of sport. I loved spending my summers at some sort of academic summer camp (yes, I've been to Math camp). Yes I was a nerd, and I had pretty big dreams. I wanted to go to school in NY, I wanted to attend an Ivy League school, etc. etc. I really don't know where those goals came from but they were there in my little head even as a pretty young child. 

I never thought that I'd be at home caring for my child, running the household, taking care of my husband, etc. So how and when did this change happen. I honestly don't know, sometimes I still surprise myself with where I am in life. I have my nicely framed diploma from Cornell in the office room of our home and honestly I rarely go into that room unless I'm making a card or other craft project. 

At some point after getting married we decided that we needed to be a family and honestly the only person I'd trust with my baby was a handful of relatives. Right around this time my husband got on track to move up the corporate ladder, which meant we'd move away from  home and family. Since we started moving around I knew that the best thing for our child would be if I stayed home to raise and care for him or her. Would things be different if I were around family, probably not, other than my hubby and I would get to go out a lot more. 

Being a stay at home mom isn't glamorous but I decided a long time ago that this was a sacrifice worth doing for our little guy. I respect what any mom chooses to do but for me and my family this is what I knew would be best. We worked very hard prior to having our little guy to get to the point of being able to live comfortably on one income, we paid off our debt, enjoyed our time as a couple, and saved money. 

So here I am, a Stay at home mom, and there's nothing else I'd rather be doing. Spending time with my little guy has been  a huge blessing and I am so thankful to be able to be there to write down each new word he says, see him complete a task for the first time, learn a new skill or just see how silly he can be. Staying home for a few years is a small sacrifice to make compared to the imprint I'm going to make on who he becomes, how he learns to behave, the man he will become. 

I also know that these years are going to pass by so quickly and that I will pick up my career one day and make the most of what I know or perhaps go back to school, who knows what I will decide. I am truly enjoying every bit of my life at this time and I guess that's really all that matters. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

4 simple toddler activities for Halloween/Fall

Halloween is not really a huge deal for me  but I do enjoy the things that come along with this time of year. I love eating anything with pumpkin, I love seeing the trees changing colors and the brisk cool air. Last year was hard because my little guy was only 8 months in October so we couldn't really do too much but I did put pumpkins out for him to explore and I remember that he loved touching them and throwing the small pumpkins.

This year he's older and at 19 months is able to do a lot more even though he'd still rather throw the small pumpkins. So here are 4 very easy activities that you can do with your toddler. 

Activity #1 Footprint Ghost card


Last week I set up an area in the kitchen and started making these footprint ghosts with my little one. He loves to paint and this is only the second footprint project that we've done. He helped me paint his foot and enjoyed stamping his footprint on this black paper. I made sure to describe what I was doing and used descriptive words as we made these prints. It's a great sensory activity and he kept asking to do more until we finally ran out of black paper. I turned these ghost footprints into a Halloween card for our friends and family. Inside I put a picture of my little guy with a jack o lantern hot air ballon behind him that we took at this weekends balloon fiesta, here in Albuquerque.

Activity #2 Pumpkin collage

We started this project by tearing up some orange tissue paper. I had him help me tear it up in the morning and then we completed the activity in the afternoon. I cut two pieces of contact paper into circles and peeled off the sticky part.


I let me little guy feel the sticky paper and then modeled putting the paper onto the paper. He started helping me and then really got into covering the paper with the tissue paper. He did one whole pumpkin on his own and then half of the second pumpkin before loosing interest. 

This was great for fine motor skills, we also talked a lot about textures and colors and sizes as we did this project. I then cut out the black eyes, stem and mouth and added them to the pumpkins. We taped these onto our door under our fall wreath.

Activity #3 Gel Squishy bag


This was a Pinterest inspired Halloween bag. I was looking for Hair gel but ended up using Purell since I found a huge bottle on clearance. I used food coloring to dye the Purell and then added some squishy spiders, google eyes and pompoms into the bag and sealed with duct tape. My little guy loves these gel bags. He's working his hand eye coordination when he lays with them because he tries to move the spider or eyes to a certain area of the bag. I also use lots of words as he uses it, colors, shapes, numbers etc.

Activity #4 Painting Pumpkins

As I mentioned earlier my little guy loves to paint!! I honestly sometimes just give him a wet brush and tell him to paint the patio floor and he enjoys that!! Anyway back to the pumpkins. I used a large plastic square used to put under high chairs for messy eaters and had my little one start painting. I didn't care that he mixed colors, I just let him do what he wanted and I loved watching him look at the colors and pick which color he wanted. It was so interesting to watch him decide which color to use. Towards the end he started finger painting which made this an even better sensory activity. We put some of his handprints at the bottom of the pumpkin. I used some tape to tape off eyes and mouth so that he could paint around them and so the shapes would show once I took the tape off. Here are the finished products.

This activity was a hit!! I'm sure we'll be painting something else tomorrow or even adding darker paints on top of these. I love watching my little guy get into a project, he didn't mind getting dirty and even started painting his hands on his own to make hand prints. 

I love watching my baby boy enjoy these activities, I hope you will try some of these activities. I'd love to hear how your little one liked these activities as well. Leave a comment if you try any of these activities with your little one. Happy Fall Ya'll!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Table and chair makeover

I've been wanting to buy my little guy a table and chair set for a while now. I thought this would be great for working on projects, eating snacks etc. I knew I didn't want a picnic table type because I was afraid he'd fall, or worse want to balance on the bench like I accidentally taught him to do on our planters. 

I've been checking on Craigslist for several months until I finally scored!! I saw two separate posts, one for 2 chairs ($5) and one for a table ($10). Luckily both were still available.

So I bought them and knew that I wanted to repaint them. After reading several Pinterest posts I settled on going with the valspar spray paint for plastics.
I got it in red so that it could go with his Baseball theme room. This paint was $5.44 at Lowe's. I took the legs off of the table and washed the surface of the table and chairs with soap and water.


The table and chairs had water in them so my dad drilled a small hole for the water to drain from them. He then sprayed the table top and chairs.

Here's the finished product. 
The fresh coat of paint gave new life to these old faded items. I can't wait to move into our new house and find the perfect spot for this.

Don't mind my little guy, he was smelling rose petals. He loved the table and chairs too!! For a little over $20 I have a great  table for my little guy!! This was a very quick and very easy project and well worth it. These sets run anywhere from $50-$60 for the set.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No Sew Fire Fighter outfit

I love to make things for my little guy, however, I usually have a very limited window of time where he is asleep long enough to get much done. With that said, I'm always looking for simple yet nice things that I can do myself. 

A couple of weeks ago I was asked what my little guy was going to be for Halloween, I honestly hadn't given it much thought with our upcoming move and all. I started thinking of what interests my little guy has and also the weather. He gets hot very easily so I didn't want a bulky costume. I remembered that he loves his rain boots, I usually have to hide them otherwise he wants to wear them everyday. So I started my Pinterest search so that I could create a fire fighter outfit.

I found several ideas that I liked and started gathering my materials. Here's the link to the Pin that inspired me. http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2010/10/happy-
halloweenand-look-at-what-you.html

I purchased a black jacket and black pants 
and the helmet. Total spent on the clothing 
was about $14 and $6 for the helmet.
I also purchased some duct tape ($3) in a neon 
green, I could not find red or yellow but my 
dad reassured me it would look fine. I
followed the example and added the stripes 
to the clothing.
 
I wanted to add the silver line but the duct 
tape I had at home was very wrinkled so I 
used some shimmery sticker paper that I had
in my craft room and just cut it into strips and 
placed  in the middle of each neon stripe.
And there you go a fire fighter outfit. I had seen
 some that retailed for $19.99 but the quality 
was horrible. I know my little guy will be 
comfortable in this outfit and if I really 
want to I can simply take the tape off and 
reuse the clothing.

I can't wait to see my little guy in this outfit :).
This project didn't take much time maybe 
two hours max and that's with interruptions. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Zevia soda review

My good friend and fellow blogger introduced me to Zevia several months ago and I fell in love with this all natural soda. With 15 different flavors you are sure to find a flavor that you like. I am guilty of drinking 3 or 4 diet sodas a week and by switching to zevia I get the sweet and fizzy craving satisfied but I feel better about drinking it since its all natural!! 
My favorite flavors are strawberry, grapefruit and cherry cola. Now don't expect these sodas to taste like your average soda, they are naturally sweetened with stevia and naturally flavored. Zevia recommends to drink them when they are very cold and they even have recipes that you can try. You can check out more information on this great soda on their website http://www.zevia.com/.

Since Zevia is sweetened with stevia, it’s naturally zero calories. The unique formulation makes Zevia ideal for oodles of people including the health conscious, “bad soda” enthusiasts, dialysis patients, diabetics, moms, dads, kids, grandparents, cousins, strangers and neighbors. In fact, a branded form of stevia is now the #2 most purchased table top sweetener behind Splenda, and the #1 natural sweetener.

Request your coupon here: http://www.zevia.com/coupons

Now the fun part, Zevia recently sent me a free six pack of their awesome soda and offered to send five of my readers a free six pack too!! 
Here's what you need to do:
1. Like my Facebook page: Crazy Wonderful Motherhood https://www.facebook.com/mommyhoodismessy/posts/1420903588136862
2. Comment on this blog post: why you'd like to try Zevia or what's your favorite Zevia flavor.

I will randomly pick 5 winners. I will notify you as a response in the blog comment and send your information to Zevia. Zevia is responsible for sending out your Zevia six pack. Crazy Wonderful Motherhood is not responsible for prize fulfillment.  Ok Ready, Set, Go!!! I will take entries until Tuesday (Oct. 1) at 5 pm (mountain time).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Before motherhood views meets REALITY

As I mentioned in one of my previous post, I had my list of "I'd never" items. The one I thought for sure I'd never do was put my child in a harness. The realities of motherhood and my little guys temperament has led to him wearing a harness.
After a trip to the store where he refused to sit in the shopping cart I took him out and put him right next to me, we were in the toy section and I was reaching into a bin to get an item towards the bottom. In those 5 seconds that it took to pull out the item I looked, and my heart stopped, he was no where near me!! I started to panic, yelling out his name, it was a small store but he wasn't anywhere in sight. I walked around frantically and found him in another section puzzled and looking around. In that instant I had a flashback of when my parents lost me at Kroger and I vowed to break down and get a harness.

I know, I know... You think well why don't you just hold his hand. Well I would if he would let me but he usually shakes and pulls away from my hand. He has a mind of his own and when he gets it in his tiny head to do something he does everything he can to complete the task, so instead we went to go get him a harness. 

He likes it and I enjoy giving him the freedom he wants while still keeping him close to me and safe. I feel so much guilt and often wonder what people may think when I use the harness. Honestly most people can't stop commenting on how cute he looks with his little back pack. 

As a new mom I've realized that its my job to keep my little guy safe and happy no matter what. If wearing this gives him that little bit of freedom he needs then I say why not. I mean don't get me wrong he doesn't always wear it. Sometimes I intentionally go to the store for no purpose but to chase him around, he really loves those trips to toys r us or target. 

In these pictures we were at the botanical gardens with friends and yes my little guy enjoyed his time with and without the harness. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oball Sliding Spirals Chaser- Product Review

I was recently chosen by the Oball company to review one of their products. AJ loved getting the package in the mail. He couldn't wait to see what was inside.

 
Once we opened up the package he quickly began to explore the toy.
 
Here's my review of this product:
My 17 month old really enjoys playing with the sliding spirals chaser. It is very light weight so he can pick it up easily and take it with him from room to room. The toy itself is very visually appealing with bright colors and many types of textures. The plastic beads range in thickness and texture and are easy for him to grab with his fingers and move along the spindles. I can see where he would've really enjoyed the bright colors, sounds of beads and textures when he was younger. It's a toy that could've kept his interest for many, many months. Overall I am very satisfied with the quality of this product.
To check out this product go to Oball Sliding Spirals Chaser  http://tgt.biz/1cKCoaz
 
* I received this product for free from the company for reviewing purposes but the opinion and views expressed are my own.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Motherhood and friends

This may surprise everyone but I don't make friends very easily. I tend to have lots of people I get along with but those close really close friendships are really hard for me to find. I can honestly say I have two maybe three really really good friends who I can call anytime and pick up right where we left off. 
Since becoming a mom I feel as if though I've made so many friends and not just acquaintances but really really good friends. I feel like our struggles with motherhood, struggles with being a good wife, struggles with figuring out who we are have lead us to develop these friendships. Motherhood is such a huge change in anyone's life and I am so thankful for those moms around me who have heard me cry, have helped me be a better mom, have listened to my fears of not being the wife I'd like to be, who have shared my struggles with my picky eater, breast milk loving baby boy. 
Yesterday I was at a play date and realized that my little guy is going to miss his little friends, friends that have been around us for the past year. I know he won't remember this past year but it is ingrained in me forever. This group of moms and babies have been growing together and now we are moving far away from them. It just really broke my heart to know that I'm leaving this great group. 
This morning while at the park, I met a mom that just moved into the area. It was so natural for me to talk to her and tell her how wonderful our neighborhood is and explain all of the things that keep me and my little guy busy. There's the library, story time at the museum, the zoo, botanical gardens and on and on. Oh and don't forget to tell her about MOPS and moms clubs etc. As I walked home I realized that in a couple of months that new mom in the neighborhood will be me. I hope there's a Melissa in that neighborhood that will take the time to tell me about all the awesome things to do in the area. I hope I find that MOPS group that will take me in and be the comfort and support that my current MOPS group provides. 
As we get ready for another adventure in our lives I can't help but be a little scared and a little more excited. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sleep...what is that???

I will never forget those jitters of excitement that my husband and I had as we prepared for the arrival of our little guy. We spent our Thanksgiving preparing the nursery for his arrival, 4 months later. As the crib sheets were put in place I could imagine my little baby sleeping in the crib listening to his mobile. I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined that there are some babies who just have sleep issues and my little guy would be one of those.

Fast forward to March when AJ was born, he had to stay in the NICU for 7 days, I would eat, sleep, pump, go spend the allotted time with my baby and come back and do that all over again even through the night. I was so exhausted and wished so much that everything would have gone perfectly and that AJ could've been in the same room with me.  We some how survived that week and finally brought our little one home. He had fallen asleep on the 30-40 minute drive home from the hospital so my husband carefully took him out if his car seat and placed him into his crib. That's when it all began, 5 minutes later and he was awake. We took turns carrying and soothing him, he fell asleep again and this time I decided that I'd just hold him. After all for those 7 days all I wanted was to hold him without worrying about accidentally pulling out his IV or messing with any if his sensors. So I held him as he slept and I enjoyed it.

Throughout the day and evening I'd try to put him to sleep in the crib but as soon as his body hit the crib he'd wake up. 
Night time came and I held him, I laid him next to me it seemed as if though he'd get the best sleep if I held him so after trying different things I resorted to sleeping in the recliner holding him...for eight months!! Gasp I know I gave in but he was such a light sleeper that I tried countless times to lay him in the crib and the most sleep he'd get was 20-30 minutes. The only thing he liked other than being with me was sleeping in his car seat or swing. There he'd sleep for 2-3 hours. 

I tried sleeping in bed with him but for some reason he wanted to be upright, I thought maybe he had reflux, maybe his teeth were coming in, maybe maybe I just didn't know but for my sanity I held him and slept sitting up with him. He nursed a lot during the day and at night comfort nursed a lot. Since I had trouble with producing enough milk anytime he wanted to eat I let him. 

During our Christmas vacation in SA I finally eased him into bed with me reducing the angle that I was reclined until by the end our three weeks away from home I was finally sleeping flat in a bed!! After that point I moved a full size bed into AJ's room and every night after midnight I co-sleep in his room.
 

Looking back there are so many things I'd do differently if we should have another baby, but for this little guy this is what worked and for this tired, struggling with Breastfeeding, first time mom this is what worked for us. I treasure any time I get to hold AJ even now sometimes he has trouble sleeping so I lay him on top of me and he sleeps just fine. I love the closeness we have, I love that he feels so safe and comforted by me. I take this all in as I know that before I know it he's going to start his first day of school, graduate from High school, college, and (gulp) get married. 

I used to wonder why God made things so difficult for me and my little guy, I had prayed since I found out I was pregnant for a healthy, quick delivery and it was anything but that. The first few months were hard as I was trying to figure things out how to be a mom, how to Breastfeed, how to produce enough milk, how to sleep, how to have time for a shower, how to have a conversation with my husband and on and on. I truly look back and know that God blessed me with a way to get the closeness to my son one like I could've never imagined. 
Thank you Lord for my experience and the many more experiences with our little guy that you are going to bring us. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My before baby views meet my new reality

Prior to having a baby I had certain ideas about what my life would be like as a mom. I remember thinking that I would use all of my early childhood and early brain development knowledge to play exciting games, develop my own activities and provide my baby with amazing learning experiences. The reality is that it seems like these 17 months have flown by and I haven't utilized my knowledge as much as I had hoped.

As soon as we brought AJ home it was like everything was thrown out the window. I was simply trying to survive. I had always imagined being a mom but never really knew what that meant and how to really do it. It really took almost 3 or 4 months before things finally started to feel comfortable. 

Before motherhood I had a list of things that I vowed to never do, I had told myself, I'm not going to be THAT mom. But Hello, I am THAT mom. These are the things that I never thought I'd do, but they work so I gotta do what I gotta do for my mommy loving, picky eater, and adventurous little guy. In my next couple of blogs I will go into detail on some of these things.

1. I cosleep with my little guy
2. I broke down and bought a harness for him.
3. He watches TV while I cook or if he wakes up at 3 a.m. (like he did today).
4. I sit in the back seat of the car with him when someone else can drive.
5. I often feed him while he plays or watches TV because I can get him to eat more that way.

Oh mommy hood is not that fairy tale that I had imagined, it's hard work, and sometimes what works best for your child isn't what you imagined. As moms we do what we can and always try do our best given the circumstance and our child's temperament.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Baby shower

Since my parents are visiting I took advantage of the extra help and worked on some baby shower decorations for an upcoming party. The theme is hippos. It was so hard to find boy hippo items, but I managed to find a few items. I wanted to make sure the wreath and diaper cake weren't too much, as in over done with things. I wanted them simple but cute. So here's what my mom and I came up with. 
My mom loves making wreaths so she showed me how to make this burlap wreath. I decorated it with hippo chip clips from the dollar tree, a wooden O that I decorated and instead of a chalk board I used black card stock and a silver marker to simulate a chalkboard and chalk sign.

For the diaper cake we used a cylinder tube of tub toys from target and rolled diapers to create the cake. A few wash towel rosettes, some ribbon and the blue hippo finished up this project. 

These two projects were pretty simple to make and I enjoyed working with my mom on these two projects. 
The mommy to be enjoyed them and they looked great at the party. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Fun


Nothing says summer fun like water!! We've had such an amazing summer, a trip to San Antonio to visit family, lots of play dates at the local spray park, water table play, fun at the pool and of course a visit from the grandparents. 

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought summertime with a 1 year old could be so fun. We try hard to keep busy from story times at libraries and museums to play dates with other moms and babies. I've discovered that my little guy loves water and would jump into the lake if allowed to!! For a mom who doesn't know how to swim this is very scary!  Luckily I've found safer ways to entertain him with water play. 
We had the opportunity to visit a local spray park several times this summer and it was a huge hit with AJ. He loves water and other children, so he loved it. This will definitely be on our to do list next summer. 
I love keeping busy with my little guy, it really makes the day go by faster and tires him out so he can take a long afternoon nap while I start on dinner. 

Here's a list of some fun things we did this summer:
Music time at our local library, story time at a museum, fishing with grandpa, spray park, pool time, zoo and aquarium trips, trip to Sea World, parks and play dates. We've had a great summer and I hope you did too!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A choice 7 years ago has lead us to NM

Early in my husbands career we made a choice to begin moving so that he could "climb the ladder" with his company. That was 7 years ago and here we are three cities and three houses later in Rio Rancho, NM. I never thought I'd live anywhere that wasn't Texas nor did I ever imagine trying to raise a family away from our family. We have been so fortunate to have found a great church family, and great friends. As I entered into mommy hood I was able to meet other moms through a breast feeding support group and later a MOPS group. My friendships have changed and these new mom friendships keep me going.

The transition from working to staying at home was very easy for me. I think that if I had still been in San Antonio where I had a job that took up 50+ hours a week I'm not sure the transition would have been easy. The last job I had before giving birth was a contract position that I had slowly gone from 30-20 hours a week in preparation of the birth of our first son. Sometimes I do miss working at an office but then my AJ will smile just the right way to where I'm so thankful I get experience every moment with him.

I absolutely cherish every moment that I have with my AJ, and I am slowly learning how to run a household. It is intimidating as I'm always afraid of making a mistake. Thankfully I have a very understanding husband and baby boy that adores me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Motherhood is Messy

My husband and I have been married for 12 years. I have wanted to be a mommy for so long and we chose to wait until we were financially able to afford for me to stay home. After getting out of debt we decided it was time to start our family. I am so excited to be a new mom but I have learned that mommy hood is one of the toughest jobs ever. I am so excited to share part of my crazy and happy moments that come along with being a first time mom.