We are stronger together!

Stronger Together
We’ve all heard it, some of us have thought it, and some have even dared to say it out loud, even right to the face of a parent just trying to parent…

You spend too much time away from your kids because you work!

How can you be fulfilled JUST being a stay at home mom?

You took your baby out in public in a sleeper and didn’t get her dressed?

Wow that outfit looks elaborate why didn’t you just let her wear a comfy sleeper?

I can’t believe you cover your baby while you nurse her how stuffy for her!

Uhg cover up while you feed him you are in public for crying out loud!

Formula is so bad for your baby, don’t you know what’s in that stuff?!

You should be using formula you can’t make enough on your own for your baby to grow!

How could they sleep with the baby in the bed, how long are they planning to live like that?

How awful that baby is all alone in his crib all night?

That baby is so spoiled being picked up every time he cries.

How could she use the “CIO” method, her baby should be held and loved all the time.

Why wont they just give that kid a sucky? Do they like listening to her cry?

How old is that child? Why would they still be using a soother?

They just left her baby with someone to go out by herself, how lazy/selfish can’t they just take the kid with them?

How does she spend every waking minute with her child, doesn’t she need some alone time, it makes for a better parent/child relationship?

Her kids don’t nap anymore; they are too young and need their naps they aren’t going to develop properly.

Why are her kids still napping? She can’t get out to do anything during the day still.

Why is she leaving so early, she is so tied to her children’s bedtime.

Her child is STILL awake it’s so late; doesn’t she know how much sleep children require?

Look at her organic, free range, non GMO, etc. etc. snacks she is giving her kids what a crunchy mom!

Oh no did you see her open that bag of Cheetos, how could she fill her kids with all those chemicals.

Why is she STILL nursing her child he’s too old for that!

I can’t believe she quit nursing so soon he didn’t get all he needed from her!

And so on and so on….

 

I know just as well as anyone else that there are some situations in this world that require attention. This world is not butterflies and rainbows; I don’t burry my head in the sand trying to ignore the fact that sometimes there is a need for intervention and support. There are dangerous or unsafe conditions that require this, but that is not what I am talking about here. I am referring to the day-to-day judgments, or differing of opinions on child rearing, the unsolicited advice given to parents as they navigate this world of raising tiny humans. To concern ourselves with trivial things when there is no danger is wasteful of our energy. Energy that could be spent on our own families and ourselves!

And I do mean unsolicited, because sometimes we need ideas, other opinions, other people to jump in and say “hey this is what worked for me!”

For the most part I believe we as adults often forget that most of us are just trying to do our very best, that we genuinely care for our families, and we usually have put enough second guessing, guilt ridden, worried time ourselves into the decisions we are making, we really don’t need the extra stress wondering or hearing out loud when other people think we are doing something “wrong.”

We all have expectations going into parenthood, things we are going to do, things we will never do… and we all have had some or all of those expectations shattered by reality. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we’d wanted and sometimes we beat ourselves up for that, we don’t need the judgments of other people to pile on top of all that we already feel!

We can’t win!

So let’s stop playing the game!

We have all done it, maybe not out loud but we have all passed judgment on another parent for choosing a different path than ours, lets all just admit it and then move on and stop!

Its tough not to judge, its hard when we have put time and energy into making a decision for our families, or our children, only to see that someone else is doing it differently, we put hours of worry, research, and thought into something only to see that someone is succeeding, or failing in some cases, by doing things different. It’s a hit to our ego, a jealous reaction, a grass is greener, or high and mighty feeling we all get at some point while we parent.

Don’t tell me you’ve never stood in line at the store and listened to a screaming child feeling pride looking at your own quiet child in that moment; maybe because (god forbid) you’ve handed your phone over to them, or maybe because your pocket snacks are doing their job. It’s okay to feel pride; it’s not okay to judge the other mom because her method isn’t working today. You know your little bundle has been there or will be there at some point so instead you look over and say we’ve all been there! Solidarity Momma!

We are all working our best to provide, take care of and love our families, how we get there or what creates that life we strive for is not up to anyone else’s judgment! We can never know the whole story; every situation and circumstance is unique and we don’t know what someone else is going thru. We all see challenges in different ways, and all handle them different too! Children and parents included are all different; we all have different skills and abilities.

We spend enough time as parents judging ourselves and worrying about our parenting abilities and we don’t need others to join us in the process. We need others to build us up, we are all parents in this together and we need to cheer each other on, be a shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen, or a spread a word of encouragement. We need camaraderie knowing that someone else has gone thru it, is going thru it or is about to.

We are stronger together!Untitled design

-A

Seafood Feast

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The last time we got together with our neighbours was a great time. Of course getting together with everyone when we can is always fun, we have a lot of great laughs and always seem to stay up way too late enjoying a few beverages but this time we filed our bellies with tasty seafood too. Jen makes an amazing spread. She cooks up all the seafood, the crawfish, shrimp, crab, and lobster, she mixes it all together with veggies like corn, mushrooms, potatoes, and carrots. sprinkles on the pomegranate and squeezes out the lemon. Then she places a candle in the middle of it all laid out on the table and we dig in. This is a meal we all look forward to her making. It is so much work for her but the attention to detail is amazing right down to the desert that of course none of us are hungry for but can’t say no to! Even full of food we all look forward to the next time she makes it again!

Is Spring Here?

I keep asking myself “when it is coming”, I keep looking for signs of its arrival, I know somewhere buried under many feet of snow there is grass waiting to grow, and flowers waiting to bloom!

But for now I can only wait. And maybe start some seeds inside!?

Yesterday we had a great day finally warm enough to spend some significant time outside, you know the time that is longer than it takes to get ready to go out! In fact the kids have spent the last few days outside and we all love it! Steve headed out in the morning to build an epic sliding hill and we took out the toboggans and proceeded to climb and slide and crash and laugh and enjoy the bright sunshiny day!

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The kids even convinced me to trek thru the back yard to the play structure, which I have not been keen on doing since the last big dump of snow, mostly because when the snow is waist deep on me which means it’s a lot of work to get them where they want to go! … But we did it made it out there and tramped a path around so they could use the equipment, and once again climb and slide!

Hot chocolate and cookies were to follow an afternoon outside and sleepy tired children who fell asleep almost immediately after their heads hit the pillow… that is what I love most about the outside world and fresh air! So we hope the weather keeps up staying warm now so we can enjoy being outside more.

With nice days it is so much easier to get out and work on projects, for us in February that means snow removal, snow removal, feeding animals and oh right snow removal! But after yesterday Steve accomplished most of the barnyard snow removal, we can even swing a few gates again!

I have to say that by far this is the most snow we have had on our little farm since we moved out here and I am worried about the spring! A few years ago THIS happened and I am certainly concerned that after the run off last year washed out the culvert in the barnyard that there might be an even worse fate this year! We will be keeping an eye on everything as the melt starts to ensure our animals have safety away from the flooding areas!

What are you doing while you wait for spring?

-A

Traveling with Toddlers!

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Last week we took a trip! It was a long trip… it was a busy trip! We took two travel days to get to our destination and three to return home. WOAH!

It was my Grandmothers 80th Surprise Birthday party and we are so lucky to have gone, spent that time with her, and were able to catch up with relatives from all over, some of whom were meeting my children for the first time! My heart was so full while we were there seeing everyone!

We headed out after gymnastics practice, loaded up an aunt and a grandpa and started down the road. I was ready, and I was prepared. My children don’t own technology. They are two and three years old so we have decided that the owning of tablets, I Pads, Phones etc. is perhaps for older kids and teenagers, I wont get into it here… another post, for another day!

I packed snacks, because the key to motherhood and happy children is snacks. I packed games, books, and activities in their own back packs. I made sure the kid’s songs were ready on the stereo. I allowed them their favorite snuggle stuffies and bedtime blankets in the car, which on any regular day would be a big no no and off we went!

They traveled a total of 7 hours the first day with only one short break for lunch and they did amazing! They read books, sang songs, colored pictures, and visited about where we were going. We got a hotel along the way and it had pools, and open areas to run and play, we all got to stretch our legs, swim, burn off some much needed travel energy and get a good night sleep in before continuing down the road again the next day!

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And we did get up early, have breakfast and head on down the road again!

After another long day of travel we arrived at Grandmas house. She was surprised to say the least! She had no idea we were coming, and the surprises continued from there. The kids and I were beat, we headed to the hotel and snuggled in for a night of rest, not before seeing and meeting great aunts and uncles who were also all arriving at the hotel, hugs all around and sneaky excited giggles for what was to come once it was party time!! My Aunt and cousin arrived later that night on a flight; all over again she was shocked. Her family was all together for her birthday and she was so happy!

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The next night was the big party, everyone was ready, we took her out for dinner then headed back to the hall at the hotel to await her arrival, with a tricky fib she was led into the hall where she was given her final surprise, all but one of her siblings were able to make it to her celebration, some had traveled a great distance to spend this milestone with her. Seeing the laughter and the happy tears made the trip all worth it! The kids all danced and partied until late and loved meeting new cousins and family.

The next day we continued to catch up, visit, and enjoy everyone’s company, we spent the day at grandmas house. Once again it was a late night for the kids but worth all the family time spent together.

After three days of visiting, partying, and catching up it was time to head home. We had breakfast that morning with aunts and uncles who were also leaving that day and said all of our good byes!

We traveled once again to the same amazing hotel to spend some time in the pool again. The next day as we headed out we weren’t sure if we were going to make it… the news alert suggested that the highway we planned to travel was closed. After further investigation we discovered it had in fact just been opened back up, thank goodness. After all this traveling the children were starting to tire of sitting in car seats and traveling down highways so although this portion of the trip only lasted 4 hours it was more than enough for them and we had some major tears the last part of the trip. We stopped at my mom and dads and all three kids baled out of their car seats with enthusiasm! We had dinner that night with family and everyone headed to bed on time.

Now it was time to head home, after dropping Aunty off everyone was excited to get home, get out of car seats and spend the night in our own beds.

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The trip was more than fun; it was so exciting to see everyone, I am so grateful to have such an amazing family and support system that made the trip go as smooth as it possibly could.

I have good kids, they are polite, they are well mannered, and they are well behaved. I don’t care who you are or how “good” your kids are if you stick them in a vehicle to travel for 5 days there is bound to be some hiccups!

TIPS FROM OUR FIRST VERY VERY VERY LONG TRIP!

  • Snacks for the car OBVIOUSLY!! But also for the hotel, we packed fresh fruit and “breakfast” foods because, I don’t know about anyone else’s kids but mine usually get up and eat right away sometimes in their PJ’s but staying in a hotel means going to the restaurant for breakfast and so having some fresh fruit and yogurts and things to tie them over is helpful to getting us all ready to head to the restaurant for a meal!
  • Activities, even if I am a believer in looking out the window and enjoying the scenery, taking in all that the world passing by has to offer having something else to occupy little minds and hands while traveling long distances is imperative.
  • Bring someone with you if you can, the activities will hit the floor and someone there to pick them up can avoid stop after stop. Its also sanity saving for the driver to have someone else to talk to while three blind mice plays on the radio for the 90th
  • Pull ups, for my three year olds who are potty trained they know that pull ups on a long trip when the temperature outside is -25C is a good thing to keeping their bums warm, and that they can change out of them as soon as we get where we are going! I feel it saves so much using them. Often they can hold it until the next rest station but when they cant its great back up!
  • Music, and audio books, listening to something other than mom sing (although I am practically the Next Canadian Idol) is sometimes soothing enough to let the little eyes fade and a nap to happen!
  • Get out, it was tough on this trip to make stops along the way because it was so cold for just a road side stop, but having travelled that highway before a time or two I know there are some fun stops along the way that would have broke the trip up a little more for the littles and bigs!

It was an amazing trip, even with all my hesitations I am so happy we set out on the journey.

Happy trails to you and yours wherever the road may take you!

-A

Why I stay up “ALL” night

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From the time we get out of bed in the morning until the time we all lay our heads down at night, I am “on” and even then its only a temporary pause before either morning arrives, the little ones have a bad dream or someone needs something in the middle of the night.

ALL DAY I am needed, I am touched, climbed on, loved and loathed, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many “mom” calls I get. I wipe bums, and change diapers. I make snacks; I make meals that by the time I get to sit and enjoy are cold. I plan games, read books, find new and educational activities to do, make plans for outings, and play dates, I am needed for so many different things each and every day. I rarely have a minute to myself, and even when I do find a minute to enjoy a couple sips of hot coffee I am still listening for the next emergency, disaster, or fight to break out! I am not complaining here, these are simply the truths of my adventures in motherhood and why by the end of the day I sometimes make a choice to stay up just a little too late!

I love my kids dearly, they are well cared for, we have a lot of fun, even the part about being needed albeit tiring is also rewarding. We are a very busy and active family so if I want to spend a night binge watching my new favorite Netflix show or playing cards and having a few too many beverages with my friends then I’m going to! And I am not going to feel bad about it! It’s my treat! It’s my time to laugh with other adults, talk about something other than who’s turn it is with that toy, or watch yet another episode of Paw Patrol, it’s my time to put my feet up and relax, even if I am folding the one hundredth load of laundry while I do it!

I think there is a balance in creating this life of family, children, work, or whatever commitments we make as parents! Sometimes staying up to have some “me” time helps in finding that balance! My children don’t suffer! They might get an extra cuddly momma for a day here and there if I’ve chosen to stay up really late, but they don’t do without!

How many times have I been asked… why don’t you just go to bed? Aren’t you tired in the morning?

YES!

My answer is yes

 

Of course if I went to bed at an early hour every night and got the rest I “need” I would feel much more energized every morning! I mean let’s be honest I’m not new to this!

But…

That is what Coffee is for!Todays Good Mood is Sponsored by Coffee

And…

Sometimes I have to choose not to! Sometimes I have to look at the big picture and know that if I go to bed when my kids do every night, although I would be well rested I would also go a little nutty!

Not to brag but my kids are awesome sleepers, we did a lot of work to get to here and if you are interested you can read more HERE. But seriously I pat my husband and I on the back for this! It really is sanity saving to have good sleepers! They are long on their journey to dream land by the time I’m ready to sit down and put my feet up, for guests to come to play cards, or to get a babysitter so Steve and I can go out for a bit.

As parents we are constantly reminded to put ourselves first. Taking care of ourselves is so important so we can take care of our families! So some nights I might be in bed by 7:30, and sometimes I might be up until the wee hours of the night watching just one more episode, reading just one more chapter or playing just one more hand of cards, but it all balance out in the end and my family is better off for it!

-A

 

My Baby is 2!

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Where does the time go?

We hear this and say this all the time but my baby just turned two and this past weekend while we celebrated, he ran around the house with is sisters and his cousins, played hard, ate so much cake his poop turned blue, and sang along “Happy Birthday” to himself!

I loved all my children the day I met them and even before as they tumbled around rearranging my internal organs.

Looking back I miss the snuggles, I miss breastfeeding, and I miss ONE basket of toys to pick up at the end of my day! I miss their smiles and cooing chatter, I miss sitting and staring at these perfect little beings we created with so much love my heart felt like it would burst. Wow those were the days I think when I trip over yet another Paw Patrol figurine or step on a Lego and realize it might be time to amputate!

BUT

SERIOUSLY

I. LOVE. THIS!!!

I have discovered that there are different parenting personalities and we all feel different about our children growing up! I fit under the category of moms who enjoyed the baby stage but am way more excited when their children can wipe their own butts! So when I hear people tell them to stop growing so fast or that they miss when they were babies, most of the time I think…

REALLY?

Back to the poop? The sleepless nights, and sleep training? The crying and I JUST DON’T KNOW WHY!!! The carrying THREE car seats at once, even if my arms looked amazing! I used to feel guilty like I was going to miss the moment in front of me, as I would look forward to the days my children could do more for themselves.

Now I know what I was looking forward to. And it didn’t make me loose out on enjoying all the milestones, and moments when they were little; it doesn’t make me less appreciative of the good days! I just know now that it’s okay to want to be here now! And to look forward to some other things that are to come!

Henry has always been one to work hard to keep up with his sisters, he rolled over for the first time at 17 days old, he walked at 9 months, he started eating solid foods at 6 months and never looked back! While the girls learned how to climb the Rock wall last summer he was learning right along beside them, and although he often is a little more clumsy he’s right up there wanting to do everything they do!

There are struggles at every stage of growing your children; my dad always reminds me that the first 40 years of parenting are the toughest! But I am going to enjoy this stage, look forward to the next and reminisce about the fun stuff from the last!

I love that my baby is two and can’t wait to see all the accomplishments he makes in the year to come!

-A

Ready to be Healthy

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Christmas break is always so relaxing, I’ve spent a month cleaning, and baking, and cooking, and prepping, to relax for the days thru the holiday it self. Then the New Year rolls around and I have a heck of a time getting up and running again. Its tough to get moving and motivated to start cleaning and cooking and baking again after a nice break.

Well this year has been especially difficult.

We’ve all been sick!

I mean lay down don’t move flu bug sick and it just seems to linger. Already 1/3 of the way in to the month and we have been quarantined to our home for days. My poor little ones are asking if we have any friends who can come play and they just don’t understand why we can’t hang out with other kids right now.

Although I have managed to keep the house relatively clean, my Christmas tree is still standing, I just don’t have the energy in me to take it down. We have watched all the ice age movies X3 worked our way thru the Toy Story Series, and Paw Patrol has been my best friend when I need them to just sit down, conserve their energy, and rest their bodies. We have read every book we own and I started to pull out the “special” ones (the ones that are so sweet they make mommy cry!), we have put all the puzzles together at least 3 times. I have enough art to hang on the fridge for the whole year, or maybe I just need another fridge! We have snuggled and cuddled and fought and cried for days. And now I am just ready for this sick family to get healthy and get back to our busy lives that we love.

Of course I say this and always in the back of my mind I think about those families who are on many more days of laying low for much more serious reasons and I try to use perspective to remind myself that we will be thru this flu soon and life will return to normal.

In the midst of it though it’s still tough, and I am one who will say this sucks.

After I had the girls, I had a friend who always would correct her baby woe complaints by saying “but oh I only have one it must be so much harder for you with two, I shouldn’t complain.” This always frustrated me. Babies are tough, no matter how many you have, and by that logic the only person who can complain is the lady out there who had the most babies at a time!

Like 8 was it, or more?

We are all people, we all have struggles, whether it’s the number of children, the age of the children or how close the children are in age, everyone is entitled to their own limits, we are all different and our strengths and struggles look different to each of us. And although perspective is good we are allowed to have a bad day, we are allowed to feel that a part of our lives is not easy just because its not easy for us we to not need to compare the struggle we have with someone else to the point of feeling guilty that we are having a tough time.

All that being said it’s also not healthy to sit in self-pity over the struggles. It’s important to move thru these tough times and make sure to find the light in the day, its good to smile, laugh or at least sit with contentment at some point thru a rough day. If we spend the whole day, or many days wallowing, the problem not only sticks around but new problems arise from all the perpetual gloom.

So, go ahead and say this day, week, month, or year so far SUCKS… but then build that puzzle again, snuggle your babies, and giggle when they do at those silly characters on their favorite show, read the story that makes you cry and try to find at least one thing to laugh at today!

– A