Tuesday, July 30, 2013

To My Six Month Old

It occurred to me recently that my little love turned six months about two weeks ago and I've yet to write to you. I still haven't even done your six month pictures! It doesn't surprise me, because since you have entered our lives we have been thrown into the most wonderful whirlwind. Time is slipping by and the only way to fight it is to make each moment count.

You are a breath of fresh air, love. You are just such a calm peaceful baby. Of course you have your moments like any baby or person, but you are so sweet. Your smile which you give out so readily just lights up whoever is around you. I've never know such a smiley baby.

Maybe it's because you are my second. Maybe it's just you, but you have such a calming effect on me. I know it's right. You being in our family is just right. The timing was just right.

You are a mama's girl in every sense of the term. Whenever I take you from someone else I feel your body just go at ease. I know this stage might not last. You still may end up a total daddy's girl like your sister. So even though you only tolerate being with someone else for a period of time I am still soaking this up. You are definitely mine.

For your inevitable future doubt in your role as a mother I want to share what you have taught me. You love me regardless. You relax in my arms regardless. You are happy and healthy regardless. Regardless of the breast milk. Regardless if you got almost two years right next to me each night. Regardless if your sister was doing who knows what and you had to cry for a second. All the times I've beat myself up because I didn't feel like I was doing perfect, you love me regardless.

Having you hasn't added chaos. It hasn't made things harder. It's made my eyes open. It's made me slow down where it matters. It's made me cherish every second.

I love you Natalie Sue, my somehow already six month old

one day

three days

one month

two months

three months

four months

five months

you today, since I still haven't done your six month pictures!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What We've Been Doing Lately

I know I'll take this back in a couple months, but I am ready for the slow winter. These days are flying by. If it's not sessions it's places to be. Our weekends seem to be filled with multiple obligations on each day. As much fun as being busy can be I'm ready to take it easy.
The last weekend of June was the annual fireworks show. Adam and I have gone to the same spot since we met. Usually we pack a picnic and get there early, but I had a session at 7pm so we just rushed there to get a spot. Molly loved that we took her bubble machine along. She may have liked that more than the fireworks. She just loves being outside! It was a little chilly. Chillier than I expected and like usual I wasn't prepared for the weather. Molly loved the show. She would say the usual oohhh, awe, and then added a kaboom. Of course we were being the crazy parents who thought it was the cutest thing ever. Natalie loved them too! She didn't cry or seem startled in the least bit. It was a relief!

Then on July 4th we had family over to grill out and shoot off our own fireworks. Mainly smoke bombs and fountains. We're not too crazy. Not much tops seeing the wonder in your child's eyes. Especially when you know what that wonder felt like. She loved the 4th of July. Natalie had the funniest reaction! She got so wide eyed and would just scream and laugh. I had never seen her like that!

Keeping it real with our family photo

For Molly's birthday we decided on a whim to go to the zoo. We took her last year for our anniversary when she was 11 months. No doubt this was so much more fun. She had the best time. Like I said the wonder she had and the excitement was just too much for my heart.


Just this week Molly got her first hair cut. Well not really first. We had to trim a little piece in the front when she was a baby. She had like five strands that just hung down in her eyes. This was her first hair cut though. After much prompting from Adam I finally took her. I guess I didn't realize how wild and woolly she was till she had it cut. I was shocked at how well she did. Before we went we watched Daniel Tiger get is hair cut on Netflix. She is a wild thing but yet a girly girl. I think she ate up that she was getting her hair done. She even nabbed my jewelry as we were walking out the door.

Another first this week was Molly's first movie. I took her to Turbo. I thought a talking animal might hold her attention more. She downed some reeses pieces and fell asleep in about five minutes so really I could have taken her to see The Conjuring and she wouldn't have noticed.

All in all it's been a great month. Life is just what it's suppose to be right now. Even though it's crazy we still manage to make the moments count. Some days I just have to slow down, take a step back, and be thankful.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

You may be worried about how to explain two men holding hands, but I'm worried about how to explain the violence and the hate.

My heart hurts. It hurts a lot lately. It hurts for the people who can't afford tomorrow. It hurts for the people who won't wake up to tomorrow. It hurts for the people who don't even want to.

I want to just step away from a lot of things right now. I want to hold on to my faith and block out what my religion has become. My heart can't take the hurt being spread in the name of God. I can't take any more cruelty to God's children. I fear for the day when my girls can take these things in. How can their innocent minds process what mine can't?

So to my beautiful innocent girls: God loves you and he loves all of those around you. God made his creation and he called it good. He wants you to spread love. He wants you to be kind. Know this above all. Those words came from him countless times. Jesus fed the poor. He gave all. He wants you to do the same. The harder you work the more you can give. God is peace. Spread peace. Be a light in a dark world.

God did not pick and chose who he accepts and loves. God does not point fingers or encourage you to do the same. God does not say your sin is less than the person you persecute. Jesus did not hoard his wealth. He did not tell you to call names and ridicule the poor. He did not praise the men who gave little and had a lot. He praised the woman who had little and gave all she had. God did not say treat violence with violence.

My heart is so heavy with the hate for people who want to be free to love who they love. It's heavy with so much talk about the lazy system abusers. It's heavy for a society who thinks it's ok to stalk and murder a child because they look a certain way. It's heavy because his murderer will walk away with the gun he used to kill him. It's heavy that all these things are ok. It's sickened that most of these people who say these things call themselves Christian.

So to my two sweet girls. Fill your heart with God. Feel his love and acceptance. Share that. Spread that. Pay no attention to where those words are coming from. Know God. Don't bother knowing the rest of it.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."Gandhi

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tracking Progress, Weekly Plans, And Responsibility Charts

A couple weeks ago I made a weekly lesson plan to organize what I wanted to do every week. I was really excited to implement it along with her assessment books. It never happened. I know the past couple weeks have been really busy, but even on down days we weren't completing activities and I wasn't getting a lot of notes. So this morning I decided to take a new approach to how we go about learning each week.

This is our new and improved weekly plan. It doesn't matter what day we do it on. It doesn't matter if one day is all art and no music. I needed something a little less structured. Some days I felt like I would look at the days activities and if I didn't think there was time for say mud painting nothing else got done either. My favorite part about the new chart is the added Montessori box.

A new lesson plan wouldn't solve the problem of getting in weekly goals. I had trouble figuring out where to focus. That may come from using them at Head Start and goals were planned each week with activities added to your lesson plan to help encourage those goals. So I created these goal sheets. You don't have to have the Teaching Strategies Gold to do this. (For more on that click here) You could pick a weekly goal and go off that. However if you want a more in depth goal you may want to think about going with Teaching Strategies. I flipped through and picked a goal for each of the girls to focus on this week. I then wrote in some activities that could help them practice these goals and help me get notes on them. These will be my main focus, but throughout the week everyday life and our lesson plans will show progress and good notes in things that don't apply to these. Those should also be jotted down.

Even though Adam thought it was an odd present I really wanted to get Molly a responsibility chart. I fell in love with this one from Melissa & Doug. I love that it has tabs like no teasing, sharing, and keeping your hands to yourself. I decided to organize it by things I want to work on the most up top. Then below I put one side as more chore like tabs and the other good behavior tabs. She gets so excited to get a magnet on her chart! I am so glad I got this to incorporate in our routine. I know it may seem odd with some of the chore ones, but trust me your two year old can do these. Taking care of our cat is Molly's job. She gets so excited to feed and water him. I'm sure Adam would love if she could do the litter too. She loves to load and unload the dish washer. If I mop she also mops. She loves to sweep. One of her favorite things to do with dad is help him take out the trash. Your two year old can learn responsibility.

This is what it ended up looking like. I love that I had room by her art corner. I'm the kind of person that needs things organized and accessible otherwise it probably won't be touched. We will see in the weeks to come if the new plans and logs are easier to work with.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dora Party Success

I know a lot of people will look at these pictures and think "that's not all out," but for me this is going all out. I am not a DIY crafty person. I hate hosting parties. I get more stressed than probably necessary. When I got Molly's party stuff in the mail I was pretty happy with just doing that. Then all of a sudden I just started making crap. Ok not a lot, but enough for me to feel like I tried more than usual. I think part of me wanted to make up for this....

Yes. Her 80s themed 1st birthday. It seemed like a really good idea at the time. Pretty much we all dressed up and everyone drank beer but me since I was pregnant. I didn't take many pictures because sometimes I can get carried away and not be in the moment. I didn't really do much of anything for it.  To her the 1st birthday was a hit since there was some paper on the ground.

So now that she was turning 2 I really wanted to make a big deal out of it since she is now aware that something is going on. It was a blast. I am still half dead from it, but it was so much fun. There was a big turn out, she is set when it comes to Dora, and most of all she had fun. After food and presents I had water stuff outside for all the kids. Luckily it was a beautiful day. Everything just flowed.

Right now I can say next year we will order pizza and the "theme" will be whatever picture is on her cake. As cute as I thought it turned out I'm not convinced it was worth it. All the stuff I made and bought is just bunched up on the office floor. I don't know that having a few things out wouldn't have excited her just as much as the whole shebang. Next year I'll just avoid Pinterest as the day approaches so I don't feel like shit for not having my tables skirted with tulle and garland draping from the ceiling.

So here is Molly's day in pictures!


Not really how I pictured this picture going

Adam is from WI so beer is a must

My grandparents had to get her a trike after they saw the one I bought her and though it so really dumb

The so-called "praying mantis" the apparently only I think is cool

She would get the biggest grin when people would tell her happy birthday