Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mommy and Me Monday

Despite being about 40 minutes away, our go-to outing is the Racine, WI zoo. Why would we drive that far for a small zoo when there are two amazing zoos in Chicago? Because it is small kid friendly. No strollers needed, the kids can walk the zoo just fine and see everything. We always pack a picnic lunch and have a nice time without huge crowds or overtired children.

Here we are waiting for the little train.

Peek-a-boo, daddy!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our Babywearing Journey

Like many new parents out there, we thought babywearing was restricted to the carriers you find in BabiesRUs. We were given three used Baby Bjorns by our friends. I didn't have many other friends with babies and hadn't ever been exposed to different carriers. So I thought this was our only option. Here's proud daddy wearing Jordan for the first time.

Jordan got chunky fast and didn't fit well in the Bjorn (couldn't get her chunky legs comfortable in the leg holes). So I turned to an experienced mommy and asked her what to do. She lent us her Moby wrap. Which was soooo confusing to me!! Seriously, how do you control that much material?! For a new mom, working and sleep deprived, I just couldn't figure it out. We tried though! Anything to save our backs from that dang Bjorn and be able to go places stroller free.

She was comfortable, I promise!! But I didn't feel like I could successfully use the Moby, or any carrier with any length to it. I happened upon a Ten Toes Click. It was a life saver! It gave me the comfort of a wrap or mei tai but with the buckles, I could successfully wear my daughter, then son, with front and back carries. Here's Ben in the Ten Toes just a few months old. I love this carrier. Totally awesome and would recommend it to people.

My parents got us a structured carrier from REI. This is Dave's carrier. He likes it a ton, and we've used it quite a few times. The last time I used it was when Jordan was a bit over a year... and I was soooo uncomfortable. I hated this one. Turned out I was about 6 weeks pregnant, so no wonder I was uncomfortable with buckles around my tummy!!!

Once we figured that out, I bought a ring sling. Surprisingly I cannot find a picture of Jordan or Ben in it. I loved the ring sling for carrying my toddler while pregnant. Kept her off my belly, since I could carry her on my hip comfortably, just not for long periods of time. Then, after ben was born and we moved to Illinois, I learned how to wear him properly in the sling and that was wonderful! I love that sling! Now that Ben is over 25 pounds, it is just not comfortable anymore, so I am looking into new options. I really want to be stroller free when we travel, and he doesn't seem quite as comfortable now in the Ten Toes as I would like. So... with husband's consent, I just bought this Mei Tai. I think I have found a new love (for carriers anyway).

The kids actually fought over who could go on my back! Of course, I will be wearing Ben, not Jordan because she is slightly more trustworthy walking down the street and will actually hold our hands =)

Anyway, I thought I would share with my readers. In case maybe you are once like I was and unaware of the options, there are a ton! And with the recent sling recalls, I think people need to be even more informed about safe babywearing options.

Here are some good links to check out!

The BabyWearer
Lake County Babywearing Group

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Crock Pot Thursdays - Irish Stout Beef Stew (cheater recipe)

I am all for super easy recipes... usually involving McCormick seasoning packets or jarred sauces. My mom gave me a jar of Williams Sonoma sauce for meats the last time I was at home. I LOVE sauces like this, as the possibilities are endless, however I cannot afford a $16 jar of sauce.

Anyway, today I made a delicious beef stew using the Irish Stout braising sauce. I browned a package of stew meat, then put it in the crock pot. I added 6 smallish potatoes, sliced, chopped celery, chopped onion, and a handful of baby carrots. I covered in all with the sauce, then cooked on high for 4.5 hours.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Mother's Day Present

Here is a photo of my wonderful mother's day present... thank you husband and mommy!! My mom was generous enough to pitch in for my very own sewing machine. I LOVE this machine. I am finding that I have a genuine like...maybe even love?? for sewing. Hopefully I can learn much over the next few months and create some gifts for friends having babies, clothes for my kiddos, or other projects that I can find.

One project is to take pants that are too short for Jordan and turn them into capris or shorts that she can wear this summer. We got a lot of cute hand-me-downs from my sister, so I hope to stretch our usage of them! I had a playdate/sewing tutorial a few weeks ago with a friend who has been posting her crafty projects. She suggested a simple way of making capris. I followed her advice, and got some cute buttons to hand sew onto the bottom of the capris to add a personal touch. Here is my finished product!

Monday, May 10, 2010

26 Hours Please!

I wonder if any other mommy feels the way I do, that each day needs at least 2 more hours in it. Preferably while children are sleeping. I wake up at 6am to my two wide awake children. The entire day is filled with activities to keep them happy, cooking, (minimal) cleaning, and whatever else the day may bring. Then they go to bed and I have about 2-3 hours to do everything I want to do before I go to bed myself. That might seem like a lot, but I work at night, I have crafts I want to work on, and there is the ever-neglected list of chores. No wonder my blog is neglected so much, there just isn't enough time in the evenings to get it all done!!

How can one person possibly juggle all this without staying up until the wee hours of the night? That is just not an option for me. I doubt my parenting abilities would be even sub-par if I went to bed later than 10 pm every night. So, powers above, please add 2 more hours to my evenings so I can be more productive and less overwhelmed! Thank you ever so much!

Edited to add... in case anyone noticed, I have figured out how to change the layout of my blog. This, plus some major editing to html (which I've NEVER done before) took me an hour to do... and hour in which I should have been working... OOPS!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day/Mommy and Me Monday

I cannot believe this is only my 4th mother's day. I feel like I have been a mom FOREVER... In a good way, of course!! Seriously, being a mom is the most natural thing I have ever done in my life. I am so blessed to have had children so that I could find my "calling". Before them I felt lost; not sure what I was to be or do with my life. And thank you to my own mother, for bringing me into this world and giving me a chance to feel what it is like to be a mother myself.

Here are some snapshots from this afternoon... none from this morning. Dave was working this morning, so the kids and I stayed in pajamas and lounged around!

Even though it was cold today, the kiddos enjoyed our new sandbox while Dave cooked!

Dave teaching Ben about the grill!! Look at my handsome husband and son!!

Ben thought he was way too cool for a high chair or booster seat tonight. He also likes to live life dangerously and refused the hot dog I had safely cut for him.

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Perfect Gift?

How do you find the perfect gift for your mother? The more I think about what to get my mom, the harder it is for me to come up with a gift... let alone the perfect one! My mom has always been difficult to shop for. She has VERY specific likes/dislikes that I often cannot predict or afford.

I'd love to hear what your thoughts are for mother/grandmother gifts. What have you given in the past that your mother really enjoyed? How do you get the most complicated person you know the right gift???