dad I’ve been watching you

C is now 3…and he’s at the age where he wants to do EVERYTHING that daddy does. I underestimated just how much sons want to be like the men in their life!

I mean he wants to eat what daddy is eating…if daddy wears a coat, he wears one…if not, nope. He tries to walk the same way. And most recently, he walked around our patio and used daddy’s leaf blower to “help.”

I’ve learned that letting toddlers help….even if they are making more of a mess than actually helping, is important. They feel productive, they feel like they are contributing. So this day, my little guy helped and cleaned up the back just like daddy. And of course the toy yard tools weren’t good enough – he needed the real thing. 🙂

It was a good reminder to me to be conscious of what we emulate in front of the kids as they are always watching and listening!

roots and stems – a great kids experiment

We recently did a fun learning project with the kids that they both loved. The school unit was roots and stems, so we found something that helped continue the learning at home!

What you’ll need:

-heads of romaine lettuce

-food coloring (not the gel kind, that type won’t work; get the old fashioned kind!)

-a tall glass


Prepare the water by adding a few drops of food coloring until it’s pretty dark and stir. Then cut a leaf off (make a fresh cut) and put in cut side down. Wait 24 hours to see the max it will “drink” up!

Some colors work better than others as you can see here, so have fun experimenting!

He’s 3, just like that

My little one is 3.

It seems a bit hard to believe…I feel like just yesterday I was rocking you to sleep multiple times a night. Watching your every tiny milestone as the days flew by. Now, you’re turning into such a little boy, full of personality.

You’ve traded in snuggly lovies and pacifiers for fire trucks and legos.

Little ride on toys for motorized vehicles you drive around on our sidewalks.

Finger paints for colored pencils; veggie pouches for salads with grilled chicken (really).

My little sunshine is growing faster than I can believe, and I’m so excited to see the little boy personality flourish before my eyes.

(Just don’t grow too fast.)


Yesterday we took our annual family trip to the cider mill (in reality, we’ll probably go once or twice more). It was a picture perfect day. Slight fall feel in the air (but still very comfortable). Mix of clouds and sun, and we got there at a decent time to enjoy two full hours before lunch.

I took my “nice” camera vs. just snapping photos with my phone (a hobby of mine, I could spend hours with my camera).  The kids wanted to ride the train, so we got in line and hopped on. C decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to go; so hubby and C stayed back to watch S and I take a loop around the mill.

I was snapping away at S looking out the window…waving to people…getting excited about the train. She pointed out all the stuff she saw…”mama those pigs are stinky!” She’s 6, so it’s amazing how much they notice at that age.

The ride lasted maybe 3-4 minutes. Then it stopped. And although I had some cute pictures, including her getting SO excited about the tunnel it went through, I realized that I didn’t see ONE thing.

Not one. I was so busy taking pictures of her that I completely missed the train ride. And the scenery. And all the stuff she pointed out.

You see those articles about putting your phone down when playing with your kids to give them your full attention. I feel like this probably wasn’t much different.  Although I was doing what I thought would be nice for her (and me) to have later, my balance was obviously off.  I mean I did not look out the window ONE time.

Mental note – next time, I’ll need to put the camera down and see things through HER eyes instead of the camera lens. I see people at concerts missing the whole experience because they’ve got their phones up and are recording videos or taking pictures…and not getting immersed in the show. I sort of did the same thing.

Next time.

saturday morning

i love you because

…all is quiet

…i don’t know yet what the day will bring

…it means two nice long days of just us time is ahead

…i can sit with my cup of coffee before the craziness of the day begins

…there is no rushing, no place to scamper off to

…we can just do what our heart desires, all four of us


let her wear it

We were headed to a birthday party and my daughter had on a pink dress with a tutu (that she had picked out). She let me do her hair and she picked out a bow. Then I brought her white sandals over and she said “no, I want to wear my socks and black shoes.”

So, she did. And the socks were mismatched (as you can see). And the black shiny dress shoes didn’t really go with the dress. But she thought she looked dressed up for her friend. And I was happy that she was expressing her individual choices (at an age when she doesn’t have many choices day to day). So I told her I thought it was great that she picked out her own socks and shoes and off we went.

Especially with S being a girl – I want to ensure she is raised as confidently as possible. I know the years of self doubt are very close – and I’d like to push them off for as long as I can. The days where she will wonder if her friends will like something she wears or if someone will make fun of her are coming. But for now I’d like to let her express herself!

wear the necklace, mama

S. saw me getting dressed for a casual, impromptu BBQ at our neighbor’s house.  I had thrown on a jersey dress and was just looking for a simple necklace when she said, “wear this one, mama!” I turned around and it was a chunky, beaded one she had made me from one of her kid jewelry sets over a year ago.

“No, I don’t think today is a good day for that one,” I said. “I don’t think the colors match.” But what I was really thinking was “I only pretend to wear that when I’m home all day, I’ve actually never worn it OUT.”

“But look, this bead is the same color as your dress,” she said. And before she could say anything else, my brain suddenly came to the realization that I was being silly. And selfish. Why WOULDN’T I wear something my then 4 year old had made, and proudly? Her little hands had put that together. And given it to ME instead of breaking it back apart or putting it back in her room. And I was being an idiot giving up the opportunity to wear it for my own joy AND hers.

So I wore it. And I rocked it. And, to be honest – it looked great with my simple dress (not that it mattered). If it had been a necklace of cheerios, I would have worn it.

So wear the necklace or bracelet or hat, mama. And wear it proudly. I did, and the smile it brought to my daughter’s face and the little glances she threw my way that evening when she would look at it were nothing short of amazing.

to prevent or not prevent the summer learning slide

My daughter is in between kindergarten and first grade this summer. I’ve heard a LOT about the backward “slide” that takes place in the summer with kids – and was told if I can keep up on things like reading and math these few months, she would have an easier time come September.

I didn’t want to put my daughter in camps where they would focus on academics. I mean she’s still FIVE (turns 6 at the end of August) and I know from personal experience her school years are only going to get more demanding, her pressures will only mount more, as she gets older. So we put her in a fun summer camp 2 days a week (9-3.30) where they do field trips and art projects and play outside. And the rest of the time she is home, going to our local barns, parks and just playing in the backyard.

But, I do have her do a few worksheets a day. Like 3. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes 20, which I don’t think is unreasonable. But she still thinks it’s mean. 🙂

That’s okay honey. I know it may seem mean…but I think you won’t know how grateful you’ll be come the fall!

that sunday morning stillness

Every once in a while, I get a perfect Sunday morning of a tiny bit of quiet time to myself. That time is now. C is still sleeping as well as S (we had family over last night so they went to bed a little later than usual). Hubby is just waking as well, so I have time to make a cup of coffee, actually READ one of the magazines that comes to my house, and enjoy the stillness.

Our neighborhood is full of young children, but right now I know their homes are waking up as well (or already up and around if there are very young kids!). I never hear it like this – just the sounds of the birds chirping, an occasional dog bark and a rare car perhaps heading to church or on an early grocery run.

So I’m enjoying my few minutes (by writing too!) because in about 10 minutes, it’s time to get C his cup of milk, pack our swim bags for swim lessons, pick up the playroom that we left a mess last night and get myself out of my pajamas.

But right now it’s amazing!

summer cousins

We took our annual trip to the west side of the state last week with some extended family. And although traveling with young kids isn’t a piece of cake, I was AMAZED at how it gets a tiny, tiny bit easier each year.

For one, the girls (both turning 6 later this year) got along much better. There were less statements of “I don’t want to be her cousin anymore” and more imaginative play than I’ve ever seen. I mean even moments where we didn’t know where they were in our rental because they were off in some corner pretending to by spies.

And the little one – although C refused to sleep in the pack ‘n play and we ended up co-sleeping with him for naps and bedtime, did great. It did mean I had to lay with him each time and then sneak out of the room, but it worked!

So it was an amazing week. Filled with what I hope will be great memories for the kids – sprinklers and beaches and water balloons and ice cream and walks to the park, all with cousins. I have such fond memories of growing up with my cousins, I’m trying to give my children the same opportunity to create meaningful bonds with their extended family as well.

A successful trip!