Thursday, July 31, 2014

on saying bye-bye [or separation anxiety]

Most of our days are spent at home, during the school year Bee spends her days with us and Emerson loves his sweet little playmate. If we ever have visitors they are usually family or Bee's parents, but when we  travel and visit friends Emerson usually warms up fairly quickly to them. Occasionally he is shy for a while around family he hasn't seen in a long time [or ever in some cases], but after a while he'll venture off as long as he knows I'm close by. He's a pretty happy and sweet little guy. If a repair man comes to the house, E just watches them really closely and will usually offer a smile and wave before too long. We are thankful for his sweet and friendly personality. 

Because most of our days are spent together at home we don't have a whole lot of separation anxiety issues. If I do go out without Emerson he is most likely with his daddy; I'll give him kisses and hugs before I leave and wave as I'm walking out. Sometimes he'll wave but usually he will cry and run over to me to come with me. So I'll kiss him again, tell him I love him and say bye-bye. As I turn away I hear his daddy suggesting they go outside or do some other equally fun activity. If his Granny and Poppy ever watch him he is so distracted by them that he will usually wave and blow me a kiss and before he even has a second to start thinking about the fact that I'm leaving his Granny will start singing a song or something to distract him. 

Church is the only place we usually have a big problem. He knows the minute we walk inside the building that he's going to be taken to the nursery and he clings on to me as tight as he possibly can -all through the check in process and while waiting to give him to a helper. When the helper holds their hands out to him he climbs me and hugs me even tighter. Like he's a koala bear or something. And he's strong I tell ya. It takes serious prying to get him off. And then he will most likely scream and cry as they carry him away from me. It's lovely really. But we are working on it, each week we talk about how he's going to play with other kids, read stories, sing songs, and how much fun he'll have... I try and sound happy and excited for him. This past Sunday a grandpa was helping and E went to him without qualm or fuss. It was nice. He had only done that one other time. We usually peak in the nursery window after they take him in and someone is either holding him or trying to show him a toy, but he's not screaming or crying which is a relief to me. 

When I lay [or rather stand] him down for his nap for bed time he used to cry and scream. I hated hearing him scream before I closed the door but didn't know how to stop it. Then one day I decided to turn around, wave, blow kisses, tell him night-night, and that I loved him. He fussed, but he didn't scream or cry like he used to. I guess he just wanted to see my face before he fell asleep? Once he stopped screaming I felt bad that I hadn't turned around to wave bye-bye sooner; I had just kept doing what I had since I had started laying him in his crib as a baby -laying him down and walking out of the room without looking back in hopes that he wouldn't cry.... Anyhow, that's sorted out now. 

So to sum it up: 
- wave bye-bye and blow kisses when you leave for a little outing, drop him/her off at a babysitter/nursery/daycare
- have things and people to distract the little one as soon as you leave: books, toys, puzzles, whatever... maybe a favorite toy or blanket
- try and talk about how much fun they will have at the nursery/daycare/babysitters and wave bye when you leave 
- if you are leaving the room make sure to say see you soon or something, look at them and wave or blow a kiss -try and make them smile and giggle [if possible] before you leave/close the door 

What are some of the things you have done as you and your little one[s] have dealt [are dealing with] separation anxiety? What has helped you? them? When are times that they are more anxious when you leave? I love to hear what you all have to say, so please share! 

Dealing with separation anxiety can be tough for any mama.  Be sure to check out the other mamas in our series for their helpful posts.  If you've got a post on separation anxiety, don't forget to link it up with us below!

July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

hugs and kisses

The weather has been good to us once again and Emerson and I were able to enjoy a nice little walk to the park and play there for a while this morning. That boy loves to explore and climb and wander. Most mornings we have the park to ourselves as it is apparently too early for anyone else to be out and about. But that's fine with us, we enjoy the space to explore safely.

After a walk back home we played in Emerson's bedroom until his nap time. he would bring be books to read together, climb on my back, wrap his soft little chubby toddler arms around my neck and smile so big showing of his adorable little dimples. Then he would wander off and play on his own for a few minutes. But after a few minutes he would come over to me, crawl into my arms, wrap his sweet little arms around me, look me in the eye, open his mouth into a big smile, and then lean in for a big kiss. After he was done giving me a hug and a kiss he would smile so big, all proud of himself, and waddle off to play or read on his own. A few minutes later he would come back over to me and give me another hug and kiss... all morning long.

Oh, how sweet and precious are his soft little arms and legs that wrap me up in a hug. How big, wet, and sloppy are his adorable kisses. Oh, how I love that boy. Oh, how I am so thankful for his life and the joy that he brings to all around him.

linking up here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

tips for beach fun with a toddler

Two or so weeks ago we went on a little family vacation to the beach [has it really been so long ago?!]. We went with Landon's parents and sisters and while we were down there two other families that are friends with Landon's family came down to the same place we were staying. It was lots of fun and very restful [most of the time]. I want to go back and stay forever [eh... kind of]. I'm going to share some pictures of our trip sometime soon, but before I do I just wanted to share some things that were helpful to us / things that we did as we had a little toddler in tow that allowed us to enjoy our vacation a little bit more.

- bring a big beach bag. I had always managed to use a little bag in the past or none at all, but to carry a toddler, three towels, sunscreen, hats, diapers, wipes, extra change of clothes for the boy, beach toys, sunglasses, books [just in case I had a minute to read], waters, snacks, and a few other things required a bag, and a big one. I splurged [for me at least, it was a penny short of $10] on this one and am so glad I did. It helped me carry the boy and the stuff with at least a little bit of grace and poise... I'm sure it will serve us well over the next two decades. 

- have toys for the little one. Just a few sand toys helped occupy Emerson for hours. 

- bring snacks. We aren't really snackers, but let me tell you Emerson ate so many snacks while at the beach I thought he was going to gain 10 pounds [or maybe just two]. He didn't, but that's how much the boy snacked. The snacks gave him something to do, kept him occupied, and even kept him still for long bouts of time, which is amazing. 

- bring extra water [to drink]. Use a fun water bottle or a simple one... Most of the time E wanted my water bottle more than the water in his zippy cup, so it soon became his and I had to get a different one. I was just happy that he was drinking water, it's very important you know. 

- bring a pool floaty. It's good to have one so the little guy [or girl] can splash in the pool [assuming there is a pool]. Unfortunately for us Emerson didn't really like the pool, there was no kiddie pool, and the pool didn't have a gradual incline into the water, it was the steps and then 3 or 4 feet deep. He didn't like it, but we kept trying and encouraging the float. Maybe next year? You never know what your little one will like, so it's important to be prepared.      

- bring a little blowup pool. It may sound silly, but it was a life saver [and probably the one thing I would recommend the most]. Emerson didn't like the ocean one bit [until the very last day we were there and he let Landon take him out a little bit further into the water. He giggled, kicked, splashed, and waved at me for all of four minutes and then he was done]. Having the little pool allowed E to enjoy the water without being scared in the big pool or the bottomless ocean. We carried the pool down in the morning and then Landon and his dad would fill it up with ocean water. E loved it. He loved sitting and splashing in it -especially when someone got in with him. We were all so thankful for the little pool at the beach. We would set it up in the shade of an umbrella and know that our little guy could have as much fun as he wanted without getting too much sun. At the end of the day we [read: Landon and/or his dad] would empty the water and just carry it back to the room. 

- bring baby powder. I had a bottle of baby powered sitting unopened in Emerson's closet since before he was born. I'd never used it [obviously] but, I can't imagine not having it at the beach. If you don't have some, get it. You will be so thankful you did. After the little one rolls around in the sand and splashes in the water they will be covered -and you all know how hard it is to get all the sand off you. When the little one is done playing [or just wants a snack free of sand] just sprinkle [or pour] baby powder on the sand covered areas and rub it around. The sand will fall off and the baby will be dry. It's instant. It's amazing. It's magic I tell you. You will be thankful you have it and sad you don't [if you don't have it that is]. 

- Enjoy the beach and the baby/toddler as much as you can. It's so much fun to see your little one exploring, laying in the sand, smashing sand castles, splashing in the water, trying to walk on the sand.... Soak in every minute. If friends and family are there with you, let them play with your little one so you can enjoy a minute to read or lay out without having to worry about the little peanut. 

Anyhow, those are my tips for optimizing your fun at the beach with a little one. I know it helped us have fun and really enjoy each day we had there together. What are some of the things you do at the beach with your little one[s]? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gray Skies and Sweaters in July

The past few days the weather here has been so wonderful. A light breeze, some sunshine, no humidity, and just enough warm. In fact, the past few mornings have been a little on the chilly side -like wearing jeans and a light sweater chilly. And I love it. I love that it is July and we are having some cooler days with some gray skies mixed in there. As much as I love summer and sunshine, t-shirts and skirt[shorts], I really love jeans and sweater weather more than anything in the world. It's my absolute favorite. We have been taking advantage of the nice weather and spending loads of time outside and going for walks. I think Emerson would be perfectly content if he could just live outside. In the evenings after Emerson goes down Landon and I have been able to sit out on the patio reading/working just enjoying the nice weather. The other night I had to get a light jacket and a bit later even cover up with a blanket. Perfection.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and are able to enjoy some pretty weather to.

Friday, July 25, 2014

tips for picture taking for new mamas

Okay, so the other day I was talking about pictures once you have a baby and all that stuff. I said I would share a few things about that and all so here I am, just sharing a few things about picture taking after a baby comes along ... my advice to all of you [new] mamas and all of you with mama friends [especially friends of mamas with newborn babes]: 

 one of many selfies we took... sometimes this is the best you can get... 

- ask where her camera is and if you could take some pictures for her during your visit. I'm pretty sure she'll be happy to tell you where it's at. Then, you go get it and keep it handy so you can take a few pictures while you're chatting away.

- take pictures for them with their camera, and take lots. Obviously these pictures should be ones of the mama and baby not just the baby [or toddler], because let's face it, the mama is probably already doing that. If the hubby is around, have him be in a few too. 

- take candid shots: is mama holding her baby and smiling into her eyes? click. Are they cuddling? click. Is she giving the baby a bottle? click. Are they playing on the floor? click.

- if you take pictures with your camera or phone send them to her.

- if you want to put a picture of her [and/or the baby] on some social media place, ask her and be sure to tag her.

- and of course, snap a picture of you with the little nugget, because it's always nice to have a nice little picture with a cutie patootie.

- if you are the new mama, don't be shy and not ask for someone to take pictures of you with your baby. They are something that you will cherish forever [though I will say this, if the picture is taken hours after the baby's birth then you might want to check the picture that is taken just to make sure you don't look like a big cheese ball with crazy hair... I speak from experience. The only family photo we have in the hospital is one of me hours after Emerson was born while I was still dopey and poofy from the drugs and other things they gave me for the c-section, with a mess of curls, and a very unflattering hospital gown ... I wish I had asked to check it and to have many others taken after I had finally showered. But I digress...]

I really should have thought of this before as I've had quite a few friends who've had babies and I failed to do this for them. But, I'm hoping that I'll remember in the future so that they can have some sweet little pictures with their little ones :)

Anyhow. That's what I think about that. Hopefully some of what I said is helpful to someone... or not...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

communicating with your toddler

Let me just start off by saying I'm probably not the greatest person [let alone expert] on communicating with your toddler seeing as how my 18 month old has a vocabulary that consists of about 5 words -with a "ba" sound mixed in there that can mean multiple words. So yeah, there's that. That's not to say he doesn't understand what we say to him or that he doesn't try to communicate with us, it's just saying he's not much for talking yet. 

There are a few things that I do with him countless times a day in hopes that one day he will run up to me, speak in a complete sentence and say something like, "Mama, let's read a book." [As a side note: one of my uncles didn't talk until he was over two years old at which point he mimicked my grandma calling their cat, Fluffball, and from then on out it was complete sentences for him. So there's my hope. Emerson's just skipping the little words and working his way to sentences before he talks much. :] Anyhow... as I was saying, there are somethings I do each day to help with communication skills: 

Read books out loud as many times as he wants me to. If this means reading "Dr. Seuss's ABC An Amazing Alphabet Book" 14 times in a row and skipping pages here and there, that's what we'll do. Boy LOVES books, so it's really something we do for most of any given day. Sometimes he prefers to read them on his own, but we read books a lot. He is learning what animals are in some of the books and will is starting make their sound, he also recognizes his ABC book, Farm book, Mickey books... all I have to do is ask him to get them. I always read the title of the book and point to pictures, words, and numbers as we read in hopes he'll catch on.    

Talk about what I'm doing. No matter what I'm doing I'll talk through it with him, "I'm washing my hands/ cutting a banana/ fixing supper/ cleaning/ reading... When we're at the store I talk about what we see in the aisles. I tell him if I'm happy or sad about something. I try and talk a lot so he can hear me and learn what I'm doing. 

Interpret his emotions/actions. Whatever he is doing, I will tell him. If he is dancing, clapping, climbing, eating, reading, playing... whatever it is, I'll say it out loud. If he wants me to hold him, I'll say, "You want up?" or something. If he's angry and throwing a fit I'll and tell him that he is acting angry [and that it's not a good way to act].

Sign language. Some people choose to sign with their babies and toddlers and some don't. I decided I would try and teach a few basic signs in hopes that it would help him be more well behaved. I didn't want my kid to scream when he wanted something and then get it, he needed to learn to ask. He has learned: more, please, all done, thank you, and help. Every time I say one of those words I'll sign it to him, when he signs it I will say it and sign it back to him. This has been especially helpful since he really isn't a talker right now. These few little signs help me a little know how I can help him a little bit better and have helped him learn how to ask for something without throwing a fit, which is really nice. 

Point out things that you see, like an airplane, plant, tree, flower, dog, bunny... anything you see. Point to it and say what it is. If it's a flower or something like that I like to throw in the color as well: green grass, yellow flower, purple balloon... you get the idea. 

Anyhow, those are things that I do with Emerson in hopes to get him to talk and to help him learn to communicate. I would love to hear about things that you do with your little one[s]. I know that some of you all have littles that are talking up a storm and I am amazed at their vocabulary! What do you all do?! When did they start talking? Do share :) 

July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

observations on picture taking after baby

A lot of things have changed in my life and in our home since Emerson was born, and rightly so, things should and need to change. These changes are all good and wonderful [well... most of them anyhow, I could go without the occasional toddler throw up and such]. Most of the changes I anticipated and happily welcomed. But there is one thing that changed that I have recently noticed; there are no longer pictures of just me by my lonesome or of me and Landon with no baby or other people. There are no pictures of just Landon [not that he cares, he hates picture taking time] by his lonesome. Truth be told, I really don't mind, in fact, I love the pictures of the three of us together or of Emerson and me, but it does make it tricky when it comes time for me to find a picture of me by myself [which is hardly ever] because there are none. Crazy. Anyhow, that's my observation. 

One of my only recent 'alone pictures' isn't even alone, it's with a cake. Though, I suppose that's fairly appropriate :) 

Another observation when it comes to pictures: there are a lot more of Landon and Emerson together or Emerson with grandparents and other family members than there are of me and my little gooseberry. The reason being, I'm the one taking pictures which of course means I'm not going to be in the picture. But occasionally as I'm looking through our pictures I wish I had a few more of me and Emerson [or us as a family of three]. It's so easy to get the sweet little living life shots of Landon and Emerson, I just follow them around and take a few pictures while they walk, play, read, hold hands, hug, cuddle... But because Landon is a guy and not too keen on pictures to begin with -and because he just thinks differently than I do- it is hard to find pictures of me holding hands with Emerson as we walk, or of him giving me a kiss, or of him sitting in my lap while we read. Things that we do each and every day that I would LOVE to have captured - aren't. Occasionally I'll ask Landon to take some pictures for me, but by the time he get the camera Emerson is off and running or something. There are a few times Landon has thought to [or after being asked to] take a picture of me with E, but they are few. 

I love when I do ask him to take a picture of us because we might get a keeper like this one :) 

When we are with his family his mom takes TONS of pictures of Emerson: by himself, with Landon, with his sisters and other family members... and of course they are all adorable. Occasionally she will take one of me with Emerson, but sometimes I wish there would be a few more pictures of the two of us: when he hugs me tight or laughs with me. But she probably thinks that because I see him and spend time with him every day I don't need [or want?] those pictures of us? It's not something that upsets me or anything, just an observation. She loves seeing her son as a daddy. I get that. I love seeing him as a daddy and he is an amazing daddy, which is why I like to take loads of pictures of the two of them together too. 

Anyhow, those are my thoughts and observations about pictures with your baby and such.... Come back in two days and I'll have super helpful tips on picture taking for friends and family of new mamas. I would share it with you all now, but I've already rambled on for a little bit, so I'm sparing you from a super long post. You're welcome. It's really gonna be something though, so you should get excited :). 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

my gooseberry Emerson is 18 months

I know I say it any time I post an update about Emerson, but I just can't help it: I can't believe he is so big already! It's crazy I tell you! One minute he's my little gooseberry and the next he's running all over and getting into everything. Oh, if only he could stay little forever [but not really, because he is supposed to grow up :].

There are so many things that he is up to these days and I'm sure I'll forget some of them, but this is my attempt to try and record what he is doing now.

Shenanigans. You are into everything. You especially like helping me "organize" the pantry. It's really quite helpful. You empty the shelves and through things onto the floor while I fix lunch or dinner. Recently, you've started climbing the shelves in the pantry to reach things that I tried to keep out of your reach. But, you are clever and smart, so there really is no safe zone for you right now when it comes to the kitchen. You have climbed the ottoman in your bedroom and love sitting up there rocking back and forth, all while giving me multiple little heart attacks. Yesterday you climbed up onto a kitchen chair and from that onto the table. You were so proud. And I was a little terrified. Needless to say, you like to climb. At the playground, you prefer the big kid side and climb all the way to the top. Scares me to death.

Playing. Play time is pretty much an all day affair. It doesn't matter where you are, you will find something to play with, often times you prefer a box or an empty milk jug to your toys.

On the go. You are nonstop little man. From the minute I get you up in the morning to the minute I lay you down at night, you are running, climbing, 'talking', doing... always doing something. You are not one to sit still for any length of time. There is just too much for you to see and do.

Helping. When I do laundry you like to tag along and help. You are pretty good about putting things in the dryer, although sometimes you like to take the wet clothes out... but, we're working on it. You are very good at taking the dry clothes out and you'll even push the baskets for me if I ask you to. You have started helping me when I bake. We made baked oatmeal for supper the other night and you wanted to help. Just last night I was making gooey butter cake and you wanted me to hold you so you could help. I pulled up a chair right next to me and you helped mix everything together and got to snack on a few chocolate chips while helping. Your Daddy came home while you were helping me and he thought it was so cute how you were standing up next to me in the kitchen [I did too :].    

Growing. You, little one, are growing! Some days I feel as though I can see you grow. You are 33 inches tall and weigh a whole 22.5 pounds. You are wearing size 3 diapers [though you can wear 4s too] and are in 12 month size clothes. You're wearing size 3 shoes right now, but I think your little feet are growing as your shoes are starting to get a little snug. You have the cutest shoes right now, I just want them to fit you until the end of the year, but that probably won't happen.

Teeth. Your mouth is full of teeth. And this, I am very sorry to say, is one thing I have done a really poor job at recording. I feel like your teeth just pop in and and I don't write it down and then I forget or you have another tooth coming in... I've looked at past updates and pictures and gotten most of your first teeth, and I'm trying to do better about the ones yet to come. Although, you have seemed to sprout teeth overnight and I'm not sure I've gotten them all recorded. Sorry buddy. [Please tell me I'm not alone on the whole recording teeth thing.]

Speech. So far, your vocabulary consists of: Mama, Dada, wa-wa -for water, bye, ba -for Boady, bread, banana, breakfast, book, block, and any other 'b' word, and sometimes yeah for yes. You are starting to say other sounds like: pop [though it sounds more like 'pa' for poppy, ga for grammy [you've just said that once]. I have a feeling that one of these days you'll just start talking in complete sentences even though your vocabulary is still quite tiny. Though, you understand nearly everything we say. When I ask if you want to go outside, you'll go get your shoes and stand by the door, or if you want breakfast you'll walk towards the kitchen, if I tell you to drink some water you'll take a drink, when I ask you to give Boady a treat you go find his bag of treats... You understand so much! We were having supper at Grammy and Poppy's a few nights ago and Grammy kept asking you questions: do you like your dinner? Did you have fun at the beach? Do you love Boady? ... for each question you nodded your head yes. Then she asked if you wanted to sleep with her and Poppy that night, you shook your head no. When we went to the doctor yesterday you sat in my lap and as the doctor was talking and asking questions you just nodded your head yes to everything he was saying: do you like climbing? do you like running? are you a good eater? do you like to eat fruit? .... and you just sat there nodding your head like you understood every word. One day your words will come. One day young lad.

Sleep. You are a great sleeper -when we are home. You pretty much sleep through the night every night and it couldn't make me happier. Occasionally you'll wake up in the night, but it's rare. You go to bed around 7 - 7:30 and usually wake up around 6, sometimes a little earlier and sometimes a little later. I am working on getting you to stay in bed until 6:30 and then moving it gradually to 7. 6 is just so early. But, at least you are sleeping well at night. You are still taking two naps a day, one in the morning around 10 and you'll usually sleep until 12, though sometimes it's even later. Then you'll take another nap usually around 3 or 3:30. This nap is typically shorter and sometimes you just sleep for 15 minutes but you stay in your bed and play. You just get a little cranky most afternoons and after a nap or quiet time you seem in better spirits. I am more than happy to give you two naps a day for as long as you like [please don't stop anytime soon, k, thanks :].

Favorites. Reading books -you LOVE your books! You have a few favorites and You remember what certain books say. One book always ends with a kiss and when we get to that page you look at me, smile a big open mouth smile, and then give me a big ol' kiss on the mouth. Adorable. One book has the whole alphabet on one page and I sing it every time you open to that page. It's one of your favorite pages. Or a fox in one book or an elephant in another [you recognize an elephant and make the little "phrooo!" sound and raise your arm]. Cars are starting to interest you a little more these days and you go "bbbrrrroooommmm" when you push them. Being outside. Looking at pictures of other babies -especially on Instagram and especially little videos of them. Playing with your friend Bee. Water. Unpacking [aka taking things out of bags]. Going on walks. Playing at the park. Boady [sadly the feeling is not mutual].

Sweetness. Sometimes you'll just come over and give me a hug and a kiss or a cuddle. I love it when you do that. Or you'll bring a book over and climb into my lap.

Dislikes. Having your diaper changed. Having to be still to get dressed. Being hungry [though who likes that?]. Brushing your teeth. Being told no.

...and I'll stop there.

Yesterday you turned 18 months. A whole year and a half little man! You are just doing so much these days it's hard to keep up with it all! Each day your little personality shows more and more and I fall more in love with you. You are a blessing and a gift from God and I am so thankful and blessed to be your mama. I pray that you grow up to know, love, and serve Jesus, and I pray that we can be good examples by showing and teaching you how to follow after Christ. I pray that you are respectful, honest, pure, and brave. You are bundle of joy and a blessing to all who know you. I love spending my days with you and am blessed to be your mama. I love you a bushel and a peck little one. I love you to the stars and back.

Monday, July 21, 2014

it was my birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, and now I am even closer to 30 than I ever have been before in my life. Yikes! Though I suppose that's how it has worked each year for the past 20 some past years. Anyhow... It was my birthday. This past week we were at the beach [if you follow me on instagram you may have picked up on that, but I never really like to make my whereabouts very knows to the blog world ... you know, just looking out for me and my little ol' family] and we had a really delightful time. One of our last nights at the beach when we went out for dinner they [my hubs and his sister] told our waitress that it was my birthday [even though technically it was going to be in two days... but, we would be driving in on my birthday and not eating at a super nice restaurant, so where's the fun in that?] so I was treated with a very yummy birthday dessert. And then my hubs' family and the two other families that were with us decided to sing "Happy Birthday" to me... so embarrassing... but I suppose it was worth it for the birthday dessert :) 

I tried sharing with Emerson, but he just not a fan of ice-cream, and he didn't really want the bread pudding either. Oh, well... more for me, right? :)

On Saturday Landon, Emerson, and I made the 11ish hour drive to his parents house where we were staying for the night. Oh goodness...  His family arrived a few hours after us and brought pizza home with them for supper. Then, before I knew it his little sister was bringing a cake out to me! What?! I was quite surprised, though now that I think about it, I shouldn't have been as his family is super thoughtful like that. The cake even had candles on it! So I got to enjoy more yummy birthday cake: an Oreo blizzard ice-cream cake. It was yum!

And I got to open a really pretty present! It was so pretty I didn't want to open it! Do you ever get presents like that? Oh, it's so fun!

I just really like how Emerson is eating a spoon in this picture :)  

He was even sweet enough to help me unwrap it. I'm sure by Christmas he will be all about opening presents! I got a few really nice things: a new handbag, a hat [for the beach - my thoughtful hubs insisted that I open it early so I could use it on our vacation, I'm so glad I did. Usually, I hate opening gifts early, it's more fun to open them all on my birthday or Christmas, you know, whenever the special day is. Are any of you like that or am I the only one?], some shorts, and a new computer [which is technically also my anniversary, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and any and every other holiday/gift giving occasion until my next birthday. But hey, I don't mind one bit :]! I got to open the laptop early too because our desktop was/is dead. So I have been getting used to my new little computer and am liking it quite a lot. It's so nice and portable.

and I really love Emerson's expression in this picture :] 

I also got to talk to/text all of my brothers and sisters and my parents. We don't always get to talk very often, especially my brothers and I since, well, one lives across the world and the fact that they are boys and for some reason boys don't really like to just call to chit-chat like my sisters and I do. But it was nice to talk to them for a bit. I had just talked to my older brother a few days before for his birthday so he just sent a little text wishing me a happy day -not a whole lot happens in a few days you know.

On my actual real birthday my Mother-in-law [that sounds so formal] fixed a nice big breakfast, and Landon's grandparents came over to see Emerson for a bit, then the three of us loaded up the car, again, and drove the five-ish hours home. And oh, I have never been more happy to be home. Emerson took a nap, I unpacked some surf from our trip, and then we went on a walk to the park and played there for a little bit.

So I guess I kind of had a Birthday weekend. ha. It was fun though. And crazy that I am another year older. Each year I think back on previous birthdays, where I was, how old I was, what I was doing. I remember really starting to do this on my 17th birthday when I was sitting in Starbucks in Chiang Mai, Thailand before going to the night market. And each year since then I think about all that has happened and changed, about who I am and who I am becoming. It is crazy to think it has been so long since that night in Starbucks, crazy to think of all of the ways God has blessed me over the years. Exciting to think about what is to come. Though I think about those things often, it seems like your birthday is the perfect time to reflect on all of the many blessings from God.

I hope you all had a happy weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2014

on packing for the beach

I don't consider myself an expert or truly talented in many areas of life, but there is one thing I take pride in and consider myself to be pretty darn good at: packing. I have been packing since I was a wee lass. Granted I'm sure the first few times I packed my suitcase it contained a few paris of clothes, maybe some pajamas, and my stuffed pigs. Goodness knows you can't leave home without all twenty of your stuffed piggies. Needless to say, I've improved, substantially over the past decade. 

But when it comes time to pack for the beach, I am hopeless. Truly hopeless. 

For any other trip I'm good. Say for example we're going to visit my in-laws for Christmas; I know we'll be gone for x amount of days so I pack for that many days. And I pack clothes I know I will wear: jeans, long sleeve t-shirts, sweaters, a hoodie, and socks. If we know we're going somewhere nice [like church] I'll pack a dress or nice pants. Simple. And I wear everything I pack. 

If we go for a visit in the summer, I pack a pair of jeans, some shorts, a few skirts just cause I like wearing them, and t-shirts for each day with an extra to spare [and of course the necessities like pajamas, underwear, and soap...]. And I wear everything I pack. 

However... when we go to the beach it's an entirely different story. I know we'll be gone a week, so I know that means seven different clothes combinations [I believe in wearing something -other than a shirt- more than just once]. But when we go to the beach in addition to the shorts or skirts I would normally wear, I feel like I must include some nicer, dressier clothes, you know for when we go out for dinner at night. I think I feel this way because we go with Landon's family and his parents and sisters always dress up so fancy... and I'm the one in shorts. Just a little under dressed. Not that I don't like skirts, mine just aren't as fancy as theirs... Anyhow, that just means I have to pack for the possibility of wearing something nicer out to dinner. And of course it can't be the same skirt five nights in a row like I would normally wear at home. But the problem is, I like simple and non-fancy. It's just me. 

see what I mean? I'm the one in plain shorts and a t-shirt. No fancy clothes for me....

And I have to be sure to include a pair of just plain old comfy [work out -even though I never wear them to work out in] shorts to wear around [I am not the type of person who can just sit around in my bathing suit all day long. If I know I'm not going to be near water for a lengthy amount of time, I'll change, I can't stand sitting in a wet -or dry- swimsuit for long]. And of course some tank tops to go with them. 

And you just never know what you're going to actually feel like wearing on any given night so you have to include options. What if I don't feel like wearing my blue flowered skirt and pink top? Or my gray shorts and green shirt? But I have to wear them because I only have the seven days of clothes packed and that's all I have to wear ... but I just really don't feel like it. 

It really is such a dilemma, I know [and yes, I know this is a very deep and serious issue that affects millions around the world... you should know that I'm completely joking]. But do you get what I'm saying?! Do any of you have a similar problem when it comes time for you to pack for the beach? At least I know I'm not completely alone because one of my sisters said she does the same thing I do. But I'm wondering if it's just something we face or if it's an issue that other ladies struggle with. 

And.... then your hubby comes in the room, grabs two paris of nice shorts, a few nicer shirts, some basketball shorts, a few t-shirts, swimming trunks, and he's done. In five minutes. There is no standing in front of his closet for an hour trying to decide what to take and make outfits in advance. No, taking multiple clothing options. No "what if I don't feel like wearing that so I'll take this" outfits. So simple. And yet, I can't do it. Men.... sheesh ;) 

Welp. That's all I have to say about that. But I seriously would love to know if I am alone in this or if any of you know what I'm talking about. But then again, maybe not, because if you don't that might make me feel really crazy and such... 

Anyhow.... I hope you all have a lovely weekend!! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

favorite toddler summer activities

Since Summer has started I've been looking for fun things for Emerson to do. He loves being outside so a lot of the things we do are outside. Although, I'm not gonna lie, if it's too hot I can't stand the heat and get cranky, so we stay inside for during the heat of the day. Even still, there are lots of activities that we can do together. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Go to the park - we love to go to the park near our house and try visiting other parks in the area. We've found some really fun parks and we usually spend a long while exploring at the park.

2. Go for a walk - this is one of our favorite things to do together. Anytime I even ask if Emerson wants to go for a walk he gets up and goes off to find his shoes and hat. We look at the bunnies, birds, grass, flowers... anything. Walks let us see so much.

3. Blow bubbles - I mean, come on, how awesome are bubbles? Need I say any more?

4. Play with the hose/sprinkler - for some reason, Emerson isn't a huge fan of being in the pool, but he LOVES playing with water. Give him a hose or a sprinkler to put his hands in and he is a happy camper. There is almost nothing better.

5. Play hide and seek - this game will keep us busy for hours [for Emerson that's 30 minutes, but yes, that's a long time].

6. Have a cold treat - Be it a cold pouch, ice cream, smoothie, ice water ... it's the little things. 

7. Help with chores - little ones, like helping with the laundry or putting clothes away, vacuuming... [hopefully starting now and making out to be lots of fun will start him thinking that chores are always awesome!]

So, that's what we like to do. I would love it if you shared what you like to do during the summer days with your little one[s]. 

July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

a weekend at grandpa's and grandma's

This weekend we got to visit my grandparents. Last June Emerson and I went to spend a few days with them and then they came up for a short visit in August before we moved. It had been that long since seeing them, and even longer since Landon had seen them. With my family being spread out across the world it makes for trickier family get togethers, and having lots of family there is even more rare. While I might visit a sister here or there or see my brother there or uncle here.... it's never all at the same time. Not that my whole family was together at my grandparents, but in addition to seeing them, we also got to visit with one of my aunts and uncles and their families.

On Friday afternoon my grandpa took us out for ice-cream in this neat little tiny town next to theirs. We walked around and licked up our ice-cream on the hot summer southern day that it was. It was delightfully perfect.

For some reason, Emerson is not a huge fan of cold treats. No ice-cream or sherbet for him, he'll stick to cookies and cake. I can't say that I blame him... even though I love ice-cream, there is nothing better than a good cookie. Plus, it's probably a good thing that he doesn't really like ice-cream considering as how it's not the greatest thing for a person to eat [even though I just may eat it almost every chance I get :].

We got to just walk along and look at all of the little shops that were all lined up. It was a simple way to spend the afternoon, which is good, because that's the way I like it. Maybe I get my love for simple things from my grandparents?

That evening one of my aunts and one of my uncles came for dinner with their families. We spent the evening playing games, chatting, and chasing little ones around. It was a really sweet way to end the day. It was also the first time for Emerson to meet some of his uncles and cousins.

After Emerson went to bed, I had the privilege to listen to my Grandpa share some of his childhood memories and reflect on what is important in life. I have never met a wiser or more godly man in my life. He lives his life for the Lord, and it truly is evident to all around him. After talking for a bit with him, before he went off to bed, he just stopped what he was doing to pray for me and my little family and our travels. In the morning before we pulled out of their driveway he gathered my little family around and said another prayer over us. He is such a wonderful example of what it is to live your life for the Lord. I am blessed to call him my grandpa as is Emerson to call him his great-grandpa. I pray that I can life just a life and be such an example to my children and grandchildren one day.

I hope you all had lovely weekends too!