Wednesday, August 26, 2015

25 Things to do this Fall

September is almost here. It is time to start thinking about what is on our bucket list for the fall. Kinley is getting older so she is able to participant in more activities. I have already been contemplating her Halloween costume :). I really do love fall and am super excited for it to be here! I am not sure what I love most about it. I think it is the cooler weather and wearing a hoodie. I also love being able to have a fire in the backyard and catch up with old friends.

What is your favorite thing about fall? What is on your fall bucket list? Here is ours:

1. Drink a pumpkin spice latte
2. Go apple picking
3. Watch football
4. Go on a hayride
5. Carve a pumpkin
6. Drink apple cider
7. Make pumpkin bread
8. Make s'mores
9. Go trick or treating
10. Jump in a pile of leaves
11. Watch Hocus Pocus
12. Visit a pumpkin patch
13. Roast pumpkin seeds
14. Wear dark nail polish
15. Make chili
16. Smell wonderful fall candle scents
17. Bring food to a food bank
18. Walk through a corn maze 
19.  Make fall crafts
20. Cuddle by the fire with a pumpkin beer
21. Watch the leaves change
22. Celebrate Kinley's 2nd Birthday
23. Get lost in a corn maze
24. Bake a pie
25. Wear my favorite hoodie

Feel free to share any other wonderful fall adventures in the comments. I would love to add to our bucket list for fall. Lets see if we can get to all of these! 

Hope everyone is having a good week so far! 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

3 Thoughts for Now

I have had some random thoughts going through my head these past few days so why not share them.

1. House hunting sucks! If you have been reading you know we are house hunting. It has been an extremely difficult process. I am not willing to compromise on my must haves and Matt is not willing to compromise on his. How will we ever find a house? Compromise I guess. I keep telling myself we have not seen that many houses in reality. We have only seen 13 houses. How many houses did you see before you decided? I really am trying to be patient because I feel if we are we won't have to compromise too much and we will be able to find a house we love. Tell me I am right please! I read somewhere on average it takes 6 months to find a house. We are only one month in. OH MY!!! I need to remind myself and Matt to be patient! Any helpful hints are appreciated! It is going to be a long road! We are meeting with our realtor again tomorrow for hopefully some good news.

2. Sleep regressions are awful. We have had a rough few nights weeks when it comes to sleep. When Kinley was little she had the most difficult time sleeping. Then at about 13 months she turned into this amazing sleeper. We could put her in bed awake and she would lay down and go to sleep. We wouldn't hear from her until morning. She was sleeping 630p-630a. It was truly amazing. Well now she is really fighting us on going to bed at night. Usually naps aren't an issue. It is bedtime that has been the struggle. We have been doing the same bedtime routine with her for a year and a half. Now after we read books and it's time to go to bed she screams. She asks to eat and doesn't want to go in her bed. I offer her a quick snack or a drink of milk and she may take a bit or two and maybe a sip. Clearly this child is not hungry and is stalling. So in her bed she goes screaming bloody murder. What changed? Nothing that I know of. And lately she has been waking up more often in the middle of the night. Remember my post a about a week ago? So instinctively I am worried and usually go in. 9 times out of 10 it makes it worse and she wants to get up and or go in my bed to sleep. The other night she screamed for 2 HOURS before she finally went to sleep at 9:20p and then was back up screaming 11:30-12:00. And guess what? She ended up sleeping in my bed because she wouldn't go back in her bed. I hate more than anything putting her to bed screaming at night, every night. It breaks my heart. I wish more than anything there was something I could do to help her. We have tried moving her bedtime later which doesn't seem to help. We just follow her cues when she is ready for bed at night. It is usually 7:00-7:30. I am hoping this is a phase and will pass soon. If anyone has any suggestions please share! It is a good thing this girl is so cute!! I am loving her pigtails! Aren't you?

3. Summer is coming to an end. I can't believe we are going into the last week of August. How is that possible. Fall is going to be here, then gone and then the holidays! Oh my! And Kinley's 2nd birthday! EKKKK. Read about some of my thoughts for her 2nd birthday here. Anyways back to the end of summer. See I told you my brain was thinking all these random thoughts lately.

There are still a few things on our summer bucket list that we haven't gotten to yet. We really want to get to Ocean Breeze. Ocean Breeze is the water park in our city that has an amazing kid area! Kinley loves the water so I know she would have a blast. Kinley and I went to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens with some friends and had a blast at the splash pad. I really want all 3 of us to get back there before summer ends. I would love to get to a baseball game, though I am not sure Kinley is ready for that yet. Maybe that means a date night! We are long overdue for one of those! I have been meaning to make popsicles all summer. I have seen so many yummy recipes for popsicles floating around on blogs all summer. Now that the end of summer is approaching fast I need to go get some molds! One last thing I want to do before summer ends is get to the beach one more time! I love the beach and Kinley does too, but it is a lot to pack up and go to the beach for a few hours. But hey summer is almost over so we should go one last time. Don't you think :)

Have a good rest of your weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Scenes from the Weekend

I am always a day or two late with these weekend updates! But in my defense I have had quite the busy weekend. If you read my last post you would know Kinley had strep so we've been dealing with that and the past two days Matt hasn't felt good either.

So lets say my weekend (Thursday and Friday) consisted of many toddler snuggles and Curious George. I really really don't like Kinley to watch a lot of TV but when you have a fever of 104 for a few days that kiddo gets whatever she needs. I think she will be OK watching TV for 2 days! It's all about balance remember! Read more about that here. At least I tell myself that!

Friday afternoon we went house hunting again. No such luck.....again! I am really trying to tell myself to be patient and the right house will come but it is discouraging. Honestly we have only seen 9 houses so I am sure there are many more in our future. But when your realtor sends a list of 75 houses and you only want to go see 6 you feel defeated. We saw a few that we liked but none we absolutely love. I just won't spend that much money on something we don't love. It will come it will! After house hunting we enjoyed some yummy Chick Fil A. I rarely ever eat fast food but it was 5:30 and the in laws had Kinley and there was not time to cook dinner. It was tasty though! She was starting to feel a little better and loved the horse my in laws got her.

Saturday I worked all day like usual but it went by pretty fast. Matt did a lot of fixing up at the house with the help of his parents. There was some much needed TLC that needed to be done. We have had some bites on renters so we want to be prepared. We are going house hunting again this week so please please wish us luck!! The rest of the evening was spent watching some Teen Mom and to bed early! I was looking forward to sleeping in my bed without a toddler on top of me. Don't get me wrong I love her cuddles but she is not fun to sleep with.

Sunday we went over to Matt's parents for brunch and enjoyed the beautiful day. Kinley loves blowing bubbles with poppy and checking out her pumpkins that are getting massive! I think they are going to be done way before Halloween. Matt wasn't feeling well when we got home so he took a nap and actually didn't get up for the rest of the night. I put Kinley down for a nap and ran to the grocery store. Sometimes it is wonderful to go to the grocery store alone! I like to grab some Starbucks but it was getting late in the day so I try not to have any caffeine so I skipped this time. I got home and all the groceries put away and decided what I was going to make so I had dinner for the next day.

Kinley woke up and Matt still wasn't feeling well. So I put Kinley to work helping me prepare Stuffed pepper casserole. She loves taking one bite out of the veggies and then putting them back LOL. Don't tell anyone there might have been half bitten veggies in the casserole. Hey you will never know because I chopped them all up in the Ninja! It turned out really good and will be eating it again for lunch tomorrow. And Kinley even took a bite! WIN!!! This child of mine is so picky!! I hope this stage passes soon!

When we were done we headed up to the park for a little. Of course she had to have the baby with the stroller. Thankfully she left the picnic basket behind this time. Surprisingly she pushed the stroller all the way to the park and then took the baby out for a swing in the swings. She wasn't too interested in pushing it back home so while carrying her and pushing her mini stroller we made it home. I was sweating, she was sweating, the baby was sweating! Oh wait maybe that was my sweat that dripped on the baby. Gross :)

I prepared another dinner for the nights dinner. I made chicken breast covered with cream of mushroom soup mixed with Lipton Onion soup mix. It wasn't my favorite. It was a little too salty for me. After getting everything cleaned up it was bath time for Kinley. Oh did I mention I had to feed Kinley dinner while she played with play dough. Dang this child of mine!

After she was in bed I thought I was going to be able to relax for a little after cleaning up her toys and the dishes that I didn't get to. Well it was for a little until she started screaming at 815. I don't know what was up with her besides wanting me to stay in her room and hold her or stand by her bed. She never lets my husband go into her room  at night. She screams worse. And has always been like this. It makes my patience wear very fast. She really knows how to doubt my skills as a mother. That went on until about 930 when she finally laid down. She always asks to eat. I know it is a stalling tactic because I always offer her something and she eats about 4 puffs. I really don't know what else to do! If you have any ideas please share!! Besides letting her scream until she passes out I don't know what else to do. Parenthood is always challenging and testing my limits!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and your week is off to a great start!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Why I am Thankful for Midnight Screams

It has been a long week. Monday night Kinley was up 11-2:30am. She just screamed and would not go back in her bed. I felt so awful I did not know what was wrong. She didn't have a fever and no other symptoms besides being upset. I know she has 2 teeth cutting and possibly her 2 year old molars as well so finally at 2:30am I gave her Tylenol and put her in my bed.

I really really don't like her sleeping in my bed. I have never been a fan of co-sleeping especially when she was little and now that she is a little older she moves so much and I hardly get any sleep when she is in bed with me. I really don't get how people co-sleep. It just isn't for me. If it works for you then by all means go for it!

She was up early on Tuesday, I think 530-6ish, geez I can't remember. But we did get a nap in before I had to go to work. She seemed ok but I was concerned she was up screaming so much so I made a Dr appointment. Matt took her in and the Dr said she was fine just figured she was teething.

Tuesday night she slept like a baby...hehe!!! I really don't know where that phrase comes from since most babies are up every 2 hours! Especially mine in the younger days. Read more about our struggles here. Maybe because they look so peaceful while sleeping. Anyways she slept 7pm-730am. Wednesday wasn't a bad day for her but she wasn't herself. My mother in law said she barely ate any food through out the day. I guess her teeth were really bothering her, so I thought. When she was younger she always ran a slight fever while teething but no fever as of Tuesday.

Wednesday night I worked until 10:00pm like I do every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I came home, brushed my teeth, got in to bed and started reading my book. I was pretty exhausted from the night before. So I turned the lights out about 11:15.

12:05am I hear Kinley screaming. I get up and look at the monitor and she is laying there screaming. I have to admit I was feeling a little frustrated we were going to go through another night of endless screaming with no answers. I gave her a few minutes and went in. I touch her and my heart sinks. She is burning up. My stomach drops and I am consumed by guilt for feeling the slightest bit of frustration 5 minutes earlier. I knew I needed to get a temperature on her and some medicine in her. Her temp was 102.6. I felt so bad for her! Something was really wrong....she has ran a fever that high maybe once when she had strep when she was much younger. I put her back to sleep in my bed because I was too terrified to put her in her crib alone with a fever that high.

We had a restless night but at least she got some sleep, me not so much. We got up about 6 and she was still burning up. 104.3. The emergency room crossed my mind but I thought I would call the on-call nurse first. Poor girl was miserable. The on-call nurse said manage the fever and call the Dr when they open. So that is what I did.

We took her in later that afternoon and what do you know. She has strep and Fifths Disease (which is basically a rash on her face and arms). She has been so miserable all day. I have to admit, I have enjoyed all the cuddles! She is usually not much of a cuddlier so it's been amazing! She got some antibiotics and hopefully will start to feel better at some point today. This is the 3rd time she has had strep and I have no clue where she gets it from. Though it really could be anywhere!

As frustrating as those midnight screams are sometimes you gotta step back and be thankful. They don't know how to ask for help at this age, or tell you what is wrong. They scream....that is their way to communicate. And it is heartbreaking! There is nothing worse than watching your child be miserable and there is nothing I can do but hold her. So next time she screams at midnight I am going to remind myself that she needs something, she is screaming for reason. Maybe it is just for a drink of water, or a cuddle, but it is something, and that is how she communicates.

A lot can happen with high fevers so I am so thankful for that midnight scream! I would not have had it any other way. She needed to be in my arms and held by her mommy. I'm so very thankful! The days are long but the years are short. Sometimes it is hard to embrace the frustrating times but taking a step back and remembering that is important!

Wish us luck! We are going to look at more houses this afternoon!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Jam Packed Weekend Fun

Oh my gosh what a busy weekend!! I actually had a 3 day weekend this weekend since I worked Thursday. It was pretty amazing but it was jammed packed! My hubby even had 3 days off with me! I seriously can't remember the last time that has happened! This is what I came home to the other night! It was so sweet!

Friday we went and had sushi and Kinley was not good! We hardly ever go out to eat and I was reminded why we never do. Taking a 20 month old out to eat is challenging! She definitely didn't want to sit still. Don't let the cute pictures fool you :). I guess we should have just dropped her off at the in laws and enjoyed a peaceful lunch. I just feel bad because they help us out so much during the week, I don't like to bug them on our days off. Anyways lunch was yummy then we headed to the mall. I wanted to check out sizes at Old Navy because I had a coupon for online purchasing. Kinley is so in between sizes so I wasn't sure what size she would be in for some fall clothes. Surprisingly she was pretty cooperative with letting me try 18 pieces of clothes on her. Of course I let her play in the play area for a few before we headed home for nap time for all.

We cleaned and cleaned and made a yummy dinner! It was buffalo chicken quiona wraps. You definitely need to try it! They were delicious.

Saturday we had a great day! We had plans to have breakfast at the zoo with the animals though it was raining. I was quite bummed. We headed out anyways to meet up with one of my girlfriends and her two kids. The rain eventually cleared up and we had a fabulous time. The girls acted like they were best friends and had the time of their life. We headed home, ate some lunch, and all took naps again. Man was it glorious! I can't even remember the last time I got a nap in, let alone 2 days in a row!

We had to run out to Walmart and boy was I reminded at how much I dislike that place! It is just too busy for me! It isn't worth the added stress to me. We picked up the majority of our groceries for the week and will run to the grocery store later in the week if need be. I had a lot of things already at home.

We have really started working on decluttering the house in hopes we will find renters soon and be able to buy a bigger house. Wow is that a draining process. We seriously have so much does one get so many things in such a small place.

Sunday we met with our realtor to start this whole house hunting process. We spent about an hour and a half in his office then he wanted to go look at houses. Kinley was already spent. Me too to be honest. Thankfully Matt's parents were able to come over and watch her so she could get a nap in. We are so very lucky to have them so close. PS...there is no getting out of the house with a toddler without her baby plus a million other things! But hey she is cute and was smiling so I will take it!

We were only able to look at 3 houses due to the others not being available. We really loved one of the houses and just like that put in an offer. Dang was that scary. Unfortunately they did not accept due to use needing to rent. That is wasn't meant to be! And if I am being honest I really want something a little bigger to grow with us. It was perfect in every other way but a little small. We just need to be patient and we will find the perfect house!

Did I mention decluttering and finding a home for everything is exhausting! We did a little more of that Sunday night and then after getting in the contract I was ready for bed. Hence why this post is a day late. I didn't even sleep well because I had so much on my mind! We had a really full weekend!

I hope everyone else's was great! Have a fabulous week! If you have any rental tips please please share!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Finding a Balance

I have been struggling with this thought in my head for awhile now and how to tackle it; technology and how to find a balance with children and more specifically how to find the right balance for my child. Technology for children these days is such an important part of their life. It is their world and what they are growing up with. Things have changed so much since I grew up and I need to remember that, but I also want to find the right balance.

From the beginning I knew I didn't want Kinley sitting in front of the TV at a young age. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends no screen time until 2.  You can read more about there recommendations here. We made it 15 months with no significant time in front of a screen. In times of need she was allowed to listen to music on our phones and or place an educational app if needed.

When I was little there was not much TV. I don't really remember my parent's restricting our screen time, but more so just not wanting to watch TV. We had the desire to be outside, or playing doctor, school or airplane if we were stuck in the playroom. I don't feel like there was a desire to watch TV or be on the computer when we eventually got one that we were allowed on. Though I do remember waiting patiently for my turn on our computer with the dial up Internet to come up. It was so exciting.
Today so much has changed. When it comes to my husband and I we probably spend entirely too much time on our phones and computer but we are trying to get better and hey this post isn't about what I do :).

Today's world is so different when it comes to technology. The computer is some children's life line. There are so many positive aspects of having the technology we have today. It is saving lives! I think there is a definite difference in letting children benefit and learn from technology vs. developing a dependency on the screens. As parents we all want what is best for our children, so what is best? How do you find that happy medium?

It is unbelievable how much my daughter already knows about technology at 20 months! You would seriously think she sits in front of the TV all day long or playing games on my phone is the only thing she does. It is scary to me! She watches what we do a few times and picks up on everything. It is quite amazing! I promise she does many other activities that she loves, she is just smart! The kid didn't even watch her first show until she was about 15 months old. We tried making it until the age of 2 but life gets in the way at times and sometimes after trying every other thing under the sun I give in. Choose your battles wisely right :).  I am not perfect and neither is my child, but we do our best and we do what works for our family.

I have seen her throw herself on the floor with the most dramatic tantrum ever because #1 I will not turn on the TV or #2 she can't have my phone. It is awful sometimes. It makes me regret ever giving her the phone. On the other side of that though there are great learning apps that we love and sometimes I really need 10 minutes. Yes I am sorry I am human! In the mornings it is just her and I and sometimes this momma needs a shower and there is no other way to keep a 20 month old from taking everything out from under the sink and putting it in the toilet while I take the faster shower of my life. They are fast little stinkers I tell you! So yes I give her my phone to learn her ABC's while I take a shower.

With all that being said I have discovered some tips that have helped me find a balance with benefiting from technology and developing a dependence on it.

1. Have Guidelines

Kinely knows when she gets up she is allowed to watch 1-2 shows, it depends on the time she gets up because at 7:00am I don't like the shows that are on so the TV goes off. I really have no clue how we even got in this habit but it is part of our routine, so for right now she is allowed to watch PBS while she eats her breakfast and drinks her milk. We don't have cable and for the most part I think the shows on PBS are great. When she watches TV it is Sesame Street or Curious George. She loves Curious George. She knows that after Sesame Street is over the TV goes off and it is time to find something else to do. Most days the TV never gets turned back on. There are some nights she watches a little George before her bath. I am pretty strict about how much TV she gets to watch. I don't like her being glued in front of the TV for a long period of time and plus it isn't good for her eyes. So we will always limit screen time. She rarely gets our phones anymore because she just loves it too much and it was starting to bother me. Like I mentioned above if I have to take a shower or do something where I can't keep my eyes on her the chance is I will give her my phone. I have a few educational apps that she loves and I am ok with.

I do believe there is a difference if she is learning and interacting with the screen she is watching. Like I said there are some great educational apps out there; we love the Fisher Price apps and Speakaboos. She also loves looking through videos and pictures. I do think that is learning because we talk about all her family that isn't close. That way she knows who I am talking about when I tell her we are going to Colorado.

2. Get excited

Getting excited about doing puzzles, reading books, coloring and building towers with blocks helps. Of course there are fun other indoor activities but those are some of our favorites. When I ask Kinley if she wants to do activities I make a big deal about them. I want her know I am excited too! It is extremely important to us to have Kinley not want to sit in front of the TV when she starts getting bored. There are so many fun indoor activities that can stimulate her mind. One of Kinley's favorite activities is to read books. She absolutely loves them! I really need to get a new book shelf to hold all the books we have. We also visit the library frequently for story time and to just hang out and pick out new books. They have many activities going on that don't include a screen. She LOVES going to the library and our library has the best children's section. We just finished our first story time at our local library and it was fantastic. We can't wait to sign up for the fall session. And it's free!! Win Win!!

3. Play Outside

We want her to play outside and know other activities are just as fun. Like I mentioned I never watched TV as a kiddo, I was always outside. Riding my bike, building snow forts, playing in our tree house, or just hanging out with friends talking...outside. Kinley really enjoys being outside. We have a few outdoor activities to include a sandbox, a water table, a sprinkler, a kiddie pool and chalk to name a few. Almost every night we go outside after dinner and draw with chalk. We have so much fun! As you can tell Kinley loves chalk and daddy is quite the artist. During the days it has been pretty hot, but we have some trees in our backyard that provide a lot of shade so I set up her water table and she plays away. We also have a park within walking distance that we visit often as well. Right now we go early in the morning before it gets too hot because it gets very sunny. Read more about our fun in the sun here.

Those are a couple quick tips that help me balance a little better. I do feel it is important to let Kinley understand what technology is and how to use it. Yes yes I know she is only 20 months, but I firmly believe instilling balance right now is important. There are definitely positives on both sides, though I want Kinley to know she can make friends by talking to people and not by her face stuck in a computer. Ironic that some of my best friends I met online and I am sitting here typing this with my face shoved in a computer :). But...we are talking about balance, I have many friends that I met face to face. Lets be honest though, I think we all could benefit from unplugging a little more often. I want to be a good example for my child so I will always do my best.

Have you seen that new Nature Valley ad? I do not want my child saying her favorite thing is to sit in front of a TV or computer screen. Oh my!!!

What are some ways you find balance with allowing your kids screen time?