Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Case of the Mom-Do - Day 10



I must admit, I have never cared about my hair as much as I probably should. You could call me a "pony-tail girl" and I would gladly welcome that title. I would say I have some crazy hair that has been labeled Cruella De Vil hair because one side is blonde and the other side has some very dark undertones, all being natural. The outer portions of my hair are straight, but underneath it all, it is quite curly, all while being very thick. We all wish we had someone else's hair, right?

All that to say, I have the crazy hair and yes, I should probably care more about it! I usually get my hair cut about once a year, twice if I'm ambitious. I recently had it highlighted for the first time in eons, and I must say, it felt good to finally do "something" with it!

Because I do not spend a whole lotta time on my mop, I do not own very many haircare products. In fact, since having our daughter 15 months ago, I would say I have a case of the mom-do. I wake up, my hair goes up in a bun, and I call it a day! Even though I do not own many haircare products (only hairspray, mousse, and leave-in condition), I still have to be leary about what I allow into our cupboards.

You see, it used to be bad. I used to have these products that I "thought" would help me do my hair more or make my hair what I wanted it to be. The thing is, the hair you have is what you have to deal with. No product I feel can solve all of your hair issues.

What we end up doing is buying into the promise that goes along with the product, hoping our hair looks just as good as the woman's in the commercial. 


Even though I have a case of the mom-do, I am actually okay with it. Some days I blow dry my hair and straighten it, but in the summer, it's worthless. Those curls come right back and all the time I spent on it, just went to pot. And THAT is why I also have no need to have oodles and oodles of haircare products in our cupboard. No product stands a chance with this hair (or at least I have yet to find one).

What about YOUR cupboards? Are they bursting with hair products? Are they cluttered with products and brushes you never use? Are you stuck on what product to use every morning? Deciding what to use, should not be one of the choices you need to make in an already busy morning.

Whether you have a case of the mom-do and do not need lots of hair products or just have a desire to live with less of them, here are a few ideas on how to declutter your hair products:

Take out all of your hair products 

Every single item, like your hair brushes, twisties, bobby pins. Include your straighteners, curling irons and blow dryers, hair care products, everything.

Ask

  • Do I use this product?
  • Why did I buy it in the first place?
  • Does it live up to it's claim?
  • Will I ever use it again?
  • Do I have more than one straightener, blow dryer, or curling iron?
  • Do I use the multiple?

Decide

Do you really want this many products to do your hair? What is your most go-to hairstyle? What is needed for it? What if you only kept one of each kind of product in your cupboard?

Find

Bins, containers, or boxes (food storage containers work great) around the house.

Organize

 Put all of your hair products in one bin. Twisties in another. Keep everything contained!

Consider

Think about using fewer products and spending less time in front of the mirror. When you spend that extra 5 minutes in front of the mirror, will anyone notice?

It is easy to let even the amount of hair products in our cupboards, clutter our homes. Think about how much time you spend doing your hair. Think about how many products you own. Are they worth the space they take up and are they worth the amount of time they take to put in and use?


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Last Day To Sign Up To Win!

TODAY is the LAST DAY to sign up for this amazing GIVEAWAY! Enter below!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Around The Home

This little girl is sure missing her daddy, but we pray he will be home safe and sound early tomorrow morning! Mazy has struggled again this week with anxiety, pulling out of the hair, and waking up from her naps asking for "daddy", so I know she will be elated when she wakes up Tuesday morning! My goal was to try and keep her as busy as I could so that she would forget about it and to lessen the signs of her anxiety. I just never saw that one coming! But, I realize it has only been 2 weeks and I know that is nothing. Military families are used to 6 months to a year, so I have no room to talk! 

It was extremely hot this week (at one point we hit a real feel of 112), so we headed to the Willmar pool for a little while! We stayed there for about 1 hour, which was longer than I thought she would last! I think she more enjoyed walking around the pool and watching everyone than actually being in the pool, but she had a blast!


I learned quickly that when Mazy started to have her anxious moments and when I couldn't calm her, I could turn on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and this is what she would end up doing. She just rested and soaked it in. I never thought I would let my child watch tv at her age, but when I realized what I was teaching her, coincided with what Daniel Tiger was talking about, it was a win-win! AND, she now knows the meaning of please and thank you, thanks to that show! Highly recommend it! I will warn you though - the songs will get stuck in your head!

Wubs has been her best friend (more than usual). She thought one day that I needed to be pacified. 

Even though she has stopped walking (though read to the end), she still was walking all over the house holding onto things. 

 We had some pretty crazy storms come through. This particular storm was a severe one, but the cloud structure was just beautiful!

We have had a few rough days and this picture captures it all. 

AND...MAZY HAS DECIDED TO START WALKING AGAIN!! Since Dan left, she has had zero confidence and zero desire to walk. Well, on Saturday she started to take a few steps, but that was about it. Then at nursery at church, she pushed a little shopping cart around the whole time I hear! Then, our friends were over Sunday night and she decided that she wanted to walk again! I mean this wasn't just a take a few steps walking - it was walking all over the house with no help. Turning corners, turning around, you name it. The only thing she couldn't quite do was pick something up. All of a sudden she just decided "hey, I want to walk!" And she thought she was such big stuff that when I tried to put her to bed, she had a complete meltdown for quite some time because all she wanted to do was walk! I was just so excited to see her walk like that and very soon Dan will be able to see it too! Can't wait to be reunited as a family of 3! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

To The Person On The Other Side

I get it. Loud kids can drive people crazy sometimes. I used to have those same thoughts. When I was naive and in my 20s, I didn't get it. I didn't get that kids just acted up when you least expected them to and sometimes when it's the least appropriate time.

The other day I was at the store getting some cards and Mazy started to fuss a bit. In my book, it was just a "I don't know what I want" fuss, not a cry. No tears, no kicking and screaming. This happens frequently, but I wasn't thinking much of it. She saw a card with a dog on it and thought that was big stuff so she started to bark at it and get really excited. Well, then the fussing came again. As I was looking for a card, I could hear an older woman on the other side say really loud "That little boy sure isn't happy!" And she continued to go on about it. Speaking loud enough it seemed to make sure I heard her.

First of all, the little boy is a girl.

Mazy also was not that out of control - I have seen Mazy completely lose it (has happened a few times in doctor's offices where we have spent plenty of time). I just wanted that lady to come over to my side and realize that things were not as out of control as what she may have thought them to be.

There were other people on the other side of the card rack too and I could hear her telling the other lady that the "little boy" was not happy. I just wanted to say outloud "Mam, I know she is bothering you so I am going to leave." Without saying a word I just pushed my little cart over to the cash register and checked out. I walked out not finishing my shopping and left with a depleted confidence (for about 2 seconds).

Then I realized no Kristin, it was okay. Mazy couldn't express to me in words what she needed, and that's okay. We will figure it out. And you know what? She liked that dog card and I am happy she let me know how much she liked it. I wouldn't change Mazy one iota, even if that lady thought my "little boy" was getting too unhappy and was making her uncomfortable.

But then I realized it was a lesson learned. A few days prior I was in another store and a mom was getting pretty angry at her about 3 year old daughter. The daughter started to act up and the mom started to yell and get physical with the child. I started to get a little uncomfortable and I could see Mazy was rather concerned. so I just quietly moved my cart to another area and went on our business. I felt sorry for the child who was making a big scene, but also for the mom who was just trying to gain control. And maybe it was the 20th time that child was making a scene that day and the mom was to her wits end. Even though I maybe didn't agree with how physical she was getting with the child, I didn't know the situation and I needed to seek to understand before seeking to be right.

I didn't know what was going on in that mama's life in the store whose child was getting a little crazy. And who was I to judge that? Of course if I see something illegal yes, I will act on it. But after my little incident with the person on the other side of the card rack, it made me realize that we as mothers do the best we can.

I would love for everyone to have the chance to meet little miss Mazy because she just brings us so much joy and I want everyone else to feel that joy too. She lights up our life, makes us laugh, and keeps us on our toes. She maybe isn't the most contented child, but that's okay. Thanks to a dear friend after Mazy was born, who watched her for a few hours every week so I could run my errands. I did that because the few times I tried, Mazy cried inconsolably and it was a head turner for many in the store. So I gave in and let my friend step in. But now I feel like I am more confident as a mom and if Mazy loses it, so be it. She is 16 months old and it's okay.

So to the person on the other side:
I know that children may get unruly, but think back to those years for you. I know that those "loud" years are probably a distance away, but put yourself in a mama's shoes for just a moment. We are doing the best we can. Kids are kids and we love them for who they are. Please seek to understand the situation before letting everyone else know that you are unhappy with how unhappy my child is. Please come over to my side and see that the situation was not as horrible as what it sounded like. You maybe would have appreciated that she was so excited about that dog card and appreciated the little things in life.

To all the mamas out there:
You are doing the best you can. I can now laugh at that situation, but after it happened I was pretty flustered. So flustered I even forgot to grab the bag my cards were in and the cashier had to shout for me to grab them (glad she realized it!) But after taking a moment to think about the situation, I am glad it happened. We've all been there. Our kids will get unruly at times and it's only because they don't know how to control their emotions. It's a beautiful lesson we have the opportunity to teach our children. Don't let the person on the other side deplete your confidence. If they don't take the time to walk over to your side, to understand where you are coming from, it's not worth the worry.

I am thankful Mazy has a voice to let me know what she wants, even though words don't always come, And even more so, I am thankful for a child who loves dogs and expresses that love through her barking, even if it's just at a card. Oh the little things in life and oh the little things she teaches me!

Has your child ever acted up in a store? I almost feel like that is rhetorical question, but I know there are some good stories out there, so if you have one, feel free to comment!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Our 10 Favorite Books For A 1 Year Old



I recently shared with you some of Mazy's favorite toys and while writing that post, I started to think about what some of Mazy's favorite books have been. To be honest, some of Mazy's favs have been the books that were hand-me-downs from my sister-in-law. Books that have now seen better days after Mazy has used them, but books that she continually picks up to look at.

On a few different occasions, I have had people comment to me about how good it is to have my child look at books and to read to her. All of these incidences have happened while waiting in the doctor's office (we have spent a LOT of time there in her 15 months of life), and it has been interesting to hear what people have to say. Typically it is from a well-seasoned mom who comments how good it is to read to kids. To allow them to explore books.

I typically took those comments and didn't think much about them, but the older Mazy gets, the more I see the value of reading books to kids. Of course Mazy doesn't really sit long enough for me to read to her (mom, does that sound familiar?), but she has picture books with words under them, that have taught her about the everyday things in life. It has been through her books, that she learned what a hand is. What a strawberry is. What a horse is. Granted these are things I can show her in "real" life, but she seems to pick up on it quicker in a book. Who would have thought?

And of course, who could go wrong with multiple doggy books? Our daughter cannot get enough of dogs, so indeed, we even bought her an Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds book.

I understand that if you have multiple children, it is very difficult to sit down and read a book with them because either one child doesn't like the book the other one chose, it isn't age appropriate, or they all just don't have the attention span. And can I just say time? Time is hard to come by with multiple because they would maybe rather play with blocks or throw dirt. Mazy is our only and so I fully admit, it is easier to sit down and look at books with her. I recognize that.

Though, if you are looking for some fun books to have your baby or early toddler look at and read, here are a few books that we have really enjoyed having in our home and that Mazy has enjoyed all the more:

The First 100 Words book we have is out of print and is about 4 times this size, but this is a GREAT alternative!
If you are looking for a bigger book, this 10x10 inch book is a good one too:



There are tabs to pull, pictures of real-life dogs, touch n' feel options, and pull-outs, that will entertain any baby or toddler for quite some time.

Mazy has enjoyed this book from day one and STILL loves it! It's an excellent touch and feel book,  is sturdy, holds up to all the touching, and at this point, never gets old!


This book comes in a hardcover or as a board book (we have both), but this book we read to her every night before she goes to bed. And lo and behold, there is a dog in it, so automatically she loves it. Our hope is to also read this book on her wedding day, someday!


Again, it's a dog, so of course it's Mazy's favorite, but there are MANY other animals that you can also get from the same company.



Another touch n' feel book, but it is also fun to read. It's one of those books that you may find yourself rehearsing while in the shower, but that just means it's that catchy of a book!


Toes, Ears, Nose

A lift-the-flap book, but teaches a child about all of the basic body parts. The best one is the belly button - Mazy now thinks that "lifting the flap" means lifting up people's shirts to find their belly button. THANKS BOOK! I always have some explaining to do after she does this to people!


Five Little Ladybugs

Who would have thought that a book with little ladybugs would be such a hit! I've heard many other children love this book too. Who knew?


Old MacDonald: Finger Puppet Book

A book Mazy has loved from day one! I often get comments about this book and fun it looks. Mazy would agree.


Little Lamb's Bible

This children's Bible, Mazy loves for me to read. The cover of course gets her, but the simple stories make it easy for her to sit still for a few. Start 'em early!

I know that there are 1,000s of AMAZING children's books out there! I mean who can forget Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear Brown Bear, and those classics? I just wanted to share with you some of Mazy's favorites and maybe some books that may not have heard of. So if you are looking for a good baby shower gift or a new book that your own child might like, these might be worth giving a try. You can always check your local library too!

What was YOUR favorite childhood book?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mazy Is 16 Months Old







Stats: 
 ~ Not known

Food:
 ~ Favorites: pizza, mac n' cheese, hot dogs, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, fruit food pouches, cheese, graham crackers, goldfish, strawberry milkshakes, peanut butter and jelly sanwiches

Size:
 ~ 18 month-2T  clothes
 ~ 18-24 month pants
 ~ 18-24 month onesies
 ~ Size 4 diapers

Routine:
 ~ Wakes up between 7:45 and 8:30.
 ~ Goes to bed between 8:00 and 8:30. 

 ~ When Mazy wakes up, sometimes she wants to cuddle, sometimes not. She usually has pancakes, waffles, or a piece of toast for breakfast with some fruit. She will play for a bit then we will run to town or go for a walk or bike ride. Because it's been nice out, we try to go to the park and swing (her favorite thing to do). Then it's lunchtime by about 11:30. Try to eat a little earlier so that we can get to take one nap. By about 12:30 or 1:00 she is ready for that afternoon nap and can sleep from 1 1/2 - 3 hours. Snack time and then we play outside for a bit before supper. Supper around 5 or 5:30 and then out for a bike ride. By about 7:00 we wind down a bit, take a bath, have a snack and watch Praise Baby or Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. By 8:00 or a little after, we read a book, pray, and go to bed.

Milestones:
 ~ New words: eyes (for sunglasses), keys, bo (for motorcycle)
 ~ Knows where more things are in her 100 First Word books.
 ~ Started to walk - but only if Dan is around. Otherwise she doesn't have the confidence. Will walk along everything in the house though, including walls
 ~ Has 12 teeth - just got her last first year molar in
 ~ Loves any animal
 ~ Starting to like more foods - bananas and raspberries
 ~ Scoots all over the house
 ~ Started to sleep through the night more and more! Still wakes up after going down for the first few hours, but each week there are a few more nights she sleeps through!
 ~ Is starting to dance and sing more if she hears a song come on

Other Things To Remember:
 ~ Had her first hospital stay on July 2 and 3 for a virus.
 ~ Loves to rough house - especially get thrown around on the bed!
 ~ Enjoys anything outside - sidewalk chalk, water table, playing in the sand
 ~ Started to pull out her hair after naps.
 ~ Enjoys going on walks and bike rides
 ~ Still says "hi" to anyone who will look at her or walk past her, catching them quite off guard.
 ~ Favorite Toys: balls, violet, anything in the cupboards, sunglasses, cell phone, bristle blocks, record player, playing the piano, her car
 ~ Loves anything to do with water
 ~ Can't get enough of babies - wants to them, even if they are complete strangers
 ~ Has not had any trouble with her ears since she got her tubes

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How To Organize Your Schedule



I feel like this is one of life's million dollar questions - how to keep an organized schedule? If it was that simple, there were would not be thousands of books written about how to organize your time, your life, and well, everything!

Keeping an organized schedule is not easy. It goes without saying that the more schedules you have to keep track of, the harder it is. Sometimes it's hard enough keeping track of your own, right? There are many different methods and ways to keep organized, such as calendars, planners, computers, phones, you name it.

I personally have my own way of keeping our schedule organized and it is simply what works for us. I use a planner and a workable calendar from Calendars and Chores. A few years ago, I did a review and giveaway of the calendar from this company and I can honestly say, I still use it on a daily basis! It hangs in a prominent spot in our kitchen and if it's not on that calendar, it's not going to happen!

In the past few years, I can think of only one event that we have forgotten about, and it was a grad party that we had hoped to attend, but forgot what time it was. That was the only thing I think of that we missed. Other than that, we have remembered and attended all that we have wanted to, thanks to this calendar!

Another thing I love about this calendar is that because it is magnetic, so you can easily move weeks up and down as needed. When one week is done, I just remove that one if I want and move the others up, making it customizable.

When it comes to organizing schedules, it really can be done and the method will differ for everyone. I have found just a few helpful hints when it comes to organizing ours:

Write everything down

One thing I like about the Calendars and Chores calendar is that it is a dry/wet erase calendar, so I use a different marker color for the different types of activities. Appointments in one color, fun events in another, and my husband's schedule in yet another color. In fact, Calendars and Chores' Etsy store also has markers and cute magnetic cup holders that you can also get to accent your calendar if you please.



When it comes to writing everything down, I mean EVERYTHING. The moment you get an invite in the mail, on facebook, or via email, write the event down. Even if you have an appointment card, still write it down on the calendar or in your planner. Having everything written down in ONE spot, will make planning and scheduling much easier.

Communicate Well

At the start of each week, ask each person in the house what their schedule looks like. Also, take this time to figure out what the week entails, then communicate it to the family.

Prioritize

One way to keep an organized schedule is to prioritize. Is there anything where "time is of the essence?" This is where making a list might come in handy. For me personally, I make a list each week for what I want to accomplish. I don't necessarily write those items in on a specific day, but I just have a running list. Then when it comes to the start of each day (or the night before), I write down what I hope to accomplish in that day, which hopefully includes some of those weekly items. Make sense?

This is again helpful to do with the Calendars and Chores calendar because I can easily add something to the day. The space is big enough and again,the weeks can be moved around. So if something is 4 weeks ahead, that is up on the calendar and I don't have to flip through the pages of my planner to look ahead. I can see it all laid out. It also comes with this add-on, which makes list-making all the more easy!


Don't procastinate

This is one the biggest keys in keeping an organized schedule in my mind! I am probably the furthest from a procrastinator. I always think things need to be done right then and there. Some things can wait a little while, like buying plane tickets. Sometimes it pays to wait (though the opposite can happen too). Plane tickets aside, to keep an organized schedule, it requires doing this in a timely manner.

Delegate

Having a "can do" attitude isn't all that bad, but you need to be careful to not be too busy and wear yourself out. One of the healthiest things you can do for your whole family is to delegate the duties and chores. Delegating allows the family to work together towards one goal - living as a family. It teaches children and others to have a role in the family, but also shows them that they have value and are needed. As much as they might whine and complain, in the end, they will be thankful they were taught to work hard and work towards something. Plus, delegating gives you that much needed break.


Schedule time for YOU

Rest and relaxation is one the best things you can do for YOU. It may be sad that it came to this, but you may even have to schedule in time for you. Plan a walk everyday. Schedule a coffee date with a friend. Take time away to just think and refocus. For the women out there, we may laugh at this saying, but how true it is - "happy wife, happy life." When wife or mom is stressed it effects everyone. Make sure you take time for you.

Having an organized schedule goes a long ways! I remember as a child, my mom would sit down on the weekend and write out the weekly schedule on her dry erase MMPA (Michigan Milk Producers Association) board. I am sure it was a freebie at some point, but I remember looking at that calendar all of the time. It taught me to keep an organized schedule so that we did not miss a beat.

If you are looking to organize your schedule and need a little help doing it, I have partnered once again with Jen from Calendars and Chores to do ONE (1) GIVEAWAY of her Large Dry/Wet Erase Magnetic Calendar. The winner will have a choice of frame and calendar color as well ($86.00 value). Here are the details:

  • Giveaway starts Wednesday, July 20, 2016 and ends Tuesday, July 26, 2016.
  • One winner will be chosen randomly via Viral Sweep.
  • Open to U.S. residents only and must by 18 years or older.
  • I will email the winner and the winner has 1 week to confirm.
  • Winner will be shipped 1 large dry/wet erase magnetic board, free of charge, with choice of frame and calendar color.
  • Please enter below!