Friday, May 31, 2013

A quick etsy posting

I've finally got my butt in gear and listed new items to my etsy shop, Baby and You Handmade.

Also, don't forget the Memorial Day sale ends today. To get 25% off, use coupon code MEMORIAL2013.

Baby booties -
These are completely customizable. You can choose fabric, color, and style of the straps and ruffles. They come in two sizes: 0-6 months and 6-12 months.

Baby bonnets -
These are also completely customizable. Reversible, non-reversible, with a ruffle or without a ruffle. You can also choose fabric color and style, as well. Two sizes: newborn and 0-12 months.

**Professional photography is by my good friend Tara Fravel Photography. Check her out on her Facebook page

The beautiful model so happens to be my goddaughter, Evelyn.

Take a look around on my etsy shop. Happy shopping!

P.S. After purchasing an item, you will receive an email with a 5% coupon to use in my shop on your next purchase.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A holiday weekend on the heels of a long week

The long holiday weekend came at the exact right moment, a time when I desperately needed to recharge and refuel. You see, last week was filled with a lot of battles and struggles and unidentifiable ailments. It was a hard week, to say the least, consuming me with a tankful of mommy guilt for not handling situations well and not being who/what my children needed for whatever reason. But the weekend filled with friends, family, food, exercise and relaxation gave me the opportunity to "punch out" and take a few moments to reevaluate. Now, at the beginning of this short week, I'm feeling better able to tackle unidentifiable ailments. I just wish the gloomy, rainy weather got the memo.

Our holiday weekend was spent with friends and family. Friday night was dedicated to our good friend Chris, who turned another year older.

Sunday we had friends over for our annual Memorial Day BBQ. Our kids are finally at an age where we aren't constantly refereeing disagreements and are able to squeeze in longer moments of adult time.

I think we're outgrowing our kids' table.

Monday while my boys were at a service honoring the fine men and women who served our country, my friend Ann and I took on a monumental battle -- 600+ stairs. These wooden stairs are encased between beautiful green scenery, and you almost forget that your legs are burning and you're wheezing as your lungs beg for air. Almost. And when you reach the top, you're rewarded by the view of green and blue for miles. The actual destination of all those stairs is an old fire tower, standing proud atop the hill. This tower is deceptively tall, and as you're winding your way up the wobbly stairs that feel as though you're swaying in the breeze, more and more layers of staircases reveal themselves. I battled a new found fear of heights as I followed Ann up the tower, my hands gripping the railings lest I miss a step and tumble down. Once we stood atop the platform on the top overlooking the land below us, my fear dissipated and I simply took in the beauty of it all. But then, of course, we had to descend the windy staircase and all those 600+ wooden stairs that lead us up to this place.

left: the ones we already climbed.
right: the ones left to go.
Reveling in the fact that we did it!
The fire tour.

Thank you to all the men and woman who have fought for our freedoms--the true meaning of our holiday weekend. We are very thankful that the soldier in our lives is still walking with us today, instead of being memorialized on such a bittersweet day. Instead, we honor Dave's service by visiting the brick dedicated to his time served that is located in Veteran's Memorial park.

{If anyone is interested in Dave's story, you can watch his video here.}


Now a few highlights from the week preceding the holiday weekend:

Angie's Daycare.
Friday I watched my friend's kids, which is always fun and exhausting at the same time. It was almost easier when the youngest two kids were still babies, even if I simultaneously nursed one while bottle fed the other. It was simpler when there were only two that I had to referee and the bickering and sharing issues were only doubled, not quadrupled. But all of that is worth it at the end of the day when two year old B-man runs up to me, unprompted, and throws his little arms around me for a quick hug. Although we may not share any of the same blood, these kids are still my family.

Puddle Fun.
Since the snow melted and the rain eagerly replaced it, there has been a constant stream in my backyard, making the most delicious swamp playground for my boys. Finally I succumbed to their pleading and indulged their desires to splash and stomp around in the massive puddle. And it made for a fun photo-op.

A Walk Along the Mississippi.
As we waited for Daddy to get off work one day and meet us for supper, we wasted time by visiting the levy along the Mississippi river.


More randomness from our week:

A giant at the little table.

Friday, May 24, 2013

One Year Closer

Nearly nine months ago--the same amount of time it takes to grow a baby inside of you--my oldest son began a journey. A journey that continues from toddlerdom to young adulthood. Each year he will begin this same journey anew, with a different set of people, with different scenery, but with the same expectation that he will be learning the tools to some day leave the nest. Go in as a baby; come out as a man. Nine months ago I was fanning my face with registration papers at my son's preschool open house, trying to dry up the tears threatening to spill out of my eyes, tears of trepidation over the beginning of my son's journey out into the big scary world, his journey away from me. This week he ended phase one of this journey, and he is now one year closer to completing it. One year closer to going out into the world. One year closer to standing on his own two feet. One year closer to not needing me.

As I dropped him off at his last day of preschool this week, I choked back the tears that again threatened to spill out of my eyes. The moment--somewhat anticlimactic--meant more in all my sentimentalism and tendency to become overemotional than was really warranted. After all, it was like any other day in all those nine months I dropped my son off at preschool. Just another day on the job. Yet, it was laced with the notion that this particular day was the very last time Spencer would be this exact age in this exact setting with these same teachers and friends. It was a big moment, probably bigger to me than to my three year old son, who just wanted to hurry and say good-bye so he could help his teacher fill up the water table.

One day, one week, one month, one year closer to so, so much......

And we're done for the year.


Spencer is not the only one inching his way to the arbitrary finish line, his little brother is right on his heels. Ashton hit the 19 month mark this week. With it comes a whole sleuth of new things, both good and not so good. He's taken to numbly asking why at every possible scenario, which seems so unfair at this young age, when his big brother is still pestering us with that same never-ending loop of questioning. He's grown very accustomed to things going his way; and we've gotten into the habit of fostering that notion. Now we are working double time to correct the viscous cycle. We're having fun battling hitting, biting, squawking, crying and jealous moments of sharing Mommy. It seems Ashton is less and less of a baby these days and more and more of a toddler, in both appearance and behavior. This paired with Spencer's seemingly unidentifiable ailment this week has left me reaching for my reserves and finding it empty.

Parenting is a hard gig, riddled with ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and bad times. No matter what stage of parenting we find ourselves in, we must jump in with both feet and ride the waves. Happy parenting; enjoy the journey.


Teacher gifts: painted pots filled with flowers, homemade cards of gratitude paired with a practical gas gift card.


Out of the mouth of Spencer, Edition 1.

The set-up: On the way to preschool we're discussing man versus woman.

Spencer: Are boys women?

Me: No, they're men.

Spencer:  Why?

Me:  Men are big boys and women are big girls.

Spencer thinks about this for a while. Then he says: What eats men?

Me:  Huh?

Spencer:  What eats men?

Me: I dunno.

Spencer: Crocodiles!

Me, laughing: Crocodiles eat men?

Spencer: Crocodiles eat everything!

The set-up: At the supper table when Dave gets up.

Spencer:  Where are you going, Daddy?

Dave:  Jamaica!

Spencer looks at me puzzled and asks: Makeup? Why is Daddy going to your room to put makeup on?

The set-up: We're playing on the deck. Ashton is obsessed with his penis. He loves playing the game where you point to an object and give it ownership. Ashton's chair, Mommy's chair, etc. On this given day, the object of this game is penises. He points to his penis and we oblige and call it Ashton's penis. Then he points to me and attempts to pull up my long shirt to reveal my crotch, expecting me to play along and call it Mommy's penis. I try explaining girls don't have penises. 

Spencer, watching this whole exchange, says: What do girls have?

Since we have had this discussion several times, I ask him what he thinks. 

His answer: A vy-nus?

The set-up:  Sitting in the truck.

Spencer: What'd you say, Mommy?

Me: I don't remember.

Spencer: Why?

Me: Because I'm old.

Spencer: No, you're not old. You're new.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Memorial Day sale

I am currently running a sale on my etsy shop for Memorial Day. Take 25% off your purchase on the entire stock. Sale runs now through May 31.


Remember, if you see anything listed in the shop that you'd like customized (different color, style, size, etc), let me know and I'll work with you to make whatever it is you'd like.

Dream big, kid.

I love how our weekly theme and real life collide and almost effortlessly coexist, especially without an ounce of planning by me. And, more importantly, how these things fuel a genuine interest in my children that goes beyond a moment of entertainment or education.

Last week our theme was airplanes and helicopters--anything that flies in the sky, really, since Spencer insisted on lumping rockets in this category as well; and who am I to put limitations on what he wants to learn about on a any given day? This theme coincidentally aligned with the same week our small town community was celebrating EMS appreciation, where a Mayo One helicopter--a rescue helicopter, Spencer's all-time favorite--makes a guest appearance. Now talk about hands-on learning--the ultimate field trip for a boy with little helicopters for stars in his eyes.

We started our theme by a trip to the library to stock up on an overflowing bag full of books about airplanes, helicopters, and rockets--plus we couldn't leave without putting some train books in the bag as well, of course. We read the books cover to cover, and I soon learned that Spencer's new love for rescue helicopters far trumps his old interest in rockets. If we were reading about helicopters that only carted passengers, not sick people, or patients, as we learned they are called--a rescue helicopter is like an ambulance in the sky, after all--then he had no interest in reading or learning about it.

We learned all about the parts of an airplane over snacks one day, studying a diagram I got off the internet. I used our ceiling fan as a visual aid to explain the blades on the propellers, a visual aid that Ashton really enjoyed since he has a weird fascination with them anyway.

For our first activity, I had to do a little research myself, the YouTube variety. You see, I could not recall how to make a paper airplane. Thank goodness for the silly people who actually take the time to make a two minute video explaining the intricacies of folding a piece of paper into an airplane. I made airplanes out of three different kinds of paper: printing paper, construction paper and sturdy card stock. I showed these to Spencer and Ashton, and asked them to make a hypothesis (and then had to explain what this big word meant) about which airplane would fly the farthest and why.

Hypothesis #1: Which paper airplane will fly the farthest?
Spencer picked the card stock, stating, "It's the heaviest."
Ashton just pointed without much thought, agreeing with his big brother.

I decided we needed to practice the art of paper airplane throwing before heading outside on the windy day, so I then turned that into an opportunity to form another hypothesis.

Hypothesis #2: Will the airplanes fly farther inside or outside?
Spencer indecisively chose outside, saying, "the wind will make them fall...or go farther. Maybe both. No, fall. Wind will help it fly."

And then added, "They don't have propellers?"

I am no scientist, but I am fairly certain our experiment was very, very flawed, and the results were inconclusive....although we had fun anyway.

One morning over breakfast we did some airplane-themed worksheets. And another afternoon we did an airplane craft. Although Ashton's main focus was still to eat as much of the glue stick as he could before I took it away, Spencer assembled all the parts of the airplane correctly by himself; and then he asked if he could do another one.

We concluded our week with a helicopter worksheet.

And then came the infamous field trip that Spencer still talks about. Just yesterday, out of the blue, he asked me, "Remember the helicopter, Mommy?!" After a hotdog lunch and investigating an ambulance and firetruck, we waited for the main event--the Mayo One helicopter. Everyone gathered around and we watched as it whizzed closer to us and then circled around before finally landing on the grass of the fire station. Both my boys stared in awe, pointing, excited to see this beast up close. Dave asked the pilot if he'd mind shaking Spencer's hand, and then I made them redo it so I could get a picture. Shaking the hand of a rescue helicopter pilot made Spencer's day. Currently that is what he wants to be when he's big. Last week it was an astronaut. Dream big, kid; just keep dreaming, always.


Last week we also met our friends at the park for a picnic supper and walk around the lake. The boys had fun on the dock while we waited for our friends to arrive, tossing handful after handful of rocks into the water.

And we had Spencer's end of the year preschool picnic, which successfully managed to give me the end of the year blues. If my baby is nearly done with his very first year of preschool, surely that's big enough evidence of the fact that he's truly not my baby anymore. Right?
It was beach day at preschool, and he picked this fishing outfit over a Hawaiian shirt. 

Speaking of end of the year events, Spencer also sang at church this past Sunday, bidding Sunday School farewell for the summer.


The rest of the weekly randomness:
At Grandma's house there are two seats in the tractor and no fighting. At home Mommy is mean for making them share a seat.
Lawn men.
Every once and again I get a night to myself. This is what I did once I got the opportunity: walked around the lake and then read a library book.

Batter up!