When will Spring Finally Arrive?

Living in the midwest for pretty much my entire life except for when I spent two and a half years in San Francisco/Bay area for culinary school and enjoying life for a bit after you would think I would be completely used to the weather game we play here…I’M NOT! Every year I struggle with this little season we call winter! I can truly say I can’t wait until I’m old enough to be a snow bird. It seems like the older I get the longer winter seems to last…I guess that’s why people become snow birds! DUH! This year has been a little different as our December had no to very little snow. January came and we started to get dumped on which continued in February and March has been so up and down I don’t know what to think. One week we have temperatures in the sixties and now this past week it went back down to eighteen and had more snow!

The kids are totally over it, they are ready to be able to go outside in their t-shirts and play. I am right there with them. We have tried to take advantage of any nice day we get. Skipping the gym and taking the kids on a bike ride for nap, getting the yard ready for blooming, running, learning to ride bikes, chalking, playing in the mud!

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I feel like on the colder days I have went back to doing fun stuff indoors. Baking with the kids, they made play-doh, Easter card making, bowling, coloring, and then just good old playing and using their imaginations!  Which thankfully they enjoy creating scenes and playing them out often!

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They set up the living room with about 30 of their trucks, dolls, and stuffed animals to have a birthday party for S’s favorite doll.  K was in charge of gathering the gifts which included anything random from the playroom he could get his hands on; dishes, fake food, cars, tape measures, tools!  After the birthday they had a performance.  Using the toilet paper holder as the mic S did the singing and then Joe had to act out being chased by a monster, I had to fall down and get hurt, K was a Prince who saved me.  It was quite a riot I wish I knew this was all going to take place as I would have set up the video camera.  S is quite the director!  It truly was a fun family experience.

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I ran my first 5k of 2015 which ended up being more of a jog as my girlfriend that I did it with is newly pregnant but she definitely held her own!  My uncle who I normally do my runs with couldn’t just jog so he did his normal sprint to the finish line!!  Looking forward to doing another 5K in April and we are signed up for two 10K’s in May!  Excited to get back into running just wish the weather would understand I HATE to wait two miles to have un-numb hands!

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My picture doesn’t do our Easter cards justice!  They turned out so stinkin’ cute.  I cute up strips of scrapbook paper; only because I couldn’t find my child safe scissors.  Then the kids pasted the strips on to cardstock paper.  Then I cut out the egg!  So simple yet so cute!  Love that these two especially S loves doing crafts as much as I do!

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The play-doh was a fun experience!  We have done different dough and foams before and K was in need of some messy play!  So out came one of our plastic drop cloths, the box of cookie cutters, rolling pins, and pizza cutters.  The recipe I used I did end up adding more water to but that could have been that the measuring and dumping was being done by S and K so we could have mis-calculated somewhere along the way!  Towers were built, flowers, feet, and letters were cut out.  Then K in his standard obsessed with water fashion thought he needed to bring a cup of that into the mix.  So then it was water dough!

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We purchased a Groupon to go to the Amazing Mirror Maze with my sister and her two boys!  Another experience that was well two moms that are claustrophobic and clearly directionally challenged should not be with four kids seven and under in a 1800 square foot mirror maze!  When we finally made it out the kids were laughing and wanted to go again…once was enough for my sister and I!

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That same sister turned the BIG 40 so for the day I and S and K made her a little birthday cake for the celebration!

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I love bike riding but let me tell you pulling seventy pounds behind you can be rough!  But it was so nice getting out for a nice ride!  Both kids fell asleep about two miles in to the ride so it was a great little nap time for them and workout for me!  Just over six miles!  Outside exercise is always better than indoor!

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We wanted to do something with the kids that wasn’t part of our normal routine.  We decided going bowling at our bowling alley was the perfect thing!  We went on New Year’s Day with my entire family and they enjoyed it.  Who doesn’t love pushing a ball down a ramp in the dark with neon lights everywhere?

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http://www.roundlakeareaparkdistrict.org/programs-childrens-museum.cfm 

http://www.walworthlanes.com

http://www.mirrormazes.com

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/335377503472177387/

It’s a Deere Party!

We recently celebrated K turning the treacherous three! With a little boy in love with anything that does work but at the top of his list is always DOZERS! We had to branch out a little this birthday as we had a construction party last year which was a blast. So in keeping with trucks per say I suggested we have a John Deere Party! He was all about it…All I need is the go ahead and its off to the races or in this case off to the local tractor supply store!
Invites were my first task and I am a huge fan of Etsy for all my party printing needs! Well and gifts, and well pretty much its a great site for just about anything! Anyway, I love to include a picture of the year prior in my invites so I went with the following!

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Now it’s on to decorations, clothes, favors, food, entertainment! Last year I made a hard hat piñata and the kids loved it! Being March and still chilly I asked K if he wanted to have another. I couldn’t just do a piñata but again due to theme and weather its a bit hard to do something fun as last year it was colder for his birthday so we had a digger brought over for the kids to get rides and dig up all the snow around and do pictures. This year my same great friend who is a collector of CAT and John Deere anything suggested I used some of his kids riding Deere’s! I loved it as K could participate and the kids were all going to be in the range of eleven and under! So we borrowed three riders! For food I did fried chicken (free range chicken), deviled eggs (fresh laid eggs), chex mix (chicken feed), chips (farm fresh potatoes), vegetable tray (farm fresh veggies), I attempted to make a John Deere cake (2nd fondant cake) and I surrounded the cake with mini chocolate cupcakes as mud! For our favors I reached out to the internet; what did we do before?! I ordered plastic John Deere cups, John Deere popcorn, John Deere gum, John Deere suckers, I put all of the goodies in a John Deere bag! I loved how these came together! John Deere has seriously so much cute stuff out there for parties! Since we didn’t splurge on entertainment I thought everyone in John Deere gear was a must! The site I found them on had a huge clearance event going on-SCORE!!  For decorations I’m kind of believe less is more I mean why spend a fortune on decorations?  Kids come to the party for the fun and parents and family come for the food and company; right?!  So I always keep it pretty simple.  My friend again who is a collector borrowed me three large signs to place around the house, he also borrowed me a collectors little trailer which I used for the favors.  I purchased John Deere balloons, plates, napkins.  I simple made my place cards by saving images off the net and typing up my own.  I love burlap and we have a ton of it around the house in all forms sacks, large pieces from fabric store, on a reel…you name I probable have it!  This is the perfect table covering for this theme I thought!  So again nothing crazy heck barely anything now that I am saying it! LOL!  Yes, I do count my tableware as decorations as it had John Deere all over it!  You should too!

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It’s time to say “Thank you!”  For this I too went to the internet and found a great site with free printable!  They had a blank John Deere invite but being blank it worked perfect for my thank you cards!

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Since we were in Disney for S’s fourth birthday we wanted to something of a WOW factor for K!  So with help from friends and family we were able to get a CAT dozer for him!  A friend drove two hours to pick it up then my dad picked it up from them and charged it overnight so it was all set for the big day!  I truly appreciate those that help me on these days or to make these days happen as they are so important!  I can honestly say this party was the one I didn’t find myself feeling like crazy town the day of.  I think I could have done a bit more but you know what my three-year old had a great day with friends and family and that is all that mattered!


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I hope your next little ones party is a blast and remember it’s not about how much you spend its about how much fun your kids have!  Have a great day!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/JennasPhotoCreations  (invites)

http://www.familyshoppingbag.com ( FREE thank you cards)

http://www.wegotgreen.com (favors, tableware, clothing)

https://www.greenfunstore.com (favors, tableware, clothing, candle)

Does This Only Happen In Our House?

I feel like the question of “Does this only happen at our house?” is one I ponder often.  Being a stay at home mom with a four year old and in three days a three year old.  Six out of seven days things happen in our house that provide us with every emotion.  Most of those days I find myself going from happy to frustrated to holy crap did that just happen at least twenty times.  S has been slowly been moving out of the treacherous three’s to what I am going to call frightening fours!  K has arrived at the treacherous three’s which has been very hard for me to accept as he has always been such a sweet soul.  Both of these changes have brought out madness of all levels for Joe and I.  As parents we have the job to direct, guide and nourish all of these emotions and changes we see in our little loves.

So let’s start this with a few weeks ago…This is when the change started with K and funny enough I remember this being the exact time frame when it started with S just over a year ago.  With S I remember reading about “Terrible Two’s” and when we went through two’s with her I thought “oh this isn’t so bad” I mean there were days but overall and now in comparison to three’s that phrase is a total joke…at least in our home!  It’s like something in our little one’s brain clicks on just before their third birthday arrives.  The switch over provides them all the tools to make an adult feel like they have lost control of their home. With both S and K three has brought an attitude, a my way or no way thinking, a do it my self when I feel necessary, all around move out of my way I’m about to be three and you are in my way…except when I want to be nurtured then I throw a complete temper-tantrum until mom or dad gives in or gives up!  But when you try to help your strong willed, demanding, growing, independent three year old you get a tantrum then too so it many days feels like a no win situation.  You would have thought having gone through this just a year ago I would have done some mental preparation for round two but it is just as hard if not harder with K.  I think the fact that K was such a different baby then S I thought it wouldn’t be as extreme.  WOW was I wrong!

So getting to it I’m curious if frustration sets in at least once a day for all you parents out there facing the treacherous three’s as well?  Bedtime with K has been the hardest part of our days.  Just as all of this was happening I thought changing up our nap habits might help.  Bedtime was turning in to a challenge.  We would go up to bed at 7:15/7:30 read a story and say our good nights.  Same as we have always done.  Now that I have been reading nightly myself I realize even more so how important this is for our minds to relax.  At least it does for me so I encourage it even more with the kids.  Anything to help them have a well rested nights sleep I’m all for.  Remember if they rest well so do we!  But these days K wasn’t seeming ready to sleep I would hear him talking up a storm.  At first just re-reading his books which I was ok with then it turned to sounds of sirens, dump trucks and dozers doing work and anything that could be stacked he would be stacking.  Almost like he just wasn’t tired.  So I started having him rest on the couch with S but started this at 1230pm so if he did fall asleep it was and is usually by 1pm and he’s up by 3pm.  Giving him a bigger window of awake time before bed.  This has helped but he still even when he only rests and doesn’t sleep fights letting his body go right to sleep.  Then he is up and ready between 650am and 715am.  Throughout the day he has had to learn about time out as his hands have found their way on S or even me.  I have asked “what have I done wrong?”, “why can’t he just be my sweet baby?” There are evenings he will come out of his room multiple times with multiple excuses which leads to Joe and myself getting very frustrated.  Frustrated to the point that we have turned off his light which is usually kept on very low and shut and locked his door.  The lock on his door has honestly not been used since he has been in this bedroom.  This lock was added when this was S’s bedroom and she fought any time in her room especially when we moved her to a big kid bed.  I know these days will only last so long but right now the countdown seems to be so far away I could actually cry!  On Sunday K will officially be a three year old!  I’m hopeful that when he blows out his candle he wishes back our sweet, innocent, loving little boy…I know he’s wishing for diggers, dozers, and tractors.  A mom can hope!

On to my little S!  Ok so she is not so little as you know she turned four when we visited Disney a few weeks ago.  This girl has evolved in to even more of an actress then ever before.  I have always said this girl belongs on a show the things she says and does have always been pretty darn funny.  K since arriving people have said he is so beautiful.  He truly is and I’m not just saying this because I’m his mom:)  I have toyed with the idea of introducing them to the world of modeling/acting but Joe believes firmly that by doing this we will take away from them being “kids”.  I see it as college money but what do I know! Anyway, I mentioned frightening fours earlier and you are probably thinking so far she doesn’t seem too bad.  When I say frightening I mean she says and does things that are beyond her years.  Frightening in all things great that this word can stand for!  S is the little girl at school that I felt necessary to purchase a handful of coloring books last week as she daily during free play colors which one teacher said for many kids is soothing and shouldn’t be discouraged.  Which I never do as she is almost 100% coloring in the lines!  She has this as a priority for herself which hey there could be worse goals! Let’s next talk about what this little four year old has been saying lately!  I think the situation that ranks top on the list is one from the other day.  So K was having a tantrum-imagine that!  because I wouldn’t carry him down the stairs.  I let him know I would hold his hand when he was ready but he could walk.  This might sound crazy to you but let me tell you these two feel being carried down the stairs every time is 100% necessary!  Do you know how many times we go up and down the stairs in a day…it gets to be frustrating.  Anyway, he continued to be upset when I heard S come out of her room and say “K, come in here I need to talk to you”.  I had to hear this so I of course sprinted up the stairs when I heard them go in his room.  She starts with “K do you think mommy not carrying you down the stairs is really worth crying about?” “Nod your head!” she says.  I think he nodded yes as she told him “NO!” Then she said “Did it make you sad?” then “Hold on I need to talk to mommy”  I ran in to the bathroom and her she came.  “Mom, I need to talk to you!” “You need to apologize to K!”I replied “What do you think I need to apologize for?” She says “I heard how you were talking to him and it wasn’t nice.” I said “what did I say that wasn’t nice?” She said “You told him you wouldn’t get him, you need to say your sorry.” Now K has joined us in the bathroom for the mediation held by S! She says “Well mom aren’t you going to apologize?” Then I realized I was seriously contemplating the matter and if I really should apologize!  WHAT WAS GOING ON HERE!  I said “S I’m the mom and I truly appreciate your concern for your brothers feelings mommy does not need to apologize.”  She disagreed and went on her marry way! I had to sit for a minute as I thought did this really just happen!?  Another instance S took on the leading role was when K gave her a shove while playing in her bedroom and she got hurt…K was sent to his room for a three minute time out.  He was having a fit but it was completely an appropriate punishment; I thought.  Well I hear S walk to his bedroom door and say “K are you ok?” He says “NO!”  She said “Well I really miss you I hate to be apart”  She then begins to sing a song about missing him and how much she loves him and doesn’t like when they are not together.  The entire time he isn’t saying anything but has stopped crying.  Then comes “I need to go talk to mom be right back!” She comes down by me and says “mom K needs you can you go talk to him?” As I was headed up I explained that I needed to talk to K alone.  She kept a close eye on the two of us from the bedroom door.  Ready at a moments notice to chime in her thoughts on the situation!  Sitting with K asking and making sure he understood why he was given time out which he fully did.  I’m learning time out is going to be the route to go with K which is and never has been the case with S.  Two kids, two totally different people.  One mom whose learning the best ways to manage each along the way, day by day!

LIfe with toddlers many days can feel like a battle of power as Joe and I often have the conversation of me being too easy on them or even a push over at times which is why they act out.  I on the other hand think I am very stern during the day but by the time he gets home I’m exhausted on pretty much every level.  Which is why I turn to him to take on the bad cop role in the evening.  I’m sure many professionals would have an opinion of a better way to handle this but I don’t know about you but for me this is the routine we have gotten in to and not to say it’s necessarily working as clearly above we have kinks to work out but I also know that many parents face these same challenges.  I know I have asked my mom if my kids are “bad” and her replies was “bad as in any worse than any other two and three year old (time when I asked)?…no”  So of course I have taken this response and reminded myself and Joe of it.  Again, it still doesn’t always do the trick when you are on your final warning and exhausted at 9pm at night.  Just remember if you are at this place or feel like you are approaching this stage with your little ones you are not the only house that it is happening at!  This to shall pass!

Now it’s on to preparation of having a welcoming party for K’s treacherous two’s and keep my fingers crossed he makes that wish I mentioned earlier at cake time!  Have a wonderful day!