I’m ready for spring!

It’s official – I’m over winter. Bring on spring.

We’ve had a bit of a weather change here in Seattle and it truly feels like spring. 50’s and sunny?! In February?! I’ll take it.

Gymboree 2018 Spring Collection for ToddlersGymboree 2018 Spring Collection for Toddlers

I started with such high hopes of getting a decent pic of the girls in their new Gymboree outfits. At the point of the second picture, I knew I was in trouble.

Last week was 40s/50s and rainy, which is more typical of winter/spring weather in the Pacific Northwest. But I’m not having it anymore.

This winter has been rough for our family. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we’ve been dealing with a stomach bug, a few colds, an eye infection (or two), and just general health chaos. It’s nothing major, but it’s draining my energy like none other.

Of course, my toddlers operate at full energy even when they have a little cold, but I (since I’m old), get a cold and am wiped out for a week!

Gymboree 2018 Spring Collection for ToddlersGymboree 2018 Spring Collection for Toddlers

She was so excited to get her picture taken, but she insisted on acting like a “spinning dog” the entire time and I decided to just let her go with it. Also, shoes were not happening. Sigh. But her adorable shirt is on sale here and her leggings are here!

So, yeah, I’m ready for spring. Sunshine, flowers, warmer weather, lighter jackets, less illness… bring it!

Now that the sun is out, the girls are ready to play more outside, which makes my heart really happy! Clara has gotten so much more imaginative and creative seemingly overnight in the past few weeks. She loves forcing us all to play ‘pretend’ with her, and it’s fun to see how she views the world! She usually makes us act out her typical day with her, and I think it’s both enlightening and hilarious.

Gymboree 2018 Spring Collection for ToddlersGymboree 2018 Spring Collection for Toddlers

Isabelle’s dress can be found on sale here and her tights are here!

She, of course, is a bossy three year old about the whole play thing, so poor Isabelle just needs to go along with what Clara is trying to accomplish, or face her wrath. Generally, though, they play well together, for which I am extremely thankful! We had quite a few months of the girls fighting nonstop, so I will take these peaceful moments when I can!

There’s something about fresh air that really makes the girls happy and helps burn off even more energy, and we plan on spending a lot of time outside while the weather is cooperating!

We’re in a fun season – both in the year and in life. I’m actually enjoying (a lot of) this particular stage of toddler parenting!

This post was sponsored by Gymboree, but all opinions are, of course, my own! I encourage you to check out their spring collection. It’s full of bright colors and graphics and a lot of it is on sale!

C’mon spring, we’re ready for ya!

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Toddlers + Vaccinations + Communication

One of the parental tasks that is never fun is taking kids in for vaccinations. I never know what to expect when I go in. Isabelle (21 months old) has been the easiest kid lately, and has barely even blinked when getting shots or even blood draws.

Clara (3.5 years old) on the other hand… yikes.

Is anything with three year olds easy?! I don’t think so.

This past week, Tim took Clara to our local pharmacy to get a flu shot. We’re a bit late in the season (because I’m a huge procrastinator), but with quite a few trips coming up, I thought it was wise to get them. This is the first year the girls have gotten flu shots, but I plan on making it a yearly thing, preferably in October. (Sidenote: Their ped in Chicago did not recommend flu shots, which is why we never had the girls get them. However, their peds here in Seattle do recommend them. It’s so hard to navigate these decisions with such varied medical advice!)

Anyways, last week Tim and Clara walked into the pharmacy to get her shot and the pharmacist recommended that Clara get the shot first, so that she wouldn’t see Tim get his.

Tim responded that they had already discussed the shot, and that Clara knew she’d be getting one and what it was, and she had requested Tim go first so she could see it.

The pharmacist rolled her eyes and gave Tim his shot.

Then when it was Clara’s turn, the pharmacist suggested distracting her and having her look away, etc. Tim responded that Clara wanted to watch (I don’t know why, I don’t like watching!) and already knew she was getting a shot, so there was no need to distract her.

I guess the pharmacist was getting pretty annoyed with Tim because she didn’t want to deal with a hysterical toddler. BUT, here’s the thing, Clara watched the pharmacist disinfect her arm, watched her prep the shot, watched the shot go in, and was completely fine. No tears, no screaming, nothing.

She then got a ‘bravery sticker’ and a lollipop, of course.

The pharmacist commented to Tim that she had never seen a kid Clara’s age react so well to a shot.

To which I thought, that’s probably because you try to get them to look away and then jab them in the arm with a needle! I wouldn’t react well to that either! I’m pretty sure if someone came out of nowhere and stabbed me with a needle my first instinct would be to hit them!

Now, I’m not saying this will work for every child, and it might not even work for Clara again, but I am a huge proponent of treating children respectfully, and part of that includes not tricking them. In my mind, not telling Clara that she’s going to get a shot or trying to distract her so she doesn’t notice what is happening is just not respectful behavior.

I would rather deal with a crying toddler because of an ‘owwie’ than a crying toddler because they feel like I lied to them.

4 Tips For Helping Toddlers Through Vaccinations

My general tips for communicating vaccinations (or anything!) to a toddler:

+ Be honest.

Let them know what to expect in a laid-back manner. Answer their questions as honestly as you can.

+ Be specific.

We play a lot of ‘doctor’ at our house with this kit that Clara received for Christmas. The more we normalize doctor’s visits, the easier it has gotten for us! Also, we try to tell Clara in detail what to expect from vaccinations or any sort of procedure. We act out the whole thing several times, we tell bedtime stories about Daniel Tiger (her fav!) getting a shot and being brave, etc. We basically bring it up as specifically as possible, as often as possible, the day before the big event.

+ Applaud bravery.

Our pediatrician gives stickers and small toys to children after visits, so I always call these ‘bravery treats’ and tell Clara how brave she is after the experience. Even if she cries (which she usually does!) I tell her that even brave girls cry when they get hurt and that she’s doing awesome. She generally recovers in less than a minute, especially if she gets a bandaid with characters on it! Gosh the girl loves her bandaids.

+ Bring it up at the last minute.

If I know we’re going for shots on a Wednesday, I won’t bring it up with Clara until that morning, or really until we need to get ready to walk out the door. If I brought it up on Monday, I think she’d be worried about it for the next two days. I know some kids need a lot of mental time to prepare for things, but in our experience, Clara doesn’t need much time to think about the actual event, although we might start playing doctor and telling stories about doctor visits a few days ahead of time to start making it become a positive thought.

I am very aware that all toddlers are different and that what works for one toddler may not work for another! At 21 months old, Isabelle does great with being distracted at the doctor’s office and getting a shot when she isn’t looking. I still tell her what’s going on, but she is much more interested in playing with a new toy than in anything I have to say. I don’t intentionally distract her, but I let her do what she wants to do. At Clara’s age, though, I think it’s important to treat her respectfully so that she doesn’t think I’m trying to trick her. I might feel differently about this whole thing if she was a kid who kicked and screamed her way into the doctor’s office, but thankfully she loves going (even if she knows there’s a shot involved!) so we don’t have to fight that battle.

Also, when taking both kids in for shots, it’s hard to know which order to do things in. When we did blood draws for the girls, Isabelle went first and didn’t flinch, whereas Clara freaked out. I’m sure if Isabelle had cried that would have made things worse for Clara, so I’d probably say in the future I’d do older kid first, then younger kid (since Isabelle doesn’t seem to be concerned at Clara’s crying). Unfortunately I never know who’s going to be calmer on any given day, but I’d recommend the calmer kid going first and hopefully setting a good example!

Do you have any tips/tricks for dealing with kids & vaccinations?!

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TGIF (to refer to Friday or February)

January lasted forever, right? Like, January 1st seems like it was at least 3 months ago.

I’m glad it’s February (at last!) because we have some fun plans! Hiking, skiing, a vacation… it should be great! Fingers crossed that everyone stays healthy.


5 Things This Week:

+ It’s official, Isabelle is POTTY TRAINED! We have been working on this ‘unofficially’ for months, but this is the first week we really decided to leave the house with no pull-ups on. She did great! We were gone for hours on multiple days, and she didn’t have a single accident. Plus, she’s been taking 3 hour naps and waking up dry. Woohoo! Check that task off the parenting list.

+ I’m reading ‘Anything is Possible’ by Elizabeth Strout. First read ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’, then this one. Such good stuff.

+ This week my MOPS group listened to a speaker who strongly recommended this book for discussing sex with young children. I will probably write an entire post on this – but she recommended discussing sex with kids starting at age 5, and obviously discussing correct body parts with them much sooner. I now own this book and plan on reading it with Clara whenever she requests it.

+ I’m a month late, but have been doing the 30-day yoga challenge by Yoga With Adriene for a whole two days now, and I love it! I’m not sure I’m going to do it every day (okay, I know I probably won’t), but I do plan on going through the entire 30 days… no matter how long it takes!

+ This comic hits a little too close to home for me (in my perpetual sleep-training state).

Wait, two more things…

+ Did you see Will Ferrell on SNL last weekend?! I almost died laughing multiple times.

+ The girls got flu shots this week and next year I’m (obviously) doing it way sooner. Usually I don’t get flu shots, but with two little ones, it’s seeming extra likely that one little germ could take our whole family down and my sanity cannot handle that!

I hope you had a great week!

Posted in friday | Tagged | 10 Comments

My January 2018 Resolutions

I mentioned this before, but I’m trying something new with resolutions this year. I’m actually making them! Written down!

While the one-word approach has worked in previous years, I find that I do better with more clear goals/tasks/resolutions/etc.

So this year I completed Lara Casey’s Powersheets and have a more detailed approach. SO DETAILED.

I was supposed to come up with a word for the year, but still haven’t decided on just one. But each month, at the end of the previous month, I’m going to come up with some words for that particular month, and some monthly/weekly/daily goals for that particular time frame.

My January resolutions, and my approach to creating them.

For instance…

In January my daily goals were to:

  • Read the Bible
  • Stretch/exercise
  • Eat breakfast
  • Go to bed by 11:30pm
  • Drink 32 oz of water

In January my weekly goals were to:

  • Blog twice
  • Journal once

In January my monthly goals were to:

  • Plan vacations for the next 6 months
  • Organize the basement
  • Organize the kids’ room
  • Organize the master bedroom
  • Do Emily Ley’s Simplicity Challenge (new challenges each day were posted on Instagram)

I was skeptical about this approach at first, but honestly, this specific method has made a huge difference. In February I’ll continue with some of these goals (if I think I need continued accountability) but I’ll also come up with some new ones. For instance, going to bed before 11:30pm is actually happening consistently (SHOCKINGLY), and I’m getting much better at going to bed when I’m tired, so I don’t think I need external accountability of checking a box in my planner. BUT, I didn’t do as well with water consumption, so I’ll keep that on there. I also need the reminder to stay in the Word, so I’ll keep Bible reading on my list of daily goals.

Ultimately, I hope that the weekly and daily goals will become seamlessly incorporated in my life, and then I can drop them off my list as time progresses, so that I can add more.

I’m all about permanent lifestyle changes this year, in teeny tiny steps.

How are your goals going this year? What is your approach?

Posted in consciously evolving | Tagged | 4 Comments

How I Survive Solo Parenting

If there’s one thing I really, really love about Tim, it’s that he’s an excellent co-parent. He helps me a lot with the girls and is very supportive of me and my role as a stay at home mom. But sometimes he needs to travel for work, and it completely throws me off.

When Tim recently left town for a few days, I was forced to go into ‘survival mode’ (guys, I know this sounds dramatic, but trust me, I really, really am not a person who’s equipped to care for two toddlers by myself for more than 24 hours straight), which meant planning ahead.

5 Parenting Tips To Survive An Especially Chaotic Week!

If you’re faced with a similarly busy week, I have some (survival) suggestions:

+ Hire a babysitter.

Tim and I don’t live near any family, so we aren’t used to getting any help watching the girls. The thought of hiring a babysitter during the day makes me cringe a bit, because I feel like my only job is to be a SAHM, and if I outsource that responsibility I feel pretty lousy about my abilities as a mom. (This could be a whole separate blog post, but I’m just being honest about where I’m at with this!) BUT, when Tim was gone he hired a babysitter for 2 hours on two of the days so I could leave the house and workout and take a shower and start making dinner for the girls. That end-of-naptime –> dinner time is witching hour and it’s MISERABLE without some extra help! Having a babysitter saved me.

+ Meal prep ahead of time.

I didn’t do this, but I should have! (Story of my life.) If I was a little more organized I would have prepped some dinners and lunches for myself over the weekend so that I had one less thing to worry about when Tim was gone.

+ Schedule time with friends.

I let my friends know how stressed I was about ‘momming’ by myself for a few days, and they definitely showed up for me. Playdates were scheduled, dinner get-togethers were offered, plans were made! As a super extrovert, this time with others was extra appreciated. Leaving the house with two toddlers is never easy, but I am the very opposite of a homebody, so the effort was worth it – plus it saved me a ton of time cleaning up every day/night! (Mom hack = the more time I spend outside of the house, the less time I have to spend cleaning up the house!)

+ Set an alarm.

On my normal days, I wake up when the girls get up – no alarm needed! However, when Tim was out of town I set an alarm every single day. I even woke up the girls some mornings, which we normally avoid at all costs. My reasoning was this: it takes me much longer to get the girls ready and out of the house without an extra set of hands, so instead of rushing around like a crazy person, I settled for a little sleep deprivation, which gained me an extra few minutes to convince the girls to put pants on.

+ Lower expectations.

The house might be a little messier, I might be late to events, food might not be home cooked, screen time may be used more liberally… when it’s a really busy week or a solo-parenting day, I lower the expectations and simply survive! Some weeks of motherhood are just harder than others, whether it’s because of illness or long hours at work or travel or especially tough toddler moments/hours, or if it’s just one of those days where nothing seems to be going right! And when I’m having one of those days, it’s a lot easier to lower my expectations than to attempt to reach lofty motherhood goals (like getting dressed before lunch… haha)!

If I was living my best life, I would take this advice every single week, and sometimes I do! (Except for the meal prep part, I’ll always and forever be awful at that.) What I’ve learned is that motherhood truly takes community, and we shouldn’t feel like we need to do it all ourselves. When Tim is gone, I truly rely on others to keep me sane!

… and I’ll say it again, I feel very blessed to have a partner who is so helpful when he’s around (and able to be physically present so often!) that it shakes up my world when he leaves for just a day or two, and especially for any time longer than that! I know some moms are pros at the solo-parenting thing, and I have complete admiration for that!

Does your partner travel for work? Any tips on surviving/thriving?

Posted in motherhood | Tagged | 14 Comments