Books Featuring Babywearing

We are avid library goers (every Wednesday!), which means we get a whole lot of random books. I’ve read books on adoption to grandmothers dying to gardening to dinosaurs, to Anne Frank. We also read a lot of books that I specifically mean to get (yay holds!), but a lot of time it’s my children bringing me various books that look interesting until our bag is full. And let’s be honest here, I grab quite a few interesting-looking random books myself.

So it’s always a pleasant surprise when we come across a book with something unexpectedly hippie parenting in it, such was the case twice in the same week recently. Two different books that were grabbed randomly from the shelves that happened to have babywearing in them!

First up: Carry Me (Babies Everywhere). This one is a pretty simple board book and obviously about babywearing from the cover. It shows a lot of different carriers in different places.

Second: Baby Parade. This one is, as you can expect from the title, babies in a parade. With a bit thrown in of a baby being worn (by a dad!).

 

Well that’s it for today. Just a couple cute books with babywearing in them for your enjoyment. Go check your library for them (or other books with babywearing!). Be sure to let me know of any gems you find.

Our Routine

It takes time to get used to having a new baby in the house. To find your routine. Now Banana is 4.5 months old and I can say we’re pretty firmly planted in the routine. I’ve found that days that we follow it, life is easier. We find more time to do things together (like playing a board game with Peanut while Twig naps), more gets accomplished that needs to get accomplished (though still not much beyond the absolute needs), and life just feels easier. Having a routine now makes me think back to my days of one child and no routine and cringe. I don’t know how, but life with three kids and a routine just feels so much easier to me than life with only one and no routine.

Anyway, we’ve found something that works for us. I wanted to share it here in case anyone on the World Wide Web may find it interesting or helpful. I know that in the early days of establishing a daily routine were hard. Finding the balance between a schedule and over-scheduled, figuring out where in the day certain activities fit, those kinds of things. So here it goes!

7am: Wake up. I’ve found that everyone in our house (well, except my husband, he wakes later), functions best on a 7am wake up time. It doesn’t always work this way, like recently when Peanut kept waking up at 5:45, but this is our aim for a wake up time. To solve that recent issue with early waking, I put a timer on a dim light in her room and the light turns on at 7am, which signals to her that she’s allowed to get out of bed. If she wakes up before the timer goes off, she has to stay in bed. Within a few days she was back to a {semi}normal waking time most days.

7-8am: Breakfast, girls get dressed. We still often take a little longer doing this than I would like (and end up getting Peanut late to school or barely on time), but we’re working on it. Banana usually is awake and socializing with the girls during this time, but sometimes is still asleep if I’m able to sneak out of the room without him.

8-8:30am: Take Peanut to school. 

8:30-11am: Twig time. Sometimes we run errands (today we went to the grocery store and took the dog to the vet), sometimes we come home and hang out, sometimes we go to the Treehouse Museum, and recently we started going to a weekly preschool for Twig once a week during this time. Twig doesn’t mind me multi-tasking our hang out time and I’m way less stressed if I run errands with only two kids (the older two start to bicker the second we step into a grocery store). Banana usually naps during this time.

11am: Pick up Peanut and snack. We started doing the snack consistently at this time when Peanut started school and was always hungry at pick up. Now they have to have a snack at this time even on weekends because it’s so ingrained. Our snack consists of two items, one of which must be a fresh fruit or veggie. Here are some examples we’ve done recently: apple slices and a graham cracker, clementine and string cheese, cucumber slices and crackers, carrots and baby bell cheese. Sometimes we do two fruits/veggies. No dips because it’s just too messy to do in the van. I just throw them together real quick and toss them in bowls that we got at a secondhand store for their play kitchen (pretty similar to these). The girls eat it on their way home.

11:15am-12:30/1pm: Play/TV while I get lunch ready. I don’t spend this entire time getting lunch ready, but more like picking up the kitchen a bit/nursing the baby/changing the baby/getting lunch ready time. I generally have lunch ready to go between 12:30 and 1. Sometimes we end up leaving the house during this time and I inevitably end up regretting it.

12:30-1:30pm: Lunch. Simple stuff like leftovers, quesadillas, tuna sandwiches, etc. I always have some sort of fresh fruit or veggie with this too. Really trying to make sure we get some produce!

1:30-2:30pm Quiet time/naptime. Peanut still does quiet time (and if your no longer napping child doesn’t, I really recommend implementing it). Twig is in that weird in-between stage where she isn’t always tired enough to nap, but isn’t really ready to completely let go of it either. So she gets the option to nap or get quiet time. If she naps, it’s usually two hours. If she chooses quiet time, it’s an hour like big sister. Yeah, there are some days when she should probably choose to nap, but does quiet time (and she’s choosing nap less and less these days), but this has eliminated her fighting nap-time and thereby making me stay in the room with her for the whole time Peanut is in quiet time. I really need a bit of time to myself too, it really helps to keep me sane. If I’m lucky, Banana naps during this time too. When he doesn’t nap, I try to spend time interacting with him one-on-one.

2:30-5:30pm Free-for-all. The girls play. They may watch a show or two. I play with them at some point. Gideon is generally awake, but starts to fuss towards the end of this time period. I get dinner ready if I’m even getting dinner ready (sometimes my husband cooks when he gets home, we go out, we get fed by awesome family, or we eat leftovers, so often I’m not cooking during this time). If it’s warm enough I’ll send the girls outside (which sadly it mostly isn’t at this point in time). If Twig didn’t nap I try to give Peanut some focus during this time.

5:30pm Daddy’s Home!

5:30-7pm Dinner and Hang Out. Sometimes we watch some tv as a family (we’ve been enjoying How We Got to Now on PBS). Sometimes we play with the girls while my husband watches basketball. Sometimes we play board games. Just fun family stuff.

7-8pm Bedtime. PJs, brush teeth, potty, hugs and kisses, then reading. Generally we start this at the same time for both girls because Peanut gets more reading time so it makes up for the later bedtime. Really though, I’ve been contemplating moving this up for Twig (or at least getting her asleep on the earlier end of this hour) since she’s starting to drop her nap.

So that’s it! Our days still vary quite a bit, but most days have this general routine underlying them. I think it really helps the kids to kind of know what’s coming next. We don’t get many fights about quiet time because quiet time is always after lunch, that kind of thing. I think it helps me too because I just know at this point what times of the day are bad to do things (leaving the house after dinner is a nightmare that just doesn’t happen anymore) and that helps me avoid stress. It also seems like Banana naturally fell into a napping routine that coincides with our routines as a family (he had a schedule much earlier than is “normal”) and while it still isn’t a perfect nap schedule by any means (he often decides to take power naps and things of that sort), I still think it helps.

What are your routines as a family? Did you have difficulty finding your rhythm? 

Newsletter – September 2014

Hello kids!

On with catching up with our newsletters! For us September meant being a new family of 5. We started to find our routines this month and everyone had fun getting to know our new baby.

Peanut, you love your new little brother so much! There were many days where you asked not to go to school because you had to miss out on time with him. Of course you still went, but it made you feel better when I told you he mostly naps while you’re gone. You made up a little song for him that goes “hush little Gideon hush, hush, hush” to the tune of Hush, Little Baby. You sing it to him every time he cries.

Even with asking not to go, you really do love school. You come home every day just thrilled to tell me what you did that day. You’ve even gotten excited about doing some extra math online on Khan Academy with daddy. It’s amazing how quickly you’re picking it all up.

You painted this completely of your own accord.

You’ve also decided that your favorite color is no longer pink. Now it’s blue. No surprises that your inspiration is Elsa from Frozen. Almost the moment you decided pink is no longer the favorite, little sister decided pink is now her favorite! It’s like the torch was passed.

Twig, you are just so ridiculously cute. You decided that “oh my GOSH!” is the appropriate response to just about everything. Big emphasis on the gosh part.

You also love your little brother immensely. Every time I put him on the floor you’re getting down right next to him. You kiss him more times a day than I can count. We’re still working on being gentle with him (sometimes you try to move his head to make him look at you and stuff like that), but that’s to be expected for your age.

You love to spend every day running around with mama while Peanut is in school. Like I said earlier, Banana mostly naps while she’s gone, so it’s just me and you. You love to help me with chores, run errands, or pretty much just do anything I’m doing. It’s pretty nice to get quality time with you while still being able to accomplish what I need to in the small window your brother is sleeping and your sister is at school.

Banana, you decided to roll over front to back the first time on your one month birthday. It was funny because daddy thought it was a fluke and said you had to do it three times for it to be real. I set you on the floor and joy proceeding to do it three more times in less than five minutes. So that was that! And you started to smile shortly after. Baby smiles are the best.

We also started elimination communication this month. I had given myself a “pass” on trying of this time around. In the past I couldn’t ever get it to work and it just added to my stress. Well you developed a really bad yeast rash that wouldn’t go away even with the yeast cream the doctor prescribed, so I decided to give it a go. Turns out you really, really prefer to go in the potty! Especially the poops. You caught on to EC really quickly and we’re still doing it part-time to this day. And there’s no rash in sight. Yay!

Til next month!
Love, Mama

For the Supply, I Tell You!

The holidays are finally over, and believe you me, I’m breathing a big ole sigh of relief. While I love the holidays, I get pretty sick of the whole shebang by the time it’s all said and done. So this should mean I’m sick of the sweets that accompany the holidays, no? NO! Never shall I be sick of delicious things, especially those with a big heaping spoonful of sugar.

So tonight I’m making these amazing no bake cookies. They’re for my supply, I tell you! Never mind that my supply is a-okay, therefore not necessarily in need of a boost. I will justify eating too many delicious cookies on the fact that I produce milk. If you’re looking for a delicious fix, I suggest you give these a try too. And if anyone asks, blame it on the supply.

Happy Holidays my lovelies.

Toddler-made Bookmark Christmas Gift

This year, Peanut learn to sew on the machine (with help), so she’s been really excited that she can so things for people as presents. She decided that she wanted to so her sister a pillow for Christmas out of an old shirt on our mending pile. We did so and she’s crazy excited to give it to her. This created a bit of a dilemma for me though because, generally, when you give a present you expect one in return. And I knew that Twig would be upset that she didn’t have anything to give to Peanut too.

So I went searching online for something Twig could make mostly by herself to give to Peanut. I found this post with a bunch of ideas and thought the bookmark idea would be easy, cute, and useful (Peanut has been reading through the How To Train Your Dragon series with dad, so bookmarks are definitely useful!).

I changed thing up a bit though. I wanted Twig to feel like she had made this for Peanut, not like mama made it and put her name on it. Plus I wanted to use supplies we already had around the house. We accomplished both those things and I thought we’d share in case anyone else wants to do something similar. So here’s what we did!

First, here are the supplies:
Scrapbook paper (you could use printer or construction paper if that’s what you have, but this is more sturdy), paper cutter (or scissor and a mama who can cut straight lines), letter stickers (or you could write the name on if you don’t have these), shape cutter (whatever you want, or you could have the kiddo cut out some shapes or confetti), tape to secure (not pictured, oops!), scissors, contact paper (you can get this at big box stores and it’s an amazing alternative to laminating).

First we cut two bookmarks the size of another bookmark we have, which is 2″ by 6″. One piece of scrapbook paper was 12″ so it worked perfect for making two out of the same line.

Next we added embellishments. This is the big part that Twig was involved in. She chose where to put big sister’s name, what color to cut the elephants, cut them with help, then where to put them. Mama actually secured everything.

Next we cut out two pieces of contact paper for each bookmark, leaving plenty of extra paper all the way around the bookmark. Twig helped me place the bookmark on the first piece, then I put the second piece on. This stuff is crazy sticky so know that once it’s on, there’s no turning back.

Lastly, I cut the contact paper around the bookmark. I originally planned on leaving a bit of contact paper all the way around, but I accidentally snipped too close on one spot so I went right up against the bookmark. I’m not sure if it’ll stay together as well, so I’ll try to update after the bookmarks have had some use.

And that’s it! Super easy, super cute, super useful. Twig had so much fun making these and is crazy excited to give them to Peanut. And all this took maybe 15 minutes total, so it was great to throw together while big sister was in school. Be sure to share in the comments if you try this out! Happy Holidays!

Peanut’s Frozen Birthday Party with FREE Printables

It’s been 9 months, but I’m finally getting around to posting about Peanut’s birthday party. A lot of my ideas were taken from other places (I’ll provide links as much as possible, check out the board for anything I missed), but a couple of things came right out of my brain. Yay creativity! For more ideas that I didn’t use, you can check out my Pinterest board.

First off, this was a surprise party. Peanut specifically asked for a surprise party for her birthday, so she didn’t get to choose the details. I almost didn’t do a Frozen party because I knew that I got to choose, but it’s just too much fun planning parties, so I went for it! I’m happy I did because she loved it. Here are the invites:

I got the idea for the invites from a surprise birthday party invite I saw online, then put them together myself. I just used different fonts and positioned things until I got it how I wanted it.

Next the decorations:

I put this on our front door a couple week before the party “for fun” so Peanut wouldn’t be suspicious when she saw it. I just printed and cut out this and printed out the quote, then cut it into a sound bubble.

My brother made this amazing banner. Free printable below.

I got all the things hanging from the ceiling at a local party store. The snowflakes are from this tutorial. I put these all over the three rooms we were doing stuff in.

Next the food:

 

My brother made all the food labels. Free printables below. This one is “Anna’s Roast Beef Sandwiches” since she mentions they’ll eat roast beef at the wedding.

Olaf Noses with Peppered Slush (carrots and ranch).

Melted Snow (my brother made these labels too, free printables below). Idea from here.

I was planning on hanging these (like seen here) from the ceiling as “icicles” (and we actually made some ourselves that we hung, which was fun, but didn’t work out very well). I couldn’t figure out a way to get them secure, so they went on the table instead.

Sven’s Carrot and Spice Muffins. These were delicious. Recipe here.

Kristoff’s Ice Cubes (blue jello that I failed at making, should have been cubes like here).

And the cake! I just took some white frosting and swirled some blue food coloring into it, leaving some white spots on purpose. Then the Anna and Elsa are from Target.

Next, the activities:

When the guests arrived, they got to color in these books. I found free Frozen coloring pages online and printed them (check out my board for some of them). Then for each guest I made a cover that said “Princess NAME of Arendelle” in a fancy font. They got to take these home.

Then Peanut arrived! Here’s a cute picture of her being surprised.

Next we made ribbons for their hair. I just cut up ribbons in the same colors as the party decorations and bought some hair clips from the dollar store. I had the girls choose three ribbons, then bring them to me so I could hot glue them on. They wore them in their hair for the rest of the party and got to take them home.

Then we played Pin the Nose on Olaf (idea from here, my brother drew Olaf for me). Everyone got to color a nose (printables on the same link) and cut it out before playing.

Next we played Throw Snowballs at Marshmallow. I liked this idea, but decided that they should throw them at a “bad guy” and made the snowballs out of pom poms. The kids really liked this one.

Lastly we had dancing like in the coronation scene. I just put on the songs from Frozen and everyone danced around and had a ball.

Now for the printables! Thanks again to my brother for making all these and allowing me to share them with ya’ll. Happy Birthday Banner. Melted Snow Water Bottle Labels. Olaf Noses with Peppered Slush. Sven’s Carrot and Spice Muffins. Anna’s Roast Beef Sandwiches. Kristoff’s Ice Cubes. Obviously, don’t use these to make money for yourself or try to pass them off as your own. That’s just rude dude.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to comment if you do your own Frozen party!

Newsletter – August 2014

Hello Children!

This month was a woozy. The end of summer, Peanut starting kindergarten, and of course Banana being born! Let’s get started!

Twig, you are really starting to get a personality! Your favorite thing to say this month was “Dats what me do sometimes. I TOLD you.” in a very exasperated voice. Like jeeze guys, don’t you know this already?! You also won’t take any bossing around from anyone, including your big sister. You are making it very clear that you are also big now and can do what you want!

Speaking of you being big, you started singing the ABCs and it’s so incredibly cute. You sing them all correctly (I’m not sure if you really connect that there’s letter that go along with them though) except lmnop and w, which you completely skip. Not even mushing them together like some kids do, you just skip them.

Peanut you’re growing up so much too! Of course you started kindergarten this month. The first couple weeks of this month were kind of crazy because you were such a ball of nerves. Luckily, the moment you started school all those nerves turned into pure excitement. You absolutely love going and your teacher loves you. You love to get in the van and tell me all the exciting things you did that day.

You also taught yourself to snap this month and pump on the swings. With the snapping, you decided you just wanted to learn, so you practiced constantly until you got it. It’s amazing what you can do when you sent your mind to it. With the pumping on the swings, something just clicked for you. We spent a lot of time at the park this summer and one day you got on and just started to do it. You were so excited and proud of yourself and you’ve been able to swing by yourself ever since (though you don’t mind a push from mommy sometimes too).

Both of you girls made a friend down the street this month too. Right at the end of last month we got a big dumpster from the city so we could clear out some stuff before the baby comes. The city does a program every summer where you can get a dumpster for free for a few days. We told the whole neighborhood they were free to use it and someone up the road came to put a stump from a tree they cut down in. It turned out he has a little 5 year old girl (who also was starting kindergarten, but she’s going to the local school). You three have been playing all the time ever since.

Of course you both were incredibly excited to meet the baby. Both of you loved putting lotion on my belly and rubbing it in. Peanut spent quite a bit of time talking to my belly. Twig claimed she could “see” the baby through my bellybutton. Peanut still wanted a boy (though said she’d be happy with either, little diplomat she is) and Twig still wanted a girl. When we set up the birth pool you took turns playing mommy and midwife and delivering each other’s babies.

Then, of course, on August 21st (not the 20th, as we had been hoping for/attempting to get) I woke up at 2:00am to some crampy pains and contractions (not unusual for the last few months). A mere one hour and forty minutes later I was holding my baby in my arms. A little boy. Gideon James, who will be known on this blog as Banana. We were all so very happy to meet you and your big sisters are absolutely enamored.

Well that’s all for this month. Love you girls (and boy)!

Mama