Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

I was chatting with a friend the other day who was saying she rarely sees me outside of the house. I was all “That’s because I don’t want to leave my house!”

I’m telling you, each kid makes me more and more of a homebody. After having my first daughter, I was out and about all the time during my maternity leave. We went to mommy and me yoga and lots of play dates.

This second half of the year, after my third baby, I went from being cooped up with a newborn, to battling and avoiding sickness. Lee Lee and I hang out at home most of the day, just working, taking pictures, and doing all the things before her brother and sister to get home. Then when they get back the house explodes into chaos.

Aside from doctors appointments, I don’t go many places with all three of them. In fact, you could argue I avoid it at all costs.

Honestly, sometimes it’s a little scary. Being outnumbered by my spawn. Particularly in public.

But the past few weeks I have pushed myself to be brave. And I’m proud to say that I survived.

I load up the baby bag with bribes snacks, put some blankets in the stroller and take leap of faith. It’s so nice that our RIVA stroller is lightweight and easy to take along. I can fold it or unfold it with one arm while I have my baby in the other. There’s lots of storage underneath for baby and big kid things, a shade for sunny days, and the older siblings love to help push it. Now that Lee Lee is bigger, she likes to ride looking out at everyone. But I can also just snap her car seat right into it.

Another cool thing about this stroller is it’s made with a special blend of recycled materials in a zero waste facility in Columbus, IN. The resin in the frame is made up of recycled potato bags and diaper tabs. The child tray and cup holders are actually made from a resin using their recycled car seats.These strollers are saving 130,000 lbs of plastic from the landfill! The RIVA travel system is available at Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com.

We’ve gone out on what you might call “brave little adventures.” I don’t try to overdo it and stay out for long periods of time. Just an hour or two here and there and each time it gets a little easier, and a little less scary.

We went to a birthday party and I survived.

To a food truck for dinner and I survived.

We went to two movies at a movie theater (on two different days), and somehow, I survived.

I even took them shopping at a little consignment store, and guess what? I survived.

Now sometimes, (if you tilt your head just right) it even looks like I have it together.

Motherhood quote life is tough but I'm tougher

I am a mother. Life is tough, but I'm tougher.Click To Tweet

If you recently had a baby, or a second, third, or fourth baby and you’re not feeling up to going anywhere, that’s ok. Someday when the weather seems unusually nice, or a friendly person offers some help, or an activity or sale sounds too good to pass up, you may get brave and head outside. And you will survive.

Preparing to leave the house after having a new baby.

In my house growing up there was a rule that you don’t talk back to your parents. If you did, you got your butt whipped.

In my son’s class at school there’s some kind of rule about using their white boards for writing words and practicing numbers. Not for drawing pictures.

“Because just drawing pictures doesn’t help our brain grow,” my son told me.

In our home now we have a rule where you don’t ride your bike in the street unless my husband or I is standing in the street with them.

There are rules about speed limits, no running around the pool, and drinking before a certain age. As kids, we may not have understood the why behind so many rules.

Growing up, if I responded to something my parents told me with a “Why?” I’d either get a butt whoopin for breaking rule #1 (don’t talk back) or receive one simple answer: Because I said so.

It’s an answer I swore up and down I’d never give my own children, but I’d be lying if I said those words have never slipped my mouth.

But some questions are too important to ignore.

“Why can’t I have a sip of your drink?”

Did you know by age 8, 37% of kids have had a sip of alcohol? Some parents thinks it’s safe to do at home, or takes away some of the allure. According to SAMHSA, by age 12, 66% of kids have had a sip. Kids ages 9 to 13 start to think underage drinking is ok and even start to experiment.

My kids are still at the age where they see it as something for adults (though they know we don’t drink it). But that could change (their perception, not my lack of drinking, ha!)

Last week at the movie theater Lil’ J asked me what the pretty knobs were near the fountain drinks. They were beer tap handles. And I explained that. She got so embarrassed and a little upset that she had asked about alcohol, but I made a point to tell her that it was a great question and I wanted her to know what that was.

I could have shrugged it off and said “It’s not for you, don’t worry about it,” but where would that have let her? Even more curious? Confused?

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

Children have a heightened sense of justice. When kids ask us about something, teaching them rules that are based in safety can go a long way.

I’ve noticed a couple of examples with this in our home. One day we were stopped at a red light and I noticed Lil’ J’s seatbelt wasn’t on correctly. I asked her to fix it. When she asked why I explained how she could fly out my front windshield if we were in an accident. She’s stayed buckled correctly since then.

Same type thing with bike helmets.

So next time your kids ask you a serious “Why?” Resist the urge to say because you said so. Give them credit, sit down and have a grownup conversation about safety. Why they should wear a helmet. Why they shouldn’t run around a pool. And why alcohol has a legal age. Think of what a difference it can make in their lives as they grow up with a healthy understanding.

Responsibility.org has a program targeting tweens and parents of tweens called Ask Listen Learn, including resources on the developing brain. If you need help finding the words to explaining the why behind a legal alcohol age, this can help!

letting kids sip alcohol

Reponsibility.org is a Cherish 365 blog sponsor. Big thanks to them for being today’s blog sponsor.

I owe you an entire post on life with three kids. I feel like I’ve jumped on a high speed train and it hasn’t slowed down. But all of it in one word: Humbling.

My two older babies have been back in public school for nine weeks. NINE WEEKS? How is this possible? I’ve so enjoyed watching them grow but I miss them like crazy.

Remember how the first week of school was a bit dramatic? Well things have gotten better. Much better. My son is LOVING school. I seriously hit the jackpot with a kindergarten teacher. He loves her. She loves him. It’s a match made in heaven. It seriously seems like he’s a different person at school, which makes me a little envious. Though I’d rather he give the sass and attitude at home than in public, I’m not sure how or if homeschooling would work in our future.

Lil’ J is doing well. She’s reading more and more on her own versus asking me to read things to her. She always hops off the bus with a smile on her face and rattles on about her day. She talks about wanting to homeschool again now and then, but she’s still enjoying her time at her school.

It’s hard having them gone all day but I’ve enjoyed getting one on one time with Lee Lee and the quality time I get with the kids when they get home. Which leads me to what I want to share with you today…

Ways to surprise and delight your school kids when you’ve been missing them all day

Call me a dork, but sometimes when I’m missing them and feeling mopey, I’ll come up with a random little surprise for them that I hope will brighten their day. Here are some of my antics so far.

1. Lunch Notes

Write lunch notes to your kids

This is how it started. Little notes in their lunch boxes. I draw pictures with small words for my son, and write out notes for Lil’ J to read. She’s gotten so used to them that I don’t dare miss one.

2. Surprise Visits/ Lunch Dates

The one day I didn’t put one in her lunch I surprised her and brought one with me while I ate with her. I’ve also eaten with Big T once and my husband has gone to eat with him several times. Almost once a week when he has weekdays off.

3. After School Snack Bar

When they come home they’re starving. My son usually grabs and eats the rest of his lunch at the table. But sometimes, if I have extra time, I’ll make a little snack bar for them. One day I set up these new Stonyfield Organic Snack Packs out. I opened one of each flavor so they could dip and try them all and decide on their favorites. Lil’ J loves the strawberry graham cracker and Big T likes the chocolate pretzel. I’ve also done this with trail mix and other assorted things to get them to try new things. These snack packs are delicious and you can click here too see if they’re available at a store near you. January they’re adding new flavors and launching nationwide!

4. Movie Night

We’ve always had unofficial movie nights, but we just made it official and now take turns choosing the movie we’ll watch when it’s your week (we used to all vote on one). It cut down on arguing on a movie, and it’s something the kids have started to look forward to all week. We have popcorn, snacks, dim the lights. The whole nine yards. And everyone has to sit and watch together. No running off to watch your own thing.

5. Breakfast in Bed

Ok, so this isn’t something I’ve done on a school day yet because they have to wake up at 6am to catch the bus at 6:40, but it’s something I’ve done occasionally on weekends when I beat them out of bed. The idea is simple, set up a tray and bring them in their favorite breakfast to enjoy before starting the day. Although it’s early I think I’ll give this a try soon and see how they react.

Do you ever do things like this? Or does this seem strange? What other ideas do you have?

I may add more to this list as the year goes on and I try more things.My son told me he wants to do another poetry tea party so I think I’ll set the table for one that’s waiting for them when they get off the bus Friday.

This high speed train is just flying by and I wish I could pump the breaks. I may not be able to slow it down, but I can try my best to make it one fun ride.

To this day some people still remember me as that mom who had rollers in her hair when she went to the hospital to give birth eight years ago. My oh my how things have changed.

As a first-time mom I was so extra. My daughter always wore boutique clothing and tutus with lots of frills. I was working 40 hours a week, pumping like a cow, and cloth diapering while making my own baby food. That mom was awesome, and I’m high fiving who I once was, but two kids later I’ve seen the light.

My time is stretched between three kids, a husband and a business. So understandably some of my priorities have changed. I still prefer high-quality stuff, but I prefer choices that also offer comfort and convenience.

Breastfeeding is still a commonality between all my kids. And despite a bout with thrush a couple of months ago, it’s still convenient to have her food with me everywhere I go. We are halfway through our exclusive breastfeeding journey. And halfway to starting solid foods. But instead of buying another baby food processor I’m stocking up the pantry with some items and brands I love. And items that will make meal time quick and easy.

Beechnut baby food easy and like homemade

When I made my own baby food one of my faults was freezing a couple flavors then feeding Lil’ J the same ones over and over. She got bored and so did I. Now I’m collecting a rainbow of Beech-Nut® Naturals™ baby food for Lee Lee to try, making sure I get a variety of vitamins, minerals and flavors.

Bananas, apples, sweet potatoes and green beans are some of the staples I remember my babies loving before, and I can’t wait to see what Lee Lee likes most. The main thing I want to try to do is make sure I’m switching the flavors up and giving her a big assortment of real fruits and veggies.

Beechnut baby food easy and like homemade

Beech-Nut® Naturals™ is inspired by homemade. So even though I’m not steaming and chopping it up myself, the food inside each jar is made with real fruits and vegetables, just like I would use at home. It’s 100% natural, nothing artificial. And there are organic versions as well.

Beechnut baby food easy and like homemade

I was totally ok being the mom I was when I had Lil’ J. I was doing the most. And trying what I thought was best. As a third time mom I have no guilt using disposable diapers, comfortable onesies over tutus, and going straight to the jarred purees, especially when I know what’s in them still meets my standards.

Did your priorities change from the first kid, second kid, third kid, and so on?

Big thanks to Beech-Nut® for sponsoring today’s blog post. You can find Beech-Nut® Naturals™ in the baby food section of your local grocery store. Just look for the honeypot shaped jars with the green lids!

“Well, back in my day…”

Those are five words I never thought I’d say. Nevertheless, here I am, subjecting my kids to stories from my past.

A few months ago, my husband and I were more than a little curious to see how our kids would react to some pop candies.

My husband poured a bit in each of their mouths and as we suspected, their reactions were priceless. Our son ran out of the room begging for it to stop. Our daughter was amused and wanted to try some more.

It’s always an adventure when we introduce new things to our kids. Especially things from our childhood. So, when I busted out some Polly Pocket™ toys I should have known it would have been just as amusing.

New polly pocket toys review

Do you remember these things? I was gifted my first Polly Pocket toy when I was in fourth grade, so just a little older than my daughter is now. It was a heart-shaped compact with a castle and tiny little doll inside. Now there are new versions and I couldn’t wait to show her. I told my daughter I had a surprise for her. Something I played with as a kid that she might like too.

New polly pocket toys review

She’s even more hip these days. Parents, she has her own YouTube channel, and now Polly™ dolls have Polly Stick™ to help her stay on the hot spots on the compact, so she doesn’t fall out. Knowing Lil’ J likes small toys she can bring along in the car I knew it would be a hit with her. What I didn’t expect was my son enjoying them just as much.

Big T saw his sister and I playing with tiny dolls and came over asking if he could play with one too. We have three sets: Teeny Boppin’ Concert™, Flamingo Floatie, and Beach Vibes™ Backpack. He was a little disappointed that all of the little characters were girls, but he was glad that some of them had on light blue clothes “because that’s my favorite color!” he said.

They play together all of the time but not often with the same toys. It was sweet to watch them both play pretend with something I loved as a kid. And it didn’t take long for my son to realize these characters are the perfect size ratio for his dinosaurs (I may have found a Polly or two in a T-Rex’s mouth). Which adds a whole other awesome aspect of imaginative play.

New polly pocket toys review

New polly pocket toys review

Things from my day may not be as high tech and expensive as toys for kids these days. But it’s pretty cool when the two overlap and we can pass along something we loved to also be cherished by our kids.

Did you play with this toy as a kid?

I skipped the whole baby travel system thing with my other two kids. For one, none of my babies have been big fans of car seats, and they all loved to be held or worn in a baby carrier. Strollers and car seats seemed extra heavy and bulky, so we sorta skipped over the travel system stage.

Fast forward 5 to 8 years and there have been some improvements in the market. Strollers and car seats are more lightweight without sacrificing safety. And though I’m a babywearing aficionado, I’m finding a stroller can be handy more than I realized.

Best travel system for newborns

I’m using the RIVA Travel System by Safety 1st and there are plenty of reasons I love it. Here’s a few:

1. It’s lightweight and easy to store

One thing I haven’t liked about strollers in the past is how much of a hassle it is to open them up to use them, or get them to close back down when we’re packing up. The RIVA stroller weighs less than 18 pounds and the car seat is just 7.5 pounds. There are no crazy switches or trick levers to get it to fold or unfold I just pull up on the strap by the seat. I can fold it in one hand while holding a kid in the other. I can easily slide it into the back of my car. Or fold it and leave it self-standing in a corner when we bring it inside.

Best travel system for newborns

2. My big kids can help

More often than not, little Lee Lee is in a carrier and closer to my eye level than my other two kiddos. They are both so sweet and helpful that they absolutely love taking turns putting her in the stroller and assisting with pushing her around. It’s light and easy enough for them to help maneuver her. And it’s an easy way for my son especially, to feel like a helpful big brother.

3. Handy when shopping cartless

When I actually go inside to grocery shop, I typically wear my baby and push a shopping cart. When we’re at the mall, or a retail store that doesn’t have shopping carts my stroller comes in handy for holding all the things. Same thing goes when we go on family walks. There’s plenty of room to stash all the water bottles and snacks underneath the stroller in the storage basket even when I am still babywearing.

Best travel system for newborns

4. It’s made of recycled materials

My son is really into documentaries about ocean life, and we’ve been learning a lot about how much trash winds up in the ocean and how it hurts some of his favorite animals. So we were pretty darn excited to learn the the RIVA stroller is made with a special blend of recycled materials in a zero waste facility in Columbus, IN. The resin in the frame is made up of recycled potato bags and diaper tabs. The child tray and cup holders are actually made from a resin using their recycled car seats. 130,000 lbs of plastic is saved from the landfill!

Best travel system for newborns

5. It’ll last us

For now it’ll work great as an infant stroller with the car seat snapped in. As she gets bigger and masters sitting up by herself we’ll be able to use the stroller as a standalone. The car seat works until little Lee Lee hits 35lbs which, she’s chunky but hopefully won’t be for awhile. And thankfully the fabrics are easy to zip on and off and they’re machine washable, so we can easily spruce it up like new again on those horribly messy accidents.

Best travel system for newborns

So here I am, a late bloomer to the baby travel system club. It took 8 years and three kids. But now I’ve joined and I’m a proud card-carrying member.

best travel system for parents pinterest

“Mommy, what does D-O-O-R spell?”

We were riding in the car and my daughter was reading the letters off of a button. It’s not exactly the question a mom wants to hear from her 8-year-old. By “normal” standards it’s one of those words someone her age would instantly see and know. The question sent a prick of sadness through me, another reminder of her ongoing struggles.

“It says door, baby.”

A year ago I would have just told her to figure it out, offering little help, assuming she was just being lazy. Then I would have made her sound out five other traffic signs on our way down the road, just for good measure.

I was extremely insecure about my daughter’s reading struggles. Partly because I was homeschooling and I felt responsible for her being behind, and partly because she was not living up to who I thought she could be. Every time a parent told me about their child reading chapter books, or finishing another Harry Potter book I’d question why my daughter wasn’t there.

Every other subject was enjoyable for us. She grasped math concepts and could retell me stories from early American history without a problem. But she couldn’t read a Dr. Seuss book.

A little more than a year ago I went to a little gathering that changed my life. One of my blog partners, Responsibility.org hosts their influencers once a year in Washington, D.C. for a #TalkEarly summit to discuss ways to have open and honest conversations with our children. And how we can encourage that in our own communities. We also hear from doctors and experts in the parenting realm and just have a good uplifting time. Well, last year one of our guest speakers was Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure. A book about allowing our children to learn from their own mistakes. Resisting the urge to help them through everything because that will inhibit their ability to feel frustrated and reap the thrill of solving a problem on their own.

The entire time I kept thinking about my daughter, and her struggles with reading. I thought about the ways I’d been teaching her and listened to Jessica’s suggestions for allowing our kids to figure it out. And most of all, I heard her call to love our  kids for who they are, not who we wish they were. I had to let go of the desire of having a Harry Potter-reading 7-year-old, and accept that this just wasn’t her. Maybe she would struggle with school. Would I love her any less?

I came home from that summit and took a new approach to how I worked with her. Instead of forcing so much practice, repeating steps, and insisting she wasn’t trying hard enough, I sat back and watched how she would dissect a word. I took some of the pressure off and paid attention to how she worked. I began to realize that my pride could be getting in the way of finding out if there was another underlying issue. What could it hurt to talk to a professional and see? Maybe even rule it out.

I already shared how that went down. And the realization that my daughter is dyslexic was  still not what I expected, nor easy to swallow. Even last week at her 504 meeting, listening to her dyslexia profile evaluation results and hearing that she’s below average on reading fluency, spelling, phonological awareness, etc etc etc… It’s not news to me but it’s still difficult to hear. Still, it’s been harder for me to accept than her.

At her 8th birthday party in front of all her friends she asked if I’d read the cards to her. I later asked if that was hard for her but she told me it was no big deal.

The first week of school I asked if she felt insecure about anything and she said just getting on the wrong bus.

I write her a note every day and stick it in her lunchbox and sometimes she asks a friend to help her decipher a word.

She knows reading is, and may always be, a bit of a struggle for her, but she embraces it as a piece of the puzzle that makes her up. She knows where she has weaknesses she also has strengths. And seriously, I can thank Rick Rodian for making her believe her dyslexia is tied to her being a demigod.

I never thought I’d have a child with a learning disability/difference/whatever you want to call it. But it’s just a part of who she is.

She’s also a great little cheerleader, who wants to go to Worlds some day. And compete in all-star cheerleading in the Olympics (not a thing yet but hopefully will be). She records her own gymnastics and workout videos, then imports and edits them herself in Final Cut Pro.

Art, science and engineering are some of her best and favorite subjects, and though she says she doesn’t like it, she’s great at math. She may even apply for a STEM program for 4th and 5th graders.

And most of all, she has an incredible ability to know who she is. To politely decline doing something everyone else is doing. Or swing on the swings even if her friends prefer to sit in the shade. To look at her own artwork with pride knowing it was the best she could do. Her confidence to ask a friend, or raise her hand and say “I can’t read this,” without feeling embarrassed.

She is completely and undoubtedly aware of who she is. And it’s my job to love every bit of it.

 

Today’s blog sponsor is TalkEarly but the story I’ve shared and all opinions are my own. For more resources on having open and honest conversations with your children please visit TalkEarly.org

 

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

This is part 2 of our first week of school you can read part 1 here

“You don’t want to miss the bus!”

Early bus ride kindergarten
 

It’s pretty much the one thought that motivates my son to wake up and get moving in the morning.

He’s not morning person. So getting him to go from eating his breakfast to out the door isn’t the easiest thing at 6:30am.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids
 

While Lil’ J can eat her breakfast on the go, my son prefers his Stonyfield yogurt in his lunch. But he didn’t get around to eating it his third day of school because lunchtime is when the drama went down in the cafeteria. Shortly after I left the meeting with the assistant principal and my daughter’s teachers I got a message from my son’s saying that he was very upset after someone popped a bag of chips in the lunchroom. I knew this was probably a sweet Kindergarten teacher’s way of saying “Holy crap your kid lost his mind!”

He was crying for a period of time, but finally calmed down by recess.

Interestingly enough on their kindergarten “get to know you” sheet, responding to the question “What is your child afraid of?” we wrote down loud noises, like fireworks or balloons popping. Almost as a joke. Little did I realize he’d be experiencing one of his worst fears the first week of school.

Now I know my son and I know he holds grudges. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get him to trust the cafeteria again. When he got home we spoke to him about it and told him it wouldn’t happen again. It was an accident. And we bribed him like crazy. That’s right. We aren’t above bribes.

“Friday you’ll get a new toy!” And I crossed my fingers it would work.

The next day I got a call from the assistant principal, not about my daughter, but my son. He was refusing to go into the cafeteria. He was scared. She let him eat in her office that day but she told him this couldn’t be an everyday solution. I said that my husband or I would come up there with him to help the next day.

Friday my husband went up to the school and watched as our son got ready to go into the cafeteria. He said said Big T was fine at first. They walked in together and though he was a little nervous, Big T sat down and was smiling and having fun. Then once he pulled his little lunch out… BOOM! It went off again. And our poor little guy start crying hysterically and had to leave.

My husband said it sounds way louder than he’d imagine a bag of chips sounding… More like if someone blew up a paper bag and smashed it as loud as they could. He felt bad for our son–Especially since we had been telling him it wouldn’t happen again the last couple of days.

A cafeteria worker got him some headphones to help muffle out the sound and he finally agreed to go back in. My husband who started out like “he just needs to get over this!” said it was a sad, strange experience but we’d just need to try to have him eat lunch with noise canceling headphones so that he wouldn’t be scared to go in the cafeteria.

So I ordered some in his favorite color and cried a little, then put in a call to our pediatrician to see if something else could be going on. I ate lunch with him the next time and he was totally fine, and thankfully has been since then. He still wears his headphones during lunch and takes them off right after.

 

At the end of the week I sat and laughed with my husband over all the tears shed and how much time I’d spent worrying about our two big kids this week. Our baby was just along for the crazy ride… I thought she was going to be the difficult one this year and boy was I wrong.

So that’s the truth behind our first week of school photos. There were quite a few tears behind those smiles of mine. So if you’ve experienced similar, know you’re not alone.

I’ll keep you posted on how the kids are doing and what I learn about 504s (if you’re interested). But I’m still very optimistic about this school year. The only part that stays consistently difficult is waking up. I’m not trying to be overly ambitious making a hot breakfast for the kids (unless hot from the toaster counts). And I prep things like their outfits and lunches the night before but it’s still a challenge for me not being used to getting started so early not to mention with an infant.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids
 

I’m so thankful for brands like Stonyfield that keep busy parents in mind when they create products that are easy to pack or grab and go with, but also are still organic and delicious for kids. I’m also thankful for my kids’ caring teachers and administrators who message me updates about their day and help keep my anxiety at bay. And I’m very thankful for school busses. Even though I still have to wake up at a crazy hour to cat it, no one has to see me in my PJs at the drop off line.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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