Monday, June 30, 2014

Vera & her birthday cake

 Vera sure loved her first birthday cake!  I didn't have eggs for the cake mix & the icing was sliding everywhere, but this girl did not care.  Once we sang and sat the cake in front of her she didn't know what to do, so her sweet & sugar-loving brother went in for a big scoop and she quickly caught on :)

 (proud brother helped Fafa blow out the candle)
 I love John Ryman's smile in the picture below... looks so innocent, but you know he is thinking about how to get the cake all to himself...

Such a fun day celebrating our little one year old! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy First Birthday Vera!

Sweet Vera girl, little "fafa", you are one year old!  If it weren't for my calender I wouldn't believe June 27th has already arrived.  You are a tiny thing... still in the 10th percentile for weight and about average in height. Your hair is starting to thicken up with curls tightening by your neck.  They look their curliest when coated in shiny yogurt after lunch.  You sure love to eat, but only finger foods, which makes it interesting since your first tooth just poked through this month.  Your first word was "dada"... well at least the first noise you made consistently :)  And you said "mama" and "nana" when reunited after a week in Colorado.  I think you were just trying to tell me that you missed your Nana B. when we left her house after a week of her spoiling you! 
You clap and wave on command and say "more" by clapping when you want more food.  While you aren't as big of an entertainer as your brother you sure love to flirt with your brown eyes and your smile is contagious.  You are a little more sensitive than John Ryman and can get your feelings hurt or display instant tears if a toy is taken away.  But thankfully you are always very quick to recover and go on as if nothing happened a few seconds later.  Mornings usually start around 7:30 for you, but your mommy is not ready to get out of bed then :) so daddy is usually sweet to take you a bottle in your crib. 
You love to giggle, play and have your morning milk in bed until mommy and JR come to wake you.  There is nothing sweeter than coming into your room and seeing your head pop over the railing smiling ear to ear!  Always smiling and joyful!  Even when John Ryman wakes you prematurely from nap (pushing open your door and yelling "Mommy, Fafa is awake!") you still give me that same happy look and jump as high as you can up and down.  I'm still shocked you haven't hopped right over the side of the crib.  You may never walk normally, just decide to hop from place to place.  Vera, you are one speedy girl!  You can do laps around our house almost as fast as JR and you're only crawling!  You started to pull up on everything and even all by yourself with nothing to hold.  And on Father's Day you really started walking at ten steps in a row.  Now you can go straight distances, maybe a little fall in between or crawling around a curve, but you are becoming a cute little walker! You light up when we turn on music and love to dance or laugh at your brother dancing. 

You love to roam free around the house, moving from one thing to the next.  I'm always impressed at how fast you can empty a basket, pull down kitchen towels, and tip over a bag of blocks... all before I catch you!  Your cuddles are the sweetest.

 I love that you are still light as a feather and I can hold you all day long (if you let me) snuggling close when sleepy and laying your head on my shoulder.  You love to blow kisses or give me a hug by laying your head on my chest. You love your bed and prefer to be laid down with your paci and bunny at the first sign of fussiness but I try to sneak in some cuddles before nap and bedtime.  I'm thankful that you go with the flow, you definitely let us know what you need, but you have a sweet personality to complement your determination.  As I savor these precious moments with my baby girl, I do look forward to watching you grow into an endearing and brave young girl who doesn't mind getting a little dirty and messy, smiling all the while at the beautiful adventure God has for you.
 Happy First Birthday, Vera Michelle. You are loved.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Birthday Week!

Guess what?!  It's my birthday week!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

So far this June...

"Here little bunny.  Here your salad."- JR
 Is it just me or do you feel like you could clean out closets every week!?!?
 Love my new craiglist find (sink & faucet!) and my man for installing it!
Actually turned into Patrick's intro for his Father's Day sermon :) {here}

 slight new obsession with watercolor
(Vera's First Birthday decor!)

 "Fafa" stands on her own and has taken a couple steps!! 5 steps in a row on Father's Day!
 Found out that chalk looks cool on our painted counters!

We switched John Ryman to a big boy bed!  It is the sweetest thing to see him still cuddled up in the morning or during naps- looking so grown up:
 One morning he woke up when Patrick left for work, but Vera & I were still asleep so he fell back to sleep in our bed.  Vera woke up about thirty minutes later, so I took her downstairs for breakfast. Almost two hours later- 10 am!- JR was still asleep in our bed.  He looked so tall and big sleeping there and I realized those teenage years of late mornings aren't too far off.
My sweet mother-in-law came to visit and brought her embroidery machine! She monogrammed a couple pieces of fabric for me and they looked adorable.  I was too excited and couldn't wait to piece them together!  My dining room is now my sewing room and I can't stop making these simple little dresses for Vera- now I just need to figure out how to make a button hole...

 "Here mommy, I pick button for you. What color you like?" - JR after I heard a spill upstairs :)
 A little visit to the pool to see my brother- the lifeguard for the summer

Vera loved playing outside at Nana's house!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Encouragement for the weekend

Have you all heard of Thrive?

I recently stumbled upon their website and blog- actually I believe the Lord led me straight there knowing just what I needed.
 Thrive is a ministry for moms to encourage us to do more than survive motherhood and to learn to be confident in who God calls us to be as mothers.
I thought I would share with yall before the weekend just in case you can sneak away for a little free time and watch their retreat video.  I think the retreat was in April but I watched it last week and was very encouraged and blessed by the speakers that shared their hearts and words from scripture.
It says it is three hours, but there is an intermission and since its not live- you can pause and come back to it whenever you have free time or the kids go down for a nap.
{click here} for the retreat video
I'm running after my hiding place this weekend and soaking in the rest that only God can provide- praying you will join me!

Quote from Thrive's Monday newsletter:
"True fellowship is found when we come together in the light, willing to expose ourselves, and ready to offer the grace found in the precious blood of Jesus."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Life Savers- Time Savers- Sanity Savers

Online Shopping

I am constantly trying to figure out grocery budgeting and money saving ideas for our family.  I've noticed since moving to Evansville, that I spend way more on groceries.  One reason is because it's harder to find healthy foods that are well priced (not much competition) so I have to shop around.  Another reason is that there isn't a ton to do around town (especially in the winter) and some days we all just need to get out of the house and take a trip to Target to peruse the end-of-aisle sales or get a free cookie at Fresh Market.  All these little trips add up and I always end up finding "an awesome deal" that wasn't on the list :) I'm finally starting to get into a rhythm, become more disciplined and figure out our family's needs.  One huge time and money saver has been shopping online for toiletries & extra household items.  The Honest Company has been our favorite- incredible customer service, quality items and great bundle deals.  JR has sensitive skin, so for him this has also been a great switch!  Until I can be more disciplined to say "no" to certain enticing things at Target, I'm sticking to monthly shipments from Honest- delivered right to my door- so diapers and toiletries don't have to take up precious space in my shopping cart with 2 kids.  Also saves me the time of having to run to the store when we run out of shampoo or laundry detergent- I just notice when things are halfway full & adjust my monthly bundle accordingly.  And who doesn't love a company that throws in surprise lip-gloss as a Mother's Day treat or extra wipes because they ran out of one diaper pattern.

Trunk Diaper Bag

I'm not saying to fill a cute Petunia Pickle and throw it in the trunk, one of those reusable market totes that you always forget when you head to the grocery will do just fine.  Put inside a couple diapers for each child, wipes, water bottles and maybe some squeezable meal pouches or puffs or granola bars... something for each child that can tide them over if they're hungry.  Throw in some stickers or crayons leftover from a restaurant kids meal.  And if you want to really be prepared maybe an old tshirt or extra onesie.
I have had a bag like this in my trunk since John Ryman was born and honestly had forgotten about it until one day we were at church and had to wait outside a little longer than expected.  I was out of diapers and there was a smell coming from one carseat, JR was hungry and ready to get home... ultimate meltdown.  Thankfully I remembered my bag in the trunk and we had an impromptu picnic with clean clothes (of course her smell hadn't stayed contained in her diaper... that's how it always goes) small lunch for both kids and snack for me!  Helped turn a pull-your-hair-out situation into a sweet memory and enjoyable picnic.  There is no way to prevent all meltdowns, but at least we can be prepared and have one less :)  Tiny peace of mind to know you don't have to rush home from an outing for diapers or be stuck on the side of the road with hungry kiddos.

Rock N Play

This is the one item that both babies LOVED.  I don't know if it was the way it came up on the sides or that it was lifted up higher or rested them at an incline... whatever it was- I'm thankful for a sweet family member that got it for us because it was a life saver for their baby!  While our babies never had tummy/spit up issues, I've heard it is a huge help because the baby doesn't lay flat.  I could easily slide it through doorways and move it from room to room.  JR loved staring at the shower curtain while rocking in it and Vera loved being able to watch me in the kitchen while being out of JRs way on the floor.  It doesn't rock on its own, but it doesn't take them too long to figure out how to rock it a little themselves.  I tried to only let them nap in it as a last resort so they didn't get used to it and prefer over their crib, never really had an issue and after the first month or so, we only used it as play time.  The sides come up just enough to keep most toys inside which is super helpful!
Here are JR & Vera using their Rock N Play:

Moby Wrap

This is one of those literal life-savers for me.  When I had Vera, John Ryman was 18 months old.  A fast runner that is still learning obedience and safety is a dangerous match for a mom with a newborn.  The Moby gave me the flexiblity of letting him walk freely while carrying Vera and still having my hands free if I needed to capture him or even hold him on my hip.  I knew she would stay asleep longer if she was wrapped to me than in a car seat, so with her cuddled up I could go places without lugging the stroller (especially when you're not supposed to lift over a certain amount those first few weeks) and still be able to wrangle active brother.  Now at one year old, Vera still loves the Moby- being able to see everything and kick her legs wildly- while I can have hands free to shop or walk holding JR's hand.  Its amazing how much he has learned in one year- he walks with us and is a TON better at obedience- but it is still reassuring to know I can have both hands free if needed and not worry about leaving Vera in a car seat or falling from my hip :)  Those first few times wrapping all that fabric was pretty overwhelming, but I promise after 3 times- it is super simple! There are plenty of youtube videos you can watch and in the beginning I would actually strap it all on at home, then when I got somewhere I just had to slide Vera inside.  After using it enough I became more confident strapping it on in the parking lot while keeping the fabric off the asphalt.  No, it is not cool in the summer, but honestly holding a baby gets hot no matter what, I was just glad I could be hands free!

JJ Cole Bib

If you're like me you have an overabundance of bibs. Every color, every holiday, every size.  Some too pretty to actually get food on while others are so tiny they do not catch a thing.  I love the wipe-able bibs (especially for traveling- pack just one for each kid!) but some of mine are too thick and bother the kids- meaning they rip them off quickly- or they don't wash well because of the layers of plastic and fabric.  I also love the Aden & Anais burpy bib set, but didn't love having to wash every time.  I stumbled on my favorite bib when Zulily was having a sale.  Its from JJ Cole.  Gender neutral, thin fabric that handles the washing machine well but also is easy to wipe & go.  Even if you rinse it in the sink, it air dries super fast!  Now if I were smart and wanted to empty a drawer in my kitchen I would donate all my bibs and purchase a couple more of these!

Peace & Calming Oil

Okay, I'm still learning so much about essential oils, but this one made me a believer!  "Peace & Calm" I mean, what mama doesn't want that?! I rub one drop of P&C oil mixed with coconut oil on the kids feet in the evenings before bed or sometimes before naps if they are really wound up.  I also diffuse several drops in my diffuser or dab a little on my wrists & inhale from the bottle for myself... Over the winter I dealt with some anxiety and this oil really helped me on those long days, just wish I had tried it sooner!  You all know that afternoon frustration that takes over when the kids wake up early from naps but you still have a to-do list, dinner to cook and laundry sitting wet in the washer.   I don't know if it was the oil or the fact that I sat down for a moment to breathe it in and relax that did the trick, but I truly felt calmer.  And boy, does it smell amazing!  I have been out of it for a few weeks and my shipment arrives soon- interested to see if I can tell a difference in the kids once we start using it again.  I've also heard it can be a life-saver on long car rides.  Doesn't make you as sleepy as Lavender (dangerous for the driver!) but should be helpful.

And last but most certainly not least... probably the best sanity/time saver...
Apps on my phone!  Definitely not mom-of-the-year worthy!
In those moments when the checkout at Target takes twice as long and the kids are DONE or the kids are ready for lunch after church, but daddy needs to counsel or pray with someone- it's really the best way to keep them quiet and relaxed for a few minutes longer.  I do try to use it as a last resort so they don't expect to get the phone right when they enter a store or the car which makes those times they get to play that much more special!  And so I don't feel super guilty handing over youtube clips of Daniel Tiger or SuperWhy on my hulu app... we recently found The Bible App for Kids Very interactive on each page and it teaches Bible stories.  Win-win!