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The Emotional Road

I always knew having children was going to be an emotional experience. From the moment you are given that precious new person to hold and to care for, it’s like a neverending roller coaster of highs and lows. You fall so deeply in love with this amazing person, but you also deal with crippling exhaustion, unending worry, and moments of frustration that rival any board meeting antics you have dealt with in the past.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I cried during Drake’s first year of life, both out of happiness and utter defeat. Still I knew all of this when I signed up to be a parent. I knew I would emotionally become so invested in my children that their victories and defeats would feel like my own. I knew I would mourn the days as they grew up and relied on my less and less.

To quote Elizabeth Stone, “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” What I never expected though, was to become emotionally attached to those other people in my children’s lives — their doctors, teachers, therapists, etc.

When I held Drake as a newborn in my arms, I already knew the people who would play the most important roles in his life — me, his father, his grandparents, aunts, and uncles. But there were so many more supporting people who would also enter our lives. These people would play an enormous role in helping me parent and shape my children as they grew. They would care for them, guide them and give me advice to help me make the best decisions for my son and daughters. Their investment and care for my children also created an emotional bond for me as a parent, as we all worked to help my children grow to be the best people they were capable of becoming.

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Montessori Flower Arranging

Montessori Flower Arranging 1

Flower arranging is a really popular Montessori activity. Besides teaching children about flowers, it’s great for developing fine motor skills when cutting (if picking and trimming the flowers) and pouring. It’s a lovely way to bring some natural beauty into your home and for the child to be involved in preparing the environment. My children love preparing a vase of flowers especially for our guest room when we have friends staying.

Montessori Flower Arranging 2

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Breastfeeding – 1 Year Milestone

I am quickly approaching Little Bug’s first birthday, which also means that I am almost to one full year of breastfeeding.  I can’t believe a whole year has gone by; it certainly doesn’t seem like that long. If I really think back about our rocky start and the months and months of crazy night time feeding and pumping while at work, I am really proud of myself for getting this far. I didn’t make it this far with LeLe because I got pregnant and my supply tanked pretty quickly.

I wrote before about how I had a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding and I still do, but I am also a little sad at the thought of weaning. I’ve decided to continue as much as possible until Little Bug is at least two, and I have considered going longer, but I will just have to wait and see how that all works out. For now, he is still nursing quite frequently and we are both happy.

Where we’re at right now:

I am currently still pumping once a day at work. I usually get enough for a bottle for the next day, but Little Bug is starting to refuse that bottle and seems to prefer water or whole milk mixed with breastmilk, so we are experimenting with what to give him. I plan on dropping the pump over the next few weeks. That is a relief as pumping is definitely my least favorite part of breastfeeding.

He still nurses about 4 times per night (I am exhausted, but it’s worth it to me) and about 4-5 times per day.  Nursing an almost 1 year old is both adorable and exasperating. He is a wiggle worm during a lot of the daytime feeds, which is super hard, but at night he snuggles and I love our bedtime nursing sessions. The other really interesting part about nursing an older baby is that he is giggly and likes to play with my clothing, or turn his head quickly, or even contort his body into crazy positions. It’s like nursing an alligator sometimes, which is terrifying and sort of unpleasant. I’ve found that if I nurse him while in the shower, it is peaceful and he is not distracted by anything else. I secretly love the nights when he nurses in the shower because it is so calming and sweet. His overnight feeds are usually pretty quick so that’s getting better and better.

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Slow Cooker Pork and Cabbage Lettuce Wraps

Slow Cooker Pork and Cabbage Lettuce Wraps | Hellobee

I just finished my first Whole30 (yes, I realize I’m a couple years late to this bandwagon) and learned a lot from the experience. I also got to develop some healthy recipes, like these slow cooker pork lettuce wraps, which were one of my favorite things to eat during that month. I feel a little like I cheated with this one, because pork is so flipping good on its own, but there are a few tricks here that make it an especially handy meal for anyone adopting a mostly protein-and-veggies diet.

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Summer Bucket List

Summer has always been my favorite season. As a kid, it meant endless days with zero responsibilities.  Running through sprinklers, exploring outside, reading for hours on end. Now that I’m an adult (and a mom), I don’t have quite the freedom I had as a child during an endless summer, but I still feel that summer magic. And every year I am determined not to let summer pass without making the absolute most of it. To help make sure that happens, I create a summer bucket list every year, listing everything I really want to make sure to do before the summer ends. Sometimes I write the list on our chalkboard wall, sometimes I just keep it on my phone.

adventures

photos from previous summer adventures

Our summer list tends to focus on family adventures.  The kind of adventures that take us outside our regular home-preschool-playground-library routine, that we can do as a family, and that are cheap or even free. Last year I started the summer hugely pregnant and ended it with a newborn, so the summer fun was very limited. Which means this year, I am more ready than ever to mix things up. So ready, in fact, that we have already finished several things on our list even though summer hasn’t technically even begun yet.

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Design a Butterfly Felt Board Activity

Butterfly Felt Board Activity

I like the idea of butterflies. They’re so pretty, they do wonderful things to help your flower garden, and their metamorphosis is truly amazing. But way they flit and flutter isn’t my favorite. That’s where felt butterflies come in. They stay still and there’s a creative element when you design your own on a felt board, which is even better.

Making this activity is so easy because you’re really just cutting out felt pieces. But those basic shapes can quickly become so many beautiful butterflies. It’s quiet and will give your child hours of entertainment!!

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Some New Picture Books

With Drake and Juliet’s birthdays approaching, I am looking at what new books I can give them. I always gift books as part of any gift giving celebration as a way to enhance their love of reading, as well as to get new books into our rotation at bedtime. I love this age where both kids are into picture books as I love not only finding unique and fun stories, but also looking at the gamut of talented artists that illustrate children’s books. Here are some new picture books that have caught my eye. A few are out and many are upcoming for the year.

New-Picture-Books

Before I Wake – I always love Britta Teckentrup’s soft earthy illustrations. Before You Wake takes us through the dreams of a young girl as she dives into the ocean and deep into the jungle.

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