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we’ll be right back!

We’re taking the day off for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, but we’ll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled posts.

Hope you’re enjoying a nice day off too!

Link Roundup – January 13, 2017

We had a long 3-week Christmas break, and I think everyone is happier to be back in school and on a routine. Our biggest challenge right now? The kids have really late bedtimes (10:30pm!), but it’s been really hard to adjust with our lifestyles here. School also starts at 1pm, and Olive has always loved sleeping in. She has been a sleepy child since birth, rarely waking up before 9:30, and it hasn’t changed in 5 years!

Here are some parenting links around the web this week we thought you might find interesting!

Women Are Penalized at Work for the Possibility They Might Have Kids Someday via New York Magazine

H E A L T H

Parents View New Peanut Guidelines with Guilt and Skepticism via New York Times

CVS Health Offers Patients Lowest Cash Price in the Market for Generic Epinephrine via CVS Health

Women Still Need Folic Acid Supplements To Prevent Birth Defects via NPR

People Are Fascinated By This Video Of Breast Milk Under A Microscope via Huffington Post

How Exercise Can Help Depression in Kids via Time

Pope Francis Reiterates Support For Public Breast-Feeding via NPR

If You Thought It Was Safe to Take Tylenol While Pregnant, You’re Not Going to Like This via Popsugar

Students Zap Their Brains For a Boost, For Better Or Worse via NPR

How Dinner for Breakfast Revolutionized School Mornings for My Family via The Kitchn

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The Mommy Me

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I’ve changed since I’ve had kids. The changes aren’t huge and I suspect that from the outside people think I am largely the same, but I have noticed a few things that are really different for me now.

I was always an empathetic person; I care a lot for other people and I have noticed that in the recent years, I have become even more empathetic. One of the places that I think I struggled with before was having empathy for people who I do not actually like or agree with. The younger me was totally fine with maintaining a grudge for a long period of time, and now I feel like that is such a waste of time. Part of this I can attribute to thinking about how most people deserve empathy in situations that I can picture myself in. This has become especially evident since having children. I find myself trying to understand why people do things, and also understanding more why people make the choice they do. This is mostly because I have started seeing people as someone else’s child and would I want people to judge my child the way I was judging. I should disclose that there are situations and people that I cannot empathize with at all, but that is a different story.

My patience, which before was seriously non-existent, has become longer. I have an easier time waiting for stuff to happen, and I am better at trying to deal with being frustrated by the kids. I’ve noticed two things that really affect this. One is that time moves so stinking quickly since having kids, that waiting no longer seems like an issue. Even something that is months away comes up so quickly that I don’t even really have time anymore to yearn for things to happen. It’s amazing how fast the last three years of my life have gone. I can only imagine this will go even faster as the kids get bigger. The second part, in relation to the kids, is that I find myself feeling the tension and my patience starting to wear thin, and because I am actually aware of it, I can find ways to combat that and get myself under control a little better. I am not great at this yet, but I am trying, and I think a lot about how my actions or reactions can affect the kids.

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Upcoming Books for a 1, 3, and 6 Year Old

A new year means new book releases to look forward to! I always love seeing what amazing new stories I can introduce to my kids this year and I have my eye on all of these new ones coming in the next few months for my three kids aged 1, 3, and 6.

A G E  6
6yo books

The Good For Nothing Button – Drake loves the Piggie and Gerald series by Mo Willems and for Christmas, I bought him a new series by Mo which has Piggie and Gerald reading a book as the intro and then another story appears within the book. So far there are only 2 books in this series, The Cookie Fiasco & We Are Growing so when I saw this new one coming I knew Drake would be interested.

Little Red Riding Sheep – Cale Atkinson is a favorite author/illustrator in this house. Drake has all 3 of his other books and so when I saw this new one, a twist on a classic tale no doubt, I knew Drake would love it. All the changes to the original story are right up his alley in humor and questioning so I think this is a perfect addition to his growing collection.

The Storm Whale in Winter – Drake took out the Storm Whale story for his school’s library and really liked it. It’s about a little boy who befriends a whale so I think he will be excited to know there is another book in the series to read now.

Everywhere Wonder – For a little boy that is ever so curious about the world and is brimming with questions, I just fell in love with the title right off the bat  It sounds like the little boy in the story is just as imaginative and keen to learn all this amazing world has to offer.  I hope Drake can see himself in this kind of inquisitive little boy.

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Screentime Detox

I’m a big fan of the reset button. Whether a new year, new season, a Monday, I’m always open to a redo. A redo, a reset, is different from a new way of living.  New presents a challenge for me. I get too focused and too attached, so much so that when I stray from the new I fall apart and begin to get really bummed. I can, however, handle a cleanse like a champ and then change my habits from that point. A cleanse has a visible (read, not too far off) end point. The main point of the cleanse is to be flexible and see it as a learning experience.

Eli and I recently did a bit of a screen cleanse. While I have no issue with watching movies as a family, utilizing the iPad as a babysitter so that I can get some rest or dinner made and using my phone to stay in contact with a myriad of people and using Pinterest to help me redecorate — our screen time use had been creeping up and was having some adverse effects on our family.

Reasons for the Increase:

  • My pregnancy-induced exhaustion had me relying on screens for extra rest and a bit of peace and quiet.
  • The weather was changing rapidly, and not in a positive way. I love the heat and can handle cold, but rain that cuts through my clothes makes me want to hibernate.
  • The flu hitting each member of our family, leaving us exhausted and miserable for about 10 days.
  • Visiting family that brought out a screen anytime Eli wanted one, plus an incredibly long road trip.

A little too much screen time to get through some less than ideal circumstances is not a major problem in my book.  The breakdown in behavior is what really made me question our use.

Behavior Issues:

  • Tantrums every time we tried to turn off the tv or take away the iPad. I mean full blown, fall apart tantrums.
  • Too much screen time was affecting my ability to rest. Screen time gave my body the illusion of rest, but not the sleep that my body so desperately needed and craved.
  • The sleep issues weren’t just for me, though. Eli began sleeping terribly. As embarrassing as it is to admit, he also began waking up in the middle of the night and asking to watch specific shows. Hello red flag!
  • The lack of sleep and constant overstimulation were leading to exhaustion and behavior problems that had Eli whining for attention and me wanting to avoid having to actually parent. A vicious cycle that we had to break.

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16 Things I Learned in 2016

Although I rarely make New Year’s resolutions (too lazy/ tired at the end of December), I do like to look back on the year that just ended and think about what I learned. Here is my list of 16 things I learned in 2016, in no particular order:

1) I love podcasts and audiobooks. I am very much a person who learns by reading and writing, so it took me awhile to train my brain to learn by listening. Not only is that a valuable skill, but podcasts and audiobooks have made my commute and daily household chores much more enjoyable! My favorite podcasts changes weekly (currently it is Pantsuit Politics) and my favorite audiobook I “read” in 2016 was probably “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer.

2) Dairy/ soy allergies are surprisingly common and quite difficult to manage. Early last year we found out Little P had a dairy/ soy allergy which he thankfully outgrew. We also learned that these allergies are very common and difficult (i.e., expensive) to manage. I wrote about our experience here.

3) We spend too much money. About midway through 2016, I realized the balance in our personal checking account continued to dip every, single month. While that wasn’t entirely unexpected (we pay for almost all our expenses out of that account but only one of our incomes ever reloads it), it was definitely a wake-up call that we need to be more conscientious about our spending and consider making some bigger changes in 2017.

4) Your house can be perfectly functional and beautiful yet not feel like your home. Mr. Peas and I bought a new house when we moved to Iowa in 2015. Our house is quite gorgeous and has more than enough space for us, yet for some reason, it’s never felt like our home. Part of that is our fault – our lives have been crazy since we moved and we’ve invested very little time and energy into decorating, plus it takes time to adjust to anything new. But we’ve also realized through this process that maybe we want something different, and we’re working through being OK with that (since it’ll be a royal pain to sell a house and move with 2 young kids and pets while pregnant ha).

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In the Kitchen with a Toddler

I remember reading somewhere that there was no reason a 5-year-old shouldn’t be able to make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It followed along with Montessori teaching principles and really made me pay attention to what I have Eli do and not do, and whether I make that decision out of safety or make it out of convenience. It is extremely helpful and convenient for a five-year-old to make their own sandwich (and one for me too please!), but teaching them to do so is messy, time-consuming and frustrating. They destroy the kitchen, there is jelly on the floor and peanut butter on the counter. The bread is dry and crusty from being left open and the refrigerator door hangs open. If you’re a perfectionist, they also don’t have the ratio of peanut to jelly quite right and put the lid just slightly askew, but most definitely wrong. Inviting our kids into the kitchen with us is inviting a sticky tornado in. It is also inviting freedom and a competent child into our homes that grows up to be a self sufficient adult. Catch 22.

I don’t know when I started doing things in the kitchen with my mom, but my earliest memories of being the helper were when I was 7 and I got a children’s cookbook for Christmas. By 8, I would make our family’s chocolate chip cookies by hand and without the recipe because I had it memorized. When I got to pick dinner, I also had to help make it and would always choose to have shake and bake chicken, canned green beans and mashed potatoes. I was in charge of shaking the chicken and peeling the potatoes. These tasks led me to be a ridiculous mess in the kitchen using every bowl possible, but I was also always willing to help or make dinner or try out a new recipe and teach my siblings how to make cookies. It led to an adult that cooks for her family and to owning a bakery for 4 years.

Part of the what kept me from having Eli in the kitchen is that I didn’t have the right tools for him. I didn’t have the child-size apron, the kid size whisk, the child safety knife, or one of those super handy kitchen helper/kid corral towers. I had a desire for cookies and no child care. A chair was pulled up the counter, hands were washed, flour was dumped into a bowl and we began. We talked about what was being put in the bowl. How many cups were needed. What shape to form the cookies into. How the dough tasted. We discussed hot ovens and having to be patient to wait for cookies to be done. Sharing our cookies with other people and not eating them all at once. I just invited him to do what I was doing and then talked him through it. Also – it burned an hour of sahm time!

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