Surgery by Seuss

The other day I was riding along in the car with the girls. My Garmin, friendly little device that it is, popped up a little reminder. Apparently my map needed to be updated. Thanks for that, Garmin. I found myself saying, not entirely under my breath, “My map is old, my teeth are gold. I have a bird I like to hold.”

Ellie and Lorelei took up the refrain, and started to giggle. “Hey mama– that rhymes,” Lorelei snorted in between chuckles. “Uh, mom? What’s wrong with you?” Ellie asked. Her tone was serious. Somehow it shook me back to reality. Uh, what was wrong with me? The words that had just come out of my mouth in the same strange, permanent, parental haze that most of my words do were actually a bit of a surprise even to me. “Well, Ellie,” I replied, “Apparently I’ve had a lobotomy performed by the good Dr. Seuss.” “What’s a… a… lobotomy?” they piped up in tandem. And that’s when I knew that not only was my over-sharing parent award totally in the bag for 2014, but that it was also maybe time to change the topic. “It just means that we’ve read too many rhyming books lately,” was my final answer.

And it got me thinking– this whole reading to kids thing– is there some recipe? Is it like shoes where you just pick something in the correct size and you’re good to go? Bad metaphor, I know– because, like, what exactly is the orthopedic shoe of literature? And also? Someone get me that book because it sounds comfy as all get out.

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The “Emotional” Phase

The Toddler Dudes turned one on March 11.  Approximately 2 weeks later, we had not babies, but TODDLERS.  I don’t mean that they started walking; they’ve been doing that since 10 1/2 months, which was kind of horrifying fantastic because parents of twins always hope for early walkers.  :-/  But moving on, when I say they became toddlers, I’m talking throw-yourself on the floor, pound your little baby fists, cry when you’re picked up, cry when you’re put down, start wrenching your body in an attempt to escape when you realize it’s bed time, cry when your brother walks near your toy, cry when the dog looks at you, get hugs from mama in between all of these steps and cry louder if she is not able to oblige you right this instant or if she dares to instead pickup the brother that you have just knocked over.

Our lead teacher at daycare best described this little metamorphosis by noting they were becoming very “emotional.”  That was both incredibly accurate and completely an understatement.  I still have a teeny tiny bit of hope that it’s somehow just a really horrific molar coming in or something, but the more days that pass of living with our “emotional” little boys, the more I’m having to come to terms with the idea that my little over-achievers decided to hit the Terrible Twos at one.  Super.

I knew that the fits and such could start early, but I’ll be honest: it was no where on my radar at 12 months.  Frankly, I feel very unequipped to handle this phase.  The tools I’m most familiar with don’t seem to be something that would work at this young age.  When I was teaching, I found that giving meaningful choices worked quite well.  Unfortunately, the boys don’t have the language for this to work well.  They show very little receptive language, so I don’t think they would understand the choice in the first place and they have maybe 3 words each at best, so they couldn’t communicate their choice well even if they understood the options.  We do voice a choice sometimes, just so they start hearing the idea and we’ll often hold up two shirts to “choose” which one to wear, which we decipher as whichever one they grab for.  Another thing we’ve tried is using Tina’s No.  It doesn’t seem to help a ton at this age, but I do think that maybe they can at least sense the tone and sympathy and I suspect in a few more months this will be very effective.

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Baby Girl Nursery Inspiration

Even though I’m not pregnant, I still love to browse nurseries on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorite inspirational pictures right now for a girl nursery.

 House of Smiths

I love the peach color of the walls in this room, as well as the vintage iron crib. Vintage cribs aren’t recommended due to safety issues, but there are some cribs that are new with a vintage look. The architectural detail in this room is unique and could easily be replicated by installing bead board at the top of the wall.

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The Gift of Open Adoption: Part Two

I love being able to share with others the story of Little Piñata’s open adoption. I think that open adoption can be a scary term for people considering adopting as it sometime implies “co-parenting.” However, that is definitely not the case! Open adoption just means that there is information shared between adoptive and biological parents. This can start as small as just knowing each others’ names. Some people only communicate through their adoption agency. But, others may be in regular communication through email, texts, phone calls or even visits. Every adoption is as unique as each individual child. None look exactly the same and they change so much over the years!

The last time I shared about the openness we had with Little Piñata’s birthparents, I shared how our relationship started off. It was definitely a nerve wracking time for me because I was just beginning my journey as a mother and felt like I was overwhelmed enough with learning how to be a mom, let alone adding additional family members into our lives! But, I decided to continue day by day in faith that we were doing what was best for Little P. The summer after he was born I continued to email both of his birthparents every week or so how we was doing. Of course at that point we were taking (what seemed like) hundreds of photos a day, so there were lots of pictures and cute memories to share. I told them how he got to meet all of our family members and how everyone fell in love with him the moment they saw him. I continued to share with them what a true blessing he was to us each and every day.

We were so blessed that Little P’s birthmother was even able to attend his baptism service in August of that year. After deciding that she was likely more nervous than we would be, we asked her to sit with us in the front of the church and had her come along with us to the celebration afterward. These are such sweet memories for us! She brought him gifts and loved on him, but handed him over whenever he started crying, saying, “It looks like he needs his parents now!” From the get-go she has never stopped showing amazing love for our sweet boy, yet has always completely acknowledged us as his parents and the ones that are raising him. I can’t even believe the emotional maturity and strength that this takes every day, and is a continuing reminder to me of what an amazing woman she is!

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Boobsie DIY Nursing Pads tutorial

I’ve read that some reusable nursing pads leak and I think it’s a lack of absorbancy issue (ie 100% cotton isn’t all that absorbent). When they are handmade, it can be because the maker has chosen all-natural fibers, and nothing synthetic. “Fitted diapers” are also like this – they absorb moisture up to a point, but because they’re made of cotton, hemp, bamboo, or a blend, eventually they will soak through. I like these DIY pads I made because they have the absorbency of the bamboo, but a waterproof layer with the PUL, which is the same material that makes cloth diapers waterproof. 

they look weird & photoshopped because I scanned them instead of photographing them

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Mix and Match Baked Pasta Dishes

Toddler eating habits make for frustrated mothers. My pint-sized fickle one is completely unpredictable when it comes to what he will and will not eat, but there are three things that I can almost always get him to eat: dairy, fruit and noodles in most forms.

Dairy and fruit are fairly easy, and are reserved mostly for snacks, breakfast and beverage purposes.  But noodles.  Noodles in the right form can make a fabulous meal, not just for a toddler who will actually willingly eat them, but for the whole family.

I wrote last week about my meal planning style: cooking on Sundays for the week.  Every other week, I have some form of baked noodle casserole dish on my menu. They are all referred to as “baked ziti” in our house, but really, there are about a zillion ways to make it.

Since I know that everyone gets stuck in a rut sometimes when it comes to life’s age old question (What should I make for dinner?!?!?!), I thought I would share the many variations of delicious “baked zitis” we have made over here (and maybe you can share yours too!).

The Noodle: We are a divided house in our home when it comes to noodle preference.  I love rotini the most, as I find that the sauce gets into the groves and twists best, but Mr. C likes the traditional ziti or penne shaped noodles.  We have made baked noodle dishes with everything from farfalle (bowties) to small shells, ruote (wagon wheels) to elbow macaroni to orzo.  I’ve used whole wheat pasta, veggie-infused pasta, the Barilla “plus” protein-infused noodles, and oven ready lasagna noodles.

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Fine Motor Toys

At her Early Intervention evaluation, Juliet’s fine and gross motor skills were both on the lower end for her age.  Since then she has certainly blossomed a lot, but I have been working with her more as well trying to help her along. I have been looking for more grasping toys to help her get more comfortable using her little fingers, as well as mastering skills with them such as picking things up, passing them from one hand to another, etc. I asked the evaluators for suggestions, as well as looked at the toys they had with them when they evaluated Juliet.  Here is my list:

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