Mommy Monday

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Something I’ve been working on lately is trying to not freak out about every little mess the kids create. I know what you’re thinking, “But Jessica, you seem so easy going…” Oh yeah, I’ve got patience for daaaaayyyyssss….(#sarcasm)

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I think I’ve come to grips with the fact that the living room and my kid’s rooms will never be sparkling clean for more than ten minutes at a time and that my car will perpetually have goldfish cracker dust and chocolate milk splatters everywhere. But when it comes to dirt/mud/grass/anything that should stay outside coming inside, well…that’s a whole different story.

The other day Huff the Tot wanted to play outside. Even though it had been a little rainy the day before, I figured it would do us all some good to get outside. I grabbed Huff the Babe’s bouncy seat and we all went outside for some sunshine. While HtB played happily in his seat, HtT was running around, looking for butterflies. I decided to get some steps in and just walked around the yard. It got quiet and I looked over to see HtT digging in the mud and using it to “paint” on the fence. Her pink pants were now a lovely shade of brown up to her calves and her hands were caked in mud.

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I was about to say, “Stop! Get out of the mud! You’re making a mess!” but I stopped myself. She wasn’t hurting anyone, she wasn’t in any danger, and I reminded myself clothes can be washed. Instead of scolding, I walked over to her and said, “Hey sis, whatcha doing?” She looked at me and, for a moment, I think she thought she was going to get in trouble. When she saw I wasn’t freaking out, she smiled wide and said, “I’m painting, Momma! Look! Its us!”

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My heart was so full! A moment later, my resolve was tested again. Huff the Tot eventually grew tired of the dirt and started swinging on her new swingset. Suddenly she jumped off and shouted, “I HAVE TO GO PEE PEE!” and ran to the back door.

CRAP! I thought. She’s going to get mud everywhere and I’m going to have to clean her off and ack! I gotta get the baby! 

Being the control freak I am, I ran and grabbed her up before she could go inside.

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I had her kick off her flip-flops and let her go to the bathroom. “I’ll be there in a second!” I called to her. “I need to get Bubby inside!”

A million scenarios ran through my mind and they all came to the same ending: there was going to be dirt and mud everywhere. I knew there would be a teeny little footprint path all the way to the bathroom as well as handprints on the walls. (Try to keep a threenager from touching the walls with dirty hands. See how THAT goes for ya…)

After I got HtB inside and settled, I went to the bathroom to help HtT. This is what I saw:

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I very easily could’ve freaked out. My head immediately went to: “She’s going to be soaking wet! She shouldn’t be sitting on the counter, what if she fell?! Great, now I’m going to have to clean the sink for the second time today…” But, I took a breath.

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Again, she wasn’t in any immediate danger. She was doing something helpful. She took it upon herself to clean herself up–my kid was exhibiting initiative and independence, how could I possibly be mad about that?!

I didn’t get on to her. I grabbed my phone, snapped a pic and said, “You’re doing a great job cleaning up!” My daughter beamed at me and said, “Thanks, Mommy! I’m a good helper, huh?”

It did my heart good to see my kid so excited. Would she have been so willing to be helpful had I gotten on to her outside and put the kabosh on playing in the mud instead of letting her just be a kid? Thankfully, I won’t know.

Now I’m not saying I’m perfect because lawd I know I’m still a control freak and like things done a certain way. And I may not ever be 100% okay with mud, dirt, and gunk. But, for now, I will revel in my tiny victory and use it as motivation for next time.

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Mommy Monday

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Here lately, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to teach Huff the Tot about kindness and empathy. (Daniel Tiger is a GREAT resource for this! Plus, that kid has a song for errything!) I want her to be mindful of others as well as of her own emotions. I picked up a few books from the library, but this one was my absolute favorite:

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Its called, Have You Filled a Bucket Todayand it is AMAZING! The book describes how everyone, all over the world carries around an invisible bucket. And when your bucket is full (of good thoughts and feelings about yourself) you feel happy. But when your bucket is empty, you feel sad and lonely.

The book goes on to explain how we can fill other’s buckets (and, in turn, fill our own) and become “bucket fillers”.

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It also tells how there are some people who try to take good feelings from others’ buckets, thinking they can fill their own buckets but that will never work. These people are known as “bucket dippers”(i.e., bullies).

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This has been great for Huff the Tot! I’ve read it to her several times and she has said, on more than one occasion, “Mommy, I {insert something here such as “pick up my toys”, “draw you a picture”, or “build you a castle”} and I will fill your bucket up!”

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There are a TON of activities on the book’s website as well as on Pinterest! So you can keep the learning going with fun coloring pages or crafts! I think this would be a GREAT porject for an elementary school class as well! Heck, I think everyone in the nation could use some bucket filling nowadays!

 

Have you ever read this book? What did you think? Have you read one that covers the same premise? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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I’ve been off my game lately when it comes to blogging. And showering. And fixing my hair. And doing laundry. Why, you ask?

Kids.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE my kids. They are the reason I get up every day. (Literally. You can only pretend to be asleep for so long before your toddler knocks on the door, asking for chocolate milk.) But seriously, I love my kids with all my heart. They give me SO much joy! They also give me so many headaches. Because parenting is basically cleaning up after little dictators that push you super close to the edge of a cliff before swooping in and doing something so adorable that you forget all the crap they put you through. And then the next day it repeats.

To keep myself from going completely crazy, I like to read funny tweets from other parents to 1–let me know I’m not alone in this fight and 2–help me to laugh to keep from crying. I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you, because, I’m sure you need a giggle as well!

 

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Seen any funny parenting tweets? Send them to me on Twitter at @thehuffmanpost!

Mommy Monday

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Before Huff the Hubs and I got married, I was very much an early bird. There was a time in my life which I would get up at 4:30 a.m. and run 2-3 miles, everyday, with my sister. We had to wake up that early so both of us could shower (we were still living with Mom and Dad) and be out in the door in time to be at work by 7:30. I did that for a solid two years.

Now?

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Seriously though. With Huff the Babe not sleeping through the night for the better part of last year, there was no way in Hades I’d be able to get up at 4:30 (though, chances were I’d already be up anyhow) and workout.

But once we FINALLY got that little turkey on a sleep schedule, life became much more manageable. One of my goals this year is to wake up an hour before the kids get up so I can workout, eat breakfast, and get myself ready for the day. I’m only a week in and I’ve got to tell you, it has made a WORLD of difference.

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I’ve found I feel much more ready to face the day when I’ve had a chance to get stuff done before the kids wake. Not only that, but I feel like I’ve been spending more quality time with the kiddos because I’m not distracted by trying to get a million things accomplished. And, best of all, I can nap while the kids nap in the afternoon!

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This season of life is tough, but this change (waking up early) definitely makes it much more manageable.

Try it for a week–I guarantee you’ll see a difference!

 

Mommy Monday

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Yesterday at church, a sweet old lady that always sits behind us showed us something very special to her. It was a small notebook she bought back in the 50’s/60’s. Inside were quotes from her daughter when she was a toddler.

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She handed it over to Huff the Hubs and I and said, “I’ve been wanting to share this with you for a while. I love watching your children in church. I just wanted to pass on a little something if I could: write down what your kids say. They’re only little for a small amount of time and the things they say need to be treasured.”

I seriously thought I might cry!

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It reiterated to me that this was the best $13 I have ever spent:

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This book helps you document all the hilarious, sweet, and inappropriate things toddlers say so you can reminisce (and also embarrass your kids)!

I can’t wait to bring up this quote at Hermione’s 18th birthday:

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(In her defense, she had heard Momma say that a time or ten; breastfeeding can be rough, y’all!)

 

Do you write down your kids’ quotes? You should start now!

Try It Tuesday

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The past several weeks have been tough at our house during the bedtime hours. I haven’t been getting much sleep and Huff the Tot has decided that she’s hungry (even though she just ate) or thirsty (even though she just downed water), or needs to go check on baby brother right as we’re closing her bedroom door. Convenient, huh?

Because of this, the hours of 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. typically go the same way EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT:

Put child in bed.

Hear knocking on child’s door.

Exchange look with Huff the Hubs. Stay quiet. Children, much like deer, react wildly to noise.

Hear knocking again followed by, “Momma? You dere?”

Let out exasperated sigh.

Try not to strangle Huff the Hubs when he says, “She wants you!”

Open door.

Tell child to go back to bed.

Child throws self on floor in an emotional breakdown that could rival Britney Spears’ mental upheaval of 2008.

Read child one more book.

Put child in bed.

Repeat until child or parents pass out from exhaustion.

Something had to give. I needed this child to go to sleep at a decent hour. If she wasn’t going to sleep, wasn’t going to sleep. Which sucked because I have been getting up 2-4 times a night with Huff the Babe.

I had heard some good things about a new, revolutionary book that helped kids fall asleep FAST. I decided it was time to try it!

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We went to Barnes and Noble after dinner one night and I just knew this would work!

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I told Huff the Tot that Mommy bought her a new book and we would read it together in her room just before bed. Look how excited she is! So cute, so innocent. (Do NOT let this picture fool you. She pulls you in with her cuteness and then becomes the Destroyer of Rem Sleep.)*

We sat down and read. There is a page at the very beginning that tells the parent how to read the story. Certain words are bolded and you’re supposed to emphasize those words. Others are italicized and should be read with a slooow, callllming voice.

I started reading.

Wow! I thought, Look at her eyes! She’s blinking very slowly! Its working! 

A few pages in…

The thumb is in! Yessss…. Momma’s gonna sleep GOOD tonight! 

A few more pages in…

Did she just fall asleep? Oh, her eyes are opening. THIS BOOK IS GOLD! 

By the time I got to “The End”, Huff the Tot was snuggled with her blanket, sucking her thumb, and asking me to turn on her music (toddler speak for, “Go away.”) I kissed her goodnight, turned on her music, and practically skipped the entire way out of her door.

Just as I was about to tell Huff the Hubs we could FINALLY catch up on the latest season of Gotham, I heard it.

Knock, knock, knock. 

Knock, knock, “Momma?” 

I put her back in bed. Her room was quiet. All was right with the world. Then I saw this on the monitor:

Cut to 10:45 p.m. and she’s still awake. I didn’t let that faze me, though. The next night, we tried again. This time, we sat in the rocking chair. I rocked as I read and I could tell she was getting sleepy. I put her in bed, half-asleep, and breathed a sigh of relief when I closed the door and heard nothing. Twenty minutes later I’m calming a crying-like-a-banshee toddler.

I tried a third night to no avail.

So, Imma say this was a Try It FAIL. Well, so long, Sleep. It was nice knowing ya.^

Have you tried this book? Did it work for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Calm down, Keyboard Judges. I love my kids. But I’m a better momma when I get quality sleep.

 

^What HAS worked for us is allowing Huff the Tot to pick out a few books to keep in her bed. We tell her, “You may lay in bed and look at books while you try to fall asleep. you may not get out of bed. But you can look at books.” THAT has cut down on so many bedtime tantrums. I don’t know why, but I am not complaining!

Mommy Monday

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As Huff the Tot grows, there are so many awesome milestones: watching her use a fork properly, being able to use the potty, and create worlds with her imagination as she plays. I can’t help but smile when I see her beam with pride and say, “I did it, Momma!”

Those adorable moments are usually followed by her doing something completely crazy, me sighing exasperatedly, and administering a face-palm.

After she does said crazy thing, I typically respond with sentences I never thought I’d say:

Stop licking your brother’s feet!

If you put your foot in that toilet one more time…! 

We do not say “Bye, Felicia!” to Nana! 

Glue is NOT for eating! 

So when I saw this video from Buzzfeed Parents, I totally related:

 

What are some weird things you say? Share in the comments below!