Her’s Day Thursday

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This weekend is Mother’s Day and, even though I touched on it during my Monday blog, I want to say again how great moms are. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom wiping noses/butts/hands all day, a working mom who juggles car pools and staff meetings, a stepmom that is searching for her place in her new bonus kids’ lives, an older mom looking around at her empty nest, or an aunt that loves her nieces and nephews as though they’re her own, I salute you. You do the grunt work: the kissing the boo-boo’s, the driving to and from school events and practices, the searching your kid’s head for lice, cutting crusts off bread, wiping tears from your teen’s face (and holding back your own) because of something that happened at school, and countless other tasks that may seem menial, but to those you are serving it means the world.

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This weekend, sit down, put your feet up, and get pampered! You deserve it! And, on the off chance you’re able to go to the bathroom alone, watch this hilarious video and try to smile at the beautiful chaos that surrounds you!

Mommy Monday

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Ever since Huff the Tot was about a year old, I’ve been looking for ways to help her get a head start, academically. When my sisters and I were kids, my mom would do flash cards with us of various phonics and sight words and both of my parents would read to us. (I credit all of this with helping to cultivate a love of reading with my sisters and I.) So as soon as I felt HtT was ready, we’ve started “Tot School”.

My oldest sister is a SAHM/homeschool mom. She’s absolutely amazing at it and her kids are crazy-smart! I would love to have the skill and patience to be a homeschool mom, but I just don’t know if I have it in me to plan hours of curriculum and make sure we actually accomplish said curriculum instead of just sit around in our jammies all day watching Netflix (which, to be fair, sounds like an amazing day!).

BUT, Tot School is definitely something I can accomplish daily! After some consulting with my sister (and Pinterest) I came up with a “teaching plan” that fit our schedule and Huff the Tot’s attention span. So I thought I’d share with you some of our favorite Tot School activities.

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Alphabet Flash Cards

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Like most little girls, Huff the Tot is obsessed with Frozen. These alphabet flash cards helped her learn her alphabet and recognize/name letters before she was two years old. And, bonus!, the fact that the flash cards were characters from her favorite movie kept her attention! You can get them here from TotSchooling.net! If Frozen isn’t your kid’s fancy, you can get superhero, animals, or Disney characters!

 

Letter Sound Worksheets

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Once I saw that HtT could recognize letters/sing the alphabet song multiple times without any mistakes, I knew it was time to progress to some early-reading encouragement and work on letter sounds. These printables from 1+1+1=1 have been so incredibly helpful! Each week, Huff the Tot and I cover one letter. We’ll do one different worksheet a day and every day we’ll sing a song I learned from my nephew’s Letter Factory toy! For example, on the days we do the letter A, I’ll sing (to the tune of “The Cheese Stands Alone“): “The A says a. The A says a. Every letter makes a sound, A says a!” We sing that song a few times a day and it really helps her to remember which letters make which sounds.

 

Sensory Play 

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For a long time, I thought sensory play had to be this deep, meaningful, expensive time where I would buy a sand or water table and we’d talk about the intricacies of science and all that jazz. But you know works great? Play Doh! I just hand her a few tubs, one of her Play Doh sets, and while I cook dinner the kid goes to town! She keeps her hands busy and I keep my sanity! (See, tot school doesn’t have to be some elaborate thing!)

 

Fine Motor Skills

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Again, helping your wee one learn fine motor skills doesn’t have to be some long, involved process. A few chunky beads and a shoelace and you’ve got yourself a fine motor skills activity. Bonus? I got Huff the Tot’s in the Dollar Spot at Target!

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are many days that I feel as though the only educational activity we’ve done is watch three hours of Little Einsteins. With two kids, its tough to squeeze in Tot School everyday. I try to set aside time during little brother’s naps to go over as much as we can. But just because Huff the Tot and I aren’t sitting at the table doing a letter worksheet doesn’t mean there’s no way to pop education in throughout the day. I love the LeapReader Jr. my sister got for Huff the Tot and Starfall is a great site/app that facilitates learning (and also keeps the kid entertained when we’re at a restaurant or the doctor’s office waiting room!) There are so many blogs and websites out there (hello, Pinterest!) that can give you a ton of ideas that work for you and your kiddo!

Do you do Tot School with your wee one? What do you do? Are there any sites you find helpful? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Ever since becoming a mom, one of my favorite hobbies, reading, has kind of fallen to the wayside. Between diaper changes and tantrums, I haven’t had the time. Not to mention I wrote books for a living and, at the end of the day, I didn’t want to read more. I just wanted to sleep. But now that I’m no longer ghostwriting/editing books, one of my goals is to read more. I finished Me Before You when Huff the Babe was a fresh newborn and sped through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a few weeks ago. I told myself it was time to read a non-fiction; one that would help me in my new role as a SAHM and wife. I chose this book:

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I had pinned this a loooooooooong time ago on Pinterest (back when Huff the Tot was a few months old) but I just now got around to reading it. I’m only six chapters in, but I gotta tell ya, its already taught me so much!

As I read, I feel like the authors have peeked inside my home, taking notes of the things I have said, thought, or argued with Huff the Hubs about. Though the authors are women, they do a good job of showing the perspectives of wives and husbands. There have been several times I have stopped to take notes or felt convicted. However, this particular subtitle spoke deep to my soul:

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I realized I have been stressing myself out, trying to make everything spotless, making sure laundry is folded and put away (even if I’m accomplishing this at 11:00 p.m.), cutting my daughter’s pb&j’s with a cookie cutter EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. instead of just cutting it into 4 triangles (because that’s how So-And-So did it on Facebook for her kid), and making every meal Pinterest-perfect, no matter how bad it stressed me out. I was putting so much effort into making sure everything was Instagram-worthy so other people would think I was doing a great job as a wife/mother, that I was alienating my kids and husband.

How many times have I said, “Mommy can’t play right now; I’m busy” or “No, you can’t help. Mommy wants this to look a certain way” or “Can you please just leave me alone so I can read this blog post about being a better communicator?!”

Something had to give. So when I read this, it was like I had seen the light. I decided “Good enough is good enough” will be my new mantra, especially in this season of life. With two little kids in the house, I can’t expect to get everything done nor can I expect it to be perfect. That is too much pressure and too much stress.

As long as my kids and husband are fed, know they’re loved, and have clean underwear (even if its not folded), that’s what matters.

Good enough is good enough.

 

 

 

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Have you read a parenting/marriage book that has spoken to you? Share in the comments below!

 

 

 

Mommy Monday

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Y’all, I seriously feel like I’ve been walking in a fog the past–oh, I don’t know–three months? Four months? Its been rough. With Huff the Hubs in grad school taking super-hard-and-involved engineering classes, me working and keeping the kids all day, as well as getting up 2-4 times a night to breastfeed, I’ve been exhausted. Like, heavy-bags-under-the-eyes-having-vertigo-and-can-barely-stay-awake exhausted.

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Something had to give. I knew Huff the Hubs couldn’t just STOP grad school. I mean, it’s free (his work is paying for it), he’s already halfway done, and it will help our family in the long run. I didn’t want to put both kids in daycare and I was not about to stop nursing (personal choice; don’t get all butt-hurt thinking I’m insulting formula-users. I’m not. Check yourself before you wreck yourself). So the only thing left I could give up was work.

So a week and a half ago, I turned in my two week’s notice.

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Honestly, it was a pretty easy decision. I’ve always known I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but I wasn’t sure when that was going to happen. And, to be quite frank, I’m a little nervous.

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I know that this is going to be a big challenge. I mean, I love my kids. I love them with my whole heart. But sometimes, my patience wears thin. Like when Huff the Tot throws a fit because I made her a PB&J and not chicken nuggets even though she she said she wanted a sandwich.

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Or when Huff the Babe is screaming his head off and nothing–and I mean NOTHING–will calm him down.

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My mom was a SAHM until my sisters and I were in school full-time. She assured me that there are days that you want to rip your hair out, but that it is survivable…

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…and totally worth it.

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I know this is the right decision for me and my family, but I also know there will be good times and frustrating times; victories and failures, and days I want to be around my kids and others I’ll be hitting the door as soon as Huff the Hubs walks in.

So here’s to a new adventure!

 

Are you a SAHM? What are some ways you stay sane? Was it hard for you to make the decision to stay home? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Because of the flexibility of my job, I’m able to work out my schedule in such a way that I can keep Huff the Babe home with me a few days a week. Its nice because I get the benefits of being a working woman as well as the benefits of being a SAHM. (And, not to mention, Huff the Babe gets my attention more.)

 

There are some days that I’m completely overwhelmed with balancing my two roles, like when my inbox is piling up and my toddler is pulling baby wipes out of the box two at a time. But, there are others when I’m in full-on Mommy Mode and can be focused on HtB that I actually get…bored.

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I think I just heard every SAHM around the nation gasp.

 

Maybe it’s because I only have one kid, or maybe it’s because there are days I’m super productive when my little Gryffindor isn’t home that, there are moments when she and I have nothing to do. Granted, those days are few and far between, but still, they happen.

 

I try to get down in the floor and play with her as much as I can. I’ll read books, we go over the alphabet, and we do some “Tot School” activities, but I also want her to be able to play independently. I feel like independent play is when a kid’s imagination can really grow and develop.

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It’s during her time of independent play* that I’ll look around and think, “Okay, I did all of my laundry yesterday. There are no emails in my inbox. Did I vacuum? Yeah, I did that Monday. All of my editing is up-to-date and I’m waiting on edits from clients. Soooo…what am I supposed to do while she plays with her Little People Noah’s Ark?”

 

Now that it’s getting warmer, I try to go out and take “Mommy/Daughter Walks” in the neighborhood, but that only lasts so long. I don’t want to plop her in front of the TV and I don’t want to go walk around Target just for something to do because I know the Dollar Spot will hypnotize me and tell me I need to buy twelve different items I don’t need. Maybe I just need to learn to savor those moments of calm because, before I know it, I’ll find my daughter throwing my phone in the toilet or trying to eat old Goldfish crackers out of the couch cushions. I’ve never really been one to “sit still”. Huff the Hubs complains every time we watch a movie because I’m almost always doing something else (like cleaning out my purse, painting my nails, or folding laundry).

 

Does anyone else ever experience lulls in your day as a SAHM? What do you do in those moments?