Thursday, August 22, 2013

Time Together

 News Flash: Marriage is hard. Marriage takes work. Especially once children enter the picture. I'm always shocked when I hear of people having a baby to try and save their marriage. Although at times watching the man you love with your baby just about makes your heart close to bursting, there are also times when he sleeps through the 3 am feeding and you want to smother him with a pillow. But after diaper changes, doctor's appointments, picky eaters, and potty training, it's so easy to let a marriage relationship fall by the wayside. Time together without the kids is so valuable. This hasn't always been easy for Kyle and I. Once we finally got our babies, we wanted to hold them close and never let go. that our sweet babies are 3, sometimes I have to stop myself from asking strangers in Target if they would like to take them home for a few hours...just long enough for me to make a Hobby Lobby run. We are so blessed to have two sets of parents who believe in the importance of us spending time alone together. They make it a priority to take our kids how ever much we need, in order for us to get away (although, I don't know if it's more about Kyle and I spending time together or them spending time with the grandkids.) :)
During our trip to MN this summer, Kyle and I were able to get away for an over night, belated anniversary trip. He took me to the North Shore. I immediately fell in love with this part of the country. I've always thought I couldn't love any place more than the ocean, but the North Shore runs a super close second.

Such a cool restaurant we ate at in Duluth Harbor.

Light House Keepers houses just like they were in the 1920's.

Such a beautiful view.

Lighthouse Keeper

Our hike down to the water

So close the Canada!

Our Bed and Breakfast. We stayed in the Winter Room.

Fire on the beach

Story Book Lodge

Rock work done by Kyle's Grandfather

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Can't wait until our next getaway!

Monday, October 15, 2012

the book that saved my life

       "And how are YOU doing?", our pediatrician asked me after he had checked the boys from head to toe. His question caught me a little off guard. And honestly, just one quick look at me said it all. The boys had been in our lives for a few weeks, which meant I had not slept for a few weeks (ok, maybe a little sleep). Dirty hair, dark circles under my eyes, black cotton pants that I had been wearing since I was 7 months pregnant...I was a mess. But physical appearances aside, I was an emotional wreck. All of a sudden I was in charge of two babies. No one was telling me what to do and no matter how much I had read before the boys came, nothing could have prepared me. I was feeling lost and extremely unsure of myself. And I hear all these moms say they just can't wait to leave the hospital and get home...I felt the exact opposite. I wanted to beg the nurses to let me stay.
        "Have you ever heard of the book Baby Wise?" he asked me. "I think you should give it a try." And yes, I had heard other moms talk about that book. In fact, one of my oldest childhood friends had recommended it to me and she has two of the most well-behaved, well-adjusted children I know. If this book was good enough for her, it was good enough for me.
         Being totally unaware of some people's opinions of this book, I went home and googled it. Turns out, not everyone likes this book. Some hate it...a lot.
         I would sum up the book with having two basic principles, putting your baby on a schedule being the first one. Baby eats, baby plays, baby sleeps...with the exception of late night and middle of the night feedings. This was vital for me. Having some sort of guide line for the boys day gave me a fresh outlook on things and helped me feel like I was getting control again. And truthfully, I had always agreed with a scheduled day (I had seen time and time again in my classroom that children thrive on a schedule and like to know what comes next in their day) but I guess the absolute exhaustion of the first few weeks messes with your brain and I couldn't do anything except keep us all alive. And again, in my limited experience, the first few weeks are just about survival. I had many wise mothers tell me that at the beginning, it's all about giving the baby what they need (food, sleep, etc). And I agree with that. I looked at the schedule guidelines in Baby Wise as a jumping off point for after you make it through those first few "survival weeks". For me, I needed to know what came next. I fed them, we played, and then they napped. I grabbed onto that concept and held onto it with white knuckles all the way through the first several months. And of course it doesn't happen that smoothly, but I knew that if everything fell apart, I had a place to start again.
     The second principle presented in the book is the idea of training your child to sleep. This includes putting them down for nap or bed and walking away, letting them cry for a bit and eventually teaching them to fall asleep on their own. (Let me say again, I feel like all bets are off those first few weeks. I wouldn't try any of this until after that.) Now I know there are people who will read this and immediately be appalled and move right on to another blog. And that's ok. This way of doing things really worked for us. Of course, the idea of not picking a baby up right away when they cry was happening from day one with me because I had two. But even with one baby, this concept just made sense to me.
     So, what am I trying to say? I can tell you with all honesty, I did not follow all the concepts in Babywise to the letter...but I did pick and choose what worked for me and my boys. I would recommend this book to any new mom, and would probably give it as a shower gift if I didn't think that I would be in danger of being burned at the stake in the center of town by some. :) The reason I chose to write about and recommend Baby Wise is that I felt so lost at the beginning and this book truly helped me through.
      I'll end with a few things I've learned in the last two years: Every parent has to find their own way of doing things that works for their family.  Just because this worked for me, does not mean it will work for you. I so desperately wanted someone to tell me EXACTLY what to do and I couldn't find any one that would (which I'm thankful for now but back then I just couldn't figure out why they all hated me and wanted me to suffer). :)
      Criticism and judgement does not feel good, especially when you are truly doing the very best you can. I am guilty of criticizing and judging and I have felt it from others. I don't know about other moms, but there have been only a hand full of times that I have felt like I really, 100% knew what I was doing (and I can't even think of those few, but it sounds better to say it that way). But I know that I love my boys and try to handle things with their best interest at heart, as are ALL mothers, no matter what philosophies you choose to subscribe to. It is not my place to judge someone else for the way they choose to raise their babies because I'm not at their house, with their children, in their circumstances.
       I can't say I never catch myself "questioning" (aka. judging) the way others do things, but I really am working on it. :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

How to be a Good Housewife: Katherine & Ethan's Shower

Sunday we threw a shower for my sweet soon to be sister, Katherine (we let Ethan come too). I found a game on Etsy a few months ago that was made from a 1955 issue of Housekeeping Monthly entitled A Good Wife's Guide and 1950's Housewife seemed like a fun theme for a shower. Bethany, Grace, and I put our heads together and had a lot of fun thinking of things to go with our theme. And luckily my mother and her good friend Deb had plenty of fun items for us to use.

Grace, me, and Bethany (Jessica was an honorary hostess, but didn't want to stray to far away from home because she was 41 weeks pregnant) And although nothing can liven up a party like a birth, we were ok with her staying home. :)

We played "Who's That Famous Housewife?"

Bethany made these amazing pie pops for everyone to take home as favors.

Pies instead of cake

The lovely bride in her apron!

Everyone brought a favorite recipe for Katherine

"A good wife always knows her place" ~Housekeeping Monthly 1955

"Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day" ~Housekeeping Monthly 1955

"Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return." ~Housekeeping Monthly 1955

"Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction." ~Housekeeping Monthly 1955

Lots of Fiestaware (Ethan's favorite)

Katherine's dad came to help load up the gifts.

Bethany and Mrs. Deb (she came dressed up!)

Congratulations Ethan & Katherine! We can't wait to celebrate with you on your big day!