Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Petite Picassos

I have this slight Pinterest addiction lately. If you haven't checked it out already, you should. (But I warn you, you will waste a good portion of time there.) I found this adorable kid craft, and knew I wanted to do it. We went to Michaels and bought the required items since they were all on sale (and/or I had a coupon) and set off! 

We used 20x20 canvas boards and masking tape for this step. I think they ended up costing about $5 each. LOVE Michaels' sales! Those 'O's were tricky little things. 

Miss Zoey is oh so serious in her finger painting.

Mister Ford just worries more about mixing the colors and then complaining that his finger is dirty.

Warning!!! Kids get dirty in this project! You can see the kids painted on beards and mustaches. 
They crack me up! 
Mom even got in on the mustache action! 

Their masterpieces are drying! Can't wait to see what they are going to look like! 

After a long soak in a bubble bath, the kids are squeaky clean and smell so fresh. 

The next day the paint is dry and the tape comes off to reveal the final look. Not too bad if I do say so myself. :)

I loved doing this project with them, and I foresee more projects like this. I love kid art on the walls, and my kids are quite the little artists. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brain Fart

I haven't blogged in forever. I kind of miss it. Every time I actually get time to sit down and blog, I forget what I wanted to blog about. Pretty sure I need more sleep.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Great Reminder!

This is such a great reminder for those parents who chose not to circumcise their son. This picture is simple. Feel free to print it off and give it to grandparents, daycare providers, etc!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dear Aidan

You came into my life exactly one year ago today. I have been friends with your mama for several years now. We met on an online 'mommy club'. Your sister Isabella and my little girl Zoey are the same age. I remember when your mommy told me that she was pregnant with you. I cried tears of happiness! You were a very much wanted baby. Your mama and daddy had a pretty good life before you were born. Your sister and brother, Michael-Xavier, filled their life with love. Having you was only going to make their lives that much sweeter and perfect.

I had several conversations with your mommy and she was always so cautiously optimistic about the pregnancy.We all tried to calm her fears, but her maternal instincts were too strong. One year ago today something went wrong. Horribly wrong. In an instant, you were gone. I remember hearing "She lost the baby." Lost the baby. Like you were a pair of keys or something that you can just misplace.

You were so tiny when you were born. I never saw you, but I heard that you were just beautiful and that you already looked like your siblings. I'm sure you were simply gorgeous.

For the past year I've seen the hurt and pain your mom lives with. I'd do just about anything to take that pain away. I don't know why these things happen to such good people. Your mom is one of my best friends and it kills me to see her going through this. I know from personal experience that every day gets a little easier and a little less painful, but your heart still aches. I am not going to pretend to know what your family is feeling because I have never been in their shoes. I'm sure their world is a little less sunny without you in it.

Your life and death has made an imprint on my life. I think about you daily. I miss you. I miss the person you would have been. Is it strange even though you weren't my child? I am certain you would have done amazing things in your life.

After you passed away, your mama told me that she is comforted by the fact that when the wind blows, she feels your presence. Although I am thousands of miles away from your family, the wind is blowing here. As I feel the breeze touch my skin, I think I can feel it as well.

"I dropped a tear in the ocean. The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Boobs Are For Breastfeeding

Happy World Breastfeeding Week! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I have been posting a ton about breastfeeding these last few days. It is one of the parenting topics that I am most passionate and outspoken about. I feel as though even in this day and age, breastfeeding is such a taboo subject. But why? It's quite common in other countries for mothers to nurse their children to past their toddler years. In fact, our own American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you breastfeed your child until he or she is at least a year old!

I am proud to say that I nursed my son for one year. Yes, I know that so many other women nurse for much longer, however I had many things working against me. When my daughter was born in 2006 I wanted to breastfeed her. It just seemed right. Natural. However, we had so many problems those first few days. On the third day of her life, she had lost a lot of weight and wouldn't nurse and had to have and IV placed in her arm to feed her. As a new mom, I was scared. I was scared of what could happen and having just been through a hard labor with eventual c/section, I wasn't in any mood to argue with the doctors. She refused the bottle at first too. This actual made me feel a bit better because I was no longer convinced that she just didn't like me. (Sounds silly when I type it out!) Finally she took to the bottle, had the IV removed and we were good to go home. It was a lot less stressful at the house and I was free to try to nurse again. By that point however, she wanted nothing to do with it. Also, my milk never came in. (I now know that if I had been trying to pump regularly, it would have helped tremendously.) I was fortunate enough that I could pump a few ounces of colostrum and give her that. It's been five years, and I have so many regrets. (Some that pertain to breastfeeding/formula feeding, some not. But I will have a blog post on that later.)

I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and it makes getting pregnant very difficult. At least in my case. When I FINALLY became pregnant with my second child, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I started researching PCOS and its effect on breastfeeding. To be honest, it didn't look hopeful. I was still bound and determine to nurse. I never gave myself a goal on a timeline. I just wanted to nurse my child. I was met with a lot of negativity when I voiced my desire to nurse my child. I had zero to little support. I was feeling discouraged, but I still wanted to at least give it a try. I had been told several times that I would never even be able to conceive another child and I had, so when I was told I would not be able to breastfeed several times, it lit a fire in me and I became even more determined. I had done loads of research and knew I was going to give it my all. Finally after nine long months, my baby was born. A boy. We named him Ford Donald Robert. He was born on April 22, 2009 and was 10 pounds 8.5 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. He was PERFECT. So handsome. After my doctors were done closing me up (I had a c/section.), I went to my room. It was time for that first latch. I was so nervous. What if my baby rejected my breast again? All of those feelings of defeat would come back. To my surprise, he latched on right away and started sucking. He did it again. And again, and again. We had no problems!

I really believe that America over-sexualizes breasts. I mean, everywhere you look, TV, movies, music videos, magazines, billboards, etc, all you see is boobs, boobs, boobs! And you know what, that is fine. It really takes a lot to offend me. However, one thing I absolutely CANNOT stand is when people think breastfeeding is 'gross' and 'offensive'. How is feeding your baby gross? It's one of the most natural things you can do. Boobs are made for breastfeeding! I was not afraid to nurse my child in public. I refused to hide in a bathroom or put a blanket over his head because it might offend someone. When I see a mother nursing in public, I kind of smile to her. I try to encourage nursing mothers. It's time to bring normal back!

"While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent,
it is the best choice for every baby."
~Amy Spangler

Because this post is getting pretty long, I'm going to end it with a few pictures from my collection of nursing pictures. I love each and every one of these pictures. I'm sorry if these images offend you. It was not my intention. However I will continue to post these types of pictures in an attempt to normalize breastfeeding. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I really hope you enjoy these pictures.

"My opinion is that anybody offended by breastfeeding is staring too hard."
~David Allen

After his first 'feeding'.

Just a couple of days old.

Almost a month old.

Watching my baby eat. Always so calm and peaceful.

Even when he wasn't eating, he still wanted to be close to them.

Love how he's looking at me here!

Big sister Zoey wanted to be in the picture too! I'm so glad she will grow up knowing
that breastfeeding is normal, healthy and the natural thing to do.

Oh no! There's a lion on my boob!

Sissy wanted to help feed her brother. I pumped so she could help.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Ford nursing.
He was about 10 months here. I love the way he's looking at me.

This is a short video clip of Ford nursing when he was only three weeks old. Perfection.

This pretty much sums it up. :)

"When she first felt her son's groping mouth attach itself to her breast, a wave of sweet vibration thrilled deep inside and radiated to all parts of her body; it was similar to love, but it went beyond a lover's caress, it brought a great calm happiness, a great happy calm."
~Milan Kundera

(For 101 reasons to consider breastmilk, click here!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."

July 25, 2008: The worst day of my life. I received a phone call early in the morning from my father saying that my grandma was not doing well. He and some of my aunts and uncles were going to be making the nearly 3 hour drive to be with her. I jumped in the shower and about half way through, I just started crying. I knew it wasn't good. My dad called me back shortly after that and confirmed my fear. "Amanda, grandma just died." My heart sank. My world collapsed. With that one phone call I had lost more than just my grandma. I had lost one of my best friends.

This was three years ago today. Not a day has gone by that I am not reminded of my grandma. Whether it's seeing a picture of her, someone mentioning an inside joke, a beautiful butterfly or hummingbird, or just seeing a glimpse of her in my children. I feel her presence. I would give almost anything to be able to see her, or even talk to her, just one more time. I want to tell her I love her. I want her to meet my son. Ford was born 9 months after she passed away. He chose her birthday for his own. It still gives me goosebumps when I think about it.

I don't think I'll ever stop missing her. I love her too much. I think the reason I still get so emotional over everything is BECAUSE of how much I love her. Grandma Vonnie was a pretty great person. I don't think I've ever met anyone who would disagree with that. I am proud to call myself her granddaughter. And because I have cried more while writing this post than I have in a long time, I am going to end it here. I have a couple of pictures to share too. :)

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.

- Helen Keller

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Baby Brother Is Getting Married!!

My little brother is getting married tomorrow. I'm pretty excited for them. Lance and Amy have been together for nearly 5 years. I remember the first time he introduced her to us. It was the 4th of July, 2006. My little girl was barely a month old. Crazy to think they have been together that long. (Gosh I am feeling old all of a sudden!) They have done a lot of growing up together, but still have a lot of growing up to do. (Hey, I'm his big sister. I can say that!) I'm excited to see them write this next chapter of life. And who knows, maybe I'll be an aunt by this time next year? :)

Here are my kids. Z is going to be the flower girl and F will be the ring bearer. They are pretty much adorable.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Zoey's Turning Five!!

My little girl is turning five this week! Half a decade! It's been an amazing five years.

Newborn Hospital Photo

1 year old
2 years old
3 years old

4 years old
(Almost) 5 years old

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Early Childhood Education Poem

There are too many voids
So many indeed
And not enough people to fill the need
The children are calling
Saying 'Please show us the way.
Will you stand with us at the end of the day?'
There are so many fears and so much to do
But really, all it takes is a few minutes from each of you
Our systems, they are failing
And our funding is poor
What will they eat? Will they sleep on the floor?
Faith and hope emerge as we spread the word
Yes, I will help your little voices be heard
Join us today, as our future we embrace
No longer to be ignored in a political race
We stand together and unique is our bond
Parents and children, united and strong
Yes Lansing, we are here and you need to listen
We will not leave until we accomplish our mission
Our community is with us, They know what to do
They teach us and they guide us, the rest is up to you
Leaders, hear our cries and recognize our strife
Do not cut into our futures with your budgetary knife
We are the children of Michigan, knocking at your door
We will not sit silently in the corner anymore
We stand here today, with the Great Start Collaborative
We the children, the future, of this great nation

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sending Birthday Wishes To Heaven

April 22nd would have been my grandma Vonnie's birthday. She passed away on July 25, 2008. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her and miss her. It's been nearly 3 years but I still love her so much. I know I've talked about her before (as well as my grandpa.) This morning I stumbled across a blog from two years ago today.


Tomorrow would have been my grandma's birthday. Normally she most likely would have gotten around, maybe done a little shopping, and then spent the rest of the day at the casino. Oh, and to top the day off she'd come home and eat a big bowl of ice cream! This year she is spending her birthday in heaven. This Saturday it will be 9 months since she passed. I miss her SO much!!

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I have wanted this baby to be born on April 22nd. I was bound and determined to do whatever I could to make this happen. And then all of a sudden something changed. I don't know what it was. All of a sudden it was just another day. Having this baby born on what would have been my grandma's birthday would not bring her back. I came to terms with the fact that my baby would have its own birthdate. One that was chosen by my OB.

I miss my grandma so much. I really do. You have no idea. I think about her every day. I dream about her all the time. I really feel as though I am having this baby because of her. I know that sounds weird, but it's true.

The husband and I started to try for another baby in May 2007. Nothing was happening and then in May of 2008 I was told I would most likely never get pregnant again. I decided to give up and went on the pill. I wasn't happy about it, but I was tired of feeling like a failure. I was on the pill and then grandma passed away in July. Two weeks later I had a doctors appointment. Again I was told I would never conceive again. Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant. A month to the day after grandma died. That's some crazy shit right there! I have always said that my grandma gave great gifts, but I feel as though this baby is her greatest gift she could have given me. I honestly feel as though she is my guardian angel as well.

While I have come to terms with the fact that my baby won't be born on the same date as my grandma, I still have hope. It's not a lot, but its there. :)

Grandma: I love you and miss you so much. I hope you have a great birthday. While I most likely won't be walking around a casino tomorrow, I will enjoy and extra scoop of ice cream for you though! Happy Birthday!


Like I said earlier, I wrote this two years ago today. I was 9 months pregnant. I was a ball of emotions. On the morning of Wednesday, April 22, 2009 I woke up and was having contractions every 10 minutes. They were not increasing in pain or frequency so I didn't think it was 'it'. My baby, a boy, a perfect baby boy, was born that evening. I am still amazed that he chose my grandma's birthday for his own. Though I wish my grandma was still here to celebrate her birthday with my son, I am excited to tell him all about her as he gets older

Sunday, April 17, 2011

So Much For That "Calm"

A few blog posts ago I wrote about how we were in the 'calm between the storms'. We were really busy and things were finally calming down. Well things are now picking back up. Super fast. My son's birthday is this week. I'm having a hard time thinking of him as a two year old. My daughter's birthday is next month. I still can't believe she's turning five, but it hasn't hit me quite yet. Every week in the month of May I will be attending a two hour meeting/class on gentle discipline. In the next two months we have a lot on our plate. Easter, kindergarten roundup, Mother's Day, bridal showers, birthday parties, cookouts, meetings, classes, open houses, a wedding and I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot more. I don't have any Pure Romance parties on my schedule and normally I'd be starting to stress a bit, but with everything else going on, it's nice to not have to worry about adding even more things to the calendar. We recently bought materials to build a deck on our house. It should look really nice when it's all done. We just have to get started on it. There was a hold up with the couple of permits and inspections we needed before we could really do much, but after tomorrow we should be given the green light to go ahead and start building. We have a couple of inside projects too. We have been painting the living room and OMG, it's been a project. The painting should be done now though so now we just have to worry about putting everything back together. I want my kids to make 'art' to hang on the walls. I picture the final project in my head and it looks really good. Hopefully when all is said and done it will be as great as the vision in my head. I guess we will just have to wait and see. The other 'big' project we are doing inside is redoing Zoey and Ford's bedroom. He's in his toddler bed but he's getting so big for it. We have a twin size for him now and we need to clean their room and get it set up. We haven't bought the bedding yet because it was sold out, but I did get a raincheck so I can get the awesome sale price. I felt bad that he was getting new bedding, so I decided to get a new bedding set for Zoey. Their room is going to look SO cute! Here's the sets that we are going with. Zoey loves the owls and I thought the backyard friends theme goes so well with them.

I hope you don't think I am complaining about all this. I'm really not. I LIKE keeping busy. I'm just worried that I keep taking on too many things and I'm going to forget something major. I'm horrible at writing things down on my calendar or schedule, and let's face it, my memory is not as great as it used to be. Haha! My friend and her boyfriend visited us at our house today and it was really nice. We don't 'hang out' as much anymore but this visit today made me realize that I want to make more of an effort to visit them. Hoping we can get together for some double dates within the next couple of months.

If you don't see me around for a while, you'll know why. :)

'This Ain't Freaking Mario Kart!'

Being from a small town, you don't tend to see bad cases of road rage. (Please don't get me wrong, you still see it, but it's not nearly as bad as you see in large cities.) Yesterday I saw the worst, yet funniest, case of road rage that I've ever seen in my entire life. We were in a parking lot, trying to turn right onto the road. Traffic was stopped at the red light. It soon turned green. Apparently traffic wasn't moving as fast as someone liked because all of a sudden in the lane closest to us, we see one car THROW A BANANA at the car in front of it! I don't actually know if the banana hit the car, but it was hilarious!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers

As a child, you are taught that April showers bring May flowers. I bet they didn't mean snow showers though.

This was our Sunday afternoon. We went from no snow, to about 4 inches in probably just as many hours. It soon turned to rain and when we woke the next morning, only an inch of snow remained. It's getting fairly 'warm' during the days (think mid-40's) so by now the snow is gone. It makes me nervous though because it should be warming up for good by now. I know, I know, I'm in Michigan so I should be used to the crazy weather changes, but I am so sick of the snow and cold temps. I'm not usually one to complain about the weather (except in the summer. Fat people and triple degree temperatures DO NOT mix well!) but this is getting ridiculous. I long for the day when we can leave the house without bundling the kids up in their big coats, hats, etc. I want to wear short sleeve shirts and cute sandals! (Note to self, write 'pedicure' on the list of things to do.) I see the robins out playing and it gives me hope. While I was outside with the kids today I did see my tulips poking out of the ground. Perhaps those 'May flowers' are on their way after all.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Calm Between The Storms

The last few months have been so busy for us. It seems as though we were on the go every day. I realize this is normal for some people, but it's not for us. March was crazy busy and although it was great, I'm glad to see it come to an end. We don't have much on the calendar for the next few weeks. I'm sure it's going to pick up real quick though as the boy's birthday is later this month, the girl has a birthday in May and my little brother is getting married in June. I feel bad for my son. Like I said, his birthday is in less than 3 weeks and we have NOTHING planned for a party. To be completely honest, I don't even want to have a party, but I feel like I need to have one for him. I'm contemplating having one party for both kids, but then it doesn't seem fair to either one. But then again, they are already going to get cake, ice cream and gifts even if we don't have a party, and that's more than a lot of kids get. Right? I'm really looking forward to a couple of weeks of not doing a whole lot of anything. I have a list of things I want/need to do in that time. I should probably get going so I can start crossing them off my list. I'm hoping that I can pump out some blog posts during this down time too, so make sure you check back.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

30 Day Project: Day 30

Day 30: A picture of someone you miss.

I miss my grandparents. I was really close with both of them and they were almost like an extra set of parents. I spent a lot of time with them as a child, and even as an adult I visited as often as I could. They both taught me a lot about love and life. I wish I could have just one more day with them. I want to know if I am making them proud. I want them to meet both of my children (Zoey had two years with grandma). But most importantly, I just want to tell them one more time that I love them both. Their deaths seemed sudden (to me) and I never told them one last goodbye. At least not while they were still alive. Even though they've both been gone for years, I still feel them with me. I see so much of them in my children. Their spirits live on through them, as well as our memories and our love.

30 Day Project: Day 29

Day 29: A picture that can always make you smile.

30 Day Project: Day 28

Day 28: A picture of something you're afraid of.

Mice. I hate mice. Not the cute cartoon mice, but the creepy
little rodents that sneak around your house.
(Actually, I wanted to put clowns, but I was too chicken shit to even
search for a picture because they freak me out so much.)

30 Day Project: Day 27

Day 27: A picture of yourself and a family member.

Myself and my kids last spring. We went to Chicago. This was taken by the
entrance to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Can't wait to go back!

30 Day Project: Day 26

Day 26: A picture of something that means a lot to you.

My sense of humor. I don't think I'd be able to function without it.

30 Day Project: Day 25

Day 25: A picture of your favorite day.

I don't know if this is a favorite day, but it was a perfect day.
My husband's grandparents live right on Lake Huron and it makes for some pretty
incredible sunsets. I love spending time there. It really is one of
my most favorite places ever.

30 Day Project: Day 24

Day 24: A picture of something you wish you could change.

I long for the day that ALL people are free to marry whoever they love.

30 Day Project: Day 23

Day 23: A picture of your favorite book.

Pure Romance: Between The Sheets
by Patty Brisben

To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss

30 Day Project: Day 22

Day 22: A picture of something you wish you were better at.

I procrastinate. A lot. I need to work on getting better about doing things right away.

30 Day Project: Day 21

Day 21: A picture of something you wish you could forget.

30 Day Project: Day 20

Day 20: A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel.

England, Scotland and Ireland