Thursday, October 20, 2016

What's working (and what's not)

Goodness. It's been a bit since I've actually blogged about something other than Sam's monthly updates. I keep meaning to blog, but my time is more limited these days and often design work for Cultivate Co or Color + Kindness eats up that time.

But, the other day I was really thinking about what was working in my life and what wasn't working. Mainly, I was thinking about it because for the past few weeks, I haven't been going to bed at a decent hour. I've been toppling into bed between 10:30-11 and then waking up either in the middle of the night (thank you Sam) or super early (like 5 am...yikes!). I'm tired, but I with a little discipline on my part, I could be a lot less tired.

So, I've decided to set an alarm on my phone at 9:30 that basically says "Hey Nicole--stop what you are doing and start preparing for bed." I look forward to a little more quiet unwinding before bed instead of screen time or shop work. Sometimes it's really good to access what is working, what's not, and whether those things need to change or just simply get cut out.

I'll start with a few "wins" and what's working for me right now:

-- Simple preschool themes and activities with Luke. Since Luke is at the age when he needs more structure, this seems to be helping us have more quality time together plus adds some variety to our days. Every week I choose a theme/letter/sight word and then I head to Pinterest for some inspiration for art, reading, and STEM activities. We also choose books/movie/show that's related too. I keep it simple and doable. For example, we've done the farm, weather, the zoo, and construction. Here's my Pinterest board that I use--just in case you are interested :)

-- Reducing the toys that are out. One day, I just got fed up with all the little toys and odd and ends we had everywhere. So, I grabbed a few extra boxes and put away about 60-70% of the toys. We've rotated a few things out and it's helpful for keeping Luke's attention, and cleaning up is so much faster. I'd encourage anyone to do this if you feel overwhelmed by all the toys/stuff!

-- Online grocery shopping and pick-up with Walmart. I don't use it every week, but I have used it about every two weeks or so. I find that it helps me stick to our budget since you can see the total add up. Plus, I can't complain about grocery shopping in my cozy pants and then getting my groceries loaded for me :) If you want to try it and get $10 off, use the code RDF4NTAI.

-- LuLaRoe leggings. Best. Ever. Chat with my friend Holly if you need to hook up with a pair :)

-- Balancing work/designing for Cultivate Co and Color + Kindness (ps. I'm wondering if I've even mentioned this shop yet on the blog?) and being a mom. I feel like I've finally hit a good stride and rhythm. I really love having a place to stretch my creative muscles but also not be hustling so much that my kiddos get lost in the shuffle.

So, what's not working?

-- Going to bed on time. Like I mentioned, it's really a boundary and discipline that I need to better establish and keep. Of course, there are always days/nights that just don't pan out, but I know that I could generally get to bed a lot sooner than I am.

-- Time in the Word. It's sporadic and unfocused. With a baby waking up between 5-5:30 on most mornings, it's unrealistic to get up before my kids wake up right now--well, unless I want to be a zombie mom. But, I can easily plop my Bible open during breakfast with the kiddos or have some quiet time while one of them naps.

-- The election. It's just not working for me.

-- Keeping up with housework. Sam is SOOOOO mobile, and it's hard to do a lot when he's up and about. However, I need to keep a running list of small, bite-able tasks that I can do to keep up when he's snacking or napping. I don't need a house that's 100% clean and tidy, but you know, 50% would be good ;)

Those are a just a few things that are working/not-working for me right now. I'd love to know some things/habits that are working/not-working for you.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dear Samuel: 8 Months


We've known from day one that you are one determined little guy, but this month, well, you've proved it. When you are awake, I spend my time chasing you down the hall (which you smirk and giggle away...because you know you are headed to the bathroom) and keeping you out of trouble.

Even though I try to keep you from falling, you do fall quite often. You are so curious and such an explorer, that if something looks like you can pull up on it, you give it a try. Sometimes, you topple over! So, you've got a nice scrap on your eye, a big bruise on your shin and cheek, and lots of little bumps. I have a feeling that stitches are in my future.

You are definitely noticing Luke a lot more these days and have begun playing with him more. You love to climb on him and try to eat his hair. He tolerates that for the most part, but he's still learning what he can and cannot do with you. He's still learning how to be extra kind and gentle with you. But, you seem to handle his rough housing pretty well--unless it involves Luke snatching a toy. However, he definitely loves you something fierce and always informs us if you put something in your mouth.

Sam, you are really are so much fun (even if you are a handful). We see so much big personality wrapped up in your little self. We see a little guy who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, who eats like it's a true baby sport (especially if it's pancakes!), and curiously approaches life and new experiences. Getting a new diaper on you is often a legitimate challenge--you often roll away, squirm out of a hold, or just plain throw a fit when you get changed. Feeding you at the speed at which you want to be fed is also a challenge--you may be a *tiny* bit demanding ;)

(and by the fact that 95% of the pictures I took have you eating that hoop, I think some teeth are in your future soon!)

And the best part of this month: you finally started sleeping through the night. Even though you still get up super early (like 5 am this morning), I'm so thankful that you don't wake up several times through the night. Go Sam!

You know what, Mr. Sammers? We love every ounce of your mischevious personality. And we can't wait to see more of who you are.

Love you,


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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dear Samuel: 7 Months

Little Sam,

This month you are really showing off. It seems that you are growing, moving, and learning exponentially these days. Could you slow down please?

You conquered the crawl--even though it took you a week or so to get it. At first it was a couple of scoots forward, plop, cry, try to get up, cry, and maybe attempt it again. You definitely got frustrated! Then, suddenly, it all clicked. Like your brother, you often scoot on one knee and use the other foot to propel you forward. You definitely love your new trick--it makes mommy accessible at all times and gives you access to all the fun "toys" like cords and the dishwasher ;)

You've also started self-feeding these last few weeks. In fact, I'm pretty sure that if I gave you puffs all day long, you would sit and eat all day. You love love love to eat. We still mostly spoon-feed you, but I've been sneaking you little tastes from my plate like pancakes and fresh bread. Otherwise, bananas and avocado top the list for your favorite-things-to-stuff-in-your-mouth :)

This month you also had your 3rd hospital stay--thanks to a penny that your brother fed you, a cold, and a little trouble keeping your oxygen levels right after the procedure to remove the penny. Of course, you were a champ and charmed everyone. You also took your first ambulance ride to the hospital--which we sincerely hope is the first and last one you ever take. Pretty please.

Sam, we are falling more and more in love with the kiddo who is coming out of the woodwork. Everyday, I see new pieces of your personality and love getting more glimpses into what makes you tick. You are recklessly determined--I've caught you standing in precarious places on more than one occasion. You seem to know how to crawl right into trouble and seem to enjoy it--like when you insist on pulling our Carbon Monoxide alarm out of the wall (at least five times now). You act shy with strangers, but you still love to get them to smile at you. You are constantly moving, exploring, and, yep, even terrorizing our living room toy boxes.

Sam, we love every squishy 20 plus pounds of you. We love your curious attitude and gummy smiles. We love the way you adore your brother and already have fun climbing all over him. We love that mischievous smirk you wear a lot and the way you head straight for the one thing you can't have. And your giggle--I can't get enough of it.

But, for the 7th time now, I'll tell you once more--could you start sleeping through the night?


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