Friday, January 31, 2014

More Changes for Echo

Shortly after we converted Echo's crib in to a toddler bed we ended up just going ahead and switching her to a floor bed. The toddler bed was great because she could get in and out by herself but she rolled out a few times and woke herself up so we decided it was time for the floor bed.

So far it has been working out really well and we are all getting better sleep. She seems to be able to put herself back to sleep easier than she did in her crib (maybe she doesn't like being fenced in?) and when she does wake up I can just lay down with her in bed until she falls back asleep which makes it a lot easier on me.

So this is what her room looks like for now. The floor bed we are using is an old futon mattress. We had a few extra of those lying around so it worked out perfectly. We will still be moving her to a new room sometime this Spring but have to work up the energy to redo the floors first. In the mean time the floor bed is working out great! I encourage everyone to try it if you have a toddler. Just make sure the room is baby proofed first ;-)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


As you may have heard we've had some snow here in the Atlanta area! Naturally everything shut down and the roads were a mess yesterday and this morning. As far as I know many people are still stranded as it hasn't warmed up enough to melt much today. Thankfully Eric left work early enough to get home (it only took him two hours were many people were stuck on the roads for 8 or 9 and a ton of people ended up sleeping in their cars). He did have to leave his car about a mile away and walk the rest of the way in so we'll have to go pick it up later. I am so relieved to have all my loved ones at home with me and now we can just wait it out and enjoy this beautiful snow!

I am a huge snow person and was so excited that we got a good dusting this year. I couldn't wait to share the snow with Echo but unfortunately she was not a fan. Not only did she not seem to enjoy it she actually seemed to hate it. I was so disappointed! Oh well, maybe when she's older she'll learn to love snow. Luckily I was able to leave her home with her dad on several occasions so I could go play in the snow :-)

Echo was not happy about all this white stuff on the ground

Walking in the snow

It was fun to go for a walk while it was really coming down yesterday!

Echo preferred sitting by the fire and drawing to playing in the snow 

After Eric got home yesterday he was able to work at the window and watch the snow come down.

Kitty footprints in the snow this morning

This morning we had a ton of fun sledding on our street and talking to the neighbors. It's nice how the snow brings everyone outside. I'll post some videos of us sledding later, they're on my dad's camera. By this afternoon a lot of the snow is melting on the roads but there are plenty of icy patches left and I may not be able to get out of my driveway for a while yet. Good thing we have plenty of food!

Icy streets outside our house

Our house in the snow, much the way it looked the first time we came to see it when it was for sale.

More kitty footprints, so cute!

It was Sophie's first snow and she loved it! It was so cute to see her playing in it.

It makes me sad to see the snow melting already but I'm still hoping we get one more good snow before the Spring comes. I've had a great time these past two days having my family all together and alternating between playing in the snow and warm indoor activities like baking and hot chocolate drinking, not quite ready for it to be over yet :-)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Can We Stop Judging Each Other?

If you are pregnant or have kids you know what I mean. If you don't have kids yet you will learn that it starts as soon as people find out you are pregnant. Nothing invites others to openly criticize your life choices more than bearing children. I was shocked at how open people feel about telling you what to do in regards to your own body and later your own child. From what you eat while you are pregnant, to how you choose to give birth, to how long you breastfeed for (if you breastfeed at all). Everyone has strong opinions on the topic of kids and they aren't shy about sharing them.

For me it started with well meaning friends sending me articles about how what I ate while I was pregnant would affect my child's food preferences for the rest of their lives and how I could be inadvertently steering them toward obesity already.  This was enough to send me in to a panic attack every time I gave in to an ice cream craving. After I gave birth the unasked for advice didn't stop. It comes from friends, family and complete strangers and you start to learn that this is a normal part of being a parent. You eventually learn to tune some of this out and follow your own instincts but sometimes it's hard not to question yourself. Often the little shred of doubt creeps in and you wonder if you are harming your child in some horrible and irrevocable way.

The worst part is I realized how I can be just as bad as anyone else about judging other moms. You see, the thing that got me thinking about this was a recent online chat I had with a friend about how I hate to see babies with pierced ears. Personally, I think it's creepy and I always make a snap judgement about moms who pierce their little one's ears. I was talking to some other family members about the conversation and it hit me what a jerk I sounded like. I had to take a step back and realize how unfair this was. I know nothing about these families or their reasons for doing what they do and and by judging them I am being just as annoying as the people who have judged me about countless things regarding my daughter.

My point is that we are probably all guilty of judging other parents. Of course we have strong opinions about what is best for our kids and it's hard not to project these on to other families. But let's face it people, being a parent is really, REALLY hard. It's certainly the hardest thing I've ever done and I love it with all my heart (as evidenced by my rush to have a second kid). Basically anyone who raises a reasonably healthy kid to adulthood deserves a medal in my book. As moms we will of course beat ourselves up over every little mistake we make and it's hard enough without others jumping all over us as well. So let's all cut ourselves, and other moms, a little slack. Remember that regardless of our differences in parenting style we all want the same thing, for our kids to grow up healthy and happy. I know I will try to keep this in mind next time I see a baby with pierced ears ;-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hello Toddlerhood

Eating veggies and rice, she is getting really good at using spoons and forks.

Echo has been growing by leaps and bounds and has reached quite a few significant milestones lately. I still sometimes feel a little shock when I look at her and realize she isn't a baby anymore, she is a full blown toddler.

The most notable change that has happened over the past few weeks is that Echo is now completely weaned. I have to admit, this makes me sigh a big sigh of relief. I worried (especially after getting pregnant again) that weaning would be difficult, that it would result in lots of stress for both of us and that she wouldn't be weaned by the time the next baby came. Silly me, I should know better! as a product of unschooling I know better than anyone that if you wait until a child is ready to do something it will be easy.

I had planned to do the "don't offer don't refuse" method of weaning but for a long time I kept forgetting and offering automatically. It wasn't until I noticed Echo's decreased interest in nursing that I really decided to try not offering and see how it went. It had gotten to the point where when we did try to nurse she would only stay on for about a minute and then either pop off or start chewing on me (no fun, let me tell you) so I knew it was time. It turns out that once I stopped offering she didn't even really seem to notice. She never asked to nurse again and so we haven't. It's nice to have this hurdle crossed before the next baby arrives but the down side is now I have to worry more about what she eats! Breast milk is such an easy, perfect food and I never had to worry about her getting all the nutrients she needed while she was nursing. So it will be a little more work for me but worth it in the end. It's also nice to reclaim my body a little bit before I have to give it over to the new baby this Summer.

We have also been seeing big changes in echo's sleeping habits that are encouraging. I used to think I would never get her to sleep without nursing and now I mostly use a pacifier to help sooth her to bed. However we have seen more and more of her being able to go to sleep on her own lately. If she is really tired I can lay her in her bed and as long as I stay with her for a while she will drift off on her own. We also decided it was time to remove the side of her crib so she is now in a toddler bed that she can get in and out of on her own. For some reason this has seemed to help with her being able to go back to sleep on her own during the night and nap times. I have no idea why but we have definitely noticed a difference since we switched to the toddler bed. When we move her to her new room she will have a nice big floor bed and will be able to get in and out on her own easily but we are wanting to replace the floor in that room before we move her over and finding the time to do that has been tricky!

Anyway, she is still not sleeping through the night but now that we know she can go back to sleep on her own we are feeling encouraged. Hopefully we will make some real progress with this before the next baby comes and we have to start the sleepless night cycle all over again. Echo has also been exhibiting many other toddler like behaviors like eating with a fork and spoon, stacking blocks, painting and drawing and yes, even trowing tantrums. I still can't believe how big an d beautiful she has gotten, she makes my hear do a little flutter whenever I look at her.

I'm kind of in awe at how easy weaning was and it gives me great hopes for potty training days which will be here before we know it. I feel like it just goes to show that you don't have to battle with your children or have a power struggle, you just have to notice them, listen to them and follow theirs cues. If you follow your instincts and theirs you can have a much easier time of things. When they are ready to reach a certain milestone they will let you know.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A New All Purpose Bag For Me!

I recently finished what is probably my most ambitious sewing project to date and I am so pleased with the results I could bust! As the mom of a toddler I need to simplify my life wherever possible and while I I loved my cute diaper bag and purse I hated having two separate bags for different purposes. I felt like I was always moving things from one to the other and losing things in the process. What I needed was one bag that I could use for everything.

I went looking for a new bag that would suit my needs but I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, at least not for a price I was willing to pay. I didn't want something that looked like a diaper bag because after a year of toting a big bulky thing like that around the thrill was gone. When you are pregnant with your first kid you are excited to get a diaper bag but the new wears off quickly, now I just want to feel like a normal person and carry a normal bag. I wanted a regular purse but something that would be big enough to stick a few diapers and wipes in.

After it occurred to me that I could probably make a bag that would fit all my needs I went snooping around online for free patterns. Seriously, how great is the internet? It has become so easy to teach yourself new skills because of the generosity of people who are willing to share their talents for free! I found this amazing free pattern and tutorial on Think Liz (thank you Liz! You are awesome!).

It was pretty easy to sew this little number up if a little time consuming but I had so much fun making it and the results are exactly what I wanted. I have been proudly toting my new bag around all weekend and have gotten lots of compliments. In the near future I am planning to make some matching accessories such as a wallet and diaper strap to help me keep things organized. There is nothing quite as gratifying as seeing a need for something in your life and being able to make something to fill it with your own hands!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Home Made Christmas Gifts

Now that Christmas is over I can reveal my home made presents from this past year. I didn't get as many done as I would like but here is what I ended up giving.

For my Dad and Eric I made these handy fire wood totes. I can't find the tutorial I used anywhere now but they were really easy and fun to make. It's always so hard to think of good hand made gifts for guys and these were the perfect thing.

For Echo's baby friends I sewed some little bath time buddies out of terry cloth. They are basically just wash clothes but so cute! I packaged them with little travel sized baby shampoos.

For my mom I made my first attempt at making an encaustic collage. It was definitely harder than I thought but fun to play with. I think I'd like to get a book and learn more about this process in the future.

My grown up friends got home made bees wax candles and a locally made food item (not made by me but bought at a cool store in Marietta which sells locally produced items).

That's it for this year but if I end up having time and fortune smiles on me I am going to try to work on some home made goodies for Valentines day.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas on Block Island

I finally finished going through my photos from our recent trip. Block Island is a little spot off the coast of Rhode Island where we rented a house for Christmas this year. It was beautiful and very chilly but we had a great time. We went on lots of lovely walks and did a lot of cooking, reading and game playing back at the house. Here are the highlights.

Echo's first time on a plane went great! She slept most of the way and then played on the ipad some. Even with how well she did traveling with a toddler is extremely stressful! I won't be in a hurry to fly again, especially after we have two little ones!

On the Ferry to Block Island

On the Ferry to Block Island

Christmas morning. We didn't have a tree so we wrapped a coat wrack in lights. Here Echo is emptying her stocking

We walked around in the chilly weather quite a bit and it knocked Echo out every time! Now we know the secret to getting her to sleep I guess. On the right Logan is sitting in the middle of the block Island labyrinth. Walking through it while meditating/praying is supposed to help you sort your life out ;-)

 Here we are visiting one of the two light houses.

The hikes down to some of the beaches were pretty steep, the views were totally worth it though.

We also took some inland trails through the island. They were very beautiful in a different way from the beaches. 

The little rock walls all over the Island made me think of Ireland

Our last day was spent in Providence and Newport exploring and eating some of the best seafood I can remember having. Unfortunately I had come down with a cold by then and was exhausted from traveling and cosleeping with Echo the whole trip so I was mostly too tired to lug my camera around. I only got a few pictures of Providence and none of Newport but they were both beautiful and had their own distinct characters as cities.

It was such fun to do something different for Christmas and I loved getting to spend time in New England, a part of the country I haven't frequented since I was a kid. I really want to make time to go back to Rhode Island some day soon because there were loads of things I wanted to do but didn't have time for. Plus the people were incredibly friendly and the food was fantastic at pretty much every restaurant we visited. This makes Rhode Island a perfect vacation spot in my book :-)