So I have not been posting like I should. I started a new job and between it and the kiddos I have just not been making the effort I should. I have even programmed an alarm to go off weekly for a blog post and yet here I am for the first time in months and months. So I’m going to show off my very crappy to mediocre artwork as I try to participate in Inktober where you are encouraged to draw daily. I am still making my polymer clay jewelry as well in the evenings when I have time so I will try my best to stick to this.
We have also traveled recently and both Little Bit and Lilo were so well behaved. I’m feeling very Disney homesick atm so when the first prompt was poison my mind went straight to the bottle of “poison” which was actually extract of llama. lol.
Told you I was not talented but there you have it. I was not being modest lol.
I’ll write about our little four day trip soon. I hope. Maybe.
We don’t just celebrate teacher appreciation day, we do a whole week. I mean the two women who manage 21 5-6 year olds 5 days a week, all day, and still manage to teach them something—they deserve a whole week.
I consider myself a fairly successful adult and my penchant for learning (life-long) and for reading came from a beautiful, amazing tiny little woman who is now retired but with whom I still stay in touch. She was my first grade teacher and her name was “Miss” Judy. I still remember learning phonics lessons in her class. She made an impact. Many of the children in her class at that small little private school in South Carolina have gone on to become pretty successful adults. Even though I moved away after 2nd grade I still stay in touch with many of them and they are contributing to society in many ways. Let’s not pretend our time with Miss Judy didn’t play a roll in that.
My own baby sister (8 years age difference) is now a first grade teacher, at the school in the very classroom where she attended 1st grade. I could not be more proud. She is 3 years in to teaching and she already has former parents and students stopping her when we are shopping to hug her and thank her. She glows afterwards. She, my mom and I have spent many of our own dollars 💵 and lots of time giving her students special lessons and surprises each year. Having someone who I’m so close with as a teacher deepens my respect for them so much. Sweat, paper-cut blood, tears and a good chunk of her not-big-enough-in-my-opinion salary goes into teaching each of those 19-22 students she has for 8 hours 5 days a week 184days +\- each year so please know to all those teachers out there I appreciate you, I love you for caring, to the two currently teaching my little bit–thank you. Thank you.
Hug a teacher, buy her a bottle of wine or some chocolate or a gift card to get her toes done. She (or he) deserves it.
So here’s what we did–I made print outs on Silhouette studio for the bags (I will try to find a way to post the svg file if anybody is interested) the first day I made “Your the balm” and gave Burt’s Bees lip balm, today is donut day so I bought donuts and put them in pretty white boxes with the donut tags I found here.
Tomorrow I will be making or finding a “thank you for helping my bloom” and giving them each a rose ring that I make (I make jewelry with polymer clay, you can follow me on Instagram at ClayMagnolias or my Facebook page under the same name, I do not have Etsy yet but I do accept PayPal and ship). I have a Youtube channel with tutorials in the works you can find here.
Friday the last day we will be making a teacher supply “cake” and I will post an updated picture when it’s done!
What did you do for teachers appreciation? What impact have teachers made in your life? Your children’s?
Every year for the past three years at least, our family tries to make our way over at least a few times from Jan-Feb to one of my favorite spots on the GA coast, Jekyll Island. If you are unfamiliar with the island its a small island off the Southern coast of Georgia that was once a vacation spot for big names such as Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, etc who built “cottages” there and had an exclusive hunting club. The island is now a State Park and home to both historic landmarks and beautiful beaches.
During the cooler months when tourism is down, we find it the best time to partake in the many trails/bike paths all over the island as we don’t have to become food sources for the insect population. It’s also this time of year (Jan 1- Feb 28) when the island hosts its annual treasure hunt!
The treasure hunt is based on a hobby from the 1950s when beach-goers would collect hollow glass balls/floats that fishermen would use to mark their nets when they broke free and drifted on shore.
As you may have read in my New Year’s post, the Moose and I have made a joint decision to disconnect this year and spend more time outdoors with the girls. We took the somewhat warmer day (above freezing) as a sign to do just that. We packed up the girls and dressed them and ourselves warmly and went on an adventure.
We went along the trail leading towards the historic district keeping our eyes out for treasures and stopping along the way to read and discuss some of the historic sites with Little Bit.
We did make it all the way to the historic district but the wind had picked up, the clouds started to come in and the girls were cold. We headed back, walking about 3 miles round trip and having a lot of fun!
While we didn’t find any treasure this weekend we hope to come back soon with better luck!
I’d love to hear from you! What adventures do you like to go on with your kiddos or significant other?
We took Little Bit and Lilo on a hike at a state park on New Years Day. I️ haven’t always been an outdoors woman to say the least. I️ mean bugs, snakes (many poisonous around here) and the sun are not exactly in this pale girl’s friend list. I️ am trying to find it more enjoyable especially when the weather assists me in blocking my three aforementioned enemies as in Georgia “Swinter” or the extreme mixture of weather we have between late October and March. I️ mean, y’all, my idea of a great day is curled up in my pjs or yoga pants reading a good book and drinking some hot tea on a “cold” day.
We had decided if the Seattle-style weather subsided on New Year’s Day and the weather was above freezing we would #optoutside with the girls as my husband is very much an outdoor kind of guy and since Ireland I’ve found a bit more of an adventurous side to my soul.
With much difficulty we mustered enough layers to be somewhat warm in the just above freezing temps (it’s the South y’all, I️ didn’t even get to wear a sweater last “winter”) and threw some things in a daypack.
We were pretty much the only people in the park other than employees. I’ve already learned a lot about dressing warmly after this one trip lol. It was frigid. I didn’t have true mittens for the baby and vowed to crochet some as soon as possible. Especially, as I suspect, we will be doing this more often. We hiked down the pioneer trail until the temp started dropping and we decided to turn around. It was amazing but not entirely unsurprising how well Little Bit took to the hike. She found area where the wild boar in the area had been digging, saw hoof prints from deer and the boar along he way. The Moose was an Eagle Scout so had camped at the park before and took her to view the campsites which she thought was awesome. There are few benches along the trail and we stopped and let Little Bit assist Moose in using the campstove to boil water for one of those rehydrated meals to try. It was actually delicious for camping food and the warm slightly spicy meal was welcome to cut through the cold, almost wet chill.
We decided as we made our way back to the car to do this more often during the year as disconnecting from screen time and the more modern world felt good. The connection we made with the girls and with each other on this brief hike left me wanting more. The-not-so-outdoorsy girl in me finding very little room to complain about anything other than her desire for a warm bath.
So as we begin 2018 we start with true family time and have already done a little treasure hunting on Jekyll Island (see next post).
So for 6 months and under after two kids some of my favorite baby items include:
Sit Me Up chair—LP (little prisspot) is NOSEY yet clingy. She likes playing in this chair while I pumped, cleaned, folded laundry, took a break.
Knock-off or actual Hakka pump—I still like occasionally and this saves the boobie juice and my shirts/bras.
See my previous pump regarding my Spectra.
My BoB stroller. I’m a BoB-levier now and I should’ve just bought one with my Little Bit as we went through 3-4 strollers any darn way. It is a little bit heavy but it maneuvers like a dream. The almost 6 year old still fits in it if she gets exhausted (like when we were at Disney) and I can still wear the baby. We did but the cup holder thing with the pump and repair kit and it was worth it. The adjustable handles make it worth it as hubby and I are a foot and 1/3 height difference. Just so many little upgrades that are awesome and easy to use. They are expensive and hold their value well for buying used. We bought new because we had Amazon registry for baby and had the coupon at the end.
I had a c-section so baby bath and changing table did (and still) do get used by me. LP is 5 months and I still use her baby seat for the tub. It’s a simple one I got used for $5 though.
I also utilize a playmat a lot and we again bought a used one that could be washed and bleached and was totally worth it.
Medela steam bags for my pump/bottle parts
LP is just now getting big enough but I used lot these for Little Bit as well and saved them. Buggy/highchair cover—as a healthcare provider I worry a lot less about dirt germs than people germs even though I’ve seen people say they were a waste we used ours a lot. A lobster claw highchair—so easy to travel with and use!!! We take our girls with us most places that we go—how else do they know how to behave when they go somewhere new? And because I didn’t want the servers mean-glancing at us I used this and just washed it off in the sink, dried it off briefly and rolled it up into the diaper bag.
This is my favorite nursing cover because I’ve needed a nipple shield with both girls and the pockets are perfect, it folds up well and holds it color in the wash and is relatively comfortable. It’s hot and humid so we only use it when we have to. Mine is a pink peacock color which I can’t find anymore (6 years old)!
I realize a lot of these links are from Amazon but we are Prime members and there is such a thing as Amazon Priming while pumping. I may have ordered many of these things or at least put them on a list at 2-4am while trying to stay awake feeding/pumping.
Things I feel like you should save your money on—
- bottle warmers
- fancy swings (old school works fine)
- bassinet (they outgrown them soon, buy simple)
- baby shoes (we do socks)
- Baby wipe warmers
- Bath thermometers (God gave you the best—your hand)
- Baby pulse ox/heart rate monitors (owlet), they are inaccurate, give too many false alarms and the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends AGAINST them and they have not proven to reduce risk of SIDS so save yo’ money.
- Baby specific blenders/baby food makers unless you don’t have a blender, food processor or magic bullet/nutribullet already. Those work just fine!!
What have your favorite baby items been so far? What do you feel like was a waste of space/money?
My little sister hosted an AWESOME gender reveal for Moose, Lil Bit and I. She is not always the best secret keeper but she was the only one who knew what the baby was and did a great job. We had about 30-35 people over at my parents house where she hosted and we did a live Facebook stream for my family out of town. As it was just a few days before Christmas she did a Christmas themed party with red and green and gingerbread men.
We had a hot chocolate bar with cups, an Ugly sweater aspect that we voted on with the cutest ugly sweater ornaments and a sweater voting for boy/girl. Boys were 16 to girls 11. Tons of Christmas treats as well as hot food for guests.
My father-in-law has a side photography business including a photo booth that we had a ton of fun with!
My sister tricked us initially by having individual wrapped ornaments and having everyone open them with the stipulation that if you get gold, sorry you don’t have the winner, if you have red its a girl, green its a boy. Well they were ALL gold. Then she had a sack of balloons for us to open. They were also all gold.
So we were taken outside for the real deal and we were literally in the dark about what was going to happen. She and her best friend had decided to be master engineers and create a light display for which Josh and I had the plugs
On the count of three we turned on the sign that said:
We are very excited to welcome another girl to our family. I will have to come up with a good nickname to call her. Hmm…
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.
My little one had her first day of Christmas vacation today for which I happen to be off of work. She kept telling me all day how excited she was to have a “mommy and me play day” and it made my heart sing. We played and talked and went to the grocery store together but the best part was baking cookies. We made my “reindeer poop cookies” as my family and friends have gleefully named them. They are a chocolate crinkle cookie with crushed up peppermints (only the ones made with real peppermint oil do the trick) on top while still hot and they do resemble their name sake. I so loved that she is old enough for us to put on our Christmas aprons, sing Christmas songs into our spatulas, and make some love-filled goodies.
This tradition is especially important to me this year, my first year without my Nana. Nana baked for the holidays like it was her God-given job. My family on that side is very large with even more extended family and friends flocking to my Nana’s small but ever-welcoming home and arms. For as long as I can remember walking into my Nana’s house in the weeks approaching Christmas meant having your olfactory overloaded with the smell of sweets and treats in the oven. Just as many stayed in old-school Tupperware on a small fold out table, in the back of the dining room as were given out to family, friends, co-workers or someone who just looked a bit peckish. And there was my tiny, bespectacled-Nana, all 5 ft-even of her, with one of an assortment of Christmas aprons on and immediately stopping whatever she was feverishly working on to give you a hug and a kiss.
She’d ask about your day in front of your momand then conspiratorially whisper to question if you wanted to help bake–and lick the spatula with a glimmer in her eye after making you wash your hands and pull your hair back. I always thought of her as one of Santa’s helpers as a child as she moved about the kitchen in a magic way. I know Lil Bit will never get these cherished memories with her “Nanny”, but I can give her as close to an experience as possible with all 5’1″ of me, finding some holiday spirit inside and patience which I do not normally have for a special day of cookie-making. I hope we get to do it every year and I hope she looks as forward to it as I did with Nana. And yes, I gave her the spatula to lick. 😉
Sorry I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a bit. I had both lost some enthusiasm and been sick and exhausted from being pregnant, work and my busy 5 yr old. Those two things are definitely not mutually exclusive. It’s also sick season. Cue dramatic music.
We’ve been busy reorganizing our house but I need to get back to writing as it’s both good for my soul and eventually would love it to substitute my income especially when I’m on maternity leave. Let me explain, I ended up on bed rest at 34 weeks due to preeclampsia and preterm labor with our first. The problem lies in the fact that our hospital doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, you have to use FMLA instead which is only 12 weeks. This sounds like a lot if you went full-term and popped the baby out with no issues but if you get put on bed rest it’s not a lot, and it’s unpaid. I have to buy up my Short term but that doesn’t kick in until 15 days after and only covers 6 weeks total (so 4 weeks at 70% of my salary). Better than nothing I suppose and I have PTO (personal time-off) but that is not a large amount either due to running from 2 hurricanes and holidays this year (if office closed we have to use PTO).
I won’t get into how I feel about this being stressful for new moms and I feel is likely correlated to the US having high PPD and low breastfeeding rates (how can moms bond well with their babies when they have to hurry up and get back to work?) but I will say I will be looking for a way to supplement and any suggestions are welcome, preferably something flexible like writing. To be honest, if given the choice I’d stay home for at least 6 months with this one and take a leave of absence. I love my job most days but I missed a lot with our first one between working and grad school and this will be our last one. I’ve even considered taking a part time job at a minute clinic or something for now to have a little less work responsibility so I’ll have more of me to give at home.
Any of you out there know in the medical field somedays you just don’t have a lot of give left when you get home, I also went to school with a few kids whose parents were NPs or docs and they were kinda assholes. Most of them grew up to be ok but they were not exactly little angels behind their working parents’ backs. I’m not saying it’s always this way but having been in high school with these people and working in the hospital system since I was 16, I know how often the parents were stuck at work and I knew the trouble the kids were getting into. I’m not saying I was perfect but I’ve always been an old soul and my parents were around or knew where I was 99% of the time. I am not saying they weren’t good parents but I don’t think they could always put their kids and families first and I DO NOT want to live that way.
I’ll jump down from my soapbox now. So what’s new on the home front? The holidays have been interesting this year. Despite my hormones raging and my threshold for bursting into tears being pretty low, I have felt more like shopping, wrapping and decorating than I have in the past 3 years. I think it’s because Little Bit gets into it so much now. She’s so excited and it’s contagious. I’ve also taken a lot of pressure off myself. First holiday season without the family matriarch, I’m pregnant and tired…if it gets done it gets done. If not–too bad, so sad. As a result, I’ve been less stress than expected and I’ve looked forward to more things that require that holiday-worker-bee-energy instead of with trepidation.
Due to impending arrival of baby 2, we are not going on traditional Christmas travel we had planned on. I’m saving leave and so is hubby. We are however doing a Christmas gender reveal that my sister is hosting. I’ll post some pics from that exciting event.
This is something that I should’ve posted a long time ago but I’m trying to get back guys so just bare with me!
Lil Bit and I semi-unexpectedly decided to join Moose on a conference trip to Stone Mountain. I’ve been before with friends that live in the ATL area but not as an adult. I think I was a grumpy/bored teen last time I went which was long enough ago that I’m sure the place has changed drastically. I’m eager for little bit and I to go explore while The Moose is busy networking and learning about park stuff.
I will keep a little photo log and diary for both sentimental purposes and in case anyone is thinking of taking a trip with a preschooler. As of right now, if the weather stays nice, I hope to take little one on a hike and hopefully have a picnic. But lately this has been the case in at least our neck of the woods:
Wish us luck!
Stone Mountain Adventure part 1
Lil Bit and I mainly spent the first afternoon by the pool at the very lovely Evergreen Marriott Resort while Moose attended his conference. (Let me just clarify, I’m not getting paid anything for this review, nor was I comped anything, this is mainly for my memory and in case of curiosity on your behalf.) The service was phenomenal, something we had heard prior to our visit but always take with a grain of salt. That evening they hosted a mock casino that Lil Bit and O excused ourselves from and went back to the room to rest and talk about our adventure the next day.
The second day began with us waking up to perfect temperatures for GA (high 70s) and partly cloudy skies. There was a chance for rain so I wanted to start our day off outside while it was nice. We went for a hike by the Old Grist Mill.
Next we decided to explore the Granite Quarry. Lil Bit loved both areas and I tried to let her explore a little more freely than normal because it was not crowded at all and relatively safe.
Finally we headed over to the main attraction area, the Crossroads. We paid for the adventure pass and the duck boat ride and the total for the 2 of us was $78. Had we been planning to go back I would have spent the little bit extra to buy the upgraded year pass. I’m also now aware that it’s a little cheaper to buy it all online.
The Crossroads area was really aesthetically pleasing to wander through and explore. While we waited on time for our duckboat tour, we watched Rio 4D which was cute and Lil Bit actually really enjoyed.
The duck boat tour was cute, a little cheesy but perfect for kiddos who are preschool and elementary school age. I highly recommend our tour guide/driver Captain Hollywood who made the experience even more fun. He played with the kids and even let them drive the Duck. The souvenir quackers were also a fun surprise and our Captain led us all in song a few times. It allowed for a great view of the lake and he shared a few facts about the park including many Hollywood movies that had been filmed in the 3200 state park. The boat ride also gave us a great view of the relief carved into the granite; supposedly the largest in the world.
The next bit of fun was the Candy Shoppe, Glass Blowing Shoppe and lunch at the Marketplace. Both of the shoppes have demonstrations which Lil Bit enjoyed watching with many “look at that momma”s. The food was pretty good but I do wish we would have just gotten the meal deal because it would have been cheaper. We meandered through the village and because it was getting uncomfortably warm, my sweet girl and I walked over to The Great Barn for some air -conditioned fun. The barn is full of fun slides and “harvesting” activities involving foam-ball “fruit” everything from “storing it” in vacuum powers granaries to putting it in the harvester the fun way like shooting it with an air-powered gun (like Nerf). There are even fun places to climb, slide, and bounce. We spent probably a good hour here before Lil Bit started having a meltdown and I knew it was time to go back to the room. Some activities we want to do but didn’t quite make it to (this trip was a child-led adventure) included the train ride, sky lift and plantation house/farmyard. I totally feel that we had our money’s worth of fun but would really love to come back in the fall when the pumpkin festival is going on and the weather is more cooperative.
That night we went to the laser show and fireworks. We very much enjoyed it as it was included in my hubby’s conference and we had VIP seating, popcorn during the show and shelter for when it decided to rain briefly. The show is a little cheesy but the kids love it and the lawn area was packed. We bought dippin’ dots ice cream before hand and danced to some music they had playing for the guests waiting on the lawn.
We had a great time but must return to reality!