Monday, October 20, 2014

signed, sealed, delivered. the story of atticus james.

joel left bright and early on october 1st, to pick his mom up from the airport. i had agreed (reluctantly) to come in around noon to start the induction process. after taking bella to school, getting his mom, getting her signed in and picking up bella, joel returned right at 11:45am. 
we got his mom settled, and at 12:30pm, we walked to the hospital. 

for the next 4 hours, i sat in the waiting room. they took some blood and ran some tests and i sat. at 5pm, i went back with the doctor, and she explained to me that, yes, my baby was huge. while there is a margin of error of about 20%, he could be smaller, but he could be bigger. and he could get stuck. (side note: i did not want to be induced, and did not agree with the assessment that i couldn't birth this kid, but i was tired of fighting a fight that had been going on for 4 weeks, and with a due date that was relatively up in the air, i was also second guessing everything).

i was resigned to what was happening at this point and so i think i probably muttered some kind of, "letsjustgetthisoverwith", noncommittal statement and sat down.

i was given a pill form of cervidil with instructions to go away and come back in 2 hours. joel and i went for a walk through the vineyards, looking for a place to eat dinner, and then went back to our room to watch some episodes of castle. (another side note: while i hate being induced, i do like the calm moments of "just us" before our new arrival. it's like a last meal.last hurrah before bringing another little munchkin on board) i went back at 7pm and they put me on the monitors and decided nothing was happening and that i could go to bed and get another dose in the morning.

so we went to our room, put back on some castle and i laid down. i fell asleep around 10 and at around midnight, i woke up to a contraction that wasn't painful, but was a little....strong. ish. so i went and sat in the shower for a bit, before climbing back in bed.

at 1:50am, i woke up, pretty uncomfortable, and stood up. i felt something weird, and some pressure, and i decided that it was probably time to go. so i woke joel up and we headed to the delivery ward. the short walk down the hall consisted of walking quickly and then stopping about every 30 seconds to prop myself on the wall and breathe through contractions. i got there, and was hooked up to the ctg machine (finicky machine that measures contractions and the baby's heart rate), while the midwife prepped the delivery room. about 2 minutes later i had had 2 painful contractions and at 2:12am, i rang the bell and told the midwife that things were definitely getting serious.

we walked into the delivery room at 2:15am, and my contractions started to get painful. i want to take a minute to describe the delivery room-it was amazing. there were woven wraps hanging from the ceiling, tied in loops at various points, over big squishy mats to stand on, there was a giant tub on one side and a large round chair/bed thing in the middle. low lights, aromatherapy, music, these blue curtains that looked like clouds woven into the sky. it was a beautiful, very un-clinical, very peaceful room.

over the next 15 minutes, i had contractions that were painful, but short and during the breaks in between, i felt present and pain free enough to joke with joel and ask for water. at 2:30am, i started pushing.

{at 2:36 a,. atticus james came into the world
at a whopping 9lbs, 7oz and 23 inches long. 
ten fingers, ten toes and a perfectly round little head.}

i delivered completely free of any pain meds, and kneeling on the giant squishy bed/table thing. it went too quickly to get in the tub, but that aside, it was better than any birth experience that i could have imagined. no tearing, no getting stuck, no complications.

the midwife was amazing-through the whole process she told me how amazing i was doing, she had this calming presence and voice and was very encouraging. afterwards, when she got me settled into my room, she thanked me for allowing her to be present and share this experience with her. she told joel, "we did a great thing here!" right afterwards.

and unlike my births with bella and cora, this experience was this amazing bonding moment with joel. it was just the 3 of us-the midwife, joel and me. there were no bright lights, no people running in and out of the room, no medical equipment, no sterile feeling environment. and for moments here and there, it was just him, encouraging me through a contraction and cheering me on.

Friday, July 25, 2014

decluttering: phase 1

after i posted the other day about how we wanted to start getting rid of our "too much stuff" i became overly enthused by the prospect of not having so much. especially after i walked into the girls room and saw how much they had covering their floors. 

let me start by saying this: bella cleans her stuff and her room {almost}every day. she is very good at putting her dishes where they go and her trash where it goes. BUT messes still occur, and she doesn't clean that stuff unprompted. usually, right before bed time, we have a cleaning party and she and cora clean the living room, which has become their new favorite place to drag their toys to, despite my protests and threats.  

no, it is not easy. she whines annoyingly complains that "no one will help" her pick the stuff up, and i tell her that's because no one helped her make the mess. but she does it. right after i threaten to vacuum up anything still on the floor.

so when we decided we would be decluttering, i had visions of mess free afternoons dancing through my head. (currently popped by the coloring book and crayons all over the floor. but i can handle that.)

and so, one afternoon, i went to work. and this was my yield from my first go

that may not look like too much, but that is about half of the girls toys. i realized that, while they do have too much, their too much isn't too bad, really. on top of this, i got rid of a lot of baby clothes that i had been hanging onto that wouldn't sell. and there is still more i want to get rid of-puzzles and games and things that make big messes and i dread bringing out. but i will save that for a day that joel can take the girls to the park. 

i've decided to take the house in stages. 

phase 1: kids stuff

my first goal 
is to combine the girls closets into one, with all of their hang up clothes and shoes in one place, to make room for baby stuff. 

my second goal 
is to consolidate all of their toys into the two toy drawers under their play table, and clearing all of the toys out of the stand up closet in the girls room. 

my third goal 
is to find a better system for storing their clothes. right now, we have 2 closets and 2 dressers to split between 3 kids, and all of the clothes are stored between 2 rooms. so getting dressed is a little disjointed. but clearing the toys out of the stand up closet is a big key to doing that. 

i've learned that my biggest problem is organization. we have two very good, though small, closets at our disposal, and so far, they are not being utilized to their fullest. i want to get a second bar cut for one closet, which i have been meaning to do since we moved in two years ago, doubling up on the hanging space. since their clothes are still tiny, i can easily fit 2 rows of clothes in there. the stand up space is all shelves and currently, one closet stores toys and the other closet stores.....random stuff. mostly things that need to be sorted and stored properly and permanently, or sold. 

that all seems a little daunting, but maybe my "nesting" instinct will kick in, making it easier to tackle. especially if i can get a few hours of alone time to do it, without both girls insisting that everything is their favorite. 

i am going to continue to post the progress here to hold myself accountable! 

the start of something new

it is officially official! i have become a jamberry consultant. i'm not sure why it took me so long to bite the bullet, or why i have surprised myself by doing it, but i am excited! 

i am not usually good at selling things for the sake of selling them, but i have been wearing jamberry for a while now and i just love it so much. i really believe in the product and that it is the best of its kind. so here goes nothing! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

things are getting serious

we have had the conversation. the we have "too much stuff" conversation. 

i always bristle when joel brings it up, because i know we have too much stuff, because i am the one who picks up "too much stuff" on a daily basis. a lot of our "too much stuff" is present in the fact that we have boxes in the basement that haven't been opened since we lived in the states. and some of our "too much stuff" is a result of someone's need to fix things that are not broken. 

but the "too much stuff" we are getting serious about belongs to our small people. when bella was littler, i would buy every melissa & doug toy i could get my hands on. i filled her shelves with learning toys and puzzles and games designed to make her brilliant. 

and then she turned 2 and when we went to target she zipped down the little people aisle, and so we filled the drawers of her table with little people. which then spilled over into the closet and the shelves....

and then she turned 4 and got an opinion and she decided to fill her shelves with lalaloopsy and my little pony. 

yet we still have all that other stuff. because cora is old enough to play with it all. and there is another baby coming soon, and once cora outgrows it, he will be playing with it. 

and so "too much stuff" just kept growing and growing. 

but we've had enough. in the wise words of my husband, "they will be no less enriched if we take everything away." 

we aren't getting that drastic. but my kids don't really play with their toys. sure, they have a few sets of things that they love and play with all the time-cora, the kitchen, bella, her trains and her my little ponies. they play together with lalaoopsy and occasionally they build a small village of little people. but all the rest of that stuff is just stuff. and they play so well withOUT stuff. tonight for 45 minutes, they played "watch what i can do" on a giant body pillow. 

and so i am on a mission. tonight, i got rid of a huge basket worth of stuff and they didn't even notice. the challenge will be keeping it down when christmas and birthdays come around, but santa has a plan for that. 

i saw on pinterest an idea that i think the jolly fat man will be adopting this year....

something they want, 
something the need, 
something to wear
and something to read. 

and that's all, folks. no mountain of toys under the christmas tree this year. 4 simple gifts, per child. 

we've only made a small dent in the "too much stuff" and will continue to chip away slowly, until we aren't ruled by our stuff. and we are only just starting there. i want to extend it into our stuff. movies and kitchen gadgets and {deep breath} crafty things. 

maybe i will even take pictures......

Sunday, July 20, 2014

i can't take the heat.....

the heat is getting to me. 

as i write this, i am sitting on the lukewarm floor in front of a fan, sweat dripping off of my forehead. i just can't.......

i am not a summer in germany person. the summers here are relatively short, and therefor, no one believes in a/c. and while i love the beach and the pool and lakes and any body of water, really, if i can't escape the heat, i am not a nice person. 

i wake up hot, then have two little hot bodies who want to snuggle just as the interior temperature reaches "sauna", and a little hot potato just keeping my core temperature up. 

our fabulous px, which is notoriously never properly stocked has no pools, but an abundance of goggles and floats. like, the annoying floats that always go on sale at the end of the year for $2 because NO. ONE. BUYS. THEM. (side note: the person stocking our exchange needs a new job.) 

joel is TDY this week back to the states, where he he sleeps in an air conditioned room, then drives to an air conditioned building to sit in an air conditioned conference room, and finally to an air conditioned restaurant with ice in their drinks and service that is quick, where he eats by himself with no children, a meal he doesn't have to cook in a hot kitchen and then clean, while small hot people cling to his sticky legs begging to be held.....and my attitude about that has just been horrendous. 

in 9 years, i have not complained about a deployment or a tdy. but this time, i find myself very complain-y every day. 

i find it pertinent to share, because in this community of fellow military spouses, it can be very tempting to hear someone else complain about their situation and guffaw at their attitude. i've been there. especially when my husband is deployed and someone complains that their husbands weekend corporate work trip is really stressing them out. that's a bad attitude to have too. because everyone handles what they are dealt differently. this is the shortest TDY joel has been on, and mostly because of the heat, i have struggled with it more than any separation we have faced. 

so this week, i'm asking anyone who happens to read this to pray for me: 

for my attitude to not be dependent upon my room temperature. 

for patience with my children, who aren't being any more "child like" than usual, but with whom i am losing it, because the heat already has me irritated ("please don't touch me" has become a common phrase lately, and i don't like it.). 

for this heat to break (70's are perfectly fine. but 90 degree days are just not ok....). 

for my attitude when joel gets back, as it will still be upper 80's when he gets back. 

and for bella, who keeps turning the fans off because they are making her cold. bless. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

because i said so

"why? mommy why? but why? whywhywhywhywhyhwy?"

that question is about to out me in the loony bin.....

don't get me wrong, i love and encourage the curiosity of children. however, this is not curiosity. this is one 4 1/2 year old trying to drive me insane. 

today in the car, she screamed as i was merging onto the autobahn. naturally i very irrationally screamed  calmly and rationally responded, "DON'TEVERSCREAMWHENIAMGETTINGONTHEAUTOBAHNUNLESSYOUAREDYING!!!!!!"

because that is the only way to appropriately respond to that situation. swearsies. 

i feel like a rational person would realize at that moment that it is not a good idea to scream in the car. but 4 1/2 year olds are not rational people. so she yelled back, "WHYYYYYY?!!??!!?!?" 

"........because i said so. "

"but, why?"

"just don't do it."

"but WHY????"

you may be thinking, "well that's rational, why don't you just explain it to her???". that's a great question. and i have an even better answer. see, every time we are in the car, she picks the worst possible moment to just....scream. inexplicably. sometimes it's when i am merging lanes. sometimes it's when i am making a left turn across traffic. and occasionally it's when i am at a stop light. the only real explanation that i have is that she is a girl and little girls, for some strange reason have this impulse to scream at the top of their lungs for no apparent reason. or she may suffer from tourettes. 

and for each time she has done this, i have explained to her that it scares me and i'm driving and if she does it while i am driving and can't see her, i think something is wrong and i may wreck and we could die. because all good explanations end with a fiery ball of flames. i can't tell you how many times i have given her this very slippery slope turn of events that will undoubtedly occur one day.

and then she does it again. and i tell her not to do it. and she asks why. every. time. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

rompers and ruffles

if you know me, you know that when i find something i like, i talk about it. a lot. because i definitely believe in the power of word of mouth. and when i find a small business (or a big one) that i love, i want it to succeed and so i "vote with my dollars", so to speak. 

several years ago, a friend of mine started a business making custom monogrammed and appliqued kids shirts. what started as a modest facebook page, and website, grew to have over 2,000 fans. 

each week, tabitha runs a sale, featuring a theme, with several different designs, and lately she has expanded to include monogrammed hats, purses, diaper bags, coolers and casserole dishes. she carries kids back packs, matching lunch bags, and does presales for things like squeaker shoes, mud pie and christmas items. 

speaking of christmas items, this friday, she will put on a special "christmas in july" sale, where she will have all kinds of christmas goodies up for grabs.

but this isn't a unique idea-many boutique style places have sales and preorders and "auctions" like this. but when you order from R&R, you aren't ordering from a store, or a large business trying to expand into social media. you are ordering from one mom. and that means you are getting very personalized service. 

i've been ordering shirts, shoes and pajamas from tabitha for a few years now, and i can't get enough. not just because they are adorable (though yes, that is a huge reason), but because i can message her and say, "i like this fabric with this font, but what do you think??? can you make this extra thing for me??" and she puts her creative brain to work, making just the right combination of colors and patterns work, perfectly. 

not only that, but she is so willing to go out of her way to make sure everything is right with your order. i got my mom a goblet (because what fancy grandma doesn't need a goblet with her monogram on it?!) for her birthday, and tabitha packaged it up, and delivered it to her at her work. you don't get that kind of service from a chain or even most stores. 

i've had so many personalized experiences, which you can only get from a small business. when we went to disney, in paris, i emailed tabitha and asked if she could hook me up with something. she spent a little bit figuring something out and sent me an image of the eiffel tower with minnie in front of it, that i absolutely loved. 

this one is another one i had made special-bella's fourth birthday. i sent tabitha a picture of bella's favorite lalaloopsy, and she made it happen. bella loved it.

i love stocking up on holiday and seasonal shirts each year. they are absolutely the cutest shirts around. and they make me feel super festive. 

when cora was born, this was her coming home outfit. and this next baby has his very own special shirt headed my way right now which we will use to announce his name! 

we got cover ups for the girls for the summer with their monogram on them. any old cover up would do, but i really love having personalized ones for each girl. and they like them too. 

each time i get new shirts in, the girls rip into the box like it's christmas. and cora, my little fashionista, lover of cute clothes, squeals like a little.....well.....girl. 

 this weekend is the special "christmas in july" sale, featuring pajamas, stockings, tree skirts and more. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

not so annoying kid music

we love music in this family. many days, you can find us with the record payer on having a crazy dance party around the living room (yes, we have a record player. and lots of records. some new and some that we have acquired from the flohmarkt downtown. it's all very cool. trust me.)

when we started having dreams of a family, i swore we would neverevereverever listen to annoying kid music. because, no. you know what i am talking about, those songs that you can't get out of your head and you just want to rip your hair out or punch a speaker. yes, children's songs that invoke violence. we don't play that game around here. 

when we had bella, we listened to a lot of jack johnson. because it makes me want to be sleeping in a hammock and so how can a baby NOT feel at peace to that. and that was awesome, and the girls still love jack, but it makes me homesick, if you can be homesick for a place you only lived for a few years. 

then bella turned to that age where they love the most annoying things ever (think caillou, barney and {dun dun dun} yo, gabba gabba!) and i just desperately needed to divert her attention. 

for the car, we got the jewel cd, "the merry goes 'round" and believe me when i say, we got to know that cd very well. especially the number one track, "sammy the spider". the songs appealed to the kids, but without the repetition that most kids songs have. having a legitimate artist singing the songs is much more pleasant to listen to, as well. 

another favorite was the soundtrack to curious george. we do love jack.

as bella got older, she started learning the words to the songs, and that was when the radio started to die, especially when we moved here, the land of the non-radio edit! joel went looking for some kids music for a road trip and he stumbled across laurie berkner band. specifically, the music video to the song "party day". he loaded several of her music videos on bella's nabi tablet and by the end of our trip, she had memorized all of the lyrics and sang them constantly. 

if you have small kids, and they love to dance and sing, and you have amazon, you mustmustmust get amazon streaming. laurie berkner has an episode that is free that is a bunch of music videos and the girls love to have a dance party to it. 

we like to have music for the car, because i would rather hear singing than screaming when we are all strapped in. our latest gold gem was a CD and book combo by sandra boynton, called "frog trouble". this one is definitely my new favorite, and the girls love it as well. which, you know, is kind of the point......

each track is sung by a hit recording country artist, from alison krauss, ben folds, dwight yokam and josh turner, and even hootie himself, darius rucker. the only thing "kid like" are the lyrics, but the sound is very much professional and some of the songs are actually pretty beautiful (hello, anything alison krauss does is just gorgeous, in my opinion). they even have videos for many of their songs, which are a hit in this house. 

sandra boynton books are a favorite around here, and this book/CD combo is no different. the lyrics are fun and entertaining, and the pictures in the book are down right cute! 

none of the links i provided are affiliate links, and i haven't been compensated in any way for my opinions. i just figured, if you have kids, you probably like listening to music that doesn't make you crazy. 

toddler talk

cora is in full on talky-talk mode. i had forgotten how much fun toddler talk is. especially since 4 year old talk is not really all that fun. there's lot's of sass and backtalk that my former pre-kids, know everything self swore would "not happen on my watch!". uh huh.....

give me a moment while i find some crow.

back to the cute toddler. 

she has the cutest short hand and the way she pronounces things is hysterical. she has all those basic "mommy", "daddy", "dog" words down pretty clearly, but there are other things she says that actually give me pause. 

while i was eating my bagel the other morning, she kept yelling, "mah goodburger!!! mah goodburger!! peese mommy! goodburger!!" 

i had a momentary flashback to the late 90's nickelodeon show, and then realized she was asking for a bagel. it beats me how "goodburger" is easier to say than bagel, but i like it. 

some of her favorite phrases are: 

"help me, mommy! peeese!" 

"here you go, mommy!" 

"more. MORE!"

"i want goberry!" (strawberries)

"follow me guys!" 

"go, sissy!" whenever bella is doing something

"where daddy go? daddy wok?" wok=work

"duke! bad boy!" 

"i broke" whenever she goes poop. i don't know......

and my favorite is at bathtime. i ask "who want's a bubble bath!?" and she says, "MEEE!!!" then runs down the hall yelling, "bubbabath!!! bubbabath!!!!!!" 

the notion that i am having conversations with her is just crazy, because i still think of her as a tiny baby. not an almost 20 month old toddler! this girl is full of spunk. notice all those exclamation points? that was not by mistake. cora screams everything. 

for a second, i thought maybe she was hard of hearing. so we ran a test. 

while she played, joel said, "cora.........cora!" nothing. so he whispered "cookie" and she shot up so quick, i thought maybe she had been bitten by something. so clearly, she can hear. she is just exuberant and selective with her hearing.....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

kiwi crate saves the day!

summer has become quite the battle around here. cora (thankfully) takes a 2-3 hour nap every day. and while that sounds absolutely glorious (and for the most part, it is), it means that bella is stuck in the house with little to do.

today was particularly harsh, as i had a lot of cleaning and organizing to do in the morning and we didn't make it to the playground before cora's naptime. bella had a tough morning, too, and spent a lot of time in her room. so nap time came and that meant bella became bored. 

i'm not going to argue that "we need to let our kids be bored! boredom inspires creativity!" sure. sure. it does. it also inspires, "i'm hungry. i'm hungry. i'mhungryi'mhungryi'mhungryI'MHUNGRY!!!!!!". and with her room preoccupied by a sleeping cora leaving her no where else to go, i start getting a little blurry-visioned and crazy. 

about a week ago, our latest kiwi crate arrived and i hid it, for just this moment.  

haven't heard of kiwi crates? you should check them out. 

basically, they are boxes that contain everything you need for a fun craft or science experiment, including easy to follow, step by step instructions that even a non reader can follow. most boxes have two complete hands-on activities, along with a magazine called "explore!" that includes games and drawing pages and instructions for another activity. 

this time, our box was all about summer camping! the two activities were "my glowing campfire" and "my sunprint backpack". 

this box was special in that it came with an extra "travel journal" and a snack bag of dried fruits. not only did this crate satisfy the "i'm bored" but also the "i'm hungry!". 

each crate has a little instruction book and on the front of each book, they tell you how messy it will be, how much parental involvement is required and what skills you will explore. 

today, we did the "my glowing campfire" craft. it included everything we would need to make a glowing campfire, including a "tea light candle" that is battery operated, for safe indoor campfires!

 bella "read" the directions and was telling me what she was supposed to do, before i could even get through the first step. with each step, i would show her a little bit and then she would do the rest all by herself.

while she required a little help in some areas, for the most part, i had 20 minutes of free time. i did a craft that i had been trying to accomplish all nap time, right next to her. so we worked together on different things. that is what i call a win-win. 

bella loved this craft and when she was done, we talked all about campfires and roasting marshmallows. she "roasted" her marshmallows for another 20 minutes until she decided she wanted to eat her snack and write in her travel journal. 

crates are monthly subscriptions, and have 4 different options-monthly ($19.95), 3-months ($19.95/month, paid upfront), 6 month ($18.50/month, paid upfront) or 12 months ($16.95/month, paid upfront). we do the monthly so that we can cancel at any time, which is especially helpful with our lifestyle. we have been getting crates for about a year and haven't canceled yet, but when we move, we will be in a state of homelessness for a few weeks to a month, so that will come in handy. 

when i first heard of kiwi crate, my intial thought was, "for $20 a month, i could do this myself!" and yes, yes you can do this yourself. you can scour pinterest or rack your brain for a fun craft, you can buy the supplies that your craft hoarding hasn't supplied you with already and get it all together and then try to teach your kid how to make said craft. 

but these crates take all of the hard work out of it. you literally open the box and everything is there, and ready to go. the mess is controlled, because everything is organized and you have just the amount of things you need. there is little waste, because things are precut and preformed, specifically for your project. it's like an ikea craft! it is also great for a wide variety of age ranges, because of the simplicity of the craft but also the.....well...craftiness of it! 

there is also an option for a sibling add-on. for $9.95 extra, you get everything you need, plus the additional amount to make a duplicate craft, for siblings. cora isn't ready for this yet, but when she is, we will most certainly be doing this. 

i would say kiwi crates are perfect for about 3 and up, and while their website states ages 3-8 as being the ideal range, i think even older kids would enjoy many of the crafts and projects. 

i have a personal referral link and if you use it, you save $10 and so do i! 

you can also save 10% off of any order right now from their shop-individual crafts, individual boxes or party favors, by using the code FOURTH. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

this time around

i just saw an article titled "6 tips for you and baby number 2" and it sent my mind on a journey, back to when i was this pregnant with cora. i remember having so many mixed feelings then. i felt elated that our little family was expanding, anxious about how i would handle 2 little ones far from home and anything familiar, and guilty that i was giving bella a rival. 

looking back now, i know how ridiculous that last statement is. bella cried when she saw her sister for the first time, overwhelmed with joy, and said, "thank you so much for my baby sister!!!!!". but that doesn't diminish the fact that i was very nervous that they would hate each other. i thought for sure that bella would feel replaced and abandoned as we paid more attention to this crying bundle of snot and poop. 

i couldn't have been more wrong. 

bella felt like we had brought her home a perfect little gift. she rarely complained that sister cried too much and she always wanted to help in some way (even when her help wasn't exactly helpful). i can honestly say that, to this day, she is a huge help with her sister, even if it gets a little dicey here and there. and cora absolutely thinks bella is the greatest thing since sliced bread. and we all know how much cora loves that's saying a lot. 

this time around, i am not nearly as nervous. bella will be a whole 2 years older, and is already very excited. she spends the wind down time in the evening yelling at talking to baby brother, and gets very excited when we talk about what he will be like. 

cora is a nurturer by nature and loves to snuggle her babies, put them to bed, change their diapers, feed them.......she is a little mother. that could prove to be a little harder to manage, and hopefully it won't end up with her dragging the baby down the hallway by his neck. but i think she will adjust well too. she loves our friends babies and is amazingly gentle with them for a 19 month old. 

i have some fears-mostly, the irrational "how will i ever leave the house again" fear. i think i thought the same thing before cora came along, and we manage pretty well, so i imagine this time will be no different. travelling may become a bit more of a burden, but it is something we have always prioritized and that our children seem to get so much out of. we already have our last year of trips pretty much planned out, before we head back to the states, so hopefully little man will be a trooper like the girls are! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

DIY mesh sling

i made a sling. it's pretty much the ugliest thing i've made. 

seriously though, i have little patience, little time and if it can't be done in a nap time, it won't get done. so, today, i attempted to make a mesh sling to wear cora and the new baby in the pool when they aren't feeling a float of some sort. 

none of this is really exact-no real measurements, no seam allowance, nothing complicated. my kind of project!!

so here goes.


3 yards of mesh fabric. i got mine from

a pair of sling rings. mine were nylon 3" rings, purchased at 

a sewing machine

thread (i had an exact match! thread hoarding for the win!)


1. cut the fabric in half, lengthwise, so you have 2 long pieces. a friend and i split the cost of materials and bought a sample pack of rings, so the total cost was right around $17 per sling, with enough to make 2 mesh slings and have 3 pair of rings left over to make kid slings or whatever else. 

2. hem 3 edges of the fabric, leaving a short end raw. i have read from other blogs that this isn't wholly necessary, however, i plan to use the mess out of this thing and i would like it to stay looking nice. it doesn't have to be perfect. 

3. fold the raw edge like a fan.

4. thread through both rings, folding the mesh back on itself, wrong sides facing each other. i pulled about 6 inches through.

5. sew the folded over fabric together, enclosing the rings.

{confession: i may have broken my sewing machine briefly, which explains why this thing looks so horrible. it seized up, some alarm went off and the machine practically screamed, "YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING VERY WRONG!!!!" right before my needle ripped out. so. yeah. i fixed it and it worked again, but make sure your fabric is not too bunchy in there. spread those layers out. you are welcome.}   

5a. i sewed a couple of lines to really secure the fabric and to make it a little more padded. you don't need to. it doesn't do anything fancy, but it did make it a little more cushiony, so mission accomplished. still, ugly as sin. 

that wonky part at the top is where my machine started to freak out. it looks terrible. but it works! and you can't even tell when it's on. 

6. that is the end of the sewing part. if you know how to thread a ring sling, you are ready to go. if not, check out some youtube tutes for help. i like this one. it's long, but she's brittish and thorough. =) 

7. put baby in sling. get in water. viola!! 

 this was done in about 20 minutes, during nap time. the most frustrating part was the machine malfunction, but after fixing that, it was super easy. if i were a more patient and trained seamstress, i definitely think i could have made this look better, but for the purposes i need it for, it's excellent. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

the last 3 months

i have not bee keeping up. mostly because....well....i'm tired. 

we've done a lot over the last 12ish weeks. 

shortly after my last post, we boarded a plane to mallorca, spain. it was heaven. we spent 6 days at an all inclusive resort kind of in the middle of nowhere. our first day, we just walked around and hung out at the pool waiting for our friends to arrive, at which point we hung out by the pool and relaxed all day. 

the next day, we headed in to palma to check out the sites and see the beautiful landmarks all around the city. my favorite thing was the palma cathedral. it looked like a giant sand castle. 

for much of the rest of the week, we hung out at different beaches. out hotel had a secluded beach for our hotel and for the apartments next to us. it was incredibly peaceful. the babies loved playing in the sand, while the big girls ran back and forth out of the water. 

 the next day, we headed into the next town over (which is a british party town, and i liked it!) and we plopped down on the beach for an hour while we waited for our boat ride. i got a massage on the beach, yes i did. i had to dig a belly hole, which was a little embarrassing but whatever. 

the boat ride may have been the highlight of my trip. everything was so beautiful and blue. it reminded me a little of hawaii, but even more amazing. 

i had to jump in the water, even though it was freezing. it was very.....therapeutic. 

the next day we hopped on a tour bus (bad idea with two babies) and headed to some caves on the other side of the island. the reminded me of the ones we've seen in the mountains of NC and TN. we walked down to the water inside of the caves, where we were serenaded by violinists on boats.  

the big girls were great on the whole trip, and reminded me that travelling with kids can be really great. we stopped by the majorica pearl factory, where they make some very beautiful pearl jewelry. i started talking to one of the ladies who worked there, and we had a nice conversation. she started showing the girls some more of the "how it's made" and they posed for pictures with the lady who made the core of the pearls. 

after they were done taking pictures, she came around and gave each girl a little baggie with a small core, a large core and a finished pearl. they were so excited about their fancy jewelry, and i was grateful for the sweet touch! 

such an amazing vacation and i wish we could go back! 

a month later, my mom came to visit, and settled in nicely with the girls. it was her second time meeting cora, but the first time she really got to know her. we went to bella's dance practice, shopped, played at the park and just enjoyed some time letting her catch up with the kids. 

sometimes i regret that our kids aren't near their grandparents more. they have some amazing experiences, and hopefully there will be time to hang with the grandparents after we are back in the states. 

after about a week, we headed to paris for a girls trip. it was.......exhausting. it gave me a greater appreciation for travelling with joel. we make a great team. 

we stayed on the disney property at the sequoia lodge, spent a day in the park, a day in the city and the rest of the time at the pool. 

my favorite part was jumping in the fountains at the eiffel tower, after realizing we got off at the wrong stop and hoofing it in the heat to the tower. 

we saw all the main sites, but really, didn't get to spend as much time there as i would have preferred. our original plan had us going back the next day, but after that day, we decided it would be a little too much. turns out, mom had a kidney infection the whole time we had been there, so it was a good thing we decided to take a day off, to have her visit the doctor and let the kids burn some energy in the pool. 

apparently, elsa dresses are hard to come by. but not in paris! they were everywhere. so of course, bella had to have one. and she was the most beautiful elsa i have ever seen. i loved watching her twirl all around the park. 

these girls had so much fun this trip, and got completely and utterly spoiled by their yaya. stuffed animals, candy, staying up late, you name it! 

in baby news, we are having a boy! it's exciting and terrifying and a brave new world. i think it's going to be pretty fantastic. these two girls are total daddy's girls, so it will be nice to have a little momma's boy! and i have been boy clothes shopping like a mad woman which has been a little more fun than i expected. this little mad is going to be a stud. 

so, that's all of it. whew. see? tired. i wondered why today i couldn't seem to shake that feeling that i may collapse into a heap. so i did....i pretty much slept the day away. and it was marvelous.