Sam at 11 months

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At 11 months, Sam…

…is still not crawling. #lazybabylazybaby  He is starting to scoot backwards, although he’s really trying to go forward and it makes him pretty mad when he doesn’t end up where he wants to go.

…LOVES real food.  He chows down on tiny pieces of whatever we’re eating for meals.  No more baby food!  (PS – have you heard that all those rules about withholding certain foods due to allergy risks were wrong, and now babies can have everything except honey?  Woo hoo!  It’s so nice just to cook ONE MEAL for everyone.)

Gotta instagram those strawberries!

Gotta instagram those strawberries!  (or chew on Grandma’s phone…)

…(knock on wood) is actually starting to go to bed at the reasonable hour of 8:30-ish (instead of 10-11pm, which was killing me).  It’s great except I haven’t quite figured out how it works with bedtime stories for my older son at the exact same time.  Maybe let him stay up a bit later while I put the baby to bed?

…likes to play with board books (it’s so cute to watch him flip the pages like he’s reading) and disassemble things – we have a stacking toy that he just loves to destroy. He also loves the music table that I got out of the attic.

…is overly confident in his standing skills — if I help him stand up next to something, he just lets go as if he can stand, no problem.  Needless to say, I stay close by when he’s practicing his standing skills!

…is still just a sweet, easy going little guy. I got soooo lucky. #magicalunicornbaby

…is turning ONE next month… What?! I’m planning a little family birthday party and Josiah tells me Sam would like a blueberry cake, so I guess I’ll figure that out — it sounds tasty!

{Life update}
We’re headed to my family reunion this weekend (yay!) and this Sunday is our first Sunday at the new church. We move half our stuff to the parsonage in about a week. So many changes all at once!  I’m feeling pretty good about it right now, but a lot can happen in a short time, so I’d really apprecIate any prayers, good vibes, or happy thoughts you could send our way.  Thank you!  It means more than you know.

What’s going on with you these days?  What’s your birthday cake of choice?

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Picture books for picky eaters

picture books for picky eaters

My reading so far this summer has been a little disappointing, but thanks to our local library’s summer reading program, my 4-year-old son has been really excited to visit the library and pick out new books.  Normally he gravitates towards books that I don’t always enjoy reading (another early reader about Superman, really?) but he found some great ones recently — and several that were on the theme of food and picky eaters.  I know that’s a common issue for kids this age, and these books have a really fun take on the topic.

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Put it on the list! by Kristen Darbyshire.  A funny picture book about what happens when you run out of essentials like milk, cheese and syrup. #pancakeswithketchup

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How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans by David LaRochelle. Would Martha still refuse to eat her green beans, even if it were the only way to save her parents from the Mean Green Bean kidnappers? I loved the silly concept and drawings in this book. #mustachioedgreenbeans

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A Few Bites by Cybèle Young.  In this elaborately illustrated book, an older sister spins fanciful tales of dinosaur rampages fueled by broccoli and aliens fueling up with orange power sticks (carrots) to convince her little brother to eat his meal. #evensistersgetfrustratedwithpickyeaters

If you’re looking for more great book recommendations for the 3-6 yr old crowd, check out The Deliberate Reader’s Early Readers category.  I regularly check out library books for my son based her her recommendations, and she hasn’t steered us wrong yet.

Isn’t the summer reading program the best? What are you (or your kids) reading this summer?
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Working Mom’s Guilt: Summer Edition (and a solution!)

Photo Credit: peasap via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: peasap via Compfight cc

School is out for the summer almost everywhere, and that modern rite of summer has begun: people on every social media channel posting pictures of all the fun summer activities they’re doing with their kids.  At 10am on a Tuesday, while I’m sitting behind a desk all day with my kids in daycare.  Cue the working mom guilt.

I know there’s a lot of time left in the evenings and on weekends for fun stuff, but — confession time — sometimes the logistics of it all just overwhelms me.  (“Yes, let’s go on a bike ride.  Oh wait, go potty first.  Then let me get the Ergo for the baby.  Oh wait, he needs changing.  Where’s your helmet?  Oh shoot, it’s bathtime already, I guess it’s too late to go after all.  Cue meltdown.)

Last summer I just did what was easy — mostly play in the backyard — and I ended up feeling like the summer was wasted.  I mean, what kind of slacker mom doesn’t take her kid swimming?  This year I have a new plan.  No, I’m not going to jam-pack our schedule with t-ball games, swimming lessons, and “mandatory fun,” but I do want to feel like we really got to enjoy our summer when we get to the end of it.  There are some activities that just scream “summer” to me, and I want to be sure to enjoy them with my family.  So, how am I going to make that happen?

1.  Make a list.  Yes, it’s yet another summer bucket list.  Annoying, I know, but I really am the kind of person who will completely forget that we can camp out in the backyard unless I plan it out ahead of time!  Is it better if we call it a “Summer Fun Inspiration List”?  I’m sure we won’t do everything on it, but at least it will remind me of all the fun things there are to do in the summer when I’m whining about the heat and humidity.

  • Camp out in the backyard
  • Roast marshmallows
  • Catch fireflies
  • Throw water balloons
  • Have a water gun fight
  • Go swimming
  • Go fishing
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Draw with sidewalk chalk
  • Make lemonade
  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Make a blackberry cobbler (my favorite dessert of all time)
  • Watch fireworks
  • Go canoeing or kayaking
  • Shoot fireworks
  • Watch a 4th of July parade

2.  Gather supplies for fun.  Am I the only one who passes on doing something to avoid a trip to Wal-Mart or Target on a Saturday afternoon?  Ugh… it’s one of my least favorite tasks.  Anyway, most of the items on our list are relatively inexpensive (by design) but they do require some stuff.  (It’s hard to have a water balloon fight without any water balloons!)  So I will suck it up and take a trip to Big Box Inc. to acquire the necessary supplies for all these activities (plus sunscreen and bug spray). It won’t be fun, but at least it will be done!

3. Plan for fun. It’s a little counter-intuitive, I know, but I’m a big believer in planning a few anchor events each weekend, then filling in the slack times with relaxing and spontaneous fun. If I don’t have something planned, I will spend the whole weekend doing things I need to do but nothing I want to do… And all (house)work and no play makes Sarah a dull girl!

Looking at our summer fun inspiration list, I’ll want to schedule that backyard camp out soon, before it gets too hot, and the water activities can wait until we are in the full heat of summer.

Do you suffer an acute case of working mom guilt in the summer? Do you prefer to plan your fun or just let things happen spontaneously?
Humpday Confessions :: linking up with Vodka & Soda

Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions!

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Sam at 10 months

Poor sicky baby.

Poor sicky baby.

At 10 months, Sam…

…weighs almost 20 pounds.  Thanks to a nasty upper respiratory virus I was getting almost daily weight checks for a while.  He seems to be feeling better now, thank goodness.

…has four teeth, and an adorable underbite.  He looks like a cross between a chipmunk and a bulldog.

…hasn’t complained once about the fact that his very busy mother has been buying his baby food instead of making it.  Seriously, why did I stress out over such a silly little thing?

…loves to chew paper.  No book or magazine is safe!

…still isn’t crawling.  #lazybaby4eva

…loves to imitate the silly noises his brother makes.

…is an expert bath toy stealer.  (Most commonly heard phrase during “brother bathtime”:  Mooooooommmmm….. Sam took my toy!!!)

And now I’ll interrupt this regularly scheduled baby cuteness for some bloggy talk. 

I took a blogging hiatus last week and it was really nice.  I really enjoy blogging and the interactions I have with other bloggers, but sometimes all the things I feel like I “should be doing” just get overwhelming.  Simply stated, I think I’ve lost my blogging mojo.  (blomojo?)  For the summer, my plan is to check in here once a week or so, and I will do my best to keep up with my bloggy friends (you know who you are!) but I won’t be reading or commenting as much as I used to.

 

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Nightswimming in whiskey and stolen chocolate #askawayfriday

Today I’m exchanging questions with Tamara of Tamara Like Camera for the Ask Away Friday link-up. I’ve been reading Tamara’s blog for a while now, and I have to admit that it took me an embarassingly long time to figure out that her blog name was a pronunciation guide for her name, not just a reference to her beautiful photography.

Ask Away Friday with Tamara like Camera

In additional to admiring her photos and her beautiful family, I love her quirky sense of humor (including her love of moose) and her sensitive, perceptive take on the world.  She’s also one of the new hosts of the Ask Away Friday link-up!

 

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Here are Tamara’s questions for me.  You can check out her answers to my questions here!

1. Tamara: Do you have any plans to travel this spring or summer?

Sarah: Yes! We are traveling to a small town outside Lexington, Kentucky for my husband’s seminary graduation. I am not looking forward to the 10 hour drive with two little kids in tow, but once we get there, it looks like we will have lots of fun stuff to do! Horses, baseball, Shakers and whiskey. What a great family vacation, right?

And of course our moving plans in late June/early July involve some travel as well!

2. Tamara: I got this one from Shelly at DIY Mama: Finish this sentence: Sometimes I _____ when no one’s watching.

Sarah: Do cartwheels! Steal chocolate from my co-worker’s candy dishes.  Peek at my phone to see if anyone has left me a blog comment.

3. Tamara: If there was a reality show about your family, what would it be called?

Sarah:  This is a tough one!  I definitely don’t think we have enough drama in our household to justify a reality show.  But we do all love to cook and eat, and I sort of feel stressed out all the time lately (new baby, moving, husband changing jobs… all in less than a year), so I think our show would be called Under Pressure.

4. Tamara: Can you share a recent photograph and tell me the story behind it?

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Sarah:  Typical mom… I just can’t pass up an opportunity to share a picture of my cute kids.  Something I never expected about having a second child was seeing how much my boys adore each other.  This scene isn’t that uncommon, but usually when it happens I end up getting a picture of the back of older son’s head.

I got this picture because I happened to be lying on the blanket next to Sam, enjoying one of our first warm days of spring, and Josiah came over to snuggle on him.  And then I died of cuteness.

5. Tamara: So Matt was your college sweetheart, as I read. How did he win you over? How do you think you won him over?

Sarah: Matt was (and is!) a really smart and funny guy. He also is a very ambitious, creative person, which certainly distinguished him from the boy I was dating when I finished high school.  But he truly won me over with his awesome cooking.

We always joke that I won Matt over by fooling him into thinking I knew a lot about computers. He is a major tech geek, and when he pulled out an Apple Newton (late 90s version of an iPad) and started messing around with it, I recognized it from my mom and dad’s computer store (before there were Apple stores) and asked him about it. He was so impressed that I knew what it was!  Bwah ha ha… I was then and am still majorly clueless about technology.  But really, I think he liked my sense of humor and independence.

6. Tamara: If you had the afternoon to yourself, what would you do?

Sarah:  Oh boy… knowing me I’d probably clean my house and bake.  Exciting, eh?  But what I should do is go to lunch with some friends and watch a movie or go shopping with them!  Those are two simple pleasures that I don’t do nearly often enough.

7. Tamara: Is there something you are particularly looking forward to doing with your kids when they get older?

Yes, I hope they will want to go running with me. I hope to travel with them to places that I have loved to visit. We took driving vacations every summer when I was a kid, and I feel like I learned so much from seeing different parts of the country that way. It will be great when the kids can hike or bike along with us instead of having to carry them on our backs!

8. Tamara: What is something you look back on and think, “I can’t believe I did that, but I wouldn’t go back and change it!”

Sarah:  Pretty much everything about the year I spent in Spain when I was 20 years old.  Not so much that I did anything I shouldn’t have (I’m about as straight-laced as they come) but I am just amazed that I was brave enough to do it:  pack up and move to Spain for a year, with the bare minimum of Spanish classes required.  Take college classes in Spanish.  (Not Spanish classes mind you — econ, journalism, geography, stuff like that.  In Spanish.  I was usually the only non-native-Spanish-speaker in the class.)  Rent an apartment that ended up to be this weird boardinghouse situation with a developmentally disabled adult, another foreign exchange student from China who thankfully spoke perfect English, and a very sketchy Spanish dude.  Packed up all my stuff and moved out with no notice and into another American student’s room that she had sublet.  And that was just the first month!

9. Tamara: What’s a song(s) that makes you feel peaceful when you need to clear your head?

Nightswimming by REM.  Always and forever.  (ps, I’m so glad you asked me this!  I’ve had it on repeat since answering this question!)

10. Tamara: How did you come up with your sons’ names?

Sarah: We were considering Joseph for my older son’s name, then I overheard a mom at a local amusement park hollering “Jooooo siiiiiii aaaaaah” at her son, and I thought: I like it!  I can yell that. =)

For Sam (Samuel), I think I suggested it and my husband said okay.  As you can tell we like sort of old-fashioned, Biblical names.   I have about 40 first cousins and I really like a lot of their names, but I didn’t necessarily want to name my kids after a random cousin.  But I really liked the name Samuel (even though I have a first and a second cousin named Samuel!), so I decided that one more would be okay.

Thanks for the great questions, Tamara!  I loved the question about kids names — if anyone reading has an interesting story of how they chose their kids’ names, I’d love to hear it!  And if you’d ever like the swap questions for a post like this, just let me know.

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Our next adventure begins

Photo Credit: TumblingRun via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: TumblingRun via Compfight cc

Exciting news from the Beautyschooldropout household! My husband has been appointed to serve as the senior pastor for a small United Methodist church in a small town (pop. 3,000) about an hour from where we currently live.  His new job starts on July 1. I am so excited for him — it will be his first time working as a lead pastor — and we are really looking forward to getting to know the congregation and exploring the little town.

The job comes with a parsonage, so until I find a job there, we will keep our house, keep the kids in their current school/day care spots, and we’ll live part time in each of the two houses. (It’s probably the only time I’ll have a second home!) I’m sort of freaking out about the logistics of it all, but I’m trying to focus on the positives, so here are some things I’m looking forward to:

  • Spreading our furniture out between two houses means playrooms for the kids and a craft room for me.
  • I’m a clueless decorator, but I’m a little bit excited about the prospect of getting to decorate a new house.
  • You just can’t beat small-town hospitality.
  • We will be walking distance from the city pool and a park.
  • There is an old-fashioned soda fountain inside a drugstore where they still sell ice cream for 5 cents.  (Yes, seriously.)
  • My kids will have the church playground equipment to play on and a big parking lot to practice bike riding, etc.  (Hey, there are some benefits to living next door to the church!)
  • The drive isn’t bad, 60 miles on a divided highway that’s not too busy.  We could commute it daily if we had to.
  • I’m hoping the semi-move will help us reorganize and pare down some stuff in our house, without having the hassle of a full-blown move.
  • Two houses == lots of room for company!  (Bring your own air mattress.)  =)
  • We’ll be an hour closer to all the good outdoorsy things (hiking, floating, etc) to do in our part of the world.

So, what do you think?  Does it sound like a crazy plan or do you think it will work?  Obviously this is all subject to change if we discover we hate doing that much driving or I’m too overwhelmed taking care of the kids by myself a few nights a week.  Any advice for me?

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Sam at 9 months

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At 9 months, Sam…

…is not crawling. I’m not worried about it, this is exactly what his brother did, too. I make lazy babies, what can I say? At Easter my relatives were joking that he was stuck to the floor!

…pounds on the tray of his high chair if I don’t get his food fast enough! Thank goodness for those little baby puffs that I can give him to keep him occupied while I get his food/bib/spoon and dinner on the table for the rest of the family.

…jabbers a LOT. This is fun because I don’t remember Josiah being nearly so talkative. He makes a lot of shrieks and growling noises along with ba ba ba and da da da.

…has the prettiest blue eyes. This is nothing new, but it’s the thing most people comment on when they see him.

…has grown enough hair so he no longer has the kewpie hairdo.  It’s more of a combover now.

…sleeps best with ocean waves white noise playing in his room. He may be a beach-loving Midwestern boy!

…has started that phase where he cries when one of “his people” leave the room. Luckily he’s a big fan of his brother, so usually if I need to go do something in another room for a minute, I just tell Josiah to entertain him.

…goes to sleep pretty easily, but often doesn’t act tired until 9:30 at night. I got tired of rocking him for an hour or more while he wiggled and pulled my hair, so I gave up and just let him stay up late. He’s very helpful with laundry!

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Books for Mom about Being Mom

books for mom about being mom <-- great recs for your favorite mom-of-littles for Mother's Day

Photo Credit: ~PhotograTree~ via Compfight cc

I read pretty slowly these days (a full time job and two kids can do that to you) but I still love to read, and I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve been reading lately.  As I started to make this list, I realized that even though there are all different kinds of books on this list, they all center on a common theme — motherhood.  I guess it’s no surprise that that’s what’s on my brain lately.  Here we go with some quick twitter-style reviews.  (Please forgive my silly hashtags.  It’s a sickness.)  I hope you find something in here that sounds interesting to you!

Your Four Year Old: Wild and Wonderful by Ames & Ilg.  At this point in my parenting career, I don’t want a book to tell me what to do, I just want to know what to expect.  This short but info-packed volume (part of a series that runs from Your 1 Yr Old to Your 10-14 Yr Old) does just that. #all4yearoldsareweirdbutfun #notjustmine

Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan.  There’s nothing like being thrust into a mothering role to make you appreciate your own mom.  In her carefree early 20s, Corrigan suddenly found herself channeling her no-nonsense mom (the “glue” of the family) while nannying for a motherless family in Australia so she could afford the globe-trotting adventures she had planned when she left home. #perfectmothersdaypresent (Trigger warning: moms with cancer.)

The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich.  Yes, it’s another memoir about a first year of motherhood, but this book is so much more – essays on nature, history, and how to be a writer in the midst of mothering  needy babies and challenging teens all intertwine in this #hardtodescribebutsogood book.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.  Okay, this one isn’t about motherhood at all, but this quirky romantic comedy is a fun, quick read.  It’s my most recommended book right now.  #SilverLiningsPlaybookmeetsBigBangTheory

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Twitterature.

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Pups Save a Fourth Birthday

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Chase is on the case!

Josiah is 4! We celebrated with a Paw Patrol themed party in the community room of a local fire station. We started with some games and cupcakes, then we had a tour of the station. The fire fighters did a great job showing the kids around, demonstrating how the trucks work, and teaching them about all the parts of their firefighter suit. They do look/sound a little alien once all the breathing equipment is on, so I thought it was cool that they taught the kids about each piece of their equipment so kids wouldn’t be scared and try to hide if they saw a firefighter coming through their house during a fire.

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I know there are good and bad things about every age, and four is no exception. Josiah is smart, affectionate, funny, and full of interesting questions and observations about the world around him. He can also be whiny, irrational, stubborn, and extremely slow-moving when we’re trying to go somewhere. (So, he is his mother’s child, basically. Except the slow part. I can get ready and out the door in no time.)

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I waited a long time to have kids (I was 31 when J was born, and I’d been married for 9 years) because I wasn’t really sure I wanted any.  (A lot of people will tell you they just can’t remember what life was like without kids.  I can!  It was awesome.  I had a lot more time to do whatever the heck I wanted.)  But eventually I decided that I did want to have a kid or two, and I was blessed with one of the sweetest, easiest babies ever (until his brother came along, but that’s a story for another day).

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Right from the start, Josiah was mellow, cautious, and very studious and observant of his surroundings.  He didn’t crawl until just before his first birthday, and didn’t walk until he was 19 months old.

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He took his sweet time starting to talk, too — so much so that he was in speech therapy for a good part of the year between his second and third birthdays.

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He was a great little two year old — extremely agreeable since we got really good at interpreting his pointing and grunting to get him what he wanted!  Terrible twos?  Nah.

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Three is when he figured out that he didn’t have to do everything we told him to, and things got a lot more challenging.  I never understood what people meant about how parenting teaches you so much about yourself, but it really does.  It forces you to confront the worst in yourself, but it also gives you the opportunity to dig deep for more patience, compassion, and humor than you ever imagined you had.

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So here’s to FOUR!  I can’t wait to see what another year brings.

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Sam at 8 months

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At eight months, Sam…

…Tried his first bites of yogurt. And got his first brain freeze. (Baby brainfreeze face is hilarious.)

…can mostly sit up on his own without the Boppy pillow for support, although he does still flop over occasionally.  He doesn’t usually cry, just looks very surprised and confused as to how he got there.
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…is starting to babble some consonants — no mama or dada yet, it’s mostly b’s so it sounds like he’s saying “blah blah blah”

…is the most chill baby ever. I know I say this every month, but it is amazing. He wakes up in the morning and just starts talking to himself in his crib, no crying or fussing. (I’m sure he would if I left him in there long enough, but I can usually finish whatever I’m doing before I head in there. Wonder Baby!)

…has the funniest little point of hair that always sticks up in the middle his head. A lot of people think it looks like a kewpie doll or Alfalfa, but we like to call him Jack-jack. (Since we’re pretty into superheroes around around house these days!)

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…really likes to try to eat finger food (although he’s still not very good at it.) He gets all excited and grabby when I put puffs on his tray!

…is starting to want to go to bed a little earlier, which is great, except it’s right during the time that I’m normally reading bedtime stories to Josiah. It works great on nights that my husband is home, we each take a kid and bedtime is pretty quick, but I haven’t quite figured out how to juggle both kids on nights my husband works.

…likes to play “chase” with his brother.  Josiah runs circles through our living room, kitchen and dining room, and I run after him holding Sam by his armpits. His little legs start bicycling wildly like he’s running. It just cracks me up.

What’s your earliest memory of your sibling? What do you do with an older kid who gets into everything while you’re putting a younger one to bed?

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