Category: Parenting

Rough Night – Healing Your Child’s Soul

I sat on the uncomfortable rocking chair around 3 in the morning after the rough night. My son arched his back as if he couldn’t get comfortable. His head lifted away from my chest. Occasionally it would bounce back, and the cool tears on his face would wet my skin. After just a minute or two, the gas slipped up out of his stomach and his neck slowly relaxed as he rested his weary head on my chest. It got heavier and heavier and so did his eyelids.

rough night with an infant, mom cradling

After 4 hours of trying to help him, he finally succumbed to sleep, trapping me with 24 lbs of squishy baby weight. And in spite of my exhaustion, I sat unmoving and just held him. My cheek pressed against his fuzzy warm head. His breathing, remnants of sobs abandoned. My precious boy nuzzled against me. It was my reward for my toil, so I enjoyed every special second. Thirty minutes of quiet snuggles on a squeaky, unyielding rocker. I watched the shadows and breathed deeply. There aren’t many moments like this. It was just me and my boy.

At 3:30 in the morning I finally slipped between my sheets and my eyelids slammed shut.

My Rough Night

The Likely Cause

That day, we had gone to his six month appointment. We found out he was off the charts for weight and pretty big in all other growth aspects. And to top it off, he has got a giant head that comes from my side of the family. If you ever wonder why some hats are so big, it’s for people like me and my son.

grayson at the doctor, cause of the rough night

He got two shots. I didn’t think anything of it. With his first couple of rounds he had been fussy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. My daughter had never had many ill effects from the shots.

I put him to bed around 7 just like any other night. He fussed a little more before he fell asleep, but soon he was breathing out Zs.

 

I just had to…

As a matter of safety, I usually take the sound machine out of his room at night after the loud noises in the house have disappeared. He has a bad habit of putting a blanket on top of his face and if I’m asleep and he’s having a hard time breathing, I want to be able to hear immediately.

beginning of the rough night, he wakes up

My daughter was in bed, my company had left and I was about to sleep as well. So, like every night, I snuck into his room and took it out. Usually he moves and then goes right back to sleep.

On this particular rough night, he moved and then woke up.

Quick Fix

All right, this wouldn’t be a problem. I’d just give him a bottle, top him off for the night and that way I made sure we all got a good night sleep.

He drank about half of it and I thought that he probably wasn’t hungry because he’s been sleeping through the night for a couple of days now.

 

The 4 Hours

The rest of the four hours that made up my rough night are a little hazy. It all blurs together now. I know that some things happened during that time. Here is a list of all courses of action in no particular order:

  • Gave him Tylenol.
  • Rocked him.
  • Held him.
  • Sang “I am a child of God”
  • Left his room about 15 times.
  • Entered his room about 15 times.
  • Sang “I like to look for Rainbows”
  • Sat on the floor by his crib and held his hand while he tried to settle down.

  • Let him play with my face.
  • Sat on the couch and the living room while he looked at the lights.
  • Let him lay in mommy’s bed. (Austin was out of town.)
  • Burped him. And again and again and again. So many burps.
  • So much spit up.
  • Bottle attempts 1, 2 and 3.
  • Wrapped him in a semi-swaddle

  • Pacifier.
  • Reached under the bed for all of the pacifiers he had chucked by the wall.
  • Wiped his tears.
  • Gave him Ibuprofen.
  • Caressed his head.
  • Tried to let him ‘cry it out’. (I can only last about 15 minutes at the most.)
  • Bounced him.
  • Sang “Down in the River” over and over and over again.
  • Prayed for any possible relief about every 10 minutes.

There might be more. I don’t know. It was a rough night.

 

The Unexpected Reward

I know I am not alone in the ‘rough night’ department. Most parents get to experience this joy at some point or another. Most of the time, you are only rewarded with an hour or two of much needed sleep.

But sometimes, the world stands still and all is quiet as your little one finally falls asleep in your arms. The whimpers subside and you get a small glimpse at how much your baby must love you. His face is pressed against you, cheek smashed against your skin. The deeper he falls into sleep, the more his breathing levels out.

Only you could heal his whole soul. Not only have you labored to help his little body feel better, but you also kept his spirit full. He knows that you are there for him and that you love him and have taken the time to understand him.

You heal his whole soul regardless of whether or not he falls asleep on you. But if you are lucky enough to feel your trusting little one nuzzle in, you can take the time to pat yourself on the back. Because you did it. Even if it took you until 3 or 6 in the morning, you did it. You healed your baby’s soul.

 

More Rough Nights to Come

So I hope I can remember when I have another rough night and many more, that every time I choose their needs over mine I heal their soul. I heal their physical hurts and I show them for the rest of their life, that they are worth me climbing out of my bed.

And in the quiet moments when I have evidence in my arms of how much my children appreciate it, I hope I can remember that I am doing okay. I healed my baby’s soul and I think I healed mine too.

 

I’ve had many a rough night with my toddler too.

Baby Girl Birth Story – My Sweet, Bright Eyed Siena

Having a baby girl is hard enough. As a new mom, you have to worry about the last trimester, the delivery, after the baby is born and everything else that goes into having a baby.

However, throw in ‘move across the world’ and you have a whole new mess of problems to add to the list of ‘Things to Solve’.

 

Uterus Urgency

Austin got his masters at Duke University. We loved being in North Carolina, and the second half of his program was in Kunshan, China. Well, I was due to have a baby just 5 weeks before we were supposed to be leaving. Yep. You could have called us insane and you would have been correct. We didn’t even know how insane we were.

waiting in waiting room
When we first arrived in the waiting room.

We naively thought, “what perfect timing!” We’ll have the baby in December and then hop on a plane in January. However, aside from other aspects of our naivety, like being first time parents, we failed to realize that we wouldn’t be able to get her passport, visa or plane tickets until she was actually born.

Austin had to be in school in China on a certain day and as her due date approached we realized the timing might not be so ideal after all. We started panicking. It takes 6 weeks to get a passport… We have to get the Visa after that… So, there isn’t enough time. Fortunately there is an expediting option, which almost wasn’t fast enough.

The Study

Then, a tender mercy. Duke University happened to be doing a research study where they would induce your labor at 39 weeks. The purpose of the study was to determine if delivering at 39 weeks was actually more beneficial for both the baby and the mom. After 39 weeks the baby is fully developed, and history seemed to suggest that the mom’s health would decline after 39 weeks.

Unfortunately there was no way to guarantee we would be in the induction group. Because the study needed a control group, only 50% of the women in the study would be induced. But we decided to try our luck with the lottery. And another miracle, we were selected to be a part of the induction group. Hooray! Our induction was scheduled for December 9th.

 

No Surprises

Because we had a set day, it was very easy now for both of our moms to fly out to see the birth.

me and my sweet moms
I love our moms.

The ninth was a Tuesday so both of them flew in on Sunday. Austin took all of his finals on Monday and we were all set for our little girl to join us.

Tuesday morning I got up early and put on some make up, curled my hair: the works. I was in a rare situation where I could plan to look cute for semi-spontaneous event. Why would I not take advantage of such a thing? Obviously we were going to take pictures!

 

Excited Grandmas!

We arrived at the hospital at 7:15 in the morning and park in the parking garage (no valet parking if your birth is not an emergency…understandable). We took the elevator up to the tunnel, where Lori, Austin’s mom excitedly announced to the whole elevator. “I’m going to be a grandma today!”

The ladies on the elevator squealed with excitement. I smiled too. My baby girl would be here soon! Clearly I had no idea what was in store for me.

 

Waiting Room

We got to the maternity floor and were told to wait. So we waited… and we waited… and we waited…

waiting in waiting room
Growing a little impatient…

The thing about being induced, is it is not as exciting for everyone else. They can just put you on the back burner while all of the actual labors take precedence, which again, makes sense. My induction was scheduled for 8:00 am. We didn’t even get out of the waiting room until noon.

bored waiting in waiting room
BORED OUT OF MY MIND…

 

Waiting in the Delivery Room

Finally, it was my turn. Then the excitement rose again. All right baby girl, that was a long wait, but now… now we’re on our way.

get this induction going
It’s go time!

I donned my nice hospital get-up and the nurses came in and do their thing. Soon, Doctor Nieves came in. Yay! We finally get to know where I’m at and what the next steps are. So, he checks out how things are going. I’m dilated to a 2 and was like 80% effaced. And I’m thinking, ‘wow, 80%. I’m doing pretty good.’

last pic before baby girl is born
We’re both excited!

Then I found out he’s going to stick in a miso pill. Basically it is supposed to help get things going. So, he put in the pill and then we waited some more. The nurses tell us to get up and walk around to help get the labor going. We did. We walked and walked and walked.

walking to get baby girl out
I went through a lot of those waters.
through the fish tank walking around
We thought this giant fish tank was pretty cool.
talking with husband
Love of my Life

And then we started the “badger dance” (video to come). And pretty soon, we’re laughing and being silly until around 6:00 in the evening.

laughing with austin
He always makes me laugh.

At this point, Austin decided it would be funny if he laid on the bed. So, he laid there, my mom laid on the couch and his mom took the nice chair and I sat on the little fold out chair. We thought it would be funny to get our nurses reaction if I was on the hard chair and Austin had taken over the hospital bed. Well, it was also around this time that I could feel my labor actually start to kick in.

our funny joke
Our funny, funny, funny joke…

 

Labor Contractions

Now I was feeling contractions. At first they were just uncomfortable. And the nurse had said she would be back just a minute prior to our hilarious prank we were going to pull. So, we waited in those positions. And we waited… and we waited… She didn’t come back for about an hour.

And I was sitting on this hard chair and felt like I was dying a little more each minute that passed. Where on earth had the nurse disappeared to? Someone better be having a baby!

And by 7:00, she finally came through the door. We did get the reaction we wanted and caught it on video. But, by then, I was really feeling the contractions. She started checking on things. I tell her I want an epidural. I know… I’m a baby. The doctor came in and checked me out. I was dilated to a 3 and fully effaced. A 3?! That’s it! This is what a 3 feels like? But, my labor was in full swing. I was having regular contractions.

They let the anesthesiologist know that I am ready for an epidural and about an hour later, I get one. It was a little scary getting one, but the relief it provided was unparalleled. They had to readjust it a little bit because it was only working on one side at first. I’m glad I asked when I did, because the time from when you ask for an epidural to when you actually get one is quite awhile.

sleeping before baby girl is born

Water Breaking

After that, I felt great. In fact it was so great that it surprised me when I felt our baby girl kick rather violently and suddenly there was a gushing. Stuff was coming out!

I couldn’t stop it. It was a force that stopped for nothing. Once I thought the gushing was over, it gushed some more. My water broke. I was glad they didn’t have to break it for me. It was cool having it just happen.

That was exciting. Now we were all pumped up again! This happened around 10:00 pm.

 

Nausea

The epidural was still working, until I started feeling nauseous. Really nauseous. I woke up and couldn’t move from the bed, but I knew something will be coming up and out of me quickly.

I told Austin I have to throw up and was panicking because I had nothing to catch it with. BLEH… all over the left side of the bed and the floor. I looked over at Austin and he had a trashcan or something that I could have used if he had grabbed it ten seconds earlier.

I let the nurse know. She got me all cleaned up and then informed me they had drugs for that too. Really? Awesome! I did not want to spend the whole labor throwing up. I had done enough of that during my pregnancy. She warned me that it would make me sleepy. Double bonus! That meant I’d be able to sleep better.

 

No More Juice!

Not necessarily double bonus. Sometime in the early morning I woke up in agony. I could feel my contractions completely. We pushed the button for the nurse. I was pushing my pain button like nobody’s business trying to get more of the epidural juice into my body, but to no avail.

resting before baby girl

Thirty minutes later the anesthesiologist came in and said that the epidural had run out. He refills it and I am soon feeling much better again. Now despite the fact that I am sleepy, I am insistent on remembering to push the button, because I know I don’t want to feel that EVER again.

 

Mini Date

That night, Austin and I watched Pitch Perfect and Here Comes the Boom when I couldn’t sleep. It was fun just being with him. Our moms had gone to sleep upstairs somewhere. And we got to just hang out me and him before we got one more added to our family.

At some point, he had to help lift me up higher in the bed because my legs were completely useless and I had slipped and was very uncomfortable. And you would think that I could lift my body with my little arms, but my body was the biggest body it’s ever been. It was like trying to move a dead dinosaur.

 

Pushing Time!

Then around noon on the 10th, (yeah we thought we were going to have her on the 9th… laughable now) I was told that I was dilated to a 9 and we should get to start pushing soon. So exciting!

I was thinking, well, my mom’s whole labor with me lasted 5 hours and she only pushed for like half an hour. We’re going to meet our baby girl soon! So, the doctor, who is now a different doctor and for the life of me I can’t remember her name, starts getting things ready for the pushing part of the journey.

I started pushing around 12:45. The doctor told me that I could be pushing for anywhere between a half an hour to three hours. Three hours? I thought my baby girl would just come out. I started pushing and pushing and pushing.

It was so exhausting. I pushed and pushed and every time it felt like something incredible should be happening but I was seeing no fruits for my labors. I was so tired.

pushing out baby girl
You know that feeling when you want to cry, but even that is too much…

At some point the doctor said that I could take a break. I didn’t even know you could take a break in the middle of pushing. Wouldn’t baby girl suffocate in the birth canal? But then I remember that’s what the umbilical cord is for. And in retrospect, she probably hadn’t moved much at all. I wasn’t making a whole lot of progress.

 

Come on Baby Girl!

All right, it was time to start again. I pushed some more. Then I started feeling severe pain. *Contractions so intense that it felt like lightening zapping through my uterus and culminating right between my hips. Bearing down intensified the pain and then they wanted me to hold it there while the pain ripped through me.

I kept pushing my pain button but nothing was coming and nothing was helping. At some point, I accepted that the epidural was not going to help me through it. And then I also had to accept that the only way to get the baby out was to greet the pain instead of escape it. So, I focused on bearing down in a way that intensified the pain the most and those were the pushes that everyone shouted, “that’s such a good push!” “You’re doing so great!” “Keep doing them like that one.”

I did it again and again and again. And two and a half hours from the time we started pushing, at 3:19 pm, our little Siena was finally born. As soon as she was out, I remember collapsing on the bed with the most relief I think it is possible for the human body to experience.

baby girl brand new!

*I have since learned that they most likely turned off my epidural so that I could ‘feel the contractions’. NEVER AGAIN.

 

Scary Reality

We found out after she was born that her umbilical cord had been in a knot. If it would have tightened at all during the pregnancy, we could have lost our sweet baby girl. I am forever grateful that she was protected and watched over so that she could be in our family. She lights up our life.

 

Baby Girl, My Sweet Siena

My little baby girl was laid on my chest and I got to see her bright, big, beautiful eyes for the first time. At first she didn’t cry. She just looked around. She was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe she had been inside my body for the last nine months.

baby girl
Look how big her eyes are!
holding baby girl
I couldn’t believe my baby girl was already here… 30 hours later.

She had such long fingers, which as I held her I remembered them moving around by my hips when I was pregnant. She was chubbier than I thought she would be, especially at 39 weeks. But she came out at a healthy 8 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long.

family pic with baby girl

looking at our creation

She weighed more than any of my mom’s kids had been. No wonder I had pushed for 2 1/2 hours! If I would’ve waited for her to come out on her own I might not have been able to push her out. I was really grateful that we had been a part of the study. A C-section could have really affected our trip out to China. So, grand total: 32 hours in the hospital, 20 hours of labor and 2 1/2 hours of pushing.

holding my baby girl

Me snuggling my baby girl

Afterthoughts

I remember being so tired, so shocked, so amazed, so out of it, and so grateful that it was all over. It was almost the feeling of, now what? I had been preparing to have a baby girl, but I wasn’t sure what to do with her now that I had her.

She was beautiful, but I didn’t know how to be a mom! I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know how any of this was going to work. But it did.

I believe that Heavenly Father has been helping us throughout every step of the process. He loves His children and He would show me how to raise His child the right way, even though I am imperfect.

Cute Pictures Below:

first time daddy holding his baby girl
First time daddy holding his baby girl.
family pic with baby girl
Family Picture!
baby girl in daddy's arms
So cute in daddy’s arms
Grammy with baby girl
Grammy was in love with little Siena.
grandma with baby girl
Grandma loves Siena too!
cute baby girl
Look at her eyes!

baby girl

hearing test for baby girl
Hearing test
baby girl in daddy's Christmas stocking
Austin was born in December too and he was sent home from the hospital in this hospital, so obviously we had to put her in it and get a picture of her in his stocking. Our little December babies!
beautiful baby girl
This is seriously one of my favorite pictures of her.
first family picture with baby girl
Another Family Pic!

 

You can also check out my Son’s Birth Story.

It’s amazing how different they are!

Decorating Eggs for Easter with a Toddler & Baby

I wasn’t sure how decorating eggs would go. After all, Siena is only two years old and I was sure that Grayson would want to be involved, even though he couldn’t sit up all the way on his own yet. Imagine my surprise when decorating eggs turned out to be a blast!

decorating eggs
Don’t they look like they had fun?

 

Something’s Up

Grayson knew immediately from the living room that something was going on in the kitchen. As I was setting things up, Siena had joined me by sitting on her booster chair at the kitchen table. Grayson made loud grunts and yells from the living room as he strained to see what we were doing, so I had to quickly get him and let him join in the fun.

Ready for decorating eggs
Look how excited he is!

Decorating Eggs

We put Siena and Grayson at the end of the table so that everything was close and easily accessible. Then, I put some yogurt drops on Grayson’s tray so that he had something to do while the egg decorating began.

Grayson reaching for yogurt drops
Yogurt Drops!

Siena loved how the eggs changed colors.

decorating eggs and Siena holds up the first colored egg
“Wow!” This was the first egg that we colored.

She was excited to pick which colors she wanted us to dip the eggs into. We were happy to oblige. When they came out all colorful, she squealed with excitement and we got to let her sticker them up.

decorating the eggs with stickers
“Focused Face”

And if you can believe it, all 9 eggs survived! Not one cracked egg.

 

Giggle Fest

We got all of the eggs painted and then the real fun began.

He makes me laugh just as much as I make him laugh. He is SERIOUSLY the HAPPIEST baby in the world.

For some reason, I was the funniest person on the planet today to my son. He just kept laughing at me. And of course, my little girl was trying to copy me and get him to laugh too, so we got a video of his giggles and her sweet attempts to be like her mommy.

Daddy Time

decorating eggs with daddy

Even if it is something simple and silly, we love being able to spend time with daddy. Decorating Eggs may not be the most exciting thing for adults, but it was so much more fun with him. Siena loved showing off for her daddy and Grayson loved being a part of the whole family gathering.

 

Happy Easter!

We can’t wait until the Easter Bunny shows up tomorrow and to talk to our babies about the true meaning of Easter. Hopefully we can start to introduce what it means that Christ lived and died for us and and lived for us again.

More pics below!

I just had to include this adorable picture of my chubby cheeked boy!
Siena decorating eggs and poking her tongue out
My girl is just the coolest.

More Simple Things for Family Fun!

Fun Uncle Coco & Cool Aunt Nai – 10 Benefits to Having Family Visit

Everyone needs a fun uncle and cool aunt and we are happy to report that our kids have many. This last weekend we got to hang out with Austin’s brother (fun uncle) and his cute wife (cool aunt). It was their first time coming out here to Michigan and we loved having them.

fun uncle coco reading book to Siena

Siena and Grayson loved having some cool new friends. And after they visited, we have decided that a fun uncle and cool aunt are so great for our kids! In fact, I might even say they are necessary. So if you don’t have a candidate for cool aunt or fun uncle, they don’t necessarily have to be blood related. Just make some!

 

Benefits of a Fun Uncle & Cool Aunt

1. Someone else to entertain the Littles

It didn’t take long for Siena to latch onto her fun uncle and fun aunt. She called Colton, “Coco” and Natalie was “Nai” (rhymes with spy). She loved climbing and playing with both of them. Grayson was thrilled to have someone else paying attention to him all of the time.

littles sitting on the couch

2. Someone Else to Reinforce Mom and Dad’s Rules besides Mom and Dad

As obedient as Siena is, sometimes it is so nice for her to see that even fun Uncle Coco and cool Aunt Nai aren’t eating in the living room either. (at least while Siena is awake…) It helps her learn that it’s not just boring Mom and Dad who make such rules.

And, for the record, she has been doing great with that rule since they left!

 

3. Fun Outings we wouldn’t have taken otherwise

We got to explore all over downtown Detroit! We could do that anyways, but having visitors always seems to motivate us to get out of the house. With visitors, we have to show off our great city! Siena and Grayson loved being taken all over in the stroller like big kids.

fun uncle and cool aunt in front of comerica park

We also finally got to eat at a restaurant we’ve been dying to try.

 

Grayson asleep at the restaurant after being out WAY past his nap time.

4. A Break from Changing Diapers

Cool Aunt Nai was so excited to be helping with the ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ stuff that this Mom and Dad got some much appreciated breaks. This time, I wasn’t the only one who got to experience soft serve poops while changing his diaper. I seriously think he likes to show off his bowel movements because he will only ever do it when someone is actually in the process of changing his diaper.

For the record, fun Uncle Coco was not cool with the Coco colored soft serve and stayed FAR FAR AWAY.

 

5. A Break from Constant Feedings

As much as I love to spoon feed my son and look into his eyes while I feed him a bottle, that kid can eat! Do you know how much time I spend shoveling food into him? I can’t keep up most days. So it was awesome being able to tag team with Cool Aunt Nai.

 

6. A Break from being the Focus of All Attention

Usually my kids want to be the center of my attention at all times. If I look at one, the other one gets upset. If I check my phone, suddenly I am the climbing gym. Eating is a rarity, going to the bathroom alone doesn’t really happen and sleeping uninterrupted for longer than 4 hours will probably never happen again.

Imagine my relief when I could play with one and the other one had another adult to play with. Fun Uncle Coco was the new climbing gym and I got a little bit of free time. Still not much sleep though… we were too busy talking after the kids went to bed.

 

7. Great Influence the Kiddos can Trust when they get Older

I can’t help but think about how great it will be to have other role models around. They will have so many aunts and uncles that can be exemplary examples when they are teenagers. Suddenly our opinion may not be worth as much as a fun uncle or a cool aunt’s.

fun uncle coco and cool aunt nai

 

8. Someone to Play Games with After Bedtime

Once the babes are in bed, we have the fun uncle and cool aunt all to ourselves. We get to play games with them and have adult conversations. It was so fun to kick back, relax and get to know Austin’s brother and sister-in-law better. We love our games and play them all the time. I included links to some of our favorites in case you need new ideas.

9. More Daddy Time!

Because Austin doesn’t want to miss out on all the fun, he takes time off of work and we get more daddy time! We got to go on all of these adventures with him. In fact after they left, Siena couldn’t understand why Dada had to work. She loved having him around more.

daddy time out and about

10. Pictures for a Lifetime

And every time family comes to visit, we get to take a bunch of pictures because they’re not around all of the time. So, we had a blast taking pictures of the babes, of all of us and having fun with the family. Now we’ll be able to remember it forever.

PICTURE OVERLOAD ALERT!

More photos from the rest of their trip:

Standing outside the Red Wings Game waiting to go inside and get out of the rain.

 

The Red Wings have a tradition of throwing an octopus on the ice during the Playoffs. They didn’t make the Playoffs this year, but it was one of the last games in the Joe Louis Arena, so we saw many Octopus carcasses splayed on the ice.
Great game to see with some great family!
Fun Uncle Coco & Cool Aunt Nai
Fun Uncle Coco & Cool Aunt Nai
We got to go to this fun game because our awesome friends watched our kids that night!
I love it when he grabs his toes!
fun uncle with dada on their devices
Sometimes they were real lively. Here I think they were both creating some roller coasters… the story of their trip.
Just have to include any cute pictures of them ever taken.
Our animals or theirs?
Fun at the Farm
She loves her ‘tows’! (cows)

To read about more fun at the farm when I took the kids by myself, click here.

Bad Dreams Become My Own Personal Horror Story & Sweetest Moment

First Bad Dreams

I haven’t had to worry too much about bad dreams yet so far. At one point, when Siena was an infant we thought maybe she had had a nightmare, because she woke up screaming and after we snuggled her for a little while, she fell right back asleep. But that was the only time we had suspected anything.

little girl sleeping
The one time we can’t ever protect them, in their dreams.

Now that she is getting a little more imaginative and descriptive in her vocabulary, we are finding that maybe she is having some bad dreams every now and then. But this is the first time we have ever confirmed that we have positively identified what has been going on.

 

Absolute Exhaustion

It was late at night. I was exhausted and I crawled into bed in a fog. I was asleep almost instantly, which never happens. My body felt like I weighed about twice as much as I actually do and sunk into my mattress like an anchor penetrates the ocean floor.

 

The Voice

At some point I woke up, thinking I had heard a voice. I rolled over to face the doorway and the empty room. Nothing was there. I must have dreamed it. Or maybe the cat had let out a ‘meow’ to let us know he was bored or hungry. I rolled back over and fell instantly asleep.

Cat in the dark before my toddler woke up with bad dreams

Then I heard the voice again. This time adrenaline started pumping through my blood. I had just barely checked and the room was empty. I rolled over halfway, terrified that I was going to find a person in my room, illuminated by the LED Night Lights scattered throughout the house.

Still no one.

 

toddler awake with bad dreams sitting in darkThe Person

I finished my rotation so that I was now facing the door and closed my eyes again.

“Mama?”

The pulsing, shrieking music from Psycho started echoing in my brain. My eyes searched the darkness and I finally located the source of the voice.

My toddler daughter sat criss-cross applesauce on the floor, next to our cat and was stroking him calmly while watching us sleep!

Yep. I don’t think I’ve ever been that close to peeing my pants out of fear before. (And in case you are wondering, I have peed my pants for other reasons. Different stories for different times.)

 

Bad Dreams

After regaining my composure and my racing blood rate I got up and took Siena back to her room. I wanted to tell her that it’s not okay to get out of bed, but instead had the impression that I needed to ask her a question instead.

talking with my daughter about her bad dreams“Why did you get out of bed, Siena?” I asked her.

She sat in her bed and pointed at something that wasn’t there. “Nigh-nigh… Rawr!” Her hands made little claws.

“Rawr?”

She pointed again and said, “Rawr!”

“Did you have some bad dreams? Did something scare you?”

She made her little ‘Mm’ noise that we have learned means yes.

“Okay. It’s not there anymore, sweet heart. It’s not real.”

“Rawr!” She made the claw gesture again.

Then I suddenly had a thought, or prompting. “Do you want to say a prayer so Heavenly Father can protect you?”

“Mm.”

And in one of my sweetest memories, we said a little prayer together that she wouldn’t have bad dreams anymore and that she would be able to get lots of sleep.

Tender Mercy

What a wonderful moment I got to have with my daughter at 3:00 in the morning. I’m so glad I didn’t just get mad and tell her to get back in bed. I would have never known that she had bad dreams. She would have still been scared and also felt like she couldn’t even talk to her parents about it.

It just took a quick thought when I took her to bed to ask her a question instead of telling her what I expected her to do. I’m so glad I listened to the little feeling I had.

with my sweet girl

This was so much better!

 

Once I did let my anger get the better of me when Siena kept getting out of bed. I felt much worse after that interaction.

 

Copycat Toddler – 7 Times When You Wish they hadn’t Seen

My daughter has reached an age that most mommies know well. If I tickle Grayson, Siena tickles Grayson. I blow on his belly. Siena blows on his belly. If I poke his nose, Siena pokes his nose. She’s my little copycat.

When we color, I could pick red and she will want red. If I choose a blue, guess who’s got blue too. She’ll copy what I say and mimic my actions. My little girl wants to be just like her mama.

posing with my little girl, my copycat

So, because I was sure I wasn’t the only one who has had such antics from their toddlers, I asked for some juicy copycat toddler stories from the mom experts I know. Here they are in their juicy glory.

I saved my daughter, my copycat for my embarrassment at the end. Enjoy!

 

Slam it, Dammit!

As a little girl being so attached to my Grandma, there was nothing she couldn’t do that wasn’t ok. Until one day as she was trying to shut the trunk of her car. For some reason it just wouldn’t catch and stay closed. After several attempts you could see she was frustrated and offered one word in anger at her trunk. “Dammit.” This was so not like her.

I, as a small child had never heard such a word.  But as she stood there trying to figure out just what was wrong with the trunk, she hadn’t realized her shadow, me. She looked down at me, completely embarrassed and I looked up to her and said, “slam it, dammit grandma” The look of horror came across her face as she looked down at me and processed the words that had just come out of her 3 year old granddaughter’s mouth. That day she was reminded to be careful of what you say as you never know who can hear you.

-Karen, One Helluva 3 year old & Homemaker

 

Choice Vocabulary

I am an incredibly clumsy human. When my oldest was about two and a half, I was making an effort to be less dramatic when I injured myself. So I would just say, “balls!” and move on.

One day I was getting her out of the tub and she stubbed her toe on the metal frame (I had an annoying sliding glass door in the bathtub). She sobbed out a tiny, sad, “Baaaaalls!”

I decided I needed to adjust my vocabulary from that point on.

-Liz, One Helluva Homemaker

 

Like Pregnant Mother, Like Son

When I was pregnant with my second son I had a lot of morning sickness.

So, since I was sick all the time, my first son would grab a mixing bowl and pretend he was throwing up just like his mommy! Ha!

-Gabriela, One Helluva Homemaker

 

Haircut Copycat

My mom used to watch my grandpa cut hair in his barber shop. One day a woman came in with a little girl. So while grandpa was cutting the woman’s hair, my mom, who was about 5 or 6 at the time, took the little girl in the back and gave her a haircut too.

barber shop of grandpa

So then, grandpa not only couldn’t charge the mom for the haircut, but he had to “fix” the little girls hair for free as well.

-Catherine, One Helluva Daughter & Homemaker

 

The Little Things

My kid says “shoot” every time something goes wrong.

He also loves doing the big frustrated sighs I do.

Oh and my grumpy faces. Oops!

-Gabi, One Helluva Homemaker

 

Five Little Fingers… or One

Let me tell you about a time I will never forget when my daughter was about three years old. We were pulling out from the Sears parking lot onto a busy 4 lane road. It was early spring, so there were still some patches of ice on the asphalt. I was also driving my parents car, a stick shift, and the clutch was different then mine.

So, I was hesitant to pull out in front of someone without plenty of room in case I stalled the car. The inpatient “gentleman” behind me had already honked his horn a few times at me. So my redheaded temper got the best of me when he did it again.

I extended my middle finger to show the “gentleman” my exact opinion of his honking.

Then I hear, “what does this mean?” from the back seat and see a little tiny hand displaying her middle finger for the “gentleman” too. I was so ashamed of myself. I laugh now, but I can say I never did that again while the kids were with me…and had to explain to her that that was an adult thing that meant ugly adult words.

-Tanya, One Helluva Homemaker

 

Holes is Holes

I have always had a hard time breastfeeding. I did with Siena and again with my son. So, my all time favorite invention has been the Nipple Shield, which literally saved my daughter’s life and made me feel like I could handle being a mom.

When Grayson was born, I used them again for as long as I could breastfeed. This was only for about four months.

Well, a couple of weeks ago (long after I have stopped breastfeeding), I was sitting on the couch with my husband and suddenly he points at Siena. I look, and she has the nipple shield on her belly button and her baby doll is apparently getting a drink… from my daughter’s belly button… through her mom’s nipple shield… Holes is holes, right?

my daughter, nursing her baby doll to copycat mama
She was very focused…

 

More Copycat stories and Mom Moments?

Have any fun copycat stories of your own? Please leave them in the comments below! I would love to hear more. Kids are so funny sometimes!

 

I seem to have a never ending supply of Mom Moments that make me want to cry, but will probably make you laugh.

Six Months Old – Letter to My Amazing Baby Boy

Dear Grayson,

Six months comes and goes and all I can think about is how lucky I am. You’re six months old! But I get to have you forever. You are my son always. And even though I didn’t get to hold you until 6 months ago, you’ve always been my son.

six months old okay, maybe he was only five
Okay, I’m a little biased, but I don’t think babies can get much cuter than this.

I’ve known you longer of course. I’ve known you for about a year and 3 months.

When you were inside of me, you were big and snug. You always let us know you were there and showed us how excited you were to come and join us. There was a time, shortly after you joined us, when I was afraid that you were going to leave us too soon.

Your First Ultrasound

The first time I tried to see you, the technician couldn’t find you. There was no heartbeat, just a uterus that looked pregnant. My doctor said that it was probably just too early to see.

I didn’t think much of it until your dad seemed a little concerned. I started doing research online, to see what could have caused that. The words “blighted ovum” occupied every web page I looked at. I was devastated, because I felt like you had been there.

Fear clutched me and I spent the night sobbing as I thought about the possibility of losing you. I knew you then.

With crippling anxiety, I called my doctor the next morning. She ran some tests to give me peace of mind and a week later, a little tiny collection of cells was visible on the monitor. There you were! Elation can’t begin to cover my emotions. For now, my baby boy was safe.

first ultrasound

Finding Out what I already Knew

We could find out as early as 12 weeks whether you were going to be a boy or a girl. We planned on doing the extra tests anyways, so we figured we might as well find out. Even before they told us though, I knew.

I got a phone call when your dad happened to be home. The nurse asked me if I wanted to know. I put her on speaker and told her, “Yes.”

“You’re having a baby boy.”

Baby BOY announcement!

Of course I started crying again. “I knew it,” was all I could say. You will come to learn that it doesn’t take much to get your Mama crying.

Waiting

I waited for you all summer. You weren’t supposed to be born until October, but with your size, we hoped you would come sooner. Your Mama got so huge!

Siena on my pregnant belly
It got harder and harder for Siena to sit on my lap.

And it seemed like you were going to stay in there as long as possible so we had to coax you out.

Finally Here

brand new baby snuggling with mommy
Snuggling with my newborn.

When I held you in my arms, it felt like you had always been a part of our family. It was like we didn’t know that we had been waiting for you, but we were, and now you were here.

 

Your sister was so excited to be with you. She loves taking care of you. You are her best friend, and I suspect that is how it will be forever. Thank you for coming to be with your sister.

Watching You Grow

As I have watched you grow, I have been even more impressed by how unique you are. At just six months old, I have witnessed so many differences between you and your sister. You both have your own distinct personalities and it is amazing to see.

first night home from the hospital
His first night home from the hospital. I was so excited about this outfit; this was probably the last time he fit in it.

You were “you” long before you joined us. You’ve been smiling since you were just one month old. Everyone told me it was just gas, but it wasn’t. You haven’t stopped smiling since then. Your happiness is infectious and your laugh makes everyone happier.

six months old with his 2 year old sister, they're basically the same size
They are pretty much the same size. He’s going to pass her up before long!

You love your Mama. It might embarrass you to know that you are a Mama’s boy through and through. You love me and I am so grateful that I have felt your love from the moment you were born. It is a rare gift to make someone feel loved just be looking at them. But, you have that gift Grayson.

What I Will Get to See

You are only six months old now. You are just starting to think about rolling over and you haven’t decided how you feel about solid food, but I can already see how much happiness you are going to bring to our family.

daddy holding our giant baby who is only six months old
Do you see how big he is?!

Cloudy days will never seem as gloomy. The darker nights will have a guiding light. You are going to bring so much joy to those around you.

I hope you remember forever, how special you are to me. You are amazing. And just by being born, you are going to make the world a better place.

Thank you!

Thank you for coming to be with us and thank you for being six months old so I can be a witness to who you really are. I hope you know how much we all love you and how happy we are that you are here.

Six Months Old and Counting

We can’t wait to see everything that you are going to become. One day, you will probably know the fear of losing a child, even if that child hasn’t been born yet. It seems like everything in the world can be perfectly fine and I still find myself terrified that you or your sister will be taken away from me. When you are holding your own little baby, you will understand the gratitude I feel that you are here now and that you are still getting older.

Grayson in a bow tie at six months old
Happy 6 months little man!

We love you Grayson! I love you and can’t wait to see what the next 80 years bring. (I probably won’t live past 107.)

Love,

Mom

 

More about Grayson:

Grayson’s Birth Story

How His Night Sleeping Has Been

 

11 Fun Things to do Inside with your Toddler when it’s Cold Out

Spring is just around the corner and it seems like we are hanging on to a couple more cold and rainy days as it approaches. We just can’t wait to get outside and yet, we have frequently been forced indoors. So what can you do when it looks nice and sunny out but it is still freezing? Time to find some fun things to do inside.

just-a-day-where-my-toddler-is-playing-with-kitchen-measuring-tools

The following is a list of super easy, super simple things that can make a rainy, cold or windy day so much fun!

10 Fun Things to do Inside

1. Play with Bubbles

My daughter absolutely LOVES bubbles! In fact, I try not to let her watch any shows with anything resembling bubbles because then she wants to play with bubbles. I blow the bubbles for her and she tries to pop them. She thinks it’s funny when they land on Grayson’s head. Sometimes, she will blow the bubbles too. We have hardwood and carpet and the bubbles don’t really make any mess at all. Maybe just wipe it up off the hardwood.

playing with balloons is another one on the list of Fun things to do inside
Balloons can be just as fun as bubbles! Just make sure you grab up the remains real fast if they pop.

2. Coloring

fun things to do inside involves coloringColoring books, scrap paper, newspaper, phone books, books you don’t care about, note books, walls… okay, I haven’t done walls on purpose. Let your toddler explore their creativity.

I even let my toddler use markers! *gasp* Because seriously, the fact that the color is instantly on the page and all you have to do is touch the tip to the canvas is enough to make anyone want to color. Do you think there is adult coloring because they are using crayons? No. Maybe colored pencils, but even that is a stretch. There is something so satisfying about watching the ink bleed onto the paper, or maybe I am just an office supply geek. We LOVE coloring.

3. Building a Tower

You don’t have to have fancy blocks if you want fun things to do inside. All you have to have, is anything! I have been amazed at the kinds of things my daughter will stack on top of each other and shout, “Tao!” Grab your old books, your shoes, your DVD cases, your old CDs (because you’re probably using your phone to listen to music now) and see how tall you can get it. This will be SO exciting for your toddler!

4. Talking Toys

Maybe your toddlers are like mine and they like to get a couple of toys, could be ANYTHING and give one to you and pretend that they are talking. My toy is almost always the Mama toy. And the conversation goes something like this:

playing with potato heads as a part of fun things to do insideSiena – Hi

Me – Hi

Siena – Mama (points to my toy)

Me – Oh is this the Mama Potato Head?

(she nods)

(The toys kiss)

Siena – Hug?

(The toys hug)

Siena – Hug!

Then the toys might drive off or we will have another conversation much like the one we just had. If you have the patience for this game, it will keep your child entertained for as long as you can endure it.

5. Make a Fun Treat

Siena likes to do anything that I am doing. That includes emptying the dishwasher, taking groceries in and laundry (except she likes to throw the socks and clothes all over the living room instead of fold-we’re working on that one).

So, I have learned that she LOVES to help mix things. I also let her dump in cups of flour or sugar and have her hold the egg while I crack it. She thinks the egg one is especially funny. Then, the best part is you get to eat your yummy treat with your baby. I’ve made Potato Wedges with Siena and she loves dipping them in Ketchup.

6. Build a Fort

This is on my list of fun things to do inside because I haven’t had the chance to do it yet! We don’t have couch cushions that pull out, but I have thought many times that we need to do this. Maybe one morning, when Grayson is sleeping we will get some blankets, kitchen chairs and pillows and make a fort to read some books in. Siena loves to read books and she would probably think I was the coolest mom ever!

7. Playdate

Having friends over does require someone to leave the house, but if you plan it right, that someone doesn’t have to be you. The best part about this one is you get to have a real conversation with a real adult! And then the kids can keep each other entertained. Now, there is the added pressure of having to play referee. But as long as both parents have similar parenting views, there’s nothing to worry about there.

playdate inside for fun things to do inside
These two are the cutest!

8. Dance Party

We live in an age where many of us can open our laptop, turn on our phone or go to the right app on our TV to get some fun music streaming into our living room. We use the TV because that has the best speakers and we get our Pandora on and rock out. Dancing is one of our favorite things.

Sometimes, I will turn on YouTube and try and do a work out dance thing, like Zumba, but usually Siena’s idea of a fun dance party involves me holding her hand while she spins or me holding her while I dance. So, work out dance doesn’t usually happen.

9. Bath time!

Think that baths are a pain? Me too, most of the time. But it is at the top of my toddler’s Fun Things to do Inside List. She loves splashing in the tub and playing with her toys. I just have to stay close to the bathroom to keep an eye on her. But, if you need to get the bathroom clean, what a great opportunity!

10. Snuggle Sesh!

snuggling with siena to have fun things to do inside
Snapchat Snuggles with a movie! Even better!

I don’t care who judges me for this one. It is, hands down, my favorite thing on the Fun Things to do Inside List.

My daughter LOVES to watch shows. She asks to watch television multiple times a day. We do watch TV. And, in my opinion, if you are selective about what your child watches, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. (Rant saved for another post.)

So, if my daughter wants to watch a show and I want nothing more than to snuggle with her, I bribe her. Yep! Show for Snuggles. We get to watch a show, if she will snuggle with me on the couch. She is always happy to oblige and so am I! If

I am exhausted in the morning, Snuggle Sesh! I know she’s not getting into things because I’m hugging her and I get a little nap. It is SERIOUSLY the best thing in the world.

11. Make a Home Movie!

Or you can be a total nerd like me and make a movie with your kids. As soon as I busted out the camera and told Siena to do something, she got super excited! And she LOVES watching it.

It was also a great fun way to save some of the memories of us just hanging out around the house, which is 90% of our lives.

If you need an idea, you can check out mine!

Beauty & the Beast – Mom Parody

Beauty and the Beast cover to get you excited
Here’s a the opening shot to get you excited!

Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody

What do you get when you have a Stay at Home Mom who did musicals in high school, studied film in college and has two adorable children? Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody, or in other words, Mama & the Beasts.

Beauty and the Beast cover to get you excited
Here’s a the opening shot to get you excited!

Nostalgia for Beauty and the Beast

I can’t help it. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite Disney Princess movies. Yep, I was one of those girls. I loved Disney Princesses and always watched the movies. My kids are going to grow up watching the Disney Movies and I apparently still haven’t grown up because I’m still trying to BE a Disney Princess.

But, I think that’s kind of the point. Everyone can be a Disney Princess, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what your situation is. We can always be a Princess.

Future Embarrassment

One day, my kids will probably be mortified that their mom has posted something like this for the public world to view, and will deny that they are related to me. But for now, they both LOVE watching it because they are in it too. I think Siena has watched it over and over because she likes to watch our family more than all of her favorite shows.

trying to work on beauty and the beast when both my kids just want to be held.
Sometimes, they just want to be held and I just need to finish up the project. Good thing they like to watch it too!

So, if nothing else, I’m glad I did it just so we have a way to remember all of these seemingly insignificant moments that only matter to us. I get to capture how sweet they are with each other and the little noises they make. There is no way to capture the vast amount of spit up our son produces, but I think this comes close. And for now, my kids think I’m cool and think it’s funny when I rock out. So, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth right now.

Thanks for watching!

You can also follow the link to Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody.

 

Little Mom Moment that Made Me Want to Laugh & Cry at the Same Time

Just a Moment

My little mom moment happened so fast. They all sneak up on me that way. It seems like the faster being a mom slips by, the more a little mom moment will surprise me. It was one of those times that I couldn’t even really get a picture or video to remember it. I got one, before the magic really happened.

Grocery Shopping

We had to run to the store to go grocery shopping and my son had slept so late that we had run into Siena’s nap time. I decided, well I might as well try and push her nap back a little so they take their afternoon nap at the same time and we are not stuck inside all day once summer hits.

We went shopping and the whole time Siena was sleepy, but she was also in a good mood. She was a trooper.

When we got back in the car, I knew it would be a struggle.

The Car Battle

We got inside and immediately she looked like she was going to crash. I told her STAY AWAKE!! She just looked at me sleepily. If she falls asleep in the car, she will not take a nap when we get home. That’s just the way it is and I have come to accept it.

After commanding her to not give into her drooping eyelids, she would give me this cute, tired smile. I told her to keep her eyes wide and this is the great face I got:

right before my little mom moment
My little zombie trying to stay awake.

Out of desperation, I turned the music up and started singing and dancing the way that only a mom can. Oh yes! I was grooving! My moves could have embarrassed the most confident of teenagers. I’m sure anyone who saw me wondered if I was oblivious to the rest of the world. And the answer to all of them is yes.

Because as soon as my daughter saw me dancing, she started moving her shoulders and grooving with me. I pointed my fingers and she pointed hers too. I did the wave with my arms and she stuck her arms out too. After she heard me singing at the top of my lungs terribly to the song I didn’t know the words to, she started singing too.

My Little Mom Moment

And I just kept watching her and every time I saw her start to dance again, my eyes burned and I wanted to cry because I was so lucky! I got to hang out with my little girl all day long.

I was suddenly filled with gratitude that my husband goes to work every day to support us so that I can have these little moments where I see my daughter trying to be like me. He frequently misses the little moments and he sacrifices the opportunity to be with the kids all the time to provide for us.

I can’t believe how much Siena has been growing up and it is only a matter of time before this phase is gone. One day she’ll roll her eyes at her embarrassing mom. Then maybe she’ll rock out again with me when she realizes that I actually am cool. But she will not be the little girl in the car seat who is discovering how to bust a move while being strapped in to a car seat for that much longer.

I wish I could have gotten a video, or even just a picture. Because the only one who saw her busting a move like her mama, is her mama. And I hope this mama never forgets.

 

I have more Mom Moments that were not as heartwarming, but just as memorable.

5 Mom Moments that Were NOT Funny at the Time