Friday, April 27, 2012

Labeled Little Moment

Here's a little tidbit about me: I like to label the little moments.

Like, "This is the last time I'll run my fingers through Cohen's hair before he gets it all chopped off" or "This is the last vacation I'll take where I can be selfish and not worry about what children want to do" or "This is the last dinner when I can order whatever I want without worrying about how the calories will stick to my thighs ... until the next pregnancy." 

This week, I've been labeling like crazy: the last afternoon nap when I'm pretty much guaranteed 2-3 hours of peace, the last weekday I'll probably be able to get dressed before dinner time, the last park visit for the next month.

You see, starting Monday, we'll be getting another little friend during the day. So that means 3 babies under the age of 2. A newborn, an infant, and a toddler. I must be crazy. I'm definitely a little terrified. I'm super excited.

I've tried to take advantage of the freedom I have with just 2 babies this week: a trip to the grocery store, just me and the babies (which, by the way, was a nightmare, and I'm pretty sure the people at Publix clapped when I finally left their store) and a trip to the park (much easier and more pleasant experience thanks to some supermom friends). 

I'm pretty sure my brain is blocking all memories of the grocery trip, so I don't have much more to share about that, but I have some pretty sweet things to share from our park trip. Starting with how excited this boy got when he heard the word park. The moment I uttered the word, he went about collecting shoes and his hat, all while squealing "Park! Park! Outside! Bye bye!" He was in pure park-and-corndog bliss.

Every time we go to the park, he amazes me with how much more he is able to do by himself. 
Climb through tunnels? No sweat.

Slide down giant slides all by himself? Piece of cake.

Climb up and down stairs with no help at all? I got this, Mom.

Gosh, that boy. I love him. And I am so thankful every day (but especially on days like this) that I get to spend his days with him, watching him grow and change. He really is a gift.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This Mother's Day, I'm working with Clever Girls in support of Macy's Heart of Haiti to shine a light on the "trade, not aid" program, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans struggling to rebuild their lives and support their families after the 2010 earthquake.

Motherhood, when you think about it, it pretty absurd. I don't know of any other job out there where someone is just thrown in and given such responsibility without anyone checking for qualifications, or an interview, or even a probationary 6 month trial to see if you're up to par. In terms of preparation, mothers get 9 months of anticipation.

I often wonder how I am so equipped to be a mom (hopefully a good mom) to my son. Before holding him for the first time, I'd had very little experience with newborns, very little patience with toddlers, and very little care for kids. And yet, the moment I met him, my son, I was equipped. Not with knowledge -- most days I feel like I know nothing in regards to parenting. No, I was equipped with the desire, an overpowering conviction to be the absolute best for him.
Being a mother means taking one day at a time, learning and growing right alongside your child. It doesn't mean being perfect, it doesn't mean having it all figured out. It's simply loving your child with all your heart, working minute-by-minute to give him what he needs, and sometimes, even what he wants. It's trusting yourself to do what you know what is right for your family. It's about grace and humility and finding the strength to admit when you're wrong and the courage to ask for forgiveness.
When I think about the "supermoms" in my life, I realize they're in the same boat as I am -- they're just a bit more polished. I think of my own mom, who spent the majority of my childhood as a single mother, working hard to support us, asking for help when she needed it, and never failing to give me what I needed while struggling to find a way to give me what I wanted. When I think back to being a kid, the one thing I can say for certain is I was loved. She made sure of that. Did she do things perfectly? No, of course not. She made mistakes, like all mamas do, but she was a good mother.

I often daydream about who my son will be when he grows older. I wonder what kind of memories he'll have? Will he look back on his childhood and smile? Will he think of me and know, without question, that he was loved and so very wanted? Will he be able to look back and see how his character was stregthened and his faith was developed? Will he be equipped to love others? If he does, well, I think I can count that as a success.
Thank you to Macy's Heart of Haiti for sponsoring my participation in this “Share Your Heart" promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Car Obsession

Y'all, I had some good sleep going for me last night. It was wonderful -- one of those rare deep sleeps.

Until Cohen woke up at 5:30. Calling out for his cars. "Cars! Cars! Tractor! Cars!"

Little dude was ready to play, and it took a good amount of persuasion to get him to lay back down and sleep a little longer. But not much longer -- an definitely not long enough for me to sink back into that beautiful sleep.

Around 7, we headed downstairs, and Cohen made a bee-line straight to his newly updated playroom -- and his new stash of cars. No breakfast, no morning cup of milk -- that boy was focused on his cars. I barely got a diaper change in.

And it's been like this all morning. Cars, cars, cars. He can't get enough of them.

Our trip to the grocery store this morning? We had to use the cart with the car attached to it.

Morning nap? Didn't happen. Unless you call sitting in your crib calling for cars a nap.

Lunch? PB&J with a green car on the side.

I don't know where this obsession came from or how it started. He's had a pretty tame interest in cars for a few months now, but all of a sudden his brain has become consumed.

So, if you were looking to become Cohen's most favorite person in the whole world, the good news is that you can do so pretty easily. Just give him a car.

And for some more fun, here's a little video I took this morning. Get ready to be impressed by his pretty awesome vocabulary :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

All Before His Morning Nap

Life with th little guy gets a little ... busy sometimes. He is on the go from the moment he wakes up until he falls asleep again. And usually he's moving in his sleep as well.

Last Friday was particularly exhausting. Between his busy-ness and the little friend we keep during the day, I spent the entire morning pulled in two different directions. I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining, though -- I wouldn't trade my days with these two sweet boys for anything. I'm just glad only one of them is mobile :)

Cohen started his streak of up-to-no-good by making a bee line straight to the computer during the 2 minutes I had my back turned and my attention diverted. He was in the chair and typing away before I knew it. I guess I had more of a sense of humor that day because I decided to let him do his thing and just watch (and take pictures) and enjoy letting my boy discover.

I love this face -- the classic "Caught ya!" face. Think he knows he's not supposed to be up there?

That boy is obsessed with the computer. And he surprises me with how he seems to already know how to use the keyboard and mouse.

After a few minutes, he started creating a mess, so I put him back on the floor and turned clean up after him. When I turned back around, this is what I saw:

Don't tell that boy he can't do something -- like play in the exersaucer -- because he will find a way to do just that.

It didn't take long for him to grow bored and look for something else to do. Like climb on the couch. It's one of his favorite pasttimes lately.

And when he finished being nosey, he settled down in front of the window and watched the dogs play in the back yard. If he had any energy to spare, he probably would have found a way to get out there to run with the dogs.

Instead, he settled for a cup of milk and a snuggle before climbing up the stairs while asking for night-night. This boy who plays hard sleeps just as hard.

Thank goodness.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shortcut Oatmeal Cookies

Ok, so here's a confession: sometimes I get so coupon happy that I buy products I really have no intention of actually using. Those items I usually get for free or for just pennies, and I just cannot resist putting it in my cart. The worst is bringing my finds home only to endure the knowing look from my husband and sometimes the "When are we ever going to use that?" comment.

It's ok, you can judge me now.
For instance, over the winter, I found a fantastic deal on instant oatmeal. I think I paid maybe .25 for the box full of little packets. I was looking for breakfast foods for Cohen, and I found this oatmeal that contained a ton of protein and fiber and only a gram of sugar, and I just couldn't help myself. The thing is -- I don't like oatmeal, and it looks like the kiddo doesn't, either. And this particular oatmeal was ... well, it's just gross by itself. So it kind of just got shoved into the back of the pantry and forgotten about.
Until this morning.
I had a craving for something sweet and filling and just couldn't find anything to satisfy. And then I found the oatmeal and an idea came to me -- I wonder if I could make healthy cookies out of these?
Turns out, you can.

I am a genius, I tell you. Those pretty things up there are what I'd like to call Cookies You Won't Feel Guilty Feeding to Your Kid or maybe just Shortcut Banana Oatmeal Cookies. Here's how you make 'em:
  • 6 packets of instant oatmeal (I used Quaker Weight Control in cinnamon, but you could probably use any flavor you like). The Weight Control oats have 7 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber and only 1 gram of sugar per packet.
  • 1 single-serve container of Greek yogurt (I used Dannon honey flavor)
  • 1 banana, mashed or diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar (although these cookies are really sweet -- next time I'll probably omit the sugar entirely)
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • a splash of vanilla
  • a splash of milk


1. Dump all the ingredients into a large bowl (hold off on the milk-- you'll use that to moisten your batter)

2. Mix. If you've got a cute toddler around, get him to mix. But don't do this before naptime; otherwise your cute toddler might have multiple meltdowns when you try to "help".

3. The banana was an afterthought for me, so I added it in after the rest of the ingredients were mixed. You'll probably have to use your hands to get everything mixed well. Add a little milk to get everything moist and sticky.

4. Roll into balls and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. NOTE: halfway through the baking process, I realized my cookies weren't flattening, so I took them out of the oven and flattened them into cookie shape.

This recipe will make 24 cookies, but I only baked 6. The rest of the dough balls were frozen for a quick treat later on.

The end result? A chewy, dense, sweet cookie with a faint banana flavor. I love that it's fairly healthy (as far as cookies go). Cohen loves that it's a cookie. We're all happy over here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cohen is 17 Months Old

Dear Cohen,

Yesterday you turned 17 months old. You are inching closer and closer to the BIG 2, and the closer we get to it (and the further away from newborn we get), then more I am OK with it. I still think you are growing up too fast, but you are so much fun!

I read recently that by age 2, most of your personality will have already been established. You will pretty much be who you're going to be by age 2. And you know what? I think that's awesome. You are such an amazing little person: so kind and inquisitive and light-hearted. You go with the flow and love to be around people. You are daring and adventurous. You care about other people's feelings. You are affectionate. You are the full package all wrapped up in a tiny little body.

This month has been really fun. You have become very independent and want to do everything by yourself. You like to explore and will wander away in a heartbeat, which makes for a very nervous and exhausted mama.

You are obsessed with cars. These days, you can always be spotted with a car in your hand. And you already know the difference between the cheap plastic cars and the Matchbox cars. You have a favorite car -- a navy blue Matchbox -- that you rarely offer to anyone. You know the colors of your cars, too, and you like to line them up, organized by color. If I ask you to point to the red, yellow, or blue cars, you can do that. You also hide your cars in the house so no one but you can find them. When I ask you to get your cars, you look at me and think for a moment before running into another room and gathering up your cars.

Your favorite place in the world is the backyard. You love being outside. In fact, if I ask you if you want to go outside, you squeal in excitement and run to get your cars. You love sitting out on the patio and playing with your cars. You are trying so hard to learn how to open the back door, and when you do, I know that I'll never be able to keep you inside again.

You get into everything! We've had to put baby locks on every single cabinet and drawer in the house because you can open and completely empty out a cabinet in a matter of seconds. You spend most of your time climbing on furniture in attempts to get to phones, cups, remotes, and anything else I try to put out of your reach. There is nothing I can keep you from anymore, so we're starting to teach you about dangerous things. You know the stove is hot (or as you say it, "otttt") and you point to it and say "no no no." You know scissors are dangerous and generally back away from them. When you see random pieces of trash on the ground, you pick it up and give it to an adult.

You are also a big talker. You jabber jabber jabber all day long. When playing by yourself, you will jabber out long strings of baby sentences. You definitely know what you're saying, even when the rest of us don't.You are growing quite an extensive vocabulary, too. Your newest words are "milk" and "book". You practice eunciating sounds, too.

You are such a joy. Your sweet, happy jabbering in the morning always makes me start my day with a big smile, and your little wet kisses just before bedtime make me want to go to bed right when you do just so I can start a new day with you. I love you, little boy, more than I ever thought I could love another person. Thank you for being you.

Until next month, I love you to the moon and back, forever and ever,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

Well, this little family enjoyed our Easter this year.

Easter is such a special time for me because of its significance. I love the conversations centered around Jesus and salvation. I love the optimism and the hope. I love how everything is fresh and new and beautiful. And let's be real -- I love the candy.

But I discovered one more incredibly special thing about Easter this year -- sharing it with my son. Yeah, we celebrated Easter last year, but he was still very much a baby blob back then. This year, we really interacted. This year, he was excited about "chuchhhh" and listening to me explain to him what Easter is all about. He even sang along to "He Arose!" with me.

I think the absolute best part of holidays is sharing them with my son.

Cohen's basket this year centered around 3 of Cohen's favorite things: Sesame Street, books, and cars. It may have also contained a few of his parents' favorite things as well: namely, chocolate.

Daddy and I now have a nice little stash of Reese's eggs tucked away in the refrigerator. We're hoping it'll last us until Memorial Day. But truth be told, I'll be shocked if we still have any by the end of the week. Self-control is non-existent when it comes to Reese's.

Cohen zoned in on the cars as soon as he saw the basket. That boy loves his cars. His second favorite item is the beginner Bible which was actually a gift from his grandparents. We spent the entire day playing cars and flipping through the Bible (and reading stories just before bedtime).

And, of course, we ate a lot of chocolate. So much that now my son knows to say "choc-ot" when he wants a bite.

He did some damage to that poor bunny. Although, after he got a mouthful, he was more interested in squeezing the melting chocolate in his fingers and flinging at his daddy. Reason #5063839 why I love that kid.

And for fun, here's a comparison of chocolate-eating pictures from the past two years. Last year, he was 5 months old. This year, he was just shy of 17 months old.