5,648 Days

Last night, while lying awake in bed waaaay too late, I was thinking about how fast it all goes.

How the days are long but the months and years and so so so unbearably short.

In 5,648 days, my son will become a legal adult.

It’s not enough.

Things have been exhausting lately. Tantrums and trying to figure out how to discipline without being mean or negative or too harsh. Wanting him to know he is loved no matter what, while balancing this little thing called My Sanity.

So, in those hard moments, I am trying to remember that our time with them is limited. That my son has already changed so much in the 926 days that I’ve been fortunate enough to have him in my life. He no longer falls asleep on my chest (or can fit on it, for that matter) and he is very independent and I miss having him sleep with me in bed.

But he still likes to hold my hand and fiddle with my fingers, and climb on me, and grabs my face to kiss it, and sometimes even lets me carry him up or down the stairs. Soon he’ll be too heavy for that, or will roll his eyes at the thought, or not want to kiss me (or let me kiss him). He won’t long for my touch the way he does now, the comfort it brings him to reach over and know that I’m still here. He fell asleep in my arms the other night, heavy in my lap but so comforting and warm and sweet. I wanted to hold him all night. It can be hard to let go.

My sweet little Greta puts it all into perspective. It’s going even faster this time around. She’s almost 6 months old already. Just 182 days old… but she already fights those snuggly chest snuggles that Grant kept for well over a year (they are SO different sometimes). It’s almost time to start solids; the first step toward not needing me for sustenance. But she doesn’t like to sleep without me. Sometimes it’s very frustrating. And then I think of Grant, and how he no longer sleeps with my arm draped over him, and how soon she won’t either.

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This time is precious. I know it’s not practical to “enjoy every minute,” like we are told by so many to do. And we shouldn’t feel bad or guilty about those times when we are tired and stressed and all touched out and just need a break. Because this parenting thing isn’t for faint of heart. It is HARD.

But damn… it goes fast. We get 18 years, and even those aren’t a guarantee. It’s an amazing journey that is way too short. More often than not, we need to enjoy the ride.

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DIY Stuffed Animal Storage – A Stuffed Animal Sling

I am not big on stuffed animals. But people tend to buy them for kids (especially babies). And I’ll admit to buying a few. And some of the ones that we have are sentimental items. I limit them to a reasonable amount, as we are doing our best to not have excessive amounts of toys.

Stuffed animals can easily take over. Last month I decided we needed something to wrangle the kids’ stuffed animals, but I wasn’t too impressed with the options out there. Even Pinterest failed me (sad face).

I wanted something like a stuffed animal net (like we had as kids) but I wanted it to look nicer. I was putting my daughter in her ring sling a few weeks ago when the idea hit me. A “sling” would be perfect!

I reached into my own closet for the perfect material: scarves. No, not the winter ones (although I imagine some of those might work as well). I mean the pretty ones that you use to spruce up an outfit. I have a modest collection of them. I like to wear them occasionally to brighten up my rather boring wardrobe (or to hide my now sagging breasts).

The solution is a simple one. Knot each end around a plastic shower curtain ring (found for around $1/pack), and latch those onto hooks mounted onto the wall (I used those 3M/Command types). When putting it together, you want it to create a bit of a pocket for the stuffed animals… much like a baby in a sling. 🙂

My son’s animals:

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My daughter’s animals:

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What’s nice about this solution is that scarves are easy to find, often on clearance (so a few bucks at Target), and you can match them to the decor or color scheme in your child’s room. Or (as in my case) you might already have some in your closet. I found the gauzier, stretchier ones work best as they have a bit more “give” and make an easier pocket for them to go inside of.

An added benefit (in my opinion) is that only a limited number of stuffed animals will fit. If you’re like me and aren’t a huge fan of the little buggers, and/or are trying to be more minimal, this is a much better solution than the nets or other ideas I have seen that allow for a LOT of stuffed animals.

Disclaimer: Be careful about where you put these. These could present a choking or strangulation hazard, so make sure they are out of reach of small children or kids who may handle them in an unsafe way. This is just my own personal idea that is working for our family, so use your best judgment about the material you use and how you go about this! I put the one in our youngest child’s room up high and out of reach just to be safe.

White Flag

Mercy!

Uncle!

I surrender.

Whatever it is, I admit defeat and am happy to shut the door on this week. I am writing this as I listen to my two year old scream upstairs, a sign that my husband is not having an easy time getting him down for his nap.

Oy, what a week. It’s been a week of missed naps, frequent wake-ups, and a whole lot of attitude all around. One where I have had to grit my teeth, keep going, take many (many) deep breaths, and choose to laugh instead of cry.

This, too, shall pass.

I’m trying to focus on the good. The moments that stood out above all else. And there were some, so instead of dwelling on the negative I am opting now to highlight the positive.

I made beautiful fondant flowers in my cake decorating class:

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There have been many sweet sibling moments, like this one:

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And my sweet Greta fell asleep like this last night (and in her brother’s old dinosaur pajamas):

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Also, she’s so close to rolling over. She almost did it last night (while I was in the kitchen… ran out just in time to see her almost get there, only to flop back over) and then she rolled over as we snuggled in bed, but I don’t think that quite counted. But soon. Much later than Grant did, but that’s okay, too.

Fingers are crossed that a certain little boy falls asleep soon (he’s overly tired from lack of sleep last night) and that the rest of this weekend is a good one. Otherwise, coffee and wine. Coffee. And. Wine.

Goals for 2013

Like countless others, I made a list of “resolutions” for the new year. I like to think of them as goals for the year… areas in my life that I want to improve on, or things I would like to try.

One of them was to start this blog. I had a different blog, but it never really felt like it was my own. I don’t quite know how to explain that, and I don’t quite know why I feel that way. I changed the name several times, and I wrote sporadically (and usually not at all). It was a half-hearted attempt to blog, yet then I would become discouraged because no one was reading it. This time, I want to write consistently. I want to try harder.

I am so excited about this year. I always love that time right before the new year begins. I am getting over the sadness that Christmas is over, and I reflect on myself and my life and my relationships. I feel full of hope. There is so much potential. It feels like a clean slate.

I’m not sure why I’m so excited for this year. We don’t have anything “major” to look forward to. But I’m very happy with this place in my life… so I’m just excited for the day to day adventures with my family. I’m excited to just BE.

Goals for 2013:

  • Blog. Start this blog and stick to it. Write. Take photos. Participate in other blog challenges. Even if no one is reading.
  • Write more. In addition to the blog, I want to write more. Fiction. Nonfiction. Poetry. I want to work on my novel. I want to submit poetry to journals, even if they are quickly rejected. This is a part of myself that has really been lacking since I started having children, and it’s a part of myself that I really really miss.
  • Purge 2,013 items in 2013… and continue simplifying and organizing our home and our life. In 2012, I joined a challenge to purge 2,012 items that year. I surpassed that goal, and ended up purging nearly 3,000 items. After our daughter was born, things began to creep back in, and I had less time (and energy) to focus on our home. I have been working on our house again, and I want to work hard this year on decluttering and living more simply, as well as getting back into a household routine that is easy to maintain and allows for more free time.
  • Finish my cake decorating courses. My mom and I began taking the Wilton classes through our local Michaels; we completed the first two and there are two more to go.
  • Be a more patient, fun, and loving mother. Overall, I actually think I do a good job in this area. But there is always room for improvement, and I know new challenges will continue to present themselves. I am still adjusting to having two children, and those children will continue to grow and change and have new needs. Toddlerhood is a whole new ballgame. This summer I will have a one year old and a three year old. Patience will be my virtue.
  • Put my marriage higher up on my priority list, and value my husband more. 2012 brought us many challenges, and the first half of the year was (to be quite honest) pretty depressing. Summer was good to us, and we welcomed our daughter into our family. Things have steadily improved since then, and the past few months have been the most solid in our marriage. We are in a good place, and I want to get to an even better place.
  • Read more. I have read a pathetic amount since having children. I read plenty of things online, but I need to get back to novels and other creative works that inspire me. Yesterday I charged my Kindle, downloaded a new book, and I also brought a few books out from my bookshelf that I want to get started on. My immediate goal will be two novels in January.
  • Get our photos under control, and our kids’ scrapbooks completed. This year I want to create photo albums beginning from when my son was first born… but I still haven’t really printed off pictures since then… from 2010! Yes, I’ve printed some off, but I need to sort, delete, organize, and otherwise just ATTACK all the photos taken over the past two and a half years. And I need to put them all on a drive in order to protect their digital copies, as well as to save space on my iPhone and memory cards. Instead of making actual scrapbooks for their first years, I am going to order photobooks from Shutterfly intead. Then I plan on printing off lots of pictures and putting them in actual albums, with as many captions as possible. I also want to finish my son’s babyhood shadowbox. This will all be a large undertaking, so I need to set small monthly goals to accomplish it. But it’s been looming over me for a long time, and causing me too much guilt and anxiety for it to continue on for another year. It’s important to me, so it needs to become a priority.
  • Finish my frickin’ dining room walls. In May of 2011, I decided to start a stencil on my dining room walls. It was looking beautiful, but it was very tedious. Because, of course, I chose a project that involved hand-stenciling a smallish thing, instead of buying one of those large stencils that you can just roll paint over. I haven’t even completed an entire wall, and it’s really, really, really starting to bug me to look at it. My husband agrees, so we’ve decided it’s time to finish it. Which means he gets more quality time with the kids, while I work on it. I don’t actually mind doing it, it was just hard to do with an infant in the house, who quickly grew into a toddler, and then I became pregnant… yadda yadda yadda. It’s time to get it done, or just paint the whole damn room a different color. 😉

Here’s to a happy, productive, fulfilling year.