Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's day is next weekend and it's one of my favorite holidays! I love being able to celebrate motherhood with my mom, grandmother and my 2 little girls.  It's a day to cherish the love I have for my kids, the day I gave birth to them, and the generations of moms in my family.

And when it comes to deciding on what to get our moms, I found some cute gift ideas to also show our love:

1) Olive Yew Mother's Day Necklace:  (37$)

2) Olive Yew's Heart Initial Necklace: (50$)
This is one of my favorites I wear with my little girls' initials and a heart between them.  You can choose gold, silver or rose gold.

3). Shop Compliments "Gratitude" necklace: (47$) and available in white, navy, lime, pink, or mint on gold chain or black on silver chain.

4). Handbags! One of my favorites and lately I have been searching like crazy for a new tote that has interior pockets for busy moms that's not a diaper bag.  There are a lot of cute totes out there, and fancy ones like the Louis Vuitton Neverfull, and the Goyard, but there are no pockets! The bucket totes are hard for me because I am constantly digging for my phone, keys and not to mention the mass amount of junk my kids demand I carry.  Sippy cups too.  So I have found a few cute ones that have interior pockets and are super stylish:

Barrington Gifts Savannah Zippered Tote (175$)  This bag has 5 pockets total, 1 exterior, 2 side interior pockets for water bottles, etc and a cell phone pocket, a zippered pocket and a slip pocket. Click on the link above to see all the fun patterns and colors.

Stella and Dot La Totale Large (118$).  Cute pattern and several interior pockets, including a water bottle one! Comes in navy as well.

Botkier Women's Soho Tote (250$).  I've been eyeing this one myself, but wish it had a few more interior pockets. I just love the edginess to it.  It has 2 pockets but still durable and the interior glittery color is cute too!  It comes in several different colors.

5) And for those that want to give the classic gift of perfume, I have always loved Grace by Philosophy Amazing Grace Spray Fragrance, 4-Fluid Ounce . It's a sweet scent and you can wear it daily. (48$)

So there you have it, my top picks. Of course don't get me wrong, a nice spa day is a great gift too, but also just spending time with your mother or your children is the best gift of all!  Mother's day is not always all about the gifts we give, but the time we spend with them that day and to show appreciation and love :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Focus on the Positives

Lately we've been hearing the word, "no" a lot in our house.  It's in the form of "not right now," or "don't slam the door!"  I try to use my play therapy words such as "toys are not for throwing," but sometimes it just doesn't happen.

The "no's" usually occur in the morning, when I am running on zero energy and so are my children as we get ready to leave the house for the day.  As I am rushing around making sure teeth are brushed, and clothes are on, something always happens and it makes us late.  Another trip to the potty, or someone isn't happy with the shirt they are wearing.

Last week it was slamming a door for the 15th time! I snapped and tried a Pavlov dog technique of raising my voice and saying "no!" Kind of like what you are supposed to do to a dog when they are in the middle of having an accident in your house. The sharp "No!" is supposed to trigger the bell reflex and they aren't supposed to do it again.  But on a toddler, uhm, not so much. Pavlov didn't work, it just caused more tantrums. You mean kids aren't like dogs? :)

Lesson learned from mommy. So I pulled myself together and remembered it's best to use words that describe what they are SUPPOSED to do instead.  If your child is slamming doors, instead of saying "don't bang the door!" say, "doors are not for playing with, they are to be pushed gently."  Because when you say "no", all the child hears is the action part such as "slam door!"  She doesn't hear the "don't" part to your discipline.

The best plan is to tell them what you want them to do.  I know I've talked a little much about positive and negative reinforcers, but it's so true.  When we give any attention to negative behaviors, it's still attention and they eat it up!  Especially those second borns or 3rds or 4ths who just don't get as much attention.  They seem to act out way more than the first borns, and when they pull on their sister or push her and start laughing, guess what they are trying to do? Yep, you guessed it, get your attention and their siblings'.

So stay calm (yes I know, easier said than done), and focus on the positive actions.  The louder and more energetic your response, then the more likely they will act out. Completely hard to do when your child is throwing things all over the place and you try to say all quiet, "sweetie pie, toys are not for throwing, if you want to throw something, you can throw this ball."  Just take a deep breath, realize it's not the end of the world if a toy breaks, or a toy breaks a picture frame. It may be super super frustrating, but the more calm and short the response, the less likely they will do it again.  No reaction from you = no attention = less negative behaviors.  Of course a consequence may be needed here, but still stick to your less 'attention rewarding' behaviors.

Also try to find time to give that extra attention with hugs, kisses, story time, and one-on-one play time.  It will help curb some of their acting out!  And if you're looking for a good reference, I stumbled across a book that teaches you how to stay calm and work on communicating better with your young child called What Babies Want.  Any of you have advice on less is best when it comes to positive reinforcement?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!  Today was a fun family celebrated day starting with Easter baskets from the Easter Bunny (Frozen themed of course), Church and then dinner with our family. I love how the day is spent relaxing and enjoying family time!  Stores were closed and there wasn't any rushing around or errands to run.  I wish there were more days like this :)  Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Busy Moms

I wanted to have an awesome Easter post this week of fun crafting ideas, but it's 11:15pm and I haven't even broken out the Paas Easter Decorating kit yet this week. You know, the 1$ cardboard box dye kit? Sigh. I am having a hard time figuring out why I feel more busy now than I did with a newborn or two?

When I first brought home my first baby girl, I was overwhelmed as all moms are. Life went on outside my home but I thought time stopped at mine. If people emailed me I thought, "hello, don't they know I just had a baby?? I won't be able to respond to your emails in like, 3 weeks, maybe even next month!"

Time did kind of stop. Except I didn't realize how nice and easy it was.  My first year with my girl was so sweet!! I loved spending my day with nap times and feedings, Kindermusik classes, neighborhood play dates, park play times and grocery shopping and of course free play. It was a dream for me, as I'd always wanted to be stay at home mom when I grew up. Of course there were sleepless nights (ahem every night until she was 15 months old), and temper tantrums but for the most part it was an amazing year.

Then I got pregnant again, and enrolled her in a Moms Day Out program one day a week. We still had minimal activities and loved all the 'play time' we had. 9 months later I delivered my second baby- my first was 24 months old at the time.  We had a pretty easy transition, and it was summer time, so we relaxed and played at home most of the time.

Not going to lie, going from 1 baby to 2 was hard work the first several months, especially with a colic baby!  Getting out of the house was rough at first. How do I get each child in the car? Let alone the babies. I would see moms with 3 grocery shopping, with 2 in the cart and another in the carrier. Seriously?

But all in all my life wasn't too crazy busy as my toddler was in school now 2 days a week from 9-12pm. We only had 1 activity, ballet classes at 10am in the morning.  I volunteered on my neighborhood PTA board and had meetings once a month. Life was good.  I thought I was busy, but little did I know how easy it was.

Fast forward 2 years later and my head is spinning! Spinning!  And I've heard it only gets worse as they get older.  I've realized that having 2 kids that are now old enough to do things instead of just sitting in the Bumbo makes your life a tad bit busier.

Both girls are in school now.  One goes 5 days a week and the other 2, but now I have to pack 2 lunches. I have 2 holiday parties to attend, 2 classrooms to help with (teacher appreciation, volunteer projects, etc.) and 2 girls to get dressed in the mornings.  EVERY morning.  I am on the school's parent committee, so we meet monthly for meetings and have volunteer responsibilities.  I am also in my area's junior women's league and we have meetings and volunteer responsibilities as well.  Plus I am still involved in my area's early childhood PTA.

And as for activities, both girls take ballet and now both are in swim lessons. This is the first year the toddler is taking swim lessons too. So in a way, it's nice to have the 30 minutes in the waiting area free without having to entertain her while waiting for her sister!  The oldest also does soccer now on Saturdays so we have a 45 minute game once a week starting now until the summer begins.  And even though both are in activities, they are still at a young age to where they need constant help with getting dressed, getting into the car seats, holding hands crossing streets, etc.

Moms with multiple kids and older children, I've heard it gets crazier with activities. Music, sports, academics, homework?  Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to all of the fun times ahead, really I am.  But just have to say I need a little break and can't wait for summer.  With all the rushing around now, I am looking forward to slower days.  All I can say is thank goodness for my Erin Condren calendar and Cozi app.  It keeps me organized for the most part.  Although I do miss stuff now and then.  RSVP what?  Now if only there was an app to help keep my emails organized, I'd be all over it!