Wow, I’ve seriously been trying to write this post for over a month now and can never seem to finish! Ha! #momlife. I’ve had some friends ask about how the 3-day method went, so I didn’t want to give up on sharing my thoughts.
Before actually getting started, you really must read the entire method created by Lora Jenson. There are so many things I heard about potty training and was doing *mostly* right. Rowan was even interested in it and used the potty at 18 months old! Had I not known this FULL method though, I don’t know if I could’ve sealed the deal for him to be fully trained before he turned 2 1/2… maybe not even by three! He's a strong-willed one.
Here are the 5 things that surprised me the most…
I've been wanting to write this post for a long time. Since this blog serves as a journal for our kids, I thought it would be interesting to share the results of my ancestry testing that my dad got us for Christmas. Has anyone reading this done one of these tests? I'd love to hear your thoughts as well... especially if you did a different kind.
We did the ancestry.com spit-in-a-tube test and mailed it off. I've been into working on my family tree for a whole decade now, and it has been very interesting to me. I've found criminals and queens and that my paternal grandmother is first cousins 8-times-removed with Elvis.
I found the exact town in Ireland where my maternal grandmother's family lived before immigrating. When I took her there, I was able to say, "Well this is it! We are driving through the town!" It was basically just a farming area with not much to see... but it was special to us.
"Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. 'Be still,' they say, 'watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.'"
So to my results...
In 2016 I had a resolution of working harder to lift up others instead of being in my own emotions all of the time. On a day to day basis, we are all just trying to survive adult-life/mom-life that we hardly have time to make grand gestures for our friends beyond big milestones like baby showers or birthdays.
The Leslie-Knope-created "Galentine's Day" holiday is a perfect excuse or reminder to lift up your gal pals. Let's be real... most women being really emotional puts a big hurdle for female friendships. We keep tabs of things like "well they haven't initiated hanging out with me, and I've asked 2 times. Fine I guess they never want to hang out with me."
Well that's not how Leslie Knope thinks, my friends! She will bombard you with friendship and make a binder about all your favorite things. She doesn't take things personally and skulk back into a surface level friendship. It's definitely a lesson in being more intentional and thoughtful with your friends.
Bertha from Chic in Academia ran with this idea and hosted a fun "mom's night in" Galentine party at her house this month, and it turned out so sweet! I was able to do some calligraphy origami place cards for the dinner table, and they turned out exactly like I pictured in my head! whew!
Before I begin this story... I'd like to say that I am not a "ranty" type of person. I hop on soap boxes very minimally and briefly, and I like to keep it that way. I also like to keep it within real life conversations and not in long, annoying facebook statuses. With that said, I just needed to get a parenting dilemma off of my chest.
So you know that baby or toddler who's been so loud in a restaurant, on a plane, or at a coffee shop... the one who caused you to think to yourself "MAN! Why did that mom bring that kid in here? Or why don't they leave or give some discipline?!" Well, today my kid was the one crowing like a rooster in the middle of a quiet, trendy coffee shop, and it just came out of nowhere! His little 1 year old cousin who he hasn't seen in a while was there, and he literally COULD NOT help but show off with all of his (to him) hilarious jokes and animal noises. Also he was super excited about going to the zoo, and was not having much patience as we let the rain pass.
This is where you guys come into play...
We are big fans of snow days over here! They usually only come once or twice a year, so we don't usually have time to get sick of them. Our city also doesn't have enough salt trucks or plows to handle all of the icy roads, so we get to completely shut down for a day or two.
It's even better when no ice has weighed down power lines, and we are still cozy with all the comforts of home (internet, heat and all) like today.
Rowan wanted to sled like the big kids for the first time, so we had to improvise with a plastic storage box. It was a pretty good solution thanks to Zack's ingenuity, and he didn't topple out even once! I'm also proud of myself that I didn't take any pregnant-falls on the ice, even though everything is pretty much like ice skating.
I don't really have anything monumental to share other than our funny storage box idea.. hahaha! But I just wanted to remember this day, because it's been really fun. I also have a recent obsession with Enneagram tri-types and instincts this week, and I just really want ALL my friends to take Enneagram tests so I can know what everyone's dominant type (and wing) is. In between building snowmen, taking naps and playing board games, you should get on that right now and tell me what you are. If you don't, then I'll feel like a big piece of my friendships are missing -- like the type 4 wing 3 that I am. Ha!
Reading my 2015 recap post almost seems like reading another person's life. I'm not really sure how to pinpoint why I'm in such a different place, because honestly this year has been a bit of a blur with not a lot of reflection time.
I do know I've been overall a lot more optimistic (or at least aware of my pessimistic, dramatic responses to things), and I definitely feel like an intense, sassy mama bear more than a broken shell of myself. To the first-time mom of an infant, this might not be your most favorite year, and that's okay. More amazing memories are coming. I've come to realize the tiny baby years are not my favorite. It doesn't mean I don't think they should be savored for what they are. I'm just personally really glad God makes that part go by fast. haha!
The toddler phase is so fun, exciting, and entertaining -- even with all of the daily tantrums and mama vs. toddler stand-offs. Watching him run and jump and explore new places makes traveling even more magical and totally balances out any scenes he may cause along the way. Even with his lack of words he's a great communicator, and I love talking to him!
In honor of a fun weekend enjoying the premiere of another J.K. Rowling story, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I thought I'd share more about our little experience in the wizarding world. Over in Scotland, the Jacobite Steam Train known to many as the "Hogwarts Express" is packing up its coal for the winter. However, if you are planning a Scotland trip for this upcoming summer, tickets for the 2017 season go on sale today, November 18th!
The train will run from May 1st to October 27th next year (with the exception of special Christmas rides) and all of those months are prime for visiting Scotland. We especially loved our September visit (as opposed to our last trip in March), because everything was so colorful with loads of purple heather and red rowan tree berries in bloom.
So here are my top tips for including this excursion into your Scotland itinerary.
So I just read a NY Times article about how much unhappier American parents are compared to parents in other countries... pretty sad, right? Oh, "Land of the Free", why do you have to be so restricting sometimes? August is National Breastfeeding Month, and I've been thinking a lot about the vast differences between all the mothers in the world and in our country. What we do have in common is the lack of paid maternity leave, restrictive hospital practices during birth, and the idea that all women must be and do all things.
But isn't it insane that a common life experience sometimes couldn't be ANY more different if you compared two different kids or parents?
...those couples that struggle to get pregnant vs. those who have a surprise pregnancy, stressful breastfeeding journeys vs. those who find it easy, families with relational conflicts vs. those with financial troubles... It's a wonder anyone can relate to each other in adulthood with how differentiated our lives can become.
Remember how clueless you were before experiencing college, or marriage, or your own pregnancy? Well guess what? Your experience in those topics have only gained you knowledge about your own life and a GENERAL knowledge to relate to others in similar life stages. But the fact of the matter is that we are still mostly clueless to each other's lives, and we have no idea what it's like to be married to their spouse, have their job, or parent their children... and etc. and etc. and etc... AAAAAND soap box over! Isn't it mind-blowing though? Well, it is to me anyway.
And it truly explains why so many mothers have a hard time understanding their friends... and how you feel so much loneliness and isolation when your experience isn't matching up with others in a group. It's all common sense that everyone's life is different, but for some reason in parenthood we feel like we are all in this thing now, and we are all supposed to "get" each other. Again, maybe it's just me.
This month marks 22 months of my "extended" breastfeeding journey, and let me just say that I don't have a whole lot of people in that club with me. haha!
I'm sure that nearly every mother -- no matter what their journey of feeding their baby may be -- feels shame in one form or another. So I thought I'd share some of my moments of shame heaped on (unintentionally and intentionally) by others and our American society. Maybe they will help someone...
In just 3 short months, little Rowan is going to be TWO. How did this happen so fast? Seriously. One interesting thing going on with him at this age is how his receptive language is surging, yet he hardly produces real words. So this got me thinking and wondering how many other young toddlers out there are this same way (or if the norm is to just be jabbering already)... Or is it just half and half?
I couldn't find any hard statistics on how many toddlers are slower to produce expressive language, but I do know that it is more common in boys. I also read that 70-80% of late talkers will outgrow a language delay (if they have no delays in comprehension). But then this kind of sent me down a rabbit trail as I wondered, how do you know if you might be in that other 20-30%?
Happy 4th of July, friends! I am so seriously tired today, but I'm trying to get some sort of patriotic excitement going. (slowly waves a tiny flag while sipping coffee)
So, I had two cool things happen this week: FIRST, My cousin-friend Kelly started a bucket list blog before her 33rd birthday called Thirty Three Things. It reminded me of my 2016 goals for the year, and I realized I'd be slacking on my resolution to lift others up. In fact, I feel like I've actually had more days of just trying to keep myself afloat than being there for others... but I guess that's young mom-life for ya. SECOND, My awesome buddy Sarah left a secret, out-of-the-blue package on my doorstep filled with an encouragement letter and the gifts pictured above. I haven't read them yet, but you know that sea salt chocolate is already opened. Has anyone else read either of those books?
So all of this made me think of a challenge for this holiday...