Around Here….

The months are flying by…the years too for that matter. I know, I know. That’s what everyone says. But my little man will turn 5 (!!) at the end of this month and baby GiGi will be here on June 3rd (unless she has other plans to come early). Some days I need it all to just slooooow down. And those other days (you know the ones) bedtime can’t come soon enough-mostly those days are few and far between and I am left wondering where the day went.

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Easter was fun, the highlight was that the Easter Bunny brought Ben a new big boy bike. His other little bike his knees where hitting the handle bars. The really cool thing is that we taught him to ride on a coaster bike he got when he was 2 (for Easter) so he learned to balance and has never used training wheels! It’s quite fun to watch him ride, and watch other peoples reactions to this little boy on a big boy bike. He rode to school today! Fun fact: we have driven him maybe once this year due to pouring down rain but everyday-even -20 in blizzards we sledded, rode on Daddy’s “shouldies”, wagon rode or now biked. That is the beauty of living in town and close to school. And having a hearty Michigan kiddo.

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I have been able to take some time to read at night. One of the books I am really enjoying is called One Year Off. This book is a great inspiration, as our family will be doing this same thing in the next couple of years. It is about a family who had a great life, huge house-private schools, great jobs and lots of kids…and just wanted more out of life…so, they sold it all packed up and traveled the world for a year+ with the whole family-ages 2-16. (Also, if you think you might like that book I am also listening to the podcasts on the Family Adventure website while I work out (which has gone from running on the treadmill to now riding the sit down bike 🙂 )man some of those interviews really get me going-like let’s go NOW! and of course I am watching the sv Delos youtube videos is always a great motivator and some nice eye candy). If you’re dreaming of a family adventure check these out too. The other book I am reading is Amy Poehler’s-Yes Please. So far it is pretty great. Both books seem to really grab my attention and each time I pick them up a huge chunk of pages get gobbled up. I am one of those multiple book readers at a time-some days I just feel like reading one thing or the other…are you like that? or do you pick one book and read it until you’re all done waiting to start another? If you do, you probably watch TV shows until the end-I flip all around 🙂 not that I actually flip channels anymore #streamingtv

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I am looking forward to spending the summer with my babies-my maternity leave has been scheduled for mid May to early September!  (look how prego I am in the photo above, this was taken two weeks ago at a children’s event, just a few more weeks to go!)… The baby nursery is getting there…the lighting and artwork will go up this weekend. We did an art trade with a local photographer (actually she is a Dr, but she could be famous for her photographs-she has a  brilliant eye!) and both Ryan and my mom are busy making paintings for her room-I asked Mimi to make 3 small paintings: a cupcake, an ice cream cone and a piece of cake/pie and her Daddy will be doing his artwork to a few stars that will grace her pink glitter wall 🙂 This is the light I bought, I hope it looks as good as I think it will and the paper star lantern should be fun and good low light for the nighttime wake ups ( I got Ben this one for his room). The stroller situation is driving me mad. Our Bob stroller was our favorite and low and behold they got bought out and everything about our 5 year old stroller is now obsolete. Finding a car a seat and attachment bar is proving to be a time suck and I have put the Bob on craigslist in hopes that it will sell fast so I can buy this beauty-a new Bumbleride jogger (isn’t she SO pretty!). It has a universal car seat adapter which will be such a helpful thing and it’s way prettier than the Bob could ever be. I think Bobs are now like the Bumbleride’s ugly cousin.Ha. I mean, it’s a beauty you should buy it 😉 And I finally ordered my Ergo-I sold my other one, back when I was “sure I was never having another Kid” (then I woke up and saw my baby going to kindergarten and was all like #givemeallthebabies).

And that ends my random post…just a drop of some of what’s going on in my world. Any other baby gear that’s new and you love I would be happy to know about-feel free to leave a comment. It seems like just in the last 5 years the gear has gotten way cooler 🙂 Also, any tips on mixed feeding and positive cesarean stories are appreciate (my first was an emergency after laboring for days-this one is scheduled and I hear it’s way different-#butinmyminditsnot)…

Have a great one!

xx

Stephanie

Around Here….

Saying Yes when I wanted to say No

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Benjamin attends preschool twice a week, just two half days. He loves it so much and Ryan and I do too. It is the perfect amount of time to have sans child to get stuff done, so Tuesday and Thursday mornings are busy to say the least. I work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Ryan runs our studio business (everyday)- but he makes good use of that time in the morning on Tues and Thurs to make lots of follow up calls to our retailers and I use that time to work uninterrupted. Sometimes we might go to a doctors apt for the baby or get to sneak into the gym together (rare) or one of us may have a work meeting to attend or a call pre set. We often use this time to talk studio business, make calls and work-all simultaneously…Tuesday and Thursday mornings are for gettin s*it done around here! We are busy and so is Ben- it works great.

The other day Ben asked me-just me-if I could come to his show and share this week.  While I was flattered (he got some major mom points)  to be honest, I was mostly like really little dude-really? I mean I know your toys, I bought you your toys…I am super busy (It was one of those days that I had a meeting to attend in the morning). But instead of saying anything other than showing him a big smile and acting thrilled that he asked me I said, let me email your teacher and ask what time your show and share is. My meeting was at 11. She wrote back welcoming me and said show and share was at 10:45…um, that’s cutting it close. Rather than telling him no, I was to busy (which may have crossed my mind again)  I said sure, I would love to. And I am so glad I did.

When I got there this morning I wondered how he would act -would he be excited? would he be indifferent and act like he didn’t know why I was there? would it be worth my running around and taking time out of my busy day?! You guys, his reaction when he saw me walk in the room (as he sat there at those cute little tables, with his cute little buddies) was nothing short of my favorite thing ever (it was close to his reaction on Christmas morning when he saw the tree, hey I said it was close 😉 ). I felt so loved. I could tell he felt so loved. In that moment I was SO happy I said yes. I think the time I was there totaled maybe 22 minutes but to him it was the world. He thanked me all day long and was thrilled when I mentioned at bedtime tonight that perhaps I could volunteer to help out again before this year is over.

He made my whole day and I made his in just those 22 min I spent with him. The moral of my Imsobusy story is that we all know that time fly’s at warp speed and we are all so busy, but sometimes all you need to do is say yes to just a few minutes-even to something that seems like it might not be that important, something you might even rather say no to… and it will provide memories that will last a lifetime. I am SO glad I said yes to my little man when it would have been so much easier to say no.

*If you’re wondering what he chose for show and share…wait for it…a Shamrock Green Beanie Baby! What the heck is all I could think. Along with thanks (to my) Mom for giving him like three Beanie babies this weekend. Ugh. I asked him if he really wanted to take that, when he has so many other really cool toys! (That are not Beanie babies!). He hugged it close and said “yes mom I really want to take Mr. Bear”. Okay then. He also took a post office box and drew  Mr. Bear a habitat-a cave, with a tree- and took that along with Mr. Bear. The kids loved it. HA! Beanie babies-remember those. oh man. And Mom, if you’re reading this NO MORE BEANIE BABIES from the early 90’s – you keep em at your house okay?! 🙂

Saying Yes when I wanted to say No

Crafts with my Love Bug

IMG_4296Happy almost Valentines Day! I may have had my front door heart wreath up for the last 6 weeks but I sure am behind in showing you some crafts Ben and I have done to decorate inside for Valentines!

We were bit by a little love bug in our house this week, Ben’s pretty sure that he got sick from “the stapler at school, they probably don’t wash it” Ha-he loves that stapler (and tape and popsicle sticks in his preschool art area). The good news is that on the day of his Valentines Day party-yesterday- (he only goes Tuesday/Thursdays) he was not going to school because he was way to sick…it ended up being a SNOW DAY…actually it was more like a WIND CHILL/Schools Closed Day (yes, we live in a place where it is to cold to go to school some days)-so his party is on for next week and he can be there! My mom heart was so happy he didn’t have to miss out!

We are on the mend over here today so I finally have some time to show you how to make the cutest little crafts-these are virtually free (my fav kind of craft) and I’m willing to bet you can find most if not all of these things in your kids art area and the good news is with a little tweaking you can make these into Easter Pom Poms and garland (think different color yarn and make egg shapes out of the pipe cleaners!)

Today I will show you how to make a crochet pom pom chain and a pipe cleaner heart garland.

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First up the Crochet Pom Pom Garland:

Grab your materials…

For Both Projects You will need:

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Yarn, a crochet hook (Any size), Pipe cleaners, Bakers Twine or colored yarn to string pom poms on, Washi Tape.

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First step: Chain about a 2-3 foot chain.

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Then go ahead and pick up every tenth or so chain until you reach back to the beginning. It should look like this * hint, the longer you make your chain the “fluffier” your pom pom will be:

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Then take the loose end of your yarn and hook it on the end of your crochet hook and start looping off each one you just looped on, all at one time, just keep sliding them off over the end hooked piece of yarn (confused? sorry-give it a try and you can do it)-do this until they are all off your crochet hook. It should begin to look like this:

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Once you have the whole chain looped over the yarn and off the hook-you’re done! Tie the loose ends together and voila! You have one pom pom. Now repeat until you have as many as you’d like to place on your garland. I used red and white yarn for Valentines Day. Ben told me it looked like Christmas…so maybe I should have gone for Purple or Pink in there…

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Since I made this extra one to show you how to do this I made it into a Hair Tie Pom Pom for Benjis little Lady Friend (I think I will tie on a pink and a white one too to add volume)

Here’s how I made the Hair Tie Pom Pom (SO CUTE and SO EASY):

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And here is a really quick one: Pipe Cleaner Heart Garland!

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Start by taking your pipe cleaner and bending it in half to create a V. Next step is to bend in the edges to meet in the middle and cross them over each other.

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Now, twist the ends together. This will create your hearts.

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Next step is to make the arrow. Same process, bend in the middle to create a V. Then bend in the sides on either side of the v-about an inch away from the pointy part of the V. This will form your arrow end. Then twist the pipe cleaner around itself and open it on the ends. Done.

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Now, take your hearts and your arrows and wrap the arrow through the heart.

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Next step is to take your bakers twine (or whatever you have on hand as string) and tie it around each heart. In the middle of the hearts you can fold over your washi tape and make mini flags.

IMG_4339You can make this garland as long as you’d like…

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We hope you have a Happy Valentines Day! We have one of my best friends birthday party on tap for tonight and this weekend is a really fun winter weekend downtown! There is an outdoor ferris wheel, 18 holes of frozen mini golf, a tube run and much more-along with many famous comedians (It’s called Comedy Arts Festival). We should end up downtown at some point but the weather man is calling for major negative 0 temps with windchill so you never know. I do know we have a special family date planned to create a terrarium at this great new plant shop and we are making my favorite dinner-perch with coleslaw and oven fries! mmm.

Happy Crafting!

xoxo

Stephanie

 

Crafts with my Love Bug

Motherhood-take 2.

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You know how you never notice things until they are on your mind….like I never (ever) noticed mothers, strollers or babies back in the days before having my own child…or should I say, before I got bit by the baby bug…unless their kids were screaming or they were screaming at them (and that was just solidifying why I didn’t ever want kids-ha). They were all just fuzz in the background of my life. But once that magic day happened and I found myself actually wanting to have a baby, it was like everywhere I looked there was a stroller with a cute baby, a woman with a baby bump, a family to stare at…

But what I never ever thought of when I was looking at them from the “outside” -the pre kid side-was that other parents mothers were also looking at them-with eyes clouded with judgment and opinion and ugly thoughts about right from wrong. I know this sounds so naive but I never ever realized that other mothers judge other mothers. That they were judging me. As a matter of fact, I was blissfully unaware of this until my first child was probably 4 or 5 months old…that’s probably when my sleep deprived brain finally woke up, or maybe that’s when I started to finally get my act together and meet up with and speak to other mothers at the park, play dates and so on. Opinions ran wild and free. So. Many. Opinions. Snarky, judgemental and so many my way is the right way opinions shared freely, mostly by strangers, without my even asking. It was so obvious what was actually being said as I pushed my baby back and forth in his stroller that they had just complimented the color of,  was that I had made the right choice in strollers, because that’s the same stroller they had too. What I didn’t really tell them is that this stroller was my third attempt at buying a stroller that didn’t wobble like it had a flat tire- and that I really didn’t want to shell out a third of what my first car cost to get the stroller they deemed to be the right choice. That the bottle I was feeding my son-even though it read Medela on the side, was actually not filled with breast milk – but, omg -formula. And that while I did take Hypnobirthing classes and give a whirl at labor without medication-that I actually had 4 epidurals over the course of my horrendously long labor and ended up with an (omg) emergency c section (where I was completely intubated and that my husband wasn’t even allowed in the delivery room for). Because oh, the judgement. The snarky “I couldn’t imagine, I labored at home in a tub of rose petals and it was a blissful experience, I’d do it ten more times”. The opinions.

Well this time around the rodeo, I am no clown. I’ll make no mistakes of falling into these traps. At least I intend not to. I know I am being judged. I know that while I silently may be looking at that new mom with the same stroller I returned (twice) and thinking…if she only knew how much better this one is. I know instead not to offer up my stroller opinion but to share a smile and tell her how great she looks and that she has an adorable baby and keep my opinion to myself. I know not to take everything so personally . Even though it is all so very personal. I am looking forward to being less anxious (is that my anxiety meds working   talking or experience, I’m not sure) but one thing I am sure of is myself.

Cheers to sweet baby GG, she’ll be here in just a few short 16ish more weeks and have one confident mama by her side.

xx

Stephanie

Motherhood-take 2.

SO BIG. Yet so very little.

IMG_4162 (This is a picture of Ben just after he helped his dad put skis on a wagon we salvaged)

It’s weird how you can look at your child and feel like they are SO grown up. So tall, so talkative, so smart, such a BIG kid. Then the next moment, after he has gone to bed, I look at a picture taken that same day (the above picture is the exact picture that made me think of all of this-so little!) and I just see this small little boy, so tiny, still really just a baby. So much life left ahead of him.Yet when I am with him and not looking at pictures, it seems reality can be, well…deceiving to my mothering eye (?). I wonder how I can see the same kiddo in two different ways, is the picture of him how he really is (so small) or is the kiddo standing next to me-more than half as tall as I am, who is asking me amazing questions (such a big kid!)- the “real” kid. This parenting thing can really play tricks on your mind (and your heart).

It is so true, that quote The Days Go Slowly but the Years Pass Fast…I was sent an email about a meeting next month for KINDERGARTEN. I knew it was coming, its been heavily weighing on my mind. Weighing because I just can’t imagine having him gone, for-gulp-all day. Kindergarten is 7 hours of school PER DAY. 5 Days a week. If I add it up-that’s like a full work week for a kid. We don’t need him to be gone that long, we don’t need daycare. I am having very mixed emotions about it. If you want to know the truth the worst of my worries are: I will miss him and my heart will break (true story), That he will be SO tired at the end of the whole day away that all we will have energy and time for is dinner and bath then bed-5 days a week, and last but definetly most heavy on my mind is- are you ready? Those other little kids and their *hitty behavior. Yes you read that right. My assumption is the behavior stems mostly from their  parents who don’t have time to spend with them or care to teach them wrong from right behavior or bother to help correct them. I know this is not the majority of the kids, but those are the ones that are most concerning to me-I know that Ben is ready for Kindergarten, that he will flourish and learn and be a joy to teach. It’s those other kids I worry will give him bad ideas, bad manners, and take attention with their bad behavior away from the time that my child could be learning something valuable….Currently he is in a small preschool -there are only 8 other children besides him and I have already been first hand witness to at least two of the 8 needing shall we say, extra attention due to (what I chalk it up to) poor parenting at home and they too are heading to kindergarten next year.

This path we walk with our kids is actually quite short. I don’t want a map per say, I want to explore. I want him to explore. I want both he and I to keep our eyes open for the beauty in each day that is new, to learn from others and from being-gulp-apart…but what I don’t want is to have him gone all day, all week-just to be counted as number by a system that is very broken from what I can tell. I am a product of public school (and I turned out pretty okay 🙂 ) and he will be attending one of the top schools in our district, but it seems like times have changed SO much since I was a kid. For one, we only had half day Kindergarten-that’s more my speed for next year…but there is only one option in the public schools and that is full day. Time will tell what we will do, I think we will end up trying it out and sending him to full day Kindergarten this coming fall but other options have crossed my mind…If we do end up going on a family adventure in 2016 we will end up homeschooling him in some nature so sometimes I think why not start next year…but then I remember we will have a brand new little one, a business to run, a life to live… This is just the first of huge letting go moments. man this is hard. But for now, I will try and keep my focus on this little man who is really just a little boy and love each and everyday I get to snuggle him close and watch him grow.

xx

Stephanie

SO BIG. Yet so very little.

It’s not a kitten…

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A few weeks ago I asked Ben what he thought we were having, he said “I hope it’s a sister…or a kitten” that cracked me up. I am happy to report it is NOT a kitten 🙂

This time I decided that I wanted to be surprised a little-not like wait the whole pregnancy surprised (my type A personality couldn’t handle that!) but not know from the ultrasound stranger tech…I asked her to please write it down in a special card I brought with me-which happened to be one of our wedding invites that I kept (yay Paperworks for their beautiful paper!). She of course agreed 🙂 Ryan and I wanted to give this baby something special on our “special beach”-Empire Beach in Empire MI. This is special to us because this is the beach where we got engaged 11+ years ago, this is also the beach that I told Ryan I was pregnant with Ben (when we were wave jumping in August 2009-he nearly drowned when I told him!) so we thought it would be nice for this little one to have a special story about this beach of their own.

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So we bundled up and drove out to the beach, it was a warm 22 degrees (um it was freezing) and opened up the surprise standing out on the frozen shore. What a wonderful way to find out! It was like opening a present that I had no idea what it was-and I am a HUGE snoop! So surprising me is super hard 🙂

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A mothers intuition, I knew it all along-it’s a GIRL! We are thrilled to welcome our little lady in June. June 5th is her due date but we can go in to have her up to a week before (unless she decides to come earlier), I am thinking June 2nd sounds like a good birthday!

With both Ben and this new little lady I had dreams early on in my pregnancy that were very vivid. Ben was clearly a blonde little boy,and he looks just like he did in my dream. And with this one, I had another dream-it was clearly a little girl. All along I have felt so different than when I was pregnant with Ben, so that dream combined with a dream like pregnancy (so far) made me think it was totally a girl. I have actually felt good -good to the point that some days it’s  like, wait a minute maybe feeling good it not a good sign…I am happy to report that everything looked great on the ultrasound!

Benji was so excited when we told him he was getting a sister-look at this face!!

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It is so precious that he is so pumped. He’s already picking out the Legos she “needs” for her room. I guess if they would have made these Lego friends Legos when I was little I would have been way more into Legos…

These last couple of weeks I have had some mixed emotions about finding out. I just couldn’t imagine if it were a boy that he could ever live up to how cool and amazing our Benji is! And either way, boy or girl I just started to worry that I have had my little man in my life-just him-for the last 4.75 years and I have given him my full attention and still the years have gone by SO FAST. What will happen when there is another little one to watch grow?! Will I miss anything with Ben?! The mere thought of that brings tears to my eyes. I know it is cliche, but how could I possibly love someone as much as I love him? of course I can, of course your love grows-but does it really? Or is that just like saying to your kids “I love you both the same” I am sure you have to love one more than the other….right? No? Yes? Different ones at different times…Hummmm…..

still these thoughts consume me if I let them…but I won’t, I am off to troll the etsy stores for some cute wall art for her room and I already have her paint colors picked out-yes there will be a pink wall with glitter (have you seen this amazing glitter add in!! so cool) and I have big plans to kick Ryan out of his office to make it the nursery-he now has plans to finish off the basement…So if you need him, he will be busy painting walls glittery pink (one wall people not all of them, that would be overkill) and dry walling the basement 🙂 He also joked that she will need to have her own sticker made to cover all the “girly”expenses-I said a sweet looking high heel would sell so get to it! and I have to report, I am already feeling my heart grow so maybe what they say is right on.

As for a name, I might share that before the birth…but for now I will just say that once we knew it was a girl all the questions surrounding a name just vanished and we were like-yes, that’s it. It’s perfect. And we already have her nick name picked out-it’s GG (like Gigi) if that gives you a hint at the first name-it obviously starts with G. So cheers to sweet lady baby G! We are so looking forward to meeting you (and shopping for you!).

xx

Stephanie

PS-for the record, check out this ice formation at Empire beach-we swim in this water in just a few short weeks! BURRR!

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It’s not a kitten…

Cars and Trucks or My Little Ponies and Tutus??

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What will the baby be? We will see, today at 2pm is our ultrasound! Ben and I think it’s a girl and Ryan says boy…

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We just hope to see a healthy little one today!! I love having a boy so another would be terrific…but something about tutus and my little ponies would also be wonderful! I will let you know tomorrow along with all my feeeeelings about finding out as we grow our family from 3 to 4.

xx

Stephanie

Cars and Trucks or My Little Ponies and Tutus??