Summer, You Were Good to Us

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dear Summer,
  You were good to us this year.  Like, really good to us.  While the weather wasn't amazing until really the last two weeks, we appreciate the time we were given to enjoy the summer activities.  Cohen has become an amazing swimmer and is braver around water than I wish he would be at times.  Lola has no problems pretending like she's swimming and finally getting her head wet without freaking out.  

We thoroughly enjoyed our fun trips to the water park too.  Spending the afternoons splashing down the slides and eating hot dogs from concessions was just what the doctor ordered.  While we only made it once to the splash pad, an afternoon picnic with friends was enough to make the heart happy in many different ways.  
Mondays at the library were a favorite every week, returning old books and checking out new books.  Coloring our Summer Reading sheet was exciting for Cohen but not as exciting as receiving prizes for reading the books of his choice.  

Dinners outside under the umbrella or together at the kitchen table has made my heart full.  The lack of rush to get meals cooked without the grumpy feelings and tired feet was much appreciated.  We could eat hot dogs on the grill, sweet corn and watermelon for every meal if we could.  

Our morning routine of sleeping in until past 8:00 was glorious.  But the sweetness of milk and 'toons on the couch sporting amazing bedhead was even better. 

Donut Friday reappeared this summer as we packed into the car together to order our sprinkle donuts and my iced coffee for the day.  

Catching lightning bugs with Nana and celebrating summer birthdays with all of the cousins was extra special too.  A tradition we hope to be able to continue for many more summers to come.

But when it did rain, we made the best of it by creating our own fun in the muddy puddles.  Summer you were good to us.  

Thank you for the positive energy and the opportunity to revamp my outlook on life.  Next year we will welcome you with 8 open arms.  :)


Project 52 - Week 30

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2015.*

Lately Cohen has decided that he wants to help out to earn money.  I'm completely okay with it, except when it is 10:00 at night and he's cleaning his room.  But I've been teaching him how to help me with little things like put away the dishes, put his clothes in the dirty hamper and put his dishes in the sink when he is done with them.  Not only is this a great lesson of independence but it is helping my aching back tremendously.  

For the last week Lola has been obsessed with the potty.  She walks into any bathroom and will point and yell, "Potty!"  We then strip off her diaper and let her sit like a big girl with her little face beaming all sweet and cute.  Today at the pool she decided she had to potty and actually went when I sat her down.  I cheered loud and proud for her, let her flush the toilet and we both waved bye-bye to the pee-pee.  Damn how my life has changed since having kids.


I Love You So Much It Hurts.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I'm 29 weeks today and the reality of being a mom of three soon is starting to hit me.  Maybe I'm just super hormonal plus the fact that I am returning to school this week but I've been overly weepy about the kids lately.  Just little things seem to set me off.  Like they way Lola scoots back and sits on my lap when it's time to put on her shoes.  That makes me tear up.  Or when Cohen and I have our "I love you more" wars and he tells me he loves me times a million, the waterworks start up again. 
I know.  I'm a mess. 
But being able to be home with these two boogers has been wonderful.  Yes I'm tired and yes there are days when I wish I could pour myself a big cocktail but I love these two little monkeys so much it hurts.  Watching them bond with each other has been even more fun this summer. Sure they have learned what makes one another tick and the fighting may be a daily occurrence but look at them!  God, they are cute.

Love you.  To the moon and back.


My Formula for Happiness and Keeping Sane with a Newborn

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Before we know it, Baby Girl will be here making us a family of five.  While I'm nervous for the uncertainties that a third child will bring to the mix, I'm also excited to meet this little one and enjoy the newborn stage again.    Being a mom at any stage is hard.  Whether it's your first or third baby - you still have those challenges!  So how can you "keep swimming" during those first few months of your new baby's life?  Here's a few tips to help you maintain your sanity as well as keep you at it when the going gets tough!

My Formula for Happiness During the First Months

1.  Take the Help
When family or friends offers to help, take them up on it!  Seriously, they really do want to help you.  Maybe they want to drop off dinner, fold your laundry or give you a few minutes to take a shower for the first time in three days.  In the long run you will look back and completely appreciate the kind gesture.  I promise you will still be Super Mom in that little one's eyes if you accept the help. 

2.  Get Moving
Okay, I'm obviously not telling you to run a marathon here or anything, but a nice slow walk with the stroller can activate some major endorphins.  Sometimes a breath of fresh air is good for the soul and can help get you in the right mindset.  I would bet that baby will love it too and most likely nap the majority of the time - a win for both of you!

3.  Stop, Drop and Snuggle
That laundry will eventually get folded and you can vacuum the floors later, but your baby will be a year old in the blink of an eye.  Take time to hold and snuggle your new little baby.  Enjoy the fresh baby smell and the feeling of their sweet face nestled into your neck.  Eat it all up my friends because before you know it they will be mobile little wiggle worms and want nothing more than to be down on the floor exploring it all.

4.  Shut Down and Sleep
While it isn't always possible to sleep while the baby sleeps (hello toddler and wild four year old), when you do have the opportunity to wind down, shut down your brain for a moment, try to relax and catch a few moments of shut eye.  Good sleep for your baby, yourself and your family is an essential component in this journey.  That journey isn’t always perfect, but getting support every step of the way helps.  That is why Gerber® Good Start® Gentle is happy to introduce a Certified Sleep Consultant for your little one’s needs.  Check out this site to make your free appointment!  This service is brought to you by Gerber® Good Start® Gentle.

 I'm excited to venture into this new realm of motherhood again.  Honestly I want to take it all in since this will be the last time I get to enjoy the newborn motherhood stage.  Gerber® Good Start® Gentle feels that the Formula for Happiness™ can be a lot of things, and each mom has a different way of enjoying the journey through motherhood.   Many thanks to Gerber® Good Start® Gentle for sponsoring this post today!

But since we have a baby arriving in about two months, I probably should get started on her room...


Summer Fun at Touch a Truck

Thursday, July 23, 2015

This is one of my favorite events of the summer.  Last summer it was rained out by a random storm so we were excited to see the weather's forecast was sunny and gorgeous.  I met up with Kurtis and kids after my fabulous glucose test, which I learned today that I did in fact pass (holla!).  However the extra sugar and lack of food intake that morning wasn't making a great combo for the heat.  But I managed to power through it because I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel -- and a salad bar for lunch that was calling my name.  The lines were longer but it was a good lesson of patience for the kids.  It was fun to hear the questions Cohen had about the different trucks and watch Lola do (or try to do) everything that her big brother does.  It's days like these that remind me how lucky I am to be able to spend the summer days with my kids.  Can summer never end, please?

I'd like to end this post with the disclosure that I did not in fact sunscreen my child - that was all my husband's doing.  Therefore that is why their heads look like greased meatballs and there is visible sunscreen on their faces.  A for effort, Babe.


Project 52 - Week 29

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2015*

I'm so amazed as what this kid has taught himself swimming wise this summer.  I really procrastinated and didn't sign him up for swimming lessons this like I had planned.  I think I will do it this winter to give him a fun activity to do during the long, cold months since Dad's pool at work is heated.  He literally has no fear, which in some sense is absolutely terrifying.  Yesterday he decided he didn't want to wear his puddle jumper anymore and continuously jumped into the pool.  Part of me is so proud while the other part cringes and has mini panic attacks while he's in action.  

Miss Thing finally is getting into the grove of the pool.  She has started swimming/crawling around on her tummy and looks so proud while doing it.  Lately she finds humor in pouring water over her own head, which is completely fine by me because she used to have this huge freak out session whenever I tried to wash her hair in the bath.  Like her brother, Lola is also starting to become braver around the water.  Yesterday we were in the smaller pool and she continuously jumped off the edge of the pool, many times when I wasn't looking.  I swear she learns these daredevil tricks from her wild and crazy brother!


3 Ways to Grow Your Child's Personal Library

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Back2SchoolReady #CollectiveBias

I'm a firm believer that one of the best gifts you can give a child is the love of books.  I'm sure that part of the influence comes from the teacher within, but I really feel so strongly about exposing children to books and reading at any and all opportunities.  As a mom I started both Cohen and Lola's personal libraries before they were even born.  Now I burst with joy when I see their shelves and bookcases overflowing with tons of different genres, titles and authors.  It has been fun passing down some of Cohen's board books to Lola and watching these books quickly become favorites of her own.  I have slowly started accumulating a stash of books for Baby Girl and can't wait for the day to come when I can share some of my favorites with her too.

But every year I have a few students who don't have access to personal libraries.  Many times I get back blank reading logs only to be told that they didn't have any books at home to read.  And every time my heart breaks into a million pieces for these sweet little ones.  I immediately let them choose a baggy full of books from a leveled library I continuously fill up every year.  I know as their teacher it is my responsibility to share with my families different retailers that offer affordable books as well as simple opportunities that they can do from home to help grow their family's library.  Especially with school just two weeks away (I know, don't say that out loud again please) I like to make sure I have a list of resources ready to send home with them during the first week of school.  As I sat here thinking, I came up with three great resources to share with my families.

1.  Browse Garage Sales and Resale Shops
As we head into fall, many people will start cleaning and purging, which includes getting rid of books that are no longer needed.  I have found so many of my favorite authors and titles at garage sales or resale shops for twenty-five cents a book, and sometimes cheaper!  Usually if I tell them I am buying for my classroom to give out to my students I can get an even bigger deal.  I encourage my parents to talk with the sellers or stores and see what kind of deals they will offer to their family.  

2.  Free Libraries
This is a fairly new concept and I personally am so in love with it!  The local elementary school by our house has this adorable little free library in which kids can choose a book from the case in return for a donated a book that goes back into the free library.  Cohen, Lola and I have visited this free library many times this summer to trade out our "old" books for a "new" book.  Sometimes you have those books that you just grow out of, so the free library is the perfect opportunity to maintain your personal library with just right books at your own level.

3.  Kellogg's Family Rewards
I guarantee that almost every student in my class has one of these qualifying boxes in their pantries right now and hasn't even realized it!  I have to be honest and say that we did.  I didn't realize it until breakfast this morning!  How it works is you can purchase specific Kellogg's products and redeem the code for a free Scholastic book.  So, 1 Kelloggs product = 1free, full length Scholastic book, and each person can redeem up to 30 books!  In order to redeem the codes, you need to create a Kellogg's Family Rewards account.  It is really easy to get started and a great way to get more books for your personal libraries from the products your family most likely already enjoys!

Redeeming codes is easy, so I thought I would share with you a few steps to help you get started!

How to Redeem Your Kellogg's Codes for Free Scholastic Books
Step One:  Head to your local retailer (we ventured to Walmart) to stock up on your favorite Kellogg's products.  Make sure your products have the Free Scholastic Book offer on the front.  Be sure to redeem your code for your free Scholastic book within 14 days of purchase - no matter when you have the product, you have 14 days to redeem!

You can also purchase directly from and receieve a book from purchases made between 7/21/15 and 9/11/15.  (Look for the Buy Now button at for a list of eligible items.  Ecommerce redemptions are made via receipt scanning.  Full details on site above.)  There are three ways you can upload your receipt, via text, via scanning into your computer or Kellogg's Family Rewards app, only when you purchase online between 7/21-9/11.

Step Two:  Enjoy your Kellogg's products!  This afternoon we had quiet book time as we ate our tasty Rice Krispies Treats.  Okay, I may have even had one as well.  Baby Girl didn't want to be left out!

Step 3: Sign up for the Kellogg's Family Rewards program.  It takes less than five minutes to fill out your information.   Once you have done this it will direct you to to the site where you can enter your code.

Step 4:   Once you have signed up, check your specially marked boxes for your code.  They are inside the package.  Then simply enter the code and choose the retailer where you bought your Kellogg's product.

Step 5:  Once you have successfully logged your code information, click Choose Your Book.  (You also have the option of donating your book too!) It will pull up a list of different genres and titles - there are 80 different titles!  You can even choose the level that best suits your reading ability.  Select your book and add it to your cart.

Step 6:  Double check that your shipping address is correct and then click submit.  The timeline for books to arrive is 6-8 weeks, but don't be surprised if it comes sooner!

Back to School Night will be here before we know it!  It truly makes my heart melt when I see these little sweeties become so elated over new books.   I'm excited to share these resources with my new families this year.  I mean, it is my job to mold these little readers, right?

Share with Me!
Be sure to check out more books available via this Kellogg's offer at I'd love to hear your favorite book offered! #Back2SchoolReady