Fall leaves, tall boots, chilly morning school drop offs, baby drool, hot coffee (lots of it), Daily Mom, diaper changes, play dates, photo editing, internet socializing… these are the things that pop into my head when I take a moment to sit and reflect on what makes up my life lately. The family and I are fighting off colds that came with the recent change in weather. It’s finally really starting to feel like fall around here and I’m slowly adjusting to this new life I’m leading.
Days that used to drag on and on back when I was “working” now disappear in the blink of an eye. Going to work means something completely different to me these days and while I no longer “work,” I now truly understand the true definition of what it means. My payment may not come in the form of dollar bills, but it’s much more valuable than all the dollars in the world.
I have a new favorite time of each and every day. It’s the late afternoon hours between 3 and 5pm, after we pick Leila up from school and before the craziness of dinner and baths and bedtime sets in. It’s just me and all three of my kiddos and whatever we want to do. Today we decided to bake cupcakes and while they were in the oven filling our home with the smell of warm pumpkin spice, I sat in the living room nursing the littlest while his big siblings rolled around tickling each other on the floor at my feet. Sure, most days are filled with chaos and mess and disorganization, but it’s these little stolen moments that keep me strong and feed my soul.
Tomorrow Roman turns 4 months old. I love how this little peanut has completed our family. Each day we all fall into more and more of a steady rhythm as we get to know this new little human being. I seriously can’t get enough of having a baby in the house again. I am so, so, so, so, so savoring each second I have with him before he becomes an unruly toddler and a small child who can talk back to me. We spend a lot of time snuggling and I spend a lot of time chowing down on those sweet little cheeks.
I still question whether being a stay at home mom is truly for me, but I don’t have one single ounce of regret in any of the decisions I’ve made to get me to this point of my life in the here and now. I’m learning each day how to be a little bit of a better mom, with lots of failure along the way. But, mixed in with the failure is a whole lot of love and laughter and days ended with the sheer satisfaction of a comfortable bed. It’s a new season and I’m really enjoying it.
I know I keep bringing up the cruelty of time, but I seriously feel like I can’t keep up with the ticking clock! Yesterday my firstborn son turned THREE. His birthday came and went in the blink of an eye and I totally wasn’t prepared for it. Between his big sister starting school and his baby brother rocking his world and taking away any smidge of undivided attention from him, my poor Landon Drew is heading for a serious case of middle child syndrome. Luckily, I rallied at the last minute to deliver him a birthday full of special treatment – lots of sweets and lots of loving.
I can’t believe that THREE years ago I was in the hospital meeting this little man for the first time. I’m already getting details from his and Roman’s birth mixed up in my mind because they seem like they only happened days apart. Thank God I have this blog to help me remember special things about each of my children.
Landon Drew at age three is the funniest, quirkiest, short-fused little bugger I know. Sometimes Andy and I make eye contact while watching him and I know we’re both thinking, “Where did this kid come from?” And the funny thing is that we know he 100% came from us because we’re both pretty weird.
Things I never want to forget about Landon at just 3 years old…
- He walks on the balls of his feet and frolics wherever he goes. He’s got a spring in his step that just makes ya smile.
- He HAS TO do everything himself (he says, “My do it!” for “I’ll do it!”) or else he will throw an epic tantrum. And you don’t want Landon to throw a tantrum.
- His favorite thing to do when I tell him to go play with his toys is get his big stuffed Mickey Mouse and his little stuffed Mickey Mouse and go roll around with them under the covers in Mom and Dad’s bed. Cracks me up.
- He loves airplanes and is constantly on the lookout for them in the sky.
- He loves when his dad and I pretend to be monsters and chase him around the house. This is his #1 request throughout each day.
- He loves play-doh and will play with it for hours.
- Obsessed with playing with the iPad (we now keep it up on top of the fridge).
- Favorite foods are beef jerky and mac n cheese.
- Favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
- He likes to blow raspberries on my stomach – something he started doing when I was pregnant with Roman and now still will do periodically out of nowhere.
- Loves to wear his bright blue sunglasses whenever we go anywhere in the car.
- Landon also loves to make his baby bro smile and thinks it is just the most hilarious thing when he does.
- He’s an early riser who climbs in bed with us at the butt crack of dawn and snuggles for a while until he can’t take it any more and starts bugging us to wake up.
- He worships his big sister and listens to her better than his dad or I. When he gets hurt, he cries for his “Diddy” (aka “Sissy”).
I could seriously go on and on and on about each of Landon’s little quirks, but it wouldn’t do him justice. This kid brings me so much joy and grief all at once. One minute he’ll have me rolling with laughter and the next I’ll be pulling my hair out when his good mood flips to very bad in the blink of an eye. He’s smart and athletic (yes, I already know he’s going to be a star athlete some day) and loving and gentle and rowdy and rough all rolled into one adorable blue eyed little boy.
This kid has my heart. In three years he’s already taught me so much about love, about patience, and about my own self worth. Knowing that I helped create something as intricately beautiful and complex as him is all the proof I need that God exists.
In the delirious state of adjusting to life with a newborn, I’m just now really coming to grips with the fact that it’s fall! As you can imagine, when your world is rocked by the birth of a new baby at the start of summer, it mysteriously seems to disappear right before your eyes. When I look back on the past few months, it’s a blur of breastfeeding sessions, diaper changes, child wrangling, bedtimes, nap times, and HOT weather.
However, mixed in to the chaos that defined my summer of 2014, was a lot of simple and wonderful sweet summertime memories. Before I officially say good bye to summer (after all, it was near 80 degrees here until just this last week!), I thought I’d jot down a few things I never want to forget.
Long, hot days spent swimming at the lake with cousins…
The bulk of time spent out in our beautiful backyard with our new bundle of joy…
A dozen long car rides with wild kids to our tiny hometown…
Andy’s 1st summer growing dahlias – they were huge!
The first family photo of all 5 of us (a selfie!) during Roman’s 1st trip to the beach…
Popsicles in underwear every day after nap time…
Our one and only family trip to Leavenworth, WA…
Warm evening walks to our local ice-cream shop at least once/week…
It seriously boggles my mind that it’s over already. I spent many months growing a baby inside of me and anticipating a summer at home with my family, so it’s shocking how fast it flew by. I saw Christmas stuff out already the other day and I couldn’t believe it. I’m trying with all of my might to slow down time, to savor each second. It’s sad how with age it seems to slip through your fingers in the blink of an eye.
After potty training Leila a few years ago I decided that potty training was my least favorite thing about being a parent thus far. Trying to convince a little person that they should stop doing what they’ve known and are comfortable with for the whole of their life and instead sit on a big, scary potty/toilet isn’t easy. And then once you convince them to sit on it, getting them to actually go is another issue. And then when they finally do go, getting them to do it again and again is the next problem. And so what many parents claim to be something you can do over a long weekend actually turns into a training process that takes several months. No thanks!
So basically, with Leila it was such a long drawn out process that I vowed to wait until at least 2 and a half before even starting the process with my other kids. And when Landon turned 2.5, I was still dreading it. And with a new baby on the way and other life stresses, we decided to push it back a little bit longer.
After we got adjusted to life with a new baby in the house, and I was pretty much stuck at home anyway, I decided it was time to get going. I didn’t have a big, fancy plan for how I’d do it. I just bought a bag of M&Ms and decided to wing it. Landon was 2 years and 10 months old.
Right away I discovered that Landon wanted nothing to do with the little potty on the floor, so we went straight to the big pot. I think having a big sis that he follows everywhere and wants to mimic was the push with this. So, we started sitting him on the toilet periodically and what do ya know, the kid started peeing on it! Pee = M&M caught on really quickly and he was a pro in no time. The best part? After Leila was there to witness his first potty success and watch me give him (and her) an M&M as a reward, she was ALL about getting Landon to pee on the toilet (so they could get more sweets). Yes, my 5-year-old daughter took over potty training her brother! No joke! I got him to go initially, but she took over and kept on him about sitting on the toilet and getting him treats when he’d go. She was right there coaching him along for his first poo on the pot and everything! Ha! Leila’s tip for pooping success? Set up the iPad and his favorite show and just hang out on the toilet for extended periods of time. It worked!
An experience I dreaded with every bit of my being ended up being easy. In a couple weeks Landon will be turning 3 and he’s pretty much completely potty trained during the day (pull-ups at night). We’re still working on getting him to go in public restrooms (I don’t blame him for not wanting to), but he’ll hold it for a good couple of hours at least. So, so proud of him.
Here’s what I learned in Round 2 of potty training – some knowledge I’d like to pass on to you:
- It’s not necessarily true when they say that boys are harder to potty train than girls.
- If you have an older child, utilize them in the potty training process! The little one may just listen to their older sibling more than you.
- Bribery and treats work. Find something that will motivate your kiddo.
- If they like to sit on the big toilet, ditch the potty chair. It’s so nice to not have to clean that thing out.
- Don’t expect potty training to happen over night, or even over a long weekend. To me it’s a gradual process that shouldn’t be rushed. If you have low expectations to begin with, it’s a much more enjoyable (ha!) process.
- Utilize technology! I say all of your usual rules about sweets and TV watching can go out the window when it comes to making potty training a happy experience for your little one.
- Get ideas from other resources, but don’t expect what works for one person to work for you. You really have to just follow your little one’s cues. If you want ideas on different potty training methods, check out an old post I wrote for Daily Mom: 6 Popular Potty Training Methods.
Ahhhhhhhh, I’m so happy I’m down to one kid in diapers. I can’t even fathom the day when Roman is potty trained… by that time, I will have been changing dirty diapers for about 7 years straight! WOW.
Somebody is 3 months old today! Blogging is definitely taking the back burner to caring for this little man, but I’m making it a priority when it comes to keeping track of his growth. So here we go!
My Roman Michael at 3 months old…
- Like a fine wine, Roman just keeps getting better with age. I seriously love him more and more each day!
- He’s starting to giggle, but you REALLY have to earn it to get one.
- He is about 500x more easy going than he was at birth. At first he didn’t even want to be put down, but now he’ll spend a good half an hour kicking on the floor, perfectly content.
- He’s slept through the night 3 times already! He’s also had a few rocky weeks where he’s been up 3-4 times, but overall he’s a pretty good sleeper (at night… naps are a different story).
- He still lives in the ergo carrier a good chunk of the day. I really don’t know how I existed without one of these with my firstborn!
- Wearing 3-6 and 6 month clothing. He’s got the cutest little baby boobies and he’s starting to get wrist rolls – my favorite!
- He looks like me!
- Roman is starting to suck on his hands and drool a lot.
- He hates tummy time (just like my other two).
- He loves his sissy and brother – they get his best smiles.
I am just loving this age and mourning his growth. I seriously love, love, love the newborn stage. Yes, it’s exhausting and unpredictable, but there is nothing better than snuggling a squishy baby and being their everything. I don’t want it to end!
PS – it is REALLY hard to get a good photo of a 3 month old! Yikes!