0-3 Months Sensory Play: Lighting

Babies are really fun to play with, if you know what to do. One of these technics is using different variations of lighting to let your baby explore visually the world around them. This will also help your child start to develop the idea of night and day based on the lighting in the room and outside.

This sensory play topic is very easy because you only need what is in your house already!

Day Time:
Place your baby in a safe place, like in a bouncer, and turn off all the lights. Open the curtains at different lengths and let your baby look at thelight on the wall. It is great to talk to your baby about the light as well explaining

whether it is dim or bright. They are getting to the point where they will start to coo and have “conversation” with you so have a camera ready because it gets pretty cute!

Night Time:
This one is really fun in our house. If you have a bathroom attached to your bedroom, turn on the light in the bathroom and the light off in the bedroom. This will create a different atmosphere for baby to explore with the room half dark. The light will be making shadows on the wall that you can talk about with your baby. If you do not have a bathroom attached you can always turn on a light of an adjacent room as well.

When I Grow Up: Being Mom

“What did you want to be when you grow up?” I curiously asked my Mother-in-Law on our way to lunch with my two little ones. We had been talking about my business and how my Brother-in-Law was finishing up school to be a lawyer, and I was dying to know what she had imagined herself doing when she was little. I was expecting something like be a teacher, or a ballerina because she is a very ambitious woman.

She looked at me on that windy mountain road and said, “I wanted to be a mom”. I was a little shocked. My Mother-in-Law, a successful business woman, wanted to be a mom. She proceeded to explain that she, “lived in a generation where they didn’t ask girls what they wanted to be. Everyone assumed you would be a mother, and that the man would take care of working.” And that was that.

Obviously, in this day and age, we live in a world where girls are, asked what they want to be, and are encouraged to pursue those dreams. You can see women picking themselves up by the bootstraps to make a better life for themselves everywhere you go. From the single mother who works and finds time to get to every school function to the first generation college student working several jobs to put themselves through school, there is no lack of talented up and coming women. I was one of these rising stars in the eyes of my peers, and then I got married and found out soon after that I was pregnant.

As a mother and a business woman, sometimes the lines get blurred by sleepy eyes, sick kids, a working husband, dirty house, and the other 500 items I still have to check off my list and I lose sight of my ambitions and dreams. Before I became a mom, I was convinced I could conquer the world, and at the time, I was. Then we found out we were pregnant with our precious little girl 4 years and 5 months before I planned on even trying to get pregnant. Thus, my five-year plan didn’t work out as well as I had hoped and the people that had been giving me accolades for my accomplishments before were not impressed with me creating human life. I fell into depression and walked around blankly for many months with no clue what I was supposed to do with my life and feeling completely useless to my husband, society, and to myself. My success had been what gave me value and being a mom with dirty hair, dark circles, and puke on every shirt did not make me feel valuable at all.

One day I woke up though, and had to ask myself what I wanted to be when I grow up. I had forgotten my passion and drive because I became focused on what society told me after I had a baby, that I was not as valuable, that I was “wasting my life”. I had to change my thought process and “stick it to the man” so to speak. I decided that I would rise above the assumptions of my circle of family and friends and show them that I could be a mom and follow my dreams, even when those dreams have temporarily changed or are put on hold.

I can tell you not everything I thought would be happening in my life right now is happening, and that is okay. I am a mom first and foremost, but I will not let society shame me for thinking about my future as well and neither should you. We have to stick together as moms and not degrade every parenting style and life choice everyone makes. Take the time to take care of you today because if you are empty, you cannot give anything you don’t have to your kids. They will thank you later for taking care of you, your husband will thank you, and you will thank you. Don’t throw your dreams away. They may be on hold or temporarily change, but hold onto them and like Walt Disney said, “Keep moving forward” because you got this momma!

 

Teaching Your Baby to Sign


When you first had your little bundle of joy I’m sure you talked about what it would be like when they started playing, walking, and talking. You will see, even in these very early stages, the look of curiosity and learning as your little one see colors, textures, and items that they have never seen. I highly suggest heading over to the Sensory Play section and trying out some sensory play with your child at each stage of development. This will be a fun way for you to play together and bond, but will also show your child the world around them in fun and new ways.

Children are such sponges for everything around them, even language. It is so natural for the brain to acquire language that we do not think much of it, as long as we are talking to our     babies regularly.

But, what if you could start understanding your child before they could verbalize sounds to make words?

The answer is American Sign Language, which will benefit you and your child now through early communication and less frustration as well as later on with advanced vocabulary and communication skills. You can view all the benefits by age group here.

Now you are probably asking, “How do I get started? Won’t it be hard to teach myself and my child a new language?”

It is so easy to start to teach your little one basic signs starting as early as 3 months, however, don’t get discouraged if you do not see results right away. Just like it took time for you to learn how to ride a bike, swim, and cook your favorite dish, your child will need time to learn the signs you are presenting them as well. The more you practice together the faster you will see your little one start to manifest the signs you are using.

“The signs my baby is using are different in ways than the real sign! What should I do! Am I doing something wrong?!”

This is completely normal! I have parents concerned about this topic ALL THE TIME! Continue to encourage your child as they sign and keep showing them the correct sign. For example, let’s say you have been learning all of the animal signs and your child loves their teddy bear, but continues to sign bear like this:

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(The way your child does the sign)

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(The correct sign)

Acknowledge that they have signed Bear by saying something like, “Do you want your bear? (Correctly sign Bear) Good job telling me what you wanted! You love cuddling your Bear!” (Use correct sign again). Once you have done this multiple times with a sign your child will correct it all on their own.

Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and you will not be fluent in a few months and you may still sign things differently than some people. But, perfect practice makes perfect, so keep showing the correct sign and encouraging them as they continue to learn and develop more fine motor skills.

Learning a new language together will be an adventure and some days it will be hard, but you have support! Please feel free to email kabrina@imaginationsigning.com or fill out the contact form with any and all questions, comments, and concerns you may have!

 

Socially Addicted: Kids and the Media

12809518_10154087273029382_4024219675046577160_nThe weather finally let up long enough for my husband and I to take our toddler to the park and boy was she excited! While she dug in the muddy rocks and climbed up the stairs to the slide, several teenage boys walked into the little gated park. I was worried they would cause some trouble, however, they proceeded to sit on the swings, one next to the other, and pull out their smart phones. I was shocked that the first thing they wanted to do was play on their phones when they were right next to each other and could have played tag, tug of war, or built a fort. I looked over at my husband and said, “I don’t remember doing that as a kid!”. We eventually started back home and even my husband, while pushing the stroller, was on his phone. My head spun with the realization that this was a huge problem, not only for kids, but even adults in every generation. We are so consumed by what this little box can tell us that we are missing the big picture of everyday life! No wonder children get in trouble, marriages are falling apart, and people lack basic communication skills. So, what can you do as a parent with children and maybe even spouses that have the phone, computer, or Ipad glued to their hand?

First off, be the example.

I know sometimes work or that interesting story on Facebook can seem more important, but when your spouse wants to talk or your toddler is tugging on you to come build blocks or play dolls, GO! For the love of all things good, GO! Your spouse will be appreciative that you chose to have some quality time with them and your child will understand that everything has a place and that they ARE MORE IMPORTANT than whatever can wait on your device.

Set time aside for your digital work, especially if you have to do work at home or you work from home.2

Being a blogger, I have to wait until my kids are in bed and my husband is at work to get any good content out. Having a toddler makes it almost impossible to be pressing buttons and not have her right in my lap “helping” bring you this dgjhksdgjndsvk siu fsjdg sdg sjdn. You see what I mean. This makes my life less stressful because I’m not trying to balance spend time with husband before he goes to work and take care of baby who needs me, what seems like, every second. I also have more time to just sit and do instead of being interrupted a million times with snack requests and where something is in the drawer.

Limit your child(ren)s time using media.

This will benefit them in many ways from being able to sleep better, entertain themselves without media, and allow them to learn things media cannot give (such as practicing the piano or reading a book). I understand most things can be done on the internet, but helping your child learn how to function outside the walls of the World Wide Web will help them function in society and communicate better with others.

Set up activities that do not associate media into your child(ren)s schedule as well as your own.

Go swimming, pick up a real book, color, paint, draw, go for a walk, have a picnic, go to a museum, the activities are endless! These activities will help to strengthen problem solving skills (because weird things happen in the real world), and it gives you a chance for a multitude of teachable moments. For example, let’s say you decide to go to the Children’s Museum with your kids and another child falls and gets hurt or finds they are lost? This is a great time to help the child together and to stop for a moment and talk about compassion and how we can help others around us. These hands on lessons will be a much better benefit for teaching than anything Dora, Doc McStuffins, or Barney can teach.

Take a moment to check out the mess free Finding Nemo Inspired Sensory Bin Activity to get you started!

Finally, instead of using media, whether television or an app on your phone, as a babysitter for your kids try giving them small things to do or pre-preparing activities to keep them distracted while you do the dishes.

I am guilty of this one, big time! If I want to take a shower Mickey Mouse Club House is calling my daughters name! And I am by no means saying that the occasional show while you get something done is always bad, but, just like we like to say about food, everything in proportion. If you say your kids can only have two hours of media time, whether it was the babysitter or not, two hours is it. If you bend on this rule, they will figure it out fast, those smart kids! This would be a great time to sign them up for a class or make them practice piano so you can have a few minutes, but they are not engrossed in the latest Bachelor at 5 years old.

Media is by no means a bad thing. It is actually wonderful, if it is used wisely. Don’t worry about trying to keep it away from your kids completely because they will find it, but be aware of how much they are on it as well as what they are watching and playing. What do you do to manage the media in your house? Let us know in the comments below!

 

What is Sensory Play?

 

Sensory play is a very simple concept that has been all but forgotten as parent, early childhood educators, and preschools have started to focus more on academic work than sensory exploration. In September 2015, the Washington Post wrote a great story talking about the decline in play in young children saying

 

 

Research continues to point out that young children learn best through meaningful play experiences, yet many preschools are transitioning from play-based learning to becoming more academic in nature…In fact, it is before the age of 7 years — ages traditionally known as “pre-academic” — when children desperately need to have a multitude of whole-body sensory experiences on a daily basis in order to develop strong bodies and minds. This is best done outside where the senses are fully ignited and young bodies are challenged by the uneven and unpredictable, ever-changing terrain. (Strauss, 2015)

So, what exactly is Sensory Play and how can you make sure your child is getting what they need? Sensory Play is any activity that stimulates the senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, or hearing and engages your child. This play can be very simple, such as playing with a rain stick, or more complex, such as sensory bins and “messy play” involving sand, water, or paint. PBS explains Sensory Play as something that facilitates, “…exploration and naturally encourage(s) children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.” (PBS, 2016) Let’s go ahead and pull the ways your child will benefit from Sensory Play as well.

Cognitively

Cognitive development consists of developing problem solving skills, being able to process information, reasoning, language development, memory, and decision making. When your child is playing there are many times that problem solving, decision making, or memory will come into play. For example let’s say your child is playing with Play-Doh and has the choice to use several different colors as well as objects to create a picture that is on the table (such as a butterfly). They have to decide what material they need to do that as well as figure out how each piece goes together using a considerable amount of their cerebrum, the largest part of the brain.

Linguistically

In this same scenario, your child can ask for help either verbally, in Sign Language, or through pointing and gesturing. The great part about language development is everyone is different and, “Recent studies have shown that in around 97% of people, language is represented in the left hemisphere. However, in about 19% of left-handed people, the areas responsible for language are in the right hemisphere and as many as 68% of them have some language abilities in both the left and the right hemispheres.” (Mandal, 2013) That means working on sensory language skills such as American Sign Language, reading to your child, and continually talking with your child is helping their brain develop in many different areas at one time.

Socially and Emotionally

Social and Emotional Intelligence is a fairly new field within the last 20 years. Many studies have found that IQ is important, however, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is more important in everyday success such as communication and leadership skills. In a study entitled Trait Emotional Intelligence as a Predictor of Socioemotional Outcomes in Early Adolescence, researcher Norah Frederickson f, found that Emotional Intelligence is a better indicator of socioemotional competence (ability to act effectively and appropriately in social situations) than IQ. (2012)

Physically

Children can use many different physical activities to learn such as running in a relay with mom and dad, climbing on blocks or rocks, and determining how to get on and off the bed or couch at home.

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This is my favorite part of Sensory Play because you never know what your child will be inclined towards. Doing many different types of creative play will be able to help you figure out if your child likes drawing and painting or playing music. I have had countless parents tell colleagues and myself how they never would have guessed their 7, 12, or 18 month old would like a certain activity until they stepped out of their comfort zone and introduced it and the learning flourished! These are all important areas that should be taken into account when starting your child on the path to learning. I will be the first to tell you that reading to your child and teaching them numbers and letters is fantastic, however, just like many things in life, everything has to be done in proportion. We want our children to succeed in every area, but we do not want to burn them out and have them in so many activities that they are worn thin and run ragged either. 

Take some time to Make a Mess, Play in Water, or Find Fishes to get those creative juices going! You may find you enjoy it just as much as they do!

 If you have any questions please get in contact with me and comment below with things that have worked for your children in Sensory Play as well as academically.

      

Sources for this Article

Frederickson, N. (2012, February). Trait emotional intelligence as a predictor of socioemotional outcomes in early adolescence. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886911004892

Mandal, D. (2013, November 4). Language and the Human Brain. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.news-medical.net/health/Language-and-the-Human-Brain.aspx Sensory Play and Early Child Development. (2016). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.pbs.org/parents/child-development/sensory-play/ Strauss, V. (2015, September 1).

The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/09/01/the-decline- of-play-in-preschoolers-and-the-rise-in-sensory-issues/

Seven Wonders of the Pregnancy World

 

*This post contains affiliate links that help me keep bringing you free content.
 

I have been sitting on this post for awhile because I am crazy busy being a Mommy to a very lively toddler (read about surviving pregnancy the second time here) and trying to run my business before I have to take a break when baby #2 comes along. But, I have been thinking about all the wonderful things pregnancy brings, as well as all the beautiful things people have created to make our lives easier. I compiled this list in no order, but I think you will agree that these seven things are pretty amazing.

 

1. Zofran

 

If you have been super nauseous during pregnancy, like me, you have probably been prescribed some form of Zofran. I love, what we call, the puky pill! It was a life saver with my daughter when I had to still get up and go to college and work like an adult and when I have to teach classes now. My Mother-in-Law always says she wishes they would have had a magic pill when she was pregnant. But, she did give really good advice on how to throw-up into your purse with discretion.

 

2. Tylenol

 

Back pain anyone? When my weight shifted in both pregnancies I was in a lot of pain the first few weeks and Tylenol was what saved me from laying in bed crying because I couldn’t pick up my screaming toddler.

 

3. Pregnancy Body Pillow

 

This is an AWESOME invention that makes sleeping possible! I was skeptical the first time around, but after I wore the pillow in, it was and is wonderful. I love that I can move it in a million different ways to ease pain and that I can lay in almost the same position on either side without flipping the pillow back and forth. This is super convenient for me because I get restless at night sometimes and like to be able to lay on whatever side I choose. Check out the pillow that I bought by clicking on the photo below.

 

 

4. Antacids

 

This pregnancy, I LOVE savory foods like tomatoes and pasta, but I could die from the heartburn that they make for. I live with Tums in my purse because I don’t want to be tasting what I ate for the next several hours and have a puky feeling from it. And if you don’t have heartburn while you are pregnant, count yourself blessed!

 

5. The Baby Kicking

 

Being pregnant is not my favorite past time, however, I love feeling the baby move around inside me. It is one of those weird things you have to experience to realize how wonderful and awesome it is. It is really cool when your husband and toddler can start feeling those little movements too. My husband said that is when it really became real that we were having a baby because he could experience it too.

 

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6. Prenatal Vitamins

 

I know that these don’t seem like a big deal and I will be the first to admit I forget to take them sometimes, but they can make you feel better. During those first few months of feeling sick, or your whole pregnancy, taking them at different times during the day can help ease the nausea. I liked taking mine at night because it made it easier to take them as well as made me feel better in the morning. Taking them in the morning was not an option because I had a version of pregnancy called all day sickness, whoever titled it morning sickness lied! Ask your doctor about good times to take your prenatal based on how you are feeling.

 

7. Holding your baby for the first time

 

I was so nervous when I got to see my daughter for the first time. It was like meeting a celebrity that you had talked about for months meeting and it was finally happening! My husband and I both had no idea what to say and kept repeating, “Hi baby! I love you! Hi!” like we were star struck teenagers. But when that little precious face looked up at me and smiled, I was in love forever. I wish I would have had someone taking pictures of that moment because I can remember it, but I would love to see it on my wall in a frame.

 

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What moments or life saving products would you put in your 7 Wonders of the Pregnancy World list? Let me know by commenting below or feel free to give me a shout!

happy mommying

 

 

 

3 Ways to Ease Constipation During Pregnancy

 

 

I don’t know about you, but for me, pregnancy equals constipation. Being able to poop like a normal person is such a wonderful thing that we (or maybe just I) took for granted before pregnancy. My first pregnancy, I had no idea that there was issues down there and didn’t feel comfortable talking about it to anyone to ask for help, so I suffered through it. I did find some ways to help get things moving down there that I hope will assist you in your journey to bathroom bliss. Note: If you are having these issues please try these suggestions, but PLEASE talk to your doctor about it as well. These are all opinions of my own and you try these at your own risk. You can read my whole discloser policy here.
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1. Drink Lots of Water.
I know everyone is telling you this, but it is harder than it sounds. Drinking as much water as they want you to during pregnancy takes resolve. I always felt like all I did was have a water bottle strapped to my mouth and my doctor STILL told me I wasn’t drinking enough water, so make a plan. Ask your doctor how much water you should be drinking for your situation because it may be more than Google suggests.

2. Put Lemon in Your Water

Fruit is amazing at making things better in our bodies. Lemon in your water has many benefits, but helping ease your constipation is one of them. Try slicing a large lemon and placing it in a pitcher of water. Place another slice or two in a glass and sip on that all day since you have to drink as much water as a camel anyways.

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3. Make Yourself a Smoothie

I love Jamba Juice, but going there everyday gets a little pricey, so I started making my own Strawberry Wild smoothie at home. There are some great recipes out there on Pinterest so find one that you like and make one everyday. I am partial to easy and fast so I chose a banana strawberry mix. (Click here to get the recipe)

Did any of these suggestions work for you? Have your tried something else that we should know about?

happy mommying

 

How to be Pregnant with a Toddler Under Two and Survive

 

 

Let’s start with the obvious, while you are throwing up and have a little person watching you gibbering things you don’t understand; pregnancy is A LOT harder the second time around.

With your first child, you read the cute advice people blogged about sleeping when you could, having an excuse to not do anything strenuous, and getting to eat whatever you want for two and blaming it on the adorable little human growing inside your belly.

Well, as I am sure you are finding out, sleeping is over rated (even though you could collapse with pregnancy and toddler exhaustion), having a toddler and picking them up or walking them up and down stairs IS strenuous, and whenever you have food in front of you most of it goes to the toddler who acts like you haven’t fed them in a week, even though they ate twenty minutes ago. Being a Mommy now seems more difficult than ever, so how can you survive it?

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1. Put your toddler to bed early.

This may sound like obvious advice as well as difficult if your little one enjoys staying up late, but try it. Start by starting bedtime a half hour earlier every three nights until you get to the desired time. Before we were married, my husband and I were being mentored by a couple with three kids. When 7pm rolled around, all three were in bed and we were like, “Man, this is an early bedtime!” We found out though, that it can save your sanity, give you some much needed time alone to rest or go to the bathroom by yourself (THAT NEVER HAPPENS!), and help your marriage. And, guess what? Our little girl is in bed by 6:30pm every night!

2. When you have some alone time, don’t feel like you need to make the house look good.

If you are anything like me, you are reading this blog to find ways to be the most productive you can with the little energy and time you possess. However, you have to remember that you do have a lot less energy right now.

Give yourself a break!

I know there are dishes in the sink and the laundry looks like it may never end, but slow down! When that new bundle of preciousness pops out, you are going to get even less done so learn this lesson now, enjoy the moments with your toddler because the laundry and dishes will always be there.

Write yourself a list of things you want to accomplish, but don’t expect them to get done all in one day. Set a goal to get two reasonably sized tasks done during the day and if you get more done than two give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t stress over it.

Your husband and your toddler love you and, honestly, probably don’t mind the mess they are making anyways. (And if hubby does mind, hand him the list and he can check off a few for you. Give and take right?) TAKE A BREAK and do what helps you relax. You still are carrying another baby, even though you have more to do this time.

3. Give your husband chores.

My husband works A LOT, so when we got pregnant while nursing and on birth control, I didn’t want him to feel like coming home meant more work.

So I did EVERYTHING and if something went by the wayside, like spending enough time with my toddler, I felt like the worst person on the planet.

My house was clean, but my little girl went to bed without having the quality time she needed from Mommy and Daddy didn’t get home until after she was asleep. The honest truth is, you got into this together and you have to work together. That is marriage! Love each other, be there for each other, and help each other with what needs to get done because if you don’t someone is always going to either be bitter because they do everything or upset because the, visible never ending, mess of having a little kid is always there.

After a long conversation on what we both wanted to see or needed done, my husband and I agreed that I focus on dishes and laundry and he takes out the trash and cleans the bathroom while we share vacuuming duty. Let me tell you though, just because your jobs get done doesn’t mean the bathroom will get cleaned every week (or that it got clean once in four months) and you have to let it go and tell your husband when there are no bowls to wash one. ☺

woman-423608_19204. Whether you work or stay home, get out by yourself, even if only for a few minutes.

Being a mostly stay-at-home mom with a part-time (and a half) job, I am right in the middle of both worlds so I understand that there seems to be no time no matter which world you are in.

However, you need a moment where you don’t have to meet a deadline and you don’t have a toddler on your leg. Even if you don’t have a lot of money for pampering (we sure didn’t), treat yourself to coffee or a meal at a restaurant by yourself or with a close friend so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

I have been really bad about this one, so I am preaching to the choir, but I love to go to Starbucks or the craft store and either get myself a coffee/tea or buy some fun craft I want to try during my “I put my baby to sleep early time” (or both).

Pampering yourself with little things doesn’t have to be pricey. Be wise about your budget, but put a little money aside for you and your husband for spending money each month (Read my post on how to have fun on a small budget here). Even if you only get $10 a piece, that is enough for coffee or a meal with a friend.

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5. Start teaching your toddler small ways to help and take care of themselves.

I know that sweet toddler was JUST a baby and is still your baby, but this will serve you well now and when you are feeding your new baby ALL THE TIME. We started our daughter off watching Daniel Tiger, which is a blessing from heaven!

They have cute songs about being a big helper and what it is like having a new baby come into the family. (Seriously, watch this clip and buy the DVD about his baby coming here. You can thank me later.)

At first we sang the songs together and when my daughter did a task that we asked like placing a stuffed toy in her toy box or not shutting the door, we praised her. Soon we added in little plastic drawers so that she could learn that everything has a place, and then we showed her where those places were. This does not happen over night and will take months of patients, but when your toddler can put all her dolls in the doll drawer and can find the blocks she is in love with you will be grateful. (If you would like to see our set-up click here.)

If you have been a Mommy to a small toddler while pregnant or are in the swing of it what would you suggest? Did you try any of or all of the suggestions above? Did they work for you? I love hearing what worked and what didn’t and any other opinion or advice you have so always feel free to comment or contact me.

 

happy mommying

 

Having Fun on a Small Budget

 

Doing anything when you are married with little ones can be a challenge. Do we get a sitter? Do we take them with us? What can we even do?
 
Going out to eat or doing an activity like bowling can get expensive fast, especially when you have to pay someone to watch your little bundle of joy. My husband and I have seen some really dark days of no dates and screaming kids in restaurants when we tried.
 
We had NO budging room for a sitter and finding a reliable one was a whole other problem so we ended up bringing our toddler along with us and later a baby and a toddler. This made for some interesting no talking, feeding the kids, quick date nights that I felt more exhausted then relaxed from.
 
We soon learned that we had to start doing something different. Here are some of the things that we changed about dates that helped us have a moment or two to connect together.
 
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1. If you can get your baby or toddler to nap at a certain time go on your date then! We figured this one out by accident when our daughter was a little over one. After no dates for months we finally decided to give it a try. We pulled into the restaurant parking lot and our baby was asleep! I was upset because I thought she would wake up and be grumpy from not getting enough sleep. But, my husband has the special touch, and managed to get her out of her car seat and into the stroller that we covered with a blanket (because people are nosy and they don’t care if they wake the baby). We walked in were seated, ate our whole meal with no peep from our little girl. I literally cried tears of joy because we finally had some time to talk and eat like we used to and we put her back in the car with her still asleep! I know this won’t happen every time, but if it works for you it is wonderful!

 
2. If you live close to relatives or friends, Let Them Babysit Having a family member watch your baby is great and free. If you don’t live close see if your other Mommy friends would be willing to baby swap. You take their baby for a few hours one day and they take your baby for a few hours another day. That way two Mommies and Daddies get a date night and your little one gets a play date.

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3. Set aside a budget for eating out/dates This was super important for us because we had to use every dollar to its full potential. Every pay check I would pull $25 from our account and place it in an envelope. If we got pizza one night or if my husband had to have a frosty, it came out of that. It makes you very aware of how easy it is to bust through money going out when it’s in cash, but being young and poor we had to be careful not to use our grocery money to eat out someplace. This meant that many months we only had enough money for one date night, this is where you have to be creative.

 
4. Make a date night at home Ready to be creative? Try picking a theme, like Paris, and make food that you would not normally make for the theme. My husband loves to do this one because we can put the baby to bed have dinner and have some quite time alone. When we were first married, and really had no money, my husband found a twist on a chicken dinner and cooked it, making the plates all pretty like a restaurant would and we sat and had a really good meal together.

 
5. Save change and any tips in a piggy bank You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”, well the same is true for money. We have a piggy bank on a shelf in our room that I place any change I find around the car or in the laundry in. After a few months dump it out and see what you have. We had a time when I would place any money I had in there and one month we were in a pinch. I opened the jar and found a couple $20 bills and my husband and I were able to take care of our bills and still have a nice date together. So those pennies add up and go a long way!

 

What have you done to spend time with your spouse on a small budget? Did you find a fun way from the suggestions above? Let me know!

 

happy mommying

When Enough is Not Enough: Fighting to be Mommy

 

At the request of my mother-in-law my husband, daughter and I tagged along to a party with some of her lifelong friends. The promise of good food, no dishes, and leaving early for bedtime sounded like a great idea to an almost seven month pregnant Mama and an overworked Daddy.
 

My mother-in-law had asked me to make some decorated sugar cookies for the party like I had the year before and, since there was free food and $150 involved, I agreed. Everyone loved the cookies and was very excited about the cute bunnies, lambs, and chicks that decorated the silver tray.
 

However, a complement soon turned into a Mommy bash when the hostess said, “Kabrina, you have to go to pastry school! We all love your cookies and they are so cute! You can’t be a stay-at-home mom forever! It’s a waste of your talent!” I tried really hard to let it run off my back like the baby oil I put on my daughter at night, but it stuck…
 
for days…
 

it stuck.
 
Her words and my mother-in-law reminding her that I finished my degree through a pregnancy and a half kept replaying in my head because I knew, many people thought I was wasting my time on my children and my start-up business.

I knew, many people thought I was wasting my time on my children and my start-up business. Click To Tweet

This wasn’t the first time I had heard something similar, but in the heat of being pregnant and my husband bringing up that he had wanted to retort back later that evening made it sting just a little more. It was as if our family planning, for me to stay home and raise however many children we decided to have, was a mistake and we had missed a valuable piece of information along our research path.

 

It was as if our family planning was a mistake and we had missed a valuable piece of information along our research path. Click To Tweet

Now don’t get me wrong being a stay-at-home mommy is wonderful, but is DEFINETLY not all I do. If you have been following my blog for any amount of time you can see that I started my entrepreneur lifestyle with a camera in hopes of becoming a full-time photographer, and then moved on to a more viable start-up teaching American Sign Language classes along with writing this blog that supports sensory and ASL. So as you can see I don’t get to just play and clean my house all day, which is what everyone who is not a stay-at-home mom imagines us doing. And whether you blog, work part-time, or just stay at home it is still not butterflies and roses to be a Mommy.

 

Whether you blog, work part-time, or just stay at home it is still not butterflies and roses to be a Mommy. Click To Tweet

I want to encourage you though! You are a wonderful, needed, exceptional part of this world! You are a mom! You are strong! And what other people think right now in the poopy diapers, long nights, missed romances, throw-up, and exhaustion time of being a mom doesn’t matter.

 

What other people think right now in the poopy diapers, long nights, missed romances, throw-up, and exhaustion time of being a mom doesn’t matter. Click To Tweet

You are doing something that only you can do, raising YOUR children. Yes, it can be thankless work, but there will be moments like your little one being attached to you at the hip and laying their sweet little head on your shoulder every time you hold them, that you can never replace with job success or more money. It may take longer to buy a house or get into a place that is your dream home, but those sweet pleases and thank yous that you have been teaching and showing everyday will pay off.

 

I’m not saying you have to be a stay-at-home mom forever, but don’t miss the sweet moments that drip like honey from time with your kids. Not everyone has the opportunity to do what you do, and not everyone is built for it. But even if you are an OCD overachiever, in need of fulfilling work like me, take a step back and watch you baby sleep, go to the park, take it all in as they asked to be ticked one more time because these are precious moments that they will outgrow and you will miss.

 

But also dream big! You have lots of potential and being a mommy is adding to what you can do. Think about it, if you were not good at conflict resolution, with siblings, you are now! You may have had no idea about empathy before you had kids, but now you can understand where people are coming from, from a whole new light. It’s like Atticus Finch said in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” And don’t we do that everyday?

 

Finally, don’t compare yourself to other women; moms or not. When you look at someone’s life on social media or in a coffee shop conversation, you are getting the super, “How do I look to the world” edited version. You will never know how many nights she went to bed exhausted, only to get up an hour later for work or how her marriage is flimsy at best, although he brings home what they need and she sells her beautiful masterpieces on Etsy. Just like you may view your talents as something menial (Well I can do it so anybody can) they aren’t.
 
Think about it this way, there are more than one kind of company that sells smart phones. You may prefer Apple over Android, and others will prefer Android over Apple, but they make the same type of thing. Each business brings a certain value to their customer that only they can bring in their way. If you prefer one over the other you may disagree, but if another famous person would have only thought about all the rejection and hurtful things people said he would have never created the empire we know today as Disney.
 
Walt Disney was rejected for a business loan by 302 bankers before he finally got the money needed, and, when he was younger, was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor thought he lacked creativity.
 
In hindsight we all can see he knew what he was doing and followed his dreams, but he also made mistakes along the way.

Give yourself a break, you may be super mom, but you are still human.

Give yourself a break, you may be super mom, but you are still human. Click To Tweet

Enjoy everyday and comment with some of the comments you’ve heard and how you used them to drive you forward not drive you down.

 

 

happy mommying

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