Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Kids Are Growing Up

My kids are growing up and I don't know how I feel about it. We've finally gotten to the point where middle of the night wake ups are few and far between. I know what a solid eight hours of sleep feels like again. Naps are now nearly non-existent and dear god do I miss nap time. While we don't get the sanity recharging time in the middle of the day, we are no longer bound by the eat, sleep, poop schedule our small humans tied us to. We've been freed from the baby jail and can now leave the house on a semi-whim if we wish (we have 3 kids. I'm pretty sure getting out of the house will always be a challenge).
When we go places I no longer have to carry half of my house in a jumbo size suitcase that retailers call a diaper bag. Instead we can easily leave home with a jumbo size purse and baby wipes. We no longer have to mess with cramming a giant stroller into the back of the minivan. I can tell two out of my three kids to get in the van and buckle up without taking a half hour to make sure everyone's car seat straps are properly adjusted.
While we ditched the diaper bags, we gained two big things which makes every outing nearly terrifying: tantrums and opinions. Instead of an infant carrier with an infant screaming to be fed, I'm now toting behind me three children who insist that whatever they want to do is the "right thing to do."
When they ask for a drink of water, I can tell them to get it themselves. The sippy cups have vacated my cupboards and were replaced by every character cup you can imagine. They can take themselves to the bathroom and wipe themselves. We're beyond the point of highchairs, small cutesy clothes, bibs, cribs, or diaper changes. They've stopped relying on me for theirevery need. We can even have a family game night and they'll participate--with playing time mainly consisting of arguments between the kids while I play referee. It will be a few years before we can get a game played all the way through without tears.
Yet, then I find myself wandering around the baby section at Target or driving past Buy Buy Baby, places where I spent half of my early motherhood years at, and I suddenly miss when my babies clung to me. The all day eating sessions, the middle of the night cuddles, the early morning giggles, the nap times when I'd nap too. I miss pushing a stroller and scoping out all of the other mommy's strollers at the mall (stroller envy anyone?). I miss my oldest son's tiny voice telling me "no" and when holding my hand in the parking lot wasn't considered lame.
A part of me wants them to stay little forever, to keep their voices small and their worries simple. To witness the wonder of the new things they find. The other part of me rejoices in the long 9 hours of sleep I got last's such a tough call.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Another Birthday Partying Weekend

 The kids had another weekend of birthday parties and I had a website working weekend. Thankfully the kids had fun and were entertained AND I got a lot of work done. Win win for all of us. 

 Friday night we had errands to run. This is what a family trip to Starbucks looks like: $20, two very caffeinated beverages, and three extra chocolatey drinks.

 Saturday was a cool and rainy day. The kids got creative with toothpicks and marshmallows. We hit up a couple of daycare closing sales and then headed to a birthday party at Chow's Gym. The kids loved it, despite Elizabeth breaking down with "I just want my mom!" and Harrison biting his tongue (he had to spend the remaining half of the party shirtless after he drooled blood down his shirt. Minus one point for mom who didn't have an extra shirt).

 Elizabeth instantly cuddled up with one of the instructors and started doing all of the stretches and activities.

Harrison's classmate was kind enough to invite all siblings to her birthday party. The kids love attending birthday parties at Chow's. It was a great way for them to get some energy out on a rainy day! 
On Sunday the minis got to go to a "Frozen" birthday party and met Queen Elsa. Even the boys had a great time!

The rest of the weekend was dubbed a Website Working Weekend for me. I got posts written, a lot of brainstorming, and Lauren and I made headway in a new soon to come section of the website! 
Every weekend in May is taken up with school functions, family, a vacation, and more working. Thankfully this weekend was simple so I could save my energy for the panic attack inducing May that's ahead!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Week In Review: April 20 - April 24

The kids had a really fun week celebrating Earth Day, getting the bounce house out for the first time this year, and getting in a lot of imagination time. Here's a look at our fun week:

 We started the week with homemade cinnamon pancakes. I've found the best way to start a daycare week is with one of the kid's favorite breakfasts!

 Every day I write out progress sheets for the daycare kids. One day I got caught up on the sheets while the kids ate lunch. During lunch they were talking about the Easter Bunny. Then they requested that I write out a schedule for the E.B. So I obliged and (with the kid's help) the above note is what I got. It kept the kids laughing the rest of the day.

 The kids had a great time celebrating Earth Day. Read more about the day's activities here.

 A middle of the week family selfie. These rarely happen, but the Hubs has a new schedule at work that allows him to spend quite a few evenings at home now. We're all adjusting to this new schedule and enjoying the extra family time too.

 I required a pick me up mid week. Our local coffee shop Grounds For Celebration came through with a strawberry pastry and an iced mocha.

 We got out our Little Tikes Bounce House for the first time this season. It still had leaves in it from the fall, but a long jumping session was just what was needed on this chilly week. My favorite moment was when I asked the kids to sit down so I could take a picture. They all sat in the opposite direction of where I asked.

 The kids loved making faces with foam stickers. The kids also had a great time making door hangers and rings using geometric foam stickers. I found all of this at Michael's Craft store.

 I hit the jackpot in the Target Dollar Spot on night. I found these paper dolls for the kids to play with. This was the first time any of the kids had ever played (or heard of) paper dolls. It took them a minute to figure them out and they were a bit disappointed when they discovered the "dolls don't really do much," but had a good time regardless.

The kids loved watching the squirrels, rabbits, and birds eat from the tray of bird seed that had been our sensory activity the day before.

 At the beginning of the week I brought up several Little People toys that hadn't been played with in a while. At the end of the week, I brought up ALL of the Little People toys we own. We had Wheelie World and L.P. Town.

My favorite part of the week was listening to the kids play. We ended the week on a high note with the kids getting along great, playing together great, and being VERY imaginative and making their own fun. It was music to my ears.
Next week we'll hopefully get some more outside time in, do a few crafts, and start prepping for our busy summer that is just a few weeks away!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Earth Day Celebration

 We've spent the last few weeks doing Earth Day related activities (read more about our activities from last week here) so the kids were well prepared and very eager for our Earth Day Celebration! We've been reading several books about Earth Day to help explain it to the little ones. The kid's favorite Earth Day books have been Little Critter, Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration, How To Help The Earth, and The Earth Book. Here's some of our Earth Day Celebration activities that were great for the 2 to 4 years old crowd:

 Green and blue "Earth" shaving cream was a hit! The kids also painted the Earth on paper plates using shaving cream paint (a mixture of shaving cream, glue, and food coloring).

 We made bird feeders using empty toilet paper rolls, sun butter (the oldest mini is allergic to peanut butter so we had to substitute), and bird seed. Just a note with this: if using sun butter, it's very oily so it takes quite a bit longer to dry out than regular peanut butter.

The kids loved the bird seed so much that they asked to play with it. So we created a quick sensory activity using bird seed and our fake birds (found at Dollar Tree) from the spring sensory table. The kids played with the seed the rest of the day! When the kids were done playing with it, we put the tray of bird seed in the front yard and watched birds, squirrels, and a neighborhood cat surround the tray.

We used up our recyclables to make whatever the kids wanted. The kids loved doing this and got very creative with it!

 We had a race car, car, bunny, sword, train, and more (that I didn't snap a picture of) by the end of the day.

What's a celebration without cupcakes???
I'm certain the kids don't grasp what Earth Day is about, just that there's been A LOT of activities centered around plants, flowers, and animals!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Weekend Planner

Welcome to our weekly Thursday morning post about what's going on in the Des Moines, Iowa area. We'll share what we'll be doing, great finds, restaurants to eat at,  shops to drops some cash at, and all of the great things Des Moines has to offer families.
What We're Doing:
  • Birthday parties. As I said last weekend (read more about that here), April seems to be the month for birthdays!
  • Lauren and I have dubbed this a Website Working Weekend. Stay tuned for more content to be added to the site soon!
Other Things To Do:
  • It may be a little chilly, but there's another I-Cubs game this weekend.
  • Downtown Earth Day Tour. Go between the Science Center of Iowa, Botanical Garden, and the World Food Prize. It would be a great time to check out the new outdoor garden at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. When we took a peek last fall, it looked really neat.
  • Drake Relays
  • Jaws at Flix Brewhouse (7:00 p.m. on Saturday)
  • Looking for a fab place to eat? Try out Malo in the Des Moines Social Club. It is fantastic! We took the kids with us last weekend for the first time for lunch Saturday and had another great experience.

Swing Dancing Boys

If you've ever read any of my posts on FB, you probably know that we're a fan of dance parties to get that extra energy out at the end of the night. Recently I've been listening to a lot of 50's music on Pandora. Which means they've caught Hubs and myself swing dancing a time or two in the living room (and we're NOT good therefore there will never be video of that). Here's what the boys have picked up:

My favorite parts of this video: Harrison in Elizabeth's Elsa dress, Max wearing his fingerless Ninja Turtle gloves and pirate eye patch on his forehead, AND the fact that I got to witness this live, in person. These are the moments that keep me going when I'm ready to lose it with one of these little dancers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Birthday Partying Weekend