Happy Valentines Day!

From my family to yours we wish you all a Happy Valentines Day!

This morning we all enjoyed a heart filled breakfast together for the first time in a while. Usually we are not all awake or home at the same time for breakfast. And of course we had heart shaped pancakes because how else are you to eat pancakes on valentines day?! I even cut out some heart shaped strawberries!

Dorian loves fruit. He eats fruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner and any time in between. I mean just look at this smile!!

Eli is too little for pancakes or fruit so we just made his day by letting him try some whipped cream! Of course he loved it.

What did your family eat today? Did you have any heart shaped food? Or did you just enjoy your favorite meals? My favorite is breakfast foods!

 

The other day we did a little craft for Valentines Day. I’ve been wanting to do something with their hand prints for a while now and I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do until now. We made a heart shaped salt dough so I could treasure Dorians hand print forever. For Eli’s hand print I had an extra hand print kit so I could capture his. The kit was meant to be a Christmas ornament but I shaped it into a heart the best that I could and pressed Eli’s hand into it. It was a lot harder than it sounds! Eli’s hands are so little and he just wanted to make a fist but we eventually got a good one and I am super ecstatic at how it turned out.

For Dorians hand print we made our own salt dough. All it takes is
1 cup of flour
1 cup of salt
1/2 cup of water

I had Dorian add the three ingredients together himself. This was a craft that I wanted him to do as much himself that he could. It is a very simple and easy thing to make and you can do it for any holiday. It can be molded into a shape and there can be hand prints or foot prints or both.

I don’t know if he enjoyed making a mess or eating the flour more.  Next time I bake something I will definitely have Dorian help me add the ingredients because he was so excited to be helping in the kitchen instead of playing on the floor. The next step is obviously mix all of the ingredients together the best that you can to get a smooth dough. I let Dorian mix them together with his hands and he touched EVERYTHING. I can’t decide who is a messier cook Dorian or my husband.

After we mixed the dough together I let Dorian play with the remaining flour..or shall I say eat the remaining flour.. while I shaped it into a heart. I did not use a cookie cutter simply because I didn’t have one but it wasn’t as hard as it sounds. Pressing Dorians hand into the dough was probably harder because I had to really push his hand in.

I let the dough sit out on the counter for a few days before we completed our craft. Ending the project right here would have been perfect. I had his hand print mold and he had fun mixing everything together but I wanted to keep going with it. So I let Dorian paint it.

The finished product is just what I wanted. A craft the Dorian was able to do himself from start to finish and he had fun doing it. He made a mess doing everything but that is what it is all about. Letting him have fun and making a mess and painting his stomach green was how he had fun with this craft and that just made it more special to me.

Enjoy your Valentines Day!

Animal Noises

Before Dorian started talking he became a pro at animal noises. When he sees a lion, dog, cat, horse, sheep, nearly any animal he knows exactly what sound they make. The animals that don’t make specific noises are movements or funny faces. For a lizard Dorian will repeatedly stick his tongue out or a crab he will make pinchers with his hands. And all of this started with my father-in-law.

When Dorian was about 6 months old my father-in-law started pointing out the animals on the walls and making the noises to him. Dorians nursery had pictures of woodland animals hung up  near his changing table. There was an owl, fox and a bear. Of course at that time Dorian just enjoyed the attention and funny noises. The repetitiveness of the noises is what helped Dorian learn.

We moved to a new house when Dorian was 8 months old and in his new playroom I put up even more animals. There is a monkey, elephant, lion, giraffe, zebra and a bird on his wall.

So my father-in-law had even more animal noises to show Dorian. Not long after showing Dorian the new animal noises he started to repeat them back. A monkey and elephant were his first two animal sounds. You could ask, “Hey Dorian was does a monkey say?” And he would reply with a “aah aah aaah.”

    Repetition was the key. It was also really helpful when adding new ideas into the mix. We slowly started adding colors and names. He is slowly associating more words with different objects around the house as well. It is helping him grow as a learner. He gets so excited when he learns new things that he shows everyone that comes over to the house.

I believe starting with showing Dorian animals helped him pick up on a lot of things. It helped his concentration and his ability to recognize different objects or animals. Anything that you repeatedly show your child will help their learning ability and we just happened to use animals. At a year and a half old Dorian can form phrases when he is talking to someone and that is a big accomplishment.

Now that Eli is 6 months old it’s time to start teaching him animal noises…or better yet have Dorian teach him.

 

Dorians 1st Birthday

Now that Dorian is a year and a half old I can’t stop thinking about how much he has grown. He is talking, walking, running, jumping, singing, doing any and everything he can. He knows his animal noises, some of his colors and we recently started working on the alphabet. It is hard to believe that just 6 months ago we celebrated his 1st birthday…

Dorians birthday was sports themed. We had basketball, baseball, football and soccer décor because his favorite toys then (and now) are balls. He loves to throw them at you, down the stairs or, Mike showed him how to, bounce them off of the walls. (Which drives me crazy!!)

His invitations were baseball themed so I decided to have matching shirts that were baseball jerseys and did a little photo shoot at the ball field.  I am no photographer but I’ve been trying to work on my photography skills so when I do take pictures of my children they are a little better quality. Mike and I loaded up all the props I could think of, a smash cake that I made and headed down to the baseball field.

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The baseball cake I made was also my test run of the cake I was preparing for his party. It was the first time I made a spherical cake and the first time I did piping like that. It definitely was not high quality work but I thought I did pretty damn good. Plus, it tasted great! I made a large baseball and some little ones that I decorated as baseballs, soccer balls and basketballs.

The large baseball I used this 3D pan that I bought from Michaels. The smaller ones were made in a silicon pan that had baseball, basketball and soccer ball markings on it, also from Michaels.

For my baseball cake I decided to do half chocolate and half vanilla. I have yet to find a chocolate or vanilla cake recipe that I absolutely love so each time I bake one I typically try out a new recipe or tweak an old one I’ve used. When you use these pans keep in mind that you will be baking longer than the normal 15-20 minutes. The pans are deep and it takes some time for the center of your cake to bake properly. When I was baking the chocolate side it took nearly twice as long as it did for the vanilla side because of the different ingredients so don’t fret. It’ll turn out great just give it some time!

I made the snack table into a “concession stand” and served things you would typically find at a game. Foods such as walking tacos, mini bags of assorted chips, popcorn, and some candy. (I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it finished with everything!) We also served burgers and hot dogs and side dishes you would find at a picnic.

Each table was decorated as a different sports theme. I had soccer….

 The little felt soccer fields I made myself. I bought the felt from Michaels and painted the lines on. (I used chalk to draw the outline of them before I painted to make sure they were as even as possible.)
The napkins, mini nets and soccer balls are from Party City.
For the chip bowl I bought a cheap soccer ball from Dicks Sporting Goods and cut it in half. To keep the chips from actually touching the ball I put some Glad Press n’ seal on the inside which worked out pretty great!
Also, the little soccer balls on the chandelier I just cut out the center of a paper plate and drew the markings on it to look like soccer balls!

…basketball…

The basketball table didn’t require any crafting because I found an awesome table cloth at Party City! The napkins, center piece and all the confetti were all from there. The chip bowls were a cheap ball purchase from Dicks Sporting Goods and cut in half then lined with some press n’ seal!

…baseball…

The baseball table was fairly easy as well! The table cloth is a plain white one and I painted on baseball stitching. The napkins were white ones that I cut in the shape of a home plate which was VERY simple! Then I placed some baseballs in the bowls with the peanuts.

…and footballThis table is similar to the soccer table with the felt field. I chalked the outline of a field and just painted on the lines. For the end zones I painted in Dorians name to give it a little personalization. The yellow napkins are the “penalty flags” and they are in an old can with black construction paper wrapped around it.

There is always a big hype about your child’s first birthday. You want to have the perfect theme, perfect cake, perfect décor, perfect weather, perfect everything and that is just totally unrealistic. If you are a naturally crafty person then I say go for it! Go all out and make it the best party you’ve ever thrown but if you’re not who cares? A store bought cake and some balloons are all you need because the most important thing is being with your child. The friends and family are the ones who make the party worth while. Yes, I wanted to give it my all to make Dorians first birthday the best party ever but it wasn’t and I am okay with that. I put my little décor touches into it but it would have been just as amazing if I didn’t because we had all of our loved ones celebrating with us. Plus, Dorians favorite part was being around everyone he loves. He just kept going from one person to the next and giving everyone smiles.

 

Going from 1 kid to 2 kids

I first found out I was pregnant with Eli when Dorian was about 4 1/2 months old. I was terrified. How in the world would I be able to handle two little ones? They were going to be so close in age!
I want a big family and I would like for my children to be close in age but I wasn’t expecting only a year apart. With Dorian being so young I knew he would not understand a baby and now having to share his mom. I wanted to prepare him for the transition as best as I could. First was going to be to teach him how to entertain himself for just a short while when I knew I would be feeding Eli. Which was harder for me than for him because all I wanted to do was hold Dorian and just snuggle him as much as I could! The first thing I did was getting him started on having play time alone during parts of the day. It wasn’t for long periods of time just enough for him to get a taste of it at first. Actually, it turned out to be very helpful because I would use that time to eat a hot meal or get some laundry done. Then, once Dorian started crawling, I had him crawl to me anytime he wanted me to hold him. I tried to encourage others when they were around to have him crawl from place to place instead of being carried. Of course that was a bit challenging at first since he loved to be held but the positive tones and encouragements he received helped with getting him excited to do it on his own. Same with when he wanted a certain toy, I cheered him on as he crawled across the room to get it himself and we both would do a happy dance when he got there. I didn’t do anything ridiculous to try to prepare him for when he was going to share me, but with him being my first child I just wanted to spoil him with hugs and kisses all day long. At first he HATED crawling longer distances, but I tried to make it more of an activity. It was always a race to see who could crawl faster to the next room or to the next toy. The key to getting a child, especially a young one, to want to do something is lots of encouragement. That may seem like common sense but its a difficult task to achieve all the time. You definitely have to work at it.
ALWAYS encourage them.
Rewards work really well like hey here’s a snack!
(or even allowing them to play with something you usually don’t let them play with)
His sleep schedule I was really adamant about. I wanted nap times at the same exact time every day and I wanted him in bed at the same time every night. This was one part of his routine that I wasn’t willing to differ from. That and falling asleep on his own were my top priorities. With a newborn it was going to be more challenging if he wasn’t able to fall asleep on his own. After a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of crying it was successful. Dorian did excellent with practically everything so when it came time to have Eli, most of my fears were gone.

The moment we walked in the door with Eli, Dorian stared us down wondering why in the world were we bringing this crying thing home?! All he wanted was for me to hold him and not Eli, which is exactly what I expected. Of course I snuggled Dorian as much as I could for the first few days. (He was also not walking at the time so it made things more difficult). I quickly learned how to carry both of them.. I even mastered the art of carrying Dorian, Eli in his carrier, and the diaper bag when we went places (mainly doctor visits or to the grandparents house). The first few days were rough. Every time I tried to feed Eli or change a diaper, Dorian would lay on the ground and bang his head off of the floor.
I froze.
How do you handle something like that?
I knew if I acknowledged it too much then he would be getting exactly what he wanted, more attention whether it be good or bad.
So as painful as it was, I ignored him.
Every time he banged his head off of the floor I had to look away.
It broke my heart every. single. time.
But ignoring him ended up working. He realized that it was going to get him nowhere. After that first week I knew that I had to keep him entertained somehow while I was with Eli.
One of the best pieces of parenting advice I received was,
“deal with the older one first.”
No child was ever harmed from crying so just let that little one cry until you get the older one situated. It also shows them that they are not forgotten amidst a newborn and they will listen to you better.
So when it came time to feed Eli or change his diaper I would get Dorian started on a new activity. Whether it was building blocks, reading his books, watching TV, or even eating a snack I made sure he was preoccupied before I went to Eli.

Trying to get myself into a new routine was difficult. Eli slept 45 minutes at a time. He was in a bassinet in my room for the first month and Dorian was transitioning into a new room.
So nights were rough.
And I mean rough.
When Eli would finally fall asleep, Dorian would be up screaming and vice versa. Mornings? I felt like a zombie. I was in that newborn fog stage. My body was going through the motions while my mind was constantly struggling to catch up. Dorian was happy as can be and I was trying to keep Eli up for longer stretches of time so maybe he would sleep longer at night. I napped every time Dorian would nap because I couldn’t function otherwise.
(Two babies is exhausting when you don’t sleep at night so I napped as often as I could!)

The first month is hard because you don’t want to take the little one out in the world just yet but you’re starting to get cabin fever. So I went on walks around the neighborhood. It got us all some fresh air and it made me feel as if I wasn’t stuffed in a house for too long. Also, the fresh air would give me my second wind (or third/fourth/fifth..or whatever you call it when you’re so dazed and get little bursts of energy throughout the day).

When month 2 rolled around I moved Eli to his own crib.
He slept 12 straight hours.
12 straight hours.
Yes, you read that right.
I freaked out. All night I woke up every 2 hours wondering if he was still breathing,
why didn’t he wake up yet,
and why wasn’t he hungry yet?
I stared at the baby monitor to make sure I could see his chest rising and falling. But that still didn’t make me feel any better. I would sneak into his room to listen to him breathing and to my delight he was snoring away. I asked Mike at least a dozen times if I should wake him up. I was terrified. I wanted to wake him but I didn’t because he hadn’t slept longer than an hour for the whole first month. But once his eyes opened I didn’t even give him a chance to cry before I rushed in there. You know what he did? He smiled. And he kept smiling. He was SO happy! All he needed was a good nights sleep. And for the first month in his crib he did the same thing.
He slept all night long.

I was able to get so much sleep that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Handling the boys during the day turned into a piece of cake. Playing with Dorian while Eli napped, reading books while I fed Eli, dancing with Dorian while I changed diapers. Almost all of my struggles disappeared when I started getting actual sleep. So my advice to you…
Take any and all help offered.
SLEEP when people are helping.
I know when people are helping you feel as if you need to mingle with them or get the laundry done that’s been sitting there for way too long but don’t do it. Put it off a little while longer because it isn’t going to hurt anyone if it’s not done. Or if the house isn’t cleaned. Your husband isn’t going to be mad nor are you kids or guests. Because YOU JUST HAD A FREAKING BABY! No one expects you to be supermom so don’t stress yourself out. Sleeping is the most important thing for you and your recovering body. Once you start getting rest and you get more energy everything will seem a million times easier.

Fast forward a few months. Eli wakes up once a night to eat and Dorian does not wake up at all (most nights). Dorian is walking and talking and being a really great big brother. Any time Eli cries, Dorian gives him a toy and tries to make him laugh and if that doesn’t work he gives him his pacifier. Eli loves to be with Dorian and just watch him play. Soon enough they’ll really be able to play with each other and they’re going to enjoy that at least I know I will!

Welcome!

Thank you for coming to check out my blog! I am new to the blogging world and am excited to get started talking about being a momma. If you want to get a little back story on my family hop on over to the about section. Otherwise let’s begin with my two little boys that are 13 months apart. I like to call them my almost Irish twins.

Eli started on baby food about a month ago and after a very rocky start is doing so much better. At first I was having near panic attacks every time I tried to feed him the oatmeal because that little bugger wanted nothing and I mean NOTHING to do with it. Anyone else have that problem? When Dorian started on baby food he loved it. I had no problems whatsoever feeding him anything. Eli spit out more than half of that cereal for about two weeks before I decided to just try some baby food. First thing I tried? Green beans. I mean I should have known I was asking for even more trouble with green beans. What kid actually likes green beans? But I went ahead with that for a few days anyways. That got me a hard no. After that we went for the bananas and ba-da-bing! That was a winner! If you are having trouble getting your little one to start on baby food just give it some time and some change. Maybe they don’t like the kind of food you’re trying. It’s natural for someone to not enjoy all types of foods so don’t expect your little one to like all foods too. Fast forward to now he still hates the oatmeal but loves eating all kinds of baby foods. He will eat anything as long as Dorian is eating or better yet, feeding him.

Now onto a bit on Dorian. He is a handful but nothing too crazy. He loves attention but what 1 year old doesn’t? Now sharing my attention with his little brother is a different story but one that is starting to have a good ending. When Dorian first met Eli in the hospital he squeezed me so tight and stared him down like who the hell are you and why is my momma holding you?

And once Eli started crying? HA, it was a crying match! Who could cry louder? Harder? And who was gonna win and get the attention first? I feared for life at home for a while at that moment. But when the nurses came to take Eli, Dorian did not like that one bit. He cried until Eli was back in the room with us. And that moment was my saving grace. There were definitely some rocky times at first and Dorian did whatever he could for my undivided attention but now he understands that his brother needs some attention too…most of the time.

Just wanted to give you guys a little taste of my family. Stay tuned because I will definitely tell you more about the first few days, weeks, months with the rascals and tips on how I handled the transition. If there is anything you want to know about let me know! I am an open book when it comes to my motherhood experiences.

Want to see more photos of the little ones? Check out my Instagram!