What I’m Reading Lately

Good morning!

I’ve been reading blogs since college, so for over ten years (yikes…I’m getting old.)

I’ve found a few new (to me) blogs recently though that I really love, so wanted to share!  Please share your favorites in the comments, I love finding new blogs to read!

A Day in Mom Life: I really love her down to earth writing style and variety of topics.  Plus, she’s an RN, so I feel like she’s got a lot of great advice!

Fishies in a Row: I discovered this blog a couple of weeks ago and have been reading through her old posts, love it!  She writes about Montessori at home, as well as other things.

The Montessori Way I just started reading this one, but have already found so many great ideas I want to copy at home!  She posts beautiful pictures of the Montessori work she uses for her baby at home.

Hashtag Mom Fail: This is the most recent one I’ve found and she writes with such honesty and openness.  I’ve been reading through all of her old posts and really love how brave she is with what she shares.

I’ve been reading these next few for longer, but these are some great Montessori blogs I love as well:

Montessori Maniac: This is written by my good friend and mentor, Natalie, and it is great!  She is an amazing Montessori teacher and also a mother to two boys, so she offers a great dual perspective of a mom and teacher.

The Kavenaugh Report: She writes about Montessori at home and has great ideas and beautiful Montessori home spaces.

How We Montessori: She also writes about Montessori at home and shares all sorts of beautiful Montessori spaces and ideas.  She also wrote a Montessori kids cookbook that I can’t wait to buy for James in a year or so.

If this isn’t enough reading, check out these articles I’ve recently written for Motherly!

Have you found any new blogs lately? Please share or link to your own!

 

 

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Four Thoughts from the Library

Our car was in the shop last week so I walked to the library story time near our house.  On our walk, I did some reflecting, and wanted to share these four (random) thoughts.

1. The library is awesome

On a day we otherwise would have been stuck at home, we were able to walk to the library for a great storytime with other babies.  I love that these story times offer a free opportunity for James to interact with other babies.  I don’t really want to pay for a baby gym class or anything at this point, but I do think it’s beneficial for him to practice interacting with other little ones.

Plus, on the walk there, I was listening to a free audiobook from the library website (Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, I liked it).  Did you know that this was a thing?  I just recently realized they offered free audiobook downloads and I think it’s kind of amazing!

2. Gender biases start young

A little boy brought over a ball to someone else’s mom and she said “Thank you.  Boys love balls”  Why???  I’m not trying to judge her because I’ve said about a million things that I later think I shouldn’t have.  I do think it’s interesting though.  Sure little boys love balls…and so do little girls.  Why put these stereotypes on one year old children?

It just made me realize how soon this stuff starts and I know it will only get worse when he’s out of the house and away from us more as he grows.  Do you have any tips for combating this at home?

3. I need to start filtering

On the walk home, I was waiting, along with two other pedestrians, for the crosswalk to turn.  Right after the walk sign came on and we started going, this guy pulled up right across the crosswalk, looking the other way to see if there were any cars, and never even saw us, even though he almost hit us.  I called him an idiot (he couldn’t hear me).

I realized that I really need to start filtering what I say more.  I don’t use terrible language, but I definitely curse when I stub my toe or something.  For some reason, I never once had a problem with this when I was teaching, but I think it’s because I’m obviously more myself and unfiltered at home than at work.  I’m not sure how to go about doing this, but I know at some point James’s vocabulary is going to explode and I’d rather it didn’t explode with f-bombs….

4. It’s hard to balance your own beliefs with others’ expectations

This was definitely the biggest one and something I thought about most of the way home.  I believe pretty strongly that adults should interfere as little as possible in children’s conflicts (I wrote about Montessori conflict resolution here if you’re interested).

However, I realized this is going to be hard for me when I’m around other non-Montessori parents.  I don’t want them to think I don’t see James doing something or that I don’t care.  I also don’t want to lecture these almost strangers about my parenting philosophy.

So my solution was to interfere when James did something (took a toy from someone) and not interfere when someone did something to him (more stealing of toys).  This was obviously a poor solution and I felt pretty terrible about it, though he didn’t seem to care.

I don’t know the answer though.  I’m going to ask my friend Natalie when I see her because she always has the answers!

Do you ever have trouble maintaining your parenting philosophy in groups with other parents?

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James at 12 Months

People told me time would fly by and, for me, it both has and hasn’t.  I would say the first weeks and months actually felt really slow.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I did not feel like time was flying by.  Each day was really long.  As the year progressed though, time sped up and I would say the last six months have definitely flown by.  I’m sure this will continue to be the case, so I want to pause and document James at one year.  Going forward, I’ll likely do these posts every three-six months instead of monthly.

Eating

Everyone who visits our home comments on how much, and how quickly, this little guy eats.  He seems to take after his Dad lol.  He will eat pretty much anything at the moment (except birthday cake…), but his favorites are definitely cheese, peas, blueberries, bananas, black beans, and pizza.  He is not much of a meat eater at this point, except for salmon and sometimes a little ground beef.  I’m guessing this might change once he has more teeth, but who knows.

We’ve started introducing cow’s milk to him and so far, I’d say he’s confused by it.  He drinks some, but also spits a lot out.  I think he’s so used to drinking water, anything else surprises him.

I’m still breastfeeding him, but am going to be out of town for a couple of days this month, so wanted to introduce milk so he can drink it while I’m gone.  I’m not too worried though since he loves cheese and yogurt and eats a ton.

Can you tell someone likes to rearrange the cookbooks?

My favorite thing with his eating right now is, before almost every bite, he holds his food up in the air until someone tells him what it is.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell what he’s holding and if we say the wrong thing, he just keeps his little hand up in the air, staring at us until we get it right.

At twelve months he had two teeth, but one of his little top teeth just poked through last week.

Sleep

Sleep is definitely the best it’s ever been.  He goes to bed at 7, almost always without complaint.  We generally don’t hear from him until the morning, around 6:30 usually.  He takes two naps a day, around 9 or 9:30 and 1:30 or 2.  He is napping much better these days, which is amazing because it lets me get some things done, but also because he is so happy when he gets enough sleep!

I admit that when I think about when to have another child, sleep deprivation weighs heavily on my mind….

Physical Development

James is walking!  He started walking really short distances at 11 1/2 months, but now he is full on walking (and fast!) all over the house.  He still crawls sometimes when he’s in a hurry, but more often walks.

He is also climbing all over everything and it is a little bit scary.  I need to buy / make something safe for him to practice his climbing skills.

James also learned how to open doors this month.  Honestly, I’m not too happy with this new skill, as I’m not kind of terrified that he’ll smash his little fingers, but I suppose he had to learn some day.

Language

James pretty much only says “Dada” and his version of no, “neh neh neh”.  He actually used to say “mama,” but hasn’t in forever 🙁  It was really cute though, he called my husband’s dad “Dada” too when he was visiting last week.

While he isn’t talking much yet, I’m seeing so many signs of his growing comprehension and it is amazing!  One of our favorite books is Go to Sleep Little Farm.  There’s a part in the book where the Dad turns off the light and James starts waving when we read that page, just like he waves goodnight when my husband turns off his light at the end of the day.  I didn’t know if he really followed what was happening in the books, so I thought this was pretty awesome!

Personality

He is still mostly very happy, very busy, and very curious.  He is still clingy with me and I am enjoying every last hug.

I think of 12-18 months as sort of a ‘tween stage between babies and toddlers and it’s been so fun to see parts of his little toddler personality emerge.  He loves to test the limits and will look at me before doing something he knows he’s not supposed to do, then throw a mini tantrum after I stop him (this mainly revolves around climbing on his shelf and the tables).  Honestly right now it is really cute, but I’m sure I’ll have to work on staying patient as he does this more and more.

He’s also started to interact a little more with other babies at story time.  He and another little guy were walking around the room together and James would hand him a toy when he came over – so cute! #babybuddies

His favorite things to do right now are playing outside, reading books, singing songs, and eating.

Honestly, I really thought I would struggle with James turning one, but I’m really not sad about it.  I think I was sad beforehand because I loved him being a baby so much and couldn’t picture what it would be like when he was a little toddler.  Now that I can see more and more of his sweet personality each day though, I could never wish that away to go back to the baby stage.  I’m loving exactly where he is now and can’t wait to see more and more of his personality emerge in the coming months.

Past updates:

5 Months

6 Months

7 Months

8 Months

9 Months

10 Months

11 Months

*Please note this post contains affiliate links – I get a small percentage if items are purchased, at no cost to you.  I only include items I have and love.  Thanks for your support!

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I pledge to raise a peaceful child

I pledge to raise a peaceful child.

It’s no longer enough for people to be non-violent, to not add to the problem, we need people who will work against violence.  And in order for those people to exist, we need to help shape them.

Our children can grow up to be the generation to say enough is enough.  To say that human beings are smart enough and kind enough and brave enough to say no to prejudice and hate.  It’s such a very big problem, but let’s do what we can to end it.

I pledge to never laugh at a racist or sexist joke, even if it makes things awkward.  I pledge to say what I believe instead.  Our children are watching and listening, always.  It’s not enough to not be the one making the joke.  It’s not enough to be silent.

I pledge to seek out diverse schools and churches and communities for my son to be a part of.  Because it’s knowing real people, of all kinds, on a personal level, that puts a stop to hate.

I pledge to talk about race in our house, even if it makes me uncomfortable.

I pledge to read books and listen to music and admire art from all different cultures with my son.

I pledge to celebrate different cultures by cooking their recipes and going to eat their food at authentic restaurants because food brings us together and gives us a glimpse into the beauty of different groups of people.

I pledge to say “hello” to people of different races when I see them on the street.  People tend to stick to their own groups because it’s easier and I don’t want to ever perpetuate that, but especially not when my son is with me.

I pledge to talk to him about bullying, about standing up for people, and about connecting with people who are different, or who may look different, but really have so much in common.

I pledge to do everything I possibly can to raise a child who will not only not add to the violence of the world, but who will do what he can to stop it.

It’s a scary world out there and it’s easy to feel like we can’t do anything to make it better.  But we can, and we should.  We can do a million mundane, seemingly insignificant things that help shape our children every day, and add up to something real.

We have a big, often daunting, job trying to talk to our children about everything that’s going on.  But we also have an awesome responsibility and a beautiful opportunity to help them be the kind of people who will work hard to build a better future.

It’s never too early to start the conversation.

 

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October Goals

It’s that time again!  First, here’s a recap of last month’s goals.  I have to say, they went better than usual, although I think it’s mostly just because I’m setting more realistic goals. #thinksmall

September Goals:

  1. Set an alarm clock: Success!  I set my alarm for 5 or 5:30, depending on how much I had to do, Monday through Thursday all month except for a few days when my father in law was visiting.  I got so much more done and felt much less stressed.  I’m a major morning person and have trouble doing creative things like writing later in the day, so I did most of my writing in these early morning hours.  Also, not setting an alarm Friday through Sunday kept me from getting too exhausted.  I definitely plan to continue this going forward.
  2. Run twice a week: I didn’t keep track, but I mostly did this.  Now I need to get better about rolling / stretching my injured foot because I’m definitely feeling it.
  3. Finish James’s Baby Book: I finished and ordered the first half of his baby book (I’m making it on Shutterfly and it’s too many pages for one book).  I still need to finish the second half, but am hoping to get that done soon because I have a great coupon expiring October 15.
  4. Plan Backyard Updates: I did not really do this.  I did some preliminary research on improving grass and got overwhelmed and stopped.  I did plant some more flowers though, so it’s looking a little better!

October Goals:

  1. Make Montessori work for James: I am super uncrafty, but this post has so many great ideas for simple Montessori work for 12-14 month olds and I would love to spend some time making some of it for James.
  2. Work on long-term writing projects: I’ve started doing some freelance writing, which I am SO excited about, but I also have a couple of personal long-term writing projects that I really don’t want to lose sight of.  I’m hoping to set aside one day a week to work on those.
  3. Find / make fun recipes for James: I was doing great with this for a while, but I lately I feel like I’ve been scrambling a bit with James’s meals (when he’s not eating what we’re eating) and I’d really like to make some new fun things for him, especially to have for lunch.  My friend Laura sent me this website, which looks so great, I just need to spend some time on there!
  4. Choose a half marathon plan: I’ve been running a bit more lately, but still haven’t mapped out any actual plan for the half I’m running with my brother in Januray.  It’s been so long since I’ve run any sort of distance race and I know I need to give myself plenty of time to build up mileage, so I’m hoping to choose a plan soon.

And that’s all I’ve got!  Keeping it simple as usual.

Do you have any goals for the month?

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Recent Highlights, Birthday Edition

I don’t often share weekend recaps because I don’t like feeling pressure to go do all the things (#homebody), and because I often forget to take pictures when we’re out and about.

We’ve had so much fun the last week though that I wanted to share.  My father in law is visiting from Wisconsin for James’s birthday and yesterday was also my husband’s birthday (happy birthday!!!!!)

I don’t think he cares at all, but I actually feel kind of bad for my husband because his birthday is only five days after James’s and I have a feeling it might get overshadowed sometimes.  It’s a good thing he likes pizza parties as much as any kid I’ve ever met 😉

Here are the highlights, sentence (or two) per picture style.

It doesn’t rain much here, so when it does we make sure to watch.

Is one old enough to drink coffee?

James enjoyed helping Dad put together his new walker wagon.

This super blurry photo from his birthday is one of my favorites, pure joy.

He’s working on his death stare.  I think it’s looking pretty good.

The water table was a big hit!

We also made him a family picture board book for his birthday using Pinhole Press and he loved it right away.  I can’t wait to make him more board books!

White or orange?  Every man must choose.

James took an extra long nap Saturday morning and I sat outside and finished this book – it was glorious.

James had so much fun with his Grandpa!

We went for a walk on Austin’s greenbelt and stopped to play in the water – that face!

There’s a park about a mile from our house and I love that he’s getting old enough to play there!  He loves climbing around and watching the big kids.

What’s a recent highlight from your life?

Do you have any fun birthday traditions?

*Please note this post contains affiliate links – I get a small percentage if items are purchased, at no cost to you.  I only include items I have and love.  Thanks for your support!

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#nofilterfriday

James flinging everything in sight onto the floor

Happiest of Fridays to you!

I wanted to do something a little different today.  I was so inspired by this post about run of the mill bad days, and how it can be hard to share them on social media.  I think most people have good intentions when sharing the highlights of their lives.  We want to focus on the positive.  We don’t want to seem like we’re complaining when there are people out there with very real, very big problems.

But even though we know we’re looking at the best snapshots of people’s lives, it can be discouraging if you’re having a rough day, or just a normal, unfiltered day, to see perfect smiling people all over social media.

So let’s take away the filter, just a little bit, and share our real, messy, relatable lives.

Not a zombie apocalypse, just enjoying some blueberries…he’s won the battle of the bib

I’m going to start posting #nofilterfriday snapshots and would LOVE for you to join me!  On Fridays, I’ll be sharing snapshots of everyday, always messy, sometimes exhausting life as a mom on instagram, and maybe on the blog too sometimes.  (btw, in an effort to emerge from the dark ages, I’ve finally started an instagram and facebook account for the blog and would love you to follow me!)

I’m excited about this and really hope you’ll join me!

Have a happy, messy, real-life weekend and enjoy the highlights and push through the struggles 🙂

 

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To you on your (very first) birthday

Dear little one,

May you take long naps and always eat your vegetables.  Oh wait, that’s my birthday wish…. let’s try again.

I’ve wanted a baby ever since I could remember.  Yes, I was one of those kids.  I hung up pictures of babies in my room as a little girl (from an Anne Geddes calendar, did anyone else love her?  Just me?)  Still, I had no idea how wonderful you would be or how very much I would love you.

I’ve loved you from the first moment I found out I was pregnant, maybe even before then.  It seemed too good to be true and I spent a good part of my pregnancy worrying that something would go wrong.  But it didn’t and you were born healthy and strong and I couldn’t believe how perfect you were.

I am so HAPPY to celebrate with you today.  I know you don’t understand what today is all about, but I hope you can feel that it’s a special day none the less.  We are going to do your favorite things (story time, playing outside, maybe a trip to Barnes and Noble or the splash pad) and eat your favorite foods (peas, pizza, bananas, blueberries).

I can’t wait to give you your first slice of birthday cake.  I suspect you’ll shun it in favor of peas, like you do with ice cream, but I’m excited anyway.

I can’t wait to help you open your presents today.  I’m excited to watch you play with the wrapping paper and boxes and, hopefully, eventually, with the new toys we carefully picked for you.

I can’t wait to give you a few extra cuddles, hugs, and kisses, and to read you all of your favorite books, as many times as you want.

I can’t wait to sing you happy birthday for the very first time!

I can’t wait to celebrate this magical year together, the one that rocked our worlds in the best possible way, the one that was so scary, so exhausting, and so joyful that we will never be the same.

Most of all, I can’t wait to watch you grow for another year.  I have no idea what it will bring and I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ll be capable of at the end of it, but I know it will be nothing short of an amazing adventure, full of smiles and laughs and plenty of lazy afternoons at home, full of time together.

Happy birthday little one!

Love, Mama

 

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Looking Forward to….

In an effort to combat my sentimental side, the (big) part of me that is struggling with my little guy turning one this week, I’ve been thinking about all of the many wonderful things we have to look forward to as he gets older – it turns out there are a lot!

Here’s my list.

  1. Board game nights – I know this won’t be for a while, but it is my number one, I am such a board game nerd, love them
  2. Family camping trips
  3. Cooking / baking with James
  4. Hearing all of the funny things he will say
  5. Hearing him say “I love you”
  6. Seeing what his interests are
  7. More freedom to go out with my husband or friends
  8. Arts and crafts time!  I’m so unartistic, but I LOVE to color.
  9. Playground dates
  10. Picnics
  11. Trips to the zoo where he actually likes the animals
  12. Watching him ride bikes with my husband
  13. Buying little shoes!  Now that he’s starting to walk, I should probably get on that.
  14. Movie nights
  15. Taking him to his first football game (hook ’em horns!)
  16. Watching him trick or treat
  17. Everything about Christmas with a toddler
  18. Reading him Frog and Toad, and someday Harry Potter
  19. Watching him learn to read on his own
  20. Watching him (hopefully) become a big brother some day
  21. Seeing him see snow for the first time, and go sledding!
  22. Watching him make little friends

If you have older kids (or work with kids), what’s one of your favorite things about the toddler stage?

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Day in the Life – 11 1/2 Months

Good morning and happy Friday!

I realized I hadn’t done one of these posts since James was 9 1/2 months – I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seats wondering what we’ve been up to 😉  Just kidding, but I do like to capture these moments to look back on.

This was our Monday.

Per my September goals, I set my alarm for 5:30.  I got up, poured some homemade cold brew and started working on a project for James’s birthday.  I’m working on editing a bunch of the videos we’ve taken this year and putting them together for a birthday video.  It’s been really fun to re-watch the old videos and also to learn how to use the program (I’m using VideoPad and it is free and super easy to use).

James woke up at 6:25 and talked happily to himself in his bed.  After a few minutes I went to greet him, always one of my favorite times of the day.  He gives the best hugs when he wakes up.

We played in his room for a while and then went to eat breakfast.  I don’t have any breakfast pictures because I hadn’t decided to do this post yet, but he ate (5!) homemade banana mini muffins and a hard-boiled egg, a new favorite.  He would normally eat fruit too, but we really need to go to the grocery store and are all out.

Right after breakfast, we go for a stroller run.  I knew it would be a busy day and we likely wouldn’t have time later, plus it would be really hot.

You guys, this run was not the best.  It was super humid out (not normal for Austin) and my stomach was cramping up.  I think I need to drink more water in the mornings before I run.  Still, we ran three miles and it felt great to get it done.

The only thing I don’t like about stroller running is the inability to shower right away when I get home.  I went to wash my face (love my current rose face wash, it smells so good!) and James followed me into the bathroom and decided to play in the bathtub for a while.  Whatever works little buddy.

We then played in my room so I could at least change out of my sweaty clothes.  James rearranged the books for us – thanks buddy.

He always gets out this Sitting Still Like a Frog book and wants me to read it to him.  It does look like it would be a kids’ book, but it’s really a book of mindfulness exercises for children and he is always disappointed lol (it is a good book though).

We eventually move into the living room.  I clean out the fridge while he plays with tupperware.  I then start to roll out my injured foot with a lacross ball – I am super bad about doing this, but it really helps when I do.  James decides the ball looks way too interesting and we roll it back and forth instead.  Oh well.

It’s almost nap time so we go sit in the backyard for a few minutes and sing some quiet songs.  I find this really helps him unwind before naps.

I change his diaper, read him Global Baby Bedtimes and Flip, Flap, Fly, sing him a song and put him in his bed around 9:20.  We’re using this HALO Sleep Sack for naps lately and I love the length, it should fit him for awhile!  It does run big though, we got a large at first and had to exchange for a medium, and James is really tall.

I finally took a quick shower and then started cooking some chickpeas and writing this post.  I also sent some emails for my sister’s upcoming bachelorette party, which is coming up and I’m super excited about!

James woke up around 10:15.  I nursed him and we got ready to go to Trader Joe’s for the week.  We had been hoping to meet up with some friends at the Wildflower Center, but sadly James and his little buddy are on opposite nap schedules and it didn’t work out, so grocery shopping it was!

I was SO bummed that they didn’t have the cold brew I mentioned last week!  I was assured it was just out of stock, not discontinued, so fingers crossed….

We got home just in time for James to eat lunch.  I almost always eat lunch with him, but I wasn’t hungry yet and also wanted to get the groceries put away, so I did that while he ate today.

He ate a super random lunch of peas, healthier mashed potatoes (made with olive oil and greek yogurt), black beans, zucchini fritters, and part of a peach.  He is a hungry little guy!

I ate a little later while he played and crawled around the living room (spinach, brown rice, chick peas, carrots, hemp seeds, and tahini dressing).  I had never had this brand of kombucha before and I loved it, it’s my new favorite.

We read books and sang songs (and climbed furniture…) until it was time for his afternoon nap at 1:30.

While he slept, I made another batch of kale salad for the week, did the dishes and some general cleaning and wrote some more of this post.  I also started researching how to introduce whole milk to babies when they turn one – any tips?

Some light reading with a side of bed head

James woke up around 2:45.  I went to greet him and he seemed a little grumpy for some reason, but we made the best of it.  I nursed him and we played in his room for a while.  He still seemed grumpy and I decided to try giving him an afternoon snack.

He’s in kind of a weird place where he seems to be starving by dinner time, but is not always interested in an afternoon snack.  Today, he was all about it though!

Chick peas please!

He ate chickpeas and we shared the rest of his peach from earlier.  (I tried to start daily afternoon smoothies at one point, but the blender seems to be his #1 fear in life, so we’re taking a break from that.)

After that it was pool time!  We put away his little pool when there was a big storm and never got it back out so he hadn’t played in there in weeks.  He was loving it today.

I set up a blanket right next to the pool so he could climb in and out when he wanted and he had a blast.  It was so fun watching his excitement.  This was definitely the best part of my day.

We eventually moved back inside and played in the playroom until my husband got home from work.  We were having leftovers for dinner, so I quickly assembled everything and we ate together.

Salmon, pasta, avocado, butternut squash, broccoli

After dinner was the normal bathtime, nursing, and Goodnight Moon.  James has only wanted like 5 minute baths lately for some reason. He doesn’t mind getting in the tub, but starts climbing out after few minutes.

After he went to bed at 7, I poured a glass of wine and we watched a couple of episodes of Bloodline on Netflix.  We just started it, but I am totally hooked!

We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but it was a really good day.

What was the best day you had this week?

What’s your favorite part of a normal week day?

 

*Please note this post contains affiliate links – I get a small percentage if items are purchased, at no cost to you.  I only include items I have and love.  Thanks for your support!

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