I love taking my kiddos to the park. I love the excitement, the time outside and watching them explore and discover their new abilities .
I am that mom at the park who hovers. Not full helicoptering, but always close enough to catch one of them if I need to. It’s nerve-racking as a parent to watch your kids run around on equipment up in the air, and hurtle themselves down slides and over bridges.
But I’ve become fully convinced that I have to let my kids play. I have to let them test their abilities, and see what they can do. It’s exhilarating for both of us when they do something hard, and then accomplish it! When their little faces light up, and a giggle bubbles out of them from pure joy!
It’s good for kids to learn how to do things for themselves, and how to push through even when it’s hard.
Obviously, this is within reason, especially as my children are toddlers, but I’ve been so surprised how much more they really can do, when I’m not always stopping or redirecting them.
Today Liam was riding his bike home from the park. We got to a small hill, and he got a little m nervous, afraid that he’d fly down the other side. We encouraged him to take it slow, and use his feet to keep himself stable. He easily made it down, as we knew he would. And I wish I had caught his little delighted giggle on camera! He was so proud and excited to do something like that in his own! Makes the moments of anxiety worth it, seeing my kiddos proud of their little accomplishments!
Yesterday last year Tori was having surgery on her eye.
It was a really hard day for me. Handing my 7 week old baby off to a nurse, and walking out of the room was torture. I had a panic attack in the room, and the second nurse gave me a hug, even though she wasn’t supposed to.
It took a little over 3 hours. We sat 4 floors down, waiting for a phone call from the surgeon, and then for the nurses to let me come up. They won’t let you stay with your children as they wake up, and the nurse told me they waited too long to call me, so by the time I got up to her, she was hysterical, and it took over an hour to calm her down.
With her birthday last month, and coming up on the holidays, I’ve been thinking about where we where this time last year. It was such a joyful time, with a newborn, getting to watch Liam become and thrive as a big brother. We were so in love with our little family.
But it was also the hardest time. Looking back makes me so sad too. Between her eye surgery/appointments/care and the tongue tie issues/pumping/bottle feeding and just being postpartum in general, I feel like I completely missed her newborn stage. We were up every 2 hours every night for 4 months, trying to keep her weight and my supply up, and when you’re sleep deprived, everything melds together. It’s just a blur. There wasn’t enough time to just soak up the newborn snuggles, and it hurts that it is gone so fast and forever.
It’s strange that something can be both the most magical happy time, but also the hardest and darkest time too.
All this is to say 2 things:
1. Soak up the little moments with your kids. They grow and learn so fast. Slow down, when you’re able, hold them longer, they’re only little for a couple years, and then they’re independent little people.
2. The hard times don’t last forever. Things will get better. So if you’re struggling, it’s okay to slow down, and go into survival mode for a while. Ask for help, and then actually let them help!
I have been thinking about Christmas for several months, and about different traditions surrounding that time of year. Now that Liam is a little older, able to be involved and understand a lot more, I was looking for some traditions to start. Something that would be both fun and meaningful. I decided an Advent calander sounded fun, but the more I looked, I just couldn’t find one to buy that fit what I was thinking. There are lots of candy Advent boxes, but I didn’t want him to come to expect candy every single day. And I didn’t love the toy Advent calander, as we live in a very small space, and we tend to be very minimal, and intentional about what we being into it. (Clutter builds up so fast! )
So after looking at a ton of ideas online, I decided to try to make my own, that fit my toddlers personality, and the mix of fun, and “the reason for the season” that I was wanting!
I found all of the components for this at The Dollar store, and all together, it cost about $7 to make. Most of the activities on ours are free, and the couple that cost money are less than $10 each, making it exciting, but won’t break the bank, which is important to us!
What you need:
-tiny clothes pins
-decorations (I made the trees out of yarn, and found the tiny ornaments there too.)
1. Write out your list of activity’s on slips of paper, and make tiny envelopes (you could probably buy some!).
2. Label the envelopes 1-24, stuff them with your activity’s.
3. Tack 4 or 5 strands of yarn to the wall, (you’ll do 4 strands of six envelops across, or 5 with 5 envelopes on 4 strands, and 4 on the last one, I ended up liking this look better.)
4. Attach envelopes using the tiny clothes pins.
5. Then add any decorations you want, and enjoy a fun, inexpensive advent calander! (Plus most of these activities are free, and feel free to add your own activities that work best for your family!
1. Read Christmas books
2. Watch Rudolph the red nose reindeer
3. Bake cookies to take to the neighbors
4. Make a Christmasy craft
5. Go look at Christmas Lights
6. Decorate a gingerbread house
7. Read the Christmas Story and talk about all the characters
8. Make Christmas cards for grandparents
9. Decorate a Christmas ornament
10. Go out for Hot Chocolate
11. Mail a Letter
12. Decorate sugar cookies
13. Color a Christmas picture
14. Go shopping for a gift for Sibling
15. Have lunch with Daddy at work!
16. Watch a Charlie Brown Christmas
17. Watch The Snowy Day (Amazon)
18. Watch a Merry Pooh Year
19. Go to the Library and read Christmas books
20. Homemade hot chocolate night
21. Decorate the tree
22. Make a Christmas garland
23. Take pictures in Christmas pajamas
24. Go Look at Christmas displays in stores (Costco etc.)
Let me know if you end up making one! I can’t wait to start this with my son! His birthday is at the end of December, so it’s also a countdown to that, which makes it double fun!
We are also also planning to go through the book Waiting for Jesus, from The Daily Grace Co, and do readings out the the Jesus Story Bible.