Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Activity Calendar

I've spent the day putting together our first (and hopefully annual!) Advent Activity Calendar.

I'm so excited about it! I bought a similar calendar to the one above on clearance at Target a few years ago and have simply been storing it every year since. I didn't want to give Lucas candy every day (he's not a huge fan anyway, why encourage it?) and we don't need more little toys in the house so I didn't know what to do with it. A daily activity is just perfect!

Read more about it over at Out by Ten (my other blog which was even more neglected than this one, if you can imagine!).

{Can you believe it? Tomorrow is December 1!}

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Advice for my baby sister, on the birth of her baby boy

Dear Sarah,

Despite your radiant look, lovely locks and ever-growing belly, it is nearly impossible for me to believe that you are about to give birth to your first child. Yes, I realize that you are older than I was when Lucas was born. But, as you know, you're still my baby sister and always will be. And so you as a mom is hard for me to grasp.

Don't worry, though. I know you will be an amazing mom. There is no doubt about that. And, I am so excited to become an aunt, to begin my life-long love affair with my first nephew and future friend to my boys!

Now that Mike is back and your family is reunited, we're all ready for baby to arrive. And, so, I thought I'd better take the opportunity to give you my best advice.

1. Savor the moments. I know everyone says it, but it is so true: time will go more quickly than you can imagine, especially those first few hours, days and weeks. Hold your baby as much as you can. Truly, you can not hold him enough. You have my permission to be selfish. You'll be in a unique position of having a lot of family around for quite a while. Be selfish: hold him as much as you want and when you want. Others can hold him while you nap.

That brings me to...

2. Nap! It is so important. You'll need to get your sleep in small 1-2 hour increments. Take naps!

3. Get out of the house. Every day. It is hard: you may not have showered and most likely will have dried spit-up on your shoulder, but get out for at least a walk or a quick trip to the store every day.

4. Take my advice about teaching your baby the difference between night and day. Start early, by 3-4 weeks. I speak with the authority of a mom whose children are both champion sleepers.

5. Let Mike parent in his own way. Trust me, he will do things differently than you, and you may feel strongly that he is doing them wrong, but let him do it his way. Don't correct him. Let him figure it out. The day you leave the house without giving him written instructions, you will thank me.

6. Leave the house. This time I mean leave the baby alone with Mike. If you are breastfeeding, you can leave for an hour or so. Later, you can leave for longer. He can handle it. If you take the advice of #5 then you won't even need to leave instructions. It will make him a better father and you a better mother.

7. Go out together. At some point (but well before your baby turns one!) go out on a date. Get a babysitter (Andrea will be perfect!) and leave. Do this on a regular basis. As mom always says, having a strong marriage is the best gift you can give your children.

8. Always remember: this to shall pass. From getting through the first minute of terrible pain while breastfeeding Nathaniel, to getting through the first 6 weeks of no sleep with Lucas, to dealing with Lucas waking at 3am every night for several months not too long ago, the one constant with children is that things will change. That stage will pass, something else will come along. So you didn't get any sleep tonight? Tomorrow will be different (not necessarily more sleep, but different hours of being awake!). So baby cried all day today? He most likely won't cry all day tomorrow. Although you feel that you will never, ever sleep again, you will (especially if you listen to #4!). You might feel like you can't possibly breastfeed for another day, but tomorrow will be better. Or the very next feeding will. You can get through it!

9. Take an extra shirt for yourself. You'll (most likely!) remember to pack a change of clothes for baby. But that won't help when he poops or spits up all over you! Keep a t-shirt in your trunk for yourself. And, in a similar vein, when you are going out somewhere (especially if you're wearing a particularly favorite shirt or want to look especially cute) get dressed at the last. possible. minute. In fact, get dressed in your garage after you've said good-bye or, trust me, you'll end up with a sticky hand print on your cutest, dry-clean-only black pants!

10. Don't feel guilty. Oh, I get so sick of moms and their mommy guilt. Yes, you'll mess up. Baby will be fussing and you'll have no idea why, until 20 minutes later, you realize it's because you left the plastic tag thing in his shirt. (Not that I ever did that, ah-em!) You'll make mistakes. We all make mistakes! I can guarantee this: you won't make the same mistakes more than a few times, but you'll always make new ones! I so often think of your favorite Maya Angel0u quote, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."

So, that's my best stuff. I hope it helps and of course you know that I'm only a phone call, text message or e-mail away for lots and lots more!

I love you. I know you're going to be an amazing mother. Your baby boy is so lucky to have you. And I absolutely can not wait to meet him!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A good laugh

Today was an amazing day with Lucas. He was awesome. Helpful. Kind. Fun. And it's something we all really needed.

We've had some rough days lately.

Tonight I put him to bed, and, while reading Olivia, we got to a page where she was just being annoying. We were talking about it and suddenly he punched the book. I immediately reacted, "Lucas. Don't hit!"

He immediately replied, "Mom. She's a pig. A pig who talks." (With a tone that said, seriously, mom, you're overreacting. She's just a pig. It's just a book.)

He was right. I started giggling and he was quick to join in.

For the remaining several pages, he interrupted every other sentence with, "Mom, she's a pig who talks!" Or, "Mom. Know what? She's a pig who talks!" Followed by us both giggling our heads off.

He loved making me laugh. He loved us both laughing together.

And so did I.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!