Visiting the Queen

Well, I wish I could say I met a Queen but instead I visited the Queen’s Town, Charlotte North Carolina!

Just about a year ago I posted about my surprise birthday party, and here we are again! This year Hubs and my Mom surprised me again but this time with a girl’s weekend trip down to Charlotte to visit my sister! Hubs’ part of the surprise was keeping the kids solo for the whole weekend so that I could go sans-tiny-hands. I love my kiddos, but I think Mama needed this break. It was a wonderful trip.

Friday: Mom and I begin our trek down south. We discover the glory of soy frappuccinos, my dislike of a certain radio personality and have some uninterrupted time to talk about all the things.Moms, I know you understand this, an uninterrupted conversation with another adult during daylight hours is often impossible.We reach Miss by around 8, ooh and ahh over her amazing new furniture, enough for each of us to claim a spot for the weekend, and head to dinner at the Rusty Bucket. The perfect spot for a meal after an afternoon in the car. Then, the kicker. SHE MADE CHEESECAKE. Homemade, 2 lbs of cream cheese, and a strawberry drizzle on top, cheesecake! My absolute favorite. The best part was…it was delectable. Meaning that we ate it for three days! Yum

Saturday:tried to sleep in, really I did, but apparently I’m programmed to wake early.So up with the sun, I was. Some coffee and showers saw us to our first destination, Polished for pedicures! From pedicures, we went to the mall for some much-needed wardrobe updating. I recently removed about 2/3 of my outdated clothing (oh yeah, I had two kids too) and haven’t replaced any of it. Luckily for me, we found the Crown & Ivy brand, and it was a hit! So much so that we had to stop going to stores as our haul was getting expensive. Then it was time to celebrate; our first beverage stop was Red Clay Ciderworks. We had a tasting, tour and chat while we enjoyed the ambiance of their casual taproom. A+.Then it was off to Olde Mecklenburg Brewery with their Oktoberfest-type-feeling and oddly, a place where I felt at home. Thanks, Dad. From there we hit up good ole Target for snacks and essentials and back for a movie and naps. This was shaping up to be a wonderful day. The evening brought a trip into the city and the piano bar. Great songs with a 5-6 piece band, a visit from my sister-in-law and a bucket-o-drinks! Oh, and cheesecake when we got home. Banner day, ladies, banner day!
I slept great!

 

 

 

Sunday: PJ church on the iPad and bruuuuuunch! We checked out the local French brunch scene complete with beignets. I’m told they’re almost as good as those in NOLA. I’ll take it. Then a quick pack up said our goodbyes and made our way back to my hubs and kiddos. Daddo was hanging out at the house and had brought dinner to make things seamlessly easy.

I could NOT have asked for a better weekend and am so thankful for the relationships I have with both my mom and my sister. These are the relationships and stories I’ll be happy to share with my daughter someday, assuming that she still likes me. Here’s hoping!

 

Be Great,

M

 

Little Bear’s First Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been over 365 days since Little Bear sprang onto the scene and into our lives and I can’t imagine life without her. In fact, I barely remember what I had for breakfast, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

We held Little Bear’s Mermaid birthday party the Saturday before her birthday at Oma & Daddo’s house. Pool party, sand pit and cookout. The perfect way to celebrate one year of Little Bear.

She wasn’t a fan of the birthday cake but loved the chocolate cupcake.
She’s got an entirely new wardrobe! Thank goodness… she grows so quickly!
We got to celebrate with a small group of friends and family and it was perfect!

Happy 1st Birthday Little Bear!
We can’t wait to see where this new year takes you!

Love,
Us

 

Mom-Shaming

If you’ve been anywhere on social media, been to a movie or watched a TV show you’ve probably come across some form of “shaming” being discussed, and it’s gut-wrenching.
Today, I want to talk to you about Mom-Shaming (I say mom-shaming because I’m a mom… not that dads don’t get shamed too, but we’ll get to you gentlemen in another post.)

Recently we heard of an unimaginable tragedy locally and it really rocked me. As a quick recap, two young toddlers got out of their house, into their backyard pool and drowned. Now I don’t know the details of who, how or why but that’s not what I want to chat about today. I want to talk about the discussion in online forums, comments on news pages and the general attitude of ‘blame’ that exists when something terrible happens.

People. Blamed. The. Mother. Now is she responsible for caring for them and knowing their whereabouts? Yes. Is it possible that they left the house without her knowing? Also yes. Clearly. People said terrible things about how she must have been distracted. That the house must not have been properly secured. That there was clearly negligence. But is there? Was it? Was she?
I have doubt, and I recoil vehemently at the feelings of shame and guilt thrown in her direction.
Don’t you think she has enough that it doesn’t need to be spewed upon her by people, strangers, generally guessing at the situation?

I can tell you that though Bubba is 3 now I would not put it past him to find a way out of our home despite it being secured akin to Fort Knox. He and Little Bear are curious children. Always looking to explore, create and accidentally destroy. Bubba can unlock doors. Bubba can open our heavy sliding glass door. Bubba can entice his sister to follow. Little Bear can disappear up the stairs in an instant. Little Bear can escape the gated family room. Little Bear can be found on the dog’s bed at a moment’s notice. They. Are. Children. Exploring their surroundings, learning new things and generally being curious.

We have specific rules, safeguards and plans put into place in the event that something goes awry, but that is because things do go awry. Accidents do happen. Tragedy can strike, despite our best efforts to evade it.
Does blaming the mother who had her plans, safeguards, and rules broken do anything to rectify a terrible situation? Not at all. 
Does hurling shameful words and hateful comments bring two beautiful lives back or change the course of the past? Of course not.
Does spewing hate, blame and speculation make strangers over the internet feel safer in their lives? It shouldn’t because accidents can happen to anyone.

I can only hope, that no one will feel the unyielding pain, loss, and despair that this mother most certainly feels. I can pray, plan and hope that a terrible tragedy doesn’t strike another family but I am not naive enough to think that it won’t. My hope is that when it does, people…mothers…will think twice before posting an unsupportive, hateful or shaming comment to someone who is already sinking.

Support one another,
M

Happy 4th!

It is July… Did you get that?
J-U-L-Y, a favorite month of mine, but REALLY!? Already!? How!? Where!?
Okay- now that I’m finished freaking out- Happy 4th of July!

If you’ve stopped by before you know that family traditions are BIG around these parts, but strangely we don’t have too many 4th of July traditions. We enjoy spending the day low-key by the pool (or a lake if possible) cooking out and watching fireworks.

We’ve been really lucky that my parents have a pool in their yard and even more so that they encourage us to use it whenever possible. We did swim lessons for Bubba and Little Bear as well as ensuring that the kids are properly suited up for swimming (i.e. Bubba wears a coast-guard approved life vest- better safe than sorry!) In being lucky, we often have the opportunity to spend holidays with a variety of people including both sides of our family! We cherish these moments as we now know that our kids are growing so quickly (Where did the last YEAR go!?) and that the more time we spend making memories the more we’ll have to look back on in the months and years to come!

This year, we’re planning to stop by the 4th of July parade in town, spend time entertaining Uncle E’s friends (if we don’t bug them too much first), swimming, naps and maybe some firework watching from afar. Bedtimes still stick, even on firework nights. Oh, and of course…food!

What do you have planned!?
Stay tuned to the Grateful for Gummies Facebook page for updated 4th of July photos- if I can get these two rascals to sit still long enough!

Be Great,
M

Hot Minute

Y’all, it’s been a hot minute- or more like months…
I promise we’re still here!

So much has changed, so much has happened and I can’t wait to tell you about ALL of it!
Clearly, that means a few blog posts otherwise you’ll be here for DAYS!

Let me give you a brief rundown:
-Little Bear turned ONE!
-Bubba is learning sign language!
-Mama’s got her very. own. business!
-Everyone is on the move!
-I VLOGGED for a month straight!
-Summer is HERE!
-New family photos
…and more!

Why do I feel like a circus announcer hawking the ‘guess your age‘ machine?
Ahh, must just be the times- can you tell I’m stoked!?

Until I get into the nitty-gritty of what we’ve been up to I’ll leave you with this sneak peek!


Photo by the amazing Visuals by J. McKenzie

In the Blink of an Eye

Wonder upon wonders- raising kids is like playing dominos. Once one thing starts, everything goes faster and faster and faster.
Just a few short weeks ago we were excited about Little Bear crawling
Now she’s not only crawling but pulling up to standing and staying upright for an extended amount of time.
Just the other day, as you can see in the video above, I went to bust Little Bear out of Baby-Jail after naptime, and to my surprise, she was standing in her crib waiting for me. We’ve seen her pull up to standing next to the couch, on her toys, etc.- but never in her bed.
You can see on her face exactly how proud she is.

I am going to make a confession here:
We didn’t push Bubba to crawl, walk or run.
In our thought processes, we determined that he would meet all of those milestones in due time. Selfishly, I found comfort knowing that at least for a little while, he would stay where I put him… and then he began moving. It’s a whole new world from there- baby proofing, removing dog toys, chasing and general business.
Now. Add. Another. One.
They say the second kid does things quicker than the first as they have someone to watch and motivation to be like their bigger sibling. That is definitely the case over here.
Yet we didn’t force, coerce or encourage early movement for Little Bear either.

As parents, I think we tend to push the next step onto our kids earlier than necessary.
Of course, things like sleeping through the night benefit everyone involved. But maybe they just aren’t ready to crawl, stand or walk just yet. Maybe they’re working on language or eating new foods or another skill they need to give their full attention to.
I fully believe that parents need to take a look at their child’s development overall before beginning a new skill. When they’re ready, they’ll let you know.

Hubs said it best when I suggested that the “binky fairy” comes to Bubba’s soon.
“He’s potty training, learning to coexist with a sister who can now touch his stuff, and he’s working on his emotions… do you really want to remove the binky now? He won’t get married with it. A bit more time isn’t going to ruin him.”
Well said dear, well said…

Be Great,
M

He Gets It From His Mama

We know that children take cues from those around them.
That is why we have to be so careful about what we say.
Earlier in Bubba’s little life words like “fork” and “finger” were definitely pronounced with the wrong sounds causing me to shout No No! He said fork- f-o-r-k. I promise!
Now that he’s older we have a whole new set of worries with which to contend.
He’s repeating our (my) frequently used words and phrases.
I’ll tell you what- you never know how often you say something until you hear it from the mouth of your almost three-year-old.

As Bubba is almost three, we’ve reached that stage where he believes he get’s to have an opinion of equal weight to that of his parents. Now- we encourage him to have his opinions and feelings freely but that he needs to respect and follow the directions and decisions of those in charge of his care. To put it lightly- it’s a fun time.

The other night after a particularly difficult day due in part to the cold (can’t go outside), pent up energy (due to the cold) and general naughtiness (because he’s a child) we decided to blow up the bouncy castle that has been relocated to the basement.
Upon waking from his nap, Bubba was pleased to discover the appearance of said bouncy castle.
As were we.

In bed that evening as we were singing our songs and tucking Bubba in he decides to ask some questions about what he will be able to do the next day.
He launches into a story about the bouncy castle- it went a little like this.
Mind you- he talks about a mile a minute, and we can hardly keep up, half the time.

-“Okay, Mommy. Tomorrow I get up, and I can go jump in my bouncy castle. My Daddy blowed up my bouncy castle so I can jump in it. It in the basement. It not upstairs anymore. You take it downstairs and then my Daddy have to blow it up again. Now it blowed up, and I can jump in it when I get up tomorrow. Right, Mommy? Right, I can jump in it? But when there’s no more room in the basement then obviously we have to bring it back upstairs.”
-Wait- what? What about bringing it upstairs, buddy?
-“I say, when there’s no more room in the basement than obviously, we have to bring it upstairs.”
-Did you just say ‘obviously?’
-“Yes Mommy, I said obviously.”
Ahh, yes, of course, you did. Well, okay then, I think it’s time for bed… for Mommy.”

Obviously… He’s not even three yet. Hubs just looked at me and said, “Well, we know who he’s listening to.”
Yeesh…

Side note: He knows how to say Au Revoir due to one of Little Bear’s toys.

Maybe I need to start teaching him ASL…

Be Great,
M

The Candy Conundrum

Kids love candy.
If I’m being honest I’ll also say that Hubs loves candy too. I, on the other hand, am fond of ice cream.
It’s a delicious weakness to have but one we probably don’t want to encourage with Bubba.

Potty training + candy = success
candy + toddler = hair & temper loss
potty training + toddler = wet floors (shudder)

(Those child locks are no match for a 2-year-old’s dexterity.
Bubba is a smarty-pants. In the beginning of the PT phase, we were giving 3 skittles for a successful visit to the powder room. It worked like a charm.
Then… it didn’t.
Someone decided that he really likes candy and wanted to eat it all the time.
He discovered that when he goes successfully, he gets candy.
So why not go every three minutes- right?

After a particularly difficult bedtime routine, the product of being overtired and extra sugar, Hubs and I decided that something needed to change.
Being a former teacher I employed a behavior system that I used with my students, Class Dojo.
It is a points system where children can earn (and lose) points based on choices and behavior.
We set a goal for ten points earned equalling a reward and crossed our fingers.
Bubba is ROCKING Dojo and the mere thought of ‘losing a point’ has been enough of a warning to correct behavior several times.

So- if you’re closing in on the teen-3’s as we are (I’m thinking that 3 really is worse than 2) give Class Dojo a try. It’s free and you won’t find stickers stuck to your windows (or your yoga pants) anytime soon.

As a quick story:
We’re teaching Bubba to use the potty correctly and I thought it would be a good idea to encourage him to try standing. We have little shark decals in the bowl (got them from Jane.com) for him to ‘aim’ toward in the hopes of saving my floors and cutting down on cleaning time. Remember, this is my first child, I’m blissfully unaware of what the future holds for my bathroom cleaning experiences.
So, we go in. Get ready and… I’m at a loss.
I suggested the idea without thinking that I have no personal experience with the skill in which to offer suggestions or teaching points. Ugh, Mom-Fail.
I spent the next few minutes scrubbing the bathroom wall.
I also texted Hubs to share the story. He thought it was hilarious.
Not my area of expertise…

Be Great,

M