Is that a doll?

Why yes, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Why does it matter to you? I know this may sound harsh, but really I don’t need random people giving me their opinions on what my child should be playing with.

H started playing with baby dolls at an ECFE (Early Childhood and Family Education) class we were taking. He would rock the baby and feed the baby. It melted my heart watching him play with the baby dolls. He always knows when a real baby is nearby and makes a point to say hello. He’s a loving and caring child and I will nurture those qualities no matter what.

I was telling my mom how much H wanted a baby doll and kept asking for one. She sent him the one seen in the photo above. He was beyond excited to get HIS BABY. The joy in his little body was so great, he smiled so big when he opened his package.

Since his baby arrived, they go everywhere with us. The baby doesn’t have a name yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t loved. The baby goes to the gym, the grocery store, to school pick up, etc.

I can’t tell you how many people commented on the fact that my son was carrying around a baby doll. A friend said to me when discussing this issue with people inserting their opinions, “Do you think they would have made a negative comment if he were carrying a stuffed dog?” Honestly, I don’t think any comment would have been made or if there was it would have been, “Aw, so cute!”.

I tend to walk away when people make comments at the store, but maybe I need to take the time to explain to them that there is nothing wrong my son playing with a doll. To me, I see a child learning to be nurturing (he changes the baby’s diaper and feeds them too), caring, and pretending to be just like his Mom and Dad.

H is learning and growing. It doesn’t matter what he plays with, he’s using his imagination and developing important life skills. So, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Playing with his baby is no different than him playing and using his imagination with his tools, cars, trucks, superheroes, stuffed animals, etc… It shouldn’t matter to you what he chooses to play with, what should matter is that we are raising loving, caring, and compassionate children who will one day excellent friends, uncles, fathers, partners, and contributing members of society.

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What’s for Dinner?!

The week of January 27- February 1 is a odd dinner week here! I will only be making dinner 5 out of the 7 nights. I am already thinking ahead and have some fun dips/dishes planned for next weekend…for the Puppy Bowl…we are much bigger puppy fans than football fans.

Sunday: Easy Vegan Falafel (thank you to Jasmine for sharing this recipe) served with couscous, cucumbers, tomato, roasted red onion, and hummus.

Monday: Dinner with Gert and Papa

Tuesday: Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos

Wednesday: Chili / Mac & Cheese Night at School

Thursday: Skillet Gnocchi Pizza Bake served with salad

Friday: Hamburgers with potato wedges and salad

Saturday: Omelets and fruit and maybe 2 ingredient bagels!

Bon Appétit

Wildkin Luggage

Traveling with children isn’t a walk in the park. Lucky for me, my boys have been traveling for a good part of their lives and are decent travelers. Since L was about 2, he was carrying something of his own when we traveled. It gave him great pride to have something that was his, that could be filled with his things. I think this was a start of instilling responsibility in him.

Now that H is almost two, and he will be 2 when we fly across the country next, he will also have to carry something of his own.

When I came across the Wildkin luggage, I knew it was perfect for our family.

I partnered up with Wildkin to share with you about their luggage for children, and oh my goodness it couldn’t be cuter!

We received two pieces of luggage, a rolling suitcase and a duffle bag.

The Roller Bag:

This bag is lightweight and the wheels roll nicely. Either child (4.5/2) would be able to successfully use this bag. We plan on using this as a carry-on. The bag also comes with a strap that you can attach to the back to carry as a one shoulder bag and there is a loop that you could use to connect to a larger bag.

The Roller Bag also has a water bottle holder and a front pocket. L is already planning on what snacks and books he can pack in there!

The Duffle Bag:

It is so cute seeing L holding the duffle bag! He fell in love with the bag instantly! The bag has a padded shoulder strap and a small front zip pocket. Perfect for a weekend getaway or toys, books, and snacks!

Both bags are wipeable and should only be cleaned with a cloth. Make sure to let them dry complete before closing them up!

Whether the boys are flying to Revvie and PopPop’s or driving down the street to Gert and Papa’s, these bags are perfect! The boys know that these bags will be used for special times and are excited to use them ASAP! I know these Wildkin bags will be with us for a while! Oh and did I mention how many fun patterns they have?! You have to check them out! Wildkin Luggage

Disclosure: I received these bags from Wildkin and this review is my honest opinion about the luggage. This post is sponsored by Wildkin.

Reasons for Remy and Zoey

I figure with the holiday season upon us I wanted to share about our rescue pups. My husband and I always knew we wanted to rescue a dog. I think dogs are amazing creatures and I’d take any of them but there was something about rescuing that really was important to us.

Zoey:

Our ZoeZoe just turned 9!

We knew we wanted a dog and talked about it often when we were in college. We moved to Ohio in 2009 and we decided to wait until after the holidays so we could maybe find a dog that we knew really needed a home. We found Zoey at a shelter in January 2010. She was with a few of her brothers. We found out that her mom was left on the side of the road pregnant with the puppies and was under extreme stress. Zoey was the runt of the bunch and they didn’t even think she was going to make it. When we met her we knew she was ours, little did we know at the time that the stress her mother had during pregnancy was passed to the puppies…We would later learn that Zoey is unable to shut off her stress. Zoey was put on Prozac after we worked with a behaviorist for a while. It seemed to help! Something changed when we moved to Minnesota, Zoey’s was almost like a different dog and we were able to wean her off of the medication.

Zoey loves to snuggle with the boys and is the Queen of being sneaky…she knows who to sit by during meals.

We noticed Zoey getting white whiskers and eye lashes. We know she’s getting older and we will continue to love her forever. She’s our first baby.

Remy:

December of 2015 I had my second miscarriage. I was numb. We were numb. I needed something, a distraction maybe? We discussed over Christmas that we needed to find a puppy. Were we crazy? Probably.

Again, we wanted to adopt a dog after the holiday season, since we have seen it time and again, people gift animals and then realize they don’t want them or take care of them after a few days.

We met Remy. He was dopey and looking for love. We found out that Remy already had 4 homes by the time he was 8 weeks old. He was homeless, taken to a shelter, adopted and returned after Christmas, and then put into a foster home. We were this little puppy’s 5th home. We figure that Remy’s need to be attached to my hip or constantly with someone might not just be the GSP in him, but also the fact that he was so lost for the first few weeks of his life.

L and Remy bonded immediately and then we needed to make sure Zoey would like him too…and she’s a tough one to impress if you know her. To our surprise, they clicked. Remy was the newest family member.

When H came along we were nervous to see how Remy would adjust since we knew Zoey would be fine…Remy and H seem to team up from time to time and get into trouble together. The dogs fit into our family perfectly.

So today, it’s 6 of us. Two adults, two children, and two dogs. It’s a little crazy at times (ok, most of the time) but we wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’d like to ask you to keep in mind all of the animals who are looking for their forever home and who are in rescues. You do you, but please don’t return your dog. They are family. If you need help, ask someone, a friend, a family member, or your vet.

The Question of Cutting Cable

This is something that we have gone back and forth on for a very long time. We pay for so much cable and we barely use it. We do our best to keep screen time for the boys to a minimum but there are days we have something on in the background. We try to be outside as often as possible (although it’s gotten so cold so fast here) and encourage play and learning when we are inside.

The TV tends to come on in the late afternoon when I try to get dinner started…sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I always enjoy winding down to something mindless or funny at the end of the day, but life gets crazy and I’m trying to read more! I’ve even joined a book club!

On top of the cable we also have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon (through Prime). And these companies have some great shows of their own, for both adults and children. We sometimes pay for extras, like Showtime, we love ending our Sunday nights with the Gallagher family when they are on.

I mean this list is excessive and we watch over the air channels and maybe three others. So we have decided that now is the time we CUT it, at least for now. We have narrowed our choices down to HuluLIVE or YouTube TV. Does anyone have any either of these? Pros/Cons? Let me know your opinion!!! These options will be significantly less expensive than cable. Now, if only we could find a way around the cable company’s cancellation fee!

My #momlife

This. This photo. This is how my #momlife looks most of the time. My husband had come in from the other room to see our two children and two dogs basically on top of me. In this position I usually end up covered in slobber (from both the humans and dogs) but I also know I’m covered in so much love. I wish you could hear this moment, there was so much laughter and I’m so thankful Matt snapped this photo. It’s not perfect, it’s not set up photo, this is our real life…and I wouldn’t change it for the world. (Ok maybe I would make the dogs not shed, but you know what I mean.)

What does your #momlife (or #dadlife) look like?

Voting

I swore I was taking the boys to vote with me on November 6…just like my parents would take me when I was little. I said it every day, “We will vote on November 6.” I may have said it as a reminder since you know, mom brain.

Last week, two of my friends posted about early voting and voting in general (Hey Danielle and Allison!) I didn’t think about early voting. I decided to look into it and realized I could apply for an absentee ballot. It took me maybe 5 minutes to fill out the online form and by the next day my ballot was in the mail.

I was excited at how fast it came! The real reason for my applying for an absentee ballot was that things come up…I know my life can go from calm to poop literally on the floor in the matter of seconds. I didn’t want November 6 to roll around and me lose track of time or miss my chance to vote because of something coming up.

This morning I made sure to get my ballot in the mail and I will proudly wear my sticker today. (Ohio, I hope you’re with the program now and give stickers to absentee ballot voters!!)

I voted while the boys ran around and sang Baby Shark. L asked what I was doing and I did my best to explain to a four year old What voting was and why we do it. I told him that I voted to help make our world a better place, for me, for him, his brother, my sister, my brothers, and our friends and other family. I want the boys to know that their voices matter and they need to make sure their voices are heard. Their vote might only matter when it comes to meal planning right now, but eventually they will be 18 and voting with the rest of us adults.

Family and Friends…PLEASE VOTE. I will love you no matter how you vote, just please do it.

Minnesota Children’s Museum Night

Mini Postal Workers

The car wash might be the boys favorite exhibit! They can get all soapy and wet!

This week we got to explore the Children’s Museum after hours! We have been many times but there something about Matt being able to come after work even more fun!

We two hours to play and explore and that time flew by! I know we could spend an entire day here! It’s such a fun space for children and adult. There is even a sign that said “Attention: For Children and for those who use to be Children”.

For kids of all ages!

We are so lucky to live in a big city where there are so many opportunities for us to take our children so they can grow and learn as individuals, with each other, and with other children.

My only complaint…the parking garages 😂 Other than that, this place is a membership worthy spot, especially with the cold winter months coming up!

Our Pumpkin Patch Adventure

Yesterday we decided to head back to Pine Tree Apple Orchard to explore the pumpkin patch and corn maze. If you remember when we went apple picking, this was our first stop and then we realized they didn’t have U-pick Apples.

The adventure started off great. We explored the corn maze first. I do wish that they had some sort of activity to do while going through the corn maze. It was so windy and chilly while we were in the maze but it made it that much more fun.

If any of you reading this saw my Instagram story the other day, I posted that four years old is a much more difficult year than the terrible twos or the threenager ages. I’m going to be real with you, once we got to the pumpkin patch, something didn’t go L’s way and he had a meltdown. I don’t really know why but we did take him to the car to settle down. The looks from the teenagers staring while Matt carried him down the hill made me chuckle a little…we were totally their birth control for the night.

After L cooled down and we discussed his choices he understood the few mintues prior to our conversation. We then went to the Farm Store (which really is the best part, right?!) and grabbed some goodies..probably too many goodies, but so delicious.

We then sat by the lake and enjoyed a treat and played for a little bit. Overall we had a nice time other than our little hiccup. We might have to go back to the farm for strawberry picking in the summer, but I do think there will be other pumpkin patches we try next year.

Tonight we will carve the pumpkins and roast some seeds! Photos to follow 🙂

Parenting Styles/Trends: How do you feel about them?

img_3921I sat in a class recently and we discussed the “new” parenting trends. We broke into groups and really dug into a few of them. Some of the ones discussed were: Lawn Mower Parenting, Helicopter Parenting, Attachment Parenting, Tiger Parenting, and Free Range Parenting.

I sat there and just wondered…why do we have to label how we parent? Are we just opening ourselves up to be judged and shamed? While researching some of these parenting styles, I learned that one came from someones memoir, not anything that was meant to be a parenting book.

I know as a mother today, dads too I am sure, I always hear about mom shaming and I know none of us want to be judged or shamed, but we are. For example, Free Range parenting can land you in trouble with the law in many areas.

So back to my title: How do you feel about them? What do these trends say about us? Do we need to label ourselves? Do we have to fit ourselves in one little box? As I looked over the list, honestly I could see myself grabbing at pieces from each “trend”. I don’t fit into a box. Truly, once I hit 30 I stopped caring about what people thought about me…as long as my family is happy and we are doing the best we can, I’m good.

What do you want your parenting to say about you? How do you want to feel at the end of the day? Do you want to parent just like your parent(s) did or do you want to go the opposite direction? My parents always told us that they raised all 4 of us the same way and we are all so different. Each child is going to be their own person, different from you, your partner, or anyone else for that matter. You might have to change up your parenting regularly…and that’s ok! As long as you are taking care of you family the best that you can, that’s all that really matters isn’t it?

I took a few moments to think about how I want to describe my parenting:

  • supportive and involved but not overbearing
  • an advocate but not super aggressive
  • patient but not lackadaisical
  • respectful but not a pushover

I am NOT saying I am all of these things all of the time but I work towards those. My parenting has changed since the beginning but I am evolving as a person as are my children.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, just be a real one. If you need help, ask for help. Find your tribe, and if you need help I am always here. Let’s work together and not put labels on ourselves. Let’s just love our children and raise them to be good human beings.