Friday, September 30, 2011

Fashion Friday

I did a little better this week at trying to appear "put together." It will never happen 7 days a week since I stay in at least 2 and some days are morning rush out the door doesn't allow time for anything other than throwing on my mommy uniform.

Playdate Chic
Shirt: Old Navy, old; Cardigan: No Idea;  Shorts: Lane Bryant clearance; Belt: Wal-Mart, $4; Bracelet: Accessory swap; Necklace: Fancy Flea, $3
 Sweet Sunday Chic
Top: Kohl's, someone else paid for it; Earrings:  Premiere; Necklace: Sterling Grace; Hair Flower: 31
Purple Power Chic
Dress: Wal-mart, $12; Leggings: Target, old; Belt: Thrifted, $0.70
The next four weeks of fashion are going to be entirely different! I am participating in the October Dress Project and will be styling the same dress for 31 days! But I'm not the only crazy one! There are 18 other women in Lakeland doing the same thing.

Last night we participated in a photo shoot with Nate Mundell Photography. Here is the shot of me and my dress, with several of the women who were able to meet up with us at Munn Park in downtown Lakeland.

I love that other women choose this color too!
I'll be posting more about why I'm participating in this project again (yes, I did it in 2010 too!) later, but for now, you can read some excellent posts from Karissa and Cathy and Ida and Shawna about their journey to choosing to wear the same dress for 31 days straight!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mary Loves Her "Friends"

It is so fun to me to watch how my children's personality and interests develop over time. In fact, it might be one of my favorite aspects of being a parent. It's a good reminder to me that that God makes all of us different, and that is a good thing. Recently, Mary has been certain to let us know about her personality and interests.

Her favorite activity right now is playing with her "friends." This is how we refer to the myriad of dolls and stuffed animals that live in our "friend box" downstairs. Mary is incredibly caring towards them and loves to put them to bed. She lays them gently on a pillow and then searches for a blanket to cover them. Sometimes though, she puts so many of her "friends" to bed that we don't have enough blankets for all of them.


The Twins

Not enough blankets for everyone, but no one is alone.

And a laundry hamper makes a nice soft spot to rest.

If Mary can't find a blanket, she use a dried out wipe instead.

Notice how Daddy has a blanket and so does the baby doll on top of him.

And she doesn't make her friends share blankets. Not even the one that is 6' long. Ideally, they all get their own. This is also representative of her current stage in life. Sharing is not high on her list.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If you give a toddler a chocolate croissant...

Inspired by a friend's FB status update, I wrote my own, short version of the popular "If you give a" series by Laura Numeroff.

For better or for worse, here it is:

If you give a toddler a chocolate croissant, he'll want some milk to go with it. And as you go to the kitchen to find a clean sippy cup, you'll remember that all the cups are still in the car.

On your way to the car for a clean sippy cup, your neighbor will want to chat with you. While you are chatting, the neighbor will not be able to keep her eyes off your clothes. You think you must be pretty stylish today.

Once you get back into the house, you'll need to go into the bathroom to rinse the cup out (because the sink is still full of last night's dishes). You'll walk into the bathroom and then stare in horror at the mirror as you realize why your neighbor was checking out your clothes.

As you trudge upstairs to change out of your now chocolate stained clothing, you'll remember that your older children still aren't dressed yet either. You'll  rummage through the hamper for something that resembles clean and head back down stairs.

Eventually, all of your children are dressed and ready for breakfast. You'll scramble their eggs and pour them a glass of milk.

Your toddler will see you pouring milk for them and want a cup himself. When you give him the cup of milk, he want a chocolate croissant to go with it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

First Fall Art Activity - Handprint Trees

Fall may have arrived according to the calendar, but for those of us in FL, we have to be a little more creative to entice Fall, and cooler temperatures, to arrive. Apart from burning a pumpkin spice candle, I thought a preschooler craft might be in order this week. It might convince Fall that we are serious about its arrival!

Last week Charlotte and a friend made handprint trees. They are easy to do if you don't mind getting some paint on your hands and arms.

First, find some brown tempera paint. Wait, you don't have brown tempera paint. That's ok. I didn't either. Until Google came to the rescue. And I learned that you can combine the three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) to make brown. Sounds great. But then, I didn't have any yellow tempera paint. What's a anxious crafter to do? 

I improvised. 

Orange is made of yellow and red, so combined with blue, I had brown! (This also works with purple and yellow or green and red.)

Once you've secured the brown paint, slather it on the hands and forearm and make a print. This is now the trunk and branches of our tree.

Once it is dry, let your preschooler make fingerprint leaves with red, orange, and yellow paint. You can use green, but I only recommend a few green prints at the end. We are after all, trying to convince Fall to arrive.

Keep a wet washcloth handy so the artist can clean off their finger in between colors.

And once it is all dry, you have a beautiful masterpiece to hang up and let Fall know you are ready to play in the leaves!

What creative activity are you doing to welcome Fall?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fashion Friday

Inspired by some blogging friends, I've been trying to bust out of my jeans/capris and t-shirt/blouse routine. And since I'm always texting or calling them to ask if something works, I though I might give them a bit of a break and ask all of you. My idea is to post a couple of what I think are my fashionable outfits each week and let you politely and constructively chime in with your thoughts.

This week, I have only one picture. It is the outfit I wore yesterday. I like this outfit because it includes a skirt, which I really do prefer wearing. I also like the accessories because I know how boring this outfit was before I added them.

Skirt - Kohl's clearance, Shirt - Local Consignment Shop, Belt & Necklace - Lighthouse Thrift Store, Bracelet - Accessory Swap, Hair Flower - 31 
I picked up several belts at the Lighthouse Thrift Store this week and this one is my favorite. Not only did it only cost $0.70, it is brand new and genuine leather with a chocolate brown snake print.

I did try tucking in the shirt, but the waist of this particular skirt didn't really work with this shirt.

So, let me know what you think of my first outfit.
I'll be sure to take better pictures this coming week!

Oh, and if you'd like some fashionable people to follow here are my current recommendations:

  • - I may not always like shopping at Wal-Mart, but she still does a great job of putting together an outfit for less.
  • An Old Story - I met Hannah through the PennyChic site and loved her blog immediately. She really made me want to blog my own outfits.
  • Workin' It - Cathy is, hands down, the most fashionable of all the people I know in real life. She even co-writes True Style, a column for Lakeland Local, a hyperlocal news site.
  • The Acting Mom - This is the blog of one hot momma! She is a normal, every day mom like me yet she manages to look styled every time I see her.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Am A Mom

I. Am. A. Mom.

What does being a mom mean? On the surface, being a mom means...

  • I discuss poop way more than I ever thought I would..
  • I don't usually have time to read the news.
  • Sometimes I stay in my pajamas until just before my husband comes home.
  • My knees have callouses from playing on the floor so much.
  • I know the Veggie Tales theme song by heart.
  • Lunch often consists of leftovers off my children's plates.
  • I don't shower as often as I'd like.
  • I can give you the pros and cons about all the area parks, but I can't tell you the difference between Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, or Herman Cain.
Looking deeper, being a mom means...
  • I get to mold a life, or two.
  • Someone is always watching me, and learning from what they see.
  • Loneliness is not a stranger.
  • It can be hard to take conversations past the surface level when little ones are running around.
  • My heart walks around outside my body every day.
  • My own health often gets put lower on the priority list.
  • The joy of an innocent kiss is magnified as my children become older and I see them moving out of the snuggly bunny phase.
  • My own expectations for myself are higher than ever before, because of those lives I get to mold.
  • I rarely meet my own expectations.
Would I exchange being a mom so that I had more time to spend on myself?

Do I regret birthing two beautiful daughters who physically changed my body forever?

Is it more important for me to understand the front-runners in primary races than it is to understand the specific nap-time routine that helps a toddler fall asleep and not turn into Ms. Cranky-Pants later?

I can answer all of these questions with a resounding no. Because...

I. Am. A. Mom.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Halloween Costumes Already???

How is it that Charlotte is already trying to plan her Halloween costume? It's nearly 7 weeks away and she is already letting me know what she wants to be. And that she wants to make her own costume.

Before I show you her idea, I'll confess that after last year's Charlotte's Web themed costumes for my girls (a pig & a spider) I had intended to carry forward with a literary theme every year.

But this year, Charlotte wants to be a robot. Here is the head she has already started decorating.

She's added a little bit to it each day this week. 

Help me out friends! Can I be the momma that let's her 4 year old design and build her own cardboard robot for Halloween? I just don't know, especially since she's at the age where kids start picking on one another for things like this?

How to I balance encouraging her creativity and individual spirit without subjecting her to the possible ridicule of her peers? Particularly at such a young age?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Our First Official Day of Homeschool

After a successful Box Day (for which I'll post the details later), I was really looking forward to our first official day of homeschool. We even bought and had a friend customize new back packs for each girl.

I thought Charlotte was looking forward to it as well based on her excitement over the summer and when we opened our box of books from Sonlight.

Then, this morning came.

And she fully realized that preschool was going to be at home (aka Not. Real. School). Oh my word. Our first morning of school was not off to an exciting start.

After we were all calmed down, the three of us settled down in our school room (otherwise known as the Dining Room). Our plan is to include Mary as much as possible so that she becomes accustomed to this particular learning environment (more on how she'll be included later).

We started practicing our Bible verse for the week (Proverbs 4:20), read some stories, talked about the seasons and special dates for our family. And we also made Charlotte's first Venn Diagram. The assignment was to discuss ways a tiger and rabbit are different. I decided to let my former English teacher come out and we put all of the information into this chart:

I'm proud that Charlotte came up with all of these similarities and differences herself. And yes, she knows what a carnivore and an herbivore are, even if she sometimes has trouble pronouncing the words.

There was also some time for creativity. I decided against a big crafty project today and they just colored with markers, followed by decorating with scissors.

All ready to create!
Deep thoughts as she ponders what to draw. 
I just couldn't resist sharing this face! 
Hard at work making sure that paper understands what the color red it all about.
At the end of the day, I'd say our homeschooling turned out well despite the initial bad start (the rest of the day was another issue though!). Fortunately, when Bruce asked Charlotte about it after dinner, she seemed to forget all of her despair and only had happy memories to share with him.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Mary Was Well Celebrated

Mary had a special day on Monday as the whole family gathered to celebrate her 2nd birthday. We do low key birthdays around here, but we all have a good time just spending time with one another.

First, our day started with some pool time. Mary really isn't too crazy about being in the pool, but she finally warmed up after spending some time playing with John (her cousin's grandpa).

Charlotte is also getting more brave in the water.

And I couldn't resist showing off the beautiful sky we all played under.

Michelle helped me make Mary's birthday "cake." It was inspired by an idea in Hello, Cupcake. Then adapted for Mary's favorite colors and what was available to me at the drug and craft store.

A closeup. :)

Mary did an excellent job of blowing out the candles and she didn't even need the help Daddy was ready and willing to provide over her shoulder.

Enjoying her pirouette "candle." 

She was so excited to get presents that she gave the first one a snuggle.

It was a magnifying glass from Charlotte that Mary will really enjoy.

Here Mary is showing off the front of the package where Charlotte wrote both of their names.

Pretending to be the princess she is...

And now putting her own twist on being a princess!

Cousin Rebekah is always fun to play with, even it they both sometimes want the same toy.

And here, I imagine that Mary is asking when her next birthday is because she wants more presents!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

2011 Birthday Pictures

The girls love doing things together, so I decided that this year, we'd do a joint photo session to commemorate their birthdays. Here are my favorite pictures, in no particular order.

This one is on my wall as a big 10x14!

The best individual picture of Charlotte all day.

I confess, this is my favorite picture ever!

Charlotte is now 4 and Mary is now 2. I'll be close behind them with my own birthday in less than 2 weeks.