Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie + 21 months!

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

This is absolutely one of my favorite children's books. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is a classic written by Laura Numeroff. I bought our copy of the book before the babies were born, and since then I have fallen in love with the series. We have Happy Valentine's Day Mouse, Happy Easter Mouse and It's Pumpkin Day Mouse, as well as If You Give A Pig A Pancake. Each one is full of cuteness, but our favorite is still the one about cookies!

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

Corbin and Lynley adore little "moussss". They love to read it as a bedtime story and fight over who gets to turn the pages. After many times of reading the book, they've finally started picking up on the word cookie. I can't recall ever letting them eat a cookie before (they've had a few bites of cake and ice cream), so I thought this would be a good Tot School activity to celebrate their 21 month "birthday."

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

I can admit that a lot of my tot school ideas have failed miserably, i.e. bug-catching, but not this one! Of course not... First, I baked some sugar cookies and let them cool. Afterwards, we read the story and hyped up the word cookie. Then Corbin and Lynley each got to decorate their own cookie with frosting and sprinkles. Mom and Dad helped a little bit, but they were determined to do it themselves. Corbin really liked playing in the icing, and Lynley really liked shaking out the sprinkles. We took a little time to point out colors and count how many different colors we had on our cookies.
Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

And, we took some time feeding each other and giving frosting kisses!

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

Tot School: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie #totschool #homeschool #toddlers

Here's what you need for this activity:
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie book
Sugar cookies- I baked the prepackaged Pillsbury kind.
Frosting- Also used the prepackaged kind.
Sprinkles

21 month stats:
Can't believe the next update that I post will be a 2 year update! These little ones have made some big leaps and bounds over the last month or so. Talking is a favorite, even though many of the words make no sense to me or Derrick. We can make out some of what they are trying to tell us. The favorites right now are "where go?" and "you okay?" These two phrases are repeated constantly by the babies. They have picked up lots of new vocabulary words and have started stringing them together. My favorite is when they say 'I love you Dada' or Mama. They also say 'amen' really cute! Other milestones include beginning to identify shapes, colors and numbers. Using the potty consistently at least three times a day, sometimes more for Lynley. Starting to use a spoon and fork and actually not getting food into their mouths, but that still needs practice!

Corbin weighs about 25lbs. and Lynley weighs about 23lbs. I think Corbin is 33ish inches tall and Lynley is almost 32.5 inches tall. She has gone through a major growth spurt! They each have all of their teeth except the canines, which we're working on, and the next ones will be the 2-year molars. They both wear size 18 months in most of their clothing, but tiny hiney Corbin still fits 12 months bottoms, although pants are way too short (he sports the man capris!). They both still wear size 4 diapers during the day and size 5 overnight. Lynley wears undies for a few hours everyday and has been staying dry.

They both love swimming now, and Lynley kicks so hard now that she is actually propelling herself! I plan on taking video the next time we go to the pool. Poor Corbin kicks with one leg (exactly the way he dances too!), but he'll get it soon enough. They both absolutely love playing hide and seek with each other and chase. Their favorite books right now are I Love You Stinky Face, Teddy Needs A Bath and The Wheels On The Bus. Favorite food- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. <Or maybe they just like when I sing the PB&J song and dance around the kitchen like a fool! Hey! You gotta do what you gotta do to get your kids to eat!

Way more milestones than can be listed! Corbin and Lynley are growing really fast and right on track.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

I'm a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes I want more

At what point during motherhood do you let yourself just be you?  #motherhood #metime #workingmoms #sahm #twins

I'm a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes I want more. Does that make me a bad person? I've been thinking about myself a lot lately, and what I truly want out of life as far as personal success and fulfillment. Yes, being a mother is the biggest blessing that I have ever had, and it's the single most important thing that I will ever do in my life. For some, that is enough, but for me, I would still like to achieve more success career-wise. I've always been a dreamer and goal-setter, but it is hard to find a good balance of caring for children while still keeping a piece of yourself for you, and that balance is different for everyone.

Since becoming a mom, I've made lots of sacrifices. I'm not complaining about them at all. I'd make the same decisions and sacrifices all over again, i.e. putting my career on hold and staying home, breastfeeding, waking up very early in the morning everyday, rarely going out on dates with my husband, etc. But at what point do I start thinking about my needs and wants again? It's been a tough question to answer.

Corbin and Lynley are almost two. They're thriving and full of energy. We've done a great job with them. I've done a great job with them. (we should not be afraid to pat ourselves on the back!)  I've dedicated every part of my being to them to make sure they exceed all expectations for preemies born at 31 weeks. They're walking miracles. We have a lot of fun together playing and learning, but there have also been some not-so-fun moments lately. In particular the toddler tantrums, hitting and kicking. These behaviors really wear me down, and I don't want to be a yelling mom. I have to admit that I have raised my voice a bit more than I ever thought I would. I always want to give my kids my best, but it's so completely frustrating sometimes that I have to give myself a time out! I've found myself lately wanting to spend time away from Lynley and Corbin. And then I feel bad for that. I've found myself thinking more and more about returning to work outside the home. And then I feel bad for that. We're financially fortunate in that I do not have to work, but sometimes I wish that working or not wasn't my personal decision. And then I feel bad about that. It's a never-ending cycle that I think all moms go through. So what's the solution?

At what point during motherhood do you let yourself just be you?  #motherhood #metime #workingmoms #sahm #twins
When babies are sick, they sleep with Mama.
For our family, the solution right now is to hire help. We've had a wonderful nanny coming a few times a week to teach Tot School with the babies, and it's been so helpful for all of us. I hear much less tantrum-throwing <funny how not being around mom or dad will do that. They're learning a lot, and being around someone else is giving them better social skills and less anxiety about being apart from me. She also brings her two-year-old son when she comes, so it's a win-win for him too- to be around two kids his age that he otherwise would not get interaction with.

So you might be thinking, what do I do with the "free" time? Trust me, it's not free time! I spend the three hours that she is here catching up on laundry or other housework. I've also decided to use this time to focus on myself. I am currently enrolled in the masters degree in Strategic Public Relations program at George Washington University. I am four weeks into my first course, and I could not have kept my 'A' without having our nanny's help. Aside from those two "jobs," I also do freelance writing for a number of clients. I don't get paid a ton of money, but I like the fact that I am able to keep up my writing skills and network with reputable organizations. Oh, and there's keeping up with this blog too, and all of the social media promotion, sponsorship outreach, product reviews, etc.!

I have a lot of jobs. I like my jobs. But sometimes, I really miss working in journalism and PR- the rush that comes with meeting tight deadlines, breaking news and hot-button issues. I shouldn't be ashamed that I miss a part of my former self. For many, many years, I lived and breathed my career, so it's as much a part of me as being Corbin and Lynley's mom is.

At what point during motherhood do you let yourself just be you?  #motherhood #metime #workingmoms #sahm #twins
Family swim day!
Nothing will change anytime soon, but it's nice to know that my children would be okay if I did decide that I wanted to return to my career full time. I can see that they would still learn just as much from someone else who shows them the same love, attention and kindness. I feel blessed to be able to witness this first-hand. I hope that other working moms out there can see it too with their children. The choice to work or not work, when it's truly a choice, not necessity, should NOT make us feel guilty. After all, we are just doing the best that we can.

Have you ever experienced these feelings? How do you handle the decision to work or stay home? Please share with me in the comments.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's so hard finding the perfect cups! {Nuby Product Review}

Seriously, why is it so hard to find a good straw cup these days? We've tried a few different brands, and after a few months they all start to leak. We've been fans of Nuby brand from the beginning, but the recent cups we received for review are a mix of good and not so good for us. But that definitely doesn't stop me from recommending them!

Product Review: Nuby Flip-it Easy Grip cups. #review #Nuby #toddlers

First, we really like the first set of cups we received, which are the Nuby Flip-it Easy Grip cups. I love that these cups are easy for Lynley and Corbin to hold, and the fact that the cup features an easy-to-use flip top cap. This uniquely designed feature protects the straw from contamination when not in use, making it great for travel and short trips! I find these straw cups to be much more easy to drink from because it's a hard straw, instead of a soft one with a valve. The only downside is that I can't leave the twins unsupervised with these cups even for a minute or they've turned them upside down to dump the contents all over the wood floors and then play slip and slide in it! I am shocked that they came up with that game all on their own. Despite this fact though, we would definitely recommend this cup.

Product Review: Nuby Flip-it Easy Grip cups. #review #Nuby #toddlers

Product Review: Nuby Printed Sports Sipper cups. #review #Nuby #toddlers

The next set of cups that we tested are the Nuby Printed Sports Sipper Cups. These cups come in super cute designs and are sized perfectly for little hands, which is why I was really excited to review them. However, there is no actual straw that sits into the liquid. It's a straw spout only, and I find it to actually look more like a sippy spout. Corbin and Lynley haven't used sippy cups in months, so when I handed them these cups to drink from, they got very agitated. They didn't remember how to tip the cup up to get a drink, and they both prefer to drink from long straws. So these were a bust for drinking out of, but as you can see, they make a great chew toy.... My conclusion, great for younger babies, but for toddlers who drink from straws, it's a step back.

Product Review: Nuby Printed Sports Sipper cups. #review #Nuby #toddlers

Flip-it Easy Grip Cups are available at these retailers: Amazon; Buy Baby Direct; Walmart; Diapers.com Baby Depot at Burlington; DD's Discounts and TJ Maxx.

Printed Sport Sippers: Amazon and walmart.com

Our other Nuby product reviews on the tub-time turtle & bath stacking set, flex-straw cups/utensil travel set, grooming set and Wacky Ware bowls can be found hereherehere and here.

Connect with Nuby via FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

I received products free of charge for review purposes. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are 100 percent my own. I only promote and support products and companies that I believe in.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Free Blogger Opp: Origami Owl Giveaway

Sign up with other bloggers to give away some Origami Owl Merchandise. Bloggers must promote the event through their blog and social media outlets at least three times a week!

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