A three year olds thoughts on money and homelessness

indexYesterday I had one of those “man am I doing this right?” parenting moments. Leah, in her innocent, naive, three year old mind is constantly trying to make sense of the world that we live in. And, for the most part, I tend to still see her as a toddler, too young to really grasp the hardships that she will one day begin to witness. But then, like yesterday, she will suddenly surprise me with her insightfulness and understanding and it will make me realize, yet again, that this girl isn’t a baby at all anymore.

We were heading home from the gym and we were stopped at a red light. Leah, gazing out the window, noticed a homeless man holding a sign asking for money. “Why is he holding that sign?” she asked me; as I glanced around trying to figure out who she was talking about. “He is asking people to give him money,” I responded. Leah thought for a second before adding her usual “why?” And this is where I found myself sitting back in my seat and really thinking about how to answer her. In what capacity do you explain homelessness to a three year old? These are the moments you wish there was some parenting handbook with all the answers. I thought for another few seconds before finally responding with a simple “Well, I’m not really sure, but he doesn’t have enough money so he’s asking others to share with him.” Leah gave a nod and seemed content with her question being answered. Glancing back in the rear view mirror I could see her tiny little face, deep in thought. A few minutes later she spoke again; “Mom? Do we have money?”

This question made me catch my breath because, in that moment, it hit me just how much I wished we had more money. More money to spend on vacations…shopping…buying a big, dream house. But the reality of the situation is that, compared to most, we do have money, and plenty of it. Enough money where I have the choice to leave my job to stay home with the girls, enough money to have a kitchen full of good, organic food, enough money to buy what we need and some of what we simply want.

“Yes,” I said to Leah. We do have money.” I went on to tell her how daddy worked hard for his money, how it’s the money he earns at his job that we use to buy food and new sparkly shoes. And how this was why we pray to God every single night to thank Him for our blessings. And my three year old, confident in a wisdom deeper than my own, understood. She sat there silently before telling me, “Mom, next time we see a homeless man, we should give him our money. Because daddy would work hard for more and this way, the man would have money and then he could pray and thank God for his blessings!”

And that’s when the tears came. As I sat there, trying not to let Leah see me cry, I realized that I need to do a better job showing Leah how we can minister to those in need. I’ll be honest, after years of seeing the homeless, I’ve begun to turn a blind eye. I see them at the stop lights and I feel my frustration start to rise as I frantically try not to make eye contact as I click the car’s automatic locks. And Leah is SEEING all of this. She’s witnessing my actions and filing it away in that little mind of hers. And I’m not saying that I’ll ever happily throw down my windows to hand out money to every person I see at a stop light, but it made me realize that I need to find other ways to show Leah how we can serve so it can hopefully instill a desire to minister in her own heart.

“We should, Leah.” I finally answered. “But until then, we can pray for him, okay?”

 

Claire at 15 months

indexThere’s so much I want to remember about Claire at this age. Being the second child, it’s hard not to make comparisons to Leah, even though I KNOW they are two distinctly different kids. The other day, while looking back at old posts, I came across a post I wrote when Leah was 18 months. From day one, Leah was extremelyย  verbal, but it still made me laugh when I realized that by 18 months Leah could count to three and, at her 15 month appointment, I was told by her pediatrician that she was speaking at a 2 year old level.

And then there’s sweet Claire, who didn’t say “mama” until after her first birthday and who just started consistently walking a few weeks ago. And that’s okay. These girls are so different, each with their own gifts and quirks that make them who they are. So, without further ado, here are some of my current favorite Claire-isms:

~The way she says “what’s that?” while pointing at everything. Claire is unique in the way that “what’s that?” was her first word. Not mama, not dada….but “what’s that?” Inquisitive from day one!

~The way that she still falls asleep in my arms every single night while nursing.

~How affectionate she is. Claire is definitely our cuddly child and she is always quick with a snuggle or a big kiss on the lips.

~The way she waves “bye bye” and always follows it with a big blow kiss while walking away.

~The way she admires and adores her sister. Yes, Leah can get a bit bossy with her at times, but Claire is so fascinated with everything she does and says that she never seems to mind! It’s been so much fun seeing them really start to interact and play with each other in the last month or so.

~The way she is starting to try to say Leah’s name; “Ya Ya!”

~The way she holds hands with Leah in the car, stretching her little arm across the middle seat to reach her.

~The way she thinks every animal says “woof woof!” even when Leah corrects her every time; “Claire, kitty’s do NOT say woof woof!”

~Her special bond with our dog Lucy and her love for feeding her every single thing she is eating (which, let’s be honest, is the sole reason Lucy loves her the most).

~The fact that she’s already a little comedian. The girl just knows she is funny! She will do something cute or silly and then turn to us to see our reaction, while loudly laughing at herself.

~The way she loves music and can’t help but dance when she hears a good beat, especially at church.

This little one has stolen our hearts from day one with her sweet and gentle spirit and her calm demeanor. She has such a fun personality already and I can’t wait to see what the next months bring!

 

Balance

indexThe day started off with a bang. Brett was out of town for the week and poor Claire (and let’s be honest, poor mommy..) had a terrible, sleepless night due to what I’m chalking up to be teething pains.

I let the dog out while Leah completed her morning job of scooping numerous small cups of dog food into Lucy’s bowl. As I readied the coffee maker, Lucy bounded in, tracking in a trail of either poop or mud paw prints. (My money was on poop). She made sure to dance around the kitchen for good measure before letting me corral her back into the mudroom for a good paw cleaning. “Stay out of the kitchen, please!!” I yelled over my shoulder to the girls. Of course, saying those magic words drew them both to the kitchen like a moth to a flame. As I attempted to scrub the prints with Clorox wipes, while keeping my patience with Leah, (“Why do you need to walk where I am cleaning right this very minute?!”) Claire chose that moment to dive face first off the bottom step, slamming her cheek into the floor. Which then left with me the momentary silent debate, “Pick her up and comfort her with my poop hands or let her lie there and scream??” Oh motherhood and the battles we face.

10 minutes later we had a clean kitchen floor and a calm(ish) one year old with an impressive bruise sprouting on her face. I glanced up at the oven clock from my spot on the kitchen floor and realized that, if we hustled, I could make my favorite gym class. I rushed to changed, yelled at Leah 5 times to “PLEASE go potty NOW!” and “Just choose ANY pair of shoes, please!” and we made it to the gym just in time. Leah loves the gym child care (with constant movies playing, slides, and a climbing structure, what’s not to love?!) but Claire is ambivalent at best. Usually I can drop her off with no tears, but when she does cry, it’s usually the half hearted whimper that I know won’t last more than 2 minutes once I walk out the door. This morning, however, she full on monkey clung to me and SCREAMED when I tried to deposit her into the weary arms of the gym employee. “She’ll be fine!” I said, mostly to convince myself more than anyone else, and, taking one last look back at my devastated and screaming toddler, hightailed it out of there.

Once in the gym class, I was overcome with a wave of guilt. Maybe this isn’t worth it. Poor Claire had such a rough morning…maybe she just needs me…this is so mean and selfish of me to do. After setting up my spot in class, I doubled back to the child care to peek into the window (a great feature my gym has!) so I could check on Claire without her seeing me. She looked miserable, but wasn’t crying, so I accepted that she wouldn’t suffer any long term emotional damage from being left, and went back to complete my class. Of course when I picked up the girls and hour later, poor Claire was just standing there at the gate waiting for me, which hurt my mommy heart, but the child care worker convinced me that she was fine the whole time.

Later that day, while texting my sister, I told her how guilty I felt and how I couldn’t help but feel like I was being selfish, putting my own desires and needs about my child’s. She said she totally understood the feeling, but that these moments were just as important for Claire as they are for me. Listen, we all hate when our kids cry and/or get upset when we leave them, but what’s the other option? Never leaving?

Becoming a full time stay-at-home mom this past year has quickly taught me the importance of balance. I love my kids and I became a stay-at-home mom so I could spend my days fully engaged with them. And for the most part, our days are filled with play dates, mommy and me classes, library story time and constant puzzle completing. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t need to carve time during the day for just ME. Most days that just means sitting and reading in the afternoon while the girls nap, instead of hurrying around trying to complete as many chores around the house as possible during my 2 hour window. But sometimes it means dropping my screaming child off at the gym child care so I can get a workout it. Maybe not everyone finds their peace and center while squatting with a weighted barbell on their back, but for me, that’s MY time. My time to let go of being “mom” and instead focus on my body, my own breathing, my own needs.

Working out not only centers me, but it also makes me a calmer, stronger, more rational mom. After a stressful morning, that hour of weight lifting or cardio allows me to pick up the girls from child care and start fresh. It’s like the slate has been wiped clean and the stress of the morning has slipped away. And for me, that’s just as vital to being a good mom as the numerous activities we do for the girls each week. And, maybe this is just wishful thinking on my end, but I’m hoping that leaving Claire for small periods of time is good for her as well. With Leah I worked part time, so she was used to being dropped off at day care each day, but Claire is with me 24/7. Besides the gym and the church nursery, this girl basically never leaves my side. So it is my hope that this small bit of time away from mom will help her learn that it’s okay when mom leaves. The world is not coming to an end! And mom will always come back.

This act of balance is something I’m still working on. As a mom, it’s hard not to forgo your own needs for the sake of your children, because that is what being a mother is all about. However, I’m slowly learning to give myself grace, to allow myself to put my own needs first for the sake of my kids, every once and awhile. Because doing so is making me a better mother, and that is something I am always looking to improve.

Hello Blog

Jan 2016 edits-1So, as I’m sure you may have noticed, (that is, if you are still even visiting this old blog) but it’s been quite some time since I’ve last posted. The time just slipped away and before I knew it, 5 months had gone by (!!) and I started thinking that maybe I was done using this space. For everyone who emailed me and asked where the heck I was, and if I had stopped blogging for good, THANK YOU! Your emails meant a lot to me and it was nice to hear from some readers out there who actually missed my random and ever sporadic blog posts.

It’s been a transition, going from a working mom in Florida, to a stay at home mom in North Carolina. When I started this blog, my main focus was my career as a Child Life Specialist. After writing this blog post I received SO many emails (and I still do!) from women trying to get into the field; asking questions, seeking advice, and I loved it! Child Life is still considered a small (although quickly growing!) field and I was happy to be able to help out in whatever small way I could, when it came to new potential child lifers trying to get into the field. But then I had my second baby…left the work force…and moved to a different state and it’s taken me awhile to adjust to my new life. As much as I still LOVE getting emails about child life, part of me can’t help but feel like a fraud emailing back advice since it’s now been a year (!!) since I left the field. I am always quick to respond that, I do not work as a child life specialist anymore, although I am still always willing to answer any questions I’m able to. And because of this big change, there was a part of me that wondered if anyone out there cared to read a blog about random doings of my days at home with 2 kids.

But then I realized that I just missed writing!! And, in the end, it’s not about who (if anyone!) is reading these posts, but rather about the therapeutic (and memory saving!) process of blogging for myself. So..I may not be a child life specialist anymore, I may spend my days begging my three and a half year old to PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS after she uses the potty and telling my 14 month old to STOP CHEWING ON THAT DIRTY SHOE 10x a day, but I’ll be here…blogging (let’s be honest, probably sporadically) about my life as a stay at home mom in my mountain town in North Carolina. Feel free to follow along.๐Ÿ™‚

9 months

Claire,

When I think about the fact that you are now 9 months-my breath catches a little. I feel like we were JUST there with your sister; and yet now Leah is somehow 3 and you, my sweet little baby, are 9 months already. 9 months in, 9 months out! Yet, somehow, the 9 months in went by at a snails pace, while the 9 months out have sped by in a blink of an eye.

You have the sweetest little soul. Everyone who meets you comments on your shy smile and gentle disposition. You are just the happiest little girl. However! You have had a bit of a personality shift this month and it’s one that makes me and your dad laugh. You used to let your big sister do just about anything to you and daddy and I would joke that you were going to do whatever Leah told you to do when you got older. Well, that may have changed a bit. Although you still idolize your big sis, you seemed to have developed a bit of a spit fire personality this month and I love seeing you hold your own. You now have no problem swatting Leah’s hand away when she annoys you and you will let out a loud shout when you want her to STOP whatever she is doing. You are going to need a solid backbone when it comes to your bossy (however well intentioned) sister, so I like seeing this bit of fire in you. You also may have inherited a BIT of a temper (now who did that come from…?๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Daddy and I always joke that “Claire is just so happy…until she’s not.” You can go from content to screaming in 1.5 seconds and you never know just what will put you over the edge. Usually it’s when someone tries to touch or take your food….

Speaking of food….you are a tank. Your biggest love right now is definitely eating. You are amazingly good at hand to mouth feeding and we have all but given up trying to spoon feed you because little miss independent would rather do it yourself, thank you very much. It’s very hard to find a food that you do not like, but I would say your absolute favorites include: watermelon, bananas, cooked peppers, cheese, yogurt (the only food you will let us spoon feed you), strawberries and hummus on pieces of tortilla. You can put away a whole (cut up) piece of pizza or a full helping of mac and cheese larger than what Leah is eating. If anyone is eating anything and they have the audacity not to share with you, you will frantically wave your arms and YELL until they give you a bite. You happily open your mouth wide and will accept whatever food we put in your mouth. You are as different as could be from your sister, who has always (and still does) eat like a very picky little bird. Along with your eating you are still happily nursing 4 times a day and you know what it means when I ask you if you “want some milk.”

You are a great sleeper…finally! You seemed to turn the corner once you turned 8 months and you now regularly sleep 12 hours a night without a peep-from 7-7:30 pm to 7-7:30 am. You also take 2 naps a day for about 2 hours each. You don’t (and never have) take a pacifier but you have a favorite knit blanket that has been in your crib since you were tiny and you are very attached. You suck on the corners while you fall asleep and if, heaven forbid, the blanket is in the wash during nap time you are NOT tricked by a different blanket that I try and put in your crib!

This month you are starting to scoot on your belly around the room. You will get up onto your knees into the crawl position and rock for a second, but your little jello arms aren’t strong enough yet to hold your chubby little body so down you fall to scootch along on your belly. You have also started noticing yourself in the mirror and you love to wave “hi” to the baby in the mirror. Lots of babbling, and definitely some “dada” here and there, but no “real” talking yet.

I can’t express how much happiness and joy you bring into our lives, our little Claire Bear. We love you and your sweet, happy spirit and I can’t wait to see what the next month brings.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Potty Training 101

I’ve had a few people ask me about how we went about potty training Leah, so I figured I would write a post about it! Now, I am fully aware that every child is different so what worked for us may not work for someone else, but I love reading all kinds of tips and tricks when it comes to raising kids, and then taking whatever I choose from what I read, so I figured I would share our (very successful I must add) potty training experience!

  1. Wait, wait and wait some more until the child is READY! We did not start the potty training process until Leah was 2 years and 9 months. Before that point, we had bought a training potty at IKEA and Leah had sat on it (and used it!) a few times, but it was more for play and practice. We had a turbulent few months with a new baby and then a big move, so I did not want to throw even MORE change at Leah until things settled down a bit. So, once we moved we started talking about using the potty. We watched the Daniel Tiger episode where he uses the potty (which, side note, to this day Leah still asks me “What does Daniel Tiger say about using the potty?” on a daily basis just so I will sing the “potty song.” Thanks, Daniel Tiger….) and read books about going potty. During this time there was no pressure, just general potty conversation.
  2. Have a count down to D-Day. Once we decided to go ahead with potty training we created a count down to the big day. We decided that we were going to start using the potty on Saturday, so starting on Monday I began talking up using the potty with Leah. We still read our potty books and watched our potty shows, but now it was paired with a more pointed conversation. “This weekend we are going to use the potty like Daniel!” “Just a few more days of using diapers until you start going on the potty like a big girl!” Some days (or who am I kidding, some hours) These comments were met with excitement, and some times it was met with whining or stubborn “I will NOT use the potty!” If she responded negatively, I never gave in or really gave any acknowledgment to what she said. Just make the comment, smile, and move on. During this time we also went to Target and picked out 3 packs of “special big girl underwear.” I had received advice that you should buy boy underwear because it is thicker so it holds up better when they inevitably have an accident, but hello, there’s no way boy underwear patterns can compete with the girl underwear princess amazingness when you are 2 years old. So, even though I tried making my own subtle suggestions, we walked out of the store with 2 packs of (different) Frozen underwear and one pack of Minnie Mouse. The night before the big D-Day (or really P-Day!) we REALLY amped up the excitement. “Wow! Tomorrow is the big day!! Tomorrow we are using the potty!! Tomorrow you will be a BIG GIRL!” We put away the diapers “Bye-Bye diapers, we don’t need you anymore!!” And we lied out the first pair of underwear that she was going to put on in the morning.
  3. Make a potty chart. The morning of the big day Leah got up and we put on her first pair of underpants! We kept the energy way up “Wow Leah!! Look at you! Check out those underpants!!! We are so proud of you!” and it worked, since she came down the stairs excited and ready to use the potty. I sat down with her and she watched while I made a potty chart, while at the same time talking to her about what the chart meant. Yes, I know you could make (or find on Pinterest!) charts that are 10x better looking than this one, but for me it was more about Leah watching me make it (and letting her decorate it!) so she fully understood what it meant. We decided that, every time she successfully used the potty, she would put a sticker on a box. Once she received 5 stickers (or 5 successful potty trips) she would get a surprise! I know some people use candy or snacks, and really, to each their own, but I wanted to steer away from sugary rewards plus, with Leah, nothing outweighs the power of Frozen, so it was decided that once she reached her goal of 5 stickers, we would have a Frozen watching party!
  4. Make a HUGE deal out of the first “go.” We did not stick Leah on the potty first thing in the morning because A. She woke up with a wet diaper and B. I did not want to interrupt her normal morning routine (which I knew would just cause drama first thing). So she ate breakfast like normal and drank her “green juice.” (Trader Joe’s Green Plant juice blend-Leah’s favorite). Obviously, I was trying to push fluids like crazy so she could start to learn and recognize that “I have to go feeling.” After breakfast and after we made and hung up the potty chart, we went for our first try. Leah sat on the potty with her cup of juice and we talked about “letting your pee pee out” and how we can push with our belly muscles to get it out! Now, be prepared to sit…sit…and sit that first time. Leah was probably on the potty for a good 30 minutes doing nothing. I did not EVER want sitting on the potty to feel like a punishment so during this time I kept telling her that she could get up and take a break if she wanted to, but our determined and focused child decided to keep on trying so sat she did. Finally, 30 minutes later, we had success!! Leah was thrilled to see that she had gone and was excited to put her first sticker on the chart! And we whooped and cheered and basically made her feel like she had won the Nobel Prize.๐Ÿ˜‰
  5. Expect accidents and know that they are actually a GOOD thing! I knew that Leah was going to have at LEAST one accident and I was actually looking forward to it, because I knew it would quickly teach her what would happen when she peed without a diaper on. And, just like I expected, not even 45 minutes later, she peed in her underwear. She looked shocked at what happened and I calmly explained that, this is what happens when we are wearing big girl undies instead of diapers! Undies cannot catch the pee pee like diapers do! I think this is another prime example as to why it’s good to wait until a child is older because Leah got this. She completely understood the difference between underwear and diapers and now knew that, if she peed, it would make a mess. Now, this is where every child is different. Some kids may understand this but just not care, where my child is a bit type A so this realization made her a bit anxious about having another accident. I did my best to make sure she knew that accidents are no big deal! as we cleaned up and changed into a fresh pair of underwear. However, for the rest of the day, Leah was running to the potty every 20 minutes (by herself!) because she was afraid she “had to go” and she didn’t want to have another accident. I knew it was all about the process and I encouraged her in her multiple potty visits. Again, I knew she was quickly learning the “I have to go!” urge and she needed to figure out herself when that meant she had to make a trip to the potty. All day she would sit on the potty on and off, sometimes going and sometimes not, and it wasn’t long before she had earned her Frozen viewing party reward! We ended day one with a total of ONE accident.
  6. Probiotics, baby!!! If someone asked me, “What is your biggest piece of potty training advice?” This would be my answer. Probitics, probiotics, probiotics.

    Although Leah conquered peeing in the potty within 2 days (seriously, by day 4 we had only had 2 accidents) I knew that going “number two” in the potty would be a whole different challenge because Leah has never, ever been very good at pooping. The first few days of potty training we didn’t worry about it at ALL. Although we were using underwear 100% during the day, we were still using pull-ups at nap and night time, and most days she would wake up either in the morning or from a nap with a poo. At the time, I encouraged her just to make sure she kept pooping. We told her that it was totally okay to poo in her pull-up, but poops don’t belong in underpants! And this worked for awhile. Until we decided that we needed to start going poops in the potty as well….and that’s when she stopped going altogether. I’m talking like 5 days with no movement. I was ready to drag her to the ER for an enema. And that’s when my brilliant mom introduced me to my smartest parenting trick yet-daily probiotics for kids! The two pictured above are the ones we use. The FloraBaby is a flavorless powder and can be used on anything (I sprinkle it on Leah’s yogurt) and can be found on Amazon and the Buddy Bear vitamins I bought at Whole Foods. And the awesome thing is that both products are made for kids so you know it’s safe for their little systems. As soon as I started doing daily probiotics with Leah our poop problem was solved because it made her so regular, she couldn’t hold it any longer for days on end. Not only that, but it makes her bowel movements soft enough that going never hurts so she isn’t freaked out about having to do her business. Okay, have you had enough poop talk?

  7. Routines are your friend. The first few days of potty training we totally hung around the house and went NO WHERE while Leah played in only her underwear and went potty every 20-45 minutes. But then, once we started venturing out more and more, we developed a potty routine to help keep accidents to a minimum and to make sure she kept up her daily (or at least every other day) “number twos.” (okay, so we might not be done with our poop talk after all). Wake up, go potty. Have breakfast, then work on poops…Not only are our potty times (somewhat) schedule, but she has also developed a sort of “poo routine” that works for her. And, since doing her business on the potty was such an ordeal to begin with, I highly encouraged her little comfort routine to make going easier. Every morning, after breakfast, she chooses a book or two, we turn on the Disney Princess Pandora station, and she gets busy on the potty. It’s now so familiar to her that me saying “Okay, time to work on your poops!” no longer leads to a temper tantrum and instead leads to her running over, picking her books and reminding me (daily!) to turn on her music. And this little routine works because we have gone from screaming fits and 45 minute “poop sessions” to her sitting and going in 10 minutes or less.
  8. Make potty time business time, not play time. Now, this is where I think a lot of people have different opinions, but from the beginning I did not want to encourage a play time feel to going potty. The mantra in our house has been “you just do your business and then go on with your day!” This meant no toys, no Ipad games, no snacks…nothing while we were potty training. Yes, in the beginning we chatted and sang songs to keep her occupied while she tried to go, and yes, our only exception now is her book during her poops, but besides that, I did not want to encourage any play behavior. I know a lot of friends who have let their toddlers play “special games” or watch shows on an Ipad while they were sitting on the potty but the way I saw it was A. My child literally never plays games on a tablet and getting to play and/or watch a show would be such a special treat that she would happily sit on the toilet all day (while holding her pee) just so she could continue to enjoy this special activity and B. When and how do you break this habit? Okay, so maybe you only let them watch/play during the initial training but then when do you say “okay enough of that!” and how would that ever happen without a fit to follow? No thank you. It’s like the popular motherhood advice “never introduce another bad habit.” So right from the start we were all about the potty being for business, not play. Want to get back to playing with your dolls? Better hurry up and pee so you can get off!

So, there you have it. My top 8 pieces of potty training advice. I apologize for the length…I feel like I should have broken it down into chapters!๐Ÿ˜›

As for how she is doing now, almost 3 months later? AWESOME. I could count on one hand how many accidents she has had since we started potty training. And most of the ones she HAS had have been my fault (letting her go too long while being out and about) but even those have usually been “starts” of accidents, where she cannot hold it any longer and starts having an accident, but then holds off on the rest until she gets onto the potty. We have also transitioned from using the training potty every time…to just using it for poops…to not using it at all. Leah now does all her business on the “big girl” potty, although we do use a step stool under her feet for when she poops. Even though she goes pretty quickly now, I sill think it’s more comfortable for her and relieves some of the pressure on her little legs and knees!! When we traveled to New York last month we brought her training potty in the car so she could use that at every rest stop, instead of public restrooms, which was a life saver. We also had her wear a pull up both there and back (it was a 13 hour drive) but each time she kept her pull up completely dry!!

We are still working on her telling us when she has to go (most of the time it’s just me saying “okay! time to go potty!”) although there are times when she will say “We should probably go potty, huh mom?” or will ask me “Do you have to go potty, mom?” which means that she does, but overall I am amazed at her progress. I was so worried about potty training and it turned out to be a breeze (well….minus the brief period of time when I was convinced we would have to pay to have a doctor suck her poop out….) but besides that it’s been great! Again, I know every child is different and I’m not saying “Just do what I did and it’ll be a total breeze!” but I DO think that what we did worked really well, and I really would shout the wonders of daily probiotics from the roof tops so, you know, take or leave what you will!

Home

It’s been 2 months since we moved into our new house. Two months of unpacking and slowly settling in; learning all the creaks and noises that come with living in an old house. When we moved to Asheville 4 months ago, I never imagined how stressful it would be to find a home for our family. Before we moved from Florida I would lie in bed at night and imagine what our house in North Carolina would look like. I imagined beautiful old, creaky hardwood floors and charming character throughout the house. After living in an eternal summer for the past 4 years, I imagined a roaring fire in a wood burning fire place and pumpkins sitting on our front porch. Basically, I imagined a house that was filled with the warmth and love of a home. And then, when we moved here and experienced first hand how tight the housing market was, my “dream house” slowly slipped away and I realized that I would happily settle for A house! Just any house that I could make a home for my family. But then, just when I had given up hope and had whined to Brett that “it looks like we will be living with my parents forever!” we found a house. And not just any house, but rather my dream house! A house with beautiful, sloping hardwood floors and glass doorhandles. A house with a large front porch; perfect for fall pumpkins, and a master bath with a big, claw foot tub. When we walked into the house for the first time I knew that we had found our home. The home where we will witness Claire walking for the first time, the front porch where I will take Leah’s first day of school pictures, the home where our family belongs.

When we were up visiting Brett’s family in New York a few weeks ago we had a lot of relatives ask to see pictures of the house, so here are a few!

^^Side note, this is the very first house that we moved into that Leah’s room was NOT set up as a nursery, rather it went right into being a big girl’s room. Even though we were slowly in the process of transitioning her nursery in Florida into a big girl room, most of the decor was from when she was born. When we moved in, Brett and I went out and bought her new dresser and bed frame and I am slowly trying to find some big girl wall hangings and decor for her room!

I’ll tell you what…God is good. Right after we fond our house Brett and I were browsing at an antique shop and I found a wall hanging that said “Thank you God for blessing me far more than I deserve.” Without a second thought, I picked it up and told Brett “We’re buying this” and it now hangs right by our front door as a daily reminder. We both feel so blessed to be living in a beautiful home, in a beautiful neighborhood, and in a beautiful city. We both felt, from the beginning, that God led us to Asheville and I continue to see evidence of that on a daily basis! Yes, moving has had it’s ups and downs and daily struggles, but overall we are LOVING Asheville and I am so incredibly thankful that we took this leap of faith and made the move!