The Adventures of Batman

It’s amazing the amount of fun that can be derived from a creepy, three dollar mask from the party store. Hudson, or Batman as he likes to be called, insisted on wearing this get up during our walk last night. He climbed trees, fought crime and stopped The Joker from stealing our dinner.

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DIY: Toddler “Dirt” Pit / Sandbox Alternative

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Louisiana is quite literally being flooded away right now. Our home is, very fortunately, not in a badly hit zone, but we are still being trapped inside all weekend by the constant showers. Which means, cabin fever. And cabin fever + small children means hell.

Luckily, I just happened to finish this little DIY project for Hudson last weekend and it has turned out to be the perfect lifesaver for a rainy day. Heres, how it came to fruition…

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Right outside our balcony door there is a large opening under the railing that is just big enough for a baby or dog to crawl under. And it opens to a 12 foot drop off, leading right down to a hard cement floor. For the last three years, this opening has driven me crazy with worry. We tried covering it with plants and other odds and ends but nothing felt secure enough. So this weekend I finally put my mind to it and used all of my handy man prowess to build…. A BOX! Ha. It was quite easily one of the most simple carpentry projects there is. Four sides and a bottom. But, I was still extremely proud of myself. After all, there was an electric saw involved. And screws. And measurements. And Stains. And Paints. You get the point. I’m basically a DIY Genius, is what I’m getting at here.

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We just happened to have a lot of excess wood lying around from past projects. So, I measured that pesky opening in the stair rail and cut the wooden boards down to make a rectangular box that would cover it perfectly. Screwed all of the pieces together. Covered the holes with some wood putty. And Stained and Painted some cute stripes on it. Finally I sealed it with a polyurethane spray to protect it from the elements.

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My original plan was to make it into a flower bed. But, I have whatever the opposite of a green thumb is. And I knew my son would inevitably dig in the dirt and ruin it anyway. So, with that in mind, I decided to scratch the live plants idea and fill it with rubber mulch. It’s fairly inexpensive, relatively un-messy (compared to actual dirt) and perfect for your truck obsessed little ones to plow and dig in for hours of fun.

Hudson and Holland have both used it daily since we introduced them to it and I no longer worry about impending doom from falling off of the balcony. It’s a win win! This idea is also a wonderful alternative to a sand box, in my opinion! Let me know if you give it a try!

The Year of Stress Free Birthdays!

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I am a major sucker for a good theme. And I LOVE a party that looks like it flew off the pages of my Pinterest board. But, this year, I am just feeling very apathetic about most things. And that has poured over into the kids’ birthday parties.

I think I love birthday parties so much that I have pushed them past a point that is personally fun for me and into a level of stress and blown budgets. So this year I made a resolution to not give a crap. (Excuse my language.)

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Hudson turned three this year, which is probably the last time he will be blissfully unaware of whether or not he has a party. And Holland is one so she is blissfully unaware of most everything. Except food. So their parties this year were either low key or non existent.

For Hudson, in lieu of a party we just planned a special play date with his best friend. Which is all most kids want anyway, I would say. And yesterday, we celebrated Holland’s First with our family and a couple of our best friends. Honestly, I wouldn’t have done anything if it wasn’t for my desire to watch her eat a smash cake.

So instead of prepping and planning for months, I picked up a few pretty plates, some giant pink balloons, ordered some food from the Jambalaya Shoppe, and trekked the kids out to our neighborhood park. The kids were in heaven. We barely spent any money. And no one’s house had to get messy. I’m pretty convinced this is the best and only way to do parties now.

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Holland had a blast. And was of course spoiled with a few presents. The girl is such a pro at eating, that the smash cake was less of a ‘smash’ and more of a ‘daintily taste the cake with her fork’ kind of affair. And aside from a few tears shed when our balloons inevitably made their way up to the clouds, fun was had by all. Definitely a stress free celebration, just like I wanted!

32 Weeks

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As the header would suggest, yes, I am 32 weeks pregnant now. And as we start sliding into the home stretch I am overwhelmed with excitement and fear. More so than with my first. I am more excited because now I know what kind of love is waiting for me on the other side of that due date and I can not wait to experience it. Yet, I am more afraid now that labor is no longer a mystery. I am well aware of the very real pain i’m going to be experiencing in just a few more weeks. And the very real and tough first weeks of recovery with a newborn.

I also feel a sense of anxiety hanging over me now that seems to get a little stronger the further I get into this pregnancy. The check ups that were exciting a few weeks ago are now starting to make me a little nervous. Which is probably why I am up writing this at 1 am (I have an appointment with my OB early in the morning).

So, most nights, instead of getting rest I am stuck daydreaming about what our little girl will look like and making one To Do list after another in my head. I am, more than anything, grateful that I have a retreat from all of this stress, excitement and anxiety in the Lord. And it is my biggest hope for these two children that they will one day grow to know and have that same peaceful shelter in their times of worry and joy.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Hand Foot and Mouth, Oh My

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This Past Wednesday Hudson’s nose started running. And then he started sneezing. Then coughing. And I thought ‘Oh great! ANOTHER cold’. ( I swear the poor thing has spent half of his  life under the weather.) The next morning he woke up with a fever of about 101.  And my fears were confirmed. Another sunny weekend quarantined inside the house. Sunday morning I received an email from the director of his MDO program, in which she kindly let us all know that there were two ill kids in the class room. One child had Impetigo and the other had Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Within the five minutes it took me to read the email and research the symptoms Hudson had formed little  red bumps on the arches of his feet.

That first day was absolutely miserable. He was feverish, uncomfortable, lethargic and Possibly in pain from a sore throat; all symptoms of HFMD.  Over the next three days the rash spread to his entire body (which is not common). Some bumps even turned into blisters like the ones you see under his mouth.  And we both almost went insane from cabin fever. Thankfully, today things are finally starting to look better. These pictures were both taken today and this is the lightest/smallest the bumps have looked all week. His fever broke yesterday. And other than still being a little cranky from being stuck indoors I think we are on our way to a full recovery.  Unfortunately the little man isn’t permitted to leave the house until every last bit of his rash has cleared up. So, I’m crossing my fingers that will happen in the next 24-48 hours.

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In case you are as clueless about HFMD as I was four days ago you can read up on the virus here or just scan my cliff notes version below;

  • HFMD is a virus that is common in children under 5 years old, typically occurring in the late summer/early fall.
  • It is extremely contagious among children, but less common in adults as most of us have already built an immunity to the disease.
  • While you won’t catch the same strand of the disease twice, it is possible to have HFMD more than once, as there are multiple strands.
  • Symptoms include: Sore Throat, Cold like Symptoms, bumps/rash on hands, feet, mouth and occasionally limbs and buttocks, blisters on the inside of the mouth like canker sores and fever.
  • There is no treatment. Which sucks. But Ibuprofen and Popsicles are a big help.
  • As long as your child stays hydrated, it is harmless. Unless you go crazy… like I came very close to doing.

First Day of “School”

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So Hudson started “school”/ Mother’s Day Out this week! Since this is our first foray into being apart from each other he will only be attending two days a week for about 4 hours at a time. I had pretty mixed feelings at first. Obviously the sound of free time for myself sounded amazing. But, being a stay at home mom, the thought of paying someone else to watch my child during the day plagued me with guilt.  Oh, the mommy guilt. It really is the most annoying feeling in the world.

There have been instances in the past where I have left Hudson in child care that was horrible. Like the time I thought I could bring him to my gym because they had a daycare? I left early and in tears from that experience. So the appealing factor about Hudson’s MDO program is the comfort level they provide me with. Thankfully it is offered by our church so Hudson and I are already familiar with the rooms, teachers, and a few of the children. Their whole mission statement is to make the parents feel like their child is being loved on throughout the day just as if they were at home. And I truly feel like that is what they are providing for him. So we got very lucky. And that helps so much with the pesky mom guilt.

013063After only attending two days, I’m already noticing a huge difference in myself and the way I relate to Hudson. I had no idea how burned out on parenting I was, until this week. The past 20 months, there has not been a single moment where I wasn’t on call for my child. Yes, staying home with your children may be easier than some 9-5s. But it is the emotional dependency that gets to me. From the time my eyes open until they close I am responsible for entertaining, caring for, educating and loving on another human. That leaves zero time to entertain, care for, educate or love myself.

On his second day when I picked him up, I felt like I was filled with the kind of excitement that I had when I first met him. Getting a chance to be alone and reboot has given me fresh eyes on my parenting technique. Instead of just getting by, I feel like I have the mental energy to actively devote to raising him properly and loving my husband like I’m meant to.

Seriously. It’s amazing what those 8 hours have done for me. lol Praise the Lord for a good Mother’s Day Out program.

Did You Miss Us?

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Hudson’s pants were c/o Mason and the Tambourine
Moccasins c/o Happy and the Hectic

So if you’ve been counting, we have been missing in action for approximately 3 months.

Yes, life with Hudson just took over. This season of growth for him has been absolutely amazing, hilarious and exhausting. I don’t think I can even bore you with a list of all of his new talents or his expanding vocabulary because you would be stuck here reading for ages.

He has become an actual person. Who has pseudo conversations. And likes. And dislikes. And an adorable personality.

In the meantime, I feel like we have finally become seasoned parents. (I’m sure parents of teenagers or twenty somethings are laughing at that statement and thinking ‘just wait…’). The first year was so much about survival for us I didn’t really have time to poke my head up out of the waters and just reflect. Until recently. But, miraculously along this journey i’ve grown up immensely. And I have routines for the first time in my life. And parenting just feels like second nature rather than a perpetual series of panic attacks.

With all of that said, I just want to thank you all for still taking the time to read my rants and you will be seeing a lot more of us over the next few weeks.

I will be back soon with a more detailed account of what our lives look like now and a big announcement! (What could it be?!)