Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mom of Two: Five Months In

That cute little chunker is five months old today! Every day is a little easier with her, since every day she becomes a little more independent. 


She's starting to be able to sit up on her own. I haven't started solid food yet, but it'll probably happen in the next couple weeks. I'm not as on top of things with her as I was with her sister.

No teeth yet, but lots of drool!

She's still sleeping in our room, but she's getting pretty good at finding her pacifier on her own and sticking it in her own mouth. As soon as we buy a few more of her favorite kind, I'm going to try to have her sleep in Daisy's room. I want to get extra paci's (since she has rejected her thumb) to spread around the crib in case one or two fall through the slats.


This past month was a struggle against the mundane. 

Before Daisy, during my season of infertility, I scowled (online) at mothers who (I thought) complained about their lives being mundane. What I would give for the mundane life of a stay at home mother! With that in mind, I will always be grateful and downright GLAD for my life and the blessing that I can do what I'm doing right now by staying at home. 

However, those things that wear mothers down exist in my home too: no mommy breaks from dawn to dusk, endless toddler chatter and questions, toddler discipline, constant maintenance of my household. Much of it is boiled down to poor perspective or sleep deprivation. Usually these frustrating things are blown out of proportion, because, for instance, I am obviously getting a mommy break as I write this. 

It seems like now that I'm in a groove with both girls, I am noticing the day-to-day struggle a little bit more. The best moment of the day is definitely when Daddy comes home. I do not know how single moms do it. 


Amidst the mundane of maintaining life with a toddler and baby, we had lots of fun and achieved new goals. Good things that happened this month include:

1. Several play dates with friends, which helps tire my toddler out, gives me a chance to develop new friendships and cultivate existing ones, and it breaks up my day.

2. Amy rolling over both ways! I didn't even see it happen for several days. I'd just lay her down one way and look over to see her the other way. Now I'll look over, and she's on the other side of the room.

3. Daisy beginning to read sight words. She knows her name, "dog," and "mommy." Pretty impressive for a 2.5 year old. Today she told me "S starts with 'school'!" She might have said it backwards, but I was still impressed by her knowledge of letter sounds.

4. Family trips to the Renaissance Faire, Strawberry Festival, splash pad, and beach. All were fun and memorable. There was a time when I would have blogged about each one. This is not that time.

5. Zane gave me a morning all to myself. It was wonderful. My creative brain came up with tons of creative projects and ideas. As soon as I got home, my creative brain shrunk back down to its usual walnut size, and I said to it, "Seasons of life, okay? One day you will do all those projects and cry that your girls aren't around as much." The good thing is that Zane said we could make "mom's morning out" a more regular thing. 


Life is good right now. I don't need time for creativity, because I have time with two daughters, which are more valuable to me than sewing projects. Everyone says it goes fast. I believe them. It's going fast before my very eyes. Another month is gone, and Amy's one step closer to growing up!

What doesn't go fast are those two hours between nap time and dinner time.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Renaissance Fair Birthday

Sunday was my birthday and highland games weekend at the Renaissance Fair in Tampa. We went four years ago with Zane's parents, and this year we thought it'd be fun to do it again. I thought it was much more fun with kids! 



We had a GRAND welcome to the festival. First there were a bunch of fairies, so we encouraged Daisy to say hi. Daisy was kind of overwhelmed by all of it, but it didn't take too long for her to adjust and start interacting with the actors.


Next up, we saw the queen. One of her ladies in waiting brought Daisy over and introduced her to the queen. The queen knelt down, spoke to Daisy, and gave her a little ring. Then she called over "the Merry's" who were a group of girls dressed in different colors.

The girls asked if Daisy knew a song, so I suggested that Daisy sing "BaBa Black Sheep." Daisy sang it very quietly, so the queen sang it with her. They girls clapped and praised her afterwards. Each of them were named whatever flower was on their heads: Rose, Morning Glory, Sunflower, etc. Daisy kind of fit right in. They had Daisy sing her song to the sheep herder later.

Apparently every hour on the hour, the girls do a maypole dance, but we didn't get to participate this year. Maybe next time.



Somewhere between the ring-giving and the song-singing, the queen met Amy, who was riding in the Ergo baby enjoying the sights. The queen asked if she could give a special blessing to Amy, so I said yes. She said the sweetest blessing while holding Amy's head, and it seriously almost started crying. It was really sweet, but I can't remember everything she said. Something like, "I pray you have a long life. I pray you have a healthy life....(more of this)...but most of all I pray you have a happy life." 


That was the closest I came to getting lost in the magic of it all. Usually as an adult, I just see people in costumes, but when the queen was blessing Amy, I was so honored by her words that I didn't wonder whether or not her blessing was part of her queen act or if she was speaking from her heart. It doesn't really matter, because it was very sweet. 


I brought these flower crowns for Daisy and her cousin that I had made years ago, but never sold on Etsy. They were perfect. Actually, this festival would be a great venue for selling floral headbands. I didn't see any vendors with crowns like mine, but there are vendors for just about everything medieval and/or mythological that you would want. It's possible we didn't walk past the floral crown booth if there was one. 


They also have man-powered rides for kiddies. The girls wanted to ride this seahorse swing, so I went with them. You can kind of see the guy pushing us. He reminded me of Rollo from Vikings. The ride went on for a long time, much longer than any Disney ride. I'd say we got our money's worth. 

I did have a "bad parent" moment and let Daisy ride when she was already wiggling from having to go potty. By the time the ride was over, it was too late for a successful potty trip. Potty first next time. No renaissance fair trip with kids is complete without a potty fiasco, right? 


Possibly my favorite part was the elephant ride. I think I might have ridden an elephant in childhood, but I don't remember it at all (I just have a vague memory of seeing a photo), so as far as I'm concerned, this was a first for me! It was a really short lap, but it was fun, especially with Daisy. 

My parents were laughing about the lack of historical continuity of a man in a kilt leading an elephant at a medieval times festival. The other girl helping with the elephant rides was dressed like a gypsy. I say just go with it. 

You can kind of see from that picture that I'm wearing my little crown that we got last time we were here. 


As usual, Amy was the best behaved baby ever. She ate right before we got there, so was happy and sleepy the entire time. 


This is princess Cinderella fawning over Amy. Amy even giggled at her, which she has only done about three times in her life. 

We had a great day. It would be fun to dress up a little more in the future, but it's so hot and dusty, that I'd have to really think through my costume. Light and airy is the way to go, even in February! Saturday was a nice, cool day, but Sunday was already hot again. Oh, Florida. 


Friday, February 20, 2015

Baby Shower Prayer Verse




One wonderful baby shower tradition from our church in Orlando is to pray over the new baby by name and with Bible verses. I don't know who started this, but it's excellent. It was my favorite part of Daisy's shower, and I've made them for other friends since then too. 

In typical baby #2 fashion, we didn't have a baby shower for Amy, which is totally okay, because we have a ton of baby stuff already. The only thing I was sad about was the lack of opportunity for a group of people to pray over Amy like we did for Daisy. 

I decided to go ahead and make some verse cards for Amy before she was born. We finally prayed over Amy at a little Valentine's Day party for her when she was about four months old. 

This is a great tradition to start with your expecting mommy friends! But it doesn't just have to be used for baby showers. One friend at Amy's party mentioned wanting to make them for her grandkids just to have guided prayer times for them. God has already written the scripture, so we don't really have to think of great things to say while praying. Using these cards provides a great way to pray His truths for others. 

Here's the tutorial: 

1. Choose five coordinating 12''x12'' scrapbook sheets from your craft store. I did sports-themed ones for a friend of mine, who had a sports-themed shower. I did ladybug ones for my sister's ladybug shower. For Amy, I just chose pretty greens and pinks, because I liked them! They ended up being perfect for her Valentine's day party. 

2. Cut them in four equal squares, 6''x6'' each. This will make 19 verse cards and one title page. 


3. Find 19 verses and insert the baby's and parent's names where appropriate. I've included my two documents at the bottom of this post as a template. Please feel free to download and alter as needed! There's one document for girls and one for boys. The only difference is the pronoun use and fonts. Double-check your work to make sure each verse reads correctly!

4. Cut the verses out. I made mine 5'' wide and didn't worry about the height too much.


5. Hole punch the tops of each card. I punch two holes at the top and bind them all together with a ribbon. It's good to hole punch at this stage, before you start gluing, so you can center the verse the way you want under the holes. 


6. Glue stick your verses onto the cards. 


7. Sort the cards in whatever order you like for the different scrapbook patterns. You'll most likely have to do this again, because at the shower, the cards will be passed out so everyone can have a card to pray aloud during the prayer time. I usually just re-sort them after the prayer time before giving the pack to the momma. 


8. Thread a ribbon through the holes and tie a bow! That's it!



When I have led this prayer time in the past, I just pass the stack around (minus the title page) and ask each participant to take one or two verses. Then I ask someone to open in prayer and close, and everyone else to pray their prayer cards and whatever else they feel led to pray. Personally, I like to pray in a circle, because then you just know who's going next, but that's my organized personality coming out.

For me, it's a super emotional experience to have people pray over your child and family by name with verses. I was very weepy during Daisy's shower and during my neice's shower when we prayed over her. The Word of God, people!! It's powerful!

Thanks for reading!

Baby Verse Templates:

Baby Girl
Baby Boy

Unfortunately, Google Docs doesn't support multiple columns, so I suggest copying the file content and formatting it in your own word processor.

  1. Use landscape orientation. 
  2. Set your margins at .5'' all around
  3. Split the document into two columns. Set the space between columns at 1'' for easier cutting. 
  4. Find and replace the names of the baby, mom, and dad for customized verse cards! 
Also, if you have trouble downloading and editing these, you can email me, and I'd be glad to send you the Word Document files in an attachment: deb.kenn22 [at] gmail [dot] com

You can also use the "contact me" link on my blog.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mom of Two: Four Months In

This month was once again a little easier than last month. I've got the whole "leave the house with two kids and no husband" thing down. I even drove to Orlando for one night just me and the kids.


I finally ventured on a walk with both kids and Rufio sans Zane. I had Amy in the Ergo carrier (my best friend). Up to this point, I haven't gone on a walk without Zane because I didn't want to have to talk to anyone in my neighborhood. This is also my biggest reason for wanting my own yard for the kids to play in - so that I can be a hermit, but my kids can still get outdoor time.

Well, guess what happened on our walk? I talked to people! I knew it would happen.

Daisy wanted to play on the playground, so we loitered for just enough time for neighborhood kids to come by and pet Rufio, which led to a little toddler coming to pet Rufio, which led to me talking to toddler's mom for an HOUR! I came home very happy about my accomplishment that was forced upon me. I thought, "I'd like to do that again tomorrow, but I don't want to ever do that again." I have all these ideas of amazing friendships in the neighborhood, but I don't want to leave my house. Oh, the internal conflict!



Amy's accomplishments this month included chuckling, holding her feet, pulling off her socks, putting the pacifier in her mouth (by accident), and rolling over once (possibly by accident).

I'm constantly torn between wanting her to grow up and be more independent (finding her pacifier on her own) and staying a baby. She's so adorable and squishy. She's also VERY snuggly. We have been much less strict on her about scheduling. She's pretty scheduled on her own, but there's lots more rocking and less crying with Amy. NOT that she doesn't cry, because she does. We just don't have her cry it out yet. Not sure what our plan is there.


I tend to put aside my to-do list to play with or hold Amy when she's awake. I put aside my to-do list a lot for Daisy too - playing trains and blocks and princesses, building forts, reading books, helping after potty. Somehow I have managed these things, kept the house relatively cleanish, fed everything, and continued to meet my Etsy orders.

Honestly, we still watch a lot of TV. I have limited our shows. SO many kids' shows are about social interactions, which usually include one character being mean to another. Daisy is absorbing everything, and I don't want her picking up rude habits.

Zane is a HUGE help. He has basically taken over all Rufio-related duties and Daisy's bedtime routine. He also cooks about half the time and does ALL our grocery shopping. Am I blessed or what?!

There are still days where I feel like I could pull my hair out at the end of the day, but I don't even have enough energy for that.

I nostalgically remember the days when I could paint, sew for fun, read novels, play video games, act, and blog about it all. I have lots of ideas for creative projects, but very little time to do anything without toddler interruption. My days often feel like survival mode, but I do NOT want to wish away the little years. Creative endeavors will be there when I'm an empty-nester. I'm doing my best to enjoy the life that God has given me right now and file away my dreams for the future.



I've also been working out more since the beginning of January, which has helped me lose a good chunk of pregnancy weight. I did a Beach Body challenge, which was really fun, and helped me to jumpstart healthier habits this year.

It has been a great month, and we have lots to look forward to next month: my birthday, the Strawberry Festival, Renaissance Faire, and who knows what else. Maybe I'll blog more often too. Soon this baby will be eating solids and sitting up and next thing I know, she won't be a baby anymore. Which is simultaneously a happy and sad thought.

Daisy just winked at me and said, "Cheers." My life is awesome.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mom of Two: Three Months In

Last month was the turning point for me in my adjustment to this new normal, praise God. I made it through the "fourth trimester"!

Zane had three weeks off of school in December, and it was just in time. At the beginning of his break, he woke up with Daisy, so I could sleep in a little longer each day. By the end of the break, Amy was sleeping through the night, and I felt like a new woman.


Early in January, we were hanging around the house. Zane was in the kitchen; Daisy was playing; I was rocking Amy. I felt such peace. Everything was right. I realized that I had gotten used to having two kids. 

Further proof of my new-found adjustment is that recently I had a memory of something over the summer and thought, "Wait, what did I do with Amy during that?" Oh yeah, she was in my belly!

Amy is so much fun now. She interacts, smiles, coos, and wants to be part of the action at all times. She's so strong too, trying to sit up and roll over. Neither has happened yet on her own. She's also out of the ballpark in terms of height and weight percentile for her age. She's a good eater!




Along with my feeling of "I got this" with two kids has come a sense of contentment with this stage of life. After many months of disliking life in our new town, I have come to like our little apartment. It's super quick to clean. After getting home from errands, I feel peace walking in the door, shutting out the world to rest and enjoy our little sanctuary. I have explored the area enough that I have a pretty good mental map of where things are located. Our new home has finally become home.

I still have lots of dreams and goals on the horizon. I can't shut off that part of my personality. But, here and now, this is good. Nursing school is good. Tampa is good. Two kids is good.

Whew, it happened. I adjusted. Now, what to change next...