Is Loquacious Lady Dead?

That’s what my husband asked me a week or two ago.

I looked at him and said, “I hope not. I don’t think I’m a ghost.”

Har har. I know. Jo hit six-months and took off. I have been doing my best to keep up with this active little bundle of energy while keeping our not-sure-what-to-think-of-her dogs from being pet too hard or from getting aggressive with her (so far, so good).

I have kept a slow but steady pace with my photography (it’s as fast as I can move while being a stay-at-home mom), and I am trying to lose weight. I still live in a house that needs more help than I have time to give it, cleaning-wise.

And this poor blog…it’s just gotten the back-burner. I used to feel guilty about it. Then I looked at my life, took inventory of the crazy day-to-day that I live, and decided that posting once every now and then is actually pretty darn good.

So it’s still alive. It’s just in a roughly vegetative state.

Since I last posted, we had Josey’s first Christmas, and our first Christmas as parents. It was awesome. I didn’t grow up with Santa, but Tom did and Josey is, so this was my first Christmas with a Santa experience. It was so fun.

She had a chance to meet him in the mall, and she didn’t even cry! We were very proud of her…and fairly surprised at how well she did!

On Christmas Eve, we made cookies after dinner to go on our “Santa’s cookies” plate. 

Then we took a family picture with her in her Christmas pjs and read her the Christmas story found in Luke (Tom’s favorite gospel). Then we put Ms. Jo in bed so that she could rest for the following day…and so that Santa could drop off a special delivery for a very good girl.

As you can see in her face, she didn’t know how to feel about all that was going on during Christmas Eve.

But she knew how she felt about her presents the next morning! 

Santa brought her a Radio Flyer wagon with a shade and a storage bag on the back. In it, he left her a book called “Red Wagon” that is really cute. She LOVES her wagon. We frequently take it on walks now in place of a stroller when the weather is nice and the walk isn’t going to be too long.

She also got plenty of presents from me and Tom, and a stocking full of goodies. That was just at our house.

After that, she had Christmas with my family at her GG and Papa Doc’s house (my parents), followed by Christmas at Nana’s house (Tom’s grandmother) with Tom’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. The next day, she got up and had more Christmas presents to open at her Memac and Popey’s house (Tom’s parents).

We literally couldn’t bring everything back with us because it didn’t all fit in the car. Wow! What a loved and blessed little baby.

Christmas has always been mine and Tom’s favorite holiday, but it was even neater to experience it all as a parent. The excitement in her face at seeing her wagon, the fact that she was more excited to see her cousins than her presents, and even the sheer exhaustion we all felt at the end of the night are all things I will tuck away in my memory.

What a gift to have so many people in our lives to celebrate with at Christmas.

And what a gift to give your only, precious child as the ultimate sacrifice to save the world….God did for me what I couldn’t do for anyone, even if Josey was able to bear that burden for the world. I can’t imagine Christmas was as happy a time for God the Father as it is for all of us, but I am so grateful that it happened anyway.

Three days after Christmas, Josey turned eleven months old. Such a big girl! I took some photos, of course.

She is growing so fast! And I can’t get enough of her sweet, silly, precious personality.

Since then, I’ve been working on getting stuff together for her first birthday. I’ve been making decorations for her party, ordering invitations and an outfit for her to wear, and making arrangements for the cake, etc.

I’ve also been trying to sort out where I will do her one-year portraits, and what exactly I want them to look like (which I might as well not even figure out, because she always ends up doing something different, busy person that she is). I have an (over-the-top) outfit picked out for it already (I’m talking a dress made of feathers here). And I bought a custom headband to go with it. So the setting is next to figure out.

So much to do. So little time. And before I can catch my breath, my tiny infant will be a toddler. I better take myself off to bed before I start crying at the very thought of her turning a year old.

I still feel as though we just walked in the door from the hospital, carrying that tiny bundle of love. And now, she’s walking around, jabbering, saying “mama” and “daddy” and barking at the dogs. She laughs hard and is determined to get her way. She has the best smile.

She’s had every holiday in a year already, including her first Christmas and New Year’s.

She is in the last few weeks of being a baby. I can’t believe it.

But you better believe that’s why I’m not blogging as much these days! There’s very little time to do so, and I’m having so much fun living this life that I can hardly find time to document it.

I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours.

And viva la Loquacious Lady!

 ~Meghan

I’ve Reached a New Milestone

You always hear the stories about the moms who have everything go wrong in a day at once. And then, when it couldn’t get worse, it does. And then they call someone to bail them out, and they don’t know what they’d have done without them.

I feel like I’ve reached a new milestone, because that happened to me this week.

I had been up from 2- 3:45 the night before with Josey, got up at 6, and had been going all day. She only slept 30 minutes of her second nap, and I was exhausted.

We were going to try to go to the park with a friend, but that didn’t work out, so I decided to take her with me to the store to get some groceries we were low on. She does really well in the store (usually), and she loves to talk (rather loudly) to everyone she sees, especially other kids.

It was like an oasis in the desert of that icky day. She was charming, everyone was telling her hello, that was keeping her entertained, and I was able to get my shopping done.

I was rushing to the checkout because it was almost 5 and time to nurse Josey. After doing so well, I didn’t want her to have a meltdown in the wait to check-out.

She held it together pretty well, and I was putting my last bag of groceries in the cart at 2 minutes until 5. I could swing getting to the car and driving home before nursing her, so I was relieved.

Until.

Until I went to get my wallet and realized I’d left it in my purse and forgotten to put it back in the diaper bag.

I had a buggy full of groceries, an over-tired baby ready to nurse, and no way to pay. I was exhausted. And embarrassed. And I felt like an idiot.

The cashier was nice, though, and instead of griping about what happened or insisting I redo the entire checkout process (which I offered to do once I got my credit card at home), she simply turned her aisle’s light off and came over to talk to JoJo and tell me about her grandbabies while we waited.

She even helped the lady behind me move all her stuff to another register and checked her out there.

Thankfully, I’d chosen the grocery store closest to our house, and Tom was working from home. He also answered when I called, thank goodness, and was there in 7 minutes, wallet in hand, picked up Josey from my arms and kept her happy all the way to the car.

I got home, and Tom unloaded the groceries for me while I fed Jo. Then he gave her her dinner while I put the groceries away.

Even as I stood in the grocery store searching for a debit card that refused to appear, I knew I had a “mom whose day went all wrong” story in the making. But I also knew Tom would come to my rescue.

It’s such a relief to know that even on my worst days, I’ve got a partner in life and parenting who makes it more bearable and even laughable. And the rest of the time, he makes it more joyful.

Feel free to share your “everything went wrong that day” stories -parenting related or not- in the comments. It’s nice to know we’re not alone!

~Meghan

I Am Mommy

I am a stay-at-home mom. That’s what I do for a living. It’s my choice and my privilege – and quite honestly, my dream come true- to say those words.

But until recently, when people met me and asked the inevitable, “So, what do you do?”, my answer was “I’m a photographer. But I have a (fill in the blank here)- month-old daughter, so I have let that kind of go to the background. I still do it, but it’s more of a ‘when I can fit it in’ side job now. I love staying at home with my baby! And she comes first, so I turn down anything that interferes with her appointments or if she’s sick. It’s nice being able to do that!”

All of that is true. I didn’t feel false saying it. And my primary reason for it was that I don’t like to miss the opportunity to let people know what I do, because sometimes they actually NEED a photographer, and if I never mention it, they will never think of me for it.

But still. I spend 95% of my time working as a mommy first and a photographer second. The other 5% is when I say “yes” to taking on a photo session. (I edit at night or during naps.)

And then, Saturday, I was driving to a baby shower where I would know exactly two people- one of whom was the guest of honor. So I knew the question would come up, and I was thinking about my reply. And I decided that the job that gets the most care, time, and attention is the one that deserves the answer.

And more than that, I’m really proud to be a stay at home mom. Tom works very hard to provide for me the opportunity to be with Josey so I don’t have to give her over to someone else most of my day. I love being a mom, and even though it can be hard sometimes, and I never quite manage to do all I need to do in a day, it’s the best job I’ve ever had.

I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I’m embarrassed to say that’s what I do.

So, when I met people and heard the most popular getting-to-know-you question in the book, I smiled and replied, “I’m a stay-at-home mom.”

I think people don’t expect that answer much anymore, at least not from a girl in her mid-20’s in a climb-the-ladder culture and a “lucky to get any paycheck at all” economy. I got several surprised, “Oh!”s, followed quickly by a “that’s great!” or a “How nice!” I didn’t sense any snideness, just real surprise.

I think people often respond to tone, so the genuine happiness in my voice let them know that I am quite pleased with my life, and led them to reply accordingly. Well, it was either that or my follow-up of, “I love it. She’s our whole world.”

And then, when they asked how old she was and what I did before, I explained about my other passion- photography- and it’s supporting role in my work life, now that Josey is the star. It seemed a lot more natural -and a lot more accurate- for what my life is right now.

I am mommy. And I am very proud of that.

~Meghan

What’s in Baby’s Medicine Cabinet?

A lot of people I know are expecting their first babies right now, and they ask me what things I have liked or not liked for Josey. Moms (including myself) tend to go on about our strollers, our pediatricians, and what we found most helpful for breastfeeding, etc.

While I do think those things are helpful to know (obviously, since I post about what Jo uses every 2 months), I find that we tend to skip over the “pharmacy” and grooming stuff we acquire. I’m sure this is mostly due to the fact that everyone has their own idea of what is best for their baby. And I do think moms need to follow their instincts along with hearing out their pediatricians.

If you want to go all organic, that’s great. If you find medicine to be overly doled out, I get it. If you are willing to give you kid medicine to stop the crying from teething, I understand. Listed below is what has worked for us.

Grooming

1. Johnson’s Baby Bath Head to Toe Body Wash

When I’m washing my little wiggle worm, the easier the better. So I like having one soap that can do it all, and that is dispensed with a pump. This soap isn’t anything new, but it works for us, so I’m sharing it.

Also, it really doesn’t hurt her eyes on the few occasions when soapy water has gotten in. I just wipe her eyes with a dry towel and carry on.

 2. Johnson’s Baby Lotion in Honey Apple and in Vanilla Oatmeal 

 

After her bath, I slather her in lotion, then I get her diapered and dressed. Neither of these lotions has caused a negative reaction on her skin. Both smell awesome (but if you have a boy, I would skip the girly-smelling apple scent). Everyone comments on how good her skin smells, wanting to know what it is.

In fact these both work so well that when we go out of town, I just use her lotion instead of bringing my own. I figure, skip Bath and Body Works, and give me the Johnson’s Baby Lotion! It’s cheaper!

3. Safety 1st Deluxe Healthcare and Grooming Kit

We were given this by some friends at a shower, and I LOVE it for so many reasons:

  • The comb gets all her tangles out.
  • The bush makes her hair so smooth and shiny.
  • The nail clippers are easy to grip and the perfect size for little nails (I have to do this weekly).
  • They even include tiny nail files just in case there’s a sharp edge (her nails are sharp!!).
  • The thermometer is straightforward and easy to use, and it comes with covers in case you have to take a rectal reading.
  • The nasal aspirator bulb opens in half, so cleaning is easy, and it does a better job than most bulbs. It’s also clear, so you can see if you got the gunk out.

The little medicine bottle dispenser was so clever, but it actually didn’t work well for us. Josey couldn’t seem to suck the medicine out of it. But that was no big deal because we use syringes to dispense her meds (see below).

4. Aquafresh Training Toothpaste and Training Toothbrush

Well, we lucked out because Josey has LOVED her toothbrush ever since we were just brushing her gums. In fact, she has 3 toothbrushes just for play and chewing on (spread all over the house), and this one for actual use.

I don’t know if this one is any better than the others out there, but it’s the one we bought. It’s worked well for us, and it’s small enough that I can actually brush her teeth, gums, and tongue with it.

Which is a good thing, because she has several teeth and eats solids now, so she get stinky breath otherwise. We do this at least once a day.

Health

Like I said, everyone has to do what they think is right for their child. Personally, I hate seeing Josey in pain, and on the days when she is crying nonstop, chewing on her fingers and miserable, I thank the Lord that someone invented drugs that help her get relief and even let her fall asleep when she’s in pain.

Same goes for days when she has gas pain. To each their own.

That said, not everything in here is medicinal.

1. Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer

 I remember seeing this advertised when I was a nanny and asking the mom, who was a nurse in a pediatrician’s office, if they really worked. She surprised me by saying they work great and are super accurate.

They scan the temporal artery (running up the side of your forehead) for a heat reading, telling you your body temperature. How nice not to need to stick a thermometer ANYWHERE in a baby!

The one thing I will say is that they are advertised as if they are so convenient, you could do this to your child as they slept without waking them. I’m calling BS on that for two reasons:

  • You run it across the forehead as it beeps and flashes a red light. Who can sleep through that?
  • You can’t read it in in the dark because the screen doesn’t light up.

But other than that, I really like it for a quick, easy read. Of course, Josey moves nonstop, so I have to do this about 3 times before she is still enough for it to work, but that’s still easier than taking her temperature any other way!

 2. Graco Nasal Clear Nasal Aspirator

I use both a bulb and this aspirator, depending on the gunk in her nose.

When snot and boogers are close enough to bother her or for me to see but far enough back that I would have to use the bulb for 15 different suctions to get it out, I use the battery operated aspirator. It’s easier and faster. Most of all, it annoys her less that way.

Another thing is that when her patience is running out on her nose being cleaned, this aspirator has a button to play music, which distracts her enough to buy me some more time for cleaning her up.

I can’t remember a time in her life that she didn’t have a stuffy or a runny nose. This device is essential for me.

3. Little Noses Saline Mist

I have had the same bottle since she was born and still not run out. I don’t use it a ton. But when there is something in her nose that is clearly needing to come out, but it can’t, I spray this up her nose.

It’s easy to use, and it loosens stuff up so I can suction it out with her aspirator. Not really much more to add, other than it’s useful.

4. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

Yep, the stuff that’s been around for ages is a natural moisture barrier. So after you change your baby, you can pat them dry and slather a bit of this on them to help prevent diaper rashes.

That’s something I learned as a nanny, and it worked incredibly well. I did this with Josey all the time when she was “new,” but as she’s gotten older, I’ve slacked off a bit. Now I usually only use this if I see any redness indicating a rash might be trying to form (or when I remember it).

Still, it’s a great thing to know and use for diapering.

5. Desitin Maximum Strength Paste

When the rare occasion that Jo gets a diaper rash does prevent itself, I use this stuff. It knocks it out quickly and provides her with relief from the pain while she heals. Love it.

6. Hyland’s Teething Tablets

This is yet another thing I gleaned from the nannying days. These homeopathic tablets are great.

They seem to work instantly, and they dissolve pretty much as soon as they are in her mouth. She loves to eat them, and it calms her down so quickly. Love these.

They can be hard to find nowadays, so I order mine off Amazon.

7. Children’s Acetaminophen with Syringe

I have discussed this before, but I love this dispenser. It is SO much less messy because of the syringe and the top designed for just the syringe to be used.

It also wastes less because you turn the bottle upside down to get the medicine into the syringe, versus having to stick the syringe down into the bottle.

Besides all of that, the actual medicine is very helpful when Jo has had shots, is teething and miserable, or if she has a fever. Just be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician for dosage information.

 8. Children’s Benadryl

Now this one didn’t even cross my mind until recently. I was telling my sister how miserable it had been because even with tablets and Tylenol, poor Josey was in so much pain with all these teeth coming in that she couldn’t sleep through the night or take good naps. She was in pain, and we were all exhausted.

She pointed out to me that a little bit of Benadryl might help her sleep, which is so important for overall health and ability to cope for both parents and babies. At this point, it had been two weeks, so I gave in and bought some.

What a relief! Josey could sleep through the night again most nights, and Tom and I were getting more sleep too. We all felt more capable to deal with the teething pain when we were rested.

I know the bottle says this isn’t really supposed to be used for knocking out your kids, but at some point, I had to think “what is worse, giving her her size’s dosage of medicine when she doesn’t have allergy problems, or her never getting sleep and all of us being worn out, me getting sick from it, and all of us cranky?” For me, sleep won.

9. Simethicone

When Josey was a few days old, I made the horrible mistake of eating two tiny pieces of broccoli that were in with my Chinese food.

Many of you seasoned breast-feeders are groaning in empathy. For those of you who plan to breastfeed but haven’t before, there are some foods you don’t want to eat, and broccoli is one of them. These foods will give your baby horrible gas pain. (Here’s a list of some of those foods, though I will say that eventually, you can add some of those back in- hello coffee, chocolate, and wine!- just be mindful of when your baby nurses.)

She was up for most of the night. She comfort nursed for two hours until I started crying, and my mom said “just pull her off!” Then the screaming began and went on for four solid hours. It was pure misery.

I was exhausted, my mom was having to comfort us both because I was bawling as much as Josey, and we were all three up all night. (Thank the Lord for mamas who help after coming home from the hospital!)

I said something about it on Facebook, and a couple of sweet ladies gave me some life-changing advice. Simethicone.

It’s like bean-o or gas-x for babies. In fact, that’s all Gas-X is, but it’s more of it for adults. So, next time she seemed to be having tummy issues, I gave her some, and voila, it helped!! I don’t want to know a world without this medicine.

10. Polyvisol

This is basically a multi-vitamin for babies. It’s especially important for breast-feeding babies who won’t get all their supplements (like iron) via formula.

Fair warning, this stuff is gross looking, smelling, and, if Josey’s reaction is any indication, tasting. I give it to her during bathtime because she doesn’t mind spitting it out. But it is good for her and pediatrician mandated (for us).

And that’s it! That’s all the over-the-counter grooming and healthcare stuff I’ve found useful for the last nine months and would be willing to recommend to others. I hope you find this list helpful!
~Meghan

ps- If you are breastfeeding, you need to continue taking your prenatal vitamins with DHA. Your body will be sharing nutrients with the baby, and you want to continue giving him or her all those good vitamins, especially DHA, as well as benefitting from them yourself.

She Said Her First Word.

Whew. Life is busy here. Josey is crawling, pulling up, has two teeth with a third that’s broken through, and she is into EVERYTHING! For a while, she was chanting, “Blah, blah, blah” throughout her day, but we didn’t have a real first word.

She chatters non-stop. In fact, we started referring to her as our “loquacious baby” since she talks as much as I do. ha!

But then it happened. After almost eight months of me chanting, “Ma-Ma! Say, ‘MAMA! Maaaa-Maaaa! Mamamamamamama.’ Can you say ‘mama?'” She FINALLY said her first word this Monday.

“Dada!”

Of course.

I had to laugh. He’s my favorite person in the world, and I adore him, so how can I fault our baby girl for loving him so much she said his name first?

It actually makes more sense than I’d like to admit. All my nephews and nieces would learn “TOM” before “Meghan.” And some would even see me, get excited, and say “Tom??” while looking behind me to see where I was hiding him, like he’s a toy I carry around in my purse.

Go figure.

Anyway, it’s pretty adorable.

I love hearing her say “Dada. Dadadada. DA-DA!!!!” throughout the day, especially when she sees him. So cute.

I tried to get her to do it for her GG when we chatted on facetime, but she looked at my mom and me as if to say, “Why would I call GG my dad’s name??” Oh well.

They really have such a sweet relationship. She loves when he feeds her dinner each night, and he is already teaching her guitar lessons (“No, don’t do that or it will hurt! Strum it like this! See?”).

She loves to play with him, wrestling around and laughing. Just like her daddy, she is extremely active.

She bounces up and down in my arms in excitement every time we go into the office to say hello, and he cherishes her version of a kiss and a hug (which I definitely get more of since I’m with her all day long).

He is an amazing daddy, and I’m not even jealous that she said his name first. That’s how much Jo and I both love him.

~Meghan

The Not-So-Mean Girls of Middle School

I did not enjoy being 13. Or 14.

It was stressful, frustrating, and my mom and I wanted to rip each other’s hair out constantly. Girls were mean. I mean, friends would just as easily stab you in the back as smile at you, and boys- OH boys. They were 13 and 14 too, so that explains it all. I also switched churches, schools, and houses during that time. I hated it.

Things obviously got better, but I haven’t forgotten how it felt to be that age. And that’s exactly why I decided to co-lead a middle school girls’ small group a few years ago.

At our church, they have you start with the kids as they leave 5th grade the summer before their middle school journey begins. And you stay their small group leader until they go into high school. (And high school is the same way- the two or three high school small group leaders that get them as they leave 8th grade stay with them until they graduate high school.)

It’s a big commitment. You are asked to attend 2 overnight camps with them each year, be at church every Sunday with few exceptions, and attend their events outside of small group on Sundays. You are also asked to coordinate group outings and follow up with girls who haven’t attended things in a while. You give your email and cell info out to the girls and their parents so they can contact you any time about anything.

And if you’re lucky, you also get to be these girls’ facebook friends and follow them on Pinterest and Instagram (and twitter, if they do that). Social networks keep me in the loop with the girls outside of Sunday better than anything else, honestly. I love it. They’re willing to share all their silly pictures, teen angst, and crushes with you there, so it’s a safe topic on Sundays too.

Social networks also get credit for keeping me connected with my old small group. I started at Northpoint, but I moved to Gwinnett Church when it opened up and about 8 of my girls moved to that church with their families.

They and I got a new co-leader and new middle school girls in our group there, and my old group got a new co-leader to replace me. I still miss my old group and co-leader, but I love my new ones too. So now I can be plugged in with both.

People, when they hear I need to get back for Sunday night church so I can be with my middle school girls, often tell me  that I’m “brave to take on middle school.” But these girls are surprisingly NOT mean. They’re the kind of girls I wanted to know at that age- they’re actually sweet.

Also, It is never boring. Sweet though they may be, they are also very comfortable after all this time together being themselves, and we all love to pick on each other. Here are some things I’ve heard lately:

1. “Did you know that a 19-year-old and a 10-year-old could date, legally, as long as they stay pure?” (After 5 seconds of stunned silence on my part, I commented, “If a 19-year-old WANTS to date a 10-year-old, legality is the least of my worries!” And so began a rather interesting conversation, that I won’t go into here.)

2. Me: “I have a blog. Don’t judge me. I’m a nerd.”

Co-leader: “I would read your blog!”

Me: “Aww! It’s loquaciouslady.com.”

Girls: “What does ‘loquacious’ mean?”

Me: “Excessive talker.”

Various girls: “OH MY GOSH! That is SO Perfect for you!” “You are SO loquacious!” “HAHAHA! That IS perfect!” “Hahaha you do love to talk!”

Me: “Alright, Alright! I get it! haha”

 3. “There are a lot of cute boys that came to church tonight. I call the one in the white polo. ALL of you back off!”

4. Me: “Prayer requests?”

Girls: “EIGHTH GRADE BOYS!” “YES! Top of the list! Every time!”

Me: “Do you think they ever come in here and see that they are a consistent prayer request?”

Girls: “Probably.” “Definitely.” “I hope so!” “They need it!”

5. “Oh my gosh! I looooove One Direction! Niall is SO cute!” “He’s mine! I call him!”

6. Girl: “Do you still coupon?”

Me: “You know it!”

Girls: “I bet you’re crazy about it.” “I bet we’re going to have an outing where all we do is clip Meghan’s coupons! haha”

Me: “Hmm. Maybe I should start bringing my newspapers to group every Sunday. Not a bad idea!”

7. Me: “So what’s up with that guy you had a crush on? The quarterback?”

Girl: “Oh, we’re just friends. We still hang out, but he’s going to college next year.”

Me: (mimes heart attack) “WHAT!???”

Girls: laughter

Girl: “Yeah, he’s a senior. And he has a girlfriend. So we’re just friends.”

Me: “YEAH, you better just be friends! What are you doing going out to eat with a senior who has a girlfriend anyway??”

Girl: “Well, it was a group.”

Me: “Oh my gosh, you could have led with that! haha Don’t do that to me!”

Girls: laughing again

Girl: “Well, my mom knows I have a crush but said we’re just allowed to be friends. But I only told my dad we’re friends.”

Me: “For the friend’s sake, that was probably a smart move. I’m glad your mom knows though. It’s good you’re comfortable talking to your parents about who you like.”

Girl: “Well, they can always tell. It’s kind of obvious.”

Me: shaking my head and grinning, thinking how much I love these girls.

 

So, those are just a few examples of things I hear being a middle school group leader. I love these girls. They’re smart, talented, hilarious, and just a lot of fun. And yes, the first thing that is written down as a prayer request every week is “8th grade boys!!!!!!” (We let the girls write the requests on the board in our room.)

They bring me so much joy. I laugh at at least one thing from small group every week, I always have stories to tell Tom after church, and I love getting to know them more. And getting to know them is important, because under all the funny stuff, there are some really hard things going on in the lives of some of these girls.

When they know you well enough, they’ll actually open up about the harder stuff. A death of a close friend, feeling like they just can’t manage everything at school, a friend who stabbed them in the back, parents separating, an addiction in the family, an emotionally abusive relationship.

There are things that you just want to throw yourself in front of to protect them from experiencing. And you can’t. The flip side of growing to love these girls is hurting with them, praying for them, wondering how their day is going and why they missed church that Sunday.

The gift of it is knowing you have the ability to check in. Telling them you are ALWAYS there if they need to talk, and you’re willing to be there if they have to confront something difficult.

I love these girls. I can’t believe that I’m in my last year with them. But I’m proud to say that I gotten to experience not one, but TWO small groups filled with the not-so-mean girls of middle school. It’s been a fun ride, and I think this year is going to be the most fun I’ve had with them yet.

~Meghan

 

Baby Favorites- Months 5 and 6

Well, this is about a month overdue! Here are some of my favorite things Jo started using between turning 4 months old and turning 6 months old. Remember that credit for the picture goes to the place where I link you to the product!

Feeding

1. Graco Contempo Chair

We love this high chair. It is definitely easier to clean up than the chair she was using before. The fabric part of the seat comes off and is machine washer safe. Ours has been coated with carrots and sweet potatoes and come out looking new so far.

It has two trays, one that lifts off, and that is great too since we can just run it through the dishwasher.

This high chair rolls, but you can lock the wheels too. I love that because I can just pull her into the kitchen with me as I warm up her food. And it FOLDS! Yes, this thing folds flat, which is going to be a great thing for storage someday when she’s too big for it and her siblings are too little for it.

Other features: you can buckle the baby in over the shoulders and around the waist OR just at the waist. You can lay the chair back a bit or sit it upright. Footrest for when they are a bit older. Tray is easy to put on or take off with one hand.

2. Munchkin Stay Put 3-Pack Suction Bowls

The boys I nannied had these, and I really liked them, so I got some for Jo. The lids close tight, and the bottoms suction onto flat surfaces. They are great for kids who feel the need to knock everything to the floor, and they come in 3 sizes. Dishwasher safe, too!

Teething

1. Children’s Tylenol with Syringe

This might sound a little “duh”, but the reason I list it is that I love the syringe. It is so much less messy and more precise to use this type of medication for your little ones! I have used the Equate and Tylenol brands, and both are great. I haven’t found Advil with the syringe, so it’s messier for me to use.

2. Bright Starts Lots of Links (or Ring-A-Links)

JoJo loves these. They are great for connecting other toys to her stroller or car seat so that when she throws them, they don’t fall out. But she likes them on their own just to bite. The different colors and textures are great, too.

Miscellaneous

1. Aquafresh Training Toothbrush and Toothpaste

This is the toothbrush and toothpaste that I found at the store, but there are several out there. We were told to start using a training toothbrush and toothpaste on Jo’s gums so that she would be used to it when she had teeth come in.

Well, no worries there. She loved it right off the bat! She gets very excited to brush her teeth (all two of them) each day, as well as her gums. In fact, she loves any toothbrush she can get! Our dentist gave her one too, and she plays with it all the time. Here’s to a kid who (hopefully) never gets a cavity!

2. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes

This toy is one she received twice, and I’m glad I kept them both! She has one that goes with us in my diaper bag, and one that’s in the pack’n’play.

She likes the music and the bright lights, and now she likes to gnaw on the beads too.

Josey has plenty of other toys that she plays with, but this one stood out as a favorite.

3. iPad 3 (aka “The New iPad”)

You might roll your eyes at this, but hear me out. This thing ROCKS. Of course, if you have an iPhone, that’s just as good, but I don’t have one (yet).

Here’s why I love it: It has a camera that allows me to get photos and videos of Jo that I can share quickly and easily. It also lets her do “facetime” with her grandparents, aunts, and uncles (and her daddy when he’s at the office). She LOVES chatting with them over facetime.

I can use it to browse the internet, social networking sites, and my email when I am nursing, and I don’t wear down my phone battery doing it.

Because we have apple tv, we can watch videos I get of Jo on my iPad on our tv screen, which is fun. And she really likes seeing herself on screen. haha Such a ham.

It also has games you can let your little one play if you are willing to share. It’s a great device to own as a mama (or dad)!

________

So there is my list of new things from months 5 & 6. I hope you found that helpful. Don’t forget to check out favorites from months 1 & 2 and months 3 & 4!!

~Meghan

Everything Changes.

I am not the kind of person who has a fear of going to the dentist. Or a doctor’s office. But all the same, it’s not really my favorite way to spend my time.

I don’t enjoy having to carve time out of my day so that I can hold my mouth open until my jaw hurts and have someone critique my flossing technique.

Or I should say I didn’t used to enjoy it. Being a mom changes everything. Let me explain:

Recently, we took Josey to her 6 month check-up and found out that she weighs 19 pounds and 13.5 ounces. And anyone who has ever held her for more than 5 minutes knows that she is as active as can be.

She wants to jump, throw herself back, roll around, chew everything, pull hair, grab glasses, kick, dance, chatter, laugh, growl, sing, shake her head, hit, and grab all that she sees.

It’s like half my day I’m holding a 20 pound hurricane with a cute smile. It’s fun and exhausting.

So yesterday, I found myself excited about going to the dentist’s office. I enjoyed the quiet waiting room.

During my exam, I thought how nice it was that I could just lie back and do nothing but hold my mouth open while the nice dental hygienist chatted and worked. I happily held still for x-rays.

And when they returned my seat to an upright position, I was disappointed I couldn’t just lay there a few more minutes.

But it’s okay because I then had the joy of running an errand- by myself. I didn’t have to do anything but go in, grab what I needed, pay, and come right back out. It was so….quick.

And then I happily returned home to my sweet, growling, active, darling daughter. Whom I love even more than peace and quiet.

~Meghan

Name That Chewer.

Let’s play a new game. It’s called “Name that Chewer!”

Try to guess who in our house is responsible for chewing up stuff: the dogs, or Josey.

Here’s a cell phone picture of two chewed items. A coupon (that, thankfully, I wasn’t going to use anyway), and a book we got for Christmas and that was really pretty before it got attacked. It still has all its pages, at least, so we can continue to read it.

Okay, it’s time to play Name That Chewer! Who chewed the coupon? The Book?

….

Okay , if you guessed that the dogs did both, you’d be wrong. Josey got the book.

Just kidding. The dogs got the book, and Jo got the coupon. But their work is surprisingly similar, isn’t it? Considering she has no teeth, I mean. Not so sure her furry siblings are a good example for her.

I hope you enjoyed the game. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we get to have our things destroyed, so we can play again! Yay! (Gotta look on the bright side.)

~Meghan