Friday, May 31, 2013

Help the Mills – a family affected by the Moore tornado

 

Blogging has opened up a world of meeting people from all other. You learn about others’ lives and you feel like you know each other. Last week, Heather, someone I only know from blogging/Twitter, lost her home in the tornado that ripped through Moore, OK. To make matters worse, they also lost their home in the 1999 Moore tornado. Heather’s family is all fine, but they’ve been left with their house in shambles and many of their possessions simply gone. You can read more about their experience HERE.

They are staying somewhere temporary and they need to replace kitchen items! Without essential items, they are unable to cook! I have set up an online Pampered Chef party. All orders from this party will help build rewards that Heather will be able to use to purchase the items she needs. So, if you’ve been needing maybe just one thing, now would be a GREAT time to make that purchase as the proceeds would go to help a family who really needs it! If you would like to make a personal purchase, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SHOP.

Others have also asked about purchasing items for them. At this time, Heather is unsure of exactly all they need. If you are interested in doing something for Heather, please use the contact button on the top of my page to email me and i will send you details on how you can help!

I wanted to just highlight a few items that are my favorite or that would be perfect for Father’s Day!

 

Mix ‘n Chop – this is one of the most popular items I sell.

You can use it to chop and crumble meat as you cook it. I

 

Large Micro Cooker -  perfect way to steam veggies and even pasta!

 

Classic Batter Bowl – These are THE BEST. I have two and also the smaller version.

 

BBQ Corn & Skewer Rack – this is a great way to grill corn or kebabs and keep

them off the flame to prevent charring!!

BBQ Grill Tray – a great way to grill anything, including smaller things like shrimp!

Cut-N-Seal®this is great for cutting crusts off a sandwich for a little one! We

use ours almost every day for Ava’s lunch!

 

 

These are just a SMALL few of the items from Pampered Chef that I love. Each person that places an order, either for themselves or for the Mills, will be entered into a drawing and one lucky person will receive an item chosen by me from me! Also, please share this with anyone who may be interested. The more orders that are received mean the more money Heather will have to pick out items that they need! Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity and help!

FOR PERSONAL SHOPPING CLICK HERE

TO SEND ITEMS TO THE MILLS FAMILY, PLEASE USE CONTACT BUTTON AT TOP OF PAGE TO EMAIL ME!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Playful Planet – Storyland Yoga

I recently received a dvd in the mail from Playful Planet to use and review. They sent us a copy of Storyland Yoga to test!

Playful Planet is a company that was created by husband and wife Bryan and Karen Duggan. After attending a birthday a child’s birthday party where Karen talked to her daughter’s “kids yoga” teacher, she learned of the desire many moms had to share the experience with their children, but were not close enough to attend the classes. This gave way to the development of Storyland Yoga which features the “kids" yoga” teacher.

Per the Playful Planet website: “Storyland Yoga is a fun-filled adventure that infuses children with an eco-conscious message. Two unique stories, Save the Whale and Condor Trek, engage a child's imagination through storytelling. Kid's learn yoga postures by becoming part of the story and imitating animals. Yoga is great exercise and helps to calm children, giving them greater focus and increased clarity. By connecting with nature and gaining respect for their own health and well being, children become empowered to create solutions for the health and sustainability of our planet.”

We picked the Condor Trek story to start. Ava was excited to try this out as we it for a few days before we were able to test it.IMG_1678

The video tells a story and invites you to join them as you encounter bears, snakes, and carry a birdie in your hands..IMG_1662

Ava did pretty good with the moves. She enjoyed some of them a lot and thought they were very fun! IMG_1663    

She said her favorite part was when she had to row the boat!IMG_1668     

As with any child this age, it’s sometimes hard to keep their attention span, but she stuck with it for about 15 minutes.IMG_1674   

Here is a video of one of the segments. Ava really enjoys doing gymnastics and some of these moves are similar to some of the stretches she does at the beginning of gymnastics class!

I liked that this video makes exercising fun for kids. It’s important for them to move and Ava definitely enjoyed this. There were several times where she stopped and giggled because she thought it was funny to be laying on her back pretending to ride a bike or to be hissing like a snake! It’s a creative way to engage children and make them move, and I’m glad we have it. Reed tried to sit down next to her and join in, but he is just a little too young. I have no doubt he will be joining in before long! Ava has done the video a few more times since the first time and really likes it! Thanks, Playful Planet, for the opportunity to try this!!! Check out their website to learn more!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ava’s Dance Recital

 

A couple weekends ago, Ava had her first big dance recital, complete with makeup and all that stuff! She did SO well and I was so proud of her for coming so far since November when they had a little show off recital. She cried a lot in November and this time she just went with her group, did her thing, and was a very brave girl!

I had planned on just putting her hair in a pony tail and at the last minute decided to try a bun. It turned out so much better than I thought it might! IMG_0074

She was excited to wear make up! I thought she looked good even if it did make her look WAY TOO OLD! So, really, I’m just sharing a ton of pics of this cute girl on her big night. She had some fun posing!

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While we were having our little photo session, Reed was running around like a mad man.

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We thought maybe his new chair would help. It did. For about five seconds.

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Dancers must always have a photo with their proud parents!!!!

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Here she is mid performance!

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And with gifts from her adoring fans! IMG_0103IMG_0106IMG_1657 

At the dress rehearsal the night before, I was overwhlemed. It' was the third night that week we’d had rehearsal, and it was the first night I’d taken her as Zach had taken her to the others. It was chaotic and I had no clue what was going on. I couldn’t understand why people would do this for years and years as it seemed a little much to me. But the next night? Watching my girl dance? Worth every minute.

Things I want to remember:

I botched Ava’s eye makeup before dress rehearsal. I was rushing to get her ready at my office and some of my co-workers had to help me fix her. It looked like she’d gotten a black eye!  The next day getting her ready for the real thing, she told me maybe my work friends could come help again because they did makeup “bery well”. Thanks again, Hannah and Melissa!!!!

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At dress rehearsal, during her ballet dance, she was dancing her heart out and did one of the turns and she fell. I was recording her, and she had the deer in the headlights look and just looked so stunned. My heart ACHED watching it. She got up, got right back to dancing, finished and came back to me, and it was no big deal to her. I just wanted to scoop that baby up and take that moment away from her. I was SO PROUD of how graceful she handled herself. If only we could all handle our falls in life that gracefully!

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Ava, you did such a great job! We all loved watching you dance and it was fun to see how much fun you had! You’ve grown so much and become so much more graceful during this year of dance. I’m also so amazed at the confidence you’ve developed! At the beginning of the year, you hated being up in front of a large crowd of people. This night? You embraced it and danced your little heart out! And you made us so incredibly proud! We love you and no matter where life takes you, you always stop to dance a little!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Days gone by

On Sunday past…

The kids had a little play-doh time while I did some work in the kitchen and Zach was gone.

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We also played outside for a little while.

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The kids were so rambunctious that day. They were picking at each other and arguing and just all around messes. They *ALMOST* redeemed themselves by laying down to watch Mickey together that night.IMG_0127

However, that all went out the window when they started getting on each other’s pillows and kicking each other under blankets and telling on each other about those things.

On Monday…

We had some bad storms from the same line that demolished Moore that same afternoon. There was a tornado that touched down about 20 miles from us and that storm was headed straight toward us.  I am usually pretty calm in storms, but this one scared me. We’ve gotten in our safe spot two times since we’ve lived here, and Monday was the 2nd time. Reed was asleep and stayed asleep, thankfully. Ava stayed in there even after we told her to come out. I finally got her out and she laid down in our bed with me while Zach made sure everything was past.

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On Tuesday…

It was pouring down rain and we had the preschool parents breakfast at school. It’s a nice breakfast and many of the teachers serve us. Even Reed got to eat and he was a happy boy!

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Zach had to be at his school’s graduation that night so I had to wrestle Reed during gymnastics. That was fun. Or not. he spent the first 30 minutes fighting me and yelling “A-YUH!!!” over and over because he wanted to do gymnastics with her. IMG_0176

On Wednesday….

I honestly don’t even remember what we did on Wednesday. Must not have been a very impressive day.

On Thursday…

The kids were happy walking into school.IMG_0185 

On Friday…

Friday was the last day of school. Both kids have changed since the first day!

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On Saturday…

We had a pretty lazy day. I went and said goodbye to my childhood home. It was harder than I expected.

“Won’t take nothing but a memory, from the house that built me.”IMG_0217

So many memories inside these walls.IMG_0235

Ava’s first and last time to swing on the swing set there – in June 2009 and on Saturday. IMG_0236

The kids laid down together before naptime to watch a show in Ava’s room. They are cute when they are nice to each other.IMG_0238

That evening we went to a graduation party for one of my cousin’s. The kids enjoyed putting their feet in the swimming pool and Ava had a blast swimming. We saw what our trip to the beach will look like – Ava not getting out of the water and us trying to prevent Reed from jumping IN the water.

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We also said goodbye to my parents at the end of the party as they left Sunday. Lots of tears. There still are. Will talk about it more some other time. Maybe.

On Sunday…

Early Church. It was a pretty nice morning so after church we took the kids to the park before it got too hot and too crowded. Ava had some wicked static electricity from the slide.

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We had a fairly quiet Sunday afternoon after that. I was just grateful to have one extra day off work! Hope you have a happy week!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Being Confident in Mothering

Linking up again today with Kelly’s Korner, Blue-Eyed Bride, Life in the Green House, and Lil Light O’ Mine for the Build ‘Em Up Series.

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Shawnee and Moore, OK who suffered effects from the devastating tornadoes on Sunday and Monday. The devastation is horrible and lives have been ripped apart. We are praying for them in their time of need and pray that these deadly storms do not wreak more havoc this week as is being predicted.


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Before I became a mom, I was quite certain I knew there were certain aspects of mothering I was quite certain I already knew how we’d handle. We’d have a nice little hospital stay, our babies would be perfectly healthy, breastfeeding would be easy, and oh, sure there’d be hard days, but we could handle it. I was CONFIDENT. Confident in my skills to mother, confident in our abilities to handle whatever situations came our way, and confident in knowing the needs of our children.  


That pretty much went out the window the day Ava was born. She had jaundice and we weren’t released as soon as I thought we were as she needed time in the NICU under bilirubin lights. When we did finally get her home, we struggled. My body didn’t produce as much as milk as she needed and we struggled through that. Then we had screaming. Inconsolable screaming. The first three months of Ava’s life were MISERABLE. Miserable for her. Miserable for us. That poor baby was suffering. We finally determined she had silent reflux, along with lactose intolerance (which pretty much meant it didn’t matter if I’d produced all the breast milk in the world, she wasn’t having it. In those days of not knowing WHAT was making her cry, my confidence was shattered. I felt like I knew NOTHING about caring for a child. Thankfully, as she improved, so did my confidence. 

As we navigated the waters of parenting a newborn, and then toddler, it became increasingly apparent that the game of parenthood is plagued with judgments. Everywhere you turn, people would ask questions about your child and things you do, and if your answer didn’t suit them, you’d see an eye raise, or a tight smile, and sometimes even outright dismay in words at your choices. For a while I let that bother me. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong for someone to disagree with me. And then I realized: No. We weren’t wrong. We were doing WHAT WE FELT WAS BEST FOR OUR CHILD. And who had the right to judge that?! 

I don’t remember at what point I decided that I didn’t care what other people thought. If I sought an opinion, I would respect those and weigh them, but try not to judge. What works for you and your family just may not work for me and my family. And that’s okay.  

Those early days of being a parent are FILLED with unsolicited advice. People mean well and are genuinely just trying to help. But man can that shake your confidence! I’ve learned that unless someone is specifically seeking some sort of advice, I try not to give them any because I know it can make you feel like you’re failing. However, if I hear someone acting like Ava did as a baby, you better believe I’ll jump to tell them about Ava, solely to hopefully save them some weeks worth of frustrations and misery.  
I was witness to a conversation on twitter the other day regarding ages that are appropriate for pacifiers. We took Ava’s away except for nap and bedtimes at 15 months. We took it away altogether at 21 months. Reed is 19 months and I’m not sure his will be gone before he’s two. He can talk with it in his mouth or take it out to talk. Yeah, maybe he doesn’t need it, but he’s cutting molars right now and it’s a comfort to him to chew on it. I’m sure not taking that away. What we felt worked for Ava isn’t even what we feel works for Reed. If our two kids who are siblings are so different, can you imagine the differences between kids that aren’t related?! 
I do think that social media, as well as ease of access TO the social media, has magnified the lack of confidence we feel as mothers. At any given point in the day, we can use our phones to look at twitter, facebook, instagram, blogs, etc and see a multitude of people and the way they do things differently than us. I also think that behind a screen, people are bolder in their decision to argue about a rear vs. front facing child, or a formula fed vs. breastfed baby, whether or not you work or stay home, etc. With the protection of not being face to face, I think people are harsher with their words and feel the need to defend their standpoint. Words can hurt, y’all. Even typed words. It’s important to weigh the words you use before speaking/typing them. 
I also think it is important that as parents, we exhibit confidence in our parenting, because our kids are smart. They can tell when we are unsure or timid. And I know that mine feed off of that. When I’m parenting alone for many hours, they know when I’ve reached my limit or when my confidence falters. And they take advantage. I know I probably did the same as a child. So it’s important to be confident for that. But I also believe that our kids are watching us, and as they see us approach life, they will begin to develop characteristics they see us exhibit. I know I want my kids to grow up being confident in who they are, but how can they be if I’m not?  
As moms, we are all just trying to do what is best for our children and our family. And there is a learning curve. It’s trial and error. And it took me a couple years, but you know what? I am CONFIDENT in my mothering. I am CONFIDENT that the decisions my husband and I make are the best ones for our children. I am CONFIDENT that you may judge me and the decisions we make all you want, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter to me. I am CONFIDENT that your judgments may hurt me sometime and I am CONFIDENT that they make me question what it is we are doing. But I am MOST CONFIDENT in the fact that I am the BEST MOTHER in the world to my babies that I know to be and I am MOST CONFIDENT that no one knows what is best for them more than I do. I am CONFIDENT that I fail and that I struggle, and I am CONFIDENT that it is okay to admit that. I am CONFIDENT that when I struggle or you struggle, we need to develop an attitude of support, not one of judgment. I am CONFIDENT that if mothers were more supportive of each other we would all feel a little better about ourselves. 
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I am CONFIDENT that these two babies are my world, and that they are loved, well cared for, and that THEY ARE CONFIDENT that their mommy loves them more than anything!





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