Friday Favorites

It’s Friday again. I’m not sure how that happened. Once the weather starts getting nice the days just start flying by.

-One-
Baseball season has officially started. In true little league fashion, James’s team is 3 games in and still doesn’t have uniforms. Mariyah hasn’t attended a game yet, but she does look pretty cute in her uniform. That 100 watt smile she’s flashing below? I had the audacity to suggest she tuck her pants into her socks. 7 going on 17 with that sass.
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-Two-
Favorite Book: I probably shouldn’t say favorite just yet since I’m only 2 chapters in, but I have been reading Redeployment by Phil Klay. Not sure if I’m sold on it yet, but I am very interested to see where this book is going…

-Three-
Guest posters! One of the most common email requests that I get is from people wondering if they can guest post. I love having guest posters. I’m trying to come up with some better parameters for what I think works for my blog. But I would LOVE to have anyone who is interested write a guest post about some unique aspect of their life. Adoption stuff, parenting a child who is differently abled, being a single mom, going through fertility treatments, anything. We all have something. I’m not looking for facts so much as your personal experience. Similar to what my friend Nicole wrote about her struggle with infertility. It can be long or short, funny or serious. Just a bit about your life. If you are interested send me an email nobohnsaboutit at gmail or use the contact page.

-Four-
Favorite Project: You guys know I am far from being a crafty mom. We all have our strengths in life and I just tend to be better at appreciating other people’s crafts rather then making them myself. Well I decided to give crafting a try for a guest post on my friend Meghan’s blog and my project actually worked (which gives you an idea of how simple it is)! Check out this Mother’s Day Handprint Keepsake if you are looking for an easy gift idea.
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-Five-
Favorite Picture: The other night we were watching a movie and Violet climbed on the couch for the first time by herself. Needless to say she was pretty proud. She then took a seat next to “bubby” as she likes to call James, and started stealing his popcorn! He didn’t notice at first because he was so into the movie and because Violet was being so sneaky. She was slowly and quietly putting her hand into the bucket, then quickly popping a piece into her mouth. If she noticed anyone looking at her she would freeze. It really made us smile to watch. Eventually James caught on, but of course he didn’t mind a bit. He loves sharing with this little lady.
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Why Swim Lessons Are a Must For Kids

Today’s guest post was written by Kaitlin from An Apple Per Day. I know you will all benefit from this information. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please do so here.

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Why Swim Lessons Are a Must for Kids

My husband and I used to laugh about the term “helicopter moms,” because it was so expressive. We’d go to pool parties and see these moms hovering over their kids, even supervising their pool games. Then we started a family, and when it was time for swim lessons, I had to deal with my own “helicopter mom” tendencies.

Keeping the kids safe. Our family really enjoys the water, so we planned to spend family vacations at the beach, and dreamed of having our own back yard pool some day. But we were aware there were just risks in being around the water. I read that drowning is a leading cause of unintentional deaths among children and made a note that we would get the kids started with swim lessons when it was time. I didn’t know at the time that the biggest lesson would be for me. Here are some great resources with more information about kids and water safety:

The imperative of lessons. When I read that formal swim lessons could reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent, that made safety a high priority for our family. I thought it would be too much at once to just sign the kids up for lessons when they were the right age, Not being familiar with the water, and being around a pool in a class setting, might lead to overload. I started early with Mommy and Me classes. My toddlers really enjoyed that time, and it was great bonding for me.

Finding the correct class. I did some research to find out what to look for in a good swim class. I visited several schools and watched classes. I talked to the person in charge of the schools, and asked about their qualifications, and the certifications I required for the instructors. I settled one the one that felt like the proper fit. My husband went with me to check it out, and gently reminded me that these schools had taught lots of kids, and they knew what they were doing.

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Classes begin. The night before the first swim lesson, my older son was excited and ready to learn how to swim. I was a nervous wreck, because my mind began to think of all the things that could go wrong with the class. My husband laughed and told me to calm down, and finally I fell asleep that night. When I took my son to the pool I was pretty nervous. My son was laughing and joking with a couple of his friends who were in the class. The instructor was calm and relaxed as he got the kids signed up and lined up. He politely asked if I could step over to the observation area. Then it hit me – I was being a “helicopter Mom.” I was hovering and fluttering, and unwilling to let go. My son assured me he was fine, and acted a bit embarrassed by the way I was acting.

Mom has to let go. Of course, the class went fine. I had done my homework to find a good swim school, and it was clear that the instructor knew what he was doing. There was no horseplay or unsafe behavior, and he quickly moved into the swim and safety program. Finally I was able to laugh at myself and relax. Things would be alright. I considered it a big success that after a few classes I was able to drop off my son and leave to run a few errands.

As I watch my kids splash and play in the pool, I have to smile at the confidence they exude around the water. I also have to laugh at my near miss at becoming a “helicopter mom.”

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Kaitlin_HeadshotKaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

 

 

Namin’ Babies (which is something I know nothing about)

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I keep thinking about babies. Mostly because a lot of my friends who had babies born the same time as Violet are well into their pregnancy or adoption wait for their next little one. I asked my husband if he thought we should talk about number 4. He told me no, he did not think we should have that conversation. So I went ahead and had that conversation with myself while he listened. This is what I got out of it: I don’t really want a 4th, I just like naming things. Now I know the logical remedy for that. But I just don’t know if I have time in my life for a goldfish right now.

The thing is, I’ve never actually gotten to name a baby. Not a real one anyway. My kids let me name a doll once. Then they renamed it 30 seconds later. James and Mariyah were both named by their birth mother. Violet was named by Rob. You may remember this conversation from a coffee talk on baby names:

Rob: I saw the best baby name ever today!
Erin: You did? What was it?
Rob: Violet
Erin: That is a great baby name. I actually really like it. I kind of feel like the baby is going to be a boy though…
Rob: No. I think it’s going to be a girl and we’re going to name her Violet.
Erin: That’s so sweet that you were looking at baby names all on your own without any prompting from me. What book or website did you see this great baby name on?
Rob: Website? I saw it on a paint chip at work.

Yep. It’s good that Rob picked the name though. Because guess what my favorite baby name at the time was for a girl? Elsa. Beautiful beautiful Elsa. I still love that name. However, Violet was born just a mere month before Frozen was released. Needless to say I’m feeling a bit relieved that I don’t have to spend her childhood assuring people that my daughter was NOT named after a princess movie. Instead I get to inform them that she was named after a paint chip.

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Not only have I never named a baby, I don’t think I’ve ever even named a pet. My old room mate named the dog. My brother named my childhood hamsters. My sister named my pet rabbit. I can’t think of anything in my life I’ve ever gotten to choose a name for. Is it just me, or is this a sign it’s time for number 4 a new pet?

Monday Morning Coffee Talk: Morning Beverages

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I recently upped my daily caffeine intake just a little. I know most people are trying to cut back. I’ve had a lot of points in my life where I’ve been cutting back too. I’ve even had some blessed periods were I’ve made it through my day without consuming any caffeine*. Just a nice, cool, refreshing glass of water in the morning. But that is not my life right now. Right now my life calls for several cups.

I know this may come as a shock since we are well passed the newborn phase, but here’s a little secret… Violet sleeps just as badly now as she did as an infant. Actually I’m not sure if that’s true or not. Because sleep deprivation has stolen my memory. I just know that Violet doesn’t sleep through the night. And James wakes around 3AM for his nebulizer. And Mariyah wakes around 4AM to ask me to adjust the level of light that’s pouring into her room from the hallway light that was left on during James’s nebulizer treatment because she can’t sleep with all the brightness and also because it is just. too. hard. for her to turn the light down herself. So anyway, we’re kind of tired in these parts.

I usually start my morning with a tea before waking my kids up to get them ready for school. This is my favorite part of the day. After getting everyone off, I get to work around 9, and move on to a cup of coffee. Then mid afternoon my co-worker generally convinces me it’s time for a Starbucks run, so there’s that. I get home around 6, and if I seem to be in danger of falling asleep at the dinner table, I’ll go for another tea to get me through the evening.

Recently James came back from a sleepover with some grander ideas. He took one look at my coffee and said “Did you know that coffee isn’t good for you, but fresh squeezed orange juice is.” I know, I know, but right now I’m willing to throw caution to the wind in exchange for making it through the day without falling asleep at my desk and also not having to clean a juice maker.

I’m hoping to be able to cut back down on my caffeine intake by next Christmas, but for now, 4 cups a day will do me.

I’d love to hear about your drink of choice. Are you a coffee or tea drinker? And how much? Maybe you go for a mid afternoon soda (or pop for you silly mid westerners). Perhaps you’re one of those really healthy people who hits the juicer hardcore every morning, or likes to make a smoothie with chia seeds. Talk to me about beverages on this Monday Morning!

*Full disclosure: That was when I was 10.

Friday Favorite Songs

Happy Friday! Here are a few of my music favorites this week. Or perhaps just lines I can’t seem to get out of my head for one reason or another.

ONE It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
I know. I know. This is usually considered a back to school song! (or a Christmas song if you aren’t a parent). But the weather has been perfect lately. Sunny. 60-70. Trees budding. Forget September, THIS is the most wonderful time of the year. Every morning on the way to the Subway I find myself singing it…

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TWO U Can’t Touch This (MC Hammer)
We aren’t big on home improvements in our house. Mostly because we can’t improve anything since we rent. We did finally decide to upgrade the television (which was older than all of our children) to a wall mounted flat screen. It makes the room seem much bigger. And it keeps giving me the urge to sing “Stop, it’s hammer time!” whenever I see the remnants of tools left out from the upgrade.

THREE I’m a Boy (from Violet’s signing time DVD)
I’m not actually sure what the title of this song is. But it’s Violet’s favorite. It goes back and fourth with the lines “I’m a boy!” and “I’m a girl!” well for whatever reason I keep getting “I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m proud to be me. Yeah!” stuck in my head. Which is all fine and well. Except when I accidentally find myself singing it at the water cooler at work where I receive several side eyes from concerned coworkers.

FOUR What the Fuck? (from If/Then)
I think this is my anthem of the year so far. Now, unlike my daughter, I am not usually one for foul language, but man. Sometimes (like several times this week) I get off the phone with the insurance/doctor/school/daycare/post office/person who keeps misdialing and ending up with me on the line instead of Missy… and I can literally hear the refrain in my head “I’m not running on a streak of good luck, so, what the fuck?”

FIVE The Get Up Kids (assorted songs)
I found a CD binder at my parents house while on spring break. You remember CD binders right? I was all excited and promised James he was going to love it. He was pretty excited too. When I played it for him he was obviously not impressed. His exact words were “I’m sorry but I don’t really like old fashion music.” I’m pretty sure this was the reaction I gave my dad about doo-wop in 1995. I’m still listening to my old CDs, but I’m officially feeling a bit dated.

Adoption Talk Link Up: Books

Welcome back to another week of the Adoption Talk Link Up! This weeks topic is books. I can’t wait to see what you have all been reading! If you are completely new to linking up, here’s how.
Everything You Ever Wanted
I recently had the pleasure of reading Everything You Ever Wanted. And guys, I just have to tell you more about it. I love reading, but I tend to be one of those picky people who either can’t put a book down, or can’t bring myself to pick a book up. I finished Everything You Ever Wanted in 3 days, so I think you know which category this book falls into…. Continue Reading… 

Now on to the Adoption Talk Linkup!

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This week’s topic: Bookes
Next link up: May 7th Next Topic: Anything Goes
Get the schedule here so you’re ready for the whole year!
It’s not too late to add your adoption story to our first link up.

A few things to consider:
1) Be respectful of others. Adoption can be a sensitive subject, and opinions may differ from your own. Please be respectful to everyone.
2) Everyone is welcome. Adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, experts, foster care givers, those currently in the process. Anyone with a connection to adoption is welcome.
3) Try to read and comment on at least one other post. The point of a link up is to mingle and meet other bloggers. Have fun and check out a few of your fellow blogger’s posts.
4) Feel free to link an old post. We know you may have already blogged about some of the topics on our schedule. If you would like to link something you have already written that is just fine.
5) Follow Your Hosts. No need to follow everyone on everything, but make sure you follow in enough places that you’ll be reminded to link up.

Erin @ No Bohns About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Jamie @ Starfish Confidential | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Jenni @ Joyful Journey | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
Jill @ Ripped Jeans & Bifocals | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Madeleine @ Our Journey to You | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+
Tamara @ Adoption Mama Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

6) Grab a button for your post or blog to help us spread the word so that other adoption bloggers can join in the fun.

No Bohns About It

And that’s it! We’re so excited that you are joining us!


Everything You Ever Wanted

I recently had the pleasure of reading Everything You Ever Wanted. And guys, I just have to tell you more about it. I love reading, but I tend to be one of those picky people who either can’t put a book down, or can’t bring myself to pick a book up. I finished Everything You Ever Wanted in 3 days, so I think you know which category this book falls into.

Everything You Ever Wanted

Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren is the memoir of a family’s journey. The story begins with Jillian meeting her husband, Weezer bass guitarist Scott Shriner, and the beautiful relationship they have together. After love and marriage, it’s time for the proverbial baby carriage. But like many couples, Jillian and Scott deal with infertility. Their struggle eventually leads to joy when they decide to pursue adoption, and are matched with a handsome little boy in Ethiopia named Tariku. However, bringing their son home isn’t the picture perfect event that we’ve seen on Hallmark cards and Cheerios commercials, not at first anyway.

Jillian’s love for her son is evident throughout the book. She would very obviously go to the end of the earth for him. But sometimes adoption is hard. It is absolutely worth it. Yet still, many moments are just plain tough. Everything You Ever Wanted tells the very true, and sometimes difficult story of a mother’s journey, and what it’s like to parent during those tough moments. The heartache, the stress, the certainty that you must be doing something wrong as a parent, interspersed with the joy, the triumph, and the unwavering love.

One of my favorite things about Everything You Ever Wanted, was how quickly I related to Jillian. When someone is married to a rock star, you don’t initially think “wow this lady is just like me.” Yet over and over throughout the book I found myself saying, hey me too! There are just so many universal experiences with adoption that bring all adoptive parents together, no matter what their walk of life. In many of her moments, I saw myself. By the time I finished reading I felt as if I had made a friend. I know you’ll feel the same way when you read Jillian’s family’s story.

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What I Love About My Kids Today

I was thinking this morning about how I just love the ages my kids are now. That feeling may or may not have been rudely interrupted by some sassafras from one of my kiddos who shall remain nameless, but still, for the most part these are fun times. I tried to think back to James at age 7, and Mariyah at age 17 months, and it pains me to admit that couldn’t remember everything the way I thought I would! I’m going to try and make one of these lists every few months so I don’t forget these things. Though I realize James and Mariyah’s lists are probably going to be slower to change than Violet’s due to their ages. Here we go, what I love about my kids today…
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Things I Love About Violet at 17 months:
– The way she thinks if she stares at the wall perfectly still with her back to us, we can’t see her.
– The way she tried to twirl in a dress for the first time this morning.
– The way she leans in for a kiss, puts her mouth on people’s cheeks, and then makes a kiss noise a few seconds later (long after she has moved away).
– The way she has changed saying “Bubba” to “Bubby” for brother. The way she calls “Bubby! Yiyah!” and looks for them when they aren’t home.
– The way she tries to put on everyone’s clothes, especially her big sisters.
– How she peeks her head out of the crib slowly and says “Hiiiii!” with a big smile when she is supposed to be sleeping. Then dives back into the sleep position and pretends to be asleep when you remind her “It’s night-night time.”

Things I Love About Mariyah at 7:
– That fashion sense! Some days it is so spot on. Some days it is only spot on in her world.
– How much she loves to match Violet. How she wants Violet included in everything she does (trips to the store, “girls nights”, etc)
– The way she puts her make up on (she has a little box of it for play). I wish I had the courage to be that bold with lipstick.
– How hard she tries to keep up with the big boys. She can run faster than most of James’s friends. She wants so badly to do everything they can do.
– How hard she tries in school. And how much she cares what her teacher thinks of her. How concerned she is when other kids get in trouble.
– How much she cares about animals. Her love of horses. And dogs. And cats. And earthworms.

Things I Love About James at 10:
– His sarcastic sense of humor.
– How sweet he is with Violet. How he picks her up. Carries her around. Gives her whatever she wants. How he’d rather play with her than just about anything else.
– How he teaches himself songs on the guitar and piano. How we’ve never had to make him practice, he just enjoys picking instruments up and playing.
– The way he says “Good grief!” and rolls his eyes about things.
– His silly laugh. Sounds like he’s saying huh-huh-huh-huh really fast. Cracks me up every single time.
– How interested he becomes in certain topics. Like George Washington and the Dalai Lama. How inquisitive and conversational be becomes when a topic matters to him.

I started thinking maybe I should keep it real and add one thing I’m not too fond of from each of them. I started down the list and found myself typing THE ATTITUDE for each and every one of them. The way it is displayed may change by age, but I guess that’s just a universal part of childhood. Might as well leave it off the list and focus on the positive here.

Wedding photo upload

We just got back from a wedding. A friend who I have known since I was a baby was getting married. It was actually the first wedding I’ve attended of a close friend from my childhood. I’ve attended weddings of adult friends, college friends, relatives, and Rob’s friends, but there is just something special about attending weddings of old friends. I kept thinking of us playing MASH together as children. And here we are. 20+ years later living our adult-ish lives (thankfully neither of us ended up with that dreaded S, or making 1 dollar per year). One thing that was really cool to Rob and I, was that the wedding reminded us of our own. It was outdoors, leaning toward the more casual side, on an absolutely gorgeous day, in a perfect location, and was just So. Much. Fun. Since I know wedding pictures are very personal, I’ll just share a few pictures of our family from the wonderful occasion.

Walking to a beautiful spot in the woods.
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I put a lot of wishes into this rock. However, if my friend and her husband ever end up with a pony, that wish is courtesy of Mariyah.

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Do you recognize the look on Violet’s face? I’ve just learned to myself. It means impending doom.

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Yep. She threw up. Apparently on the back of another guest at the wedding. I missed the actual event, and Rob filled me in that he saw it land on someone else’s back and then took off to change her. Did he apologize? No, he was too busy trying to take care of Violet. Did he see the person’s face? No, he was too busy trying to take care of Violet. Did he notice what color shirt they were wearing so that I could try and identify them? No, he was too busy trying to take care of Violet. I casually mentioned the event to a few people at the wedding hoping someone could fill me in on who it was so that I could apologize, but the recipient of her emesis was never identified. God bless that man. And I hope it doesn’t stain.

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Love this picture of James and aunt Cathy. I’ll spare you the photos of all of us shoveling the most delicious cupcakes ever into our mouths.

richmondwedding6When we got home I came across my wedding dress in the closet and had to pull it out and reminisce for a moment. Mariyah tried it on and it actually looked pretty cute on her. She had fun trying to walk around in it, and taking a few silly face pictures.

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TGIF Spring Break Update

As previously mentioned, I set a few goals for myself this week while the kids were at grandma’s for spring break. One goal I left off the list was to learn to stop capitalizing spring, I think I finally succeeded.

Okay on to the official list.

1) Total bathroom scrub down - WIN.

2) Closets – The progress on these simply can’t be put into words.

closetbefore closetafterMostly because there was no progress.

3) eBay the kids old dance costumes. Success! Until some toddler came in and started tossing costumes all over the room, and trying to put them on, and laying in my picture taking spot while yelling “SHEEEESE!” I was able to eventually list them all, it was just a more time intensive process on account of the giant baby who kept photo bombing my pictures. I should probably have eBayed those old Christmas jammies while I was at it…
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4) Pull out the sneakers and think about start running. This actually happened! Yep. Let’s not worry about how many times it happened or the exact distance. Let’s just be thankful for small victories: The sneakers made it to my feet this week.

5) Eat Oreos. Complete and total success. Some silly rabbit gave Violet a pack of Oreos in her Easter basket. Being the good mom that I am, I realized right away that she was far too young for such cookies. So I ate them.

 

 

Where I’m linking up today