Summer Goal: Learn to Spell Our Name

Untitled design-4With my daughter being 3 1/2 years old when she returns to preschool this fall, I would really like for her to learn how to spell her name. Not necessarily WRITE it, but spell it out loud. Plus, it will definitely help her with letter recognition. (Which I learned is a 3 year old skill.)  She can recognize her name when she sees it written out, but she doesn’t know how to tell me to spell it. Her name is Khloe, and before we started working on it she knew “K – uh I don’t know – o – Mama what’s that one.” 😉

I bought a writing tablet from Dollar General that has the wide lines and dotted center line. Every few days I will write her name out in dotted lines and she will “write” them, a.k.a. trace them. As she writes them I point to the letter and she has to tell me what it is. Then when she is finished with each one we have a huge celebration. 😀

After she has written out her name three times (we go with three times each time we do it, because that is about what our attention span can handle at this point), we go over the letters one last time. She has actually progressed to knowing everything except the “h”!! I am so proud of her! Of course, at times she gets in a hurry or is not real focused and misnames a letter after just saying it correctly. I’m patient, though. Mama understands that she’s three and sometimes learning just is not as fun as it was yesterday.

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She loves her little desk, too.

 

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We also swap out working on number recognition as well. All of my workbooks I have bought at Dollar General or Wal-Mart.

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Look at that first cute little 3 written by herself. 😉 Love it!

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Obviously I helped with the first independent 10, but the last one was all her! ❤

Do you teach preschool at home?? I may work full-time outside of the home, but we try to dedicate a few nights a week to focusing on learning with mom and dad. I would love to hear some ideas you have! Leave them in the comments below!!

 

{NEWEST} Children’s Clothing Store with AMAZING Prices!!

HELLO FRIDAY!!

Are you as happy as I am that the weekend is here?? Well to add a little more joy to your happy day… I have some awesome news to share!!

A friend of mine has opened a new children’s boutique. It is very upscale clothing for VERY discounted pricing. And no worries… you don’t have to live in my area to shop! It is online based and everything ships next day! How awesome is that?? You should check them out… C&J Cutie Couture. If you decide to order… be prepared to have a PayPal account! You can also check them out on Instagram.

Below are the summer outfits currently in stock. (PS… isn’t that model adorable. I sure think so. 😉 )

NOTE: Sizes offered are 12 months – 4T and are based upon availability.

Click on the pictures to be taken to the exact photo on her site.

 

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Again, please patronize this amazing store or share with someone who might be interested!! I’m excited to finally find someone offering clothes at reasonable prices for children who only play in them!!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!

We Love Youth Rodeos

We love the youth rodeo events at one of the local Cowboy Churches in our area. We are not members of the church, but the public is welcome. This is our second year to participate in the Youth Rodeo Series at the Cowboy Church of Colbert County, Inc.  She loved the events she could participate in last year so when this year’s series rolled around, we took her back! She can only participate in a few events because of her age. She technically qualifies to participate in stick horse racing, ribbon pulling, dummy roping, barrel racing, and pole bending. She is not old enough to control her pony by herself, so we only let her do the stick horse race and the ribbon pulling. We’re looking to start dummy roping next year. 🙂

Khlo Rodeo 1

She had taken her hat off and said, “yeehaw.” We were getting ready for the May Youth Rodeo.

 

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After we get signed up and settled in our chairs, she has to climb the gate. It is the coolest and must-have thing to do every time we go. 😉 We also go see the goats and cows, but I did not get a picture of that.

 

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Once the rodeo is actually starting, they always ride the American Flag through the arena as the National Anthem is being played.

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Waiting on her turn to stick horse race. They each individually run down and around a barrel, then back across the finish line while being timed. It is way too cute.

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Ribbon Pulling

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The whole idea is that each child runs down, pulls the ribbon off of the goat, and runs back across the finish line while being timed. It’s hilarious and adorable to watch all of them.

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This isn’t my child, but once she turns 6 she can participate in Goat Tying. Either mounted or unmounted. As you can tell in the picture, this child was mounted. She rode down on her horse, jumped off, laid the goat down and tied his feet together in order to receive her time. (The goat is tied to a rope on a stake so that children aren’t chasing it all across the arena.) I’m so pumped. I get Khloe excited telling her that when she turns 6 she can do that too! We also saw a boy pull his own tooth because he forgot to unhook his rope from his saddle horn. No worries, they found it for him!

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After her two events, we hung around for a while to watch the barrel racing for her age group. She loves wearing her daddy’s hat. I want to find her a small one 😀

 

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She was daddy and he was Khloe. Ha!! Do you like her clover bracelet I made her? Talk about taking me back to my childhood!

 

I love that they set a time in between the younger children’s events and the older (up to 18) children’s events for a Devotion. A leader from the church enters the arena and spends about 10-15 minutes giving a bible study/ devotional to the entire crowd. What a great ministry!

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My little country baby. ❤

 I hope she continues to love the youth rodeo events, especially as she gets older and can get more involved in the different categories.

It was a Mom and Daughter Kind of Day

 Good morning and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend!! 🙂

A few weeks ago we received news about the dreaded “F” word at work (a.k.a. Furlough). Thankfully, I can break mine apart instead of taking it all at once. I decided to take mine for 5 Wednesdays and keep my daughter home from the Summer Program at her school. Save money when not making money AND spend extra time with my daughter than I usually get. It was a win-win! Last week was our first Mom and Daughter Day. I don’t think it could have been more perfect!

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We started breakfast with pancakes. They were requested to be purple and with sprinkles. So that is what we had. 😉

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I have to admit, she had a pretty cute idea even though I was skeptical at first.

 Then we watched a few cartoons. (Some Paw Patrol, Team Umi Zoomi, and Dora).

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After about an hour of TV I cut it off and we commenced to a little arts and crafts time! She loves it. Here we made a caterpillar. We also made a Father’s Day craft for dad… but that is for a later post.

 

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Here she did a little free painting and decided this was for Daddy. Together they decided it was “the Earf.” (Earth)

 

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About noon we headed to the Splash Pad in town. Look out world here we come. 😉 I do not know how she is such a diva, but it is adorable.

 

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She played on the playground a while before actually hitting the water and sprinklers.

 

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While we were at the splash pad, I saw a girl I graduated with and she had her daughter with her, who is a few months younger than mine. They had never seen each other before, but as you can see in this picture… you would never imagine they didn’t know each other. It was sweet!!

 

We headed home around 3 and played dress up for a while until Dad came home from work. We played Dr. with her Doc McStuffins set and outfit and then all cleaned up for church. We ended the evening by attending Wednesday night service at our church and picking up some fast food on our way home.

It was a pretty perfect day for this Mama! 🙂

 

Have you ever had to take a furlough? Did you decide to make the best of it with your kids? If so, what activities did you plan out that we might could take advantage of??

Lexi Lee Walk for Hope at the Alabama Jubilee and Hot Air Balloon Festival

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Over the last 8 months I have participated in various events for a 3 year old little girl in my community. Her mother and I were co-workers and then became friends as the recent events in Lexi’s life unfolded. Here is Lexi’s story directly from her mother:

Lexi’s Story
Within 2 weeks, Lexi had 20 to 30 unexplainable, thumb print size, dark bruises mainly on her legs but on the rest of her body as well. After noticing the excessive amount of bruising, with no explanation and no signs of going away, instead more were showing up, an appointment with her local Pediatrician was scheduled and blood work was done. Then, about four hours later while Lexi was playing outside on the swing set, the phone rang. Lexi’s blood-work came back abnormal and we were told to take her to Huntsville Hospital as a direct admit. Fear and confusion set in. Lexi was outside, playing like a normal 3 year old child and hours later she was being poked for more blood-work. Later that evening we got news that she might possibly have a blood disorder or leukemia. On September 24, 2013, the oncologist came in and told us the confirmed unfortunate news. Our beautiful daughter who we had bragged on since birth for being so healthy and never getting sick had the c word. She has cancer. She has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, commonly known as ALL, or just simply, Leukemia. That was the day our lives changed forever. We did not know what to do other than pray. Doctors at Huntsville Hospital gave us options as to where to receive treatment for Lexi and when St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was mentioned, we knew that was where we wanted Lexi to be. We knew there was no better place for Lexi to receive treatment. No family ever pays for anything at St. Jude. Because of events like, The Lexi Lee Walk for Hope, with the help of participants like YOU, my daughter is getting a second chance at life. Without the funding for research, Lexi and many other children would not be so lucky. People like you make this possible for our daughter and our family as well as so many other children and families. We will never be able to say “thank you” enough to all of the researchers who work to find the medicine and cures or the doctors and nurses who care for the children, so as a way of saying “thank you” and helping bring awareness to childhood cancer and it’s need for funding, our family is hosting The Lexi Lee Walk for Hope. Our goal in hosting The Lexi Lee Walk for Hope is to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Donations like yours allow research like this to happen!
YOU are helping St. Jude save lives by making a simple donation!
We, Lexi’s parents & family, want to say THANK YOU!
**100% MONEY RAISED WILL GO TO ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL – MEMPHIS, TN.**

Update on Lexi
Lexi is doing amazing! She is in the last phase of her treatment which consists of 2 ½ – 3 years. The last phase consists of 120 weeks. As of today, May 21, 2014, she is on week 15. We have a long road ahead of us even after the 120 week mark. Currently, Lexi receives at home chemotherapy which we give to her at night time. She also has an appointment each week at the Huntsville Hospital St. Jude Clinic where she receives chemotherapy, physical therapy and musical therapy. Sometimes she needs blood and/or platelets, which she is able to receive at the affiliate. She also goes to St. Jude in Memphis for check-ups, intrathecal chemotherapy and more intense chemotherapy. Some of the chemotherapy Lexi receives causes the leg and hand muscles to weaken and some cause nausea but if you saw Lexi, you wouldn’t believe that’s true. She runs and plays all the time like nothing is wrong. Even on clinic days when she has received chemotherapy, she comes home and runs and plays like it’s a normal day. For that, we are thankful!

Pictures of Lexi Lee and her Family:

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Chase, Jenna, and Lexi Chase Lee at St. Jude

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Lexi in the early days at St. Jude

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Lexi getting to play video games and still be a kid!

The Lexi Lee Walk for Hope was held at the Alabama Jubilee and Hot Air Balloon Festival in Decatur, AL. The Jubilee is held every year around Memorial Day Weekend. The walk was at 9 a.m. on Saturday and was a great and upbeat way to start the weekend! I love doing positive things and being active on a long weekend because it makes my time feel more accomplished. I invited my Girl Scout troop and also took my daughter along. It turned out great!

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This was the flyer distributed for the event.

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My daughter, Khloe, and Lexi’s Mom, Jenna. Lexi did not get to be at the event, but everyone still came out in support!

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Sign up table at the walk (:

HERE IS A LITTLE FYI ABOUT ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL:

In 1962, the survival rate for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (which is what Lexi is diagnosed with) was only 4%. Thanks to St. Jude & it’s research, the survival rate has reached 94%!!
• On average, 5,700 active patients visit the hospital each year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis.
• St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
• St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.
• The daily operating costs for St. Jude are $1.6 million, which are primarily covered by public contributions.
• During the past five years, 81 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

If you would like to have updated information on Lexi’s progress or would like information on how to donate to the Lexi Lee Walk for Hope you can follow the pages on Facebook here and here. Also, Lexi’s mom blogs here.1240607_10202265096095892_106046578_n

My daughter and I didn’t get to stay long for the Jubilee after the walk, but we did get in a few hot air balloon sightings. (Next year it is my goal to go for the balloon glow and get to do a tethered ride. 😀 )

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We did get to see one balloon up while we were there and my daughter was SO EXCITED. She told everyone about it the rest of the day.

 

Does my child have to play sports…?

As my daughter gets older, she is creeping up on the age where all of these extra curricular activities enter the scene. T-ball being the number one example in my neck of the woods. I cannot tell you how many times over the last two months I have been asked if Khloe is going to play t-ball. What? I don’t know. Ha! She cannot play until she is 4 years old. Which will mean even if she is going to play, it will be Summer 2015. All of these questions did get me thinking, though. Do I even care to sign her up for t-ball? Probably not. Now, before I get a million parents (more often moms) freaking out on me, let me explain.

Where I live, almost every child plays little league t-ball, football, and cheerleading. If your child doesn’t play, what kind of horrible lazy parent are you?! Well, here is the thing: It is not that I don’t want my child playing sports or participating in extra curricular activities. I want her to do anything and everything available. And then everything she finds that I didn’t even know about. Here’s the catch.. I would rather her do things outside of the normal box. Art. Karate. Martial Arts of any kind. Dance. Gymnastics. Rodeo. Guitar lessons. Singing lessons. Theater. Golf. Who knew they offer golf lessons starting at age 5?? Well, I just recently found out that they do! I’m weird, I know. What southern, small town mom doesn’t want their sweet daughter being cheer captain?! **Here I am with my hand raised jumping up and down.** I honestly don’t. I mean, if she starts Kindergarten and begs to play t-ball or cheer with her friends, sure we’ll sign up and attend every practice and game. I just don’t see the big deal of preparing for this a year in advance? (And all of this is coming from the person who played t-ball and softball and was a cheerleader from mascot to JV.) That’s all I was able to do. I wish I could have had broader activities as a child. I had to wait until I was old enough to make my own choices to start branching out. Why would I continue the cycle and limit my own child??

I want a child who I enable to see the world and view the world from a bigger perspective than most kids are able to. Shouldn’t that be on every mom’s priority list? I just don’t believe sports should be the heart and soul of my daughter’s childhood. How many people from my graduating class took their athletic careers past high school? Hm.. I’d say maybe 10 out of 118. From those 10 not a single one has carried that sport beyond their undergraduate careers. So exactly WHAT is the big deal of pushing the issue?

I agree about wanting my daughter to be active and healthy. Who says she can’t be those things with out t-ball? (I want to make it clear that I do not hate t-ball. It is the cutest and sometimes most hilarious thing I have ever witnessed.) My concern here is how stressed out parents seem to be about these things. The people asking me if our daughter was going to play t-ball have a child the same age. They have to wait another year too! Why are they already getting excited about this a year before their child is even eligible to play?? Am I being too negative?

I want my daughter to enjoy childhood. If playing sports does make her happy, then by all means I’ll sign her up for every one. However, I have watched as children cry because they do not want to attend practice, let along play or participate an entire season, and be forced to straighten up and get out there and play. Who benefits from that??! If you don’t like every activity out there, then your child isn’t going to either! I think this is the problem I have with the sudden obsession acquaintances have about my child signing up for a sport that is a year away. Who are you really signing them up for? For your child so that they can learn work ethic and team work or for you because you want to be a member of the cool parent club?

The final thing that shut me down on the whole t-ball subject was about a month ago, a friend of mine was telling me about her two children who are on a team together this year. She said that another mom stands and shakes the fence yelling at her child. If it is somehow a double hit, etc. the mom will scream and shake the fence telling her daughter to get on second base. SHE YELLS THIS AT A CHILD WHO IS YOUNG ENOUGH TO PLAY T-BALL. T-BALL. Her child has to be no older then 7 years old. I was speechless. And quite honestly I was a little mortified at what that same situation would teach my child. I am sad at what it is teaching the lady’s child and I do not even know either of them. I could not do it. I know that I cannot shelter my child from all negative things in the world, but jeez, that seems a little extreme. Sadly enough, its not uncommon.

So when I say that I question the necessity of my child playing sports, it is not because I insist she be an outcast or because I want to force her into an activity of my choice. It is actually quite the opposite. I want my daughter to have the freedom to develop into who she wants to be and who she is meant to be. Not a clone of what I loved as a child or who I want her to be. She is not me and I do not want to force her to be. Lord knows that is the last thing she would need. She is beautifully and wonderfully unique. I think I prefer to encourage her to stay that way.

Even if it means she loves playing t-ball and ends up pitching for Team USA.

One thing is for sure, it’ll be her choice. (;

 

We Had a Phone Conversation

il_570xN.346246016My daughter is absolutely the most amazing thing to me. She has taught me forgiveness in ways that I could never imagine. I am like every cliché mother out there, “I never want her to grow up.” Which is true 95% of the time and the rest of the time I bask in the excitement of the fact that I will only be 39 when she is moving out for college! I will still be young!! Ha!!

Honestly, I love her being my baby. No matter how old she is, she will always be my baby girl. I love that even though she is three now, she still wants to curl up with us to sleep or let me lay on the couch and hold her like a small baby. She eats it up. (; However, I would never want to hinder her growth and learning for my selfish reasons of wanting to keep her my baby. I love for her to learn and find new things. She receives comments about how smart she is many times when we are at her pediatrician or out and about in town. Her preschool evaluates her progress based on where they want children her age to be and she is ahead. That makes me so proud of her.

With all of that being said, it is obvious, I know that she is growing up. She is changing every single day, but as we live in the moment we do not always pay attention to the little changes until they all hit us as a big moment at once. That is what happened to me one day last week.

I always call on my lunch to check on her and see how she did at school that day, etc. Sometimes she is asleep, but lately she has been up and playing. Of course, she is now three and gradually naps are fewer and fewer. That may also be because the grandparents and great-grandparents who watch her Monday through Thursday do not always make her take a nap. Guess what I deal with later…..

Back to the other day: I called my grandparents’ and asked how she was, how did they say she had been at school, etc. My Granny asked, “do you want to talk to her for a minute?” I said sure thinking she would talk 30 seconds and give the phone back and run off to play.

We talked for 5 minutes. My three year old and I, on the phone having continuous full sentence conversation for 5 minutes. When we got off of the phone I cried. Not a sobbing cry, but a my-heart-swelling-with-love-I-just-realized-how-grown-up-and-intelligent-she-is kind of tears in my eyes. A happy and sad cry all at the same time. I know how smart she is, but with the continuous day in and out, the way your child grows up can sneak up on you. It definitely did for me this time.

Here was our phone conversation:

My Daughter: “Hey, mama!”

Me: “Hey baby. Are you being good?”

My Daughter: “Yes. Hey, mama, I love you, mama.”

Me: “Aw, Khlo I love you too!”

My Daughter: “Mama, I miss you.”

Me: “I miss you too baby. Did you have fun at school today?”

My Daughter: “Yes, mama! I play outside!”

Me: “You did??!”

My Daughter: “YES! And we learn about rain and dirt today.”

Me: “That’s awesome. Are you being good for granny?”

My Daughter: “Yes. I play with Auburn!” (Auburn is my grandparents’ dog.)

My Daughter: “I eat a Zebra Cake!!”

Me: “Alright! Did granny give that to you?”

My Daughter: “Yep. Hey, mama. I love you. Is my daddy at home?”

Me: “He will be when I pick you up and we go home.”

My Daughter: “I miss my daddy, but I miss you too!”

Me: “I miss you. We will see daddy after I get off work. Did you eat your lunch today?”

My Daughter: “And I eat my MOON PIEEEEE!”

Me: “I’m glad. Have you taken a nap?”

My Daughter: “Nope. I not yawned yet.”

Me: “Will you take a nap?”

My Daughter: “I playing, mommy.”

Me: *sigh* “Okay, you better be good for Granny.”

My Daughter: “I will Mommy. Would you like to speak to my Granny?”

Me: “Uh sure. I love you.” (After I was speechless at how adult-like my three year old daughter sounded.)

My Daughter: “I love you too Mommy. Here’s Granny. Bye.”

There was more to the conversation when we talked about school like who came to class today and all of that. But all of the rest was basically how our conversation flowed. Here is the little girl who changed my life and is my baby, but who can now carry on a full conversation with me. I’m so proud of her and cannot wait to take on each experience as she continues to grow. I know at times it will make me a little sad, but I cannot wait to meet who she will become at each stage of her life.

Khloe Birthday11My beautiful daughter in her three year birthday pictures.

Maybe I’m Old Fashioned? Part 1

So, I have recently realized that I am either an old soul or was born in the wrong era. Is there a difference? Ha!

Maybe it is because I am a mother and view the world differently than I probably would as a single-bachelorette-23-year-old. Whatever it is, I find myself wishing that I knew how to do things that probably never cross many American’s minds.

For Example:Sewing. I do not know how to work a sewing machine. Somehow I feel less of a woman because of that. Ha! This seems ridiculous to me because my grandmother and great-grandmother were quilters. Serious quilters. Every child received a hand made quilt for their first Christmas. I also received a hand made quilt for my 18th birthday. During my early childhood, they ALWAYS had a quilt project going on. I don’t particularly want to learn how to quilt as of now, but I cannot even tell you how to work a sewing machine. Embarrassing. So I ordered a desktop sewing machine in order to start learning how to make some pillow case dresses and ruffle pants (like the ones that I refuse to pay someone else $100 a pair of pants for.) FYI, you are free to spend your money however you please, but if you buy your child of any age a pair of pants for $100, I have judged you and will ask forgiveness for it later. I cannot make myself buy my 3 year old toddler clothes that she cannot be a child in. I have better things to do with my time than stress myself out controlling her and making her stay clean because I spent an insane amount of money on her clothes. I’d rather be playing and spilling ice cream with her. (; The thought of $10 worth of material on sale at Hobby Lobby makes me happy!

photo (2)Here is my new sewing machine!
 

I sit here now and wonder how come I never learned how to sew, considering how much my grandmother enjoyed it. Then I remember, it is because my mother and aunt were still around to help with those things; therefore, we were told, “get in the yard and play.” As amazing as that was for our creativity, imaginations, and bonding with cousins… it failed us in the aspect that other than clean house, we never learned domesticated tasks that are probably quite simple. How hard can it be to work a sewing machine? Surely it cannot be that difficult. I just have never been shown how to do it. I am determined to learn how to do this. I consider myself a pretty intelligent person. I’ve lined up a friend who is quite talented with a sewing machine and, after laughing, she agreed to teach me how. I’ll have to practice on a few outfits before I share a final product. (;

 
I am going to do a series of the different things I want to learn how to do that seem like forgotten knowledge or have been made unimportant by such a technology based society. A few future topics will be: canning; gardening; homemade jellies; and homemade biscuits. I may add to that list as I go!

Sharing a Time Capsule with My Toddler: The Public Library in a Small Town.

My daughter will be three in two weeks. Wow. Three years of her little life have already flown by. They say time flies when you’re having fun. (AND IT HAS COMPLETELY BEEN A BLAST!) She has been in a preschool environment since she was 18 months old. She LOVES it. Starting last summer, we decided to REALLY become hands on in teaching her at home as well. We had already been learning songs together and reading books and practicing our ABC’s, but I purchased a large preschool workbook and we began to work on it together as a family. Some times we do arts and crafts, others we do work sheets, and then on other occasions we dedicate time to do a bible study (all age-appropriate, of course.) I bought her this cute refurbished wooden desk. The person had even painted the top with chalk board paint. She thinks it is the coolest thing ever to sit at her desk and do “homework.” I am going to remind her of this homework enthusiasm in about 10 years. Ha!

This is the desk. How cute is that for a toddler?!

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Not only does she love to learn and do “homework”, our daughter loves to read. She definitely got her book worm gene from her Mama. I still love to read, when I have time! When she picks a book to read at home I read it to her, she “reads” it to me, and then Daddy has to read it to us. Every book she picks is read a minimum of three times during each sitting. We have so many books. Most of them are actually mine and my brother’s books from our childhood. Yeah, my mother was “that mom.” I am not complaining now, though! She brought two storage tubs of books to my house last year after Khloe’s second birthday. I ended up donating some of them, but a lot of them we kept!

Over the last year, I have been trying to be creative in the way we explore and teach her. We’ve taken a trip to the zoo, built birdhouses, had LOTS of free paint time that included our hands and feet (and clothes), trips to the park to look at the fish under the bridge, visiting the local pet store just to see random animals like ferrets, goldfish, turtles, birds. We even do a “Build and Grow” event once a month at our local Lowes Home Improvement Store. It’s free and the children get to build something with their parents and earn a patch in the process for their little workshop apron. (There are even safety goggles.) It’s totally adorable. The list could go on. I try not to be boring, for her sake and ours! Lately I’ve thought a lot about taking her to our local public library. It has just been an “I really would like to do that” thought but not a very pressing matter. A few days ago, I found myself with the opportunity to be off work for half a day, so I made the spur of the moment decision that we were going to take our first trip to the library! When I told her we were going to the library and we would be able bring some books home, she jumped up and down saying, “Books! Books! Books!”

My heart just smiled again thinking of how happy she was in that moment.

When we got to the library she was in such awe, and so was I. I had not been to the library in a while, probably since graduating high school. It looked exactly the same as it had since I was a young child, and I mean exactly the same.

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I believe the ONLY thing different is the new signs hanging from the ceiling. I’m not sure that I was really expecting a state-of-the-art modern renovation or anything, but when I walked in, I felt just the same as I had when I came as a kid. Oh wait, there were DVDs now, but there were also the forever existing VHS tapes. My daughter did not even know what they were. At 23, I am not old and I do not try to pretend to have a sudden amount of life long wisdom and knowledge just because I have a very settled adult life; however, in that moment when she said, “Hey Mama, what this?” as she picked up a VHS case, I felt for the first time.. older. I was acutely aware of just how long it had been since I was sent down the street to the public library to work on a research paper for a class my senior year of high school. As I definitely chose not to dwell on that, I urged Khloe to venture around. I was excited at the thought of sharing this experience and love for reading with her! Because it was a new place, she couldn’t pay attention to one thing for very long. She just wanted to go from place to place and one thing to the next. She’s such a learner and wants to take it all in right then and see it all. I love that. I hope she never loses her curiosity for new things in life.

We eventually made our way to the children’s book room. This room was like book heaven. She just ran from one table and stand of books to the next. I eventually had to do a little damage control, as she was so excited that she wanted to pick up a book at every step. We had to look at the computer. Sit at every table and on the couch. There would be no sitting together and reading together that day. Everything was way too exciting for that! She literally never paused for even one minute. We finally decided on three books. It was so cute watching her peep over the counter as she placed her books up there for the librarian to check them out for her. After we were home and settled on the couch reading our brand new clear plastic crackling library books, I quickly realized I had made a serious mistake. We should have picked more than three books. I read her those three books at least six times each. She asked to call Granny and Granddaddy to tell them about her trip to the library. During this phone call, it was deemed necessary to bring them to Granny’s house after preschool tomorrow and read them. She has still looked at all three of them, and we have read them again for a few nights. I think it is time to take them back and get different ones. Maybe even get 6 books this next time.

I cannot wait to spend this time with her and take these trips maybe every other week. The joy on her face is irresistible and irreplaceable. I want to take her when we can sit and read, or use the LeapFrog audible reader. I want to let her explore the books available in the children’s room without rush. Some of the books from when I was a child are still there. I love it! When I opened some books she had brought to me (and this may seem weird), but the smell of the older pages was still the same as it was when I first started going to the library for reading challenges during the summers as a kid. I hope to share this memory with her over the years and let her know that, yes, technology is moving far forward, BUT there will always be something about holding a book in your hand and getting to reach for the next page.

This is the children’s room. I guess on larger funding scales it is not spectacular. But i just adore it and so does Khloe. (We do live in a small town. One of those small Southern towns where this month has actually seen the end of production at the paper mill that had provided 1100 jobs since the 1970s. One of those towns.)

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Here we are checking out with our first three books. They told her when she turns 5, that she gets her very own library card. Her mouth fell open. Haha!

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A Family Affair

Children_Sleeping_In_Their_Parents_Bed_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_091010-006362-272053The picture above simply made me laugh a little. And provided me with a little comfort that if there is a clip art for my dilemma then apparently, somewhere in the world, someone else is going through the same thing. I am not alone.

When we moved into our new home last April, it took us a few days to get the main things like beds and furniture where it needed to be. We had moved absolutely everything from the apartment to the house in 2 days, so there was no setting it up as we went. It was more like, just stack it in a bedroom so that we can walk around right now.

For those first few nights we slept, as a family, on our mattresses in the floor. (We were still having to work full time other than the 2 days we moved everything into the house.) So for three whole nights, our daughter had to sleep in the bed with us. When we were at the apartment, she had been sleeping in her own room and in a toddler bed. It was amazing! She would tell us goodnight and get in bed on her own. Now, we did have to leave the hall light on, and if we got too quiet she would call out to us. So we generally put her to bed an hour before we wanted to go to bed so that she could hear us cleaning up, etc. I thought, “How could we get this lucky with bedtime?” (I had heard the horror stories.) That all changed when we moved into the house.

Suddenly, she would scream, fight, cry, and have a complete panic episode if we tried to put her to bed in her new bedroom. It all went down hill from there. We eventually graduated into letting her fall asleep with us, then we would move her.. until every single night between 2 and 4 a.m. she woke us up screaming and crying and calling to us. Every. Single. Night. Whatever, let her sleep in the bed. I’m dying. Yes, those were our first mistakes. Then, she began to have, what we self-diagnosed as, night terrors. She kicked, punched, yelled, fought in the middle of the night with nothing in particular. We researched night terrors and sleeping problems in toddlers. She gets plenty of sleep at night, and other than the move last April, we cannot figure out anything else stressful going on that could be causing night terrors. Even though she does not get an excessive amount of sugar, and to the best of our knowledge, no caffeine at all, we even went the extra step to completely avoid these factors. Since doing that and paying extra attention to sleep routines, the night-terror-things are down to just a few a month. (They had started occurring nightly.)

Since then, I have read multiple articles that should all be titled, “This is MY Opinion On How YOU Should Put YOUR Child to Bed.”

Here is the basic gist of it all:

1. Create a routine. Literally every night needs to be the same.
2. Don’t speak to your child if they wake in the night. Put them back in bed and walk away without a word. Huh?
3. No matter what, never let your kid sleep with you. It only breaks the routine.
4. A whole lot more on how to correctly prepare them for bed.

Here is the thing, we do have an over all daily routine, but we live in this moment called life. There is absolutely no way that I can start and finish a bedtime process every single night the exact same way and time. I have a kid. Did we miss that part when writing those books? Nothing ever happens as planned. Sometimes we need things from the store, or someone comes over, or we visit grandma. Also, how am I not supposed to want to comfort my toddler in the middle of the night when she’s crying profusely and loudly, “Mama pweeeaasssssee. Mamaaaaa.” I can just envision the tears and snot the moment my eyes open. Maybe it is our fault, maybe we just aren’t these textbook style kind of parents. I value any sleep over being textbook correct. BUT I will be the first to admit, there is something on the brink of needing to change. She is turning three this month. It has almost been a year since we moved into the house, surely by now the house is not strange or new. We drove by the old apartment building the other day and asked if she knew what that was and her reply was, “no, my don’t know.”

We are looking for ideas from real parents who have been there. Who do not have textbook children or lives.

Have your children ever suddenly changed sleeping habits or routines for the worse? What were things you tried? What worked for your little one?