The Tooth Fairy is Tired

Tooth Fairy
Amber’s first lost tooth–June 16, 2013

No matter how completely amazing and awesome your mom was–I bet anything that there are a few instances in your childhood you can look back on where you vowed to yourself, “When I’m a parent–I will NEVER do that!”

One of those moments came when I was younger and lost a tooth. I was old enough to know that the tooth fairy wasn’t real, but young enough to still want to play along. I had a special little pillow to put my tooth in so I’d tucked it away, excited for the money that would be there the next day. The next morning came and I woke up excitedly and reached into my pillow to find….my tooth. I casually dropped a comment at the breakfast table about the fact the tooth fairy had been MIA and soon the situation was fixed–turned out the tooth fairy was running a little “late” it seems.

I’ll never forget the disappointment of reaching into the pillow, however, and vowed to myself that when *I* was the tooth fairy I’d never forget!

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Amber’s Turning Five

This week my baby turns Five.
Five.
Why does that seem so crazy, so old, so much more intimidating than the others?
Five.
The age where babyhood is truly left behind forever.
Five.
The age when you develop favorite colors, best friends, and you start school, “for real”.
Five.
What happened to my rolly polly baby? Where did this tall, clever, sweet girl come from?
Five.
The age when you wake up by yourself in the morning, get dressed, and eat breakfast alone in peace.
Five.
The age where your imagination and sweet innocence lead to daily Amberisms that make me burst in to laughter.
Five. 
The age when you start your first extracurricular activity and can’t wait to see your friends.
Five.
The age you start asking the questions that I’m not sure I’m ready to give you honest answers to yet.
Five.
The age when princesses are real, the world is pure, and you still love playing dress up and snuggling.
Five.
How did we arrive here so soon?

Nicole Elliott

Quality Kids Clothing with a Carefree Attitude

In addition to organizing our closet these past weeks I also took the opportunity to go through and par down all of the kids baby and outgrown clothes. While many baby and kids clothes are adorable there are things that need to go into consideration before purchasing them.

I’m the first to love getting a great deal on clothing–especially when babies grow so quickly and change so fast. However, one thing I really noticed while I was sorting through the clothes was that I ended up giving away many of the cheaper clothing sets due to staining, fading, or holes. Now that Amber has been in the same size for almost a year I’ve learned to buy good quality pants because otherwise she puts holes in them the first week.

Who’s Little is a great place to find quality, adorable clothes for little girls. I love that part of their mission is to make clothes that “Rather than shrunken adult styles Who’s Little? focuses on frocks fit for those early, carefree days”. Oh–and they donate clothes to kids in need as well-win, win!!

With Amber being so big for a 4 year old (she’s been in 6x for over a year now) I really appreciate kids clothes that look like they belong on a kid! I don’t want my little girl dressing like a teenager and that seems so common these days and gets super frustrating.

We were sent the blue jumper that can also double as pants which is how we decided to use them. I love multi-use outfits! As you can see they are super darling and comfy too! They are a tiny bit snug-so I’d advise getting one size larger when you order–having a bit of growing room is never a bad thing.

Be sure to check out Who’s Little on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay in on all their great news and adorable clothes!

Are you willing to spend more for quality clothes for your kids? Why or why not?

Howard B. Wigglebottom And The Monkey On His Back

“Howard had a monkey on his back because he was lying. And lying is NOT good!” ~ Amber

You might remember that we first met Howard B. Wigglebottom when he was learning to listen.  We enjoyed listening to that so much that we jumped at the chance to review Howard B. Wigglebottom And The Monkey On His Back

In this book Howard learns the consequences of telling lies–even if they seem to be for a “good reason” or one that might seem like “little white lies”.

Again this book came for a perfect time for us! I was shocked to recently catch Amber in her first lie. I mean, I shouldn’t have been-I knew it was coming-but it’s still a little stunning when it happens!! We’ve been working hard with her to teach her that the truth is ALWAYS better to tell than a lie!

I was so proud of her the other day because she came out of her room where she’d been playing, tears in her eyes, and told me, “Mommy I’m so, so sorry. I broke my doll crib.” 

Sure enough she had (it was actually fixable, thankfully!! But she didn’t know that at the time) I was so happy, not about the cradle, but about the fact that she owned up to her mistake and came to me about it without trying to hide it or lie about it. It seems Howard, along with our other lessons, have made a great and positive impact!

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The Donkey No One Could Ride by Anthony DeStefano

The only holiday related books that stay in our bookcase year round are those that have to do with Easter.

The way I see it the story of Easter is relevant year round–every day in fact!

This year Amber got The Donkey That No One Could Ride in her Easter basket and we have been enjoying it ever since! A story about the little donkey who was used for Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, it focuses on an often over looked but crucial part of the Easter Story.

The story is simple, yet powerful, and the pictures are absolutely amazing!

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Encouraging Imaginative Play in Preschoolers

According to an article on Education.com when Preschooler’s engage in play that encourages their imaginations the benefits are Vocabulary Development and Communication, Planning and Problem Solving, and Imagination and Creativity. Pretty important stuff if I do say so!

Because I’ve read this over and over I make an effort that 90% of our toys are ones that would really encourage imaginative play. I’ve found that “classic” toys provide my children with far more learning–and far more fun! We have a dress up box stuffed full of fluffy tutus, fireman outfits, hats and jewelry. We have several baby dolls, a play kitchen, and a doll house.

Toys that provide classics with a fun new twist are our favorites. Magnet Toys also fall into this category! The Prince and Princess Dress-up dolls are Amber’s new favorites! I love that they have all the good of traditional paper dress up dolls–with none of the drawbacks! She also has a princess magnetic dress up doll from a previous Christmas–so now she has a blast playing with the entire royal family and getting them all ready to go “to the palace”
There is something magical about watching a dialogue unfold in a scene of make believe kingdoms, the fact she’s learning all that good stuff I mentioned before is just an extra perk!

We received this great toy from Educational Toys Planet all pretending, opinions, and imaginary kingdoms are our own.

Keep Kids Safe with the Parking Pal Magnet

Life with one child was, while not exactly easy, definitely manageable. I remember having a bunch of spare time on my hands when Amber was born–so much so that I did tons of digital scrapping, Facebook stalking, and then decided to jump into the world of working from home.

Once I added Tyler into the mix (not to mention this blog, and my jobs) life was suddenly not so easy or manageable anymore! I am amazed at the sheer load of work having two kiddos is! One of the ways this becomes crazy apparent is when we’re unloading out of the car on our trip to the store/Bible study/MOPs/playgroup/you get the idea. Amber’s old enough now that she can unbuckle herself and hop out. That means that while I’m busy unstrapping Tyler from the 50 5 point harness and loading up my purse, diaper bag, keys, phone, etc. Amber is free to hop, stick, and jump her way—right into oncoming cars YIKES!

To solve this problem I would do the typical talking/nagging/demanding that she stand right beside me and/or grab onto me (not ideal while I’m wrestling all those before mentioned things)

A fellow mom felt my pain and invented the Parking Pal Magnet! This ingenious child safety product is super easy to use–you just stick it onto your car! It won’t fall off while driving, but you do need to remove it before you wash your vehicle. It comes in several different fun and cute patterns–so you can pick the one your kiddo would like the best. Amber loves it (as you can see) and it makes those brief moments in the parking lot a little less hectic and scary!

Be sure to enter to win a Parking Pal Magnet, along with a bunch of other great mom invented products, in the Mompact Bundle Giveaway!

Be sure to also stop by Mompact and discover all the other great products made by moms, for moms!

2011 In Review

As this year draws to a close a sigh of relief slips out of my lips. 2011 was most certainly the most difficult year I’ve ever had in my life thus far. It included several ER trips for me and Tyler, a lifeflight and ICU Stay, my husband’s 7 month deployment to Cuba, the loss of my dear Grandpa to cancer, and many internal personal struggles with the changes of life and relationships. There were also 3 cross country relocations as we hopped from place to place while my husband was gone. The times when I felt I needed others the most were the times I felt utterly alone. It was a year full of grief, pain, sickness and tears.

When I look back at this year I will not remember the pain alone. Through it all there were bright shining moments of pure happiness. Through the sickness there was the amazing joy of watching God answer prayers before my very eyes in a miraculous way. Through the tears bawled into my pillow while I was crying myself to sleep at 3 a.m. there was the feeling of God wrapping His very arms of comfort around me and whispering that it was all going to be ok. Through the separation of the person who is dearest to me in all the world there came out a new renewed and more deeply devoted love and appreciation than we have ever known before. Through it all I came away with a deeper understand of life, of self, and a sense of maturity and perspective that I know I lacked before. There was lovely time spent getting to know my in-laws better, fun adventures with my wonderful and crazy family, precious memories built with many hours spent with both of my Grandma’s, and the warmth that comes from connecting with old friends and making new ones. My good friend From Tracie did a year in review of pictures along with some bloggers, and I would like to do one too-because when I look at the pictures from this year I see only the joy that I want to remember. Looking at them reminds me of how many wonderful and fun things we got to do and experience this year. I trust that in years to come the goods will far outweigh the bads in my mind and heart.

January

Full of fun playdates with friends and the normal every day to day life we live while in Boston

February

Saw Amber’s 3rd birthday and lots of family time while we could still spend it together

March

You can tell by my pictures that March is when things began to get a little overwhelming–I only took 8 pictures the entire month (most months the minimum is 100 photos–no joke) I did manage to snap this little gem–at this point they only adored each other and never fought.

April

Marked our voyage down to spend a little over a month in Tyler, Texas. One of the highlights for everyone was the trip to the zoo there.

May

We spent almost the entire month of May in Texas and continued to have so much fun with Bob’s family, my favorite thing was visiting the Texas Rose Gardens

June

June marked the first month with my family in Wyoming. We took several fun trips out to all my favorite gorgeous and breathtaking Wyoming spots. This picture was taken at the beautiful Green River Lakes near Pinedale, Wyoming.

July

Marked my 26th birthday and Tyler’s 1st a wonderfully fun camping trip to Red Cliff Bible Camp and Yellowstone National Park.

August

Was filled with more wonderful times together with family and trips into the Wyoming wilderness–along with the revelation that empty pop cans and dirt are really the best toys EVER for babies.

September

We took a trip up into Montana to spend a few days with one of my very best friends and her lovely family. She was my rock and go-to gal the entire deployment and it was amazing to spend face to face time together again after 2 years apart.

October

 Saw lots and lots of family time as our 6 month stay in Wyoming drew to a close. There were many trips to the park and lots of playing in the leaves!

November

The love of my life returned home at last!!!!! Thanks to my beyond sweet and wonderful Mother in Law we were able to go on an overnight incredibly romantic getaway in downtown Boston. It was something I will never forget!

December

December of course means Christmas! We made Christmas a fun 2 day event which started on Christmas Eve. Amber loved helping me bake special Christmas Cookies this year.