Tag Archives: daughter

Count Your Blessings: My Unexpected Night Off

Count Your Blessings

Life has been pretty crazy at home lately. Trying to teach full-time, be a full-time graduate student, wife, and mother all at the same time is taking its toll.

In addition to being more sleep deprived than usual, I have been having some serious attacks of the ‘Mom-Guilt’ persuasion lately, so when my evening unexpectedly opened up I took full advantage of the family time that has been so rare lately.

The original game plan had been to get home from school at about 4:00, hang out with Dragonling for a half an hour or so, and then retreat to my desk to do school work until supper. I planned to eat supper with Dragonling and Science Lovin’ Papa and then return to my school work. I had hoped to finish the assignment that was due at midnight before bedtime (8:30) so after I put Dragonling to bed I could start the training for the distance standardized test scoring that I will be doing as a short little side job. Last time the training took a couple hours so I expected to be up till 11:00 or midnight to check that off my ‘to-do’ list.

But Someone must have known that this Momma needed a night off to spend with her family because the stars aligned and I suddenly found myself with none of the deadlines I had anticipated.

When I went up to my desk after school I opened up my online portal for my graduate classes and saw an announcement from my professor. The due date for the assignment that was due tonight had been extended. Knowing I had a few more days I decided to start my test scoring training to get it out of the way, so I went to my email to find the link to the training page only to find that instead of starting on April 6th I had misread the date. Scoring training doesn’t start until April 16th. As I let this news sink in I suddenly realized that for the first time in many days I had a night where I could actually put things off and not make it worse in the end.

I took full advantage of this small blessing.

Science Lovin’ Papa cooked dinner, then we all sat at the table and enjoyed a relaxed supper. We had time to talk about our day and I could sit and enjoy the time without thinking about how late I was going to be up to finish my homework.

After supper, Dragonling and I played with Play-Doh. Mostly we just smashed it because Dragonling is only one and a half, but it was the most fun I’ve had with Play-Doh in years. Watching her eyes light up when I molded the dough into a cat face or a caterpillar warmed my heart.

When she was finished with the Play-Doh, Dragonling looked at me and very sweetly said, “Car?”

“Where do you think we should go?” I asked.

Shhlide? Shlide.” she replied.

“You think we should go to the park and play on the slide? Ok. Let’s find your shoes.”

All I heard after that was excited squealing and frantic running about looking for anything she might possibly need to get that show on the road. She found my purse, Papa’s hat, her shoes, and her coat.

We piled into the car and headed for the park.

At the park, there was only one other child on the equipment and he took off after his parents soon after we arrived. I followed her up the steps, over to one of the slides, then she sat on my lap as we went down. Then she hopped off and raced around to the stairs to do it again. We did this over and over and over…

Most nights I would have been ready to stop after the fourth or fifth time down the slide with her, but tonight was different. The weather was beautiful, a little windy, but sunny and not too cold. All I could think about was all the times I had missed taking her to the park already and all the times in the coming months that I would have to do homework instead of spending time with my baby. (Cue Mom-guilt.)

My night off wasn’t planned. I didn’t spend it doing the things on my ‘to-do’ list. It was spontaneous and it was perfect.

When we got home from the park, I Dragonling and I showered and then she had a bath to play a bit in the water. Bath time is usually a task taken on by Papa Dragon but tonight I really wanted to do it. I let her play in the water longer than usual and Papa came and watched her while I got the after bath things ready. We got pajamas on and then went downstairs for a small snack, one episode of ‘Puffin Rock’, and snuggles.

Then it was bed time. We read a book and then we cuddled in the rocking chair. When I laid her down in her crib she looked up at me and said, “Wuv you, Mama.”

“I love you too, Aurora.”

I kissed her forehead like always and she grabbed my face and kissed my cheek.

A perfect end, to a perfect unexpected night off.

Count your blessings. Savor the moments, especially the ones you didn’t know you were going to get.

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My Life is #MadeWithLove

So many things in my life have been #MadeWithLove it’s hard for me to even begin to talk about those that are most important to me. There are the objects that I have that were #MadeWithLove, of course, but there are also personal connections, family, and memories that were #MadeWithLove.

My kitchen is a mess

Growing up I was surrounded by people who took pride in creating things that were #MadeWithLove. My grandmother, my mother, and my aunts spent hours sewing and crafting things for gifts, craft fairs, and just for fun. They instilled in me the love of making things with my own hands and showing others the fun that can be had in creating things!

As I think back on all the things I have that were #MadeWithLove a few things stand out in my memory.

  • A doll cradle, #MadeWithLove by my grandfather filled with doll bedding #MadeWithLove by my grandmother. Definitely a favorite toy as a child and a wonderful keepsake that I can pass on to my children.
  • An afghan, #MadeWithLove by another grandmother for my childhood bedroom. It was various shades of pink with matching pillow. I loved it then and I still do. It was on my bed for years! Even now I it’s safely packed away for when I might be able to use it in my daughter’s room.

 iPhone 106

  • A quilt, #MadeWithLove by my mother. It was was assembled by my mother and then hand quilted by an older woman she knew. It also spent many years in my childhood bedroom and is now carefully stored for future use.

iPhone 104

Those are just a few of the things I have been given that were #MadeWithLove, but that’s really just the beginning of my life #MadeWithLove.

Love is the defining ingredient

I have a wonderful family that has been #MadeWithLove.

I was blessed with a large extended family with strong ties. My mother’s parents have been married 66 years, had eight children, and now have 24 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.  My father’s parents would have been married 57 years last September, had six children, and now have 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. All #MadeWithLove, giving me a wonderful example of unconditional love and acceptance.

Photo by Quattlebaum Photography

Photo by Quattlebaum Photography

My  husband and I have been married a little over a year. Our first child was born in July making us a family of three, #MadeWithLove. I thought I knew the definition of love when I married my husband, but our daughter has deepened the love I feel for my whole family.

The minute you were born IMG_0151

Since our daughter was born I have come to understand so much, but I have so much left to learn. One of the most important lessons so far is that I’m not perfect. I don’t have all the answers and I’m never going to, and that’s okay, because every minute of every day the things I do for my child are #MadeWithLove and that is what’s important.

I am a mother

 Along with the things they’ve given me and the unconditional love and acceptance they’ve modeled, my family instilled in me a love and deep appreciation for all things handmade. I greatly enjoy being able to give gifts to others that have been #MadeWithLove, because I feel it is easier to put meaning in something handmade than in something store bought .  I would love to be able to make all my gifts, but life is busy and time is short. Inevitably I do my best to find store bought items that are #MadeWithLove.

 

gDiapers is a company that truly understands that motherhood is #MadeWithLove.  They makes wonderful diapers that provide a balance between disposables and cloth.

In honor of their #MadeWithLove campaign, gDiapers is hosting a unique gift chain on Instagram. If you would like to take part in this gift chain, head over their Instagram post and join in the fun!

Along with the Instagram gift chain, there will also be an upcoming Twitter chat (date and time TBD) about how motherhood is #MadeWithLove. During the conversation there will be a chance for participants to win awesome prizes from gDiapers! (Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, enter your email in the sidebar, so you don’t miss out on any of the details.)

Read more about  the #MadeWithLove campaign over on The American Mama, her post ‘Do Your Kids Think You Are an Imperfect Mother?’ is a great look into the little-talked about side of motherhood. It’s so easy to look at your actions as a mother and get discouraged because it’s impossible to do everything right.

Embrace the imperfect parts of your life, thrive on them. They are what make your life #MadeWithLove.

made with love pic

 

An Open Letter to My Mother (Now That I’m a Mother)

Dear Mom,

When I was still in high school, I recall a conversation where you said something like, ‘Someday you’ll realize I do know what I’m talking about and you’ll even call to ask my advice.’ Well, that time has officially come. There have been other times in the past that I have thought back on this conversation; like when I had to call to ask how to make baked potatoes, or for the last ingredient in your famous Rio Grande hot dish. (Yes, I called it a hot dish. My husband is silently celebrating right now. Silly Minnesotans.)

Now that I’m a mother I see many things in a different light.

I finally understand why you wanted us to clean the house before leaving for the weekend. There are few things that give me more anxiety than knowing that there are dirty dishes in the sink or a bag of garbage that didn’t get taken out  when I’m trying to enjoy a few days away.

Folded clothes sitting in piles on the couch, or even in a clothes basket, make me crazy. (Even if I don’t have time to put them away…)

That load of laundry that has been washed 3 times because I keep forgetting to switch it over… Yes, I know I used to forget, or sometimes deliberately not, move a load of laundry when it was on my chore list. I now understand your frustration.

There are a few things I still haven’t figured out though.

For instance, how in the world did you have enough energy to clean the house after we went to bed? I know you must have, and probably more often that I even noticed in my self-absorbed, teenage world.  You had four children, I can’t even muster the energy to do that with one!

Also, how did you have time to make us clothes. I have been trying for 7 months to make a wet bag and a few diapers for Dragonling. Finally, this week I have been able to cut out the wet bag and the cover of one diaper. Nothing is put together, I haven’t even cut out all the pieces of the diaper yet.  I mean, you made us matching Christmas outfits. How in the world did you find time to do that?

How did you have time to make things for all the multitude of craft shows that we attended? I was there. I mean, I know how you did it, I just can’t even begin to understand how to find that amount of time for myself.

When did you sleep?! You did sleep, didn’t you?

I’m amazed at all the things you did that I didn’t even notice at the time.

The clothes you washed for me when I was too busy with school activities to make time to do it myself. The dinner that was always in the oven when I got home from play practice. The family movie and game nights. Letting my friends and I hang out in the basement TV room without so much as a complaint about how many showed up, the mess we made, or how loud we were.

Thank you for being my mother. Thank you for all the things I never thanked you for growing up. (I will never begin to be able to think of them all…) Thank you for continuing to be there and for offering advice and support when I need it now.

Thank you.

I love you, and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures as a mother with you.

Your Daughter,
Katrina

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In the First Six Months, I Have Learned…

One week ago marked six months of motherhood. Six glorious, sleep-deprived, challenging, beautiful months.

In the months of pregnancy people give you lots of advice, whether you want it or not. During that time, you take it all in stride and try to remember the big things while your pregnancy brain is trying to remember to put pants on before you leave for work.

Seriously, some days it was a miracle I got out the door fully clothed.

In the first six months of Drangonling’s life I have learned a plethora of things about myself, about parenting, and about children.

I have learned that despite my track record as a champion procrastinator, resulting in many nights of very little or no sleep in high school and college, I had NO IDEA what tired actually was.  In the first two weeks of Dragonling’s life, I very quickly learned that my previous understanding of exhausted would become my daily norm.  I now reserve “exhausted” for special occasions when I get less than 3 hours of sleep multiple days in a row.

I have learned that it is possible to function during the day without having completed a single REM cycle during the previous night. Not fun, but possible.

I have learned the art of napping during the day. Before Dragonling, I was always someone who rarely napped because when I did it ended up being three hours and I always had things I needed to do. I reserved naps for when I  had nothing that had to be done the rest of the day and when I was sick. Now, I’m just grateful for a few minutes of sleep when I can get them. These day naps are still irritating to me because I usually wake up feeling less rested than before but I still usually take them when I get a chance.

I have learned housework will always come second to baby snuggles.  A sink piled full of dishes, four loads of laundry to fold, and a vacuum collecting dust in the corner are just a few of the sights readily available to visitors in my home. I know as soon as we pass the ‘crawling’ milestone that vacuum will be used almost everyday, I wouldn’t want to wear it out too soon.

I have learned that you will have more beds/chairs for your child than you will for the rest of the family combined. I won’t even start counting the toys, how can one tiny person can amass so many things in such a short amount of time is amazing. Especially since they are just as happy playing with a pair of bright socks as a cute stuff toy that makes noise.

I have learned that my child’s bodily functions will be a regular part of at least one conversation my husband I have every day. Having a child will cure you of most discomfort about such topics. After six months, we could (and probably have) had such conversations while eating and not even bat an eye.

I have learned that cloth diapers really do contain the poo better. I find myself saying, after a blow out in a disposable, “If she had been in cloth that wouldn’t have happened.”

I have learned that lots of people think it’s weird that I use cloth diapers. I’m not exactly sure why they have this reaction. Cloth diapers have been around longer than disposables. Plus, with the trend towards sustainable living I’m surprised more people don’t use them. I don’t use cloth all the time but I definitely prefer it.

I have learned how to distinguish what my daughter needs by the sound of her cry. I know that is supposed to happen, but those first few weeks I was sure I would never figure it out. In those first few weeks all the cries sound the same, “Why aren’t you fixing this, you’re supposed to be the one to make it better!” Nothing makes you feel like a failure like a baby crying when you don’t know how to make it better.

I have learned that the sharpest object in the known universe are the slightly-too-long fingernails of an infant. They can peel your face off in mere seconds of tiny rage if her hands are too close to your cheek.

I have learned that fastening a snap, popping knees, squeaky floor boards, and refastening a nursing bra are all causes to wake the Dragonling. However, two cats racing through the house at top speed will not even cause a change in breathing. I will never understand…

The most important thing I have learned in the last six months is that nobody has all the answers. It doesn’t matter if they have one kid or seven, each one is different and will require a different tactic for each step of their development. They will still be happy to tell you what worked for them, even if you didn’t ask, but it does help to ask questions. Every parent has gone through the same major developmental stages, the details may be different but the big picture is generally the same. You never know who will have the right solution for you, maybe no one and then you’ll have to make your own solution but at least you are reaching out when there is the need.

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