Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How to Build a Personalized Command Center

Command centers are sort of a big deal today. If you go on Pinterest and look them up, there are so many different varieties. Some have color coordination, or chore charts, or flowers, sometimes there are mason jars, there are even chalk boards. Each one is uniquely made for the household using it.

When I set out to make a command center, we had just decided that we were going to get out of our apartment and into a house, we were sick of the place we were living (and the fifteen stinking apartments before that) and we wanted out. When my children napped, I planned out aspects of our house, including my children's rooms and my new command center that I so desperately wanted.

I don't think of myself as a particularly original or awesome decorator. I find things I like on Pinterest and I copy them. But this was my first truly original work of beauty, and I'm so excited to share it with you.

First, you'll need a plan. I looked at my entryway, and the clutter that had accumulated there over the week. What did I need a spot for, and what did I want to have available for ease of use. I encourage you to do the same. For a week let things clutter, after you come home look at what you have available, and what do you need?

Some things that I find command centers need are shopping lists, menu plans, calendars and a place to put your keys and mail. This is all unique to each person though.

My command center has a place for my recipes, which I want to put vinyl on, but haven't yet. It also has a clip board for the recipe for dinner of the day, a calendar for appointments and such, a set of mason jars to hold pens, stamps and receipts, and a mail holder. There is a clock because it's just needed something else, and a place to put my keys and the doggie's leash. Under here is also a place for doggy bags and wallets. Below all of it is a cute reading center we created for my daughter last year. I love that it's lime green, it really compliments the purple of this room!

I spent a few months picking out my perfect pieces, and even had my father help me out by making me a recipe box. I think it all comes together beautifully!

So here's the run down:

1. Watch your clutter in your entry way for a few days, and see what needs a home. If everything has a home, you have no clutter!

2. Make a list of all the necessities. Perhaps draw a little doodle of how you want things put. But remember that this will probably change before you find all the pieces you love and have to have. It's just a rough draft!

3. Measure your area, and buy pieces that will fit. After you have acquired everything you want, lay it on the floor and change things around until you have something you like.

4. If you move a lot, like us (which if you're reading this, you probably do too!) then some good command strips will hold all of this together happily! Also, if you use command strips you can change it around later.

5. Take pictures, and enjoy! Don't forget to share them with me! I love looking at command centers!

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this helpful! Do you have a command center? Do you need help deciding what you need? Let me know! I'm happy to help!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

How to Scare Your Children Into Listening (Green Tea Face Mask!)

Okay okay, so that's not really how we parent our children. They weren't really scared, they just looked at me like I was a lunatic. My daughter kept saying "we needa clean your face mommy! What do you have on ya face mommy?!" My son. Aw, my poor son. He was really confused and upset at first. Look at this face. But he was quickly eager to touch it once he got over the shock. 

This recipe is so easy you're going to be furious at me for writing a post about it, but I really do think it helps my complexion. After I washed it all off I had very smooth, happy skin. So here's the recipe:


Matcha Green Tea.

Go ahead. Slay me. Ha! I just put it on a plate and added some water, then slathered it on my face, and reaped the benefits. I let it dry, then washed it off. It's on my face for about 20 minutes. After that I added some vitamin C serum to my face, and had even more benefits! So where can you get a beautiful face like mine? Here are the links to the products I've been using:

Kiss Me Organics Matcha Tea Powder:here
Vitamin C Serum: here

Then I add in a moisturizer and get ready for my day!

Do you have a go to face mask?

I received these products in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hey. You're Still a Good Mom

My son has eczema. I've spent most days since he was born feeling incredibly guilty and at fault for this. I blame myself for having children 15 months apart, for not eating good enough and probably what I beat myself up the most for is having two cesarean sections. I'm a crunchy mom, so that really hits hard. The people I surround myself with believe in the good of natural birth, and I do too. Before I had my daughter I remember thinking things like "why would that mother just give up and have a section? She's such an idiot! Of course the doctor is going to say she has a baby that's too big to birth!" . . . I would never say these things to a parent, but I definitely thought them. I was a young and stupid pregnant woman who totally believed if you just wanted natural childbirth enough you could have it.

My thoughts were incredibly offensive and I had no idea what I was setting myself up for. All these months of saying things like "well, she shouldn't have listened to her doctor" and "doesn't she know better??" led me to thinking that I was somehow better than these warriors who had been cut open for whatever reason and I hadn't even experienced one contraction!

With my first child, I picked a crunchy midwife, and a crunchy hospital in a natural birth friendly area to have my baby. My husband was supportive, and stood by me for every contraction. He held my hand, he did squats with me, he helped me breath, and he told me how incredible I was and that I was the strongest person he's ever seen. The other nurses and midwives and doctors all told us how wonderful he was for not only being there for the birth, but actively participating in it. I never ever felt alone. But I still had a cesarean. My husband didn't fail me. I didn't fail me. Things just happened, and we couldn't do it. I am not a bad mother for that. I am not a failure, and I'm still strong. I'm still a warrior.

That day and that decision haunted me for over a year. I hated myself and my body (you know, for failing me) for months and months. I did everything right, and I still failed. My husband did everything right, and we still failed. I wanted my children close in age, so we tried again after careful consideration and lots of crying and feeling like a complete train wreck. He said to me "why should we let one stupid surgery stop us from having more children?" and we agreed that it was more important to us to have babies close in age then to have a VBAC. I tried and tried for that VBAC, and "failed". I did all the right things again, I hired a doula . . . she was amazing and everything I needed. I had wonderful people to watch my daughter that I trusted completely. I refused any type of induction, I watched my weight, I spent over ten hours working through labor without pain meds . . . again. I thought I could do it, we KNEW we could do it. Eventually, my son's heart rate dropped and we couldn't get it back up, so I went in for an emergency section. He came out and needed immediate attention. He was going to die if I did not make that decision.

It completely changed my perspective of child birth. I stopped blaming myself for the battles I had lost, and commended myself for the battles I had won. I had two beautiful children, I was alive, and I could raise my babies with my husband. I wasted over a year of my life hating myself for something that I had no control over, and having my second child healed that for me. Having my second child showed me that my first child birth was still a miracle, and it wasn't something I failed at. It ended with a beautiful daughter who has changed my life for the better in every way. These are things that people told me every day when I would cry and hate myself, but it finally really sank in after I had another baby, and the healing birth experience I so needed.

So hey, cesarean section mom. You're a rock star. You are every bit as incredible and strong as any other type of mom. You are amazing, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. You have nothing to be ashamed of. 

I'm sorry moms before me, who had cesarean sections. I'm the idiot. Not you.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Top 7 Reasons To Have a Changing Table

I'm pretty old fashioned when it comes to some parts of parenting. Diaper changing is one of those things. I like to have a dedicated and well stocked area to change bums. I like that when we go into the room with the changing table, my children understand that we will be changing their butts. I like that my daughter stands next to my son's face while he is getting changed and tells him it's okay and strokes his little face. All of this is made possible by the use of my changing table.

My little used changing table has been so heavily used. It's falling apart, actually. The bottom shelf is only half connected, and has a little water damage from being used so much. After we are done with diapers it's most likely going in the trash, if we have another I don't think it would survive! But I am so glad we got it! Having a changing station has been crucial to my parenting, I think.

So why should you, reading this page right now, have a dedicated changing station for your child? Well, for starters, it's more for you than your children. I find it quite simple, here are a few reasons why I think every parent of infants and toddlers needs a changing table:

1. You know where your diapers are at any given time. This is important, at least to me. I'm the least organized person ever (I put up a good front on the internet, but my non internet friends know, haha) so if I didn't have a spot for every type of diaper than I wouldn't be able to find them. When your kid has a poopslosion, the last thing you want to do is look around frantically for a diaper, and then for the wipes. And where the heck is another insert?!?!

2. You can very easily tell when you need to do diaper laundry. All right, we only have three wipes left. Let's start a load of diapers and PRAY TO THE DIAPER GODS that no one poops! And if they do . . . hey universal bath time!

3. Asking older children for help is much easier. I think this goes with number one. I often ask my daughter to help me by getting a cover from the pile for my son. She usually tells me all the colors that she sees, and then she almost always picks the blue one, because that's her current favorite color.

4. You can have changing table toys that are only for the changing table. Before we leave the changing table, we always put the toy back where it goes, and it's worked wonders! We ask the babies if they want to play with the ball on the changing table, or the wipes, or whatever we have on the changing table that week. Some times it works, other times they want to bring their own toy.

5. Poop smells from wet bags and tushie changes is concentrated in one spot of your house, not the entire house. This is a big one for me. Without a designated area to change the bumbums, I would change my kids everywhere. I feel like there would be discarded diapers everywhere, and my whole house would smell terribly of urine. This is definitely not a nightmare that I have had several times . . .

6. Bum creams are always right where you need them. There was a dark time in my life when I didn't have a basket right next to my changing table where I put all of my bum cream. I don't talk about it often, but it's a part of my past I must own. Awareness is key. I was, and continue to be . . . a bum cream hoarder. *sigh* there, I said it. Whew. So when I need bum cream for my cute little baby's tushies, I like to have a large variety at my fingertips. Before I put the basket there, I often had to look under the changing table, around the room, in every little cubby hole of their toy room, and try to find one. This basket has changed my life.

7. Changing pad covers. Not JUST changing pad covers, I'm talking like . . . pretty, happy, personalized changing pad covers. Let's talk more in depth about this.

Changing pad covers are my new favorite thing about changing my children. Before now, I had a $20 changing pad cover from Target. Sometimes they have cute ones now, but when I bought it, it was $20 and white, with a little pink trim around the outside (you can see it up in the picture before the list, that was taken when it was new). Someone else bought us a pink one that looked like a towel. It was terrible, crunchy, held on to stains like a bad habit, and it was uncomfortable to even look at let alone put my child on. I constantly put down prefolds to cover up stains and avoid new ones, as well as try to make it a little softer for their delicate bums. After a few washes they both fell apart quickly. The elastic was showing, fraying, and the small amount of cushion they had was quickly disappearing. I was so disappointed. I went back to Target, and was faced with the same disappointing variety of products I had seen before, and was discouraged by the foresight into the future of those changing pad covers.

I came home, and I looked online for something better. I found Baby Bee Mod on Etsy. She has listed several adorable prints for changing pad covers. They're only $25, and you aren't going to have to replace them after one wash. I've tried washing this one several times, I've gotten some poopsplosion on it, and it's all come clean, and it's still holding up great after several weeks of constant use. Realistically, you're putting your child on this fabric more than a few times a day. You want it to be soft, well made, and fun. This product is all of that. I feel like it's softer every time I wash it, and I've seen no wear and tear yet, when I had definitely observed it with the other pad covers.  The elastic is encased all the way around, so you don't have to worry about it coming apart, like the cheaper ones I used before. Here is a comparison:

It's like night and day. You're going to be using these things all day every day, why not buy something that will last, and you'll enjoy using? Here is my son playing peek a boo on it!

My babies love this new changing pad cover too, my daughter loves talking about the crabs, lighthouses, anchors, and captain's wheels.

This shop also has toy leashes, so when your son who is adorable and loves throwing things just because they always come back . . . you can easily find them! It's great for changing tables!

Do you use a changing table?
What do you love about using it?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Being a Parent of Two: Raising Your Inner Parent

Before I had children I knew all there was to parenting. I was the best parent in town. I knew how to address every single issue, and I had detailed plans to how I would encourage sleep, eating, and I was breastfeed my daughter until she was at least 2. AT LEAST. 

Then I had my daughter. I was pretty good at one kid after awhile. I learned that I don't know everything about parenting, but I do know a LOT. I am a fantastic baby whisperer, I am the BEST at getting kids to sleep long stretches (see: swaddle yo baby!) and my daughter also loves to eat. We had small struggles, she hated eating until we just found the right food, now she loves it and will eat everything. She only cries when she has a need, because she has no reason to cry otherwise.

Overall, parenting has been easy for us. Parenting is easy, I don't understand why parents struggle so much. I can help them. I can help them all. They ALL NEED MY OPINION.

Then I had number two.

Now I get it. I got the kid the doesn't sleep. Everyone wished that upon me, so congratulations all my wonderful friends and family who hoped I would someday get a child that sleeps never, you got your wish. No amount of swaddling makes him want to sleep more (although he does sleep longer when swaddled). My kid has said a giant eff you mommy to the majority of my swaddle attempts!

Having two children has vastly changed my life. I used to think I was the sleep guru, and a pro parent. Well obviously that's all wrong. Ha! 

Things I have learned since becoming a parent of two:

- Clean house. lolololrofllolol

- No TV. lolololroflololol

- I will never be caught up on laundry again.

- The sounds of my eyelids closing is the loudest noise in the universe.

- Clean is actually a relative term.

- Peaceful bath time is a joke.

- I'm still a great parent, even if my kid never sleeps.

Do you have two children? What have you learned?

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