Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sometimes I Forget

In case you didn't notice from reading my previous blogs...this little lady and I have been known to butt heads lately. However after pondering about it for several days, I finally came upon a realization. Sometimes I forget she is only two years old.

She acts a lot older than she a good way of course. She also helps a lot more than most two-year olds I'm guessing. So, as you can see, it's an easy mistake to make. Today I spent time observing just how good she really is and how much she wants to help so much. Of course she also desperately wants to gain her independence.

She knows a LOT of words (and yes we hear them all about fives times non-stop daily). Sometimes I'm a bad mom and just ask her to give her mouth a nap. For all those who know me you may know I'm unable to do two things at once when someone is talking to me. I just go into a comatose mode until one or both people stop talking at me. So, grocery shopping (or anything that involves thinking) on a daily basis is difficult to do when she is jabbering away. And she will repeat it non-stop until I acknowledge every single comment. She knows words that I've never taught her. One day we were taking a walk around the neighborhood and she pointed out dog poop. "Mommy dat is doggie poo poo" "Don't eat it Mommy" "Dat's goss" "Dat would be isgusting (disgusting)" I just started busting up laughing at her use of such big words. Or she'll say "Mommy, be careful Mommy okay?"

She helps me a LOT. She loves to be Mommy's helper and there is rarely ever a time where she isn't willing to help. She can single handedly get brother laughing or smiling even when he's in a cranky mood or not feeling well. She'll carry dirty clothes to the laundry room. She'll take Jonas' empty bottles to the sink after exclaiming "He eat it all gone Mommy?!" She'll pick up toys. She'll bring me binkies after Jonas spits them out a billion times. She'll "babysit" brother for me on the bed while I take a shower. She'll turn out all the lights when we are getting ready to leave the house. She'll help me fold clothes (and she does amazingly well at this). She'll help put the laundry in the dryer. She'll pick up Daddy's dirty socks and put them in the laundry room, etc etc.

She's also fighting to gain every single ounce of her independence which doesn't always bode well with a Mommy who likes to be in control. More often than not it results in tantrums and fits when it doesn't go well (usually from both of us). However, it does have it's perks. She'll happily climb into her carseat and buckle herself in. All I have to do is come by and tighten it and if I forget she quickly reminds me before I drive away. She likes to climb up to everything possible. Her bed, her kitchen chair, any/all playground equipment. And needless to say she is surprisingly brave at the playground. I'm amazed at some of the stuff she can climb up to. She loves to brush her teeth by herself which includes doing every single step up to/after the teeth brushing. She's also finally learning to go potty all by herself. It's Mommy that is having a hard time trusting her wiping skills. 99% of the time she'll come immediately after I call her. She loves to dress herself and can do almost everything but the shirts. I've made it a point to let her pick out her clothes lately so she can gain some more independence. Along with this I've had to mentally calm myself down if she picks out mismatched clothes. I repeat in my head "it doesn't matter, don't fight it, no one will care or notice" it can be challenging. She is also very good about putting her dishes in the sink. And very rarely does she dump all of the contents all over the counter as she reaches for it.

So, all in all, I've really noticed today how good she really does do. How much she really helps me. How smart she really is. (She knows all her letters and numbers to 10). I guess it's easy to assume she's much older than she is when it is all said and done. However, now I must master telling myself this when the tantrums do occur. I need to work on encouraging her independence even if it does cause a mess or take a lot longer to do. After all, she is only two years old.

Brady Boy

This past weekend, the kids and I got to take a small road-trip to Columbia, MO (my old home) and celebrate this chunky monkey's 1st Birthday:

Thankfully, Grandma Bell met up with us and rode along and helped with kids for the majority of the trip. Have I mentioned she makes a great assistant? I can't decide who was more excited to see or Addison! We decided to break up the trip/drive by staying the night with Aunt Cassie in Osage Beach. Addison was beyond excited for this part. Every minute of the 3 1/2 hour drive she would say...."I wanna go to Aunt Tassie's house." We even took a detour at Chick-fil-a for lunch and she decided not to play in the play place because she wanted to go to Aunt Tassie's so bad-that's huge for her folks. So we were off - and so glad to finally arrive in one piece. Addison is a little chatty cathy and she can easily talk your ear off within 5 minutes let alone a 3 1/2 hour drive for leg #1. I think after this trip Grandma Bell finally got to see what I experience day-to-day with my little jabberwocky.

Anyway, Aunt Tassie's house was nothing short of wonderful. I think Addison probably liked it more than Disneyland. We relaxed, played, and had lots of fun. Cousin Alexa is closest to Addison in age and they play very well together. It was hilarious to hear them talk to each other. They sounded so much like an old married couple bantering back and forth the whole weekend. On our drive up to Columbia the two girls sat in the very back of the van next to each other. Addison quickly shouted "School Bus!!" when we passed one (she's currently in love with them). Then Alexa started teasing her and said "What did you say? A puppy?" Of course, Addison got irritated and said "Noooo! I say School Bus right now!". Rinse and Repeat. See what I mean? Old.Married.Couple. And equal parts hilarious. I'm so glad we live close to cousins so our kids can grow up having them as such close friends.

Addison and Alexa - The Old Married Couple. Little ladybugs after baths at Aunt Cassie's.

Saturday morning we pushed off from Aunt Cassie's house and headed up to celebrate the birthday boy. We started the day off with a quick swim in Aunt Michelle's hotel pool with even more cousins. Addison was having a hay day and could hardly contain her excitement. She loved the pool. Even Jonas got to jump in with Mommy. This was his first time swimming. He loves his baths but he definitely takes a little more time to acclimate to the swimming pool. I wouldn't blame him though, the temperature was hardly nice and toasty. There is nothing better than a wet chunky baby in my opinion. It was soooo worth getting suited up and wet for.

Squeezy, wet Jonas on his first swim.

After swimming we all met up for lunch and then headed over to Aunt Natalie's parents house to help set up for the party and put little ones down for naps. It was nice to sit and visit with everyone and catch up. Before long we were kicking off the festivities by watching Brady open his presents. He loved everything he opened so much that he had a hard time letting go of one to open the next one. We played fun games and ate cute little cupcakes in the shape of puppy dogs. It was so fun to celebrate Brady's first year of life. He loved his smash cake too. It took a few minutes for him to figure it all out but before long he was covered in it. I must say, smash cakes are probably my favorite part of 1st year birthdays. It's so fun to watch the kids just go wild and dig in.

The delicious cupcakes we enjoyed. Isn't my sister-in-law so creative?

Afterwards we visited a bit more and then started the trek back home. Of course, with a stop-over at Aunt Cassie's house yet again to help break up our trip. Again, it was fun and relaxing. The girls got some more play time in and we got some more visit time in. Before long it was time to head back to Arky. Of course that was the longest part of my weekend. A crying Jonas and a chatty Addison and no Grandma Bell to help out. Oh well.....we survived and we are still glad we made the trip.

Happy Heart Day

This year we had a fun time celebrating the 'Day of Love'. I'm starting to enter that mommy phase wherein you find fun reasons to celebrate even the smallest of holidays. Especially more so now that Addison is old enough to remember all my efforts. Who knows, maybe we'll even graduate a step higher and celebrate St. Patrick's Day! Baby steps steps.

This year we were especially lucky in that Grandma Bell got to come stay with us the night before and morning of. She was en route to a business meeting and happened to be in the area to get her co-worker carpool friend. And even better yet, Grandma was able to hang out with the kiddos on Monday night so John and I could get away on a nice little impromptu date. I'd have to say that you know it's true love if you can still have fun on a date when the food/restaurant is disgusting and the movie we saw was a step below par. Either true love or we were both thoroughly enjoying our little break from the kiddos. It was still a fun time and we were grateful for Grandma for watching the kids.

The real celebration came on Tuesday morning. I threw together a fancy shmancy love breakfast which included heart shaped toast, heart shaped ham, and pink/reddish scrambled eggs (yes they looked disgusting but what can ya do? It's heart day!) I also got a few knick kacks, toys, treats for all of my special valentines. It's definitely fun to start some fun traditions with our cute little family.

After we sent Grandma off on her trip, Jonas, Addison, and I had a pretty typical Tuesday. However, Daddy came home after work and made it more exciting. He brought Mommy and Addison (& Jonas) a rose along with sweet cards and even better....he made us dinner! It was a fairly quick/easy (but still delicious) dinner since we were all starving but I must say I was quite impressed with dessert. He always has a way to dress up the presentation and get all fancy for us. I just love it when he cooks for us for many's always fun to see what he'll create and of course also for the fact that I get a break from cooking! :D

All in all, it was a great Valentines Day to share with my Valentines. Here are a few pictures of our festivities...

Here are two of my four valentines getting ready to enjoy breakfast.

And here is my third valentine enjoying her food and treats. I just realized Jonas was MIA in all of these pictures but believe me, he was definitely involved in the festivities.

Daddy surprised us with cards and flowers. Addison was in L.O.V.E. with her pink rose.

Addison decided to help Daddy with dinner. We dined on baked potatoes with all the fixin's....bacon, cheese, skyline chili, etc. Delish!

And alas, my favorite: Dessert! Isn't it just beautiful? And it was just as delicious as it looked too!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rice Cereal

Today we FINALLY got around to giving Jonas his first taste of rice cereal. I've had poor excuses as to why it took so long...namely because the video camera was full. Addison had experienced rice cereal at 4 months old and Jonas finally got to taste it at 5 1/2 months old. I must say it was MUCH easier the 2nd time around. He was so much more skilled at opening his mouth and keeping it in. Addison seemed to spit it right back out for a week straight. I guess there is a silver lining to being a slacker mom eh?

Here are a few pictures of the momentous occasion. I was guessing we'd only manage to master three bites before we called it a day but this little chunky monkey ate almost the whole bowl of cereal! He did so good with opening his mouth and swallowing it and spit out very little. However, the poor guy did gag a little as he learned to adjust to the texture. It was quite different than the bottle he's been used to sucking down! Next on our list is baby food! I bet he can't wait to have a little more flavor to his dining. Food only gets better from here on out little man!

All prepped and ready to go!

His first taste...

His first reaction...not a fan.

All smiles. It was a success!

Look Mom! I ate the whole thing....almost!

5 Months Old

Poor Jonas. You can definitely tell he is a second child. I try so hard to keep up with milestones with him but somehow we always fall behind. Today he is almost 5 1/2 months old and I'm just now blogging about it. It could be worse I guess. He could be celebrating his 2nd birthday while I blog about him being 5 1/2 months old. it doesn't seem so bad!

So, Mr. Jonas is now officially in his 5th month. And Addison and I finally got our act together and held his photo shoot last Friday. It's so amazing to look back at his pictures from a month ago and see just how grown up he has gotten.

It seems I'm always telling everyone that he just seems like such a little boy instead of a baby. And it gets more and more so as each day passes. He's definitely a looooooong little guy, mostly in the torso area. He's growing out of clothes so fast these days . I'm guessing this is just the beginning to a life-long trend. I think Daddy will have to get a second job just to pay for this guy's growing wardrobe. Either that or I'll have to hone my sewing skills to start making alterations to accommodate his long body. He is now in 6-9 month clothes and quickly getting to long for those as well. His waist just gets swallowed up while his feet and ankles hang out of the bottom of most everything he wears. What's next? 12 month clothes? He's only 5 months old for heaven's sake!

Aside from the growing, he is such a CUTE little guy. He always has the biggest smiles and always seems happy. I tend to forget just how easy and laid back he is until other people point it out to me. He truly is such a content and happy little guy. Very rarely is he upset. Usually it's only if he's hungry or tired. Most of the time he just hangs out and excitedly flails his arms and legs. Lately he and Addison have been under the weather (along with Daddy) and I'm glad to finally see everyone getting better. He's usually such a smiley and talkative guy but hasn't been since he's been sick. I realized just how much I miss his smiles and jabbers. It's so nice to finally have him back to his old happy self. I love that he smiles with his eyes just as much as with his mouth. It's one of my favorite things about him.

He has also learned how to blow raspberries. He loves to just blow them until his binky comes flying out or when he gets excited. It's pretty cute to watch. He especially loves to see Mommy blow them right back at him.

It must be said....the little guy has a huge noggin'. But we expected nothing less since he is a Hufford. Within only 5 minutes of sitting him in the bumbo he is slumped over and in tears. It must be exhausting to balance such a big head on such a skinny little neck.
He's definitely at the age where he doesn't want to just sit and stare at everyone. He wants to be interacted with. He wants entertainment whether it's from toys or sister or Mommy and Daddy. And he still adores his sister. She can single handedly get him to smile bigger and quicker than anyone else.

Mommy is THRILLED to say that he's getting even better at sleeping through the night. He'll usually go down at 8:30 p.m. along with Addison and won't make a peep until 2 or 3 am when he gets hungry. Once I give him his bottle he goes right back to sleep until 8:00 or 9:00 am. This is such a nice milestone to hit. :D

He has recently discovered his feet and loves to chew on them. Either they are in his mouth or sticking straight in the air while he just stares, fascinated at the sight of them. Lately he's decided to wake up from his naps or morning sleep and just lay there wide awake without making a peep. I never know when/if he's awake until I go in to check on him and see him just smiling at me. No telling how long he has been hanging out waiting for me. See what an easy baby he is?

He hasn't yet seemed interested in rolling over but is definitely getting close. Usually once his legs are in the air he'll roll over to his side but it never seems to go further than that right now. Daddy keeps practicing with him so I'm sure it's just a matter of time until he figures it out.

A couple of weeks ago he experienced a first. He was propped up sitting on the couch while Mommy quickly went into the other room. Addison was playing nearby him and soon I heard his painful cry. I came running into the room and couldn't find him anywhere. I had to remind myself that he doesn't walk yet so he has to be somewhere near. And then I found him lying on the floor in tears. I asked Addison what happened to him and she just repeated back whatever action I suggested. She's never been malicious toward him so I know she didn't intentionally push him. I'm guessing she wanted to try and put him in the laundry basket she was playing with. I guess we will never know but luckily he recovered quickly after we kissed and snuggled him. I'm sure it's just a distant memory now.

Jonas is such a great addition to our family. It's still so strange to think that 6 months ago he wasn't even here (at least on the outside of me) but it seems like he's always been a part of our family. He definitely completes our family and we are all just in love with the little guy. Seriously, sometimes we all three just gather around him and coo and giggle and kiss on him. It's great family entertainment! We are very grateful and blessed to have such a good little precious guy.

Love to kiss on those juicy lips.

Still acquiring the skill of sitting up without assistance.

It takes a real man to sit in a purple bumbo! This is one of the closest things to a smile I got since he was still under the weather during our photo shoot.

Hitting A Wall

No, not literally but it definitely felt like it. Do you ever have one of those days where you just want to clock-out from being a Mommy and wife? Where your days all seem to run together and you're just exhausted from it all? Welp, that was me this past Saturday.

I should have known by the way the day started that it wasn't going to be pretty. Addison woke up at 6:00 am and was ready to play. Occasionally she does this and I always inform her that it's still night-time while I walk her right back to her bed. By how tired she seemed all day, I'm guessing she just laid awake until 7:00 and once again returned ready to play. Daddy was soon heading off to help the scouts gather food donations in the neighborhood. I sat on the couch with two kids in a stupor and in tears. (Yep, I'll just lay it all out there folks). I had hit my wall. It wasn't any one specific thing but an accumulation of everything.

Sometimes (okay most times) being a Mommy is exhausting and it is definitely a full-time job. There is always someone there wanting a bite of whatever you are eating (when you do finally get a chance to eat), someone always whining for a snack, or needing to go to the bathroom, or wanting to watch you go to the bathroom, or have a poopy diaper changed, throwing a fit, or needing a bottle, or wanting to watch a cartoon, etc. etc. There is very little time for Mommy.

Needless to say when John saw me in tears on his way out the door he was kind enough to stop and check on me while I vented. I asked if I could take the night off. I was just tired....literally and figuratively of doing the same thing He patiently listened and promised he'd be back soon to fix things.

And thankfully he was back home soon.....back home to an impatient Mommy with a surround sound of tears. But not mine this time. Jonas was fighting sleep and Addison was in her room in time-out. All I can say is thank heavens for an awesome husband. He quickly took over with Addison and I finally got Jonas to sleep. I was still in my stupor and Addison was following me around jabbering about something by this time. I just decided to crash on the bed. Daddy once again had perfect timing. He quickly ushered Addison out of the room and told her Mommy needed a nap. By the time I woke up, the house was silent. Jonas was still sleeping and apparently Daddy took Addison on an impromptu morning date. I noticed I missed a call from him so I called back to see what he wanted. They were just coming back from Wal-mart and were picking up some much needed items. Lovely! Apparently, they had started the morning at Lowe's only to find out they were too early for the weekly craft so they headed off to breakfast and Wal-mart. And it gets even better! Apparently Daddy let Addison get a coloring book and a Minnie Mouse trinket but only under the stipulation that she would go home and work for money to pay for them. So, Daddy and Addison asked me what needed to be cleaned. I was still shocked and confused so Daddy eagerly volunteered that they clean the van. I was loving every minute of this! Such a nice turn-a-round to what started off to be a bad day for me. And to top it all off I still got to enjoy my evening out while Daddy stayed home with the kiddos and put them to bed. Can I just say how nice it is to walk freely into stores and shop without having to carry/haul kids with you? I definitely need to do this more often.

And of course, Daddy didn't stop there. He & Addison started the massive load of laundry for me today while I made dinner. Later, I got to enjoy a nap with Addison while he took care of Jonas and cleaned up dinner. And the icing on the cake? Tonight, I got to watch T.V. while he folded laundry. So nice when the tides finally turn eh? There is nothing that makes a man more handsome than watching them do/fold laundry folks!

I must say I'm very grateful for an understanding husband. Who listens to me instead of trying to convince me my frustrations don't exist. And especially one who gets up and acts instead of just sitting back and doing nothing. I'm very grateful for a husband that lets me have time off and understands my sacrifices and expresses gratitude for everything I do. I'm one lucky lady!! No wonder it took me so long to find him! ;-)

P.S. Yes, I do love my kids dearly and am very grateful for them every day. They are mostly well-behaved and almost always adorable. I'm lucky to have them in my life as well and I waited a long time for them too. I never want to take them for granted. But none of this changes the fact that sometimes it's still hard to be a Mommy. ;-)

Playing at Lowe's.

Enjoying breakfast!

Finding her treasures at Walmart.

Working to earn afore-mentioned treasures.

Picking which treasure she wanted to work for.

And alas, the day ended with a recuperated Mommy enjoying story-time with her cute kiddos.

KC Tag Along

The week before last we were lucky enough, once again, to tag along with Daddy on one of his work trips. This one was even better though since it was in Kansas City. That meant we got to spend the weekend playing/staying with cousins while Daddy sat through long boring meetings for three days.

The first night we all decided to meet up for a little family gathering and eat some Mexican. The food was less than desirable but the company was wonderful. We got to meet up with my sister Michelle and her family, my brother Nick and his family, and of course my Dad who is currently living there. Lets just say the children outnumbered the adults and we were grateful to find a restaurant that didn't seem to mind the chaos.

After dropping Daddy off at his hotel, the kiddos and I headed to Aunt Michelle's house to stay for three days. It was almost like a vacation for this Momma, thanks to Aunt Michelle of course! The first day I was lucky enough to get to run some errands in the middle of the day, without kids, and even was encouraged to shop around and check out a little thrift store on my way home. No need to tell me twice! I was loving it! And Addison and Jonas were happy to play with cousins so it was a win-win. I even got to sleep in on one morning. There's nothing like waking up from a nice sleep to see your child already being fed breakfast and taken care of. On top of it all I also got wonderful naps. Even Uncle Kendall watched the kiddos while I was able to tag along with Michelle on one of her girly night outs at Olive Garden. Sigh....heaven I tell ya!

Of course, what hasn't been mentioned yet is that I was also dragged out of bed at 6:00 am every morning to go with Michelle and her friend on their morning runs. No worries though, I asked for it. I've been trying to get back into running since the first of the year and figured it would be a great way to stay in my routine. I flaked out on one morning but Aunt Michelle was nice enough to once again watch the kiddos while I went for my jog.

On Wednesday night, Addison, Jonas and cousin Ashlyn and I escaped to Aunt CoCo's house to play with more cousins and Grandpa Bell. Aunt CoCo was gracious enough to even feed us a delicious dinner. It was so nice to sit back and catch up with everyone while the kids ran off to play. We even got to throw them all in the tub and have a bathing party which started out fun until Addison had her meltdown. I don't think she's quite used to having so much company/chaos in the tub.

Before long it was time for us to pack up our stuff and head for home. It is always so nice to visit family in KC and have a change-up to our day-to-day routines. We are very lucky that Daddy's work has their main office so close to family. :D

Our lovely pack mule, Aunt Michelle toting the three cousins: Ashlyn, Garrett, and Addison.

Jonas' first ride on a swing. I'm thinking he loved it - just look at that face!

Addison joining in on Michelle's playgroup festivities....cookie decorating! See how much fun we have in KC?!

Rub a dub dub....five bums in a tub. Addison, Kayley, Cora, Ashlyn, and Rex.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Today I say goodbye to one of my least temporarily. Yep, sadly Chick-fil-a will be out of my life for a time. All in the name of parenting. Addison has managed to throw a full-blown fit the last two times we ate there. And I'm talking "full-blown" as in everyone looks at me and wonders if I'm beating my child. "Full-blown" as in the Manager asks if she's okay while walking by. Yep, it's that kind. Do these people not have kids? I would think anyone who dines at Chick-fil-a could understand my parenting pains but maybe it's just me. I only assume either they don't enforce things with their kids or maybe their kids are little angels. Either way, mine is not....especially when at Chick-fil-a.

She loves to play in the play-place or the "inside playground". And frankly, I love to have her expel some energy while I sit and watch. However, the terms to play at the playground include eating her two pieces of chicken (so she doesn't have a lunch of apple juice and french fries) and acting like a big girl while doing it. So far we haven't been able to pull off both successfully. Which is why we leave with her kicking and screaming every.single.time.

Parenting is hard. Parenting a TWO-year old is even harder. I hope this is a phase and I hope my persistence pays off someday. I try to implement my "Love & Logic" skills in these moments. Uttering the words: "Don't let her see you sweat" under my breath during said tantrums. Again, it's hard. And frankly, I struggle the most with empathy. It all makes sense in theory but after a long day of battling the tantrums I don't even have a drop of empathy to squeeze out. So this is me restarting my attempts at consistent parenting. Because frankly when I fail at it, we both go crazy within minutes and the minutes seem like hours which seem like days.

Is it any coincidence that my weekly "Love & Logic" email today was entitled "You Can Do It!" Seriously, I walk in the door and sit at the computer while she's in her room for time-out and I read the Love & Logic email with a few encouraging words. "Keep It Up!" "No One is Perfect." "Those who succeed always hone one skill at a time." And alas, "Persevering is the best skill you can show your kids!" It's almost as if they are peering in my windows. I really do like the Love & Logic techniques. I just need to keep working on my skills. Wish me luck.....I'm going back into battle!