Toddler Friendly Summer Bucket List – Paint Outside

Art is an experience, not an object.

-Robert Motherwell

Mila’s first painting was for Christmas. I wanted to do a craft with her, but she was too young to do something intense. So, I bought some red, green, and silver paint and a canvas and she went at it. In my perspective, it was so beautiful and festive. It made me smile and I had it hanging for way too long after Christmas. Since then, she’s done three others. They’re all different and each time she learns a new way to create.

I know I sound like I have a painting prodigy, I just love watching her create.

Yesterday felt like the perfect day to check something off of our bucket list. It wasn’t too hot like this weekend is supposed to be, but nice enough to be outside. I had picked up new summer, ‘mermaid’ paint for this project a few weeks before, so I just went with the flow.

Mila absolutely loves being outside and she’s only painted while sitting in her high chair. I was excited to see how’d she do and I was not disappointed.

For Mila, at her age, I put dots of color randomly on the canvas and gave her different sized brushes to start. She instantly went to each dot and started going. It was like she couldn’t take them not being drawn out and circled the canvas in a precise manner. Then I put different paints on her brush so she could see that’s where paint can come too. After getting rid of all that paint, she experimented with her hands… then the rest of her body. At one point I swear there was more paint on her body than the canvas. It’s a good thing we were outside. Then she figured out she could splat paint from the bottle. She shook and shook it to make an even bigger mess.

At the end, Mila created another beautiful painting and it wasn’t a huge clean up. She decided to run after the cat while I gathered everything up. When I went to take pictures of her and her artwork, she wasn’t the happiest with me. I’m guessing she was over getting her picture taken, but she has years left of me telling her to say cheese.

This has been one of my favorite bucket list items to do. We always have fun painting, but there’s just something about summertime and being outside.

I don’t know if she’ll grow up to like art or to keep doing this, so I’m making sure I keep all of these canvases. Making these memories are my favorite thing in the world. You bet that this new piece is hanging on my wall. It’s the first thing anyone who walks in my door sees. I hope one day she’ll be proud to see whatever she likes to do hung up and displayed. Hopefully she always knows how proud I am of her and how loved she is.

If you do decide to do this with your toddler, I’m just warning you, it took a while to get all the paint off. I had her play in the water and scrubbed the paint off her legs. A few hours later I found spots I missed, but we just made it apart of the fun. Don’t let the mess deter you. It’s well worth it.

And now on to the next adventure.

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Stars and Stripes: Beach Edition.

Fourth of July weekend did not go entirely as planned. By that, I mean it didn’t go at all how I thought it would.

I’ve spent every Fourth of July weekend in my hometown. There’s a parade, fireworks, and a big cookout. Heck, that’s why I picked a few things on our summer bucket list. So when my mom texted and asked if we wanted to go to the beach for the weekend instead, I was a little shocked. But, who can pass up the beach? So we packed up and headed to Savannah, Georgia, which is right by Tybee Island and Hilton Head.

Instead of outlining everything we did, I’ll just say we had a blast. I swear Mila gets more adventurous and hilarious every single day. It felt like we were either chasing after her or laughing with her.

One of the funniest things that kept happening is her saying her new word. The last two weeks she’s been learning the word ‘hot.’ Like if there’s coffee around or the stoves on, I tell her it’s hot and not to touch. Of course, she’s been experimenting on how to say it and it’s the cutest. Check the video at the end of the post to see what I’m talking about. Anyways, the first day we went to Tybee Island and we got her out of the truck. It was like 100 degrees out and like thick air. I don’t think Mila has ever experienced heat like that. My brother’s fiancée, Chelsea, was holding her and Mila she looked at her and just said ‘hooooooot,’ like it had finally clicked what hot actually meant. After that, every time we went outside, she had to let us know she felt the heat.

We also learned even when Mila’s teeth are hurting and the suns too intense for her to eat, she’ll always take a mouthful of sand. If the sand wasn’t in her mouth, it was all over her body or being thrown on someone else’s. It’s a good thing she likes the water because we were always going back in to get it off of her. As soon as we went back to land, she’d just cover herself again. We pick our battles as parents, don’t we?

No matter if she was covered in sand or pushing down sand castles, she was having a blast. Somehow after applying sunblock multiple times throughout the days, she still ended up with a perfect beach tan. The Fourth of July this year didn’t come with fireworks or a parade, but I think it was one of our best.

Even though Mila and I didn’t check off the expected bucket list items, we did check off beach day and made way more memories than I imagined. I wonder which ones we’ll get to next.

How did your holiday weekend go? And make sure to check out this cute video of Mila saying ‘hot.’

Toddler Friendly Summer Bucket List – Go On A Hike

This week is going to be full of crossing bucket list items off and today was no different. Although the Coshocton Three Rivers Bikeway might technically not be a hike, it is with a one year old. Good thing we had the best company in tow.

Located just outside of Roscoe Village in Coshocton, Ohio, the Three Rivers Bikeway is an easy walking, biking, and pushing a stroller path. It’s paved so it’s smooth sailing and wide enough to get around people too. Although we went on seemingly the hottest day of the year (not complaining), the water and trees provided us a nice breeze and shade. I didn’t keep a step count, but the trails around two miles long.

There were lots of benches and spots to picnic along the way. Locks that were once used for canals provide even more shade and exploration. I can definitely see lots of places to take pictures, maybe Mila and I will be back in the fall to do so.

The path circles a pretty big pond, which was beautiful. If you’re into fishing, there were spots to fish. We didn’t have our bathing suits, but the aquatics park was there. I was a little jealous of everyone swimming and even Mila was pointing to it. If you go and have extra time, I’d suggest going there or even taking a canal boat ride.

Although we just walked the pathway, it was really nice and gives kids a lot to look at. Mila was pointing to all the animals, trees and water areas. As I said, it was super hot or we would have probably explored more. One thing I wish I would have done was brought better bug spray. Mila didn’t get bit, but the mosquitoes attacked me. I’ll be itchy, but at least they didn’t get her. BUT I’d definitely recommend taking big spray and lots of water!

Afterwards, we went into Roscoe Village toneat at Warehouse Stein n Stein & Lock 27 Pub. My best friend went with us and it was his birthday too (happy birthday again to you!). If you go, definitely get the bacon and mac n cheese burger. It did not disappoint! The restaurant was kid friendly, even when Mila was grumpy and ready to leave.

We were there for a few hours, but could have easily spent all day here. I can imagine I’d be a great day trip when she’s older and can really experience all of what Roscoe Village has to offer.

I am DEFINITELY checking this off as a hike, but imagine we’ll go on more this summer. It’s another day to remember and so many memories were made.

Mila and I are both looking forward to this holiday weekend and will have another adventure to tell you about. We hope it’s a safe and fun one for you too.

If you have any other places (hikes, museums, or adventures in general) you’d think Mila and I would like, let me know in the comments!

Mila Visits the ER… Again.

I’ve went back and forth on whether I wanted to post about this incident due to some serious self-inflicted mom shaming. After Friday’s house cleanse, Mila, my mom, and I had to make another special trip the the emergency room. If you’re keeping tabs, that’s twice in one week.

It’s not a really elaborate story and it wasn’t anything super traumatic. Pretty much, after the house cleanse we went to my parents house and when we were leaving Mila almost fell down their porch steps. In efforts to save her from another fall and potential head injury, my mom grabbed Mila’s hand. As she grabbed her hand, she was still falling and her arm made a big POP. Instantly, she started screaming and crying. At home, it didn’t quit and when I tried to comfort nurse her, her arm popped again and there was no end of the screaming in sight. After a quick internet search and text messages, we packed our things and went to the hospital.

Let’s just say, the whole ride up I was worried.

Here we were again. I had no idea what the nurses and doctors thought of me. Mila has this huge black eye, scraps on her knee, and bruises. She plays hard all the time. I don’t limit what she does and do my best to keep her safe, but she’s a kid.

The first hour and a half was rough. We had an awful nurse who kept telling Mila she was fine and to just be quiet. I didn’t think she was the best person to have for a child who is only 14 months old and has no idea why she’s in pain… but whatever. Mila kept crying through everything and they didn’t have individual rooms since they were so busy. She just wanted held and comforted, so that’s what we did. During this time, she wouldn’t let anyone touch or arm or couldn’t put pressure on it. They ordered X-rays, but we just had to wait.

Then, all of the sudden, something switched. My mom had to step outside and when she did, Mila decided she wasn’t hurt anymore.

She started playing with me and pushing off on this with her ‘bad arm.’ I immediately knew her accident wasn’t as bad as we originally thought. Then when my mom walked back in and Mila pointed and said ‘Gi,’ it was all over.

At around 12:40am, Mila took part in ‘walking’ my mom, playing at the table, and took part in running a half marathon. No joke on this. She ran for like 45 minutes straight. I was tired watching her.

She did a great job of entertaining everyone else in the waiting room too. Everyone got waved and talked too. They were laughing and smiling with her, which I think helped them waiting too. Even though I was exhausted watching her is always a treat.

I ended up opting out of getting her an X-ray and the doctor agreed with me. Around 1:15am we got a room and she got checked out again. The doctor said it sounded like Mila had nurses elbow, which is a dislocation around the wrist. There’s way more technical terms and a better description but that’s the best I got. She said it sounds like it dislocated when mom tried to grab her and popped back in when I was comforting her. It’s a common thing that can happen and I’m guessing Mila will frequent the ER throughout her childhood too.

Before the night played out like it did, I seriously thought CPS was going to be called on me. I’ve really let myself feel bad for her black eye and falling off the counter. Then being back in the hospital again… it made me feel like an awful parent. I just keep reminding myself that I just have an adventurous baby and things just happen.

So here’s another look into our life and this messy business of motherhood. No matter how crazy our life is, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Mila: 0 – Kitchen Counter: 1

***Warning- The pictures I’m going to post here are a little upsetting. There’s swelling and bruising on Mila’s face and I understand some can find them uncomfortable to see.***

I had this AMAZING idea the last week to try a new Pinterest recipe per week and share how it goes. Mila loves to watch and ‘help’ me cook, so I thought it’d be fun to do this with her too. For dinner last night, I decided to try out this kid-friendly (not spicy), Indian dish. I had everything cut, measured, and ready to go. As usual, Mila sat in her spot on the kitchen counter, which is in the corned where the countertop comes out furthest. She was pushed clear back and playing with the spice containers as I began cooking.

Everything was going normally. We do this for two meals a day since she’s been super steady. I didn’t even have a second thought when I turned around to grab the chicken from my island. When I looked at Mila, she was sitting happily. Then, literally, one second later, I turned around and heard a thump on the ground…

Instantly I knew she fell. I was scared to turn around, but I had to. She was laying there, conscious, and rolling on to her back. As soon as her eyes locked on to mine, she let out this blood curdling scream and I picked her up so fast. I went to our couch and held her close. She leaned back to look at me again and I realized she fell straight on her head; her left eyebrow in particular. It had already started swelling and was so red.

The only thing I could do in those first twenty minutes was just hold her and try to calm her down. She was scared and I’m guessing in a lot of pain. She still nurses so I offered her that and it helped a little. I could feel her sobbing in my arms and grabbed my phone to see what I should do. Family/friends messaged me back and I eventually called the nurses hotline, which they prompted me to take her to the ER to just get checked out. I did check her eyes to see if she had a concussion and after calming her down, she named who was in the pictures on the wall. This made me feel better, but seeing her eye get worse and worse I knew it was best to take her.

Thankfully my friend, Dana, was able to drive Mila and I to the hospital. I needed to sit in the back with her. One because she hates the car normally and two because I needed it for me. At the hospital, Mila wasn’t happy at all. She screamed at the nurses when they tried to get her blood pressure or if the touched her at all.

Again, I could finally get her calmed down enough and we stripped her down to her diaper. This made her happy of course, my little nudist. After throwing one more major fit when the nurse gave her Tylenol, she started playing and talking more. The same nurse who got to witness all the meltdowns gave Mila a stuffed, rainbow dog, which she LOVED. She played with the bed that reminded her of the lawn mower and reorganized some medical equipment I’m not sure she should have been playing with.

We were in the emergency room for a few hours for monitoring. The doctor was worried about a concussion, but when he observed her he realized that she was acting like a normal one year old and there was no way she’d stay still for any testing. He mentioned how he’d prefer to get an x-ray of her eyebrow bone (I’m aware that’s not the technical term, if you know it and let me know, I’ll change it on here), but told me to just keep an eye on it. She was discharged and I was given papers about head injuries, directions on how to keep the swelling down, and contact information if anything changes.

She went right to sleep on the car ride back and did well through the night. I was up for a lot of it, but wanted to make sure she was herself. I watched her facial expressions as she dreamed and there weren’t any nightmares tonight, just smiles. For that I’m so thankful.

Her face is very swollen this morning. I’ll be following her lead throughout the day and will constantly be offering snuggles. She’s so tough. I’d love to say it looks way worse than it feels, but I think she just is a little badass.

Honestly, I’m so afraid to share this with all of you. TWO DAYS IN A ROW she’s been hurt: one out of my control and the other I could have prevented. Accidents happen within seconds and they’re so unpredictable. Mila literally sits in that same place everyday and never tries to get up or if she wants to move, she tells me up. I would have NEVER thought she would try to stand up, but she did and she fell. It only took one second. I go back and think why was I so dumb? Why didn’t I just pick her up to grab what I needed? So much mom guilt and at this moment I feel like I deserve feeling like crap.

Here’s the thing, this stuff happens all the time to moms (dads and guardians too) everywhere. Kids fall, they get stung by bees, and way worse even under a watchful eye. I am so thankful nothing worse happened to Mila because it could have easily been a fall to her death. There are so many different way kids die and here I am, knowing this happens, but putting her in a situation like this. I honestly feel awful, but I know it doesn’t make me a bad mom. There’s going to be many more ER trips and thinking I could have prevented them. But things happen and that’s motherhood for me and childhood for her.

Will I ever let her sit up on the countertops without me being right in front of her? Probably not.
Am I going to forgive myself for letting this happen? Eventually.
Has it taught me that Mila is stronger than I ever imagined her to be? Hell yes.

Even though I was so scared to be judged to tell you about Mila’s fall, I think it’s important to show that motherhood’s not perfect. It’s not always how you plan it to go and bad things do happen. She’s going to be okay and will have no memory of it as she grows up. I’ll always remember this and will make me even more aware of what I do with her. Everyday I’m thankful for having her and think how much peace and happiness she’s brought me. I have no idea what I’d do without her and that’s why I feel so bad for this incident. But I already know she doesn’t think any less of me as she looks up at me (with her face half swollen) and smiles like I’m the only person in the world.

Thanks for reading and understanding everyone. I’ll still be posting a million pictures of her, like usual. Even with a puffy face, she’s the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.

Oh Snap – Mila’s Current Words of Choice

Over the last few months, Mila has discovered her voice. She’s always been pretty vocal, but she’s been remembering words and phrases. Her first word was cat, although I tried to get her to say and know ‘mama’ before any. She knows peoples names, random animals, ‘lo’ for hello, and a lot more. Before we left for vacation last month, she even started saying ‘uh oh’ in context. Seriously was the cutest thing, until she started throwing things on purpose and redeeming herself by saying it. She’s cute and she knows how to work it.

I mean, look at her.

Shortly after we got home, Mila learned a new phrase… one not so Rated G. I can finally mark down her first swear word. Anytime she drops something, trips, or someone startled her, her eyes get big and she says, ‘oh shit.’ At first I thought it was a fluke, then she just kept saying it. I can’t lie, I totally laughed when she started saying it and people usually do when they hear her say it. Hopefully this little phrase won’t stick and the next one will be just as cute, but a touch more innocent.

But for now, here she is saying her current favorite words. I’ll keep secretively giggling and persuading her to say ‘uh oh’ to her face instead.

 

Anxiety.

Dear Mila,

If a person could feel their mother’s emotions in the womb, you’d know all about anxiety.

I never used to be an anxious person before. Of course I worried about trivial things all children and teenagers face, but nothing like I’ve experienced now.

The first time I had an anxiety attack is when we found out Jensen had Down syndrome. I didn’t expect any ‘abnormalities’ in any of the tests with him. In my naive mind, nothing bad ever happened to babies or pregnant women. You probably think that’s crazy since you know how paranoid I am about pregnancy in general. Anyways, after those results, I couldn’t catch my breath and it felt like the world was sitting on my chest. After a few days, that anxiety went away. He was mine. I would do anything in my power to give him the bed of everything. So, I did what I do best and prepared.

It wasn’t until a few months later that I had my second ever anxiety attack. When we found out Jensen was gone, I fell apart. I guess it was like a major life attack. My blood pressure spiked, my vision went black, and I couldn’t catch my breath. Life felt like that for months after abs sometimes still does…

Nothing traumatic had ever happened in my life before that. I didn’t have any reason to worry about things before. My mind didn’t overwork. Then, as with everything, my world flipped upside down.

I worried every time my phone rang or if someone didn’t text back quick. Then I went through a stage where I didn’t care about anything. My anxiety flipped-flopped like that until I got pregnant with you. Then a new type of anxiety slapped me in the face: pregnancy after loss.

Everyday I woke up wondering if this would be the day you would be gone. When you hit big enough, I’d poke my belly until I felt you moving, then could breathe for a little while. I didn’t sleep much. My mind went through every horrible scenario. At every appointment, I asked my doctor if this anxiety was good for you and that I just needed you to be born alive. They knew all about Jensen so they didn’t think I was extra crazy for bringing it up each time.

With your birth, the anxiety of my body failing ended. You were here and in my arms. The longer you looked at me, the less I felt that anxiety.

Now that your here, I worry about other things, but it’s different. I’m not sure how to explain it.

As a mom and especially a loss mom, I’ll always have anxiety. I worry about you when you sleep, when I’m in the shower, or anytime I’m not holding you. It’s just because I love you so much and want you to be safe.

I hope you never experience the trauma and anxiety I went through with stillbirth. Even though I would never trade your brother or my time with him, I wouldn’t wish the aftermath of the mental madness of child loss on anyone. With that being said, when you are feeling anxious about whatever you’re going through during your life, I’ll help you make it through. I’m always here to listen and if you want my advice I’ll give it to you. One of my jobs for the rest of my life is to comfort you, even when you’re a grown woman facing this big world.

One of the things Jensen taught me that I’m able to teach you is that we can make it through anything. All it takes is a lot of love and a little patience.

I love you.

Mama

Jensen’s a Big Brother!

On April 14, 2018, Jensen’s little sister, Mila Rae, came in the world at 1:14am, kicking and screaming. Hearing her cry was one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard and the moment they placed her on my chest is indescribable. The first hour of her life was surrounded by family and full of love. She was introduced to her big brother in that first hour by seeing his picture and his Jensen bear.

I never wanted that hour to end.

Pregnancy after loss has been the second most anxiety/paranoid-filled journey that I’ve been on, only behind losing Jensen. I tried not to take a moment for granted with her. There were a lot of ups and definitely downs, but we made it. Jensen has another thing to check off his to-do list. I truly believe he sent her to me.

They are the only ones who know the sound of my heart from the inside. I made them with all my might and will love them for the rest of my life and beyond.

Although there is so much more I want to say, I’ll write on a different day. Today I wanted to introduce you to my rainbow, Mila Rae, little sister to Jensen Grey.

Mila & Jensen.jpg