Today we made a memory. One that isn’t going to go away any time soon either. I marked Mila’s height on one for the doorways in our house.
Through this little mark, I learned two things. The first, Mila is actually pretty tall. I didn’t realize it until I stepped back and saw how high it was compared to a door. When I see her running around, I still see a little girl. I know she’s getting tall, but wow. The second thing… how much I’ve healed in four years.
I know that probably sounds silly. How does a little mark show growth? For me it’s the permanence of the mark. When I was pregnant with Mila and for so long, I thought I was going to lose her. I thought she was going to die so many times during pregnancy and that first year. Then I thought she’d be taken away with the psychological mind games that were played with me.
It sounds dramatic and overboard, but it’s true. She’s mine and no one can take her away, but I never believed she could stay. I felt like if I let myself believe it, something would happen. It’s been an awful battle. But she’s not going anywhere.
When I look at that little mark, I can picture the next sixteen years of measuring her. You know if she lets me and all. But I’ve never been able to see past so many years ahead. I’ve always thought I just had today. Those intrusive thoughts with parenting after loss are hard and can suck the joy out of everything. I’m really trying though.
We made a memory today and the physical memory is about an inch long. I know when I look back on those hashes, I’ll see Mila wanting me to remeasure her and the shock in her face that mama drew on the wall. I’m sitting here picturing how tall she’ll be next year and thinking I’ll write what she wants to be when she grows up beside them too.
I’m so happy about her growing and progressing. There are so many moments I wish I could pause, but I want her to keep getting older and growing as big as she’ll get. I know what it’s like to not have my child grow and have their hashmark on the doorway. Jensen has taught me so much about life and myself and Mila is teaching me how to move forward and grow. One piece of information doesn’t shadow the other. The light and heavy are always present in my life. I’m just doing my best juggling the both of them and making sure they both know how much I love them.
Yesterday, I planned on writing a recommendation post while Mila napped. Turned out, I must have needed one too. Her usual quick nap turned into her and I snoozing for three hours. I’m definitely not complaining about the extra sleep, but it pushed back some of my plans. Oh well.
Since Mila took her nap a little later and longer, she wanted to stay up. I figured instead of just watching a movie, we could do an Earth week inspired activity. There’s a few that I’ve saved on Pinterest, but during the lockdown, I found a subscription box that caught my attention.
The Mommy and Me Art Box is an activity box for kids of all ages. It can be modified for younger and older kids, which is perfect for siblings. March’s box, the one I have, came with four activities and a seed bomb visual recipe. The really cool thing about this box is everything you need comes in it, besides the visual recipe ingredients. This is a game changer. I have a lot of craft supplies at my house, but usually when I was to do a specific one, I have to go to the store. The Mommy and Me Art Box takes care of the trip to the store or tearing your house apart. It’s also all color coded. So, the instruction card comes with a colored dot and you can find all the supplies you need for that specific card with the same colored dot.
The mom who makes these, Melanie, does an amazing job of organizing the boxes, making sure everything’s in there, and explaining what needs to be done. Unfortunately, I didn’t snag a picture of everything wrapped up. Mila thinks everything need unwrapped immediately (thanks birthday week!). All activities are clever, creative, and conducive to learning. It’s definitely worth the price as well. The best option is $33 a month and you get everything you need. I think between having all the supplies and not having to search a while for activities, it’s so worth it. If you want to check out the boxes and want $10 off, press here.
Back to our story…
I grabbed the box and Mila had tore everything open. It wasn’t hard to figure out what went where, but she thought her way was better. When looking through everything, she kept noticing the picture of the Earth and she does this weird thing where when she sees it she tries to eat it. It’s from watching a movie, Pets 2. The next time we watch it, I’ll try to record and share; makes me laugh every time. Anyways, the activity I chose for her to do was the mixed media Earth collage.
It came with: cardboard cut in a circle, blue and green paint, a packet of buttons, a packet of gems, a glue stick, string, washi tape, glitter glue, and a paint brush. A laminated picture of the world, along with directions, supply list, and information about the craft accompanied it as well.
Mila is obsessed with the buttons and gems! She kept saying ‘cute!’ I told her we were using green and blue because that’s the color of our earth. After the eating noises stopped, she pointed to the different colors and I told her she needed to paint the earth on her circle. She did typical painting routine and I think she nailed it. I asked her why it wasn’t all blue and green and she pointed to the clouds. At least I know she was referencing the picture.
By then, it was getting late and Mila started yawning. We cleaned everything up and let her earth dry over night.
When we woke up and after we watched Frozen of course, Mila insisted on seeing her earth. The paint dried up nicely and we started right on adding other media.
She’s never really experimented with glitter glue or a glue stick, but caught on after I showed her. She loved squeezing everything out and was insistent on glueing the buttons and gems down. When it got too sticky for her, she let me help her. We played around with the different media for about thirty minutes until I thought she couldn’t add anything else.
I really loved this activity and Mila did too. We talked about why we were adding blue and green and what they represented. She kept pointing to the the blue and saying beach or pool. I can definitely see us doing something similar in the upcoming years. She enjoyed it and I think it’d be interesting to see how she progressing in her understanding too.
Our little earth doesn’t have a home yet, the glitter glue is still drying… she ended up using the whole tube. She’s all girl and loves her glitter. I’m thinking of putting all our Earth Week crafts where I usually have garland. When Mila sees her art hanging, she always points to it and shows it off when people visit. It’ll be adorable to see all of her different interpretations.
I’m seriously so happy with this art box. When we do the next activity, I’ll make sure to show everything packaged together and lined up. I really want to do a “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” activity, just trying to find something for her age. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know!
Again, if you’d like to look up more information on this, click here. If you follow that link, you can get $10 off of your order!
Mila turned two yesterday! Celebrating during a pandemic was something I’d never even thought would happen. She didn’t miss a beat though! When we first woke up, I sung happy birthday to her and the rest of the morning she danced and sang. During breakfast, she requested to watch ‘Anna,’ which is Frozen. It was such a fun morning, I’ll never forget it.
I will say, it seems like between Monday night and Tuesday morning, Mila learned a bunch of new phrases and words. It seems silly, but it’s like as soon as she turned two she jumped further into toddlerhood. I know she’s been expanding her vocabulary, but it felt like a huge leap! She’s been saying, ‘what the heck’ and ‘what happened’ over and over.
Anyways, we ended up doing a little photoshoot. If you don’t follow me on other social media, we celebrated with ‘Taco Twosday.’ Our little setup was fiesta inspired and even had a homage to the coronavirus. It was funny and made me laugh. Mila looked so cute. She was supposed to wear a little sombrero, but REFUSED to keep it on. There were so many cute pictures and I’m glad, now, we took them.
Let me tell you… anything with patience and staying still is not Mila’s forte. She is a runner and moves constantly. It was a workout to get the pictures I did. Midway through, she had a completely toddler tantrum to the point I made her lay down to take a break. That break turned into a two hour nap. BUT, I loved the pictures we got and the memories we made. Two can be difficult. Lots of emotions and things going on in her head!
Afterwards, we had a little fiesta at my parents house. My dad and Mila share their birthday. I remember when I was in labor, he was hoping they’d have the same birthday and said it was the best gift. Its heartwarming to me that they have this bond.
Mila is obsessed with blowing out candles and made us relight them two or three times. I made her cake and my mom made my dads. Obviously you can see the little finger swipes in Mila’s cake. I wish I could’ve heard her thoughts because she thought it was amazing she had her own cake.
After dinner, cake, and presents, we had gotten a piñata for her to hit. It was pure comedy. She had a piñata stick and everything. For some reason, she was in this hunter/spear fisher pose to hit it. (I’ll post one of the videos) Honestly, I want to go get another piñata for her to just take her aggression out. We let her play with it for like fifteen minutes until we broke it. She would’ve easily played with it for a lot longer! Just a little heads up if you’re looking for something for your toddler to do. Would not recommend keeping the stick in reach, since she chased me around the house with it today.
I won’t go on forever about the day, but I truly was so special. There are times parenting is so hard and days like this make all those moments seem so not important. Seeing her smile and just be happy is unexplainable.
It’s hard to believe she is two, but it’s here. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for her.
Yesterday while she napped, I wrote this…
This is TWO.
This is pure madness at every corner. This is growing. This is having fun. This is pushing the limits. This is her becoming the person she is meant to be.
Her two doesn’t look like anyone else’s two and I’m so happy for that. No matter where this next year takes us, I know she’ll blossom in all she does.
Mila and I had such a great Easter Day. When she woke up, she immediately asked for ‘bun bun’ and wanted to find her basket. She absolutely LOVED all her gifts, especially the chocolate, and we just had a fun day. I was surprised how much she loved the Easter egg hunt. After the initial one, I had to hide eggs three more times.
Honestly, it was so different than any other holiday, but I loved it. I’ll just spam you with some pictures here instead of making a post later today.
Seriously, such a great day., with the most random pictures ever.
With Easter, well in my house, comes all the hard boiled eggs. For lunch today, I was just staring in my fridge wondering what I could make with them. As usual, I went on Pinterest and found some inspiration.
I saw these little hard boiled egg sandwiches, that I thought would be perfect. Mila isn’t huge on bread for sandwiches or anything. When she eats, it’ll be like random slices of cheese and cuts of turkey and ham. I knew she was really enjoying hard boiled eggs yesterday for breakfast and knew I could put other things on there she’d like.
In my fridge, I found bacon, tomatoes, and avocados. Better known as a recipe for success. I fried the bacon, cut everything up, and built our little sandwiches. I only cut up two eggs, but should’ve done way more.
Of course, I added cheese and different seasonings. I feel like I always use salt, pepper, and paprika.
Turns out, Mila liked the mini sandwiches more than I could imagine. I only got to eat one of them and she mauled the others. Surprisingly, she didn’t even share with Max!
It’s a simple lunch recipe you can make with your left over eggs. The longest part of it was making the bacon and if you didn’t have bacon, it’d still be good with left over ham or turkey from Easter or whatever lunch meat you had in your fridge.
We have about four eggs left, so I’ll probably try to come up with something new to do for dinner or lunch tomorrow. If you have any recipes, send them my way!
Tomorrow is Mila’s second birthday! I’m feeling pretty emotional about it, but I know it’s going to be a great day. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have planned.
If you try the egg sandwiches, let me know. I loved hearing everyone’s go with the French onion grilled cheese!
Hello again today! I’m actually surprised I’ve had time to write twice today and get everything that I’ve gotten done, done.
SO the title of this post is a little deceiving. Mila didn’t actually make this completely by herself. I did the cutting, taping, and lettering. She did the painting part and then went to play. If she was a little older, like preschool age, I think she would have been able to do a lot more. The cutting is a little advanced, but I love perfectly imperfect crafts made by kids.
This was her first time experimenting with watercolor. She loves to paint, but usually uses craft paint. I was pretty impressed with how she did with the extra steps. She kept wanting to put her brush in the water, then paint, then back to the water. I ended up painting with her to show her how it went. For some reason, she was feeling the cool colors.
While she was off playing, I traced a bunny onto the paper. I used the same bunny outline as the one she did in her painting a few days ago. Then, I taped it on the back of Kraft paper and that onto random scrapbook paper too.
I took scrap white paper and taped it on the scrap paper to write on it as well.
This card turned out so cute. I actually am going to make myself one tonight, without the writing, to just have a keepsake for the year. If you find yourself missing family or have some free time tomorrow, this is a fun, easy craft that can be made adapted to any age.
It would be nice to send to relatives if you can’t see them tomorrow. Maybe I should’ve posted this earlier, but there’s always next year!
Again, wishing you all a happy and safe Easter Day.
Easter is tomorrow and since Mila is napping (finally today), I decided to put together her Easter basket and share it with everyone! I might have went a little overboard this year… I’m blaming it on her birthday and Easter being so close together AND I went to this new (to me) store in a nearby town that I went overboard in.*
*Although getting Easter/birthday presents for Milamight not ‘seem’ essential, it made me feel better to keep the magic alive. We were safe! Social distancing and lots of hand sanitzer were used!*
Why did I go overboard in this store? They had really cute little wooden toys for not a lot of money. I’ve been into wooden toys instead of plastic the last few months for environmental reasons and I’ve noticed Mila plays for longer amount of times when she plays with simple toys. Wooden toys can be super expensive so just finding these small ones made me happy and it was nice to my debit card. Last year, Mila got a book, stuffed animal, and maybe one or two small things. I don’t really like making gifts a huge deal and she doesn’t need anything, but I think the lockdown has inspired me to get new toys and stuff for her rotation.
ANYWAYS, here’s all the items in her basket laid out.
Chocolate Bunny, Pink Bunny Chocolate Sucker, and Small Chocolate Bunnies – Eiler Candy Shop
Other Random Chocolate and My Little Pony Chocolate Egg – Local Grocery Store
Bath Bomb, Sticker Sheets, Chalk, Wooden People, Wooden Puzzle/Blocks, Stuffed Animal – New Local Consignment Shop
Honestly, this is everything Mila loves in a basket. The two items I ordered from Etsy and the Pete the Cat book were ordered before the lockdown. Once I realized everything was going to take a long time to get, I just hurried and ordered. I love her leotard and got her another one for her birthday (WHICH IS ON TUESDAY!!!). The material is so nice and I love the fluffy sleeves. I can’t wait for gymnastics to start up again so Mila can wear them, although she’ll probably wear them before then when we do at home practice moves. The toddler bowling game is made so nice. I absolutely love it and Mila’s really been into figuring out how games work, so I know this will be fun for us to play tomorrow. Legacy Learning’s Etsy shop has so many different learning toys and activities. I actually bought her a threading toy for her birthday too. They came in these cute little storage bags that we’ll use to keep everything together. Would so recommend them!
I’m a tiny bit worried about all the chocolate, but she obviously won’t eat it all in one day. She’s obsessed with M&Ms, but I think she’ll be super excited about the little ‘bun buns.’ Can someone come hide all the chocolate in my house so Mila AND I don’t eat it all.
When I find out the name about this local consignment shop, I’ll make sure to add it in here for my local friends. I got the wooden people (and there’s two dragons too), the wooden puzzle/blocks, the bath bomb, the stuffed bunny, and sticker sheets for under $15. I did snag other things for her birthday too, rolling my eyes because I’ve went overboard this year, but I didn’t spend more than $30 for everything I got her.
Tomorrow morning is going to be so magical when she has to hunt for her basket. I think she’ll be so excited when she sees it too. We’re going to be coloring eggs tonight and I have another craft I want to do when she wakes up from her nap. I’ll try to post our craft tonight because it’s definitely Easter appropriate and might be nice to do tomorrow.
If I don’t get to sharing the Easter craft tonight, I hope you all have a happy and peaceful Easter. I know it’s way different than past Easters, but we can do it.
I’d love to see your Easter baskets too. If you’d like to share, feel free to in the comments.
Toddlers and bedtimes, don’t really mix. They put it off and find any excuse they can to stay up just five more minutes. It can be so frustrating when they don’t sleep. For some of us, it’s our only alone time during the day. It’s the time we need to stay sane, especially being cooped up inside all day.
Last night, I let Mila stay up way past her bedtime. It wasn’t even the ‘let’s just go lay down’ stay up. She was cleaned up and in her pajamas. We put all her toys away and put the unfolded laundry she threw around today back in the basket. When all of that was done, I asked her if she was ready for bed, which she simply replied, “no.”
I just looked at her and she was so sure of her answer that I complied.
Did I need a break last night? Absolutely. We had a full day and I was mentally exhausted. I needed to continue writing my final papers and fold all the laundry and everything else that had to be cleaned up before the start of today. And just because it’s good for your mental health to have time for yourself.
But her big eyes just stared into mine as she waited for my response. I surprised her with my answer… I asked her what movie she wanted to watch. She finally decided on the live-action Lady and the Tramp, thank you Disney+. I turned it on, she climbed up on the couch, while I went to get snacks… pretzels and Nutella. Both of our favorite snacks, except she’d just prefer to take a big spoon and eat all the Nutella. Somehow she gets it all over her face no matter what; can’t say I blame her though.
Guess what happened next?
We enjoyed the movie, laughed together, and snuggled. I noticed her new words that she picked up and how she is starting to put together more complex sentences. She watched my expressions during certain parts of the movie and mimicked them. When there were sad parts, I saw how she reacted and during the funny parts, I think anyone would smile if they heard the sweet sound of her laugh. When the movie was over, I gave her a drink of water, told her to brush her teeth, and that it was time for bed.
There wasn’t any fight or pouting. She did what I asked of her and was asleep within five or ten minutes. When I went to get up, she didn’t even flinch.
Did I get as much time to myself as I wanted? No, but what I experienced was so much better.
It’s hard being a mom. Sometimes I can get so in the moment of feeling lost or overwhelmed that I don’t realize what the moment is actually about. I got to focus just on Mila and, I guess, the movie, but mainly on her. She got my undivided attention without a craft in front of us or at dinner or any agenda. It was just her and I in our magical moment. I get ahead of myself, a lot, and just being right there with nothing else on my mind was so relaxing. I’ll never get tonight back, but I’m thankful for the way I spent it.
Will her staying up later (on purpose) be an everything occurrence, probably not. She gets grumpy and so do I. Again, we need our time apart because we spend all day, everyday together… not that I’d have it any other way.
What I did learn was the laundry was still waiting for me and will never, ever end in my entire life. The mess was still there, but cleaned up quickly. My papers are still unwritten and if I’m being honest with myself, I probably would have found something else to do anyways.
The reality is there’s no rulebook on parenting. There’s no rulebook on being an adult either. We’re all just making it up as we go and do what’s best for us. There are days we do what we can to get by and others where we have to structure the entire day to get what we need done. One isn’t more right than the other, it’s just how it is.
Our other reality is time isn’t slowing down. Sometimes I look at Mila and can’t believe how grown up she’s gotten, seemingly overnight. I feel like I say this over and over again, but these days don’t last forever. Before I know it, I’m not going to have a toddler that loves to cuddle with me and just wants to see my reaction to Lady and the Tramp. She’s never going to be this little again and as much as I try to make memories. they’ll only be that so soon. No matter how she grows, I hope that radiant smile and booming laughter always stays with her. Deep down, I hope she always wants to share pretzels and Nutella with me while we have a movie night, I’ll keep on letting her pick the movie too.
I let my toddler stay up past her bedtime and it was one of the best nights.
When I first thought about doing Easter crafts, I wanted to get wooden Easter eggs to paint. With everything going on, I didn’t want to leave my house with Mila and chance anything. Instead, I started seeing recipes for salt dough and knew I had everything on hand. I just didn’t realize they were going to be such a labor of love.
The salt dough recipe I used was:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup of water
Then, preheat over to 200 and bake for hours*
Simple enough right? I measured out all the ingredients the night before we made the dough so it was ready to go for Mila and me.
Mila loved mixing the ingredients together. She insisted on pouring everything in and using the spoon to mix it. When I told her to use her hands, she gave me a weird look and ran away. Funny enough, she went to put her hands in the dirt, which I guess is better in her eyes? Anyways, I kneaded the dough until I thought it was good enough. Since it was our first time, I wasn’t exactly sure how it needed to be, but we went with it. It reminded me of pizza dough.
After I had rolled it out and was ready to cut, dilemma there… mila was ready to help out again. I wanted to make eggs shapes, but it turns out I only have Christmas cookie cut outs and rainbow/unicorn/magic ones. I ended up using the top of a mason jar, grabbing the top of it to stretch the dough out in an egg-like shape. Obviously it wasn’t perfect, but it worked out for us.
Along with a few weirdly, shaped eggs, I had Mila make two little handprints as well. I only have a few hand and foot prints of Mila since she’s been born. I thought it was a perfect time to do it for us, since she turns two here so soon. She kept saying ‘hand’ and wanted to make more prints. I do think I’ll try to make salt dough hand imprints every year since she enjoyed it and to mark her growth.
Anyways, the handprints and eggs were formed and ready for the oven. Up until this point, I thought it was all going really well.
I kept checking the ornaments every hour. After a couple hours, I still didn’t feel like they were done completely. They still felt mushy and maybe I just didn’t do it right? Or maybe they would’ve hardened up after I took them out of the oven? I’m really unsure where I messed up, but I had them in the oven for a crazy amount of time. Probably like seven hours in all. Next time I try to make something like this, I’m going to see if it was just a first time fluke or maybe I’m just bad at making them.
After they were finally done, I spray painted them white and let Mila paint most of the eggs and her hands, but one, because I really wanted to join the fun.
I think they turned out amazingly, especially after everything and all the time we put in them. Mila loves holding her hand. This Easter craft will be something Mila and I look back on in the future and smile about. I feel like it’ll always be excited to pull them out and see what she did when she was almost two!
Ever since she was born, I knew I wanted to make these type of memories with her. I missed so many with Jensen. Plus, Mila has fun with them so it’s not completely in vain.
Instead of just stringing them up in the house, I did something a little special. A few days ago, I read something about how communities are putting eggs in their windows for kids to go on ‘Easter egg hunts’ amidst social distancing. I thought this was so cute and I’m hoping some other people in our town have done the same! This is what I have strung in one of my windows.
If you live by me and are hunting for eggs, your kids will definitely be able to find them! I can’t wait to see everyone else’s.
So, although we had a little trouble with our baking, I love how everything came out. Mila had a blast and we were able to create some magic for Easter this year.
If anyone has made salt dough in the past, did it take ages for yours to bake? If not, do you have any tips or idea in what I did wrong? LOL. Just trying to get better for next time!
Sometimes it’s a struggle to get Mila to sit down and eat a meal. She’s always been an on-the-go snacker, which definitely blurs lunch and snack times so much. We do sit down for breakfast and dinner everyday, but between then, it’s a free for all.
I worry as a mom… Is Mila getting what she needs? Is she eating enough? Is she eating too much? I’m constantly questioning her food intake and it’s honestly something I don’t want to stress about on top of everything else.
A couple weeks ago, I saw some Instagram posts and pins about grazing tables. It’s a way people can have a spread of different kinds of food and be able to eat at their own pace. I was excited to try it with Mila to see how she responded to it.
Top row: grapes, baby carrots, cheese, goldfish
Middle row: pretzel sticks, ham, pistachios, pear
Bottom row: M&M’s, Cheetos, turkey, green olives
I picked things Mila LOVES and asks for all the time, as well as, healthier options that I convince her to eat. Obviously, you can customize the food options to what best works with your child or even themed trays with the cheese and fruit being cut out in fun shapes. I’d love to do a rainbow board!
When Mila first saw her grazing board, she was definitely curious and picked at every item. The longer it was out, she ate her favorites first. I liked that I could pick at it too and since it wasn’t just on ‘her plate,’ she was happier to share.
I think this would be perfect for multiple kids and at all ages. It’s easy to put together and didn’t take long either!
If I get really creative, I’ll have to share if I make a fun board. But the grazing board is here to stay.
Scrambling about what to make for dinner tonight? How about a meatless option that doesn’t lack any taste? Well, I’ve found the perfect recipe for you.
On Instagram, I found a guy named @nishcooks. He makes videos of all kinds of different meals that are pretty simple to make. He provides the recipes and the videos shows how he quickly makes them. One video that jumped out to me was his French Onion Grilled Cheese.
The ingredients he uses are :
Sour dough bread
Cheddar (preferably Swiss)
Well, I didn’t have everything he had specifically so I modified mine a bit. I used one yellow onion, Gouda cheese, and regular wheat bread. It’s what I had on hand, so I figured it’d be fine. I also used salt and pepper to spice the onion.
These were my ingredients after I sautéd the onions. That part took a little while, like forty minutes and lots of butter… so worth it in the end. I grated the Gouda and honestly, I know traditional French onion soup uses Swiss, but the cheese paired so well the the onions and everything.
If I knew how good it was going to taste, I probably would have made way more. Mila had soup, her favorite lately, but stole a few bites of my sandwich. When I last went to the grocery store, I grabbed extra onions to make this sandwich again.
Just looking at the pictures again makes me want to make it right now. I love grilled cheese normally, but the onions just elevated it to the next level.
You guys should definitely try it and let me know how you liked it. If you’re looking for some dinner inspiration and are on Instagram, check out @nishcooks. Happy making!