Mom, Say Cheese! Photo Challenge

Since reading the article The Mom Stays in the Picture and especially becoming a stay at home mom, I’ve been trying to get in the picture more. I’m asking for pictures to be taken of me with my kids. I’m taking (not-usually-good) selfies with them. My mom wasn’t really in pictures with us; she was taking them. I’d like my kids to have more pictures of me with them than I do of my mom and I.

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating/hosting a social community-based activity for months. I also love photography and really, really want to use my fancy shmancy DSLR more and teach myself some photo editing. So, I’m going out on a limb and try something new: the Mom, Say Cheese! Photo Challenge.

Mom, Say Cheese!

Since Mother’s Day is next month (shoot, week even!), I thought that would be a great time to roll this out. I’d love to make this a weekly link up/blog hop, but I am also open to putting this out there on other social mediums with the hashtag #MomSayCheese.

The Rules

  • Get in the photographs with your kids!
  • Be creative!
  • I plan to post a way to link up and read/see other blog posts. If you want to share a blog post of the picture(s) from the week, or if there is one you love in particular you want to tell us about, please do!
  • You don’t need to take pictures of your faces. Did you and your daughter get pedicures? Take a picture of your Mommy-Daughter toes!
  • Get social. Use #MomSayCheese when posting pictures on social media
  • HAVE FUN!

I have visions of this being a huge thing, though I am trying to stay realistic. Even if it’s just me, it will be nice to challenge myself to be photographed with my kids. Heck, maybe it will make me even more aggressive in asking! I do hope you’ll join me. Look out for the link-up post next week!

20140421-230402.jpg

Coloring Eggs

This was our first Easter as a family of four. it was also our first Easter together in our new house. Last year we didn’t even spend the holiday as a family. G and I stayed at my parent’s house because he had a doctor appointment the next day. Hubby decided to stay home.

We haven’t put an exact plan in place for how we want to celebrate Easter (as a family or with extended family, alternating between mine and Hubby’s each year as we have tried doing in the past). The year G was born we stayed home. Last year we celebrated with the in-laws the day before and were apart the day of. But this year Hubby wanted to stay home. I didn’t feel like traveling with a two-year old and a two month old I was okay with that. It would have been my family’s turn for a visit this year, but since my parents would have been making the trip down here almost every week this month, they were okay with having a day to themselves as well.

It was a nice, low key day. I honestly think I’m learning that I need days like that to recharge. Recharge as a mom. Recharge as a wife. At the moment, errands are now run on the weekends, in between other scheduled activities, and rarely as a family. Hubby and I usually take turns with each child, so I don’t feel the four of us spend a lot of quality together time.

I’m trying to figure out what Easter traditions I want to start with my kids. Hubby and I decided on the good ol’ Easter egg hunt starting next year. I’m on the fence about Easter baskets. The only years I got one was when they came in the mail from my Grandpa, and that wasn’t a yearly thing. The Easter Bunny usually left us some kind of chocolate and that was it.

I did opt to begin dying Easter eggs this year. I didn’t know how G would take to it, but I wanted to do something that felt Easter-ish.

G actually got into it. He didn’t like getting the dye on his fingers, but he had fun trying to pick up the eggs with a spoon and dumping them into the different colors. Growing up we actually poked a hole on either end of the egg and blew out the yolk and white so they’d be hollow before dying them. They lasted longer. But I opted to hard boil ours because I wanted to use them to make deviled eggs for dinner. I think boiling them made them less distructable against G.

20140421-164355.jpg

Freshly boiled eggs

I think this was the first year Hubby dyed eggs without the egg dying kit. I used gel food coloring mixed with hot water and vinegar. I’m new to gel food coloring, but I think it worked out nicely!

20140421-164321.jpgAlso something I tried for the first time: using a muffin pan instead of individual cups. I saw this posted on several pinterest boards and thought it was a cool idea. I did overfill the cups though. Apparently filling them halfway up with dye was too much. We almost got red dye into a few surrounding colors. Dying the eggs this way meant there was less to clean up, which I’m all for.

20140421-164330.jpg

In the color bath

Hubby and I both supervised and helped G color the eggs. L was taking a nap so G had our sole attention for a bit. I know that did him some good. And it did me some good — I miss G dispite the fact that I am with him all day. I miss the one-on-one time I had with him before L was born. It’s hard to divert a decent amount of time to him when Hubby isn’t home.

It was nice to be able to spend some time with Hubby that didn’t involve one of us having to jump up and tend to a child or falling asleep before we had the chance to speak to each other.

coloredeastereggs.jpg

Finished Product: Pretty Easter Eggs

If you celebrate Easter, what traditions do you have as a family?

Second Birthday party

I debated whether or not I wanted to throw G a party this year. I started this debate with myself back in October. I didn’t go all out for his first, but we did invite a lot of people, I spent some time making homemade food for the lunch we all ate, and I did clean the house. It worked out, but I also had time.

I wanted to be realistic for G’s second birthday. I was going to have a one month old — possibly a two week old (or so I thought). I wasn’t going to have time to clean or make food. I didn’t want a bunch of people coming over at one time when I would have a newborn who hadn’t had his first round of whooping cough vaccine yet (I’ve tried to avoid crowds where my babies will be in close contact with people until they’ve had their eight week vaccines).

I thought about not hosting a party, but then L decided to make his appearance at the end of January instead of towards the end of February. If I pushed G’s party to April it would mean we could get the eight week shots out of the way before a bunch of people walked through the door wanting to get their hands on the new baby.

As much as I wanted to invite the same people we invited for G’s first birthday, I decided to keep this one more low key. Hubby was hesitant about having a large number of people show up with their kids when we didn’t know whether or not it would be nice enough outdoors to hang out. I wouldn’t have cared, but I decided since we had a new baby to think of it would be best to keep the guest list to immediate family and college friends we keep in regular touch with.

The smaller guest list meant I was actually able to sit down with my friends and catch up, something I didn’t get to do during G’s first birthday party.

The day before the party we hung some balloons, the “Happy Birthday” banner, and bought a veggie and apple tray. I also made some cupcakes to frost the morning while Hubby pre-ordered pizza for lunch.

The only cleaning I did was vaccuming and quickly mopped up the floor. Oh, and I moved some piles of papers from the kitchen to the stairs. I didn’t get super nitpicky like I usually do before we have a bunch of people over. I totally forgot to clean the downstairs bathroom. I also, much to my embarrassment, totally forgot to plunge that toilet before our guests arrived (it doesn’t flush right and needs to be plunged on a regular basis).

The above preparations almost didn’t happen as we had to take both boys to the pediatrician for their 2 month and 2 year check up in the morning and L had a urologist appointment that afternoon.

We also decided to ask for NICU donations in lieu of gifts for G again this year. It didn’t seem to deter people from getting G gifts like it did last year. Our families donated big time and I was able to drop off two bags worth of clothes, blankets, and pump supplies. Like last year, it felt awesome seeing how much the nurses appreciated what I dropped off. It was still an emotional experience, but unlike last year I wasn’t a crying mess. I think a lot of that had to do with being two years removed from my NICU experience and also having a better birth experience with L.

Me and G with the items we donated to the NICU

Me and G with the items we donated to the NICU

I definitely enjoyed this birthday party more than G’s first since I had time to chat with friends and sit down. Since the grandmothers were in attendance, I didn’t have to carry L around, and he can go longer between feedings than G ever could at two months. I think I’ve started a trend for our future birthday parties. Though, I will do my best to make sure the bathroom is clean next time.

Easter Basket Blog Hop

I figured that since I made G an Easter basket his first Easter, I should do the same for L. I can’t give one to L and not G, so I had some fun at Target after my 6 week postpartum check up using my Cartwheel app and bought supplies to make each of them a little something. (PS – I find that app is freakin’ addicting, anyone else?)

I hated getting the same presents as my sister growing up, so I actually hate that I’ve practically done that with these baskets. The boys are too little to care, I’m sure. Maybe they won’t ever care since they are boys?

I want to start trying to follow the something they’ll wear, something they’ll read, something they want, something they need guideline when it comes to presents and thought this was a good time to try it out.

Something They’ll Wear: I was looking for an excuse to buy the Superman shirt and onesie I kept passing at Target. G had one when he was younger and I loved making him wear it. Capes are awesome!

Something They Want: (I don’t know if G really wants any of this stuff, but I thought he’d enjoy it.) Since G loves Peppa Pig and L actually seems to watch it too, I got each of them their own dinosaur as Peppa’s brother carries one around. I wasn’t going to give them candy. G’s diet has not been good lately and I hate the thought of letting him have more crap. But it’s Easter and it comes in an Easter egg we can reuse next year. G also really likes bubbles and since I am hoping to spend more time outdoors, I wanted something we could use out of the house.

Something They’ll Read: One of my friends got G the Colors Lift the Tab book and he loves it! He has learned the names of a lot of objects from it. I bought L’s at a second hand store and it looks new.

20140418-141223.jpg

G’s Easter Bucket

20140418-141240.jpg

L’s Easter Bucket

I’ve put everything into tin buckets, which were actually cheaper than the lesser sturdy baskets Target was selling ($5 vs. $10+). I did the same with G’s first Easter basket and we still use it, so to me this will be a decent $10 spent.

We really haven’t really talked about the Easter Bunny until today. I blame the craziness of having a baby under our roof. Our parents have sent the boys Easter cards in the mail, but once G rips the envelope open and pulls the card out he loses interest. Granma did give the boys wooden Easter eggs to color, which G had fun with. Grannie gave us some Easter window stickers which G and I stuck on the windows today. I hope to dye eggs with G this weekend. But really I think he is still too little to understand the fun part of Easter. Hopefully next year we’ll be more on top of the holiday and we’ll be able to create at least a little bit of hype to get the kids excited about hunting for Easter eggs. I’ve already got ideas on what to stuff those with!

 

 

 

 

I was going to write a post on these Easter buckets anyway, but thanks to Josey I landed on an Easter Basket Blog Hop at Our Journey which kicked me into gear to do this sooner rather than later :) Thanks ladies!