Monday, May 28, 2012

Fostering a Love of Learning

The main thing that I love about Montessori is that if done correctly you can end up with a child who loves to learn who is curious about the amazing world around us. Personally I lost my love of learning when middle school hit, I had no desire to attend college and hardly cared about high school. After having a child however I wanted to learn, not just to teach him but for me. Now there is little I enjoy as much as I do learning, particularly about history. I have been attending school online for awhile, and before it was all just to learn everything I could about anything that interested me. Now however I have decided to finally be degree seeking, and now that we are no longer military it's going to cost a small fortune to finally get that piece of paper in my hand.
I want my children to love learning, and have a strong desire to know all that they can. So instead of rushing on walks we stop and explore everything from bugs to cracks in the side walk. We read as much as we can and any time a question arises I do all I can to answer it to the greatest degree of my knowledge and their level of understanding.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Soul Soother

There is something about little little that brings this amazing peace to you when he is close. I always get a sense of peace when I am around my boys even when things are pure chaos but there is something about this little man that just soothes the soul. I am so excited to see what kind of person he becomes as he grows older, and I hope he never looses this sense of peace he carries around with him.

Montessori Materials

With Little Little's first bday fast approaching I have been on the look out for fun educational things, I got all of this from Adena Montessori. They have amazing prices for Montessori materials, which are super expensive and defiantly not in the average budget. Although they were all listed in the infant/toddler section  the discs on dowels are not going to be put in the rotation for awhile, although his brother may have fun with them. So for now he is going to have the circle puzzles, Horizontal Dowel Variation ,and imbucare Box w/ Large Cylinder.  I am very excited to see what he thinks of them. He isn't one for normal toys so I think they should work out great, at the moment his favorite toy is rhythm sticks. There is nothing better than a toy you can both chew and beat everything in sight with! There are a few more things on the way that I know he will love, this is the first birthday we are going all natural and I am super excited about it. Not that we won't buy plastic toys or little metal cars (I have boys after all what kind of mom would I be if we didn't have hot wheels in our house?) I cannot wait for his little wooden animal to get here. Here's to hoping he loves it all if not just some of it!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Big little and I seem to butt heads often, and since his dad has been gone for longer periods of time over the day with work, behavior has become a major issue. I know I need to work on patience (that is one virtue I have the hardest time possessing) and change something in our daily life to fix whatever the problem is but I just don't know what! He can be the sweetest person out there, he is loving and kind and on the flip side he is crazy hyper and the most defiant child I have ever met (if you know me you know where he gets this from) I think a lot of the head butting is how similar we are but, I just am not sure what to do at this point. I need to finish simplicity parenting (any guide to calmer kids should be read by all adults in this house). Being a parent is such a tough thing, you love them more than anything and who doesn't want the absolute best for their kids? In those bad moments I have flashes of those kids you see and die a little inside for their parents, or thoughts of all those messed up adults who according to their psychologists their parents are to blame for every bad thing in their lives/things they have done. Finding a good balance of everything is hard especially since every child needs one that is tailored to them. I wish that the desire to raise happy healthy children would solve it all, at this point though I am willing to try anything. No form of punishment seems to phase him, and positive re-enforcement worked about half the time (the time that he is normally well behaved any ways). I never realized quiet what a worry being a parent would be I knew it would be bad, but this is defiantly exceeding my expectations.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Down our street, an old smelly barn and a beautiful church!
Gladbach, our German Village.
It may be that living abroad was a dream I have had since childhood, but I just can't seem to stop missing Germany. Three years of our married lives we got the amazing chance to live in a foreign country, it's where Big little went from a baby to a boy, and it's where we brought Little little home for the first time. It's such an amazing country with such a turbulent past. Where we lived was a tiny village ( Honestly tiny) it was picturesque and beautiful and over a thousand years old. No where in America (that I have seen) has tiny villages that are so beautiful usually the smaller it is here the more ghetto. We had awesome neighbors who did all sorts of things we thought odd but who were always friendly and willing to help us. The boys had their German Oma and Opa who gave them candy every single time we went over. I loved how driving to our village was like driving in the mountains. The airport has been one of my favorite places since I can remember, any where with that amount of possibility has to be. Germany was like that but even better, even just a walk in the woods or a stroll down to our village park was always enjoyable. The food was amazing and the chance to go to a new country where you didn't speak the language and the customs were unknown was always a possibility. My love of history grew even more, as did my love of architecture and for people. My not so secret secret hope is that one day we will get a chance to live abroad again, I'd go pretty much anywhere. If I got to choose though I would opt for Ireland my favorite place we saw, or of course for Round 2 of  Deutschland!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Round 2

It's amazing how many things you have down to a science by the time your second one comes along. Everything from birthing to feeding flows so much smoother the second time around. My first birthing experience was way to medically involved. They believed my water had broke (the pre-sack did) and since no one bothered to check me I was put on pitocin and 43 hours later the pushing (for 2.5 hours mind you) began.  It was nothing like what I had hoped for. If it had been my second baby I would have left the hospital if I had ever gone in besides for a quick check, and waited at home for labor to actually begin. My baby was whisked away for hours on end, and being to timid I didn't demand the things I had rights to (it took them over four hours before the pleading finally allowed me to see him). The second time around I went over my due date, I had a completely natural birth (Warnings that it hurt like hell didn't quiet do it justice) in a tub in a German hospital, we got skin to skin immediately and shortly after the birth we had our first latch on.
With Big little I would hide myself away to nurse, being entirely to prudish for anyone's good. So he was supplemented (Not that I see this as a bad thing in the least bit, you do what works for you and this time that's what worked for us) with little little he has never had formula we have had no need (thank you nursing cover) I have loved nursing this time around I don't feel like I have to hermit myself away to give my baby what I need.
We now know that following the rhythm of the child is what we need to do as often as possible, before he got used to ours. Both boys have learned to deal with different situations (Travel being our number one) that don't go along with what they always want. One of the best things I have done for both boys is baby wearing. I LOVE it, and so did both of them the benefits both mentally and emotionally have been huge for us. They get to see what we are doing and how we do it, and they get the closeness we both desire.
Little little came into an environment where we read more, and focus more on following their whims on things like walks. It may take us half an hour to walk half a block sometimes but we enjoy it. I wish I had known everything I know now sometimes. But that learning curve is something to be enjoyed. There are things I would do different if I could go back but I am so glad for every step we took along the way that has got us where we are now, I can honestly say I love the place we are in as a family, as parents, and as spouses.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sleeping Methods

I am not one for co-sleeping once we hit a certain age (The one where someone knows I will nurse at any given point through out the night just for some sleep) After reading Bringin up Bebe our next child may be weaned of night nursing a little earlier than this one was, we finally accomplished this a month or two ago and sleeping through the night with out nursing has its ups and downs. I loved nursing at night since it was our one time just us, cuddling. We believe in crying it out, but to what extent? Some nights our boys will cry for ridiculous amounts of time. One has growing pains, and sharing a room that often means both wake up. When it comes to pain or nightmares how long do you cuddle and soothe for? My parents were the best when it came to this I don't remember having to go to sleep afraid if I needed them. I think laying there in the toddler bed for longer periods of time is something I need to work on. No matter how sweaty, uncomfortable, and how much crying ensues from the other child. I love every minute of it and need to let other things go and focus on the beautiful moments I have with my boys while they are still little.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Check out my first newborn shoot

It's been well over a year since I have done a shoot, and here is my first not my baby newborn shoot, I loved everything about it and wouldn't mind if I had a client list full of mini people.

Writing Center, and teaching the boy to fish!

Is there anything cuter than this? The Hubs is taking Big Little fishing tomorrow and with a new mini pole in hand he could not be more excited. He spent a few minutes learning to cast from his daddy and the remainder of the evening showing every neighbor in site his mad skills.
I have been reading this blog and this blog lately and am SO inspired by them! I have started a writing center for big little since that is one of the main things he has no interest in (didn't even know a kid could not love coloring!) He loved all the stickers especially, it will be awhile before it's finished seeing as an Ikea trip is needed but for now we are working with what we have and loving it! This is the book that inspired a writing center to begin with but Sew Liberated was what got me going!
I would love to take her e-course!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The weekend

Yes he is sitting still.
We had a lovely weekend, we went back to where were married and took a family pic, I was brave enough to let little little start using a spoon on his own, we finally attempted the weaning cup. We bought flowers and veggie plants and then we bought some more. Someone learned the magic of the slip and slide and how wonderful it is even if you just sit on it... We got to hear the end of a temple dedication, with a beautiful prayer to begin work on a house of the Lord. And best of all we celebrated 5 years together, and the joy that is motherhood.

Here's to hoping my black thumb doesn't do these all in. 

A giant mess, but the spoon was used at least twice...
The remains of the old tabernacle, and the soon to be new Temple!

He picked out almost everything

Friday, May 11, 2012

5 years and counting!

This weekend is our 5 year anniversary, which these days is quiet the accomplishment. It's amazing how fast time flies, I am glad to say Dev is still my absolute best friend and I can't imagine having a more amazing/awesome husband. We are still lovey enough to gross people out which means I know we're doing good. Since we got married we have lived in 7 houses, joined the Air force, got sealed, had a baby, moved to Germany, had another baby, traveled Europe, moved back to Utah, got out of the Air force, and now are embarking on a new journey with our first Civilian career. We have had ups and downs not so much in our relationship as in our lives, when our first little man was born he had all sorts of problems and going through that was the toughest thing I have ever had to do, I can't imagine having gone through it with anyone else. We have experienced births, and deaths and somehow through it all we only got stronger as a couple, as friends, and as parents. I think having God in our marriage has made a world of difference and I can't imagine doing it any other way. Knowing that we are sealed For Time and All Eternity is the most comforting thought in the world to me. No matter what happens, or what loss may come I still have my family for forever.
We got married young by modern standards. I was 18 and he was 21, I scoff at people that young occasionally so I get it. But when you know you know, I had planned on marrying at 18 and having babies soon there after since I was a kid. Nothing seemed more important (still isn't) than having a family to me. I honestly had no desire to even attend collage until I had my first son and realized how much of a difference it could make for him. (Now school isn't just about my children its about my love of learning) I know many people think 18 is way to young to get married and just look at it as a tragedy waiting to happen. We were both pretty mature for our ages, I graduated early and moved out and supported myself  at 17, and I fully believe that he is exactly what I needed to keep myself in line. Something that I love about getting married so young is that you get to do a lot of growing up together and you don't get so set in your ways before you become a we. (He is like an old man if he had another five years of bachelorhood he would have been way to set in his ways!) We met shortly after I turned 16 (Mormon dating age) and I knew in a matter of days that he was the one. Besides when he told me jokingly he had a heart disease and didn't expect to live past 25 (I had no idea it was a joke for a LONG time) he's the type of guy who when he says something he means it, so when he told me he loved me and later that he wanted to marry me I knew it wasn't just a line, he honestly intended to spend eternity with me. These last five years have been amazing, and I look forward to grow old with him and. seeing our kids grow and become parents themselves. There could be nothing better than being married to your best friend that makes you laugh every day and still loves you no matter what a giant dork you are or are teaching your kids to be!
P.s Hollie Hanson is our amazing photographer, we love her so much she has been with us for every family wedding since we met her! The photo with the wrecked motorcycle is no joke, after the ceremony and during pictures an un named motorist decided that flying down a canyon was a good idea, hit gravel and no joke him and his motorcycle flew end over end off the rode. He wasn't seriously injured and it made for an awesome memory. For us at least!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Homemade play dough

I love when you find something that just completely inspires you.  For me Montessori does it again and again, I find every book/website/blog I can to learn more about it and how to use it in our home. Today Big little and I made play dough while his baby bro was down for a nap.He loves to dump in the ingredients after they are carefully measured out, and every now and then is so excited about it he dumps it somewhere other than the pan or bowl we are using. I love that my three year old helps make things and doesn't just wait for me to do it. He even cleans up when we are done, with a bit of help but he does it none the less! 
We used this recipe and it came out great, there are a lot of play dough recipe's I'm not a fan of due to smell or texture. Especially when salt is involved and it makes the play dough extra grainy. This one however was smooth as could be and was perfect for little hands to manipulate. We have a few sculpting tools (real materials so a child learns to respect them) and of course an array of utensils were used from fondue forks to the rolling pin. And what would playing with play dough be if it didn't include a volcano finally. (word to the wise if your out of white vinegar, red wine vinegar barely does the trick.) And watch your kids when they add food color, someone wasn't paying attention and another someone added more than half the bottle of liquid green. Needless to say my hands look like they belong to Shrek.
Ingredients needed:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • food coloring
  • 1 cup flour

When in this process you allow your kids to assist is entirely up to you.  Younger children can mix dry ingredients, older kids can stir (supervised) at the stove top, and adding food coloring is fun for everyone.  My son is under two, so he mainly helps me with the “playing” part.  Please supervise your children and use caution with the stove and hot dough. Combine all ingredients (except food coloring) in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir over medium heat until smooth.  Stir continuously until the dough balls (about 1-2 minutes).  Remove from heat.
When dough is cool enough to handle, knead until smooth. Form into a ball. Divide into as many colors as you’d like to make.  A single batch makes a good amount for four colors  Add food coloring to the divided dough.  Gel food coloring works quite well.  I have not tried liquid food coloring. Knead the food coloring into the dough. To protect your counter top, knead over wax paper.  To protect your hands, wear plastic or rubber gloves, if you have them (you could also put the dough and food coloring inside a ziplock bag and have the kids squish it around inside). When the dough is a consistent color, ball and set aside. Repeat with the rest of your colors.
Put the dough in separate containers.  Toddler-sized snack containers are a good size, and I have also wrapped the colors individually in wax paper and stored in zip-lock baggies. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.  It will stay soft for several weeks if stored airtight.

Mothers Day

I am super excited for Mothers Day. Whats better than a day to celebrate the amazing women who give up everything to take care of, love, and devote themselves to someone else their whole lives through? Motherhood is such an amazing gift, whether you conceive naturally or adopt it's the most amazing process. I love how much my boys love me (they are still young enough for me to be awesome in their eyes) I'm excited to celebrate and honor all the women who have made such a difference in my life whether it was raising me, or just teaching me how to be a better mom. My mother, my grams, my sisters, my MIL, SIL's, aunts, and even my amazing friends have all taught me so much. I get to begin everyday (way too early I might add) loving my boys. Even everyday tasks can be such a wonderment to them it makes everything more fun. For mothers day we are giving all our sisters and our amazing Mom's bird nest necklaces, and at the moment who knows what else our mothers will be receiving (besides pictures of the boys since no one has any!) As part of my mothers day I am getting a gift I couldn't be more excited about. Personalized journals to fill up with for my boys. I saw the idea on pinterest, and can't find it again but it's a fantastic one. I wish I had started the moment I found out I was pregnant but those aren't things you forget so they'll still be in there. I want to fill them with how I met their awesome Daddy, what I thought when I found out they were pregnant, the first ultrasound, the first glance, and every moment that stands out to me for good or bad. We have always tried to instill in our boys that no matter what they do they are loved. No bad action can outweigh the love we have for them. These journals won't be just for the best moments, I want them to have all sorts of moments. Maybe when they read them (I plan on giving them to them when they move out but maybe as I fill them up they'll get them, or maybe when they find out their having kids of their own) they will know that even when things were bad I was still 100% there. Even when they think I know nothing. (As a mother now I can't believe I went through that stage, my parents really did know what they were talking about. Hope they don't read this ;) )
Aren't these beautiful! They aren't this fuzzy, Blurb would only let me copy a low res file. Each one is letters to.... (sorry other bloggers paranoia is rubbing off)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Surprisingly (to me anyways) Simplicity Parenting 's tip to limit our material items is coming across a lot harder than I expected. I have gotten rid of a third of the boys toys at present. And still have a box full of plastic goodness I just can't seem to rid myself of. However we now have enough space for a more proper Montessori set up. All of our low down shelves have been set up for activities to enhance and enrich our boys. Books have been sorted into non fiction and fiction to give them a better base in what reality is, and what an amazing thing imagination is! Quiet a few of the activities are for little little, I need to work on more for Big Little, at present he has sand paper letters, a nature basket with magnifying glass, shell baskets, paint supplies (brushes and sponges to paint with and paper and shells for mediums) and a few number exercises. Not all in one place (simplify right) Each room we spend part of the day in has an activity that if he so chooses he can work on. Our main thing we need to work on is fostering independence, which is one of the main things I love about Montessori (and is also mentioned in the fantastic book Bringing up Bebe). Simplifying while hard has had some great benefits, especially the one where I have less to clean/convince the boys to clean up.

Learning Together

Yesterday I received this book in the mail yesterday, and even though I am not very far in I am loving it. It's a simplified explanation of what Montessori is and what it has to offer your family. It teaches you about unlocking the potential in your child. How to have a Montessori way of life from how you manage your time, and home to how to have Montessori-inspired living spaces. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to implement this amazing philosophy in their homes. I think the thing I need to hear most often when it comes to Montessori is allowing my children to do activities without my constant interruption to correct. I need to show them how to do something and then let them go at it as they please. Even if I don't think they are doing it right in the first place, they are learning and eventually figure out how to do things in a way that works for them. One thing I really love about this book is it talks about the importance of a father in these roles, even how a father can learn the subtle clues to what a child needs it's not just mothers intuition it's knowing your child better. (Although I doubt anything could really beat mothers intuition ;) )
The book comes from an online store in the U.K. so it's about $20 with the exchange rate and shipping costs, but it only took a week to get here and it is well worth it!

Monday, May 7, 2012


We took our boys camping for the first time, it was quiet the adventure. They both loved it, especially hiking around Arches National Park. Of course playing in the dirt and attempting to catch lizards was the highlight of the trip. It's so nice to get the boys out in nature and let them see a little more of this beautiful world. It was a perfect night for a night under the sky, we got to witness the Super Moon. It was absolutely beautiful and the night was the brightest I have seen in years, you could even see individual colors! I had some beautiful pictures of the moon, sadly I thought I had copied them to my computer and formatted my card, shockingly I didn't copy them! The trip ended with a trip to see my Grams, I love seeing my boys play and interact with the woman who had such an effect on who I am! Sleeping in a ten with the boys wasn't the best and I fear it will take a lot to convince the hubs to go again!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Friday Favorites

There are so many things that are my favorite at the moment, life in general is my favorite. Spending every day with my sons, having a awesome hubs, and taking every opportunity I can to love on my boys. One of my favorite purchases is my Ergo. I LOVE baby wearing I do it as often as possible, multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day. I have 5 different carriers/slings and out of all of them this is by far the most comfortable for me and baby. My previous post on Baby wearing tells all about the benefits, I would spend all day wearing if little little would go for it (Now that walking has commenced he is even wigglier) I would even strap on the 35+ pounds of Big little for a few hours (Ergo will hold him too) just for the closeness and love!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Taking it slow

Lately our lives our at a bit of a standstill, with the hubs waiting for a better job (waiting as in applying as many places as possible all while working somewhere he isn't loving, we are strong believers of the thought,  "good things come to those that do") the boys and I still don't know many people since we moved, we are finally meeting more people in the neighborhood (pretty much every single person within a few blocks belongs to our ward (local congregation, for our worldwide Church)) Since we don't yet have many friends we have been for the first time in our lives together just taking life easy. We don't rush of anywhere (except the E.R. for the shortest one) We have been spending hours outside, we do projects together, Big little has been taking the practical life area of Montessori up a notch and has been helping like crazy. We read, a lot, cuddle even more and just have fun. I have to say I don't mind life being like this. I do enjoy having a lot of friends, play dates, and more adult convo but right now this is exactly what we all need. Hours of laying in the grass, playing with toys, water gun fights, and in the case of the wee one trying to eat everything he can get his hands on. It makes me think even more I may enjoy home schooling instead of sending my big boy off to Montessori preschool in the fall, then again it's probably just me wishing he could stay little forever. At the moment the only semi (ish) pressing matter for me is brushing up on my photog skills since I haven't done anything since before little little was on his way.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Walker wagon, and an impromptu backyard picnic

Montessori is against the plastic children walkers, but wide wheeled wooden, solid wagons are a different story. They are solid and allow a child to pull up without the chance of tipping and allow children to learn slowly.  We found ours for $20 at an antique store vs. the $100 it costs online. Ours is an older version and doesn't have the fence but the boys Love this because it allows them to both easily to crawl in and out so they can push each other in it for hours! It has been a huge tool in getting little little to walk, he can walk but still prefers crawling. The more he uses his wagon however the more he wants to walk without it! After a day of playing outside with and without the wagon, with smiles and tears we had an impromptu picnic in our backyard. It was the perfect ending to a long and lovely day!
P.S. how cute are these faces, sad and happy oh my gosh I LOVE them!