Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You're A Good Mama, Part 2!

My post from a few days ago has really stuck with me. Recently, during a meeting with one of my students parents, I put into practice my own challenge.  This particular mom was really struggling. Her son had been going through some really tough stuff at school, and I knew she had some pretty heavy obstacles in her personal life as well. Toward the end of an almost two hour meeting with myself, and the five other instructors from her son's class, I could tell she was just so heavy hearted. I stopped the meeting and told her "Listen. You are such a good mama. He is so lucky to have you. Every kid should be so lucky to have a mom who loves them the way you love him." And you know what? She didn't mumble or look at her shoes. She didn't think I was weird. She burst into tears. I could tell it was just so raw for her, you know? Like, in that moment, she really didn't believe it. Us mamas never think we're doing enough. We go through our days, beating ourselves up. Replaying in our heads all the days failings. We never stop to appreciate that we're doing ok. Because you know what? You're the only one who can be your little one's mama.  No one else can do it.  And you're pretty great at it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Keepin' It Real Mondays

Hey guys!

Sorry I forgot to post my Keepin' It Real post last week. It wasn't for lack of "real" mom moments, believe me!

So what's going on with us, you ask? Well...

Kemi's been out of town for a week, so getting out the door with Evie alone every morning has had it's...challenges.  I kind of lost my game with Kemi off the road recently, and forgot how much planning it takes to get out the door with her every morning by 7:40. Not to mention what we're packin':

2 Breakfasts (hers and mine)
2 Lunches (hers and mine)
5 cloth diapers
1 Macbook and charger
2 Sippy Cups
1 Water Bottle
1 change of clothes (hers)
2 Elmo dolls
2 (at least) blankies
2 (at least) binkies

The other day I pulled in to work with Evie in tow, and took a quick look in the rearview mirror before going in. Good thing I checked:

I had put my hair up with a bobby pin to wash my face and put on makeup and planned to brush it, and just forgot.

But don't worry, because we had time for this charade. Evie found her infant car seat in the office and insisted that it sit next to her in the car with her bear in it.  Love this girl, even when she's just such a toddler.  That's perfectly motherhood, isn't it? I'm wearing a tee shirt with peanut butter on it and she's got a pristine Mini Boden outfit on with coordinating tights. I forgot my cell phone at home but we remembered her infant car seat and bear.  Oh, this girl just owns me. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

For My Girl

Sweet girl. After we lay you down for the night, sometimes your Papa and I just miss you. We always say that we want to go back in and get you for more hugs and kisses.  And some nights, we almost do.

Sometimes Evie, I worry. Ok, a lot of the time, I worry. And when you're a mama, you'll worry too and then you'll understand. I worry about the choices I make for you. That no matter how long I think and pray, and despite the fact that I would do anything for you, that I'm making all the wrong decisions. I worry that I need you more than you need me. You're growing and changing so quickly before my eyes, and I want to stop and hold you close and hit pause for awhile.  You've had a little bit of a cold. A  few nights ago you cried out for me, and I came in to find you standing up, arms outstretched, yelling "Mama!" My heart burst.  I love when you need me, because truly I need you too.  I love you in such a profound, deep-down love that sometimes it scares me a little.  I want to be just perfect for you. I want to be the perfect mama to you, because you deserve nothing less, and yet, somehow I know I can't be. I can never be perfect.  But you'll take me anyway, the way I am. And I'll take you too. I'll take you, just the way you are. I love every bit of you.  Everything. I'm yours, forever.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It Works! Wrap Product Review

You've probably noticed the It! Works! button on my sidebar. My friend, Jamie, is an Independent Consultant with It Works! and a sponsor of Track 8.  When she offered to have me try their super-popular Ultimate Body Applicator and Defining Gel, I jumped at the chance!

It Works! claims that the Body Applicator Wrap tightens, tones and firms using a botanically-based cream.  The kit comes with four applications.  It is basically a large cloth covered with cream that can be applied to any area of the body...stomach, legs, arms, etc.  You unfold the wrap, and apply it to whatever area you have chosen.  You are supposed to smooth it on, and then wrap saran wrap around the applied area to make sure the wrap stays put and against the skin.  They recommend you apply the product for a minimum of 45 minutes, every other day, until all four are used.  On the off days, you use the defining gel.

I chose to apply the product to my stomach. Two pregnancies, just three months apart from each other, really did a number on that area! 

I took my measurements, as recommended before starting.  Initially, I didn't love the way the product felt. It is really cold when you put it on, so you have to be prepared for that. The other thing that I didn't anticipate was that it tingles a bit.  If you've ever used a "plumping" lip gloss, it feels a lot like that.  Although It Works! says you can sleep wearing the product, I tried and it was impossible because of the tingling sensation and the squeaky saran wrap.  So my advice: don't apply the wrap at bedtime and plan on sleeping in it!

So, now to the part you've all been waiting for...the results!  

Overall, I lost one inch. I did notice an overall "firming" effect, which was great.  I expected to lose an inch or so, but I didn't expect that my stomach would feel more toned, like I had been doing sit ups (uh, I hadn't.).  It Works! doesn't provide much info on how long the results are supposed to last, just that they vary from customer to customer.  I would say the results lasted 2-3 days for me.

Would I recommend the product? Yes, if I knew anyone who needed a quick and non-permanent solution.  Would I purchase the product? Probably not. I'm not a "quick fix" type of girl, and I find the price tag a bit steep for a temporary solution. But, like I said, I think it's great for women looking for a quick fix to slim a "trouble spot."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nine Months, and an Untold Story

Today marks nine months since Celeste went to Heaven.  We would have a five month old.  We miss her every day.

Several months ago, I was babysitting my niece for a few weekdays while I was on a school break.  One day while she was at my house, she and Evie were reading books in Evie's room.  Sophia chose a book about the Saints, and wanted me to read the story about Mary.  We read about Mary being Jesus' mom, and that she was very sad when he died, but she was happy again when he came back three days later.

A few hours passed, we ate lunch, played with toys, and out of nowhere, Sophia said, "Auntie, when is Celeste going to come back?"

Like a kick to my stomach.  And I knew she had been thinking about the Mary story.  I didn't know what to say...I wanted to be honest with her, but not scare her... I told her Celeste wasn't going to come back, that Jesus wants her to be in Heaven with Him. We looked at pictures of Celeste, and I showed her that Jesus wanted us to just get to see Celeste for a little bit, and then he needed her to come back to Heaven to look after all of us and pray for us.  We talked about God having a special plan for everyone, and that that was God's special plan for Celeste.  I assured her that Jesus wanted her baby sister to grow big and strong, and that she wouldn't go to Heaven for a very, very long time.  She seemed satisfied with that, and not upset, but man.  Trying to explain something to a child that I don't understand myself was just so hard.  I don't know how I'll explain it to Evie as she grows.  I worry about being honest and transparent with her, but not upsetting her.  Celeste, show me how.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homemade Play Dough

Evie has been loving playing with the play dough at my school, so this weekend we set out on a mission to make our own. I had done it with my students a few times before, so it wasn't completely foreign. I actually really like homemade play dough! It lasts a really long time, is super easy, and is just as soft (if not softer!) than the store-bought version.

I used this site for my recipe. The ingredients are super cheap and simple:

 You basically dump the ingredients in a saucepan, put it over medium-low heat, and stir with a wooden spoon until thick. Even if it has lumps, it doesn't matter because you can work them out later.

 You can add whatever colors you want to the dough after that.

And then it's playtime! It literally took five minutes start to finish. No joke.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gift Giving Guide: Toddler Edition

Mini Book of Names and Faces
This is my number one pick for Evie this Christmas. She is always asking us to hold her up next to family photos on the wall so she can point to each person as we name them. This book is a bit pricey, but I think it's something special she will absolutely love, and something we'll keep forever.
We've been wanting this one for a long time.

Evie LOVES these tiny rockers whenever we're at a friend's house that has one. I like that it comes in a gender-neutral color too, for future Ndolo kids.

Kid's Table and Chairs
We've been enjoying having friends with kids over for dinner once in awhile, but we never have enough seating for the little ones. I think this cute little table and chairs fits the bill. It's cheaper than the Ikea set, and has amazing reviews.

Blabla Knit Animal
Sad story: These were on a flash deal site a while back, and were an amazing price. I had one in my cart, and debated for too long whether I should purchase it. You know where this is going. They sold out so incredibly fast, and I missed my chance. I know they're ridiculously expensive, but they are SO precious, aren't they?! I just love shopping for Evie, even if it's window shopping. I love these little dolls.  My picks? Mirabelle the Bunny or Josephine the Elephant.

I think Evie could get into this!

Wooden Jungle Animals Set
Evie's been into animals for awhile now, and these are so cute I could display them in her room on her shelf too!

What about you guys? Any toddler gift ideas?

Monday, November 4, 2013

You're a Good Mama

I read this article recently through Cup of Jo, and it really got me thinking. How much would it mean to have another mom tell you you're doing a good job? And not an off handed "I don't know how you do it" but a real, look-you-in-the-eyes "You are a good mama. Your babies are lucky to have you" kind of moment.

I saw this video recently and it broke my heart. Why are we so hard on ourselves? I think we could all stand to hear more of the "good mamas" and fewer of the critical voices in our own heads screaming about sleep training, food dyes, and who knows what else!

I am blessed to have an amazing woman (and a great mama in her own right!), whom I have known for years, look after Evie at the school during the day while I work.  She is always so affirming to me, and truly one of the most heartfelt, genuine women I know. She instituted these really great "About My Day" sheets to keep me updated on what went on with Evie while she was in her care. Sometimes she includes the sweetest notes, like this one:

So what do you guys think? I dare you to tell one mama that she's doing a great job this week! She might look at her shoes and mumble something, but I bet it will change her whole perspective!

Keepin' It Real Mondays

This is what happens when Kemi hangs out with Evie at the school while I'm working: