This is how we keep Christmas presents “under control”. I try to limit the girls’ presents to these 4 things, plus stocking stuffers. It’s still easy to go crazy, and just make up new rules as I go along but at least I have a guideline. It’s fun to buy Jacob gifts according to this “want need wear read” standard, too! 🎅

I’ve read that this idea originated in Victorian times. It originated for me, via Pinterest… I’m assuming. I don’t even remember, anymore! Isn’t it weird that Pinterest has just become a part of our families and traditions?  Haha…getting deep, here, sorry. 

The first year we did this, Zoe’s list was:
1. A big step2 slide $$
2. A big girl car seat $$$
3. I don’t remember…a dress? $
4. A book about being a big sister $

Last year, we got Zoe:
1. A mini piano $
2. Music lessons $$$
3. Homemade pajama pants and a dress$$
4. A compilation story book $

Last year, we got Alice:
1. A crazy ball popping standing toy $
2. A big girl car seat $$$
3. Homemade pajama pants and a dress $$
4. A book……I don’t remember?! Haha. $

See? Even with “so few” gifts, I don’t remember it all!

Anyway, I’d encourage you to try to set a limit for gifts. It makes shopping a creative problem solving activity, and it reminds us that Christmas isn’t about how much we have under the tree. (Don’t worry, our kids get PLENTY of stuff…too much… at Christmas and year-round…I end up throwing/giving away a ton of toys throughout the year) 🎄 

This year, I’m hand making some things and planning on signing the girls up for some music classes. Woohoo!  Less junk/more awesome for our modestly-sized house!

In all honesty, I wish we could limit what other people give them, as well, but we don’t do that. I get easily overwhelmed by too much stuff all at once, but others will do as they please, and we say “thank you”. 🎁

Edited to add:
The whole “Santa thing”. Meh. Not that into it. I’ll let him give them the stocking stuffers, but I think that’s it, I don’t know. I would rather not focus on Santa. I’m weird like that! I don’t do “Elf on the Shelf” either. I KNOW!  What kind of suburban, white, middle class, stay-at-home-mom, am I?!  Hehe.

This is how we keep Christmas presents “under control”. I try to limit the girls’ presents to these 4 things, plus stocking stuffers. It’s still easy to go crazy, and just make up new rules as I go along but at least I have a guideline. It’s fun to buy Jacob gifts according to this “want need wear read” standard, too! 🎅

I’ve read that this idea originated in Victorian times. It originated for me, via Pinterest… I’m assuming. I don’t even remember, anymore! Isn’t it weird that Pinterest has just become a part of our families and traditions? Haha…getting deep, here, sorry.

The first year we did this, Zoe’s list was:
1. A big step2 slide $$
2. A big girl car seat $$$
3. I don’t remember…a dress? $
4. A book about being a big sister $

Last year, we got Zoe:
1. A mini piano $
2. Music lessons $$$
3. Homemade pajama pants and a dress$$
4. A compilation story book $

Last year, we got Alice:
1. A crazy ball popping standing toy $
2. A big girl car seat $$$
3. Homemade pajama pants and a dress $$
4. A book……I don’t remember?! Haha. $

See? Even with “so few” gifts, I don’t remember it all!

Anyway, I’d encourage you to try to set a limit for gifts. It makes shopping a creative problem solving activity, and it reminds us that Christmas isn’t about how much we have under the tree. (Don’t worry, our kids get PLENTY of stuff…too much… at Christmas and year-round…I end up throwing/giving away a ton of toys throughout the year) 🎄

This year, I’m hand making some things and planning on signing the girls up for some music classes. Woohoo! Less junk/more awesome for our modestly-sized house!

In all honesty, I wish we could limit what other people give them, as well, but we don’t do that. I get easily overwhelmed by too much stuff all at once, but others will do as they please, and we say “thank you”. 🎁

Edited to add: The whole “Santa thing”. Meh. Not that into it. I’ll let him give them the stocking stuffers, but I think that’s it, I don’t know. I would rather not focus on Santa. I’m weird like that! I don’t do “Elf on the Shelf” either. I KNOW! What kind of suburban, white, middle class, stay-at-home-mom, am I?! Hehe.
"How do you handle 2 under 2?"

It’s week three of this how-to Tuesday series about “handling” 2 babies under 2 years old. Oh boy, aren’t you excited?  I know I am! I have been answering this question with concepts and actual physical items that helped me along the way. 

My previous answers to this question were “a partner” and an “iPhone”. See? I am all over the place. This week, I chose “babywearing” as my answer.

Wearing Alice helped me handle 2 under 2 because she didn’t like to be put down and I had to be able to get around and wrangle a toddler. Pretty simple!  There were even times when I had baby Alice in the Moby or Beco Butterfly 2, and carried Zoe in my arms. Toddlers *can* walk, but they don’t always *want* to. We had to get through the parking lot, somehow!

Hey, people ask, and I am answering. How did you handle (or are you handling) 2 under 2?

See my previous posts about how I handled having 2 babies under 2 years by clicking my tag #howto2under2!

"How do you handle 2 under 2?"

It’s week three of this how-to Tuesday series about “handling” 2 babies under 2 years old. Oh boy, aren’t you excited? I know I am! I have been answering this question with concepts and actual physical items that helped me along the way.

My previous answers to this question were “a partner” and an “iPhone”. See? I am all over the place. This week, I chose “babywearing” as my answer.

Wearing Alice helped me handle 2 under 2 because she didn’t like to be put down and I had to be able to get around and wrangle a toddler. Pretty simple! There were even times when I had baby Alice in the Moby or Beco Butterfly 2, and carried Zoe in my arms. Toddlers *can* walk, but they don’t always *want* to. We had to get through the parking lot, somehow!

Hey, people ask, and I am answering. How did you handle (or are you handling) 2 under 2?

See my previous posts about how I handled having 2 babies under 2 years by clicking my tag #howto2under2!

Week 2 of answering the common question, “how do you handle 2 under 2?” We had our daughters less than 2 years apart, survived, and now…I feel free to give a little advice to others who are finding themselves in the same situation. 

Answer: an iPhone

Now, of course one doesn’t NEED an iPhone, or any sort of electronic device to parent two very young children. But, this isn’t about what I needed, in order to handle 2 under 2. This is about how I handled it. I handled it with an iPhone in one hand. 

Seriously. 

The iPhone helped me stay organized and it helped me entertain my bigger baby (Zoe). 

When Alice was a newborn, I tracked her diapers, feedings, and sleep on my phone. I took thousands of snapshots on my phone (still do). In the early days, when I had to spend a lot of time sitting and nursing, I would read on my phone. Reading on my iPhone was great because it only required one hand and provided it’s own light. 

The iPhone is still my handy little computer that meets a lot of my needs throughout the day- calendar, email, phone (yeah, sometimes!), blogging, messages, entertainment, calorie tracking, and lists. 

I also use technology to keep littles happy, when I have to get something done. The iPhone/iPad have kept up their “high value” as  rewards and distractions pretty well, over time. When a baby needs to be nursed or put to bed, high-value distractions are definitely awesome! Without them, I’m not sure how well Zoe would’ve reacted to my attention being given to her little sis. 

Technology is great, but I know it can be overused. I never wanted to become too dependent on the iPhone, or make Zoe into a little monster. So, that said, yes we are careful about using the iPhone as a crutch, but heck YEAH we use technology to help us parent!

I hope this post will encourage new moms a bit. Don’t feel too bad about giving your bigger baby an iPhone or iPad, while you take care of someone/something else. Your kid will be fine, and maybe even learn something cool! 

Click the #howto2under2 tag, to read my previous post on how I handled having 2 children, under 2. 

Disclaimer: of course this is just my opinion, I’m no expert on what will/will not screw up your kid. :) I’m in the “you can’t screw them up too much as long as you love them” camp.

Week 2 of answering the common question, “how do you handle 2 under 2?” We had our daughters less than 2 years apart, survived, and now…I feel free to give a little advice to others who are finding themselves in the same situation.

Answer: an iPhone

Now, of course one doesn’t NEED an iPhone, or any sort of electronic device to parent two very young children. But, this isn’t about what I needed, in order to handle 2 under 2. This is about how I handled it. I handled it with an iPhone in one hand.

Seriously.

The iPhone helped me stay organized and it helped me entertain my bigger baby (Zoe).

When Alice was a newborn, I tracked her diapers, feedings, and sleep on my phone. I took thousands of snapshots on my phone (still do). In the early days, when I had to spend a lot of time sitting and nursing, I would read on my phone. Reading on my iPhone was great because it only required one hand and provided it’s own light.

The iPhone is still my handy little computer that meets a lot of my needs throughout the day- calendar, email, phone (yeah, sometimes!), blogging, messages, entertainment, calorie tracking, and lists.

I also use technology to keep littles happy, when I have to get something done. The iPhone/iPad have kept up their “high value” as rewards and distractions pretty well, over time. When a baby needs to be nursed or put to bed, high-value distractions are definitely awesome! Without them, I’m not sure how well Zoe would’ve reacted to my attention being given to her little sis.

Technology is great, but I know it can be overused. I never wanted to become too dependent on the iPhone, or make Zoe into a little monster. So, that said, yes we are careful about using the iPhone as a crutch, but heck YEAH we use technology to help us parent!

I hope this post will encourage new moms a bit. Don’t feel too bad about giving your bigger baby an iPhone or iPad, while you take care of someone/something else. Your kid will be fine, and maybe even learn something cool!

Click the #howto2under2 tag, to read my previous post on how I handled having 2 children, under 2.

Disclaimer: of course this is just my opinion, I’m no expert on what will/will not screw up your kid. :) I’m in the “you can’t screw them up too much as long as you love them” camp.

"How do you handle two under two?" Usually said in the "I’m glad I’m not you," tone. Alice was born twenty months after Zoe, and we survived the whole first year and beyond, so I think I can talk about it!  I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on how we survived, ahem, I mean excelled, at raising two daughters born less than 2 years apart. Some of my posts will be product-focused, but this week is…not.

This week, I’m focusing on the most basic thing needed to raise children: A partner. A willing partner. Whether this partner is a husband, wife, mother, father, sister, or friend, someone will need to hold the baby so you can pee. 

Newborns need mom, and in between needing mom, they need to be held (that required more than one adult, for me). Toddlers, even big sisters, need diaper changes and food (I know, how rude!). They need love and attention, and a new (again) mom simply can’t do it all. I struggled with letting go of Zoe, back when Alice was tiny, but Zoe wasn’t going to die if the grilled cheese wasn’t cut the “right” way (now I’m working on letting Alice grow up a bit, but she’s still my Baaaby). Work on trust. Ask for help. Make someone  (or a bunch of people) your partner, if you don’t have a “built in” partner in a husband. 


If Jacob wasn’t there for me, for some reason, I would’ve asked another family member to come live with me, for a while (or I would’ve asked to move in with them). If I didn’t have family, I would’ve hired help (think of it as a [mental] health expense!). 

I was great about getting help in the really early days of having 2 under 2, but I probably should have had more help, throughout the year. I had a great partner in Jacob, but he works a lot and I was up all night and with the babies all day. My nerves were pretty much shot, with the constant needs. So, maybe next time I have a baby, I’ll take my own advice! A highschool babysitter a couple of afternoons a week, after Jacob goes back to work, will help a lot!


Don’t feel guilty about not doing it all, as the mother(easier said than done, I know!). It’s much better to lean on someone than fall over! Also, it makes others feel good to be needed, so you can think of asking for help as a service to them. (Insert winky face here)


Yay for partners!  



Check out “How-to Tuesday” next week, for one more of my “must haves” for surviving, or even excelling, at raising 2 under 2. 

#howto2under2 for more!

"How do you handle two under two?" Usually said in the "I’m glad I’m not you," tone. Alice was born twenty months after Zoe, and we survived the whole first year and beyond, so I think I can talk about it! I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on how we survived, ahem, I mean excelled, at raising two daughters born less than 2 years apart. Some of my posts will be product-focused, but this week is…not.

This week, I’m focusing on the most basic thing needed to raise children: A partner. A willing partner. Whether this partner is a husband, wife, mother, father, sister, or friend, someone will need to hold the baby so you can pee.

Newborns need mom, and in between needing mom, they need to be held (that required more than one adult, for me). Toddlers, even big sisters, need diaper changes and food (I know, how rude!). They need love and attention, and a new (again) mom simply can’t do it all. I struggled with letting go of Zoe, back when Alice was tiny, but Zoe wasn’t going to die if the grilled cheese wasn’t cut the “right” way (now I’m working on letting Alice grow up a bit, but she’s still my Baaaby). Work on trust. Ask for help. Make someone (or a bunch of people) your partner, if you don’t have a “built in” partner in a husband.

If Jacob wasn’t there for me, for some reason, I would’ve asked another family member to come live with me, for a while (or I would’ve asked to move in with them). If I didn’t have family, I would’ve hired help (think of it as a [mental] health expense!).

I was great about getting help in the really early days of having 2 under 2, but I probably should have had more help, throughout the year. I had a great partner in Jacob, but he works a lot and I was up all night and with the babies all day. My nerves were pretty much shot, with the constant needs. So, maybe next time I have a baby, I’ll take my own advice! A highschool babysitter a couple of afternoons a week, after Jacob goes back to work, will help a lot!

Don’t feel guilty about not doing it all, as the mother(easier said than done, I know!). It’s much better to lean on someone than fall over! Also, it makes others feel good to be needed, so you can think of asking for help as a service to them. (Insert winky face here)

Yay for partners!

Check out “How-to Tuesday” next week, for one more of my “must haves” for surviving, or even excelling, at raising 2 under 2.

#howto2under2 for more!
How-To Tuesday: “how do you get to church every week, with 2 little ones?”

Disclaimer- this turned into more of a “why”. Who cares, read anyway!  There’s some “how-to”, too. 

Okay, let’s start this off with the fact that I find advice blogs from moms to be grating.  I mean, yeah, who makes YOU the expert?! So, let’s not look at this as advice as much as, “here’s what works for us, people have asked.”

Anywho, now that that’s out of the way, I can talk about this topic. Jacob and I were one of the first “young” couples at our church to have a kid (and then another).  We have always brought them to church.  Heck, Zoe was at church when she was 9 days old and probably less than 5lbs.  We are hardcore.  Or at least that’s how others see us.  We just see bringing our kids to church as a way to bring them into our reality, our community.  If we didn’t bring our kids to church, we would be floating around in space without much close family…in our own strange little world.  That’s how I see it.  We need community… just other people to look at.  We need a reason to get out of the house on Sunday mornings, so we don’t melt into blobs of goo…unwashed and alone.
This sounds a bit dramatic.
I’m serious, though!  We need plans.  We need a place to go, think about something other than our little world.  We need to think about God, Jesus, and the BIG picture.  Our little blobby family, floating around in space, can’t think about the big picture.
THE HOW.  I don’t know.  How do you go anywhere with 2 little ones?  We get up early because we are woken up by either Zoe, Shadow, or Alice.  Then we eat breakfast, Jacob and I take our showers, get dressed, and go into the van.  We even ::gasp:: go to church early, most Sundays, because Jacob sings with the choir. 
Sure, when Alice still napped in the morning, she could get cranky.  WHEN she got cranky during the service, I would take her out of the sanctuary and feed her.  
I’m coming off as a bit snarky, but I am always surprised by questions like these.  We just do what we have to do, to get there. I DON’T WANT TO TURN INTO A BLOB IN SPACE.  Once we’re at church, we do what we have to do, to keep the kids (kind of) well-behaved.  We love our kids, and we are happy that they are known as the “church mascots”.  It’s wonderful to see the community of people who care about seeing them every week.  I highly encourage joining us in attending church, regularly!  You can’t get as much out of it without the community part.  Quantity time is key!

How-To Tuesday: “how do you get to church every week, with 2 little ones?”

Disclaimer- this turned into more of a “why”. Who cares, read anyway! There’s some “how-to”, too.

Okay, let’s start this off with the fact that I find advice blogs from moms to be grating. I mean, yeah, who makes YOU the expert?! So, let’s not look at this as advice as much as, “here’s what works for us, people have asked.”

Anywho, now that that’s out of the way, I can talk about this topic. Jacob and I were one of the first “young” couples at our church to have a kid (and then another). We have always brought them to church. Heck, Zoe was at church when she was 9 days old and probably less than 5lbs. We are hardcore. Or at least that’s how others see us. We just see bringing our kids to church as a way to bring them into our reality, our community. If we didn’t bring our kids to church, we would be floating around in space without much close family…in our own strange little world. That’s how I see it. We need community… just other people to look at. We need a reason to get out of the house on Sunday mornings, so we don’t melt into blobs of goo…unwashed and alone.

This sounds a bit dramatic.

I’m serious, though! We need plans. We need a place to go, think about something other than our little world. We need to think about God, Jesus, and the BIG picture. Our little blobby family, floating around in space, can’t think about the big picture.

THE HOW. I don’t know. How do you go anywhere with 2 little ones? We get up early because we are woken up by either Zoe, Shadow, or Alice. Then we eat breakfast, Jacob and I take our showers, get dressed, and go into the van. We even ::gasp:: go to church early, most Sundays, because Jacob sings with the choir.

Sure, when Alice still napped in the morning, she could get cranky. WHEN she got cranky during the service, I would take her out of the sanctuary and feed her.

I’m coming off as a bit snarky, but I am always surprised by questions like these. We just do what we have to do, to get there. I DON’T WANT TO TURN INTO A BLOB IN SPACE. Once we’re at church, we do what we have to do, to keep the kids (kind of) well-behaved. We love our kids, and we are happy that they are known as the “church mascots”. It’s wonderful to see the community of people who care about seeing them every week. I highly encourage joining us in attending church, regularly! You can’t get as much out of it without the community part. Quantity time is key!

This reminded me that we can start young, but not actual piano lessons! Baby steps! I’m thinking I’ll keep going to music time at the play cafe in town, once a week. In the winter, maybe I’ll sign Zoe up for a music class at the rec center near our house. It’s kind of tricky, though, figuring out classes for both girls. I’m not sure if siblings are allowed to stick around? Fun stuff! Maybe Zoe can start mini-violin lessons at 3! Haha…I’m not sure if Jacob will go for too many different lessons, they’re pricey (for what kids seems to get out of them)!

Just thinking out loud, here. I want my kids to try out whatever activities they want. Hopefully, they will like music, art, sports, and also be geniuses academically. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?!

Let Go: A Note for Parents

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off,
it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To “let go” is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another,
it’s to make the most of myself.

To “let go” is not to care for,
but to care about.

To “let go” is not to fix,
but to be supportive.
To “let go” is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To “let go” is not to be protective,
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To “let go” is not to deny,
but to accept.

To “let go” it not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings, and correct them.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires
but to take each day as it comes,
and cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To “let go” is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go” is to fear less,
and love more.
-Unknown

I painted Zoe’s toes blue, for the 4th, and she flipped out (of course) because she wanted to paint nails herself!  *here comes my brilliant idea*

I gave her a little paint brush and a little bit of water, and I let her go to town, painting nails!  She is totally happy with this solution, and I don’t have to worry about things being ruined. Win-win!

So simple, but I don’t always think of things like this, myself, so I thought I’d share!

I painted Zoe’s toes blue, for the 4th, and she flipped out (of course) because she wanted to paint nails herself! *here comes my brilliant idea*

I gave her a little paint brush and a little bit of water, and I let her go to town, painting nails! She is totally happy with this solution, and I don’t have to worry about things being ruined. Win-win!

So simple, but I don’t always think of things like this, myself, so I thought I’d share!