Monday, October 27, 2014

Why I will not be forcing my kids to share

In the midst of the insane, vast, chasm of doubt and uncertainty that is parenting, I am one that likes to arm myself with as much knowledge and advice as possible from the experts. I read, and read and read in order to grasp some tiny little piece of confidence that I am in fact doing the right thing and not effing my kid up 4lyfe. One thing that every parent of a toddler will agree with is this - SHARING IS A B#$^*! I love love love getting together with other mommy friends I love going to the playground and I love being social with my kids......HOWEVER, about 8 or so months ago I started having anxiety about all of this because Noah was NOT sharing. Instead, he grabbed, yanked, bumped kids out of the way, and in general just wanted ALL THE TOYS! OMG, I thought... Everyone is going to think its because I'm a bad mom, they are totally talking smack behind my back about my bratty kid (he is SO not a brat but I didn't want anyone else thinking that he was!), my kid won't have any friends, what am I doing WRONG!!??? It was SO painful trying to get him to try to understand how to share and not hoard toys and I was actually really really upset about it all. I read as much as I could on the subject but nothing really seemed to work until I read this great book, Its ok not to share and other renegade rules for..... which made it all click for me. We are SOOOo much better off now that I feel like I understand and can empathize with him better.



Here are the rules I employ and if you are a parent with a toddler maybe take a look to see if any of this resonates with you....

1) No grabbing. This is the big one. I'm sorry Noah, he/she is playing with that now. You can have a turn when she/he is done.
No, just because you want to play with something does NOT mean that the other person has to "hurry up and finish using that". Yes, it looks WAY more exciting because someone else is using it but no, you may not just have something just because you want it, and grabbing is REALLY not ok. This is not how the grown up world world works either. Crying will not help. Sorry. Go play with something else and we can let this person know that when they are done we would really like to play with it. Readers, I am telling you, you will be ASTONISHED at how benevolent a toddler can be if he is shown some respect regarding his playthings. Also, if he is having trouble handing it back on his own I say "Noah, you can either hand that back or mommy can help you. Please try again." 9 times out of 10 he *astonishingly* does it on his own without trouble. If he can't then I say, "I know, that toy looks like SO much fun, but ____ was playing with it, so we need to hand it back. Lets go swing- UNDERDOG!!!!!!!!!!!" (Yes, I make a giant fool out of myself multiple times on a daily basis)

2) No bringing toys to a common play area (parks & playgrounds/playdates/etc) if you can't be ok with other kids playing with them when you are not. 
That's just annoying and its flaunting and it makes other people not want to be around you. When Noah says to me "BRING TRUCKS!" to the park, I say, well YES lets bring the truck, but if someone else wants to play with it when you are done you are going to need to let them. "NO!!!! LEAVE TRUCK HOME!!!" Ok, no prob! Good choice.

3) I will not allow kids or their parents to take toys from you while you are still playing with them (forced sharing)
When Noah is playing with something and having a blast, and another kid wants the toy, I will help him out if it looks like he is being bullied into handing it over (and Im talking about other parents too). No, he is still playing with it and I let him use HIS words. I say, Noah, are you still playing with that? and he says to me "Yes". Well then, tell them! And he says directly to the kid, "Im still PLAYING with it!" Then I say, ok, looks like Noah is still playing but do you want a turn when Noah is done? Then both kids feel like they are heard and that maybe soon they can have that interaction on their own now that they know that its a possibility.
At music class the other day I witnessed a kid yank a toy from a little girls hands (that she was clearly still playing with). She went to grab it back and her dad said to her "honey, you have to share". Um, she was ROBBED is what happened, and her dad was really meaning well but seriously did NOT have her back. What was happening was simply not fair, and she knew it and a meltdown ensued. They had to leave she was so upset. Why did she have to share that toy? If someone else wants it and grabs it you have to be ok with that? What does that teach either child? a) that grabbing gets you what you want and b) that people can grab things from you and you *HAVE* to be ok with it because "we SHARE with our friends".  Seems a little wonky.


4) You can take as long a turn as you want with that toy unless it is common property or belongs to someone else (swings at a playground/a toy someone brought to the park/etc) 
You are playing with a toy? Have AT it kid! Play play play. If you are truly engrossed in your playtime and its not bothering anyone then by all means, go for it. Playing is learning at this age and the longer kids play the more circuits are being built in their brains to help them be as smart and cool and developed as possible. I totally geek out on this science of play building brains and I want to help that along! The caveat is that if you are in a public area and the toy is sort of a public property then I think a little consideration is in order- for example, no hoarding of a special toy or piece of cool playground equipment. I say to Noah, yes, go ahead play with that ball/jumprope/etc, but it looks like when you are done, So and so wants to use it. When the pressure is off to "hurry up", the hoarding seems to be less important, and the TRUE generosity emerges.

If you have multiple kids you can employ these tactics at home for practice too! Zoe is 7 months old but she always wants to be up in Noahs toys, esp whatever he is playing with. She will roll her little pudgy adorable self over to him and grab his toys. I make a show of it to Noah, saying "Noah, are you still playing with that toy? Tell Zoe you aren't done" and he does. I say to Zoe "Zoe, silly! We dont grab! Noah is still playing with that, lets play with this instead"--- This way, when Noah grabs toys from Zoe which happens every day, I say to him, oh, try again Noah! Do I let Zoe grab toys from you? .... "No", he says. "Ok, please give it back". HE GETS IT EVERY TIME.


I feel like I have unearthed a parenting treasure and it makes me very very very happy. Now, lets go on to the other 10000000000000billion parenting issues.


What tactics do YOU use to help your toddler learn how to interact with other kids well? I would love to hear them!

XOXO, 
Eva

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

10 Things Kid-Free Friends Do That Annoy People With Kids

This week has been especially difficult as a parent and on top of that I have been seeing a ton of blog posts about things that people with kids do to annoy people who don't. I decided to turn those tables. Tongue planted firmly in cheek, so no one get all salty.



1) Sleep 
This is first because its a big one- the BIGGEST one. I didn't know sleep deprivation until I had children. Night after night of waking up to tend to your adorable spawn is something that will drive ANYone insane. One night of going out and partying or staying up too late then having to get up for work the next day is one thing, doing that every night is another story. My perennial under eye bags are not going anywhere anytime soon. IF you are thinking about having kids just start sleeping right now. Seriously. Put it in the bank.

B) Eat a meal 
(with no interruptions)
When you have a child you feel like you will never ever ever eat a normal meal again. Last night our meal consisted of telling Noah that chairs are for SITTING about 13 times, and finally giving up and strapping his adorable butt into the high chair. He wants me to feed him, he wants ME to eat his food, he wants more, he needs a spoon not a fork, he needs water OMG it goes on and on. Also, all of this is done holding my 6 month old daughter on my lap that entire time.

4) Use the bathroom
(alone)
The first thing Noah says when I say I need to go to potty (yes, I say potty now) is " MY COME TOO!!!!!" and his little legs race past me to the bathroom door and flings it open. "Here mommy! HERE mommy!!!", he says, escorting me into the bathroom and showing me where the toilet is. "SIT HERE" he says. Then he proceeds to take the toilet paper roll to a section of the bathroom where I can't reach him and start to unroll the entire thing. Then I have to waddle over to the TP and salvage what I can in order to wipe and then pull up my pants while he is ransacking my medicine/makeup/toilet brush. Washing hands is another story and I can't get into that right now.

3) Have a house free of toys
You may walk unhindered around your home without fear of tripping over, kicking, or stepping on a sharp object. The WORST is when your kid is napping and you accidentally kick something and it shoots across the room and bangs into the wall, waking your child. WTF.

5) Take a shower
I schedule in my showers now. I have to schedule in my showers now. I really do schedule my showers now. I still don't get enough showers. Showers are a luxury. Blowdrying my hair is unheard of. I have been forced to embrace my natural hair texture.

G) Put a cup of liquid down and not have it spilled. Thats all. 

9) Not negotiate with tiny terrorists
Refereeing children not wanting to share is not for the weak of heart. That shizz is serious. My iPhone timer gets a LOT of play these days. Changing a poopy diaper of a writhing 2 year old is not a small feat. It takes a lot of patience ( and physical strength)

E) Just walk out of the house when you are ready to leave. 
Today it took me 10 minutes, a puppet show, chasing, (taking a 2 minute break on the couch to catch my breath), pretending not to care, all to get Noah's pants on him. We finally got everyone ready to go out the door, and Zoe pooped. Start over. Getting children out of the house from the time you start to the time it happens should be in the parenting Olympics. I am so so so salivating over the memory of deciding to leave the house and then, just, leaving.

 I love you my child-free friends and you 100% deserve your lovely unhindered existence. I adore my children and I would do it alllllll over again a billion times over. If you don't have humor .... you don't have anything. Especially when it comes to parenting.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guest Blogger - House Style!!! Top Ten Decor Rules

My dear friend Rory Gruler is an uber stylish and fabulous home decorator. I first met Rory when we were living in Key West in our twenties- being young and carefree and it was a beautiful time to be living in paradise! We became friends almost immediately and I have always admired her amazing style. Over a decade and many moves later, we have come to a very different stage in both of our lives! Since she just launched her own blog which chronicles her relocation from Charleston, SC, to Augusta, GA, I asked her to guest blog about her 10 house rules that she styles by! Check it out.....


""In less than a year, I have built a house, sold a house, bought a house and moved to Augusta, GA from Charleston, SC. While I have always loved to decorate (in fact, I used to rearrange my play room as a child so it “flowed” better), the past year has made me more of a house expert and has catapulted my love for design and space into something bigger. In my quest to create the perfect home for myself and my husband, I have acquired certain rules that I follow. Below are 10 of them.

1. Color is your friend
When you enter my house, the first thing you notice is color. I prefer brights oranges and yellows, deep blues and rich reds. You will also notice that all of these colors are mostly accent pieces, this is explained in rule number 2.



2. Spend money on your couch
This is where you sit, where you watch tv, where you entertain, where you accidentally nap. Spend money on it. Also, in regards to rule number 1, buy a neutral couch. You might be obsessed with turquoise today, but hate in a year, so this is why you use your pops of color with accent pieces that can be changed easily. 



3. Cohesive details
In our new house, that was actually built in 1929 - so not really new, all of the light fixtures, switch plates, and knobs where different. Take a trip to Lowes/HD/Etc, go to the decorative aisle and make it all match. It will make a huge difference.


4. Dried Flowers
After reading a book about Feng Shui over a decade ago, I have followed many of the rules. One of them is that dried flowers are bad luck. I do not follow this rule. How could I ever NOT have my dried wedding bouquet on display. I don’t care if brings my home bad Chi, marrying my husband was one of the best moments of my life, I enjoy that daily reminder of the dried bouquet that lives in the sun room.

5. Husbands
Speaking of husbands… We have lived in 3 homes together in the 5 plus years that we have been together. He has always let me take the lead on decorating, even though he sometimes has strong opinions. Here is my trick… When decorating, don’t ask you significant other what he loves, ask him what he HATES. I took my husband to Lowes before I bought new lighting fixtures. With our heads facing up glaring at the hundreds of lights and fans, I sweetly said, “Honey, which one these do you hate?” He started pointing and I made mental notes. If I had asked him what he liked, he would have become flustered and/or too opinionated. But he was easily able to articulate to me exactly what he hated. I firmly believe that people know what they don’t like, more than what they like.

6. Buy a Roomba
Having a dog that sheds is no bueno. Get in your car, drive to your local hardware store and purchase one immediately. Set it to run daily and your life will be changed. It is the best purchase I have ever made. Also, once we bought our roomba, we made sure that all other furniture purchases were once that were elevated or had legs so that roomba could easily vacuum under these items.

7. Do not store anything under your bed
When the husband and I moved from our rental to our first home, I was utterly and completely embarrassed when the movers lifted our bed. I had tupperware boxes of clothes and piles of magazines and enough dog hair to make at least 5 new dogs. Even though we had a roomba in that house, because of all of the clutter under the bed it never got vacuumed, meaning we had been sleeping over pounds of dog hair for 2 years. It was disgusting. Remember your bed is where you sleep and hopefully have sex with your significant other. Do you really want these activities to take place over a mound of dog hair and filth?

8. Trends
Do not spend a ton of money on trends. When chevron started showing up everywhere, I was obsessed, but I remembered that this trend could be overused and it is. Instead, I sewed chevron pillows and curtains. I didn’t buy any major pieces with chevron. I still love my chevron and use it sparingly now, but I am so glad I didn’t buy a chevron couch or paint a chevron wall.



9. Photos
After I decorated our first home, the husband said, “We sure do have a lot of photos of ourselves, don’t we look vain?” The answer is no, we do not look vain. My house is filled with framed photos of memories of our wedding, friend’s weddings, our family, our dog, basically  our life. It is nice to walk through my home and see moments of happiness.

10. Build a space for a life you want, maybe not the life you currently have
My husband and I do not have children, but we want to have them one day. We have a room that is already the nursery. It’s not a crazy, scary, designed nursery with a fake baby doll that I pretend is real… It’s just a room that we know we will use as a nursery one day.



Check out Rorys blog by clicking link below and follow her to watch her transform her new house into a home! 



XOXO, 
Eva

Friday, September 12, 2014

Postpartum Weight Watchers Update



Hi there everyone. I haven't given an update for a while on my post babe weight loss journey and it is NOT because it isn't going well. Its actually been going great, ups and downs, but that is ok because that is how weight loss usually goes.  Here is my progress situation.

Height: 5'8
Starting Weight: 163.2
Current Weight: 152.4
Goal Weight : 145

I have lost almost 11 pounds since starting and it has made an enormous feeling in how my clothes fit me. I am close, but not quite there yet. It certainly feels great to be on my way though. The biggest thing that I have changed is not whether I eat the foods I like, but eating them in moderation. Its not easy planning healthy meals for myself when I literally sometimes only have 4 minutes to stuff some food down my throat before moving on to the next toddler activity, but I have found that planning ahead really helps. I make meal plans every sunday and make a list and stick to it. My grocery lists follow the floor layout of the grocery store because I'm a geek like that. It works.

Also, I have been reading a book called A Course in Weight Loss, by Marianne Williamson. She is a spiritual advisor and I really love her message. In her book she discusses and lays out a plan of getting to the root of the problems. As in - why you are overeating in the first place. I find it pretty interesting- its pretty spiritual so if that talk is not for you I totally understand. It is definitely not for everyone, but I am really liking what I am reading so I am combining it with the practical advice that weight watchers provides.

As far as exercise goes.... I don't have time for the gym. I really and truly do not. Therefore, I have been incorporating exercise into my day. I walk with the dogs and the kids every morning, I do lunges and sit ups while singing my kids to bed for nap time, and I just do everything I can to sneak exercise in here and there. I cannot wait for the day that I can consistently take a yoga class but right now its just not happening.

I am really excited about the effectiveness of my lifestyle change and that I seem to be going in the correct direction. I haven't been under 150 lbs for decades so if I get there I will probably do something really crazy. Not sure what that crazy thing is, but I will do it. Happy Friday everyone!

XOXO, 
Eva

Thursday, September 11, 2014

DIY Natural Scented Laundry Detergent




I love luxurious products and I love saving money and this is such such such an easy way to have it both ways. This concoction is safe for HE machines and can be whipped up in about 15mins. Lavender is one of my favorite scents so I use the ubiquitous hippie soap Dr. Bronners in its bar form. Love it. I feel safe using these products because I know whats in them! Since I use higher priced Dr. Bronners which is $5 a bar this comes out to 9cents a load but the cheaper the soap the lower the cost of each load obviously. I just LOOOve my lavender and won't let it gooo.....


Ingredients- (usually all available at your grocery store)
2 cups washing soda
2 cups Borax
1 bar of soap (you can use cheapy ivory or whatever too if you like! My first batch I used Fresh's lemon soap- spendy but YUM!!!!!)


Mix the first two ingredients together in a container, Grate the soap then chop finely into a powdery texture (or use a food processor to grate finely), and add to mixture. Put lid on and shake it all up. 

Use 1/8 cup for smaller loads and 1/4 cup for larger. Boom. 


XOXO, 
Eva

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life Lately- I heart fall.

Hey hey hAYYYYYY!!!! I haven't been around for a few and I miss you all! Its been crazy up in here. Two kids, two dogs, a household, competing nap schedules- the whole deal. I find it difficult to get ANY me time in (that includes showering) and this blog definitely and unfortunately takes a back seat! BUT... Now that Fall (my absolute favorite season) is upon us, I have been thinking about new clothes. I have indeed lost a good amount of postpartum weight with weight watchers and my size is now to a point where I feel like I can start shopping for investment pieces again. Here is my list of current obsessions for my fall spruce-up... Click on the images to take you shopppppppppping!!!!

1) Run around boots- I'm done with Shearling style boots this year. Its gone too far for me. Instead, i want a pair of leather boots and I will either find a pair that has a shearling lining or just find really amazing socks to wear with them for warmth. The uggs have run their course in my wardrobe. I have my eyes on these Fryes.... Yum.



2) New Cardigans to take me from fall into winter. Im obsessing over this honey mustard hue. Loving Modcloth right now.



3) Long sleeve tees and leggings- American apparel currently has my vote for basics.




4) A few trapeze dresses- I am wild over flower child swingy dresses like this one!



5) Sweater dresses- scarf, tights, boots boom. Done.



6) a good hair coloring- Its time. my hair has stopped falling out and its time to get it done again. No more lollygagging. Here is my inspiration. LOVE. Kate Beckinsale with fantastic highlights.


And of course, Here is little Miss Zoe Bean looking like she wanted to show off her fall style... As you can see, she is dressed in the exact color palette I am craving myself.



XOXO, 
Eva






Thursday, July 31, 2014

Now and Later Mini Dress. Thrifty Thursday


Hello and happy Thursday my lovelies. So.... I am a sucker for florals (Im a true Libra who adores pretty things) and I especially love a winter floral because it pairs so well with black, grey, and brown (my staple wardrobe colors). Well, I purchased this little mini dress ($17.80!!!) from Forever21 last week and I'm adoring it. I wanted to show you all ways to wear slip dresses now and into fall for maximum versatility. Check it out.


NOW- worn with sandals, aviators, and some little bike shorts underneath so that when Im playing with Noah at the playground I won't get the police called on me for indecent exposure. I love how loose and fluid it feels! Perfect for a super hot summer day.


Then I paired it with skinny jeans, brown boots, a belt to shorten it a bit, and a simple cocoon cardigan over the top. I will definitely be rocking this in the fall. 


Look around your closet, Im positive you have many items like this dress that can be transitioned into early fall for maximum versatility.

XOXO, 
Eva