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Forest School 2017: Day 1

I had learned about forest school via world wide web. I’d show videos to my husband and told him how much I wish we had one near us. It was pure chance that I found our local forest school!

A mom had posted on a local homeschooling group about the activities she was enrolled in and asked what others were doing this year. One activity was forest school! I couldn’t click that link fast enough! Thankfully, my children have some awesome grandparents that encourage their homeschooling and help support their extra-curriculars ❤️

Day one of forest school came and O was actually able to attend with us! Pip was so excited and had so many questions. His number one question? “Will there be mud mommy?”

After a week of daily rain, he definitely had mud! He was so excited! His excitement was clearly contagious, because soon he had company….

This little girl had her hands covered in mud and loved it!

Soon, the son of our leader came running through the mud barefoot. Pip’s mouth dropped open. He looked at me as if to ask “can I do that?!” With just a bit of encouragement from his leader (whose bare feet you can see) and me…

Soon the leader invited the children to join her in a group for a science experiment. She brought out canteens and poured some contents into each child’s cup. She asked them to hypothesize, wonder and notice. They discussed color, temperature, smell, flavor… And enjoyed sitting quietly drinking tea together on their first day of Forest School!

Soon they moved on to storytime, where they learned about “being present” and what that means in a group. And it physically involved a move as well. Up onto a boulder!

We moved our entire class to another location within the park to continue exploring, trying new games, and learning safety. We discussed what to do if they see a snake, finding support when they want to climb high and respecting physical boundaries for our play space. Liv loved this new space and boldly followed the big kids around exploring.

Pip watched some of the other boys ascend the large boulder. He gave it an attempt, but left discouraged. He soon because engaged in a game of “1-2-3-Where are you?” but continually looked back to the boulder and watched the more experienced boys climb. A short while later he ran over to his leader and called out “Miss Erin! Climbing!” She smiled, and called back “climb on!” (which meant she was ready to spot him). The smile on his face when he made it to the top made my mama heart explode. He stayed up there for 20+ minutes!

A quick lesson on how to find a good throwing rock helped transition the boys to the closing, which involved throwing said rocks over a ledge and telling everyone their favorite part of school.

He was sad to go, but completely exhausted! We can’t wait to return to the beautiful views and the adventure of exploring!

❤️ Tara

The first scare… 

Somehow both of our children have been able to give us a good scare before they were even a month old. 
Confession: I doubted I had any “mommy sense” when Liam was first born. His delivery was emotionally difficult and left me feeling like I was “behind” most other moms. You know, the ones who got to see their baby sooner than 2.5 hours after delivery. 

But every internal alarm went off when  things started to unravel for Liam. I’m so grateful for a pediatrician who believed in “mommy sense” and followed up… 

For those of you who have never heard this before…  Here is Liam’s story

But the view… 

This past weekend was absolutely beautiful. The weather, the sunshine. *happy sigh* I could see the snow capped mountains for miles. I constantly remind myself never to take this view for granted. 

Right now we are going through every single corner of our house and cleaning it out. We are physically putting a hand on everything we own and deciding if it should stay in our house or go. If it’s a “go”, out the door with it (which takes 2 votes). If yes (even just 1 vote) then we decide where exactly it goes. A place for every thing and every thing in its place. The main floor is a few feet of playroom floor space away from being done! 

After quite a few days in the house going through cabinets and cupboards, I had penciled in 2 hours all to me on Saturday. O took Pip and Liv to go pick us up some lunch. I, on the other hand, laced up my shoes and decided to set some sights on some personal records. 

And I nailed it. Longest run at home, some seriously consistent splits and a best time. Only missed my goal by 2 minutes. I’ll blame stop lights and call it a win! 

The Princess Half Marathon is just a few weeks away…  I had doubts as to my abilities back in January. But I know I’ve got the Half in the bag this time and can’t wait!

This next week I’m pulling out my sewing machine and working on my costume…. I’ll post here when I’m done! 

❤️ Tara

Family Movie Night

We don’t watch much TV in our house. We’ll go weeks without even turning it on. If it is on with the kids awake, we try to have it only be shows that teach (such as documentaries). Don’t worry,  Pip gets to watch movies at Nana’s house and cartoons with his cousins. He’s far from deprived and is up on all the modern references 😉

Growing up we watched a LOT of movies  by Feature Films for Families. After I was grown, the company put out a line for younger kids, known as “Stepping Stones”. My mom has continues to support the company long after we owned every film and has now made sure our kids all have a library of quality entertainment. 

So, last night we started a new family activity – movie night. Pip picked a movie, then he and daddy popped popcorn on the stove. Mommy and Liv pulled out snuggle blankets for everyone and found the big popcorn bowl. We pulled out “the parking garage” (a small basket) and put  our phones in it, placing them way over in the kitchen. Then we all got on mommy’ s couch (that’s a hilarious story for another time) and watched Jasper: Journey to the End of the World

If there was any doubt that my kid’s love language is quality time, you should have felt the happiness seeping out of his being for those 90 minutes. 

❤️ Tara

My town… 

Growing up I would always answer the “Where are you from” inquiry with a proud “Illinois!” Don’t get me wrong, I still answer that way and still call Champaign/Urbana my hometown. But moving around as much as we have means we have had a lot of places we call home. Which,  by default, means  we also have a lot of places we miss. 

I’m just starting to find the hidden gems in our, Lord willing,  final hometown. A good barn for my horse,  favorite restaurants and the mail lady at the post office knows me (ok,  really the kids) by name. I know shortcuts and can give newbies advice on where to find things. I even figured out how to order at our local coffee stand to get a pretty close replica of The Common Place’s beloved Holy Brown Cow (Gosh I miss Indiana, PA). 

This week I ended up meeting with a community board member for coffee. I wanted to learn some more about my community and he was more than willing to oblige. It affirmed my adoration of this town as I heard some of the amazing things going on here. 

Then today  I ran further than I ever have in my town. I usually run one for many loops I’ve mapped out that all bring me back home. Recently I found out that the local Episcopalian church has a prayer labyrinth on its property. So, tonight,  I ran the 4 miles to the church and spent some time in the labyrinth. Along the way I saw new things, understood how some paths connected and observed my town (and it’s people) in a whole new way. It was fun to see my town from a different perspective and fall a little more in love ❤️

Now to get some lined leggings… 27°F is no joke in summer running leggings!  Brrrr

❤️ Tara

Then and Now: Changes since the frenectomy

Then and Now: Post Lip Tie Tongue Tie Frenectomy | http://www.oliverandtara.com

So much has changed for Liam since we corrected the lip tie and tongue tie. I don’t even know where to begin!

Nursing: I convinced myself that Liam had just become a very efficient nurser – when in actuality, his latch would fatigue due to the lip and tongue tie! The first 24-36 hours after his operation were frustrating. He would slam his head off of me and really struggled to latch. Now? He’ll nurse 2 hours at a time! It’s crazy amazing!

Pre and Post Lip Tie - Tongue Frenectomy | http://www.oliverandtara.com

Straws: Liam has drank out of a straw since he was very young. We went almost straight from breastfeeding to straw with just a few bottles in between. He stunk at drinking from a bottle, he’d collapse the nipple. He did better with straws, but always would lose 50-80% down the front of him. I thought he was just “lazy” or “silly”. Now, less than 5% leaves his mouth when he drinks from a straw! It was startling! He can even blow a whistle!

Puckers: Liam couldn’t pucker his lips before. He’d ask for kisses with a kissy noise by placing his tongue between his lips. So, rather than being kissed, you ended up getting licked! Now? He loves to make “fishy faces” and kiss with puckered lips!

Speech: With an SLP mommy, I was *freaking out* about his lack of speech. He had a great “vocabulary”, but it was all receptive (he understood words) or in sign language. I knew his hearing was fine, so this lip tie/tongue tie was the missing piece. His speech has taken off since the surgery, making the biggest jump 4-6 weeks out! Practicing oral motor exercises were a big key in teaching him how to move his lip and tongue. Ask me more on this if you need it!

Weight Gain: We survived RSV back in January, and during that time Liam lost over 10% of his body weight. It was impossible to get it back on! My 9lbs 7oz baby was now in the 14th percentile for weight and not moving. When he ate, he’d fatigue. 5-10 minute tops when nursing, and very small amounts of real food. Now? He’s back to nursing like crazy and eating his body weight in ham, dumplings, tomatoes and Plum food pouches!

Sleeping: My little guy still woke 4-6 times a night. Talk about a tired mommy. And each time he was genuinely hungry! Which made the weight gain problem even more confusing. Once repaired? We’re down to 1-2 times a night and even that is dwindling! Hello sleep, my dear old friend!

 

Pre and Post Lip Tie - Tongue Tie Correction | What a wonderful smile! http://www.oliverandtara.com

Smile: This was my biggest worry – my son’s smile would change. The only smile I’d even known. And guess what… it did. And it’s ok. Honestly, it’s even cuter because of everything listed below. Well, that and those chubby cheeks!

❤ Tara

Inside Mommy’s Heart

Inside Mommy's Heart | A peek into the emotions of a mom tking her toddler for a frenectomy to repair a lip tie and tongue tie! http://www.oliverandtara.com

So I posted yesterday about the factual side of Liam’s lip tie and suspected tongue tie. All the details I’ve wrapped myself in. But I also want to be honest and open about the “real” side of this all. How my heart is. I am trusting God in all of this… but let’s be honest.

I am mad.

I am sad.

I am worried.

I am scared.

I am shattered.

If I give myself a moment to sit and think, I just want to cry. The image of what Thursday will hold is just overwhelming. We have to pin my child down to a table and violate his personal space. He won’t understand. He won’t know why. He’s going to be angry and scared and probably slightly traumatized. And this makes me mad. As a mommy I am FURIOUS. I am mad with the lactation consultant who blew me off. I’m mad at myself for not pushing for this more when he was younger – heck, we could have had this taken care of while he was in the hospital for his FIRST surgery. I’m mad that my child has to go through even more procedures. I feel like he has had his fair share already with pyloric stenosis, barium enemas, etc.

But this isn’t a pity party. This is just me being real. And of course, there is always a “moral” to my story. It’s given me time to think about what is helpful from others when in this situation (much like my tips for infertility) and what is NOT helpful. So, before you reply to me or anyone else, let me give you a few small tips for when you have friends going through something.

Don’t  sensationalize, don’t compare and don’t downplay.

Here is what I mean …

I already am sensationalizing and blowing this all way out of proportion in my own head. Please don’t say things that add fuel to the wild fire of my imagination. “Wow, he’ll probably remember this…” or “I wonder if this will traumatize him long term” or “wow, he will probably be really angry with you…” can stay locked up inside your head please. I have probably already thought it and don’t need someone speaking it into my life. Validate what I am feeling, and speak understanding into my life. “I would be so scared too” or “I can’t imagine, but I’m here for you…”

Yes, I realize I am blessed. I realize there are children out there going through way worse. I realize your child may have been through way worse. But let me hurt. Let me be mad and sad and tired.  And don’t compare your child’s much more minor incidences (“My kid fell off his bike, I know how hard it is to see your child hurt”) to this situation either. Just… let’s not play the compare game. Let’s play the “we’re mom’s, and we’re here for each other” one instead. That one is a lot more needed, appreciated and helpful.

Even if you’ve been through this, consider that whole “hindsight is 20/20”. It may seem less “big” on the other side, but from where I stand it is HUGE and overwhelming and painful. This goes hand in hand with the “don’t compare” point. We all have our trials on the path God has given us … when someone says “this is hard” let us surround them. Not “blow it off”. Don’t stand at the bottom of the mountain and tell me “it’s not that big”. Don’t stand at the top of it and tell me “it’s easy”. Don’t stand on your own mountain and say “Yours isn’t as hard/steep/etc as mine”.

This is our mountain to climb today, will you climb it with us?

❤ Tara