Category: Uncategorized

Disconnected… Kinda

I deleted Facebook off my phone shortly after our vacation started. Anyone who knows me, knows this is a big deal. Not because I particularly love Facebook, but because a bunch of the programs I run work because of Facebook. So deleting it also meant letting go of it all for a short bit of time. Now I did ask friends to let me know if I was needed in those groups, but so far so good!

I also tucked my cell phone into the diaper bag (or the husband’s pocket). I can’t hear the alerts and only specific ones are sent to my smart watch. This was a necessary step for me to truly relax and enjoy a vacation with my kids. It’s amazing what one notices when their phone isn’t buzzing in their pocket constantly. And trust me when I say my phone buzzes All. Day. Long. Such as…

How much Pip observes when he doesn’t seem to be paying attention. Even when it appears he’s lost in his imagination, he still notices people and needs around him in the “real world” and comments on them to me.

How Liv is realizing people comment on her looks, and how it drives her crazy. She wants people to ask her about her age, her favorite color and all the things she knows. And she becomes very frustrated when too many people call her cute.

How they are finally turning the corner on car trips. Instead of needing a dividing line to stop wars, the giggles and songs from the back seat are now almost deafening.

How really really blue the ocean is here. The adorable white terns bobbing in the air when we were out on our whale-less whale watching tour. Olivia, the sea turtle, enjoying the waves splashing into her while she slept in the cove we visited. And so many rainbows.

Now, I’m not saying I’d miss all of this if I had my phone buzzing in my pocket. But I would miss some of it. And to me, some is just too much. Liv turns 3 in a few days, Pip just turned 6. And it’s already going by much too fast.

So, fellow mama, tuck the cell phone away for a while today. Notice what you hadn’t noticed before. And love on those kiddos big and small.

The Weather Outside is… Delightful?

It’s been quite the week of weather here in Colorado. It started in single digits and broke 60°F yesterday. We definitely are experiencing all the seasons this week!

To kick off the New Year, we’ve been paying particular attention to temperature. We enjoy looking over the day’s temperature changes using this site. Then we mark it down! Pip and I are each tracking the weather in our own ways.

I found this chart for Pip. Every night, before I go to bed, I place a line at the day’s high. In the morning, when he wakes up, he colors it in. It has started a lot of really fun conversations and learning experiences!

I have, ambitiously, started a weather blanket. So far I am really enjoying it! I may not make it all 365 days, but right now it’s a great way to unwind at the end of each day. And Pip loves checking in to see what color has been added!
Tara

Porch Swing Views: Bikes and Struggles

Today’s temperature has climbed to a gorgeous 64°F. As we left the co-working space we love, I promised the kids a picnic on the lawn and bike riding. I texted O on the way home to let him know the plan and he sweetly pulled out Pip’s bike.

Only to discover both tires were flat. Ug.

Thankfully we live ridiculously close to the library, where there is a bike fix-it station! We drove the two minutes up there to wait in quite the line for our turn. Apparently everyone had plans to enjoy the beautiful weather!

It struck me as interesting that some people would accuse us of not “doing” school today. But, in addition to music time at our co-working space, my kids were learning all day long. And pumping up the tires was just another learning experience. I showed them the parts of the bike. They helped me located the stem on each tire. We studied each tire to find the recommended PSI and then watched the dial as we pumping in the air to make sure we didn’t over inflate!

We returned home and I worked on some personal projects on the swing while the kids traded off between bikes. That is when the big lesson came. You see, Pip wants to learn to ride a two wheeler. And for any of us who can remember that long ago, that is sometimes a tough lesson. Today he became extremely frustrated with his seemingly minimal progress in this endeavor. He came up, rather defeated, to the porch where I was seated. We discussed frustration. What it feels like, what our brain might tell us and some options. He could stop for today. And that would be just fine. Or he could continue practicing. And that would be fine too. But only he could make the decision.

Hear me loud and clear. Every bone in my mama body wanted to rescue him. I wanted to swoop in, save the day, change the plan and bring back rainbows and butterflies for this sweet boy.

But, as much as my heart wanted that, my brain knew better.

I know, from research and my career, that struggle is important. Crazy important. Struggle teaches really important things. Like confidence, problem solving, “smartS” (IQ), emotional IQ and grit. (read more here)

So, I reminded him of his options. I gave him words for his feelings. And I let him know he was accepted with either decision. But I didn’t save him. I didn’t tell him what to do. I kept my bum firmly planted on that porch swing.

Now, I would love to tell you he ran back to his bike, hopped on and rode off into the sunset. But this is the real world folks. He didn’t master the two-wheeler today. He might not master it tomorrow. But he did choose to get back on that bike and try a few more times. And my heart, silently, bust wide open.

Just my view from the front porch swing.

Tara

Gameschool: Outfoxed

Word has spread in the family – a perfect gift for us is always a game!

Children learn so many fantastic things through games. Beyond just turn taking, patience and problem solving. You can target history, geography, math, critical thinking and more! Gameschooling itself it a huge movement in the homeschool community for good reason.

One gift the kids received for Christmas (thanks Nana!) was Outfoxed. Now, we are huge Gamewright fans, so we knew this one was going to be awesome.

Getting through the directions was a tad cumbersome, I’m not going to lie. But our little family of four figured it out and had a blast. Even though we lost!

Yep, “we” lost. It’s a fantastic cooperative game where it is players against the game. I love these games for my clients who a struggle with competition and/or anxiety. And cooperative games make it easy for the 2 year old to play with the 5 year old in our home! While Pip played mostly independently whole exercising his problem solving skills, Liv enjoyed rolling and learning how to move around the board, even if she didn’t understand the critical thinking aspects yet!

The game reminds us of Clue mixed with Guess Who, but in a simplified cooperative way! One of the foxes has committed a crime and you have to figure out which one is guilty! You are given pictures of all your suspects and clues hidden around the board. All the clue relate to what the suspects are wearing. It’s really quite ingenious.

Our group loss was clearly on Pip’s mind. When I woke up, I walked into the family room. Pip had the whole game set up, ready and waiting for our rematch against the foxes! Haha!

Round two was much more successful! We weren’t Outfoxed in round two!
Tara

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