Monday, November 13, 2017

Holiday Mealtime

I am at that really exciting place in mothering brothers when they both admire each other but constantly want to compete with each other.  Everything is a race.  No one can have something the other doesn't or it becomes a really intense game of tug of war.  Preston is still young so many disputes end in me reasoning with Leavitt and redirecting Preston.  Unless it is mealtime.  

Preston still sits at  a highchair but he likes to be pushed up to the island to eat near his brother.  They like a lot of the same foods but Preston is by far my better eater, for now.  Until he's done and starts frantically throwing food on the floor so I get the memo.  I love that they like to eat together but throwing his plates on the floor is a real pain.  Leavitt pawns his unwanted food off on Preston, and Preston is always trying to steal Leavitt's drink.  

I found some really awesome ways to transition Preston into the big kid he wants to be while making my life so much easier!  Nuby makes these amazing Sure Grip Feeding Mats that suction to the table keeping it on the table and off the floor.   Preston thinks the monkey face is fun, and I am so glad I don't need to keep replacing plastic plates he breaks on the floor and it makes clean up that much easier.  These make great useful gifts for parents and grandparents! I am going to snag a few for the grandmas in our lives to have for when we make the rounds this holiday season!  You can grab one on Amazon here.

Speaking of grandparents, last night I took the kids to my mom's house for dinner.  My kids love for each other is fierce but their love for their cousins is equally matched.  With so many toddlers tearing up the house it can be easy to missed a tipped cup, or abandoned snacks.  Preston really wants to be in the action with his cousins so I have been using the same cups for my two kids in different colors so they can tell them apart.  Preston feels like a big boy using these adorable 360 wonder cups from Nuby!  I can't tell you how sweet they are when they cheers them together its precious! 

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the 360 Wonder cup, it features the 360 drinking action that allows baby to drink from any where on the rim! Now the range comes in new fun prints and is made of tritan from Eastman. Coming soon to Babies R’ Us stores.  Seriously snag these!  They are spill proof unlike any other, and come with a cover to keep them clean while on the go!  Kids love the the prints, Preston has claimed the airplanes, while Leavitt likes the red cup better.  I love that these work for my one year old and that my almost four year old likes it too.  It is encouraging Preston to use a big boy cup without stressing me out that there will be a mess if he knocks it over. 

This weekend has been a not so gentle reminder that the busiest season for moms is upon me.  While I love the hustle and bustle, and dinner invites galore, I really love the coziness of being home.  I would never say I like sick season BUT when Preston got sick last Friday, I put on the Christmas movies and really relaxed in the playroom with the kids.  I had my coffee, Preston had his new 360 Wonder cup with pedialyte , and Leavitt was using his new Snack N Sip cup.  

How clever is this little cup? It holds 9 oz of liquid in the bottom & 4.5oz of dry snacks in the top.  I was not a mom when we built our home so the playroom is a hike from the kitchen.  Which means it is a chore to get snacks and drinks to the playroom for movie time.  Leavitt loves having one thing to carry around with him and he thinks it is so cool to have them in one cup!  I can't wait to take it in the car too!  Perfect for holiday movies at home or road trips!  I can't wait until Preston can use one without spilling the snacks on top!  But I have a feeling Santa will be putting one in his stocking this year!  You can get one online here or in store at Walmart, & Babies R’ Us. 

Want to win a Sure Grip Feeding Mat? We are giving one away on Instagram!  You can enter here! Giveaway ends Thursday November 16th! Good luck!

Bringing up Leavitt is a Nuby parent blogger and was given products in exchange for reviews.  All opinions are and always will be my own.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Holiday Bucket list

It feels early to be talking Christmas, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't already planning my kids Christmas pajamas and dreaming about all the ways I will decorate our house this year.  I also am at that point in motherhood where I am totally sick of all the toys.  My kids are not however sick of toys so there will be plenty of that kicking around here this year but I am going to shift my focus from shopping to creating memories in the season.  I have been scouring the Internet since September for announcements and event schedules of things to do in Maine with kids.  It wasn't long before I had something going on every weekend from Thanksgiving to Christmas and to be honest I might regret that come January but I really want us to enjoy the magic of Christmas while the boys are still so small.  So I have come up with my Holiday Bucket list for 2017!

The Polar Express We have never done the Polar Express but from November 24th through December 23rd you can board The Polar Express in Portland and head the "North Pole" complete with hot chocolate, cookies, a visit from Santa and a Christmas story.  I can't wait to take Leavitt I know he will get a kick out of it since he's had me watching the Polar Express over and over for a week now.

Gardens Aglow  This event was all I heard about last year.  Everyone raved about how amazing it was and I was super jealous by the time I knew I had to go they had sold out so definitely get your tickets early!  They light up the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens with over 500,000 lights and you can walk the gardens.  They also have a S'mores pit, popcorn stand, and art exhibit.  This year it will run November 17th through December 31st.  I really think it would be magical to do with the kids, but then again it would make the perfect date night, or girls night out.  

Rockland Festival of Lights November 24th through November 26th Rockland has some really fun and uniquely Maine Christmas festivities.  On the 24th Santa arrives by Coast Guard Boat, you can enjoy coco, cookies, and free horse drawn carriage rides.  That evening they light the world famous lobster trap tree that was featured on the TLC Channel "extreme Christmas trees".  The 25th you can enjoy the carriage rides, gingerbread houses on Main St. and a parade at 5:00pm.  Sunday the 26th you can enjoy pancakes with Santa.  We have never been for the full festivities but I have taken Leavitt every year to see the tree during the week when the town is quiet.

Rudolph the Musical  Who doesn't love a Christmas Musical? I saw this show was going to be at the Wang Theater in Boston and was dying to go but logistics were stacked against me.  Getting a weekend free with the husband and leaving Preston behind because let's be honest a 15 month old doesn't want to see a musical.  So having a show in Maine may just be the way to make this happen for us!  I hope we get to attend the only drawback is its in the middle of the week at 7pm (who plans theses things?!)  We might be playing hooky from school the next day (#sorrynotsorry).

Magic of Christmas is a show put on by Portland Symphony Orchestra.  They will play at Merrill Auditorium for the 38th year!  I have never been but have a girls shopping trip and this show on the books for December.  I can't wait to dress up with my nearest and dearest gal pals and enjoy some traditional Christmas music in the gorgeous Merrill Auditorium.  If you are one of my gal pals and want in on this trip hit a sister up the more the Merrier!!

L.L. Bean Northern Lights Celebration is something we did last year and I am adamant we do it again.  They have the most charming Santa Claus in the cutest little barn that has some seriously magical reindeer in it.  There is a warming yurt this year with free hot chocolate and a letter writing station to send letters to the North Pole.  A model train village that will make all the little boys in your life go crazy.  There are also horse-drawn wagon rides, and the Discovery Forest with 600 trees lit up for a magical little stroll.  It truly is a great experience and the shopping isn't bad either!  It runs from November 18th - December 31st and the best part is it is all FREE!  Yes, you read that right, free.  Who doesn't love a perfectly magical free Christmas experience because lets be honest, the holidays are expensive enough!

Last year we went to a live nativity scene which ended up being a lot like an outdoor play.  It was at a local church and while I don't have any info on one in particular it would be worth it to check out your local churches in your area for Christmas plays, or live nativity scenes.  They really hit home what the season is truly all about.  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mom Code

As young girls, even as a young adult woman there was the unspoken Girl Code.  You know - no dating each others exes, no copying the same outfits, no gossiping, keeping each others secrets, and no fornicating with the enemy... whoever the enemy of the hour was.   None of that crazy applies to my current life.  Obviously becoming a wife and mom crosses plenty of that off the list and the rest is hopefully just irrelevant to adult life.  But then there is mom code.  Mom code is the unspoken code of conduct for us baby bearing broads.

Do not expect me to roll out a freshly vacuumed red (or any colored for that matter) carpet for you when you arrive to a play date.  I may answer the door.  I may just holler that its unlocked.  Obviously on a first mom date I will go out of my way to make you feel welcomed.  After that make yourself at home.

Real friendship is not high maintenance.  If I don't call you for a week its because I'm probably losing my mind or can't find my phone.  Hurt feelings over being left out are silly.  Invite yourself - it is one less thing for me to think about.      

Be real.  Sometimes I am put together  and my house is perfect - usually that's Thursday after my greatest luxury, my cleaning lady leaves.  If you pop in on a Wednesday we are a wreck.  Roll with it.  We live here.  Between the two kids, two dogs, and Tasmanian devil I married, I am doing good to be caught up on laundry and have food in the house.  

Day drinks.  Every now and then, the sun will come out, the kids will be playing in harmony, and a wave of relaxation hits and you think, "I would love a mimosa the size of my head" to really feel like I'm on vacation here.  Having a day drink with the girls is always fun because we don't have to plan for sitters, or stay up past bedtime, we can have a girls night in the middle of the day.  Then there are days when everything goes wrong and you need an emergency drink at the local hang spot because... life, kids, and husbands. 

There is no greater contribution to this world than the people we raise.  I love my kids beyond measure and I know you love yours too.   Of course they also drive us nuts.  I will never judge someone for saying their kid is acting like a jerk, or for sarcastic jabs spoken under your breath as you fill a sippy cup for the hundredth time, or remind your toddler to stop doing something while counting to three through gritted teeth.

This is real life, with real problems and trials.  If something in your life is totally going wrong and you need me I will get a sitter and be there.  If you really just need a sitter to be alone - drop them off.  Mom friends, aren't just friends it is a sisterhood.  A safe place to not take it all too seriously.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fruitsicles for Fall

This week has seen mother nature usher in that crisp fall air we wait all year to enjoy.  We have been enjoying the cooler air, but we are also suffering with the first virus of the season.  While I wade through the not so fun mom tasks of sick kids, one who is the proud new owner of molars, and even worse a sick husband, I have something fun for you guys!

While we love the season changing there are a few things the kids miss about summer.  No schedules, less clothing, and Popsicles.  I try to be creative with how I introduce new foods to the baby, but also getting my toddler to eat the same things.  So when I saw this Garden Fresh Fruitsicle Frozen Pop Tray from Nuby I had high hopes of getting the boys to finally try yogurt, disguised as a Popsicle, and all kinds of other clever concoctions.

When it arrived on my doorstep, it saved me.  The kids have had fevers and tummy issues the last few days.  Preston won't drink anything other than milk.  He hates juice and water.  He is also getting a brand new set of molars, which he is hoping came with a 30 day return policy.   After a trip to the pediatrician's office I swung through the pharmacy to snag an infant electrolyte drink.  He threw the bottle on the floor, and screamed what I am assuming were baby obscenities.  I happened to glance over at the Nuby box and was like electrolyte Popsicles might work, and oh did they ever.

I made two of the electrolyte pops, and put his favorite breakfast (pureed banana, cinnamon, and oats) in the other two spots.  Preston was obsessed and ate two in one sitting.  Leavitt also feeling under the  weather loved the strawberry electrolyte pops.  It was so easy to pour the liquid into the tray, or scoop the pureed food.  They felt like they were having a treat and for the first time in a few days I felt good about what they were eating. 

The Nuby Garden Fresh Fruitsicle Frozen Pop Tray features:
- Freeze and feed Popsicle molds, with perfectly shaped handles for kids.
- Turns purees and juices into 1 oz Popsicles.
- Wide base handle design catches drips.
- Soothes gums for teething babies.
- 6 months + 
- BPA free
The Fruitsicles Tray can be purchased here on Amazon.   

Want to win one? Enter to win one our Facebook Page Brining Up Leavitt

Bringing up Leavitt is a Nuby parent blogger and was given products in exchange for reviews.  All opinions are and always will be my own.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Preston's First Fiesta

If you have been keeping up you know my precious little man is one.  I threw him a little fiesta to celebrate his first birthday and we had the best time.  It is no secret we love our local Mexican restaurant so it felt perfect to host a fiesta theme for our favorite little birthday boy.

I'm not a huge kid party fan, and after my first born's first birthday he has had family parties only.  I  decided this needed to be as mom friendly as it was kid friendly because after all we do all the work, am I right mamas?  I know I am! 

I made a huge batch of "I made it a whole year mothering two children and we all survived"  AKA skinny margaritas, for my favorite moms to take the edge off while our kids bounced themselves silly in the pirate ship bounce house.  The dad crew sipped on their favorite local beers as bribery to spend a Saturday afternoon with sugar drunk children.

The cake was so cute!  Noelle at Sew Sweet always gets it right.  I ran the fiesta theme by her, showed her a couple pictures and she hit it out of the park per usual!  Preston devoured his entire smash cake and really went to town on it.  The rest of us had lemon cake with blueberry filling, which we enjoy on every special occasion around here.  The cake toppers came from Inspired by Alma and they were so stinking cute! We had discussed the theme and she instantly had something personal and fun for us.  She made one with Preston's name on it and then another one with the cactus and his age. She also sent matching cactus party picks that I scattered on the food table in different dishes and on the smash cake.  I love personalized everything so having his name was so special and fun, I will be keeping it as a keepsake for sure!  

The kids snacked on Chick-fil-A nuggets and waffle fries, my kids favorite treat.  Let's be honest there were plenty of adults perusing the kids food table snacking on waffle fries!  I figured I had better have some good bribery food if we were ever going to get the bigger kids off the bounce house!  I totally underestimated the level of destruction my older son and his posse are capable of and   am for sure renting a space if he has a party in December!  While my house was trashed I have to say it was worth every pit of shredded tissue paper just watching them all play together.  Leavitt has a really sweet group of friends and to see them all loving on his brother makes my heart so happy to watch them celebrating him.

On that note, someone bring me a margarita, how on earth is my baby one already?

I was provided with some of the items in this post.  All opinions are and always will be my own.  Post may contain affiliate links.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dear Preston: Year One


You are one.  I never thought I could love someone as much as I did your brother, and then you came and rocked my world with your light.  You have a gentle loving smile that reminds me so much of my dad.  I am blessed beyond measure with your perfect temperament.  I have yet to feel frustrated by you.  There is something extraordinary about your calmness and I cannot wait to see how this natural gift serves you in life.   Your easygoing nature has been the perfect compliment to your brother, and your dad and I could not love you more.  I adore your smile and your zest for life.  You cannot wait to keep up with your brother, and despite my reservations you already love to rough house with him.  I'm always so scared you will get hurt and then you emerge from under his pig pile with a smile ready for more.  Your fun loving side is only matched by your serene demeanor.  

In your first week of life you had attended church, been to my mommy group, dropped your brother off at school, and been my sidekick anywhere I went.  You hit the ground running with me and we haven't stopped since.  Now that you are ready to start running I can only imagine you will take off and not look back.  I hope you know I will always be standing there behind you cheering you on and shooting you a wink if you decide to look back.

Around three months we started going to the library while your brother was in school for the morning.  You loved looking at the other kids, singing the songs, and listening to stories.  You have a magnetic personality, people are drawn to you, and you always make their day by being happy to see them.  It is a gift not many have and I pray it stays with you, but something tells me it will.  Lately you have been showing signs of a temper, which has me feeling oddly proud.  You are a force to be reckoned with, and will not be pushed around.  A couple weeks ago while I made breakfast you found a stray fishing lure and hooked yourself with it.  While that is a story for another time, you shocked me with how high your pain tolerance is and I have more gray hair than ever. 

Your first word was "mumma" and I did a major celebratory dance inside that I could claim that!  You say "dada" a lot now too which has him pretty smitten.  I watch your dad look at you with so much pride in his eyes it makes me love him even more.  The way you look at him and crawl to the door to greet him is the sweetest thing, and I'm sure after a long day at work away from you that it is exactly what he needs.  That's the thing about you, while you need us, we are getting so much more from you.

I hope you can feel my love and prayers being poured into you every day.  The lord has trusted me with you and I can think of no greater calling than to raise you.  I know you are going to continue to bless our little family, and show us all the ways you will make us better.  You'll forever be this baby to me.  A husky little baby, ready to run, crazy for a hug, explorer of your world, and a sucker for a good nap.  

So incase you don't already know - you are so loved, treasured, and adored.  We could never repay you for the happiness you have brought our whole family, so I'm sure you will work on figuring out how to even the score as you inch towards two!  We love your Preston Frederick and can't wait to see how far you go in your next year!

All my love,


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Preston: The Birth Story

I am not a huge fan of birth stories.  Some people love them, I don't happen to be one of those people but I never want to forget that day.  So for the sake of my memory and anyone who loves a birth story here we go!

5:30AM I wake up soaked.  I am not totally sure if I peed my pants (gross but possible), if my toddler peed on me in his sleep (also gross, also possible) or if my water broke but I know I need to get up.  As soon as my feet hit the floor so does some more water.  I jump in the shower knowing we just spent our last night as a family of three.  I let Nick sleep and text my doctor.  As I finish getting ready Leavitt wakes up and I get him breakfast and ready for school.   

8:30AM I drop Leavitt off at school.  He's crying.  I start crying.  Pissed we are sharing our last moment together in this little school kitchen crying in front of what feel like strangers.  The teachers suggest my tears are making it worse, so I tell them I will be having the baby today, which for some reason is really difficult to verbalize.  It was so hard to have to say bye to him as the baby there.  I kept telling him his grandfather would get him from school and he could come see me later.  

9:00AM I get to my doctors office who confirms my water broke.  He seems to think I did a good job breaking it as he shows me on an ultrasound what looks like my baby kissing the placenta.  He sends me over to the hospital.  I start to let my mind calm down knowing all these visits to this office were all in preparation for today and I need to just let everyone do their job when I get to the hospital.  I call my husband who is at work, and I head home to finish packing. 

10:20AM  we check into the hospital.  I start to feel super calm.  I chat with the registration girl about how different the hospital is since I got done working there.  The first of a dozen people who will recognize me, making me nervous I will have to be vulnerable around people I know.  

Our last picture together before we became parents for the second time.

In the afternoon we had visitors bringing Nick food, checking to see how long before we have this little guy.  I relaxed most of the afternoon.  Checking in with my father-in-law who had picked up Leavitt from school for us.  I brought a travel oil diffuser, calming music, and prayed to keep things into perspective.  Sitting around makes my mind wander.  I started thinking about the last time we were all up there together welcoming one little one into the family and saying goodbye to another.  It was so important to keep my mind positive so I refocused myself on little Preston and how lucky I am to be his mom.  

At about 4:30PM I got my first epidural... that had to be taken out and replaced.  Then the second epidural was only working from the knee down.  By the time it started working where I needed it to I could feel literally nothing and was kind of excited to be pain free for the first time.  

6:00PM.  A quick chat with my doctor and he was heading home, he told Nick and my mom that it would be another 6-12 hours.  I knew that couldn't be.  I just knew he would be here sooner than that.  But I trusted my doctor so I tried to get some rest.

Around 8:00PM My mom went for a walk but when they checked on me while she was gone I had progressed enough that they needed to call my doctor back.  I finally put the gun to Nick's head to pick a name for the baby.  We had agreed on Preston months ago but needed a middle name.  Nick suggested we use Frederick, my Dad's first name, who passed when I was 6 months pregnant.  It also happens to be Nick's great grandfather's first name.  I laid there for a few moments as they wrote his name on the board thinking about all the ways I hope Preston is able to be like my Dad even though they will never meet here on earth.  My Dad loved life and having fun, thinking about him gave me a good smile and I really knew everything would be OK.

At 9:10PM my doctor was getting ready to let me push soon, and my sister showed up.  
After two contractions of pushing the doctor asked me who was cutting the cord.  Nick said he was all set to stay up by my head.  So I said I wanted to do it.  Then the doctor tells me ok, he will be here soon.  

9:35PM he was born.  So peaceful.  No crying, just staring at me.  The most perfect coloring, precious pouty lips, and dark hair like his mama.  The nurse begged him cry, shaking him on my chest with a towel to irritate him into a cry.  My mom and sister told me after that made them nervous.  I wasn't nervous at all though.  The way he looked at me, his perfect color, and his rooting around in the first few minutes I knew he was fine.  After a minute of bonding the doctor hands me the cord and a pair of scissors with Preston still on my chest I cut the cord.  My doctor then jokes I'm his new hero, I am pretty sure I laughed at that... he's an old army doc after all.  

Our first picture together just moments after he was born. 

There it is folks, the nitty gritty details of meeting Preston for the first time.  It was a great experience and I would do it all again tomorrow if I could.  The mix of hormones, adrenaline, fear, love, the whole darn circus of emotions somehow always make me feel so at peace.  Never have I felt greater purpose for my life than in the moments leading up to and after giving birth.  I will always feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to have had this experience, and it having been a good one.  So many people can't say that and I don't take it for granted that I can.