Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

June 19, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Every year, Father's Day is sort of a bitter sweet holiday. I'm saddened by the fact that my own father wants nothing to do with me, at the same time so very happy to see my own husband become an amazing dad. I think our culture under appreciates fathers and those who carry on the roles of dads. We put a lot of emphasis on mothers and what they do, but the male role in the family gets overlooked more times than not. 
Fathers are not just a half of the embryo equation but truly most important people in children's lives. I think it's time we placed fathers into the position they should be. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but I wonder how many fathers would pick up the slack and do their part if only we, mothers, give them a chance. If we respect father's opinion on what the children should do, where they go and how they behave without constant critique, they we will be more involved in their children's lives. And isn't that what we all want? A father who is present and an active caretaker of his children, not just an occasional babysitter. 

So this father's day, I'm happy to see my family grow with another munchkin, knowing that she will be loved, disciplined, spoiled and cared for by her daddy. Although we may disagree on things sometimes, only because I'm a mother my voice doesn't trump his, and vice versa. 
I hope you take time this weekend to thank and honors fathers or those who play a role of a father in your life, or your children's lives. 
Happy Father's day to you dads!

May 13, 2015

Family Vaca Recap

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we were taking a family vacation. It was the first time we took Jonathan with us while going away from home. He had the time of his life. From (super nice) family relatives with stayed with to the daily activities, all attention was on him. We visited the local zoo, took walks in the park, went to the beach, ate at cool local restaurants and visited the coolest aquarium I ever saw. It was nice to get away and do things as  a family. Although hubby and I didn't get a chance to get away just the two of us, we enjoyed our selves very much. The roughest part was driving for sixteen hours straight. We had a few bumps along the way - one of which was me falling on and bruising/scuffing my knee. I'm doing ok but the knee will take some time to heal, making me not a very good candidate for fashion posts. Ha! Thank you for stopping by. 

March 22, 2015

Mommyhood: Potty Training Mistakes and Victories


Jonathan turned two years old about a month ago and I would say we have completed his potty training right around then. To be honest, I was a bit optimist starting the process at 9 months old but if I have been a little more persistent, I would have had him (and myself) trained out of diapers earlier.

Long story short we did it and I couldn't be happier. But, do accidents still happen? Yes. Do I forget to take him to the bathroom at a restaurant and he tells me too late that he has to go, while I don't have a change of clothes? Yes. Does he not ask to go to the bathroom while out at a birthday party with his aunt? Yes. But I consider them small mishaps because most of the time he asks to go (sometimes annoyingly too many times). I'm ecstatic that we are done with potty training before the baby arrives because changing two diapers would just be exhausting. Well, here's what I learned from our process.

March 2, 2015

Ideas for Indoor & Outdoor Toddler Activities

Winter is long and brutal around these parts of the world. Most of the time we are indoors because it's either too cold or we are stricken with another disease. Although there were times when we actually ventured out and left a few footprints on the snow. It's fun and tiring at the same time. When we are indoors we try to stay busy with different kinds of activities but I wouldn't say we are extremely creative. Most of the time new and unusual things will keep Jonathan occupied for a long time. For example a 3 foot Styrofoam bendable cable that daddy had left over from one of the projects is a substitute for a stick - it's soft and safe, he can fall and play with it as he wants.
Her are some other ideas


Build a Fort: kids love nothing more than small spaces they can crawl in and out of. They love forts and those aren't hard to make. Just grab couple chairs and old blankets and make a fun day of play inside

Finger Paint
This might involve a little more work and a lot more supervision but kids love it. Finger paint is cheap and can be purchased at Dollar Store or any craft store. They love to get their hands dirty and making a colorful splash on paper will be beyond exciting

Jump Over Mountain
Jonathan is constantly building huge piles out of pillows and blankets on the bed or on the floor. He loves jumping on them and because it is soft, it's quite safe. Just make sure to supervise if it's on the bed because they loose orientation quickly and can fall right off.

Balloons: every kid (and adult) loves playing with balloons. They are a cheap and fun entertainment that won't annoy you for long and you can be sure will keep the kids occupied. Grab different colored balloons and blow them up to fill a whole room. Play to your heart's content and then pop them when you are done. 


Sledding: grab some sleds and make snow tracks. Although the temperatures may be freezing the kids won't be cold because they are constantly moving and enjoying it. Plus they will sleep so much better after getting some fresh air

Ice Skating: grab some skates and drag that kid on the ice. Chances are, he/she will like it. It is tiring and physically exhausting activity for both parents and kids so there won't be any fighting about bed time.

Walking: bundle up and take a walk. It seems like a lot of work because you have to put on a million layers first on your child than on your self but they will enjoy a change of scenery

Visit the Library: most public libraries have a children't section. It's free and it's fun, with new books and pals to play. What could be better? 

Hardware Store Lessons: most hardware stores offer Saturday morning classes for toddlers and up in which they have many hands on activities. It's free and all you have to do is sign up.

How do you battle winter boredom? What's your trick to keeping toddlers occupied? 

Thank you for stopping by
xo, Anna 

xo, Anna 

November 7, 2014

Farewell to Fall {Family}

Parent | Toddler | Family | Fall Pictures | Happy Medley

Last month, when it was exceptionally warm and the leaves were still just beginning to change color, we headed to the park for some family time. It was warm and sunny and a lot of fun for Jonathan. He gave me my first leaf (most moms receive flowers as a gift, I get leaves.) It was beautiful.

Most of the time, in the busyness of life, we rush through things. Even that day, husband was on a mission to get things done and we had limited time at the park. But what strikes me the most is that weeks later I don't even remember why we were rushing. I do, however remember, this beautiful sunny day and the time we spent together.

I'm preaching to myself here, people, because most of the time, I'm running around like a chicken with her head cut off, instead of enjoying the moment. 
With the upcoming holiday season, take the time with your family to just slow the heck down. Don't get caught in the consumer driven mantra of the season and instead do meaningful, quality things with your family. They will appreciate it more than any kind of present in the world. 

Thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Here is a list of sales going on this weekend in case you decide to do  some online shopping on Saturday morning! It's the best - never leave your home and score some deals.

Nordstrom -> up to 40% OFF ends 11/11

J.Crew Factory -> 30% OFF everything {use code EXTRA30}

Old Navy -> up to  50% OFF everything

GAP -> 40% OFF everything (ends 11/10) {use code FFSALE}

Banana Republic -> 30% OFF full prices {use code BREXCITED}

J,Crew -> 25% OFF fall favorites and extra 30%OFF SALE items {use code GETWARM}

Ann TaylorExtra 60% OFF all SALE style,  $49.50 select full-price sweaters; 40% off full-price Ann cardigans

DSW: $10 off $74, $25 off $139 or $40 off $199 using code SHOPNOV

Kohl's: $10 off your purchase of $25 or more using code VETSDAY10 in store

LOFT: extra 60% OFF SALE styles in stores & online 

Lord and Taylor60% off all coats & 50% off all cold-weather accessories today & online 

September 24, 2014

Things You Don't Appreciate Until You Have a Toddler

Time is flying way too fast around these parts. With fall in full swing  and Jonathan entering toddlerhood, I catch myself wishing for this stage to never end. On the other hand, I can't wait until he is a little more independent and we are over the potty training (oh the joys of potty training). I'm definitely learning to enjoy my time with him more and just take in every moment with this curious, smart and energetic boy. Also, looking at life through eyes of the toddler makes me appreciate the simple, every day things that I would've taken for granted otherwise.

The wonder of an open book. Jonathan loves reading, and every time I have a minute to sit down he brings me a book (or asks for one). The pages come alive in his eyes as he learns and explores the familiar stories. It's the excitement and wonder in his eyes that make me stop and enjoy the story with him. He never tires of it and is always ready to listen while intently studying the pictures. He will sit down and imitate reading while flipping through the pages by himself. It's the most adorable thing ever.

The beauty of nature. There are things that he finds in our yard that I didn't even know were there. Being outside, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine is his other favorite thing to do. Either it's taking a walk through his grandmother's garden or swinging in the park, it's always so joyful and exciting. He doesn't care if it's sunshine or rain, there is plenty to  discover and learn. The outside world is always exciting and never boring.

Unconditional love. No one loves as unconditionally and freely like toddlers. They don't hold grudges, they don't remind of old mistakes and forgive very fast. They really put the meaning of unconditional love in our lives and undeniably receive it in return. Children (and especially toddlers) love us with all our faults and mistakes, they accept us for who we are and perhaps that's why they are the most fun bunch around.

Our own parents. Living with a child and experiencing all the day-to-day difficulties and joys makes us appreciate our own parents  even more. All the cooking, cleaning and teaching our mothers did for years now seem so real and personal. It takes a lot of effort to keep a toddler out of harm's way, and at the end of the day, I am exhausted just by doing simple household tasks. After I had Jonathan, I understood all the work my mother put into me and appreciate it a lot more.

The value of a family. Children really bring life to a family and make the home come alive. Sure we were happy and satisfied as a couple before but now, it's just a lot of fun. Every single day. It brings my husband and I closer knowing that we are in this together and that we are a family. Life without children seems dull, and with addition of just one (so far) in our lives, we have experienced so much joy and fulfillment it's hard to describe it. Children bring extended family closer, they make us drop our guard and open our hearts to each other, because, really, nothing out there is more valuable than family.

August 11, 2014

Leaving a Child

As we were planning our vacation, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted it to be just the two of us. We haven't been away from Jonathan for more than a day in the last two years and it was something we needed as a couple, as parents, as adults. 

So we booked our vacation and arranged babysitters for Jonathan but as the day to leave him behind approached, my heart dropped. I was worried and besides myself. Honestly, I could hardly sleep the night before thinking about the worst possible scenarios happening while we are gone.

How could I do this? How could I leave my baby behind (with family, mind you) and just enjoy a week without him? How will he be without my constant care and attention? How am going to survive without his flamboyant personality and happy giggles? 
And to be honest, I don't know how.

Just to paint you a fuller picture of how much of control freak I am, here is exactly what I did before leaving. I scrubbed my house from top to bottom and washed all the laundry, changed all the bed sheets and stocked fridge with milk. Then I packed Jonathan's bag which included pretty much everything from ten spare shirts to fever medication and bibs. I wrote out a detailed list of his every day routine and gave to family members (yes, I know). 

Let's just say that packing for this vacation was heck of a lot more work than it would have been staying home. But I had to make sure that people who were able to raise a few children of their own would be well equipped looking after mine (oh the irony). 

In the end, I know he's in safe hands and that this time away from every day life is so good for our marriage and relationship. I know it in my mind and I know it in my heart. So I'm putting my dear baby in The Father's care and praying for him to be safe and content while we are gone. 

No matter how much we love out children, relationship with our spouse should always come first. I know sometimes it's hard to get away but it's absolutely needed to renew, refresh and rekindle the love. After all, children thrive in a loving and caring atmosphere and  benefit from a happy marriage.

July 31, 2014

Judge Not

Summer is our favorite time of the year. Jonathan loves all the outdoor activities and spends most of his time running. The shoes take a beating every time he's outside and don't last very long. So, long story short, I found myself at the mall the other day walking from store to store, searching for toddler sandals. Notice that Jonathan hates flip flops. Every time I would try to put them on his feet he would say that they hurt. Apparently retailers forgot how to make regular boy sandals because I could not find even one pair.

Jonathan was completely tired after about an hour of walking around. I was getting frustrated because I couldn't find what I was looking for, he didn't want to sit in the stroller but I couldn't let him walk as he would run away. So after another attempt to calm him with a toy and some snacks, I did what I have judged others for - I searched the YouTube for cartoons. The connection in the mall wasn't so great and it was taking a while to load one 15 minute video but it kept him occupied. He was watching a cute Russian cartoon that I have watched as a little girl and being somewhat cooperative. Target came to the rescue with only the very last pair of sandals in his size, and we were on our way home.

It's taking me a while to realize that there are many ways to parent. Some parents let their kids go to bed late and then sleep in the morning, other parents have a bed time and stick with it. Some parents don't have food guidelines and others have strict instructions what their child can and cannot eat. No matter what your parenting style is and no matter how paranoid or laid back you are, I don't judge you. I'm doing the best I can and you are doing the best you can, so we are in the same boat. People come from all sorts of economical and societal backgrounds, having gained the knowledge of what's normal from their parents. If someone has been less fortunate or simply disadvantaged in some areas, it's not my job to criticize their skills and abilities. We, as parents, need to encourage and help each other along because this job is hard enough without someone criticizing me for doing my best.

xo, Anna

June 2, 2014

Fear {Motherhood Challenges Series}

Motherhood is a challenging task. It makes you take an honest look at yourself and evaluate who you are as a person. Of course, none of us can reach a point where we have corrected out bad habits to the point of perfection. In addition, every child needs to learn from his parents how to grow, learn from and deal with difficult parts life.
Fear is one of the biggest motherhood challenges. It's not the fear of my son getting hurt physically (nothing can stand in a way of a toddler) but the emotional pain that I may cause, or who he may grow up to be, or the future that expects him. 
A lot of times, I fear what I'm doing isn't enough or wrong, and I start doubting my own abilities as a mother. I fear he will grow up to make some awful mistakes or will hurt other people. I fear that I'm not patient and tender enough to show God's love everyday. I fear that he doesn't see the loving and ever-bearing parent I want to be. I fear that something I do or say will impact him forever and he won't recover from the consequences.
As mothers we face the reality of life every day and want to protect our children so much more but we cannot. What we can do is ask God to cover all our inabilities and insecurities with his love. It's not that we won't make mistakes, but we know that God keeps our children in His hand and in whatever we're lacking, He will fill up. Whatever we can't do, God will finish and whenever we mess up, He will give mercy.
Fear disables us from moving on and cripples our ability to love fully, give our all and do great things. God doesn't want us living in a constant state of desperation and tragedy, better yet he has a plan. We just need to trust Him and let go. He knows the present, he has been in the past and every child has a future. When we do our part, he will take care of the rest.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (John 4:18)

May 23, 2014

Blessings of a Stay at Home Mama

Last picture of his baby curls...

A younger version of myself never saw this life that I'm living in the future. I always thought I will get my education, get married, have children and go back to work as soon as I could. Little did I know that God had different plans for me. Being stay at home mom has its challenges but it's such a huge blessing. There are so many things I enjoy that need to be documented before I forget how precious this time of my life is.

The best part about being with my child 24/7 is seeing the little things he does as he changes and grows. I notice how he goes from dependent-on-me-for-all-things baby to independent boy. I see how his personality starts to show through and he becomes a fully functional member of our family. I love seeing him grow into a little man, attempt things on his own, like certain food and dislike others, categorically object to me leaving him and talk up a storm.

I'm amazed when all the teaching and repeating things over and over again finally pays off. After a million 'please' and 'thank you's he finally says something and it seems like there is nothing more precious in the world. I'm surprised when he randomly brings something into garbage without me telling him, or knows where the place of a certain item is. Those are the moments when every difficult moment and sleepless night is worth it.

I adore his slobbery kisses and hugs, and the fact that I'm his first love. He sees only me, wants me, and although it gets annoying at times, I treasure this time of closeness. Don't get me wrong, I like my personal space and alone time but that boy just knows how to melt my heart into a huge puddle of mush. He is a hugger but not s cuddler, if that makes sense. He will come up and give me a huge bear hug, after he jumps on me a little. But he will not stay passed two seconds because frankly he's too busy and has got to go.

Time is fleeting and life is so short. I cherish the time I get to spend one-on-one with my son. I'm raising a human being, a future leader, husband and father - that has got to count for something more than the career I'm missing or the dress I can't fit into. Motherhood is a great joy, and there is nothing in the world I would rather be doing right now.