Monday, September 26, 2016

I'm Still Trying

I've been kind of in a weird space lately. . Maybe you'd even call it a funk. But it's been consuming my thoughts and invading my head space. Especially at night when I should be sleeping.

But I'm still trying.

I'm getting up out of bed every morning, getting myself ready for work, waking Aiden up so he can get ready for school, packing his lunch, and leaving "you can do it!" pep talk notes in his lunch box.

I'm so over my morning commute where I have to get Aiden to school and zip back downtown to get to work. I know, I know... it's only September. But I'm exhausted.

But I'm still trying.

I do it every morning. With a smile on my face. And I take solace in the fact that I get to read to him during that time and we can talk about funny stories and school and books.

By night, I'm so tired from the long day at work and the commute home that I just want to chill out on the couch and rest.

But I'm still trying.

Both kids always eat a warm dinner (whether it's take-out or not is a different story.) Aiden gets help with his homework, August gets played with on the floor, both kids get a bath. Aiden gets a half hour of "mommy and me" time after I put August to bed, and we both love it. When it's his bedtime, Aiden gets tucked in and we say our prayers and we talk about plans for tomorrow.

I'm trying.

I'm tired, but I'm trying.

I'm doing the work. I'm in the trenches. I'm falling and failing and making mistakes... but I'm still trying. I'm remembering to not be so hard on myself and to extend grace to myself from time to time.

I repeat certain things to myself over and over again: August is only nine months. You've never been a mother of two before. You've only been doing this for nine months. You're still figuring things out. Things aren't perfect and that's okay because... you're trying. Still. 

I know that this feeling won't last forever, that this too shall pass. I know that this has an expiration date, that I'll overcome this too.

But, in the mean time, all I can do... is try.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

August Kingston, 9 Months Old

August is incredibly mobile now and is quite literally crawling all over the place, from the time he wakes up at 5:30/6 in the morning till the time he goes to bed at 7/7:30 in the evening. I'm kinda used to the crawling around, but the touching of all of my things? Eh, not so much!

Caught red-handed!
Two teeth!
Aiden crawled all around when he was August's age, but he didn't touch my decorative things. Like, the house still looked like a grown-up house. But August? Lil man touches e'rything! And he's not satisfied until everything is on the floor. Seriously... he pulls down all of the things.

All. Of. The. Things.

And he's resourceful! Even if I block him off from certain parts of the house, he finds a way around the blockage. Needless to say, momma's got her work cut out for her!

When I'm not chasing him all around the house, it is great to see him blossoming and showing more and more of his personality everyday. He's really such a joyful baby and a lot of fun to be around. (Except when he's ruining Aiden's play things.)

New fave toy
Watching Aiden Phelps-it-up at Saturday swim
"I *think* I'm making him fall asleep, mommy."
August likes:

  • Finger foods (cooked carrots, cheerios, superfood puffs, strawberries, the list goes on and on)
  • Crawling over to everyone who has food in their hands and babbling until he gets their attention and they get the hint that he wants some of their food
  • The kitchen (seriously... what is it with babies and kitchen cabinets?! I can't keep him out of there!)
  • Sucking my cheeks and then biting them (ouch!)
  • Climbing on HEB
  • While on the couch in a seated position, flipping onto his stomach, and sliding off the couch feet first 
  • Crawling over to the air conditioner when it's on and tasting it (#DontAsk)
  • Playing with Aiden's basketball and soccer and football
  • Playing with Aiden's farmhouse and farm animals
  • Destroying Playing with Aiden's play area
  • Being rocked to sleep by Aiden 
  • Cruising all of the furniture 
  • Babbling "dah-dah-dah"

August doesn't like:

  • When you close the kitchen or bathroom or bedroom door and don't allow him to go in there (ask me how I know)
  • When he's crawling full speed towards something and you pick him up and redirect him towards something else (again... ask me how I know)
  • Getting dressed (still)
  • Banana chunks (I'm gonna try to offer it to him again in a few days though)
Otherwise known as "baby bliss"

I think this dude is gonna walk pretty soon -- he's on a mission! Stay tuned, everyone! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

{Kids Style} Vingino Jeans

Aiden's a pretty stylish and fashion-forward kid. No doubt about that. But, he's also very rambunctious, playful, and loves to get down and dirty.

Needless to say, I'm always on the hunt for pieces that are not only stylish and functional, but also durable. When I'm shopping for kids clothing, durability is a big thing for this delicious single momma! Oh, and the price has got to be right too because I will not spend all of my hard-earned coins on just one or two pieces of clothing. No ma'am!

Enter Vingino.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to check out their showroom, as well as chat with the their designer and marketing team, and I really fell in love with their denim. A love like, are-these-made-for-girls-and-do-they-come-in-my-size?

Founded in 2001 in Holland, Vingino has since become a very popular brand in many countries in Europe. I mean, with it's well-tailored clothes, bright colors, and unique attention to detail, I can totally see why parents and kids have loved it season after season.

But now... the good news: After years of being in the Europe-only club, Vingino is now venturing into the USA! Not only is it quality denim, but the fabric is stretchy, which means that Aiden can do it all in these bad boys -- run, jump, skip, hop, get down and dirty... and still maintain his style factor.

Needless to say, it's a win for us all! I'm smiling too, kiddo. I'm smiling too.

Visit the Vingino website or social channels in order to get you a piece of the action, er, denim!

{Disclosure: I was provided with Vingino denim jeans and accessories in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What Really Matters

carefree is the way to be!
I had a lot of plans for Aiden this summer. Amidst playground hopping and long pool days and adventures around the city, I was going to work with him on core subjects. Practice writing strong paragraphs, learn all multiplication facts, and re-practice all of his second grade spelling words so that he doesn't forget them.

In short, I was gonna get him into shape and get him ready for third grade.

Well, summer's coming to a close and we hardly did any of that.

The only writing he did aside from his summer homework project was when he wanted to write a story of two. The only spelling he did was go over words that he forgot how to spell whenever he was typing something into his iPad. And there was no memorization of multiplication facts at all. (There was, however, the practicing and re-memorization of all of the addition and subtraction facts from 2nd grade.)

Be we -- he -- solved lots of math problems. Hard ones, too. Multiplication and division ones and multi-step ones too. Oh, and he read a lot. Chapter books about mysteries and about his history and about pulling pranks on friends and about a group of boys in the third grade doing third-grade boy things... just like him. And books about what it takes to be a good friends and make tough decisions and choosing to be kind instead of always choosing to be right.

He learned a lot of lessons. Hard ones, too.

Lessons that he talks to me about day in and day out.

working the Momtrends runway
photo via Momtrends
And that's when it dawned on me: I don't have to spend the entire summer trying to frantically teach him everything.

I don't have to drill academics into him all... day... long... just to "get him ready for third grade."

Because, quite frankly, that's impossible. But what I can do is instill in him kindness, generosity, a strong work ethic, responsibility, and how to be respectful.

What I can do is teach him how to build sandcastles and run away from waves at the beach... how to indulge in grilled cheese sandwiches while watching the sunset on our balcony... how to spend hours and hours and hours at the NYC playground of his choice... how to close out museums and science centers because he's so busy learning though play that we're literally the last ones to leave.

How to know when he's reached his limit on his iPad and how to enjoy childhood, unplugged.

Basically... how to be a kid. Fully, whole-heartedly, and unapologetically.

photo via Momtrends
The fact of the matter is that I have all school year to help him become a stronger writer. I have all school year to help him learn multiplication facts and I have all school year to help him memorize spelling words.

And the fact of the matter is that it really doesn't matter if he gets the best grades in school. It really doesn't matter if he's the smartest or the fastest or the best or the teacher's favorite. Those things don't really matter. Because, quite frankly, I'm gonna love him anyway.

The kid's already a champion in my eyes.

What really matters is if he's kind to others, if he tries his hardest even when he doesn't feel like trying, if he bounces back from set-backs. What really matters is if he continues to be the rockstar big brother to August. What really matters is if he knows that I love him no matter what and that I will always, always, always be his biggest cheerleader.

What really matters is if he's happy.

What really matters is if he feels free to be a kid. Fully, whole-heartedly, and unapologetically.

Monday, August 15, 2016

August Kingston, 8 Months Old

August is 8 months now and on the move, and, well, it's pretty much impossible to keep him still for longer than five seconds. Unless, of course, he's drifting off to sleep.

This babe is crawling everywhere. Everywhere! 

I mean, Aiden was content with staying in the living room. But August... homeboy crawls from the living room to the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen. No corner is off limits in this house. He's got things to do and places to go and he's not letting anyone stop him.

August and Aiden hanging out with Kyle O'Quinn of the NY Knicks

August Likes:

  • Crawling everywhere. Everywhere!
  • Pulling himself up to a standing position. All the time. Even in the middle of the night when this momma wants to sleep.
  • Cruising the furniture, especially from the couch to the ottoman and back again to the couch.
  • Pulling himself up to a standing position and pulling down all of the things. All. Of. The. Things!
  • Bath time and splashing the water. 
  • Drinking bath water. (Is that safe? Don't answer that!)
  • Kicking his legs and splashing around in the swimming pool. 
  • Climbing on Aiden whenever Aiden's sitting on the floor.
  • Making his way to Aiden's toys and trying to play with (read: eat) all of them.
  • Reading the book, "Robots, Robots, Everywhere." (I think he likes it because I make funny sounds when I'm reading it to him.)
August does not like:
  • The end of bath time.
  • Getting dressed after bath time. (Ask me how I know.)
  • When he's crawling around to get my attention, but I'm taking too long to acknowledge him. (And by "taking too long," I mean "taking longer than the 3-5 seconds than he would like me to take." #ImpatientBabies)
  • Whenever you take something away from him that he's about to put into his mouth (cellphones, books, the remote control, Aiden's basketball and soccer ball... the list goes on and on).

Next up: walking. And talking. 

Oh my gosh... time is flying! Make it stop!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Seeing The World Through His Eyes

"Aiden, what do you mean you can't see anything? The letters are right there! What are you talking about that everything's blurry?! Just read the letters! I mean, I know you know the alphabet!"

This was me a few weeks ago. Practically begging Aiden to read the letters on the wall during his eye exam at the pediatrics optometrist's office. (Or scolding him, depending on who you ask.)

But he kept saying the same thing. "I can't see any of the letters. It's all blurry. Is it a 'D'? Oh! I know... it's the letter 'F'. Right?" (No. No it was not an "F". It was the letter "P".)

The doctor kept reassuring him that he was doing a good job. "What about now? Can you read me the letters now? How about now? What if you looked through these lenses? Can you read them to me now? Okay... good. Good job!"

Me, on the other hand? I was dumbfounded. My first thought was, Oh my goodness! The kid's blind as a bat! My second? Guilt galore. How on Earth did I not make an appointment to get him here sooner?! All those times he was squinting to see the TV or something far away and I just let it happen?! 

He really cannot see! The world is really all a blur to him!

My third thought was something along the lines of, Why on Earth didn't Aiden say something this entire time?! I mean, if I were walking around and everything was blurry, I'd say something! Anything!

But then I finally took a step back and tried to see the world through his eyes. I tried to remember what it's like to not quite know that something's a little... off. 

Funny thing is, Aiden's probably been thinking that that's how the world is supposed to look -- blurry. And since I wasn't paying attention to the obvious signs that he's blind as a bat his vision isn't clear, I've been none the wiser.

Thankfully he has glasses now -- just in time to get used to wearing them everyday before his first day of third grade.

I'll never forget what he said when he put those glasses on for the first time, "Everything was so blurry before, but now I can see EVERYTHING! Oh my gosh... it's all so clear, mommy! It's a big difference!"

He never used to be able to see the signs on the street that were more than a half a block away. But, with his glasses, he proceeded to read all of the street signs that were a block or more away from us.



One of them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Back-to-School with Momtrends

No, summer's not over yet. But, yes... it's time to think about the back-to-school season. And that's exactly what I got a head start with last week when the boys and I attended a really fun back-to-school event with Momtrends.

Aiden was asked to model pieces from Joules Clothing, a British family-friendly lifestyle brand. Not only are their pieces comfortable and affordable, but they are very stylish. It's definitely a good option if you're looking for different clothing brands to try out this season.

On his feet were Keen kicks, which are also very comfortable and pretty stylish. He's worn them every day since the event so I guess I may have to get him another pair by the time school starts back up here in NYC in a month or so.

Around his neck was a Juniorbeads Chewbeads necklace. He walked the runway using the necklace exactly the way it was intended to be used -- in his mouth.

Guys, this is seriously gonna revolutionize fidget items everywhere -- no more stigma attached to kids using items that are big and bulky. No more nail biting, pencil chewing, or any other nervous habits. Instead, they can wear something that looks cool and trendy around their necks and they can touch it, chew it, or pull on it as needed. So many of the kids in my school would benefit from using this necklace. (Not to mention... so would Aiden.)

Now... let's talk about Aiden as a model. He rocked the runway. He was poised and charming and exuded a level of confidence that I haven't seen in a long time. (I may or may not have bribed him with a new game to download on his iPad. #JustSaying) Some folks said that he has "it". Exactly what that means? I don't know, but I do know that he rocked the runway!

August also loved the Chewbeads, for the record. He's been chewing on them ever since the event!

During the event, I checked out the Earth's Best table. And I was very happy to learn about their freezer-to-table snack options, including meatballs, chicken bites, and organic fruit cups. Not only are they good options for Aiden to make on his own (busy momma over here!), but they're also yummy snacks to put into his lunchbox this year.

Speaking of lunch boxes, with Nalgene, Aiden will have a serious upgrade from the typical lunchbox. I mean, this one comes with an icepack to keep food cold and multiple storage compartments. Score!

It was a great night, with great folks, and yummy popsicle cocktails.

Thanks so much to the entire Momtrends team for putting together such a fun and engaging event! All photos in this post were taken by the Momtrends team.

{Disclosure: Event attendees received a gift bag. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}


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