My Babywearing Project

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Babywearing group shot at our local park.

Happy International Babywearing Week! I have been planning on doing some fun things on my blog to celebrate and participate in International Babywearing Week (Oct 4-10). For those that are not familiar with this, International Babywearing Week is a week-long opportunity to celebrate, advocate for, focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing, sponsored by Babywearing International. People all over the world wear their babies and this is a week to tell people how much we love it and share the benefits of wearing your baby.

So I put out a request to see if anyone would be interested in doing a mini babywearing photo-shoot to celebrate babywearing. I figured it would be a fun, small way to get real moms from the local community involved in a international event. I had such a wonderful response and my week soon filled up with mini-sessions of moms and their babies. Let me tell you, this has been one of the most fun weeks I’ve had in a while! It also got me thinking. I walked into this project hoping to learn more about photography, but I learned so much more than some photography skills when I was out there taking pictures of these moms. I talked with the moms, I listened to moms, I played with babies, and I did so much more! I realized early in my sessions that this was no longer about babywearing, but about moms.

Shannon3

Shannon and her 8 month old baby boy in an Infantino Mei Tai

Moms NEED community but for some reason (time, family, work, etc) never seem to make it a priority. Moms need to be around other moms. We need to know we are not alone. We need to know that its normal to feel what we feel as moms of little ones. As I was doing my sessions, I cannot tell you how many times I heard how long its been since they got out of the house, or put make-up on, or just enjoyed the outside with their little ones. I don’t have the answer because I am guilty of not making this a priority, but it was very clear that community is important to being a healthy (and sane) mom.

TJ3

TJ and her 11 month old baby boy in an Ergo Galaxy

Moms with their little ones are beautiful. I don’t just mean beautiful on the inside, because let me tell you. ALL the moms I photographed this last week are immensely beautiful on the inside. (as well as on the outside, but I’m getting to that) Moms with their babies are beautiful (Did I already say that?) Every single mom that I shot had a negative comment about her own appearance. Every single one. While some moms were concerned about lingering baby weight, others commented about their hair or skin not being perfect, but as soon as they got in front of the camera with their little ones, they were glowing, radiant, confident moms. I hope they see the beauty and confidence in the pictures that I saw during the photo shoot.

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Maria and her 8 month old baby boy in a wrap.

These babies are happy. Let me explain what I mean. As moms we are always second guessing ourselves. Are we doing the right things? Are we raising our kids the right way? Is this what is best? My answer to these moms is YES! It was so obvious to me that all these babies are so love, so cared for and it shows. These are happy babies. I have had many photo sessions with babies and they are not easy. I’ve had newborn sessions when the baby refuses to sleep, toddler sessions where cooperation is just not happening, but these sessions were the EASIEST baby sessions I have ever done! These babies love their mamas and I think that is a great testament to how wonderful moms they are!

Shelby4

Shelby and her 8 month old baby girl in an Ergo Sport

It is not about the photograph, it is about the story. I went into these sessions hoping to capture some precious mommy and baby moments, but I soon learned that I was capturing a story. With each session as I took pictures and listened, I learned about each mom’s story. I learned an amazing story about how one baby got his name. I learned about how a new baby restored confidence in one mom as a mother. I learned about some of the hopes and dreams these moms have for their precious bundles. Every time I walked away at the end of a session, I was filled with joy that these moms would share these stories with me.

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Mandi and her 3 month old baby girl in a Boba 4G

I would do photography for free. No, seriously. Photography has been a passion of mine since I was little and helping my dad in his dark room. I had so much fun capturing moments and making memories with these families that I would feel bad charging people for me to do something I love so much. I think that’s why I offered to do these. It was my project, my ideas and these moms were so gracious to go along with it. I want to thank these moms for taking time out of their busy lives to let me take pictures of them and tell a little bit about their lives!

Want to see more babywearing pictures? Check out the beautiful babies in my Babies of Babywearing post!

First Day of Homeschool

We are a few weeks into homeschool kindergarten and I am proud to say that we have survived! Between a fun artsy craft about the sun and an epic meltdown caused by the letter S, the first week was a roller coaster of emotions for Big Boy and myself (and at times the other people in the house).

I have had a lot people ask me to share our first day of homeschooling. So here it is:

First, we took pictures.
First Day
No, really! We did! I created a First Day of School chalkboard print-out with Big Boy’s name, age, Kindergarten, height and what he wants to be when he grows up. Not only do I want pictures as a keepsake, but I thought it was a cool tradition that he can do that most everyone else does at well.

Daily binders.
Daily Binder
This took some pre first-day prep, but is totally worth it. Basically it is a binder of simple activities that he does every morning to start the school day off. These are print-outs that I have placed in sleeve protectors so he can use dry erase markers and use them over and over. Some of the activities include:
1. Tracing the day of the week
2. Writing the day of the month
3. Writing the time and drawing the hands on a clock
4. Charting the weather
5. Counting the days of school
6. Monthly name writing (to see progress)
There are lots of great free resources out there so you do not need to create your own printables. I used a combination of a few different resources and created some of my own. Most of my print-outs came from Confessions of a Homeschooler‘s
Kindergarten Daily Learning Notebook.
She also has a preschool version and an elementary age version of the daily learning notebooks. Definitely check it out! It is great stuff and Big Boy is loving the activities.

 Wall calendar
Daily Wall Calendar-small
The content on the wall calendar is similar to the binder, but it is more tactile learning. He has to pick out the day of the week, the number, the season and the weather. I love this because he has to be able to read the words to pick them out of the piles. What exactly is involved in my wall calendar? Check out my Wall Calendar post coming soon.

First Day of School Packet
First Day work
This was a fun, creative way to start off the school year. I combined two free printable resources to create a fun “first day” packet. I found an awesome “all about me” printable (free) by Read Like a Rock Star called I’m an Awesome Kindergartener where my son filled in all of his favorite things. I helped with spelling, of course, but he did all the writing and was very proud! I combine this with a few pages of My First Week of Kinder by Teach Bits and Bobs. I included the “look what I can do” page, the drawings page and the self portrait page. The packet was a total of four pages and a perfect mix of writing and drawing and kept his attention for a perfect amount of time.

Reading Lesson
How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Not to brag on my own kid, but I think he is pretty smart! I’ve done some reading work with him, but this kid has pretty much taught himself how to read. Not that he was reading chapter books or anything, so I needed something that covered all of what reading involves, including all the basics. I wanted to make sure he understands all the basics, but something we could take at our own pace. I cannot recommend this book enough! It’s a 100 one-on-one lessons that take around 15 minutes each. It is super easy for the parent/teacher as it tells you what to do. It even has exactly what to say to your child in red font. It is wonderful and we both love it! When I find the time, I want to do a full review of the book to help other parents learn about this book and figure out if it is right for their child. You know, in my extra free time!

We will normally do a math and science lesson each day, but on the first day I wanted to limit the changes and lessons so we would not get overwhelmed.Even with these few things, my son got a little overwhelmed. I wanted the start of school to be drastically different than how his days have been before. This transition made the first two weeks VERY rough, but now that we are in the groove of things, we are both loving homeschool.  I will soon be sharing our science adventures because I am very excited about it and want to share some wonderful resources with you.

Wow! I didn’t expect this post to be so long (and take so long to finish!) I plan on sharing more of my homeschool adventures with you!

Preschool ABC Matching

preschool ABC matchingAs I prepare for my first year of homeschooling, I find myself gathering so many things for my Big Boy going into kindergarten, but not as many for my three year old. I have found some great resources online, but I needed a simple way for her to work on her alphabet recognition. I have these wonderful Eureka alphabet tiles and thought a matching game would be great to help her along.

I created a simple printable that has boxes that match the alphabet tiles. One for capital letters and one for lower case. I then laminated the pages (in hopes they will last longer) and placed them in one of our wooden trays. I picked out one upper-case and one lower-case tile of each letter and placed it in a little cotton drawstring bag.

Done.

preschool ABC match2

The tiles and laminated papers became a learning tray and my daughter loves it! I love it because it not only helps her recognize her letters, but is helping her distinguish between d, b, p and q and other similar looking letters. I also think this will help her when she really starts writing letters and words.

Here are a few ways to use the Preschool ABC Matching pages:

1. Use lower case-letters and lower-case page and match lower-case to lower-case
2. Use upper-case letter tiles and upper-case page and match upper-case to upper-case
3. Use lower-case letter tiles and upper case page and match lower-case to upper-case (and vise-versa)
4. Use upper and lower case pages to test your preschooler’s ABC skills. Say a letter and have your preschooler point to the letter or point to a letter and have your preschooler tell you what letter it is.

preschool ABC match3

 

I am hoping to have a link to download this matching pdf and other printables that I make very soon and will update this when I have that done.

I hope this ABC matching activity sparks your creativity to create some cool fun projects for your homeschool preschooler! Please share your ideas with me! I love hearing from you!

For the Love of Essential Oils

Love of essential oilsIt seems like everyone and their dog is using essential oils (no, seriously, you can use oils on dogs too). There is so much information and so much misinformation. I’m not going to lie to you, I LOVE my oils! I use them every day and I see the benefits of them on myself and my family. If used appropriately, I think they are one of the greatest things I use in my house. Here’s why:

The Oils are All Natural
Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds [that] are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Basically they come from things found straight out of nature. The come from the peals of citrus fruit, the barks of trees, the flowers and leaves of plants and so many other places. These are not oils created in a lab with chemistry, they are created naturally. [source]

The Oils are Pure
The essential oils that I use in my house have a very rigorous quality testing to insure that the oil that was distilled from the plant, seed, tree, etc is the same oil that is placed in the bottle and sent out to consumers. Every bottle of oil goes through a five method testing protocol. This protocol ensures potency, purity, and consistency batch to batch. Chemical compounds are checked right after distillation. After the oil has arrived at the facility, it is tested again to make sure it is the same oil as received. The last step is a three-process method that is a review of the chemistry of the oil and is done as the oils are packaged into their bottles to be shipped out. [source]

The Oils Were Used in Biblical Times
Okay, so it is not just Biblical times, but oils have been used since ancient times by many different groups of people. I think that fact is very cool, but is even more cool to know that people from the Bible used some of the oils we use today! Oils were used in the Temple in the Old Testament  Frankincense and Myrrh were the gifts of kings given to Jesus as a baby by the wise men. Later Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with oil. Anointing oil has been used from Ancient times all the way up to the present. There is so much info on oils throughout the Bible and throughout history. It is so interesting and I will be writing a post about oils in history. So watch for that soon.

The Oils are Safe
We know that the oils derive naturally IN nature, and have been used for thousands of years for many different uses with great benefits. The oils are safe if used as recommended by the essential oils company. It is always good to educate yourself on oils before you use them. That being said, they are all-natural and safe to use for the whole family, which is oftentimes, more than we can say about some of the food we eat and medications we take.

 

Claim it and Let it Be Claimed

Claim it

Sometimes I feel like social media is just a trash can for people to dump on. In the same five minutes I can read a beautiful affirmation to moms for all they do and then a hateful post shaming a mom just because she is feeding her baby differently or birthed her baby differently. Enough is enough!

There has been a great push to celebrate moms in all they do. Because of the popularity of all-natural or “crunchy” moms, this push seems to be celebrating those moms that maybe have been shamed in the past; those that formula feed their babies, those that birthed their babies via c-section, etc. I absolutely love that ALL moms of all different kinds are being celebrated. This makes me so happy!

It’s about time to let moms be who they are do what the want without fear of shame from their mom peers, but I worry we are swaying the pendulum back a little to far.  I feel like I can’t claim who I am or what I’ve done for fear of someone misinterpreting it as mom-shaming. Because of my profession as a doula, I have always been sensitive about what I share and how I share it, but I feel like I can no longer proudly share my proud moments without fear of offending someone. I can no longer claim proudly that I had three completely natural, births or that I exclusively breastfeed my babies. You know what?! I am so stinking proud of myself! I am proud not because I did these things and you didn’t.  I am proud because it was my goal and I achieved it. Just like I would be proud of a career goal. Even though I have no desire to be a doctor, I am still proud of my friends that have achieved this goal and became one.

Honestly, I’m not looking for affirmation or praise. I am just telling you that you are not a better or worse mother because you did things differently than me.  Just because my goals are different doesn’t make one better than the other. My goals are only better for me personally because I set them, I worked hard for them and I achieved them. Your value of a mother is not dependent on my personal achievements as a mom. You are different, your family is different, your needs are different. Celebrate your differences and your own personal journey as a mom.

I am going to start celebrating my own personal journey as well. I am no longer going to feel shame or fear in expressing my proud moments! So I will proudly claim that I feel like a bad ass because I had three all-natural, un-medicated, vaginal births. I labored, I fought, I felt pain, and I made it through. I proudly claim that I have had a great hospital birth and I proudly claim I had two beautiful home births. I proudly claim that I have exclusively breast-fed all my babies and Baby G and I are still going strong. I am proud that I have almost four years (and counting) of breastfeeding under my belt. I proudly claim that I choose to stay home with my kids and love that I have the opportunity to do that.

So wherever you are in life and whatever you have achieved, claim it! But more importantly let other moms claim their victories and celebrate with them, no matter how different they look.

Claim it and let it be claimed!

Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

One of the biggest things that new moms stress about is feeding their baby, especially breastfeeding. It’s not an exact science. Every baby is different, every mom is different and every breastfeeding relationship is different. Just because breastfeeding is so variable does not mean it need to be the source of a whole bunch of stress. Here are 10 tips to make your breastfeeding experience a little smoother.

1. Take a class
You may have been around breastfeeding a feel very familiar and comfortable with it, but I highly suggest you look into taking a breastfeeding class. Don’t know where to look? Ask your midwife or doctor about classes in your area. Odds are there is a class at your hospital, birth center or near by. Take the class before your baby comes and try to get your partner to go with you. Not only will you learn about breastfeeding, but your partner will learn how to best support you.

2. Surround Yourself with support
Having a supportive partner and family is an important factor in successful breastfeeding. It really does make a difference if husbands support their breastfeeding wives. A study out of Australia found that “Paternal emotional, practical and physical supports were identified as important factors to promote successful breastfeeding and to enrich the experience for the mother and subsequently the father.” Find the full article here.
In addition to support in the home, it is beneficial for breastfeeding moms to find additional support. Find a moms group with other breastfeeding moms, join a breastfeeding support group in social media (a GOOD, supportive group) or get connected to your local La Leche League which is an international breastfeeding support with local groups all over the world. Check out the La Leche League website to find a group near you.

3. Find a Lactation Consultant
Lactation consultants are trained professional breastfeeding specialists that help mom and babies with breastfeeding. They are especially trained to help with moms or babies that are having different problems with breastfeeding. If you are delivering your baby in the hospital there is almost always a lactation consultant on-call and should stop by during your stay. Take advantage of her services, ask questions, have look at baby feeding and help you in any way. If you are having your baby outside of the hospital, ask your midwife for a recommendation. Most midwives have lactation consultants they are familiar with and will recommend to you.

4. Trust your body
This is a hard one, but very helpful. Your body grew your baby and now you need to trust that your body can feed your baby. A woman’s body is amazing and knows what to do to feed your baby. Your baby will mainly get colostrum until your milk comes in and that is exactly what your baby needs. As your milk comes in, you will feel full, and as your milk regulates (around 8-9 weeks) you won’t feel as full, but your body will be making the right amount for your baby. Only in rare instances do mothers not make enough milk. Most mothers make enough milk for their babies. Trust that your body knows what to do.

5.Trust your baby
Yes, your baby is brand new, but baby instincts are really amazing! Newborn babies left on mom’s chest often do what is called the “breast crawl” where they crawl up mom’s chest to the breast and start trying to latch on. It is an amazing thing to watch. It also helps us understand that babies know what to do to. Yes, there is a learning curve for you and baby and you both will have to figure it out.

6. Relax
Yes, I know. It is hard to relax when you are trying to recover from having a baby, getting less sleep and caring for a newborn. It is ok! RELAX! (Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you!) Relax. Trying to feed your baby while feeling overwhelmed or stressed will make breastfeeding hard. Take a few deep breaths, just look at your new precious baby, whatever it takes to melt away the stress and get the “good feelings” flowing will help make breastfeeding more successful. Those “good feelings” help you release oxytocin, and oxytocin is what helps your “let down” or helps move your milk. Pretty cool, right?

7. Keep baby close
There are so many reasons to keep your squishy little newborn close to you in the first few days and weeks. In regards to breastfeeding there are many benefits. In the early days, keeping you baby close and having skin-to-skin time will help your milk come in. After your milk comes in, it is beneficial to keep baby close to help regulate your supply and help with the release of oxytocin (which will help with let down as noted before) and has great non-breastfeeding related health benefits for mom and baby. When people come over to help, have them help clean, cook, put away laundry while YOU hold the baby.

8. Do not be afraid to ask questions
This one is pretty self explanatory. Things will come up that you don’t know the answer to, and that is totally fine. Can I take this medication while breastfeeding? Do I have to pump and dump? What should I do if my baby gets sick? (Just examples of questions I have heard or asked myself) Have some reliable people to go to when you need to ask the questions you don’t have the answers to. Your doctor, midwife, lactation consultant, or doula are great resources that can help you.

9. Give it Time
I feel like this one is closely related to relax. Remember that you and baby are both new to this. Every mom is different, every baby is different and every breastfeeding relationship is different. Give yourself time to adjust to being a mom and taking care of a newborn. Give you and baby time to figure out the whole breastfeeding thing. You will get it, and your baby will get it. Some babies catch on fast, but others it takes a little bit, but they are still great eaters. Relax (see, I told you they were related) and give yourself and your baby some time to figure out your unique breastfeeding relationship.

10.Take care of yourself
I left this one for last because it is SO IMPORTANT! If you are not taking care of yourself, then you cannot care for your baby. So many moms forget to take care of themselves and then find themselves with supply issues or other issues. Make sure you are drinking TONS of water. Do I have a magic amount that will keep your supply up? Nope, but staying hydrated will help keep your milk supply up and help you, mom stay healthy. Also, make sure you eat! No, seriously! Breastfeeding a baby takes just as many extra calories, oftentimes MORE calories than being pregnant. Eat often, eat healthy and do not skip a meal. Skipping a meal will cause a drop in supply.

These are only 10 quick tips to make your breastfeeding journey a success, but I could probably easily added 10 more. I hope your breastfeeding experience is made a little bit simpler with these tips. If you have your own tips, add them in the comments! I love to hear tips from other experienced breastfeeders!

 

The Big Latch On 2015

On Saturday I attended a fun event of global proportions! Ok, really it was an event taking place all over the world as a kick off to World Breastfeeding Week. The Big Latch On  is where groups of breastfeeding moms get together at a set time and have their babies latch and breastfeed for an entire minute. The number of mommies and babies breastfeeding is recorded in hopes to break a record! It’s a neat way to kick off World Breastfeeding Week and is even cooler to be a part of a world-wide community of moms!

Baby G eating at  The Big Latch On. As you can tell, he is still learning to nurse the right way after his lip/tongue tie fix.

Baby G eating at The Big Latch On. As you can tell, he is still learning to nurse the right way after his lip/tongue tie fix.

The Big Latch On is a way to show support for breastfeeding families and communities and places that support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not just about mommy and baby, its about the community they are surrounded by as well. Studies show that if moms have a supportive community (especially their partners) breastfeeding is significantly more successful! But mainly The Big Latch On is an big overall event that helps communities create their own event to show support for breastfed moms and families.

I went to an event at BabyEarth. You probably have heard of it because it has a HUGE online presence in the baby world, but it has an actual store front too! And it’s seriously only like 10 miles from my house! How lucky am I?! (Now that I actually typed that, I’m wondering why I don’t go there more often!) They had quite a few information booths set up, adorable goodie bags for all the moms, and a whole bunch gifts that they raffled off, and guess what!? Baby G and I won!

Baby G and I were very excited to win a set of Phillips Avent bottles.

Baby G and I were very excited to win a set of Phillips Avent bottles.

Brian-The Birth Guy was also there helping with the raffle and giving some helpful breastfeeding tips for moms. Yes, a dude, talking about breastfeeding and giving great information…who knew!? I don’t know much about him except that he is a doula based out of the San Antonio area and is the only male doula in the area. Cool! You can read more about him on his website.

Moms, dads and babies watching a learning signs from Amy at The Signing Connection.

Moms, dads and babies watching a learning signs from Amy at The Signing Connection.

I will be posting more about World Breastfeeding Week and just about breastfeeding in general all this week! So keep eyes on my blog and check out my Facebook page for helpful tips and links!

30 Days Paleo

It’s final! My husband and I shook on it and therefore it is a binding contract. (That’s the way it works, right?) As a family we are going to go Paleo for the month of August. Ok, I lie. We will be going almost Paleo. We will still be eating dairy, lentils and potatoes, and probably sugar will slip in unintentionally because….basically because I’m not perfect and I know it will happen. But Katie, I thought you already were Paleo? Yeah, umm, no. My oldest is pretty much Paleo because of his grain allergies, but we basically let him eat anything he is able to eat (like dairy and lentils). The rest of us eat fairly clean, but do eat grains and the occasional junk food.

Why did you decide to go Paleo? There are several reasons we have decided to go Paleo for a month. My husband and daughter have a skin irritation that is constant and is oftentimes itchy. Skin irritations are very commonly a reflection of a gut issue caused by gluten or other foods. We have been just “dealing with it” but my husband is ready to see if he can get it cleared up for himself and Sissy. Another large factor is my trip to the ER last month (more on THAT later) While searching for what they suspected was a small kidney stone, they found that I had gallstones. Yay, gallstones, ugh! Since then, I have had minor gallbladder pain (especially after eating fatty foods). In an attempt to keep the pain at bay, and possibly help my gallstones to go away, the Paleo diet has been suggested.

Do we expect it to solve all of our health problems? No.

Do we expect it to help improve our health? Yes. I am a firm believer that your overall health depends on what types of things you put into your body. Just like your car needs the correct gas to run properly, your body needs the right balance of healthy foods to work and be healthy.

 

Is this a lifestyle we want to continue for here on out? Probably not, but a 30-day Paleo challenge for our family feels like a good fit. We are hoping this experience will help reset our bodies and help clean out our gut so we will be healthier and feel better, and hopefully be able to go back to eating a a well rounded (with grains) but healthy diet and still feel great! I’m not a bandwagon type of person, but there is too much research to ignore and I have watched my son benefit and thrive with extensive allergies. (and for him, I would do anything!)

I am not going to lie, I am a little nervous about this month. I’m nervous about what I’m going to eat. I’m nervous about just breaking down and eating…a piece of bread or something! I’m just nervous. Also, I’m a little nervous because I reminded the hubby of this and he was like, “Wait, what?! I thought we were just going gluten free, not Paleo!” Surprise….I guess! Despite being nervous, I know this will be a good, healthy reset for my family. It will help us focus on being healthier and consciously making healthier choices. Throughout the month of August I will be sharing personal experiences, favorite recipes and research about the Paleo diet and the health benefits.

We are officially starting 30 days Paleo…….NOW!

4th of July Fun!

Family tie dye

I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend! We had a wonderful few days spending time with family. I think that’s why I love the July 4th holiday so much. It’s often spent with family doing fun stuff outside, maybe at the park, or the beach, or hanging out at Grandma’s. I love family time!

Anyways. Every year my little (not so little anymore, I guess!) gets matching shirts for the 4th of July. Oftentimes we go to Old Navy and get their famous “flag shirts” with the year and everything, but we haven’t had much luck getting them in EVERYONE’S size in the same color. This year, that was the case. After wandering the store for too long with three kiddos, I loudly declared my disgust and announced that I would make my own shirts! (and promptly left the store as I realized that not only had the kids lost it, at this point, but so had I).

I have had an itch to tie dye thanks to my doula client turned good friend, so I decided to take the plunge. (more on my tie dying friend later) Let’s do a red, white and blue SWIRL! I got very excited! I bought Tulip powder dye in blue and red, and what I felt like was a million shirts. (In fact it was shirts for my family and for my brother’s family, because what’s more fun than tie dying with your awesome sister-in-law!) It was our first time, and let me just say we are total tie dye NOOBS!

Anyways, here is an action shot of our tie dye shirt making adventure. We didn’t let them sit long enough before we rinsed them so they faded more than I wanted to, but I know better for next time.

swirl

Now, that is what you call tie dye perfection!

 

This is also why I am not writing this as a DIY. I have no business writing a tie dye DIY (I giggle because it rhymes!), BUT my good friend and tie dye guru has agreed to write the “Tie Dye DIY” guest post! YAY! I will let you guys know when that is happening and link it on this page as well.

So we survived the tie dye project, learned from our mistakes and my family and I still got our matching shirts and the tradition was saved! Plus, seriously, we are adorable in matching shirts. Here is the final product! The husband and Baby G modeling the shirts for us. I’m not gonna lie, I love this picture of my husband!

Daddy and Baby G

Daddy and Baby G sitting together at our 4th of July picnic, showing off Mommy’s amazing tie dye shirts.

In addition to our matching shirts tradition, we always pack a picnic lunch and spend the day at a local park where there are lots of fun booths, kids games and FOOD! We wait until the kids are so exhausted that they have totally lost it, we pack up in a hurry and go home. (No seriously, every year we wait just a little too long to leave) We let the kids rest (and pray they nap) and grill a whole bunch of meat and veggies (LOVE me some grilled zucchini). We then frantically eat our meal, worried that we will miss the fireworks, rush around, and always get to the park in plenty of time. Yup, that’s how it goes! I pray the kids remember the picnic and the fireworks and not the tantrums and rushing around! Ah, traditions!

Do you have a fun family tradition for the 4th of July? I love hearing about what other families do to celebrate! Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

4th of July Fun Bags

July 4th table

Besides the awesome shirts, how did we celebrate the 4th of July? Well, I went a little crazy and decorated and made some fun little kits for the older two kids. I got coordinating red, white and blue table decorations, along with some American flags for a centerpiece.

For breakfast we had vanilla yogurt with cut up strawberries and blueberries. The hubby and Sissy made them into American flags, but I couldn’t convince Big Boy to mix his fruit and yogurt, silly kid!

4th of July Breakfast

I also got them red bags full of fun outdoor activities. Each bag contained:
1. Giant bubble wand
2. A Kite (Cinderella for Sissy, and Planes for Big Boy)
2. Red, white and blue glow sticks
3. American flag bandanna
4. 7-ct set of sidewalk chalk
5. 2 beaded necklaces (one red, one blue)
6. Velcro throw and catch game

These bags were so simple to throw together and SUPER cheap. I’m not gonna lie, when I got it all together and gave them to my kids, I pretty much felt like mother of the year! They had so much fun with it all! We spent the day at a local park with friends and they flew their kites until they broke. They blew bubbles until they were all gone, and played catch until some got hit in the head a cried (I can neither confirm or deny this actually happened)

july 4th bubbles

Sissy enjoying her bubble wand. They made huge bubbles, which was “so awesome!”

 

I am usually not one to go crazy with any holiday, but for around $20, the smiles on their faces and all the fun they had, was totally worth it. It was really fun to celebrate together as a family and enjoy being together. So often my husband and I get bogged down in the “raising” part of parenting and forget to enjoy being with the kids. I know I need reminding that parenting is not just disciplining and saying “no”, but also having fun, letting them stay up late occasionally and getting dirty (we just won’t tell Dad!)

kite flying

Flying kites with Daddy was their favorite part. Probably the best $1.37 (x2) I ever spent!

I hope you found some inspiration for your next family celebration or 4th of July. I can’t wait to do something like this again! I am already thinking about the next event coming up. I’m thinking a back-to-school fun bag! Maybe I’ll share about that one too (if it actually happens!)