Category Archives: Babies

17 Reasons Why Toddlers and Puppies are EXACTLY the Same

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  1. They both like to put inappropriate things in their mouths
  2. They both like nuks and blankets
  3. They both like to dig through the garbage
  4. They both like to unroll the toilet paper from the roll
  5. They both like to eat food off the floor
  6. They both require me to clean up their stinky poops
  7. They both steal things that don’t belong to them
  8. Neither of them understands boundaries
  9. They both impede getting out the door
  10. They both require you to close all the doors to all the other rooms
  11. They both like to rip paper into tiny, tiny pieces
  12. They both move methodically from prohibited item to prohibited item
  13. Neither one can be left alone unsupervised
  14. They both respond to the same commands – out, stay, leave it
  15. They both get ridiculously messy
  16. They both see an open lap as an unequivocal invitation to sit in it
  17. They both invoke hysterical laughter, which combined with their cuteness, means you can’t stay mad at them for long

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Dad-o

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I happen to think that I picked one of the best men around to be the father of my children.

Side note: I happen to know tons of women who think they picked a pretty awesome guy to be the father of their children and that makes me really happy. I have a lot of gratitude about that, and I think it’s pretty cool that my friends have such great husbands.

Awesome dad exhibit 1: He jumped rope for them.

Awesome dad exhibit 1: He jumped rope for them.

Awesome dad exhibit 2: He wore these bunny ears while feeding the baby.

Awesome dad exhibit 2: He wore these bunny ears while feeding the baby.

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Awesome dad exhibit 3: Then he let the kids ride on him – which they do ALL. THE. TIME.

In addition to being an awesome father, my husband also made me feel pretty special on Mother’s Day. Special like, took all three kids to the grocery store on a Saturday morning so he could make me French toast. Then sending me off for a pedicure with strict instructions not to return for several hours. And when I did finally return, not only did he make me chocolate chip cookies, but he also made me scotcheroos. I’ve never, ever, ever had anyone make me chocolate chip cookies. I’m always the one making them for other people – usually my family – and I LOVE doing it. But I would often jokingly complain that no one ever made ME cookies. And then he did. His first time ever. And they were awesome.

So I knew that I wanted to make Husband feel really special on Father’s Day. And I did make him a favorite dessert and get him a cool T-shirt and some of his favorite snacks and a gift certificate for golf. BUT, my favorite parte was something the girls and I worked on over a month ago. I asked them all the reasons they loved their daddy, or things they wanted to thank daddy for, and this is what they came up with.

Daddy …

  1. I want to thank you for making our bunk beds. (Bean)
  2. I want to say thank you for helping me do my best each day. (Monkey)
  3. I want to say thank you for cleaning up our toys downstairs. (Bean)
  4. I want to thank you for getting out our playhouse. (Bean)
  5. I want to thank you for picking up all the sticks in our yard. (Monkey)
  6. I want to thank you for covering us back up with our blankets at night. (Bean)
  7. I want to thank you for making food for us when we’re sick. (Monkey)
  8. I want to thank you for the special Mother’s Day for Mommy. (Bean)
  9. I want to thank you for buying us toys. (Monkey)
  10. I want to thank you for building our wood playhouse. (Bean)
  11. I love it when you give us hugs and kisses at nighttime. (Monkey)
  12. I love it when you snuggle with me at nighttime. (Monkey and Bean)
  13. I love it when you wrestle with us. (Monkey)
  14. I love it when you eat at the table with us and we’re all together. (Bean)
  15. I love it when you give us rides on the lawnmower and let us steer. (Monkey)
  16. I love it when you push us high on the swings. (Bean)
  17. I love it when you help me ride my bike. (Monkey)
  18. I love it that you help me in swimming class. (Bean)
  19. I love it that you help me pick up the apples from the apple tree. (Monkey)
  20. I love it that you help me with puzzles. (Bean)
  21. I love it when you give us horsey back rides. (Monkey and Bean)
  22. I love it when you take our pictures. (Monkey and Bean)
  23. I love it when you give us a bath and you let us throw toys at you and squirt each other. (Monkey)
  24. I love it when you play hide and seek with us. (Bean)
  25. I love it when you hold us. (Monkey and Bean) 

Daddy, these are the reasons why we love you!

I also had the girls answer these fun questions about their daddy:

 

All About My Daddy

By Monkey (age 5) and Bean (age 3)

 

My daddy is 17 feet and 40 inches tall

He weighs 40 pounds

His hair color is brown

His eyes are blue

His favorite TV show is baseball

He likes to go to Qdoba

His favorite food is Hello Dolly bars

His favorite drink is soda

For fun he likes to play with us

I love it when my daddy gives us piggy back rides

My favorite thing about my daddy is when he plays outside with us

I ❤ MY DADDY

Father’s Day 2013

Husband they love you sooooo much. They adore you. You are so important to them and this family and I am so grateful to have you as my partner in the most important job of our lives.

xoxo

They will always be daddy's little girls.

They will always be daddy’s little girls.

Bonus Baby

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This is my first post in seven months. My baby is seven months old. I have so many fragments of posts floating around in my head and what prevents me from writing them down is always this feeling that posts need to be made in chronological order, and how can I fast forward and write about something seven months after the birth of our Grand Finale, without actually writing about her birth or anything else right after that?

(sigh)

But nothing will ever, ever get posted if I follow that rule. Someday I will go back and post about Grand Finale’s birth and the days directly after that period, not because it’s particularly earth shattering or might apply to someone else, but mostly because this blog is an online memory book for our family and I’d like to be able to go back and read it someday.

This post, on the other hand, may be applicable to someone else, and I think it every single day:

Adults generally use the term “bonus baby” as a tongue-in-cheek way to refer to a baby who wasn’t exactly planned. A happy accident. An oops. A bonus baby.

While Grand Finale was very much planned, I very, very much consider her to be my bonus baby.

Every single day, I look at her and think to myself, “What if you never came to be? What if we had been too scared or too nervous to say yes to what we felt in our hearts? What if we had convinced ourselves that we couldn’t handle it, or that we wouldn’t have enough time or money?”

And then I look at her and I THANK GOD that she came to be.

Every day. That’s what I think.

She is SO MUCH a cherished and beloved member of our family. Her sisters adore her. They dote on her, care for her and help us to entertain and occupy her. And she reciprocates with BIG grins when she sees them.

Sisters

Sisters

WE adore her. She is such an easy baby. She was sleeping 11-12 hours a night by the time she was 8 weeks old. At 7 months she’s still very mellow. She’s by far our most snuggly baby.

As Monkey said one day, "She's a cute bug."

As Monkey said one day, “She’s a cute bug.”

When I look at her, I try to picture our family without her — would we be happy? Sure! Would we love our other two kids to death? Of course! Would we parent the same? Pretty much.

If we had remained a family of four, I think there be less chaos, more order, two little girls who would grow up to be BFFs forever and who would be used to receiving more attention and things. I probably would be more stressed out trying to maintain my version of parenting “perfection” (because with “only” two kids it seems more doable).

I think our family-of-five dynamic will be more chaos, less order, three girls who will grow up to be BFFs forever, and who will have a greater understanding of sharing, more selflessness and compassion, and hopefully more appreciation for things because there will be less of them. In place of things, they’ll have what I believe is the greatest gift we could have given them — a sibling.

If we had never had Grand Finale, we would have been a happy family of four.

But we would have never known what we were missing. Even in her seven short months, Grand Finale already added so much depth, richness and perspective to our family.

Love.

Love.

The baby is frosting. And I’m just so, so, so thankful to have her. I’m so happy we trusted our gut, and also so grateful that things worked out and that I had a healthy pregnancy.

And for that reason, although she was very much planned, she is my bonus baby.

And my takeaway to you, is that if you’re feeling like you want another child, but you’re just not sure if you can “handle” it, or if you have “enough” time or money, DO IT. You won’t regret it. That’s how I felt six days after Grand Finale’s birth, and that’s how I still feel today.

I’m So Glad We Get to Do This Again (and, an explanation)

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Blogging has just not been a top priority for me lately — as much as I’ve wanted it to be. Usually I’ll have a story running through my head; a partial post bursting out of my brain; funny or introspective thoughts I’ll want to run by other parents. Normally I’ll be scrambling to get it written down and the words just pour out. But for the past four months I just haven’t had the head space. Not that I haven’t had the constant chatter in my head … because I have … it’s just seemed like an insurmountable task to actually get those thoughts down on paper.

This pregnancy has been much harder on me mentally and emotionally than my pregnancies with Monkey and Bean. I don’t know exactly what accounts for that … except that I know that every pregnancy is different. And I have a sneaking suspicion that it has a lot to do with already having two young kids to take care of. Add to that the overall growing pains of raising a young family, i.e. some terrible two’s, growing independence, and general “WTF am I doing as a parent anxiety,” plus work obligations and ding, ding, ding — you get some major emotional/mental exhaustion which leads to more crabbiness, short temperedness, anxiety. Don’t forget the extra credit — the hormones and physical tiredness and limitations that come with every pregnancy.

I honestly think that the physical limitations of pregnancy sneak up on you so slowly and gradually that it’s almost unnoticeable until one day you’re just SO frustrated that you can’t fit between the bathroom door and the sink to brush your uncooperative 4-year-old’s teeth and you just LOSE it and yell “WOULD YOU COOPERATE SO I CAN BRUSH YOUR TEETH!!?” And then you realize that you just totally overreacted, and yes your 4-year-old is being a pain, but you’re mostly just pissed because dammnit, you cannot MOVE normally.

And as far as the hormones go, all I’ll say is that in the moment your reactions seem rational. And for anyone who’s never been pregnant and thinks that the whole “hormones” thing is just some ploy to act like a crazy person, believe me, it’s not. Because honestly, no one wants to feel like a crazy person.

OH! And the extra, extra credit — being pregnant during the summer of 2012. Do you think that will be a thing that women who are pregnant this summer talk about? “YOU were pregnant during the summer of 2012?? OMG, ME too! That HEAT was just unbearable, and I just didn’t go outside for like three months, unless I could lay in a pool like a beached whale and not move and be jealous of everyone with their fruity drinks, and we kept the air set to 73 degrees, but I was *still* always hot, and it was just miserable, and …”

I think what drove all this home for me (why I’m experiencing this added mental/emotional exhaustion) was being away with my husband for our final “babymoon” this past weekend. We quite literally, did nothing. We ate, we walked, we sat, we walked, we sat, we ate, we slept.” Repeat. No one needed our attention. We didn’t have to follow anyone else’s agenda. We were only concerned about our own needs. There were no stressors or obligations. We watched all the other parents enjoying the three-day holiday weekend with their kids and we were a little sad that our kids weren’t with us, and envious of all the family fun. In the moment, I tried to remind myself how much harder it would be if the kids were with us, how the weekend would not be ours, and that I needed to just relax and enjoy the alone time. I told myself that those kids were probably being pains. But still, I was a tad sad and we were really excited to get home Sunday afternoon.

And then after I got home on Sunday afternoon I wasn’t so excited to be there. Because damn, they need A LOT of attention! And at times they can be pains! And I am TIRED! But seriously. This is what I realized — I did nothing while we were gone. I did nothing except eat, walk, sit and sleep, and I was still physically tired and limited (there was no light hiking as I hoped; baby being in VERY uncomfortable positions made slow walking and sitting the only things comfortable). So take me, already tired, physically limited and uncomfortable, and add caretaking and stressors of everyday life and work, and yeah. I’m kind of crabby! So I guess this weekend made me realize there’s probably nothing earth shattering about why this pregnancy has been more emotionally/mentally draining, except for normal things that have left me with little motivation to tackle extra things.

Hence, not much head space left over for blogging. I guess I feel like I’ve been surviving these past few months as opposed to thriving.

BUT, what I’ve also realized in the last few months, is that I’m so glad we get to do this again.

My brother-in-law is getting married this month to a wonderful girl and in June they asked me to look through my photos to see if I had any of the two of them together. So I started in 2010, the year they started dating and the year Bean was born, and boy. I really started to miss two-year-old Monkey and baby Bean. I may have shed a few tears.

It made me realize how glad I am that we get to have another baby. I can’t wait for the snuggling and the feedings and even the diaper changes. I can’t wait to see how this third person will enliven and enlarge our family. I can’t wait to see what she looks like, and slowly peel back the layers of her temperament and personality. I can’t wait to see Bean in the role of two-year-old big sister, like Monkey was for her. I can only imagine how Monkey will fill her role as biggest sister. She is such a nurturing soul, and already is instructing us about when, how and where she wants to hold and feed her baby sister.

Honestly, they’re both so excited. Have I mentioned that they both walk around with their loveys stuffed up their shirts and ask me if I want to feel their babies move?

This little girl is already such a blessing to our family and I really feel like she completes us. After being so indecisive about should we or shouldn’t we have a third, I feel so privileged that it was even an option.

With Monkey setting the pace for us, I’m just so happy that I get to experience all these stages again one more time.

The Grand Finale

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WHOO POO!

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OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG.

GUESS WHAT!??

Kohl’s Department Store has the book “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman on sale for $5 as part of their Kohl’s Cares for Kids program!!!!

Can you believe it!?? The book normally retails for $11!

WHOO POO!!!

This is my absolute favorite children’s book in case you haven’t read the “About” section or gathered from the name of my blog. For me, the story so accurately captures the uniqueness and wonderment of each child, and how each child is so individually special and changes your life so profoundly. According to Nancy’s web site, she created “On the Night You Were Born” to convey to children at an early and impressionable age, “You are the one and only ever you.”

Not to mention her illustrations are sublime.

I could recite the book to you because I know it by heart.

The opening page reads:

“On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, “Life will never be the same.” Because there had never been anyone like you … ever in the world.

Love. ♥

Kohl’s also is selling “It’s Time to Sleep My Love” which I have and is another lovely bedtime book, as well as two new titles that I’m not familiar with — “Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You,” and “The Spirit of Christmas.”

OTNYWB is one of my favorite baby shower gifts — actually it’s one of my favorite gifts for kids in general. I’ve even given copies to kids who are 5 and 6 years old. Needless to say, I bought three copies of it and one of each of the new ones (for us!)

I seriously almost crapped my pants when I walked into the store and saw that they were selling these books. I’m planning to go back and get more. They’re also selling plush animals that accompany the books.

Since there’s a Christmas title my guess is that this is the line of books that Kohl’s will sell through the holiday season, but I guarantee you they will not still be in stock at Christmastime. As I was checking out and gushing to the cashier about how much I loved the books she remarked that everyone had been buzzing about them. She also probably thought I was psycho for taking pictures of a book display with my camera phone.

If you want one of these books for only $5, you must go now. They’ll be gone by Christmas.

RUN. GET AS MANY AS YOU CAN. They make fantastic gifts. Just don’t give any to the kids I’m giving them to, okay?

WHOO POO!!!

Oh. right. About “Whoo Poo.”

Well, let me just tell you. Last May I was online shopping for a gift that my cousin, a friend and I were buying together:

From: Jennifer Novotny
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:55 PM
To: A
Cc: S
Subject: RE: order babybeat from babybeat

The total was $23.75 each. I found a 5% off online coupon (WHOOPOO, don’t give too much away!), and there wasn’t any tax or shipping.

Thank you both for doing this with me!

 

From: A
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 3:37 PM
To: Jennifer Novotny
Subject: RE: order babybeat from babybeat

check’s [almost] in the mail 🙂

 

From: Jennifer Novotny
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 3:49 PM
To: A
Subject: RE: order babybeat from babybeat

I just re-read my email and I have no idea what “WHOOPOO” means. OMG, I am laughing so hard right now … tears … I meant “whoopee.” OMG. I’m dying.

WHOO-POO!

 

From: A
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 4:44 PM
To: Jennifer Novotny
Subject: RE: order babybeat from babybeat

lol – I was wondering what whoopoo meant. I thought it was just me not getting it as usual 🙂

 

From: Jennifer Novotny
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 9:02 PM
To: A
Subject: RE: order babybeat from babybeat

I am still cracking up about the “WHOOPOO” line. I don’t know why, but I think it’s so hysterical that I wrote that!

It’s like a combination of “WHOOPEE” and “WHOOHOO.” I made up a new word!

*********

So there you have it. When something it’s awesome, it’s not “WHOOPEE” OR “WHOOHOO,” it’s “WHOO POO!”

GO GET THE BOOKS!

WHOO POO!

Shining a Light

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Reading everyone’s comments on my post yesterday made me a little emotional. In a good way. It was so affirming for me.

As I had hoped, getting all our thoughts, fears and concerns written out instead of stuck in our heads, shined a light on our situation and we realized that we probably had the decision made all along — but on those super tough parenting days when no one is listening, everyone is purposely being naughty, the kitchen floor looks like there’s been a food fight, the crying and whining won’t stop and no one’s going to bed easily — you look at each other and go “We must be effing crazy to even consider this.”

But as my friend Anna, summed it up: “If your heart tells you that you have more love to give, then everything else will just fall into place.”

And as several of you said, “You will not regret it, but probably would if you didn’t.”

A few other key takeaways for me:

Whether you’re going from zero children to one, or one to two, or any number, you have concerns about “will we be able to handle it mentally and financially.”

Well, duh. I hadn’t thought of that before, but that’s so true! These are the same questions we ask ourselves when we’re considering any big life change — buying a house, changing jobs, having kids.

It’s the fear that holds us back. The fear of the unknown. You get comfortable with the ways things are, and change is risky.

But as another friend said, “As a mother you can adjust to ANYTHING. Especially for the sake of your kids.”

Amen. Eventually, caring for three kids would become a routine and there would be nothing scary about it. We would adapt.

And finally, I had never heard anyone say that the “KNEW” when they were done, but apparently people feel that way just like others intuitively know when they’re not done. And we definitely don’t feel like we “know” we’re done.

Thank you to the many of you who said “God will provide.” It’s comforting to know that other people believe this too.

I encourage anyone who’s having this discussion in their household to read all of the comments. Also, a mom-of-three friend sent me a list of very thought provoking questions. I honestly appreciated so much her taking the time to help me think through some very realistic scenarios. I thought about my responses, and I’m including the questions here in case it helps someone else decide:

  1. School — this includes homework AND seeing their performances. School plays during the day time, concerts at night. Homework with three kids!
  2. Don’t worry about the money. That’ll come and you’ll find a way.
  3. Vehicles — eventually you will need a new vehicle. Someone is going to want a friend to come along. Be prepared.
  4. Uh, plain and simple. The amount of work doesn’t double when you go from one to two. It increases exponentially. LOL. And that is NOT a joke. But the JOY increases exponentially, too.
  5. Babysitters — it is WAY harder to find someone to watch three kids. Even grandparents, not that they don’t love the kids, but it can be overwhelming with so many. You can always find two sitters, but then you worry if one cancels, who is the backup, who goes where … etc. This is easier as they get older.
  6. Sicknesses — a third child is a fifth person to be bringing germs into the house, which is another vehicle for illnesses. More doctor bills, more time off work, etc.
  7. Think of the WORST DAY EVER POSSIBLE with having three kids (short of any life threatening things). Someone is begging to go for a bike ride, but hasn’t done her homework, someone has the flu, and baby three is ripping apart books. Your husband is late at work, no mothers can come over, and you have a long list of work to get done (still make dinner, clean up after the kids, basically do everything on your own). On this worst day (and it’s likely to happen many times over and over again), do you think it would cross your mind that you might wish you didn’t have the third baby. I could tell you my answer, but you need to figure it out for yourself.
  8. There are moms of multiples who have successfully raised well adjusted, happy kids into adulthood. It is possible for you to do it, too!
  9. Your world will be turned upside down, sideways to the left, to the right, back upright, to the left, upside down, right side up, to the right, to the slight left, spun a few times if you have a third. But it did that after the second, and it did that after the first. You’ve been there before. You can do it again.

Thank you for your affirmations, your encouragement and your positive thoughts.

Thank you for helping my brain understand what my heart already knew.