So glad we decided to come to NJ a few days early. We got to experience the Blizzard of 2009 from start to finish! I was so excited for my girls to get to see snow like this. I wasn't really sure they would ever get to witness a blizzard, living in Nashville but the timing worked out perfectly! We spent all day Saturday watching the snow fall, making cookies, building a snowman (who was completely buried by the evening) and drinking coffee and hot chocolate. It was a blast! Haylee discovered that her favorite food is snow. All that girl did was eat it! lol We went sledding too of course and yes- James and I were the oldest people there. We didn't care though. We went down those hills like it was nobody's business! Had a few wipe outs and took down a few 4 year olds but overall it was pure fun! Doing things like this makes me miss NJ. I am just glad that we were here to experience it with our girls. There is something completely amazing about watching your children experience things for the first time that you knew, loved and remember yourself doing as a child. The fun is new all over again, yet in a whole different way. This will definitely be a memory that lasts a lifetime.
If you are a mom of little ones or know someone who is...this one is for you. After having my second daughter Rylie, who is now almost 9 months old, I have come to realize that there are a certain few items that I just cannot imagine life without anymore. I know some of you may already know about some of these gifts from heaven, but for those that don't, check them out! They are meant to simplify life as a mom and make things just a little bit.....easier. :)
1) Good Night Lite- This has revolutionized our mornings. When my older daughter Haylee was two, we switched her to a "big girl bed". She was so happy to have her own bed. However, I quickly realized that my mornings were getting earlier and earlier with Haylee's newly discovered independence. Hearing the little feet coming down the stairs at 6am was just NOT a good sound. Especially because we had just had Rylie and she was sleeping in our room at that time. Haylee would come in, ready to party and assumed the rest of the world was going to join her! lol I would send her back up to bed and every 10 minutes we would hear..."Moooomm....Can I get up now?" We had many early mornings like this along with a lot of power struggles to get her back in her bed until James and I could at LEAST .....keep our eyes open.
Then came along the GOOD NITE LITE! A friend of mine suggested I try this and after checking out the website, I figured hey...why not? I can tell you now it's one of, if not THE BEST thing we ever got! It is a night light/timer with a moon and sun on it that lights up either yellow or blue, according to the time you set it to switch. YOU determine when it's morning, not the child. Haylee is not allowed to come out of her room until "her sun is yellow". She waits patiently for the most part and when it finally does turn to a sun at 7:30, she runs down saying "My sun is yellow mommy!". She gets so excited about it and I believe it has really helped her sleeping pattern (and ours too!).
2) Kiddopotamus Tinydiner Placemat- LOVE this for little eaters. I take this everywhere with me now. When we go out to eat, I know that Rylie will always have a safe and CLEAN place to eat her food. It has suction cups that stick to the table and is made from a rubber material, so the food does not roll off easily. Also it has a little pocket at the end of it to catch most of those little pieces that manage to slip through the little fingers. Better there than in their lap or all over the floor. We still do manage to get a bunch on the floor, but babies will be babies,right? lol
It rolls up to the size of a small umbrella so it fits great in my diaper bag. Price of placemate between $10-$15. Germ free place for your little one to eat when you are out.... priceless
3) Snack Trap- Whoever invented this is just brilliant. It's so simple too! When your baby gets old enough to start feeding themselves, we all know how that gets....MESSY! The SnakTrap is a little bowl with handles for your child to hold. It has a rubber lid with an opening in the middle for your little tot to get his or her favorite snack out, piece by piece. When it's turned upside down (or thrown) the snack stays put. Great for car trips and it saves a good amount of clean up time!
4) Fresh-food-feeder- This is great for little ones before they have their chompers in :) With this you are able to give them fresh food (I like giving Rylie fruit in it) and they are able to bite down on the netting to get the juices out. When she is teething I put an ice cube in it and she LOVES that!
5) Swaddleme- This item is wonderful for the first few weeks of life with a newborn. I believe this is what helped my girls sleep through the night and it makes swaddling in the middle of the night a piece of cake. After sliding the baby into the little pocket, the top piece wraps around and seals with a velcro strip to hold the swaddle blanket in place. Of course as the baby gets older, they also get stronger and eventually they are able to kick those little legs until they break free from the blanket. However, for those first few weeks, this item was wonderful to have!
So those are a few of my favs. I'm sure I could keep the list going and going, but how about you?? What are YOUR favorite "MUST HAVE" baby items? Leave a comment and share!
This week has been crazy to say the least.... James sat down to check his facebook page on Tuesday and was shocked at a status that he saw- there had been a major earthquake in his homeland- the island of American Samoa. Not long after, there was a tsunami warning for the whole area. James immediately called his dad to check on the family there (He still has many family members there). When his father picked up, he sounded frantic (which is unusual for him). He quickly told him to call his cell phone and that they were getting to higher ground. Not long after, James called to check on them and they were stuck in traffic on the one main road that exists there (VERY unusual for a small island like this to have any traffic at all) and there was water coming on the street! I can only imagine what they were thinking at that moment. They eventually did make it to the mountain top and thank God they were safe. However, the other side of the island was not as fortunate. It turns out that after this 8.0 earthquake hit, a tsunami rushed over the far east and west sides of American Samoa within MINUTES! There was no time for the people there to evacuate. Water rushed in destroying everything in it's path up to a mile inland. This is especially sad to our family because one of the villages that was completely leveled by this was where their mother grew up- Leone.
The pictures here speak a thousand words. Over 100 lives were lost - young and old. hundreds are still missing. I watched a man bury his 3 year old daughter last night online. DEVASTATING...That is Haylee's age. I cannot imagine losing everything in a matter of moments but that is the reality these people are facing.
It is such a helpless feeling to be so far away from those you love during a time like this. American Samoa is a very small island that has little to begin with. They live a very simple life and don't need much-EVERYONE is family and greets you with a smile. I went there 2 years ago and saw with my own eyes some of the sweetest faces I've ever met.
What I have taken from this personally is a HUGE reminder to treat every day as a gift and not let the trivial things in life get the best of me. There will always be little problems here and there and sometimes bigger ones. However, God is in control and always will be. He has given us today and we are to live it to the fullest! Embrace life, the fresh air, the sunshine (and the rain for us in the southeast this past month- lol). Go on dates with your spouse. Hug your kids and spend time with them. Make a DIFFERENCE in your community one step at a time.
Love you all!! Have a great day today...
Photos taken by Kelli Trontell