Friday, June 24, 2016

Pajama Popcorn Party // Featuring Lorena Canal Rugs & Finn + Emma

Happy Friday!  I'm so excited for the weekend and can't wait to spend some family time.  During the week, our days are normally filled with plans, appointments, tutoring, and some fun thrown into the mix.  We love a good play date around here and Olivia loves to invite Brynn over to play at least a few times a week so I thought it would be super cute and fun to have a pajama popcorn party.  I set up Olivia's room with popcorn, books, pillows in her teepee and her new rug was going to be put to the challenge.  Mamas, these rugs are life changers! 

Lorena Canal Rugs are machine washable and so cozy! Literally, you just put it in the washing machine and wash it.  Life. Changing.  Toddlers middle names should all be "messy" ;) All of the rugs are handmade in northern India and made of materials such as New Zealand wool, natural dyes and 100% cotton.  There are so many cute designs offered!  We have the Hippy Yellow and it's a pale yellow with white accents and soft fringe.  I also love the zig zag, polka dot grey, and sky purple. 

A good popcorn party is not complete without some cozy pajamas. Finn + Emma is the cutest company that features organic clothing and toys.  For Olivia, I chose the Organic Toddler Pajamas in Bird.  So fitting ;) They are seriously butter soft and so well made.  You can feel the difference as soon as you dress your little one.  All of their clothes are made out of 100% G.O.T.S certified organic cotton and made using fair trade labor practices.  I wish they had adult sizes, I'd live in them! 

For our little one, Charlotte, I chose the Stella The Sparrow Set, which features an adorable knit bird and a feather teether.  Their toys all look amazing.  I love the wooden teething rattle and teething ring.  All of their wooden toys are made from Indian hardwood and sealed with vegetable seed wax, making it completely safe for little ones to chew away - exactly what I look for when looking for safe, fun toys!  Their stuffed animals are made with organic cotton yarn and stuffed with sheep's wool.  In the mornings, Olivia has playtime on her jungle mat and I always hang her sparrow above her and she coo's the entire time.  It's the cutest thing ever! 

Our popcorn party was a success and the rug 100% held up to toddler play and fun! As you can tell there was even some spilled popcorn - totally not planned!  The girls must have secretly known I was putting Olivia's new rug to the test ;)

If you're looking for a sweet baby gift or some cozy clothes and adorable toys for little ones, Finn + Emma is the place to go!  And if you're looking for a well-made, super durable, stylish rug look no further than Lorena Canals.  Can't say enough about it, especially coming from a mama of two {messy} little ones! XO

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Composed // Dealing with Your Threenager

Hi!  Hope you enjoyed my last post about morning routines that have helped our mornings brighter and days starting off on the right foot.  Today, I wanted to share some things that have worked in our home that we share with our little threenager ;)

Since Charlotte has joined our family, Olivia has been less than herself most days.  To be totally honest, I was worried her "old self" wouldn't return, which completely scared me because she was the sweetest little girl.  Up until this past week she has been all out of sorts - disobeying us, being loud to wake up the baby, purposely touching the baby when asked not to, temper tantrums, etc. I was so not prepared for that.  Side note: I'm writing this with complete honesty because nothing makes me feel worse than reading blogs that make me feel less than a good mom because they have perfect days, perfect children, perfect moments  Anyway, after days of being so frustrated and searching for ways to correct this I decided to use some of my classroom management skills and they seem to be working very well. Read: We're not ending our days covered in stickers, in the corner, with all of us crying.  Olivia has been so much more herself and it's been so nice to get back to our old/new routines.

Get Some Fresh Air
Although it takes longer to pack up the car with both kids, extra clothes, diapers, snacks, extra snacks, sunscreen, sun hats, water bottles, the get the idea, it is worth it haul everything and everyone to the park to get some fresh air.  Even walking around the neighborhood or playing in the back yard is a great way to distract from bad moods or boredness all around. It also helps them sleep better, which in itself is worth it. 

Positive Reinforcement

I've started using a star chart with Olivia and it has been a great visual reminder that her good behavior is being noticed.  We had a sticker chart for her bedtime routine but that ended up being too much of a distraction of wanting to put extra stickers on, peeling them off, using them for other things...with a star chart, the parent writes the star and that works really well so the child can see they are being praised and it's also not as much of a distraction.

Changing Their Mind
All too often it's super hard to be three.  Whether your baby doll's eyes won't open and close at the right time or you can't eat marshmallows for breakfast, it's super hard to compose yourself when you're feeling that it's the end of the world. I think it helps so much that my sister also has a three (almost) year old and lots of our friends have kids similar ages and we can laugh together at these moments.  To these little loves, these moments are truly a big deal to them and it's important to respect that they have these feelings.  It's super hard for them to express themselves at times so I find that changing their minds really helps.  For example, Olivia has been wanting her baby doll to do everything Charlotte does which is adorable most times, but other times it's just not possible.  If Charlotte is in her mamaroo, then Olivia's baby doll goes in the bouncer right next to her.  Every single day we have the same breakdown because the doll's eyes won't stay open when she's laying down.  Thank you Mattel, maybe next time you can make a doll that works according to toddler's needs!?! After her 145th tantrum about this I taped the doll's eyes open I tried to change her mind and direct her attention to something else and it worked.  If she's cranky or upset because she can't do something or something isn't working right then we change directions and it normally resets her whole mindset.

Less Electronics
We definitely aren't a family who use electronics all day, everyday but we certainly watch shows on tv and occasionally use the computer.  Of course we have our social media accounts and things of that nature but I try to put my phone in another room or away for the day once the kids are awake.  Olivia has used our iPad a few times and enjoys it but she's just as happy playing with toys so that is what we try for.  Most mornings I let her turn on a show to wake up slowly while she drinks her milk and munches on some Cheerios but I've been making a conscious effort to limit it to one show then the tv turns off and the day starts.  Mamas of little ones - Daniel Tiger is one of her favorites and has great teaching lessons for little ones.  Note: when she's up at 5am, the one show rule is out the window #mamaneedssleep.  By cutting down tv and electronic time, I've seen significant behavior improvement.

Intentional Time Together
Since Charlotte was born, Olivia's mommy time is now shared with another little person and that can be hard at times for her.  Actually, for both of us because mommy guilt really is a true thing.  Intentionally spending time together has been a great treat for both of us. Whether it's going for ice cream or just doing a puzzle together and painting our nails, we both really enjoy it and I think it makes her feel special.  It's hard with Rob being away for work so much lately, but even a few minutes here and there make all the difference.  Also, I find when I remain calm during a tantrum or if she's upset or mad, then she tends to get over it quicker and we move on.

Pour Some Wine
All joking aside, seriously some days are meant to end as wine days. Now I don't currently have any in the house but if I did, I'd be enjoying that.  Alone. Watching Real Housewives. 

These are some things that have worked most days and I would love to hear other ideas about what has worked with your little tantrums, I mean toddlers ;)  When I'm calm and composed, they are calm(er) and more composed too! Stay tuned for another Composed post this week & as always follow along with us @thebirdsnestblog.  XO

Monday, June 13, 2016

Composed // Morning Routines

I've been wanting to share this post for a while now but we've been consumed by a little tiny person lately so its been on the back burner ;) Charlotte is now 7 weeks old and she fits perfectly into our lives.  She's the calmest baby and I'm so thankful for that.  That being said, with a three year old in the mix our days are still nothing less than crazy most of the time.  Rob has another two weeks of swat school so I've been solo parenting for a few weeks now and it is h.a.r.d.  I don't know how single mamas do it.  Some mornings were so overwhelming and that set the mood for the rest of the day so I was definitely ready for some calmness and composure for all of us. I'm thinking (hoping) other mamas have days like this so I wanted to share some tips and tricks that I've been using for smoother days.  

Start your day intentionally.  
Some mornings I just cannot wake up, whether it's because I've been up at night with the baby or Olivia has woken up at 4:59 #truestory, but I literally cannot drag myself out of bed. On the mornings that I make myself get up and get moving it makes all the difference and I feel more productive throughout the day. It's so tempting to sit in bed with coffee and catch up on social media or your favorite show but just a few minutes can turn into an hour. Olivia likes to watch a show with warm milk in our bed when she wakes up so I've been taking that time to make coffee, feed the baby, and some mornings I even manage to get dressed without distractions ;)

Get dressed.
To some people this may seem silly, to other mamas you know the real deal. Getting dressed and moving is a small accomplishment that makes all the difference.  If I stay in pajamas once everyone is awake it's over.  Mornings eventually turn into lunchtime frenzy and I'm still standing there in a nursing tank and polka dot pants when the mailman shows up...not a good look ;) I also do my makeup and hair when I can squeeze it in because it helps me to feel ready for the day.  Whether it's in yoga pants or actual jeans and a tee, get yourself dressed and you're good to go if you need to run errands or simply make someone a nibble tray with pepperoni and cucumbers at 8am ;) 

Make a list. 
I'm a list person.  This is not to say that I don't leave my list at home every.single.time. but when I write things down it makes all the difference.  I've literally walked into another room and thought "oh, let me get that from the laundry room"...have walked into the laundry room and my thoughts are gone.  No idea what I was looking for and it'll come back to me at 3am.  Last night, I had Rob text me while he was sitting next to me, to check the due date of our Amazon card in the morning.  In the morning, I'll write down a few things that I want to get done and it's so rewarding to cross off those things...if I manage to get them done ;) 

Eat breakfast.
I've been preparing simple foods that are easy to grab for breakfast and it's been very helpful.  Hard boiled eggs, washed fruit, muffins, a big batch of pancakes that can be worth it when you have a crying, hungry baby and a toddler who is also crying because her baby doll's eyes are closing when she's laying down #toddlerproblems.  It makes everyone feel better when you have full bellies to get you through until lunchtime.  It also makes for a much less crankier mommy ;)

These little tips have made for much calmer, happier days. I entitled this series "Composed" because I think as mamas we want to remain composed and some days it's just plain hard to not lose your you-know-what, but with little things like getting dressed, eating a good breakfast and making to-do lists, it's a little easier to remain a composed, calmer mama for the rest of the day;) I'll be sharing more soon!

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thebirdsnestblog to see more of our less than perfect, yet mostly composed days ;) XO 

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