Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Photo Re-Cap

For our family, as for many others, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. Every year we kick off the season by hosting a barbeque for our family and friends. It's one of our favorite days of the year, and we look forward to it for months.

This year we also decided to take the kids to our local parade in the morning. Stephanie was thrilled to see Fire Trucks and balloons.

When she woke up from her nap in the afternoon, our guests were already here. There was a lot of good food, some delicious sangria, red white & blue cupcakes, and tons of laughter and talking. We had a volleyball game, a frisbee game, and a sprinkler for the little ones. It was a great day all around, and I always feel so blessed surrounded by so many of our loved ones. I hope all of you had as wonderful a holiday as we did.

And as always, we made sure to take some time during the day to remember the real reason for our long weekend. We will always remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Words cannot express our graditude.

Joseph being Patriotic
Stephanie & I. She loves to take pics with me :)

My boys
We spent a long time trying to get a good family shot. This was the best we could get!

Stephanie & Daddy at the parade
Joseph & I waiting for the parade to start

3 adorable girls waiting for the sprinkler to turn on

They had a blast!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday's Top 5 Laughs

Happy Saturday! I'm once again linking up with Melissa of the Mommyhood Chronicles for the Top 5 Laughs Blog Hop. If you're a blogger and have some laughs, be sure to come over and link up!

1. We had a playdate on Thursday with none other than the very Melissa who runs this blog hop! We had a great time at her gorgeous house with her adorable kids. However, my quirky daughter decided that Melissa's son, Z., an innocent baby, was scary. Every time he toddled near her she would scream and cry. I couldn't help but laugh. I think it might have been the fact that he walks, unlike her baby brother who doesn't even crawl yet.

2. While I was driving yesterday, I heard Joseph making raspberries in his car-seat. Stephanie shrieked with joy, exclaiming "Mommy, Joseph spitting!" Then she started giggling hysterically. A startled Joseph stared at her for a minute, then started laughing himself. They spent the rest of the car ride giggling at each other.

3. Stephanie has a magna-doodle that she loves, but it's been lying under our couch unused for a few weeks now. The other day I pulled it out, dusted it off and handed it to her. Her eyes grew wide, she gasped and exclaimed "OH, thank you Mommy!" She couldn't have been happier if I had handed her a million dollars.

4. There are a lot of baby dolls in our house, but Stephanie has never really taken much of an interest in them. Lately however she has been playing with them more and more, and we have even started having to take one of them with us in the car. Instead of needing me to chat with her and entertain her, she will talk to "Baby Nefanie" instead. I love listening to the conversations she has with her baby, recounting everywhere we go and everything we do. (I realize that most little girls do this, but it's new for us so the novelty makes me smile every time.)

5. Joseph doesn't crawl yet, but he can maneuver himself all over our apartment simply by rolling. And no matter where I put him down he always seems to make his way to some wires. He finds them even if they're tucked away, far out of reach. I can't help but laugh when he reaches one, because he latches on and gives me a look as if to say "Sorry Mom, you can't fool me. I found it!"

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! Let's cross our fingers that we get some nice weather here in Southern New England. We're having a barbeque on Monday!

*Don't forget to enter my giveaway for Teething Bling! These great necklace teethers are invaluable if you have a teething baby. And if you don't, they make an awesome gift!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Teething Bling Review and Giveaway

You sacrifice a lot when you become a mom. Things like sleep, your pre-baby body, the ability to go out with girlfriends (or your hubby) whenever you want, privacy, etc. etc. While there are certainly times that I miss some of those things (like, um, sleep...) I wouldn't trade my precious little ones for any of them.

One of the things that I've given up since having my babies is wearing necklaces. When they were both newborns, I spent a lot of time with them lying on my chest. I didn't want necklaces digging into their little faces, so I quit wearing them. Then as they got a little older I didn't want them pulling or chewing on the necklaces, so they stayed hanging in my jewelry armoire. And I'll admit that I missed them.

When I heard about Teething Bling, I got super excited. Have you heard of them? They are a company that makes jewelry which doubles as teethers. An ingenious combination, right? As I browsed through their website, I realized right away that these necklaces are amazing. They are stylish and functional, which is what every busy mom needs! And since Joseph has been trying to cut teeth for over a month now and chews on everything, I knew the bling would be a hit with him as well.

All of teething bling's products are non-toxic, phthalate, BPA, PVC, latex and lead-free. They also have a break-away clasp, in case we get entangled. They come in a variety of beautiful colors to complement any of your outfits, and they also have bangles to match.

I was thrilled when my bling arrived, and put it on right away. Mine is a gorgeous lavender colored donut shaped pendant on a black silky string.

The day it arrived we had a trip planned to our local Children's Museum. As usual I wore Joseph in the Ergo. However, instead of fussing and needing a pacifier, he immediately latched onto my teething bling. He picked it up and examined it for a minute, and then slowly brought it to his mouth. (I swear he looked at me as he did it, as if to say "Am I really allowed to chew on this mom?") For the entire duration of our trip the teething bling kept him occupied, and I was able to rest assured that it was safe for him to gnaw on.

Later in the day we were at my sister's house, and I got several compliments on my new pendant. (I think everyone was shocked to actually see a necklace on me!) They were amazed when I told them that not only is it a gorgeous accessory, but it's a functional teether for Joseph.

I am so thrilled with this product and can't recommend it highly enough. I can finally wear necklaces again, Joseph always has something to occupy him while he's in my arms, and he can satisfy his need to chew and get those teeth out!

I can really chew on this mom?

It can even be used hands-free!

I am excited to announce that smart mom jewelry has generously offered to let one lucky reader of Baby Makes Four choose a teething bling pendant for themselves. (If you don't have little ones at home, they make a great gift!) I'm using RaffleCopter to choose a winner, and the giveaway will last for 5 days. Good luck! 

*I was provided product for this review. All opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making New Friends

She's always been independent. She crawled and walked early, always eager to go out on her own and explore. She would often turn down our offers of hugs and kisses, preferring to dole out affection on her own terms. Her social interactions tended to take the form of parallel play, which was developmentally appropriate for her age.

Yet as she grew, her friends became more and more interactive while she stayed off in the corner playing by herself. The educator in me said not to worry. She's still young. Socialization is an ongoing skill and she will learn how to play with others on her own terms. The parent in me felt concern and worry that my child wasn't playing like the other children. (Even though she had no cares in the world. She was just happy to be in their company. Unless they approached her to play. Then she screamed at them.)

Then, slowly but surely she became more interactive. Playdates with her cousin started to include endless conversations between the two of them. There were even times that I would see my little one initiate a hug. Every night she would  talk about her friends, eager and excited to see them, even if once she did she chose not to actually play with them.

My worries have eased as I've watched her social skills progress.

Then last week at the playground she did something so "grown-up" that my eyes filled with tears and my heart burst with pride.

She made a new friend, all by herself.

While I pushed my little munchkin on the swings, another little girl (probably 3 or 4 years old) came and stood shyly next to us. I smiled at her, and told Stephanie to tell the girl her name.

"I Nefanie!" she proudly stated. The little girl responded "I'm B." And then ran off. Stephanie told me she wanted to play with B, so I told her to go ask her if she wanted to play.

I plopped her down, and watched her run after the other girl. I heard "Want to play with me?" and the other little voice responded "Sure!"

And just like that, the two of them ran off, happy as can be. They giggled, they chatted, they chased after each other. They slid down the slides, took turns, and enjoyed each other's company. When Dan came to stand next to me (we were having a family evening at the park) Stephanie ran over to him and exclaimed "Daddy, I playing with my new little friend!" Melt.

She's growing and learning and developing new skills every day. And I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of her.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Being Happy At Home

Last week the Today Moms group on Facebook posted an article that I found very interesting. It says a recent Gallup survey shows that stay-at-home-moms are more depressed than working moms. They go on to say that the drudgery of at home life, combined with isolation and a lack of "feeling accomplished" cause sahm's to feel more sadness, anger, worry and depression. Working moms on the other hand, were more apt to report that they had feelings of happiness and enjoyment.

Reading the article caused me to feel a deep and profound sadness for those stay-at-moms who are suffering. I know first hand what staying home is like, and I can easily see how a mom might start to slide into depression. There is definitely an isolation factor involved, as well as a day-to-day drudgery that can really wear on some moms.

I count myself blessed to be a sahm who loves my career. That being said, as someone who is happy and content with my choice I think it's important to share some of the things that have made my life as a sahm the enjoyable experience that it is. I know it's not the right choice for everyone, but if you are a mom who stays home, you deserve to have it be a positive experience.

The most important thing I've learned from staying home is that not every day is going to be wonderful. It is so easy to feel guilty on those days when you don't get out of your jammies, the kids are whining, don't nap, the dishes and laundry are piled high, and it's been raining for 5 days straight. On those days, it's important to remember that nobody loves their job every single day. It doesn't make you a bad mother, it doesn't mean that you made the wrong choice, and it doesn't mean that you have failed in any way.

It does mean that you need to give yourself a break. When the chaos threatens to take over, figure out what you can do to help yourself relax. Maybe you need to check in with a friend or relative. Maybe you need to pop in a children's dvd and make yourself a cup of tea while the kids are occupied. Maybe you need to hand the little ones over to your husband when he comes home, and spend 10 minutes by yourself regrouping. Whatever it is, do it, and don't feel guilty. You need a mommy time-out every now and then, and there's nothing wrong with that!

I also find it important to stick to a routine. We're very flexible in my house, but there is a general structure to our days, especially in the mornings and evenings. It helps us all stay accountable to the tasks we need to accomplish.

I make sure to get dressed and put makeup on every single day. It helps me feel like a functioning human, and reminds me that even though i'm Mommy, i'm still Megan.

I plan an activity every day. Most days the activity takes place outside of our home. It might be a playdate, storytime, or simply a trip to the grocery store. Whatever it happens to be, it gets us out of the house, provides a change of scenery, and allows me to converse with other adults. If we have no plans, we go for a walk, or do special out-of-the-ordinary things at home. (Play-doh, baking, painting, etc.)

Utilize the social media world. My Facebook and Twitter friends have provided countless hours of support in my times of need. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or clueless there is someone out there I can turn to. I also text my friends and family throughout the day. It helps stave off those feelings of isolation that can creep in, especially when it's been raining for 5 days and the kids are all suffering from colds.

It's really important to remember the things you liked to do pre-children and make sure to incorporate them into your current life. I love drinking coffee or wine with friends. Once a month I go out with my mommy blogger friends, which helps me feel connected to other women, and free from the responsibilities of home.

We often have playdates scheduled around lunchtime, which allows me to chat with my friends while the kids are entertaining each other. Coffee is usually involved too. If we don't have plans, i'll make a trip to Dunkin Donuts and enjoy a piping hot cup of coffee made by somebody else. Just that small pleasure is enough to make me happy on a dreary day when i'm sleep deprived and feeling miserable. And a glass of wine at the end of a hectic day is one of my favorite ways to decompress.

I love reading and writing, so I make this blog a priority. I find time every day to catch up on a few of my favorite blogs, and read a few pages in a book. (I always have something I'm reading, although I admit that sometimes it's a parenting magazine instead of an actual book.) If there's something you love to do and are passionate about, you need to make sure you do it! I don't like hearing that there is no time. The laundry/dusting/vacuuming etc. can wait for a little while, because doing something for yourself each day is essential!

Lastly, make sure you have time with your spouse or partner. It doesn't have to be a date night, especially because those can be pricey and hard to arrange. Dan and I love our at home nights, where we order pizza when the kids go to bed and relax with a glass of wine and a slice. We've also been known to break out the scrabble board from time to time. (Yes, we are that awesome.) Keeping connected with your spouse is a way to share the ups and downs of your life at home with the kids, and having his support and understanding is crucial.

Staying home and raising my children is my biggest point of pride. I love knowing that i'm fulfilling my dream and doing what I've always wanted to do. I hope that there are moms out there that have found this helpful, because being a mom, whether working outside the home or not, is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job, and we all deserve to be happy and enjoy this time in our lives.

*If you think you are suffering from depression, please seek professional help. If you're feeling sad, weary, or just down, reach out to someone. If you need support, I am always willing to listen. I love hearing from new people, and you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, or by email.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Saturday Top 5 Laughs

It's been a few weeks since I've linked up with Melissa's Saturday Top 5 Funny Blog Hop. I've been keeping track of the funny things my kids do though, so here are 5 funny things from the past few weeks.

1. After I changed Joseph's diaper, I put it in a bag and tossed it on the floor so I could re-dress him. When I was done, I reached down to throw the bag in the garbage and it was gone. I looked around and saw Stephanie skipping around the house with it. I asked her what she was doing and she said "I'm taking the poop on an adventure!"

2. When we went outlet shopping at the beginning on the month (I told you it's been awhile since I linked up!) Stephanie rode some of the mechanical rides that they have. One was a car, and one was a bull. As we left for the day I asked Stephanie if she had fun. She said "Yea, I ride the car, and I went bulling!"

3. After we got home and emptied all of our shopping bags from that outlet trip, Joseph found the bag from Calphalon. (It was one of those glossy paper bags.) He attacked it with a vengeance, throwing himself on it, and beating it with his hands. He proceeded to play with it for the rest of the night, and again the next morning. Who needs toys when you can play with shopping bags?

4. Our little mover has started rolling all over the place. I went into the kitchen to put something away yesterday, and when I got back I found this:

I guess he wanted to watch a movie...

5. We went on a walk to pick Dan up from work yesterday. On the way home, Stephanie spotted a squirrel. "Look Daddy, a squirrel! I want to go hang out with him." We got a good chuckle out of that one.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

*Linking up with Melissa The Mommyhood Chronicles!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Joseph's 7 Month Letter

Dear Joseph,

Happy 7 Month Birthday!

This month was doubly special because your 7 month birthday fell on Mother's Day. You can read about our day here.

You have grown and changed so much this past month. You can now officially keep yourself in a seated position until you consciously choose to topple over in order to reach a toy. (Or the computer wires. Or Stephanie's toys. Or the DVDs.)

You want to crawl, but whenever I put you on all fours you collapse onto your face. When you're on your tummy, you can scoot backwards. However, your goal is usually to move forward toward something, so you often get frustrated. Don't worry, you'll figure it out soon enough. Not too quickly though...I haven't completely baby-proofed the apartment yet!

You now have two bottom teeth, and are working on popping more through. This process is yet another reason why you still don't sleep through the night. I do feel bad for you though, because I imagine teething must be truly painful.

You still enjoy your exersaucer, although you prefer to be on the ground causing trouble playing. You and Stephanie sometimes take baths together, and you love to giggle at her as she splashes and entertains you. You enjoy looking at and chewing on books,  and playing with your stacking toys, teething rings, and shape sorter.

You eat dinner at the table with us, and munch on puffs and mum-mums. You still haven't mastered the sippy cup, but you're improving a little every day. You still devour any and all solid foods that we offer you, and down 4-5 bottles of formula every day.

I took you to the Dr this month to discuss some of your digestive issues, and you weighed 18.5lbs. You're certainly a growing boy!

You're still the happiest, most smiley little boy I've ever met, and you delight in being around the people you love.

You've started to get upset when I move out of your sight, which makes me feel so loved. You are very attached to your mama, and i'm equally attached to you!

Thank you for being such a sweet, loving and happy baby. Every day I delight in the new discoveries you make and the excitement with which you greet your world. I love you a million billion little boy!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mama's out there! I hope each one of you is taking a few minutes today to relax and enjoy yourself. Mothering is hard work, and we all deserve this special day of recognition!

An extra special Mother's Day wish to:

My mom. I am blessed to have such an amazing, beautiful and supportive mother. She was a stay-at-home mom and always made the job seem fun, honorable, and enriching. Because of her, I chose this path myself, and I've never once looked back. She's also an incredibly loving and patient Nana to my two little ones, and I love watching them together.

My mother-in-law. This is the woman who raised the endlessly patient, kind, supportive, and loving man that I married. I will always be grateful to her for that, and for the love she bestows on my children and myself.

My circle of mom friends, both in real life and online. I have met so many women who sacrifice themselves for this hardest of jobs, motherhood. We all work hard and support each other on our journey, and I know I couldn't do it without them! (Many of these amazing women read this blog, so if you're one of them, thank you for all that you do!)

I am having a fantastic 3rd Mother's Day. My husband was up with a teething Joseph all night so that I could get some sleep, and he took Stephanie out with him to get me my beloved Dunkin Donuts coffee and bagels for breakfast. He's done 4 loads of laundry for me, and is taking a nap right now (along with the kids) so I can enjoy the peace and quiet of a silent house. I couldn't ask for a better day!

Without these adorable little ones, I wouldn't have the privilege of being a mother!

Happy Mother's Day!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Future Fortified Mother's Day Feature

Last week I received an email from Future Fortified. I had never heard of the organization, but they read my blog and asked me to participate in a special Mother's Day edition for their Facebook page. 

Since I wasn't familiar with the group, I decided to do a little investigation before I committed to contributing. When I discovered what they were all about, I was humbled and honored to be asked to participate.

Their website states that "Future Fortified is a public awareness campaign of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). We enable individuals, businesses, and organizations to help millions of women and children around the world gain access to the essential nutrients they need to lead healthy, enriched lives."

They strive to find sustainable solutions to improve the nutrition of women and children around the world. I love their goal, and am proud to support and help their cause in any way possible.

My task, along with other bloggers who were asked to participate, was to describe what the word Mother means to me. After giving it a lot of thought, this is what I said:

"I hear the word mother and I think of comfort, safety, security, exhaustion, strength, patience, and unconditional love. But most importantly the word mother evokes an image of my two precious miracles. Without them, I wouldn't have the honor of being blessed with the most amazing, fulfilling and awe-inspiring title of Mother."

Here is the finished product of my feature that they put together:

If you'd like to see the rest of the blogger features, check out their Facebook page here. For more information on Future Fortified, check out their website at

Monday, May 7, 2012

"I want to hold my Mommy!"

We went on a road trip this weekend to visit my in-laws. They live 3.5 hours away, so my children don't get to spend a lot of time with them. Because of that, the time they have together is extra special, and  since Stephanie is 2 and has an amazing memory, she feels comfortable around my mother-in-law and loves to play with her.

I got a nice break the whole time we were there, because Stephanie just wanted Grandma to do everything for her. I'm used to this, since she does the same thing with my parents whom she sees on a weekly basis. (When we're at their house she physically pushes me out of the bathroom to tell me only Nana can help her go potty, and she only lets Nana or Grumpy play with her and give her food.)

I know how hard it is for my MIL to not spend much time with her grandchildren, so seeing the two of them bond was very heartwarming. It also showed that despite the distance, my little ones feel a connection to her. And since Stephanie insisted on having Grandma play with her the entire time, Dan and I actually got time to relax. (Joseph was very well-behaved, which helped.)

There is definitely a small part of me that is sad to see Stephanie growing up so quickly and becoming so independent. But that small part is far out shadowed by how proud I am of her for not needing to cling to my leg when we're around other people. We've raised her in a way that lets her know she's safe and secure even if we aren't right by her side. She knows that there are other adults in her life who she can trust, so she is comfortable spending a weekend without much mommy time.

But on the way home today, this lack of mommy time did catch up to her, and as we crossed the border of our little state she started to cry. I drove the last 20 minutes home listening to her sob in the back seat, saying over and over "I just need to hold my mommy!" It was as if she sensed that the trip was over, we were heading back home, and the novelty of being on vacation was gone. After all, she's only 2 years old, and little ones still need lots of mommy cuddles!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless(ish) Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone! Yesterday was a gross, rainy and dreary day. So of course it was also the day Dan took a personal day so we could go outlet shopping out-of-state. After the smallest of discussions, we decided to just bite the bullet and go. Even though it was cold and yucky we had a fun family day and even managed not to break our budget.

Ready for the rain!

Daddy and Stephanie walking through the outlets

Her favorite part of the trip was riding the car

 *Joseph came with us too. When we got home, I realized I didn't get any pictures of him. Oops.

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