Rhythm In Our Lives

I've just begun reading a book for a review given to me by MOPS. At the end of each chapter there are reflective questions to answer. I thought its be fun to answer them here and get a dialogue going... Then if you'd like, you can get the book and be inspired to be a better mom too!


The book is split into 3 sections, so this is one of three posts I'll do, aside from the review itself.






Hula Hoops:
Your Life Has a Rhythm

1. How does the idea of living into a better rhythm excite and motivate me?
It inspires me to know that while I'm trying this or that, I am learning and growing. I am molding myself into a better mom... The mom my children need me to be. I know in my head that the hard days will all offer a payout in the end... Breakthrough. But that doesn't make it any less painless. I know that if I have confidence in my parenting and mothering, my children will also be more confident and secure. My groove is the pace I set for us.

How does this idea of living into a rhythm make me feel nervous or uncertain?
Mostly in it's consistency. If we develop a schedule or routine, it's up to ME to maintain it. If I dont, then our groove is thrown off. That is extremely evident in temper tantrums, crankiness and disobedience. I know we need to have wiggle room and we can't have every minute predetermined, but overall, kids need structure, discipline and consistency. And its exhausting.


Teeter Totter:
Moving Beyond the Competition to Connection


1. What idea do you hope to put into practice for your family?
Something I was talking about with a friend today, actually.  We were talking about how scared we are that when our boys are teenagers, they will shut us out and not want to talk to us anymore.  A way to possibly curve this is to encourage open communication starting NOW.  Yes, my eldest is only (almost) 3, but if we start now maybe it'll be habitual, normal and natural.  We can start at the dinner table, "how was your day", "what did you learn in school".  Of course we need to alter these questions and conversations as they get older in order to keep it flowing.  Always open ended questions!  This is something I'd like to incorporate into our daily routine.  


2.  What does not work for your rhythm and why?
Mostly we're really "go-with-the-flow" kind of people and my children have adapted to that method.  Jonas is a little less relaxed, but he's getting the hang of it.  Like I said before, we need to have wiggle room... plans changes.  We try to keep a schedule with no strict times... things just happen in an order, but not according to any particular time. So lunch can be at noon or at 1 on any given day... and it's ok, as long as if right after lunch comes a nap.  More like a check list than a timed schedule.  It works for us... keeping strict times would probably stress me out too much. 

Two or More Players:
We All Need Help

1. Where can you find connection in your chaos?
I definitely find time to connect on a daily basis.  I do not feel alone in this mothering journey... any more.  There was a short time when I did.  But now I actively seek out people to become friends with.  Since moving to Miami, I have made numerous "mom friends" that I can call up, meet at a park, go to their house or just have lunch.  It has made this move and my life so much more enjoyable!  
Believe it or not, another reason I don't feel so lonely is because of my blog.  I have "met" so many wonderful moms who are just like me... struggling, learning and loving.  We encourage each other through sweet comments and chat on twitter.  I don't even know where most of them live, have never heard their voices, but I'm glad to have them to connect with!
I also have a best friend that is a mom and we chat almost every day.  We vent, joke, cry, encourage and uplift each other.  Even though we live hundreds of miles apart, she helps me find my way through the chaos of motherhood on a daily basis... and I'm so grateful to have that. 

2.  Where do you find this idea impossible?
In the book, she makes note that basically if dinner isn't served because you needed a time to chat with a friend, that's ok.  While I can see that at moments of near break-down it's ok, it shouldn't be habitual.  If that were the case, it'd be happening on a weekly basis.  I'd much rather be chatting it up with a gal pal than slaving over a stove with screaming children at my feet!  But I don't think my husband would appreciate that very much.  There is a time for these connections to take place, but not if it means neglecting basic responsibilities. 

Hide-and-Seek:
Discovering Your Gifts and Talents

1.  What is one gift/skill I know I've received?
I know that I am a gifted leader and communicator.  I think I lost sight of that for a little while, but it's becoming more clear in my life.  I remember that in high school, I was in student council for all four years.  I was the school's soloist on many occasions.  I gave speeches and sang in front roomfuls of people!  I was not afraid.  This is a gift... definitely.  
I have recently put this gift to good use by developing a local chapter of MOPS here in Miami.  I initially had no intentions of being the coordinator, but as time passed, I kinda walked into the role rather easily.  I feel both proud and humbled to be able to lead a MOPS group and I know that God has developed me for this role.  I pray that our little group continues to grow and begins to make an impact on moms across Miami. 

2.  What is one gift/skill I definitely do not have?
I do not have the skill of being hospitable.  I would like to... really, I would, but it just doesn't come easily to me.  And it's not really something I enjoy doing (how bad does that sound).  When I try to do something sweet for someone else, I feel like it's a chore... and I always feel like it's not good enough or pretty enough.
Which leads me to the second skill I suck at... crafting.  I know it sounds stupid!  But seriously, they go hand-in-hand.  If I give someone something, I want it to be cute... but it never is.  I have the craft skills of a 3rd grader... a flunky 3rd grader.  Pinterest is killing me by the way... just flaunting all of my inadequacies all over the place!  But I still try in these two areas... I want to grow and learn.

The Dumb Dad

Did you all hear what the Census Bureau said a few months back?
They said that when mother is staying home with her kids, it's "parenting", while when the father does it, it's a "child-care arrangement".  In other words, Babysitting.

This should be shocking to us all... not just to the poor stay-at-home dads that get NO respect and have a hard enough time as it is, but also to us women!  I mean, they are basically saying that dad's are useless... only "babysitter worthy".  

Since 2010, 32% of children are staying home with dad... that's one in three families!  So what's with this idea that dads are incapable?  Why are they looked down upon?  Why have we made them into Dumb Dads?

Now, this is just my personal opinion, but I strongly believe that we women have done it to ourselves.  We have shot ourselves in the foot.  We want so badly to be treated equally and have high paying jobs (I am Woman, hear me Roar) but that doesn't mean that our other responsibilities have faded away.  Throughout the course of time, it's been the man's job to go out (hunter) and the women's to stay in and care for the house (gatherer).  But in the last century, roles have shifted and morphed.  That's a good thing... but there are consequences that came upon us.  The women now want to be the hunter AND the gatherer... (I don't need no man!) and what has happend to us... we're worn out, exhausted, stressed, over worked.  And what exactly has happened to our men?  They have turned into a pile of mush... the Dumb Dad.

It's sad to say, but a lot of men would really rather not be the hunters OR the gatherers... they wanna chill, watch football, play xbox, eat doritos.  The perfect example I can think of is based on the first people to ever walk this planet... Adam and Eve (this is not a debate as to whether you believed they were actually the first people or not... it's an illustration... don't let me lose you!)  When everything was going well, Adam was having a blast... as soon as things got hard, he pointed fingers, hid and acted like a little boy.  But wait, ladies, Eve was in the wrong too... she wanted to CONTROL Adam... she needed to dictate what was going on... that was the FIRST mistake!  So, it's in our nature... women want to take control, men want to go-with-the-flow.

This is what has happened to us.  We have allowed our husbands to become our children.  We treat our husbands like they are incapable children.  We leave them lists, call to check up and be sure that they've eaten, nag at them and repeat things to them like they are incapable of comprehending simple commands.  YOUR HUSBAND IS NOT YOUR CHILD!!!

It really frustrates me when I hear people saying, "Oh, I left the kids with my husband... pray for them, hahahahaha".  Really?!  You left the kids with their FATHER... have some faith that he can handle it!  He's not incapable... he's not dumb... he's fully able to take care of the children that he helped bring into the world.  But YOU have to let him!  You have enable him!

Your husband is NOT dumb... he was smart enough to snag you, wasn't he?  So what happened between then and now.  When did he turn into Homer Simpson?

But now, men are insecure because we have babied them.  So they call and ask stupid questions... just making us feel like they can't possibly handle it.  This happened once and ONLY once in my household.  I left the kids with their father, who is fully capable of handling anything and everything thrown at him.  I went to work.  While at work, he called and asked me what he should give them for lunch.  I had not left him a schedule or a list or a lunch or anything... I figured, he is a grown intelligent man, he can figure it out.  BUT, he must have been insecure because he called me to ask.  My reply was this, "do I call you when you're at work to ask you what to feed the kids?  You can figure it out... and if there's nothing at home, then you can go out".  Was that harsh?  Maybe.  BUT it never happened again.

My husband is a trooper.  He is so amazing with the kids... and NOT just as a playmate.  He plays with them, but he also feeds them and bathes them and changes diapers and takes them out and teaches them and disciplines them.  He is a PARENT... NOT a babysitter!

Mothers, you need to trust your husband with your kids... they're not MY kids... they're OUR kids.  Raise the bar of your expectation with your husband... he will meet it.  He might not like it at first, BUT later he will feel confident and secure and he will build a beautiful relationship with your children.

If women are going to be hunters and gatherers, then it's time for men to do the same.  That means NO MORE "hands-off" dads.  NO MORE "not great with the kids" dads.  NO MORE "only a playmate" dads.  NO MORE "babysitting" dads.  And it starts with us... will we allow them to come into our territory of being a parent?

To read more about the Census Bureau, you can follow these links:
http://womenslawproject.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/census-bureau-mom-is-designated-parent-dad-is-childcare-arrangement/


http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/children/cb11-198.html

Giveaway Winner!

It's the moment you've all been waiting for.  The Random Number Generator has chosen the winner of the 4 pack of diaper cupcakes by Cheeky Monkey Gifts.

And the winner is...
True Random Number Generator 1 3715Powered by RANDOM.ORGEmily A. who "liked" the Cheeky Monkey Gift Facebook page! 
Congrats!  I hope you find a special friend to gift it to!Please contact Tarra through the FB page OR you can email me at tablefor4[dot]Nicole[at]gmail[dot]com.  
So, for the rest of you... you didn't win... I know, bummer.  BUT, Cheeky Monkey Gifts has offered 10% off of your first purchase JUST for playing!  So go on to her page and get your customized gift for your next babyshower or hospital visit!  And tell her that your favorite blog (TableFor4) sent you! ;)

PINspired

Ever since I started this blog series, I've been on a mission to MAKE some of the things I pin.  It's fun.  Better than just dreaming about it.

Here are the 3 recipes found on Pinterest that I have accomplished:

1. Banana Banana Bread



This recipe I tried on a whim.  I had 3 disgustingly rotten bananas, so I figured, why not make lemonade out of lemons... or in this case, banana bread out of rotten bananas?!  The thing that I loved about this recipe is that it contains ALL the ingredients you ALREADY have in your pantry.  No need to run to the store for that hard to find item.  It's the PERFECT nap time accomplishment!  And it makes the house smell... OMG, a-mah-zing.

My Brazilian family is accustomed to having Banana CAKE, so I had to remind them that it WASN'T cake... it wasn't supposed to be THAT sweet.  But I think it was a hit!  My kids loved it.  And it was sooooo good with butter.  This one is a keeper!

2. Chocolate Pretzel Rings



I made these with a friend.  It is the perfect thing to do with kids at a playdate.  Not MY kids, of course, but maybe with yours. I think mine are still too young to want to do anything but EAT all the chocolate.  This is easy peasy and the kids LOVED it.  For my personal taste, it was a bit too sweet because the Kisses are so big compared to the pretzel.  But like I said, this is kid friendly and they will devour it!

3. Cucumber Sandwiches



At MOPS this week, we had a Tea & Testimony special event.  This is what I brought.  What kind of tea party doesn't have Cucumber Sandwiches, eh?  This was so delish.  It's a little involved, so you have to prepare everything the day ahead and then actually assemble right before the party... but it's worth it!  This adds a little class to any party... well, an adult party, of course.

So that's what I've been trying lately.  Don't you LOVE this post.  I gave you a family recipe, a kid recipe and a grown-up recipe.  It's pretty good, if I do say so myself.  haha!

Happy Pinning!

Who's MY Doppleganger?


A Mommas Desires and Pacifiers

There's THIS SITE that has you upload a photo and it'll pull up your celebrity doppelganger.  I was intregued.  I'm never told I look like celebrities.  Often people will ask me if I have a sister or something, because I "look just like her", but no.  Never celebrities.

This was fun.  You should do it! And link up with A Momma's Desires and Pacifiers.  So here we go:

I started with my profile picture that I use for my blog, twitter and facebook.  This is the face YOU know.
And here were my results:

So #1 was Cate... I'll take it... don't love it, but it's ok.  #2... Katherine, ummm yes please.  If only I had that bod too.  (ps, my husband thinks she's easy on the eyes).  But for real... #3 Colin Powell... really?!? Now that's just plain MEAN! 

Then I decided to pull from an older picture, so I chose one of both Mau and I from about 6 weeks after Marco was born.  They tagged Marco's infant face too and he just got a bunch of bald old men! LOL!

Here are my results:

I'm ok with any of these options... #4 not soooo much, but it's still ok I guess.  But do I think I look like ANY of these? No. Not at all!

And now for my poor poor handsome husband.  This was the best of the bunch, I swear, and 3 of them are women!  What can I say... he's got a pretty face! 
I don't think Mau looks anything like Kevin Spacey.  In fact, in our younger days when he wore his hair long, I thought he looked a lot like:

Wishful thinking?  What do you think?

So anyway... my results were inconclusive.  Mauricio is Orlando Bloom... it's been decided with or without the computer generation! haha.

Which celebs do YOU think we look like?

Cheeky Monkey Gifts Giveaway!

I think I love hosting giveaways more than actually participating.  There is something so exciting about offering the CUTEST product and then waiting for someone to win and love it!  So when Tara asked if she could do a giveaway on my blog, I jumped on the opportunity!

Tara has been a friend of mine for some years now and she's really creative.  She has decided to start putting her creativity to good use and offer a unique product to moms and soon-to-be mommies!

Here's a little from Tara herself:

As a stay-at-home-mom of a toddler with another on the way, I've always struggled with not being able to provide financially for my family.  I know that I am doing an even more important job by raising our kids, but I needed to do something more tangible as well.  I tried selling different products through direct sales companies but nothing ever worked for me.  I decided that I needed to find something I was already good at and make a business around that.  That is how Cheeky Monkey Gifts was born!


So many friends of mine were having babies at the same time and I always liked to bring diaper cakes to the baby showers.  They are much more personal that just bringing a new mom a box of diapers, but they are still practical at the same time.  My cakes always got great reactions so I decided to start selling them. My business is just getting off the ground and I'm really excited about all the possibilities.  I can do something I really enjoy and help provide for my family at the same time, all while giving my kids the best start I can by staying at home with them. 


Why Diaper Cakes???
Diaper cakes make a great gift for a new mom, they are made entirely out of products that you can actually use, although they are so adorable that you'll have a hard time deciding to disassemble them!



Our baby shower favors- washcloth lollipops, mini cakes, diaper cupcakes- let you decorate your next baby shower with something your mom-to-be can use afterwards.  The mini cakes make great table centerpieces and the diaper cupcakes can even be made into place settings if you're throwing a more formal party.  The washcloth lollipops make great favors for your guests to take home. 




Our smaller diaper cakes also make a great alternative to flowers to bring to a new mom when you visit at the hospital.  When I had my son, I was bombarded with flowers at the hospital, which were nice but I was then burdened with trying to take them home without spilling water in the car, finding a place for them, and then eventually getting around to throwing them away long after they had wilted.  A diaper cake never wilts and doesn't require any upkeep. 

It's the perfect gift- lovely and useful at the same time!

So now... GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Tara has graciously offered one lucky winner a box of 4 diaper cupcakes!  Seriously, how stinkin' cute is that idea?  I can just imagine myself going to the million many babyshowers I have lined up with a box of those bad boys!  What a hit!  And, did you see the bear bike?  Holy cow... cuteness overload!
4 Ways to Enter, 5 Chances to Win!!!

1. Be or Become a public follower of my blog.
3. Tweet about the giveaway (please include @NicoleTableFor4)
4. Post about the giveaway to FB (please link post to Cheeky Monkey Gifts page)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Balloons Fly to Jesus



We went to Red Robin the other day for lunch, (Yummm), and while we were there, we got the obligatory balloons for each of the children.  This is a rare treat.  Although we often blow up balloons in the house for the kids, having floating balloons are a new kind of wonder for them.

They were thrilled to have the balloons and in the car Marco proceded to bang the balloon around while Jonas fussed every time it drifted from him.

As we got out of the car, I instructed Marco, "hold on tightly to the balloon or else it'll fly away and go be with Jesus." to which he surprisingly responded, "I want it to go with Jesus".

I didn't think he know what this meant... so I told him that he didn't really want that and to head on inside.  When we went inside, he continued telling me that he wanted to give the balloon to Jesus.  He was insisting on it.

Ok, I thought, let's do this.

So we went outside and I told him, "If you want to give the balloon to Jesus, you just let it go".  And he did.

I waited... 1...2...3...4... and as he saw it begin to drift higher and higher and farther and farther, he had a sense of panic!

"Noooo, go get it!  I want it back!  I don't want to give the balloon to Jesus!  That's MY balloon!!!" Cry, cry, cry.

We walked back inside a little defeated.  I calmly explained to him that when you let a balloon go, you can't get it back... this might be a great lesson for older kids on things like how actions have consequences, but it was lost on my 2 year old.

But then he noticed that Jonas' balloon still loomed in our house.  Mocking him.  Jonas still had his balloon and Marco didn't.  Nanny nanny boo boo.

So I figured, eh, what the heck, let's give that one to Jesus too.  Jonas wont know the difference... when he wakes from his nap he'll say, "balloon?  What balloon?".

And we walked back outside to released the last balloon into the heavens.

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Linking up today for the Ultimate Blog Party!  Wooo, so fuuuuun!  Who doesn't love a party? (other than my husband... haha).

If you're visiting from the link up!  HIIII! My name is Nicole and this here is my little slice of the blog world.

I live in Miami and I'm a SAHM to my two beautiful boys, Marco and Jonas.  They're only 15 months apart and life around here can get... well... insane.  But I love it and I love them!

I've been married to my amazing (and sexy) husband for nearly 5 years now and we still have soooo much fun together.  He's my very best friend.

I am struggling and learning to become a better mom and wife, while living with two rehabilitating deseases, but by the grace of God, I am able to.  Sometimes people tell me I'm "Super Mom", but no... I'm not... I just serve a "Super GOD".

This is my family... my Table For Four.  Come in, have a seat and enjoy!

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Your Questions... Answered

Back in March I opened up my blog for any questions that my readers might have about me.  I left it open for over a month, so that I'd allow ample opportunity to get the questions and have time to answer them.  I'm here today to do just that... give answers to your burning questions!

1: Lesie from Pretending to Be a Grown Up asked:

I think I saw on one of your earlier posts that you used to live in Greenville. Are you talking about Greenville, South Carolina? If so, my husband and I lived there, too! My daughter was actually born there, and then when she was six weeks old we decided to move back to Michigan to be closer to family. Ha - not too exciting of a question, I guess!

Yes! I did live in Greenville, SC.  We moved there at the end of 2008 and lived there until August of 2011.  Both my boys were born in Greenville Memorial.  We enjoyed the kid-friendly environment there, but like you, decided to move closer to family, in Miami... which is where we now live.  

2: Suzanna from Already Right Where I Belong asked:
How do you and hubby find time for each other with TWO little ones running around. I'm exhausted with just one and just want to sleep at night. 
Also, sleeping through the night. Anything. GO.

Well, honestly, there isn't a lot of "us time".  But we don't mind... we enjoy being together with the boys.  We do go out on dates for all special occasions and a few times in between.  But mostly, we do simple things... texting throughout the day, watching tv together, going on car rides while the kids nap, etc... It's about staying connected in whatever way works for you.  Remember that this is just a temporary stage and soon enough you'll have more time for each other. 
And sleep? haha.  That should get easier too... eventually.  I can say that my husband is amazing.  Now that I'm done breastfeeding, he gets up if the kids are crying or whatever.  He lets me sleep.  But babies and their sleep is really unpredictable... and it goes in stages.  You need to decide how you're gonna handle it (cry-it-out, bed sharing, etc) and stick with it.  Consistency is key!

3.  Callie Nicole from Through Clouded Glass asked:
if you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? What's your favorite movie? Book? Do/did you have any pets, and are you a dog or cat person?

Hmmm, well, I really haven't been to THAT many places so I can't way I'd love to live anywhere in particular.  My husband and I always joke that we'd love to move to Australia to get away from everyone, start fresh and go to HillSong Church! haha... I'm joking, but I think he's serious!  
I have lots of fave movies... Some of my favorite ones are Home Alone 2, Planes Trains and Automobiles and When Harry Met Sally.
My favorite books obviously change based on my age, life circumstances and what's "hot'.  I can tell you that one of my favorite books from the Bible is James.  But of other books I'd highly recommend 1984 and The Book Thief.
I do not have any pets, nor do I ever WANT to have any pets.  Yes, I'm cruel with a heart of stone... cry me a river.  I always say that I clean up enough poop all day long and I don't need to add one more to my work load.  But, if I ever DID get the urge (not likely), I'd definitely get a dog.  Cats are horrible! (Sorry cat-lover followers). 

So there you have it!  If you have any MORE questions for me, please feel free to ask!  Thanks to those 3 lovely ladies for picking my brain a bit! 

PSA: No-Reply Comment Bloggers

There's nothing that a blogger loves more than a sweet comment.  I mean really, when I write a good post, pour my heart into it and then in comes support, love and advice from other friends... it makes my day!  But the problem occurs when I have no way of responding to those sweet comments.  I'm blocked.  Conversation is cut off.  Game over.

Now here's what happens.  You post a comment on my blog and I get an EMAIL notification of that comment.  The best way for me to reply to your comment is to email you BACK.  It would be pointless for me to "reply" on my own blog post because chances are, you are not going back there to read it again.  But often times I would like to reply, if even just to say "thanks for reading".  But I can't... because you are a:

"No-Reply Comment Blogger"

What?  You didn't know you were?  Well... you probably are.  I know, don't beat yourself up about it... I was a "No Reply Comment Blogger" too until I read someone else's PSA about it.  And now here I am telling YOU that you have the very same problem!

Here's how you can know if you are a "No Reply Comment Blogger".
1.  You comment and never hear anything in return.
2.  You start to think that everyone is giving you a cold shoulder.
3.  You believe you're not in the "cool crowd" of the blogger world.

Really, it's not true... You ARE cool, and we're NOT giving you the cold shoulder... it's just that you have not enabled your email address.

So here's my step-by-step guide to help you figure out this dilema...
1. Go to the blogger home page.
2. On the very far upper right hand corner, should be your picture, your name and a drop down menu.
3. Drop down that menu and click on "Blogger Profile".
4. Click on the big orange button on the top right that says "Edit Profile".
5. In the next page that comes up, be sure that the box that says "show my email address" has a tick next to it.
6.  Then look below to "email address" and be sure your email address is correct and visible.
7.  Click save... and done!

If you don't feel comfortable putting your personal email, then create one for blogging and forward it to your main (I can also share with you how to do that if you need help).

Seriously, I can not tell you HOW MANY wonderfully sweet comments I receive each week that I can not reply to... it's such a simple fix.  Just check your account now to be sure you're not a "No Reply Comment Blogger".


PINspired

This is the second post in a new series I'll be occationally writing which shows all the Pinterest recipes/crafts/activities I've actually put into action.  Pinning is fun and doing is also fun... most of the time.

You can see my last post here.

I had to LOL when I saw this pin from a blogger... it is sooo me.



Anyway... here we go:

1. Butternut Mac-n-Cheese



I'm on a recent mission to trick my kids (and myself) into eating more veggies.  They love butternut squash, but if they SEE it the way it is, they wont eat it.  But if I HIDE it, it's all good.  This is sooooo yummy.  The kids ate it up... including all the leftovers.  They ate it for lunch almost the entire week!  The only thing I would change would be to cut down on the cheese to allow the butternut sweetness to come out more.  Did it look as good as the picture?  Yes!  This one is definitely a keeper in my house!

2. Cheese Stick Bites



I thought this would be a super easy and quick afternoon snack for Marco.  And ideally it is.  Only, it's not quite right.  Only after I began did I start reading all the comments in the blog post with ways to alter the recipe so that it's better.  For me, the breading didn't stick to the cheese... the milk isn't "adhesive" enough.  Maybe using an egg would be better?  Also, when they were in the oven, they flattened out like little disks.  But were they good?  Uhhh, is meltidy soft cheese ever NOT good?  Ok then.  Did it look like the picture? Not at all!  I think we can keep this one and just alter it to try and make it better.  It's really a great idea.

3.  Chicken and Spinach Flautas



I LOVED this recipe.  Of the three featured here, this one is the winner!  It's a little involved... has a few steps, so I definitely recommend making it for YOUR family only... not for too many people or you'll be rolling these puppies up all night!  Overall, it was EASY to make... just time consuming.  But oh, so worth it.  They were DELISH!  Did it look like the picture?  Exactly!

You can follow me on Pinterest by clicking HERE!
Till next time... Happy Pinning!

March of Dimes Blanket Giveaway


My bloggy friend, Stephanie, who blogs over at Doyles Days is raising money to donate to the March of Dimes.

March of Dimes is such an incredible organization that helps support parents with the medical costs associated with having premature babies, babies with medical conditions and needs and NICU needs.  I remember that when each of my boys were in the NICU, the March of Dimes was there, donating blankets and hats.  And I know they did so much more, but thankfully we never had to find out exactly what.  This is such a worthy cause because ANY single one of us can have premature babies.  You never know... look at me... I had TWO!

Stephanie has come up with a super clever way to raise money for this cause.  She's putting her sewing skills behind it!  Basically, for donating to the March of Dimes through her blog link, she'll send you a hand burp cloth, blanket or combo package!

For donating $12 you'll receive TWO burp clothes.
For donating $25 you'll receive a beautiful baby blanket.
And for donating $40 you'll receive BOTH the burp clothes AND the baby blanket!


That's a great deal.  Most of us will go to BabysRUs or Target and spend that much anyway... and all you're doing is putting more money into the company's pockets.  If you do THIS instead, you know your money is actually going to a worthy cause.

She's only making the blankets for the first TEN donators and the burp clothes for the first TWENTY, so hurry and do it NOW!

Go to her page by clicking HERE.

Or you can donate right here, right now!


Breakthrough

The days are long.  Oh, so long.

The tedium of the small tasks, the day-to-day, becomes a chore.

Consistently disciplining, correcting, instructing is exhausting.

And then it happens...

BREAKTHROUGH

Throughout this week, I've been puzzled.  Who in the world is this child and where is MY 2 year old?!  Marco is transforming.  I don't know if it's because he's almost 3 or if he's just "getting it", but something strange is going on here.

No fights during bed time.  No fights during nap time.  No fights about having to go to the bathroom.  No fights about getting in the car.

If you asked me what my mothering mantra was, I would say, "Listen and Obey, Right Away!"  That is something I repeat to my children a hundred times a day.  And in the last few days, he's done just that... he's listened and obeyed RIGHT AWAY!

Let me give you an example from yesterday:
Yesterday morning, I heard the boys wake up over the monitor.  Marco hopped into Jonas' crib, as he usually does, and they began playing together.  Except I didn't hear any screaming coming from Jonas... Marco wasn't torturing him today.  When I walked in, after snoozing for 15 more minutes, this is what I saw:
My children... MY children... sitting side by side, reading their books. CALMLY.  What?  Who are these kids?!

Marco then got out of the crib and told me he was ready to get dressed, he went through his drawer, picked out his clothes (approved by me) and went to the bathroom to pee and dress... by himself.  By the time he was done, I was also done with Jonas so we came out to the living room for breakfast.

As I prepared their breakfast, they played with their toys and watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  They were playing so nicely together, that I was even able to go dress without them... in peace... unheard of!  Once I was done, I came out and gave them their breakfast and we were off to my MOPS meeting.

Marco got in the car and began buckling up.  And when we arrived, he held Jonas' hand in the parking lot and helped walk him to his class.  On the way home he told me about his time and as soon as we got home he went to his room to "get dressed for his nap".

He ate his lunch and watched a tv show.  When the show was over, I told him it was nap time, to go turn off the tv.  All he said was, "ok, mom" and he did as told.  Then he told me he wanted to pick up his toys before his nap... ummm, ok.  And he did.  Then he went to bed, really quietly as to not wake Jonas, snuggled up, and said "I love you, mom".

And here I am... in total shock... writing this post.

I am so proud of him... of what kind of person he is becoming.  And I'm SO proud of myself!  I MUST be doing something right.  And I know kids are like waves... one day is bad and the next is good.  I'm bracing myself for the storm.  But in the mean time, I'm going to relish the peacefulness.  I'm going to bask in it.

It's really rewarding to see a payoff.

Mothering sometimes feels like an uphill battle... but when there's a plateau, it's time to relax, enjoy, breathe.

I am reaping the fruit of my labor.  The labor is excruciating... but the fruit is oh, so sweet.

And breakthrough?  It feels good.

The Many Meanings of MA

Jonas is only 18 months old... he's working on his language.
Remember he's a premie, so really he's like 16 months old.  


So far he has a pretty decent repertoire of words...

Wow-wow (dog)
Pu-Pu (trying to say "pio pio" which for us hispanics is bird)
Awa (agua, water)
Ta-Ta (tap tap)
Pow-Pow (that's actually what we call spankings)
Appoo (Apple)
Papai (Dad)
Aba (what we call my mom)
Vava (Vova is what we call my MIL)
A-Baw (a ball)
Hi
Ba- Ba (bye bye)
Dee-Dee (TV)
Eye
Buboo (Bubble)
Bibi (baby)

All absolutely adorable.
But we have ONE problem... and here it is:

MaMA- (me, mama)
MAma- (Marco)
MAAA- (more)

Do you see what he does there?  Using basically the same word for 3 different purposes.  He's a clever one, I tell ya!

When he's calling me, he puts the emphasis on the final MA, so it sounds like he's yelling at me... "maMAAAA, maMAAAA!"

When he's calling Marco, he puts the emphasis on the first MA, probably because we're trying to teach him how to say his brother's name and we're always saying it like this "MAAAARRR-co".  So he says, "MAAAma".

Then when he wants more food, we teach him to say "more" or in spanish "mas" or in portuguese, "mais".  But he just says "Ma", although he'll repeat it over again like "Ma----Ma----Ma----Ma".  I know he's saying "more" because it's a short "Ma".

These intricacies, only a mother can know, tell and distinguish.  Learning your toddlers unique language is always so fun and exciting.  I'm already fluent in Marconese, but now I get to learn the complexities of a whole new language; Jonasish.



Miami Girl

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I grew up in Miami.  I wasn't born here, but I've lived here since I was just 4 years old.  I went to school here my entire life and even completed college at the local university while still living at my mom's house.

I didn't leave till I was 22, where I moved to Orlando to begin my "adult life" as a "working woman", teaching K-8 music.  After living in Orlando for 3.5 years, we moved far away to the "real South"... Greenville SC.  We lived there for another 2.5 years before coming back to Miami to stay.

I've always considered myself a "Miami Girl".  No, I'm not always wearing a bikini, drinking mojitos and laying out on the sand.  But living here is different than living anywhere else.  The lifestyle is different.  The expectations are different.  The girls are prettier, the guys are more fit.  Status is everything.  Even the way "Miami Girls" TALK is different.

Don't believe me?  Watch this hilarious video which PERFECTLY displays "Miami Girl" talk and accent.  I mean, these people hit the nail right on the head.


I laughed my butt off watching that video... because it is NOT an exaggeration.  It is perfection.  And it's not just the things the SAY, but the way they say IT.

Can you hear it?  The accent?  The sing-songy way of speaking?

Maybe you need to watch the second video to really understand what I'm talking about:


I'm not making fun here... I'm just stating fact.  And for those of you who knew me from Orlando or South Carolina, the answer is yes.  When I lived here, I absolutely talked like that!  But, we don't even REALIZE we're doing it... that's the catch.  It's just the city's accent.

So what made me think of this?  I was talking to an old high school friend, Vanessa (who's a beautiful fashion blogger).  We haven't talked on the phone in over 10 years.  We keep in contact with FB, Instagram, Twitter and our Blogs, but we haven't TALKED in a really long time.  Right when she heard my voice she said, "Nicole?  Your voice sounds so weird... you sound like you're an American".

I thought this was so funny.  Apparently, without thinking of it or trying, I have lost my "Miami Girl" accent.  I guess that's what 6 years away from Miami will do to you.

#marchphotoaday {21-31}

Well I'm back with my final installment of the March Photo-a-day challenge.  I didn't do so well this month... I lost my momentum.  But I DID finish!

I will be skipping the month of April because it became less enjoyable and more like a chore during the month of March... I just need a break.  (First world problems...)

Soooo, let's take a final look at the challenge:


Day 21: Delicious
Starbucks Caramel Macchiato... enough said.


Day 22:  Kitchen Sink
The sun shines through in the afternoons.


Day 23:  Moon
The moon over Miami according to our picture book.


Day 24:  An Animal
Had to wait and find a random animal on the street.  This is the best I could do.


Day 25: Breakfast
Chocolate Chip Muffin... mmmm


Day 26:  Key
I love my key chains.


Day 27: Your Name


Day 28:  Trash
The least offensive trash can I've seen out in public.


Day 29:  Feet
My feet showing the damages done by Rheumatoid Arthritis.


Day 30: Toy
The kids seem to like this one... especially Jonas.


Day 31: Where You Relax
Our yard has a great pool. 

So there you have it!  Thanks for following along for February AND March.  Whew... glad that's over. You can still keep up with my Instagram photos by following me at NicoleTableFor4.