Mindful Inventory – Winter Edition

Haven’t been writing much recently – have I? Well, I have been writing term papers for college classes, but blog articles? Not so much. So, what’s been going on with ME that’s made me so “blog-silent” the past few weeks? To answer that, I’m going to do what I call a “Mindful Inventory” . . .

I like to do these for myself when my head starts spinning with lots of things going on. It helps be remember to be proud of my accomplishments, aware of the joy in my life, and to plan for the time ahead.

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IMG_4768THE MAIN IDEA of the Winter has been: Acclimating to a new place, and especially to a Kodiak Winter (totally different than a New England Winter, apparently!) And as a native Texan, I am missing my warm, sunny weather. Bad. Abbey has followed suit. She talks constantly about Grandma and Grandpa and how she wants to visit them in Texas.

THE BEST THING about the Winter has been: Celebrating Christmas, Valentines Day, and getting ready for Easter as a family. Sledding has been super fun this winter (though we only got a chance to do that twice . . . the rest of the snow was not powdery enough for sledding).

TOP 3 WINTER HIGHLIGHTS:

1. Continuing my online college courses with A’s and B’s (I only have two full-time semesters and one 1/2 time semester left till graduation!)

2. Sledding with the Hubs and kids.  Abbey and Joe are getting so big, and are sledding down the hill all on their own now!

3. Meeting new people and getting to know Kodiak better: This is a very different place for me, having grown up (and always lived in) a moderately large to huge city, and having been born in the South.  This winter was both depressing and uplifting, depending on the day! I’m proud to have gotten through it and I am looking forward to the Summer!

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE SUMMER: The SUNSHINE, picking salmonberries, and doing more outdoor play and hiking. This winter has been so dreary and grey. I cannot wait for some brighter weather!

WHAT I WISH I HAD DONE MORE OF THIS SEASON: Writing for Amywilla.com and Sewing and marketing for Silly Bear Handmade

WHAT I DID JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF: Getting to know new people and taking Abbey and Joe to the indoor pool. Seriously, the indoor pool saved us this winter. I also did very well on my online college courses and talked with my advisor to plan out my last three (yes – only three!) semesters!

WHAT I’M PROUDEST OF THIS SEASON: Being able to balance school and home responsibilities, overcoming obstacles to get back to exercising regularly, and learning some new recipes.

GOALS FOR THE SPRING & SUMMER:  Sew more, and worry less. Write more, and procrastinate less. Enjoy the family, and get Abbey ready for Kindergarten in the fall and Joseph for his first days at preschool! Hubs is planning to teach Abbey to fish and to ride her bike on two-wheels. . . I’m hoping that Joseph will be fully independently pottying (he still wears a pull up at night) by the end of the summer, and I would like to have written more here at Amywilla.com.

Thanks for reading, as always. I blog to share my life and thoughts with YOU so that we can have a dialogue about life.

How has YOUR Winter been?

Are you ready for the SPRING and SUMMER?!

Mindful Inventory Winter

Milestone Moments: I gave away my cloth diapers!

Joseph has not been wearing diapers for a few weeks now. He still has trouble remembering to go potty when he wakes up in the morning – hence the night time pull-up – but as of two months before his 3rd birthday, he has been wearing big-boy underwear full time during the day, with accidents few and far between.

At a certain point in these past few weeks, I had to decide what to do with my stash of cloth diapers.

Sweet Ride Diaper

Most of them were sewn by me: Mama made, Silly Bear Handmade fleece diapers made up about 90% of the stash. I couldn’t fathom trying to sell them on a swap site, since my WAHM diaper brand is not well known, aaaaand I’m pretty attached to some of them. . . not gonna lie. But I wasn’t sure if or how to give them away. . . because I spent so much of my time (nearly) perfecting the art or sewing cloth diapers, and all the memories of Joseph with his fleecy little bum are still so fresh in my mind.

But they had to go. I wasn’t using them anymore, and someone else could. But who?

Finally, I wandered into the perfect conversation: A friend of mine in the Kodiak community that has a large family (talking, kids from college-age to diapers) was talking about her youngest boy, who is a friend of Joe’s. He is nearly two, but she wants to hold off on doing any potty learning or training with him until they get back from a family vacation to the lower 48 this summer. Smart. However, she said, lately, J. had been pooping in several diapers per day, and she said that she just felt so wasteful throwing out diaper after diaper. I offered my stash of fleece cloth diapers, and she accepted – she asked if she could buy them off of me, but I told her NO.

“Enjoy them, take good care of them, and pay it forward to another family once you are finished with them” I said.

And then I packed them all up, handed them to her at the next play date, and that whole two-year period of Joseph’s life was absolutely over. No more diapers.

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What a milestone moment.

I have a second preschooler now, wearing underwear and the nightly pull-up. Not a baby, not a toddler: a kid. Nearly three. And I gave away my cloth diapers. Wow. Amazing how life just bulldozes forward and we all grow and grow and grow.

I was very pleased to have found a family to gift with my diaper stash. And I hope that they are pleased with their gift. And I am incredibly proud of my big boy Joe that just keeps growing as if there is no stopping.

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What did you do with your cloth diaper stash after your littlest was finished using it?

 

What kind of emotions did you experience as your children learned to potty independently?

Mamatography Week 44

We have finally started settling into a good, healthy rhythm here in our new home at Coast Guard Base Kodiak in Kodiak, AK. Just in time for winter to blow in!

Abbey Ballet 2013

Abbey has been enjoying preschool Monday through Thursday and dance class on Friday afternoons!

Joe Oct 2013

Joe has been busy doing lots of toddler stuff. . .

throwing birthday parties for Thomas the Train and taking pictures of his toes, to name a couple.

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We have also been busy with crafts. . .

I’m pretty sure I caught Joe red (rem, green) handed in this pic!

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Abbey LOVES the perler beads craft set Grandma sent her on her birthday!

Daddy and I have also been enjoying crafting with her.

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I have been getting crafty myself. . .

now that my college semester is over, I can focus again on my Silly Bear Handmade shop.

Pumpkin Carving 2013

Halloween found us carving pumpkins

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And trick or treating! Abbey was a Pumpkin Fairy

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Joe was Leo from the Little Einsteins.

Though lots of people guessed Harry Potter.

Mya October 2013

The week wouldn’t be complete without capturing some canine portraits. . .

POttery Painting Datesy

And I had to photograph the masterpieces that Hubs and I painted on our date-afternoon to the coffee house and painting’ place.

I cannot WAIT to see them after they are fired, all bright and glossy and beautiful! It was so fun to leave the kids with a sitter and go do something relaxing and creative with my love.

Joe's Apron and Chicken

I also made Joe his own apron for helping in the kitchen this week.

 I’m not sure how much he likes it. . .

. . . but he sure likes homemade chicken fingers and mac and cheese! Who doesn’t?!

That was our week – how was YOURS?!

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That was our August. How was YOURS?

mtbadge2This post is part of the Mamatography 2013 Project with Diary of a First Child and Momma Jorje.

We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!

Mamatography August 2013

Yep, it’s that time again: When Amy gets so busy that her Mamatography posts go from weekly to monthly.

That happen to any of you other mamas out there? I hope it’s not just me!

Since we finished our BIG PCS from Maine to Kodiak Island Alaska, I have been busy busy busy setting up our home, caring for our kids, meeting new friends, getting used to the island, training a new dog, starting my new semester of Public Health classes, and mapping out my classes left until graduation and cheering with joy that I’ll have a BS in Public Health in 2015! Yippee!

I have also been seeking out and enrolling Abbey in a preschool, enrolling myself in an online lactation conference (to continue my lactation-specific education for the IBCLC requirements), figuring out what toddler experiences there are available for Joe here on the island. . . and consequently remembering that Joe will be 3 this coming Spring. O – M – G. How is that happening.

What else. . .

I’ve also been planning Abbey’s birthday party, trying to wring out of the Silly Bears what they would like to be for Halloween (so that I can order in the required materials and get to planning and sewing) . . . oh, and I’m trying to set up a La Leche League meeting for the area AND re-establish my Silly Bear Handmade shop after the move.

And Hubs has been gone to school in VA for 3 weeks.

*Deep Breath*

But I have been taking pictures!

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I have now finished this knitting project – - – a cotton hoodie from Toddler Hoodie pattern on Etsy for a special family member who turns one in a few weeks!

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And this lovely project is now hanging in my kitchen window – - – used up some scraps on this one (that seems to be a theme with my sewing lately. . . you’ll see later)

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Aha! More scrap busting going on in this photo – - – see if you can spot what this eventually became in one of the other August photos as you scroll down!

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Abbey, who is turning 5 in September, has celebrated quite a few milestones recently: She weaned from the breast at the end of her full-term breastfeeding experience, she moved all the way across the country with us, and she started swimming lessons! I love this girl. So Much.

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Joseph wasn’t such a fan of Abbey getting to swim and him not being able to (gotta be four to take swim classes, buddy! His response: “I AM four!” LOL).

But his new love interest, one of my new Coastie Wife friends, pepped him up with a surprise visit during Abbey’s swim class one day. He was very pleased.

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Our handsome man modeling the fleece-crotched training pants I made him. Like Abbey, he is now having less interest in using the potty, but I’m hoping with gentle reminders, we’ll be out of diapers and potty learned around 3, like she was.
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They’re super cute though – the trainers. I’m loving them. His little knees and cinnamon roll belly button are to die for too, though.

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We’ve been doing lots of baking on rainy days. . . It’s easier to bake in our new kitchen. It’s about the same size as our kitchen in Maine, but not galley-shaped, and not a walk through area (unless you’re coming in the back door) . . . I like the space and Abbey likes being in it with me!

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Blueberry Biscuits. Yummy.

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Super easy (and sooooo delicious french bread)

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And on a sunny day, we have lots of park time and coloring with sidewalk chalk!

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Oh, and hiking.

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And salmonberry picking.

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Thankfully for my husband’s psyche, Abbey hasn’t dressed up Joseph as a girl in quite a few weeks. Glad I snapped this jewel when I did then!

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We love dress up, but we love coloring more.

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And we love our new puppy, Mya.

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Raven stayed behind at Nana and Papas house because we weren’t positive that we wouldn’t harm her physically or emotionally by driving her (or shipping her) all the way to Kodiak. She is enjoying being spoiled rotten by her “grand-people” and though we miss her, we know she is happy and healthy and that is all that matters!

Abbey constantly tells Mya stories about “our other dog Raven”

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I couldn’t help but post this picture of Joseph in a classic toddler moment. The “I refused to take a nap, so then we went on a hike to pass the time, and I fell asleep on the sofa when we got back.” One of many classic toddler moments. IMG_3671

Another knitting project. I can’t ever just do one thing at a time – - – can I?

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Mya again.

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Abbey being a puppy with Mya under my desk in my sewing room/office. Love my work buddies.

Have you seen the completed project yet? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, scroll back up the top. . .

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My human work buddy brought me her rainbow bear to sit in my sofa pin cushion. So sweet.

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Ah, there she is! My work buddy and my little mermaid!

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Joe lined up all the ducks he could steal from the lifeguard’s basket and set them all up looking out the window.

I wonder what he was wishing about while Abbey was having her lesson? LOL

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Oh yeah. . . park time!!!!!!!!!

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And my post wouldn’t be complete without a picture of wild-caught fresh alaskan salmon. One of the perks of being up here on this isolated Alaskan island! Yum!

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That was our August. How was YOURS?

mtbadge2This post is part of the Mamatography 2013 Project with Diary of a First Child and Momma Jorje.

We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!

Wordless Wednesday – Checking in from the Lady-Cave

Photo on 8-20-13 at 2.17 PM

Abbey and me hanging out together in the “Lady-Cave” . . . in our shared basement laundry and storage area, we have both tons of space to let the kids ride outdoor toys inside, and also 2 storage rooms finished (kind of) with outlets and walls. . . one is Hubs’ “man-cave” and the other is my sewing room/office (aka “Lady-Cave”).

More about our new home to come (I promise!) Just know that we are all doing well in Alaska, and we are excited to begin this assignment in our Coast Guard Family journey!

Settling In

Our family just experienced our second (and biggest) military PCS – from Kittery, Maine ALL the way across the country and up into Alaska to Kodiak Island.

Map of PCS

You can read all about our journey and all the fun stuff and interesting experiences we had at Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 of our PCS journey (I didn’t blog at all while we were in Weeks 4-6 of our journey. . . they were too hectic while we made it through Canada, finally got to our last ferry, and then awaited a housing assignment while we got here. I just focused on my family and getting us through it!)

It’s been an interesting, kind of crazy, enjoyable, but also bumpy six weeks, and I’m thrilled to report that we now:

1. Have a house (erm. . . housing unit) and are starting to really love it (more on that later. . . )

2. Have met some great new friends.

3. Are finally back on a routine that works for us, and enables my children to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.

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Number 3 is definitely the most important one, to me. Both Abbey (almost 5) and Joe (2) were really out of sorts by the time we finally made it onto our last ferry ride up to Kodiak, and were really, extremely off-kilter and stressed the week that we had to stay in the Guest House before we were assigned a housing unit in Coast Guard Housing.

Not that anybody could have done anything more to prevent those stressful days. . . but they were SO stressful.

Having the kids back on a good routine of homemade food, consistent rest/nap times, socialization, and an overall stable home environment has made a world of difference in our family dynamic, and we are so grateful for finally being somewhat settled here in our new home.

Kodiak Island, AK is beautiful, the Coast Guard base here at Airstation Kodiak is a wonderful place to live, and the commissary and exchange, though not as large and comprehensive as other military bases, is definitely helpful in making sure that we have places to buy the things we need at less-inflated prices than off base retailers offer.

New Experiences

Hubs’ friends, the husbands of my new friends, have been keeping him busy fishing for halibut and salmon, and he’s really enjoying the summer here. We even took the kids down to the river the other day, and they enjoyed themselves immensely, splashing around and attempting to get the hang of a fishing pole.

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So, yes. I’m still here. And yes, I am finally getting to a point where I can focus a little bit on my work here at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work, in my college courses that are coming up soon, and in my Silly Bear Handmade handmade shop (which I’m thinking about expanding to offer local military tailoring services as well). So, hurray for a settled family dynamic, after all the stress and hectic nature of the past two months! Thank you to all of you who have supported us through this time – it is so much appreciated!

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Upcoming posts that I have in the works include some tutorials on furniture painting and woodcrafts, my experiences organizing and decorating our new home, and of course, some breastfeeding advocacy as we come up on World Breastfeeding Week.

Mamatography Week 6

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I literally stayed in my bed for five minutes after the kids asked to go downstairs and THIS is what happened.

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That’s ok. They redeemed themselves beautifully by sharing while making daddy a new painting!

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This past week was dominated by sewing for my Silly Bear Handmade Shop diaper stocking.

This Robots Hybrid Fitted is my favorite!

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Like I said . . . dominated by sewing diapers! LOL

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This sweet diaper was a custom order from a friend, neighbor and loyal Silly Bear Handmade customer for one of her pastors at church, whose wife just gave birth to beautiful baby girl!

If you can’t read it because of the angle, it’s James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift comes from above”

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Joseph is always super happy when I let him join me at the sewing desk and press the embroidery “go” button.

He sure loves “beep beeps”

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This week we welcomed daddy home from his 65 day patrol!

Joseph was eager to help him empty his seabag.

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Another fluffy photo. I love fluff.

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Joe being silly, sitting and playing with his Coast Guard bear on the elliptical in our bedroom.

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That was OUR week. How was YOURS?!

 

That was OUR week. How was YOURS?

mtbadge2This post is part of the Mamatography 2013 Project with Diary of a First Child and Momma Jorje.

We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!

Mamatography Week 5

Lively Garden and SS WM

I have been sewing like mad this week. These fun and vibrant fleece pocket diapers (with snap down rise to make them one-size, fitting NB to Toddler!) have been, like, my life recently. I’m either cutting, sewing, or embroidering them this week. I’m stocking my Silly Bear Handmade shop with fleece pocket diapers and Hybrid Fitteds this Friday!

Shark Diaper WM

For the first 24 hours after I stock the shop, ALL diapers are $10 (Yep! you heard me right! $10). . . so, head on over on Friday and grab a diaper for more than 50% off!!!! You won’t regret it! :)

Joe at Desk WM

Joseph has been very focused lately, furthering his fine motor skills.

Sewing WM

And like I said, I’ve been sewing like a madwoman this week. But I haven’t JUST been sewing diapers. . .

Snow White Sewing WM

Abbey requested a Snow White dress for her dress up collection, and her wish became a reality this week!

Multitasking WM

I snapped this pic of me multitasking in order to finish her dress before I picked her up from preschool.

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She was super pleased!

Abbey WM

We had a fun week here, although we’re all hoping that it will warm up just a FEW degrees so we can enjoy playing at the park again soon! It’s been wavering between 22′ and 29′ this week. . . with a crazy wind chill.

Abbey and Joe Smily Faces WM

 

That was OUR week. How was YOURS?

mtbadge2This post is part of the Mamatography 2013 Project with Diary of a First Child and Momma Jorje.

We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!

Wordless Wednesday: Joetography

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A little bit of Joetography with my iphone while he sat on my lap at the sewing desk.

 

Thoughts for 2013

Happy New Year!Mommy and Joe

I looked back at my resolutions for 2012 the other day and patted myself on the back.

I said I wanted to try less to be perfect and try more to be authentic, and I feel in my heart that I have definitely accomplished that this year.

Ringing in the New YearI feel more grounded and at home in my life now that my goal is to be open and authentic than I ever did when I was striving to be perfect!

So, this year, I feel good about setting some more concrete goals for 2013. I wonder how I’ll feel about these goals come next New Year!

  • Continue taking time out for myself to exercise at least 3X per week
  • Meet the goals I have set for my Silly Bear Handmade shop and my work with La Leche League
  • Enjoy my college courses and keep moving forward with my degree!
  • Continue living to be authentic, instead of striving to be perfect, and loving and helping others as much as I can!

What are YOUR goals for 2013?