When the cow’s come home

They say home is where the heart is. So naturally my hearts in California, because that’s where my boys are. But a huge part of my heart is still tucked away in Wisconsin.
All my fellow Wisconsin people are probably ready to pelt me with cheese curds. Hard, frozen cheese curds, cause the weather would allow nothing but the frozen. I’m sure they are thinking how spoiled I am and how I am taking this beautiful warm weather for granted (Um, can we just talk about how the weather was like 90…and it’s technically spring….just sayin’). Living in California has me feeling like a constantly melting Popsicle. A sticky gooey mess, that’s a metaphor for my life.

Then we have Wisconsin, who is in Spring and just recently got snow. Not cool mother nature, not cool.
But more then the weather it’s the spirit. Whenever  we go home for a visit as soon as I step of the plane I feel like I can exhale. Maybe it’s that my family is there so I know I can somewhat take a load off. I know they’ll help me improve where I’m falling short.
And guys, there will ALWAYS be something special about your mama’s home cookin’. (By the way mom, if your reading this, send me any of the following: Lasagna, enchiladas, fried chicken, Parmesan chicken…..the list is going to keep going in my head.)

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If nothing else makes sense about this post or rings true, I hope we all can at least agree on how beautiful these photos are that were taken by my sister. Seriously, she doesn’t believe me, but she has some freaking talent with taking pictures on her phone. These pictures scream volumes on the spirit and soul of the place that keeps a piece of my heart.

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It’s the familiarity, the ease of falling back into old habits and routines. It’s easy and normal. And sometimes when you’re a parent responsible for molding and shaping a tiny little life there’s something comforting about being with someone who has gone through it and has come out relatively unscathed.

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Spring is spring (although I guess maybe not so much this year). You start planting your veggie gardens, flowers start blooming. The earth is clean, new and awakening. Spring always makes me feel like it’s time for a fresh clean start. And while there’s something majestic about winter, spring feels cleansing.
And it makes me think of Wisconsin. With beautiful lakes, and roads with cows and barn’s every where you look as the scenery. The birds whistling like they are your friend and telling you to slow down, enjoy some daffodils.
Tree’s with ton’s and ton’s of tulips and daffodils at their base. Telling you not to worry, it’s a new season, a new time, you can always change. Just like the world around you is.
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It’s picnics, and day’s at the lake on the boat..or not. Fishing if that’s your thing.
BBQ’s and family junk that you take for granted when you’re a kid.

All I know, from my experiences is that your heart can definitely belong to two places.

Cheese curds and spring,
Paperdaffodils

(All images in this post were created by Tiffany and are not to be copied or used for sell without the creators permission)

 

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Turkey Meatballs

My husband always laughs at me when I finally find time to get in the kitchen. He always tells me he’s never seen anyone ‘wing it’ as hard as I do and come out with successful food. I can’t help it though, it’s just the way I cook. A pinch of this, a pour of that. I grew up watching my mom cook and that’s how I learned, so I don’t know the exact science behind it, although people swear there is one. I’m not going to be the next chef Ramsay, but I get by with fairly delicious food. So my husband spurred me into action when he pointed out that not everyone is able to do this and that I should start writing some of my kitchen adventures. So here we are,with one of my first recipes, other then the black beans for the crock pot which is an adaptation of many recipes.
So here’s my recipe:
1 1/2 pounds of ground Turkey
2 eggs (In the picture it shows 3 eggs, but I decided to only use 2)
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (fresh or not, I ain’t here to judge you, yo)
1 1/2 Tbsp of minced garlic (You can do less if you’d like, I’m just a big fan of garlic)
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/4 Tsp Paprika
20 Ritz crackers
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning (You can use less of this, I know that this one isn’t everyone’s cup of tea)

First you are going to take the Ritz crackers, place them into a baggie and crush them into crumbs. Think bread crumbs, cause that’s the place these are going to take. I didn’t actually have bread crumbs and that’s how these ended up being used.
Add your meat, all of your spices, the 2 eggs, the cracker crumbs and roll up your sleeves (basically add all the ingredients to the bowl, I don’t think a particular order matters with this recipe)
And smush it all up with your hands..there’s no getting around this one. Using your hands mixes it all up the best, and puts love into your food. Love what your doing in the kitchen or order pizza…I’m just sayin’.
Once all the ingredients are mixed well start rolling them into meatballs, I did about a tablespoon in a half, but you can go bigger or smaller with yours, just note that you will have to cook them much more differently if you change the size of your meatballs.
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Alright guys, I really tried to write everything down, but it’s really not my style and things are a little hazy. So for cooking these little balls I added 1/4 cup of water to a pan, just enough for the meatballs to sit a little in water, not enough that they were drowning and have to shoot flares up for the USS Gravy Boat. Also make sure you don’t put so many meatballs in there that they are overcrowded, they need their space. These meatballs are starting to sound like sensitive little guys.

Go ahead and cover your meatballs and cook for 6 minutes on medium high heat. If it seems like they are getting too brown you can lower the heat, if the water runs out too quick then go ahead and add a little bit more water. After the 6 minutes pull the lid off and cook for another 6 minutes (GUYS this is such a rough  plan, always cook your meat longer if you need to, do not eat under cooked meat. You can always cook these for longer if you need too, I cut one of mine in half to make sure it was good, you can do the same. And based on differences in stoves and etc you MIGHT need to cook yours longer)
During the 6 minutes uncovered, I tried to scoot them around the pan to get all the sides a good amount of brown. When they were done, I placed them on a plate and let them cool then placed them in a freezer baggie. Just pull out and microwave, or rewarm in a pan as needed.
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And here’s the nutritional info based on MyFitnessPal (AGAIN, please note, I am not an EXPERT. I am not a dietician or a professional chef so there is a chance that I input something wrong, just expect there to be flaws.)

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I estimated a serving of these to be ABOUT 4-5 meatballs. I hope you enjoy.

Spatulas and hot pans,
Paperdaffodils

February and March BUJO updates

So, the month of February I apparently wasn’t very creative so I don’t have much to show for my bullet journal update, so that’s part of the reason why I combined the two months. Also, cause I’m extremely late/behind in getting the month of February up (I mean…its only the end of March). Also, I’m not sure why, but for the month of January I actually shared a lot of February and so didn’t have much to share for the actual month, but I digress.
Better late then never?
I love my bullet journal, one thing that I can say about it is it’s so customizable. The sky is the limit, if you have the time, desire and energy. And even if you don’t you can take a minimalist approach to it. Its up to you, and that’s the beauty of it. So you aren’t the most artistic person in the world, that’s ok. Please don’t let that stop you. The pictures of the stuff people do out there is so creative and amazing and honestly can be kind of intimidating, but the point of this isn’t to achieve perfection. Its to create a notebook you can go to and put your thoughts, plans, goals, memories and more in without feeling bad about yourself. It should be, at minimum the one place you can feel comfort and confidence in. I seriously encourage you to try it. You will be surprised how creative you really are and how freeing of a method it is.

So here we go:

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(NOTE: The cut outs of the astrology signs are not mine. I obtained them through a google search a while ago and cannot remember from where, if you are the original creator of these little clips and would like me to place credit for you I am very happy to do so.)

Here is one of my weekly spreads from March. I love this one. I was in an astrology mood. And I just went with it. Glittery silver washi Tape to go with the dark blue, it’s one of my favorite spreads. Here’s some of my spread list’s/themes:
Sunflowers
Greek Mythology: Andromeda, Athena, Aphrodite, Persephone
Constellations/Night sky
Places that made me/shaped me
Movies I like (with quotes on the weekly spread from the movie as well)
Horoscope signs for the weekly spreads of birthdays (for example my oldest is a Taurus so his birthday week is Taurus themed.)
Disney princesses
Ancient Egypt
Pheonix
Unicorns
Cherry blossoms

These are just a few.
Remember, I said the sky was the limits.

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Ok…I know, this one doesn’t exactly look the prettiest but here’s what happened. I loved the idea of a gratitude log for the month. And so, I started off drawing an idea I had found on pinterest for one…guys…it looked horrible. Like…beyond horrible. So..I covered it up. So here’s another thing you can do to add character to your bujo. Find scrapbook paper that you like and incorporate it in, it could be a whole solid page like I did, or cutting out pieces of it. So, I glued in the scrapbook paper and drew hearts on it, because you know February, valentines day and I had to be extra. I put the days number next to them and filled them in with what I was feeling grateful about for that day. And with it filled in I really loved how it turned out. So mistake to not so pretty but okay page layout. Im marking that down as a success.
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Every month I decided I would like a memories page, just a spot to write down moments I felt were special and that I wanted highlighted. For the month of February I only did good memories, but the next month I started doing anything I felt was a worthy memory to be included. I really didn’t do anything fancy, but I still loved the way it turned out, because my kids are growing up so fast and its so nice to think of one day looking back on these journals and being able to place tangible memories in a time frame.

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Here’s a new layout I won’t be starting until April (so maybe I should have saved it for then). I got the inspiration from: the petite planner
She has some really cool ideas.
I changed mine from the original a little. I didn’t want the commitment of a year so I did 6 months. And instead of it being what kind of workout I changed it to how I felt I did in the workout. Im hoping this will inspire me to always give 100 percent to my workouts, but with 2 kids and heavily caffeinating myself, there’s no promises.

If I didn’t give you enough inspiration to get those creative juices flowing, head over to my pinterest board: Bujo goodness

Pens and Notebooks,
Paperdaffodils

Shadow Boxes For The Win

As a mom, I’m always trying to find ways to commemorate the moment’s in my children’s life. The first time they walk, the first time they laugh, the first tooth they get. All of these moments are monumental and special for each kid. But, there are also many moments in between as well. I find myself trying to find the best way to compile these in between moments with the more in your face moments without creating something that is cluttered and chaotic.
In our day of Pinterest it’s easy to get caught up in the ideal of perfection. The perfect photos, the perfect crafts, the perfectly dressed children and the perfect Instagram photos. My biggest advice is to just craft, put your heart into it. Love what you are doing and don’t worry about the picture perfect pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ideal.
At the end of the day, you will want these memories, and so will your children.
There is nothing better then your kids seeing something you made, regardless of perfection, to commemorate them and your love for them. Growing up I remember looking at my baby book and photo albums and loving the special moments that were captured. And I don’t mean my first anything, I mean, my dad brushing my hair and my mom snapping a picture of it in the moment. My sister and I under the Christmas tree, hair a mess and in the midst of present chaos. The moments that no one thinks they are going to look back on and miss.
So, I went forth to create a Shadow box to commemorate the birth of my second son. And while I plan on making Smush a shadow box as well, chunk  monster just happened to come first. The idea really started back in august when visiting my parent’s in Wisconsin. I was pregnant still and had just started cross stitching full force and had asked  my husband to pick up something, anything for me to stitch. So he came back with a birth sampler. And the idea was born. The birth sampler he selected wasn’t necessarily one I would have picked on my own, but it was special because he had picked it. And I really didn’t want it collecting dust somewhere when I finished it, I wanted it to be displayed. So I found a shadow box and put it all together. I’m going to show you a few methods that you could use for creating a shadow box for your little one.

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First your going to need a shadow box, and possibly pictures, some form of adhesive…I recommend a strong glue or pins depending on the level of permanence that you are looking to achieve. The clingy cat to oversee your project is totally optional.

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Above are two shadow box options that would probably work great. My first tip is that if you are wanting to include baby’s first outfit or the likes to go for a bigger shadow box size then I did, which is why I included the shadow box that’s 12X15. I was disappointed because I couldn’t fit little chunks outfit in the shadow box with everything else I wanted.

 

One idea for you would be a minimalistic approach:

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I made sure to get a picture of chunk in his first/take home outfit. and I really loved the way that this approach looked. It was so special and so simple. I just pinned the outfit down on the inside of the box, then pinned the photo up in the corner. Voila! Done!
(I apparently have issues with commitment with this project because I pinned everything instead of using a permanent adhesive)

Option 2: First week photos

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Maybe you never put the baby in the take home outfit, or when you got to the hospital you didn’t love the take home outfit (this happened with smush, I also was ridiculous and thought I wasn’t allowed to change him out of the hospital onesie).
Or maybe you love the pictures from the first week so much that you want to showcase them. This would be perfect for that. Its amazing how easy this one is, and again how special it felt. Those first couple weeks with the new baby are so precious, and so amazing to look back on. Again, all I did was place the photos in and pin them down. Done.

Option 3: Photos with special quote/birth record

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I REALLY loved this idea, and if I hadn’t already done a birth sampler I would have gone this route. The paper is placed in the middle to show you a general layout idea, but what would be in it’s place is a beautiful calligraphy piece, with a quote or the baby’s name with birth date and weight.
What sweeter way to celebrate your baby then by placing a meaningful quote in the middle. I think words are so powerful, and to pick something that you would hope your baby would live by, or be inspired by would be so sweet and touching.
The picture below is work by oliveandevergreenink

If this idea is what you love, I’d suggest checking out her work, she does some beautiful items.

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(This image is acquired and used with the consent of the creator. This image should not be copied, shared or used without additional consent from the original creator.)

And finally you can go with the approach I went with

 

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Like I said, I had this idea in mind for a while. So when I took my first few pictures I also installed the baby pics app so that i could create the picture in the bottom corner, with chunk in his special outfit and also with all his birth info. The middle is that birth sampler, and I selected 2 pictures from the first week with one additional photo. I picked that photo because I love his little smile. I also included the picture of him in the hospital swaddled in the blanket even though the lighting isn’t great because I had a blanket from the hospital (Sorry hospital) to cut and place some of the fabric in the background. I had wanted the outfit in there as well, but didn’t have the room, and now am glad I didn’t because I think it might have been over kill. And again, it was simple, I placed everything and pinned it.

I hope this was helpful in giving inspiration, maybe just that little kick you need to preserve some special memories. Even if it’s not for a baby. There are other special moments in life too.
I don’t know about you, but I want a house filled with decorations consisting of this stuff.
A house full of love.

Pins and Photos,
Paperdaffodils

Conversations after dark Part one

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Just a note, this content is in no shape or form pg, and isn’t suitable for children and those under 18. If you are family and don’t want to read some oversharing please click over to another blog post and enjoy that content 🙂
This post is brought to you by countless sleep deprived nights and perpetual exhaustion topped with a sarcasm cherry.

Monday
J: If you don’t want to be sleeping with the fishes tonight, I suggest you shake your blanket out.
A: What? *confused look*
J: Edwin was eating goldfish while sitting on your blanket, and by eat, I mean, he meticulously placed goldfish in your blanket *Picks up blanket and shakes it, goldfish crackers scatter everywhere*

Tuesday
A: Do you want to get Del Taco?
J: Sure
A: I mean, it’s that or the kid eats’ his fingernails.
J: Sooo….fiesta pack?
A: Absolutely

Wednesday
J: Do you want to have sex?
A: I have breast milk and baby spit up on me, and I’ve yet to brush my hair in 3 days.
J:…….so….is that  a no?

Thursday
A: I feel like we are raising an evil genius
J: ….aren’t we still coming out ahead of the game if that’s the case?

Friday
J: The kids are winning tonight.

Saturday
A: Sometimes I really get why some animals eat their young
J: Are you trying to say you want to eat babies?
A: I really didn’t see the conversation going that way.

Sunday

(Doodlebug is running through the house shrieking at the top of his lungs)
J: Our child is a Viking
A: What?
J: Don’t you hear his warrior cry?
A: OMG.

January BUJO highlights

*This post contains affiliate links*

Have you guys heard about Bullet Journaling? I feel like its a pretty big craze. But if you haven’t its a way of doing a journal and planner created by Ryder Carroll.
You can use various different books to start/set up your bullet journal. There is an actual brand of bullet journal’s and a lot of people also use these:

I tried to use these but I didn’t love it, it was too small for me, so I actually use composition notebooks.
I think the entire point and design of the bullet journal is to be open to whatever page layout or creative idea you want to do.
Ive failed at other planners because I hate the planned out spaces, they are either too big or too small for me, and I don’t like feeling limited.
But then I get caught up on other peoples gorgeous bullet journal layouts. Like the people who are actually artists unlike myself, who can draw and paint and etc.
So I wanted to share some of my favorite layouts that Ive created, not necessarily being the best artist to hopefully inspire you.

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In my bullet journal I like to do a monthly spread before the weekly pages. I typically do a calendar so I can see the days for the month and a page for the goals I’d like to accomplish for that month. I think it helps me prioritize a little bit better, and it allows me to recognize what I didn’t have time to finish up the previous month and to maybe make that more of a priority this month.
I really liked how this one turned out and it was really simple, and honestly all of mine will be, because by the time I get the washi tape out and start doing stuff one of the kids needs me. I got the calendar from the dollar store (the dollar store is your best friend for inexpensive planner items) and just tore out the pages, cut them down and added the washi.
This is the Washi tape I used:

I feel like for those who are a little more artistically challenged washi tape is your best friend.

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Here’s a layout showcasing my horrible drawing abilities. But I actually really loved how it turned out. The cup of coffee features my blog, of course, and the little coffee beans feature the mood of that day. I do have a key at the bottom that I hid because I didn’t feel like it was important for everyone to know how my month was 🙂
I had originally tried a year in pixels but I didn’t love it, and didnt keep up with it. I am finding that I enjoyed the monthly mood tracker way more. And thats the other beautiful thing about BUJO’s you aren’t stuck doing it the same way forever, you can change it as you desire.

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Alot of my pages are focused around random images I find, cut outs from old greeting cards and ETC. I honestly don’t remember where I got that little picture from, but It is not my own work. All I did was add the kitty washi and the image and done. This is my example of how you can change your mind on how you want the layout to go. I was doing my weekly pages like this for a bit, then decided I didn’t love it. The washi tape I used for this one: Kitty washi

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I decided I wanted my weekly layouts more like this. I loved the concept of the dutch door for meal planning, grocery list and the water tracker

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And last but not least, I was going for an ancient Egypt, Cleopatra kind of feel.
If you are looking for more ideas you can always puruse my board on pinterest: Paperdaffodil bullet journal board

 

washi Tape and Pens,
Paperdaffodils

A.B. After baby

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*Contents in this post could have triggers, please proceed in reading this with caution. This post is not meant to upset anyone in anyway, but to express emotions and feelings on my part.  Any stories in this post that bare actual resemblance to a real story are purely coincidental. I am not a medical professional, and nothing I ever post should be taken as medical advice, if you feel in anyway wrong or that you are experiencing symptoms of any ailments such as but not limiting too postpartum depression please seek medical advice immediately. *

 

After a baby, your whole world changes. And I don’t mean just on the outside, where everyone can see. I don’t mean how your whole world becomes diapers, and wipes and is the diaper bag ready? The baby toys, the pack and play, the swings, the bouncer that overrides your life and your home, that leaves you sitting there wondering if you are ever going to have some semblance of adult normalcy back. I mean, you change as a person. You can’t watch things on the news any more, and if you do, sometimes it’ll leave you crying and going to grab your sleeping baby to hold and kiss…and yes I mean the sleeping baby you just spent an hour trying to get to sleep and now you are waking them just to feel their skin on yours and to smell them, just to know they are still safe and sound in your arms.
When I was pregnant with my first, I remember having these moments, filled with fear. And not for them. For me. I knew that this was going to be a huge change. I just didn’t know how much it was really going to change. I felt like I was closing this chapter in my life that I wasn’t completely ready to close. And so many people would answer with ‘well you have 9 months’ like that was plenty of time to wrap up all the things I didn’t even know I needed to wrap up.
And then the baby is here.
And people no longer see the baby inside of you, and it’s like they automatically think that with the removal of the baby you’ve gone back to who you once were. And you haven’t. Your so far from who you were.
They think you’re back to normal and your really this ball of emotions and sentiment that’s tangled and messy and possibly never going to be neat again.
Then there’s this baby crying and needing you, this tiny human you love with the entirety of your soul. And that emotion alone is new, foreign, and twisting inside next to that clumsy ball of emotions you keep shoving down.
People don’t see all this mess, and they just expect you to be snapped back, to the world they live in.
It’s like the purpose in life is to find, label and sort out the colors, and place them in neat little piles, but after a baby they’ve blended into this huge incomprehensible mess, everyone keeps telling you to get started on getting it all sorted it out, but not only do you not know how, you don’t want too. You cant be bothered too. You don’t feel like your smart enough too.
That’s what postpartum depression has felt like too me.
And I think the truly worst part of it is that tabooness it incites. The looks people give you when you talk about it.
Because omg, postpartum depression automatically means you are going to be like Trudy who locked her kids in the car with her and drove off a bridge. They give you this look like you are wrong and broken and the entire time you are screaming I KNOW inside of your head.
I know.
Ive told myself many times that I am not worthy, I am not good enough, smart enough, strong enough.
I’ve asked myself what was I thinking putting myself on this path in my life when its clear I would never be ready enough.
I don’t need the looks, that you think you’ve cleverly hidden when this topic comes up.
And at the same time I have enough clarity to know I am not wrong. There is nothing bad about me.
It’s the expectations that society has placed on women. That they pop this kid out and go back to who they were and how it was, when in truth some women, like me are just trying to shift through the emotions and place them back to where they belong.
What not enough people tell you, when they instead give you this look like your bad, is that for a little while it’ll feel like your drowning but eventually you catch your breath.
This is a rediscovery of yourself.
Be patient. Take breaks when you need them. It’s ok to take those moments to take deep breaths.
And when the second baby came, I was bracing myself for all of this again. So imagine my surprise when it didn’t come. It’s different every time, for every person and every pregnancy. Which is why we need to be patient and loving to each other.
It’s that simple, and that complex

 
Iced coffee and baby diapers,
Paper Daffodils

Why being a Mom is one of the loneliest things to be

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They always tell you that when you have a baby of your own, you’ll finally fully get what it feels like, that sheer amount of love and devotion that erupts through your body and capsizes you with every living breath you take. Every waking and often times every sleeping moment is devoted to your children. Every single molecule that makes you who you are have now turned their existence into making your children happy and healthy.
We can talk about theories of evolution, of why we put our kids first, we can talk about the psychology behind this, we can talk pure human nature behind this. But one thing is for sure. You will never know how much you need your mom, until you are a mom.
There are so many sleepless nights, so many days spent feeling like a zombie, going through the actions and getting through the days. You no longer get to be the fun one, the carefree one, the one who has no responsibilities. Because there is a tiny human depending on you to be at 100 percent. Every moment of every day is spent worrying, it’s spent fear filled. Am I doing enough? Am I being enough? Are they going to be safe with this person, or that person? Can I protect them from this or that? Are they developing properly? What if kids pick on them? What if no one shows up for their birthday? What if the two brothers hate each other, and are cruel to each other? Did they eat enough? I could have been more patient. I could have said that differently. I shouldn’t have let him see me this upset.
It goes on and on, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
And the only person who completely understands how you are feeling and what you are going through is your mom.
By creating this life and birthing this life, you have created this singular strand, this connection, that I’m sure women have felt for generations, to your mom. She has walked in your shoes once before, although circumstances are always different for everyone, she has felt what you are feeling, and cried the tears you are crying. Her heart has broken from the way the world has treated you. You have broken her heart intentionally and unintentionally.
And sometimes it sincerely makes being a mom feel like the loneliest thing to be in this entire world.  Because although your husband or family member’s could be the most supportive and best people in the entire world, your mom is this version and connection of you that nothing and no one can replace. One person to understand what you are going through to the full magnitude doesn’t seem like enough sometimes.
You grow this tiny human inside of you. For 9 precious months you get to keep them from the world, protect them in a way that no one else could ever dream of. And then, you have to give birth to them, you have to hold them out to the cruelties of the world and still try your best to protect them, knowing full heartedly that there’s no possible way to do so.
It is the most humbling, terrifying, satisfying. and frustrating thing that I have ever experienced.
Being a mom means being judged constantly, by other moms, by non moms by strangers, by friends, by enemies. It means, having to find confidence in the actions and choices you make for yourself and your children each and everyday, and not having to explain yourself and having to explain yourself all at the same time.
Being a mom means trying to explain all of this, and still feeling the entire time like you haven’t fully captured the feelings.
But your mom, doesn’t even need an explanation, doesn’t need you to tell her. Shes already been here.
And that’s so completely harrowing.

Peace and love,
Paperdaffodils

Summertime mean’s Bug Spray and Sunscreen

I’ve been meaning to get this post up. I feel like that is the headliner of all my blog posts. I’ve been meaning to get around to this, and I’ve been meaning to get around to that. That could seriously be my life motto. The title of my memoir, ‘Mama meant to get that done yesterday’.
It’s what it is I guess.
What spurred this on today then, since it’s something I’ve been meaning to post since July? Well you see my child decided to rip a handful of my hair out today, just for the hell of it. Why did that spur this on? I have no idea. Because it doesn’t really relate to this at all.
Back in July we flew back to Wisconsin to spend some time with my parents and sister. Smush adored them, and I think it goes without saying that the feeling was mutual. Guys, there’s really something to say about being home that is irreplaceable. The place where you grew up and ran wild, it’s your roots. And nothing can ever take that away or replace it.
However, I didn’t miss the bugs and mosquitoes that seem to come with Wisconsin. Seriously, the joke is that the state bird is the mosquito. You can say that being from California, my husband is a little paranoid about getting bit by bugs, especially mosquitoes. And I really didn’t want doodle to suffer the fate of my child hood, being covered head to toe with mosquito bites.
“I swear guys, it’s not the chicken pox. Mosquitoes just feasted on my flesh.”
The mosquitoes can be relentless, sometimes even after bug bombing, burning citronella candles and spraying with bug spray.
We all know the stuff that’s in bug spray, stuff that I’d prefer to avoid putting on my infant if at all possible. So I went in search of something we could use for doodle, being well aware of how bad the mosquitoes are from my own past experiences.
And I came across Babyganic’s Bug spray:

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Now, according to the bottle, it say’s its made with 100 percent natural essential oils, it’s non-greasy, Paraben and Deet free, not tested on animals, and a few other great qualities. I can for sure get behind that.
Except I couldn’t.
I wanted to love this. But, again, I couldn’t.
It smelt weird to me, now in retrospect and rereading the ingredient’s I’m assuming it was one of the essential oils listed on the bottle. And it say’s its not greasy. But I found that not to be true. It didn’t spray well, and considering the consistency of it I’m not quite sure why they chose to put it in the spray bottle. I had to spray it onto my hands then try to rub it onto Smush. It didn’t absorb well what so ever, it felt like I was taking a stick of butter and rubbing it all over my kid, and I’m pretty sure it stained his outfit.
So what right? That’s the price I’m willing to pay to have less chemicals and more goodness, with a side of confidence in a good quality product….right?
No.
Because it didn’t work.
Or maybe it just didn’t work against the caliber of those Wisconsin mosquitoes, because they still went after him. We ended up using OFF!; which worked great.
And I’m sure I looked like the crazy California hippie trying to go chemical free, and fix something that wasn’t broken. Basically, I was disappointed. I had hoped for more with this one.
Their sunscreen however, was amazing. Because let’s face it, no matter where you are in the summer time you need to protect yourself and your babies from too much sun.

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Do you guys remember, shortly before July a bunch of parent’s were coming forward with pictures of their infants who had suffered burns from their sunblocks and or bug sprays? That’s what set me off on this search. I had a little mommy melt down. Because I’m freaking super mom, with a cape and sword, supposedly protecting my children, yet just a few months ago I was rubbing the same brand sunblock on my kid that these other poor babies had suffered from. I beat myself up over it.
It’s really hard in such a consumer driven world to always make sure you are getting the best of the best. Especially because sometimes you are mislead about the quality of a product. I’m not perfect, but I try even harder now to eliminate excess chemicals and other stuff from my children. I wish we lived in a world where that wasn’t necessary.
According to the bottle this sunblock is made with seed oils and is free of all the crazy stuff, fragrance free and etc.
And it was great. My husband and I also used this and none of us got burnt. Except for when he went fishing with my dad and decided he was going to skip the sunblock. Seriously, husbands.  It absorbed and didn’t leave any oily residue, which is important to me, because as an especially pale child I always hated how oily and gross sunblock left me. But I had to have it put all over or risk being miserably burnt after 10 minutes.  And while no one loves being lathered with sunblock, Smushsmush tolerated it, the fact that it absorbed quickly helped. It didn’t have a weird smell, and it performed by preventing sunburn.
What a contrast in products.
And on that note, I hope this helps. The reason why I choose to ever review anything on this blog is to be helpful. I do reviews, because sometimes I feel really tired of going to read what someone has to say only to find out that they are selling the product or brand. And when I search for real people, real moms with real opinions I can’t find many. I just want a real perspective. And while I do have the affiliate links, I chose amazon so I could review whatever products I wanted as honestly as I could with no affiliation to the actual brands/companies.

Hungry mosquitoes and fun in the sun,
Paperdaffodils

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Letters To My Son Vol. 3

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Letters To My Son in roughly 7 weeks and 6 days will become Letters To My Son’s. Well, that’s the countdown for the estimated due date. We all know that children have a tendency of doing as they please, especially when it concern’s due dates.
So it’s with great joy and trepidation I bring the next installment of Letters To My Son. A post all about my eldest becoming a big brother. Trepidation? You ask. Why yes, because one kid is hard enough to wrangle, and I’m barely managing that. And of course since we are somewhat gluttons for punishment we are already bringing the next kid into the mix. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited, but definitely nervous about how this is going to go.  So, let’s get into it.

Dear SmushSmush,
Very shortly here you will be subjected to a screaming, crying baby. And so I thought it necessary to write this for you to read someday in the future.
First I want to say daddy and I are sorry. But we also aren’t. We’re sorry for all the times you will be asked to be quieter because the baby is sleeping, we’re sorry for your loss of status of being the baby. That’s something you’ll never get back. I’m sorry for any of the times you need and want mama but won’t get my undivided attention because your brother needs it more.
That’ll be something that will never change. As you grow a sibling is inevitably going to take our attention when you might want or need it. Know that your dad and I will always try to be fair, but at times we may fall short in your eyes. I don’t expect you to understand it. I just hope you can forgive us for any and all perceived shortcomings. Despite our best efforts we will fail you and your brother at times. This is just a fact of life. Becoming an older sibling means being held to a higher standard. This isn’t fair. We all know it. But it’s what it is, and it’s that way because it has to be. Your brother will be watching you, looking to you for guidance. He will mimic your actions. And so your dad and I will be relying on you to help lead your brother down the right paths. Please understand and don’t mix this up though. We don’t and won’t account his failures as your own and vice versa. You will mean more to each other then either of you will ever be able to see at first, maybe if ever. It is my hopes that when your dad and I are no longer here, you have each other. The best allies in the world, someone to always guard your back. Someone to watch your progression through life in a way that no one else will ever be able to do. When we are gone; for you to not be alone, and never be on your own is one of the most important things. Because the world is a hard and cold place, especially when you have no one in your ball court. You could be a superstar and it’ll mean nothing without people around you to share it with.
There will be times when this little thing will be screaming and you won’t understand why. I’m sure it’ll be annoying and frustrating to you. And I’m sorry for that.
All of the sudden you will have to share your attention, your love, your toys, your comfort items. And you’ll just be expected to do it, with no explanations. We will just expect you, in some ways to have just grown up over night.
It’ll be expected that over night you will need mama less. Because you’ll be over a year when your brother comes. So, why would you need us as much?
I understand on so many levels how unfair this will be for you. To share your space and attention with something and someone you wont understand until you are actually older and more capable of not needing mama.
But in this little baby that you wont quite understand we are hoping you will find a close friend and a forever companion. So no, it wont always be fair for you, but we hope it’ll be somewhat worth it, in moments of your life, maybe even solid chunks of moments towards the grown up parts of your life.

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The times that I’m too tried after tending to your brother, to give you what you really need, I hope you forgive me for.
The times my frustrations aren’t checked and you realize them, I hope you forgive me for it.
When your brother hurts your feelings and you wish we had never had another kid, I hope you see the bigger picture for it.
Being the eldest sibling puts you on this level that you will never be able to get down from. And you had no choice in the matter. As an older sibling, I understand how this feels, and I hope you will forgive me for it.
You will be asked to be the bigger person on numerous occasions, on occasions when you shouldn’t have to be the bigger person. The times when you should be able to express how truly hurt and pissed off you are will be overshadowed by the necessity of you being a good example.
We love you both very much, we have so much love in our hearts to give, and that’s why you will have another sibling. Because we want our house filled with laughter and love.
Love,
Mama