Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dear Jillianne: To Journal or Not to Journal

I've been struggling with the idea of a baby journal for some time now. A part of me wants to be able to return to the memories I've written down and hold on to the baby June once was even for just a moment. The other part of me wants to focus on the present. Instead of worrying about capturing every detail, I want to live and relish in the here and now.

My parents certainly didn't document everything. I don't know, or really care, all of my stats and percentages from early childhood. Sure, it might be fun to compare mine and my husband's number's with June's. But I don't fee that I've lost something by not being able to do that. I keep asking myself if June is even going to care about these details when she's my age. Am I even going to care? Or will I be so consumed with love for my grandchildren to want to read about the time June said "Dada" for the first time, or when tooth #7 finally broke through?

I keep thinking about what families did 100, even 200, years ago. Pictures weren't taken of every little thing. Milestones weren't written down. And I have a feeling they might've been happier for it.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people who document their kids' lives. Whether that's through pictures, videos, or journaling. I'm not against remembering the past. I think there's a lot to be learned from our successes and failures. But for me, I think when just the idea of doing something causes so much struggle I must examine the motives. Am I journaling about my daughter's everyday life for either her or myself? Or am I just keeping up with the Jones's?

In a world where we think our every though is significant enough to post on the internet, maybe we need a little more face-to-face time and a little less face-to-screen time. So instead of constantly having "update June's journal" on my to-do list, I'm going to put "be present in your daughter's life."

God Bless,

Monday, December 28, 2015

Traveling with a Toddler

Well hello there! Long time, no chat. Sorry it's been so long since you've heard from James & June. Turns out December is just as crazy in Europe as it is in the U.S.!

I was thinking last night about all the do's and don't's I wish someone would've told me before we started our excursions across Europe. And with a toddler in tow, you can imagine how tricky it can be. So here is some advice for anyone wishing to travel with their toddler:

- The biggest regret we've had so far was bringing a stroller to Venice. We knew the passages would be narrow so we thought we were being smart by bringing our umbrella stroller instead of the big jogging one. WRONG! There are so many bridges and stairs throughout Venice that a carrier or even a backpack carrier would've been sooooo much better. Unless you feel like carrying a stroller (with toddler inside) up and down too many stairs to count.

- Snacks on snacks. Restaurant service in Europe tends to be a little slower than the States so now we know to prepare by having plenty of snack options for June to munch on while we wait on our food. And we're learning to bring more wholesome foods just in case the menu options aren't to her liking.

- I never thought we'd be the parents who let their kids watch videos at the dinner table. Well that quickly went out the window (a long time ago). But now instead of YouTube, we have to look for video options that don't require internet. I recommend downloading kid-friendly apps/videos before traveling. A lot of places have wifi, but it's not always a guaranteed connection (or a free one) so June gets to scroll through the pictures on our phone, make a selfie video, or play one of her games.

- There's only so many old buildings that toddlers (or even adults) can look at before they throw a tantrum and make it look like you're kidnapping your own child. So we started throwing in more hands-on activities throughout the day. If you're traveling to a larger city, chances are there's a children's museum around. Or maybe even just a large grassy area to run around in. Usually we can tire June out with a few of these activities and then let her nap in the stroller while we enjoy some sightseeing that she couldn't care less about.

We're constantly learning from our experiences so hopefully I'll be able to share some more good tips soon!

We hope you all have a great New Year! God Bless from Hungary!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dear Jillianne: Slowing It Down

Sorry it's been so long! It's been super busy around here! 

So poop overload, huh? I'm pretty sure someone could make a fortune going door to door selling their services as a poop-picker-upper. They'd make a fortune.

And it's so cute that Little Brother is moving all over the place! I'm sure James will appreciate him being ready to play immediately upon delivery! :)

We recently got back from Italy & Slovenia! It was absolutely gorgeous to drive through the Alps this time of year. The weather was perfect to walk through Venice and the leaves in Bled, Slovenia were amazing. Every Fall lover's dream! 

It's so weird to plan a trip to a completely different country this often. Traveling out of your home country is something that people might get to do once a year. But everything is so close here that we are amazingly blessed to be able to travel as often as we do. 

The weather here has actually been pretty nice the past few days. It's really cold in the morning when I take June to school but by the time she wakes up from her afternoon nap it's sunny! Definitely not like Fall in the PNW. 

Speaking of school, she's learning so much there. And I don't mean colors and the alphabet (although I'm sure they cover that). She's picked up a few new phrases. "MINE MINE MINE!!!" seems to be her new favorite. 

Well there's not much new to report here. I think things are going to slow down for a bit before Thanksgiving & Christmas, which I'm excited about! Hope you're doing well! We miss you like crazy here!

God Bless, 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dear Kacie: Rain, Dog Poop, and the Animal in my Belly

Dear Kacie,

Pacific Northwest better is in full force right now. Here's the forecast this past week:
Monday: Rain
Tuesday: Pouring Down Rain
Wednesday: Cloudy, but surprise it's going to down pour on you when you least expect it.
Thursday: Rain.
Friday: Rain and hair tangling wind.
Saturday: Rivers falling down from heaven, literally.
Sunday: Sunny! Just kidding it rained.
But today was actually nice, it was nice and cold but James and I went to the park and a walk with some awesome friends. Gotta get some vitamin D when we can!

Today, I also decided to pick up dog poop! I got paranoid that Bailee wouldn't have a place to poop anymore and that she would start stepping in it so I decided to venture out and pick it up. EW. Big mistake. I am pregnant. It stinks. It is huge. It It is mushy. I stepped in it. I love our pup. She is so sweet. But seriously how does all that crap (literally) come out of my dog. Does she poop 5 times a day?  Anyways, I could do without the poop. No more poop.

In other news, Little Brother is such a mover! It is like a have a Mexican jumping bean dancing around in my belly. Big Brother aka James was not like this. I could predict where he was going to kick and when. Little Brother decided anytime, anywhere is a good time to kick. For example, on my bladder when I am trying to sleep. My ribs when I am trying to cook dinner. Silly boy. Keeps me on my toes!

How is fall in Hungary? I hope it is nicer than here. Also, daylight savings is soon and mix that with my toddler. Pray for me.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dear June: Fall is here!

Hi June!

Krowaysha sounds amazing. Maybe you could take me there one day. Dad and Mom aren't sure when we'll be able to visit you yet so maybe I'll visit by myself? I think I have enough saved up but I guess that is supposed to go towards my college. What is that?

It is officially FALL. Which means my birthday is soon. It is breezy, rainy, and getting gloomy. Luckily my bum stays nice and warm with my fuzzy cloth diaper. We went to the pumpkin patch the other weekend. No one told me that pumpkins were big round balls that are too heavy to pick up.  I saw these huge birds that followed me around wherever I walked. They sure were scary looking. I stuck my finger in the cage but Dad was right there to tell me "no". Not one of our favorite words. But I guess he saved my finger. I've been needing it lately to ease the pain of my molars coming in.
Crazy birds eye-balling me.
With fall comes change. Did you here the news? I am going to have a Baby Brother! Mom and Dad even let me name him. I decided on Cars but Mom and Dad will call him TJ. It's my favorite movie, word, and toy so I thought it would be appropriate to name him that. Also, my title has changed from "the baby" to "big brother". Dad said something about being helpful and sharing. No thanks.
My brother, Cars.
Well that's all that's going on for now! Babble soon?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dear James: Long Time, No Toddler Babble

Hey boyfriend (read "Hay boyfran")! It's been awhile so I just wanted to say hello! Hello! Ok bye!

Just kidding! I really miss you! I think know you would love my school. We get to play and eat all morning. It's great! The outside part has a bunch of toys and sand to throw in your hair.

We just got back from Krowaysha. I think that's how you spell it. Here were my favorite and least favorite parts:

This beach was so cool. There was almost no one there so I had all the sand to myself. Mommy said the water was freezing but I think 60 degrees is just warm enough! Daddy caught a crab to show me. Not sure about that one. But I definitely want to come back here again. 

And now my least favorite part. We were in this awesome cemetery and there was a pretty candle. Daddy said not to touch it, but you know I'm addicted to doing things I know I shouldn't! I mean, come on Mom & Dad! You should know this by now! I'm fine now, but I definitely blame the parents for this one.

Not much else is going on here. I think we're going to Italy soon. That should be fun. I know Mom is really looking forward to stocking up on some American food at the commissary there. Maybe I'll be really good so they'll buy me some cookies. Or I'll have a meltdown so they'll buy me some cookies. We'll see how I'm feeling that day.

I really miss you friend! We should have a Skype date soon! I want to hear all about Fall in the PNW!

God Bless, 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dear Jillianne: Third Time's the Charm

Dear Jillianne,

James is growing up! I knew when this time came it was going to be filled with mixed emotions for you. Just remember, I'm hear to listen to your confusing feelings about weaning! I remember crying and stroking June's hair the day she had her last drop of breastmilk. No matter the circumstances (voluntary or involuntary) weaning can be very sad. But I am so excited to see how your relationship with your son is going to evolve and become stronger than you ever thought possible! I'm so glad to hear that James' affection has not diminished! He's such a loving little boy and I know that is going to continue as he ages because of the examples his parents set for him.

And about the whole bra thing. They should make a holiday for the day women finally get to shove the nursing bra to the back of the drawer and pull out the more supportive, and definitely sexier, bras. Parties should be thrown, gifts should be given, and cake should be eaten. It's a great day!

We got to go to Budapest yesterday and finally do some fun things! Our first two trips there were quick and not filled with the touristy things. But yesterday we got to do so much!

We walked around Heroes Square. It's full of beautiful statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, not to mention a bunch of tourists!

I had fun posing with all of the statues. 

Jillianne. We found Tex-Mex. And I know what you're thinking, Mexican food in Hungary!? You're crazy. This place was amazing. The food was better than most of the places we ate at in Texas. And maybe it's because I've been without Mexican food for over a month, but I loved this. We're definitely going back the next time we're in Budapest. 

And just for kicks, this is June at the pool this week. We got her a lifejacket and new hat (she dropped her old one on a walk somewhere). You know that scene in A Christmas Story where the mom puts so many layers on her son that he can barely walk and move his arms? Yeah, I totally felt like that mom when I dressed Aleah. Reusable Swim diaper, UV shirt, lifejacket, sun hat with neck protection,  sunglasses, and water shoes. She was definitely the most dressed at the pool. But isn't she so cute!?

As I write this I'm sitting in a super cute cafe drinking the largest vanilla latte the sell while June is at nursery learning and playing with her new friends. A girl could get used to this! I can't wait for you to come visit and experience all of this with me! 

Is it cooling off there at all? The weather is so perfect today. Overcast with a small breeze. Now if our small town could just get some Pumpkin Spice Lattes it might actually feel like Fall! 

Oh and Mingo said Bailey is welcome to come over with you guys. Our yard is plenty big! 

Miss you! Szia! 
God Bless,