Thursday, August 4, 2016

Handy Dandy Tips for Mamas

I thought that today I would share a few of the hacks & tips I have learned since becoming a mama to these two fellas. They may seem minute, but they can be lifesavers!

1. Bags for Dirty Diapers
When I registered for Wells, I made sure to put this Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser on my list. We use the bags to tie up dirty diapers (of the #2 variety) at home and also to bag up dirty clothes when certain incidents occur in public (#explosionshappen). The refills run about $5.00 for a 3-pack, which isn't awful...but you know what's waaaaaay better? A 4-pack for one dollar! #dolladollabillyall
Oh, yes - you can just visit the pet aisle of your local Dollar Tree, and snatch up the dog waste bags that fit PERFECTLY in the A&M dispenser. I was concerned for about a millisecond about how it looked to buy dog poo bags for my human child, but my inner frugal girl won that battle. If you want to be cute about it, they also have 3-packs with prints - I get the blue puppy paw prints when the 4-pack of black bags are out of stock :)

2. Toothpicks
Have a picky eater? Not for long. Okay, so this one may not always work, but it has worked the couple of times I tricked tried it out on Wells! He is not a picky eater per say, but like all 2-year-olds, he does have days where he isn't interested in eating anything nutritious. I read about this tip somewhere and thought I would give it a try. Just give your little eater a toothpick to pick up their food. It shakes things up a little bit and gets them interested in eating what's on their plate. I just grabbed a cheapo box of your standard toothpicks, but I think I am gonna get some little bento picks like these soon.
3. A Spice Container + Q-tips = Magic
If you're like me, becoming a mom has your memory/overall brain function all kinds of discombobulated. I buy things at the grocery store that I think I am out of only to realize once I get home that that was not at all the case - I'm looking at you, eight boxes of penne pasta in my pantry. So, you may have 3 opened spice jars of paprika (is that just me?) in your cabinet. Well, combine them and rinse out one of the now-empty jars; then gather some Q-tips. (You do need to make sure that the spice jar has slightly larger holes, or better yet, use an empty grated Parmesan cheese container). Then hand it all to your toddler - we first introduced this to Wells probably around 15 months old or so - and watch the magic happen. Show them how to drop the Q-tips into the holes of the jar. It will entertain them for way longer than you expect, and it helps them develop some fine motor skills. We took this little game to restaurants, and it always worked so well!

4. Disposable Placemats...the FREE Kind
I had also registered for one of those reusable silicone placemats back when I was pregnant with Wells. Aaaaaand I never used it. Cleaning it and then having it take up coveted diaper bag space was just not doing it for me. I decided that I preferred disposable placemats...specifically ones that are free. How do I score such amazing things? At the wonderful Chick-fil-a of course. Chick-fil-a has disposable placemats to use for kiddos when you dine in. One of the CFAs here puts the mats in the condiment/straw/napkin area, and you can take as many as you want. Not all CFAs do this (the one closest to our house provides them for kids dining in but does not have them out on display). When we are at one that has them out to grab, we do just that. Wells is now using plates wherever we go, but we will be using them for Grayer soon. We have a LOT of these little gems stored in our kitchen drawers right now - mostly because my sweet Grandpa has made it his mission in life to collect as many as possible for us whenever he stops in to a CFA. Ha! Love it.

What? You don't have 783 of these stuffed in your bag, kitchen drawers, and van glovebox??

So there you have it. Just some little tried and true mama tidbits. Do you have any great tips? Please share!!!


Grayer is SIX Months!

How is Hankin Baby #2 already half a year old???? Seriously, how did that happen? Time is flying these days, and I'm gonna need it to just stop already. True to form thus far in our monthly update picture-taking sessions, Grayer refuses to smile. What a stinker.

Here's what Grayer has been up to...

Weighs: His official 6-month appointment isn't until next week, but we had to go to the doctor the other day, and he was 16lbs and 10oz or so, I think...I know he's almost to 17lbs.

Sleeps: This was not the greatest month on the sleeping front. A couple of weeks ago, Grayer was all of a sudden getting up a LOT at night. It has subsided a little, but he almost always gets up 2-3 times at night to eat. He has started to make it known that he does not like the idea of having to go to sleep! At nap time and bed time, he will put up a HUGE fight to try to stay awake. I have to wrangle him! Sometimes after the struggle, I will just lay him in his crib and let him try to get to sleep on his own. Sometimes that works great, and other times, not so much :) I am definitely working on getting him to soothe himself to sleep more often that not so that he doesn't have the sleep associations (ie: always nursing to sleep) the way that Wells did until he was almost a year old.

Eats: Grayer is still nursing well and is eating table or baby food twice a day. Strangely enough, he is not a huge fan of bananas. I've given him mashed bananas and the jarred kind, and he makes the worst faces! If I mix bananas in with something else in the homemade food I make him, he doesn't seem to mind. But on its own? No thanks. He has started eating Puffs this month and really seems to like them. He is a NOISY eater, and I think it's that he gets bored. He likes his food to have some substance, so I will probably start making his food a little chunkier so that he can work a little instead of just swallowing and grunting/growling/screaming while waiting for the next bite :) Just like his daddy and brother, Grayer always thinks he is hungry. Alllllwaaaaaays.

Wears: Grayer can still squeeze into some 3-6 month clothes (like onesies) but is mostly wearing 6-month and 6-9 month clothes. He is now in a size 3 diaper.

Plays: Grayer started sitting up on his own this month! He can sit and play with his toys now which is exciting. I think he will really start playing on his own and being entertained for a little longer in this next month (fingers crossed! lol). He has toy preferences now. He knows what he wants, and if you give him the wrong thing, he will let you know that he isn't pleased! He is scooting around a little bit in the walker (as long as it's on the floor - it won't budge at all on the carpet) and likes to play with the toys on the tray. He still likes his bouncer and swing. He puts literally everything in his mouth right now, which is not going to be fun since we are going to have to hide Wells' small toys once Grayer is mobile and can get his hands on them. Just like I reported last month, he still loves being outside, taking baths, and watching Wells do pretty much anything. He is super ticklish under his arms and laughs so hard if you tickle him there! He does not appear to have any interest in crawling just yet. He is generally pretty happy but is 100% an attention-seeker. He can be perfectly happy one second and then realize that you walked away and are no longer playing with him and then lose his mind! :)

Milestones: Tooth #2 peeked through shortly after the last monthly update! Those two little teeth are so cute! Another milestone: we attached the little sippy cup training handles on one of Grayer's bottles to get him practicing holding a sippy cup. He does pretty well - as long is the cup is pretty full and he isn't sucking in a lot of air if it isn't tilted back. Maybe we will introduce a sippy cup this month.

Grayer is growing like a weed and is learning new stuff every day! I can't believe we are already halfway to his first birthday, but it is so fun to watch him grow and develop into his own little person. We love you, Grayer!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednedsay

Thought I would join the WHW post (with Jessi and Jenn) this week!

There is literally so. much. happening. in our life right now! I will probably write a more in-depth post later on basically the ups and seemingly never-ending downs of this past year, but for right now, I will keep it brief! With company-wide layoffs at Eric's employer back in November, a month before Christmas and two months before we were due with baby #2 (!!!), the end of 2015 was rough. And although God provided Eric with another job in the same field a month later, it was contracting work and ended a few months later. Since then, God has been faithful to give Eric a job opportunity with a great friend of his while we waited on another job in his industry (aviation upholstery/installation) to open up. Well, praise the Lord, Eric starts his new aerospace job in less than a week! In the midst of all the crazy job stuff, we decided to list our house in the beginning of the summer in an effort to use the equity to pay off our ANNOYING student loans!

Anyway, as of a week ago, our house is under contract!! However, the buyers want to close in ONE MONTH! Huhhh? I have to pack an entire house with a six-month old and 2-year-old in thirty days? Yes, yes I do. #someoneholdme

Meanwhile, we don't have a new house picked out! We are looking at a very good prospect this afternoon, and hopefully all will work out for us to move in about a week or two after our house sells. Hello storage unit and two-week stay with Grandma and Grandpa! Ha!

I really am so pumped about all these new happenings! But man am I already exhausted! I am truly thankful for God always taking care of us even when we can't understand why certain things happen. I am happy for some new beginnings :)

Other happenings lately that aren't as heavy as the aforementioned saga:

Wells has this little diner that we brought back up from storage (had to stow it during all the house showings). He is loving it lately, and he always wants to "koook." Grayer is sitting up now, and I lose it whenever I see these two in the booth.

I mean...

It is HOT up in here (here meaning Savannah, GA - also known as the 7th circle of hell as far as temps go). Heat indices of like 110? Thanks, but you can go. I am ready for FALL. And by that, I basically mean #givemeallthepeeptoebooties . Like these ones that are super on sale.

Speaking of it being summer, why do the boys and I all have colds? Boooo. Wells' has turned into an ear infection, and poor Grayer has a yucky cough. While Eric was at the store, I asked him to pick up some Johnson's Vapor Bath. Planning to use it in their baths tonight and hopefully clear their little noses...although I may just steam up the separate shower with some in it instead of putting it in Wells' bath water since he has eczema. Don't want a rash on top of being sick! Has anyone used it and liked it? Let me know!

I am getting really excited about giving the boys a playroom when we move. We plan to make a combo guest/playroom space, using this bed. So, it will usually be set up as a daybed/couch, but when we have family & friends staying over, we will use it as a double bed. I am stoked about decorating in the new house, especially the playroom, as it will be a first for me! Right now all the toys are in their rooms and our living room. Ready to get them all mostly corralled into one area!

Well, that's what's happening around these parts! Lots of fun stuff to come in the next few busy weeks!