Friday, March 25, 2016

Three Ways To 'Date' on a Budget (with small children)

     After having our second son, one of the worst struggles my husband and I came across was ever getting to spend quality time together. Our second son has Erb's Palsy which meant we were in a heap of debt from medical bills and more which meant we had (and have) very little to spend for a babysitter, much less on an actual date. While these tips may not necessarily give you the perfect opportunity to get freaky in the bedroom, they will definitely support the idea of spending much needed quality time with your partner.

#1 Barter Babysitting Services
     I have a friend who I barter babysitting services with. My husband and I will watch her kids occasionally so she can go out with the girls and take a break or even just get some work done that otherwise would take 10x longer with the kids around, you know? She returns the favor for us. This works well because we really enjoy each others' kids. If you do this, obviously, make sure it is with someone you know well and trust and that your kids get along fine as well. I wouldn't do this with a chronic cancellor who would do this to only their advantage.

#2 Family Activities
     I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now. You asked for date ideas, not family activities, but honestly, a quality time family activity is so much better than everyone doing something different, isn't it? Go for a walk together. Play and explore at the park. Color. Build a fort. Play hide-and-seek. Older kids can play a board game. Little ones can play peek-a-boo, tickle, etc...

#3 Chores
     Alright, now your eyes are REALLY rolling, aren't they? Seriously though, put a movie on for the kids and cook dinner together. Wash the dishes together. Fold clothes together (and do NOT say a word about how he's -or she's- folding a shirt the wrong way.) Even grocery shopping with the kids could apply here. During this time, you can converse and learn about each other. Discuss how your day went. Talk about your worries and your dreams.
     A friend of mine sent a picture to me one day of her and her husband cooking together and said to me, "The couple that cooks together... Eats good and gets fat together!?!?" I thought it was just about the cutest picture and caption I'd ever seen in my life!

     So in closing, it may not be a candle-lit dinner, movies, and a bed of roses with your legs shaking at the end of the night, but here's to hoping this will give you some ideas on how to incorporate some quality time with your partner into those busy mommy and daddy days when it seems impossible.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

One Year Old!

Our baby is a baby no more! 
Colsen's ONE!

     Naturally, Justin and I thought Nemo was too perfect for a theme seeing as he has a "lucky fin."
    His adorable little ensemble was hand-made by a fellow local mama, owner of Princess Amelia's Boutique, Courtney Romanello.
    We love Brandy McPherson's Photography and she's photographed him every three months since he was a newborn. We adore this relationship and we are so thankful for all the priceless moments she captures for us.

     We chose not to have a birthday party because they are simply over-rated, but we did do the birthday pictures and we took he and his brother to Jump Zone with Grandma and Papa for a fun-filled day. We ate Taco Bell and went to Wal-mart to get Colsen a gift from the grandparents. They wanted to get him something he needed, so they got him some yogurt melts and a Nuby cup. < Hopefully we'll get a review up on that soon. ;)

     NOW, the question you're all waiting to be answered:
     How's his arm?
     As you can see in the pictures, he doesn't use his left arm as much as he uses his right arm. He does not have full range of motion back in his left arm and we don't suspect he ever will... Not now that he is a year old and he doesn't already have it. This is a threshold. We do suspect that what range of motion he DOES have will continue to improve until he is about 5 years old. Of course he will always be learning new ways to adapt. Check out his left foot getting into the cake in the bottom picture. He is already putting shoes on his left foot. He uses his left foot a lot and I think he will probably implement his left foot to help him adapt where his arm falls short, HOWEVER, he really is doing well with his left arm. He has a nice grasp. He is able to move his wrist well. He reaches forward a lot by raising his arm straight upward almost 90 degrees (almost parallel to the floor with a shrugged shoulder). He also has really nice elbow extension. He just, unfortunately, cannot flex (or bend) his elbow against gravity or lift his arm away from his body to the side (as if to do a jumping jack).

      To be honest, this mommy is excited to move forward. I'm relieved to stop hoping for something that may or may not happen. I'm happy to know where are journey is heading. I now know that my job is to help my baby adapt.

This is what I need from you:
  • Please accept him for who he is. I have been hearing, "Miracles happen." To me, it means, you aren't accepting him as he is and that I shouldn't either. It hurts. Please stop saying this. I know it's well-meaning, but it doesn't help. 
  • Follow us! Here and through our Facebook group by clicking here. This way you can stay informed and ask us about his well-being instead of about his arm when you see us in public. ;)