When the Kid Goes Back to Daycare….

Me at 7 months pregnant

” of course I’ll come back to work after maternity leave, ill be going mad at home” 

Me at 3 months from birth of child on returning to work

“Back to work? but I’ll miss everything, first steps, words,  .. And after paying child care I’ll be earning Ramen Noodles.. so whats the point?” 

But, my personality requires me to need some adult conversation .. and not just from my husband. Plus I prefer our bank account to be positive not negative so off to work I went and off to daycare my son went.  It went OK for a while. But as I talked about in a previous post, I pulled him and he stayed home with grandma.  It was great and at the time was the best thing for him.

But he is getting older now and more active.  Preschool is less than a year away. And as an only child I want him to understand that there is a word called “share” and yes you have to….

So a month ago he started daycare again.  New place.  New people.  A highly regarded place that I had been trying for 8 months to get him into.  I knew there would be an adjustment but man, separation anxiety is real and really hard to deal with.  The crying….I had to force myself to walk away on drop off’s and I would get into my car and be on the verge of tears that I was messing my kid up for life.  And then in the evenings when we picked him up he would come running to us faster than a cheetah after their dinner and would clutch onto us for dear life less we got the idea to leave him there…..and again the mom guilt would chime in big time.

But this week it is finally starting to get better.  He is adjusting.  The place we have him at is great and he will learn so much there.  He is starting to like it and the teachers are telling us he is doing so well.

But man, this past month has been hard.  When you have a kid they should come with a warning sticker that says “Buckle up buttercup.  The ride has just started and there WILL be bumps in the road.  And vomit every once in a while. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Gluten Free Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

My son turned 2 years old last week. Everyone warns you the time goes fast and they are right.  I was looking at his baby pictures this past weekend and just couldn’t believe how much he has grown! Where did my baby go!?

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Mom, I just want to touch the fire.  Please? Why are you blowing the fire out? I wanted to touch it! This was my son during the “birthday song”.

 

So this past weekend we threw a birthday party for him to celebrate. We made TWO cupcake recipes. Banana Cream Pie and Black Forest Cupcakes.  Here is the recipe for Gluten Free Banana Cream Pie.  Yummy and decadent, yet surprisingly easy since we used a boxed cake mix! (Betty Crocker to the rescue.  Awesome gluten free mixes). We finished this with homemade whipped cream frosting and chocolate “B” letters.

They turned out delicious! Try it and see for yourself!

Banana Cream Pie Gluten Free Cupcakes

Ingredients 

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Cake:

  • 1 – 15oz box of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) softened
  • 2 teaspoons of gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 small bananas  (3/4 cup diced or smashed)

Pudding:

  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ Tbsp butter

Frosting:

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 packet (0.25 oz) plain gelatin
  • 3 Tbsp cold water
  • ¼-3/4 cup of powdered sugar – to taste
  • ¼ -1 tsp of almond extract – to taste
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare muffin baking pan with liners.
  3. Cream butter until smooth with electric mixer.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and mix.
  5. Add vanilla extract, bananas, sour cream, and water.  Mix to combine.
  6. Add Gluten Free Cake Mix to the wet batter and blend with electric mixer until combined.
  7. Pour batter into liners (about ¾ full)
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  9. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack

Pudding:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat milk.
  2. Add sugar and cornstarch whisking vigorously until combined and smooth.
  3. Continue to whisk until mixture becomes thick.
  4. Add butter and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  5. Allow to cool.

Frosting:

  1. Place water in small pot and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  Whisk the gelatin and water in the pot and heat on low whisking until the gelatin is dissolved.  Remove from heat.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the whipping cream on medium high speed until in starts to thicken.
  3. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond extract.  Whisk and taste.  Some people like their frostings sweet and others less sweet.  I provided a rough range for the powdered sugar and almond to allow you to tweak the recipe to your liking.
  4. Continue to whisk at medium high speed until the cream begins to get fluffy.
  5. Slowly add gelatin while whisking until incorporated.

Preparation:

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  1. Cut a small hole out of the middle of the cupcake.  Save the top of the cut out.
  2. Spoon about 1 Tbsp of filling into each cupcake and replace top.
  3. Finish with frosting.

Notes:

  • Ripe bananas provide much better flavor.
  • The gelatin allows the cupcake frosting to set up and stiffen.  This is a great trick for keeping your whipped cream frostings looking perfect.
  • Refrigerating the cupcakes will allow the frosting to slightly stiffen and allow the frosting to look and behave a little like a buttercream frosting.

 

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Mother’s Day Highs and Lows

Prior to having Bryce this was one of the most depressing days of the year for me. I so badly wanted a child and it just wasn’t happening. I feel for all the women out there that hate Mother’s Day because I once was one of them.  But now I am a mom.  And I embrace Mother’s Day.  Last year, for my first Mother’s Day, I was so tired from lack of sleep that I don’t really remember anything.  Hopefully I showered? Maybe ate a hot meal? So this year Bryce made up for it by not only sleeping through the night, but sleeping for 14 hours straight, which is unheard of for him!  So that was my Mother’s Day gift.  It was wonderful and I have told him he can repeat that gift anytime he wants.  Lol.

The day was not without grief though. It was my first Mother’s Day without a mom. It will be a year in July since she died.  I miss her. Her death has been more complicated for me to handle this past year since we had such a strained relationship at the end.  Her addiction and health issues made it that I did not have a healthy relationship with her.  We would go weeks without talking.  We lived states away from each other.  So yesterday I mourned.  I thought of mom and tried to remember the good times, before disease and addiction took over.  I thought about what I would have said to her yesterday on the phone and how I would have told her how Bryce can now say thank you and I would have told her that he loves to jump in puddles and play with water hoses and sprinklers.  That having him has turned on a light inside me that is helping to heal the darkness.

She loved him. When I told her I was pregnant she was so so happy for me.  When he was born and she couldn’t come to visit me she broke down in tears on the phone.  We both knew she would never be able to visit.  That she would never be able to do the “mom” things one does for their daughter who has just given birth.  I told her it was OK, that we would visit that fall or Christmas.  It was the last time I had a real heart to heart conversation with her.  We did go up at Christmas, which ended up being the last time I saw her before she died.  I am so thankful she got to meet Bryce.  She died 6 months later.

As I embark on this motherhood journey I hope to be the best mom I can for Bryce. That he will know how much I love him and how very much I want him to live his dreams.  Even with all the issues I had with my mom, she equipped me with what I need to make it in this life which is grit and determination.   It is because of her that I plow on and believe that I can actually do anything I want to.

Thank you mom. I miss you so very much.

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The mom I remember. She was so beautiful and the life of every party.

 

 

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Meeting Bryce at Christmas

All things in moderation…..

So last year I got in on the essential oil bandwagon. I love them.  I really do.  I now have things in my home like all natural laundry detergent and natural hand soap that have essential oils in it.  I have roller balls of essential oil blends that I wear as perfume or for help with everyday aches and pains. I have an awesome homemade muscle rub cream that I swear melts away my neck tension every night.  But I am also living modern life.  I am a working mom who eats things like Orange Chicken (so delicious) from Panda Express for lunch.  I let my son do things like drink water from the garden hose or eat day old cheerios off the floor.  I also still have a medicine cabinet filled with things like Tylenol and Claritin because you just never know when you will need them.

When I decided to start this website last summer it was to be an outlet for me to write about my new role as a mom and explore this new world of essential oils I was excited about. It was also a creative outlet for me as I grieved the sudden loss of my mom last summer.  And over the past year I have been feeling more comfortable in everything. My son is going to be two in a few weeks and I still love my essential oils.  I also can think about my mom now without dissolving into a pile of grief.  It has been a good year.

But….

There are so many fanatics out there on both the essential oil AND motherhood front.   Sometimes I want to shout, “REALLY?  You really did power yoga, cooked an organic breakfast AND magically healed your sick child from one application of essential oils all before 9 AM?”

The reality of life is that sometimes you feel like super mom and other days you just survive till the kids go to bed. Essential oils have supported my family in an amazing way this year and I love them.  But I also will still take my child to the doctor if he gets really sick.

It is called moderation people. In the end, we are all just trying to make the best decisions for our family while trying to fulfill our dreams and ambitions at the same time.

Now excuse me as I get my 3rd cup of coffee for the day.  It is Friday after all and I am running on fumes at this point.  Moderation in the caffeine department can start tomorrow…

Chopsticks and Toddlers

So last night we went out to dinner with some friends. Bryce was extra fidgety.  He wouldn’t sit in the highchair, wouldn’t sit in the booster, nor would he sit on our laps.  Thankfully we had a booth and he happily sat between us for the meal.  But not while sitting still.  Up and down, to and fro he went.  I tried everything to distract him.  Ipad? No.  Toys?  No.  Knife?  Yes. Wait, knife?!  Grab that from him! Ugh…

Finally I spied chopsticks sitting on the table and gave them to him. That worked.  For one minute. Until he decided to throw them at the older couple behind us.  Mortified, I apologized.  The guy, apparently a grandfather or at least a kid lover, came over to our table and gave Bryce his chopsticks back.  He bent over to his level, and smiled big for Bryce while saying hi little man.  Bryce, being the ham he is, loved the attention and started clapping and laughing, bringing even more attention our way. Soon three tables around us were clapping along with Bryce!  The rest of the meal Bryce happily clutched the chopsticks and never threw them again.

As a parent I will admit I do not keep calm during the storm. I am the parent that worries what others think, feel like I never can keep my kid behaved, and am anxious as soon as we leave the house.

Last night reminded me that most people at one point were in our shoes. That maybe, instead of seeing an out of control rambunctious toddler, they see a sweet almost 2 year old enjoying his time out with his parents and finding everything about the experience thrilling, including chopsticks being flung and then returned by a sweet couple.

This stage of life….it’s hard.  But it also has the most rewards.  Lesson learned.  At least until the next outing….

 

When Toddler Angst Strikes

Am I the only parent with a toddler who goes crazy when a parent is out of town on business? Brian has been gone since Monday and Bryce is progressively getting worse each day. He is fussier, clingier and not sleeping well at night. Last night he started screaming in his crib and would only fall back asleep when I put him in bed with me.  The weird part is when Brian facetime’s us Bryce refuses to talk to him! He sees it is daddy and walks away.  Like he is mad that daddy is not here so is giving him a hard time.

Brian comes home late tonight so hope Bryce will be back to his normal self soon. This morning he woke up at 5:00 AM and just wouldn’t settle back down.  So I will be drinking copious amounts of coffee today and just hope to get through.  I am grateful that it is at least Friday!

Here are photos of us from earlier in the week. His toothy grin is just precious.

The Language of Parents

Here are examples of things I say to other parents and then what I actually mean. The best part is that most people understand that I am talking about the long version without me actually saying it.  Anyone relate out there?

What I say: I’m trying to potty train my kid but we are not there yet.

What I mean: My son pooped in the shower the other week and recently peed on my freshly cleaned carpet.  He thinks an actual toilet should be where his toys are stored and has completely disassembled his “practice” potty. I am fine with using diapers.  What size do they go up to again?

What I say:  I am sorry I can’t go there today, my kid might fall asleep in the car on the way back.

What I mean: If my kid falls asleep for even 5 blocks on the way back, we will get home and I will be exhausted from whatever outing we just had but he will want to run around the neighborhood, and I will turn into crazy mommy.

What I say:  I’m sorry I can’t go out tonight. It’s been a long day with the kid. He got up at 5AM

What I mean: At 5AM I was woken up in a way that is inhuman. My son was screaming for us in his crib and wanted up. I then proceeded to attempt to make breakfast while son is running circles around me and the cat is going nuts because I haven’t given her food.  Breakfast ends up taking 30 minutes of rushing around grabbing food and drinks and cleaning up the ones that spilled and I didn’t get to even drink a cup of coffee. When I head out the door for work, I will have felt as if I worked a full 8 hour day and feel relieved that I get to go to my job which, to me, seems like a break since I can use the restroom at some point with no one screaming at me. After I get home, make dinner, do something that looks like a cross between eating and waiting tables, clean the house, bath the kid, brush his teeth, put PJ’s on him, read stories and wrangle him into bed, I then start the laundry and see it is already 9PM.  I’m now so tired my eye balls are stuck looking at the wall so I technically I cannot make it to my car and safely drive.  Have fun without me.

What I say: I have decided to “free range parent” with sleep training

What I mean:  I am too exhausted at night to deal with his screaming so I do whatever  it takes to get him to sleep.  You want to sleep with mommy and daddy tonight? Fine.  Just try to keep your feet out of my face.  You need driven around the block because you decide you just don’t want to fall asleep any other way tonight? I’ll get the keys.  Rock you to sleep while you hoard all 10 of your blankets around you because you suddenly decide one blanket is just not good enough? Fine.  I am learning that as a parent getting them to sleep is more important then how it happens. Because once they are asleep for the night you finally can sleep!

What I Say: We are getting a date night this Saturday.  I’m so excited

What I mean: Besides a “to do” list and talk about the kid, my husband and I haven’t had a real conversation in weeks.  Nor have we been able to sit at the same table and eat a hot meal without getting up 10 times each.  We haven’t seen a movie in over a year and we most likely will stay out too late and have to pay the babysitter overtime. When we come home we will feel like we took a vacation since we actually got to leave the house and relax while doing it.

Toddler Life

I vaguely remember my life pre-child.  Sleeping in, drinking hot cups of coffee, eating hot food while watching a TV channel other than Disney Jr.  Heck I think I even have memories of being able to read more than two pages of a book before passing out in exhaustion! Or talking to my husband about something other than our child, bills or our ever growing to do list around the house.

Parenthood is wonderful. It is also exhausting. We have entered the tantrum stage and I swear he knows to throw one just when they are least welcome.  Middle of aisle five at the grocery store because I wouldn’t let him climb the store shelves? Of course.  Out at the park because we need to leave? A given. Before or after his bath because he hates transitions? Why not.  And trying to put a diaper on him lately is like wrangling a snake.  He hates it and won’t sit still. He won’t use a potty either so wrangling him it is. I have taken to whatever distraction necessary to change his diaper.  Want to play with mommy’s phone? No, OK, how about this Ipad? No? OK, here are a pair of scissors…..ugh of course those would peak your interest….

 

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Because wrapping paper apparently makes the best cape EVER

 

 

We have had to remove EVERY bar stool from our kitchen because he has become fixated with climbing them and then onto the kitchen counters. Which that alone is bad but then he proceeds to throw everything off the counters onto the floor, which in turn makes me a hysterical mess….it has not been a pretty sight at times in the Thomas household lately.

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He is already fascinated with how things work and wants to fix everything.

 

 

But when the going is good it is amazingly beautiful.  He loves to cuddle up on our laps now with his blankets and will just turn around randomly to give us a hug.  I melt every time he does that.  His mental capacity to figure things out is growing leaps and bounds everyday. He is talking more.  Understanding more.  He understands what we say so much now that we have started spelling out words we don’t want him to hear. The problem with that is mom is NOT a great speller, apparently….

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He has a slight blanket hoarding problem

 

He will be 22 months in a few days. Almost two years old.  I am continually grateful that he has come into my life and even though we have a lot of the these crazy days in our house currently, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  If you are in the thick of toddler life like me, remember you are not alone.  And people tell me there is this thing coming up in a few years  where the kid goes to this place for the whole day and you get the house to yourself. It is free and they are taken care of by a whole team of people. I hear it is called school…..

A Day in My Oily Life

Good morning! I thought it would be fun to invite you into my home and show you my typical oil routine. First up -Coffee!! And as I wait for my cup to brew I roll on my wrists some highest potential.

It is a blend of oils that sets my intention for the day. It combines the uplifting and inspirational qualities of Australian Blue with the power of Gathering to help bring greater unity of purpose. Jasmine is added to enhance self-confidence, while ylang ylang calms, soothes, and harmonizes.

Throughout the day it is my reminder to reach higher and think positive. I put a roller filament on the bottle so I just roll on my wrists and neck. I swear I have an extra spring in my step when I use this oil.

Theives Spray

Who else out there has a love/hate relationship with the diaper pail? Lol. To cut down on the smell (and kill germs) when changing out liners I always spray down with the thieves spray. Awesome smell and I love that is all natural and don’t have to worry if Bryces hands go all over this diaper pail later in the day when he decides he wants to throw out his own diaper.  This spray is also great for shopping carts, toilet seats, airplane trays, TV remotes….anywhere there are germs!

Mojito Blend

Hands down my favorite diffuser combo. Peppermint and Lime. Reminds me of mojitos and summer. Try it next time and see for yourself!  I love diffusing my essential oils to make the whole house smell yummy while also benefiting from the aromatherapy.

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Coming in from outside and washing our hands. I LOVE the thieves foaming hand soap. All natural, smells great and isn’t Bryce adorable? Lol. I am lucky that he likes to wash his hands. Even if it means him playing with the faucet for the next 5 minutes. The best part of this hand soap is it is all plant based ingredients and you can purchase a large refill jug that makes it cost effective and is environmentally friendly.

Kid Boo Boo

Bryce fell when he was outside so I used this great rollerball combo on him cleanse and protect the scrap he got on his knee.  This rollerball is so easy to make. Take a glass roller bottle and put 10 drops each lavender and purification or tea tree. Then Just put a little carrier oil in like grape seed to help oils spread when applied. Voila! Diy boo boo stick great for kids but I use all the time too. So convenient!

WorkOut

I have been trying to keep my New Years Resolution to move more and eat less.  I bought the Active and Fit Kit Young Living sells and LOVE both these products. The Cool Azul Sports Gel has 10% essential oils in it and the first ingredient in it is Aloe, making this product moisturizing as well as super cooling to your aching muscles and joints. And the Deep Relief oil works great as an “Icy Hot” type product.  One of my good friends just ran a half marathon and the next day she had no soreness! She swears these products helped her immensely recover from the run.

Lime

Need I say more? A great combo.  Also try adding a few drops of Lime Essential Oil into your fajita’s or Key Lime Pie recipes next time you make them.

Skin Care

My new anti-aging combo.  Frankincense essential oil has helped keep my complexion clear, reducing my age spots and overall giving me a natural “glow.” I mix it with Maracuja Oil, which I love for its lightweight moisturizing properties. Living in Florida my skin doesn’t handle well heavy moisturizers. I find this combo to be working great for me currently.

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Ahhh….Bedtime. I love to put two drops of Valor on my feet before bed. It really helps my mind “shut” down and go to sleep. Thank you for following along with my day and I would love to hear what essential oils you must have in your “oily” day.

If you have not purchased essential oils and are interested in doing so, I recommend the starter kit. It comes with 11 essential oils PLUS a diffuser of your choice. Click here to learn more and purchase!

Omi Saves the Day

Back in December my son got kicked out of daycare for biting. He is 1 years old. Someday I will laugh at this but at the time I thought the world was ending with the amount of stress it gave me.  What to do, on top of the holidays, made me a mess. And people don’t have much sympathy when they hear it is a behavior issue.  The judging I felt I got from others plus the unsolicited advice from them was too much at times.  I am not in a situation where I can just quit my job and stay home.  But I also knew daycare was not a good fit for him.  He needed more attention and less of a schedule.  More time to explore and just be a kid.  Nanny?  More money than we could afford.  So what to do?

We are very lucky that my mother-n-law offered to watch him for us. So currently my mother-n-law lives with us during the week and watches him.  And in just one month he has made so much progress.  He rarely bites anymore and has calmed down.  He actually can concentrate on the task in front of him instead of bouncing around from one thing to another.  He smiles more. He sits on my lap and gives me hugs when I get home instead of the tears I was getting before. It is like he is a different child.  And of course I love the pictures she sends me during the day of him.  Their relationship is special and you can tell he adores her.

Upon reflecting on this arrangement of course I have mom guilt that I am not there. Every mom –working or not – has mom guilt. But I realize these days of him being with his “Omi” are precious. You see, she is his only grandparent. My parents are both deceased as well as Brian’s dad. “Omi” is it.  I was so close to my “Omi” growing up and am SO grateful that he is getting to know at least one of his.

Life has a way of pushing us where we need to go whether we are ready or not. Lesson learned.