Tag Archive | "family"

Yearly photos framed

Happy 4th Birthday Everett!

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My youngest baby turns 4 today and I’ve definitely had a good cry over this fact.  We are well beyond infancy, over a year past the last time he nursed, and I can’t recall the last time we was worn in a carrier.  He still says “but I only 3″ when it comes time for bed but last night was his last chance to say it.  He’s been relying on mommy for snuggles lately to fall asleep, and while I don’t usually mind because it’s the last bit of “baby” left of him, it’s time to start moving away from that too.  We said he could have a few more days of that but when he turned 4 he would be a big boy and fall asleep in his room after cuddles and stories.  I’m hoping that magical number change helps but is he crawls in bed with me in the middle of the night for snuggles I won’t mind either.  His 4th Birthday video (embedded below this paragraph) was such a pleasure to put together- you can really see how helpful a balance bike is for learning to ride a bike quickly too so I love how that turned out.

We’ve kept up our number photos for both boys and since Everett was born in October we felt mini-pumpkins were fitting.  His numbers are smaller than Fletcher’s, who we use leaves for, because pumpkins are $4 for 7 and leaves are free!

Pumpkin birthday photos in years

This year Everett was a trooper- enduring two photo sessions. We tried one early in the morning but the shade trees left our yard too dark and the images came out terrible quality wise, though he rocked out the poses. I also took a walk with him that morning on our amazing street. As the sun rises the spanish moss looks like it is glowing in that golden hour (same at sunset) and so I took that time to capture photos of him. I wound up with my favorite image of him this year.

Everett on the street

Everett is such a kind boy. He goes to Pre-K two days a week and I love picking him up because his wonderful teacher tells me what an amzing kid I have. “Everett is so fair and kind to the other children. They all love him and yell ‘EVERETT!’ when he comes in each day.” He has two girlfriends (he says) and is loving his time at school. He still has some speech problems that we are working through, but he has finally started speaking volumes and has a great vocabulary. He still love dinosaurs and can even spot inaccuracies in cartoons or TV shows that wrongly show a dinosaur with the wrong features. He has even corrected me a few times… He is mini-Ross.

He wasn’t an easy baby, in fact, I think he scared me away from having any future babies. That just means he can be my baby forever…. I can’t imagine life without him here with us. Fletcher was meant to be a big brother and Everett is a picture perfect little brother. Their love and friendship makes us all smile, even strangers who notice how they interact.

It’s been a joy to see him grow and fulfilling to carry on our traditional yearly photos and my yearly videos. Seeing the years stack up is bittersweet- I love the product of our dedication and I dislike that I already have 4 of them.  I happened to find this perfect floating frame from Target for half-off last night since we ran out of space in our old frame.  Another depressing fact.   For anyone thinking of starting this tradition I highly recommend learning to use your DSLR on manual- I taught myself using the forums and resources on Clickin’ Moms and it was a great investment to keep and improve our family photos.

Yearly photos framed

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The Teen in 10B

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I’m constantly worried that I’m screwing my kids up for life, and not in the good way.  As a child from a dysfunctional home I pride myself in the positives that came from it- like knowing a lot about drug culture (but never trying them because I had the best “say no to drugs” commercial on 24 hours a day at home), understanding how to help a person when they’re having a grand-mal seizure (if anyone drops in front of my at Target I know not to shove a spoon in their mouth), and earning my Chandler Bing style, self-deprecating sense of humor to cope with a miserable home life.

My kids have a completely opposite existence.  They never have to worry about seeing their mom fall asleep in her food (ok, that might be a lie…) or seeing her OD and aspirate on her own vomit.  They won’t have to skip school on a big field trip day because we can’t afford the fee.  Hell, they won’t even have to walk in the rain to a bus because I’m so traumatized by the long, cold morning walks and the bullying I suffered to and from school that I’d never dream of doing anything but being the suburban mom taxi.

I’m aware of the opposite ways I could be screwing up my kids right this very second!  They have it all- the pool, the bikes, the toys, the trips to Legoland, the frozen yogurt or Starbucks dates.  I have a hard time saying no to their requests and I’m no therapist but I can see how growing up without can make a parent bend to a 5 year old’s will in the toy aisle at Target.  I dreamed up this life for my unborn kids amidst my own childhood chaos and it’s here.  Will our good fortune turn my kids into entitled little snots instead?

This past weekend I left my family for a short weekend conference called BlogU in Baltimore.  I promised them a souvenir like always when I travel and kissed them goodbye.  The trip and the conference was amazing- I met new friends, laughed until I cried, and even learned things I will be applying to this blog.  When it was time to leave I was sad to go but excited to hug my family and sleep in my own bed again.

My flight was delayed 20 minutes and when I did the math, it meant I had an extremely tight connection in Atlanta but a gate agent assured me that things would be fine.  I was landing a mere 3 gates from my departure.  It would all work out, I assumed.

We boarded the plane and the gentleman in the aisle seat offered his to me, knowing of my predicament at landing.  I thanked him for being so thoughtful and also observant.  Hopeful but nervous I read my book, one I had just downloaded on my Kindle for this weekend after the NPR interview (I only buy books after I hear about them on NPR) and mentally prepared for the dash ahead.

Then the crackle of the speaker came on and the pilot spoke.  “Ummm…. looks like we are going to be delayed 10 more minutes folks.  I’ve turned off the engines.  Once I get clearance for take-off we will taxi out.”  

The lady directly ahead of me turned her head around.  “Honey, don’t worry, we are going to stay in when we land and let you go ahead so you make your flight.  We have these three rows covered for you.  My son is over there, and my daughter is up ahead.  It’s going to be ok.”

I thanked her- how incredibly thoughtful that she arranged to have three rows ahead sit patiently to let me go by them.  I would have started up a conversation with her but frankly, my mind and body were just too exhausted from the weekend’s events and the late nights.

“Folks, we are going to be here another 5-10 minutes, air traffic control has us waiting.”

The woman ahead turned around with visible concern.  “Are you going to make your connection?”

“Maybe, but it isn’t looking good.  I might have 5 minutes when we land.  Thankfully the gate is very close so if I can hurry I might catch the plane.  And maybe they will wait if we aren’t too late. “

“We have all of the rows ahead [5 rows in coach] waiting for you to let you by.”

Hot tears sprung up.  I already knew my chances were slim, but having the support of even more rows who were willing to let me speed by was a sign that not everyone in the world is out for themselves.  Sometimes delayed planes have a way of bringing out the best in passengers.  I’ve seen it before, and here it was happening for me.  I thanked her again and this time we exchanged a few more words about my home destination of Tampa.

“So, do you have any children?” she asked.  That was of course when I lost it.  I crumpled into a pile of poorly contained tears as I choked out my “Yes, I have two boys at home.”  ”How old?”  ”5 and 3.”  ”These are my babies up here.  They’re both teens.  It happens so fast.”  ”I know.  I was really hoping to see my babies tonight but I don’t know if I will now.”

I went straight to self-pity and questioned every decision I had made that afternoon.  Through a very unfortunate mistake, I had booked the wrong set of flights to and from Baltimore.  I fixed my first flights but wound up leaving hours later than planned for my return trip.  I arrived at the airport at 3 PM for my 8:22 PM flight because I was riding with my roommate and her flight left at 5:45 PM.  This wasn’t as bad as I anticipated because we were able to watch another episode of Orange is the New Black together.  I had called in advance hoping to make stand-by for a 5:45 PM flight and I got it!  I was summoned to the gate and offered a seat on that flight to Atlanta.  Their flight was behind 30 minutes and a seat on the earlier connection was doubtful based on their stand-by list and the fact that I would have just 10 minutes to be added before the flight was scheduled to leave.  I thought “Wait here or wait in Atlanta for my later flight and spend $50, plus take a seat from someone who may need it more….?”  I chose to give up my seat.  At the time, it seemed like a better choice.  Had I taken that seat, paid $50, I would have made my connection.  I tortured myself for that decision as the minutes ticked by and we were still on the ground.

“Ummmmm…. this is the pilot speaking…. we won’t be leaving until 9:40 PM.”

Again, the nice lady turned around with even more concern and now with a hint of pity on her face.  She said nothing, but I knew her question.

“No… I won’t make it.  My flight leaves at 11:00.  Looks like I’ll be spending the night in Atlanta.”

I was mentally absent.  My brain was running on no sleep and my body was tired from dancing the night away Saturday night, thanks to the social lubrication of an open bar and Kim friendly drinks.  I had been texting updates to my husband.  He, the eternal optimist, was checking Flight Status to see if maybe my connection would be delayed, and it was by 10 minutes, but that wasn’t even close to what I needed.  Soon, we were in the clouds for a very uneasy and turbulent flight.  I closed my comfortable hoodie over my eyes and tried to sleep but it was useless.

When the cabin lights turned on at landing the lady and her two teens all turned around.  Their faces were all breaking my heart because they knew as well as I did that I would be stuck there all night, unable to sleep in my own bed and see my husband and kids.  My thoughts were consumed with the blame I was placing on everyone else.  Why didn’t that gate attendant tell me that our plane was the same one coming back from Atlanta?  That piece of information would have been helpful because it would have made known the fact that my own flight would definitely be delayed.  It was all her fault, she is the reason I’m going to be away from my babies one more night.  I had hateful thoughts that took the blame from my own decision (how could I have known the outcome then?  I couldn’t have) and put them onto someone else.  It made me feel better, as it always does.  I was so consumed by my self-pity, exhaustion, and anger that I hardly spoke to those kind people who had done so much to help me and who were clearly, very genuinely concerned about what happened to me.

As we all stood up and gathered our things to de-plane the teenager in 10B whose mother had been so kind to me, held out a Starbucks card across the row between us.

“Here, take this and grab something to eat and some coffee.”

It took me a minute to register what she was doing.  I responded back. “Thank you, that’s so sweet.  I’ll be ok.  I actually have a gold star reward for a free coffee waiting for me on my own card.”  ”No really,” she replied back, “I got a million of these for my graduation.  You should use it since you will be stuck here.”  I again thanked her and assured her I would be fine.  We all shuffled off the plane and I sat in a chair, crying my eyes out while figuring out what I should do next.  The airline offered me a voucher for a hotel and a flight the next day.

That morning I woke up feeling much better after 7 hours of rest and hopeful that I would be seeing my babies soon.  Then I went back over the previous day’s events and the teenager in 10B.  I cried once again, but that time out of happiness.  I had the privilege of meeting three people who left a lifetime imprint on me.  I regret not asking the mother her secret to raising empathetic children.  I cried because I wasn’t sure if one day my own children would do the same, would have the heart to make the same gesture of kindness to someone who clearly needed it.  It wasn’t the card I needed- I would have never gone hungry- it was the act.  Their concern made me feel less alone; I felt like they laid a security blanket on top of me in that airplane.  I don’t know if I could even register how much it meant to me until the following day when my head was cleared of the negativity and regret.  That family gave me hope that even a “normal” family can result in children who are good-hearted, even if they had never experienced the hardships that I’ve always felt shaped me into the person I am today.  Whatever that family was doing, it was right.  I’ll never know their secret and they’ll never know how much their gestures meant to me.   One day, when my boys are adventuring with us, I can only hope they turn out just like the teen in 10B.

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…and a Kim update too! Family, Fitness, Home, and BlogU

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No, I’m not making a pregnancy announcement like Lara did yesterday.  However, I realized I haven’t given a good “random stuff” update in a while about my family and our happenings.

 

FletcherupdateThe biggest update is that my oldest son is just about to graduate from Pre-K this month and will start Kindergarten at a charter school in the Fall.  This is the same kid that was testing diapers when I started Dirty Diaper Laundry 5 years ago.  Fletcher is at the age where he is really fun to be around, not because he is a baby and cute to look at, but because he says interesting things and can hold a conversation with you.  He has learned to read with ease, something I’m thankful for, and will even read a book to his brother at night.  I’m looking forward to this summer when his brother will be at school and he is home so that we have time for just us.  He is a competent bike rider and we can go about 3 miles total together on our rides.  He has even started jogging with me… more on that later.

 

bikeev copyEverett is also growing up quickly, too quickly, though to me his is still my baby.  He still wakes at night and crawls into bed with me and sleeps right in the crook of my arm which never ceases to fill my heart with joy.  Co-sleeping is the last bit of babyhood I have left so until he is done, I am content having him join for middle of the night cuddles.  Once that is gone, I fear all the baby from him will be gone and I’ll be looking at a real pre-schooler.  Last month he started at his brother’s “school” for 2 days a week, giving me a much needed break to either work or run errands without any children.   We have no family here so getting any breaks is few and far between and it definitely takes a toll on my sanity.  Even though Everett is very attached he took to school right away with no tears, much to my surprise.  He is also riding a bike with no training wheels (thank you balance bike for the early training) and we are stopped at least once a week by a passing car on our street to tell us how amazing it is to see such a young “baby” riding a real bike.  I think it is pretty amazing too, and together we take short rides  or he rides just on our cul-de-sac.

And now to type out something for the sake of putting it in the public sphere to hold myself accountable and feel an obligation to keep up with it.  I’ve actually started to exercise!  I was inspired by another blogger, The Feminist Breeder, who started her own group for Lazyass Runners, and I downloaded the Couch to 5k app.  I even bought new sneakers, the first pair I’ve purchased in about 8 years.  I bought an armband to hold my iPhone so I can listen to music and the app, and I’ve asked for a FitBit for Mother’s Day.  I was asking my husband for the adult Aden+Anais daydream blanket for Mother’s Day but that would probably just keep me on the couch even more than I already am, and since I’m trying to get off it that is probably a bad gift idea!  I’m just as surprised as anyone else about this development.  I’ve been extremely lucky in the metabolism department for the bulk of my life until about last year.  Once the breastfeeding and constant bouncing stopped, the weight creeped back up.  I’m a short gal so even a few pounds extra can mean my stomach is farther out than the DD’s that I kept after both pregnancies (seriously,where the HELL did those come from?!  I just bought two new bras and sure enough, that is my real size).

mothersdaygifts

So when it comes to fitness and being healthy I have no clue how to start.  I’ve never counted calories, I did count carbs during both pregnancies thanks to being a gestational diabetic, but I haven’t the first clue about what to eat and when.  I can’t give up coffee but I have given up the frappucinos, for now.  Realistically, I will be doing the three days a week of the Couch to 5k, and the rest will be bike rides or walks in between when possible.  Besides losing a bit of extra weight I’m looking forward to being less sedentary.  Blogging doesn’t exactly equate to a vigorous work day!  I may post some updates on my Instagram with the #couchto5k and #lazyassbloggers tag but I don’t have plans to incorporate this journey into regular blog updates.

couchfinalchoice

Our home updates have slowed down considerably.  We are still anxiously waiting for my Great Aunt’s 60′s era sectional to come back from the upholsterers (It has been there since February!).  We are having it recovered in a rich, deep teal that my husband and I both fell in love with.  I should definitely blog about that journey, reupholstery is not for the faint of heart, especially when having someone else do it! (Maybe I need to re-think getting that A+A blanket, doesn’t it match the couch?!)  In order to pay for this I have picked up quite a few videography gigs, filming and editing videos for companies and brands.  It is something I really enjoy doing and it combines my love of cloth diapers and reusable products with the skills I’ve picked up these 5 years.  I will be posting some updated interior shots but I want my couch first!  If you missed the year of DIY and home improvements you can catch up on those older posts.  Our entire home has been re-painted and remodeled, mostly by my husband and I, and now we are finally getting to just enjoy the home!  This July will mark 2 years living here in this home, and in Florida.

blogu14photoOther than the blogging and the video editing, much of my time has been spent helping the cloth diaper charity, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.  It is an amazing thing to be apart of and I’m so proud of the work we are doing.  I’m also getting ready to speak at ABC Kids Spring  (a baby industry only conference) on a panel with bloggers way out of my league (I can admit that!) on social media in 2 weeks.  Jill from Baby Rabies, Charlie Chapen from How to be a Dad, and Jamie Grayson (we are not related, that was a real rumor!) who is THEBabyGuyNYC will be on the panel.  In June I’m off to BlogU, a blogging conference in Baltimore, MD.  I chose this particular blogging conference because of the lack of extras.  As fun and helpful as the BlogHer conferences have been in years past, I really wanted to try a smaller conference with less outside parties and events.  Not only is the cost significantly lower, but I’m looking forward to meeting others in that intimate setting.  I’ve been blogging for 5 years and there is still so much to learn!  If you stop teaching yourself and attending conferences you can be left in the dust.  New social media platforms pop-up (Pinterest and Instagram were not around when I started in 2009!) and algorithms change.  Blogging styles have changed- when I began having photos were not required, but now posts are so much more visual that not adding a photo is unheard of!  As much as I’d like to tune out the noise and just be one with my content, the world of self promotion and social media cannot be ignored.  There will also be sessions about the business side of blogging and many other topics I am happy to learn more about.  Plus, I get to hang with my roommate Amanda from The Eco-Friendly Family so that is always a bonus for work trips!

The summer will have an influence on my work schedule.  Things will slow as I spend time at the pool with the boys and with my new desire and commitment to exercise.  There are plenty of projects in the works though, so don’t count me out yet!  Can you believe my boy is going to school in the Fall?!

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When all else fails, blog about cats! Meet our adopted kitties, Marilyn and Monroe.

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As I juggle a lot of different projects outside of the blog itself I find it harder to devote the mental energy and time to get a good post up for you guys!  So… let’s talk about cats, man.

About 3 weeks ago we welcomed two cats to our family.  Inspired by an episode of Hoarders where there were 12 cats trapped in boxes, pacing back and forth and looking neglected and miserable, I immediately drove to one of the pet stores that has a cat adoption center.  My local store works with a charity that fosters cats, and they go to the stores during the day and on weekends in hopes of finding a forever home.

I’ve wanted to get a pet for the boys and for us but the timing was never right with various travel plans, but with no family trips planned at all in the near future it felt like a good time.  At the adoption center the cats were in their cages.  Everett was sleeping on my shoulder and Fletcher was getting to know the animals.

Fletcher and kitty

One kitty meowed at him.  That was the one.

There was a catch though… that cat could only be adopted in conjunction with her brother.  Uh-oh.   My son was head over heels in love with her, and she had a sweet face.  The brother on the other hand, was curled up in the corner and never came to greet us.  My “savior” complex kicked in and I knew I wanted to give both kitties a home.  We didn’t have any pets at all so adding two at once would be easier for us to do than others.  I wanted the kitties to stay together and wanted Fletcher to get the cat he loved.

We put in our application (I wrote it all out with 25 pounds sleeping in one arm) and we waited.  Fletcher cried each day for his cats and didn’t understand that it could take time.  Finally, we got the call 4 days later to bring out cats home!

kidsandmonroe

The cats have adjusted really well!  They went from their foster home and their daily cage time to a large, open home with two kids dying to play with them.  They still aren’t comfortable with the more hands on cuddling the children want to do, but hopefully they will be more willing as they get older.  They’re 9 months old so they have a little bit of playful kitten left.

Marilyn kitty

Marilyn (the shelter named them) is our girl cat, she has a distinctive mark next to her nose.

Monroe kitty

Monroe is our boy cat, he has a gorgeous angular face with shorter hair just on the face.

Are you wondering how I can tie this all in to cloth diapering?  Well, both cats are obsessed with my light box where I do my filming and product photography.  Every time I begin working they follow so close behind I can’t even shut the door before they squeeze into the room, then I can’t get them out of my box!  They leave their hair behind so I’m constantly lint rolling it.  I was taking photos yesterday and guess who just had to squeeze in?  This pretty much sums up our new life with cats.  They get into everything, drive us batty with their antics, but they make us smile and having a house with pets makes it feel more like a home.

marlilyndiapers
Pssst… I’ve turned into the “cat lady” on Instagram, so if you love cute kitty pictures and videos and want to follow me I’m Kim_Rosas! I use the #newkitties hashtag for the cat pics!

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A look at “Life After Diapers”

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It has been about 8 months since Everett potty trained.  This time in my life can now be referred to as “AD.”  I suppose the previous 5 years were “DD” and pre-kids my life was “BD.”

Life “BD” is nothing like “DD.”  Even though there aren’t diapers to wash, there is still plenty of other laundry that needs doing, including a set or two or sheets that tend to get wet.  In fact, since transitioning to “AD” I’m even more behind on laundry than ever!  At least when I had diapers to wash it kept my other laundry moving.  Anything lingering in the dryer absolutely had to get moved to a basket (for eventual folding) in order to dry the diapers (gasp- I used a dryer all these years!).   “BD” I washed laundry infrequently but back then it was just the two of us, my husband and I.

Now, I have piles of dirty laundry and piles of clean laundry.  By the time the clean laundry gets folded the dirty pile is ready for a washing.  That, and I’m in my last clean pair of underwear.  My boys have the largest stockpile of underwear and shorts- I have no idea why Everett has about 20 pair.  This just means we can go a long time without washing!  The motivation to launder clothes is now only to not be smelly.  I’ve never had the desire to have everything clean at once, and if I did, those days are simply impossible now.  With a family of four, in one evening you practically have a load of laundry when everyone has undressed!!!

Fletcher, my oldest, is in VPK 5 days a week from 8:30-11:45.  Everett is waiting for a spot at the same school.  In the Fall I innocently assumed he would have a spot there and booked myself up with new work opportunities outside of the blog, only to find we would have many months to wait.  We still wait.  He is able to entertain himself fairly well but certain tasks like filming with live sound (no voiceover, so the house has to be silent) are not possible.  This work must be done on the weekends when my husband can take them out to play.  We are managing and I spend many nights up until after midnight working on the computer doing my editing.  Now that “AD” also means the children very rarely nap, this has cut out even more of the time I used to have for working.

Even though Everett is out of diapers he is still dependent on me around bathroom time.  Homeboy does not understand that he is fully able to potty without alerting me, like a fire alarm, and with equal urgency in his voice.  ”Mom I go pee.  And POOP!  Hurry, hurry!”  Then he usually gets onto the potty himself and I am forced to watch until he is done.  Self-wiping badge has not been achieved by either son.  That will be a glorious day… or a terrible one where I spend nights scrubbing skid marks.  Only time will tell.

One of the milestones of parenthood for me was self-buckling.  When Fletcher could successfully buckle his own carseat (and do so correctly) I wanted to throw him a parade, in the style of that ridiculous pull-up commercial.   At the time our family was living in a colder climate, and I had a baby to also buckle.  Having him self-buckle was like hitting the lottery!  It saved so much time for me when getting to and from places.  It was still nothing like the “BD” era when just getting in the car myself was the routine, but still enough to make outings less stressful.

Everett is getting closer to self-buckling, and can do the chest buckle.  Having an older child means that my big boy can UN-buckle the littlest.  Rather than hearing one child scream to be let out when we get home as I unload groceries, my oldest will gently unbuckle him from his restraints and everyone is happy.  This little things are not to be overlooked, they make life much easier.

On the worst days when I’m too tired to move, or sick, or both, the worst part of parenting is by far the food one.  If I could not feed my kids real food I would have many more children.  The thought of having to go through the solid foods transition for another baby is great birth control.  I hate the mess, I hate the time it takes them to eat, and I hate the wasted food that often goes along with it.  I still dislike feeding the bigger kids even though it is much easier than a 1 year old.  It is a constant back and forth of “I’m hungry, I want a snack” so I find one and then “I don’t like that.”    Breastfeeding, in comparison, was the most convenient way to feed.  I could lay there, asleep, and still be feeding.

With older kids having a snack cabinet that is accessible has alleviated some of the struggles.  Fletcher can get to fruits on the counter himself, can get grapes from the fridge, can grab some crackers or granola, and can even get his own water.  Everett is also learning these tricks and loves getting his own water.  I don’t mind when water is spilled as much as milk or juice so they can have at it.  We are past the sippy cup and straw cup days, another huge perk of babies growing up.

My next milestone is hopefully the one where the kids have more responsibility around the house.  Legos… legos everywhere.  And matchbox cars.  Dinosaurs on my tables, papers and crayons on my other table.  Shoes… where did all of these shoes come from?  They are at every entrance and then in random rooms.  The toys and clutter never end despite cleaning out so many toys last month.  And even if I removed every single toy they could still take my couch cushions and every pillow in the house and make a giant fort.  At least incentives work, and we can get the toys cleaned up before going outside to play with a friend.

legocars

Since the life from “DD” to “AD” has been a gradual transition I take for granted some of the smaller freedoms that I missed when I was in the thick of diapering and breastfeeding.  I can just say “I’m going to take a shower” and take one.  I can say “go color in your room” and have a quiet second (notice I said second, not hour) to gather my thoughts.  My kids are still kids, and sometimes even mischievous ones (Everett came in 2 days ago with chocolate all over his face, I assumed he ate a candy from the counter bowl by using a step stool, but in reality he ate the top off of the chocolate donut we saved for Daddy.  He was very sorry…) so life is not boring in the least.

It is easier in many ways, and harder in others.  Diapering, compared to behavior problems at school (think bullying) is an easy one.  Kissing boo-boos and making them all better is easier than mending a little boy’s feelings.  And having two boys?  Well, now they can both talk and sometimes they say pretty mean things to each other.  Little people, with their own minds and hearts, make parenting more of a mental challenge.  I’m still clinging to Everett as my last baby.  He still gets bed privileges and sleeps with me part of the night because that is his happy spot and it is mine too.  Even Fletcher enjoys sleeping with me for a nap every so often.  I lucked out because my boys are both cuddlers, and will still sit with me on the couch and watch a movie while we cuddle in one big lump.

I occasionally miss the babywearing, folding those tiny little diapers, and the sweet togetherness of breastfeeding.  I’m glad to have many of those moments captured on photo or in videos because they go by so fast.  It won’t be long before every “baby” part of my last one is gone.  I’ll have one child in Kindergarten next year and another in Pre-K.  Early morning feedings are being replaced by early morning soccer practice and school start times.

To those reading with little ones in arms right now, there is so much to look forward to “after diapers” but also so much to cherish, even changing the diapers themselves while you wiggle the baby’s toes and blow on their tummies.  These days I look forward to our family movie nights on the couch and riding our bikes outside.  It is a different life than 1 year ago and we are all figuring it out as we go along.

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Rosas Family Christmas 2013- The Video

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Since 2010 I have made a video of our Christmas mornings as a family.  If you read the blog regularly you know that I take on the role of “historian” for our family, doing most of the photography and video.  Since most people don’t go back to watch the long footage of their videos I make sure to compile the best moments into one shorter video for our family and friends.

This year I tried something new- I set up the camera on a tripod and used my remote to take photos, hoping I would actually “be in the picture.”  Instead, my camera kept resetting itself so I only got a few photos from that morning.  And my idea to leave the video camera on another table and using the remote to take footage so that I could also be “in the video” was unsuccessful so I ended up holding it to capture video.

For everyone who may be wondering, I used Final Cut Pro X to put together this video, however in years past I’ve used regular ol’ iMovie with great success. And if you have Windows, they have a free editing program called Windows Movie Maker. You don’t have to be a professional to make a movie. I have an iMovie tutorial and some tips on how to make a kick-butt home movie if you’d like to try making one with your family videos. Even though this tutorial is geared towards making a yearly slideshow it can also help with creating a Christmas video. And making a movie from a day of footage is easier than tackling one year’s worth.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our home and of our family. I’ve been fortunate enough to share moments like these for many years on this blog and hope that by doing so, inspire a few people to try their hand at learning the basics of video editing in order to have a few special videos to cherish down the line.

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The Christmas card that almost wasn’t- featuring my son the axe murderer

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I tend to go to extremes when doing certain things.  Christmas is one of those things!  I go way overboard for the Elf on the Shelf, I deck the halls as much as I can afford to, and I make sure my Christmas Card is awesome even though our list is rather short.

When thinking of ideas I decided the ’57 Chevy Bel Air that was in our possession, temporarily, would be perfect!  My head was swimming with amazing ideas, like putting the tree in the ginormous trunk and having the family in vintage attire next to the car.  Or posing next to the car with tons of shopping bags, wearing one of the vintage hats I found at an estate sale.  Or one shot IN the car with the kids’ heads sticking out of the amazing window.  All of the ideas involved trying to create a “period” photo from the 50′s and using the car.  Then… poof.  Car was already being shipped out to my Father-in-Law by my husband while I was attending ABC Kids Expo 2 months ago.

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I still had my heart set on something with vintage flair and since I would see the car again, I was going to try for a second time.  I found the perfect outfits from a thrift shop to wear and had Instagram vote on which to wear.  Then, when we were in NC for Thanksgiving, the car was in the shop.  We had hours to come up with a new plan- the next few days were all rainy and by the time it cleared up we would be back in Florida.  I was loving the cold weather opportunity to take photos and didn’t want to take them in Florida.

The next idea was to head out to a tree farm, pretend to cut a tree (since we didn’t actually need a tree!) and use them as a background.  I was going to buy a wreath there in order to not feel guilty.  Closest farm was 45 minutes from our location and we only had maaaaybe 2 hours of light left for photos.  Had we left earlier we would have been OK but someone (I won’t name names) didn’t get home when he said he would.

Hormonal me (it was THAT time) started breaking down in tears.  All of my plans were ruined.  I take these things very seriously.  My Father-in-Law promised to drive around to look for a spot to take photos but I was not thrilled.  It wasn’t the theme I wanted, we would look so silly wearing our “period” style outfits in a random place.   I was definitely, definitely hormonal and irrational.

We packed into the car and first went to a park.  It wasn’t suitable and there were no evergreens that made for a nice backdrop.  So… we made due because there was NO time.

Next hurdle?  The kid.  The 5 year old kid to be exact.  He had cried the entire 5 minute drive, and insisted he would not be participating.  Yeah right.  ”Taking pictures is SO BORING!  I don’t want to take pictures.  I want to go to Chuck E Cheese.”  I’m not above bribery when it comes to photo taking.  I know it sucks when you are a kid to be dressed and asked to sit still or not look goofy.  The bribe?  A donut.  He favorite thing in the world.  Still, he was not happy… so… we let him hold the ax we brought in case we could find a place to pretend to cut trees because it was the only thing that stopped his crying.

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I set the camera manually and made sure the aperture was wide open (This is why learning to use a manual DSLR is so, so handy!)  My Father-in-Law, a former photographer in his own right, took our photos.  The thing is… my son wouldn’t put the ax down… so we have dozens of family photos with my son the ax murderer in them.  Eventually we got a few without.  I was satisfied with the outcome, but still sad that they were just normal family photos.

On the way to eat donuts my husband redeemed himself.  ”What if we go downtown and do a few street photography shots?”  OK!  We went to downtown Pineville, found an empty street, and took about 10 photos of the family walking together up the sidewalk.  There were no modern cars parked so it has the illusion that it would have been from any time.  I still wish we had the Bel Air parked on the street but it was not available.

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With the street photos and the family shots in the park we had a card.

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It wasn’t until Facebook got involved that the card got more interesting.  After the family session on the park I took some photos of the boys, then a few of my son posing with the ax for giggles.  I posted the ax shot and friends were commenting on it.  One friend, Marisa, said “Have a Merry AxMas!”  Another friend, Maria from Change-Diapers, said “You received my list, right Santa?”  These were too good not to steal for my card!  I added this photo to the back right before ordering and used both of their ideas.  They get total credit, they’re both genius ideas.

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This is the first year we had someone else to take photos for us.  Our last 3 Christmas Cards were all taken with a tripod and a remote.  If you’d like to look back at other cards, here are the 2012 and 2011 versions.  We used Minted.com for our cards this year and I’m annoyed that they include their logo on the back but oh well.  They turned out very nice.

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Happy 3rd Birthday Everett!

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The youngest member of our family, Everett, is the big 3 today! I can’t believe it either. He graduated from diapers to undies and recently weaned after he decided a T-Rex was cooler than boobs. everett1-3yearsforweb He has a little personality all his own. Unlike his older brother, Everett is more reserved and doesn’t open up to strangers quickly. He is slowly starting to talk more and is finally putting together pretty complex sentences. Since he has an older brother he has learned the hilarity of a good fart joke far sooner than Fletcher ever did. Dinner conversations too often involve a symphony of mouth “farts” and laughter. As is tradition in this family, and on this blog, it is time to share Everett’s 3rd Birthday video and Pumpkin Photo. Just like this blog has been a learning experience, video editing has been a long time hobby that I enjoy learning more about. Each year I use what I’ve learned through working on videos for the blog and apply those skills to make memorable keepsakes for our family. I love inspiring others to consider making their own videos and have a tutorial on how to use iMovie that was posted a few years ago. All of the birthday videos are in a YouTube Playlist as well, you can catch up if you’d like to.

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To Grandmother’s House We Go!

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Today we are off to Oma’s house in North Carolina for a quick visit.  It’s been about six months since our last trip so we are all excited to see family and friends for a few days.  That also means I’ll be away from my computer and taking a blog break until next week.

I’m sure you all understand!  I didn’t line up any guest posts or work on posts to fill the void since I’ve actually been doing work for another company on a video for a new product (shhh I can’t say!) and adding extra blogging wasn’t happening!  Oh, and you know when you leave town and hate the thought of coming home to a dirty house so you spend a whole day cleaning just to know that when you walk in the door a few days later you get to say “ahhh….. home.” and not “crap my house is so dirty, tomorrow I have to go right back to cleaning.”  That is my job today!

Filming takes over my house...

Filming takes over my house…

The next few months are a string of trips, holidays, birthdays, and large scale projects.  North Carolina, husband’s birthday, big website development for Giving Diapers, Giving Hope, Sanibel Island, Vegas, Everett’s Birthday, Thanksgiving, Fletcher’s Birthday, Christmas, New Years, My Birthday.  I’m pretty sure we should have had our kids in the spring because this is just nuts!

I’m been doing a piss poor job of balancing work and home life.  When it comes down to it, I often neglect my house and put my time into working and playing with the kids.  My work hours have been drastically reduced now that Everett no longer naps.  I’m hoping when a spot opens at his brother’s school he will make a smooth transition to 2-3 short days a week so that I can get more work done and spend less of my free evenings on the computer instead of relaxing or spending time with my husband.

I’ll still have a video and review for you next Monday, so check back then.  If you are bored you can always look back at old posts.  My bar up top gives you topics to browse and my New to Cloth Diapers page links up helpful articles to all of you who are just getting started on your cloth diapering journey.  I’ll be snapping photos on my trip so if you aren’t already you can follow me on Instagram too (Kim_Rosas).

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Technology Keeps Our Family Together

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For all the times I curse the invention of the smart phone and the 24/7 connectedness that threatens to swallow my life, I’m also just as thankful that it exists.

Both of my children were born in a state that was a solid 12 hour drive from our closest relatives.  In the early days we stayed connected by taping videos on our phones and uploading them to YouTube- then emailing a link.  This was how we shared our son’s first smiles, laughs, and steps.  Soon enough, FaceTime entered out lives and we were able to connect with family like never before.

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Facetime from the laptop while they sang Happy Birthday- 12 hours away

What once was a one-sided relationship became a dynamic interaction between my children and their grandparents.   Before FaceTime, my kids hardly knew their grandparents and saw them infrequently due to the distance between us.  Suddenly they could speak to them, and the grandparents got front row seats to their biggest moments.  Fletcher had his Aunt, Oma, and Pawpaw watch him blow out his birthday candles when he was 2.

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Watching the boys open Christmas presents

We opened Christmas gifts while Oma and Pawpaw looked on.  They’ve watched the boys ride bikes in the street, even saw Fletcher ride his two-wheel bike the very day he learned how.   When Everett took his first steps I FaceTime rights after to show them.  One time, when I was very ill and spent the day trapped in the bathroom, Everett called Oma from the iPad and she was able to interact with him while I couldn’t.  It was a little peace of mind that she could keep an “eye” on him and entertain him since I hadn’t been able to much at all that day.

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Tea Time with Oma

Today I brought my phone to Fletcher’s school and invited Oma to the Grandparent’s Tea so that he wouldn’t feel left out when none of his grandparents could come.  Of course, I’m sure his Oma was just as thrilled to be able to attend.  She went as far as making her own cup of tea to enjoy while they chatted.  The school said it was a first for them (I did ask permission yesterday and tested the signal to make sure it worked) and the other grandparents were looking at me strangely- but who cares?  It made two people very happy.

There are days that I wish all of our devices would disappear.  I know I am distracted by them, my kids use them more often than I want to admit, and at nights there are days when my husband and I are each on our phones vegging out instead of talking to one another.  Then I remind myself that before these were invented we did the same, just less comfortably.  We are the generation raised on computers.  I’m older than the Internet, sure, but I came of age at the same time it did.  I was making websites in high school and spent late nights with the “uh-oh” sounds firing off while using ICQ.

My kids say “lets call Oma!” and they really mean “Facetime.”  They often get confused when on the phone and try to show people things, assuming every call is a video chat.  This is their normal.

Life is lonely more than it isn’t when you live so far from all of your family.  I would rather be back in NC where the rest of my technology challenged family members could spend time with my boys and I.  At least some of our family will use the “internet machine.”  For the rest, I send them all a DVD of each boy, each year with their birthday videos to catch them up on all of their milestones and big adventures.  Soon, I’ll be making a 3rd and 5th year video (!!!) to ship out.

So thanks, really really smart people (Steve Jobs and co.) for creating technology that can make a few hundred miles disappear for 30 minutes a week.  Life wouldn’t be the same without it.

 

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