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N’s Picture Project

On Tuesday, I shared A Letter to My Son on His 2nd Birthday. These annual letters have become an important tradition to me. Another tradition we started from the week N was born included taking his photo on a different piece of fabric each week (it turned into each month when he turned 1). I hang them up every year at N’s birthday party. Our guests love looking at how he’s changed over the year.

Here are the photos from the last year (scroll down to see photos from last year).

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A Letter to My 2 Year Old on His Birthday

N turned two on October 15. For those of you saying, “Two already?!?” Yes, yes, he’s two already. Earlier this year, I shared A Letter to My 1 Year Old on His Birthday. This is a tradition I started in the journal I kept during my pregnancy with N and I plan to write N a letter on his birthday each year. I hope you enjoy this year’s letter to my little monkey!

Monkey,

Another year has flown by! And you are turning two today!

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DIY Costumes: “Despicable Me” Style

You probably remember reading in one of my first posts that fall is my favorite time of year. There are so many wonderful things about this season including Halloween. I have a special love for creatively dressing up and it has become even more fun now that we are parents. For baby A’s first Halloween we dressed up as a group of mummies. For his second Halloween we were a Wizard of Oz family and he was our cute lion. Continue reading

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Three Relationship Changes I Didn’t Fully Understand…Until I Experienced Them

During our guest blog series, Jessi shared some candid thoughts in The Someday Scenario about preparing for a future life with children. It helped me revisit that same place in my journey before Daddy D and I decided to conceive. We all know that having a baby means life changes in every way possible. Over the years, I’ve heard the phrase, “you can’t fully understand until you experience it.” It used to be hard for me to accept this as an answer to, well, anything! I believe I’m competent and empathetic, so I sometimes took offense when others didn’t think I could comprehend an experience without living through it. I’ve learned that there is something to participating in life altering situations that helps me understand more than through explanation. It’s the first hand experience and emotions that affect everyone differently and teach us. It has nothing to do with a person’s competency or ability to relate and I have become a believer in this saying. I catch myself thinking or saying it more often than I’d like to admit these days. Continue reading

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Baked Blueberry Almond Oatmeal

One of the ways I make life easier on our family during the week is by sometimes making a couple meals on the weekend that we can grab and eat during the week. Breakfast can get awfully boring at our house as we look for food to grab. To add a little variety, this tends to be a meal I focus on during my weekend cook offs.

One of my favorite go to breakfasts these days is baked oatmeal. Continue reading

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Love Him As He Is Today

When N was about 14 months, he was having horrible tantrums. As a first time mom I was unsure if these were normal in quantity and/or scale and nothing we seemed to be trying at home was working. One of the first places I went for advice was to Ms. E, the owner/teacher at N’s daycare/preschool. In addition to our own moms, she has become a great resource for us. She has provided amazing care to dozens of children and N spends 30-40 hours a week in her program so she knows him pretty darn well. Anyway, I went to her, incredibly frustrated, looking for any suggestions she had to minimize or get rid of these tantrums. During our conversation she mentioned something that stuck out to me. She said, “You have to love him for exactly who he is today.” She wasn’t suggesting we support these tantrums or indulge them, but just that there was a bigger picture to our current situation. Continue reading

And the Survey Says: Jelly Bean Journals 2014 Reader Survey Results

We are wrapping up our first reader survey this week and we are incredibly excited to share the results with you! (If you didn’t get a chance you share your input, you still have time and we would love to hear from you!) From “sense of community” to “I enjoy your perspective,” our hearts melted as we read through your responses for reasons you indulge in our blog each week. Our original intentions for Jelly Bean Journals were reflected in your answers and we feel blessed to have such a strong and supportive reader community!

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A Very Hungry Caterpillar First Birthday

My first and only, Baby A, turned two a little over two months ago. After his second birthday I went back through old photos to reminisce over the past 365 days of our time together. When I came across his first birthday photos, I had a wonderful time remembering his party. We had a blast planning it and I was reminded of the feelings and emotions of preparing for the huge (in my mind) celebration of navigating our first year as first time parents. Continue reading

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Behrs Deck Over Swing Set Update

I have big plans for this little swing set! By next summer, there will be a pirate ship in our very own yard. Picture this: a red and white striped cover (similar to this but with stripes instead of polka dots), a pirate flag like this, a steering wheel like this, some canons (can you believe I can’t find any decent photos or tutorials for this? I do have ideas in my head that includes PVC pipe), a telescope like this, and some battery operated lights twisted around the boards for night time play (this is not a requirement for a pirate ship but I think it will be stinking cute).

When we started our little swing set project it looked like this:

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5 Reasons a Family Friendly Business is Important to This Mom

A while back in Happy, Healthy & Loved. Stop the Mommy Wars Part III, I mentioned that I’m taking a stronger interest in family friendly workplaces. Among other things, I’m trying to learn what family friendly businesses look like, what employees value most about them, what employees still feel they need, and how these steps actually positively affect a business’ bottom line. Two years ago, this may not have even been a topic on my radar.

Luckily, I have a fairly positive firsthand experience on what a family friendly business looks like. The company I work for offers many of the benefits I anticipate will appear on my “How to be a Family Friendly Business” list down the road. But, what I didn’t realize is how important these things would become to me, basically overnight. And now that I have, I feel they should be offered to all parents out there. Let’s not forget, we are raising a generation of people that will eventually infiltrate our businesses, become influencers and decision makers, and lead our companies. So, we should want to be the primary source that raises them, as well as set a strong tone and example for them. While I still have lots of reading, researching, and interviewing to do, what I do feel I can confidently talk about today is this: 5 Reasons a Family Friendly Business is Important to This Mom. I think this applies to a dad, too, but my perspective is that of a mom’s, so that’s what you’re going to get today.

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