The Dog Days of Summer

by Lacey Appolito

Being a parent is a rollercoaster. Every day is different, though it can feel like ground hog day, and some days are better than others. This summer has been particularly challenging for me as a parent (and really as a functional adult, too).

For those of you who don’t know, I am a work from home mom. I own and operate an e-commerce business out of my home, but I also wear the hat of stay at home mom. My three kids, who are currently 5, 3, and 2 years old, attend a mother’s day out program for 20 hours per week during the school year, and I really do have a pretty sweet gig when school is in session.

BUT school ended May 18th, and summertime has been a little rocky to say the least. Caring for three children under the age of six is a full-time job. Every minute brings new demands for snacks, more milk, potty help, diaper changes, attention, redirecting, and SO. MUCH. REFEREEING.

On top of the daily grind, I am trying to run a business. When my kids are home for the summer, it is difficult to work on growing or improving Little World Organics. I do what I can to get by and then it is back to my kiddos, because they need me almost all of the time.

Now here is where things get really interesting… I am currently 34 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. I am tired. I am uncomfortable. And most days the temperature is over 100 degrees, making our much needed outside time pretty freaking miserable.

So what is a super pregnant, stay at home/work from home mama to do?

Do better. I have to do better.

Better for my kids. Better for my business. Better for myself.

My little tribe and I have exactly one month until school resumes for the fall semester 🙌, and six weeks until our family grows by one, which will inevitably change our family dynamic forever.

During the dog days of summer, when all I really want to do is curl up with some Netflix in a very cold, dark room, I vow to:

  • practice patience
  • find time to work on my business while the kids are sleeping
  • be present when they are awake
  • exude love
  • minimize exasperation
  • play more

We’ve had a rough couple of days around here, and it is time to turn it around. Despite the enormous amount of energy it takes to pack up three little ones and take them to the neighborhood pool alone, I am going to do it. They need it. I need it. It’s time to breathe some fresh air into our summer routine. I am ready for a change.

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Snack time at the pool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking the Routine – Summer Ideas for Your Little Explorers

By Kim Patterson

Through the seemingly endless winter months parents of small children envision all the fun they’ll have with their kids once summer rolls around. No longer confined by four walls, the kids will be free to frolic and enjoy all that warm weather has to offer. That’s the dream anyways. Many parents of little ones find that once summer is upon them they can’t seem to break out of their regular routines. If you’re eagerly anticipating outdoor escapades with your littles, but haven’t a clue where to start, here are some ideas for summer fun and exploration.

Babies

Babies love to touch, feel and taste. While you might think that the tasting part of their exploration excludes babies from arts and crafts, there is still an opportunity for infants to have their Picasso moment. There are a number of edible finger paints on the market made especially for creative babies. They are colored with fruits and vegetables and are completely safe (probably even tasty). There are even several online edible finger paint recipes for the DIY parents out there. If your baby is old enough to stand while holding onto something, a store bought or homemade water table can provide hours of entertainment and an opportunity to cool down.

Toddlers

As any play dough wielding parent knows, tactile play is best left outside. The toddler set love it, but have you ever tried to get ground in, dried up modeling clay out of your carpet? Summer is the perfect opportunity to move these kinds of activities to a more dough-friendly environment. There are some fun sensory dough recipes to be found online. One that suits the hot weather very well is ice cream dough, which you can readily find recipes for on Pinterest. Whip up a batch or two in different colors and give your toddler a dollar store ice cream scoop and he’ll be serving up your new favorite treats in no time. Sidewalk chalk is another fun option, but why go mainstream? Instead, mix up some spray on sidewalk chalk (do a quick search for chalk spray) and prepare to be amazed by your little one’s creations.

Preschool

Kids this age love to help make things. Don’t worry if you’re not super handy. There are plenty of things you can create together – play to your strengths. For instance, kids (and adults) love to eat ice pops in the summer. Pick up some fill-able tube zip pouches and get mixing with your preschooler. She’ll love coming up with special flavors and you’ll be happy knowing that you’re making healthier frozen treats. If food isn’t your thing then why not experiment with bubbles? Mix up a batch of homemade bubble solution with your preschooler and then play around with different household objects that double as bubble blowers. You can also try your hand at building a giant bubble maker (check Pinterest for instructions).

Of course, water play is always fun for all ages. Invest in a small blow-up pool, turn on the sprinkler or take your little squirt to a local wading pool (hint: it’s always a good idea to find out what time of day the pool gets drained and re-filled and go right after that). Visiting local zoos and going fruit picking are also popular choices. Remember, summer play doesn’t have to be complicated, just break out and have fun!

Sources:

https://weecantooart.com/

http://www.playcreateexplore.org/2013/01/ice-cream-dough-new-play-recipe.html

http://zipzicles.com/

http://www.cometogetherkids.com/2011/04/really-big-bubble-maker.html

http://www.crafts-for-all-seasons.com/giant-bubble-maker.html

Summertime, and the Livin’ is (Sort Of) Easy

It is safe to say that I have been on a blog writing hiatus for the past month or so. I felt sure that once school ended for the year I would have nothing but time on my hands. Time to write. Time to clean and cook. Time to relax. I suppose I underestimated the amount of undivided attention an almost one year old requires. Now don’t get me wrong… I love taking care of my little guy and feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with him from now on, but holy Hell is it hard! Baby Jack- soon to be Toddler Jack (not to be confused with Simple Jack)– is in to absolutely everything. He is an ER trip waiting to happen (happened, but that’s a whole other story).

And the kid is not a napper. Who are these people whose children nap for 2-3 hours at a time? What is their secret? I am lucky to squeeze a 45 minute nap out of my child each day, and I have so many things to accomplish during those 45 minutes that I accomplish absolutely nothing. It’s all kinds of awesome. I am really good at starting tasks and really, really bad at finishing them.

In addition to neglecting every major bullet point on my to-do list this summer, I have also been busy traveling. In June the hubs and I took our first baby-free vacay to the land of hipsters and heat… Palm Springs. My husband was a groomsman in the destination wedding we attended. I was happy to hold the title of wedding guest extraordinaire (self-appointed title, but title nonetheless). I had no obligations other than to show up to the rehearsal dinner and wedding. I took it upon myself to take full advantage of the pool and more importantly poolside bar. It was glorious… And then I was SO ready to be home with my sweet little boy.

Why we decided to fly out of LAX the morning after a wedding I will never know, but it’s a good thing that there was a cute little muffin baby waiting on the other side, because I can say with some degree of confidence that I wouldn’t have survived that brutal trip home otherwise.

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The Texans of the group paying respect to one of our favorite locals in a little film shot in town called Dazed and Confused. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it tonight. 

About a week after Palm Springs, Jack and I trekked it down to the Texas Riviera (gulf coast) with my parents. It’s almost like the Mexican Riviera, except pretty much the complete opposite. Despite the brown water and stinky sea-weed covered beaches, there is something rather charming about our little coastal towns. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia aspect that draws us back year after year.

We are beach people, so I was thrilled when we took Jack down to the beach the very first morning and he absolutely loved it. He squealed in delight! He giggled with glee! We could not keep him out of the water! And then he got nailed in the face with a wave… So long beach and hello pool.

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Jack loved spending time in the pool with his papa.

 We also got a day of rain while at the beach. Luckily, the Texas State Aquarium wasn’t too far away.

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Jack pointing at all of the “doggies” (aka fish). 

Not long after our trip to the coast, it was time for the annual 4th of July neighborhood parade. We live in an older neighborhood in town. In fact, my mom grew up on the very street that I now live on, and she has proudly walked in the parade for the past 50+ years, and my sister and I spent every 4th of July as children dressing up for the parade. Needless to say, it’s a pretty big deal in my family.

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With two summer trips and a holiday down, it is time to plan Baby Jack’s first birthday party. I can’t believe my sweet boy will be one in a little over a week… Check out the adorable invitation I created on Shutterfly:

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I’ve been all over Pinterest searching for decoration, cake, and food ideas for the big day. Stay tuned for my next blog post documenting the day I attempted to make a “practice” cake for his birthday. That day was yesterday, and it’s safe to say that I am still recovering from the whole debacle. It was quite the sh*t show.

Bitty Baby Box

I have finally made it to my last week of school… Ever.

teacher owl

I’m going to miss (most of) my kids and all of the ladies on the 4th grade team who I’ve been so fortunate to work with, but I can pretty much guarantee a happy dance as I walk out of my classroom for the last time on Friday. Gone will be the days of endless grading, the pressure of statewide testing, unnecessary meetings, high-maintenance parents, and bureaucratic crapola in general.

I can permanently delete my five o’clock alarm, say goodbye to eating breakfast in the car, and possibly even find the time to make dinner… Possibly. Jack will get me at my best now instead of twelve hours deep into my day when I am mentally spent. Checked out. Basically brain dead. Twenty-four 4th graders can do that to you. But then again so can a 10-month-old… Maybe things won’t be so different after all?

The past few days we’ve been hinting about our latest endeavor on the LWO Facebook page… The Bitty Baby Box. I am so excited about our monthly subscription box which will consist of organic products from home and abroad, such as food samples, articles of clothing, and other baby necessities that we can’t wait to share with you. We are starting small and offering only twelve subscriptions for our first shipment mid-July. Here is the age/gender availability breakdown:

girl

0-6 months- 3 boxes

6-12 months- 3 boxes

boy

0-6 months- 3 boxes

6-12 months- 3 boxes

A one-month subscription will cost $30/box including shipping. Checkout our Facebook page to peek into our July box! If you would like to reserve your spot for the month of July, fill out a registration form here.