Mom Life, Parenting, Pregnancy Journey

Home Update & Thank You’s

This post is long overdue, but as you can see our first week home has consisted of a lot of sleeping and snuggling with our newborn (Baby Andrew).

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I would like to thank everyone who has reached out via phone and social media congratulating us on our newest edition. Thank you for the gifts we are still receiving.

A special thank you to all of my husbands co-workers for surprising him at work that Friday before baby’s unexpected arrival with a baby shower. You all were right on time with planning this celebration. We truly appreciate each of you for your kindness and thoughtfulness. Far too often, Daddy’s are not celebrated like us Mommy’s. It really means a lot to each of us.

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After having hubby home with me for a week I am not looking forward to him returning to work tomorrow. He is also not looking forward to it as well. He has been such a great help with our little Jr. and around the house as we settled into our new routines. I was totally surprised at all of the help he has been with assisting me with managing breast feeding and pumping to increase my supply of breast milk. But oh man, he gets a little crazy when he controls the speed and suction of the breast pump. I felt like he was coaching me in a marathon- “up the speed- up the suction- repeat”. Needless to say, my supply is in and heavy- all thanks to him. Pushing me to limits as usual, even when I don’t have the will.

Since I am breast feeding exclusively that has been part of the reason why I have taken a hiatus from blogging and social media. The first few weeks are a challenge when trying to meet the demands of a hungry baby, especially until your supply comes in. Skin to skin and bonding overall with your newborn is crucial to your success. I was determined to breastfeed 100%. With our first daughter Abby, I attempted but gave up shortly after due to frustration of not being able to get her to latch well. With our second daughter Hope, I pumped exclusively and then bottle fed her. I was so proud that Jr. latched immediately after delivery when we had our first skin to skin moment.

Since adjusted, I will be resuming my normal blogging schedule this week. So, please be sure to remain connected for updates: LIKE, SHARE, SUBSCRIBE.

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Upcoming Post Topic: My Birthing Story – [TO BE POSTED THIS WEEK]

FLWE ❤

Adventures, Parenting

The McKinney’s Week/Weekend in Review 4/29-5/5

Cheers to another successful week and weekend! On Tuesday, we celebrated Abby’s 5th birthday and she even had her physical completed for the year. A good bill of health for a very smart girl. Abby is officially registered for Kindergarten in the Fall; she is excited and so are we. (Proud Parent Moment)

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On Thursday, we enjoyed bedtime story time at our local library and picked up some new books for the week and week to come. Abby was even able to sign up for her very own library card and was very proud to sign the back of her card. This moment was sacred to her, as if it was a passage to her independence.

I have created a Goodreads account for myself and Abby to log our books for the year. Abby’s goal is to read over 100 books for 2019 and my goal is to read at least 50. Goodreads is a good site to log your books read and add books to your list in which you would like to read. The app even allows you to write a brief review on each book. This is perfect for tracking our books read for the year.

Be sure to check out the app and website: http://www.goodreads.com

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This week I have been connecting with other local runners in my group, Moms Run This Town. I am too pumped to begin training for my first run. I was recommended to use a app, Couch to 5k. This app is designed to condition you into shape starting off walking- jogging-running in order to build your endurance to complete a 5k run. I have preregistered for a few upcoming races in July and will be creating a section here on my blog to log my races and run data.

I have even challenged Andrew to participate in this years 2019 Great Cycle Challenge USA in order to ride to fight kid’s cancer. It’s about 4 weeks left to go until this challenge kicks off, so he has plenty of time to condition his bike for the season. This challenge will be continuing throughout the month of June and you can ride from whatever location you like and just log your mileage.

If interested you can register at: http://www.greatcyclechallenge.com | Join us in the fight against Kid’s cancer.

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There will be no meal prepping for the upcoming week. I will cook each day to prevent waste. For those wondering why, it is because Jr. still has not arrived and it can be any moment/day now.

I have been following doctors orders and increased my walking and squatting but Jr. is simply not ready. I don’t know how much lower he can drop at this point since he is already sitting in and over my lap. Contractions are becoming more frequent but I am not too bothered by the intensity. I shared with my followers on twitter that my biggest fear is not being able to detect that I am in active labor. My pain tolerance is pretty high and with Abby she was crowning and delivering herself before I mentioned to the nurses that I felt some pressure. I hope my mother’s instinct kicks in and indicates to me that something is not right so we can be settled in at the hospital before he makes his debut. Even though, I think Andrew manage delivering baby boy at home. He is such a expert in so many areas I am confident that he could master delivering a baby. He is a great coach. =)

I will continue to keep you all updated as the week progresses. Wishing everyone a successful week ahead. Conquer those goals. Each day is a fresh start. Take no days off!

FLWE ❤

Mom Life, Parenting

Happy 5th Birthday to Our Wild Child

Today, we celebrate you- Abigail Joann (Abby). Our Taurus baby. Our wild child.

For those of you that do not know Abby, here are some words to describe her character:

  • Stubborn = Determined
  • Loud = Rambunctious
  • Animated = Passionate
  • Hyper = Exhilarating
  • Chatty = Conversational
  • Wild = Free
  • Independent = Self Reliant
  • Personable = Charming

That’s just a few words to describe our powerhouse of a child. While some of her traits are as sweet as honey they can also be as sour as vinegar. Yet, every piece of her attitude and personality is what makes her, Abby. There is a positive behind every trait that she poses. However, sometimes at the age of 5 you haven’t quite figured out how to use your traits for the greater good. With continuous moral coaching and developing Abby will be able to use her traits in all positive ways in order to make the world we live in a better place. Her charisma will be inspiring to others as she exemplifies being determined, rambunctious, passionate, exhilarating, conversational, free, self reliant and charming.

Again, Happy Birthday to our powerhouse! Mommy and Daddy are oh so proud to be your parents.

FLWE ❤

Mom Life, Parenting

Pre-Kindergarten Reading Challenge: Abby’s List of Books Read

Here is a look into Abby’s list of books read:

Our local library has a great handout with books listed for preschool, pre-reading books, and beginning to read books. There is a challenge to read 100 books before Kindergarten and we have committed to checking each book, one by one off our our list. Since Abby finds so much excitement in her weekly library visits this was the perfect way to get her prepared to start Kindergarten in the Fall.

Currently, Abby checks out 5-7 books per week and we read each night. When I saw these handouts at the library a few weekends ago I knew instantly that it was a great way to prepare her for Kindergarten in the coming months. I still let her pick and choose her own books based off of what she would like to read and learn about. Independence and choice is something we value greatly. By allowing Abby to select her own books we have noticed an increase in her excitement towards reading and story time.

In our nightly reading sessions I also incorporate reading from our bible story time book. Each story has a moral and it really has been beneficial in emphasizing the importance of character development. She is learning about character development and doesn’t even realize it; the life lessons learned during our bible story time are important and relates directly to the teaching of faith in our household.

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With baby #3 on board I will definitely will be exposing Jr. to books early and continue to use story time as a time for bonding and learning. I already have plans to attend baby story time, an event at our local library when I am out on maternity leave.

I will continue to keep my readers updated on our reading journey. With Sunday approaching- Abby has already bagged her library books from this past week and they are ready to be returned. Hopefully, I will be able to finish reading the book I checked out a few weeks ago (How to Raise Kind Kids by Thomas Lickona) in the next week before Jr. arrival. I have a few other books on my list of books to read that I want to check out while I am on leave.

FLWE ❤

Parenting

Bedtime Story Time at our Community Library

Abby was super excited to visit the library tonight for bedtime story time. This is a great event that allows you to bring your children in their pajamas to listen to 2 bedtime stories while engaging in some fun listening and learning activities in a group setting.

The two books tonight were:

  • Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus by James Dean
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury

If you have children I highly recommend you get them involved in activities that will build their skills academically and socially. With Abby starting Kindergarten in the fall I have been taking advantage of every opportunity possible to prepare her. The best resource for safe and family friendly activities is your local library and the events are free. I have been doing a good job at keeping up with event dates to make sure we don’t miss anything.

Mommy and Daddy were so proud tonight seeing Abby participate in a group setting with kids that were older than her, although she looked the oldest as tall as she is. To be able to observe how well behaved she was compared to other children who are already accustom to a school setting was astonishing. I definitely reassured us that she is ready for school. Abby has always been independently strong willed and social and that can have it’s pros and cons. However, with a little coaching and discipline she can continue to use those strong skills in positive ways.

Here are some pictures from tonights event:

While at the library tonight Abby returned her books from last week and we picked up 5 more beginner reading books. One thing that I love the most about utilizing our local library is the amount of money you save by checking out books rather than purchasing them. At the end of our check out receipt it shows how much we saved during that visit and the total amount we have saved for the entire year. In just a few visits we have already saved $227.82 for the year. This is absolutely amazing!

Abby has been using Mommy’s library card but is looking forward to upgrading to her own library card when she turns 5 on April 30th. The excitement is real! Despite her using my library card she takes ownership over it like it is hers and she communicates the entire transaction when checking out her books. This has really improved her communication skills.

Side note:

I ordered the book, “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones, to read to Abby at night. I have been researching homeschool curriculum for Kindergarten and found that a lot of parents use this book to build a religious foundation.

We are a very spiritual family and learning about the bible and the goodness of Jesus is critical. This storybook is filled with beautiful pictures and very easy to read short stories that take you through the bible from beginning to end. This will be a nightly ritual for us before bedtime. Tonight was a success and Abby even tried to convince me to read one more story but I had to explain to her that despite her eagerness we must remain disciplined. I am very pleased and blessed that she is eager to learn more about the bible. This definitely gives her something new to look forward to at night before bed.

FLWE ❤

Adventures, Mom Life, Parenting

The McKinney’s Weekend Adventure (Recap)

With the summer approaching- the weather is getting nicer and I have been planning a lot of fun filled learning activities for Abby. Abby will be entering Kindergarten in the Fall and as parents it is our job to make sure she is prepared.

Saturday we surprised Abby and took her to her first planetarium show, Sesame Street “One World, One Sky”.

Abby did not know what to expect and was amazed once we took our seats under the dome, as we waited for the show. She enjoyed learning about the starts and planets. Her bedtime story Saturday night was a book about stargazing and the different galaxies [Stars! Stars! Stars! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace], which she had picked out the weekend prior at our library visit. Lately, she has been very interested in the solar system and airplanes. It’s pretty safe to assume that she gets those interests from her Daddy.

Honestly, Andrew and I were pretty excited about visiting the planetarium ourselves. We both enjoyed field trips in elementary school to Owens Science Center.

A weekend ritual for us has also been our weekly visits to the library. Sunday we took Abby to the library to return her books from the week prior and allowed her to pick out some new books. Grandma joined us on this visit and helped us pick out some beginners reading books with sight words. Abby has grown to love the library and enjoys meeting new friends.

Last night for bedtime Abby picked out the book, Stop, Train, Stop! by Rev. W. Awdry. She learned several new words to add to her vocabulary and was able to spell those words out-loud with a closed book. The benefits of reading aloud stories each night to your babies and toddlers are significant as it helps build their vocabulary, comprehension, and grammar. I can definitely see an improvement in Abby’s vocabulary and she is so eager for story time at night before bed which makes bedtime more pleasant.

While browsing at the library on Sunday I passed by the book, How to Raise Kind Kids by Thomas Lickona. It caught my attention and after reading an excerpt I had to check it out for myself.

I am always reading for information and I find enjoyment in self development and parenting books. There are so many theories when it comes to how to parent and how to be a better parent. This book discusses how to teach manners to your children. Just in the first few chapters of this book I learned that the teaching of character development and education was a major area in American school systems many years ago. With time and culture changes we have weaned away from that. Politics is blamed for the change and it’s often harder to find schools that emphasize the education of character development. There is an estranged disconnect between whether character development should be taught at home or in schools. I personally believe that it should definitely start at home and should not fall on the responsibility of teachers.

Andrew and I observed at the playground this past weekend a young girl being a bully to multiple kids. We had no clue of who her parents were and felt really bad to see this happen but it is a reality that our children will face at the playground and even at school. This event struck a nerve with me and made me self reflect on how we are doing as parents to instill kindness in our children. This all ties into prepping Abby for school and teaching her the importance of acts of kindness and how to respond in situations where someone is not being so kind.

While at the playground Abby handled the bully well and ignored her. I want her to be able to recognize situations like this and build her character by responding positively. As parents we have limited control of the situations that our children face when interacting with other children. However, what we do have control over is what we are teaching our children about having good character and the importance of kindness.

Bullying is a serious issue and is plaguing not only schools but social media. It is important to work with your children and discourage and correct this type of negative behavior if you are observing it. If we all take the responsibility of doing this we can gain better control over bullying.

If you have a child that is struggling with poor character or lack of kindness this would be a great book to checkout from your local library. I would even recommend it to every parent whether there is a problem or not. The book just provides overall good and useful information on the effects of culture, how to cultivate kindness and gratitude in your children. These concepts are extremely important in the development of your children as they transition into the many phases of life.

Book Excerpts:

“The bottom line: whether we reverse the destructive trends that are bringing out the worst in many Americans, and make progress towards a kinder, more respectful society, depends on each and every one of us– and starts at home” (Lickona, 2018, p. 22)

“Responsibility– in the literal sense of ‘response-ability’– has everything to do with kindness. To the degree that kids practice kindness, they’ll think of others, not just of themselves. They’ll make an effort to be helpful and considerate of others’ needs and feelings” (Lickona, 2018, p. 22)

Favorite quotes from the book:

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” -Henry James

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

“We are called to do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” -Dalai Lama

Share your comments and thoughts below!

FLWE ❤

References:

Lickona, T. (2018). How to raise kind kids: And get respect, gratitude, and a happier family in the bargain. New York: Penguin Books.