Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Friday, June 27, 2014

nanna & pop's

While at Nanna & Pop's today, I snapped these quick snapshots of Jackson & Audrey, attempting to capture their relationship at this age... Jackson always so loving and sweetly guiding her with a twist of goofiness to get her to laugh along with Audrey's sheer adoration for her big brother hidden under layers of spunk and sass.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

splash pads should really come with a warning label.

In today's attempt at checking another item off our Summer Bucket List, we hit up the splash pad. 3 hours, a lot of splashing and one picnic later, I have decided that splash pads should come with a warning label- "Warning: splash pads are known to cause mothers to drink." In normal circumstances I think it would have been fine, but today there happened to be at least three large groups taking field trips there, which meant utter chaos and children running everywhere, making it hard to keep my eye on all three babies at once. 

But, just as I was strategizing in my head how to talk Jackson and Audrey into wanting to leave much earlier than planned, the nicest people came to my rescue- a girl scout troop. I cannot make this stuff up. We were sitting in the hot sun on our blanket having a picnic and I was attempting to feed a very hot, tired and hungry Jonah bear when a woman walked over and told me that one of the large groups- a girl scout troop- was getting ready to leave and asked if she could help take my things to their spot (in the shade!) so that I wouldn't have to stay out in the sun with my baby. I started to protest, not wanting to inconvenience her, but she explained that she's a military spouse and this is just what they are trained to do- to help each other out because they're often on their own when stationed away from home. Next thing I knew, several girl scouts came over, picked up all our things- blankets, socks, shoes, diaper bag, picnic bag, stroller- and moved them into the shade for us to continue our picnic.

What nice girls learning from a nice woman who happened to be a stranger but left with one more friend- an appreciative mom who was reminded once again that there is far more good than bad in this world. Moms helping moms, gotta love it.

Oh, and PS, thanks to our shaded spot, Jonah was much more comfortable and passed out in a matter of seconds- so sweet (and peaceful!).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

brothas from the same motha.

I took one of these photos today... I took the other four years ago today. Who is who? 

Hint: The one on the left is now a loving, funny, caring & preeeetty goofy 4 year old who loves his baby brother "more than the whole world."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

tuesday at the museum (aka jp's "favorite place in the world")

Note: This week, The Museum Center and Music Hall- two of the most beautiful landmarks in Cincinnati (and, in my opinion, the country...), both of which hold tremendous history, were called out on the "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places" list.... see HERE for more information on saving two places that hold a lot of room in my heart.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

jonah bear's first Reds game.


introducing the babies to "Barb & Grandpas"...

There was a time somewhere tucked into my childhood when "B&G" stood for Barb & Grandpa. A time when my Grandma & Grandpa owned the B&G Dairy Bar... an ice cream spot in a nearby town. I have a lot of memories tucked away inside that little building that hasn't changed very much in all the years that have passed. Memories of learning to make the perfect ice cream cones, eating hot fudge straight from the pot, getting off the school bus to find that the waitress "Mickey" had made us a giant plate of french fries for our after-school snack (that lasted for about a week... and then Grandma insisted on salads instead), memories of watching TV from the recliner in the back room because I was too little and probably in the way, doing homework in the dining room and getting paid a whole $3 for a full day's work... Grandma Roy would have loved to see these two little monsters diving into their ice cream last night.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Behavior Light.

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law (a psychologist & a professor on parenting) said something that stuck with me, "as parents we can set expectations, we can give choices, but we do not negotiate with our children." I completely agree.  

The problem is that I'm not a perfect parent, so sometimes slip on this. It's easy to do- slipping up when parenting- but one thing I've learned about setting solid, consistent expectations with little ones is to deliver the same message but wrapped up in a fresh new way every so often. So, today, we refreshed our behavior system (i.e. rules/expectations, rewards/consequences). 

We're calling our new system the "Behavior Light." A few friends of mine do something similar to this and since Audrey is especially is into "red means stop, green means go" lately, we created our own version this morning. They, of course, loved picking out their new "pin" and helping to put the behavior light together- involving them like this and giving them appropriate input is critical to getting their buy-in.  

Each day their pins begin on green (fresh starts are important!) and then move up or down according to their behavior. Before bed time, we will check to see where they landed- landing on green earns them a sticker (10 stickers = a special surprise), landing on red means Mommy or Daddy takes one thing of their choice away for the next day (insert evil laugh here). The goal here is not to police their every move, but to address areas that they each need to work on and move the pins accordingly. I know what battles I need to choose with each of them- those battles vary by the week (sometimes by the day or even the hour!), so this is a great way to customize according to each child's age and stage.

This may be over-the-top for some families, but in our house we have 3 monsters ages 4 and under (cue chaos), so having a visible reminder for expectations on behavior works best for us. This will also be helpful when my maternity leave ends and there are a few different people caring for the babies- having a consistent system provides stability and comfort, resulting in better behavior and happier rug rats (and moms and dads too).

Note: It's 2:30pm and they're both still on green- woo hoo! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

how to get a peanut to pass out in her popcorn: a tutorial.

 It takes a lot- a LOT, I'm telling you- to wear out Audrey, but the peanut- the bed time drama legend herself- was passed out by 8:00pm in the middle of reaching into her bag of popcorn- see exhibit A:

In all seriousness, today was a good day- beginning and ending with good times with good friends. We started the day at the park with friends to play and to have a picnic before heading off to Jonah's 4 month well check (I updated his stats HERE)and then spent the evening at Stricker's Grove with our church family. Days like today stand for all that summer should be: packed full of fun and ice cream and lemonade and all things sweet and little bit sticky...

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