Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Thinking Mamas To-Do List

In an ideal world, we’re all chugging along with clean houses, perfect children and organized pantries.

And then there’s reality that is so far from perfect it’s not even funny.

Despite all this hoopla I write about being intentional, awake, living fully, etc. etc. etc. let’s face it, life is not always picture perfect.

I try to be the best Mama I can. I do.

Some days I would grade myself with an S for Super Mama!

Some days I go to bed with the grade of an F — Failure. There I go, fretting about the mistakes I made, the things I said that I shouldn’t have said, and all the ginormous, monstrous parenting tests that I failed.

Still, what I know for sure is that our best days are the ones where I forget about Super Mom and just take care of myself and my kids. The house sits dirty. We’re late for things but that’s OK because we’re relaxed. And we’re too busy connecting and having fun to notice all the other things we’re not doing.

When I just let the routine and order fall to the wayside for an evening and connect with my family I almost always go to bed with a long list of things to be grateful for and a smile on my lips.

To me, it’s the magic potion for happy days.

It’s amazing how many ridiculous, unimportant things we put on our daily to-do lists.

But what about the important things? The things that we hope, dream and wish we could do each day with our children. So, recently I got the bright idea to create another type of to-do list. Not just any to-do list but a Parenting from the Heart to-do list.

A thinking Mama’s to-do list.

These tasks are not the usual to-do list fodder. No, these lovely moments are so much more important than any spotty mirror, any messy car or any other non-life-threatening errand you have to do today.

This list is in no particular order. And, it certainly is not the be-all and end-all of things a parent can do or would even want to do. And, it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything on this list. It also doesn’t mean you have to do everything on this list every single day. That would be ludicrous. We’re still human beings with lives that have to be taken care of and order to make sense of at times.

My final note on this is that this is my personal to-do list and it’s based on our family’s values, belief system and manifesto but I thought you might like it, too. We tend to do things a little differently. We tend to think a little differently. Perhaps if you wrote a list — and I encourage anyone to do so — it would look very different. I’d love it if you could share your list with us either in the comments, on your own blog or on our Facebook page.

This is simply one of those gentle reminders we all need. So … here we go.

A thinking Mama’s to-do list.

*CONNECT – Did I play today? Did I laugh with my child today? Did I ask about their day and tell them about my own? Did we connect and engage in simple ways? (Need ideas to play together as a family? I can give you 100 of them!)
*LEARN — Did I involve my child in making dinner or packing her own lunch? Did I show her how to be responsible? Did I ask questions and wait for the answers? Did we take time to explore her interests rather than just acknowledging them and moving on? Did we wonder in awe about the world around us and just marvel at the amazing details?
*BE ACTIVE — Did we make moving our bodies a top priority today? Did we get outside and take in the fresh air? Did we walk and talk as a family?
*UNPLUG – Did I take time to just be there, to allow for space for anything my child may want to say? Did I show up and hang back and watch her beauty unfold before my eyes so that I don’t miss a thing. Did we soak in some quiet time and just enjoy each other’s company? Did we spend a tiny bit of time unplugged?
*LAUGH — Did I laugh? Did I smile? Did I tell a joke or do a silly dance to show her that I’m not taking this life too seriously, that we’re here to have fun and enjoy life fully?
*READ — Did I let her read. Did I read to her? Did we make reading a top priority today as we want it to be?
*TELL STORIES — Did I show patience while she tells her stories? Did I tell her stories of my own from today, or yesterday or my own childhood?
*CREATE — Did we take time to express ourselves in some magical, creative way either through doodling or making things or building crazy castles with fiery mouthed dragons? Did I put my creative mind at work to solve the hard things and to enjoy the simple things?
*SHOW LOVE — Did I show my love and not just say the words? Did I do something kind, compassionate, or caring today? Did I demonstrate being a loving person — the kind that I want my child to be? Did we take time to think about others and do something nice or kind for them — maybe in our family or neighborhood, at school or in our community?
*LISTEN TO MUSIC — Did we listen to music? Did we dance or clean to it to get our energy flowing? Did we sit and zone out and let the music recharge our souls? This is good for me and this is good for my children.
*BE THANKFUL — Did we take time to say what we’re thankful for or journal about our gratitude. Did we write thank you notes to those who have supported us? Did we take time to think about those we love and find ways to express that love to them?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

We are ALIVE!

I'm a serious blog neglect-or! Even though I have been updating Lydia baby book on a monthly basis, thank you Shutterfly and your mobile app, I have completely slacked in the blog world. I don't know if it was because of our frequent travels this summer ( we were gone a TON!), taking the daycare kids to every place imaginable to get out of the house, or starting to work outside of the home again.

Any who, the Larsons are alive and kicking and extremely busy! I decided at the end of August just after school started that it would be fun for me to get out and enjoy my other passion besides being mom. I missed the classroom dearly so I filled out my paperwork to be a substitute teacher for Oswego and Yorkville school districts. I was so thrilled and excited to get out of the house on what I planned to be a once a week occasion that has turned into at least a 2 or 3 days a week venture. I get called and requested by teachers almost everyday. I feel so blessed to be able to have another way to bring income into our home. Where are the children you ask? They are at "daddy daycare" as the neighbors like to call it! Dennis is working from home so he gets the joy or being in charge while I am off making the dough. Again, I feel blessed that he is able to do it but I am finding that a man just can't run a household as well as a woman.

So back to my story, end of August signed up to sub, and then I got an email from a friend with an enticing offer. She was a teacher for a company called Young Rembrandts. She goes to a school once a week and teaches an after school art class for an hour.....really....another chance to get back in the classroom I though. So I applied, got a call 2 days later for an interview and was hired on the next day. So now, I run a daycare, sub on occasion, tutor once a week, run a Thirty One business and now teach art 2 days a week. Can you see I have a pretty full plate? Thats what I thought too until I got called a few weeks later as the Activity Days leader at church.....the Lord must really want me to be kept busy for some reason because I am swallowed in busyness to the point where its getting hard to function and my days just run into each other. I need to remind myself to slow down and take a break and find some ME time.

So with that said, there's the update on us. I promise to get Lydias monthly updates on here that I have missed. I can't believe she is going to be turning ONE in just 2 short week!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

8 Months

I feel like if I blink Lydia will be one year old! I marvel at what this little girl has learned and can do! Now that she is 8 months old she has the world to conquer and never ceases to amaze me.

  •  Loves her stuffed giraffes, all 3 of them and her giant one. She talks to them all the time and cuddles up to it while riding in the car
  • Pulls herself up on EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING. It's no longer about playing with toys, she just crawls from object to object, even my legs, and pulls herself up. She is now standing up and holding on with just one hand! She is going to be walking before I know it!
  • Eats anything you put in front of her and is eating more table foods than baby food. She loves daddy's gouloush, watermelon, cantaloupe, pancakes and turkey burgers. 
  • Loves music & dancing. You turn on music and she stops what she is doing and shakes it! She stops and stares during church when their is singing.
  • Babbles all the time & sticks her tongue out and makes a spitting sound, its really cute, I catch myself doing it all the time. 
  • Has 2 teeth on the bottom and the top one is about to break through
  • Is a speed crawler and is quit when she does so or plays. 
  • Loves peek a boo and is very ticklish
  • During bath time she pulls herself up and stands to watch you fill up the tub
  • Her smile melts my heart
  • Has become a tummy sleeper now that she isn't swaddled and she sticks her butt in the air when she sleeps. In the morning when she has woken up, she just sits quietly in her crib and stares around and shoots me the biggest smile when I walk in to get her
  • Loves to be in the kitchen when we are making dinner
  • Is a fish! She loves being in water. Loves swimming, loves bath time and is a big splasher. She has taken many naps on the lazy river already this summer
  • Has just begun to wave but hasn't grasped the concept quiet yet.  
  • Pulls headbands and her hats off of her head, can't keep them on anymore & doesn't sit still for pictures, guess that's the end of the good picture streak!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lydias First Trip to Southern IL

We went to visit family at the beginning of June. Lydia had her first four wheeler ride and mini tractor ride. She loved the mini tractor and fell asleep while on the four wheeler.


A few weekends ago we were invited up to our friends the Main's parents lake house in Coloma, MI on Lake Paw Paw with our friends the Dohertys, Waynes and Douglasses. We had the time of our lives and Miss L had alot of first! Here first boat ride, first time swimming in Lake Michigan and her first trip out of IL. It was a fun weekend filled with lots of great time with friends, late nights and lots of time on the water. 

I overcame my fear of swimming in scary waters (other than pool water). I jumped off the boat into the lake, went tubing and went out a little farther than usual in Lake Michigan. We will never forget our breakfast at The HotSpot, way too many inside jokes and all the fun we had that weekend, we must go again! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

7 Months

Oh baby girl you are growing so fast, Mommy wishes you would slow down a bit! I looked back at pictures of when you were a newborn and can't believe how much you have changed and grown.
Your biggest milestone is that you starting crawling, today actually! Daddy and I were in the kitchen finishing up dinner and around the corner you came. It was crazy to see you bring yourself into another room where we were. You were playing in the kitchen with me last week and got your first boo boo. You face planted on the tile floor and got a nice little red bump on your forehead.
You had your first trip to the water park this past month. You absolutely love water. You were splish splashing all around and couldn't get enough of it. You took two trips this month. We went down to great grandma Meme's for the weekend to visit with her and your grammie. The next weekend we went to Coloma Michigan with your friends Parker & Nathan and 2 of your unborn friends and their mommy's & daddies (Mains, Dohertys, Douglasses & Waynes). You went on your first boat ride and swam in the Lake Michigan for the first time. We put you in your little swim tube and you didn't want to be touched. You just wanted to kick and splash the water. You played in the sand, mostly tried to eat it and tried to pick up rocks.
You are still nursing and love food. Their isn't a food we have given you that you have not liked. With your pea reaction when you were 4 months old we are still hesitant to give you them again. You like puffs & yogurt bites....some foods you have been munching on include blueberry & purple carrot, banana & pumpkin, chicken with pasta and veggies, blueberry & peach yogurt, spinach, broccoli & apple, turkey & carrots, beef stew and you love cantaloupe, watermelon & pineapple.
Daddy and I agree you have the best smile in the whole wide world. You love to play with your toys, your favorite is your stuffed giraffe that we call "Raffie" and your activity table.
You have been pulling yourself up on things, the window, your dresser, the safety gate, the ottoman in the living room and your bouncer.
Your vocabulary includes the words, mama, dada, bog (dog), bird and what. Yes what, you say it like fifty times when we are sitting together :)
You make everyday worth living and I wouldn't chose to spend my days any other way.
I love you Lydi Lou


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

6 Months

Dear Lydia,
  Its your half birthday today. You are half a year old! You have accomplished so much in the last month. Your first tooth has poked through, you are so close to crawling and you are eating a variety of foods. You have just been introduced to watermelon and pineapple through your mesh container thingy, not really sure what else to call it. You love to suck all the juice out and make a huge mess but  you love it! Your new favorite thing is to chew on a big carrot.
You took your first road trip and had a girls weekend in Nauvoo, IL. You were such a good girl and adapted to being away from home very well. We visited the temple grounds but you were sound asleep in the Ergo carrier. Of the 4 hours drive, you slept 3 of it on the way there and home.

You said your first word, its dada.....we were in JcPenny getting your pictures done and daddy picked you up and you said dada! You are babbling alot and love to see people. You get so excited whenever anyone comes over. You smile all the time and love to play with your feet whether they are in your mouth or you are laying on your back holding them towards your mouth.
You love to grab stuff! When you are held, you grab at anything that is in the hands of the person holding you, EVERYTHING!
You are wearing size 6-9 month clothes, 9 month pants because you are so tall. At your 6 month check up you ranked in the 75th percentile for weight at 17 pounds 7 ounces and you were off the chart for your height at 28 inches! Daddy and I took you to get your ears pierced just 2 days after you turned 6 months old. You cried for a few seconds and then you were easily distracted.
You are still sleeping through the night, napping twice a day and still like to be swaddled when you sleep.
You are such a joy to have as a daughter. You bring so many smiles to us everyday.
I wonder what you will accomplish in the next month?

We love you baby girl

Sunday, April 29, 2012


What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

1. Watching Lydia grow and accomplish so many cool things
2. Being a stay at home mom
3. The sunshine
4. I have a car with awesome gas mileage given recent gas prices
5. I am going to California in July! Can't wait for a MUCH needed vacay!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could

1. You don't need to work, there is plenty of time for that later
2. Don't waste your money on designer clothes and such
3. You really aren't going to die if your mom doesn't let you do something you really want to!
4. Spend as much time with family as you can
5. Enjoy the freedom from responsibility that you have now
6. Dance in the rain 
7.Love hard
8.Don't take things.people for granted

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

1. I am afraid of swimming in the many Jaws movies! Yet, I love the ocean....weird
2. I hate, hate,hate spiders. I mean to the point where I get the chills and then freak out! Not sure where that fear comes from but hey lets face it, its a spider!
3. I am afraid of snakes! I came face to face with a water moccasin when I was younger.

Monday, April 16, 2012

20 Random Facts

1. My three favorite smells are the inside of a freezer, my hubbys deodorant & Lydias shampoo.
2. I LOVE the city!
3. I wish I could live on a beach
4. I could eat tacos for dinner every night
5. I love to cook
6. I wish I were craftier with my sewing machine
7. My dream vacation would be to Italy
8. If I could live anywhere in the world I would have an ocean front home somewhere
9. I have traveled to 16 of the 50 states, going to make that 17 this summer
10. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints and have never read the Book of Mormon from cover to that bad?
11. I have 5 sisters
12. I wish I had an older brother growing up
13. I have all 4 of my wisdom teeth, which are killing me right now
14. I eat a bowl of cereal every night before bed
15. I gained 25 pounds when I was pregnant and I still have 10 left to lose
16. I love to kiss my daughter, I do it atleast 1000 times a day
17. I have an obsession with pictures
18. I suck at organizing things around my house right now
19. I'm obsessed with making baby food for Lydia, its so fun!
20. I used to be the type that couldn't leave home without make up on my face, now I don't care!

30 Things

To spice things up a little this month I will be posting something random about myself each day {or close to each day, I'll try my hardest!}, according to the following list of questions I have conjured up. The idea is to record different parts of my personality for my posterity, and I guess you get to know me better by default. I think this'll be super fun and I invite you to play along! I would LOVE to read what you have to say about yourself in regards to these questions, and get to know you better, too. This could potentially be very hilarious


1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.
3. Describe your relationship with your parents.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrasing moment.
11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.
14. Describe 5 strengths you have.
15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.
24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What is your love language?
29. What do you think people misundertand most about you?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

5 Months

You're 5 months old now and I can't believe it! You are sitting up all by yourself, enjoy eating apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, pears, peaches, carrots and I just picked up some mango for you to try. I have an obsession with making your baby food, its really fun! You are working on your first two teeth. You have discovered you have feet, which you have been "eating" every chance you get. I went to get you out of your crib the other morning and put you on your changing table and you started flapping your arms like you were a bird trying to fly! You love animals, your favorite toy is a giraffe. You like reading with mommy. You try to turn the pages and love to try to eat your books. You are talking a lot, like to spend time in your bounce bounce because you are all about standing these days. You are rolling all over the place, getting your self up on your knees and just the other day you pushed yourself up on your arms. Its just a matter of time before you start crawling.
You pulled your first all nighter this week. Daddy unswaddled you because you had a fever and it woke u up after you had been sleeping for 4 hours so you were wide awake and happy from 12am-4am, that is not playtime my dear! Daddy stayed up with you while you hung out in your swing hoping you would fall back to sleep, he slept in the chair that night because he didn't want you to be out there alone.
You had your first Easter but since you stayed up all night we didn't get to go to church the next morning because we were so exhausted. You have been fussing in your sleep the last few nights, we can't wait for you to go back to being a solid sleeper, we could use the extra rest.
You went to the doctor to get a shot they were out of last month, you cried for 2 seconds and then were distracted and forgot about it. We started teaching you sign language this month and I swear you sign mommy all the time.
I really can't believe that next month you are going to be half a year old! Time sure does fly but I am thankful I get to stay home with you and watch you as you grow because it is all happening way too fast!
We still haven't come up with a nickname for your yet. Everyone refers to you as princess and your cousin Luca calls you Baby-ah. He loves you so much. You guys lay in your crib all the time and watch your mobile. When you are in your swing he brings a chair over and sits in front of you and talks to you. You two even carry on your own conversations at times. It so cute to watch you together. I am glad you will have your cousin to grow up with.
Now its on to see what things you will do in the next month. Maybe your teeth will pop through or you will start to crawl or maybe just for once you will slow down on this whole growing up thing, its kind of making mommy a little teary eyed.

I love you!
Love Mommy

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sitting Up

@ 4 1/2 months she's sitting up a by herself and loves putting her hand in her mouth.

Nothing Wakes this Kid

So Lydia experienced her first thunderstorm last night. Complete with lightening and house shaking thunder and she slept right through the whole thing! I thought for sure she was going to wake up!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On the move

Tonight Lydia rolled from her tummy to her back! She barrel rolled all the way across the living room! She even got up on her knees..... Now to strengthen those arms..... My little 4 1/2 month old is growing so fast!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring.

Nothing says spring like a nice 82 degree day!

My Favorite Food

Mommy has been making me yummy food. I've had bananas, apples, peas and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes were the first food mommy gave me and they're my favorite. I can't have peas anymore until I'm older. I threw up and broke out in hives. I think I might be allergic to them like my grandpa Dennis was. I'm so excited I get to have pears next!