Parenting Through Disney Songs

Fun fact about me, I have never met a Disney movie I didn’t like. What’s even stronger than my love for animated magic is the fantastic songs that accompany each featured filmed. You will often catch me singing along with the Disney Spotify channel at the top of my lungs while driving in the car, cooking in the kitchen, or working from my desk. Lucky for me, my oldest son is just as obsessed.

As we were belting our best rendition of You’re Welcome from Moana, it hit me, most Disney songs have a lyric(s) that reflect the life of a parent. Here are 10 Disney lyrics that capture what it’s really like to be a parent.

  1. Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas) – You think you own whatever land you land on. I think it’s a known fact that toddlers think they own everything. We are just here for their enjoyment and to be at their beck and call. In response to their incessant sass I say, if you listen to me You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew.
  2. Un Poco Loco (Coco) – I’ll count it as a blessing that I’m only un poco loco. You know the moment when your kids flip from acting the fool to becoming the sweetest children on the planet? You look into their cherub-like faces and think “thank goodness you’re cute and only make me a little crazy (un poco loco).”
  3. I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan) – Heed my every order and you might survive. This one is for all the boy moms out there [represent]. Boys may be less drama than girls, but it’s harder to keep them alive. When it looks like your son is about to fling his body off the swing set or headbutt his sibling, repeat the wise words of Li Shang.
  4. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King (Lion King) – I think it’s time that you and I arrange a heart to heart. When your kids are on the verge of going to time out, but you want to play nice cop, so you take a note from Zazu’s playbook. It’s either a heart to heart or the time out chair my friend.
  5. Almost There (The Princess and the Frog) – There’s been trials and tribulations. You know I’ve had my share. But I’ve climbed the mountain, I’ve crossed the river, and I’m almost there. When you’re talking to your parent friends about potty training. If you’ve ever seen a war movie and the main character is hobbling out of the trenches, that’s what potty training looks like for a parent. We’ve seen things we can’t come back from.
  6. Let it Go (Frozen) – Let it go (go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go). When my kids are having a “moment,” I often meet and exceed their volume with Queen Elsa’s anthem. Not only does it mute their complaints, it redirects their feelings and puts them into a state of confusion – they are confused as to why mom is actin’ the fool. I’m willing to assume that role if it stops the craziness.
  7. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Toy Story) – You got troubles, and I got them too. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you. We stick together, we can see it through, ‘cause you’ve got a friend in me. As baby brother bites his leg, I keep reminding my oldest he will be your best friend one day. You are born into a friendship with your siblings, but it’s one that will last a lifetime.
  8. You’ll Be in my Heart (Tarzan) – For one so small, you seem so strong. My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm. This bond between us can’t be broken. I mean…this song just violently yanks at the heartstrings. I think the moment I became a mom and held my son in my arms, life truly began. There is something so special between a mother and a son. My boys are my world.
  9. Be Prepared (Lion King) – Yes, our teeth and ambitions are bared. Be prepared! This applies to both parent and child during one of the most excruciating moments in their life…teething. Have you seen the YouTube video where they time lapse a child’s teeth coming in? Search it; it’s absolutely horrifying. As you frantically search for the perfect solution to ease your child’s achy gums, maintain determination and prepare to get through it together, because neither of you will be sleeping.
  10. What’s This? (The Nightmare Before Christmas) – What’s this? What’s this? There’s something very wrong. What’s this? The age-old question of is it chocolate or is it poop can be summed up with the simple phrase – what’s this? Dare you even try to figure it out. Only the bravest of souls try to crack the mystery. Are you one of those people?

With hundreds of whimsical songs, there is bound to be one that fits every moment of parenthood. What song would you use to define your current state of parenting? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 Ways to Create and Maintain a Successful Family Routine

When routine changes it can throw everyone off, especially a toddler who LOVES consistency. I recently started a new job that’s extremely fulfilling but requires more office time than my previous job. When I worked remotely I could drop my kids off later and pick them earlier than most parents, but now I must drop them off earlier and pick them up a little later than normal. My three-year-old picked up on this change immediately, and let’s just say, he’s not a fan.

My son quickly became hyper sensitive and started not listening/following directions as well as he used to. One could say this is happening because he’s at “that” age, but it seems suspect for this to have started around the same time I began my new job.  I’m not a detective, but I can clearly breakdown the evidence.

My husband and I sprang into action to make a new “norm” for our household. It’s important to us to have a space where our kids feel and actively participate in a healthy routine. Now, I’ve only birthed two little ones, so I can only speak from my experience with them, but thoughtful consistency is key.

Here are the four ways we successfully found our new routine:

  1. Communicate – Seems simple enough, right? You can never over communicate with your kids, at least in my opinion. We talk about and talk through our routine constantly with our kids, more specifically our toddler. He seems to respond to well to repeated verbal communication.
  2. Cool and Calm – As parents it’s easy to lose our cool when our kids react in a not-so-attractive manner when they get frustrated about the change in routine (I know from experience and I’m not proud of it). When we act in a level-headed manner, our kids will have a positive response. We set the emotional example.
  3. Sleep – When our kids are well rested, the world seems to be a safe place, but when they don’t, you might as well duck and cover. When my kids get a great night’s sleep, they are prepared to take on the day with a positive attitude. My one-year-old sleeps a solid 13 hours a night and my three-year-old clocks in between 10-11 hours a night. I truly believe sleep makes a big difference in achieving a new “norm.”
  4. Fun – It’s important to add a new and exciting component to the routine. Make it worthwhile for all involved parties. My husband and I “let” our toddler guide the bedtime routine. He picks the books, he turns off the lights, he arranges his bed, etc. We are known for putting on a performance. If it’s a song, a monologue, an interpretive dance of the book we are reading, we make it fun. This is part of the routine that is specifically tailored for him and something he looks forward to every single day. It’s HIS mom and dad time.

I’ll say it again, change is hard, but if you work to make it a positive experience, your kids will adjust. Fingers crossed we can maintain our son’s positive perspective and make the one-on-one time we have with him memorable in the best way. What are some tips that have worked for you? Let me know if the comments.

When Dad Is In Charge

When you’re a mom, it’s assumed you are the one to always power through and take care of everyone at any given moment, but what happens when you get sick? I know, I know, what a horrible thing to say, but it happened! I have been struck by the flu. THE FLU! A three-letter word we as parents, especially moms, never want to hear. It’s like “he who shall not be named.” Don’t say it! Get it out of my house NOW!

The origins of my illness are unknown. Could it have been something my kids brought home from daycare? Was it someone I shook hands with from work? The list of culprits is extensive, but none of that matters, I have been out of commission and the three men in my life – husband, toddler, and baby – have been left to fight for their own.

Now, I will give it to my husband, he does a great job, but a screaming toddler and teething baby can take a toll on anyone. As I laid in bed with a headache like no other headache I’ve experienced before (the fluorescent lighting was trying to take me down), I just let go of my mom control issues and just assumed the following would take place:

(When dad takes the daily photo)

  1. Lotion? What lotion? My husband hates the feeling of lotion, so I assumed my kids will not be moisturized and fall victim of the winter chap.
  2. My toddler would be exposed to some Netflix series, well over his head. Today they watched Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which I can’t complain too much. At least it wasn’t something ridden with gore and death. I’ll just have a nearly three-year-old question his existence on this planet. Swell!
  3. My children will bully their father. When you have two kids yelling at the top of their lungs, you give in. If my toddler will want puffs, pretzels, cheez-its, goldfish, fruit chews, pediasure, yogurt, and an orange and he’ll get it, because one screaming child is better than two.
  4. When they bump their heads, or face it with my child, fall off the couch, they get a rub on the head and a “you’re OK Bud” instead of some serious mom cuddles.
  5. Finally, my toddler may or may not wash his hands following the use of the potty. Who needs basic hygiene? Not my son!

I could highlight the things I would have done differently, but when it all comes down to it, my husband rocked it. He confirmed everything we speculated, he’s an AWESOME dad! While I was quarantined, my kids:

  1. Got quality one-on-one time with their dad.
  2. They were able to play lightsabers or ninja with their dad without mom chiming in on safety issues.
  3. My toddler was able to follow his dad around and help with his baby brother (who absolutely adores him).
  4. They learned about the infinite expanse of the universe with Neil deGresse Tyson
  5. Finally, they were showed how much they are loved by their dad – more than anything.

To say we are lucky to have my husband is a complete understatement. Hun, if I haven’t said it enough, I love you, the boys love you, and we appreciate everything you do for us!

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DK Book Wish List + Giveaway

Reading together and sharing stories is a necessity in my household. My nearly three-year-old will not go bed unless we read three stories. I know what you’re thinking, “three stories?!” Yes! I truly cherish my one-on-one time with my toddler. With an 8-month-old it can be difficult to give him all of the attention he wants, but our nighttime routine is OUR time, so I’m OK with three bedtime stories.

The majority of our bedtime reads come from our good friends over at DK Publishing. From touch-and-feel books to encyclopedias all the way to flashcards and experiments, DK publishing has all of the books you need to keep a well-stocked bookshelf for you and your kids.

We want to share with you four of our favorite and most anticipated DK publications (even though our list could go on and on).

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm

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Finding a book my toddler and my baby both love has proven to be a serious task in the past, but with the Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm book, we can all sit down and enjoy a book together. Under each individual flap is a pop-up surprise guaranteed to create lots of laughs and giggles. My oldest son loves to point out all of the animals to his baby brother (insert a collective “aww” sound). The baby loves his bog brother and gives him is full attention during Pop-Up Peekaboo Farm time!

Dinosaur A to Z

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Now, I’ve talked about this book in the past, and well, it’s still a favorite for all us. Folks, we read the entire, YES, the entire Dinosaur A to Z book every.single.night. My toddler probably knows more about dinosaurs than the most well-known and well-educated archeologist in the world (no joke). He thoroughly enjoys seeing the beautiful artistic adaptations, and every turn of the page is like seeing the book again for the first time. If your child loves dinosaurs, I strongly recommend you get your claws on this book (see what I did there?).

My First Animals – Touch and Feel Picture Cards

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My toddler is at the phase in life where he likes to learn new things, because he loves the praise that comes along with learning something new. The My First Animals – Touch and Feel Picture Cards is the perfect addition to our daily routine. Within this compact display are 16 colorful early learning cards your toddler will LOVE! Who doesn’t get excited when they see kittens and puppies?

How to be a Scientist – GIVEAWAY

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I grew up in a household with a dad who has his doctorate in analytical chemistry and I had no desire to learn science. The idea of going to my biology or chemistry class gave me an upset stomach. When we got our hands on Steve Mould’s How to Be Scientist book, I got excited about science. Oh how I wish they had this book when I was going through science classes. No matter how old your kids are, teaching them the importance of the sciences is essential. Who was Marie Curie? How do you make a compass? What is energy? These are all things you can learn in this gorgeous and educational book.

We love this book so much we wanted to give away a signed copy of Steve Mould’s How to be a Scientist.

Here’s how to enter:

Option 1

Follow us on Instagram @makingmillmama
Tag a friend in the comments section
For an extra entry, share the post in the your Instagram story

Option 2

Follow us on Twitter @makingmillmama
Like and Retweet
 

If you do both option 1 and option 2, you will have double the entries. This giveaway is not affiliated with DK Publishing, Instagram, or Twitter. The giveaway will run from Thursday, December 21, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017 8:00 PM EST. The winner will be direct messaged if they are the winner and the book will ship following the New Year holiday. This giveaway is open to both US and International. Good luck!

What are your favorite DK Publishing books? Will you get your hands on these awesome books? Let me know in the comments below.

Follow DK Publishing:

Facebook – @dkbooks.us

Instagram – @dkbooks

Twitter – @dkpublishing

Website – www.dk.com/us/

Christmas Crafts for Siblings

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new and cute crafts to do with the kids around Christmas time. Each year we gift our family members with new piece of personalized artwork. As the “director” of these artistic projects, I always try to do something different from the year before.

It was easier to create a festive craft when it was just one kiddo, but now with two, we have to come up with ways to incorporate both boys into the priceless masterpiece. My parents, in particular, love hand print and footprint crafts. So, I have come up with three Christmas art projects for siblings which include hand prints and footprints.

All paintings include toxic-free paints; safe for kids and animals.

Oh Christmas Tree!

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This cute craft highlights one of our favorite holiday symbols, the Christmas tree! Even though my 8 month old is only 4 pounds less than my two and half year old, my toddler has slightly bigger feet. For this painting, I pressed my toddler’s foot as the Christmas tree and used a press of the baby’s hand as the star on top of the tree. I added polka-dots and “OH” around the tree for additional pops of color.

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Perfectly Packaged 

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I used the wrapped presents under the Christmas tree as the inspiration for this colorfully pressed painting. As I was thinking about what hand prints looked like, I thought of a bow; the perfect touch to a perfectly packaged present! Since my kids are still little, this painting required a little more of a mommy touch with the designing of the present and the wording.

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Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

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Who doesn’t love good ole’ Rudy? Another hand print focused craft, the placement is critical. Have you ever tried to straighten your 8 month old’s hand as it is covered in paint in order to place it perfectly on the canvas? No?! It’s a challenge!! This is by far my favorite Christmas craft. Rudolph looks so cute (can I keep these out all year long?) and festive. You will want to make this painting with your kid(s).

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*Spoiler alert* for my family – you will be getting these crafts for Christmas. I challenge you to contain your excitement.

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What do you think of these sibling Christmas crafts? Do you think you will try these with your kids or kid? Let me know in the comments below or if you have any other craft ideas. I am always looking.

Merry Christmas and happy Holidays!

May 2017 Favorites: Baby and Toddler Edition

May has been a month of growth for my family. Our newborn is plumping up and growing like a weed. Every day his personality changes! I can’t get enough of his red hair, gummy smile, and sapphire blue eyes. He is a truly a joy to be around. My toddler is stepping into his role as big brother, and lets just say, it looks good on him. This sweet boy is filled with a plethora of toddler emotions, so we’ve had to combat tantrums, but together we are learning how to work through the frustrations. The stereotype of redheads being hotheaded, can be applied to my newborn and two-year-old, but I love their passion and determination!

During these beautiful moments of change, we all have our must-have, go-to, lifesaving items for keeping our kiddos happy and content. I should also add, we look to these items for a glimpse of sanity and peace as parents. As our kids develop, their demands change and so do the products we call to in times of need.

Here are our May 2017 Favorites:

Munchkin Baby Formula Dispenser: After what I consider a valiant effort, we had to move from breastfeeding to formula. I made countless calls to lactation consultants, I altered my diet, I incorporated gas drops, etc., but my breast milk was not settling well with my newborn. Since my milk dispensary is out of business, I have to make sure I have enough formula with me at any given moment to feed my adorably glutinous baby boy. The Munchkin Baby Formula Dispenser is perfect my feed on demand little one. I fill it up with the appropriate amount of formula and throw it in my bag without hesitation.

Munchkin Baby Formula Dispenser

Photo courtesy of www.munchkin.com

Fisher-Price Bouncer: My boys, both as newborns, loved to be rocked and bounced. The Fisher-Price Bouncer has been a favorite for both of my boys and has been a huge help for me as I work from home with a newborn. The base of the bouncer vibrates and aids in putting my little one to sleep as he smiles at the detachable toy bar. If we have another baby (I’m looking at you husband), I will make sure we have our Fisher-Price Bouncer ready to go!

Fisher Price Bouncer

Photo courtesy of fisher-price.mattel.com

Originator’s Endless Reader App: My two-year-old loves his IPad. I know what you’re thinking, “you let your two-year-old have an IPad?” Yes, yes I do. He does far more than watch his favorite episode of Bubble Guppies or Peppa Pig. We have packed his IPad full of educational Apps perfect for the developing toddler. The one App that stands out the most is Originator’s Endless Reader App. He is presented with sight words, one for each letter of the alphabet, that are helpful in forming his vocabulary. Each letter is sounded out, the word is stated and then repeated, used in a sentence building activity, and finally applied in a relatable scenario with illustration. We have purchased the levels following Level One, and have seen an abundance of growth.

Originator Logo

Photo courtesy of www.originatorkids.com

Beautycounter Soothing Baby Oil: I’ve written about this product in multiple blogs, and I’m about to do it again. We LOVE Beautycounter’s Soothing Baby Oil! It has really made a difference in our post-bath and pre-bedtime routine. I use this product on both my newborn and toddler. When our baby had a mild case of cradle cap, it helped clear it right up. I rub it on my toddler’s shoulders and chest before reading his nightly stories. I’ve even used this product to help take off tough makeup at the end of the day. This is truly a family-focused product. I should also highlight that it’s nontoxic and gives me full confidence when using it on my little ones.

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Photo courtesy of www.beautycounter.com

Disney 5-Minute Snuggle Stories: As a child who grew up on the Lion King, Aladdin, and Little Mermaids of Disney, I am thrilled my son loves Disney just as much as I do! I can’t wait for the day we take our boys to the “most magical place on earth.” We enjoy at least one of these delightful stories each night before bed along with one or two more of his favorites. No matter how many times I read Scaredy Cat Sleepover, a story about Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck, this collection of tales never gets old.

5 Minute Snuggle Stories

Photo courtesy of books.disney.com

These products work for our on-the-go and perfectly chaotic family. We don’t use or settle for just any products. Our May 2017 favorites help to relax a restless baby, make bedtime cuddles even more precious, and assist in our children’s overall development.

Let me know if you try out these products. What do you think? Do they work for your little ones? Post in the comments below!

The First Meeting – Toddler and Baby

The weeks leading up to my youngest son’s birth, I was filled with panic about how my toddler was going to handle the new little person entering our lives. The pregnancy hormones, which raged throughout my body, kept me weepy until the moment I held Duncan in my arms.

I cried about if I was being unfair to my oldest son, if he would hate us, if he was going to hate his baby brother, and the list went on an on. I couldn’t keep myself together. Every time I looked at him, I started to cry. Not just standard tears, but crocodile tears which gathered in pools around me everywhere I went. I was fearful of how he was going to react, because until April 3rd, it had always been just the three of us.

My parents watched over my son while we were at the hospital with the new baby. I was so eager to see him and give him a little kiss and hug. Unfortunately, children under the age of 12 were not allowed on the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital, due to the increased occurrence of flu within North Carolina. With this said, my mom called us via FaceTime, so we could talk with our baby boy.

His reaction to seeing me hold his little brother over my mother’s iPhone 7 screen, left much to be desired. He ignored us and he had zero interest in looking at his little brother. The moments we had shared over the smartphone, were the moments I feared the most. He hated us, I just knew it!

When we finally made it home and settled back in, I was eager to pick up my oldest from school. I wanted to first, get a hug and kiss from my little nugget and second, I wanted him to meet his baby brother (she said with some hesitation).

The five-minute car ride home consisted of a lot of conversations about baby brother and how he was a big brother, but still our baby boy. There were a lot of “okay” and “baby?” coming from the backset of the car.

When we walked into the house, he ran over to my husband and gave him a big hug, but he soon saw the rocking cradle in the living room. My heart briefly paused as he stopped in his tracks and said “baby?”

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He squealed in delight when he saw his baby brother. At that moment I breathed a sigh of relief. He wanted to take it upon himself to pick up the baby and hold him. He kept repeating “Hi! Baby!” over and over again. When my family came over and visited the following day, he didn’t want anyone to touch the baby and kept saying “Mine baby!” to everyone who approached his baby brother.

For the past week, each morning he runs to see his baby brother and give him a kiss. When he gets in the car on the way home from school, he asks about his brother throwing his hands up saying, “where’s baby?” When it comes to the end of the day, he goes to his brother and says “Night, night baby! Love you!” Y’all, these are the moments that make a mother’s heart full.

Rorie and Duncan 2

I now feel silly that I was so worried about my boys coming together. I look at the two of them together and envision all of the wonderful times they will have growing up as best friends. I made these two amazing people and I believe they will always have each others backs. I’m a proud boy mom!

A Letter to My Firstborn

 

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Dear Squishy Boog,

I am sitting here in the living room watching and listening to you through the baby monitor as you read “Little Owl’s Night” to your best stuffed pal, Anton the Alligator. I can’t help but laugh at how cute you are as your words drift off and then you strongly enunciate one word as you read aloud. You have so much passion in your voice, even as a two-year-old.

As I stare at your adorable little face, I can’t help but think that in a matter of days, we will be adding a little brother into the mix, and I know your world is going to change. All of our lives are going to change, but the one thing that won’t change is my love for you buddy. You’re my sweet cheeks, nugget, and love bug. My little best friend.

I strongly believe the changes that we will be experiencing as a family will all be positive. Our love for you will not lessen because we have another baby, but will grow! You are going to be a wonderful big brother. This baby is beyond lucky to have you. The truth is, he will probably want nothing to do with mommy and daddy, but everything to do with his big brother. He’s going to be your little shadow, following you around and mimicking everything you do. Who wouldn’t want to be like THE Rorie Ayden?

It’s important that you know, no matter how old you are, YOU little man, will always be my baby boy. Our lives began the moment you entered this world. Before you, daddy and I never knew how much we could truly love another person.  You are our firstborn; a true light of our lives.

With these approaching changes, I want to make some promises to you.

  • I promise to always be there for you, no matter what! You will never have to question my love or dedication for you.
  • I promise to always have my arms wide open for hugs and kisses. I’m not sure I could make it if I didn’t have my daily dose of snuggles.
  • I promise to make you aware of how proud we are of you every single day!
  • I promise to continue to tell you how much we love you (double the amount) on a daily basis.
  • I promise that you will ALWAYS be a priority and that you will know you are the heart of my universe.

Again, I can’t believe you are going to be promoted to big brother. A BIG BROTHER! Wow dude, that’s a big boy job, but out of all the kids I know, you are the most qualified. 🙂

I have to say one more time, that even though there is going to be a shift in our lives, a bump in our daily routine, and a new life in our household, I will always love YOU, and that will never, ever change.

It’s you and me little man!

With all of my heart and love,
Mommy (also known as Mummy if you’ve watched a lot of Peppa Pig)