Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Never miss a moment




As a veteran mom of 3 (with one more on the way) I guess you could say I've seen my fair share of precious moments with my children. Sure, I've seen all of the "firsts"- first time rolling over, first tooth, first crawl, first word, first step...you name it, I've seen it. But as my kids get older and our family grows, it's a struggle to balance my attention with all of them. I'm constantly pulled in different directions and I only have two eyes- I can't watch them all at the same time and not miss something.

While trying to always be present, I think it's also important to give kids a little independence. Even a child as young as Harper, my 18-month-old daughter, enjoys her solo time more and more every day. Lately, I've been using my video baby monitor to keep a close eye on her and to allow her the freedom to think she's little Miss Independent while also giving me peace of mind knowing she's OK. 


The VTech VM343 video baby monitor has been a game-changer for me. Seriously- how did I survive this long without a video baby monitor? I can scan Harper's room and keep an eye on her with the remote pan and tilt camera, and I can even zoom in on her while she sleeps or plays. It's equipped with automatic night vision, so when the lights go out I can still see her on the large 4.3 inch LCD screen. I love watching her at night! It's so funny to see how much she rolls around and scoots all over her crib before finally succumbing to sleep. I feel so much more relieved being able to see what's going on in there. With 1,000 feet of range, I can watch her from any room in the house, and even take it with me when I'm in the backyard. This is going to be great for when spring and summer roll around! 

I've been using the VTech VM343 video monitor a lot more during the day too. It's really helping me relinquish a little bit of control and let Harper try to have more independent play without disturbing her. Lately, she loves to go in her room and shut the door. Fun for her, but scary for mom. I don't like not knowing what she's doing. Is she pulling all of the clothes out of her dresser? Pinching her fingers in the closet door? Pulling the curtains down on herself? Trying to climb into her crib? It gives me too much anxiety, but she loves having the door shut and will repeatedly shut it every time I prop it open. Now, I can stay at my desk when I hear her door click shut and watch her on the monitor. What I actually saw her doing was pretty adorable. 


No funny business here- she just wanted to play some music and read a book!

A few minutes later, my other daughter, Lily, walked by and opened her door. She saw that Harper was still looking at her book, so she decided to go in and read it to her. This is a precious moment between my two daughters that I probably would have missed if it weren't for the VTech VM343 video baby monitor. It just melted my heart to watch and hear!


I have the VTech VM343 mounted on Harper's wall in her room, and I can pan 270 degrees from side to side and 120 degrees up and down, which means I can see just about every inch of her room while she plays. If she goes over to the dresser and starts opening the drawers or fiddling with the closet door, I can push a button on my screen and talk to her through the monitor. It kind of startles her sometimes, and she looks around, like, "Mommy? Is that you?" It gets her to stop, and I'm able to continue on with what I'm busy doing while also keeping a close eye on her. In the evenings, I can easily take the camera off the wall mount and move it into the living room while I make dinner and still keep an eye on all 3 kiddos as they play and do homework. It's so much easier than constantly popping into the other room to check on them- I can't tell you how many times I've nearly ruined dinner by leaving things on the stove unattended to check on the kids. Now I an observe from afar and monitor how closely the older siblings watch their baby sister when I'm not in the room. They do a pretty good job!

Like I said, this video monitor is a game-changer for me as a parent. I am so happy to feel so secure and connected with my toddler and her new-found independence. I'm also thankful to capture the sweet moments I've seen through the screen of the monitor. This is definitely going to come in handy when baby number four arrives in September! The VTech VM343 monitor can expand up to four cameras, which means I can keep an eye on everyone at the same time if I want to. How did I survive parenting this long without it? 



I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Four kids

Random thoughts from Friday night. Yes, it took me 2 1/2 days to proofread & finally hit publish. So tired. So pregnant:

I'm sitting here at 5:56pm on a Friday night, pondering life. It's just me and my 3 kids while my husband is still working (and probably will be for many more hours- Friday nights are usually late ones in the tattoo business). We've already eaten dinner and I cleaned up the kitchen, which is shocking, considering the tired state I'm in. I am, however, excited at the prospect of putting my crazy, overly-tired, grouchy 18-month-old to bed early, so maybe that's why I so eagerly tidied up the kitchen in a happy little frenzy. It's been a long day. My two oldest kids, Ayden and Lily, are furiously clicking the buttons on their XBOX controllers while they argue about the mystical world they are building together in Minecraft. I don't get the fascination with this game, but it's giving me a moment's peace while Harper happily bangs her head on the floor next to her toys and throws blocks across the room. It's almost bedtime...

See, I'm sitting here typing as quickly as I can while I still have the energy to type it, and before I succumb to the oncoming wave of exhaustion that comes along with being in your first trimester of pregnancy. I have thoughts in my head and I know if I don't get them out now I never will. I'll be too tired, or I'll be nauseous, or I'll second guess myself and forget about it, burying those feelings deep down with the rest of my crazy, hormonally, irrational thoughts. 

Four kids. Holy shit, it's really hitting me. My husband and I have been talking about the prospect of a fourth baby pretty much since Harper came along 18 months ago. We just weren't sure she was our last one, and I liked the idea of her having a sibling close in age to her (rather than 7 & 10 years apart). So we talked, and dreamed, and finally said "whatever happens, happens." Well, it happened...earlier than I thought it would. Really, I had JUST stopped breast feeding about 3 months ago when Harper randomly weened herself from the boob. It took me forever to get pregnant with her- hence the 7 year age gap between her and Lily. I don't think I ovulated for a number of years, and the fact that I'm considered under weight probably didn't help matters. Somehow, though, after just a few months of not nursing anymore, I got those double lines on a pregnancy test a few weeks ago and shit got real.


I guess it's taken a little bit of time for the reality to set in. I'm pregnant. Like, I'm so pregnant that I'm going to have 4 kids in just a short while. Four kids. Damn. I really need that minivan now- no way around that. Along with all kinds of other half-joking wow, I'm going to have 4 kids thoughts are the serious ones that are starting to creep in too. Like, can I afford 4 kids? Do I have room for 4 kids? Do I have the energy for 4 kids? Can I seriously handle 4 kids? Then I think things like OMG what did I do? Why did I upset the delicate balance we have going on right now? 

I mean, seriously, these last 18 months have been a challenge for me. After being a mom of two for so long, especially now that they are both in school, adding another baby to the mix definitely threw me for a loop. It's been a whole new family dynamic, and I love it, but it's also definitely trying at times. We've just kind of found our sweet spot, my husband and I, both in our relationship together and as parents. We co-parent well, and we each have our "zones" and specialties. We're just figuring out how three kids works. Is adding another baby to that going to put a strain on things? Totally. I know we can handle it, but again, it's going to be a challenge. The thought of facing it seems daunting...and of course, exhausting. When is my energy going to come back? Will I ever not be tired again? 

I wish I had answers to all of these crazy-sounding questions, but at the moment, I don't. There's a huge chance this is all hormonal and just pregnancy nerves or something. I mean, I know baby number four is coming, so either way, I have to pull it together and figure it out! Don't get me wrong, I'm really excited, but I needed a momentary freak out.

Time to go ponder life some more...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Choice

This post was sponsored by Lionsgate as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read. I'm a huge book lover, and reading is one of my favorite past times, going all the way back to when I was an early teen and fell in love with my first novel. That's when I realized I could escape in a book. An amazing book will sweep you away and get you wrapped up in the storyline and character development, and will vividly come to life in your mind and imagination. It's an amazing thing, really! I could get lost for hours in a really good book. 


One of my favorites is when a book is made into a movie. I love seeing how things translate from a page in a book to the big screen. One of my recently read favorites, The Choice, by Nicholas Sparks, is getting ready to hit theaters this Friday, February 5th! 


The Choice is another great love story set in North Carolina, where two unlikely neighbors meet and eventually fall in love. Gabby, a feisty medical student preparing to settle down with her long-term boyfriend, and Travis, the ladies man who thinks a serious relationship would cramp his lifestyle, embark on a surprising romantic journey neither thought possible. After a whirlwind weekend together and an irresistible attraction neither of them expected, a choice has to be made. How far would you go to keep the hope of love alive? This story definitely resonates with everyone, because who hasn't wondered about the choices they've made in life and how that got them to where they are now? 

Check out a sneak peek of the trailer for The Choice below. Doesn't it look like the perfect Valentine's Day date movie or night out with the girls? 


Learn more about The Choice here.

Are you a Nicholas Sparks fan? Which books and movies are your favorite? Will you read or watch this one? 

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