It’s not you, it’s {ME}

Chan to Mars Blog | It's Not You, It's Me!Let’s get real here. Text, Facebook messages, Snap Chats, e-mails . . . who can keep up? If your communication addressed to me takes any sort of cognitive effort to respond to, even if it’s minimal, it’s likely that you will not get a response for days, sometimes a week. Don’t worry it’s not you, it’s me! I’m a mom of youngsters, I work part-time for several different jobs one including my own business and as a stay-at-home mom, I try to clean my house and do laundry, I pick up toys everyday, wipe hineys, dry tears, break-up fights preferably before they get physical . . . and any energy that I have left at the end of the day, after the kid’s bedtime, goes to catching up with my husband and a couple TV shows. So, when you don’t hear back from me . . . don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s me! I can’t keep up and I’m not going to pretend like I can. There will be a day when my house is quiet, clean, my dishes are done, my laundry is pristine, my husband & I can go on dates whenever we want, my kids will not need me as much, and I might actually feel like I have some sense of control in a world full of chaos (bonus points to anyone that can tell me what movie that’s from). But, right now I’m living in chaos and trying to love every minute of it. Just savoring and enjoying my children’s childhood! Sure, there are days when the mess and the boys drive me nuts, but those kids bring me more joy than I ever could’ve imagined. People say, “it goes so fast”, “enjoy it while you can”. I’m trying and you should to! Stop making excuses, we understand, we’re right there in the trenches with you.

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Lead {CREEK} Valley

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve surely noticed that we’ve been camping, like always, but you may have noticed that I’ve been using the #leadcreekvalley on some of our camping trip photos and videos. Wondering where that is?!? It’s our family’s property in our small hometown. We always spent a lot of time there before we had children, but once we had kids it became harder to get out there. Especially to do any work while we were there. This year, since Mars is older and more self sufficient, we’ve been able to spend more time there. Sleeping in our camper, doing work, and showing the kids a good time! We’ve been cutting grass, cleaning up fallen trees, having campfires, swimming in the creek, and boating around the lily pad pond.

Chan to Mars Blog | Family | Lily Pad PondChan to Mars Blog | Lily Pond

At the beginning of spring, Chandler & I watched an episode of The Wild Kratts that talked about bats and installing bat houses. We went to the store the next day, bought two of them, and had the guys install them. You can see one of them hanging in this beautiful old oak tree. We’re happy to report that we already have at least two bats!! We saw them when we were out there on Sunday evening. You may wonder why we would ever want bats. Let me tell you . . . according to The Wild Kratts episode, which is where I get all my wildlife information, haha,  a single bat can eat up to 300 mosquitos in one hour after dusk. Chan to Mars Blog | Family Farm Chan to Mars Blog | Oak Tree

Our ultimate dream plan is to build a cabin there within the next couple of years. There is an old homestead on the property, likely built sometime around 1910, which is beyond repair. Fortunately, the foundation is in great shape and is reusable. We’ve already started collecting some building materials. I have no real timeline as to when this cabin building is going to happen, it’s just a “that would be nice” idea.

5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . {BLASTOFF}

You know what’s so great about my family at this stage in our lives!?! Everyone goes along with my ideas. They’re boys, so they really do not have much opinion on what the want to wear . . . and if they do, I convince them otherwise. For example, our Halloween costumes this past year. I mean, obviously the space theme was my idea and it was fantastic one!

I knew that I wanted Mars to be, well, Mars. So, the search was one for a planet costume . . . it was a tough search. Apparently planet costumes are not a thing. I found one pin on Pinterest that provided me with a little insight on how I could make the costume, which I have never ever done before.

I ordered the largest red lantern that I could find, this one on Amazon and red duct tape for reinforcement and bought some red acrylic craft paint in deep red and bright red to add some depth and make it look like a planet instead of just dressing him up as a paper lantern. From there, it was all just piecing stuff together and cutting holes where they needed to be, which was harder than I expected since the paper lantern has wires running through it. I had to use wire cutters for those parts. Another thing that I had to consider was how to make it stay in a circle shape, without the wire support that goes into the lantern. My solution was to cut a large embroidery hoop in half and tape half to each side. Then, I taped these lights to the inside of the lantern and used the battery packs as weights in the bottom.

Mars

Chan’s costume was much easier to find. I bought this Melissa & Doug astronaut costume second hand and then I was shopping in a thrift store one day and scored this silver, handmade, with hand sewn patches, and a handwritten “Armstrong” badge astronaut costume, likely from the 50’s for $4.99 and I couldn’t pass it up. You know I love vintage!

DSC_3575AstroChan

The dog got in on the fun with a rocket costume from PetsMart, which I picke up the day before Halloween for 75% off the original price.

DSC_3614DSC_3583I was a galaxy. I bought my leggings and sweatshirt from Amazon. Made a star headband out of ribbon, glitter, and felt, then painted my face to match.Crystal GalaxyIt was raining all day and I neglected to get a good family photo in the daylight. But, wanted to share a photo of all of our costumes together. Like I said, my husband is down for my ideas as long as all he has to do is wear a themed t-shirt . . . haha! It’s all about compromise.

DSC_3655

To the moon & back . . .

Moon-Man---Chan-to-Mars

 

A Guide to Camping with a {BABY} under 1

Does camping with a baby under the age of one stress you out? Don’t let it. Here’s the things that we learned our first year of camping. A Guide to Camping with Babies | Chan to Mars Blog

Hanging out
One thing we did a lot with Mars was set up his pack and play outside and used a fitted crib sheet over the top of it to keep bugs out. We put some of his favorite toys in there and just let him play and roll around while we were cooking our meals. It’s helpful to have some sort of high chair (this $15 ikea high chair has removable legs and travels very well) or bumbo seat with the tray, a pop-a-tot, or even just the stroller . . . You’ll need somewhere to sit them down, strap them in, and it’s not like at home where you can lay the baby on the floor . . . I think that was the hardest thing about camping with a baby that young.
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog

Sleeping
As far as sleeping; get a wrap! Mars took most of his day naps in our Moby Wrap the first year we took him. Babies nap a lot and you don’t want to be bound to your campsite every time they need to take a nap. We used nap times as times to go hiking. Mars loved sleeping in the Moby while I was walking around. If we were at the campground, he was sleeping in his bed in the camper, which we equipped with two mesh bed rails, a short one and a long one, which created a make-shift crib.
Don’t forget to bring the baby monitor! Camper doors are loud, so you don’t want to have to keep opening the door to check on the baby when they go to bed for the evening. We always bring the white noise machine too, but if you won’t have electric, you can download an app on your phone. It helps to drown out the noise of the older kids and adults hanging around the fire at night.
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog

Playtime
If your baby takes a pacifier, definitely use one of those clips & clip it to their shirt. We tried to keep Mars’ pacifier in his mouth all the time so he didn’t eat things that he found, like rocks or bugs! They will inevitable get dirty, camping is dirty. So pack more clothes than you’ll need & don’t forget the winter clothes like hats, coats, and mittens. You’ll basically go outside as soon as you wake up in the morning, and it can be awful chilly in the morning.
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog

Diapering & Feeding
We always did diaper changes and outfit changes on the big bed of our camper. I kept diapers and wipes handy in a bag next to our bed. As far as feeding, a high chair or even a stroller works great. Don’t forget a bottle warmer, if you need it. I would nurse Mars in the bed of our camper & when he switched to formula we had 4 formula dispensers pre measured and packed, 12 pre filled bottles with the water from home & then a jug of nursery water for when we ran out. I like prepping all of that stuff in advance because we didn’t always have water at our campsites, so I didn’t always have clean hands when mixing a bottle, if everything was already done it didn’t matter.
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog

Camping with a baby isn’t scary. Just relax and your baby will be relaxed. One more tip . . . if you’re driving far you will need to make some frequent stops for diaper changes and feedings. If you don’t need anything else, like gas or hot coffee, I’d recommend stopping at rest areas. If you have older kids, they’re usually a great place to get out some energy and grab a snack that you have in your cooler or camper.

 

Happy Camping Y’all!
Moon-Man-in-Pines

Nighttime {NOTES}

To my boys:

Chandler {CHAN} you are growing like a weed. Outgrowing all of clothes faster than I’d like to buy them. You are working on your sight words, and doing awesome! You told me that you want to learn how to read this summer, before you start Kindergarten, so we have started working on that. It seems as though you are barely going to preschool these days . . . I used to be pretty set on you going all of your scheduled days, then I realized that this is the last year, for 13 years, that you are going to have the easy option to skip school and go do fun things! So, I’ve loosened up and you’ve only been going one to two days a week now.

You are doing an awesome job taking care of your dog, Romeo. It’s amazing how much your relationship with him has turned around, he now respects you and listens to you like you are his owner, instead of his kid. You feed him, water him, and take him out. He lays in your bed until you fall asleep at night and he waits for you to wake up in the morning before he gets out of his bed.

Marshall {MARS} I cannot believe how much you’ve matured lately, especially in the past week! You’re now 25 months old, you’re potty trained (for 3 weeks now), you told me that you didn’t need your binkie anymore and handed it to me before bed last night, you are speaking so clearly, speaking in sentences, you learned your ABCs, and you are killing it on your educational games on your tablet.

You’ve finally learned “fear”. Things have been frightening you lately and it came as a shock to your brother, whom assumed you were fearless, and always made you lead the way into a dark room or scary situation. You’ve been frightened to tears several times this past week, and to be honest, I love consoling you afterwards. It’s been awhile since you’ve stood still long enough for me to hug on you. You are always on the go. Jumping, running, climbing, eating, and just overall busy . .  all. the. time.

Sleep tight little ones!

Love,

Your Mommy ❤

Moon-Man---Chan-to-Mars

Happy {HAPPY} 2016!

IMG_2200I wish everyone a happy {HAPPY} new year!

As a mom, I often find myself saying, ahem, thinking this little prayer (because I don’t have time to get a word in edgewise) “God, please grant me the patience that I lack, the understanding that I need & the peace that I crave.”

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”  |  Psalm 126:2

To the moon & back . . .

Moon-Man---Chan-to-Mars

{FIFTY-TWO} Weeks

52 weekScreen Shot 2015-12-31 at 9.26.54 AMs in a year; each documented by a photo of brotherhood, a look into a growing relationship, a relationship that changes on the daily. I had a hunch that this project would show the growing bond between Chan & Mars and I was right.

To recap: In 2013, I did #365daysofchandler and in 2014, I did #365daysofmarshall. In 2015 I decided to do a photo project that included both of them, together, with #52weeksofchanandmars.

Without further ado, unfortunately, in no particular order. I give you 52 weeks of Chandler & Marshall . . .
Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.28.35 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.28.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.29.38 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.30.02 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.30.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.30.32 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.30.47 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.31.01 PM
Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.32.19 PMApple picking, bike rides, bedtime stories, popsicles, puddles, fair rides . . . Awwwww, can I do it again next year? Maybe just continue the hashtag!?! Although, I do already have another project planned. In 2016, I’m planning to do a one second video per day. Not necessarily just of the kids, but of our everyday life, using the 1 Second Everyday app. I’m intrigued to capture a year of our lives in video.

Having a {BALL} Party

Party-InviteBall Party Cake | Chan to Mars Blog Ball Party Food | Chan to Mars Blog Ball Party Cake | Chan to Mars Blog Ball Party Fun | Chan to Mars Blog Ball Party Decor | Chan to Mars Blog Ball Party Favors | Chan to Mars Blog

Our “baby” turned two today, TWO! He loves balls, always loves to throw them, kick them, and jump in the ball pit. So, it was obvious that we had to have a ball themed party. I was looking forward to all of the bright colors and fun shaped food. I made a polka dot, rainbow layered cake and mini trix treats that I rolled into balls. We ordered an insane amount of kolache from St. Louis Kolache, because they’re delicious and shaped like balls to go along with the theme. I also ordered another one of my favorite ball-shaped foods, glitter bites from Sarah’s Cake Shop.  Sadly, our ball pit did not survive the party, but I guess that means that the kids had a ball of a time!