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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bottle Boot Camp

It's funny how things work out sometimes. This weekend B Daddy and I are off to our LAST EVER retreat with our high school students, which means we are dishing off the kiddos to our amazing parents for the weekend. Every time we do this we reevaluate which children go to which set of grandparents based on age, eating habits and which kids are currently being high maintenance. It's a delicate dance.

This year we are sending the "big" (ages 5, 4 and 2) kids off to B Daddy's parents' home and the New Kid (6 months) is going to my folks' home. We figure one infant = 3 kids. Math was never my strong suit. The main reason behind the imbalanced equation is that our little man doesn't take a bottle. And I will be away from him for about 48 hours, or long enough for him to require a meal or two.

I was gone for a long weekend back in October during which this baby took a bottle like a champ after struggling through the first feeding. As soon as I got home, he discontinued the trick and has been putting sitters and grandparents alike through the ringer as far as taking it goes. He'll simply refuse his bedtime feeding and sleep (through the night!) until I feed him the next morning. I have to applaud his stubbornness.

But yesterday I came down with a yucky bug which is requiring a round of hard-core antibiotics that are not compatible with nursing. I have to pump and dump (GASP! SOB!) milk for a solid 5 days. Which means I'll be putting New Kid through bottle boot camp beginning today.

My strategy is based heavily on his own survival instincts (kid won't starve himself) and the magic of television. Generally speaking my kids have no idea what is going on around them if the TV is on, so I figure I'll pop a Baby Einstein movie in, stick the bottle in his face and pray for minimal tears. (Have you seen Baby Einstein?? Those bad boys will put a baby in a trance - it's scary and amazing.) You can pray for us too if you like. My mother should be thrilled that I will now be the one putting this kid through bottle boot camp instead of her. I'll let you know how it goes down. Any suggestions are appreciated!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Welcome to Crazy Joy

Hey friends! Welcome to Crazy Joy. This is my 'big' blog news. I have been wanting to change around the blog for a while now and YAY! it's finally here. (If you're reading this in your email, click over to the site and check it out - it's pretty and clean and there's new stuff to read!)

I started blogging when I was a newly minted stay-at-home mom with one baby who napped A LOT. I was basically a prisoner in my home and blogging filled the void of adult conversation and socialization. Five years and close to 500 posts later... I have discovered that writing is more than a time killer, it's something I actually enjoy. Telling a story from my day so you feel like you were actually here with me or trying to express what is going through my head and my heart as I wade into this parenting gig - it's fun for me. I'm honored and sometimes a bit surprised that people still show up and read this thing. Thank you! When I get a comment or an email or a text from you, it makes my day! (Most of my day is spent doing dishes or changing diapers - so admittedly it's not a hard thing to do...)

As this space has evolved over the years it has been a holding place for recipes, DIY projects, musings, celebrations, laughter, tears, and approximately one million pictures of our ever-expanding clan. And somehow in the middle of all that, I figured out exactly what my particular brand of mama-hood is all about.

The life that we're living right now feels CRAY-ZAY. We have a 5yr old, a 4yr old, a 2yr old and a newborn in an unusually small house for this part of the world. We have an old chocolate Lab and 4 feisty chickens because I thought that sounded fun back when we only had one child. Our home was built in 1980 and there is always something leaking, breaking or warping. There are many days when B Daddy and I look at each other and a silent, "are we ever going to come up for air?" passes between us.

Our life is undeniably crazy - but it is also full of joy

With each child added, our joy has multiplied. Without this joy, the crazy would simply be unbearable. And somehow all of the crazy hasn't taken away any of the joy. The joy is inexplicably sweeter because of the crazy.

Webster defines crazy as: full of cracks or flaws (unsound), insane, impractical, erratic, being out of the ordinary (unusual). Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. That's us.

I had to work at it, but I finally found a definition of joy that works for me. Theopedia defines Joy as: a state of mind and orientation of the heart. A settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. Something or someone that provides a source of happiness. 

Life can be full of cracks and flaws, erratic, out of the ordinary and insane and yet, within that mess you can find a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is possible to have Crazy Joy. 

The writing in this place comes from the heart of a woman trying to navigate the chaos. Instead of fighting to smooth out all the rough places in my life, I have come to believe that there is something sacred in embracing the craziness. There's a shift that takes place when you accept that you are not fully in control and in fact, you never were. It's a lesson that only motherhood has been able to teach me - letting go brings great freedom in this life.

As part of the overhaul, I've changed the name of the blog (Leipprandt is and always will be difficult to pronounce!!) and I've attempted to make the site more searchable and the posts more shareable. There are some new things up in the header bar (About, Family, Favorites, FAQ) so dig in and stay for a few minutes to check it out.

If you read something here that resonates or you find value in, would you share it with someone who might find the same thing in it?

I'll keep linking to new posts via Facebook, but if you're a diehard reader, would you use the area provided to the right to subscribe via email?? You'll get an email delivered straight to your inbox each time a new post is written. You'll never miss a thing! It's convenient and so fancy! If email ain't your thing, you can alternatively add to your feed reader of choice.

If something on the new site seems funky or isn't working right, please let me know! I'm still working out the kinks and I have next to no clue what I'm doing.

Whatever the reason you come here to read, thank you for motivating me to keep up the blog. Thanks for reading and commenting and emailing and encouraging me. And for being a part of something I enjoy very much - I think you're simply the best. I hope each time you visit your heart is re-oriented toward finding Joy in the middle of your Crazy.

With love,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

9 Life Hacks for Young Parents

We're two weeks into the New Year and the internet is full of people getting fit and eating whole and loving better. Unlike previous years I didn't make any resolutions this year because #aintnobodygottimeforthat. I am planning a few changes for the blog in the near future that require no additional time at the gym and do not necessitate me giving up my chocolate-chips-eaten-straight -from-the-bag habit, so there's that.

Something I have been pondering however that could fit into the "resolution" category is this: how can I make less of my day about kid and household maintenance and more about things that are not life-suckingly tedious. I think it's a valid question for all young parents to consider.

When your family is compromised of 50% or more little people, it is SHOCKING how much time you spend servicing the needs of those kids. Approximately 90% of my day is spent handing things to my children and then later picking those same things off of the floor. I cannot count the number of times my children have asked for a second helping of breakfast before B Daddy or I have even sat down at the table. FOR THE LOVE children. It is overwhelming and completely exhausting. How's a girl supposed to drink her coffee before it gets cold?

Because they start out so small and needing so much, I often fail to recognize when they are ready to start doing things on their own. When I was hugely pregnant this summer and actually incapable of doing everything for everyone all of the time we got serious about streamlining our routine and making little changes that save me big time. The hacks below save me minutes per child per day, which adds up to hours a week. Basically, the following things enable my Bravo TV addiction.

Read on and if you have a parenting hack of your own - please share the love! We all thank you in advance.

1. Buy your children shoes they can put on all by themselves. This is possible from the age of 2 on and it will save you six million hours over the course of your parenting life. My favorite brands in no particular order are Uggs, Crocs and Vans. No laces, no Velcro, no socks needed.
    2. In the spirit of getting out of the house quickly, hang your kids' coats (and/or backpacks) within their reach and make them responsible for getting them. (Full disclosure: we have yet to do this and it's the primary reason we could never move North of the Mason-Dixon line. I cannot imagine a life where I have to put tiny people in tiny jackets more than once in a blue moon. If you see us out in 30 degree weather and my kids have nothing but long sleeved tees on, don't believe me when I tell you they took their coats off in the car...)
    3. Designate a lower cupboard or drawer in the kitchen for all your kids' plates, cups and utensils. Show them where it is and what it's for. This means they'll be able to help set the table, help empty the dishwasher and get their own cup of water by about age 2.
    4. I'm convinced kids don't need baths every day. If I only need to wash my hair twice a week, why should my daughter need hers washed any more? We aim to bathe the kids 2x a week. It's a lofty goal I realize. They really don't sweat much in the winter and in the summer, the pool is basically a bath right? The Squirt (age 5) is learning how to shower by himself and it is a game changer. 
    5. Keep your children's clothing in drawers or bins they can open and close by themselves.  Having clothes within reach means they can put away clean clothes and pick out their own clothes much earlier. It takes a lot of manual dexterity to hang up clothing even if the bar is within reach! It's a much simpler task to sort clothing into drawers.
    6. Toy storage - see #5.
    7. Figure out the Crock-Pot. Experiment until you have 4-5 meals that you LOVE that come out of that bad boy. Serve them unapologetically once a week for the duration of your parenting career.
    8. Don't put a top sheet on your kids' beds. A fitted sheet + a comforter/quilt = a bed a 2 yr old can make neatly. (Can you tell yet what my age for making kids pull their weight around here is??) 
    9. This one is just for the truly wise (and/or truly lazy) - ditch your really cool SUV and get a minivan already. Sliding doors that open with the push of a button mean your kids can climb in and load themselves up for school all before your coffee has finished re-heating.

I figure I'm basically preparing my kids for life and saving myself a load of work at the same time by doing the above. Is it lazy? Is it brilliant? I like to think it's a healthy balance of both.  I'd love to know what your favorite parenting hacks are so I can spend less time running this place and more time in the coming year checking Instagram reading to my kids.

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