Hotel Living With Two Toddlers

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about something that I’ve referenced before, but felt deserved it’s own blog post and that is living in a hotel with two {very active} toddlers.

One of the things that we knew ahead of our move was that we were going to be in a hotel for quite some time. This wasn’t a breaker for us, just something that we tried to prepare for ahead of time as best we can. Knowledge is power and preparation is key for this type of situation. We weren’t really able to prepare the boys though and honestly we didn’t know what we were actually walking into with our room set up.

I’ll start by saying that we are lucky. At this point we actually have a little one bedroom/one bath apartment style set up, with separate living room and bedroom areas. This allows us to have our own “space” separate from everything else when we need a little breather (which does happen). I don’t want to trivialize what this has been like at this point, but I do feel like it is important to acknowledge that we have had a better option than some of the other families.

We have two very active, very loud little boys. They love to run, wrestle, and create as much noise as possible. We’ve never had a problem with this and have generally let them explore and create and play as they want to (realistically, within reason so no one gets hurt or anything). They thrive on being able to have the room to run in circles or sing a song or heck, even just play with their own toys.

We packed several of their toys in their luggage and have purchased a couple of items, but the vast majority of their toys are still in transit with the rest of our household goods and we wont get any of them until we get a house. So they get a little bored playing with the same games and toys (which I realize may make them sound incredibly spoiled which they are not, but boredom is a factor at times here).

I think the hardest thing for the boys has been that they can’t just play as they please. We are trying very hard to keep our noise level down as best we can (considering we are at the top floor of our little building) and while I know that at times kids will just kids and others will be understanding, I also want to be understanding towards them. I know that not everyone wants to hear the pitter patter (or elephant thuds) of feet across their ceiling during the day. When they will, I encourage the boys to sit and draw/color, read a book (sort of), or watch a movie/tv show that they like to watch. They do get to wander around and be active, just in a quieter way.

The biggest help has been getting out as much as we can. We try to leave the apartment 3-4 weekdays in the mornings, whether its just going to a café or shops or going to a play group, and then we are out and about on the weekends. I try to leave one day to have a cosy day at home just to break up all the out and about stuff and to give them a bit of a break. I find that by doing this, they aren’t as “hyped up” on the days that we are in the hotel apartment and are more likely to take it easy.

Our boys are quite resilient and aside from a few rough days here and there have been doing remarkably well, but it’s not all sunshine and daisies. They do fight (A LOT), we do run into issues of noise (although most of that is just us being extra aware that we share walls) and sleep and there have been a couple of moments that we have just needed a little 10 minute break. I’m not going to lie and say that I haven’t just wanted to scream at moments. It hasn’t been “easy”, but with everything that we are experiencing, the memories that we are making, and this opportunity that we’ve been given has made it all worthwhile.

My #1 Piece of Advice

Whenever I have a conversation with someone who is just starting something, whether it be motherhood, a new job, marriage, whatever, inevitably the conversation goes somewhere towards advice. I get this a lot when I talk with other expectant moms or engaged couples. Big life changes can be daunting and sometimes it helps to talk to someone else who has been through it (and sometimes it doesn’t, I get it either way).

While I try not to offer unsolicited advice (I remember how much I hate that myself), if I get asked for any tips this is ALWAYS my go to answer:

“Be open to the idea that NOTHING is going to go the way you have it planned out”

Yep, Type A, planner/organized/list maker me just said that. This one piece of advice is the one piece that I feel like everyone tap dances around, but never just comes out and says it. It can be applied to any situation and is both blunt/honest and yet kind. It’s the best piece of advice I ever heard and it is the single most true thing anyone has ever said about life.

We can try and plan things out, set goals, and map out the direction our life will take. I would hazard a guess that our lives end up going that path 75% of the time. Life throws curveballs all the time: that dream promotion went to someone else, relationships come to an end, pregnancy is not the dream that we thought it would be, the list goes on and on.

When we get those curveballs, we fall into two categories:

Category 1: We freak out and try to resist wherever it is that we are being pulled in order to stay on track with our perfect life plan. We desperately cling to our plans/lists/goals and crumble at the curveball that has just been thrown. A good amount of us end up staying in this category, unsure of how to pull ourselves out and get back to where we want to be.

Category 2: We roll with the punches and try to adjust our plans and goals around whatever the curve ball may be. These are the people who are taking the advice given above and putting it into action. They are the ones who seem to always have their stuff together and always seem to getting places.

I’m not saying that we can’t dwell or process the curveball when it is thrown our way. Absolutely in some cases we will need to process and deal. The difference is that if we make our goals and plans knowing that they may shift and change as life moves forward, then we can continue on after we’ve processed the curveball. When we make our life plans, if they are made with this knowledge, then we can bounce around the curveballs (and maybe hit a few of our own) with ease. Knowing that we will get to where we are meant to be.

So, whether you are engaged, an expectant mother, a soon to be graduate, or looking at a major life change, just keep in mind that things may not go according to your plan. Welcome those curveballs and keep moving forward with your life.

Friday Morning Cups

This picture may seem simple. May seem harmless. Just a book and a cup of tea. Nothing more to see, right? Wrong. Now I don’t expect you to infer what I am about to say, nobody could just from this picture. But that is why I’m saying it. That is why it’s just a simple picture, with a much more powerful caption. Often times this isn’t something that is spoken about beyond the “shtick” that many moms have started to claim. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can be a dangerous line between what is normal and a funny “just a mom thing” and what is needing a little more attention

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Here sits my now cold cup of tea untouched along with my unopened book (that I started a night or two ago and haven’t touched since). If you know me, you know that either of these things being untouched is unheard of. Instead, I have been sitting here in my chair, staring out the window, utterly spent. Trying to recoup what little I have left.

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Motherhood is the most incredible gift that I have ever experienced but it is also a uniquely exhausting and trying time. It is a constant, overwhelming, role and there comes a time (for all of us), when we are just spent. When we have nothing left. When the simplest of things (like drinking a cup of tea or reading) can just sit for hours without being touched. We are not good at asking for help, we are not good at saying that we are overwhelmed, we just keep trying to hold everything together, while seemingly pulling our own selves apart. There is a level of exhaustion that is normal and then there is a level where you may need to talk to someone or need to ask for help.

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Don’t do what I did for a long time. Don’t try and hide how you’re feeling, or pretend like you’ve got it all together. Don’t always put yourself last. Every once in a while (preferably before you feel that last fraying string snap), tell someone. Reach out. Say I need a minute, 5 minutes, an hour (he’ll be ambitious and go for a couple hours if you can). You’ll be better for it. Your spouse will be better for it. Your children will be better for it.

A Mother’s Take on Toddlerhood (While In The Thick of It)

As of writing this post, our boys are aged 2 months shy of 3 years old and 16 months. So, right smack in the middle of what Toddlerhood is. While each age comes with unique challenges, I think toddlerhood can sometimes get an especially bad rep. When you hear from other parents talking about their experience, I’ve heard toddler and teenage years can be some of the hardest years. Personally, I think toddlerhood is just very mis understood. Not in a bad way, it can be so hard for us to understand as it has been years since we went through it and we don’t remember it. I think this may have been one of the most important shifts in thinking when it comes to parenting.

***I’ve touched slightly on an outline of what I will be saying, which can be viewed HERE***

As parents when our kids are acting out, misbehaving, throwing temper tantrum after temper tantrum, it is very easy to become flustered. Happens to the best of us, and it is completely normal to just want to throw your hands in the air and walk away. AND sometimes that is the best thing to do. Sometimes that can be the key to diffusing whatever the situation is.  It can be easy to lose our patience as we ask for the toys to be picked up for the fourteenth time, or to not play with the food, or to not touch something. It can be so draining to feel like you are just repeating yourself with no action or apparent listening. I think this is why people say toddler hood is tough.

And it is.I am not disputing the fact that parenting one toddler, let alone two, or three is tough. It is draining. (Make sure that you take care of yourself during this time, otherwise everything I say after this point will not work)

BUT(gotta love those buts right?!)…

If we think it is hard on us as parents, think about how hard it is on our children. They are being thrust into a whole new level of mental development, they are growing physically, they are trying to figure out how to navigate the world that just seems to be getting bigger and scarier. They are trying to figure out what are boundary lines, what they can and can’t do. How to articulate their feelings, hell what they are feeling. They are working on developing better communication skills and most of the time are bursting with things to say, things to do, places to see, parents/grandparents/relatives/friends to remember. ALL AT THE AGE OF 2.

Can you blame them for getting frustrated with not being able to say something, or talk about something that they really want to tell you, but they just don’t have all the words? Can you blame them when all they want to do is find the toy that they hid from themselves in a game? Or try to put the train tracks together a certain way and it’s just not working?

Imagine feeling angry about something, not being able to understand first that you are feeling angry and then second how to tell someone what you are feeling angry about? That is frustrating. Then imagine, as you are getting frustrated and angry, you see your parent, loved one, person you look up to, start to get frustrated. It escalates quickly (and again, it happens to all of us from time to time, no doubt about it).

Our children get thrust into this world and it is our responsibility as parents to help them, to guide them, as they learn. We cannot do that if we don’t at least try to understand what they must be going through. What we see as well, he’s angry about x, y, or z, is not what they see. They just have all of these things building up inside with no way to let them out. We only know that because we’ve learned that as we’ve grown up.

So, before you talk about the terrible two’s or the threenagers, try and think about what your children are experiencing. Sure, parenting is hard work. It is tough and draining. BUT think about what it is like through your child’s eyes, without having all of the knowledge that we as parents (or adults) now have.

Round the Kettle Ep 3: The Real Deal

I feel like whenever we have a coffee with friends, we always start with “So, how’ve you been?”  Seems like a good enough place to start these new posts, right?

So, how’ve we been?

***There is a reciprocal conversing bit to these posts, so tell me in the comments below how you’ve been and we can have a conversation!***

I’m sitting here, steeping a cup of a loose-leaf tea blend that I’ve really been enjoying lately called Fireside Plum, listening to a band that I’ve recently discovered called Imaginary Future. I really like their music and the duets they do with Kina Grannis. I would describe the music as alternative/acoustic/folk/soft love ballads (yep, it really took that many genres to narrow it down). The boys are tiring themselves out with loads of wrestling and playing, I can hear the giggles coming from our living room as I type. In fact, I should probably go check on them as giggles are more often than not a sign of something in the trouble realm…

Wednesday was Halloween. Quite the event for the kids and my least favorite holiday. I like the excitement that the kids experience and watching that, so that’s the good thing about it. This year the boys were Gecko from PJ Masks (if you’re a mom, you know) and The Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. We did end up going trick or treating this year, even though the kids are still a little too young to understand the idea (Colton is kind of on the cusp though). What were you or your children for Halloween this year? Do you do trick or treating or a party for Halloween?

Saturday, we decided to venture “into the city” and hit up the Zoo. The Zoo is always a big hit with our boys (and well really with anyone) and we definitely got quite the show from the animals. It’s really fun to watch the boys get excited over seeing the animals and we just enjoyed having a nice family outing. We get the luck of being able to attend The National Zoo off of a really pretty stretch of road (or at least the scenic route to the zoo is really pretty, going through the city is a different story…) and this was probably our last trip. One of our favorite bits about this particular zoo is the Orangutan Habitat. IMG_7742They have a “rope course” across the zoo where they can travel up in the air from one enclosure to another. Similar to how they would in the wild. It has got to be one of the coolest things to watch. When was the last time you went to your local zoo? Do they have a local attraction that you really love?

In terms of us and life, we are in an endless holding circle right now it seems. There are things that need to be done for our move, planned for, but we can’t as it’s either too early (seems crazy coming up on 3ish months) or we are waiting for other companies/people. It creates its own hectic/stress feeling and has to be the worst period of time when it comes to moving. We are both just ready to be getting to the moving and traveling bit (although I’m sure when we get to that part with two young active children, we are going to wish we were at the next part).

So, to combat that endless circle feeling, we’ve been trying to get out. Get out of our house, get into nature, different activities, go adventuring. Enjoy the parks and wildlife that we have around us. We’ve got a great park at the end of our street, a backyard area that is not only beautiful, but teaming with all sorts of creatures, and just generally in a nice area for the kids.

***Also, both boys are now at an age where adventuring out without a full diaper bag, or a huge bulky stroller is totally a possibility. It’s become a much less daunting chore to get both boys ready, fed, and out the door and we aren’t in such a rush to get back to the house, to meals, to naps. It’s made a huge difference to our days and our activities. So, if you are a mom who is maybe in the 2 under 2, or just have a really young child, it will get better. That stage isn’t very long and leaving the house will feel much easier soon!***

The great thing about having young kids is they are experiencing life for the first time, this means a simple walk in the park, which works wonders for me, captivates their attention and fascinates them! The colors have been beautiful, and it’s not been too chilly.

IMG_4692Fun fact: September through December is my all-time favorite time of year. We get the beauty of the leaves turning and falling, the crisp coolness of the early morning, gorgeous sunrises poking through the trees, hitting all of the vibrant colored leaves. Then everything slowly turns chillier, barer, until that first magical snow fall. It’s just such a wonderful and magical time of year. I’ve come to realize that Autumn just feels like my soul has been embodied by everything around me.

So, tell me, how’ve you been? I’m not really sure how these Round the Kettle posts are going to shake out (they definitely won’t always be this long or this “family update-y”), I’m sure they will take their own format as we go on.

Friday Morning Cups – A Super Important Motherhood One

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“Toddlers are not giving us a hard time, they are having a hard time”. Saw this quote a little while ago and it really just put me back in the right mindset. Figured I would share it as well as it may remind someone else of what toddlers go through. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it ISN’T hard to be a parent (it is at times and I will be the FIRST PERSON to acknowledge that, I actually just recently did), but I am going to try and say that sometimes we need to rethink our thought process when it comes to “terrible two’s”, “threenagers”, etc (which I totally do say those things, so I’m not perfect with this by any means.

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It’s hard for us to truly understand (as we as adults now possess the abilities our youngsters are learning), but imagine having all the feelings, feelings which you’ve never experienced before, learning all of these new things you’ve never known before, trying to understand the vastness and complexity of the world you live in, without having the words to express yourself. Without having the ability to truly make sense of what is going on around you. Sounds frustrating, right?

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So, when you are dealing with the 5th temper tantrum over your first morning cup, try to remember, they don’t understand. They are trying to learn about their world. Their rules. Their role. And it is up to us, as their parents to calmly riddle it out for them. To show them the way. To speak to them and help them understand. It is hard for them, just as it  can be draining for you. AND if you are feeling drained, say something. Take a little breather and do some self care. 

Friday Morning Cups : A 2 for 1 on Motherhood

IMG_6071Before I was a mom I never thought I would be the mom who said: “Send (insert:caffeine,wine,junk food, etc) it helps” (In my case it’s tea and It totally does help).

▫️Before I was a mom, I never thought I would be annoyed at my messy house (I mean the kids are living, making memories, etc). 

▫️Before I was a mom I never thought I would celebrate the idea of using the bathroom in peace (I totally knew this whole everyone in the bathroom would be a thing, but that solo celebration is also a thing).

▫️Before I was a mom I scoffed at the idea of making separate sides for children (I don’t make a full separate meal, but I do occasionally make two different sides, while offering all options, just to ensure my picky toddler eats something at dinner).

▫️Before I was a mom, I thought that after becoming a mom it wouldn’t be hard to get back to husband and wife (don’t let this scare you, it’s not HARD per se, you just have to make it a priority because it is so so important. 

▫️Before I was a mom I had all sorts of ideas about TV time, technology, etc (which I actually still maintain most of those same ideas ☺️)

▫️Before I was a mom…The list could go on and on of things I thought, ideas on how I would parent, how I thought life as a mother would be. Then I became a mom. 

▫️That’s the thing about motherhood, you have all these ideas and principles in your head…and then it happens. You are handed your child and it gets real. While your overall principles stay the same, your approach, the way you talk, the little things you do everyday. New things annoy you, old things fade away. And if you decide to have multiple children? Your parenting approach and style change to meet the individual needs of each child. 

▫️So have your ideas and overall principles about how you want to parent, try to stick with them as you parent, but know that the minor details may change here and there. That every child is different and will have different needs. That it’s ok to say, how I had planned to parent isn’t what is working. It is ok to shift styles as you figure out what your child needs. Once you find what works for you and for your child, it’s magic…or at least magic with a side of what gets you through the day. 

IMG_2124.JPGI’ve said it before- I like a clean house. I strive for a clean house 97% of the time (the 3% being the time that my kids are awake and trashing everything 😅). A clean home makes me calm (no joke). What I really pride myself on though is my kitchen. I strive for clean counters, floor, dishes in either the washer, drying wrack or put away. Perfection in my kitchen is heaven/less stress to me. BUT (and this is THE BUT of life really), there is a time and place for that. 

☕️Yes, there are dishes on my counter. Yes, I was in the process of clearing breakfast and handling my kitchen after a meal. But if I hadn’t turned around. If I hadn’t bent down. If I hadn’t taken the chance to just be with these two and have a mini pile up/dance party. Then I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t have this picture. I wouldn’t have these smiles. It may sound dramatic and over the top, but it’s true. 

☕️Our children want us. They want us to watch, to play, to talk, to be with them. While we see all the mess around us, see everything that needs to be done, see the work that needs to be done, they just see Mommy and Daddy. So turn around for a minute. Have the dance party. They may not remember every little thing, but they will remember the overall feelings/picture they had. And you will remember. And there will be smiles. Giggles. Happiness.