Category Archives: We’re Moms Too

Like you, We’re Moms Too. We get excited for their first tooth, first step, first day of school, and first love. Here, we share our stories about motherhood.

We’re Moms Too: Watching Her Learn

Watching Her Learn

Written by Ashley

It’s amazing in how in just 14 short months I’ve watched my daughter grow into a giggling and babbling mobile little girl. The milestones I’ve witnessed are incredible – from rolling over, to sitting up, to pulling herself up, to cruising, and now just moments away from her first independent step. She amazes me every day. She’s developed her own little personality and loves to play chase, zoom up the stairs, try new foods and play with her puppy. She also enjoys learning, and I am amazed to see her develop her fine and gross motor skills through play. My husband and I try to expose her to new sights and sounds every chance we get. From playgrounds and festivals to ball games and museums, the more she sees, the more she learns.

This past weekend we visited the Great Lakes Science Center. And while my husband may have played with the exhibits more than her, she learned a great deal. Watching her face light up as she looked at the exhibits, from bubbles and gears to electricity and spaceships, reiterated how important it is to us as parents for her to have these experiences as a child.

Playing With Blocks

It’s not every day I see her use her tiny pointer finger to turn the gears without me showing her how. Nor is it every day that a smile as wide as her ears appears as she slides down a slide. And it’s certainly not every day she gets to try on her own space suit.

Space Baby

I often wonder what she’s thinking and how the human brain develops from infancy to adulthood (I was never good at science). For her to just grasp things, follow our lead, say a new word; it boggles my mind. How does she know that her play food isn’t real food when she “eats” it? How does she know that “doggie” really means her furry friend? How does she know that by flashing me a huge, bright smile, I’ll smile?

Early childhood development is incredible. I am grateful to be there to see her learn something new, to see the gears in her head turn as she figures out that can knock down the blocks, turn her ride-on toy to prevent her from bumping into the wall, and push down on the princess castle to make the princesses talk. While she may be learning something new each day, as am I. I learn each day how to love even more just when I don’t think I have any more room in my heart; how to be patient; how to be comforting; how to be encouraging; how to be a mom.

WM2_AshleyAbout Ashley
Ashley is a self-proclaimed fashionista, social media maven, and proud new mama. Together with her husband, they welcomed their first child last August. They also have a fur-baby named Peak, an 80-lb. yellow lab whom they adopted during a ski trip in Denver. She is the Social Media Manager at Step2 and you may have recently communicated with her if you’ve chatted with Step2 on Facebook or Twitter.

We’re Moms Too: Cry Baby

MomsTooButton Cry Baby

 
By: Meghan

Last week we experienced a number of firsts at our house. My 18 month old uttered her first full sentence:  “No Mommy,” proving that she’s going to give us a run for our money. I broke down and bought our first family calendar to mount in our kitchen, admitting that I can’t in fact keep it all in my head. And Clara, our spunky 3 year old, started preschool.

My plan was to take Clara on her first day, and then head to a nearby coffee shop to get some work done, before picking her up for that abbreviated first day. Clara had been in daycare from an early age so this wasn’t her first experience at school.  Nor was it my first time dropping her off with teachers I didn’t know, in a classroom that seemed so foreign. But this was a different school and it all seemed more grown up. Clara seemed to know that too.  She had her new glitter shoes, her backpack, and her lunch box (mind you school only lasted until 10:30 this first day, but the empty lunchbox was going with us no matter what!)

Clara first day
 

As a walked into the school I noticed a tent outside with moms socializing underneath, coffee cups in hand and toddlers and babies hanging in strollers nearby.  I later learned it was the Parent Committee, hosting a first day drop in coffee hour for new or weepy moms and dads.

Clara practically skipped ahead of me into her classroom.  There was nothing not to love. First things first they greeted Clara with a hug and then walked her over to the miniature sink to wash her hands, so the day could begin. The room was set up like a cozy home, with cushions and book corners and a nature themed at every bend.  Clara found her nametag and headed over to art corner where she got busy exploring. I looked at the teacher, who looked back at me and said “She seems quite comfortable”…. And I couldn’t disagree. After I watched her for a few minutes, I walked back to sneak a hug and kiss, and then onwards towards  the door. Clara didn’t skip a beat. She didn’t even turn her head but kept exploring her new environment.

As I headed out I found myself choking up.  Her teacher waved and said softly, “There’s a bench down the hall if you need it.”  I kept going, through the hallway and past the school administrators who were taking all the necessary paperwork and permissions and out the doors into the courtyard.   At this point, the tears were visibly rolling down my cheeks.  I couldn’t hold it in.

I wondered why I was so sad about Clara. Its not that I wanted her to be running after me through the hallway; I was so proud she just dove right in. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like this was the beginning of the end. First preschool,  then college.   As I was fast forwarding through the next 15 years and all the other teary moments I would have,  a mom touched my arm and introduced herself.   And a moment later,  I was following her over to the tent  to make a few mom friends and dry up my own tears.

Have any of you had eventful first days of school with your kiddos that you want to share?

 

About Meghan
892Meghan is the Communication and Licensing Director at Step2. Meghan is a mom to three little girls, all under the age of 5, who are best friends and worst enemies at the same time. Meghan, married to her husband of 8 years, loves to travel, try new foods, and has recently become a big fan of Downtown Abby. It’s a real treat when she and husband get a babysitter and over-order at their favorite sushi restaurant.

 

We’re Moms Too: Planning Our First Birthday Party

We're Moms Too
 

Written by Tena

We are in the process of planning our first birthday party for our son Myles; not to be confused with planning a birthday party for his first birthday.  Confused?  Probably not half as confused as I typically am with planning events!

There are those of us who enjoy entertaining; making food for large groups of people and getting family and friends together for celebrations.  Then, there are people like me.  I have anxiety about planning events; specifically around planning events at my house.  Is it too dusty?  Is there cat hair on the couch? Does anyone have dietary restrictions?   Will my childhood friends get along with my mommy friends?  Will my family embarrass me in front of my co-workers? How much food is enough?  How many variations of beverages should I offer?  The list is endless  as to what I will find to stress out about so it should come as no surprise that I am not a fan of entertaining.

Because of this irrational fear (logically I know it is irrational) it is no wonder I skipped on having a bash for my son’s first birthday.  Last year, I wanted his birthday to be low key and with immediate family.  I wanted to enjoy every single second of his day and not stress about it in the least.  That didn’t happen.  We had other, unforeseen circumstances that I ended up stressing about.  Stressing is part of who I am and while I’m hoping that I will outgrow it (maybe when I’m in my 40’s or 50’s) for now, I have decided to embrace it.  That decision has led me to planning a party for Myles’ second birthday.

Much to my surprise, I am actually having some fun planning this event.  I’ve found small ways to manage my stress level; like having the party two weeks after his actual birthday so that we can still have a nice family celebration together.  Additionally, I am having the party at a park instead of at my house.  I planned the party for the middle of the afternoon to avoid a typical “meal time” and have also strategically planned around his nap schedule.  I am making Mac N’ Cheese (his favorite food) and serving it in martini glasses and offering some grown up topping options (like bacon, tomatoes, and onions).  The party theme is Monsters, Inc. (ever since we’ve introduced him to Movie and Pizza Night, it has been Monsters, Inc. every Friday night).  I am serving cake balls (cake pops without the stick because I find the sticks too difficult) and Sprite with colored ice cubes to drink or water.

For activities, I am not planning anything too grand.  Myles enjoys dancing so we have rented a speaker to hook up to the iPad and will be downloading kidz bop volumes 20 – 23 to our iTunes account.  Since we are having it at a park, the kids can also play on the swing sets and I may decide to bring over a few Step2 toys that we gave him as birthday presents.  I am actually excited for the party and hoping it will be a huge success.

When we celebrated on his actual birthday this past Sunday, I told him that I wanted to make a wish too.  My wish for him is that every birthday he has is better than the last; whatever that means to him.  I am confident that I can help that to come true by becoming less of a basket case with each passing year, or at least finding ways to manage around it.

What is your wish for your children?

 

We're Moms Too
Tena and her best friend (and hubby) had their first child in July, 2011. Their little guy has a congenital heart defect and he is one tough little cookie; don’t ever think about calling him sick though – “his plumbing is just different.” Tena is an animal loving vegetarian and is excited to teach her son about compassion and the importance of volunteer work. She secretly hopes her son will be left handed like his momma. She is the Online Marketing Director for Step2.

We’re Moms Too: Baby’s First Summer

Written by Ashley

I honestly can’t believe the difference a year makes. Last summer, as I was typing a We’re Moms Too post, my feet were elevated, my hands were swollen and my stomach barely cleared the keyboard. As I write this now, body just about back to “normal,” I think about what fun activity I’ll get to do with my 10 month old daughter after getting home from work.

It’s only July and my daughter has already experienced a handful of summer firsts (she was born in early August last year, but was too little to really enjoy the outdoors). She has become a swing addict, although her first experience was a little shaky at first. My husband is a stay-at-home dad like Tena’s hubby, so I gratefully get to spend an hour with her here and there over lunch. There is a park about 5 minutes from my work with bucket swings. One workday, my husband packed us a picnic and we went to the park over my lunch break. After lunch, we placed her in the bucket swing and pushed it a bit. She sat in that swing like a limp dog – it was partially that we had no idea how to sit a baby in a bucket swing (“put a blanket behind her so she sits up further”) and partially that this was a completely new experience for her and she had no idea what was going on. But once we removed the blanket (and the over-sized floppy hat), she started smiling and giggling. Fifteen minutes later we had to leave so I could return to work, but I knew we’d be back to the bucket swings soon. On that day, we created a bucket swing monster.

WM2_Ashley
We’ve also had the chance to frequent a few ballgames. My husband is a die-hard Cleveland Indians fan, so it’s no surprise that he would want to share the excitement of the game with his daughter. Progressive Field has an awesome kid’s play area, which I’ve always wanted to check out, but couldn’t without a child (it makes sense that they won’t let you in without a kid). So when we took our daughter to the game a few weeks ago, I finally got the chance to check it out (I may have been more excited than her!). Most of the toys are still a bit too big for her, but she loved to crawl around on the mats and found a toy just her size – the Up & Down Elephant. She poked, pulled and climbed on the mini slide with confidence.

WM2_Ashley

One of my favorite firsts happened just last week. The weather has been fickle here in northeast Ohio so it’s been less than great pool weather. The other night it was HOT, like 90+ degree hot. So I thought it would be a good idea to bring out the pool and see if she liked dipping her feet in the cool water. Again, she was hesitant at first, but after mommy and daddy showed her it was okay, she looked like a seasoned pro. She was so proud walking around the pool holding onto mine and my husband’s hands. It was a proud moment for us too.

WM2_Ashley

Do you remember your first summer with baby? What was your favorite “first” that summer?

WM2_AshleyAbout Ashley
Ashley is a self-proclaimed fashionista, social media maven, and proud new mama. Together with her husband, they welcomed their first child last August. They also have a fur-baby named Peak, an 80-lb. yellow lab whom they adopted during a ski trip in Denver. She is the Social Media Manager at Step2 and you may have recently communicated with her if you’ve chatted with Step2 on Facebook or Twitter.

We’re Kids Too: Leaving the Nest

We're Kids Too
 

Here at Step2, not only are we moms but we also were at one time (or are) kids who love spending time with our parents.  There are many stories we look forward to sharing with you with our installation of “We’re Kids Too” which is a series based off of “We’re Moms Too.” We look forward to sharing the love, lessons, and laughs remembering our childhood brings.

By: Nicole

It is hard to believe that a little over a year ago, I graduated from college and started my journey to finding a career. As I was taking the steps toward being an adult, I made the decision to move back home with my mom, in order to become financially stable. Coming back home also meant that I would be able to bond more with my mom after not being home as much during the past four years.

I am not sure how many college grads are excited to move back home after a few years of freedom, but I was the happiest daughter in the world. However, it has been a year and times have changed. I love my mom just as much as I always have, but I now feel secure and responsible enough to be on my own. Anyone who knows me, knows that the bond I have with my mom is extremely strong and making the decision to move out was very hard for me.

I come from a single parent household and the last thing I want to do is make my mother feel alone when she has provided me with shelter, an opportunity to further my education, and most importantly the love only an amazingly strong woman could provide.

When I decided to tell my mom that I was moving out, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Although it saddened me to break the news to her, I believe that we both felt it was for the best.  We both know that it will strengthen our relationship further because we will not be around each other as often.

My mother is my best friend and I firmly believe she is the best mom in the world. She has been my biggest inspiration to succeed while still being a shoulder to cry on when I have felt defeated in the past. My time at home after college has taught me a lot about the person I am and the person I want to become. During this year, I learned how important it is to not spend my money frivolously. Someday, I will have a lot more important obligations to spend my money on, such as a family of my own. I also began appreciating how much my mom has done for me over the years. She has done everything she could to make sure I have been taken care of and that most importantly, I am happy. Honestly, I feel blessed to have someone that cares about me as much as my mom does. I hope someday I am at least as half as wonderful as my mom is.

So to my mom, this is not goodbye and this is not me leaving because I do not love you. This is me saying and knowing that based on the lessons you have instilled in me, that I am a strong woman like you and I feel capable of being on my own. Thank you for everything you have done for me and all you will do for me in the future. There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe the love I have for you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to find myself. You are my rock and I hope you know that no matter where I live, where you live, will always be my home.  I love you, I love you, I love you!

nicoleandmom
 

 

About Nicole
nicole

Nicole is a DIY advocate (thanks to Pinterest) and amateur chef (also thanks to Pinterest). Still taking life one step at a time after graduating almost a year ago, she loves receiving advice about life from her mother, who is her best friend. She is a lover of all things Cleveland and loves going to the new restaurants and attractions around town. Nicole is the Internet Marketing Specialist at Step2.

We’re Moms Too: And Dog Makes 6?

We're Moms Too
 

 

By: Meghan

My husband and I are both dog people, which means we both have childhood and teenage memories of dogs that were essentially part of the family. I grew up with Springer Spaniels—first, Dublin and then Bridy.  My husband grew up with a St. Bernard, Coors, who in its short life gave the family more than a few happy stories.

With all of our apartment living and travel over the past 7 years of marriage, we’ve been pet less, except for the close call we had with a pug purchase about 5 years ago.  Living in an apartment in Minneapolis at the time, so many of our neighbors had small dogs and I started seeing a parade of miniature bulldogs and pugs in and out of the elevators.  I caught the bug, so to speak, and made an appointment at a breeder soon after.    I got to cuddle and play and satisfy my pug fetish for a good 20 minutes.  Fortunately, a chat with our parents (the ones who had already raised dogs) put things in perspective, as they reminded us that our jetting to and fro over the weekends, not to mention our long hours during the week, was not fitting lifestyles for a pug.  So the phase passed and life went on.

Here we are 5 years later, and boy have things changed. Settled in suburban Ohio, I’m no longer walking up stairwells but rather a driveway to our garage and house (yes, life called for it!) and 3 beautiful daughters.   With a fenced in yard, a basement and three eager helpers, we’ve asked ourselves if we’re ready for a dog.  My almost 5 year old has requested a dog for her birthday and I have to say, I’m very tempted.    That is until my husband tells her, “Maybe when you’re a teenager…”   and then steels me that “Are you out of your mind” look.  You know the one I’m talking aboutJ.  Something tells me that he’s not ready to expand our brood.  Perhaps it was the 3 kids in 4 years that makes me not push back….not yet anyway.

Enter our lovely neighbors:  Peter & Linda are a 50 something couple with 2 children recently out of college. They have 3 very friendly dogs that make their way up to the fence that divides our yards to be caressed and scratched by little hands that fit through the openings.   This past weekend, Mary (4) and Clara (3) went out for a little adventure with their dad, which left me and Annie (15 months) a few hours to frolic the morning away outside.  On our walk home from the playground, we stopped outside to chat with Linda who was gardening with their golden retriever.  Annie was entertained for awhile, but then started making her way to Linda’s front door, through the mulch piles, to catch a glimpse of her smaller dog.  I chased after her and brought her back to me.  Once back, she took off again, with that same determination past the wheel barrow, over the mulch piles and up to the front door where she pushed herself up against the screen to see the dog. This sequence repeated itself 4 times. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th time I find myself crouched next to her at the foot of the door, about to explain why we can’t go into the neighbors’ house and she just looks at the dog and says “TUCKER”…. “TUCKER”….    Oh my!  Was this a sign?   Annie has said Mama & Dada up until that point, and that was it.  Wow—I guess the neighbor’s dog had made quite an impression!

For now, it looks like we’re going to hold off on the dog purchase, despite my daughter’s birthday request, or my other daughter’s 3rd word tribute to Tucker.  Unless that dog can cook, clean and walk itself, we are probably in for a little wait. Still, I want my kids to grow up with a dog and I hope I can make that happen in the next few years. For now I’ll have to be pleased with the dog days of summer and enjoying Linda and Peter’s brood next door.

We're Moms Too

Mary and Clara over Memorial Day

We're Moms Too

Annie shmoozing with the neighborhood pooches

We're Moms Too

Annie and Tucker

About Meghan
892Meghan is the Communication and Licensing Director at Step2. Meghan is a mom to three little girls, all under the age of 5, who are best friends and worst enemies at the same time. Meghan, married to her husband of 8 years, loves to travel, try new foods, and has recently become a big fan of Downtown Abby. It’s a real treat when she and husband get a babysitter and over-order at their favorite sushi restaurant.

 

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