“Can you PLEASE eat your veggies?!?”

Since when does my almost 4.5 year old decide she doesn’t want anything to do with veggies?

I heard time and time again…make sure to give them veggies when they are young so they will love them when they are older! I took this advice and ran with it. Always giving Annora veggies with every meal and for every snack…until 4 years hit and everything changed…I mean EVERYTHING!

Annora made me a "leaf" salad from the leaves on the tress...if only she ate the salads I make her! Humph!

Annora made me a “leaf” salad from the leaves on the tress…if only she ate the salads I make her! Humph!

This is a tough pill for a health and fitness coach to swallow. I preach healthy eating on a daily basis and this new preschool way of eating just wasn’t going to fly with this momma! I needed to get creative…and FAST!

Being a health and fitness coach, I know there are so many ways to “hide” veggies in everyday yummy food. There is the infamous macaroni & cheese with broccoli, the awesome lasagna with eggplant, the oatmeal pancakes with swiss chard flakes, etc. This momma knows how to hide but it takes a lot of work to research and it takes a lot of work to make sure your little ones are getting in enough vegetables on a daily basis.

I decided to stick with what I knew and trusted. I turned to my daily superfood shake and went to work. Not only do I now add spinach and chia seeds, but swiss chard gets a frequent visit into the over 20 superfoods smoothie that my girls now BEG me for! That’s right…I found the SECRET to getting them to eat as many veggies as I want…let them drink them in a smoothie! LOL

The girls drinking their superfood smoothie (Shakeology) that they BEGGED me for.

The girls drinking their superfood smoothie (Shakeology) that they BEGGED me for.

This once FRUSTRATED momma of 2 is now a happy clam to 2 veggie eating girls unbeknownst to them. Now when they turn their little noses up at the mixed veggies on their dinner plates, I can joyfully tell them that after one bite and trying them, they can leave the veggies alone.

Haha…Momma = 1, Girls = 0

The look of frustration when your 4 year old refuses her veggies!

The look of frustration when your 4 year old refuses her veggies!

FORTS!!!!

“Mom, come find me?”

The words I hear from my 4.5 year old as I wash the dishes in the kitchen. With a smirk on my face, I place my dish rag down and go on a child hunt. It is pretty easy to spot the little feet sticking out from under the curtains  but I play the game and act as though I cannot find her. Delise, my 22 month old, has no trouble pointing out where her sister is hiding and the game is over. Annora comes out and, of course, wants to play again, again, and AGAIN! Trying to switch things up a bit, I excitedly recommend making a “fort!” Not the usual fort, but a “Mommy Table Fort!”

We get out ALL of the big blankets and start sliding the chairs out from under the dining room table. I must admit, our fort is IMPRESSIVE! We have height, space, pillows to sit on, dolls to entertain, etc. The fort is TOP NOTCH to any novice fort builder.

“What should we do?” Annora politely questions.

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” I respond. “Whatever our little hearts desire!”

We come up with a list of things we could do in our fort. We discuss Noah’s Arc and getting all of her stuffed animals involved, a hospital for her Barbies, a girls’ only club, etc. Annora came up with so many ideas and I was there to agree and reinforce that whatever she wanted her fort to be, that was the perfect decision. Her choice….A LIBRARY! I couldn’t have been more pleased with her choice.

Walking over to the bookshelf, she chose her FAVORITE books and placed them in her fort. She sat down, “read” (or did a picture walk) each book with her sister of course and then proceeded to tell me about each of the books I could “check out” from her library. She retold each book she had and then told me why she thought I would enjoy it.

WOW…what a learning experience for ME! I was able to see her passion for books, her ability to recall and understand her favorite books, and she was able to give me a solid reason why I would enjoy that book. I was amazed at how much she had paid attention to all of the countless hours of reading and rereading books we had done. I am so glad I spent the time and still spend the time to sit down and read with her. She is a sponge at this small age and it excites me to see where her mind will take her next in one of her reading selections.

Our library in full swing!

Our library in full swing!

Father’s Day Bliss

The hustle and bustle of the day begins at 7:00 AM in our household. Father’s Day was no different but Ben was already out the door and in the Ann Arbor, MI area before the girls uttered their first word for the day. I was in the basement working out when I heard:

“Happy Father’s Day to you,

Happy Father’s Day to you,

Happy Father’s Day dear Daddy,

Happy Father’s Day to yyyyoooouuu!!!”

Date Night!

“I booked your mom this evening!”

“Um, for a date night?” I replied. “Eeeeekkkkk!!!!”

I was dressed with my hair in a bun, no makeup on, I was working on getting the laundry done, I had on an outfit that looked straight out of the 80’s and TIME WAS TICKING! I left the unfolded  laundry on the couch and tip-toe skipped (it was nap time and if you are a momma, no further explanation is needed) my way upstairs to get ready. It is amazing how fast you can get ready when you have a date night lingering over your head, but when you are home with the kids, we say we have no time to ourselves to get ready. Just thirty minutes later I was ready to walk out the door and drop the girls off to my mom…JUST.LIKE.THAT!

My AWESOME "Date Night" look!

My AWESOME “Date Night” look!

It is crazy to think that our last date night was well over 5 MONTHS AGO! How do we, as married couples with kids, allow ourselves to lose sight of something so important?!? Marriage takes work, dedication to stoking the fire to keep it burning, love and commitment to one another, your kids and most importantly commitment to continuing to build a solid relationship. We were well overdue and dinner out together was just what we needed (and what I needed because that meant I didn’t have to cook dinner…WOOTWOOT!).

There’s a big difference between going out for the evening and going out on a date. Date night is a night out with your sweetheart. It’s quick trip back to courtship, as opposed to an ordinary night out of the house.

I believe it is a state of mind more than an activity. It’s about the meaning you make of your time together, whatever you do. Whether simple or elaborate, eating a sandwich in the park, taking a walk on the beach, going out to the symphony, seeing a movie or just having coffee. Date night says, oh, right, we’re a “couple” when too often it can seem that you’re simply business partners or roommates or two people running day care…I know we have fallen into this category and I am sure we aren’t the only ones!

Date night is a chance to look across the table and see the person you married, the one you fell in love with, not the person who left the bed unmade or forgot to take out the trash.

Unless you’re going on a hike together or taking a yoga class, I suggest you dress up. This is a date, after all, a special occasion. Remember when you were first dating? The 80’s look was NOT the first choice you went for when getting ready for an evening out!

The BEST part…I LOVE that our girls see us place value on Mommy and Daddy time together! One day, when they are grown and married, my hope is that Annora and Delise place that same value on their marriage!

All dressed and ready for date night!

 

 

Daddy/Daughter Date Night <3

Princess dresses, tiaras, musicals, The Little Mermaid, The Wiggles, Beauty and the Beast, Annie, Build a Bear, Rudy’s Hot Dogs, etc…Daddy can make a little girl’s dreams come true…or close to it!

It isn’t about how extravagant the daddy/Daughter date night is, it is all about the experience and bond that forms because of it.

I can remember the very FIRST daddy/ daughter date night. Annora was 2.5 years old and a HUGE fan of The Wiggles. I dressed her in all red (Simon Wiggle, the red wiggle, was her FAVORITE) and sent her and daddy to Canada to see the show. She had NO IDEA what she was about to do or what to expect. Sure I would have LOVED to go on the date with them, see Annora’s excitement as the crew entered the stage and she saw them live, be there when she met Simon Wiggle outside of his bus, etc.; but the experience she had with her daddy wouldn’t have been the same with me there. Instead, I was able to hear how wonderful the show was through her eyes. She was so excited to share EVERYTHING that happened and the fact that her daddy was there with her is something they have together…their little secret and bond that no one else was a part of. It was a beautiful thing to witness and from that point on, I made it a priority to send them on dates together regularly.

Family Picture Time

I am one of those mommy’s that gets family pictures done ALL.THE.TIME. Every 6 months or so I am scheduling the good ole family photos because right now in this stage of life, our girls are sprouting like weeds, changing before our eyes, and quite frankly I don’t want to miss any of it. I would say I am a bit extreme when it comes to putting the good old smile to the test.

Annora at 2.5 years old

Annora at 2.5 years old

Realistically, every year when the kids are young (between the ages of 0 and 3) I recommend getting them done every 6 months if you can afford it and are one of those parents who likes to switch out the pictures in the photo frames and hand out updated pictures to your family and friends. Once kids hit the age of 4, the change is less drastic every 6 months and then I would move to the yearly family photo sessions.

Our family has a very reasonable and AMAZING photographer who has taken our family photos since we became an actual “family.” She charges us a minimal fee and gives us all of our photos and a release for the rights of those photos. It just makes sense for us to get them done periodically. Another option we have contemplated has been to try to find a student photographer at a local college. They can practice their photography skills out and you can get some amazing, artsy pictures of your kids. I am guessing a photography student would charge a minimal fee as well and appreciate the experience.

Anora-43

I used to think that pictures should be taken in a studio by a professional. What I have found out about myself is I appreciate the outdoorsy, unplanned “poses” because they truly depict the personality of our girls and capture the essence of the moment.

Bockert05 P21 annoramatilda04 Anora-88

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Baby Blues…Let’s Get Real!

I remember the day we brought our firstborn daughter home from the hospital. She was perfect, GORGEOUS, and sweet as pie. She had the tiniest fingers and toes and made the cutest sounds when she slept. When we got home, we set her carefully on our big, brown oversized couch and stared with awe, wonder, and FRIGHT! Ben and I looked at each other and we could tell what the other was thinking…NOW WHAT?!?

We were new parents scared to death of the unknown!

We were new parents scared to death of the unknown!

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Homeschooling is NOT for the faint of heart <3

Researching what options Ben and I have as far as Annora’s schooling goes is darn INTIMIDATING! There is homeschooling, private school, charter school, good ole fashioned public school, private tutors, Montessori, yada, yada, yada! Honestly, the list goes on…

Last year I found myself frantically struggling to figure out the BEST option for her. She has a heart of GOLD, gets easily intimidated by others, has a hard time with mathematical concepts, LOVES people and making new friends, can’t get enough books, and LOVES singing and acting out musicals.

Right off the bat, public school was out for Ben and I. Before you get upset with me, hear me out. We live in a part of town that is very safe but unfortunately for us, our assigned school district doesn’t meet “Momma Teacher Standards!” I called our assigned school and asked if I could sit in and observe their kindergarten teacher but instead of planning the observation, I wanted to just “drop in.” They were not so accommodating…which raises a big ole red flag for “Former Teacher” me. So…I started to research some other possibilities that would fit Annora’s learning style and what she would be most successful at.

Honestly, private and Montessori school were not in our budget so I immediately ruled those out. I worked at a Charter school for 8 years and was aware of what was out there as far as that route went. Although not a bad option, it wasn’t the route we were seeking. That truly only left one option…Homeschooling!

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