toddler school | first day craft

With toddler school officially underway, I found some pin-spiration for a First Day craft.

Yep, I’m totally one of those sentimental moms who love a good hand/footprint craft.  With my Kindergartners I found any excuse I could to send home a handprint card, so I really wouldn’t expect any less of myself to document the growth of my own children in any other way.

Copeland loves when I paint his hands.  He sits so patiently with wide-eyed wonder as I color his hand with the cool wet paint.  Not once has he gotten it on his clothes, but I of course recommend de-clothing your children and using washable paint…just in case.  Also, paint only one hand at a time and baby wipes are the BEST at removing paint from little hands.

Teaching your preschooler/toddler at home!  Here is a FREE First Day Handprint poem that you and your little one can use to remember those first days of school. | ponytailsandpajamas.com

For a downloadable PDF, click HERE.

His sweet handprints are now adorning our refrigerator.  The first of many, I am sure.

We only have one week behind us in Toddler School, and I can already tell the sweet memories we are making together will last a lifetime.  Having the one-on-one time together has been good for both of our hearts.

Here is my boy on his first day of our homeschool/preschool.

Teaching your preschooler/toddler at home!  Here is a FREE First Day Handprint poem that you and your little one can use to remember those first days of school. | ponytailsandpajamas.com

Copeland’s First Day!

Son, I pray that you always know how cherished and loved you are.  I praise God that I was chosen to be your Momma.

toddler school | the beginning

I think there are a few professions that are hard to quit and truly quit.  Being the daughter of a preacher, I can confidently say that preaching is one of them.  Even after retirement, not many preachers really stop preaching. I’ve heard the joke many times, “so and so will die in the pulpit.”  There is much truth in those words.

While let’s pray that they don’t actually die in the pulpit (can you even imagine how awful that would be?!) the sentiment is true.  Preachers simply don’t know how not to preach, so they do until those last days.

My dad is quickly approaching those “golden years” and we all know that he will never be the type to just sit at home day in and day out.  I see him on the road often, preaching revivals, filling in where needed, and using his God given talent of writing.

Teaching is also a profession that I don’t think one is ever truly capable of walking away from completely.  It is hard to believe it has been a whole year since I closed the door of my Kindergarten classroom and drove home with fresh tears in my eyes to start my new journey as a stay at home mom.

Honestly…  It took me almost a whole year to miss it. And yet, that yearning to teach has returned in full force.

Best solution to this problem?  Why, teach of course!  Thankfully, I have these things in my whole called CHILDREN.  And they don’t have an option but to endure the things their momma forces upon them.

So…. Toddler School… here we go!

Before we begin, I need to tell you about a book that I will be using throughout our Toddler School.  I am a huge fan of this book and highly recommend that you purchase it!

3-IMG_6300

It has EASY to follow recipes and activities to do with your kids that do not involve any screen time (basically Pinterest in book form!)  While TV and educational shows do have their place (and they certainly do in our home!), we do know that creativity and learning happen best without it.

Cheers to learning!

our life | siblings

The week leading up to the birth of our second child held a lot of emotion for me.  Some expected, some not.  I was nervous, excited, anxious, and ready.  For those emotion, I was prepared.

There was one emotion, however, that I wasn’t prepared for: the feeling of guilt.  I had this overwhelming sadness for my son.

In the sixteen months of his life so far, he had had our undivided attention and love.  I knew that this was about to end, and I felt such guilt for it.  We had caused that.  We, in a sense, were taking away some of our love to give to another child.

Fourth of July

At least, that’s how I felt.

I cried many, many tears that final week.  The night before we were scheduled to be induced, I held my little boy so tight in my arms as we said our goodnight prayers and just sobbed.  I begged God to never let him feel like we loved him any less simply because he wasn’t the only child anymore.

I just felt like he was being cheated somehow by us having our daughter so soon.

I never would have guessed just how wrong I was.

Meeting Eisley

Meeting Eisley

The moment I held that little girl in my arms, I knew my love wasn’t divided.  In those hours after I had delivered her, my heart expanded and I simply loved MORE.

The joy that would come with watching our son be a brother, completely took me by surprise.

First Fall Together

First Fall Together

His love for his sister is something fierce, and it started early.

He asks to hold her.

IMG_6668 IMG_6670 IMG_0948 IMG_0488

He asks to kiss her.

IMG_0163 IMG_3218 IMG_4155 IMG_7674

He asks for us to sit her beside him.

IMG_3706

Put her “right here mommy!”

He brings her the things that he thinks she needs to make her happy.

IMG_6206 IMG_6209 IMG_7676

He shares his favorite, beloved toys with her.

He stares at her.

He talks to her.

IMG_3157 IMG_7827 IMG_7828

Y’all, this boy.  He loves her.

IMG_7445

It hurt me to think about the things that he might miss out on by not being the only child anymore.  I cried over knowing that he would have to share his Daddy, Mommy, and even his room and toys.

He would never know life before her, but we would.

I just knew how happy of a baby he was, and I didn’t want that to change or to take any of that from him.

What I know now is that he has gained so much more than all of those things that I thought he was losing.  He is learning to love.  To share.  To bring happiness and joy to another.  We already get to watch him be a protector as he constantly wants to know where she is and that she is okay.

In return, she loves him so much and awards him with smiles for his affection towards her.

IMG_2420

I love watching their relationship grow and the sweet bond that they already share.  I wish I could have told my hurting heart before she was born just how precious these days are.

I would not trade this for the world.

God. Is. Good.

IMG_7051

Trust me, I know that I have many days of the following before me.  But for now, I delight in this moment of time: where their love for each other is pure and fun.

IMG_4149

And in the future, when their fighting overwhelms me, I can look back and remember that once upon a time they did actually love each other.

Once upon a time.

our life | welcome friends

It has been seven months since I packed up my classroom, turned in my keys, and drove away from my beloved teaching job.

Even now, I can feel the fresh sting of tears that streamed down my cheeks as I pulled out of the parking lot for the last time.  I was six months pregnant with our second child and anxious to start my journey as a stay-at-home mom.

However, leaving the comfort of a regular paycheck and coworkers that I loved, to spend my days with two children under two was intimidating and a bit frightening.

Fast forward to the present, and I have to say that staying home is still somewhat intimidating and scary.  I love being home and am grateful beyond words for this opportunity.

Let’s be honest though.  The weight of motherhood (cultivating and shaping the future of my own children) can be a heavy load.  The pressure of “enjoying every moment” because it will be gone all too quickly is exhausting.

And yet, in the middle of the chaos and self doubt, I can look into these faces… and it all melts away.

These two don’t just have my heart.  They are my heart.

Shopping with Two in Tow

Shopping with Two in Tow

Daily they push me to be stronger and more courageous.  The picture above was taken just last week when I finally braved going to buy our weekly groceries by myself with the babies in tow in freezing cold weather.

This moment in time represents a braver version of myself than I had previously known.

Copeland Watching His First Parade

Copeland Watching His First Parade

They teach me to find joy and amazement in things I wouldn’t have before.  Seeing life through my son as he learns about the world around him is priceless.  Watching the smile on my daughter’s face the moment she sees me or my husband is pure delight.

A few weeks ago, my family went to an amusement park and stayed to watch the Christmas parade.  Something that I truly didn’t care one way or another to watch, suddenly became a memory that I hope to never forget.  To be truthful, I can’t tell you what the parade looked like. My eyes did not leave my son’s face for more than a few seconds.  He was enthralled by the lighted floats, music, and characters that passed us.

His smile was one of curiosity and his eyes  were huge as he took it all in.  He waved at every. single. float.  It was precious and filled this momma’s heart to the brim.

A Braver Version of My Former Self

A Braver Version of My Former Self

Most of all, they have taught me to be flexible and let go of control.

When kids enter the picture, things just don’t go as planned 90 percent of the time.  Most days, my hair is in a ponytail and we are still in our pajamas far too late into the day.

Sometimes, I celebrate just getting to take a shower at all.

I consider it a good day if I get to do either my make-up or my hair.  It’s a great day if I get to do both.

If I somehow manage to stay on top of the house and not let the dishes or laundry get too piled up, I consider it a win.

Because when it comes down to it… having my babies curled up in my lap and spending these precious moments with them is far greater than having make-up on or my hair done.

So this is our life…our journey.

Welcome to Ponytails and Pajamas.