Photography by Amy Termini Photography
One of lifes greatest treasures is being given a blessing we didn't even know to ask for.
A blessing that God knew our hearts needed long before we ever existed on this vast Earth.
My darling son Grey is one of those very good things.
Growing up in a family of girls, I wasn't exposed to brothers, male cousins nor did i have very many male friends. It was tea parties, princess dresses and spa days all around. When my sister and I would play house, our kids were always little girls, I nannied for little girls and as I grew older, I guess I just expected I'd also raise little Mini Mandi's.
When Doug and I spoke about children while we were dating we both expressed that we'd love to raise a daughter together. (He also comes from a family of 5 sisters, he is the only boy) and it just felt natural to both of us to assume that's what we'd be best at.
In truth I was scared to raise the sex I wasn't familiar with. I hate bugs. Neither Doug nor I watch any sport. I'm delicate and dainty. A girls girl. How would I raise a boy into a man that this world needs?
And then, God gave us a son. And from the moment they placed that little boy on my chest I knew. I just knew. He was meant for us. He would change our world for the better. He would stretch us. And grow us. Inspire us and move us to love so big and so wide, that any preconceptions of what we thought we "needed" flew right out the window.
And with that great, wide, deep love came the peace from our Lord that I cannot raise a boy into a Godly man alone. Only God can help me do that. Only can God can equip me for a role that heavy.
And it is He that placed a Godly, strong, kind, gentle, manly man in our home as husband and father. It is through Doug that Grey will learn what it means to be a good man. A good husband. A good brother. A good father. All the things that I've never been and can never be and therefor can never model. But Doug can. And I count myself blessed to have him as my partner, raising this little boy by my side.
I, as his mother, can show him how to nurture, care for his home, work hard, follow dreams and teach him lessons, big and small, day in and day out, all while modeling Christ to the best of my ability right here in these four walls. That's what I can do. By the help of our great God in heaven, that's what I can do.
As my fears started to fade away, carried into the distance by the ever present peace of God, room was made to dream of what I could share with our son. I've waited years to play cars with a little one. And now I get to do that every day. I'm learning about superheroes and Star Wars and bugs and dinosaurs. I do chores wearing super hero masks and get the tightest, squeeziest hugs from a little boy who loves me more than life.
And my breath catches, and I wonder, goodness how could I have EVER lived without this? Without you? YOU are our family Grey. My little boy. Our perfect little puzzle piece. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. We will spend our whole lives loving you the same way.
You Can Follow Me On Instagram To Watch Us Every Week
What Is It?
Tot School is a way to introduce your young toddler to structured learning and play time. It involves simple themes tailored to your child's abilities and interests.
I never force anything on Grey, as he is still so young I don't feel like any of this is a "necessity" right now as I follow much of the Montessori way. I let him lead and he seems to really enjoy it and thrive on a curriculum.
Why Tot School?
I introduced Tot School for three reasons.
1. As Grey got to be more active, I wanted a way to break up our day and give us, not only activities to bond us, but to grow his learning, while waiting for daddy to come home.
2. I saw that he naturally was progressing well with speaking, and picking up concepts, and I wanted to enhance his daily learning experiences with an actual lesson. And these lessons we work on all week.
3. Due to my view of the school system and our family's personal beliefs on certain topics, I very well may homeschool beyond preschool. Tot School is a good way to prepare me to work on curriculum, organization of a class environment for Grey and patience when it comes to teaching a younger mind.
Curriculum + Themes
Currently on Week 19, we have been having fun mixing it up week by week. Now that I see that Grey is grasping concepts easier and easier, and as his attention span increases, we now do TWO themes most weeks, breaking it up into one activity in the AM around 10, and the other around 3-4 after nap. I primarily search for craft ideas on Pinterest, books from Amazon and the library and more educational based activities from the local teacher resource store and choose our themes based on what I feel like he's about to really take off with or may need help with. Read below to see the themes we've already worked with and what we have coming up this Spring.
Themes And Activities Weeks 1-19
What We Have Planned For Spring 2018
Themes to watch for this Spring/Summer! Also, moving forward, more of the crafts, books and activities will be linked to printables, how-to's and more.
Arctic animals, Ocean, Weather, Emotions and Feelings, Spring, Gardening, Farming, Bugs, Alphabet, Easter, Summer, St. Patricks Day, Jungle Animals, Farm Animals and so much more!
FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM AND SEE OUR TOT SCHOOL LIVE IN ACTION EACH WEEK!
This month has brought on A LOT of new tastes to little man's palette and many more opportunities for him to sample foods outside of the house. This has made going out, and bringing him along on our date nights, much more fun and easy.
Not having to bring so much external food from home makes it easier to be spontaneous and I'm thankful he is eating so many fruits, vegetables, healthy oils and meats now because we can order something for him at almost any restaurant I can eat at.
He's moved to having lunches and dinners that are unique to what we are having, so moving forward you will see separate breakfast, lunch and dinner sections for even more meal ideas.
We also introduced, GLUTEN. (insert shocked gasps here), for many reasons, that I will talk about in next months post, but you will see some bread included in the meals below.
*Note that these are the meals he's served from breakfast, lunch and dinner. He also gets two-three snacks a day. Snacks include apple slices, pear slices, organic teething cookies, organic puffs and vegetable based baby food purees
Banana Bread, Strawberries and Egg Yolk
Turkey Lunch Meat, Avocado, Freeze Dried Berries
Leftover rice from Chipotle, Shredded Chicken and Peaches
As we dive deeper into Baby Led Weaning, I thought it would be fun to share the meals that little man enjoys. He's got SUCH an appetite and it's no surprise he's our child, since he's a foodie through and through. We stick to organic, healthy choices for him, and as of yet he's still dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free and pretty much Top 8 Free. We are going slow with introductions and now that he's almost 1, we will be introducing more and more for variety and nutrition.
I've posted some photos of the meals I put together for him, and I plan to share along the way, leading up to toddler meals. These are the meals he's currently enjoying at 10 months of age.
I would love your ideas too! If you have some great infant or toddler food or meal ideas, feel free to share. Any recipes of a specific dish I make for him, I will link to the recipe here on NoshandNurture.com!
*Note that these are the meals he's served from breakfast, lunch and dinner. He also gets two-three snacks a day. Snacks include apple slices, pear slices, organic teething cookies, organic puffs and vegetable based baby food purees.
lunches + dinners
when we're out
The beauty of eating clean, whole foods, is that Grey can usually eat some of what I order.
When traveling in Long Beach, we stayed at the Westin and for breakfast I ordered scrambled eggs, gluten free toast and avocado.
I shared my avocado with Grey, ordered him a side of bananas and brought a puree pouch of baby food to round out his meal.
Mama + baby were satisfied. Done and done!
Keep an eye out for What Grey Ate, every month on Nosh and Nurture! And as always I'd love to hear your feedback and what you're feeding your littles.
I also share a lot of our mealtimes, and more, on my Instagram Stories, so if you're over there, follow along! Find me @noshandnurture.
As you all know I am already a Pampers mama. I not only adore the actions they've taken to provide hypoallergenic options for sensitive babies, which if Baby P is anything like his or her mama, will be, but the customer service I've received in speaking directly with them has been phenomenal and makes me feel like a valued mama every time.
I get to share something special with you fellow Pampers mom's who currently use diapers or training pants. And if you're not currently a Pampers user, the coupon coming out this weekend will make it worth trying.
Since June is National Potty Training Month, I've partnered with Pampers to tell you about an offer you can find in your Sunday paper THIS WEEKEND, on June 12th, 2016.
There will be a coupon offer for $3 off two bags or one box of any Pampers Diapers or Pampers Training Pants. So put on a hot pot of coffee, feed the kiddos breakfast and get out the scissors as you kick back, relax and peruse the paper while getting your savings.
Being a manufacturers coupon, you can use the coupon at any grocery, mass retail or discount store where diapers are sold. If you are new to Pamper's there are many options to choose from in the Pamper's line -
Pampers Baby Dry
Pampers Easy Ups
Pampers Under Jams
For more information on Pampers diapers and training pants, visit http://www.pampers.com
Or visit Pamper's on social media -
Do you currently use Pampers? Which ones are your favorite? I stocked up on the Pampers Sensitive for when I bring Baby P home this summer but would love your feedback!