September 27, 2023

Minding the Gap

Lately I've been wondering if there is really an ideal age gap for siblings.
Jude is perfecting the stoic, Civil War baby photo face (you know how in those old photos everyone is always so grim looking)
The "threes" around here have been pretty terrible of late, and I can't help but think maybe adding a baby to the mix at this age wasn't the best of thoughts.
Who am I kidding, I can't imagine not seeing this sweet, smiling face every day!

Back to topic: things here have been difficult with Soren, mostly typical preschooler stuff like not listening, screaming, hitting Chris and I, and inappropriately shoving his face into our butts when we're standing up and walking.  Not exactly the kind of butt kissing his dad and I would hope to have from our child, but we deal with it.
At least he's not kissing butts here.
I wonder if there really is a good age to space children.  Too close and you're up to your arms in poopy diapers, endless feeding, eye poking and biting.  Too far apart and you get jealousy issues (or maybe a super-helpful big brother/sister) or the attention-seeking behaviors that we're dealing with.  My mom says that she doesn't recall any issues with me and the oldest of my 4 brothers, and we are 17 months apart.  Then again, she says I was a pretty helpful, agreeable child.

My friend Shana doesn't seem to have too many problems with her kids, who are a little under 2 years apart.  Some face poking and one story about her daughter "coaching" her non-walking baby brother down the steps.  {Shana, leave me a comment to tell me how wrong (or right) I am about your kids.}
I have hope that as Jude gets older, that the two boys will "grow" into their age gap and that each of them will find the good qualities of their ages in relation to each other.  I like to imagine Soren as a didactic older brother, finding ways to teach Jude and enthusiastically share his interests.  And I hope that Jude will make Soren nostalgic for experiences from his childhood and make him eager to relive things with his brother.  We'll see...

September 22, 2023

The Rhythm of Family {Book Review and Giveaway}

I've been crushing on Amanda Soule's Soule Mama blog for quite some time now, as you can see in my sidebar's "Good Reads" list.  Despite often making me feel inadequate and clumsy when it comes to raising a family, I find Amanda's philosophy and practice of life to be inspiring.

She, her husband and their 5 (!) kids live in Maine and are working on creating a self-sustainable farm.  Amanda models a life of natural living, whether through healthy cooking, crafts, simple family activities, and outdoor fun.

Amanda recently released her third book, co-authored with her husband Stephen, titled The Rhythm of Family.  I knew I'd like it because I own Amanda's first two books, which I enjoy.
The Rhythm of Family is set up a little differently than her previous books. It corresponds with the "rhythm" of seasons and months of the year.  Each month is broken into a few essays/activities that reflect upon that time of year, which are illustrated with the Soules' lovely photography of their landscape, home and family.
I like that the recipes and crafts in the book are simple, straightforward, and encourage active participation in our natural world, encouraging us to slow down and live within the moment.  I'm eager to make the Soule's Everyday Oat Bread and Soule-sa Salsa, and create a terrarium and Tiny Treasure Bowls with my children.
Both Soules are observant and sensitive writers.  I love how the essays (one for each month from Mama's and Papa's perspective) are both eloquent and acutely recorded, which speaks to the way that this family lives mindfully.  The book even encourages meditation and mindfulness practice for the family, something both my husband and I feel are important for grounding us as human beings.
While we don't own a farm or have access to our own hens and eggs, there are so many inspiring and practical lessons within The Rhythm of Family.  It's a book that will pop on and off of my bookshelf for many years to come, and probably have lots of dog-eared pages.
Two lucky readers will each receive a copy of
The Rhythm of Family
To Enter
Leave a comment about what appeals most to you about this book.  There's more info on the book's webpage, including a view inside the book.
Extra Entries (you must complete the first mandatory entry before doing the extras.  Also, leave a separate comment for each one):
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link (2 entries)
  • Subscribe to my updates
  • Follow my blog publicly via Google Friend Connect
  • If you're a Fan of Katydid and Kid on Facebook leave a comment letting me know
  • Share this post on your Facebook page and leave the link (I'd love it if you tagged me or the sponsor in your post)
  • Follow @katydidandkid and tweet this giveaway, leaving a link to your tweet in the comments. You can tweet once per day (leave a comment each day). You can copy and paste my tweet if you'd like: #Win a copy of Soule Mama's newest book The Rhythm of Family @KatydidandKid #Giveaway
US mailing addresses only. One entry per household.
You must do the first entry in order to enter ("I want to win, thanks!" comments will NOT be considered). You will have until Wednesday October 5th at 11:59pmEST to enter. The winner will be chosen via random number generator the next day and notified by email.I'll also post the winners on my blog HERE. If I don't hear back from the winner within 72 hours, I'll pick another.Disclosure: I received a copy of Rhythm of Family for review purposes.

Mama Muscles

Aches, creaks, kinks and crinks.  Babies and kids are really taking a toll on my already-tired body.

From nursing in weird positions so I can play cars with my 3 year old (or fend off his kamikaze dive-bombs while feeding the baby) to carrying Jude in the sling along with these 25lb. milk-filled boobs, I'm plum worn out.
I'm definitely in need of a hot shower here
It's my own fault, really.  Despite having a comfy, back-supporting nursing pillow, I still find myself hunching or scooching around in positions that favor the baby, but not mama.  There are muscles that I didn't even know existed that are screaming for a massage.

Though the sling is really comfy most days, Jude is gaining weight by the hour, it seems, so my back sometimes tires a lot sooner now.  He is so darned cute in there, and quite snuggly.
Don't ask me what's going on with my hand in that photo.  Must be another twitchy mama-muscle thing.

I just can't motivate myself to get into a yoga routine, despite Mr. Geek's daily hour of it each morning.  I should join in, however 4:45am is just wayyyyyy too early, especially after a night of interrupted sleep.

However, Advil is always available, 24/7.  The path of least resistance always works for me and my lazy self.  How about you?

September 21, 2023

Date Night with the Farmer's Wife

Chris and I were playing farm couple last night when we underwent our almost-yearly autumn tradition--canning applesauce!
Over the weekend, Soren and I went apple picking at a local organic orchard, so I wanted to preserve most of the half-bushel we bought rather than try to keep up with devouring dozens upon dozens of these tasty treats.  One does tire of apples after eating a few dozen, believe it or not.

And since Jude will start eating solids over the winter, I thought some organic applesauce was in order for his first tastes of the sweetness of food.

After the kids were in bed, we headed to the kitchen for a few hours of together time. Not the most romantic date, but at least we'll enjoy the fruits (pun intended) of our labor over the cold months.

I did the cooking and prepping of the jars while Chris worked his magic on the food mill.
If you've never used a food mill before, it's great for making applesauce without having to peel hundreds of apples.  You just core them, chop them, toss 'em in a pot to cook, and then run the cooked apples through the food mill.   The food mill essentially mashes the apples through a sieve and leaves all the chewy bits behind.
After about 2 1/2 hours, we had a yield of 12 jars of pink applesauce (from cooking the apples with the skins on).  And it's delicious!
We're currently taking suggestions for more conventional date nights, and of course for babysitters too!

September 19, 2023

A Regretful Farewell

Before you go about worrying that I mean a farewell to the blog, don't fret. I don't plan on packing it in just yet.

What this post's title is referring to is Soren's nap.  The formerly blissful, 2 hour chunk of my afternoon where the house was deliciously still and quiet, save for some fussing from Jude (which is peanuts compared to the tete-a-tetes with my 3 year old).
The look of a child desperately in need of a nap but refusing to take one.
I'm trying my best over here to accept the fact that nap time might be over.  And that's hellishly depressing, not because I treasure some peace in the house, but because S is awfully tired and cranky all afternoon and evening.  As in angry outbursts, throwing toys, yawns, and outright disobedience.

The final straw for Chris early this evening was when he kept calling "Chris" not "Daddy".  Isn't he too young for that? :).  We made it yet another early bedtime.

"Quiet Time" in his bedroom works sometimes, but now with a baby also trying to nap in the adjoining room, I sometimes need to cut quiet time short.  Like when things are being thrown and high-pitched scream-complaints are being hurled at me down the stairs. Along with little feet sneaking back down the stairs too.

I've tried the TV too, but S just isn't able to sit and watch a movie for long.  I'm hoping that might change, and am not willing to give up on that just yet.

I know it's selfish, but I just need a break from this supernova!  His energy level is full-blast from pre-sunup (he gets up before 6am) until he crashes at night, which is hard to endure day after day.  Chris and I try to set up activities for him, like playing with dough...
but it's just never enough.  Thank goodness for the 2 mornings a week at preschool.

It's been a tiresome week, both at night and by day for me.  Any suggestions on how things worked for you when your child gave up naps?

Made to Play {Book Giveaway--2 Winners}

As the parent of a very active and curious little boy, I'm often looking for things to amuse and entertain, and cheap, thrifty ones at that.  Blogs are a great resource, because we all know how inventive and clever bloggers are!

One blog I frequent (and most recently bookmarked this post, for a future project), is Made by Joel.  In a sea of crafty mom bloggers, it's refreshing to come across a dad's take on things.  Joel Henriques, the blog's author/editor/founder, is about to release his first book on October 11th, aptly titled Made to Play: Handmade Toys & Crafts for Growing Imaginations.
It's 208 pages of homemade fun, including projects made of wood, paper, fabric, and found objects--definitely my kind of craft book.
Photo of Slotted Building Discs from Joel Henriques, Made by Joel
Made to Play is filled not just with projects you can copy, but encouragement for making the projects your own by modifying the designs or materials.   I like that Joel uses items like cardboard, magazines, wire, and scrap wood to create his imaginative and imagination-sparking creations.

I'm eager to make some of this stuff with and for my boys, including the Portable Zoo, with paper animals contained in a mint tin and perfect for toting in your purse for use in places like doctors' offices.

The projects are pretty easy, save maybe for some of the ones involving wood where you'd need a scroll saw and wood-burning tool, but as the author writes, you can certainly substitute cardboard for the wood.  The point is to create simple, play-provoking toys for and with your kids.

And Joel's instructions and illustrations for the projects are also pretty simple and straightforward, making it easy for non-crafty adults and older kids to follow along without fumbling.
I highly recommend pre-ordering the book, and am looking forward to trying out many of the projects myself.
Two lucky readers will win a copy of
Made to Play!
To Enter
Visit the Made to Play book page and leave a comment with why you'd like to win the book and which project most appeals to you.
Extra Entries (you must complete the first mandatory entry before doing the extras.  Also, leave a separate comment for each one):
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link (2 entries)
  • Subscribe to my updates
  • Follow my blog publicly via Google Friend Connect
  • If you're a Fan of Katydid and Kid on Facebook leave a comment letting me know
  • Share this post on your Facebook page and leave the link (I'd love it if you tagged me or the sponsor in your post)
  • Follow @katydidandkid and tweet this giveaway, leaving a link to your tweet in the comments. You can tweet once per day (leave a comment each day). You can copy and paste my tweet if you'd like: #Win a copy of Made By Joel 's new book, Made to Play @KatydidandKid #Giveaway
US mailing addresses only. One entry per household.
You must do the first entry in order to enter ("I want to win, thanks!" comments will NOT be considered). You will have until Sunday October 2nd at 11:59pmEST to enter. The winner will be chosen via random number generator the next day and notified by email.I'll also post the winners on my blog HERE. If I don't hear back from the winner within 72 hours, I'll pick another.
 Disclosure: I received a copy of Made to Play for review purposes.

Gear & Goodies Sale at is currently having a Gear & Goodies sale that ends this Wednesday, with lots of great items on sale.  I've ordered baby gear from in the past, and am amazed at how quickly the items arrive--sometimes even the next day!

Here are some of the deals you can score this week:
20% off Baby Bjorn gear with the coupon code BJORN 20
20% off Zutano Cozie Collection with the code 20COZIE
Get $5 off when you spend $35 on Earth's Best Baby food with the code EBFOOD5
Get a $10 gift card when you spend $50 on Huggies products with the code HUG10GC
20% off select Graco car seats (no code needed).
You can find more Gear & Goodies deals at, it ends Wednesday!! Happy shopping!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, via the Mom Bloggers Club.

September 18, 2023

Week-end Musings

I go from posting like a fiend to taking nearly a week off from writing anything.  Such is the life of the mother of an infant.
Related to infants, our little Ju Ju Bee is a big 11 lbs.!  He gained 2 lbs. this month, and is filling out quite nicely.

I've had the urge to post so many things, but not the time or motivation to collect my thoughts into something, well, thoughtful. 

We had a nice weekend, with apple picking and my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower (boy/girl twins...I still can't believe it, though shouldn't be surprised since my Pap-Pap was a twin).  I made them a few things, like some embellished burp cloths and a diaper cake. I love how it turned out, and it was pretty simple to assemble.
I filled it with some Infantino toys, which went well with the ribbon I chose.
We also went on our yearly outing to an apple festival at an organic apple orchard, and even though I went through the trouble of bringing my camera, I forgot to take the memory card out of the computer!! So no pics of that, sadly.  My yearly photo album will be missing those characteristically-autumn shots.

Speaking of autumn, I've started decorating for fall, including lots of pumpkins from the farm market and some salt dough leaves we made with dough that I dyed.
The leaves hang in our kitchen, from the ceiling fan lights.  I wasn't so careful about baking them long enough though, and the backs look a little raw.  Oh well.
One more weekend accomplishment: I did finally get Chris to take some photos of Jude and I in the nursery.
He's been sleeping in his room for weeks now, which I'm so thankful for.  We all get the rest we need as a result.  I don't know why, but I have such trouble co-sleeping with him, even in the same room.  I feel like I respond mentally and sometimes physically to every little utterance from him.
I can't get over how much I love this little guy!  I hate to admit this, but it seems to have come much more naturally with him than Soren, which I attribute to being more relaxed as a parent this time around.
So that's our weekend, now complete.  Give me strength to survive another week with my two boys!

September 9, 2023

I Need to Keep Quiet

The thing about parenting is that once you say or write something good about your child, it will come back to bite you.  As soon as you tell someone "my son is sleeping through the night" or "my son is fully potty trained", you're then telling people the opposite.

Those kids sure love to reel you out and cut the string.
It's not funny Jude! :)
Jude was a pretty good sleeper, though the last week or so has been rough.  He naps for like 15 minutes and can't get back to sleep when he awakens.  That's why I'm on a posting marathon here--despite the one-handed typing--because the only place I can get him to sleep during the day is on me, and that is maybe a half an hour at best. And that's when Soren is at school or with his grandparents.
Babywearing works wonders, sometimes getting in a 2 hour nap for him, but I have to be walking or standing, which is tough when trying to play cars, cook meals and wash clothes and dishes.  Whomever said babywearing allows you to carry on with day-to-day life was lying; try hand washing dishes or cutting veggies with your child snuggled in the front of an Ergo or a sling.  

I've tried letting him cry a bit, since I know he's tired, but it hasn't done anything except make us all upset.  And even going in to his room and picking him up doesn't work. He just cries even harder.

Nighttime is usually good, sleeping the first stretch for 5-7 hours, but last night he just wouldn't go back to sleep.  Even after nursing him again.  I'm hoping this is temporary, and that he settles again soon.  Jude is such a riddle, but then again, aren't all babies?

Any advice for promoting good infant sleep patterns?  Soren was a good sleeper, and I think Jude will be eventually.  We have the routine, the dark room, white noise and consistency.  What else?

P.S. I'm hoping that by posting this, he'll prove me wrong here and start sleeping better again.

September 8, 2023

The Park that Time Forgot

Here in the Northeast, we've been inundated with rain, rain, rain. It's raining as I speak, and not just a sprinkle. It's to the point that our town is asking folks not to flush toilets because the sewer system is taxed to its limit (TMI: yuck!).

Fortunately on Labor Day, we were able to fit in a trip to our favorite amusement park, Knoebel's Grove.  I grew up about 10 miles from there, and my mom and aunts used to take us kids there quite often in summer.  It's been dubbed "the park where time stands still" because it hasn't really changed in the 75 years it's been open.
The original Carousel, from 1926
Admission is free (!!) and you pay as you go with tickets, which is great for moms and dads who don't go on many of the rides.  And the park itself is shady and criss-crossed by creeks (which sadly, have flooded the park this week), making it cool and comfortable even on the hottest days.
Soren loves Knoebel's, particularly the ball pit, as you can see by his delightful expression.
The kiddie cars and Spanish Bambini carousel are hits too.
There are two trains, one that circles the kiddie rides.  I love comparing these two photos of Soren, the first from this weekend, and the second from last year.
We had a great time in "the park that time forgot."
If you're ever near north central PA, you definitely need to make a stop at Knoebel's (pronounced with a hard "K").  You won't be disappointed!

Doe a Deer

Jude loves this song. Soren doesn't!  And he sure lets me know it (though not in this video).  Sorry, it's a bit dark, as it was an early, rainy morning.
What did you sing to your babies?  I'm running out of ideas, mostly since my brain is still so fried from the raggedy sleep at night.

September 7, 2023

First Day

Soren started preschool yesterday, which I think went pretty well.

And so begin the years of pulling teeth to get any information out of him regarding school.  :)  He did leave happy and eager to return, but couldn't remember many details of the day, other than the "clean up" song, snack time, and playing with toys.
In fact, he made a beeline for the toys immediately after we go there.  The photo above says it all: "why are you still here, mommy? I'm busy playing!"

My morning was nice, having some quieter time to spend with Jude and to prepare a nice lunch.  Jude wasn't up for napping unless he was held, unfortunately, but we managed.
I'm off to find a backpack today (who knew half-day preschoolers needed them?), but we're all looking forward to another fun day at school tomorrow.  Did your kiddos start back yesterday?

September 6, 2023

Wordless Wednesday: Jude at 2 Months

 He's a much chubbier baby than Soren was, and I love every ounce of him!

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