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Addressing the Name Change

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Hello Readers!

I wanted to write a quick post to explain a little bit about the name change on the blog.

Formerly, this blog was known as “the honest herb”. Unfortunately there is already a blog and a website with that name. And a Twitter account. And a business. Something I didn’t know to investigate when I began blogging. I’m learning more and more about the blogging world..all of it’s rules and quirks. It’s a work in progress!

My url address is still thehonestherb.wordpress, even though the name is different. And it is not an easy process to change the site address without totally starting from scratch first. Eeek! So there it stands.

So the blog will henceforth be known as “The Buttercup Lamb”, a name that is (so far) unique to the blogging world.

This new name holds special meaning for me. “Lamb” is the meaning of my name, Rachel. “Buttercup” is one of my favorite flowers as well as an old nickname of high-school days.

I wanted it to fit the tone and content of my blog as well. A lamb is associated with gentleness, peacefulness and a quiet way. Buttercups are pretty and their sunny color is uplifting. Both words speak to natural living, which I love to blog about.

And that’s that! Hope it clears up any questions you might have. Thanks for reading!

~Rachel

Books, Children's Books

Toddler Favorite Reads: Year 2

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Shortly after I wrote Toddler {Summer} Favorite Books: Year 1, I learned that I was pregnant. I remember being constantly exhausted until I hit the Golden Age of pregnancy (AKA the second trimester). And then, you know, shortly after it was back to exhaustion-land which seemed to stretch for quite some time until my daughter was 4 or so months old. Long live sleep. Long live naps.

It was during this 9-month time period that I devoted as much time as I could to nurturing my son. Before our baby girl made a visible appearance. Before the dance began of dividing my attention between my children.

I knew I would do my best, but deep down I also knew that a newborn would have heavy needs (read: demands). The thought of it made my heart ache, and still does.

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This list of books are 6 that we own and love. During the age of 2, they were books that I remember reading over and over. And he would still ask for them the next day!

This is for you, J. The memories tied to these books still make me smile.

 

Favorites From Year 2

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1. Hop On Pop, by Dr. Seuss

This book is a well-known favorite. The title makes me smile. I can remember reading this one as a child and how my brothers and I laughed over it. It has simple sentences throughout that help toddlers learn language and sentence structure.

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2. Oscar’s New Neighbor, by Teddy Slater Margulie (Little Golden Book)

About this time J was still in his Sesame Street phase. One night, he asked for an Elmo book. I asked if we could read this “new” Sesame Street book. From then on he loved it! It is a story about Oscar and his new neighbor, a girl grouch named Germaine. They have some interesting conversations and Oscar learns a valuable lesson. I think J really enjoyed the emotional complexity as well as the happy ending.

 

3. Jake Baked The Cake, by B.G. Hennessy

Sometimes you find a book that is a joy for parent and child. Jake Baked The Cake is that for us. It is wonderfully romantic, yet centers on Jake, the wedding cake baker, so it isn’t overly so. It has short, rhyming text and beautifully illustrated artwork.

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4. Llama Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney

Ok so this one annoys me a little bit. But J loves it and it helps us to understand each other. The Llama Llama books are a bit silly, yet always teach a valuable truth. This one is about bedtime and the balance of mama’s tasks with a child that needs “just one more thing” before bed.

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5. I Am A Rainbow, by Dolly Parton

Oh this book! He wanted to read it over and over and over! He loved books that talked about emotions. This one combines emotions with different colors. I love how each emotion is gently explained. There is an emphasis placed on positive emotions, and yet other emotions (such as sadness) are not portrayed as wrong. I think this book helps a child to understand why they feel a certain way. It helps me too. Sometimes I would forget that the little things meant a lot to him.

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6. Pup Pack Power, published by Bendon (board book)

I actually love reading this one. J started getting into Paw Patrol at this time and this book helped us learn the names of the Paw Patrol crew. Handy little reference guide 🙂

For our kids books, we’ve found that the best way to save money on books is to shop at the smaller, more obscure used bookstores as well as sales that are organized by our local library.

Two of these books we received through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which I heartily recommend, if you live in an area that qualifies. The program ensures your child has a free new book delivered monthly until age 5.

Library sales are awesome. Children’s books are typically the cheapest, usually running as low as 10¢. And it’s always fun to scout out different used book stores. Some of them will even offer some kind of a credit system. You can donate books you no longer need for a credit of a % off your next purchase. Kinda cool! Hope you enjoyed this volume of our favorite toddler reads. More to come in the future! (Update: 8/17/17 my last toddler favorites book list…for J…is now complete. You can read it here.)

~Rachel

Motherhood

Pregnancy, Parenting and God’s Grace

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My first clue came on that super-hot second to last day of July 2015. A thought came into my head suddenly and just as strong. I must have peach ice cream. And I must have it now.

It was odd and unfamiliar. My son was then barely 2. I put the possibility out of my mind. Because it couldn’t be. It was crazy to even think about.

I think God read my thoughts and laughed at me. Like the quote from one of my favorite movies Bella (2006) “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Lord, my plan is to not be a pregnant mama of a toddler.

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However…my suspicion on that peach ice cream day led to confirmation 3 days later. I could hardly explain the emotions I felt. Shock, disbelief, joy…there was a little bit of despair and resentment in there too, if I’m being honest.

 

I had no idea how I would make it through not only the pregnancy, but also the toddler stage for both children. Simultaneously. It boggled my brain.

(Here I hear the maternal voice of Marilla Cuthbert saying, “If you are going to borrow trouble, borrow it from a handier home!”) Meaning, don’t sweat the future there Rachel. Take it one step at a time. And although I’m a worrier, I did my best.

But being honest…carpe diem, as a mother isn’t all that easy. But day after day, amid many mistakes, we try our bestest.

Is it perfectly done? No. Such things do not exist.

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What does exist is grace. More grace than you could paint the sky with. More grace than drops in the ocean. I don’t know about you but I need that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sobbed in prayer over my failings as a mother and I felt the sweet, sweet touch of grace from my Heavenly Father.

And although it hardly makes sense and nearly overwhelms me, I am so thankful for God’s grace.

When I got my hair cut not long ago, my hairdresser told me that she thought her one baby was all she could handle. And oh how I understand! “I thought that too. But you adapt.” And you just do. Your heart opens up in ways you never thought possible. Some days will be dark. And some will be so bright.

Being a parent will never be a walk in the park. But that’s the thing about parks. They have sunshine and shadows.

Nowadays I’m on the other side. The baby that my belly held is now no longer a baby but a toddler. And my toddler very soon will leave behind toddlerhood forever.

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When I look back on some of those days, I remember moments that make me smile.

Here are a few:

When my husband was visiting his brother out of state for 3 days my son, newborn daughter and I stayed home. I vividly remember trying to give my grubby son a bath while trying to feed my daughter. I struggled because she wanted to sit down and eat for hours regardless of whatever I was doing at the time. I laugh about it now but at the time I remember lots of tears were shed.

One day I decided it would be a good idea to take the kids on a long walk. My daughter was 4 or so months old. My son was about to turn 3. We walked for about 2 miles I think. I bribed my son with lots and lots of chocolate milk, which was spilled everywhere. My daughter was in my ergo baby carrier, so I got very sweaty (it was summer at the time). I felt bad because I couldn’t carry J, who got very tired. But once in the car, they cooled off and took a long nap. We survived!

My last shared memory is nothing too remarkable but the simplicity and the sweetness of it still stays with me. Last spring my daughter was so tiny and light. I carried her everywhere because she slept often. With just as much regularity, my son was a restless warrior who needed to wiggle and run. Almost daily, I took them both outside for walks. L in my arms sheltered by a blanket. J beside me, shouting and running, digging and exploring till his heart’s content.

There can be so many difficulties at this stage of life. But if you look hard enough, you can see the sweetness buried ever so slightly in the chaos, the noise, the dirt. Parenting is beautiful. And so are you, my friend! If you feel in despair as a pregnant mama of a toddler, or overwhelmed with your young brood, take heart. There is grace, and there is hope. ❤

~Rachel