of course that measuring tape is a lasso!

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josh and i pretty much have an ongoing conversation every day about our littles ones. i think most all parents do. that constant talk about how they’re doing and how we’re helping them. are we providing what they need right now and what they’ll need in the future.  are they getting the right serving of vegetables each day, more than enough hugs and loves and stories read? do we have the proper amount of laughter and happy music in our home? is there a proper amount of laughter and music in one’s home? are we brushing their teeth correctly and supporting their dreams already? are we providing the right opportunities for learning and growth and what are the right ways to discipline and is their enough positive reinforcement in our home?  it’s all so new to us as well as it is to them. and you kind of only get one shot at it all, which is really really scary.  there is only so much parenting guilt you can take before you want to throw in the towel and call your own mother and ask her to come over and fix everything.

through most of our conversations lately, josh and i have decided to try to focus hard on just a few things. three of the main things that we’re working on in our home right now for the kids–

nutrition and sleep (because we all know what a step up it gives in the early years. they seem to affect everything else and we hope that the habits and lessons they get now will stick with them when they’re older.)

positive love and reinforcement (because our upbringings were incredibly different from one another, and we’ve both seen how constant positive reinforcement or constant negative reinforcement during one’s developing years makes a huge impact, for better or unfortunately for worse.)

and encouragement every single day to explore, to ask more questions, to use that incredible imagination and make everyday a big adventure! (because nurturing a blossoming imagination is probably our biggest honor and role as parents. because these kids can do anything they set their mind to, so long as we don’t step in the way and knock down their dreams.)

i can’t say for conrad just yet, but eleanor and samson both love to use their imaginations all day right now and it makes my mama heart soar. because duh, of course that wooden xylophone is a skateboard, and of course your bed is a rowboat keeping you safe from the sharks and fish and “octopuses and seahorses” on the nursery floor, and duh, of course that measuring tape is a lasso! and all that construction paper with tape just the right way can make you the fanciest crown in all the world, or a beautiful fairy wand or even a big golden sword too.  and i understand now, of course the kitchen is an airplane and traveling all the way from one end of the apartment to the other means you’re now in a far far away place, and a make-believe see-through astronaut suit (with all 17 pieces properly in place) means you are floating through the room or ready to do a moon walk down the hall and see earth as just a small ball, the size of the world globe on the shelf. of course, my little ones! of course!

the ways to give our little ones the best possible start are endless, and there are countless books and experts and methods that tell you this or that is the right way. and that stuff is certainly helpful, but only to an extent.  it’s all up to us as parents, to figure out in which areas our kids need us the most, and then find ways to support their minds, their play, their imaginations, and their precious hearts.

we have partnered with fisher-price to share news of a big sweepstakes they just launched called “be a fisher-price baby!” to help parents give their children the best possible start and celebrating every playful, joyful learning moment! to support this, one grand prize winner will receive $10,000 towards a 529 college savings plan, a trip for three to los angeles, california and a professional family photoshoot to celebrate the all-important early years! six additional winners will receive $1,000 saving bonds and three fisher-price products of their choice. see full details and enter here!
  1. Freya

    You definitely need to frame that top photo. Too hilarious!

  2. susana marino

    any book on these issues that you recommend?

    Thanks

  3. Lisa

    This is beautiful. I don’t have little ones yet, but I remember so clearly from my own childhood that my parents were always encouraging imagination. My grandmother had 2 couches in her sitting room, and I was allowed to push their backs together to create a horse. Of course 2 couch backs makes a horse! Of course spinning around and around and around on the kitchen floor made it feel like you are on a roller coaster! Of course balancing on chairs, pillows, mattresses and “walking the line” on the end of a rug makes you a circus princess! “Mess” was encouraged if if triggered the imagination. And whoever cleaned up first got to pick the bedtime story :)

  4. bambi

    I love reading your blog! I’ll be a mama one day and hope to parent as lovingly and gracefully while still having a real relationship (and real conversations) with my man!

    Love from Germany,

    Bambi

    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de

  5. Yelle

    positive love and reinforcement! i actually use that a lot on my dog through training instead of negative reinforcement and i have to say, he is one happy dog. he’s not afraid of us, but he respects us, and i hope that my children will be the same some day! also, imagination is so important. i feel thankful that growing up we did not yet have ipads and laptops in the house until we were older and in school so they became tools that way instead of just toys. i think fostering an imagination is one of the most important things a child can learn!

  6. Clare

    Adorable photos–but where are your overalls from!?

    • TAZA

      thank you! they are from free people!

  7. melissa

    where are the overalls from! so cute!

    • TAZA

      thanks! from free people!

  8. This post is full of important insights! From what we see online, Eleanor, Samson, & Conrad will grow up to be loving people who enjoy life to the fullest and serve others cheerfully.

    Happy Wednesday :)
    http://www.lovecompassionatelee.com/

  9. Jenn

    We only get to know your kids through your blog posts. But one thing that pops up in my mind was that Eleanor didn’t know who sponge bob was. And I loved that. So many kids these days associate themselves with animated characters created for the screen… when they should be out imagining their own fun! I think you and josh are doing a great job at this parenting thing! I have a one year old so I am not a seasoned parent yet, but this post will help me. Thank you!

  10. Brooke

    Those pictures might be the cutest ones I have ever seen! “because nurturing a blossoming imagination is probably our biggest honor and role as parents. because these kids can do anything they set their mind to, so long as we don’t step in the way and knock down their dreams” I absolutely am inspired by your heart and how much you and your husband truly strive to give your kiddos the absolute BEST! I can only hope to be at least half the parents you both are. Thank you for sharing with the world!
    xoxo
    http://brookiewords.blogspot.com

  11. Marie

    I think this post is for me the best I’ve read in your blog. I’m not a mom (yet), still a college student, but your words are so inspiring.
    I have to say that I was a little disappointed recently by the price of the swimsuits/clothes you wear (I know it’s sound silly and everyone is free) but this words now are really beautiful and I love your blog just as before (even more) now. Thank you for sharing such joy.

    Regards from France.

  12. Aw, I loved this post! What a fun stage your little ones are at :) I think it’s good to be intentional about what you’re doing but not to stress too much about it. Just giving your love is all they really need :)

    Circus & Bloom
    ♥♥♥

  13. Ania

    I love your blog, your writing style, you’re wonderful mom and you have a lovely family. you inspire many women, thank you for This :)
    Have a good day,
    xoxo Ania from Dublin

    justblackswan.wordpress.com

  14. Julie

    This post reminds me to approach life with childlike faith. Thanks for the reminder of this most important lesson Naomi! :) Cheers from DC

    http://www.modlancer.com/blog

  15. Karen

    Do you talk about your blog and how much is appropriate to share online? Part of me would love to share more online but at the same time I want to be a good role model to my children when it comes to social media so for now I just have a private Instagram for family and friends.

    • TAZA

      we do. we have this conversation daily! the boundaries and level of what everyone is comfortable sharing online varies from one person to the next, but right now i feel i am respectful with what i share about our family. as our children grow older, i know that their presence in this space will shift more and more. i’m definitely grateful for the way this blog has provided opportunities for us to spend time together doing and trying new things as a family.

  16. Katie

    THAT FIRST PHOTO-I absolutely love the joy and little bit of chaos it captured! Definitely frame worthy. I’m nowhere near motherhood, but your words get me so excited to be a mom down the road! Thanks for making the world a little better place with your sweet words and positive outlook on life!

  17. Anna Moore

    Your family is adorable. This post reminds me what kind of parent I want to be and how to appreciate everyday with my daughter.

    P.S. I love those overalls!

  18. Zanna

    Haha! Hilarious! I love both these sweet pics and also the kitchen/airplane.

    What really fascinates me is something you mentioned just in passing….how two parents who experienced profoundly different childhoods themselves choose to parent their shared kids. I was raised very differently from my bf and we have had several conversations on what to take and what to leave from our respective upbringings, but I imagine it’s quite a complex process to sort through all that, especially when one partner had less-than-great-experiences as a child….

    Zanna
    http://zannassky.blogspot.de/

  19. Elisabeth

    So sweet! I love the pictures at the top of you with your three kiddos. And Eleanor looks like she’s about to have a growth spurt– long legs!!

    • TAZA

      the longest! none of her pants seem to be long enough right now!

  20. dianaboss

    Thanks for the post! As a mother to a toddler myself I have also seen, especially in recent years, how me and my husband’s upbringings have really impacted our emotional health differently and lead us to discuss parenting with an urgency we might not otherwise feel. I was raised in a really positive, supportive household, and my husband was raised in a pretty rigid, inflexible environment–his inner critic is so loud! I would love it if you could share more about how your differences in upbringing you guys and the way you choose to relate to each other, although I realize that might be too personal.

  21. Gem

    Oh your post reads so true. We have a 16 month old little girl and every day I battle with the ‘is that enough’, ‘should we be doing that differently’ and so on…

    When I was pregnant with Esme I played ‘Pure Imagination’ to her from Charlie and the Chocolate factory all the time and we still listen to it now, I just love the lyrics that her world is down to her imagination and we’re trying so hard to ensure her toys, environments, books feed her wonderful creativity and imagination.

    Thank you for a lovely post that’s just inspired me even more

  22. Danielle

    Where is that xylophone from? It’s darling.

    • TAZA

      thanks! it’s from babies r us several years ago…. i don’t know the brand name, sorry!

  23. hanna

    This is just too cute! –Hanna Lei

  24. Pamela

    I seriously can’t wait to become a mom someday and love my little ones as much as you do!
    So inspiring :) Thanks for the lovely smile you put on my face today.

    PamelaYaquelin

  25. kiely

    you make me so excited to have my own children! sometimes i go to youtube and watch samson and eleanor “meet siri” all over again! so funny, and brings the biggest smile to my face!

    xo, k
    http://www.pocketofblossoms.com

  26. Lendy

    It is so hard sometimes to stay focused when it comes to what we want for our daughter or what’s currently happening or today’s toddler meltdown! This was a great post! You guys are definitely not alone in the sentiments!

    (On a Side note–I’m totally bummed that my daughter is 1 month too old for the phenomenal Fisher Price giveaway!!! The cutoff is 24 months and she just turned 25 months!! Darnit!!)

  27. if you’re looking for a good resource on sleep, check out ‘healthy sleep habits, healthy child’ by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. it’s of course not the end-all-be-all of sleep wisdom, but it’s helped me better understand the needs and sleep patterns of the kids i nanny (5 months, 20 months, and 3 years)! :)

  28. Awww, this is so adorable!! It’s great that you’re so plugged in as parents…sadly, there aren’t enough!

  29. OMG! I just love love love your blog, I came across it while researching blogs, and how they work, etc. Yours is, by far, my favorite! I read your ENTIRE blog (all 7 years) in around 5 days. I absolutely love it so much that it inspired me! I think your family is so adorable!

    XO
    Jessi

  30. Mar

    How about your happy music? Can you tell us some singers/playlist/álbums?Love your blog since the beggining, you make me a funnier mom : )