08 December 2016

Parenting While It Feels Like Our World Is Falling Down

Today is Baby Friendly Blog Network swap day! You can find me at The Journey of Parenthood, with Tips for Road Trips With Kids

I'm so excited to have Emily from, The Journey of Parenthood, guest posting here today. She has been walking through a tough season with her family and I think her perspective is so valuable when it comes to parenting in the middle of a tough season. I hope you will take this post to heart and that it may help you in a current or future season.



We have all experienced sudden, unexpected news. Maybe it's the death of a loved-one. Maybe it's being laid off from a job. Maybe, like in our recent situation, it's having a scary medical diagnosis. During such times it literally feels like the world is crashing down around you. It's hard to focus on anything but the situation at hand. You feel like a zombie, going through the motions of life but unable to really live. But life DOES keep going and kids don't stop needing their parents just because tough stuff is happening. How do you keep on keeping on when it feels hard to even just breathe? Here are some of my tips for how I managed to put my big mama pants on and keep parenting even when I couldn't focus on anything but my husbands health:


1. Count on Your Village: It's easy to be hard on yourself and feel like you have to be everything for everyone all of the time. But it's OK to ask for help. You aren't facing this hardship alone and people WANT to help. Let them! If people offer to bring food, let them bring it. If they offer to take the kids for a few hours, let them. Even if you don't feel like you NEED food or NEED a break, allowing others to help is a blessing to them too. And you'll be pleasantly surprised at how yummy food you don't cook yourself will taste ;) 

2. Be Honest with Your Children: We all want our children to know as little pain as possible. We'd love to keep them in a bubble for their whole lives and protect them from any possible hurt. But kids can tell when something is off. I had a day or two where I literally just couldn't stop crying. Even if I felt fine tears were just constantly flowing down my cheeks. You can't hide that! Our children are young (7, 4, and 2 1/2) but we still sat them down and told them (in simple terms) what is going on. It has been precious to see them pray for Daddy and by being honest and open about everything they have a better understanding of why we are eating healthier and why we are spending less money etc. Tough times can be HUGE learning experiences for our children and opportunities to draw closer as a family unit. (You can see my post on helping children cope with emotional "tough stuff" here)

3. Communicate to Teachers: It's important to communicate big life changes with everyone involved in your children's lives. I emailed each teacher and filled them in on what is going on with our family. Not only did this allow them to keep an eye out for any issues our children may be having in coping, but it also bought me a lot of grace. In my zombie-like state I forgot one kids homework one day, another kids book bag another day. It happens. It's okay. And by having that support system I knew they understood and weren't judging me for my absent mindedness. 

4. Let It Go: I am usually pretty hardcore about my kids' appearances at school. Cute matching outfits, hair bows, etc. Same with healthy lunches. I pack a lunch every day for my son and take pride in giving him a healthy variety in his lunch box. Y'all. It's okay not to be Super Mom. So what if my four year old looked like a rag a muffin for a few weeks at school? Who cares if I just let my son buy lunch? Let go of the little things. You don't have to let them go forever, but give yourself grace and let small things slide for awhile. 

5. Take Care of YOU: You cannot pour from an empty cup. You have to take care of yourself in order to be able to care for anyone else. Carve out time in your day just for you. I'm thankful my kids are so scheduled as I knew I'd have from 1-4:30 everyday to myself. Sometimes I'd cry. Sometimes I'd get mad and need to just be mad. Sometimes I'd just need a LONG nap. Or, let's be real, sometimes I'd just need some good old emotional binge eating ;) All of that is okay. Make time for yourself. Allow yourself to feel and cope and work through any emotions you have. Even if they feel silly. I know I had a day where I kept saying out loud "I can't do this" over and over. I felt dumb saying it because I knew I WILL handle it. It WILL be okay. But in that moment I just needed to feel helpless. I got it out and was able to adapt to my new normal quicker because I allowed myself those moments of weakness. Through our times of weakness, we are better able to find our strength. 

6. Have Prayer Warriors: The power of prayer is the real deal. In tough times it's often hard to pray for yourself. It's tough to find those words and hard to work through the emotional pain to find the blessings God has for you even in those hard moments. That's where prayer warriors come in. I could literally FEEL the prayers being lifted for us. It helped give me peace and helped me feel less alone. Pray. Let your children pray. Let others pray. 

Whatever you may be facing, you are strong enough to handle it. One week after we got the news about my husbands health, I was in the shower and realized I was JUST showering. I wasn't thinking through our possible future. I wasn't worrying about money or medical needs. I was just showering. As humans we are so blessed with the ability to adapt and we adapt so quickly. Allow yourself time to accept whatever new reality you are facing and understand that just going through the motions of parenting is okay. Lean on your family and allow whatever hardships you are facing to bring you closer together. 

Emily is a mother of 3 (ages 7, 4, and 2 1/2) and is in the process of adopting baby 4! You can visit her at www.journeyofparenthood.com

Read more »

15 November 2016

Family Pictures - Fall 2016

We had a Fall photo shoot a few weeks ago with our friend Jennifer and I'm SO LOVING how the pictures turned out. I can't stop looking at them and I can't decide which ones are my favorites.

Kyle requested a cotton field setting as a little nostalgia to our West Texas upbringings and I think it was the perfect backdrop for our pics!

I have to tell you what a miracle worker this sweet friend is. Archer fussed THE WHOLE TIME. He is not normally a fussy baby and not one I honestly had worried about, but he was not happy about adjusting his dinner time that evening. So I had no idea what to expect when I got the pictures because he was so cranky. I am absolutely amazed! Way to go Jen, you're a rockstar!

Enjoy! (and help me pick a favorite!)

































Read more »

11 November 2016

How To Make Babywise Possible With multiple Children

I think this Babywise week has been my favorite yet as the bloggers in the Babywise network have addressed the myths and misconceptions associated with Babywise.

I laughed a little when I read Emily's post because I had such similar experiences with my babies with people telling me it wouldn't work with multiple kids.  I love this post and think you will too!

"Then I got pregnant with my second baby. And SO MANY PEOPLE said "well you can kiss that schedule goodbye with two kids." So I proved them wrong. Baby 2: Babywise Baby 2. Then I got pregnant with my third and again laughter and jokes about scheduling being impossible with a third baby. And here we are. Baby 3: Babywise Baby 3.

I think the reason people assume Babywise scheduling isn't possible with multiple children is because we do tend to "slack" more the more kids we have. You have to! Your life can't revolve around one child because you have more than one child. I'm here to say though that you don't have to veer off course just because you have more than one child under your roof! I'm living proof of it :)"



Be sure and check back every day this week as our bloggers take a closer look at the myths often associated with Babywise!

Read more »

Haters Miss The Point: Babywise Is More Than Just Sleep

On this final day of our Babywise Week, Cole brings up the idea that Babywise is more than just sleep.

I LOVE Cole's perspective that the purpose of the "-wise" series is for parents to learn to be good stewards of their children. That perspective causes you to remember that our children are gifts from the Lord, but they belong to Him. He made them!! This resonates so much with me and what Kyle and I believe about parenting and it's one of the main reasons why we chose to use Babywise for our family. 


Cole says: "On Becoming Babywise provides a practical system for creating order in the household. It establishes God and the marriage at the center of the family - NOT the children. It encourages a traditional parenting style that focuses on raising responsible adults. The fact that the first book covers infant sleep is circumstantial - it's because that's the first stage of a child's life - but the overarching precepts are carried out through each of the next seven books. The vast majority of the series is spent on aspects other than sleep - like physical, mental, and emotional development, learning, obedience, respect, correction, authority, character, and responsibility."



Be sure and check back every day this week as our bloggers take a closer look at the myths often associated with Babywise!

Read more »

10 November 2016

Babywise and Cry It Out (Or Don't!)

I have a confession to make. With all four of my babies I have used Babywise, but one of my babies has never fully cried it out. That's right yall, me, Mrs. Babywise, didn't do "Cry It Out" with Archer. And here's why that's ok....



What the book DOES NOT promote.....

Somewhere along the way, Babywise started getting associated with crying it out. I can't tell you how many conversations with people I have had about Babywise and their response to me has been something along the lines of  "I just can't do Babywise because I can't let my baby cry".

Nowhere in the "On Becoming Babywise" book does it tell you that you have to do CIO to be successful with Babywise. In fact, the book doesn't even give you  a guideline for sleep training at all. It does say that "it is an aquired skill that is enhanced by routine" (pg. 55). But the heart and meat of Babywise is a Parent Directed Feeding Plan and the Eat Wake Sleep Cycle... NOT sleep training.

What the book DOES promote .....

Get to know your baby's cries. 

"Don't define [the baby's] needs by the mere fact that your baby is crying. Rather, learn to assess what each cry means. Assessment is critical to meeting needs." (p. 138). 

There are a number of reasons a baby might cry and as the caregiver, you need to learn what those cries are in order to best meet needs. Those needs should always be addressed. But also recognize that one of those needs might very well be SLEEP and that will likely requre sleep training of some sort.

Self-soothing. 

Every human being needs to learn how to self soothe and we all need to be able to put ourselves to sleep by ourselves. Is sleep training a part of this? Yes! Absolutely! Most babies are not born with this ability and need to be trained to do this. CIO is one way to do this, but it's not the only way. For my first three CIO, worked BEAUTIFULLY. If I rocked LK, she would just cry anyway. We did 2 nights of CIO and eight years later, she is still the best sleeper in our house. For Archer, for several reasons, we couldn't (because of room sharing) and just didn't WANT to CIO with him. We used the 4 S's (From Tracy Hogg's The Baby Whisperer) as our main sleep training method with him.

Avoid Sleep Props.

"Sleep props hinder continuous nighttime sleep. Sleep cues are influences (often negatively) by a variety of sleep association props. Some sleep props, such as a special blanket or a stuffed animal, are harmless, while others are addictive. For some parents, the problem is getting the child to fall asleep initially. For others, the challenge is getting the child to fall back to sleep if he is prematurely awakened." (p. 56). 

Listen, I don't think sleep props are the devil. But I do think they hinder healthy sleep patterns. And I think if you use them it could take longer for baby to sleep through the night and longer for them to learn to self soothe.

Common sleep props to take into consideration: pacifiers, swings, bed sharing, lovies. (For the record, we use 2 out of the 4 of those).

Sleep Training Methods Other Than CIO

The Four S's Wind Down Ritual (our favorite), The Baby Whisperer

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child 

Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (The Ferber Method)

Happiest Baby On The Block

The No-Cry Sleep Solution

This is just a start, as there are many more options when it comes to sleep training. My point is don't just assume it's cry it out or nothing!

CIO

Want more info and solid resources on how to effectively use "Cry it out"? Nobody says it better than Valerie Plowman, The Babywise Mom. Check out all of her helpful resources on CIO here:

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: Cry It Out Index


While I have used different methods of sleep training with my four, I have seen Babywise successfully work with all four of them. I worked hard with all four. I had the same goal with all four. My "how" was different, but my "why" was the same and my goal was accomplished with all four. My encouragement is to take the meat and purpose of Babywise and make it work for your family. Do your research on ALL of the types of Sleep Training and choose the one that best fits your family and use it alongside Babywise!

This week, the ladies in the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are tackling the Babywise Myths and Misconceptions. Really really good info here from bloggers whose are passionate about promoting the POSITIVE things about Babywise! 





Read more »

09 November 2016

Babywise Works For You (Not The Other Way Around)

Natasha is talking about something that I have personally talked to so many people about, as we continue to look at myths associated with Babywise. Babywise is a method that works FOR YOU. You make it fit YOUR family. You don't fit it!

"You're so lucky to have such easy babies" is something I have heard more than once in my Babywise journey. And that's just not true. We have worked hard to get our kids into the healthy routines that they are in.


"When I had the twins (we got them at 3-months-old) and someone would hear that they took at least two 2-hour naps during the day and slept 12 hours through the night, a frequent response I got was, "Wow, you got so lucky!"  I still get that response when people hear that every child in my home (ages 1.5, 4, and 6) still naps or at least has rest time during the day.  Let me tell you, luck has got nothing to do with it.  Do some babies respond better to scheduling than others?  Sure.  Do some kids adapt more easily to routine?  Of course.  But I've never had a child from day 1 of their lives; seven times we've welcomed into our home kids from hard places, who came from chaotic environments, and not once have babywise principles failed me.  Not. One. Time.  And that's because I made babywise work for me, and I put in the work to make it work.  If you want to believe I "got lucky" seven times, then fine.  But if you want to know how to make babywise work for you too, keep reading, get the book, and do some research!  The blogs at the bottom of this post are some great resources!"


Be sure and check back every day this week as our bloggers take a closer look at the myths often associated with Babywise!


Read more »

How Schedules Keep Us Flexible, Not Rigid

Continuing to de-bunk the  Babywise myths, I love how Shea spells out how a Schedule actually makes you more flexible, and not rigid.

I think this is so important to think through because at first thought it can sound like an oxy-moron. But I happen to whole-heartedly agree with Shea and have seen a very similar experience with all of my babies as well. 


Shea says: 

"When you have your basic day to day living schedule working well for you and baby, baby knows what to expect for his day. There is a sweet, real security created that the baby learns to trust. His body will actually lull at the times where he is used to napping and his metabolism will gear up in times he is used to being fed. This works well for day to day living - but it also benefits greatly when things are a little out of sorts and the schedule is not going as usual. I have found that my baby's cried less when they were tired - even if they were not getting their nap like they were used too - because they knew it would eventually come. Their bodies were not in fight mode because they felt unceratin that they would not get the rest they wanted. This is true for hunger as well. If my child was used to eating prompltly at 11:30 am for lunch, but the trip to the grocery store took 30 minutes longer than anticipated, they were still able to roll with the punches because they had the security to not panic wondering if they would have a full belly again soon."


Be sure and check back every day this week as our bloggers take a closer look at the myths often associated with Babywise!

Read more »

08 November 2016

Babywise Isn't Imposing A Schedule, It's Learning the Ideal Schedule

Continuing our Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week and tackling the myths that are associated with Babywise, Katrina talks today about a few of the major misconceptions of Babywise.

I love how she outlines the differences between Clock Feeding, Child-led Feeding, and Parent Directed Feeding and the differences between all of them. I think people assume that Babywise is the same as Clock Feeding when in fact it IS NOT, and it the Parent Directed Feeding.

Something else she addresses that is a hot button for me is that Babywise will starve your baby, when in fact Babywise says the opposit! Over 27 times in the first Babywise book it tells you to feed your baby if he or she is hungry. If your baby is hungry, you feed them.

Anyway, check out Katrina's post below and enjoy!


I mentioned yesterday, that I was quite shocked to read some of the Babywise "myths" when I first started researching the idea. I first found the concept of Babywise on Pinterest, and I didn't yet know it was called Babywise! I found a pin that was focused on scheduling feedings. I had been researching how often I should expect to feed my baby throughout the day and night. I am one of those Type A people that love to be as prepared as possible for things. While I knew I couldn't possibly know anything exact, I wanted a ballpark number to keep in mind- a goal. When I saw the idea of scheduled feedings, I was fascinated. I know that I personally thrive on schedules and knowing what is expected of me, and that my students also did the same, when I was teaching high school. I had a feeling that babies would also love the idea, and I really wanted to give it a shot. As I researched more and more, I finally found the term Babywise. That's when the research turned negative. Once Babywise is mentioned, there are a lot of myths to sift through. I turned to the book, and to the BabywiseMom blog. I also joined the Babywise Mamas group on Facebook so I could have a support system with other mamas that were using the same concepts. 

Today I'd like to address something that I'm very passionate about: Babywise Isn't Imposing a Schedule, it's Learning the Ideal Schedule. This is a very important idea that often gets lost (unless you've read the book).


Be sure and check back every day this week as our bloggers take a closer look at the myths often associated with Babywise!


Read more »

07 November 2016

Myth vs.Reality

It's Babywise Network Blog Network Week, which is one of three times out of the year that our blog network devotes a whole week to conquering a topic. The topic this month is Babywise Myths.

If you've been around Babywise for any length of time, you have probably heard the myths. The stories from people about how it's only for people with robots as children, or how Babywise means to starve your children, or how it is synonymous with "Cry it Out" (spoiler alert: it's not, it doesn't and it for sure isn't).

Valerie is starting off our week talking about her experience with diving into some of these myths. I love hearing her perspective because she is so well researched and has experience with four of her own children using this method. I remember not being able to sleep one night when I was pregnant with one of mine, and completely hooked into reading her articles on the Babywise Myths (which she links to at the end of her post). I hope you'll take the opportunity to read her post and soak in her wisdom!


"I was baffled. Absolutely flabbergasted. Could these people have possibly read the same book I did?!? The reality is the vast majority of people making claims online about what Babywise "says" have not in fact read the book. They have only read other people's claims about the book. There are some, however, who have read the book, which leaves me confused. Anyway, I was in shock that day. I had loved Babywise in the two years that I had been using it. This was nearly a decade ago, and really "in those days" there was nothing but negative commentary about Babywise online. Anyone who did Babywise kept mum about it for fear of being bullied. The fear was justified."


Be sure and check back every day this week as our bloggers take a closer look at the myths often associated with Babywise!




Read more »

04 November 2016

The 2016 Fair!


I. Love. The. Fair. I love the food, the games, the food, the colors, the people watching, the fun houses and the food. I was so thankful for the opportunity to go last night! We went early, right when they opened at 4:00, and I'm so glad we did because it got really busy by the time we left, around 8. When we first were there, there weren't any waits or lines and could pretty much walk on anything we wanted. 

In situations like this, it is always so fascinating to watch my kids different personalities come out. 

LK, LOVES roller coasters. She loves the thrill, she loves the fast and the high and the crazy. She got that from her daddy, because Mama loves different things ;). 

Shepherd is our timid one. He does not like rides that go too fast or too high. He gets that from his Mama. Sometimes he needs a little nudge and does awesome, but we have to choose our nudges wisely. His favorite attractions were the fun houses. Ha! He thought they were hilarious! 

Fischer is all about the fun. Also, all about doing anything that Shepherd doesn't want to that could get him more attention. Stinker. At one point he snuck off, yes, you heard that right, snuck off, behind the rides all the way to the other side and WALKED ON A RIDE. BY HIMSELF. After I found him and recovered from the heart attack, he explained that the ride looked too fun to wait. Hold me. 

And then Archer. Best baby in the world. He literally hung out in the stroller the whole time without crying or fussing. So content to take it all in. He occasionally would point to something he liked or would say "wow!" at the lights. Sweetest thing. 

We had such a great family night and made some sweet memories. 


























































Look who we ran into: Bradley and Kathryn! So glad we live in the same town and can "run into" them now!




As usual, I'm linking up with MomfessionalsGrace and Love Blog, and Little Bit of Everything Blog for Friday Favorites! Join Us!



Read more »