Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts


Intentional parenting

We've been parents for almost five years. In that time, many of my hopes and dreams for our girls have changed. Most of it is for the better, at least I am hoping so. When my first and second babies were born, I didn't think a lot past the infancy and toddler stages. That was overwhelming enough on it's own. The goal was to keep them alive, and slip in some character building along the way (don't throw things because that's not kind, don't use your hands to hit people, use manners) As they have grown and become real little people instead of the babies that they were, I've had to tackle my views and feelings about all kinds of things. You see, I didn't have concrete ideas or opinions. I knew what I knew well, but it was only on a limited number of topics. There are so many different views, lifestyles, and choices to make. I spent my time thinking about the right now and not so much about the future.

But then, the future snuck up on me. Suddenly, the kiddos have less physical needs and more emotional needs. They are asking questions that I have to be able to answer. They are learning about this world, and I've been given the task to guide them and show them how it works. It's got me thinking about how I actually feel about this world, about what I value and what isn't important. (I write this for myself, but obviously I've talked with hubby about it a lot and would assume that he's in agreement on most if not all of this.)

There are the preferential things, the things that I value greatly yet also realize are just that: preferences. They are important, but need to be put in their own category. I consider them important to our family culture, but not important to our actual salvation in Jesus. There are five that come to mind:

1. I want them to look put together. I want them to make an effort to take care of themselves, but to not value their appearance too much. They should respect themselves enough to get dressed, do their hair (and make-up when they are older), shower on a regular basis, and generally look respectable. That's important to me, because I learned early on that I do better when I make a small effort. If I do my hair, put on fresh clothes, and brush my teeth, I feel ready for the day. I have a cheerier disposition and am willing to take on whatever comes my way.  I also learned that taking too much time and putting too much energy into one's appearance can be a negative thing in relation to other people. If it comes across as too materialistic, it's easy to isolate myself from others by appearing too perfect. This balance is so hard (hence people all across the country struggling with it) but I do want to teach  my girls how to do it. Respecting oneself doesn't mean buying all the expensive name brand clothing. It doesn't mean having an excess of shoes, designer jeans, and jewelry. There is a huge difference that can seem abstract, especially to youth. It's my job to show them these differences.

2. I hope they love being outside. This is a newer one for me, one that hit me hard in the last year or so. I grew up inside. Ironically, my mom grew up on a farm and my dad grew up playing outside all the time. It didn't transfer to me, even though I participated in outside activities like sports and park play fairly often. Even my mission trip in Romania, where we lived completely outside for almost a month didn't seal the deal. It wasn't until I was older, a good way into adulthood, before I realized how nurturing the outdoors was for my soul. I've had to work at it to make it a part of my life, and even now I slip back into laziness and complacency to the point where I miss out on great opportunities to enjoy the weather and natural beauty around us. For my kids, I want them to enjoy it right from the start. I want them to crave fresh air and exercise in an internal, natural way. I want them to look around and see God's creation, see the proof He's given us of his existence and love for us. 

3. I want them to love reading. I don't care what genre they land on as long as they love to read. Reading is such a great tool for learning. You can learn about almost anything by reading the right books or material. While it may seem counter productive to being outside, I hope they can integrate it together so that they can enjoy both without going too far either way. I've always love to read, to the point where I spent all of my free time inside, reading anything I could get my hands on. I went too far that way and missed out on the physical activity that would have been good for my soul as well. The balance is possible, but something we need to work on constantly.

4. With the love of being outside and reading, I want them to also love learning in general. As a child and teenager, I thought I hated learning. I had based my understanding on what learning consisted of around my experience in school. I didn't have a terrible school, but it was not an environment that I enjoyed on a regular basis. I thought of it as a means to an end. Once school was done, I could be done learning. I had no idea that what would really happen is my ability to learn and enjoy it would take off as soon as school ended. My hope for my kids is that they can love the process right from the start. Test results don't matter as much as what they actually learn and retain. The process is just as important as the end result.

5. Hubby and I both have hobbies that we really want to encourage. I want the kids to love music, each finding their own niche that they can foster and enjoy. I want us to enjoy it together well past their childhood. I also want them to love things that are old yet still valuable like old stories, traditions, and ancestors, still so very precious. I want them to appreciate the past in a way that helps them enjoy the present and future. Hubby wants them to learn to work with their hands like he does, although he says he's not picky about how they do it. He wants them to be open to knew things without letting fears take over. He would also love it if they loved to hunt or shoot at targets. I think that is a little bit of a stretch, but I will let him dream. After all, I don't mind target shooting and that probably surprises every single person that knows me. It's not impossible.

Those things are preferences. They don't necessarily form character traits on their own and definitely do not matter in regards to salvation. I'm learning how to separate the things that matter to me in this world with the things that will matter in the next world, the things that God desires for us to do now in preparation for the future.

The things that matter most of all involve their hearts. God gives us tools to use to overcome the evils of the world. There are important things to teach these girls that directly affect their relationships with God and others. 

1. I want them to be kind first. It can be so simple to apply judgement to those around us based on our preferences. If we aren't careful, it's easy to apply things we read in the bible to those around us without first looking at ourselves. I want the girls to look at this world through a filter that emphasizes love and kindness more than people's sins or problems. I personally struggle with this all the time, which makes it both easier and harder to teach the kids. The struggle is to teach them something that I have not yet mastered. At the same time, I can use opportunities that challenge me to learn right alongside them. 

2. I want them to be confident in their faith, even though the world tells them they are wrong. It's scary to be the different one, to be told over and over how awful you are for believing what you believe. I want them to be willing to stand up for Jesus, to not cower away in shame or confusion. This is going to be a lifelong battle for them as it is for me, and I pray that I can continue to help them with it on their journeys.

3. I want them to seek God first, and then focus on the facts and their emotions. The bible is not always crystal clear and questions pop up constantly that may cause doubt along the way. My hope is that they learn to love God and trust that his way is the right way while they work through their doubts and continue to learn about him. There is room for questions and there is room for struggles, but it won't mean anything if they lose their faith through it. 

4. I want them to learn to love and love hard. I don't mean this in the typical hippy all-you-need-is-love kind of way. (All you need is Jesus, which leads to love.) I want them to learn how love affects every area of our lives. Loving Jesus, familial love, romantic love, love for strangers, love for friends, tough love, loving your enemies, it's all important, vital really. Each kind of love is different. Each kind draws from within you in different ways. I want to help them understand that all forms of love come from Jesus. He is our ultimate example and shows us how to do it if we just take the time to learn it. It's not nearly as easy as it sounds, and will most likely take more than their childhood years to learn. 

These lists are evolving and growing as we reach new stages of this parenting journey. Maybe I'll come back to them, revise them, add to them, or just delete them. It's good for me to continue to think about it both abstractly and concretely. Having it listed out like this reminds me of the why's behind our actions. It helps keep our priorities on what is important to our Father and what is important to me, as a mom that can get sucked into worldly desires as much as anyone else. I also just think it's important to keep these lists separate, to see them both as important but with each having their place in our lives. 


Yet another transition

Last weekend was tough. We did respite care for two little kiddos that were the same ages as our girls. To avoid turning this post into a novel, I'll just say that we quickly learned what our limits were and were out of our comfort zones the whole time. Having four kids under three, even for just two days, was way too much.

We also learned that having another girl the same age as Josie really threw her for a loop. She did not handle it well and we paid the price for it with her actions and attitudes all weekend. There were many tantrums, bedtime was insane awful, and she just didn't act like her sweet self.

So we learn from it and move on.

To say we weren't exactly excited for our next placement would be an understatement. Neither of us felt that we had the strength or stamina for another challenge so immediately following the weekend and yet we learned that the county had gotten custody of eleven kids in just three days.

On Monday, we got a 3 1/2 year old boy. We were (and are) worried about the lack of age gap between him and Josie but thankfully she's doing well. He's very quiet and plays well with the girls. I think that being the youngest of six kids has taught him to get along with just about anyone.

That being said, my next concern is how to give my girl Josie enough of my time while still parenting this scared boy and an almost walking almost one year old.

Its a tough thing to balance and something I will never fully master.

Thank you for your prayers as we transition into a family of five for the next (?) little while. We truly are relying on God's strength as we don't have much of own left.



I've been praying for patience, more so lately than usual. Don't be too impressed. My prayer life is not what it should be. Josie and I have been butting heads the last week or so much more than usual. She's practicing her independence without giving me and what I expect or desire from her a second thought. Time outs, raised voices, and angry looks are happening too often around here and I'm not proud of myself at all.

So, I pray for patience. And God is so good. When I thought that I couldn't do it, He did it for me. When she wriggled and screamed and did everything under the sun to avoid nap time, I calmly sat next to her with one arm across her chest, reminding her that she needed to rest and that I would not leave until she was sleeping. No matter what she threw at me, figuratively and literally, I kept calm. 

You see, bedtime/nap time is when I am the weakest. I lose my patience more so at these times of day than any other. I fail more times than I succeed, and I always leave her room feeling like the worst parent in the world.

But this particular day, Josie fell asleep, I had a few moments of quiet, and the day continued. That moment was so good for me as a parent. To see God work through me, immediately following prayer (and during, I did silently pray over her while she cried for at least half of the time I sat with her) reassured me that I am not alone in this parenting thing.

I've known this, that I'm not alone. I don't always feel alone. But every once in a while, my emotions get the best of me (what mother hasn't experienced this?) and I want to cry out for someone, anyone, to understand how hard this can be, to keep me company, to just be here. 

So that moment was truly a wonderful answer to prayer.

And then, because He always pushes us to truly rely on him, he sent me two more babies to take care of almost all by myself this weekend.

We're doing respite care today and tomorrow for a girl that is Josie's age and a boy that is Audrey's age. It's like having two sets of twins, except that I don't know these two like I know my own kids, so it's a lot more of guessing and hovering to make sure there are kind words and hands. 

I don't think, no, I know that I could not do this on my own all the time. Four kids under three? Two that have come from a struggling home and have a bit of behavior to show from that? I have hardly sat down yet and the day has just begun. 

Today, this nap time is so very sweet. I have failed already today with my temper, patience, tone and volume of voice, but I have also relied on Jesus to get me through numerous moments throughout the day. He gives me strength when I just

All four kids are sleeping (thank you Lord!) and I am catching my breath.

The fun will start again soon, I'm sure.


Thoughts on Cloth Diapering

Oh lordy. It's been a while since I've talked about our journey with cloth diapers. I'd call this a series since I just wrote out my Thoughts on Breast feeding, but I don't have any other updates in mind so we'll just call this part two. 

I've only really written about them twice and it's been almost a year since the last update. I never did get a post written regarding diapering two babies, and now we're back to one! 

Diapering two
When both girls were in diapers, I generally had one girl in the pocket diapers (one or two inserts inside, usually Josie) and one girl in the Flip diapers (one liner and one insert that lays on top against baby's skin, usually Audrey). It worked well because we didn't have to resize each diaper based on who was wearing it. They were ready to go and we had enough for each of them, although if we ran out for one girl, it wasn't too hard to resize the other kind and continue on until laundry was done.

I thought having twice as much laundry would be an issue, but it wasn't bad. It didn't feel all that different, and I honestly didn't feel like it took more of my time since the Flip diapers didn't require much besides setting them aside in their own pile (no folding or stuffing). 

I keep the diapers in two bins underneath the changing table. Keeping them separated makes it super easy to grab what I need and sorting them while folding the laundry takes almost no extra time. 

Why we use them
Honestly, the reason we started using cloth diapers in the first place was cost. I had heard that the cost of disposable diapers vs cloth diapers was hardly comparable, and that has proven to be true. I won't do a specific comparison for you, but if you google it you'll find a whole pile of other posts written by other people with very descriptive details and numbers. The initial cost of cloth diapers is higher, but the more you use them, the less the lifetime cost (per diaper) is. Each kid I can use them on just makes it even more cost effective. Pretty cool. Also, if you know you are going to cloth diaper, start looking for sales at different stores online ahead of time. I got almost all of our Flip diaper inserts on sale and some of the liners too. It saved us a lot of money just because I gave myself some time to collect as many as we have now. If you can't afford a lot of them, buy less and do laundry more until the next sale. Flexibility will help you in the long run. 

(It also helps that they are more earth friendly, but that is not a huge motivator for me. I try to be green here and there but generally just fit it in our lives where we can and don't stress out about it where we can't.)

But now? The real reason we still use them is because I truly dislike disposables. The smell, the way they feel, the cost, the look of them. I just don't like them. They are fine if need be, but if I could choose (which, for my kids, I can) I would choose cloth diapers any day. I'm perfectly aware that most other people do not agree. I know other cloth mamas that don't agree but stick with it for the cost. To each their own, for real. It's just my preference, but I never would have figured this out if I hadn't tried the cloth diapers in the first place. 

Side note: I do have to thank my family for dealing with my crazy. :) I know they aren't as in love with them as I am, but they don't complain about them while changing the girls and I appreciate that.

What we don't love
There are a few negatives that I can't forget to mention. The main one is that you aren't supposed to use diaper creams with them. It adds a layer to the surface of the insert (or liner for the pocket diaper) that deflects the liquid (hello, the whole point is to absorb liquid) and then makes it useless. You can sometimes get that layer off by stripping the diapers with bleach (not recommended by the BumGenius brand) or Dawn dish soap (I know, crazy, but it works). It isn't a guarantee, though, so it's better to just avoid diaper creams altogether. Even though some advertise that they work on cloth diapers, don't risk it! You'll ruin your nice, expensive diapers.

So what do you do when you need some kind of rash cream? That is a predicament I've found myself in. For both girls, around 10 months old, they got a terrible rash from acidic urine. It was horrible, and if they sat in it for even five minutes, it got much worse. The only thing that helped was rash cream, so I had to buy disposables for that particular week or two until the rash healed and the urine adjusted back to normal (not so acidic). I also stripped the diapers to make sure that the acid was completely gone. Only after all of that could we go back to cloth diapers. After two babies, I'm now more aware that this just happens and that it isn't a poor reflection on cloth diapers or a cause for a drastic change that will last forever. Instead, it is just a temporary thing that you need to get through, like all the other things that change with growing babies.

Leaking used to be a bigger problem for us than it is now. With Josie, it seemed like they leaked if they were wet almost every time. It drove me crazy, but not enough to give up on them. Then, we got the Flip diapers, and that problem practically solved itself. With Audrey, she very rarely leaks and I think this is because of three different things. One, the diapers fit her differently, so they seal to her better which holds the liquid in better. Two, we change her more often. Seems silly, but I do think we go through two more diapers a day with her than we did with Josie, just because I'm aware of this. It isn't much, but it makes a difference. And finally, she just doesn't drink as much liquid as Josie did, so there is less that can leak. The combo of these three things adds up to hardly any leaking.
(To be fair, though, leaking is annoying but blow outs are worse! We never have blow outs with the cloth diapers. We almost always do with disposables. Maybe it's just us, but it is frustrating when we do wear disposables to always worry about that.)

The other negative thing with cloth diapers is the bulk. Having to pack them in a diaper bag means you need a bigger diaper bag. It can be frustrating if you are used to packing disposables, but since we hardly do that it hasn't been that much of a bother to me. They also make their little bottoms bulkier, which means that some pants don't fit. I've found that we have to go up a size faster with bottoms than tops. Once you just realize that and adjust their wardrobes, it's no big deal. I personally love the look of a cloth diapered bottom. It's too cute.

Josie, around six months

Audrey, about seven months


Click picture for source

This is almost exactly what our pocket diapers look like. Snaps, easy to resize, and an assortment of colors. The only thing I don't like is that they stretch out and don't go back to their original shape, while the inserts shrink after being washed a few times. We end up double stuffing them often so that they absorb enough, although that hasn't been as consistent with Audrey as it was with Josie. Each diaper fits each child differently, just like with disposables.

Click picture for source (sorry for the quality, I couldn't find a good descriptive picture that was larger)

Here are the Flip diapers. I like that you can reuse the liner (less laundry) but have noticed that you can't reuse it too often because it gets stinky even if you wipe it down in between wears. I'd say 2-3 times at the most. It's actually less smelly and easier to reuse if it is a BM instead of urine as long as it is all contained on the insert. As the child starts eating real food, the urine smell is very acidic and hard on the child's bottom, so generally you wouldn't want to reuse anything that has that strong scent on it. It's just common sense (I hope). They hold up awesome compared to the pocket diapers, and they should because they cost a lot more. The one drawback is that you have to put them together while changing the diaper so as the child gets older and more squirmy, it gets harder to put the diaper on. Not a huge deal, as it is hard to put on anything when the child is squirmy, but something I noticed in particular with this kind of diaper.

We do use disposable wipes. My favorites are Huggies (bought in bulk from Sam's Club) because they rip easily so we can use half of one when that is all that is needed. It has saved us a lot of money and we don't go through them nearly as fast. We used to use cloth wipes and a spray bottle with baby wash mixed with water, but it was rough on their bottoms and I didn't feel like it did a thorough enough job. 

Clean up
We use Planetwise wet bags for the dirty diaper storage. They work great, but the biggest thing I can say I've learned is don't dry them in the dryer. We have three medium size bags that we have always dried in the dryer and they are pretty spent. One has a dime sized hole in it while the others have tiny holes in random places. We also got a large bag when we were pregnant with Audrey and I have made sure not to dry that one. It is almost as good as new almost a year later, so it really does make a difference. We don't dry the liners for the Flip diapers either, and that has helped them stay almost as good as new as well. I wish I would have known not to dry the wet bags when we got them, so if you take anything away from this post, let that be it!

Click picture for source
We have a sprayer attached to our toilet that helps with the BMs. This means that I never have to dip my hand in toilet water to rinse the diapers (which is an alternative when we are in public. Not fun, but it does the job). I love the sprayer. Personally, it makes cleaning up the mess so much easier. We got ours on (not the exact kind we have, but a link to one that is similar).

As far as how we wash the diapers, I make our laundry detergent and have always used it on the diapers. It works great and there is no more build up on them than if we used a store bought diaper. In fact, I'd say it seems to be less. If for some reason the diapers have sat longer without being washed or still have that strong acidic smell, I just cycle them through the wash one more time and that takes care of it. We do two wash cycles (the first being cold water, no detergent and the second being hot water for sterilization with detergent) and then dry them in the dryer or hang them outside. Hanging them in the sun helps bleach them back to almost as good as new. I know it sounds crazy, but it works.

We usually do use cloth diapers when travelling. I either pack them in a separate bag, all clean and ready to go, or just stuff as many as I think we need in their suitcase. It's a little more to pack, but because we have a lot of them, we hardly ever have to wash them away from home. There are usually enough to make it through a long weekend.

Let me know if I forgot something or if you have any questions. I love to talk about what I've learned and my thoughts on them (of course I do, this post is long enough to prove it!) and don't mind if you disagree with me respectively.


Thoughts on Breast feeding

It's been a while since I've posted about breast feeding. You know, because I haven't been doing it for six months now. Since I'm more removed from it, I thought I'd summarize my thoughts on it for me. As always, my views on this don't apply to everyone. It's not easy, and it's not for everyone. I have no judgement for those that don't do it.*

Okay, so back to my thoughts.

I've always wanted to breast feed my babies. I have dreamed of being able to until the babes are at least one, but two babies later and it still has not happened. I'm not sure where and when I got this idea that going until one was my huge goal. I know most of it came with not wanting anything to do with formula. I do realize it has come a long way from what it used to be, but I strongly dislike it. I hate how the baby's BMs are disgustingly smelly and how the formula smells once mixed with water. 

Oh, and then there is the cost. I feel so wasteful buying it when I know that I potentially could be feeding the baby for free (minus the cost of me eating more food to keep up I guess). 

I also love the intimacy between the baby and me. It's something that only we can do together and it means the world to me. I truly love that closeness that developed between us. Those months with each of my girls were precious for my little memories even though they were also filled with anxiety and struggle here and there (I'm looking at you, mastitis).

If you've read my blog for a while, you know that I struggled to keep my supply up with Audrey right after she turned four months old. She would eat and eat and then cry and cry, no matter what I did. It wasn't enough and I knew it. I felt pressure from some to just switch to formula or at least supplement and let me tell you, that angers me now that I look back. I know that it isn't for everyone, but I should not be guilted into giving up breast feeding just because someone else is uncomfortable with it. Obviously my interests were for Audrey's health. That was one of the reasons I was pushing for continuing breast feeding. The immunity that comes with it is wonderful, and I didn't want to let that part go either. The outside pressure and opinions did not help me out. They just made me feel worse.

I also had support for continuing breast feeding, for trying all kinds of things to boost my supply, and for fighting the negative comments and vibes I got. I'm so thankful for that.

Ultimately, I knew I had to make the choice to switch to formula when I was barely getting anything out from pumping. I was devastated because I wanted to continue and my body wasn't letting me. 

Months later, I learned that there was a good chance it was something on Audrey's end. More than likely, the way she was eating was not encouraging me to make more, so my body started making less. I don't know this for sure, but I feel so much better knowing that my body is almost certainly capable of lasting longer than four months. This is why I talk to others about things like this, and why I blog about it. For all of the negative junk that comes with, I learn about things I wouldn't have heard before and it makes it all worth it.

I could have fought harder for it. I could have gone to see a nursing consultant or a physical therapist for Audrey, to make sure she was sucking the right way. Looking back, I am tempted to kick myself for not fighting more for something that meant a lot to me. But at the same time, it's not the end of the world. I know that it won't affect Audrey long term and now that we are almost done with formula (we're on our last container!) I can honestly say it wasn't terrible to have to use it. 

Whenever we are blessed with another baby, I know that I will want to fight for it again. It means a lot to me, it's good for the baby, and it saves us a little money. I already have the "tools" like the pump, nursing cover, and shield. Ultimately, I know I will want to try again, and for longer.

*But of course, I cannot end this post without my own little disclaimer. It truly is not life or death. There is not proof that breast fed kids are healthier long term so whether or not you choose to breast feed has more to do with the here and now than the child's  adult life and future. Does that make sense? If it is not right for you, then don't stress out about it. Don't feel bad and beat yourself up because you hear "Breast is best" and all that from the granola or natural lovin' moms out there. Sure, it is good, but you need to do what is best for your family. There are a lot of things to factor in and those people saying that aren't taking in your specific circumstances when they declare that. It is a generic statement, not applicable to everyone.

On the flip side, and I say this with all seriousness, back off if you don't like it. It's not your decision and it is just as possible to make a breast feeding mama feel terrible by guilting her about it as it is for the breast feeding mamas to make formula mamas feel bad. It goes both ways. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and looks can mean even more. Nonverbal communication speaks loudly too, and I got a lot of negative feedback in that form. I try to let it roll right off me but honestly, when I was struggling and wanting to keep trying, I felt terrible that I wasn't enough partly because others were going on and on about how hungry Audrey seemed when I was doing my best to feed her with what I thought was best. It was

So, those are my thoughts about it. It's a tiny part of a person's life, whether they were breast fed or bottle fed, but it is oh so controversial and can turn people against each other way too quickly. I truly hope that I can be supportive to other mamas who make their tough decision either way. Honestly. It doesn't matter to me which way you go! Make your decision and stick with it. I have enough love for you either way.


Not so new parenting

I've been thinking a lot about why I've enjoyed each of Audrey's stages more than I did when Josie was that age. To be clear, I love my girl Josie more that I could have ever imagined loving my first baby. She's awesome and I wouldn't change a thing about her. I'm thinking more about me as a parent, my ambitions, goals, fears, and thoughts.

Josie, about three months old

A lot of it comes down to giving up my selfishness. Say what? Me? Selfish? Pssh no. But seriously. I was happy to relinquish my free time to the cute little nine pound newborn. I mean, I'd been waiting ten months to meet her and frankly, it wasn't too bad. She slept great, ate great, played great, and generally kept me on my toes enough to not be over confident but not enough to scare me away from this new world of parenting.

After a few months, I felt like I had the hang of it, so I started introducing things back into my life that weren't necessary, but that I enjoyed doing. Some things, like focusing on my health, weren't as much for enjoyment as me just thinking I should really be doing this. Then she grew into the next stage, and I resisted like crazy. How could she do this to me? I need time to fill in the blank and now I can't do that!

I constantly found myself in exasperation when I evaluated the changes we'd need to make to our routine. Josie thrived on routine, which my perfectionist heart loved, but she also changed entirely too fast to get used to a strict routine. I fought some of those changes a lot more than I should have, and of course being a first time mama, allowed anxiety to overcome me at the smallest drop of a hat.

That all sound quite dramatic, doesn't it? In reality, I've never been too uptight with my parenting (I hear you laughing, those of you that know my inner most thoughts!) but I do know that I was more anxious and strict, grasping the urge to control everything, then I wanted to or even though I was being.

Then baby number two came along. I'd let go a lot of all of those urges to micro manage my firstborn. We had to adapt to a more free lifestyle because hello I had been pregnant for the last 10 months (seriously though) and that wreaked havoc on our precious routine. I'd also figured out a way to juggle a life with a baby and the other day to day tasks like cooking, exercising, blogging, being a wife.

Audrey, about three months old

Since the minute I became a parent of two, it's been different. Each new change that Audrey goes through is fun and frankly fascinating to watch. There's no panic. There's no google searching for ways to control or adapt to the new scary stage. We celebrate it or adapt to it and move on. My general life from day to day has shifted and been rearranged more than I can count but it's been okay. There hasn't been panic, or freak outs or how am I going to do this?? like I had originally thought when I pictured my impending new life while pregnant. It's crazy how our fears are always exaggerated like that, never truly as bad as we made them out to be.

Now she's almost walking.  The old Sarah would think how in the world will I manage with two girls two and under running around making chaotic messes all over the place and putting themselves in grave danger 100+ times a day? But the Sarah I am now thinks won't that be so much fun? She'll have more freedom, she will be able to play with and generally keep up with her sister better, we will be able to move a little quicker when playing outside, etc. I love this stage!

Just like the last stage, it will become my favorite.

I love that as a parent, I have grown up enough to just enjoy each stage. I have evolved into a truly better parent. I'm so thankful to be able to see this growth already. I'm so thankful that I can give up my selfish urge to control everything. Truly, this road I'm on called parenthood has just begun, and it would be a shame to spend it all being anxious.

Thank you Jesus for giving me a peaceful heart, even if it doesn't last forever. I'm thankful for it right now.


Birthday Girl

Happy birthday to my favorite girl in the world!

As cliche as it is, I cannot believe that just one year ago she joined us in this world with her squishy face and adorable little feet. Love you baby girl! Always will.

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Crying It Out

I told you on Friday that we were going to be attempting to break Josie's bad sleeping habits this weekend. I was especially nervous because we'd somewhat tried this before and was never successful. It seemed that just when we were making progress, she'd get sick or have an ear infection or we'd be staying somewhere with a different atmosphere and schedule. It never stuck.

This time around we had no excuse for that because we were here all weekend and she just got over being sick so we knew she was healthy. Here's how it went.

Friday night: We put her to bed at 7:15 PM right after she got done eating so we knew she wasn't hungry or thirsty. We did the usual routine minus the bottle, gave her the pacifier (not battling that battle yet), quietly left the room, and turned on the monitor. Then we listened to her scream for two hours. I kid you not, she did not fall asleep for at least two hours. Don't get me wrong, we're not heartless. We'd go in ever 15-20 minutes to give her the pacifier or a sip of water, try to calm her down a little, get her laying down again, but usually it just made it worse. It was a long night, and we hadn't even gone to bed yet.

She woke up at around 2:00 AM wanting a bottle. We changed her diaper and gave her the pacifier. She screamed for an hour and a half. Of course I can't sleep through that, so I read a book in the living room while checking in every 20 minutes again (only made it worse of course). I was doubting this method, but since we were already in this far, I knew we couldn't just quit now, and I'm so glad we didn't.

Saturday night: Same routine, this time she screamed for an hour. That's half of the previous night! While it still felt like forever, we were so glad that there was progress. Instead of sitting inside during that hour, we brought the monitor outside with us and weeded the flower garden. At least we could be productive while we felt miserable. That night, she got up again, we changed her diaper, and she screamed for only 20 minutes which was definitely a big improvement. 

The one thing I was guilty about was that at bedtime, both nights she really only fell asleep after I rubbed her back until she was practically asleep. The real reason I was guilty about it was because I didn't want to just replace one habit with another.

Sunday: Thankfully, she did not need the back rub on Sunday to fall asleep. Instead, we put her down at 7:45 PM (nice and full after eating out), and she fell asleep right away for about 20 minutes. Then she woke up and just chattered and talked for an hour and a half. What in the world?? She wasn't crying but I don't think she fell asleep until 9:30 PM. She did scream a bit when she dropped her pacifier on the floor, but after a couple of minutes, I went in to give it to her and she rolled over and fell asleep right away. What a relief! No screaming for hours! And the best part? She woke up and let out ONE cry in the middle of the night before going back to sleep. That means we all slept through the night. After only three nights.

She did happen to wake up really early this morning, although I'm not too concerned about it. She'll take a longer nap today which is always nice for this blogger.

I'm so glad we stuck with it and hope that this improvement is a permanent change. I'm sure we'll have some setbacks, but generally she still knows we love her and wakes up grinning and giggling every morning.

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So much to learn

I had my first of 2 dental appointments to fix up my cavities. Apparently I've lost the ability to keep my teeth clean. I had my teeth checked out last November, but because I was pregnant I couldn't get Xrays of my back teeth. They fixed 3 cavities in the middle and front but I had to wait until after I wasn't pregnant to check the back.

So they checked them this time and lets just say it wasn't great. My dentist said that they were all super small, but I never have cavities so any at all feels like a failure. He mentioned that  I should reduce the amount of sugar throughout the day or between meals like sipping pop all day. I didn't mention that I don't drink sugar pop. Ever. So who knows how I am getting these cavities.

Things I learned:

  • My hygenist is super sweet and was rubbing my arm as the dentist was doing the shots to numb my mouth. How motherly is that?
  • Don't panic when you feel a gaping hole in your tooth. They fill that sucker right up back to how it felt before.
  • Having a TV with HGTV on can really distract a person and help pass the time. LOVE IT since I don't have that channel at home and it is my absolute favorite.
THEN. I called my doctor to ask about breast feeding and birth control pills. Stop reading now if this makes you uncomfortable.

My milk production has dropped significantly since I started taking birth control again about a week and a half ago (now that we know I'm...fertile... there is no way I am not using something to slow down the family growth rate!) I waited that long (6 weeks) to start taking it because my doctor had told me that sometimes birth control can do this (slow it down or stop production) and 6 weeks is the recommended time that it is good to breast feed a baby. So since that did indeed happen to me, I did some research and noticed that a lot of people talk about supplements and vitamins you can take that are supposed to help.

My doctor informed me today that the birth control I am taking is known for this and I should completely stop taking it. OK... that's great but I don't want another baby in 9 months so what in the world?? She said that I should stop, get my production back up, and then she'd prescribe me a different kind that doesn't have whatever it is that does this. Nice and confusing. :)

It was nice to hear though that it wasn't just my body being ridiculous and that I will be able to get it back up again. I am not ready to be done with this!! She's been so healthy and I know it is so good for her. And lets be real - It really helps with the weight loss.