Friday, October 24, 2014

National Geographic Kids Cookbook {Giveaway}

Today's giveaway is for a copy of National Geographic Kids Cookbook: A Year-Round Fun Food Adventure. This is a fun cookbook! This cookbook takes you through the year and has recipe ideas based on the events going on in each month. It has tips for healthy eating and food facts as well. My kids love to cook and were very excited to find this book at our home. I like that it has ideas for foods that are kid-friendly to make.

Today I am giving away two copies of this book, so there will be two winners! Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check each winning entry to make sure it was valid.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight October 31, 2014.
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner).
  • US Shipping addresses only.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Organizing Gifts for Children

I have come to realize over the years that I love giving gifts. Let me be more specific. I love giving meaningful gifts. I love thinking of gifts that will be of use, worth, and value to the person I am giving it to. I am not the type to grab any old random thing to give to someone. I put a lot of time and thought into the gifts I choose.

When it comes to giving gifts to children, it can be very overwhelming. Very. When I sit back and think about it, I am always amazed at the sheer number of choices in toys there are out there. There are so many toys you can get! How do you possibly figure out where to spend your money. Many years ago, I wrote a post on How I Choose Gifts. I wanted to build on that information today with the specific process I use to organize the gifts we get for our kids. 

Start with a Wish List
I love, love, super love my Amazon Wish List. If you don't have an Amazon Wish List, go set one up and try it out. You go to, log in, and click on the Wish List menu on the right side of the page. I have a wish list for each person I get gifts for. You can make them public or private. 

On the wish list, I add anything and everything I think the child or person might possibly like. I add it all. This is my first spot to gather my brainstormed ideas. If I know, for example, that Brayden would love a Lego set for Christmas, I peruse the Lego sets and add any I think he will like to his wish list. 

You could also create a wish list on Pinterest. You could create a private board and add gift ideas on it. I do have a private board on Pinterest as well for things not sold on Amazon that I think would make good gifts. 

List it Out on Paper
A few years ago, I made a gift organizer printable (free) to organize my ideas. I sit down with Amazon and my paper. I then write down my favorite ideas from my wish list onto the organizer. The organizer has categories, so I put the item in its respective category. This is still a brainstorming list. It isn't final. This step narrows down from Amazon and is more selective than my Amazon list. I also write down the price next to each item.

Set Boundaries
Some people do a budget. Some people do a certain number of gifts. I do in between. I have a budget for each child and I rarely go over that budget. I also have a number of gifts I shoot for per child. I do this so that I don't feel like I must use the budget all the way up. When you have a baby or toddler, it is harder to fill that budget up than it is with a preteen. I don't want to buy things for the sake of buying things. This way, if my gift list for Brinley is at 50% of her budget but 100% of the nymbers, I don't feel like I need to buy more things. 

Keeping it to a certain number also makes it so I hone in and pick the best of the best when I get to narrowing down. There are so many options out there as I mentioned earlier. We don't need everything there is. Having a certain number makes it so I really am intentional in which gifts I choose.

An idea a lot of people like is getting gifts along these lines: "Something you asked for, something you need. Something you want and something to read." You could change up the catchy saying to fit categories you want to fulfill.

Narrow Down Ideas
Now that I have my list of favorite ideas and I know my boundaries, I start to select the gifts I want to give at the holiday. I like to choose gifts from various categories. I like to get a variety of types of toys. So I will pick my favorite item from the list of games, for example. Then I move on to another category and pick my favorite item from that list. 

When I choose toys, I like to choose toys that are of high quality. Cheap toys break quickly and end up in the garbage. I would rather own fewer high quality toys than tons of cheap toys. 

Also remember, you don't need to go overboard. Your child doesn't need every cool toy out there. Also remember that you will be getting stuff every Christmas and birthday (and perhaps more) until your child moves out. Stuff takes space. The more stuff you buy, the less space you have, and the more cluttered things get and the harder it is to clean.

Move to App
Last year, I decided to get an app to organize Christmas gifts. I loved it! I got the Better Christmas List app. I can't remember if it costs money or not. It doesn't rate the best of all of the apps out there, so you might want to look at the other apps and see which one might appeal to you. I really like it, though. Something I love about it is that it is password protected, so no one can snoop! With this app, I input the final decision list of gifts I want to get. I can organize them by person and input the cost of each item. It then takes me through the steps of buying the gifts, wrapping the gifts, and shipping if necessary. 

If you don't do apps, you could do the same thing with the good old fashioned pen and paper. 

That is it! These are the steps I take to make the gifts meaningful, purposeful, and to prevent them from overtaking our home.

Speaking of gifts, here is a fun giveaway for you to win something to give as a gift:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you have any tips you love? Check out the other ladies in the BFBN today for more tips and ideas on Christmas gifts!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Poll Discussion: Sleep Totals for 12-15 Months Old

Today's poll is on sleep totals. Parents often find themselves wondering if the amount of sleep their child is getting is in a normal range. This poll is specifically for children in the 12-15 month age range. 

1-What was your child's optimal waketime length for 12-15 months old?
2-What time was your child's morning waketime (what time did he/she get up) at 12-15 months?
3-What time was your child's bedtime at 12-15 months?
4-How many hours did your child usually sleep at night at 12-15 months?
5-How many naps did your child take a day at 12-15 months?
6-How long was each nap usually at 12-15 months?
7-Looking at all of the sleep as a whole, do you think your child was getting the sleep that was ideal for your child at that age range?
8-Other comments if desired.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kaitlyn Child Summary: 7.5 Years Old

This is a summary for Kaitlyn from 7.25-7.5 years old.

Eating went well during this time period. Kaitlyn does at times have texture issues with her food. If I push her to eat something, she might throw up. So I am careful about requirements. I made Chicken and Dumpling soup one night. She loves bread, so I thought dumplings would be an obvious love for her. She was not loving it. In fact, it was grossing her out in a texture way. I was requiring her to eat it when she just about puked it all up.

Sleeping is great. All is well.

Kaitlyn did gymnastics during this time for part of it. 

She also continued her swimming lessons. Kaitlyn has one skill to pass off (dives) before she is all done with swim lessons. Pretty exciting!

Kaitlyn did fall soccer during this time. My husband was her coach and she loved it. 

She also started piano lessons back up.

And the main event, Kaitlyn started dance. The last time I reported on Kaitlyn, I told you about her super mean dance teacher. Kaitlyn was ready to quit dance and never go back. I don't mind if she wants to stop dancing, but I did mind her ending on a bad note. I also minded that before last year, she loved dance. And she was good at it. I told her she needed to try it one more year and promised we would move studios so she would have no chance at getting the mean teacher again.

Kaitlyn chose a hip-hop class. She wanted nothing that looked like her old experience. When I was choosing the new studio, I talked with the owners of each studio and frankly explained what the previous experience had been like so that I could get a feel from them what their reaction was to it. I also prayed about it.

Kaitlyn has loved dance this year. She asked me if she could sign up for another dance class that the studio has (a ballet/tap class). That is how much she likes it. I am so glad! I don't know what she will want to do at the end of this year, but even if she decides she wants to be done with dance, I am glad we will have ended on a positive note and experience. I think it has been a good learning experience for her. 

Kaitlyn has informed me that she no longer has a crush on anyone. Whew! ;)

Kaitlyn is a great sister. She is naturally very maternal and loves to help people. She is super thoughtful and is always willing to help Brinley wherever she needs it.

She hasn't had much school yet, but so far second grade is going well. She loves her teacher. She is doing well in class. Her teacher is looking for ways to challenge her. Kaitlyn loves to read and really has a hard time deciding what to read, so she literally has ten different books with bookmarks in them next to her bed. I was letting that go for a while, but a couple of weeks ago I told her she needs to whittle the number down. I get having a few books you are reading at a time, but ten seems like too many to keep track of (I think; who knows, maybe she has an amazing memory and can track it all). 

You might be wondering what there is for Kaitlyn to be working on. She has always been a very sweet and easy child. She is obedient without trying to be, if that makes sense. There is an area that she needs to work on, and that is potty humor. She pretty much finds a way to work "fart" into the conversation at every meal. I know some people find that funny, but for us, it isn't a mealtime conversation. That is our main focus right now.

This period was pretty equally over summer and school. Last time, I shared our summer schedule so I will do school.

7:00--wake up. Eat breakfast. Get Ready, practice piano, chores, then sibling play.
4:00--back home. Snack if needed and homework. Then free play.
6:00--Family time
7:30--get ready for bed



Monday, October 20, 2014

Room Time Setup

I had a reader with a great idea for a blog post. She wanted to know how I had Brinley's room set up for room time. I took some pictures to give you an idea of what she has access to and sees when she does room time.

Remember I am not huge on "baby proofing"--I am a "house proofing the baby" type. With that said, I like to remove real dangers from the room since she is in there unsupervised. What I don't do is remove inconveniences for me. That means there have been days I have gone in to get her and found she has strewn the wet wipes around the room. Not fun. But it is a good learning moment for her. I have also gone in to find clothes all over the floor. Again, not fun. But it is a moment to say, "Brinley, we don't make a big mess when we play in our rooms" and have her clean it up. 

Conversely, I have walked in her room to find her in the middle of picking up her toys because they get a sense of time and can tell when it is about over. Brayden did this about daily. Kaitlyn and McKenna were never much into cleaning up without being prompted. On to the photos:

Here we have the closet. There are many toys she can reach in the closet. There are also a few up on the shelf out of her reach. You can see that better in the photo below.

The toys being on the shelf are an easy way for me to do a mini toy rotation with her toys. Rotating toys is a great way to keep kids interested in their toys. Rotating toys down is like having a birthday or Christmas. New toys they forgot about suddenly in reach.

You can also see that she can reach her shorts and pants that are folded up on the shelves in her closet. This has been a problem a couple of times, but that is it. It really is an easy way to work on teaching your child to not ransack rooms when playing. 

This is a view a little removed from the closet. She has her changing table there. The bottom of the changing table has toys for her to play with. The middle shelf has two baskets. One is her hamper. The other is a basket with wet wipes and diapers. Again, there have been a couple of times she has gotten into those, but not often and it has been a good learning opportunity for her.

The top of the changing table has some diaper ointment, gas drops, sometimes Tylenol...once she was tall enough to reach those things, I have to move them at Independent Playtime (room time). I don't mind her learning on shorts or wet wipes, but I don't want her learning on medicine of any sort. I keep those things out of her reach.

If you turn around at the closet, you will see her crib and reading corner. Under her crib, I have stored some more toys. This is another good "toy rotation" storage solution. I get those toys out every so often for a fun new toy time.

I only keep books that are baby safe in her room during room time. Well, I only keep books that are baby safe at all times because I don't want to forget one in there. You never know when a toddler will decide to experiement with ripping pages out of books. I am willing to refold laundry or put wet wipes back in the container, but I am not willing to destroy books. The books are a favorite thing for Brinley during Independent Playtime.

Each day at room time, I put the ottoman you see in Brinley's crib. I don't want her accidentally pinching her fingers on it. So that goes up for safety. The dresser was never a problem with McKenna, Kaitlyn, nor Brayden. Brinley has recently started opening the bottom two drawers to explore contents. That is our new thing to work on not doing during Independent Play.

For more on Independent Play, see:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Break 2014!

We are having fall break here, so I am taking the day off! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Musical Activities for Toddlers {Guest Post}

by Claire 

This past summer I accepted a small position teaching a few music classes at a playschool each week.  Although I have experience with children from 1st grade all the way up to seniors in high school, teaching music to 2-4 year olds was going to be a new challenge!

I wanted to compile a small list of a few specific ideas for those of you that are at home and would like to involve music into your toddler's life.  Simply singing together is great, but it may be helpful to have some additional ideas as well.

1.  Sing books.  Some of my favorites are The Wheels on the Bus, Snuggle Puppy, The Fox, A-Hunting We Will Go, and The Three Little Kittens.  We even add melodies to books that aren't technically supposed to sung.  Children love hearing our voices. 

2.  Play instruments.  Purchase some cheapy instruments (jingle bells, shakers, rhythm sticks, sandblocks, etc.) or just make your own.  Turn on some music and let your toddler go to town.  If you want to do something more focused with it, then try keeping a steady beat with the instrument.  Or play different instruments with different sections of the song.  This can be as non-structured or as structured as you want it to be.

3.  Sing songs with movements.  Add movements to the songs you're already singing to your child.  A specific kind of movement you can do would be to mimic the instruments that you hear.  If you hear a violin, then play your pretend violin.  Or just focus on the songs that have built-in movements already - If You're Happy and You Know It, Hokey Pokey, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Deep and Wide, etc.  It's a great skill for them to be able to sing and move.  

4.  Play games with songs.  Turn on some music, have your child move/run around, and when you pause the music, have them freeze.  Toddlers love this kind of activity.  (And it burns off some energy for naptime, which we're all fans of!)  Find some songs that vary in tempo (fast and slow) or dynamics (soft and loud) and assign different movements to each one.  For example, run when it's fast, walk when it's slow, stand tall when it's loud, sit down when it's soft, etc.

The only goal is to encourage your toddler to enjoy music.  If you're having fun, they will too!

Claire is a mom of two and blogs at My Devising.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Poll Results: Blanket Time

This is the results for the Blanket Time poll. There were very few responders, so not a lot of data!  But here it is.
  1. Did you do blanket time with your child?
    Yes: 3
    No: 1
  2. If you did blanket time, what age did you start?
    From Birth: 1
    9 Months: 1
    11 Months: 1
  3. Did your child ever fight blanket time?
    Yes: 2
    No: 1
  4. If yes to 3, what age? How did you approach it? And how long did it last?
    Took a break, tried later: 1
    Took a break, still on break: 1
  5. What length of time did you start with for blanket time?
    5-10 minutes: 2
    30 minutes: 1
  6. What length of time did you ultimately stick with for blanket time?
    30 minutes: 1
    20 minutes: 1
  7. What time of day did you do blanket time?
    After lunch/before nap: 1
    Randomly: 1
  8. Any blanket time testimonies or tips?

    "Switch out the toys, leave the dogs out if they are behaved, mine loves to play with the dogs on the blanket along with her toys!"

    I think it's an awesome tool and teaches skills that they don't learn with roomtime only (staying within boundaries that are not as defined as walls). My little girl is so busy and runs around the house constantly, from one activity to the next. Surprisingly, she LOVES blanket time and I think it is because she can actually focus on a couple toys. One tip I would have is to use a kitchen timer - both for her sake and mine (so I don't forget to get her off in good time). Also, use special toys that aren't available at other times of the day. "
Feel free to add comments in the comment section below!

See Also:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Planning a Successful Class Party

The class party time is upon us! Class parties can be a lot of fun, but they can also be a lot of work. I have been involved in class parties since Brayden (now in fourth grade) was in Kindergarten. Here are some tips to help you have a successful class party. You might want to mix up the order of steps, but consider each step in your planning process.

1-Remember Kids Have Low Expectations
While you have known about the game of tic-tac-toe for about the last 30 years, these children are just discovering it. We often make things bigger and grander than they need to be for children. Children are okay with simple. They enjoy simple. 

I look at this as a "good, better, best" situation. Is it best to make your first graders class party have an appearance worthy of Pinterest, or are there other things you can be doing with that time that are actually "best"? Children are thrilled with the simple, so don't make it harder than it has to be (and this really applies to pretty much anything you plan for kids, from family vacations to birthday parties to daily summer activities). 

2-Divide the Time
The first thing to find out is how much time does the teacher want you to take for the party. Most teachers at our school like us to take one hour (one I have had goes longer). With one hour, I plan for 3-4 activities (usually 3). We divide the class into 3 groups and have each group be about 20 minutes long. How many groups you can do will depend on how much help you have. You will want an adult running each station, so if you have 4 helpers, you can have 4 stations. 3 means 3 stations. 

Once you know the time and how long each station will be, you know how long each activity needs to take. This will help guide you in choosing activities. 

3-Gather Help
The next thing you will want to find out is how much help you will have. Ask the teacher if she would like to be over a center or if she would like to roam the room. I have had teachers go both ways, though I would say even the teacher willing to do a center loves to be able to go all around the room and observe the party as a whole. Consider how much time you have, how many students you have, and how many centers you want to have. I like to have 3-4 groups, so that means there needs to be 3-4 moms there helping.

I find as a general rule, parents are more eager and willing to help in younger grades than in older grades. In a child's Kindergarten class, there will easily be 6 moms there to help. In the third grade class, it can be work to scrape together 3 moms. And some of my kids classes just have more people willing to help than others. For example, last year, Kaitlyn's first grade class had a lot of moms who wanted to help, while another first grade class at the same school literally had one mom doing every party. 

4-Gather Ideas
Now that you know how much time you have and how much help you will have, you can gather ideas. Sometimes I gather ideas before getting help. For example, this year I knew that in McKenna's Kindergarten class, I would have no trouble getting help for the party. I gathered my ideas and chose the activities before asking for help. That way, when I asked someone to help, I could say, "Would you be willing to run the painting pumpkins station?" Some people are happy to help but intimidated by planning the activity.

There is no better resource than Pinterest for finding fun ideas. Trust me, I have done these parties before and after Pinterest and Pinterest makes it a ton easier. Search "Halloween games" or "Christmas craft" or "Thanksgiving treat" and you will find a lot of ideas. There are also blogs dedicated to class party plans. Room Mom 101 is a great resource. You can find ideas I have pinned on these boards:
5-Choose Activities
I like to break the activities up into categories. I go for a craft activity, a game, and a treat the children can assemble. You can also do another game or craft and just have a treat for them to eat at the end. 

There are some things you want to keep in mind when choosing activities. One is paint. Paint takes time to dry. If you are doing the party at the end of the day, you might want to have all of the children do the painting portion at the same time at the beginning and then break up into stations so the paint can dry while before it is time to go home. Another option is to talk to the teacher ahead of time and plan to let the project stay over night and the children bring it home the next day. Glue is similar--it takes time to dry. 

Just be sure the activity you plan can be accomplished in the time you have. 

You also want to be sure the activity is in general age-appropriate for the class. I have at times prepared an activity before hand and taken it to the teacher to see if she thought it would work for the class. I mostly have had this uncertainty with Brayden since he is my oldest and I am not as familiar with what children of that age in general are capable of.

5-Prepare Activities
Once you have activities chosen, make sure you give yourself enough time to prep the activity. Have everything for the activity read to go. If you need copies, most teachers are willing to do the copies for you or will allow you to go to the workroom to make them yourself. 

Bring everything you need to set up the activity, do the activity, and clean up after the activity. Will you need napkins, wet wipes, soap, etc?

Another thing to plan for is a way for kids to get these things from the party home if needed. Not all will eat the treat. Some will want to take it home. Baggies can be good for that. Grocery sacks can be good for taking home painted or glued project without getting it all over the inside of the backpack.

6-Bring Books
Sometimes the activity you plan will go faster than you think it will. I always bring about 3 books per station so I can read a book to them if there is extra time. I bring books that go with the theme of the party, so Halloween books for Halloween party.

7-Go a Bit Early
You know the party is from 2-3. Find out what time to go to set up. You don't want to show up at 2. You want to be ready to party at 2.

8-Be a Sport
Get involved and have fun with the party. This is a party! I always dress up for Halloween parties. I try to be festive and have fun with the kids. 

Do you have any questions, comments, or ideas for class parties?

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World {Quotable Mondays}

William Ross Wallace wrote a beautiful poem that outlines the significance of the role of a mother titled The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Is the Hand that Rules the World. The title of the poem says it all. Mothers have a significant positive impact on the world. Not just our individual children, but the world. 

While this is a sentiment dear to our hearts as humans and perhaps even something we will quote with warm fuzzies, how much is it truly believed by society as a whole?

When I was a senior in college, I had some professors who really were encouraging me to go on to get a Master's Degree. Let me say, this is without a doubt a dream of mine. I love school. I love learning. I thrived in a university setting. I was named the most outstanding graduate in my department. 

While one professor was very encouraging and respectful of my decisions, another one completely scoffed at me.You see, my goal was to be a stay at home mom. My professor made it clear that she thought I would be completely wasting my talents and abilities to "only" be a stay at home mom. 

But I believe, as Wallace did, that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. And frankly, even if I thought I would only impact my children and no one else, I would have no problem being a stay at home mom. When I say that, I in no way am trying to put down mothers who work, I am simply saying that I do not feel I wasted my time, talents, abilities, or education by being a stay at home mom.

We mothers have enormous capability to impact the world by our influence on our children. I have heard countless stories from people in their biographies of the mother being a supreme influence in the life that person. I imagine that all people, if they were to write a biography, could pinpoint significant moments from their mothers that brought them to where they are today. 

The next time you are feeling like your role as a mother is insignificant, remember this poem. You are influencing the world. Make it a good one.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mama's Healing Touch Soothing Postpartum Herbal Bath {Giveaway}

After I have a baby, I am quite consistent about the stitz bath. I make sure I get that in each day for at least two weeks so I can speed up healing and comfort. For that reason, I was excited to find out about these herbal baths from Mama's Healing Touch. These baths are organically made from 5 herbs used for healing and antiseptic qualities. You can see the ingredient list in the Etsy store. You can use the herbs in a bath, stitz bath, or squirted onto a pad and frozen (she calls it a "padsicle").

You are entering to win 4 tea style bags. Each bag is good for one bath or 2-3 stitz baths. 

I obviously am not postpartum right now to be giving it a try, but I tried it out anyway and liked it as it was. It smells nice! I would definitely use this if I were postpartum.


"Thank you to all the Babywise Mom readers who are joining the raffle. Even if you aren't the lucky winner I'm happy to give 2 extra bags with your purchase of Mama's Healing Touch on my Etsy store
Just mention Babywise Mom after you purchase and I'll give you 2 extra bags for being a loyal Babywise Mom reader :)
Mama's Healing Touch"

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check each winning entry to make sure it was valid.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight October 17, 2014.
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dealing with the 45 Minute Intruder

Today I am posting at The Journey of Parenthood on dealing with the 45 minute intruder. The highlights are:
  1. Try to figure out why
  2. Know the heirarchy
  3. Honestly look at self-soothing ability
  4. Give baby time to go back to sleep
  5. Know you will make mistakes
  6. Accept and don't stress
Head on over to read the details.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Heartbreaking Sorrow Strengthens Us

image source

October is officially National Pregnancy Baby Loss Awareness Month in the United States. I typically only write on the topic in April since that is when I lost my baby boy, but I felt compelled to write this month as well.

Losing a baby is nothing short of heart breaking. Soul breaking. It really just kills you. As a mother, you wonder what you did wrong to cause this to happen. I know moms who still blame themselves 20 plus years later. We women are hard on ourselves and when it comes to protecting our children, we have a hard time ever forgiving ourselves even if there was nothing we could have done to cause the problem or to prevent the problem. 

I remember when we lost our baby boy, my husband commented that he felt like someday, we would know why it had happened, but that we wouldn't know for a while. I can think of lots of reasons the experience has strengthened me, but I do feel like the greater purpose of it all is still unknown to me. 

I also remember the utter fear I had while pregnant with Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn came after our baby Braxston. She is my rainbow baby. I feared for her life in earnest for many years after she was born. I spent her newborn months positive she would die at any moment. I spend several years of her life with every fever sure it meant she was about to die. 

When I was pregnant with Katilyn, my amazing doctor was kind enough to do an ultrasound on me any time I wanted to. I could walk on in and he would do it. In the early weeks, he monitored me weekly. One week I went in and Kaitlyn hadn't grown at all in the last week. That is a bad thing. I went home a complete mess. I prayed to the Lord and let Him know I was not strong enough to experience the loss of another baby. I don't think anyone is strong enough for one loss of a baby. My heart aches for mothers who lose baby after baby. The strength they possess is nothing short of a miracle. It is only through the Lord that we can make it through these times. To finish my story, when I went in the next week, Kaitlyn had doubled in size from the previous week. She did two weeks of growing in one. Obviously she made it through (though she had a rough start to life. She went to the NICU shortly after being born. It seriously shot my nerves). 

I love this quote:

"...there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before."

Times of trial and difficulty usually result in one of two ways--you either become stronger in your faith or bitter in your faith. I pray you will turn to the Lord. I pray you will allow this sorrow to strengthen you rather than tear you down. With the Lord, you can do it. 

October 15 is a day set aside for grieving parents to come together. At 7 PM in your time zone, you light a candle and leave it burning for one hour. The idea is that if everyone does this, a wave of light goes around the Earth. See for more. I love this because I think it is important for us to speak of and support those who have lost a baby.

See Also:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Brinley Toddler Summary {26 Months Old}

Brinley came in dressed like this. I said, "Hey
Brinley!" She replied, "No, I Super Why." Ha!
This is a summary for Brinley from 25.5-26 Months old.

Sleeping was pretty good. There have been no more disrobing and removing the diaper incidents. Hallelujah. I seriously don't think I could handle a time walking in to poop smeared on anything. All of you moms who have endured such an event are rock stars in my book. (Knocking on wood here!).

She did get into a pattern. We had put her to bed one night and she started to cry. My husband went in to her and determined she was in pain. She said it was her tummy. So he gave her some gas drops, rocked her, and put her back to bed. Everything was fine.

The next night, we had a repeat performance. 

And the next.

I think she started out truly having pain, but then quickly caught on to the pain equaling visit from dad and she started claiming pain when there was none.

Finally one night, I got on the monitor and talked to her rather than going in. I told her it was time to go to sleep. She did, with no trouble. She didn't try her tactics the next night or since.

This is totally how Brayden was and is to this day. We still have the once-a-quarter time when he gets out of bed every night for several nights in a row until I threaten (with real intent) to take video games away for a month if he keeps getting up. Then he stops. Brinley has always reminded me a lot of Brayden in her personality, so it doesn't surprise me for her to be doing the same things at bed. The funny thing is that they are both extremely obedient people by nature. 

Eating was good. Brinley got impatient with being done and waiting to get down. My husband started a "put your hands in the air" thing when she is done so she doesn't throw her food on the floor or smash it up while waiting to get down. Much nicer. 

She also is wanting to not sit in a booster seat for meals. She wants to sit like a big kid. So we are phasing out of that.

Playing has been really cute. With the kids in school every day, I have been taking her for a walk each day. At home, she now puts her babies in her toy stroller and pushes them everywhere she goes. I think it is cute to see her imitating me. 

Brinley isn't really a very "good" tantrum thrower. She isn't very loud and she gives up quickly. She had a tantrum at the library. She placed herself carefully on the floor and had her tantrum. It was quite funny. Here she is:


8:45 AM--Wake up/Breakfast
9:15 AM--Get ready
9:30 AM--Walk
10:30 AM--Outside Time
11:00 AM--Independent Playtime
12:15 PM--Lunch
12:45 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Sibling play with McKenna
1:30 PM--Nap
5:00 PM--Free Playtime
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM--Bedtime

Monday, October 6, 2014

Favorite Toys 2014

I have compiled many lists of favorite toys we have over the years. Each Fall, I like to add to those lists with new toys we love.

Brayden--9 Year Old Boy
Snap Circuits Jr.. Brayden has LOVED this. It is a toy that allows your child to explore how electronics work. I think most kids have a fascination with how things work. Brayden is especially inquisitive about things like this. It is a lot of fun. This kit is labeled for 8-15 years. Brayden is smart and I worried a "jr." kit would be too juvenile too soon, but he has had it for about six months and still enjoys experimenting with it.

Kindle. Last Christmas, we got a Kindle for Brayden. We both love reading on our own Kindles and find we read a lot more on a Kindle than a book. I am shocked--my husband had to talk me into getting one because I was adamant that I wouldn't like reading it unless it was a book. My husband has the Fire and I got the Paperwhite because it needed to be like a book. I love it! Brayden has also loved his. If you have a reader, this is a great gift. 

Kaitlyn--7 Year Old Girl
Klutz books. If you haven't heard of Klutz, you really should check them out. They have all sorts of books of instructions on how to do things, from making clay charms, elaborate paper airplanes, pipe cleaner, face paint...lots of fun things. She got the Friendship Bracelets book. 

Rainbow Loom. You have probably heard of the Rainbow Loom by now. This is a huge passion of Kaitlyn's these days. She loves making these bracelets for just about everyone she can think of.

McKenna--5 Year Old Girl
VTech - Brilliant Creations Advanced Notebook. I did a lot of research before settling on this for McKenna for Christmas last year. She still loves it to this day. VTech is a great brand and this computer is no different. It is realistic looking and it is full of educational games. I like that it is something she can do with an "electronic" without it being something super expensive (like an iPad or Kindle) and also without it being something connected to the Internet or my files that can be accidentally deleted (like my computer). 

Frozen Anything. Anything Frozen related is a big hit with McKenna right now. Books, dolls, and dress up are at the top of her list. The Disney Frozen Complete Story Playset is a fun one for playing with the whole cast. The Frozen Read-Along Storybook and CD is very well done. The Butterfly Craze Girls Snow Queen Costume is a great hit (though after I read the reviews, I made sure to be positive you are buying from Butterfly Craze when it is in your cart). The Frozen: The Essential Guide (Dk Essential Guides) is another great book. The DK books are always fun if you child has a passion for the subject.

Brinley--2 Year Old Girl
VTech - Learning Tunes Karaoke. Brinley loves to sing. For her birthday, I was trying to think of what I could get her that would be in line with her love of singing and I thought "Karaoke!" After some looking around, I found this machine. She loves it. I love that it is kid-safe. It has lots of fun settings and lots of fun kid-tunes. 

VTech Touch and Teach Word Book. This book is great for independent playtime. You touch a picture and it tells you what the word is. You can also go into quiz mode where the book says a word and you touch the correct picture.

Balance Bike. The balance bike is actually not something Brinley has any real interest in at this point, but we have a neighbor boy two weeks older than she is who is crazy for his balance bike, and he is amazing on it. He moves so well. So I think it is something to be considered for this age group. I have heard good things from people with a balance bike so far as being good to do instead of a bike with training wheels. 

Related Posts/Blog Labels:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

blog advertising is good for you