Thursday, June 29, 2017

What it is Like Being a Trooper's Wife {Guest Post}

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I love trying to learn where other people are coming from. Their points of view. Their life experience. What makes them tick. What drives their decisions. This is one reason I chose to minor in Communications when I was in college. We studied people, their behavior, and why the were the way they were. I was pondering motherhood and what it must be like to be a wife to a man whose job puts him in danger each day. I have many friends whose husbands are in the military, fire fighters, paramedics, guards, and police officers. How would it be to send your husband off each day, unsure of how that day might end? I immediately thought of Shea. I asked her to write a post on the topic.

What it is Like Being a Trooper's Wife


What is your favorite sound? I love the sound of Velcro. It brings peace to my soul. Before I get there, though, a special thank you to Valerie for inviting me to guest post on her blog! I have been a long time reader, so its a treat to be able to write for her today. My name is Shea Moses. I am Texas mom to four brown eyed girls ages 8, 6, 4, and 3. In December of this year, my husband Tyler and I will celebrate 10  years of marriage. I stay at home with my younger two daughters while my older two daughters attend public school and Tyler provides proudly for our family by doing a job he loves *almost* as much as he loves his Lord and his family. 

The day he received his badge and commission
The day he received his badge and commission. I was 20 weeks pregnant with our first daughter.
He is a Texas State Trooper. He is a highway patrolman and commissioned Peace Officer by the state of Texas. Four months into our marriage, Tyler left our home for 6 {very long} months to endure rigorous training to earn his title. I was only able to see and talk to him on the weekends, as they were allowed to travel home from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. 2 months into his training and only 6 months into our marriage we became pregnant with our oldest daughter. He began his career and we started our family simultaneously. He graduated from the State Training Academy in September of 2008, we had our first anniversary in December of 2008, and welcomed our first daughter into the world 4 weeks early at the end of January 2009.  Its been a whirlwind of an experience ever since, and it has not slowed down. We have both learned a lot about how to balance his intense work schedule and family life over the last 9 years. There have been many challenges we knew we would face when he took his oath to serve and protect and then there have been the many challenges we have faced that have not been expected at all. I thought I would share what it is like to share life with a man who has a job that requires him to risk it  all every time he heads to work.
State Trooper and his daughter
Leaving work, but not before a sweet wave from our 3rd born daughter.
I mentioned the challenges that we knew were getting ourselves into before he began training. We knew that he would likely never be off on holidays or weekends. We knew that he would need to work night shifts and that getting called out at all hours of the night was in our future with certainty. I knew that his job was a potentially dangerous one, but it would not be until several years later that the weight of of this would really be felt by our family. 

I got used to him working strange hours. I complained about it from time to time, especially when he had to miss family events or church events that all other husbands were able to come attend. The sting of his absence was/is felt the most when he has to miss these types of activities. I know he hates missing them just as much as I hate him missing them, though. 

When Tyler and I decided that I would stay at home I remember him saying, "I keep such strange hours with my work, and if you stay home then the time that I am off duty you will be home as well." I was sold then, and that was before we had children. Halfway through my pregnancy Tyler finished his training and was stationed to a duty station in a county that was 3 hours away from where we had lived and where I was still working. I quit my job and moved with him and have kept his same hours ever since. 
State Trooper and his daughter
Home from work just in time to lace up ballet shoes for dance class
When our daughter was born, I felt like I lived in a state of constant chaos between keeping up with a newborn for the first time and his insane schedule from work. He worked two weeks of days shifts, would have a few days off, and then would work two weeks of night shifts. I knew I needed to regroup, prioritize the most important things that needed to be prioritized (the baby's sleep!) and set ourselves up for a successful way of living. This is when I realized I needed the baby to be on a healthy, predictable routine. I needed to know what I could expect from her, because with the nature of Tyler's job- would never be able to easily predict/expect from his schedule. There would be no way I could keep count of the number of times I had dinner made, and a baby (and in the near future, multiple children) ready to eat - and - I get a phone call that he has to work a crash at the end of shift that will likely take several more hours. My schedule of the baby and then later on the other children needed to remain consistent so that part of my life could be somewhat "neat and tidy" so to speak. In order for us to be balanced as a family, I kept my our routine in check which made me feel less out of control when Tyler's job required a change up to any plans we would have had for the day. 

What it is Like Being a Trooper's WifeLaw enforcement families are forever bonded to other law enforcement families. When I meet or talk to another woman/mother who is married to someone that wears a badge there is an instant connection. We know each others fears without ever having to speak out loud about them, and nothing can bring people together more than when you know each others greatest fear without it ever being said. Handling the dangerous nature of his job has been challenging.Two years into Tyler's career he attended his first law enforcement funeral. A strong, young trooper who he went through the 6 month training academy with. He had a 6 month old daughter and a loving wife that he left behind. We still feel the sharp sting of the loss of Trooper McDonald.  Two and a half years ago, in October of 2015 Tyler's sergeant was killed in the line of duty. He was heading to south to defend our southern border (about 6 hours south of where we live) against drugs/illegal immigration and crashed on the way. Tyler knew him well, and worked with him every single day. I didn't know him well, but I had met him several times and could tell you about his family. It didn't matter. My world stopped spinning that day. I would never be the same again, and I didn't even know how much I changed until I looked back on the year when we remembered the 1st anniversary of his death. I have become close to his precious wife. His son has recently followed in his footsteps, and took his oath to the same organization (The Texas Department of Public Safety) and will wear the same Texas tan uniform that his dad did for 25 years. We have experienced loss alongside our law enforcement family, and its a hurt that most will never truly understand.

It is not easy to say good bye each day as he heads out for work. If at anytime while he is on shift I can't get a hold of him by phone, my brain goes to the darkest of places a lot of the time. The sound of the Velcro ripping off from his bullet proof vest is the sweet sound of safety and relief to me. It is not uncommon for me to wake up at 3 am because there was a crash and his phone rang to call him out. I have really had to learn to roll with things, and I do my best to not over analyze his every move. I could honestly make myself crazy with all of the what if's, but he asks me not too. He asks me to pray for his safety and the safety of those he comes in contact with. He asks for grace when things don't go as planned. He asks me to be understanding that working at the mercy of the public will likely be messy. He is sure to see and deal with many unpleasant things, but he feels confident that he chose the line of work that he was called to many years ago. He is proud of what he does, and I am proud to support him in his career. And at the end of a shift - the sound of Velcro is everything because it means he made it home unharmed. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

7 Tips for Attending Parades with Young Children

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Brayden's first big holiday of his life was Independence Day. We lived very close to the parade route, and as a first time mom, I was so excited to get him all dressed up in his holiday outfit and take him to the parade. Despite the fact that he was a mere 6 weeks old, I was ready to make some memories!

7 Tips for Attending Parades with Young Children


Well, that we did. He screamed. And screamed. And screamed some more. 

At some point, a kind woman, a mother herself, came to me and offered for me to take Brayden up to her porch. She lived on the parade route, so I would still be at the parade, but I would be removed from the major noise and action. 

It worked. He calmed down and we both were much happier with our parade experience. 

Since that day, I have had three more children and many more parades. Parades are a fun tradition, but they are not exactly baby-friendly. Some babies, like Kaitlyn, will just go to sleep and shut out the noise and stimulation. Other's, like Brayden, will react with screaming. Here are some tips to help you get through your next parade with a little one. This post contains affiliate links.

1-Find the best location
With a baby on up through toddler and preschooler, you will want a location with certain perks. One is shade. Everyone wants shade, right? So that can be hard to find. For one parade we frequent, we just bring our own shade with us. We bring an EZ up pop up shade so we can have shade. That way, we don't have to go hours early to find a shady spot. We pull up a few minutes before the parade starts, set up in the hot, sunny spot, and we are on our way. A huge benefit to this is that it allows us to let our baby sleep at home until the last possible minute. 

I also highly recommend a spot where you can back away from the parade route if possible. If you have a baby or child who is upset by all of the noise, you will want to be able to get away from the route like I did with Brayden. A spot with a fence right behind you isn't the ideal spot for you. 

2-Bring water and food
If you have a baby, you won't be feeding baby water, but it is wise to have the ability to easily nurse or bottle feed your baby if needed. Parades are often hot places, so your baby or child will need to be hydrated. 

If your child is eating solid foods, have some food or snacks on hand. A hungry child is never a fun child, so it is always wise to have some snacks to turn to in a pinch. 

3-Bring the diaper bag
Make sure you have diapers, wipes, underwear for the potty training child, etc. You might even throw in some small toys to play with while you wait. 

4-Bring lovies and comfort items
Parades are fun, but they are also highly overwhelming and can be scary to a young child. It can help to have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket there for your child to turn to if/when she feels overwhelmed. 

5-Bring chairs, blankets, slings, and strollers
It is great to have chairs or a blanket to sit on. If you have a mobile child who likes to wander, a stroller is a great place to put that child during the parade. It of course is a great place for a non-mobile child to watch the parade, also. A stroller is also handy if you have a walk a ways from your vehicle to your watching spot. 

A sling is another great option, especially if your baby needs to block out some of the stimulation. Slings are also very helpful for keeping the crowds from touching your baby without your
7 Tips for Attending Parades with Young Children
permission. 

6-Bring headphones
When my children were young, my parents would often bring along some head phones for my children to wear at parades. They are just the headphones my dad uses when he mows the lawn.

7-Bring ways to cool down (or warm up)
We often bring a big cooler of water to parades. At the least, we bring a water bottle for each person. A squirt bottle full of cool water can be nice for cooling people down, also. A little cooler of otter pops can go a long way to keeping people feeling cool enough. 

If you are going to a parade in cold weather, be sure you dress warm enough for the weather. 

These seven tips can help you have a successful parade. What tips have you found helpful for parades? Comment and let me know!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How to find the right crib mattress for your baby

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This post is sponsored and written by Sophie Turner. 

Having a baby on the way means that it's time to go shopping and buy everything that baby will need. The most important things to buy are a cot (crib), a mattress, and bed linen. Which babycrib mattress is better to choose for a newborn? In this issue, many young parents make many mistakes. Therefore, we decided to write a detailed guide for choosing the ideal baby mattress. 

How to find the right crib mattress for your baby

In our review, we will consider all the most popular types of children's mattresses, talk about the properties of stuffing materials, and touch upon the issues of rigidity. In conclusion, the recommendations of pediatricians will be given, which is also very important when choosing a mattress for a newborn.

Types of baby crib mattresses
Which mattress to choose for a newborn in the crib? This question puzzles many young parents. It is generally believed that it is best to sleep on a soft surface - it is comfortable, lush and warm. And such concepts are fundamentally wrong, since a newbornchild must sleep on a hard base - this ensures the correct development of the spine.

But before talking about the rigidity of mattresses, you should talk about their varieties. In our review, we will touch on the following types of mattresses:
  • ·         Spring-free;
  • ·         Spring;
  • ·         Two-sided;
  • ·         Mattresses are cocoons.

Springless Mattresses
Price Range: $40- $300
Simple springless mattresses for a crib will be the best choice. Their design does not provide for any springs, so they are absolutely safe. The basis of these mattresses is plastic fillers with different levels of elasticity. In addition, some models have orthopedic properties - this allows to ensure the correct development of the spine and bone system.

Springless MattressesModern springless mattresses for children are made of hypoallergenic materials and are equipped with dense covers of natural fabrics. Due to this, children sleep in a safe environment, on a fairly comfortable and dense surface. Also, when designing children's mattresses, attention is paid to the properties of the packing’s - they must retain heat and retain moisture well. The presence of excellent ventilation properties is a solid plus, because the child must sleep in a relatively dry atmosphere, without excess moisture.

Going a little forward, we can say that it is the springless mattresses that are the best choice for a baby crib. They are convenient, practical, well endure physical loads, do not cause allergies and provide the creation of a suitable surface for a healthy and comfortable sleep.

Spring Mattresses
Price Range: $30- $260
Spring mattresses for children are divided into two categories - classic spring mattresses and mattresses with independent spring blocks. The first category is absolutely not suitable for children's sleep. Classic spring mattresses form a strongly bendable surface, which harms the children's spine and does not contribute to its proper development. It is not surprising that after sleeping on such mattresses, children develop scoliosis.
Spring Mattress

As for mattresses with independent spring blocks, they are absolutely safe. They have orthopedic properties, provide good back support and are able to adjust to the shape of the body. But this entire splendor is underscored by one drawback - spring mattresses with independent spring blocks are not suitable for newborns. But older children can sleep on them - from about 12 years old.

Double Sided Mattresses
Price Range: $60- $400
Two-sided mattresses for newborns are universal options. They have at once two surfaces used for sleep. One side of them is rigid, just for newborns. As for the second side, it is of medium stiffness - for older children, from three years old. For what it is needed - will be said a little later. Also there are bilateral mattresses with a different ratio of the rigidity of the parties. For example, one side can be soft, and the other - medium stiffness.
Double Sided Mattresses

Close relatives of double-sided mattresses with different levels of rigidity of the parties are two-season mattresses. They are made in such a way that one side of them keeps the heat well, and the second one is freely blown, ensuring the creation of comfortable conditions for children's sleep.

Mattresses-cocoons
Price Range: $60- $200
Cocoon mattresses are the development of French neonatologists. They have an oval shape, and their inner part is somewhat deepened, creating for the child a cozy space for sleeping and rest. Thanks to this design, the newborn's body is supported from all sides at once, as it happens in the womb of the mother.
The mattress-cocoon for newborns is often equipped with buckles and carrying handles. This ensures the safety of children and allows you to easily transport the cocoon from place to place. That is, it is not a full-fledged mattress, but a supplement that can be installed anywhere. The baby can sleep in the cocoon until four years, after which it should be shifted to the main mattress.

Cocoons provide soft support of the spine, slightly bending it - it is in the same position as in prenatal development. According to French neonatologists, this provision is the most optimal - the spine develops more correctly and harmoniously. In addition, a slightly curved back contributes to the normalization of muscle tone and reduction of colic.

What is the optimal mattress hardness?
Newborns should sleep on a fairly hard surface or on a medium-strength mattress. At the same time, many parents adhere to the opposite opinion that the child needs a soft and comfortable bed. This is fundamentally wrong, because on a soft surface the spine assumes a concave shape. And such a bend just hinders the proper development of the child. If the child sleeps on a hard surface, his spine will assume the correct S-shape.

Since the newborn has a small weight, it is possible to buy a baby crib mattress of medium stiffness for it. A good support is provided by the rigidity "below average". The stuffing materials can be any, preferably natural and hypoallergenic. The main thing is that they provide a suitable level of rigidity. But you should avoid buying mattresses with independent spring blocks, as they cannot ensure the creation of conditions for the proper development of the spine and bone system.

Choosing a mattress material for a newborn
The choice of a mattress for a newborn should begin with the choice of a filler mattress. As we have already said, we are boldly throwing spring models aside - we choose our choice only on the springless mattresses made of coconut fiber, polyurethane foam, latex and struttopayer.

Polyurethane foam
Polyurethane foam is one of the most common materials for stuffing children's mattresses. Initially, it is too soft, so additional components are added to its structure, giving it stiffness. Only after that it is suitable for the production of children's mattresses. Penopolyurethane rarely causes allergies, has orthopedic properties, but it retains too much moisture, which is inadmissible for a baby crib.

Latex
Struttofiber has a decent level of rigidity, but it is rarely used in children's mattresses. But natural latex is much more common. It does not cause allergic reactions, it is well ventilated, it does not create conditions for the reproduction of bacteria. In its pure form it is not used because of its softness. Therefore, the latex is interleaved with layers of more solid packing’s, which makes it possible to create children's mattresses of medium stiffness.

Coconut Coir
The most optimal version of the stuffing for a baby crib mattress is coconut fiber (coir). It does not deteriorate or rot, does not support the multiplication of harmful bacteria, does not cause allergies, it is well ventilated and retains heat. This fiber is rigid, but resilient, as it is made from a soaked and dried coconut shell with integration from natural latex. Therefore, it is the best suited for creating a mattress for newborns.

Coconut mattress for newborns perfectly supports the back, creates comfortable conditions for sleep and promotes the proper development of the spine. Sleep on this mattress can be from birth and up to three years. Starting with three years, you should choose a softer mattress. If you want to save money, feel free to buy double-sided mattresses made of latex and coconut coir. Up to three years the child will sleep on the side of coconut fiber, and after three years - on the side of latex (medium hardness).
When buying a mattress, pay attention to the presence of a removable cover. Otherwise you will have to buy a mattress pad. Optimum materials for covers are jacquard and spunbond.

Determine the size of the mattress
The choice of baby crib mattress for a newborn in size does not cause any difficulties. The width and length should be such that the mattress matches the crib exactly. As for the height, it should not exceed 10 cm; the optimal figure is 5-9 cm. If the mattress is too high, then later, when the baby learns to get up, he can fall out of the crib.

For a more exact match of sizes, buying cribs of non-standard sizes is not recommended - otherwise you will have to order the manufacture of the mattress by individual measures, which will result in a substantial amount.

WARNING!
Under circumstances should you buy a used baby crib mattress. Older mattresses are known to leak toxic gases. This can be extremely problematic for your child and in some cases can even cause SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome).

Pediatrician's recommendations for choosing a mattress
Pediatricians recommend choosing high and medium hardness mattresses for newbornbabies. A solid base will allow the spine to develop as it is conceived by nature. And the proper development of the spine is the guarantee of the excellent health of the whole organism as a whole. Do not worry that the child will experience discomfort, lying on a hard mattress. In the end, the baby crib mattress is not completely solid, like concrete, but elastic. Yes, and over it will lay a sheet and a relatively soft cover. As for soft mattresses based on cheap foam rubber or cotton wool, their purchases should be avoided, since they can damage even an adult. If the child has any abnormalities in development, as well as diseases of the bone and nervous system, one should get an orthopedic consultation - he will help to choose the optimal stiffness of the mattress.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why I Don't Let My Children Fight

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Siblings fight, right? That is to be expected. The question is, how much is normal, and when has the fighting gone too far? The even bigger question, as a parent, is how much should you allow because it is "normal" and at what point should you step in and mitigate.

Why I Don't Let My Children Fight


With my children, I simply don't allow full-on fighting. I treat any fight between my children as I would between my child and a friend who was at our house to play. I just don't allow it. Disagreements? Yes. Fighting? No. Differences of opinion? Absolutely! Name calling? No. Physical aggression? No. "I'm not your best sister anymore." Nope.

"A more loving world starts with a more loving home."

Living with people really highlights how annoying they can be. That's why when people get married and the honeymoon phase wears off, they start to find little things annoying. That is why staying in close quarters for a long family reunion can wear patience thin. That is why there is a stereotype about family fights at holidays. It is normal to have less patience with people you are constantly around.

But that doesn't mean we should just let our tempers loose on each other.

Just because it is "normal" to have less patience doesn't give us the right to be unkind toward others.

We have had the same private swim teacher for over 5 years. For most of those years, she has taught my children year round. A week ago, she commented to me that Katilyn and McKenna were bickering during the lesson that day and she had never seen my kids fight before. I love that it took 5.5 years for her to witness my children fighting! I fully believe that my requirement to have my children make an effort to get along has led to them rarely fighting.

This doesn't mean they always agree or that there are always sunshine and roses at our house. In fact, as I write this, I can hear McKenna and Brinley discussing who gets to be which character in a game they are playing. They are both frustrated and upset as they discuss. There is no yelling, however. There are no tears. There is no hitting and no declarations that the friendship or sisterhood is over.

Those things sometimes happen, and when they do, I step in.
Why I Don't Let My Children Fight

But so long as it is a discussion, even if they are both feeling emotional about it and it gets heated, I will not step in. I allow them to practice and learn conflict resolution. Those are skills they need in life. I have no problem with conflict or differences of opinion in our home. I have a problem with them practicing how to resolve conflict in unhealthy ways.

When things get overly heated and my children get to a point of real fighting, I step in. I help them talk through the issues. I help them work to see the point of view of the other person. I explain why the tactics used were not kind nor appropriate. I work with them to learn appropriate conflict resolution skills. I expect those skills to be used not just out in public, but also at home.

If my children can learn to be kind and gracious toward their siblings then they will be able to extend the same kindness and grace to the world at large. It is often said that we treat our family, the people who live with us, the worst. We put our best face out for the world to see and give our family the leftovers.

I don't want that for my family.

I want us putting our best face toward everyone. I want our faces in public and at home to all be genuine. I want our kindness outside of our home to be the same kindness we practice inside our home.

I also want my children to be fully comfortable expressing how they feel and what they think. This is a skill that can be done respectfully. To disagree does not mean to fight. It doesn't mean insult or name-call.

Can you imagine how the world, and especially Internet, might look if people out there believed and practiced that? If they were able to express their opinions and thoughts, and do it in a way that was kind and respectful toward others?

"A more loving world starts with a more loving home."

We cannot hope for a kind society without cultivating that in our homes first. It all starts with our individual families. We, the parents, must teach our children these skills. It starts at home and it starts with us.

If you would like some concrete ideas for how to respond when your kids fight (because they will!), read How to Respond to Siblings Fighting.

How to Respond to Siblings Fighting

Friday, June 23, 2017

My Favorite Frosting For Kids

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I love frosting. Looooove. My favorite part of any cake is the frosting, and I would be content only eating frosting and leaving the cake part out. I like all kinds of frosting. Over the years, I have found at birthday parties that not all kids like all kinds of frosting. Cream cheese frosting? Not for everyone. Chocolate? Nope. It is all divine to me, so I could never understand it.

My Favorite Frosting For Kids


One birthday party, I tried this recipe for Brayden's cake, and for the first time ever, every child ate the frosting. Since that day, it is the only frosting I make for friend parties and it has consistently been a hit every single time. 

Creamy White Frosting

Ingredients
  • 1 cup shortening (I use butter-flavored shortening)
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon, orange, or almond extract (I only do almond)
  • 4.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring if desired
Method
  1. Mix shortening, vanilla, and extract in a medium bowl with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds.
  2. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk.
  4. Slowly add the rest of the powdered sugar.
  5. Add in as much milk as you need to get the consistency you want for spreading. 
  6. Add food coloring as desired for the color you want.
It is that simple!

My Favorite Frosting For Kids


Thursday, June 22, 2017

All About the Babywise Friendly Blog Network {BFBN}

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All About the Babywise Friendly Blog Network {BFBN}

In 2007, I started by blog in order to help parents with their Babywise questions. The internet was not a friendly place for Babywise inquiries and I wanted to be a voice for people who needs help and encouragement.
Four years later, in 2011, I wanted to expand that vision just beyond myself. Hearing from one person who does Babywise is nice, but wouldn't several be even better? So I started the Babywise Friendly Blog Network. My vision was to
 have a group of bloggers who all follow Babywise who could work together to create one massive resource collectively for Babywise parents. Everyone has different life experiences in general, and this is especially true in parenting. Among all of us, we could more fully address the needs of parents out there.
Nearly 6 years later, the Babywise Friendly Blog Network (BFBN) is stronger than ever! We have had so many great bloggers join over the years and we have a fantastic group today. I will share them in order of who has been in the BFBN the longest.

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
Valerie
You are here. This is me :) 

Emily 
Emily is married to Zach and has three children, ages 8, 5, and almost 3. She is a stay at home mom and loves being a mom! She has a deep love for Disney. They are a Dave Ramsey family and she is full of frugal living tips. She aims to raise children who love Jesus. She is structured but fun and she really tries to make fun memories with her children. Some of my favorite posts of hers are:
Birth-Six Month Babywise Schedule
Newborn Sleep Guide
How to Start Babywise!


Kimberly
Kimberly is mother to three children, ages 3 and 17 months old. She is a mom to identical twins! She

has been married to Pat for 8 years. She is a former chemist and accountant. She currently works from home as a bookkeeper and of course a mother. She loves coffee and reading. She loves to help parents find solutions that work for them and fit into each family's individual priorities. She is also very passionate about helping people embrace STEM and stop fearing math and science. She says, "They are not esoteric things that are only for some intellectual elite. It is the world around us and we should encourage all kids to ask why about the world around them, to not be afraid to not know something, and to try to find answers." Some of my favorite posts of hers are:

MYTH: BABYWISE AUTOMATICALLY DIMINISHES MILK SUPPLY
BFBN WEEK: TWINS AND BABYWISE: WHY BOTHER?
BABYWISE FAVORITES: THE PAUSE

Carrie
Carrie is the mother to four children, ages 9, 6, almost 5, and 2. She is married to Kyle who is the director of operations for a Missions Org. She is a travel agent who specializes in Disney destinations. She is passionate about raising kids to be world changers who love God and people. She survives motherhood with a good routine and schedule. She loves to drink hot tea, read books, plan trips, and read Gilmore Girls. Some of my favorite posts of hers are:
babywise and cry it out (or don't!)

why we chose (and love) babywise
5 ways to encourage your kids to become world changers

Katrina
Katrina is the mother to a 2.5 year old with one on the way. She went through fertility treatments for her first pregnancy. She is a former engineer and high school chemistry teacher, and is now a stay at home mom. She went to Texas A&M and now resides in Maryland. She is passionate about breastfeeding on a schedule. She also used cloth diapers, made her own baby food, and loves baby wearing, so she is a mom with some seemingly opposite interests that often are true of Babywise moms. Some of my favorite posts of hers are:
8 BENEFITS OF KEEPING BABY ON A SCHEDULE
Babywise FAQ & A
WHEN TO MAKE A CHANGE TO YOUR BABY'S SCHEDULE


Natasha
Natasha has been married to Gary for 7 years. She is a foster/adoptive mama and has also done IVF. She has four children, ages 6, 5, 2, and 2 months. She lives in Texas where she is a CPS and adoption lawyer. She is an extreme extrovert, and is an open book says sometimes she is an oversharer. She loves God and people, wine and ice cream, and books and games. Some of my favorite posts of hers are (hover over to see post title):
 babywise myths {babywise works for you (not the other way around)}.

how we transition a new foster kid into our home.
11 ways to support foster families.



ColeCole is the mother to four children, ages 4, 2, and one year old twins. She lives in San Diego. She loves to cook and read. She is also proud to say she survived the first year with twins with four children three and under, and she loved it! Cole is always blunt and tells it like it is. Some of my favorite posts of hers are:
Five Tips for Getting a Twins on a Schedule
Childproofing (Or How To Stunt the Development of Self-Control)
Send ’em Outside
Caitlin
Caitlin is our newest BFBN member! She is the wife to Ben and mother to three children, ages 3 and 16 months (twin girls). Her twins were born 8 weeks early, so she has preemie experience. She has a Masters degree in Flute Performance and is a former music teacher. She loves eating healthy and to exercise, but also loves fancy cupcakes. She also loves black coffee and wine. She grew up by the ocean and misses it like crazy. She is not a sugarcoater and strives to keep her blog a judgement free zone. Some of my favorite posts of hers are:
How I Got My Twins to Sleep Through the Night
How I Got My Twins to Stay on a Schedule
5 Ways You Can Help a NICU Family


There you have it! We have some great ladies with a lot of different life experiences and stages. These are great ladies to turn to when you have Babywise questions. 

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8 Great Babywise Blogs

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

5 Steps To Teaching Your Children to Do Chores

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I love chores. I have always loved chores. Getting the family on a chore system has always been in me. As a pre-teen, I even made up a chore chart for my family to follow and I was shocked that my mother did not follow it. Ha! Now that I am the mom, my chore systems can be followed.
5 Steps To Teaching Your Children to Do Chores

Teaching your children to do chores is simpler than you might think. It takes time. It takes effort long before you see results. But I can promise you, it is all worth it. It is of great worth for children to learn how to work. There is a life skill, yes. It is nice to go off to college knowing how to do your own laundry. There is also the great benefit of mom not having to do all of the cleaning around the house. But doing chores does even more than that. It teaches children to be responsible and to value work. It builds character and creates a bond with those they work with. For more on this, see Teaching Children Life SkillsWork and Responsibility, and Work: More than Economic Value.

With those benefits in mind, here are five steps to teaching your child to do chores. It doesn't happen overnight. If you decide today that you want your children to be able to do chores, they won't be able and capable tomorrow or even next week. It takes time to teach and time for them to learn. 

1-Do Chores With Your Child
Do your chores with your child by your side. I do this from the time by children are small babies. They spend time with me while I work. Before they are one, they eagerly want to help. Children want to imitate their parents. Be an example to your child, and your child will want to be involved. See my post Creating a "Good Helper" for more on this idea.

2-Let Your Child Help
When that desire is there, let your child help. I remember giving a 9 month old Brayden a broom and letting him "sweep." Allow your child to contribute to doing chores. If you are dusting, give your child a dust rag. If you are vacuuming, let your child help push the vaccum, too. Think of ways your child can help clean while you are cleaning. As your child gets older, he will want to keep helping with the chores. Thank your child for helping. Children love praise and they want to please you. Thanking the child motivates the child to help more. See Getting Children Actively Engaged in Household Responsibilities for more.

3-Have a Daily Chore Time
As your child gets older, have chore time a part of the day. I would start required chores even as early as 2 if desired. I would really have it in place as a 3 year old--but if your child is older than that, it isn't too late to start! See Working Chores Into Your Day for more.
5 Steps To Teaching Your Children to Do Chores

Pick a chore of the day. Have a point in your routine when chores are done. Keep it fun. It is okay for chore time to be enjoyable (see Making Work Fun). Use Chore Cards, chore charts, Chore JarChore Wheel, etc. for your chores if that works for your family. If chore charts are just annoying, forget them. If you do use charts, mix up what you use over time--this keeps it interesting. Make the culture of your home one where everyone contributes to helping keep the home clean. This teaches your children these life skills and it also eases the burden off of you. At age 3, Brayden could vacuum a small room well enough that he could do it and it was done. They can contribute in a positive way if you allow them to practice.

4-Accept Less Than Perfect
That leads me to accepting less than perfection. Your young child will not be as good as you are at cleaning. No way. It won't happen for years. Be okay with that. The day will come when your child does a great job. I love this story from Loren Dunn to illustrate the point:

“While we were growing up in a small community, my father saw the need for my brother and me to learn the principle of work. As a result, he put us to work on a small farm on the edge of town where he had been raised. He ran the local newspaper, so he could not spend much time with us. … And sometimes we made mistakes.

“Our small farm was surrounded by other farms, and one of the farmers went in to see my father one day to tell him the things he thought we were doing wrong. My father listened to him carefully and then said, ‘Jim, you don’t understand. You see, I’m raising boys and not cows’ ”.

Let me give one caveat. Sometimes children will try to get by with the bare minimum effort. Accept your child's best effort, but require the best effort. If you see your child is not putting forth his best, reteach and remind your child to take pride in the job done. You want best effort; just don't demand perfection.

5-Teach New Chores as Children Age
It is important to teach children how to clean. They will learn a lot from observing you--they are little sponges. They can't glean everything from observation, however. Explain how to do things and why you do things that way. Let them do the chore while you watch. Then let them do it without being supervised. For more on this, see Teaching Children to Clean.

While getting your children to the point of being good at chores takes a lot of time and effort, it is effort worth making. As a mom with older children who are now able to be independent and good at chores, I can say I am SO GLAD I put the effort in while they were young. As they get older, they get more and more capable of creating large messes. Their clothes get larger so the laundry loads increase each week. As they grow, our need for chores increase and I would not be able to maintain my sanity without my children being able to contribute to helping contribute to the cleaning in the home.

For more on chores, see:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Baby's Feeding Schedule With Solid Foods

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When it is time to start solid foods, the daily schedule may shift some, but your pattern should stay the same. This post outlines when and where solid foods should fall in your baby's daily schedule.

How to work feeding baby solid foods into your daily schedule

One of my favorite stages with babies is introducing solid foods to them. Even when you introduce a food they love, their reaction to the first bite is often worthy of an America's Funniest Home Videos entry. The nose gets scrunched up, the eyes may shut, and a shiver runs through the body. You can rarely tell if your child will love a food or not from the first bite.

While starting solids is entertaining, it can also be confusing. When you are going through giggles, you may also wonder when your baby should be eating those solid foods. Right with the liquid feeding? Should it be spaced out? What is the right call? I have the answers for you.

Don't make the mistake of feeding baby too often.

I often get questions that go something like this, "Hello! My six month old hasn't been sleeping well since we started solids. Can you see something wrong in our schedule?

7 AM Nurse
9 AM Solids
9:30 AM Nap
11 AM Nurse
1 PM Solids
1:30 PM Nap
4 PM Nurse
6 PM Solids
7 PM Bedtime"

I immediately know what the problem is when I see that schedule.

Do you see it?

Baby, who has been breastfeeding or bottlefeeding every 3-4 hours, is suddenly being fed every two hours instead of every 3-4 hours. 

A six month old does not need to eat more often than a six week old. 

From the time you brought your baby home from the hospital, you worked on establishing a 2.5-3 hour routine, which meant baby ate every 2.5-3 hours. As young as five weeks old, some babies can go 2.5-3.5 hours. By four months, many babies are on a four hour feeding schedule. 

Then we introduce solids and feed them every two hours.

Sure, there were times baby ate every two hours, especially during growth spurts, but that was never what you were aiming for. If your baby tried to consistently eat every two hours, you would have scoured the book, blog, and/or fellow Babywise mom brains for help on getting that feeding interval longer. 

When your baby starts solids, stick with the 3-4 hour interval in your routine. 

Stick with eat/wake/sleep. When your baby wakes from nap, start with your liquid feeding. Then move on to solids. Feed as much solid food as your baby will take--do not force more and do not limit it (unless you have been instructed otherwise by your baby's pediatrician). Once your baby is done eating the solids, have playtime. Finish up with a nap. Once baby wakes up, start the cycle again.

If your baby is really not hungry at all for any solids, you can feed half of the liquid feeding, do solids, and then feed the other half. If you are breastfeeding, you feed one side, solids, second side (or do half time if you do single-side feedings). If you are bottle feeding, do half of the bottle, solids, then second half of the bottle.

Feed baby solids three times per day.

How to work feeding baby solid foods into your daily scheduleThat will mean that if you are on a four hour schedule with no dreamfeed, so you are at four feedings a day, your baby will not eat solids at every single meal. Pick three. The three you pick really don't matter in general; it just matters that you pick the best three feedings for you and your baby.

You might pick your first meal of the day so that it is like "breakfast." You might skip that first one because you have so much milk and your baby isn't hungry enough to add solids. Feeding solids adds a fair amount of time to your feeding time, so you might base when you feed solids based on what your daily routine looks like. If you have a 3 PM feeding and need to pick other children up from school at 3:30, for example, you might not want to do solids at 3 PM. I have had solid meals at different feedings among my four children. I always did what made the most sense with each child.

Another note, you want to get to three solid feedings per day at some point, but you don't start there. Start with one. Give it some time (at least a few days, but maybe even as long as a couple of weeks) before adding a second. Give it some more time, then add your third.

Feeding solids is not as confusing to work into your daily routine as it might seem at first. When you started a schedule with your baby in the beginning, you were starting as you mean to go on. Go on as you intended when you started. Feed the entire meal, milk and solids, at once. Feed every 3-4 hours. Land at 3 solid feedings a day. Do those things and you will be on the right course!

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