Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How To Help Your Child Have a Good School Year

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"The novelty has worn off, mom." My seventh grader confessed to me the the other day. "The novelty of school?" I inquired. He nodded in affirmation. 

Even if your child enters the school year with full excitement, you are likely to find yourself at some point in the year faced with a child who has lost that spark and excitement. This can come for a number of reasons, and for some it is a one day thing while for others, it is an every day thing. 

How To Help Your Child Have a Good School Year

Whether you are facing uncertainty before the school year begins, a few weeks or months into it, or you simply want to prevent these feelings from coming up, I have some ideas for you to help your child have a good school year this year. These tips are applicable no matter if you send your child to school or homeschool. This works for all children in all circumstances. 
  1. Help your child talk about the exciting things about school. I don't want you ignoring your child's concerns or brushing off novelty wearing off. You can't sweep those things under the rug. There is power in focusing on the positive, though. Always look for the good for your child to focus on and anticipate. 
  2. Give your child opportunities. There are many things you can do outside of school to help your child in school. These may be surprising. Take your child on trips. Let your child have pets. Help your child play with other children. These things help your child gain experience and responsibility in varied areas so they can more confidently face what school requires of them.
  3. Help your child improve language skills. Talk with your child. Not at your child. When your child doesn't know what a word means, explain it. If you don't know, look it up. Teach your child how to find answers. Listen to your child and care about what he/she has to tell you. Make sure you are in a place when your child comes home that you can actually pay attention and listen about the day. Encourage good language skills (speaking clearly, using words and grammar correctly, etc.). But be smart about it. If you correct every phrase your child says, she might stop saying phrases. 
  4. Teach your child to be responsible. I talked above about how a pet can help with that. Require your child to pick up after himself. Expect him to take good care of his things. Teach your child how to work independently in life (hello Independent Playtime!). Have your child finish tasks that she starts. See How to Raise Independent and Responsible Children for more. 
  5. Have routines and respect them. Your child will not do well at school if she is super tired. Have a bedtime. Have a time she wakes up in the morning. These things were very important when she was a baby, and they are important now! They help establish sleep rhythms in your child. 
  6. Read to your child. The current recommendation is 20 minutes a day. Bedtime is an obvious time to get this in. If 20 minutes seems overwhelming at bedtime, which is understandable if you have several kids or a baby to get in bed, do one picture book at bedtime for the routine and find a time earlier in the day to read for 15 minutes. Reading to your child does so much good. Two simple but important things is to build vocabulary and also to plant a love of books in your child. 
  7. Foster a love of books. Speaking of loving books, reading each day isn't the only thing to teach your child to love to read. Own as many books as you can afford and you can store. Make use of public libraries and the school library to keep a variety of books in the home. Vary the difficulty levels of books you read with your child. Give books as gifts. I have several book lists on this blog, from board books to picture books to chapter books. I can help you out!
  8. Do not compare children. This is easier said than done. Do not think about how far ahead or how far behind your child seems in relation to other siblings or other students in the classroom. Yes, you want to be aware of how you can help your child--whether he is excelling or needing extra help. Find ways to gain this knowledge without comparing your child's progress. 
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Travel Tips for New York City with Children

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The most surprising discovery for me in New York City was how kind the people were. We had heard tales and read stories about how downright rude New Yorkers were, so we went fully braced to meet the rudest people you could ever imagine.

While I saw my fair share of impatience among the drivers of the city (come on, if you are twenty cars back, you won't move forward the instant a light turns green. No need to lay on the horn), the people at most indifferent, and frequently kind. 

We never got weird looks for having kids, much less four of them. I can't say this for every place we have visited. We never got lectured or even passive-aggressively berated for stopping on a sidewalk or in the middle of a busy subway station (though we had fully discussed with our children our sidewalk rules: two by two and never stop). We did get a lot of compliments on our children, though.

Things to do in New York City with Kids

We rode the subway all over for a week, and there are only two times we got onto a crowded subway and didn't have people give up seats for our family. Both of those times, it would have been literally impossible to do so (the train was so crowded we couldn't have gotten to a seat--there was no musical chairs possible). 

We had kind people visit with us on buses and subways to offer us advice and their "must-sees" and eateries around the city. We had people approach us as we exited a subway station and ask us if they could help direct us on which way to go (most exit to different corners of the block).

New York was a great place to go with children.

There were people everywhere. Everything is fast. The people move fast, the vehicles move fast. When we laded at JFK and waited outside the airport for our Uber to come, I clucked my tongue at how quickly the shuttle drivers were flying by. Humans adapt quickly, though. When we got home, I rolled my eyes at how slowly the shuttle drivers were driving here at the airport. Ha! We also felt strangely alone as we landed in the middle of the night and the parking lot was empty. It was so odd to not be completely surrounded by people. 

There is a lot of walking required around NYC, and strollers are usually just inconvenient. So I highly recommend waiting until you can go stroller-free to get the most enjoyment out of your trip. 

We packed a lot in our eight days in New York City. Here is our itinerary along with any comments or tips I have on certain places. 

1-Go to a MusicalA must-do in New York City is a musical. We saw Wicked on the first day we were in the city. Everyone in the family loved it. McKenna asked if we could go to a musical every day (I wish! $$$)
16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

2-Visit Times Square
Times Square can be a fast visit with children. When we got there, Brayden asked, "Why is this place famous???" We found ourselves in Times Square almost every day, so you probably don't need to play a special visit there. Be aware it is always very crowded, especially on weekends. If you have kids who wander or you can't be sure can stick with the family, you might want to skip this one or stay on the outskirts.
16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

3-Go to Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
This was one of Brayden and Nate's very favorite things we did the whole time.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

4-Go on a Boat Tour
One of my favorite things we did was a Circle Line Boat Tour. With our ticket, we got free tickets to Intrepid, so if you decide to go on a boat tour, check out their upgrades. We did the tour that circles the entire island of Manhattan. We did this on our second day, and it was a great way to start off the visit. It helped us have some bearing as we traveled the rest of the city. We were also able to be introduced to some potential places worth visiting that we hadn't heard of before.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

5-Walk the High Line
The High Line is very close to Circle Line Boat Tour. Now...this was cool considering where it was. It was a neat thing in the middle of the city. However, I live in a place with much more impressive walking paths, so this is a nice thing to do with kids, but didn't live up to the hype for us.
16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

6-Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
This was a walk we loved. We loved it so much that we did it a second time. We went from Manhattan to Brooklyn one day and from Brooklyn to Manhattan another day. I like the Brooklyn to Manhattan best. On the bridge, they had fruit vendors and also artists selling drawings and photographs. We bought all of these things.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids 16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

7-Visit Brooklyn and Eat at Juniors
Each burough of New York is different from the next. There is a park at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge. We had also been told about the restaurant Juniors by a Brooklyn native the day before. Amazing! Best cheesecake ever. We went back a second day so we could enjoy it again. There is one of these on Times Square, so you don't have to go to Brooklyn for it.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

8-Take in a Game
There are a lot of sports teams in New York City. We went to a Yankees game while we were there.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

9-Visit St. Patrick's Cathedral
The cathedral was a neat place to visit.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

10-Play at Central Park
We played at Central Park two different days. We toured as much of it as possible. We would spend an hour at one playground, then walk to the next one, and so forth. We would stop at attractions along the way. Even with our two days, there was so much we didn't see. The kids loved being in Central Park. It was a relief from the noises and smells of the city. Plus they had fun playing an  being kids.

We made a list of all of the things we wanted to see and the playgrounds we wanted to try out. Then we looked them up on Google Maps and planned out our visit. There was a lot of walking, but Google Maps was super helpful in navigating Central Park efficiently. Here is the list of things we saw:

    16 Things to do in New York City with Kids
  • Robert Bendeim Playground
  • Ancient Playground (this was the favorite of the kids overall and it is right next to the Met)
  • Belvedere Castle
  • Turtle Pond
  • Great Lawn
  • East 72 Street Playground
  • Bethesda Fountain (this is a MUST. It is beautiful and there is so much going on here).
  • Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater
  • The Ramble (a little forest-trail in Central Park)
  • Diana Ross Playground
  • Billy Johnson Playground
  • Hans Christen Anderson Statue
  • Conservatory Water
  • Alice and Wonderland Statue
  • Heckscher Playground
  • Gapstow Bridge
  • Adventure Playground (this was the favorite of the older kids. Brinley didn't particularly love it)

11-Go to Coney Island
We ended up with an extra day to fill, and decided to go check out Coney Island. We ate Nathan's hot dogs and let the kids play on the sand for a bit. Coney Island is in Brooklyn. It was about an hour subway ride for us from Manhattan, but a lot of it is above ground through Brookly, so you get to see a lot of that borough.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

12-Ride the Staten Island Ferry
I didn't think we needed to do this since we had ridden a boat tour and would be riding a ferry to get to Liberty Island. With our extra time, we decided to ride the ferry. It was so great! I enjoyed it a whole lot. It was a different experience than the other boat/ferry rides we had.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

13-Visit the 9/11 Memorial
A visit to the 9/11 Memorial is a must. We chose to not do the museum since we had little kids. They wouldn't have appreciated it and I wasn't sure by this point in our trip they would still have self control to be quiet like they needed to.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

14-Visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Battery Park
You must visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island! Make sure you get tickets months in advance. There are height requirements for the crown, and you can only get 4 per family, but the pedestal is worth it. Right now, only the pedastal and crown tickets will get you into the museum at the Statue of Liberty. The crown tickets sell out months in advance, so don't delay. Pedestal you can get closer to your visit. If you purchase online beforehand, you get to skip a lot of long lines at security. So worth it! These things need to be all in one day with nothing else planned for the day. Get your tickets for as early as you can so you have plenty of time to enjoy each island and also enjoy the World War II Memorials at Battery Park.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

15-Visit One World Observatory
We had a hard time choosing which building to go to the top of in New York City. Your three options are The Empire State Building, The Rockefeller Center, and One World Observatory. Everything you read says to avoid the Empire State Building, but this building is so iconic it couldn't just be crossed off our list without consideration. In the end, we went with One World Conservatory. It is hard to pass up the current tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. We visited the other two buildings, but didn't go to the top. One World was a great visit. We did it on our last day, and we were really happy we did. It was a fun way to look at all of the places we had been on our trip. When you get in the elevator to go up, pay attention! The ride up is impressive in and of itself.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

16-Sight Seeing
There are so many things you can just see in New York City. You probably won't have time to fully visit and go inside every place you would like to in New York. We went by and saw several locations. We went by Lincoln Square, Radio City Music Hall, the Rock, the Empire State Building, the LDS Temple, and Chinatown, to name a few.

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

A Note on Transportation
New York City is not the place to rent a car. Plan on either doing taxis, ubers (or something similar), or the bus/subway system. Oh, and of course walking a lot.

We primarily did the subway and bus system with a healthy amount of walking (literally, it was healthy). Again, Google Maps comes through big time on helping you with the public transportation. They have a variety of options for how to pay to ride. We went with the seven day unlimited pass. So we were able to ride any bus and any subway for one flat rate. We were always comfortable riding on these. Our children quickly got the hang of entering and exiting as well as standing while riding if needed. 

We did have some rules that I think helped it be smooth for us. One is that I entered every subway first, followed by the kids, and lastly, Nate entered. That way, if not everyone made it on, we wouldn't have kids left alone. We never had issue, though. We also had a plan that if we did get separated, the people on the subway would simply exit at the next stop and wait for the people left behind to come along. Then we would all get back on a train together. Again, we never had an issue. We could have if we had tried really hard to fit into overcrowded cars. If it was super crowded, however, we just waited for the next one. This only happened a couple of times all week long. We also had the rule that there was no staring at people around them. 

If you fly in, I highly recommend the Uber for getting to and from the airport. We took an Uber from the airport into the city, but decided to take the subway back to the airport since we were so familiar with it by then. Ummm...bad decision and one we wouldn't replicate if given the option. We had to make station transfer, and there were no escalators nor elevators at either station, so we had a lot of baggage carrying to do. Some stations are brutally hot, and both of these were. So we were literally dripping in sweat. Then the line to get to JFK was super crowded. It was also running slow that day. So we waited for 20 minutes for the first train to come, but it was too crowded. Then another 15 for the next, and we were able to get on, but it was standing room only. Super full. Everyone was going to the airport. The ride was over an hour long. So we stood for an hour. With all of our was an experience, but just get an Uber. To do the subway, you have to take the air train at the end, which isn't free even with the public transportation pass. So just go with the Uber. 

This was such a fun trip! It was so different from our normal lives that it was culturally rich, beyond just the richness of the locations we went to. There are people everywhere. If you have introverts in your family, help them be mentally prepared for this. There were moments--always during rush hour, that Brayden was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. There was a lot of noise and a lot of smells--not always good. Despite that, even the introverts had a good time. By the end, ?Brinley declared she didn't want to go home, she wanted to live there. I hope you have a great time!

16 Things to do in New York City with Kids

Monday, September 18, 2017

What You Should Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Delivering a Baby

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I was ready. When I research something, I don't turn to one source only. Oh no. I was taught better than that. You need multiple sources to verify your point, and that standard that was drilled in my head over and over again in college has carried on and into my every day life.

My hospital packing list was no different. 

I wasn't going to read one person's list and leave it at that. 

Nope. I would look at many. I would find out what was common. I would carefully consider things that only made it to one list. I would read books. I would be as prepared as possible, because that is how I roll and there was no way I was rolling into labor with a nagging "what if I forgot something" in the back of my head.

What You Should Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Delivering a Baby

I was over-prepared, and that was okay. I prefer that to the opposite.

But I amended my list over the years and through my deliveries. I want to be prepared, but there is no reason to pack things I would never use just to have to unpack them when I got home. Simplify.

And with any good list comes some caveats.

There are some things that will depend. 

Brayden and Kaitlyn both had short labors. I didn't need anything "to do" with me because I didn't have time for it.

McKenna's was twice as long, and we would have liked some things we had packed with Brayden but since banished from our list. Now, this was waaaayyy back in the day before we carried around computers in our pockets, so "entertainment" probably doesn't even need to be packed like it was then. Never-the-less, the takeaway is that your perfect list will vary based on how long your labor is. And unless you have having a planed cesarean, you don't have much way of knowing how long you will be in that hospital room before the baby arrives. 

Another important point is that your list will vary based on what your hospital offers. What my hospital automatically provides won't necessarily be true of your hospital. So ask around, crowd-source, with people who have recently delivered at your hospital. 

On to the list!

What You Should Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Delivering a Baby

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hair-Bow Subscription Giveaway {Plus a Discount Code}

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love doing my girls' hair. When I was a little girl, I loved doing my dolls' hair, and now I have real-live "dolls" to practice on. We have a lot of fun with hair at our house. And it is a good thing I like it, because it is a lot of time spent doing hair!

My love for doing hair is why I am so excited about this new, stylish bow subscription that has been set up by Little Poppy Co. I am excited to try out my subscription! With this company, you get three new bows delivered to your house each month. It reminds me of Stitch Fix, but with bows. How cool is that? 

With the launch of this new service, Little Poppy Co is giving away a free three-month subscription to one of you! You can enter below. If you don't win, you can use this promo code to get 50% off your first month's subscription so you can try it out! The code is VALERIE50

Go to Little Poppy Co to order!


Wouldn't this be a cute birthday or Christmas gift?

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. I check each winning entry to make sure it was valid.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight September 22, 2017.
  • 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 have one week to respond. 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's).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The 5 Best Things About Doing Babywise with Twins (and the 3 hardest!) {Guest Post}

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by Caitlin Rogers

"I don't know how you do it" is a comment I get quite often, from strangers in the checkout line to my closest friends. My son had just turned two when my twins were born, and many days I wonder the same thing; "how am I going to do this today?" While we have our chaotic, exhausting, messy moments, life isn't as stressful as it could be because of Babywise. Doing Babywise with twins is what keeps me sane and puts a little bit of order in our otherwise orderless life. As I was writing this post, I thought it only fair to not only include the 5 best things about doing Babywise with twins, but also the hardest things, because it is not all rainbows and sunshine! This post contains affiliate links.

The 5 Best Things About Doing Babywise with Twins (and the 3 hardest!)

The Best Things about Doing Babywise With Twins

1. Schedule
I repeat. Schedule, schedule, schedule!!! When you have your babies on a schedule, you know when they are going to be hungry and when they are going to be tired. Knowing when my twins were going to be napping allowed me to spend time with my son and plan activities during their nap. We would leave right at nap time, and when we arrived at our destination I would simply put their car seats in the Double Snap-N-Go and be home in time for them to eat. I absolutely could not feed them in public when they were infants. It took an immense amount of concentration to feed them due to their reflux and prematurity, and with a 2-year-old running around, it just was a bad idea. (You can read about how I got my twins on the same schedule here and about our breast/bottle feeding journey here.)
2. Self-Soothing
Unless you are Spiderman, it is not possible to rock two babies to sleep and then put them in their cribs at the same time. A Babywise baby learns to self-soothe and will happily drift off to sleep on their own.
3. Easier for Babysitters
Because of numbers 1 and 2, Babywise babies are a dream for babysitters. You can tell them when the baby will be hungry, tired, etc. A quick nighttime routine and they are down for the night without hours and hours of rocking! I probably wouldn't have anyone to watch my 3 littles if we didn't do Babywise with them.
The 5 Best Things About Doing Babywise with Twins (and the 3 hardest!)4. Less Likely to Wake Each Other
You are probably wondering how on earth doing Babywise with twins means that they are less likely to wake each other. Since they are on the same schedule, they go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time. If they were staggered, one baby would wake up at a different time, therefore waking the other baby. That just sounds like a nightmare to me!
5. Independent Play
I'm gonna be honest, this is one thing with Babywise that I didn't start with my twins that I really regret. We are in the midst of moving and once we are all settled I'm going to start. Here's why: by the end of the day, the girls are really cranky and sick of each other. They fight, pick at each other, and steal each other's toys. Independent play is good for so many reasons, but it is especially beneficial for twins who need a break from each other.

The Hardest Things About Doing Babywise with Twins

For me, personally, the hardest things about Babywise don't even exist. Things that Babywise flows so well with my personality and our family dynamic, but being open minded, I can see how it could clash with a different family.
1. Doing Babywise with Twins is 3 Times the Work
I tell people frequently that having twins isn't twice as hard as one baby, but three times as hard. Babywise is hard work in the beginning. Babywise with twins is no exception! I occasionally heard grumblings from my husband begging me to switch to a 4-hour schedule before they were sleeping through the night or to let them continue napping instead of waking them to feed them. The best advice I can give you for this is to remember the big picture. The big picture is happy, well-rested babies that sleep through the night! Our twins were 14 weeks (only 6 weeks adjusted!!) when they started sleeping through the night. Was it hard work to stick with Babywise? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
2. Schedule
I know I put this as one of the best reasons, but it also can make things tricky to get out of the house and stay on schedule! Once the babies are a little older and don't nap on the go very well, but still nap frequently throughout the day, it's hard to get out and about. I just remind myself that it's just a season and seasons don't last forever. Your outings may be more infrequent than you'd like but it is worth it for the gift of sleep to you and your babies.
3. Getting off schedule = Two Screaming Babies
As much as you try to avoid it, sometimes your kids are going to get off schedule. In my experience, a child that is on a schedule is well rested, happy, and generally easy to manage. Mess with this child's schedule, and that all goes out the window! You will have a tired, cranky, difficult child. As life with twins goes, something that is difficult for a singleton is three times as hard with twins. If you get one baby off schedule and cranky, it's not the end of the world. If you get your twins off schedule, you'll have two screaming babies, and I can tell you from experience, there is pretty much nothing harder in the world than trying to console two overtired babies. Did you find another part of doing Babywise with twins that was hard that I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments!

Caitlin is a stay at home mom to 1.5 year old identical twin girls and a 3.5 year old little boy.  Her blog is an authentic, judgement free zone with advice on twins, parenting, and a little bit of health and beauty thrown in the mix.  You can find her at 

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sleep Regressions {Poll Discussion Post}

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We work so hard to get sleep down. We analyze waketime lengths, feedings, room temperature, light...pretty much anything that comes in contact with our baby gets the side eye. "Are you ruining my baby's sleep?"

Then we get there. Sleep is great! Hooray!


BAM! Sleep regression! 


Today's poll is all about the sleep regression. I hope this poll will give parents entering a sleep regression some light at the end of the tunnel.

Please take a moment to answer the questions below. Doing so will help other parents now and in the future. It is very helpful for me when compiling answers if you at least number the answers you give. You can also copy the questions and answer them. If the question does not apply to you, simply put "N/A."

1-Did your baby ever have a sleep regression?
2-What age(s) did your child have a sleep regression?
3-Was there anything you could do to help the sleep regression?
4-How did you manage the schedule during the sleep regression? With your child waking early, did you feed more often, have more waketime, etc.
5-Any tips, advice, or words of encouragement?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Brinley Summary: 5 Years and 1 Month Old

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This is the big one people! Kindergarten has begun! This is a summary of her first month as a five month old.

Brinley Summary: 5 Years and 1 Month Old

Sleep is great overall. One night, she had a nightmare. She woke up quite upset and my husband went to check on her. He got her settled down. She quickly fell back asleep, as did my husband (I did not, if I get woken in the night like that, I am awake for hours--which I am sure contributes to my dislike of the newborn months). She woke again with another nightmare. I was already awake so I zipped to her room. I brought some Serenity essential oil (great for sleep and for calming). I put it on her feet and had her smell it. I had her tell me about her bad dream. She asked for socks. We said a prayer and she went back to sleep.

When she woke up in the morning, she told me that she just needs to wear socks at night because having cold feet makes her have scary dreams. I loved this comment because it is 100% true. So we will be vigilant about socks. I don't need to be up for hours at night...

Eating is great.

Confession, I love macaroni and cheese. The cheap kind from the box. So does Brinley! One of my favorite things about having kids eat lunch with me is when they love a kid food like that that I like. What am I going to do when it is just me home for lunch?

But she has become obsessive about it and wants it I finally put a ex to that idea. I need a break. She might cure me of my love.

Brinley loved New York. She is an extrovert, so the crowds and people everywhere didn't bother her at all. In fact, on the last day she told us she didn't want to go home and she wanted to move there.

We went and saw Wicked one day. During the show, she turned to me and said, "I wish that was me on stage up there."

So, she likes New York :). 

She is loving Kindergarten! A lot! She is doing great. I like to walk to pick her up so we can have a nice long walk home where she tells me every detail of her day. She has loved it all but one day. She was very hungry that day and informed me that if I drove, it would be faster and her tummy would eat sooner. 

I love these walks. She is a chatty girl. She tells me lots of details of her day. And she is great at explaining and expressing. At her assessment, her teacher told me that she can tell when she talks to Brinley that I talk with her often and that I talk with her, not at her. She is able to hold conversations with adults with ease. 

There have been some early signs of Kindertude. It hasn't hit hard yet, but I am sure it will come. 

Kindergarten starts later than the other grades here. This always torture. I planned ahead and saved all of her school shopping for during this week. She played with a friend one day. She had her Kindergarten assessment another day. It worked out very well! 

Brinley has either started or will soon start the following activities:

  • Swimming lessons: She really clicked this last month with swimming lessons. It is funny because the week before, I was thinking how she was not progressing and wondering if she ever would (she still acted so scared), then the next week, she was great! With the progress that she is making, I didn't want to pause. So she will continue her lessons once a week this school year.
  • Gymnastics: I don't see gymnastics being something Brinley will do long-term. but I find some time with gymnastics valuable in life. She really wanted to try it out. She is super afraid of heights, though. She loved her first time, but was afraid of the bar. Like, legitimate phobia afraid. So if she can't work through that, I will look into tumbling. 
  • Dance: Brinley will be doing rec dance again this year.
  • Piano: Brinley has started her piano training. She is thrilled! She has been waiting and waiting for her turn to take piano lessons. It is finally here. So far, she has been very responsible and independent about practicing her piano.

Since most of this was during summer, I will do her summer schedule. This is her summer schedule.

8:30: Wake up. Eat breakfast. Get ready.
9:00: Chore time
9:30: Outside time
10:00: This time chunk is often spent with siblings and independent playtime
12:00: Lunch
1:00: SSR
1:30: Free time.
5:00: Dinner. Then free time
6:30: Outside time
8:30: In bed

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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Big List of Sleep Training Resources

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Sleep training is not easy. It isn't fun, either. It takes a lot of mental focus and emotional fortitude. You have this great unknown. You are tired. And to top it all off? You have plenty of people out there telling you that you are a terrible and selfish person for even wanting your baby to sleep well, much less actively working toward that goal.

The Big List of Sleep Training Resources

There are a lot of studies that discuss the importance of sleep and the benefits of sleep. Please do not feel guilt for trying to help your child be a good sleeper. 
"According to a study from the University of Colorado Boulder discovered that children who didn’t take their afternoon nap didn’t display much joy and interest, had a higher level of anxiety, and lower problem solving skills compared to other children who napped regularly." from "Napping Can Dramatically Increase Learning, Memory, Awareness, and More"

I have compiled some articles and information on sleep training to help you know you are not alone and to see how others do it. Sleep training usually looks a little different for everyone, as it should because each baby is a unique individual.

I have compiled a bunch of articles on sleep training. I have some of my posts mixed in with other articles. I hope this can serve as a resource for you as you embark on sleep training. 

Studies on Sleep Training
Sleep Training and Stress

Friday, September 8, 2017

Essential Oil Car Diffuser {Friday Finds}

All links to Amazon are affiliate links.
One of my very favorite uses for essential oils is to diffuse them. I have always been a person who is strongly impacted by smells. Smells immediately take me back in memories and can easily impact my mood.

Essential oil car diffuser

When I learned they have diffusers for cars, I was all over that! Car freshening, perking up the driver on a late night drive, maybe getting kids sleepy on a late night drive (I haven't dared try that one--what if I get the driver sleepy, too!).

Here are my favorite oils for diffusing. I use doTERRA essential oils just for having things smell good:

  • Citrus Bliss
  • Cheer
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
You can buy oils here at my doTERRA site. If you chose to buy doTERRA oils through my link, I will get a percentage of your sale, but that doesn't change your cost at all. As with anything else I talk about, if you have any questions about essential oils, let me know and I will help you out! You can just buy as a retail customer. You can also buy as a wholesale customer, so you get oils cheaper and can get the free oil of the month if you spend enough money. Another cool thing is your shipping costs are recouped as product credit points. Or you can become an advocate yourself and get all of the same perks, plus get a percentage of what people buy from you. 

To read more about my doTERRA thoughts, see my doTERRA page on this blog.

 Essential oils for back to school Essential oils for traveling

 Essential oils for sleep  Essential oils and the diffuser

 Friday finds posts

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