the easiest part of kids {a huggies post}


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Having a baby is wild ride. From the moment you find out that you're pregnant to the moment you walk through the door with your new baby, you're in for a ride.

I've experienced nothing as life changing as having a baby. Nothing makes you as unselfish as quickly as a newborn in your arms. Nothing changes your priorities or rocks your world completely like a coming home with a new little person that you made.

And it's hard. From pregnancy to late nights to figuring out a feeding schedule to what to do to help them feel better when they're sick. People tell you freely how hard having a baby will be. They warn you about poop and puke and fevers. Friends tell you about late nights and early mornings. Once you are pregnant you will get all sorts of warnings about how your life will change with that baby.

But there is one HUGE thing that they never tell you. One thing that no mother I know has ever let me in on and I had to find out on my own.

The baby stage is the easy part. Crazy right? Crazy because the baby stage is SO hard. When you're in the midst of it nothing has ever seemed harder. I know that those 'middle of the night, trying to help your baby sleep when you haven't slept in days' is the hardest thing ever.

But, it's the easy part. Babies are easy. Crazy hard and easy. It only gets harder.

Babies need sleep, food and dry diapers. Easy, simple, no nonsense needs that are easily met.

Kids? Toddlers? Preschoolers? Oh man the needs are so much more complicated. There are emotions and opinions and talking back. There are no easy answers or solutions. Every day is a new challenge, a new stage and a new set of "rules". I've done some research with older mothers and guess what? The trend continues.

My point? Enjoy the baby stage. Don't wish it away because parenting never gets easier than feed, sleep and dry. If I could go back, I would stress out less and let go more.

Enjoy that little baby and his simple needs because one day you'll have to answer questions about physics and why cats have shiny eyes.
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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why we LOVE Elf on the Shelf - a mom rant

**Warning-- "a cranky, I've had it rant" follows** Hang with me, OK? :)

Well here we are, not a day into the month of December and already I've seen more bitterness about what some moms do over others in terms of the Christmas season.  I've already read an ugly handful of articles that mock moms just like me, with dozens of people patting them on the back.

And you know what?  I'm already sick of it.  Sick of the idea that if someone decides something is right for THEIR family, that it must be how it should be done across the board, that somehow certain moms were granted with a supernatural knowledge that the rest of us poor souls were left without.  I'm sick of it being OK to mock any mother that goes above and beyond what "you" are choosing (or willing) to do.  To me, it equates to making fun of (bullying) the kids in school who did the extra credit (that would be me, all day long). 

It seems not so long ago that a moms principal job in life was "childhood/home/husband management", and she was celebrated for it.  Time spent making dinners, celebrating birthdays (in simple or over the top ways), decorating for Christmas, making memories was an important part of being a parent, a mom specifically.  And now it seems like, for those of us who continue to make this our top priority, we're judged harshly for it if you put too much effort into it...like our time is better spent making a buck or investing in anyone BUT our children.

Don't get me wrong, I completely believe that God calls women to all sorts of rolls in life (just read Proverbs 31) so I don't think it's a matter of working mom vs. stay at home mom, because I am both.  These "what some do vs. what others do" seem to come down to "I'm a better mom because I do/don't/avoid/go all out and if you think otherwise...you're wrong!"

Somewhere along the way, going above and beyond, no matter the reason, became showing off.  
Take my favorite example, the Elf on the Shelf.  It seems that not only do you love it or hate it but that you LOVE it, or you judge a mother who does it as a time waster, over the top show off who has nothing better to do with her time.  Yep, anyone who knows me knows that sounds JUST like me (sarcasm).

Well you know what?  My principle job in life is to create memories for my kids.  Happy ones.  My own childhood was full of darkness and I work hard to make sure there are as few dark corners in my children's lives as possible. 

Critics of the Elf tradition will tell you that it's:
--a waste of time
(it makes a lot of fun memories for my ENTIRE family, the opposite of a waste of time for me.  Doug and I would probably still do it if it was just us.)

--that it's a waste of money
(it doesn't have to cost anything - you can purchase any elf or doll to do it with, or make your own.)

--that it's for moms with nothing better to do with their time
(not only is making memories and orchestrating childhoods my main job, but I have several other part time jobs on top of that, I MAKE the time to do things that make my children happy.)

--that people use it to manipulate their children into behaving (not in this house, for us it's more like "Elf hide and seek", my kids have no connection between the elf and good behavior.  We address behavior in a constant 12 months a year kind of way.)

--that it adds to the lies that surrounds Christmas (my kids know the truth about Santa, have always known the truth and know that the elf is a fun Christmas game to play.  We have a general life policy about not lying to our children).

--that it creates an extra "chore" to do around the holidays (I don't see bringing joy to my kids as a chore, especially considering that people are FREE to choose their level of elf involvement, why else would we have birthday parties or egg hunts or Christmas trees?).  

What will I say about you if you don't "elf"?

Nothing.

It's not my business or concern what you do or don't do for your kids.  I'm too busy "wasting time" making memories for my kids to concern myself with what my neighbors are doing in that sense.

I won't stand here and mock any parents choice of holiday activities because I like to be a nice person and assume that we're all doing the best we can with the hardest job ever created (parenthood!!!).

I won't participate in the bully tactics that coordinate with questioning another parents choices, especially when it comes to something as silly as Elf on the shelf. 
What will I share about our "elf experience"?

It's way fun.  We spend 15-30 minutes a day on it.  We don't see it as a chore.  Our kids get their morning jobs done 1-2-3 because they want to RUN downstairs to find our what the elf is doing.  We don't use it to manipulate or scare our children into behaving.  They know he's not "real" but like they do with all of their stuffed animals and action figures, he becomes real to them.  He makes their season a little more festive and fun.  

Our kids will always remember it.  Their Christmases are a little happier, brighter, cheerier and it's become part of our Christmas experience.  We love it. 

And if you don't do it?  That's ok.  We can still be friends.  And I won't assume you're terrible. 

Promise.  End of rant.
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hohos for the holidays...

I've been busy making hohos...I try to get to two a day at the very least.
I've been selling them a little differently this year...by listing them "up for grabs" on my Instagram feed (you can find me under "littlebitfunky").   They sell out in seconds, so you have to be fast.
Out of all the things I've ever made...these are still my favorite.  I love how each has it's own little personality.  They're each one of a kind.  Wonky and wonderful.   
 Each one is made with some variety of soft "fur"...each perfectly (purposely) imperfect. 
 They're all happy little guys and gals and I've yet to get a bad review on one. :)
 My most popular ones so far are the "Star Wars" ones that I've been doing but I don't know that I could pick a favorite.  Each new one I make is my new favorite. 
Wanna snag one for yourself?  Come find me on Instagram {littlebitfunky}. I'll see you there!
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the firsts go on forever - a huggies post


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

From the first little twitch in your tummy, to the first time you look into his eyes, to the fist time you take him home, to the first time you leave him with a babysitter...once you have a baby, the firsts go on forever.

Before I had the boys, I felt like their life of "firsts" would be wrapped up in their first year or so. If you think about all the "big" things like teeth, and walking and laughing and the first smile, you think about a little bitty baby, fresh and new. And it's kind of true...except not really.

What no one ever tells you is that the "firsts" go on forever. You go on from teeth and smiles to the first time they say "I love you" and the first time they can spell their name. There's the tough ones like the first time you leave them with a sitter or the first time you drop them off at school. There's the first time they ride a bike without training wheels and the first time they can read on their own.

The firsts go on forever. The best part, the very best part, is that each first feels as good as the first one. The joy you have when that baby smiles at you is only paralleled by the next first and it doesn't matter if they're one or three or six. They all bring a mother's heart to bursting joy.

I have a feeling that I'll be enjoying the firsts of my boys for as long as I live...first college application, first love, first baby, so many things to look forward to living and experiencing as a mother.

And even though the passing of each stage brings grief that it's over, the constant of new and first comes with a steady flow as well, and mothers can take comfort in that.
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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more elf...



Sorry for the back to back elf posts...but this one was too cute not to share with you right away!  Last night our elf brought the boys some elf sized kisses! 

(Psst--all I did was unwrap regular sized ones, cut the foil down to fourths, cut the streamer down to size and wrapped up some chocolate chips!).

The boys got a huge kick out of it!  Have fun!
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our elf is back!

 You remember Porkchop right?  Well he's back!  He started off his visit by bringing the boys their yearly Christmas ornament.  Moses was a little worried that he might not know how to find us in our new house but quickly decided that he could always get directions from Uncle Eric (where Porkchop had been before).
This year he had his very own door.  We've convinced the boys that it only works when an Elf uses it.
Before he made his debut, I gave him a little surgery.  Giving him bendy arms and legs required me removing his head completely, pulling out his stuffing and ripping out stitches.  Made me a little nervous but in the end...well worth it.  
 He's already up to no good and the boys love him more than ever.
Doug and I have just as much fun with him as the boys do!  I know there are many (many) people out there who don't "get it" or think it's a waste of time...but we have a blast!  The boys LOVE it, we LOVE it and to us, the extra time and "work" is well worth the joy it brings to the boys!

Are you "elfing" this year?
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babies aren't pets. a huggies post.



I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Can we have an honest discussion about something? I'm going to share with you one of my biggest pet peeves and you have to promise not to judge me. This is a view I've always held, even before kids, and it cemented with having kids.

Are you ready to hear it? Don't judge me OK? Ok.

Having pets is not the same as having children nor does it really prepare you for having kids.

There. I said it. I've had pets and I've had kids; the two are vastly different. I've had pregnant people, in all seriousness tell me, "Thank goodness for my pets. I'm so ready for kids because of them". Then I laugh a little on the inside. Pets and kids are not the same.

For instance, I can't leave my kids for the weekend with fresh liter and a huge supply of food and water and know they will be fine.

I can't leave my kids in a crate for a few hours while I run errands, though it has crossed my mind.

I can't take my kids to a kennel when I want to go on vacation. I can't train them to go potty outside from day one. I can't put them outside for the night. I can't feed my kids the same thing every day. I can't leave them with others for the weekend while I go out of town. Pets are pretty much independent, kids the polar opposite.

Kids and pets are not the same. Sometimes they don't even work well together. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don't.

That was the case for us. When we had Moses, we had two cats, Peanut and Poofy. Peanut began a pee spree through the house when Moses came home. She peed in the bathroom sink on a regular basis. She had to be escorted to a new home. Poofy ran away the first chance he got.

We did all the things we could to help our pets (who are not kids) get used to our new tenant and it didn't work out for us.

I know that there are many who make the two work well together; we just weren't one of those families. I'm not sure what we did, or didn't do that would have worked better.

Overall, just know that having pets in no way prepares you for kids no matter what anyone tells you.
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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20 minute crafter - make a giant star for less than $5!


Since moving we have a whole new canvas for Christmas decorating this year.  There's a large space above our front door that I wanted to hang a HUGE wreath on...only problem was that a wreath as big as I wanted was at least $60-$70.  Not gonna happen.  In the midst of my search I happened on a photo taken by my friend Trish from Daisys and Dots.
She had my $5 solution.
 Yardsticks from Lowes (on sale for .69c each), hot glue and you could stop there.  For another couple of bucks I added some outdoor paint and lights. :) Done.  Huge.  Awesome. You could even make them from fun vintage ones if you didn't want to put it outside. 
All I did for assembly was to lay them out in a star shape, fiddle with them until they were "right" and hot glue all the placed they touched with generous amounts of hot glue.  
Here is what my corners looked like if you need a little visual. 
I then painted it black (for aging purposes), then coated it in white outdoor paint.  Then covered it with some outdoor sage lights.  To add a little rustic touch I wrapped the ends in wire.

We took this one to friends as a gift and they immediately hung it on their house! 
It would make a great gift year round...why don't you go make some?
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20 minute crafter - Quick and Inexpensive Christmas Advent

Christmas is coming.  Are you ready?  I'm pretty excited myself since this will be the first holiday season that neither my husband nor I have had to work with a retail schedule.  We feel like kids again and I'm itching to decorate.  In the mean time, how about a quick and easy Christmas countdown?

All you need is:
a frame
a clothes pin
numbers 1-25 (I bought these at Michael's but there are gobs on Etsy as well)
a background paper
hot glue
*extra is washi tape or paint

Ready for how difficult this is?
Put the back ground paper in the frame just like a photo. 
Cover your clothespin with washi tape or paint it...then using hot glue attach it to the top of your frame.
Embellish however you would like and you are ready to countdown some Christmas. :)

Go make one...I bet you can find almost everything you need right at home. :)

Have fun!
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Martha, Staples and win $100!


I LOVE office supplies. Love, love, love them. It's something about the potential of fresh pads of paper, sharp new pencils, and list pads waiting for check lists to be crossed off. Sometimes when I've had a hard day and Doug walks in the door, I'll run away to Staples to just walk up and down the aisles. The smell of new paper and the browsing of pens goes a long way towards calming my nerves.

Maybe it's the potential for organization that does it ... an organized home always makes me feel at ease. Recently Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ sent me a box of heaven. It was all so pretty to see, simmering in the box with efficient, organizing potential.
I unpacked it and looked at all week, trying to figure out just how to make the most of it. They included pads of pretty paper, desktop organization, labels, a journal and so much more. I'd be happy to simply gaze at it all in its packaging ...
But instead I started with a list. Done and done.
They included some Holiday Shipping items as well ... perfect for packages tied up with string. I send a lot of mail during the holidays and can't wait to use the pretty red and snowflake-patterned paper to make my packages special. These little tags will add a fun little touch ... if I can make myself part with them.
Also included were a couple of these Shagreen Pocket magazine file folders ... put to work immediately in the powder room. Who says office supplies can only organize the office? I think I'll put another one to work as a paid/need to pay folder for bills.
And my favorite item ... and the one I just can't decide the best place to use yet: little Chalkboard Labels in various shapes and sizes. Maybe I'll add them to my canisters in the kitchen? Or as a little reminder notice by the back door? Or put one on the boys lunch box to leave a little love note during the school day? I may even put them to use on jars to give gifts to friends and neighbors for Christmas.
You can find all of these and more here at Staples (and can buy on-line with the exception of the holiday items which are only in-store). You can browse at the Avery site and like them on Facebook!
Avery and BlogHer would like to give one of you a $100 gift card to Staples to stock up for yourself. Just leave a comment on this post telling me if you've started your Christmas preparations yet!

Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 11/14/12-12/14/12.
Be sure to visit the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!
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learn the swaddle - a huggies post


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Oh the swaddle. The wonderful, wonderful swaddle. My very favorite trick for getting a newborn to conk right out. The swaddle should be your first and last trick up your sleeve.

I tell ya, I've lost count of the number of times I've started to swaddle a baby, mid-cry, only to have them pass right out before I can get the last flap tucked in.

I've yet to meet a baby that doesn't respond immediately to the swaddle. If you have one of those babies who don't like it, bless your heart, I hope you have another trick that works just as well.

Some hints that might help you become a champion swaddler, which to some of your friends could be equal to the star of the party depending on how sleep deprived they are:

You want a blanket with some stretch to it. I've found that those waffle weave, thermal blankets work the best. You can see what I'm talking about in the photo above...Moses has a blue version of this same blanket...the best for swaddling.

Stay away from pre-made swaddlers. I tried a few varieties and they never worked as well as my trusty yellow (or blue) blanket. This may sound terrible, but they just didn't get tight enough and the key to a good swaddle is to get it nice and tight.

Start with a blanket laid out flat on the floor. Fold one corner down about a third or so of the way. Lay baby in the center with the top of his shoulders just above the fold.

Tuck one arm down by his side and fold that corner of the blanket over his body and tuck snugly under the opposite side of his body. You want to make it nice and tight...like a good burrito.

Fold the bottom corner up. Tuck the opposite arm in on his side and wrap the blanket (about here they should conk out) around and tuck in behind.

It's important for it to be tight to be good; a loose swaddle is as worthless as wet toilet paper.

And that's it! I hope it proves to be as useful to you as it has been to me. Was the swaddle as good for you?
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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heavy hearted.



Often I pray "break my heart for what breaks yours".  I want to be compassionate and sensitive to the needs of the world around me.  Sometimes the breaking is more than I can handle.

I want to be a tool used by God to spread his love.  I want love, above all else, to be the thing that people most associate with me.

But can I let you in on something?  I am still learning how to be loving, yet boldly standing in the truth, uncompromising in the things God has set forth for our lives.

God is very clear on, well, all things.  I believe that there is no area that God leaves grey in his word.  He puts in place standards and rules for life to gently guide us in the way we are to go.

If that were the only factor to wrestle with, how easy would our lives as Christ lovers be?  So easy.  Go on with life, ask God's response to all we do, act accordingly, go on with life.

It would be so easy.

So easy.

But life on this Earth is not easy.  Never.  We have God's word, at least there is that constant.  What makes the water muddy are those who work and try to bend the rules to suit their whims, setting new and better standards for what is best, sometimes on a seemingly daily basis.

What makes the water muddy is being immersed in a society that is forever pushing the envelope of what is acceptable or OK.  What is OK today becomes barbaric tomorrow.  These societal standards, set to make people the most "happy", to be a convenience to their whims, to help everyone to feel accepted no matter how steep their sin, to make people the most comfortable, to do what we like best, is killing our country.

The ironic part is that God's standards never change.  He never shifts to suit our mood.  He is constant and always.  His dependability is amazing.   

How to be a light in this world as I struggle with my own sin?  It's the biggest breaking I am blessed with.  I don't long to be comfortable in a world that says I'm entitled to it, rather, being comfortable makes me uneasy because sin makes you comfortable.  I long instead, to be firmly planted in the Truth.  I long to be unwavering in standards, I long to extend love always yet remain planted in truth.   
I can feel the walk narrowing around me.  Standing by God's word is becoming abnormal in a country once based on it.  Christian churches are cowering from the truth to get bigger numbers.  Filling people with a false sense of OK that fades easily on a Monday morning.  Fewer and fewer Christian bloggers will speak truth instead of what will get them the most followers.

People cower from calling out sin in the name of not making anyone unhappy with them.

Somehow pleasing each other temporarily has become more important that pleasing the one we will spend eternity with.   
I for one, (sometimes painfully if I'm being honest) will struggle to produce truth as I am coming to understand it, no matter who it pleases so long as it pleases the One I will have to present it to in the end.  

I will speak the truth in love, even when it hurts because that is what we are called to do.  I will not compromise to make friends but I will fight to love all with His eyes.

I know I can't be alone in this struggle.  Are there ways you've come to speak truth despite it's pain or unpopularity?  How do you struggle with the things that break His heart?
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the best words - a huggies post



I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Sometimes the best help you can get comes in the form of words...they can convey courage, they can encourage and they can build your confidence as a mother and so much more when they come from the right source.

We've talked already about finding a good pediatrician and when you find a good one you can trust, their words can go a long way to calming you, building you up and helping you find your sanity. So far, we've been extremely blessed in the pediatrician department. We've had good listeners, calm doctors and doctors who were more interested in helping us be good parents than hearing themselves talk.

Some of the best advice I've gotten as a parent came from our pediatrician. And it may not be the kind of advice you would think. It's not medical. It's not about runny noses or fevers. It has nothing to do with bodily functions or growth charts. No, my favorite advice had nothing to do with my kids. My favorite advice from our pediatrician was about believing in my instincts as a mother.

My boys have been blessed enough that between the two of them I think they've had about five non-well child visits. They probably only needed three of those. The other two were times where I just needed someone to tell me that it was OK not to be an over worrying mom. That is was OK not to run to the doctor for every sniffle, sneeze or (gasp) fever. I seem to be in the minority when it comes to this subject (of not running to the doctor every five minutes) and I was able to have a very frank discussion with our pediatrician about this.

She took the time to listen and remind me that I know what I'm doing. We went over the only real reasons to run to the doctor, which I was already aware of and she let me know that it was OK to listen to myself! I remember those conversations when my friends who tend to worry more try to push me into running into the doctor.

Constantly pushing your own intuition aside leads to lack of confidence in yourself as a mother and I'm thankful for having a pediatrician who encouraged me to lean and grow into my own intuition as a mother.

How about you? What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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get that baby to sleep - a huggies post


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Oh the baby sleep debate...is there anything baby related that brings up more opinions? It seems that either you are OK with letting a baby cry and make some noise in order to teach them to sleep or you think it's cruel to not run to them immediately the moment they let out a peep.

I'm on the team that believes that no baby ever died of "cry". With both of my boys we used some form of a cry it out method and I can tell you that there have been NO ill side effects. Both boys have been and continue to be GREAT sleepers. They are independent, secure and healthy boys. I would do the same things all over again and I have no regret over not running in to sooth every sound and spend countless hours rocking a baby who should be sleeping in their bed.

With both boys, by 6-8 weeks they were sleeping through the night with only one short interruption to eat during the night. As soon as it was deemed appropriate, pretty early on, we dropped the night feeding to and got back to being a family where we all slept through the night.

I'm also on the team that believes that you teach a baby how to behave. It doesn't take many times of whimpering and mom running in for a baby to know that whimpering gets her some company. We ignored any cry that wasn't pain or hunger while we were teaching our boys good sleep habits. In fact, once we dropped the night feeding my husband and I slept with a box fan in our room so that we only heard the important noises and not all the night sounds.

Here's the short method:

1) Decide the time when your baby seems tired for the night, from that time start about 30 minutes prior with your bed time routine. We always did bath, bottle, in bed (awake!).

2) When you are done with your bedtime routine put baby to bed awake! You don't want to wait until they are crying and fussy from being over tired. Eventually you will learn to see the pre-sleep drama signs and know to start getting ready to bed beforehand. Putting them to bed awake, without a paci or bottle or nursing, will help them learn how to put themselves asleep without depending on anything but themselves.

3) When putting baby to bed make it short and sweet and mean it! With the boys we sang a special song, said goodnight, put them down and left the room immediately. They have to know that you mean business, that it's time for sleep and nothing else.

4) They might cry. It's OK. Moses cried for 30 minutes the first time we did this and Aaron cried for almost an hour. But each night after each of those was amazingly better and by day three for each boy they went to bed and slept through without a peep! Night and day difference.

5) It's important to let them cry. If you go in shortly after they start, they will learn that cry = mom comes and will be losing valuable sleep training. The more you go in, the longer the process will take.

6) Decide when their feedings should be and try to ignore any sounds you hear until then. This gets easier as you lean.

I promise this works. It's worked on my boys, with little effort and I've seen it work with my nephew, too!

And if you choose this method, inevitably, someone will try to convince you that you are doing irreparable damage to your child, just smile and nod and tell them what a good night sleep you got!
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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in the night {an answer to prayer}

I've been praying for some time about sharing my story, the dark corners of my childhood and youth that have shaped who I am and I am happy to announce that God has answered that prayer. 

I am thrilled to share that I was asked to be a contributing author to Beautifully Rooted and there I will share my story...among other things. 

I hope you'll take a look at my first installment...entitled "In the Night".  It won't be a pretty road, but it ends in glory.   
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above all...VOTE.


Elections and politics make my head hurt.  The truth is that you don't know the truth about any candidate.  They are excellent at pretty words and promises.  Personally, there is no earthly man's name that I want to put on a sign and plant in my yard, or cover my bumper with, or give money to or trust with my (or my kids) future, regardless of what party they claim.

Did you know that over 6 billion dollars will be spent on this election before it's all over and done with?  SIX BILLION DOLLARS.  Imagine all the good that money could do if we relied on facts, history and based our choices off of that and not commercials, spin and propaganda.  Imagine the food it could buy, the kids it could clothe and the homes it could build if our world wasn't so screwy.   
The election seems less about who will be best for the job and more about who can put on the biggest show and fool the most people. 

The party lines are blurry, people flip-flop overnight, they say one thing and mean another, they make promises they can't keep...so what's a voter to do? 

Pray.  And pray some more.  And pray again.  Do your own research and pray again.  Read and seek out truth and pray.  Know that we live in times where the truth is that the world will only get worse until it gets 100% better. 

I do believe that God cares about this election, just as he cares for all of the events in our world.  I believe that exactly who he wants to be elected, will be.  I believe that he calls us to take our right to vote seriously.  It's not a frivolous treat, it's a hard earned right to have a say in who God wants to govern our land.  

I realize that writing this will open up the doors to criticism but one day my kids will read this and I want them to know that I voted with open eyes, an educated mind and a heart open to doing what God wanted me to do.    


So how will I vote?  Who will I vote for?
 

I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Prov.6:17).  I believe that a woman's right to control her body ends where another body begins.  Human life should never be disposable.   

I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov.22:7).  If our country can't lead by example what hope do we have for a future?


I will vote for the most pro-
work candidate because God says if a man not work, let him not eat. (2Thess.3:10).  Teach a man to fish...there is much pride and good to come from a hard days work.  Our country is becoming too entitled and demanding in things they haven't earned. 

I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes a government's purpose is to reward the good & punish the evil (Romans 13).  We should be taking care of each other and not demanding the government to do it for us.  

I will vote based as close as I can on God's Word (2Tim.3:16) because in the end I will be answering to Him and no one else. 
I will vote knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who puts all men in authority (Dan.2:21).  There is peace to be found in that no matter what party you place yourself behind.  
Above all, I will vote.  I will make the sacrifices of those who made it possible for me to do so worth it. 

Above all, vote. 

And remember, they won't know we are Christians by how we vote but rather how we LOVE, so be kind on election day too! 
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cake fun...

I've been enjoying some creative time via cake making lately.  It started some time this summer and it's been growing since then.  It's been fun to plan a cake around someones likes...
This one was for my nephew Jack who turns one this week.  He loves a bath. 
I've learned that a series of simple tricks often makes for a good result.  Anyone can make a beautiful cake...just break it down to simple steps.    
This one was for my brother in law Eric, who like us, loves his Norwegian heritage.  This one was chocolate, raspberry filled with coffee frosting, covered in marzipan.  I wasn't thrilled with my marzipan cake coverage so I made a quilted pattern to cover my mistakes.     
The little viking was my favorite...his tiny little flag was too cute!   
The best part is that I've managed to make a cake that's cute AND tastes good too!   
And this one was for my niece, Casey who turns 4 soon.  
I'm told that this is a good representation of a "Bubble Guppies" cake.  I wouldn't know, I've never seen the show but she loved it and that's all I cared about. :) 
It's been fun learning something new...next up is an ugly sweater cake for my sister in law...
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