Friday, June 27, 2014

Alyssa's Big Girl Bed

Joel and Alyssa have been growing up so much the last few weeks. They have stopped using high chairs, and are sitting at the big table. They are getting better at using forks and spoons. They are using a few more words. They are going to be 2 in just THREE weeks. And on Wednesday Alyssa moved into a big girl bed! 

Paul has been asking about moving the kids to toddler beds for awhile and I have resisted for a lot of different reasons. Joel and Alyssa are constantly getting into things, making messes, and enjoying life, so the only time that I feel like they are safe is when they are in their cribs. When they are in their cribs, I can relax. Well, sort of. I also use their cribs for timeouts, when they just won't stop doing something I am telling them not to do. 

This week Alyssa started getting her leg stuck in the slats of her crib. Like, really stuck. She would scream. I would start to panic, as I tried to get her leg out and it wouldn't come. I would have visions of getting out the butter or calling the police. And then I would finally get it unstuck. Finally, we had enough of her getting hurt, so we decided to make the switch. The same afternoon I saw a toddler bed on a local facebook group for only $20 and Paul picked it up on his way home from work. Of course, all 3 kids had to test it out and play for a few minutes, and then it was time for bed. 

I was sure she was going to get up a million times before going to sleep. Thankfully, she was super tired from getting her leg stuck during nap time and not sleeping very long. I put her in her bed. She started to get up and Paul told her to lay down. She did. And she stayed there. And went to sleep. It was amazing.

Yesterday I put her down for her nap, and again I was sure she would get up a million times. But she didn't. And bed time last night was fine too. She was running a fever last night and was extra tired.

We will see what happens next. We already have a toddler bed for Joel that is being stored my parents house. I'm not sure when we will make the switch for him. It is kinda nice to just do one kid at a time. 

Now we have to figure out what to do with our cribs. Anybody need one, or two? Oh, and yesterday I tried giving Joel a time out in the spot where Kaitlyn has time out for the first time. I thought for sure he would get up immediately. But he actually stayed there! I couldn't believe it. But as soon as I told him he could get up, Kaitlyn said she wanted a time out too. Oh boy....

Kaitlyn's First Hair Cut

Kaitlyn will be 4 years old next month, and I finally decided to trim her hair. I can't believe we went this long without a cut! I was combing her hair after her bath on Tuesday night right before bed time, and all the sudden I just decided to do it. I asked her if she wanted me to cut her hair and she said yes. So I grabbed my scissors and I did my best. She didn't sit as still as I was hopping she would, haha. I doubt I cut very straight, but she doesn't seem to mind. Here are her before and after pictures.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Please Stop Yelling

I've never seen myself as someone who gets angry easily, or who likes to yell. But now that I have 3 kids there is always someone who is misbehaving, someone who is disobeying what I say, someone making a mess, and someone who is not paying attention. And I am embarrassed to tell you this, but sometimes I yell at them.

I would like to make excuses. I would like to blame it on not getting enough sleep. I would like to say that our living room gets so loud with 3 kids, that I have to yell for them to be able to hear me. 

But I don't have to yell. I wish I could explain why I get so angry with these children that are so precious and adorable. I know that yelling is not what they need from me. They need love and hugs, they need clear warnings and consistent punishments. Then need a good example to follow.

My husband and I have been talking lately about how we can both learn to stop yelling. We have decided first to pray more. And second we are trying to tell our kids clearly what they need to do, and if they do not  do it, then we quickly give them a time-out. We are trying to deal with problems more quickly, instead of letting them go on and on which gets us more angry and apt to yell. 

So far I think my husband is doing better than me, but I am not going to give up. My kids need me to do better. I want to be a mom with lots of love and patience, who can discipline quickly and consistently. I want my kids to learn to listen and obey when I speak quietly. And I want my kids to see Jesus in me. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Potty Training

Kaitlyn is almost 4 years old and I have been starting to worry about her not being potty trained yet. The last few years I have told myself that she will potty train when she is ready, and that I don't want to spend countless hours trying to push her into something she is not ready for. I have seen friends work so hard and get so frustrated with their kids when it just doesn't work.

But now that the 4th birthday is coming, I have been starting to wonder. Maybe I should be pushing more? What are other people going to think? What is our pediatrician going to say at our annual check up? Is she going to be able to attend activities in the fall that require being potty trained? So I decided that when summer started and our schedule was pretty clear we would try again.

About two weeks before I was thinking about starting I happened to be at Target and decided to look for some candy to use for rewards. I got a big bag of suckers. You know, those tiny dumbbell ones? It didn't take long for Kaitlyn to find them in a bag in my room. "I want candy!" she told me. I told her she had to go pee-pee on the potty to get the candy. Now, I had tried this candy trick several months earlier and it didn't work at all. But this time Kaitlyn stripped off her pants and diaper and took off for the bathroom. She sat in the bathroom for quite awhile saying "I want candy. I want candy." And finally it happened! She went potty and earned her first sucker. As soon as she finished her sucker, she said, "I want more candy." I again told her she needed to go pee-pee on the potty to get suckers, so she went right back to the bathroom. In those first 3 hours she earned 8 suckers! The next day we started a sticker chart and the first two full days of potty training this is how many stickers she earned....

We are finally on the road to potty training. She is doing great at going pee-pee. Now we just have to work on some other big things like poop, staying dry all night, and going to the potty when we are out of the house. Yikes, we still have a long way to go!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Essential Oils

The last few weeks I have been a little obsessed with learning about essential oils. I have been reading blogs, watching YouTube videos, reading about products on manufacturers websites. It is very interesting to me. I've been learning about how oils like lavender, peppermint, lemon, and so many others can help with so many different things. People use them to relieve stress and help them sleep, to stop headaches and sore throats, to help with asthma and allergies, to protect their families from getting colds and the flu, as air fresheners and for cleaning. The list goes on and on.

After lots of research I found an a starter kit that I really wanted to buy. It included 11 different essential oils, a diffuser to disperse the oils into the air of your home, a big book explaining how to use the oils, and some other goodies. But the cost of the package held me back, as our family doesn't have a lot of extra money laying around. I really wanted to believe that these oils could help me take care of our family better. It sounded like a super fun new hobby while helping us feel better too!

In the last few days my perspective has changed. I realized that along with the financial cost of buying the oils, there might be something else at stake here too. Do I really want to put my faith in a little box of oils to help me relieve my stress and anxiety? And do I want these oils to be the cure for every cut, headache, and bump in the road for our family?

No, I think right now I need to focus on Jesus as the solution to my stress and anxiety. And I need to pray more for my family instead of running to a new product to solve their problems. I'm not saying that using these oils is wrong, or that I won't ever invest in them. But right now, I'm  going to work harder at letting Jesus meet our needs and teaching my children to look to Him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We Love the Library

I remember going to the library when I was little. I even remember the Children's librarian and her voice reading books to us during story time. Sometimes we would watch movies on a video projector where the film ran from one reel to the other. And of course we always took home lots of books.

As an adult I have always loved the library too. I mostly check out Christian fiction, and sometimes venture into other genres. I have also checked out a lot of movies and tv shows.

And now that I am a mom of 3, I still love the library. I still check out my Christian fiction, but now I also books on parenting and homeschooling. I also check out kids books like Llama Llama Red Pajama or Pinkalicious! And kids shows like Elmo and Curious George. You know, the ones that don't drive me crazy.

Besides checking things out, we also attend story and play times at the library. Our library has toddler story time on Monday and toddler play time on Thursday. My kids love both! Story time includes reading books, singing songs, and other interactive stories. Play time there are a whole bunch of toys to play with, and then singing songs together the last few minutes. We also attend play time on Wednesdays at another nearby library sometimes. We are lucky to live within driving distance of several libraries so whatever day of the week we want to go we can often find something.

All this to say, we are thankful for our public libraries! We have access to so much for free!

Friday, June 6, 2014

TV and Parenting

For the last few months my twins have gone to bed with the TV on. It's not a parenting choice that I am proud of. But it was a choice I made to try to survive this season of life with three young kids.

I remember several year ago, before I had twins, watching an episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8. In the episode the 3 toddler girls were going down for a nap in one room with the TV on, and the 3 toddler boys were going down for a nap in another room also with a TV on. I remember thinking, "Why would you let your kids have the TV on during nap time! How are the kids supposed to sleep?" 

Then I had twins and my husband and I spent months in separate rooms each holding a baby to try to get them to go to sleep. Finally we made the switch to the babies learning to go to sleep in their cribs with the (gasp) TV on. I choose an Elmo video we had as the designated "sleepy time" show. I wasn't totally happy with putting them down twice a day in their cribs with Elmo as their babysitter. But it worked. They went to sleep without being held. And my husband and I finally had a few precious minutes of the day without babies in our arms to try to recapture our sanity.

Now that my twins are almost 2 (yikes!), we decided it was time to turn off the TV at bedtime and nap time. We decided they needed to learn to put themselves to sleep on their own. Since we were taking away their TV, I wanted to give them something in return. I got them each a Pillow Pet Dream Lite, which is a cool kind of night light to sleep with. I also started playing some music for them.

The first night of no Elmo was a little tough. Joel went right to sleep. Alyssa cried for awhile. Finally they were both asleep with their new lights. Here they are that first night.....

Since then, we have not had any TV at bedtime. Just music and night lights. Sometimes they cry a little, but mostly Joel and Alyssa can put themselves to sleep just fine. Thankfully I don't think we did any lasting damage to our children by letting them watch TV for several months at bedtime. It was for a short season of our lives, and now we are onto the next season.

I guess I owe an apology to Jon and Kate for using the TV during nap time, LOL.

And I wonder which parenting change we will need to make next!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Our Favorite Pictures from May

 They love to eat!

They love to read books!

 Eating gummy worms with Daddy

After so many months of carrying Joel and Alyssa up the stairs....
they can do it!

Shhhhh! Joel is sleeping!

Pig tails day

Joel and Alyssa had hand foot and mouth disease. No fun.

She wrote a word on her whiteboard all by herself!

Not real happy when Joel and Alyssa learned to do this.

Playing together

MOPS: Join Now!

I have been involved in MOPS at my church the last 5 years. My first year I worked in the nursery. During that year I found out I was pregnant with our first child, and by the end of the year it was getting pretty hard to play on the floor with the babies as my stomach got bigger and bigger. The next year I joined MOPS as a mom, and my daughter was just 2 months old at my first meeting. My second year attending as a mom I stepped into a leadership role as a table leader. My job was to get to know the 8-10 ladies at my table, help them feel welcome, lead discussions, plan activities, and of course do some administrative work such as phone calls and emails and attend leadership meetings. Near the end of that year I found I was having twins and I decided that I would have to take a step back from leadership the next year. I was really just hoping that I was going to be able to attend the meetings after having twins! So my third year as a mom I had twins at the table with me. Since they were preemies, I couldn't put them in childcare, so they stayed with me the whole year. This last year (if you are keeping track, this was my fourth year as a mom!) I was happy to jump back to leadership and again I was a table leader. I love being involved in hospitality and discipleship, and I also enjoy the administrative side too. This next year I am already planning to be a table leader again.

What I love about MOPS is that it as a place that moms can be real. We don't have to be dressed up or pretend like we have it all together. We all have problems with our kids and we all need friends to walk this journey with us.

I attend MOPS at Alderwood Community Church, and we are currently open for registration for next year. You can find out more information here and register online. Join us!