The Lessons Every Good Parent Teaches Their Children

As a parent, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to teaching your children the lessons they need to learn. Here are some of the most important ones that you should focus on to begin with.

That Respect for Others is Vital
Your children are not born with the understanding that respecting the other people around them is important. Many parents seem to think that these things should just happen by themselves. But it’s actually up to parents to show their children that being kind and respectful is important. It’s only then that they will begin to understand and believe what you say. So, you need to show them in practical ways why respect is a good thing. You can do this by only giving them something they want when they show you some respect and talk to you in a polite and considerate way. The message will eventually get through.

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That Mistakes Can be Learned From
Everyone makes mistakes, and you don’t want your children to stress over these basic mistakes too much. That’s why it’s so important to show them that even when something bad happens, or they make a mistake, they can learn from it. It’s the perfect way of showing your children that there are positive things to be taken from every situation. This will then help them to develop a positive view of the world, and that can surely only be a good thing. So, when they or you make a mistake, talk to them about how they can learn from it and not make that mistake again in future.

That There is a Range of Different Beliefs in the World
One of the biggest problems that we have in the world come from a lack of understanding and openness. You don’t want you child to grow into the kind of adult that has no knowledge of other cultures and beliefs, do you? That’s why you need to introduce them to diversity and different beliefs as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean that they have to take up a particular religion or set of beliefs. It’s merely about showing them the diversity that there is in the world. You can do this by exposing them to different religious texts, so why not get them a Bible as a gift?

That Telling the Truth is Always Best
This is the one that every parent knows about, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard to get across to a child. Children are not stupid. In fact, they’re very clever and a little cunning. They know that they can sometimes escape trouble or get their way if they tell a little lie here and there. That’s what makes it so difficult to show them that lying isn’t a good thing and that telling the truth is always best. But it is a vitally important lesson and one that they need to learn sooner rather than later. So, when they lie, punish them for it and then show them what the negative consequences of lying are.

Here’s How I Help My Toddlers Walk Further

No two kids are the same. Some will pull themselves up to standing at seven months and then not let go of the furniture until eighteen months. Others will just choose to stand up and run off all in the same day! These things aren’t predictable, but there are plenty of things you can do to help them find their feet and use their legs.

Active kids are healthier kids. Usually, children need no encouragement to run around and play. But it doesn’t hurt to get them out and about and walking as much as possible anyway. Pram shoes aren’t any good for walking around outside. It’s best to wait until your little ones are fitted for their first pair of proper shoes, especially if they’re on their feet early.

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Start with walking about indoors. You can play Follow The Leader, or become a human choo choo train to get them up and moving. Turn up the music and do some dancing for a while. All these activities help your toddler to develop core strength and balance. Best of all, it gets them active so they will sleep better at nap time!

Once they’re ready for walking about outside, take their hands so you can stop them falling on the hard ground. You might prefer to take them out in the pushchair to the park. Then they will still have enough stamina to walk around the park a little. If it’s cold, be sure to use your pushchair footmuffs, so the legs and feet don’t get too chilly. Little bursts of walking are all a small toddler needs to make big progress with his walking.

Over time, your little one will be more confident and more skilled at walking. You might be ready to let him walk without holding hands. When you are out and about it is essential you still have hold of him, though. Why not try a backpack with a wrist strap? That way you can stop him running off, but his arms are free for balancing.

Head out for a walk every day. Choose a spot to stop that is a little further away from your starting point every day. This will help your child build up his strength and stamina. Some toddlers get bored, though. You might want to have points of interest and things to see and do on the way. And if your little one decides enough is enough, you may have no choice but to carry him all the way home. Heading out for a reason can help motivate him to see the journey through.

All my big kids were different as toddlers, but they all got through those first tentative steps eventually. If you’re worried your little one isn’t walking, you can speak to your child’s doctor. There is rarely anything to worry about before eighteen months. Try to make a game of it, and add a little extra padding to their trousers just in case! And just think, the next big milestones will be jumping and running!

#Ad: #Momoji by @Luvs for the Times When Parenting Needs More than Just Words & a Giveaway!

sampleDisclaimer: This review and giveaway was made possible by iConnect Influencer Management and Luvs. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

momoji keyboard

Do you ever have those days when you need more than just mere words to express just how your day is going?

Boy, do I ever.

Take a look at last night’s conversation with my Hubby:

momoji

What a day. I don’t know what it is about December, but the kids all seem to act out. Maybe it’s the shorter days. Or the thought of Christmas presents and a break from school. I don’t know. But about 6pm every night, I’m ready to put all 8 of them to bed, just so I can breathe for a few minutes!

The Luvs Momoji Keyboard is perfect for parents. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words – especially in those parenting moments when you simply have no words. (Like all the time?!) It’s a fun way to express yourself in your favorite way: emojis!

I will admit, I am a huge user of emojis. Sometimes, I use them a little too much. So, when I downloaded the Luvs Momoji Keyboard, I had a little too much fun with it.

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Now, I tend to talk… a lot. So, I switch back and forth from the momojis to the letter keyboard, and that takes a little bit of work. But, it’s totally worth it to get my point across! And I probably drive my husband crazy with all my texts, but he just ignores me and goes about his day. We understand each other. 😉

The other great feature of the Momoji Keyboard is the “Promoji” feature. Luvs is the first brand every to share coupons, deals, and special offers with their customers in a fun new way. Now we busy moms can hunt for diaper deals while we’re out and about. It’s fantastic! I always seem to forget my coupons at home. Doesn’t matter any more, because now I can pull out my phone and see if there are any new deals or promotions for Luvs diapers right in the store!

Want to know the best part? It’s available for Apple AND Android! (As an Android user, this impresses me most! Most companies release the “iPhone” version first, and the Android users have to wait forever for their version – if it ever even comes to fruition. Thanks for thinking of ALL moms, Luvs!)

Hurry and download the Keyboard here:

Once you’ve downloaded and activated the Keyboard, be sure to check out the #Momoji Twitter party with @iConnectIm on December 15, 2015 at 9pm EST. There will be prizes and fun galore!
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To celebrate the launch of the Luvs Momoji Keyboard, and fantastic new Luvs with NightLock, I get to giveaway a fantastic prize to one lucky winner! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win a $100 American Express Gift Card and one package of Luvs diapers (size 1-6, you pick!). Contest Ends December 21st at 11:59pm.

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#Sponsored: Gerber’s #FormulaForHappiness Will Have Everyone Smiling!

sponsoredDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Gerber. Information for the post was provided by Gerber and MomSelect, but any opinions expressed are my own.

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Ahhhh… the first few months of life. Full of joy, tears, and absolutely no sleep.

When you become a mom, it seems everyone on Earth has an opinion about how you can get your baby to sleep through the night. Your mom, dear old Aunt Gertie, and even the stranger in the grocery store: they all want to tell you what’s best for you and your baby. (And sometimes their information is so outdated, it’s just not safe!)

What if there were someone you could talk to who was a certified sleep consultant, and her only “job” was to help you learn ways to help baby sleep better, and in turn, help YOU sleep better? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Sleepy moms, rejoice! I have wonderful news! Gerber® Good Start® now has a certified sleep consultant who is available to talk to you! Her name is Christina Gantcher, and it is so easy to set up an appointment with her through the Gerber Website: gerber.com/experts.

I had the opportunity to speak with Christina yesterday, and she is wonderful! While I am past the newborn baby stage with my crew, we still have sleep issues. I was able to spend some time with Christina discussing the issues I’m still having with my 2 year old.

Christina was such a joy to talk to. She didn’t know me or my two year old, but in just a few minutes, she was able to gather some information about us and give me tips on ways I can encourage Carly to sleep in her own bed all night long.

It was so nice to talk with her. I was able to ask her all my questions, and I didn’t feel like an idiot asking her the questions. She was kind, reassuring, and incredibly helpful. And she was honest. She told me it wasn’t going to be easy to transition Carly back to her own bed. The older the child is, the harder it is. I loved that she was honest, but she still encouraged me that we CAN do it, it just might take a little time.

After we were finished talking about Carly, we discussed a typical phone call with Christina. She talks to moms, dads, and even grandparents of newborn babies up to children around the ages of 3 or 4. We talked about what happens when you rock a baby to sleep and then transfer them into the crib. We discussed sleep cycles, bedtime routines, and schedules. She shared a bedtime process with me that was absolutely brilliant, and something I wish I had known years ago. In fact, I wish I had had this service back when I became a first time mom – or even with my 4th baby who was 2 years old and still hadn’t slept through the night once. (Not once! Do you know what I would have given to have Christina to call back then?!) I remember that back then, the only way I could have any kind of Formula for Happiness was to hand Lucy over to my Mother in Law, (who was living with us at the time), so that I could grab a nice hot shower, or even a few minutes of sleep. Those were tough days, and I know there are many of you who understand.

I would highly encourage you to check out the entire team of experts available through Gerber® Good Start®. Not only will you find Christina their sleep consultant, but also a nutrition consultant and a lactation consultant. So, whether you have questions about getting your baby to eat, sleep, latch on, or whatever else it may be, Gerber® Good Start® has someone you can talk to. They’ll get you on the path to finding your #FormulaForHappiness.

Schedule your appointment today by visiting their website: https://www.gerber.com/experts. Or call 1-800-284-9488 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thank you, Gerber® Good Start® for your desire to help all moms (and dads, and grandparents!) succeed at this parenting thing! It’s tough to do it alone, but what a joy to know we don’t have to!

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and call them today, or hurry on over to their website and schedule your phone call now. Get on your way to happiness!

#Sponsored: Enter the Store Brand Formula’s Unique Baby Sweepstakes #Contest

sponsoredDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Store Brand Baby Formula. Opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Be sure to read to the end of this post… I’m giving away a $30 Visa Gift Card to one lucky reader!

As a mom of 8, I understand the desire to cut costs without cutting quality. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of store brand baby formula. When I could no longer breastfeed my children, we made the switch to store brand formula. It has saved us lots of money over the years, and my kids are still healthy, happy, and thriving. Store brand formula is great when you need a little help keeping your costs low.

When it comes to infant formula, many factors will help make the decision of what’s best for your baby, but the name on the container should not be one of them!

What most moms don’t know is that the FDA strictly regulates infant formula to keep little ones safe, so store brand infant formulas, like Walmart’s Parent’s Choice and Target’s Up and Up, are nutritionally comparable to national brands like Enfamil® and Similac® and meet FDA standards, at a much lower cost to your family.

So essentially, the brand of formula you use is not unique, but of course your baby is unique.


Direct Link for Subscribers

To shine the spotlight on the most important part of the formula equation: your baby, Store Brand Formula is launching a “Unique Baby” Photo Sweepstakes in which the winner will receive $5,000 AND a year supply of Store Brand Formula.

Every baby is unique. Show us how YOUR baby is unique. We’re looking for funny, silly, odd, crazy unique baby photos.

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My Sawyer is definitely unique. My goodness, this child is hysterical! The faces he makes, the things he gets into. He is the funnest little boy you will ever meet. Definitely one of a kind, and definitely one I want to show off to the world. 😉

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Is your baby making a really bizarre expression?

Perhaps your baby is making an angry face?

Or maybe your baby’s hair is sticking up in a funny way.

Whatever it is, we’d love to see it.

sawyer

How to Enter
To enter the Store Brand Formula Unique Baby Sweepstakes, simply visit http://bit.ly/1Fd2i6y and follow the photo submission guidelines and the on-screen instructions to complete the online entry form. All entries must be submitted between September 28, 2015 – November 5, 2015.

Limit one (1) entry per person, per day for the duration of the Sweepstakes

One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000 and a one (1) year supply of the winner’s choice of Store Brand Baby Formula. Five (5) First Prize winners will receive $200 and a one (1) year supply of the winner’s c choice of Store Brand Baby Formula.

For official rules click here!

Want to win a $30 Visa Gift Card? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me one way your baby is unique. Bonus entries if you enter the Store Baby Formula Sweepstakes and if you share this post on your social media outlets. (Just leave separate comments each time you share! No limit!) Contest Ends October 11th.

A winner has been selected:

random winner

How to Talk to Your Kids About Death

Talking about death with other adults can be an awkward, and sometimes a very upsetting and heart-breaking experience. It is even harder when you have to bring up the topic of death with children – perhaps they have learned that somebody has died and has asked you what it means, maybe you have been invited to a funeral, or perhaps you may even have to explain to your child that a loved one, such as a grandparent, has passed away. As hard as it may be to talk about it, death is an inevitable part of life, so here are some tips on how to approach this topic with your little ones in the best way possible.

Consider the Situation
First off all, it’s important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all way to speak to your child about death. Some parents may find themselves having to come up with an explanation when their child overhears them talking about taking out life insurance. Others could find themselves having the conversation over the death of a pet. In the worst case scenario, you may need to explain death and dying to your child whilst making funeral plans for a much-loved family member. It’s also important to take your child’s personality into consideration when approaching this topic with them, too.

Listening
When talking to your child about death, it’s important to listen to what they have to say and allow them to ask any questions that they have. For example, you might expect questions from your child regarding planning a funeral and what it is for, why people die, where people go after they die, and whether or not they are going to die one day. These questions can be painful to answer, but it’s important that you are honest with your child and give them the answers, and the closure, in some cases, that they need.

How Much Information to Share
How much information that you share with your child about the subject of death is entirely dependent on the unique situation. For example, if you’re having a general conversation on the topic due to something that a child has heard or seen, there will be less information to share than in a situation where a close family member has died, for example. You will want to be as honest as possible with your child when answering their questions, but of course you do not want to share with them any information which is particularly traumatizing. Child psychologists recommend leaving out details which may unnecessarily upset your child, but avoiding referring to death as ‘going to sleep’, for example, as this may confuse them. Some parents may even help their child to understand by involving them a little in the funeral plan where applicable, for example asking them which color flowers would be best or allowing them to buy something special to place on the grave.

Talking to your little ones about death and dying is a conversation that most parents never want to have. But, it is sadly inevitable, which is why it’s important to make sure that you approach it right.

Stuff You’ll Have To Give Up If You Want To Adopt

Each year in the US, about 140,000 children find homes with new, adoptive families. And those families do the whole nation an incredible service. But, of course, there are some costs that come with adopting a child too. Here are just a few of the things you’ll have to give up if you want to adopt.

Expectations
If you’re looking to adopt a child, you probably have high hopes of what their life with you will be like. But having certain expectations can set you up for a fall. Adoptions are not straightforward processes. They involve people, and people are messy. It’s best to confront adoption with no expectations in mind. Instead, learn to love the way the process itself unfolds.

You’ll face some significant challenges along the way. You’ll have to deal with mountains of paperwork. You’ll have to nurture a child who might have social or behavioral problems. You may even have to take in a child far more quickly than you planned. Adopting successfully means giving up on your prior conceptions of what it should be like. Be mindful that you’re ultimately just going along for the ride.

Control
As an adoptive parent, you don’t have a lot of control over the adoption process. You can’t decide when the child arrives or what they’ll be like. And that means that you really have to change your mindset. Go in with the attitude that says you’re there to provide a safe space for the child to develop. Don’t go in with the idea that your job is to form the adopted child in your image. This never works and is damaging to the child. They are their own masters.

Money
Yes, unfortunately, adoption doesn’t come cheap. If you do end up adopting, expect it to cost a lot. There are, of course, the adoption fees themselves. And because the process is quite involved, these costs can be significant. Then there are the post-placement services, where you’ll receive support after a decision has been made. And then, of course, there are the costs of raising a child, estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Get ready to start spending the vast majority of your money on your adopted child, instead of yourself. You’ll find yourself paying for video games, school trips, and sports equipment. It’s enough to bankrupt most parents.

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Privacy
It’s funny. Nobody asks any questions about your private life when you have your own child. But when you want an adoptive child, you have to let all your dirty laundry hang out. Social workers will want to know everything about you, from your criminal record to your past relationships. It’s all designed to protect the child of course, but it means that you’ll have to give up that most cherished American value. Privacy.

Not only that, but you can expect the neighbors to start asking questions too. They’ll want to know how you have a child without first being pregnant. They’ll want to know all the gossip about the birth mother. And they’ll want to find out what country the adopted child is from. Be prepared.

Caring For Your Kids: How To Give Them The Best Start In Life

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If you’re pregnant or already have some very young children, you’re probably focused on giving them the best start in life. Children need a happy and healthy childhood to help them achieve as much as possible during their adulthood. And there are many things parents can do to help them on their way through life. Worried you might get something wrong in your parenting? Don’t panic; I’ve written this guide on how you can give your kids the best start in life.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Other Parents
Don’t be so hard on yourself; all parents do things differently. What is good for your friend’s children may not be the best for yours. If you are constantly comparing yourself to other parents, you will feel down in the dumps. It is perfectly fine to take tips and ask for advice from other parents, but don’t start to model your family’s life on theirs. Once you stop caring about what other people think, you will do your own thing. Then your children will start to flourish and will be able to grow in their own unique ways.

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Start Saving Now
The current economy isn’t doing so brilliantly at the minute, and there is no telling how it will be once your children are adults. The best way to give them a good financial start is to start saving for them now. You should even start saving if you have only just fallen pregnant. The earlier you start will give you longer to keep adding to the nest egg. And the longer you have savings in a bank account, the more interest will be added to your money. Even if you don’t have much money to spare, every little helps. And you have until your children grow up to keep saving, so there is plenty of time to make a nice little lump sum for them. Make sure you are putting their savings in a bank account that is in their name. You can restrict their access to it so that they can only take the money out once they reach a certain age. Most parents give the money to their children as a gift on their 18th or 21st birthdays.

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Get Them Into A Good School
A good education is the best way to set up your child for a good career and adult life. And the best way to ensure they hit all their educational milestones with flying colours is to enlist them at a good school. Not only will they get a great education here, but they will also learn many important life skills and make lifelong friends. The best way to get your kids into the best school is to live within its catchment area. If your address is within this area, then your children will be offered a place at the school. This will be before places are opened up to those families living further away. If you do not live in your desired school’s catchment area, then it could be an advantage to move closer to it. The one downside to this is that houses close to schools are usually in high demand and therefore quite expensive. You can see the average price in these areas online at www.EntwistleGreen.co.uk.

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Let Your Kids Be Kids
These days, kids are growing up way too quickly. There is nothing wrong if your children are quite mature for their age. But they shouldn’t be encouraged to pretend to be adults or teenagers at such young ages. Instead, let them be kids and give them a chance to enjoy their childhood. If you don’t, you may regret it as they will grow up far too quickly and you might feel like you’ve missed out on their childhood! Give them plenty of chance to play while they are still young. Encourage them to get messy in the garden and enjoy as many family days out as possible. They will be working hard in school before long, and they might not have as much free time for fun and games as they’d like!

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Encourage Them To Make Friends
You might know some of your oldest friends from your childhood. So you should know how important it is to encourage childhood friendships to grow and develop. The younger children make friends, then the easier they will find it to make friends once they are adults. If some of your friends and relatives have children the same age as your kids, why not plan a playdate. This will give the kids a chance to get to know each other in a relaxed environment. Not only does making friends help to promote social connections. But it can also help your child develop strong self-confidence. There are many tips on how you can help your children make friends on websites including http://www.parentingscience.com/kids-make-friends.html.

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Encourage Good Health
Cook as much as you can instead of relying on takeaways and ready meals. This will help your whole family stick to a healthy diet. You will also need to restrict your children’s consumption of sugar and fatty foods. They can have a treat every now and then, but don’t include sweets and candies as an everyday part of your diet. This will help your children grow up fit and healthy. Not only that, though, but if you start your kids off eating healthy while they are young, they will get into good habits. If they eat healthily throughout their entire young lives, then they will be much more likely to stick with it as they continue into their adult years. Healthy eating is also a good way to ensure your kids don’t get obese. Follow a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and stay active as much as possible. Then your children will be able to enjoy a healthy childhood!

It is important to give your kids a fantastic start to life to prepare them for adulthood. And, as you can see, doing so isn’t quite as hard as you might have originally thought!

Top 5 Mattresses to Look at when Buying your Child’s Crib

What is the safest and healthiest possible crib mattress for your baby? When your child is asleep, you need to be sure he or she is away with the angels, secure and breathing softly.

It is especially worth knowing that common buzzwords such as “eco”, “green”, “healthy”, or “non-toxic” are in fact unregulated, meaning that there are no real standards to define what is actually healthy. There have been some pretty high profile companies sued for materials used in their baby products.

Today’s crib mattresses are generally well designed to provide a safe and supportive surface for your baby to sleep on. However, because every mother wants the best for her little one, the market has become very competitive and many claims are made that are not strictly true. The safety and comfort of the mattress depends mostly on the material inside, but there are huge variations even within these.

Here are five types of crib mattress you might want to consider:

  • Foam
    •  A foam mattress is the lightest of all, and thus a good choice if you have a portable crib which folds up when not in use, or suffer from back problems or other physical limitations. It is also the cheapest option, but all foams are not created equally – some are made of Polyurethane, some bamboo fiber and some latex. Polyurethane is the cheapest of all, but “sinks” easily while latex is longer lasting but more expensive.
    •  Foam also comes in different densities and varying levels of firmness, with higher density materials considered safer because a soft sleeping surface could be a suffocation hazard and raise the risk of SIDS. Generally speaking, the firmer a foam mattress is, the safer it is for your baby. The way to test this is to push your hand into the middle of the mattress and check how quickly it regains its shape. The quicker the better, because sleeping babies make an impression on the foam, and it will be harder for them to change position if the mattress stays flattened.
  • Coiled Spring Mattress
    • This design has a steel construction making them quite heavy, which could present difficulties if you have to move the mattress frequently. And while marketers may boast of the coil count, it does not actually mean it is firmer or more comfortable. Instead, check the gauge (thickness) of the steel – it should be 15.5 or lower.
    • Avoid cheaper models however, because they can squeak with the baby’s every movement and both you and your child need your rest.
  • Pocket Spring Crib Mattress
    • The pocket spring mattresses is similar to the coiled spring, but with each spring sewn into an individual material pocket which allows each spring to move independently of the others and compress according to the weight it has to support. Many mothers find this mattress ideal because your baby’s back will be supported better that his or her legs.
    • The downside, however, is that this is one of the most expensive mattresses as well as the heaviest.
  • Memory Foam
    • This type of mattress has temperature sensitive foam that molds to your baby’s body, and when you lift the child you will see that it slowly springs back to its original shape.
    • Since memory foam hugs your baby’s body, air circulation is reduced and can make the mattress feel warmer, so is an option if you don’t have central heating or live in a colder climate. The problem, however, is that it is difficult to flip and may be too warm for the baby in summer.
  • Natural and Organic Crib Mattress
    • Health conscious parents today are all too well aware that conventional mattresses are often made from petroleum by-products and treated with flame retardant chemicals like boric acid, and will prefer a mattress made from natural materials and fibers. These can include untreated wool, which is a natural flame retardant and also dust mite resistant, or organic cotton. Beware, though, that due to lax advertising standards a mattress that claims to be organic may only contain a small amount of natural material.
    • Organic mattresses are usually chemical free and ideal if you think your child may have allergies. The downside, however, is that you need to carefully investigate the maker before trusting the organic or hypoallergenic label. One organic cotton mattress pad product that has received good reviews is Greenbuds Baby line, but there are lots of good companies offering great products. Just make sure you are discerning in your choice!

#Sponsored: Using Window Treatments to Perfect Your Newborn’s Room Temperature

We don’t need to reiterate the enormity of being a parent. As soon as you leave the hospital you’re handed reams of advice, telling you what you can and can’t do and at times, it becomes overwhelming. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this – it’s always going to remain the case.

One issue which nurses and governmental guidance notes place a considerable amount of emphasis on is controlling the temperature of the room that your baby sleeps in. Over the years there has been a lot of attention placed on SIDS and one of the primary causes behind these tragedies is overheating.
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The problem is that it can become almost impossible to regulate your room temperature to the exact levels that are recommended. At the time of writing (and we coin this phrase, as these are figures that seem to change all the time), the suggested temperature for a baby is 68 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Clearly, this is quite an exact figure and most parents are fretting just whether or not they have achieved such a temperature every time nap-time occurs for their newborn. Have you put too many layers on? Too few? What TOG rating should the sleeping bag be? Unfortunately, we (and everyone else for that matter), cannot answer these questions in a general advice article.

What we can do is make temperature control a lot easier for you. If your baby happens to have been born in the summer, it can become an absolute nightmare determining whether or not the room is too hot or cold due to the heat from the sun. This is where your window treatment can be a savior.

Blackout shades are arguably the only option for new parents; this is the product that is almost guaranteed to give everyone in the house more sleep. These blinds have developed substantially over the years and now some are insulated, it’s now possible to prevent the sun’s powerful rays from entering your little one’s room and overheating it. We should also add that during the winter it becomes much easier to keep the heat in your little one’s room, which again makes the whole temperature control issue much easier to contend with.
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It means that you are finally provided with a stable playing field. The weather isn’t going to dramatically influence how hot your child’s nursery gets in the summer and it becomes much easier to regulate the temperature in the room.

Admittedly, the above paragraph might not seem like too much of an aid to a prospective parent. However, once you start balancing the one thousand and one other issues you have to remember, the fact that you don’t have to worry as much about the temperature in your baby’s room will be an absolute godsend. Additionally, even though the difference is probably going to be fairly minimal, the insulated shade options do provide some energy savings. As such, it’s something that we’d thoroughly recommend if you are in the midst of preparing for your new arrival.
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Why I Seem to Have Disappeared… Again

As a mom of seven, and a pregnant one at that, one can only begin to imagine the amount of chaos a “normal” day can contain. That being said, since we got home from our vacation, it has been one thing after another, and I have barely had the chance to sit down – let alone breathe.

Our vacation was wonderful, and I have 3 posts sitting in my drafts right now to tell you all about it. We survived a 5 night cruise to Haiti and Jamaica with all seven kids! And it was awesome! I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

However, shortly after we got home, my son Gage had another seizure. (I posted about his first seizure here: My Child Had A Seizure). The second one came on completely out of nowhere. There were absolutely no warning signs this time. It was my husband’s day off, and we had just come home from getting our taxes done. Gage was laughing and playing and running around the house, chasing my husband. All of a sudden, he hit the floor and went into a seizure. My husband stayed right beside him while I called 911, and we took another trip to the ER. Because he had fallen and hit his head, they ran a CT scan. The first scan came back with some abnormalities, and because those abnormalities were right in the area where they had removed the cyst, they did a more dedicated scan of that area. The second scan came back better, but we still need to discuss the results with a neurologist. He was already scheduled to have an EEG done, and that happened on Tuesday of this week. It required a 2 hour drive to TC Thompson Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, TN. The test was over quickly, and Gage did GREAT. However, thanks to a wreck on the mountain coming home, a detour took us out of our way and caused it to take 4 hours for us to get home. By the time I finally did get home, I was beyond exhausted.

After dinner that evening, my two oldest sons started arguing over dessert. I told them to put the dessert away, get their pajamas on, and get ready for bed. Not two minutes later, one comes running out of the room yelling, “I didn’t do it!” and the other one comes out of the room bleeding from the nose. A trip to the ER and we discovered that my ten year old’s nose was broken in two places. The joy of raising boys! 🙂

brokennose

We had to meet with an ENT/Plastic Surgeon today, and they will need to put Zander’s nose back into place. Because this will be quite painful, he’ll need to be put under anesthesia. We’ll go back on March 12th to have it taken care of.

So, as you can see, things are quite chaotic around here, and I’m trying to find a moment to catch my breath. I’m doing my best to get things back to normal, but until I know more about what’s going on with Gage, I just can’t commit to anything right now.

Thanks for sticking with me… and if you have any prayers you can spare, I’d certainly appreciate them. I’m longing for things to calm down and life to return to normal chaos without all the doctors and hospitals.

I sure hope things are going well on your end! If you’ve got some good news you’d like to share, I’d LOVE to hear it! Just leave a comment below.

Join the TYLENOL® #SmilingItForward Movement #Sponsored

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Disclaimer: I have received information and products from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks.

Smiling it Forward

There is nothing sweeter than a baby’s smile. Especially seeing that smile after your baby has been sick. It is so difficult to see your little one so miserable. Fever, runny nose, swollen gums. These are all things that break our hearts as moms. But then, all of a sudden, there’s a silver lining. That sweet baby smile that lets you know she is on the mend and is finally starting to feel better.

Being a mom of 7, I’ve seen lots of sickness, and I’ve seen lots of sweet smiles. And the one medicine I can always count on to comfort my little ones and get them on the road to feeling better faster, is Tylenol. Tylenol helps bring down their fever, dulls the pain of teething, and just helps make everything a little bit better.

Infants’ Tylenol is the #1 brand recommended by pediatricians when it comes to reducing fever, relieving pain in children, and making little ones start to feel better. It’s been used and trusted by moms for over 20 years. (I’ve been using it for 16 years with each of my children.) Infants’ Tylenol relieves minor aches and pains caused by headache, sore throat, toothache, teething, the common cold, and the flu, and it also temporarily reduces fever. For more information about Tylenol, and to view a full list of their products, please visit www.Tylenol.com. (Please be sure to discuss with your pediatrician the proper dosage of Infants’ Tylenol if your child is under the age of 2. If your child is over 2 years old, please follow the dosing instructions on the box carefully. Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your child or any medicines.)

tylenol

Right now, the makers of Tylenol have teamed up with How I Met Your Mother star, and mother of two, Alyson Hannigan, to launch the SMILING IT FORWARD™ campaign. Their goal is to set the power of giving in motion. By sharing smiles of good health, you can help children in need. And it’s so easy to participate! All you have to do is share a photo that makes you smile at www.SmilingIitForward.com. With every photo shared, Tylenol will make a $1 donation to Children’s Health Fund. These donations will help ensure a doctor’s visit is always possible for children in need. Children’s Health Fund was founded by Dr. Irwin Redlener and singer/songwriter Paul Simon. For more than 25 years, they have deployed a fleet of 50 mobile medical clinics to underprivileged neighborhoods. Because of this, thousands of children and families in need are being brought high-quality healthcare to thousands of children and families in need across the United States.

Moms (or anyone!) can log onto www.SmilingitForward.com right now to view the Tylenol Smile Gallery, get to know Mom Ambassador Alyson Hannigan, learn more about Children’s Health Fund, and even get tips to keep their families smiling all through cold and flu season from leading pediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann.

While you’re on www.SmilingitForward.com, be sure to upload a photo (or two, or three) of your own to help raise money for this awesome cause. I’ve already uploaded my photo – I shared the picture of Carly at the top of this post. Her sweet, sweet smile makes my day… every day! I’d love to log on to the Smiling it Forward website and see pictures of your smiling children. Not only will we all be smiling at the irresistible faces plastered all over the website, but we can all smile knowing that we are helping to make a difference in the life of a child somewhere.

infant tylenol

To learn more about the Smiling it Forward campaign, visit www.SmilingitForward.com. To learn more about Tylenol, visit www.Tylenol.com. And to learn more about Children’s Health Fund, please visit www.ChildrensHealthFund.org.

Have a Bad Mother’s Day? Read This.

Something has rubbed me the wrong way today, and I just can’t keep quiet about it any longer.

My facebook newsfeed today has been full of moms complaining about their Mother’s Day. I’ve read quotes like the following:

  • My husband didn’t bother to get me the $600 bracelet I wanted.
  • All I wanted was a day to myself. So much for that.
  • What a crappy Mothers Day. I’m so tired of this. I just want to be done.
  • All I got for Mother’s Day were stupid handmade gifts from the kids. (This was a direct quote. Someone really said these exact words.) 🙁
  • Can you believe I still had to do laundry and dishes on Mothers Day?

Or my absolute favorite…

  • My kids wouldn’t leave me alone all day!

My heart hurts. When did motherhood become such a bad thing? And why, the one day of the year when we celebrate Moms, do we expect to get a day off from motherhood?

I’m going to remind you all of something you already know: Children are a gift from God.

Psalm 127: 3 – 5
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed.

I’m not just talking about having a large number of children. Whether you have one child or twenty, you have been blessed by God. Our children should be treated as treasures and not as trials.

Mothers Day 2013

I cannot help but think of the fact that we are God’s children. I am certain that not a day goes by where we don’t disappoint Him. Aren’t you thankful that instead of lashing out at us, or being annoyed by us, He loves us anyway? He never takes “time off” from us, either. He is always there, listening, holding out His hand, wanting to be a part of our lives. He spends every moment wanting more from us, and the closer we are to Him, the better all of our other relationships will be. If we spend more time nurturing our relationship with Christ, we will be kind, gentle, loving, and slow to anger with our husbands and our children. Really.

Am I saying that as a mom I never get tired and want to give up? Absolutely not. But my kids don’t know when I’m feeling that way, and I can promise that my Facebook friends don’t know it either.

When I get overwhelmed, I turn to Jesus and change my attitude. I turn on the gospel music station and sing songs of praise, or I take a deep breath and whisper a prayer to pull me through. There are some days when I whisper LOTS of prayers. And at the close of every day, I can still say that I am truly thankful for all that God has given me.

Your children won’t be little forever. Your sink won’t always be overflowing with dishes. You won’t always feel as stressed out as you do right now.

One day, your children will grow up and move out. You’ll be left alone with nothing but your thoughts. If you took the time to love and cherish your children, one day they will love, honor, and respect you. If you spend your time every day letting them know how much they annoy you or what a bother they are, I’d be willing to bet they won’t come around to bother you once they have the choice. You’ll be stuck at home, all alone, just wishing for something as little as a phone call.

If you didn’t get the Mother’s Day present that you wanted, or you didn’t get to sleep in because the baby needed to eat, find a reason to rejoice and praise Him anyway. Be thankful that your child wants to be with you. Be grateful that your child isn’t lying in a hospital bed fighting for life. Be glad that your child loved you enough to make you 15 cards for Mothers Day.

Let your children know how much you love them. Let them know that you value them and WANT to spend time with them. Then, get out there and actually do it! Have picnics, make mudpies, and hug them until they pull away. You’ll both be happier.

Edited to add: Ask a mom that has been trying to conceive about her Mother’s Day. Or ask the mom that has lost a child. Ask them how much your comments about “quitting motherhood” make them feel. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like their answer, because I’m pretty sure that they would give just about anything to experience those moments that we often take for granted. Stop thinking only about yourself and what you don’t have, or you’ll miss the whole world around you and all the blessings you already have.

Becoming a Titus 2 Woman in Today’s World

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Becoming a Titus 2 Woman

For the past few months, I have been doing the Bible Study, “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” (Kindle Edition) with a dear friend.

One set of verses that is referenced over and over in that book is found in Titus 2:3-5.

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

I know that the very first sentence states that it pertains to the “aged” women, and while I don’t like thinking about getting older, I do realize that there are several groups of women who are looking up to me (besides just my children) —

  • My teenage daughter and her peers
  • The young college-aged ladies at church
  • Newly married women
  • Women just starting their families

And when they look to me, I want to be pointing them to Jesus. I would so much rather they look to HIM, but I pray that nothing I say or do could ever be used as a stumbling block if they do look to me.

As a mom of 7, and one that has been married for 10+ years, it’s pretty evident that I fall into the “aged” category now. And the more I read, re-read, and study these verses, the more I want to be this type of woman.

Let’s break it down, bit by bit:

The aged women likewise – We’ve already said who this pertains to: any woman that has someone who looks up to her. (In reality, every one of us can think of someone that looks up to us, no matter what our age or situation.)

that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness  – What exactly does this mean? According to the Strong’s Concordance, behaviour means “a position or condition” and holiness means “reverent.” To me, this section of the verse says that we are to be respectful in all that we do. In fact, according to dictionary.com, reverent means “deeply respectful.” So, we aren’t just to be respectful in any situation, but we are to be deeply respectful. (Boy, is that tough – especially when someone cuts you off in traffic!)

not false accusers – This is easy to interpret: don’t lie, and don’t make up stories to make yourself look better. It is never ok.

not given to much wine – The word given here means, “to be brought under bondage, made a servant.” In other words, don’t let wine (or alcohol) control your life. I do not drink – at all – because of my own convictions from I Corinthians 6:19-20 – “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (For another really good article on why Christians shouldn’t drink, read this one: Seven Good Reasons Why Christians Should Not Drink)

teachers of good things – This is literally translated from the Greek as “a teacher of the right.” Wow. Tugs at the heart strings, doesn’t it? We should know what is right and what is wrong, and we should teach others what is right. Not condemning, not judging, but teaching by our actions.

That they may teach the young women – Why are we doing this? Because of all the women that have been placed under us.

to be sober – This literally means “to make of sound mind.” We should not let anything have control over our minds or bodies (I Cor. 6:12) except for the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

to love their husbands – Notice who is mentioned first: our husbands, not our children. Many times, when we become mothers, we make our children our top priority. They should be a priority, yes. It is our duty to teach them right from wrong, and love them. But, we must remember that God expects so much more in our life. We are to first love our husbands. Respect them. Honor them. If we put our relationship with our husband first, it will cause our relationship with our children – and everyone else around us – to be even better. It took me a long time to learn this lesson, especially after being a single mom for quite a few years, but once I “got it,” my marriage has become so much sweeter and better than I ever could have imagined.

to love their children – Yes, we are to love our children. We are not to belittle them or be annoyed by them. We are simply to cherish them. I can’t tell you how much it hurts my heart to see moms on TV or even on Facebook talking about how terrible their children are, or how they wish they could just get away from them. Our children are a precious gift, and they should be treated as such.

To be discreet – This word “discreet” has caused quite a commotion on my blog as of late. While the literal translation of this word is “self-controlled,” I believe there are many ways it could be interpreted. We are to be modest, private, and careful with the words we choose to speak. I know this is easier said than done, especially when it pertains to our words. The world does not need to know how angry you are at your husband in your Facebook status update. There are some matters that are better kept to yourself or brought only before your Savior.

chaste – Literally translated, this means, “morally blameless, innocent, modest, or perfect.” None of us are perfect. We are human, and we fail daily. But, we should be striving for perfection. We do that by keeping our standards high in every area of life. In today’s world, there are no morals. We should stand out from the world so they might see the difference in us. (And they won’t always like it. You will be called things like a “prude” – or worse. Don’t let it discourage you. As long as you are doing what you believe will please your Jesus, that is all that matters.)

keepers at home – This means we are to run our household smoothly, efficiently, and to the best of our ability. I will tell you that this is one area that I have to work to do. Laundry piles up, dishes pile up, and I can’t remember the last time I dusted the mantle. I have given this area over to Christ, and with His help, I’m getting better.

good – This means “valuable or virtuous.” Am I a woman of virtue? One that my husband is proud to show off? One who keeps her standards high? There is nothing I desire more in this world. I made mistakes in the past, but God is using those mistakes to help me teach my teenage daughter the importance of guarding her heart and keeping her mind, heart, and body pure.

obedient to their own husbands – The world today jumps all over the idea that women are to “obey” or “be brought under” anyone. We are taught the exact opposite: you are your own person, no one can tell you what to do. But, God’s word is clear: we are to be under our husbands. To love them and respect the authority they have been given.

that the word of God be not blasphemed – The world will use the Bible against you. I hear it all the time. They justify their actions by interpreting the Bible to mean what they want it to say or by using verses out of context. (We Christians are guilty of this too.) However, if we are living the life of a true Titus 2 woman, and a woman who desires only to please her Lord and Savior, the word of God cannot be truly used against us – or against God. If someone tries, we should have enough knowledge of Scripture to back our choices up.

The Lord convicts different people of different things. I believe He has called me to keep my standards incredibly high on many things:

  • My dress. I have never seen anything wrong with wearing pants, but as I’ve drawn closer to the Lord, I have felt Him convicting me about what I wear. I don’t wear low cut tops (unless they have something under them), and I don’t wear shorts or short skirts. However, now, I have an overwhelming desire to only wear skirts (or dresses) when I leave the house. It’s funny, because I grew up going to a Christian school that only allowed us to wear skirts – and they had to be below the knee. I hated every minute of it and swore I would only wear skirts to church once I graduated and you’d never catch me in a skirt anywhere else. Look how far God has brought me… 🙂
  • Television and movies. My television is not on very often, but when it is, my husband and I are both very careful about what is showing on the screen. Foul language, sex, gore, and extreme violence are just some of the things that cause us to turn off a tv show. Before we rent a movie or see on in the theater, we use Focus on the Family’s website Plugged In to see exactly what we can expect from a movie. This site has saved us from wasting a large amount of money. Otherwise, we would have had to leave the theater or turned off the movie. The same goes for my kids: they don’t watch a movie unless my husband and I have watched it first, or we watch it with them and can turn it off if need be.
  • My words. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt…”  Always. I want to be known as someone who goes out of her way to encourage someone else, not bring them down or hurt them with my words. And this applies to all areas of my life: with my husband, with my children, with friends and family, and even with strangers. A smile and a kind word goes a long way, and I know that my speech can either please or displease my Lord.
  • My disposition. I have always been a “Here I am” type of person. By that, I mean, “I’m right here. If you need me, come find me.” I want to help, and I want to be asked to help, but at the same time, I am very much an introvert and don’t make friends easily. This gives off the attitude that I am a snob or stuck up or, gasp, “holier than thou.” (Man, I hate that term.) I’ve heard it all. And it’s not true – at least it’s not what I’m intending to portray. I just have a very hard time of getting out of my “bubble” and getting to know someone. However, I have fallen under real conviction about this lately. I’m trying so hard to become a “there you are” person instead of a “here I am” one. I want people to know that I care about what they need, and I am striving to reach out and let them know… no matter how hard it is. (And it is hard!)

Having high standards in today’s world can set you apart, and the world will often let you know how much they disagree with you. I have even had Christians tell me that I’m too strict, and if I don’t back off a little, I will regret it. I’ve had people condemn me (good people) because I took a stand against a movie, a book, or a decision they decided was all right for them. I won’t lie, it hurts. But, I’m not living my life to please them or make them happy. I must live my life to please Jesus. He is all that matters.

If it were easy to stand against the world, Ephesians 6:11 – 18 would have been left out of the Bible. We are in a battle, and we must arm ourselves with the proper equipment.

I am so blessed to have several examples of Titus 2 women – Joan White, Deena Stalnaker, Elaine Stephens, Pat Lucido, Glenda Seay, Bonnie Michel, Carol Renshaw, and my mom. These women live their lives daily for the Lord, and through the years, they have all helped mold and shape me into the woman I am today, and the woman I am becoming. I am still far from perfect, and I still seek out these women for Biblical counsel, advice, or to watch how they react to certain situations. I am so thankful for each of these women, the testimonies they have, and their desire to live for Jesus.

I don’t know if this post has helped you, or even just caused you to think. It is simply what the Lord has placed on my heart, and I felt the need to share it with you. It is my desire that we all get a little closer to Jesus and hear His words for us.

If this post has helped, would you let me know? And if there’s something I’ve forgotten, please let me know that as well.

How is the Lord working in your heart? Have you felt His touch lately? Are there changes you need to make in your life, your home, your heart? Are you striving to be a Titus 2 woman? Do you have an example of a Titus 2 woman in your life? I would love to hear from you.

Getting the Super Mom Complex Under Control

beth moore quote

In my effort to PURGE this year, I have decided that my Super Mom Complex needs to be reigned in and brought under control.

I don’t know how you are as a mom, but I think I can do it all. The problem is, I’ve been doing so much for everyone else that I have neglected to take the time for myself and my marriage.

So often it seems like hubby and I get pushed to the side. The kids need this, the kids have to go here, the kids, the kids, the kids. And, I try to do everything I can. But, I’ve had enough. My relationship with Christ, my quiet time with Him, AND my relationship with my husband all need to come before anything else.

Now, hear me out. I am not saying that I’m going to stop doing things for my kids. What I am saying is that I’m going to be much more selective about the things I do for them. Do I need to run myself ragged  trying to get everything done they need to get done? (“Moooom, I need 4 dozen cupcakes by tomorrow!”) Absolutely not. I will still do my best to help them, but they are going to have to learn to be more responsible to do things for themselves.

On Tuesday, I went back to my OB/GYN for my 35/36 week ultrasound and check up. At my last appointment, I had been diagnosed with tonsillitis and treated with antibiotics. The doc took another look at my throat and told me that it actually looked worse than it did at the time of diagnosis. For the past 2 weeks, I have killed myself getting the boys to their surgeries, doing things for the older kids for school, ushering the kids everywhere they needed to go, and doing all the chores that the kids somehow seem to always get out of, that I neglected to take any time for myself and just rest. Now, I have to go see a specialist because this infection is so severe that it can actually become dangerous during pregnancy. If I had just taken a few hours here and there and taken a nap – or even just rested, I might not be in this predicament at all.

Then, yesterday, I was listening to the radio, and I heard the Beth Moore quote that I posted above, “No one can do a thousand things to the glory of God.” It was like a stone right between the eyes. Like God was speaking to me through the radio.

I try to do so much for everyone else, and I say that I’m doing it all to the glory of God, but I can’t be. If I am taking on so much that I can hardly function, I am not doing anything for His glory.

Therefore, I’m calling a mom time out. I’ve got a baby coming in the next 2 – 4 weeks, and I need to just chill out until she comes. The kids will be fine, and if they need something, they are perfectly capable of getting off the couch and getting it themselves. I need a break.

Are you suffering from the Super Mom Complex? What have you done to get it under control?

Angry Dad Screams at Daughter: What Would You Do?

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Today my 4 year old had his second dental surgery. I knew it was going to be more complex than his last surgery, so I was prepared to sit in the waiting room for awhile. I was not, however, prepared for what would go down in the waiting room while we were there.

My husband couldn’t go to Parker’s procedure with me today. His work schedule just didn’t allow for it. Since I had a sitter for Gage, I wasn’t too worried about it. After all, I’ve taken the kids to lots of doctors appointments and procedures alone. This wouldn’t be any big deal.

Shortly after we arrived, they ushered Parker back to get his vitals and give him a dose of happy juice. With Parker, the happy juice kicks in after about 10 minutes, and I cannot let him off my lap. He would seriously hurt himself if I did.

Just before Parker got his happy juice, a dad and his daughter walked into the dentist’s office. They signed in, filled out the paperwork, and then sat down. Just before they took Parker back to sedate him, the little girl received her own dose of happy juice.

Rather than sit his daughter on his lap, the dad put his daughter in the chair beside him – which also happened to be right next to me. Then, he hands her his iPad.

Ok, I thought to myself, he’s got a good 10 – 15 minutes before her happy juice kicks in. Hopefully he’ll be smart enough to take the iPad away from her.

Wrong.

10 minutes after she got the happy juice, the little girl decided she wanted to get up and walk. As she went to get up, the iPad flipped off her lap and landed face down on the wood floor. You could hear the screen shatter as it hit the ground.

The dad flies into a rage, screaming at his daughter for doing this. He’s calling her stupid, an idiot, and all sorts of other names that horrified me.

I couldn’t hold my tongue. I turned to him and said, “Sir. Calm down.” He then goes off on me… telling ME what an idiot his daughter is and if she hadn’t been so stupid, this never would have happened.

The poor girl is in tears by now. My heart is breaking and I say, “It wasn’t her fault. It was an accident.”

To which he replies, “Yeah, an $800 accident that never should have happened and only happened because she’s too dumb to hold onto the iPad.”

At this point, my blood is boiling. I mumbled, (making sure it was plenty loud enough for him to hear me), “You are the idiot that gave your six year old an $800 iPad to play with while she’s on happy juice.”

He tells me to “BLANK off,” and that’s the end of our conversation. (Although I had SO much more I wanted to say.) He then proceeds to call someone, (I’m assuming it was his wife), and tell them how stupid his daughter is…

I immediately sent a text to my husband, using my “angry thumbs,” and tell him how upset I am over how this guy is treating his daughter. All I wanted to do was snatch up that little girl and tell her it was ok… and then punch her father in the face.

They came out shortly after that and took her back to sedation, so I was left alone in the waiting room with this guy. I’m proud of myself for showing self control, because honestly – all I wanted to do was slug him. Hard.

I am not a perfect person, and I am not a perfect parent by any means. But, when I make the mistake of screaming at my kids, (which I do more often than I would ever like to admit), I always apologize. Usually immediately, but if not, I apologize shortly afterward. Then, that night, I make it a point to pull that child aside at bedtime and pray with them. I confess my sin to God in front of them so they know that not only do I need to make things right with them, I also need to make things right with God and get His forgiveness as well.

To watch this dad scream and yell at and about his daughter literally ripped my heart out. While I am thankful she was on happy juice, and she probably won’t remember this first hand, I have a horrible feeling that he will never let her forget it.

In my heart, I hoped that John Quinones with ABC’s WWYD would come out from behind closed doors and tell me this was all just an act. But, it didn’t happen. That poor little girl really had to suffer through a verbal beating from her father.

I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I felt the need to step in and protect that little girl. Would you have done the same, or would you have made a different choice? I’m interested to hear what you would have done.

 

My Word for 2013: PURGE

2013: PURGE

For the past month or so, I have prayed about the word God would have me to keep in mind throughout 2013.

I’ve finally found it!

My word for 2013 is PURGE.

Here are 13 ways I plan to PURGE my life this year:

  • I will PURGE the things in my life that hinder my relationship with Christ.
  • I will PURGE any thoughts or reactions that might harm my relationship with my husband.
  • I will PURGE the things in my life that keep me from spending time with my children.
  • I will PURGE from my home the clutter and things I no longer need and either donate them or throw them away.
  • I will PURGE from my life relationships that do not foster my relationship with Christ.
  • I will PURGE from my heart any bitterness or unforgiveness that may be hanging around.
  • I will PURGE from my eyes anything that does not need to be set before them. (TV shows, movies, etc.)
  • I will PURGE from my Bible verses that I can memorize and apply to my life.
  • I will PURGE from my diet foods that do not help me meet healthy living goals I have set for myself.
  • I will PURGE from my mouth any desire to gossip or say things that could harm another person.
  • I will PURGE from my mouth any desire to “snap back” or get angry.
  • I will PURGE my desires to nag my husband or children and instead use words to encourage and uplift them.
  • I will PURGE through last year’s Prayer Journal, rejoice in the blessings God has given us, and start a new journal for this year.

Those are my goals for 2013. While they will not be easy, I rejoice in the fact that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13)

What’s your word for 2013?

What Pinterest is Doing to Motherhood

pinterest vs motherhood

As a mom, we want everything to be perfect. We want the perfect children, the perfect house, the perfect husband, the perfect life. And with just a few clicks of a mouse, we can “pin” all our dreams and desires onto a board in the hopes that someday we will turn those pins into reality.

I am blessed to have lots of mom friends, and I am so thankful for those friends. However, my heart is heavy because some of them are feeling guilty because they can’t achieve a pinterest-perfect life.

One mom has 4 children and had to opt for store bought cookies for her kids’ school Christmas parties. When she walked into each room, her guilt intensified at the site of reindeer pretzel cookies, snowman donuts, and other pinterest discovered goodies that covered the tables.

Another mom friend has 2 children and confessed that she was feeling guilty that she had to buy the cheap disposable diapers when all the “good moms” were going the cloth route.

What is going on here? When did snowman donuts, reindeer cookies, and making your own baby food become so much more important than teaching our children the things that really matter? We are teaching our children that it’s important to do things better than everyone else, to always have “the best,” and that stuff is more important than the intangible items. We are no longer helping form our children for God’s Army, but instead we are showing them how much control the world really has over us.

And, believe me, I am SO guilty of this. I can’t point fingers at anyone, because I have 3 fingers pointing right back at me.

In fact, let me just share with you my biggest flub up of 2012… My head hangs in shame as I share this with you…

When I was hanging up Christmas decorations this year, I went all out. Snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, tree trimmed in all it’s glory, icicles on the window, wrapping paper on all the pictures… I honestly about killed myself making Christmas “perfect” in our house.

My husband asked why I decided to go all out this year, and my response was, “I want to have the most pinterest-worthy house around.”

Hand – smack forehead.

I totally screwed up Christmas. Sure, I wanted the kids to love it, but I had so much more in mind. I wanted everyone to want to pin my Christmas decorations, mimic them, and drive tons more traffic to my blog.

It honestly didn’t even hit me until I read a status update on Facebook that said, “As mothers, the measures I believe we should judge ourselves on are actually simple: its not the size or “pinterest-worthiness” of their first birthday cake. It’s the amount of unconditional love and affection we give to our children, the values and confidence we instill in them, the quality of the time we spend with them, the examples we set for them in our actions as their role models…

That one quote cut me to the core. What have I been doing?! Since when does what other people (pinners) think of my home, my family, my blog mean more than what GOD thinks? Am I doing things for HIS glory, or for the glory of man?

I pretty much answered my own question right then and there, and it brought me under a deep conviction.

Am I saying pinterest is evil? No, not really. I’m sure I will still pin things that I like. Thanks to pinterest, I have found some really great recipes that my family enjoys, and I’ve saved money by making our own laundry soap, fabric softener, and other things. There IS good in Pinterest…. in moderation.

However, from now on, my relationship with my Savior comes first, followed by my relationship with my family. No longer will I worry or fret over how “pinterest-worthy” my decorations, my family, my blog, or anything else in my life might be. Instead, I want to know how God-worthy and God-honoring they are. I want my goal to be to please my Savoir, not anyone that might happen by my blog.

If I have to give up time with my husband or my children in order to complete a pinterest project, it will wait until I have “me” time… when the kids are in bed and hubby is working late. If it takes months for me to find that me time, then it will take me months to complete that pinterest project. End of story. No longer will my family compete for my attention because I have a board full of “Must Makes” that I just have to complete.

And if I find that I need to buy disposable diapers, cookies made by the grocery store bakery, or candles that I don’t get to cover in glitter and give as gifts, that’s ok to. I will not beat myself up for wanting to give the time to my family instead of screaming “Look what I did!” for all the pinterest-world to see.

I wrote this post as a reminder of myself of how much I am missing out on by worrying about what everyone else thinks. These are my convictions, and my feelings. I am not writing this to upset or anger anyone, just to maybe make you think a little bit. We are all entitled to our own opinions. If pinterest has helped you, be thankful for that. For me, it became too much and I need to back off and use it in a way that will not harm my family.

What are your thoughts on the pinterest movement? Is it helpful or harmful to motherhood in today’s world?

It’s Official… Recurrent Ear Infections Means Tubes!

It looks like my little boy will soon be undergoing yet another surgery. This one is far less complicated, and much more common than his last surgery, though, so I’m trying not to stress out about it too much.

Gage gets ear infections all the time. About 3 weeks ago, we were at the doctor’s office, and she said that if he gets another ear infection in the next month, we may need to consider having tubes put in his ears.

Well, this past Friday night, Gage started running a low-grade fever. I prayed it was just the crud that everyone seems to have right now, but in my heart I knew better.

By 3 am, he had a raging fever of 104.

I tried all day to get his fever down: cool rags, Tylenol/Motrin cocktail, etc., but nothing worked. At 5pm Saturday night, I decided it was time to take a trip to the ER.

After a 3 hour wait, and their failed attempts to get his fever down, the doctor finally came in. Sure enough, another double ear infection. The doctor decided our best option was to give him a shot of antibiotics, and send him home.

The next day, his fever finally broke, and he started acting better. But it wasn’t until yesterday that he was finally back to his old self, playing and goofing around like the crazy kid he usually is.

This morning, I had a follow up appointment with his pediatrician. She checked his ears, and they are still severely infected. The shot he got most likely helped his fever, but it didn’t do a thing for his poor ears. So, he’s on another round of antibiotics, and we’ll meet with the Pediatric ENT next Wednesday. I’m guessing we’ll set a surgery date then.

It breaks my heart to see him in constant pain. I know the tubes will help. My oldest daughter went through the exact same thing when she was about Gage’s age. Only then, doctors didn’t want to put tubes in kids’ ears. She’s now 15, and she still has trouble with her ears. I don’t want Gage to go through that. And I’m afraid that if we don’t get the tubes soon, he will have an absolutely miserable winter. I think it’s best to just get it over and done with now – especially before Carly makes her appearance. It’s just the thought of another surgery for my baby that has me worried….

Any parents out there had experience with tubes? What do I need to know before and after surgery? I’d love any tips or advice you can give!

Tips for Parents Choosing Life Insurance (Guest Post)

When you become a parent, your priorities change. It becomes less about you, and more about them. You realise the importance of making sure your little ones are safe and provided for, whether that is making sure they go to the right school, or making sure they eat something healthy before they start throwing down cookies and ice cream.

Unfortunately, being a parent also forces you to think about the worst things that could happen. How to minimize risks, and how to prepare for the bad times. One important aspect of this preparation is life insurance. Helping to provide protection should the worst happen, life insurance can be an invaluable investment.

So, what should you be looking for when you are buying life insurance?


Value Work Done At Home

One of the most common mistakes made by families choosing life insurance is undervaluing the work done within the house. You may be a stay at home parent, or you may work part time, whatever the situation, it is important to give value to the work you do within the household.

This may include cooking, cleaning, washing the dishes, vacuuming, doing the laundry, ironing, driving the family around, gardening, and everything in between. All those hours you spend doing chores around the house, should be valued when you are deciding how much life insurance you need. If you were not there to do them, how much would it cost for an outside party to do them?

Add Your Kids To Your Policy

Most life insurance providers allow you to add on extra features, or riders, to your base policy to tailor it to better suit your needs. Find out what riders you can add to your policy, whether they are worth the cost, and how much you will benefit from them. One rider you may want to consider as a parent is a child protection rider. This can offer financial assistance if something bad were to happen to your child.

Do Your Research

Find out everything you need to know about what types of life insurance are out there, which insurers are offering what, and what is best for you. Think about income protection insurance, accidental injury insurance, and standard life insurance options. You will also need to work out how much cover you will need. Try using an online life insurance calculator or speaking to an insurance expert.

Get Healthy

While many parents stay fairly healthy running around after their kids all day, it can be helpful to look into any health issues before getting life insurance. Try to lose the excess pounds if necessary, and quit smoking. Take up regular exercise, and try to lower high levels of cholesterol or blood pressure.

Shop Around

As a parent, you will recognize the value of shopping around to get the best deal. There are dozens of life insurance providers out there (such as GIO Insurance, at www.gio.com.au), all offering different deals at different prices. To make sure you get the policy that is right for you and your family, spend some time looking around at what’s available. Use a comparison site, insurer websites, and speak to friends or relatives to see what they recommend.

Payment Options

Some insurance providers offer discounts for paying annually rather than monthly. If this is an option for you, make sure you take it. You may also find that buying your policy online can provide a number of bonuses, from premium discounts, a couple of free months, and cashback if no claims are made.

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