Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Thursday, June 11

Monday, June 1

5 New Baby Must Haves {from a Mama of 5}

**This post does contain affiliate links, meaning that I earn a few pennies on purchases made through the links: You can read my Disclosure Policy here.**

When you’re having your 5th child and you’ve had 3 of your others at once there really isn’t anything that you need for a new baby. You kind of decide at this point that you have way too much baby stuff and need to purge immediately and for your own sanity. I’ve been going through all of the kids clothes, shoes, toys and paraphernalia that we have; deciding what to keep, what to yard sale, and what to sell on ebay. It hasn’t been easy {my bedroom has looked liked this for the past 2 months}.

All of this also helps me to realize that perhaps I’m a bit of an expert on the necessities for baby. Obviously, there are some things that are absolutely not negotiable…like a car seat, especially if you plan on being in a car, or diapers and clothes. The rest is just an extensive list of things that would be nice, but aren’t necessary. To me, these items are the must-have-end-all-be-all of baby necessities.

A Carrier
I don’t care who you are or how much you love your baby, at some point you’re going to want the use of your hands again, but that little one is probably still going to want to be held. With the rest of our kids we had a Moby Wrap, which both Matt and I loved! It kept them close and warm, it was comfortable to wear, even with the clingy big sister in it.

This time it’s summer though and warm isn’t exactly something I’m looking for. I asked a few friends about the Ergo and the Boba and several others, before deciding that we would ask for a Boba with #5. I need ease of use, comfort, and flexibility…especially going into the summer when we have swimming lessons, the fair, and Matt is gone a whole lot more.

*Ergo Baby Carrier {Borrowed one of these from a friend and I really like it}
*Boba Baby Carrier {I liked the features of the Boba better than the Ergo}
*Moby Wrap {Love this one…it is a bit tricky to get into at first, it’s pretty easy after you get the hang of it, but it can get quite warm}

Cloth Diapers

I realize that specifically cloth diapers are not a necessity. But I love my cloth diapers, if I could wax-poetic about them I would. I’ve missed them, since we moved out last year and the triplets went in to disposables. My whole box of them has been pulled out, lovingly prepped and waiting for use once again. My favorite is still a Bum Genius. {If you’re not into cloth, we’ve always had great luck with Huggies Little Movers and OverNites}.

*Bum Genius {These are my favorites and I have no complaints whatsoever about them}
*Fuzzi Bunz {I love the colors on these so much more than the BG, but the elastic does not hold up well..they do have an awesome repair policy though}.


Once little one will let you put them down and sleep comfortably some place other than on your person we loved having a swing. I didn’t have to go up and down the stairs to the baby’s room and they slept well. I think we got our’s at a consignment shop for quite a bit less than brand new. Some of them get ridiculously expensive, but a good, basic one doesn’t have to cost tons of money, just make sure to get one that has an AC adapter…batteries get expensive.

*Fisher Price Rainforest {This is the one we have, I think I paid less than $100 at consignment}
*Fisher Price Zen Swing {We’ve borrowed this one with Ave, it’s nice, but way too expensive}

Sound Machine
I know for some people this is an unnecessary item, but for us…they are awesome! I never used to sleep with a sound machine, until I visited Matt at college with his mom {who had one}. Now I don’t leave home without it and each of the kids’ rooms has one. They’re great for creating a gentle sound that can drown out the rest of a crazy house.

*Cloud B Sound Machine Sheep {I don’t like that this one turns off after a while, baby usually wakes up when that happens}
*Graco Sound Machine {This is my preferred sound machine}

Coconut Oil

That’s right coconut oil. It’s great for diaper rash, sore nipples, dry skin, a quick spoonful for energy…you name it and coconut oil is probably good for it. With Ave I just used the lanolin ointment which reminded me of the smell of wool sweaters in Ireland {lanolin is the oil in sheep wool}, with the triplets we had coconut oil for everything.

*Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Wednesday, March 11

Thoughts for you…

Mamas....some days {or weeks or months} are just hard. When there's a green food coloring "science experiment" that exploEncouragedes all over good clothes; smoothies water falling over the counter's edge; and poopie diapers that you JUST don't want to deal with.

This motherhood thing is downright hazardous....

The frustration and anger boils up in me like Spring sap, threatening to go over and burn everything it touches, when I know that 5 minutes of quiet isn't just about "me time", but about time needed to keep me becoming the momster.

Moms, you're not alone. Whether you have 1 or 20's hard. I'm praying for you.

Tuesday, February 10

Surviving the First Year: Helpful Tips from a Mama of Triplets plus One
{4 kids 2 and under}

I’ve never given much thought to what things helped us get through having a {newly} 2 year old and triplets {besides God}, but there was a lot of things that made that first year more bearable. I pestered Matt to help me think of the things that we did to help us survive. Most of them were pretty straight forward and easy to implement {we didn’t have a lot of excess income and lofty ambitions during that time…and still don’t}.

Surviving the First Year Helpful Tips from a Mama of Triplets plus One {4 kids 2 and under}

1. Ditch the Diaper Bag

Even before the triplets were born, I knew that my super-cute Vera Bradley diaper bag, was just not going to cut it. We had 4 kids in diapers…cloth diapers. The space alone was lacking, never mind having no free hands. I pulled out the LL Bean Deluxe backpack that I purchased before heading off to college and started using that….oh my goodness! So much easier! It was so great, that we bought a second one, to keep stocked in case we had appointments or what-have-you with only a couple of the kids.

2. Put the seat down

I am still {almost 4 years later} mourning the loss of my beloved Honda CRV, but logistically it had to go: There was no choice but to get a minivan. Through a series of divine events we found our van and it was perfect. The big thing that I wanted was to fit all the car seats {for the triplets} in the back row, so that we could keep 1 captain’s chair down…we did. Keeping that seat down has been an incredible life {and back} saver. We didn’t have to hump around the inside of a car with kids in infant car seats. {I’m honestly not looking forward to putting up that seat in order to fit Number 5, this summer, but until we get another vehicle we’ll manage}.

3. Evening showers

I know a lot of people can’t wake up until they shower in the morning. I’d love to say I get that, but I don’t drink coffee either. In college I had started showering in the evenings to kill time, before Matt and I could chat on AOL Instant Messenger {does anyone else miss AIM?!} The easiest thing for us, was evening showers.

We could either peacefully shower once the kids were in bed, or we could do family showers, when one of us would get in and pass a baby back and forth for their bath time. Oh the pictures I wish I had! We’d line all the babies up on the floor of the bathroom and spend 30 minutes getting everyone clean. It’s still my favorite way to bath babies.
Life Saving Tips from a Mama of A LOT OF LITTLES {4 kids 2 and under}
4. TV

I hate to say it, but between Avelyn and me…TV was a life saver. To the point that Avelyn was speaking with a British accent from watching Kipper. That’s just what happens when you have 3 babies born in the winter and a little that’s still too little to go outside {or anywhere} alone.
For me…I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch doing feedings. The TV kept me company. Matt was working full time on the route and needed to sleep. I would stay up until 1am or so for the last feeding then go to bed. I wish I had a picture of that too…me sitting on the couch feeding all 3 babies at once.

5. Easy meals

I did not have lofty meal ambitions that year. I honestly couldn’t tell you what we ate, because it was non-remarkable. We had 2 or 3 meals delivered by people, and my parents sent leftovers and meals when they could. We did what we had to.  I don’t remember us starving and we didn’t prep months of freezer meals in advance {and there is no take-out where we live}. We had good food in the house and ate what we had on hand.

6. Minimal outings

When I say we didn’t go anywhere that first year…I mean we didn’t go ANYWHERE! Between my mom and Matt’s mom I was able to go grocery shopping, while leaving everyone home. Our biggest outing during that year was going to Hershey Park to see Matt’s family {the triplets were 8 months old} and it went better than I thought it would. Other than that we didn’t go out. {The other thing was that it was exhausting to try going out, between the looks, comments, and questions}.Life Saving Tips from a Mama of A LOT OF LITTLES {4 kids 2 and under}
7. Quad stroller

The one thing we did do, was go for walks…once we had a quad stroller. Another triplet-mama from our area gave us a quad stroller they had picked up years before at a yard sale and we made it work until the seats literally broke. The only way we got out of the house was with the quad stroller, whether it was for a walk around the corner or out in the yard. The stroller at least gave me a way, by myself, to move all of the kids around outside at once.

8. Baby wearing

When the triplets were very little one of them would always be awake and wanting to be held. The easiest way to handle that was to put them in my Moby wrap and go. There were even times when Avelyn needed a little cuddle and she would go in there so that I could get things done around the house.

9. Easy access

Once the babies were home our house was taken over by the things we had for them. Our living room became baby central: We had a pack n’ play {changing table attached} with a shelf above it for clothes, diapers and other necessities, three swings and three bouncies. We removed all unnecessary furniture {coffee tables, end tables, etc} and did everything possible to keep things on hand and enough space for Avelyn too. Now, before you think we have a huge living room…the whole room is 12x13, if that. Not very big at all, but it worked!
Life Saving Tips from a Mama of A LOT OF LITTLES {4 kids 2 and under}
10. Low key wardrobes

I was looking back at pictures a few weeks ago, from 2012-2013, and it struck me that almost all the pictures of the kids had them in PJs. At first I thought “wow, way to go mom”…boy I was lazy. Then I thought about it. It was winter, it was cold, we didn’t go anywhere, it was that much less laundry to do and it made the day a lot easier. Avelyn was always dressed to the Nines, when you have one baby that’s ok to do; when you have 3 babies and a 2 year old and you don’t honestly care, it’s OK.
Which brings me to the next thing.


There was a lot of grace during that time. It was hard…I think I forget just how hard it was, because you just did what you had to. There were 4 kids clamoring for your attention and requiring it for their survival; there never was a choice to just not do it. There were temper tantrums and melt downs {by mommy}, but we got through them. Most everything on this list, was our way of showing grace to ourselves, by not putting lofty expectations over our heads and only doing what we needed to care for these little blessings.
Life Saving Tips from a Mama of A LOT OF LITTLES {4 kids 2 and under}

Monday, February 2

The Hardest Thing {of Motherhood}

                                    “People who choose to use formula are lazy.”

                                                                                            “Breastfeeding in public is disgusting.”

                                   “Sending your kids to public school is like sending them to a cult.”

                                                                                          “Homeschooling your kids is like being part of a cult.”

                                    “Parents who don’t pay for their kids’ college education are selfish.”

                                                                                          “Parents who pay for their kids’ college education are ridiculous.”The Hardest Thing of Motherhood

Lovely statements, aren’t these? That’s what I see on Facebook, what I hear in groups of moms: People expressing their opinions without any consideration as to what choices others have made in their life, or why, without any consideration as to how they may be hurting others.

Motherhood is hard. Parenting is hard. It is the hardest thing we will ever do. We have been given a little person for whom we have to make EVERY decision, to the best of OUR knowledge, regarding their daily well being and the things that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

The majority of parents don’t take the responsibility of parenthood lightly. Vast amounts of time is spent researching, considering, thinking, researching again, questioning, and seeking guidance. Decisions are not made haphazardly.

The hardest thing I’ve faced in motherhood is other MOTHERS: The cattiness, the comments, the judging, they hurt {no matter what the topic}. This mothering thing…it’s tough! We’re so quick to bash those who do differently than us, so quick to put hurtful words in the ears of other moms, moms who are struggling just as much as the next mom with doing what they think is right for their children.

“For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”
Romans 2:1

I can’t help but think that the ONLY reason why anyone does it is because they don’t realize how hurtful it is, because I would hate to think it’s because they believe that cutting comments are OK to make or will somehow get people to change. If our children behaved in this manner we would not accept their behavior, they would be called what they are…bullies.

Rather than assuming, especially while in a group, that everyone there shares the same opinions take the road of humility: Keep ones mouth closed! Fingers off the keyboard! No one wants to be beaten over the head, repeatedly, by those they come in contact with, that the decisions they’ve made for their children are wrong {based on the opinions of others} and that they are horrible parents who should have their children absconded by Big Brother. Honestly, whatever is being said isn’t going to change anyone’s mind, but it can and will hurt them.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1

I don’t care whether the topic is education, vaccines, daily care, food, or anything else; there is NEVER a reason to be NASTY to other women. There is NEVER a time that it is acceptable to berate other women as being trend following idiots or uneducated. There is ALWAYS a time to extend grace and love and knowledge to our sisters  {and brothers}, from a place of mutual respect and humility. There is ALWAYS a time to remember that we’re ALL just trying to make the best decisions we can.

“Encourage one another and build one another up…” 
1 Thessalonions 5:11

If you’re speaking out of pride, rather than humility, it’s nothing good. If you’re speaking intentionally to hurt others, it’s nothing good. Let’s lift each other up, keep matters of opinion {because, lets be honest…all topics are a matter of opinion} to ourselves in mixed company and social media, instead of hurting people with, what I will assume to be, careless words.

Motherhood is hard. We’re all doing the best that we can with the best that we have. Let’s rise up together and support one and other, instead of hurting and bringing each other down.

*I found this video the other day, which sums it all up perfectly! Yes, it is a commercial for Si.milac {and no I don’t agree with the breastfeeding bashing} but the premise is the same. It’s not a Hate-Debate….it’s motherhood and none of us are qualified for the job.

Monday, November 3

America and the Stay at Home Parent {psst…it’s not what you think}

This past weekend the internet has been a-buzz with the words of Mr. Obama regarding stay at home parents, specifically moms, and how that’s not a choice he wants Americans to be making. While insult and offense are the common response from the Stay at Home Community…I have a different perspective, and it’s probably NOT what you expect.

America and the Stay at Home ParentI know the majority were upset at the trivialization of the Stay at Home Parent, by Mr. Obama on the 31st during his speech at Rhode Island College. I say just the opposite is true: Mr. Obama, and the government, absolutely, hands-down realizes the importance of a parent who stays home with their child, and that’s why they don’t want you to do it. If they can guilt and shame people into believing that their decision to stay at home is negatively affecting them personally and the community as a whole, they win.

Why would the government want a parent home with their child? Someone who is in control of the information that child receives, the activities they are involved in, the people they are in contact with, 24/7? Why would they want a parent home with their child, when they could be out working and paying taxes on their earnings? Stay at home parents are one of the biggest threats to the political agenda.

Mr. Obama does not value the stay at home parent, he values what that parent is capable of doing {raising their child with possibly counter-culture morals and beliefs} and that’s dangerous to the political agenda, because what you believe and what the government believes are probably not the same. Secondly, if you’re at home you’re not making money, and they want your tax dollars to further those agendas.

In case you haven’t noticed, America is not family friendly. We have the worst paternity and maternity laws in the world, we penalize parents who have to take time from work to give birth or care for sick children; this is not a society that respects and honors the importance of a parent {values yes, respects no}. The government very much realizes the importance of a parent being present in a child’s life as their primary caregiver {primary referring to the number of waking hours a child spends with someone}, and they don’t like it.

For years, people have lobbied for better laws and policies regarding a parents availability to care for their children, without being punished, and for years those policies have been caught up in paperwork, never coming to fruition, because the government doesn’t want them to. {FYI If the government wants something to happen, it happens.} Mr. Obama even directly tugged on these heart-strings during his speech, saying, as so many before him have, that this needs to change.

I know this all sounds conspiracy-theorist and that we all want to think our elected officials are following our will and have our best at heart, but they don’t, and I don’t think many people truly believe they do. The government doesn’t want you home raising your children, they want your kids in preschool as soon as possible so they can begin raising your child with their beliefs. They want you back in the work force so that you don’t have the availability to be directly involved with every facet of your child’s upbringing, and they want your tax dollars. Plain and simple.

The bottom line is this: Parents if you were able to make the sacrifices to stay home with your children, don’t feel disheartened, don’t feel that your “job” doesn’t have value, because it does. Stay at Home Parents: Your job is the most valuable job in America, raising and instructing today’s youth for tomorrow’s world, and Mr. Obama knows it. There is no one else on this planet who is better capable of raising your child, no one knows your child better, no one wants what’s best for your child more, and don’t ever let anyone tell you that’s not true.

*Here’s my disclaimer, because I know I need to say it: I am not seeking to offend working parents or say that they are not in control of their children and the stream of information they receive, or that they are less aware of their child, and I apologize if I have. I know that many parents work out of necessity and would love to stay at home with their children, but that it’s not an option for them. I know many parents work full time and are successfully raising their children in their family’s morals and beliefs. I am specifically addressing Mr. Obama’s comments regarding stay at home parents.

**PS. I also apologize for getting political. It doesn’t always happens, but sometimes it does.

Monday, August 12

Stopping Houdini

James is rather an active little fellow: He has tendencies like those of a troop of monkeys.

I’d like to submit Exhibit A into evidence:

JamieHe first climbed out of his crib before a year old. We kept putting him back in, putting him back in. Then he stopped for a while, which was nice. Then he started again…all the time.

When Ave started climbing out of the crib, we debated getting a crib tent, which was a mesh dome that attached to the top of the crib, and had a zippered door. We didn’t buy one, because she eventually stopped. We decided  to buy one with Jamie only to find out that they had been recalled, and no longer available. Not good.

I googled to find alternatives. Nothing. Finally I found someone who suggested using a sleep sack, so that they couldn’t get their legs over the side. We bought two, and it worked. For about 2 weeks. Until he figured out he could slide himself out the neck hole.

Out came the sewing machine. I stitched the entire top tighter {we couldn’t go down a size because of his height}. Jamie was once again contained and unable to circumvent my invention. That lasted about a month, before he figured out that he can get his legs far enough apart to get out.

I spent 2 hours…going back and forth in his room, putting him back in his crib. Not fun! Now what was I going to do?! We debated building up the sides of his crib with a 1”x8”, since the other sides of his crib are against the wall, but that would also make it hard for me to put him down and pick him up.

What were we to do?

Well, let me tell you about my genius: It doesn’t happen often. I took said sleep sack and stitched down the bottom part of it. Effectively making the leg area narrower. Voila! No legs over the side of the crib.

Yea, you’re probably thinking, “just convert it to the toddler bed”. I am not ready for monkey-boy to be clamoring around his room at will {he kept EVERYONE else up the other night with his nocturnal shenanigans}, and I am not willing to sleep on the floor in his room for the next 4 months.

If you have a fellow Crib-Climber-Out-ter this is what I suggest.

*Buy a sleep sack {I did get our’s while they were buy one get one half price at Babies R Us}
*Make sure the top is relatively fitted, that they can’t wiggle their arms out and through the neck opening. Adjust with sewing if need be.

If this only works for a short time. Then do this:

*Stitch the sides of the sleep sack in from waist to bottom, lengthwise. I took ours in from the arm hole gradually to about 7” on each side from the zipper.

Effectively going fromHoudini Collage It’s not my best sewing job by any means, but it works. I didn’t spend more than 3 minutes doing it. I didn’t want to take the time to make it pretty if it wasn’t going to work. Now that I know it works, I’ll spend the time and make it more attractive and serge the seams.

There’s still plenty of give and room in the waist area {since James sleeps with his legs curled up}. So he isn’t cramped or uncomfortable, but he is contained…for now.

If they get out of this then I’m at just as much of a loss as you are.

Friday, August 9

Friday, May 31

I’ve Got Nothing More to Give…

This week has been hard people: Not every-minute-of-every-day hard, but hard in the moments. Like weary down to the bone, why do I even bother, exhausted to the point of sleeplessness hard. I know I had promised my Gwynnie Bee review, but that just isn’t happening. Monday. I promise.

I know since going public with this space a little over a year ago, I’ve kind of shied away from post things that are going on in our life, but this time I have to, because honestly I need your prayers. Truthfully, more than need them, I am craving the comfort of knowing that others are praying with me.

Remember how we fenced in our yard last year? Because of the amount of traffic along the cow-path in our backyard to the community vegetable gardens? Last summer we received a series of letters from a neighbor, telling us that our fence infringed on their right away and that we needed to immediately remove it, preferably out of the right away area.

After the fair, Matt went and spoke with the neighbor explained our position {the safety of our children due to traffic, that has not heeded our requests to slow down, regardless of signage and verbal reminders}. An agreement was come to. The fence would stay and legal documents would be drawn up allowing it. Particularly since no one has any clear idea of where the right away ends/beginnings.

All through the winter I kept questioning where our copy of these documents were.

Tuesday night we received a phone call from another bordering property owner {who had expressed issue last year jointly with the other neighbor}, that the fenced needed to be move, that if it was still infringing on the right away on September 15th, they would seek legal action against us.

Matt immediately called back this person, stating our case, that we thought this had been amicably dealt with last Fall, and again asking where would be an ok distance for our fence. No response. They told us that they really didn’t have an issue with the fence, since they don’t need to get farm equipment to the property any more, but the other  neighbor {whom Matt had sat down with} was the one who wants it removed.

Within 45 minutes someone was at our door {the original neighbor}, sweet as pie, and saying that they don’t have an issue with the fence, it’s the other one. That they’re sorry for the inconvenience, but that the fence does restrict their rights.

I was beaten. Downright, moved to tears, slapped in the face beaten.

This alone has caused me so much grief this week. So many minutes wasted by worry and thought about what might happen. But time spent in worry, is time that reminds me to call on God.

The internal issue has been Avelyn. The conflicts with her have just left me completely drained of any remaining gumption after dealing with the fence. She’s been deceitful, disobedient, unkind…you name, she’s been it….and sad to say I just haven’t had the where-with-all to be on her the way I should be, but I’m frustrated and angry and hurt by how she’s been acting. So we’re back in boot camp mode now.

I’m just beyond grateful that it is Friday. That we made it through the week. That the next 2 days Matt will be home, and we have a bit of fun planned. I’m praying that it is the recharge that I desperately need.

But if you would be willing to pray for us, regarding a final and clear resolution regarding our fence I would be so grateful too you {preferably one that does not result in our being forced to tear it down, and risking our children’s safety}.

And how may I pray for you this weekend?

Tuesday, April 30

Hi, my name is Jessica…..Nice to meet you.

It’s been crazy around here….and I’m not even sure why. I know I had a few guest posts that went up last week, but they only happened, because they were written weeks ago. If you missed them, here they are: Meal Planning at the and Infertility Changed Me at .

This week isn’t shaping up to be much better. I feel like I go-go-go all day long, night comes and I look around and it seems like NOTHING was accomplished. Sunday, the kids stayed a few hours at my in-laws, which was great, for Matt. He managed to get a lot of outside work done: Apple trees trimmed, seeds planted in the garden, things done with the bees, and some other stuff. I’m not even sure what I accomplished, because there seemed to be just as much stuff before as after.

I have decided one thing though; the reason for my having to have projects, whether quilting or DIY, is because I need to have SOMETHING that has an absolute start and finish, otherwise I would go out of my mind. Laundry never gets “finished”, dishes never get “finished”, cleaning the house never gets “finished”: It’s entirely never ending. Sewing projects and other things at least give me a sense of accomplishment, once they’re done.

On top of the household to-dos, this weekend is Matt’s sister’s wedding, which means I’ve been doing whatever wedding stuff I can to help her out. Throw in a bit of kids not sleeping at night or during the day, and mommy is not having much time to blog, which stinks, because I so miss being here!

A brief run down of other things that I haven’t blogged about:

*Ellie is officially walking
*I started a Moms’ Night Out group, and we had our first get-together
*Went to (in)RL
*Started a project for the back yard
*Been busy planting veggies
*Finished a couple of books
*Got a haircut and color {realized how easy it is to straighten my hair with a curling iron}
*Bought some new fabric
*Finished a few more of my quilt blocks
*Have 50 chicks that we’re raising for meat, with another 50 coming today, and  more in the future {we’re doing 300 total}

I’m hoping that things slow down, at least a little bit, because we haven’t even gotten to the summer yet and I’m ready for Fall.

  April CollageIf you’re missing me here, I am pretty active on instagram if you want to follow me there :-) or on Facebook

Don’t forget about the Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle sale going on right now!

Wednesday, March 27

Toilet Time!

Potty training was one of those things that I absolutely dreaded. I’m not even sure why; I think it was this idea of a battle of the wills over using the toilet, and somehow my kids being in their teens and still wearing diapers. I’m not sure what, but it was something I dreaded.

We tried with Ave on occasion, before she was 2, but she was not interested. Every once in a while we’d see if she was interested, but she wasn’t. During the summer we decided to go sans-diaper for swimming lessons, and had no incidents of pool sharks. Then she started refusing to wear a diaper when I put her down for a nap….with no incidents. Then she started refusing to put a diaper on after the nap….with no incidents. By August, she was flat out refusing to ever put a diaper on, except at night time. And was having absolutely no accidents…even on a long car drive.

Within 2 weeks of all this we decided that we could officially claim she was potty trained, besides that one incident of her pooping in the backyard while she was outside playing (haha…it just didn’t look like the dogs’).

We had one poop incident in the fall, that I think was brought on by her cousin having an accident {I think she wanted to see how I would react}. She freaked after she did it, because the poop was all over her backside. I just reiterated that that’s why we use the potty and not our undies…and then laughed at how upset and disgusted she was by having pooped in her undies {not in her presence of course}.

At Christmas she decided that she didn’t want to wear a diaper at bed time. So I woke up every few hours to make sure that she got out of bed and went potty. Then she got sick and I insisted that she wear a diaper at night, because she needed to sleep and I was getting a bit tired of getting up several times a night, even when the babies didn’t need me.

I can now tell you that Avelyn has been entirely diaper free for almost 3 weeks…there was 1 incident, but it was my fault {I usually wake her at 10:30 or so and kept reading until I heard her crying at 11:15, that she’d wet the bed}. diapersThere hasn’t been an incident since. We’ve even decreased the number of times we get her out of bed. We were doing it twice {10:30 and 3:30 or so} and now it’s only at 10:30 and she’s doing great.

So what’s the secret to potty training?

They’ll do it when their ready: No pressure. There is absolutely no point in forcing the kid to do it. It’s just going to be traumatic for them and you. And it’s all the more better if you can make it easier for them to do on their own. Summer works for us, because Ave is usually wearing a dress, which makes it very easy for her to go in the bathroom on her own and go. I honestly never even need to ask her anymore if she needs to go potty, she just does it when she needs to.

As for how to potty train triplets….that’s going to be another story, but we’ll probably take the same approach. But, for now, we only have 3 in diapers.

Tuesday, February 5

Parenting {Out of Fear}

I am very close to being at my wits-end, particularly with dear Miss Avelyn. I feel as though I am failing her miserably as a parent, and she’s only 3. I feel as though I am constantly after her to be respectful and kind, to not be hurtful to her brothers and sister. {We have 3 simple rules: No Disrespect. No Disobedience. No Dishonesty.}

I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I have not had to somehow reprimand her at least a half-dozen times for pushing, kicking, or hitting one of her brothers or sister. {I will say, in her defense, that her actions are at least not full force and she does show some restraint}.

She has now taken to sticking out her tongue at me or blowing raspberries, when being disciplined, as well as completely ignoring anything being said to her, laughing and changing the subject. I will admit that I am not always diligent or consistent in my responses to her behavior.

This evening was hell.

The babies {I really need to think of something else to call them}, had not napped this afternoon and were very clingy and demanding, and Avelyn was feeding off of that and being very whingey and whiney herself. She kept standing on the couch, which she has been told not to do…since James then climbs up there and does the same thing, and I kept removing her {and James} and repeating that we don’t climb on the couch. For the second time today she proceeded to stick her tongue out at me, at which point I marched her in the bathroom and brushed her teeth with soap {bad mom I know*}, after she had been warned, timed-out, and otherwise disciplined {no more TV etc}. Fat-lot of good it did.

Twenty minutes later I was on the phone with my mom {exasperated}, watching the kids, Avelyn and James were again on the couch. She then proceeded to box him about his ears and then kick him in the face. At this point I about exploded. I immediately hung up, picked her up without a word and deposited her in her bedroom and shut the door. James was fine.Miss A-ttitude

After 15 minutes I had calmed down enough to get her. I {once again} explained to her that we do not blah blah blah blah blah. She was as meek as a kitten, came down to dinner, ate all of her meat, and was very quiet and polite.

She got a quick bath, the babies were put to bed, and Matt and I sat down to talk with her about her behavior and how it is not acceptable. Explaining that she must be kind and obedient, that it is what God asks of her, and how sad it makes Him, as well as us, when she is mean and rude. We informed her that she would only be getting a bible story at bedtime, and that this behavior will not be tolerated. I said her prayers with her, asking God to help her. Then I asked her for forgiveness for my disciplining her out of anger rather than love and God’s grace. And we closed in prayer.

I came downstairs utterly exhausted.

Neither Matt nor I have any idea whatsoever about what to do.

My mom had said something about Avelyn needing to submit/report to a higher authority than us, but how:
How does one make God REAL for a 3?!

How does one take the abstraction of God and make it something tangible and physical? I really would like to know the answer, because I am at a loss. An absolute loss.

We discuss God and Jesus, what their desires are for us and our life. We read the bible. We memorize verses. We pray together. We go to church. But how does all this “doing” translate to something real for a child? To something more than just memorization and stories?

I’ve so often heard that we should not DO out of fear, but sometimes I feel that is exactly what I am doing…parenting out of fear. Fear of my children become those teens that no one can tolerate. Fear of their leading selfish, malicious lives. Fear of their complete dismissal of God. Fear of their being a life long heartbreak. Fear of them turning out to be exactly like those that I do not want them to be like.

Last week I had been praying “Lord, help me to be the parent that they need me to be”. Then I thought about something, how vain of myself to think that God needs me to be the parent that they need, to be the men and women that God wants them to be. {Just reread that and think on it for a moment}. God doesn’t need me to do or be anything, BUT then I feel I’ve tossed my hands in the air and can say I have no responsibility to my children, which is utterly untrue.

I do need God to help me. I absolutely do. But I also need to trust that he will take my pitiful parenting attempts, my flaws as not only a mom, but as a human, and somehow, if I trust Him and do my utmost for His highest, He will redeem my parenting, myself, my husband, my children to Him.

Back to Avelyn.

There is something I notice in her, that scares me. She does not fear, not that I want her to fear us, but she has no fear whatsoever. She has no remorse for when she has done wrong. The only thing she has any reaction to is her own pleasures and discomforts.

Timeouts, talks, all of it mean absolutely nothing to her. Yes, she screams and cries  through them and is unhappy, but only because she is not being allowed to continue with whatever it is that she wants to do {ie. watching a show}. She does what you ask of her; apologize, reiterate what you said, etc. But there is no genuine remorse for what she did.

I have no idea if any of this is typical for a 3 year old or not. What I do know is that it scares the living bejeezers out of me, because all I can think about is the 13 year old or 23 year old who is that exact same way. AND, I already see the same defiance in Ellie {I knew there was a reason I wanted all boys …I jest, a little}.


Moms…especially moms of older kids. Please mentor me. Please tell me some pearl of wisdom. Please tell me that there is some way to get through to her. Please tell me what we should do {we are already reading lots of different parenting books}. Please tell me that God will be sufficient in our failures and she will not become the person that I fear she will. Please.

*Disclaimer: This was very hard for me to be this brutally honest with all of you, in my shortcomings and absolute failures as a parent.

Friday, January 4

In a word…

Very often I've seen people choose a word to inspire them in the new year, something they want to develop in themselves or become more aware of. I've never put much thought into it. Then I found myself continually describing the events of last year as incredible, all..the...time! I may be doing this in reverse.

Incredible: too extraordinary and improbable to be believed {as defined by Merriam-Webster}.
Kind of a lackluster definition.

Over and over again, it is the word I find myself using to describe this past year.

Incredible that we managed to survive a year with a 2 year old and triplets.
Incredible that we managed to afford formula for a year with 3 babies eating it.
Incredible that I didn’t go stark raving mad this past year, being home with so many {demanding} littles.
Incredible that I was able to get away for a few days and attend Allume.
Incredible that I actually managed to get a couple of baby quilts done, as well as other sewing projects.
….and a thousand more.2 corinthians 12-9

Extraordinary? Improbable? But isn’t that how our God works? Taking that which man says is impossible and making it possible. The ordinary, becoming extraordinary through His hand: A virgin becoming pregnant, a woman years passed child-bearing having a son, the mouths of lions clamped shut, a boy thrown in a well to die becoming the most powerful man.

His power is glorified best in our weakness. Only when we are weak, incapable and without our own abilities can God’s grace be seen, His power be magnified.

This past year has given me the incredible {there I go again} honor, of not only being mommy to these fantasmagorically awesome children, but more so, having felt His indescribable, and undeserved, GRACE.

Wednesday, December 12

Why I think I have it easier than you….

At the beginning of the summer I met with some blogging friends for dinner, and one of them said they loved following my blog because of all the ways in which I do/can help her with her own 3 children, from my experiences. I responded, that no advice I give can help anyone who doesn’t have multiples; which came out sounding rather demeaning and not really very kind {which is not at all how I meant it to sound. Sorry Trina.}

What I meant is this….

Having multiples is entirely different from having singletons {obviously}. There is, of course, the advice that can help any mom, whether with 1 kid or 10, twins, triplets etc, but the rest of it, is so different.

Here’s my opinion…Raising and caring for singletons, no matter how many or few there are, is INFINITELY HARDER than multiples. All of you non-multiples Mamas, you seriously impress me. I honestly don’t know how YOU do what you do.

Yes, I have 4 kids, but 3 of them are at the same stage in life. What other moms deal with for 2-3 years for each child, I deal with for 2-3 years for all 3.

I don’t have to figure out how to entertain a 6 year old, while dealing with a 4 year olds tantrum, while trying to get the 2 year old to sit still on the potty, and simultaneously change the poop-splosion of a infant. That my, friends, takes major talent.

All I have to do is give the 3 year old something to do, then go about changing a succession of diapers.

I don’t have to try and get the 6 year old and 4 year old to walk along with the stroller, without running away, while trying to get the 2 year to stop flipping themselves over the edge, and pray that the infant doesn’t wake up from the much needed nap.

All I have to do is strap 3 babies in a stroller and pay attention to the 3 year old.

I don’t have to try and do math with a 13 year old, while figuring out science for an 11 year old, spelling for a 9 year old and geography with a 7 year old.

All I have to do is have one curriculum for an older kid, while getting a few extra workbooks for the younger ones. And more than likely we’ll probably do them all together.


Someday this may change, my thoughts on having multiples being easier, but for my foreseeable future it looks pretty cushy. {Of course, now that I’ve posted this I’ve probably jinxed myself.}

Life is relative…everything we have or experience seems easier or harder, better or worse, in comparison to those around us, but it is our life that we have been given to live. Comparison will only rob of us, what we have.

Friday, July 6

Battling Against Youth Entitlement
{Review: Cleaning House}

There is an epidemic in America, that could very well shred the last thread that we’re hanging by. You’ve probably noticed it: Youth Entitlement! It started about 30 years ago, parents and society catering to the every whim of its children. What we now have is a group of young adults {and younger} that are heading in to the world unable to not only care for themselves in the most basic ways, but do not have any sort of drive or determination to accomplish anything.*

We live in a youth-centric time. Everything is geared toward kids/teens whether it’s movies or music, academics or worship. And you know what, it isn’t working. We are creating a generation of self-righteous individuals, who exist and do only for what they can get. Churches are focusing more and more on programs for the youth, but more and more youths are leaving the church. Parents are focusing more and more on giving their kids everything, but their kids don’t know how to do anything.

Parents want to give their children every {child-like} desire of their hearts: But is that what is best for them?

In my own experience with the under 25 group, no, it’s not what’s best for them. So far we have a generation of individuals who view no ones needs, but their own, as important. Too many young adults today do not see the point of pushing forward when things get tough, to, as the saying goes, “Grab the bull by the horns”.

Many act as though they’re doing their bosses, parents, teachers and others around them a favor by simply existing. They feel that they’re entitled to not only working when {and only when} they feel like it, but to having high-paying jobs, money, luxuries, good grades etc, without putting forth any effort into them: They’re wrong. The world around you doesn’t care whether you had a bad day or not. The world doesn’t exist for your glory, you exist for God’s glory.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Colossians 3:23

I grew up working on my parents small farm. My days consisted of helping care for our huge garden, as well as helping in any and all family business ventures; whether it was raising calves, pigs, chickens, rabbits, or goats or slaughtering the animals that we raised. I was expected to do household chores, whether it was cooking, cleaning, laundry or anything else. I was expected to maintain good grades in school. I started mowing lawns for spending money when I was 13. I didn’t have an allowance: If I wanted something I had to work and save up my money for it.

Did I {always} like doing the work? No, sometimes I really hated it. It’s not much fun mucking out a barn when it’s 90*s and the rabbits in the cage above you are still peeing and pooping while you’re underneath (fortunately, very rarely did I get peed or pooped on, but it did happen); it’s not much fun when it’s 20* in the morning and you have to go lug 5 gallon buckets of water for chickens and turkeys, then move their pens and be slip-sliding {and sometimes falling} in their manure, before getting dressed for school.

BUT! I will say I know how to work. I know that work is necessary and good for the soul: We were not designed to lounge around, without a purpose. We were created for work. It builds character. It builds a sense of accomplishment, a sense of true self-worth.

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.”
Proverbs 10:4

I recently received the book Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma via Blogging for Books to Cleaning House Cover Imagereview. Wyma takes on entitlement-issues in her own children over the course of 12 months, during which she focuses on different areas in her childrens’ life where she is seeing their inflated self-worth and entitlement. Beginning with the childrens’ responsibility to keep their rooms clean and moving on to other areas such as the bathrooms, cooking and cleaning the kitchen, cleaning bathroom, home repairs, and employment outside the home.

While her kids often put up a fight with the addition of each new responsibility, they did rise to the occasion {however grudgingly}. She started to see a marked improvement in her childrens’ attitudes, how they treated each other, and how they viewed themselves.

Wyma’s sense of humor through it all and addressing her own issues as an enabler of her childrens’ entitlement-issues kept the book light, and real. As moms we often think “it’s easier if I just do it myself” or “they’re kids…they should be having fun, not worrying about laundry”; but neither of those mindsets help our children to become responsible adults, who know they are capable of doing what they are required to do.

This plague of Youth Entitlement must end, but first it must begin in our homes. I’m pretty sure our fore-fathers said “PURSUIT of happiness”, not a guarantee of happiness, or that it would be handed to you {as much as our government would like America’s youth to think that}. Having a job, a nice car, clothes, a house, insurances and the latest technological gadgetries are not a right for anyone. They are things that must be worked for, doing our best, always. Why not start young in our children, helping them to truly be the best they can be.
Please be sure to go and rate my review of this book here. Thanks!
*This does not apply to ALL young adults, teens and children, but definitely a growing majority of them.

Thursday, April 26

The Turn-Around

This post can be found on my new site, Click HERE.

Tuesday, February 1

15 months

Another 1/4 of a year is behind us....2 is coming on way too fast! There have been quite a few new developments, particularly in the past here we go:

*We don't have our well-baby visit until the 15th, so we had to improvise and do our own weights and measures: A is currently at 23lbs and looking to be just under 32".

*18 month outfits (particularly one piece-ers) are just barely fitting.

*All 4 molars are now most of the way through...raising our teeth grand total to 12.

*Walking is our constant preferred mode of addition to walking there is running...which sometimes ends up with a complete full body face plant.

*A now signs: Milk, more, all done, read, book

*A now says: Mama, Mommy, Dado, Daddy, Dada, dog, puppy, happy, please (for the first time yesterday), bottle, Bailey (Auntie Megger's dog), Sa and Thy (our dogs, Sage and Thyme), wat (for water), 'mana (banana) and a couple of other things I can't remember.

*A now makes the sounds for: Dog, cat, chicken, lion, lamb/sheep, monkey, cow, and ghost

*A also points to her hair, ears, eyes, nose, mouth and (sometimes) tummy

*She blows lots of kisses and can click her tongue

*We're still not sleeping through the night and are usually up at least once, if not twice, but they're quick drinks and then back down....we typically go from 7:30pm until 7:45am (but with 2 wakeups).

*A can now climb up on the couch, ottoman, and arm chair without help (Lord help us!)

*A continue to try and climb up the dog crate to get on the kitchen counter (hasn't happened yet).

*A responded to her first phone call: I was on the phone with Matt and put her on and he said, "hello" and A said "Hi" (usually she just sits there in awe).

*We're down to only 1 nap a day...sometimes it's an hour, sometimes it's 3, but on average they're around 2 hours: I miss 2-2 hour naps.

*A still refuses to leave hair things in.

*A few times we found A sucking the same 2 fingers that I sucked when I was a kid...only (no idea how she came up with that or why (she still has a pacifier, but only in her crib or in the car).

I'm sure there is something else I should be mentioning, but I can't seem to remember. This kid is just growing up way too fast.

Out shoveling this morning before the big storm comes.

~*~*~Updated 2/15/11~*~*~

Went this morning for Ave's 15 month Well Baby check up. Everything looks good, but she still does have a slight heart murmur, which the doctor isn't too concerned about. I also had started to notice a soft bulge above her belly button (while standing) the past few months. My MIL looked at it (she's an RN) and said that it might be a slight umbilical is. The doctor says we'll keep an eye on it but it should close up on its own by the time A is 4 year....if not, we'll deal with it then.

Saturday, January 1

14 months

Every month I do these little updates, to remind myself of all of my daughter's changes and milestones and I never can come up with a creative way to begin them.

14 months
*You are 23lbs and 31" tall
*You now have 4 wisdom teeth coming in, in addition to the other 8 you already had.
*You're most certainly running around and are growing more steady on your feet.
*You've learned how to climb up onto the arm chair, fortunately you also know the proper way to get off the chair.
*You know when you're not supposed to be doing something: You always give us that little smile just before doing it.
*You now can get on off and your little car and the rocking horse at grandma's without help.
*You love dogs.....that's the first thing you go looking for whenever we get to someone's house.
*You really enjoyed ripping open your Christmas was so much fun to watch you.
*You try to put your shirts on yourself and it's really rather adorable.
*You've started picking up a book and bringing it to someone to read to you.
*You make the cutest animal sounds: Your sheep are quite evil sounding.
*Your laugh and your smile just absolutely melt our hearts.
*You were not at all interested in any of your cousin C's hugs and kisses.
*You are certainly testing your boundaries to see what you can get away with.
*You love doing somersaults and have started to do them on your own...kind of.

We love you Ave: More than you'll know.