Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wild Days...

Today it was quite a sight in my house!  Christmas presents strung all about which one has to watch where to step to avoid a catastrophy.  My daughter, age 6, in her Snow White costume laying on the couch playing her new PSP.  My sons, age 6 and 5, in their new Transformer costumes shooting their Nerf guns at each other and at my 9 year...and at my 31 year old.  Oh yeah...he's not my son, that's my husband.  LOL.  Then there is the baby running through the house in his diaper (after he tore his clothes off) chasing his brothers, an eventual his sister too, running and laughing.  Then there was me...good ol mommy trying to make breakfast while dodging Neft bullets coming from 4 different directions, 5 kids all excited to be celebrating Christmas yet again (with Grandma), and my husband joining in on their excitment and playfulness.  Oh, Christmas.  I love the holiday, but thankful it only comes once a year!

A Parent's Love

"A parent's love is whole, no matter how many times divided"
                                                     --Robert Brault

By now I'm sure that everyone has heard that Michelle Duggar miscarried while expecting her 21st child (would have been 20th surviving child).  After the premature birth of Jim Bob and Michelle's 19th surviving child, many people were outraged that they were expecting yet again.  I personally, was happy for the family. Having a child is such a joyous and wonderful experience! Many critics negatively say that it's unfair to the children to have such a large family...that their children are raising children.  The fact of the matter is that their children love having such a big family and that the older children don't think of it as raising their siblings, but doing their part as a family.  Each child also believes that God will bless them with as many children as He sees fit. Jim Bob and Michelle are raising well behaved, respectful children.  This family does not use food stamps, welfare, or any other government assistance, so really it's not any one's concern how many children this family wants or has!

The latest controversy with the Duggars regarding their family, is the controversial image of their stillborn fetus, named Julibee Shalom Duggar.  Many comment that it is inappropriate, while others feel that the Duggars are setting an example for other parents that have suffered such a loss.  The images were taken by a nonprofit organization intended for the private use of the family, which they decided to share with the public.  The artistic images help families with their closure and peace. 

My personal condolences go out to Jim Bob, Michelle, and the rest of their family.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

With the death of my Grandfather occurring, I can't stop thinking about my Grandmother.  How is she going to handle losing the love of her life?  and living alone in her house? and taking care of herself and the house?  and how is her own health going to be in the near future? 
Working in the medical field, I often worry when someone (particularly an older woman) loses their significant other, whom they have known or been married to for most of their lives.  My Grandparents have been together for 40+ years.  I just couldn't imagine how much of a basket-case I would be if I lost my husband after 40+ years of being inseparable
"The Broken Heart Syndrome", also called "Stress Cariomyopathy", is triggered when a traumatic event such as this occurs. Someone with this syndrome will have heart attack- like symptoms including chest pain, shortness of breath, etc. Women are 9 times more likely than men to have the broken heart syndrome, especially women 55 and older. No one quite knows why women are more likely than men...perhaps because we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves more-so then men.
Just thinking about my Grandparents and their amazing relationship, it just reminds me to not take my own life and relationship for granted.  I have a wonderful, loving husband, amazing children that I cannot get enough of, and I couldn't ask for a better life.  Don't take life so serious!  This is the time that we should be building lasting memories with our kids.  Pick your battles and show them more positive attention, no matter how mad they make you.  Don't nit-pick everything your significant other does, show more appreciation no matter what.  And don't let a day go by without telling your significant other and kids that you love them. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

 Have you ever had a feeling that something just wasn't right?
This evening before dinner, I decided to write out our Christmas cards...I know, I know, I shouldn't have waited until the last minute.  When I got to my Grandparents' card, I paused, not sure how I should address the card. My Grandfather has not been doing well lately, and the fact was that he could pass away at any time.  I held my breath and wrote out both of their names.  The rest of the evening went as planned with preparing dinner, eating, cleaning up, getting ready for work (I work nights), and leaving.  I decided to give my Grandmother a call since I haven't been able to get a hold of her for the last two days, and to my surprise, she answered.  First thing out of her mouth after "Hello", was "Grandpa's gone."
My heart sank.  We all knew that the time was coming, but you still can't ever prepare yourself for the news when you finally get it.  He lived a long, happy life of 90...91 in January.  He was such a great man, and will always be loved and missed very much.
Now as I sit here, I need to figure out how to tell my children that Great-Grandpa's passed away.  My children understand pretty well, in the basic terms anyhow, about death.  When someone dies, their heart stops beating, and they stop breathing, then their body goes to the cemetery while their spirit goes to heaven...
Some parents debate about whether it is appropriate to bring young children to viewings/funerals.  In the past, we have opted not to bring our children.  When my other Grandfather passed away earlier this year, we did take our youngest (about a year old at the time), but he was/is too young to understand. 
At what age would you take your children to a family member's viewing and/or funeral?

Friday, December 2, 2011

To be or not to be...a Stay-at-Home Mom

To be a 'Stay-at-Home mom' after your baby is born, is a big decision that you and your partner should discuss in advance.  Being a SAHM may sound amazing, but it also has it's downsides to consider. I stayed at home for a while after my 18 month old son was born...and I LOVED it!  I felt like I was so busy taking care of kids, driving to and from school, keeping the house clean, cooking all the meals, etc kept me so busy that I wouldn't be able to sleep if I went back to work! here I am.  Back to working full time AND all the other stuff.  My husband does help out with the housework and such, but I tell him that I would love it if I could have continued staying at home with the that bad? 
The main pro for staying at home that convinced us for me to stay at home was that I would be watching our kids and not a stranger.  We didn't want to do daycare, and family isn't a reality for 5 kids to babysit.  It makes a lot more sense for me to stay home than pay someone to watch all our kids.  Plus I really got a great chance to bond with not only our baby, but all the kids.
Having one income instead of two is hard (possible but hard). Budgeting is a must-do.  I try my hardest not to waste anything, including paper towels and food!  We might eat the same thing for dinner, then lunch AND dinner the next day...only if I made too much of something!  For my Little ones to eat a snack like gold fish on, I will rip a big paper towel in half.  Drives my husband crazy, but every penny counts!  Also, I cut coupons.  Highly recommend watching TLC's Extreme will make you want to cut coupons and save as much as you can!
A Pro AND Con is that your kids are ALWAYS with you.  It's great for bond and spending time together, but can be hard to get some 'adult time.' Even 4.5 seconds to go to the bathroom.  The bathroom in my bedroom is small, so when my little starts pounding on the door, I put something thin like a comb under the door.  He laughs and puts it back under.  Passing it back and forth will keep him occupied for at least a few minutes!
Many stay-at-home moms develop a loss of identity feeling.  You are no longer that party girl going out with your friends, or that workaholic, or student.  You are a Mommy and that's it.  Instead of fearing that you are loosing your own life, push yourself to be the best mother.  Do things with your children, do extra little things for your partner, research parenting tips, and just keep bonding with your children! 
What we do now with our children is only temporary, but will last a lifetime. 
What ways do you stay sane as a stay-at-home mom?

Surviving Picky Eaters

 "Picky eaters". Most toddlers are picky eaters, and mine definitely is one! Along with my other kids too! Here are some tips to survive your picky eaters:
  • Don't force your child to eat.  Making your child clean his or her plate could lead to overeating.  We usually give small potions and let them ask for seconds
  • Let them help.  My kids love to help me cook! Even if it's something as simple as putting the fish sticks on the pan.  They each take turns and when it's their turn they get to help cook, set the table, pass out food/drinks, and help with dishes. My kids are between the ages of 9 and 18 months, so I don't allow them to touch the stove or stove top.
  • Keep trying. My kids are more opt to try something new if it's off of my plate instead of their own! I let them try a bite then gladly get them a plate once they tell me they like it!
  • Fun! Kids love when their food is cut into different shapes or they have a yummy dip. 
  • Have a routine. My kids know that after school they have to eat something healthy like apples with peanut butter, then they can have a piece of candy.  Or that they have to eat dinner and be full FROM DINNER, then get dessert about an hour later.
Hope these tips are as helpful for you with your kids as they are with mine! It's normal to be a picky eater, but it doesn't mean to stop trying!  How do you get your picky eater to eat?

'Finding my own Shoes'

At two years old, I would dance around in my Great-Grandma's heels and pearls.  My mother would say, "I know you think you're being pretty, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would stop.
At six years old, I would pretend to be a teacher and educate my dolls.  My mother would walk into my room and say, "I know you think that you're smart, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would stop.
At ten years old, I would pretend I was the greatest singer.  My mother would walk into my room and say, "You may think that your voice is pretty, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would stop.
At fourteen years old, I would try to be the best person I could.  My mother would look at me and say, "I know you think you're a good person and daughter, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would try harder. 
At eighteen years old, I would work and go to college.  My mother would call just to say, "I know you think you're trying to better yourself, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would try harder.
At twenty-one years old, I would work, go to college, and take care of my baby.  My mother would say, "I know you think you're a good mother, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would try harder.
At twenty-seven years old, I AM pretty.  I AM smart.  I DO have a pretty voice.  I AM a great person and daughter.  I AM a great mother and now wife.  And....
Those ARE my shoes!

----Short story posted by Sarah Farris on the Columbus Creative Cooperative website.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Practical List for New Moms

Expecting a baby can be such an exciting time!  Exciting and stressful...
New moms can find basic lists of needed items for the new baby, but can waste tons of money on unused items. Many companies create such lists to get you to buy more things, but I have created a "Practical List for New Moms".
  • Crib and mattress~definitely a necessity!
  • Crib sheets
  • Mattress pad~to protect the mattress for those accidents that WILL happen!
  • Baby blankets/receiving blankets
  • Crib mobile~nice and keep the baby entertained for a bit, but not a necessity.
  • Cradle or Bassinet~again, nice but not a necessity.  Usually used while your newborn is still a newborn.
  • Changing table~Useless to some. Blessing to others. I personally used a changing pad where ever the time came.
  • Glider~great if you have the room!
  • Diapers~Obviously
  • Wipe warmer~nice to have.  We personally did not feel comfortable keeping it plugged in all the time.
  • Diaper bags with changing mat~MUST-HAVE!
  • Diaper pail~not a necessity.  We just bag the stinky ones up and throw them in the trash can outside.
  • Baby monitor~necessity depending on how big your house is, and if you will be outside while the baby is sleeping inside...
  • All safety gear~gates, outlet covers, cabinet latches, corner guards, etc.
  • Car seat with head support
  • Sun shades for car
  • Stroller~YES!! You WILL get tired of carrying your baby, and the stroller is great.  There are hundreds of different styles and types to fit your needs and what you like.
  • Swing~some babies like it while others don't.  There are full sized ones along with travel.
  • Jumperoo~my kids LOVED this~
  • Walker~never had one for any of my kids, but never really had room for this huge walker to roll along, and doesn't typically work well with carpet.
  • Exersaucers~ EXCELLENT! My kids loved it and keeps them entertained.

  • Pack-n-Play~ Love mine! Not only great for nap time while at the park, or Grandma's house, but also for those times you are trying to vacuum! 
  • Highchair
  • Carriers/Wraps~great depending on personal preference.  Loved mine!
  • Baby Gym/ Play mat~floor time is great for kids, and this helps encourage your infant to lift their head, strengthening the neck.
  • Bibs~help protect their clothes and save you changing your baby's clothes 34893458 times a day!
  • Bottles
  • Bottle Warmer~we had a portable one that you plug in the car.  LOVED it!
  • Bottle drying rack~Must-Have!
  • Bottle brush
  • Pacifiers~ great if your child takes one.  None of mine did.
  • Nail clippers
  • Digital Thermometer~Must-Have!
  • Baby bath tub
  • Baby towels/washcloths
If you are a breast-feeding mom, you will also need:
  • Breast pump
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream~you WILL need it!
  • Milk storage containers
  • Nursing Bra~for convenience
  • Boppy pillow~ considered a nursing pillow but also used to sit the baby up

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for....

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and right now millions of people are do all the prep work for the big feast.  A new hit show on FOX called "The X Factor" had the contestants sing a song dedicated to who they are thankful for the most.  It really was quite an emotional episode! But it also got me thinking about who I am most thankful for, and who I would be singing about if it were me up there.  The two people I am the most thankful for besides my children, is my loving husband and my amazing Great-Grandmother. 

My husband and I have been through a lot, and we are on an amazing journey of life together.  If it weren't for him, I'm not sure where I would be.  Lost.  He pushes me to be my best and supports me with whatever I want to do.  We compliment each other like peas and carrots....those go together right?  Or like meat and get the point.  Took a while, but the love of my life finally came into my life and here we are! 

My Great-Grandma, Nanny is what I called her, was so amazing.  She was the wonderful woman that influences me to be who I am.  Everyone loved her, and she had friends everywhere because of her kind and passionate personality.  I know that if she were alive today, she would be so proud.  She would love the additions I have brought into this family and would definitely be a big part of all our children's upbringing as she was in mine.  My children will never know directly what a wonderful person she was, but they will know.  As they get older, they will know the stories and see the pictures.  Deceased or alive, she will still have an impact on the lives of me and my family.

Who are you thankful for the most in your life?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Everyone has their own traditions for the holidays, but for Thanksgiving is all about the food!  Many famillies have the basic traditional foods for Thanksgiving like turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and rolls.  My family?  We like to put a twist on the tradional.  I discovered a surprisingly delicious twist to the tradional stuffing:

Apple Nut Stuffing
1/4 c. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
6 c. toasted bread cubes
3 c. peeled, diced apples
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. raisins
1/2 c. apple cider
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat your oven at 350.  Then melt butter in skillet and sautee the onions and celery until it is tender but not brown.  Transfer into a large bowl.
Add the bread cubes, apples, walnuts, raisins, cider and seasonings to the onion and celery mixture and mix well. 
Place in a baking dish.  cover and bake for about an hour and a half.


What are some ways that you and your family put a twist on your Thanksgiving meal?

Friday, November 18, 2011


So, I am so super excited that "The Twilight: Breaking Dawn" came out today! I am definitely a Twi-Mom all the way! If only I didn't work last night til 7:30 this morning which means sleeping several hours during the day, then have our house-full of kids, plus basketball practice on top of the every day stuff! Oh, sweet date night...when will you come? That's right. My poor husband gets dragged to every Twilight movie (and every chick flick I wanna see). Twi-Hards may want to cover their eyes while reading this next part...he actually fell asleep during The New Moon! Lol. That's true love. I said he had to come with me, not stay awake, right?

There's no 'Step' about it

Having a "blended family" myself, I can say that it's not always easy. There are lots of challenges and hurdles to get through. A lot of times, second marriages don't work out because the parents can't figure things out. I don't consider my husband's kids to be my step kids, but my Bonus Kids. I always wanted a big family and now I have one without having to give birth to half of them!
When first forming a blended family, the kids may tend to be cautious at first, which is normal. They may also go through an on and off phase with the Bonus Parent. Just be patient and keep showing them that you care. Younger children tend to adapt easier than older ones, who tend to be afraid of betraying the other parent's feelings. In time, everyone will adjust...some will take longer than others.
The Bonus Parent should step in as a parental figure, but don't over do it, especially at first. It is never a good idea to distant yourself from the children, and never force them to call you 'Mom' or 'Dad'. If they want to, they will. Children need good role models in their lives, so you can teach them to be respectful to you by showing them respect. Also, don't ever put the children in an awkward position by bad mouthing their parent(s). It will only make them want to go into defense mode and push you away too.
One of the most important thing is to make them feel loved. Really, thats what every child wants is to be loved. The very best thing for the children is when all parents and Bonus parent(s) work together and communicate. Communication is very important to avoid problems, such as who is picking the children up from school, extra-curricular activities, how the children are doing in school, etc. One-on-One time with each child will mean a lot to them, and make them feel special. Each parent and Bonus Parent should rotate One-on-One time with EACH child, not just with their own.
The most important advice is to stay connected with your partner. The children will adjust better and faster if they see their Bonus Partner and their parent happy and getting along. Avoid arguing infront of the children as well.
We believe that we were meant to be together, and that all of our children were meant to be on this earth as well. We may have started our lives on different paths, but came together as one to raise our children together with love and happiness.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dealing with ADHD in your child

Do you think your child has ADHD?  Also known as "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" is more common than you think among children, and even adults.  3-7% of children are diagnosed with ADHD, which is about 1-2 children in each classroom.

Symptoms of ADHD include but not limited to the following:

*making careless mistakes
*loses interest easily
*impulsively punches, hits, yells, etc
*seems angry all the time or if they don't get their way
*inability to listen or follow directions
*is distracted easily
*excessively hyper
*excessive talking
*impulsively interrupts

Other interesting facts about ADHD:

*A child with ADHD likely has a parent with the same disorder
*A person with ADHD is likely to have discipline problems
*25% of children with ADHD have serious learning disablilities
*Boys are more likely to have ADHD than girls
*People with ADHD are more likely to have relationship troubles with both peers and family

If you think that your child had ADHD, please ask your doctor for him or her to be tested.  While many doctors may suggest medication, there are other methods that can help tame ADHD that can be tried before medication, or even as well as using medication.

*Keep your child active.  Boredom often results in impulsive behavior, so keeping your child busy with activities, going places, etc can help control the impulsive behavior.
*Praising your child for their stregnths and doing so immediately instead of later.
*Stay organized is helpful so your child knows to exact snack right after school, or that bedtime is right at 9
*As hard as it is, you need to be patient with your child.  Don't rush or get will only cause your child to become more frustrated.
*Pick your battles!  If you know your child hates wearing a shirt with a collar, don't make him or her wear one every day!
*Practice good behaviors with your child.

Too much TV?

Don't get me wrong, The Doodlebops DVD is a blessing to keep my little one occupied while I get the dishes done, but "too much tv is not good for your child."  The tv should never be considered as a babysitter for long periods of time. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does NOT recommend for children under the age of 2 to watch ANY television.  It is considered a critical time for brain development in the first two years, which the child should learn through play and song instead of watching tv. 

If your child above the age of 2 is watching more than 1-2 hours of tv per day,  he or she is likely to not be very active.  If your child is less active, would rather watch tv than go outside and play, then he or she is at risk for being overweight as a child and or an adult. 

The best way children learn is through example.  As parents, we need to be the best example for our children and not living by the 'do as I say, not as I do' example.  Get your child involved!  There are tons of ways to be active with your will stimulate both your brain and theirs to spend an evening doing something besides watching tv!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From Toddler to Big Kid

This summer has definitely flown by, and now the busy school days have begun! Somewhere between the summer fun activities and the buying of school supplies, are our kids growing up a little more each and every day and even year. Children gain more and more independence right before our very eyes without any warning at all! Then one day it hits now have a big kid! When your child is learning how to be more independent, it is important to allow then to be independent as much as possible, even if it is hard for you as a parent to watch your baby need you less and less. I cannot promise you that it will be easy, and I cannot promise that you wont cry...I sure know I have my share plenty of times already!
My eyes get a little misty as I pull up next to the tall, brick building. My precious, little angel is off to start her very first day of the first grade. I put the minivan in park before turning it off. As I go to open my door and get out, a voice comes from the seat behind me.
"Mommy," my daughter says in a matter-of-fact voice. "I can walk up there by myself. You see, I am a big girl now. I am in the first grade. See you after school! I love you."
She then threw her overstuffed book bag onto the hot, dry ground like a sack of potatoes, and shut the door behind her. But before walking up to the sidewalk that lead into her school, I heard a knock at the passenger side window.
There was that precious face with an ear-to-ear grin. She blew me a kiss and excitedly ran to meet her friends that had been walking by. A tear ran down my face, then two.
When did my little baby girl become my independent big girl?
Was it between the diaper changes and feeding her pureed sweet potatoes?
Or was it when she moved into a big girl bed from her crib?
Maybe it was that very first day of Preschool...
Kids grow up so fast that you often sit and wonder where the time went! I am grateful that I am a picture fanatic, with thousands of pictures that have captured many memories that I can reminisce for years to come...

Ways to let your kids know you love them without saying it....

Have you ever looked at your child and thought to yourself that you are the luckiest person in the world to be the parent of your child or children? I'm sure that every parent has at one point or another, but maybe not show it often enough. Life can keep us busy, but still...every child wants to feel like they are the special one, no matter if you have one or twenty! Here are some ways to express how much you care:
1. Send notes to your kids.
My children LOVE that I write individual notes to go in their lunch boxes every day. Just a simple reminder for your child that you are thinking of them, even when they are at school. My first-grader loves to see who wrote her a letter today, and keeps track of who writes her notes the most that week!
2. 1:1 time.
Even though we have five children, my husband and I try our best to set aside one on one time throughout the day for each child. They enjoy being alone with us, even if it's going to be a short trip to the store.
3. Doing homework together.
Sit down with your kids while they do their homework. That way, if they need your help, you are right there. Your kids will be more prone to asking for help when you are right there instead of getting up and looking for you. Plus it's a great way to let your child know that you care not only about him or her, but also how they are doing in school and that they fully understand the material.
4. Take a class.
Whether its karate or a 'Mommy and me' class, the kids will love experiencing the "learning world" with you!
5. Communication is key.
A simple, "How was school today?" can let your child know that you care and that you want to hear about what's going on his their life as well. It opens the way for your child to actually tell you if something may be bothering him or her as well, and lead to better communication with each other in the (teenage) years to come!
By using these simple techniques, you will have an everlasting bonding foundation with your child. Even busy parents can do simple things that children will always remember. What are some special ways you show your child that you care?