Posts tagged #Parenting

Confronting Another Parent In Defense Of Your Child

Let’s face it, we all get defensive with our own kids. Our natural response would look to justify and understand our child’s behavior. If the communication from the other parent came in the form as a text or email it is so difficult to understand their tone and feelings when writing it. You may think you are writing something positive or adding a joke to keep it light but the person on the other end might not take it that way.

Posted on September 16, 2018 and filed under Family, Parenting, School.

When Siblings Fight

I'm not usually one of those Moms that gets excited for back to school. I love the time I have together with my kids and I'm trying to take it all in and what time they have left being young. This summer was a little... well... we will call it different.

What a Parent of a Congenital Heart Warrior Wants You to Know

I wrote this blog post about 2 years ago but in honor of CDH awareness I thought it would be a good repost.

For the most part I try to be optimistic, but I can only be that way for so long until something breaks inside of me and I am just pissed. I get angry when people say the wrong things even though it's with the best intentions and love.

We recently discovered our soon to be third little girl has a heart condition just like her older sister. I got through the crying and depressive stage pretty fast but the anger side of grief is not ready to pass. I am tired of the responses from people looking from the outside in. I just really don't want to talk about the situation but people want to push and say things like "it will all work out" or "you've been through this before so you've got this" and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". These all seem like uplifting things to help a grieving parent but they don't help.

The killer one that really turns in my stomach is "God only gives us what he knows we can handle." As someone who has found Christ through my struggles, I find this statement to be false. I do think certain things happen to us with purpose, despite how awful they might be. Regardless, things happen that go beyond the laws of what we can handle and sometimes it does break us. It can break us in tragic ways where one takes their own life and it can break us in smaller ways, where one suffers deep down inside where no one else can see. This is not strength. This is change and not always for the better.

I know that how I'm feeling in the NOW can be off putting and make some people want to turn away. I don't blame them.

I'm struggling.

But please, put your advice aside and just be there when I'm ready to talk. Even if I am never ready to talk, that's okay because sometimes I can talk things out just on my own.

We recently raised funds for our annual Congenital Heart Walk in Chicago. This was the first year that Bella really understood what we were walking for and why. Yes, I walked at 38 weeks pregnant!

Holding her sister's hand as she proudly walked for herself!

What a Parent of a Congenital Heart Warrior Wants You to Know

1) Just because they've had corrective surgery does not mean they are cured.

2) The first time your child starts complaining of chest pain your world starts to feel like it's caving in.

3) We can be strong and make this look easy but deep inside we are screaming with anxiety.

4) As much as we try not to, we hoover. It's just something we do and we are always on the lookout for something so please don't judge.

5) We blame ourselves. Maybe just in the beginning. Maybe for years. We always question if there was something we could have done differently. Sometimes even after the guilt has gone away it starts to creep back.

6) This is a lifelong battle not just for our kids, but for us as a family and as parents.

7) We pray our children will out live us.

8) This never gets easier to deal with. We live with the constant awareness of the path ahead.

9) Strep throat and other illnesses are scary... Rheumatic fever can affect the heart even in patients that don't have any heart conditions. It can significantly complicate existing heart defects and conditions and all of this from the common strep throat.

10) We are fighters, too. We fight the feelings to cry, to freak out and rush to the ER when something goes wrong. We fight ourselves to stay calm and be brave so our kids can be.

11) We get angry. We get angry that we are up against CHD and it can be a ruthless fight and it impacts the quality of life in all members of the family.

12) It changes the family dynamic. It changes the way we are towards one child over another and everyone picks up on this. Everyone in the family feels this battle.

Thank you for listening and thank you for just being there:)

Baby number 3 is due in less than a week and I hope to have some cute baby pictures soon!!!

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An Old Fashioned Childhood and the Helicopter Mom

When I think back at the childhood I had, it was filled with outside play and sometimes hours of boredom. I didn't have the endless hours of searching the internet or the fast pace of social media. If I wanted to communicate with my friends it was a phone call on the house line or a bike ride (or roller blade) to their house to see if they were home. Those were the days of simplicity. Those were the days that kids played outside all day long until the sun came home and Mothers were not accused of neglect if the kids were unsupervised at the playground. This post is probably going to be a bit more serious than most of what I usually post. This is something that weighs heavy on my heart and I'm not holding back from showing you my biggest fears and a little bit of anxiety craziness that perhaps I have kept under wraps.

There is so much going on in our world today and I want my kids to have the opportunity to slow down. I don't want them glued to their phones checking Facebook statuses every hour. I want them to find ways to occupy themselves that forces them to become creative and think outside the box.

I don't want my children to be influenced by the age of information and social media.
Hypocritical I know, coming from a communications and emerging media major.

At the same time I want my kids to have an old fashioned childhood, our society and the dangers are more present than they were 30 years ago. Human trafficking is much more of a thing and not just international but here in the U.S. It's a big business with little risk and huge income. Did you know that nearly 80% of sex-trafficking victims are American born U.S. Citizens? I truly feel this is an issue that doesn't get enough attention today and I'm not exactly sure why. Is it because we don't want to believe this kind of thing goes on, we don't want to visualize the horror of young children being kidnapped for this purpose? It's hard to swallow as a parent of 2, soon to be 3, little girls. So how do we balance shelter and space with our children?

My sitter watches my youngest once a week while I make the trek into the weekly office visit to let everyone know I still work there. I usually drop off my littlest after I take the oldest to school. The babysitter is a school mom and has three kids, including one in my daughter's grade. I nearly had a heart attack when I dropped my kids off at the babysitters early and she had to take one of my kids to school instead of myself. My daughter is in Kindergarten. My fear was that she wouldn't walk my child directly to the school door. I know, helicopter mom. I was afraid she would just let my daughter walk with her kids, two of which my daughter has never met... What would be the dangers of that? My anxiety and over reaction kicked in as I thought of all the possibilities of my daughter not arriving to school that day. I would not be able to visually verify her walking through those school doors. I was a crazy wreck because of the dangers our society presents. Not because I didn't trust this Mom. I didn't trust the world around us.

She did end up walking them all that day and even if she didn't I'm sure it would all be fine. But still, I just want to shelter and protect my child. What is ironic is that growing up I lived only 4 house down from a known and convicted child molester, who was a repeat offender. Still, I was allowed to play outside and run between each neighbor's yards as if the danger was not present. Perhaps my children can still live the carefree old fashioned childhood, just under the loving shelter of our home.

I recently read this article about why a parent does not allow sleepovers for their children. Not even with family members. At first, I thought this idea was a bit extreme but then after really thinking about it I'm never really at ease when my children are away from the home. They often sleep over at their Nana and Papa's house and I'm very comfortable with that. As a person who usually leaves her phone at the bottom of her purse and can hardly be reached on the weekends because I just like to unplug, I always have my phone by my side when the children are a way.

The article does open a world of the possibilities and dangers that are present when a child is away from home during the overnight hours. They're much more vulnerable to these dangers at a sleepover. What I appreciate is the author points out the not so typically dangers that seem to be more than not, the situations we don't necessarily think of. Were these dangers present when I was a child, absolutely. Can these risks be possible even in the care of a child's own family, yes. The point is to minimize these risks and I think I will do the same.

I hope to shelter my children, so what little they do have left of a childhood they can enjoy the old fashion way. I hope to shelter them just enough to protect them but not hover... Maybe just a little. I want then to climb trees and scrape their knees. I want them to come home with dirt between their nails and an amazing adventure to tell.

What do you think about sleepovers? If you do allow them at what age is it okay?

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The Favorite One

It's always a question us Moms hate to admit. As a Mom of two young girls, I've always believed that no Mom could get along with all of her children equally. I'm not talking about loving your children, I'm talking about getting along with them. I do believe that Moms love all their children to the same extent. But, when it comes to who we actually get along with, there are kids that are more drawn to their parents than others.

For starters, my girls are still pretty young (5 and 2 1/2 years old). They are just developing their personalities and my oldest just started kindergarten. I can't honestly say in my heart that there is one that I'm drawn to the most at this point in time, but I'm not dumb to the fact that it may very well happen.

Growing up, we always knew who the favorite sibling was. I don't think my Mom loved them anymore than me but she had her favorite. He was a favorite to everyone in the family, which is why I didn't blame her. I don't believe I've ever let it really affect me. I don't hold any jealousy or resentment about it. It just is what it is.

So... with all that being said, how does a Mother deal with the grandparent’s favorite? How does the parent deal when a grandparent favors one grandchild over another, especially when the two opposing kids are both your children? This is something I have been struggling with, trying to wrap my brain around. It's hard because it's hurtful to my daughter. 

I hate for my child to have to go feeling unloved by their grandparent. It's devastating when it's so present and you feel the heartbreak as it's happening right before your eyes but what do you say? It's not like one is spoiled with more gifts than the other. It's so simple that it can be objected and denied. It's in the way one looks, talks, responds and physically shows affection.

When I child goes to hug a grandparent and they don't receive a hug back, what is the child to do? It's hard when you see it and its even heart wrenching when the kids acknowledge it, too. 

I wish a gentle conversation would work in this situation but it hasn't and at this point I can't force someone to feel something they don't. So it is what it is. I'm a strong believer in people creating their own situations and this will unfortunately stick with my daughter. 

One day, when they wake up and realize the situation they have created, they have no one else to blame but themselves because you can't expect a young child to develop and cope with these type of feelings like an adult would. We all make our own beds and the reactions we have to other people are what we have to live with. We can't expect a situation to be one way when we are not willing to work for it.

What would you do in a situation like this?

Posted on September 17, 2014 and filed under Family, Parenting.

The things kids say

Elephant surviving a coma, leafy sea reporters and dragon survivor.....

These are all names of trees according to my 5 year old scientist.

You see, she loves science, loves learning and love making up her own things.. like tree names.

We were on a walk to the park the other day, mini legal pad and pencil in hand, she started drawing out the shapes of the trees and spouting out their imaginary names.

"I'm a Scientist, Daddy!" She corrected him so sternly when he called her something else. 

For now, she wants to be a scientist. I can tell that she is drawn to how things work and are made. She is enthralled with nature and love spending time in our vegetable garden. 

I'm not sure what a leafy sea reporter is but I imaging it looks something like this?

Perhaps she got that one mixed up with the Leafy Sea Dragon?

Picture found here

It's better than TV or my favorite show. To sit and experience her creative little mind just go off and be. She is hysterical to me and it's amazing to see these little people start to grow up.

Posted on August 26, 2014 and filed under Family, Parenting, Happy Mama.

A Third Child?

I don't know if I'm ready for it and I'm not sure about it in general. After your second child, with two girls, people ask you "are you going to try for a boy?" I used to think I wanted a big family, with lots of kids and lots of love. I equated the amount of children you had with how fulfilled you would feel. The NUMBER started at 5, than crept down to 4. After my second, the hubby and I finally agreed upon 3... maybe.

Our first child was easy. We had it made. Despite the fact that at 7 days old she had heart surgery and we experience a tremendous amount of unexpected stress, which I'm still in therapy for today, we had it pretty dang good once the dust settled. She slept through the night at almost a month old. She never had any feeding problems, was in good health otherwise. She grew up to be the sweetest little girl, only occasionally testing her parent's limits. She followed directions and hardly threw tantrums....

That's when number two came along. That is when all hell broke loose, including my water bag at 28 weeks. I was on bed rest for 4 weeks while we held off the labor and she came at 32 weeks. Ryleigh was a preemie but didn't look like it since she was a large baby, 5lbs! We thought, since again we experienced tremendous unexpected stress, that GOD was granting us with another easy baby. We were terribly wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I love my children so much, but number Two has been more of a challenge than we expected. In addition to a new baby my oldest started having more tantrums. I remember looking at my husband, with two screaming/crying children and thinking what the hell happened to us. I have learned to laugh through the tantrums and the outbreaks, although I'm not sure it's helpful on the children but it keeps my sanity. I know that this too is a season and will pass.

So here we are, 2 and a half years later, confronted with the idea of having another. Ryleigh still drinks a sippy cup of almond milk before bed (it's the substitute for bottle we were supposed to wean her off of at 12 months) but we are trying. We have done everything wrong with our second and I feel insecure with our parenting decisions. I am sweating through answering another question about the third.

So do we shoot for a third? I don't know anymore. It changes on a day to day basis. It doesn't necessarily have to do with the kid's behavior.
I think about how we could be done with diapers soon.
I think about not needing a minivan, although it would be nice.
I think about just being over that baby stage.

But then I think about how warm and wonderful it felt to have a little someone inside of me and how wonderful it would be for Bella and Ryleigh to have a little brother or sister.

I will just have to wait until I know. Do you ever really know, though? Can someone please let me know how they knew when enough was enough?

They are so precious together!

Healthy Weight Loss Update

I wanted to give an update on how The Fast Metabolism Diet: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight
is going... extremely well! The first couple of days were hard to kick my caffeine addiction but this week has been really enjoyable.

I had amazing results last week that I am almost intimidated to post because most people will say it's too much for one week. I promise I did nothing but eat healthy and according to Haylie's plan. I lost 10 pounds in the first week!! I really couldn't believe it myself.

Read the book for yourself and see if this is something for you. Find the book here...

I'm still a little insecure to post full on pictures of the progress but I'm working myself up to that:).

*This post contains my affiliate link that helps support my family. The opinions and experiences expressed are entirely my own.

If you like what you see today, please follow along subscribe by email 
Posted on May 28, 2014 .

Big decisions: homeschooling?

Sedona, AZ
It's been busy, that's for sure!! I guess that's what happens when both parents go back to school full time!!! I've had a two week break from classes and I start my next class in a week.

So what's new?.....

  • The family took a vacation to Arizona in November! 
  • Ry turned ONE last month!!
  • The juicing diet has been successful so far.
  • I've decided to make all efforts to arrange homeschooling for my little learners!
Montezuma's Castle, AZ
I don't have any school age children just yet, but I have noticed my child's pre-k learning abilities. I have both girls in an in-home daycare, that I have thought really long and hard about. I trust this daycare and the children are all so nice. 

There is just one thing that bothers me, her care givers comparison of my girls to the other kids. I understand that there might be some brilliant 4 year old, that can read chapter books already, but that is not my kid. I mean, are 4 year olds suppose to read? This really isn't that serious of a concern and trust me I have spent hours looking into the right care facility. The point is, it bothered me and then I realized, this is exactly what is going to happen in a public school system. The word system makes me cringe.

Fall fests are the best!
So I looked into my options and after a few unsettling documentaries (Waiting for Superman), I realized this was my calling and right as the mother of my children. I want to home school  I wanted to be a school teacher at one point but realized it was more about classroom and behavior management than the education. That's not how I want my children to experience learning.

I've been working really hard with my 3 1/2 year old on her ABC's, with a little pressure from other people's opinions. I need to learn not to let the pressure of others affect my decisions on how I want to educate. Despite that downfall, Roo has really caught on and enjoyed the education! The 20 minute sessions here are there have made all the difference and have kept our passion for it alive. I think it also helps that she watches her Daddy and I do homework each week and wants to feel involved. This is the best benefit of being in school while raising kids, maybe one of the only!
I've got the road map in my head and hopefully, within the next couple years this could be a real possibility! Until then... hard work, finish my husband and I's free college education (provided by my very generous employer) and make our free time with the kids filled with a passion for learning and education! 

Since the girls are not in a structured academic daycare, I will have to work on the preschool curriculum on my own for now! How fun!!

Here are some pictures of the past couple months....

Loving the fall

We started Roo in a gymnastics class that is perfect for her!!

Tinkerbell didn't like Captain's hook

Posted on December 27, 2012 .

Stories from the potty

I think I can officailly saw we have done it!! After a long year, ups and downs we have mastered the toilet.

What worked for us.....

~3 day system: A method of training that supposedly only takes 3 days. While it worked for the most part, the keep up definitely doesn't stop there.
~Bare bottom baby: During the day, while at home, allowing are daughter to go naked from waist down was a big help. You just need to make sure you vacuum every morning.
~Musical Potty: My daughter was so thrilled and it gave her that extra encouragement she needed. It was like play time to her!
~Staying in: Is a lot easier then going out. You know exactly how far and how long it takes to get to the bathroom.
~Carpet cleaner: It's a messy deal. The first couple of days I felt like I followed her around with a squirt bottle. Make sure the cleaner is child friendly.
~Big girl undies:She is always looking to be like mommy, and explaining that this is how big girls do it gave her that motivation. We bought underwear with her favorite characters: Dora, Minnie Mouse.
~Just letting it go: Realizing that it wont happen all at once and being able to laugh about it is always positive.

What didn't work...
~Training pants: They are the same as diapers, when I put them on Bella I found they only encouraged her to pee in them.
~Musical potty: It became a game after awhile and she would tinkle just a little bit to make the music go off. It got pretty annoying so we took the musical part off.
~Over exciting events: she would become distracted and forget she had to go potty. In the beginning we limited these event or put a diaper on her just in case. It's a losing battle in the beginning of training.
~Daycare: We had to put her in daycare about mid way through and that only back tracked her. how do you really know if they are paying attention. you would hope, but it didn't look like it. She didn't have a single success with a trip to the toilet while she was in daycare for 4 months.
~3 day system: It takes a lot longer then that and the up keep of it all is for months!!!

Things to keep in mind...
~Trial and Error
~It's a messy deal
~Patience, patience, and more loving patience
~Negativity in any form (feedback and punishment) is only going to discourage and make them fearful of a natural thing.
~Make it fun
~There will still be set backs even after your think you have done it
~Always keep an extra pair of undies and pants with you at all times
~If you first don't succeed, try, try again.
~It's harder than changing diapers
Posted on September 8, 2011 .

I'm going to be a working Mom

At first, I thought I was just terrified to go back to work. I got a sick feeling in my gut the days following the official offer letter. It has been two years since I worked full time in a serious career. I feared, I'd lack the drive and motivation I once had. I questioned my decision over and over and only began to doubt more when we went looking at daycares.

"Is this the right decision?" I don't know. I'm tired of worrying about money and our old cars and all the problems. I had hoped I could stay at home until all of our child(and the future children, that haven't even been born yet) was in school, but it doesn't look that way and I am disappointed.

When it comes down to it, that is what has given me the uneasy nerves. I almost feel as if I failed at "our" plan.

The funny thing is, this job opportunity is amazing and I didn't even dream of these benefits or salary they have offered me. I have been extremely lucky and blessed with this great new circumstance but my own selfishness has gotten in the way.

I'm really excited now, to start my new job on Monday! I've got my motivation back and I look forward to all the things I will be able to provide for my family. Weekends off are great too and we will have some fun quality time together.  Now we will be able to take our trip, this coming holiday season, to visit family in Arizona!

Posted on May 1, 2011 .