Life Snapshot 2013 -part 2

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they don’t normally suck their fingers but caught them once and thought it was cute

After snack time, the girls watch “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” at 11 a.m. Let me just say, I really like this show. First of all, it’s a spin off of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood which was a childhood favorite of mine. Secondly, the lessons taught in each episode are incredibly relevant to toddler/preschool aged kids. Each episode has a little song that goes with the lesson that is super catchy (and not annoying) and easy for the girls to learn. They sing them ALL THE TIME around the house. 

Friends help each other, yes they do.

Friends help each other, yes they do, it’s true!

 

If you have to go potty STOP and go right away!

Flush and wash and be on your way!  (very helpful for potty training)

 

You have to try new foods ’cause they might taste goo-ood!

 

Find a way to play…together!

 

When you feel so mad that you wanna ROAR, take a deep breath and count to four! (Reilly has actually done this…)

 

These little songs really help in day to day interactions if there are conflicts and such. If I sing one of the songs that relates to the problem, it resonates with them and it’s like they have a mental picture of what they need to do. So I have no issues letting them watch this 25 minute show five days a week!

After the show is lunch time. Nothing too exciting. I would love to say I always feed them whole foods, but I at least try to opt for healthier versions of kid foods (nitrate/nitrite free beef hotdogs, all natural chicken nuggets, Annie’s mac ‘n cheese, pb&raisins, organic yogurt, fresh fruit, etc. Sometimes I read from the Jesus Storybook Bible while they eat, sometimes I am feeding Karis at the same time, and sometimes I actually get to eat lunch myself!

After lunch, Halle is supposed to have room time while Reilly and I do some type of learning activity together. This is kind of hit or miss. Sometimes I just let the girls play together if Karis needs my attention or I am working on a cleaning job. Reilly really loves when we do things one-on-one though. She just soaks up the solo attention! And she is super smart too. She is much more active by nature than Halle so she will be more inclined to want to incorporate some physical activity into what we’re doing, but when she has my attention by herself she will actually sit still pretty well too.

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can you do this?

From 12:30-1:30 the girls pretty much have free play. Reading, pretending, play-do, coloring, crafts, etc. are all in the mix during this time. Karis is always awake at this time too so it can get kinda crazy! I am so glad warmer weather has finally arrived. I imagine we will be spending this block of time outside most days.

1:30 is nap time! WOOHOO! 🙂 Usually all three will line up and I’ll get a couple hour break, but lately it seems like someone is always waking early/not sleeping and that break hasn’t been happening…but I think that has been partly due to us being sick the last couple weeks and Reilly being without her paci (shortened naps). Hopefully we find our ‘nap groove’ again soon. I plan on enforcing rest time indefinitely. Once Halle is 5, I think we’ll probably change her over completely to rest time (although now, she sort of does that already some days….she probably sleeps 70% of the time but not always). To me, an hour of quiet and rest for everyone is beneficial no matter what age you are.

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Life Snapshot – Halle 3.75 yrs, Reilly 2.5 yrs, Karis 7 mos

I have been thinking more about what my purpose for blogging is. I’ve realized that my primary goal is to document the things I am learning – about God, life, motherhood, marriage, etc – so that I will never forget all the ways God has been faithful to me AND so that my children can look back someday and see His provision and goodness in a way that is relevant to them.

I want to periodically give little ‘snapshots’ of life as it is in our home. Perhaps one day it will help my daughters when they become mothers and go through the same things. And I’m quite certain that it will encourage me as I look back and realize how God carried us through these times and brought us out on the other side a bit more like Jesus.

OUR DAY

Let me just say I am thankful for the principles of Babywise and the fact that I learned to set bedtime and wake up time for the girls when they were very young. Of course, when they were babies still nursing during the night I would feed them if they woke early, but then I’d put them right back in bed and wake them up later at our ‘desired wake time.’ For us, we’ve been on a 8:30 pm – 8:30 am schedule for quite a while. Reilly used to be an earlier riser by nature, but since she and Halle have started sharing a room she’s been content to stay in bed quietly until time to get up. In theory, I would like to get up before the girls so I can get a head start on the day, but I don’t usually do that. I am a sleeper…Josh will attest to that. When he goes in to work around 6 a.m., he always kisses me goodbye and I’m usually still comatose. 🙂

Okay, so if Karis is still sleeping around 8:30, I will get H & R up first. That is actually one of my favorite times of the day. I walk in with a cheerful “Good Morning!” and am greeted with happy smiles and “Good morning, Mommy!” Halle will usually then remind me of the routine. “Mommy, lets change our diapers (pull up for her), then we can get dressed, and then we can eat breakfast!” They are super excited when I get K up and practically attack her with hugs and head rubs. What a way to wake up for a baby! 🙂

Good morning! ha!

Good morning! ha!

So, diapers are changed (x3), breakfast if fixed (usually cereal, oatmeal, eggs, and/or fruit), and I nurse Karis. Some days I eat breakfast, but some days I don’t get a chance until they have snack time later. If I got up earlier, I could eat then…but honestly, I’d rather sleep. ha.

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Sometimes the girls will watch Super Why on PBS at 9, but lately they haven’t been interested so we just play.  We try to do a quick ‘chore time’ either right after breakfast, or as soon as K goes down for her morning nap at around 10. H & R will help me gather up dirty laundry, put away clean laundry, wash windows (their favorite – they love wiping the bubbles on the glass), do a quick pick up of the play room or dining room, or help put clothes in the washer/dryer.  Sometimes one or both of the girls will help willingly, sometimes not. On the non-cooperative days, I have to give a reminder that if you don’t help the ‘team’ you don’t get to play (ex: You cannot play with your puzzles until you do your part to help clean up). I try to stay very positive and talk about teamwork a lot, and we usually end up singing the theme song from WonderPets – “What’s gonna work? Teeeeamwork!” What’s gonna work? Teeeeamwork! Yay!” My expectations for ‘helping’ are not high. I just want willing helpers. Sometimes the windows end up with streaks and fingerprints even after the girls ‘wash’ them, but if they are doing it happily and trying to contribute, that’s ok!

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helping with laundry

Whatever time is left before 10:30 (snack time) is play time. H & R are really into imaginative play and pretending to be various characters from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood usually. I love watching them play together and they really are peaceful most of the time. When there are scuffles, if Halle is the instigator I will usually ask, “Did ______ make her happy or sad/mad?” If she says sad/mad, then I will ask, “What should you have done instead?” And then we talk about a better solution. If Reilly is the instigator, there is a little less talk and I will usually just direct her to give the stolen toy back or play with something else.

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it is not unusual for someone to still be in jammies late in the morning

Snack time is at 10:30 – usually raisins, almonds, orange, or banana.

Okay – I will do this in three parts – morning/midday/evening. This is getting way too long.

Endings & Beginnings

Ending: Reilly’s love affair with her pacifier.

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Beginning: Life as a “big girl” – though tonight when Josh tucked her in he said, “Reilly, you’re a big girl now, aren’t you?” She replied, “No, I’m a little girl.” I like that answer. 🙂

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I love the magic of the pacifier. But I hate what it takes to break the addiction! If it wasn’t weird for a 5 year old to sleep with a pacifier, or if it didn’t mess with her jaw alignment, I totally would have let her keep it longer. As soon as we bring out the blankie and paci at nap time or bedtime, she is as good as asleep. She could be bouncing off the walls 10 seconds earlier, but put that plug in her mouth and the blankie on my shoulder and she lays her little head down and snuggles me. No nap or bedtime battles for her. The paci is just her signal that it’s time.

I tried getting rid of it back in January. We talked about it, she understood, she agreed that she could sleep without it….that lasted about 5 minutes into nap time. Then the screaming and wailing ensued. For a LONG time. So I finally got her up and went on with our day. I was determined not to give the paci back. Bedtime rolled around and I thought, surely she will be so exhausted from having skipped her nap (which was a first ever) that she will just conk out pretty quickly. Nope. She screamed and cried for….a LONG time. No consoling, no reassurance of special treats for big girls in the morning….nothing would calm her down. So I caved. Gave the paci back and I kid you not, she was instantly happy and fell asleep within minutes.

This time, I worked up my resolve for a couple more months. Ha! Then I sent Halle to spend the night at my parents’ house so she wouldn’t have to endure the crying that was certain to come at bedtime (since they share a room). And rather than starting at nap time, we started at bedtime this go around. We talked about it all evening and *encouraged* (or bribed…?) her with the hope of chocolate chip pancakes and ice cream (actually smoothies but she doesn’t know the difference) for a reward in the morning. We praised her for being such a big girl and told her we were so proud of how brave she was, prayed with her for Jesus to help her sleep well, etc…

After I tucked her in last night, she started crying immediately after I left the room. Josh went in after about 15 minutes and held her for a few minutes, then tucked her back in. She cried for about 25 more minutes, then stopped abruptly and slept soundly for the next 11.5 hours.

She was so proud of herself in the morning and we made pancakes and smoothies and that was that. She hasn’t cried for nap time or bedtime today at all. I am so happy to have that behind us. I knew we needed to do it and it was hanging over my head for the past several months. I admit I will miss the paci-face and the way she talked with it in. 😦 We are now officially a paci-free household because Karis never got attached to it and didn’t use one at all past 3 months.

Reilly is such a gift to us. She is so spunky and funny. She makes us laugh all the time and has a smile that is contagious. She is smarter than a whip (what does that actually mean…is a whip smart?) and still seems like my little baby girl. I love watching her grow into a little girl and seeing her personality bloom.

And just for fun, here she is at 2 days old. *Sigh*

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Next up, potty training!

-Brit

Spring Fever

Like most fellow mid-westerners, we are so ready for Spring here! We had a lovely warm-ish day  last week so we all went out for a walk. We live in a nice, quiet neighborhood with very little traffic so the girls are free to run and walk alongside us when they want to.

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For the second lap, Halle wanted to ride, and looking at her so big in the jogger made me think back to when we took her for walks as a baby in the same stroller… *sigh.* She’ll be four in May.

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And Karis is going to experience her first ever Spring. 🙂 Possibly first steps, trying to eat grass, cute sun hats, bare toes and chubby legs.

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And LOTS of running around being silly!

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-Brit

Laughing with My Girls

Sometimes I really need some ‘silly’ knocked into me. I like to think I have a good sense of humor, but truth be told, most people who know me would classify me as a typically “serious” person. Serious can be good – after all, this being a wife and mommy thing is serious business. But silly can be good too. Seriously good.

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 Tonight I got down on the floor and acted silly with Halle for the first time in too long. I laughed so hard!

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As I watched her squeal and giggle in classic 3 year-old girl fashion, I felt sorry for all the times I’ve missed this same opportunity. Too many times I’ve said “no” to laughing with my girls because I had something more less important to do.

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Lately, we’ve noticed Halle being in a very disagreeable mood more frequently. I think I found out the root cause of that tonight. She needs to see more joy in her mama.

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Oh, I absolutely do feel joy inside – every day, but regrettably I’m not communicating that to my girls in a language they can understand. My little girls don’t need to hear me talk more about being thankful and full of joy, they need to see me laugh. That is the language of joy to a 3 year old.

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  Monkey see, monkey do, right? Okay, or in human terms, more is caught than taught.

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I’m praying for the Lord to remind me every day, all day that these girls need a joyful mama and home filled with laughter. This is not a burden, but a lovely gift. What better job could I ask for?

What things do you do with your kids that gets everyone belly-laughing? Aren’t these the memories we want to be making?

-Brit