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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Get To Know The "BFBN"

If you've been reading my blog for awhile then you've probably been made aware that I'm a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network. We are a group of bloggers who often do themed days or guest post on each other's blogs. More than that though, this group of AMAZING women have become close friends for me and have provided endless insight into both Babywise and blogging. Today we are devoting the day to sharing more about WHAT the Babywise Friendly Blog Network is and WHO we are!

Let's first cover: What exactly is this whole "BFBN" thing???

In 2007, I started by blog in order to help parents with their Babywise questions. The internet was not a friendly place for Babywise inquiries and I wanted to be a voice for people who needs help and encouragement. 
Four years later, in 2011, I wanted to expand that vision just beyond myself. Hearing from one person who does Babywise is nice, but wouldn't several be even better? So I started the Babywise Friendly Blog Network. My vision was to have a group of bloggers who all follow Babywise who could work together to create one massive resource collectively for Babywise parents. Everyone has different life experiences in general, and this is especially true in parenting. Among all of us, we could more fully address the needs of parents out there. 
Nearly 6 years later, the Babywise Friendly Blog Network (BFBN) is stronger than ever! We have had so many great bloggers join over the years and we have a fantastic group today.
When I started my blog I was pregnant with Kye (2008) and hadn't even heard of Babywise. Once I read the book (when he was around 3 weeks old) I was SOLD. However, I found it difficult to actually implement the Babywise techniques by just reading the book. I needed help and that's when I discovered Valerie's Blog. It is THE reason I've been so successful in using Babywise with all three of my children. Her blog is an invaluable Babywise resource and a few years ago when she personally contacted me about joining the BFBN I was beyond excited and thrilled. Valerie is someone I look up to so much and to  be included in such a tight knit group with her is such an honor! 

Members have come and gone over the years, but the friendships have stayed strong. I'm so thankful for these women. It's a blessing and a gift to learn so much from others who have walked similar paths and who have similar goals in their parenting. It's been so great for our readers too! When parents come to one of us with a Babywise question, we can help them through many resources and perspectives. While we aren't in a baby stage right now, once we have another baby at home I know all of these blogs will be SO helpful to me!!!

Ready to find out just who makes up this awesome group? I'm providing a bit of info about each of my fellow members (I'm assuming y'all know who I am and what I'm about ha!) as well as some links to Babywise related contact from each of them too! 

Valerie blogs over at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. She has 4 children (Brayden age 12, Kaitlyn age 10, McKenna age 8 and Brinley who is almost 5). She lives in Utah and has a degree in English with a degree in technical writing. She loves to sing, organize, watch football and direct musicals. All of my group of friends who do Babywise refer to her simply as "THE Babywise Mom." She knows her stuff y'all
Carrie blogs at Wiley Adventures. She is married to Kyle and has four children (Laure Kate age 9, Shepherd age 6, Fischer age 4 and Archer who is 2). She is passionate about raising kids to be world changers, surviving by a good routine and schedule and loving God and people. She is a girl after my own heart who loves Disney and is actually a Disney travel agent! I'd love to visit Disney together at some point and keep suggesting a BFBN meet up at the happiest place on earth ;) 
Cole's blog is called Twinning Babywise but it's about SO much more than just twins or just Babywise ;) She has 4 kids as well (man I need to hurry up with my 4th kid huh?) and their names and ages are: Vera (4), Abel (2), Mercedes and Samuel (1). She lives in San Diego and loves to cook and read. She's just survived the first year of twin hood as well as having four kids three and under so she also miiiiight deserve a trophy of some sort ;) I love Cole's writing style and her blog is always a fun and insightful read. 
Katrina blogs at Mama's Organized Chaos. She has Caroline who is 2 1/2 and is also expecting her second child this December! Her blog has been such a flashback to me of the days where I could focus on just one child and it's great to have her perspective in the group as so many of us have multiple kids and don't always remember life before the crazy ;) She's a former engineer and high school chemistry teacher and now is a stay at home mom. She's very passionate about breastfeeding, cloth diapering, making her own baby food, baby wearing, and sleep-training/ scheduling (proof that crunchy Babywise mama's do exist! Ha!)
Kim blogs at Team Cartwright. She's married to Pat and has three children: Benjamin (3) and Alison and Samantha (17 month old identical twins). Her goal is to help parents find solution that work for them and fit into each family's individual priorities. She's a former chemist and accountant and is very passionate about helping people embrace STEM fields and get past their fears of math and science. 

Natasha blogs at Let's Be Brave. She lives in Texas and is married to Gary. She's a foster/adoptive mom as well as an IVF mama too. She is a CPS and adoption lawyer in Texas. She has four children (Laurel age 6, Bennett age 5, Christopher age 2 and Everly age 2 months). Her calling is so awesome and reading her blog has been so inspiring for me while we walk our path of adoption. She brings such a different perspective to the table and I'm thankful to have her as a great resource!
Caitlin blogs at Rogers Party of 5. She is married to Ben and has three children (Theo age 3 1/2 as well as Josie and Margo who are 16 month old twins). She is a former music teacher with a masters in flute performance. She loves to eat healthy (who lists kale and quinoa as favorite foods?!?!) but also loves a good fancy cupcake (all about that balance!). She is not a sugarcoater type person (which y'all know I'm all about) and strives to make her blog a judgement free zone. Caitlin is our newest member and she's already added so much to our crew! 
If you're in the Babywise trenches then this post should fill you with hope: you are NOT ALONE! You have all of us who have gone through it ourselves and who love to share our personal insight and experiences! Be sure to visit all of my fellow Babywise Friendly Blog Network friends and next time you see "BFBN" you'll know what it means and who it includes! ;) 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Recap Week 3

Week 3 of summer covers May 27th - June 2nd! Zach and I were in Mexico for most of this week and you can see those posts here: Part 1 and Part 2.  Here is everything else that went on that week:

Kye spent Thur and Fri night with Courtney and Brad and then Saturday he went with Aunt Karen. They had a BLAST. They went golfing together all day Saturday which lead to a whole lot of downtime for Kye in which he ended up texting me a lot ;) It was pretty adorable!

After golfing they went to a friend's lake house and Kye got to swim in the lake and catch minnows (I guess it was a random decision to go out there b/c he was wearing his golfing shorts haha)

I mean he sent me this pic and said "look at my cool minnow" and I responded that it looked really cool, but also really dead haha

Aunt Karen also hooked him up with a MUCH needed trim!!!

On Sunday he went to church with her and then spent most of the day with Uncle Barry. He had a BLAST learning about WWII, multiplication tables, and rockets. They bought some cool legit rocket and built it together. Here's a video they sent me of the rocket in action!

The girls had a great weekend with G-Mama...they sent me these pics of Britt having a chicken nugget that looked like a chicken and then Tess being sad that her's did not resemble a chicken haha!

All the kids had such a great time! On Sunday night Kye went to G-Mama's and Britt went to Mema's which was nice for her to get that quality time too. We are SO blessed with so many amazing influences in our childrens lives and it made my heart happy to keep getting reports of how much FUN they were having while we were away!

We left Mexico on Wednesday and when we got to Atlanta I spoke to Mrs Charlotte and found out that morning that Britt got hurt while playing. I guess the kids were running around and she scraped her leg against the corner of a basket. It was deep enough where it was concerning so Mrs Charlotte took her in and they did a sterile strip to help hold it together while it healed. First ever injury while we have been away from the kids...thankful it was so minor! She was VERY brave and didn't even cry at all!

Tess also did AMAZING with the potty while we were away and was pooping it in pretty regularly for Mrs Charlotte when we got back! We jokingly told her that we'd take the scraped leg any-day if it meant we'd have a poop trained toddler ;) 

We drove home from Atlanta first thing Thursday morning and had the kids home well before lunch time. It was SO exciting to see them! They always look so grown and changed even though we were only gone for a week and saw them via FaceTime every day haha

Our yearly anniversary tradition is to re-watch our wedding video so we watched it as a family. The kids loved pointing out everyone they know and Britt especially just loved seeing the whole process of us becoming man and wife. She was very curious why she wasn't there ;) 

While Britt was at Mema's they made a crunch cake together! I wish there were pictures because how sweet is that a little girl baking with her great-grandmother?

Y'all know this is a legit thing. You come home from traveling and are SO PUMPED to see your kids only to have them be nightmares for a few days because they've been so spoiled!

We got the kids down for naps and immediately had to go to an adoption meeting we had set up. We had a babysitter come sit while the girls napped and headed to our meeting. We now have added a local lawyer (a wonderful one at that!) to our list of people working with us on our adoption!

We rushed home from that meeting and then had to rush to get dressed up nice for a big dinner event that night. YES y'all. We flew into Atlanta late Wednesday night, woke up early Thur to drive home, got the kids, had an adoption meeting and then had an awards banquet! Whew. Busy day. 

While we were in Mexico Zach was asked to be the guest speaker at the In The Game South Georgia Athletic Awards Banquet! Such an honor and he worked hard on preparing a 15-20 min speech to give. #nopressure.

The banquet was in Downtown Valdosta which literally our kids have never even been to haha. We don't even frequent downtown b/c all the restaurants are fancy which equals expensive ;) The entire family was invited to the event and since Zach was speaking we were free. Big win! I was a tad stressed about having the kids there, especially being our first day home from the trip. It always takes a few days to adjust and I wasn't sure how they'd do. Plus it was an awards banquet which is super boring for kids! I amped up how fancy it was all going to be and I cannot even find the words to express how AMAZING the kids did the ENTIRE time. It last over 2 hours and they were phenomenal. TONS of people came up to us to say they enjoyed Zach's speech and to mention our well behaved children. It was a combo of a great proud wife and proud mama night :) 

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Tess had her first sip of sweet tea!

Fancy bathrooms :)

Zach did an A-MAZING job. I was nervous because he didn't have much time to prepare but he totally nailed it :) I couldn't record the whole thing as it was a solid 20 min but I took 4 short videos: 1, 2, 3, and 4.  

Cole, Zach's first cousin, is the COO of In The Game! He is doing such great things and he's such a great speaker as well! 

During the awards portion Tess was really into the cheering. She'd cheer like crazy when a name was called but then did so good being quiet right after. I took two videos: 1 and 2!

Bored but behaving ;) 

A restaurant in town catered the food (and it was DELICIOUS!) and they handed out cards. Britt was SO excited b/c she thought it was a gift card. She kept posing with it and wanting pictures with it ;) 

(You can also guess but our present to the girls from Mexico was purses!)

So proud of my little family and proud to be a Blazer! It was a great night!!!

I promised Tess that if she did well at the dinner that she'd get to smell the flowers we passed on our way in :) 

Tess cracks us up because she won't want to take pictures unless it's a time where you don't want her in it!!! 

Zach's parents came out to support and Steven and Debby were also there with us :) 

First time in downtown Valdosta!

DUH! Someone who worked there came up and asked if we wanted leftovers and we totally took 5 boxes hahaha. No shame in our game!

Even though it was 8:30 by the time we got out of there, we HAD to reward the kids for their AMAZING job during the whole thing. So we ran through McDonalds on the way home for ice cream! I took this video and then Kye wanted to do this one ;)

We travel often enough where I have a set routine down for how I like things to go. I like to unpack everything immediately. When we get home. I've found that if I let stuff linger then it lingers for AWHILE but if I just go ahead and get fully unpacked right away then I can truly relax and unwind and feel good about being back home. With the craziness of our day, that wasn't able to happen. And sure enough, it took me a good week to finally get everything completely unpacked!

Blah. Scales shouldn't be allowed on vaca or for the week following ;)

We jumped right into some poop training since G-Mama got us started! 

Y'all know I've been doing a good bit of shopping from AliExpress here lately but it's all been stuff that I haven't counted on. I haven't trusted it enough yet to make a larger purchase. Well the time has come! I went for it with a robot vacuum! We had an original Roomba YEARS ago and loved it but haven't invested in another one, mostly because of the cost. Have y'all looked at them?!?! Crazy expensive. This one was only $170 AND it mops!!! This is the one I have, but I didn't pay the current price for it. It has been AWESOME. It came with an American plug and English instructions and it's been very user friendly and our whole house loves it. We named him BBClean but mostly call him "Robot" haha

Zach ended up being home a good it on Friday so I went to get groceries for the month. I was glad to have her help and it made her appreciate what I do for our family with that shopping because it's an intense amount of groceries! 

Friday was also National Donut Day and I saw on FB (thanks to Amanda!) that a local donut place was doing a dozen donuts for $5! On our way home from the store we stopped and grabbed a box. It was hilarious because Zach was on the phone with me and I told him I'd have to call him back because I was on a mission. He freaked out and thought I was returning the ring he'd gotten me for our anniversary! Dude I LOVE THE RING!

On my first Disney Solo Day I had an amazing breakfast treat: a donut with ice cream. I made the same for the kids! YUM! 

Britt and I got home from the store at 12:30 and unloaded all the groceries. We had a LOT and the kids were eating lunch and it was a little insane. Zach always puts up all the food in the garage (we have two deep freezers and a fridge out there) and I guess he'd told me to do it this time? But I never heard him and was busy unloading all the inside stuff like I normally do. Regardless of who was supposed to put it all away, it never happened. So a good 10 bags or so of groceries were sitting in the garage from 12:30 - 4:30. Oops. When Zach discovered it all he quickly put it away without really paying attention to the items and their status. No smell tests or checking for any coldness etc. We really had to take a gamble on what to save and what to toss!

I didn't feel comfortable keeping the chickens (BOO) or the hot dogs based on what Google said. But we did keep everything else and it all has seemed to be fine! Things last better than we sometimes assume they do I guess! 

That night kicked off a 2 day VBS at Lakeland Church of Christ (the church where Zach grew up and we attended prior to finding our current church home at Central). Brad is the youth minister there and asked Zach to do songs for the kids. It was such a great time and they do an AMAZING job as a church at reaching out to the community. It's so inspiring to see all the kids they bring in and how hard they work at putting together the event. Brad is a NATURAL with the kids and it's clear that it's his passion. Even G-Mama was part of a skit and it was hilarious!

Tess was the youngest kid at VBS so I stuck with her the whole night but she did a GREAT job at sitting and listening and participating! She loved it!

Chalk creations!

We stayed late that night (another after 9 PM bedtime for our kids...I mean #summerlife right?!?!) to surprise Aunt Betty for her 92nd birthday!!! Aunt Betty is Little Mama's sister who has been visiting for awhile now and she is beyond adorable and sweet. We loved getting to make her day special! 

I ended the busy week with some exciting news! My blog FB page hit 2,000 likes! If you're not already following my page be sure to do so...I post links to all my blog posts as well as lots of other articles and such that speak to me and involve motherhood :) 


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