Newsflash: I'm still alive!!!!
On Tuesday I planned to spend my whole evening blogging. Get some posts ready for when we left Friday for Toronto on an Aflac trip. Well...obviously that didn't happen. Instead my lovely modem died on me and good old ATT "overnighted" me a new one but to them "overnighting" means two day air so I didn't actually get the modem before we left for the trip. ~Hopefully~ it'll be waiting for us on our doorstep when we get home...we shall see!!!
I found this entry from back in July. I wrote this as a guest blog for the Babywise Blog. Valerie had a Babywise Success Story week and I wanted to share my own Babywise Story and how valuable I think all the -wise books are. Since writing it I have given birth to Brittlynn...and I even moreso am thankful for Babywise! Right now the kids are staying with my mom while we are gone. It's my first time leaving Britt and Mom's first time keeping both kids. As a testament to how wonderful Babywise is...when we got in last night to the hotel I texted Mom and asked how Day 1 went. Her response? "Perfectly." It's amazing how much easier it makes things for everyone (us as parents, the children in knowing their schedules, babysitters for having a simple, clear "formula" to follow). The consistency in having children on schedules makes it possible for us to be anywhere, for them to be with anyone, and for everything to run smoothly for them. No crazy changes because Mommy and Daddy are away so they are able to continue on as they would at home having good behavior, sleeping wonderfully, etc!
If you are reading this and are pregnant or have a new baby and are interested in Babywise as a parenting tool then please email me at Deliasgoddess33@aol.com. I believe in the -wise series so much that I LOVE to help others with it and would be more than happy to send you a copy and would love to help you if you're interested in implementing it with your baby or children!
Here is the guest post I wrote:
I first heard about Babywise from a friend when my son, Kye, was three weeks old. At first read through I didn't think much of it and believed that life on a schedule wasn't for me. I'm a go-go-go type person who always thought my baby would be fitting into my life and I wouldn't be revolving my life around the child. I quickly realized that in order to have the freedom I desired, you must also have structure. I got "hardcore" into Babywise (thanks mostly to this very blog!) when my son was 6 weeks old and he was sleeping through the night two weeks later. I immediately loved the life of a scheduled baby. I loved knowing when he'd be ready to eat, when he'd be sleeping, etc. Having a schedule allowed me to plan for other things, for our family to continue traveling as often as we always had, and for us to ENJOY life. We were never left guessing what Kye needed or if he was hungry etc. He knew what to expect and so did we. I cannot imagine my life as a mom without Babywise!!!
We have only gone off schedule for one day Kye's entire life (he's now almost 2 1/2 years old). We went on a short vacation and thought we'd just throw the schedule out of the window for a day and be like so many other parents we'd always met. Phhh...that NEVER happened again. It was stressful for us, it was stressful for Kye. Sure, we may miss out on somethings (especially during that first year since the baby needs a strict schedule so much more then) and may have to leave places early or turn down invitations for events - but we have an extremely well-behaved, sleep-loving, smart, healthy, social child and it's all worth it.
I did not know anyone in my circle of friends or family who had followed Babywise as closely as I decided to follow it. It was very difficult, and sometimes lonely for me. It was especially hard when family would complain about Kye's schedule and would almost make fun of me for it. We have strict rules for people when they watch our son and made it clear that we wouldn't be okay with those "rules" being broken (stick to the schedule, don't pick up if crying at night, etc). It honestly took him being about a year old for everyone to FINALLY see that Babywise is a wonderful parenting tool.
I have enjoyed each of the -wise series and am now reading (and re-reading) Toddlerwise (When Kye was 18 months old I followed Pottywise and now have a completely day and night trained child!). Toddlerwise has been a life safer for my sons recent tantrums. Whenever I face a parenting difficulty I consult whatever -wise book my sons age fits into and I figure out what I'm doing wrong. I personally believe that most parenting struggles are the result of parenting outside the funnel and I've found that re-reading the books gets me back on track to where I need to be!
We are pregnant with our second baby (due in Dec) and I've been SO nervous about having two schedules, nursing while managing a toddler, and how to run a household with two children. I went back over my Babywise book and was so relieved to see how beautifully a newborns and toddlers schedules match up. It's such a blessing to have a little peak into the future and know (once we get settled, of course!) that the transition to having two children won't be a stressful one.
I always think back on the preface portion of Babywise where it talks about people making comments on how lucky you are to have such a content baby or good sleeper or some other trait that has nothing to do with luck. Whenever people comment on Kye's great behavior, self motivation, independence, or great social skills I always credit Babywise. Through Babywise I have found my God-given talent. I always heard that everyone has a special talent and I never knew what mine was, my pride and passion is now being a mother. I love that I have a guide book to follow (and a blog and google group to consult!) that lets me know, without a doubt, that I'm doing the very best for my child. It's so true that Babywise isn't just an "infant-management concept" but it really IS a "mind-set for responsible parenthood."
I know many people have listed their favorite topics from Babywise and it's very difficult for me to narrow them down to just a few. Recently in our home having our son always answer with a "yes ma'am" (we're Southern, we say ma'am haha) has made a radical difference in his obedience. When I tell him to say "yes ma'am" he'll say it without hesitation and follow whatever command I've given him right away. Long-term I think independent playtime is one of the most important aspects to raising a Babywise child. We started early with my son and he never had clingy issues. Until we slacked on it! We lived with my mom for 4 months while we built our home and I chose to take a break from room-time (he was at 40 min a day of room-time at that point) since it would be difficult to manage with an extra person in the house. Six months later we're now back on track with it and the differences in him are night and day. Without that independent time, he became very attached to me, struggled when I left him with family, and cried constantly throughout Bible Class since I wasn't there with him. My #1 parenting regret (so far!) is ever taking that independent playtime break, and it'll never be happening again.
I love that my experiences with Babywise have been able to help other moms around me and whenever I find out someone is expecting I always ship them a copy of it. It saddens me that majority of parents out there toss the ideas aside, or even worse criticize them, as the entire series is perfectly in line with what God desires for our families. I'm so thankful for Babywise, for this blog, and the Babywise community. While I cherish the times I have with my son, I also look forward to seeing the wonderful man he will one day become thanks to this wonderful gift!
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
The wedding fun officially started on Thursday March 29th! As you all know I'm pretty hardcore about the picture taking but when a bunch of people are taking pictures I kinda shy away a bit. So instead of taking a ton myself I just asked all the other picture takers if I could steal their pictures once they posted on Facebook. So in advance I wanna say a big thank you to Melody, Jenna, Bethany and Brittany as many of the pictures you'll see in these posts have come from them. People also took a ton of pictures with Casey's camera. But she's a newlywed so she hasn't gotten around to posting those pictures yet. Once she does I may be either updating these posts with those pictures or just making some new entries to go along with the new pics ;) We'll see!!!
Thursday afternoon we all met up at Nails By Chris (The BEST place in town. Like even my Atlanta friends would be mega impressed with this place!!!). I was the first one there and they all kept thinking I was the bride...made me feel young and I was pretty tempted just to roll with it. Haha. It was a BIG group of us up there and it got a little crazy because Nails By Chris is ALWAYS packed. I was shocked we were all able to get manicures and pedicures in under 2 hours. Pretty impressive!
Jolee, Payton, Mrs. Charlotte and Casey in the back!
Casey was such a cool bride...she told us to do whatever we wanted for our nails. She didn't care (Jolee got blue, Casey had pink, several of us had french). Such an easy-going bride for sure!
Me, Beth, Morgan, Melody, Jenna, Casey, Courtney and Emily
I LOVE getting my nails and toes done. I have never had fake nails in my life. I know, it's probably surprising to many of you. But fake nails ruin your nails and I have never thought it's worth going through that. I was pretty pumped to try out the new gel thing everyone is doing. It looks like fake nails but it's not and it lasts a ton longer than regular polish. Um. NEVER AGAIN. It did last a long time and I loved it (Even Zach said my nails were "sexy" which I don't really get but I'll take it!). Then when it was time to get it off it was impossible. I soaked them in straight nail polish remover and nothing happened. I went up to Nails By Chris and talked to Chris and he said you either have to soak them for 30 minutes in straight acetone or just peel them off yourself. So I peeled them. It was painful and my poor nails were ruined. A bunch of them broke way down and they felt brittle and thin. While I had my nails done I had been hinting hardcore at Zach about what a great gift it would be but after peeling them off I told him to forget any hints I had dropped ;)
After the nail place the girls all went to Casey and Jordan's apartment (Jordan was living there at the time while Casey was still living with her parents but for that night Jordan and his guys got a hotel room so the girls could crash there) to get ready for dinner. I was already ready so I filled up with gas for the trip down to the wedding then met them there. We went out to eat at Blue Cafe in downtown Valdosta. I drove several of the girls and they commented on how cute our downtown was and how Valdosta was bigger than they expected. So all of you Atlantians...come on down!!! Seriously Blue Cafe was SO YUMMY. I want Zach and I to have a date night there pronto. We didn't have the greatest service (the girl straight up forgot to put in my order so I was chowing down while everyone else was finished) but the food was well worth it...and cheap!!!
When dinner finished up I headed home. By then it was after 10 and I still had a LOT of packing to do to get ready for the big weekend! Here's a group pic before dinner!
Friday morning we all met up downtown again but this time for the Bridal Brunch. We ate at Jesse's Eats and Treats. I've never eaten there but it was adorable. The perfect setting for such an event!!! Casey got individual pics with each of us but I'm only putting my family's ones up here! I think she got some with the grandmother's too but I didn't have them on my camera so I'll add 'em once Casey posts hers!
Jolee and Casey
(btw isn't Courtney looking AWESOME?!?!)
It was a really nice morning and Casey handed out gifts to each of us. The card she wrote me was so sweet that I carried it around in my purse for a couple weeks. I re-read it like 1,000 times. I know, I'm lame. But kind words mean a lot to me and I'm so thankful for the relationship Casey and I now have. It was wonderful to know that she's thankful for it too and that my marriage and my parenting have made an impact on her :) For the gifts she gave us these cute little personalized totes (which is perfect for carrying my breast pump supplies. I know that's not what it was intended for but, hey, it works!), bracelets to wear during the wedding (again, none of ours matched - Casey is very eclectic with her style!), and robes to wear while were getting ready the morning of the wedding! She also gave Britt an adorable bracelet to wear in the wedding (which in the rush it somehow fell out onto the floor in our room so she ended up not wearing it the day of...but has worn it a lot sense and it's precious!).
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Kye's school Easter party fell on a really crazy week. The day prior we had his pre-op in Tifton for his surgery and that Friday we left for Casey and Jordan's wedding. Since Mrs. Charlotte had already come t my house to watch Britt for Kye's appointment and she had a mega stressful week with the wedding...I did NOT want to ask her to watch Britt again for the party. But, at the same time, I didn't want to miss the party either. I know how much Kye loves having me visit school and how disappointed he'd be if I wasn't there when other parents would be.
The party started at 10 which is right in the middle of Britt's nap. Luckily, Zach ended up being able to drive Kye to school that morning so I could focus on hardcore playing with Britt and putting her down early. I knew she wouldn't fall back to sleep in the car seat (duh) and that it'd be too crazy once we got to school for her to sleep so I just didn't stress over it. One nap won't kill her (see...I'm more slack after having two right?). The school asked parents to bring a snack if possible so I made these Goldfish Carrots...SUPER easy and I liked that they were something less sugary than the typical party food. You can see how to make them yourself (although it's pretty obvious right?!?!) here!
We got there about 10 minutes late. I felt bad but it was hard for me to wake Britt up so early!!! I'm kinda glad we were late though because when we got there the other moms were finishing up hiding eggs on the playground...kinda glad I missed out on helping with that ;) Kye was thrilled to see us and they started off the party with an Easter Song about Jesus (which I took a video of here). Up next it was time to eat...
Caught him ;)
All the kids had brought their hunting baskets to school with them and when they went to get theirs Kye swore up and down that the football one was his. Poor kid...his mama wouldn't ever buy one of those baskets haha. I did feel a little guilty that he has the cutesy Pottery Barn one over a "cool" one! Oh well! These baskets ain't cheap so it'll be the ONLY one he has!!!
One of Kye's teachers was really sweet to offer to hold Brittlynn so I could enjoy just Kye. It was wonderful! I was able to hunt with him without worrying about the sun in her eyes, her puking on me, trying not to drop her, etc. I think Kye appreciated the quality Mommy time too. He doesn't get it quite as often as he used to!
After the hunt we all played outside and parents took their kids whenever they were ready to leave. I had to feed Brittlynn at 11:00 so Kye stayed and played. It worked out well as I was able to sit in the shade and feed her and Kye was still able to play with all of his school friends.
Tell me they aren't the most adorable "couple" ever?!?! Kailyn came over and asked for this picture!
As we went to leave it was really cute how so many of the kids wanted to say bye to Kye. One girl (surprisingly not Kailyn haha) ran by the fence the whole time we were walking continually saying bye to him and blowing him kisses. He's got swagger, what can I say? ;) We really enjoyed the party and Kye had a great time having his sister and Mommy there! When we got home they were both in such cute moods that I couldn't resist snapping a couple of pictures of them together!
Friday, April 20, 2012
For as long as I can remember I've always planned on having lots of babies. This was a "deal breaker" for me in a relationship back when I was hunting for a man and, thankfully, Zach and I are on the same page on this! Whenever we tell people that we want a large family the typical response has always been "I did too until I had my second one." I never understood why people decided to stop after two. Or why the "perfect American family" is always considered to be a family of four. If people wanted more than two kids why would they not have them?!?!
Now I get it.
When I got pregnant with Brittlynn a common thing people would tell me (which WHY people feel the need to say negative stuff to a pregnant girl I don't really get?!?! I mean I'm already pregnant haha) was that the transition from 1 to 2 kids was waaaaay harder than the transition from 0 to 1. Now that my #2 baby is 4 months old I feel like I can confidently write on this topic (Plus Kye was in a MEGA loving mood towards his sister recently and I have a bunch of cute pics to go with this post...I didn't tell him to do a single thing for any of these pictures. If these don't make you want at least two babies than nothing will!)
He crawled under her toy bar to kiss on her!
Becoming a first time parent is SO exciting. But it's also VERY scary. A boppy? A bumbo? A bouncer? All these strange and foreign things suddenly become your entire world. You research a million stroller brands. You read up on every detail of infancy. No matter how much prep work you do, nothing can truly prepare you for when that little baby enters your life. My heart truly goes out to those who will never experience being a parent. It IS the MOST amazing experience. It's also hard. And stressful. There is a massive responsibility on your shoulders. Who your child becomes is up to YOU. And it's kinda a crap shoot. I mean you do everything you possibly can to make the best choices for your child but really you have no clue if you did a good job or not until they are adults!
The transition from zero kids to one kid is tough. It's a COMPLETE life change. Your entire prospective on the world is different when you become a parent. Your priorities do a total 180. As a woman, your body also does a total 180. You have all these hormones, these strange random hairs in places you did not think grew hair, milk leaking out of you, constant exhaustion, etc etc etc. Then you have this sweet little baby who completely and totally depends on YOU to live. While it was a lot to take on, I feel the advantage with the first baby is that you have no idea what's coming. You have no choice but to live in the "now" because it's all you know. You adjust as the baby grows and changes. You figure it out (together, if you're as blessed as I am to have an awesome husband!).
Sweet sister loving
I truly believe my life as a parent is both easier and more difficult thanks to Babywise. It's more difficult in the sense that I want to do everything perfectly by the book and I hold myself to this mega high standard. It's easier because I KNOW what to expect each day. Kye was on a schedule since he was very little so HE always knew what to expect as well. It makes life less stressful for everyone when there is a pattern and a routine to each day. Kye was my first and, therefore, he was my "learning baby." Everything I did with him was my first time doing it. When I wasn't following Babywise, some other parenting book, advice from friends, or good old google...I was basically winging it. Guessing at what to do.
When Kye was a baby I wore the pages of my Babywise book THIN. I tore up the Babywise Blog and Google Group. I always had a question. I had to experiment with different things sometimes in order to figure out the best choice (we switched pacis a few times, heck we debated about the paci at ALL a ton too!). Once he turned a year old things got SO much easier. The rewards from sticking to a schedule started to pay off and there were less and less "tough" parenting choices to make. Duh, it's still mega tough to be a parent but now things are a little simpler than when dealing with an infant (like choosing which baby food to start with, what type, how many days in a row till the next type, etc).
I LOVE this!!!
When I was pregnant with Brittlynn and heard from SO many people that it was a tough transition, I honestly didn't believe them. I figured since I am hardcore Babywise that it wouldn't be that tough for me. I had a plan. I knew what to expect. I mean I'd had a baby before...so the guesswork is gone. That right there makes life easier right?!?! Then Kelly had Mack...Kelly is a very similar type parent to my style of parenting. And SHE said the transition was hard. That's when I freaked. If Kelly had a hard time then I surely would too...I mean she's just as scheduled as I am, if not more so (as she did CIO with her first baby and I didn't with Kye). Seriously I had days where I was BEYOND anxious about Britt being born. I was so scared about how crazy our lives would become and how I would manage it all.
Even though I was super, mega nervous I still knew that having a second baby was such a blessing. I don't understand how people could have one child and decide to not have any more??? I learned SO much from Kye (and still am learning!) that I was eager to use that knowledge again. To see what new, exciting changes another life would bring to our family. I felt confident in my parenting skills and abilities. I knew what having a baby meant and knew I could handle it all since I'd already done it with Kye. Knowledge, to me, is power. Having somewhat of a plan made me feel less stress. I knew, roughly, what Britt's schedule would be like. How often she'd eat and such so I could put it on paper and compare it to Kye's schedule to know what to expect. I knew I'd need more help than I'd ever had before, which is difficult for me to accept. But I knew Kye needed to get to and from school and my only option was to ask Zach and our moms to help out with that.
From a purely parenting perspective, the transition from zero to one child was MUCH harder than the transition from one to two. From the moment Brittlynn was born it was easier for me to parent her than it was when I had Kye. Heck, I didn't even know how to latch him to my breast!!! With her, I knew what to do. I was relaxed. I knew I needed rest so I rested. I knew she needed to eat every few hours so I fed her. I knew what things to demand at the hospital so I demanded them. My hospital stay was wonderful. I never wanted to leave ;)
Britt's turn to give kisses!
Coming home was when things got REAL. I will still say that it is EASIER to parent baby #2 than it was baby #1. I have yet to post a single question on the Babywise Google Group. I've had to ask Kelly and Laura (my fellow hardcore babywise mamas) several questions, especially in the beginning. But that's only really because we didn't do Babywise from the start with Kye so I was a newbie with the newborn ;) I have my own blog to refer back to and that helps a ton. I know I made it through the tough spots before. I know it gets easier. I have Kye running around as a CONSTANT reminder of how all the hard work in the early days really does pay off in a HUGE way.
I also think the bond I have with Brittlynn is stronger, faster than it was with Kye. It's hard to explain but Zach and I agree that our love for Kye grows stronger and stronger. I loved him from birth but not with the intensity that I love him now (I wrote a blog entry about it here). With Brittlynn, I appreciate her SO much more than I did him. I've seen so, so many families deal with losing their babies. Deal with health problems with their babies. And I truly get what a blessing Britt is. I thank the Lord constantly for her health and her being part of our lives. I also understand all that Brittlynn will be. I look at Kye and know Britt will be his age one day. She'll do similar things that he does. She'll cuddle up to me. Kiss me. Say she loves me. And that knowledge also makes my bond with her stronger.
My appreciation for Brittlynn is also more than it was with Kye. I savior her more. I not only appreciate how healthy she is, but I also appreciate this phase in her life. With Kye (and I know this is typical of first born babies) I was rushing to the "next thing." Eager for him to sit up, walk, etc. Excited for the next thing to come. With Brittlynn I'm in NO hurry. I KNOW how quickly time will fly and I truly enjoy EACH moment with her in a way I didn't with him. Even though my time is spread between two children now and Brittlynn doesn't get my full, undivided attention the way Kye did I still think I get about the same amount of quality time with her. I put my time with her on top priority. I kiss on her. Cuddle with her. Play with her. I'm selfish with her too. When we're both home I have to remind myself to let Zach spend time with her...I'm a Brittlynn hog!!!
At this point in the game I have a great system down (the 4 hour schedule makes life SO much easier). It only took a few months to get to a point where I feel like the parenting end of things is very doable. We're leaving Britt for the first time next week and I'm not worried about my mom taking care of them both. They are both on schedules and it makes it all pretty simple! I think the BIGGEST thing that makes parenting two kids manageable is to remind yourself during the tough times that it WILL get easier. Just like you want to cherish each sweet moment because time passes so quickly, it will also pass quickly during the rougher times. When Britt wouldn't sleep and I'd be crying my eyes out I'd remind myself (often out loud) that it will get easier. It will be okay!
Hugging a little too tight haha
Mrs. Charlotte made a comment to me that really helped me feel better about two kids. The toughest part for me was not being able to give my complete self to each child all the time. You can't. I want SO badly for Brittlynn to have all the benefits Kye had by being the only child but that's just not possible. I was having a breakdown (for awhile this happened kinda regularly haha) and she told me that I try so hard to be the "perfect parent" that I'm just harder on myself than I need to be. Most parents aren't on schedules. Most don't nurse their babies. They don't worry about nap times or nap locations (I see mamas all the time at the school with their babies asleep in the car seats or in a sling). They don't worry about the older child getting to bed at a certain set time or the younger one eating on a schedule. If I was more of a go-with-the-flow mom then this transition wouldn't be so hard. So a lot of the "toughness" of it I brought on myself. Would I change a thing?!?! Heck no! I strongly believe in the benefits of breastfeeding and of a scheduled lifestyle. I wish I wasn't so hard on myself when things don't go perfectly, but we all have faults and I'd rather have to work on not being tough on myself than not feel like I'm giving my absolute best to my children.
I have heard that the transition from 1 to 2 is the hardest and that it only gets easier with each added baby. I understand why so many people stop at two, but I haven't one time thought that I might be done having children. I can already see that #3 will be even easier. I'm learning to accept help from people, heck even ask for it on occasion! I'm learning that if Kye has to watch an extra 30 min of a video because I'm nursing that it's okay. I'm learning that if Britt falls asleep in the car on the way home from school and takes 30 min to fall asleep for her nap it's okay. I may still be more "hardcore" (I've been told if one word had to be picked to describe me that "hardcore" would be it...would you agree? I took it as a compliment haha) but I'm mildly more laid back than I have been in the past. I roll with the punches a little better. Plus the more children we have, the more the older ones can help out. Kye's still a little young to really do much helping, but when he's 6 or 7 he'll be great! And even older he can babysit ;) I DO think a lot of the "toughness" of adding children to your family has to do with the age difference...I can't imagine two in diapers and I'm sure that's much harder. And I'm also sure if Kye were older that it'd be easier than it has been, although I LOVE their age difference (someday I'll do a post about that...)
She loves it when we "run" her legs ;)
When people tell me they are debating having kids (either their first or second or fifth...) I always say the same thing "no one regrets a baby once it's here." And it's true. I was a nervous wreck about how baby #2 would change our lives. Mine. Kye's. (Not so much Zach's as he's not home all day haha). But once she was here all those worries seemed stupid. Life with two is harder than life with one. But I know as they get older it won't be as tough. It'll be so fun! Already (as you can tell in these pictures) I LOVE it. The three of us have a blast together.
Having Brittlynn has brought so much love into our home. I see Kye in such a new light. I love him and appreciate and value him in new ways. He's a Big Brother. He's awesome at it!!! He truly adores his sister and seriously has yet to have one act of jealousy or rebellion because of her. I get the best of both worlds. I get to have a funny, goofy toddler and a sweet, innocent little baby. I get slobbery kisses and random smiles to show how much she loves me and I get hugs and sweet words to know how much Kye loves his mama. I'm pretty dang spoiled if you ask me (all that and a loving, devoted husband!?!?!)
If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant with baby #2 then be prepared. You learned SO much from baby #1 and it will all come back to you and you will be able to handle this baby SO much more easily. However, your life is going to be tougher. It is going to take more work. You will get less rest. Less sleep. Less cuddly time with the hubby. The weight is harder to lose. Your body won't bounce back as quickly. You will feel guilt over the time you aren't able to spend with your first born. BUT. It all gets easier. And it's all totally, hands-down, worth it. Witnessing the love between your children will make your heart feel fuller than you ever imagined possible!
I LOVE my life and wouldn't change it for anything!!!
I'm mega interested to hear other people's perspectives on this...do you agree with me? How did babies change your life? Will #3 really be an easier transition or am I living in a fantasy world? ;)