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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Weaning from Finger Sucking

When I had Kye I offered him a paci before he was even 14 days old. I was a true first time mom. I knew nothing about parenting and was totally and completely guessing my way through every decision I made. He quickly became attached to the pacifier and was a "paci baby." It was a sleep prop for him and I had a hardcore love/hate relationship with the thing. However, when it came time to wean from the pacifier, it was a smooth transition for us. (Weaning from the Pacifier)

Even though I knew I'd handle the pacifier differently with future children, I still planned to use them as I did not want a finger sucker. Then Britt came along. I introduced the pacifier with her at times when Babywise recommends it (as a tool for sleep training rather than a prop). She just didn't take to it very well. She would suck it super super hard and it'd leave a big mark on her face and she'd spit it out. As soon as she weaned from swaddling, her fingers went in her mouth. 

While I would never have chosen for Britt to suck her fingers, I had very little choice in the matter. She quickly fell in love with them and also slept SO soundly with them. The thing I hated most about the paci, having to re-insert it when it fell out, wasn't an issue with the fingers. She could put them back in her mouth herself. They were a sleep prop, but they were one that was attached to the child. If she needed to nap in the car, boom the finger sucking made it happen with ease. 

She sucked her fingers not only for sleep but also for comfort. For Britt, finger sucking was soothing and comforting. When she was teething she'd suck on her fingers and the pain would seem less for her. Britt was my best sleeper to date. I believe that the finger sucking really helped her be such a good sleeper! 

Britt was not only my best sleeper, but she was also my most whiney, hard to calm child. The fingers helped me out big time with that. If she got upset she had a comfort object attached to her body that could provide her with the ability to soothe herself. 

When Kye was a baby I HATED the paci. When Britt was a baby, I actually LOVED the finger sucking. 

The problem with the fingers came as Britt grew older. How do you possibly get a kid to stop sucking their fingers?!?! With the paci, there are a billion ways to wean from it. It's an object that can be taken away. We only allowed Kye to have it in his crib at times of sleep. We couldn't limit Britt's fingers to her bed! As the kids both grew into toddlers my feelings on their sleep props switched. As a toddler, the paci was a breeze. Kye could get it in his crib if it fell out and it helped him sleep and we just limited it to the crib. It was also very easy to take away when the time came. With Britt though, the fingers were more of an issue as a toddler. Sure, she still slept great. But we started noticing damage to her fingers as well as her teeth. We also couldn't force her to limit sucking to her bed. So we had the issue of her sucking her fingers whenever she was upset or tired outside of the bed as well. What is cute, or at least tolerable, with a baby is much less cute, and pretty gross, as a kid gets older. 

(feb 21st, 2015...last photo of Britt sucking her fingers)

My biggest mistake with Britt's finger sucking was assuming I should just treat the habit like I treated the pacifier. With the pacifier our pediatrician recommended waiting until age 2 to wean from it. He said that by then Kye would be able to understand and reason better and that it'd make the transition easier on us all. I agree, as it was very easy. I assumed Britt's fingers would be the same way so I just didn't worry about it until she turned 2.

Hindsight being what it is...I would now recommend to anyone with a finger sucker to start from early-on with "weaning" from it. Before Britt could really communicate I just let her suck her fingers whenever and wherever. I felt bad taking them out of her mouth and felt like she didn't really understand what I meant by it. I knew it helped comfort her with teething or upset feelings or when she was sleepy so I just let her suck them. I wish I would have known from early on to start simply taking them out of her mouth and saying "only in the bed." I think the gentle reminders would have helped her wean from them easier and sooner.

I also will go ahead and say if you can avoid having a finger sucker, then avoid it. I've now had a pacifier baby, a finger sucking baby, and a comfort object baby. Guess which one is my favorite? Comfort object for the win baby!!! Sure, it's a GREAT idea to simply say "my baby will not be a finger sucker." But guess what? Sometimes it's not in your control. And Britt's love of her fingers? It wasn't in mine!

When Britt turned 1 we started gently telling her "no fingers" when she would suck them out of the crib. We didn't make a big deal about it. We didn't punish her for it. We didn't talk negatively or down to her about it. We just simply would say "no fingers."

Once she got closer to turning 2 we talked a lot about only sucking fingers in the bed. We'd remind her that big girls don't suck their fingers. And when we'd see her sucking them we'd remind her "no sucking." It worked great. She was VERY responsive to the gentle reminding. She's usually say "oops sorry!" and take them out right away.

When she turned 2 we took it a step further and if she insisted on sucking them then we'd tell her she had to go in her bed to do so. She would usually go sit in her bed if she was upset or tired so she could suck her fingers. The gentle reminders still worked great but it was still something that she needed reminding of a lot. I'm talking like multiple times a day we'd have to say "no fingers Britt." Or usually we could even just say "Brrrrritt" and she'd realize she had them in her mouth.

I did a lot of research about weaning from finger sucking. I asked a lot of people about it and was surprised by the responses I got. So many of the ways people weaned their children, or were weaned themselves as children, just sounded SO mean to me. I felt discouraged and concerned about how I could help Britt wean from the bad habit without doing so in a mean, negative way.

I knew I wanted her to be done sucking them by age 3. When she started school in August (2 ½ years old) she was rarely sucking her fingers outside of the bed. The gentle reminders worked great and she'd take them out right away with no issues. Never complaining about it or anything. We told her teacher and she was also supportive in enforcing at school what we were working on at home.

We talked a lot to Britt about turning 3 and how it was the magical age that she'd need to stop sucking her fingers. In November ( a month before she turned 3) I got REALLY hopeful and excited. Britt LOVED wearing gloves so I talked to her about wearing them to sleep. finger sucking if you have gloves on haha.

You can read more about what happened here. But basically it worked great! She didn't suck her fingers at night or during naps when wearing the gloves. I made a huge production out of it. Praised her like crazy. Let her sleep with an extra friend (Donald). Called G-Mama to tell her how awesome she did. Gave her treats when she woke up if she still had the gloves on. Etc etc.

It lasted 5 days and then Britt was over it and didn't want to wear the gloves anymore. I didn't force her to wear them because, hello, she could just take them off when we left the room. But I didn't want to stop the momentum we had going with her about it. I REALLY wanted her to be DONE sucking them by her 3rd birthday and it was only a few short weeks away!

I ordered The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit and we started reading it a LOT. It is a GREAT book about bad habits and it helped Britt understand that sucking her fingers wasn't something she should be doing. We continued to talk about how she's a big girl and shouldn't suck her fingers etc.

I also ordered Mavala Stop . It's recommended by our dentist, my dental hygienist friends, and other parents. It's a paint that you put on to help stop bad habits like finger sucking but also nail biting. It has a bitter taste and is supposed to discourage the habit. I did not want to use it as a punishment. Instead I tried to use the book to help make Britt want to stop sucking. I finally convinced her to say she didn't want to suck them anymore because she wanted to be a big girl. She was okay with me using the solution on her fingers. I was super positive, praised her a ton etc. Put her down for nap and watched her on the monitor as she sucked it all off. Like all of it. And I had put it ALL over BOTH of her fingers.

At the same time as all of this we still were continuing to gently remind her if she sucked her fingers outside of the bed. Whereas before she was always happy to remove her fingers...she then started to resist. It became a WAY bigger issue. We'd remind her and she'd suck on them more. She'd do it as an act of defiance rather than comfort. It became a battle zone. Which is exactly what I didn't want to happen with it. I wasn't about to start punishing her every time she sucked them and nothing seemed to be working to help her to stop. 

I talked to Zach and decided to just stop. I didn't want to push it. I didn't want to battle with it. I just wanted to go back to the gentle reminders outside of the bed and her responding so well to that. I didn't like that her fingers were getting damaged. I worried about the damage to her teeth. But sucking them in her bed was just something we were going to have to be okay with for awhile. Her first dentist appointment was set for April so I decided to hold off on trying anything else until then. 

While we stopped all major efforts, we still continued to talk about her fingers a lot. We talked to her about how big girls don't suck them, even for sleep. We showed her them and the damage she was doing to them. I even took her in the bathroom and explained what would happen to her teeth if she kept sucking. I let her know it was HER DECISION and that I was here to help her whenever she was ready. 

On March 1st Britt woke up in the morning and I sat with her and had her look at her fingers. They were WHITE from being sucked on for so long in the night. They had blisters and the tips of her fingers were beginning to come to a point. The nails were soft and curving. The dr said to expect skin to come off of them. I talked to her about all of this and she got VERY upset by how her fingers looked. She said she didn't want to suck them anymore. 

You can really see how the fingers come to a point at the tips in the comparison photo (the ones on the right are the ones she sucks on)

I showered and showered her with praise for her big girl decision. I printed out a blank calendar to use as her sticker chart and I told her after each nap she'd get a sticker and each morning she'd get a sticker as long as she didn't suck her fingers. She could also pick out a friend to sleep with her (I feel like having a new sleep buddy would be a good distraction to the finger sucking!) and as long as she didn't suck fingers anymore, she could sleep with an extra friend every time she went to bed. 

I told her once the chart was filled with stickers that she could have ANYTHING she wanted. Literally I would have gotten her anything at that point haha. She said she wanted a cookie. Yes, that's how deprived our kids are of junk food haha. We talked about the chart and made ALL kinds of plans for what we'd do when it was full. We agreed: a PARTY was in order. 

At this same time we were celebrating Kye's birthday. I really, really think she wanted to stop sucking her fingers so she could have more attention on her. She focused on her "finger sucking celebration" more than his birthday haha. It was a clever tactic ;) 

To help remind Britt not to suck her fingers we bought a box of bandaids. She got one at nap and another one at night. Sometimes it'd stay on all day, but usually it'd fall off at some point so she'd always need a new one when it was time to sleep. Getting to see what bandaid it'd be was fun and it kept the focus positive. She liked wearing the bandaids!

While I was SO proud of her for making the decision to stop sucking her fingers...I zero percent got my hopes up about it. I mean I had been super mega pumped about the November weaning attempt and it failed after 5 days. I predicted that this, too, would be short lived. 

Instead though Britt totally shocked me. She was motivated and determined and never ONCE sucked her fingers again. NOT ONCE. Not in her bed. Not outside of the bed. No gentle reminders needed. She was DONE. 

Words cannot even begin to describe the pride I have for her! She did this completely and totally on her own. How much willpower does that take?!?! Zach joked that finger sucking is harder to quit than smoking and he's probably right haha. Her "drug of choice" was physically attached to her body! Can you imagine trying to quit doing something that is attached to you? The temptation is there ALL day EVERY day. Yet she resisted!

We taped her sticker chart to her bed. She loved to look at it and I'd watch her on the monitor as she'd count the squares left to fill. We were so caught off guard by her decision that we weren't prepared at all so Zach went and got some star stickers as well as the bandaids we used. It took an entire box of bandaids before the chart was filled and at that point we stopped using them. She never complained about the bandaids being gone and has not had ONE incident of finger sucking! 

The hardest part of the weaning process was her ability to fall asleep. I felt bad because she really struggled. She was used to sucking her fingers until she went to sleep but since she didn't have that ability anymore she didn't sleep well at naps. Most naps she wouldn't sleep at all. It was a struggle and my easiest sleeping child has become my most difficult one for the time being. I know it'll just take an adjustment for her but she really resists bedtime in a way she never has before. As long as she stays in the bed and is quiet, I don't mind if she doesn't sleep. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, right? Can't make her close her eyes and sleep! It wasn't as much of an issue at night, but for naps she usually wouldn't fall asleep until like 2:00 (she goes down at 1:00) and then would sleep until almost 5 when I'd have to wake her. 

Once her chart was filled we planned a big event for her! The kids and I decided to make a cookie cake for her celebration. I found this recipe for monster bars and wanted to try it out. The kids and I made them together!

On the day of her party Britt wanted to dress up like Elsa. Can you tell she was so thrilled to have an evening all about her...especially when so much of the month had been about her brother's birthday? Haha

SO proud of my BIG GIRL!

In just the few weeks since Britt had quit sucking I could already see a difference in her fingers as well as her teeth. Her dr and dentist both said that it won't be long before we'll never even know she was a finger sucker!

We got Zaxbys for dinner and even ate in the dining room :)

G-Mama came by and got Britt the most beautiful, special locket as a gift for her status as an official BIG GIRL!

I also wanted to give Britt a special gift. I entered a contest for a giveaway on Instagram and actually WON. I was so shocked because I never win stuff!!! I won a CUSTOM Shining Light Doll! I got to help in the whole process of the design. She's handmade and beautiful. What's even more neat is that they are all done by someone who lives here locally! If you are local you can shop from the Shining Light Doll selection in downtown Hahira at Monkey Britches Boutique which just opened this past month! You can also order your custom doll on Etsy or browse the designs on Facebook! It's SUCH a special gift to give and Britt has loved her doll so much :) She named her Angel!

I could NOT be prouder of Britt and her decision to stop sucking her fingers. While she made this decision on her own, I do think that all of our efforts helped her to reach this moment. I was especially thankful that she was fully weaned from sucking them before her first dentist visit! My goal was to have her done by age 3 and she was 3 years and 3 months when she broke the bad habit. It was FOR SURE worth the wait for her to have such a positive experience with the weaning process. 

If I ever have a finger sucker again I will start saying "no fingers" at an earlier age and enforcing a no finger sucking out of the bed rule also at an earlier age. I will also read the Bad Habits book and talk it up as a bad habit early on. I think though that patience paid off here. I think talking and reminding and being honest about the effects that sucking was having on her body is what made the difference for Britt. Regardless of all methods you can use to wean from sucking's something that the child truly does have to do on their own. I'm thankful I didn't allow it to cause me a bunch of stress and I'm thankful we didn't punish her or shame her for it. Letting her take the lead paid off in the long run and I'm just SUPER thankful that the finger sucking days are DONE in our house (and crossing fingers that baby #4 someday is NOT a finger sucker!). 

Have you had a finger sucker? What are your tips for weaning? 

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Day In The Life: March 2015

I've seen several other bloggers over the years do a "day in the life" type post. I've never done one before but thought that now would be a good time to start! I know my days are pretty crazy a lot of the time now and I also know this phase will pass. Someday when my days are long again I may enjoy looking back and remembering when I was busy every second of the day ;)

When I did this I didn't think much of it but already so much has changed in my daily routine just in the 5-6 weeks since I did my "day in the life!" I had decided to do this post but kept forgetting to do it. I'd remember like mid-day when it was already too late. Finally one morning I thought of it when I first woke up. So here we go :) Just for reference it was March 17th!

I am a snooze button hitter (drives Zach nuts) so my alarm goes off at 6:10 and I hit snooze once then finally get up at 6:20 to start my day. I used to roll out of bed much later but have made it a goal this year to get up earlier, get ready for the day before the kids wake up, and have some devotional time for myself :)

Good morning world! No make up, rocking the baby bangs!

While I get ready I often bring the monitor in with me to keep an eye on Tess. If she wakes up early, I rush my routine a little quicker!

I do all my skincare stuff first (love Mary Kay) then makeup then hair!

Takes me about 15-20 min to get skin care routine and makeup done and another 11 for my hair!

By this time it's 6:50. I get some water and take my pre-breakfast vitamins (probiotics and catalyst

Then I make my breakfast shake with my Magic Bullet ! I go ahead and take my breakfast vitamins (omegas, calcium, magnesium, coreplex with iron) but then save the rest of the shake to drink later

It's 6:58 and all my babies (and husband) are still sleeping :) 
(the 4th room on the monitor is the playroom!)

I've been a Christian since age 19 but I have NEVER read my Bible on a daily basis. How awful is that? I read the kids Bible but not the legit Bible for my own study. It's been one of my big goals for this year to change that! I bought Jesus Calling and am working my way through it. I don't beat myself up if I miss a few days. I just pick it up and keep going. When I can I like to look up all the verses on each day, but if I can't then I also don't stress it. I don't want it to be something I feel rushed about! 

At 7:04 Kye's lamp in his room turns on (we have it on a timer) letting him know it's time to get up. He gets dressed (I picked out clothes the night prior and put them out...this day though I forgot it was St Patrick's Day so I ran up there and grabbed him something green to help him avoid being pinched!) and then comes downstairs. 

7:10 is our magical moment of the day. It's when the day officially begins for our family! 
First I go in and wake up this cutie :)

Then it's time to wake up Tess! The night prior to this morning I had put her to bed without her HALO SleepSack as it was warming up and I worried the fleece material would be too warm for her. But after finding her like this we went back to using it! 

Daddy loves to get to wake her up because she's so adorable! 

Britt starts accessorizing the minute her feet hit the floor!

The big kids get to play for a few minutes while Zach makes their breakfast and I nurse Tess. 

I drink the rest of my breakfast shake while Tess drinks her milk ;)

While the big kids eat and I nurse I also start checking the phone for the day! 

Once Tess finishes nursing I get her dressed and put her in the pack and play. It's now 7:43 and we have to head to school soon. On the mornings that I take the kids to school Tess has to skip eating solids. It's also not a full independent playtime because we have to leave, but it gives her a little time and it gives me a chance to get the kids fully ready! 

Since doing this day, Kye now brushes his own teeth in the morning. But at this point I was still brushing!

Britt doesn't have school on Tues or Thur so usually she stays in PJS! At 8:01 we are loading up! 
I have to get in the trunk of my van to buckle Britt in her seat since she's still rear facing :)

On the way we work on Kye's spelling words, Bible memory verse, and then we say a prayer together. We each discuss things we want to pray about and then usually I say the prayer. After we pray we listen to Disney music the rest of the drive!

My view :) I can't see Britt but she always likes to narrate what is going on behind us! 

We pull in the car pool line at 8:24. Usually we are earlier and I get Tess out and she plays in my lap while we wait. But this day we were running a little late (my picture taking of everything we did probably slowed us down a bit ha!) so she stayed in her seat. She plays happily but I still move to the back with the kids so we can talk before drop off starts. 

Kye drew me a special picture of a heart and an arrow through it ;)

We get home right at 8:45 and this little girl never fusses at all in the car :)

I unbuckle Britt but she is able to close the van door for me at least! She's busy making some calls ;)

We head back to Tess's room and play for a bit before it's time to put her down at 9:00 for nap.

Right when she's down I head to the laundry room. Tuesday is the best day for me to tackle the laundry. I do all our laundry in one day (I read it saves on energy costs?)!

Britt is super good at entertaining herself...although choosing to play with the karaoke machine right outside her sleeping sister's door may not be the best idea!

First load of laundry is going so I head to the kitchen. Need to put the clean dishes away but...decide to wait on that. 

Realize the bananas have browned so it's time to slice and store them in the freezer. The big kids each eat a bit of frozen banana each morning for breakfast. You have to wait until they are pretty brown before freezing! 

Next it's time to get dinner going. Since adding Tess to the family I have gotten MUCH more strategic with my dinner planning. I used to cook everything from start to finish once Zach was home. But that's just not practical most days. Occasionally he's home early so I make more "labor intensive" meals then. But usually? I love me some crock pot! 

I have all my meals written on note cards (I learned this from Foods class in high school! I keep them in a little recipe box and they are sorted alphabetically). Before grocery shopping each month I go through and pick out the meals I want us to eat in that month. I don't pre-select a certain meal for a certain day but I just pick out several to make sometime that month and write them on a note card so I will remember which ones I chose. I also put a star next to any of the meals that have ingredients that will spoil quickly so I know to make them earlier in the month. 

We also always have a freezer full of chicken thanks to Zaycon Foods! When we pick up the chicken we (or should I say Zach!) cut and sort and store them in family sized portions. Makes it easy to grab what I need for each meal!

Britt LOVES to help in the kitchen. But first she needs to cry a bunch because she "doesn't like chicken for dinner"

Tess is at an age where she often takes up to 20 minutes to fall asleep for nap. 9:18 and she's finally out!

Once she's over the depressing news that we are eating chicken for dinner (side note: we eat chicken probably 5 nights a week ha!) she's happy to help!

I have several meals that freeze well and it takes the same amount of effort to make a meal for dinner as it does to freeze one for later. So I always get enough ingredients to make double of these meals. As Britt and I put the ingredients in the crockpot for dinner that night, we also put them in a freezer bag to freeze for the future. 

Once we finish making dinner it's time for some Britt time :) Her favorite thing to do together is cuddle and read books. She picks out 5 books for us to read together!

I try to do most of the housework when the kids are awake. I think it's important for them to see what it takes to keep our home clean and running smoothly and I think it's so important for them to contribute to helping! 

Britt LOVES sweeping and also loves using wipes to help clean the toilets and counters

At 10:15 Tess started crying. I hadn't put the sleep sack on her for this nap and decided at that point to go ahead and put it back on

Britt pitches a fit because we are done cleaning. At 10:20 both girls were crying. And I was wishing I could go hide for a few minutes ;) 

I went ahead and started heating Tess's bottle and ate an egg for my snack and then Britt helped me get lunches ready

I got her ready for swim lessons and took a few minutes to do my exercises for my foot. I have a BIG post coming soon with an update on my foot situation. Spoiler alert: I'm doing physical therapy and seeing results!!!

Anything I do, she can do too ;)

Poor Tess did not nap well! But no time on swim days...we had to go! I got her up and ready to leave at 10:50

Made it to swim at 11:07...Britt's lessons were at 11:10

Heading in and it was the moment I realized Britt's cover up needs to be packed away in the attic. Hello legs! haha! 

Tess drinks her bottle (like a champ, finally!)

while Big Sister does her thing in the pool

My sweet friend, Julie, was there with her daughter so she held Tess while I got Britt changed. Yes, they have change rooms. But who has time for that? I learned to bring a dress for her to wear as it's WAY easier to put on than pants. I also just leave her hair in the wet pony and wait to mess with it until nap time. I'm all about time management at this point in the game ;)

11:38 and we are loaded up in the van, with the prize sucker of course!

We got stuck in traffic on the way to school due to a couple traffic lights being out but we still made it in time to get in line to pick up Kye. SO thankful he can buckle himself in the seat. All I have to do is reach back and make sure it's tight enough!

I'm really trying to cherish these last days of having Kye in the car to and from school. Honestly, most of the time is spent with Kye and Britt bickering. But I try to keep it positive and keep the conversation on sharing about our days. Sometimes Kye is super chatty and other times he doesn't say much. I never push him, but love the chatty days best! 

Pull in the house at 12:22. Kye can unbuckle himself and he helps me by unbuckling Britt (often he likes to unbuckle Tess too). 

Already having the kids lunches ready makes it a little easier for me. I just put together my smoothie for lunch so I can eat with them. Every single day I put a smoothie together consisting of: 8 oz water, ½ frozen banana, handful spinach, handful frozen blueberries, spoonful of peanut butter, some steel cut oats, spoonful of coconut oil and Advocare shake. Blend it up and enjoy! I love it! 

While eating lunch and talking with kids I also pump since I didn't get to nurse Tess at 11. Multitasking at it's finest ;)

Notice the missing sock. Probably somewhere in the van never to be seen again! Haha

At 12:54 I make the move to transition to nap time. I put the kids down in order of importance of who needs the sleep the most. Tess goes first, and really she's the quickest probably to tuck in! I LOVE when she's in a sweet snuggly mood. I'm glad Britt loves swim but I do feel bad that all of Tess's awake time is spent in the car, at swim, or eating lunch! 

While I tuck Tess in, Britt goes potty and meets me in her bed. At this time she wasn't napping well as she was weaning from finger sucking (post to come). She started dreading naps. And it was nooooootttttt fun to tuck her in. As you can clearly see. 

This kid has decided he's sick of so many girls in his life hahaha

Kye's at an age where he enjoys setting up these elaborate imaginative play scenarios and he doesn't like Britt to mess with them. We let him set up stuff in his room to keep it safe from her ;) It makes for a messy room which drives me INSANE and also results in many injured army men from when we accidentally step on them. As long as he's playing with them daily I don't mind them being up but once the fun of them wears off, usually after 4 days or so, he cleans it up.

Kye and I always talk a little bit when I tuck him in and then I scratch his back and sing "lean on me" before leaving

Everyone in the bed by 1:00! Score! 

This is the time of the day that I let out a big SIGH :)

The way I do laundry is to have a laundry basket for each person in our family. As I pull clothes out of the dryer, I toss them into that person's basket. Then I take the basket to the room and put the clothes away. It makes the process easy! I actually do very little folding as I hang up mostly everything :)

I got ahead and get the peas made for dinner as the longer they sit, the better they taste!

1:11 and Tess is sitting up "talking." She's a VERY low sleep needs child. As long as she's not crying, I'm cool with it ;)

Kye very, very rarely sleeps at naps anymore. He must stay in his bed (btw that's a Santa hat hanging from his bed...kid loves some Christmas) but is allowed to read. He keeps books on the shelves by his bed and reads for most of nap. 

1:26 and I'm finally sitting down to blog! I know many bloggers who get up very early in the morning to do their posts. I would do something like that but my computer is in the bedroom so I can't wake Zach up! Instead nap time is my blogging time and often nights are too!

It was the first REALLY pretty, warm, wonderful day we'd had so I had to get outside. I try not to get in the sun too much. I used to be super addicted to laying out. Like I just LOVE the sun! But a little while now and then is okay. Vitamin D is important, right? ;) I wear a hat and all so I'm pretty covered! 

Once I'm back in, I'm also sweaty. Goodbye outfit from earlier...hello t-shirt and cheerleading shorts (from high school haha). And duh totally gotta rock my tennis shoes for my foot!

Kye's lamp turns on at 2:45 letting him know he's allowed to get up from nap. This gives him time to be able to play by himself without Britt. I think it's super important for him to have this time of his own! 

On this day we had to get ready for his class birthday party the following day so we made brownies together. 

Both girls were still asleep at 3:11! Tess usually wakes to eat at 3:00 but since she had such a bad nap that morning and took so long to fall asleep that afternoon, I let her sleep late. 

Kye was pumped because it meant some free time for US to do something together. We headed up to his room to play castle guys :)

At 3:30 we came back down (yes, girls still sleeping!) Kye did some artwork (kid LOVES art stuff) and wrote out his thank yous from his birthday party. 

I made my afternoon Spark slushie! Helps me make it through the rest of the day ;)

FINALLY at 3:45 (yes, 45 minutes late for her time to eat! Don't say I'm not flexible ha!) I woke up Tess. She's always SO happy when she wakes up :)


At 4:09 Kye went and got Britt up because we could hear her finally awake. Yes. She napped for 3 hours. And that's honestly the norm for her. Many days I have to wake her at 5 after a 4 hour nap. She is a MEGA high sleep needs child!

While I'm nursing the big kids entertain themselves. Kye gets some football tackle practice in...

while Britt stays by my side the whole time ;)

I always have liked to have a devotion time with the kids during their lunches. But this year Kye's class is over at 12:10 rather than at 12. So that 10 min difference means lunch time is RUSHED. I now try to do it in the afternoons. I hate it because it's something that can easily be skipped when we have plans and such, whereas at lunch time it was something we ALWAYS did. One advantage of Kye being in all day school next year is that Britt will be able to be picked up at noon and we'll be back on track with our normal devo/lunch routine. We also will be doing a devo with Kye in the evenings once he starts public school as well (and I'm done nursing Tess so I can be part of it!). 

I LOVE The Big Picture Story Bible . This is our third time reading it all the way through. I also bought The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers . It's simple lessons, a little young for Kye but very age appropriate for Britt and it helps that Kye is a little older and can help elaborate on the lessons. 

Devo time together!

Tess has her 25 min of independent playtime (I like to do this 2-3 times a day but with swim and having to take kids in the morning, as long as she can get it once a day I'm happy!). 

I'm really trying to get the kids outdoors more. I am not a huge outdoors person (I love laying in the sun...but that's about it! I do not like to get all sweaty!) but it's SO good for the kids to get outside. Now that Britt is older, I feel okay with the kids playing outside together solo. Only for short periods of time and only when I can check on them regularly. Like I wouldn't go take a shower or something with them out there. But doing stuff in the kitchen? I'm okay with that. 

They know the rules (no leaving the fence, no going near pool, no going in storage shed) and I trust them. I try super hard to resist the urge to be a "helicopter mom." The struggle is real y'all!

Remember those dishes from this morning? Yup. Finally unloading them! At 4:40!

25 min of solo play and she's happy as can be!

We meet the kids outside for some playtime (it's now 4:45). Britt has done well giving up the baby swing for her sister :)

Daddy gets home a little early! He changes and joins us outside. He's the "outdoor play parent" so it works out great that he's home and I can head back in to get dinner rolling!

Something I LOVE about our house is our HUGE picture windows in the kitchen and living room. I can see pretty much everything in the backyard. I love seeing Zach play with the kids while I cook and I'm easily able to run out to catch some pictures of any cute moments ;)

And this? This def counts as a cute moment!

Easiest to entertain baby EVER.

I love seeing Zach and Kye enjoy sports together. I know they are building such a special father/son bond and that makes my heart super happy!

Kids like to help set the table!

Dinner: Italian Chicken in crock pot over pasta with lemon herb potatoes and butter beans. We like our starches! We sat down to eat at 5:55

This girl LOVES some potatoes! Yet is theeeee slowwwwesssttt eater in the WORLD.

Bath time with Daddy at 6:30! 3 in the tub :)
While they are in the tub I finish cleaning up kitchen and then pick out the girls' clothes for the next day

6:49 and child is ready to nurse. She LOVES her last feeding of the day. It's a sweet, cuddly time and she's always so so tired. 

She loves for me to kiss her hands :) 

Zach reads the big kids a book while I nurse then everyone comes in living room and we all say prayers together.  Usually Zach and the big kids then play a game together but on this night he went out on a guys night (which seriously isn't an accurate portrayal of our normal days since he NEVER goes on guys nights haha). SO the big kids instead got to watch a little bit of a movie while I finished feeding Tess :)

7:45 and finally done eating. I LOVE how sweet she is before bed!

Normally Britt is in the bed between 7:20-7:30 but this night it was 7:45 :) We had a big talk about her fingers and reminders that her chart was almost full!

She's my silly girl when she's tired. Kye and Tess get snuggly but Britt gets HYPER and SILLY!

Much like nap I tuck the kids in order of importance of sleep when I'm on night duty! Kye usually goes to bed at 7:45 and then he and Zach throw the football for a few minutes and he and I read a little of a chapter book. Since they got to watch the movie and since it was already closer to 8 by the time we got to his room, he just went straight to bed instead. 

Of course we still talked a bit and snuggled and I sang his song :)

7:55 and all the kids in the bed for the night!

Of course not all of them were asleep though...

On a normal night I will work out and then shower and Zach and I will have some "us time" together typically watching a show. Since he had guys night I got some blog work done

And then worked out! I use an elliptical (best thing for my foot!) and I started watched The Amazing Race this season and I LOVE IT. Anyone else watch? I'm in LOVE with the blind date couple...Tyler is the guys name I think? They don't act like they are interested in love but I totally think they are adorable and should end up together. I hope they win! 

I don't laugh out loud often but I find myself laughing out loud when watching this show. I like watching it by myself a LOT better than when Zach and I tried to watch it together. It's just not a very good "together" show I don't think? 

By 10:45 I'm beat and ready for bed! I set my alarm to start the next day and check on my babies one last time before calling it a night :) By then Zach was home from guys night (bowling) and we were able to go to bed together which is my favorite way to end the day!

I highly doubt anyone actually read all that! But if someone did...I'd love to know if those with three kids have similar days? I feel like I am pretty much busy from start to finish each day. I remember feeling like I still had a good bit of downtime with two kids but I don't feel like that's true anymore with three. However, I also don't think having a 4th would add a whole lot more to my day? A few extra minutes to add another kid to tuck in haha! 

It's also interesting to me how much has changed already and it's only been 6 weeks since I lived this day. Kye now brushes his own teeth in the mornings and showers at night solo. I wear my hair differently now and get ready much quicker. Tess is way happier in the evenings but never sleeps past 3:00 like that! And Britt is 100% weaned from the fingers with no lingering issues and is learning to be faster with her eating ;) 

I think this will be something I'd like to do on a somewhat regular basis, even if just once a year as I do think it'll be neat to look back on someday!


So I didn't expect this kind of response from this post! Here's a few things I want to elaborate on after the feedback I've gotten:

  • The meal I made that day is chicken breasts, 1 zesty italian dressing seasoning packet, 8 oz of cream cheese, and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup in the crock pot on low for 4+ hours (I use frozen chicken and don't defrost prior to cooking so I just cook it on low all day)
  • The photo in the laundry room is from our engagement can read more about that here!
  • On this particular day it appears like I'm pretty flexible with Tess's schedule. And, to an extent, I am. I believe in putting the baby's needs first for the first year. But have found that the first 6 months are really THE most critical. I am more "hardcore scheduling" with each baby I have. Because I was so diligent with her schedule and sleep training early-on, I can be more flexible now. I do not let my babies sleep past their feeding times until they drop that evening cat nap. Then I let them go late (on this day she went super late which only happened a few times) as I know they need the sleep and it helps them be happier in the evenings! I'd say I was the most consistent with Tess's schedule from a newborn age than I was with Britt or Kye, and because of that I'm now (at 7 months old) able to be a little more flexible with her schedule than I was at that same age with my other two.
  • I LOVED the comment from Larissa pointing out how really exhausted and worn out I'd be every day if my kids didn't sleep so well. I couldn't agree more! All three of my kids are very different. Yes they all three have had HUGE benefits from Babywise and I'm able to have my free time at naps and especially my free time at nights thanks to their ability to sleep soundly! Thank you Babywise :) 
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