Thursday, June 25, 2015

BabyWise Master Lists + LOOKING UP LINK-UP

This weeks post is very busy.  Not only is it a portion of the Baby Wise Friendly Network and their contributions on parenting; but it also is my first Looking Up Link-Up post.

If you are a parent who enjoys taking your family on outings, I  hope you will find something useful in this post that will help with packing & planning.  If you are here from another blog please don't leave without scrolling to the end of this post and adding a link to your own blog.  This will create more exposure for you and a fun network of learning & sharing what each of us has to offer.

Here is today's post about summer fun & master lists; how organizing your pre-packing will make any day trip or overnight stay just a bit more comfortable.
This week we went on a summer outing that we all were very much looking forward to.
Once a year they have a big air show a few hours from us and since we all love the excitement of aviation; we could hardly wait to get there!

Unfortunately the day didn't go near as we had envisioned.

5 hours of pouring rain, no outside shelter, everything soaked, the show was delayed for 3 hours as we wilted.  The kids were crying, I was crying...on the inside.  Needless to say, it was a disaster.  All I kept thinking, as we were sitting in the middle of the downpour holding our umbrellas statistically to form a canopy as a shelter, was that I really needed to make a master packing list for trips such as these.

Years ago, I created a Master Grocery List; it included anything and everything that I could possibly use in my home.  It covered Lima beans to light bulbs and everything in between.  It has a suggested number of those items I would need in order to be "stocked up" and as I got ready to go to the store I would print off my Master List, look at each item and determine how many I needed based on my "stocked" ideal number.

Many things, such as fresh fruit, I knew that I would need regularly; other things such as canned tomatoes, I would place a small number next to it, telling me how many I needed in order to replace what I had used.  It became a convenient way to shop and make sure that I didn't miss a thing.  As I'm dripping from the storm lagging on overhead, with 2 boys sitting in dirty diapers and no dry place to change them, my daughter "starving" for something to eat (which was impossible due to the ATM crashing and now out of order) and water up to our ankles...I day-dreamed of my Master Packing List and what I could have possibly packed in order to make this experience more comfortable.

What if I made a list that was similar to the grocery list and on it was items for day trips along with over-nighters?  Whenever we decided to go anywhere, for any length of time, I could simply print it off and circle all the items I would need according to where we were going, length of stay, activities, & weather.  Then I would at least be as prepared as I could be.

I went home and compiled a list of what I thought may be helpful to us...
Here is the list I came up with; if you find it helpful please copy & paste it to a Word document and use at home for your family  :)



 Ice Packs/Loose Ice
Thermal Carrier
Coffee Travel Mugs
Water Bottles
Baby Bottle/Sippy Cup
Snack Foods (Carrots, Apples, Granola, Chips)
Case of Water



Double Stroller/Single Stroller
Light Blanket to cover stroller if needed
Car Seat Cover


Diapers & Wipes
Blanket & Pillow
Playpen & Sheet
Make-Up Bag
Hair Products
Hair Brush/Comb/Hair Dryer/Straightener
Nail Clippers & Tweezers
Rubber Bands/Head Bands/Bobby Pins/Barrettes
Shaving Cream/Razor
Facial Cleanser/Moisturizer/Oils
Laundry Soap/Fabric Softener
Feminine Products



 Play Clothes
Church Clothes
Extra Outfits
T-Shirts/Tanks/Long Sleeve
Casual Sweater
Sandals/Flip Flops



Notebook & Pens/Pencils
Art pack for kids (crayons, colored pencils, etc.)
Facial Tissue
Ziploc bags
Wal-Mart Sacks for wet clothes, trash, dirties…etc.
Lip Balm
Insect Repellent or alternative (Tea Tree Oil)
Glasses/Sun Glasses
Shower Shoes
Flashlight/Lighter or Matches
Toilet Paper
Travel Games/Movies
Camera/Video Camera
Ear Plugs
Hand Sanitizer
Sports Gear
Reading Material
1st Aid Kit
Handheld Vacuum & Charger for vehicle
Nursing Cover 


Sunscreen or alternative
$1 Poncho from Walmart
Fold Up Chairs
 Blow-Up Mattress
Camping Supplies
Little Swimmers



Laptop & Charger
Phone & Charger
Wallet/Driver’s License
Medical Info/Emergency Numbers
Business Cards


 I hope this is at least a good start of something you can use at home.  I'm sure you may want to tweak it and add or move categories.  I am certain that it will be a great resource to me the next time we venture out as a family.

I was thankful that finally the airshow was able to start and as the clouds faded & the rain simmered down we were able to get a few photos; next time we will be more prepared and surely enjoy ourselves a bit more.

Now it's time for our 1st of many Looking Up Link-Up

Thursday, June 18, 2015

40's the New 30...The Big Lie!

This is the year.
The dreaded year...the year of the BIG 40.

That may sound a bit dramatic but it's been an impeding event in my life that has slowly crept toward me continuously with no delay.  Every birthday for the last several years I have forgotten how old I am.  Strange story but true.

Each year I would say something like, "I'm gonna be 35 this year," and my husband would correct me and say, "No, this year you are gonna be 34..."  and I would celebrate like I just turned 18.

The next time the same thing would happen, "I'm gonna be 36 this year..."
"No, your gonna be 35..."

And so on.. it literally has happened for the last decade and it's been nice.
It's the kind of dementia thinking that I have actually applauded.
For some reason I have convinced myself that I am older then I am, and when corrected its like having a birthday on top of a birthday...a cake on top of a cake..I get so excited and feel younger, livelier, and more energetic.

But this year is different.

This time there is no mistaking what year it is.  Since the beginning of 2015 I have been aware that there is no messing up the dates this time; I can't miscalculate or forget what is about to happen.  Turning 40 is just months away and there is no denying it.

This means a lot of things for me.  It means I've been out of school for 22 years.  It means that I am almost the age my mother was when I got married, and my own son is the age I was when I met my husband.

The prime of life is passing, they say 40 is the new 30 but I'm just not buying it.

My legs are restless at night, my skin is stretchy, my back hurts, knees are swollen, stomach bloated...OK, I know it's not all an age factor, as I love ice cream & pizza and I'm far from being an athlete.  But...things are definitely changing.  Elasticity & energy are things I strive for now, not just something that shows up in the morning.  Toning has became a chore verses a natural look.  I forget my wallet, keys, phone, & kids quite often.  I forget that I forget and feel really horrible about that.  Dark circles are evident even though my bedtime screams at me around 7:30pm.  40 years are just settling in and the evidence of it is everywhere.

I was with some people not long ago and they laughed at my dreaded thoughts.  They said that 40 is the prime time, its a new start, a fresh beginning to great things.

I rolled my eyes.
It's easy for someone to say that's not there yet, or someone who has passed this point.
Can someone my age relate to me??

Surely I can't be the only one who feels a bit of desperation for youth.

After some time and as the days close in, I have realized that I was right...40 is not the new 30!
40 is just the new 40.

I don't want to redo the 30's, I gained a lot there, but I don't want to live them again.  In my 30's I gained spiritual growth from working through some hard challenges.  The Lord brought people in my life and back out again.  I picked up some wisdom from life experiences and time in His word.  I have regrets in the last ten years, as I would be foolish to say that I didn't.  I also fell in love with my husband deeper in those years, and watched my kids daughter was born 10 years ago and we were able to have 3 more after her.  I would love to see it all over again but I really like where they are now.  I pray I'm more mature than I was back then and a better mother & wife.  My body may be a bit different and but I don't miss the trials of those times and I'm glad to be facing forward.

I am not excited about being older but I am starting to embrace what's ahead.  I'm hoping that I can be as dynamic as my adolescence years, daring as my teens, free as my 20's, and steady as my 30's...all wrapped up in one.  Instead of doom creeping closer, I'm sensing a big party.  40 candles, lots of little ones helping me blow them out, and my sweet husband cheering me on for the next decade of life with him.

I'm thankful for 40, and I'm gonna be OK with miscalculating into my 50's.
I am just glad that Ive been given the time that I have had; many don't get to enjoy aging and their lives are shortened by various things.  For whatever reason, I get to be here and I couldn't be happier about that.

I think I'll tip my wine and eat my cake with a forty's grin of accomplishment, reminding myself how gracious the Lord has been to me & my family and how much He has taught us about life, love, and truth.  Happy Birthday to me....soon (and not a day earlier)    :)

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Loving God When Your Positives Turn to Negatives

My daughter-in-law & I were matching socks and having normal conversation.  We typically spend a day together throughout the week doing laundry, chasing kids, and catching up on the latest.  I asked her about her pregnancy a few times throughout the day and her response was minimal and lacked any enthusiasm.  If I would have taken the time to access what I had seen & heard from her body language in the last few weeks, I would've known right away, but I didn't.

I continued to ask til finally I laid down the obvious in question form...
Why are you not excited about this baby??
Why don't you ever talk about your pregnancy??
You know you can be happy around me, right?

I certainly thought this must be about me.

Why else would she be harboring joyful feelings about a new baby?

We found out they were expecting again just recently.  It was a tough time just because we had lost our own pregnancy one month prior.  Although we were happy to be having another sweet one on the way, we were reminded of what we also just lost a few short weeks ago.  I was certain that she was being careful around me because of that and didn't want to rub it in that she was pregnant.  How selfish my heart can be at times.

She barely looked up at me and said, "I just don't know how things are going to work out..."

What could she mean?
Finances?...things will always work itself out.
Housing?...they do have a small place and will need another bedroom.
Work?...Juggling a schedule, 2 kids, a home, and possibly school in the fall...
All of these things are factors that can be overcome, she must know that.

Then she spoke, still with her face downward pretending to focus on the socks...

"The Dr said that I am probably losing the baby."


My heart sank deep and a range of emotions set in.  For two weeks this dear girl, my own daughter, had known her baby was possibly dying and not saying a word.  I couldn't believe it.

Infertility and pregnancy loss has always been a part of my married life.  With 11 losses and 17 yrs of infertility experience, I am a seasoned veteran in this arena.  This is what I know, who I am, this is my area of expertise.  It's been my scarlet letter, my identity, my testimony... how can my daughter sit across from me for weeks and I miss all the signs?

A few days later I rubbed her back and sat with her as she labored in the passing of my grand baby.

Trusting God while hating infertility is a tough combination.  A friend of mine explained it to me like this the other day...

A women hates infertility which causes her excruciating pain and loss, all the while she loves the God who can save her from it, One who can take it all away but chooses not to.  It's a tough balance.

Infertility and pregnancy loss is about trusting God.  Bottom-line.
Every testimony you hear, every story you read, every article, diagnosis, every failed cycle or blank pregnancy test is about Him.  The One who gives life and the One who can chose not to give it.  It's about learning to rely on and give glory to a God who loves you even when He tells you no.  Even when He allows your womb to be closed and your positives turn to negatives. 

It's the same as any loss or disappointment you may face in life.

You can look forward into the future, you can look behind you into despair, or you can tilt your chin upward and see hope.  God's tenderness in times like that are only seen if you look up.  If you look too far ahead you may see fear, afraid to trust God because of what you have already gone through.  If you look behind, you may feel anger, reminding yourself of what you wanted rescued from, but had to endure.

But.  If you look up; you will see truth.  You will see that you are not being punished, not being disciplined, and not being unworthy.

Your heart will soon start to see that you are not only set apart for God's great purpose but you are actually favored.  Set aside, not as you are in trouble, but as you are the star pupil, the leading role, and the blessed one.  The trusted one.  The one that when the enemy cowers before the Lord and asks permission to test you, God says yes...because He knows your heart.  He hears the conversation between you and Him and He knows that as much as you want to have a baby or be a mother again; you want Him more!  And He is willing to show the world that you are His girl!

If you look up, you will see that while you are running this race with calloused soles and swollen joints; He is standing at the finish line with a bouquet of flowers and a name time for your shirt that says, Mine.

It's never been about us, about you.
It's never been about me...its always been about Him.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Guest Blogger from the BabyWise Network; Shea Moses on Potty Training

 Please welcome our guest blogger, Shea Moses, as she gives insight on her experience with potty training.  She is a fellow BabyWise mom and comes to us from the BabyWise Friendly Blog Network.  Please visit her page to learn more about her passion for parenting and for the Lord.

           My name is Shea Moses, and I am so thrilled to be guest blogging here today! I am a mom to 4 daughters ranging in ages 6 yrs -1 yr and I am an expert at nothing, but a lover of all things parenting has to offer. I use BabyWise principals and philosophies in my home, and I am excited to be a part of a blogging network that is BabyWise friendly. I have a little family blog at where you can find me should you ever have interest!  I am a work in progress, and like most of you, just trying to do right by my husband and little girls. I am taking a little bit of time here to share some potty training tips and a bit about my experience in this department. Remember, I am NO authority on this topic, I share strictly from my own experiences.

       Back in March, My husband and I geared up for our 3rd round of potty training. We had a pretty good idea of what to expect, and so we prepared for the “fun” just ahead.  I have read a few different books on potty training philosophies, and I feel like I have picked a few things from several of them that have made our potty training experiences fairly quick and less painful than you would expect it to be.  I wanted to detail some key concepts that we have taken away from having done this 3 times with 3 different personality types. 

Gauging Readiness

       Gauging readiness for potty training can be so tricky. You can have a young toddler “showing” you that he understands what happens in the bathroom. He may even talk about the potty.  You may set this same toddler on the potty, thinking this could be the beginning of him really learning how to use the potty, and he flips out at the idea of being anywhere near the potty. Or, you may have a toddler who has never shown a bit of interest in the potty, and then one day she comes up to you and tells you she needs to go before she is wet. They can fall anywhere on the spectrum.  Some books say 18 months is a good time to begin training. Some say don’t even try until they are 3.  So, with all the confusion that surrounds knowing if your toddler is really ready, these are the basic things I personally try to look for:

           1.      Their diapers are consistently dry after nap time, and usually dry in the mornings when they wake. This is a good indicator of bladder control. Can their little bodies hold it for a longer period of time than they used too? Can their brain effectively communicate to the bladder to store urine, and not release it, for several hours at a time? Be mindful of how long your child goes between diaper changes – and take into consideration the amount of liquids they have been given. Also, is your toddler pretty “regular”? Does their body usually release around the same time of day? This a good sign of readiness, so that YOU can be alert and ready and expect that to continue on when they are in underwear.

          2.      I like to evaluate verbal/communication skills too. When I think we could be getting ready for the potty training “event”, I like to think about how well they can talk with me about what is going on with them. If they can tell me they need a drink, and I can clearly understand – that usually lets me know they are aware of what their body is telling them, and they can go a step further than just knowing – they can ask/tell an adult to meet whatever need they have. Can they follow simple directions, such as, “Go get your shoes” or, “Let’s get into the car”? If so, this points to being able to work with you on completing a task successfully. Pay attention to just what exactly they are capable of. When you start paying attention, you will be surprised at just how much they can do!

            3.      Think about their age. I am a believer that every child is different and that readiness can come for one child much earlier than the next, but in general, I think it’s safe to begin thinking in this direction anywhere from 20 months on up. My nieces were training at 21 months, but my girls were never ready until about 28 - 30 months. Some are later than this. Don’t be discouraged if they are, just start to think in that direction! I promise, your baby won’t go to kindergarten in a diaper! It is important that you are not stressed about it, which brings me to my next point.

            4.      Gauge when MOM is ready. Mom’s readiness is just as important as the tot’s readiness is for potty training. I think you know if YOU are ready if you can find a way to get EXCITED about helping your child accomplish such a task. If you find that you are more focused on the child being fully trained than dreading the actual training you can feel confident that you are prepared emotionally to walk your child through such a big life change! When you are not stressed at the thought of training and you get to a place where you just want the training to be over with, you are probably of sound mind to get the job done!

When you know you & babe are ready 

and its time

            Carve out several days and devote them to nothing but training your child. Staying at home and honing in on the process for a long weekend will really result in a lot of progress and once you have perfected the art of going potty at home, you can take the next step to getting out and about with a potty trained child. Say no to play dates, PTO meetings, or even Sunday School if needed. Clear your schedule. The only thing you will be doing is getting knee deep in training your child.
 Expect the first day to be messy and exhausting. This is the just the reality of what you are getting into. The first day is a means to an end. The first day is hard, but it is so so so so key to the success of potty training. Your perspective will need to shift – you will need to look at the first day that is full of accidents – as opportunities for teaching and training. Understand that you would NOT be able to train your child if they did not have an accident(s) first. When they have an accident, remind them that pee pee and poop belong in the potty, not their undies. Then place them on the potty. Press repeat all day long. The goal would be to get them on the potty so that they can at least finish up in the potty – because anything that makes it into the potty is something to be celebrated! Spend the rest of the day asking them to tell YOU when they need to go – as this will place some power in their hands, and giving them a tiny bit of control will go a long way for you. I avoid placing them on the potty every 30 minutes or any time interval, really. It does no good for them to sit on the potty and not have a reason to be sitting there. It teaches nothing, so it’s a waste of time – and will most likely cause the toddler to lose interest pretty quickly, as it could turn into more of a game for them in doing so. 

Don’t just commit the days to training, but commit the time during those days to really focus, because you will learn a lot about your child if you do. You will learn how they handle doing something drastically different than they ever have before. You will see how they react to being in charge of regulating their own body. You will also have the advantage of seeing some non-verbal “I gotta go” cues.  I remember feeling at ease because this ended up being a game changer about mid-day of day 1. As the day progressed, I noticed my daughter would cross her legs at the ankles and then she would look up at me and tell me she needed to go. So, I took advantage of her cue here. As soon as I saw her cross her legs at the ankles – I moved her to the toilet. Those few extra seconds of time were huge! They saved minimal and major messes! I would have never noticed such a slight change in body language had I not committed myself to not taking my eyes off her during the time I had set aside to get this done. It turns out, my 2nd and 3rd daughter also had some non-verbal cues when it came time to train them. My 2nd daughter would stand straight up, like at attention right before she needed to go. So, as soon as she would stand up straight we knew to get her to the toilet STAT! My 3rd daughter would grab at her backside and start waddling around. Again, when we saw this happen we moved her quickly to the toilet and were able to get her there in just enough time. Moving your child to the toilet as soon as they feel that sensation of needing to go makes their tiny brains begin to associate the toilet with releasing and so the process works beautifully

Make this a fun and positive experience! Spend your time praising the successes your child has, and take NO TIME focusing on the accidents. Ignore them all together.  As stated above, accidents will happen. If you shift your thinking of accidents as nothing but a mess to being a necessary step to your child succeeding, you will find that potty training will be a much more fun journey than you would have ever thought.  Let them pick out their own undies. Let them have sugary drinks that they probably do not get to have on a regular basis. Make a sticker chart for every time they get it. Go all out. If you make it a fun and special time for the both of you, it can actually be hard work that is fun in its own way.

 By Day 2, you will see great strides from the beginning of day 1. That will give you the motivation to keep going strong. You will realize how capable your child is, and you will be so proud. I remember with my first, I realized how little I gave her credit for being able to do! It is amazing to watch your child grow exponentially in just a few days time! It will be a time you will probably never forget.

Some tips as you move beyond

  1. It is typical for kids to have a “final test” right when you begin thinking they totally have mastered training. Don’t worry, they have. Many children on somewhere between days 8-12 or maybe even further on than that, have a few days of many accidents. It is if they are saying, “Are you sure, mom, this is it? No more diapers? Ever? Even if I start messing up a lot?!” Stay consistent. Pay no attention to the mess, and encourage them a lot when they make it to the potty during this time. It’s a quick quick phase, and NO – they have not lost all that they have learned. They will pick back up in no time.
  2.  Keep a little portable potty in the car with you. This has been a saving grace for us time after time after time! We keep a little potty with us, and let me tell you, we have gone potty in parking lots of all kinds. At Every park in town. On the very side of the road. It has been so handy to have with us – and keeps us consistent with getting them to the toilet ANY time they need it!
  3.  Try to stay away from Pull-Ups as best as you can. They only cause confusion. Pull ups are basically a diaper – in every way except the tabs. If you can, try to go all or nothing. It’s the most effective. Remember that only training half way will only get you half way results. Why mess with paying for pull ups all while still cleaning up accidents all the time for months on end, when you can knock it all out in a few days if you fully focus? Trust yourself and your kiddo. They can do this, and so can you!

Shea Moses